HGH In The NFL, Rampant Use Reported

No matter what you think about Peyton Manning—he used, he didn’t use, you don’t care either way—one thing is certain in the wake of Al Jazeera’s bombshell allegations: The NFL‘s drug-testing program continues to have a massive, gaping hole when it comes to HGH.

One veteran NFL player put it this way: “Steroids aren’t the problem. HGH is the big problem. For the past four or five years, the league has been almost overrun by HGH. … The new testing procedures aren’t catching anyone, because players know there is almost no way to get caught.”

Like the NFL’s marijuana policy, the player said, a player using HGH will only get caught “if the NFL gets really, really lucky, like win-the-Lotto-every-month lucky.”

Players Bleacher Report spoke to estimated that somewhere in the range of 10 to 40 percent of current players use HGH. Various former players have had similar and even higher estimates. Former quarterback Boomer Esiason once said 20 percent of the league used HGH. Former quarterback Brady Quinn estimated the number to be 40 to 50 percent on the Roughing the Passer podcast on CBS Sports.

This apparent rampant use of HGH over the past five years or more has created—as one player explained—a league of “superfreaks” who continue to run faster, jump higher and break records. Quinn said he believes this is behind the rash of injuries across the NFL this past season, and players interviewed by Bleacher Report had similar concerns: that the massive use of the drug, or others like it, will have long-term health ramifications. Their worries sound similar to the concerns expressed by some players in the 1980s and 1990s about concussions.

“The bodies of players are basically acting as chemistry sets,” one veteran said. “What’s going to happen to these guys five or 10 years from now?”

All of this may change next season, when the league goes to a different type of test. Then, the league’s policy could be much tougher. More on that in a moment.

For now, the league’s testing program has no teeth, and a half-dozen players interviewed for this story say the reason why comes down to one word: isoform.

The NFL and union agreed to HGH testing in 2011. Testing did not begin until October 2014. The NFL says there are about 40 random tests a week during the regular season, five random tests per team during the postseason and other players who are subject to testing because of cause. Violators of the HGH policy are subject to a four-game suspension.

Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s senior vice president for labor policy, was asked if an HGH user has been caught by the NFL’s testing.

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

“Remember, despite our efforts, the union would not agree to publishing the substances: Suffice it to say that it is as low as can be,” Birch told Bleacher Report in an email. “But I keep trying to emphasize that doesn’t mean the test is inferior, or that it is not sufficiently deterring use.”

When Birch says “as low as can be,” he is saying no player has been caught yet.

An email to George Atallah, the union’s assistant executive director of external affairs, was not immediately returned.

Back to isoform: The problem, longtime anti-doping analyst Don Catlin told USA Today‘s Brent Schrotenboer in February, is that isoform testing only works if the player is tested within a few hours of using HGH. It “doesn’t catch many people at all,” he said. “It’s not a test that’s designed to really do that. It will catch you if you just used it a few hours ago, but if it’s a day or more, it’s not going to find you.”

In other words, using the isoform test is the equivalent of the police staking out a house days after it was burgled.

Players say the entire player base is aware of this and that that is why there’s no fear of the league’s HGH testing procedure.

One player remembers a team union player representative briefing the team after the league and players agreed to the testing procedures. The message of the team rep, this player said, was that there’s little chance any player would ever get caught under these rules.

But this is where things get interesting, because Birch said the league will soon use a different form of testing.

“We are currently using isoform,” he said, “but I expect that we will add biomarker in the offseason.”

As David Epstein wrote for SI.com’s MMQB in July, “The biomarker test does not pick up doping within the previous two days, but the detection window extends back beyond that for at least a week, so it has the potential to be much more effective than the isoform test.” That would dramatically increase the chances of a cheating player getting caught. This type of testing, like all testing, would have to be agreed upon by the union.

What exactly is HGH? It’s a hormone that increases strength and reduces fat. Yet the characteristic of HGH that is also of great interest to NFL players is it helps the body heal from injury faster.

One of the only times the NFL catches HGH cheats are in instances like the one that involved former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, who admitted to law enforcement officials in 2007 that he used HGH. This admission led to a four-game suspension.

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

“I used it. I never had an issue with my groin ever again,” Harrison, now an analyst, said on NBC this past week. “It wasn’t smart. I put a foreign substance in my body and I don’t know the long-term effects. I have a black cloud over my career. I played 15 years and that doesn’t feel good. That’s embarrassing. But also I look at the kids, my kids and the kids that look up to me, and now I have to tell them why I did it. Maybe I can use this opportunity to let them know it’s not worth it, point blank, period. It’s just not worth it.”

Apparently, though, it’s worth it to many players in the NFL. It seems clear that they’re using HGH, and for now, it seems clear that there’s little chance they’ll be caught doing it.

 

2015- A Year of Absurdities

Goodbye to 2015, a year of absurdity and overreach

E.B. White reportedly said “the most beautiful sound in America” is “the tinkle of ice at twilight.” In 2015’s twilight, fortify yourself with something 90 proof as you remember this year in which:We learned that a dismal threshold has been passed. The value of property that police departments seized through civil asset forfeiture — usually without accusing, let alone convicting, the property owners of a crime — exceeded the value of property stolen by nongovernment burglars.

The attorney general of New York, which reaps billions from gambling — casinos, off-track betting, the state lottery — moved to extinguish (competition from) fantasy football because it is gambling. Florida police raided a mahjong game played by four women aged between 87 and 95 because they allegedly were playing the game for money.

A Michigan woman was fingerprinted, had her mug shot taken and was jailed until released on bond because she was late in renewing the $10 license for her dog. New Jersey police arrested a 72-year-old retired teacher, chained his hands and feet to a bench and charged him with illegally carrying a firearm — a 300-year-old flintlock pistol (with no powder, flint or ball) he purchased from an antique dealer.

The University of Georgia said sexual consent must be “voluntary, sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest.” Imaginative consent? Connecting climate change to sex, the National Bureau of Economic Research warned that hot weather leads to diminished sexual activity.

Elsewhere in “settled science,” the government’s dietary rules were revised, somewhat rehabilitating red meat, sodium, eggs and other good stuff. Undaunted, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee produced a 571-page report calling for “bold action” and “dramatic paradigm shifts” until mother-hen government yet again says, “Well, never mind.”

Since federal food police dictated changes in school lunch programs, food tossed in the trash is up 56 percent, salt shakers are being smuggled into schools, and there are black markets in potato chips.

The Internal Revenue Service persecutes conservative advocacy groups but does not prosecute IRS employees who are tax cheats: An audit revealed that over the past decade, the IRS fired only 400 of the 1,580 employees who deliberately violated tax laws, rather than the 100 percent required by law.

New York’s City Council honored the “bravery” of Ethel Rosenberg, the executed traitor who spied for Stalin. Declaring her candidacy, Hillary Clinton said she will fight for, among many others, “truckers who drive for hours.” Yes, hours . Elsewhere, she rejected the presumption of innocence, a.k.a. due process: Those alleging sexual assault have “the right to be believed,” which she did not believe when her husband was the accused.

A 9-year-old Florida fourth-grader was threatened with sexual harassment charges if he continued to write love notes telling the apple of his eye that her eyes sparkle “like diamonds.”

A Texas 9-year-old was suspended for saying his magic ring could make people disappear. A young girl was sent home with a censorious note from her school because her Wonder Woman lunchbox violated the school ban on depictions of “violent characters.”

An Oregon eighth-grader, whose brother served in Iraq, was suspended for wearing a T-shirt that depicted an empty pair of boots representing soldiers killed in action. The school said the shirt was “not appropriate.”

A Tennessee boy was threatened with suspension from elementary school because he came to school with a military-style haircut like that of his stepbrother, a soldier. A government arbitrator prevented the firing of a New Jersey elementary school teacher who was late to school 111 times in two years.

A suburban Washington high school promoted self-esteem by naming 117 valedictorians out of a class of 457. Two Edina, Minn., elementary schools hired “recess consultants” to minimize “conflict” — children saying “Hey, you’re out!” rather than “Nice try!” The principal of a San Francisco middle school withheld the results of student elections that did not produce properly “diverse” results.

When some deep thinkers in academia decided that yoga, like ethnic food, constitutes “cultural appropriation,” a clear thinker wondered whether offended cultures would send back our polio vaccines. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni reported that 48 of the top 52 liberal arts colleges and universities do not require English majors to take a Shakespeare course.

This list of 2015 ludicrousness could be lengthened indefinitely, but enough already. The common thread is the collapse of judgment in, and the infantilization of society by, government. Happier New Year.

 

True Unemployment Numbers In One Graph

Obamanomics explained in one chart

You may be running into friends and realtives at holiday gatherings who claim that the 5% unemployment rate is one of Obama’s success stories, and a good reason to stick with the Democrats.  Writing in Conservative HQ, George Rasley highlights a chart produced by Benjamin Weingarten in Genfkd that sums up the uselessness of the U3 unemployment  rate statistic inevitably tossed out by the media to make the claim that the economy is recovering under Obama. Most AT readers are sophisticated and realize that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ s U3 “unemployment rate” does not count discouraged workers who have given up the search for work. The BLS calls these people “marginally attached workers,” and the criteria for blasting them into invisibility in the U3 stats are pretty easy to meet:

Persons not in the labor force who want and are available for work, and who have looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months), but were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

But most of our friends and neighbors do not realize that the more realistic U6 rate, generally ignored by the media does count the “marginally attached workers” as unemployed, and it is nearly double the U3 rate (currently 9.9% versus 5%).

So how do we sum up all this complicated information in one chart?

Here it is. Show it to your friends who think Obama has been good for the economy:

Wells Fargo Ambush Marketing Against US Bank Stadium

  • Vikings accuse Wells Fargo of photo-bombing new stadium: The Minnesota Vikings are taking Wells Fargo to court, claiming the bank has begun constructing illuminated, mounted signs on its 17-story offices towers that will “photo bomb” the image of U.S. Bank Stadium in Downtown East, according to a Hennepin County District Court lawsuit.

Purdue Gets the Speech Issue Correct

American higher education is a house divided

image: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/images/george_will.jpg

George Will

By George Will

Mitch Daniels of Purdue

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels speaks about his new book 'Keeping the Republic' during a discussion at the American Enterprise Institute on September 26, 2011 in Washington, DC. Gov. Daniels talked about Indiana's former deficit, fiscal restraint, and promoted private sector employment.

Published Dec. 21, 2015

Although he is just 22, Andrew Zeller is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at Purdue University. He is one reason the school is a rare exception to the rule of unreason on U.S. campuses, where freedom of speech is under siege. He and Purdue are evidence that freedom of speech, by which truth is winnowed from error, is most reliably defended by those in whose intellectual pursuits the truth is most rigorously tested by reality.

While in high school in Bowling Green, Ohio, Zeller completed three years of college undergraduate courses. He arrived at Purdue when its incoming president, Indiana’s former governor Mitch Daniels, wanted the university to receive the top “green light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which combats campus restrictions on speech and rates institutions on their adherence to constitutional principles.

Zeller, president of Purdue’s graduate student government, and some undergraduate leaders urged Daniels to do what he was eager to do: Purdue has become the second university (after Princeton) to embrace the essence of the statement from the University of Chicago that affirms the principle that “education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think.” The statement says “it is not the proper role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable or even deeply offensive,” and it endorses “a solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it.”

Why is Purdue one of just six universities that have now aligned with the spirit of the Chicago policy? Partly because of Daniels’s leadership. But also because Purdue, Indiana’s land-grant institution, is true to the 1862 Morrill Act’s emphasis on applied learning. It graduates more engineers than any U.S. university other than Georgia Tech. Purdue, tied with the University of California at Berkeley, awards more STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) undergraduate diplomas than all but two public research universities (Penn State and Texas A&M). Among such universities, a higher percentage of Purdue students graduate in STEM fields than those of any school other than Georgia Tech and the University of California at San Diego.

Scientists and engineers live lives governed by the reality principle: Get the variables wrong, the experiment will fail, even if this seems insensitive; do the math wrong, the equation will tell you, even if that hurts your feelings. Reality does not similarly regulate the production of Marxist interpretations of “Middlemarch” or turgid monographs on the false consciousness of Parisian street sweepers in 1714. Literature professors “deconstructing” Herman Melville cause nothing worse than excruciating boredom in their students. If engineers ignore reality, reality deconstructs their bridges.

The Yale instructor whose email about hypothetically insensitive Halloween costumes incited a mob has resigned her teaching position. She did so despite a letter of faculty support organized by a physicist and signed mostly by scientists, including social scientists, rather than humanities faculty.

Higher education is increasingly a house divided. In the sciences and even the humanities, actual scholars maintain the high standards of their noble calling. But in the humanities, especially, and elsewhere, faux scholars representing specious disciplines exploit academia as a jobs program for otherwise unemployable propagandists hostile to freedom of expression.

This is, however, a smattering of what counts as good news in today’s climate: For the first time in FIRE’s 16 years of monitoring academia’s authoritarianism, fewer than half (49.3 percent) of American universities still have what FIRE considers egregiously unconstitutional speech policies. Purdue is one of six universities that eliminated speech codes this year, and one of just 22 with FIRE’s “green light” rating. .

Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will121915.php3#btuIVoMlrCv2d8Yc.99

Rest in Peace, John Beardmore

John R. Beardmore of Waukon, Iowa, was a friend of mine from time to time. He died sometime Sunday after he fell in his bathroom, fractured his skull on the toilet seat and bled to death on his couch. That’s what the death certificate will say. The real cause of death was his uncontrolled alcoholism as John was very drunk when he fell.

His life was the pursuit of the next big deal.  He was smart. I met him with Adam Oreck, who designed the ultimate shoe lacing system and who died in a car wreck only to have his system appear worldwide soon afterward.

Beardmore enjoyed success, he scored often twenty years ago as he was smart, but the money slipped away. He was charming and had wonderful  wives, but he was alone when he died. People say he was saying that he was on the verge of the big deal that would make everyone whole. That was last week; the demons won last Sunday. He was like Jay Gatsby, flamboyant, always one deal away from success and even had secret allies in Chicago. Like Gatsby “he believed in the green light, that orgiastic future that year by year recedes in front of us.” Like Gatsby, that future eluded John and now he is gone.

John tried to stop drinking, but never tried to get sober, and there is a huge difference. Get sober or lose, the booze wins every time.

 

The $1,000,000 A Game Pitcher is Here

In this excellent article, Jared Diamond makes several important points but misses the big one. By increasing the cost of pitching, teams like Boston with its NESN income and Arizona with its media deal, make it harder for less wealthy teams to sign equivalent talent. It is the baseball way!

by JARED DIAMOND
Nashville, Tenn.

The hour has come. The day has dawned. The paperwork has been signed and sealed with crimson wax. Next season, there will likely be at least one pitcher in Major League Baseball who earns $1 million per start.

It might be David Price, who signed a seven-year, $217 million contract with the Boston Red Sox last week. Or maybe it’ll be Zack Greinke, whose six-year, $206.5 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks was finalized on Tuesday. “I wish I was one of them,” Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s a good time to be a really good player in baseball.”

Almost 17 years ago, at the same Opryland hotel here where MLB’s winter meetings came to a close Thursday, the Los Angeles Dodgers made star pitcher Kevin Brown the highest-paid player in history with a seven-year contract worth $105 million. The deal drew fierce criticism from all over the league. San Diego Padres owner John Moores called it a “tragic day for baseball.”

This year, free-agent pitchers with far less impressive résumés and far greater injury prospects are blithely topping that. Jeff Samardzija just got five years and $90 million from the San Francisco Giants—or $18 million per season, which is a full Manhattan three-bedroom apartment better than Brown’s $15 million. This is the same Jeff Samardzija who led the American League last season in hits and home runs allowed.

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When viewed in cold, hard economic terms, it’s not surprising pitchers have broken the million-bucks-a-start barrier. Baseball talent is a market like any other and the marketplace is reacting to: 1) the relative scarcity of good pitchers available and: 2) the enormous gobs of television revenue that have been pouring into the sport. Overall, MLB revenue grew to about $9.5 billion this year. “Growth of salary and revenue are moving in lockstep,” said Smith College sports economist Andrew Zimbalist.

But there is one question looming over the sport, even as it indulges in another no-holds-barred cashapalooza. Salaries in baseball have been rising without fail ever since the advent of free agency in 1975. But for the first time, there are real warnings from responsible people that the party may be coming to an end.

The Dodgers, the team that gave ace Clayton Kershaw a $215 million deal last year and possesses the highest payroll in the league, has a 25-year broadcast rights deal with Time Warner Cable that started in 2014. It is worth $8.35 billion. The Diamondbacks recently signed a 20-year, $1.5 billion contract with Fox Sports Arizona, an agreement that gave them the confidence to spend so lavishly on Greinke. Several other teams, including the Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets, own significant percentages of the regional sports networks that broadcast most of their games: a strategy that has helped teams earn many multiples more than whatever they had earned before.

But economists say that the days of ever-increasing contracts are numbered. And the change won’t have anything to do with what happens on the mound. It will depend on the decisions millions of Americans make about something a lot less entertaining: whether or not to continue paying top dollar for cable television.

As more people downgrade their cable service for smaller bundles of channels, or “cut the cord” by disconnecting from cable in favor of online streaming services, or just decline to ever subscribe, the economics of baseball will take a hit. MLB teams will no longer be able to ask cable services to pay a premium for the right to show their games. If they can’t find other sources of revenue to make up for this, it’s hard to imagine salaries to escalate at this rate in perpetuity.

There are signs that this cable cutback is picking up steam. ESPN, the nation’s premier sports cable channel, revealed in a recent Walt Disney Company regulatory filing that it has lost 7 million subscribers in the past two years.

Vince Gennaro, the director of the graduate sports management program at Columbia University, said he wonders if the current deals between teams and cable services are sustainable. “These are major strategic issues that the consumer is going to have a large vote in,” he said, adding that he is not sure that baseball’s regional networks have an accurate view of the threat they’re facing. “Are the networks reading the market right? Are they reading the consumer right?”

Baseball is reacting to the situation by trying to beef up its online streaming capabilities. Starting next season, 15 fan bases will be able to watch their team’s games online in-market and blackout-free.

“The media landscape is changing very, very rapidly,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said last month. “It’s important for us to make certain our content is available on as many platforms as possible.”

At this point, this service still requires a television subscription to the channel that pays for the rights to show the games locally. While MLB teams could someday stream them “over the top,” or directly to customers, it’s not clear whether they will be able to make as much money. “There’s going to be some real pressure,” Zimbalist said. “What we don’t know yet is to what degree the streaming market will replace that. My own hunch is it will fall short.”

If it does, it’s fair to say baseball teams are not likely to continue breaking the bank for pitching.

No matter what happens, however, baseball executives say pitchers will continue to drive the market as they have this winter. Even in this era, where offense is down and decent pitching is seemingly easy to find, they say, the market continues to reflect one of baseball’s oldest and oft-repeated adages: Good pitching beats good hitting.

“It goes back as far as the game: pitching wins,” said Mets assistant general manager John Ricco, whose team just reached the World Series on the back of its starting rotation. He joked that Price and Greinke received such mammoth contracts because every other team “looked at how good we were.”

“It is impossible to find guys like Greinke, like Price,” former Mets general manager Jim Duquette said. “When you have a chance to get them, then you save your money and you go get them. They can have such a huge impact.”

San Bernardino Effect: Americans Now Oppose Assault Weapon Ban

NYT Poll: For First Time in 20 Years, Americans Oppose Assault Weapons Ban

Some shocking results from the latest New York Times poll:

 

It seems that President Obama’s call for an assault weapons ban in his recent Oval Office address and the New York Times‘s front page editorial advocating that Americans be made to give up their guns had a significant impact on influencing public opinion — just not in the way that they had hoped.

LESSONS FROM THE SAN BERNARDINO TERROR ATTACK AND JESSE JAMES’ ATTACK ON NORTHFIELD, MINNESOTA IN 1876

We have a President who refuses to acknowledge the nature of the enemy we face (radical Islamic terrorism); he consistently demonstrates his lack of wisdom or conviction to take the necessary actions to protect us against it. We also have feckless leadership in Congress on both sides of the aisle who only say empty words to gain favor with the press and their base to maintain their positions of power while doing nothing of substance.

If we are to be protected, we must rely upon ourselves.

On September 7, 1876, three men rode into the bustling town of Northfield, Minnesota. Several townspeople thought they looked suspicious because their horses were of unusually high quality and they wore matching dusters (to cover their weapons).

These riders (who eventually grew to number eight men) were Jesse and Frank James, the Younger brothers (Cole, Jim and Bob), Charlie Pitts, Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell. They had come to rob the bank.

The towns folk had other ideas.

To this day, teller Joseph Lee Heywood is a local hero, shot dead by Frank James as Heywood repeatedly refused to open the bank safe after being beaten to the floor and threatened with death. James fled the bank with only $26.70.

Townsmen (many who were Civil War veterans) grabbed old but serviceable weapons and began firing at the outlaws on the street while yelling at townspeople to clear the area. The shocked robbers fled the town leaving two dead (Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell), with every member of the gang wounded except Jesse James. Two townspeople were also dead, the teller and a Swede who apparently became confused and couldn’t understand the shouts to get out of the street to avoid the shooting.

In describing the scene, Western story teller Louis L’Amour liked to say the gang was “shot to doll rags.”  It took just seven minutes for the robbery to fail because of the swift actions of the men in the town in spotting the robbery and acting.

The citizens were relentless. As many as 2000 men from Northfield and neighboring towns chased the gang members for weeks, eventually capturing the Youngers (and killing Charlie Pitt). The James brothers escaped after splitting from the others a week after the robbery.

We can learn much from this historic narrative. It runs contrary to the fictional western movies where a band of outlaws come in and take over a town and terrorize the helpless citizens, a popular Hollywood theme.  In reality an armed citizenry, leavened with battle-seasoned veterans, sized up the situation and took immediate action, sheltering their women and children and dealing swift and unrelenting justice to the barbarians who threatened their civilization.

Our fight against the global Islamic jihad has had a number of paradigm shifts. Prior to 9/11, pilots and flight crews were trained to go along with hijackers as the best way to protect passengers. The historic object of the hijackers was to safely get to a location with hostages or make demands for their release. After the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center, that all changed. In real time, some passengers on Flight 93 learned on their cell phones what had happened in New York and Washington at the Pentagon and overwhelmed any terrorists in the passenger cabin and were assaulting the cockpit door when the terrorists decided to crash the plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The paradigm shifted in real time.

The Paris attacks gave us another paradigm shift (or should have). There was talk about the “hostages” at the Bataclan concert hall while the event was unfolding, but we should really know better by now. Islamic terrorists do not take hostages in the middle of such attacks; they massacre people. When they have the leisure to do so they may take women or girls to sell as sex slaves or men and children to behead at a later time for propaganda purposes, but in a terror operation where they are certain to be killed in the middle of a city like Paris if they stay put for very long, there is no recent history of hostage taking, just slaughter.

When journalists suggest that they are taking hostages, they are reporting the last war, a failure of imagination.

Northfield in 1876 teaches four lessons we must learn if we are to defend ourselves in this new reality.

  1. The government cannot protect us in our homes, work or leisure.  No sheriff stopped the James-Younger gang. Even if we are willing to give up all of our civil liberties it is doubtful Big Brother could have averted the San Bernardino attack. Destroying IS, ISIL, ISIS, Daesh or whatever you want to call it in the Middle East might slow recruitment of jihadi wannabe attackers here and around the civilized world but will not eliminate them completely. We have entered a world of perpetual martyrdom, of lunatic Islamists who believe not only in their holy cause of jihad and their other-worldly reward but that their martyrdom will ignite further revolution. Even if we someday elect leaders at all levels with spine, it will take a long time to minimize the existential threat of random violence. These San Bernardino terrorists do not appear to have a large digital footprint that could have been detected. There was apparently an illegal straw man gun purchase of at least some of the weapons by a friend. It could not have been detected, and it could not have been responded to quickly enough.  Even when police responded, they could not just charge in. They did not know how many terrorists there were. They did not know if doors were mined with IEDs that could kill or injure officers or civilians if breached (that apparently was the case; the bombs did not detonate). They did not know if quickly breaching could result in greater civilian casualties. Time was needed – even if they arrived instantly on the scene – to gather intelligence, assess the situation, formulate plans, and implement them. Time had to pass, and in such situations every minute means innocent lives lost as terrorists engage in their massacres.
  2. Vigilance cannot be trumped by political correctness.   The San Bernardino massacre might have been averted had the neighbor(s) who noticed something suspicious actually reported it, but they said they did not because they were afraid of being accused of racial profiling. And that’s not an unreasonable fear. When the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch makes a big deal about violence against Muslims in the wake of 9/11 (where there was an astounding lack of anti-Muslim backlash violence in the U.S.) and says her “greatest fear” is anti-Muslim rhetoric, then people have reason to fear reporting suspicious activities. When she pledges to prosecute people for discrimination against Muslims, this trickles down not only to civilians but all levels of law enforcement.    That means that even had the neighbors reported their suspicions to local law enforcement or federal authorities, those reports might not have been effectively acted upon.       Nonetheless we must report what we see without fear of reprisals from Social Justice Warriors like the Attorney General, and fight to support those who do make such reports.  Making reports, even if they prove to be unfounded, should not be discouraged.
  3. Restricting gun ownership is the opposite of what is needed.   That is like saying we should lock passengers into their seats in airplanes in response to the heroes in Shanksville, so only those terrorists with box cutters can cut their way out and roam the plane. First responders cannot arrive in time and gain enough situational awareness to know to storm a building as quickly as armed people inside can respond to the situation. Cops cannot be everywhere, and every event cannot have enough armed guards to make a difference. A few armed, trained civilians could have taken down the shooters and saved many lives before the police arrived on the scene both in San Bernardino and at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. The terrorists’ bulletproof vests (if they had them; I’ve also seen them described as tactical vests for holding ammo clips) would not protect the legs or head or arms, or keep the shooter from being knocked down and being injured by the hydrostatic shock of impact. While many people would never consider carrying a gun at a holiday party, those folks wouldn’t have to; it would only have taken four or five armed citizens to insure these two were taken out, wounded, scared off, or sent out wounded to leave an easier trail for law enforcement. These terrorists had experience with target practice but expected a soft target; probably the shock of being shot back at would have disrupted their attack or even caused them to abandon their weapons.  As Bruce Lee said, boards do not hit back.
  4. Open carry is not the answer; concealed carry is.  The James-Younger crowd rode into a town they thought was filled with farmers and merchants. They had sized up a number of towns before deciding on this one and had chosen it as a “soft target.” The guns were out of sight. Open carry makes the armed person the terrorists’ first target. Concealed carry leaves the terrorist wondering who might be armed and who isn’t. This is why air marshals are in plain clothes. Would-be terrorists do not know who is armed or if there is one on a flight. A soft target becomes a potentially hard target. The San Bernardino terrorists apparently had another attack planned after this one, possibly a police station or military target; some theorize they chose this target first so they were guaranteed a soft target success in case they failed in the second. If they knew that there was a possibility that there were armed people at this party they would not have considered this a soft target.  Open carry advertises what is a hard or soft target; wide-spread concealed carry makes ANY target potentially hard and may discourage attacks.

I’m sure my friends on the Left would say that we cannot go back to the wild west or vigilante justice. They are ignoring the fact that the Islamist terrorists have already brought us back to the seventh century with their jihadi assaults. Vigilante justice was often an organized community response to the barbarism of the outlaw when no law enforcement was available. Life is not always what it appears in a Hollywood western.  For example, San Francisco citizens joined together several times in an organized Committee of Vigilance  (vigilantes) when the existing civil government was not handling problems (or was part of the problem).

We have to arm ourselves and be prepared to defend ourselves. As it happens, I was born about four miles from where those two terrorists went on their rampage last week. I grew up in San Bernardino (none of us from there pronounce the second “r” either, so don’t feel bad). This kinda hits home and tells me it can happen anywhere. There are no safe places. But I cannot legally carry a concealed weapon in California (California is not big on reciprocity for CCPs).  If I had had the misfortune to be at the Inland Regional Center December 2, I would have been as unable to defend myself and others as anyone in that hall because California politicians have determined to keep folks safe from gunslingers like me.

I’m only in California a few days a month these days. But I’m going to look into finding a sympathetic jurisdiction for a California CCP. I don’t want to be a mourned victim but a proactive defender – wherever I am.

We have a President who refuses to acknowledge the nature of the enemy we face (radical Islamic terrorism); he consistently demonstrates his lack of wisdom or conviction to take the necessary actions to protect us against it. We also have feckless leadership in Congress on both sides of the aisle who only say empty words to gain favor with the press and their base to maintain their positions of power while doing nothing of substance.

If we are to be protected, we must rely upon ourselves.

On September 7, 1876, three men rode into the bustling town of Northfield, Minnesota. Several townspeople thought they looked suspicious because their horses were of unusually high quality and they wore matching dusters (to cover their weapons).

These riders (who eventually grew to number eight men) were Jesse and Frank James, the Younger brothers (Cole, Jim and Bob), Charlie Pitts, Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell. They had come to rob the bank.

The towns folk had other ideas.

To this day, teller Joseph Lee Heywood is a local hero, shot dead by Frank James as Heywood repeatedly refused to open the bank safe after being beaten to the floor and threatened with death. James fled the bank with only $26.70.

Townsmen (many who were Civil War veterans) grabbed old but serviceable weapons and began firing at the outlaws on the street while yelling at townspeople to clear the area. The shocked robbers fled the town leaving two dead (Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell), with every member of the gang wounded except Jesse James. Two townspeople were also dead, the teller and a Swede who apparently became confused and couldn’t understand the shouts to get out of the street to avoid the shooting.

In describing the scene, Western story teller Louis L’Amour liked to say the gang was “shot to doll rags.”  It took just seven minutes for the robbery to fail because of the swift actions of the men in the town in spotting the robbery and acting.

The citizens were relentless. As many as 2000 men from Northfield and neighboring towns chased the gang members for weeks, eventually capturing the Youngers (and killing Charlie Pitt). The James brothers escaped after splitting from the others a week after the robbery.

We can learn much from this historic narrative. It runs contrary to the fictional western movies where a band of outlaws come in and take over a town and terrorize the helpless citizens, a popular Hollywood theme.  In reality an armed citizenry, leavened with battle-seasoned veterans, sized up the situation and took immediate action, sheltering their women and children and dealing swift and unrelenting justice to the barbarians who threatened their civilization.

Our fight against the global Islamic jihad has had a number of paradigm shifts. Prior to 9/11, pilots and flight crews were trained to go along with hijackers as the best way to protect passengers. The historic object of the hijackers was to safely get to a location with hostages or make demands for their release. After the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center, that all changed. In real time, some passengers on Flight 93 learned on their cell phones what had happened in New York and Washington at the Pentagon and overwhelmed any terrorists in the passenger cabin and were assaulting the cockpit door when the terrorists decided to crash the plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The paradigm shifted in real time.

The Paris attacks gave us another paradigm shift (or should have). There was talk about the “hostages” at the Bataclan concert hall while the event was unfolding, but we should really know better by now. Islamic terrorists do not take hostages in the middle of such attacks; they massacre people. When they have the leisure to do so they may take women or girls to sell as sex slaves or men and children to behead at a later time for propaganda purposes, but in a terror operation where they are certain to be killed in the middle of a city like Paris if they stay put for very long, there is no recent history of hostage taking, just slaughter.

When journalists suggest that they are taking hostages, they are reporting the last war, a failure of imagination.

Northfield in 1876 teaches four lessons we must learn if we are to defend ourselves in this new reality.

  1. The government cannot protect us in our homes, work or leisure.  No sheriff stopped the James-Younger gang. Even if we are willing to give up all of our civil liberties it is doubtful Big Brother could have averted the San Bernardino attack. Destroying IS, ISIL, ISIS, Daesh or whatever you want to call it in the Middle East might slow recruitment of jihadi wannabe attackers here and around the civilized world but will not eliminate them completely. We have entered a world of perpetual martyrdom, of lunatic Islamists who believe not only in their holy cause of jihad and their other-worldly reward but that their martyrdom will ignite further revolution. Even if we someday elect leaders at all levels with spine, it will take a long time to minimize the existential threat of random violence. These San Bernardino terrorists do not appear to have a large digital footprint that could have been detected. There was apparently an illegal straw man gun purchase of at least some of the weapons by a friend. It could not have been detected, and it could not have been responded to quickly enough.  Even when police responded, they could not just charge in. They did not know how many terrorists there were. They did not know if doors were mined with IEDs that could kill or injure officers or civilians if breached (that apparently was the case; the bombs did not detonate). They did not know if quickly breaching could result in greater civilian casualties. Time was needed – even if they arrived instantly on the scene – to gather intelligence, assess the situation, formulate plans, and implement them. Time had to pass, and in such situations every minute means innocent lives lost as terrorists engage in their massacres.
  2. Vigilance cannot be trumped by political correctness.   The San Bernardino massacre might have been averted had the neighbor(s) who noticed something suspicious actually reported it, but they said they did not because they were afraid of being accused of racial profiling. And that’s not an unreasonable fear. When the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch makes a big deal about violence against Muslims in the wake of 9/11 (where there was an astounding lack of anti-Muslim backlash violence in the U.S.) and says her “greatest fear” is anti-Muslim rhetoric, then people have reason to fear reporting suspicious activities. When she pledges to prosecute people for discrimination against Muslims, this trickles down not only to civilians but all levels of law enforcement.    That means that even had the neighbors reported their suspicions to local law enforcement or federal authorities, those reports might not have been effectively acted upon.       Nonetheless we must report what we see without fear of reprisals from Social Justice Warriors like the Attorney General, and fight to support those who do make such reports.  Making reports, even if they prove to be unfounded, should not be discouraged.
  3. Restricting gun ownership is the opposite of what is needed.   That is like saying we should lock passengers into their seats in airplanes in response to the heroes in Shanksville, so only those terrorists with box cutters can cut their way out and roam the plane. First responders cannot arrive in time and gain enough situational awareness to know to storm a building as quickly as armed people inside can respond to the situation. Cops cannot be everywhere, and every event cannot have enough armed guards to make a difference. A few armed, trained civilians could have taken down the shooters and saved many lives before the police arrived on the scene both in San Bernardino and at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. The terrorists’ bulletproof vests (if they had them; I’ve also seen them described as tactical vests for holding ammo clips) would not protect the legs or head or arms, or keep the shooter from being knocked down and being injured by the hydrostatic shock of impact. While many people would never consider carrying a gun at a holiday party, those folks wouldn’t have to; it would only have taken four or five armed citizens to insure these two were taken out, wounded, scared off, or sent out wounded to leave an easier trail for law enforcement. These terrorists had experience with target practice but expected a soft target; probably the shock of being shot back at would have disrupted their attack or even caused them to abandon their weapons.  As Bruce Lee said, boards do not hit back.
  4. Open carry is not the answer; concealed carry is.  The James-Younger crowd rode into a town they thought was filled with farmers and merchants. They had sized up a number of towns before deciding on this one and had chosen it as a “soft target.” The guns were out of sight. Open carry makes the armed person the terrorists’ first target. Concealed carry leaves the terrorist wondering who might be armed and who isn’t. This is why air marshals are in plain clothes. Would-be terrorists do not know who is armed or if there is one on a flight. A soft target becomes a potentially hard target. The San Bernardino terrorists apparently had another attack planned after this one, possibly a police station or military target; some theorize they chose this target first so they were guaranteed a soft target success in case they failed in the second. If they knew that there was a possibility that there were armed people at this party they would not have considered this a soft target.  Open carry advertises what is a hard or soft target; wide-spread concealed carry makes ANY target potentially hard and may discourage attacks.

I’m sure my friends on the Left would say that we cannot go back to the wild west or vigilante justice. They are ignoring the fact that the Islamist terrorists have already brought us back to the seventh century with their jihadi assaults. Vigilante justice was often an organized community response to the barbarism of the outlaw when no law enforcement was available. Life is not always what it appears in a Hollywood western.  For example, San Francisco citizens joined together several times in an organized Committee of Vigilance  (vigilantes) when the existing civil government was not handling problems (or was part of the problem).

We have to arm ourselves and be prepared to defend ourselves. As it happens, I was born about four miles from where those two terrorists went on their rampage last week. I grew up in San Bernardino (none of us from there pronounce the second “r” either, so don’t feel bad). This kinda hits home and tells me it can happen anywhere. There are no safe places. But I cannot legally carry a concealed weapon in California (California is not big on reciprocity for CCPs).  If I had had the misfortune to be at the Inland Regional Center December 2, I would have been as unable to defend myself and others as anyone in that hall because California politicians have determined to keep folks safe from gunslingers like me.

I’m only in California a few days a month these days. But I’m going to look into finding a sympathetic jurisdiction for a California CCP. I don’t want to be a mourned victim but a proactive defender – wherever I am.

10-Northfield

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