Sunday, December 31, 2006

Brazenly Passing the Buck

If you think the country's going to hell in a handbasket, and you wonder just why that is, then look no further than the attitudes expressed in this op-ed piece in today's Chron...

The nonstory of 2006 was also the nonstory of 2005. It is a nonstory every year going back decades. Yet the number of people who die in car crashes in the United States is staggering, even if it is absent from the agenda of most public officials and largely ignored by the public.


Elected officeholders naturally take the path of least resistance. They are well aware that significantly reducing deaths on the roads requires radical solutions in the form of regulation, investment and enforcement. Roads need to be made safer, for example, by extending guardrails and medians to every mile of busy highways. Speeding and aggressive driving need to be much more rigorously controlled. Trucks need to be separated from automobiles wherever possible. And cars need to be built slower and stronger.

But every solution is readily opposed by someone: manufacturers, industrial unions, truckers, consumers, taxpayers — though all are potential victims themselves. The public is not to blame. It is hemmed in on every side by mind-numbing advertising and shouted stories of the moment. Apparently no medium is willing to bludgeon people — as they need to be — with statistics and trends on the dangers facing them every time they set out in their automobiles.

"The public is not to blame" for the fact that so many people in that aforementioned public lose their lives each year. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over? Just who does this character think is doing the driving here? Who's made the conscious choice to develop the bad driving habits that cause that high number of fatalities? Talking on the cell phone while you drive? Putting on makeup? Eating? Fiddling with the cd player? (And the list goes on...) Not the public's fault, my ass. It would seem that common sense has gone right out the window. Call me crazy, but even before I took any kind of physics class I had a pretty good idea, for example, that if I drove too fast in the rain or if I smacked into an 18-wheeler head on, bad things would happen, especially in the latter case if I was driving anything smaller than an 18-wheeler myself. I guess not everyone has the intuition to figure things like this out for themselves, but this absolving people of personal responsibility has got to stop. Lack of government regulation isn't the problem. People making bad decisions and developing bad habits is the problem. If people die for their bad habits and decisions, then so be it. They are the ones responsible for that. Period. Full Stop. End Of Story. The road this professor is leading us down is the road to a European socialist nanny-state.
"But if it saves one life, it's worth it..."
No. No it isn't. Not if the cost of saving that one life is even an iota more of our freedom and self-determination as a people. True freedom includes the freedom to make bad choices, and the responsibility to own up to them. You forfeit the responsibility, you forfeit the freedom...and you do it as an individual, not as a collective. That is the only way our free society will be able to sustain itself.
Hey, there's an idea for our New Year's resolution as a people...resolve to take individual responsibility for our choices and not pass the buck. What a radical concept!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Refreshing Article from the Chron

Interesting article in this morning's Chronicle...

After more than 20 years of writing crime and other stories for the Houston Chronicle, I was accustomed to holding nothing more lethal than a pen.

I never shot a gun or contemplated aiming at a human target. But now I like to jestingly suggest that I'm due some sort of combat pay after taking a bullet, albeit a plastic one, at the Harris County sheriff's firearms training complex. I was there to learn how deputies make split-second decisions on the use of deadly force.

I would now tend to take exception to English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton's famous quotation about the pen being mightier than the sword, or in this case, a semiautomatic Glock loaded with a 9 mm plastic bullet. It travels at 375 feet per second and can hurt. If it had been a real bullet, it could have had permanent consequences.

I actually heard only one of the two shots fired at me during the training exercise in which a KPRC (Channel 2) reporter and I searched a mock trailer for a possible intruder. But I couldn't miss the sting in my leg muscle when the bullet hit. It left an instantaneous knot that soon developed into a softball-sized, rainbow-colored bruise just below my knee — and a lasting impression that one who hesitates is lost.

During one moment of hesitation, I stood passively as my partner was fatally stabbed by a vagrant who had been rousted from a park bench. In my other two confrontations, I failed to fire in one instance and my shots only hit a concrete wall in the other. The criminals were more accurate, and I would have been killed.

The trainer scolded me for freezing, "If someone has a knife and is 21 feet away, you don't have time to pull your weapon from its holster to fire before you're stabbed."

But somehow I had anticipated having dialogue and then some sort of negotiations.

I think it would be very interesting to see how many laypeople out there -- defined as those who have no experience with guns and don't ponder the ins and outs of armed confrontation -- anticipate the same thing, or that they won't be fast enough, or actually believe the anti-gun-bigot propaganda that "your opponent will just take your gun and use it against you." In any event, I thought it was great to see an article such as this in a media outlet like the Chronicle. Refreshingly free of bias, and an honest look at how real confrontations go down, in a split-second with justthatmuchtime to think about and do what you're going to do, a piece that drives home the truism that you have to know how to actually use your gun -- you have to have the combat mindset -- if it's going to do you any good. Perhaps a few more people who harshly judge good men and women who carry -- and, God forbid, sometimes have to use their weapon -- will now think twice before Monday morning quarterbacking and second-guessing those who defend themselves with firepower. Kudos to the Chronicle and Cindy Horswell for this article.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Scratching the 1911 Itch, Again...

Somebody said once that 1911s were like "gun crack," and they weren't kiddin', you buy one, then you gotta have another, then another and before you know it your safe's full of 'em. Not that that's a bad thing, of course!
I've been lusting after one of the Springfield Loaded 1911s for a while, I guess ever since I decided that I wanted a 1911 about a year ago. Couldn't find one through my dealer, so I took his GI and it's been a great gun, one I'll never part with, but I'd look at this one from time to time on the Springfield website, the parkerized Custom Loaded, and think, aahhh, but I'd love to have one of those. So a couple of weeks ago I went to my dealer and told him, "See if you can find me one of the Springer Loaded models with the parked finish." A few days later he told me he'd found one, and then a week ago yesterday, I went and picked her up. A few days ago, I went out and picked up a set of Hogue rubber wraparounds to put on her, and, well, here she is...

And another view...

Skeletonized hammer & adjustable trigger, fixed night sights, ambi safety, which is good, because I am a lefty. I was surprised it came with an unramped barrel, but then the 1911 has survived this long without it, so it's no big deal. We'll see how she runs with hollow points later on. She runs with ball pretty good, though. Went to the range last Wednesday with 100 rounds of 230-grainers, very accurate and nary a malfunction, although I had just the standard grips on her at the time and with no front checkering, the grip can get a little slick. But I'm not a fan of any kind of checkering anyway, as it can get pretty abrasive after a while, and I had planned to get the Hogues anyway. We'll be making another trip this weekend, and I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Yes, Many Of Us Knew This, But...

it's still good to see it in print.
From today's Beaumont Enterprise:

Guns used in violent crimes - like the seven shootings in the past 30 days in Beaumont and Port Arthur - rarely are obtained legitimately.
The majority are stolen from homes and peddled in clandestine transactions for a song, said Bart Mora, Beaumont agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"A gun stolen out of your nightstand that you paid $400 for, might sell for $25 or $30 on the street corner," Mora said.
Criminals also barter favors and drugs for firearms, he said.
Burglaries at sporting goods stores, pawn shops and gun stores also supply illicit firearms, said Lt. Pat Powell who leads the Port Arthur police gang unit.
"(Those licensed to sell firearms) are very rarely the problem," Mora said. "They tend to be a strongly self-policing group, and we'll get called if one of them is selling guns without doing background checks."

Rememeber that the next time you hear one of the various Chicken Little gun bigots talking about manufacturers and dealers "flooding our streets with guns," as Chicago mayor Richard Daley so artfully put it once. Various surveys and statistics all point to the very same conclusion, that is, that the manufacturers and dealers are not the problem, but the criminals themselves.
And here's something to remember the next time you hear one of these nanny-staters bleating about the so-called "lax gun laws" we operate under:

Powell agreed that gun laws are not behind the never-ending supply of street guns.
"I'm in favor of an armed populace. We're not afraid of a good guy with a gun," he said. "It's just that you have people that all they, 24 hours a day, is commit crimes."

Straight from the horse's mouth, folks, there you have it -- from someone who deals with crime perpetrated with guns on a daily basis, the gun laws aren't the problem.
Of course, once again we already knew this, but it's good to see it acknowledged by someone on the front lines...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Yes, I Am Still Here!

Where have I been, you ask? ;-) Well...
Long weekend.
Much partying.
Very little sleep. Must catch up.
More bloggage to come for you fine people in the next couple of days...thank you for checking in!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Another Brady Lie? Say It Isn't So!

Via THR, once again comes this article, with this whopper of a fabrication from HCI spokesperson Jennifer Bishop:

A gun rights group says the victims of Friday's tragic Loop shooting rampage might still be alive if law abiding citizens were allowed to carry concealed weapons. Richard Pearson of the Illinois State Rifle Association believes armed office workers, might have stopped it.
"If a person had concealed carry, a lot of people might be around that would be near enough to prevent such a thing," Pearson said.
Pearson says the three men who died Friday were shot like "fish in a barrel."
"Which means the fish don't have a chance, because those workers were absolutely defenseless," he said.
Pearson's group proposes an Illinois concealed carry law that would allow people to carry guns after they undergo firearms training, and pass an FBI background check. Then they would get a state license to be armed at all times.
The Illinois group says with more guns, crime would go down. It has happened, they say, in other states.
But a member of the gun control group, The Brady Campaign, disagrees.
"In all those places where we've seen this, we've seen concealed carry permit holders that have become criminals because they act on impulse," said Jennifer Bishop.

This is an out-and-out lie, and these people know it. I know well that they will resort to just about anything to demonize those of us who advocate the right to carry arms, but this is beyond the pale. And what's worse, the reporter seens to let this brazen lie go virtually unchallenged. I am once again flabbergasted that there are still people out there who do not think that the Brady Campaign is all about banning all guns and banning gun ownership, and that they are just as extremist as Josh Sugarmann and his hysterical gang at the Violence Policy Center. And what's even more maddening is the fact that they make such patently false, unsupported statements with nothing to back them up, and they're never called on it by the supposed watchdogs. Sickening, just absolutely sickening.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

More Gasoline on the Fire

Via Firehand, who's now saying Kathryn Johnston was murdered, and I can't say I disagree with his assessment, comes this...

Police were led to the home of Kathryn Johnston, the elderly Atlanta woman killed by officers in a drug raid, by a man who was arrested only three hours earlier for allegedly selling marijuana, according to a police report.
He told police there was a kilogram of cocaine in Johnston's home, according to the report, which was made public Thursday.


Markel Hutchins, an activist who has become a spokesman for Johnston's family, said the family "vehemently denies" knowing Sheats.
"They have no clue who he is. Never heard of him at all. This is yet another story that comes out of the Atlanta Police Department," Hutchins said. "The reality, there was no cocaine found there. This whole notion that there were drugs in her house is wrong."

Most of the time I am loath to believe the word of some aggrieved activist over the word of the authorities, but with all that's gone on in Atlanta with Kathryn Johnston, well, I'm just not so sure anymore. The fate this woman suffered would have been horrifyingly unjust even without everything that's come out about this case, but this just makes it that much worse. Heads should roll and certain, ahem, policies should be re-evaluated, but we all know they won't be because drugs 'r' bad, m'kay? And if it saves just one life, it's worth it, m'kay, and Kathryn Johnston shouldn't have had that gun anyway, m'kay?, As nonsensical as that sounds, we all know there are far too many people who believe it, far too many of whom are in some position of authority. Incidentally, it would have been very interesting indeed to see what Mayor Richard Daley's reaction (and that of his puppet down in Springfield) would have been had this happened in Chicago, where Kathryn Johnston's revolver would been yet another "illegal" gun...

"...Is the best of the free life behind us now, and are the good times really over for good?"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Must-See Video

Via Michael Bane and Beth over at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, we have this. Enjoy! I know I did.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tragedy in East Texas

From this morning's Houston Chronicle:

She did not reciprocate his romantic affections, but Sam Houston State University cheerleader Rachel Pendray never turned away from Jake Taylor.
When Taylor, 24, tried to kill himself with sleeping pills last month, she called medical help to his home in time to save his life. And when Taylor showed up at Pendray's Huntsville apartment late Sunday, she let him in.
After the two spoke alone in a bedroom for a while, Pendray's roommates heard gunfire. Police later forced their way into the locked bedroom to find Taylor had shot Pendray to death before turning a gun on himself.

I've always hated to see things like this, but even more so since I became a gun owner and, if you will, more aware of the fact that evil walks among us. After things like this, I always wonder how long it'll take until the various and sundry gun-grabbers out there will latch on to them and call for ever more restrictions on the people least likely to do things like this. The article says the murderer tried to kill himself with sleeping pills twice, and that he suffered from depression after he was dropped from the baseball team at Spring Woods High School. Whatever the case may be, the ball was dropped somewhere along the line, and there was arguably little that could have been done to stop this from happening once this guy walked through her door. If it hadn't been with a gun, it would have been with a knife, or perhaps even a blunt object like an iron pipe or a baseball bat. Of course, I suppose many of you who read my ramblings are well aware of all this, and of the fact that if Rachel Pendray had a gun and had the knowledge and willingness to use it, it might well have been just Jake Taylor with the bullet in him, instead of both of them. Many people talk of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, but if we're really going to make any headway reducing violent acts like this one, there's going to have to be a massive paradigm shift among the American public, one that calls for arming and training the good people so they can defend themselves against the bad people. And there were signs that Taylor had malevolent intentions...

The young woman's roommates, all members of Zeta Tau Alpha, told university life personnel that Taylor's interest in Pendray "was an obsession-type thing," said Sam Houston State's director of public relations, Frank Krystyniak.
Many became unnerved by Taylor's interest in Pendray. Jesse Chambers, who lives in the apartment complex where the shooting occurred, said one of Pendray's roommates thought Taylor was starting to act somewhat like a stalker.

...and furthermore, Pendray was prohibited by federal law from arming herself. Per the Gun Control Act of 1968, she would have to have been 21 to buy a firearm from a federally licensed dealer. Perhaps that option crossed her mind, but now we'll never know. It's too late for Rachel Pendray, but if there's anyone out there reading this who has little girls, I beg of you...teach them the dangers of this world and how to defend themselves. If not for you, if not for them, then do it for Rachel Pendray and all those like her who remained too unaware...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another Lesson from the Death of Kathryn Johnston

No doubt everyone knows by now about the tragic death of Kathryn Johnston, the 92-year-old Georgia woman who opened fire on officers after Atlanta police performed a no-knock raid on her home on suspicion drug deals were going down in the house. The news is slowly emerging that Ms. Johnson, God rest her soul, may well have been gunned down for a prevarication:

Atlanta police Chief Richard Pennington confirmed Monday that the informant now claims police asked him to lie about his role in an alleged drug buy that led to the shooting.
The informant, who has not been identified, complained to department officials that the drug investigators involved in the bust had asked him to go along with a story they concocted after the shooting, said Pennington. He said the informant had been placed in protective custody.
The informant told an Atlanta television station that the officers asked him to lie to provide them cover in the shooting.
Pennington confirmed the television station's account of what the informant had claimed and said it mirrored what the informant had told his internal affairs unit over the weekend.

Several other bloggers, among them David Codrea, Firehand and Tam, have already provided excellent commentary on this whole situation and some of the issues that desperately need to be discussed because of it -- the the overreliance on SWAT and tactics like no-knock raids, the utter futility on the War On Some Drugs, the police mistakes making the general public more likely to distrust them. As for me, though, I've been thinking about it from a slightly different perspective.
We all know just how successful the War On Some Drugs has been; they could send a bunch of teenagers with slingshots up against the 101st Air Assault Division and the teenagers would fare better against the 101st than the drug warriors have against drugs in this country, all things considered. We should have learned this lesson back during Prohibition, but, of course, we haven't, and we all see where it's gotten us, with Kathryn Johnston being only the latest victim.
It's bad, oh yes, it's very bad...but can you imagine, just how much worse it would be, if these kinds of tactics were employed (and you know they damn sure would be) in the aftermath of any kind of gun ban and confiscation? We all know (or at least we should) that untold amounts of weaponry would be squirreled away in the leading up to such an order, and we all know just what would happen during (and after) any kind of resistance, organized or not. The War On Some Drugs has indeed turned into a clusterfuck of epic proportions, but if they went after guns like they did drugs in the aftermath of a federal gun ban with no grandfathering, comparing the escalated War On Guns to the War On Some Drugs as it is today would be akin to comparing the storming of the beaches of Normandy to a holdup on the New York subway. It would be a nightmare, unlike anything we've ever seen in this country, at least on a widespread scale. My prediction? The morgues would fill up, likely with many innocent people. And, of course, so would the prisons. We just think we have prison overcrowding now. My money says we ain't seen nothin' yet, and God forbid we ever go down that road. No doubt the economy would tank, and society would go down the tubes as increasing numbers of people distrusted police more and more until they got to the point of seeing the police as the enemy. We'd likely see civil war (and not these tempest-in-a-teapot skirmishes the media are now calling "civil war" in Iraq, either.) And the Bradys, the VPC and their ilk have shown no sign of giving a damn about any of the possibilities, either. A pox on all their houses. I renewed my NRA membership today, and a membership in Gun Owners of America is in my future...I hope it's in yours, too, if you're not already a member (or an NRA member, for that matter). I would much, much rather be fighting these people on the state and federal government levels. And I know the NRA is a damn sight far from perfect...but change begins with us.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

More Cracks in the Rationality Facade at the New York Times

So I was doing the blog run earlier today, and I saw this little snippet, from the New York Times, The Old and Decrepit Gray Lady of American journalism, as they call her, from an editorial lambasting Senator George Allen for his bill to permit concealed carry in America's national parks:

America’s confusion about the Second Amendment is now nearly total. An amendment that ensures a collective right to bear arms has been misread in one legislature after another — often in the face of strong public disapproval — as a law guaranteeing an individual’s right to carry a weapon in public. And, in a perversion of monumental proportions, the battle to extend that right has largely succeeded in co-opting the language of the Civil Rights movement, so that depriving an American of the right to carry a gun in public sounds, to some, as offensive as stripping him of the right to vote. Senator Allen’s bill is, of course, being cheered by the gun lobby, which sees it not as an assault on public safety but as a way of nationalizing the armed paranoia that the National Rifle Association and its cohorts stand for.

Where to start? Well, how about at the beginning.
I'd like to know just exactly how many Constitutional scholars are on the New York Times' payroll, because they're presenting this "collective right" horseshit like it's set in stone, and that just isn't true. As Jeff at Alphecca points out, even more liberal, anti-gun scholars such as Laurence Tribe and Alan Dershowitz have come to advocate the individual rights viewpoint. Of the so-called "scholars" who have espoused the whole "collective rights" nonsense, I can think of AT LEAST TWO who have been thoroughly discredited as outright frauds -- Michael Bellesiles and Saul Cornell. And of a third, Dave Kopel once wrote that Chief Justice Warren Burger's article in Parade magazine on the Second Amendment represented, "in a sense, the high-water mark for anti-Second Amendment 'scholarship.'" Kopel also links to an article in which he outlines fully six United States Supreme Court decisions affirming the individual rights viewpoint of the Second Amendment. So there goes Pravda-on-Hudson's feverish ranting about "a collective right to bear arms."
Now about this "perversion of monumental proportions," as they call it, of effectively casting self-defense as a civil right. What can one really say to that? My God, these people are living in a fantasy world! Not that any of that is news, of course, but I am continually amazed by just how whong these ivory-tower leftists are about so many things. I've spelled it out before, and so have many other people, but I was reading IMAO the other day, and I saw this response from Frank J. to Michael Moore concering a certain part of a manifesto of sorts published on Moore's website:

What are a bunch of unarmed people to criminals? Targets.
I thought even liberals gave up on the idea that the way to make people safe is to make them helpless. There is no greater right than that of self-defense, and I would trade my freedom of speech to continue being able to carry a gun.
And then I'd take my freedom of speech back because I have a gun.

And for "freedom of speech," you can substitute any other freedom protected in the Bill of Rights. I believe it was Mao Tse-tung who said that all political power comes from the barrel of a gun, and as bad as I hate to give credit to a murderous dictator, he was absolutely right. It's just too bad the editors of the New York Times can't see that (or refuse to see it) from their lofty, insulated cocoon.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Few Words on an Old Debate: Glock vs. 1911

I know this one's been hashed out on blogs and Internet gunboards perhaps an infinite number of times, but a couple of posts from Porta's Cat and JR got me to thinking yet again, most notably PC's reference to the "1911 Kool-Aid drinkers."
Glocks are no doubt great pistols. Reliable straight out of the box and will eat just about anything you put through them, reasonably accurate, and you can't ask for much more from a combat pistol than that.
Now, you'll notice I did NOT say, "you could not ask for ANYTHING more than that." Because, well, you can, and that's where the 1911 slams the ball out of the park. What are those things? Ergonomics and a good trigger -- although if you think about it, I guess a good trigger IS part of the ergonomic package. Glocks are great pistols indeed, but they feel like bricks in my hand and with that striker-fire system, the trigger feels so damned spongy it feels like shooting a water gun. Perhaps that package is an acquired taste, something to get used to (no doubt it would be worth it with the plastic pistol's reliability), but I do so tire of the Glock fanboys who pooh-pooh the 1911 design simply because it's "old" and "unreliable." As PC points out, the 1911 is a pistol designed for ball ammunition and is noted for feeding issues (although I've heard here and there that issue is at least mitigated with a ramped barrel). I know very well that buying a 1911 can be a dicey endeavor; my Springfield GI had to go back to Geneseo for a new extractor and my Kimber Tac Ultra II had feeding issues with ball ammo (I eventually found out the problem was a weak spring in one of the three mags I got). Knock on wood, my Stainless Target II 10mm has yet to hiccup and I've just about it gotten it broken in with around 370 rounds through it so far, though, once again, with that one the real test is gonna come when I start putting real 10mm ammo through it instead of this slightly-hotter-than-.40Short&Weak through it. It handled the Silvertips (at about 1240 fps) with nary a problem. But I digress. People raise hell about the 1911's issues, and rightly so, but I would be willing to bet that outside of magazine-related issues, the vast majority of the problems that spring forth with modern-day 1911 pistols are due to deviations from JMB's original design...varying barrel lengths, external extractors, alloy frames, tighter tolerances, etc. Now, that's not to say that a stock 1911 built to JMB's original specs with a ramped, throated and polished barrel is going to be a Glock-reliable weapon, but it'd be interesting to see how close it came. As for me, right now, though, I'll admit that it's my Ruger P90 sitting in the nightstand loaded for goblin with 230-grain Hydra-Shok. That's more due to money issues than anything else, though, i.e., I don't have the money to run ~500 rounds of quality hollowpoints through any of my 1911s like they say you should to be reasonably enough sure that it works. I didn't even run that much through the P90, though...I've put perhaps 100 rounds of HS (and maybe 100 more of Winchester 230-grain JHP) through it and it works fine. But then, the P90 has a hell of a reputation for durability, one I'll surely vouch for -- and have before. I've heard it said that if it won't feed in a Ruger, it just won't feed. Back to the 1911, though, I know that getting one to work right can indeed be a trial-and-error process, and many people don't have the time for that. Such is the nature of the beast, I suppose, but it doesn't have to be like that. I would absolutely love to see how widespread these reliability issues are -- and not just going by anecdotal evidence on Internet gun boards. They can be reliable to an extent, but then, the bashers (of both the Glock AND the 1911) will come out of the woodwork always; that's the nature of THAT beast, and it can't be avoided. As for right now, I know I wouldn't have any problem carrying that little Kimber with 230-grain ball ammo (again, haven't tested it with JHPs), never mind the plastic pistol worshippers.
(Oh, and Porta's Cat? If you read this, I don't mean to sound like I was calling you out or calling you any derisive names. I don't worship at the altar of John Moses Browning...I just think his pistol is the best design for me.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

National Ammo Day, and Sightseeing at Shooters

As my luck would have it, I had to work Sunday and was going out of town Saturday, so I thought I'd just make my National Ammo Day purchase early. So Friday afternoon I fired up the truck and rode up to Shooters Supply to pick up some. I had my eyes on more 10mm for the Kimber...I could have gotten the Blazer cheaper at Academy, but I also wanted more 10mm brass for when I start reloading after the first of the year. So I went in and picked up 100 rounds of 180-grain Federal American Eagle. (Why, why, whyyy don't they give us 10mm folks full-power ammo?!?!) I looked toward the back of the store...and what did I see? One of these...

That's right, a Barrett M82A1 .50BMG, live and in the metal! I've heard quite a lot about this legendary rifle but had never actually seen one in person. It was really cool...if I could have stayed longer, I'd have asked the folks there what they knew about it, if they'd ever shot one. Could I afford it? God, but I only wish. I do love the way they advertised it, though...

Cost - about the same as a good used pickup or a new 4-wheeler. But, everybody already has a pickup and a 4-wheeler, right?

I gotta say, I got a kick out of that. ;-)You'll have to call 'em if you wanna know how much it is; I don't know that they want it advertised, but I will say it's right in line with what I thought it'd be, with that scope and case. I seriously wish I could afford one on general principle alone, though. I have an enormous amount of respect for Ronnie Barrett after what he did when the LAPD sent one of their M82A1s back for repair. Would that all gun manufacturers anted up like that.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Judicial Malpractice; or, Yet Another RCOB Moment

Via THR, comes this, from Dunn, North Carolina:

A Dunn man was found not guilty yesterday by a Harnett County Superior Court Jury in a controversial shooting.
Brad Hines, 33, was acquitted of a charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflicting serious injury.
Mr. Hines was charged with the Aug. 1, 2005 shooting of Robert Surles, 43, of Dunn at Mr. Surles' auto body shop.
A service manager for Perry Brothers Tire Service, Mr. Hines testified he was attacked by Mr. Surles and an unknown, armed black male while attempting to collect a debt owed his employer.
Mr. Hines testified that Mr. Surles attacked him with a board and the other man drew a gun on him.
Mr. Hines said he pulled a handgun, for which he has a permit, and fired a single shot in self-defense, wounding Mr. Surles.
In an October 2005 hearing, District Court Judge Marcia Stewart found no probable cause for the charge against Mr. Hines.
But Senior Assistant District Attorney Peter Strickland decided to press on with the case and secured a grand jury indictment against Mr. Hines.

After the verdict was read, Judge Ammons gave Mr. Hines some advice.
"Take that concealed weapon permit and turn it in to the Sheriff's Office - you don't need it," Judge Ammons said. "If the gun is returned to you, go sell it. You don't need it."
Mr. Strickland told Judge Ammons he wants the gun destroyed.
Judge Ammons convened a hearing to decide the matter.
"In a hearing before a judge, the weapon can either be returned to the defendant or I can order the firearm turned over to the sheriff and destroyed," Judge Ammons said.
Mr. Hayes defended Mr. Hines' right to keep his firearm.
"The court heard the evidence, Mr. Hines is in lawful possession and has a legal permit," Mr. Hayes said. "You're destroying a $600 to $800 gun which belongs to someone who has never committed a violent crime and you've heard testimony of his good character and reputation."
"We have heard the evidence and Mr. Hines took a firearm into a situation late at night where he knew it might be used," Mr. Strickland said. "The state is concerned a similar incident might happen again."
After hearing arguments from both sides, Judge Ammons ruled the firearm be turned over to Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins and destroyed.

A song lyric from the great Merle Haggard comes to mind: "Are we rollin' downhill like a snowball headed for hell, with no kind of chance for the flag or the Liberty Bell..."
And when I see stories like this, especially in a place like North Carolina, the answer to the Hag's question can't be any other than a resounding yes. Call it senseless if you will, but to me that's far too kind. What this judge and prosecutor did to this citizen was downright criminal. You wonder why people lose faith in the judicial system? Because of cases like this. I am just at a complete loss for words here. It's wrong, unjust, immoral, and everything else, and if there were any justice left in the world, this judge and prosecutor would be held accountable and punished for what they've done. I must commend Mr. Hines for showing superhuman restraint...if I'd had some unelected black-robed elite talk to me like that, to say the least I'd have really given them the what-for. With both barrels, so to speak. I hope for his sake this isn't the end of this horrible story, but we will see.

More (Late) Music Thoughts: Time Changes Everything...

I really should read Jack Sparks more than I do...
Via Scott Chaffin, The Fat Guy, comes this, the Sparkster's running commentary on the latest CMA Awards show. As with all his other running commentaries on the awards in years before, I found myself laughing and nodding my head in agreement. My attitude, though, is a good bit different than his -- as opposed to his outright hostility, mine is more or less yawning indifference, with at least a couple of exceptions. I really liked Brooks & Dunn's earlier stuff, and it's still good...but more recently, I just find myself yawning as I change the station whenever they come on. I'm sure there are more than a few people who would say that with few exceptions, the best stuff from the albums (from every artist, not just Brooks & Dunn) isn't released to radio, and I'd definitely agree with that. So I suppose they're still making halfway decent music, but, for example, "Play Something Country" was just more of the same old tired turbo-tonk that pretty much ran its course about 1996 or so, and "Believe" was a pretty good song as far as lyrics go, but quite underwhelming as a record. Now that I think about it, the only consistently good Brooks & Dunn album I heard was 1993's Hard Workin' Man. ("Mexican Minutes" remains, to my mind, the best song they ever recorded, and ironically enough Kix Brooks was singing lead on that one.) I guess being exposed to so much of the music that came out before Hot New Country exploded out of the gate in the early 1990s pretty much ruined the appeal of a lot of the music from 1995 on for me. At one point about six years ago, I had most of Kenny Chesney's then-current output, but once I heard Pat Green and Cory Morrow it went back to the used-cd store, and I never did like Rascal Flatts. As a matter of fact, I heartily despise them. I think they and bands like them pretty much encapsulate everything that's wrong with mainstream country music; as some people might say, they make "country music for people who don't like country music," and the same could well be said for people like Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban, too, no matter how talented the latter might be with his guitar.
As for Alan Jackson "having the good sense to work with Alison Krauss," well, I would have believed that was a sensible move on his part if he'd actually made a bluegrass record instead of whatever the hell it was his latest cd could be called. I really, really hesitate to call it crap, because I don't want to think anything Alan Jackson recorded could really descend to that level, but from what I heard of it, I didn't deem it worth spending my money on, and that's about as charitable as I can be as far as that goes. Someday he "might grow into it," I suppose, but then again I could never, ever see George Jones doing anything like what Alan did with Alison Krauss, and the same goes for Alan. It just doesn't fit him, and quite honestly I don't think it ever will. Alan's a honky-tonker, pure country plain and simple, and that's all he'll ever be and all he needs to be. He needs to get back to that. One would think he'd have learned from George Strait. I'm all for taking chances and shaking things up, but I'd rather have seen that bluegrass record, or maybe even a Western swing album, although on second thought that last one's probably more up the Strait man's alley.
Am I still a mainstream country music fan? I don't know if you could call me that so much anymore. It seems my radio is always on the classic country and classic rock stations now, and while I do still tune in to country radio regularly, it seems nowadays there's much less that gets me even halfway excited. As the old song goes, time changes everything, indeed it does...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ruminations on Ruger Revolvers

As it happens, most of my defensive sidearms have been semi-autos. I was drawn to the capacity advantages more than anything else, which is why the first one was the Ruger P89, with its 15-round capacity. I eventually discovered the joys of the revolver, though, and even in this day and age, where the high-tech high-capacity polymer autopistols seem to be popping up everywhere you look (even Wilson Combat's gotten into the combat tupperware game), there's still much to be said for a good wheelgun made of American steel (or any steel, for that matter). Engineered to handle much more powerful cartridges (though I've said before that I would not feel undergunned with full-house 10mm), and about as complicated as a stone axe, just to name a couple of things.
So a few months ago I picked myself up a medium-frame .357, a stainless-steel Ruger GP-100, with the 4" barrel. Everyone says Smith & Wesson is more or less the gold standard for revolvers; indeed, over at THR not long ago, this thread discussed how a couple of guys at one range made fun of one shooter because he had a Ruger and not one of the aforementioned S&Ws. I don't have any personal experiences with the S&W revolvers, but I'm here to tell you that the GP-100 is surely nothing to be ashamed of. Like all Ruger guns, it's built like a tank. Most revolvers wil eat anything you feed them, of course (it's just the way they were designed), but I seem to recall a story of a Ruger GP-100 actually surviving a double-charge. Based on my experience with the gun, I'd believe it, too, though I surely don't want to test it!

I've put about 400 or so rounds through it, equally divided between 125-grain .357 softpoint and 130-grain .38 Special fmj. Recoil's not quite as bad as a snubbie, though it's still pretty sharp. My accuracy with it still leaves a lot to be desired, but I love that gun. Something tells me my great-great grandkids will, too.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

This Does Not Compute

A comment on a post at The Gun Nut...(emphasis mine --ed.)

Gun control with Democrats is a truism. The Party believes its a voter issue as some Baptists believe in total immersion. Oddly, I see congressional politicians becoming overall more conservative. Many of the Democrats voted in last night aren’t very liberal. I think Nancy P. will have her hands full keeping a Democratic House all in line.

I would like to believe more will be done for the shooting sports in access with Democrats running Congress. GOP wasn’t a friend to hunters and anglers. For Democrats to be against hunting and fishing access is like being against Mom and apple pie. Even Schumer and Hillary claim to signed on to The 2005 Open Fields Bill.

Well, I would say that for anyone to be against hunting and fishing access is like being against Mom and apple pie, but that's just me...
What really gets me, though, is what this guy says, noted in bold, specifically, "Gun control with Democrats is a truism. The Party believes its a voter issue as some Baptists believe in total immersion...I would like to believe more will be done for the shooting sports in access with Democrats running Congress." Call me crazy, I may well be misinterpreting this, but it seems to me that he's saying, "Democrats want more gun control, it's just one of those things like the sun rising in the east, but more good might be done for the shooting sports, and that's all that matters to me." In that case, it looks like yet another Fuddite throwing us non-hunters under the bus, yet again. And once again, it must be said, that it doesn't matter what's out there to hunt, or what kind of access you have to it, if there's nothing left to hunt with. I would say what I really think...but I won't say that, because that would be sinking to their level, and I won't do that, as tempting as it may be. What I am thinking, I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, even if they did deserve it. I just wish these people would wake up and see the truth in what Thomas Jefferson said: "We must hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately."
I hope it doesn't take New Orleans-style gun confiscations for them to see that. But I am increasingly afraid that it will.

Tuesday's Gone, With The Wind...

...and with it perhaps any certainty of holding the line on any further infringements on the people's natural right to keep and bear arms.
Ask ten different people about that and you're probably going to get ten different answers. Dave Kopel, in National Review, sees things as not being nearly as bad as they could be, though with at least a couple of caveats...

Things look a lot better for the Second Amendment than they do for the Republican party. A race-by-race analysis of the Senate suggests that, while party control of the Senate could change, the Senate is very likely to retain a pro-gun working majority.
A 50-seat tsunami in the House would result in a gain of over two dozen seats for anti-gun forces; the more realistic scenario is a total Democratic gain of 30 of less, with about half of the freshman Democrats being anti-gun. This would leave the House with a fairly comfortable pro-Second Amendment majority.
In the governors’ mansions, gun owners could even come out ahead on this election, if pro-Second Amendment candidates hold on in some close races; gun owners already have one big gain sewed up, since Ohio’s governorship will be changing from an anti-gun Republican Taft to a pro-gun Democrat Strickland.
In Congress, changes in party control would have a significant effect on gun rights. Senate-Majority-Leader-in-waiting Harry Reid has a good record on gun issues, and played a major role in the passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act.Yet although a Democratic Senate would contain more pro-gun rights Democrats than the chamber has seen for over 15 years, Reid would still be beholden to a caucus in which anti-gun senators would be a very large majority, and in which all presidential contenders would have a poor (Feingold, Bayh) to terrible (Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama) record on gun issues.
Significantly, while a Democratic Senate might have a pro-gun floor majority, it would not invoke the nuclear option against a Supreme Court nomination filibuster. This wouldn’t matter much anyway if President Bush were to nominate Alberto Gonzales, whom Second Amendment activists would have little reason to support, but there is reason to hope that the president might choose a better nominee.
Although the floor of the U.S. House will still have a pro-gun majority, a Speaker Pelosi, with her perfect anti-gun voting record, would almost certainly bring forward anti-gun bills when she decided the time was ripe. John Conyers, as chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Louise Slaughter, as chair of the Rules Committee, would ensure that no pro-Second Amendment legislation was ever brought to the floor, except in the very unlikely event that a majority of the entire House signed a discharge petition.

And, of course, if you ask ten different gun owners about the future, you'll get ten different answers there as well, from "door-to-door confiscations are on the horizon!" to "Two years, they ain't gon' be able to do that much..."
As for me, I really don't know. Bill Clinton admitted that the NRA and gun owners cost Democrats control of Congress last time, and even that bill was not as bad as it could have been, it being the largely symbolic bill that it was along with its grandfather clause for existing weapons, thereby avoiding the "Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in," and potential door-to-door confiscations. Even with those caveats, the 10-year sunset provision had to be put in because it wouldn't have passed otherwise, and still the Democrats took the beating on Election Day 1994. Gun owners no doubt have very long memories, and it remains to see whether the leftists who will soon be at the levers of power in Congress remember this, but no matter what happens, the fact is the Republicans lost because they lost touch with the people who sent them to Washington in 1994. It's really just that simple. Bans on gay marriage and flag-burning? Federal plans to pay for prescription drugs? Amnesty for illegal aliens because they supposedly "do the jobs Americans won't do"? Between the RINOs on the left flank and the "social conservatives" on the right flank, the Republican base was more or less taken for granted, effectively shut out. And the chickens have come home to roost.
And where do the gun owners like myself come in on this? Well, that one probably requires more time than I have this morning to give a full answer to, but the biggest thing, I think, is that it all boils down to less government intrusion on all fronts and more adherence to what the Constitution demands of our government. And wasting time on issues like gay marriage and flag-burning is wasting time that could be spent on other, more important things, like, say, securing the southern border from illegals and foreign terrorists with suitcase nukes (you know, providing for the common defense as mandated by the preamble to the Constitution). If the national GOP has any sense at all, they'll take Tuesday's results as a warning: If you try to outflank the Democrats on the left, you have just obliterated your base's reasons for voting for you. Get back to work on keeping our taxes low, cutting spending, securing our borders and getting rid of the presumption of guilt for gun owners and potential gun owners. On that last thing? Rome wasn't built in a day, but we have to start somewhere.
Many gun owners are pondering getting something like an M1A or AR-15 now, before they're banned, yet again. If I had the money (for that, or one of Ronnie Barrett's M82A1s), I'd spring for one, but as it is, it looks like all I'm going to be able to afford is another 1911 (and believe me, I am not complaining!) or something like a Ruger Mini-30. We shall see...

Friday, November 03, 2006

I Get Referrals...

Looking again at the ole Sitemeter, I get referrals from this Google search. Looks like more than a few people are either looking for the lyrics to that song or to find out who sings it. Maybe more people are hearing it than I thought. Who knew?
And to anyone looking for a place for "listening (to) walton and johnson on the web" live, you can go here and probably here. I sure wish Eagle 98.1 was on the Web, though...that radio station is awesome!

HCI Endorsements for Texas Representatives in Congress, And Trouble For Ron Paul

My fellow Texan JR over at A Keyboard and A .45 pointed me to this link with Handgun Control, Inc.'s endorsements for Texas' U.S. House races this year.

Four of our reps. have gotten this endorsement, including Sheila Jackson Lee, who, according to this link, "as council woman on the Houston City Council...sponsored and passed a resolution calling for Congress to pass the ban on semi-automatics. When confronted with a packed city council chamber full of citizens opposed to her resolution, she displayed nothing but a rude contempt for them. She also showed her ignorance of the legislation she said she was supporting when she stated that the guns ought to be banned because they were 'machine guns' which is, of course, completely untrue." Not really a surprise to me, though, as she always seemed to be more than a bit of a self-righteous blowhard, and a media hog, too.
Other endorsements include Charlie Gonzalez, Lloyd Doggett and Eddie Bernice Johnson, and the biggest thing I could find on those folks was that they all voted against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, and against decreasing the waiting period for guns purchased at gun shows from 3 days to 1; that is, mandating the background check at the show be conducted within 24 hours instead of 72. As far as I am concerned, though, voting against lawsuit immunity for the American firearms industry is a pretty reliable indicator of where your senator or representative would stand on your natural right to arms...with one very notable exception, that is.
Via David Codrea, once again (David, indeed you do yeoman's work for us behind enemy lines, and God bless you!), we find that Texas Rep. Ron Paul has gotten a lower rating from the NRA than his Democratic opponent, and it seems this is solely due to Paul's opposition to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. And, as always, I find myself reading what Mr. Codrea has written and nodding my head in agreement with every word (emphasis mine -- ed.):

Candidly, I could argue with Rep. Paul on this point, as the lawsuits seem clearly designed to infringe on the Second Amendment. I'd be interested in seeing the point-counterpoint of such a debate, but now is not the time with the election less than a week away.

One thing is certain: Ron Paul has made his stands based on convictions, and a desire to stay true to the intent of the Founders. Paul has worked to roll back oppressive edicts that infringe on our right to keep and bear arms. He is clearly the superior gun rights candidate in the Texas 14th District.

Yes, indeed. What this country desperately needs is more Ron Pauls and less Nancy Pelosis. Send him some money if you can...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Would You Bet Your Life On The Lack of Intelligence of U.S. Soldiers?

I'm sure by now, everyone and his brother's heard about this little gaffe by the esteemed (sic) junior United States Senator from Massachusetts, John f. Kerry...

While campaigning in California, Kerry told a college crowd Monday: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

I was listening to Walton and Johnson this morning, and one of the characters on the show, Billy Edd Hatfield, had a very good question: Would Senator Kerry position himself about 300 yards from a hidden Marine sniper, and bet his life on that sniper's education (or lack thereof *snort*) in his chosen craft? Would that an intrepid reporter on the campaign trail had asked him that...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why Is This An Issue?

Just about anyone who's been to or otherwise seen east Houston and Harris County knows it's not exactly the most picturesque part of Texas, with the refineries and such.
Well, via this morning's Houston Chronicle, we find that local county commissioner Sylvia Garcia is spearheading an effort to beautify the area by building parks, painting murals and things like that. From the article:

Earlier this year, Garcia led opposition to naming Houston's new major league soccer team "1836," suggesting that it could promote anti-Mexican sentiment. The team's name was changed to the "Dynamo."
Garcia, who shares Hispanic ethnicity with more than half the people in her district, has said the soccer team's name and a promotional campaign highlighting the historic Battle of San Jacinto are distinct issues.

Uh...why? Like it or not, 1836 and San Jacinto are Texas history, and one thing we Texans hold in very high esteem is our history. And with this being an "issue" among the area's residents, it begs the question, just exactly where do their allegiances lie -- with Texas and the United States, or Mexico? More than a few people would call me insensitive or -- gasp! -- RACIST! for daring to ask such a question, but yet again, like it or not, it's part of the area's and the state's history -- one of the cornerstones of it. If the allegiances of the residents of the area -- who, I am guessing, are largely of Hispanic/Mexican descent -- are such that they have this huge problem with acknowledging that, well, just what are they doing here? Call me crazy, but the fact that acknowledgment of that history is, in fact, acknowledgement of an ignominious defeat of Mexico, coupled with it being an issue at all would suggest that the loyalties of the area's residents would chiefly lie with Mexico and not with Texas or the United States...
I have no quarrel with Hispanics. They have the right to their opinion. But to say that we should ignore or downplay a cornerstone, a proud part, of our Texan and American history because it upsets their delicate sensibilities is just wrong on so many levels it defies description. And it's a damn shame the people who have a problem with this aren't being called on it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Charge of the RINOs, Again...

When the writings of ex-Weekly Standardite David Brooks first appeared in the New York Times, I thought it was a good thing, that they were finally getting someone to add at least a tiny semblance of balance to the raging leftists on their op-ed page. But the more I read of him, the more I think of him as just another party apparatchik in the same vein as Hugh Hewitt, and his latest column does little to dissuade me of that notion. An excerpt:

You look at the vulnerable Republicans and it’s like a moderate Republican graveyard: Deborah Pryce, a bright and effective member from Ohio; Christopher Shays from Connecticut; Sweeney from New York; Gerlach from Pennsylvania; Reichert from Washington; DeWine from Ohio.
Why have 55 Republican senators? Why not 25? Why not 15 brave and true? Throw in a few dozen pure-minded Republican House members and you could hold the next Republican convention in a living room.

I suppose I could see his point, but I still don't agree with him. In a more sane country, in a more sane political world I don't think I'd have to be asking this question, but here goes -- What in the bloody hell is the point of having Republicans in Congress if they don't agree with the conservative agenda the Republicans are supposed to have stood for? You know...lower taxes, smaller government, keeping the feds out of my gun safe and not interfering with my wanting to fill that gun safe up? Say what you will about ideological purity, but, for example, as a gun owner I think Republicans like Mike DeWine, Arlen Specter and Lincoln Chafee are worse than useless to the Republican Party, as they give those who would take more of our money and liberty more legitimacy than they otherwise would have had -- "See? Republicans support these common-sense gun laws too!"
I suppose that centrism might play well among the people who put these pansies in office, but from where I sit that's still a form of playing defense, to an extent -- you let your more leftist opponent define who you are and you try to get as close to him ideologically as you can while still giving Republican voters in your state a reason to vote for you. To what extent that's true, I don't know, but I think it would be very interesting to see what kind of power shift would occur in this country if Republicans moved to states in which their votes would actually count for something; after all, for example, as Kim du Toit illustrated in one of his essays, there's not much if any point in voting Republican if you live in Chicago, as "the Incredibly Raving Loony Party...gets six times as many votes as the Republicans." I've said this before, and some might think it heresy, but if it came down to a vote for a Zell Miller-type Democrat or Lincoln Chafee-type Republican, I would have absolutely no trouble voting for the person with the D beside his or her name. And I would go so far as to say that I'd bet money that Zell Miller's speech at the 2004 GOP convention did more to excite and motivate real Republican voters than anything and everything the aforementioned RINOs have done in their entire Senate careers.
Brooks and his ilk can talk this suburbanites-swinging-the-election tripe all they want, but if you ask me, if the GOP ends up on the curb Election Day, it will be because of, not despite, the fact that they have lost touch with the agenda of those who love freedom. If anyone's marginalizing the Republican Party, it's Brooks and his ilk. And the sooner the higher-ups in the GOP figure that out, the better off we'll all be.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

French Stealing Brady Talking Points!

God, this is so rich! You absolutely just can not make this shit up!
Via David Codrea comes this, from Nicolas Sarkozy, the French Conservative presidential frontrunner (emphasis mine -- ed.)...

I am against militias, I am against the private ownership of firearms, and I’m trying to make you think about that. If you are assaulted by an armed burglar, he’ll use his weapon more effectively than you anyway so you’re risking your life. If the criminal is not armed and you are and you shoot, your life will be ruined, because killing someone over a theft is not in line with the republican values that are mine. The private ownership of firearms is dangerous. I understand your exasperation for having been burglarized two times, I understand the fear that your wife and daughter may have but the answer is in the efficiency of the police and the efficiency of the judiciary process, the answer is not in having guns at home.

Looks like the old French attitude of "l'etat, c'est moi" is alive and well. I wonder how many armed-to-the-teeth bodyguards that puke Sarkozy has. And they call him the conservative one!
And look at what he's saying! I'll be damned if it doesn't come straight from the gun-grabbers' playbook right here in this country! "If you are assaulted by an armed burglar, he’ll use his weapon more effectively than you anyway so you’re risking your life. ...I understand your exasperation...but the answer is in the efficiency of the police and the efficiency of the judiciary process, the answer is not in having guns at home."
Translation: "Let the police handle it, they're the only ones professional enough..." I don't know how many Frenchmen are actively trying to rid themselves of the whole "cheese-eating surrender monkey" stereotype, but it's hard to dispute that their political candidates' utterings of such lunacy undermines those efforts a great deal. I can't help but think, once again, of what the great Bill Whittle penned in "Freedom" (emphasis mine --ed.)...
Kick down 100 doors of self-proclaimed French pacifists, grab the women and kids, and haul them away. Then try that again in Texas, with 100 NRA members.

I'm not sure it's only the "pacifists" who'd just roll over, either...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Truth in Googling

At the suggestion of SayUncle...

sensible gun laws

sensible gun laws

And, while we're at it...

ban all guns

ban gun ownership

Because, as SayUncle says, that is their goal. Do NOT be fooled.

Hey, I do what I can...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Hunters vs. the Shooters; or, THIS Is What Throwing People Under the Bus Looks Like

I always wondered about the political leanings and acumen of the outdoor writers at major newspapers, considering the media's by-and-large leftist leanings. Did they recognize the importance of the fight for the natural right to arms, or were they like so many others who think, "as long as they don't take my deer rifle or my duck gun, it's all right, the hell with the rest of it..." ? Well, via the great Michael Bane, we have at least one answer, from the Denver Post outdoors editor, one Charlie Moron Meyers, and here he weighs in on the Colorado governor's race:

...Ritter has been attacked by the National Rifle Association as a threat to gun ownership, a reference to his stance against certain radical firearms as an article of public safety when he was Denver's district attorney.
The notion that Ritter, or any other Colorado politician, could or would take away our shotguns and hunting rifles is absurd. Last time I checked, nobody went hunting with automatic assault rifles or Saturday night specials....
...This wrong-headed election rhetoric from the firearms lobby consistantly ignores the reality that it doesn't matter how many guns we own if there's nothing left to hunt.

"Saturday night specials" and "assault rifles." How do you like that? The jackass managed to fit in two of the gun-grabbers' key terms in his wrongheaded rant. As Mr. Bane said, "Sort of takes your breath away, doesn't it?"
Another thing Mr. Meyers is missing, of course, is the flip side of his so-called "argument," that is, that it doesn't matter what the hell's out there to hunt if you don't have any guns to hunt with. And if these damned Fuddites actually think their shotguns and deer rifles are safe from the likes of Chucky Schumer and Fat Teddy Kennedy, well then, I just don't know what to say to that. I think the peerless Kim du Toit, as is his wont, said it best:

What really, really pisses me off is the fact that gun owners seem to be splitting into two factions: the "Hunters" (or "sport shooters", as some call them), and Shooters (that would be people like me, who love shooting but seldom if ever hunt). And yes, I'm aware that there's considerable overlap, but bear with me.
While Shooters would never consider selling out the Hunters (gun ownership, to us, is a sacred thing), I’m not so sure that the reverse isn’t true. How else should I think, when I read crap like this from a Hunter like Meyers...
What this foolishness means is that an anti-gun politician (like, for example, John F*ckface Kerry) has only to show up at a clay shoot with a borrowed Red Label and an ironed camo jacket, for the Hunting Simpletons to be reassured that No-Guns Norman won’t go after his "sporting" guns. And I'm not making this up: I've read quotes from people during the 2004 election campaign who thought exactly that.
For the benefit of the Hunters, let me say this, once and for all: The Second Amendment is NOT about duck hunting. And if you think it is, you deserve to get everything that comes to you.

As he goes on to say, though, that would mean that the non-hunting contingent of gun owners had long been marginalized and all our guns would long ago have been taken from us. And there is something much more important that he points out that the Fuddites apparently aren't taking into account either -- 80 million gun owners and about 20 million "shooting" licenses, which means, of course, that there are 60 million gun owners in this great land who do not hunt.
And this goes back to what Michael Bane was originally talking about, the continued diverging of the gun market into two segments: the shooting/IDPA/IPSC/self-defense-type segment and the hunting segment:
(this divergence) would be no big deal except that the firearms industry has 100% allied itself with the hunting side of the market to the exclusion of the shooters. As the markets have diverged, so have the things in our best interest split. In some cases, those interests are in direct conflict; for example increasing hunting access versus building shooting ranges. More troubling is the fact that the hunting side of the industry focuses on traditional hunting arm, rifles and shotguns, while the shooting side of the industry is overwhelming interested in self-defense handguns, "black" rifles and competition firearms.

Bane also reports, " major honcho in the industry told me recently that 'hunter access' was the single biggest issue facing the firearms community, and that hunting was the future of firearms, period." I for one would love to see exactly what this major honcho has backing up that assertion, and what he would say to those of us who would contend that maybe the shooting/defense part of the market was more of the future than he and the Fuddites would like to think. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, anyone? Armed civilian patrols in Bridge City and Algiers? 'You Loot, I Shoot'? Taking that into account, I tend to side with Michael Bane when he says that, "The shooting sports are growing while hunting is shrinking. Firearms training is a booming industry, and a vast majority of states — including Colorado — allow CCW....We — sport shooting, self-defense, training, collectors — are the future of firearms in America."
I know not all the hunters will throw shooters like myself under the bus, but when I read crap like that from people like Meyers, I have to wonder how many of the hunters would gladly tell us to go to hell, thinking, once again, "they ain't gonna take my deer rifle, fuck those damn handguns and assault rifles..." And, as Kim du Toit showed, Meyers' argument that "no one NEEDS a Saturday night special or automatic assault rifle to hunt with" can very easily be turned on its head with the argument that:
no one “needs” to hunt anymore: we’re not a “frontier society”, we have supermarkets where we can buy meat.

The Fuddites aren't as safe as they might think they are...and what really irks me is that it's the people who are on the sport shooting side of the market who are fighting for everyone's right to arms -- for hunting, self-defense, or whatever purpose free and decent men and women might want to use them for -- while selfish pricks like Charlie Meyers only look out for their own best interests. Again, I know that not all hunters are like that...but how many of them are? I shudder to think...
And of course, there's at least one more thing we ALL should keep in mind, hunters and shooters alike -- you might not think the gun-grabbers are all on the same page, but they are. Don't think otherwise for a second. (For example, if Sarah Brady and her evil minions did not supporta nationwide handgun ban exactly as the Violence Policy Center does, then why exactly would they support those bans in the cities in which they've been enacted??) And the hunters and shooters would do well to get on the same page as well, if we're going to make more headway towards getting more of our rights back. Better for us to fight our common enemy than each other.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dave Kopel Calls Out School Slaughter Enablers

Via the GeekWithA.45, we have this from David Kopel. Money quote:

Our nation has too many people who are not only unwilling to learn how to protect themselves, but who are also determined to prevent innocent third persons from practicing active defense. A person has the right to choose to be a pacifist, but it is wrong to force everyone else to act like a pacifist. It is the policies of the pacifist-aggressives which have turned American schools into safe zones for mass murderers.

As they say, read the whole thing. My thoughts?
Well, first, I was left absolutely stunned by Kopel's revelation that "the armed 'school resource officer' refused to pursue the killers into the school." Maybe I had heard this before and the details just faded into memory, but something that at least a few of us have been saying ever since that day is that if there had been armed teachers there at Columbine, the tragedy could have been prevented...and there was someone there who was armed? I don't know...perhaps it's just as well that this detail was forgotten, because the clueless pundits and editorialists who roam the halls of American newsrooms would probably seize on it and hail it as proof that arming teachers or administrators is not the solution -- conveniently ignoring, as they so often do, the facts surrounding that revelation, namely that "Even after SWAT teams arrived, and while, via an open 911 line, the authorities knew that students were being methodically executed in the library, the police stood idle just a few yards outside the library." (emphasis mine --ed.)
Kopel goes on to discuss several other things, including the questionable utility of anti-bullying programs, and at least one benefit of them, namely that they encourage people to come forward and report problems. This could be a good thing in the big scheme of things, along with arming teachers and administrators, as it's an intermediate measure that could well rid the environment of someone who could cause mayhem later...but, of course, we still don't arm anyone on school grounds -- or, for that matter, teach kids and adults alike about the combat mindset -- and the results have been plain to see, although there have been encouraging signs of change in Texas and Utah. I fear, though, that yet more innocent people are going to be killed because of the pacifist-aggressives that David Kopel talks about...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More Range Fun With the Kimber 10mm

Yes, that's right, friends, I went to the range yet again last week with my Kimber Stainless Target II. I didn't get to throw too many downrange because of time constraints -- maybe tomorrow or the next day, if it doesn't rain -- but I took 100 rounds of 180-grain Federal American Eagle...and 20 rounds of Winchester Silvertip 175-grain hollowpoint ammunition, one of the few even semi-widely available close-to-full-power 10mm loads. According to the Winchester website, this particular cartridge is rated at 1295 fps out of a 5.5" barrel. The Kimber is a 5-inch gun, of course, so they go out just a little slower than that, but still, I was a bit apprehensive. So after about 50 rounds of the weak Federal AE, I gingerly opened up that grey box of Winchester Silvertips and loaded a magazine with them. Slammed the mag into the gun, charged it, took aim at the target. BOOM! Okay, that wasn't so bad, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Okay, still not the rocket ride I was expecting. I finished off the rest of the magazine and thought, is that all there is?
Mind you, this was not a bad thing. I had just heard so much about how the 10mm was such a hard-recoiling cartridge (although, granted, in the original Norma loadings I am sure it does kick pretty hard), but still I was very pleasantly surprised. This is, of course, a completely unscientific wild-assed guess, but I'd guess with that shorter barrel I was driving those Winchesters out at about 1250 fps, at might well have been more than that, I don't know. I wish I'd had a chronograph so I could have seen for myself...but back to the point, a 175-grain bullet at 1250 feet per second -- a bullet with about the same sectional density as the .45ACP, in a cartridge with about the same recoil as the .45ACP+P and at 400 feet per second faster than standard .45ACP, would be quite a potent self-defense cartridge indeed. I am itching to try the Double Taps in that gun...I know they have quite a following among the 10mm enthusiasts, and looking at the ballistics on those suckers, it's not hard to see why...
UPDATE! AlanDP says in comments:

Maybe you need to step up to a .50AE. (ha ha)

Come to think of it, one of these would make an absolutely hellacious truck gun...
Back to the range today, 50 rounds of Blazers, about the same of Federal AE, and the last of the box of Silvertips. Went head-to-head with the last three mags I mag of Blazer, one mag of Federal AE, and one of Winchester Silvertip. I felt the extra kick with that last one. 1250 fps? I'd believe it...

UPDATE, 5-22-07:
Seems like this post gets a lot of hits from Google from folks looking for info on the Kimber 10mm 1911s, specifically the Stainless Target II. More observations on my experiences with this fine weapon may be found here, here, here, here, and here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Another Swirl Around the Toilet; or, Who's The Simplistic One Here?

From Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald. I'll admit I actually agree with a lot of what Pitts says (although sure as hell NOT the turd he passed that he called this week's column), even if he shows his leftist moonbat side of himself a little too much for my tastes, but this was just ridiculous...

We have become ever more impatient with the complexities and convolutions that characterize our most intractable problems, ever more intolerant of solutions that require patience, long-term thinking, and the coordination of multiple strategies. Like overweight people looking for a fat-burning pill, we want magic solutions that require no investment of time, tears or tolerance.

So sure, if school shootings are a threat, let's arm the teachers. Because, as everyone knows, the real problem in this country is that there just aren't enough people with guns. At the very least, arming teachers will sure discourage cheating. Indeed, why stop there?
Arm the bus drivers. That'll teach some punk to try to slip on with an expired transfer.
Arm the waiters. Bet folks won't be so quick to whine about their soup being cold.
Heck, arm the editors. Presto! Suddenly everybody's able to make their deadlines.
Lasee's proposal is emblematic of the simple, simplistic, simple-minded schemes that bubble to the surface of the national discourse with troubling frequency these days.

What else to say to this, but, what a load of horseshit? If anyone's being simplistic here, it's the weenies on the left who squeal for ever more strict gun-control legislation and gun bans after school shootings like the ones in Pennsylvania and at Columbine. There is, of course, a hell of a lot more to arming the teachers than just putting 1911s in their hands and saying, "Here you go." But people like Leonard Pitts, Marsha McCartney and their ilk either don't know that or willfully choose to ignore it as they peddle their disgusting stereotypes of gun owners and others who choose to see the world as the violent place it can sometimes be. Those of us who advocate arming the teachers don't see it as a panacea...we see it as just another tool in the box, much like the gun itself. It makes me sick to my stomach. When I read this, I thought back to what Dave Grossman said in his essay "On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs" (emphasis mine --ed.):
We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.
But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the
sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone
coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.

And that denial is what promped Mr. Pitts to write that blatantly offensive piece of dreck, no doubt about it.
I wonder what Leonard Pitts would be saying if people stereotyped blacks like he stereotyped gun people in his column. I bet he wouldn't like it one bit, and for good reason...those stereotypes are just as infuriating and untrue as the ones he peddled. He and those like them ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Music: Thoughts on a Legend...And His New CD

So George Strait last week released his latest cd, a 15-song work titled "It Just Comes Natural." I've been a big fan of Strait for a long time, so of course I made sure to pick up the cd the day it was released. Some might say, I suppose, that after 25 years, George Strait's best years are behind him; well, after a listen to his latest work I can honestly say that these people don't know what they're talking about. I've never been disappointed with a Strait work, but I can honestly say this is the best album George Strait has done in the last ten years. You won't find any surprises here, just George doing what's worked for him for the duration of his time in the spotlight -- old songs, new songs, cover songs, heartbreak, love, longing, and some spine-tingling poetry, too.
I loved the first single, "Give It Away," with that spoken-word bit in it, and what a picture the song paints, of a woman who's had quite enough. I got the feeling she was a bit of a psycho, as the words of the song's main character were, shall we say, a bit understated. Maybe that's the way the writers wanted it, but understated delivery has always been one of Strait's strong points, as he also shows in "He Must Have Really Hurt You Bad," where the bartender's giving a heartbroken lady in red some advice against a beautiful piano backdrop. Strait's Texas dancehall roots show quite well in his cover of Bruce Robison's "Wrapped," a gentle fiddle-and-steel shuffle, and "What Say," a beautiful fiddle-laced ode to fidelity and old-fashioned values. And of course it wouldn't be a George Strait album without some good barroom honky-tonk, and Strait delivers here in spades with a cover of George Jones' "She Told Me So" -- just wait'll you hear the neat little twist in that one - and the slow, bluesy "Why Can't I Leave Her Alone," and rousing covers of Guy Clark's "Texas Cookin'" and Lee Roy Parnells' "One Foot In Front of the Other." Strait mines an old fruitful territory -- the broken-hearted cowboy lament -- with "I Ain't Her Cowboy Anymore," which admittedly has a bit more of a polished sound than its older brother "I Can Still Make Cheyenne," but still deserves a place in the pantheon of great Strait rodeo songs. You'll even find Strait waxing philosophical in "A Better Rain,that'll wash me from your eyes, so you can smile again..."
There's really only one misstep here, "How 'Bout Them Cowgirls." I just have to say, this song does nothing for me. It just seems so insipid, trite...blah. Still, though, it doesn't detract from the overall quality of this album enough to make any kind of difference.
The King of Texas has delivered again, folks. Go pick this one up. I guarantee you, you won't be sorry.

UPDATE: From Reuters:

Strait scored his 30th chart entry with "It Just Comes Natural," which opened at No. 3 with 232,000. The MCA Nashville set was also No. 1 on Top Country Albums chart, his 20th on that tally.

I never was one to put THAT much stock in sales figures, as I've seen too many people use those figures to advance their argument that is the best. I do, however, find it heartening indeed that someone who's been doing what George Strait does -- honest-to-goodness REAL COUNTRY MUSIC -- can still sell at that level, in addition to filling basketball arenas and football stadiums all across this great land. It should really give pause to anyone who says that kind of music, and the people who make it, belong in the dustbin of history.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

More Word Vomit from the Usual Suspects on the Amish School Shootings

First up, Rosie O'Donnell, who has said in the past that "if you do own a gun, I think you should go to prison," on the Amish school shootings:

You can buy a gun in America and it is not licensed. We can't trace who bought it, who owned it or who is responsible. That’s wrong.

Well, yes, it is wrong...but not in the way Rosie thinks it is. She's saying things that absolutely are not true. There are a few states in this great land where you do indeed have to have a license, purchase permit, Firearm Owner ID Card, or some-such permission from the .gov to buy a firearm -- and every single gun purchase through a licensed dealer has to be approved through the NICS, as per the Brady Law, with the serial number of the firearm recorded on the Form 4473 (with the exception of CCW permit holders, but even then the info is retained on the form, thereby creating a de facto nationwide registration scheme -- and not that I think any of this is a good thing, I think it's just yet another wrong-headed measure aimed at the wrong people and yet another avoidance of the real problem, that of a corrupted culture, but I digress)....and just the other day, one of my gun buddies was telling me I needed to get all my serials down and put them in a safe place, so in case any of my guns were stolen and later recovered by the police, I could get them back. Of course, again, we all know that Rosie doesn't think folks like you and me should have guns, but, of course, she has enough money to hire armed-to-the-teeth bodyguards to protect her kids. Apparently Rosie thinks the rest of us do too, or maybe she just doesn't care. Either way, I for one find her despicable.

Next up, the same old song-and-dance from Marsha McCartney, from the North Texas Chapter of the Million Mom March, in today's Houston Chronicle:

If we can't keep our kids safe in America's schools, then we might as well give up the war on terrorism, because we have already lost it.....We hope that these tragedies will wake up the nation to do something about the madness it can and should control.

And of course, we already know that the "something" Marsha McCartney and her brain-dead ilk would propose to do, would have absolutely jack to do with arming the teachers or administration and educating said individuals about the combat mindset and the fact that there is evil in the world and we have a moral obligation to rid ourselves of it by any means necessary. No, no, no. They'll just propose more meaningless, toothless, worthless feel-good measures like registration, "assault weapon" bans, and the other words, more, um, infringements on the rights of the people. As the old saying goes, same shit, different day...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Information: Shooters Supply, Beaumont, Texas

Updated, 4-23-07:
It looks like I am still getting some hits for people Googling for Shooters Supply. So it looks like a lot of folks don't know what happened or they're just curious. The store closed last month sometime, apparently. I never made up there again before they closed their doors for good; last time I was up there, I think, was early February. As it happens, though, one of their former employees works at Gander Mountain, catty-cornered from Shooters at Highway 69 & Dowlen. I ran into him a couple of weeks ago as I went over there to browse for reloading stuff and asked him what happened. He told me the shop was doing fine; the owner just decided he wanted to sell off all his inventory & retire. Shame, too, because they were cheaper than Gander Mountain on guns, at least, and they had some good people working there. I know Gander Mountain will match others' prices if you bring in ads, but I try to support the little man when I can, and on that basis if I'd had to choose, I'd have chosen Shooters to buy another gun from. But anyway, that's the story behind that...

A Few Words on Certain Guns

It seems I get more than a few referrals from assorted search engines on certain kinds of pistols, and how to field-strip them, disassemble them, etc. Among the kinds of pistols people are looking for information on how to field-strip are:

Davis Industries
Bryco Arms

To tell the truth, y'all, I don't have any idea on how to disassemble these pistols. I don't own any and don't plan to; once, not long ago at work, I was telling a friend of a lady I work with about my gun collection -- Rugers, Kimbers and a Springfield Armory 1911. He told me, "That's a real nice collection you got there."
And I told him, "The Saturday Night Specials have their place, I'll admit, it just is not in my safe."
Guns like the ones mentioned above do serve a purpose -- self-defense for the poor. But they'll only take you so far. From where I sit, guns like those are a stop-gap measure, intended only to fill their intended purpose until you can get your hands on something better -- and you nigh well should be working towards something better while you have that little cheap pocket pistol. I've seen a few comments here and there on how to disassemble one of those pistols that involved a hard, flat surface, a sledgehammer, and a trip to your friendly local gun store to pick up a quality used firearm. While I am not one to advocate wanton destruction of even the cheapest, poorest-made pistols, the fact is that if you're willing to spend a little more, say, $200-300, your options increase considerably. As I sit here I am looking at an ad for a Smith & Wesson 586 .357 Magnum, 6" barrel, Hogue grips, trigger job and other stuff for $325. Quality can be had if you really want it, but you're gonna have to pay, one way or another. Buy those cheap pistols if you really need them, but only till you can save up for something better, all the while keeping your eye out for that something better.

More Leftist Obliviousness to Irony

I was sitting here doing my morning blog-run, and over at his place, John Hawkins had a post on some of the latest drivel from a leftist site called The Smirking Chimp...

If you still believe that dissent is the highest form of patriotism, there's probably a spot in Bush's gulags for you. And depending on where you live, most of your neighbors won't even notice nor care if you disappear....

America is fast moving itself into an authoritarian, militarist, imperial state, one that has more in common with Stalinist Soviet Union and Hitlerian Germany than with traditional American society.

Where's the irony? Well, of course, it lies in the fact that the people who actually subscribe to the belief system/worldview that allows them to believe this, also would like to see ever more strict gun control, and probably even the total disarmament of the American people -- thereby disabling the very mechanism that prohibits the advent of this so-called fascist society they're talking about, disabling the very mechanism that would make it a hell of a lot harder for any dissidents to be herded into cattle cars for the trip to these so-called "gulags" these morons are going on about. I have to wonder how many of them have ever read any Solzhenitsyn...this reminds me of what Jim Kenefick said over at Moorewatch one day, even more succinctly than myself (emphasis mine -- ed.)...

Hey Mikey, wanna know the number one reason Bush could never pull off what Hitler pulled off, you fucking moron?


When will the leftists figure that out? Probably about the time there are roses blooming in the Arctic Circle and icebergs floating in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Ignorance of Jesse Jackson

...or it could just as well be intentional prevarication in reliance of his audience's ignorance and being too lazy to check what he's saying...
Via the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler comes this absolute howler from uber race-pimp Jesse Jackson:

...instead of metropolitan areas banning guns and rural areas keeping them, the gun advocates use rural-dominated state legislatures to pre-empt any municipal laws. Chicago gets governed by Springfield; New York City constrained by Albany.

Chicago gets governed by Springfield? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over? Anyone who knows anything about the fascist state of Illinois knows that it's more or less the exact opposite, to the point that metro Chicago's statehouse delegation is in the process of trying to either run three major Illinois gun manufacturers out of business or out of Illinois with their so-called "assault weapons" ban, to the point that the state senator for the particular district in which the gunmakers are located said the State of Illinois has almost become an enemy of his district! I know that Jesse Jackson and his sordid ilk have some serious problems with the truth sometimes, to put it mildly, but I am still rather surprised at this blatant out-and-out lie! Just more proof, I guess, that their position is intellectually and morally bankrupt, but I never fail to be at least a little surprised that "gun control" is STILL ever discussed as a positive thing in what passes for polite company...or that Jesse Jackson still has any air of respectability anywhere.