Sunday, April 13, 2014

Your Rights Are Now Restricted To Specific Areas

By Dave Dargo

The following photo is making its rounds. It is an area set aside by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for people to be able to protest the actions of the BLM in a grazing-rights case near Bunkerville, Nevada.

Incredulity was the first emotion that struck me. That emotion was quickly followed by anger, more disbelief and finally nothing but seething rage.

The BLM has set aside this "First Amendment Area" away from where its agents were confiscating Cliven Bundy's cattle. The government claims that Mr. Bundy isn't paying his fair share of grazing fees. Mr. Bundy claims his ranch has had a right to graze his cattle on the open range since before the BLM existed. Thus far, the courts have sided with the government. I don't know what's going to ultimately happen in that case.

A number of people showed up exercising their rights protected under the first amendment as well as the second amendment and the government agents decided to de-escalate the situation and withdraw back to the courts.

But, here's what really makes me angry:

The mere existence of these ready-made signs shows how little the national government respects our natural rights.

I've written before about those rights and from whence they originate.

The entirety of the United States of America is a First Amendment Area.

The national government has become quite comfortable infringing our rights. First they claim that anywhere within 100 miles of a U.S. Border can be considered a "Constitution Free Zone." The ACLU, an organization which stopped protecting many of our rights long ago, has published a map and article showing how our rights under the fourth amendment are eroding.

We've seen the lengths to which governmental bodies at both the national and state levels have gone to restrict our rights protected under the second amendment.

Now, we are on the receiving end of a direct assault on our fundamental right to free speech.

How dare any government agency spend our money creating signs such as these? How dare any individual government employee actually deploy signs like this?

What depth of stupidity, ignorance, arrogance and corruption must a government official stoop in order to believe that creating a "first amendment area" makes any sense? Do they really think this is how our nation is to be governed? Do they really believe we will sit idly by and allow them to so callously disregard our fundamental rights?

The place to start is the ballot box. You need to vote, you need to express yourselves and we need to run these ignorant pretenders out of office. Government officials who would do this to us deserve no quarter and need to exit government service now.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Societal Norms And Just The Right Amount Of Rudeness

By Dave Dargo

It is very difficult to over-emphasize the importance of preparation, awareness and readiness. Two of the critical components of preparation are a determination to never give up and a willingness to use force in self-defense.

Avoiding trouble, however, is the cornerstone of surviving a dangerous encounter. There are a couple of things that predators count on:

  1. The ease with which a potential victim can be profiled.
  2. The socially acceptable behavior to which a potential victim is committed.
The first is easy to understand and correct. Study after study have demonstrated that criminals will profile their potential victims in search of an easy target. It's easy to find news stories that discuss the serious iPhone theft problems occurring in New York City where people engrossed in their devices become easy targets.

Lack of awareness certainly makes one an easier target for criminals.

Societal norms also contributes to one's chances of becoming a victim. We are raised, most of us anyway, to be polite and helpful. Societal norms lead us to be polite to the approaching stranger. Odds are the person really does need directions or assistance. However, a lack of awareness combined with a blind devotion to societal norms can contribute to one's chances of becoming a victim.

One article discusses how the serial killer in the fictional movie Silence Of The Lambs feigned a broken arm to lure a victim inside his van so she could be subdued with little physical force. The article also highlights that the serial murderer Ted Bundy actually employed this technique.

The question is, can you be just rude enough to the approaching stranger to maintain a safe distance? Can you tell someone to leave you alone or to back off and give you more space or would you be too embarrassed to protect your personal space?

Years ago I was on my honeymoon in Rome, Italy. My wife and I were walking near the Spanish Steps when a group of 12-15 children started to approach us. I started yelling at them in a not-so-polite way. My wife was horrified by my actions until I explained to her that they were pickpockets counting on tourist's unwillingness to break with societal norms. Like the Artful Dodger trained by Fagin in Dickens' Oliver Twist, these miscreants counted on their victims unwillingness to make a scene. My wife and I saw this group move from one tourist to another searching for that one person willing to remain quiet as their pockets were emptied.

My behavior towards those children can only be described as rude. However, it was quite appropriate given the situation and I wouldn't hesitate to make the same scene again.

My willingness to make a scene counters the predators unwillingness to be noticed.

I remember a force-on-force exercise where a student approached a predator after convincing him to drop his knife only to be shot by the predator. When debriefed afterwards, he said, "I'm from Louisiana and we just don't yell at someone across a distance, it's rude." That exercise, I think, did more than any classroom training could do to teach the victim the importance of maintaining distance and tactical advantage at the cost of being considered rude.

Are you prepared to make a scene to keep someone away from you? Are you willing to appear rude or weird in order to encourage a predator to pick someone else as a victim?

These are important questions to consider. One day it may not be a mere pickpocket you're discouraging. Encourage predators to choose another person by being as difficult as possible.

The title of this piece talks about "Just The Right Amount Of Rudeness." Please don't take this article as a call for rude and obnoxious behavior. I go out of my way to be polite, helpful and just plain nice. However, my willingness to make a scene without personal embarrassment is an important component in my kit-bag of preparation.