Thursday, April 21, 2005

Gun Opponents Criticize Firearm Tort Reform

Gun Opponents Criticize Firearm Tort Reform -- GOPUSA

GOPUSA brings our attention to a not-very new bill currently being considered by the House of Representatives .. H. R. 800.

You may recall that a similar bill was introduced last year, during the Presidential Election. John Kerry and his DemocRatic Cronies managed to put paid to that bill by attaching riders which were entirely unacceptable to any RKBA supporter.

Left to right: Charles Schumer *, Diane Feinstein, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy leave the Senate Chambers after having registered their votes for riders designed to undermine the bill for tort reform which would have protected Firearms Manufacturers against Third Party Civil suits. September, 2004.

Kerry was away from the Senate all year, but he showed up long enough to trash the bill which was proposed to protect Firearms Manufacurers against third-party civil suits.

Please write your Congressman in support of this bill.

This is the entire content of the letter I wrote to my Representative, Congressman Peter De Fazio representing the Fourth Congressional District of Oregon:

I bring your attention to House Bill H.R. 800, dated February 5, 2005.

Please support H.R. 800 when it comes to a vote in the House.

This Bill would provide protection to Firearms Manufacturers from third-party lawsuit.

Specifically, if a firearm would be used illegally by a person who purchased the firearm from a retailer, the manufacturer of the firearm AND the dealer would be protected from civil suit not pertaining to product liability.

I submit that these sort of lawsuits are currently pertinent only to lawfully acquired firearms, not to automobiles, knives, explosives, axes, rakes, hoes, iron pipes, airplanes, lead-filled hoses, matches, "The Club" or any other tool or object which may be misused by the end-purchaser.

Firearms are arguably the singly most regulated product of any manufacturer or dealer in America today. They are also the single object whose ownership is protected by the U. S. Constitution (2nd amendment).

Still, the manufacturers and retailers of this legal product are subject to egregious distortion of common law for no better reason than that some people fear the object. This fear is based upon ignorance and the resultant lawsuits are often based upon greed.

I personally own several firearms, all legally acquired and responsibly handled. Many of these firearms have been handed down to me by family members over he years. No firearm in my possession have every been knowingly pointed at another living being, let alone at a human, let alone with malice or intent to cause harm.

Yet if my home were to be illegally burgled, the security of my storage system compromised and the firearms stolen by a felon, the manufacturers (and the individuals from which I acquired the firearms, including members of my family) would be subject to civil suit. Not because they were irresponsible; not because they were negligent; but because they (in good faith) transferred a firearm to a family member.

This could be construed as the action of a "dealer", because they didn't manufacture the firearm. Thus, it is important that we not only protect manufacturers, but also dealers.

If dealers fail to observe current law regulating the transfer of firearms, they would be liable by existing laws and this bill would not apply.

But if the firearm functioned safely, taking into account the generally accepted rules of firearm safety; and if the manufacturer/dealer observed current law in the transfer of firearms, why should this legal transaction be cause for civil suit?

That's all this law would protect; the right of honest men to conduct business in accordance with current law, and the protection of their legal business, whether they are, in fact, businessmen or private citizens.

Please support H.R. 800 when it comes to a vote in the House.

To do otherwise would unreasonable, would not support the rights of the honest citizens of which you are representative, and would allow great harm to befall honest people.

* UPDATE: April 24, 2005

Molon Labe, in the Comments, corrects the Geek: the individual on the left of the photo is Charles Schumer (D-NY) not Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) as was previously reported.
Thanx to Molon Labe for the correction. For some of us, it's terribly difficult to distinguish one DemocRat from the other; their politics are similar, but they don't really LOOK alike!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


The Carnival of Cordite #9 is UP!

The Carnival of Cordite is a weekly feature hosted by Gullyborg at RESISTANCE IS FUTILE! It provides links to the most informative, interesting and/or thought-provoking RKBA-related blogs of the week.

This week, three of the Cogito Ergo Geek posts are featured; two on the Barrett .50-cal BMG and one on the DemocRats (even though that one isn't really on a RKBA theme.)

It's an all-time record for The Geekster. I'm so proud!

But it isn't really all Just About Me. There are a HUGE number of links in each Carnival entry. You should check it out for yourself. If you're into both RKBA and websurfing, it's a fine place to start. And the links, of course change every week.

New Blogroll Entry - .45-Caliber Justice:

I've added a new link to a RKBA (and other topics) blog. Tyler has had almost four months to establish an identity, and it's both interesting and refreshing. For one thing, he doesn't write Geek-Length Posts! I'm still working my way through his archives, and I find that some of the links he provides are websites that I would normally only see after I've tracked down a half-dozen references from other sources. For one example, check out his Ugly Cars links from yesterday (April 18, 2005).

He has obviously been reading the Carnival of Cordite, as he also links to my .50-Cal BMG posts.

Unfortunately, the new link isn't easy to see - my blogroll has been relogated to the back yard. See my comments about the Blogspot Problem. However, in recognition of this unfortunate difficulty, I've included links to both Gullyborg and Tyler in this entry.

No, don't thank me. This is just one of the many services we provide here at Geek Central.

Geek to Blogspot:

Houston, we have A Problem!
My entire sidebar has been moved to the foot of the blog.

This happened over the weekend, when vendor maintenance typically occurs. I hadn't changed my template during this period, and I've tried everything I can think of to insure that there is nothing in my code to cause this. No joy there, so I wrote to technical support. There isn't a phone number to call, so I rely on email. They haven't replied other than to cheerily inform me that they have received my report and will reply as soon as they have something to say. That was two days ago.l

I haven't yet tried to poll other bloggers using the same template (I have to find them first) , but blogspot users with different templates seem to be formatting okay.

In the meantime, I'll just have to curb my impatience and continue searching for a fix. I may have to change to a different template, which will change the look of this blog. I don't want to do that, because I LIKE the way it looks.

But I'm running out of options.

I feel like the test pilot whose plane goes into a flat spin:

Okay, I'm in a spin. Trying this. Nope, this didn't work. Okay, I'm trying that. Nope, that didn't work either. All right, I'll try the other thing. Uh, no, the other thing didn't work either. Okay, no problem, I'll try ...


I hope it doesn't come to that. It's not something I can live with, because I want the links on the sidebar to be prominently displayed.

The funny thing is, if you click on the permalink of any single blog entry, the sidebar appears as it should.

The sidebar is represented at the end of the entry as the time it was published. For example:

posted by Jerry The Geek @ 9:43 PM

This means that if you want to see the sidebar before Blogspot gets around to fixing the problem, just click on any of the permalinks and catch it on the resulting window.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Culture Shock!

(Shhhh! I'm suppose to be working on the Section Points Race Results spreadsheet. Instead I'm posting about recent news that I find either curious or shocking. Don't tell my boss.)

(Hat Tip to World Net Daily ... see the link on my sidebar, if you can find it.)

Yahoo! News - Students paid for tattling on peers

Last month's school shooting in Minnesota has stirred interest in organized "snitch" programs that pay students for telling on classmates who carry guns or drugs or violate school rules.

Last week in central Georgia, the Houston County school board became the state's first school district to enroll in the national Student CrimeStoppers program, started in 1983. Students can earn up to $500 for alerting school officials about firearms. They can get up to $100 for fingering classmates involved in vandalism, theft or drugs.

That's right. It's '1984' all over again. The authorities are teaching kids to rat our their friends, on anything from ripping off lockers to bringing a gun to school (note RKBA spin!)

No more 'moral values'. Forget "It's the right thing to do". Today in Georgia, you can turn in your best friend because ... the school will pay you as in informant.

Here's the money quote:

A similar program at Cherryville High School in rural Gaston County, N.C., "has really worked well," principal Stephen Huffstetler says. He implemented the program two years ago. "This year, we've given out $1,100," he says. "For $100, they'll turn their mothers in."
Well hooray for the kids in North Carolina, and their parents who apparently see no reason why this morally derift practice shouldn't continue. I hope some of these kids DO turn their parents in.

Next; in Manchester, England;

School bans 'wrong race' hairstyle

A TEENAGER was sent home from school after the headteacher ruled she was the wrong race to have a braided hairstyle.

Olivia Acton, 13, was told she could not join her classmates at Middleton Technology College because her tightly plaited hair was too "extreme" for the strict uniform policy.

However, two other pupils at the school who have an Afro-Caribbean background are allowed to attend the school with similar hairstyles because it reflects their cultural heritage.

The teenager usually has her hair brushed straight but had it braided during a family holiday.

She was stunned to be turned away when she returned to school. She was told she can only go back to the classroom if she unpicks the plaits.
I think she's cute. I don't see anything 'disruptive' in her appearance. She's neat and clean, and she looks better than as good as my blond daughter did at her age with her "mushroom" hair style.

The money quote?

Middleton Technology College headteacher Allison Crompton confirmed that braided hairstyles were generally banned in the school but she would make exceptions for hairstyles which are a reflection of cultural heritage rather than a fashion statement.
Oh. Okay. There's clearly nothing discriminatory about THAT! It has to be YOUR "Cultural Heritage" you're "reflecting". I wonder if pupils with "Afro-Carribean background" are allowed to use pomade?

Meanwhile, back home in Kalifornia ...

Fresno teacher apologizes for smoking pot with students

FRESNO, Calif. A Fresno High School substitute teacher charged with smoking marijuana with students has apologized for his actions.

Chris Bochin wrote a letter to The Fresno Bee saying he set a terrible example for students. He says that five years of pot smoking made him -- quote -- "mentally powerless."He was arrested last month after smoking marijuana with five ninth-graders in a science class. The students were suspended for five days.
What's wrong with that?
This is, like, Kalifornia, Dude. I thought pot smoking in the 9th grade was part of their 'cultural heritage'.

Meanwhile, in Massachusets (?)

Student opposition to civil unions disrupts SWHS
SOUTH WINDSOR -- Four high school students were sent home Friday after they wore T-shirts bearing anti-homosexual slogans to school, causing a series of disturbances as other students became "emotionally distraught," students and school officials said.

The boys, who wore white T-shirts on which they had written, "Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve," say their constitutional right to free speech has been violated.
What's wrong with that?

But other students say they felt threatened by the shirts, which also quoted Bible verses pertaining to homosexuality.

"I didn't feel safe at this school today," said Diana Rosen, who is co-president of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance.
What's this school teaching it's students?

In its emphasis on 'diversity' and 'moral relativity', it's also teaching that you do NOT have a right to express an opinion which might be counter to an outspoken group. I wish the members of he schools "Gay-Straight Alliance" had followed up the next day with shirts which read "Gay is Good!". They didn't, so we'll never know exactly what agenda the school officials were supporting.

At least the students who had the nerve to challenge Convention Morality (Version 2005.1) learned something other than that they are subject to unilateral authoriatism. Student Steven Venetta, one of the boys who wore the Shirts Of Shame:

Almost immediately, the shirts drew comment and debate from other students, Vendetta said.

"I walked down the hall, and people were either cheering me on, yelling at me, or just sneering," he said. "It was the most intense experience."
At least he learned how it feels to be an oppressed minority.

Meanwhile, in Greater America:
AOL Chat Room Monitor Accused of Seducing Girl

(note: loads very slowly!)

America Online hires adult monitors to keep its kids-only chat rooms safe from sexual predators. But one of those monitors seduced a California girl online and was about to meet her for sex before he was caught, according to court documents.

AOL officials declined to confirm or deny specifics of the case. But spokesman Nicholas Graham said the company fired the employee immediately after discovering the incident in April 2003 and reported it to the FBI and local law enforcement authorities, who notified the family.

The girl has now filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court. According to the lawsuit, the AOL employee, then 23 and working from an Oklahoma call center, began the relationship when the girl was 15.

The girl, who was living in Kern County, Calif., at the time, and the employee -- whose sole job at AOL was to monitor chat rooms -- conducted a sexually charged relationship online that lasted nearly two years, the suit contends. The two swapped explicit photographs and videos, had phone sex and made plans to meet for the first time to celebrate her 17th birthday.
I thought these Monitors were suppose to HELP the the AOL subscribers, not predate them. (Apologies for the bad pun.) This makes me nervous about my next call to AOL Technical Support ... which is more typically to Bangledesh than to Oklahoma. Maybe AOL knows what it's doing with its outsourcing policy.

Speaking of outside help, this from Hampton, Roads, VA:

Stranded in a bathtub

April 15, 2005

HAMPTON -- With only her dogs - her babies - nearby for company, Jane Fromal lay in her bathtub and waited.

First minutes, then hours, then days went by. The 75-year-old grandmother had drawn a bath Saturday afternoon to nurse a sore tailbone. But after repeatedly being unable to lift herself up, Fromal started to fear she'd die in the cold tub.

Help finally came Wednesday - five days after Fromal found herself stuck in the bathtub of her home - when a neighbor's grandson noticed the newspapers piling up in her driveway and insisted his grandmother call Fromal's family.
Hey, she's old, she's weak, it could happen to anyone. Thank Goodness that her neighbors were looking out for her. Who knew she could get trapped in her bathtub?

She knew.

It wasn't the first time Fromal, who has a little trouble with her legs, has been stuck in the bathtub, either.

When it happened a few weeks ago, she lay in the tub all day before managing to get out. But now, her family plans to make sure it never happens again ...

Yeah, right. They're planning to put rails around her tub, and maybe waterproof her phone. Maybe she should consider buying one of those First Alert amulets you hang around yoru neck, that when you push the button they day "HELP! I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T GET UP!"

We turn now to the National Rifle Association, and one of its most visible members: Ted "The Nuge" Nugent:

Nugent urges NRA members to recruit other gun owner

HOUSTON (AP) -- Rocker and gun rights advocate Ted Nugent urged National Rifle Association members Saturday to be "hardcore, radical extremists demanding the right to self defense" and to work daily to recruit new members.

Speaking at the group's annual convention in Houston, Nugent said the NRA's current record-high membership of 4 million was nothing to get excited about. He said each NRA member should try to enroll 10 new members over the next year.

Sounds pretty mainstream (for RKBA folks) doesn't it?

How about this?

"Let's next year sit here and say, 'Holy smokes, the NRA has 40 million members now,"' he said, adding NRA members should only associate with other members. "No one is allowed at our barbecues unless they are an NRA member. Do that in your life."
Is it just me?
I get the distinct impression that "The Nuge" isn't talking about NRA official functions; he's talking about (for example) the informal get-togethers after an IPSC match that my friend "Randomly Hitten' Witten" hosts. I would really hate to be excluded because I don't subscribe to the "American Rifleman" ... which is what NRA member actually provides for your annual membership fee. (Can you tell I'm disgruntled?) I've been an NRA member, several times, and every time I allowed my membership to lapse because of the exhorbitant extra fees they extort for a magazine which, except for the "Armed Citizen" page, is essentially a piece of crap.

Now, if they brought back "Gun Games" magazine, and made that an option, I would be a Life Member at the drop of a cheesy NRA hat.

Speaking of the NRA, and our (whew! Glad this is almost over!) last piece:
Tough defender of firearms may soften group's rhetoric

By Tom Beal
It's understandable, in an organization that still divides its convention luncheons into "ladies" and "sportsmen" categories, that publicity about the National Rifle Association's incoming president highlights her gender.
But while Monday's expected election of Tucson attorney Sandra Froman as president of the nearly 4 million-member organization might inject a more civil tone into the arguments over gun control in the United States, it doesn't signal a softening of NRA policies.
"She's not the new pope who's gonna let priests marry," said Mick Rusing, Froman's friend, former law partner and sometime hunting companion. Her election doesn't signal a liberalization of NRA policies, Rusing said, but it could produce a ramping down of its rhetoric.

That "ramping down" thing could be an improvement, or not. But I'll tell you frankly:
I miss Charlton Heston.

Okay, it's not a Drum Roll, but this single statement pretty much sums up how I feel about all of this "culture shock" minutia.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Practical Pistol is FUN!

For the past several days, I've been addressing some serious RKBA issues.

Enough of that.

I want to show you how much FUN it is to shoot in IPSC matches. After all, that's why I originally created this blog.

While I've tried to keep the number of photographs down (because they take so darned long to load ... especially if you're accessing the Internet on a too-slow modem, as I am) I think I'll just show you the pictures and let you decide for yourself whether the game is worth the effort.

The first three pictures are from the Albany match 'last' weekend in April. We were blessed with gentle weather, and I think you should be given a 'baseline' picture of Good Spring Weather in Oregon so you can see how, uh, 'changeable' it can be. These photos were taken on April 9, 2005.

This first picture is of an 'unidentified' young lady shooting an IPSC stage. I know you're paying attention to the shirtsleeve weather, and the generally green background.

In that same match, here's a photo of SWMBO at the Load And Make Ready" portion of another stage (in this case the Classifier Stage.) Note her concentration:

... And in the final photo from this match, here's 'Barsoom' smokin' the "Drum Wall" stage. The stage was named because of the reverberations of the competitor's pistol (in this case, a Glock Open Pistol in .40 S&W) from the visquine (sp) fabric which was used to fabricate the walls. Barsoom absolutely crushed me ... and almost everyone else ... at this match, and ended up placing 3rd overall and First B-Open. (I was lucky to finish in the Fourth B-Open place and 10th out of 17 Open Division.)

The final two pictures are from 'this weekend in April' ... Sunday, April 17, 2005. The host club was Tri-County Gun Club in Sherwood, Oregon.

I didn't do well. It didn't have a lot to do with the weather; mostly I just wasn't turning myself loose to shoot to the edge of the envelope. Instead, I was much to conservative. It was a "Points Match" and deliberately designed to be edgy. The stages were tough, and most of them focused on accuracy rather than fast shooting. The thing is, you had to be accurate AND fast to score well in comparison to the other 74 competitors. And there was another factor: the weather turned on us.

It was a rainy day. Pretty darned rainy. Not the worst day most inclement weather we've experienced in Oregon, but wet enough and windy enough to be 'uncomfortable'.

It was a matter of grey skies with blue patches. Some people focused on the blue patches, some on the grey skies. (Note: the following picture is misleading; both of the gentlemen depicted here are of almost invariably sunny disposition. However, the accidental contrast was too dramatic to resist including it in this composition.)

The final photo is of SWMBO in a 'pixie-ish' mood. I don't know whether she's saying "hello", or "find me another mud-puddle to stomp", or "I know it's wet and rainy, and I should be glum, but I'm having a great time and I don't care!" As far as I know, she's saying "my fingers are frozen in an un-natural position from picking up brass from the mud puddles!"

I just included it because she's gorgeous, and charming, and any time I can sneak her picture into the conversation it makes it a Good Day for me!

Incidently, if you follow the link for the match scores, you will notice the Open Division is lead by a young man named "Kevin". He has been dominating the Limited 10 Division for the past year, and only in the past couple of months has he migrated to Open Division. As far as I know, he has been using the same gun for "Open" as he has for "Limited 10" ... a single stack!

I may be wrong ... I usually am ... but you will note he beat two Master Open competitors, two A-class Open shooters, and the other five B-Class open shooters (in which class I once again finished 4th of six.)

At the next club match I'll try to catch up with this relatively young open shooter (meaning, he's not a Senior like the rest of us B-Open shooters.) If I can, I'll tell you as much as he will allow about what kind of equipment he's using, how long he has been using it, and anything else I can learn about his amazing success story.

Can this be the next USPSA prodigy?

Stay tuned.

Yup, it's true. I was wrong.

I've just heard from one of my 'sources' that the illustrious Kevin is not winning club matches shooting a singlestack in Open Division. He's using a big ol' STI with compensator, bigsticks and reddot sight. This revelation (to me) doesn't take a lot away from his shooting prowess, because this is apparently a situation where a talented shooter displays a "like a fish to water" affinity for getting the most out of whatever hardware available to solve the shooting problem.

I'm still impressed by Kevin's shooting, and I still intend to furnish more information later if Kevin is willing to be interviewed for an internet weblog.

The Barrett .50-BMG is Practical!

This is, I swear it, the last comment for a long LONG time about the .50-BMG.

It's just that I think we need some perspective on the issue, and I've spent a lot of time talking about the 'political' aspects of this fine rifle in America.

Now it's time we spend a moment considering the Military aspect.

We can do this, I think, thanks to a reference from the excellent Michael Bane Blog.

Michael shows us how much the U.S. Military Appreciates the contribution made by Mr. Barrett.

Barrett's Model M107 Rifle System Selected By the US Army As One of the Top Ten Inventions For CY2004

Barrett M107 LRSR Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Inc has recently earned several honors that reflect on the commitment the company has to providing the soldier with the best .50 caliber long-range sniper rifle in the world. This week we have been again been recognized for the US Army's M107 LRSR.

Barrett M107 was selected by the Chief of Staff Office of the US Army as one of the "Top Ten Inventions of 2004" for the fight against the war on terror.