Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Portrait of Dorian Grey

Somewhere in America, A Mother is dragging her child around the country in her quest for the Presidency of the United States.

As a campaign strategy, I think this is not working.

I've only just discovered "Shooting The Messenger". Interesting blogspot, covers RKBA issues as well as cultural and other news stuff. Pithy comments, good selection of news to parody. I liked it, you may also.

I have linked to this blogspot under "Places I Recommend" on the sidebar.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Brits: New Year, Same Ol' Brits

I swear I try to avoid showing Our Britannic Cousins in the worst possible context, but they continue to impose their Politically Correct Socialist world-view on their subjects citizens subjects, to the point where they constitute a Target-Rich Environment.

What is an Honest Geek to do, except to show them up in the content-impoverished context in which they have placed themselves?

Two examples tonight (I'm deliberately limiting myself):

1: "Rules say homes must be safe for robbers"

(Also, see here.)

A British woman whose house has been repeatedly burglarized 'to the cost of thousands of pounds' informs the police that, since they (* the police *) seem unable to protect her home and her belongings, she will reinforce her defenses. Specifically, she intends to add barbed wire to the top of the fence which surrounds her property.

The police politely inform her that "... she could risk a prosecution herself if someone would be hurt".

To summarize: She is advised against improving the wards about her property, even though she does so to guard against vandalism, theft, even personal attack in the privacy of her home. Why? Because in the event that a home intruder suffers so much as a hangnail in his pursuit of larceny and/or mayhem, he may legitimately prosecute HER for ... I don't know what. "Establishing an Attractive Nuisance", I suppose.

2: War Hero's Daughter Facing Arrest for Tackling Yobs who Defaced 'war memorial':
The daughter of a WWII RAF pilot lives near a 'memorial garden' ... an obelisk which is the frequent object of floral displays in honor of British servicemen and women .. objects which hooligans frequently deface, vandalize, trash and otherwise disrespect. After months of attempting to interest the police in the vandalism, with no positive results, she confronts the gang. The leader of the gang taunts her to the point where she slaps his face. He laughs, says "That's assault" and turns her in to the police.

The police, previously disinterested in addressing her complaints, are johnny-on-the-spot in bringing assault charges against her.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police confirmed the force is investigating an alleged assault on a 15- year-old boy.

He admitted however that Mangotsfield has a problem with youth vandalism.

Inspector Gus Krouwel said: 'Neighbourhood [sic] police regularly receive complaints about groups of around eight young people gathering by the war memorial, drinking and leaving litter.

"I do appreciate that people may get frustrated with this sort of situation but the appropriate response is to work with agencies [emphasis added] like the police and local authority to find solutions."

Mrs Lake will voluntarily attend a police station next month to be formally arrested. She could be charged with assault which carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison or a £5,000 fine.

Apparently, that "work with agencies" approach only works if you're a Yob.

So here we are with examples describing (1) a woman who wishes to protect her person and her property, and (2) a woman who wishes to protect public property. Despite repeated attempts to elicit either support or protection from the 'legally constituted authorities' (eg: the police), their pleas are ignored.

However, when they attempt to provide protection or other pro-active measures to discourage the criminals from treating them as victims, the discover that either the system or the Yobs themselves turn the system against them to the point where they are subject to punitive measures administered by the government which disallows them the right to protect themselves, their property, or their neighborhood.

Whatever happened to the concept of protecting our women? Whatever happened to the concept of "to protect and to serve"?

Somewhere between the citizenry and the National Government, there is a dysfunctional disconnection. I am loath to say "I loath the Constabulary of Great Britain", because I hold it as an article of faith that the constabulary would prefer to protect its citizenry. However, I don't see that happening. Instead, I see the constabulary enforcing preposterous edicts against the people it is, supposedly, sworn to serve.

I can see that this is a bizarre situation. You can see it too. We all perceive that the British Bobby is contributing to the degradation of the Quality of Life in Great Britain, but nobody who is in a position to do something about it is acting.

We can only imagine the frustration of the average British Subject to this sad state of affairs.

Which brings us to the point of the discussion: if the British had not made the possession of firearms, and the "Castle Doctrine", both illegal ... we would be reading about the death of Yobs and the otherwise peaceful civilization enjoyed by the British.

It may well be that the purpose of the British Public is only to serve as A Bad Example of a government which no longer serves the public.

I pray for you, my British Cousins. But until you take control of your government ... instead of allowing your government to take control of you ... things there-abouts will only get worse, instead of better.

Tea party, anyone?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Knight Rider 2008

They're Ba-a-a-a-ck!

I'm not a big television viewer (my TV has been connected only to DVD and VHS players for the past 10 years) but I have always thought that the old Knight Rider television series was flawed mainly by the presence of the egregious David Hasselhoff.

No Hasselhoff, no mo ...

Hit 80s show Knight Rider is making a comeback.

Stars from the new two-hour special stepped out at the NBC lot in Burbank, California, to show off a new Kitt - the Mustang Shelby.

Gone is the Pontiac Trans Am which played the faithful sidekick of David Hasselhoff, to be replaced by the sleek, suped-up Ford.

The Hoff has also been swapped for a new model, former soap star Justin Bruening who told journalists: "I am like a 10 year old right now, every time I turn the car on I just start grinning ear to ear because it sounds cool, I feel like a little kid who bought his own candy store and just gets to play around in it."

Here's the video of the new Shelby Mustang "Kitt":

Note: for a while there, you had a chance to bid on the original KITT, but unfortunately the auction was put on hold because there were more bids than the seller could handle.

The retro television series may be delayed in implementation, because the star of the show was recently injured on the set of the pilot.

Akins Acccelerator 3

In the 24 hours since I wrote this article, Bill Akins has written several clarifying statements in the COMMENTS section. He suggests that I use these comments to write a third article.

I don't want to steal Mr Akins' information and label it as my own, nor do I want to write an entire article consisting of edited quotes from his comments. In fact, it seems to me that he has done a good job of writing that third article himself, and in the process has learned that the first draft is not likely to provide all the information nor to present it 'the best way'.

Therefore I will encourage readers to view the comments attached to this article and, again, make up your own mind. (Further comments are encouraged.)

Two other points:
1: Mr Akins has included his email address in his comments. You may wish to send him supportive emails, if you are so inclined. Given that he is already feeling besieged by the ATF, I would not burden him with any accusatory correspondence.

2: In his earliest comment to this article, Mr. Akins stated:
In your 2nd article you first said in your opinion my device was not a machine gun under Federal law. Then later you said you believed I had invented a way to turn a semi automatic rifle into a machine gun.
It cannot be both.

Fair enough. I realized as I wrote that statement I might be called upon to defend it. I'm uncomfortable doing so, only because it sounds like William Jefferson Clinton asking what the meaning of 'IS' is, and I shrink from any comparison to our 42nd president.

By the ATF definition of 'machine gun', the Akins Accelerator does not qualify.

But when I look at the animated GIF, I'm thinking 'machine gun'. Why? Because the device allows a semi-automatic rifle to be fired faster than the 'twitch-rate' of my trigger finger. That's not the official ATF definition, that's just my own personal definition. I wrote hundreds of words trying to make that point, I'll not repeat the exercise now.

Whether or not other devices accomplish the same end, whether the ATF has singled out Mr. Akins, and in fact whether full-automatic weapons should be regulated are legitimate subjects for discussion.

In the end, I'm not the one who has to be convinced. I don't care if the Akins Accelerator converts a 10/22 into a machine gun. I wouldn't buy one, personally, because I've shot enough full-auto weapons to know that I'm not very good with them; that doesn't mean I agree with the federal regulations currently in effect.

Beyond that, I am not clear on what Mr. Akins would have me do. Write to my congressman v. the confirmation of Michael Sullivan as head of the ATF? Check - done. Write about the controversy in an attempt to make more people aware if it? Check - done.

Take up the cause of the Akins Accelerator and lead a protest against governmental mismanagement? No, this is not my battle and I'm not on a mission.

However, there is one more thing I can do:

Mr. Akins, if you would like to write your own blog article, to tell the whole story in your own words, I would be happy to receive it as a MS-WORD document and publish it here. I've always encouraged Guest Articles. I only reserve the right to edit for grammar, spelling, word-choice (I prefer to avoid profanity), libelous statements and ad hominem attacks. In short, I reserve the right NOT to publish but I'll probably give a Guest Author a chance to rewrite rather than summarily reject a Guest Article.

Kipling: The Young British Soldier

We haven't had a Kipling Night for 'ever so long'.

Here's Kipling's interpretation of the Afghanistan Experience:

The ’arf-made recruity goes out to the East
’E acts like a babe an’ ’e drinks like a beast,
An’ ’e wonders because ’e is frequent deceased
Ere ’e’s fit for to serve as a soldier.
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!

Now all you recruities what’s drafted to-day,
You shut up your rag-box an’ ’ark to my lay,
An’ I’ll sing you a soldier as far as I may:
A soldier what’s fit for a soldier.
Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .

First mind you steer clear o’ the grog-sellers’ huts,
For they sell you Fixed Bay’nets that rots out your guts—
Ay, drink that ’ud eat the live steel from your butts—
An’ it’s bad for the young British soldier.
Bad, bad, bad for the soldier . . .

When the cholera comes—as it will past a doubt—
Keep out of the wet and don’t go on the shout,
For the sickness gets in as the liquor dies out,
An’ it crumples the young British soldier.
Crum-, crum-, crumples the soldier . . .

But the worst o’ your foes is the sun over’ead:
You must wear your ’elmet for all that is said:
If ’e finds you uncovered ’e’ll knock you down dead,
An’ you’ll die like a fool of a soldier.
Fool, fool, fool of a soldier . . .

If you’re cast for fatigue by a sergeant unkind,
Don’t grouse like a woman nor crack on nor blind;
Be handy and civil, and then you will find
That it’s beer for the young British soldier.
Beer, beer, beer for the soldier . . .

Now, if you must marry, take care she is old—
A troop-sergeant’s widow’s the nicest I’m told,
For beauty won’t help if your rations is cold,
Nor love ain’t enough for a soldier.
’Nough, ’nough, ’nough for a soldier . . .

If the wife should go wrong with a comrade, be loath
To shoot when you catch ’em—you’ll swing, on my oath!—
Make ’im take ’er and keep ’er: that’s Hell for them both,
An’ you’re shut o’ the curse of a soldier.
Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .

When first under fire an’ you’re wishful to duck,
Don’t look nor take ’eed at the man that is struck,
Be thankful you’re livin’, and trust to your luck
And march to your front like a soldier.
Front, front, front like a soldier . . .

When ’arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,
Don’t call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;
She’s human as you are—you treat her as sich,
An’ she’ll fight for the young British soldier.
Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .

When shakin’ their bustles like ladies so fine,
The guns o’ the enemy wheel into line,
Shoot low at the limbers an’ don’t mind the shine,
For noise never startles the soldier.
Start-, start-, startles the soldier . . .

If your officer’s dead and the sergeants look white,
Remember it’s ruin to run from a fight:
So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
And wait for supports like a soldier.
Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

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.

Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!


Sergeants won't tell their men about these things today. Kipling will, whether you like it or not.

Mariah Carey Is The New Mother Theresa

ohnotheydidnt: Mariah Carey Is The New Mother Theresa

I get the strangest links to my blog. I have no idea who (or why!) linked to Cogito Ergo Geek from here ...

... but the implications are interesting.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another Negligent Discharge

Dropped handgun goes off at grocery

People who were shopping at a bustling Corvallis grocery store on Saturday (December 22, 2007) were lucky to escape injury after a man dropped a loaded handgun from his pocket, causing an accidental firing of the weapon and sending a .22-caliber round into a stack of soda cans.
This article seems timely when compared to my Negligent Discharge - Concealed Carry article posted December 18, 2007.

You may recall that the earlier story involved a CHL (Concealed Handgun Licensee) stuck a pistol into his jacket pocket, only to have it fire when he draped his jacked over the back of his chair when he arrived at his office.

In this case, the Poor Schlemiel was not a CHL, but he did have a pistol carried loose in his pocket. The article does not make it clear whether the pistol ("a small-caliber, derringer-style handgun with a one- or two-bullet capacity") was carried in his trouser pocket or his jacket pocket. My guess is: it was carried in the strong-hand jacket 'slash' pocket, which would make it easier to draw -- and easier for it to fall out.

(Flash-back to Samuel L. Jackson in the movie "The Long Kiss Goodnight":)

Got my car keys in my left-hand jacket pocket [dah duh da-da duh dah!].
Got a pistol in my right[da duh da-da duh ].

To illustrate how easily this could happen; last month I lost an expensive pair of reading glasses which was carried in the weak-hand slash pocket of my jacket. I was on the street, and I didn't notice it falling out.

People who read this article (probably local residents) had some unkind things to say for the non-CHL pistol-packer:

Barefoot wrote on Dec 25, 2007 12:24 PM:
Joe M. has been trying to get a firearm to go off when it was dropped and hasn't "been successful". I guess I was right, it does happen.
When some is careless with a firearm (like here)- maybe it should be clear that he should not allowed to own or carry firearms. "

nonstopjoe wrote on Dec 26, 2007 11:40 AM:

As a lesson for other "would be" careless and stupid people, this person should receive jail time and a substantial fine. "

Barefoot wrote on Dec 26, 2007 12:53 PM:
[T]ake away gun privileges. Forever. Boy shoots his sister on Christmas, parents left gun laying around, same thing.
Sounds pretty harsh? I think so, too, but the comments are not without merit.

Here's what the local LEO, Sgt. Jim Zessin of the Corvallis Police Department, had to say:
(The Poor Schlemiel) was cooperative and the discharge was accidental, Zessin said, but (The Poor Schlemiel) did not have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. He was cited for carrying a concealed weapon and discharge of a weapon, both misdemeanor charges. (The Poor Schlemiel) was released after receiving the citation. A court date has not yet been determined by the Corvallis Municipal Court.
(The Poor Schlemiel) , who was reached by phone on Monday, confirmed that the gun fell out of his pocket and discharged.

“It was a very stupid accident on my part alone,”
(The Poor Schlemiel) said. “I would like to apologize to everyone in the store and to the community. … It was really a freak accident that was unintentional.”
Zessin also had this to say:
“Don’t carry a concealed weapon unless you have a permit. If you carry one, carry it in a proper, secured holster so it doesn’t fall out.”
Yes, that's it.

I think someone should take (The Poor Schlemiel) aside and give him a thorough drubbing for his incompetence. If you don't know how to carry safely, you shouldn't carry at all. Period. End of sentence. I have spoken.

On the other hand, in the face of recent predator shootings at shopping malls, schools and churches, I can't really blame him for wanting to protect himself.

It's only that in his ignorance, his good intentions turned out to be a hazard rather than a source of protection for himself and his fellow shoppers. Add to this the fact that his incompetence reflects poorly on those who ARE competent, trained CHL folks, and he's got everybody mad at him; justifiably so.

Man, I wouldn't like to be him. I thought my Christmas was depressing!

Here's a suggestion: if you think you ought to carry a Concealed Handgun for whatever reason ... get some training. Learn how to carry; learn how to carry concealed; learn how to carry concealed SAFELY; learn how to use your handgun, and learn how not to be a Poor Schlemiel.

I'd be glad to help, but if you can't learn -- don't expect me to sign off on your CHL application.

If this guy met you at the range and asked you to help him qualify for his CHL, what would you do?

Akins Accelerator 2

In response to my previous article about the Adkins Accelerator, Bill Adkins posted to the COMMENTS section with some more explanatory information as well as citing a 12/26 update from TBO and an animated gif which demonstrates the device in action.

Akins states:
My device was TWICE in writing approved by the BATFE and they [said] they were approving it based upon its concept and method of operation.

My device fires one shot for each [separate] function of the trigger. The barrel, receiver, trigger guard and magazine recoil a short distance within a stationary stock and compress a spring, this rearward recoil removes the trigger completely from the trigger finger. The the spring decompresses and forces the barrel, receiver and trigger guard back forward where your trigger finger then engages the trigger to function it again. One shot for each single function of the trigger exactly as federal law stipulates is semi auto fire, NOT FULL AUTO FIRE. This is a stock your firearm fits into, not something that fits into the firearm. [Emphasis in the original]
Here's how it looks in action:

Judging from the description provided, combined with the illustration, it appears that the trigger essentially disappears into the stock with each round fired. That effectively breaks the finger contact with the trigger, which seems to meet the requirements for not meeting the definition of a device which renders a firearm a "machine gun':
Machine gun. Any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun, and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 27, Volume 2]
[Revised as of April 1, 2003]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 27CFR479]

[Page 171-174]




Subpart B--Definitions

Sec. 479.11 Meaning of terms.

Once again, I have to say that I'm not qualified to state whether the Akins Accelerator does or does not meet the definition of a "machine gun", in the sense that a device can change the definition of a semi-automatic rifle to a "machine gun".

It seems to come down to the definition of the phrase "... a single function of the trigger."

My personal choice would be to say that the Akins Accelerator does not "... shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger." This is based on my understanding that the trigger functions when the trigger finger is in contact, and any break in contact constitutes a separate "function of the trigger".

This is a strictly literal interpretation of the terminology.

A less strict interpretation would perhaps require the inclusion of the intent of the shooter. That is, if the shooter intends to allow the device to shoot many rounds more rapidly than is likely possible using trigger-finger movement, one only needs to hold the trigger finger in contact with that part of the stock which momentarily shields the trigger from finger contact after each shot. If the shooter intends to cease firing, one can accomplish this by removing the trigger finger from that stock contact.

However, any law or regulation which involves 'intent' seems generally to be an attempt to define a degree of culpability.

For example, let us postulate the situation where one person shoots another person. (All of these definitions, for the sake of illustration, presuppose that the victim is mortally wounded.)

If there is no intent at all, the shooting may be considered 'accidental', and no culpability if involved. Or, if the situation includes a degree of negligence, the shooting may be judged to include a degree of culpability (eg: 'negligent homicide' or 'manslaughter'.)

On the other hand, shooting someone in self-defense is defined as 'justifiable homicide'. See below.

To advance the argument, if the shooting is intentional, it may be further subdefined in terms of premeditation (2nd Degree vs 1st Degree). Other subdivisions include Murder for Hire, or Murder to hide another crime (Aggrevated Murder).

Getting back to the concept of 'intent', these definitions only determine the degree of culpability. In every example, the presumption is that a violation of acceptable social behavior is involved.

It is always 'a bad thing' to shoot someone else, except for the situations where it is justifiable (see above).

On the other hand, it is NOT 'always a bad thing' to fire a machine gun. So, even if the Akins Accelerator does have the same effect as having a machine gun, if the concept of 'intent' is required to make the state's case, we may be forgiven for assuming that it involves only the degree of culpability (if such term applies) rather than to be always 'a bad thing'.

This is clearly sophistry, yet it is no worse than the position of the ATF which seems comfortable with saying "a machine gun is what we say it is, whether or not we have defined it to include all possible permutations of devices."

I don't think they can have it both ways. They have taken their best shot at defining a 'machine gun', and despite the inclusion of weasel words it seems to fall a bit short in this specific instance.

Do I think that Mr. Akins has invented a device which converts a semi-automatic rifle to a 'machine gun'? Yes, I do.

Given the benefit of hind-sight, I believe it may be possible to re-word the ATF definition of a 'machine gun' to include the Akins Accelerator. I couldn't do it, but there are sufficient legal weasels available to the ATF to plug this 'loophole'.

However, ATF has not done it.

Until their legal definition of the term clearly includes this design, I don't think ATF can legally impose the restrictions and penalties which they have arbitrarily decided to create here.

I have not the benefit of legal training, so of course my personal opinion has absolutely no weight under the law. I have not doubt that ATF and the United States Federal Government can bring enough expensive legal power against Mr. Akins and his company to break him, both financially and otherwise. (See Ryan Horsley's latest post about Mike Sullivan's arbitrary leadership style here.)

That doesn't mean I think it's right, or that they should.

It only means that, whether or not you and I think it is an abuse of power, they only need to want to do it for Mr. Akins to end up in the poor-house ... or in the pokey.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot less like Christmas

SWMBO and I had big plans for Christmas.

We spent much of last weekend cooking candies and other treats as family gifts, and SWMBO spent several evenings during the week making more. I was nothing more than the lowly sous chef in this effort. Ninety percent of the work, and 100% of the expertise, was her contribution.

Oh, I also made a half-dozen bags of "Chex Mix" crunchies for nibbling, but I made it in her kitchen and she kindly managed to hover over me less than would be justified by my lack of culinary mastery. Note: they turned out rather bland in my taste tests, although we did manage to eat all of one of the gallon bags full this weekend.

We had planned to spend Christmas Eve Day (yesterday, now) with my family. We were to arrive with a truck full of goodies, and spend the afternoon and evening with friends and family, taste-treats and egg-nog, cards and teasing my various nieces and nephews.

Christmas Day would be a quiet gift-exchange at home, then perhaps either a movie or two or just settle down on a rainy Christmas with our good books.

Instead, I woke up this Christmas Eve morning with racking cough and severe bronchial congestion. By 10:30am I was so uncomfortable that I phoned my sister and mother with the news that we would not be able to attend our annual family gathering. By noon I was coughing so hard and so frequently that I gathered up my 'stuff' and crept quietly back to my own sad (and leaky-roofed) home to recuperate in an environment where I would not chance communicating my cold to my Beloved.

Before I left, we exchanged gifts. I was shamed by the beautifully wrapped packages She lay before me ... much more thoughtful and appropriate than the few childishly wrapped and generally inarticulate offerings I had gathered for her.

I was despondent on my drive home. I've left a fine woman home alone on Christmas Day, surrounded by tins full of Christmas gifts for friends and family, and here I am in a house best characterized by plastic buckets catching the constant drip ... drip ... drip of Oregon Storm rainwater leaking through a roof which has been repaired at least four times in the past two weeks.

Perhaps the worst of it is that, after sleeping the afternoon and evening, I find myself awake and unable to sleep at 1am on Christmas Day.

Oh, I'll shake off this bronchial infection in a day or two, but I was surprised to discover how disappointed I was that I was unable to see my Family and my Beloved on this, the most special day of the year.

Christmas is meant for Families. My inability to celebrate Christmas in a manner which I deem 'proper' is disappointing. But at least I know that I have people who love me and care that I'm not able to join their celebration.

It makes me wonder how people without families get through the Christmas season. Do they sink into an abyss of remorse about how fate, distances, a life lived with 'bad decisions' or other reasons have caused them to be estranged from the society they would choose to share the day?

Perhaps you know someone who is alone on this day. If so, it may be worth the effort to pick up a phone and make the call.

I may not be able to talk much without coughing, but I'll be spending my Christmas Day running up my phone bill.

That's my Christmas gift to me.

The 2 most non-pc statements of the day

Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Christmas!