Sunday, July 7, 2013

TLC Prophet James Dee Harmston of Manti, Utah has passed away

The (lack of) attention Mr. Harmston's death has received surprises me. This man and his following once were a matter of significant media coverage and community concern. Even the shadowy figures of LDS Church Security were once detected gathering intelligence (I briefly mention an incident I was present for in my opening entry to this blog). Now, The Salt Lake Tribune is the only local news outlet to even report on it.

There have been a few posts to Mormon Fundamentalist related Yahoo groups I infrequently check in on. The one place I would have expected to be buzzing with activity is the attack blog run by an anonymous ex-follower at In recent years, the entries and reader comments on that site have been the only place I have been able to find containing information on the TLC (The True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days) that is not long outdated

I don't know what to make of Jim Harmston. I see two viable possibilities. Either he was a liar and an imposter in the same manner as Elizabeth Smart kidnapper Brian David Mitchell, or a Warren Jeffs-style lunatic.

Testimony and evidence indicate imprisoned FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs would self-induce a state where is body would go into a seizure, and his mind would go into hallucinations. That is the real function of the suspicious, custom made bed with side rails Texas investigators found in the basement of the FLDS temple they desecrated. Jeffs really believes his own delusions. The voices in his head told him his favorite wife Naomi Jessop would die. His grief gave every indication of being genuine. To this day she remains alive and well. In jail he would spend so much time on his knees praying that his knees developed ulcers, and the jailors began forcibly dragging him off his knees. In Utah and Arizona, he let his attorneys present a defense that proved effective, but in Texas, he defied the guidance of his counsel, fired them, and represented himself, making threats that the court must abandon the prosecution or face the imminent wrath of God. He believed that God would follow through.

The FLDS are a specific sect of Mormon Fundamentalism. Those on the internet who apply FLDS to all Mormon Fundamentalists are misusing the term. Formally, The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

When he thinks he can talk his way out of trouble, Brian David Mitchell, the self-styled Prophet Immanuel David Isaiah, conducts himself very rationally. It was when he realized the rest of his life would be spent in confinement, the only question was, the big house or the nut house, that he played the fool. At federal trial we learned that though he has commonly been referred to as a street preacher, Mitchell had no desire to convert anybody to anything. Due to social phobia he needed to get thoroughly liquored up, then he would make his way downtown, where his actual activities were a matter of panhandling for money. The measure of sincere religion is whether the purported religious person acts to further the interests of his deity, or himself. The prosecution demonstrated that Mitchell never did any projects of service for either his fellow man or his God. He's not a particularly religious man. His religion-speak and his crudely self-manufactured Old Testament garb were for show. They were no more indicative of his true self than a man's donning of a policeman's costume, for Halloween or for deception, indicates an honest desire to uphold the causes of law and order.

I once traveled to Manti, stayed in the home of Jim and Elaine Harmston, and sat through the two long days he took to present his introductory seminar, The Models. On Sunday, I left about an hour or two before he was due to wrap up. I smiled goodbye at Elaine on my way out. I don't think she smiled back.

This was just before Jim's revelation to withdraw from public outreach, that marked the end of incoming converts and the growth of his organization. If he was just making up wild stories to get the money to fund a luxurious retirement, while his followers sat by candlelight in houses with the utilities shut off for non-payment, then the revelation probably meant he had reached the point where he had stashed away enough dough to accomplish the objective. He took a lot of people for a lot of it.

At The Models, two personality traits were apparent, the charisma to gain followers, and the overbearing and domineering nature that would chew them up and spit them out. A combination of disillusioned mainstream Mormons, and outcasts from other Mormon Fundamentalist factions, TLC converts started out as some of the most dedicated to the cause of building a communal zion.

Ask your average mainstream Mormon what he thinks about quitting his job, selling his house, giving all the proceeds to a new church, moving to a rural agricultural county with minimal job prospects, buying another house, transferring title over to the church, placing a sign in the yard declaring it as church property under stewardship, taking out loans he never intends to repay, giving that money to the church, than trusting the church to provide his family's groceries?

After the TLC, most of them vow to have nothing more to do with religion, in any form, for the rest of their lives.

At first this whole thing began as what I see as very positive, an outpouring of what I believe was genuine spiritual (supernatural) phenomena. In the early 1990's, people from various places, who did not know each other in advance, felt a prompting to move to Utah's Sanpete Valley. They joined the LDS wards in the area, and news spread of a study group (outside the official auspices of the church). They would meet, read the revelations they were receiving, and were amazed that the spirit was independently telling them all some remarkably similar things.

As one who laments the way Mormons have drifted away from their original communalism, I think this had all the makings of something wonderful...until one destructive personality entered the picture. The grandeur of Jim Harmston's claimed experiences with heavenly messengers exceeds every prophet in the entire Restoration Movement, including Joseph Smith. The fruits borne of Harmston's ministry are less impressive.

The mainstream Mormon Church promotes the validity of individual long as you abide by their structure of tiered authority. An individual is entitled to inspiration to guide his or her own life. A father to guide his family. But when you start declaring inspiration for those outside your stewardship, start contradicting the inspiration of those in a calling of priesthood leadership above yourself, your days in the church are numbered.

By the time I made my pilgrimage to Manti, I felt no spiritual manifestation. The study group was no more. The LDS had purged the dissidents, and they Harmston had established the True and Living Church.

The early 1990's contained many interesting instances of internal dissent in Mormon Utah. The liberals rallied behind the September Six, I watched as they proceed in a long line to place flowers on the steps of the Church Office Building. Patrick Waters began the Utah Free Militia with some well attended meetings and training sessions in Utah County, though quickly what remained was just a few scattered small teams. Since Waters openly used his real name as a presenter at Sunstone, representing the Militia, I feel mentioning it here is giving away no secret. Mike Rigby was actively distributing what people referred to as his "White Bible" (Sacred Scriptures is the actual title), holding study groups with some off-the-wall ideas such as Lucifer had repented and Cain had taken over the job of the Devil, and taking up a collection for a large newspaper ad declaring that the great cleansing of the Earth is about to begin.

Nothing remotely like that is happening today, even though we now have the amazing abilities of the internet to bring together people of common interests. I miss it.

I sent a letter by mail thanking Jim and Elaine for their hospitality. I wished them and their church well, stating that I felt no spiritual indication telling me to get involved, but if that changed I would, be back in contact. I received no reply. I find it highly probable Jim's response was some hocus-pocus in a ritual to condemn me over to the buffetings of satan. Yes, I take that lightly.

If actively functioning Mormon based polygamy groups numbered in the hundreds, I could see one deceased leader not being considered newsworthy. Just off the top of my head I can name off about eight, and a few more that might be, but I don't know the current status.

That manticult site is the only source I have to know what remained of the TLC just prior to Jim's death. Rather than hearing me paraphrase, adding one more person to the kids game of whispering in people's ear to find out how badly the message gets distorted with repeated retelling, you can go see for yourself. I'll just say this, it doesn't sound like much was left.

The tone of this blog entry is harsh. I didn't expect it to be quite so when I started making mental notes for it. I actually am very sympathetic to the people of Mormon based polygamy. The last thing I want to do is join my voice with anti-polygamy activists to create a bad impression of good people. Leaders are another matter.

Libertarian pundit P. J. O'Rourke is noted for his thoughtful quote, beginning with, Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. It's not just polygamous leaders, and it's not just religious leaders.

Jesus cautioned to be innocent but not naive, (Matthew 10:16). Many common claims against the people of polygamy are based in prejudice and not based in fact. Failing to take this passage to heart is a valid criticism of these people. They find themselves under bad leaders more often than not.

Restore the Fourth, Utah chapter, a group whose continuing efforts I will not be supporting

I'm hearing preliminary reports from today's Restore the Fourth rally near the soon to be opened NSA Utah Data Center that I find troublesome, to the point that I think I'm glad I didn't go. Even increasing their reported number from 150 to 151 was more support than I believe this organization deserved.

Reports indicate that the first speaker, who runs the website, received vocal rebuke from members of the crowd, as well as the following speaker, and now the event organizers are bashing him online. Some people even walked out and went home.

Most of the objections accuse him of hijacking a political event to preach a religious sermon to a captive audience, who didn't come for that. Some accuse him of compromising the credibility of the event with off-topic matters they believe are not reasonable, such as chemtrails.

If this group collectively harbors significant hostility to religious viewpoints, or is so narrowly focused that their 'open mic' was only to a few authorized topics, then they're certainly not people I would care to align myself with for activist purposes.

Any attempt to limit the scope of what an audience hears offends me as an American.  Don't like the message? Whip out the smartphone, play tetris, and wait for the next speaker.

Some people will only work, politically, with those who think exactly as they do. That is what killed the group Accountability Utah, and that is my main objection to the old guard of the Libertarian Party. Ideological purism, unwillingness to form coalitions with those you agree with half the time, and vehemently disagree with the other half, condemns a group to being a tiny, irrelevant faction, with no capability for growth.

I've seen no evidence that would convince me that Geo Bush ordered 9-11, with Osama bin Laden being a patsy. I do see enough common ground between myself, and the truthers, that I can work with them.

Democracy and political activism are primarily a game of who can marshal the greatest number. Only a fool would tell a group that has shown up at their rally, adding a significant number, "Go away, people generally regard you as crackpots, your presence does more harm than good to our public credibility".

I'm hoping those of us living in the area of the data center will soon hear that it is time to rally again, but this time, the two different factions will hold two different rallies.  I would appreciate an invitation, so long as it comes from those who believe God must play the primary role in restoring our nation, or at least from those who can be inclusive and respectful of that viewpoint.

Related links:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Not all conspiracy theories are harmless: satanic ritual abuse

In my last entry (link) I argued that although I am not big on conspiracy theories, I don't see the harm.

Just afterward, an incident on Facebook reminded me of an exception that must be noted.

A woman that I met once in person at a lecture, somewhat prominent in the local liberty community, who participates in a few of the Ron Paul and Libertarian Facebook groups that I subscribe to, started posting material about satanic ritual abuse.  I discovered this as I was getting ready for work, and not having much time, I cut and paste two paragraphs from an earlier entry in this blog, Polygamy, hatred, and the "True Believer" (link), made a few modifications, and posted it.  Later in the day I checked back to see if any further comments had been added, and I found mine gone.  In a private message:

R-, my comments earlier this morning regarding satanic ritual abuse claims seem to have disappeared. If they were deliberately deleted, I would appreciate knowing why. Thank you.

R W:
You should be respectful to those that have endured these terrible experiences. Nobody knows everything and we should treat each issue as such. It is like telling a rape victim that there is no such thing as rape. Be respectful towards victims around you cause I guarantee that there are many around you and you have no idea. I deleted your post cause it hurt a dear friend of mine.

Your audience is your audience. I will therefore not make any further attempts to present anything to them that you find objectionable.

I would, however, like to continue the discussion between the two of us privately. I have briefly outlined the basis for my disbelief. I was following this controversy even before the Pace memo brought the LDS church into it, and I still keep a large stack of the materials I gathered back then. Before I go any further, though, I would like to hear what has persuaded you to believe?
I should have suspected right away that I was dealing with true believer syndrome, rather than naively assuming this was a reasonable person who had gotten ahold of some bad information.

I waited the better part of a day for an answer, noted that she had been active in posting on other matters, and hit the "unfriend" button.  If she's unwilling to even accept my invitation to present her basis for belief, there's no point in trying to push the matter, to do so would only make me look like a bully.  There's also no point in thinking that there's anything meaningful to learn by continuing to follow the posts of someone whose perception of reality leads her to guarantee that that the problem is so pervasive that the victims are all around us.

She is correct on one account, I don't know everything, but there are a few things I do know.  When a person describes an experience that is not physically possible, that experience did not occur, and, if the problem were really as pervasive as this person believes, and the number of people claiming to be victims would indicate, there would be some physical evidence.

The only evidence we have indicates teenage occult dabblers are scattered here and there, and have done some bad things, usually to animals, though at times to people.  Widespread, multi-generational conspiracies, where people living respectable lives by day have some alternate personality kick in, put on black robes, and torture children the way they were tortured as children (though they have completely repressed these memories), are nothing more than sick fiction.

This frustrates me because R W is such a good illustration of just why it is so destructive to believe that satanic ritual abuse is real.  She apparently actively associates with other true believers, as well as those who believe themselves to be victims.  She shields them from truth they desperately need to hear, so that they can get real help, and get away from the quack therapists who have induced these false memories, and are treating them for abuse that did not actually occur.  Reality does matter.  These quack therapists are about as unethical (and counter-productive) as an MD administering chemo and radiation to anyone and everyone who believes themselves to have cancer.

In the height of this hysteria, our community was not spared.  Alan Hadfield of Lehi, Ut. was just one of our local people whose lives were devastated by a witch hunt (using that name in a google search should start you in the right direction, if you're not already familiar).  Could R W and her friends trigger another round of satanic panic?  Not if I can do anything about it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Glenn Beck, Truthers, people who are so sure that they are absolutely correct, and the subjective nature of perception.

From the opening remarks in Glenn Beck's daily television show, Wednesday, 23 Jan 2013, an episode devoted to debunking conspiracy theories that the Sandy Hook massacre either did not actually take place, or that the government orchestrated it:
These guys will make us doubt absolutely everything, and I don't know about you, but I already doubt enough.  I have to know what is true and what isn't.  We have detached as a society from the truth, the truth about ourselves, the truth about our country, the truth about our debt, personal and national, all of it.  We don't know what's real anymore.  We don't trust the news departments anymore.  We don't know who to trust.  We don't trust anybody, and when that happens, your nation is over.  Our country now believes - we have more respect for cockroaches than Congress.  And all our institutions are at all time lows.  The institution of the media, the institution of the courts, police, everything.  And it all boils down to trust.  It is a dangerous, dangerous road to head down.  We have to have something to hold onto, something that is real.
A bigger load of nonsense has never hit the airwaves.

Truth is absolute, however humanity currently has no access to any source that represents the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. All we have is other fallible human beings.  One of our biggest problems is people who are so sure that they are absolutely correct.

Glenn Beck is a source of information.  His nemesis Alex Jones is a source of information.  The Salt Lake Tribune, KUTV-TV 10 PM Evening News, and KTKK-AM Radio 630 kHz, are sources of information.  Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC are sources of information.  The blogs and vlogs I follow are sources of information.  The Bible, Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith's writings and speeches, and the current leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are sources of information.

Each one of them has provided enough kernels of useful facts, reports of interesting events that have taken place, and (at least for some of them) profound opinions, that I will continue to pay regular attention.

When asked what I think of any controversial public figure, or any public figure for that matter, my answer is always the same, all sources of information must be subjected to appropriate scrutiny.

People usually, perhaps nearly always, want to know the credibility of a source before they will pay any attention.  They don't want to spend four hours reading a book, only to find something half way through that will cause them to have to have to erase everything from their memory, then throw it in the trash. "I don't want to hear a single excerpt from the Book of Mormon, for fear that I might mistakenly recall a verse from it as if that verse came from God's Holy Bible".

Intellectual laziness, pure and simple.

I will give any one of my fellow human beings the courtesy of listening to their arguments, and deciding whether to incorporate their viewpoint into what I believe to be truth, based upon the strength of the case they present.  That includes people whose arguments on other topics are not persuasive to me, and people with demonstrated character flaws, including the demonstrated character flaw of having been previously been caught in a lie.

Where it is reasonable to question credibility is when somebody asks us to take their word for something, when they expect us to accept their unsupported personal account of something they supposedly witnessed or experienced, as if it actually happened.

Human beings naturally require a very low standard of proof for that which is not controversial, or conforms with what they already accept as truth...and a very high standard of proof for anything which conflicts. When an eyewitness makes a claim that invalidates someone's preconceived notions, the accusation of anecdotal evidence is a common defense mechanism.  That accusation can be valid, when the witness has used limited experiences with a small number within a group to pass negative judgements on the entire group.  That accusation, however, is not valid when the witness has extensive experience with the group in question, though animosity may still render the witness unreliable.  "They were out to get me, but I got away", may either be a slanderous lie, or a delusion...or maybe they really were out to get him.

Glenn Beck, listen up!  The principle that we must employ is to recognize that different sources have differing degrees of veracity.  We must get away from absolute thinking and classify that which we regard as truth in such terms as, "almost certainly", "probably", "likely", "possibly", etc.  To my fellow Mormons, (including you, GB), it has inappropriately become customary for us to use the phrase, "I know the church is true", to express the idea that our conviction is something much stronger than simply believing it.  I have stopped using that phrase, and in fact if asked by priesthood leadership if I know the church is true, I will (and have) told them I no longer think in those terms.

We must all always remain conscious of the subjective nature of perception, open to reevaluate our position when additional information makes it apparent that the limited information we have been operating on has led us to premature conclusions, and down wrong way paths.

I don't have to trust public institutions to make productive use of them.  Beck's claim that social collapse will result when they are no longer trusted is absurd.  I keep informed of news that helps me gauge their capabilities, their limitations, to know when it is wise to turn to them for help, to attempt to help others through them, and when it is wise to stay away from them.  Also to know when it is wise to offer constructive criticism to try to improve them, or destructive criticism designed to discredit them and tear them down, so they can be replaced with something different and better.

I may be wrong, if you have information I currently am unaware of that shows that people will be hurt if those public institutions I see no use for, and am engaged in activism intent on damaging or destroying them, were to cease to exist, I will give your case a fair listening.

Conspiracy theories usually strike me as complex, speculative possibilities, where viable explanations that are much more simple and direct already exist.  I'm not big on conspiracy theories, though I keep an open mind.  I would find relief to believe that no one died that day at Sandy Hook, though I find the arguments unpersuasive.  My sense of patriotism doesn't close my mind to the possibility that minds similar to those who planned the burning of the German Richestag could rise through the ranks of our government.  Neither does my distaste for increasing authoritarianism in our government (link to previous blog entry) cause me to promote Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, when I lack the academic background needed to render an informed evaluation of their claims.

I have more use for some conspiracy theories, and theorists, than others.  My old VHS tape of Cover up in Oklahoma raises questions for me that are not satisfied by a more recent production aired on one of the cable channels (the exact title, air date,  and which specific channel I don't presently recall).  It impresses me more than what I've seen from 9/11 Truthers.  Alex Jones has called my attention to many news stories across the country, most often dealing with police brutality, I would otherwise have missed, while I've never found anything useful in material produced by Jesse Ventura or Bill Cooper (deceased).

Glen Beck has long declared there is something destructive about Truthers (link to youtube video):

These Truthers are exactly the kind of people who want to rock this nation's foundation, tear us apart, and plant the seeds of dissatisfaction in all of us.
As if this were some kind of a bad thing.

If belief in something, even if not true, causes one to watch the bureaucrats more closely, alert others at the slightest indication of a cause for concern, work for a sharp change to the course this country is presently on (nearly any other direction would be better than this one), become a prepper or at least give your food storage more consideration, get a gun and the training to safely, accurately, and appropriately use it, and rely on self, family, church, and the private sector more than on government programs, then I say let's give this nation's foundations a good hard rocking!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Is this country in the midst of a gun crisis, or a mental health crisis?

I doubt anyone would come out and say, "Had the shooter been limited to a gun that took longer to load, and needed more frequent reloading, or better yet just used some other type of murder weapon, things wouldn't have turned out as bad".  Yet what other message are we to infer from currently proposed approaches to the problem?

Mental illness is the driving force in any killing rampage.  A weapon is merely an instrument.

Even if these schemes resulted in less lethal killing sprees (highly doubtful), I don't want less lethal killing sprees, I want the killing sprees to end!

If sacrificing rights is necessary, then let's at least choose rights to jettison that actually are contributing to the problem.

A case in recent years, that dragged on for years, centered in my local area, but receiving news coverage worldwide (I'm not being more specific because I am sick of hearing about it, I'm sure you are sick of hearing about it, and I'm sure you know exactly what I am referring to) was prolonged in the courts over the question of whether the perpetrator could be forcibly medicated.

It would seem that the mentally ill have somehow acquired the "right" to refuse treatment.  An absolute right, no less, if even a man in custody for his wrongful acts is still entitled to it, and can use the fact that he is not being treated to postpone the day when he has to answer for his actions.

The time to treat mental illness is before the anti-social actions begin.  Failure to do so is packing our penal facilities, draining the resources of government and private aid programs, filling our streets with the homeless, and putting children at grave danger.  The objections of the mentally ill person, or his family (if he is a minor), must be weighed against the consequences of allowing them to refuse.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sandy Hook, job loss, and how Firearmageddon caught me off guard

For a couple of years I knew it was coming, but I had hoped to stick it out at least another year. Working conditions at what had been my nice, comfortable, well paying, low stress job, were continuing to deteriorate in the bad economy. After witnessing wave after wave of "workforce reductions", my name eventually made the list in February 2012.

Fortunately I had stayed friends with the owner of a small company I had worked for earlier.

Previous to February I had been preparation minded, though my priorities were a little skewed. If I had $500 to spend, what would I get? Something fun, perhaps? Some new amateur radio gear? Camping equipment? Shooting accessories? These all might have practical uses in a disaster. Then there are the more mundane items, bulk food, alternative power sources, water barrels, silver bullion for barter. Not much fun can be had out in the desert with any of these. But ask yourself, if the ground suddenly shakes violently (the Salt Lake metro area is overdue), if the events of Black Tuesday, 29 October 1929, were to repeat themselves, if utilities went down for an extended period, if a run on the stores cleared out the shelves, what items would become the most important?

In the last year, catching up on what I should have been accumulating all along in essential practical preps has become the priority for my (now significantly reduced) income, over fun (but practical) items, such as guns.

Then came the Sandy Hook massacre, and the reaction to it in Washington, DC. Like everyone, this event impacted me emotionally. You wouldn't be a human being if it didn't. These were small children, for God's sake.

The National Rifle Association proposes a policemen on every campus. The last thing we need is to bring TSA-style security theater to the neighborhood elementary school. Nor do we need more "school resource officers" initiating criminal charges for matters that used to be resolved between parents and the principal.

I would like to see the mental health system that Ronald Reagan dismantled put back together.  Just what money did we save?  The system today leaves alone the mentally ill who do not seek treatment on their own, then it punishes irrational destructive acts the same as malicious crimes.  This is true insanity (doing the same thing, yet expecting better results).  Jails do not help them, so they come back over and over again, after they have hurt someone again.

In 48 states, a teacher would be breaking the law by keeping a locked box in a drawer, quickly opened by pressing a combination, to retrieve a pistol.  A madman on a rampage, on course, could care less about the law.  Fortunately for the children of Utah, we are not one of those states.  Few teachers want to be armed, yet one is all it would take to bring a shooting spree to a quick end, just as an armed volunteer security guard did in a Colorado church, a few years ago.

The left proposes a broad sweeping gun ban (link).  Barack Obama waits impatiently for it's arrival on his desk.  Firearmageddon is a term coined my youtube user Nutnfancy (link). If you're not already familiar, click that link and get familiar, excellent stuff, if you care anything at all about disaster preparation and the safe and effective handling of firearms and knives.  As I write this, panic buying is in full swing.

A few months ago, I handed a Springfield M1A I was examining back to the sales rep at the Lehi Cabelas.  $1800?  Not this year.  Today I'd be lucky to find one for $2,500, if not $3k! 

Like any responsible gun owner, I see the one hour safety lecture that came with my first purchase of a pistol, and the four hour safety lecture it took to get a Utah permit to carry concealed, as merely a start to my ongoing proficiency training.  An AR-15 with a holographic site (zero magnification) has served me well for instruction involving close range immediate action drills or a day long walk in the desert.  I'm not about to lug around the weight of a full sized M1A all day, along with a battle load of .308 ammo, and sufficient drinking water to stay hydrated in that climate.  I do, however, see the shortcomings in my abilities to shoot a reasonable group at distances in excess of 100 yards.  I waited a little too long, an event happened, my world changed, let that be a lesson to me.  Any prepper knows 20 years too early beats a day too late.  Hopefully some good tactical classes involving significant distances will be offered this year, and my Russian SKS, with that cheap illuminated 2 - 6 X scope (that I've never gotten around to sighting in), will suffice.  Any prepper knows when you are too late, you make do with what you have.

I expect the Republicans in Congress to cave.  The internet is filled with the shrill voices of Americans, their constituents, demanding "something be done about the guns".  Now doubt their offices are flooded with calls and emails.  Sen. Feinstein has loaded up that bill, asking for the moon.  She will offer to cross a few items off the list, they will compromise, and something will pass, just as compromise got the now expired 1993 Clinton AWB enacted into law.

For now, the job market remains dismal, the housing bubble that was the most significant causing factor of the 2008 stock plunge, and nearly triggered the Second Great Depression, is only the first of several economic "bubbles" just waiting to burst, SHTF is getting closer and closer...but it ain't here yet!  The gun shelves are empty, the ammo rack as well, but there's still plenty of preps I will need freely available.  May my wisdom in prioritizing these purchases be a little better in 2013.