Saturday, January 15, 2005

Gold Medal Gunslingers

When I added Geek Links here, I included one for the Violence Policy Center (VPC) "... to provide some balance between 'Pro Gun Control' ... and 'Anti-Gun Control'". In the entry where I explained my choices, I mentioned that my dislike of VPC was based not only on philosophical differences, but also because they had singled out the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) and The Unofficial IPSC List for special attention.

... several years ago, when they were just getting started, they were desperate for content. Accordingly, considering their singular sense of honor, the surruptitiously subscribed to The Unofficial IPSC List (of which I was then, and remain, a subscriber) and spent a month downloading references to IPSC/USPSSA-related information, which they then anthologized into a piece the called "Gold Medal Gunslingers".
I promised to expand on this theme, and since I'm stuck in the house this weekend (winter in Oregon = freezing rain!) this is probably a good time to get with it.

The article and a companion news release were dated 07/22/99 ... actually four years AFTER they started their website.

The article (authored by Philip Alpers and Josh Sugarmann) was subtitled "Combat Shooting Targets the Olympic Games", and it discusses the request of IPSC to the International Olympic Committee to consider adding IPSC as a 'demonstration sport'. That is, it wouldn't be a 'medal sport', it would only be one of the Olympic activites and winners wouldn't be awarded medals.

Of course, that's not exactly the way VPC portrayed the effort:

Now, the peaceful intent of the Olympic Movement is being challenged. The gun lobby—eager to expand the perception of "sporting" activities involving firearms—has launched an international effort to make combat shooting an Olympic sport. Boosters of combat shooting hope that association with the Olympics, under the euphemistic name of "practical" shooting, will legitimize and popularize both their competitions and the increasingly lethal weapons they use.

(Emphasis added)

Peaceful Intent ... including several shooting competitions, archery, javelin, and long-distance running in a fashion reminiscent of the Battle of Marathon. All of these sports are based on "military" skills.

The gun lobby ... no, it was only IPSC, an amateur organization which employs no lobbiests.

[T]he increasingly lethal weapons they use ... a purely gratuitous comment added to prejudice the reader against the organization.

Of course, as with any good lie, there is an element of truth in it. Certainly the goal of IPSC was to "legitimize and popularize their competitions". The Gun Control crowd (VPC, HCI, etc.) have always been willing to attack the legitimacy of ANY user of firearms.

But I degress. It wasn't my purpose to fisk the article.

The article has several sections, and the one which I found most egregious is Section 4: A Combat Heritage.

It's not just that I don't agree with their point of view, although I don't. My objection is to the way they documented their article.

Not only did they gather quotes from several public sources, they also quoted from private sources.

First, they quoted from The IPSC Newsletter, a internal emailed newsletter from the IPSC president to IPSC members. They also quoted the USPSA In Touch Newsletter.

(This last is no longer in publication, but was a quarterly newsletter sent from the USPSA president to USPSA members.)

Since these are sent only to members, VPC would have had to join USPSA. Obviously, this anti-gun organization had no intent to participate in shooting competition, which implies they 'went undercover' only to gather quotes which they could use (frequently out of context) to further their own agenda.

A generous man would have to concede that this is not an unusual technique for an 'investigative reporter' (he said, leaning over backwards), although in this case it wasn't a journalistic endeaver in the sense of contributing to a newspaper - unless you define their self-promoting politically motivated 'news releases' in that light. And after all, how many newspapers, magazines and television networks can resist the temptation to flavor their 'news' with their own opinions?

Nope, that's not my biggest complaint. After all, VPC was going after both national and international organizations, and they have every right to quote their official documents.

But what about The Unofficial IPSC List?

This is an email newsletter which has NO official connection to either organization. It's not administered by IPSC, it's not funded by IPSC, and it's not moderated ... by IPSC or anyone else. It was started several years ago independently by a man who just happens to enjoy IPSC competition, and the only quasi-official connection is that one of the official websites provides a link for the convenience of those members who would like to subscribe to it. The link includes the following disclaimer:

This 'IPSC' mailing list or digest is not associated with, subsidized, nor endorsed by the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC), or any of its regions. It is a completely independent, internet address designed for individuals interested in the IPSC sport. The "IPSC digest" is intended to be viewed for informational purposes only. If you wish to communicate with officials of IPSC or any of its regions, please visit the IPSC home page at for regional e-mail and internet addresses.
Who publishes this mailing list? The subscribers do. It's nothing more than an open forum where subscribers can exchange emails discussing any topic that suits their fancy. They send their emails to a central address, where it is redistributed to all subscribers.

VPC accessed this mailing list (archives are available for viewing online via Yahoo) and quoted parts of several emails ... again, out of context ... dated as far back as 1997.

What they ended up with was a selection of 'sound bytes' that they interpreted by implication in the most damning ways. Then they identified the authors by name, often including their nation of residency and in one case by city and state!

This intrusion was not only a violation of personal privacy, but when subscribers to the email service learned that they had been so quoted, they realized that they no longer could safely engage in a frank and open discussion of their personal views.

These subscribers are not public persons. They spoke for no one but themselves. But their private opinions were used by self-avowed enemies of their chosen sport against that sport.

Yellow journalism at its best.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Geek Links

For the last couple of days, I've made a conscious effort to maintain this effort by adding links to the website.

If you'll look over on the right-hand side, and scroll down a little, you'll see the GEEK LINKS section.

For your convenience, I've organized the links section by subject, area of interest, or some other criteria. Most important, of course, is the first: "Bloggers Who Link To Me". Well, this is a survival situation. I'm obviously going to be concerned about those who will activelyl promote traffic to this website.

Of second importance is "Websites That I Visit Every Day". These are the folks that I .... truly ... visit daily. (I didn't include SCRAPPLEFACE. That was an oversight which I'll correct immediately .. probably by the time you see this.) You'll notice that they usually have some RKBA content. "Places I visit 'frequently'" is also important. These websites are even more important to me than my own website. Sure, this is a vanity project, but these folks have information that I invariably consider important AND interesting. Besides, they're well-written.

Then, in only some general order I have "Other RKBA websites", "News and Commentary", "Reference Sources", "Forums and IPSC-related website" and "Gun Control".

These are all reference websites. Most of them are well-written, or contain information which I personally consider important, or both. Would I encourage you to visit a website which doesn't demonstrate these vital criteria?

The Forums and IPSC-related websites are those to which I have subscribed, or in which I otherwise have a personal interest.

The lone bastard (s0 to speak) is the "Gun Control" list. I found these by means of a Google search, and most of them I have encountered before.

However, a few of them intrigued me by the provocative nature of their main-page content, even though I may never have encountered them before. I assure you that, after I have taken the time to read them more thoroughly, if they prove to be generally uninteristing I will remove them from the GEEK LINKS. I've attempted to provide some balance between "Pro Gun Control" (eg: VPC) and "Anti-Gun Control (eg: NRA). Generally, they will be "PRO" websites, because I think it is important that those of us who think that gun control is not the best way to reduce "gun violence" in the world need to understand the thinking of those who think that making it illegal to own firearms will convince criminals that they shouldn't carry guns.

Okay, so I've given myself away here. It is probably obvious that I think making it illegal to own guns will dissuade violent criminals from having guns. You may say:
"Geek, why won't controlling the legal possession of firearms make the world a safer place to live?"
I would have to say:
"Because the people who use guns to commit crimes are already criminals, and generally tend to ignore gun-control laws. You Bozo!"
But that would be rude, so I won't say it.

BTW, speaking of the Violence Policy Center ... several years ago, when they were just getting started, they were desperate for content. Accordingly, considering their singular sense of honor, the surruptitiously subscribed to The Unofficial IPSC List (of which I was then, and remain, a subscriber) and spent a month downloading references to IPSC/USPSSA-related information, which they then anthologized into a piece the called "Gold Medal Gunslingers" (available here toward the bottom of the list.) They have since translated into a PDF still available on their website. (I warn you, this PDF file does NOT download efficiently, perhaps due to the file being 'broken' or to their low-budget server ... I don't know which.) I've archived that file, and if it seems necessary I'll see what I can do to make it available on a more efficient server.

This VPC piece is about 5 years old, and when I go back and review the content it still irks me that these people can start with a pure sporting activity and make it sound vicious. I'll be commenting on their interpretation soon, if only because I think it is reasonable to show how vituperitive these people are.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

STI IPSC 30th Anniversary Edition

On December 24, 2004, Dave Skinner of STI International, Inc. announced the STI IPSC 30th Anniversary Edition.

The website doesn't say what calibers it is available in, but I'm pretty sure you can get it in .40S&W. Makes a darned nice USPSA Limited pistol, and IPSC Limited certification is probably he same as any other STI EDGE, which means .40S&W, 10mm, .45acp and 9mm.

Here's a quote from the website:

IPSC 30th Anniversary Commemorative Pistol

Celebrate 30 years of IPSC.

Based on the legendary IPSC Standard/Limited STI Edge/Executive pistol format, this special edition includes a custom serial number prefixed by DVC containing a maximum of 9 other characters.

MSRP: $2775.10 (I have no idea where the ten cents comes from)

And here are the specs:

Hard chromed slide and all other exposed upper components.
Hard chromed "fit in the box" magwell.
Slide is color inlaid in contrasting color, both sides.
Slide is Tri-topped.
Slide is serrated at 20 lpi on top surface.
Custom IPSC engraving on both sides of slide.
STI custom shop "saber tooth" serrations.
Ramped, fully supported barrel.
Decorative frame cuts.
Pre-contoured grip to match magwell.
Dawson fiber optic front sight.
STI adjustable rear sight.
Square hammer.
S-7 tool steel sear.
Titanium strut.
Ambi thumb safety, hard chromed.
High-rise, knuckle relieved grip safety, hard chromed.
Two magazines, hard chromed, w/ Dawson "fit in the box" base pads.
STI Team shirt.
STI Team jacket.
STI sew on logo patches. (2X)
Lockable aluminum presentation and storage case.
Lifetime warrantee.
When Skinner says "Lifetime Warrantee" he means that if it goes toes-up, you can send it back to him and he'll fix it. Your cost: shipping it to him. Dillon has a "No BS" guarantee, and Skinner's guarantee is just as good.

A couple of years ago, I squadded with Dave in the "Shirley Skinner" match in Waco, Texas. At the end of the match I walked up to him and wiggled the front sight AND the rear sight on my 10mm STI Edge. They wiggled back. "Dave, is it suppose to do this?" I asked.

Dave sighs deep, and says "No. Give it to me, I'll take it into the shop tomorrow. I have a dentist appointment in the morning, but I'll get it to you before you fly home".

Eleven am the next day, he walked in the door with my Edge in the case. New sights, front and rear ... and it was sighted in. No charge, AND he drove me to the airport in Austin for the flight back to Oregon.

Since then, I've had no problems with the sights even though I was using some very potent 10mm loads in a gun which was, after all, originally designed for the .40S&W load.

Heston, "Winning The Cultural War"

Harvard Law School
Forum February 16, 1999

I remember my son when he was five, explaining to his kindergarten class what his father did for a living. 'My Daddy,' he said, 'pretends to be people.' There have been quite a few of them. Prophets from the Old and New Testaments, a couple of Christian saints, generals of various nationalities and different centuries, several kings, three American presidents, a French cardinal and two geniuses, including Michelangelo. If you want the ceiling re-painted I'll do my best. There always seem to be a lot of different fellows up here. I'm never sure which one of them gets to talk. Right now, I guess I'm the guy.

As I pondered our visit tonight it struck me: if my Creator gave me the gift to connect you with the hearts and minds of those great men, then I want to use that same gift now to re-connect you with your own sense of liberty … your own freedom of thought ... your own compass for what is right.

Dedicating the memorial at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said of America, 'We are now engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.'

Those words are true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart. I fear you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of liberty inside you ... the stuff that made this country rise from wilderness into the miracle that it is.

Let me back up. About a year ago I became president of the National Rifle Association, which protects the right to keep and bear arms. I ran for office, I was elected, and now I serve ... I serve as a moving target for the media who've called me everything from 'ridiculous' and 'duped' to a 'brain-injured, senile, crazy old man'. I know ... I'm pretty old ... but I sure thank the Lord ain't senile.

As I have stood in the crosshairs of those who target Second Amendment freedoms, I've realized that firearms are not the only issue. No, it's much, much bigger than that. I've come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our land, in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated.

For example, I marched for civil rights with Dr. King in 1963 -– long before Hollywood found it fashionable. But when I told an audience last year that white pride is just as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else's pride, they called me a racist.

I've worked with brilliantly talented homosexuals all my life. But when I told an audience that gay rights should extend no further than your rights or my rights, I was called a homophobe.

I served in World War II against the Axis powers. But during a speech, when I drew an analogy between singling out innocent Jews and singling out innocent gun owners, I was called an anti-Semite.

Everyone I know knows I would never raise a closed fist against my country. But when I asked an audience to oppose this cultural persecution, I was compared to Timothy McVeigh.

From Time magazine to friends and colleagues, they're essentially saying, 'Chuck, how dare you speak your mind. You are using language not authorized for public consumption!'

But I am not afraid. If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys-subjects bound to the British crown.

In his book, 'The End of Sanity,' Martin Gross writes that 'blatantly irrational behavior is rapidly being established as the norm in almost every area of human endeavor. There seem to be new customs, new rules, new anti-intellectual theories regularly foisted on us from every direction. Underneath, the nation is roiling. Americans know something, without a name is undermining the nation, turning the mind mushy when it comes to separating truth from falsehood and right from wrong. And they don't like it.'

Let me read a few examples. At Antioch college in Ohio, young men seeking intimacy with a coed must get verbal permission at each step of the process from kissing to petting to final copulation ... all clearly spelled out in a printed college directive.

In New Jersey, despite the death of several patients nationwide who had been infected by dentists who had concealed their AIDS -- the state commissioner announced that health providers who are HIV-positive need not ... need not ... tell their patients that they are infected.

At William and Mary, students tried to change the name of the school team 'The Tribe' because it was supposedly insulting to local Indians, only to learn that authentic Virginia chiefs truly like the name.

In San Francisco, city fathers passed an ordinance protecting the rights of transvestites to cross-dress on the job, and for transsexuals to have separate toilet facilities while undergoing sex change surgery.

In New York City, kids who don't speak a word of Spanish have been placed in bilingual classes to learn their three R's in Spanish solely because their last names sound Hispanic.

At the University of Pennsylvania, in a state where thousands died at Gettysburg opposing slavery, the president of that college officially set up segregated dormitory space for black students.

Yeah, I know ... that's out of bounds now. Dr. King said 'Negroes.' Jimmy Baldwin and most of us on the March said 'black.' But it's a no-no now.

For me, hyphenated identities are awkward ... particularly 'Native-American.' I'm a Native American, for God's sake. I also happen to be a blood-initiated brother of the Miniconjou Sioux. On my wife's side, my grandson is a thirteenth generation Native American ... with a capital letter on 'American.'

Finally, just last month ... David Howard, head of the Washington D.C. Office of Public Advocate, used the word 'niggardly' while talking to colleagues about budgetary matters. Of course, 'niggardly' means stingy or scanty. But within days Howard was forced to publicly apologize and resign.

As columnist Tony Snow wrote: 'David Howard got fired because some people in public employ were morons who (a) didn't know the meaning of niggardly,' (b) didn't know how to use a dictionary to discover the meaning, and (c) actually demanded that he apologize for their ignorance.'

What does all of this mean? It means that telling us what to think has evolved into telling us what to say, so telling us what to do can't be far behind. Before you claim to be a champion of free thought, tell me: Why did political correctness originate on America's campuses? And why do you continue to tolerate it? Why do you, who're supposed to debate ideas, surrender to their suppression?

Let's be honest. Who here thinks your professors can say what they really believe? It scares me to death, and should scare you too, that the superstition of political correctness rules the halls of reason.

You are the best and the brightest. You, here in the fertile cradle of American academia, here in the castle of learning on the Charles River, you are the cream. But I submit that you, and your
counterparts across the land, are the most socially conformed and politically silenced generation since Concord Bridge.

And as long as you validate that ... and abide it ... you are-by your grandfathers' standards-cowards. Here's another example. Right now at more than one major university, Second Amendment scholars and researchers are being told to shut up about their findings or they'll lose their jobs. Why? Because their research findings would undermine big-city mayor's pending lawsuits that seek to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from firearm manufacturers.

I don't care what you think about guns. But if you are not shocked at that, I am shocked at you. Who will guard the raw material of unfettered ideas, if not you? Who will defend the core value of academia, if you supposed soldiers of free thought and expression lay down your arms and plead, 'Don't shoot me.'

If you talk about race, it does not make you a racist. If you see distinctions between the genders, it does not make you a sexist. If you think critically about a denomination, it does not make you anti-religion. If you accept but don't celebrate homosexuality, it does not make you a homophobe.

Don't let America's universities continue to serve as incubators for this rampant epidemic of new McCarthyism. But what can you do? How can anyone prevail against such pervasive social subjugation?

The answer's been here all along. I learned it 36 years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., standing with Dr. Martin Luther King and two hundred thousand people.

You simply ... disobey. Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely. But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don't. We disobey social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom.

I learned the awesome power of disobedience from Dr. King ... who learned it from Gandhi, and Thoreau, and Jesus, and every other great man who led those in the right against those with the might.

Disobedience is in our DNA. We feel innate kinship with that Disobedient spirit that tossed tea into Boston Harbor, that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the back of the bus, that protested a war in Viet Nam.

In that same spirit, I am asking you to disavow cultural correctness with massive disobedience of rogue authority, social directives and onerous law that weaken personal freedom.

But be careful ... it hurts. Disobedience demands that you put yourself at risk. Dr. King stood on lots of balconies. You must be willing to be humiliated ... to endure the modern-day equivalent of
the police dogs at Montgomery and the water Cannons at Selma. You must be willing to experience discomfort. I'm not Complaining, but my own decades of social activism have taken their toll on me. Let me tell you a story.

A few years back I heard about a rapper named Ice-T who was selling a CD called 'Cop Killer' celebrating ambushing and murdering police officers. It was being marketed by none other than Time/Warner, the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world. Police across the country were outraged. Rightfully so-at least one had been murdered. But Time/Warner was stonewalling because the CD was a cash cow for them, and the media were tiptoeing around it because the rapper was black. I heard Time/Warner had a stockholders meeting scheduled in Beverly Hills. I owned some shares at the time, so I decided to attend.

What I did there was against the advice of my family and colleagues. I asked for the floor. To a hushed room of a thousand average American stockholders, I simply read the full lyrics of 'Cop Killer'-every vicious, vulgar, instructional word.


It got worse, a lot worse. I won't read the rest of it to you. But trust me, the room was a sea of shocked, frozen, blanched faces. The Time/Warner executives squirmed in their chairs and stared at their shoes. They hated me for that. Then I delivered another volley of sick lyric brimming with racist filth, where Ice-T fantasizes about sodomizing two 12-year old nieces Of Al and Tipper Gore. SHE PUSHED HER BUTT AGAINST MY ....'

Well, I won't do to you here what I did to them. Let's just say I left the room in echoing silence. When I read the lyrics to the waiting press corps, one of them said 'We can't print that.' 'I know,' I replied, 'but Time/Warner ís selling it.'

Two months later, Time/Warner terminated Ice-T's contract. I'll never be offered another film by Warners, or get a good review from Time magazine. But disobedience means you must be willing to act, not just talk.

When a mugger sues his elderly victim for defending herself ... jam the switchboard of the district attorney's office. When your university is pressured to lower standards until 80% of the students graduate with honors ... choke the halls of the board of regents. When an 8-year-old boy pecks a girl's cheek on the playground and gets hauled into court for sexual harassment ... march on that school and block its doorways. When someone you elected is seduced by political power and betrays you ... petition them, oust them, banish them. When Time magazine's cover portrays millennium nuts as deranged, crazy Christians holding a cross as it did last month ... boycott their magazine and the products it advertises.

So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the great disobediences of history that freed exiles, founded religions, defeated tyrants, and yes, in the hands of an aroused rabble in arms and a few great men, by God's grace, built this country.

If Dr. King were here, I think he would agree.

Thank you.

Heston, "On Gun Control"

Charlton Heston
February 11, 1997

National Press Club
February 11, 1997

Today I want to talk to you about guns: Why we have them, why the Bill of Rights guarantees that we can have them, and why my right to have a gun is more important than your right to rail against it in the press.

I believe every good journalist needs to know why the Second Amendment must be considered more essential than the First Amendment. This may be a bitter pill to swallow, but the right to keep and bear arms is not archaic. It's not an outdated, dusty idea some old dead white guys dreamed up in fear of the Redcoats. No, it is just as essential to liberty today as it was in 1776. These words may not play well at the Press Club, but it's still the gospel down at the corner bar and grill.

And your efforts to undermine the Second Amendment, to deride it and degrade it, to readily accept diluting it and eagerly promote redefining it, threaten not only the physical well-being of millions of Americans but also the core concept of individual liberty our founding fathers struggled to perfect and protect.

So now you know what doubtless does not surprise you. I believe strongly in the right of every law-abiding citizen to keep and bear arms, for what I think are good reasons.

The original amendments we refer to as the Bill of Rights contain 10 of what the constitutional framers termed unalienable rights. These rights are ranked in random order and are linked by their essential equality. The Bill of Rights came to us with blinders on. It doesn't recognize color, or class or wealth. It protects not just the rights of actors, or editors, or reporters, but extends even to those we love to hate. That's why the most heinous criminals have rights until they are convicted of a crime.

The beauty of the Constitution can be found in the way it takes human nature into consideration. We are not a docile species capable of co-existing within a perfect society under everlasting benevolent rule.

We are what we are. Egotistical, corruptible, vengeful, sometimes even a bit power-mad. The Bill of Rights recognizes this and builds the barricades that need to be in place to protect the individual.

You, of course, remain zealous in your belief that a free nation must have a free press and free speech to battle injustice, unmask corruption and provide a voice for those in need of a fair and impartial forum.

I agree wholeheartedly -- a free press is vital to a free society. But I wonder: How many of you will agree with me that the right to keep and bear arms is not just equally vital, but the most vital to protect all the other rights we enjoy?

I say that the Second Amendment is, in order of importance, the first amendment. It is America's First Freedom, the one right that protects all the others. Among freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, of assembly, of redress of grievances, it is the first among equals. It alone offers the absolute capacity to live without fear. The right to keep and bear arms is the one right that allows 'rights' to exist at all.

Either you believe that, or you don't, and you must decide.

Because there is no such thing as a free nation where police and military are allowed the force of arms but individual citizens are not. That's a 'big brother knows best' theater of the absurd that has never bode well for the peasant class, the working class or even for reporters.

Yes, our Constitution provides the doorway for your news and commentary to pass through free and unfettered. But that doorway to freedom is framed by the muskets that stood between a vision of liberty and absolute anarchy at a place called Concord Bridge. Our revolution began when the British sent Redcoats door to door to confiscate the people's guns. They didn't succeed: The muskets went out the back door with their owners.

Emerson said it best:

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

King George called us "rabble in arms." But with God's grace, George Washington and many brave men gave us our country. Soon after, God's grace and a few great men gave us our Constitution. It's been said that the creation of the United States is the greatest political act in history. I'll sign that.

In the next two centuries, though, freedom did not flourish. The next revolution, the French, collapsed in bloody Terror, then Napoleon's tyranny. There's been no shortage of dictators since, in many countries. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Castro, Pol Pot. All these monsters began by confiscating private arms, then literally soaking the earth with the blood of ten and tens of millions of their people. Ah, the joys of gun control.

Now, I doubt any of you would prefer a rolled up newspaper as a weapon against a dictator or a criminal intruder. Yet in essence that is what you have asked our loved ones to do, through the ill-contrived and totally naive campaign against the Second Amendment.

Besides, how can we entrust to you the Second Amendment when you are so stingy with your own First Amendment?

I say this because of the way, in recent days, you have treated your own -- those journalists you consider the least among you. How quick you've been to finger the paparazzi with blame and to eye the tabloids with disdain. How eager you've been to draw a line where there is none, to demand some distinction within the First Amendment that sneers 'they are not one of us.' How readily you let your lesser brethren
take the fall, as if their rights were not as worthy, and their purpose not as pure, and their freedom not as sacred as yours.

So now, as politicians consider new laws to shackle and gag paprazzi, who among you will speak up? Who here will stand and defend them? If you won't, I will. Because you do not define the First Amendment. It defines you. And it is bigger than you -- big enough to embrace all of you, plus all those you would exclude. That's how freedom works.

It also demands you do your homework. Again and again I hear gun owners say, how can we believe anything that anti-gun media says when they cannot even get the facts right? For too long you have swallowed manufactured statistics and fabricated technical support from anti-gun organizations that wouldn't know a semi-auto from a sharp stick. And it shows. You fall for it every time.

Thats why you have very little credibility among 70 million gun owners and 20 million hunters and millions of veterans who learned the hard way which end the bullet comes out. And while you attacked the amendment that defends your homes and protects your spouses and children, you have denied those of us who defend all the Bill of Rights a fair hearing or the courtesy of an honest debate.

If the NRA attempts to challenge your assertions, we are ignored. And if we try to buy advertising time or space to answer your charges, more often than not we are denied. How's that for First Amendment freedom?

Clearly, too many have used freedom of the press as a weapon not only to strangle our free speech, but to erode and ultimately destroy the right to keep and bear arms as well. In doing so you promoted your profession to that of constitutional judge and jury, more powerful even than our Supreme Court, more prejudiced than the Inquisition's tribunals. It is a frightening misuse of constitutional right, and I pray that you will come to your senses and see that these abuses are curbed.

As a veteran of World War II, as a freedom marcher who stood with Dr. Martin Luther King long before it was fashionable, and as a grandfather who wants the coming century to be free and full of promise for my grandchildren, I am troubled.

The right to keep and bear arms is threatened by political theatrics, piecemeal lawmaking, talk-show psychology, extreme bad taste in the entertainment industry, an ever-widening educational chasm in our schools and a conniving media, that all add up to cultural warfare against the idea that guns ever had, or should now have, an honorable and proud place in our society.

But all our rights must be delivered into the 21st century as pure and complete as they came to us at the beginning of this century. Traditionally the passing of that torch is from a gnarled old hand down to an eager young one. So now, at 72, I offer my gnarled old hand.

I have accepted a call from the National Rifle Association of America to help protect the Second Amendment. I feel it is my duty to do that. My mission and vision can be summarized in three simple parts.

First, before we enter the next century, I expect to see a pro-Second Amendment president in the White House.

Secondly, I expect to build an NRA with the political muscle and clout to keep a pro-Second Amendment congress in place.

Third is a promise to the next generation of free Americans. I hope to help raise a hundred million dollars for NRA programs and education before the year 2000. At least half of that sum will go to teach American kids what the right to keep and bear arms really means to their culture and country.

We have raised a generation of young people who think that the Bill of Rights comes with their cable TV. Leave them to their channel surfing and they'll remain oblivious to history and heritage that truly matter.

Think about it -- what else must young Americans think when the White House proclaims, as it did, that 'a firearm in the hands of youth is a crime or an accident waiting to happen'? No -- it is time they learned that firearm ownership is constitutional, not criminal. In fact, few pursuits can teach a young person more about responsibility, safety, conservation, their history and their heritage, all at once.

It is time they found out that the politically correct doctrine of today has misled them. And that when they reach legal age, if they do not break our laws, they have a right to choose to own a gun -- a handgun, a long gun, a small gun, a large gun, a black gun, a purple gun, a pretty gun, an ugly gun -- and to use that gun to defend themselves and their loved ones or to engage in any lawful purpose they desire without apology or explanation to anyone, ever.

This is their first freedom. If you say it's outdated, then you haven't read your own headlines. If you say guns create only carnage, I would answer that you know better. Declining morals, disintegrating families, vacillation political leadership, an eroding criminal justice system and social morals that blur right and wrong are more to blame -- certainly more than any legally owned firearm.

I want to rescue the Second Amendment from an opportunistic president, and from a press that apparently can't comprehend that attacks on the Second Amendment set the stage for assaults on the First.

I want to save the Second Amendment from all these nitpicking little wars af attrition -- fights over alleged Saturday night specials, plastic guns, cop killer bullets and so many other made-for-prime-time non-issues invented by some press agent over at gun control headquarters -- that you guys buy time and again.

I simply cannot stand by and watch a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States come under attack from those who either can't understand it, don't like the sound of it or find themselves too philosophically squeamish to see why it remains the first among equals: Because it is the right we turn to when all else fails.

That's why the Second Amendment is America's first freedom.

Please, go forth and tell the truth. There can be no free speech, no freedom of the press, no freedom to protest, no freedom to worship you god, no freedom to speak your mind, no freedom from fear, no freedom for your children and for theirs, for anybody, anywhere without the Second Amendment freedom to fight for it.

If you don't believe me, just turn on the news tonight. Civilizations veneer is wearing thinner all the time.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The General

His name was Michael Robert Jones.

Most folks just called him "Mike", but some of us called him "The General".

Maybe it was his bearing, or his military manner. Maybe it was because he was a Marine, and damn proud of it. It may have been his immaculate "David Niven" pencil-thin moustache, but probably it was a combination of all that plus the fact that he NEVER showed up on the range without his neatly starched USMC "Cover".

The General attended exactly one IPSC match every month, at the Tri-County Gun Club in Sherwood, Oregon. There were many other matches available within a short driving range from his home, but he had a special affection for this range.

You see, he was the man who introduced IPSC competition to Oregon.

In 1978, along with a few friends, he organized the first Practical Pistol in the state. They called it "Combat Pistol" at the time, but it didn't make much difference what it was called; it was an excuse to go shooting with his friends.

I first met him in 1983, when I shot my first IPSC match. The sport was much better organized by then. USPSA and IPSC had published their first edition of the rule books, and Col. Jeff Cooper was still The Father of IPSC.

But The General was The Father of IPSC in Oregon.

In recent years, he stepped aside and left the match administration chores to younger men. He never attended more than one IPSC pistol match per month, but he rarely missed a "Practical Rifle" match even after that sport became "3-gun".

After SWMBO started coming to matches with me, and even before she started shooting, she met The General and soon learned that this was a very precise man. She mentioned to him once that she needed to 'load some more bullets in this magazine". He looked at her for a moment, then carefully explained that:
"These are not bullets, these are ammunition. One is called a Round or a Cartridge. A 'bullet' is the pointy part that comes out of the barrel."

A few years ago, when he was 70, he had open-heart surgery. Three weekes after the operation, The General showed up at the next IPSC match. He didn't stay for the whole match, and he always had to husband his strength to get through a match after that, but he would NOT miss a match ... unless his grandchildren were visiting that weekend, in which case his priorities were to be with his family.

Although he enjoyed IPSC, he never worried much about his place of finish. He shot Limited Division with his Colt Gold Cup; he didn't compete in Limited 10 because ... well, because that's not what he wanted to do, I guess.

In later years he enjoyed the company and the cameraderie more than the actual shooting. But his club had one long, narrow bay where they often placed stages featuring a line of targets to be engaged as you moved past them. He revelled in this bay. He would walk down the line of targets engaging them one-handed, just to show that he could. Because of his flair, his experience, his contributions, his soft-spoken manners and his obvious joy at just being there, we treated him with respect as if he were everyone's father. He wasn't competitive, he was just there because this was one of the things that he loved to do. He was a gentleman, and we loved him.

He wasn't inclined to load his own pistol ammunition, so he graciously allowed me to reload for him. In November, 2004, he showed up at the monthly pistol match with 1000 rounds of .45acp brass to be reloaded. He said: "This is the last loading you will ever have to do for me, but I need it now, anyway."

I delivered his reloaded ammunition at the end of November.

The General passed away on January 5, 2005, at the age of 75.

As far as I know, he had never shot a single round of the latest batch I had loaded for him.

But he had it, if he needed it.

(Photo courtesy of Randy Schleininig)

Monday, January 10, 2005

STI Special Edition

Dave Skinner, who is the CEO of STI International, Inc. (Georgetown, Texas) and assuredly the most charming firearms manufacturer in the known world, is presenting a Special Edition of what appears to be an STI "Edge" ... finished in 24 carat gold plate!

He'll have this imagery, plus some music, available on this corporate website in the next day or two. In the meantime, he has generously provided the image to The Unofficial IPSC list.

I don't think it's going to steal his thunder to provide a convenient preview here.

STI Special Edition ... Left Side

STI Special Edition ... Right Side

Beautiful, aren't they?

I want one of these. Now! I'll have to set up a PayPal account for donations. I figure it should take me ... oh, say about FIFTY YEARS ... to talk someone into contributing to my account. That is, after everyone else has already bought theirs.

Note the serial number on the Right Side

It says "STI CEO 03"

Clever Dave.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Amazing Stories

I don't have Television.

Oh, yeah, I have A television. It's just not hooked up to a cable, dish, antenna or any other source of outside signals. I have a VCR and a DVD player, but that's it. As a consequence, I don't see a lot of commercials on my TV.

This weekend, though, I was watching cable with SWMBO on her television and I saw some commercials which absolutely blew my mind. I was so impressed, I just had to comment.

Here are the four most "interesting" television commercials I saw:

Ths commercial advertisement exhorts you to send in your "old gold, just laying around collecting dust". (Actual quote.) The deal is, you send them your dirty old jewelry, gold fillings, or other 'scrap gold'. [Or 'scrap platinum', if that's what you have. Nice of them to include this kind of 'junk'.]

In return, they will send you "top cash prices" for whatever you send in, after you have received their 'gold kit' ... apparently a list of instructions for you to follow when you send in your 'scrap'.

Sound too good to be true? Well, they offer this guarantee. They don't actually call it a 'guarantee' but:

Customer's Statement of Total Satisfaction

If for any reason you feel that any of your items have not been fairly evaluated by Lippincott, simply return our check within ten (10) days of the day on the check. Lippincott will promptly return your items without any charge to you.
I'm thinking ... my mother's wedding ring. Yeah, I can get a better price through GoldKit than I could from a local jeweler. Now, if I can just figure how to get my mother's wedding ring off her finger, I could be a rich man within 24 hours ....


surprisingly, there is more than one program on the Internet making this offer. A NetScape search on the phrase "Free Medicine" results in THREE PAGES of compasionate and generous companies who are willing to give of their time and efforts to get free medicine to you. I don't know which one is sponsoring the commercial, but I do know they include they include the incredible (literally) comment: "Sound too good to be true?"

My dear mother, before I stole her wedding ring, use to say "If it sounds too good to be true ... it is!"

However, I note that their website does have links to some interesting discussions of medical interest.

"Ionizing Filter-less Air Purifiers"
A company called "Sharper Image" is offering you an air purifier that doesn't even have filters to replace ... just wipe off the "ionizing surfaces" from time to time, and it removes smoke residue, dust, dandruff, pollen, other alergens etc. from the air which your family breathes every day.

Consumer Report comments (subscription required ... $26/year or $4.95/month) that the $399.95 version of this

Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier

... doesn't clean your air as well as you may expect for the price:

The champion of air-cleaner marketing is The Sharper Image. In four years, its Ionic Breeze line, led by the midpriced $350 Quadra, has soared from less than 1 percent of the market to about 25 percent. Sharper Image is now the leading brand, with a growing list of imitators, including Honeywell and Hoover.

Air cleaners like these are a type of electrostatic precipitator: They impart an electrical charge to particles that stick to oppositely charged collectors. Sharper Image, Honeywell, and Hoover precipitators are quiet and cost little to run. However, our tests show that they are not effective.

(Emphasis added.)
I bought the Consumer's Report annual subsciption. Consumer's Report's conclusion; it doesn't work.

Randy C. from The True Sella Awards (link or text to follow) notes that Sharper Image sued C.S. and this has not yet resulted in a satisfactory *(to Sharper Image)* change in the report.
But you can still buy the filterless air purifier.
Unfortunately for Sharper Image, their suit didn't go very far. In fact, the judge threw it out of court.

(Hat-tip to

"Buy Your Own Computer for $35 a week"

This last one ... I have no idea where to search for such a deal.

Let me see. $35/week at 52 weeks a year equals something like $1770 for a new computer.

The television ad doesn't provide technical specifications on the "new computer" that you can expect to receive. However, I note that the television advertisement doesn't mention a monitor, keyboard, mouse, sound system, printer or any details about HD, memory or modem.

Given that minimum of "options", you should be aware that Yahoo offers a 'barebones competer at under $185, RefurbDepot offers a
AMD Athlon XP 3200+ 2.2GHz, 512MB DDRAM, 160GB Hard Drive, DVD+/-RW combo drive, 10/100 NIC, 56K Modem, NVIDIA GeForce4 , 8-in-1 reader, Windows® XP
Tiger Direct offers for $299.99 a

Asus A8V Deluxe Socket 939 Barebone Kit / AMD Athlon 64 3400+ / CPU Fan / Mid-Tower Case / Keyboard / Mouse / Speakers

Last month I bought a much more powerful 'puter, with speakers, mouse and keyboard Plus XP for the home, for $549 less $75 rebate. I'm not unhappy with it, although (of course) I didn't understand the terms of the rebate and didn't get my form in on time.

Bottom line:
  • you can get a lot of computer for under $550 if you don't need a monitor.
  • Monitors don't have to be that expensive, either.
  • if you just buy "a computer", with no more technical specifications, you may end up with jsut the CPU.
  • buying at "$X/week" with no more information may sound attractive to people who have no experience buying computers, but you may end up with a $1700+ obligation and still not have a computer that you can acutally USE!

You can't help but wonder who would find himself a prey to this kind of snake-oil salesmen, but sure as hell somebody will drop the penny and find out they've paid too much ... or received too little ... for a bargain that they could have earned a LT more for their investement if they only knew a little bit more about the market.

None of these television advertisements really offer anything of value, but still the FCC and the FTC doesn't protect them against their perhaps-fraudelent solicititations.

I wonder how these people stay in business? Or is it that, like the sagee claims or the Cortisol and Cortislim claims there is so much dreck being promulgated on the media that it's almost impssible for federal commissions to deal with them all in a timely manner.

It's just so much snake oil to us.

Oh ... a note on Cortislim:

OK, let's get to the bottom line...

Cortislim may indeed be able to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol through the effects of Magnolia bark contained in its formulation. However, that's a far cry from saying you're actually going to lose weight with this stuff.

So why are you buying this stuff?

You're buying this stuff because the ads USE to say "you can lose weight with this stuff". But since the FTC objected (finally!) they can't say that any more. So now the makers say their product, combined with exercise etc will help you to reduce stress, and that may help you to lose weight. Listen to their advertisements ... they've changed a LOT. But you haven't. You're still overweight unhappy, and willing to spend your hard-earned bucks on ANYTHING that suggests it will be a magic weight-loss pill. Or hair restoration pill.

Listen, if there was a magic pill that would help you to lose weight or regain your hair or whatever, you would read about it in the newspapers under NOBEL PRIZE AWARDED FOR MAGIC PILL

Until then, and until the television tells you exactly what you're getting for your hard-earned bucks, and it sounds like a better deal than you're likely to get from, say the front page (not to mention the "WANT TO SELL" ads in the classified section) of the newspapers ...

.... don't go there. Okay?