On suppressing riots.

This started as a comment to Borepatch’s post, Col. Jeff Cooper’s advice on the London riots

It seems to me that there are fundamentally two types of riot. The first, and more common is a kind of youthful hooliganism. Such riots are commonly seen in sports fans after a major win or loss. While destructive and criminal, they, by and large, are not terribly serious. They tend to work themselves out after all the emotion has been spent.

The second is an insurrectionist assault against the civil order. These are the kind of riots we saw in LA in the ’90’s and are currently seeing in London. They are much more serious.

It was for the purpose of suppressing the second that the Riot Act of 1714 was passed. The Riot Act provided a mechanism by which certain local officials could order the dispersal of twelve or more persons “unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously assembled together.” The local official would read out a proclamation declaring that,

Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!

If the rioters failed to disperse after one hour, they were guilty of rioting, which was a felony without benefit of clergy, punishable by death. The act also specifically provided legal protection for any person assisting is suppressing the mob.

The Riot Act was repealed in 1973.

I think the repeal was a mistake. It seems to me that part of the reason why one is willing to engage in riot is because there is no individual disincentive not to. The mob provides anonymity. There are too many individuals to prosecute them all, so the risk for any specific individual is fairly low. And the return is fairly high is one manages to loot anything.

The rioters in London are not rioting because of injustice. They are rioting because they are thieves. They want that which does not belong to them, and are using violence to seize it. They are also trying to intimidate the general populace into continuing to pay for their entitlements. They are rioting to show that “they can.” But more importantly, they are rioting to show that the state cannot stop them. And that the state will not stop them.

They are the Danes. Or the Vikings. Or the Huns, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, or Vandals. They are barbarians, and the antithesis of civilization. They are literally sacking London. The only difference between them and the Vandals is that they didn’t have to invade violently. They were invited.

For these barbarians, violent resistance is the only option. If they assault you, you hit back harder. Force is the only language they speak. As I wrote in On the Norway Muders

Kevin Baker has a brilliant post about this topic, and you should really read the whole thing. But, the most important piece is this, “The secret of social harmony is simple: Old men must be dangerous.”

If someone attempts to murder you, you must respond, immediately, viciously, and violently. As Malcolm Reynolds said, “Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill ‘em right back! …You got the right same as anyone to live and try to kill people.”

There is a principle in the ARMA that whenever one makes an attack, one should do so with martial ardor. One should strike as if one intends to harm the enemy. So, too is it with firearms. If one has to fight, one should fight deliberately, and intentionally to harm the enemy. He is trying to spill your blood, surely you should extend him the same courtesy?

I don’t know if riots in this country will be responded to in the same way the British have, but I do know that I agree with Mr Peel that the preservation of the civil order is a duty that is incumbent on every citizen. And for the purpose of allowing the citizens to preserve their lives, their property, and the social order from the raving hordes, I think specific legal protections ought to be in place.

Update Foseti gets it.

From Vox,

Barbarians are barbarians. They are not civilized people. They do not build, they do not produce, they have no capacity or interest in doing anything more than breed, subsist, and destroy. You build a wall to keep the barbarians out, and when they try to invade, as they eventually will, you utilize civilized discipline to slaughter them. You can try to convert them to civilization in their own lands, and sometimes they will be able to maintain one if the population possesses sufficient average time preferences, but whatever you do, you don’t permit them to move in next door.

A syphilitic camel?

I am trying to decide who I want to vote for, for POTUS. I have five really simple conditions.

  1. You must be honest. Or as honest as is possible. But I’d rather have a President with whom I disagree, but who has principles, and sticks to them, than one that waffles. Because if you have principles, I can at least know what your policy positions are, and plan for them.
  2. Your default vote must be for whichever option promotes more freedom.
  3. You must strongly support the right to keep and bear arms.
  4. You must advocate, and your voting record must reflect, that you will not try to spend more money than you seize.
  5. You must not have advocated, or voted for public spending on abortions. I don’t care if you are personally a pro-abort, but because money is fungible, it is extremely important to me that tax money not be spent to allow children to be murdered. I am not advocating that we outlaw abortion, I just don’t want my money spent on it. My position on abortion itself is very similar to Weer’d’s.
Clearly, these conditions rule out the Dear Reader. They also rule out Bachman, Gingrich, and Romney. If any of those three receive the nomination, I will write in “A syphilitic camel”.

Why custom forged goods aren’t cheap.

One of the hardest things for me, as a blacksmith, is explaining why my prices are what they are. Smithing is expensive. There is a reason why you go to the hardware store to buy a shovel rather than to your local smith. The factory’s price per unit is much lower because they make many more, much faster. Their investment is divided over thousands of units. My investment, while lower, is divided over significantly fewer units. So, my cost per unit is higher. Because my cost per unit is higher, my price per unit also has to be higher. It is just Econ 101.

Because smiths cannot compete on quantity, we must compete on quality. And because we compete on quality, we focus on making things that can be better. All shovels are more or less the same. One cannot make a substantially better shovel by hand. But, one can make a substantially better knife by hand. One can make a substantially better ax by hand.

With that in mind, I’d like to point to Mr. Helm’s blog, and some of his thoughts on custom knife making.

General Education About Tool Use Part 1

General Education About Tool Use Part 2

But, as he says, when one purchases custom forged goods, one is investing. Absent abuse, a custom forged item ought to last for a very long time. Our marketing strategy is the opposite of Gillette’s. Instead of selling you a cheap thing that has to be constantly replaced, we sell an expensive thing that will last for a very long time. While less profitable in the long run, I do think that it is a more ethical philosophy.


People who say they want a government program because “I don’t want to be a burden to my children” apparently think it is all right to be a burden to other people’s children.- Thomas Sowell.

Neo-Confederate Sex Panic

Presented without comment, for the lulz.

The only way to exempt yourself from these bizarre accusations is to support infinite deficit spending. Otherwise, you’re like a giant inkblot in a Rorshach test, onto which Michael Lind and Amanda Marcotte will project their paranoid fears. You can’t simply debate fiscal policy with people like Lind and Marcotte, because they are endowed with the Magical Mind-Reading Power of Liberalism, which enables them to discern that you’re really a sex-panicked neo-Confederate upset about desegregation and “reproductive rights.”

It’s like having Charles Manson call you a psychotic.

The Independent is crazy.

To wit,

Enormous concessions from the White House to satisfy demands largely driven by the radical Tea Party flank of the Republicans provided the key to unlock the door to a deal, approved in the House of Representatives last night. It would enact deep spending cuts in return for a new authorisation to raise the US debt ceiling and draw America back from the brink of defaulting on its debt.

Two major points where The Independent differs from reality.

First, “Enormous concessions”? We agreed to spend less money that we don’t have over the next ten years. An enormous concession would be totally defunding Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the ATF, DEA, USDA, Interior, Ed, and modernizing/streamlining our Defense procurement process. This is merely a “you need to take us seriously.” If we are going to buy the hostage metaphor the left keeps trotting around, this was merely a picture showing that we had a captive, and they gave us a sandwich in return.

Second, while The Independent’s use of radical is correct, in that radical is defined as, “very different from the usual or traditional,” I strongly doubt that that was how The Independent intended to use it. I suspect that The Independent meant radical pejoratively, that is, “people who disagree with me strongly” rather than in it’s technical meaning.

It is my hope that the Tea Party is very different from the usual or traditional Republican party. That would be a good thing. If we continue along, with business as usual, then the Great Depression will become known as “The First Depression.” Sort of like the Great War.

To resolve to debt crisis the United States faces there are four options.

  • We can cut spending, and increase taxes until we have positive cashflow, and pay off the debt. As Andrew Jackson is the only President to have held office with out public debt, paying off the entire debt would be a monumental undertaking.
  • We can create sufficient fiat currency to pay our debt obligations, and incur the significant inflationary pressure such a move would create. This is a good option if you have always wanted to have wheelbarrows full of money, or have ever wanted to hold a million dollar bill. It is not a good option if you want to be able to ever afford anything.
  • We can default and simply refuse to pay the debt. This option is probably illegal, and would have significant impact to the world economy. I kinda figure that the world economy is the world’s problem. I am more concerned with the fact that it would likely lead to a Constitutional crisis. The last time we have a major constitutional crisis, a whole bunch of Americans were killed.
  • We can postpone to problem, and leave it to our children to figure out. This is the option that Mr. Obama, and the Congress are taking.

Of these options, paying off the debt is the best one. Postponing it is the most likely one. Defaulting is likely to be less bad then printing money to pay the debt, but both are really bad options.

The enormity of the debt staggers the imagination. No matter how you slice it, our children are screwed.

Update Politico gives us this gem.

“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry [Congressman Mike] Doyle [D-Pa.] said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”

Really? The other $3.8 trillion that we have budgeted doesn’t count any more?


Part of what this blog is supposed to be about is my adventures with hammer, forge and anvil. And as of yet, there has been nothing on that.

I have a good reason. I live in Tucson, AZ. And my smithy is outside and uncovered. And it has been 100* outside for most of the time I have been blogging. Trying to smith would be asking for a very expensive car ride. So, for the past several months I have not been smithing.

But, this blog is still partly about smithing.

So, not having any content of my own to show you, I’ll link to Jake Powning Swords

Take a look around. He makes beautiful weapons.

Sorry RobbAllen, I think your kids are screwed.

Alternative title, “I think I need a drink.”

This is going to be part one of a series.

It is my firm belief that there are two general fields of education. The “liberal arts” (for lack of a better phrase) and “vocational education.” (Again, for lack of a better phrase.) The “liberal arts” exist for the purpose of improving the individual’s mind. “Vocation education” exists for the purpose of gaining a certain skill set, and thereby improve the individual’s situation.

One studies the “liberal arts” in order to be a better human being. A person who can cogently discuss the Battle of Waterloo and it’s ramifications on European politics is much closer to Maslow’s ideal than someone who cannot. As Mr. Heinlein says,

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

One studies the “liberal arts” in order to become the best human being that one can be. The ideal is that everyone become a polymath, to whatever extent that individual’s capability allows them.

“Vocational education,” on the other hand, exists for the purpose of improving one’s economic situation. One is taught how to machine in order that a thing be machined, and then one can sell that thing. Whether the machinist is a more fulfilled human being is irrelevant to the quality of his work. Mr. Crawford claims that the machinist is a better human being as a result of the work that he does; but not being a machinist or any other sort of technical laborer, I cannot comment one way or the other. Regardless, the reason why one pays for a “vocational education” is not, generally, to be a better human being, but in order to do some specific task, or gain a certain set of skills. The purpose of “vocation education” is to enable the creation of wealth.

Now, I will admit that one can learn skills that typically fall under the heading of “vocational education” for the purpose of improving one’s mind. And, one can learn facts, theory’s, and thought patterns that commonly fall under “liberal arts” for the purpose of improving one’s situation.

I despise, detest, and abhor the public “education” system for this reason; it totally, utterly, and completely fails to achieve either educational goal. It does not improve its students, and does not prepare them for work. It has become a warehouse in the best case, and a re-education camp in the worst.

Examples abound. A mere sprinkling of some of the links that I have had bookmarked for a latter day demonstrates this.

The local community college has some 2300 students who cannot read, do math, or explain science at a seventh grade level.

An irrelevant number of high school seniors have a basic grasp of history.

A significant portion of Arizona students can’t pass our standardized test, even after being “taught to the test”.

Half of the kids in Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, CA dropped out.

Sen. McClintock illustrates the non-sense of increasing spending on education.

Even the teachers have given up.

Kevin provides an excellent indictment of the Tucson Unified School District’s Raza program.

Borepatch talks about his treatment by the administration at his son’s school. If they treat the parents like that, imagine what they do to the kids.

Schools have become prisons of the youth. For the very brief time I was enrolled at a public high school, I thought, and said that the school was a prison, only we had fewer rights.

One man, talking about why nerds are unpopular in school hits a gem,

Public school teachers are in much the same position as prison wardens. Wardens’ main concern is to keep the prisoners on the premises. They also need to keep them fed, and as far as possible prevent them from killing one another. Beyond that, they want to have as little to do with the prisoners as possible, so they leave them to create whatever social organization they want. From what I’ve read, the society that the prisoners create is warped, savage, and pervasive, and it is no fun to be at the bottom of it.

In outline, it was the same at the schools I went to. The most important thing was to stay on the premises. While there, the authorities fed you, prevented overt violence, and made some effort to teach you something. But beyond that they didn’t want to have too much to do with the kids. Like prison wardens, the teachers mostly left us to ourselves. And, like prisoners, the culture we created was barbaric.

In another essay, he hits yet another gem,

Your teachers are always telling you to behave like adults. I wonder if they’d like it if you did. You may be loud and disorganized, but you’re very docile compared to adults. If you actually started acting like adults, it would be just as if a bunch of adults had been transposed into your bodies. Imagine the reaction of an FBI agent or taxi driver or reporter to being told they had to ask permission to go the bathroom, and only one person could go at a time. To say nothing of the things you’re taught. If a bunch of actual adults suddenly found themselves trapped in high school, the first thing they’d do is form a union and renegotiate all the rules with the administration.

More examples of schools being prisons.

If you Google “failing schools” you will find over three and a half million results. If you limit it to just “failing schools in America” you get over two million results.

American students are routinely surpassed by foreign students on standardized math and science tests.

One can spend literally days researching this subject. And the more research I do, the more convinced I am that the only possible solution is to nuke the whole thing from orbit. The system is irretrievably broken. We might as well say so.

On the Norway murders.

Many people, through out the blogosphere, have commented on the Norway murders. Sometimes I agree, as with Roberta X and Kevin Baker and sometimes I disagree, as with Al Jezeera and Fabio Pereira.

But, the overall point that I think needs to be made, is that self defense is not a thing you do, but a way you live. It is a philosophy, a mindset, and lifestyle, rather than a series of actions. Part of the self defense mindset involves bearing arms, yes. But someone who will defend themselves does not require arms for that defense. Arms merely make it more likely that the defender will succeed in stopping his attacker. As they say, “God made men, Samuel Colt made them equal.”

I carrry a pistol every day, everywhere.

But the pistol is not the weapon.

My BRAIN is the weapon.

Kevin Baker has a brilliant post about this topic, and you should really read the whole thing. But, the most important piece is this, “The secret of social harmony is simple: Old men must be dangerous.”

If someone attempts to murder you, you must respond, immediately, viciously, and violently. As Malcolm Reynolds said, “Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill ’em right back! …You got the right same as anyone to live and try to kill people.”

There is a principle in the ARMA that whenever one makes an attack, one should do so with martial ardor. One should strike as if one intends to harm the enemy. So, too is it with firearms. If one has to fight, one should fight deliberately, and intentionally to harm the enemy. He is trying to spill your blood, surely you should extend him the same courtesy?

This is a mindset. And it is a mindset that was missing in Norway, and now dozens are dead. Because everyone there choose to let themselves be shot. I might be able to respect that, if it were a principled stand, where the victims knelt down, and refused to fight on principle. But the panicked running away, was merely cowardice.

So, the question is, are you a coward?

Update: 5:40 Roberta X nails it. Both at her blog and in the comments at Random Nuclear Strikes. Whatisface needed to be put down like a mad dog. And no one did.


Today’s quote comes from Tam, in the comments to this post .

No. I’m not shutting up. I’m not keeping quiet. Just because they keep breaking the rules doesn’t mean I’m going to just acquiesce every time I see ’em doing it now. I’m gonna bitch all the way through the gates of the gulag. If they don’t like it, they can come shoot me.

What she said.

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