J. Kb

A man who gets it and one who doesn’t

I am a huge fan of Mike Rowe, the host of Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Got To Do It.  I love his TED talk, it is 20 minutes of your life well spent.  I am a supporter of the MikeRoweWORKS Foundation and his advocacy for vocational and craftsmanship education.  Recently he did an episode of Somebody’s Got To Do It at Demolition Ranch, which was pretty cool.  But this post is not about that.

I have made reference to the pathetic opinion piece 27 Ways to Be a Modern Man from the NYT before.  Well Mike Rowe did a fisking of it that was, needless to say, beautiful.  There were two, inarguable points he made that stuck out at me:

A Man’s Man prefers his gas tank full, his weapon loaded, his pantry stocked, and his checkbook balanced.


A Man’s Man owns at least one firearm. He knows how to use it, clean it, and store it properly. He understands it’s importance, and sees it for what it is – a tool that can protect him and his family.

Mike Rowe gets it.

On the Book of Face, some NYT Modern Man took umbrage with Mr. Rowe’s assertions.

“I recently viewed a poster for the NRA on Facebook with your image with a statement I can only assume you made. “A man’s man owns a firearm.” Why you would say something so boldly sexist, and bigoted? Implying that a man who chooses NOT to own a weapon is what? Less than a man, a WOMAN, a neuter?

I am a U.S. ARMY VETERAN who has trained on various weapons, knows how to maintain, store and use multiple firearms. Now as a civilian, I CHOOSE NOT TO OWN A WEAPON. Can you clarify what you meant in that “man’s man” statement and explain what a man such a myself is, if not a man’s man?

E.K. Billie
Veteran, conscientious citizen, and a man who chooses not to own a firearm.”

I’m going to take a little diversion here.  There is something I need to get off my chest, an opinion, that is … controversial.  Perhaps to the point of heresy.  I am tired of the post 9/11/Iraq/Afghanistan veteran hero worship.  I will be the first to admit that my military service never got past ROTC and some National Guard Training.  I was never deployed.  I am not a veteran.  As a civilian, however, I was a part time instructor in math for airmen at Ellsworth.  I also did research for DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and worked with soldiers and airmen on these projects.

There are many people who enlisted because of a sense of duty or patriotism.  There are also a lot of people who enlisted because they were stuck in Podunk, USA or didn’t/couldn’t get into college and their lives were going no where and thought that a 4 year term of service and some job training would be the way to do something other than flip burgers for the rest of their life.  They saw the military as just another job, be it counting bombs in the arsenal or maintaining aircraft flight records or doing whatever.  Their 9 to 5 was done in a blouse that said ARMY or USAF instead of one with the Golden Arches on it.  These people may technically be veterans, but they are not heroes, and I really don’t give their opinions much value, especially when it is used as an appeal to authority to take away my gun rights.

I don’t know anything about Mr. E.K. Billie’s service record.  He could have been a bad ass door kicker.  But since he doesn’t mention that, there is an equally likely chance that “I am a U.S. ARMY VETERAN who has trained on various weapons, knows how to maintain, store and use multiple firearms” means that he spend 4 years at a base NOT in an active combat zone signing weapons in and out of the arsenal.  Either way, the implication that Mr. E.K. Billie asserts is that he is a manly man, He-man, alpha wolf, weapons expert who chooses to be disarmed as a civilian.  Then he busts out with the “Why you would say something so boldly sexist, and bigoted?” which really sounds a lot more like some SJW type whining than manly man, alpha wolf type behavior.  

Mike Rowe’s response to Mr. E.K. Billie was that that his (Rowe’s) comment was tongue in cheek.  No.  It wasn’t.  It was spot on.  Mr. E.K. Billie is the who doesn’t get it.  He supposedly had the intestinal fortitude to, presumably, stand armed at a wall to defend his nation, but can’t muster up the same resolve at home with his family.  That is not what a man’s man does.  A man’s man protects his own.

And no, Mr. E.K. Billie, not owning a gun doesn’t make you a woman.  There a are plenty. of. women who get it more than you do.  But if you wan’t a label to describe your position, I’ll give you one: emotional eunuch.

Life Experiences

I commented in one of Miguel’s previous posts, CSGV: Fantasy vs. Reality regarding the similarity between having a gun and a fire extinguisher.  

Miguel made the comment:

“Example of that, my house. Mom had a grease fire and she used the small fire extinguisher we had in the kitchen. She was equally upset about the fire and the powder messing the stove.”

I was tempted to respond to his comment, but I decided to turn it into a post.

A few years ago I was living in Rapid City, SD, going to school there.  I lived in a terrible little community on the east end of town, right near campus.  The community was a collection of duplexes that were old military housing from when Ellsworth AFB was a SAC base.  The housing was sold off by the USAF to a developer who turned it into apartments.

What you need to understand about renting in Rapid City, is that most of the property managers who owned “affordable” rented the maximum units allowable to government subsidized tenants.  It was low hanging fruit.  Why did I live there?  I was a grad student married to another grad student and there weren’t many options for a place to rent near campus that was pet friendly and affordable.

The neighborhood was rough.  The police were out regularly, one of my neighbors was arrested at least once a week.

It was the middle of winter, in my last year in Rapid, and an overnight blizzard was underway.  Snow was coming in sideways, double digits below zero with the wind chill, final snow fall was in excess of 20 inches.  It was early am, maybe 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning when my dog starts going nuts.  I get out of bed at the prodding of my wife and I hear it.  Someone was pounding on my door.  I yell through the door something along the lines of “who’s there, what do you want?”

What I get back is “LET ME IN.”





I looked out the window and see that some of the houses in the neighborhood are dark.  A transformer had gone out in the storm (not uncommon) down the block and rendered about the community without power.  I still had electricity and have the habit of leaving the kitchen light on 24/7.




What’s important to understand at this juncture, is that during a blizzard, there are no cops.  Emergency response is non existent.  Your house could be on fire and there is no way of getting to you.  When you live in blizzard country, especially in rural blizzard country, it’s a fact you must accept.  Viability is zero and the cops or fire department can’t plow their way through more than a foot of snow to get to you.


The guy then starts punching the glass pane in my front door.



Punching continues.

So I go hurry back to the bedroom and grab my shotgun.  At this point my wife is freaking out, on hold with 911, and the dog is barking her head off.

I go back into the front room, shoulder the shotgun at the front door and yell


Lo and behold, he stopped punching my window.  He went from aggressive to sheepish right quick.



And he trudged off into the dark and the snow and the cold.

So yes, I have pulled a gun on somebody.  I didn’t fire a shot.  I didn’t have to.  He found himself eye level to the muzzle of a Mossberg 500 just on the other side of a single pane of glass and decided that he didn’t need into my house as badly as he thought he did.   I don’t know what he would of have done had he gotten into my house.  I don’t know if he was sober.  I can’t imagine a completely sober person venturing out into a blizzard just because his power went out.

Problem solved.  No SWAT team necessary.  Cops couldn’t have made it up the hill I lived on in a blizzard anyway, had my wife managed to get through to them.

The antis can tell you that no property is worth your life, just give the bad guy what he wants.  The Newspaper of Record can tell you that “The modern man has no need for a gun.”  Bloomberg and the CSGV can tell you that you are more likey to kill your whole family and then yourself with your gun in a ham-fisted comedy of errors than defend yourself with it.

At that moment I needed a gun.  I had a gun.  I USED my gun, and everybody came away alive.

And I’ve also put out a fire with a fire extinguisher and didn’t end up in a burn ward afterward either.

When some pearl-clutcher tells you, you don’t need something, and you will just hurt yourself with it and just leave your self reliance to the professionals.  Go out and buy what they tell you not to have.  Go out and buy two of them.

A dose of reality

Following the Charleston Church Shooting, the State of Virginia, in a move championed by the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, has revoked the Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates it once issued.  Virginia drivers who had them, were required to send them back in.  Approximately 1,600 Confederate plates had been issued, and a whopping 187 have been returned.

These are licence plates.  License.  Plates.  And only 1,600 of them, all in one state.

Just how well do you think a mandatory, nation wide, gun buyback would work?


Two commenters brought up the 10% compliance rate observed in NY and CT following their gun bans/registrations.

I thought about that a little and decided up update this post.  There is a difference between guns and licence plates regarding this issue.  You only have as many licence plates as you do cars (let’s leave out motorcycles, etc.).  Most families in America have 2 cars (the average is 2.3 cars per household).  Let’s assume when it comes to specialty vanity plates, there is only one per household, so the 1,600 issued plates equates to 1,600 separate households.  If 10% of people comply, that’s gets about 160 plates.  The actual number was 187 so about 12%.

Guns are different.  There are many people who own just one gun.  There are many more who own between “a few” and “so many they’ve lost count.”  At last count, in 2009, the govt estimated there were 310 MILLION guns in the US.  Better estimates put the number at, at least 350 MILLION spread out over 120 million people.

By straight numbers, 10% compliance assumes that some 35 million guns will be turned in.  I doubt it will be that high.  I’d guess closer to 10 million.  The 10% of people who turn them in would most likely be the single gun owner.  The target shooter with one .22 rifle or the casual (Fudd) hunter with one deer rifle.  The “gun nuts” with multiple guns, I believe are much less likely to comply.  Maybe 10% of people will comply, but that won’t translate to a 10% reduction in guns.


Open Letter

Dear Gun Show Armchair Commando,

I fully accept that my choosing to carry a 5 shot, snub nose, .38 special is taking my life into my own hands.  You are absolutely right, I might as well be unarmed carrying such an under powered gun.  Even my choice of ammo, the Winchester 110 gr +P+ treasury load, doesn’t hold up to snuff.  Not to mention that the average defensive shooting is over after only 2 rounds fired.  Since I can’t practically reload or manipulate a snubby one handed by racking it on my belt, I might as well just commit suicide as try to defend myself with it if I every have to draw my gun.  (On a side note, since I can’t actually see your belt under your gut, can you rack your gun on your belt?  Like, is that a physical possibility with you?)

I really should heed your advice.  I need to start carrying a full size 9mm with a +2 base pad IWB along with two reloads.  That, that might be a little heavy or bulky to carry concealed, is irrelevant.  See, I guess that if I was anticipating getting into a two-reload running gun battle, I’d be carrying a rifle.  Not that I anticipate getting into a two-reload running gun battle at all.

Five rounds is not nearly enough to defend myself against a gang of three to six rapists.  In unlikely event that I am attacked by multiple assailants, I believe that basic psychology would save me.  Evidence shows that most criminals are cowards who like easy victims.  I figure that after I shoot the first one, the rest would scatter.  This is entirely speculation, but I’d think it would be really difficult to rape somebody while hemorrhaging internally.

I really did think my quip “if 5 rounds of .38 was enough for Joe Friday, it’s enough for me” would make you laugh.  But I can see how joking about self defense means that “I guess [I] don’t take my life seriously.”

I like carrying a snubby.  It’s light, compact, and easy to carry.  I still carry in a fanny pack like a dork half the time, just because it’s so easy.  I appreciate that you are only looking out for my safety.  I’m just not that tactical.  Sorry.  I think I’ll be alright.

The Science is Settled (for real this time)

This is not a gun post.  It is a political post.  Since I am only a guest here, if Miguel wants to take it down I will not be offended.  This opinion is entirely my own and is something that I have wanted to share for a while.  In preparing posts for this blog, I have to slough through a lot of idiocy at places like Salon and Vox to bring you nuggets worth posting about.  It is much like having to go through sewage to find peanuts.  Then I sat down to watch the Democratic Primary Debate on DVR.  I not sure that these people know which country they want to run for president in.  Listening to their plans on guns and economics, they want to be the supreme leaders of Swedestralia.

I’d like to retort to them and Vox and everybody else on that side of the aisle, why they are wrong, WITH SCIENCE.  I’m not an economist.  I’m a scientist, degreed and all.

The second law of thermodynamics states nicely defined this way: “it simply says that if you have a system that is isolated, any natural process in that system progresses in the direction of increasing disorder, or entropy, of the system.

This often gets shortened to “everything tends towards disorder.”  This is not correct.  The best way I have found to sum up the 2nd LoT is “if you don’t continue to put energy into a system, it will eventually fall apart.”

You see this in everything.  It takes energy in the form of heat to take iron oxide and turn it into iron, then more heat to turn it into steel.  It takes mechanical energy to roll that steel into girders and then more heat to weld it together.  When you are done expending all that energy, you made a bridge, and object that exists to fight gravity.  But there is still more energy that has to go into it in maintenance and galvanic protection, because nature is constantly attacking the steel.  If you didn’t continue to add energy into the system, the bridge would corrode back into iron oxide and fall down and go back to the lowest energy state from whence it came.  The 2nd LoT applies to life as well.  If you didn’t consume chemical energy and resperate oxygen, you to would go back to your lowest energy state – dead and rotted away.

The ulitmate point is that the 2nd LoT applies to civilization as well.  Each and every one of us.  We either put in energy to maintain civilization or civilization crumbles.  Electrical energy is measured in Watts, mechanical energy in Joules.  Societal energy is measured in money.  Electrical energy is transferred by electrons through wires.  Societal energy is transferred by dollars through free exchange.  For the most part, the more you contribute in terms of energy to maintaining society, the more money you make.  I mean make.  Just as the biggest generator produces the most power, so do the hardest workers produce the most money.

This assumes that you live in a society with economic freedom.

If you don’t, the 2nd LoT still applies.  The leaders take the money and keep if for themselves.  The hard working stop working.  Society collapses, see the USSR, Venezuela, etc.  You can’t cheat the 2nd LoT.  You can’t steal energy from the Carnot Cycle, perpetual motion is impossible.

Every bit of social welfare, the free stuff that the Democratic primary candidates wanted to promise away is an attempt to cheat the 2nd LoT.  An an conditioner doesn’t make air colder.  It only moves the heat of the air from inside the house to outside.  Free government stuff doesn’t create money, it only moves it from one place to another.  And just like the AC, there is inefficiently in the system.

Now I am not a heartless person.  I have compassion.  I also don’t want to live in a society where the poor starve to death and die in the street.  I accept a certain amount of social welfare to help those in need.  But what we are taking about here is a system that shifts the majority of people to the low curve of the Carnot Cycle, where the majority of people are on the energy consuming side than the energy producing side.    It is not sustainable.  You can speechify about all your highfalutin education on Keynesian economics but YOU CAN’T CHEAT THE 2ND LoT.  If you take half my energy to build up someone else, that is less energy I have to maintain my life, and consequently I will crumble.

I think Robert A. Heinlein put it best:

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as ‘bad luck.'”

A sacrificial anode an an active metal that is coupled to a less active metal and allowed to corrode to prevent the less active metal from corroding.  I WILL NOT BE THE SACRIFICIAL ANODE YOU PROMISE TO THE LESS ACTIVE TO GET THEM TO VOTE FOR YOU.


Lesson. Learned.

There has been a rash of stabbings in Israel over the last few weeks.  The rapid escalation of violence seems to driving Israel into a third Intifada.  Never failing to make a situation worse, John Kerry helping to put the pedal to the metal in this particular metaphor.

How are the Israeli’s responding to the reality that any one of them might, at any moment, be some Palestinian’s ticket to heaven?  They are lining up around the block to buy guns.  Israeli shooting ranges are packed.  How is the Israeli government responding to this Obama-re-election-esque wave of gun buying in reaction to Palestinian terror?  By loosening restrictions on the carrying of guns in public?  Sure that’s a start.  But even better is encouraging Israeli civilians to arm and defend themselves.

The Israelis are going to bring a gun to a knife fight.

Ladies and gentlemen, take note.  That is how you do it.  The left in America mocks the idea of “a good guy with a gun.”  Israel is telling the good guy to get guns and is making it easier to do so.  Keep in mind, while Israel may be the epicenter of stab-happy Islam, it is by no means limited to the Holy Land.  Knife attacks by Muslim refugees are on the rise in the European nations taking them in like Sweden and Germany.  How did Sweden respond?  IKEA has stopped selling knives.

Which policy will be more likely to reduce the effectiveness of future attacks?

Don’t forget, the US has opened its doors to the same refugees without a comprehensive plan to weed out the potential terrorists.

All I heard from the Democratic primary debate was how we needed to restrict guns and sue the gun makers out of business.  Sorry, no.  Israel recognized the only way to stop those who want to engage in violence is to meet force with force.  Even the Wall Street Journal figured it out.  If it works in Jerusalem, it will work here as well.

“Israelis have proved before that they have the tactical ingenuity and moral will to defeat their enemies. The sooner they impress on Palestinians that they will never bow to knives or bend to terror, the sooner the stabbings will end.”


Tell a lie big enough

According to our president, it is easier to buy a gun than a book or fresh vegetables.

That our president can say something so ridiculously wrong in public is mind boggling.  I would write a longer post deconstructing his statements, but I am afraid even thinking about what he said for too long would damage my brain.

Although I am considering taking bets on what Obama will say “buying guns is easier than _______” next.

I think I’m just going to end this with the popular meme:

I’m sorry that I’m having a hard time believing you due to your track record of being a lying liar that constantly lies out of your lying liar hole.