Monday, July 31, 2006

Alan Jackson's New Coke?

As Readers no doubt know, not only am I a gun nut, at least as much of one as my limited budget will allow, but I am also a big music fan. And I like to spin one of my myriad cds as I clean my gun after each range trip. I can usually clean and oil the gun in the time it takes the cd to play, usually about 45-50 minutes at the longest. I know a lot of seasoned gunnies can clean their arms (at least their pistols) in a fraction of that time, but I am a bit diligent about it. You could eat off my guns after I am finished with 'em.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I was going through that post-range ritual with the Springfield 1911, listening to Alan Jackson's 1994 cd Who I Am. That was not the first Alan Jackson cd I bought -- that honor goes to his first greatest-hits cd -- but it was Who I Am that made me see his greatness. "Livin' On Love," "Gone Country," "Thank God for the Radio," Job Description," all those songs made Who I Am one of Jackson's two best cds -- along with 2002's Drive -- and, in my mind at least, cemented his legacy as the Merle Haggard of his generation -- a simple singer of simple songs that every man can relate to at some point, all delivered in an unmistakably traditional country package.
Which is why, to say the least, I am disturbed in the extreme by Jackson's latest offering, "Like Red On A Rose." I am not sure what to say about it, but that this is not the Alan Jackson that made the two cds referenced above, or for that matter, Don't Rock the Jukebox, Here In the Real World or the rest of that catalog to date. Which in and of itself isn't a bad thing, but by Jackson's lofty standards, this song, well, just sucks. Sucks molasses through a coffee stirrer in January. I had heard that Alison Krauss was producing this next cd, and I really like Krauss as a singer, so, to say the least, I was expecting much, much better than this. I had heard Alan had an interest in bluegrass, and I was expecting to hear something a little more in that vein. Perhaps we'll hear some of that, perhaps this cd will just blow the doors off anything he's done before, who the hell knows, but at this point I am not holding my breath. If this lead single is any indication, Jackson's next cd is going to be his equivalent of New Coke, and it deserves to fail just as spectacularly. I recall Natalie Maines saying not so long ago about the country fans the Dixie Chicks once catered to, "I'd rather have a smaller following of really cool people who get it...who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith. We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do."
I suppose perhaps that last sentence is true to an extent, and I'll put my varied tastes up against anyone's, but once you've established yourself as an artist with a certain sound -- as both the Chicks and Jackson did -- people are going to come to expect certain things from you, and if you do anything else, there are those who might come to see it as compromising what you stand for as an artist. I can't speak for the Chicks, as I haven't heard anything from their latest cd and have no plans to pick it up, but I'll admit that I think Alan's compromised himself here. I expected better, I really did. I've picked up every Jackson cd on the day it's hit the stores for the last eight years -- with the exception of the gospel cd, but the budget's kinda tight these days -- or at least within a couple of days after, but with this new one, I am just going to wait and see. I work hard for my money. I don't want to spend it on something I don't like. If I remember right, Keith Stegall has produced every Jackson cd from the start, right up to 2004's What I Do, and he's had a stellar track record with Jackson. Alan should have stuck with that. What I Do was a little ballad-heavy for my tastes, probably his most depressing album ever (though I think that opinion may be due to the bad situation I found myself in about the time it came out), the closest thing to a dud that Alan's had, and not one of Alan's better sellers, but it was still a solid, traditional country, Alan Jackson album, sure as hell not worth switching producers for. We'll see what happens, but it's not sounding good so far.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Compromise For Thee, But Not For Me

The Anchoress is one of my favorite bloggers, but I think she strikes out here... (emphasis mine -- ed.)

I guess the fact that Rudy poses a threat to the “favorite sons” of the far-right, Romney (unelectable) and Allen (unelectable), we’ll now have to watch Rudy’s own side try to sabotage him, just like the Dems are trying to toss Joe Lieberman under the bus.
It’s shameful, but it is becoming less and less surprising. Recall, these are the same folks who, a few months ago, were almost calling for the impeachment of President Bush, because he was only giving them 75% of what they were demanding.
Reagan had problems with these folks, too, recall. They are the folks who always let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
I’m pro-life, pro gun-ownership and I would vote for Rudy in a New York minute. I trust him to do the right thing. He turned NYC from a hellhole into a haven.

Maybe Rudy would do the right things vis-a-vis the General War on Terror, and for that he should be lauded and commended, but as far as everything else goes, he's little better than the likes of Arlen Specter or Lincoln Chafee. Also, as far as turning NYC into a "haven," if it was really that good, then Rudy's successor, the would-be Napoleon Michael Bloomberg, would not have more or less declared war on a certain industry that has done nothing wrong. And in the same vein, surely the GOP can do better than someone who thinks that "just as a motorist must have a license, a gun owner should be required to have one as well." Not only can it do better, but it must. Let the Democrats be the ones not to trust the people to do the right thing.
But -- and this is where the title of this post comes in -- here is what really gets my goat:
There can be no common ground on an idea that an “adult in good faith” should be able to take an underage girl out of state to procure an abortion. While Hillary and her cohorts plead “compassion” here what they are doing is making it easy for your 14 year-old daughter’s 24 year-old exploiter to take her across the state lines and have the evidence of his statutory rape vacuumed out of her body before he leaves her, crushed and alone, to deal forever with what has happened to her.

Well, the fact of the matter is, there are more than a few of us who hold the exact same position on any kind of gun control -- that is, we believe "there can be no common ground on the idea that the American people must be licensed by the government to own the best tools for the job of upholding the first law of nature, that of self defense." We believe "there can be no common ground on the idea that the American people must be licensed by the government to own the very tools which raise the cost of that government's potential oppression."
So it would seem that what is being advocated here is "compromise for me, but not for thee." And say what you will, but I think that's outrageously unfair. People can argue about abortion all day long, but owning a firearm is a natural right granted to a person by that person's very existence. I refer you once again to the GeekWithA.45, who explained that first law of nature better than I ever could:
Let's start with the very first principles.
I (we) exist.
Inherent in that existence is the right to continue that existence, and that right exists everywhere we are.
There is nowhere on this earth or off it where the right to defend yourself does not exist.
Implicit in this right of self defense is the right to take positive action to actually effect that defense.
Since you have the right to take action to defend yourself, you also have the right to use tools to make that defense as effective as possible.
Since an immediate threat to your life is the most dire circumstance imaginable, and that this threat can emerge at any time, and in any place, and since failing to deal effectively with the threat means that you DIE FOREVER (as far as we can tell, anyway) any and all means are legitimate to effect your defense.
Therefore, you naturally have the right to posess and have with you, anywhere, the most effective means available to defend yourself, be it a stick, spear, sword, flintlock, modern firearm, forcefield, or phaser.
If you deny any element of the above, the whole thing will unravel all the way back to your very existence, and you are really arguing that someone else has a right to make you not exist.

You might well ask, "what's any of that have to do with Rudy Giuliani's position on guns?"
Everything. With that license proposal, he's basically saying we should cede the decision to own a gun to a government-sanctioned body, regardless of all the basic violations of Constitutional and human rights that could ensue. I've heard it said before that in places like California, New Jersey and Massachusetts, you could be denied a purchase permit or Firearm Owner ID card/renewal if you went to your local police station (or whichever law enforcement agency regulates gun purchases in those respective states) wearing the wrong color shirt. Rudolph Giuliani wants to take that system and impose it on all of us, from sea to shining sea.
And that is what some people think we should compromise on? Not just no, but hell no. If the Republicans cannot find someone to put on their ticket who will make the tough decisions in the War On Terror AND protect the basic, God-given rights our Founding Fathers fought and died for, pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor for -- if the Republicans cannot find someone who will do all that and ultimately trust the people to do the right thing, be it with their money, choice to own instruments of deadly force (you know, trust the people to take personal responsibility for that action and all it entails) or anything else -- then maybe, just maybe, they deserve to lose. The only thing that makes me hesitate to say that is the fact that someone like John Kerry or Nancy Pelosi would then have their finger on the nuclear button, and then where would that leave us? The perfect is indeed often the enemy of the good, but as far as I am concerned, Rudy Giuliani doesn't even rise to the level of "good." We can do better, and we must.

UPDATE: Via Gun Law News -- Why Shooters Don't Like Licenses:
Why Shooters Don’t Like Licenses

Advocates of tougher gun laws are unable to understand the horror that shooters feel when the word “license” comes up. After all, say the anti-gunners, aren’t drivers licensed? And pilots, and just about anyone who has anything to do with anything that moves? Well, here’s an example why we don’t like licensing, and it happened to a co-worker of mine who had a permit to keep two handguns in his home in New York City.

Mr. M, as we will call him, moved from one borough of New York to another, and as required by law sent in his application for a new license with the new address, along with a money order for $340. Time went by, and nothing happened. When Mr. M called the New York City Police Department, he was told that his permit had been sent to him. Then, after much back and forth, he was told that the permit application had been lost (but not, apparently, the $340 money order). And then he was told that since he had not notified the NYPD of his move, his permit was revoked.

Then followed a Kafka-esque back and forth with the NYPD, who advised Mr. M that since he didn’t have a permit for them, he had to surrender his guns or be arrested. So he did. And, pursuant to Title 38, Chapters 5 and 15 of the Rules of the City of New York, Mr. M requested a hearing, appealing the revocation of his license. He hired a lawyer to represent him and amazingly, the hearing officer found for him. This was on April 3, 2006.

Well, you say, the system works; the system is fair. Not quite. On May 10, a Mr. Thomas Prasso, who is Director (of what he does not say) wrote a letter to Mr. M that says:

"As a result of an administrative hearing held on April 3, 2006. Your license has been CANCELLED. A copy of the hearing report is enclosed.

"This determination concludes the Police Department’s review of this matter. You may appeal this determination by commencing an Article 78 proceeding in Supreme Court within four months of the date of this letter."

And so Mr. M is out his two guns, which he will never see again, $340 for the money order, and $550 for the lawyer. If he is inclined to spend a lot more money and waste a lot more time, he can indeed pursue an Article 78. But what would you say his odds are of getting his license?

How can ANYONE be pro-gun-ownership and support something like this being taken nationwide???

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Observation of the Day: or, You're Not A Gun Snob Until...

Earlier today, Tam was blogging about gun snobbery:

After thirteen years in the gun business, most guns bore me...I'm happy for your new Ruger SP-101 or Ed Brown Kobra, but I'm having to fake the oohs and ahs because I've seen a dozen of them and I can pick up the phone and order a dozen more.

Even as someone who's still fairly new to guns, I can understand that...really, in most cases, a gun is a gun is a gun. Don't get me wrong, a Wilson Combat or Nighthawk custom 1911 pistol is a thing of sheer beauty, but, really, if you've seen one 1911 you've seen them all, at least if they're made from the designs God handed JMB down from the mountain. ;-) And the aforementioned Ruger SP101 is a fine little compact revolver, built like a tank as all Ruger pistols and revolvers are, but it's still based on a design that's well over 100 years old. (Of course, if it's a bona-fide 1911 GI .45 that saw combat on Guadalcanal or Verdun, well, that would definitely merit some ooohs and ahhhs.) But someone nailed the real gun snobs in the comments there...
You're not officially a snob until you start to insult the gun and the owner for getting it.
"Ruger? Couldn't you afford better?"
You've got a long way to go before snobdom.

A-yup. Really, I guess we should all be happy that they're getting guns and not worry so much about makes and such, though if it's a Jennings, Raven or Lorcin or something like that, that's a whole 'nother can of beans. ;-) Seriously, though, I am not a fan of any kind of polymer pistol, as I said, but if that's what folks feel more comfortable with and shoot 'em well, well then, more power to them. Let us all bite our tongues, congratulate them for arming themselves, and beseech God and the spirit of John Moses Browning to show them all the error of their ways. ;-)
/tongue in cheek

We Interrupt These Musings...

for a very important update: The latest goodness from the great Bill Whittle! An excerpt:

There was a time – and being born in 1959, I am old enough to remember it – when the idea of Civilization needed no explanation or defense. Everybody knew what it meant. Civilization was tied to another term, now likewise mocked, and that term is Progress.
Progress was the idea that society was moving forward, upward, toward higher goals – better medicine, faster transportation, the brutality of hard labor replaced by stronger, then smarter machines; abundant energy, increased wealth and leisure: all of these things were greatly desired, and society was proud to provide them, proud to show them off in World Fairs and Expos and in the mythology of the movies.
Now "progress" and "civilization" are ironic terms, in sneer quotes, muttered with that pathetic, bored tone of cynical nihilism started by the narcissistic brats that I have been ten years behind for my entire life. Today, I try to exercise and watch my weight only so that I may live long enough to see the last of these radical hippies die in their sleep.

And it only gets better from there...

A Pleasant Surprise

...via the AP and Houston Chronicle:

The House voted Tuesday to prevent law enforcement officers from confiscating legally owned guns during a national disaster or emergency.
...The House voted 322-99 in favor of the bill.

It's not really a surprise to me that the bill passed, given the more conservative bent of the House as compared to the Senate -- but I would have never expected the vote tally to be so lopsided. It's good to know at least a few of our countrymen on the other side of the aisle don't believe natural disasters warrant disarmament of the citizenry. But, as usual, some people just don't get it...
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., called the bill "insane."
He and some Democrats said the bill might satisfy the gun lobby, but it would put people into more danger during already perilous disasters.

Riiiiight. As if they would be in less danger after being disarmed and left unable to protect themselves from looters and thugs who were after their generators, food and God knows what else. Spoken like a true politician (with, of course, an F- GOA rating). Further vindication of the bill comes in the very next sentence, though...
The Fraternal Order of Police endorsed the measure. In a letter to Jindal, National President Chuck Canterbury said, "A law-abiding citizen who possesses a firearm lawfully represents no danger to law enforcement officers or any other first responder."

I know there are more than a few folks behind the badge who agree with that, but it's always good to see it in print, especially considering the firmly established bias of the media on any and all things gun-related. Considering that, it's also quite surprising that there were absolutely no quotes from The Organizations Formerly Known as Handgun Control and The National Coalition To Ban Handguns, or the Violence Policy Center. A small victory, I know...but we should take those victories anywhere we can get them.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

More Thoughts on the Illinois Situation

Bill aka Yosemite Sam at The Ten Ring got me to thinking again, with a rant worthy of the great Kim du Toit. An excerpt:

Under no circumstances, should anyone that believes in the Right to Bear Arms live in the following Fascist states. These are, in no particular order, Illinois, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts. These states have absolutely no respect for the Constitution and as far as I’m concerned are no longer, in spirit at least, part of the United States of America.

He's right...and it made me reflect more on what I said a couple of days ago about the Illinois firearm manufacturers getting out of there -- " gets me to wondering why the gun makers didn't pull out long ago. I have a feeling I know why -- money and the expertise of master gunsmiths and such."
Upon further reflection, I suppose that's a valid concern, to an extent...but the people who build the guns should be as concerned and up in arms, so to speak, as the people who buy them and like to shoot them, and no doubt they are. And North Texas blogger Gandalf23 made an observation I can't believe I didn't think to make myself back when Springfield and the others threw down the gauntlet (emphasis mine -- ed.):
We've got great weather, good food, good local beer, lots of trained machinists (lots of aerospace companies in North Texas), no state income tax, low taxes on businesses, and a thriving market for your wares.

I had forgotten about all about the thriving aerospace industry up in that part of the Lone Star State. Just right off the top of my head, I know Vought Aircraft is headquartered in Dallas and has a manufacturing site there and in Grand Prarie as well, Lockheed (formerly General Dynamics) has a huge plant over in Ft. Worth, and I know Raytheon once upon a time had a pretty big aircraft rebuilding and modification operation over in Greenville, 45 miles northeast of Dallas, though I am not sure whatever became of that. You never know where talent can be found. But in any event, I think it would only be good for the Illinois gunmakers to get the hell out, because, once again, I must agree with Bill:
There are those who will say that we should continue the fight there and that there are a lot of good people in those states that believe in RKBA. My answer to that line of reasoning is that it’s too late. The fight in those states was lost decades ago and the fat lady has already left the stage.

A-yup. The Geek said once upon a time about the voters of New Jersey, "The voters of New Jersey have made a loud, clear statement:

"'We're perfectly happy to bend over and take it up the ass.'"

One could say the same of the voters in the other states Bill mentioned as well. It may well be just a thin majority, and I do not mean to paint all the voters with the same broad brush (though in Jersey it might actually be fair). And Illinois is in quite the pickle, as you could probably say that Chicago and its leftist suburbs more or less impose their will on the downstate Illinois voters -- but no matter the situation, the fact is the majority of voters in those states have indeed made the situation intolerable for those who cherish liberty, and getting the hell out of there by any means necessary would indeed be the prudent thing to do. Kim du Toit did it, the Geek did it, Bill and Denise did it, and so did this guy...and God only knows how many more could follow suit if they were willing to make the sacrifices.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

On Being Old Fashioned...

Xavier had this to say, this morning...

I used to be a young buck a few years back, and I packed the latest tactical hardware. Back then, it was called Beretta. Mel Gibson carried it in Lethal Weapon, and the military had finally wisened up and gotten rid of that obsolete WW1 pistol for a modern Beretta. I had one too. Glock and HK were the dark force in polymer avant-guard in those days.

I would see the old fogies chomping cigars and shooting their six guns at the range. I would scare my targets half to death with hails of ammo peppering the entire area of the paper. I left no 4X4 inch area unshot. Dadgum I was good!...

Well now. I guess I'm even more old-fashioned than I thought. I have absolutely no use for rap "music" or any kind of video game (though I have absolutely nothing against the latter), and most of the music I like came out long before I was born. Much new "country" music I can't stand because, well, it's just not country anymore (it's not evolution of the genre, it's consolidation and bastardization of it). To hell with Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney, gimme some Merle Haggard and George Jones.
And even when I started shooting again, even though that first gun was a wondernine autopistol, I still had nothing against wheelguns and knew that I'd be adding some to my collection...and I had yet to discover the wonders and joys of that old WWI pistol Xavier talks about, but ever since I picked one up, it's hard to pull myself away from it. Love at first shoot, it was, and as for wheelguns, there's nothing like slipping a round in each chamber, snapping it shut and going to town. And I still have no interest in any kind of polymer pistol. Judas Priest, where's my cane??

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Illinois: A Little Closer to Tyranny

The sun rises, the sun sets, and as it does so, Illinois comes ever closer to tyranny...

Earlier this month, Cook County Board member Joseph Moreno stood before the county board and called for " to house searches to pull every gun out of Cook County." Moreno's statement comes within days of Blagojevich claiming that anyone in Chicago who owns a gun is a "gang banger" and is "...up to no good."
"I think the timing of the Blagojevich and Moreno remarks is more than just coincidence," commented ISRA-PVF spokesman, Richard Pearson. "During the July 6th dedication of the Sparta shooting complex, Blagojevich didn't mince any words when he essentially declared that any gun-owner north of I-80 is a criminal. Then, days later, a powerful member of the Cook County Board calls for police sweeps against the homes of lawful gun owners. These statements didn't happen by accident -- the intent is clear....House Bill 2414 remains alive in a House committee awaiting a call for a vote. If passed into law, HB2414 would result in the banning and forced confiscation of millions of lawfully-acquired firearms from law-abiding Illinois citizens. The raids would be aided by a database of firearm owners being maintained illegally by the Illinois State Police."

If you'll recall, HB 2414 is the "assault weapons" ban currently in the Illinois legislature; the bill "(p)rohibits the knowing manufacture, delivery, and possession of semiautomatic assault weapons, assault weapon attachments, 50 caliber rifles, and 50 caliber cartridges." Illinois firearm manufacturers -- Springfield Armory, Armalite and Rock River Arms -- have told the Illinois State Rifle Association that "should any form of HB-2414 pass, they will be leaving the state, taking with them over $300 million in manufacturing."
Add to that Richard Daley's demands to Illinois gun owners to appear before him and explain to him why their guns shouldn't be banned and confiscated, and it gets me to wondering why the gun makers didn't pull out long ago. I have a feeling I know why -- money and the expertise of master gunsmiths and such -- but still, if I were in the position to do it, I'd be doing my level best to get my company the hell out of such a place. I don't think I could stand to put so much money into the pockets of people with such a hostile attitude towards the lawful, safe and fun products that put food on my family's table and shoes on my kids' feet. I have to wonder how many master craftsmen could be found down this way, and in neighboring states such as Oklahoma and Arkansas, should the Illinois gunmakers' workers not want to relocate. It would be interesting to find out, and see what happens if 2414 ever becomes law, although I hope it doesn't, for the simple reason that Illinois gun owners deserve better than to have Richard Daley's demands shoved down their throat by Daley's puppet Rod Blagojevich and his minions in the Illinois Legislature.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Musings on Cross Canadian Ragweed

Just for grins, the other day I figured I'd check out the customer reviews on for Texas-Oklahoma red dirt country band Cross Canadian Ragweed. I have their self-titled cd (the one with the purple cover, excellent disc, best one I bought in all of 2005), and I was aiming to pick up Soul Gravy, the 2004 follow-up, but before I did I figured I'd see what others had said about it. One reviewer offered this observation:

But as a country fan myself I can say that this is NOT country music it is southern ROCK, and southern rock is not country music its ROCK.

Now, granted, I can see his point. Haggard and Strait, CCR most definitely are not. Still, though, I have to wonder if this particular self-proclaimed "country fan" had any problem hearing the likes of Shania Twain and Rascal Flatts on CMT and country radio. And say what you will about "southern ROCK," but I will tell you right here and now without even a hint of apology that bands like the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band had a hell of a lot more country "street cred" than poseurs like Kenny Chesney (Judas, talk about a one-trick pony!), Shania Twain and Rascal Flatts could ever even think of having. I just can't help but think that more than a few people who think of a band like Cross Canadian Ragweed as a southern rock band, and see that as a bad thing, see what's going on in mainstream country music today as the pinnacle of the genre's evolution. And perhaps the greatest irony of that is that they'd tell people like me that we are the closed-minded ones, that country has room for all kinds of influences, yet in their next breath denigrate the country music credentials of a band like CCR. I daresay Cody Canada, Randy Ragsdale, Jeremy Plato and Grady Cross have more country soul in their respective little fingers than most of these Hot New Country "stars" have in their entire beings. Country? Maybe not in the strictest sense of what many would define as "Real Country Music," but these guys have soul, style and passion, three things sorely missed in today's "country music" environment. I hope they keep doing exactly what they're doing, because it's damned fine stuff indeed.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Irony from the UK?

(background here, here, here, here and here)

Regarding the nasty, threatening comments made by moonbat leftist professor Deborah Frisch (whose name has now been immortalized as a verb) against Colorado blogger Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom, a fellow with the online handle of Brit had this to say:

If this little fracas between two egotistical bloggers had taken place in the UK, and you had taken the matter to the authorities, you would have been told, in no uncertain terms, to grow a pair of balls and learn to cope with Ms Frisch’s colourful terminology in a less fearful manner.

How rich is the irony there, coming as it supposedly did from a subject (you'll note I didn't call him a citizen) of the United Kingdom, where just about any kind of self-defense is outlawed, where they tell you if someone breaks into your house to give them what they want, to cooperate at all costs? I'd be willing to bet that they'd probably shut Goldstein's site down and say it was all his fault if all this was going on over there. Whatever the case may be, I'd like to think that as far down the toilet the UK has gone, they still give half a shit when somebody makes any kind of threat against a toddler. Yet another reason I am glad I am an American, and a Texan, as if anyone threatened my loved ones like that, I have a hell of a lot more options, up to and including Mr. John Moses Browning's creation. Looks like Mr. Goldstein might be taking that route, and I must say, I think he's doing the right thing.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Just Another Tool

In comments over at Irons in the Fire, BobG from Near the Salty City sums it up quite well:

at 54, with a stent, 4 bads disks, and some extra poundage on me, I don't like the idea of trying to scrap with a couple of 19 year-olds on meth.

And that, friends, is what it's all about. Some folks have the physical strength, experience with martial arts and all that good stuff...but then some of us are at a disadvantage in that department, one that for all the effort we could give it can arguably never be completely overcome. Me, I'm a gimp. I have a bad arm and a bad leg, been that way ever since I was born. I walk, but with a limp, and the arm isn't as strong as the good arm. Give me a can of mace or pepperspray or a knife against, say, a couple of 23-year-old ex-high-school football players high on crystal meth, and I might get in a good jab or two, but it might well be the last thing I ever did. But with a .45 in my hand, well, the playing field is leveled considerably, and I have a hell of a lot more to work with than if I were staking my making it through the scrape by just my physical ability alone. Some things just cannot be planned for, and that's what a gun is there for -- a tool for when the situation at hand is beyond the limits of all the other tools in the box. Would that the world's gun bigots could see it as such instead of some evil talisman whose possession makes people prone to kill, or, as I recently heard one person put it, use his or her fellow citizens for target practice. I don't think I'll ever understand that point of view.

Quote of the Day

From Jay Tea at Wizbang!

Massachusetts likes to refer to itself as "the cradle of liberty," citing its key role in the American revolution. It's a fit metaphor. Unfortunately, Liberty has grown up and left the crib, leaving only a smelly, befouled diaper behind.

A-yup. Really gives new meaning to the term "statist shithole." I've said this about many places, and it fits for Massachusetts as well -- I suppose it'd be a nice place to visit, but I sure as hell wouldn't want to live there.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A New Level Of Spin -- and Not from the MSM!

Bloggers often accuse the mainstream media of spinning issues to fit their agenda, and with very good reason, especially on the contentious issue of gun control. However, I do believe this takes spin to an entirely new level -- and, ironically enough, it comes from a blogger! (h/t: the lovely and gracious Nicki)

What about the second amendment rights of Americans? Well, what about them? That wasn't the focus of this conference...

Well, if you read the news reports about the conference from any kind of mainstream media outlet, of course it wasn't! If you read the news reports from the MSM, you'd see snakes like Kofi Annan and Rebecca Peters protesting that they didn't want to take Americans' guns away.
If you solely relied on the news reports from the MSM, it's not so likely you'd see Rebecca Peters saying, "I think American citizens should not be exempt from the rules that apply to the rest of the world. At the moment there are no rules applying to the rest of the world. That’s what we’re working for. American citizens should have guns that are suitable for the legitimate purposes that they can prove," as if we had a burden to some central authority to prove why we needed a firearm.
If you solely relied on the MSM for an eye on this conference, you might not have caught the Peters quote from her debate with Wayne LaPierre: "Yes, I believe that semiautomatic rifles and shotguns have no legitimate role in civilian hands. And not only that, handguns have no legitimate role in civilian hands."
If you solely relied on the MSM for information about this conference and some of the requirements Peters and her den of vipers wanted to impose on us, you might well have found no mention of what they point to as "effective laws," and the example the rest of the world should follow (PDF alert!):

Elements of effective national gun laws: an example from
• Gun ownership should require a licence obtained by meeting a
series of criteria which include a minimum age, a clean criminal
record, undergoing safety training and establishing a genuine
reason for needing to own a gun.
• When deciding whether to grant or renew a licence, police can take into account all relevant circumstances.
• People convicted of assault are banned from having a gun licence for five years.
• People subject to domestic violence restraining orders are banned from having a gun licence for five years.
• People with domestic violence restraining orders against them are subject to compulsory seizure of all their guns.
• All guns must be registered at time of sale or transfer and when the licence is renewed.
• There is a 28-day waiting period to buy a gun.
• ‘Genuine reason’ must be proved separately for each gun, effectively imposing a limit on the number that any one person can own.
• Guns cannot be bought or sold privately but only through licensed dealers or the police.

Let us, once again, look at the Second Amendment:
"A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

--Waiting periods.
--Requirements to submit "a genuine reason" for owning a gun.
--Licenses granted at the whim of the police, aka "The Only Ones..."
--Limits on the number and types of firearms non-state actors may own.
--Proof required for taking ownership of a firearm, probably subject to denial for any reason.

I don't know about y'all, but that sounds a hell of a lot like infringement of Americans' Second Amendment rights to me, to say nothing of everyone's basic human right of self-defense, and the evisceration of the presumption of innocence. (Of course, one could argue that last thing went out the door as the ATF Form 4473 came in...) But make no mistake; this conference was a strike, not just at Americans' rights, but at the rights of everyone to defend themselves from those who might oppress them, whether it be a petty thief or a tyrannical government. And anyone who would say otherwise isn't paying attention.

Thoughts: UN Disarmament Conference Gone Down in Flames

Yes, it's late I know, but...
From David Kopel at the Volokh Conspiracy (h/t GeekWithA.45)

the word from the United Nations small arms conference is that the conference is concluding with NO final document, and NO plans for any follow-up conference...
If a few hundred votes had changed in Florida in 2000, or if 60,000 votes had changed in Ohio in 2004, the results of the 2001 and 2006 U.N. gun control conferences would have been entirely different. There would now be a legally binding international treaty creating an international legal norm against civilian gun ownership, a prohibition on the transfer of firearms to "non-state actors" (such as groups resisting tyrants), and a new newspeak international human rights standard requiring restrictive licensing of gun owners. With a Presidential signature on such a treaty (even if the treaty were never brought to the Senate floor for ratification), the principles of the anti-gun treaty would be eroding the Second Amendment, through Executive Orders, and through the inclination of some courts to use unratified treaties as guidance in interpretting the U.S. Constitution.

We scored a major, major victory here...and as I sit here this morning, I am silently thanking God that President George W. Bush was elected and re-elected. As imperfect as his record on Second Amendment issues has been (i.e., support of the purely symbolic AWB, and no reigning in of the ATF), he really came through for us in appointing John Bolton as our ambassador to the United Nations. As they say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. ;-) It's been said that the perfect is often the enemy of the good, and nowhere has this been made more evident than by the results of the UN conference and what David Kopel points out above. Those 400 votes in 2000, and 60,000 in 2004, could very well have been those of gun owners who went for a third party because they didn't consider GWB to be the best candidate for the cause with a serious chance of winning. Call me crazy, call me a traitor to the cause, but I'd say that in settling for less, in this case, we got a hell of a lot more than we'd ever dreamed of. Not only did we get our chestnuts pulled out of the fire, we got the fire extinguished completely, at least for now, and some ground on which to stand and advance further on the goal to total recognition of of our natural right of self-defense. And isn't this just precious!:
"This was total meltdown," said Anthea Lawson, spokesperson for the International Action Network on Small Arms. "Seldom have diplomats worked so hard for so few results. They've squandered an opportunity to save thousands of lives."

Now, lest you think I am a heartless bastard, history shows that the lives Anthea Lawson talked of saving would more or less have been those of state actors seeking to violate the natural rights of the people whom they govern and strip those people of their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which, of course, people we've all read about pledged their Lives, Fortunes and Sacred Honor to preserve.

Of course, they won't be giving up...
a leaked copy of Canada's proposal — supported by a number of states — called for a one-week meeting to be held in Geneva in 2007....
Sri Lankan Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, president of the conference, said he didn't consider the meeting a failure. "It ended without a final document, but a lot of work was done and there was a sense of collective will that we will see the program of action implemented," he said.
The U.S. opposed a further UN review meeting. And it is unlikely to support Canada's proposal for a parallel conference in Geneva. The National Rifle Association, which attacked the conference as an infringement on American constitutional rights, also condemned efforts to continue the talks.
But, it said, the Geneva meeting would be funded on a "voluntary basis" and take place only if countries anted up. The plan was hailed by European delegates.

It just goes to show you: the United States doesn't have allies in this world, so much as fleeting, temporary alliances on certain issues. We all know how the UK's Tony Blair feels about guns, and Australian PM John Howard, and as much good as President Bush has done for us on our most basic natural right, we need to keep the views of Blair, Howard and their ilk in mind when we hear the president refer to these people as our "friends" or "allies."
In the meantime, though, me and my Springfield 1911 are going to the range today. I haven't fed her in a few weeks. She's gotten hungry and lonely.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

RINO Alert, As If We Didn't Already Know

Captain Ed, on Rudy Giuliani:

Rudy supports a right to abortion, gay marriage, and gun control.... It will make it quite difficult for Rudy to win in the primaries outside of New England, and it's doubtful that he will gain much by making a complete change on any of those positions. What's more likely to work is a philosophical explanation of his stances, followed by a pledge to work with the party to meet its goals in some type of big-tent fashion.

Indeed. We all remember John Kerry's posing with his trusty shotgun (with his finger on the damn trigger! *snort*) and crawling around in the brush, in a shameless attempt to position himself as somewhat friendly to guns and gun rights. I didn't so much agree with the last sentence of the above quote, though. I along with many other Second Amendment bloggers have covered the whole issue of compromise before -- it's basically a losing strategy in the long term -- but on the issue of gun control, I must agree with the good Captain:
Gun control would be a tougher nut to crack. Of the three issues Novak mentions, this is the only one with an explicit guarantee in the Constitution, and yet it's the one right that liberals attack. It will be hard to square that impulse with the conservative base no matter what philosophical or utilitarian arguments Rudy might offer, and a pro-gun Democrat could steal the South in the general election, even if Rudy won the nomination. Al Gore lost his home state of Tennessee in 2000, and the election as a result, largely on this one issue.

It would be well for Giuliani to remember that, if he fancies himself as a candidate for all of us who lean toward the Pachyderm Party. Right now, no doubt there are many who would see Giuliani as a Rockefeller Republican in the mold of Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, and John and Lincoln Chafee. And I've said it before, but if a Democrat came along that was not so hostile to my natural right to arms, I would seriously consider casting my vote for him, or her, as the case may be (Zell Miller, call your office!), if a Snowe, Specter or Chafee was on the ballot for the Republicans. I would say that Giuliani needs to seriously rethink his support of any kind of gun control, and not just out of political expediency -- a serious, philosophical reassessment of the issue -- but somehow I just don't see that one happening. He's a politician, after all, and whether they lean to the left or the right, most of them have their own aspirations in mind rather than the best interests of the people. I can't help but think that we're going to get more pandering - maybe not as blatant as John Kerry's, but we will see what comes, in the not-too-distant future.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Gun Fun on Independence Day (and more thoughts)

What better way to celebrate the 230th anniversary of our great nation than by going to the range? It was supposed to rain yesterday, and it eventually did -- in fact, before I even got back home -- but in the morning before the rain rolled in, I hit the door with my range bag, the Ruger MkIII, and about 240 rounds of .22 Long Rifle. I got there and a buddy of mine, who I met through a lady I work with, was there shooting with a friend. He set me up a target at the 7-yard mark, and I loaded that little bugger and blasted away. The fella who loaned me the Ruger told me that once I shot it, I'd have to have one, and by-George, he was dead on the money. That little gun is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, and cheap to feed, to boot! I put the rounds through that little silhouette target just as fast as I could pull that trigger.
"You got him!"
"Yup. I figure ten rounds of even .22 in the head would ruin anyone's day." ;-)
I'd gotten used to shooting the .45, and in comparison, the .22 is like a cap gun in terms of recoil. I think that might have been why I was caught off guard when my friend handed me what I think was his Glock 19 and let me run through a mag or two of 9mm. The muzzle flip on that little thing was some kind of fierce! Maybe it was just because I'd been shooting the .22, and maybe it was because my Ruger P89 9mm is almost a pound heavier (12 oz.) than the G19. I still did pretty good with it, though..I managed some COM shots when I went for 'em. Makes me want to pull out my P89 and see how it does in comparison, though, since I haven't shot it in a while. Maybe next week.

Addendum: AlanDP at Blogonomicon says in comments:

Based on my own experience, I think polymer-framed guns have a different kind of recoil because so much of the weight is in the slide. This causes a very sharp twisty kind of recoil instead of a less sharp pushy kind of recoil.

That makes a lot of sense; I'd never thought about that. I was thinking it was more because the pistol was so light due to the polymer frame. I also saw something else I'd never seen before on any kind of autopistol: part of the top of the slide, just behind the front sights, was cut out and you could see down into the slide, where the barrel was. I asked the guy why it was like that and he said it was to make the gun lighter. I guess there are tradeoffs everywhere you look, but if the recoil was like that with a 9mm, or a .45, I'd just as soon get used to lugging around a Government Model 1911 (or a Commander or Officers' Model). I don't even know how one could shoot a full-power 10mm load out of a gun like that (180 grains at about 1300 fps, or in the case of the same Double Tap load 1425 fps); it'd be a handful and then some. Maybe some folks are just gluttons for punishment, but as for me, I think I'd just as soon find something heavier or better weight-balanced, such as, oh, a Kimber Eclipse Custom II -- which, incidentally, is the next gun on my to-get list.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day Thoughts and Questions

(click here for Drumwaster's Special Share)

Xavier got me to thinking (emphasis mine):

When they wrote, signed and ratified this document (the Declaration of Independence -- ed.) two hundred and thirty years ago today, our founding fathers not only denounced the most powerful ruler in the world as a tyrant and they his equals if not betters, but they signed their own death warrants in a determined hope of establishing a nation such as had never before existed. While you enjoy your hotdog today, imagine the courage and faith in the future and their fellow man. Ask yourself if you could risk all you hold dear, your home, your family, your life, for a vision of a new nation. Then be humbled.

Sometimes I wonder, could I do something so daring? Say goodbye to my family, my wife, my kids and tell them I was giving them the greatest gift of all? The good people who signed that hallowed document did just that, placed their necks on the chopping block so that their children and grandchildren could prosper and live as free men and women, choosing their own destiny. Sometimes I wonder, could I do it? Could I take myself away from my loved ones? Could I be so selfless? Would they all understand? Would they be consoled with the knowledge that we would meet again in the house of the Lord one sweet day? Sometimes I wonder, especially on days such as this, as I plan to go to the shooting range this morning, and spend the afternoon with my family, and ponder the future and what it holds for me as a man, a Texan and American. The folks who signed that document made an immeasurable sacrifice for us. May we always do our very best to be worthy of it.
Happy Independence Day, Folks.

"I should spend an hour a day prostrate and thanking God I was born an American. How many struggle and die for this privilege?"
-- Bill Whittle

Monday, July 03, 2006

Welcome, new folks!

I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome all those visting from Drumwaster's place! Pull up a seat, enjoy your stay, and please do come back whenever you can. I won't spoil the surprise, but I can promise you, tomorrow's Special Share at DW will indeed be worth the download!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Can't Question Their Motives? Or, A Different Kind of Gun Mag Nonsense

So I was over at a family friend's house last night, drinking tequila with beer chasers as we talked gun stuff and I picked up his new Ruger MkIII .22 that he'd just picked up and offered to let me borrow for a couple of weeks. As I left, he gave me a bunch of his old gun mags that had been laying around the house. One of them was the April issue of Guns & Ammo, and in it was something I'd meant to blog about before but couldn't find on the Web -- something rather outrageous as far as content of your typical gun mags goes. Now, we've all heard about how most gun magazines rarely give even a hint of a negative review of a gun; an excellent spoof of a gun test and subsequent gun mag review can be found here.
You would think, though, that gun writers would more or less have things fully figured out when it comes to gun politics. You would think that they would all see right through people like Sarah Brady, Josh Sugarmann and the like. However, if you thought this, you would be wrong.
John Hay Rabb, who writes the "Second Amendment" column for Guns & Ammo, wrote in the April issue of "The Dark History of Gun Control," in which he discussed the issue of gun control's ignominious history of keeping guns out of the hands of black people and other disfavored groups in society. Now, this is something that really should be discussed, and it does indeed provide a possible motive about which we should question those who would impose ever more strict controls on the gun business in America. But Rabb gets off to an absolutely atrocious start, one which absolutely blows the entire premise of his column all to pieces:

For all the antipathy gun owners may feel toward those who would like to take away our guns, we have no cause to question their motives. After all, we have a common fundamental objective: a country in which citizens are safe, wherever they live, work or play. But while it may not be legitimate to question motives, it is entirely appropriate to question judgment...

No cause to question motives. May not be legitimate to question motives. If this is the case, then why even bring the subject up? The gun-grabbers cannot claim ignorance on this matter anymore. We on the pro-liberty side have been screaming from the rooftops about gun control's sordid history and the past and present effects of gun control for literally years now, and no matter what, those who would take our guns still fight on. The facts are in, ladies and gentlemen:
Gun control is racist, classist and sexist.
It leaves the weak at the mercy of the strong, the law-abiding at the mercy of the lawbreakers, and the poor and downtrodden at the mercy of the rich and well-connected.
The results of the policies the gun-grabbers advocate in this country have been plain to see for, well, a long, long time now, from Nazi Germany to Cambodia to Great Britain to Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York. Gun Control Does. Not. Work. In. Any. Form. Or. Fashion.
Yet in spite of all that, in spite of the fact that the 20,000 gun laws in this country, including the much-heralded Brady Law, have been shown to have done little or nothing to reduce crime in this country, they still press on. Not legitimate to question the motives of the gun-grabbers? The HELL IT ISN'T! Not only is it entirely legitimate, especially in light of the disarmament conference being held this week in New York, but it's absolutely essential. If we automatically assign benign, benevolent motives to those who would take our guns away, whether they're natives or foreigners, that in itself is a form of complacency, and that is something gun owners can ill afford even in the best of times. Not only to we have every right to question their motives; we have an absolute duty, to ourselves, our children, our fellow human beings and all who have fought and died to preserve that liberty and all the others.