Friday, February 20, 2009

Shooting Production

I've subscribed to "Trevormaster" on YouTube.

Trevor is a talented Master-class USPSA competitor, and often I would almost rather watch (and envy) him demonstrate his skills than shoot the stage myself. He's that good.

This video comprises all six stages in a 2009 Club Match at Tri-County Gun Club. It's rare when an entire match can be completed in less than 2 minutes of actual shooting time.

I loved the challenging (and very well balanced) stage designs, and I was entirely impressed by Trevor's over-all competence, smooth lightening-fast reloads, skill in determining the best tactical approach to every stage, ability to shoot accurately even in awkward 'off-balance' stances, and ability to transition seamlessly from one target array to the next. It's especially impressive when you factor in the 10-round magazine limitation of Production Division, which almost always requires the shooter to reload while moving between arrays.

With most competitors, when we watch them shoot stages this quickly, we say "It looked great on video!" This is shorthand for "I know you can't get consistent hits shooting that fast".

But with this young school-teacher, I won't even bother going to the score sheets to count miss-penalties and low-A-zone hit-countss on the total points scored. I have full confidence that he got his hits and most likely came in first in his Division for the match.

Trevor is currently a Master-class shooter in most USPSA Divisions. Is he GrandMaster material? Well, yes, at least potentially. The cost to his personal life would be ... perhaps excessive. I doubt that Trevor would ever be able to make the difficult decision to give up his richly rewarding career as a teacher. And he is relatively recently married, which suggests that he would be loathe to spend so muct time away from home while following the competitions circuit.. He seems to have his priorities established in a conservative mode, and I can't see him searching for a Sponsor. Especially one which would require a lot of travel, practice and competition time for as many years as he can endure.

He is the iconic "Talented Amateur", and inspires us all to strive to achieve (but probably never will) the skills which he demonstrates. This seems to be a role in which he finds himself quite comfortable, though I don't doubt he would feel embarrassed being categorized in that manner. He's an unassuming gentleman, very friendly and open. He never seems too busy to stop and chat. In many ways, his attitude toward competition is similar to that of Travis Tomasie. (When did my idols begin to be younger than me? It hasn't been a recent phenomenon.)

I can't shoot this well. Can you?

President Obama, Are You Listening?

Rick Santelli on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange asks:

"How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage, that has an extra bathroom, and they can't pay their bills??"
Santelli's Chicago Tea Party
CNBC's Rick Santelli and the traders on the floor of the CBOE express outrage over the notion they may have to pay their neighbor's mortgage, particularly if they bought far more house than they could actually afford, with Jason Roney, Sharmac Capital.
Video -

(YouTube Link)

Santelli has a good point.

There are of bankers who have been forced (by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd) to extend special loans to "Sub-Prime Borrowers" who stand to be subsidized by the Presidents "Stimulus Bill". Chances are, the banks will survive because of "The Bill".

At the same time, there are even more home-owners who CAN make their mortgage payments, but they are paying for a home which is worth less than their purchase price. Why? Because the Housing Market has gon into the toilet because the the market is flooded with homes which were previously owned by the "SubPrime" borrowers.

What is this second group going to to? They've lost money on their homes, even though they are among the responsible small minority which can pay their bills?
I'll tel you what they're going to do. they're going to default on their debts, and go buy a repo which was originally bought by one of the sub-prime borrowers.

What does this mean to the housing market? There will be a lot of repos from this second group wh will buy homes lost by the subprime group. The bill won't protect this group ... it will only protect the banks. (And it certainly won't protect the second group of folks who bought their homes responsibly.)

Who loses?

We do. Those of us who have to pay the tax increases to support the first group at the expense of the second group.

Instead of having "a few" low-value homes to manage, the Feds will find themselves owning homes defauled by the second group. Because the new law protecs both the first group, and those who take over their loans!

In a single action, Obama et al has managed to subsidize "loser loans" and penalize "responsible loans".

Thus has our new president managed to turn the entire housing market topsy-turvy, and in the process he has bankruptes "us". As in U.S.

I tell you now that even though G.W. Bush has recently been rated seventh from the bottom among all U.S. Presidents, our current president will end up making him look good.

I suspect that this is something which the Republican Party engineered just so they could offer a much more viable candidate in 212, it doesn't help us today.

In the meantime, our ass is grass and Obama is a lawn-mower.

You heard it here first, Folks!

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Shooters - the backbone of USPSA

Last weekend went to an IPSC match.

I sort of had to, but I'm glad I did because (as usual) I had a wonderful time there.

I joined a squad composed of people who I mostly don't know. I enjoy shooting with people who haven't been competing for years. The energy level is high, the attitude is positive, and most important .. they have new jokes, which I haven't heard before.

I'l spare you the jokes. Just because I haven't heard them, that doesn't mean that YOU haven't heard the before.

The reason I joined this squad is that I taught an "Introduction to USPSA" class last weekend, and I wanted to be there to help them, if they needed help, through their first USPSA match.

They've received the instruction, but they were required to complete a 'club match' without violating safety rules before they "Certified", which means they can go practice at the home club (if they are a member) using USPSA techniques, such as drawing from the holster, indexing targets, moving from one shooting position to the next, and reloading safely.. Also, they can compete in USPSA matches as a "certified" shooter. It's largely an 'honorary' certificate, in that the candidates have demonstrated their willingness to prove their capability to compete knowledgeably and safely in a USPSA match.

But it's more than that.The training actually does prepare the candidate for USPSA competition, and helps them get past their first match with confidence that they know what to expect. It's a way to smooth the road between training and competing. At least, this is the goal.

As an example, here is a video showing "Jim" shooting three of the six stages in his first USPSA match.

Jim is an excellent example of the trained, "First Time" competitor in an USPSA match. Watching the video, you will see Jim paying close attention to his primary priority; shooting the match safely. He moves slowly, shoots accurately, and generally strives to engage all targets successfully, if not quickly. He is aware of the gun-handling requirements of USPSA. He has practiced these skills, and here successfully demonstrated these skills

Experienced competitors will note some failures of attention (eg: engaging all targets on his final stage) and hesitations ... Jim is determined to perform all activities safely, and may hesitate between engaging arrays. But he does everything deliberately, and above all safely. These are the priorities we try to instill in training, and look for in the first match.

Speed will come with experience. We are not interested in trying to make the successful candidate shoot quickly. In fact, we actively discourage it. After proving to us, and to himself, that he CAN shoot accurately and safely, the candidate wil be certified to continue honing his shooting skills through the successive years.

And yes, most of the candidates will DQ eventually. Hopefully, this will not happen until he has achieved a certain level of confidence. This confidence will encourage him to attempt to shoot and move faster than his actual learned skill level will support, and he will someday violate a rule of safe shooting.

The USPSA and IPSC techniques both apply the "Belt AND Suspender" approach to safety ... an attentive Range Officer will stop a shooter after safety rules have been impinged, but not before a truly unsafe shooting situation occurs.

It is this multi-level ... and very rigorous ... emphasis on safety which serves both to remind the shooter that he has a complete responsible to be safe while shooting, and yet protects other by stopping the shooter before he actually endangers bystanders.

I was pleased to watch Jim compete. And I was even more pleased to present all seven "New Shooters" with their certificates of completion.

And as I said to at least two New Shooters last Saturday, I would be pleased to squad with them any time. They have proved that they can compete safely, and that's the target we are all aiming at.

"New Shooters" are the future of our sport. Jim's son is already a competitor, and I am certain that Jim will prove to be a reliable, safe competitor as well.

But the factor which encourages me is that Jim brought his grandson to the match. Just to wach, mind you.

And the grandson was not 'totally bored' by the experience.

Anybody have a gun-belt and gun he's willing to sell at an attractive price?

I have a feeling that Grandfather Jim and Father Darian will be in the market soon, to get the Grandson started in USPSA.

I'm looking forward to that day.

"The Future Of Our Sport". Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Concealed Carry on Campus - Oregon Style

Western Oregon Journal

In a February 4, 2009, article by Erin Huggins a writer for the Western Oregon Journal (apparently an official publication of the Western Oregon University, located in Monmouth, Oregon) announced that a student has been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon (a loaded, concealed handgun) on campus

Even though the student, identified as "Jeffery Maxwell" is the possessor of a Concealed Handgun License (CHL), the story of his arrest was accompanied by blaring headlines:

Mid-morning arrest startles students

Individual brings weapons on campus in violation of state law

The body of the article defines the reason for and the results of the arrest:

Last Wednesday morning at 11:16 a.m., Campus Public Safety (CPS) and Monmouth Police identified, detained and arrested Western student Jeffrey Maxwell in the downstairs student area of Werner University Center (WUC) for violation of ORS 166.370, Possession of a Firearm in a Public Building.
CPS had sent an e-mail on Tuesday, Jan. 27, alerting the campus community about an individual who had been seen loitering around the pool area and the residence halls.
Wednesday morning, CPS received a call reporting a person matching the description given in the e-mail who was carrying a knife on campus. Because weapons were involved, Assitant Director of CPS and CPS Officer Mike Hanson called Monmouth Police Department (MPD) for back-up. Sergeant Kim Dorn, Officer Matthew Olafson and a recruit officer from MPD, along with Hutchinson and Hanson, were unable to locate the individual upon an initial search of the campus.
However, shortly before 11 a.m., CPS received another call about the individual and the MPD officers returned to campus.
Maxwell, who was sitting at one of the study tables across from the Service and Career Learning Center, was approached from behind by Joe Hutchinson from Campus Public Safety and MPD officers. Hutchinson asked Maxwell if he had any weapons concealed on his person.
On first response, Maxwell answered he had a knife. Hutchinson then put Maxwell's hands above his head. The second time he was asked, Maxwell said he had a gun.
After the weapons were removed, officers took him into the Calapooia Room. A few minutes later, he was escorted into one of two police cars parked on Church Street outside of WUC.
Responding to why they did not evacuate WUC, Hutchinson said CPS did not know what weapons were involved and did not want to alert the suspect by a sudden flood of students leaving the building.

The article states specifically that Maxwell was carrying a concealed weapon "in violation of state law."

In fact, the Oregon state law, in Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) which regulates the carrying of weapons "in public buildings" [ORS 166.370, subsection (f)].

is apparently nullifed in the specific case of a CHL possessor on University property [ORS 166.262 & 166.370(3)(d) ]

The portions of ORS 166.370 which are pertinent to this situation include:

166.370 Possession of firearm or dangerous weapon in public building or court facility; exceptions; discharging firearm at school.

(1) Any person who intentionally possesses a loaded or unloaded firearm or any other instrument used as a dangerous weapon, while in or on a public building, shall upon conviction be guilty of a Class C felony.

(2)(a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, a person who intentionally possesses:

(A) A firearm in a court facility is guilty, upon conviction, of a Class C felony. A person who intentionally possesses a firearm in a court facility shall surrender the firearm to a law enforcement officer.

(B) A weapon, other than a firearm, in a court facility may be required to surrender the weapon to a law enforcement officer or to immediately remove it from the court facility. A person who fails to comply with this subparagraph is guilty, upon conviction, of a Class C felony.

(b) The presiding judge of a judicial district may enter an order permitting the possession of specified weapons in a court facility.

(3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:

(a) A sheriff, police officer, other duly appointed peace officers or a corrections officer while acting within the scope of employment.

(b) A person summoned by a peace officer to assist in making an arrest or preserving the peace, while the summoned person is engaged in assisting the officer.

(c) An active or reserve member of the military forces of this state or the United States, when engaged in the performance of duty.

(d) A person who is licensed under ORS 166.291 and 166.292 to carry a concealed handgun.

(e) A person who is authorized by the officer or agency that controls the public building to possess a firearm or dangerous weapon in that public building.

(f) Possession of a firearm on school property if the firearm:

(A) Is possessed by a person who is not otherwise prohibited from possessing the firearm; and

(B) Is unloaded and locked in a motor vehicle.

(4) The exceptions listed in subsection (3)(b) to (f) of this section constitute affirmative defenses to a charge of violating subsection (1) of this section.

(NOTE: References to [ORS 166.262 ] and changes in ORS 166.370 may be referenced by following this link to records of the 2003 Regular Session of the 72nd Oregon Legislative Assembly.)

In terms of the legality of the arrest, Maxwell was well within his legal rights to carry a concealled handgun on any Oregon Universtity Campus. It was not Maxwell, but the officers of CPS and Monmouth Police Department (MPD) who were violating the law.

SEE the Feb. 11, 2009 article from the Western Oregon Journal:

Controversial laws cause questions about school, state procedures

Alleged violations in Maxwell case pending decisions by campus judicial board and state hearing; law clarification left to courts

The article, again by Erin Huggins, describes the misunderstanding about the exemptions from ORS 166.370

As reported by Huggins:
According to Campus Public Safety and Monmouth PD, two separate allegations are involved in this case: how Maxwell's conduct relates to Western's policy, governed by Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR), and how his actions comply with the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS).

Because Maxwell's conduct was in compliance with ORS, he has been released from police custody.

However, because his conduct was NOT in compliance with ORA,he has also been asked to leave the WOU campus. (This information not linked to found Internet resources).

From the Western Oregon Journal follow-up story:

Comments posted to the Feb. 4 story on the Western Oregon Journal's Web site ( have questioned the legality of Monmouth PD's actions as well as Western's right to restrict firearms, based on ORS 166.170, which grants the state preemption in regulating firearms.
Other questions regarding ORS 166.170 and its relationship to OAR 580-012-0010, which gives colleges administrative rights to proscribe conduct on campus property, will continue to be debated until they are resolved in a court of law, said Director of CPS Jay Carey.
In regard to the controversy, President Minahan made the following statment: "The University's position is very clear--we expect our students to be carrying books and pencils, not guns and knives. This is a college campus dedicated to learning, not combat. The Oregon University System has the legal ability to establish rules regulating weapons on campus. This has been so for years."
And the comments were almost universally an expression of outrage over the arrest of a man who was not disobeying existing law.

A secondary question, and the crux of the existing controversy, is whether a University has the right to censure a student for conduct which is legal according to existing law. To extend the question, can an employer censure a customer to leave the premises, or fire an employee, when that person is acting in accordance to existing law, has not created a disturbance, or otherwise been a problem to the employer.

This has been a contentious issue on American College campuses for the past two years, and has been directly addressed by the "Empty Holster" campaign waged by the Students for Concealled Carry on Campus website. (I have written about the "Empty Holster" campaign before.)

There have been so many school shooting in this country during the last 15 years that students might be forgiven for saying, as Jeffery Maxwell, said, "I was just scared after Virginia tech. I was just really worried about my safety."

A personal note:
I work on a University campus, and I too am worried about my safety in a "Gun Free School". Six months out of the year, I walk in the dark across campus to my car in 'zone' where I am forbidden to carry any means to protect myself. The law says I am permitted to carry a handgun, because I have applied for and have been issued a CHL.

But if I'm concerned about my safety, I'm also concerned about my ability to earn a salary. The OAC says that if I'm found with a handgun in my possession on campus, despite ORS 166.370, they can fire me. There is no other need for cause, and it is not necessary that I have presented a threat to my colleagues and students. Simple possession of a loaded handgun on my person is Ipso Facto grounds for dismissal. I am not sanguine.

I have attempted to contact Jeffery Maxwell for his side of the story, though his University EMAIL address. He has not responded to my request for an interview, and I have no way of knowing whether that is because he does not care to respond, or because his access to his campus email address has been restricted. I did not, however, receive a note that the address no longer exists. That does not rule out either scenario.

Mr. Maxwell, since I sent you the URL for this website, if you are reading this I do ask you to contact me and to agree to an interview ... either that, or answer the interview questions embedded in the email which I sent to you last week.
Most of this information was gathered as the result of an Internet search of the Western Oregon Journal website. However, there is no guarantee that the search results will remain consistent or that this URL is still active and valid.


Oh, and the response from The Western Oregon Journal?

Recent comments posted to the "Journal" Web site and letters to the editor have alleged that the "Journal" printed false information in the story "Mid-morning arrest startles students" which ran in the Feb. 4 issue of the "Journal."
The "Journal" realizes that a correction is needed. The subhead read "Individual brings weapons on campus in violation of state law," implying that the "Journal" believed Jeffrey Maxwell, in fact, violated state law. The subhead should read: "Individual brings weapons on campus in violation of state law, as stated by Monmouth police."
The "Journal" has no authority in interpreting state law and determining which law(s) take precedent over another. Therefore, the "Journal" has no comment as to whether the allegations and actions brought against Maxwell are in conjunction with state law or in violation of state law.