Friday, March 23, 2007

The Shooter

The sniper movie based on Stephen Hunters Bob Lee Swagger book "Point of Impact" opens today. I'm a weekend-matinee-going kind of movie viewer, so I won't be in the theater Friday. And I have an IPSC match on Saturday, which means I'll be in the 9th Street Theater Sunday afternoon waiting to see how much of the original story remains in the movie.

Fish sent me a couple of links yesterday to early critiques of the movie which were not universally complementary.

The gist seems to be that the movie stays fairly close to the book in the better (early) half of the movie, but loses all continuity in the finale. Big surprise, huh?

In the source book, Swagger is a Viet Nam Marine Sniper. The book was written in the early 1990's, so by 2007 that made Swagger a middle-aged hero who may have become too old a dog to hunt.

Put another 15-20 years on our hero, and he's going to end up looking something like ... me. (Check the profile picture. Not an awe inspring profile eh?) So the first change has Bob Lee a veteran of a Middle-Eastern conflict, which takes the worst of 30 years off his age and makes Marky Mark a reasonable choice to play Swagger.

From that point on, the story is updated to fit the recent American history in a manner reminiscent of the swings of a pendulum which can't stay out of the way of directorial boosts.

By the end of the movie, the director has so lost track of the original story that he has to bend over and squat out an ending. No, I haven't seen the movie and I'm not prescient, but I've seen what Hollywood does to books and it isn't always a pretty sight. Have I mentioned the similarity between Hollywood treatments of 'action' books and sausage making?

I'm not so old and cranky that I'll boycot this movie just because some ex-L.A. Street Tagger can't get the ending right. I expect it to fall apart eventually, but the good news from the pre-release critical reviews I've read is they hold it together until right at the very end.

It's okay. I know how the story really ends (SWMBO and I reread "Point of Impact" within the past two weeks), and anybody who does even a fair job of paying homage to Hunter's plot is doing okay.

I just hope they don't lose the big scene at the Baptist Church. Oh, and is it too much to hope that they get Swagger's revenge on Payne at the end?

Watch this space.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Washington Gun Show Loophole

March 5, 2007

Gun show check bill moves along

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer chortles in its accustomed glee at the discomfort of Washington gun-owners who naively believe that non-dealers need not abide by the Brady Bill.

That federal law, which "... applied only to transfers from a dealer licensed to sell guns by the Treasury Dept to a private individual ... ", will (if this law passes) be enforced also against private individuals if the sale concludes on the site of a Gun Show.

Oregon, I shamefully admit, passed a similar bill a few years ago. There's no evidence that it has reduced the number of firearms in the possession of felons and others forbidden by law to own them.

As we use to say about the Federal 55 mph Speed Limit Law in the 1970's: "It's not a good idea, it's just the law."

Now Washington is jumping on the Gun-Grabber bandwagon with full enthusiasm, and my guess is that this bill WILL pass unless the good citizens of Washington stand up for their rights.

A couple of days ago, speaking of the Stealth Gun-Grabber Bill (SB 1012) now introduced to the Oregon State Senate, I mentioned that Washington citizens ought to pay close attention to RKBA impositions passed in Oregon, because as sure as DemocRats are Socialists, any gun-law passed in Oregon will soon show up in Washington.

It's just a political fact of life that The Pacific NorthWet is no longer the easy going Land of the Free it was 40 years ago. In the face of increasing liberal influence by the hippie protestors of the 60's who grew up to become the academia and legislature of the 90's (of COURSE they all got a law degree! Remember Billary?), the communes have spawned communists all over the upper-left-hand corner of the country.

Sell your Confederate money, boys, the South PNW will NOT rise again.

Unless, that is, you take steps now to become politicized, contract your legislators, and howl.

Quote from the Seattle P-I article:

In Oregon, where voters approved an initiative to close the gun show loophole in 2000, the effect of the measure is less than clear. Lawmakers who supported it say it has made a huge difference, but Portland police are unsure the city's lower crime rates mean fewer criminals are getting their hands on guns.

Before Oregon implemented its gun show loophole measure, which 62
percent of voters approved, Portland police spent three years tracing guns used in gang violence. Of those that could be traced, they found that 27 percent of them came from gun shows.

"Gun shows were always two things: a fun thing for a family to do on a Saturday morning, and a place for criminals to get guns," said Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, who is chairwoman of Oregon's Senate Judiciary Committee. "Now it's only one of those things." Portland police spokesman Brian Schmautz said the city has seen reduced crime since the measure passed, but its criminals don't seem to have any more difficulty getting guns than before.

Here's something to think about:

There ain't no such thing as a "gun show loophole".

There's just a lot of loopy politicians. We've got 'em. So do you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

SB1012 - Not Ginny? Stealth Bill?

I've been checking my statscounter account, looking for some idea of who is picking up on SB1012 (see here and here.)

Curiously, I found a reference to it on a forum called "JobsRelatedStuff".

There's apparently a lot of interest here.

But I found one post from a person who claims to have received a reply from the office of Ginny Burdick:

Hello. Thank you for contacting the office of Senator Ginny Burdick. Senator Burdick has read your email and asked me to respond.

Senate Bill 1012 is not her bill, nor did she introduce this legislation into committee or legislative counsel. Senate Bill 1012 is the product of a constituent of Salem and he had the bill introduced into the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is not Senator Burdick's constituent nor did he approach Senator Burdick about this legislation. At this time, Senator Burdick has not scheduled this bill and it is not likely to receive a hearing in the near future.

Should you have any further questions, either to this bill or to any other legislation, please feel free to contact me on this issue. Thank you again for contacting our office and please continue to participate in the legislative process.


Jordan Rash
Legislative Assistant
State Senator Ginny Burdick
District 18
Office: 503-986-1718
Fax: 503-986-1080
A later poster on this forum related his own experience:

I just called her office and got off the phone with Jordan, he gave me more of the same. I told him where she can stick the bill (politely of course) and he also brought up assault weapons. I almost commented on it, but I decided since theres no legislation pending, there was no reason to.

He also told me that this came from a grudge that this guy had against a range here in salem. If that is the case, this legislation is an extreme overreaction.

My bet is that it was introduced by a brady campaign employee and that Ginny "allowed" it in.

It's very interesting, because this email explicitly demonstrates that she know's she's on a slippery slope in battling for gun control, she's obviously being careful not to take too much at a time here, and it will be interesting to say the least, to watch that play out.

... and still later, from another forum member:

Yes, I heard the originator on the radio yesterday, and actually got a response from Burdick today. The bill was initiated by a neighbor of the gun club down in Salem. He was all PO'd that rounds leave the range on a regular basis, and said he can't go out in his back yard for fear of being shot, and that his next door had been shot five times.
I cannot, of course, confirm the accuracy of these observations.

However, as far as I know there is only one 'outdoor' range in Salem, Oregon, and it is a little-visited range with very conservative leadership. I've never visited this particular range, so I cannot say more.

I don't know if this information is accurate, or complete. But if it is true that "... the product of a constituent of Salem and he had the bill introduced into the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is not Senator Burdick's constituent nor did he approach Senator Burdick."

... then the question remains which State Senator sponsored the bill. That information is not attached to the bill, which is an unusual, but not unheard of circumstance.

I have been unable to determine the author or the sponsor(s) of this bill. If you can positively answer these questions, I invite you to write me (email address at the bottom of this page). Please provide internet links to documentation, or have hardcopy available for mailing or hand-to-hand transmittal.

This is, indeed, a Stealth Bill.

Whatever happened to transparency in government? Of course, this is a Democrat controlled Senate, which suggests (to me) that only lip-service will be paid to the concept of accountability.


The 2nd Amendment - Applied Locally?

So you think you know and understand the Bill of Rights, eh?

How does it apply to local government?

No, let's not talk about 'goverment' at even a municiple level. How does it apply to your college football team, or your neighborhood?

Case #1: The Hurricanes

Shannon: Firearms will not be tolerated

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

CORAL GABLES — Randy Shannon has issued a straightforward warning to his University of Miami football players:

Get caught carrying a firearm and your days as a Hurricane are over.

After two shooting incidents involving UM players last year, Shannon plans to enforce a "zero-tolerance'' policy regarding weapons.

"You get caught with a firearm, you're dismissed from the football team," UM's coach said Monday.

"They're gone. They know the rules. It's not hard rules. It's to protect them."

Asked about his players' constitutional right to own firearms, Shannon said: "I'm thinking about the University of Miami and the kids. When you have a firearm, there's a 50-50 chance that you're going to get hurt. So I said, 'Let's not put ourselves in those situations.'

"Make it a 100 percent chance that you're not going to hurt nobody and that nobody is going to get hurt."

You can't argue with the good intentions of Coach Shannon.

Last July, UM safety Willie Cooper was shot in the buttocks by an unknown assailant outside his home in South Miami. Teammate Brandon Meriweather, who shared the home with Cooper, pulled a pistol from his pants and fired three times at the gunman, who escaped.

Police determined that Meriweather acted in self-defense, and no arrests have been made in the case.

On Nov. 7, UM defensive tackle Bryan Pata was shot and killed at his apartment complex shortly after a Hurricanes practice. Pata, who police say owned several weapons, was shot in the back of the head and the case remains unsolved.

Meriweather, who has completed his collegiate eligibility, understands Shannon's policy.

"Guns don't do nothing but get you in trouble," Meriweather said. "There really is no use for a gun in college. You've got to get rid of them. It's no time for them. If you're a team player, you won't have no problem getting rid of them."

I don't think I agree with this statement. Meriweather demonstrably drove off an attacker and arguably saved the life of his team-mate. Pata had nobody watching his ... um ... back, as Cooper did. It seems to me that this may be a case FOR ownership if defensive firearms. But that's just my RKBA prejudice speaking.

Case #2: Community Suggests Gun Possession Is Illegal For Residents

March 19, 2007 02:15 PDT

ANTIOCH, Tenn.- Some people in a Nashville neighborhood are furious over a new rule that makes it illegal to own a gun.

Residents in Nashboro Village said it's unconstitutional and leaves them defenseless.

Two weeks ago, residents received a letter from their homeowners' association indicating that guns are not allowed on the property.

"It thought it was ironic that they say you can't have something when the United States government says you can," said resident Cristina Salajanu.

Salajanu would like to give her neighborhood management company a history lesson.

"I think it's unconstitutional," Salajanu said. "They can't tell you what to own or not to own in your own house."

Salajanu is talking about the Bill of Rights, specifically the Second Amendment, which grants citizens the right to keep and bear arms. It's been an American freedom for 215 years but Salajanu and other residents said it's been taken away from them.

"Something needs to be done," she said.

Two weeks ago, the property management company at Nashboro Village told its residents no more guns on the property.
The residents protested, citing their Second Amendment rights. The 'village' responded positively ... more or less.

Officials with Ghertner and Company, the property manager at Nashboro Village, would not make an on-camera comment about the gun policy but said they plan on changing the rule soon to allow firearms on the property.

However, they would make it illegal to fire those guns, which residents say is still unconstitutional.
Let me get this straight. Now the property manager is saying that you can possess a gun, but you cannot fire it?

Aren't there already laws against discharging a firearm within city limits ... which I assume this is? And if you discharge it in a self-defense situation, isn't that justifiable by law? Does the community, then, consider itself justified in requiring the resident (who own their homes, withing the codicile of the community) leave? Can they DO that?

The Constitution and "Other Rights"
We think of the Constitution as limiting the powers of the Federal Government, usually. But we also recognize that it defines Civil Rights at every level of government ... in everything but the Second Amendment.

For example, we have the right of peaceful assembly, and free speech, under the Constitution. If your college or property manage decides that you cannot stand on a street corner and propound your political views to passersby, is your action not defensible under the Constitution?

Well ... yes. In fact, recent legal actions against College 'Free Speech Zones' have established that the Bill of Rights is a powerful threat to colleges who seek to prohibit 'hateful speech'. In fact, even non-verbal expression is protected, when academia is aggressively confronted.

It appears that the US Constitution is not merely a limit of the Federal Government, but in fact protects our rights in any venue.

Still, we continue to see these infringements imposed by non-governmental organizations as if the Constitution has no bearing on our day-to-day life.

This is, of course, most often (although not exclusively, since Freedom of Speech may now be identified as a 'hate crime') applied to the Second Amendment: " ... The Right To Bear Arms ...".

What do YOU think?


Oregon SB1012 on The Shooting Wire

If you're not already subscribed to The Shooting Wire, you absolutely must, without delay, go here and subscribe. Do it now. We'll wait.

This is one of the most elegant 'newsletter' subscriptions avaialble anywhere. On a day-to-day basis you can go to their website and see the current issue ... but when a new issue comes out the entire content is replaced. I very much recommend that you get your own subscription, so you don't miss anything.

You've seen several articles extensively quoted on this blog, and you'll see them again. Generally, I look for the feature article (which I suspect, but can't prove, is written by the editor Jim Shepherd.) But I will no longer quote 'extensively'; if you don't have a subscription, you'll miss most of the point of this and future articles generated in response to something they have written about. The articles are copyrighted, and I am loath to infringe upon their rights to original content more than I have so far.

In this case, The Shooting Wire has picked up on the news of Oregon SB 1012, and the write-up is superior to mine.

However, assuming you have read the original SW article, there is one paragraph which is, in my opinion, a little misleading.

On the surface, the measure would seem to protect range owners from the irresponsible acts of shooters. Looking deeper, the owner, operator or lessee must be in compliance with all noise ordinances existing at the time construction of the rang (sic) began or noise control law that was existing and the allegation is from shooting activity between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m (with an exception for law enforcement training purposes) or the allegation did not result from activity on Christmas or Thanksgiving Day.
This statement is incorrect:
... the owner, operator or lessee must be in compliance with all noise ordinances existing at the time construction of the rang (sic) began or noise control law that was existing ...
In fact, the original law stated that the range complied with ordinances existing at the time construction of the range began. I have no argument with that, it seems a reasonable expectation.

The new law has changed that, and would require that the range is in compliance with noise ordinances existing at the time of the infraction.

That means that, instead of 'grandfathering' the law (accepting that the range was constructed to meet noise ordinance requirements when it was constructed), the range must now meet noise ordinances enacted after the range was constructed.

The implication is that a city or county (was: state) could enact ANY noice ordinance no matter now burdensome or difficult to achieve in compliance

A good example of the consequences is in another part of the bill. Now, range patrons are essentially prohibited from shooting on a range on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day ... presumably (although it is not specifically stated) because it is 'noisy'. Before, the law regulating shooting ranges did not prohibit 'noisy' shooting on these holidays, so if a local, county or state law was enacted to effect this prohibition ... shooting ranges would have been excepted.

This is why we say that, when you write or phone your state senator, you should urge them to reject the entire bill, not just the obviously egregious Section 1 (which contains the requirement for a 'rangemaster', and the requirement to record personal information and firearms registration).

If Section 1 is deleted, but the rest of the bill is allowed to be enacted into law, it will still have the effect of imposing an intolerable burden on shooting ranges. No other endeavor, such as heavy manufacturing, is the target (sorry) of such narrow legislation at this time.

For those of you who are not conversant with the subject, you can see my original comments here.

For those of you who are not subscribers to The Shooting Wire, and have no access to their article ... please email me (my email address is at the bottom of every page) and I will forward my copy of the newsletter unless I receive more requests than I can reasonable be expected to accomodate. I don't think I'll receive that many requests, so don't be shy ... it really is a very well written article, and worth the reading. I regret that I can't quote it in full, but I have no way to request permission to do so.

Please include your full email address, and the URL for this article (cut&paste from your browser window) to facilitate your request.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

DC Gun Ban Overthrown, as seen by The Brady Bunch

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

In light of the recent (last week, as of this writing) Federal Court overthrow of the total gun ban in Washington DC, I had originally intended this article to present court decisions from this ("Parker" thank you "Arms & The Law") case and commonly referenced ("Miller" notes from guncite and FindLaw, including this reference to the findings and references citing this case; "Emerson", including this from UCLA Law School) decisions commonly cited in similar cases.

[Note the Washington, DC, is a city which has repeatedly either had the highest homicide/assault/violent crime statistics in the country, or has been a close contender. This is in spite of the fact that it also has had one of the most restrictive regulations concerning private ownership of firearms, which most Gun Grabbers proposed as the most effective way to reduce "gun crime".]

But somewhere along the line of research, I followed the trail of citations to the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence op-ed article regarding this "Parker" decision.

The comments submitted by readers of this article are almost universally condemnatory of the Brady Bunch official response. I only read the first 100+ notes, and it was completely pro-gun until the emotional "Kelli" popped up with a series of ad hominem statements which attacked the pro-gun folks personally instead of responding to their talking points.

I laughed, I cried, a shouted with joy because the Brady Bunch had presented their case against what they referred to as "Judicial Activism" -- and left their blog article open to comments from the public. The public responded appropriately, and in the process revealed the gun-control position (in the person of the sad "Kelli") as having no ability to present a believable case for their position.

I'll go read the entire list of comments (there are 475 of them to date, and you dare challenge me for "Geek-Length" writing?) as soon as I let you know that you really should go there and read that.

I'm only surprised that The Brady Bunch has left the comments about their thinly disguised hate-piece on the Internet.

But if they do take it down ... I have copied the page. No, I don't expect to ever post it; I'm pretty sure that there are some copyright issues if I publish THEIR blog article and the resulting comments under the auspices of MY internet connection.

I'm just keeping it for me. If The Brady Bunch lose heart and delete the whole thing, I still have my copy, so I can go back and reread the whole thing.

And I'll chuckle.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Stage Procedures in Theory and Practice

An incident which occurred at a local club this month prompts my comments on the Theory and Practice of Stage Procedures and Courses of Fire. The relevant sections of the old and new Rulebooks that I’ll be discussing are:
2.3 Modifications to Course Construction
3.2 Written Stage Briefings
Just for the record, the basic concept under discussion is fairness. Every shooter at a match has the expectation and right to course challenge equality with every other shooter. To insure that equality, the match organizers are required to establish the physical construction of the stage, and the written stage procedures prior to anyone shooting the stage. If modifications to the stage equipment or written requirements are subsequently made, for clarity, consistency, or safety [3.2.3], any change in competitive requirement must be negated by requiring earlier competitors to reshoot the stage, or, if that is impossible, the stage and all associated scores must be deleted from the match [2.3.4].

There are probably as many different ways to verbally describe a course of fire as there are ROs and shooters viewing it. The rules attempt to get stage designers to crystallize their concept of the stage by stipulating at least a minimum of information that must appear in the written stage briefing.

3.2.1 A written stage briefing approved by the Range Master must be posted at each course of fire prior to commencement of the match. This briefing will take precedence over any course of fire information published or otherwise communicated to competitors in advance of the match, and it must provide the following minimum information:
  • Scoring Method
  • Targets (type & number)
  • Minimum number of rounds
  • The handgun ready condition
  • Start position
  • Time starts: audible or visual signal
  • Procedure

Note that Start Position and Procedure are the crux of a course of fire. These are often what makes or breaks a COF. Every shooter attempts to follow the written word, while gaining a competitive advantage if possible. In those cases where savvy shooters find a unique way to save time or increase shooting efficiency, they can produce hit factor results superior to the other shooters, and gain a competitive advantage. The course designer, for his part, tries to write the briefing to constrain the shooter to a pre-conceived set of options. These competing goals are an integral part of the game we play.

However, when one shooter does identify a competitive advantage, you can be sure that subsequent shooters will also use that method, if they have the equipment, physical ability and/or skills necessary to make it work. [E.g., a ‘sweet spot’ for an open shooter might be totally useless to a revolver shooter, because the open shooter might need the precision of optical sights and the bullet capacity of a 170 mm mag, while the revolver guy in the same spot would have to do multiple standing reloads and engage distant target with iron sights.]

This competitive advantage situation is the REASON that the rulebook includes restrictions requiring written stage briefings before anyone shoots the course, restrictions on modifications during the match, and stipulations to insure competitive equality if and when modifications are necessary.

Case Study of How Not To Run A Stage

[Note: While drawn from real life, the below scenario is fictional, as I wouldn’t want to characterize anyone with the derogative term “Range Nazi” undeservedly.]

The stage is a typical field course. We’re going to concentrate on the starting position and engagement of the first array after the start signal, concentrating on how the COF writeup started, how it evolved, and the concepts of fairness that were trashed along the way.

At the back of the bay is a typical cafeteria table, with a soft floppy doll prop on it. To the left of the table about 5 feet is an L-shaped barricade, with the short leg parallel to the 180 with a port in it, and the long end headed downrange. From the table, you cannot see the array of 3 targets which are visible through the port. After shooting this array, the shooter is expected to drop the doll in a bin attached to the barricade, then travel further downrange through the gap between the table and the barricade. In that free fire zone, they engage additional targets and poppers, but that is extraneous to this discussion. For distance estimation, someone standing at the middle of the table is a good 10 feet from a point where you can see the 3 target array.

On Saturday, stages are being set up for the match, and the ROs plan to shoot the match, so they can handle the “regular” shooters on Sunday. For this particular stage, the written Start Position is: “Standing behind table A, holding doll prop in weak hand.” The Stage Procedure is: “Upon start signal, draw and engage array A [the 3 targets], then deposit doll in the bin, and proceed to engage remaining targets as they become visible.”

On Saturday, after the stages are set up for the match, the ROs begin shooting the match, and the first few shoot this stage by standing at the table, picking up the doll, and waiting there for the starting beep, then running over to the port to shoot the first array. Shooter C, who is a RM and experienced shooter from another club, has been helping this relatively new club’s match staff learn the ropes of putting on a match. When given the instruction to ‘Load and make ready’, he picks up the doll, and proceeds to walk over to a position with a clear view through the port in the barricade of the target array, but which is behind the rear edge of the table, where he indicates, “Shooter is ready”. [See green box in picture below, where a green line indicates the rear edge of the table.]

Of course, the RO says, “You can’t do that.” And likewise, Shooter C counters with the news that (1) he is behind [to the rear of] the table, and (2) nothing in the stage description says he has to be near the table, so (3) this is where he chooses to start the stage. There is an obvious time advantage to starting the stage from that point, as he can engage and shoot the array single-handed [as intended by the stage designer], and not have to spend precious time running from the table laterally to the port before starting to shoot. Needless to say, every subsequent shooter in the RO squad choose to start the stage in the same manner.

This is where we get into “fairness”, “equal competitive advantage”, and the rules governing changes in stage procedures. On Sunday, Shooter C is in attendance with several other shooters at this stage. The RO reads the stage description, and says the starting position is, “Standing behind table A, holding doll prop in weak hand, with strong hand touching paster.” And now there is a paster on the right rear corner of the table!

This is where the following hypothetical dialog [or reasonable approximation thereof] ensues:
Shooter C: “Excuse me, Mr RO, but hasn’t this stage description changed since yesterday.”

RO R.N.: “Yes, I decided to tighten up the course description to eliminate gaming the stage.”

Shooter C: “Oh, then I assume that all the ROs who shot the stage yesterday have already reshot it under the new course description.”

RO R.N.: “No. There wasn’t any need to do that.”

Shooter C: “Do you realize that there is a considerable competitive disadvantage to starting the stage from that location behind the table, compared to how it was shot by most of the ROs yesterday?”

R.N.: “Yeah. So what. This is how everybody is shooting it today.”

Shooter C: “Do you realize that the stage will have to be tossed from the match unless those ROs reshoot it under the same rules as everybody is forced to follow today.”

R.N.: “Nobody’s going to reshoot it. And this squad is going to shoot it the way I say they’re going to shoot it.”

Shooter C: “I would like to see the written stage description.”

R.N.: “You can’t see the stage description, I just told you the stage description.”

Shooter C: “But I just want to check that it says what you told us.”

R.N.: [A little heatedly] “You know what? There is no written stage description. What I tell you is what the stage description is.”

Shooter C: “O---kay”.

And in this squad is a left-handed shooter. When he gets up to the table, he innocently asks, “Don’t you think it’s a little unfair that I’m 2 feet further away from the port when I have my strong hand on that paster?” Whereupon RO R.N. slaps another paster in a spot roughly 2 feet to the left of the other paster for him.

What Have We Learned

Obviously, this stage should have been tossed from the match after the stage description was changed, unless the Saturday-shooting ROs reshot it with the “touching the paster” restriction. Barring that, the stage description should not have been changed from Sat to Sun. The new batch of shooters on Sunday might not recognize the time savings of starting in the area of that imaginary green box, but that would be their failing. The course description modification, as enforced, imposed a significant time penalty on all of the Sunday shooters, requiring 2.3.3 or 2.3.4 actions to restore equal competitiveness and fairness. If the Range Nazi took it upon himself to make the modifications to the written course description [as was possible], the Range Master and Match Director should have been called into the ‘discussion’. If the RM and MD were also involved in the change, and sanctioned it, then they need to have their duties and responsibilities pointed out by a higher authority. This might be best accomplished after the fact, in a calmer environment, such as at a sectional meeting of club officials.

Basically, the main lesson is that each club should have experienced shooters in the match crew, to evaluate each stage fully before the first shot is fired. They look for shoot-throughs, possible 180 traps, possible RO traps [where the shooter is forced to reverse course or back up, possibly threatening to collide with the RO, or turning with gun in hand toward the RO]. They look for unusual ways to approach the stage which might save a shooter significant time, either by traveling less distance than others, or finding a sweet spot that allows shooting a bunch of targets with little or no movement. It also means reading through the written stage description to eliminate ambiguity. The intent of the RO should always be to provide each shooter with an identical challenge, through consistent application of the rules.

After a while, stage designers learn what constitutes a bullet-proof starting position, and fair course procedures. Usually, you want everyone starting at the same location, in the same orientation, for the start. That means setting up fixed spots for “heels touching the marks”, or, facing uprange, “toes touching the marks”, or fixed hand positions, like “palms of hands on the Xs of the barricade”. Remember to accommodate right and left-handed shooters, not only in starting positions by also in presenting equal difficulty shots through the COF for each handedness. You are never going to be completely fair to both, but you should try.

Another Addition to the RuleBook

Since we’re discussing written stage descriptions, I noticed that the proposed rules include a new section, 3.2.5, reproduced below.
3.2.5 A written stage briefing must comply with the current USPSA rules.
You might think this rule is unnecessarily redundant. However, I want to tell you that many of the course changes I’ve seen at our club are taken in order to comply with the rules. And our stage designers have been doing this for a while. And many times, I’ll hear someone at another club say,
“We can do it any way we want, because this is just a Level I match. That may be happening now because of rule US1.1.5.1, which state “Level I matches are not required to comply strictly with the freestyle requirements or round count limitations.”
Note that this current rule does NOT say you can ignore all the rules, even though some people are interpreting it that way. Now [if passed], rule 3.2.5 makes it explicitly clear that the rules must be followed in all stages, and this will be mandatory for all levels of matches in the U.S. [Local, State/Section, and Area/Nationals]. Also, the proposed rules are much more explicit in the section 1.1.5, describing what “freestyle” means and what is allowed in Local matches.

Example: You can’t now or under the proposed rules have a stage that says, “Engage target array with 2 rounds each freestyle, perform a mandatory reload and engage target array with 2 rounds each strong hand only, perform a mandatory reload and engage target array with 2 rounds each weak hand only." Reason: Once you go from freestyle to strong hand only, it is assumed for the remainder of the stage that your “other” hand is disabled, so you can’t later use it for a “weak hand only” requirement.

In the proposed rules, if strong hand only or weak hand only is required, it can apply only to the last shots required in the COF, and to no more than 6 shots using that handicap.

Stanley Penkala

Geek Lite - The Movie

This video is probably of personal interest to perhaps 12 people in the world.

But is serves as an example of the way that IPSC competition can be enjoyed by shooters of all levels of experience and talent, with the possible exception of "Good Shooters".

Nobody in this movie is particularly good, but everybody in this movie was having a good time. Witness the surprising end of The Incredible Kevin, who chose to end the stage by dumping all 11 rounds from his Single-Stack 1911 at "the two difficult far targets hidden in the corner". To his joy, he managed to get four hits on one target, and five on the other.

And no, we didn't make him tape the targets.

It's also a good vehicle for WhiteFish to show off his new STI 4.5" Open Gun. He got a miss on one of "the two difficult far targets hidden in the corner", but when interviewed (?) after the stage, he acknowledged that the misses were not due to 'the previous owner left a couple of misses in the gun', but due to his own desire to wish the shots into the brown parts. He bought it, he owns it, in the truest sense.

This video, and two other videos from this match are (as usual) available from Jerry the Geek's Video Shooting Gallery ... although the other two videos are 12mb downloads, this one is 15mb to preserve the visual quality and to give full justice to the music.

The YouTube version is available now, here:

The neat part about this movie is you can watch it and imagine how you would have shot it better, faster, smarter ...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Geek Lite - CCS Points March, 2007 Points Match at TCGC

After a fortnight of serious blogging about USPSA rules and the Oregon Senate's attempt to shut down Shooting Ranges state-wide, it's a pure pleasure to relax and enjoy describing a simple local Points Match.

I use the term "Points Match" from time to time. It simply defines a club match in which the match-points accumulated can be used to award the best shooters with an invitation to attend next year's USPSA Nationals without having to pay the Premium Price. Every club is awarded a certain number of 'slots' (match entry at the lowest possible fee) to the USPSA Nationals. In the Columbia Cascade Section, Match Points earned at one match per month determines which competitors are offered this premium entry. It's not really a big deal, except it gives us a reason to try extra hard to shoot well, once a month. Points Match are typically attended by more than the usual number of competitors. I'm not sure why, because here in Oregon we're an insular bunch and sometimes 'slots' are returned un-used for redistribution to sections which have more people able to invest the time and money to travel to a National Match.

The Tri-County Gun Club has experienced a change in leadership this year. Last Year's Club Representatives have moved on, and Norm The Ungrateful and Potty-Mouth Shaun have taken over the helm at this club for the 2007 Competition year.

I've lambasted both co-Match Directors in their first two matches because of flaws in their stage designs. They didn't like it, and I don't blame them a bit. I understand that match administration is a difficult and onerous task, and it would be a lot more fun for the people who contribute their time and effort to just ... let them put on a match, for goodness sakes!

But we need to be aware of the way in which stage designs are dictated by the USPSA Rule Book, so sometimes I'm less forgiving in my criticism than a friendly person ought to be.

After Norm and Shaun both responded as gentlemen in January and February matches (their respective turns as MD), they combined their efforts this month as co-MDs and produced a superlative match. Norm is recently returned from a Florida match, and brought with him stage designs from that experience.

There is much to be said in favor of cross-polination of stage design theory between sections, and this match benefitted from Norm's experience. At least two of the Major Stages were either influenced or direct steals from that match, and we who competed today at TCGC are grateful for the innovative designs which tested our skills.

Stage 5: "In The Round" was based on a Florida Stage. The original stage featured 30 targets requiring one hit per target. Norm didn't have enough target stands to present the original design, so he used 15 targets and scored the best two hits.

Stage 6: "Florida Sunshine" featured a lot of vision barriers, a hefty handful of 8 Pepper Poppers, two fast swingers initiated by stepping on a 'foot trap' box, and both near far static IPSC targets.

Stage 6 offered a neat half-dozen ways to shoot it; stage 5 could be shot at least 60 different ways, although our squad found that we could shoot the first four or five targets from positions near the starting position, then (for hi-cap magazines) shoot all the rest of the targets from a fortuitous 'sweet spot.

Our squad discovered the hard way that there were hidden 180 traps in Stage 5. If you lost track of the 180, you earned a trip to Dairy Queen ("DQ") by engaging targets just a little bit past the 180 line. We lost two squad members in five minutes this way.

One of the DQ's just packed up his gear and went home. The other stayed for the whole match and helped RO, score and tape. I have no criticisms to offer for either reaction. I've DQ'd three times and never managed to stick around for the end of the match. Some people just have a lot more character than I do. I recognize it, I applaude it, but I haven't yet managed to emulate it.

We lost those two squad members (one way or the other) on the second stage of the day, Stage 5, and the rest of the match went without serious incident.

Geek Lite incidents of the day:

  • WhiteFish brought his new STI Open Gun to the match. I have spent the past ten years trying to talk him into using an STI in favor of his (old) Para Open Gun, or his (recent) Glock Open gun, and he finally caved in and got a decent STI shorty a couple of months ago. The trigger had way too much slack, as the previous owner swapped triggers as a favor but failed to set it up in the best way. Fish got Major Nyne gunsmith Rob S. to walk him through an adjustment, and the gun ran clean and smooth all day. The only drawback is that the .38 Super Comp is Major Obnoxious. I RO'd him for two stages, and had to stay well behind him to preserve the fillings in my teeth. As a consequence, he bought three pounds of VV 3N37 powder from Bobby the Vendor after the match, in support of his declared intent to be even more obnoxious to Range Officers in future matches. I tried to steel his new powder and throw it away, but he was too quick for me and easily retrieved it from the back of my truck.
  • Harold the Barbarian is back! Harold has been a near-charter member of The Usual Suspects Squad, but due to a new job and family pressures hasn't been able to go to IPSC matches for the past six months. His job has settled down enough that he could come play with us today, and he was able to enjoy the unseasonably balmy Winter-In-Oregon weather. He's a little rusty, but he had a couple of very good stages and added some continuity to the squad mix and a lot of levity to our day.
  • ah, this post is already too long. You don't want to hear about the minutiea of a local match, and I don't want to bore you with it. It's enough to say that the sun was shining, the rain was off-and-on but easy to ignore, the stages were challenging and fun (thank you Norm and Shaun!), and we all learned a few things about shooting challenging stages ... which we'll forget before the next match because we're old and because we're less concerned about being 'competitive' than we are about having a good day at the range.
One thing deserves to be mentioned. During the walk-through, The Hobo Brasser took two minutes to discuss Oregon's SB 1012 and the way it has been designed to impose such administrative and financial burdons on Shooting Ranges in Oregon that it would be impossible for them to continue ... raised such an outcry among the 67 registered competitors that MD Norm was hard pressed to get us all back to the original focus of shooting the match.

NOTE: Photos (and, evenually, Videos) of this match are available here.

New Blogger: A Schadenfreude Opportunity

Google's "Blogspot" software has been beta-testing a "New Blogger" software version for the last few months. They have encouraged all participants in their free service (for which I have been grateful during the last 28 months of my participation) to convert their blogs to "The New Blogger" as soon as they, in their opinion, have moved past the Beta-Testing phase.

Reports from other bloggers (eg: LawDog) have been less than reassuring. I have been reluctant to convert to The New Blogger.

When I attempted to sign on today, I found that it was absolutely and totally imposible to access my account without accepting The New Blogger software.

After spending over an hour in attempts to access my account in the manner in which I originally signed on to use, I have reluctantly accepted their new terms of service. I have far too much content invested in this blog to throw it all away without at least making an effort to continue under the new Terms of Service.

I note that the software vendor never announced that acceptance of the new software version would become mandatory. If the consequences of this transition includes interruption of service (noted by early converts) or the less frequent posting from this source, I apologize ahead of time.

When you use a free service, one which has provided adequate support to date, it is not advisable to arbitrarily and unilaterally drop it ... even though this describes the manner in which the provider has chosen to implement the change.

If it is not immediately apparent to the casual reader that I am in a state of High Dudgeon in response, please don't be shy.

I don't like being forced to take a course of action which I would not have chosen in any less draconic scenario.

The worst part of it is, I don't even know if this post will be published.

Well, maybe it will be all right. Maybe there won't be an interruption of service. Maybe ... as likely as it now seems to me ... the new features will ever work; first time every time.

I don't expect it, but it could happen. I suppose. Although, if the software upgrade is really as good as they think it was, it would have remained an "Opt In" version and would sell itself because those who tried it really liked it. As opposed to the reports which we have received so far.

IF this note actually posts, I will be trying the 'options' which Blogger has touted so relentlessly.

Please be patient. If this stuff doesn't kill me several times in the coming weeks, I will be pleasantly surprised. And I'll say so, here.

Otherwise ... well, you can indulge in your own personal Schadenfreude as you watch me twist and turn in the wind.