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

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Saturday, January 31, 2009

For Tam

For Tam

She's been waxing poetic about this gorgeous piece of steel created by Cylinder & Slide, but notes that at the $8k custom build price,
If a factory tooled up to produce them, however, they probably wouldn't cost a lot more than a decent 1911, although they'd have to make up for lack of volume with higher prices, since they'd have to recoup tooling and setup costs over a smaller production run. Springfield or S&W could probably bring it to market for a bit over a grand, street price.
Well, it's not the same gun, but Cylinder & Slide has this for sale:

It's right pretty too.

And it's only $2,995.



Definitely not safe for work, but Rodger has found perhaps the most descriptive political photo of the previous decade.

Don't miss it.

I'm speechless.

A Face for Radio, a Voice for Print

A Face for Radio, a Voice for Print

Just a reminder, I will be on local radio tomorrow afternoon, 1:00PM Mountain Standard Time on Charles Heller's "America Armed and Free" show, KVOI 690AM. The show will also be streamed live at

We'll be discussing blogging and gun rights.

Here's hoping I don't embarrass myself.

OK, So Where Do I Get Magazines?

Today's hunt was successful:

So any suggestions on where I can get good magazines for it?

According to the serial number, my example was manufactured in 1973. It is blued, it is beautiful, it still has the magazine disconnect, and the trigger pull is heavy but not creepy, with a clean break. The sights are rudimentary. I think this will be going to Cylinder & Slide for some work.

After I get the M14.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Looks like there might be a near-term slump in the secret ninja army job market, though. Things are tough all over. - Tam, This should tickle the lefties...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

There is a very strong possibility that the Court of Appeals will rule against us, not on the merits of the case (which is very strong), but because finding that the Second Amendment is incorporated through the Fourteenth Amendment against the states is a decision above their pay grade. - Clayton Cramer in his post Chicago Gun Case
And I think he's more than probably right. I'm reminded of 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski's dissent in the denial to re-hear en banc the Silveira v. Lockyer case, specifically this part:
As an inferior court, we may not tell the Supreme Court it was out to lunch when it last visited a constitutional provision.
Even when it was.

There exists Supreme Court precedent that says that the right of 'bearing arms for a lawful purpose' is not protected against state infringement, but only against infringement by Congress - i.e.: the Federal government (U.S. v. Cruikshank, 1875). Cruikshank was decided after ratification of the 14th Amendment, and while it violates the specific, written intent of that amendment, it has never been overturned by the Supreme Court, and it has been used as precedent in an 1886 case, Presser v. Illinois.

And inferior courts may not tell the Supreme Court it was out to lunch when it last visited a constitutional provision.

So don't be surprised if the 7th Circuit finds against us; be stunned if they don't. Because that will force the Supreme Court to revisit Cruikshank, and I doubt seriously the 7th Circuit has the testicular fortitude to do that.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
15. Where would you retire to? Retire? I will probably get killed in the early battles of the coming revolution. - Dale at Mostly Cajun from his post Potpourri
There were a lot of good ones to choose from, but that was the winner.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


On the cold, crisp, clear morning of January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off from launch complex 39A at Cape Canaveral, and exploded one minute and thirteen seconds into its flight. I first wrote about my recollection of that event here in 2005 in my post This is Why I Read Blogs. Here's the pertinent part, edited for accuracy:
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 a minute 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 still don't. (No offense, boss! Somebody has to be, just not me!)

Here's seven reasons not to "take off your engineer hat":

Never forget them.

Here's a Shocker

Here's a Shocker

An op-ed from the Richmond Times-Dispatch (via Instapundit):
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Published: January 24, 2009

Recently, the state Crime Commission deadlocked over whether to recommend closing the so-called gun-show loophole. The issue has become a perennial at the General Assembly, which is considering the matter once again this year. Once again, legislators should vote no.

Licensed firearms dealers — those who buy and sell guns as a business — are required to conduct background checks on prospective buyers.

The “loophole” in question refers to the fact that individuals selling guns from their own private collection do not have to — either within gun-show venues, or in the parking lot, or in their own homes.
Which is no "loophole" at all, but . . .
Gun-control advocates often muddy the issue by referring to “unlicensed dealers” at gun shows, of which there are indeed many. They sell holsters, flashlights, hunting knives, T-shirts, books, gun safes — even jewelry. But an unlicensed dealer who sold guns as a business would invite felony charges under federal law.
And some have. That's part of the BATFE's job - and one they don't seem to do very well.
Gun-control advocates also suggest, albeit with scant evidence, that gun shows supply a significant share of the weapons used in crime.

Federal data indicate otherwise. (My emphasis.) According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics report, “Firearm Use by Offenders,” only about 1 percent of guns used in crimes come from gun shows. (Again.) In fact, most crime guns — 57 percent — come from just 1 percent of licensed dealers. Federal and state law-enforcement agencies should come down on those renegade dealers like a ton of bricks.
It would appear. Another thing the BATFE is tasked with, but they'd rather pursue companies like CavArms for technical violations that were A-OK on Wednesday, but verboten on Thursday. This is another topic unto itself, but to continue:
Another study, by the FBI concerning attacks on law-enforcement officials, found that 97 percent of the offenders had procured their weapons through illegal means. (Again, my emphasis.)

Private sales among the hunters and target-shooting enthusiasts who frequent gun shows are simply not a significant source of weapons used in crimes. Gun shows, then, are not the real issue — except to those who recoil viscerally at the sight of large numbers of firearms in one place.

Referring to a “gun-show loophole” muddies the issue by implying, falsely, that individuals can sell or buy guns freely and without background checks only at gun shows. In fact, they can do so many places.

The real issue, in fact, is incidental firearms sales by private individuals — whether at gun shows or anywhere else.

Now there is an argument to be made that any such sales should be more tightly regulated, perhaps even recorded and reported to the authorities — just as home and car sales are. Over time, that would amount to de facto firearm registration. Some gun-control advocates say that is not their wish.

But given the weaknesses in the case for closing the gun-show loophole, one has to wonder.
No we don't. Not any more.

Remaining emphasis is also mine. And there's your QotD in bright red. Kinda shocking to read in an MSM outlet, but it is Richmond, VA.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

From Thomas Sowell:
What are the Beltway politicians buying with all the hundreds of billions of dollars they are spending?

They are buying what politicians are most interested in — power.

In the name of protecting the taxpayers' investment, they are buying the power to tell General Motors how to make cars, banks how to bank and, before it is all over with, all sorts of other people how to do the work they specialize in, and for which members of Congress have no competence, much less expertise.
There's much more at the link. Go read.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Got My 401k Statement Too . . .

I Got My 401(k) Statement Too . . .

I know exactly how he feels. Except I still have a job.

No warlords for me!


RKBA Event Announcement

RKBA Event Announcement

Do you live in North Carolina? (I used to.) A group of gun rights supporters will be holding a gathering on the afternoon of February 4 from 2-6PM in front of the legislature building in Raleigh. (I used to live in a suburb of Raleigh.) From their information page:
Join with hundreds of fellow Americans, peaceably assembled to seek a redress of grievances from government officials who are not respecting our Constitutional Civil Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

As American citizens, We have a responsibility to protect and preserve ALL of the rights, freedoms and protections guaranteed ALL Americans by the Bill of Rights and the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments. These are our Constitutional civil rights and liberties, they are a birth right of ALL Americans extended to all naturalized citizens.

Call them Constitutional Rights, Civil Rights or Civil Liberties they are one and the same and mean as much to tens of millions of gun owners, conservatives and Constitutionalists as do other Civil Rights to other groups of people.
And, though I'm sure they'll be seen as sell-outs by some, they understand that frightening the (*ahem*) is counterproductive:
Rules of Engagement
In order to maintain compliance with applicable regulations, some "Rules of Engagement" will be in effect.

1 - Firearms: No firearms will be present, concealed or otherwise.
2 - Dress code: No paramilitary style clothing, no uniforms, no hunting gear. Dress normally. Remember that the media usually tries to portray pro-gun advocates as dangerous kooks. Don't give them anything to work with.
3 - Signage: Some signs will be made available, but you are welcome to bring your own. Keep them clean - you know what I mean. I have no intentions of having signs printed or manufactured. Hand made signs are more effective and personal. So the number of signs available will depend on how many I can personally make in the time available. I will have blank posters and markers/pens for anyone who wishes to make their sign on location. Verbage can be stern and blunt but not provocative. Again, remember the media will be looking for something to highlite on their reports that reinforce the bigotry against gun owners.
4 - Flags: American flags are always appropriate so bring them large and small. Gadsden flags are also appropriate. Do not bring any others. Do not bring any American flags that have been descecrated with symbols, words or imagery. American flags will be flown right-side-up.
5 - Press Spokesman We will have at least one designated press spokesman present. I ask that no one speak with media reporters but to refer them to the spokesman. Once again, dont give media the opportunity to use you and your words in a negative manner.
I wish them all the luck in the world. There's a lot more at the site, so I recommend you spend some time there and perhaps consider setting up one of these things if you live in the capital city of your particular state.

This was brought to my attention by one of the organizers, Bubba of What Bubba Knows - one of the few really good aggregator sites out there, and one that has sent me a ton of hits over the last couple of years. Help him spread the word.

Quote(s) of the Day

From the comments to this post, the Geek with a .45 layeth the smack down:
And then I think of General Clark's quote.

"If ordinary citizens want to carry assault weapons, then they can come and see me. I have a job for them."

I'll see your Genl. Clark quote, and raise you three:

They {Obama and Biden} also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.

There is no right to have access to the weapons of war in the streets of America.

For those who want to wield those weapons, we have a place for them. It is the U.S. military. And we welcome them.

-John Kerry, Senate Floor, 3/5/2004


And Finally:
"Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA -- ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the state."

-- Heinrich Himmler, WWII

---But here's the big whopper quote of them all:

The problem I have with this one is not the's Americans.

And I'll see you, Geek, and raise you one Rev. Donald Sensing:
More than anything else, big-government activism is the New Deal’s legacy, and IMO, has come to define the governing philosophy of both parties today. The rising tide of big government has swamped us, held only temporarily at bay by the levees of the Reagan years. (And not really even then, since non-defense spending rose during the Reagan administration.)

Because the present-day Republicans and Democrats are both big-government activists, they have a foundational philosophy that is the same:
America is a problem to be fixed, and Americans are a people to be managed.
There are a lot of great comments in that thread, but the Geek's takes the prize.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another Trip to the Range

Another Trip to the Range

No new loads for the Encore yet, but I wanted to shoot the Remington 700 some more. When I went to the Gunblogger Rendezvous last October, David of Random Nuclear Strikes gave me some of his Black Hills 175 grain .308 Sierra MatchKing commercial ammo, and I wanted to test it out as a baseline against my handloads. It was another trip to the Casa Grande range to make use of their 300 yard facility. Here's an average group using the Black Hills stuff:

By my calibrated eyeball, Mk. I, that's about 4" CTC.

Here's my 175 grain SMK handload:

The bottom most hole is two holes touching. I'd put that group at a hair under 2".

Here's my 155 grain Lapua Scenar load (typical) with me throwing a flyer (also typical):

What you can't see there is that this group is about 5" higher than the point of aim, which means it's hauling ass compared to the 175 grain SMK load. Now, if I could just stop throwing flyers . . .

I think I need some more of those bullets.

(Sorry about the crappy quality. These were taken with my cellphone camera.)

It's Official: You May Now Panic

It's Official: You May Now Panic

Found via PDB, another very disturbing (in a weirdly sick way) graph:

That's the U.S. money supply, according to the web site of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Also per PDB, from an earlier post, the Quote of the Day:
In FY2007, the federal government spent more money than it had at any time in its history. More than in WWII, more than it took to go to the moon during the height of the cold war, more than under Reagan rescuing our military from Carter's neglect. This massive amount of spending was unable to avert a recession. Why is more federal spending suddenly now going to mitigate the effects of this recession?
We are so screwed.

No Europellet for Me Yet

I did a tour of the local funshops yesterday looking for either a good example of a Browning Hi Power, or an EAA Witness Match in 9mm Europellet, but no joy. Murphy's did have a Hi Power, but it was the double-action version with a de-cocker, not the single-action or (my personal preference) the SFS, so I passed. It was the only Hi Power I found. Murphy's had the only Witness I found, either, but it was chambered in .38 Super. Several of the other shops were closed. Apparently there's a gun show going on at the fairgrounds.

I am not a fan of gun shows. It's a personal thing.

Oh well, I did find one very interesting place that had a firearm I'd not actually previously seen "in the flesh" as it were:

A .44 AutoMag.

I don't have that kind of cash laying around, nor do I know enough about them to be able to tell if it's a particularly nice (or trashed) example, but I have to say that the urge to whip out the plastic and make installment payments on a gorgeous hunk of stainless steel nearly overwhelmed me there for a second or two.

Also, for about a millisecond, I considered picking up a Glock 17. So many Glock afficionados have been turned to JMB's (PBUH) finest handgun design in the last year that I thought, just maybe, I should give the plastic-fantastic a try, but I retained my willpower and moved away from the bright light.

So, no .44 AutoMag, and no 9mm W├╝nderpistol either. Maybe next weekend.

Oh, and just a reminder: I'm scheduled to be on Charles Heller's (no relation to Dick Heller, so far as I know) radio show, America Armed & Free next Sunday at 1:00PM Mountain Standard time. You can listen to the show by streaming audio here during your pre-game party. We'll be discussing gunblogging.

Happy Birthday, Tam!

Happy Birthday, Tam!

Today's Quote of the Day:
Really, could it get any better? I mean, short of having Charles Schumer picking up my brass and carrying my shopping bag full of ammo while toadying obsequiously? - A birthday slathered in awesomesauce
You mean he didn't? Dammit! I have to talk to my credit card company about reversing the charges, then!

And they say an honest politician is one who stays bought . . .

Saturday, January 24, 2009

When Obama Says This Stuff, I Don't Think He Really Means It

"When Obama Says This Stuff, I Don't Think He Really Means It,"

". . . and that gives me hope."

It's the only reason the Left's collective (in all meanings of the word) heads haven't exploded.

Found at Anarchangel's.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go buy another gun . . .

Friday, January 23, 2009



(Sad) Quote of the Day

(Sad) Quote of the Day

Another from Hecate's Crossroad (and she's going on the blogroll):
When her body was later found in the hospital parking lot, the whistle was still between her teeth. She had blown it until it filled up with blood as she died. - Now Do Something Constructive
Read the whole thing to get the context. It's definitely worth your time.

The Tottenham Outrage

The Tottenham Outrage

One hundred years ago today, on John Moses Browning's (PBUH) 54th birthday, two Latvian Anarchists attempted to rob the payroll of Schnurmann's Rubber Company in Chestnut Road, Tottenham, England. The payroll was worth about £80, or roughly $8,800 today. Armed with then-still-new semi-automatic pistols, the two robbers, Paul Hefeld and Jacob Lapidus tried to make their escape, starting a shooting-spree that resulted in twenty-four wounded (seven police officers) and two dead - one police officer and one 10 year old boy. The police officer's reported last words were, in fine British tradition:
"Come on, give in, the game's over!"
Here's a photo of the firearms in question:

The top one looks like one of JMB's early works. If anyone can identify them, I'd be grateful.

One robber killed himself just before the angry crowd could do it. The other was captured after he shot himself, and he later died of his injuries.

The Tottenham Outrage is cited by a lot of us in the gunnie world because it is an example of how things used to be, and how - many of us believe - it still ought to be. The Tottenham Outrage was a living demonstration of Sir Robert Peel's Nine Principles of Modern Policing, first published when he established London's first "modern" police force in 1829; most especially Principle #7:
Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
During the incident, average people going about their daily lives joined in the pursuit of the robbers. A party out bird shooting at nearby Lockwood reservoir reportedly exchanged fire with them. The Tottenham police, in the tradition of British police to this day, did not go armed. Officers, unable to find the key to the locked firearm cabinet in the station house actually had to smash the doors off to get to their weapons, but brother officers already in pursuit instead borrowed firearms from people on the street - something literally unimaginable there today, and literally unremarkable back then.

A mere 100 years ago today.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm Late on This

I'd blame it on work, but I received a nice email from reader Steve Vaujin on Tuesday about the topic, and I'm only now addressing it. I know all of you are already aware, but here it is again:
Address Gun Violence in Cities: Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent. - Found on inauguration day at
So much for believing in the Second Amendment.

"Closing the gun show loophole" means "Ending private-party sales. All sales must go through an FFL." This will, of course, get the support of many of the (remaining) FFLs. And it will be the first step to an eventual national registration system.

"Making guns in this country childproof." All 300 million of them? Will this be like "childproof caps" that only children can actually open? Or does it mean "won't go bang at all"?

" making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent." Now, if you're an optimist, you read this as "making the expiration permanent," but we all know better than that. No, this means a new, IMPROVED "Assault Weapons Ban." One that will, you know, actually ban something.

Oh, and "addressing gun violence in cities" - where it's largely committed by and committed upon a tiny, easily identifiable demographic, but instead the .gov wants to put in place sweeping, highly restrictive laws that will affect everyone but that demographic.

The philosophy cannot be wrong! Do it again, only HARDER!

Well, there's a great big hole in my collection that I need to fill. I'm not a fan of the 9mm Europellet, but I have been waiting and looking for a nice custom Browning Hi-Power to fill that niche - a 13-round capacity model, with a bunch of spare magazines. When I take newbies out to shoot, the lack of a 9mm has presented a problem as I work them up from .22LR to .45 Colt. (Hmm . . . And now .260 Remington?) I think this weekend I will go shopping for an EAA Witness in 9mm, and all the spare magazines they have in stock.

Who knows, maybe I'll stumble across that Browning!

(*Sigh* - I was looking forward to at least a few more years before the .gov finally got around to passing enough laws to make me a willing felon . . .)

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Ignorance - the best tool in the anti-gunner's arsenal.
- Sharp as a Marble, Time to become an iPhone developer
UPDATE: D'OH! The link went to the wrong post. Fixed now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This Just In . . .

This Just In . . .

Still not a peep out of Tom Ferda.

What, do I frighten them or something?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Job Creation

Job Creation

Glenn linked to this fascinating (in a weirdly sick way) graph courtesy of Fabius Maximus:

President Obama talks a lot about "job creation." It looks like Bush and his predecessors have all done a bang-up job of that! I guess Obama is going to turbocharge it?

I am reminded of a conversation I had with a coworker several years ago. His mother works for the Census Bureau. Her job has great benefits, lots of holidays, generous vacation and sick leave, and an excellent retirement plan. For about two and a half years at a stretch, her job is quiet and undemanding. Then, for about eighteen months it's hectic, and the hours can be somewhat long, though she is compensated for the overtime. At one family gathering, during the slow period, she commented to all that working for the .gov was just terrific, and "I don't know why everybody doesn't work for the government!"

Into the short silence that followed, my coworker replied, "We do. For about the first five months of every year."

Anybody expecting it to exceed six in the not-too-distant future?

I Wish I'd Written That

I Wish I'd Written That

Today's Quote of the Day via Glenn:
There seems to be a typo. The last word ought to read “lefty”.
Ian Hamet, Just One Letter Off at Benevolent Misanthropy
RTWT for the context.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Range Report - .260 Remington T/C Encore

Sorry for the delay. Family stuff and then the drive back up to Wickenburg interfered. Plus, I have to get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning, so this will be short.

I drove up to the Casa Grande public range this morning after getting a late start. I did, however, remember this time to bring both range bags, so I had my spotting scope, chronograph, and laser rangefinder with me. I set up my target frame at a measured 28 yards downrange and proceeded to put ten rounds on target through the chrono getting the scope adjusted. The last four rounds went into one hole, as expected. I don't have the data sheet in front of me, but IIRC, the average velocity was 2360fps with an extreme spread of 60fps and a standard deviation of just over 20. I was shooting Lapua Scenar 139 grain BTHP bullets seated out to an overall length of 2.880" over 36.0 grains of Varget, touched off by CCI 250 large rifle magnum primers. (USE THIS LOAD DATA AT YOUR OWN RISK - I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU BLOW UP YOUR GUN BASED ON DATA YOU GOT OFF A BLOG AND DIDN'T CROSS-CHECK WITH OTHER SOURCES.)

I was amazed at the lightness of the recoil (and no, I'm not kidding!) That muzzle brake WORKS. Oh, the pistol jumps a bit, and it is also LOUD AS HELL, but it doesn't kick. I wore muffs and plugs, and I was sitting behind it. I'm pretty sure I drove off some other shooters who were off to my left. (I was on the right end of the range.)

Because of the pressures of time (I had a family commitment in the very early afternoon) I was only able to put another 15 rounds through the pistol this morning. One very impressive thing, at least to me, was that I strung five shots horizontally right along the zero elevation line of my target at a measured 300 yards. The pistol needs some trigger adjustment for sure - I'm blaming that shot string on me, though. That group ran just over four inches wide.

I settled down for the last five-shot string and got another four-inch group in the standard cover-with-palm pattern. I'm certain that this specific load will shoot better than that if I do my part properly. I was seeing a little bit of primer flattening, so I think my next loads will drop by about a half-grain, and I want to see just how far out I can seat those very long bullets before they touch the rifling. I also want to try the 120 grain Scenars to see how they perform, but their ballistic coefficient is not as good as the 139's. I also want to take this pistol to the Tucson Rifle Club and try it out on the 500 meter rifle silhouette range to see if I have enough elevation in the scope to reach out that far without putting more offset in the rings.

This is going to be a very fun pistol!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Long-Range Pistol

At last year's Gunblogger's Rendezvous, David of Random Nuclear Strikes attended and brought with him his Boomershoot pistol - a Thompson/Center Encore chambered in .308 Winchester. He also brought with him as handouts a reprint of an American Handgunner article from 1995 about Don Bower and his long-range pistols. Entitled "Ultimate Handgun Accuracy: 1½" Groups at ¼ Mile," it certainly piqued my interest! (The piece is available at the link.)

I shot David's pistol at the Palomino Valley Gun Club, whacking the 400 yard gong with ease.

Had to have one.

So to "celebrate" Obama's victory, one of the things I bought in November was a T/C Encore frame. Then I ordered a custom Bullberry .260 Remington barrel. Finally I bought a Burris 3-12X pistol scope, Burris Signature Zee rings, a set of offset inserts for the rings, a Pachmayr grip, a Harris bipod, 200 pieces of Remington .260 brass, and some ammo boxes. (Bullets, powder and primers I've already got.) The last of the parts arrived this week.

I haven't got everything adjusted yet, nor all the screws tightened down, but here's what she looks like:

You can't see it, but the action is open on that last photo. Yes, I know the scope is canted. I still have to get everything adjusted just right, but I wanted to post photos, dammit! Oh, that spirit level is the 1" unit that Ninth Stage sent me, along with the 30mm unit for my Remington 700 5R.

I also wanted to say something nice about a vendor. I buy a lot of stuff from MidwayUSA, and their prices and performance have been uniformly good. But we gunnies are cheap frugal bastards, and price is important to us. When I went looking for rings for the Remington 700 5R, Midway was out of stock, Brownell's didn't carry what I wanted, and they were nowhere to be found locally. A little Google searching brought me to Optics Planet. They had what I wanted, in stock, and at a good price - even better when there was no freight charge.

When I went shopping for that Burris 3-12X pistol scope, as always the first place I went looking was They usually have the lowest prices, and I've never had a problem with anything I've gotten from them. However, at the time I was looking, Midway was having a sale on the very Burris scope I was looking for, and it was less than SWFA. Unfortunately, neither of them had the Burris Signature Zee rings I wanted, so off to Optics Planet I went and while I was there I checked on the scope as well.

They had it, and it was less than Midway's sale price. Plus free shipping. They also had the rings and the offset inserts for them. (I've got +20MOA of offset in the back ring.)

I ordered 200 pieces of brass, four 50-round ammo boxes, and the Pachmayr grip from Midway the same night I placed the order for the Burris scope and rings. I got the scope and rings first.

I'm not denigrating Brownells, Midway or SWFA at all, they're all great vendors. But if you're looking for some glass or some rings, check out Optics Planet. You might be glad you did.

Anyway, when I go to Boomershoot this year, I'm taking both the 700 5R and this pistol. Hopefully I can get some ammo loaded tonight and make a trip to the range dark and early tomorrow morning!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another Invitation

Another Invitation

Say Uncle linked to a David Codrea post at Gun Rights Examiner where a sportswriter showed his ignorance in the comments and was promptly smacked down for it. Feelings apparently hurt, the writer took his ball and went home after complaining about how nasty gun rights advocates were.

So once again I have decided to extend the olive branch and invite the sportswriter, Tom Ferda, to have an open, public discussion on the topic of gun rights right here at this blog or anywhere else he feels comfortable. Even though I'm up to my eyeballs with work for at least the next two weeks, I really want to engage Mr. Ferda. Here's the text of the email I sent him tonight:
Mr. Ferda:

Welcome to the wonderful world of the gun rights debate! My name is Kevin Baker, and I live in Tucson, Arizona. No, I'm not Kevin Baker the award-winning novelist, I'm Kevin Baker the Professional Electrical Engineer who happens to run a blog by the name of The Smallest Minority, if you care to Google my name (which is how I found your email address).

Obviously you're new to this topic, but don't feel too bad - many are. On both sides. The problem is, there's been a concerted effort for, oh, the past forty years or so to remove firearms from the public. It's been described as a "decades-long slow-motion hate crime" against gun owners, and a lot of us are quite tired of it. So you were the recipient of some (very mild!) backlash when you demonstrated your ignorance the topics of firearms and Constitutional law.

I understand that you'll find this difficult to believe, but when you wrote the words "semi-automatic machine guns" you basically punched nearly every hot-button most of us on this side of the aisle have. The ones you missed on that first pass you punched - emphatically - with the words "think about when these original right to bear arms laws were written."

Mr. Ferda, I'm a calm, collected kind of guy. I started blogging with the intention of debating people like you in a public forum. Honestly, I don't expect to change your mind, and I'm absolutely certain you won't change mine (my position being the result of well over a decade of research, study, and consideration - I should have a PhD in the philosophy of gun rights) but I do believe that people LEARN when they discuss and defend their positions with people who DISAGREE with them. Hopefully, so do you, since you wrote: "Stay aggressive, call people with different opinions idiots and chase us all out of your area. You guys are doing a great job of forming a group where everyone can have identical opinions and keep anyone else out of the club." And: "Good-bye and enjoy conversing amoungst yourselves without any more comments from people like myself who may differ in opinion."

I earnestly wish to have a discussion with you - in a public forum! I will remain civil, factual, and I will give citations with links for you to follow and verify. (You'll have to bear with me, however, as my day job at the moment is pretty overwhelming, so my responses will be necessarily slow.) I am willing to give you guest-posting privileges at my blog, and I promise not to edit anything you write (except possibly for readability - text size, font, etc. - never content) or you may email me your responses and I can post those - again, in total and without editing - or you may post your half of the discussion anywhere you'd like, so long as I can copy those posts to my blog for archival purposes.

I do have open comments. If you are as sensitive to the response of the readers as you appear to be at the Gun Rights Examiner post, I suggest you not read them. Oh, and this invitation is also being published at my blog.

I hope you do accept this challenge. I promise you, if nothing else you will come away much more knowledgeable about the topic.

Kevin Baker,
Tucson, AZ
Here's hoping he accepts. Whatever the response, you'll be the first second to know!

UPDATE, 1/19 8:00PM: No response from Mr. Ferda as of yet.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More Linky, No Thinky

More Linky, No Thinky

Once again, a link to Hecate's Crossroad of "advice" on how to be a good robbery victim from the Omaha World-Herald.


Quote of the Day goes to Hecate:
This steaming pile just leaves me speechless.
Well, not exactly speechless . . .

And, if you have a lot of spare time on your hands, you might enjoy the Discovery Channel's Non-Line-of-Sight cannon game. How much stuff can you blow up? Link courtesy of one of Hecate's commenters, Rio Arriba of Notes from the American Outback.

Another long day tomorrow, and next week looks worse.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You Certainly Don't Need Any Authority . . .

You Certainly Don't Need Any Authority . . .

. . . to REPORT on anything.

Today's User Friendly strip:

But some knowledge and familiarity certainly helps when you're a blogger!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In Re: Sucking Up

In Re: Sucking Up

Hecate of Hecate's Crossroads posts on why she put links to the three Dangerous Victims essays on her sidebar. Excerpt:
I recall a friend describing a brief time when he worked in a liquor store. It was the only one in the area that had never been robbed. The store owner had a policy that anyone working there had to have a gun and carry it openly.

(Sorry, but 12.5 hour days are not conducive to "thinky" blog posts, thus you get "linky" blog posts. And not many of those.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

(Taken out of context.)
Bob Barr wouldn't know a civil liberty if he was beating one unconscious with a riot baton - Tam, Libertarian, my butt

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The American Form of Government

The American Form of Government

Many of you, I'm sure, have seen this, but it was new to me. It runs 10:35, and is worth your time if you haven't seen it before:

There's an entire year of Junior-High Government class in just over ten minutes. One that, sadly, I don't think gets taught much of anywhere anymore.

THIS is How to Suck Up!

THIS is How to Suck Up! ;-)

I was checking the referrer log yesterday and noticed a hit from a blog I didn't recognize, Hecate's Crossroad. The interesting thing was that the hit had gone to the first post in the Dangerous Victims trilogy of essays, and the reader had continued on reading. So I clicked on over to Hecate's Crossroad looking to see where the link came from.

She's linked all three posts on her sidebar!

Now, this isn't the first time something like this has happened. Ramblings from Oz was the first blog I know of to post links on the sidebar to essays of mine - in his case, under a heading titled "Favorite Essays."

I'll tell you, if you want your ego stroked, this'll do it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Secret of Social Harmony

The Secret of Social Harmony

It the first post of my "Dangerous Victims" trilogy of essays, I quote from Grim Beorn's Grim's Hall:
The secret of social harmony is simple: Old men must be dangerous.
I just got back from seeing Clint Eastwood's latest, Gran Torino, and Clint illustrates this fact with authority in this film.

My (Japanese) wife was shocked by the racist epithets fired at a machine-gun pace throughout the film, but agreed, it's a damned good movie. It's also the most un-PC film since Blazing Saddles, which should be enough to recommend it to my readers.

Apparently Eastwood has announced that, at 78, Gran Torino will be his last acting effort. If so this film, I think, suitably completes the cycle of his acting career. He started out doing spaghetti Westerns, slinging lead and gratuitous violence. This proceeded into his stint as Dirty Harry Callahan, doing much the same, only with a badge. But in his later films, Pale Rider, Unforgiven, and now Gran Torino, he has shown that violence is not something that should be treated lightly, but is something that still has its place even in "civil society" and that there is a difference between "violent and predatory" and "violent but protective."

Go see it.

Quote of the Day

I called it. Not exactly; back when I was cautioning friends and co-workers not to be too confident about the change-over date, I expected a Democrat-dominated Congress (rather than an incoming Democrat President) to push the date back, frettin' about the "technologically disenfranchised poor," or, as PBS President Paula Kerger whines chides us,
she’s especially concerned that children in less-affluent homes that rely on free television might lose access to PBS educational shows for kids.
Especially Sesame Street. Awwww. How ever else will they learn that it takes a village -- or a city block of slum tenements inhabited by creatures from a drug hallucination -- to hammer a child's mind into uniformity and compliance? - Roberta X, DTV Cutover Delay?
With both Roberta and Tam in the same domicile, the psychic snark must be oozing out of the walls by now!

UPDATE: See? Here's Tam:
FDR Jr. at the podium was telling us that we faced an "unprecedented" crisis in our nation, which no doubt made elementary school history teachers cry.

Then he said that the "wait-and-see" approach hadn't worked. Apparently "wait-and-see" is where you make stupid regulations for things you know nothing about, and throw borrowed imaginary money at irresponsible people in numbers that make astronomers twitch.

So now we're going to try his way, which is where you make stupid regulations for things you know nothing about, and throw borrowed imaginary money at irresponsible people in numbers that make astronomers twitch.

I see.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Quote of the Day (Ok, ONE post!)

Quote of the Day (Ok, ONE post!)

As a follow on to Women Shouldn't Have Guns . . ., commenter "Lurker" linked this story with more details. A lot more:
Seventy-year-old woman holds home intruder at gunpoint, talks about ordeal

It's not uncommon to hear stories of people defending their homes and themselves from intruders-- but when it's a 70-year-old woman, that story is a bit more uncommon.

It's exactly what happened in St. Joseph County on Sunday night, after an intruder broke into an elderly woman's home on Portage Road.

The woman held the man at gunpoint until police arrived. That man is 28-year-old Cyrus Brown. Brown is being held in jail on a number of charges, including burglary and intimidation.

The woman who defended herself is Sandra. She asked us not to use her last name. Newscenter 16 spoke to her by phone Monday night, while she recovered in her hospital room. She's being treated for heart problems, problems she didn't have until Sunday night's scare.

As you'll hear, this 70-year-old is a gutsy lady who wasn't about to let anybody mess with her.

It was all started about nine o'clock Sunday night. Sandra says she was in the midst of splitting wood for her fire and making vegetable soup, when she heard a ruckus outside.

"All of a sudden, I’m hearing fast footsteps around my yard, around my deck," says Sandra.

That's when she says she grabbed her gun and called 911. Moments later-- the intruder-- 28-year-old Cyrus Brown, broke through her back patio door, pushing his way through the glass.

"Immediately, I felt there was danger because he was so desperate," explains the 70-year-old. "He's in the kitchen by the stove, I told him to get down on the floor. I said if you come any closer to me, I will shoot you to kill. I told him to sit down, don't move, and I want to see your hands at all times," adds Sandra.

Newscenter 16 obtained the 911 call that Sandra made. In the background, you can hear her demanding the suspect get down.

911 call:
Dispatch: "Ma'am, where is he at in the house?"
Sandra: "Get, get, get! You have more to fear from me!"

911 call:
Dispatch: "Ma'am, are you holding him at gunpoint?"
Sandra: "Yes, I am. And if he moves towards me, I'm afraid I'm going to have to kill. I don't want to have to kill him."

In that moment, Sandra says she was glad she had a gun and knew how to use it-- just in case.
But he should have taken it away from her! The Violence Policy Center says so!
"I thought that this could turn out badly because I heard of other people being murdered in their house, but I decided, I wasn't going to go down without a fight. I owe that to my children," she explains.
And here's the Quote of the Day:
"Guns aren't all bad, only in the hands of the criminal and guns can be a good defense."
Gee, ya THINK?
In the end, you can hear the relief in Sandra's voice, as the police arrive at her back door.

911 call:
Sandra: "Cops!"
Police: "Get down, get down!"
Dispatch: "Ma'am, can you put the gun down for me please?"
Sandra: "It's down."
Dispatch: "Great, great, ok!"
The full 911 audio is available at the link, but the piece doesn't stop there:
Sandra is a mother of three and has several grandchildren.

She's set to have a procedure on her heart this week. As you can imagine, this whole situation has caused the 70-year-old a lot of stress.

She says she hopes others can learn from her story and think about protecting themselves. She’s hoping to have a neighborhood meeting in her area to discuss safety in homes.
Good for her! But wait! There's more!

A man is in custody Sunday night after police say he tried to break into a home on St. Joseph County's northwest side.

It happened in the 51000-block of Portage near Brick Road.

Police say 28-year-old Cyrus Brown drove off the road and hit a utility pole on Portage. He then attempted to break into a nearby home.

When police arrived, they found an elderly female named Sandra holding the driver at gunpoint, awaiting their arrival. Sandra tells us she was scared to death and yelled at Brown to stay down. She says he begged her not to shoot.

"I would give her thumbs up and tell her to keep up the great work and I'm really proud of her," Lanore Evins, Sandra's neighbor, says. "He probably didn't want anyone to know that happened to him. That's probably a little embarrassing for him."

"He was a little combative at first," explains Sgt. Bill Redman, St. Joseph County Sheriff Department. "The officers had to wrestle with him to get him to comply with their orders. He didn't mess with the homeowner though."

Sandra is in the hospital with heart problems she says stemmed from the incident. She says her doctors say the situation caused too much pressure for her. But Sandra hopes her story inspires others to stand up for themselves.

"Doesn't surprise me about any of us around here. We all fight (for) what's ours," says Phyllis Barkley, Sandra's good friend. "Don't mess with the gray haired people! We still got a lot of fight in us."
To quote Grim again, "(I)t's most important that all potential victims be as dangerous as they can." And, "The secret of social harmony is simple: Old men must be dangerous." Old women, too. Sandra understands that. Her neighbors, it sounds like, do too. And now Cyrus Brown does as well. Sounds like South Bend Indiana is "American-occupied America!"

Congratulations to the local media for a job well done! Too bad that apparently only FOX picked this up nationally, and at that, minimally. There's a link at the top of the story to the email addresses of the reporters who wrote it. If you feel like it, drop 'em a nice note thanking them for the piece. I did.

Oh, and the comments to the story are generally pretty good, too.

Home! (Again)

Home! (Again)

Well, this week was 67.5 hours, the last three driving home from Wickenburg. (202 miles in three hours . . . carry the one . . . 67.3MPH average. Not bad!) They wanted us on the site this morning at 6:00AM, so I dragged my butt out of bed at 3:50 this morning, and we were on the road at 4:45.

It's been a long day. No blog for you!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Women Shouldn't Have Guns . . .

Women Shouldn't Have Guns . . .

. . . for self-defense. Assailants will take them away and they'll be shot with their own guns!

At least, that's what I've heard from about the time I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

Apparently nobody told this woman:
"A seventy year old Indiana woman stops an intruder in his tracks and 911 tapes just released prove she was not going to back down."

"The woman held a suspect at gunpoint until police arrived."
But remember: this apparently doesn't qualify as a "defensive gun use," since nobody died. That seems to be the criteria used by anti-gun forces. It's only a DGU if a perp (often referred to as "the victim") assumes room temperature.

Anybody have more detailed information on this one?

It's Hammer Time!

Well, the new Congress has been seated, and they're off! As Glenn Reynolds stated it, "400 bills on first day of new Congress. Hope and Change!" The only tool in the Congressional toolbox is legislation, so they're gonna legislate! The oft-quoted Rev. Sensing gets cited again:
A long time ago Steven Den Beste observed in an essay, "The job of bureaucrats is to regulate, and left to themselves, they will regulate everything they can." Celebrated author Robert Heinlein wrote, "In any advanced society, ‘civil servant’ is a euphemism for ‘civil master.’" Both quotes are not exact, but they’re pretty close. And they’re both exactly right. Big government is itself apolitical. It cares not whose party is in power. It simply continues to grow. Its nourishment is that the people’s money. Its excrement is more and more regulations and laws. Like the Terminator, "that’s what it does, that’s all it does."
And here they are doing it some more, this year to the tune (projected, almost certain to be exceeded) of $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars!) $1,200,000,000,000 ($1.2 trillion) $1,600,000,000,000 ($1.6 trillion) of deficit spending. (Thanks, DJ!)

The Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. in 2007 was about $13.8 trillion.

More to the point, from that same Sensing piece comes the other rationale for so many bills:
More than anything else, big-government activism is the New Deal’s legacy, and IMO, has come to define the governing philosophy of both parties today. The rising tide of big government has swamped us, held only temporarily at bay by the levees of the Reagan years. (And not really even then, since non-defense spending rose during the Reagan administration.)

Because the present-day Republicans and Democrats are both big-government activists, they have a foundational philosophy that is the same:
America is a problem to be fixed, and Americans are a people to be managed.
"It didn't work last time, but the philosophy cannot be wrong! Do it again, only HARDER!"


Monday, January 05, 2009

eBay Strikes Again

eBay Strikes Again

My boss has a run-in with eBay. Quote of the Day:
eBay can pucker up and kiss my hairy, old, wrinkled.....
(Click for the visual aid, and the rest of the story.)

Apparently eBay is frightened of images of firearms. Who knew?



Just an update. I'm back in Wickenburg again, and it looks very much like I'll be moving from the apartment here to a house in Bagdad to be closer to the job site during commissioning. That'll happen tomorrow or Wednesday.

Good news: No more 75 minute commute to and from the site.

Bad news: No internet access.

More bad news: The drive up on Sunday increases from three to four hours.

Looks like I'll be disconnected from the web for about three or four days. (I should have a Verizon wireless card next week.)

I'm already hyperventilating.

UPDATE - 1/6: Checked out the house this afternoon. Short form: No. Longer form: Oh, HELL no!

After seeing the alternative, the extra two-hour commute isn't that damned bad. I believe we're going to decline the generous offer of on-site housing.

The real deal-breaker is the prison-style rollaway cots in each of the bedrooms.

Homey don't play dat.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

This is the lead-in:
Israeli air strikes kill cute kittens and Hamas terrorist leaders

But mostly Hamas terrorist leaders - The Other McCain
(h/t: Glenn Reynolds.) RTWT. But HERE'S the QotD from a comment at that piece:
And some of the kittens cause MASSIVE secondary explosions when struck - "Mike"
Click on the link and watch the video before YouTube pulls it down.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

I've always loved movies. I worked in a movie theater my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college, and I still enjoy seeing a film projected on a big, wide screen in a big, dark room, even though the experience now sets me back $9 plus another $10 for 35¢ worth of popcorn and fizzy sugar water.

I love movies.

The pickings have been slim of late.

Here's the QotD:
Worst lists are somewhat disingenuous. The truly worst films of the year are always the cheapie slasher flicks and pretentious independent films Blockbuster only buys a single copy of. But my definition of worst is "worst experience," as in crushing disappointment, as in There’s A Special Place In Hell For All Involved And We Call It "The George Lucas Wing." - Dirty Harry's Place, 10 Worst Films of 2008
I could not agree more.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Brick & Mortar SUCCESS

Brick & Mortar SUCCESS

This afternoon I went to my favorite local gunshop, Murphy's Guns & Gunsmithing, the place where at least one salesman knows me by name. After my experience at Caveman's Warehouse, I wondered how things'd be there. I loaded some .45ACP yesterday and discovered to my shock that my stock of large pistol primers was a lot lower than I'd thought. Caveman's Warehouse was completely out.

Murphy's had 'em.

However, there was an interesting sign tacked up on the primer shelf that advised that customers were limited to 1,000 primers total, due to demand. That was OK with me, because I bought exactly 1,000 Winchester WLP primers. I also found on the shelf an RCBS two-die set for the .260 Remington, which I need for my new Bullberry Encore barrel. Drooling over Perusing the stock of firearms, I found that Murphy's now has in stock the EAA Witness Match in both .38 Super and 10mm Auto. I'd very much like to have either one of those. Interestingly enough, the 10mm version is about $100 cheaper than the .38 Super.

As has been the case every time I've been in Murphy's, there have been six or more salespeople behind the counter, and almost every one of them has been busy with a customer, a firearm, and a Form 4473. As Dave, the salesman-who-knows-me-by-name put it, "apparently the entire population of Tucson won the lottery." And it's been like this ever since November 5.

I'm waiting for Murphy's to take the massive profits brought about by the Obamessiah and put in a three-level parking garage out in front. It's damned near impossible to find a parking place there. Ever.

Oh, Glenn Reynolds, No!

Oh, Glenn Reynolds, No!
PORN STAR GOES DOWN on tax charges.

Just, Damn!

Firehand is on a roll. Read this, and this, and this, and this. That must've been some special beer!

Today's QotD:
One more friggin' moron who thinks everywhere else is better. Apparently, just because it's not here.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to visit the toilet and properly express my opinion of this clown.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Stolen Shamelessly from Theo Spark's (SFW)

Stolen Shamelessly from Theo Spark's (SFW)

That's funny right there, I don't care who you are!

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
If you must know, I bought a mid-level Sony LCD 46-incher to replace my aging mid-level Sony. I paid about 50% of what I would have paid in September. With luck, I won't have to walk into an electronics store for a decade or so, assuming of course that there will be electronics stores in 10 years rather than Bob's Burkha Outlet. - Michael Bane, Michael Goes Consumer Crazy!

Another Debate Invitation

Seems like a good way to start the year off.

Breda's husband Mike wrote a rather scathing piece in response to an op-ed in the Detroit News blogs (so I didn't have to). From that same source, one Libby Spencer wrote to defend the author of the piece against the verbal abuse strongly-worded missives hurled at him by us, the "vicious mindless mob" of gun owners who responded. (h/t to The Pistolero for the pointer.) So I dropped a comment of my own there. We'll see if this goes anywhere.
Ms. Spencer, you make a good point about the (relatively small) percentage of gun owners who are abusive when responding to people such as yourself. I have said, on numerous occasions, that we are often our own worst enemy when it comes to public perception.

But I'd like to make some comments about this subject. Gun owners are, as Dr. Michael S. Brown once stated, the victims of a decades-long slow-motion hate crime. It is we who are routinely blamed for the deaths of others because the weapon used was a firearm. It is we who are demonized for being members of a culture that was once admired in this country. A lot of us are tired of it. A few of us are more than tired.

You characterized what I like to refer to as "The Great Zumbo Incident of 2007" as the act of a "mindless vicious mob." So sorry, but no, it wasn't. That was the impression the media sold - about a week and a half after the fact - but I was there from about the Saturday after Jim Zumbo (in the words of one blogger) "apparently tired of his 42-year career put his word processor in his mouth and pulled the trigger." That same blogger also said this (and no, it wasn't me): "Ten years ago, had his statement survived the editorial process and made it into print, we would have seen a handful of cherry-picked letters on the 'Letters to the Editor' page of Outdoor life, and things would have pretty much proceeded along at status quo ante. Not now. Not today." Zumbo called the AR-15 rifle - one of THE most popular target and hunting platforms in existence - a "terrorist rifle" and advocated that they be banned from hunting.

He did so out of ignorance. The literally MILLIONS of us who own them were, understandably, angry. And we spoke up. Some, of course, excessively. Most, however, were not. And Zumbo's sponsors (one of which was Remington, a company about to begin selling hunting versions of the AR-15) dropped him like a hot rock.

Welcome to the Internet age, where feedback is now instantaneous. Now when people such as yourself spout idiocy out of A) ignorance, or B) malice [or C) all of the above), there's feedback.

I'm a fan of "reasoned discourse" myself, but I understand the anger and frustration of other gun owners who see what gets published as "fact" in today's media and who KNOW that it is at best misconception, or at worst deliberate lies.

We're tired of it. I'm tired of it. It's why I became an advocate.

Here's an offer: I invite you to debate the topic of "assault weapons." The choice of forum is yours, but anything I write I will publish - in full - at my blog. I promise to be civil, to cite fact, and to provide references for you to verify. I don't expect to change your mind, but I do think you'll be surprised by what you learn.

If you don't have access to my email address from this comment, do a Google search on "The Smallest Minority." That's my blog, and my contact information is on the left sidebar.

I'd make the same offer to Rev. Smith, but I doubt he'd accept. Besides, he wants to ban everything. You just don't like "assault weapons."
Think they'll publish it?

UPDATE: That was quick. Now the question is, will she respond?

UPDATE II: Well, it's a response:
Thu. 01/1/09 03:32 PM
Hey Kbaker. I believe we had that conversation on my personal blog back when the Zumbo thing went down. As I recall you were one of the few who were at all civil about it at that time. I still think that was completely unfair to him for the reasons I gave at the time.

I'm not at all equipped to debate the subject. I'm clueless on guns. All I can do is tell you how it's playing among my fellow clueless citizens. Again, I'm on your side. The last thing I want to see is our citizens disarmed.
My reply:
Ms. Spencer, you state "I'm not at all equipped to debate the subject. I'm clueless on guns. All I can do is tell you how it's playing among my fellow clueless citizens. Again, I'm on your side. The last thing I want to see is our citizens disarmed."

The problem is, as most of us see it, is that those of us who ARE "equipped to debate the subject" are ignored. The level of vitriol you object to is one result of that. It seems, on many levels, that such language is the only thing that gets anyone's attention any more.

Unfortunately, it's gotten even worse, as many of us in the gunblogosphere have been discussing in recent months.

If you'd care to discuss THAT, I'm game. Because if people like you - people who don't want to see the citizenry disarmed, but are unable to defend their position logically, factually, and (yes) aggressively - don't do something to stand up to those who DO want to see us disarmed, then by all appearances harsh language may become the least of (y)our worries.
We'll see where that leads . . .

Oh, and the post she referenced was, I think, this one: Boys and their toys - gun owners gone wild. Libby came into the subject only after the WaPo wrote an article on it. I'd forgotten, but I've debated Libby before on the Zumbo topic. Go here and read the comment thread, if you're interested.

Nothing much has changed.

Somehow I Missed This Meme

Somehow I Missed This Meme

So, it being a new year, I thought I'd do it now:

100 things I've done - items I have done are in bold

1. Started your own blog. As others have written: DUH!
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band. No musical talent whatsoever.
4. Visited Hawaii. Four times, but all Oahu and all on business. I'd love to go to Maui sometime.
5. Watched a meteor shower. Several. I try to catch the Perseid shower each year.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. Not "more than I can afford."
7. Been to Disneyland. I've been by Disneyland. I've been to DisneyWorld (numerous times) and EuroDisney. (The latter before it opened.)
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo. Remember the "no musical talent whatsoever" comment?
11. Bungee jumped. See #65. X10
12. Visited Paris. In 1992 I worked for three weeks at EuroDisney. I landed in Paris and got to visit it again late on a Sunday afternoon (everything was closed) but Notre Dame Cathedral is beautiful even if all you get to do is look at it from the street, and the Eiffel Tower is pretty tall.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. I grew up in Florida, about 45 minutes from the beach.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. If reloading ammunition is an art.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning. Oh my, yes. Sickest I've ever been in my life. After three days I had to receive two units of saline solution intravenously to rehydrate.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables. Well, it was a family garden.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight. Who hasn't?
22. Hitch-hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. Who hasn't?
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon. I'd die.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse. Lunar, not solar.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. Too many to count.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. Business trip, again.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. Define "ancestors."
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language. Tried Japanese. Need to try again.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. Content, yes. Satisfied?
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke. See "musical talent" quip above.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt. Yup. But I think Glacier National Park has Yellowstone beat.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant. Several times. And I recommend it to you, too. If you ever see a serviceman (or woman) in uniform in a restaurant, pay their bill for them anonymously.
44. Visited Africa. Nor do I have any desire to. But my sister is going to Kenya in June.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. With my wife.
46. Been transported in an ambulance. Yup. Kidney stone. I decided that driving a vehicle while in that much pain was not a good idea.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Stood under it once.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. Snorkeling off of Key West. But I'm so nearsighted, everything was a blur.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class. Considered it, but never signed up.
59. Visited Russia. No, but I recall what Heinlein said about that: "Once is educational. Twice is masochism."
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason. Given 'em.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. Blood & platelets. Never plasma.
65. Gone sky diving. Jumping out of a perfectly functional aircraft is not the act of a sane person.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. No, but if I ever get back to Europe . . .
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter. One of those $25 10-minute joyrides, but I enjoyed it.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. And a powerful place it is. Now I want to visit the Vietnam memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar. Yuk.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades. Parts of it, anyway.
75. Been fired from a job. Yup. And I'll never voluntarily submit to a polygraph again, now that I know they're bullshit.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone. A toe. But it's a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. More than once.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person. Uh, I live in Arizona. Where do you think we take visitors?
80. Published a book. No, but my wife keeps telling me I ought to.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car. More than once.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox. More than . . . oh, wait . . .
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury. Called. Never chosen.
91. Met someone famous. Does Jim Scoutten count? Or Todd Jarrett? Sandy Froman?
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby. Not physically possible.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee. To the point where I think I'm allergic to bee sting now.
100. Read an entire book in one day. Too many times to count.