Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I Feel Like I've Been Through This Already....

"Amazing Grace" on bagpipes always makes me cloud up.


And this image says a great deal:

 photo 3-Down.jpg

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Recommendation: A Long Time Until Now

Michael Z. Williamson's latest, A Long Time Until Now is out in Baen's eARC (electronic Advanced Reader Copy) edition.  I read the twelve sample chapters Monday, bought the book yesterday and just now finished it.

The précis is that two MRAP vehicles containing a Lieutenant and nine troops in a convoy in Afghanistan vanish from the present and end up about 15 centuries millennia in the past in the same physical location.  There are natives.  And later, other groups displaced from other times and places.

That was a GREAT read, and this one's not a trilogy you have to wait two years for the next serving of.  Strongly recommended.

Quote of the Day - GeekWitha.45 Edition

From a comment to yesterday's post:
One of my old friends, a scholar of Talmud and Kaballah, once opined that there was a really important reason $DEITY led Moses and the Israelites around the desert for 40 years between their deliverance from slavery and arrival at the promised land, and it had little to do with petty Divine annoyance on the subject of golden calfs. It was, he explained, to give that society time to let the slave generation die off and train the new generation to conditions of self reliance, to become people fit to determine their own fate. I think there's a lot to that. Slave instincts of servility are pernicious, and difficult for even the hardiest to shake off.
The Geek's comment produced this, from reader Magus (edited for clarity):
That one concept has set off a chain of though within me that makes me weep for the future.

The American Revolution will probably be unique in the rest of human history. There are no more frontiers. There are no more areas where people can learn that they are or can become competent in managing their own life. Now there's always an "agency" to take your problem to. And if you don't take your issue to the appropriate "agency" you are punished.

We are among the last generations that will know anything like freedom or liberty. Privacy, for the most part, has already been destroyed. If you say anything like that to the majority of people now they'll tell you that "you're batshit crazy".

Freedom is not comfortable or stable, and people want comfort and stability.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once said:
In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal.
I believe they're both describing the same condition.

And I am reminded once more of the words of the Rev. Donald Sensing from 2003:
I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I'd tell them to emigrate, but there's nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"When dealing with guns, the citizen acts at his peril."

This is the second post I've given this same title. The previous one also dealt with the state of New Jersey, and referenced an earlier case, State v. Pelleteri from which the quote originated. In that case, an instructor, gun collector and avid shooter was found to be in possession of a Marlin Model 60 tube-fed semi-automatic .22 rimfire rifle with a magazine capacity that exceeded the arbitrary limit of fifteen rounds as established by the New Jersey legislature. That made it an "assault weapon," and verboten to possess in that "dark and fascist state," as ex-New Jerseyite GeekWithA.45 has characterized it.

The New Jersey Superior Court proclaimed, as it upheld Mr. Pelleteri's conviction, "When dealing with guns, the citizen acts at his peril."

Many residents of the dark and fascist state have learned that lesson since.

The most recent is 72 year-old Gordon Van Gilder, arrested for transporting a pistol without a concealed-carry permit. A 300 year-old flintlock pistol. An unloaded 300 year-old flintlock pistol that not even the BATFE considers a "firearm."

Someone on Facebook posted the graphic below. I think it needs to be tattooed on the foreheads of every member of the New Jersey legislature and every sitting judge in the New Jersey court system:

 photo flintlock-arrest.jpg

It's not about guns. It's about control.

UPDATE:  As of 2/25 the prosecutor in question used "prosecutorial discretion" to drop the case.  So they're not completely insane there, just close.

Friday, February 20, 2015

If We're Lucky, They'll Treat Us Like Pets

That's a quote from Science-fiction author Vernor Vinge on the topic of artificial intelligences after "The Singularity."

Howard Tayler (of Schlock Mercenary fame) has a short-story take on the question.

Monday, February 16, 2015

THIS Promises to be Interesting

Just got a new follower over at Quora:
Michael J. McFadden

Author, "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains" & "TobakkoNacht -- The Antismoking Endgame"

Grew up in Brooklyn, lives in Philadelphia. Background in Peace Studies, psychology, physics, basic statistical and propaganda analysis, writing, editing, nonviolence theory/training/organizing, transportation and bicycle activism, social activism in general, conflict resolution/moderation, vocal pest-control (one hour of me singing will clear most houses of all living things), and cultivating cobwebs.
I can see (obviously) massive parallels between the anti-smoking and anti-gun movements, but I have to admit that I wonder if Mr. McFadden has a blind spot when it comes to "non-violence" and guns.

Time will, I suppose, tell.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Irony

French Artist’s Calls For Peace End in Brutal Beating By Local Muslims

 photo combo_coexist.jpg

French street artist Combo was physically assaulted over his latest art work. Photo: Combo Culture Kidnapper/Facebook

It was very offensive and local Muslims demanded he take it down.

Four Muslims in Porte Dorée (the Golden door), a ghetto east of Paris, beat artist Combo after he refused to take down his Coexist street art. Combo suffered a dislocated shoulder, bruises and a black eye.
Guess he should have painted this version:

 photo coexist-especially-you-assholes.jpg

That would have worked so much better.

Friday, February 06, 2015

SORELY Tempted

I can't justify it, but something really, really, REALLY makes me want to buy one of these for the .458 SOCOM hog-hammer:

 photo Vampire NVS.jpg

3x thermal night-vision scope.  It's good to about 200 yards, and so is the .458. Seems like a perfect match....

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

One Facet of The Other Side™

Why are anti-gun people so violent?

 photo Killer.jpg

Seen on the Book of Face.

Challenge Accepted!

OK, more überposting over on Quora.com.  Mr. Jason Lancaster and I have re-engaged.

He opens: 
I know it seems like I pick on you a lot, but your stuff keeps coming up in my feed. :)
And a bit later:
I wonder if you'll share this exchange on Quora with your gun buddies on your blog?
Why yes, I think I will.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Bill Whittle: What Liberty Looks Like

His latest Afterburner:


"If America's not evil, then the Left is out of business."

They haven't gotten the memo, Bill.

"This is what Liberty looks like.  It is not and it has never been the default condition of mankind."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Flashback

 photo 28f2205e-91d9-417a-af58-1059622533cb.jpg


It's been ten years since I posted this:
As some of you may know, I grew up on Florida's Space Coast. My father was a Quality Control engineer for IBM, working on the Instrument Unit (guidance system) for the Saturn V rocket. I got to see all of the manned missions up through Skylab launch from just across the Indian River, except for Apollo XVII - the only night launch. I watched that one from my front yard in Titusville.

There were two dawns that day.

Consequently, I've been a space exploration enthusiast from a young age. I try to watch all the launches, or at least listen to them on the radio. I remember listening to the launch of the Challenger early in the morning here in Tucson, and thinking - as the station broke for a commercial - "At least this one didn't blow up on the pad."

Morbid, I know, but I'm also an engineer. I wasn't then - I had just graduated from college in December and didn't have a job yet - but that's been my orientation for most of my life. I knew that each manned launch was a roll of the dice, a spin of the cylinder in a big game of Russian Roulette, and that NASA had become just another government bureaucracy. (And I also knew just how close we had come to losing three men in Apollo 13 because a series of small, innocuous errors had cascaded into a catastrophic failure in a system that was almost neurotic in its quest for safety.)

It was just a matter of time.

Still, I was shocked when they came back from commercial to announce that Challenger had been destroyed in a launch accident just minutes after liftoff. I knew that all seven of the astronauts were dead. I knew that the "teacher in space" wasn't going to get there, and that a classroom of students had to be devastated by that realization. Many, many classrooms, but one in particular.

I watched the footage of the liftoff, now splayed in endless grisly loops on every network - all of which had previously declined to show the launch live and interrupt really important stuff like "Good Morning America." I watched as the flame bloomed out from a Solid Rocket Booster joint, impinging on the huge external fuel tank, and said, "That's what killed them. What the hell caused that failure?" I watched the Satan's horns of the SRB exhaust tracks as they trailed up and away from the epicenter of the blast. And then I watched it all again.

Over and over.

Later I discovered that the engineers at Morton Thiokol had tried to get the launch scrubbed, knowing the problems that cold weather caused in the O-ring joint seals of the SRBs, but they had been told to "take off their engineer hats and put on their manager hats" in order to make a launch decision. The launch had been delayed too many times, and President Reagan would be making his State of the Union address that night, with a call to Crista McAuliffe - Teacher in Space.

I decided right then that I didn't ever want to be a goddamned manager.

I also found out later that the crew, at least most of them, probably survived the destruction of the Challenger, and were alive and aware all the way to impact in the Atlantic. I like to hope not, but facts are sometimes ugly things.

And I wondered if NASA could regain the spirit, professionalism, and devotion to excellence it'd had during the race to the moon - and doubted it severely. As I said, NASA has become just another government bureacracy, more interested in expanding its budget and not making waves than in the visceral excitement and attention to minute detail that space exploration should inspire. (I'm speaking of the upper-level management, and many of the lower-level drones. I'm quite certain that there are still hundreds of people there still dedicated to the dream. They're just shackled and smothered by the career bureaucrats and the nine-to-fivers who punch the clock and wait for retirement.)

Anyway, all this is leading to a blog I found while perusing my sitemeter links tonight. GM's Corner, which linked to me last month, has a recurring "new blogs" post. This month's entry is Dr. Sanity, the blog of Dr. Pat Santy - who happened to be the flight surgeon for the Challenger mission. She has a post up about that day, and it's well worth the read: Challenger - A Flight Surgeon Remembers.

Highly recommended.

That link still works.  It's still highly recommended.

Monday, January 26, 2015

6.5 Gibbs?

Anybody out there own or shoot the 6.5mm Gibbs?  It's the 6.5-06 carried to its maximum case capacity.  I've been doing research into the various 6.5 wildcats and this one in particular has piqued my interest.

 photo 100_0288.jpg
That's a .270 on the left, 6.5 Gibbs on the right.

Ballistically, it's supposed to push 140 grain bullets to 3100-3200 fps out of 24" barrel, and the B.C. of the very good 140gr projectiles runs from about .580 to .612.

And it fits in a standard "long" action.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Nah, That Can't Be It


OK, Who Ordered the Gale?

I got to the range this morning right at 0700. The gate was open and there was no one else there. It was also still pretty dark. I got my truck unloaded and started setting up my steel when reader Mike C. and his lovely wife E. showed up, followed by reader Brad all the way from Sierra Vista. The wind was blowing hard enough that I didn't bother to put up my regular target stand, but after about 8AM the wind dropped off and it was, while still cool, fairly pleasant.

Mike C. also brought some steel, so with our various firearms (M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, .458 SOCOM AR, PS90 carbine, a .300BK AR and a .300BK Handi-Rifle, various and sundry handguns) we rang steel for a while. Finally the wind dropped off enough that we decided to set up our target stands.

It was a trick.

A bit after 0900, reader DC and a friend showed up, followed by Primeval Papa. And somebody turned on the wind machine. Nothing that wasn't steel remained standing.

That's not to say the firing line wasn't full - it was. There were a lot of hardy people out this morning to throw lead downrange, but by 10AM I was pretty much done. I shot until the next cease-fire, packed up my stuff and was off the range by 11:00.

So, the Central Arizona Blogshoot had seven attendees, two of us actually bloggers.

Sorry, but I don't think anyone took pictures. When we weren't shooting, we were trying to keep our hands warm.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Your (Cold) Moment of Zen

It's been a while:



(Click for full size)

Book Bleg

Since I cut back on blogging, I've gone back to reading novels in a big way - 1-3 per week.

I'm a relatively eclectic reader, though I love Science Fiction the most. Not a huge fantasy fan, but there's some I like. Mysteries are OK, though again not a huge fan. Let me list some of my favorite authors in no particular order:
Robert A. Heinlein,
David Drake
S.M. Stirling
John Ringo
Lois McMaster Bujold
John D. MacDonald
Robert B. Parker
Larry Correia
Larry Niven
Elizabeth Moon
William Gibson
Jerry Pournelle
Eric Flint
David Weber (most of the time)
I've said elsewhere, my personal and political philosophy is in large part due to Robert Heinlein's entire catalog, John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels, and Robert B. Parker's Spenser. I think if I had to pick one very finest Sci-Fi novel ever written, it would be Frank Herbert's DUNE, though I don't think much of the sequels or really anything else he wrote.  I've read most of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, all of Jim Butcher's Dresden books to date, all of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson books, most of Isaac Asimov's Sci-Fi and much of his non-fiction work (not a big fan of the Foundation trilogy).  I've read (I think) the entire Berserker catalog from Fred Saberhagen, but liked his Empire of the East series much, much more.  I've read all of Sue Grafton's "Alphabet mysteries" so far.  I just finished all of Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder mysteries, and a couple of months ago I finished all of Lee Childs' Jack Reacher novels.  (Good, but don't hold a candle to Travis McGee.)  I've read W.E.B. Griffin's Brotherhood of War novels through The Generals, and his The Corps series.  Liked those, but the repetition got a bit old.  I've read the entire Stephen Hunter Bob Lee Swagger catalog, and a couple of his non-Swagger novels.

So, anything out there that's knocked your socks off?  Couldn't put down?  I'm pretty open to anything short of bodice-rippers and Mack Bolan knock-offs.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Blogshoot!

Just a reminder to my Arizona readers that there'll be a shoot in Casa Grande next Saturday, 1/24 at the Elsy Pearson Public Shooting Range in Casa Grande beginning at 0700 and running until we get tired and go home. 

Same as last year, the range opens at 7:00AM. There are no rangemasters. There are no chairs - bring something to sit on. The firing line is covered and there are concrete shooting benches, however.


The city has porta-potties out there on a permanent basis, so we don't have to rent our own (but bring your own TP just in case.)

The rules are pretty simple:


No explosives, no .50BMG rifles, no tracers, no incendiaries, clean up after yourself, don't be a dick.

The rifle range is 300 yards deep with the first berm at 200.  The mountains that form the ultimate backstop are another 300 yards out and farther.  The ground there is reinforced concrete disguised as sun-baked clay. Forget about any target stand that needs to stick into the ground, it ain't happenin' short of bringing a sledgehammer. Steel and targets that don't need taping are best, but if you bring something frangible be prepared to clean it up after it's blown to pieces. And the benches are funky-shaped. Regular camping chairs are marginal, stools and folding chairs are better. I bring a folding chair, a target stand made of 2" PVC pipe, and my 1" thick AR500 plate steel swingers. I also have some .22 rimfire rated rolling targets made of steel, and some polymer self-sealing targets.  I think I still have a case of bowling pins, and some clay pigeons.

It appears turnout will be light - I've gotten five confirmed replies so far, and a couple of maybes.

I recommend you bring:  water or other non-alcoholic beverages (no alcohol on the range), sunscreen, ear and eye protection.  Ladies, don't wear anything low-cut or open-necked.  Yes, I'm sure it looks lovely, but you don't want to catch hot brass down in there.  OPTIONAL:  Something to shoot with, and something to shoot AT.  If you're a reader or a non-gun blogger interested in coming to a off-the-cuff funshoot, please come on down!  I imagine most of us will be bringing multiple firearms and lots of ammo, but if you don't, well, I'm willing to let people shoot my stuff (with my ammo), and I'm willing to let them shoot at my targets.

If you're coming, please let us know in comments.

UPDATE:  Looks like seven or eight of us so far.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Why Won't President Goldman-Sachs Prosecute Wall Street?

Glenn Reynolds interviews Joel Kotkin on why Obama's administration, which campaigned on being tough on Wall Street, has instead bailed it out and protected it.

Recommended.