OSD 76: Chat from the OSD Slack channel

A little bit of occasional chaos is good.

We were talking in the OSD Slack about last week’s shooting at a protest in Austin, Texas. The details aren’t entirely clear (who pointed their gun at whom first, was it justified, etc.), but a protestor, Garrett Foster, was shot dead in a confrontation of some sort between him and a driver.

There’s a natural feeling here that this whole situation could have been avoided if the police had had the situation more in hand, better controlled the path of the protest and of vehicle traffic, and so on. But that highlights something a lot more fundamental: for all the effort spent on law enforcement, the vast majority of “law enforcement” comes from people simply consenting to abide by the law. If a large enough group of people decides to revoke that consent, in some cases the harm-minimizing path is, “Welp, I guess just let them do what they want for a while.” Not because it’s ideal, but because all other options are worse.

And that’s something that we’ve known for a long time in the gun rights world. This is the same framework where we get the ideas that the government is actually not that powerful against coordinated disobedience, “a drone can’t stand on a street corner and do door-to-door patrols”, etc. This is the framework at the heart of 2A.

In a sense, it’s unfortunate that the police can’t always backstop you. But look deeper and that is actually a feature, not a bug. Suppose the opposite were true: that somebody else did always have final responsibility for your safety. Another way of saying that: you don’t have final responsibility. If you’re not the final backstop, then someone else is. And that someone would — by definition — control your life more than you do. So it’s a great thing that if all else fails, you are your backstop. Get training, be responsible, and embrace that mindset. Make it a great week, gang.

This week’s links

Utilizing cover properly in a gunfight

Simple and effective tips.

Remington files for bankruptcy for the second time in three years

We covered the first bankruptcy back in OSD 11, in the context of a big New York Times piece about it:

The piece is well-sourced and spills a lot of secrets about the changes Cerberus made at Remington since buying the company in 2007. The way the article tells it, everything was fine until Cerberus signed Remington up for a bunch of debt that the company couldn't pay once demand plummeted after the 2016 election.

As a proximate cause of the bankruptcy, yes, that’s fair. But that’s really a trailing indicator of the company’s troubles. In the gun world, we know the problem started long before 2016, with something much more fundamental: people didn’t like Remington’s products anymore.

No business can survive long without making something people want.

On that front, Remington had two issues at the same time. First, the low-quality work that Cerberus cultivated destroyed Remington's reputation. Second, this happened at the same time that two once-in-a-generation growth areas appeared in the gun industry: the rise of the AR-15 ecosystem, and the concealed carry revolution. Remington completely missed the boat on both. It had a stretch like Microsoft had during the Ballmer era, missing every single paradigm shift for 10+ years straight.

So by the end of that, you have a Remington that was:

  • Burning its reputation for quality, just to hit quarterly targets. (Don’t eat your seed corn.)

  • Unwilling or unable to launch new products that people want, especially in the highest-growth areas of the industry. So it was stuck relying on legacy products (the 700 and 870) in the lowest-growth, lowest-margin verticals.

  • Breeding discontent in its workforce. And with shoddy-but-cheap hiring and training practices, they were investing in lowering, not raising, the expertise of whoever stuck around.

If it’s happening in the context of explosive growth (and the gun industry is certainly going through that right now), then the death of old incumbents can actually be a mark of health for an industry. Progress happens when new and better replaces old and busted. Sometimes companies manage to reform themselves. Other times they get replaced. But in a healthy industry, those are the only two options. And customers benefit either way.

Saga of the AR-15 forward assist

Ian McCollum with a different take than the forward assist history that we linked back in OSD 73.

“Give kids guns” – Inside Jokes #3

This is a YouTube series where a group of comedians (Andrew Schulz, Akaash Singh, Ronnie Chieng, and Mike Feeney) help each other work out jokes that they’re stuck on, and in this episode they work on a bit about guns. Check it out, it’s educational to watch this stuff being discussed by normies who don’t particularly care either way. And be sure to watch the last two minutes.

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