Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Front Sight - 2005 - September/October

The Columbia Cascade Section (CCS) has the honor and the privilege to be prominently featured in the latest (as of September 1, 2005) edition of the USPSA 'house organ', "The Front Sight".

Starting with the cover, which displays CCS Section Coordinator at the Area 1 match, including page 45, with CCS member Harold the Barbarian, and including articles about the nth annual Single Stack Championship and the CCS Junior Program, this issue is jam-packed with illustrations of the many ways in which CCS is leading the region in progressive programs and reporting.

Speaking of illustrations (and getting to the reason for this post), most of the photos are rendered in monochrome rather than in color. This is a darned shame, as they look much better when there's color in 'em.

In a vain attempt to correct this situation, I want to make these same photos available in their original colorful glory.

Here's the first offering: Tom Angel shooting the Donut. See Front Sight page 57.

Free Image Hosting at
(All pictures can be seen in hi-res. Just click on the pic.)

Here's Brent on the same stage (Page 58)
Free Image Hosting at

Mikey, in his 'Mac' persona (Page 60)
Free Image Hosting at
Also on page 60, Rick Calli trying to get it together for the double-star stage.
Free Image Hosting at
The Juniors are featured on page 61.

And of course you have the URL for Harold the Barbarian. But just in case you don't want to type the URL, here's the link.

HR1423 Childproof Handgun Act of 2005

I want to draw your attention to a bill introduced in the House on March 17, 2005.

This bill would make it a felony to manufacture, sell, transfer or deliver any handgun which cannot be "personalized".

Huh? You mean it has custom stocks?

No, silly. "Personalized" means that it can't be fired by anyone but the owner or other authorized person.

In general, it's an amendment to Section 922 of Section 18 of the United States Code.

Here's the money quote:

    (b) Personalized Defined- Section 921(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:
    `(36) The term `personalized' means, with respect to a handgun, that integral to the handgun is a device or feature that--
      `(A) allows the handgun to be fired only by a particular individual;
      `(B) is not capable of being readily deactivated; and
      `(C) may allow the handgun to be personalized to 1 or more additional individuals.'.
    (c) Penalty- Section 924(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:
    `(8) Whoever knowingly violates section 922(z) shall be fined not more than $500,000, imprisoned not more than 18 months, or both. The fine otherwise applicable under section 3571 shall not apply to an offense under section 922(z).'.
You can read the full text of the House bill here.

There's one iota of common sense in the bill. It directs the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study to determine whether it is technically possible commercially feasible to create such a handgun within 5 years after enactment of the bill. The study will consider:

    (c) Commercial Feasibility- In determining whether the technology involved in personalizing firearms is commercially feasible, the Comptroller General shall consider the following factors:
      (1) The reliability of the technology utilized in personalized firearms.
      (2) The difference between the manufacturer's suggested retail price for personalized firearms and the manufacturer's suggested retail price for equivalent firearms that are not personalized.
      (3) Such other criteria as the Comptroller General deems appropriate.

Two thoughts, and no more:
  1. This bill would require extensive and expensive modifications to millions of handguns already in the hands of private citizens.
  2. The penalty of a half-million dollars and 18 months in the pokey seems excessive, in a bill which fails to include a 'grandfather' clause.
This bill has been on the books for almost six months, and it isn't going anywhere. Chances are it never WILL 'go anywhere', because it's a piece of work which appeals only to low-life incompetents who get themselves elected to the U.S. Legislature for personal reasons entirely unrelated to the desire to provide intelligent leadership.

The reason this bill is featured here is to acquaint you with the people responsible for this boondogle . . and boondogle it is, as those of us who keep track of the technology know that such a criteria could never pass any reasonable test.

(This technological criteria ignores the fact that many of us who own firearms store them safely in a household containing children, and have done so for years, because we make the children safe, not the firearms.)

Here are the sponsors:

Mr. PASCRELL (for himself, [D-NJ]
Mr. KENNEDY of Rhode Island, [D-RI]

These are the 'hopefuls', those who 'hope' that technology will rescue them from the Evil Gun.

I am shocked . . . SHOCKED . . . to learn that all of the sponsors of this bill are DemocRats from the New England States, with the sole exception of a DemocRat from Illinois.

Who knew that these people were a bunch of agenda-driven, know-nothing elitists? I certainly didn't.

If you look at the links, clicking on their name takes you to their House website. Clicking on the party-state takes you to snailmail contact information.

What you do with this information is up to you. Personally, if I lived on the North-Eastern Seaboard or Illinois I would be writing to these reps and trying to clue them into the fact that Technology and Gun Control doesn't save us from "Hand Gun Violence". There are a lot of other, much more difficult measures which can be taken (control of gangs, encouraging the maintenance of 'nuclear families' with two parents present, elimination of the Welfare Bonus for single moms, etc etc etc) and they may help reduce the HUMAN tendency to violence.

(Technical measures to offset human tendencies rarely work, if ever.)

Actually, if I lived on the North-Eastern Seaboard or Illinois, I would probably be scrambling to move to another climate; one which is represented more ably in Congress.

Oregon isn't perfect, but at least these idiots don't live there.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

ATF, Virginia Police Accused of 'Persecuting' Gun Shows -- 08/23/2005

ATF, Virginia Police Accused of 'Persecuting' Gun Shows -- 08/23/2005

Welcome to Virginia. "Sic Semper Tyrannis" ("Thus Always to Tyrants")

According to the cited article, Tyrants run rampant in Virginia. Consider the charges:

  • At a recent gun show in Richmond, Virginia, ATF planted "at least 30 agents" in the immediate vicinity of the entrance to the show.
  • An ATF spokesman defended their action by stating that this was "same amount of force that we've used in all the shows." (Question: does the ATF typically post 30 agents at ALL gun shows? Who pays for this, and what is their purpose?)
  • Also present were " . . . nearly 500 Virginia State Police, Henrico County Police and Richmond City Police officers . . ." (Are they sure this is enough to do the job? What is 'the job'?)
  • The Gun Show sponsor ". . . said four marked police cars were stationed at the main entrance to the raceway parking lot and more than 50 marked and unlabeled but obvious law enforcement vehicles were positioned just outside the public entrance to the building." The officers' presence, the sponsor said, was intended to intimidate her customers. (Or to prevent littering, or a terrorist attack, or ... who knows why?)
  • . . . ATF Resident Agent in Charge Brian Swann told (the sponsor) that . . . (t)he only difference in (this) case . . . was that the command post was established at the site of her gun show.
  • "Virginia State Police (VSP) spokeswoman Corinne Geller told Cybercast News Service that her agency does participate in a task force with ATF and other Virginia law enforcement agencies. As part of the agreement that created the task force, Geller said, VSP agreed to refer questions regarding its operations to ATF." (emphasis added)
  • A Henrico County Police spokesmen acknowledged the participation of their officers, but refused to cite the numbers.
  • A Richmond City Police spokesperson stated that "... the gun show was not in our jurisdiction, so I have no record of our officers' participation." (Question: since the gun show sponsor typically hires Richmond City Police as security officers at these recurring gun shows, were the OTHER Richmond City Police officers hired during off-duty hours by the ATF? Who paid for their time?)
  • Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, told Cybercast News Service that he has received numerous complaints alleging that as handgun buyers were waiting for their National Instant Check System (NICS) background investigations to be completed, ATF was secretly conducting the so-called "residency checks."

    According to the complaints he received, Van Cleave said officers were dispatched to the homes of the prospective gun buyers to speak with family members, asking for example: "Gee, did you know your husband was going to a gun show today? Do you have his cell phone number? Did you know he was buying a gun?

    "If people weren't home they, in some cases, went to neighbors" to ask the same questions, Van Cleave said.
  • (The sponsor) . . . and her attorneys were in Washington, D.C., Aug. 15 to meet with ATF officials and seek an explanation for what happened over the weekend. After talking with several people in the ATF headquarters, (The sponsor) said she finally spoke with a supervisor, whom she would not identify, who assured her that ATF "is out of the residency check business, effective immediately."

  • I'm not going to beat this one to death, but it sounds as if this article describes a massive, uninvited (by any of the participants) and highly visible Police presence at a gun show for reasons which have not been satisfactorily explained. The article cites at least one attempt at intimidation of an attendee by what appeared to be a Federal agent. As a consequence of this show of force, the sponsor of the gun show lost money both by a reduced attendance (due to the intimidation?) and in subsequent expenses necessary to formally protest this police presence in post-show response.

    Although I'm going to let you draw your own conclusions, allow me to describe a real-life scenario illustrative of the effects of significant police presence at a place of business:

    Two weeks ago, I went to a "Sportsman's Warehouse" in Salem, Oregon, to buy some shotgun ammunition. As I pulled into the parking lot of the mall, I saw a police cruiser with its lights flashing; a four-wheel ATV with "SHERIFF" painted on it; a recreational vehicle (small motor home) with "Marion County Sheriff Department" emblazoned on its side, and a half-dozen uniformed Sheriff's deputies. All were surrounded by yellow ribbons proclaiming "Crime Scene: Do Not Enter". The Sheriff's deputies were outside this cordon, near the entrance to the store, and were seen to be talking to individual civilians.

    I parked (not too near the cordon) and watched them for several minutes. My first impression was that this WAS a crime scene, and that the county sheriff had moved personnel and equipment to support an investigation. Was it a bomb threat? Were terrorists involved? Had someone been murdered? Any plausible explanation for the presence of all this equipment and personnel raced through my mind, and I was loath to get out of the car, let alone approach the scene.

    After I had watched for a couple of minutes, I realized that there was no sense of urgency in the people involved. When I did leave my car and approach the store, I saw that this was some sort of "Support Your Local Sheriff" campaign, and there was actually no danger involved.

    People were entering and leaving the store at will, and the deputies were handing out brochures to the civilians as they moved about.

    My experience happened the weekend BEFORE the incident at Richmond, but I can attest to the intimidation factor of a conspicuous police presence. And these guys were all very friendly; not at all like the ATF people at Richmond.

    In my personal opinion, the Richmond incident sounds very much as it was originally portrayed by the Gun Show sponsor ... an attempt (and a successful one, by all accounts!) on the part of a governmental Law Enforcement Agency to intimidate the prospective attendees of a legal gun show, for no better purpose than to discourage attendance.

    I don't know what laws were broken, or how much it cost the independent sponsor. You do the math. But what I DO know is that the display of Police Power is likely to have been very successful in the supposed goal to make gun shows fiscally infeasible.

    It's not enough to pass laws against abuse of police powers, or even a constitutional amendment. In order to prevent the continuance of this kind of unlawful activity, our government needs to provide some sort of oversight which will punish its authors and disallow further such displays.

    After all, isn't this sort of overwhelming governmental intrusion into lawful commerce the very model of Tyranny?

    Monday, August 29, 2005

    Turks & Jerks

    An article last week at TURKS.US reported that Australia is more than willing to follow England's lead in ejecting Muslims who preach Jehad.

    Unlike Senator Lautenberg's pusilanimous attempts to violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, this IS a 'common sense' approach to negating at least one root-cause of violence.

    Here is the money-quote:

    A day after a special meeting between Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Muslim leaders, Muslims who do not respect secularism and law were told Wednesday, August 24, to leave the country.

    "If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Shari`ah law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, said on national television.
    Well, heck. I think he oughta run for U.S. president in Ought-Eight. He has as good a chance as Arnold, and a lot more credibility.


    In other news, a few months ago when Pat Tillman's death was still fresh news, I wrote that he was killed by "Friendly Fire" in a "Blue-On-Blue" encounter.

    Now Southern Mississippi's Sun Herald is running an Associated Press article which seems to confirm it.

    Because the Sun Herald website specifically states (on Wednesday, August 24, 2005) that this article will be available for only a 'short time', I'll provide both the link to the story and the full text.

    Tillman case reviewed


    The Pentagon's inspector general is reviewing the Army's probe into the friendly fire death of former pro football player Pat Tillman, a spokesman said.

    "The other investigations were frauds," Tillman's father, Patrick Tillman, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

    "People above should have been punished," added Mary Tillman, referring to her son's commanding officers.

    Tillman, who played for the Arizona Cardinals, left football after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to join the Army with his brother.

    After a tour in Iraq, they were sent to Afghanistan in 2004 to help hunt for the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

    On April 22, 2004, Tillman was killed by gunfire from his fellow soldiers, who mistook him for the enemy as he got into position to defend them, military officials have said. After the reports of his death, the military for weeks did not dispute the widespread belief he was killed by enemy fire.

    The Army announced later that Tillman likely died because of friendly fire.

    His family has been highly critical of the military's handling of his death.

    The Defense Department has already completed an investigation into Tillman's death that was aimed at concerns raised about whether the Army held back information, but its findings weren't made public.

    The Army has previously said it should have better handled the information on Tillman's death, but denied it.

    The link to my earlier post is not immediately available, but it's not the point. The point is that the army first reported that he had been killed by enemy fire, but after a period of investigation realized that he had in fact been fired upon, and killed by, American troops.

    I assure you that I didn't immediately, in the confusion which reigned after the untimely death of Tillman, intuit that the Army's original explanation was in error. I read it in the newspapers, sometime in May.

    I submit that the U.S. Army made a mistake in their initial announcement, and corrected it as soon as it was obvious that an American bullet had killed Tillman. It happens more frequently than we would wish, it's difficult to distinguish friend from foe when the bullets are flying from all directions. I recall mentioning "the fog of war" in my earlier post, and this not only applies to the immediate consequences ("Blue on Blue", meaning 'friendly fire') but also in the after-action reports. These are the documents describing the moment-by-moment events of a battle, and they are notoriously authored by people who were experiencing both an adrenallin rush and the after-effects of confusion and fear of being killed. They're good for understanding the first impressions, but not notable for having ALL of the information necessary to understand what was REALLY happening. The people who write After Action Reports don't necessarily have all of the information which would provide them the perspective necessary to tell what REALLY happened.

    Thus it was, I am reasonably certain, in the Pat Tillman situation. They didn't even know he had been hit until after the battle was over(which is not unusual in combat).

    Now, though, he family of Pat Tillman is looking at the earliest reports, comparing them to the latest analysis of the action, and the see the natural discrepancies as 'a lie' on the part of the authorities.

    I'm sure the authorities, whomever they are, didn't have a clear picture of the action at the earliest moment and were all too ready to accept the common supposition that Tillman was killed by enemy fire. Certainly, if there was any doubt, they would have preferred to avoid any suggestion that Tillman's friends and fellow soldiers were directly responsible for his death. This would certainly not have provided any comfort to his family.

    It wasn't until they were certain that Tillman was fired upon by American troops that they admitted that, yes, it seemed most likely that he was the victim of 'friendly fire'. A reasonable enough mistake, and an understandable one given their reluctance to visit even more pain upon the family.

    Now, several months later and now that we know what is most likely the truth about the event, the family isn't focusing on the pain of their loss. They're not angry at Tillman's fellow soldiers who, in the heat of battle, engaged what they wrongly perceived to be a source of enemy fire and consequently killed their loved one.

    Instead, they are attacking the army which Pat Tillman joined in an effort to 'make a difference' and defend his country.

    Tillman's father considers the early reports to be "frauds" rather than honest mistakes. His mother asserts that "People above should have been punished."

    We are left with an understanding, however second-hand, of their sense of loss. But we may not necessarily agree with the motivation they ascribe to the Army spokesmen who initially attributed directly to enemy action. (And wasn't it ultimatly 'enemy action' which forced the firefight which killed him?)

    Perhaps it's the times, the month in which Cindy Sheehan has chosen to present an interminable tirade against George Bush and the consequences of his executive decision. We are left with the still small voice suggesting that families of fallen soldiers may be inclined to milk the incident of the death of their loved one for personal or political gain.

    I may be too jaded to assume that the Tillmans are making a great media play for the sole reason of attempting to learn the truth of the death of their son . . . can it get any worse than the Army has already admitted it to be? But if not that, why then are they determined to prolong their personal agony, rather than stiving to accept that Pat Tillman was in the Army because he thought that was where he should be, and that he had already accepted that he could be killed in his endeavor? Wasn't it his choice? Do they do him honor by attacking the decisions he made, simply because they led to tragedy?

    I don't know. There is too much Cindy Sheehanism in the world for us to sit back and explore the events in the context of their hapening. Instead, we witness families torn apart less by their loss than by their interpretations of the effects of their loss.

    I grieve for my country, and for the people who have lost so much but just can't seem to be able to accept the decisions of their sons.

    Was it always like this?