Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Outbreak Omega 6 :: AAR

On June 27th and 28th Ahlaman's Gun Shop and Range in Morristown, MN hosted the sixth interration of DPMS's Outbreak Omega Zombie shoot. There had been a one year hiatus between the fifth and sixth year event due to the gun craze of 2013. I was worried that the hiatus would have a negative effect on attendance for OO6 but my concerns were unfounded with the entrance of Z.E.R.T.

If you are unfamiliar with Z.E.R.T. they are an organization that is worth checking out and don't be scared away by the use of the term 'zombie'.
Z.E.R.T. is an organization that uses “Zombie” as a metaphor for any natural or man-made disasters that will occur in our lives; Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, criminal attacks or any type of situation where being prepared, trained and most importantly, armed with the proper mindset is required to see you and your family through to safety.
Z.E.R.T. brought a new culture to the event and allowed for a bit of growth in a good direction. On the other hand; many complained it came with a price. All previous Outbreak Omega shoots were pretty straight forward; everyone payed a flat rate and received the same experience. OO5 had a VIP pass that had cost around $100 if memory serves me right. While OO6 was broken down in to a series of different tiers. There was pricing from Tier 1 at $300 down to spectator at $25 (at the time of this writing the OO6 website was no longer live so details were unavailable for packages) What did $300 get you? Above and beyond a bag of swag, dinner (pretty damn good pork roast), and entrance into over $60,000 in prizes you had access to Z.E.R.T.'s merry band of cadre.

About 130 slots were available and sold for the Tier One package and everyone showed up for training with Z.E.R.T.'s cadre of instructors on Friday. Each had years and fist fulls of experience in the private, military and competition world. It was apparent that the instructors wanted to give all the shooters their money's worth and planned for a full day of training. If memory serves there were nine different ranges setup focusing on pistol, rifle, movement with pistol and rifle, shooting from and around vehicles and a CQB shoothouse. At the beginning of the day we were split up into nine squads of fifteen people each and were allotted 45 minutes at each range.
From my vantage point as a participant what I saw was that in the last third of the day people began to drop out. There were folks that were geared up from head to toe and it became apparent that they were not use to wearing plate carriers for very long; let alone moving and shooting in them. I will say there were several people that had put quite lot of thought into their gear selection and had experience using it; these folks were the exception and had a lot of fun. There didn't seem to be any designated break or chow time throughout the day except for the dinner at the end; which was damn good.
I think most everyone would have been better served by focusing on three classes within two hour blocks; rifle, pistol and movement. This would have allowed the instructors to not feel rushed during their instruction and would have given more time to work through the intricacies that arise during training. With a fifteen minute break in between each of the three classes I think people would have been able to endure. Concerning class size; I envision six ranges open at the same time with two teaching pistol, two teaching rifle, and two teaching movement. This would have kept the class size to about 22 people which I believe Z.E.R.T. had enough cadre to handle effectively.

The gates were thrown open to every participant and even more ranges were opened to handle the shooting masses. I cannot remember exactly but there was around thirty different ranges to shoot on; including a zombie safari where you rode shotgun with a shotgun to shot zombie on a half mile course. The Pine County Sheriff's department also lent Z.E.R.T. their MRAP to conduct a squad sized movement range and of course a full auto range where you could shoot anything from an MG42 to a Grease Gun to a PKM for a price.
Project Appleseed supplied a pile of willing, able and always professional Range Safety Officers to man the ranges and their own zero range.
XP001 with the Pine County Sheriff
I spent most of Saturday shooting my pistol on steel targets in an attempt to work on the pointers I had received the day before. I also walked around and visited the vendors that came to the event. There were several but the ones that made the best impression on me was Schreyer Weapon Systems, Harris Tactical, Motley Rooster Holsters and Mission First Tactical.
Once the ranges went cold everyone gathered in the main building for the raffle prizes. Dozens and dozens of awesome items from butt-stocks, forearms and uppers were given away and the rifles, shotguns, EOTechs, and Nightforces were live raffled. I managed to leave with a 12" JP Rapid Configuration Handguard.

Overall, the the shoot was a great success from what I encountered and cannot wait to see how Z.E.R.T. and DPMS continue to grow the event. I am happy to tell you that there will be an Outbreak Omega 7 held at Ahlman's in Morristown, MN next year.

Your Blog Keeper on the Left with Bobby Harris of Harris Tactical on the Right
My Personal Takeaways:
  1. Buy a screen tent - one word: mosquitoes.
  2. I'm not as strong of a pistol shooter as I thought.
  3. Bug spray, sunscreen and water!
  4. Walking tacos are like manna from Heaven. 
  5. Do more PT! Physical fitness needs to be a higher priority. 

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