November 16, 2015

That's Compassion

So let me see if I understand this correctly:

Freedom of choice murders around 1.2 million unborn Americans every single year. That's compassion.

Iraqi Yazidi and Christian refugees cannot be accepted into the United States because they should stay in their homeland and help the Iraqi government fight ISIS. That's compassion.

Syrian Yazidi and Christian refugees cannot be accepted into the United States because we don't have room for them. That's compassion.

100,000 Syrian Muslim refugees must be allowed to enter the United States even though we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that some of them will be terrorists, because that's compassion.

Half a million illegal immigrants coming across the southern border every year must be allowed access to schools, hospitals, and public utilities even though they have already broken our laws by entering without permission and even though we know some of them are murderers, rapists, drug dealers, and Middle Eastern terrorists, and even though they cannot and will not pay taxes to use those schools, hospitals, and public utilities, because that's compassion.

1 in 4 young black men must remain unemployed, and 1 in 3 black single mothers must receive taxpayer supported monthly checks and other assistance instead of looking for work because jobs have to be found for the 20 million illegal aliens already here, the 100,000 Syrian Muslim refugees coming here, and anybody else the "government" decides to hire to sit at a desk in a climate controlled office and insult taxpayers, because that's compassion.

50,000 American war veterans will sleep in the streets of our cities tonight because we're spending so much money taking care of illegal aliens and Muslim refugees that we don't have enough left to provide them food, shelter, clothing, and mental health care. That's compassion.

A fast-food worker must receive a "living wage" even though a soldier, an EMT, a rookie police officer, a secretary in a large corporation, a background and set piece artist in Hollywood, a journeyman mechanic, a gas station attendant, a table server, a bartender, most retail sales people, and most factory workers do not, because that's compassion.

When a white police officer kills a black criminal it is clear evidence of systemic racism, but when a black officer kills a white criminal or when a black gangster kills a black child, that's just a form of "acting out" and we must try harder to understand the stresses of their oppressed life, because that's compassion.

Sure. I guess that makes sense. After all, that's compassion.

November 14, 2015

A Deadly, Persistent Swarm of Gnats Revisited

Fox News: At least 150 people killed in Paris Terror Attack

As I write this post, French police are cordoning off Paris streets, counting bodies, and trying to figure out how to mobilize enough forensics people to investigate at least six, and possibly seven different crime scenes. In one of those bizarre episodes of synchronicity that haunt my life, it just so happens that while the terrorists were moving into position to begin their attack I was writing about terrorism in a game forum. One of the many concepts that popped up in that thread was the idea that terrorists are just another kind of criminal. They might be a bit more ruthless, they might be driven by zealotry, but many people believe there is no difference between a terrorist and a serial killer. Completely unaware of the horror about to be unleashed on Paris streets, I replied:

This is a badly mistaken assumption that has been propagandized relentlessly by elements in society that do not understand the nature of terrorism in general, and Islamic terrorism in particular. Every terrorist has a political objective. Period. That objective might be a cover or disguise for simple wealth gathering or sadism (as in the Die Hard series), but this is extremely unusual and I can say with complete confidence it is not something I have ever encountered in the real world. All terror organizations are political in nature, even when they use religious justification for their actions. Terrorists are soldiers in a war with a specific agenda and terror is the strategy they use to fight that war. They are not the same as serial killers, serial rapists, drug dealers, grifters, or common thugs. It is a dangerous mistake to attempt to understand their organizations and motivations using the same thinking as one applies to understanding the criminal mind. They are not criminals. They are soldiers.

Because their goals and objectives are political, they are armies and not gangs. Granted, some of them are poorly organized and poorly equipped, but that does not make them thugs. Their motivations are completely different. Their emotional and psychological weaknesses are completely different. Their entire internal landscape is completely different. When you think of them as criminals you make it easier for them to accomplish their objectives because you put in place entirely ineffective and inefficient security measures. You cannot stop terrorism by using the same tools as you would use for fighting crime. Doing so just makes their job easier because they assume right from the beginning that they will have to find a way to avoid those kind of security measures. Because they think and plan differently than criminals, they simply go around security measures designed to stop crime. In most cases, it doesn't even slow them down.

This morning I was just as horrified as the citizens of Paris to discover the lessons from Mumbai had not been applied. Back in November 2008 the city of Mumbai experienced our world's first swarm attack by Islamic terrorists. (Wikipedia: 2008 Mumbai Attacks) Although I and many other people pointed out that this would be the trend of future terror operations, no one paid attention. (Brian's Meandering Mind, March 4, 2009: A Deadly, Persistent Swarm of Gnats) In January of this year, Islamic terrorists fired another shot across the bow with a two-point swarm attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine. (Wikipedia: Charlie Hebdo Shooting) Once again I pointed out that swarm attacks would become regular occurrences as nimble terror groups using the global internet to recruit and teach strategy to Islamic radicals worldwide inspired local radicals in diverse locations to take action against the modern world. (Brian's Meandering Mind, January 8, 2015: Irony and Hypocrisy) This strategy is going to become far more widespread and frequent as the lessons from each new attack are learned by terrorist leaders.

One approach is to improve government access to the infamous "Darknet" by providing law enforcement and intelligence services with the tools they need to break through high levels of encryption and gain access to internet traffic flowing between foreign Islamic terror groups and local recruits. (Info Security Magazine: Countering the Terrorism Cyber-threat) As governments gain better access to tools for breaking encryption, Darknet providers and hackers improve their own tool sets to protect their hidden domains and social networks. (Rollingstone: Is the Government Destroying the "Wild West" of the Internet?) Focusing on cyberwarfare is an important approach to breaking down the communication networks used by terrorists to recruit, plan, and execute global attacks, but cyberwarfare alone is not enough.

In order for a swarm attack to succeed, several factors must come together all at the same time. The attackers need a source of weapons and ammunition. They need transportation to the attack site, and possibly transportation away from the attack site. To coordinate distractions and diversions they need constant, real-time communication in addition to secondary personnel willing to conduct these secondary attacks. However, the single most important element in a successful swarm attack is a compliant, defenseless target that concentrates large numbers of helpless people in a confined space. In the case of the Mumbai terror attack, the principle target was the railway station. It was only after succeeding there that the attackers moved into the city to their secondary objectives of hotels, cafes, and bars. In Paris, a variety of small attacks and drive-by shootings provided the diversion necessary for three terrorists to slaughter a massive number of people in a packed concert hall. Numerous witnesses emerged from the concert hall reporting that the terrorists had at least fifteen minutes to fire indiscriminately into the tightly packed crowd and then to search through the concert hall for hidden survivors. Fifteen minutes is more than enough time for a skilled AK-47 shooter to unleash a couple thousand rounds at a wide variety of targets, particularly if those targets are in close proximity to one another.

There are two ways to counter a swarm attack: put up an obstacle that is impossible for the attackers to scale and/or provide a much higher level of response by the target than the attackers anticipate. The problem with the first strategy is that no matter how good your obstacle is, sooner or later there will be enough attackers to swarm over it and around it and reach the target. Increasing the number of law enforcement, providing law enforcement better equipment, pre-positioning law enforcement at possible targets, and even restricting access by ordinary citizens to weapons and ammunition are all examples of building bigger obstacles. With time, planning, and careful execution, all of these obstacles can be surmounted by a determined team of attackers. It is impossible to stop a swarm attack simply by erecting obstacles. Notice, for example, how badly this strategy has failed in Israel. (Haaretz: Gazans Work to Repair Flooded Smuggling Tunnels)

That leaves us with the second option: provide a much higher level of response by the target than the attackers anticipate.

Sooner or later swarm attacks by terrorists will happen in the United States. It is inevitable. We are, after all, "The Great Satan" that every single Islamic terror group in the world seeks to destroy. Naturally, even governments like Iran and North Korea would like to see the United States implode from our enduring flirtation with utopian delusions. When those attacks begin, they will target "Gun-free Zones" with dense crowds. Shopping malls, NFL/MLB stadiums, as well as arenas for basketball, hockey, and concerts will all be high priority targets. Broadway theaters, Wall Street corporate headquarters, subway and train stations would also be viable targets because all of them restrict access points while demanding people disarm before entering. "Shooting fish in a barrel" is what happened at the concert hall in Paris and it is also what will happen when terrorists finally start attacking targets in America.

I suggest we start arming the fish.

Expanding concealed carry in the United States is the only viable strategy for countering swarm attacks by terrorists. Back in August three Americans and one Briton thwarted a lone wolf terror attack on a French train. (NY Post: How American Heroes Stopped a Terrorist) The most important response to a swarm attack will not come from law enforcement racing to assist, nor from armed guards pre-positioned to respond. In any small arms based ground attack, the most important first responders are the intended victims. How many lives could have been saved if only five concert attendees in Paris had been armed? Even if they died in the resulting shootout, armed civilians in the audience could have provided precious minutes for greater numbers of people to escape through the emergency exits. When a swarm attack does finally occur in the United States, your only hope for survival will be either the ability to immediately respond with a firearm of your own or the presence of someone else with a legal concealed weapon. If the intended victims respond with gunfire of their own then the swarm attackers will be unable to press their attack and will be forced to delay, retreat, or accept fewer casualties than they planned to achieve.

This is also why I advocate for the entire world to codify local equivalents to our Second Amendment. It is only when every citizen is armed that terrorists and criminals both must ask themselves if dying to achieve little or nothing is really worth the effort of planning and execution. It takes months to plan a Mumbai or Paris-style swarm attack. It takes tens of thousands of dollars to secure weapons, ammunition, and transportation. If a terrorist group or even a criminal group knows their intended victims are likely to return fire and end their attack before it even starts, they will be far less likely to invest the time and money into setting up the attack in the first place. This will force them to fall back on car bombs, suitcase bombs, and other indiscriminate weapons which can be more easily detected and prevented from arriving on the scene. As we saw recently in Egypt, terrorists are still more than happy to look for ways to bring down airliners filled with people. (International Business Times: Metrojet Flight 9268 Crash Update) We have already put in place countless obstacles to planting a bomb on an airliner and yet this is still a viable strategy for anyone seeking to create massive casualties with minimal investment. The very least we could do is not make the same mistake in our efforts to thwart the much simpler to counter swarm attack.

As I pointed out in a game forum last night, we cannot fight terrorism using the same kind of thinking we use when fighting crime. Terrorists are smarter, better equipped, and more prone to developing detailed plans than criminals. The vast majority of crimes are crimes of opportunity or passion. They are unplanned forays into simple overpowering of the prey by the criminal predator. Like all predators, the criminal seeks out the weakest victim in the most vulnerable position, then strikes and walks off with their reward. Terrorists have a much different objective. They are seeking to make a political statement and achieve a political goal. In order to do this, they will invest as little resources as possible in creating the maximum amount of terror. Remember the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? (Wikipedia: Boston Marathon Bombing) After running over and abandoning his brother, the surviving terrorist eluded a 30 hour manhunt involving seven different law enforcement agencies, thousands of law enforcement officers, and costing untold millions of dollars. He was finally found cowering in a boat by a civilian several hours after the search was called off. Tens of thousands of Americans were imprisoned in their own homes "for their own protection" while militarized law enforcement teams combed their hometown only to completely fail in their primary objective: arresting a single poorly armed terror suspect. This is what happens when we use the same kind of thinking to pursue a terrorist as we would to pursue a common criminal.

Creating obstacles to terrorism has completely failed. The time has come to allow the intended victims the opportunity to arm and train themselves in preparation for that fateful day when they encounter a terrorist face to face. We cannot stop a swarm attack with better policing. A swarm attack can only be stopped by the first person on the scene: the intended victim.

November 11, 2015

Internet Meme Red Cup Death Match

Atheists are yelling at Christians who in turn are yelling at Starbucks over the redesign of their winter season paper cup. Personally, I don't see what all the fuss is about. All I see is this:

Ten Days to Collapse of the Global Order

Please read this editorial by Greg Littell. Seriously. Go read it, then come back:
The Idea of Armed Rebellion in the US is Ludicrous


Mr. Littell, you are a delusional fool.
This is how an insurgency in the United States will unfold.

Day One: Local law enforcement backed up by National Guard attempt to confiscate the illegal firearms held by a community following the passage of an expansive "safe firearm ownership" law. Much to everyone's mutual surprise, a small group of 15-20 gun owners have barricaded themselves inside a well-fortified stone house owned by one of the wealthier members of a local "assault weapons fan club". In the ensuing firefight, all of the gun club members are killed, along with over 200 law enforcement officers and National Guard soldiers.

Day Two: A memorial service for the fallen members of the gun club erupts into violence as two factions of the club begin shooting at one another in a dispute over the "reasonable new law" and the "murder of our family and friends" that rapidly escalates out of control. Dozens die in the ensuing firefight and it takes several hours for local law enforcement to restore order.

Day Three: All across the nation local militias begin to call in their members and organize defense protocols just in case such a law is passed in their local community.

Day Four: News Networks and the internet are ablaze with calls for a national version of the local law that led to the initial firefight because obviously owners of "assault weapons" are violent, criminally insane psychopaths who cannot be trusted.

Day Five: State legislatures all across the nation along with both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate begin debating similar laws to "disarm these potential terrorists in our midst". Many of the laws are passed immediately in late night sessions where opposing members are held outside the chambers by force of arms.

Day Six: A retired military officer along with a couple active duty flag officers begin making the rounds of talk shows calling for communities to peacefully accept the new laws. Other retired military (but no one on duty military because they have been silenced by their commanders) refute the call for peace and demand these "unconstitutional restrictions on the Second Amendment" be vetoed by governors everywhere.

Day Seven: Several states where the laws have passed begin immediate programs to confiscate "assault weapons and other military hardware" but to their surprise, law enforcement and National Guard troops raid armories instead and take the stolen weapons to their fellow "gun nuts".

Day Eight: In anticipation of confiscation, armed bands surround police stations and National Guard armories demanding the new proposed legislation be opposed by governors. Violence breaks out in cities all across America. Millions of members of the American military join up with flag officers who oppose the new laws and begin planning ways to avoid compliance. Some of these meetings are broken up by Military Police and Shore Patrols, often with violent consequences.

Day Nine: Violence escalates through the ranks of the military and across the nation as the two opposing sides refuse to negotiate with "tyrants" in the other camp.

Day Ten: Russia invades those Eastern European and Central Asian nations that have refused to join the Russian Federation. China invades Taiwan and Japan. North Korea invades South Korea with support from China. Israel sends tanks and soldiers into The West Bank, the Gaza Strip, South Lebanon, and the Sinai Peninsula. Iran responds with Russian backing by launching a missile barrage on Israel.

It might not be ten days. There is every possibility it could take anywhere from ten hours to ten months, depending on what comes beforehand. Nonetheless, if gun control advocates continue in their blind efforts to limit the access of law abiding Americans to their God-given right to possess the best self-defense tools available to the modern world, then civil war in America leading inevitably to global chaos will be the final result. The balance of global power is a very delicate thing. Many people hate the United States of America not for historical brutality, but for the linchpin function they serve in the modern balance of power. If this linchpin collapses because half the nation simply cannot accept the personal value structures of the other half, then the entire world will collapse into chaos.

A free, strong United States of America is the power that holds the ambitions of other national leaders in check. Remove that influence by an internal civil war and the entire global house of cards implodes. I don't like this reality any more than anyone else does, but I will not pretend it is not true. This stupid debate over gun rights has the potential to destabilize our entire world and the fault does not lie with those who enjoy firearm ownership. This danger to our world is being funded and propagated by people in all walks of life who simply do not understand that free people enjoy the right to be armed while slaves do not. There are too many people in modern America who long to be slaves. This is not a racial issue. It just so happens that the vast majority of these people are middle-class white Americans who have surrendered their right to free speech, their right to religious freedom, and their right to self-defense to "experts" in government, in churches, and in education. Too many of us have simply stopped taking responsibility for our own future because it is so much easier to rely on "experts".

The worst truth of all, and the one that everyone ignores, is this: there are influential people on both sides of the debate who honestly believe that triggering an American civil war and collapsing the existing world order would be a good idea. Those people are fools. They do not understand the consequences of the chaos they are seeking.

November 05, 2015

Making a difference

I am getting really disgusted by people on social media passing around pictures of idyllic country settings with a silly caption such as "For $1 million would you live here for one month without internet or cell phone?"

I don't care how addicted you think you are, in all my journeys around this great big world of ours I have never met a single person who would refuse such an offer, which is exactly why such an offer will never be made.

This, however, is an offer that is easy to find, if you have the courage to accept it and the discipline to follow through:

And just to get you started, here are five places that will happily point you in the right direction to use your current skills to make a real difference in the lives of children growing up in our world's poorest neighborhoods:
Teach English in Africa
97 Trusted Volunteer Projects
Traveller's Worldwide List of Volunteer Organizations
Hints for Teaching with Limited Resources

So if you really want to challenge your ability to live without daily necessities while drawing a pay check and making a difference, now's your chance.

Photo source: Votavo