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A law I can get behind

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On 7/1/2016, a new law takes effect in Tennessee. One that will make businesses liable for their anti-gun policies. Tennessee Senate bill 1736.

Starting 7/1/16, if a CCW license holder enters a place of business (or while in their parking lot traveling to/from said business) that by their own policy (meaning the business is not required by law to ban firearms, such as schools/Government buildings, etc.) bans firearms and is robbed/wounded/killed by a criminal, the CCW holder has the right to sue the f'in crap out of that place of business.

What this means is that if a business that doesn't have to restrict a citizens ability to defend themselves, that business will be held civilly liable for any injury incurred by another unlawful act sustained by the CCW holder or those with them.

I doubt this will not cause any "NO WEAPONS" signs to come down until after the first couple of multi-million dollar lawsuits.

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My Masonic Trial

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Last night, a trial was held to determine if I was guilty of the Masonic offenses I was accused of.

Let me say this: I am a fourth-generation Mason. I truly wish I would have joined this fraternity at 19 rather than 49. I will admit, I was not ready emotionally and spiritually to join until when I did. Joining this fraternity is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I love it more than I love this country. The fact that I served this country for 13 years and was ready to give up my life to protect this way of life pales in comparison to what I am willing to for this fraternity.

Since my meeting with the Grand Master back in April, last night was just about the first time that I had been in lodge. Every brother greeted me with every measure of warmth, friendliness and brotherly love that they have since I became a Master Mason. I want to make it clear that I detected no animosity from any of them.

When we opened the lodge, a sense of peace and "being at home" came over me. The kind of feeling like you've spend six hard weeks away from home and twelve hours on the road to get home, then you sit down and relax in your favorite easy chair. I greatly missed that kind of calmness in my soul.

While the outcome of the trial was never in any doubt, I tried everything I could think of to blunt the result. The trial commission (three disinterested Past Masters) will have to write a recommendation and send it to the Grand Lodge who will then determine my fate. This could take a couple of weeks, I don't know.

A final note, the brother who was tasked with prosecuting me told me after the trial that if he had not been asked to prosecute, he would have defended me. This only confirmed that there was no animosity in that lodge last night.

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The powers of the police

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I have long held the belief the the powers of the police should be as limited and narrow as possible. Remember, they are the agents charged with the enforcement of the laws of the State. That whole "To protect and serve" is all marketing. The citizens receive positive benefits from the actions of the police, make no mistake about it. When you call 911 and the police come and deal with Bad People who are causing riots, stealing from people or killing them, the police are there to contain and arrest the Bad People and that's it. You get the benefit of the Bad People no longer being there and hurting others.

I also believe that the laws should be as few and simple as possible. Our Founding Fathers said that the laws should be able to be read and understood "when running." With the reams and reams of laws passed by Congress, then thanks to the Administrative Procedure Act there are reams and reams more of regulations with the force of law issued by the myriad Federal Agencies. On average, a regular citizen commits three felonies every day just going through their normal daily activities. So a drastic limitation of the lawful use of police investigatory powers should be held to strict standards and rules.

So when I see this 5-3 decision come out of SCOTUS, I see the power of the State advancing quickly over the People. Here it is, Utah v. Strieff.

The boiled down facts are that the police suspected that drug activity was being conducted at a house. While the house was under surveillance, the police saw the defendant leave the house, then followed and without cause stopped the suspect. After obtaining the defendant's license and registration, a normal search of police records showed that the defendant had a warrant out for his arrest. The Defendant was then arrested and searched, which turned up a small amount of narcotics on his person.

The defendant claimed that the officer had to cause to stop him and demand identification. SCOTUS saw this as "the arrest came from the name search that turned up the arrest warrant."

Here are my issues with this:

The police stopped him without "probable cause," which means that the officer would have to clearly articulate what law the defendant had broken and what the officer witnessed to indicate that the law had been broken in order to initiate the encounter. A good example might be, "I saw the defendant approaching the intersection of Kirby St. and Shelby Ave. traveling along Kirby St. in a westerly direction. Upon reaching the intersection, the defendant turned right onto Northbound Shelby Ave without coming to a complete stop at the stop sign and failing to activate his turn signal to indicate his intentions. The actions witnessed violates laws 24-373 and 26-222 of the traffic code of this municipality." The police officer failed to meet this standard.

When the police had the house in question under surveillance, they noticed that "making brief visits to the house over the course of a week." To those with a modicum of common sense and reasoning ability, this could only show that most likely some good or service was being exchanged. What that good or service was, the police at that time had no idea. The owner of the house could have been selling Tupperware, candy, stock market tips, or drugs. Experience tells them that it was most likely drugs, because in past cases, 98%+ of the time, when observing this kind of behavior in this setting, it turned out to be transactions for illegal drugs.

If you have ever heard of a "chain of custody," this refers to the chain of people who had access to or handled evidence that was suspected to be used in a crime. For example, a CSI officer picks up a weapon found at a crime scene. He documents the weapon by whatever physical characteristics they can observe at that time. It's bagged and transported it to the Evidence Room. The ballistics expert checks out the weapon to test fire the weapon and obtain a slug for testing. It is then returned to the Evidence Room. Checked out by a court deputy to be taken to the courtroom to be used in the trial, if that deputy sees that the weapon in the bag does not match what is described on the bag, it means that 1) the chain of custody has been "broken," 2) this evidence can no longer be used because this was not the weapon recovered at the scene, and 3) one of the people who signed for that item is in big trouble.

Police are supposed to be held to the same "chain of custody" standards in their actions. An arrest is the end to a series of actions and statements made during a police encounter. If the officer cannot clearly articulate a legal reason why the officer initiated the encounter, it means the chain has been broken and everything discovered after the break cannot be used.

While not unknown, the three Justices who dissented with the majority issued two dissenting opinions.

The first, (on page 14 of the document linked to) is by Justice Sotomayor, with Justice Ginsburg agreeing on three of the four points in the report.

“By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.

“We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are “isolated.” They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.”

The second, (on page 26) is by Justice Kagan and Justice Ginsburg. The money quote is from this part is:

“[C]reates unfortunate incentives for the police— indeed, practically invites them to do what Fackrell did here. Consider an officer who, like Fackrell, wishes to stop someone for investigative reasons, but does not have what a court would view as reasonable suspicion. If the officer believes that any evidence he discovers will be inadmissible, he is likely to think the unlawful stop not worth making—precisely the deterrence the exclusionary rule is meant to achieve. But when he is told of today’s decision? Now the officer knows that the stop may well yield admissible evidence: So long as the target is one of the many millions of people in this country with an outstanding arrest warrant, anything the officer finds in a search is fair game for use in a criminal prosecution. The officer’s incentive to violate the Constitution thus increases: From here on, he sees potential advantage in stopping individuals without reasonable suspicion—exactly the temptation the exclusionary rule is supposed to remove. Because the majority thus places Fourth Amendment protections at risk, I respectfully dissent.”

If you let the police stop people without cause and question them, you have arrived at the Police State.

If you end up on the receiving end of one of these "encounters," know the applicable laws. In my state, you do not have to show your identification except during a traffic stop. You also keep your pie hole shut under all circumstances. Do not speak, shrug your shoulders, wave your hands or any other obvious non-verbal communication.

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The problem with lists

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Is that the lists never really go away.

In the below video, Congressman Gowdy (R-SC), grills Kelli Ann Burriesci the Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security about "chilled" rights.

A chilled right is a right normally afforded the citizen that has been revoked. A good example is the right to vote. If you are convicted of a felony, the right to vote has been chilled after due process. The due process is you have to charged with a serious crime, the government then has to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt to a jury of your peers that you are the responsible party.

The term "terrorist watch list" which has been bandied about since the Orlando shooting is one of those "sound good" ideas that aren't "good, sound" ideas for the very reason there is no due process involved. It has a lot in common with the "no-fly" list.

There is no substantive process for a citizen to be added to the list. In the case of the "no-fly" list, all it can sometimes take is a name that is spelled somewhat like the name or pseudonym of a known bad guy. You haven't done anything, yet a computer algorithm who sees you as a frequent flyer and has a name similar to a known terrorist operative's name and *poof* your right to travel as you wish using an airline is now chilled. And a lot of people didn't know it until they bought a ticket, showed up at the airport and tried to board the aircraft.

Now Liberals are screaming about how the Orlando shooter "WAS ON THE TERRORIST WATCH LIST AND WAS ALLOWED TO BUY A$$AULT WEAPONZ!!!!" Yeah, well despite being investigated by the FBI twice he managed to pass several background checks and land a job at a company handling security for the the federal government. That says a lot about the coordination and competence of the feds no matter how you look at it.

Back to the due process. Because someone didn't like you, what you wrote or said, and they call up the FBI and say "I think he's a terrorist. He's been talking a lot of subversive stuff" and the FBI puts you on the terrorism watch list. Many of your rights are now chilled and you haven't committed a crime, nor have you been convicted of a crime.

What in the hell every happened to that right of "innocent until proven guilty?"

Then we have this to exemplify my point:

At just after the 2:00 mark, you get this exchange:

So if you have been under investigation over some period of time, you would trigger --

That's correct.

And what's the time period there for --

There is no time period, but --

So ever -- if you've ever been looked at by the FBI?

That's correct.

Well, so then what about the fact that somebody could be looked at they -- you know, maybe the FBI got it wrong. So now they never can buy a firearm?

Well, that doesn't mean that it would be -- they would be subject to being pinged. They would look at it.

Of course, we all know that the deductive reasoning and decision making powers of government officials are impeccable and they would never do something like deny a family from boarding a plane because one of their children had a G.I. Joe in their hand and that G.I. Joe has a 2" long plastic M-16 in its hands, right?

By her own words, Senator "Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in" (D-CA) says that if you get on that list, you're going to stay on that list for the rest of your life. No appeal, no due process, you'll have to prove a negative (that you're not a terrorist) every time you attempt to exercise your chilled rights. Which in the end means you'll take your lumps and like them.


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When the system works

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You know, I respect Gersh Kuntzman (the reporter that "developed temporary PTSD" from firing an AR-15) more than this turd. STEINBERG: Would-be terrorists can buy guns, but a reporter? No.

This story, filed on 6/16/2016, does not pass the smell test. I bring the date up because in Illinois, you need a FOID (Firearms Identification Card) in order to purchase or possess any firearm in that state. The reporter stated quite clearly in the opening that he has never owned a weapon before this and never had any intent to do so. With that being said, I have to ask, how he was able to obtain a FOID instantaneously? The Orlando shooting was on Sunday 6/12 and it took two days (6/14-6/15) for the events in the story to unfold, then Mr. Steinberg had to write the story. While I may be wrong, I highly doubt a bureaucratized behemoth as Illinois would issue such a license in the same business day.

This story also screams the reporter's feelings, "I DON'T WANNA DO THIS!!!" He had to be ordered to do it, he was thinking about all the reasons why he should not be doing this story and it is quite clear he doesn't want to do it under any circumstances. The reporter had zero concept of Illinois or Chicago firearm laws and didn't know where to look or didn't look very hard.

Mr. Steinberg then has a "flashback" listening to a friend going through a rough time, suggesting he surrender his firearms. He also opines about a house down the street. He has never spoken with nor seen anyone around the house in 15 years, yet he feels qualified to say this:

...A house on the next block has a high fence and an electric gate across the driveway. The blinds are drawn and in 15 years of walking by, I’ve never seen a person there. I would guess the owner is afraid. Maybe just shy. But he sees a hazard requiring that fence, gate and security service that I do not. I imagine he owns a gun. Or many guns. [Emphasis mine]

So, this wonderful, astute, insightful, unbiased person sees no people at this house, does not know if the current owners built the house or fence, does not know the slightest thing about them, yet does not hesitate to describe them as "afraid" and "shy." Mr. Steinberg also implies that they own a lot of guns. Because all rational people thinks like he does.

In the end, the gun store denied the purchase. The statement the store gave to the Chicago Sun-Times (the entire statement was not released, just this section) says,

“it was uncovered that Mr. Steinberg has an admitted history of alcohol abuse, and a charge for domestic battery involving his wife.”

So a gun store with a moral compass looks at a man who admitted he's doing this as a stunt for a story, sees that he has had in his past a lack of self-control and violence (the story never said if the domestic charges were dropped, amended or he was convicted) and they decided that he lacks the correct wherewithal to responsibly handle a firearm, even if it's for (as he says) only for a few minutes.

To me, it sounds like the system worked.

To close out the story, our whiny Liberal crybaby writes this:

Now I’ll state what I believe the real reason is: Gun manufacturers and the stores that sell them make their money in the dark. Congress, which has so much trouble passing the most basic gun laws, passed a law making it illegal for the federal government to fund research into gun violence. Except for the week or two after massacres, the public covers its eyes. Would-be terrorists can buy guns. Insane people can buy guns. But reporters . . . that’s a different story. Gun makers avoid publicity because the truth is this: they sell tools of death to frightened people and make a fortune doing so. They shun attention because they know, if we saw clearly what is happening in our country, we’d demand change.

"Congress, which has so much trouble passing the most basic gun laws, passed a law making it illegal for the federal government to fund research into gun violence." That's called neutrality, because every researcher has a bias. Congress did not pass a law making research on that subject against the law, it said the government won't pay for it. If you want a gun study, just give some researchers some money and tell them what the results you want the study to "prove." It's worked for years with the Global Warming crowd, why not the gun control crowd?

"Would-be terrorists can buy guns. Insane people can buy guns. But reporters . . . that’s a different story." Being a nation of laws, this country has a novel concept (that he probably hasn't heard of) that says citizens are "Innocent until proven guilty." The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is a federal database where felony convictions and mental health incidents are kept. People who attempt to purchase a firearm from a dealer are checked against this database.  The problem is the information is at best incomplete.  Only about 80% of State felony convictions are reported to the NICS system.

When a reporter goes into a gun shop and takes up a part of the owners time and the reporter makes clear by his words and demeanor that the resulting story will not be kind to the gun store owner, his customers or his industry, I think the gun store owner is justified in being at least a little hostile towards the reporter. Then you have the loss of money the shop owner will experience because the new weapon the reporter bought will have to be sold at a lower price and marked used to the next customer.

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Some men...

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I found an article about a Liberal reporter who actually tried to understand why over 3.5 million households own at least one AR-15. In trying to understand, he traveled to Philadelphia (first mistake) and asked a gun shop owner who's an expat from Europe about weapons and gun control in the United States (second mistake).

The Internet is ablaze with how this reporter thought an AR-15 was "It’s horrifying, menacing and very very loud." He also reported that:

The recoil bruised my shoulder. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary form of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.

You would think I would be critical of the reporter for being a "girly man" because of his takeaway of the experience as many pro-Second-Amendment people were.

I would like to commend this reporter because he got way out of his comfort zone to do try and report objectively. Not everyone can leave their comfort zones. Not everyone likes the experience of shooting a weapon and you know what? That's okay.

Just as a side note, with the exception of the "explosion" of the rifle report and the shell casings, it sounds like he took his first drag on a cigarette.

I do blame the gun shop owner for probably making it rough on the reporter. It seems from the pictures that he shot the AR-15 in an indoor range. That alone will make a rifle report significantly louder (and the smell more intense), especially if it was only 5 or 6 lanes. If the reporter bruised his shoulder, that means that most likely he was not holding the butt of the weapon firmly against his shoulder or standing correctly. Either the owner didn't tell the reporter to hold the weapon firmly against his shoulder, or the reporter didn't listen, I don't know and the article does not elaborate. If the brass was flying across his face, he was either shooting a right-handed weapon left-handed or the brass was bouncing off the lane divider and back into his field of view. As a Patron member of the NRA and an avid firearm enthusiast for over 25 years, if my second experience firing a weapon (the reporter had fired a handgun before) had been as unpleasant as this, I might have been turned off by that kind of experience.

I also want to criticize all of the people who posted hateful comments to this reporter. He actively and with no pre-conceived notions tried to understand the attraction this weapon has on so many people. If we as Pro-Second Amendment activists had been supportive and instructive rather than critical, we might have ended up with one person in the Liberal-dominated media who might have been sympathetic to our side.

Remember, John Lott started out his seminal study on firearms as a member of the anti-gun camp. He started out with the intent to prove gun-control worked. After his study showed that firearms in law-abiding citizens prevented over a million crimes a year, that's when he switched sides and became pro-Second Amendment. We, you and I, had that chance here with this reporter and we blew it.

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This is what I get...

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Over the years of this blog I have a self-imposed policy of not commenting too quickly on events such as the Orlando Pulse shooting. I like facts to come out so I do not go off in the wrong direction. I did not follow my own advice this time, so I will keep going and correcting my course until I arrive where I should have if I had waited.

I want to start this by saying I commend CNN. A friend watched their special on the attack Sunday and told me they never showed a picture of the shooter nor ever mentioned his name. This "denying of the legacy" should be the standard to which all news agencies should follow. Let this piece of trash disappear into anonymity forever. I have "X'ed" out his name in my original post on this tragedy.

In the three days since the shooting, facts have come out that indicate this was probably a crime of hate, rather than terrorism. It turns out the shooter was a regular at that nightclub. Many of the survivors recognized him right off. It also seems that he had a profile on a Gay dating site. No one will ever know for sure, my best guess is the shooter either could not reconcile his homosexual feelings with what his father was saying ("all gays should be killed") or some kind of jilted/denied relationship. Only time will tell.

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One thing == everything, right?

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I saw this on FB, and it took a while to get to the original article.

Remember when the CEO of Chik-fil-A publicly proclaimed that he was not in support of same-sex marriage? Do you remember all of the backlash, protests and boycotts of his company by all of the militant pro-LGBT organizations? Do you remember the "Chik-fil-hAte" campaign on social media? I do.

Well, it seems that Chik-fil-A is trying to be consistent with the CEO's Christian ideals, which includes compassion for all people. Chick Fil A Did WHAT After Gay Club Shooting? Why Isn’t This Viral?

It turns out that the Chik-fil-A store located at 11350 University Blvd, Orlando, FL 32817 opened up Sunday the 12th of June to cook hundreds of sandwiches and brew gallons of sweet tea, then gave them to the people who were donating blood to help those wounded in the Orlando shooting. Without fanfare or publicity, they demonstrated compassion and support of all people, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. Wouldn't it be great if more people lived up to this ideal?

This is a fine example of "hate the sin, not the sinner." If someone does not approve of one passion of your life, that does not mean they hate you as a person. I highly disapprove of many Liberal policies and stances. That does not mean I hate the person espousing the ideal. I have multiple friends with Liberal viewpoints. I respect them for being passionate for what they believe in, no matter how much I believe they *might* be wrong (I'll admit, I am not infallible, *I* might be the one in error). And just because that other person and I disagree on that one point, we find that we agree on other subjects, as well as share hobbies and other passions where that point of disagreement would never come up.

When we hate others because of one point of disagreement, we limit ourselves to our own detriment.

If you want to call and support this store, the phone number is (407) 737-0002. If you are viewing this on your phone, you can click on the number and it will call for you.

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And the vultures arrive on Cue

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I am really, really getting sick of this shit.

Not even all of the victims are identified and already the line for more gun-control is out the door, down the street and around the corner.

This article by The Telegraph, Orlando gunman used AR-15 assault rifle to kill his victims - the weapon of choice for mass shooters is a bad mix of sensationalism and incomplete knowledge. And frankly, to have another country to lecture us about gun-control who requires by law a "proportional defense" and a "retreat if able" tone to their laws, plus now that there is almost total gun control there, now because of the 130,000+ annual knife attacks, they are going for knife control there, all I can say is, "Kettle, meet pot."

In England, the law requires you to retreat from the confrontation if you are able. You must retreat out of your own home if bad guys are beating on your door, as there is no "castle law" over there. For the "proportional defense," if you are accosted by a criminal with a knife, you can defend yourself with no more than a knife. The English laws stipulate the blade length may be no more than 3" in length, unless it is required for your work. If the assailant is unarmed, all you can have are your fists. If the assailant is a 25 year-old MMA fighter going after a 50 year-old regular bloke, that won't end well for the target. If you bring a gun to a knife fight, or a knife to a fist fight to defend and protect yourself, the target of the criminal will also be accosted by the police.

Now that you have an understanding of how they view self-defense, the article in question lists the AR-15 as an "Assault Weapon," which to anyone knowledgeable knows that's false on its face. "Assault weapon" means the weapon is capable of semi-automatic (one trigger pull = one bullet) AND fully automatic fire (one trigger pull = empty magazine).

The article talks about how there are 3,700,000 households with an AR-15. May such owners I know have more than one of them, but for the sake of argument we'll stick with 3,700,000 weapons. They then list FOUR mass shootings and a total of 61 people were killed where AR-15's were used. With Saturday's tragedy, that's five events and 91 casualties. I'm a generous guy and I don't want to devalue their numbers in any way, shape or form. Let's slip the decimal point two positions to the right and make that 500 mass shootings and 9,100 dead.

500 mass shootings divided by 3,700,000 weapons equals 0.0001351% of all AR-15's in civilian hands, or 99.99987% of AR-15's weren't used by crazy people in mass shootings.

As far as the 6,100 people killed in our horribly inflated numbers, which is still less than 1/3rd the number of people killed every year by falls. Of course, those mass shootings took place over the past 3 1/2 years, so you're comparing 6,100 against 105,728.

This phrase shows the author has zero idea how things work in the US:

In the state of Florida, anyone over the age of 18 can buy an AR-15 as no state permit is required. The same goes for pistols and shotguns.

I cannot say that statement is wholly factually correct. Anyone over 18 can legally buy a rifle or shotgun. You have to be 21 or older to legally purchase a handgun. And while there is no "state permit," all of us who have purchased a firearm knows that the Federal laws apply, meaning the dreaded BATFE Form 4473 must be used in all purchases of firearms from a licensed firearms dealer.

The real reason why there are mass shootings anywhere is not the weapon. It's the heart of the user. Getting rid of weapons won't stop killings and mass events. The bad guys will adapt.

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Another tragedy

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So Xxxx Xxx Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxx, who is a US-born citizen of Afghanistan immigrants, opened fire in an LGBT club Saturday, killing 50 and wounding dozens more. He "became upset" when he saw two men kissing months ago.

While facts are still coming out, this much is known:

  • He worked for G4S Secure Solutions USA Inc., a major DHS security contractor since 2007.
  • He was investigated by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 without definitive findings.
  • He was on the FBI's watch list, so he was a "known wolf."
  • He openly praised ISIS to co-workers.
  • He openly voiced homophobic and racial comments to a police officer, who did report it to Xxxxxx's employer which did nothing.

Why this guy was not fired after the first investigation I don't know. Why he wasn't fired after he opened his pie hole and said "I support ISIS" to a co-worker is nothing short of malfeasance on the part of the co-workers (if they didn't report him) or management (if the co-workers did report him).

Of course, our Illustrious Leader made comments on this horrific tragedy. I'm surprised he waited until 3:45 of the statement to start the "how easy it is to get guns" shtick. Again.

Then we have this article, FAIL: Bill Rejected By The GOP 6 Months Ago Would Have Stopped Florida Shooter From Gun Purchase by the ever-so-biased bipartisanreport.com.

This article purports that a Senate bill (not mentioned in the article, or any source linked to by the article) stated that “Senate Republicans rejected a bill that aims to stop suspected terrorists from legally buying guns." Obviously research on things like facts have no bearing on advancing the agenda. I discovered all of the following facts with an "exhaustive 10 minute search" in various search engines.

It turns out that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) offered Senate Amendment 2910 to H.R. 3762, [T]he concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2016. There were 25 co-sponsors of this amendment, 23 Democrats and 2 Independents.

This amendment died within minutes, as there was an objection to the amendment due to section 313(b)(1)(c) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, ironically known as "Byrd's Rule." The amendment was ruled out of order after an attempt to waive Byrd's Rule. This was named after KKK Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd (D-WV). Byrd's rule allows for blockage of legislation "if it purports significantly to increase the federal deficit beyond a ten-year term or is otherwise an 'extraneous matter' as set forth in the Budget Act." Gun-control legislation slipped into a budget bill the day after a mass shooting I think can be classified as "an extraneous matter."

I bring this up because the concept of the entire article is a bald faced lie. Suppose for a moment that it did get into the final version of the bill and the bill passed into law (it didn't, President Obama vetoed this bill and Congress couldn't override the veto), it would take at least 6 months for the agencies charged with enforcement of this part of the law to finalize how they would handle all of the administrative tasks involved with enforcement. Xxxxxx had his weapons probably well before the San Bernardino Shooting (Feinstein's inspiration for the amendment), so this "legislation" would not have prevented Saturday's catastrophe anyway.

The part you have to be scared about is the legal concepts and entanglements associated with such a "law." Because it means a person merely "suspected" of being a terrorist would be denied their Second Amendment rights. There is no legal process involving any proof to get someones name on such a list, all it takes is "suspicion." Currently there is no legal recourse for you to get your name off the list. If there was, you would have to prove you're not a "terrorist." I need someone to tell me how can you legally prove something that you haven't done? This concept violates every legal concept associated with the concept of "presumed innocent until proved guilty" enshrined in the Constitution.

I have come to the conclusion that our politicians scare me more than the terrorists do. The terrorists can only kill me once, the politicians can strip away everything I have with the stroke of a pen until I am left with only the thoughts in my head.

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Hacked vs. Cloned

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I have had a rash of friends on Facebook get their profile cloned in an attempt to get their friends to friend the cloned page and thus gain access to private information.

And my non-techie friends say they have had their profiles "hacked." I want to clarify the difference and let you know why this distinction is important.

If I were to "hack" your profile, account, whatever piece of your on-line presence, this would mean that I have by some means acquired your username and password information and have been able to directly obtain your information and for all intents and purposes "be you." My nefarious actions in your name would be almost undetectable, except for maybe IP address information.

If I were to "clone" some part of your on-line presence (such as Facebook) I would use pictures and text copied from your profile (You can capture almost any image on-line, just right-click on it and "Save Image As...") and create a new similar looking account that will catch the unwary. A classic example is in 1997 when the White House created the web page, www.whitehouse.gov, they neglected to obtain all of the suffixes (.org, .net, .com, etc.) that would also point to that page. So, someone registered www.whitehouse.com (It's not a link on purpose. You'll understand why in a moment), many people, not realizing that the two websites were different, instinctively went to the latter rather than the former because the vast majority of websites are ".com." Once they got there, they found a site that looked remarkably like the .gov site, with the exception that instead of learning about the events of the President, the content of that website was pornography.

Back to the task at hand. This is my suggestion, backed by 40+ years of IT experience and almost 20 of that studying and working on IT security. Yes, everything I am suggesting is a pain in the posterior. However the pain I am suggesting is nothing compared to the pain you will experience if your on-line life gets compromised.

1) Use separate passwords for everything. Because if you use the same password for Facebook and your PayPal account, don't be surprised if your FB account gets hacked (not cloned) your bank account is empty in the next couple of days.

2) Make your passwords complex. It will be a lot harder to hack a password like "Ljy72-$hEH&7" than the three most common passwords, "password," "qwerty," and "12345678."

3) Keep personal information private. If the site requires your birthdate or whatever, make sure the setting is "private" and no one sees it. If it's set to "Friends Only" and you friend a bogus profile, you just gave them that information.

4) In any social media, if a person known to you sends you a friend request, don't just hit "confirm." Go and check out the page. If the person you have been friends with on FB for a long time, yet this friend request if from a profile less than a month old that has no updates, it's bogus. Not "probably bogus," not even "99 44/100% bogus," unless you have been in contact with that friend outside of that social media and they tell you that this is happening, then it's bogus, period.

5) If it's bogus, contact the friend who has been cloned and let them know they've been cloned and tell all of their friends who have fallen for the clone to report THEN unfriend and block the bogus profile. Then you report and block the bogus profile. Below is where you do it:

cloned reporting

6) At least once a month, put your own name in the FB (or social media) search box to "find yourself."

Just to show you how innocuous information can seriously compromise you, pay attention:

Many people have their birthdate, the city of their birth and their high school (and/or college) on their profile. If I know where you were born, that gives me the first 5 numbers of your Social Security number ("123-45-6789"). If I know when you were born, that can give me a good idea to start guessing the last four of your Social. I can also get your birth certificate and thus discover your mother's maiden name. I now have access to your financial life.

How many use the security question of "What was your high school mascot?" in verifying your identity if you log into a web page from a different computer? If I know your high school, it will take me about 30 seconds to get that answer.

Be careful out there.


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This is wrong and here's why

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My Masonic fate is rapidly barreling toward me. Before my anticipated departure from the Fraternity, I wanted to share something to show just where I think the "less than" Most Worshipful Grand Master of Tennessee Billy Ray Cutlip is heading.

First of all, to commemorate a Grand Master's year, he gives out a commemorative lapel pin and sells pocket knives. Here is a picture of the current pin:


This pin is unremarkable from previous Grand Masters pins, except for the symbol on the right side, the Christian Cross. Unless you are a Mason, the significance of this will escape you. I will clearly explain why this terrifies me and should likewise terrify all good Masons.

For some context, here are five of the 6 last Grand Master's pins. I do not have one of PGM Hastings' pins:

fivegmpinsEach pin reflects something personal about that Grand Master. Going from Left to right, Past Grand Master Boduch's pin is shaped like a Doctor's black bag and has a caduceus because he is a Physician. #2 is for PGM Mack Johnson and it has a star reflecting where his Lodge is within the state (just off the left tip of the square) and has his initials under the star. The middle one for PGM Laddie Wilson has the symbol for the Marine Corps, since he is a former Marine and a trowel, one of Masonry's symbolic tools. PGM Etherton's says "200 years of brotherhood," since his year was 2013 and the Grand Lodge of Tennessee was formed in 1813. PGM Musick's pin is University of Tennessee orange and a star over Memphis, where his home lodge is located.

Before I can go into why GM Cutlip's pin is terrifying, I must dispel the myth that the Masons are a religion. While it is a requirement that a petitioner believe in a Supreme Being and publicly express that belief, beyond that the Masons do not inquire as to the exact religion or Supreme Being. I do not care the manner in which my brothers worship their Supreme Being and they likewise do not intrude on my communion with my Supreme Being.

The Masons accept men of all religions without preference or prejudice. That's the standard to which we hold ourselves and our brethren accountable to. No one religion, even the primary religion of the land, is to be elevated above the others in Masonry.

The symbolism of this pin is terrifying to me as a Mason, even though I am a Christian. I do not begrudge a brother from wearing any religious regalia, in fact I support it because it shows he is not afraid to show his love for his Creator and will freely share his beliefs to all who ask about it. That being said, when the "less than" Grand Master Cutlip decides to promote his religion at the exclusion of all others as part of the symbol of his office, he might as well be saying, "NO KIKES, RAGHEADS OR OTHER NON-CHRISTIANS ALLOWED."

Do you think I am engaging in hyperbole? Could it be possible I am exaggerating? It has been tradition for over 100 years throughout Masonry that you don't discuss politics and religion in a Lodge. Because of the passions many people feel on those subjects, discussion of these subjects lead to disharmony among the brethren. We as Masons try to work in harmony for the betterment of ourselves, each other and the world in general. Preferring Christianity over all other religions sticks a big knife in the back of every non-Christian Mason that lives in or travels through Tennessee. I don't care if 999 out of 1,000 Masons in this state are Christian, why does the "less than" Grand Master Cutlip want to make that one brother feel unwelcome here? I don't care if that lone brother is Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Shinto, Pastafarian or any religion, it is not GM Cutlips' (or any other brother) place to exclude another brother because of their religion.

Just to make it clear, I understand Christianity is important to GM Cutlip, however I would be just as concerned if instead of the Cross it was the Star of David, the Islamic Crescent or any other specific religious symbol. I am not concerned about the phrase "Put God back in America" because I see it to be non-sectarian. The word "God" is actually a generic term, "Yahweh" or "Jehovah" (more precise Names for the Christian God) would be unacceptable for the non-sectarian Masonic fraternity.

This is what happens when you let extremists drive the bus. It doesn't matter if they are political or religious extremists, anyone who does not submit to the drivers' brand of extremism tends to end up under the bus rather than in the bus.

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My shortest career

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As they say, "That didn't last long."

I've tried for the past month to work a job in sales, specifically car sales. The one thing I discovered was that it isn't for me. What attracted me was that I had recently become a "free agent" and a training class for this field dropped into my lap as I received news of my impending "free agency."

The potential for a high level of income is there in sales, if you can withstand the demands. Make no mistake, the people I worked with over the past month were great, supportive and sharing in encouragement and knowledge.

The downfall is it's a "feast or famine" kind of job. When you arrive in the morning, you get on the phones to make calls to people in your tickler file, review any appointments for the day. Then you do sales training, motivation exercises and product training. This usually takes 1-2 hours. Then you wait until a customer comes. Until that customer walks onto the lot, you're stuck in a high alert mode. Once you make contact with a customer, you have to be high energy until the customer leaves, which can be anywhere from 30 minutes if they are "just looking" to 5-6 hours after which they leave in a new vehicle.

That hypervigilance combined with 50+ hour work weeks became a detriment to my health. I was also unable to help my family because they are night owls due to my bride's sun sensitivity, while I naturally wake up at 5:30am most days. So, I wake up and do my morning routine and other minor stuff until I left for work at 8:30am or so, work 9 to 11 hours then come home. Once home I only had 2-3 hours to do everything before heading to bed.

I am not afraid of hard work. I will do whatever I can by legal and moral means to secure the emotional, physical and economic health of my family.

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Shading Nuances

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With Liberals, the agenda always comes first. Everything and anything must be done to advance the agenda, no matter the cost. In this case, gun control.

Katie Couric and Director Stephanie Soechtig (figuratively) shoots themselves in the foot with this "documentary," Under the Gun. They are so intent on advancing the agenda they massively compromise their integrity by doing this:

That nine-second "pause" after her "question" was derived from what is called "B-roll footage" shot before the interview began. If you notice between the video above and audio below that the question Katie asks is slightly different, which certainly implies that the video question was dubbed in during post-production (when they were adding in the B-roll).

Kudos to Katie's pro-Second Amendment "targets," the Virginia Citizens Defense League, because they did not trust her and thus covertly recorded audio of the interview. Here is the salient part:

So, the film implies that the people interviewed by Katie were left speechless and without an answer, while in reality the answers were prompt, concise, rational, thoughtful, realistic and totally against the documentary's agenda.

Director Stephanie Soechtig indicated that she, not Couric, had editorial control. She tried to justify the deception by releasing this statement:

"My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans' opinions on background checks."

To tell you the truth, I could have accepted Soechtig's statement, if the responses from the VCDL had been included after the "pause." But since they weren't, I have to conclude that the intent for the exclusion was deception because the responses didn't advance the agenda.

I especially like that phrase, "...the facts on Americans' opinions..." because opinions do not change facts. People's opinions can agree or disagree with the facts, depending on how knowledgeable they are on the subject. If opinions are derived from biased commentary by the media on the subject of background checks, it is the fault of the media providing biased (instead of balanced) commentary and the people listening for not performing their own due diligence on the subject before parroting the biased information.

I also do not accept Soechtig falling on her sword (figuratively) and accepting all of the blame. If Couric (who was the interviewer for the film and also the Executive Producer, who is the bankroller of the documentary) had any integrity towards the truth rather than advancing the agenda, she could have been critical of the documentary. Instead, Couric released this statement after Soechtig released the one above:

"I support Stephanie's statement and am very proud of the film."

I have also discovered that the makers of this "documentary" scheduled an hour to interview John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime. Mr. Lott was an anti-gunner who in the 90's performed a study to prove his side of the argument. What he discovered conducting that study caused him to switch sides in the debate. Again, they scheduled an hour to interview him and the interview ended up with four hours of tape. How much of that four hours made it into Under the Gun? Zip, zero, zilch, nada. Because nothing he said advanced the agenda.

Just in case you think that there might be a slight possibility that this could be a balanced documentary, please check out the partners of the film, I have the links below. Eleven pro gun-control groups, zero pro-Second Amendment groups. Kind of telling, eh?

I ask that you click on each link, so this blog shows up in their refer lists. I want them to follow the links back here and know I am against their agenda. They will open in individual windows so you don't have to keep clicking "back":


Americans for Responsible Solutions   Everytown for Gun Safety   Sandy Hook Promise
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America   Violence Policy Center   Purpose Over Pain
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence   Jessi's Message   Alliance for Gun Responsibility
Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence   States United to Prevent Gun Violence    
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Follow up on Nevada

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This is a quick post, expounding on what I have learned since I made the post on Those in power... a few days ago.

First of all, I have learned that delegates for Sanders were intentionally given the wrong information on the time and place of the meeting. I am unaware of any Clinton delegates receiving erroneous information, and all of the Sanders delegates did not receive that bad information. This can only mean that the Party wanted to make sure to "shave" any votes in Clinton's favor.

Second, the initial votes on rules changes were held while many Sanders delegates were still outside the hall, in line trying to register. I have heard it both ways that the vote was held earlier than scheduled, or not delayed because there were delegates were still filing in.

To show the other side of things, I have heard that many Sanders delegates were not properly registered in time. Remember, Sanders was an Independent who only "caucuses with Democrats." He had to join the Democrat party to run against Clinton. I guess not all of his followers did the same thing. As far as the "rapping the gavel and walking off," I have also learned that that meeting had run a couple of hours over the scheduled time and the hall had to be cleared, plus the cost of security was about to go way up because the security personnel were going to start getting overtime.

As it has been said before, "The truth is a three-edged sword; your side, my side and the truth." No side is totally right, no side is totally wrong. I always look at the facts of the matter and what the truth actually is.

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