Monday, August 27, 2007

29 Counties in Illinois Stand Against Further Gun Laws

Yes, they're non-binding. The point of the resolutions are to show the governor and the Cook County elected officials that their love of excessive gun laws should stay in Cook County. The board members in Pike and Brown Counties have put their counties on record saying that the Cook County legislators need to stop thinking that their laws work for everyone. All of the gun laws that Governor Blagojevich wants to sign will have a deleterious effect for anyone trying to buy spare parts or extra magazines for their preferred guns.

Using myself as an example, I do competitive practical shooting with handguns at this time and in the future I'd like to expand that to 3-gun matches. 3-Gun matches test your skills with handguns, rifles and shotguns. A full course will have you firing multiple magazines of ammunition from your rifle, so 30-round magazines are a plus. I understand why some Cook County types get antsy around semi-automatic weapons such as the ones based off of the AR-15/M-16 platform. These are built on the same pattern as rifles used by military and police forces. Gangs want these weapons as well, though they'd rather have the fully-automatic versions instead. Contrary to popular belief it is not easy to convert a semi-automatic version of the AR-15 to a select-fire or automatic-only operation. In most cases it's downright impossible without access to a machine shop, and even then you will most likely destroy the lower receiver before you make it a functioning automatic rifle. Nonetheless, these weapons scare the living daylights out of politicians, because of their cosmetic features. It appears that they'll try to restrict the number of rounds fired instead since banning the guns outright is a non-starter. All this does is drive up sales of rifle magazines. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd say the Democrats were getting kickbacks from gunmakers to drive up their sales. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, however.

The main reason Cook County pols do this stuff is to placate their voters. A kid gets shot when criminal activity occurs, the people in said victim's neighborhood go out in front of the cameras and demand that something be done, so the pols put together a law that affects the entire state. Meanwhile, another kid gets shot, and the pols get pressure from religious "community leaders" to ban all guns. The pols try passing a law while another kid gets shot. The pols got those laws passed, so they get re-elected. It doesn't mean that all violence ceases. It just means that more people are unable to defend themselves and get their assailants to back off. Laws which do little to empower the law-abiding get passed and weaken the common people to further predations by criminals. If Cook County wants to force every city, town, and village to be a gun-free community, they need to ensure that the law goes no further than the the Cook County line.

Sangamon County needs to step up and pass a resolution similar to Pike County's resolution. Sangamon County is the home to the state capitol, and it would be a great win for the gun-rights crowd. It might also embolden other counties in Central Illinois to do the same. Seventy counties out of 102 saying "no more" may only be a blip to the politicians who only look out for their neighborhoods, but it's a large enough blip to make them take a second look. The resolution-setting crowd would do well to focus on counties like Sangamon, Macon, McLean and Peoria. Getting these counties on board will help to spread the idea that Cook County needs to police its own messes in its own territory before dictating to others how they should live.

I've only had the pleasure of driving through Pike countys on my way to some Knights of Columbus events in Quincy, though I've wanted to stop by PASA Park to check out its shooting ranges. A trip may be necessary some weekend.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Yesterday I woke up to hear the rather gleeful reporting that a new book about Mother Teresa showed that throughout her life she doubted her faith and even the existence of God. The letters collected in the book show her constant searching for God, only occasionally getting a glimpse of God's presence. The evening news seemed to also take great delight in the fact that the author is a priest who is also her postulant for canonization. Both of the segments devoted to this seemed to throw the idea around that Mother Teresa did not believe in God.

The news segments could not be further from the truth. Mother Teresa still had her faith, even to the end. Though she could not feel God's presence, her work continued unabated. Though decades passed between her feeling the presence of Christ by her side her mission to care for the poor, the dying, the unloved, never wavered. Was this a single-minded devotion to duty, or perhaps a feeling that since she'd been "caught" she should continue the charade? It was not. Every act of kindness, every second spent with one who was ignored, these were her cries to God: please give me a sign of Your existence!

She was asking for her faith to be confirmed, though even Jesus said that no signs except the Resurrection would be seen. In short, Mother Teresa struggled with doubt as all Christians do. We cannot see God, we are constantly amazed by the wonders of science and horrified by the excesses of man against his fellow man and we doubt God's existence. We desperately want a sign given to us so we can say to others "Now you can believe!" We want to be right, and want everyone to know how right we are. We are human and we do not watch ourselves as we envelop ourselves in hubris. This false pride in knowing everything there is to know, and the fear of being wrong leads to doubt God's existence. The motive for belief is questioned and leads to one of many questions on the nature of existence if God does exist.

Faith conquers that doubt. For the faithful, God does exist and though He is not always felt in the believer's life, faith reminds us that he is there. Mother Teresa prayed despite her questioning of her beliefs and motives. She had faith to continue her works and her prayer despite these questions. Mother Teresa had moments of doubt in her life but faith, trust in God, is what kept her going forward. She believed.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bowling Night, 8/23/07

It wasn't a great night in terms of speed and it wasn't a great night in terms of accuracy, either. For once, the steel plate targets decided to cooperate like the poppers and the cardboard targets normally do. I was off my game tonight. Well, there's always next week.
So, the engineers working on the 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis-St. Paul may have found something that caused the bridge to deteriorate faster than it normally would. The result? Pigeon droppings!

I think this calls for learning to shoot trap and skeet in order to help reduce the population of bridge-wrecking birds.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Well, that illegal immigrant who was cooped up in the church in Chicago got arrested and deported for violating a 1997 deportation order. Funny how they didn't catch her going out the door in Chicago, but waited until she was in Los Angeles. She broke the law, why should she not be punished because of it? There's a big difference between being charitable and being taken for a sucker. I think these churches that are providing sanctuary are getting taken for a bunch of suckers. If you're going to live here, follow our rules for becoming a citizen or permanent resident. There are so many new citizens I've seen come to the United States who went through the entire process. Was it tough? I'm sure it was, but they got through it. Maybe that's what it is. Maybe the illegals don't have the strength of will to get through the process.

If that's the case, they know which way is out.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sorry, gang, no Bowling Night report this week. I didn't feel like going. Hopefully I'll get a chance to head out to the nearby range for some further work with the AR and the .22
Dutch Bishop Suggests Calling God "Allah"

Okay, clearly Pope Benedict needs to have a talk with this guy. The Arabic word for God is "Allah," and it's heard regularly in Masses. Those Masses do happen to be held entirely in Arabic, though. His suggestion makes it sound like Catholics in his diocese should be using "Allah" in place of the Dutch word for God. Funny how that just happens to be "God." Mind you, this bishop also advocates stealing bread if you're hungry. Here's the problem. He doesn't exactly give the circumstances where it's acceptable, and he should at least refer to Scripture and the relevant parts of canon law and the Catechism. His stance on using condoms to prevent AIDS is troubling as well, if only that he should properly teach the virtues and practice of chastity, continence and abstinence. I think he's mistaken popularity for authority, and in my opinion he'd rather stir up controversy through sound bites than stir it up by actually sticking to Catholic teachings. If he wants to be on television so much, he should do it by preaching the Truth that is Jesus Christ. That will provide more than enough controversy for anti-religious media producers.

If you'll also notice, he manages to annoy both Muslim and Protestant alike with his advice. Great job, Bishop Muskens! Yes, exacerbate the problems between Muslims and Christians with this statement, and expand the rift between Catholics and Protestants.

Bishop Muskens needs some Papal guidance in the manner of wall-to-wall counseling. I do hope that he will receive that guidance. We have enough troubles in our Church as it is, and this just adds something new to it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

SJ-R.COM - Capitalism did its job well, but it’s time for change

I have only one major question about this article: What is his alternative to capitalism?

Would he like there to be central planning of some sort as envisioned by the numerous production boards and agencies created during World War II?

What will he do if people who don't think like him wind up running his alternative system? In fact, what will he do if these central planners should turn out to think that his wants should be lower priority than someone else's wants? I think the writer has mistaken his wants for "needs." He'd much rather start class warfare than offer any real alternatives by name.

It does not appear to me that the author has fully thought out the consequences and possibilities that might occur should an alternative to capitalism be put into place. The writer may consider himself to be "progressive," but he's only putting forward a jealous rant instead of offering an actual idea in there. If he wants socialism and government-enforced equality and equal amounts of misery, he should say so. If he wants better management of tax dollars, he should say so.

Also, I would suggest that you avoid the reader comments. There are a lot of commenters who would rather sling hyperbolic statements around than actually comment on the article. That's about all I can say about the reader comments and still be charitable about it. Comments like the ones usually found in the Journal-Register's reader comments sections make me wonder when the people in my hometown decided to lower their collective skill in grammar.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

This is not the proper way to handle a gun in an IPSC match.

It's so wrong, yet so funny. It's looks like it's Sweden's version of Reno 911, a movie called "Kopps."
Bowling Night, August 9th Edition

Shooting left-handed is working better than I expected. When I first got my gun and brought it to the range, my shooting was awful, as it should be when you haven't touched a gun in over 10 years. You're going to be rusty.

As time went on, I saw that I wasn't getting any better. Was I just a naturally lousy shot, or was there something else? Well, one of the guys at the range suggested that I might be cross-eye dominant, that even though I was left-handed, my right eye was my primary focusing eye. I switched to shooting right-handed and suddenly my accuracy increases almost overnight. The range owner hooks me up with the local IPSC shooting club, and I start shooting competitively.

Well, there's a huge difference in being able to line up a shot on a static range and being able to line up a good shot when you're moving and trying to move from target to target quickly. My practical shooting was dismal. So, I checked my eye dominance again.

I'd either switched to left-eye dominance or I may not have been right-eye dominant at all. I think my scores jumped about ten to twenty percent in one week, and tonight's session just reinforced it. I'm shooting southpaw again.

One of the upsides is I now have two holsters that fit my gun should my eye dominance change. The other is that while I'm not great with my right-hand shooting I won't miss every single shot if I have to shoot right-handed. I do feel good that I've been able to increase my scores, too. The past two shooting sessions have been very good for me.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bowling Night, 8/2/07

It seems all I needed to do was clean out the magazine which gave me such trouble last week, and it works fine again. I used it during the competition and there were no hangups. I ran three sessions, and my second seemed to be best. I now have enough qualifier matches to get ranked nationally. I have a feeling I'll be closer to the bottom of the pack than the top, but that's what happens unless you go into the competition with only a few months of regular shooting activity under your belt. I also fired some of the Black Hills jacketed hollow point rounds as well, mostly to make sure they still fed properly. I could easily see using these as self-defense ammunition, as they work great in my gun.

Of course, the chance to pick up any of my preferred Blazer Brass ammo dried up before I got to the local Wal-Mart, as everyone who fires my gun realizes how good it is. So, I got the second option, Winchester's 165-grain full metal jacket rounds. They're a decent target round, but they always leave soot or something close to it in my gun. It's very dirty ammunition.

Of course, if I was really into the competition beyond what I am, I'd have a reloading bench set up. Someday I'll be able to do that, but for now, no.