Knitebane Manor Illos libenter devoramus qui nos opprimere velint

9May/17Off

Well, crap.

Posted by Knitebane

I met Bob Owens the weekend we both got our expert badges at an Appleseed that had been invaded by a number of North Carolina bloggers.

My wife attended as well and during the lunch period of the first day she and I ducked into the classroom to eat. Shortly thereafter a tall, gangly fellow wandered in looking for a place to make some adjustments to his rifle.

We chatted a bit and exchanged names and blog sites. I don't know if he ever followed me but I followed him.

I regularly disagreed with Bob. Blogger anonominity, the role of police, open carry, and a number of other second amendment and political topics. I wasn't the only one that regularly and loudly disagreed with him. Yet he never failed to continue posting his opinion even knowing that some of it wouldn't be very popular. That takes guts.

And now Bob Owens is dead of a self-inflicted gunshot, thought to be suicide.

Dammit.

No one knows the battles other people are hiding. I don't know what caused Bob to take his own life and we'll likely never know all of it.

But I know it wasn't a lack of courage.

7Sep/12Off

Sorry GRNC. DeVan Barbour isn’t pro-gun. He’s just pro-getting-re-elected.

Posted by Knitebane

The most recent Grass Roots North Carolina alert declares victory because the commissioners pulled out all references to firearms from the noise ordinance.  They go on to indicate that DeVan Barbour should be thanked for being the one who proposed pulling Section 6 from the ordinance.

I have nothing but respect for the work GRNC does and Paul Valone, the president, is a tireless worker in the battle for gun rights here in our state but i'm going to have to disagree here.

Why? Because according to several sources the commissioners had all agreed that morning to pull the firearms section from the ordinance and have Barbour be the one to do it.  This was a cold, calculated political effort designed to prop up Barbour's record going into the election season.  Barbour is the only one of the commissioners that is both up for re-election and has an opponent.

And Barbour voted FOR the ordinance as it existed at the August meeting.

Character is defined by what you do when you think no one is looking.  The August vote defines Barbour's character.  The actions of September 4th are nothing but political showboating.  Putting Barbour forth as a champion for gun owners in Johnston County is a farce.

During Chairman Mim's monologue he indicated that they wanted to move the noise ordinance to the top of the agenda so they could "get this out of the way so they could get on with their rezoning agenda."

Their trampling of gun rights was simply a nuisance to them.  A trifle.  A few people emailed and called and showed up on this issue so they threw a bone to us.  That was fine as long as we got out of their way so they could get on with doing other things to us.

These people have been running Johnston County for decades without any serious challenge.  They do what they want, when they want and are entirely unused to having their will thwarted.  They never really run for public office, never really have to defend themselves to their constituents for their actions.  It is effectively a one-party system.

Ray Woodall is reported to have medical problems.  He is not standing for re-election in 2012.  So, how does he get replaced?  A single person, Ted G. Goodwin, submitted his name for the seat.  He ran unopposed in the primary.  He is now unopposed in the general election.  This man will take his place at the table with the others who have "earned" their right to be there in mostly the same way.

Now I don't know all that much about Mr. Goodwin.  He is a manager for KS Bank.  He apparently hunts elk. He has a wife and kids.  He may very well be a really nice guy.  I really don't know.

But I do know that his taking a seat on the Johnston County Commission isn't how a republic is supposed to work.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a term used for government officials that don't care about what their constituents think and can exercise their will upon their neighbors without repercussion.  That term applies also when the public really doesn't get to choose their so-called leaders but instead have to take what is given them.  That term is "tyrant."

Most people will associate that term with grandiose and history-making dictators.  Stalin, Bonaparte, Mao.  But all of those monsters started small at the local level.  They moved up because they were able to exercise their will unobstructed at lower levels.  There are thousands of petty dictators across the country, most of them not sufficiently effective to be able to move up to the next level.  But they are there and they have the same ideas in their putrid minds.  They wish to rule without those who are the subjects of their actions having any say in the matter.

So, we can call.  We can write.  We can email.  We can even vote and it makes no difference.  That's why I have to reject the GRNC's suggestion that DeVan Barbour is a good guy.  He's not.

He's part of the problem and the one part that we can fix.  We can toss his butt out.

The actions of the board in allowing Mr. Barbour to be the one to propose pulling the firearms section from the ordinance tells us what they fear.  They fear having to actually run for their offices.

So let's drive that fear home.  Vote against DeVan Barbour this November.  Send him packing.

For the 2014 election we can put forward some candidates to challenge the others in their primaries.  But that's two years away. Considering what we've had to go through with the actions of these people over the last two years we can't afford to let them run unchecked any longer.

Vote them out.  We need to vote them ALL out but the machinations of the political system don't allow for that.  So this time we do what we can.

Vote anti-Barbour.  Reclaim our county.

 

 

17Aug/12Off

Johnston County has a whorehouse in it.

Posted by Knitebane

I know, I know. The song is really, "Texas has a whorehouse in it." but I'm not in Texas.

And Johnston County certainly has a whorehouse in it. In the vernacular of course. There aren't actual sex workers that operate out of there.

And it's not really a house. It's actually the Johnston County Courthouse Annex at 207 East Johnston Street in Smithfield, NC.

Truthfully, I'd prefer the actual whores. They only screw one person at a time. Not so our intrepid county commissioners.

You see, we have a republican (that's a small 'r') form of government. It's actually guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution. It's not a direct democracy because when people get riled up sometimes they do rash things. That's why we elect people to do our business, and they are supposed to do what we want only when what we want is legal and constitutional.

But that's not quite all of the story. The reason we have people in that job, and don't just have a judge to cancel the dumb things that people sometimes vote for, is so they can insert their judgement into the process. An involved, moral, honest representative will give the people what they want as long as it's not illegal, unconstitutional or just plain stupid. That's the job of the representative, to filter out the stupid things and not just jump when poked by vox populi.

So when a group of representatives of the people do something that they know won't work, simply because a few people have howled about it; when they Do Something and that something deprives the people of their rights; when they write into an ordinance something that is targeted at a single individual but sharing the misery among us all, then they are whores.

They've whored themselves out for power, or popularity or the adulation of the media.

C.S. Lewis said, "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”

In other words, good intentions don't count. If you can't do something right, do something smart. If you can't do something smart go home and sit on your hands.

When they go ahead and do the stupid thing those of us that see it must direct the attention of all people of good conscience to let them know how poorly they have judged.

As public figures, as elected members of government they have no right to hide. Disreputable actions that they take should be, must be shown to the world. If the world vents its wrath on their stupidity they have no one to blame but themselves, for they sought the office, they made the decisions, they surrendered to the stupid.

Now some of you that live near here already know what's coming. You've read the statements by certain Johnston County commissioners and their minions about what they plan to do. You've seen the meeting agenda. You've read the slobbering approval in the News & Observer and the Smithfield Herald.

But others don't. Others right here in Johnston County and here in the rest of North Carolina don't know. But they will.

Very soon now the righteous fury of people of conscience is going to be released on the misguided, arrogant, deluded commissioners of Johnston County, North Carolina.

May God have mercy on their souls.

29Oct/11Off

The average teacher explains complexity; the gifted teacher reveals simplicity.

Posted by Knitebane

Last Saturday I spent the day at the TigerSwan Training Collaboration Center with several other gun bloggers from North Carolina.

We started with introductions and the requisite safety instructions.  Our instructor was Brian Searcy, a 23 year Army Special Operations veteran and past member of Delta Force as that unit's Operations Sergeant Major.  

Brian Searcy

Attending as students were Paul of  Arms are the Mark of a Free Man,  Sean of An NC Gun Blog,  Larry of Last Refuge of a Scoundrel,  George of Newbie Shooter, and John of No Lawyers - Only Guns and Money and a few other folks that helped fill in the minimum number for the class.

Brian started us out at 25 meters and those targets looked pretty far away!

25 meters

TigerSwan's basic pistol instruction centers on perfect execution of basic skills. The quote from the TigerSwan website is:

There is no such thing as "advanced tactical skills" - there is only perfect execution of the fundamentals under stress.

To this end we started with the most basic elements and added an element at each step.  Stance, grip, presentation, sight picture, trigger control, sight alignment...as we progressed from stage to stage Brian kept adding more elements.  At some point during the "Ball and Dummy" drill something clicked and I started regularly hitting inside the 9 ring.  At 25 meters.

If you had suggested that when we first started I would have laughed.

For me the key seemed to be mostly grip.  TigerSwan teaches a grip that pushes the thumb of the support hand WAY forward ...

Forward grip

 

... relaxes the gun hand to something like a firm handshake, and requires the support hand to then grip the gun with as much force as necessary to get control of recoil.  They eschew the concept double taps (which is something that I've been having considerable problems with) and instead focus on putting two aimed shots on target.  In fact, that's the primary skill that the Intro Pistol course strives to teach.  While some other fundamentals were presented, the "two aimed shots" was the primary focus.  The additional skills were working tools to get to that goal.  Granted, it took 473 rounds for me to get there, but get there I did.

The following Tuesday I ran another 100 rounds through my STI Spartan at my weekly range trip.  I'm not as fast or as accurate as I want to be but I'm much faster and more accurate than I was and I can see the places where I need to practice.  My shortcomings are not instinctively using the forward grip and not following through after each shot.  I'm afraid I've developed some bad habits while working on speed for the Ruger Steel Challenge - Rimfire competitions, like coming off the target too soon.   Both of these are a matter of correct practice and I'll be doing that every week.

I plan on taking this course again in the spring and dragging Mrs. Knitebane along too.  The 1-Day Introductory Pistol Course at TigerSwan is an excellent place to start.

20Oct/11Off

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Posted by Knitebane

But I won't have to play hooky to go to this school.

Sean of An NC Gun Blog has coordinated a gun blogger shooting class at TigerSwan this weekend.

I'll be doing things like this:

TigerSwan

I'll post an after action report when I get back.

Stay tuned.

24Jun/11Off

Governor Perdue signs HB650

Posted by Knitebane

Sean has a fantastic breakdown of the entire bill over at NC Gun Blog and I won’t duplicate his effort. Suffice it to say that for the most part, HB650 gives North Carolinians the Castle Doctrine and the bill also cleans up a bunch of other antique and misguided gun laws.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a major improvement. There was some question as to whether New Bern Bevvie would sign it, but it apparently the staffers flipped over the Magic Eight Ball and it said “SIGN IT, YOU FOOL!” so she did.

Sadly, the ability to lock your firearm in your car while at work can still be punished by stupid or misguided employers. Most Demonrats and several really stupid Republicans (my own representative, Leo Daughtry, included) voted for the McGrady Amendment. Rumor has it that the stupid Republicans that voted for this asinine amendment did so at the behest of that gun-grabber-in-sheeps-clothing Rephensative Paul Stam for the spurious reasoning of protecting the property rights of businesses.

He doesn’t mention the property rights of automobile owners. Somehow he thinks that the inside of my car is subject to no property rights while the pavement it’s sitting on is. What’s next Stam? Going to authorize firing people because they have a Bible in their car? Or a newspaper? How about a bumper sticker?

There are two other bills out there that this bunch is going to have to vote on next session. HB111 is restaurant carry and HB63 is another parking lot carry bill. That next session will come up right before the next election.

10Feb/11Off

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel

Posted by Knitebane

And I responded thusly:

Chairman Mims,

I don't have a problem with what you suggesting that I read the whole thing but rather with the way you suggested it along with the remarks you made earlier at the working group.  I guess an apology is not forthcoming.

Very well.

G.S. 14-409.40 puts limits on the power of local authorities to put restrictions on firearms.  This is not in dispute.

The rest of the section includes certain exceptions.  It appears in the referral to G.S. 153A-129 that you do have the authority to regulate some restrictions.  I think there's plenty of room to argue that constitutionally, you don't.  Those exceptions were put in quite a while ago.  The national trend is against allowing local authorities to trump civil rights.

The real question is this:  Why are you so determined to find out?

Wouldn't it be better for everyone if you just fixed the problem at hand, namely negligent gunfire, rather than trying to turn all of Johnston County into Cary?

Thanks,

<ME>

CC: The Usual Suspects

10Feb/11Off

It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellowmen.

Posted by Knitebane

Chairman Mims responded thusly:

As with all citizens of this county you are welcome to your own opinions. The State Statue 14-409.40 that you said had bearing on this ordinance stated in item ( f ) Nothing contained in this section prohibits municipalities or counties from application of their authority under G.S. 153A-129, 160A-198, etc.. 153A-129 Firearms states: a county may by ordinance regulate, restrict, or prohibit the discharge of firearms at any time or place except when used to take birds or animals pursuant to Chapter 113, Subchapter III, when  used in defense of person or property, or when used pursuant to lawful directions of law-enforcement officers. A county may also regulate the display of firearms on the public roads, sidewalks, alleys, or other public property. This section does not limit a county's authority to take action under Chapter14, Article 36A.

This is why I said to read the whole thing.

Have a nice day.

Allen Mims

 

 

Is it just me or does he seem a lot more interested in whether he CAN do this thing than whether he SHOULD?

 

 

 

 

10Feb/11Off

A government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned.

Posted by Knitebane

My emailed response to Chairman Mims:

Mr. Mims,

In light of your disparaging public comments concerning bloggers during the working group such a dismissive response is not entirely unexpected but still one generally sees more civil behavior in a public servant. I find it regrettable that you should take such a tone with a constituent. As a veteran I find such behavior distasteful. As a tax payer I find it offensive.

What I'm seeing here is that you intend to pass something that restricts shooting no matter what. The presence of the chairman of the county commissioners as chair of the working group and even the name of the ordinance both smack of ideology-driven politics. Perhaps that is not actually the case, but often perception IS reality.

As commissioner from District 7, the vast majority of your direct constituents all live in incorporated areas, yet you are driving the agenda that will mostly effect the residents of the rural areas of the county.

Calling the law on a neighbor and threatening them with jail time is not how I act toward my neighbors when I have a dispute, yet this so-called "Good Neighbor" ordinance will provide for just that.

These acts are unfortunate and I'm disappointed that it appears that agenda is going to trump reason. The tone of your comments towards people that you purport to represent lends itself away from this merely being a perception problem.

I urge you to reconsider both your attitude toward your constituents and your drive to pass an ordinance which reaches beyond the actual protection of the residents of the county and reaches into infringement of the rights of the other residents.

In the final analysis, my opinion and your opinion won't matter. What will matter is the opinion of the judge that hears the arguments against this ordinance.

And I can assure you, Mr. Mims, if you go forward with passing a ban on shooting in Johnston County it will end up in front of a judge.

Please scale this proposal back to only being against negligence and noise and everyone will come out a winner. Go beyond that and many of your constituents will object loudly and they will fight an over-reaching government action in the courts.

In today's difficult financial times, Johnston County does not need to be involved in expensive legal issues. Likewise, my money and the money of those that will likely back a suit against an overly broad ordinance can be better spent elsewhere. I would rather see that money be used in places with much more onerous restrictions, but that's not within my power to decide.

You, Mr. Mims, as chairman of the county commissioners and as chair of the working group, have the authority to make this stop now. I urge you to do so.

Thank you for your time.

<ME>

CC: my wife, Mr. Carver who graciously took time to meet with me and, of course, all the evil bloggers.

 

 

9Feb/11Off

If the government becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for the law. It invites every man to become a law unto himself. It invites anarchy.

Posted by Knitebane

In Johnston County, NC a working group has been put together to create a shooting ban.  Its stated purpose is "to discuss the ordinance to see if changes can be made to address all concerned parties" rather than come right out and call it a shooting ban.  Then again, old Billy said something like, "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

But this doesn't smell sweet.  It smells like fertilizer.

They keep saying it's not a ban though.

That's not what I got out of the public meeting last night in Smithfield, NC.  The gist of the meeting was that the participants were there to figure out how to properly spin the ban so that not too many people would object.  One member of the group even trotted out the tired and over-played "for the children" routine.

Several people suggested that all that was needed was something to address the negligent discharge of weapons.  The representative from the Johnston County Sheriff's Department, Buck Pipkin, said that there was no firearms negligence statute in North Carolina and therefore SOMETHING had to be done.

Except the rest of the meeting was taken up with the members of the working group trying to build up a document that would restrict when I could shoot targets.  They threw in the usual sops to the police and the Elmer Fudds, but several times it was brought up that target shooting, including night shooting, would be adversely affected.  Those concerns were not taken very seriously.

The general tone was that something was going to be passed that restricted shooting.  Taking that off the table was not an option.

Today I've swapped some messages with two of the Johnston County commissioners, Allan Mims and Jeff Carver,  that are on the working group.  Referencing the comments about the lack of a negligence statute I sent this:

 

Commissioner Carver,

Last evening we were told at the working group meeting that there was currently no statute that covers the discharge of a firearm onto someone else's property and that the sheriff's department routinely tells people that there was nothing they can do about it. A quick search of NC state laws turns up this:

 

§ 14-34.1.  Discharging certain barreled weapons or a firearm into occupied property.

(a)        Any person who willfully or wantonly discharges or attempts to discharge any firearm or barreled weapon capable of discharging shot, bullets, pellets, or other missiles at a muzzle velocity of at least 600 feet per second into any building, structure, vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or other conveyance, device, equipment, erection, or enclosure while it is occupied is guilty of a Class E felony.

(b)        A person who willfully or wantonly discharges a weapon described in subsection (a) of this section into an occupied dwelling or into any occupied vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or other conveyance that is in operation is guilty of a Class D felony.

(c)        If a person violates this section and the violation results in serious bodily injury to any person, the person is guilty of a Class C felony. (1969, c. 341; c. 869, s. 7; 1979, c. 760, s. 5; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1316, s. 47; 1981, c. 63, s. 1; c. 179, s. 14; c. 755; 1993, c. 539, s. 1141; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2005-461, s. 1.)

 

It appears to me that enforcement of this statute plus a minor update to the Johnston County noise ordinance ought to be sufficient to cover the majority of complaints that the Commissioners receive.

I am somewhat troubled by the comments of Mr. Scott Andrews last night. If his recollection of the incident is accurate, the Johnston County Sheriff's Department has not been enforcing state law.

I'm also concerned as to why Mr. Pipkin stated that there was no statute that currently covers firearm discharge. I'd be interested in your thoughts on this matter.

Thank you,

 

I received this reply from Allan Mims, the chairman of both the Johnston County Commisioners and the working group:

 

Until last night I was of the same opinion as you about this law, but the problem I heard last night was proving it was willful and wanton and not just accidental by just missing a target or having an insufficient back stop. I heard we have no law for that and I heard NC did not have a careless and reckless endangerment law. I was not able to hear all of Mr. Andrews comment as several people started talking at the same time.
Thanks for your email and last nights attendance.

 

Interesting.  My response:

 

Pulling the trigger is very much a willful act. This appears more of a refusal to act by the sheriff's department upon existing state law than a need for a county ordinance. But no matter. There is another section of state law that also has a bearing on this.

§ 14-409.40.  Statewide uniformity of local regulation.
(a)        It is declared by the General Assembly that the regulation of firearms is properly an issue of general, statewide concern, and that the entire field of regulation of firearms is preempted from regulation by local governments except as provided by this section.

 

That's right.  North Carolina has a preemption  law regarding firearms.  Local governments are prohibited from passing laws that are stricter than the state if they have to do with firearms.  There are some broad exceptions like county buildings and zoning for shooting ranges, but the statute is very clear.

The response I get:

Will get legal counsel involved tomorrow!

Swell.  What a wonderful use of tax dollars.

If they want to create an ordinance that says that negligently shooting a gun, running a lawnmower, driving an ATV or other outdoor activity that causes harm to a person or damage to property will get you a fine, I'm okay with that.  If they want to include gun shots along with boom boxes and leaf blowers in the "no loud sounds after 11pm" ordinance, I'm okay with that too.

But I'm not okay with them targeting firearms.  And neither is the State of North Carolina.

They could just stop this foolishness and go do something useful (like catch the firebug that's burned down three dozen houses in the county) but they'd rather spend time and money (MY MONEY!) on this.

Yeah, it's not about restricting guns. Sure.  Gonna sell me a bridge too?