Overheard at the barbershop

A blogger friend frequently leads his posts with, “Heard in the ‘bolance…” I’m emulating him today about a discussion I had with my barber last week.

My barber is the current owner, of a string of owners, of the barbershop where I’ve been getting my hair cut for a long time, several decades, since I got out of the Air Force. My barber started as just another hair-cutter. She saved her money and when the last owner retired, she bought the shop. In the time I’ve known her, she’s raised a family and now has grandchildren.

I’m not sure how we approached the subject. Somewhere in our conversation she said she and twenty of her ‘girlfriends’ were taking CCW training the following day. She made the statement, “Getting one while she could.”

It was a strange statement, I thought. There is no movement in Missouri to abolish concealed carry. Nation-wide, the trend is just the opposite. Even Illinois, the last holdout, now has concealed carry. The first 5,000 certificates were mailed out this week.

Heller and McDonald ended any idea that the 2nd Amendment applied only to militias, or the National Guard, according to rabid liberals. The May-issue vs. Shall-issue controversy received a probable fatal blow this week when the 9th Circus, uhh, the 9th US Appellate Court, declared ‘May Issue’, in light of Heller and McDonald, was a denial of 2nd Amendment rights. The first case was against the San Diego Sheriff. That decision was echoed in a second case against another Sheriff.

Because of these court actions, I was surprised to hear my barber be so pessimistic about concealed carry and ownership of firearms in general. She, like all too many, is not a follower of 2nd Amendment news. In fact, she’s not a follower of the news in any form. She acquires bits and snips of information, frequently invalid information, from the internet and friends.

What she is, however, is a fair barometer of state of mind of American citizens at large. And that barometer foretells a storm season. I hadn’t told her that I was carrying concealed. There had been, until that time, no need. The conversation proceeded about how she planned to stash a pistol in her barbershop. She mentioned velcroing a holster to the back of her barber chair. I suggested that a pistol hidden in the shop would defeat its purpose if she was not at that spot when a need occurred. What would she do, I asked, if she needed that pistol and she was not at her chair but on a smoke break in the rear of the shop or sitting, reading during a slack period several feet away from her hidden pistol? I suggested she carry on her person instead. Her barber smock provided perfect concealment of a pistol in or outside of her waistband.

The entire conversation was an indication that normal, run-of-the-mill citizens are fearful, worried, not about crime so much as deeply concerned about the course of government. When I mentioned the confiscation threats being issued by the Connecticut and New York state governments, it was completely new to her. She was surprised, dismayed, and…enraged!

As I said, she was not a follower of the news. She was a typical representation of the vast majority of citizens living their lives, mindful of the growing governmental interference, who simply want to live life as they have been. But everyday, in some way, that vision of life is being changed, and not, in their view, for the better.

You see satirical articles, such as the one below, every day, it seems. This article used to be an inside joke—inside to those who are 2nd Amendment supporters. But it is new to some like my barber. To them, it isn’t satire aimed at over-reaching government; it is a strong possibility that is not fantasy nor satire.

The police panic in Boston last year following the Boston Marathon bombing is still fresh in people’s mind. (If you have a Facebook account, you can see a gallery of photos of illegal police actions.) The scenes of police invading homes without warrants could happen anywhere government becomes oppressive.

72 People Killed Resisting Gun Confiscation in Massachussetts!

Posted by Staff on March 09, 2014

Boston – National Guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed by elements of a Para-military extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.

 

Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement.

Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the group’s organizers as “criminals,” issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government’s efforts to secure law and order.

The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed wide-spread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons.

Gage issued a ban on military-style assault weapons and ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting in early this month between government and military leaders at which the governor authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms.

One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that “none of these people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and turned over their weapons voluntarily.”

Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily-armed extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government’s plans.

Of course, the article is satire, an updated version of the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. To people like my barber, it brings a troubling possibility home. New York and Connecticut have already threatened their citizens that police break in their homes and seize so-called ‘assault’ weapons and ‘large-capacity’ magazines. Shotguns, too, in the case of New York. To a growing number of Americans, that threat is no longer a fantasy and certainly not satire.

While she finished my haircut, we had a nice conversation on the merits of auto-loading pistols versus revolvers. I think she will begin with a revolver…at first. Like all so many things, once you’ve bought your first firearm, you just can’t stop at one.

Told ya so

I’ve often written about the unintended consequences from the acts of governments. Today, we have a story about an INTENDED act of government—specifically, gun confiscation by the state government of Connecticut.

http://bearingarms.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/ct-cowards1-e1388498403839.pngOn February 17, I wrote about an open letter to the members of the Connecticut State police. In that letter, the members were warned about the possible consequences if they follow orders to confiscate firearms from Connecticut citizens who were suddenly made potential felons by a government gone mad.

That story isn’t over.

Connecticut to gun owners: hey, did you *try* to register? …SUCKERS!

Moe Lane (Diary)  | 

Well, isn’t this just a fine how-do-you-do:

After tens of thousands of defiant gun owners in Connecticut chose not to register their semi-automatic rifles to comply with a hastily-passed gun control law, the state is now taking some action. Officials are reportedly notifying gun owners who submitted late applications that they have one last chance to get rid of their “illegal” weapons.

State officials did accept some gun registration applications that were submitted after the Jan. 4 deadline, however, not all late applications were accepted, the Journal Inquirer reports.

“But rather than turn that information over to prosecutors, state officials are giving the gun owners a chance to get rid of the weapons and magazines,” the report adds.

And completely expected, too. But it gets better! You see, these are the people that tried and failed to register their firearms… and it’s absolutely dwarfed by the people who refused to tell the state of Connecticut about their newly-illegal firearms. You know what will happen to those people? That’s right: probably nothing at all.  Those people vote, and they’ll still have those votes in November unless the state of Connecticut has suddenly developed a way to arrest, detain, and felony convict en masse several hundred thousand people.

Moral of the story?  God help you if you try and fail to comply with the State.  You’re better off by far if you just keep your mouth shut.

Like I said, intended consequences. They allowed these folks to ‘register’ their weapons late and then disapproved the application to create an excuse to confiscate them. Sounds like King George III, next door in Massachusetts in April, 1775, doesn’t it?

***

I’ve talked from time to time about graduates who emerge from college and are debt-ridden by tens, and sometimes, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. For every graduate, there are three or more who didn’t graduate and also have an accumulation of tens of thousands of dollars of student debt. Debt is endemic across the country.

As I write my blogs every weekday morning, I listen, with half an ear, to Dave Ramsey‘s radio show. The show provides a microcosm of American debt. Easily, 9 out of 10 callers, have massive student debt to Sallie Mae.

Now that debt is impacting other areas of the economy…like home ownership.

Housing market recovery hamstrung by buyers’ crippling student loan debt

High school seniors — and the parents encouraging them to attend college on borrowed money — may find the American dream of owning a home out of their reach after the bill for their student loans comes due.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, loan applications for new homes fell a staggering 20 percent in the past four months. Meanwhile, student loan debt in the fourth quarter of 2013 rose five percent above the last quarter — outpacing mortgage debt, which rose only two percent in the same quarter.

“Overall debt is falling but student loan debt is increasing year-over-year and at a much faster rate,” chief executive David Stevens told The Washington Post. “[Young graduates] are already on the margin for being able to qualify for a mortgage. If you add on a large student loan debt payment of $400, $500 or $600 [a month], that’s going to impact your qualifying ability to buy a home. … First time home buyers are usually 40 percent to 45 percent of the mortgage market. Today they’re close to 35 percent and we think that’s directly correlated to student loan debt.”

Student loan debt is also non-dischargable — the federal government dispatches an army of 32 agencies to squeeze graduates for loan payments. In one remarkable case, a woman recovering from Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, an affliction for which the survival rate for patients quickly drops to zero, was told by federal agents that as long as she was still breathing, she had to pay her loans — until the Ninth Circuit Court intervened and discharged most of her debt. (RELATED: Federal loan sharks prey on cancer patients filing for bankruptcy)

“Student debt trumps all other consumer debt. It’s going to have an extraordinary dampening effect on young peoples’ ability to borrow for a home, and that’s going to impact the housing market and the economy at large,” Stevens said.

Student loan debt stands at a total of $1.08 trillion dollars, and tuition grows at an annual rate of 7.4 percent, outstripping both rising health-care costs and inflation. A college degree’s cost has grown 439 percent since 1983.

Over 37 million Americans are shackled with permanent debt, with 40 percent of households headed by Americans under 35 making the minimum monthly payments under interest rates ranging anywhere from 3.4 to eight percent.

This includes many mortgage brokers and realtors who rely on a steady influx of new customers to help pay down their own student loan debt. While home prices and mortgage interest rates are low for the time being, rising rates would likely push more young graduates out of the housing market altogether.

What is worse, guidance counselors in high schools and colleges actively encourage students to use student loans to finance their education. It’s a great deal for the colleges and universities, they have a government guaranteed stream of revenue. That stream allows them to steadily raise the cost of education because the competition is doing the same. There is no restraint on the institutions to curtail costs.

When my wife and I were in college, we had scholarships that covered most of our tuition. We had to work to cover our expenses for room and board. We often worked forty or more hours a week and also carried a full load of classes. I wasn’t in the top, grade-wise, of my classes, but I did pass and graduate with a degree. My wife’s story is similar to mine.

Student debt is a disease that, along with liberalism, has infected education. It is still possible to go to college and pay as you go. No, you won’t have time to party, go to Cancun on Spring break, or hang out with friends. But you can get a very good education, a degree from a recognized institution, and emerge with no or little debt.

It’s a lesson our local, state and federal governments need to learn.

Recap: 2013 Gun Rights Rally — Jefferson City, MO

Yesterday was a full day. It was raining like an upended bucket when we left the house at 6:30am. Visibility could be measured in feet—not yards.

We picked up a friend and headed out on US-50 to Jeff City. It rained all the way—heavy, heavy, rain for the first 40 miles. I was concerned with hydro-planing and made sure I followed in the tracks of a large truck a hundred yards or so ahead of me.

It’s a 2 1/2 hour drive, for us, to Jeff City. That is, when it’s in good weather. We parked about three blocks away from the Capitol and walked, uphill—a steep hill, to arrive in the Capitol’s Rotunda right a starting time. We were able to find seats but not together.

Gun Rights Rally, April 18, 2013, Missouri Capitol Rotunda

Gun Rights Rally, April 18, 2013, Missouri Capitol Rotunda

Did I say it was crowded? When the rally started, it was standing room only. The two upper observation levels that surrounded the Rotunda was ringed, shoulder-to-shoulder, as well.

I sat on the second row in one seat next to some friends. Shiela Stokes-Begley, the President of the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance, was one of the speakers. I sat next to her hubby, Dennis. Mrs. Crucis and our friend found two seats together further back. I’m not good as estimating the size of crowds. My best guess is that several hundred people were there. The photo above was taken before the rally started. It was MUCH more crowded after the start.

Mark Perez organized the event. Beth “Ann”, from CSC Radio, was the MC.

Mark Perez, Gun Rights Rally Organizer

Mark Perez, Gun Rights Rally Organizer

Beth Ann, Gun Rights Rally MC

Beth Ann, Gun Rights Rally MC

Missouri House Speaker, Tim Jones (R-Eureka), speaks before the Gun Rights Rally, April 18, 2013

Missouri House Speaker, Tim Jones (R-Eureka), speaks before the Gun Rights Rally, April 18, 2013

While the Rally progressed, MO state Representatives and Senators arrived, spoke briefly and left. Both Houses were in session. A bill, a consolidation of a number of gun rights bills, was being voted upon—it eventually passed by a large margin. However, there’s always a however, democrats were doing their best to delay the inevitable. One dem rep, who has proposed a bill to confiscate guns in Missouri, was speaking against the bills. It was a blatant attempt to delay the vote.

Gun advocates rally as Mo. House backs gun bill

By JORDAN SHAPIRO, Associated Press, Updated 6:17 pm, Thursday, April 18, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Several hundred gun-rights advocates rallied at the state Capitol on Thursday as the Missouri House passed a bill that would greatly expand who can legally carry a weapon and allow certain school personnel to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.

The House lived up to the energetic crowd’s expectations shortly after the rally ended by passing one of the largest expansions of gun rights since the Legislature passed a law allowing concealed weapons in 2003. The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Doug Funderburk would allow appointed school “protection officers” to carry concealed weapons, as long as they have a valid permit and register with the state Department of Public Safety.The bill was passed with a 115-41 vote, one day after a small group of U.S. Senate Democrats from rural states joined with Republicans to reject more extensive background checks for gun purchasers and proposed bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

“This is too big of a country to have a one size fits all approach,” said Spellman, who works in the financial services industry.The Missouri House measure would also declare federal gun laws to be unenforceable within the state’s borders, a component that Democrats chided as unconstitutional. Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, said the bill won’t be enforced but “to do so would be literally secession” from the United States.

Missouri law currently allows concealed guns to be carried by people age 21 and older who haven’t been convicted of a felony or deemed mentally incompetent, and who pass a firearms training course and background check. But the House legislation would lower the age requirement and allow people age 19 to apply for a permit. The measure also allows concealed weapon permit holders to openly carry firearms that are less than 16 inches long.Rally-goer Debbie Dickson said she supports the minimum age reduction for concealed weapons permits. She said it was the role of parents, not the government, to educate about guns and safety.

The bill also includes a provision that would prohibit health professionals from being required to ask people about firearm ownership or documenting it in medical records.While gun control proposals at the federal level may have prompted the House legislation, Republican lawmakers are also looking to ease privacy concerns within the state. Republicans are concerned about a new Revenue Department procedure that scans personal documents of license applicants to be kept on state computers and have criticized the Highway Patrol for providing data on concealed gun permit holders to a federal Social Security fraud investigator.”I don’t want any private records to be spread when everyone can see them,” Dickson said.The bill would also make it illegal to publish any identifying information about a gun owner or a person applying for a permit to own or carry a firearm. A person or entity publishing such information would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

We arrived home, after making a few stops along the way, about 8:30pm. The cats were happy to see us. One had barfed on the carpet in the family room, a joy of living with cats. Mrs. Crucis spent some time catching up on her e-mails and surfed a bit. Me? I crashed.

A long day, but one well spent.