Saturday, April 28, 2007

toledoblade.com -- The disarming of America

I'd like to think this guy was being facetious, I really would. However, there's just something in there that honestly makes this guy think he's on the right track. Let's see... how about this?
Now, how would one disarm the American population? First of all, federal or state laws would need to make it a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison per weapon to possess a firearm. The population would then be given three months to turn in their guns, without penalty.
Someone's clearly not understood one of the reasons that we had those battles at Lexington and Concord. It became illegal for men to keep arms in their homes.

Oh, how about this?
All antique or interesting non-hunting weapons would be required to be delivered to a local or regional museum, also to be under strict 24-hour-a-day guard. There they would be on display, if the owner desired, as part of an interesting exhibit of antique American weapons, as family heirlooms from proud wars past or as part of collections.

Gun dealers could continue their work, selling hunting and antique firearms. They would be required to maintain very tight inventories. Any gun sold would be delivered immediately by the dealer to the nearest arsenal or the museum, not to the buyer.
See, that's where I thought he was making an actual joke of the column, as there's no point to buying the guns in the first place. However, I fear that's exactly why he calls for the guns to go to immediate confiscation. He wants his lessers to waste their money because it allows him to get the smug little grin that's reinforced with extra sanctimoniousness.

And I really love this:
The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm.

Clearly, since such sweeps could not take place all across the country at the same time. But fairly quickly there would begin to be gun-swept, gun-free areas where there should be no firearms. If there were, those carrying them would be subject to quick confiscation and prosecution. On the streets it would be a question of stop-and-search of anyone, even grandma with her walker, with the same penalties for "carrying."
I don't know of too many cops who are this suicidal, or who don't realize they'll be next one way or another. So this leads me back to the "He's got to be joking" rationale. That repeated mantra of a fine and jail is what makes it seem like he's not joking.

I should admit that I don't hunt for food (ducks, rabbit, deer, etc.) or pest control (coyotes, feral pigs, rabbits, etc.). Maybe I will within a few years, I don't know. I do think the author should apologize to the hunters out there in regards to his comments of "blowing away animals with high-powered weapons," "taking a quick look at each hunter to try to affirm that he was not obviously unhinged," as well as the whole crack about the hunters using hunting seasons as time for killing people who they don't like. We hear enough of this crap on television.

For the sake of many gun owners and their blood pressure, I'd honestly hope he was trying to channel Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" when he wrote this piece. However, if Mr. Simpson is serious in this endeavor, I think he'll find that his fellow Americans will accommodate him by giving him their guns. It will just be bullets-first in his case as well as those trying to follow his orders. The satire is lost early in the writing if that was his intent. If he's trying to get himself killed for the cause of gun confiscation, I'd honestly have to wonder about Mr. Simpson's sanity. Hmm. Maybe he's the one who's unhinged?

I am feeling rather uncharitable towards Dan Simpson at the moment, but I'll forgive him for being unable to tell a joke in public.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

IPSC Night at the Range

Every Thursday night, my local indoor shooting range has a weekly IPSC/USPSA shooting session. I think I've mentioned this before. Actually, I'm sure I have, just not sure how many posts back. Well, anyway, the saying "practice makes perfect" is definitely something you want to remember. As our setup guru likes to say "Focus on getting your shots on target, and worry about your time last." Well, I'm getting more of my shots on target now, though I'm still slower than I'd like to be. I'm still getting the mechanics of practical shooting down through these matches, and I'm noticing my accuracy isn't suffering too much. My speed is suffering because I'm not as relaxed as I'd like to be. That's all right, though. I won't be able to relax until I get completely used to this type of shooting.

I still enjoy it more than just standing in one stall firing at the same bullseye target. The practical shooting sport definitely makes a big difference in preventing boredom from setting in.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Being Teased Used As Excuse For VA Tech Murderer's Rampage

My parents and gentler readers will have to excuse me for the foul language I am about to use.

FUCK. THAT.

For that matter, anyone who thinks this is a valid excuse or explanation for this little shit's shooting spree is quite frankly a Fucking Moron.

I know this from experience. I was treated like shit by my classmates all throughout my middle school years. I was singled out thanks to a small class size, labeled as "different" and subject to their insults. I hated the kids who did that to me. I wanted to get back at them in any way possible, even to the point of doing violence.

I chose to forgive them, no matter how difficult it was, no matter the damage to my pride. For all my thoughts of revenge, I eventually allowed myself to fully think through everything. I needed help when interpreting the concept got too big for my limited experience and got it from my family. I originally used the cynical "Ah, they're not worth the bullets it would take" line of thought, but that left resentment. It took me years to accept that I could forgive them, but I did it. I don't know if they ever grew out of the emotions that led them to act as they did. I don't care, and can still be polite to them should I ever see any of them again. I realize their actions have made me tough enough to handle those insults and sensitive enough to know I shouldn't act that way. I realize I should defend those going through the same thing.

When someone decides that shooting his classmates is the answer to teasing, I can't defend that. I condemn it instead. I can't grieve for that shooter. He chose wrongly, he refused to forgive, and now he's stolen the lives of 32 people and damaged the lives of dozens more. His social life is no excuse for his actions. The little shit who did this is no victim of society. He's no victim at all, he thought his inability to get along was more important than other people. That kind of selfishness must be fought. If it can be stopped early, good. If it grows to the point of violence, then we must be able to remove him from society. Guns are the last resort, the final alternative to letting people like him take lives as they please.

This is why I own a gun. I don't own it for revenge, for power, or for a desire to kill. I own a gun because I don't know when I'll run out of nonviolent alternatives to prevent someone from doing as they please to me or those whom I love. If all I ever need to do is use it at the range for sport shooting, I'll be happy.

So, any of you who think this bastard was justified because he was teased, here's your Official Clue: It's this opinion that makes you a Fucking Moron. Being verbally abused never gives you the right to kill anyone. Got it? Good.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A True Hero

If I was asked to write his epitaph, all I could offer is this:

"Here Rests a Righteous Man"

I would hope every professor in America's universities would do the same thing in the same situation. Liviu Librescu was willing to die to protect his students. He made no exceptions for race, religion, or any other difference, all he cared for was the immediate safety and lives of his charges. May God comfort and protect his family in their time of suffering.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dear Foreign Newspaper Editors

After reading snippets of your delightful little anti-gun editorials, I have one simple thing to say:

You want us to surrender our guns? Then come and take them. Otherwise, go pound sand up your asses until you make pearls. What? Can't do it yourself? How well has being passive gotten you? You've wound up with crass socialism pretending to be multi-party republics. The grievance groups in your midst threaten violent action, and you roll right over and apologize for not being passive enough. Is it better to live on your knees than die on your feet? Have you found that your chains hang lightly? Have the recent years of beatings, murders, seemingly endless nights of riots, bombings and rapes not given you a sense of why the United States even HAS a Second Amendment? I will not surrender the things that assist me in defending myself in order to gain your favor. You do not understand the responsibility that goes with gun ownership. You also do not understand the blood on your hands from failing to respect the individual's right to self-defense by trading it for a false sense of security. You think it's there because we allow guns in the first place? No, it's because our culture has removed any sense of responsibility or accountability on a personal level.

Responsibility and accountability have been thrown away because they're real downers. They're not needed for the modern adult. Standards of conduct have been removed because we don't wish to judge. Unless of course you judge that someone isn't having fun in a manner which removes all sense of responsibility or accountability. Then all bets are off and you're judging like there's no tomorrow! How dare someone live a life of self-control and self-discipline! Why, that's backwards thinking! On the contrary, sunshine, that's EXACTLY what we need. We need to remember that college is not for night after night of drunken stupors. It's there for education. It's there for hard work to prepare you for a life outside the equally-honorable manual trades. Is there time for fun? Yes. Time for the occasional foray into wild debauchery? Yes. Those times are rare, though. We should remember that. It seems that society would rather put off all the boring responsibility stuff and just party, party, party. We'll leave that to the state, to people smarter than us, to someone else who will think for us while we dance the night away. And sometimes we leave our difficult political thinking to those who we think write well. Sadly, those same people are often newspaper editors.

As for my opinions on newspaper editors? Fucking morons, the lot of them. And for any Americans who desperately want to be loved by Europe to the point of agreeing with their calls for stricter gun controls or outright bans? That goes double for you. Your calls for strict controls on anything even fighting-related and your conflation of pacifism and passivity have led to adults -- ADULTS -- cowering in their classrooms and being unable to resist. If your words have influenced our elected officials more than our voices as voters, the blood is on your hands as well.

Stop pretending that taking guns away will remove humanity's violent nature. It's insulting to our traditions, to our culture, and to our intelligence.
Concealed Carry in Illinois Now!

If the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech has shown us nothing, it is that the police often can't or don't show up until after the shooting stops. How many more people have to die before the anti-gun crowd stops blocking our right to self-defense? Virginia Tech was supposedly a gun-free campus. Note that the shooter, a Va. Tech student from South Korea named Cho Seung-Hui, didn't take heed of that. If one or two people with concealed carry guns could have confronted him, the bloodshed would most likely have been curtailed quickly. The shooter could have seen the victim's point of view had he been looking at the business end of someone else's gun. Instead, he had free rein to shoot his first targets, then go to a classroom and kill even more people.

The State Legislature of Virginia recently killed a bill that would provide a positive defense of concealed-carry permit holders on university campus. They gave the shooter plenty of unarmed targets. It's better to have all those dead students rather than have armed students watching out for their friends and classmates according to the legislators.

I know, I know: Why have the guns in the first place? Why can't everyone just throw their guns away and live in peace? There are two main reasons, and they have a common thread. The first is that the strong will dominate the weak when given the chance. The second is that each person has a right to defend themselves from such domination without having to constantly run away. What's the common thread? Human nature is that thread. We are predators. Our base nature is to dominate all things around us. When one tries to dominate another, the aspect turns into physical and mental conflict. Despite our desires to live peacefully, our human nature often comes to the fore. We fight to maintain our life, to have peace on our own terms. As we have that nature to fight for our lives, we must exercise our right to defend ourselves and we must be able to determine for ourselves what is appropriate for our environment. A concealed handgun is appropriate for self-defense in our urbanized society. We cannot live in peace until others understand that we are not to be dominated.

The legislators in Illinois must be made to understand this desire to not be dominated, and must compromise with us on allowing citizens to be armed when they want to be armed. I have no qualms proving my competence to carry a concealed weapon, but I think my basic competence to own a gun in the first place should be all that is needed. A FOID card shows the basic competence to own a gun. It also shows that I accept personal responsibility for my future gun-related actions. I understand the consequences of using a gun in accepting that responsibility, and thus must act with caution. Why can't the legislators understand this about FOID cards? Cardholders show that they're willing to do what is necessary to act with prudence and caution, and understand the penalties for acting otherwise.

You also might ask, if we're children of God, how can we kill another child of god? We are children of God, yes, and have no right to take the life of another human being. I believe that our lives are gifts from God, and that we must not take that gift from another. There are times when our situation gives us no choice other than taking another life to save our own from imminent destruction. We have the right to defend our lives from being taken by another.

Don't make any mistake, every avenue of nonviolence must be taken or at least considered in resolving such conflicts. The problem is that the person trying to kill us has said that he or she is uninterested in nonviolent conflict resolution. We must then speak the language they understand. This person feels the need to dominate you to the point of having the power of life and death over you. You've done nothing to bring this on yourself, yet someone feels the need to take your life as a display of their strength. If you think that's okay, then by all means allow your life to go unfulfilled and cut short. If you understand the value of your life, your value to those who love you, you will defend yourself, killing when necessary. We have no right to take another's life, and yet there are times we must do just that in order to protect ourselves and those whom we love. This is a religious puzzle that cannot be easily solved without reducing it to the point of absurdity. It's very difficult to show love for God when you have to take the gift He gave another. Is it love for God to throw away your gift of life so another may selfishly take it? No. It is not love for God. We have wasted our gift.

So, what do we do to prevent future situations like this? We must understand that we have no right to take another's life. We must defend ourselves when another person forgets or disregards that understanding. We must accept that we may have to take a life to save the one given to us. We must be responsible for ourselves. I want my right to defend myself to be recognized. I want to be able to defend myself with a concealed handgun. Our legislators must recognize and accept it. We don't need any new laws beyond what is in the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions. Those are enough. When will our elected officials get the message that we're the best at deciding how to defend ourselves? The sooner the local and state governments understand this, we'll all be better off.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hooray for payday!

I was running low on ammunition, only four full boxes left. Seriously, though, I didn't do too badly at Thursday's "bowling" night. I did much better than the previous week, as I found out that I went too fast to get a good sight picture on my second run through the course. So I missed a lot on that one. This time I slowed down and took better aim and I hope it shows in scoring. I also had the opportunity to run some hollow-point bullets through my gun to see if they'll feed well in my gun.

Normally I'll use Blazer Brass/CCI ammunition firing a 180-grain full metal jacket round. My XD40 will feed those all day long unless I do something to interrupt it. Guns are like pets in some ways; they'll accept one bullet type and refuse to feed others. When you find a gun that works with all bullet weights and types in its caliber you rejoice. I changed from a 180-grain full metal jacket round from Blazer Brass/CCI to a 180-grain jacketed hollow-point round from Black Hills Ammunition. They're more expensive because they're 1) a smaller ammunition company and 2) defensive ammo is usually priced higher thanks to market forces.

The XD40 fired off the full magazine of Black Hills without a hitch. That's a good sign as I now know that my handgun works well with defensive ammunition as well as target loads. I also have a fourth company to possibly use when I purchase ammunition. All in all, the shooting has been good to me so far. I look forward to next week.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Wait a minute...

The earth is getting hotter and hotter and there's nothing we can do about it short of turning the middle-class and working-class people of the United States into an unwashed electricity-starved proletariat while people who can afford to buy carbon indulgences (excuse me, carbon offsets) can fly around the world and do as they please. At least this is what I can infer by what rich people with private aircraft say in regards to global warming.

Meanwhile, Illinois is in the middle of a nasty cold snap after a winter that wasn't very pleasant and excessively ice-filled. Usually our temperatures now are in the 60s. It got into the low 30s.

Yeah, I'm taking man-made (that's "anthropogenic" if you like using big words) global warming seriously. Every time Al Gore talks, we freeze. Dear Al: please stop talking. I really hate the cold to begin with, but when you add in cold temperatures with a month that is supposed to get warm quickly, I really wonder if the "All the middle-class white people of America's fault" version of Global Warming is as real as the chattering classes might like it to be.

Tell you rich people with airplanes what: Stop buying carbon offsets as an excuse for your oil-guzzling ways. Sell all your stuff, even your houses and airplanes and things you think you can't live without, and buy the rest of us all of this stuff that will supposedly generate all the electricity we need at the household level. Then spend your money to make sure that we all can convert our current petroleum-using vehicles to flex-fuel hybrids. Eventually, you'll find out you're broke, but hey, you've put your money where your mouth is.

Wait, who am I kidding? "Creating awareness" is enough for these folks to feel self-satisfied. Can't the moral scolds go back to lectures on temperance against Demon Rum?

See, I honestly love the gee-whiz type energy generation technology: wind-power, solar power, geothermal heating, even using otherwise wasted heat energy to power thermophotovoltaic generators, things like that. Sadly, these technological small-scale solutions don't make people feel good when compared to telling someone they should take the bus everywhere and keep the lights and heat off as much as possible. They also don't work great when used individually.

Basically this boils to down to "Show me the money." I don't see our enviro-scolds spending all their money on outfitting the poor and downtrodden with more efficient methods of energy usage. So it makes me wonder if they believe what they say or if they say it to feel good about themselves.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Practical Shooting is the new Bowling Night

When you're good at the various drills and scenarios of practical shooting, you're like poetry in motion. When you're not so good, you're still pretty good. Tonight, I wasn't so good. Even though our match was shot without moving from one station to another, I think I could have done a bit better.

One of the things I enjoy with this sport is the timing aspect. You can compete with others around the country, or you can just try to break your own best time. I'm going for a personal best time before I even think of trying to compete with others.

You can tell who is shooting with a modified handgun and who isn't in most cases. You'll see things like magwells on their guns to enhance magazine loading, the guns will be weighted differently and the barrels will have ports cut into them to reduce recoil. They'll also have some kind of electronic sight system on it. Reducing the trigger pull is also a regular feature of their guns, making it easier to fire the guns. Those folks are the serious racers, but it's doubtful you'd see those people using their heavily-modified pistols in a defense situation. Still, though, if they're good shots with all those extra bits, there is a very good chance the racers are good shots with stock handguns, too.

Most other guys will shoot their weapons in stock configurations. We're either military, ex-military, or law enforcement types who just want to get really really good with the one or two guns we have. Modifications aren't as radical as the racers, with the usual modification being improved regular sights. A lot of us would to be able to afford the modifications to a handgun that would allow us to compete with the racers, but it's just nice sometimes to be able to know how good you are with a stock handgun.

We've got all ages and both sexes in the match. So, yes, you can meet just about anyone there. And the best conversation starter is "So, what are you shooting tonight?"

As for the XD40, it performed well enough. I made a common mistake when I kept my hand on the slide while chambering a round. I had a misfeed due to operator error, but instead of breaking, the slide just locked back until it was cleared. So remember, new shooters, let that slide go forward by itself. You don't need to help it. After that minor bungle, I shot normally. Once I got home, I used some copper solvent on the barrel to remove the build-up that could cause accuracy problems after a while. Copper is softer than steel, so when a jacketed bullet is traveling through the barrel, it will leave a trace of copper on the steel. After over 1000 rounds, I had enough build-up to where you could see it with a flashlight. That problem has now been fixed.

I also recently picked up a Hoppe's Boresnake for my handgun. I'm not sure if it works as advertised or not. I'll have to try it on its own instead of using it in addition to the standard patch-and-brush cleaning.

My shooting was average for me. But it was still more fun than I've had all week at work.