Brandon Smith: Mass Shootings Will Never Negate The Need For Gun Rights

Authored by Brandon Smith via,

Though the media often attempts to twist the gun rights debate into a web of complexity, gun rights is in fact a rather simple issue — either you believe that people have an inherent right to self defense, or you don’t. All other arguments are a peripheral distraction…

Firearms are a powerful epoch changing development. Not because they necessarily make killing “easier;” killing was always easy for certain groups of people throughout history, including governments and organized thugs. Instead, guns changed the world because for the first time in thousands of years the common man or woman could realistically stop a more powerful and more skilled attacker. Firearms are a miraculous equalizer in a world otherwise dominated and enslaved by everyday psychopaths.

The Founding Fathers understood this dynamic very well. Despite arguments from the extreme left falsely insinuating that the founders are essentially barbarians from a defunct era that were too stupid to understand future developments and technology, the fact is that they knew the core philosophical justification for an armed citizenry was always the most important matter at hand. Today’s debates try to muddle meaningful discourse by swamping the public in the minutia of background checks, etc. But the following quotes from the early days of the Republic outline what we should all really be talking about:

“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776

“To disarm the people…[i]s the most effectual way to enslave them.”
– George Mason, referencing advice given to the British Parliament by Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, June 14, 1788

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops.”
– Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined…. The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.”
– Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778

“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
– Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833

“On every occasion [of Constitutional interpretation] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying [to force] what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, [instead let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
– Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, 12 June 1823

The inborn right to self defense and the ability of the people to maintain individual liberties in the face of tyranny supersedes all other arguments on gun rights. In fact, nothing else matters. This key point is so unassailable that anti-gun lobbyists have in most cases given up trying to defeat it. Instead of trying to confiscate firearms outright (which is their ultimate goal), they attempt to chip away at gun rights a piece at a time through endless flurries of legislation. This legislation is usually implemented in the wake of a tragedy involving firearms, for gun grabbers never let a good crisis go to waste. Exploiting the deaths of innocent people to further an ideological agenda is a common strategy for them.

This leads us to the recent mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The narrative being constructed around this event is the same as usual — that stronger “gun control and background checks” are needed to prevent such things from ever happening again.

Of course, Nikolas Cruz, the alleged perpetrator of the shooting, obtained his firearms legally and by passing existing background checks. Being that these background checks have been highly effective in stopping the vast majority of potential criminals from purchasing firearms through legal channels, one wonders what more can be done to make these checks somehow “foolproof.”

Around 1.5 million 4473 forms (background checks) have been rejected by the ATF in the two decades since more stringent background checks were instituted. As many as 160,000 forms are denied each year for multiple reasons, including mental health reasons.

So, the question is, did background checks fail in the case of Nikolas Cruz? And would any suggested amendments to current 4473 methods have made any difference whatsoever in stopping Cruz from purchasing a weapon? The answer is no. No suggested changes to ATF background checks would have made a difference. But there are stop-gaps to preventing mass shootings other than the ATF.

The FBI, for example, had been warned on multiple occasions about Cruz, including his open threats to commit a school shooting. Yet, the FBI did nothing.

Could the FBI have prevented the killings in Parkland by following up repeated warnings on Nikolas Cruz? I would say yes, it is possible they could have investigated Cruz’s threats, verified them and prosecuted for conspiracy to commit a violent crime, or at the very least, they could have frightened him away from the idea.

Was the Parkland shooting then a failure of background checks or a failure of the FBI? And, if it was a failure of the FBI, then shouldn’t anti-gun advocates focus on revamping the FBI instead of pushing the same background check and gun show “loophole” rhetoric they always do?

They aren’t interested in instituting changes at the FBI because this could help solve the problem, and they do not care about solving the problem, they only care about pursuing their ultimate goal of deconstructing the 2nd Amendment for all time.

Gun control advocates will conjure up a host of arguments for diminishing gun rights, but just like the background check issue and Nikolas Cruz, most of them are nonsensical.

They’ll make the claim that guns for self defense are fine, but that high capacity military grade weapons were never protected under the Constitution. “The founding fathers were talking about single shot muskets when they wrote that…” is the commonly regurgitated propaganda meme. This is false. High capacity “machine guns” (like the Puckle gun and the Girandoni rifle) and even artillery were actually common during the time of the founders and were indeed protected under the 2nd Amendment. In fact, the 2nd Amendment applies to all firearms under common military usage regardless of the era.

They’ll claim that high capacity “assault weapons” are not needed and that low capacity firearms are more practical for self defense. They obviously are ignoring the circumstances surrounding any given self defense scenario. What if you are facing off with multiple assailants? What if those assailants are mass shooters themselves and obtained their weapons on the black market as the ISIS terrorists in Paris did in 2015? What if the assailant is a tyrannical government? Who is to say what capacity is “practical” in those situations?

They’ll claim that tougher gun laws and even confiscation will prevent mass shootings in the future, yet multiple nations (including France) have suffered horrific mass shootings despite having far more Orwellian gun laws than the U.S.

Criminals and terrorists do not follow laws. Laws are words on paper backed up by perceived consequences that only law abiding people care about.  The vast majority of successful mass shootings take place in “gun free zones,” places where average law abiding citizens are left unarmed and easy prey.

So, what is the solution that gun grabbers don’t want to talk about? What could have stopped the shooting in Parkland? What is the one thing that the mainstream media actively seeks to avoid any dialogue about?

The solution is simple — abolish all gun free zones. If teachers at the high school in Parkland had been armed the day Nikolas Cruz showed up with the intent to murder, then the entire event could have gone far differently. Instead of acting helplessly as human shields against a spray of bullets, teachers and coaches could have been shooting back, actually stopping the threat instead of just slowing it down for a few seconds. Or, knowing that he might be immediately shot and killed before accomplishing his attack, Cruz may have abandoned the attempt altogether. There is no way to calculate how many crimes and mass shootings have been prevented exactly because private gun ownership acted as a deterrent.

Most gun grabbers are oblivious to this kind of logic because they are blinded by ideological biases. Some of them, however, understand the truth of this completely, and they don’t care. They are not in the business of saving lives; they are in the business of exploiting death. They want something entirely different from what they claim they want. They are not interested in life, they are interested in control.

U.S. Embassy In Montenegro Attacked, One Dead

The US Embassy in Montenegro came under attack in the early hours of Thursday morning after a group of attackers threw several grenades into the compound at approximately 12:30 a.m.

One of the attackers reportedly died in the explosion. 


The State Department has issued a warning advising citizens to “avoid the embassy until further notice.” 


Location: Podgorica, Montenegro

Event: The U.S. Embassy in Podgorica advises U.S. citizens there is an active security situation at the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica. Avoid the Embassy until further notice.

Actions to Take:

  • Avoid the area around the U.S. Embassy.
  • Monitor local media for updates.
  • Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Employ sound security practices.


The last attack on an U.S. Embassy was in September 2015 when the American office in Uzbekistan was firebombed, leading to the temporary closure of the compound. Prior to that, of course, was the September 11, 2012 attack on two U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya – the origins of which the Obama administration lied about and faced no consequences. 


Democrats Want $300 Million To “Counter Russian Operatives” Ahead Of 2018 Midterms

It’s been barely a week since Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveiled indictments of 13 Russians and 3 Russian entities – including one close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin – and already Democrats are asking Congress for exorbitant sums of money to stop Russia’s army of internet trolls from “sowing discord” ahead of the US election – even though anybody who reads the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal is by now no doubt well-acquainted with the reality that these suspected trolls aren’t really all that interested in US politics.

According to Reuters, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are asking Congress for $300 million for the FBI to combat purported Russian disinformation campaigns ahead of the 2018 midterms in November. The big ask comes about a week after leaders of the US intelligence community testified to a Senate committee about the serious of the purported threat.


Democrats are asking that the money be included in the next continuing resolution, which must be signed into law before the March 23 deadline to avert another government shutdown. Republican leaders have been noncommittal.

Of course, the Reuters story fails to point out that $300 million is 3,000 times more than the Russian agents allegedly spent on Facebook ads ahead of (and after) the November 2016 vote.

Citing warnings from intelligence agencies that Russia is trying to influence the upcoming vote, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi asked that the additional funds be included in a bill to fund the government which Congress aims to pass by March 23.

“This additional funding should be targeted to ensure the resources and manpower to counter the influence of hostile foreign actors operating in the U.S., especially Russian operatives operating on our social media platforms,” Schumer, Pelosi and the top Democrats on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees wrote in a letter.

They sent the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Republican aides said the proposal, along with many others, would be considered as the spending legislation is written.

Leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies warned a Senate committee last week that Russia is trying to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections, when control of Congress is up for grabs, much as it did during the 2016 U.S. campaign.

And on Friday, the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians and 13 Russian companies with conspiracy to tamper with the 2016 race.

Moscow has repeatedly denied meddling in US politics, calling Mueller’s indictments absurd. In addition to this $300 million, Democrats also want a “substantial” increase in funding for the Department of Homeland Security and Election Assistance Commission to upgrade state election systems, which somebody (maybe the Russians?) tried to infiltrate.

Meanwhile, Schumer is also demanding that the White House write its own report on how Russia might try to interfere in the upcoming vote – because apparently a special counsel and three concommitant Congressional investigations isnt’ enough.

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar said on a conference call with reporters that she would back $386 million for states.

Members of Congress have repeatedly decried what they see as federal officials’ failure to do more to work with states to protect the election system.

Homeland Security said last year that 21 states had experienced initial probing of their systems from Russian hackers and a small number of networks were compromised.

But three U.S. intelligence officials said protecting sources of information about the use of cyberspace to meddle in elections are a major obstacle to closer cooperation with state officials because much of the intelligence is so classified that it cannot be shared with anyone who does not have a high-level security clearance.

Schumer also said Democrats want Trump administration officials to issue a public report detailing how Russia might interfere in the 2018 U.S. vote.

They also want a classified report for state officials and relevant congressional committees.

Given the FBI’s recent track record of stopping major crimes, we imagine this $300 million – assuming it makes it into the final appropriation – will be put to good use.

What do you think?





YouTube Apologizes For Promoting Video That Fueled “Florida Shooting Conspiracy”

Alphabet proved once again on Wednesday that the algorithms it relies on to promote “credible” content while burying videos produced by “unreliable” (read: conservative or antiestablishment) sources are far from perfect.

As Bloomberg reported, gun-control advocates heaped criticism upon YouTube after it promoted a video with a title that suggested a teenage survivor of last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla. was a paid actor. The teen, David Hogg, has been making the media rounds since the shooting, even turning down an invitation to meet with President Donald Trump in favor of attending a CNN-hosted town hall.

The video shows David Hogg, a student who has spoken out for gun control after the attack that killed 17 in Parkland, Florida, in a Los Angeles TV news clip from last summer. A description of the video read, “DAVID HOGG THE ACTOR….” Below the video, YouTube’s algorithm suggested viewers watch a clip with similar claims. The first video spent several hours at the top of YouTube’s “Trending” section before being removed on Wednesday.

But not only did the video make it into the trending section, it was briefly the No. 1 top trending video in the entire US.


“This video should never have appeared in Trending. Because the video contained footage from an authoritative news source, our system misclassified it,” a spokeswoman for Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube wrote in an emailed statement. “As soon as we became aware of the video, we removed it from Trending and from YouTube for violating our policies. We are working to improve our systems moving forward.”

Of course, Congress last year exacted promises from Google, Facebook and Twitter to do a better job cracking down on suspicious or disingenuous content after discovering that a Russian troll farm that has since been indicted spent less than a quarter million dollars to “sow chaos” by posting hysterical or otherwise salacious content on their platforms that OCCASIONALLY included posts with a pro-Trump slant.

Since then, Google in particular has implemented several policy changes aimed at stamping out misinformation – or at least information that doesn’t agree with the dominant cultural assumptions in Silicon Valley. It also introduced what the company described as measures that would help more credible news sources become more visible.

The footage in the Hogg video that triggered YouTube’s algorithm first appeared on CBS, though it was uploaded as part of an apparently unauthorized video.

Of course, just because claims that Hogg is a paid actor have been effectively debunked, doesn’t mean observers should take every word uttered by the teenage survivor as gospel. Just like all people, Hogg has biases and – in this case – he has several that deserve to be pointed out.

As Hogg revealed to CNN (and SHTFplan pointed out) the anti-gun activist’s father is a former FBI agent.

“I think it’s disgusting, personally. My father’s a retired FBI agent and the FBI are some of the hardest working individuals I have ever seen in my life,” proclaimed David Hogg to CNN. “It’s wrong that the president is blaming them for this.”

Knowing this paints his anti-Trump advocacy in a whole new light.

As SHTFplan says…

Our job is not to tell you what to think, but to present information so you can come to your own conclusions. Does this look like a child of a former FBI agent is being used as a pawn in the war against the people to curb the rights of those who literally committed no crime?  You decide.

Hogg will appear on CNN tonight with several of his classmates to debate the NRA’s Dana Loesch and several other anti-gun control activists.

Chinese Companies Forced To Halt Trading Amid Avalanche Of Stock Loan Margin Calls

Back in the summer of 2017, just when we thought there were no more surprises left in the arsenal of the world’s foremost incubator of “financial engineering” – i.e., China – we got a stark lesson in never underestimating Chinese market manipulating ingenuity. The reason, as readers may recall, is that last June we reported, that according to Caixin, over two dozen Chinese companies had offered their employees a deal: buy company shares while guaranteeing that any losses would be covered.

The reason was simple: company founders and major shareholders had found themselves engaging in partial cash outs by pledging large batches of their stock as loan collateral and pocketing (and spending) the loan proceeds immediately, a practice that according to Reuters’ estimates had quadrupled in China over the past two years, and which worked great as long as stocks were rising, but once they started falling – as Chinese equities did early last summer – those who had taken out stock-collateralized loans were subject to escalating margin calls, forcing them to liquidate. Or rather, liquidating would have been the honorable thing to do, what they did instead was the most unethical and illegal option: shareholders and management encouraged their own employees to bail them out by buying the stock while guaranteeing to cover the downside – pushing the stock price higher, boosting the value of the pledged underlying asset, and stopping the margin calls if only briefly.

As we also noted at the time, while employees were lied to believe they were getting an unbeatable deal – who can say no when your own employer guarantees you all the upside and no downside if you just buy the company stock – the reality is that participants in such scheme were merely locking in their fates with that of their soon to be insolvent employers, who desperately needed to raise the price of their stock to fend off terminal margin calls. Furthermore, as analysts noted at the time, the promise to take any losses wasn’t legally binding and depended on big shareholders’ “virtue” which in China does not exist.

Calling this process yet another bootstrapped ponzi scheme, we said that it unveiled a deeper threat facing China’s smaller publicly-traded companies:

If markets continue to slide, there could be a surge in margin calls on these loans, potentially triggering a vicious cycle of share selling, increasing the risk of broader financial instability. “If stock prices fall, but shareholders don’t have enough capital to replenish their collateral, the pledged shares would face forced selling,” said Meng Shen, director of Chanson & Co, a Beijing-based boutique investment bank.  “That would develop into a negative spiral; as the more you sell, the lower the stock price, which would then trigger more forced selling.”

Fast forward to today, and that’s pretty much where we are.

And while regulators have long since halted the practice of management being able to ask employees for a bailout, the problem with Chinese loans pledged against stock has only deteriorated, and as the FT reports, “listed Chinese companies are being forced to halt trading as their owners attempt to unwind risky bets they have made pledging company stock for loans.

This is precisely the contingency that we said would happen if the broader Chinese market did not rebound sharply. Well, it did not, and in fact Chinese stocks – especially in recent weeks – have been some of the worst performers in the world. The result now is a brewing market crisis, as countless shareholders face self-reinforcing margin calls, which force liquidations, which send stocks lower, which prompt even more liquidations, which send stocks even lower, and so on.

The basis for this toxic loop first emerged in early 2017, when China tightened access to credit to address its mounting corporate debts; finding many of their traditional “shadow funding” pathways blocked, controlling shareholders in many smaller listed companies used their shares as collateral for credit. Then, following the market swoon late last spring, we got the first indication of just how bad the pledged loan problem could get in China, when the story described above took place.

It is now time for round 2, because just like last June, market jitters since the start of this month have pushed companies to warn their shareholders that they could face margin calls as share prices fall.

And since this time around, no simple “100% guaranteed” Ponzi schemes are available to bail shareholders out, companies are doing the only thing they can: halting trading to avoid further liquidations and even more margin calls.

That’s what happened to Shenzhen-listed Shenwu Environmental Technology, which is one of at least 20 groups in February that has stopped trading because of the risk of a margin call, where a share price decline triggers a demand to top up any money borrowed to buy the stock.

Some statistics from the FT:

China’s tighter controls over credit last year led to a wave of share pledges by listed groups: as of mid-December, shareholders in 317 Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed companies had pledged at least 40 per cent of their stock, compared with 224 companies a year earlier.

But why engage in such risky behavior as pledging shares? Mostly because as a result of Beijing’s crackdown on shadow banking, there are few other unregulated ways of extracting cash that do not involve actual selling.

The FT confirms as much, noting that “pledged shares for loans is one means that the companies have to access funding outside the traditional banking sector. Many others have borrowed from “shadow” lenders, often at high costs.”

“This is all part of the deleveraging campaign,” said Hong Hao, head of research in Bocom International in Hong Kong. “The owners of these companies have had to pledge shares just to get access to capital.”

In the case of the abovementioned Shenwu, the company announced that its controlling shareholder has pledged more than 40% of the group’s shares and was now in discussion with the margin lender.

* * *

Meanwhile, almost a year after we first warned that the practice of extensive stock pledging would have an unhappy ending, China’s securities regulator has finally started looking into the use of stock as collateral for loans, the Securities Times reported. In some cases, companies have simply noted in regulatory filings that the securities regulator is investigating the shareholders that have pledged the stock.

Making matters worse are two tangential issues:

  • Fisrt, many of the smaller listed companies in China – those where share pledging dominates – are facing a slowdown in growth, alongside that of China itself, which due to its aggressive deleveraging campaign will see its GDP decline to in 2018, a factor that has weighed on the performance of many of Shenzhen’s small-cap companies;
  • Second, whether due to liquidations – or their frontrunning – Shenzhen’s tech-focused ChiNext index has been falling gradually since 2015, but fell around 12% between January 25 and February 9. And as a result of the declining collateral value, the Loan To Value on the pledged loan keeps rising until it hits and/or surpasses 100%, at which point it’s game over.

“Some of these companies are heading toward dangerous territory,” a Shanghai-based analyst at a global bank told the FT, adding that it was not normal for companies to halt trading because they faced the risk of margin calls, and yet that’s precisely what is going on.

Still, some managed to find a silver lining: Bocom’s Hong said that the halting of trading to deal with problems could be a good sign. You see, he explained “in the past, shareholders facing margin calls would likely have been forced to sell off the stake without warning, he said. But China’s securities regulator has recently given companies permission to allow shareholders to work through problems with debtors instead of selling up to pay back loans.”

Which of course, is an odd definition of a “good sign”: because instead of facing reality, and selling, the entire market simply becomes hijacked by a handful of greedy executives. Meanwhile, the money of anyone who invested alongside them, well, as South Park put it best “it’s gone… it’s all gone.”

This Is What Extreme Security In “America’s Safest School” Looks Like

Welcome to Southwestern High School in suburban Indiana, where the classrooms door are bullet-resistant…

…ceilings have built-in smoke-bombs…

…cameras are everywhere, and the Sheriff’s department – only 10 miles away – can track an intruder in real-time.

Additionally, as The Daily Signal reports, the school has a top-of-the-line security system – which can be activated in the event of an emergency by teachers who wear special key fobs – that has been called “revolutionary” and is reported to have cost $400,000. It was installed after the Indiana Sheriff’s Association selected the school as a test site.

“I think that Newtown, Sandy Hook, really made people understand, made us all understand that this could happen to us,” Dr. Paula Maurer, Southwestern Consolidated Schools superintendent, told local affiliate Fox59.

“Now is the time to do something about it. We have some answers. We have the technology. We have ways to make our kids safer and we have to do it.”

The system came at no cost to Southwestern High School after Net Talon, the Virginia security company behind the design, offered to fund the installation. The school also used grant money to cover some costs. It raises the question of whether such a system could be implemented elsewhere and, perhaps more glaringly, how it would be funded.