Thursday, April 19, 2007

Geeks Bane

I never thought I would be grateful to Evil Bill for designing another "Evil Bill stage", but I am so sick of talking about National Tragedies that I find myself in that awkward position.

Do you recall the Evil Texas Star stage I discussed a few weeks ago? It was a Texas Star backed (or alternatively, 'fronted') by a windmill of penalty targets.

You can see the original here (note: may be viewable only on IE, perhaps on FireFox, definately not on Netscape.)

As if the Texas Star was not sufficiently difficult (read: "Evil") taken in combination with a windmill of Penalty Targets it's downright diabolical.

I accept the blame for having thrown the gauntlet at the feet of Evil Bill. As soon as he saw this incredibly ugly target array he declared "I'm gonna make me one of these!"

Apparently, he has done so. He sent me this stage design file this evening, and we can expect to see it at the regularly scheduled Croc Dundee club match on April 28.

It's a dark, dark day when we find ourselves confronted by this.

(Click on the image for full size)

If I understand Evil Bill correctly, we can look forward to engaging this stage design at the nex Dundee Club Match. It's a 21 round, 105 point stage and I suppose we should feel grateful that there are enough points in the stage that a couple of hits on the backing 'penalty targets' just MIGHT not lead to a zero-points stage. That's right. This stage is so Evil that, even though I haven't seen it yet, I'm already in a state of dread.

Shouldn't be this way, right? I mean, all you have to do is hit the target (the plates) and no rounds will impact a penaly.

(Note: if the penalty targets were in FRONT of the five Texas Star plates, and you shot through the penalty targets and hit the plate behind it, this would constitute a Range Equipment Failure which would mandate a reshoot. Uh huh, like I want to shoot this stage more than once in my lifetime.)
I'm not sure whether I'm looking forward to this for the challenge, or whether I'm dreading it for ... being a Survival Stage.

One things for sure:
It's not going to be boring.

I'll keep you posted.

LiveJournal dot Com, and Friends

Looking at my readership statistics, I see an amazing amount of traffic from websites which typically appeal to young people who are interested in reading my original post about the Virginia Tech Massacre.

I've backtracked them, I see no links on ANY of the cited blogs. But still, they come here to read even though their websites don't mention the article.

I have no idea WHY they come here, but I am glad they came to share the story.

Many of them, however, comment independently about the question of HOW could this Slaughter of Innocents could have been controlled.

Not 'avoided' ... Evil stalks the land and there is no way to prevent it.

The word is "control", and sometimes these students demonstrate a wisdom beyond their years.

For example, MapGirl (who actually published a comment on the article) offered her own experience in School Shooting:

During my senior year of college there was a shooting on campus where one student who recently graduated had shot another. It was very sad.


I had met the perpetrator and ... he gave me the willies. ... it was an anomaly and precipitated by the relationship of the victim and killer.

One of the witnesses was friends with both parties and a friend of mine from our freshman year and from the on-campus Catholic community. That friend turned into a gun control advocate as part of his later work. I am so proud of him for turning this defining moment into a powerful motivator for positive change.

Another person who read the article was "airynd", who later wrote a HUGE (to his embarrassment) article of his own which discussed brilliantly he concept of personal defense as a civil liberty. I've already read it a couple of times, and will read it again. I encourage you to read it for yourself, here.

The money quotes are:

Years ago, in another life, I thought that gun control laws would help to protect people from getting accidentally shot or shot by bad people on purpose. I thought that registering guns was a good idea, and that making people wait to buy their guns was also a good idea. Currently, I think both of those are really bad ideas. Background check? Those are great - those are perfect. Check the hell out of some one's background before they buy a gun. Still, as I mentioned, if a criminal wants a gun...well, they don't need a background check in Vinni's basement.

... and ...
I kind of hate it that I'm making the same arguments that, a decade ago, I thought were asinine.
... and ...

"A well-armed society is a polite society." I'm not sure how accurate that saying is, but I think it might be on the right track. We see it all the time in the animal kingdom; if two animals both have the capacity to seriously kill or injure each other, they don't do it unless there is a sincere and pressing need to do so. There's too much at stake. Too, when an animal's life is at stake, it will fight back. A seal in the jaws of a great white bites at its attacker, even though it is usually futile. A rabbit will bite at the nose of the fox as the fox attacks, and sometimes, the bunny gets away because the fox is so surprised at being bitten by a fucking rabbit that it has no response for that situation. Animals fight to survive with whatever tools they have when their lives are threatened. I think, were I faced with a maniac wielding a shotgun, I'd like to have another gun as my tool. Then I wouldn't have to be helplessly and powerlessly blown away.
I think this young man, as did MapGirl, does actually 'get it'.

When you read the 'whole thing', disregarding his embarrassment at having posted such a 'Geek length' article, you get the sense of someone who has travelled far in the past few years, and in the process arrived at an understanding which was previously denied him due to a simple lack of experience.

As has (perhaps erroneously) been attributed to Sir Winston Churchilll:

"Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains."
I cannot attest to the accuracy of either the quote or the citation. I just vaguely remember the thought, and Google what I remember. What comes out the other end may only be compared to Sausage Making to the detriment of an excellent sausage.

But I can say that I was a Registered Democrat until well into my forties. I only changed my political affiliation upon the advent of The Clinton Era. It's personally embarrassing to admit that I couldn't admit to the error of my ways until the wrong-thinking of Billary had manifested itself in the egregious Social Medicine plan.

So when I congratulate these folks for their logical courage, you can take it as given that they are far, far smarter than I am.

Apologies to the subjects of this conversation if that seem like damning with faint praise. It wasn't intended that way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

VT Massacre: Gun Control Advocates Are Revolting

We're starting to get the 2nd level reaction to blogger assertions that allowing concealed carry on campuses might have lessened the number of victims in the Virginia Tech Massacre.

Oleg Volk is the source for the above ugly bloodsplatter image, which I personally think is disgusting.

Not because it is ugly, but because it is probably a reasonable representation of the scene in Room 204 at Noble Hall at Virginia Tech, and the massacre which occured there is disgusting.

Oleg Volk performed a service by giving us a graphic of the probably crime scene. It's something we can relate to, and provides a reminder of just how ugly the scene of a murder ... in this case, multiple murders ... will invariably be.

You can see Oleg Volk's article here, and I encourage you to visit it if only to read the comments. These are a curious mixture of people who suggest that the policy of disallowing carry of weapons for personal may have contributed to the horrible death toll, and people who are unable to re-evaluate their conviction that the only reason folks would choose to carry a concealed handgun is (I assume) because deep down inside they really want to shoot somebody.

As nearly as I can tell, this last group rejects the concept of personal defense, and would rather trust in such urban myths as 911 and "Police Protection".

Before we go any further, I would like to mention to this group that the police have no mandate to protect you or to prevent crime. Their job is to arrest people who may have committed a crime and present them for trial ... AFTER someone has been victimized.

This means, gentle reader, that if someone comes after you with a gun, you're on your own. The police may find, capture and present for judgement the guy who killed you, but you may find that scant comfort in your present circumstance (which is to say, in the hospital at best; six feet under in the "Worst Case" scenario).

As you read Volk's article (another sly reminder), pay attention to the two sides of the question which are vigorously espoused.

One side, call them SIDE "A", think that there is no legitimate reason to allow people to carry firearms on a university campus.

The other side, call them SIDE "B", think that there IS a legitimate reason to allow people to carry firearms on a university campus.

(You may pick the venue in which it either is or is not reasonable to 'carry concealed', but let us restrict the scenario to one which immediately comes to mind this week.)

As you read Volk's article, you might consider the comments section the most informative. Here, the SIDE "A" folks generally identify themselves as "Anonymous". Some of you (particularly those who tend to agree with SIDE "B" contributors) may think this is a cowardly way to make a statement without 'owning' it.

I don't think so.

I think these are the contributions of people who don't generally read RKBA websites, but who are daunted by the VT Massacre and have searched the Internet for references. When they happen upon a blog which supports Concealed Carry, they are outraged not only because it goes against everything they have been taught, but also because they are so appalled by the massacre that they reflexively reject ANY reason to have a firearm.

In other words, they have just had The Power of The Gun demonstrated to them, catastrophically, and they are in no mood to consider that there is a GOOD reason to Have A Gun.

I can't blame them for that. People who shoot People are the sorriest people in the world. It's not easy to distinguish between those who WANT to shoot people, and those who are WILLING to shoot people. Either way, the results are sad and nobody who has a modicum of social responsibility is willing to put himself in the place where the only choices ... kill or be killed ... are both bad. Generally, we just go about our daily lives and hope that we will not be called upon to make this choice.

In fact, there are people (trust me on this) who, presented with these two unpalatable choices, would submit to being murdered rather than to defend themselves by killing their aggressor.

Some of you may find it difficult to believe this, but I again point you to the evidence which we see on Volk's Blog.

In fact, I point you to a comment on my own blog, where a reader of my initial comments on the VT Massacre reacted (anonymously) in the following fashion:
Let's just issue everyone an ak-47. That makes sense! Don't regulate weapons of death, why it's perfectly pratical [sic] to have a semi-automatic handgun that can fire 20 rounds in a matter of seconds...someone might steal my dvd player. Idiot.
I assume that this outraged comment was in response to the transcript from the Lars Larson radio talk show, which discussed Concealed Carry as a legitimate self-defense measure ... even on a college campus. The implication is clear, if unexpressed, that I support the preposition of the Radio host: if faculty and staff (and students) at VT had been allowed to be armed, they may have been able to stop the murder of literally dozens of innocent victims.

But really, the issues go beyond this.

Professor Liviu Librescu ( Professor, Engineering Science & Mechanics), a 76 year old Holocaust survivor, heard the shots and screams from the classroom next door and realized what was happening. He used his own body to prevent the .... shooter (the only term universally acceptable) ... from entering while he encouraged his students to jump out of the windows of the second story classroom. Nine students successfully escaped; at this time, it appears that 3 or 4 or 5 students were still inside the room when Cho killed Librescu and gained entry to the room, killing everyone who had not yet managed to escape.

Librescu is a hero. He held he door as long as he could, interposing his body to save his students. The remaining students were killed, we still don't know if they were trying to escape when Cho entered the room, or what their actions were.

Again, at this point we don't know what the students were doing; they may have been trying to escape, they may have been attempting to hide, they may have been rushing Cho in an attempt to overwhem him.

Sadly, there is yet no evidence that any of the students attempted resistance.

I hope and pray that at least some of the students were resisting the murderer, and we are still waiting for forensic analysis of the crime scene for any suggestion that this was the case. Early reports have not addressed this question, but it would be a comfort to learn that not all students were submissive to their fate.

But Professor Librescu is the hero of the hour. He recognized Evil knocking at his door, and realized that the only way to resist evil is to stand up to it. Which he did, in the finest Horation at the Bridge style.

John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."

In giving up his life for the lives of his students, Professor Librescu has taught the greatest lesson of this or any other university.

We can only hope that his students, and all of us, have learned from his example.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hope and Healing

Forgive me, Father, for I have been listening to Larry King on the Radio.

Money Quote (from a Virginia Tech coed):

... I have found Hope and Healing ...
To recap: yesterday, some ass-wipe murdered 32 of her friends and neighbors, and today she is finding "hope and healing"? May I suggest that it may be just the teensy-est bit shallow for us to find "hope and healing" in a short 24-hours?

I know, I know, we're suppose to celebrate our strength and recuperative powers, and it's probably pretty shallow of ME to criticize our grief-process time frame. Still, if we were all that broken up about the death of THIRTY TWO of our fellow students, one might be forgiven for suggesting that going on the Larry King show to tell us all how we have already found HOPE AND HEALING is ... ah, never mind.

If we have to ask, we wouldn't understand.

I read Dennis Prager this afternoon, and while he wasn't there, at least he has a good understanding of the way the grief process works.

Sure, college students are definitively The Me Generation (I was, at that age), but one would like to think that they have enough sensitivity to view the slaughter of their fellow students in terms of someone else (for example, the dead kids?) for just a little while.

And what is it about mass murderers? They rampage through whatever venue they choose, kill a lot of innocents, and THEN they shoot their face off?

Why can't they take a short cut? Why don't they shoot their face off FIRST, and save us all this grief?

This Cho, this toilet paper to the rectum of humanity, had a lot of choices; but he was 'in pain' because of his, supposedly, suffering from romantic rejection and societal disillusionment.

What a piece of work you were, Cho. You sociopathic sick fuck.

Isn't that a nasty phrase? I've never used it before, never thought I would say that about another human being. But it perfectly describes the being, and perfectly expresses my feelings.

"You sociopathic sick fuck." I don't want to feel your pain. I just want you to be dead Dead DEAD for all eternity and may you rot in hell. I don't want to feel this angry toward another human being again.

Damn you to all eternity.

We have ALL felt his pain. But instead of getting over it, and instead of doing the decent thing and blowing his brains out at the first sign of dejection with his filed-off-serial-number (what's that all about?) Niner, he kills his One True Love and their 'mediator', takes two hours to gear up, and then trashes the lives, the hopes and the expectations of our most precious natural resource; our young people. The best and the brightest.

Kipling could have given him the nod, if the shit-for-brains idiot could have taken just a moment to get over himself:

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

Am I'm angry?


There is NO sympathy for a baby-turd who is so full of himself that he can consider no higher calling than to make a big splash, and chooses the life of his fellow man as his canvas.

I am absolutely against suicide, but when the alternative is this sort of National Horror, I'm thinking it's a Good Thing to internalize your pain for the few moments it takes to eat your own gun, you self-centered idiot.

Yeah, I'm talking to Cho the Ho, may you rot in hell you insufferable egomaniac.

I do so wish I could find "Hope and Healing" today, but that's probably too much to ask.

Maybe I've been too hard on the poor dear who was so eager to express to her new best friend, Larry King, that she found what I so desperately crave.

Once I killed people. In battle, and for what I thought was a good reason. As I walked the battlefield and counted the bodies, I felt a deep and abiding sense of sorrow at the total waste which is violent death.

I swore to myself I would never put myself in that dark place again.

No avail.

Once again I find myself there through no fault of my own, and the sense of waste is not lessened by the passing of years. If anything, it is increased by time and distance, and the helplessness.

What a total waste.

Jesus wept.

The Shooting Wire

This week in The Shooting Wire, the most excellent Jim Shepherd provides a feature article on former UN Ambassador John Bolton's address to the NRA's 136th Members Banquet.

Mr. Bolton had a lot to say about the United Nations, especially in regards to the attempt to impose International restrictions on the ability of American citizens to own private firearms. He also addressed the problem of the "Internationalism" of American diplomats:

For an American diplomat to "abandon the United States Constitution" in order to "get along" with the diplomatic community, said Bolton was "a deliberate tactic of the leftists to shift firearms into a different political environment.

After all, Bolton says, "many nations of the world want the United States to keep footing the costs for the United Nations, " but are "looking for ways to reduce our influence around the world." Limiting the rights of U-S citizens to have firearms, said Bolton, would be one way that "diminishment" could be accomplished.
I would love to cut&paste the whole article here, but instead I urge you to sign up for your own free subscription.

That would save me a LOT of trouble when I want to tell you about the fascinating articles available here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

April Massacre: Virginia Tech

At least 33 killed in shootings at Virginia Tech -

As I suspect most of us have done on this Monday, April 16, 2007, I have been shocked by the murder of "at least 33" students and, perhaps others at Virginia Tech.

I was sheltered, perhaps, from the horror because my personal schedule was involved with a family visit and other selfish activities. I didn't spend half my day (or more) being appalled by the terrible events at an American University.

Instead, I had an almost idyllic day with my son and his wife, my mother, my grandchildren and my true love. Until I returned home, I had no idea that this American Tragedy had occurred, let alone the extend of the slaughter.

For the past few hours, I have been engaged for an Internet search for more information, until I am so heart-sick that I can no longer bear to immerse myself in this sickness.

But there are certain trends to the reporting and, perhaps more significantly, the opinions which are necessarily a near knee-jerk reaction to what has become an American tradition in the month of April.

Since the Columbine massacre (April 20, 1999), the Oklahoma City Bombing (April, 19, 1995), the Waco (April 19, 1993) outrages, the month of April has been a continuing April festival of horror. And I for one am sick of it.

We are all disgusted by this annual rage of violence and slaughter of the innocents, and we all look for a solution to this distinctive American sickness.

But, what is it about the month of April which leads to such a death toll?

April Massacres didn't happen just in America:

April 18, 1995: The Kibeho Tragedy (Rwanda, Africa) - 2000 people massacred in a Rwandan refugee camp.

April 9, 1986: Tblisi, Georgia (the country, not the state) - an Anti-Soviet demonstration leads to a violent 'dispersal' by the Soviet Army, leading to 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

April 26, 1986 - The Chernobyl Tragedy.

The deliberate massacres, however, seem (per OKC and Columbine) to be based on Hitler's Birthday: April 20.

So we establish Hitler as the cause of many massacres in the 20th and 21st century.

But what is it about the latest outrage which will, presumably enrage so many American citizens?

It's not just that this 33+ (?) death toll is the largest fatality list in the history of American "School Shootings", but that the same people who reacted to Columbine (and other, more recent "Schools Shootings" are using it to advance their own anti-2nd Amendment agenda.

The Lars Larson featured an interview with Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. While careful not to suggest that any restrictions should be applied to "lawful citizens", he carefully made the point that "... maybe we should make it harder for individuals to get some of these guns in the first place. Not you, but people like the shooter today". He was unable to present a cogent argument differentiating between the radio talk-show host, and "the shooter today" except "We don't have any information on exactly where he got the gun or how he got the gun, but I think, you know, part of the solution is not just shooting the bad guy when he started but trying to keep it ... make it harder for the bad guy to get these guns in the first place."

In answer to Larson's assertion that there are "20,000 gun laws" regulating possession of firearms, and they don't seem to be making any difference in keeping guns out of the hands of 'the bad guys', Helmke suggested that "Maybe we aren't making the right laws" ... "Maybe we need more effective laws."

When Larson suggested that an armed student LEO stopped a school shooting at Virginia's Appalacian School of Law in Grundy, Va., Helmke stated "That's not true, that's an Urban myth."

Larson then suggested that the only way to stop anyone (no evidence yet whether the citizen was not legally prevented from buying a gun) from coming onto a campus and shooting people is to allow other law-abiding citizens to carry guns to stop him.

Helmke's response:

" What we need to see is if there are things we can find out that would have tipped us off that he was [not] a law-abiding citizen."

"There's no bans on hi-capacity clips. He apparently comes in with a nine-millimeter [pistol] that has a hi-capacity clip. He's getting twenty rounds off in under a minute. There's no background checks in gun shows in Virginia. We don't know all the details about how he got this gun."

Larson's continuing question: "Should we make it harder for law-abiding citizens to buy guns?"

"I don't see any problem with law-abiding citizens having to do a background check. That's the main thing The Brady Campaign pushed..."

Larson interrupted:
"That hasn't answered my question."

Helmke, obviously unable to answer the asked question, changes the subject:
"Okay. How about extending background checks to gun shows? .... How about, uh, limitations on high-capacity clips?"

"No. ... If you go to the range, and the pistol I carry has a 14-round magazine ... and hand somebody a gun with a 10-shot magazine .... and give them 10 more of them ... the difference in firing (100 rounds) from 10-shot magazines and from 14-round magazines is relatively small. So arguing about magazine size is relatively ridiculous."

"Well, then you go to the issue of semi-automatics ... and how fast they can fire."

"Then you want to ban semi-automatics?"

"I didn't say that ... although I thought the Assault Weapons ban made sense ... they were something that could have been written better ... "

The conversation degenerated from that point, as Helmke attempted to defend the Assault Weapons Ban (and was unable to identify a single crime which was prevented by the tentative 1995 federal law, which Sunset in 2005 because nobody was able to show that it effected a reduction in 'gun crimes' ... with the possible exception of violations of the law itself.)

This interview served two purposes. First, that the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence is willing (eager!) to use any tragedy to advance their agenda, regardless of the facts; and second, that the legal measures which they propose would have no effect on the kind of mindless violence to which the Virginia Tech students, faculty and staff were exposed today.


I have to admit to a personal investment in this question. I work on campus of an American University, of about the same size student body as Virginia Tech. I'm very aware of my personal exposure to random violence in my day-to-day life, and especially in the workplace.

It is impossible for a student, faculty or staff to carry a concealed weapon on an American campus. If caught carrying a handgun, a student can be expelled (possibly, in some states, subject to prosecution). No education, no career, and a black mark on his record forever.

Faculty and staff are subject not to expulsion, but to being fired (again, possibly subject to prosecution.) No references, no transfer and again no career.

Note that in Oregon, there are no state laws preventing CHL authorized citizens from carrying a firearms on campus. However, the universities can still establish a policy against it and nobody is willing to challenge that policy. The sole exception is Lars Larson himself, who was invited to speak on the subject on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Oregon. He insisted on being allowed to carry his concealed handgun when he spoke on campus. The University of Oregon withdrew the invitation.

Who among us are willing to chance being Black-Listed from our educational education or place of employment for the 'crime' of providing for our own self-defense? Very few of us. Nobody that I know personally. Certainly I am not willing to carry a firearm on campus, although I am legally entitled to carry almost anywhere else in the state. I have completed all training and background checks, and possess an "Concealed Handgun Permit" issued by my local County Sheriff. According to my state legislature, this is defense against most objections. Except ... well, you know.

What's my exposure if I don't carry?

Exactly the same as the students of Virgina Tech, including the 32 or more students who today were shot to death by a marauding fellow student because they were forbidden by their school from the means to defend themselves.

There's nothing I can do to change the situation ... today.

Perhaps tomorrow, this tragedy will serve as a wake-up call to Higher Education in America.

No, I don't believe it will happen, either.

In the meantime, expect to hear a LOT from the confused, agenda-driven "gun control advocates" as they attempt to advance their goal of removing firearms from the hands of every American.

They won't say it that way, of course. Instead they'll focus on the same old 'baby steps' that have worked so well for them during the Clinton administration.

Smaller guns.
Less magazine capacity.
No 'ugly' guns, no 'Saturday Night Specials', no guns with 'no legitimate sporting purpose'.

No guns based on 'military design'; which pretty much includes ALL guns, but they won't say that, either.

Offer to outlaw everything except muzzle-loaders (as Lars Larson did), and you can hear them salivate, then reluctantly reply "No, I didn't say that". But that's what they are thinking.

Then all they would have to do is figure out how to get rid of the muzzle-loaders over .35 caliber.