Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Citizen Active Shooter Response: Which Approach is Best?

Citizen Active Shooter Response: Which Approach is Best?

As cited in the blog article from February 5, 2017, I have some background in active shooter response and tactical training for law enforcement and the military.  Recently, I read (yet another) article about another response model for citizens in an active shooter event.  Indeed, it seems like everyone wants to get their slice of the active shooter response pie these days.  Some programs are good, some are not so good.  I’m writing this article today to point out why one is better than the others.

First, the others.  Probably the most popular model is the “Run, Hide, Fight” model, which has been widely circulated by the Department of Homeland Security. Cops all over the country are telling their citizenry that this is the way to go.  I can’t blame them.  The program is served up on a platter for them and it’s free.  It’s not the worst plan in the world.  At the very least, it gives citizens who may find themselves in an environment where an active shooting is taking place something to fall back on.  Essentially, the program instructs innocent citizens to run from the incident or danger area as a first option.  If that option isn’t available, hide underneath a desk, in a closet or some other reasonable hiding place. Finally, if that doesn’t work, the program tells citizens to fight the attacker, ostensibly with whatever they can find to defend themselves and neutralize the bad guy.  All in all, it sounds reasonable, right? 

Another model that put forth that the Run, Hide, Fight plan was erroneous in an article last year is the “Move, Escape, Attack” model published on Police One by Mike Wood. Lt. Col. Wood’s article puts forth that “potential victims” should move “off the X” as a first line of response.  If you don’t already know, moving off the “X” is a commonplace theme in law enforcement and military training.  The “X” is the last known location the shooter had for his target, so moving off the “X” is definitely a good idea, but I put forth that calling anyone a “potential victim” is bad language and there is no difference in principle behind this and the “run” part of the Run, Hide, Fight model he takes on in his article. 

Next. Lt. Col. Wood proposes that if they can’t “move” as a first option, then “escape” is the next option.  I ask you, what’s the difference?  If you read the above-linked article, it also states that

Escape may be accomplished by finding temporary concealment (good), finding temporary cover (better), or fleeing the scene entirely (best), as the situation permits. It essentially combines the "run" and "hide" options of the old model into one, because a victim can entirely escape from the threat area, or merely escape the notice of the killer, within it.”

Again, I see no difference in this tactic from the “run” or “hide” advice that DHS is putting forth and indeed, Lt. Col. Wood points this out in the article.  What I don’t understand is, what is the difference in principle between “Move”, “Escape” or “Run”?  Don’t they all mean the same thing?  Furthermore, telling innocent citizens to find concealment or cover is tantamount to “hiding”, which I’ll pick on later.  It is no different.  And as I teach cops all the time, cover is relative to what is being shot at you.

Finally, Lt. Col. Wood writes that “attacking” a gunman as the third option is a better term to use because it “conjures a different emotional response than ‘fight.’"  He further goes onto say that to attack is to be proactive and aggressive as where “fight” doesn’t bear as many psychological teeth.  Is he right?  I don’t know.  But this notion of proactive and aggressive is something that I personally feel is lacking from both of these models, despite their protestations of same.

Avoid, Deny, Defend

The Avoid, Deny, Defend model (ADD) was created by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) group, which is associated with Texas State University.  ALERRT has a long history of training law enforcement and military first responders to effectively isolate, distract and neutralize an active shooter and does so using research and real world application of their tactics.  Several years ago, they came out with the ADD model for citizen response to active shooter events and it makes more sense than anything I’ve read so far.  There are similarities, but there’s one big difference.

Step by step, the Avoid, Deny, Defend model flows like this:  If you can, avoid the danger area. Get out of there.  This is tantamount to the “run” or “move” from the other two models.  There’s not much difference in principle here.  However, in the second part of the model is where the differences from the other two become stark. 

Deny means if you can’t avoid the danger area, barricade your current position.  Deny entry to the shooter by using desks, tables, large items, feet, door jams… whatever you need to use to ensure the shooter cannot enter the area in which you are located without great effort.  Why is this so drastically different?  Because unlike changing a word here or there, it empowers innocent citizens to take their survival into their own hands.  It’s not a passive action, like hiding.  I like empowering people under stress.  It puts them in the mindset that they will get through it and they will survive.  It can also foster teamwork and unity of force against the shooter. 

Why this drastic change from the other two plans?  Research.  The ALERRT group does a ton of research about what works and what doesn’t.  Where did this research come from?  The April, 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.  The below graphic and excerpt from the ADD presentation illustrates what actions (or inactions) took place in which rooms and what their effectiveness level was:

Source: The ALERRT Center at Texas State University

As you can see, the rooms in Norris Hall where there was no action resulted in the highest percentage of fatality and injury.  Where denial was attempted but unfortunately failed, fatalities decreased dramatically.  Where denial succeeded, there was 100% survival rate and no one was shot.  This is what happens when people are empowered to take survival into their own hands.  I wonder how many of the people in room 206 of Norris Hall at Virginia Tech were hiding or attempted to hide while 92% of the people in the room were shot?

It bears noting what motivates an active shooter.  They want notoriety.  They want high numbers.  They want easy kills.  They want to prey on sheep, because they are wolves.  What they don’t bargain for is a group of citizens who are willing to defend themselves to the point of hardening the target area through denial of entry.  That’s too much work for them and with every second they’re trying to gain entry into a hardened area, they are losing some of those numbers they so desperately want to jack up.  Also, the police are on the way, so time is crucial.  Denial is key to survival.

Beyond denial, the ALERRT model tells citizens to defend themselves, again using whatever means are available.  Fire extinguishers, staplers, hands to the eyes… whatever you can do.  If the bad guy does make entry, defend yourself at all costs.  And there’s no such thing as a fair fight.  A few swift kicks to the groin will stop even the most dedicated gunman.

As a staunch pro-gun and pro-self defense advocate, I will add, there is no better time to be armed than in an active shooter event.  If the denial doesn’t work, the last thing the gunman wants to face is another gunman (or woman).  However, if you are going to carry a gun, make sure you know how to use it.  Not just the basics, but know how your body will react under stress and how to deal with it.  Know how to effectively defend yourself, not just how to aim and pull a trigger.  Also, make sure you’re well-informed as to the law of wherever you may be carrying.

There’s a lot of nonsense out there with regard to active shooter preparedness, some of which is unfortunately being taught to and by law enforcement.  But just because someone offers you a free meal doesn’t mean you should eat it.  It could taste like garbage and leave you hungry and malnourished.  The first two civilian active shooter models cited here are good.  They’re fine.  But when seconds count and survival is on the line, I want better than just fine. I want the best.  The Avoid, Deny, Defend model from ALERRT is the best.  It’s backed by real research and facts, not theory.  If my life should ever be on the line, I would prefer to go with what has been proven to work!

Oh, and by the way… This program is also served up on a platter and free for law enforcement agencies to teach their citizens.  What could be better?


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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Denver Riggleman: The Establishment’s Worst Nightmare

Denver Riggleman: The Establishment’s Worst Nightmare

Denver Riggleman is highly motivated - some might even say angry - and with good reason.  Riggleman is running for the GOP nomination for Governor of Virginia and I recently had the opportunity to hear him speak at my local GOP Committee meeting and I could tell, his heart is in it.  I don’t mean to draw a slew of contrasts between Riggleman and would-be “anti-establishment” gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart, but I will, only because in my estimation, they’re going after the same voters.  But they’re doing it in very different ways. Riggleman isn’t thoughtless, as Stewart appears to be.  Riggleman isn’t abrasive, as Stewart is.  Riggleman is believable and doesn’t grandstand, as Stewart does.  And that’s just a few of the many differences between the two.

Riggleman, a former intelligence officer and current owner of Silverback Distillery in Nelson County, VA, has a very simple message to help garner support:  Stop the cronyism in government.  Stop the influence of special interests and big lobbyists from impacting the everyday lives of Virginians.  He has a personal tale detailing why he got into the race for Governor, in which he pulls no punches against crony capitalism and his favorite punching bag, Dominion Virginia Power.  His frustration as a business owner and land owner is palpable when you hear him speak about it.  Unlike Stewart who ostensibly watches videos of Donald Trump and tries to emulate him, Riggleman is sincere, earnest and motivated to change the pay-to-play system in Richmond. 

The biggest problem with Riggleman’s message is even though the issues he talks about affect many, many Virginians (regardless of political affiliation), most of those Virginians either don’t know or don’t care how it affects them.  The blue counties of Northern Virginia, which unfortunately blow Virginia’s political winds way too strongly, care more about what bathrooms their self-identified transgendered citizens can use than whether or not the government is taking their land unlawfully.  They care more about refugees & gay rights than property rights.  They don’t care if their local or state government hikes their taxes to pay for entitlement programs because somehow, they’ve determined that’s a core function of government, which is absurd. 

I’ve heard Riggleman give speeches on social media previously and his message is one of liberty and of freedom against government overreach.  This recent talk was no different.  Again, this affects many Virginians, but do they know it?  By contrast, the blowhard Stewart tells conservatives that illegal aliens are taking their jobs.  That’s a message they can sink their teeth into, even though the delivery source is about as unlikable as Hillary Clinton’s rabid dog.  Riggleman needs to either find an issue that every day Virginians can care about and sink their teeth into or find a way to make sure voters know how his government overreach and anti-cronyism message affects them.  The challenge is, in the age of social media sound bites, that’s a hard message to drive home in 7 – 10 seconds. 

One of the elected officials at the meeting asked the question of Riggleman… What two issues are most important to you in your campaign for Governor?  Riggleman’s answer: Transparency and funding.  No more secret votes in committee in the General Assembly, no more wasteful spending on programs no one can define.  Again, this is a fantastic message for those of us who pay attention… but most voters don’t pay attention.  Having worked at several polling places in a past election, I was awe struck by the number of voters who made up their minds right then and there.  They vote, but it’s an uneducated vote, so pushing forth a policy-heavy message is lost on those voters and even more so when it’s a substantive policy rather than a social policy.

I like Riggleman, obviously much more than wannabe radio talk show host Corey Stewart.  Riggleman has been there and done that.  He’s not a lawyer, which is refreshing.  He’s one of us.  His message is decidedly anti-establishment, but not in an abrasive, Trump/Stewart-esque way.  He seems reasonable and he’s used his personal experience (and money, I’m sure) to try to make a difference for the better for every day Virginians. He recognizes that small business is the engine that drives our economy and for too long, certain large businesses and their lobbies have been padding the pockets of politicians in Richmond to their own benefit.  He relayed to us that when he challenged this practice to some lawmakers in Richmond, he was given the message “that’s just how the game is played”.  Well he correctly calls bullshit on that game and I respect him for that.  The “game” only serves to hurt real people over time and keeps the establishment engine running smoothly in the background.

When I think about for whom I cast my vote and urge my friends and family to vote for, I think about who inspires me with their message.  Who has taken the lemons of their own personal experience and is trying to turn it into lemonade, not just for themselves, but for the betterment of all (or most) of their would-be constituents?  I’ve said for years, don’t tell me what you are, show me what you do.  Riggleman not only has the credentials to speak from experience on his policy points, he’s also genuinely likable.  I haven’t heard Ed Gillespie or Frank Wagner speak in person yet, but so far, I’m a fan of Riggleman.  I would urge more Virginians get to hear his message and start to really think about how the experience he’s had and changes he proposes would affect them.  Because Riggleman could just be the breath of fresh air Virginia needs in the emerging political winds.

Besides, Riggleman was born on St. Patrick's Day.  What better reason do you need to vote for him? :)


UPDATE: March 16, 2017:  Unfortunately Denver Riggleman announced that he is suspending his bid for the 2017 Gubernatorial campaign today.  The Bull Elephant blog shared the information linked here: 

I personally wish Denver the best.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Virginia’s Alt Right: A Bunch of Crap

Virginia’s Alt Right: A Bunch of Crap

In the seemingly endless exchanges of comments on social media and in political discussions between people of similar political beliefs, there is one group that stands out above the conservative crowd as totally unreasonable, unwavering and a total bunch of blowhard asses: The Alt Right.  In Virginia, the Alt Right has a blowhardy blog called the Virginia Underground Railroad, which publishes incendiary pieces about leftists and attacks those on the right it deems as “establishment” politicians in office for their records, their affiliations and a myriad of other things. 

The Alt Right “movement” is not a brand new phenomenon.  The term was adopted by white supremacists in 2010 and the leftstream media seems to have amped-up awareness of an Alt Right movement during the 2016 Presidential campaign, falsely labeling Donald Trump and some of his staff and supporters as “Alt Right”.  However, there are still some (perhaps many) in the conservative political ether that cling to the Alt Right ideal, which is disturbing upon inspection.

In the Virginia Underground Railroad’s September 23, 2016 blog defining “Virginia’s Alt Right”, they give credit to the outline of the basic tenets of the movement to another blog, Vox Popoli.  Interestingly, while they give credit and link these basic principles, they changed some of the wording from the cited Vox Popoli blog.  So what are these tenets?  Here they are, enumerated and commented upon as listed in the Virginia Underground Railroad blog:

  1. The Alt Right is of the political right in both the American and the European sense of the term. Socialists are not Alt Right. Progressives are not Alt Right. Liberals are not Alt Right. Communists, Marxists, Marxians, cultural Marxists, and neocons are not Alt Right.
So we’re defining who is not Alt Right, but who is Alt Right, right?  We’ll keep going.

2.     The Alt Right is an ALTERNATIVE to the mainstream conservative movement in the USA that is nominally encapsulated by Russel Kirk's 10 Conservative Principles, but in reality has devolved towards progressivism. It is also an alternative to libertarianism

Read: The Alt Right is so conservative, even the Tea Party wasn’t conservative enough for us.  This tenet also editorializes that the mainstream conservative movement has “devolved toward progressivism”, but fails to define what that means in their view.  My question would be, what is your idea of “progressivism”?  Both sides trying to work together?  That’s progress I can get behind because it serves the people.

  1. The Alt Right is not a defensive attitude and rejects the concept of noble and principled defeat. It is a forward-thinking philosophy of offense, in every sense of that term. The Alt Right believes in victory through persistence and remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition, and the lessons of history.

So they claim to be forward-thinking, but don’t like progressivism?  I actually appreciate the belief in victory through persistence, but the comment about “remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition and the lessons of history” is interesting.  It’s also the first mention of science.  There are more as you will see.  I’d also like the term “cultural tradition” to be defined, but it isn’t.

  1. The Alt Right believes Western civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement and supports its three foundational pillars: Christianity, the European nations, and the Graeco-Roman legacy.

I’m down with Western civilizations being the pinnacle of human achievement, but doesn’t supporting the pillar of Christianity fly in the face of science?  And please note the omission of the “Judeo” part of what is normally referred to as a “Judeo-Christian” ethos. This tenet is also very Euro-centric.  Hold on to that, we’ll come back to that in a bit.

  1. The Alt Right is openly and avowedly nationalist. It supports all nationalisms and the right of all nations to exist, homogeneous and unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration.
  2. The Alt Right is anti-globalist. It opposes all groups who work for globalist ideals or globalist objectives

These two are lumped together because they piggy-back off of one another.  The statement about homogeneous nations unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration is interesting, don’t you think?  Has America ever been homogeneous?  Will it ever be?  And if you believe this tenet, there must be a plan to work toward this, yes?  I’d be interested to know what that is, because it sounds like it could be alluding to ethnic cleansing, if you ask me.

  1. The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.
This is the first one I can get on board with.  Equality is a unicorn.  It does not exist.  Neither does fairness.  Rock on with this philosophy, but so far, this is the only one that doesn’t sound like bullshit.  Oh, and leprechauns totally exists.  You’ll see on March 17th!

8.     The Alt Right is scientodific. It presumptively accepts the current conclusions of the scientific method (scientody), while understanding a) these conclusions are liable to future revision, b) that scientistry is susceptible to corruption, and c) that the so-called scientific consensus is not based on scientody, but democracy, and is therefore intrinsically unscientific

Ok, guys… scientodific, scientody and scientistry are not words in the English language!  Where the hell did you come up with these?  And if you’re so concentrated on science, where does Christianity (or Judeo-Christian ethos) factor into it?  Smelling the bullshit yet?
(Side note, yes, I know “leftstream” is also not a word in the English language, nor is “blowhardy”)

9.     The Alt Right believes identity > culture > politics

Identity is greater than culture.  Who’s identity?  Individual identity?  Group identity?  National identity?  What are we talking about here?  Culture is greater than politics. But doesn’t culture drive politics in most democratic republics?  This is how a society progresses and evolves, is it not?

  1. The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means.
“Opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence…”  So by that rationale, the Native Americans should be in power, yes?  To be fair, I think the sentiment behind this tenet is altruistic, but when combined with some of the other bullshit on this list, it loses its altruism entirely.

  1. The Alt Right understands that diversity + proximity = war.
Again, a nice little hat-tip to a homogenous society, which can likely only be accomplished through ethnic cleansing.  I would argue that diversity + proximity = evolution, but who the hell am I to throw common sense and reason into the mix?

12.  The Alt Right doesn't care what you think of it

Including self-avowed members of the Alt Right?  And who is “you”?  Unfortunately, I’ve seen this tenet played out in person and in social media.  It’s a very “I’m right, you’re wrong… and you’re a ‘liberal’ for disagreeing with us” mentality.  This is how dipshits like Corey Stewart get to run for Governor and gain a following.  He doesn’t care what you think about him.  He also appears to hold true to many of the above tenets and some to follow. 

  1. The Alt Right rejects international free trade and the free movement of peoples that free trade requires. The benefits of intranational free trade is not evidence for the benefits of international free trade.
Another hat-tip to nationalism.  I could probably write a whole article on the pros and cons of international free trade.  Suffice it to say, trade anywhere, whether international or intranational needs to be equal to work for everyone, right?  But they already told us equality is a unicorn, so where does that leave us. Throw out your smart phones, folks!

Now here’s a doozy…

14.  The Alt Right believes we must defend and protect the Caucasian race. We must reverse the population decline of whites in the Western world.

Interestingly, this tenet was the only one altered by the authors of the Virginia Underground Railroad from the cited Vox Popoli blog.  The original #14 from the linked blog reads:

The Alt Right believes we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children.”

Now, the difference is in the language.  The sentiment is exactly the same.  And it’s racist.  This is taken right out of the Nazi playbook and, when combined with several other of the tenets espousing ideologies of nationalism and homogeneous society, the picture starts to become clear.  And let me be equally clear: If you adhere to the Alt Right ideal and read this and think to yourself “that’s reasonable” or it inspires you in any way, you are a racist too.  I’m white, my wife is white, my kids are white.  So what?  “Defend and protect” vs. “Secure the existence of” is the same thing.  I find it oddly disingenuous that the Virginia Underground Railroad blog author(s) (whomever they are) would change the wording on this and not much else.  If you defend this, you’re either stupid or a liar.  So which is it?  Time to pick a side, Alt Righters.  You either agree with this or you don’t. 

Now, they follow up that racist crap with this statement:

15.  The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.

So, ‘up the whites’, but no “supremacy of any race…, people or sub-species.”  Is that right?  This is in direct conflict to #14.  The stench of bullshit is now enveloping the whole movement. 

Ok, last one…

16.  The Alt Right is a philosophy that values peace among the various nations of the world and opposes wars to impose the values of one nation upon another as well as efforts to exterminate individual nations through war, genocide, immigration, or genetic assimilation.

We value peace, but as #11 points out, “diversity + proximity = war”.  We oppose war, but in #11, we just gave you a recipe for it.  We believe in a homogeneous society, but not through genocide or genetic assimilation.  Now the bullshit is piled so high, you’d need a periscope to figure out where it ends. 

Here’s the problem with the Alt Right:  Their heads are so far up their own asses telling themselves they’re “standing up for conservatives” and digging their heels in on every little thing that they fail to see they’re part of the problem.  And unfortunately, as time goes on in the Trump administration, they stand to be an even bigger part of the problem.

Sure, call me a “liberal” because I *gasp* respect people as individuals, and don’t judge groups overall as a race or ethnicity.  Dub me an “uneducated leftists” because I appreciate that my kids go to schools where they’re exposed to different cultures, opinions and beliefs, then use what their parents taught them and their own good judgement in concert with that to come to conclusions on their own. Call me whatever you need to call me, just don’t ever call me a member of the Alt Right… because I have a very low threshold for bullshit and these tenets are pure, unadulterated, grade-A bullshit.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Reversal of the Political Bell Curve

Reversal of the Political Bell Curve

On one of my recent morning runs, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts (Reasonable Doubt with Adam Carolla & Attorney Mark Geragos) and Mr. Geragos briefly mentioned an interesting theory which I have heard at least one other time in the past week.  The political bell curve, he said, is changing.  We used to have lunatics on the far left and lunatics on the far right and most people would fall in between as moderates.  Now it seems the lunatics on both sides are growing more and more vocal and pervasive and the moderate man in the middle is the one who is drowned out… or perhaps just forced into silence.

This same notion was put forth by Chuck Todd on la recent edition of Meet the Press when he was interviewing former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.  Webb, a former U.S. Marine, Republican and Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, changed political affiliation in the 2006 to become a Democrat.  Chuck Todd questioned Webb, who by all accounts is very moderate, about the carving out of the political center, which is giving way to “hard-liners” (a.k.a. lunatics) on both sides of the political spectrum.  What’s the evidence to support these theories? There are more and more with each passing day.
First, let’s look at the obvious example, the election of Donald Trump as President.  Love him or hate him, you can be sure that Trump is, by in large, not a moderate.  He appeals to the marginalized majority -- the factory worker who lost his job in the past 5 years, the tradesman whose company packed up and moved Mexico, the firefighter whose health insurance copays and deductibles have skyrocketed under Obamacare.  He is as blunt as they come and is unapologetic about it.  Is he likable?  Those who meet him in person say he is.  But let’s just put it this way, Hillary Clinton is so unlikable that she lost to Donald Trump!  That should say something!

If we’re being 100% honest about Mr. Trump’s domestic and foreign policies and statements he’s made regarding same, he’s anything but moderate.  It’s more accurate to say he’s can lean moderate on some social issues like gay rights.  (Of course, that doesn’t stop the WaPo and the HuffPo from publishing stories about how much he hates homosexuals, but I digress).  His policies on illegal immigration, foreign relations with certain countries, refugees, etc. are all very hard-right.  That’s fine, that’s who we elected, but it signals a shift in American politics and social policy with regard to certain topics which makes the hard-right much more mainstream.  Unfortunately, a lot of the hard-right is also terribly unreasonable and unwavering in this mainstream awakening of their ideals (see article re: Corey Stewart).

The left has the same issues.  Jim Webb is what I would call a respectable, thoughtful, moderate Democrat, but even he acknowledged that “The Democratic Party… has moved very far to the left” and “They’re looking toward 2018 and they don’t have a message.”  He’s very correct.  At least Trump and his minions had a simple, succinct message: Make America Great Again.  The Democratic party, now full of leftist radicals both in the grass roots and in various public policy positions, has no leadership, no vision, no message… Other than to badger, bully and berate GOP Congressman on social media, cry out for town hall meetings, then complain when they’re given town hall meetings that ostensibly aren’t held in resistance member’s living rooms.  It’s ridiculous and the leftstream media isn’t helping. 

The media and their constant leftist barrage of “news” related to President Trump and his administration is insane.  I listen to NPR regularly because it’s the only decent news station on the radio in the morning where I live.  Virtually every half-hour starts off with a headline “Donald Trump…” and then goes on to editorialize about something the President or his administration did.  The concentration on the President is not limited to NPR.  As I’ve expressed many times, if Mr. Trump thought the leftstream media wasn’t kind to him on the campaign trail, wait till we have to endure 4 years of President Trump’s relationship with them.  They’ll be relentless.  In a recent NPR interview with a WaPo reporter about the Trump Campaign staffers having contact with Russian operatives, the reporter said they had 10 reporters working solely on the story.  Sounds like a witch-hunt to me.  And all that approach does is feed the radical leftist ideal like a hungry tiger.  The leftstream media is driving people further to the far left and they are complicit in the violence and hate that is a groundswell of the radical left.

This house in Henrico County, VA is a great example of the hate & vitriol spewing from the left.  The irony is not lost that “Hateful Republicans” is right next to a sign apparently calling for the immolation of a GOP U.S. Congressman. 

I’m a middle-aged white male.  I am politically aware and I pay attention to what’s going on in the world.  In my lifetime, I have never seen such hate and vitriol, not just toward the President, but toward anyone of conservative ideal.  While the Tea Party may have given a voice to the lunatic right, the “indivisible” or “resistance” movement is giving a voice to the lunatic left.  And increasingly, you have to pick a side, otherwise you’re labeled an enemy of whichever side you thought you fell into.  After my article on Corey Stewart, some labeled me a liberal on social media.  I know you don’t know me, but I’m far from liberal.  Like Corey did in the GOP meeting referenced in the article, some simply assumed I was liberal because I had an opposing view. That’s unreasonable and the unreasonables on both sides are growing in number and in voice.

The “no-brainer effect” of the lunatics on both sides having a louder voice and more influence is that our elected officials are increasingly having to tow the party line if they want to keep their jobs, hardly ever giving audience to any moderate ideas.  I’ve seen over the past few weeks how the leftists attack conservative officials who may not share their ideals or enact policy as they see fit grow louder, more intolerant and unreasonable.  The same thing happens on the right, hence the rise of lunatics and zealots on that side as well.  Yes, I’m looking at you, alt-right folks riding the Underground Railroad. 

What’s with the “alt-right” anyway?  The Tea Party wasn’t conservative enough for you? Too much of an "establishment"?

So what are reasonable people supposed to do?  Are the reasonables like Jim Webb and Adam Carolla a dying breed or are the normal, reasonable people just afraid to speak out?  Does no one want to hear an opposing viewpoint just because it comes from the opposition?  Rep. Tom Garrett said in his online Town Hall recently, no one has a monopoly on good ideas.  He’s right.  So let’s all try to be a little more reasonable and work together to get some of these good ideas into practice.  Because the way things are going now, I’m not seeing a lot of unity in anything other than disdain for the other side.


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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

“Peace-Loving” Leftists on the Warpath

Peace-Loving” Leftists on the Warpath

A few weeks ago, I attended a town hall meeting hosted by my local Delegate in the Virginia General Assembly.  I’ve attended two of these in each of the years prior, and all of the previous ones have been a very cordial exchange of information and emphasis of legislative policy points to help keep the constituents of the district informed as to what their representative(s) were doing in Richmond.  Then there was this year’s town hall. 

As I arrived, I noticed there were probably at least a third more attendees than in years prior.  That’s fine, no biggie.  After the events surrounding last year’s election, I expect more involvement.  But many of these people were far more than involved, they imposed a vocal monopoly, were confrontational, argumentative and at times, borderline rude.  By virtue of the fact that they dictated the direction of the conversation and all huddled together, front & center, I could tell very quickly that a conservative opinion or point of view would not be welcomed by this crowd.  One older gentleman even brought up a point about the government interfering too much in people’s lives and I thought they would stab him. 

What was even more telling about these obvious leftists is the complete nincompoopery of the issues to which they assign importance.  Marijuana legalization topped the list.  I hate to be Mr. Buzzkill, but who really cares, what with all the major problems in society and the world?  I really don’t give a fiddler’s fart about marijuana.  If you’re conservative and prioritize your top three issues in order of importance, does marijuana legalization really hit anywhere in your top three list?  Public safety, quality affordable education, job creation, free market commerce, abortion, right to self-defense, less government/regulation, lower taxes, etc… all of those and more probably top the list for 90% of conservatives over marijuana legalization.  And to be frank, the argument that it may (or may not) serve a medicinal purpose is largely disingenuous and horribly transparent.  There are other reasons to legalize it, but the medical reason doesn't affect most people.  It really makes me wonder if legalizers just want to sit in their living room and get high without getting arrested.  As far as I’m concerned, rock on!  I get it, so let’s stop talking about it as if it really matters, because it really doesn’t in the big picture.  But that didn’t stop the group from monopolizing the conversation for 10-15 minutes or more, hashing it out with the Delegate (pun intended).

If you really want to get a glimpse into the overall mindset of the leftists at this meeting, it’s summed up by their answer to one question that was asked by another attendee:  Would you support a tax increase if it meant better services for those in need?  All of the leftists in the room raised their hands!  First off, this is not a basic function of government.  Second, the determination of who is "in need" is largely up for debate, depending on who is in power.  Third, the government has shown repeatedly that handing them more of our hard-earned money doesn’t work out well for most people most of the time, so why would we want to give them MORE?  Churches, civic organizations, tax exempt charities all do a much better job at this and have more incentive to do so, other than continuing to exist and bloat the public coffers with our tax dollars.

Unfortunately, I did not come away with a warm-fuzzy feeling about the populous and their legislative priorities after this meeting.  It occurred to me later, however, that I was one of several silent people in the room, maybe as many as half.  Do you know why that is?  Because what my Delegate (and others, as illustrated later) underwent hosting a town hall would be met upon the conservative element in the room if we opened our mouths.  That much I know, and I was too tired and it was too late for me to want fist fight a greenie weenie.  I did email my Delegate the next day, thanked him and let him know that there was another perspective in the room and told him what me and my family prioritize when it comes time to vote.  I truly think he was appreciative.

Now comes the other prong in this attack by the left: The constant barrage of online attacks on social media by leftists upon Republican/Conservative legislators.  Do you have Facebook?  If you do and haven’t checked the official Congressional pages of any of your Republican Representatives lately, you may want to.  Get some popcorn, because the trolling freak show is a sight to behold!  And even though these Republican Congressmen and women are doing what the majority of their constituency voted them into office to do (some of them voted in by an overwhelming majority, by the way), the ostensibly unemployed, government-supported masses come out in droves under the relative safety of the internet, likely because they have nothing but free time.  I spent some time myself cataloging some examples this past week.

Suck the teat of donors and lobbyists to get rich?  That doesn’t sound too tolerant to me!  By the way, he's been in office for a grand total of a month!

That’s one call for a town hall… And what do you have against High School kids anyway?

That’s a second call for a town hall…

Do I hear a third call for a town hall?  And doesn’t represent the majority voice?  He won over his Democratic opponent by nearly 20 points!

There’s that phrase again!

Now there’s a whole Town Hall Project!

And last, but certainly not least, this impromptu march upon his office in Charlottesville:

Anyway, you get the idea.  And don’t try to tell me this is random and unplanned.

Seeing a pattern here?  Congressman Taylor’s office has been feverishly trying to keep up and placate these calls for a town hall since all of this started.

Some of the worst I’ve seen are on Congressman Dave Brat’s (R-7th) Official Facebook Page.
I cataloged about 8 of the most egregious examples on various posts within just a few days. The comments were by leftists insulting Congressman Brat and calling for town hall meetings.  Then I saw this series of comments on a post Brat’s page posted on February 7:

Each comment either nasty or threatening, all calling for a town hall meeting, and all of those comments are on one post, within about an hour of being published.  I thought these were supposed to be peace-loving hippies?

To be fair, Rep. Brat did put his proverbial foot in his mouth by recently stating publicly that “everywhere I go, women are all up in my grill”, but that gaff doesn’t deserve an onslaught of disrespectful and even threatening responses… not if you’re a reasonable human being, anyway.  Congressman Brat did hit the nail on the head, however, when he stated at the same event that the calls for town hall meetings by leftists are not to show him support. 

“But O’Hanrahan”, you may ask, “What about the Democrat’s Facebook pages”?  I did check them too.  Here are some selections from Freshman Congressman Donald McEachin’s Facebook page:

Impeach the President.  Okay, that’s certainly not anti-McEachin, nor is it threatening or insulting toward him.

Nothing but praise and appreciation.  A decidedly different tone than the ones seen on the GOP Congressman’s pages.

So now comes the point.  What can you do to help combat this tactic?  At recent meetings of my local Republican Committee, I noticed that there was a large number of older members.  Nothing against them, they have life experience, they’re involved, informed and they vote.  But they likely either don’t have Facebook, don’t use Facebook often and/or don’t know how to use Facebook.  Plus, they probably have more important things to do with their time.  But the best way to combat this obviously coordinated, calculated, negative message is with a good offense by those of use who do use social media regularly.  Come on, I know you’re out there!  We have two Democratic Senators in Virginia.  Go on over to their pages and give them what-fer!  Let them know you want Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed.  Let them know you want Jeff Sessions to be confirmed.  Demand an audience with them because you’re their constituent too.  Be respectful and don’t stoop as low as the leftists.  With as much Facebook trolling as there appears to go on within the Republican Party of Virginia, there has to be room to redirect that energy to something more positive and coordinated. 

I recently made the succinct point to some leftists on Facebook that if we are truly fed up with our Representatives in Washington not making any progress to help the citizenry, why inundate them with phone calls and demands for town hall meetings when they’re working hard to try and make progress in the first 100 days of the Administration?  The fact is, Republicans are a majority on Congress for a reason and now they have a job to do.  There’s an appropriate time & place for constituents to be heard. Be patient and let them do the work of the people.

Just because the GOP won the White House and a majority in Congress this past election doesn’t mean the battle is over.  You want to keep the White House and the majority?  You want to win the races for Governor, LG, AG and numerous statehouse positions?  Start fighting the battle on all fronts.  Start organizing an effort to combat these multi-faceted attacks.  Otherwise, the proverbial party (and progress) will come to a screeching halt.

Right or wrong, many people get their news and information from social media.  What’s worse is, the genius algorithms at Facebook have found that if we “like” a common topic or page or click on articles with a common theme with even a little consistency, they’ll just keep feeding us more of what they think we like.  It’s a digital snowball effect and it isn’t interested in fostering discussion or an open exchange of ideas.  The more people surf social media, the more their ideas (however crazy they may be) are validated and the more they see to keep that validation growing in their own minds. 

Social media isn’t going away and neither are these tactics on the left.  Let’s get on the same page with the message and start fighting back, lest we end up with another 8 years or more of leftist agenda being shoved down our throats.