Saturday, April 26, 2008

Falling like a cat twisting in the air to land on its feet

Wow, Poko. Great recovery!

I usually take a lot of pictures, mostly videos, of the matches I attend.

At this weekend's club match at Dundee, I decided not to even carry my camera with me. It was an unseasonably warm and sunny Spring day (68 degrees, no wind, no rain, no winter's cold ...) and SWMBO is home with Walking Pneumonia. I've missed more matches than I have competed in for the past six months, and I just wanted to relax and enjoy the folks and the match.

On the second stage of the day (Stage 1), I reconsidered my decision. The great thing about taking a LOT of videos is that often I serendipitously capture a defining moment which nobody could have predicted. It has happened before, and I was astonished in the event at having caught a competitor performing an amazing act of shooting legerdemain ... or, alternatively, crashing and burning in the most spectacularly manner imaginable. I decided not to go to the camera because, frankly, I was having too much fun and enjoying the company of a bunch of amiable old-pharts which whom I was squadded.

Not ten minutes after having decided not to start filming, an incident occurred which I wished to heaven I had photographed.

S. Pokropowicz, a Paraguayan national (I swear, per prior agreement, that he is not of Polish descent) got tangled up in a rope which was part of a stage prop and took a particularly nasty spill.

At that moment, I regretted most sincerely that I was not running the camera.

Fortunately, another squad member WAS filming with a VHS-style camera, and they have assured me that they will send the video to me for inclusion here, as soon as possible.

Here's what happened:

Stage 2 was an all-steel stage, the central target array of which was a Texas Star. The competitor was required to open the door, which pulled an attached rope to a weighted arm of the Star and initiated rotary action on the target array. Essentially, open the door and the Star starts moving.

In the actual event, the Paraguayan National "Poko" (I swear he is not Polish) "shouldered" the door to prevent a rebound action which might have interfered with his shooting. It worked for him, the door was not part of the shooting problem for him.

Unfortunately "the rope" was a problem.

When he muscled the door out of his way, he added another vector to the stage props, which caused the rope to form a bight. That is to say, it dragged slack from the rope into the area in which Poko intended to stand; he stepped into the loop.

When he moved quickly toward the next shooting position, the rope caught on his boot, then on his ankle.

When Poko reached the end of the rope, it tightened on his ankle and tripped him as assuredly as an 19th century (or 21st Century "man trap".
Poko tried to balance on his free leg, but he had built up to much forward momentum; he went down. Hard.

The rope tried hard to twist him in the air, but he somehow managed to counter-twist.

When he hit the ground (and at all moments up to this point), the muzzle of the gun was pointed down-range in a safe manner.

Poko ... was not. He was all over the place, but he retained sufficient presence of mind to ensure that the (loaded, cocked-and-locked, safety definitely OFF and finger definitely OFF THE TRIGGER) pistol never for a moment pointed in an unsafe direction.

Range Officer "Walt the Revolver Shooter" handled almost everything right. Correction: his every action with regards to safety issues was flawless.

First, Walt observed that by the time the body parts stopped bouncing the gun had (a) never pointed in an unsafe direction; (b) the competitor's finger was off the trigger; (c) the gun had been safely deposited on the ground; and (d) although Poko had realistically assumed the "Dying Cockroach" position, he was still in effective control of the gun,

Walt then hovered over the gun until Poko was back on his feet, then WALT (the RO, not the Shooter) retrieved the gun and determined that it was in a 'safe' condition (unloaded, hammer down) before safely returning the gun to Poko.

Poko received the safe gun and returned it safely to his holster, being at that time having recovered to a standing position.

At that time, Walt scored the appropriate miss / FTE (Failure To Engage) penalties on the final eight targets, and the rest was all administrative trivia.

After Action Report:

  1. Walt had effectively stopped the competitor from any other action, and assumed control of the stage ... also of the competitor and the gun.
  2. Walt scored the targets, and Poko was distracted by Geek attempts to convince him that he really NEEDED to (a) clean the serious 2nd degree abrasion on his right knee, (b)a pply a topical antibiotic cream (Neosoprin), and (c) apply a large bandage over the wound, so that his denim trouser would not further abrade the wound during the final three stages.
  3. While RO Walt correctly (and prudently) insured that the range was 'safe' in all respects, he did overlook one small administrative requirement: Rather than to offer the competitor the option to stop the stage at that point, or to continue shooting, the RO arbitrarily stopped the stage and assigned all applicable FTE and MISS penalties for the eight-target array which had not been engaged. This essentially imposed a Zero score for the state, and while we were happy that nobody was threatened by an out-of-control gun, the choice to either stop or continue (accepting a monumentlal time disadvantage proerly should be the choice of the Competitor, not of the RO.
In the actual event, the Competitor was severely discomforted, both physically and competitively. Given that it took him a full minute to recover, I'm certain that he would have elected to stop the stage at the moment of interruption, rather to continue.

Still, that is a choice best left to the Competitor, adnd for the future benefit of Range Officers, it warrants comment.

The fine folks who were actually filming at the time the "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" incident occurred have assured me that they would forward the film to me for inclusion here. I have not yet received the film (hence its non-inclusion here) but I will receive it in good time. I remain confident that you will accept the video as an object lesson which will benefit us all, and not as a reflection on the gun-handling skills of the competitor.
Perhaps contrary to the expectations of a few readers, this incident does not reflect negatively on:
  • The stage designer, who could not have anticipated the bizarre effects of "shouldering the door", but who will doubtless consider this in future matches;
  • The Range Officer, who is admittedly relatively new to the concept of being the final arbiter of Competitor Performance. He focused on the safety aspects of a disturbing and difficult situation. He correctly focused on safety issues; all else is just 'paperwork'.
  • The competitor, who had no way of appreciating that the rope would snag him during movement, and who instinctively recognized that his highest priority during the fall was to keep the muzzle of the un facing in a safe direction.
I'm not saying that any of the participants/contributors of this sate are without fault. I'm just saying that every actor participated in the sense of "good faith"

After the match I talked to Evil Bill, who was the Match Director of this match.

He stated that he not only was a witness to Poko's Downfall, but that he watched the next dozen competitors and NONE OF THEM demonstrated a proclivity to being tangled up in the satge activator props.

It's just one of those things. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

UPDATE: 03-MAY-2008
the video, which does not include 'The Rope', is available here.

Steyn: Guns and God? Hell, yes

I have to admit to an Unnatural Tendency: I love Mark Steyn.

No no, it's not physical relationship (although in a parallel universe wherein I was a woman I might consider wanting to bear his children if only to proliferate his political genius unto the next generation.)

It's only that I consider Steyn to be one of the most prolific, entertaining, brilliant and accurate writer in the western world today. I rank him right up there with Peggy Noonan, with many of the headline writers from National Review Online (can you say, for example, Jonah Goldberg?) following behind.

On this website I've quoted, cited and invariably encouraged you to Read Steyn fairly often. In fact, an informal survey (in which I just now asked myself "who do you quote most"?), I find that Steyn shares the Honor Spot with Rudyard Kipling.

So it was with gratifying surprise that I received an email from Honorary Geek Scott F., directing my attention to a recent article by Mr. Steyn titled ... well you can see the article title.

In "Guns and God: Hell, Yes", Steyn Responds to Barack Obama's recent statement that (small town conservatives) are (bitter because they are frustrated about their economic situation) and have (cleaved to their guns and their God ... as if this were A Bad Thing.)

Here's the full text of the comment:
But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
... and in a grab from the MSM:

But that's not the news we're talking about here.

Let's go back to the Steyn article, in some depth.

... I note a global survey on optimism: 61 percent of Americans were optimistic about the future, 29 percent of the French, 15 percent of Germans. Take it from a foreigner: In my experience, Americans are the least "bitter" people in the developed world. Secular, gun-free big-government Europe doesn't seem to have done anything for people's happiness. Consider by way of example the words of Keith Reade. He's not an Obama speechwriter, he's a writer for the London Daily Mirror. And the day after the 2004 presidential election he expressed his frustration in an alarmingly Obamaesque way:

"Were I a Kerry voter, though, I'd feel deep anger, not only at them returning Bush to power, but for allowing the outside world to lump us all into the same category of moronic muppets. The self-righteous, gun-totin', military-lovin', sister-marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', nonpassport ownin' rednecks, who believe God gave America the biggest d*** in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land 'free and strong.'"

Well, that's certainly why I supported Bush, but I'm not sure it entirely accounts for the other 62,039,073 incontinent rednecks.
... and ...
Obama and far too many Democrats have bought into this delusion, most thoroughly distilled in Thomas Frank's book "What's The Matter With Kansas?", whose argument is that heartland voters are too dumb (i.e., "moronic muppets") to vote for their own best interests.
... and ...

A while back, I was struck by the words of Oscar van den Boogaard, a Dutch gay humanist (which is pretty much the trifecta of Eurocool). Reflecting on the Continent's accelerating Islamification, he concluded that the jig was up for the Europe he loved, but what could he do? "I am not a warrior, but who is?" he shrugged. "I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it."

Sorry, it doesn't work like that. If you don't understand that there are times when you'll have to fight for it, you won't enjoy it for long. That's what a lot of Reade's laundry list – "gun-totin'," "military-lovin'" – boils down to. As for "gay-loathin'," it's Oscar van den Boogaard's famously tolerant Amsterdam where gay-bashing is resurgent: The editor of the American gay paper the Washington Blade got beaten up in the streets on his last visit to the Netherlands.

God and guns. Maybe one day a viable society will find a magic cure-all that can do without both, but Big Government isn't it. And even complacent liberal Democrats ought to be able to look across the ocean and see that. But, then, Obama did give the speech in San Francisco, a city demographically declining at a rate that qualifies it for EU membership. When it comes to parochial simpletons, you don't need to go to Kansas.

The arrogance of the man, to quote the America-haters and turn their words back on them.

The genius of the man, to make obvious the obtuse character of the America-haters, and to hold the light of truth so that their shady character is revealed.

But if you really want to review the opinion of Main Stream America (as opposed to the Main Stream Media, as represented by the failing New York Times), you may consider the Comments section of this article to be an interesting resource. There you will find Americans cheerfully

Just as a 'for-example', some Americans live in 'economically disadvantaged' areas not because they are unable to leave, but because they blatantly like the place where they live. They're not shy in speaking out in favor of their choice, and often they manage to hide their 'embitterment' behind a brave facade of cheerful exuberance:
jlbaker wrote:
One of the most exasperating things to us 'hay seeds' is that we have not asked for help. The formula is simple. If you like your environment, stay. If you must make 100 grand a year, leave for the city. We may be slow, but we figured out that one without Mr. Obama's help. For the political elites to even offer to 'save' us runs so brazenly against simple economics that I want to laugh...but they are being serious. If something works, it survives. If it does not work, it dies (I give you Detroit. Hardly a country bumpkin town. How well has it been doing lately?) Small town America may shrink, but enough people prefer it that I don't worry about it disappearing (unlike say, Jane Smiley, who is crying big liberal tears as we small towns seal our own doom by supporting religion, Republicans, and the 2nd Amendment). Besides, shouldn't the liberals be thrilled that small town America, apparently the haven of such anti-social behavior as being pro gun rights, 'cuts its own throat'?
(Note that Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize writer, but she is famous chiefly for writing a 'bitter' polemic in response to George W. Bush's win against John Kerry (who was a decorated hero of the Vietnam War and will soon release his military records for public review, as he has promised to do since 2006 -- real soon now, watch this space) immediately after the results of the 2004 presidential election ... which required a month to "move on" from the Democratic legal challenges because the Dems couldn't believe that their candidate was even more lame than the Conservative candidate ... were confirmed. Ha ha ha, I laugh at your political discomfort, Jane Smiley. Does this make me a "Moronic Muppet"? Please say yes, I am honored by your disrespect.)

It's obvious (or should be, I think) why I so admire this Canadian/New Hampshire writer who has such a clear insight of the basic anger evinced by the European Culture which rages in frustration about the 'cowboy community' of America, and at the same time admit to their own effete voluntary disempowerment: "I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it."

Doesn't this single short sentence perfectly encapsulate the true Euro-Arrogance?


Today, at the USPSA match in Dundee, The Hobo Brasser interrupted the pre-match competitors' meeting with an announcement:

"Everyone who is bitter about their economic situation, and cleave to their guns and their God, please raise your hands."

I raised my hand. So did every one of the 51 competitors at the match.

Then we all laughed, and got down to the serious business of organizing ourselves for the serious business as Red State (actually, Oregon is a Blue State) Conservatives of punching holes in cardboard, and knocking down steel plates, in a day "... full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Students for Conealed Carry: College Commentary

We've talked before about the difficult question of whether to allow concealed carry of firearms on college campus.

Some people say:

Yup, this group wants to legalize the carrying of concealed handguns on campus. My campus. This is a very, very bad idea.

Most of the kids I know forget more than occasionally to do their readings for class. How can these same kids be trusted to remember to engage the safeties on their handgun? I don’t want to bump into the guy next to me in class and get shot in the foot.

Most of the kids I know don’t lock their room every time they step out to get their laundry, nor do they lock up their valuables. What’s to stop the curious neighbor from toying playfully with their friend’s handgun?

And during the late night weekend hours when thousands of drunk 18 to 20-somethings stumble about State Street, who is going to stay home and guard the firearms? Designate that.


And don’t tell me that only responsible people with clean records will get a hold of these guns, because the Virginia Tech shooter purchased his Glock legally. Consider yourselves trumped, SCCC. Euchre!

I don’t deny that there is a place for guns in our society, but that place is not the college campus. If campus law enforcement’s ability to control alcohol and marijuana is any indication, college campuses are not safe places for lethal weapons.

I don't blame this college student for being concerned about firearms carry by students who may be 'away from home for the first time'. That's a lot of responsibility for post-adolescents who haven't yet learned to control their own hormones, and who think that a keg party is the height of social interaction.

The folks who commented on this article are even more outspoken, but they are decidedly on-subject. For example, Brian says:
Guns are bad. Guns kill. Whenever there are guns, even if the intent is to protect oneself, statistics show that bad stuff happens waaay more often when there are guns than when there are no guns.
Uh ... excuse me?

Brian doesn't seem to be aware of the nuances (I'm told that a "nuanced position" is very important to the Progressive Community) of Concealed Carry.

It's easy to dismiss the concerns voiced by such people as Brian. But that would be wrong.

Brian may be misinformed, but that doesn't mean that his concerns are without merit.

What? Are the people who would be allowed to carry firearms typical of the beer-swilling, pot-smoking 'average student' which are presumed to be candidates for legal carry of a concealed weapon?

Well, no.

The Oregon State Barometer today published an editorial which actually recognizes that such an important question deserves more than a hip-shot objection to Concealed Carry on Campus. You should read the whole article, but the conclusion reads like this:

Those who go through the process of applying for a concealed carry permit have earned the right to conceal a weapon on their person, according to our laws.

Socially, we may not want those around us to carry a weapon, but in terms of constitutional freedoms, the rights granted by our law should not be shrugged off at the schoolhouse gate, to quote a famous court ruling.

While we hope that a gun never needs to be used on our campus against any person, we believe our rights and freedoms should never be taken lightly.
I encourage you to read the article, because the editor who wrote it must have learned something in his (her?) sojourn at an institutional of higher learning. He (she?) actually looks at 'the other side' of the question and recognizes that the process of qualifying for a "Carry Concealed Handgun" license in Oregon (at least in Benton County) involves/ includes a much more stringent 'vetting' process than is presumed by Brian.

We cannot ignore the concern that irresponsible students, under the influence of alcohol, drugs or just the stress of academic life may be unable to handle the added responsibility of carrying a firearme on campus. After all, this is the concern voiced by their fellow students.

But we must also factor into this, the fact that (in a state which legally allows CCH persons to carry a weapon on campus, and the only restriction is the the University provides such penalties as loss of scholarship or registration for students, and loss of employment for faculty and staff) concealed carry may be legal according to the State but it is administratively denied by the Institution.

There are persons on these campuses, not subject to the vagaries of influences evinced by youth, inexperience and hormones which are so frequently presented by detractors of the CCH option.

Staff and Faculty are often more mature, more experienced, and better trained than the callous youth who are most often cited as a reason why CCH should not be permitted.

University Administrative Regulations do not typically factor these people into their decision making process.

And that's a mistake which will, inevitably, lead to the "Universities Tried, Students Died" scenario which is best demonstrated by the Virginia Tech Massacre ... a tragedy which could have been avoided.

As could the next such tragedy.


This courtesy of Kim du Toit:

The referenced article (and the link to the applicable DOJ "Proposed Rule") refer to the announced intention of the Department of Justice to require DNA swab/samples to be taken from all arrested American citizens.

This isn't restricted to convicted criminals, it would allow police to:
... collect DNA samples from individuals who are arrested, facing charges, or convicted, and from non-United States persons who are detained under the authority of the United States. Unless otherwise directed by the Attorney General, the collection of DNA samples may be limited to individuals from whom an agency collects fingerprints.

If you are "detained" (scenario: a natural disaster occurs in your area, the National Guard arrives at your home and announces the [illegal] intention to confiscate your firearms and forcibly, if necessary, relocate you; you resist, and you are therefore "detained"), you are subject to DNA sampling.

If you object, you may be forceably restrained and a DNA sample taken regardless of your protest/objection/resistance/declaration of Civil Rights under the 1st and the 5th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Du Tuit's blog includes contact information where you can object to the appropriate (?) agency.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Brits! The Dustbin Wars

A British family was fined a week's wages, according to the London Daily Mail, because their garbage can was so full of trash that they couldn't close the lid ... leaving a four-inch gap (note: how much is that in centimeters?)
With his rubbish collected only once a fortnight, Gareth Corkhill's wheelie bin was so full the lid wouldn't shut.

And for that, the father of four finds himself with a criminal record.

Magistrates convicted the 26-year-old bus driver after hearing evidence that the lid was four inches ajar, which is against rules to stop bins overflowing.

He was ordered to pay £210 - a week's wages - after he declined to pay an on-the-spot fine imposed by the local council's bin police, who visited him wearing stab-proof vests and carrying photographic evidence of his crime.

To add insult to injury he was told to pay a £15 victim surcharge to help victims of violence - despite there being no victim - and threatened with prison if he failed to pay.

Rapists, murderers and other violent criminals who have earned a jail sentence rather than a fine are immune from the penalty.

Yesterday the council, Copeland in Cumbria, said that Mr Corkhill's family had caused problems for "the battle to reduce waste".

His penalty compares with the typical on-the-spot fine of £80 given to shoplifters - even repeat offenders.

For failing to pay his fine Mr Corkhill, from Whitehaven, will now have a criminal record which he will have to disclose if he applies for a job, credit or a mortgage over the next five years.

Even after that he will have to reveal his crime if he applies for a job in the NHS, working with children, in a bank, or as a security guard.

"I can't believe I now have a criminal record for simply putting rubbish in my bin," he said. "My only crime was to leave the lid slightly open. Now I might go for a job interview and be better than someone else but the employer will see that officially, I am a criminal.

"They won't know the details of what I did. They won't know that I only put a little too much rubbish in the bin."

Over the past couple of years, I've posted many articles condemning the British for their absurd enforcement of the Form of the law, while paying little attention to the Substance.

When I previously wrote about (search the blog for "Brits"):

  • Yobs in general;
  • the (unresolved) murder of teen-agers for their cell-phones;
  • the multiple attacks on a father ultimately resulting on his death within steps of his doorstep, which was not investigated for months;
  • the father who went next door to retrieve a soccer ball inadvertently kicked over a neighbor's fence, with the result that the father was beaten to death by his neighbors by (among other weapons) a golf club;
  • the report that overweight and/or smoking patients are, as a matter of policy, denied medical care by the National Health Service because their budget did not allow providing services to patients who are "not likely to discontinue destructive personal practices, therefore they are not a viable candidate for medical intervention" (probably a paraphrase);
  • the incidents where a home-owner physically resisted a home-invasion burglary (of an occupied dwelling) resulting in injury to the burglar and, ultimately, governmental prosecution of the home-owner ...

I've often used the draconian measures applied to Dustbin Controlas a standard by which all other governmental actions should be compared.

But I never actually presented an example of Dustbin Control.

Until now.

As we have seen on many, many occasions, Yobs who attack innocent citizens are served with an "Anti-Social Behavior Order" (ASBO) rather than to face fine, probation or imprisonment ... often discregarding the frequent recurrence of the same physical attacks on honest citizens.

On the other hand, these same honest citizens are penalized egregiously under British law for such heinous offenses as over-filling their dustbins.

It is as if the police recognize that there is no benefit to be gained by penalizing criminals, but penalties imposed on honest citizens yield surprisingly positive results.

That is to say, throw a Yob in the slammer for knifing an honest citizen, and he'll just quietly serve his time and, upon release, go back to the streets and knife the next honest citizen who doesn't yield to his predations. God knows the Yob has no earnings to pay a fine, and if he did it would be something he had stolen, so what is a fine to the Yob except , except encouragement to go out and mug someone to come up with the fine?

On the other hand, fine an honest citizen a week's wages, and he is likely to be able to pay the fine ... and feel the pain of teh deprivation of his paycheck. That'll show him! ("Cow the Sheep!")


A pox upon the Brits, who are unable or unwilling to control the uncontrollable, but see no paradox in their willing ease of inundating bullying the law-abiding with arbitrary and draconian penalties.

If the British employed competent people for their police, they would no longer know how to administer justice.

As it is, they barely know how to oppress their subjects.


I like Firefox.

I actually prefer Netscape ... version 7.2 (version 8.0 sucks.) Unfortunately, since AOL bought Netscape they have made the marketting decision to NOT continue development. Or support. Well, I can't blame AOL; as I said Version 8.0 is an inferior browser software whcn compared to version 7.2 .... both of which are unsupported.[

I don't like Internet Explorer Version 7 (IE7), because it is non-intuitive and awkward, and also because there are so many security vulnerabilities. [Many of these security vulnerabilities are are actually related to the companion software associated with the Email.]

Like I said, I like Firefox much better.

There's one problem with Firefox.

When I use it as my primary browser software and attempt to view videos, especially but not exclusively related to YouTube, the videos are interrupted after the first 15 seconds, and this interruption repeats in periods from 4 to 15 seconds. To encourage the video playing, it is necessary to put the mouse cursor over the video window and waggle the mouse back and forth. This seems to enervate the software. Even more unfortunatily, the last few seconds of videos often are unaccessible and the video locks up.

Tonite I experimented with IE7, accessing the same weblogs and then attempting to view videos.

No lock-up incidents were encountered.

Well, it stands to reason. IE is the standard internet browser, so all associated software (such as YouTube videos) are designed to be IE compatible.

I'll probably be using IE7 as my default browser more often than Firefox. The shift will be inconvenient to me, not least because I can't transfer my bookmarks from Firefox to IE7.

But the reliable, consistent data transfer provided by IE7 is important to me (viewing videos is the most stringent test of this feature), so I am left with the decision to either go to the Microsoft version, or use both IE7 and Firefox. Which is inconvenient, at least.

You know, I don't like the Designated Hitter rule, either, and I've learned to live with that.

Has anyone else experienced problems with loading and running videos with non-Microsoft browsers?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

National Health Care Systems

Last Friday I posted a response to a comment (on another website) which suggested, among other things, that "... the American healthcare system is NOT envied around the world."

In that response I made some fairly definitive statements, among them:
  • In some National Health Care (NHC) states, medical emergencies are not prioritized;
  • Waiting time for such expensive technical diagnostic facilities may be longer than the time needed for early-diagnosis to be effective;
  • The patient may die before diagnostic can be made available;
  • Patients are not permitted to 'jump' ahead of less-critical patients, even if they are willing and able to pay for diagnostic services out of their own pocket.
  • Some patients are so desperate that they travel to other countries (such as the U.S.A.) for diagnostic treatments and operations because they cannot legally and/or administratively receive emergency medical services in a manner which is sufficiently timely to avoid succumbing to their pre-diagnosed disease.
I realize that these claims may not be easily accepted, because they fall so far outside the usual boundaries of a rational health-care system.

But I assure you, they are not only factual, but well documented.

Consider the case of one Ontario, Canada citizen named Lindsay McCreith.

In 2006, Mr. McCreith was tentatively identified by his family physician as having a cancerous tumor in his brain. Because of the NHC regulations in Ontario, he could not be scheduled for a necessary MRI to confirm the tumor within a survivable timespan. He could not schedule either the MRI or the (probably) needed operation to remove the tumor within the 'safe' period after which the tumor would become inoperable, nor could he qualify for governmental permission to go outside the country for medical intervention under the NHC payment plan within that same timespan.

Eventually, due to a recent improvement in Mr. McCreith's economic situation, he was able to pay the $28,000 needed to travel to the USA, get the MRI confirmation of brain cancer, and have the tumor "the size of a golf ball" removed.

That was in late 2006 and early 2007. He is now suing the Province of Ontario for his out-of-pocket expenses, which would not have been necessary if his Socialist State NHC system would have been able or willing to provide him the medical support which he had been lead to believe was available under the Ontario NHC System.

Here is the story:

(go here for the link to the video.)

Everything I said earlier about the sad state of National Health Care systems in Socialist States (even the most benign and benevolent, such as Ontario in Canada) is absolutely true and verifiable.

Yet Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, challengers for the Democratic Party Nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America, have professed their respective intentions to establish exactly this kind of National Health Care Systems in America.

In point of fact, Clinton attempted to do so in 1992, immediately after her husband Bill Clinton was elected President. The American people rejected this bizarre, unworkable socialist scheme 16 years ago; will we be as wise in November of 2008?

"Empty Holster" demonstrations at American Colleges

John R. Lotte writes to note the "Empty Holster" passive demonstrations taking place this week (April 21 - 26, 2008) on College campuses around the nations.

Lott notes that "Gun Free Zones are Not Safe", a year and a week after the Virginia Tech massacre proved the point with the death of 32 people, and the wounding of many more ... mostly students.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, that PNW Bastion of Leftest Political Correctness, notes that "UW Students Want To Bring Guns To School". In an April 18, 2008 article, the PI writes:

Next week, students at the University of Washington will be making a fashion statement -- Gunsmoke style.

Students affiliated with the Students for Concealed Carry on Campus and the University of Washington College Republicans will wear empty holsters around campus for a week starting Monday, a symbol that they think concealed weapons should be allowed at the university.

"We have walked around the U-District with targets on our backs for far too long," College Republican Justin Bryant said in a statement Friday. "We need to allow students to defend themselves and make criminals think twice before they brutalize a UW student again."

The UW demonstration will parallel similar events at campuses across the country next week, an effort organized in response to a series of violent events at U.S. universities in the last several years.

"As students at the University of Washington our safety is constantly in question," Bryant said. "It is time something is done so students can spend time worrying about our education, not our safety."

John Lott is impressive, but as a venue to illustrate the ideological chasm between the people who think Gun Free Zones are a predator magnet and those who think that the chances of having a predator show up on campus is a much less credible danger than the proliferation of armed citizens on campus ... you can't find a better showplace for disagreement than the Comments section of the PI article.

Incidentally, the law in Washington includes an exception to Concealed Carry Licensees to the general state law which forbids the possession of firearms on college campuses. However, the University of Washington policy forbids firearms possession by anyone except Law Enforcement Officers on duty, etc. Essentially, if you're in uniform and on duty, and your job requires you to carry a weapon, the University won't stop you. Anyone else found in possession of a weapon will be asked to leave.

And, in the actual event, the chances are very good that a student with a firearm will be kicked out, scholarships rescinded, no credit for incomplete classes, not allowed to re-enroll, and further subject to any other administrative penalty which the university is empowered to impose. Good luck trying to enroll in any other college in Washington.

This is curiously similar to the situation at my 'home' college in Oregon ... where the "Empty Holster" passive protest is also being observed this week (link is to the OSU Student Newspaper: The Barometer).

Empty gun holsters will be seen on campus throughout this week as a sign of a silent protest against state laws and OSU policies that prohibit concealed handguns on campus.
It is unlawful to carry a concealed firearm in the state of Oregon without an appropriate permit, as stated in ORS 166.250. Students also cannot carry concealed weapons on campus, even if they are in possession of an appropriate permit. [Ed: emphasis added]

Brian Tsai, president of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, hopes that this week's silent protest will get the word out to the OSU community about their rights to carry a concealed weapon.
Tsai said that a college campus is no different from any other public place, where carrying a concealed weapon is permitted.
"All people who purchase a gun have to pass federal and state background checks in addition to safety training and mental health checks," Tsai said. "So the chance of a gun owner being irresponsible with their weapon is very low."
The silent protest will take place on more than 600 campuses nationwide with 6,000 students participating in the event.
OSU is among numerous college campuses throughout the state which have adopted an administrative rule, OAR 576-065-0010, prohibiting students from carrying concealed weapons.

There are no 'campus police' at OSU; the campus is patrolled by members of the Oregon State Police.

Here's "The Other Side" of the issue (also from the OSU Barometer article cited above):
"The bottom line is that this protest is not going to change anything," said Jack Rogers, director of public safety at OSU. "The Oregon administrative rule overrides any provision for concealed weapons, and it is very unlikely that the Oregon University System will yield to any change on this subject." [Ed: this is not consistent with the "Open Minds, Open Doors" motto of this university. See below.]
Tsai said that students who carry concealed weapons at OSU are not breaking any laws.
"All that the security personnel can do is ask the person to leave the campus," Tsai said.
Students who carry concealed weapons are looking to defend themselves in a certain situation, added Tsai. They are not vigilantes.
"The only idea here is to try to defend oneself, because response time for police in situations like Virginia Tech can be anywhere from three to five minutes," Tsai said.
Rogers, however, doesn't believe that an average gun owner would know how to use deadly force properly in an extreme situation.
"We in law enforcement have gone through an extreme amount of firearms training," Rogers said. "We're the ones who are the professionals." [Ed: link added]
He also said that students who carry concealed weapons may not be knowledgeable enough to determine when to use deadly force and when to restrain. Rogers believes that firearms in a college environment have to be controlled.
"The bottom line is that we have well-trained and well-prepared staff here who know what the training is all about," Rogers said.
"[The use of deadly force] doesn't come lightly; it takes a tremendous amount of training to use deadly force."
(Emphasis added)

Some who read the opinions of Jack Rogers may consider that the students who were killed at Virginia Tech probably learned the hard way when to use deadly force.

When a gunman is killing your classmates, that is probably a very good time to use deadly force.

Move Over!

Oregon is one of the majority states which require drivers to move over to the inner lanes, or at least slow down, when passing a 'roadside emergency'. This includes a work crew, or a disabled automobile, or a policeman who has pulled another driver to the side of the road.

The reason for this law is to avoid endangering people who are standing by the side of the road.

The law is not just 'A Good Idea', it's vital for the safety of people who necessarily find themselves standing beside the highway.

I lost a family member several years ago to this kind of accident. He was a member of a "Highway Crew" performing repairs on the roadway at night, in the rain, on a busy country road. A passing car hit him, dragged him, and tore his right leg off at the hip joint. He bled to death in seconds.

A more recent ... and better documented case ... is that of Oregon Police Lt. Clint Chrz (pronounced "Churz") who was on motorcycle patrol when he pulled over a passing automobile.

As he was talking to the drive, a following car ran into this motorcycle, which was parked near the driver-side rear bumper of the pulled-over car. The impact pushed the motorcycle into Lt. Chrz, hurling him down the highway to end up semi-conscious in the traffic lane. It was only good fortune and the quick-thinking of the next car to come along which allowed this 3rd driver to stop his car cross-wise in the traffic lane, protecting the policeman from being crushed by following traffic.

Go here to see the full description of the accident, including a video of the incident as recorded by Chrz's motorcycle-mounted camera.

If you find yourself on the highway approaching a set of warning lights on the roadside ... MOVE OVER!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hot Links: "Time Covers"

I don't update the sidebar-element "Hot Links" nearly often enough (who's neurotic?), but when I do I think I should recognize that they often change on the sidebar, but they are always interesting and as such should be preserved for your future reference.

From now on I'll try to remember to link to them in an article for future searches.

The Hot Link for this period (a week or two) is "Time Covers".

This link provides you access to the covers of Time Magazine for a period, a year, a month ... or for a specific subject (I think).

I've referenced this website from time to time, because it provides a snapshot of what is fresh and interesting in the world during a specific week ... at least, in the mind of the editors of Time Magazine.

Here's an example:
I was born on the day that the U.S. Marines raised the American Flag atop Mount Surabachi on Iwo Jima. That was a seminal event in the Pacific Theater of World War II, which (after the fall of the Third Reich) was the final theater of operations of the War.

And what was on the cover of TIME magazine the following week?

A picture of US Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Well, Nimitz is one of my personal heroes, but the marines on Iwo Jima were in the mud and the blood, and they rated higher in my mind. But TIME magazine had a policy of presenting paintings of powerful and influential men in the world and in the World War, which I think caused them to lose sight of the influential events of the time.

To my mind, the Marines raising the flag over Mount Suribachi was the iconic image of the American Common Man prevailing over the fascist aggression which caused the Second World War. (Click on the image for a full-size image.)

What does TIME MAGAZINE offer us today?

Times Magazine here equates "Green Politics" with the sacrifices made by these brave men of 50+ years ago, as if tree-hugging is as as bold as fighting suicidal Japanese infantry who are embedded in fixed defensive positions with plenty of ammunition and a strong national identity.

This image seems to me to undermine the accomplishment of the Marines on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Perhaps I'm just too close to the event, by virtue of my birth date, to appreciate the implication that "Green is Good" is equivalent to the politically correct message of 2008.

Or ... I don't know ... maybe I'm actually correct in thinking that the editors of Time are now, and have always been, a bunch of elitist snob idiots who are congenitally incapable of appreciating the pivotal moments of their Time; then, or now.

The covers are interesting, 'anyway', if only because they demonstrate in a dynamic manner the way that the Main Stream Media are so far away from the gestalt of Main Stream America.
This tacitly denigrates the determination, the devotion, the courage, the fatalism and the national identity which characterized both sides in the grievous conflict which was World War Two.

Still, I am appalled.

Todd Lizotte Interview: Pre-Production

Todd Lizotte, "co-inventor" of Microstamping technology, replied to my initial interview questions (submitted via email) with a short note in my Comments. According to Mr. Lizotte, he has been "de-compressing" from a few weeks of business trips. However, he has been working on the questions and promises to reply to them this week.

I'm grateful to Mr. Lizotte for his willingness to reply to many controversial (and often technical) questions.

After I had sent my initial questions, it occurred to me that I didn't really address the issue which prompted his original note to me.

Here is the outline which I had proposed in my email to him:

If I correctly understand your position (compared with mine), you take exception to two issues which I mentioned:
1) you object to my assertion that Microstamping is confused with
"cartridge/bullet serialization";
2) Microstamping technology is mis-perceived as 'requiring a national database" to be effective, which I have mis-characterized in my article.

I did respond to the first part by comparing and contrasting my own definitions of "Microstamping Ammunition" and "Encoding Ammunition" . (Essentially, one involves modifications to the firearm to stamp code on the base of the cartridge during firing; the other involves micro-engraving code on the base of the bullet and/or on the inside of the cartridge case during manufacture of the ammunition).

However, I never did actually address the "National Database" question. Instead, I launched directly into my own set of questions and scenarios for his consideration.

I'll perhaps publish the LONG list of interview questions in another article, but I've neglected to stay On Subject in regards to the second part.

In hopes that I can revisit that question for his later consideration, I'll print here the response I should have sent him in my April 13, 2008 email:

Microstamping Ammunition Will Require a National Database
Mr. Lizotte,
if I correctly understand the code which would be stamped on fired ammunition, it will (according to the information provided on the Industrial Laser Solutions Article titled "Fighting Crime with Laser Engraving"), provide codes for the following data points:

  • The Make (manufacturer, eg: "Smith and Wesson" or "SW") of the firearm;
  • The Model (eg: Model 10, or "10") of the firearm;
  • The manufacturer's unique serial number of the firearm (eg: "1234")
Under the hypothetical scenario wherein a microstamped cartridge case is found at the scene of a crime, and in keeping with your published claim that the purpose of microstamping ammunition with this date is "Fighting Crime", the police are left with with the minimal data "SW10/1234". This information, we presume, will lead the police to the person who fired a weapon at a crime scene.

My question is: what are the police to do with this information?

There is currently no national registry of firearms available to police to identify the current owner of "the Smith & Wesson Model 10 Pistol, serial number 1234".

NICS Data Not Available:
Granted, when a firearms is originally purchased from a dealer, federal law (under the original "Brady Bill", HR1024) requires that this information be gathered along with information uniquely identifying the purchaser. (I note that the original bill mandated a 5-day waiting period, but this provision was later obviated when the National Instant Check System was established.)

Under the updated regulations, ALL information about this purchasing transaction must be destroyed within 24 hours of confirmation that the transaction is legal.

Therefore, the National Instant Check System is specifically not permitted available to serve as a National Registry of firearms purchases.

In point of fact, no firearms registry database is available at a federal level. Some states and municipalities have attempted to establish a 'local' registry, with various levels of success. A case in point is the notorious 1989 California registry of 'assault' firearms, which later resulted in uncompensated confiscations.

(I note in passing that this 2005 article discusses both microstamping and bullet encoding in California, and appears to equate the two technologies. This is probably the cause of your original complaint that I have blurred the line between the two, and you are right; the article does discuss both technologies as if they are one and the same. I accept Mea Maxima Culpa for not intelligently discussing the two as separate processes.)

Firearms owners have recent history of abuse by authorities of any firearms registration, because it is more often a resource for confiscation than for crime solving. Other states and localities (county and municipal level) have enacted similar schemes, which may involve licenses required for purchase of firearms, but which are ipso facto registry of firearms and are not supported by Federal law.

The applicable Federal law is, in fact, the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States; and while one may consider this reference to be a biased personal interpretation of a controversial "Right", I note that the Supreme Court of the United States is currently reconsidering this interpretation in the "DC v HELLER" case. It should not be dismissed as a parochial concern at least until the final vote is tallied.

In point of fact, given the history of "Registration Equals Confiscation" in this country, the chances are that the SCOTUS decision may never permit the establishment of a reference database where "SW10/1234" is sufficient to determine the original owner of a "Smith and Wesson Model 10, Serial Number 1234".

If so, then there is absolutely no justification for Microstamping of Ammunition for investigative purpose; it would only be useful if the firearms in question is found, and further analysis can establish that it will reliably stamp the same ammunition on a cartridge which is physically similar to the cartridge found at the scene of the crime.

One might be excused for supposing that other technical processes which are already available to Police Forensic Laboratories (bullet striations, for example) will prove to be more useful in a court of law to prove that the bullet was fired from the subject handgun.

UPDATE: 23-APR-2008
Edited to correct errors in grammar and sentence construction; also cosmetic improvements.

Monday, April 21, 2008

USPSA 2008 Rule - "Holster"

Browsing through the Brian Enos forum, I found an interesting "Rules" discussion which explored the "end of COF" question. Specifically, is it legal to bag your pistol rather than to return it to your holster?

The consensus that I found seems to be that the competitor is required to holster, but as a courtesy the RO may allow the pistol to be returned to a "bag" instead.

Here's the text of the rule in the 2008 rule book: If the gun proves to be clear, the competitor must holster his handgun.
In club matches, such courtesy seems to be taken for granted. The pace is slow, the level of "Gentlemen's Agreements" is high, and range clearing time is usually improved by providing such courtesies. In fact, to insist that the handgun be holstered rather than bagged (returned to a non-holster carrying article) might lead to a heated discussion of the proprieties, slowing down the match and generating bad feelings.

However, at Level II and higher matches, it is a common understanding that competitors come to the line ready to shoot, which includes the pistol in the holster, and leaves with the pistol returned to the holster. Before the competitor comes to the line he is expected to remove his pistol from the bag and holster it at a safety table. This presumably speeds up the time spent on the stage for each competitor, and reduces the presumptuous administrative burden on the RO. (The RO would need to pass off the bag to the scorekeeper, to keep this hands free, and there is often a time lag while the RO reminds the scorekeeper that the bag must be passed to the RO, and then to the competitor, to complete the stage.)

I note that it is most often the Open Division shooters who bag guns; Limited competitors may bag between stages, but Production and Limited 10 / Singlestack competitors more often do not. I suspect that distribution of bagging/non-bagging practices is influenced by the weight of the handgun and the retention reliability of the holster.

For example, when I shoot an Open gun from my USA holster, I will always bag between stages. The pistol is heavy, the skeletal USA holster always makes me wonder whether the lock-knob is properly locked for retention, and I might knock the pistol out of the holster by the natural swing of my arms as I walk.

On the other extreme, a small polymer pistol (Production Division) in a Forbus holster doesn't weigh much, doesn't significantly stick out from the hip, and may be carried all day without much discomfort.

There are some considerations which are implied in the two approaches:

Bagging permitted:
This is usually assumed at club matches, if for no other reason than that many smaller 'local' clubs don't always have safety tables available on every bay. In order to move the handgun from the bag to the holster, it may be necessary for each competitor to walk a significant distance from the stage bay to the safety table. That time requirement may require some stage time if a competitor fails to leave enough time before his turn to shoot, to prepare for the next stage. The Range Officers are usually members of the squad.

Holster Required:
In a large match (Level II and above) then number of competitors per squad will probably be higher than at a club match. The pressure to reduce stage-clearing time per each competitor is greater; seconds per competitor do count when there are several hundred competitors who need to shoot a dozen or more stages in a one-and-a-half or two day match. The RO staff are dedicated, assigned people who are not competing during the match. (Typically Staff is allowed to shoot the match the day before the start of the match, and bagging standards may be relaxed because, in the RO match, the RO staff are often members of the squad.) Because the labor burden is so heavy for the individual staff member, any procedure which limits the number of extra duties for the staff is encouraged; officiating at a major match is usually physically exhausting, and the standards of performance are very high.

The problem with the difference in priorities between a Club Match and a Major Match is that those who almost always compete only in Club Matches may have some ingrained assumptions. Here, the important assumption is that the 'courtesy' of allowing the competitor to come to the line with a bagged handgun is a common right, even if the rules don't actually support it.

When a club shooter competes at a Major Match, he may not realize that the rules are changed. After all, we shoot with the same rules at every match. The Club Shooter has not been trained to the higher standard of enforcement.

Why are we even talking about this?
In the actual events, Club Shooters are often confused by the different etiquette which is required at Major Matches. This is not only frustrating, but may reduce their level of satisfaction of the Major Match experience.

Even experienced shooters may forget that the level of readiness is increased at a Major Match.

It may be worth the effort to ascertain before the match what the expectations are; usually, a Major Match will provide a handbook for competitors which includes these expectations. Look for phrases such as "Competitors will come to the line ready to shoot", indicating that your handgun will be in the holster, you will have your magazines loaded and placed in magazine carriers, and you will have both eye and ear protection in place, or ready to wear.

Any competitor who is not ready to shoot will be sent back and the next competitor in the squad will be called to the line while the others prepare their gear according to the requirements.

It isn't personal, it isn't a case of the Range Officers being "Range Nazis". The competitors are only being required to abide by the rules of the game, in the strictest sense, for the sake of getting through the match according to what is probably a very tight match schedule.

If you didn't know that before, you know it now.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Microstamping Ammunition: Rhode Island

Introduced By: Representatives Almeida, Ajello, Williams, Diaz, and Giannini
Date Introduced: February 26, 2008
Referred To: House Judiciary

In another of a continuing series of moves by state legislatures to impose 'gun control' by proposing unnecessary restrictions on either firearms or ammunition manufacture, the Rhode Island House has presented (as of February, 2008) a bill to require semi-automatic pistols to 'stamp' identifying characters on every round of ammunition fired.

(This information from a NRA Alert.)

This bill came before the House Committee on Judiciary this week, where it will either be passed back to the House for a vote and then advance to the Senate for consideration, or it will 'die in committee'.

This latter result is much preferred by honest gun owners; criminals, of course, don't care. They won't be using firearms which they purchased under their own name from retailers, so microstamped ammunition left at the scene of a crime will never be traced back to them.

However, the provisions of the bill present some sticky legal and logistical problems for honest gun owners. (Most of the problems are not unique to the Rhode Island bill, but instead are typical of all Microstamping Ammunition bills so far presented by state legislatures.)

House Bill 7834 includes the following considerations:
11-47-63. Microstamping capability of semiautomatic weapons required.
(a) All semiautomatic weapons as defined in section 11-47-2 manufactured or delivered to any licensed dealer within the state shall be capable of microstamping ammunition.
(b) For purposes of subsection (a), a semiautomatic weapon is capable of microstamping ammunition if:
(1) a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the firearm is etched into the firing pin and the breech face of the semiautomatic weapon; and
(2) when ammunition is fired from the semiautomatic weapon, the characters are copies from the firing pin and the breech face onto the cartridge case of the ammunition.
(c) Subsection (a) shall apply only to semiautomatic weapons which are manufactured or imported into the state on or after the effective date of this subsection.
(d) Whoever violates subsection (a) shall be fined an amount equal to:
(1) in the case of a first such violation by the violator, one thousand dollars ($1,000) multiplied by the number of semiautomatic weapons involved in the violation;
(2) in the case of a second violation by the violator, two thousand dollars ($2,000) multiplied by the number of semiautomatic weapons involved in the violation;
(3) in the case of a third such violation by the violator, three thousand dollars ($3,000) multiplied by the number of semiautomatic weapons involved in the violation.
I'm sure that before they sponsored the bill, Rhode Island State Representatives Almeida, Ajello, Williams, Diaz, and Giannini studied the bill carefully, discussed the ramifications with their constituents, researched the available documentation to determine the feasibility of the technology, and consulted a Focus Group of gun owners to investigate the possible negative ramifications of this bill before they sponsored it.

(If you live in Rhode Island, please feel free to click on the above contact-links for these Sponsoring State Representatives and voice your support for their willingness to impose non-judicial penalties on your Second Amendment Rights.)

I'm also sure that pigs can fly politicians are universally honest and caring people who would allow themselves to 'look bad' to the (democratic party supporting ... see links to RI House web pages above) Main Stream Media rather than to propose a bill which would present an ipso facto end-run on the Constitution of the United States.

However, it may prove useful to Rhode Island residents who own guns or who are considering gun ownership to pay careful attention to the implications of this bill.

First, note that subparagraph (b)(1) requires that:
a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the firearm is etched into the firing pin and the breech face of the semiautomatic weapon

Now consider that both the firing pin and the breech face must perform the required microstamping. That is expressly required by subparagraph (b) (2):
when ammunition is fired from the semiautomatic weapon, the characters are copies from the firing pin and the breech face onto the cartridge case of the ammunition.

However if for ANY reason the microstamping phenomena is not evinced upon both the primer and the 'breach face [of] the cartridge case', the person who fired the firearm, or the person who owns the firearm (this point of law is not discussed in the bill) may be subject to fines in the amount of $1,000, $2,000, or $5,000, depending upon circumstances.

Let's look at some real-life examples of firearms usage, to gain some perspective.

IF you are at the range shooting your semi-automatic pistol in, say, a Practical Pistol match and your firing pin bends, breaks or is otherwise determined to be unserviceable, by current law you can simply replace the non-functioning firing pin and continue shooting.

However under the proposed bill, any replacement firing pin must reliably perform the microstamping function, which implies that you must have in your immediate possession a firing pin which has been endowed with the mystical ability to emboss sufficient data to legally identify the firearm.

Is it legal for you to own two (or more) such firing pins? We don't know.

What is the cost of obtaining a 'backup' firing pin which meets the legal requirements?
We don't know, but we doubt that it compares favorably with the (approximately, determined by several marketing and technological factors which have not been identified) $10 each for a 'competitive' semi-automatic pistol.

Both the firing pin and the breech face of your semi-automatic pistol are subject to wear, and to the accumulation of powder residue and, yes, even small flakes of brass which are typically worn from the cartridge during normal usage.

What happens if the integrity of the firing pin and/or the breech face are compromised, either from the accumulation of such detritus during a days usage or because you are negligent in performing a regular regimen of cleaning your pistol? Are you subject to fine because your gun is dirty? We don't know, but if your firearm is tested and it is determined that it will not meet the requirements of subparagraph (b)(2), then you are personally responsible.

Are you subject to fine? We don't know.

How will this inability to meet the minimal microstamping requirements' be audited?
We don't know.

Will there be Firing Pin Patrols regularly conducted by State Police for the sole purpose of determining whether your pistol meets the state regulatory requirements of Microstamping Ammunition
We don't know.

Any law which does not include enforcement is unenforceable. There are no provisions in this bill which would either define the enforcement requirements, or provide funding for such enforcement. There are no provisions for acknowledging that the physical erosion or obfuscation of microstamping mechanisms may make it either impossible or minimally problematic for the firearm owner to meet, so if the technology fails it is not the fault of the (sole-source) provider but it is definitively the fault of the firearms owner ... or the person who is using the firearm (and is not the owner).

Which again emphasizes that responsibility is not defined in the case where the person using the non-microstamping firearm is not the owner. Who is responsible for personally checking that the microstamping function actually works on a given firearm?
That's right, you got it in one: We don't know.

The reliability of the technology is merely problematic. However, the composition of the bill is obviously flawed in that it does not address several issues relating to maintenance, servicing and replacement parts of the firearm. Also, enforcement is not addressed other than the imposition of fines ... on someone; who, we don't know.

Last week, we reported that (in response to an earlier article referencing Microstamping Ammunition), we received a comment from Todd Lizotte. Mr. Lozotte is the self-professed 'inventor' of the "Microstamping Ammunition" technology. He took exception fo a confusion which he identified between "Microstamping Ammunition" and "Encoded Ammunition". He offered to discuss the issues.

(The first refers to the ability to cause a firearm to stamp an unique code on a physical aspect of a cartridge case or primer when a cartidge is fired from a gun; the second refers to ammunition which is stamped with identifying codes during the manufacturing process and which makes no attempt to identify the firing gun, but instead identifies the purchaser of the ammunition purchased at the retail level.)

In my reply, I acknowledged that Mr. Lizotte's were justified, identified several issues which were unique to "Microstamping Ammunition", and invited him to respond via email to any or all of the specific concerns which I cited.

I have not yet received any reply from Mr. Lizotte. Well, he is a busy man and probably doesn't have time in his work-day to defend the technology which he has invented. To assume otherwise would suggest that there are political, societal or user-concerns which he would rather not address.

I remain convinced that his failure to follow up on his promise to "reply to questions" is fully justified by his busy work schedule, and not by any desire to avoid the questions which have been presented to him.

UPDATE: May 19, 2008
From an NRA Alert dated May 02, 2008:
Friday, May 02, 2008

Please Contact the Members of the Committee Today!

House Bill 7834, the "microstamping" proposal sponsored by State Representatives Joseph Almeida (D-12), Edith Ajello (D-3), Anastasia Williams (D-9), Grace Diaz (D-11), and Joanne Giannini (D-7) has been referred to the House Finance Committee after being pulled from the agenda of the House Judiciary Committee. Sensing a possible lack of support in the Judiciary Committee, typically the panel with expertise on firearms-related legislation, the bill's sponsors had it referred to another committee where H7834 could get a hearing and be voted on at any time.

Its companion bill, Senate Bill 2720, introduced by State Senators Harold Metts (D-6), Juan Pichardo (D-2) and Paul Jabour (D-5), is being held up for further study in the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

Forty KaBOOM!

A couple of months ago at the Dundee match, a friend picked up a piece of brass and brought it over to show me.

"Somebody had a lot of trouble on this stage", he said. "Looks like his ammo blew up, and it locked up his gun for a while. I'm thinking ... double-charge of powder."

I was only mildly curious at the start, but once I looked at the cartridge case I had to agree.

In the first place, the case was dramatically bulged on one side, which suggests not only an overcharge but also that the case was fired in a barrel without a fully supported chamber.

When I looked at the base, I saw more signs of abuse. The headstamp was almost completely obliterated, which suggests that this case had been fired so many times that the headstamp was eroded to the point of being erased. That's not a problem with the base, which is the strongest and thickest part of the cartridge case, but it does suggest that excessive reloading may have caused the sidewall of the case to have been weakened.

On the other hand, is it possible that the headstamp may have been partially obliterated because the pressure of the overcharge (?) pressed the base of the cartridge against the breech so fiercely that the headstamp was malformed?

Looking at the case more closely, the case didn't split; it wasn't an 'explosive' KaBoom, only the kind of situation where the case can be jammed in the chamber and cause the shooter a delay in completing a stage while he strives to extract a bulged cartridge.

As evidence of the problem, take another look at the cartridge base. The missing primer is an almost certain indicator that the cartridge was overcharged. The only other condition which would cause the primer to be ejected from the cartridge case is if the case had been fired so many times, the primer pocket had eroded or expanded ... allowing the primer to be ejected when the cartridge was fired under 'normal' pressures.

In this situation, if the primer was only loosely held in the primer pocket, the pressure would probably not have been contained to the point that the case wall was bulged. (This isn't an infallible test, it depends on the timing of the pistol; if the wrong size link is used in a 1911, the release of the slide to recoil may have been delayed to the point at which the pressure built up too much on almost every shot. But this would suggest a number of KaBooms.)

The final information to be gathered by examination of the case is that the base shows not one, but two places where the rim of the cartridge has been obviously deformed by slippage of the extractor, which probably left the cartridge case jammed in the chamber.

We would have expected one such sign of extractor failure, but two of them suggest that this is the second time this case has failed.

I don't believe that; I don't think that a blown case was reloaded, and I don't believe that extractor slippage happened twice on exactly opposite sides of the base on the same cartridge.

But I would appreciate the contribution from a more knowledgeable reader to explain the diametrically opposite marks on the cartridge base.

Or is there a Forty Slow and Wimpy pistol on the market with dual extractors?


We've made a lot of assumptions based on a minimal amount of real data. Anyone who can claim more technical expertise is invited to contribute here.

Enquiring people want to know. Please respond in Comments.