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

Monday, July 14, 2003

"A Mistake a Free People Get to Make Only Once"


"May you live in interesting times."

That fits. A lot happened in the last couple of weeks. Brian Borgelt, the owner of Bull's Eye Shooter Supply in Tacoma, Washington, the gun shop from which Muhammed and Malvo "acquired" their Bushmaster AR-15, is finally getting his Federal Firearms License pulled for improperly tracking and losing records for over 200 firearms, while the GAO reported that the federal government has lost 824 firearms, some of which were full-auto weapons, and many of which were not properly reported or reported long after the loss. Canada's gun registration deadline has passed with (a government estimated) 20% of rifles and shotguns remaining unregistered. Another workplace multiple shooting occurred. This time there were five dead and nine wounded at a Lockheed plant in Mississippi (not including the perp.) Three teenagers were arrested before they could carry out what certainly appears to be a premeditated killing spree. A grandmother, mother, and three children - all infants to toddlers - were shot to death in Bakersfield, California. (A quick Google news search on the word "shooting" brings up the normal long list of single-victim stories, as well.) The Supreme Court received the petition for a writ of certiorari in the Silveira v. Lockyer case. And the UN released its Small Arms Survey 2003 that detailed worldwide civilian gun ownership. That report proclaimed that there is a near 1:1 parity of guns and people in the United States.

America, it is often pointed out, has one of the highest firearm-related homicide rates in the world, and easily the most civilian-owned arms. Gun control supporters constantly decry the "number of guns" in America as being the, or at least a cause of our firearm-related mayhem. It is the point of the UN Small Arms Survey: the number of guns in civilian hands worldwide represents a threat to the health and safety of those civilians and their societies, and that governments should work to reduce the number and so reduce the threat.

And here's a shocker - to some extent I agree with the basic premise that having a lot of guns around, indiscriminately, uncontrolled, does contribute to the volume of injury and death inflicted with firearms. It's almost - almost - a tautology. Here in America if John Q. Wifebeater didn't have a .357 revolver laying around, he might not be able to kill the Mrs. (or vice-versa) the next (and last) time they get into a knock-down, dragout fight. It's possible that a distraught teenager in a moment of bleakness might not kill himself with his father's shotgun if Daddy just didn't have one. If no one kept a gun at home, there wouldn't be twenty or so toddlers killed accidentally with them each year. If guns were less available, it's possible that more armed robbers would be armed with crowbars and baseball bats rather than 9mm's, and fewer convenience store clerks and cab drivers would end up shot.

Yes, America has a lot of guns and a lot of death and injury by them. I've been asked "How many people have to die before you realize that we need effective gun controls?!?"

And I've responded: "How many deaths will it take before you realize that gun control isn't effective, and stop pushing for new gun control laws?"

Because that's the question, isn't it? We all realize that there's a problem, but we're divided by the proposed solution to that problem. And we're really divided on just what that solution entails - because if you believe that "the number of guns" is the problem, then the only answer is to reduce (to some arbitrary "this is enough" level) or eliminate those guns. I'm willing to bet that the arbitrary "this is enough" level is roughly equivalent to zero. In order to eliminate those guns you've got two choices: render the Second Amendment meaningless in the minds of the citizens and in the courts of America, or find some way to legally give government the power to do what the Second Amendment prohibits - disarm America.

So far the legal process of making gun ownership by the law-abiding difficult in America has only been successful in a few places: Chicago, New York City, Washington D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, and some others. Generally, buying a gun legally still a fairly easy thing to do nationwide. (You'll note that it hasn't affected illegal acquisition in the least.) The second part, rendering the Second Amendment meaningless, has progressed somewhat better. At this time there is no legally recognized individual right to arms in the states of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and to be honest, that right is only recognized - and weakly - in the 5th Circuit. The other circuits are largely mute on the question, but lean towards the 9th Circuit's opinion. If the Supreme Court grants cert. on Silveira that question might finally get an answer. (And I'm not betting on just what that answer will be, either.)

However, I've made a blanket statement: "Gun control isn't effective." How can I claim that? Gun control works in other countries, doesn't it? What about the 1934 National Firearms Act? Hasn't that been effective? Gun rights proponents proudly proclaim that only one legally registered fully-automatic weapon has been used in a crime - and that by an off-duty police officer. Gun control proponents respond that this means that licensing and registration does work. Well, admittedly the use of NFA weapons is much less than, say, basic handguns, but how do you define "works?" In a discussion I had a while back on another site it was defined to me as "not hindering law abiding citizens from owning guns but making it more difficult for criminals to acquire guns." My response to that was that the question of "hindering" was one of degree (as in "what, exactly, constitutes 'infringing' on a right?"), but that licensing and registration - in some countries - indeed did not significantly hinder the law abiding from owning guns, and that it did, indeed make it "more difficult" for criminals to acquire guns - but it didn't make it effectively difficult. As an example, the "war on (some) drugs" does not prevent the law abiding from getting needed medications, but it doesn't effectively prevent criminals from getting illicit drugs, does it? Harder, yes, but I think that scoring a tab of Ecstasy or a baggie of pot is probably only a little more involved than driving down to the neighborhood Walgreen's if you're inclined to use that stuff. And if you want to buy a gun while you're at it, that probably isn't any harder. You might even get a discount for doing both at once.

What I did note in that discussion, however, is that in many societies that had gun licensing and registration, the registry had been used for gun confiscation, and that I believed that they would be used that way here, as well. Nor am I alone in that belief. Charles T. Morgan, at the time Director of the Washington office of the ACLU said in Senate testimony in 1975 when asked about gun registration:
What the administation's and Congressman McClory's bills . . . call for is a whole new set of Federal records. . . .

I have not one doubt, even if I am in agreement with the National Rifle Association, that that kind of a record-keeping procedure is the first step to eventual confiscation under one administration or another.
Only one legally owned NFA firearm has been used in a crime, but it didn't stop two gunmen from using at least three fully-automatic weapons during the North Hollywood bank robbery. It certainly hasn't stopped criminals from sawing off shotgun barrels.

But let's look at the NFA for a second. The primary effect of the 1934 National Firearms Act was the registration of fully-automatic weapons and the strict control of their transfer between law-abiding owners. On top of that, at the time the law was passed a truly draconian "tax" was assessed on each transfer of NFA restricted weapons - $200. In 1934 that was a lot of cash. The effect was to essentially stop the production of many otherwise legal NFA firearms for public consumption such as the Ithaca Auto & Burglar - because the guns themselves didn't cost $200. Now, of course shotguns like these
are sold for about $400 plus, of course, the $200 transfer tax. Machine guns, on the other hand, have always been pretty pricey with the exception of a few really cheap models like the M3 "grease gun" and the Sterling. But throw $200 on top of the price, and the legal market for them shrinks. With a small legal demand, not too many hit the illicit market either. They weren't there to steal, and there was a significant obstacle to straw-purchases: owner registration. So, in a sense, the NFA licensing and registration scheme "worked" - it made it harder for criminals to access NFA restricted weapons - but it obviously wasn't effective at reducing gun crime. Criminals got the weapons they wanted, or just substituted different weapons. If someone really wants a fully-automatic weapon, he can get one - as evidenced by the North Hollywood shootout and other crimes. If someone really wants a short-barrelled shotgun, all it takes is a hacksaw. If someone really wants a suppressor, it just takes a decently equipped shop. Licensing and registration "works" at making it more difficult for criminals to get guns if you can stop or greatly reduce the influx of the weapons you're trying to restrict. Once they're in circulation, it's too late. They don't get registered, or they get stolen (or reported stolen). In a country with (according to the UN report) 238,000,000 to 276,000,000 guns, registration as a "gun control" measure is a forlorn hope. As a precursor to confiscation, however...

So, reducing the number of guns available to the public could reduce the "heat of the moment" type killings, and the accidental deaths by firearm, but it doesn't really affect deliberate criminal useage. In fact, as evidenced by England, it might result in an increase in deliberate criminal use. It might prevent, say, the Lockheed slayings, but it won't have much of a positive effect on the number of convenience stores robbed annually, and might even result in a negative effect when criminals realize they have little to fear from their targets.

The initial argument against semi-automatic "assault weapons" was that these were the "weapons of choice" of criminals, but the fact of the matter is, with well over 2 million (depending on your definition) "assault weapons" in circulation, the most popular firearms in criminals hands remains the handgun - and only the Violence Policy Center is willing to come out in favor of banning those. Now the argument against "assault weapons" is that they're only good for killing a large number of people indiscriminately (which of course is why police forces across the country are equipping with them. Right?) But using that argument there is now a Federal "ban" on some "assault weapons" and there are some state and local "bans" on them as well. The "bans" just resulted in some redesigns and some workarounds, but the intent was clear - these weapons were no longer to be offered to the general public ostensibly in an effort to keep them out of the hands of people who would misuse them. The same holds true now for .50 BMG caliber rifles - efforts are afoot both locally and nationally to (at a minimum) include these weapons in the NFA restricted list. Demand for both has skyrocketed - if we think the government is going to ban them, we want them.

So, to date the path to civilian (some say "victim") disarmament has been pursued through the "death-by-a-thousand-cuts" strategy, or, more aptly the "frog in a pot" analogy. This is illustrated well by the "assault weapons ban" that really isn't. Charles Krauthammer made the true point of the law quite plain in his 1996 Washington Post op-ed "Disarm the Citizenry:"
It might be 50 years before the United States gets to where Britain is today. Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic - purely symbolic - move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation."
The gun control groups term it as the "next step" - as in "Gun DNA is the next step for New York as we continue to develop innovative crime fighting policies." - so said New York Governor George E. Pataki in 2000. There's always a "next step" because all the previous steps didn't work to reduce crime or accidents - but they do work to make it more difficult to legally acquire and keep a firearm.

There is no doubt that there is a movement out there intent on disarming not only Americans, but civilians around the world, because the only "effective" gun control is gun elimination, and the only way to reduce the number of guns in civilian hands is to take them from us, or make us give them up. As with all things political, there is no single reason for this movement. There's the tinfoil-hat bilderburg/zionist/mason/communist/skull-and-bones conspiracy-of-the-week, there's the "we know what's best for you" crowd (which can be rolled into the first group pretty easily), there are the people who have lost loved ones to gun violence, and there are the people who "care" but don't tend to think much (the "useful idiots.") And on the face of it, it seems pretty obvious to a lot of people that fewer guns would be a good thing, even to many gun owners. It seems pretty obvious to a lot of people that "assault weapons" have no place in our society. In fact, our gun control laws have, for years, been predicated on a "sporting use" philosophy - and even I will admit that there isn't a lot of "sporting use" for a gun like an AK-47 or even my Mossberg 590.

This movement, however, has lost traction here in the last few years. More and more states have adopted "shall-issue" concealed-carry laws in the face of vociferous opposition from the gun control crowds. And, most telling, incidents like the Lockheed shooting and Columbine haven't resulted in the kind of overwhelming outcry for more gun control that incidents like Port Arthur, Dunblane, and Erfurt elicit in other countries. A lot of people ask why that is? What is it about Americans that makes us ignore what is so obvious to others - that guns shouldn't be in private hands, uncontrolled?

I think I have an answer to that. And to give you an example, I will quote, in its entirety, a letter recently submitted to Kim du Toit (and republished with his permission):
Your offhand comments about keep-and-bear supporters who do not, themselves, keep and bear hit a nerve.

I've seen the light, and I'm here to testify.

To those of you who grew up with guns, I expect that what I'm about to say will seem painfully obvious. But I came to class late, and what I learned there is still fresh and vibrant.

I thought, all my life, that I couldn't own a gun safely, that no one could, really. Guns were dangerous and icky. Even after I realized that the Second Amendment was not quite the shriveled, antiquated appendix I'd been taught, for a couple of years or so I still wobbled around with the training-wheel comfort of believing that while not all gun owners were necessarily gap-toothed red-necked fascist militia whackos, I myself ought not to own firearms. I was too clumsy and careless, and guns were still dangerous and icky.

Just before 9/11 I woke up to how quickly my liberty was eroding, and in a fit of anger and defiance started saving for a handgun while training with rentals. (Thanks to Harry at Texas Shooters Range here in Houston.) When I actually bought one (to the horror and confusion of my friends and family), having it around the house, carrying it in my car, talking about it, showing it off, and of course shooting and maintaining it, taught me what I could not learn from books, magazines, classes, or even Usenet:

It taught me that freedom takes practice.

I thought I'd practiced. I'm as full of opinions as the next guy, and not shy about passing 'em out to anyone who'll listen. I read banned books and underground comics. I've walked the picket lines and hung out with undesirables. A preacher's kid, I pointedly don't practice a religion. I've done stuff that Wasn't Allowed.

But when I got a gun, I discovered it had all been safe, padded, wading-pool-with-floaties dabbling. After near on to fifty years, I finally started to grow up. If my Grands are any clue, I've still got twenty or thirty years to work on it, and get to be something like mature by the time I go senile.

It's not just that rights are useless if they are not exercised, not even that rights must be used or be lost. It's that exercising your rights, constantly, is what instructs you in how to be worthy of them.

Being armed goes far beyond simple self-protection against thugs or even tyrants -- it's an unequivocal and unmatched lesson that you are politically and morally sovereign; that you, and not the state, are responsible for your life and your fate. This absolute personal sovereignty is the founding stone of the Republic. "A well-regulated militia" (where the militia is "the whole people") isn't just "necessary to the security of a free state" because it provides a backup to (and defense against) the police and the army. More importantly, keeping and bearing arms trains sovereign citizens in the art of freedom, and accustoms us to our authority and duty.

As Eric S. Raymond wrote:

"To believe one is incompetent to bear arms is, therefore, to live in corroding and almost always needless fear of the self -- in fact, to affirm oneself a moral coward. A state further from 'the dignity of a free man' would be rather hard to imagine. It is as a way of exorcising this demon, of reclaiming for ourselves the dignity and courage and ethical self-confidence of free (wo)men that the bearing of personal arms, is, ultimately, most important."

Unless you have some specific impediment (and most impediments can be overcome), arm yourself. Find out who you really are. (Yes, there are many paths to self-knowledge. But this tests something you cannot access any other way. No one path goes everywhere.) You'll probably discover you're not all that bad. And if not, well...

Think of it as evolution in action.
THAT is what separates us from everybody else: the belief in personal sovereignty, as a citizen of this nation. In fact, there's a guy out there who has a site dedicated to opposing the very idea of personal sovereignty. (It's a very good site from an informational standpoint, although I disagree violently with his position.) Why don't we get rid of our guns? Because we're not subjects, we're citizens. The majority of Americans - still, somewhere deep inside, perhaps dimly - understand that we are sovereigns, that we are responsible, not government. Our collapsing schools have not yet broken us of this belief, though I don't think it exists in many of our children any more. For the majority of us who bother to vote, however, being told that we are not responsible enough, grates. We are not willing to yeild, yet, our right to self defense, and eventually self determination. Somehow, the majority of voters sense a threat to their sovereignty.

I find this encouraging as I watch Europe proceed in its formation of its union. I read as Steven Den Beste points out the disastrous path they are taking, and wonder what's going to happen there if it all comes crashing down (as I believe it will.) That collapse would have worldwide repercussions. We don't make a lot of things here any more. There really is a 'global economy' all connected together like a vast power grid, just waiting for a circuit failure somewhere to crash the system in whole or in part. And if such a collapse does occur, I believe the results will be very, very bad. I wonder what North Korea is going to do, and when or if China will make a grab for Taiwan. I wonder if Pakistan and India will throw nukes at each other some day. In short, I wonder if the wheels might come off the wagon without much warning, and leave the U.S. and the rest of the world in a really bad position. "Interesting times" indeed.

For all the mayhem guns in civilian hands have caused, guns in the exclusive control of governments have resulted in far more. "Assault weapons" may not have much of a "sporting purpose," but the Second Amendment isn't about "sport." Judge Kozinski in his eloquent dissent to the denial of appeal for an en banc rehearing of Silveira explained it perfectly:
The majority falls prey to the delusion—popular in some circles - that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth - born of experience - is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people.

--

All too many of the other great tragedies of history - Stalin’s atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few - were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars.


My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed - where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.
Somehow, I think that we are almost alone in the world still understanding in our bones that tyranny isn't something relegated to history, never to raise its ugly head again. And because we understand that, we're willing to endure our daily mayhem and slaughter. It's better to live with that, than to make the mistake we only get to make once.
Thank You "CU3008124-A"

Whoever you are, you were visitor 9,000, and you spent a good 15 minutes perusing the site, too!

There's no prize, though.
While You're Waiting...

Clayton Cramer links to this hilariously funny Federal Court decision Bradshaw v Unity Marine.

I've read a lot of decisions in my years of gun law research (though obviously not as many as Clayton) and I've got to admit, this is the funniest thing I've seen. Judge Kent should get an appointment to the 5th Circuit (preferably the 9th). There's a lot of funny stuff in this, but here are some choice excerpts:
Before proceeding further, the Court notes that this case involves two extremely likable lawyers, who have together delivered some of the most amateurish pleadings ever to cross the hallowed causeway into Galveston, an effort which leads the Court to surmise but one plausible explanation. Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact — complete with hats, handshakes and cryptic words — to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed. Whatever actually occurred, the Court is now faced with the daunting task of deciphering their submissions.

With Big Chief tablet readied, thick black pencil in hand, and a devil-may-care laugh in the face of death, life on the razor's edge sense of exhilaration, the Court begins.

--

Despite the continued shortcomings of Plaintiff's supplemental submission, the Court commends Plaintiff for his vastly improved choice of crayon — Brick Red is much easier on the eyes than Goldenrod, and stands out much better amidst the mustard splotched about Plaintiff's briefing. But at the end of the day, even if you put a calico dress on it and call it Florence, a pig is still a pig.

--

Take heed and be suitably awed, oh boys and girls — the Court was able to state the issue and its resolution in one paragraph ... despite dozens of pages of gibberish from the parties to the contrary!
Go read the whole thing, and do not miss the concluding paragraph!
Ok, I'm Not Quite Back...

Man, I'm busy! I am working on a new essay, but it's going slowly. And today, I find this:

AAAAAGHH!!! I'll suffer withdrawal!

My apologies for the light posting, but it means I'm earning a living.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

I'm Baaaaack!

And suffering from severe Internet withdrawal. I'm trying to catch up on all my reading, and I have a serious jones to write something long and pithy, but that will have to wait until I get my honeydo's done.

(Hey, if Nigel can do it, so can I.)

In the mean time, I can strongly recommend that you go read The Real Moral of the Story over at Feces Flinging Monkey.

Acidman survived his bionic, uh, appendage surgery and has been posting profligately - entertaining, as usual.

Kim du Toit's Reader Mail - specifically the letter from "refugee," is outstanding. I'll hopefully have a post up concerning that letter soon.

Steven Den Beste writes about the UN's report that America is nearing a 1:1 ratio of guns per capita. I wanted to comment, but he and Kim du Toit and Jeff at Alphecca have done a bang-up job. Hmm. Maybe I'll work it into my "long and pithy" piece.

Publicola has a great post and a link to a story about 5th grader's deciding whether guns in schools were a good thing or not. He's also got a pretty withering comment about a JoinTogether press release concerning the UN's Small Arms Agreement.

And finally, for now, Hell in a Handbasket has an excellent post up on "Why we shoot" that was linked to by several people. That's a must-read. Money quote:
Every so often you see an item in the newspaper about some nutbag who shoots up a bunch of innocent and unarmed people. Talk to someone like me and they'll tell you that they wish they had been there. We wish we were in the same room with the nutter, the guy who has a weapon and is desperate to hurt people.

By any reasonable criteria this is completely insane. We're fantasizing about putting ourselves in harm's way, about allowing someone to shoot at us! This is hardly a sound strategy to a long and healthy life.

This isn't because we want to kill someone and the nutbag shooter provides a chance to do it in a legal way. Instead we want to stop the violence before some innocent person dies.
Oh, one more thing: Jack over at The Commentary has responded with a textbook example of the "don't trust my fellow man" argument. That's going to rate a response soon, too.

More later. I promise!

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Quick Posts Like This:

From VWRC Inc.

Gotta love it!

(That's the 30mm cannon on an A-10 Warthog, if you didn't recognize it.)
Sorry, sorry.

I'm working my butt off this week, and there is much happening that I want to comment on that I simply don't have time to.

&#^%!

No entry into this week's Carnival either, nor much time to read the entries that were received.

I'll try to interject some quick stuff over the next couple of days, but don't expect an essay before this weekend. I've got one in me that need's writin'.

(And yes, this time I'll do it off-line in case of the "long post error.")

Bear with me.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Monday, July 07, 2003

Lest Ye Think I'm a Bible-Thumping Right-Winger

Over on AR15.com, someone asked a series of questions of those of us who are non-believers (and if you have to ask "Non-believers of what?" where have you been the last couple of decades?). Sort of an eight-question quiz of the type that have been so, um, popular around the blogosphere of late.

Here are his questions (in bold) and my responses (in grey):
Our initial kickoff to the USA was the Declaration which says;

"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"

*If you do not believe in such a Creator, how can you lay claim to any such unalienable rights as listed in the BOR.
I disagree with the source, not the rights.
If you do not believe in a Creator, how can you sing America the beautiful, Or the National Anthem? How do you pledge "one Nation under God"?
I sing them off-key, and I pledge "to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The "under God" part was added after the fact, and I ignore it.
Do you think all this was an accident?
I think it just is, and very well could be the confluence of multiple unlikely conditions, but given the vastness of the universe I don't find the odds all that daunting.
Do you think that miracles are impossible and things are a coincidence?
I think that "miracles" are what you call high-improbability events, not "acts of God."
Do you not think there is any higher power?
Higher than what, exactly? Ever seen a quasar? Now THAT's power.
What do you believe in?
I believe that human beings can accomplish whatever they set out to do.
Who/what do you turn to when things seem out of control?
Me, first. Family if necessary. But mostly I'm quite aware that I'm not in "control" - I'm along for the ride, and I can somewhat guide the path, but caca pasa and I deal with it when it does.
What do you think happens after death?
I honestly don't know. Soon enough I'll find out. I like to think that whatever it is that makes me "me" will continue on, or come back and be recycled, but there's no evidence of this that I accept as factual. As far as I can tell, when I'm gone all that will remain of me is the memories I leave in the minds of others, and the things that I have accomplished in my time here. (I have no offspring, nor do I plan to have any.) I'm quite OK with that.
Your thoughts?
Yup, Can't Win for Losing

Artist is, again, Chuck Asay.
Did You Have a Good Weekend?

I did. Celebrated my parent's 49th wedding anniversary on Friday, took a couple of newbies shooting on Saturday, went in to the office on Sunday and programmed.

This looks like a really busy week, so posting will be light. Sorry about that. So, to give you something to think about (and possibly more information than you really wanted to know about me,) I'm going to follow Steven Den Beste's lead and answer Acidman's 25 questions.

1. Do you have a personal hero? If so, who is it?

Um, no. There are a lot of people I really admire, but no single person I'd consider a hero.

2. What is your favorite book of all time and what made it so fucking good?

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Anson Heinlein.

I think this book is mostly responsible for my political outlook.

3. What does “diversity” mean to you?

Let me quote from someone who put it better than I could:

Diversity is: "...a white guy driving his chinese girlfriend in an Italian car to a Mexican restaurant, and getting pulled over by a black cop." Mix ethnicities and genders as desired. That's America, baby!

4. What is the wildest thing you’ve ever done?

Spun a 5.0 liter Mustang off an on-ramp at about 70mph.

5. Do you regret doing it?

No. No harm, no foul. And I think it really proved to me I'd chosen the right woman to marry when she (sitting in the passenger seat) didn't rip me a new one for showing my ass.

6. Can you drive a stick shift?

Not only can I, I prefer it. I'd much rather stir my own gears.

7. What’s the highest speed you ever traveled in a car?

120 mph indicated. In that same Mustang. It had more in it, but the road didn't.

8. Were you driving, or riding at the time?

Driving.

9. Which is better: snakes or spiders?

I prefer snakes. Spiders give me the willies.

10. What is the most disgusting thing you ever ate?

Asparagus. Sue me, but I find asparagus disgusting.

11. Have you ever shit your pants? Be HONEST!

Yup. Syncoptic episode, voided my bowels. Not pleasant. When I regained consciousness someone was looking down at me and said "Are you OK?" To which I replied: "If I was OK, would I be laying here?"

12. Was losing your virginity an enjoyable experience?

No. Educational, yes. Enjoyable, no.

13. Should oral sex be outlawed or encouraged?

Who in their right mind would want to outlaw it?

14. Name one man with a fine ass.

Not my cuppa. I suppose you could pick any random Chippendale dancer. At least that's what my wife says.

15. Do you watch golf on television? If not, will you iron my shirts?

No, and no.

16. Who is Martha Burk?

A laughingstock, I hope.

17. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I'd drop at least 50 lbs.

18. Do you eat raw oysters?

I don't eat anything that resembles snot.

19. Are you claustrophobic?

No.

20. If you rode a motorcycle, would you wear a helmet even if the law said you didn‘t have to?

Yes. I've studied physics, which is why I wear a seatbelt regardless of the seatbelt laws.

21. Name five great Presidents.

Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Reagan,

22. Name three shitty Presidents.

Carter is the only shitty President I can come up with. Everything he did turned eventually to shit. There were certainly some that were no gems, but I wouldn't hang the term "shitty" even on Bubba. He was merely bad.

23. Now call me fanny and slap my ass. Just kidding.

Ha ha.

24. This is the 4th of July. Did you set off any fireworks?

No, but I went shooting Saturday. Does that count?

25. If you could have dinner and conversation with anyone in the history of the planet, who would you choose?

Robert Heinlein, I think.

Friday, July 04, 2003

THE WAIT IS OVER!

TRINITY is up!

Nineteen twenty-one printed pages worth! (Taking lessons from J.K. Rowling, Bill?)

More later. I need to read & savor.

UPDATE:

Done - although I had to go back and get the rest. Apparently even Moveable Type has a length limit.

Worth the wait, too.

Trinity: Capitalism, Freedom, Ingenuity. Get out of the way, we don't know what this thing can do! (But it'll be great!)

Go spend some time. Read. Improve yourself.
Arthur Silber is On a ROLL

Read this, this, and this. Hell, just read his blog.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Quote of the Day, Last Post of the Night

From Tex's Whacking Day blog:
Tex's first law of government: The inevitable failure of legislation will be seen as a justification for even more legislation.
Ayup.
Tomorrow is July 4! Be CAREFUL!

By Michele at a small victory. Blame her, not me!
Emperor Misha Addresses an Excellent Question
As you all know, we Americans are extremely proud of being the freest country on the planet, and rightfully so.

But sometimes I fear that we fail to state exactly why we feel that way. To us, I suspect, it's just so self-evident that we don't really feel a need to remind ourselves and each other just why it's so.

I can't help but thinking that maybe we should. I think it would be healthy for us to do so more, actually, because the unique privileges we enjoy because we're American shouldn't be taken for granted. Thousands of people line up every year to earn the privilege of becoming part of our family (I should know. I was once one of them, after all).

[snip]

Tomorrow we'll all be celebrating the Birth of Our Nation.

Wouldn't tonight be a perfect time to reflect upon just why and what it is that we celebrate?

I rather think so.

Take it away, Loyal Citizenry. I can't wait to read your input.
Go to the post. Leave a comment.

Make it a good one.

Well THIS is an Interesting Question.

New blogger Wince and Nod asks:
Sofia Sideshow commented a while back about how a shotgun is Hollywood's weapon of choice when it comes to dealing with monsters. I wonder what Rachel Lucas, Kim du Toit or Kevin Baker at The Smallest Minority would have to say about this.
This is reminiscent of the oft-recurring question "What caliber is best for defeating flesh-eating zombies?" that somebody brings up on AR15.com at least once every two or three months.

Sofia Sideshow's site puts it this way:
Shotguns are also good demon-killing tools. Shotguns are really the action-movie Leatherman. They're so useful. Aliens, Terminators, Demons, Raptors...whoever grabs the shotgun at the "we better grab some weapons" part of a movie usually lives.
To go along with that, I've got a quotation archived by a "K.R. Murphy":
"There are precious few horror films that couldn't be cut well short by a single loaded 12 gauge and someone with the sense to use it."
Truer words...


"I like to keep this handy," Click-CLACK! "for Close Encounters." - Michael Biehn as Corporal Hicks,
with his (short-barrelled!) Ithaca Model 37 from Aliens

(In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a "shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length" at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.)

Sorry, just had to throw that in.


"This... is my BOOM STICK! It's a twelve gauge double barreled
Remington, S-Mart's top-of-the-line. You can find this in the
sporting goods department. That's right this sweet baby was made in
Grand Rapids Michigan. Retails for about $109.95. It's got a walnut
stock, cobalt blue steel and a hair trigger. That's right. Shop
Smart. Shop S-mart"

Bruce Campbell as Ash from Army of Darkness

Just a couple of examples.

Shotguns are quite effective defensive weapons. That's one reason that police cruisers were for years equipped with a riot gun. Nothing gets someone's attention quite like racking the slide on a pump-action, and very little else makes as much an impression as 12 .33 caliber 00 buckshot pellets from a 12 gauge shell, or a 1-1/8 ounce slug.

At close range, the shotgun is a devastating weapon, even against the undead! No demon will remain unaffected after receiving the contents of both barrels of a boomstick, no zombie will be munching on your brain after you've removed his lower jaw with a well-aimed blast of buck, and even though you risk getting splashed with blood with a pH of zero, no alien exoskeleton will withstand a point-blank impact of a slug.

Of course, not too much is effective against the polymer alloy of a T-1000 Terminator, but a shotgun at least slows one down - more than a 9mm Europellet anyway.

I think the defensive shotgun is an excellent choice against goblins of all types, which is one reason I own one of these:


Mossberg 590

But mine has the Speedfeed stock that holds four spare rounds. Magazine capacity: Nine rounds of 2-3/4" shells. Barrel: 20", evil baby-killing heatshield, and (gasp!) bayonet lug for the M-9 bayonet. I keep a box of #4 buck (25 .24 caliber pellets) for mine, and a couple of slugs in the stock just in case I need to stop a charging rhino. Or demon.

Thanks for asking.
Isn't This Nice: Sean Penn Gets One of His Guns Back

In April, Sean Penn's Buick Grand National was stolen while he ate lunch at a Berkley restaurant, and in it were two handguns, a 9mm Glock and a .38 revolver. Turns out that Mr. Penn (who has a conviction for assault and spent a month in jail for it) has a California concealed-carry permit! The car was recovered five days later, but not the guns.

Well, at least one of them has turned up, and Mr. Penn is going to get it back. The Glock might have turned up. A Glock matching Penn's was found, but it has spent at least a month in the ocean and barnacles obscure the serial number. Per the article:
Police said there is no evidence that Penn's .38 was involved in any crimes, and it will likely be returned to the actor, who is currently filming his latest movie called "The Assassination of Richard Nixon" in Oakland.

"We were pleased to have recovered one of Mr. Penn's guns, and of course we're always pleased when we can get any gun off the streets."
OFF the street? I thought that people with CCW's put more guns on the streets!

I cannot help but wonder if, should this have happened to John Q. Public (who probably would have had a much harder time getting a CCW), would the police have been so enthusiastic about giving it back?

I feel safer already.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

If You Didn't See This in the Carnival of the Vanities...

Read it now. Via Nikita Demosthenes, Orson Scott Card's article Moral Stupidity. Money quote:
It makes me ashamed of the Democratic Party that this seems to be the only moral process available to the party's leadership. I used to call myself a "Moynihan Democrat."

But now that he's dead, I'm reduced to calling myself a "Tony Blair Democrat."

That's because I cannot find a single leader in the Democratic Party who is capable of acting on the basis of what is right, rather than what will make our side win.

A Democratic Party that had any honor at all would not be filibustering judicial appointments, making a mockery of the President's constitutional authority to appoint federal judges with the approval of a simple majority of the Senate.

But "honor," like "patriotism," is a word that the Democratic Party mocks except when they wrap themselves in it to make themselves immune to attack.

I've seen the high dudgeon of Democratic leaders saying, "How dare he say that I'm not patriotic!" Even though that very Democrat has been heard to complain that "patriotism" is an outmoded and dangerous idea.

Likewise, Democrat leaders can't speak of honor without embarrassment -- except when they want to accuse Republicans of accusing them of being dishonorable.

So now these same people of the American Left have decided that the Palestinians are "our team" and therefore even their worst atrocities are to be declared as being "no worse than" what the Israelis do in their own defense.

The same moral geniuses who could find nothing wrong in Bill Clinton's endless lying, in Hillary Clinton's criminal manipulation of the futures market, in Al Gore's cynical attempt to subvert a free election by changing the rules after the fact -- they now stand in judgment of Israel and declare them "no better than" terrorists.
Much, much more crunchy goodness.

I've always liked Orson Scott Card, although I find his fiction writing hit-or-miss.
The Global Disarmament of the Law Abiding Continues...

First, for your reading displeasure, Rachel Lucas has an excellent post about Australia's latest exercise in futility idiocy, their second gun "buyback" - done in complete disregard of the documented results of the last "buyback."

And our neighbors to the North now have a whole lot more criminals in their midst. Their registration deadline ran out Monday, so an estimated 300,000 new criminals exist!

Don't you feel safer already?
"I Know, Let's Make Guns REALLY Illegal!!"

Britain's Evening Mail provides the following wrenching and earnest op-ed piece, Let's end gun misery:
The anguished mothers of Birmingham's New Year party victims will brief a powerful body of MPs on the problems of gun crime in Britain's inner cities.

Six months to the fateful day their daughters were shot, Beverley Thomas and Marcia Shakespeare are to give evidence to the group.

Pals Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare were gunned down outside a city hair salon when gangsters opened fire on a crowd of partygoers.

Charlene's twin Sophie and a fourth girl, Cheryl Shaw, were injured in the same incident.
What they don't tell you is that the shooter used a submachine gun - illegal to possess in England since the 1930's. But they're available on the black market along with other goodies like hand grenades.
Now the mothers will tell politicians of the heart-rending and long-lasting impact gun crime has had on them and the community.

Perry Barr MP Khalid Mah-mood told the Evening Mail: "It has taken a lot for both these women to take such a public stand and we should applaud them for that.

"They are standing out, demanding justice and refusing to be silenced.
And apparently risking getting killed for speaking up, since the criminals don't seem to fear the police very much.
"They are a credit to the community and we will be interested to hear their views on tackling the menace of guns and the gang culture that spawns such violence.

"Also, I want to hear about how they have coped over these past six months, especially with having to bring up young children as well."

Their appearance comes a week after West Midlands Assistant Chief Constable Nicholas Tofiluk told the same Commons all-party parliamentary group how Birmingham's image was being soured by gun crime.

He said: "A long-term issue that needs to be addressed is that in some parts of the city there is an emergent culture that sees guns as part of a lifestyle.

"These are issues the police alone cannot affect." The MPs launched an inquiry following a nationwide "surge" in violence involving firearms over recent years.

Police on London's Operation Trident, West Midlands' Operation Ventara and Manchester Gang Strategy Unit have also given evidence.
Now, bear in mind that this is in a country where there are only about 600,000 legal shotgun owners and about 125,000 legal rifle owners, and ZERO legal handgun owners or submachine owners, or "assault rifle" owners outside the government. (The London police did recently upgun to the H&K G36 assault rifle.) And the legal ownership levels are declining each year.

But NOW there's a SURGE of firearms involved violence. NOW there's an "emergent gun culture."

No, they killed the good "gun culture" and are left with the unfettered bad one.

What's next, really really banning guns?

Let's really end "gun misery" in England - teach people to defend themselves, and then let them carry and keep guns in the home. Nothing else seems to work. Banning sure as hell proved useless.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Build a Better Mousetrap...

At last Saturday's AR15.com Casa Grande shoot, one of the guys showed up with his new invention, the SST-870:

His description:
Introducing the SST-870 AR15 buttstock adapter for the Remington 870 shotgun.

Features:

1) Allows the shooter to have proper cheek weld when using red dot optics on the shotgun. Optics can be mounted via the picatinny rail, which runs the length of the 870 receiver, or via other after market scope mounts.
2) Uses any AR15 style stock. The multitude of AR15 style stocks on the market will allow users to fit the shotgun to themselves and to their intended use for the shotgun.
3) Uses any AR15 style pistol grip. The user can switch grips as necessary to meet their personal preference.
4) Attachment point on left and right hand side of the SST-870 for Uncle Mike’s QD sling swivels.
5) Easier cross training for law enforcement and military personnel issued AR15s/M16 rifles, as well as competition shooters who use AR15 style rifles
6) Stock inline with the bore reduces felt recoil

Construction:
1) SST-870 adapter piece is machined from T6 aluminum and mil-spec type III hard coat anodized for wear resistance and long service life
2) Optics mounting rail is machined to M1913 picatinny spec from T6 aluminum for mounting of red dot optics such as the OKO pictured or other sights. The rail is also mil-spec type III hard coat anodized.

I found that I couldn’t get proper cheek weld to use the red dot with the existing stock. The OKO sight was very fast to use on the shotgun but the stock hindered its ability to be used effectively…I knew if I could get an inline style AR stock on the 870 it would allow me to use the red dot sight effectively.

When Cavalry Arms started manufacturing AR15 buttstocks the idea became more feasible in my mind, but the thing holding me back was money to get the project going. Cavalry Arms was interested, but because they were bringing other products online R&D money for it was unavailable.

Last fall FN came out with the Police Shotgun and I had one of those “ah the bastards got it done before me” moments…but with a retail price tag of $700-$800 and availability as only a dedicated unit, I knew there was room for improvement. I also thought the A2 AR15 sights on a shotgun were somewhat of an over kill. I believed that an adapter to go on existing shotguns people already own was a better idea.

So I started actively pursuing the idea myself just before SHOT Show 2003. I recently acquired a loan and from the time I had the money in hand to first production article was 6 weeks. I haven’t spoken of the project publicly before because of the uncertainty of when it would be completed, and I did not want to give a heads up to any competition.

The first production run of 50 SST-870 adapters and rails is being machined right now. If everything goes according to plan they should be shipping in at most 3 weeks….I say “should be” because Murphy’s law likes to happen quite frequently in manufacturing. However, I don’t see any problems arising.

Design work on a model for the Mossberg 590/500 will be started at the end of the first production run of SST-870s.
Which is too cool, because I own a 590 myself. Can you say "Patent?"

Here's the first production run out of the machine shop:

And here it is at the shoot, being test driven:

As you can see, it really relocates the bore centerline lower. Everyone who tried it really liked it. Unfortunately, I was too busy shooting clay pigeons with my Enfield. Maybe next time!
Alphecca Has It

Jeff has the straight skinny on the current status of the amendments to the Constitution as practiced today. Give it a read.

One quibble, Jeff. The 17th Amendment should be REPEALED.
Why Didn't They Consider This BEFORE?

Say Uncle has the scoop on a new joint Violence Policy Center / Brady Center press release that fixes the whole problem.

Why they couldn't have done this years ago is beyond me.

(And I have given credit where credit is due for the AWB clock!)
Was Jayson Blair His "Source?"

Larry Wright, Detroit News
Cannot Find Weapons of Mass Destruction

From Clayton Cramer's blog:
Follow these instructions exactly:

1. Go to http://www.google.com (actual google home page).
2. Type "weapons of mass destruction" as the search string.
3. Hit the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.
4. Check out the resulting web page very carefully (it's not what it seems).
That's freaking funny!
"Stroke of the Pen, Law of the Land. Kinda Cool."



Yeah, that "Constitution thingy" does tend to get in the way, don't it?

Day by Day

Monday, June 30, 2003

BIG POST ERROR, POST ID 105702478749413506
REPORT IT

You have NO idea just how infuriating this error message is.

A long, involved, link-filled post that I've been working on for AN HOUR AND A HALF is GONE!

You think the Incredible Hulk gets pissed?

The expression "going Postal" FITS.
Clayton Cramer Reiterates My Question

In his post Why The NRA May Be Right To Not Rush a Second Amendment Case to the Supreme Court
There are a lot of gun rights activists who are upset with NRA's reluctance to go to court with a Second Amendment case. These recent decisions by the Supreme Court are strong arguments for why that reluctance is sensible. In the University of Michigan law school case, the Supreme Court decided that even though the Fourteenth Amendment is explicit that there will be no discrimination based on race, discrimination based on race, as long as it's not made too explicit, is okay. In the other case, the Supreme Court ignored precedent, rewrote some of Colonial America's sodomy laws, and then used due process and a lot of armwaving to strike down a state law of the sort that has been present for centuries--and then discounted everything more than 50 years old as not particularly relevant to their decision. And you suddenly are going to trust the Supreme Court to make a decision about the meaning of the Second Amendment? All your arguments in favor of an individual right are based on:

1. Historical evidence that will be ignored, just like colonial Connecticut and Plymouth's homosexual sodomy laws were ignored.

2. Precedents of both federal and state supreme courts that are largely more than 50 years old.

3. Notions of individual rights that are even older.

Against this, the gun control side has the same elites that wanted the sodomy law struck down. I think the NRA may be right not to rush to the Supreme Court of Urban Elitism.
I disagree. I don't think that waiting will do us any good. I think that the Silviera case is the most cut-and-dried violation of the Second Amendment extant, and I think it's the perfect one with which to overturn U.S. v Cruikshank and Presser v. Illinois. But he's right: SCOTUS could very well ignore historical evidence. It very well could ignore older precedents and uphold Cruikshank. It could ignore that the right to arms was held as an individual one since before the ratification of the Constitution. It's a hard question to consider: Do individual citizens have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear weapons of military usefulness? And are the States restricted by the 14th Amendment from infringing on this right? Yes or no?

SCOTUS might very well answer: "No." It might (probably would) be a 5-4 decision, and the dissents might be philosophical works of art.

BUT:

That would be, to me, the signal that the system is broken beyond repair.

Right now, I still believe the system can work as designed. I think, though, that if SCOTUS can take it upon itself to render meaningless a part of the Bill of Rights that is explicit, then the Constitution is, for all intents and purposes, null and void.

I've often wondered if SCOTUS has denied cert. on Second Amendment cases just because the Justices couldn't bring themselves to be that blatant in violating the Constitution. Easier to avoid than to do that.

I'm betting about 60-40 that they'll deny cert. to Silviera, too. THEN where will that put us? In one circuit the right to arms will be legally recognized, but in another (the one where I live) it will not.

UPDATE:

Given the newness of my Comments, I'm going to copy and reply here:

AlphaPatriot responds:
I'm going to quote an earlier post on my website because I think it's relevant:
The other issue that mitigates against granting cert in the Silveira case is that the issue involved was a state assault weapons ban and Emerson was a Federal statute. Just two different ways of reaching a result. What you need to understand is that the Supreme Court is not in the business of doing justice in an individual case, only if taking the case will affect the law. And that case is not necessarily about whether there is an individual right, rather, about whether it's a "reasonable regulation." In other words, if the ban would likely be upheld on other grounds, even if the Supreme Court found an individual right, it is unlikely that it would take the case.
However, the issue that mitigates for granting a writ of certiorari is the fact that two Circuit Courts are in disagreement on a key issue. This often prompts SCOTUS to step in and settle the dispute.

I fully expect them to dodge if they do grant cert. The 5th Circuit certainly did - ruling as narrowly as the could get away with and avoiding addressing anything outside the question at hand. The 9th did not. They stated plainly that the right was not individual, and that individuals had no standing in bringing the question before the Court.

Somehow, I don't see how SCOTUS can let that slide given the decision in Emerson.

But you might be right - they very well could decide that it's a "reasonable regulation" of an individual right. That, I think, would be a not-quite-phyrric victory for gun owners. I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I've read a LOT of case law concerning the right to arms. Since Silviera appears to hinge on whether or not the right is indivdual (as that's how it was decided: "The district court dismissed all of the plaintiffs’ claims. Because the Second Amendment does not confer an individual right to own or possess arms, we affirm the dismissal of all claims brought pursuant to that constitutional provision" citing Hickman v. Block.) At a minimum it would mean remanding the case to the 9th Circuit for re-hearing on the basis that Hickman was in error. THEN the 9th would just find it a "reasonable regulation."

Let's be honest here: I'm not expecting a Brown v. Board of Education-like earth-shattering decision, should they decide to hear it at all.

But I can hope.

Oh, and go read AlphaPatriot's older post on this topic. Very good.


Beware of Engineers with Screwdrivers

Sometimes I really hate my job.

I'm an engineer by profession. I've got the State license and everything. I've got a customer's machine that refuses to behave. It's got a (Star Trek Technobabble Alert!) single-ended 1024ppr quadrature encoder on it that yeilds 129 pulses per inch - most of the time. Except occasionally when moving in one direction, it will drop some counts. Like several inches worth. And since we're trying to measure to 1/64" accuracy, that's not a good thing.

The encoder is connected to an Allen-Bradley high-speed counter card that just counts, 0-999, then rolls over. The counter card communicates with an Allen-Bradley PLC 5/20 processor that totalizes the count. There are three other IDENTICAL encoders on the machine, and they all work hunky-dory. We've changed the encoder, we've changed the high-speed counter card, today we changed the CABLE.

It's still thumbing its nose at us.

(Edited to add: It's not mechanical, either. Rack & pinion gearing, positive keyed zero slip coupling. Anybody got a chicken to sacrifice?)

UPDATE! Problem solved! Of course, after the fact it was something simple, and blindingly obvious - the 5VDC power supply was only putting out 3.5V - just barely enough to make the encoder card work - most of the time.

Engineers with screwdrivers? Should be engineers with voltmeters.
Dept. of Our Collapsing Schools

Connie du Toit has an excellent post up on the state of education in this country - the difference between learning versus memorizing, and much, much more.

I forwarded it to my sister, who is a math and science teacher, for comment.

If you have children, you need to read this. If you don't, you need to read it to understand why we're graduating people who are essentially illiterate ignorants.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Oh Yeah, Gun Control is a Critical Issue

Thanks to Ravenwood, I just discovered that the Million Moms March organization had a gathering at the West Palm Beach City Hall to commemorate national ASK Day.

Four (4) people came.

Yup, those Democratic Presidential hopefuls really need to beat the gun-control drum so they can reach their electoral base.
I Just...Aww Screw It.

Go read THIS (I can't improve on it,) then watch the piece. (7Mb - broadband is recommended, but if you're on dialup, it's worth the wait.)
Another "Bankrupt the Gun Manufacturers & Dealers" Lawsuit Bites the Dust

According to the Associated Press, Appeals court affirms dismissal of state's lawsuit against gun makers
June 24, 2003, 5:59 PM EDT


NEW YORK -- A Manhattan appeals court Tuesday affirmed a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit in which the state accused gun makers of knowingly contributing to the "flood of illegal guns" in New York that result in injuries or death.

The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court found 3-1 that it was "legally inappropriate, impractical and unrealistic" to require the gun makers to take unspecified steps to lessen the availability and criminal use of handguns.

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
(hawk, spit) sued members of the gun industry in 2001. He alleged that they had created a public nuisance by knowingly distributing firearms in a way that put large numbers of guns in the hands of people who use them illegally.
And really massive numbers into the hands of people who use them legally, and that's what really bothers you, Spitz, isn't it?
"Defendants know that a significant portion of their guns become crime guns but turn a blind eye so as to increase profits, at the cost of many human lives and much human suffering," Spitzer said in his original complaint.

State Supreme Court Justice Louis York ruled Aug. 10, 2001, that Spitzer had presented insufficient evidence to support his claim that nine gun manufacturers, 12 wholesalers and three importers had violated the state's public nuisance law.

York, finding the state's case failed to link the gun industry directly to the public nuisance, wrote, "it is obvious that the parties most directly responsible for the unlawful use of handguns are the individuals who unlawfully use them."

"We agree and affirm," the appeals judges wrote.
How about that - logic and reason from two New York courts.
They said the defendants were engaged in "the lawful manufacture, marketing and sale of a defect-free product in a highly regulated activity (!!!) far removed from the downstream, unlawful use of handguns."

The appeals judges said it would be impractical for the courts to try to regulate the gun industry.
Not to mention, illegal. The making of laws is restricted to the legislative branch, not the judicial branch.
The legislative and executive branches of government might be "better suited to address the societal problems" at issue in this case, the appellate majority wrote.
And you fail there, every time.
Juanita Scarlett, a spokeswoman for Spitzer, said, "We believe that the court misapplied certain doctrinal principles. We are considering an appeal."
Let's see, you've been slapped down by a State court, then bitch-slapped by the Appeals court, but you're going to appeal again.

Another example of the bottomless pockets of the State (financed by the citizens) trying to punish the gun manufacturers and distributors financially through the court system because they cannot accomplish what they want in the legislature.
Lawyers for the gun manufacturers could not be reached by telephone for comment.
At the rates they charge, I hope not.
Spitzer's lawsuit was similar to one brought in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The civil rights group alleged that gun makers knew corrupt dealers were selling firearms to criminals in minority communities and did nothing to stop it.
This was another of the nine lawsuits so far thrown out or defeated out of something around 33 that have been filed.

Then there's the case of Bryco manufacturing losing a lawsuit when a moron failed the first rule of gun safety and didn't keep a gun pointed in a safe direction. A babysitter, trying to unload a Bryco .380 took the gun off safe to clear the chamber (just as you must with a 1911) and PUT HIS FINGER ON THE TRIGGER. The gun discharged and 16 year-old Brandon Maxfield was struck in the jaw. The jury found Bryco liable for $50.9 MILLION.

Bryco makes crappy guns, but that one wasn't defective. It worked as it was designed to.

Bryco is also being sued in New Mexico for what amouts to the same thing. The Brady Center (hawk, spit) reports that both Bryco (manufacturer) and Jennings (distributor) should be held liable for making handguns that can be accidentally fired by children. Their argument: the Jennings J-22 doesn't have a magazine disconnect. Again, neither does a 1911. And the magazine disconnect is usually one of the first things removed from a Browning Hi Power in order to give it a better trigger pull. I don't think Glocks have a magazine disconnect, do they? (I'm not a Glock fan.)

As far as Brady and the VPC and the rest are concerned, if it can go "BANG!" it's too dangerous for anyone outside of the government to have.

Interestingly, there's some retaliatory action going on. Valor Corp., the distributor that was found to be 5% at fault when 13 year-old Nathaniel Brazill shot teacher Barry Grunow with a .25 caliber Raven that had been purchased several years before, has had the $1.2 million judgment against it thrown out. Brazill STOLE the gun from a family friend (found 50% responsible - the school district was found to be 45% responsible. The shooter was apparently not responsible at all, though he's serving a 28 year sentence for the killing.) So, according to the Sun-Sentinel, Valor is suing the Grunow widow for court costs and legal fees.

Payback's a bitch, ain't it? You can bet the lawyer rich from the tobacco settlement that represented her last time won't be available for this, and I doubt that the Brady Center will pay her bills, either.

Let's get the lawsuit pre-emption bill passed and signed and end this crap. If a gun manufacturer really makes a defective product, they can still be sued for product liability, but if it works as designed there should be no lawsuit.

PLEASE CALL OR WRITE YOUR U.S. SENATORS.

URGE THEM TO:

1) Support S. 659 and

2) Defeat a filibuster of the bill.

E-MAIL your Senators.

WRITE or FAX your Senators

CALL your Senators via the Capitol Switchboard at: 202-224-3121.

Please contact your Senator today, and help keep the rights of gun owners intact!

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Comments Are Functional

But I've switched services, so all the old comments are, unfortunately, gone.

Sorry about that. But this site is only six weeks or so old, and there weren't that many comments anyway. Hopefully Haloscan will be more reliable. (It's free too, so I won't hold my breath.)
Back from the Casa Grande Shoot

We knocked off early due to the increasing heat and had lunch at Famous Sam's, but a great time was had by all.

I got to set off the one tannerite charge (one shot, thank you,) and I found out that the 1917 Enfield makes a pretty decent skeet gun. (No kidding! I have witnesses!)

I've gotta do some more of that!

Still have quite a bit of ammo left, but not a single round of .30-06.

I plan on taking care of THAT little problem shortly.
Open Mouth, Insert Foot, Shoot Foot

Day by Day, it just keeps getting better...

(Off to the AR15.com Casa Grade shoot. I'll write about it later. I've got 450 rounds of .223, about 200 rounds of .45, about 100 rounds of .30-06, and 200 rounds of .22. That ought to last until about noon, I hope.)

Friday, June 27, 2003

7,000 Hits

At 7:56 tonight, someone from the Mindspring.com domain was my 7,000th visitor since I started running Sitemeter.

I started this blog May 14th. I believe I got sitemeter running a couple of days later.

7,000 hits in six weeks.

Whoa.
Sorry About the Light Posting

Life intrudes, you know. But, a quick one - today's Friday Five:

1. How are you planning to spend the summer?

Working

2. What was your first summer job?

I worked in a hobby/crafts shop. (I was seriously into building scale models at the time.)

3. If you could go anywhere this summer, where would you go?

The Florida Keys.

4. What was your worst vacation ever?

Last year's. I didn't get one.

5. What was your best vacation ever?

My honeymoon. In the Florida Keys.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Comments are Down, and Blogging Will be Light

I'm really busy, and there's an AR15.com shoot this weekend, so I've got a lot of ammo to load tonight and tomorrow.

Having said this, I did want to mention the recent decisions of the Supreme Court. They don't fill me with confidence should they grant cert. to Silviera v. Lockyer. The majority has demonstrated that they don't consider the Constitution as any kind of limit to their power. The 14th Amendment apparenty doesn't mean what it says (University of Michigan decisions). On the other hand, they're willing to use the 9th Amendment to recognize an unenumerated right of privacy, and use that to overcome the democratically passed laws of some states. The Founders did fear that, by enumerating some rights but not others, that future societies might denigrate the unenumerated rights.

In the case of the Second Amendment, we have an enumerated right that has been denigrated.

So here's the question: If Silviera makes it to SCOTUS will they ignore the meaning of the Second Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment on the basis of "public good?" Or will they decide that the Bill of Rights really means what it says, even if an individual right to arms means that bad things with guns can happen?

You can bet your ass it will be a "divided court" again. And O'Connor will probably be the swing vote.

If you wish to discuss this, e-mail me and I'll put up the interesting ones in a post.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Dept. of "Kill all the Lawyers"

According to the Detroit News, Ford will no longer lease vehicles in the state of New York because of New York's ah, unique liability laws.

It seems that the law in NY prevents lessors from being held responsible for accidents.
Ford cited a $1-million verdict against its consumer loan unit resulting from a suit by a girl whose father, while driving a leased car, ran over her while she was sunbathing.
Well, hell, that was obviously Ford's fault.

Jebus.
Ayup.

Artist is Larry Wright of the Detroit News.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I Want to Start a Local Chapter

I Wasn't Going to Comment on This Member of the Deep Space Nine, But... (Thanks to Charles Austin who's filling in for Dodd over at Ipse Dixit for the oh-so-apt allusion.)

Well, I won't, really. I'll just repeat what Glen Reynolds said.

When Gephardt said during a C-Span televised rally:
"When I'm president, we'll do executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does tomorrow or any other day."
I didn't find it surprising at all. As Glen said:
"Gephardt's not a constitutional ignoramus, or an incipient dictator. He's just your standard-model lying politician!"

Woohoo! That gets my vote.
Indeed.


Somebody Needs to Take This Kid to a Range

Carly's Story

And let her learn some of the REALITY about firearms.
In Other Words, LIE

Our friends at Jointogether.org have some Suggestions for Discussing Gun Safety with Other Parents:
Emphasize your child's curious nature:
"You know, my Timmy is so curious. He has the easiest time opening things that even I have a hard time with. It seems every time I turn around, he's got the TV remote opened and the batteries are spilling out all over the place."
Perhaps you should keep a closer eye on little Timmy, then. What if he gets into the kitchen where the knives are?
Localize the issue:
"I just heard the most amazing thing. Did you know that 39 percent of homes have firearms in them? That means a number of houses on our block (may have firearms). It's frightening to think that there are that many guns around."
If THAT bothers you, my house would give you the willies.
Set the example:
"My pediatrician convinced me that we had to do something with our gun. It was easy. Now we keep our gun empty, and locked up in a gun safe, with the ammunition locked elsewhere. It feels more responsible."
Really? Your pediatrician? And he got his gun training from....? What kind of gun to you have? Sporting-clays shotgun? Deer rifle? No? A 9mm handgun you bought for self-protection? Lots of good that bad boy's going to do you if you need it in the middle of the night, huh? "Sorry, Mr. Burglar, can you wait until I unlock the gun safe, unlock the ammo, and get this thing loaded?" Since it's useless to you, I'd offer to buy it, but I'm not all that enamored of the 9mm Europellet. Have you considered a quick-access safe? Oh, right, precocious Timmy. Well, how about wearing the gun during the day, and then putting it in the quick-access safe at night while you sleep?
Make it a joint effort:
"You know, I feel good that Timmy and his friends won't stumble on a gun in my house. I'd never forgive myself if a child got shot while playing here. That makes me realize that I hope the same thing is true at his friends' houses. So I've decided to ask everyone about it even though I feel a little funny (awkward) asking. I hope you won't feel funny (uncomfortable) when I ask you if you have a gun and if so whether it is properly stored (or how you store it)."
No, I don't feel funny (uncomfortable) at all. If you're that worried about it, keep little Timmy at home. I don't need him prowling around my house, taking my remote controls apart, and looking for my guns. Oh, and here's a nice sign for your front yard:

Rest assured, if I hear any screaming coming from your house in the middle of the night, I won't get my gun and come over to see what's happening. I'll just let the police handle it. That's what they're for, right?

Dept. of Oh for Jebus's Sake:

From the Seattle Post (lack of) Intelligencer comes this little op-ed, Gun recklessness should be a crime
One of the reasons commonly given for legislators repeatedly blocking a bill to punish adults for unsafe storage of firearms is that the existing reckless endangerment law is sufficient to protect children.
Yes, it's always for the Children
We'll see.

The test will come with the case of Amy Levitt, a Kirkland woman alleged to have been so careless with her .357 Magnum revolver that she didn't note its absence for two weeks and blithely accepted her 12-year-old son's denial that he had taken it.

Police say the boy had taken the pistol all right -- taken it to school, and many times. They say he brought it to A.G. Bell Elementary School, pointed the loaded pistol at other kids' heads and threatened to kill the principal.

The boy faces 10 criminal charges in juvenile court, including assault and felony harassment. Levitt faces at least one charge herself: reckless endangerment, a gross misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

That would seem the minimum punishment for someone whose behavior is so careless, so reckless, as to allow so many children to be put at risk. Is it enough to deter unsafe firearms storage?

Perhaps the Kirkland case will make the case against the need for firearm-specific legislation. It may also make the case that existing law is deficient.

We know this much: If this sort of reckless treatment of a lethal weapon is not a crime, it sure should be. And the Legislature should make it so.
(All emphasis mine.)

OK, what do we have here? Morons. And so is Ms. Levitt. Let's get this straight - she can receive a YEAR IN JAIL and a $5K fine, but THIS IS NOT ENOUGH TO DETER HER FROM BEING A MORON. Noooooo, we need a bright & shiny NEW LAW that will make it REALLY, REALLY illegal to be a moron. THAT will stop people from being stupid! THAT will make them lock up their guns that we shouldn't allow them to have, but can't prevent because of that useless pesky Second Amendment thing.

Get this straight, members of the Seattle P.I. editorial board: Laws like this punish people after the fact. They aren't going to prevent stupid people from being stupid, even if you threaten them with death.

And they aren't going to make them good parents, either.

Monday, June 23, 2003

So This Means I Have About 22 Regular Readers?


Of course, there's probably some regulars among the "Only ISP" and "Miscellaneous" groups, too.

Thank's, y'all!
What Do You Think Dachau and Auschwitz WERE?


Artist: Mike Ramirez, LA Times.

And what do you think all those mass graves represented?
This Could Have Been Very Ugly.

The British newspaper Guardian Unlimited reports that a freighter was boarded by the Greek Special Forces. The ship was carrying 680 tons of dynamite and 8,000 detonators.
"The cargo was destined for a company with a post office box in Khartoum [the capital of Sudan] that does not exist," Mr Anomeritis added.

"Someone could think that it would have some connection with terrorist groups," the Associated Press quoted him as saying. "That is why we stopped it when it entered Greek territorial waters."

"It should have reported that it was sailing with an atomic bomb cargo," Reuters quoted Mr Anomeritis as saying, referring to the quantity of explosives on board.
I keep expecting something like this to sail into the Port of Los Angeles.

That gives me the heebies.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Holy Recognition, Batman! What a Time to Be on Vacation!

C. Dodd Harris IV is on vacation in Belize with his family, when Chris Muir immortalizes him for blogdom!



Congratulations, Dodd, you lucky dog! You deserve it. Sorry you missed it!
Well, THIS is Nice to Know!

Thanks to the Single Southern Guy, I just took the Brain Useage Profile test. And here are my results:
Your Brain Usage Profile

Auditory : 35%
Visual : 64%
Left : 50%
Right : 50%

Kevin, you exhibit an even balance between left- and right- hemisphere dominance and a slight preference for visual over auditory processing. With a score this balanced, it is likely that you would have slightly different results each time you complete this self-assessment quiz.

You are a well-rounded person, distinctly individualistic and artistic, an active and multidimensional learner. At the same time, you are logical and disciplined, can operate well within an organization, and are sensitive towards others without losing objectivity. You are organized and goal-directed. Although a "thinking" individual, you "take in" entire situations readily and can act on intuition.

You sometimes tend to vacillate in your learning styles. Learning might take you longer than someone of equal intellect, but you will tend to be more thorough and retain the material longer than those other individuals. You will alternate between logic and impulse. This vacillation will not normally be intentional or deliberate, so you may experience anxiety in situations where you are not certain which aspect of yourself will be called on.

With a slight preference for visual processing, you tend to be encompassing in your perceptions, process along multidimensional paths and be active in your attacking of situations or learning.

Overall, you should feel content with your life and yourself. You are, perhaps, a little too critical of yourself -- and of others -- while maintaining an "openness" which tempers that tendency. Indecisiveness is a problem and your creativity may not be in keeping with your potential. Being a pragmatist, you downplay this aspect of yourself and focus on the more immediate, obvious and the more functional
Damn! I'm quite a guy, based on a single 20-question internet test.

(That must be the "critical of others" and "pragmatist" part of my personality, eh?)