Teaching Away Evil

I’ve been noticing a trend in social media over the last year or so. Namely, whenever any sort of horrific event happens, whether real or (in the case of Rolling Stone’s UVA Rape Story) imagined, there is an overwhelming outcry that society needs to teach Group X not to do Action Y. Teach White People to not be racist. Teach Men not to Rape. Teach People to not Hate. Et cetera and so on.

Now this is probably going to come as a shocker, but I actually agree with this. We absolutely need to teach people, all people, to look beyond race, gender, religion, creed, sexual orientation, and to judge others solely by the content (or lack thereof) of their character. We absolutely need to teach men to respect women. We absolutely need to teach and preach love and respect and understanding rather than hatred and disgust. If you’ll forgive me quoting a certain Hollywood team of vigilantes, “Do not kill. Do not rape. Do not steal. These are principles which every man of every faith can embrace.” And I agree with that wholeheartedly.

However, the same social media force that launches the “Teach Group X Not to Action Y” mantras seems to believe that that single action, that teaching Group X to not do Action Y, will completely stop Action Y from ever happening. That simply teaching people to not do bad things will stop bad things from happening.

This idea is one that I absolutely reject, that I do not, cannot agree with.

You cannot teach away evil. To believe otherwise is wishful thinking at best, and a dangerous delusion at the worst.

I will say that a decent amount of hatred in this world is what I’ll call “learned hatred.” Children who are taught to be racist. Boys who are taught that women are second-class humans, or property, or little more than animals (such beliefs seem to be especially common in certain areas of the world and in a certain religion that have all become very politically incorrect to criticize). Societies have been brainwashed into hating particular races, as happened (again, forgive the example) in Germany in the 1930s and 40s. Those people weren’t born evil: they were taught that particular brand of hatred, and they can be taught to reject it or let go of it as well.

Unfortunately, some people can’t be taught out of hatred. They can’t be taught out of it because they either don’t want to be, or else they weren’t taught it in the first place. Either they’re not wired right to begin with, or something goes wrong inside their head. Maybe it’s a chemical imbalance, or a neurological issue. I don’t know. I’m a writer, not a psychologist, neurologist, or biologist. But they’re out there. There was a guy at my high school who was very obviously not wired right. He’d been institutionalized when he was a kid, and he was institutionalized again partway through my sophomore year. And honestly, I’m glad he was: the more my friends and I talked to him (we couldn’t avoid him entirely since he was friends with a friend of ours, and the two of them stuck to each other like glue), the more scared we became of him, to the point where we all agreed that sooner or later he’d probably come to school with a gun and start shooting people. I thank God to this day that we never had to find out if we were right about him or not.

Now, granted, most of these people who are suffering from these conditions can be treated. But some people aren’t suffering from a physical condition that causes their hate and anger. The fact of the matter is that some people – an extreme minority to be certain, but a decent number all the same – are just plain evil. We usually call them psychopaths or sociopaths. But no matter what you call them, it doesn’t change the fact that they don’t care. They don’t care about what’s right or what’s wrong. And no amount of teaching, of begging, or pleading, will convince them otherwise. Because they do not care, and they do not want to care. All that matters to them is them, and what they want, and what they have to do to get it, and how big a risk trying to get it will be. It’s a predatory drive distilled down to its elemental core. You can’t simply teach that away. It’s like trying to teach a lion not to eat an antelope because the antelope never did anything to hurt anyone. The lion doesn’t care about the antelope. All it cares about is putting meat into its own stomach. Two legged predators are the same way. They don’t care about you or me. All they care about is how they can use us to fulfill their present desire or need.

We as a society do indeed need to teach right from wrong and good from bad. We do need to teach our youth and our fallen to love, respect, care for, and cherish one another. But like it or not, evil exists in this world, and there is nothing you or I or anything else can do that will change that, no matter how hard you might try. To believe otherwise is to live in a fantasy world.

Quick Update: Still Here

I know, I know, I dropped off the face of the earth again. I actually have a good (I hope) reason for it this time: the Raptor Clan has relocated! Not gonna say where exactly (OpSec reasons), but we’re in a very nice area, so nice that it actually put a kibosh on my personal plans for the future because now I don’t want to leave! The move itself happened just about a month ago, and it went well… ish. Nothing catastrophic, don’t worry, and looking back it was actually pretty funny. Maybe I’ll write a post about it later on…

Posting is gonna be on the lighter side for a while (what else is new?) whilst I get myself orientated, situated, and gainfully employed. Yep, I’m free of the supermarket.  But I’m also free of a paycheck for the moment, and I need to rectify that ASAP. Doubly so because I’m now in an area that a) is pretty Second Amendment friendly, and b) has a large number (relatively speaking) of outdoor shooting ranges. So now I actually can justify purchasing a rifle. Unfortunately, that’s still a ways off since I need to find a job and a nest of my own first, so job hunting is gonna be my number-one priority for a while. That said, I do have a handful of posts that I was planning on writing before the big move happened, so look for those in the near future.

So, yeah, I’m still alive, still blogging (sorta), and not planning on going anywhere for a while. Thanks as always for sticking with/putting up with me.


A Gun Won’t Save You

Bet you never expected to read that title on this blog, did you?

Yesterday, I wrote a post that I’m sure angered many of my Liberal Readers. Well, Lib Readers, if you’re still here (and I hope you are), you’re in luck, because I don’t doubt that this post is going to piss off a good number of my Conservative Readers as well.

Anyways, this post came about because a few days ago, I stumbled across this photo gallery on Facebook. I encourage you to go take a look at it. If you’re pressed for time or whatever, I’ll sum it up for you: it’s a series of pictures of female (and female-identifying) college students holding up their self-protection implements of choice. The majority of the subjects are holding keys between their fingers, while nearly all the rest have pepper spray or whistles, and one is wearing a set of large, heavy-looking rings.

Most of the comments on the Facebook thread, as I’m sure you can probably guess, soundly criticized the ladies’ choice of “weaponry.” Remarks like “a pocketknife is much more effective than you car keys,,” or “they should be carrying guns,” were nearly universal. Believe it or not, I disagreed with that sentiment, and I still do.

Why? Go back and take another look at those pictures. Pay close attention to their faces, specifically their eyes. Now do a Google Image Search of Ronda Rousey or another professional fighter, or even someone like Larry Vickers or Marcus Luttrell. Again, pay close attention to the face and eyes. See the difference? No? Ronda, Larry, and Marcus all have a certain look in their eyes, a look that’s almost predatory. It’s a look that says, “I won’t be a victim. Mess with me and I’ll mess you up.” Maybe it’s just the way the photographer composed the images or asked the subjects to pose, but by and large the ladies in those pictures don’t have that look. They don’t appear to have a fighting mindset.

There’s a phrase that the anti-gun crowd likes to use when the topic of self-defense comes up. I’m sure you’ve heard it before “The bad guy will just take your gun away and use it against you.” Believe it or not, I agree with them. To a point. A bad guy can absolutely take your gun, or any other weapon, away from you and use it against you if you lack the will to use it yourself. Again, I may well be wrong, and I fervently hope that I am wrong, but most of the women in those pictures seem to lack that will to fight back.

Please don’t think I’m picking on women when I say that. Men lack that will to fight too. I’ve seen it myself firsthand.

If you work in a gun store, or if you’re like me and spend most of your spare time hanging around in gun stores and/or shooting ranges, you’ll eventually see something like this happens. This is a true story.

I was in my favorite gun shop a while back, in front of the used handgun display, ogling a near-mint condition nickle-plated Colt Python that was outside my budget by several orders of magnitude. A gentleman walked into the shop, approached the counter, and said he wanted to buy a shotgun. His neighbor, he said, had been the victim of a home-invasion robbery, and he wanted to be able to protect his family in case the robbers targeted his house. So he asked to see the best home defense shotgun the shop had. The clerk pulled a semi-automatic 12-gauge – I think a Mossberg 930 SPX – off the display rack and presented it to the man. The man didn’t want it: he wanted a pump-action because it made “The Noise.” You know what I’m talking about, that almighty “cha-chack!” noise when you work the pump, the one that supposedly makes even the bravest bad guy quake in their boots. So the clerk put the semi-auto back and pulled down a Remington 870 Express Tactical, the top-of-the-line model with an extended magazine tube and ghost-ring sights with Tritium inserts for low-light use. Real nice gun. The guy loved it, and immediately bought it. I don’t remember the exact price, but after taxes, transfer fees, background check fee (PA charges one), and so on, the guy had to have forked over at least $600 for that shotgun. Once the man had filled out all the paperwork and the background check came back okay, the clerk set about recommending different defensive ammunition loads for the shotgun. I’ll never forget what the man said next:

“Oh, I don’t need any ammo. I don’t want to actually shoot the bad guys, I just want to scare them away.”

He spent at least six hundred dollars, probably a good deal more, on a weapon that he never intended to actually use. He just wanted to “scare the bad guys away.” If there’s a more clear and obvious example of lacking the will to fight back, then I don’t want to know about it.

I wish I could say that that guy is the only such case I’ve come across, but sadly it’s not. Not even close. In fact, I’ve talked to a good number of people, both men and women, who own defensive implements, be they guns, knives, pepper spray, etc., who never actually plan on using them. They all have the same idea that the guy in the gun store had: that simply brandishing their weapon will be enough to scare the bad guys away. Why bother buying ammo or learning how to use it when the mere sight (or, as in the case of the shotgun, the mere sound) of the thing will make the bad guy turn tail and run.

And it is a nice plan. Up until the moment where it doesn’t work.

I always counter that idea by asking something to the effect of, “well, what if the bad guy doesn’t turn and run away?” It pains me to say this, but the overwhelming majority of the time, the person I’m talking to’s response is some variation of, “well, then I guess I’ll just have to let them rob/rape/kill/do whatever to me.” And again, I counter by saying something to the effect of, “No, you don’t have to. You can fight back. Kick, punch, claw, scratch, etc.” And again, they respond with something to the effect of, “Why bother? They’ll probably win.”

They completely and utterly lack the will to fight back.

I wish y’all could see me typing this. My jaw is clenched, I can feel a vein in my head throbbing, and I’m probably turning an interesting shade of red too. Because that mindset, that idea of having to automatically be the victim, drives me crazy. Why? Why not fight back. Yeah, the bad guy might win, but he might not. You’ll never know unless you actually try and fight. Even if you’re not a good fighter, the very act of resistance or the mere threat of physical violence might be enough to scare the bad guys off or dissuade them. The overwhelming majority of bad guys don’t want a fight: they want easy prey. And I’m not just pulling that idea out of my backside: every law enforcement official I’ve spoken to says the same thing. That includes my defensive handgun instructor, a 20+ year veteran of the job.

Voluntary helplessness and defensiveness is a mindset that I simply cannot wrap my head around. Yes, if you fight back you might lose, you might get hurt, but how can that be justification for just rolling over and dying? The most common excuse I hear is, “oh, I don’t want to hurt anyone.” Guess what, neither do I. Might be hard to believe,  but it’s the truth. I don’t want to hurt anybody, or mace anybody, or stab or cut anybody, or, God forbid, shoot anybody. But at the same time, I refuse to allow myself to be a victim of physical or sexual violence. Which is why I go out of my way to avoid locations or situations that might put me in a position where I might have to. But if the chips are down, if there’s no other way out, then I will absolutely fight back.

I’m ranting, I apologize.

Getting back to that photo gallery, I commented in the aforementioned Facebook thread that I’d rather go up against every single woman in those photos all at once, each  of them armed with their “weapon” of choice and me unarmed, than go one-on-one with Ronda Rousey in The Octagon. Another commenter called me on that, pointing out that the vast majority of people lack the time and money to achieve Ms. Rousey’s skill level as a fighter, or the genetic good fortune to be able to achieve her level of physical fitness. And he is absolutely 100% correct, but that’s not why I don’t want to fight her. I don’t want to fight her because she has the mindset of a fighter, not a victim.

I heard a story about Ms. Rousey once, and I’m going to relate it to you here. I can’t vouch for its accuracy, or the accuracy of my retelling, but nevertheless it does help to illustrate my point.

Years ago, before Ms. Rousey began training for the Olympics or became a professional MMA fighter, back when she was just taking Judo for herself, she was confronted by two men in a movie theater, who attempted to assault her. These men, by all accounts, were larger than Ms. Rousey, as well as stronger in terms of pure muscle mass. She wiped the floor with them so badly that she wound up sending one or both of them (I’m not sure) to the emergency room.

That’s what I’m talking about when I talk about having the mindset of a fighter rather than a victim. Those men decided that they were going to hurt her, or do who know’s what to her, and she decided that she wasn’t going to let them do it. So she fought back, and was able to do a real number on her would-be assailants.

Going back to Marcus Luttrell. If you’re not familiar with his story, then once you finish reading this post, then go out and buy a copy of Lone Survivor. Preferably the book, though the movie  also works. Long story short, Luttrell was Navy SEAL, part of a four-man reconnaissance mission in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan that was compromised and later engaged by an overwhelming number of Al-Qaeda affiliated fighters. Luttrell’s fellow SEALs were all killed, and Luttrell himself barely survived. But the three other SEALs didn’t give up and wait for the end: they fought back, and they fought hard, in a battle that lasted roughly three hours. Yes, they were all highly trained special operations soldiers, but more importantly than their training, they had that same mindset: they were not going to be victims. They were not just going to roll over and die. They were going to fight back, fight until their last breath.

Now, just because you yourself are not a professional fighter or an Navy SEAL doesn’t mean you can’t fight back. All it takes is the simple decision to refuse to be a victim. That right there is the core of a fighter’s mindset. Refuse to be a victim.

You can have the biggest, baddest gun on the planet. You can have the largest, sharpest knife in the world. You can have a Taser, law-enforcement grade pepper spray, a set of car keys, a whistle, whatever. But unless you have that fighter’s mindset, they will ultimately prove worthless. Because if you lack the will to fight back, then no weapon on this earth will be able to protect you.

If The Devil Turns: In Defense of “Hate Speech”

If you’ve been paying attention to the media at all this week, then you’re no doubt familiar with the “incident” that occurred this past Sunday at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas. If, by chance, you’re not, I’ll remind you: one Pamela Geller co-organized a “Draw the Prophet Mohammed” event, which two wannabe ISIS Jihaddists attempted to attack and massacre all in attendance. They were gunned down by an armed police officer before they made it to the front door.

Since the attack, I’ve seen the incident – the drawing contest, not the terror attack – increasingly and fervently condemned as “hate speech,” and a growing number of calls to enact legislation against such so-called “hate speech,” up to and including doing away with the First Amendment altogether.

I’m sure my Liberal friends who are reading this will be surprised by what I’m about to say next: I understand where those individuals are coming from. I really do. “Hate speech” is hurtful and offensive, it makes people sad, upset, angry, depressed, hurt. And nobody wants to be made to feel that way.

But like it or not, that very sort of speech is protected, and must always be protected, by the First Amendment.

The question then becomes, why? Why must this hurtful, hateful speech be protected? Why not do away with the antiquated concept of “freedom of speech” and protect the feelings of others?

I’m reminded of a scene from the Academy Award winning film A Man for All Seasons. This speech, specifically:

Granted, said speech is likely the product of Robert Bolt’s script and entirely fictional, but Sir Thomas More’s point remains firm: if you do away with the law, then who or what will protect you?

Let me put forth a more relateable example:

Let’s say that the First Amendment is done away with, and laws are put in place that give the government the power to decide what sort of speech or expression is protected under the law, and what sort of speech or expression constitutes “hate speech” and is therefore outlawed. Let’s say that these laws go so far as to mimic laws from the United Kingdom and other European countries, so being convicted of espousing “hate speech” is a felony and carries serious jail time. All well and good, right?

Now let’s fast foward to 2016 or 2020. And now let’s say that Sarah Palin, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, or whoever your Radical Far-Right Republican boogeyman candidate might be, let’s say they are elected President. And let’s also say that Tea Party-backed candidates manage to grab a supermajority of both the House and Senate. Guess what? They now have the power to regulate what form of speech is “protected” under the law, and what speech is forbidden and can get you thrown in jail. And more likely than not, your opinions and feelings just wound up on the wrong side of those laws.

Does that possibility scare you? I can say without reservation that it scares me, and I’d probably be on the right side of those laws.

Our Founding Fathers, for all their real or imagined faults, were smart enough to recognize that the freedom of speech is essential to liberty, which is why they enshrined it in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Note that there’s no provision in there excepting hate speech. That’s because our Founding Fathers recognized that if we gave the government the power to impose limits on the freedom of speech, no matter how well-intentioned those limits may have been, they could and would be twisted to stifle and ultimately stamp out political and religious dissent.

To paraphrase Sir Thomas More’s speech, if we do away with laws in order to further what we see as the greater good, then nothing will be able to protect us when – not if – we find ourselves on the wrong side of that same greater good.

Now in the interest of full disclosure: since the attack on her event I have seen several interviews with Pamela Geller. Honestly, I think she’s a few colors and a sharpener short of a Crayola 64 Pack (see what I did there?). But as distasteful as I may find her political and religious views, I will stand by her, and I will fight for her right to espouse them. I must, as must we all, for our own sake as well as hers. We must stand in defense of free speech, no matter how vile, no matter how abhorent, no matter how disgusting or hurtful that speech may be, because to do otherwise is to welcome tyranny, to willingly throw ourselves under the boot of oppression and into the yoke of enslavement.

If we cut down our laws in pursuit of the Devil, then there will be nothing to protect us if the Devil turns and the hot winds blow against us.

I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

New Holster!

The postman dropped off a package for me yesterday morning, and inside was my brand-new holster! Specifically, a Texas IWB Starter Pack from Adams Holsters. What is a “Starter Pack,” you may ask? It’s a holster, double magazine pouch, and gun belt all bundled together at a not-insubstantial discount, though Luke Adams, Adams Holsters owner/operator does sell all of the components separately.

This order actually has a long story behind it. Several months ago, I ordered a carry rig for my SIG P232. I’d been hearing good things about Adams Holsters online, but ultimately decided to go with another well-known holster maker because it would be a little bit cheaper.

You remember that old saying, “Buy it cheap, buy it twice?” Yeah, that goes for holsters too. The holster I bought from Not-Adams-Holsters arrived “pre-broken in,” and when it arrived it was very easy to get the gun in and out of the holster, yet it still held the gun firmly. That didn’t last long. Within a few months, the rig barely held onto the gun at all. I could feel the little SIG trying to work its way out of the holster when I was carrying it around. And on top of that, the holster did not hold its shape when I drew the gun, even when I was wearing it outside the waistband (the holster is billed as being convertible between OWB and IWB carry). And on top of all that, even when the holster was new, the P232 still printed very badly, even when worn IWB.

The mag pouches were another story. Since the manufacturer didn’t offer a dual mag pouch for a SIG P232, and ordered 2 single mag pouches for “a single-stack .32 or .380.” Unlike the holster, the pouches were very, very snug, so snug that no matter how much I tried breaking them it, it was still tough to draw the mag from one and darn near impossible to get the mag out of the second! Really, the belt is the only thing that’s lasted longer than a few months, and even that looks like it’s wearing much too fast.

And if you think I abused the you-know-what out of this rig, you’re dead wrong. You can count the number of times I strapped my gear on on your hands and still have a few fingers left over. By the end of August, I finally faced up to the fact that my Not-Adams rig was not cutting the mustard, so I decided to do what I probably should have done in the first place and ordered a replacement rig from Adams Holsters.

However, two weeks to the day after I placed the order, my P232’s takedown lever failed again, after less than 1000 rounds since its first repair. Realizing that I could not trust the P232 as a defensive sidearm, I decided to get it fixed and then cut my losses and trade the pistol for something different. Unfortunately, this meant that I’d have no use for my just-ordered holster, so I emailed Luke Adams, informed him of the situation, and requested that he cancel my order.

Now, I fully expected Luke’s reply to be something to the effect of “Sorry to hear about that, your order has been canceled.” Instead, Luke told me that he’d be more than happy to change my order to whatever new gun I chose. I told him I was willing to pay whatever it would cost to make the change, and he told me that there was no charge; just let him know what I decided on.

I didn’t buy my new Springfield Range Officer Compact until mid-October, so unfortunately that meant losing my place in the order queue. My fault, not Luke’s: I spent several weeks flip-flopping between a compact 1911 and the Sprignfield XDS, and expecting him to hold up his entire order queue because an indecisive customer can’t decide what gun he wants is completely unreasonable. But let me tell you, it was worth the wait.

This rig is absolutely gorgeous! It exudes quality, to the point where it makes the top-of-the-range Galco holster I have for my P228 look cheap. Both the holster and mag pouch are solid and tightly molded. This is not some cheap “pre-broken in rig.” My Springfield and it’s magazines easily slide into the holster and pouches, but the fit is so tight that it’s extremely difficult to draw them. This, however, is the mark of a well-crafted holster: once the rig is fully broken-in, both gun and magazines will slide in and out easily, yet the rig will retain them even when you hold the holster upside-down and shake it. And lest you think I’m BSing you, I’ve seen video of another Adams Holster owner doing just that to his rig. His pistol didn’t move.

Though designed and sold as an IWB holster, Luke also manufactures and sells a set of optional leather OWB Conversion Loops for both the holster and mag pouch. I ordered these with the package (I’m too cheap and lazy to go out and buy pants with large enough waists to allow me to carry IWB), and it was here that I had my only hiccup with the rig: both holster and mag pouch come equipped with steel belt hooks for IWB carry which are held in place with Chicago screws, and the screws on the mag pouch would not loosen when I tired to swap the hooks out. I emailed Luke, and he responded very quickly with some tips on how to get the screws loose, and they worked perfectly. However, I suspect that I might have caused the problem since I tried using the wrong size screwdriver at first. Yeah, I’m useless with tools.

I’ve only worn the rig around the house for a little while, just to start to break it in, and have not worn it concealed yet, but that said the rig is extremely comfortable to wear. You know you’re wearing a gun, but only because you can feel it touching your hip. I really did not notice any significant weight on my belt, and the holster didn’t try to drag my pants down like my Not-Adams holster had a tendency to do unless I cinched my Not-Adams belt up really tight. And my Range Officer Compact much larger and significantly heavier than my P232, so that should tell you something.

I’ve been recommending Adams Holsters to people for the last month based solely on Luke’s customer service, but now that I actually have the holster in my hands… let me put it to you this way: if you’re looking for a concealed carry holster, go straight to Luke’s website and nowhere else. Do not pass ‘Go,’ do not collect $200. The quality of his work is incredible, especially for the price. And he stands behind his products too: if your holster fails in some way, even years after he made it, he will replace it free of charge. No bull, I’ve seen him do it (well, read the correspondence on a web forum, but you know what I mean).

Probably the only thing to be aware of, and this is not a knock against Luke or his holsters, is that Adams Holsters is a one man operation, so it may take him a few days to reply to an email, and his wait times can run longer than expected if an unexpected crisis pops up. But if that happens, just be patient. Luke’s gear is well worth the wait.

I’ll post up some pictures of my new rig when I have the time. Until then, peace.


DISCLAIMER: Neither Raptor nor Raptor’s Nest have been paid or otherwise compensated in any way for this blog post. The opinions expressed above are those of Raptor and have been published solely of his own volition without any outside influence or requests. In non-legal-mumbo-jumbo, this post is not a paid advertizement for Adams Holsters, so any FCC goons that are reading this can go bugger off.

I Can’t Wake Up

What was that line from The Matrix? “Are you ever not sure if you’re actually awake or if you’re still dreaming?” Something like that, I guess. But regardless of whether or not I got the quote right, more and more often that’s how I find myself feeling. I wake up, I feel fine. Then I turn on the news, or go online, or listen to the radio. And I think that what I’m seeing can’t be real, that I’m still asleep, still dreaming, trapped in a dystopian hybrid of 1984Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about a President that increasingly rules through executive fiat and blatantly ignores the constitution.

I’m talking about a Congress that lets him get away with it because they’re too busy fighting between parties to even pay attention.

I’m talking about a mainstream media that has traded in its role of Government Watchdog for the dual role of Government Lap Dog ad Government Attack Dog, ignoring the blatantly illegal activities of the government and vilifying and crucifying its opponents.

I’m talking about people having their reputations, careers, and/or (usually and) their entire lives destroyed because they openly expressed an opinion that was not in perfect lockstep with the people who’ve placed themselves in charge, or because they offended the wrong person.

I’m talking about sentences being cast by the mob before all the facts are known, and that same mob discounting or else flat-out ignoring those facts once they become available.

I could go on. But you get the idea.

If I wrote a novel about a world like this, no publisher would ever pick it up because they’d say it would be too unbelievable. And yet look around. Operation Fast & Furious. Executive Orders on illegal immigration. The ESA Scientist who landed a probe of a comet and then had his career destroyed because he wore a shirt that some thin-skinned reporter found offensive. The Martin, Brown, and Garner cases and the media immediately demanding the crucifixions of the people responsible, even though the courts ruled they were justified. The IRS scandal. The President ordering the government it “make it [the sequester] hurt.” It goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on ad infinitum.

And nobody cares. Nobody cares because nobody knows. Oh, everybody knows who won American Idol or Survivor or what the Kardashian sisters did at some party, because apparently those have become the things that really matter in our society. But the government destorying the Constitution? Not important, and anyone who says otherwise is apparently a racist homophobic cisgendered gendernormative thoughtcriminal.

Help. I’m trapped in a nightmare and I can’t wake up.

Teh Stoopidz! Tey BURNZ Us!!!

Holy carp and other assorted fish! Y’all won’t believe what happened to me today!

Let me set the scene for you: I was on my way home from the range when I decided to stop by my local supermarketto grab lunch for the next few days. Ham sandwiches are boring, but they’re easy to throw together when you’re staggering out of the house at an ungodly hour of the morning. But that’s not the point. Point is, when I go food shopping, I like to use the self-checkout lines if at all possible. Nothing against the cashiers, but I prefer self-checkout because a) it tends to be faster and b) I can avoid the looks of horror/disbelief/fear/disgust/some combination thereof when I buy a firearms-related periodical from our newsstand. This area really isn’t all that 2A friendly.

Anyway, I grab what I need and head for the self-checkout lanes… and there’s a line at least 10-12 people deep. And as I get closer, I can see the backup is caused by a combination of people who can’t read the big “20 ITEMS OR LESS” signs and people who can’t follow simple directions on a touch screen. So off to the cashier lanes it is. I find one with two people in it, both of whom have relatively small numbers of items in their carts, so I tuck into the back and wait.

Customer #1 is a, what’s the politically-correct term this week?, elderly woman. Once the cashier finishes scanning and bagging her purchases, she says “I have coupons,” reaches into her enormous handbag, and pulls out an envelope that is literally overflowing with coupons. I can see the poor cashier’s heart drop into her shoes as Custy 1 starts rummaging through the envelope and pulling out coupons. None of which are for this store. I swear, this dingbat must have had coupons for every single supermarket and food store in the state… except this chain. And wait, it get’s better: she couldn’t understand why the poor cashier couldn’t accept her coupons. Actually, that’s an understatement: she got downright belligerent, yelling and screaming and hooting and hollering, to the point where both the front-end manager and the store manager came over to see what all the commotion was about. Seems Custy 1 believed that all food stores are owned by the same “Corporate masters,” (her words), therefore we should accept all coupons, even if they’re not from our store. News flash: we’re not, therefore we can’t. And there’s no way to override our computer system to let it accept competitors’ coupons.

So long story short, Custy 1 spent a good ten minutes screaming and b*tching out her poor cashier before deciding our company is staffed by “f***ing racist Nazis!” (again, her words, and she was white btw) before storming off without any of her food. So Poor Cashier, who was visibly shaken at this point, had to void out her entire purchase (which turned out to be pretty substantial actually) and call over someone from the customer service desk to re-shop everything before she could get to Customer #2.

Now Customer #2, in contrast, was a young male, my age or more likely a few years younger. Old enough to know how the world works. Poor Cashier rings up his purchases no problem, and once she finishes, he scans his Discount Club Card. And then just stands there, waiting. Poor Cashier tells him his total, he says “okay,” and continues to just stand there.

“Will you be paying with cash or card?” Poor Cashier asked.

“What are you talking about?” Custy 2 says, “I just scanned my card.”

Cue my inner facepalm.

Poor Cashier tries to explain to this guy that you can’t pay with a Discount Club Card, and that it’s not the same as a credit card, but this ignoramous doesn’t get it. They go back and forth for a good five minutes, Custy 2 becoming ruder and more irate by the second, before Poor Cashier can call the front-end manager back over. Front end manager tries to explain it to the guy, but he still won’t hear it. After another few minutes, Custy 2 pulls out his cell phone sends someone a text, and just stands they’re smugly after informing Poor Cashier and Front End Manager that “now they’re gonna get it.”

A minute later, who comes storming up to the counter but Custy 2’s Mother. Yes, you read that correctly: a grown-ass man called his mother, who was waiting for him IN THE FREAKING PARKING LOT!!!! to come to his rescue. Mommy Dearest then proceeds to scream at Poor Cashier and call her all sorts of horrible things (the r-word was among the lesser insults) before Front-End Manager can explain what happend. And what does Mommy Dearest do? Yell and scream at Poor Cashier while pulling out her credit card to pay for her son’s groceries.

All in all, it took me nearly a half-hour to get through the checkout line. I couldn’t leave because some bubble-headded bleach-blone soccer mom, who was glued to her brand-new iPhone the entire time, had pulled her cart in behind me and refused to let me pass. As in she physically blocked me with her cart every time I tried to leave the line.

Poor Cashier looked like she was ready to cry by the time she scanned my half-pound of ham. I told her, “Don’t worry, I have a brain that works, so I know which coupons work here and that a Discount Club Card is not the same thing as a credit card.” That got her to laugh a little bit, thank God. Honestly, I wish I could have done more, but when I’m not at the range or working on my blog (*snerk!*), I work at that self-same grocery store. Putting those custys in their place, even off the clock, would almost certainly have cost me my job.

But seriously, holy carp on a stick! How in the heck do idiots like that manage to survive childhood? The coupon thing I get, sort of, but that said the way Custy 1 treated Poor Cashier was totally out of line. And Custy 2? Calling his MOM, when he’s a freaking grown man, to come to his rescue?! And Mom not only backing him up, but outright verbally assaulting Poor Cashier?! What on God’s Green Earth is WRONG with these people.

Ye gods and little fishes. And my folks don’t understand why I come home from work some nights with smoke pouring out my ears.

Do my a favor: my readers who don’t work retail and won’t put their jobs on the line by doing so: the next time y’all see some arseholes treating a Poor Retail Slave like what I saw today, put ’em in their place. Cry ‘havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war, so to speak.

Until then, peace.