Makin’ Bacon Part 6: Ego Gates
Eventually I found a place that had cheap (Chinese made?) gates on sale. They were about half the cost of the original gates. All I needed to do was drive 50 miles round trip, buy gates that were 1 3/4” diameter “pipe” (tubing) instead of 2”, wait for them to go on sale, and gladly accept construction of cheap thin tubing instead of the studly critter stopping awesomeness I’d seen at the Feed Store. I could live with all that if they were the proper red color. The guy on the phone insisted they were red. (Apparently gates are color coded. Red means “cheap” and green means “there’s a bull in this lot”. You learn something new everyday.)
Even so, this was fun for me. At the “city slicker hardware store” I sauntered up to the counter with a 50# bag of chicken feed over my shoulder. (Ever wait in like while carrying 50#? I tried to look cool but it’s not easy.) At the checkout I leaned on the counter trying to pretend I was Cowboy McHardcore instead of like a fat old bearded blogger with some piglets on a decrepit homestead.
I had to wait a while. The checkout girl (I mentally named her “Checkout Drone”) struggled with basic arithmetic so much it made my teeth hurt. I was third in line and each person before me was delayed and left thinking sad thoughts about public schools. When oil filters are two for $10 and you can’t figure the price of one… well maybe you should have studied in school. Possibly that means you should have studied in fourth grade. She seemed nice but just way too dumb for a cash register. Luckily I was in no hurry.
On her third try she rang up the guy in front of me. It was my turn. The laser scanner gadget did the chicken feed just fine. She looked relieved.
Curmudgeon: “Also, I’m gonna’ need a gate. They’re on sale.”
Checkout Drone: “That’s fine. Just bring it here and I’ll scan it.”
Curmudgeon: “Um… that’s an issue.”
Checkout Drone: “It’s heavy? You need help carrying it to the checkout?”
Curmudgeon: “It’s a twelve foot gate. You want me to haul it through the store?”
Checkout Drone: Realizing what she was asking. “Oh my, we don’t sell those too often.”
Everyone else was buying extension cords and lawnmower blades. I, mighty Curmudgeon that I am, was buying cattle gates. How cool is that? For once I was a stud! I wished I’d planned ahead and worn overalls, maybe my straw hat too. You can’t be a farmer without a straw hat so Mrs. Curmudgeon bought me one. (Not surprisingly straw hats are really handy.) How often can a man wear a straw hat non-ironically in public?
After some mental gymnastics that clearly caused pain, Checkout Drone found the code to enter for “12′ Cheap Ass Gate”. She smiled when the computer totaled it up for her.
Checkout Drone: “OK is that all?”
Curmudgeon: Checking that the sale price rang up; it did. “I’ll take six.”
This gave her a double take. Yeah baby! I’m a cowboy and a macho dude; me and my obviously huge herds of expensive cattle. The guy behind me looked sheepish. He was buying kitty litter. I felt like a million bucks. There is nothing that men do anywhere that doesn’t have an air of competition. It was nice to be on the macho end of the scale for once.
Checkout Drone: “Six? You sure must have plenty of livestock.”
Curmudgeon: Shrugging “We’ll you gotta’ do what you gotta’ do right? Lets hope the weather holds.”
The Checkout Drone nodded like I’d said something with actual meaning. So did the guy behind me.
This was a lesson I won’t forget. If you’re a farmer (or posing as one) apparently you can say any old crap that comes to your head so long as you punctuate it with concern for the weather. This is probably how Congress created the Farm Bill.
My day was about to get better.
Checkout Drone handed me my receipt. “Take this outside and the guy will meet you there to unlock the chain and help you load your gates.”
Curmudgeon: “Thanks Ma’am.” (Oh I liked that. I wish I’d been raised in the South where people learn to say Ma’am and Y’all. It would go well with my straw hat.)
Checkout Drone grabbed a microphone and paged the whole store. “Mike, come up front, we got a guy that needs a gate.”
Go ahead. Stroke my ego more!
Checkout Drone looked at me quizzically. Clicking off the microphone she asked “How will he find you in the parking lot?”
Is this really a problem? I eyed my receipt. I assumed me and Mike could handle it. Yet Checkout Drone was clearly worried.
I described my truck and said I’d meet Mike at the gates. I smiled and hefted my bag of feed. On the way out I heard it, music to my ears, “Mike, meet the customer’s truck at the gates, a big dually 4×4.”
Yeah, I’m shallow. Who isn’t?
My big honkin diesel is an expensive luxury that I very much enjoy. It also carried the gates like it was built for it; which it was. I cruised home happy in the knowledge that I was carrying a load that would kill a Prius. It’s important to enjoy the little pleasures in life.
P.S. I have fallen in love with the the phrase “You gotta’ do what you gotta’ do right? Lets hope the weather holds.” It’s a rural mantra that gets you anything you need; the farmer version of “these aren’t the droids you are looking for”. Don’t try it in Detroit and don’t try it if you’re driving a Prius, but if you’re driving a load of horseshit in Wyoming it’s the keys to the world.
Dispatch from the Future
Inspired by an encounter with a strident hoplophobe who
wanted to ban all guns and put all gun owners in prison (or worse)
A satire by Claire Wolfe, July 12th 2014
JPFO writer contributor, © 2014.
Mount Weather Complex
NOTE: The following document was found in the ruins of the Mount Weather complex in the year C.E. 2715 and has been in the keeping of the staff of the Interglobal History Museum since then. Although our scholars and scientists are still analyzing this material, it is believed to date from the era of Malia Rodham-Bloomberg (reigned C.E. 2044-2067) or her successor Mitt Kennedy Bush (reigned C.E. 2067-?).
Below is our translation.
REPORT TO THE NATION ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF GUN CONTROL
By the Blue-Ribbon Panel on the Current Crisis
BACKGROUND: Following the Sunnyside Nursery School Massacre and similar disasters, Americans in the mid decades of the twenty-first century realized that “NO GUNS” signs and similarly stringent security measures were no longer sufficient to totally eliminate deadly violence from society.
Chicago Police Chief
Although the gun-rights movement had experienced decades of successes, Americans finally rose up and demanded sweeping reforms. Some notable pacifists called for the slaughter of all gun owners and the torture of any politicians perceived to be pro gun. Police chiefs threatened to have their officers shoot any armed person on sight. The nation was in crisis.
With Congress in its 23rd consecutive year of disarray, the president moved to calm the fury with a unilateral series of moderate but firm measures. The president issued a comprehensive series of Executive Orders targeting firearms and their owners.
It has been five years since these Orders took effect. We, the members of this impartial Blue-Ribbon Panel, are now charged with analyzing their effectiveness and making recommendations for additional measures.
THE ORDERS AND THEIR DIRECT IMPACT
E.O. 31867: BANNING ALL AUTOMATIC WEAPONS.
This order had little effect for its first three years, owing to the fact that no one charged with its enforcement could decide whether an “automatic” weapon was one that fired multiple shots on a single trigger pull or one that fired only a single shot with each trigger pull but was black and had features such as a “shoulder thing that goes up
.” Eventually, regulators concluded that all handguns of any type and all rifles with detachable magazines, bolt actions or lever actions qualified as “automatic” weapons. A clarifying Order (E.O. 32014) was issued at that point, directing firearms owners to turn in all their now-illegal firearms.
In the two years since that second Order was issued it is estimated that the compliance rate has been approximately .003 percent nationwide, somewhat lower in the inland West and the South.
The effort to build internment camps to hold millions of resisters is underway but has been stalled due to a $26 trillion cost overrun, scandals involving 15 subcontractors and several prominent legislators, and various acts of terroristic sabotage.
E.O. 31868: ENHANCING THE UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM. Perhaps the crown jewel of the series of Executive Orders, E.O. 31868 was meant to ensure that all sales, loans, transfers (of ownership), transfers (of location) and all other movements involving firearms be recorded in real time by the federal government.
Surprisingly and somewhat mysteriously, the enhanced system went down shortly after being created, but not before being plagued by errors and targeted by the National Security Agency as a source of information on domestic terrorism. It is unknown at this point when the system will be functional again. Cost estimates for the repairs range from $1 trillion to $75 trillion.
Although it is illegal in the meantime to hand a firearm to another person (because it is impossible to enter the exchange in the Enhanced UBC system), unofficial estimates are that approximately 350 million handoffs are completed and unreported every day despite the threat of severe penalties.
E.O. 31869: ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL CHAIN OF WEAPON BUYBACK CENTERS. To encourage voluntary compliance with the ban on automatic weapons and to encourage people to turn in even such technically legal weapons as flintlocks, slingshots, letter openers, and ball-peen hammers, the president ordered that every city with a population greater than 20,000 establish a weapons buyback center.
These centers were rapidly opened and staffed (by police, National Guardsmen, and volunteers from Mayors and Moms Insist On Sensible Handgun Control Action NOW (MAMIOSHCAN)). Although many rewards were offered, and the public was promised that no questions would be asked, we must note that the centers have not been entirely successful. Their main clientele appear to be inner city gang members seeking to get rid of evidence and elderly women turning in pot-metal .25s. A suspected serial killer arrived at one buyback center to turn in an axe, seven butcher knives, two bone saws and a garrot. Due to the “no questions asked” policy, the items were destroyed as agreed and he went away with seven gift cards and $500, telling staffers, “I’ll be back.”
E.O. 31870: MANDATING CONFISCATION OF ILLEGAL WEAPONS. After the first 2,570 police officers were shot by residents of the homes they attempted to enter while enforcing E.O. 31870, enforcement of this Order was informally suspended via the unilateral action of police departments nationwide. One sheriff told a representative of Children, Moms, and Billionaire Mayors with Bodyguards United to Shout Real Loud for Gun Safety (CMABMWBUTSRLFGS), “You people want their damn guns, you go in there and get them yourselves.”
E.O. 31871: ENDING ILLEGAL GUN MANUFACTURING. This Order mandated a crackdown on all types of illicit firearm manufacture, as well as the licensing of 3D printers and coding and tracking of all materials that might potentially be used to print or conventionally manufacture illegal firearms. Additionally, it made it illegal to sell, download, or trade any plans for manufacturing firearms.
It is estimated that the systems for licensing and tracking will be ready in approximately 15 years and that $300 trillion will be required for enforcement. In the meantime, sales of 3D printers, lathes, and related equipment and supplies are booming. While several U.S. based Internet sites have been seized for offering gun-building plans, sites based in Sweden, China, Lichtenstein, the Pacific Island nation of Tonga, the Russian Moon Base and several artificial floating “nations” continue to offer everything from 3D printing plans for pistols to schematics for making old-fashioned zip guns.
E.O. 31872: SUSPENDING THE POSSE COMITATUS ACT.
Recognizing that ordinary police forces would be insufficient to confiscate all the newly illegal firearms and put down the expected resistance of gun felons, the president ordered the Posse Comitatus Act
suspended for the duration of the crisis.
Although in theory this freed millions of armed troops to participate in firearms interdiction and confiscation, in reality most of the forces of the North American Army Command
were required to guard the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the sites of the planned gun-felon internment camps, as well as statehouses, police stations, and National Guard armories throughout the land.
Approximately 15 percent of the military personnel were assigned to patrol the homes, neighborhoods, and businesses of certain individuals known to be essential to the functioning of the U.S. corporate and political systems.
E.O. 31873: DECREEING THE NRA TO BE A TERRORIST GROUP.
Initially, this order (which gun-control advocates had long agitated for) appeared to be one of the few notable successes of the series. The National Rifle Association was duly disbanded. Its headquarters were seized via civil asset forfeiture
and turned over to the group Moms and Kids Demand Millions of Actions On Gun Violence Policy (MAKDMOAOGVP). The IRS, FBI, and CIA began a joint investigation into the NRA’s finances and its contributors, which continues to be ongoing.
However, to the shock of the media and the gun-control establishment, it emerged that there was not just one terrorist organization pulling the strings of the nation’s population of gun owners, but literally hundreds of similar, new or previously unheralded terrorist organizations at national, state, and local levels. These groups were so diverse that there was (and still is) even one rumored to be called Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. The long work of rooting out all these terrorist groups is complicated by the fact not only are they small and agile, but some gun terrorists actually operate as unaffiliated “cells of one,” hiding in urban neighborhoods and rural redoubts alike.
In addition to the direct results, the five years since the issuance of the president’s Executive Orders on gun control have seen the following results:
1. Every U.S. firearm and equipment manufacturer closed its doors or moved offshore, or is in the process of doing so, at a cost of an estimated 175,000 jobs and $133 trillion.
2. Some of these manufacturers had to move no farther than Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, Idaho, Alabama, Texas, or the Florida panhandle, all of which have now seceded from the Union. (While the federal government has announced plans to force these states back into the U.S. and the president has announced an “absolute red line” beyond which the rebellious states will not be allowed to go, there appears to be a temporary lack of manpower, budgets, and will for any immediate action.)
3. With the trade in illegal guns now as lucrative as the previous trade in illegal drugs, new gangs have arisen with firearms smuggling as their specialty.
4. There has been a 10,000 percent rise in bribery and corruption cases among police officers and enforcement functionaries.
5. Large swaths of Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, Cleveland, and other cities are now “No Man’s Land,” taken over by armed gangs. Portions of Washington, D.C. are impassible, causing most of the federal government to relocate to Mt. Weather.
6. Residents of these cities have taken to fighting back against the gangs, but since they know they’ll be subject to arrest if caught defending their homes and neighborhoods, many stressed homeowners are as likely to fire on police as on gangsters.
7. The latest opinion polls from Gallup, Zogby, and Quinnipiac University show approval of the president at between 4 and 5 percent. Approval of Congress no longer reaches measurable levels. While 11 percent still say they approve of the police and military, it’s worth noting that approximately 17 percent of the current U.S. population is made up of police, the military, and their family members, so 11 percent can hardly be called impressive.
8. Violent crime has risen by 487 percent.
IMPACT ON FIREARMS OWNERSHIP.
Although the number of guns and gun owners in the U.S. has always been difficult to pin down, it was estimated that before the presidential Orders there were some 80 million gun owners and perhaps 300 million individual firearms in the country. Now, under the new restrictions and enforcement, it is estimated that some 135 million Americans own firearms, with the total number of guns being upwards of 750 million, an increase of 59 percent and 250 percent, respectively.
Observing the rise in violence and other illegal activity, groups such as Moms, Dads, Kids, Cute Kittens, and Others Against Horrible Icky Nasty Guns and the Even More Horrible Icky Nasty People Who Shoot Them (MDKCKAOAHINGATEMHINPWST) strongly recommend that the nation needs more “common sense gun control.” Their suggestions include hanging, drawing, and quartering anyone found with a single bullet and placing NSA surveillance cameras in every room of every home in the nation.
Having studied the matter in great depth, we disagree.
Based on the level of success of these gun control measures, this impartial Blue-Ribbon panel makes the following recommendations:
1. Rescind all of the above Executive Orders Immediately.
2. Repeal the Gun Control Act of 1968 to give all Americans broader access to legal firearms.
3. Re-examine and consider repealing every other gun law that targets or penalizes non-violent possession of weapons.
5. Devote all possible resources to rebuilding the trust, economy, and relative peaceableness of the nation. Although it may be to late to prevent a second civil war or revolution or to bridge the vast cultural gulfs created by the efforts to end gun ownership, the effort must be made.
NOTE: The ancient document from the ruins of Mount Weather ends here. However a scrawl at the bottom, written in an unknown hand in faded red ink, reads, “Classify. File. DO NOT RELEASE. REPEAT — DO NOT RELEASE.”
Scholars disagree on why the North American empire fell, with some citing corruption of the money supply, others believing the country exhausted its resources in wars, and yet others pointing to such problems as the welfare state, excess bureaucracy, or uncontrolled immigration. Our group, however, believes that while (as the old saying goes) “America wasn’t built — or destroyed — in a day,” with the finding of this ancient report we encounter the Great Divide between America ascendent and America in collapse.