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I’ve Not Visited Here In a While…

The Art of Manliness! (a blog to which I often refer) (in part)

Decluttering Your Digital Life

Hamlet’s Blackberry. The Joy of Missing Out. Irresistible. Reclaiming Conversation. The Tech-Wise Family.

Recent years have seen a boom in books (and articles) about being digitally mindful — putting down the smartphone, closing the computer, and engaging with real-world, tactile things. All this content makes the case that our devices are sapping a bit of our soul.

And I have to agree. Here on the Art of Manliness, we’ve written about FOMO (and interviewed Christina Crook about JOMO), breaking the smartphone habit, the importance of conversation in a digital world, and more.

This isn’t to say that the digital revolution is a bad thing, just that it needs a little more mindfulness than simply picking up the latest iPhone and diving into the digital ocean with reckless abandon.

In reading these commentaries on the effects technology is having on our lives, and considering both the negative and positive sides of the coin, it occurred to me that perhaps the best way of thinking about how we should engage our digital spaces, is to compare it to how we inhabit our physical ones.

In the same way that “analog” possessions are neither good or bad in and of themselves, but only detract rather than enhance our lives when they become too great in number, require too much maintenance, and clutter up our garages, kitchens, and bedrooms, apps and websites aren’t inherently problematic, but become such when they overwhelm our devices and require too much attention. When they become digital clutter.

Just as physical clutter can cloud the mind and hinder your focus, so can digital clutter. It takes up an inordinate amount of mental space and bandwidth.

Fortunately, just like with physical clutter too, the digital variety can be readily sorted through, organized, and cleaned up. By making the effort to do some digital decluttering — putting everything in its place and ditching what isn’t desirable — you’ll be able to focus better, breathe easier, and reclaim many of those spare moments that have been lost to endless scrolling on Facebook and Instagram.

If you’re ready to vacuum up some digital dust, clean out your closet of apps, and pare down your technological junk drawer, then grab a metaphorical trash bag, and let’s get to work.

The Harm of Digital Clutter

Just as physical clutter leads to stress and a muddled mind, so does digital clutter. It leaves you with what author Scott Hartley calls “constant partial attention.”

It works in the same way that physical clutter sometimes leaves you unable to fully focus on a task: You need to finish up some administrative work at home, but you know there’s a pile of mail that needs your attention, the living room needs vacuuming, and the coat closet is bursting at the seams with junk.

The digital version: Your inbox has thousands of messages. Your smartphone notification window is alerting you to 6 different social media apps that need your attention. You have 19 tabs open, each with some purpose that you’ve probably already forgotten. You have a conversation going with a family member in a variety of different places — text message, Facebook messenger, email — and you can’t keep track of what was last said.

With all that going on just in your little device that you hold in your hand, it becomes impossible to truly focus on any one thing, let alone something that’s truly important.

Scott Hartley states this problem well in The Fuzzy and the Techie:

“It’s a process of constant minor interruptions that delude us into thinking that we’re highly engaged across a number of shallow conversations, but in fact, we’re just continually, partially attuned.”

The very technology that we’ve created has in fact very slowly hijacked all of us. As Christina Crook notes, “Facebook in 2006 was fun, Facebook in 2016 is downright addicting.”

You know the feeling of satisfaction, relaxation, and relief that comes when you’ve tidied up your room or house? It’s the exact same when you tidy up your digital life. You regain the ability to focus on important things — not necessarily productive things, but important things like your family, a good book, even a great meal. (When’s the last time you went a day without checking your smartphone during a meal?)

Identify and Inventory the Problem

The task of physical decluttering often starts by surveying what areas of the house have become overly filled with junk, and deciding on a rubric for figuring out what should stay and what should go.

The job of digital decluttering should begin in the same way.

In The Joy of Missing Out, Christina Crook offers a helpful yardstick for evaluating the effects of our digital “possessions.”

She was inspired by a seemingly unlikely and decidedly un-modern source: Saint Ignatius Loyola, who lived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

While it’s unlikely he created the discipline, he considered what he called “The Examination of Consciousness” (sometimes shortened to simply be called “Examine”) to be the most important spiritual practice one could partake in. It was really quite simple — twice a day, the Christian practitioner would guide themselves through a reflection of their actions and time spent, using the 10 commandments as a guide.

With Ignatius’ Examine as a starting point, Crook created a shorter, modern, secular version designed to inspire reflection. She asks readers to inquire of themselves, on a daily basis, two things (and in this case especially, thinking with your device and internet habits top of mind):

  1. What today was most life-giving?
  2. What today was most life-taking?

In just two days of practicing this contemporary Examine I came to realize that most of my digital actions were far more life-taking than giving. What was most life-giving in a normal day? A splendid cup of coffee in the morning alongside a real book, a breath of fresh air in the middle of the day, playing with my son after picking him up from daycare, writing a letter to a friend. Not once in my reflections has anything social media or internet-related been most life-giving.

And yet, before this digital decluttering, I spent a lot of my time on my phone. Granted, I was better than a lot of people. It’s rare that phone time was truly disrupting something, but in spare moments I was playing games, or perusing Facebook, or trying to pick which adorable picture of my kid to post to Instagram. Those spare moments really added up — I’m a little ashamed to say that my game of choice was Two Dots, and I got up to level 1,006 before recently working up the nerve to delete it.

Viewing my digital habits through Crook’s Examine questions helped me to identify the areas of my tech habits that were problematic, and gave me criteria on which needed to be re-organized, pared down, or eliminated.

Before beginning your own decluttering project, I recommend engaging in the same illuminative exercise. The insights that you get will be different than mine, which will allow you to create a more personal plan.

In a lot of the material out there on digital detoxing, you’ll find plenty of prescriptive advice. The thing with clutter (of any kind), though, is that it’s actually fairly personal. A desk with piles of of books and papers and mail on it doesn’t bother me, but a sink full of dishes does. Some folks are just the opposite. Similarly, an email inbox with more than 30 messages in it stresses me out, while plenty of people have never deleted or archived anything and are perfectly happy to leave it that way.

You’ll have to find out for yourself what bothers you — what takes up mental space — and what doesn’t. Don’t necessarily just blindly follow what’s been recommended by others. Experiment and tailor your digital decluttering to your wants and needs.

How to Declutter Your Digital Life

Once you’ve determined which of your digital habits are more life-taking than life-giving, it’s time to take a broom to the former.

Below I walk you through some steps — both easy and not-so-easy — to tidy things up. Some of them may seem a little intense, but I encourage you to give them a try. As Flannery O’Connor wrote, and as The Strenuous Life implores — “Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.”

Since our age is pushing us hard into the abstract and distracting, don’t be afraid to be similarly ruthless with your decluttering — to go to what other people might call “extremes.” You can always add back in what you miss and what you discover is truly life-giving. Sometimes when cleaning up, you just need to throw it all out and start with a blank slate.

Christina Crook did this by going internet-free for 31 days. After going nuclear for a month, she added back in what was useful and beneficial (and also kept the good habits and routines she discovered in that month).

Kyle Eschenroeder did something similar with his Input Deprivation Week. For seven days, he lived without blogs, social media, and online news sites of any kind (among other non-internet forms of input too). He realized the space they were taking up in his life, and noticed a slew of benefits from taking a break:

“It will increase mindfulness, increase the respect you have for your own ideas, you’ll have more ideas, unsolvable life problems may begin to make sense, you’ll have an increased appreciation for the news that actually matters, you’ll become more social, you’ll gain perspective, and you’ll become more original.”

With the principle of doing more rather than less in mind, let’s get into specific tactics for reducing the digital clutter in your life:

Cull your email inbox. Let your inbox become a sacred space. By utilizing filters for any advertising or social media email, and by unsubscribing to anything I’m not actively interested in reading, my inbox has become a place where I know that almost anything that comes in is either important, or from a friend or loved one (which I’m interested in even if it isn’t all that important!).

Rather than letting Redbox into your inbox to tell you the new releases, just go to the website when you want to rent a movie. Rather than letting Target suck you in with coupons, search out the coupons when you need something.

Practice Inbox Zero if you’re into that; if it doesn’t bother you, not a big deal. Personally though, knowing I have a fairly empty inbox at the end of the day clears up a bunch of mental space.

Get rid of apps on your homescreen(s). The homescreens on our smartphones are hotbeds for clutter. Between apps, folders for apps, and notifications, it’s pretty much constantly beckoning for our attention. If you have an Android phone, if you delete an app from a homescreen, it’s not gone, it just goes away into a slightly-harder-to-access app section. I’ve done this, so if I want to get to Instagram, I’ve added a step besides simply unlocking my phone. I now have to navigate to apps, then to Instagram. Just one extra step has me checking on a weekly basis rather than a few-times-per-day basis. My homescreen now only has apps that I use regularly for life-giving or practical purposes: Kindle, flashlight, kid’s mode, camera, phone, email, text messaging, and Starbucks. And boy is it nice.

(On iPhones, it’s a little harder, as apps are downloaded automatically onto the homescreen. Utilize folders, multiple homescreens with less on them, or the below option of losing your apps altogether.)

Decluttered homescreen(s), decluttered mind. You’ll no longer be mindlessly sucked into 20 minutes of Facebook scrolling because you’re worried you’re missing out on something. If you don’t see that little blue F button, there’s a good chance you won’t even think about it (or if you do, you’ll think about it much less).

Ditch apps altogether and use your browser or your computer. Frankly, I love this tactic. Get rid of all the apps on your phone and force yourself to use its browser, or your home computer, when you need a social media fix or to search for something. Apps are clutter. Period.

Need to look up flights? Right now? Doubtful. It can wait until you’re in front of a computer. If it can’t, use your phone’s browser. In general, apps give us permission to feel the need to check or look something up instantly, when that is rarely, if ever, a true need. We check the weather app constantly only because we can. Ten years ago we survived with weather reports on the news, maybe looking it up on a computer, or heaven forbid, stepping outside to feel the temp and look at the sky. Now, I check the temperature on my phone while standing in front of a window. Seems a little silly.

As noted above, don’t be afraid to go nuclear with your apps and mass delete things, and if you find you really need something, download it again knowing that it’s truly useful.

Ditch all notifications. Okay, this is somewhat prescriptive advice. Notifications are clutter, just like a pile of mail on your table is clutter. It’s stuff that’s just begging to be opened and looked at and dealt with. Except whereas your mailbox might have 5 items to look through, between email and social media and news alerts, you could have hundreds of things to wade through every day. Mental clutter.

Treat your notifications more like you do your actual mailbox. When you get snail mail, it’s not chucked through the window at you the instant it arrives at the postal service’s distribution center. That would be rather distracting. Instead, it’s sorted and delivered in a bundle all together at a single time during the day. Take 15-20 minutes once or twice a day to check email, news, social media, etc. Don’t let it clutter your day and interrupt the important things you’re doing.

And while you’ll generally think of notifications in terms of your smartphone, ditch ‘em on your computer too. There are multiple inboxes I keep track of for work, but I’ve limited desktop notifications to only my main account. And I’ve also disabled all social media desktop notifications. Those are things that can be checked at set times during the day.

Stick to 1-2 social networks. I have personally found that trying to maintain regular use of multiple social networks to be just too much. It takes a lot of brainspace to check and be active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, and more all in the same day. So I’ve decided that in addition to deleting most apps from my phone, I won’t even try to keep up with more than Facebook or Instagram, and won’t maintain a presence on even those platforms beyond posting a weekly or bi-weekly photo. I’ve also taken up letter writing to keep in touch with people I truly care about. It’s far more satisfying for both parties than simply “liking” a social media update.

Put your phone away. When you come home and throw your keys into a basket, catchall, or other small container, toss your phone in with them. When it’s with you — and in your pocket — the mental clutter of an entire internet’s worth of headlines and viral videos can be too much to resist. Having your phone always next to you is like having a stack of newspapers and magazines on the floor that you have yet to read. Only when you ditch the newspapers because you realize they’re literally old news will the mental space they’re crouching on be freed up. Same goes with your phone. Those memes don’t call to you if your phone isn’t within reach.

Change your “zoning out” routine. Plenty of people, myself included, cite phone use as a way to zone out and chillax a little bit at certain points throughout the day. Maybe you had a long day at work, or your kids were being extra rambunctious during dinner. So when it’s time to kick back and relax a little, you grab your phone for some mindless browsing and social media scrolling. You need to just not think for a little bit.

But in doing so, you’re adding to your digital and mental clutter. You’re actually filling your brain with more FOMO and more headlines that don’t usually convey anything important. You want to empty your mind, but you’re only adding to it.

Rather than zoning out by engaging the digital clutter, do something else. Anything else. Pick up a book — some easy-reading cheap thriller will do. Sit outside with a homebrew or a cocktail and watch the sunset. Bake some bread. Carve a spoon. Jumpstart your journaling. These are the things that will truly declutter your digital life. While your phone calls you in a million different directions and to dozens of apps to constantly check, doing something tactile often requires that you focus on one thing at a time.

While these actions often necessitate more effort to start than simply grabbing your phone, resolve to do it, and once you’re in the moment, you’ll realize it’s far better than staring at a screen.

When it comes to spring cleaning this year, don’t just think of tidying up your physical spaces, but take time to declutter your digital ones too. Determine which of your digital devices, apps, and emails are taking from your life rather than giving to it, and organize or eliminate the vitality suckers. “A place for everything and everything in its place,” doesn’t just apply to your clothes and dishes, but to your phone, and your habits, too.

Do I follow their sage advice?  Not as much or as often as I should.

But I AM learning!

 

POTD: Watch Your Hands When You Unload And Show Clear

(from TFB)

POTD: Watch Your Hands When You Unload And Show Clear

A shooter was unloading his handgun when this happened. From what Scott relayed to me, was that the shooter cups the ejection port to catch the round to save time from picking it up off the floor. Now to clarify, this was not a malfunction. It was not a FTF and the primer was never struck. What happened was that during the unloading process the shooter’s hand covers the ejection port. The round most likely ejected into the hand but since the hand was so close to the ejection port it got caught between the slide and barrel.

Take a look at the picture below. You can see the primer lacks any hammer mark. However there is a clear crease from the edge of the slide cutting into the headstamp of the casing. If you look at the photo at the very top, you can see the bullet has a vertical line cut into it as well.

By cupping the round as it ejected out and it getting caught on the slide as the slide tried to close, the round went off in the shooter’s hand.

Here is what Scott relayed to me:

The following is a story relayed to me. I do not have first hand knowledge of this, but I do trust the source.

The pictures are of a recovered case and projectile after a shooter attempted to eject a live round during an unloading evolution. The shooter covered the ejection port with his hand and attempted to capture the live round rather than letting it eject freely from the ejection port. The round was trapped, under pressure of the recoil spring, in-between the edge of the ejection port along the edge of the breach face and the front of the ejection port on the right side of the slide.

There is a noticeable linear denting on the nose of the projectile and an obvious strike point on the rear of the case and the primer. The projectile could not escape and the resulting effect was for the case to burst. The pressure from the burning propellent was absorbed by the shooter’s hand. He will not be able to make this mistake again.

It is a sobering lesson for many shooters. No one ever really believes that this could happen to them.

I have seen some people use this technique in USPSA. I have seen people eject the round and catch it in the air as well. Be careful and pay attention. The scenario above could be considered a sheer accident. However if the shooter did not use that ejection method then there is less likely of a chance such an event would have occurred.

h/t Scott B.

I have used this technique on occasion.  Usually not (thankfully).  When it comes to safety, I think being safe is preferable to looking cool.

Interestingly, there is no picture of the shooter’s hand…

When Did THIS Become The Norm?

I don’t drive much, anymore.  Between having a beater car (when my roomie’s car isn’t available – thanks J.!), the cost of maintenance (which I can’t afford) and gas, and the whack-jobs on the road…

Speaking of whack-jobs! (See above)

I understand you don’t want to climb into the back seat of the car in front of you, both for safety reasons and just general courtesy.

BUT IT SEEMS 6 OUT OF 10 CARS KEEP A DISTANCE AT A STOP LIGHT OF GREATER THAN ONE CAR LENGTH!  SOMETIMES MORE THAN TWO!!

Have so many been rear-ended they are paranoid?

It’s just an annoyance if there are only two cars stopped at an intersection.  But if there are 12 cars in three lanes, and 60% of them are ‘keeping their distance’ of more than a car length, it causes back-ups!  Sometimes back to the previous stop light!

And I’ve NEVER seen anyone getting a citation for being stopped too far back – if there even is such a thing?

Personally, I keep a safe distance, usually enough to see the license plate in front of me.  A reasonable distance.

This phenomena seems to have developed over the past ten years.

What happened to cause this?

Bueller?  Bueller?

 

How The Bad Guys Get Guns

(from TFB, in part)

Over 100 Ruger Pistols Stolen From Chicago Train Yard

It appears that over 100 Ruger pistols were stolen from a Chicago train yard by gangs in a one-time heist. Apparently, this is becoming a large problem in a city that prides itself on its strict gun control measures with over 150 firearms reported stolen from Chicago train yards since 2013. City leadership seems rather clueless about the root cause of the problem, one alderwomen was quoted as saying “How in the world are these kids getting these guns? I see them on Facebook. Everybody got guns. They can’t go purchase a gun, so where are they getting them from?”

It appears that train cars containing firearms are being specifically targeted somehow and is being looked into by the Chicago Police Department. The only way a firearm can be shipped by rail is through the United States Postal Service, most likely by Federal Firearms License holders due to shipping regulations.

You can read more about the theft over at the Fox News website where they covered it in much greater detail (with a political slant as you might imagine.) Even though the story smacks of political overtones, it is interesting to see what happens when a larger problem goes unnoticed while blaming the tool for actions.

Obviously, ‘they’ are ignoring the fact that they are purchasing guns through FFL-licensed dealers (after they obtain their Illinois FOIA card), and that the only way to curtail these purchases is further, more intrusive background checks!/(snark)MAROONS!

Hooray For Socialism!

(joke, or sarcasm, depending on your mood)

(from my friend Joel @ TUAK)

And the sign over the bread line read, “Honk if you love Socialism…”

…but there were no cars, because there was no fuel.

Venezuela has a bread shortage. The government has decided bakers are the problem.

In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights[*] said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.

Yup. The honchos in the Venezuelan government were embarrassed by bread lines. So, in a brilliant example of historical illiteracy – dovetailing nice with their economic illiteracy – they arrested a bunch of bakers.

Yeah. We need more government controls here.

Also I’m reminded I need to buy more flour when I’m in the big town next week…
100_1645


*Dig this: The National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights is apparently responsible for arresting people who get caught exercising what, in a sane society, would be their socioeconomic rights. Must be socialism.

AH!  Government at it’s best!  I would have said ‘at HER best’, but that would be insulting all femininity.

Christensen’s Law

(courtesy of Dave the Genius Mechanic)

I loathe Chase Bank.  Actually, I loathe ALL BANKS!  Remember Christensen’s Law – Banks are NOT in business to serve you.  They are in business to make money. (See also the insurance company corollary).

I am SO HAPPY I am not a Chase Bank customer.  Examples:

  1.  Getting in-and-out of vehicles is a painful proposition for me.  But their drive thrus are not at a good angle for me to access.  So, I must go inside to the foyer ATM.  (Why am I going there, if I am not a customer?  My roommate is, and it’s just simpler for me to visit my Credit Union, obtain cash, and go to her bank to make a deposit into her account.  She doesn’t want a check.)  Half the time when I do this, the indoor ATM is out-of-service.  They suggest the drive thru – which is difficult for me to access.  I went up to the inside counter and was told as I was not a customer, I could not make a deposit – WITH CASH!  X-(
  2. Another time the indoor ATM was out-of-service.  I asked if they could take my deposit (a postal money order) inside.  I was told they could – If I were on the account!  Otherwise NO – try the drive-thru ATM!  X-(
  3. I went the other day to make the foyer ATM deposit.  It worked swimmingly!  It even took all the cash w/o rejecting any bills! (usually it rejects three or four)  THEN, no receipt was issued, and the machine read OUT-OF-SERVICE!  I went inside, and the one clerk said he would be just a minute – he was working the drive thru ATM transactions!  Maybe five minutes later he got to me.  I explained my predicament.  The ATM had taken my money, issued no receipt, did not return the money, then went out-of-service!  He referred me to a more senior teller, a woman.  She listened to my tale of woe, and said she would get back to me.  Then she left!  At length, she returned, and told me the funds were in her account, and not to worry.  But, she could not issue me a receipt, as I was not a customer! (Even though the ATM regularly does!)  She offered me her business card, if my roomie had any questions!  I responded something more needed to be done!  OR I WAS CALLING THE POLICE TO REPORT A ROBBERY!  Eventually, we agreed she could write on her business card the amount of the funds had been deposited – and sign it!

Poor customer service, rudeness, failure to accommodate a disabled person, I could to on…

They suggested my roomie add me to her account.  That might solve some of the issues, but in no way do I wish to be affiliated with this particular banking institution!

NOW, as to my Credit Union!  I almost closed my account there, after over twenty years, because they proudly announced a few years back they would gladly accept illegal aliens as customers!  (Yeah, nothing like furthering criminal activity and money laundering for a profit!)  GRRR!

Well, What NOW?

SOME of us got what we asked for.
Some didn’t.

Originally, I was gong to post regarding the last administrations’ ‘accomplishments’ – Benghazi, Fast & Furious, Uranium to the Russians, The Iranian bribe, continuing Gitmo, continuing massive unwarranted surveillance on American citizens, Executive Orders in excess, medical insurance taxes, golf games, ongoing wars, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
Then, it occurred to me I would be going backward.
What about the future?
Will DJT lessen the intrusions, black sites, unwarranted searches, etc.
I kinda doubt it.
Will patriotism be increased? Perhaps? Prosperity? Maybe. Crony capitalism? Perhaps, or it might remain the same as under the last administration.
Will the progressives fight tooth-and nail to keep all the socialist agendas they fought for the past eight years?

Of course.
Will Gun Rights improve? Maybe.

I’m taking a wait and see attitude – applauding those things with which I agree, and condemning those I don’t.

Hopefully, there will be much more applause this term than the last two!

God Bless The United States of America!

Czech Gov’t: Placing Weapons In The Hands Of Citizens Is Best Defense Against Terror

Berlin (CNSNews.com) – The Czech Republic has resisted calls by the European Union’s executive Commission to tighten gun controls in response to terror attacks, forcing the E.C. to alter its proposals, allowing for the private ownership of semi-automatic weapons.

The Czech interior ministry now wants to loosen its own laws a step further, proposing a constitutional amendment on Monday that would allow its citizens to bear legally-held firearms against the perpetrators of terrorist attacks, such as those in Nice or Berlin, the Czech news agency ctk reported.

The government says that putting weapons into the hands of citizens is the best defense against terror.

The move comes despite the European Commission’s ongoing advocacy for stricter gun control laws in Europe.

The Czech parliament blocked the E.C.’s earlier attempt to introduce tighter European gun laws, after the attack in Nice.

While the E.U. Firearms Directive and Czech laws already prohibited private ownership of fully automatic weapons, the commission’s initial campaign aimed to further narrow the E.U. regulations to rule out semi-automatic and self-loading weapons – which make up about half of firearm ownership in the Czech Republic – and limit magazine sizes to ten rounds.

The Czech parliament rejected the proposal, arguing that such tougher gun laws would not be the solution as terror attackers only use illegally-held weapons. The government derided the E.C.’s plans as “legally ambiguous and in some cases excessive.”

The E.C. was last month finally able to reach agreement by all member states, including the Czechs, after allowing exceptions for hunters and gun collectors and only banning a select few semi-automatic weapons.

“Mass shootings and terrorist attacks in Europe have highlighted the dangers posed by certain firearms circulating across the E.U.,” it said in a statement, but also expressed regret at the concessions it had to make, such as not banning all semi-automatic weapons or limiting magazines to ten rounds.

Despite the E.U.’s concerns, the latest Czech proposal argues that armed citizens would be the best defense against terror attacks.

In a statement on Monday, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said that amending the constitution would reduce the chances of attacks by enabling “active and rapid defense.”

Citizens should be given the right to use firearms to defend their “life, health and property” and contribute to “ensuring the internal order, security and territorial integrity” of the country, he said.

As December’s truck attack in Berlin demonstrated, security forces have not been able to guarantee the full prevention of attacks. In light of the threat, the Czech ministry argued that the proposed amendment would help to prevent the loss of lives by allowing civilians to contribute to “internal order and security.”

The proposal is scheduled to be considered in March. To pass, it must be agreed upon by at least three-fifths of all deputies and three-fifths of all senators present.

The exact details of the interior ministry’s proposal are still to be worked out, and for now simply indicates that it is subject to “terms and details prescribed by law.”

However, it appears likely to expand the range of “genuine reasons” for possession of a firearm to include those of “national security” – and thus, theoretically, allow anyone to own a gun.

Gun ownership is currently legal in the Czech Republic. As per E.U. regulations, firearms are required to be registered, and Czech law also requires a license and a genuine reason to possess a firearm, such as for hunting or personal protection.

Gun holders are also required to pass a background check which considers factors such as mental health and criminal history.

Unlike gun ownership, there are no laws explicitly covering civilian use of a firearm in self-defense, nor in regards to terror attacks specifically. Such an incident would fall under general criminal provisions regarding self-defense, which may allow the use of a gun, but only in cases of absolute necessity (including the threat of “imminent” attack).

Self-defense case law in the Czech Republic has applied only to violent assaults such as rape and robberies, and not to terrorism. It is not clear yet how the constitutional amendment would, if at all, build on or deviate from this established law.

The country was shaken by a mass shooting in 2015, when 63-year-old Zdenk Ková fired on a group of 20 people, killing 8. Ková, had a gun holder’s license despite a history of misdemeanors and concerns over his mental state.

The incident prompted calls for a re-examination of Czech gun laws, but they are still considered among the most lax in the E.U., partly due to the fact semi-automatic weapon possession is allowed.

According to data collated by Gunpolicy.org, a firearm injury prevention NGO, an estimated 7.6 percent of Czech’s 10 million residents legally hold weapons, with 810,046 registered privately owned firearms in the country.

h/t Facebook

Perhaps the Czechs have a longer memory than most Europeans?.  Nazis?  Communists?  Other forms of terror?

Of course, the French and most of the E.U. just doubled-down on restrictions for their citizenry subjects.  Wanna bet the next European attack will be in another ‘gun-free’ zone?

Thus Spake Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in an exclusive interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, said the Russian government was not the source of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign that his organization released during the 2016 presidential race.

Despite the Obama administration’s claims that Russia was behind cyber-intrusions meant to interfere with the U.S. election – and punitive measures taken against Moscow last week – Assange said nobody associated with the Russian government gave his group the files.

“We can say, we have said, repeatedly that over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party,” Assange told Fox News. The interview was conducted in London where Assange has been residing for four years at the Ecuadorian embassy, out of concern for possible extradition.

Why would he lie?

h/t Fox News

The 22%

ccwI remember (way back in the 1970s – when I got into gun stuff as an adult) fantasizing that I lived in a State that had concealed weapon permits!  How cool would THAT have been?  Being able to be armed – discreetly!

One of the reasons I wanted to become a cop was that very reason.  It seemed sad that few States had permittage, and most of them were may issue.  Usually meaning unless you were one of the special few (or perhaps funds changed hands) you either did nor carry concealed, or did not carry concealed legally!

Now, here we are in the new century, and the tide has turned.  A significant number of States how have concealed weapon laws and some even passed Constitutional Carry – no permit needed!

Specifically, with the addition of Missouri, 11 States (22% of the 50!) no permit required!

41 States, and Guam(!)  now have some provision for shall issue permits! (Wikipedia)

Of course, we still have States like California (and New York), with their difficult to get may issue permits, and checkerboard of convoluted and restrictive gun laws.

And with the ever-present nonsense by the Statists equating gun ownership with terrorism.  (Hillary?)

BUT, things have definitely improved since the 1940’s, and in spite of warnings to the contrary regarding every CCW (carry concealed weapon) and Constitutional Carry law being passed, there has been no blood in the streets!
(It seems every time such legislation is suggested, the ANTI-RIGHTS folks trot out the same, tired meme.)

It’s been said that the American Revolution was started and maintained by just 3% of the population.  In spite of the ubiquitous onslaught of the anti rights control folks, we seem to be winning!

Hooray for the responsible, law-abiding citizens, going about their private business invoking their right to possible self-defense!

Now, if we could just reverse the rampant surveillance and searching without warrant!  I know, one Amendment at a time…

Sigh.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…