Saturday, December 22, 2012

Seen in the paper

Top article: "NRA wants armed cops in schools"
Above the fold: "Rumors promote patrols at high school"

The second article being about how the authorities are stepping up police presence at a school.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dinosaur droppings

Why is it that I'm looking at /etc/hosts for troubleshooting in  2012?

Because something must be done

Senator Boxer wants to put the National Guard in schools. How about spending less money on guardsmen deployments and instead allowing teachers who wish to carry a weapon to do so? If you simply must put a governmental approval on it, make available a (paid for by the state or federal government) training class and require them to pass the police qualifier on the weapon(s) they wish to carry, again, at the state’s cost. In exchange for this initial (low) cost, the school gets an additional armed security person at no additional cost

I’m going to take some flak for this, but I think teachers who wish to be armed at school probably ought to have a certain amount of weapon-retention training and demonstrate the ability to hit the lean side of a barn four times out of five (the police qualifiers in most jurisdictions being about that difficult), in addition to having the Four Rules engraved in their muscle memory. The reasons should be obvious.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What’s the use?

The new thread of argument against firearms (particularly against semi-automatic firearms), when you bring up comparisons to other items that are commonly used to kill, is that “guns are different, because their only use is to kill; so we have to ban them!” The corollaries are that “Hunters only need single-shot weapons!” and that “You’re paranoid to want to fight the government!”

This entirely ignores the benefits of self-defense. I recently went looking for how often a firearm is used in self-defense (often referred to as a Defensive Gun Use), for use in an attempt to change the mind of a friend who was vehemently anti-gun. The lowest estimate I could find for such a use was 800,000 times in a year, and at the high end, it was more than 2 million. The number is hard to quantify because it relies on surveys of potential crime victims, as it’s the rare defensive gun use that comes to the attention of the police for reporting. This is because most are simply a display of a firearm and the willingness to use it in response to a threat of criminal violence. They rarely make the news.

The Second Amendment is not about the right to hunt, otherwise it would be much easier to legally hunt on federal land, and the Supreme Court of the United States and several subsidiary courts would not have held that the Second Amendment guarantees a pre-existing right to use of firearms in self-defense against interference by the federal, state, and local governments. But people do hunt with semi-automatic weapons. And they hunt in situations where you NEED rapid follow-up shots; I surely wouldn’t want to hunt feral hogs with a bolt-action rifle, to give one example.

As for fighting the government; it’s not a fantasy or nightmare, nor is it necessarily a fight against the Federal Army. The Battle of Athens is one example; but I would qualify defensing yourself against a lynch mob or KKK violence in areas where the KKK was government-sanctioned if not government-encouraged to be “fighting the government,” at least by proxy.

Of course, all these arguments ignore the elephant in the room of trying to restrict or ban firearms – the number of firearms misused is an infinitesimal fraction of the firearms in private hands, and the number of people who misuse firearms are an infinitesimal fraction of the number of private owners of firearms. Millions of firearms owned by millions of people did not cause trouble today, yesterday, last week, or last year.

Friday, December 7, 2012

An interesting combination

I can't say I'm surprised that Appleseed folks have an interest in keeping The Law honest, but still, not something I expected going in.

ACLU police tape - read legal disclaimers before using!
Appleseed AQT Timer
Appleseed AQT Score

Friday, November 16, 2012

You keep using that phrase

And I'm afraid they know what it means. From a Huffington Post article: "In the 2012 election, we started to depend on our Fifth Column and now we call them "fact checkers."

They linked to the Wikipedia article on the subject, which quite aptly describes the notion of a fifth column. Sometimes the mask slips.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Random sayings

"Thrown off the troika is the Russian version of thrown under the bus. Less thumps, more wolves."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Random thought on the root causes of gun control

Am I off-base here, or does the rise of federal gun control (GCA’34) shortly follow the expiry of the last waves of patents protecting the IP behind the semi-automatic box-magazine-loading handgun; and subsequently bringing cheap, portable, self-defense that fits in a pocket and doesn’t require lengthy training or recharge times? It’s not the only factor, but the availability of cheap pocket semis to the lower classes would tend to aggravate the fears of The Powers That Be, I’d think.

It looks like the semi-auto handgun was invented around the turn-of-the-century. I know from Tam’s historical articles on handguns that the patent wars surrounding repeating firearms makes the current Android-Apple spat look like weak beer indeed. Patent wars make products more expensive for a variety of reasons. Once those patents start expiring, cheap knock-offs are bound to follow, driving down the prices of the originals.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Home Ownership is more fun than a barrel of monkeys on nitrous oxide

This week has been a hat trick of home maintenance: Plumbing issues, electrical work, and a potentially worrisome issue with a badly-installed hot water heater with a Heath Robinson exhaust and a mild case of Galvanick Corruption. On the bright side I have a new drain for the tub including u-joint and overflow, double the power supply and almost triple the separate circuits, and a plastic cap whose extraction cost was likely more than that cap's weight in gold, helpfully left by the previous owner in the aforementioned plumbing for us to discover.

The rule of thumb of 1% of the current value of the house placed each year in a maintenance fund appears to have been a wise one. That's not the "improvement" fund, that's the "maintenance" fund. Improvements come out of the discretionary budget, though upgrades are allowed when maintaining, and the french drain and sump was rated "maintenance" not  "improvement."


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mainstreaming

Thinkgeek is carrying the battle mug; that milled aluminum high-capacity beverage container with the 4 M1913 rails.
But a new assault weapons ban is the magic dust needed to pull out a victory for Team MSM's chosen champion?

(Amusingly enough, Thinkgeek HQ is just down a very short road from NRA HQ. Wonder if they have team building events at the range.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

For everyone worried about China owning our debt

Owe the bank $100K and don’t make your payments? You’re in trouble. Owe the bank $10M and don’t make your payments? The bank’s in trouble. I am old enough to remember the worries about the Japanese buying us out, or otherwise using their economic power to make us dance to their tune. How’s that working out again?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Disappointed

I thought Radley Balko was at least aware of the doctrine of Separation of powers, and then I find his writing this (in an answer to “You were just sworn in as President of the Union. What are your first TOP 5 actions as declared in your inaugural address?”
‎1) Abolish the DEA, ATF, Dept. of Commerce, Dept. of Education, Small Business Administration, DHS, and ICE. I'm sure there are others.
2) Check for communicable diseases, a criminal record, and ties to terrorism. Otherwise, make it legal, easy, and user friendly for anyone who wants to come the Unites States to work to do so. Also, repeal all import restrictions, subsidies, tariffs, and other barriers to (true) free trade.
3) Replace the income tax with a carbon tax and, if and when it becomes necessary, a national sales tax. Both will be structured progressively. All other deductions and loopholes will be eliminated. The federal government will no longer care about how, where, and why you earn your income.
4) Bring all the troops home. The Department of Defense will become an actual department of defense, not a "department of war-waging, nation building, and humanitarian missions." Troops will be deployed only in the event of a direct, imminent threat to U.S. national security. Then, their mission will be to destroy the threat--and then return home to their families.
5) The Justice Department's first obligation will be enforce the 14th Amendment. DOJ will still investigate terrorism, as well as fraud and theft that crosses state borders. But its primary mission will be to investigate and prosecute abuse and corruption by elected officials, along with police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct.
1) I guess the President could shut them down, from a purely technical point of view. He can’t fire the bureaucrats, and the resulting constitutional crisis as Congress fights back will be impressive to view – from orbit. Possibly geo-sync. Or luna-sync. In a history book.
2) The President cannot unilaterally rewrite immigration law
3) Congress all the way, specifically the House of Representatives. (And how exactly do you structure a sales tax “progressively,” anyway?)
4)Well within the powers of the President
5)Well within the technical powers of the President, though practically the established bureaucracy will make it impossible. Civil Service regs prevent firing of uncooperative members.
Overall, the wishlist of a left-handed wookie. Verdict: well-meaning, but wrong. As a platform for a party, I could get behind a lot of it. As much as I can get behind that of the current republicans, to be frank (3 to 3.5 out of 5, depending; #1, 2-ish, some of the intent of 4, and go 5 go!). As actions of the President of our constitutional republic, not so much.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rituals of the changing year

It’s officially fall, I just flushed a few gallons of water out of the single-pipe steam heating system in preparation for the “first firing” of the year, later tonight. Less rust that I was expecting, perhaps dumping the entire boiler after shutdown this spring helped.

The actual boiler and heating plant is a fairly modern natural-gas-fired job, but the piping and radiators are vintage to the house or the expansions depending on where they are. I have discovered I prefer steam radiators to forced-air heating, actually. The piping is a mad Rube Goldberg (what the British call a ‘spanner’*) maze that forces anyone walking in the basement to duck from time to time or suffer a concussion (and, season permitting, a very nasty contact burn). I don’t understand it, and neither did the plumber I had look at it before the first winter here, but it works well enough.

Much better than the electrical, which if we’re still in the mood to be British I would say is definitely Lucasian in origin; while it’s not the original knob-and-tube (and I checked very thoroughly for that, as did the appraiser for the bank and the one for the house insurance firm), it’s still a bit of a period piece(just that the period would appear to be the late sixties or early seventies), and the supply is insufficient to the demands. This is now scheduled to be rectified.

(* I am fully aware of Heath Robinson’s contributions to mechanical and electrical gimcrackery, thanks)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Different worlds

"...the government is pitching in ... for Romney's and other rich people's presidential runs." (because the money spent is lost to the inheritance tax.)
Stop right there. The only way this makes sense is if all the money belongs to the government and they just let us use it for a while. Which, I guess, sums up the view of the redistributionists.
This is the same class-warfare rhetoric that is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I will about to this, talking to me about "fair shares" or "equality" of anything in the real world, whether it be taxes, consumption, duties, &c, is a good way to get me to tune you out.
Games are fair, life is not. In certain sports, there is the concept of the "handicap," where some more-skilled contestants are artificially penalized, some less-skilled contestants are artificially enhanced, or a combination of both, either directly on the field or through score manipulation afterwards. In effect, the better you do, the heavier you are penalized. This works for sports because the participants are volunteers who want to compete on a level playing field. That doesn't make it applicable for real life. Sports are zero-sum games, for every winner there is a corresponding loser. But we've known since at least Adam Smith that the real world is not a zero-sum game, that all sides in a transaction can "win." We need laws and governments to provide for punishing frauds, and enforcing contracts (the civil and criminal court system). They also enable common defense (armies for external defense and the police and criminal court system for internal defense) and facilitate trade.  But beyond that, government should not be in the business of "fairness."

Monday, September 24, 2012

It just went off

I just bet it went off "when the officer came over" without him doing anything at all to it. Finger never went near the trigger, &c. And it looks like I win that bet with myself.
(Remarkable use of passive voice in both articles, as well as "allegedly" in the first.)
For more amusement, the NY Daily Noos claims that the weapon is an S&W revolver, and that sources say the officer discharged the weapon "trying to put the safety on."
I don't have an image of a facepalm epic enough for that, wherever the fail inherent in that series of statements came from.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Desktop from Seattle

All the kids are doing it. Below is my desktop for my work computer, and sometimes my tablet. Click for source, from which you can embiggen.

renraku_skyline_1920-614x345

As an aside, it never really occurred to me that basically you cannot escape seeing the Renraku Arcology from a heck of a large chunk of the Seattle Metroplex until seeing this picture. Wow.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Doing the job

I see a common statement among the jibes that certain supporters of President Obama make towards their political enemies, that President Obama “killed Osama bin Laden",” or that President Obama “killed the Somali Pirates.” Sometimes it’s more accurately described as President Obama ordered it done. (I’ve been tempted at least once to reply to one of the first set of claims with “He didn’t kill that.” Petty, I know. But the President didn’t pull the trigger, or fly the helicopter, or do anything more than sit in an air-conditioned room and say “do it,” or words to that effect.)

At any rate, the “point” of the claims is that President Obama did what Bush did not, and that this establishes his national security credentials, as though authorizing these actions were exceptional actions. It wasn’t. It’s on the level of offering your seat to a pregnant woman; it’s what you do if the requirement comes up.

Finally, I find the claim of “he did it” to be a bit distasteful from another standpoint; it’s bragging about killing someone. People who “needed killing” if anyone did, but you don’t brag about doing so, it’s unseemly.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Spleen, Vented

The whole brouhaha in North Africa and now Yemen. The reaction from both sides of my RSS feeds and social media, it’s just pissing me right the hell off. Yeah, sure, the US has no business apologizing for the expressions (no matter how distasteful) of an American. I cannot express my displeasure at this to a sufficient level without using profanity I won’t use in public. (Call me unimaginative if you like, I’m just too tired to come up with exotic euphemistic phrases). Whipping up mobs of angry young men as a cover for attacks on United States diplomatic personnel and facilities disgusts me even more. This is the behavior of barbarians, and we don’t apologize or cater to barbarians. The US Ambassador to Egypt’s statement was rightfully disavowed and deserves to have her career ended by it; and if it was her decision to disarm the Embassy Marines in a country full of angry young men, this goes twice.
But it is no excuse for jingoistic chest-thumping and calls for blockading, invading, or nuking the host countries. There’s damn little evidence that any of this was planned or executed by either the current Libyan or current Egyptian governments. Invading an accredited diplomatic mission is an act of war; but these incidents were not perpetrated by agents of the governments. It’s looking like this was a carefully plotted series of attacks by a group with which we are already in a state of armed conflict with! The dead Ambassador was a good friend of the current Libyan government, by all accounts; and the Egyptian government is in the middle of negotiations to buy additional tanks from the US. It is extraordinarily unlikely that either government had a hand in this. (I don’t know as much about the Yemeni situation, but I was given to understand the government there was co-operating in the War on A Noun, as much to suppress their own rebels as anything else). The plotters are enemies of the host governments, and the attackers their tools – but having fugitive murderers on yur soil is not a casus belli, at least not by itself.
Moving along to internal politics – by all accounts the purported spark for these incidents is an “expose” along the lines of a Jack Chick tract or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, if with a little more unkind truth than these things usually have. Despite this, the producers are well within their legal rights to have made it, and they are in no way responsible for the actions of barbarians. Nobody has the right to remain unoffended, and any governmental effort to squelch the film or the producers would itself fall afoul of both the right to free speech and the prohibition of respecting an establishment of religion.
Finally, there’s been a certain amount of grousing that the Egyptian mob was “allowed” to take the US flag, destroy it, and replace it with the flag of a group with which we are at war. This is, again, the actions of barbarians, beyond the bounds of civilized behavior, &c. But I want you to put youself at the window of an Embassy, watching an angry mob tear down Old Glory (but without visible arms). for the sake of this example you have an M4 and as much ammo as you can carry. How are you going to stop them from carrying out their plan? Are you going into the courtyard to reason with them? Or are you going to machine-gun them? You’re over a hundred miles from the Mediterranean Sea, and 60-70 from the Red Sea, in a building that’s probabluy rather less defensible than the Peking Legation Quarter, surrounded by a city with abundant supplies of bottles, gasoline, rags and Ronsons, and more than a few people who have heard of Finnish Ingenuity. Sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor. The flag is a symbol of the United States, a tangible representation of the honor of the nation. But it is a symbol, and not the thing. And if your life is so unimportant, consider that of your comrades who will be fighting down the Nile or across the desert from the Red Sea; and the lives of all the rest of the occupants of the Embassy.
I’m no multiculturalist. In my opinion, there is no finer nation or society than the American one. I hope I have made myself clear as to my opinion of barbarians and their apologists. As for the ones who actually attacked and killed the Ambassador and others, let them run far and fast, and it will help them not.

Update: Thank you, Oleg Volk, for expressing what I couldn't about the tools in Libya

Proud questions

As somewhat more information has trickled out about the shooting at the Pathmark in Old Bridge, NJ, there are some questions in my mind about this. The rifle used was first described as an automatic AK-47, then as an assault rifle "similar to" an AK-47. I have been unable to find a more precise description than that. The AK-47, even in semi-auto only, is a banned-by-name "assault weapon" in NJ, but there are similar weapons that are not banned. At one point, the authorities alleged that the shooter obtained the rifle in PA, but I haven't seen anything more on that. This is important, because it affects judging NJ's assault weapons ban. Was this a banned weapon? The authorities are implying so, but not directly saying it.
Second question. The number of rounds fired is said to be around 16. Some sources say "at least," some "as many as," some "more than." 15 rounds happens to be the maximum legal magazine capacity in NJ. Add one round in the chamber, and you get 16 rounds as the maximum before reloading. Again, this is important to know in judging the effectiveness of the laws. Was the shooter using an illegal magazine?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Just and lawful are not exact synonyms

I hear people say we have a legal system, not a justice system, as though this is a Bad Thing™. Robb Allen gives an example where a just outcome was not the legal one. We grant agents of the government the awful power to seize, search, arrest, imprison, enslave, and kill malefactors, but only after they have complied with due process of law.

In Robb Allen’s example, the malefactor was one of Sumdood’s merry band, a rascal and a man of low character. But his legal rights were violated in the name of Justice. And as Robb points out, the violation of this man’s legal rights is a loss of rights for everyone. It gets easier to break the rules once you’ve done it once, and in this case, when you’ve been officially blessed by the Powers That Be.

So, the next time you hear someone say we have a legal system, not a justice system, remember that we have a legal system for our protection.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Counterpoint

There's been a lot of chatter recently about various federal agencies making ostensibly large buys of ammunition, supposedly for training purposes. Until you divide by the number of armed law enforcement agents these agencies turn out to have, and it turns out to be rather less impressive - I hope (for example) that an armed federal agent expends at least 500 rounds a year for training purposes. The next level of panic is "ZOMG all these agencies have Armed Agents!!11!!Eleventy111!!" To which, again, my response is "shrug." A couple hundred people to cover the entire country per agency isn't a lot, after all. The US is a big place, with lots of people, some of whom commit crimes, and a fair number of those may be violent and armed themselves.

Which then leads to "why does each agency have their own armed agents instead of getting them from $CENTRAL_FEDERAL_LEO_AGENCY$?" Which I would hope by phrasing it that way makes it a self-answering question, but let me unpack. It's a matter of priorities and focus. $CENTRAL_FEDERAL_LEO_AGENCY$ has one goal - put people in federal prison so they can show Congress a count of how many people are in federal prison, so they can get more money to put people in federal prison. This means when they show up on your doorstep, they're looking for anything they can get you on. Each separate agency's enforcement arm has the same goal (show that they deserve more money), but they are trying to get money out of their parent agency, so they're going to want to make sure that their actions are related to the mission of the agency, because their bosses are going to Congress to get more money for their agency's mission. To make an (admittedly silly) example, if BATFE shows up on your doorstep, they're not going to care (much) if the ebony furniture on your rifle is in compliance with the Lacey Act, since that's a Customs violation (unless you really piss them off to the point they want to nail you for something, and even then they'll probably need to get the Customs Department involved); but they are going to care if it's a 922(r) violation. The BATFE's bosses don't get money from Congress for enforcing the Lacey Act. The agents may not even know anything about the Lacey Act, after all, they don't need to, that's not their baliwick. Which is another reason to separate the law enforcement groups to each agency - so that each agency's agents can focus and learn their own agency's regs and laws, not to mention the specifics of any domain-specific safety information. "When moving high-pressure-gas cylinders, make sure the safety cap is firmly attached," for example, is not one I'd necessarily expect an FBI agent to remember, but I really hope the FDA's enforcement agents do. And if you have one $CENTRAL_FEDERAL_LEO_AGENCY$ that manages all the agents, and each agent specializes in supporting a specific agency, you run into all sorts of problems regarding measuring performance across specialities, transferring between arms of $CFLEOA$, etc. There's a reason the Navy has its own aviation and land-warfare departments (and it's not JUST to poke a stick in the eye of the Army and Air Force), as an example, nor why the Air Force fought so hard to get out from under the Army's thumb.

Finally, in the case of a central government that is truly hostile to freedom, having the armed agents split up among several different and competing agencies is going to make opressing the people by federal agent MUCH harder, as you don't have one unified chain of command, or good operational integration. The phrase "herding cats" comes to mind, in fact.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Seen in a tube

Insurance_v_911

I don’t know about other people, but I answer that with “a Federal Military is a constitutionally-defined mandate of the Federal Government of the United States, and providing health insurance is not.” There are many ways to deliver health insurance, but the Constitution does not authorize the Federal Government to do so. (The states are free to do so on their own resources, if they like, subject to the limitations of their own constitutions).

Monday, August 27, 2012

Death by goverment

One of the criticisms levels against the Limited Liability Corporation is that it is effectively immortal. Well, as the CPSC is proving, the government can kill a corporation.
The company behind Buckysball is in a fight for it’s life with the minions of “for the children”. Despite doing everything properly to make sure their product is kept out of the hands of young children (to the point of dropping retail outlets), and a productive workign relationship (or so they thought) with the CPSC, the CPSC has decided this product is too unsafe to be allowed to be sold at all, basically without taking any input from Buckyballs. But they’re fighting back.
Gun owners, take note – this is a playbook to hammer gun ownership as well.

Gun cultures on the Hudson

NYC has an effectively dead private gun culture, with noted effects on the attitudes of MYPD towards shooting. NJ has a weak but present gun culture, with enough of a market that the Dick’s Sporting Goods that opened up near me recently has a small but present firearms section, despite the difficulties in paperwork that any retail firearms operation in NJ faces. As I noted in comments at Uncle’s, the local county police range is making a range available for shooters once a week (no doubt at least partially because they took federal funds and must meet the public access requirements of such), and the current range manager wants to extent the hours and days.  The range itself has a page on the county’s web servers (which is new).

One major difference? In NJ there is no paperwork required to possess a firearm in the home, range, fixed place of business, or in transit, and the paperwork to purchase firearms is shall-issue with minimal interactions with police and (relatively) low cost to the applicant. NYC requires a possession permit that is may-issue and very expensive ($235 or so per a glance at the NYPD page on obtaining a rifle permit), and there are ridiculous restrictions involved in actually transporting the firearm to a range. NYC requires registration of firearms, while NJ only recommends it (though handguns bought in-state will presumably be registered via the permit to purchase). Also, the permit to possess expires and must be renewed on pain of confiscation…

Thus, in NJ, to be a firearms owner you have to interact with the government once* to obtain a firearm as a resident (and not at all if you owned prior to coming to NJ*). So, if your interest wanes, you face no difficulties in retaining your firearm against the day it picks up. NYC, no such luck.

* – You need to provide a Firearm Purchasers ID card that matches valid picture ID to purchase “handgun ammunition” (undefined by statute, so many dealers require a card check for all ammo), and the FPID lists your address, so if you move you have to renew, which in some jurisdictions is treated as a new application.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another observation

Wow, that was a quick turnaround. From recovering the weapon at a crime scene to determining it was legally purchased 20 years ago in a different state took at most 4 hours. In a country that is legally prohibited from maintaining a registry of firearms yet. Supposedly... I’m impressed – was the CSI:NY team on that?

Observations around an obscenity

There was an ambush assassination near the Empire State Building today, in which an individual took the life of someone he believed to be responsible for his misfortunes, and then was shot down in a hail of lead by police officers. I’m going to leave commentary on the actual incident to others.

What I will point out is that the onerous registration and permitting process to possess a firearm in New York City was defeated by buying a weapon twenty years ago and not talking about it since then. The requirement for a nearly-impossible-to-obtain carry permit, which the shooter lacked, was defeated by a layer of cloth.The vaunted perimeter security of the Empire State Building, including metal detectors and bag checks, was defeated by waiting outside the perimeter. Short of turning the entire country into a police state, and doing so twenty years ago, nothing could have stopped this person with murder on their mind from shooting their target.

It’ll get even harder to restrict access to firearms as small-scale machining and 3D printing become widely available. It’s about at the point today that you can create a rifle using a 3D printer and commonly available parts that can be ordered through the mail or bought at most gun stores; because they are replacement or customizing parts. The “serialized part”, the receiver, on an AR-15 is not an item that is subject to high stresses and therefore is suitable for manufacture in a 3D printer. This has been done already. If you have access to a CNC machine (and accessibility is becoming easier all the time), you can make an aluminum 1911 (the model of firearm used in this crime) or an aluminum AR-15. Note that complying with the odd restrictions of the federal Gun Control Acts makes this harder. If you didn’t care for the law (and if you’re going to commit murder…) a blowback operated smoothbore shortbarrel SMG is one of the easiest types of firearms to machine. (A breechloading shotgun is probably easier, and potentially more deadly for an assassination attack – and for the particular situation may have gotten about ten less people shot in the aftermath, depending). But a rifling setup is not impossible, just decidedly difficult.

It is impossible to stop a determined murderer once he has obtained his weapon and it is impossible to prevent the determined murdered from obtaining weapons under the US Constitution. There is no effective and Constitutional way to detect a concealed weapon in public. The most you can do is inconvenience the law abiding with ineffective and arcane restrictions.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pound sand

Cornered Cat posts about the importance of the other three Rules.

I am somewhat absent-minded. Consequently, I have made the decision not to get into reloading. More importantly, it means I spend a certain amount of effort in building appropriate and redundant habits in muscle memory. For legal reasons, my firearms return from the range in an unloaded condition. Once home, the magazines are secured in their normal places, then the firearms are checked clear again, before taking them to the basement for cleaning. There is no ammo nor magazines in the basement. What there is in the basement is a 5-gallon bucket of sand, at which the muzzles are pointed, particularly when I pull the trigger as part of the disassembly process of the Glock.
The key to firearms safety is not following the Four Rules, but ensuring that you break no more than one of them at any one time. That way, any failure is merely embarrassing.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

How long?

Any thoughts on how long it will be before CSI or Law & Order does a plot inspired by the Zimmerman case?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Quick thought

We are already penalized by tax code for not carrying health insurance; a premiums paid by employee are paid from pre-tax money, and premiums paid by employer are likewise.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rattling the bones

Tomorrow the full House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a measure to find the Attorney General of the United States in contempt of Congress, and the Supreme Court is expected to release a decision concerning the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act, most likely striking it down in part or wholly.
Earlier this week the Supreme Court delivered a decision in regards immigration issues that was against the administration's stated position. The response was to basically not cooperate work enforcement of the decision.
The dice are in the cup, and by the end of the week we shall see if they're willing to cast them.

Continuing the theme for the week

One of the TV's in the cafeteria is tuned to the Weather Channel. I walked in just in time to catch a piece on American Olympic skeet and trap shooters (men and women) opining on the importance of weather and its effect on shotgun matches.
The Weather Channel...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Even in NJ

The Memorial Day Parade was led off by a drill team firing blanks, and the empty brass was in demand by the children watching, and I saw the team handing them out.

Friday, May 25, 2012

One of these days

I need to use my nice electronic ears as something more than a way to listen to music while mowing the lawn.

Monday, April 23, 2012

NFA, or not

Cabela's: BMF Activator
An interesting exercise in rules-lawyering that lets you have an almost-machine-gun without a tax stamp. Might make that belt-feed conversion for an AR-15 more interesting.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hearing, safely

One of the things I'm a bit more careful of these days is my hearing. While I suppose I don't technically need hearing protection when I'm mowing my lawn, as I use an electric mower - the loudest thing on it is the blade, I have started to wear ear protectors when using it. After all, hearing never recovers from loss.

Anyway, I started using my electric ears when mowing, mainly because they have a line-in jack, so I can run some tunes out of my phone to listen to. But I also realized that by doing so I'm keeping up a little better situational awareness. These are decent ears, they don't cut out entirely when the nose crosses the threshold, but merely cut the top off the amplitude. So I can still hear the neighborhood noises, at least some of what comes in over the mower noise.

Yes, I wear my shooting glasses too, but I was wearing eye protection to run lawnmowers well before I got into shooting. I have excellent eyesight, and it'd be a shame to lose that to a preventable incident.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Voting time

Another case of “He write it so I can link to it instead of flailing about here.” RTWT over at Anarchangel’s. If you don’t; at least read the summary below

Boiled down to:

The president as an individual has very little direct power over domestic issues as I said; but these four elements give the president, and his party (the party tends to provide or at least strongly influence the candidates and final decisions for each of these posts, as well as for the interpretation of executive powers) ENORMOUS power to screw the country up.
Remember, lots of people said the exact same things they're saying now about Romney, about Bush the Elder back in '92 (and frequently they voted for Perot as a protest), and Bob Dole in '96 (Dole was a deliberate sacrificial lamb in that election anyway); and so we got 8 years of the Clinton adminstration reshaping the federal administrative and judicial regimes.
We are now, almost twenty years later, STILL dealing with the problems caused by Clinton appointees, and particularly with how the Clinton administration ran the DOD, ATF, FBI, and CIA.
We'll be cleaning out Obama appointees for years as it is; we can't afford to give him the chance to screw things up even more.
Honestly, the last ten lines of this post should be enough of a reason for any conservative or libertarian to vote Obama out...

  • DC v. Heller was decided 5-4
  • McDonald v. Chicago was decided 5-4
  • Supreme court justices are a lifetime appointment
  • Antonin Scalia is almost 76 and will be 80 years old by 2016
  • Anthony Kennedy is almost 76 and will be 80 years old by 2016
  • Stephen Breyer is almost 74 and will be 78 years old by 2016
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg is almost 79 and will be 83 years old by 2016
  • The mean life expectancy for men in the United States is 76 (for women it's 80)
  • All four of the negative votes for those two decisions above were from liberal justices
  • Obama has already appointed two horrifically bad liberal justices, both under 60

Car Bleg

Collecting opinions of Nissan Altimas of the last decade – particularly the hybrid, and not of the manual trannie (as the primary driver doesn’t do stick-and-pedal).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One more for the road

Via Fred Thompson: "Obama on hot mic: "after my election, I have more flexibility." And you thought "I'm from the government & I'm here to help" was scary #tcot"

Do you need a better excuse for anyone but Obama in the general election? (Not the primaries, the general.) That's straight-up scary, folks. He's admitting that he will no longer heed the people after the election.

Monday, March 26, 2012

For the children

Coalition to Stop Bucket Deaths | Shall Not Be Questioned
It's stuff like the above that really bugs me when I hear the pediatrician ask me (again) about firearms in the house. Firearms are self-evidently dangerous when made ready, and can be stored quite safely by making them unready. Buckets,  knives, household cleaners, all of these are common in the home, and kill far more children than firearms; yet my pediatrician hasn't said a word about any of them. Not yet a mention of pools, even.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Security lesson

Late to the party, but I just read View From The Porch: Ground control to Officer HAL...
To all y'all worried about various.gov pointing their peepers at your backyard shenanigans via Robby the Robot or David the Drone, quit depending on security by obscurity. That horse left the barn with the first bear in the air, and arguably after those bicycle salesmen floated down a North Carolina beach early last century.
What is worrisome is the increasing arrogant disregard for the 4th amendment, not the specifics of the manifestation of that disregard. Worry about the watchers, not the tools/technology. Peepers going to peep regardless of how, and this particular genie is way too far put of the bottle. For which the EFF and others are right to question and challenge the uses to which the drones will be put, but there will be drones in the hands of .gov, just as there are pistols in the hoslters of the cops. We question the misuse of the guns, not the presence of them.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A question of safety

One of the things that happens when you have a kid is visits to the pediatrician; and it seems they’re asking parents about whether there’s firearms in the house. This is being pushed as a safety measure, a chance for the pediatrician to discuss “’firearms safety” with new parents. My question is, why specifically firearms? Firearms are fairly safe, after all. Much safer than, say, kitchen knives; since those cannot be unloaded, can cause serious harm or death simply by being grasped incautiously, and they’re far more commonly ignored as a safety hazard.  Or pools which kill FAR  more children every year than do firearms, but wasn’t mentioned by our pediatrician at all.

In fact, my Buckyball magnetic ball bearing toy is much more dangerous to my child than my firearm right now, since he hasn’t the strength to pull the trigger, but is about to explore the world by mouth, and swallowing a pair of small, powerful, magnets is painful and potentially deadly. Eventually, he will get stronger, and I’ll have to teach him the 4 Rules. Furthermore, it’s a quite serious felony in NJ to allow unsupervised access to a firearm for a young child; just to reinforce how stupid an idea that it. (Not that I necessarily agree with the law, plenty of good ideas don’t need to be enshrined in law.)

Somehow I don’t think the safety advise I’m going to get from the pediatrician is going to be “obey the 4 Rules and teach them to your kid,” though. Not when he says “and of course you don’t have firearms.”

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wikigem

Wandering through TVTropes, I got linked to this gem on the Other Wiki. Doesn’t that look like something that could have come out a long time ago, in a galaxy far away?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Anecdote is not the singular of data

But I will observe that the USA is the only country I’ve ever been to where you can unquestioningly drink the tap water. And the only thing you have to worry about is taste.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

In which I neither bury Romney nor praise him

Been seeing a lot of stuff in my twitter feed and my RSS feed about how people want to “send a message” to the Republican Party, or that Romney is “just like Obama” or some other such nonsense to justify staying home on the second first Tuesday in November, 2012.
What are you all, out of your minds?!?!
You want to send a message to the GOP PTB? That’s what the primaries are for. That’s where you make your feelings known about the potential GOP candidates. Hell, I voted for Fred Thompson last time around in the primaries, despite it being clear by the point that he was not going to make it. But once the general election comes around, you compare who survived to who’s on the other side. And I tell you, from where I sit, there’s no comparison.
Yes, Mitt Romney signed into law an Assault Weapons Ban, and MassCare, and probably is a corporate stooge, and all that. He’s a squishy New England centrist-if-we’re-lucky probable RINO. Versus a hard-line Ivory Tower Intellectual Marxist whose politics are those of Chicago? Yeah, that choice sucks. So do a lot of things. So does having a president who is no longer beholden to the voters, but to the kingmakers of world politics who can accept him or snub him after he leaves the White House; beholden to the union stooges who helped put him in the White House. So does allowing the architects of the Solyndra deal, of the Lightsquared deal, of the Chrysler and GM bailouts to stay in power. So does allowing the President to continue to make speeches demonizing profits, to make bogus “recess” appointments, to invite celebrities over and then hide the guest list.
All the things Romney is bad on? He’s got to get a bill from Congress on. You think the next 2 Congresses are going to pass another AWB? Another PPACA? We had close to a veto-overriding majority for HR822 in the House; we likely will have one in the Senate next session. The movement is to veto or scale back PPACA, not extend it. Let’s put it this way – he can’t be any WORSE on these things than President Obama; and there are a few things he’s at least marginally better on.
Oh, yeah, one more thing, for those of you who care. Y’all stay home on the 6th of November, 2012 (or vote for Mickey Mouse, or whoever else other than the official Republican candidate), and you allow President Obama a chance to appoint at least one more supreme court judge; this one likely replacing one of the Heller 5. You leave in place the man who appointed the masterminds behind Fast and Furious. Regardless of whether he knew about it (and I tend to think not), his chosen lieutenants and their chosen underlings ran that “operation.” So I hope you’ve got your letters of apology to the widow of Brian Terry, for passing on your chance to fire the men responsible for that “under the radar” operation.
Enjoy your righteous certitude that you’d rather have 4 more years of the man who makes President Carter look good. You want term limits? Then implement them. You have the chance in 300 days to term-limit President Obama, a chance that will only happen once. Make the most of it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A thought

The profoundly unconstitutional firearms possession laws of New York City have ensnared two members of groups well-thought-of by the public and the media: young, pretty, white females (bonus points for being a nursing student), and young, recent veterans of the armed services. These are the people who these laws are supposed to protect, not destroy, at least in the public perception. They both attempted to follow the posted signs when approaching what might be considered "sensitive places."
Which makes this a very quixotic effort of the part of the Powers That Be too enforce the laws. If Mayor Bloomberg really wanted to preserve New York City's laws, he wouldn't have made a very public stink about Meredith Graves being a criminal (the "probably arrested for cocaine" press conference well after the tests should have come back as headache powder.) Instead, he should have directed the prosecutors to put a scare into them, and send them on their way. But he's apparently more interested in grandstanding that preserving the laws. Which is a constant theme with the legal defenders of the restrictive firearms laws. Going all the way back to Heller, DC probably shouldn't have appealed their loss to the Supreme Court, to avoid setting the national precedent. This doesn't appear to be unusual among anti-rights crusaders; that their egos or personal issues are more important thant their causeless and much more important than anyone else's rights to self-defense or to keep and bear arms.