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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Mindset Of Taking A Life

There was a recent story here in the SF Bay Area where an undercover Oakland cop was shot by some gang members.  He was an unknown person in the wrong neighborhood, and was about to be executed.

The fact that this officer lived is amazing.  He was shot as the gang bangers heard the sirens of approaching police cars.  They knew the cops were almost there, but it didn't matter.  They still attempted to execute the stranger in their midst.

He moved, the shot hit him in the arm.  He's already been released from the hospital.

Four days later, a guy shot another Oakland PD officer in the leg.  This time, the bad guy knew he was shooting at a cop.

No matter.

The Chief of Police responded to these shootings with an almost comical statement:
"You cannot shoot at police officers when they are out there in the line of duty trying to protect the community," a visibly angry police Chief Howard Jordan said at the scene of Friday's shooting.
Apparently, the bad guys didn't get that memo.

Obviously, these scumbags don't care if you're a citizen or a cop.  If you get between them and their business, expect to be dealt with very quickly and very violently.  If you don't have the means and the mindset to protect yourself, you'll be dead.

A scenario:  Three armed, masked bad guys enter a police station.  How do you think the cops should respond?

I think most people would say that the cops would start shooting at the bad buys until the threat was eliminated.  The bad guys would either be dead or would have surrendered.

I also think virtually every person in America would say that that was a proper response to the situation.

Another scenario:  Three armed, masked bad guys enter your home.  How do you think you should respond?

I made a horrible assumption.  I believed that everyone would answer the question the exact same way as they did with the police station scenario.  Your most primal instinct would kick in - self-preservation - and you'd do anything and everything possible to stop these bad guys and save your life.  If you had a gun - just like the police - you'd shoot until the threat was eliminated.

Apparently, not everyone shares that view.  With whom did I make this bad assumption?  My mom.

Just before Christmas, my brothers and I took her out to dinner.  We were chit-chatting about things and got on to the Sandy Hook School shooting.  I was saying how the only thing that could have been done to stop the slaughter at the instant the crazy bastard started shooting, was for an armed person to shoot and kill him.

My mom said she could never use a gun to take another life.

WTF?  No circumstance at all?

She then said that she could maybe do it if one of us or her grandchildren were being threatened, but only then.  If someone with a gun (or a bat, or knife) broke into her home, she would never defend herself with lethal force.

After I brought my blood pressure back from, "She's gonna blow, Captain!!" levels, I asked her why she felt that the life of this scum bag - this maggot who had entered her home with evil intent to do her harm - was worth more than her life.

She started crying, and my brothers gave me the, "Nice Christmas present, you asshole!" looks, so I stopped.  I can be a teeny-tiny bit intense about this subject....

So today, somehow, the subject came up again while we were talking on the phone.  We got to the point of her placing a higher value on the life of the scumbag over her own, and she just said, "Well, I guess I do value their life more than mine."  She obviously didn't want to continue with this discussion, and just cut it short.

But I'm still dumbfounded by her attitude.

I get this once in a while when I teach one of my safety awareness classes.  Someone will state that they could never take the life of another - that all life is equally precious - and they won't be a party to such madness of having the God-like powers of determining which life is more valuable than the next.

If you've got people in your life with a similar naive, Pollyanna outlook on life, take them through these questions that I ask my hesitant students.

Part 1:

I'm not here to make you feel warm and fuzzy that you took a class on safety awareness or self-defense, then praise you with, "You go girl!" or a "You da man!"  I'm here to help you save your life.  And sometimes, that process is unpleasant.  Here goes....

Ma'am, do you have any children or grandchildren?


What are their ages?

Two grandchildren, four and 6 years old.

Great.  Picture this:  You've taken them to the park, and one of those White Panel Vans pulls up.  They grab you and your two grandkids.  You are punched in the head, and knocked unconscious.

When you awake, you see your grandson being raped by one of the attackers.  The other one is readying himself to do the same to your granddaughter.

The badguys, believing you to be unconscious, have left their guns within your reach.  What are you going to do?  Are you going to grab the gun and shoot them, or are you going to tell yourself that their lives are just as valuable as the lives of your grandchildren and allow them to continue with their rape?

[If they say they'll shoot, I go on to part 2 below.  Some say they will point the gun at the bad guys, and hold them for the police.]

OK, being badguys, and having done this before, they don't believe you when you say you'll shoot if they don't stop.  The way you're shaking and crying, they know you won't do a thing.  They actually laugh out loud as they continue their rape.

What are you going to do?  Allow them to continue with the rape of your grandchildren, or shoot them?

[I have yet to have a student say they would allow the continuation of the rape.]

Part 2:

I'm very glad to hear you made the decision to place a higher value on the lives of your grandchildren over the lives of the rapists.  You've acknowledged that all human life is NOT of equal value.  It may make you very uncomfortable coming to that realization - and that's not a horrible thing in itself.

What's important is you recognizing that there are some horrible situations where the decision of life or death may be thrust upon you.  You've shown that, as unpleasant as it may be to your intellect, your ethics, your humanity or your morality, you do have the ability to place a higher value on one life over another.  That, at times, it is more moral to take a life in defense of another.

That extends to the defense of your own life.

What I want you to do is to acknowledge that your life is more valuable than the life of someone attempting to end it.  That this animal has no right to decide when your life should end.  That the world will NOT be a better place with them in it, and you in the ground.

Your life IS more valuable than the attacker's.

I'm not so naive as to think that even after putting folks through that very emotional gauntlet, they all suddenly take up arms for self-defense.

What I AM very confident about, is that they are thinking about it.  Every one of them.  They're thinking about something they may have never considered before.  That's all someone in my position can do.  As the saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."  True dat.

I can't force someone to defend themselves, I can only show them why they should do it.

I've clearly got some work to do on my mom.  You think I should do it just before her upcoming birthday? ;-)

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gold, Guns and Gall

In case you weren't aware:  There's a bit of a gold and silver rush going on right now.  In our store, when we get gold or silver in, it goes out within a couple of days - tops.  Many times, it's in and out in the same day.

One of our primary wholesale sources (they do about half a billion in business a year) flat ran out of generic silver rounds.  Not a one to be had.  They ran out of Krugerrand one ounce gold coins as well (still had American Gold Eagles, and Canadian Gold Maple Leaf's, though).

Along the same lines, the US Mint has already sold out of their 2013 American Silver Eagles.  Two weeks into the year!  Not enough silver around to keep the mint running.

I'm just sayin...

It's all about purchasing power.

I get asked virtually every day I'm in our store, "How high will gold/silver go?"  They're trying to get insight into when to buy and, perhaps more importantly, when to sell.

They always get the same answer:  "I dunno."

I tell them that if they're not willing to hold onto their PM purchases for 3 to 5 years, they shouldn't be buying.  They should be in the stock market if they're looking to gamble with their money.

Here's what I know:  Until our government commits to a balanced budget - tax receipts equal expenditures - they MUST either borrow more money, print more money or do both.  All of these actions weaken the dollar.  All of them strengthen precious metals.

Now, the price of PMs will go up and down - like the teeth on a saw.  BUT, that saw is pointed upwards.  You may have short-term price drops, but over time, the value of PMs will increase until the US government stops using inflation to pay its bills.

When they actually produce and adhere to a balanced budget, that's when I sell my PMs.

Maybe not even then.  Honestly, I'd think it was a scam.  I'd want to know how they could possibly cut enough cost and/or raise enough tax dollars, PLUS ensure Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid were fully funded.

I just don't believe it to be possible.  They may 'nut up' for a year or two, but there's no way all of those unfunded liabilities are going to be funded for the long term.  It IS a Ponzi scheme, and those always fail.

I'm guessing that folks like me - Baby Boomers, soon to enter the pay-back period of our forced SSI retirement participation - will get short-changed.  Congress will either remove the COLA increases while devaluing the dollar, or will subject us to Means Testing, and cut our payments.  It will be a de facto default to us, but not a political one.

My kids ain't gonna see squat out of the government-run retirement program.  THEY will pay for our financial sins.

 I'm sure it's totally unrelated, but ever since Sandy Hook and Obama's plea for "reasonable gun control", my gun classes began selling out.  Quickly.

I posted my first quarter classes in mid-December, and by the second week in January, I'm sold out through the end of March.  Plus, I have two private classes scheduled, each full to the hilt.

I had an introductory class this past Saturday.  I get to the range/classroom a half hour before the range opens to set up for the class.  There were more cars than normal parked out front when I arrived.  I popped out at 10am when they opened, and the line of people wanting one of the 12 lanes was out the door.  Easily 30 people.

Even here in the Land of Fruit and Nuts - perhaps the bluest of blue states - we're not swallowing the swill Barry's serving.

Our state legislature is busy crafting more Look Busy/Feel Good/Accomplish Nothing Gun Regulations.  They're talking about the whole fingerprint for ammo gig, licensing ammo sellers and adding many more guns to our already lengthy Assault Weapon list.

I need to look into a gun storage business in, perhaps, Nevada.  If the idiots in Sacramento make currently legal guns illegal, most people are not going to give them up.  We've been through this crap before.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.
Those words were spoken today by the same man who had just sworn to uphold the Constitution of The United States.

Translation:  Principles must not be principled, and giving up personal freedom will help to preserve those very same personal freedoms.  Ouch, that hurts my head.

It's all about the hive.

Orwell would be jealous of Obama's ability to twist the meaning of words and concepts.

Arrogant bastard.

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Post Traumatic Stupidity Syndrome

[H/t to Bruce Schneier of Crypto-Gram fame for introducing me to this term - which dates back to 2001]

 Post Traumatic Stupidity Syndrome (PTSS) - the over-reaction to a disaster or significant event with actions which provide little or no resolution to the event.  Nor do they prevent future occurrences of the event.  Most often, the actions that are taken are nothing short of excuses for the expansion of government into our lives, and/or a usurpation of our rights. 

The kicker is, most of the time, most of the American public gratefully accepts and supports these actions.  "You're not free if you're dead," is a common refrain.  They willingly trade freedom for safety.

At his Monday press conference, Obama used the tried-and-true, "If it only saves one child's life, it's worth doing," when talking about his upcoming assault on our gun rights.

PTSS has people lapping this up.

In my lifetime, I can think of only one of these disasters that resulted in a positive outcome to society:  The 1991 Luby's Massacre in Texas.  As a direct result of that shooting, Texas citizens got a shall-issue concealed carry permit law enacted.

Texans recognized that crazy bastards exist, and that the only way to stop their rein of terror is to put them down - quickly - like the rabid dogs they are.  Texans codified their God-given, natural right to self-defense.

In 1993, Californians faced a similar opportunity as a result of the 101 California Street shooting.  This state took the opposite tack - instituting draconian and ineffective "assault weapon" bans.

Texas believes in personal freedom.  California believes in government control.  The two decades since these two states acted have told an interesting tale.  Texas is a thriving, vibrant, safe economic powerhouse.  California - which has seen a massive migration of its citizens to.... Texas - is a shell of its former self.  We've become a crime-ridden, oozing pustule that has squandered our bountiful natural and human resources.  We're the well deserved laughingstock of the nation.

Tomorrow, I expect Obama to act much as California has acted in the past.  He will use the power of Executive Orders to make it more difficult for us non-insane mass murderers to protect ourselves.  He will also use his bully pulpit to pressure congress to pass additional draconian and ineffective laws towards the same ends.  He may or may not succeed in the latter pursuit.

No one in the compliant media will "do the math" and ask whether any of these new restrictions or laws would have stopped or slowed the insane shooter at Sandy Hook.

They won't ask why judges, politicians, bureaucrats and movie stars rate high enough for armed protection, but our children do not.

They won't note that from first shot to first responder was a 20 minute window.  He had approximately 1 minute per kill, so he could have accomplished his head count with a muzzle loader rifle. 

Or a spear. 

Or a sword. 

Or a crossbow. 

Or a lacrosse stick. 

Or a tire iron.

We can only be thankful that the shooter, upon entering the Government Mandated Hunting Preserve For The Criminally Insane - also known as 'Gun Free Zones' - was as incompetent with firearms as he was mentally ill.

The only thing that could have saved the lives of those children would have been having armed citizens on campus.  Police, guards or CCW holders.

It is the only thing that will prevent such massacres from occurring in the future. 

Yes, we MUST examine our mental health system - very carefully - to come up with a way to identify these lunatics, but that is a long-term project.  Right now, we need to protect our children.

No matter.  Post Traumatic Stupidity Syndrome will carry the day.  And America will be less safe.  And, I fear, more kids will die.

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Insane Acts

During the Christmas season, we sold a number of these bills -

 It's a Zimbabwe $100 Trillion bill.  We sell them for six bucks.  These are not counterfeits or made on a printer in the back office.  They are real currency that was used in Zimbabwe during the height of their hyperinflation driven economy.

Supposedly, at the time, they would get you an egg or a cup of coffee.

When we sell them, we kid with the customers that they should buy an extra, send it to Washington, and our nation's financial ills will be solved.  No federal debt, no unfunded liabilities in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  Hell, you might have a couple of extra bucks left over to do something fun with the family!

In yet another example of our own government's surreal, tenuous grasp on economic fundamentals, a proposal is floating around that would create a new $1 trillion platinum coin.  This coin would be minted by the Treasury department, then given to the Federal Reserve to increase the Treasury's account balance so we can pay our bills.
With a $1 trillion coin in hand, Treasury could deposit the money into Fed accounts, and pay its debts in that manner, instead of relying on bond issuance.

And none of this requires Congressional consent. Talk about an elegant solution.

The White House unsurprisingly hasn't commented on the idea. But Rep. Jerrold Nadler is on board. "I'm being absolutely serious," he told Capital NY. "It sounds silly but it's absolutely legal."
 Silly?  Not even.  It is nothing more than another example of the inefficiency of government. 

The Treasury prints up our bills and mints our coins.  A new coin will require new costs to design and manufacture.  Plus, you'd have to acquire something with actual tangible wealth - platinum - to spit these babies out.

They should just start adding zeros to existing currency.  Problem solved.  It's not like anyone thinks the dollar has much value anyways.

In case you were curious, at the current price of approximately $1,550 per ounce of platinum, the $1 trillion coin would need to contain 654,161,290 troy ounces to actually be worth $1 trillion.

It'd be a bitch to make change for a cup of coffee at Denny's....

Most folks have heard Einstein's quote about insanity - it's along the lines of, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different outcome."

Has no one in DC ever heard of the Wiemar Republic in Germany?  Or Zimbabwe?  Or Argentina? How about ancient Greece in 400 BC?
Dionysius ordered all money handed over to the government upon pain of death. He then reminted every coin, turning each one-drachma coin into a two-drachmae coin. The tyrant was then able to pay all his debts in full; maybe no one noticed that the real value of the coinage had been halved.
Hmm.  He minted coins worth less than their face amount.  My bad - apparently Washington HAS been reading their history.

You know what's sad about this trillion dollar coin idea?  Common Americans aren't going nuts over the fact that their government is even considering such a scam.  We, too, have a surreal, tenuous grasp on economic realities.

We just don't give a shit.  Hey, there's nothing in it for us to rock the boat, so why put forth the effort?  As long as the Bread and Circus' continue, we don't give a damn.

It would be insane to resist.  An individual can't change our national economic path, just as we can't stop the outcome.

It would be equally insane to NOT prepare for the economic storm that's coming our way.  You know it's coming.

The usual "If", "When" and "How Bad" of risk management have been streamlined.  "How Bad" will be a function of time.  The longer it takes to stop our current economic policies - either by austerity or collapse - the worse the outcome.

"When" it will collapse is the biggest unknown.  It will be driven by the actions of the government.

The "If" is a done deal.

So deal with it.  You'd be insane to not act.

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.