Sunday, July 05, 2015

Perfect is the enemy of Good

In response to an article about point shooting, I have some opinions about this:

When I was going through Advanced Infantry Training (AIT) in 1969, one day our instructors took my class to the range to show us what Point Shooting really means.

They gave us BB-guns ... spring loaded, so very low powered (and also very inexpensive to teach the lesson) ... and told us that they were going to teach us to shootcoins out of the sky without using the sights.

Actually, the guns had sights, albeit crude ones.  But we soon learned that the instructors were correct.  In one afternoon we learned to point-shoot moving objects without really using the sights, and with an impressive degree of accuracy.

We started out shooting quarters out of the air.  We had to supply our own quarters.

As the exercise progressed (they actually gave us two or three hours to practice), we found that quarters were too easy to hit.

I found that I could get one-shot hits on dimes tossed into the air with a surprising consistency.

Which is to say ... after a while, I couldn't miss!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Independence Day and Flashback

There are two days of the year when Americans act like crazed Savages.

New Years Day, and Independence Day.

This is the second of those days, and my neighborhood sounds like a war zone.

It's the fireworks.

Usually, I don't mind loud noises.  Hell, I spend as much time as I can on a firing range, contributing to the general miasma of Gunsmoke.  Sometimes I look around for James Arness, but he's not there, so .. I expect the noise and the light and the smell.

But when all of my neighbors are shooting off fireworks, sometimes I get that "Flashback" thingie.

I can handle the strings of firecrackers, although too often it sounds like a squad initiating an ambush with their M16s.

The big aerial bombs, though, they sound like the CRUMP! of a B52 strike from a distance.  Sometimes like claymore mines, or even hand grenades.  It depends on how far away they are when they go off.

This is the one day a year when it gets me.

I've learned that it's easier to handle if I go outside and watch the displays .... at least it helps me to put the noises and the flashes of light into the perspective.  I tell myself: "It's okay, it's just fireworks.  people are having fun.  Relax and enjoy it."

A few years ago a group of folks who enjoy shooting together in USPSA matches gathered at a friend's house for a Fourth of July celebration.  After dinner, we gathered at the curb while the host set off fireworks.   I recall that, when a string of firecrackers went off, The Hobo Brasser (a certified Chief Range Officer) was counting off:

Two Alpha, Two Alpha, Two Alpha ....

In the context, it was great.  It was fun, and fine, just good friends enjoying the display.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Papal Opinion on Guns is like my opinion on God

On the pope, gun laws and hunters:
June 28, 2015
Last week, hunters took notice as the pope questioned whether gun manufacturers could call themselves Christians, and the U.S. president again suggested we start limiting firearms.
 Pope Francis said: "It makes me think of ... people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn't it?" The pope didn't make an exception for hunting weapons.
,,,, every pope for centuries has been protected by an elite military force called the Swiss Guard. Though these defenders of his holiness carry swords, they also carry submachine guns, specifically the Heckler & Koch MP5.
I may have not offended my friends sufficiently with my last article.

So whether or not I am forgiven for my criticism here might be difficult.

World Leaders may be anti-gun, but they use hired goons with guns to defend their own person from anarchists, terrorists, assassins and louts.

Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage may pave way for expanded gun rights.

Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage may pave way for expanded gun rights.:
(June 27, 2015)

With the high court’s latest ruling on same-sex marriages, some contend the decision could lead to increased gun rights, specifically national CCW reciprocity, by using the same argument. Friday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and recognize those sanctioned by other states. “No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the landmark decision that arguably made same sex marriage a reality in the 13 remaining states that continued to ban the practice.
With all due respect for those who do not agree with this decision, I do not understand what the controversy is all about.

This is a Freedom ruling; it allows everyone to determine their own preferences, and live under the same rules for Homosexuals as are accorded to Heterosexuals.

I acknowledge that some people consider that this undermines the sanctity of marriage.  I don't see that anywhere in the Constitution, which generally acknowledges rights, rather than establishing limitations on The People (which is NOT the purpose of the Constitution!)   I've heard the expression "Sanctity of Marriage".  Is this something which must be 'protected'?  Or is it something which speaks for itself?

So, why should I care if homosexuals marry?   You don't agree with me?  First Amendment Protection .. rail away, I 'get' to say this because I CAN.  (Of course, you can be vehement in your disagreement; it's your right, too.)
 With similar logic applied, gun rights advocates argue that the nation’s patchwork of firearms laws governing the concealed carry of handguns are now circumspect under the same guidelines. In short, they reason if marriage equality is guaranteed from state to state, then so should concealed carry rights.
(emphasis added)

WAPO LamentsThat "Feelings Based" Anti-Gun Proposals Are Unsuccessful ... But They Got GAME!

Look away from the Confederate flag to what Mr. Roof held in his other hand - The Washington Post:

The Washington Post admits that Gun Control Laws would be unproductive for the pruposes they have been proposed ... prevent "mass shootings":


Adding to the feelings of defeat is the sense that many of the gun-control policies that seem politically feasible wouldn’t necessarily have stopped the country’s most spectacular mass shootings. Mr. Lanza used his mother’s gun collection. Mr. Roof apparently didn’t set off alarms in a background check. None of the defeatism is warranted. Mass shootings draw attention to the nation’s relationship with guns. They should spur us to action because they demonstrate the easy, efficient horror that guns are capable of inflicting, and they make us wonder about permissive gun policies.
 .... but they think that Gun Control Laws should be enacted 'anyway', because ...
Public policy can’t prevent every gun death. But it can do a lot more than it is now: make it harder for the mentally ill, family abusers or criminals to obtain and keep firearms; crack down on gun trafficking; require proper gun storage; and reconsider laws that seem to encourage people to use guns in situations they consider threatening. 
The odd thing is,  most of the laws which they seem to espouse have been enacted here and there, with no apparent influence on those "mass shooters" who commit these heinous crimes.

But they still want to enact them universally.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Rieder: No, not 'too soon' to talk gun control:

Rem Rieder, USA TODAY3:48 p.m. EDT June 22, 2015
Of course, gun control is hardly a panacea. It won't mean an immediate end to our hideous series of mass murders. And the measures gun-control advocates push will hardly mean endangering Second Amendment rights and wrenching all guns from the hands of law-abiding Americans, no matter what the National Rifle Association tries to tell you. Most of the measures are modest; Obama's centerpiece measures after the Newtown carnage would have established background checks for those buying firearms at gun shows and online and banned assault weapons.
 But at least they are a start, an effort to deal with the recurring bloody episodes that have become an all-too-common part of the American landscape. That beats unctuous hand-wringing. The president's remarks about Charleston marked his 14th statement about shootings — 11 of them in the U.S. — since he took office, according to CBS News' Mark Knoller, who keeps track of all things presidential.


Writers like Mr. Reider have already heard the arguments of pro-gun advocates and have rejected them as being either specious or inadequate.

Much like our opinion of Mr. Obama's "modest measures".

The difference is, those modest measures (a) would do nothing to prevent the recurrence of similar tragedies, (b) disarming the public would put even more Americans at risk ["registration", for example, invariably leads to even greater infringement on the Constituional rights of Americans], and (c) the entire article is nothing more than "unctuous hand-wringing".

Turn in your own firearms, sir, but please have the courtesy to avoid undermining our freedoms.

My second amendment protects your first amendment.   But then, reciprocity is not a Liberal quality.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Man charged with assault after allegedly slashing woman with machete in Bryant Park | New York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV: MANHATTAN —
(June 23, 2015)
A man went on a machete-swinging rampage in Bryant Park Tuesday morning, slashing a woman who had just left a yoga class in the park in a startling burst of violence on the great lawn. 
An hour after the random attack, Kyle Newberry described the incident as “just another day in the city.” 
Officers received a 911 call of an assault about 11:30 a.m. near 42nd Street and Bryant Park, an NYPD spokeswoman said. When they arrived, they found a 31-year-old woman with a slash would to her right arm. Members of the park’s private security team followed the slasher with folding chairs for protection as members of the NYPD eventually caught up with the suspect at the south entrance off of 40th Street.S
(H/T: Borepatch)

That must have been especially traumatic for a woman who has just left a Yoga class, with the obvious intent to improve her physical health.   One YOB with a Big Knife has just chopped her life style into bloody shreds.

And there wasn't a damn thing she could do about it.  Legally.

In my extended dialogue with a London (England) "Bobby", in 2008, my British friend pointed out that the total ban on firearms has ensured that those citizens who were the victims of random violence didn't die.  Yes, they might have got beaten bloody, sliced and diced, but they didn't die.

What he failed to acknowledge was that Brits are unable to defend themselves against arbitrary attacks by bigger, stronger, better armed and more violence-prone assailants.  (Just as NYC Citizens are similarly made vulnerable,)


Here in the Pacific NorthWet  we have an amazing bunch of local cops who participate in IPSC and Speed Steel type matches.

They're pretty good.  In fact, a few of them tend to win many matches, to the point where (when the civilian Local Heroes are absent) they compete between themselves. Most of the rest of us are just hoping for Third Place.  One local cop was even the USPSA Board Member for our section for a while.

Yes, they actually are that good: not just politically, but so competent as shooters that they have garnered a lot of respect from their peers in the "Competition Shooting Community".

I have watched other PDs running their officers through drills on the range, and I was singularly unimpressed. But the Linn/Benton County guys seem to have their shit thoroughly together in a tight group.

That's not true of ALL LEOs, but in this little section of the Willamette Valley, Oregon, I think that anyone who knows these Bad Boys respect  them.  The local cops (not all of them, but enough) not only demonstrate their expertise at monthly matches at the three local clubs, but they participate as 'members of the community".

Last month the 'local' department held their nth Annual "Toys for Tots" match.  They have established an outreach program where they host an annual match, all profits going to buying teddy bears for abused children.

(Sometimes Family Tragedies leave the children behind as '"un-involved non-participants".  But when Mommy and Daddy are kicking the shit out of other, and screaming in the middle of the night ... the children are more freaked out than their drunken/angry/aggressive/clueless parents.)

It's a small thing, admittedly; but when a toddler has someone else to care for, even a stuffed Teddy Bear, it helps them to cope with a situation in which they had previously had NO control.  Actually, I suspect this program also finances other resources for 'victims' in the county.

All About The Children it's called, or the "ABC HOUSE" match.  Some years it's a Speed Steel match, some years it's an IPSC style match.  And they mix & match the stage designs to attract as many shooters as possible.

I'm quite impressed with the way the Linn/Benton County Police agencies (sheriffs, municipal police, etc.) have individually created an "Outreach" program to support their communities.  I wish all LEO agencies would find the leadership to perform the same vital function.

If an LEO agencies would like to set up a similar program, please contact me.

I would be proud to forward your contact information to local LEO individuals who might provide useful advisory information.

We  all depend on that Thin Blue Line to keep the peace.  So we don't have to.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Really bad training experience

I don't know if I've ever seen a more egregious example of under-training a shooter.

I found this via the gunbloggers round-table, and for those of you who follow  gunbloggers I apologise for repeating the "DON'T SHOOT A GUN LIKE THAT" post from SayUncle.  (The video has been removed from YouTube, so you must go to the original link  to view the incident.)

A female (police?  She has sergeant stripes on her blue uniform) shooting a pistol on a range demonstrates clumsy incompetence as she tries to acquire a prone shooting position, tries several grips, holds the pistol inches forward of her face, and gets a "Magnum Eyebrow" cut when the slide recoils into her face.

(Note that the FIRST thing she does in the video seems to be to flick the thumb safety to OFF .. before she even begins to acquire the prone position!)

Immediately after her injury, the instructor grabs her by the head and ... without first clearing the pistol ... turns her face to the camera to show the bloody injury.

Appendix Carry

Last Friday I posted an article about a holster the positions your handgun in front of your body.  The point of my opinion was that is seemed a very dangerous way to carry a firearm.  As in "shoot your nuts off" not to put too fine a point on it.

Apparently there are a few other people who generally feel that while there advantages to this carry style, it is inherently risky.  For exactly the same reasons I gave.

The position of the instructor cited in the above linked article isn't that it's a 'bad' way to carry concealed; quite the contrary.  His point is that he is teaching people who may not have sufficient experience to use it safely:

If an individual wants to carry concealed that way that is fine by me but an open enrollment class with 15-20 different skill level shooters and upwards of 100 draws and reholsters is an accident waiting to happen when you add in a pistol like a Glock or M&P
In light of this more precise cautionary note, I'll modify my earlier position.

There are people who have the training and experience to use this holster safely.

Most of the people I meet on the range do NOT have what it takes to do so.

I train strangers how to shoot safely and (more or less) 'competitively' at IPSC matches.   Most of them have no idea how to handle a gun safely under the pressure of a timer; how would they react when found themselves in a defensive situation which this holster is designed to provide an advantage?

It's not just this specific holster.   I've seen adds for a lot of others ... such as one which is essentially an elastic 'belly band with a pocket sewn in'.  Very concealable.  But safe? At most levels of expertise, not hardly.

Of course there are dissenting views, such as this one which insists on "Big Boy Rules" for everyone.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Speed Kills! (OH, sorry; it's the Other Way Around)

Speed the 150-year-old tortoise dies at San Diego Zoo | Fox News: SAN DIEGO – One of San Diego's oldest residents has died. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Galapagos tortoise known as Speed has been euthanized at an estimated age of more than 150 years. ...  The massive tortoise had been in geriatric decline for some time. 
There has to be a great punchline to this story.  Damned if I know what it is.
Your suggestions (in Comments) are solicited.

Workplace Violence

Police: Ice cream truck driver fatally shot in Maryland while selling treats to children | Fox News:
(June 14, 2015)
FREDERICK, Md. – Police say an ice cream truck driver in Maryland was gunned down as he was selling treats to children and a suspect has been arrested.
Apparently, I'm not the only one who cannot abide "Turkey In The Straw"