Sunday, December 29, 2013

Resistance Is NOT Futile!

"Resistance is futile," the evil Borg would warn enemies that they intended to assimilate into their collective on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It seems like we hear that exhortation from all types of progressive "experts" these days when it comes defending ourselves from those who would prey upon us.

While Colorado was passing its recent gun bans (including banning licensed concealed carry on college campuses), for instance, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs advised its students to vomit or urinate on themselves to repel a rapist. Active resistance could get the girl harmed, don't you know? This despite the fact that research going all the way back to the Jimmy Carter administration shows that of attempted rapes 32% were actually committed, but when a woman was armed with a gun or knife, only 3% of the attempted rapes were actually successful.

Rape isn't the only crime that armed defense has proven effective in resisting. After the Newton shootings President Obama called for a review of existing research on gun violence. The results he got probably weren't what he was looking for. The assessment from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council concludes that crime victims who use guns in self-defense have lower injury rates than other victims.

One 2006 Florida State University study cited in the assessment found that "self-protection in general, both forceful and nonforceful, reduced the likelihood of property loss and injury, compared to nonresistance." It found that using a gun in self-defense reduced the risk of property loss as well minor or serious injury to the victim. In clinical language, it concludes: "Combined with the fact that injuries following resistance are almost always relatively minor, victim resistance appears to be generally a wise course of action." In other words, "Resist, damn it!"

You can see the macro-effects of individual armed resistance on our crime rates as well. Since violent crime peaked in 1991, twenty-four more states have enacted "shall issue" laws giving citizens a lawful means to carry the most effective tool of resistance. Researchers found that "when state concealed handgun laws went into effect[,] murders fell by 8.5 percent, and rapes and aggravated assaults fell by 5 and 7 percent.” In our nation we now see that gun ownership is at an all-time high while the nation's murder rate is at all-time lows. (Despite this, 56% of Americans think gun crime is worse than 20 years ago. Thank you mainstream media!)

Of course our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms wasn't meant just to give us the means to resist muggers, murderers and rapists. It also gives us a defense "against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers" (in the words of jurist and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story).

Although 65% of Americans believe the 2nd Amendment exists as a hedge against tyranny, I've heard this idea pooh-poohed by modern intelligentsia who believe that common citizens armed with light weapons would no longer be able to stand up to a foreign invader or domestic tyrant armed with heavy weapons and even nuclear weapons. ("Resistance is futile.")

However, there are numerous examples of primitive indigenous forces wreaking havoc on more-advanced foreign occupiers. The Afghans, for instance, were able to fight the Soviets for nearly a decade, eventually expelling them, and they have kept us hemorrhaging blood and treasure and unable to declare victory for over twelve years now.

Whether the tyrannical oppressor is foreign or domestic, in his book The War of the Flea, Robert Taber makes a convincing case that as long a guerrilla force retains the support and good will of the general populace it is very nearly unbeatable. An American resistance movement fighting honorably against despotism would no doubt retain a great deal of popular support from the American people.

Even if it were to fail, would it not be better to try? Better to stand against tyranny? Is not better to die on your feet than live on your knees? In The Gulag Archipelago,  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book about the Soviet forced labor camp system, it is  recounted how the victims of Communist brutality regretted not standing up against their oppressors early on:

"During an arrest, you think since you are not guilty, how can they arrest you? Why should you run away? And how can you resist right then? After all, you’ll only make your situation worse; you will make it more difficult for them to sort out the mistake.

"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say goodbye to his family?

"Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?

"The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! We did not love freedom enough. Every man always has handy a dozen glib little reasons why he is right not to sacrifice himself."

No wonder that our Founding Fathers wrote in several of their state Bills of Rights that, "The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind." Whether it be against the petty crimes of street criminals or the high crimes of tyrants: Stand and resist!

Friday, December 6, 2013


by Benjamin R. Cashner

It was December seventh, he remembered well.
It brought the world to the brink of hell.
They came in low and dropped their bulk,
they reduced his ship to a burning hulk.

He says he can still here the sirens blare
on the whistling winds of winter's air.
But that was a long time ago, that fateful day,
so long ago it seems like yesterday.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Porter for IA Sec. of State Commercial

The Libertarian Party of Iowa is saying that this is perhaps the first TV commercial for an LP candidate in the state. It's for Jake Porter for Iowa Secretary of State.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Concerns about ObamaCare

I sent this to my hometown newspaper in response to a recent letter to the editor. - BRC

A recent letter writer had numerous “Questions concerning Obamacare” which I thought deserved a few answers. Firstly he asked, “Why do you opponents of Obamacare NOT WANT HEALTH CARE FOR EVERY American?” While Obamacare deals mostly with insurance and doesn’t actually PROVIDE HEALTH CARE to anyone, I won’t split hairs with the writer. Like most decent Americans, I think opponents of Obamacare (such as myself) want all Americans to have healthcare, food to eat, water to drink, clothing, shelter and love, but we may disagree as to whether it’s the proper Constitutional role of the Federal government to provide any of those.

Many of us agree with James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” who wrote in Federalist Paper No. 45: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined… [and they] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.” Sure the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare (and just about every other Federal power grab since the 1930’s) was constitutional. Should we be surprised that an appendage of the Federal Government has more often than not ruled in favor of increasing the size, scope and power of the Federal Government? Just because the Federal Government seeks constant unrestrained growth, like cancer, doesn’t mean the states and the people must support it.

The letter writer continues, “Every senior citizen has Medicare so why shouldn’t the rest of our citizens have it?” Medicare is already bankrupting the country. Last year the Medicare trustees reported that Medicare would insolvent by 2024. The Medicare actuary projected the long-term unfunded liability (future debt) for the program at approximately $36.9 trillion. The non-partisan CBO projects ObamaCare will cost $1.7 trillion in the first decade. (The actual cost will be much higher.) The U.S. is already $17 trillion in debt and borrowing about $96 million an hour on the backs of our children.  Being past broke seems like a good reason not to start a massive new spending program.

Also, Medicare and other government distortions in the medical market are largely to blame for high medical costs to begin with. More of the same will only drive prices higher.

The letter writer asks, “Did you know that (Obamacare) was copied after the Republican plan implemented in Massachusetts in 2006? Did you know that the governor at the time was a Republican named Mitt Romney?” Yes!  Did you know that Romney lost the presidential election? Did you know that many fiscal conservatives, paleo-conservatives, Constitutional conservatives, and libertarians who may not have liked Obama stayed home in droves or voted third party because they couldn’t stand Romney (and/or McCain)? Both parties have played their part in racking up huge deficits, eroding liberty and expanding government.

More importantly, just because a state (like Massachusetts) may try something doesn’t mean that the Federal government may do it (and vice-versa).  If you can wipe the boot prints off it you’ll see that the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Contrary to modern interpretation, those words mean something. Healthcare (and education and a thousand other things that the Federal Government intrudes upon) are not powers that were “delegated to the United States by the Constitution.”

“Under Obamacare,” the writer continues, “insurance companies can no longer refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions; they must cover kids on their parents insurance until age 26; it stresses preventative care such as free mammograms and colonoscopies[.]” This is exactly the sort of meddling that will drive insurance premiums higher, hurting everyone. According to a Manhattan Institute analysis of the HHS numbers, Obamacare will increase insurance rates for young men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for young women by an average of 55 to 62 percent. We’ve already heard about many people losing their coverage and employers cutting workers back to part time to avoid Obamacare costs. Some help.

Lastly, the writer says, “I’m a Christian also and I happen to believe that the Jesus I worship would want health care for all Americans.  So tell me my Republican friends, what do you think the Jesus you worship would do about health care in America?” I can’t speak for Jesus, but I should think He would want people to help their sick neighbors out voluntarily through Christian good works and charity.  Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7, New International Version) [Emphasis added.]

I think that people delude themselves if they believe they are doing the Lord’s work by sending “hither swarms of Officers”  to coercively take money from its rightful owners or by saddling our unsuspecting children with obscene levels of debt in order to fund government social programs which are always inefficient and often harmful.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Iowa Mother Pleads for Her Child: Legalize Med. Marijuana

Here is a video that an Iowa mother posted on YouTube pleading with the state of Iowa to legalize medical marijuana to help her child. Marie la France tells the story of her son Quincy. At 5 months old he began having seizures. He's now 11 and still suffers from severe epilepsy. Doctors have given Quincy everything from morphine to steroids to Zoloft, including drugs that have given him brain damage, in an attempt to control Quincy's seizures. Nothing has worked.

In states that allow medical marijuana, it has been proven to help patients like Quincy. The oil from the plant is extracted and put into a liquid or pill, according to the video. WeedPress (where I first learned of this story) reports that the former chair of the Iowa Epilepsy Foundation testified in support of medical marijuana at the 2009 Iowa Board of Pharmacy medical marijuana hearings.

Knowing that this medicine can help innocent people like Quincy and knowing that far more addictive, dangerous and destructive drugs ARE legal and available from your pharmacist, ask yourself: Does keeping medical marijuana illegal really make any sense?

Please watch this desperate mother's video here:

No doubt anti-cannabis crusaders like IA Rep Clel Baudler won't be moved by things like facts, logic or compassion. Better that many children like Quincy should suffer from lack of medicine if it might keep one other citizen from using marijuana recreationally like a free person.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” —C. S. Lewis
Clel Baudler (R)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

IA Libertarian Candidates Oct 2013

The Libertarian Party of Iowa has given their website a much-needed overhaul. Among the information that can now be found on there is the current slate of candidates that the party is running for office.

2013 Elections:

Ajai Dittmar is running for Cedar Rapids City Council District 1.

Dittmar tells me the following about herself: "I am a 42 year old mother of four who is tired of crony capitalism running for public office for the first time. I am a local activist critical of the overreach in our local government. The only way to get the government out of our business and back to the basics is to get in office and bring these policies to the table."

Alan Modracek is running for Cedar Rapids City Council District 3.

Alan is running for Cedar Rapids City Council, District 3. A family man, he has lived and worked in Cedar Rapids all his life except for a brief 6 years in the Navy.

Modracek's Facebook page says: "I am running for Cedar Rapids City Council, District 3, to end the 'tax and spend' mentality of our local government. I will never vote in favor of a tax increase, and will fight tooth and nail to reduce the tax burden suffered by the people of Cedar Rapids. We can still fix our roads, have first class schools, and even flood protection. I want to make Cedar Rapids the most business friendly city in the Mid-West."

Ariel Echevarria is running for Humboldt City Council At-Large as a write-in candidate.

Echevarria described himself to me thusly:

"I'm a 28 year old married man with a degree in Business Administration. I am currently running for Humboldt City Council. I recently moved to Iowa 6 months ago from Klamath Falls, OR. That town was about the size of Fort Dodge but I saw a lot of things that needed to change to make the city better. When I got to Humboldt I noticed some of the same things. For example, lack of business growth and things for young people to participate in. I believe that in order to have a healthy city we have to include the voice of the younger population (18-39 range). I believe city property taxes are very high in comparison to other near by cities and would like to see that change. I also feel like we need to strive to attract more small business in the local area.

"A few weeks ago a young woman wanted to place a cross in memory of her son on roadside property that was owned by a private company but the rights were given to the city for city purposes. She was initially denied her request. I do not believe that she should have been denied right off the bat. If I'm elected I will do everything within my power to make compromises between the city, it's public and the private sector that operates within city limits. I also want to limit and change some of the city ordinances that tread on private residences. I want to see a dedicated dog park built within city limits as well."

Nick Taiber is running for reelection to Cedar Falls City Council At-Large.

Taiber has served as a Councilman since 2010. He lives in the community with his wife and two children.

Says Taiber's website: "Cedar Falls is a great place to live, and keeping it great requires initiative, fresh thinking, and a willingness to be bold. I bring unique perspective, bountiful energy, and careful leadership to Cedar Falls City Council."

2014 Elections:

Jake Porter will seek the nomination to run as the Party's candidate for Iowa Secretary of State in 2014.

Porter resides in Council Bluffs, Iowa and works for a large Internet corporation in Omaha, Nebraska.

Porter's website states: "Jake Porter is the only candidate who has policies that will not increase the size of government. While Porter’s opponent wants to create additional rules and bureaucracy and in the past has suggested bringing economic development into the Secretary of State’s office, Porter understands the importance of having a small but efficient Secretary of State’s office and the need to follow the Iowa Code and Iowa Constitution. [...] Jake wants to keep the Secretary of State’s office non-partisan and make it easy for all Iowans to participate in the election process. [...] Jake believes in keeping government from disenfranchising voters through intimidation and voter suppression tactics."

Elected Libertarians:

Roger Fritz-Mayor of Roland

Nick Taiber-Cedar Falls City Council At-Large (See above.)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Introducing: Iowa Gun Grabber Hall of Shame

I'm rolling out a new separate page on the blog, "The Iowa Gun Grabber Hall of Shame." The purpose is to "honor" leaders in Iowa who use their positions to promote infringement upon the Second Amendment rights of their fellow citizens. If you know someone you'd like to nominate to the Hall of Shame, read the guidelines on the page and email them to me.                

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cedar Rapids Police Chief Pushes More Ineffective Gun Control

In mid-August "Organizing for Action," a nonprofit group which mobilizes support for President Obama's legislative and political agenda, organized the "Gun Violence Prevention Rally" in Cedar Rapids Iowa. According to a Gazette story only about 30 people wandered into the event.

The most prominent of the several community leaders to speak was Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman. Chief Jerman has been trying to organize a gun "buyback" program since early this summer yet has only received $1,000 in donations from the community for that program.

At the gun control rally, Jerman said he supports background checks for all gun sales, restricting gun magazines to 10 rounds and banning so-called "assault weapons." His support for these measures not only puts him out of touch with what has proven effective but also out of step with the vast majority of rank and file police officers who care more about catching bad guys than giving speeches.

Jerman's support for "universal background checks," while setting the framework for registration of lawful guns and law-abiding owners, would do little to reduce crime. A 2001 Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of prison inmates convicted of gun crimes found that 79 percent acquired their firearms from off the books sources. Simply put, crack dealers buying guns on the black market will NOT be undergoing "universal background checks."

Perhaps that's why in a recent comprehensive survey of police officers, fully 79.7% of responding cops said that "a federal law prohibiting private, non-dealer transfers of firearms between individuals" would NOT reduce violent crime.

Restricting gun magazines to 10 rounds would be ineffective also. A 2004 Department of Justice report found "that assailants fire less than four shots on average, a number well within the 10-round magazine limit" making it irrelevant in most street crimes. Even in the more newsworthy yet rare mass shootings the arbitrary 10 round limit is mostly irrelevant. The Virginia Tech shooter and one of the Columbine shooters used 10 round magazines and were able to rack up massive body counts against their unarmed victims anyway.

An overwhelming 95.7 % of police officers said that a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would NOT reduce violent crime.

Jerman's support for banning "assault weapons" is equally unwarranted. Firstly, such a ban cuts to the heart of the Second Amendment giving a legislature a blank check to ban any and all firearms since "assault weapon" is a meaningless political term that can only be defined by the ban itself. Assault weapons affected by the previous federal ban were not fully-automatic "machine-guns" nor were they more powerful than traditional weapons.

So-called "assault weapons" were only used in a tiny percentage of crimes to begin with. Crime continued to fall after the federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004 and has continued to fall as previously banned weapons have sold by the million. Even the radical anti-gun group, Violence Policy Center, said “You can’t argue with a straight face that the [assault weapon] ban has been effective.”

71% of cops said that an ban on so-called "assault weapons" would have no effect on violent crime. Another 20.5% of police officers said that such a ban would actually INCREASE violent crime!

Oh, as for Jerman's gun "buyback" program that the community has not embraced, a recent CDC report stated simply that "gun turn-in programs are ineffective." 81.5% of police officers agree with that assessment.

Jerman's home state of Maryland ("There's yer problem!") has magazine capacity restrictions, bans on "assault pistols," and prohibitions on private sales of "regulated firearms," similar to the laws he is stumping for. Maryland also has a murder rate of 6.8 per 100,000 (in 2011) compared to Iowa's rate of 1.5 per 100,000. Sounds like those gun laws are really helping out there and we need to import them so we too can become a crime free Utopia like Maryland. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)

The taxpayers of Cedar Rapids need to decide if they are paying their police chief to serve and protect their community and ensure that beat cops have the resources they need to do their jobs or if they're paying him to be a political shill for the anti-freedom agenda of the Obama administration.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Gary Johnson on Syria

Gary Johnson, 2012 Libertarian Candidate for President, released the following statement today regarding potential U.S. military intervention in Syria:

“No one disagrees that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is despicable, and the results tragic. However, those facts alone do not make going to war either justified or even a good idea. And while the Administration can parse words all day long, launching missiles or dropping bombs constitutes going to war.

“There is no clear U.S. interest in what is, in reality, a civil war on the other side of the globe. Likewise, there is nothing to indicate at this time that intervening in that civil war will benefit anyone -- either here in America or in Syria.

“The consequences of our military actions in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan should be a lesson to President Obama and others who appear determined to act without any meaningful strategic or national defense justification.”

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Iowa Steel Targets

A buddy of mine makes steel pistol targets. They're 10" round and 1/2" thick. They have rings on top so you can hang them. He's asking $20 each. You can email him at for more info and to order.  Tell him Cold Hard Cashner sent you.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

2013 Walk to End Alzheimer's

Near the one year anniversary of my mom's death to the dread disease I will be participating in the 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer's - Cedar Rapids, IA! Can you support me with a donation? Your support will help the Alzheimer’s Association to enhance Alzheimer’s care and support and advance critical research for all those affected by this devastating disease. (Just click on the link below the picture to donate.)

2013 Walk to End Alzheimer's - Cedar Rapids, IA: Benjamin R Cashner - Alzheimer's Association

Friday, August 9, 2013

Jake Porter Back in the Ring

Jake Porter has once again declared his intention to run for Iowa Secretary of State as a Libertarian. Porter was the party's nominee in 2010 and received 33,854 votes, covering the margin of Republican Matt Schultz’s victory over Democrat Michael Mauro.

One of the Secretary of State's most important duties is overseeing the state's elections. As I've pointed out before, it would be nice to have a third-party official in that post who wouldn't be tempted to tip the electoral scales for the Democrats or Republicans. Porter addressed that very notion in his announcement of intention.

“As Secretary of State, I would not endorse any political candidate like Matt Schultz did when he supported Rick Santorum for President. Additionally, I do not have ties to one of the two major political parties like Brad Anderson does. Unlike Anderson, I have never advised or worked for John Edwards or President Obama. We need someone who is independent of the two major political parties to act as a referee and that is the type of candidate I am.” said Porter.

Porter will be getting my support and my vote. You can read more about him at

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Adventures In Gun Training

"Survival isn't about stuff. It is about skills. If you have time and just a bit of money, then you can get some very well-rounded training in skills that are quite applicable to [survival] living." So says James Wesley, Rawles in his national bestseller How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times. Of course it doesn't have to be the end of the world for some firearms training to come in handy. Studying National Crime Victimization Survey data, criminologist Gary Kleck found that “robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all.”

I knew that my pistol skills have never been finely polished, so I decided to take Mr. Rawles advice and get some training. I've always enjoyed shooting rifles and trained on them in the Guard, but handguns have always kind of been an afterthought, even after I got my Iowa permit to carry weapons back in 2009.

I discovered Tactical Insights in Monticello when I took one of my sons to the Eddie Eagle Children’s Gun Safety Course that they put on in our town in January. Later I interviewed the owner, Corey D. Roberts, for my blog. [You can read Roberts' thoughts on various Second Amendment issues here: Interview Part 1 and Part 2.] When I read about their class Tactical Shooting for the Private Citizen Level 1 it sounded like just what I needed.

"[T]his course begins the transition of the shooter from a 2 dimensional world of putting holes in paper, to truly using a tactical mindset making the firearm a weapon and a tool," states the course description. All my previous pistol practice had been comprised of static target shooting. My permit to carry class dealt mostly with the legalities of carrying and Iowa self-defense law. I signed up and couldn't wait to learn some realistic defensive shooting tactics.

Roberts started the Tactical Shooting class with the basics. After a safety briefing he went through the fundamentals of gripping the pistol and stance. As it turned out, the "redneck shooting at cans" stance and grip that I had previously taught myself was less than optimal. I now had to unlearn those bad habits.

Roberts demonstrates a shooting drill.
After teaching a boatload of other pointers we were soon out on the range. Although we started out slow, the shooting was no mere standing and shooting at bulls eyes. For tactical shooting you have to move to keep the threat from getting a bead on you. Even simple shooting drills got the heart going. Before long we were shooting on the move.

Not only was I able to put myself through the paces, but my equipment as well. My old 1911 .45 pistol was found lacking. Roberts had said that he'd never had a 1911 shooter make it through one of his classes without having malfunctions. I did not change that streak. I also spent a lot of time fumbling with my safety, etc... Finally, once when I slapped a new mag into my .45 the floor plate busted right off the mag, sending ammunition and the mag spring launching onto the ground.

Corey took pity and let me borrow his .40 Glock 22 for the remainder of the class. I loved it! It performed flawlessly and was very simple to use. Although my gun budget is nearly nonexistent, I think my next purchase will have to be a Glock. (I think I'd prefer the smaller Glock 27 for concealed carry, if anyone is looking for a birthday present for me.)

Tactical Shooting for the Private Citizen Level 1 was supposed to be just pistol shooting. But since we were a very small class and since Roberts and his instructors didn't have to spend an exorbitant amount of time on, what they called, the "stop pointing that at me" portion of the class, we got to do a few things that weren't on the syllabus. We got to run a few three-gun drills with pistol, shotgun and carbine as well as shoot a few other weapons that the instructors brought in.

The author gets familiarized with the
Israeli Tavor rifle.

All in all I found the class very instructive as well as great fun. I absolutely learned more in eight hours than I ever did in a year's worth of Guard drills (and fired about three times as much live ammo). I left with many new techniques to practice at home and at the range as well as with a nicely illustrated study guide to take home and review when needed. Although I still consider myself a rifleman at heart, this class increased my confidence and competence with handguns immensely. It was well worth every penny.

If you're one of Iowa's growing legion of permit-to-carry holders or you just have an interest in defensive shooting and you want to move from "a 2 dimensional world of putting holes in paper, to truly using a tactical mindset making the firearm a weapon and a tool," then I recommend you find a Tactical Insights training course that fits your needs and take it.  Check them out here:
Photos courtesy of Tactical Insights L.L.C.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Floods of 2008 Revisited

It was 5 years ago today that flood waters crested in Cedar Rapids Iowa during the historic flood of '08. Here were my thoughts at the time. Originally posted a month later on 8-13-08.

A winter of near-record snowfalls here in Iowa, gave way to a spring in which we had our biggest tornado since 1976, wiping one town off the map and killing 7 people. Then, in July, Iowa saw its worst flooding since the Genesis deluge. This year's immoderate weather has given me ample reminder of why I hate Iowa. The response of Iowans has reminded me why I love it.

Flood waters on the Cedar River first hit the cities of Waterloo and Cedar Falls, knocking down bridges and flooding downtown areas. It then hit smaller towns like Vinton and Palo, flooding nearly the entire town, and lumbered onward toward the population center of Cedar Rapids.

Not to be outdone by rising flood waters, an Iowa twister suddenly lashed out, tearing through a Boy Scout camp, killing 4 young scouts and sending many more to the hospital.

Flood waters crept up on downtown Cedar Rapids engulfing first the "100 year flood plain," then the "500 year flood plain." Sandbagging the downtown area quickly proved to be futile and it was surrendered to the river. More than 3,900 homes had to be evacuated, creating over 24,000 homeless evacuees. Over 1300 city blocks were submerged under a river crest of 31.8 feet. (Flood stage is 12 feet.)

Damage to Iowa's lifeblood of crops was estimated at $2.7 billion. Property damages in Cedar Rapids alone were estimated at $736 million. Many talking heads on TV compared the Iowa floods to Hurricane Katrina.

There is one big difference between the two disasters though: Unlike New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and their ilk, our local officials didn't stand there wringing their hands, wondering what George Bush was going to do about it. When the flood waters came, local officials, non-profit organizations and private citizens alike all rolled up their sleeves and did what they could.

When Cedar Rapids' last remaining fresh-water pumping station was in danger of being engulfed the city asked for volunteer sandbaggers through the local media. 600 to 1000 volunteers arrived en-mass, so many that most had to be turned away. (Actually they were sent to help evacuate the hospital.) On the news, I saw people being rescued from flood waters in private bassboats and motorized duck blinds. People were so busy helping their neighbors that they plumb forgot to loot.

In my own small town, the municipal water-treatment plant was nearly swamped. City leaders asked for help sandbagging. I took off work early and when I arrived at the fire station at 1 p.m. the work was already done and the numerous volunteers had been sent home.

Many of the small towns affected called out their biggest asset: unpaid, volunteer firefighters, who quickly changed their job description to floodfighters. Local police and county emergency personnel served admirably, as did the Iowa National Guard. Churches and non-profit groups like the Salvation Army sprang into action, setting up shelters for evacuees and feeding the masses.

FEMA was on hand, to be sure, offering whatever assistance it could, and U.S. Coast Guard rescue crews helped survivors. But it was clear that LOCAL officials were running the show. It's called federalism, Mayor Nagin. Look into it.

All in all I'm pretty proud of how my fellow Iowans handled the worst of times. Iowa may not have mountains or oceans, we may not have celebrity or diversity, we may not have Broadway lights or the Vegas Strip, and we may not have the French Quarter, but we've got good folks in these parts. That's good enough.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Help Our Okie Friends

As most everyone knows by now, an EF5 tornado tore through several central Oklahoma counties and wreaked particular destruction on the town of Moore. The tornado was up to 1.3 miles wide at its largest point. The twister killed at least 24 people, including 9 children, and injured as many as 300 others. Early estimates put damages at up to $3 billion.

If you're wondering where you can donate to help, I suggest Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief. They're already in Oklahoma and know exactly what is needed after a tornado.

They were able to have teams in Moore the day after the tornado struck. To help all Oklahomans effected by the storms they've already deployed a mobile command center, a mobile kitchen and feeding units, chainsaw teams to help residents clear trees and debris, and chaplains to help victims with emotional trauma. Their volunteers also can provide water purification, mobile showers and laundry, mud-out, ash-out, child care, and medical assistance.

As a single-state nonprofit charity, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief doesn't have the deep pockets of the national relief agencies that will (hopefully) begin to arrive in Oklahoma soon. They can use your help. Donations to them are fully tax deductible and 100% of your donation goes directly to helping the victims (not to salaries and bureaucracy).

You can donate online HERE or mail a check to:

Attn: Disaster Relief
3800 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73112

In case anyone's wondering, I'm not advocating for these guys out of brand loyalty. I'm not a Baptist. They're just a good group.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Gold, Guns and Drones

The bills continue to flow through the legislative sausage press in Des Moines. They range from atrocious to pretty good. Here are a few more that caught my eye.

Bad Bills:

Two of the bad bills, SF233 & HF 164, are "universal background check" bills. Remember: "Universal Background Checks= Gun Registration= Gun Confiscation."

Senate File 233: Iowa Gun Owners calls this Iowa's "Most Dangerous Anti-Gun Bill of 2013." Hidden among innocuous provisions of an "education" bill, this bill would mandate that virtually every firearm transfer in the state go through a licensed gun dealer so that a NICS check may be conducted. If you think the gun dealer will do that for you for free when you want to sell your old shotgun to your neighbor, I've got some beachfront property in Arizona to sell you.

Even more ominous, this bill would also require social workers, guidance counselors, physician's assistants and even nurses to report you to authorities if they think you're acting a little too weird to have Second Amendment rights. Obviously no one wants dangerous lunatics to have guns, but I don't want some busybody nurse or social worker being able to strip people of their rights.

House File 164: According to Iowa Firearms Coalition: "It would require background checks be conducted by an FFL on ALL private firearm transfers with no exceptions, and allows the dealer to collect fees in the process. HF 164 would also provide for limitless fees (taxes) for transfers in order to fuel this enormous bureaucratic process, and allow the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to create 'rules' as necessary on how to implement the system, which is just another form of universal registration."

House File 163: This would ban the sale and transfer of any ammunition feeding device that holds more than 10 rounds of ammo. This was introduced by Representative Bruce Hunter (D-34), the same guy who introduced HF164 above. What a douche!

Senate Study Bill 1165/ House Study Bill 91: These twin bills would circumvent Iowa's normal search warrant process and replace it with a phony-baloney rubberstamp process for allowing officials to plant GPS trackers on Iowans' vehicles. That is inconsistent with the constitutional requirements under the U.S. and Iowa constitutions governing searches. Click HERE to learn more and to contact the appropriate subcommittee members on this bill.

Good Bills:

House File 346: This bill would recognize gold and silver coin as legal tender in the state of Iowa. You may recognize that this is an authorized state power under the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 10. There are lot of good economic reasons for this as well as ones dealing with federalism. Caffeinated Thoughts had a great writeup on the bill you should check out for more details.

Senate File 276: This would place a moratorium on the use of surveillance drones by all state agencies in Iowa and strictly prohibit weaponized drone systems. It would allow the use of drones under several limited circumstances such as search and rescue operations or AMBER Alert searches. Anything that can slow the growth of the surveillance state that we more and more find ourselves living in is a good thing.

SF276 is currently stalled because the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Robert Hogg (D- Cedar Rapids), is sitting on it. Please contact Hogg and ask him to give SF276 the consideration it deserves and schedule a hearing ASAP. ( , 319-247-0223)

With all these bills please contact your state legislator and voice your support or opposition.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

10 Questions with Corey D. Roberts (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1.

Corey D. Roberts is the founder of Tactical Insights L.L.C. in Monticello, Iowa, which provides "Christ-Centered Emergency Response Training" for churches and faith based organizations as well as tactical training for law enforcement and private citizens.

Roberts is currently a full-time patrol police officer with the Monticello P.D. and also serves on the multi-jurisdictional Jones County Emergency Response Team as Tactical Commander. He also serves in the Iowa Army National Guard (having served as an enlisted man, NCO and officer) and has been deployed several times.

Officer Roberts agreed to answer a few questions for me about guns, crime and freedom. The views expressed are those of Roberts and not necessarily those of any organization he may be affiliated with.

6. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced a bill that would ban "assault weapons" and “high capacity” ammunition magazines. Says Feinstein, “Military-style assault weapons have but one purpose, and in my view that’s a military purpose, to hold at the hip, possibly, to spray fire to be able to kill large numbers.” You are intimately familiar with weapons like the AR-15 (which would be affected by the ban). What exactly is an "assault weapon?" Do you agree with Feinstein's analysis of the purpose and proper employment (such as being designed to be "spray fired" from the hip) of weapons like the AR-15?

            Sen. Feinstein watches too much television.  I will begin by answering the basic question of “What is an Assault Weapon?”  To be perfectly honest, as a firearms expert, I don’t know.  The term “Assault Weapon” is not a gun term, it is a political term that is used to scare people.  The term “AR” does not stand for assault rifle.  It stands for Armalite, which is the company that produced the modern civilian model of the gas operated, magazine fed, semi-automatic sporting rifle.  Armalite developed the AR-15.  Having been in the military for 20 years I can say without question that no one is taught to “hold at the hip and spray,” certainly not with the black rifle that she is comparing to the civilian semi-automatic rifle.  Currently our military is issuing an M4 which is similar in design to the civilian model, but functions differently.  Even our military does not issue “spray and pray” weapons.  The current issued M4 is not fully automatic and instead uses a 3 round burst mode.

This argument has nothing at all to do with banning a specific firearm.  These terms such as “high capacity magazines” and “Military style assault weapons” are being used to divide the gun enthusiasts in this country.  The liberals who wish to confiscate our firearms understand that they cannot simply say that they are going to ban firearms, they have to start slowly.  If they can convince the hunters and collectors in the country that the only “bad guns” are the “assault weapons” it sounds reasonable, and people want to be reasonable.  They are working to convince the guy with the shotgun that he has nothing to fear and that no one “needs” 30 rounds.

As an aside, I mentioned that we have begun to define all of our needs as rights, so why are we surprised when the government begins to infringe on our rights based on need?  I disagree with the premise that our rights are defined by need.  The argument that I have used is that if our rights are based on need, then please explain to me the need for Rosa Parks to sit in the front of the bus.  It was her right, not her need.

Our government has developed a pattern that is easy to follow if we pay attention.

 Step 1. Create a term that everyone can agree is bad.

Step 2. Refuse to define said term but continue to use it and enlist the media to join you in using it.

Step 3.  Wait for a critical incident in which said term can be applied and the “people” cry out for government intervention.

Step 4:  Create your own definition for the term.

For example, our government uses the term “assault weapon” and even uses the term “reasonable” when attempting to convince the American people that no one needs them.  The media then splashes the term “assault weapon” only when describing a weapon used by a crazed gunman and never when used by anyone else.  A great example of this was the Dorner case in California in which one media outlet used the term “assault weapon” when speaking of Dorner, but used the term “personal defense weapon” when talking about the exact same weapon used by law enforcement in the same article.  When confronted about the definition of “assault weapon” the government uses another non-definable term to define it, “military style”.  So, we have the media and the citizens agreeing that “assault weapons” are bad, but when the ban list comes out from Sen. Feinstein, we see that she is actually referring to any weapon with a detachable magazine and any weapon with a pistol grip.  But by now the media frenzy has convinced the people that the government is only after “assault weapons”.

Some other examples of this government pattern is the use of the term “universal background check”.  Again this term has been championed as “reasonable” but has yet to be defined.  “Mental health assessment” has been spoken of as a “reasonable step” to curb gun crime, but has not been defined.  Questions for those who support the Universal background check and Mental health assessments are as follows: Will the government maintain a record of every citizen who had a background check to pass family heirloom rifle to their children?  What parts of the “background” is involved?  Will this background check be compared to any “watch lists”?  (The DOJ stated that combat veterans should be on a watch list.)  Who will receive a “mental health assessment”?  At what age will we begin to “classify” our citizens based on this assessment?  (People are very different at 16, 22, and 35.)  Who will be deciding what is mentally “fit”?  Does marital counseling bring into question whether a person is mentally “fit?  What about “sexual deviancy” (remember homosexuality was a diagnosable mental condition)? What is to be done with those “classified mentally unfit” persons? 

Can you see where these questions are going?  I follow the rule that anytime the government uses the term “reasonable”, I begin to question it right away, governments are anything but reasonable.

When we allow our government to infringe on our rights based on terms that sound scary such as “domestic terrorist,” we all agree that “terrorists are bad and should be killed.”  The problem is that the government’s definition of “terrorist” can be re-defined to mean anyone who the government sees as a threat. 

The 2nd Amendment was specifically put in place to ensure that the people had the power and the government did not.  Those who believe that only the military and police should control the guns, or that only they should have the most recent technology in firearms must also agree that only the government should have control of the media and internet.  Our government is very aware of the power of an armed populace and shows it by arming citizens all around the world to overthrow their own governments, such as Egypt, Lybia, Syria, Afghanistan, etc.  I do not trust a government that wishes to disarm its own population.

Make no mistake, this gun legislation has never been about guns, it’s been about control and many in our government have been waiting for just the right catalyst to push the agenda.  

Limiting “high capacity magazines” is another example of this erosion of rights.  My first question to anyone advocating this is “Please tell about all the firefights that you have been in that led you to the conclusion that people only need 7 rounds?”  Who does this “limit” hurt?  An active shooter by statistics will bring multiple weapons, multiple magazines and lots of extra ammo.  The free citizen who is carrying a firearm is the only one allowed a limited number of rounds.

This free citizen has not planned to be in a fight for his life today, the crazed gunman has a plan.  The citizen is required to respond to a well-planned, prepared for attack with whatever he has on his person.  Will the limit on magazines affect the preparedness of the crazed shooter?  Of course not, it will simply make it harder for the citizen to defend him or herself.

7. Your website includes a statement of faith and says that you "felt a strong call of God to minister to the local church in matters of Emergency Preparation, Response and Training." It's obvious that your Christian faith is central to your life. Some Christians, however, wouldn't touch a gun with a ten foot pole. They would cite Christ's instruction to "turn the other cheek" or the Sixth Commandment. According to the National Council of Churches ofChrist, U.S.A., "Christian tradition insists that it is idolatry to trust in guns to make us secure, since that usually leads to mutual escalation while distracting us from the One whose love alone gives us security." How do you square your Christian faith with the potential deadly force of firearms?

We believe that a Christ-Centered Security Team is a group of Christians who desire to apply a Tactical Mindset to serve God and their local church through preparedness and willingness to respond in event of an emergency.  I have a lot of respect for the National Council of Churches of Christ but I tend to disagree with many of their stances on several issues. 

Their stance based on “Christian tradition” is well meaning but does not address the realities of the Bible. Our security for our ministries should be based in faith and managed in action.

While we embrace the biblical teaching that God will provide our needs and we believe the Bible when it says in Matthew 6:25 “Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you should drink; nor yet for your body, what you should wear,” this faith and confidence does not remove us from participating in our own preservation.  Christ was not telling us to stand around waiting for food to fall into our mouths, or water to just appear.  We do not stand in our bedrooms in the morning and wait for clothes to float out of the sky and land on us.  These require action on our part.

Nehemiah 4:9  “We prayed to our God and posted a guard…” 

Isaiah 62:6- I have set Watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night.

Nehemiah 4:9-…because of them we set a watch against them day and night.

John 15:13  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Luke 10:19- Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.

Luke 22:36-…and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.

1 Peter 5:8- Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Romans 13:4- For he is God’s minister to you for good.  But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

In 2012 alone, there were 135 total deadly force incidents in churches and ministries alone and this number is increasing every year.  We have taught Response to Active Shooters both armed and unarmed.  This choice is as personal for a Christian as it is for any other citizen.   

While I may disagree with many things that the National Council of Churches of Christ, U.S.A. believes I firmly stand with Philippians 1:15 “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”

8. If talking to someone who was new to guns and was looking to purchase, what weapons would be your top picks for concealed carry and for home defense and any other category you think relevant?

Rule 1: ignore the hype. Every "gun guy" out there will be more than willing to give you advice on the perfect weapon/caliber/cool guy gear out there. I would stick with a reputable manufacturer. Think simple, especially for a defensive weapon. If it requires buttons and switches and voodoo spells to's too complicated.

Also don't buy the hype of "knock down power" and buy a huge caliber. For one, it will be more expensive to shoot and two if it's not easy to shoot, you won't shoot. I use the analogy that if someone were to give me a 20,000 dollar set of golf clubs, I would chase that stupid little ball through the trees all day the same I would with a 60 dollar youth set from Wal-Mart.

Proficiency requires practice. A well placed set of rounds from a 9mm or .40 caliber will do the same as a .45...good guy wins, bad guy loses. With the current advancements in AMMO, the old argument of Big Caliber=One shot stop is gone. This isn't TV, it's not high noon and people don't fly across the room when shot...even with a .45. I personally would not go smaller than 9mm but I really prefer the 9mm.  Higher ammo count, less recoil, less weight, awesome power with good ammo.

On the other side of that argument, a .22LR that one is willing to carry is more effective than a hand cannon at home or in the glove box.

I would suggest getting an idea of what you are looking for:
Am I going to carry it every day?
Is it easy to operate?
Can I conceal it?
Is ammo easy to acquire for it?
How much do I want to spend?
Will I enjoy shooting it?- Only practice makes proficient
Will it work under the worst possible conditions?- Murphy's Law.

I would suggest looking at the Glocks, Smith and Wesson M and P's or Sig Saur. For small carry guns Khar makes some very nice pistols.  One way is to hit up a local gun club and talk to people. 74% of law enforcement carry Glock and the majority carry one of the other two. The reason is simple...they are proven, no gimmicks, no "latest greatest", just a solid combat pistol that will operate when needed.

There really isn't a trick to it, which is why I offer people to shoot different stuff (anything I have) at my classes. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of people that will allow that. I carry a Glock 22 .40 caliber on duty, a Sig 229 .40 caliber on the SWAT team and a Glock 26 9mm off duty. My wife Jeannine carries a Glock 19 9mm. We have been very happy with them. I also occasionally carry a .357 revolver and have no problem with it other than low round count.

Cost is going to be an issue because of the buying that is going on ahead of Congress making some possible moves. You should look to spend $350-$600 on a good quality handgun. For a convenient carry pistol, I would also suggest looking at the Beretta Nano (it's a 9mm). I have just started carrying it so I can give other ideas for people who "don't want a Glock" and I have been very happy with it. It runs about $360.00.

I have nothing personally against the big 1911.  45's other than the ones manufactured today have a VERY strong emphasis on accuracy, which is why you see the competition shooters using them. The way they get this is by making the guns tolerances VERY tight. This leads to problems with functioning in a defensive "combat" pistol role. I have NEVER had a 1911 shooter make it through one of my classes without having malfunctions. When they get dirty, they begin to have issues. Not a problem on the range...BIG problem for defense. Of course, you also run into issues with concealability with the big 45s.

Choosing a handgun is as close to purse shopping as we can get. It has to work for you. Just because some "expert" says that some brand is the "best" or some caliber is the "must-have" does not make it true.  You need to pick it up and hold it.  If it feels wrong in your hand, you probably should keep looking.  Ideally, you should shoot that make and model before buying it.

For home defense, I prefer the 12 Gauge shotgun with a “pirate grip” and a side saddle with extra rounds.  Very little will discourage an intruder more than the sound of a pump action shotgun.  If that is not enough to discourage them, the first round will certainly help convince them.  Another reason I prefer it is that I can choose the round that I wish to have in it.  I use target load as the first several rounds in order to eliminate over penetration in my own home.  I have double 00 buck and slugs in the side saddle if needed.  The home defense weapon should be part of a total home defense plan that includes physical security, phones in appropriate rooms and practiced drills. 

The reality is that just because a gun is really cool and effective in Call of Duty does not make it a practical choice for self-defense. 

9. You and I are about the same age. In addition to having a lovely family, you’ve amassed significant civilian, military and law enforcement training. You’ve authored a book and numerous articles. You’ve racked up real world experience on the streets at home as well as serving in Kosovo and Afghanistan and even fighting wildfires in Montana. In contrast, aside from two wonderful sons, my only accomplishment has been to collect all five seasons of “Quantum Leap” on DVD. What is your secret for accumulating such a wide breadth of experience before you’re even forty?

 I distinctly remember a conversation with my Dad that night before I left for Army Basic Training at the age of 17.  During this conversation my Dad told me to ignore those who lived by the rule “Don’t volunteer for anything” and to take every opportunity for a new experience.  I have followed that advice in every area of my life.  While there were times that volunteering caused me to do tasks that I did not enjoy, more often it afforded me the chance to do something amazing. 

Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”  I don’t know the trick to being driven.  I do credit my upbringing and the example of my father.  Were I to give a young man advice, I would simply say, “Volunteer for everything.  In every task you have, work to be the best at it.  Learn from those who have gone before.  Accept responsibilities that are given to you and do them to the best of your ability.”

Years ago during Army Officer Candidate School, I was selected as the “Kai-Bo Commander”. For those that do not know what a Kai-Bo is, they are also called Port-a-Johns or any other inappropriate names that one can think of.  I was in charge of the plastic toilets just like the ones at construction sites. To say the least, I was not impressed with my assignment. My job was to ensure that the toilets were reserved, delivered and placed at the various training sites where we would be conducting field operations.  The position I felt I deserved was that of Class Commander, or at least a Platoon Leader, but no, I was Candidate Roberts, “Kai-Bo Commander”. This was obviously not my proudest moment.

I decided that if someone had to do it, then I would be the best Kai-Bo Commander the Army had ever seen. Don’t be fooled, this didn’t make my job any less demeaning, or any more glamorous. What it did do was show my superiors that I was willing to take the task and do it to the best of my abilities.  The happy ending to the story is that after a short time, I was taken off of Kai-Bo duty and given a position that I felt was much more in line with my desires.

When you are given a task, do it to the best of your ability every time. Even if it is not the duty you want, take the small steps.  The Bible has a parable of a rich man who was traveling and left his servants with some money.  To one servant he gave ten, to another five and to the final two.  When he returned, he asked the servants what they had done with the money and the one with ten said, I invested it and made ten more. The rich man gave him control of ten cities.  The servant with five said I invested and made five more. The rich man gave him control of five cities.  The final servant said, I kept the money and did nothing with it. The rich man called him a wicked and slothful servant and took the two away from him and gave it to the one with ten. ~Matthew 25:14-30

The simple point to his story is that when given more, more is expected. Prove that you can handle the little things and you will be given greater and greater responsibility.  When you are put in charge of small tasks, do them as though they are the most important task that can be had. Show your willingness and ability to accept those challenges and you will be given more responsibilities.  Fail in the small tasks, and it will be understood that you will fail at the big tasks.

10. Lastly, who do you think would win in a gunfight, the overzealous Sgt. Eugene Tackleberry from the movie “Police Academy” or survivalist gun nut Burt Gummer from “Tremors?”
 I would have to go with Burt.  While I love Tackleberry’s drive and his affinity for guns, Burt has spent his life preparing.  A fight is always won before the first punch is thrown, before the first shot is fired.  Those who have developed a strong Tactical Mindset have a marked advantage.  I believe that all of us can and should have a Tactical Mindset.  We begin to develop this the day we realize that we are being hunted.  When we can understand the threats around us we can begin to develop the “when this-then what” preparedness that life requires.  Burt was prepared for giant worms in the ground, which tells me, he is prepared for pretty much anything

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