The police aren’t the bad guys

Today there is news of yet another police officer murdered, this time in Fox Lake, Il. This follows news of Deputy Goforth, a father of two, being straight up executed a couple of days ago.

All of this is happening, of course, in an environment of some truly ridiculous rhetoric about law enforcement and the most idiotic bunch of hashtagging douchebaggery you can imagine in the form of the “Black Lives Matter!” movement. Which is a complete and utter fraud…but we’ll get to that load of bollocks in a bit.

Let’s start with a bit of straight talk: There are some problems in American law enforcement. I’ve personally ranted about some of them in this space. I’m familiar with a number of problems that have occurred in a number of different agencies across the country. Some are public knowledge, some are not. Some of these problems are indeed serious and deserve serious consideration.

but nobody is really talking about those problems. Instead we’re getting a steady stream of absolute crap from “activists” intent on selling a lie. If you listened to the press you’d think that police in the United States run around shooting innocent black people for sport. Hence the protesters, the chanting, the threats to kill police officers in revenge, etc. When you look at objective facts, however, you find it’s a much different story. The Washington Post actually put together a very useful little website that examines fatal police shootings. I strongly encourage you to go check it out.

When you do you’ll notice something quite unexpected given the tenor of the activists on TV and the protesters: This year so far police in the United States have killed 169 black people. This year so far police in the United States have killed 324 white people. Out of the 659 deaths the Washington Post has information on, the deceased was in possession of a deadly weapon in 517 instances. In other words, in roughly 78.5% of fatal police shootings in 2015 the subject killed by the police was armed with a deadly weapon. Toss in the 36 subjects who used a vehicle (which is a lethal weapon, too) and the 23 people who had a realistic looking toy weapon and the percentage boosts to 87.4% of deadly police shootings taking place in circumstances where the most basic facts make a prima facie case for the justified use of lethal force.

So 87.4% of deadly police shootings have taken place in conditions which are objectively dangerous by any reasonable standard…and more than twice as many white people have been killed under these dangerous circumstances than black people.

Only .96% of deadly police shootings have been against what the Washington Post labels “unarmed” people. If you’re a keen reader of this space, you’ll understand why I take issue with the description of someone as “unarmed” due to multiple articles I’ve written here about the danger of fists. It’s worth repeating here that in many years the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that hands and feet (called “personal weapons by the FBI) are a more popular instrument of lethal criminal violence than rifles and shotguns combined. Put bluntly, more people are beaten to death with bare hands and feet than are shot to death by rifles and shotguns combined. An “unarmed” person is not necessarily a harmless person.

When we run the numbers we don’t see anything close to the situation alleged by the “activists” setting cities on fire.

If we look past police shootings and examine lethal violence more generally, we find that most black lives are actually taken by other black people. 90% of black murder victims in 2013 were killed by other black people. After the ridiculous riots in Baltimore, the violence in that already beleaguered city has skyrocketed…but it’s not the police who are killing people in the streets. The trend seen in the 2013 FBI UCR is playing out in Baltimore, causing even people like Elijah Cummings to have a rare bout of common sense:

“I hear over and over again, ‘Black lives matter, black lives matter.’ And they do matter. But black lives also have to matter to black people.” 

…and that quote gets to the heart of how ridiculous all this hashtagging idiocy actually is. Ponder this:

 

That’s a dude being sentenced to life in prison for robbing, torturing, and then murdering two teenagers. A liar. A thug. A sadistic murderer.

The deputy in the view of the camera looks somewhat unimpressed by this display of “activism” by a murderer.

It’s not terribly hard to determine who the good guy is in that shot. What applies in this particular bit of footage applies more generally, too. It’s not hard to tell who the good guys are in this environment of ginned up controversy either. While there are some problems in American policing that should be addressed, the simple truth of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of police officers on duty are the good guys.

The hot zones of criminal violence in this country are not hot zones of criminal violence because the police are running around murdering people. In fact, when you look into those areas you find that police are often hampered from doing their job because of stupid political concerns. When you willingly reject common sense and give criminal scumbags “space to destroy”, or insist that the guy who executed a police officer was out shopping with his mama despite loads of evidence to the contrary, it creates an environment where criminal scumbags thrive. The end result of that kind of willful embrace of stupidity is the murder rate you see in Chicago, and the spikes in violence seen in Baltimore, New York, and other areas…or what the world saw in Roanoke almost a week ago.

The truth, though, isn’t politically useful to the right sort of people…so we’re treated to the spin instead. Police and media figures are murdered and what do the self-proclaimed enlightened insist is the problem? The NRA. I’m deeply saddened by what happened to Allison Parker, but I’d like to politely point out to her father that it wasn’t Ted Nugent that murdered Allison. It was a perpetually aggrieved racist who talked the same kind of nonsense as the sadistic murderer in the video clip above that killed Allison and Adam. The Department of Homeland Security puts out leaflets warning about the “danger” posed by returning veterans but you’ll notice a conspicuous absence of the people DHS says to be afraid of shooting up recruiting centers, setting fires in Baltimore, torturing and murdering teenagers, killing police officers, or murdering reporters on live TV.

I’m sick of it, frankly…and the only antidote to this bullshit is the truth. Countering the completely fabricated narrative with fact, reason, common sense and resolve.

So to those of you out there trying hard to convince America that the police and the NRA are the problem with America, I have this to say:

To hell with you and your lying, criminal coddling bullshit. Everyone in this nation hasn’t willingly taken leave of their senses. Every time you idiots insist on rooting for the villain it’s pretty bloody obvious what is going on. Every time you idiots burn a city over some criminal piece of filth in some stupid “protest”, a bunch of honest decent people go out and buy guns. You won’t see them marching in the streets or setting stuff on fire. They’ll go apply for a concealed carry permit. They’ll attend training. They will stop police officers they see in public and thank them for doing a thankless job.

…and if one of your special snowflake violent felons breaks into their neighbor’s home or tries to kill the police officers protecting their community, they will sit on the juries. And they will remember all the lies you’ve told and the carnage you’ve cheered.

Good luck, assholes. You’re going to need it.

 

 

The law isn’t the problem here

I’m typing this about an hour and a half after the announcement that the grand jury has returned no true bill for police officer Darren Wilson of the Furgeson Police Department. The district attorney for the area did a reasonably good job of laying out the facts of the case as presented to the grand jury and all the evidence shown has been made publicly available. The physical evidence and reliable testimony…testimony given by black folks who didn’t talk to the press…showed that what occurred on that day was a fight and not the random execution a bunch of liars alleged initially.

We’ve mentioned before that unarmed is not the same thing as harmless here on Gun Nuts, and so I won’t rehash ground that has already been covered in The Danger of Fists.

As stores are being looted and set on fire (with employees still in them…I fail to see how endangering the lives of somebody working a minimum wage job brings about “justice” for anybody) the various and sundry talking heads are beginning their foul work. Now that all the facts are on the table and it’s pretty clear by any reasonable standard that Mr. Brown is dead because he picked a lethal fight with a police officer over a minor instance of shoplifting (hardly the first time that has happened) the conversation is being conveniently moved away from the specifics of what transpired between Officer Wilson and Mike Brown and it’s being morphed into a conversation about some cockamamie “epidemic” of police brutality.

Specifically the complaints I’ve heard from at least one congressman and an official in the Missouri Bar Association have been that the law is the problem here. They hold that if the law can find that it’s legal for a police officer to shoot an “unarmed” black man and not be imprisoned for it, that the law is the problem and must be changed. Nevermind that the very same laws that delivered a no bill for Officer Wilson when he shot an unarmed thief with a different skin color delivered the exact same result when police officer Don Hubbard shot white firefighter Anthony Bruno in Kansas City almost a year ago under very similar circumstances. You won’t hear that discussion happen because it doesn’t fit the narrative they are trying to put forward.

This should worry you as a gun owner because police use of lethal force is governed by the exact same laws and principles that non-sworn citizens have to comply with. Outside of a few very specific and pretty rare circumstances, a cop on the street has no more right or ability to pull a trigger on another human being than you do. Someone attempting to change the laws so that Officer Wilson goes to jail for the rest of his life for shooting Mike Brown is trying to attack the very basic concept of self defense and would put you in the cell next to him for defending yourself or your family. 

In the aftermath of this when thugs and criminals are looting and setting things on fire, these talking heads and their willing minions in social media land are going to try and use guilt to try and convince the public of a need to fundamentally alter one of the basic tenets of western civilization because they’re unhappy that the police officer didn’t lose the fight. The man’s career in law enforcement is over, he and his family are in hiding, and the families of all the police in Ferguson have had to be evacuated or put under guard because of worries that an angry mob will do them harm, and all because Mike Brown picked a fight with the police…but that’s not enough. It’s not “justice” unless they get their pound of flesh.

As the Zimmerman incident shows, it’s not going to stop with the police. If you hold the radical idea that you have the right to use force to defend yourself from criminal attack, you’re right up there in the line of fire with Officer Wilson.

There’s certainly a lot to dislike about the state of modern policing in America. I’ve ranted a bit about the deficiencies found in the justice system myself in this very space. What happened here, though, isn’t an example of a problem in American policing. It’s an example of what’s fundamentally wrong in American society.

The people on the airwaves in the next few days running their fetid suck about “justice” are, in reality, rooting for the bad guy. They’re going to cover it with flowery language about “justice” and appeals to a civil rights movement from the 60’s that has nothing to do with looting stores and burning buildings, but the basic underlying truth doesn’t change: They want the bad guys to win. When they spew this garbage in your direction don’t buy a word of it. See it for what it really is and push back.

The law wasn’t the problem in Ferguson that day. One can argue and debate about what factors in society led to producing a Mike Brown who thinks it’s acceptable to fight a uniformed police officer for his gun, but once he made that fateful decision what happened from that point on was reasonable and morally sound. He held all the cards that day. Every day police officers around the country interact with all kinds of people from all possible creeds without killing them or doing them serious harm.

Every now and then a police officer or an ordinary citizen is going to cross paths with a violent criminal who isn’t going to play by any reasonable rules. Violence is the only answer for those individuals. Not because we want it that way, but because they will have it no other way. I guarantee you that Officer Wilson didn’t want to be involved in that fight any more than Detective Reston wanted to end up being shot several times (including being shot in the face) by a shoplifter…but people like Jared or Officer Wilson or YOU don’t get to make those decisions. The violent criminals in this world make that decision for everyone else, and those of us who aren’t rabid sociopaths are left with the choice of fighting or dying at their hands. To paraphrase the DA at the press conference, no one should put a police officer…or anyone else for that matter…in the position to need to use lethal force to survive. Yet they have, they do, and they will. 

It would be pointless for us to fight new restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms if we’ll sit back and allow the malevolent and the hopelessly misguided twist the laws so horribly that our firearms are rendered essentially useless as implements of self defense against violent criminals.

Don’t believe the hype. Challenge it. Fight it with fact. You won’t win over everyone, but it will help bolster those who feel enormous pressure to give in with the “justice” crowd but find that the small voice of common sense makes them uncomfortable going along with these people. The right input from you can give that small voice a megaphone.

 

Modifying the Glock – Mission dictates the mod

As I mentioned when we first started talking about modifying the Glock a few weeks ago, the aftermarket for the Glock family of pistols is massive. Whatever you choose to do with your Glock, there’s probably at least a dozen different options on the market for it. That can be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand it’s great that you can do almost anything to a Glock because it allows you to really tailor the pistol to your specific environment and needs. On the other, it’s very easy to do silly, counterproductive, or even very dangerous things with your Glock. There are any number of aftermarket gadgets thought up by someone in a very specific set of circumstances that make sense only in that context…if they make any sense in the first place. To wit:

That may be a very useful modification for the .000001% of the population that regularly has a need to drag someone out of a vehicle while holding a pistol. Most, however, will find no practical benefit to making their Glock magazines sharp and pointy. That’s the test you should apply to your intended Glock modifications: What practical benefit do you get from the modification? What problem are you trying to solve? In the previous writeups I’ve made a careful point of explaining why I was making the modifications to my pistol, laying out the benefit each change had for my particular needs. I would encourage you to use the same sort of process when considering modifications to your pistol: do only those things for which you can identify a specific benefit for your circumstances.

One of the things that new Glock owners seem to get worked up about most (generally after experiencing less-than-stellar results at the range) is the inherent accuracy of their new pistols and that leads them to considering one of the plethora of drop-in barrel replacements on the market. Replacing the barrel is one of those modifications that is a good idea in some circumstances, and a terrible one in others. Generally speaking, if you aren’t hitting the target as well as you’d like then the fault, dear Brutus, isn’t with your Glock…it’s probably you. The fundamentals of shooting a pistol are fairly well documented but at least in my experience aren’t widely understood. This is especially true among those who have had no formal training. Careful attention to those fundamentals often helps improve your results on target considerably.

If your core problem is a lack of fundamental skill, a new barrel is just going to be an expensive diversion away from fixing the real problem. It would be positively daft to buy a new barrel for your Glock if you can’t hit a 3×5 card at 7 yards on demand. If you fit that description, I promise that the barrel in your pistol isn’t the reason. You can fix that problem with good dryfire training or attending a good basic handgun skills class. All of that being said, there are times when it makes sense to put an aftermarket barrel in your Glock.

1. Lead ammunition

Let’s say that our great uncle Filbert passed away and left us a small fortune in the form of hard-cast lead bullets in 9mm, a progressive Dillon reloading press, a mountain of brass, a similar sized mountain of primers, and enough gunpowder to send Mount Rushmore into orbit. (NOTE TO HOMELAND SECURITY: This is a metaphor meant to convey the idea of a sizeable amount of gunpowder, not a threat to blow anything up. Please don’t shoot my dog.) In the current market the smart move would probably be to sell all of that and buy a private island…but let’s say we are terrible at math and we want to shoot it all in our Glock 34.

An overpressure situation can result in catastrophic failure of the weapon. Picture found on one of the gun forums some time ago...
An overpressure situation can result in catastrophic failure of the weapon. Picture found on one of the gun forums some time ago…

The Glock family of pistols (along with the H&K family of pistols) uses polygonal rifling. The barrel of the pistol as it ships from the factory does not have the traditional lands and grooves, which means that theoretically there’s no place in the barrel for lead to deposit without obstructing the bore. The theory goes that if you shoot enough lead ammo you can eventually create enough of an obstruction that the bullet cannot pass freely down the bore, leading to an overpressure situation. This is otherwise known as a “kaBoom”. In the owner’s manual, Glock specifically warns against using cartridges with lead bullets to prevent catastrophic failures due to overpressure.

Like just about anything else in the gunniverse, opinions vary as to the real danger posed by shooting lead through Glocks, but I’m one of those guys who likes to abide by manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to the potential of turning my handgun into a grenade. So if I was determined to use Uncle Filbert’s gift in my Glock 34, I would replace the barrel with one of the aftermarket options that is lead safe.

2. Accuracy

Wait…didn’t I just dismiss accuracy concerns a few paragraphs ago? And now I’ve got it broken out as one of the good reasons to replace your Glock’s barrel?

While most people who experience poor accuracy at the range lack fundamental skill, there is still such a thing as a pistol that just won’t group. .40 caliber Glocks are notorious for this, which has led to the common myth that the .40 is an “inaccurate” round. At the range I used to belong to, one of the “helpful” members of staff was telling a young woman (a police officer using her issued weapon) that her .40 caliber sidearm was basically useless past 12 yards because of the .40’s inherent lack of accuracy. I have this deep-seated hatred of bad information that is probably the result of having encountered so much of it over the years, and so even with doubled ear protection and people shooting beside me in an indoor range I heard this pronouncement (delivered as if it was Moses reading from some stone tablets) and suddenly found the idea of smacking a sharp pointy Glock into…erm…stuff…quite appealing. I politely approached the young woman and asked if I could fire 5 rounds through her pistol at a target 15 yards downrange. She agreed and I shot a nice tight group right in the center of the bullseye and then explained a bit about the fundamentals. Twenty minutes later, she was shooting the same sorts of groups at the same distance.

The .40’s bad reputation for accuracy is misplaced. The cartridge itself has plenty of accuracy potential, as any number of competitive shooters can tell you. The problem is that the most popular series of .40 caliber handguns on the market, namely the Glock pistols, often exhibit inexcusably poor mechanical accuracy. A friend of mine was issued a Glock 22 by his department exemplar of this problem. When we ran drills together at 3-10 yards, his performance was pretty good. Once we stretched the range out a bit I noticed a steep decline in his ability to hit a target on demand.

To an extent, that drop-off is normal for someone still learning and refining the fundamentals. At 25 yards, though, he was lucky to keep shots on an 8.5×11” piece of paper. At some point during the range trip he asked me to give his gun a go at 25 yards. My first group through his pistol was barely within the confines of the paper. Thinking I had just been completely stupid, I fired another group offhand with even worse results. Then I went prone and rested the pistol focusing all my attention on managing the sights and properly manipulating the trigger. Immediately after I fired my Glock 17 at the adjacent target using the same attention to sights and trigger control. My Glock 17 shot a nice tight group at 25 yards, with only one called flyer straying into the 9 ring. His pistol, on the other hand, just would not shoot. It didn’t group at 25 yards, it patterned.

Unfortunately, my friend’s Glock isn’t the only weapon rolled out by Glock Inc. that won’t shoot to what I consider an acceptable accuracy standard at 25 yards. While some of the 2nd and 3rd generation Glock pistols in .40 have done very well, a significant number of them have exhibited a plethora of issues…unacceptable lack of accuracy being one of them. If you end up with one of the specimens of Glock that has accuracy issues, an aftermarket barrel might be just the ticket to improve the mechanical accuracy of the weapon.

The obvious answer would be getting another pistol, but that’s not always possible. If you’ve been issued the weapon by your employer or if you’ve done NFA paperwork on the weapon, simply getting rid of it often isn’t an option. Sending it back to Glock might result in a fix, but I’ve seen plenty of instances where a pistol with a legitimate accuracy problem has been pronounced “within spec” by a manufacturer and sent back to the customer with no fix. If you can’t just dump the pistol (or for whatever reason don’t want to) and the factory refuses to fix it, then one of the aftermarket barrels might improve things for you. If you don’t find yourself in these sorts of straits, stick to using the factory barrel. The factory barrel, assuming the weapon shoots to an acceptable standard, is a pretty good piece of kit and should be good for something like, oh, 200,000 rounds before you have to worry about replacing it. The aftermarket options aren’t bad, it’s just that in most cases they aren’t necessary.

When you use the practical benefit test to guide your decisions about modifying the pistol, you will avoid wasting money on things you don’t need. You’ll also avoid buying silly gadgets and potentially compromising the reliability and function of the weapon. Money not spent on goofy titanium strikers or barrels that you don’t really need can be better spent on modifications that solve clearly identified problems or even on range time to improve your skill. By focusing on clearly identified practical benefit you’ll get all the good without having to waste time and resources on the unnecessary and goofy.

Stay safe…