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You can’t get there from here, Part 2…

You really can’t.

I have been training military and LEO for most of my adult life so I want to be perfectly clear upfront, none of the below is a criticism of LEOs.

I understand the job and its political games, so I have nothing but empathy for them.

Instead, it’s a criticism of the political system and people that as Professor of Yale Law School Stephen Carter stated “…that takes such bizarre delight in creating new crimes for the cops to enforce. “

Yesterday the D.C. Auditor came back saying that the Police ‘acted recklessly’ in the shooting death of Deon Kay.

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You can’t get there from here…

Heartfelt sympathies go out to the police under this policy/leadership.

It sucks working for people who don’t understand the reality of a lethal force encounter. People who don’t understand how little time is available for the right decision, how dynamic and fluid situations are in real life vs on paper, in the book, or in some scripted scenario/video trainer.

While this is indeed “an alternative…” it certainly won’t be applied in a way that “preserves life.” I can’t imagine a more ridiculous statement in regards to firearms and the credible use of lethal force.

It set’s the public up with unrealistic expectations.


Firearms are NOT a less than lethal option, anyone who tells you different is ignorant, run – don’t walk away.

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Shays’s Rebellion: Catalyst for the Counterrevolution

Originally published on

[Chapter 11 of Rothbard’s newly edited and released Conceived in Liberty, vol. 5, The New Republic: 1784–1791.]

Massachusetts suffered particularly from the economic aftermath of the Revolutionary War as its fisheries trade was cut off and its exports to the West Indies were sharply curtailed. Furthermore, the grandiose postwar funding of the wartime Massachusetts debt, which ballooned from £100,000 to £1.5 million after the war, placed a particularly heavy tax burden on its citizenry. While Congress was reevaluating its currency at a depreciation of forty to one, and other states were depreciating at higher rates, Massachusetts stubbornly and absurdly insisted on redeeming its notes at their full value when they were issued. Interest, furthermore, was paid in specie. In addition, reliance on poll and special excise taxes placed an enormously heavy burden on the poorer farmers of western Massachusetts. The courts of the western counties not only exacted high fees, but were also the hated instrument of the enforcement of the tax burden, which included imprisonment of public and private debtors as well as the selling of many debtors into servitude to pay off the debt; some were imprisoned for owing only six shillings! All the debtors’ property except clothing was subject to court seizure. We have already noted the swarm of petitions and the more insurrectionary anti-tax, anti-court movement in the west before the end of the war, headed by the Reverend Samuel Ely and propelled by these distressed circumstances.

The nationwide depression that struck in 1784 hit the already depressed Massachusetts particularly hard. In 1784 alone there were over 2,000 suits for recovery of taxes and other debts in Worchester County alone, and over ninety insolvent debtors were sent to jail in Worchester in the following year. Hampshire County saw its common pleas courts crowded with over 800 debt cases in 1785 alone. Lands in the western counties dropped precipitously in value, and numerous distressed citizens of Massachusetts packed up and emigrated westward.

Yet western Massachusetts did not erupt immediately as might have been expected. The reason was probably that the Massachusetts General Court cut taxes in the towns enormously during 1784 and 1785, assessing only 140 towns in the prior year and none at all in the latter. The taxes were replaced by a stamp tax, which fell on the press, and transfer of documents had to be modified quickly. Furthermore, the plight of debtors was slightly eased in 1784 by increasing the maximum amount of debt suits which could be handled by local justices of the peace, who charged far lower fees than did the courts of common pleas. However, the backcountry attorneys who earned far more from the more expensive common pleas litigation insisted still on taking these small debt cases there, much to the anger of the western farmers and debtors. Many of these attorneys, furthermore, were government officials interconnected with the county judges, an interconnection that angered the citizens of the country even more.

Finally, in early 1786, the masses of western Massachusetts began to erupt once again. From their state government they demanded a lowering of taxes, especially poll taxes, which now accounted for an enormous 40 percent of the state’s revenue, a lowering of judicial fees and increased simplification and greater efficiency in the judicial system, and the lowering of government salaries and expenses. The protestors also opposed the acceleration of Massachusetts’ assumption of public debt, the payment of 6 percent interest in specie annually, and the redemption of the notes at their full face value. In short, they objected to excessive burdens on the taxpayer for the benefit of the cliques of public creditors, mainly eastern merchant-speculators who had purchased the debt at a great discount. Western Massachusetts soberly asked for redemption of the securities at their market value and not their face value.

Overall, the basic program of the people of western Massachusetts was eminently libertarian. They also asked for emission of state paper money and a law that would exempt personal property of debtors from executions. Yet, in the spring of 1786, the General Court brusquely dismissed the western pleas and piled insult upon injury by raising taxes on polls and estates. Indeed, to make up for the tax moratorium in 1785, the General Court in the following year raised the assessed tax burden on the towns to over £300,000—the highest in a five-year period. Of this amount, nearly £130,000 was for payment to public creditors on their securities, going mainly into the hands of speculators. This tax burden was even greater in real terms since prices and property values had declined in the depression, thus making given nominal taxes a heavier burden in real purchasing power and in relation to the incomes of the people. To this oppression was added an expanded work of legal fees for lawyers, judges, and court clerks—fees for less efficient judicial service in the courts.

Apparently it took a lawyer to know a lawyer, for one of the leaders of the western anti-attorney campaign was the lawyer Thomas Gold, a relative of the highly conservative congressional delegate from the West, Theodore Sedgwick. Gold denounced the “Oppression, Extortion & Malpractices of the Attorneys” and introduced a bill abolishing the common pleas court in favor of justices of the peace, as well as opening up the legal profession to freedom of entry for every man. The bill was killed in the Massachusetts Senate.

Thus, none of the westerners’ grievances were met by the General Court in the spring of 1786; instead their demands of protest were brusquely dismissed. And not only in the West: no sooner did the legislature disperse on July 8 when the eight towns of Bristol County in southeastern Massachusetts met and called for a new constitutional convention for Massachusetts. The Bristol towns demanded the suspension of suits for debt and tax collection for nine months and an emission of paper money largely to pay the public debt. As an ultimate demand the Bristol towns asked for abolition of the Massachusetts Senate as an economical move, and significantly urged—as in the case of the battle against the Crown—that government officials be made dependent on the annual vote of their salaries by the House. In short, these liberals acted against the postwar buildup throughout Massachusetts of a state bureaucracy bent on continuing their permanent salary.

Further conventions were soon held in Worchester, Berkshire, Hampshire, and Middlesex counties. The Hampshire convention began with an advanced meeting of a few towns at Pelham, which then circulated to the entire county. The convention met in Hatfield on August 22 and represented no less than fifty towns, the largest convention yet held in Hampshire County. The delegates were elected and paid by the towns and included some of the most prominent citizens of the county: e.g., the great family scion William Pynchon of Springfield, John Hastings of Hatfield, and the merchant Benjamin Ely of West Springfield. The Hatfield convention drew up a comprehensive list of twenty-five grievances that summed up the libertarian program of the Massachusetts radicals. Grievances included the exactions of state government; the stamp tax on newspapers; excessive poll, post and other taxations; high judicial and lawyers’ practice fees; and “the existence of” the common pleas (civil) and general session (criminal) courts. Hampshire also followed Bristol in calling for a constitutional convention and urged reapportionment, abolition of the Senate, and making appointed government officials subject to annual vote of their salaries. The Senate was not only criticized as expensive, it had also blocked freedom of entry to the legal profession as well as instituted the tax on polls and estates. Furthermore, its membership was legally confined to the highly propertied class, and the senators were also elected by large districts, and not individual towns, which made them remote from the people.

Not all from the West favored the Hatfield resolution. Hatfield itself objected to the paper-money clause. More serious were the defections of the towns of Springfield and Northampton. The conventions of Berkshire, Worchester, and Middlesex counties were also rather milder than that of Hampshire. All the county conventions, however, caused a wave of hysteria by Massachusetts conservatives who ranted about treason and even sinister British influences. The towns of Cambridge and Medford, annually rejecting an invitation to take part in the Middlesex convention, opined that annual elections of House representatives were enough of a means of exerting the public will and gaining redress of grievances. The radicals rebutted by pointing to the obstructive Senate. The city of Boston, conveniently forgetting its own “illegal” and revolutionary past, saw only subversion and British machinations in the protest movement. And the chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared that all conventions, especially Hampshire’s presumption of criticizing the Massachusetts constitution, were to be illegal and dangerous.

The Hampshire convention, along with all the others, had carefully insisted that all protests be peaceful, but the protesting masses realized that only by direct action—only by taking responsibility for their own lives and fortunes—could any substantial gains be made. A few days after the Hatfield convention, an armed mob of about 1,500 assembled in Northampton and seized the county courthouse to block any sessions of the courts. The insurgents appointed a committee to “request” adjournment of the courts, to which the judges hastened to reply. The idea was to close the courts until redress of the people’s grievances were achieved; the rebels surely compared the “great scarcity of cash” among the people to the handsome salaries of the appointed government officials. The leader of the successful Northampton mob was Captain Luke Day of West Springfield, a landowner who raised his own insurgents and drilled them. Assisting Day in the court seizure were Captain Joseph Hinds of Greenwich and Lieutenant Joel Billings of Amherst.

The Northampton uprising set the spark for armed mobs in the other protesting counties, and courts were forcibly closed in the counties of Worchester, Middlesex, and Bristol. When Governor James Bowdoin called out the Worchester County militia against the rebels, the militia, in a classical revolutionary mood, refused to turn their guns against their friends and neighbors. A mob of rebels were thus able to close the Worchester courthouse. When the town of Concord went against the tide to vote condemnation of the Hampshire and Worcester uprisings, Job Shattuck marched into Concord with one hundred supporters and picked up another one hundred within the town. Ignoring the numerous pleas of the Middlesex convention, Shattuck and his mob seized the courthouse at Concord and closed the court of common pleas. In Bristol County the rebels were also able to overrule the militia and force the closing of the courts.

On September 13 the courts of Berkshire County, scheduled to sit at Great Barrington, were seized by an armed mob of 800 men coming from twenty-three towns in the county. When the militia was called to march against the rebels, the bulk of it actually deserted to the enemy. After the judges prudently decided to close the courts, the mob forced the common pleas judges to sign a declaration that they would not open the courts until the Massachusetts constitution had been revised. The triumphant mob released all the debtors from the Great Barrington jail. One observer marveled that “not one act of private outrage was committed during the whole transaction. … Does history exhibit such another transaction as this, yet every citizen secure in his person and property?” The observer noted that the Hampshire and Worcester court closings had been similarly scrupulous and orderly.

Deeply involved in the Berkshire rebellion was the formerly conservative William Whiting, a prominent physician and chief justice of the Berkshire court of common pleas. Whiting had collaborated in the insurgents’ plans and had published his support for the rebellion and his condemnation of the legislature for conspiring against the liberties of the people. Whiting particularly attacked the speculators benefiting from the state’s redemption of any notes at face, rather than market, value.

The Berkshire closing stirred Governor Bowdoin the next day to call an emergency session of the Massachusetts General Court for September 27. But on the twenty-sixth, the Supreme Court was scheduled to sit in Springfield in Hampshire County, and there was grave danger that the grand jury might indict the Northampton rebels. To prevent any coerced closing of the courts, General William Shepard of the county militia occupied the courthouse himself with 800 men, 200 of whom consisted of “the most respectable and opulent gentlemen” of Hampshire County. The general also illegally helped his men to arms from the federal arsenal in Springfield.1

Against this formidable force marched approximately 1,100 rebels who sent a committee headed by a young former debtor from Pelham, Captain Daniel Shays, to make their demands of the Supreme Court: to dismiss the militia, to hear no suit for debt until grievances were redressed, and to take no action on grand jury indictments. The court refused the demands but found it could not round up enough people for a grand jury. Meanwhile, as the opposing forces watched each other warily, the rebels put a sprig of hemlock in their hats, while the government forces countered with slips of white paper. Finally, the court agreed to close, and General Shepard surrendered the courthouse; the rebels had won a significant victory.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court was also scheduled to hold a session in Great Barrington, Berkshire County, in mid-October, but again a mob of several hundred angry men gathered to block it, and the conservative leader Theodore Sedgwick only saved himself by fleeing to Stockbridge. The Supreme Court canceled its session; the courts in five Massachusetts counties had now been forcibly closed by the armed people.

One striking feature of the Shaysite rebellion was the defection of the leaders of the old Constitutionalist movement: a defection of older militants that has been a common feature of all radical revolutionary movements in history. The Reverend Thomas Allen and Berkshire sheriff Caleb Hyde, old Constitutionalist leaders, were violently opposed to the Shaysites—a movement that formed the logical continuation of the Constitutionalists, albeit more daring and revolutionary.

While many were harassed debtors, the rebels, or “Regulators” as they called themselves, were by no means rabble. In addition to Chief Justice Whiting, two Berkshire justices of the peace and a Bristol justice of the peace openly supported the rebellion, as did many gentry and professional people. Many leading property owners headed the insurrection, attacking especially the idea of redeeming the public debt at face value and in specie. Leading supporters of the rebellion were former House members from Berkshire, Benjamin Ely of West Springfield and Leicester Grosvenor of Windsor. Particularly strong in the rebellion were former soldiers and officers of the Revolutionary Army—men who were understandably bitter at seeing the army notes which they had sold to eastern speculators at depreciated rates now being redeemed at full face value in interest and principal by the eastern-dominated state government. Redemption, furthermore, was paid in specie and secured by high taxation.

The conservatives demagogically raised the nationalist hue and cry that the insurrection was secretly a British plot to subvert the government, but there is no evidence of British incitement, and the insurgents angrily denied the charge. Indeed, many of the western Massachusetts Tories were opposed to the rebellion.

The Massachusetts General Court met on September 27, 1786, to confront the crisis. The reactionary Governor Bowdoin naturally advocated the use of force, and the conservative-run Massachusetts Senate urged the coercion and the suspension of the basic individual right of habeas corpus. However, the less conservative Massachusetts House decided first to hear the numerous grievances of the rebels. But angered by a letter of defiance from the insurgents, the House agreed to suspend habeas corpus; moreover, the General Court passed repressive anti-riot acts and gave the governor and council the right to imprison without bail anyone they chose to hold inimical to the safety of the state. Furthermore, the Supreme Court was given the power to try the supposedly dangerous folk in any county it wished, rather than before a jury of their peers in their home districts.

To balance this repression, the General Court decided to make a few halting concessions to the protestors. Specifically, it permitted the payment of taxes in commodities as well as specie, permitted for eight months the payment of debts in appraised real estate instead of specie, exempted clothing and needed instruments from execution, and made all suits for debt (except real estate) arguable before justices of the peace. Furthermore, the legislature sweetened the pill of repression further by granting an indemnity to all rebels who had ceased their activity and taken an oath of allegiance before January 1, 1787, and it prudently postponed the reopening of the Hampshire and Berkshire courts.

By November 18 the General Court adjourned, confident that its blend of big stick and small, but widely trumpeted, carrot would quell the insurrection. And it is true that a disorganized Hampshire convention, held untimely in November during the legislative session, secured little support. The General Court, however, had not postponed the reopening of the courts in the counties of Bristol, Middlesex, and Worcester. On November 21 the armed rebel forces of Shays, Day, and Thomas Grover, 200 strong, seized possession of the Worcester courthouse and forced the judges to withdraw. Job Shattuck and Oliver Parker of the gentry of Groton organized a concerted county-wide attack on the Middlesex courthouse. But the Worcester rebels failed to arrive, and the Bristol movement reneged at the last moment and surrendered to the allegedly good deals of the General Court. Betrayed, the Shattuck forces fought bitterly but were finally defeated, and Shattuck, Parker and several other revolutionary leaders from Groton and Shirley were imprisoned under the new repressive legislation. From that point on the insurrectionary movement was confined to the western counties of Worchester, Hampshire, and Berkshire. The Worcester courts were again closed on December 5 as the rebels marched against the courthouse.

There had never been an overall organization to the Regulator rebellion, but now in December the insurgents began to organize more formally on military lines. The Hampshire insurgents formed a “Committee of Seventeen” as captains and six organized county regiments. Chairman of the committee was John Powers of Shutesbury. It is clear that the name Shays’ Rebellion is a misnomer because Shays was never any more than one of the leading military captains of the insurrection. In fact, there is evidence that Shays was one of the most reluctant of the rebel leadership. At the end of December, 300 organized rebels headed by Shays, Day, and Grover marched into Springfield and easily forced the closing of the new session of the Hampshire court.

Thus, by the end of 1786, it was clear to the conservative rulers of Massachusetts that the Regulator rebellion in the West could not be crushed by the county militias. Actually, they could have simply allowed the western courts to remain closed, as had held true during and after the Revolutionary War. But the forces of conservatism could not leave the people of the interior alone, and instead they felt the rebellion to be a threat to their mystical sovereign power. Hence, Massachusetts prepared to escalate the violence and proposed to raise an army against its own citizens, and it appealed to Congress for aid.

Congress was indeed worried at this libertarian upsurge, for those oppressed by taxes and imprisonment to pay for the public debt began to be inspired by the Massachusetts example. As early as July 1786, conventions were held in New Hampshire to protest taxes needed to pay the public debt. In September, a mob demanding paper-money relief for debt suits and court fees laid siege to the New Hampshire legislature at Exeter and threatened the lives of the recalcitrant legislators. The New Hampshire rebels, too, were wildly attacked as levelers of property and condemned as opponents of “law and government.” And former rebels from Massachusetts were soon causing trouble in Litchfield County, Connecticut. In the South, too, radical uprisings were erupting. As early as 1785 South Carolina insurgents were stirred by heavy taxes to pay public debts at face value and had closed many courts in the state; in Maryland, mobs closed many courts and rioted during 1786 and 1787.

The new revolution was clearly spreading. Congress was also worried about the federal arsenal, an enclave of federal power in Springfield. The arch-reactionary Secretary of War, General Henry Knox, had investigated the scene in the autumn of 1786 and now warned hysterically of the danger of social revolution, while Congressman Henry Lee of Virginia ranted of the “dreadful work” that was leading inexorably to “anarchy.”

Congress unanimously decided on October 20, 1786, to raise a special body of continental troops to crush Shays’ Rebellion and called upon New England to raise the men. However, it secretly and fraudulently concealed its purposes by pretending that the troops were for crushing the Northwest Indians. Congress, however, kept from its eagerly sought taxing power, had to raise the money for the troops by borrowing and requisition, and neither source could raise the funds in time. Knox managed to send troops to Springfield by February 1787, but by that time the insurrection was nearly over.

The Massachusetts General Court had even less money to organize a state army of counterrevolution; but a hundred odd “public spirited” wealthy men contributed over £5,000 to finance the huge 4,400 man army formed out of the militia of five counties. The new army was put under the command of General Benjamin Lincoln. Triumphant within their home territory, the rebels could not be expected to vanquish such a formidable force gathered from outside counties. Marching westward, Lincoln’s army permitted the Worcester courts to open on January 23, and the insurgents retreated westward to Palmer in Hampshire County. The desperate rebels seized supplies from conservative opponents, burned their buildings, and looked longingly at the federal arsenal in Springfield, manned by 1,100 militia under General Shepard. Moving on Springfield were Luke Day in West Springfield with 400 men, Eli Parsons of Adams with 400 Berkshire Regulators, stationed to the north at Chicopee, and Daniel Shays with 1,200 men east of Springfield at Wilbraham. Meanwhile, under the pressure of Lincoln’s advancing army, the insurgents had radically scaled down their demands to complete indemnity, the release of Shattuck and the other Middlesex prisoners, and a provision of the settlement of grievances at the next legislative session.

Shays now organized a joint Shays-Day attack on Springfield and moved himself to the attack on January 25. However, Day could not join Shays until the twenty-sixth, and the government forces intercepted Day’s message to Shays to that effect. As Shays besieged the fort, one volley into the ranks unaccountably scattered the rebels, who retreated to Ludlow without firing a single shot. This ignominious defeat caused dozens to desert the rebel ranks.

Marching northward, Shays joined Parsons and retreated further to South Hadley, while Day’s forces were dispersed by the combined governmental forces of Lincoln and Shepard. Confronting each other at Hadley, Shays and a committee of rebel officers headed by Francis Stone asked the General Court for a general pardon as the terms for laying down their arms—a petition backed by ten Massachusetts towns. Thwarted by the legislature, Shays retreated northeastward to Petersham. In a forced march at night through a snowstorm, General Lincoln reached Petersham, and the rebels surrendered en masse. The main leaders, however, did not surrender and fled to surrounding states.

In the meanwhile the Berkshire rebels became restive, resisted attempted arrest, and tried to open a second front against Lincoln. However, the county militia under General Patterson defeated the Berkshire rebels in a series of skirmishes, and Lincoln’s arrival in Pittsfield on February 10 spurred a rash of surrenders under Lincoln’s terms of pardoning all arrested men who would take an oath of allegiance. The determined hardcore of Berkshire, however, escaped westward to New York from where they were led by Captain Perez Hamlin to conduct guerrilla raids against Massachusetts.

By the end of February 1787, the Massachusetts Regulator rebellion had been crushed; Massachusetts asked the neighboring states to cooperate in stamping out the remaining guerrilla forces. Only Connecticut responded readily, while in independent Vermont the people welcomed the fleeing rebels with Shays himself at their head. In fact, Vermont itself had its own Regulator rebellion at the same time as in Massachusetts, and was directed similarly against the courts. On October 31, 1786, thirty armed Regulators of eastside Vermont led by Robert Morrison, a blacksmith, and Benjamin Stebbins, a farmer, had marched to Windsor to close the courts. The stern line of the sheriff and state’s attorney, however, was able to disperse the rioters, and Morrison and others were arrested; after this the sheriff fell upon a group of rebel followers who were planning to rescue their colleagues and arrested them as well. Still, the remaining band of eastside Regulators were considering another rescue attempt but were dissuaded by a force of 600 militia assembling at Windsor. The westside Regulator rebellion in Vermont was more short-lived; a mob attempt to break up the Rutland County court led by Assemblyman Jonathan Fassett was foiled by the militia. The militia surrounded the rebels, who quickly surrendered. Fassett was fined and unanimously expelled permanently from his seat in the Vermont Assembly.

Hence, when Shays’ Rebellion reached its climax in January 1787, the Vermont rebellion had already fizzled out and could not be revived. The people of Vermont, however, were still sympathetic, and Governor Thomas Chittenden delayed moving against the Shaysites. Soon, however, Chittenden did move. First, he warned the Vermonters not to aid the Massachusetts rebels, and then he proceeded to raise troops to round them up.

The Massachusetts General Court, meeting after the crisis in mid-February 1787, quickly proceeded to a nakedly vindictive attack on the former rebels with the Disqualifying Act; no amnesties were allowed to any former rebel that was an important officer, to citizens of other states, to any former member of the legislature, to anyone ever a delegate to any state or county convention, or to anyone holding a civil or military office. Even the supposedly “amnestied” rank and file of the Regulators were forbidden to vote, hold office, serve on a jury, teach school, operate an inn, or sell liquor for three full years. This bitterly harsh reprisal defeated its own purpose because even conservatives and moderates, such as George Washington and General Lincoln, attacked the punishment as overly severe. Lincoln declared in a cold and calculated analysis that to deprive the rebels of their full rights would rejuvenate the movement. Full amnesty, on the other hand, would “be the only way … to make them good members of society and to reconcile them to that government under which we wish them to live.”2 A commission of three, including General Lincoln, extended pardons to nearly 800 Shaysite sympathizers. But fourteen of them, of whom five were from Hampshire and six from Berkshire, were indicted for “treason” to Massachusetts, convicted, and sentenced to death by the Supreme Court. Many others were fined and imprisoned.

By the late 1780s, the old Massachusetts Left had become so conservatized that Sam Adams’ reaction to the rebels was as bigoted and uncomprehending as any conservative’s. Like the city of Boston, Adams simply painted the Regulators as disorderly guerrillas and attacked them as greedy men and subversive British agents. In fact, it was precisely the ex-radical Adams who, as an appointee of the vigilant Governor Bowdoin on the Massachusetts Council, pushed through the Senate the suspension of habeas corpus and led in urging the maximum force against the Regulator movement. It was also Adams who led the fight for a maximum policy of revenge and the execution of the Shaysite leaders.

At this point, however, buoyed by his great popularity and the harsh repression of the Shaysites, the moderate John Hancock swept back into the governor’s seat and crushed Bowdoin in the 1787 elections. Hancock also brought with him a liberal General Court. The turnover was enormous: nearly three-fourths of the House representatives were new, as well as over half of the Senate. The new legislature promptly repealed the harsh Disqualifying Act, and Governor Hancock pardoned with full amnesty for anyone who would take an oath of allegiance to the state. Only nine leaders were exempted from the amnesty, but soon all of them under the death penalty were pardoned by Hancock. Day was captured by New Hampshire in January 1788 and was pardoned. The following month, Shays and Parsons recanted their evils, promised good behavior, and soon received pardons, with the provision that neither could ever hold civil or military office in Massachusetts.

The newly liberal legislature passed reforms to address some of the grievances of the interior: the tender law was extended, clothing and various goods were exempted from execution, the imprisonment for debt was virtually abolished for debtors who could not pay for their room and board, and poll and state taxes were dramatically lowered. Moreover, court fees were sharply reduced, and Hancock voluntarily lowered his salary by nearly one-third. However, the General Court refused to issue future paper money, scale down the debt, refine the appropriation of excise revenues, or crack down on the practices of the legal profession. Nevertheless, in the final result, after peaceful protest had failed, the Regulator rebels, by taking to arms and engaging in illegal acts, were able to push through substantial liberal reforms. Thus, direct armed insurgency came to provide the necessary impetus to enact liberal parliamentary reforms.3

The reform policies and their drastic lowering of direct taxes weakened the grandiose Massachusetts debt-funding program. As a result, the public creditors in Massachusetts came to support a strong central government with taxing power to assume their claims as they were now doubtful of Massachusetts ever being able to pay its debts. The propertied men of Massachusetts shifted en masse into the nationalist camp, and Shays’ Rebellion conservatized many of the state’s leaders who now felt that the state government and the Confederation were too weak to prevent such tax uprisings from occurring.

Shays’ Rebellion served as a spur to nationalist sentiment in other states by providing fuel for demagogic attacks about dangers of weak government under the Confederation. General Knox lost no opportunity in whipping up a scare campaign about the rebellion and damning the system of “vile state governments” as “sources of pollution” and were therefore directly responsible. George Washington was apparently frightened enough by the Shays episode to return to politics to push the nationalist cause; the young Connecticut-born lecturer and textbook writer Noah Webster denounced the rebellious state, urged national government, and even called for a “limited monarchy” to block the “ignorance and passions of the multitude.” Above all, perhaps, Alexander Hamilton raised the charge of anti-Shayism hysteria. Brusquely dismissing the real and intense grievances of the people of western Massachusetts, Hamilton thought that the intention of the rebels was to abolish all debts, abrogate contracts, and generally to establish some vague kind of subversive and egalitarian government. Only a strong national government, opined Hamilton, could save America from the army of future and greater Shayses and their “spirit of licentiousness.” And, in a sense, the liberal reformist Regulators who followed after the rebellion were, to Hamilton, as dangerous and subversive as the insurrection itself. George Washington and James Madison also dismissed Shaysite grievances and wanted to confiscate the arms of the rebels. Both Madison and Washington believed the rebellion was designed to abolish all debts and redistribute property. 

Outside the ardent nationalist camp, opposition to the Shaysites was far more sober and subdued. Benjamin Franklin refused to get excited about the rebellion. More interesting was the reaction of Thomas Jefferson, minister to France. Until now a political moderate, Jefferson was still opposed to any modification of the debt process or to popular acts against the courts. But, it was remarkable that while all the other major leaders of America were being pushed rightward by the Shaysite turmoil, Thomas Jefferson, in contrast, moved sharply leftward. Jefferson began to realize that repression was far worse than rebellion and that in the non-governmental body of the people was to be found far more wisdom and justice than in the government. Rebellion is a voluntary education, he began to conclude, and he also reflected on the whole of government: “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Here was a decidedly anarchistic statement, and this sentiment was refined by a critically important letter that he wrote at the time to his old friend James Madison, who was worried about the Shaysite troubles in Massachusetts. There were three types of societies, wrote Jefferson: “1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England to a slight degree, and in our states, in a great one. 3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics.” Jefferson went on to declare that the first anarchistic form was probably the best, “but I believe it to be inconsistent with any degree of population.” Next best was democracy, under which “the mass of mankind … enjoys a precious degree of liberty & happiness.” True, democracy may be turbulent, as presumably in the Shay episode, “But weigh this against the oppression of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. … [and] even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. … It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.”


Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard made major contributions to economics, history, political philosophy, and legal theory. He combined Austrian economics with a fervent commitment to individual liberty.

Your “No Guns” Sign is Tragic

What I’m about to write here is “impolitic”. It’s going to hurt some feelings. It’s going to make me sound like a politically-incorrect monster. I don’t care. It needs to be said.

Here’s the story.

The King Soopers shooting in Boulder is a tragedy. True. But, why is it a tragedy? What, exactly, is tragic about the event?

Yes, senseless loss of life at the hands of a lunatic is bad. There’s no denying that. And, the result is, indeed, tragic.

That said, there are a series of elements in this event that are much more tragic, in my opinion.

  • The fact that not a single employee or patron in that store moved to stop the attack is “tragic”.
  • The fact that the first cop on scene wanted to be a drone pilot to avoid job related hazards – after having made a fully adult, 40 year old decision to become a police officer (a job with inherent risk, as the gun requirement would make reasonably clear) – is “tragic”.
  • The fact that grown-ass men have a need and desire to tell the world/press how “frightened” they were as though they completely lack the necessary biological requirements to be men, is “tragic”.
  • The fact that King Soopers/Kroger chose an ineffective, “no guns” policy as a defense against a violent act is “tragic”.
  • The fact that the police didn’t control the scene well and mostly stood around with their heads firmly implanted in their collective fourth point of contact is “tragic”.
  • The fact that the only “solution” anyone can muster is related to more, dumb-ass, gun control laws (which criminals will ignore – hence, the title, “criminal”), is “tragic”.
  • The fact that anyone cares what Major League Baseball thinks about the event is… well, “tragic”.

Enough ranting… some facts and some sober questions:

  • 2020 was a record year for gun sales. Best estimates now put 400 million guns in the hands of private US citizens. Presumably a couple of those gun owners were in King Soopers during the shooting. Why were they not carrying? If they were, why were they not properly trained to use the one tool that would have leveled the playing field and saved innocent life?
  • Why did King Soopers not defend their enterprise, their employees, or their patrons with anything more effective than an HR policy and a fucking sign?
  • The police most often looked to be standing around like they were in a park waiting for someone to serve a burger or a brat at some family gathering. Why? Is their training insufficient? Are they incompetent?
  • There are apparently police officers who would rather be flying kites… er… drones than being law enforcers or protectors. Why are they on the job? Has HR failed the cops as well?

In the interest of not simply kvetching about a problem and not offering any constructive advice, I present the following steps to remedy the “tragedies” above:

  • Buy a gun. Get trained. Real training. Not NRA “safety” training taught by a lobbying organization. Or, some crappo, State mandated concealed carry permission.
  • Carry your gun. It’s useless unless it’s deployable in a crisis.
  • Stop patronizing stores with “no gun” policies. They are kill-zones.
  • If you own or manage an enterprise, arm and train your employees to effectively respond to a violent threat.
  • If you’re a cop… get your shit together.
  • The world is not, has never been, and will never be a safe-space. If you are a man, you have an obligation to act as a protector, if not a warrior. Not to out-source that to civil servants. Acquire the tools and training to be able to accept that responsibility. Stop being a pussy. Stop being a victim. You can delegate authority. You may not delegate responsibility.
  • Ignore politicians who would dis-arm you and infringe upon your natural right of self-defense. Back to that delegation thing… when bad things happen to good people, the politicians will not be there. No matter how many laws they sign or how many tax dollars they spend, no one is coming to save you.

In the end, this event and the result is a direct reflection on who we are as a society and a complete abrogation of responsibility for one’s own safety and personal defense. Distributed Security has the training and tools necessary to prevent this in the future… created by guys with careers’ worth of real-world experience training and operating in environments and circumstances much more deadly than King Soopers on a Monday afternoon. In other words, professionals and warriors. You need those resources. Get them.

Call us.

The Capitol

My suggestions to anyone hyperventilating over the protestors that entered the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, are first to stick your head in a bucket of ice water and wait for it all to boil away; and then, read and consider the following definitions, which clarify what that event was not. Here’s a spoiler: it was NOT a siege, an insurrection, a coup, terrorism, or treason. Compare the actual facts of what happened that day to these common definitions.

What is a “Siege”?

  • “a military blockade of a city or fortified place to compel it to surrender” – Merriam Webster
  • “the surrounding of a place by an armed force in order to defeat those defending it: ‘The siege of Mafeking lasted for eight months.’ ‘The soldiers laid siege to (= started a siege of) the city.’” – Cambridge English Dictionary
  • “A military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling those inside to surrender.  ‘Verdun had withstood a siege of ten weeks’” . . . An operation in which a police or other force surround a building and cut off supplies, with the aim of forcing an armed person to surrender. ‘Two cult members have died so far in the four-day siege’”– Oxford English Dictionary

What is an “Insurrection”?

  • “an organized attempt by a group of people to defeat their government and take control of their country, usually by violence.” – Cambridge English Dictionary
  • “a violent uprising by a group or movement acting for the specific purpose of overthrowing the constituted government and seizing its powers. An insurrection occurs where a movement acts to overthrow the constituted government and to take possession of its inherent powers.” [Younis Bros. & Co. v. Cigna Worldwide Ins. Co., 899 F. Supp. 1385, 1392-1393 (E.D. Pa. 1995)] —

What is a “Coup”?

  • “a sudden illegal, often violent, taking of government power, especially by part of an army.” – Cambridge English Dictionary
  • “Coup d’état, also called coup, the sudden, violent overthrow of an existing government by a small group. The chief prerequisite for a coup is control of all or part of the armed forces, the police, and other military elements.” – Britannica
  • “A coup attempt includes illegal and overt attempts by the military or other elites within the state apparatus to unseat the sitting executive.” – Global instances of coups from 1950 to 2010: A new dataset, Jonathan M Powell & Clayton L Thyne, Journal of Peace Research, 2011

What is Terrorism?

  • “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents”. – Title 22 Chapter 38 U.S. Code § 2656f

There are many other definitions of terrorism, so everyone can probably find one to suit their purpose or prejudice, but one of the more thoughtful and reputable discussions is found in Britannica, excerpted here:

“Terrorism, the calculated use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. Terrorism has been practiced by political organizations with both rightist and leftist objectives, by nationalistic and religious groups, by revolutionaries, and even by state institutions such as armies, intelligence services, and police.”

“. . . Revolutionary terrorism is arguably the most common form. Practitioners of this type of terrorism seek the complete abolition of a political system and its replacement with new structures. Modern instances of such activity include campaigns by the Italian Red Brigades, the German Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhof Gang), the Basque separatist group ETA, the Peruvian Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso), and ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant; also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS]). Subrevolutionary terrorism is rather less common. It is used not to overthrow an existing regime but to modify the existing sociopolitical structure. Since this modification is often accomplished through the threat of deposing the existing regime, subrevolutionary groups are somewhat more difficult to identify. An example can be seen in the ANC and its campaign to end apartheid in South Africa.”

What is “Treason” (a term that is also widely misused by conservatives)?

  • “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” — Article III, Section 3, U.S. Constitution.
  • “The Founding Fathers carefully delineated the crime of treason in Article III of the U.S. Constitution, narrowly defining its elements and setting forth stringent evidentiary requirements. . . The Treason Clause applies only to disloyal acts committed during times of war.” —

So what was it, at the Capitol on January 6, 2021? It was not any of those things; nor was it an armed takeover, nor even the kind of illegal occupation that local governments tolerated for weeks last year in Seattle and elsewhere. It was, to a still unknown extent, provoked and encouraged by agent provocateurs of the left, who knew exactly what would result, and how they could exploit it, and by agent provocateurs of splinter groups on the right who seem to either worship chaos for its own sake, and/or are too clueless to have understood the consequences of their action. From the perspective of the thousands of pro-Trump protestors in D.C. that day, it was politically stupid, and criminal. Criminal prosecutions, based on specific and applicable U.S. statutes, are underway.

When searching for motivations, one should always ask: who benefits?  Did President Trump benefit? Did his supporters, or any subset of them benefit (including the 99% of protestors present in D.C. that day, who did not enter the capitol)? Did Americans concerned about the fairness and legality of the November, 2020 election benefit? The answer to all those is an obvious and resounding “NO!” 

The only people who benefited are the politicians and media pundits who are turning our nation’s capital, and soon our nation, into a police state with their created boogeyman of “far right extremists”, “white supremacists”, and “domestic terrorists”. When you hear and see that continued refrain, in broadcast, print, online, and on the floors of Congress, remember this quote, and who said it (if you don’t know who, look it up):

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

What was January 6, 2021? 

It was our Reichstag Fire.

Newt Gingrich: ‘Woke’ American military puts US in danger.

“We want a military dedicated to warfighting, learning the lessons of military history, and preparing to defeat our opponents if we are militarily threatened. The kind of potentially heroic young men and women who rally to the flag to fight for America are not going to be strengthened in their dedication to winning by having to learn an ideology that has been foisted on a gullible country by woke flim-flam artists (the modern grifters of phony sociology and politics). ”

Yes, She is coming for your guns.

President Harris – because of course that is what she would be, in short order – would be the stuff of nightmares, if you care about your freedoms.

The USAToday story here: tells the story, briefly, in case you’ve been out of the solar system for the last year.

Bad enough that Harris panders to the antigun movement – no surprise there – but the egregious inaccuracies in this story illustrate that her prejudice, and theirs, is supported by “News Light” aka “McPaper”:

1) It is untrue that “online gun sales” are completed without background checks. No firearm can be shipped directly to an online buyer: all must be shipped from a federally licensed firearms dealer, to a federally licensed firearms dealer in the buyer’s state, who completes the transfer to the buyer just as he would if he were selling the firearm himself – that includes the background check.

2) State “red flag laws” do not result in orders “typically issued for two or three weeks”, nor are they “temporary” by any sane definition, as claimed  several times in this story. They are enforceable immediately following a hearing in front of a judge where the accused has no right to speak for himself or through counsel; and their usual duration is at least a year, and in almost every case, the accused has to request termination of the order through another court hearing, at his own expense, where the burden of proof is on him.  Hardly due process.  Hardly “innocent until proven guilty.” Shall we treat all Constitutional rights this way?

3) Harris and her fellow travelers speak repeatedly about using a federal “red flag law” to remove weapons from “suspected” (!) “domestic terrorists” (!!) and “white nationalists” (!!!) while the closest thing to a reasonable commentator in this story is the former NCTC Director who cautions that such action could not be taken on the basis of someone’s exercise of First Amendment rights. But there is no statute, and no crime, titled “domestic terrorism” or “white nationalism,” so labeling someone as such is nothing but a chilling threat against free expression. To whom would you grant authority to determine which citizens fell into either category, and deserved to be stripped of a Constitutional right? I’m sure Kamala Harris has an answer, and most Americans won’t like it.

And those who do like the idea, because after all who cares about “domestic terrorists” or “white nationalists,” should remember Martin Niemoller, the German Lutheran minister who said of the Nazis:

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

What Went Wrong in Kenosha on September 1, 2020 – and How to Avoid It

Attacking a man when he’s down is not always a good idea

Let’s get this straight, first: 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse performed as well in the circumstances as most adults 2-4 times his age, and with far more training and experience, could hope to do.  Once he found himself isolated and under attack, his decisions to retreat, his discretion in engaging only those that physically assaulted him, and his shooting leave little to criticize. 

Of course, the Monday morning quarterbacks are going to work on him.  He may have missed with several rounds he fired at his first assailant – except we’re still sorting out who all the other shooters were on the street that night – but in any case, he got good hits and stopped that assailant, in the first lethal force encounter of his life, in the midst of a huge adrenaline dump and Sympathetic Nervous System storm.  He tripped and fell in the street while running from a pursuing mob (which could never happen given the cat-like reflexes and superior gym-rat conditioning of true operators, right?). He hesitated until the last second to fire on the third assailant, who was charging him with a pistol (perhaps confused by the stupidity of that assault, but in hindsight, a remarkable display of restraint).  And so on.  All in all, I’ll say it again, he did as well as most bad-ass “opr8rs” would have done, who have never before found themselves in the midst of an angry mob, fronted by at least three crazed felons, yelling “get the m-f!”

But that takes us to the real point: how did Kyle find himself in that situation?  We do not know the details yet, as there is a gap in the video footage between the “tame” situation of several armed defenders on private property, and Kyle fleeing on his own across a lot with the now-deceased felonious pedophile hot on his trail.  There is only one witness statement available which may shed some light on what happened in between, but we’re neither trying nor defending the case, nor trying to fill in the gaps in the second-by-second narrative. The truth will out.

All of this might have been avoided had the folks associated with that car dealership under siege in Kenosha exercised more foresight, planning, and preparation, and ensured a higher level of training and teamwork. In fact, we saw a demonstration of how it could have gone, in video footage from the night before that showed several rifle-armed men standing in front of a Kenosha business as a large mob flowed past.  One at least of them verbalizes to the “protestors” who throw some harsh language back as is their wont, but quite rationally they “just keep moving,” while the defenders keep muzzles depressed, fingers straight, heads on a swivel – and in clear line of sight and mutual supporting distance, something Kyle missed terribly, the following night. Mission accomplished, that first night: that’s a good picture of how the protection of private property in a civil disturbance could go.  The next night, not so much.

Distributed Security, Inc. (DSI) offers a well-developed model of how an enterprise (i.e. private business), institution (i.e. church or school), community, or a network of any or all of these can protect lives and property in the midst of a violent civil disturbance.  Here are the basic tenets of the DSI approach – all of which were absent (or inadequate) in the Kenosha example we’re looking at:

  1. Analysis, comprising a threat assessment, area study, site survey(s), and an evaluation of outside assets that may contribute to safety and security, such as police, fire, and emergency medical, and response times and capabilities for each. Understand the law, and its constraints (what you must do) and restraints (what you cannot do). Take a realistic look at the political, social, and legal environment. What have the local authorities said (and done!) about maintaining order, and protecting lives and property? What is their attitude about citizens doing so?  This kind of information collection and analysis can’t be done overnight.
  2. Establish full, open, and sustained communications with local law enforcement, ensuring that you operate within the law and are prepared for safe and effective linkup with responding officers. If you can’t get law enforcement concurrence and support for your efforts, you should probably consider voting with your feet – relocating – rather than trying to defend under conditions that will put you at odds with local government and the legal system.
  3. Organize your private security force, so you don’t face a crisis with a last-minute pickup crew.  Neighbors and friends pitching in on the spur of the moment may be better than nothing – but it’s a lot worse than what you can accomplish with some prior organization. One of the most important elements of this is to insist upon teamwork and “battle buddies” so that no one finds themself left alone facing a lethal threat.  That alone could have changed the outcomes in Kenosha.
  4. Develop plans and procedures, for both ‘normal’ day-to-day conditions and for facing the threats you have identified.  Make sure everyone understands their role. Test your plans and procedures with validation exercises that can vary from a BOGSAT discussion (Bunch of Guys Sitting Around a Table) to formal war gaming, walk-throughs, and performance testing. Fix the errors, fill the gaps. Leave as little as possible to native wit and improvisation.
  5. Develop leaders, an organizational structure with shared understandings about discipline and the chain of command, IFF, and redundant communications.
  6. Make sure that everyone involved clearly understands their rights and responsibilities under the law, to include the crucial distinction between defensive actions wholly within private property versus engaging in melees, or projecting force, into public areas.
  7. And finally, neither last nor least, is training: both individual and team training, in firearms and in tactical and decision-making skills. We see many examples like Kyle Rittenhouse, of gifted amateurs, or individuals with little or no formal training who manage to come through in a crisis – but relying on hope, luck, or divine intervention in a life or death crisis is not a good strategy.

DSI offers training and guidance in all these areas.  We train individuals and enterprises to defend life and property. We pioneered distributed security networks which enable businesses, churches and schools to coordinate an active defense of their premises and their immediate community.

Our offerings range from $19/month on-line memberships for individuals to $1 million plus turnkey enterprise packages, all built on resources and programs including on-range training leveraged by on-line resources in 27 course formats, 6 enterprise service offerings, 114 online learning modules, 150 videos, manuals, training plans, a mobile app, and more.  All this is designed to assist individuals, enterprises, organizations and communities avoid the pitfalls of standing up a security capability to protect lives and property at the last minute in a crisis, as happened in Kenosha a few nights ago. These are dangerous times; best to do the thing well.

Go to to find out more.

Bang for your Buck

Most of the folks who follow entries here at Warrior Capitalist know that Distributed Security, Inc provides World Class, Tactical Firearms Instruction to Individuals and Organizations.  We differentiate ourselves from our competitors on the basis of instructor experience, low Student to Instructor ratios, content-dense curriculum, pre-range training, post-range persistent training, a robust online platform, and tremendous value for your training dollar in terms of quality and quantity of instruction.

The dumpster fire formerly known as the NRA, however, does not.

Yes… that’s inflammatory. Tough.  I’ll wait a moment (brief intermission) to continue until the National Rifle Sycophants cease hyperventilating and find some pearls to clutch…

Ok, NRA True Believers.  Time for a little math-based, tough love, reality.  This’ll be short, because I’d hate to be accused of insulting anyone’s intelligence by belaboring the painfully obvious.  Just the tip. I promise…:

You can bring yourself to a fundamental level of handgun familiarity by engaging in:

  • NRA Basic HG course = 8 hrs of death by PowerPoint and $165 hard cash
  • Basic and Advanced Holster* courses = 4 hrs and $150
  • Total commitment = 12 hrs and $315


  • DSI’s Module 1 of Tier 4 Handgun Training = 4 hrs of actual Range Time (instructed by former Military and Law Enforcement professionals) and $200*we’ll throw-in the Holster training for free

So… what’s our take-home lesson?  For all you math wizards and business types out there, what’s the cost:benefit analysis of the above?

For higher quality, content-rich training, you save $115 and a full day of your life.  Further, the beauty of the NRA model is: both the vendors and the consumers are screwing themselves.  The vendors are “gaining” 50% on the revenue for spending 200% more labor.  The Stockholm Syndrome stricken consumers, though, are willfully being raped.

It’s time for someone to throw a wet blanket on the Fairfax Dumpster Fire.  Seriously.  

Shut up and Train.

A Bridge Too Far…?

When I was a younger man, still in the Army, I had the opportunity to participate in the annual Nijmegen March. Nijmegen happens as a commemoration of the US’s role liberating the Netherlands in World War 2’s Operation Market Garden and was immortalized in the movie “A Bridge Too Far”.

The annual event is a 100 mile march (25 miles a day) in and around the town of Nijmegen, Holland. Troops are invited from around the world to participate, but the vast majority of marchers are from US Army units.

Each morning, around 4 am, our team would get up, ruck-up, and begin the daily walk. We’d finish and get back to our sleeping accommodations late morning, shower, sleep for a couple hours, and then we’d hit the town to party with the locals until, 1 or 2 am, ready to rinse and repeat.

Each morning, the roads we marched were lined with locals. Predominantly, young women. And, they would cheer and make a hell of a spectacle of themselves. Throwing flowers, paper slips with phone numbers and addresses, and various pieces of clothing at the American Paratroopers. You see… we had a reputation. While Operation Market Garden was not a complete success, the Nijmegen operation was. We were the direct descendants of those paratroopers from WWII who had walked in, smacked the Nazis in the mouth, rescued the damsel in distress… and, bedded her.

We were Kings. We were Rockstars. We were Men among men. And, we were desired.

Around the world, many American men had that sort of reputation and aura about them at one time. Not so much any more.

I’m looking for a word… Bland. No. Vanilla… mmmm… Ice Cream… Milquetoast? Too British. Neutered? Close…

Eunuch. That’s the word I’m looking for. Eunuch.

Eunuch: noun

a castrated man, especially one formerly employed by rulers in the Middle East and Asia as a harem guard or palace official.

Why am I kicking this word around? Because, the vast majority of supposed 2nd Amendment “advocates” I speak to (you know… the guys who talk about being citizens as opposed to subjects) seem to be Eunuchs. Every one of them seems to have had his daddy-tackle removed.

Sure, there’s lots of tough talk. There are promises that eventually “We” (you know, the royal we) are going to cross some notional Rubicon regarding our rights and these nutless wonders are going to spring into action, locked and loaded. But… are they? Really?

Because, entire revolutions have occurred, blood in the streets, kings toppled, governments converted, borders changed, for far less than the infringements we’re currently watching occur before our very eyes. And, when you start to talk nuts and bolts with the 2A crowd, when you really start to press them about the plan, or the training, or where that line in the sand really is… it all falls apart. We’ll just rely on voting the bastards out and pay lobbyists to tell the gov’t that we’re really upset.

In a country with a God given, Constitutionally affirmed right to arms (the 2nd Amendment for the new guys), we rely on the lobbyists, lawyers, and politicians to do what men should be doing. There are a number of implications in that last sentence, and I want you to consider all of them.

By delegating our responsibility to actively preserve our rights, we are abdicating them. It is not necessary, and certainly not desirable, to lobby (i.e. beg) for our rights to be observed, honored, and respected by the Crown. They are not the Crown’s to give, much less to take away. The rightful remedy to government over-reach is to exercise our rights, forcefully if necessary. Not to grovel and whine.

Why is it, then, in the United States of America, a country founded on the premise that Citizens possess the right to be armed and to be able to respond violently if a government were to attempt to deprive them of that right… Why is it, that we are actively losing the 2A war? Why is there a battle? Why even a debate?

Because we American (formerly) men, have traded our balls and guns for loafers and ballots. Because we’ve decided that lawyers should do the heavy lifting. Because all that training and preparing shit is hard and expensive. Because we’ve convinced ourselves that being “civilized” and soft is a good thing. Because, American men act like neutered, flaccid house cats. We act like eunuchs. As a culture, we are kept men.

Rights, particularly gun rights are maintained by unapologetically training and exercising those rights. Lobbying for them is the equivalent of sitting in a drum circle, contemplating our collective navel, and hoping for the best.

We don’t lack for good, historic role models. We American men were pioneers, mountain men, gunslingers, and war heroes. Now, we won’t even exercise our own rights, seemingly for fear of breaking a nail or offending some blue haired, female soccer player.

See the source image

How’s that going for you? And, what are you willing to do about it? What’s your birthright? When will we reach our “Bridge too Far”?

Reach out. I can help.

We can develop six highly-trained, armed, and wired employees for the same cost as a single contract security guard.

Contract security giant Securitas released their biennial survey and were surprised to find out that “active shooters and company insiders”, were the biggest physical threats facing corporate America today according to the surveyed corporate security managers.

The only way to effectively defend against an active shooter is with a cadre of highly-trained and armed employees who will be there at the moment of contact. Anything else is security theater.

Distributed Security, Inc. can train enterprise employees* to defend against violent attack.  Our program integrates 56 hours of training over 3 months – 16 hours of dedicated range training with 24 hours of reality based training – and includes tactical medical training. Our training develops combative firearms skills and focuses on the use of concealment and cover, working hallways, stairs and doorways, crossing thresholds and clearing rooms.

For details on our enterprise training programs click here:,-churches-and-schools.html

*This program is for non-security personnel who continue to work their existing job after training.

“Arming Teachers” – Fallacious Arguments and Irrelevant Evidence

Colorado Educators Training to Protect Their Schools, 2017

There is a disproportionate buzz about the newly signed Florida legislation that allows its school districts (each at its own discretion) to authorize concealed carry of firearms by teachers in their schools.

Why disproportionate?  Because the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, signed into law in March 2018 soon after the Parkland mass shooting, had already established the “Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program” named after the coach who gave his life attempting to shield students with his body during that shooting.  That program gave school boards the option of allowing school staff members to carry firearms, excluding most classroom teachers who were not JROTC teachers, or current service members, or current or former law enforcement officers.

Last year’s bill established a tough training standard, and left the decision to local school boards, both very good things.  And since school staff who are not classroom teachers often comprise as high as 50% of the total, this approach was rational, if overly cautious, as school boards would still have the authority to approve or disapprove any applicant, without the no-teacher provision imposed by law.

The only change with the new law is that now all classroom teachers are also eligible to volunteer for the Guardian program.  Note “eligible” and “volunteer” and you will understand why so much of the near-hysterical opposition to this law is baseless.

In Loco Parentis

Of course, no one is actually “arming” any teachers – there is no arms room where they will line up to be issued weapons before filing into the trenches – much less “all” teachers, which is how the opposition likes to frame its strawman argument.  They will arm themselves, if their school board votes to implement the Guardian program, and if they individually volunteer, pass rigorous screening and selection, and complete the legally mandated 132 hours of training.  No one is guaranteed approval, and the standards they must meet are high.

The Miami New Times, not known for smart or principled positions on any firearms issue, is one of the media outlets appalled that the legislature and governor, elected by citizens to legislate and govern, have not allowed themselves to be ruled by teachers’ unions, high school students, and some school boards and administrators. All those folks display their statist leanings by wanting to impose their own fears of positive protective measures on everyone. Under Florida law, if they (and, pointedly, the voters in their school districts) do not want to implement the Guardian program, they don’t have to. They can keep the Gun Free Zone signs over their doors and hope for the best. But that’s not enough for them; they think they know better than anyone else what is best for every school district in Florida.

Local control on this issue is a sound and sensible approach, in line with the rule of subsidiarity, the concept that decision-making should occur at the lowest level appropriate to its purpose. Local control is often preferable to decision making by officials far-removed from the affected population, less responsive to their local and regional preferences, and more likely to impose one-size-fits-all solutions. Voters can more easily influence or replace an unresponsive local elected official than his state or federal counterparts.  Here it means what Florida and many other states have ruled: let the school districts decide for themselves.

Beyond that repugnant statist attitude, opponents of “arming” school staff try to bolster their argument with unsupportable claims and sloppy ‘research’ – textbook examples of confirmation bias, the tendency to only consider evidence that supports one’s preconceived notions. The Miami New Times cites an analysis by Gabrielle Giffords’ anti-gun organization that purports to show how dangerous introducing “more guns” to schools will be. It is such a sloppy piece of research and reasoning that we cannot let it go unanswered.

This long piece cites 67 “incidents of mishandled guns in schools” from all over America, from 2014 to the present, to support their opposition to concealed carry of firearms by school staff who meet the requirements of Florida’s Guardian program.  But here’s the rub: only one of these 67 incidents involved a school staffer carrying a firearm under similar requirements. That one involved a Texas superintendent who left her authorized firearm locked in a district vehicle when she and her staff visited another district where she was not authorized to carry it – and then forgot to recover the weapon and left it in the van overnight, to be found in the morning.

Every other incident on this list actually supports the premises behind Florida’s Guardian program, and similar programs in the many other states with similar laws on the books.  Not one carefully vetted armed staff member carrying a concealed firearm with knowledge and approval of their school board, in accordance with strict standards, in well over 1,000 schools around the country, was involved in any of the other 66 incidents cited.

Better than a “Gun Free Zone”

Fifteen of the incidents on this list involved subjects who were not staff members at all; some of these were commissioned officers, while others were merely family members or other visitors carrying firearms on school property in violation of the law.  Another incident involved two coaches, but occurred off school property.  Desperate to plump up the numbers, are we?

What this list actually does is to demolish the assertion often made by opponents of armed school staff, that guns in school should be left to the “armed professionals.”  While the Miami New Times quotes some who seem to believe that armed officers make schools safer, Giffords does not think so, and on this point at least, we can at least understand the sentiment.  Fully 27 of the 67 incidents in the Giffords study involve “armed professionals” – commissioned police officers or deputies assigned to a school, officers responding to a call for assistance or visiting for other reasons, or other uniformed security guards or school resource officers employed on site. These “armed professionals” had unintentional discharges (several of which injured themselves or others), left their weapons in restrooms or elsewhere unattended, and in two egregious cases, failed to stop a child from pulling the trigger of their holstered weapon.

So much for ‘armed professionals’ – we who are armed professionals know how little sustained, realistic, demanding training most officers undergo, and how easily complacency creeps in.  Uniformed guards – commissioned or not – are not ten feet tall. They are unfortunately sometimes less dedicated and often less proficient than educators who understand their responsibilities “in loco parentis” and undergo rigorous and frequent training required by law and school district policy. Who has not heard educators saying, “we would sacrifice our lives to protect the kids in our care”?  Give the tools and the skills to those who are willing, and they can do better than just sacrifice themselves like Coach Feis did at Parkland.

This is not to say that officers are all deficient in their skills and judgment – far from it – or that they cannot train to a high standard; but we who are trainers know without a shadow of a doubt that motivated civilians can do just as well, with the proper training. In the schools as on the streets, they are not volunteering to act as law enforcement officers, which is a very broad skill set indeed, but only to protect innocents against lethal threats – a very narrow skill set that comprises only a small slice of a police officer’s responsibilities.

In fact, what we do know is that responding police – even when they do not have unintentional discharges like several in this list – do not protect schools against active shooters, because they almost always arrive too late; and that uniformed officers on site have a very spotty record. The uncertainty in a potential aggressor’s mind that is created by the prospect of an unknown number of trained staff members carrying concealed weapons at various but unpredictable locations throughout a school, appears to be a better deterrent than one uniformed officer, as evidenced by the complete absence of active shooter incidents in such schools.  Arguably, if one is swayed by logic, they will prove to be a more effective and flexible defense as well, if that unprecedented day does arrive when a shooting happens in their school.

Columbine high school shooters captured on video.

Again, with the exception of that Texas superintendent, none of these incidents involved an approved, trained, school staff member carrying a concealed weapon.  The closest thing to it is the anomalous case of a teacher in Utah in 2014. State law there allows any resident with a concealed carry permit to carry in the schools. There is no requirement to even notify the school board or administration, much less be vetted or approved, or to be trained to any standard beyond the 8 hours of mostly classroom training required for a permit. This teacher dropped her weapon in a toilet stall (before school, with no students in the building); it discharged, shattering the bowl and cutting her calf with a flying shard.  That’s not a laughing matter, or not only a laughing matter, but should be taken in context. Utah’s law has been in place for 20 years, and out of 700,000 citizens with concealed carry permits (14 million person-years?), this is the only reported occasion in which anyone has been injured by a legal concealed carrier’s firearm in a Utah school. And she doesn’t work there any more.  It may also be significant that Utah has had no mass shootings in its schools, but we can only speculate. Pretty safe state, Utah, for all that their statute is far less prescriptive than Florida’s or many other states.

So Giffords, although it titles its piece “Every Incident of Mishandled Guns in Schools” and assures us that theirs is a “systematic analysis,” and that this list of 67 incidents is “comprehensive” for the its date range, has absolutely failed to make a case against armed school staff members in districts that opt in, under authorizing state law, with well-drafted programs and requirements.

Opponents of protecting our schools and children with armed staff on site will have to do better than this, to make a case worth listening to.

Below is a tabulation of the incidents the Giffords piece cites, upon which these conclusions are based. The “Disqualifiers” column notes specific conditions which render the example irrelevant to the argument. “Illegal firearm” indicates that the weapon was on school property in violation of federal and/or state law.  The only exceptions to this disqualifier are the 27 cases involving law enforcement officers and paid security guards, and the afore-mentioned cases of the Texas superintendent and Utah teacher. Those who violate the law or handle firearms incompetently are precisely the sort who are unlikely to volunteer in the first place, or to pass a careful vetting and selection process, or a demanding, standards-based training program, all characteristics of Florida’s Guardian program and those of many other states. As in so many firearms discussions, the actions of criminals and incompetents do not form a rational basis for critiquing the vast majority of actual or potential armed citizens in any venue, including schools.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not an overnight sensation. She is the culmination of 100 years of battlefield preparation aimed at destroying America.

We knew about the Frankfurt School in the 1920’s. We knew about the communist infiltration of the FDR administration in the 1930’s and their role in creating the New Deal. We knew about Hollywood communist sympathizers in 1950’s and their anti-American agenda. We knew the social upheaval experienced in the 1960’s resulted from a direct attack on traditional American values. And we have sat by and watched the accelerating slide towards socialism since the 1970’s.

In 2019, we see socialists outnumbering Republicans on the Chicago city council. The Democratic party, once the noble opposition, has been hijacked by socialists and special interest groups shredding the constitution. The public education system has been infiltrated from top to bottom with socialist/communist sympathizers indoctrinating our children with their collectivist propaganda. Polls are indicating that small majorities of millennials now favor socialism over capitalism.

Easily the most egregious example of just how entrenched socialism has become is a new media group dedicated to promoting socialism to millenials. The group, called Means TV, was a key driver of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign win. Promoting themselves as “anti-capitalists”, the group just launched a new video attacking capitalism:

While a video attacking capitalism is not new news, what is new, is the ignorance demonstrated by the writers, producers and actors in their description of capitalism. I intentionally did not use the word “lies” because a lie indicates that the speaker at least knows the truth. Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this is group is so blindingly ignorant that your first reaction would be to ignore them. Nobody will listen to them.

But that’s the problem. A majority of our millinials will listen to them and do their bidding. We’ve created several lost generations of programmed idiots just waiting to be filled with this type of propaganda. Too harsh, you say? Just listen to the current ring leader as she makes the rounds of late night TV soaking up the attention of the adoring hosts and audiences while speaking total gibberish.

Remember, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not an overnight sensation. She is the culmination of 100 years of battlefield preparation aimed at destroying America.

And we have let it happen on our watch.

Folks, it’s time to choose a side. Or one will be chosen for you.