During a discussion about guns, which is all anyone is talking about lately, here are words of wisdom from my favorite fake homesteader and minimalist.

Australia and Britain both, after mass shooting incidents, instituted big-time gun control and virtually eliminated mass shootings.

But. . .that is because they are islands, says Nicole.

They are islands.

You know, surrounded by water, and therefore nobody can smuggle in guns.

Nicole obviously has never heard of Cornwall.

She also probably has no idea how sparsely populated the majority of the Australian continent is, and how much shoreline exists and how impossible it would be to prevent smuggling entirely.

But Nicole follower and total moron Renee Moore tosses in her opinion.

They can get in from our bordering countries just like the drugs do!

You know, from Mexico.  From Canada.

Both countries have far stricter gun laws than we do. Mexico has one gun store in the entire country.  Read that again.  One store where you can buy a gun.  One. You have to navigate a mountain of red tape to get there.

Do you know where guns come from in Mexico?  Ever thought about it?

Guess.  Guess who is smuggling guns along the US/Mexico border.

Guess which way the guns flow  that are being smuggled along the US/Canadian border.

A second dumbass Nicole follower, Sheila Howerter, chimes in.

Illegal drugs, firearms and illegal aliens and criminals/gang members are flowing across the Mexican border at an alarming rate.

Well, no. They aren’t.

Guns aren’t coming across at all, but are going the other way, as I already pointed out.  Illegal immigration is way down and so is drug smuggling.  Criminals and gang members were never a big issue in the first place, but something Trump used to scare people so he could carry on about a stupid wall.

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This is one issue where Nicole and I agree. The reason that drug smuggling is down is because several states have legalized pot. There is no need to risk bringing it into the country illegally when you can just buy it in a store in front of God and everyone. We need to do more of that, strictly controlled, and we’ll see an end to the drug smuggling thing.

During Prohibition, there was a lot of alcohol smuggling, much of it from Canada.  As soon as it was repealed, the problem went away.

All that illustrates something.  If you make something illegal, people will still want it and they will find a way to get it.  Right?

So if we institute strict gun control, we’ll just have a problem with illegal guns flowing into the country over the borders, right?  You know, from those two countries with stricter gun laws than we have.  Right?

Australia doesn’t have this problem (but actually they do), and Britain doesn’t either (only they really do, too), but that’s because they are islands and you can’t bring guns in on a boat or mail them through the parcel post.  Or something.

But what about Germany?

Germany is definitely not an island.

Germany has really strict gun control.  And predictably, Germany has a problem with illegal guns being smuggled into the country, just like Australia and Britain do.

But here’s the difference, and it’s a very big one.

Germany is fretting, seriously fretting, over their illegal gun situation. Yet, consider this.

In Germany, being murdered with a gun is as uncommon as being killed by a falling object in the United States. About two people out of every million are killed in a gun homicide.

Even with all those illegal weapons being smuggled across the German border, you have this sort of difference.

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An all out ban could be put in place tomorrow. Do you honestly believe that criminals/mass shooters are going to simply hand over or turn in their firearms?! No, only law abiding gun owners such as myself would.

Well, Sheila, all I know is that Australia and Britain did exactly that.  Now, half of my extended family is Australian and they are lovely people, but that doesn’t mean there are no criminals in Australia.  I’m quite sure there are criminals in Britain too, and in Germany as well.

It worked for them. Somehow they made it work. Every country that has tried it has made it work.

Why are we different?

Note:  Do NOT respond to this with stuff about values or morals or mental health.  Just don’t. If you want to spout that crap, do it someplace else.  There are mentally ill people all over the world, pretty evenly spread (and mental illness does not typically cause a person to become violent), and they also have folks in all those countries that are colossal assholes. We don’t have a corner on all that.

What we have is a massive, huge number of guns.






I love Serial.

I am an Audible book junkie, so listening to Serial comes sort of naturally.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, Serial is a podcast produced by the people who do This American Life. If you haven’t gone down the Serial rabbit hole, you need to.

My focus right now is on Season Two of Serial.

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Start right there.  I think there are ten episodes. You can binge-listen, which is my favorite way to do it.

When I first saw that this was about Bowe Bergdahl, I thought, “Oh, gee.  Army shit. I don’t care much about Army shit. I won’t understand most of it, and well. . .”

But I listened anyway, because you never know with Serial. They start with something and then you just don’t know where it will end up.

Here’s the summary (but it is not any substitute for actually listening to it).

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Bowe Bergdahl is a former US soldier who went missing from his post in Afghanistan (2009) and was captured by the Taliban and held for five years before being freed (2014) in a prisoner trade (they got five Guantanamo detainees and we got Bowe).

After he was freed, amidst all the media hype, stories began to filter out that Bowe wasn’t captured in battle. He walked away from his post willingly. This was disturbing, of course.

For some reason (Obama-hatred?), the right picked this story up and ran wildly off into the sunset with it. Their version became that Bowe had become a Muslim, defected to the Taliban, and generally was a traitor, and that multiple soldiers were killed trying to find him.  Hence, President Obama, naturally, since he was a secret Muslim, traded away these very dangerous prisoners to get Bowe back where he can do secret spying things in the US.  Or something like that. (None of these things are true at all.)

The truth is not quite that simple, and for most folks, not nearly as cool to read about or listen to.

However, considering what we talk about here quite a bit, it’s very, very interesting.

Bowe’s explanation for what he did and why he did it is a story of idealism taken to extremes. And before you say, well, this is just what he says so how can we believe that, go listen to Serial’s account. They fact-check everything to the point that it is exhausting.  Bowe’s story has been checked, double-checked, and there is no reason not to believe him.

To understand it, you have to go back in time.

Here is where Bowe Bergdahl grew up in Idaho.

There are no close neighbors, apparently. The media describes the place as “isolated.” They were “nearly off the grid.”

And here’s a photograph of his parents before Bowe was captured. (After the capture, his father grew a beard and learned to speak the language of the Taliban in an effort to communicate with them, all very politically controversial, of course.)

They are Presbyterians.  The typical theology embraced by Presbyterians is Calvinism. I wasn’t a Calvinist. I was in the “whosoever will may come” camp, the “Jesus died for everyone” group.  This is called Arminianism.  Salvation is for everyone, anyone who will ask for it.

Calvinists are very different. They believe that Jesus only died for the elect, for those who were predestined to believe.

In their view, you are either elect or you are not. If you are, there is nothing you can do to reject the gospel.  You’re special, chosen.  If you are not elect, there is nothing you can do about that either. You are going to hell, period.

It’s a very black-and-white theology.  The world is divided sharply between the good guys in white hats and the bad guys in black ones.

Bowe did not just grow up attending a Presbyterian church.  Many folks do that and they are fine and in spite of that Calvinist view, end up reasonable people.

Homeschooled, he was taught to read St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine and the Bible. For his father, everything was defined in terms of “is this the will of God or is it not.”  There was no middle ground.  There was no nuance. This whole “will of God” stuff permeated everything they did. They talked about it a lot, these black-and-white ethical ideals.

Bowe did poorly at his studies and spent much of his time in the wilderness surrounding their little house, pretty much alone. He became enamored with the idea of valor, of proving his manhood, of being a hero.  And the heroes he admired included adventurers (like Bear Grylls) but also the warriors of old.

Reaching adulthood, he went to France and tried to join the French Foreign Legion. They wanted nothing to do with him, apparently, and he came home after a few days. Nobody really knows what happened.

Then he joined the Coast Guard. He didn’t make it through boot camp.

I want to stress this.

Bowe couldn’t make it through boot camp in the Coast Guard. He had an emotional breakdown and was discharged.

That should have been the end of the relationship between Bowe Bergdahl and the United States military.  However, it wasn’t.

One year later, he joined the Army.

Think about this for a second. He couldn’t make it through boot camp in the Coast Guard due to psychological problems, and they let him join the Army. Can we lay this at his feet, or do we need to lay this at the feet of whoever waived his psychological history and let him in the Army?

It was like the Army was begging for this. They sent him right straight to Afghanistan.


Bowe, the Calvinist-raised morally-rigid misfit, goes to Afghanistan and guess what?  He has problems. He was looking for valor.  He got boredom and authority figures he wasn’t fond of and nothing that resembled “war” in his mind.

He decided that the situation was fraught with danger for himself and his comrades because he believed that the officers over him were incompetent (hell, they let him in the Army, remember) and that the only way he could get the attention of anyone higher up was to cause an incident.

So, that’s what he did.

I will repeat here that I am barely scratching the surface of this story.  Go listen to Serial.  You can hear Bowe talk about all this, hear his comrades talk about it, hear the Army officials talk about it. You’ll learn a lot about the military mindset, about international negotiations and how fragile and fucked up they can be, about politicians and how fucked up they can be.

What has intrigued the hell out of me though is that this young man grew up in a rigid religious home with parents who saw the world as pretty much evil (in the hands of the devil), given ideals that allowed for no tolerance or compromise ever,  isolated from society, homeschooled, and was almost entirely “off-grid” roaming about in the “wilderness.”

It fucked him up. The psychiatrist who testified at his trial said it did.  It fucked him up.

In the end, there was a trade and Bowe came home.

And last fall, he was court-martialed. I read a good bit about his court-martial and I really have come to the conclusion that they did the right thing in the end. He was given a dishonorable discharge and fined about a year’s salary, but no prison sentence on the grounds that he already served a prison sentence. Bowe’s days of hunting for adventure via the United States military are over.

I hope he finds healing and peace. I hope the US military has done something to make sure that nobody else can join the military with such a goofed up history.  His comrades seem to have come to grips with what happened and even those who were injured have found a measure of peace.

There are consequences to the way you choose to raise kids.






Finding Sanity

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Here’s the link again to the article Nicole has referenced.

Stop now and go read it.  It’s not long.

Nicole starts out with a purported quote.

“It’s important to talk to your children about death and murder”

Of course, that is not a real quote. That’s Nicole paraphrasing what she thinks the article says.

Then she takes that horrific event that resulted in the deaths of 17 people, mostly teenagers with promising futures, and turns it into a conversation about. . . her.

Of course.

Her comment about the deaths is that she is “so sad” and that life is so unfair sometimes.  A guy picked up an AR-15, that she believes should be legal, that he obtained legally, and went to a school and mowed down 17 people, and what she has to say about that is that it is “so sad” and “unfair.”

Go read this.

How about this?

between the eyes

Or this?

Not only does Nicole make threats like this implying that she is going to shoot somebody, but she also threatens that her daughter will do so too.

good shot

Make no mistake about it. Nicole Naugler is publicly, and frequently, threatening to shoot people, not for trespassing on her property, which nobody has done, but for riding down the public road that borders her property, for being in a public courtroom at the same time she is there, and for criticizing her public comments in writing online.  She is threatening to kill people for that.

But when somebody who is just as screwed up in the head as she is does exactly that, and kills 17 people for no good reason, she says it makes her “sad” and that it’s “unfair.”

And then she goes on to use this incident to justify exposing her tiny children to a movie rated PG-13 (because the thematic content of the film involves a fucking serial killer who killed a young child and other violence).

Her children are different, of course. They are “open with their children about emotions.”

My biggest personal objection to that film is the content, which is religious and thus mythological and silly.  But when it comes to young children, showing them a film about a young child who was murdered by a serial killer is just plain lunacy.

There is a huge difference between purposely letting little kids be scared shitless by the idea that they might be murdered by a fictional random stranger for no reason, and having a conversation with kids who are in school and who are scared shitless by the fact that a real person who was not a random stranger, one of their classmates, might show up at school and start shooting.  These aren’t four-year-olds.

Here’s a bit of what the article actually had to say.

It can be really destructive to have kids exposed to this over and over and over again.

Exposed to what?

Remember 9/11? Remember seeing the replay fifty bazillion times?  Remember how wearing that got?

I was a high school kid when JFK was assassinated.  I was at a friend’s house the day that Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald on live television and we were watching.  My friend’s mother had demanded that we watch the TV because it was “history in the making.”  Then Ruby stepped out and shot Oswald.

My friend’s mother gasped, got up and turned off the TV.  She realized suddenly that high school kids might not need to see “history in the making.”

For days after that, all of us had nightmares about it.  We saw the film repeatedly, of Ruby shooting Oswald, of John Kennedy crumpling, of Jackie Kennedy with blood stains on her suit.

This shit affects people, and it affects children more than it does adults, because children don’t have enough life experience to process what they are seeing correctly.  As the guy in the article mentions, little kids think it’s happening over and over again, that every image is new.

But the Naugler children are different, Nicole says.

Yeah, they are.

They are exposed to threats of violence all the time.  A lot. Those kids are afraid of people driving up their road.

Here’s Nicole’s testimony in court under oath talking about Lisa supposedly driving up the road in front of her house.

JUDGE: Have you, um, have you seen her driving by your residence?


She, of course, has not because Lisa has never done that but one time and nobody was home that day.

NICOLE: No, there were several times last summer, and the prior. . . it was shortly after my children were returned. Um,

JUDGE: Last summer she drove by? One or more than one time?

NICOLE: Um, I, I, I can say one that I know of. A lot of times it’s my children that notice people driving by, and they, unfortunately, I have had to show my children pictures of these individuals, including Ms. Luthi, so that way if they do see them passing by our home, they know who to identify.

So, she had to show her children pictures of Lisa so they could identify her. And they did identify her, except for a huge problem.  During the period when Nicole testified, under oath, that Lisa was riding up and down the road in front of Nicole’s house, Lisa was, in fact, out of the state.

But her children have been traumatized, she says.

NICOLE: Do you understand how your behavior on your pages has emotionally harmed not only myself and my husband, but my children?

BOLUS: Your Honor, I’m going to object to the question.


When you post on your pages, do you consider the effects it has on my minor children?

LISA: That’s why I have it set to 18.

The children are also traumatized by helicopters.

Nicole called Al’s employers repeatedly telling them that Al had flown over their property and scared her children.

What we have here are children who are systematically and regularly being taught that specific people (Lisa, Al, me, Deb, whoever disagrees with Nicole) are a personal threat to them and that shooting us is not out of the realm of possibility, that random people riding down a public road in front of their property need to be identified because they are all a threat of some type, that medical evacuation helicopters are threatening.

Then she adds that it’s great and admirable that she shows those same children a fictional film in which a small child is brutally murdered by a random stranger.

She compares this scenario with the story of Finding Nemo.

So what does Common Sense Media (which seems to be a pretty decent source for parents) have to say about Finding Nemo?

See the age recommendation?  Five and over.  The child I saw watching The Shack (rated PG-13) wasn’t five.

I mentioned this on the forum, but it bears repeating here. When Nathan was a little guy (under five), he watched a Charlie Brown film where Woodstock and Snoopy were on Snoopy’s doghouse and Woodstock got swept away down the river.  Nathan was horrified and sobbed and cried and left the room. We couldn’t rewind the television. This was before DVDs and video tapes.  His dad had to gently bring him back into the room and show him that Woodstock was okay.

I remember taking Nathan to see  The Black Stallion.  I loved the books as a kid and thought he’d love the movie. We had to leave the theater part-way through because the Black stomped a rattlesnake and it terrified Nate.  That’s when I learned to be very careful with small children and big screens. They don’t mix well.

Children that age don’t understand fiction. They don’t even understand cartoon characters not being real.  They also don’t understand that their mother is a lunatic. If she tells them repeatedly that random people riding down the road are there to hurt them, and that helicopters flying above their heads are threatening, that what people say about you online is so important that it has to occupy your every waking moment,  they believe that shit.

And like always, we will discuss the news, and help our children to be kind. Because that is what is important right now.

What is important right now, Nicole, is that you stop scaring the shit out of your children for no reason at all except your desire to be seen as a victim. You are not helping your children to be kind. You are helping them to be maladjusted and terrified.

It can be really destructive to have kids exposed to this over and over and over again.