Sunday, July 06, 2008

The French are not reliable aggressors

June 30, 2008 - The BBC News
French shooting show injures 17

A military show in southern France has left 17 people wounded, after real bullets were used instead of blanks.

The injured included five children. Four people, including one child, were said to have been seriously hurt - though three have now stabilised.

The incident occurred during a public demonstration of hostage-freeing techniques at a barracks in Aude.


The soldier who fired the shots has been detained - though an official said it was probably an accident.

It is not clear why the wrong ammunition was used in Sunday's demonstration.

But it was "99.9%" likely to be "an unintentional fault," Colonel Benoit Royal, head of the French army's information service, told the AFP news agency on Monday.

'No psychological problems'

However, Defense Minister Herve Morin said: "I cannot rule out anything because we don't know what might be going on in a man's head."

He said "an experienced soldier" should not be able to confuse blanks with real bullets.

"According to initial findings of the inquiry, the incident involved a soldier with a perfect record, who had participated in operations and had seven to eight years of experience," he said.

"There is nothing that would make one think he had behavioural or psychological problems," he added.

Reports from the scene say the hostage scenario had been acted out five times before a crowd at the Laperrine military barracks, near Carcassonne, when on the sixth take real bullets began flying through the air, and onlookers fell to the ground.

In the military (at least in the U.S.), there are certain protocols in any 'training' situations involving blank-round firing.

The first is that every participant is individually required to show all loaded magazines before the situation begins, to prove that no live rounds are loaded.

The second is that, since blank ammunition is obviously different from live rounds, every participant is obligated to examine his own ammunition before loading the magazines.

The third is that no live ammunition is permitted on the premises when blank ammunition is being loaded into magazines.

Also (at least in the 1960's, when I was a member of the military), it was impossible to cycle he action of a military weapon in a full- or semi-automatic manner without inserting a special 'device' in the muzzle of the firearm.

A special 'device' was needed for the firearm to function in other than single-shot mode
Blank ammunition was deliberately loaded 'light' (very little gunpowder was inserted into the special-purpose, crimp-necked cartridge case) so that it would not cycle the action (move the rifle bolt to the rear to chamber another cartridge.)

In order to force the rifle action to cycle, it was necessary to insert a device into the muzzle of the rifle. This served two purposes: first, it restricted the gas pressure created from firing the cartridge from exiting the chamber/barrel assembly. This delay allowed the pressure to build up sufficiently for the stated purpose, which was not necessary with a full-power "Live Ammunition" round.

This device was so constructed that it provided a positive block to the exit from the barrel of any material object. That is, if a live round was fired from a rifle while this device was installed, it would hit the device, which was locked into the barrel forming a formidable obstruction.

The result of firing a live round through a barrel which was so obstructed would be to, essentially, blow the gun up. No second shot would be able to be fired from a firearm so obstructed. In fact, the most likely consequence is that the firearm would be damaged to the point of destruction, and the shooter would be injured by the consequences of the resulting back pressure.

[Note that military blank ammunition does not include a 'wad' to restrict pressure; rather, it looks very much like a cartridge case used for 'live' ammunition, except that (a) there is no bullet loaded; (b) the neck of the cartridge is squeezed together in a 'star-crimp' manner; (c) the blank ammunition has a shorter over-all length, lacking as it does a bullet; and (d) the cartridge is much lighter owing to the lack of a bullet and also to the amount of material included in the construction of the cartridge case -- it is thinner, because it need not contain such high gas pressures as does live ammunition.]

This leads us to consider a limited number of scenarios:

  1. If the firearms and blank ammunition used by the French military in this public demonstration were constructed differently, so that they were able to fire both blank and live ammunition without the installation of a device such as is described above, then the French Military and the French Government are guilty of gross negligence, malfeasance of office, and liable to several criminal and civil actions. They should never have allowed such a demonstration without positively affirming that it was impossible to fire live ammunition with the effect that it could result in the injury of any participant or observer. This was, or should have been, their primary concern.

  2. If the firearms and blank ammunition are similar to those used during my none-too-short military career, it would have been impossible to shoot 17 people using a firearm configured to shoot blank ammunition. Given that a typical military rifle magazine usually contains either 20 or 30 rounds, it seems reasonable to assume that much or all of a full magazine had been expended before the operator realized that he was producing carnage rather than 'sound and fury' in his demonstration. It is unreasonable ... impossible ... to assume that the shooter was not aware that he was shooting live ammunition for he would have had to perform several actions before changing the configuration of his firearm to permit the repeated firing of live ammunition. The only possible conclusion is that he deliberately made his firearm capable of shooting live ammunition, and then deliberately loaded and fired live ammunition at both his military colleagues, and at civilian observers.

    In this scenario, the fault is entirely upon the shooter. The consequences had been his goal, and he intended to shoot anyone in the vicinity with the intention of injuring or killing as many as he could.

  3. Regardless of whether the shooter deliberately, or accidentally, shot 17 people, the demonstration was set up without full consideration of the possibility of accident. It seems obvious that the area was not set up so that shooting would always be in a safe direction. (That is, at a minimum, that no civilian observers would ever find themselves 'downrange' of an operating firearm.) This event exhibits an appalling disregard for safety which would not be allowed on any reputable shooting range. You always assume that a firearm is loaded with live ammunition, and you always position non-participants where they will not be in the line of fire, and you always establish operational procedures with at least two, preferably three ways to insure that nobody can possibly be injured if 'something goes wrong'.
In the final analysis, it's impossible to believe that the military command will not be decimated as part of the fall-out from this tragedy; a commander is always responsible for the action of his troops.

And the individual shooter, the man who held the weapon and who loaded the live ammunition, cannot possibly be held to any lower level of responsibility. As a man who has been shooting for over 50 years, in military, hunting and competitive venues, I have always been taught that I am responsible for my own actions when holding a firearm (or at any other time).

In fact, when training shooters, I have stressed that: "You should always load your own magazines. If you allow someone else to load your magazines, you will eventually suffer the consequences, and you have nobody to blame but yourself."

That is the situation here, except that the Military incorporates a Chain of Command responsibility which is not part of individual competition, or hunting. They will pay for their assumption that their troops will always 'do the right thing'.

The Fall-out Begins:
Although it has been, as of this date, a week since the shooting, there are (so far) only two follow- up stories to report. The following are representative examples, chosen almost at random.

True to predictions, the 'Chain of Command" sacrifices one of its own ... a Judas Goat, so to speak. And the French Government says "I'm really, really sorry".


This is not helpful. By now, they should have made some progress in determining how this happened, and should be releasing information which defines the circumstances about whether the "very experienced" trooper who did the shooting was a deliberate wanna-be murderer, or just stupid.

They (the French government) should be releasing details on their procedures for this kind of demonstration. They should have identified the shooter, his background, and his motivation. They should have identified the person who was responsible for insuring that no live ammunition was loaded and available, and defined the situation which lead to the failure of established procedures .

Most important, they should by now know what happened, and why. This should be supported by material evidence, such as examination of the brass found on the scene. The first thing to do is pick up the brass, which the French army has already done.

By now, they probably have this information. But they have not released it.

The Internet is not making this information available. Tomorrow, they probably will still not have this information. We need to ask ourselves why it happened, but we also need to be asking why it is all being covered up.
UPDATE: 08-JUL-2008:
The only new information so far is that 16, not 17 people, were injured (or killed) in this shooting incident. This is information was originally reported on June 29, and more widely corrected on July 1, 2008.

It has been over a week since the incident, and no more information is available.

Don't expect to see much more explanation soon, if ever. This will be swept under the carpet and the press will not likely pressure the French government for more information ... ever.

Meanwhile, on July 8, 2008, the big news from France is:
"French President Nicolas Sarkozy will attend the opening of the Beijing Olympics next month."

July Blogmeat

Blogmeat: Stuff I find while surfing the 'net which is so interesting I can't bear not to share it, even if it's not interesting to anyone else.

I wrote a Blogmeat article a few days ago, but it was full of violent and negative 'stuff'. Let's try again.

June 18, 2008: Dallas News dot Com
Man accidently kills himself while trying to rob a Grand Prairie home.

A 19-year-old man accidentally shot and killed himself Tuesday morning while he was attempting to rob a Grand Prairie home, authorities said.

Cameron Sands, 19, of Fort Worth kicked in the door of the house and then shot himself in the stomach as he pulled a gun out of his pants to shoot the homeowner, Grand Prairie police said. The homeowner was not injured.

There, that starts us on a positive note.

June 19, 2008
John Kass of the Chicago Tribune opines that Of course it's fair that they have guns and you don't.
That Washington, D.C., gun ban that the Supreme Court should toss out any day now because it is unconstitutional is often compared to the handgun ban in Chicago.

But what's not often reported by the decidedly pro-gun-control media is that since Chicago's anti-handgun law went into effect in 1982, only two classes of people have had ready access to firearms:

The criminals. And the politicians.

Cynics who scoff at everything decent suggest these are one and the same, but taxpayers know the difference.
June 21, 2008 - NY Daily News
Thou shalt not swindle Charleton Heston

LOS ANGELES - A Hollywood business manager who broke the Eighth Commandment and stole more than $150,000 from actor Charlton Heston is headed to jail.

Sharon Walker, 56, Friday admitted embezzling $157,852 from the Academy Award-winning star of "The Ten Commandments" and "Ben Hur" before his April 5 death from pneumonia at the age of 83.

Walker also copped to stealing $567,614 from the account of Emmy-winning TV writer-producer Stephen Cannell and his wife, Marcia. Cannell's credits include "The Rockford Files," "A-Team" and "21 Jump Street."

"She was forging checks and using that money to pay off credit card debt. She signed Mr. Heston's name and his wife's name," said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles district attorney.

June 22, 2008 - Fox News
"Harrier FA2 Fighter Jet Up For Auction on eBay"

The ultimate boys' toy could be yours at last - a Harrier fighter jet is being sold on eBay.

The decommissioned Royal Navy Sea Harrier FA2 was in service between 1987 and 1997.

It served with all three Fleet Air Arm Harrier squadrons.

But anyone wanting to take to the skies in the plane will be disappointed as it is not airworthy.

There is no engine fitted and many of the internal systems have been removed or made inoperative.

The cockpit is also stripped out but a mock cockpit has been created so, from the outside, it appears to have a seat fitted.

Despite this, the price has already exceeded $37,505.86.

The sellers say on eBay: "This is a rare opportunity.

June 23, 2008 -
"Fathers' Days cards banned in Scottish schools"

Thousands of primary pupils were prevented from making Father's Day cards at school for fear of embarrassing classmates who live with single mothers and lesbians.

The politically correct policy was quietly adopted at schools "in the interests of sensitivity" over the growing number of lone-parent and same-sex households.
June 27, 2008 -
"Justice Antonin Scala: Al Gore to blame for 2000 US election mess"

"Richard Nixon, when he lost to [John F.] Kennedy thought that the election had been stolen in Chicago, which was very likely true with the system at the time," Justice Antonin Scalia told The Telegraph.

"But he did not even think about bringing a court challenge. That was his prerogative. So you know if you don't like it, don't blame it on me.

"I didn't bring it into the courts. Mr Gore brought it into the courts.

June 27, 2008 -
Harness Volcano Power, energy experts say

June 27, 2008 - The
Exclusive: Scientists warn that there may be no ice at North Pole this summer

Things to do in Oregon on the weekend

Bend, Oregon, resident Kent Couch spend one day of his Independence Day weekend flying to Idaho.

In a lawn chair.

According to news reports, this is his third annual flight.

The BBC has it that he sat in an 'armchair', but perhaps the Brits don't have a word closer to 'lawn chair'. Either that, or their third-hand source of information is less reliable than mine. However, they do have a video of preparations, some short interviews with Couch and his wife, and the take-off.

CNN has a nice picture of the takeoff (reproduced here), as well of video from the 2007 excursion. It shows some details of the "gondola's" construction. Also, there's a decent story which is missing from BBC. However, the story is inaccurate on at least one detail: "It began after Couch, clutching a big mug of coffee, kissed his wife and kids goodbye, then patted their shivering Chihuahua, Isabella, on the head." In the BBC video, you can clearly see that he kisses the dog goodbye. Perhaps he patted his kids on the head. In all the excitement, it's easy to get confused.

"This thing has an up and a down on it, and that's all it's got."
During the 9 hour trip, it is said, he adjusted his elevation if too high by shooting a few of the brightly colored five-feet-diameter "party balloons", using a BB gun (in his 2007 flight, his 'back-up' plan was to shoot darts from a blow-gun). If he dipped too low, he untied a rope attached to a hose, draining some of the contents of the three large plastic containers of cherry flavored kool-aid. One assumes that sometime during that extended flight he also siphoned off some of the "big mug of coffee" he was drinking during the take-off. Be glad you don't live along that flight-path ... or if you do, pray that the 'rain' you felt was cherry flavored.

There is a rumor (started by an irresponsible blogger) to the effect that Mr. Couch's next trip will be to fly a sofa to Davenport, Iowa.

That's one video to look forward to seeing.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Counting our chickens

With the passage and enactment of a new Florida law which permits employees to keep firearms in their cars at their place of employment, the NRA-ILA proudly proclaimed (July 1, 2008):

Today, House Bill 503 by Representative Greg Evers and Senator Durell Peaden takes effect.

Officially, HB 503 is known as the "Preservation & Protection of the Right to Keep & Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008," even though elements of the business community continue to call it the “Guns at Work Law.”

This new law protects existing constitutional and statutory rights. Law-abiding gun owners can continue to have firearms in their private vehicles, for self-defense and other lawful purposes without fear of punitive actions against them by anti-gun businesses and employers.

Under the new law, any business or employer who violates the constitutional and statutory right of customers or employees to have firearms locked in their private vehicles can now be punished.

ALSO, under this new law, business owners will benefit from immunity from liability if guns stored in vehicles in the businesses parking lot are used to cause harm on the business property.


The law covers ALL employers and businesses. The Legislature passed and Governor Crist signed it into law to protect the right of ALL law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.

The law requires employees who park in their employer's parking lot to have a concealed weapons license in order to be exempt from a policy that prohibits employees from having guns -- IF THEIR EMPLOYER HAS SUCH A POLICY.

Customers and invitees are not required to have concealed weapons licenses in order to have firearms in their vehicles when they park their vehicles in business parking lots.

The legislation does not prohibit any employer from having a policy that bars employees from having guns on the employer's property. It merely exempts employees, who have a concealed weapons license, from the policy as it relates to having a gun locked in their private vehicle in the parking lot. Employees who do not have concealed weapons licenses are subject to an employer’s anti-gun, gun ban policy.
That sounds fairly definitive, doesn't it?

But no! Corporate America (those fine folks who run the businesses , and find themselves forced into a conflict between their corporate profits, Corporate Policy and The Law) are never short of lawyers who can finagle a way to circumvent any law, no matter how clearly it might seem to the average layman.

Unfortunately, one of Florida's largest employers, Disneyland, has decided that they are exempt from this law and they will continue with their long-standing published police of forbidding anyone from entering their property with a firearm in their car.

And they just might make it stick:
Disney cites language within Florida's newly enacted "Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008" that creates an exception for companies whose primary business is to manufacture, use, store or transport explosives regulated under federal law.

"I intended it to exempt places like defense plants, Air Force bases, things like that," said Peaden, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. "But not Disney. Not at all."

But on the same day that the House took its final vote on the gun bill, the exemption for explosives companies was revised so that it also includes "property owned or leased by an employer who has obtained a permit" under federal law for such explosives.

Disney has such a permit, for the extensive fireworks used in its theme parks.
On (curiously) Independence Day, 2008, NRA-ILA reported that a security guard at DisneyLand has announced his intention to defy the corporate policy and bring his firearm on the 23 mile commute. "Disneyland is safe ..." Security Guard Edwin Stotolmayer stated, "... but Orlando is not."

Disney told Eyewitness News it respects Sotomayer's opinion, but safety is its top priority and employees who bring guns to work risk getting fired. Sotomayer has already hired an attorney.He is not the only one who is upset. The NRA and the State Attorney General have also received complaints.

[NOTE: Disneyland was not amused when Sotomayer's gambit was attempted on Friday ... on Independence Day. He did what he said he would do: he brought his gun to town. Big D-land did what it said it would do: they canned his ass suspended him.]

In a world where businesses are subject to litigious action in case of either an accident or a terrorist attack (see Virginia Tech), it is perhaps understandable that any corporate entity would be more concerned for their legal vulnerability than for the safety of their customers. (Disney probably would disagree with this evaluation, but the new law provides protection for corporate entities:

Again, from the NRA-ILA Alert:
ALSO, under this new law, business owners will benefit from immunity from liability if guns stored in vehicles in the businesses parking lot are used to cause harm on the business property.
What is driving Disney to defy the decision of SCOTUS?

Your guess is as good as mine, but one of the benefits of Life in America is that anyone, from private individual to Corporate Entity, may challenge laws and the interpretation of those laws.

I don't agree with the Disney position, and I don't like it. But I rejoice that I live in a nation which is based on Rule By Law, rather than Rule By Fiat.

(And no, I never envisioned a situation when I would link to Time, Inc. as a definitive reference. It could be worse: I might sometime find myself agreeing with, say, Sean Penn. But I doubt it.)

Ban DiHydrogen Monoxide! Sign Our Petition!

The Hobo Brasser sent us this delightful Penn & Teller video (H/T Lew Rockwell, 03/20/07).

Hundreds of "Hippies" and "Liberals" (wait, aren't these just Hippies who have grown up? Sort of?) signed without even asking what DiHydrogen Monoxide really is.

BEFORE you view the video, ask yourself: would YOU have asked, before you signed?

If not ... YOU might be a New York State Senator (or Assemblyman!)

New York Miscrostamping Ammunition Bill Dies!

On April 15, 2008, we brought your attention to a Microstamping Ammunition Bill which had been proposed in New York State.

A recent NRA-ILA Alert informs us that this bill, along with others, failed to pass in the just-closed Legislative Session.

Mark this down as 7 for the Second Amendment, zero for the Gun Grabbers.

(Don't tell Kim Du Toit about this; he'll insist on doing the Happy Dance, and that's just too embarrassing to watch.)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day Celebration!

July 4, 2008.

On this, the anniversary of our 232nd year of Independence from being a colony of a smaller nation on another continent, it is entirely appropriate and fitting that we "make a joyful noise".

Schools are happy: there is no school today.

The President and the White House are happy:
Presidential Message, Independence Day 2008

I send greetings to all Americans on Independence Day.

More than two centuries ago, bold and courageous visionaries pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in signing the Declaration of Independence. Guided by ancient and eternal truths, our forefathers proclaimed to the world that liberty was the natural right of all mankind and in doing so began one of the greatest chapters in human history. On the Fourth of July, our country commemorates the great achievements of these heroes and reaffirms its unwavering confidence in the power of freedom.

It was the desire for freedom that inspired our Founding Fathers, and it is the belief in the universality of freedom that guides our Nation. On this occasion, we pay special tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces, both past and present, who have answered freedom's call and defended the values that make America the greatest country on earth.

May God bless America.


And I'm happy.

I celebrated this day by exercising at least two of my Constitutional Rights, as modified and expanded by the Bill of Rights:

(1,) The First Amendment recognizes my right to say almost anything I want to say here, on this Internet Blog. We call it "Freedom of Speech", or more accurately in the current interpretation (which doesn't restrict it to verbal speech), "Freedom of Expression".

This blog is a small thing, but it represents my Voice.

The First Amendment (among other rights) represents my God Give Right to stand on a street corner and make a speech. This blog is an Electronic Street Corner, which translates in an entirely appropriate manner in accordance to the changing technical capacities of our society.

In 1776 we didn't have the Internet. We didn't have computers. Heck, with the isolated exceptions (such as Benjamin Franklins "Key on a Kite String" experimentation), we didn't even have electricity. It was there, but we didn't know much about it. Still our Constitution is so strong that it recognizes the right to Free Speech, no matter the milieu or the media.

That has not always been the case. Our First Amendment Rights have historically been attacked by the most unlikely sources; John Adams authorized the "Alien and Sedition Act of 1798"; in 1918, Congress authorized the Espionage Act of 1917 :
The Espionage Act of 1917 was amended by Congress the following year to not only target "those who interfered with the draft, but also those individuals who publicly criticized the government — including negative comments about the flag, military or Constitution.
Can we today criticize the flag, military or Constitution?

Yes, and we do it all the damn time.

This right is often interpreted variously, according to the times:

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
(Voltaire, 1694-1778)

"I agree with what you say, but I would attack to the death your right to say it."
(Tom Stoppard, 1937 - )

For me, Voltaire seems sincere and in accordance to the First Amendment.
Stoppard seems flippant, sophomoric, unlettered and insincere. He also said:
It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting.

Well, there you have the 2000 and the 2004 U.S. Presidential elections all over again.

I have no use for politicians, or people who are insincere. But then, I repeat myself.

(2.) The Second Amendment recognizes my right to "... Keep and Bear Arms", and in a way it also provides me with a special way to celebrate this Independence Day.

(NOTE: As I wrote, illegal firecrackers are going off all over Corvallis, and at the Trysting Tree Gold Club because the Benton County Fair Grounds has insufficient parking space for the expected viewers of the traditional Fireworks Displays which we have learned to expect on this momentous day.)

Earlier today, I participated in a USPSA Pistol Match, were each of us were 'allowed' to "Make A Joyous Sound" by shooting pistols of various makes and calibers, blasting holes in cardboard targets and knocking down steel targets, for no better reason that we could.

The photos of this event show sane, 'normal' people having a lot of fun, doing nothing more more condemnatory that shooting at targets.

A recent Huffington.Com post (H/T: Michael Bane Blog) suggests that "The Supreme Court now says every American has the right to kill people, subject only to certain situational constraints." Obviously, this person does not know what he is talking about. Also, he has no understanding of what he refers to as far as the Second Amendment is concerned.

Most important, he has no comprehension regarding the many reasons why people own firearms, particularly handguns.

We may own them to defend ourselves, our families, our neighbors and even people we don't personally know. That doesn't mean we own them for the express purpose of "... Kill[ing] People...", which he slyly expresses in the most negative terms possible.

We've got to get people looking at firearms ownership in a more realistic manner. This constant attack on honest citizens is misdirected. People who attack us as if we were a bunch of drugged-up gang-bangers or "Death Wish" avengers have been watching too many movies, and they have no connection with The Real America.

In the meantime, when I'm not writing about shooting, I'm on the range making loud noises just because it feels so good. It is The Sound of Freedom, because, you know ... we can do this.

Jesu, Joy of Man Desiring

I was checking out my "Websites That I Read Every Day" sidebar list, and read Kim Du Toit's article on a Jay Nordlinger (NRO) post. (I won't get too deep into the Links. Read Kim, you can find your way to Nordlinger and NRO ... if you don't already follow them.)

Kim was talking about his musical interests, and mentioned the chorale "Jesu, Joy of Man Desiring" (by Johann Sebastian Bach).

I'm a big Bach fan, and "Jesu" has such a powerful central theme that I, of course, watched the performance to which he had linked.

After that 3-minute performance by the Westminster Cathedral Choir, I found another link ["Bach To The Future"] to a performance by (supposedly) the same musical piece ... except that it was entirely instrumental, and done in an entirely different style.

During Bach's productive life, music (and all forms of art in the Western World) were typically created to glorify a Christian God. This piece is somewhat more focused on the music, and it's interpretation.

I suppose that there are people who would argue that this arrangement, this performance, detracts from the original intent of the composition.

For me, I can't help but think that, if Bach were composing today, he would be delighted by the variation. He was too devoted to music and its expression of JOY! to feel otherwise.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Fourth of July: Match at ARPC!

(This will be a dated announcement, and will be removed after five days)

This coming weekend at the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club (ARPC) was originally scheduled for a USPSA Junior Invitational match on July 3-5, 2008.

However, not enough Juniors in USPSA were able to attend.

Independence Day is often a "Family Picnic" day in America, and the scheduling apparently conflicted with too many family plans.

Rather than to cancel the event entirely, ARPC has announced that a Club Match will be held on July 4.

It will be open to everyone (assuming the usual requirements for participants to be either USPSA members, or have completed Certification Training which is available once a month at ARPC.)

Match Director Mike McCarter provides the details:
It will be 6-8 stages, regular starting time, regular fees for adults and no cost for juniors. It looks like the temperature will be around 74 degrees and time for a good old fun match, no points, no pressure and a chance to make a "Bang" with our type of fireworks.
"Regular starting time" is 9 am.
"Regular fee" is $17 -- $15 for match fees, and a two-dollar surcharge to pay Junior Team members to tear down the stages at the end of the day. This money goes to support the Junior Team, and it means that you will not have to stick around to tear down the stages and tote the heavy props and steel targets after having competed. It doesn't get any better than this.

Directions to the range are available here.

I'll be there. I really need to shoot a match. I'm getting tired of going to a pistol match, and only shooting pictures with a camera.

If you're in the area, and you're a USPSA member, you should be there too.

UPDATE: 03-JUL-2008:
Hi All,
Yes, we are having a match on the 4th of July, regular start time, regular fee for adults and free for juniors. The gates will be locked, however if you use the button code on the main gate the code is 4045# or if you are a member then use your card, please pass the word. This number will be in effect from now on for USPSA events.
Hope to see you at the match.
Mike McCarter
Executive Director
Albany Rifle and Pistol Club
USPSA Junior Coordinator


Man Without a Country, Part II

ABC News: Deserter Flees to Canada ... For No Reason

Five Weeks ago I talked about the quandary posed to Corey Glass, a deserter from the U.S. Army who is being deported from Canada.

You may recall that Corey joined the National Guard for "humanitarian reasons". (Gag me.)When his National Guard unit was activated, and called upon to actually fight a war, he got all squishy about the fighting thingie. Given leave from Iraq after 5 months of an 18 month commitment, he failed to appear for his scheduled movement according to his orders.

In point of fact, he hid out for a few months and then bailed north-wards to Canada, home of Draft Resistors of 1963.

Other Americans have served far more honorably than this sack of sanctimonious sludge.

Now Canada wants to deport him, and folks just like him.
Unlike the 30,000 to 50,000 American deserters who were given legal refuge in Canada during the Vietnam War, this latest crop of runaways is viewed by Canadian immigration authorities not as conscientious objectors avoiding a draft but as volunteers unwilling to fulfill their promise to the military and undeserving of refugee status.
In other words, Canada also recognizes a sniveling zcoward when they see one, and they don't have any use for them either.

In my earlier essay, I suggested:
Keep him.

You took him in, when you knew what he was.

You offered him sanctuary. You protected him from his own people.

Now you want to give him back?

No. He rejected us, now we reject him.

We have no room for beings of no faith. We have no need for a being without honor.

As it turns out, Canada has the same opinion of Men Boys With No Honor.

(Who knew?)

In a plot-twist appropriate to Edgar Allen Poe, the United States Army doesn't want him, either.
... it turns out Glass has had little reason to be on the lam, ABC News has learned.

Unknown to him and his legion of supporters, Glass, 25, was actually discharged from the U.S. Army shortly after he went AWOL in 2006.

Glass and about 40 other American deserters who, like him, sought refugee status have prompted a national debate in Canada that last month reached the floor of parliament on where to draw the line between cowardice and conscience.

"I had absolutely no idea that I had been discharged," said Glass when ABC News informed him of his status. "This is insane. This is so weird. There are no warrants? No one is looking for me?"
(He sounds almost disappointed, doesn't he? It is as if he had worked himself into the position of being an Iconic Figure, only to discover at the very last moment that nobody cares that he is a pants-wetting coward and he is a legend in his own mind.)

The upshot is that he can recede unto obscurity without penalty. Unless you count the loss of that Iconic thingie that he was so counting on to ensure his place in the history books.

The army doesn't want you.

Your Sanctuary State doesn't want you.

Your country doesn't want you.

There is no room in this world for a pusillanimous posturer such as yourself.

Your only alternative to obscurity is to present yourself to Al Queda as a suicide bomber, and to take out as many fellow (non-cowardly) Americans as possible in a final blaze of... what? Not Glory, surely.

Never mind. You're not even decent material as a suicide bomber.

You might break a nail, or something. And you're far to precious for that.

What a waste of oxygen you are.

2008 Area 1 scores

The Area 1 scores and standings are now available here.

Our thanks to hosts, the Columbia Cascade Section, and Tri-County Gun Club.


Place Name Class Division Stg %
1 Voigt, Mike GM Open 100.00%
2 Bridgman, Joe GM Open 97.59%
3 McLearn, Matt GM Open 97.34%
4 Higdon, Glenn GM Open 95.82%
5 Re , David GM Open 94.72%
6 Tomasie, Travis GM Limited 93.70%
7 Strader, Phil GM Limited 93.36%
8 Ong, James GM Open 92.05%
9 Seeklander, Mike GM Limited 90.70%
10 Morin, Gene M Open 90.64%
11 Shepherd, Rob GM Open 89.61%
12 Tyler, Keith GM Open 88.04%
13 McDonald, Chad A Open 86.95%
14 Koch, Frank A Open 86.95%
15 Yang, Chris A Open 86.74%
16 Aoki, Barry A Open 86.42%
17 Leonard, Ryan M Open 86.09%
18 Helterline, Nick M Open 84.77%
19 Kwan, Billy M Open 84.49%
20 Fritz, Chris M Open 81.27

DIVISIONS: Limited 10

Place Name Class Points Stg %
1 Fisher, Randy A 1021.6383 100.00%
2 Ott, Trevor GM 960.5511 94.02%
3 Hill, John M 931.5306 91.18%
4 Scheitzach, Scott X 797.2998 78.04%
5 Brown, Mike A 795.5534 77.87%
6 Carpenter, Daniel B 775.2629 75.88%
7 Price, Steve C 758.6008 74.25%
8 Higbie, Robert C 732.0038 71.65%
9 Evans, Brent C 712.0373 69.70%
10 McBreairty, Robert D 709.5514 69.45%

Place Name Class Points Stg %
1 Tomasie, Travis GM 1011.6790 100.00%
2 Strader, Phil GM 1005.9886 99.44%
3 Seeklander, Mike GM 978.5074 96.72%
4 Dean, Tom GM 859.5770 84.97%
5 Harma, John M 818.0169 80.86%
6 Waki, Mark GM 755.9272 74.72%
7 Bridgman, Dave GM 755.7551 74.70%
8 Thompson, Burton A 745.4471 73.68%
9 Martin, Nate M 740.2396 73.17%
10 Lively, Nathan B 738.1431 72.96%

Place Name Class Points Stg %
1 Voigt, Mike GM 1016.8303 100.00%
2 Bridgman, Joe GM 992.6970 97.63%
3 McLearn, Matt GM 989.4923 97.31%
4 Higdon, Glenn GM 974.0867 95.80%
5 Re , David GM 962.9258 94.70%
6 Ong, James GM 937.2624 92.17%
7 Morin, Gene M 921.9204 90.67%
8 Shepherd, Rob GM 911.4277 89.63%
9 Tyler, Keith GM 896.2084 88.14%
10 Koch, Frank 6 A 885.1369 87.05%
11 McDonald, Chad A 883.9673 86.93%
12 Yang, Chris A 880.8249 86.62%
13 Aoki, Barry A 878.5499 86.40%
14 Leonard, Ryan M 873.9025 85.94%
15 Helterline, Nick M 862.4800 84.82%
16 Kwan, Billy M 859.5132 84.53%
17 Fritz, Chris M 827.2657 81.36%
18 DeSimone, Joe M 815.0824 80.16%
19 Wright, Robert M 812.1691 79.87%

Place Name Class Points Stg %
1 Holt, Brad M 988.8761 100.00%
2 Anderson, Chuck GM 943.7667 95.44%
3 Tag, Alan GM 928.8986 93.93%
4 Garland Jr, Bill M 882.5984 89.25%
5 Zubizarreta, Kepa M 878.8258 88.87%
6 Hughes, Mike GM 870.9232 88.07%
7 Springer, Scott M 829.8422 83.92%
8 Lee, Yong GM 816.4943 82.57%
9 Milburn, Clint A 789.7273 79.86%
10 Cordoza, Chris B 776.2249 78.50%
11 Olson, Gerald A 751.8180 76.03%
12 Thomas, Timothy B 749.0722 75.75%
13 McBreairty, Perry B 732.5666 74.08%
14 Shaver, Russ A 704.0190 71.19%
15 Plotnikov, Emanuel B 697.4495 70.53%
16 Sargent, Barry C 653.4913 66.08%
17 Kundrat, Matthew M 643.2350 65.05%
18 Wirth, Mike A 636.5959 64.38%
19 Cordoza, Jeff B 631.8650 63.90%
20 Folk, Scott U 625.5543 63.26%

Place Name Class Points Stg %
1 Bagakis, John M 024.9013 100.00%
2 Austin, James A 917.8971 89.56%
3 Edington, Roger B 790.8701 77.17%
4 Sahlberg, Bill B 691.3833 67.46%
5 Schroeder, Jon C 565.7726 55.20%
6 Foley, William C 517.5748 50.50%
7 Edington, Teddi C 483.0239 47.13%
8 Sousa, Michael B 475.1435 46.36%
9 Scholl, Walter C 333.8459 32.57%

Place Name Class Points Stg %
1 Draughn, Bret U 956.9483 100.00%
2 Thomas, Dave B 883.5805 92.33%
3 Roberson, Kyle C 883.5235 92.33%
4 Blair, Bruce B 835.0075 87.26%
5 Myers, Vern U 821.5978 85.86%
6 Glover, John B 757.3285 79.14%
7 Patterson, Don C 749.5764 78.33%
8 Abernathy, Ray C 604.0194 63.12%
9 Davis, Brian D 524.7194 54.83%
10 Orpwood, Lorin D 499.7595 52.22

Note: My article on the match should be available in the September/October issue of the Front Sight Magazine.

Welcome Home, Adam Sahlberg!

Friend and fellow USPSA competitor Bill has been keeping me appraised of this son Adam's tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

Sgt. Adam served as a Combat Medic, but ...
they have used him in their new QFR (quick reactionary force) where they land a small quiet Chinook helo at night where they know al-Queda lives and kick down the doors trying to score some intel. Adam says these people are losing the will to fight and are rolling intel on other operations on their cohorts while being checked out by Adam as a medic.

Adam has to document any health issues, wounds, cuts, bruises, etc on each prisoner at the time of their capture. Adam also states that they are ready to give up so that they can stop worrying about being killed and get some much needed rest, food, and good medical treatment. None captured have tried to escape or blow themselves up, however, some have given false intel and directed troops to already booby trapped houses.
Sgt. Adam and his unit have recently rotated back to The States, and the Sahlberg family is quietly celebrating his return.

Bill describes it:
Below is a picture of Sgt Adam and his family after the "uncasing of the flag" ceremonies. Adam has the entire month of July off to be with his family and enjoy the freedoms that he has helped preserve.

57 soldiers paid the ultimate price from his unit and they will not be forgotten. This ceremony was an awesome sight seeing 5500 men lined up with their comrades in arms. After the ceremony, Adam was playing and chasing his girls on the lush green parade grounds while visiting and talking with his fellow soldiers, some with crutches, and some in wheelchairs.

Bill Sahlberg

(Please click on the image for the full size version of a very happy family)

Of every one-hundred men,
Ten shouldn't even be there.
Eighty are nothing but targets.
Nine are real fighters....
We are lucky to have them,
They make the battle. Ah, but one,
One of them is a Warrior....
He will bring the others home.

Hericletus 500BC

Welcome Back, Sgt. Adam!

And thank you for your service to your country.
We are so proud of you.

Twenty Dollar Per Bullet Tax?

Steve Hansen of The Lodi News dot COM cites a 'typical Liberal response' to the Heller Decision:

It looks like the gun nuts got their way again. The U.S. Supreme Court, by a margin of one, held that the Constitution actually means what it says: " ... the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Think about it. If we lovers of peace had just one more liberal on the Court, we would have done away with the Second Amendment. That justice could have argued that this right only gives the army the freedom to carry guns. But hey, that's politics these days.

This doesn't mean the struggle for sanity is finished. I, for one, will not rest until all of these weapons of woe are wrestled from the hands of our most innocent, law-abiding citizens.
" ...our most innocent, law-abiding citizens"?

Wait a minute ... did he just say what I thought he said?

Maybe so. Go, and read the whole thing (takes under a minute) and be sure to read the last two sentences twice. Also the author's description.

(H/T: The Conservative Scalawag, who yesterday offered us this little gem.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Kellerman Blinks!

Guns for Safety? Dream On, Scalia. -

Do you remember Dr. A.L. Kellerman's 1986 study, "Protection or Peril? An Analysis of Firearms-releated Deaths in the Home" (Registration Required), published in the New England Journal of Medicine? In it, Dr. Kellerman stated categorically that you are "43 times more likely" to be injured or killed if there is a firearm in your home.

A couple of days ago the Washington Post published an article by Kellerman in which he states:
More than 20 years ago, I conducted a study of firearm-related deaths in homes in Seattle and surrounding King County, Washington. Over the study's seven-year interval, more than half of all fatal shootings in the county took place in the home where the firearm involved was kept. Just nine of those shootings were legally justifiable homicides or acts of self-defense; guns kept in homes were also involved in 12 accidental deaths, 41 criminal homicides and a shocking 333 suicides. A subsequent study conducted in three U.S. cities found that guns kept in the home were 12 times more likely to be involved in the death or injury of a member of the household than in the killing or wounding of a bad guy in self-defense.
The original Washington study's results are not cited here. That's not surprising, in that the study has been repudiated for the past 20 years because of the demographic it represents, the phrasing of the questions, the definitions of the terms, and the way the results were interpreted.

A few randomly chosen criticism are available here, here, and here.

(For example, the study does not consider whether the gun in the home was an actual factor, as in whether the gun was used or was locked up in a closet. Also, the study was taken in a "high-crime" neighborhood, and the study did not consider incidents in which a gun was used to deter an attacker without injury to either party, or where only the attacker was wounded but not killed.)

Now Kellerman has changed his point-score, but apparently he has not changed his study methodology.

However, he has made an effort to refute criticisms by inventing his own unsupported argument:
In the real world, Scalia's scenario -- an armed assailant breaks into your home, and you shoot or scare away the bad guy with your handy handgun -- happens pretty infrequently. Statistically speaking, these rare success stories are dwarfed by tragedies.
We don't know where he got that impression. John R. Lott's impressive study, published in book form as "More Guns, Less Crime; Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws" (University of Chicago Press, 2000), specifically looked at the deterent effect of firearms ownership ... which question Kellerman 'studiously' avoided.

And more specifically, Dave Kopel (in a 2001 National Review Online article) presciently refuted that article:
Now, how about the self-defense homicides, which Kellermann and Reay found to be so rare? Well, the reason that they found such a low total was that they excluded many cases of lawful self-defense. Kellermann and Reay did not count in the self-defense total of any of the cases where a person who had shot an attacker was acquitted on grounds of self-defense, or cases where a conviction was reversed on appeal on grounds related to self-defense. Yet 40% of women who appeal their murder convictions have the conviction reversed on appeal. ("Fighting Back," Time, Jan. 18, 1993.)
Take that, East Coast Liberal Elitist Lying Anti-Gun Scholars!

(H/T Say Uncle, and Days Of Our Trailers, via Ninth Stage)