Thursday, July 21, 2005

The AnarchAngel: Fatwah

A lot of bloggers have recently been writing about The AnarchAngel, a blogger who has offended some muslim dudes with an attitude (but I repeat myself!) to the extent that they have declared a "Fatwah" against him.

I haven't actually bothered to look up the comments which initiated this absurdity, but I've been reading a lot about it in the blogosphere lately. AnarchAngel has become something of a celebrity because of his recognition by some undocumented wannabe terrorists.

In response, there are a SLEW of RKBA bloggers clammoring to be included on the Hit List.

There hasn't been this much testosterone in the air since junior high school gym-class showers. Everybody seems to want to dare the supposed fatwah-issuing terrorists.


Look, folks, I know that Islamist Terrorists (have I got the terminology correct?) are the Guy to Go To if you're looking for Bad, but this is ridiculous.

Everywhere you look this week, there are bloggers bad-mouthing muslims in hopes that some bored Arab will deign to post an email or a website entry to the effect that a Fatwa has been declared, demanding their death. We see each blogger listing his qualifications for withstanding a terrorist attack, daring the imaginary Terrorist to "come and get some of this!"

Holy RPG's, Batman! Don't we have enough crap coming our way without turning it into a sideshow?

Threats are cheap. Internet threats are like a side-street whore. "Hey, sailor, wanna party?"
It doesn't necessarily mean anything.

Anybody can say anything on the net. Anonymity guaranteed, and there are are a million high-school sophomores from Pasadena lurking around, just looking for the opportunity to scare the supposed grown-ups.

Well, maybe they're not all in Pasadena. Probably half of them are in Portland, Puyallup or Podunk. The point is, the culture war isn't just a matter of bombs and bullets. It's also a matter of the mind games we play with ourselves.

I swear, I don't know what's come into folks nowadays.

There are no hat-tips to be awarded here. And there's no glory to be had in bold talk and pissing contests ... which this entire Thread From Heck is, essentially.

Good Grief, Charley Brown! You can take it seriously and quit the chest thumping, accept it as a real personal threat, or you can write it off as fluff and find something better to do with your time than telling the world how your winkie is bigger than theirs.

In either case, PLEASE quit trying to build a tempest in a teapot. Imagine how embarassed you will be, in a couple of years, when (despite all of your expectant preparations) nothing happens. Will you be disappointed if there is no actual follow-up?


Oh, sure, I only HOPE it's all a sophomoric road show, but I don't really KNOW, do I?

Even if it's a real threat, right now all of you bloggers who are strutting and challenging look more like j-high classmates of the supposed fatwah-issuers than men.

Men don't strut. Unless, of course, they own a closet-full of Opera pumps.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I Hate Golf

I hate Golf.

For 20 years, I tried to play Golf.

I bought the clubs, both woods and irons. I bought the bag, and the funny shoes. (That old saw about "never join a game that requires special shoes" ... it's true!) I bought tees, and the little tools that repair the divot. I bought golf balls. Man, did I buy golf balls! I'm the guy they tell the joke about "why don't you use an old ball to chip over the water hazard?" I never had an old ball. I had new out of the package balls, or I had new in-the-water-and-I'll-never-see-them-again balls. When I went to the driving range, I had to sneak out because I left more rented golf balls outside the wire than inside. Yes, my slice WAS that bad. The only reason I left any golf balls on the driving range was that I skulled almost half of my driver hits ... the golf balls never got off the ground.

I once got a Birdie playing golf. The ball was a brand new (of course!) Titlist II; the birdie was a robin, I think. The worm he was trying to eat was probably grateful.

But my brother-in-law played golf, and when we went to visit him and my sister, this was the only way we manly men could get out of the house for a few hours. My sister indulged us both, and it was a difficult choice whether I would sit around the house discussing the most recent maladies afflicted upon relatives I hadn't seen for ten years, or go golfing. I admit it. Sometimes I was so appalled that I went golfing with my brother in law.

Even though I hated Golf.

However, I liked shooting.

I had a fair collection of guns, and even a couple of pistols. Trouble is, I had grown tired of hunting after my father got too old and half-blind to hunt any more, and I had NEVER found a good excuse to go play pistol-shooter.

One day a notice appeared on the bulletin board at work:

Someone had opened an indoor shooting range, and some brave (if anonymous) soul had brought one of their 5x7" billboards to the office and surreptitiously pinned it to the cork. That intrigued me: if it was an INDOOR range, you could obviously shoot pistols there even if it was raining.

I took my .41 Magnum Blackhawk there, and they objected to the noise. Besides, the rounds kept dimpling the 'armor plating' of their backstop. I took my .22 "Convertible Six" there a few times, but it was tepid stuff.

One day (this was in 1983) I met someone at the range who was talking about a new game played with pistols. He called it "Ip-Sick". He knew it was being played at a local club (Tri County Gun Club), and not much else.

I called the club, and they gave me a little information ... when the next match would be held, and how to get to the range.

I went to a match, where I learned that the game was called IPSC (for International Practical Shooting Confederation) and where I could stand around for several hours and watch other people shoot .45 ACP pistols and .38 Special revolvers very fast. The targets were great huge chunks of cardboard, and I couldn't see how ANYBODY could miss them. They also shot at big ol' steel targets, which I learned were called "Pepper Poppers". From where I was standing, it looked easy. I could DO that.

So after I chatted with a few people there, I discovered that they were all pretty sane, friendly folks. They told me to show up next month on a given Saturday and somebody would train me. Then I could go shoot a match, and if I didn't scare anybody too much, I could come back and shoot IPSC as often as twice a month.

On the appointed day, I was there. They gave me a rule book, and walked me through the drill. After a couple of hours of indoor instruction, they walked out to the range and started showing us how to shoot IPSC.

I was all ready for that. I had all of my gear ready. It was a .45 acp Colt, army surplus 1911 (not a 1911-A1; mine was built in 1913). I had an army surplus leather holster, the kind with a flap that fastened down. It was attached to an army surplus web belt, as were two army surplus canvas magazine carriers that snapped shut. I had five army surplus seven-round magazines, filled with ammunition I had loaded on my bright orange Lyman single-stage press using cast lead bullets I had cast myself.

I was ready!

The instructor inspected everyone's gear before we started. He looked at my belt and gear, stifled a smirk, and said "well, yeah, you can shoot with that. You maybe can't actually compete, but it's all safe and it's all legal."

So I passed the certification training and at the next match I was there EARLY and signed up for the match. Every time I started to shoot a stage, I made sure to tell the Range Officer that I was a new shooter and he should watch me carefully. Invariably, they said something to the effect that they had noticed I was new and they would certainly watch me carefully. This made me feel so accepted that for the next three months I told the Range Officers that I was a new shooter. (Eventually, this wore thin. They started saying things like "Come on, Jerry, I seen you here last month and the month before. You don't get no more free rides, either stoke 'em up or go sit down but I KNOW you know the rules by now.")

Eventually, they changed their tune.
Perhaps it was the fact that my handloaded ammunition wasn't very well crafted, but for some reason after I completed a stage they encouragingly said "You know, you wouldn't be half bad if you didn't have such crappy equipment."

Eventually, I got tired of hearing that.

I bought a brand new Llama in .45 acp, some more army surplus seven-round magazines, a Chapman Hi-Rider competition holster, and a few Bianchi magazine carriers. At gunshows, I looked avariciously at the 10, 11 and even 12 round magazines, but I had seen other people use them at matches and they caused a lot of jams. I was already getting a lot of jams. I didn't need any more.

That didn't work too well either, so in 1988 I sold the Llama and bought a S&W 659(9mm Crunch'n'ticker in Stainless Steel) for $700, 3 extra 14-round magazines, two Bianchi two-mag magazine carriers, and a Bianchi leather holster. Someone did me the great favor of burlarizing my house and stole my Lyman press and my bullet-casting setup, so I bought a Lee Turret Press and a set of 9mm Lugar dies for $110, total. I figured, I couldn't compete with a single-stack pistol because those great huge cardboard targets were FIENDISHLY hard to hit. Maybe with more rounds between reloads, I could make up all those misses without having to make TOO many reloads.

I didn't think about the "minor power" aspect of the 9mm, or that it would cost me a lot of points on every stage.

That didn't work out too well, and I dropped out of IPSC for a few years. Instead of shooting pistols on weekends, I played Golf.

Yech! Golf hadn't become any more fun, and I hadn't become any more skilled.

In 1991 I got back into IPSC, with my S&W. But I just didn't seem to be able to get the hang of it. I started bad-mouthing myself to my friends, who quickly tired of THAT little head-game I was playing on myself.

One day a friend (who was a Master Class shooter) took me aside for a little friendly counseling.

He said to me "You know, you shouldn't get discouraged about your shooting. You just have a different style. We go 'bangbang I think I got it!'. You go 'bang. bang. I got it.' It works for you, and who cares whether you win or lose. It's just nice to be out here shooting with your friends, right?"

That made me think about actually playing the game to COMPETE, so I started paying more attention to the things that weren't working for me. One of the problems was that I kept shooting at targets when I got a C-hit. I wanted to get an A-hit, so I took the time to make up perfectly good hits, and usually my make-up shots weren't any better. And I started practicing. The Lee Turret Press wasn't keeping up with the demand, so I bought a Dillon XL650 press, which came with a set of Dillon carbide dies in 9mm, and a case feeder! Man, I'm ready for the big-time now,

In 1995, I won D-Limited at a State Match. Then I got up to C-class (the next month) and stayed there for a couple of years. I decided I could go far with this game, if I just had the right equipment .....

In 1997 I learned that there was a computer 'user group' called "The Unofficial IPSC List", where people exchanged emails about IPSC competition. I subscribed to the list, lurked for a few weeks, then started asking questions ... very cautiously, and very respectfully.

What I wanted was to learn what was the RIGHT equipment, so I asked the list members to suggest a pistol which would cure all of my ills and wouldn't cost too much. Eventually, people said a lot of good things about a new American gun manufacturer called Kimber of America. I was surprised to learn that the factory was located in Clackamas, Oregon ... less than a hundred miles from where I live.

The good things about the Kimber pistol (in .45 acp) were that they already came with the extended beavertail, an adjustable trigger, a Commander-style hammer, etc. And they were cheaper than their competitors.

I'll say they were! The Springfield 1911 was being sold at prices between $700 and $1000, and they didn't have the extended beavertail, etc. You had to buy them extra at after-market prices, and then find a gunsmith to install them.

I contacted Kimber, and learned that the demand was so great for their pistols that none were currently available in Oregon ... unless I wanted to pay extra for such frills as adjustable sights and stainless or hard-chrome finish.

But I made some friends, and eventually I learned that Keith's Gun Shop in Gresham had been sent two Kimber Custom pistols, and could expect to receive them in the next week. I called the store, they said they would call me when the pistols came in. A few days later they phoned me. I said I had to work the next day in Corvallis, but could I come to their shop at 8am to pick up the pistol? They don't open until 9am, usually, but they agreed to open their store early for me.

At 8am the next day I was sitting in my car outside their door when they came to work early ... just for me. They let me in and showed me the pistols .. two Kimber Customs, consecutive serial numbers, and the price was $239. Each.

In one of the worst decisions of my life, I only bought ONE of the guns even though I had the cash to buy both of them.

I also bought 3 used Chip McCormick 8-round magazines, two new Chip McCormick 10-round magazines, and a thousand rounds of Giochi (sp) ammunition. I also had to buy a set of Dillon dies in .45acp (the old dies had disappeared with the Lyman press).

That gun worked so well for me, I made B-Limited with it in 1999. I started referring to it as "The Beloved Kimber". I have since used pistols which were AS reliable, but I never found one that was MORE reliable. What can improve on a gun that runs perfectly, every time you pick it up, and seems indifferent to gun cleaning? The only thing I have changed on the gun was to install a Smith&Alexander Mag-Well adaptor, and some hex-head grip screws.

In 2000 I got the bug for a 10mm, and when Dave Skinner of STI announced that the STI Edge in 10mm had a production run large enough to qualify for USPSA Limited Class, I ordered one the same day and paid $1650 for it. I also bought a set of Dillon 10mm dies. Then I learned that 10mm brass was much more expensive than 9mm , and that buying Glock brass off the range didn't work because the Dillon dies didn't size the brass down small enough to chamber in the STI. Bought a Lee sizing die, which was suppose to size 10mm brass down another couple hundredths of an inch, and ground down the cartridge holder so the die would size down a little closer to the base. Eventually I found a cheap supply of once-used brass; the FBI range in my state was littered with 'em, and I had a contact who could get hold of a few thousand rounds now and then. He resized them to original specs, solvent-cleaned the deprimed brass so it looked like new, and sold them to me for $45 a thousand.

Have you noticed that every step I took in looking for 'the right equipment' has got more expensive than the step before? Yeah, I noticed that, too.

I've made other equipment changes since then, but I never got out of B-class with the STI Edge.

This was my fault, not the fault of the gun. Due to the natural effects of aging, my eyes got so bad (far-sighted) I couldn't make out the iron sights. I now shoot open Class using a STI Competitor equipped with a C-More dot-sight. I have magazines which hold as many as 26 rounds. I carry up to 66 rounds on my belt every time I enter a stage, and most times I don't make a reload unless the round-count on the stage is over 24 rounds.

Somewhere in this chronicle of IPSC progression, I gave my golf clubs to my Brother in law. I also gave him the goofy golf shoes, the golf bag, the tool for repairing divots, a bag of tees and a box of brand new golf balls.

He gave it all to his grandson, except for the box of brand new golf balls and the graphite drive I had bought from him in 1993 (and only allowed golf balls to bounce a few more times when I topped them.)

I don't have anything against my brother in law. It's just that I'm so glad that I can spend my weekends shooting IPSC matches, and I don't have to resort to Golf just to get out of the house.

I hate Golf.

Monday, July 18, 2005

What can I say?:

There is so MUCH important 'stuff' going on in the world today, and I'm tired and I want to go to bed. I want to talk about something that is important to me, but I have not enough time to talk about EVERYTHING ...

Mr. Rove is under attack for things he might or might not have said, deliberately or as a casual aside, and he may have intended political conse
quences or it may have been a polite reply to a statement ... nawwww.

Front Page Magazine has a piece about Hanoi Jane and the lies she told. As a Vietnam Veteran I'm interested, but ....
.... no.

Front Page Magazine also reports that: The Palestinian Authority is NOT abiding by the roadmap to which they agreed to months ago, and the MSM (Main Stream Media) is reporting that"Isreal and the US insist" that the PA actively stop terrorists from attacking Israeli forces and civilians (instead of acknowledging that the PA agreed to this as one of the basic steps of The Roadmap), and Israeli counter attacks are being characterized as the response that
'... Effectively marked the end of a five-month truce ..."
... when it was Hamas which initiated the attacks.


No, I'm not going to talk about all of these world-shaking events.

Instead I'm going to talk about something a little bit more important:

How competitors and match directors really don't understand the way that IPSC rules govern the conduct of IPSC Competition in USPSA!

(Didn't I tell you, months ago, that this blogsite was going to deal with IPSC-related issues first?)
[NB: If you're not'in to IPSC rules', this article will hold very little interest for you.]

I attended a Level I IPSC Club Match in the United States Practical Shooting Association Region (USPSA/America) last weekend, and it was a very hot day. We all got a little cranky, and some of us lost track of what the IPSC/USPSA rule book said. Consequently, some really goofy things happened:

Stage four, with a bunch of steel and a bunch of cardboard targets.

Three shooting boxes; two close to the starting box, one far downrange.

Stage procedures: shoot the steel from a box, shoot the paper from OUTSIDE of the box.

Simple enough.

The scenario is, the shooter managed to follow the procedures for the first two boxes, but when she ran downrange she was suppose to shoot 6 steel targets from inside the box and 4 paper targets from outside the box.

When she finished her run to the general vicinity of Box "C", she stopped and enaged the paper targets.

Unfortunately, she began to engage the steel targets from the same position ... outside of the box.

The Range Officer stopped her, because it was ninty-five degrees in the shade and there was no shade.

Okay, brain fart. There was no safety issue involved, he should have kept his tater trap shut and let her finish the stage. As it happened, he HAD to give her a reshoot.

Same stage, same shooter, same RO.
On her SECOND run through the stage, the shooter did the same thing except that the RO didn't stop her. She engaged all of the paper targets in accordance to the Stage Procedures, then went back and engaged the steel targets from the same place ... outside the box.

She had engaged the paper targets 'behind' the box, and then had to step forward (closer to the targets) to engage the steel targets after engaging two of them from the 'wrong' position.

Again, she was standing BEHIND the box to engage the paper targets, and then stepped INTO the box to engage four of the six steel targets; which means that she did not engage the steel targets at a closer distance; no advantage gained.

The RO penalized her for BOTH shots at steel which were taken from a farther distance from the targets than the 'legal' shooting position.

I think this is a one-procedural situation:"per occurrence" rather than "per shot".

What do YOU think?


Same stage, different competior.

The shooter engaged all steel and all paper from the appropriate positions. However, he failed to knock down one of the steel targets from Box "B" (uprange of the"Box C" where the earlier problems occurred), and when he completed the course he declared that he had hit the steel target from Box "B" fairly but it had failed to drop; he called for a calibration on the steel target available from Box "B".

After some discussion, the steel was calibrated by engaging it with a 9mm pistol shooting 'factory ammunition'. The steel target was subsequently tested unofficially and found to be 'set really, really heavy!".

The competitor was informed that the steel failed calibration, which constituted Range Equipment Failure(R.E.F.). The competitor was informed that he was required to reshoot the stage due to R.E.F. but he demurred saying that he didn't have enough ammunition left to reshoot the stage and still complete the match.

The Match Director was called. He decided that it was acceptable that the overly heavy steel target could be judged a 'miss', the competitor was not required to reshoot the stage, and his (perhaps) legitimate 'hit' on that target should be ignored.

Discuss this MD ruling among yourselves. Consider that this was a Level I one match, and (according to rule ) is "not required to comply strictly with freestyle limitations or roundcount limitations." Decide whether the MD made the correct decision. Don't forget to cite the applicable rules.

Stage 5: starting position is 'sitting in char, gun on barrel, hammer down".

Some competitors decide to start the stage with their first magazine in their hand.

The Match director, when the procedure is question, replies: "there are no references to ammunition in the stage procedures, therefore this start procedure is acceptable."

The current rules say:
A course of fire must never require or allow a competitor to touch or hold a handgun, loading device or ammunition after the 'Standby' command and before the "Start Signal" (except for unavoidable touching with the lower arms).

Explain why the Match Director was allowed to ignore this rule, and why this is acceptable in a Level I match. Please cite specific rule references.

Same stage, different shooter.

The A-zone of one of the targets was 'edged' by a "No-Shoot" (penalty) target. The competitor's bullet hole was MOSTLY in the A-zone of the shoot-target, but it encroached upon the perforation of the overlapping "No-Shoot" target.

Upon examination, the Range Officer determined that the perforation of the no-shoot target had been infringed by the bullet-hole. (Note: the competitor was using Semi-Wadcutter bullets, which left an exceptionally clean demarcation of the bullet-hole on the targets.)

The competitor protested this call, on the grounds that the bullet did not 'cut' the perf on the no-shoot.

In support of this protest, the competitor cited rule 9.5.4:
Radial tears radiating outwards from the diameter of the bullet hole will not count for score or penalty.

Because the bullet hole was neatly incised upon both the shoot-target and the no-shoot target, and there was no evidence of a radial tear, this argument was ignored by the Range Officer.

The competitor was incensed by the Range Officer's decision, but offered no reason why rule 9.5.3* should not apply.
It was hot.

We were stupid.

We need more 'guidance' on this rule that says Level I matches get a free ride. Who knows what it means? What a STUPID rule!
Level I matches are not required to comply strictly with the freestyle requirements or roundcount limitations.
Because this rule exists, people are inclined to interpret it as meaning "you can do anything you want in a Level I match ... it says so in The Book!"

This is SO subject to misinterpretation, the rule ought to be excised from the next rule book version. The rule book should cite the rules which are specifically exempted from enforcement at this level of competition.

Well, it was a very HOT day, and we reacted to the environment by being exceptionally stupid.l

What can I say?

* 9.5.3:
If the bullet area touches both the perimeter of a scoring target and a penalty target, it will earn the score and incur the penalty.