Flagging Red Flags

For a moment, pretend you’re back in high school: a few years of your life riddled with teenage angst, whirling hormones and more concern about who is or isn’t talking to you than anything else. Undoubtedly, no matter what crowd you ran in, there was some amount of jostling for rank, and ostracization from other groups. It is the nature of the age. There was also a fair bit of bullying, maybe some name calling, and probably some empty threats along the lines of “I’m going to kill you.” Even after Columbine, these threats weren’t taken as actual threats of death, just maybe some violence or, as more likely than not, as an expression of extreme anger. Cue today’s high school climate and a phrase like “I’m going to kill you,” will see you suspended and receiving psychiatric care. And in California, you might even lose any firearm permits you have and be forced to turn in any firearms you own.

A while back, I mentioned how unsafe the NY SAFE Act was; how it discourages people from seeking mental counseling as it allows doctors (or any number of professional health professionals) the ability to inform the police department that the patient is a potential danger to themselves or others around them. In turn, the police then add the patient to a state database and revoke any firearm permits or licenses they may have – as well as any weapons they may have. Well, a few days ago, the California State Assembly advanced a bill that would expand the list of individuals able to “red flag” a “dangerous” gun owner to include employers, co-workers, and college and high school staff at a school the individual in question attended in the last six months. Previously in California, an individual could be red flagged by roommates, family members and law enforcement officers.

redflagThis might not seem like a big deal, but think about how big and how quickly the list of red flaggers grew. It went from roommates, family, and law enforcement officers (LEOs) to include an entire high school staff. And let’s face it, when you start to include school faculty like guidance counselors and teachers, you are essentially including the students. In today’s public school climate of “microaggressions” and constant appeals to authority to rectify any slightly questionable situations, this is a very dangerous movement. Consider that I feel threatened by you for looking at me angrily in PE class, and maybe I think you pitched the kickball too hard, well now I can go to any employee of the school and report you. That may not seem like much – there is a big gap between reporting a student and confiscating firearms, but let’s look at history and see how quickly these gaps are bridged when the public psyche becomes wrapped into irrational fervor.

Let those witches hang!

Let’s look to the Salem Witch Trials, or The Red Scare. Both of those instances where ignited by false accusations which then led to fear in the public psyche which then led to unfair trials and death or imprisonment for those accused. I’m not sure anyone would look back at the Salem Witch Trials and proclaim they were justified. And while the Red Scare might have a few who still think McCarthy was a swell guy, the vast majority of us can look at it and recognize that many people’s careers were ruined. We recognize now that these accusations were based on fear and society allowed their fear to dictate their legislation. If those examples are too long ago, look back to the 1980s, and early 1990s.

During the 80s there was something of a scare when a day care was accused of abusing children and participating in Satanic Rituals. Just like our other examples, this fear got caught up in the public mind and soon day cares across the US where being accused of abusing children, some adults went to jail (later some convictions were overturned), but a good number had their lives ruined, all because a mother with schizophrenia made a false allegation, investigators latched on, the children were manipulated, and the public cried out. We can look at this and believe that maybe one day care in America could allow something like this to happen, but it became wide spread, and we failed to use our logical minds to stop the non-sense. Instead we allowed fear to rule.

This is exactly what is going to happen in California. As soon as students recognize that Redneck Bobby, who smells like cow manure and is repeating tenth grade for the second time and lives a lifestyle that is scary or unagreeable to them will have to change his lifestyle if he loses his firearms because the counselors or teachers see Redneck Bobby as “dangerous,” students will jump, consciously or not. This is extremely problematic and it is exactly the way you can legislate a lifestyle out of existence. Of course, California says they will only keep firearms for six to twelve months, but consider that the individual in question will have to pass some mental battery that probably isn’t necessary. Also consider how easy it is to get your assets back after faulty civil asset forfeiture. (It’s not going to happen!)

Don’t forget that it doesn’t just have to be students that can report another student to a teacher, it can be a teacher initiating the report. I wish we could say that no teacher would stoop to using something like these red flag laws to target a student for any given reason, but we all know we cannot, again, consciously or not. Rumors are just as easily spread through the faculty room as the cafeteria, and once rumors start flying, the truth can become very difficult to ascertain, especially when it’s an adults belief against that of a students.

In very few situations will these red flag laws help anyone. If there is any student that is set on committing an act of violence, they will not be hindered by something like this. Rather, this will probably make them even angrier and more apt to commit violence. And the final blow? Imagine how the atmosphere of a school will change once one student get’s flagged. An already angst ridden building will be filled with students with even more disdain for teachers and fellow classmates, there will be a complete lack of trust for anyone, a constant looking over the shoulder, a forced secrecy lest something you say be taken the wrong way. These red flag laws are absolutely abhorrent, and it is only a matter of time before the state starts using these red flag laws to inhibit a citizen’s other natural rights.

Caribou Slaughter!

No doubt by the title of this blog, you will recognize that I try to think in terms of liberty, so this next statement probably goes without saying. (The fact that I need to say it speaks volumes.) I have very little love for Trump, he has accomplished some things that have been beneficial for liberty, but he has also done his share of things that have not been so good for liberty. You also might note from the title of this blog that I am attempting to live a rural lifestyle and have a profound love and respect for the natural world. Also, my environmental studies degree indoctrinated me into believing that we need the State to protect the natural world. When this article surfaced, a part of me booed Trump and shouted, “we need the State to protect the cuddly-wuddlies!” (I mean look at those little bear cubs!) Of course, I pushed down the knee jerk reaction and started to think with my liberty-oriented brain and I asked myself the question: “How are these deregulations better for the environment than an over oppressive nanny-state dictating legislation from the other side of the country?” Well, here is my take:

The article outlines some seemingly egregious hunting laws that the new regulations would roll back, for example: you could shoot a swimming caribou from your boat, you could bait a bear with bacon or donuts, you could kill coyotes or wolves in their dens. Yes, this seems outrageous and the initial emotional reaction is “you barbarians,” but consider that much of the National Preserve land used to belong to the native inhabitants and many native tribes still use the natural resources found in the wild to provide essentials throughout the year. Well, when you start depending on the environment to provide for you, the whole “by any means necessary” idea takes on a whole new level of seriousness; food in the freezer is food in the freezer, no matter how

National Parks in Alaska

it is gotten. It may seem that these laws have been put in place to protect predators and to prevent local residents from eradicating populations of unwanted carnivores, in turn, increasing populations of omnivores and herbivores (more traditional game animals), but know that it wasn’t until 1980 that Jimmy Carter actually designated these lands as National Preserve lands, and it wasn’t until 2015 that Obama passed the laws that the Trump administration is trying to repeal. If hunting practices were so awful, populations would have died off long ago, and as far as I know, wild populations (aside from polar bears) seem to be doing well enough.

To go further, consider that you are a native Alaskan, and your family for as far back as your stories go, has harvested caribou, bears, or wolves for sustenance, clothing or preventative defense. These stories have most likely set a stage of respect and thankfulness. When you rely directly on the natural world to provide virtually every essential belonging for life, you recognize that over harvesting the caribou population is a very bad idea. You would also learn that predators cull the weak and sick members of a herd, and without those predators, the herds population will boom and along with it, sickness and disease, eventually leading to a collapse of the herd size and, in turn, a lean harvest. You would learn better than any textbook could teach how the ecosystem is related.

Essentially, this is just saying that federal laws, created some 4000 miles from a place they are specifically written for, probably aren’t necessary. In fact, Alaska has localized hunting laws based on the geographic region within the state. These localized restrictions are put into place by local biologists and local communities who have a much better understanding of the ecosystems and environmental impacts of particular animal populations than some vegan bureaucrat in Washington trying to save the environment and gain a few votes. Also, know that when you have two abutting geographic areas with distinctly different laws, but no clear demarcation, it is easy to end up on the wrong side of a border, quickly becoming an outlaw.

So Trump rolled these federal laws back. He gave the power back to the state, back to the local populations, and is allowing them to make informed decisions over something that will effect them directly, it does not seem so bad now.

Addendum: This does not attempt to discuss the issue of public land versus private land, rather I just wanted to look briefly at the direct impact of rolling back some federal regulations enforced on the local level.

At It Again!

Agh! Those pesky elitist New York City-ers are at it again! A couple of weeks ago I ragged on Cynthia Nixon, a potential candidate for the New York State gubernatorial position, for wanting to legalize marijuana because the laws around cannabis (and really the entire War on Drugs) are, enforced unequally. (This is not a cannabis issue, but a law enforcement policy issue.) In reality, we should be legalizing substances because it is a personal rights issue, not because one class of people is effected more than another. Essentially, I said Nixon’s ideas of change exist around racism. At the time, it may have seemed a stretch, but lo, she has unabashedly cemented her racist beliefs with her most recent cannabis centered gaff when she claimed that cannabis licenses would be a form of reparations. What! The elitist, self-righteous, progressive left strikes again! This is unfathomable on so many levels.

After mentioning that “black and brown” people are more likely to be arrested for cannabis related crime than white people, she claimed that “We [must] prioritize them in terms of licenses. It’s a form of reparations.” Wait, what? So let’s assume that reparations should even be a thing, giving a particular group of people a license to operate a business over other groups of people based on the color of their skin is a good thing? Isn’t that the exact definition of racism?

Of course, this was also met with a bit of resistance from the black community:

Big Al Sharpton tweeted out: “I’m for legalizing marijuana and I like Cynthia Nixon but putting pot shops in our communities is not reparations. Health care, education !!” (The tweet in itself is, in fact, contradictory – “Let’s legalize it, but don’t put those pot shops in our communities.” But shhhh, don’t tell Al.)

Black Lives Matter also demanded an apology, saying that Nixon presented “harmful stereotypes of African-Americans as drug users and dealers.” Again, maybe a stretch that she called African-Americans drug users and dealers, but she did group a whole class of people, and we all know that’s a big no-no.

Of course, the fodder goes on. But folks, this is what happens when we start using emotions to dictate policy, when we put facts aside and make decisions using feelings. Eventually, the progressive left will eat itself in a fit of statements like we’ve seen from Big Al and Nixon, all we can do is hope they don’t do too much damage before it all goes down in a fiery mess. Because, in reality, the progressive left cannot exist without extreme segregation.


A big old SCOBY ready to be bagged and shipped off.

Making a SCOBY is not super difficult. In fact, I think it is fairly easy. Though for some this is not the case. (My brother has tried multiple times to start a culture, but continued to fail until I gave him one.) Once you have kombucha brewing, you will have an abundance of SCOBYs.

If you cannot get a SCOBY to grow, we offer some of our SCOBYs for sale. All the SCOBYs we sell are raised on organic black tea and sugar (any SCOBYs grown on flavored teas are given to the chickens).

We sell SCOBYs wet or dehydrated. Dehydrated come in packages of two – in case one does not rehydrate properly – wet SCOBYs come individually.

Dehydrated: $6.00
Wet: $6.00
Both prices include shipping fees. Send us an email, and we will get you a SCOBY, or two.