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Author’s Note: I wrote this piece for this week’s Nugget Newspaper. I don’t normally publish them as cross-overs on Running Iron, but I am gearing up for an existential fight to preserve my constitutional right to keep and bear arms in this state. I do not expect to win that fight, which will put me and hundreds of thousands of other law-abiding citizens in a Faustian jackpot. Shall I embrace the outlaw life after being criminalized by my neighbors, or do I submit to disarmament? I will fight first. After that, who knows? But I will never surrender my firearms to the government. Ever.
Americans are not only terrified of everything — it turns out they are also subject to sudden and inexplicable tolerance breaks. Last week’s viral incident at the Jet Blue counter in Miami serves up more evidence of an epidemic of adult conniption fits, even as nobody seems to know why the Adult Freak Out singularity is sweeping through the country like a disease.
We can’t even fairly hang this on Trump – though Bloomberg et. al. keep trying to convince their readers this is the worst period in the history of the world – because the Freak Out phenomenon predates Trump by several presidents.
Alistair Cooke, who was as fine an observer of Americans as anyone, suggested that “To watch an American…tells you something about one aspect of the American character: the capacity to withstand a great deal of outside interference…a willing acceptance of frenzy which, though it’s never self-conscious, amounts to a willingness to let other people have and assert their own lively, and even offensive, character.”
It’s possible that was actually true of our character, once, though it would be hard to count Cooke’s observations as a legacy we are handing down to our grandchildren.
At least not in Oregon, which hosts a political culture that is increasingly intolerant, even aggressive, toward anyone who resists socialist dreams of absolute control over everyone, and everything. Oregon has decided to toss freedoms of all kinds, and is now on the cusp of turning hundreds of thousands of its best and most law-abiding citizens into felons, overnight, with the most nakedly Bolshevik gun laws outside of the Soviet Republics – and cautionary tales — of California and New York.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote: “It is part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate.” But something has changed dramatically from that rosy view, so much so that a few hundred years later the poet Archibald McLeish would write: “The American mood, perhaps even the American character, has changed. There are few manifestations of the old American self-assurance, which so irritated Dickens. Instead, there is a sense of frustration so perceptible that even our politicians have attempted to exploit it.”
Of course they have. Domesticating the American character, which has devolved from a suspicious-of-government, can-do, entrepreneurial, and mission-oriented problem-solver into a sour, intellectually and sexually repressed, over-sensitive bundle of nerves, always serves the interests of politicians. It serves politicians because the success of their scheme is predicated on blind faith and utter dependence.
Your dependence. On them. Which is why tossing even a single freedom overboard is so very, very, dangerous.
But why are Americans, with such alarming frequency, falling back on the Full Freak Out? What in our culture is creating this abundance of tantrums?
If you Google “Woman Freaks Out” you will be rewarded with a long list of fantastic, and occasionally quite dangerous, tolerance breaks. Women have recently freaked out at Starbucks, on airplanes, at Planet Fitness, over a PDA, on trains, over service dogs, in Gamestop, on the subway, at the McDonald’s drive-thru, over a close encounter with whales, on ferris wheels, in hundreds of restaurants, and most recently at the aforementioned Jet Blue counter in Miami, where a woman’s rage for not being allowed on an airplane was, naturally, caught on dozens of cell phones as she screamed – and it was actual screaming — that the perplexed gate-agent was a rapist.
If you Google “Man Freaks Out” the list is equally rewarding. Men have freaked out over stray cats, in Gamestop (again), on planes, in vape shops, in WalMart, over bagels, in Taco Bell, McDonalds, Burger King, and Chic Fillet. They have lost it over head-lice, Christmas decorations, plastic straws, bagels (again), and at least one classic freak out was triggered when an employee called a customer “Sir”. Which, given the transgender person’s overwhelmingly male characteristics, was certainly a forgivable offense.
One of the funnier threads running through these viral episodes of hysterics is the number of times the Freaker-Outer browbeats their victim with the most desperate playground move imaginable, which is the exasperated threat to “Call Corporate”.
Lions, and Tigers, and Bears. And Corporate. Oh My!
These are adults doing this. Faced with an inability to control their circumstances, not to mention themselves, they just detonate on anyone, or anything, around them. Which is why we now have thousands of videos of American adults destroying inanimate objects – from mailboxes to laser printers, from cell phones to traffic signals — in astonishing fits of unleashed rage.
If the now ubiquitous American Freak Out is evidence of anything, perhaps it is a symptom of our lives on the new frontier. Maybe it’s happening because we are culturally marooned, neither here nor there just yet, but rather groaning through the death agonies of the old myths that once sustained us, while fighting savagely over the invention and control of the new myths we will eventually live by.
Only one thing seems certain: if you lose it, and go Full Freak Out, you won’t do it alone. That’s because almost everyone around you has been turned into a mobile television van, complete with live-streaming, on-location, Breaking News capability. So if you are going to freak, do us all a favor and at least make it interesting, because it’s a competitive environment, and if you do it well enough you have a legitimate shot at becoming famous.
If only for a minute.
STEPHEN ERICKSON says
Insightful observations my friend. Given my much less eloquent predilection towards understanding the ” American Mind” I just think we’re becoming a nation of self important, self absorbed spoiled brats. ” Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.” Hey Vlad, you want this buddy.. ya sure ?
Craig Rullman says
Thanks Steve. I think you are correct. An utterly self-absorbed populace. To the point of what amounts to sleepwalking…right off the cliff.
Saddle Tramp says
As for myself I decided long ago for fortune over fame. Fame is highly underrated whereas fortune, if wisely invested and the stars lineup just right, can continue to yield rewards. Both are dangerous but fame is a dead man’s odds. I will be honest Craig. You are no doubt an intelligent individual and that goes equally for Jim as well. I never took either of you to be literalists. Is freedom really that immeasurable and undefined I might ask? You have laid the gauntlet down no doubt and I take you at your stated inflexible word here. Never is a long time. I am really trying my best here to comprehend such a manifesto statement and it’s implications. Freak out? Did I really just read this? You have pulled the covers to put it in prison slang …
Craig Rullman says
In this case, as it pertains to my beliefs and passions, never means never. I refuse to be disarmed by high school children in Lake Oswego, who wrote the bill, or anyone else. Outlaws and Indians my friend. I won’t become either one without a fight for my rights, and I will not go on the reservation where I’ll be “safe”. I do not expect to win the fight, but I will not allow myself to be criminalized by herds of bleating sheep.
Saddle Tramp says
Ok… I believe you but by what extent of wordplay (maybe). Bury it? Move or go on the lam? Go down shooting? This is a little more than provocation and rhetoric you have laid down. I take it dead serious and I am responding as such. I absolutely and highly value freedom. I have posed the question many many times on this site as to what are the rules of the road? Nobody has defined it as of yet except possibly in mockery or vague generalizations. I give that one the benefit of a doubt. Again what lethality and type of weaponry and amount of ammunition is acceptable for a private citizen and civilian to hold and own.? Also, what is acceptable to have on the street or in public by a private civilian citizen? Answer that question definitively and we have a starting point for real discussions and dialogue. Anything else is evasive in my opinion. The sky is the limit does not cut it for me. You and I are not a world of one.
I say this all respectfully to you, Jim and readers alike. I am just tired of all the allusions without substantive qualifiers and quantified data. I would be appreciative of a reply. Thank you!
Craig Rullman says
I see no constitutional limit on the amount of ammunition an individual may possess, which is one reason I just bought 10k rounds ahead of the 20 rd per month law they will soon pass. I see no constitutional limit on the capacity of a magazine, or possession of high-capacity mags. I see no constitutional limit on the way a private citizen chooses to arm him/herself. I see no constitutional limit on what kind of rifle someone wants to tote around with them all day, loaded or unloaded. Some courts disagree with me. I disagree with them. I also support heavy penalties for people who abuse those freedoms to the detriment of others — which might encourage enjoying freedom responsibly. Most of the questions you are asking are already answered in reasonable statutes across the country that defend the law-abiding citizen from knee-jerk legislation written by control freaks. It would be impossible to enumerate the many thousands of variables of firearm/ammunition ownership. What is clear is that when unreasonable demands are made by government, such as restricting all magazines to a capacity of five rounds — as proposed in the present bill — criminalizing the mere possession of high capacity magazines, requiring a permit to purchase every firearm (separate from the mandatory background check) and restricting ammunition purchases to 20 rds a month — while explicitly excluding law-enforcement from the same measures, the balance between law-abiding citizens and their government is tilted heavily in favor of government without demonstrating that a crime has been committed by the people who will suffer under the law. And the present iteration of our government, like other criminal enterprises, is really not our friend. I have not ever, do not now, nor will I ever, support such control mechanisms. That is particularly true in light of government’s repeated demonstrations that it is unwilling to punish actual criminals, as the Great State of California demonstrates by letting thousands of violent felons out on the street each and every week. It is really not my purpose here to persuade you one way or the other. What is my concern is deciding how I am going to live in the rapidly changing political landscape of my country, which somehow keeps chipping away at my freedoms. And because I am not evasive, I choose to do it on my own platform, publicly, which invites all kinds of responses. It’s a little bit like the boiling frog theory, and because I am cognizant that the water is getting warmer, I don’t want to be in the pan. I choose freedom for myself, and for my family. Crazy Horse felt the same way. And, much like Crazy Horse, I’m running out of country to set up my lodge and to be left alone to retain my dignity as a man, and to enjoy my pursuits without undue and/or unnecessary interference from government. Which I happen to find disappointing.
Saddle Tramp says
Well this was most definitely a long parade of the freedom
of speech, to which I agree a reasonable restraint should be placed. Yes, this is your forum and it is always my practice to never try to price another man’s goods for him, hence why I invited you to respond first. For my money you did not go quite far enough. Your choice of course. This is just a further deterioration of an already fast deteriorating decline in a reasonable interpretation of the condition in literal terms as you delineated so thoroughly. That is what concerns me. Of course I do expect you to hold some cards close to the vest. We agree to disagree then on most of your points as to how we can make progress other than a dystopian view that feeds on itself. We have been there before but greater minds prevailed for the most part. That is a statement that has no real metric nor means of quantifying. It’s in the air. Anyway, I do appreciate your transparency and I guess I can understand your conversion to the other side of Outlaw after all the years spent in Law Enforcent. I understand your list of complaints even though we do not equally agree to the conclusions. Again, I appreciate your forthrightness and response to the extent you can. You also left much to digest so I will give it more thought.
Craig Rullman says
I’m not really sure where the disconnect is. Perhaps you can explain this better: “For my money you did not go quite far enough. Your choice of course. This is just a further deterioration of an already fast deteriorating decline in a reasonable interpretation of the condition in literal terms as you delineated so thoroughly. That is what concerns me.”
If you are asking me to explain what my specific course of action is, in the face of proposed legislation that I find profoundly troubling, it is this: 1) work through my representative (spoke with him today by phone) to quash the legislation in-situ. 2) Use my platforms to argue vigorously against the legislation (check). 3) When presented with the reality that I have been criminalized, live like an outlaw until I can scout another chunk of prairie — preferably one that retains the dignity of the individual — and then move to it. 4) Aggressively resist when all other legal options have failed.
And you are wrong about something, I have not converted to anything, outlaw or otherwise. What I’m faced with is being made into an Outlaw whether I like it or not. I don’t like it, for all of the reasons I have tried to articulate. It remains a deeply disturbing contemporary problem of the free man vs. the modern knee-jerk “safety” legislation reaction. More importantly, the legislation provides no solution to the articulated problem. Rather, it burdens the law-abiding citizen for no perceptible gain whatsoever, except as it favors the already considerable powers of government over the individual.
Saddle Tramp says
First I must compliment you on your willing discourse on this very problematic issue. You have helped some with your further comments.
I hate to give such crude or simplified examples but here goes. Let’s say for the common good it has been decided that a change of speed limit has been made and promulgated accordingly. I disagree with it and choose to not conform and therefore risk consequences Of course when the constitution was crafted this never came up per se. As we know driving is a privilege and not a right and I know you do address that regarding violations by licensed gun owners . I even recall your statement about not complaining about getting a traffic violation and blaming the cop for issuing it. Laws change for a variety of reasons agreeably or not. Amendments are a reality and thankfully so. Even the Ten Commandments carved in stone as they are must still be subject to interpretations. You know well the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law to which I hope your are amenable to the nuances and prosecution of. Where I do not feel you sold me on was your presenting your stance as one of unlimited armament capability for anyone meeting your criteria of not having any possible restraint or prohibition. Of course this becomes selective, subjective and discriminatory. As a law enforcement officer of fine reputation I know that that are more than familiar with this. What you did not specify was what you would prohibit. Rocket launchers come to mind. Perhaps you think that is ridulous for any rational mind, but I know for many it is not. Yes, we have entered that realm of possibity. Should we stop where as you say reasonable laws already exist on the books? That may not satisfy all. Who determines it? Law of the jungle or the Rule Of Law in the courts? A loaded question once again. Perhaps if one lives in the far remote corners of Alaska let’s say, we then have a much different dynamic at play. I think in assault style weapon made primarily for mass killing creates a totally different set of questions, answers and problems far beyond rights to bear arms (an antiquated application as meant for it’s time) and needs addressed accordingly. This wanders in the same neighborhood as freedom of speech or any freedoms for that matter and I am adamantly for freedom as properly intended. We have enough issues with weaponry in the hands of governments as it is. I conced that this is a black hole issue. We just saw the Groveland Four pardoned posthumously and a complete exoneration is no doubt on it’s heels. It is bad enough when law enforcement takes the law into their own hands, but we go down even further when vigilantism comes to town loaded to the teeth. It’s all bad. I am glad that you are attempting to address it in the best way you can, but I also know you stated you will not abide by the law if it turns against you on this one. A law is only a law if you agree with it? Then you are a law upon yourself? A self imposed Outlaw? Call it what you will. I call it lawlessness. Thanks again Craig for your willing engagement. I do take your thoughts with all serious consideration and worthiness. I know you are a person of very high standards. That also make it very difficult for you. I do understand. Thanks again Craig.
Just got out of the theatre here in Claremont after seeing the one time showing of SALVADOR DALÍ (IN SEARCH OF IMMORTALITY) at Laemmle’s Culture Vulture offering. An artist upon himself. Fascinating if anything else and I did leave feeling inspired.
For a discussion of what guns, ammunition, or other weapons should be tolerated, we might be best served by first determining the value of such, in the hands of law abiding citizens. Criminalizing an object cannot be properly compared to criminalizing behavior.
J.F. Bell says
A funny thing happens when a body of the public decides the share (by force of law) their preferences on those who disagree. Once you’ve made an otherwise upright man a criminal in one respect you’ll often as not find his disregard for the law branching into the rest of his affairs.
If you’ve already been tried, convicted, and damned in the minds of an opposition ready and willing to smite you with the fruits of your own tax dollars…well, it’s not so far a step to gross civil disobedience as some might believe. You might win, you might not, but if you’re forced to play another’s game you may as well go for gold.
As an aside…I’m still waiting on my Abrams, though I could be enticed to trade instead for an M60A3. One has to be realistic. Or so they tell me.
Jim Cornelius says
This is an important point. When the law is an ass, all the institutions it supports come into disrepute and the civic order frays.
Craig Rullman says
I will not go on the reservation. It is a death sentence. If it means I have to move, I’ll do that. If it means I have to fight, I’ll fight. If it means I have to live underground, I can do that too. But I won’t comply with bullshit legislation created by, and for, sheeple.
Saddle Tramp says
Sir, if I am to take your comments seriously I am compelled to ask your overall view regarding The Rule Of Law. I for one am equally dismayed (no greatly pissed off) at abuses of power, circumvention of the law by crooks and all forms of oppression of one’s rights by those abusers. However no individual should hold tyranny over others just by their obstinance to regard the common regard of others. I do not call that evil socialism, but rather a practical and reasoned approach. I could easily give a long list of what I find reprehensible in toda’s society, government and political climate. We probably agree far more than disagree. We need to change direction no doubt. However going back to a bygone era will not cut it. Resisting bad laws, bad government and all the rest is part and parcel of it. I don’t think you are saying that laws are socialism per se, but it did come off as that. I don’t think you are anti-law per se, but you did sort of come off like that. So, I hope you are not saying we should not be a nation of laws. What laws? A big question that should be qualified by saying they should provide a universal protection for everyone. If you want to call that socialism feel free to do so. I call it stopping the greedy bastards in their tracks. Is it 100 % effective? Hell no. What do you advocate in it’s place? If I bitched about every time the world tilted the wrong way we would be here all day. It ain’t all about my way or no way. We have already established how one man’s sacred is another man’s profanity. Unfortunately we step in each other’s way on occasion. I sure don’t want the tail wagging the dog. Maybe we have a runaway train on our hands that is unstoppable and will go off the tracks and lawlessness will rule like a Godless prison. I want to hold out for a little higher expectation myself. Yeah, it’s a bitch when laws do not favor your chosen activities or outlook. I know well. They have crossed me on more than a few occassions. Rights can be a narrowly defined border. Take The Right To Bear Arms. Define the word “arms” for me. Abram tanks you say (facetiously or not). RPG’s for recreational purposes? I have known people with 50 caliber machine guns that like to blast away in the desert. I have known people with every conceivable hand gun or rifle (legal and not). Should grandfather rights be granted for everything? Tough question. I know the position. Should we drag that rust around forever. Sometimes the world passes you by. It has me for damn sure. I don’t like it either in a lot of ways. Laws are only as good as you make them. If you can’t handle it and deal with it in a sane way move to the hills and become a recluse. Individual rights may be sacred but they don’t guarantee your sovereignty over the rest of us. As for myself, I hold a hybrid view of things which exludes any unbreakable allegiance to anything that aids in the unfair expense to one for the sole unfair gain to another. That’s a big friggin territory I know. You thought it was gonna be easy…
Thanks for you comment J.F.
J.F. Bell says
Ideally, I would have a nation guide by law. These laws should be as few as possible, readily understood, and agreed upon by those bound by them. And in those three respects you can see the root of our present national political crisis.
On changing direction…yes and no.
A community looking after itself hardly qualifies as socialism. It’s worth mentioning here however that, in my experience, the more homogeneous and motivated a group is towards its own welfare, the less money tends to be a concern. The bigger fool is one who realizes the old system works better than the new but presses on in the name of some elusive ‘progress’.
Universal protection? Life is dangerous. People die all the time. Sometimes it’s stupidity, sometimes malice, sometimes sheer bad luck. No book of law can change the fact. Being part of group negates this somewhat, as strong groups look out for their own. If you want to lone-wolf it, cool. If not, find a tribe where you fit and establish a place for yourself. Will the government that’s supposed to fix your problems drive across the state at 3AM to help you? No, but your tribe will.
I do not give a single solitary tinker’s damn about another man’s sacred cow. Provided his cow is on his property, what he does with it is his concern alone. My concern is when my neighbor decides that my cow is also sacred to him and should be removed from my ownership (by force) and placed in his care. If he wants to cuss at me and hang protest signs on his side of the fence, that’s okay. I can flip him the bird every morning and get on about my day. If he wants to fight on my side of the fence…different story.
This isn’t about how he regards his cow or mine. This is about him codifying his beliefs in law and using the law against me. In this instance, my becoming a criminal does not require any action on my part, and in my mind a proper crime requires action on part of the accused.
For the definition of arms…if I can use it offensively in a fight, it’s qualifies. From fingernails on, though I suspect we’re in the general range of small arms, light crew-served, and armored vehicles for the purposes of discussion. On restrictions…no more. None. Ever. See the screaming idiocy of formerly-Great Britain, where ownership of pointed cutlery has been floated as a jailing offense. Up the left, up the right, up the NRA, and up the fudds that think maybe if they just sell out this other bunch that the antis will leave them in peace.
I’ve fired all manner of cool stuff (machine guns, grenade launchers, several kinds of artillery) and can tell you that the owners are among the most fastidiously law-abiding people you will ever meet. The select-fire carbine in the neighbor’s house doesn’t bother me near as much as the car cruising my street way too late at night, the weirdo at the park eyeballing the little girl on the swings, or the twitchy guy who’s wearing a hoodie in the dead of summer and won’t make eye contact.
Counter-question, per the rust. Do you throw away your dishes after you eat? Ditch your car jack after you change a tire? Cancel your electricity when the sun comes up? I’d venture not. Truth is, just because you aren’t using something right this instant doesn’t make it obsolete or irrelevant.
As for the recluse…I suspect some of us have tried, and have learned the hard way that the modern world is far more interested in you than the reverse. Outliers are dangerous and must be mainstreamed lest they think ungood thoughts and upset the contentment of our peaceful, tolerant, and acceptable global community.
I don’t want sovereignty over anyone save myself. I’m no man’s master and no man’s slave. Should the situation arise, I’d hope to have the iron in my spine to refuse the former or die rather than accept the latter.
Short version – life’s messy. It’s not fair, never was, and never will be. The best most of us can do is seeing to our own affairs and keeping an ear up for trouble.
What you do when you find the trouble…that’s your call.
Craig Rullman says
“This is about him codifying his beliefs in law and using the law against me. In this instance, my becoming a criminal does not require any action on my part, and in my mind a proper crime requires action on part of the accused.”
Breaker Morant says
I have noticed through other readings that the speaker of the Oregon House is pushing to ban Single Family Residential zoning as a legal option. The push to put everybody in Soviet-style apartment living continues right on schedule.
Jim Cornelius says
Sad to say, there are more than a few genuine Bolsheviks in Oregon government and some unduly powerful enclaves of authoritarian socialists that, unless resisted, will impose an old and rusty yet still strong set of shackles upon us. For our own good, of course.
Craig Rullman says
Yes it does. Sheep.
Paul McNamee says
Though I still hang a little left of center (though, consider myself 3‑D politically, anyway) the older I get the more I subscribe to the simpler idea of a smaller, simpler government.
The idea that we can cure (what some citizens perceive as) government oversights by giving the government yet more power to f*** things up seems backwards—especially with the very current examples we’re seeing *every day.* Those are not the people who should have more latitude in our lives.
Jim Cornelius says
As you know, I tend to reject the left-right binary as too limiting. I have some sympathy for policies that would be defined as “liberal” and some that would be defined as “conservative,” sympathies that I have no problem reconciling personally, but which have no political “home.” Unfortunately, service and the enactment of polices that benefit the public good while preserving private rights and liberties are not what 99.9 percent of politics is about. It’s about power and control, and I will defer to the grey professor to articulate the problem with that, for he understood it so well:
“The most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.” — J.R.R. Tolkien
Craig Rullman says
I think that is the essential point. There must be a recognition that government is not the final solution to every problem faced by humanity. That was, once, the actual starting point, and can still be found in the constitution, which delineates the rights of the individual against the government, and written by men who knew and understood the problem. But the formula got flipped somehow, until government has become the solution for everything, which is mostly bad for everyone. One of the first pieces on this website was Outlaws and Indians, which was meant as a warning about what happens to free peoples when government gets too much into their business. The historical record is quite clear on the entire issue.
Government solutions are likely as not to make the problem worse as solve it.
Now some conservatives have too much faith in the Market as a solution machine. It probably has a better record than government but it can’t solve everything. That’s because not all the problems have solutions. Some evils must be simply endured as best you can.
Craig Rullman says
This is undoubtedly so. The question before us in Oregon, from my point of view, is neither a liberal issue or a conservative issue. For me, the question is simply one of liberty. I am not willing to surrender the liberties that this bill demands I surrender. I will not support a bill that criminalizes hundreds of thousands of people who have done nothing at all to merit the designation. It’s simply a ridiculous way to govern. Moreover, there are fundamental rights involved that I would not sacrifice for any reason. Some people cannot see, or do not want to see, that every concession of liberty to government endangers the balance of free peoples vs. the government they live under. That still matters. It will likely matter even more than ever as we drive on ever deeper into the future and the methods of control become even more complicated and outrageous.
Saddle Tramp says
We all are singin’ the blues cause there ain’t no Santa Claus on the evening stage (to quote an old bluesman)…
Craig Rullman says
Does he show up in the morning? 🙂
The assumption and its a big one — is those officials in a position to criminalize your freedom based upon the behavior of unrepentant criminals, or the mentally ill, care what you think. The predisposition is they know what’s best for for you so just settle down and pay your taxes Craig. As you know first hand, we manage it every patrol shift on the street and internally.
As a enthusiastic fan of my country, I offer my own observations and experience as an active California law enforcement professional, having worked for three different agencies including a conservative sheriff’s department in the central valley, the CHP state wide, two separate multi-agency task forces and now a local police department in a liberal city.
I will also limit my references to scenarios I have personally been involved in. Setting aside the frustratingly tragic components of the gang culture; mental illness; drug addiction; broken immigration laws and the state/federal criminal justice system; I am commenting on my own observation of the human results. One cop of thousands over the last twenty five years.
We are failing the law abiding, tax-paying citizens and the true victims of crime in California. This failure is a daily occurrence. In many cases we punish, humiliate and oppress our rule followers and victims to the point at least in my state, they just don’t bother anymore. Many of our greatest Americans of all color and culture and some of our hardest workers, are leaving California in mass. I speak with them every week and for the most part, they just want to be left alone to live their lives.
I’m not sure I can accurately count the number of victims across an enormous spectrum (from property crimes, to death) I have personally experienced, from the direct action of drug addicts, parolees, probationers, convicted felon deported criminal aliens and the mentally ill. I have personally walked through the wreckage of the aftermath with each of these individual humans who at this very moment, are living a different life because of what happened to them. Culture, gender, race, political affiliation don’t mean s**t when your world is turned upside down.
Tourists, residents, students being sexually assaulted by drug addict, sex registrant transients; kids stuck with dope needles playing in the park; a senior military vet beaten to death with a hammer by a convicted felon criminal alien; hundreds of drug and alcohol related sexual assaults; loved ones killed by drunk/drugged drivers including one of our own recently; the victims and collateral damage of the gang culture; business owners cleaning human waste, drug paraphernalia and trash from their businesses just to open for the day; personal property being stolen from your door step, inside your home and in some cases as you sleep with your family.
Taking, or restricting Craig’s ammo, guns and magazines would not prevent any of these. Not one. If we do reach that point of government oppression, it won’t be a police officer, deputy sheriff, or soldier entering your house to take your guns away, at least not this one. Most of us feel that way.
In this veteran cop’s “training and experience” it is unquestionably worse in my state than when I started in the early 90’s. The current California narrative that the homeowner should have had a better security system; you shouldn’t have left your car unlocked; you probably shouldn’t drive, ride your bike, or walk alone in this area or at this time, not to mention the altogether excused criminal behavior and potential prosecution for defending yourself, is embarrassing. Locally we are in some cases, at the point of being required to give multiple warnings before issuing a citation and multiple citations before making an on-view arrest for the same crime in progress. And the crooks know it. Embarrassing.
We discussed the attached below as a potential briefing training video. You can only rally the troops so many times :\
This is significantly worse in California and in my opinion, other west coast states where the majority of the population and many of the laws originate from the ocean-side of things. The mountain ranges can only block so much. Manipulated statistics aside, the men and women I work with and supervise are being assaulted more than ever and they are processing the increasingly desperate law abiding public’s frustration with the current state of things. I had an old time gangster (we used to do battle with each other years ago when we were both younger) tell me as we stood on the sidewalk together, “You guys need to do something Sarge, this used to be a good neighborhood”. We both started laughing. True story.
There are states where these issues are the exception instead of the standard and spending time in those communities and with the men and women sworn to protect over nearly a week’s worth of ride-a-longs, feels like an alternate universe. They have good reason to be “closed-minded.” If you have reviewed any of the recent Ca legal updates for 2019/2020, it’s only getting more expensive and lawless for those following the rules.
Do your thing and I’ll do mine as the song goes; if you dig the way things are and are content, I’m actually happy you are happy. I will continue my call to public service including people’s right to act ridiculous — for now.…. However, if you bring your craziness to my front door and think I’m rolling over without a fight, your mistaken. Good luck Craig — and good job articulating a position actively supported by millions of others.
Craig Rullman says
“You guys need to do something Sarge, this used to be a good neighborhood”. I’d love to know who said that. It’s likely I know him too. Perfection.
Saddle Tramp says
Well written TJ and you no doubt have the inside skinny on the street. I am far from blind or oblivious to the perverse conditions you describe. I see it and work with it everyday and spent many years in areas of urban crime and deprecation and a very challenging work environment with every kind of imaginable trouble and characters. No need in listing all of that though. Let other experts come forward on the what and why of it. My question still remains as to what limit or prohibition if any should there be in place for the “law abiding citizen” if you want to narrow it down. That seems to me to be the 800 lb gorilla in the room. Since I seem to be the only one so far to ask that directly I will ask again. As law enforcement I would ask if you are encouraging outright defiance of the law as it pertains to one disagreeing with it in a selective situation? Are laws even necessary? I do not think anyone among us here would not admit to the gross failings of the system. What does that leave us with then. It appears to be to let it collapse on itself and everyone for themselves. It used to be the way to get rid of a bad law was to enforce it. Of course we have eclipsed that by now it seems. Always those that get hurt. Throw yourself at the mercy of the court (unless you can afford a good lawyer). Don’t mention the courts I know. Not much choice other than live outside of society or hold your nose on a daily basis. We know how many big criminals go free or are running things. Does that deserve a total disrespect of law even if in disagreement? I have already previously conceded that this is a black hole issue. By the way I have absolute respect for the good cops and especially the CHP patrolling the madness that has tainted California so much. I started this out with a curiosity of Craig’s position. I wanted to know where he stood as far as a low ceiling and a high ceiling. I took no position other than I think unbridled use and ownership of rifles in contention here require and deserve special attention. Going any greater in lethality is an entirely different situation. If we are headed to fortified encampments and fiefdoms all bets are off. I have no desire to line up my bonafides, but trust me my vision did not come from an Ivory Tower. Far, far from it.
Appreciate it TJ and thanks for being out there…
Craig Rullman says
I would suggest that the question is wrong: “what limit or prohibition if any should there be in place for the ‘law abiding citizen’ ”. How can anyone know this ahead of time? I would suggest that the better question is asked this way: “What limit or prohibition if any should there be in place for the government”? Which was the purpose of the Constitution, after all, written by people who ran up against many of the same questions we are now facing. Thanks for being here, and engaging in the good and right questions. There are times when the law is no good. Gandhi knew that. The founders of the American Republic knew that. What is always important and worth fighting for is the freedom and dignity of the individual. Simply legislating them into criminality is not sufficient, and is never a slippery slope. What become a slippery slope is the attempt to create outcomes — particularly when those legislated desires have absolutely zero impact on the problem as it is articulated. Stamp taxes, for instances.
Ugly Hombre says
“In Oregon, which hosts a political culture that is increasingly intolerant, even aggressive, toward anyone who resists socialist dreams of absolute control over everyone, and everything. Oregon has decided to toss freedoms of all kinds, and is now on the cusp of turning hundreds of thousands of its best and most law-abiding citizens into felons, overnight, with the most nakedly Bolshevik gun laws outside of the Soviet Republics – and cautionary tales — of California and New York.”
The Constitution is under savage attack from the New Democrat American left- they don’t even bother to deny that they are straight up Socialist/Communists any more and bleat that the Constitution is obsolete.
The will change America into a Socialist/Communist state- there are to many of them, they are to stupid and they control the media, education, and vast portions of our government already. They are working very hard to import more New Democrat freebie voters every day- and its working. They are working to dismantle the rule of law and hammering down class warfare every where.
They turned the CIA, the FBI and the IRS into a type of New Democrat Bolshevik Cheka- a new era of political policing with mega over watch capability- its a in your face fact.And they will use it again to destroy those that resist the shredding of our Constitution. Slowly but surely when they gain more power, it will get much worse.
The rabid unrelenting hatred for Trump is typical of the Communist method. They don’t really hate Trump- they hate that he is winning some battles and fighting them and hate the people that saw the corruption of Obama, Holder, Clinton and company and voted them out of power.
Shocked the GD hell out of them.
California is a test area for them they will ramp it up and take their anti Constitution anti 2nd movement, nation wide very soon it will come to you- no matter where you live in the USA.
Then and only then- will you decide what to do.
If you are under a half century old you will see it.
Doubt it? never thought you would be down to 20 rounds of .22 did you?
Saddle Tramp says
I take your point Craig. My questions is then how do you write a law? We have travelled a long distance from those early days. Some truths remain eternal. They did the best they could and try to limit it to the best they could at that time. Aside from the obvious ways our country fell short it is still a pretty damn good place to start. Some would think the Old & New Testament alone was all we needed. Better heads prevailed and even separated us from that. An entire treatise could be written. I have spilled enough ink as it is. I am not going to support bad laws, but laws still deserve to be considered. Why do you think we are at loggerheads over immigration policy and law. Is it going to seek it’s own level by itself? You cannot ignore the necessary parameters of discussion and eventual law. We had a free for all as long as it was good for business. They did not address that until now the horse is long gone from the barn. Innocent people get hurt and the real villains on both sides of the border are making hay while the sun still shines. Thoughts and prayers don’t solve this one either. Definitions are needed and then spend the effort and money in the right place. What rules us so far has been false in way too many ways. You can’t have your freedom and say the hell with everyone else’s viewpoints. Contention is a way of life with winners and losers and those in between. I don’t think we can just draw straws on this one. Thanks again Craig and appreciate the forum you and Jim provide. I have run a long race here and am trying to find a way to gracefully exit the track …
Ain’t it fun?
I don’t suggest to have all of the answers and my perspective is obviously impacted by what I experience. Lots of great people working in a broken system on both sides of the argument and there are a thousand layers. I am more commenting on my own experience from a boot on the ground’s perspective.
I have respect for anyone dedicating themselves to a cause bigger than themselves for honorable reasons regardless of my stance and more guns and a lawless survival of the fittest approach certainly isn’t the answer. I don’t believe anyone truly wants that and even the worst of the criminal element enjoy our civilized society.
But neither is more government oppression and less personal accountability. Punish the violators in accordance with the exiting laws. We don’t need more and especially ones that punish the citizens we are supposed to be serving.
For now — if you asked me to chose between keeping a violent criminal in jail forever to prevent another victim, I would say, “yes, please use my taxes to keep that guy or girl in prison so nobody else is hurt or killed” while we try and figure this out and be better humans. I also feel sad as a fellow human being for the the circumstances that led that person down that road in the first place. Just not more than I value the safety of those trying to being decent human beings.
Being a part of the enforcement arm of the government for literally half of my life, I am frustrated we have created a system that doesn’t better protect our people including the cops from preventable, unnecessary harm. And should you find yourself in a position as a civilian requiring a competent armed response, the statistical truth is the cops won’t get there in time.
Arming yourself as a law abiding citizen is a right I want to ensure for those responsible enough to manage, without fear of persecution.
Community members shouldn’t be afraid of the criminal element and a lot of them are for a host of reasons, many of which are preventable. The criminal element should be afraid of the community.
lane batot says
Don’t forget now, fellers, some sheep are still WILD, and do not let themselves be herded about! But they have to live in steep, fairly inaccessible places!.…. Good old Edward Abbey readings comes in handy in such controversies–a favorite quote of his for me is “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” Then there is his quote on anarchy–“Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.”.……As for the whole gun thing–you never know WHAT the(increasingly unstable) future holds–private patriots with formidable weaponry may be the salvation of this country one day–very short-sighted and foolish to restrict non-criminals in that department, in my opinion. I personally HATE guns, but by gosh, I like having one about if someone is shooting at me, or threatening in some way. And although I don’t have anything “automatic” or even anywhere near advanced in design, I certainly hope SOMEONE around me does if invaders or criminal types open up with them in my vicinity! . It is unfortunate, but that Pandora’s box got opened long ago, and being able to fight back with as formidable weapons as your enemies is usually the only means of survival for those attacked–as proven by history again and again. Laws are necessary and can be useful, but they are human contrived artifices that can be very unjust at times–all for CONTROL. Control without justice is tyranny. And speaking of “romantic fables” in the above Abbey quote–there is wisdom in some, as in the Robin Hood theme of upholding justice by breaking the law! .…And Craig–you have used Indians(Native Americans) as an example several times above(one you know I readily relate to, certainly!)–and there is much to learn regarding the unjust lengths our government went to(and still does) to CONTROL anyone with feral ideals like that–but you should emulate their SURVIVAL tactics too–like the ultra adaptable trickster Coyote. If’n I were you, I’d go ahead and stock up on numerous items(ahem!) and have some nice, hidden caches somewheres. And then have your sacrificial taboo guns to turn in if it becomes necessary. Sometimes the wild sheep just gotta be inaccessible! Remember the Indians taking apart their guns and hiding the bits under the dresses of the wimminfolk when the army was trying to disarm them(as described in that Sandoz classic “Cheyenne Autumn”). Just in case.….And I DO understand where Saddle Tramp and others’ desire to uphold the LAW of the land, and try to do what’s best for everyone all around, but I cannot but think–regardless of how it might be instigated by well-meaning(if naive) people–the disarming of the populace by governmental control is rather foreboding, and an OBVIOUS BOON to the criminally inclined.….
Craig Rullman says
Don’t worry Lane, I’m ready for a few different scenarios. The disappointing thing will be if none of them happen. 🙂
Saddle Tramp says
c.c : Craig
I do appreciate your considered viewpoint. You have mentioned many things worthy of comment. Too many to address in any short and meaningful way. Lane, I wish more people were like you as we could then avoid all of this friggin mess. My issue more than anything is that I do not believe the overall effort by one private citizen to be in a arm’s race against potential or imagined enemies, being that of the government or a significant threat of any other kind is that productive. Regarding the government it is such an asymmetrical and out of reach proposition to take on in a gun battle that I cannot even try to entertain the thought. We have seen that before and I sure as hell don’t want to hear about Craig and family on the nightly news. I do not say that lightly whether or not Craig needs or wants my opinion. In fact I would not wish upon him to be inconvenienced or expensed in any way. Time will tell. The Confederacy thought they had God on their side too. By the way 3 out of 4 of my children live in the south. My ex-wife was born in Savannah, Georgia. I know the territory well and all of the sentiments so I mention it only as a historical note and reminder. I just know that I am not going to participate in elevating a futile effort without exhausting all other possible lawful means. I know in Craig’s viewpoint the law (possibly will) have crossed him and not the other way around. Maybe it would be better to describe it as the culture (or times) has passed him by be that right, wrong or indifferent. I feel the same myself about a lot of shit, but unlimited ammo and firepower is not the way out in my opinion. Lane, I like your Trickster approach myself. I know the other side of this too. I just do not feel the issue at hand requires taking this much of a radical (in my opinion) stance. Not yet anyway. I wholeheartedly disagree with a constitutionally based argument supporting it. Anyone with any real knowledge of the constitution would readily admit of it’s at many times vague and anachronistic language which only the writer [s] truly knew the there full intention. If someone tries to tell me any differently I would have to highly question their real familiarity with the Constitution. A imperfect document as it has been applied requiring the changes over our history. I believe they purposely did that for a reason. Do you really have to have it written to know what is sensible? I guess so. We can parse that out later if necessary, but for now we will go straight to the Amendment applicable to this discussion, that being the second amendment. Most here can probably quote it verbatim. That is important as every word and most especially the context of the entire amendment is important to know as it is a highly nuanced writing if you have any real knowledge of it. Not just your face value impression in the year 2019x It is not as straightforward as some would like to think it is. It does not really (in my opinion) and that of most scholars and courts support the issue at hand. It does not afford an individual with unlimited rights (natural or otherwise). There is a big quailifier from my interpretation of it and that of reputable scholars that carries much weight. Short of a Civil War and creating your own army, I cannot see where it applies to a single citizen of any status as it is trying to be used here. It is way beyond impractical and advisable in my opinion as a response to current situations (agreed with or not) or even in the near future. I look way beyond Craig with my concerns. Yes, I could be wrong and everything could go to hell in a hand basket and roving gangs take over or worse. Reasonable personal defense is one thing, but we are talking of a whole different animal here if it turns large scale. I would rather impede that possibility and take a chance with a different course of problem solving. If you can’t live with that then I might suggest going through the black market and live like a true outlaw be it Robin Hood, Jesse James or whatever option you choose. Go down in a blaze of glory if you wish or implement any of your other plans. I find it to be ill advised myself, but that’s Craig’s choice to make if I am to take him seriously (and I do) …
I just feel there are better ways to take up a cause for humanity’s sake by addressing the many other injustices with a reminder that even in the past the Constitution has allowed (context of the times aside) since it was written. It is not immutable or infallible or even written in stone. The amendments that have been added are proof positive of that in my books. Besides, even the greatest Supreme Court Justices have disagreed on it’s applications and interpretations and still do. That is the genius of our founders. They left loopholes for our protection. I just think way too much weight has been placed on “arms”. That alone forces me to keep an open mind and I continue to do so. That is also why I try to carefully consider everything especially when so much blood was spilled to get us here. Whom that blood has benefited depends on who you were and what you were at any given time in our history. Another subject for another time perhaps. Not all fights demand or require bullets. Choose wisely is all I would like to suggest…