Thursday, June 14, 2007


US legislators, gun lobby strike deal: report

As you're reading your daily paper, remember that you can't tell the players without a program.

One of the players is "Breitbart", which is essentially Reuters crossed with AP -- Incest, squared.

When you look at the headline of this article, the first impression is that the two organizations (The National Rifle Association and The U.S. Congress) have been conspiring in congressional cloak rooms for ... whatever purpose. In fact, this may be the most honest part of the entire article.

The article iss illustrated by a close-up photo of a table full of firearms, including a sawed-off rifle, and one person handing what appears to be either a MAC-1o or a Uzi to another.

Well, that's illustrative of a legislative process!

The text of the article (see the link above) includes the following content:
The deal could lead to the first federal legislation on gun control since 1994 and was negotiated after a mentally ill student went on a shooting rampage at the Virginia Tech university in April, the Washington Post
Leading US Democratic lawmakers have struck a deal with the powerful National Rifle Association to authorize stricter background checks on people who purchase guns, US media said Sunday.
I'm not going to fisk this to death, but I note the phrases "Democratic Lawmakers" and "powerful National Rifle Association". In the first paragraph, the article establishes the Democratic dominance (see below) and the NRA as a 'gun lobby'.

Second paragraph:

The deal could lead to the first federal legislation on gun control since 1994 and was negotiated after a mentally ill student went on a shooting rampage at the Virginia Tech university in April, the Washington Post reported.

No mention of the fact that the 1994 "Assault Weapons Ban" was a compromise deal with a sunset after 10 years, or that after the 10-year testing period the "federal legislation on gun control" was determined to have absolutely NO effect on criminal acts which involved firearms ... which was purportedly the purpose of the failed law.

There is, however, great emphasis on the idea that the 'deal' was 'negotiated' in response to the mass murders at Virginia Tech, which reveals that the entire exercise was an effort to demonstrate that "Democratic Lawmakers" are Dedicated to Preventing Another Virginia Tech Massacre!"

(We could only wish they had been so dedicated a couple of months ago -- it may not have been a "No Gun Zone" and someone may have had the means to counter the no-gun-zone madman.)

And the NRA -- what were they doing? Hey, they were "negotiating".


We'll never know from this article. Maybe they were just overcome by the sheer eloquence of the Democrats.

Moving right along to Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6:

According to the terms, states would get cash incentives to keep the federal background database up to date and would face penalties if they did not comply, the report said.

In exchange, Democrats conceded that people with "minor infractions" would be deleted from the database, military veterans who were entered in the system for mental health reasons could appeal to clean their records, and the government would not charge buyers or sellers a fee for background checks.

"The NRA worked diligently with the concerns of gun owners and law enforcement in mind to make a ... system that's better for gun owners and better for law enforcement," said House Democratic John Dingell, who led the talks.

Okay, we have the carrot and the stick. We have an 'exchange' (where the Democrats graciously give up their stance on an issue which should never have been an issue), and the NRA given a nod for their willingness to accede to an issue which never WAS an issue.

Here's a nice quote:
" ... with the concerns of gun owners and law enforcement in mind to make a ... system that's better for gun owners and better for law enforcement ..."

No, this doesn't do anything for gun owners, nor does it do anything to gun owners. What it does is add a layer of governmental oversight to the process of vetting the National Instant Check system so that people who are mentally dingbatish are filtered even though their mental health practitioners (read: professionals who don't really have any idea just how crazy their patients are) can't buy a gun even though their psychiatrists don't think they're a danger to "other people".

Now, I'm not saying that this is a bad bill. I'm not even saying that the Egregious Cho shouldn't have been stopped before he started. I'm just saying that the DemocRats are feeding at the trough, and The Press is acting as if this is the solution which will forever stop madmen from shooting students.

Here's the bottom line:

It ain't gonna work.

Madmen will always be with us. Same as criminals. And they will shoot sheep in any paddock they find ... and there are a lot of them here in Democratic America. The sheep are also known as "unarmed targets" and the paddocks are known as "University Campuses".

Did anyone realize that you don't need a gun to kill people? How about driving your car through a crowd. As Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park, "Nature will find a way".

As is the NRA, I'm all for disarming maniacs. But I suspect the NRA is working the political side of the fence rather than standing fast for defending the right of law-abiding citizens to be armed on, for example, a University campus.

Just one more reason why I stand fast against paying an annual fee for the NRA to represent me. They're not paying attention to Job One.

This entire arrangement between the DemocRats and the NRA is bogus. It won't make any difference in the number of innocents killed. It doesn't advance the cause of American citizens to arm themselves in self-defence.

It isn't enough.

As such, it isn't anything.

It's only politics.

Just thought you ought to know.

2007 Crazy Croc Match

2007 11th Annual Crazy Croc Match

"Survivor Croc Dundee"

Dundee Oregon

September 1-2, 2007

8 Stages, 400+ rounds

The famous “Surprise Jungle Run”

Limited to first 120 entries

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jack's Back!

I was in the Campus Bookstore yesterday (it's finals week ... very few students were there) looking for a paperback to read during my lunch hours for the rest of the week. I found a SF novel by a female writer I've been reading for years, and Pompei by Richard Harris, who was recommended to me by WhiteFish.

Ho hum, okay, I'll take them both.

At the checkout counter, I learned there was a 'special' this week only: buy two paperbacks, get a third paperback for free. The clerk suggested that if I went back in the stacks and found a third paperback, it would be free.

I hadn't seen anything that looked very attractive, but what the heck -- it's a freebie. Back I went to look for a 3rd paperback. I already had about $16 invested, maybe I can find SOMETHING I haven't already read.

Bad idea. I didn't find a paperback, I found a $26 hardback by one of my favorite 'thriller' novelists, Lee Child.

That's right, Lee's 11th Jack Reacher novel, "Bad Luck and Trouble", was released on May 15, 2007, and I didn't even know about it!

So I grabbed the Lee Child Book (always a good idea) and dragged it back to the clerk.

As it happens, with my staff discount I got two paperbacks and Childs' "Bad Luck and Trouble" for less than the cost of the hardback.


This is the 11th book in Child's "Jack Reacher" series, and it's right up there with the best work he has ever done. We can only compare it with other "Reacher" books, because that's all Child has written to date. If you're a reader of Connelly 's "Hieronymous Bosch" series, you know that a Mystery/Thriller writer can make a good living turning out one novel a year based on a single unique protagonist.

I bought the book at Noon on Tuesday. I finished it at 8am on Wednesday, and completed a full workday Tuesday. That shows how un-put-downable Child's writing is.

The un-put-downable factor is my primary criteria for readability in fiction genre. This is usually based on the successful creation of an appealing main character. Stephen Hunter, for example, wrote a couple of books which weren't terribly appealing until he started his "Bob The Nailer" series. In that, he developed first Bob, then went off on a tangent with Bob's father Earl, who shared a common history. Both characters were fascinating, and the series was a maga-hit. (Note that a strong character isn't enough by itself; Hunter wrote "Havana" in 2003; it was so bland that I couldn't even stay awake on the plane ride to the Shirley Skinner Make-A-Wish Match in Waco and back.)

I enjoyed the Jack Reacher book, which is no less than I had expected. There are a few writers who are so consistently excellent that I'll spend $25+ for an early release of their latest novel in hardbound, and Child is definately in the top four. (The other three are John Ringo, David Drake and S.M. Stirling -- all SF writers. Sorry, Michael Connelly is Number 5.)

All of these authors write about iconic action figures, sort of Literary Transformers, although of course the SF writers sparkle because they create interesting worlds into which they insert iconic characters while Child and Connelly work within the 'real world' ... sorta.

BTW, Stirling has two new books coming out in September and October (one is the sequel to "A Meeting in Corvallis", the other is not) Hunter's next Bob the Nailer novel "The 47th Samurai" (due out September 11, 2007) is already on order, and I'll be ordering Hunter's "American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill President Truman -- And The Shoot-out That Stopped It" as soon as I publish this article.

Which is to say .... now!

Monday, June 11, 2007

USPSA Open/L10 National Match stage #11: "Go Sit In The Corner"

This is the second in a short series of articles describing the experiences of competitors at a Club Match which features stage designs published by USPSA and which are intended for the 2007 USPSA Open/L10 National Match.

The first in the series featured Stage 2: "Home Run".

This stage is Stage 11: "Go Sit In The Corner".

All stage designs (in PDF format) can be viewed at the USPSA Website.

Stage Starting Position:

"Seated in chair with arms crossed, hands on opposite shoulders. Gun in loaded and ready condition per 8.1, lying flat on one of the barrels, muzzle pointing downrange. All exra magazines are placed on the opposite barrel."

Comments on the Stage Design:
My personal most serious criticism of this stage design is that it required the competitor to be position downranged of a loaded pistol. Looking at the published schematic of the stage design, it seems obvious that this is an intentional feature of the design. I cannot imagine what the designer thought would be particularly attractive about this design feature, but this is one good reason why I am glad I hadn't planned to compete in this match.

Am I the only IPSC shooter who feels uncomfortable about this?

Note the starting position (above); there is no verbiage which suggests that the muzzle of the pistol should NOT be pointed at the competitor in the starting position.

I assume that the NROI has vetted this stage; are any of their members planning to sit in the corner on this stage? I suspect that this has NOT been tested in "Real Life" (that is, nobody has set up the stage and shot it, to see how it feels to stare down the barrel of a loaded gun.)

This is not A Good thing. Perhaps USPSA may reconsider this factor of the stage design. I hope.

At the Club match, I was not the only person who approached the Match Director to voice a certain discomfort about this starting position.

Local Variations on the Stage Design:
Looking at the Stage Layout, it appears that the chair (starting position) may have originally been intended to place the competitor facing downrange in the chair. The club match had the chair placed uprange. This may be a slight difference between the "pre-match" version and the "national match" version of this stage.

The national match stage procedures require that the pistol be placed on one barrel, and all magazines be placed on the other barrel. In the club match version, all magazines were carried on the belt. The Match Director at the club match stated that this was because the stage required more than 10 rounds be fired from a single position. In the actual event, the stage design only required that Limited 10 competitors (also Single Stack and Production) be careful about ammunition management. In the accompanying video, you will see that while the Open Division competitors managed the stage handily with a single (hi-capacity) magazine, the Limited-capacity competitors typically broke the stage into three-magazine arrays. The 11-target, 22-round stage was either divided into 10-6-6 or 10-4-8 round combinations, with one hapless competitor demonstrating the standing reload when he realized that he hadn't planned the stage as well as he might have wished.

In the video below, you will see that the stage design leaves very little room for any alternative than that the competitor be placed downrange of the loaded firearm at the start of the stage.

The first shooter, Mitch, demonstrated that a 10-round magazine limitation is not a serious impediment to a fast stage time. Second shooter, Geek, shows the relative placement of loaded firearm and shooter starting position. The rest of the competitors show variations on the sequence of target engagement and the reload-tactics of competitors who have limited ammunition. Clearly, the challenge of Open Division Competitors is less challenged than that of Limited 10 Competitors.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

USPSA Nationals Stage 2: Home Run

Albany Rifle and Pistol Club used it's June, 2007, local match date to present its 'best guess' look at a few of the stages which are scheduled to be featured at the USPSA Open/L10 National match on June 20, 2007.

According to the published stage procedures (see all of the stage designs here), "Stepping on 1st and 3rd bases will activate swinging targets T2 and T7."

Well, this is true. However, the procedures do not specifically require that the competitor activate the targets by "stepping" on the foot-trap activators.

Consider this: at the start of the stage, you are holding a baseball bat. What if, at the sound of the buzzer you toss the bat and it hits one of the foot-trap activators? If you're the kind of person who assumes that "if it isn't specifically prohibited, it must be permitted", is this a legal way to avoid moving bodily to that location? After all, the swinging targets can be engaged from a wide area of legal locations.

This video presents four approaches to the stage.

Note again that this is NOT the 2007 USPSA Open/L10 National Match. This is the stage as presented by a 'local' club, using the stage design as provided by USPSA. The distances to targets, and relationship between targets/activators/shooting positions may be dramatically different from the National Match. Also, the Stage Procedures are ... and should be! ... tentative. My hope is that the USPSA NROI will evaluate the stage procedures as interpreted here, and reconsider whether it should specifically disallow initiation of the moving targets by throwing the bat at the initiator.

The precedent for this question is that in one of the stages presented at a USPSA Open National Match in 2003 or 2004 (Bend, Oregon), one stage may have provided an advantage to a competitor who chose to trip a foot-initiator by throwing a filled magazine at the trap. This didn't actually happen, but in an interview the Chief Range Officer voiced a concern that this might happen. The stage officials had not been instructed in how to rule in this event.

The first competitor, a GM Open shooter, chose not to use the bat to trip the initiator. He ended up 2nd overall, suggesting that there may be no advantage in this approach at this skill level.

The 2nd competitor, an A-class shooter in Single-Stack Division, also placed well without 'gaming' the stage.

The 3rd competitor, a B-Open class shooter, chose to interpret the stage procedure as a permission to trip the initiator by throwing the bat at it. He was successful in his attempt, and turned in a good time within the class.

The fourth competitor, a C-Open class shooter, missed the activator when he threw the bat at it. In the event, he not only failed to realize an advantage using this technique, he ended up with a 3-second penalty because he ran out of ammunition and had to make a standing reload on the last target. This doesn't prove anything, except that ammunition management is always an important factor in shooting any hi-round-count IPSC stage.

On the other hand, if he had expected the trap to trip by using the bat as an activation technique, he may have been rattled by the unsuccessfull attempt and in fact set up a situation where he was distracted by the failure of his tactics.

The questions here are whether it is an advantage to use a prop to trip an activator, whether it is legal given the text of the stage procedures, and whether it is advisable to 'game' a stage in this manner.

Look at the video, decide for yourself.

Blog Inactivity

I mentioned on May 22 that my server was being changed, and I still hadn't got all of the access permissions worked out so I can post pictures and videos on my Gallery website. That situation hasn't improved, I'm still trying to figure out my new URL, signon and password. Until that happens I'm unable to update the gallery. The existing link to the gallery (see sidebar) still works and the pictures and videos that were there are still available, even though some of the captions and other text may not be. I'll see what can be done about that this week. I have a lot of videos to post, but many of them are not edited so updates to the gallery may not be caught up for a couple of weeks.

Daily blogging has been sparse. Between taking a long weekend to celebrate SWMBO's birthday, transporting various family members to doctor appointments, etc., and my own recent bout of hayfever, I've had neither time nor the initiative to post regularly. I hope that this week will be more productive than last week. (My boss hopes the same improvement on my attendance at the office improves, too.)

I did attend a local match (yesterday) which featured a 'best guess' of some stages which will be presented at the June 20, 2007, USPSA National Open/L10 match. We saw some innovative approaches to some of the stages, especially Stage 2: "Home Run". I hope to edit sufficient videos from this local match version to illustrate what may be controversial tactics in the next day or two. The full-length high-density video will not, of course, be immediately available. However, I can still post to YouTube and that grainy version may be sufficient to illustrate the point.

For those of you who dropped by during the past two weeks to see if I've had anything interesting to read, and who were perhaps disappointed in the meager offerings, I apologize. In retrospect, it seems as if I should have found a few moments to explain that I wouldn't be publishing at my usual rate during this period.