Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"When they can ban guns, they can burn books..."

I don't remember exactly where the title of this entry comes from -- though I did google the phrase and ran up on this -- but I was reminded of it during some downtime at work earlier this week when I came up on this, from the inimitable Mark Steyn...

Last week's letters page included a missive from Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., chief commissioner of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission, defending her employees from the accusation of "improper investigative techniques" by yours truly. Steyn, she writes, "provides no substantiation for these claims," and then concludes:
"Why is this all important? Because words are important. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free rein. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred."

Amazing. We poke fun of the gun-controllers and their so-called "reasonable limits" on the Second Amendment all the time in this country, but at least the First Amendment remains off-limits, at least for now. And I know well that hateful words do lead to hurtful actions, but I've said it before and I'll say it again -- if the targets of the hurtful actions were able to defend themselves, one would think the ones who were doing the hurtful things might think twice about said actions. But maybe that's the bloodthirsty warmongering Texan in me coming out.
As for the line that is the title of this entry, I wonder if that's what Bill Whittle had in mind when he said that once the Second Amendment goes, the First will soon follow. Whether he did, such an observation seems to be coming true north of the border. Steyn, though, being the brilliant pundit he is, notes that there seems to be a set of double standards in play here...
It's true that "hurtful actions that undermine freedom" and lead to "unspeakable crimes" usually have some fig leaf of intellectual justification. For example, the ideology first articulated by Karl Marx has led to the deaths of millions of people around the planet on an unprecedented scale. Yet oddly enough, no matter how many folks are murdered in the name of Marxism-Leninism, you're still free to propound its principles at every college in Canada.

Steyn goes on to point out the ineffectiveness of such laws in the absence of certain other laws in the early days of the Nazis' rein in Germany...
The problem the Jews found themselves up against in Germany and elsewhere was not the lack of hate-speech laws but the lack of protection of the common or garden laws — against vandalism and property appropriation and suchlike.

Which, of course, goes back to what we here in the States say all the time about the Second Amendment being the guarantor of all the rest of the amendments. But of course Canadians are finding their right of self-defense with a firearm gutted a little more all the time, it seems. So it would only follow that their other rights would be infringed upon for the sake of public safety. As the rest of Bill Whittle's observation goes, "if some unelected elite determines that the people can't be trusted with dangerous guns, then it's just a matter of time until they decide they can't be trusted with dangerous ideas, either." And of course, what we're seeing is that unelected elite saying the Canadian public can't say things about a certain group of people. (More on the Canadian government's persecution of Steyn here.) It makes one wonder, though, how many in this great land would advocate for such things here. For teh childrenses, you know. And once again, there are many who wouldn't really care, and while they should care, I can almost understand why they wouldn't.
"Hey, you used your First Amendment rights to shit all over my Second Amendment rights for years, you asshole, YOU'RE the one who set the precedent that got us here..."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

And we get a little bit more of the shaft...

I was doing my thing at work last Saturday night listening to Rowdy Yates' classic country show on KILT, and he made mention of the fact that the show would be moving to Sunday nights starting this weekend. That night's 7-to-midnight time slot was occupied by Leslie T. Travis's Texas Roadhouse, a five-hour weekly spotlight on music from Texas artists. And I thought they might just be switching the time slots of the two shows -- which would have been fine. Well, apparently the station's management has decided to give the Texas music fans the finger yet again...

Much to my big surprise the KILT Texas Roadhouse is over.

At least the 5 hour, request intensive show I've been hosting there the last few years. The management at the station has decided to move Rowdy's Yates hugely popular "Solid Gold" show to the 7 to midnight spot on Sunday night.

While they have not completely done away with the Texas music on KILT, they are cutting the show back to 2 hours 10 to midnight Saturday's.

It will now be hosted by Steve Rixx, who is very knowledgable about the music. I do believe that the music will change drastically with the time restraints.

KILT Music Director Greg Frey will now be chosing ALL the music for the show. He takes phone calls regarding music every Friday from 10am until Noon (Central time).

So we're going from five hours of music largely chosen by listeners to two hours of music that's all ultimately chosen by some corporate hack. (As an aside, nothing against Steve Rixx here, but if he's not even choosing the music for the show, what the hell does it matter what he knows about it?) Thanks a lot, y'all. Leslie T. and the Texas Roadhouse was one of the best things KILT had going for them and you threw it away. Let me guess, some consulting firm told you it'd boost the bottom line. I know it's a business and as such its purpose is to make money, but I was under the impression that the niche programming such as the Texas and classic country was exiled to weekend nights in the first place was the fact that not as many people were listening. I mean, it was bad enough that we only got five hours a week, but now just TWO hours where we can't even ask for something to be played? Is Texas music really THAT unprofitable?! What the hell, over?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A cold day in hell, indeed...

Well, how about this, a column -- from a member of the editorial board of a major American newspaper -- that says gun control doesn't work!...

...If there are too many guns in Chicago, it's not because of any statutory oversight. The city has long outlawed the sale and possession of handguns. It also forbids assault weapons. If prohibition were the answer, no one would be asking the question.

The recent spate of killings gives a misleading impression. Since the peak years of the early 1990s, the number of murders in Chicago has fallen by more than half. In the first three months of this year, homicides were down by 1.1 percent. No one would describe the current murder rate as acceptable, but the city has made huge progress.

It has done so despite the alleged problem cited by Weis, which is the availability of guns, and particularly one type of gun. "There are just too many weapons here," he declared at a Sunday news conference. "Why in the world do we allow citizens to own assault rifles?"

Actually, in Chicago, "we" don't allow citizens to own assault rifles. Elsewhere, they are allowed for the same reason other firearms are permitted. The gun Weis villainized is a type of semiautomatic that has a fearsome military appearance but is functionally identical to many legal sporting arms....

...Gun control hasn't worked as a remedy for crime. So what makes anyone think the answer is more gun control?

Well done, Mr. Chapman, well done. Welcome to the Dark Side, my friend.
This is not to say that I think the media types are any more enlightened than the rest of us -- in fact, on some issues, such as gun control, I think they're considerably LESS so -- but the question needs to be asked, what does it say about the gun issue that a big-city mainstream media type such as Steve Chapman sees the "solutions" of Sarah Brady, Josh Sugarmann, etc. as the craven acts of political posturing that they are? He never really said as much, but I think it's safe to say that if Chapman didn't see it that way he wouldn't have written the column that he did. And in a town so infested with gun-haters as Chicago is? Talk about a watershed moment. I'd like to think so, anyway. Not that I think Springfield Armory and all the rest of the gun manufacturers in Illinois should stay put just because of this one editorial piece, but maybe if the idiot politicians pushing meaningless crap like bans on "assault weapons" -- that aren't even used in crime in the first place -- read it and re-thought their "solutions," then that wouldn't be a bad thing at all. But then that would require said politicians not to have an anti-freedom agenda in the first place.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hey, I wasn't the only one!

Looks like I was not the only one who was disturbed about the lack of coverage of San Jacinto Day, as evidenced by a smattering of letters in this morning's Chronicle...

Thank you for your excellent coverage of San Jacinto Day. Oh, that's right, there wasn't any.
I don't think you covered the anniversary of the Alamo, either. I remember when people in Texas cared about Texas history.

Happy San Jacinto Day! How come I didn't see you recognize the Texans who fought for your freedoms? Is it because:
a) You don't care?
b) You don't know your history?
c) You are scared it will anger your Hispanic readers?
Based on how a certain demographic pissed and moaned when the idea was floated of naming Houston's professional soccer team after the year the city was founded, I'll take C, and that's my final answer. And once again, I think it's perfectly legitimate to ask where exactly the aggrieved demographic's allegiances lie.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Today in Texas History

On April 21, 1836, in a decisive battle that lasted but 18 minutes just east of where the city bearing his name sits today, Sam Houston and some 940 Texans defeated a 1,200-strong detachment of the Mexican Army led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who had led the victorious Mexican campaign at the Alamo on March 6 of that year. Houston exhorted his men to remember the battle of the Alamo and the subsequent Goliad massacre. And remember they did, catching the Mexicans by surprise as they were taking their afternoon siesta about 3:30 local time. Only nine of the Texans died in the fight, compared to 630 Mexican troops killed and 730 taken prisoner. The Battle of San Jacinto was a critical one, not just in Texas history but American history as well -- Texas won its independence that day, and nine years later became the 28th state in the U.S. Shortly after that, after the Mexican War of 1846-47, Mexico ceded the state of California and New Mexico to the U.S. These territories also comprised present-day Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada as well as parts of Wyoming.
All of which makes these words something to ponder...

...the silence we celebrate in continues to boggle my mind. We loudly celebrate Cinco de Mayo - the 5th of May - where a Mexican army defeated an imperialistic venture of Napoleon III on May 5th, 1862.
The United States was too preoccupied with its own Civil War to react to a French attempt to take over Mexico, and a smaller Mexican army defeated a much larger French army, ending Napoleon III's venture before it got out of hand. In many ways, we should be thankful that Mexico defeated the French. I mean, after all, could you imagine having a French state as a neighbor? It's bad enough to have Quebec so close to American shores!
But still - we celebrate with sales, parties, and lots of drinking the 5th of May. Why is it that April 21st passes in such silence? The 18 minute Battle of San Jacinto was, without much exaggeration, one of the most important battles in the history of the United States...
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo is all fine and good, I suppose...but still I think that San Jacinto Day should be celebrated with at least as much fanfare, delicate sensibilities of a certain demographic be damned.

um, experts in WHAT, exactly?

More mainstream media arrogance, via The Line Is Here, regarding the cover of Time magazine in which a tree replaces the flag the Marines were raising in the famous Iwo Jima photo, from Richard Stengel, the magazine's managing editor...

"I think since I've been back at the magazine, I have felt that one of the things that's needed in journalism is that you have to have a point of view about things...You can’t always just say 'on the one hand, on the other' and you decide. People trust us to make decisions. We're experts in what we do. So I thought, you know what, if we really feel strongly about something let's just say so."
Which leads to the question I posed in the title to this entry...experts in WHAT, exactly? On just about every issue under the sun, these people always, ALWAYS toe the socialist line, on issues from global warming to gun control, and if the facts belie that socialist line, well that's just too damned bad. Case in point, we have this little snippet from this anti-gun, anti-freedom diatribe from Don Campbell, a lecturer in journalism at Atlanta's Emory University:
...if Congress had the guts to take the lead, it would appoint a commission of reasonable people who I believe would agree on:
* The optimum firepower and configuration needed in a weapon to defend your home, bring down any critter from a quail to a moose or shred a paper target.
* Banning civilian ownership of all automatic weapons and all semiautomatic weapons that hold more than six rounds of ammunition. Six rounds is enough for any serious hunter, let alone a gangbanger.
Really now, are those the musings of a man who knows anything about guns or how they're used in real-life situations? Are these the recommendations of one who's experienced -- not just studied -- self-defense scenarios from home invasions to riots to Hurricane Katrina-type situations? Or are they a part of just another lecture from some self-righteous ivory-tower elitist who presumes to know what's best for the rest of us? I'd say the latter. Maybe it's just me, but I didn't think any caliber in existence would be equally suited to taking down a quail and a moose...and really, would you want your moose gun to defend your home with? But I'm getting way off track here. If these people knew what they were talking about that'd be one thing, but in so many instances they don't have a solitary clue! On just about every issue under the sun these people are NOT experts in any sense of the word. They just more or less tell what other experts are thinking, and even then THAT is a best-case scenario. Likely as not they'll go to someone who is more than a little bit biased and who has an agenda. I think it's safe to say that the lion's share of mainstream media professionals are degree-certified experts in journalism and nothing else. I've heard it said that to have the most credibility as a journalist, your best bet would be to learn another field in addition to journalism, so you could -- wait for it! -- at least speak credibly on topics related to that field. For Richard Stengel to stand there on his perch and say that journalists are experts at what they do is quite the height of arrogance, no?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Today in History...

....In 1943, during World War II, tens of thousands of Jews living in the Warsaw Ghetto began a valiant but futile battle against Nazi forces. (link)
More information here. And now for my thoughts on that...
There are many disarmament advocates who claim that a citizenry armed with small arms such as rifles and pistols is no match for a tyrannical government armed with weaponry such as B-52 bombers and M1 Abrams tanks. Which, in a very general sense, is true. But as Mike Vanderboegh observed some time ago at David Codrea's place, "...artillery and nuclear bombs are of limited utility to a government when the battlefield is its own cities, towns, transportation hubs and commercial centers. Then it becomes like Iraq, only far worse. It becomes a rat hunt where the rats outnumber you, and often, at the point of decision, beat you in the one thing that is most fundamental in an up-close infantry fight: rapid and deadly accurate rifle fire."
No doubt many would look at what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto as a failure, and perhaps in a sense it was -- the wrong implementation of the right strategy, in a way, the wrong implementation being in the fact that the Jewish resistance was not as well-armed as it could have been. But -- and I could well be wrong here -- I think THAT was partially due to the extent to which the Jews in Germany were disarmed before the slaughter commenced. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge Alex Kozinski offered an oblique recognition of this in his dissent to Silveira v. Lockyer (emphasis mine -- ed.):

The majority falls prey to the delusion—popular in some circles— that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth —born of experience— is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people. Our own sorry history bears this out: Disarmament was the tool of choice for subjugating both slaves and free blacks in the South. In Florida, patrols searched blacks’ homes for weapons, confiscated those found and punished their owners without judicial process. See Robert J. Cottrol & Raymond T. Diamond, The Second Amendment: Toward an Afro-Americanist Reconsideration, 80 Geo. L.J. 309, 338 (1991). In the North, by contrast, blacks exercised their right to bear arms to defend against racial mob violence. Id. at 341-42. As Chief Justice Taney well appreciated, the institution of slavery required a class of people who lacked the means to resist. See Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393, 417 (1857) (finding black citizenship unthinkable because it would give blacks the right to "keep and carry arms wherever they went"). A revolt by Nat Turner and a few dozen other armed blacks could be put down without much difficulty; one by four million armed blacks would have meant big trouble. All too many of the other great tragedies of history—Stalin’s atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few—were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. See Kleinfeld Dissent at 5997-99. If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars.
Indeed, it's something to consider. It would have been interesting and quite instructive to see what would have happened, had the Jews been armed as well as many Americans are. There are those who say the side armed with little more than small arms is going to lose, but then Arizona attorney David Hardy made a pretty good point in the comments to Vanderboegh's essay -- "To maintain a republic, you don't have to have the citizenry capable of fighting the worst-case government and winning 100% of the time. It's enough that those who might be tempted to abuse power see that abuse as sufficiently risky and costly to where they'd rather not roll the dice."
Still, though, it makes one wonder, how far the individuals who aspire to power in this country are willing to go, to see the implementation of their schemes through...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mmmm, don't think I'll use any more of that...

Or alternately titled, You Get What You Pay For, And That Goes For Ammo Too...
So I went shooting yesterday. I took out my Dan Wesson Razorback and didn't have any handloads on hand for it (note to self -- always load more than you shoot), and so I decided to swing by the local Academy and pick up a couple of boxes of the 200-grain Blazer 10mm ; at 1060 fps and 499 ft-lb of energy it's not balls-to-the-wall like I like it, but it'll do in a pinch. So I got up there, set up the target & started merrily blasting away. Seems like I was shooting low and a bit to the right, but I had some pretty good groupings.
But on about round 61 or 62, things went south for the day. I thought I had shot my last round, but I looked and the pistol was almost back into battery, but not quite. The cartridge was at an angle, and the pistol was locked up tighter than Dick's hatband. The slide would go back and forth just a little bit, but it wouldn't go all the way back, no matter how hard I pulled it. I had to get this old guy to help me with it, and he braced the bottom of the muzzle on the bench there and pressed down as hard as he could. It took a couple of tries, but we finally got it out. The case was bulged slightly toward the middle, and the bullet was set back further in the case than it should have been. I am thinking that had to have been the cartridge itself, because the recoil spring on the Razorback is only about 20 pounds, if I remember right. After I got home, I inspected the pistol as I was cleaning it and it looked like nothing was amiss, including the extractor. I remember thinking, "if it messes up my extractor, I am gonna be ticked!" It looked fine, but the next time I take it out I am going to take some of the Federal American Eagle or Remington UMC 180-grain FMJ. Both of those have the reloadable brass case as well, so I can recoup some of that extra cost. In any event, I don't think I'll be messing with the Blazers anymore. Oh, I bet you wanna see the pistol....

She's a beauty, and shoots as good as she looks! 5" barrel, chambered for the 10mm, fits 8 rounds, all steel with beautiful cocobolo wood grips. I had considered getting a set of Hogues for her like I have for my Kimber Stainless Target II, but I am thinking I'd rather save up for the wood grips with the finger grooves in the front. It may be a while before I get those, but even so I am more than happy with this pistol in its stock configuration.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm guessing they learned absolutely nothing...

From this morning's Chron...

Lt. Darren Mitchell, a Northern Illinois University officer who was on duty Feb. 14 when a gunman killed himself and five others at a lecture hall there, said his NIU comrades feel so strongly about preparation that even though they went through crisis training before the shooting, they went through more about a month after the killings to help answer a question: "How can we do it even better if we were to have something happen again?"
Last year's inaugural summit also took place at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, a suburb of Oklahoma City. Speakers this year emphasized that it has become increasingly clear since a gunman killed 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech that people from all parts of a campus must remain vigilant and communicate to identify threats and try to prevent violence.
Steven Healy, the chief of police at Princeton University, said it is "absolutely essential" for colleges to develop a behavioral threat assessment process. The trick, he said, is keeping a campus secure while respecting the open academic environment.
You'll carefully note that they've been asking themselves that question, but at least one option seems to still be off the table -- the option of letting students be their own last line of defense as the laws of Nature and Nature's God demand. I read that whole threat assessment bit and thought to myself, ok, what happens when that threat is assessed and it's too late to do anything about it? No matter what, there are always going to be those who fall through the cracks, and the public deserves better than to be forced to wait on other men with guns to ride to the rescue. More people will die, and of this you can be certain. As I was writing this I just thought of a rather interesting comparison...
Before the Virginia Tech slayings, the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States was this one. One of the results of that shooting was the later institution of a shall-issue concealed-carry law in the state of Texas. And as far as I remember the only reason it took so long to get the Concealed Handgun License laws instituted was the opposition of Democratic then-Gov. Ann Richards. Gov. George W. Bush signed the bills into law not quite a year after his election in November 1994. No doubt many have wondered over the last year if we'll ever get a dose of common sense and allow students to carry their sidearms on campus just as they can carry everywhere else. Judging from the fact that almost a year later the people in charge are still convening summits and tossing around meaningless mumbo-jumbo like "remain(ing) vigilant" and "behavioral threat assessment process," I'd say it looks like it's going to take at least as long to get any kind of similar results on the nation's college campuses that we got here in Texas. Now, a threat assessment process is by no means a bad thing, but without immediate, near-instantaneous deployment of, say, 230-grains of copper-jacketed lead at 850-875 feet per second, I'd say such a process is damned near useless. But what do I know, I'm just a bloodthirsty, warmongering, trigger-happy Texan...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Random thoughts on liberty

I was doing the blog-run a few minutes ago, and via David over at The War On Guns, I ran up on the op-ed piece USA Today's Walter Shapiro wrote a couple of days after the Virginia Tech massacre calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment. But that isn't what got me to put my fingers to the keys today. This was:

Why oh why do you accept that you cannot buy alcohol on Sunday (here in GA), but have an absolute right to buy a gun at the WalMart next door ?
Bit a straw man argument there. I've heard no one accept or advocate the continued existence of the "blue laws" in Georgia or anywhere else. There are probably more than a few of us so-called "gun nuts" who find the fact that you can't buy alcohol in some places on Sundays to be a load of crap too -- and I'd be willing to bet there are those who agree on THAT point who will advocate the repeal of the Second Amendment. Many of us who advocate expansion of liberty in one area advocate that same expansion of liberty in other areas as well. We subscribe to the theory of "trust the people until they prove they can't be trusted, and don't punish the many for the actions of the very few." And by the same token, there's no shortage of people and organizations who hold certain liberties in much higher regard than others. Witness the mainstream press hacks like Walter Shapiro using the First Amendment to the Constitution to shit all over the Second Amendment on pretty much a daily basis. Regarding THAT particular outrage, I keep thinking of the words of the great Bill Whittle (emphasis mine --ed.):
...reality (is) that compassion, culture, law and philosophy are precious, rare and acquired habits that must be defended with force against people who understand nothing but force. The great failure and staggering tragedy of European Jews is that they could not accept that some of their neighbors were not as decent, humane and educated as they were. A culture that learned to survive by turning inward simply never was willing to face the reality of what they were up against...A people of astonishing internal beauty simply could not look into the face of such ugliness without turning away. And now they are dead.
And there are many intelligent, enlightened, gentle and good-hearted people today who believe exactly the same thing. If we let this moral blindness continue to gain ground, then they will get us all killed, too.
I have to wonder sometimes, if it's going to take another honest-to-God shooting war for the intellectual elites to see the folly of their so-called "solutions" to the "problem." I'd like to think it wouldn't, but only time will tell.
Also today, via Rustmeister, we have this from Candy Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, on letting 18-year-olds in the military drink alcohol:
They will follow the leader, they don't think for themselves, and they are the last ones I want to say, 'Here's a gun, and here's a beer.' They are not adult—that's why they're in the military. They are not adults.

Wow, what does one say to that? Follow the leader? Don't think for themselves? I must beg to differ on that point. When I was 18 I had a pretty good idea of who is was and what I believed in, and I formed all those opinions for myself. I wasn't brainwashed or anything like that. I damned sure did know how to think for myself at that age, and even though I am long past 18, I still find Lightner's comment to be a profound insult. The words of Marko Kloos come to mind...
MADD is no longer against drunk driving, they're against all forms of alcohol consumption that could conceivably result in someone driving while intoxicated--which means they're against alcohol consumption, period.

Yep. Just as any organization with the words "gun violence" in its name is at its heart against gun ownership, period. And as you see, MADD resorts to the same ad hominem slurs the so-called "gun violence prevention" groups use. I am not a heavy drinker by any means -- really, if I had to choose to buy beer or ammunition it'd be the latter any day of the week and twice on Sundays -- but sooner or later, if we're going to keep banning people from doing something based on what MIGHT happen, we are well and truly going to be slaves. Even if we're not in chains made of steel.