Thursday, August 02, 2007

Shamelessly Stealing The Best From Other Blogs

"Doing the work that Americans Won't Do", I read the blogs so you don't have to.

No, that's not really true. I read blogs because I'm endlessly fascinated by the serendipitous finds that crop up when you read a LOT of blogs by people who read a LOT of news, blogs, etc. Usually it's the sort of thing that newspapers may use as fillers on a slow news days, but gets a lot of read anyway because it's ... interesting. At other times, it's an opportunity to get a fresh slant on a situation or event that has been endlessly reported, but an iconoclastic mind asks questions that you wish you would have thought of.

So for a change of pace, here is a sampling of my web surfing for Thursday, August 2, 2007:

England Invaded by Evil Guns! Armed Bobbies Stand Guard!
Apparently I'm not the only one who feels a rant coming on every time the Brits do another Something Stupid regarding gun-control and/or treating their citizenry as untrustworthy subjects.

Alphecca writes about a decision to 'temporarily' allow members of the British Shooting Team to actually use guns while practicing for the Olympics. But they require that armed policemen stand guard in case something-or-other bad happens. (Why don't they do this in subways -- uh, 'the underground'? Well, there was this thing with a Brazilian running to catch a train last year and that turned out badly, so ....) Read the comments. All of them.
Hat tip to The Truth Laid Bear.

I'm a BA-A-A-A-D Geek
Traction Control was fooling around with XHTML Validation Software, and just for fun decided to run it against his Blog Roll.

This is a 'program' that evaluates the entire (?) body of posts on a blog, searching for errors in HTML code. In the approximately 110 blogs in his blog roll, this blog ends up 18th from the end with 456 errors. That puts me somewhere between The Other Side of Kim (437) and The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler (523).

I'm not only okay with that, I'm fairly well satisfied. My primary purpose here is, and has always been, to write about things that interest me. That's usually IPSC/USPSA competition, then about RKBA issues, and then about things that are of general interest. Sometimes, I just can't get to sleep until I WRITE something. I assume that you notice that from time to time.

A beneficial side-effect is that I've learned some HTML coding techniques in the process. That all goes straight to hell when I try to copy a body of text from a MSM article and it's so imbedded with ads, fonts, tables, etc. that I get tired of trying to strip out the excess HTML and say "anything that doesn't show up in the readable text ... ignore it!". I suspect that this is often the case with some other bloggers, too.

When you're more interested in context than HTML code, you either hire someone else to build and run your blogsite or you just let your attitude run the show.

That's acceptable in Blogging.

If you try the same attitude in, say, Politics, you end up looking something like this:

Of course, I don't write nearly as well as the above-cited blogs, but I try to compensate by avoiding F-bombs.

Don't Take Your Gun To Town, Allison

Also thanks to Traction Control, I found this article on TownHall by a young woman who is described as " ... a junior political science and English major at Virginia Tech and a Summer 2007 intern at the Young America’s Foundation headquarters in her hometown, Herndon, Virginia.

Yes, that Virginia Tech. She talks about being twenty-something, female, and walking to her car in a remote D.C. parking lot late at night armed with nothing more effective than a purse-sized Pepper Spray. Especially frustrating when she has a perfectly good .357 sitting at home, and the only place she can use her Concealed Carry license is at the family cabin in the mountains.

Michael Yon: Read this guy instead of Al Qaeda dispatches

Actually, the AL Qaeda dispatches seem to be the primary news source for the American Press. I don't know why the MSM are more eager to accept the AQ version of events than that of American sources (U.S. Army, Michael Yon, etc.) but I guess that's just part of the fun for Liberal American Press. Hey, if it makes "That Clown" GW Bush look bad, no other reason is necessary for them.

But Michael Yon ... is an incredible reporter. He not only tells the story as he sees it, he is there 'even when there is no fighting going on' and reports the hearts-and-minds part of American involvement in Iraq.

Look at the Bread and a Circus, Part I of II article he posted on July 31. Read the whole thing, look at all the pictures, and pay especial attention to his actual Fisking of an Al Qaeda-related 'insurgent' news release.

It's so important that I've moved Michael Yon's website to "I Read Every Day". He doesn't publish every day, but when he does it's something that you don't want to delay reading.

And HEY! Go spend a tenner on his paypal box. I did.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

(American) Robbery Victim Knifes His Attackers

Robbery Victim Knifes His Attackers | WKBW - TV Buffalo, New York/a>

Fifty-year-old Buffalo, NY native Bobby Lipscom, beset by two attackers during his 1am 'walkabout', pulls a pocketknife and does his Benihana thing on them.

After the twenty-something shredded wannabes scuttle back into the shadows, the cops wander onto the scene prompted by a 911 call, and pick up the pieces.

There's a poignant after-action report here:
Police arrived and arrested 22-year old Corvair Harge and 21-year old Jason Tyus. The two men face charges for second degree robbery, but first they're healing from their stab wounds. Both were at ECMC Saturday night, one in critical condition and the other in stable condition. Lipscom did not need any medical treatment. Police says his attackers likely did not think he had a weapon. "Probably to a certain extent he probably did surprise his attackers by having the box cutter knife," says DeGeorge.
(Emphasis added)
One wonders what the gun-control laws are like in Buffalo. Well, it's New York State, so they are probably draconian. (Could someone please look this up for me? It's late, and I'm tired.)

Here's the really, really good money quote:

Police say they have no plans to charge Lipscom for stabbing the two suspects.
(Actually, he didn't 'stab' them; he slashed them. Repeatedly.)

Good on you, Bobby! Sorry you missed the jugular, but it was a nobel effort.

Think about this in contrast to Our English Friends. If this happened in London, England rather than in America, our hero would be doing hard time and the "fun-loving lads, who were just out for a bit of a lark, loik" would have been allocated government funding to sue him.


Red's Gun Shop: Not Threatening to ATF agents

Gun-shop owner gets 'breath of fresh air'

Here's another story in the continuing saga of Red's Gun Shop (Idaho) and the ATF.

You may recall that last week I included the then-latest word on the six-year battle royale in "Gun Control Is Bursting Out All Over". (Look under the sub-heading: "Idaho")

At that time Red's was being audited (3 ATF agents reviewing 2-1/2 week's records vs the previous audit, one agent reviewing 5 years worth of records).

One of his 'supporters' showed up at the shop during the audit and began filming the ATF agents. Shortly after, they left precipitously. Not long after that, Red's manager Ryan Horsley, who had never tried to hide that he was blogging about the ATF audits, was informed that.

... the agency went to court with a report that its inspectors "suspended" their work at the store recently because of the "threat to the inspectors' safety created by Ryan Horsley, the Manager at Red's.

This week,
Federal authorities have agreed to tell a judge in Idaho that the "threat" from a gun-shop manager they had complained of probably wasn't anything significant ...

The implications of this admission is that the ATF, whose agents are exceedingly bold when they're auditing the records of a store, reveal themselves to be physical cowards when they are threatened by nothing more than an attempt to video-record their machincations.

The infractions for which ATF was prepared to shut down a small business are reportedly no more important than abbreviating the name of a town in the small blanks available on forms used to record data of firearms purchasers. It comes as no surprise to most of us that minimal confrontation causes them to run like cockroaches when the kitchen light comes on.

And what happened to the videos?

I don't know. I can't find them on Manager Horsley's blog.

But I find a lot of other interesting 'stuff' there, and you might, too.

In the meantime, here's Horsley's video statement:

Monday, July 30, 2007

Competitor Profile in the news: Gene Morin

The News-Review - Outdoors

The Roseburg, Oregon, newspaper/news website recently ran a profile article on Oregon shooter Gene Morin.

We like to see shooting sports portrayed as a legitimate sporting activity, and in this case we learned a lot about Mr. Morin that we didn't know.

We know Gene as an IPSC competitor, but this article showed us The Other Side of Gene -- as an ICORE competitor.

Most of us in Oregon who compete in IPSC are accustomed to Gene being a major competitor with an Open or (as in the recent CCS Sectional Tournament, where he won A-Production and was 2nd overall Production Division) a Production Gun shooter.

Thanks to Trey for pointing us toward this news article.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Kind of Cheating

I post a lot of videos on YouTube, for a lot of reasons ... not the least is to provide public exposure to situations which occur during IPSC competition. (It makes it easier to show the videos on this blog, too, because it's a one-click access to the video and it downloads quickly.)

Because I've deliberately left the 'comments' section open to anyone, I receive some interesting viewpoints from people who watch the videos.

On February 12, 2007, I posted a video showing USPSA competitors shooting a single stage at Albany Rifle & Pistol Club (ARPC) in Oregon. I thought it was of general interest because the final scene showed a gentleman who was "Match Disqualified" (DQ) after he pointed his pistol toward the spectators during a reload.

Most of the several hundred viewers seemed to have understood the point of the lesson; IPSC competition shares a common theme with many forms of competition, including racing with cars, boats and airplanes. Unlike the 'like themed' competitions, IPSC has embedded a 'belt-and-suspenders' approach to safety.

IPSC (especially as practiced in USPSA, the United States Practical Shooting Association), has embedded a set of 'safety rules' which, if once violated during competition, will be immediately enforced by disqualifying the competitor from further participation in that match. The idea is bipartate:
  1. If you break a safety rule, you have demonstrated that you are not operating in a state-of-mind which is conducive to future 'safe' participation. We will remove you from the match.
  2. You don't have to actually cause harm to yourself or anyone else; the simple demonstration of mental lapse which MIGHT HAVE caused injury is sufficient to be declared an 'unsafe competitor'.
Compare this to, say, NASCAR -- where you're still permitted to compete in a race even though you 'almost' crashed your car into the grandstands.

One of the safety rules of IPSC is that if the muzzle of your firearm moves beyond pointing downrange to point uprange, where the spectators are, you are removed from the match.

Okay, that's the 'short course' of IPSC safety, and the reason why this video is important.

However, moving right along to the point of this discussion, some people just don't 'get it'.

Instead, they pick up on points of interest which were not expected in the original presentation.

This is the case here, when one viewer of the cited video commented:

"should not need a red dot with a pistol, kind of cheating."

My first impulse, to say "you don't get it, dude!" lasted less than a second. With only a little thought, I had to admit that this view was absolutely, 100% correct.

Using a red dot with a pistol (electronic dot sight, like this and this) IS 'kind of cheating".

But the commentor didn't go far enough.

The "red dot" is only one of four characteristics of pistols used in Open Division ... and only that Division .. which separates it from all other divisions in IPSC competition. Here are the four ways that Open Division is "kind of cheating":
  1. Allows "prototype" firearms
  2. Allows ANY sights, including 'red dot' sights
  3. Allows the use of compensators, or 'weight attached to the muzzle for the sole purpose of minimizing the 'muzzle-flip' or other sort of recoil
  4. Allows extended double-stack magazines (exceeding 140mm in length) -- may allow magazines which allow in excess of 25 rounds, depending on the case circumference, magazine follower design, etc. as long as the magazine does not exceed 170mm in length.
Yes, when compared to other competitive decisions, these 'conveniences are "kind of cheating".

In fact, there are a few other characteristics which one typically finds in 'Open (division) guns', and if you go beyond Pistol Competition and begin to consider "Multigun" competition, the list of special exceptions becomes almost unwieldy.

Here is a short list of other 'exceptions' which do not apply to "Open Division" guns, but which may apply (and be very important) to other Divisions:
  1. Production Division: all guns score as 'minor', regardless of actual power factor. Some holsters restricted, some handguns restricted, only 10 rounds allowed in magazines, first shot must be double-action, holsters and magazine carriers must be positioned behind the point of the hip, 1911-type handguns specifically excluded, magazine 'bumpers' or extensions specifically excluded, magazines must not exceed 140mm in length, no comps, barrel weights, barrel ports, optics or or any kind of electronic sighting device;
  2. Single-Stack Division: only 1911-type handguns permitted, only 8-round magazines allowed, holsters and magazine carriers must be positioned behind the point of the hip, magazine 'bumpers' or extensions specifically excluded, magazines must not exceed 140mm in length, no comps, barrel weights, barrel ports, optics or or any kind of electronic sighting device permitted;
  3. Limited Division: no prototypes allowed (500 guns must have been SOLD to qualify), magazine limited to 140mb, no comps, barrel weights, barrel ports, optics or or any kind of electronic sighting device.
  4. Open Division: Forget all that stuff. Magazines may not exceed 170MM in length.
There are other restrictions on most of the Divisions, and I am deliberately ignoring Revolver Division. Also, Limted 10 Division allows everything that Limited Division allows, except that no more that 10 rounds must be loaded into your magazines. (Some other over-simplification is suggested by this list of qualifications, but they are too technical to fit in here.)

Point One is that competitors in each division, as determined by the equipment they use, competes only against competitors using similar equipment. That is to say, Open Division guns only compete against other Open Guns.

Point Two is that ... yes, Open guns ARE "Kind of Cheating!"

The compensator is unique to Open Division. This helps to reduce 'muzzle flip' because it exhausts the gasses from burning powder to keep the muzzle from rising as much. The consequence is that it is MUCH easier to take the second shot faster. However, an expert experienced shooter using other types of firearms can learn to manage muzzle-flip by timing his second shot in accordance with the amount of time required for the barrel to align with the aiming point. The difference in 'split time' (time between the first and the second shot) may be only a few hundredths of a second.

The extreme high-capacity magazine is unique to Open Division. However, there are very few stage designs which don't present the opportunity to competitors in 'other divisions' to work in a reload during movement. USPSA and IPSC rules prevent stage designs requiring more than 9 rounds from a single shooting position or location. This presents an ammunition management problem only for SingleStack and Revolver Division firearms .... but they are NOT competing against other divisions, so the Shooting Problem is shared by all similar competitors.

The use of Prototype firearms is unique to Open Division. There is no requirement here to use only firearms which have been 'sold to 500 customers', which means that this division is the 'test bed' of features which may or may not be made available to future firearms. This is the way that IPSC and USPSA act as 'test beds' for new designs and features, in order to encourage firearms manufacturers to improve the firearms market to the benefit of future customers.

Finally, the 'red dot' sights (also known as "Electronic Dot Sights" or "EDS") is a special case.
All other divisions mandate the use of Iron Sights. These are characterized by a front sight (usually a metal post sited at or near the muzzle of the gun) and a rear sight (generally, a horizontal bar in which a 'slot' is cut near the center of the sight.) The front sight (post) is positioned equidistant between the limits of the 'slot', or 'notch' in the rear sight to determine that the gun is pointed at the correct lateral alignment with the target. The target is typically placed above, and adjacent to, the front sign; the front sight is aligned vertically with the top of the rear sight. When this target alignment/sight alignment combination is correctly positioned, the sights are correctly aligned with the target and (barring other extraneous influences, such as inappropriate grip and trigger manipulation, etc.) the shot should hit the target.

The 'red dot' sight design is somewhat different.

To over-simplify, if you put the red dot on the target, the bullet should hit where the dot appears on your sight.

There is no need to aligh the red dot sight with a secondary (or tertiary) alignment; there is no 'notch' in the rear sight, there is no 'top' of the rear sight. In fact, there is not rear sight!

ALL the shooter need do is to find the red dot in the sight, put it on the place where he wishes the shot to hit, and SQUEEZE the trigger! If the dot is correctly positioned and the grip on the gun is correct and the shooter does not pull the sight off the target at the moment of shot ignition, the bullet will hit the target where the dot shows it should hit.

This is not only 'cheating', but experientially magic!

Is the use of a 'Red Dot' sight cheating?



There's a little more to the discussion of "Red Dot" sights.

First, everyone who is using a 'Red Dot' sight is competiting against everyone else who is using a 'Red Dot' sight. That is, all are competing in Open Division, which is the only competitive division which allows this kind of sight.

If you are wrestling against people who are 180-200 pounds, and everyone who you wrestle is in that weight range, is it 'cheating' if you weight 200 pounds? No, I don't think so. (If you only weigh 180 pounds, you may be at a slight disadvantage. The solution is to bulk up, isn't it?)

More important, in IPSC competition it may be that the people who use 'Red Dot' sights are thos who due to age or infirmity are no longer able to correctly align two sights (front and rear) accurately, consistently and quickly.

This is the situation in which I found myself, three years ago.

I have competed in Limited, Limited-10 and Production for 20 years, until I realized that I was no longer able to see well enough to consistently align the front and rear sights with the target.

I was fortunate in being able to acquire the use of an 'Open Gun" (with 'red dot' sights) which permitted me to continue competing in IPSC competition.'

I didn't do well, but I'm still turning in decent scores in spite of my visual degeneration.

So, while it may seem to be 'cheating' to some people, I have managed to avoid being so depressed by my physical disability that I had discontinued attending IPSC competition in the USPSA.

It doesn't bother me that some people consider this 'cheating'.

I am cheating. And it has served me admirably.

If you take offense at my use of the 'red dot' sight, I invite you to come shoot against me. I'll let you use the same pistol (although you'll have to provide your own ammunition ... I'm not a complete fool) and we'll enjoy the competition on a fair basis.

NB: Tinyurl link for this article is here.

Can you hear me now?

The LawDog Files provide the links to a 3-part story, the real face of "Public Service"

I'm tempted to refer to this as 'a morality play in three acts', but this would diminish the story and would be a disservice to the interlocking stories of a LEO, an Ambulance Driver, and the ER nurse in a small-town hospital.

All three authors describe a tragic vehicular accident and the consequence of bad judgement.

In the process, we are given an inside look at the courage and dedication of people who have dedicated their lives to serving their fellow man. The professionalism of the "Public Servants" is demonstrated, as is the excellent writing ability of the authors.

One thing the three parts of the story make clear is that there are often "not enough resources, not enough HANDS!" If you're like me, when you read the story you will be struck by the willingness of all participants to make heroic efforts to save lives.

It's difficult to talk about this without undermining the story, which is well told and fascinating on several levels.

Just ... click on the Lawdog link above, and follow the thread of the story. When you're done, if you appreciate what they have written, please tell the authors.

If you don't appreciate it, don't tell me. I have no traffic with people who have no soul.

And yes, as many people have commented to the authors, it may be something that parents of adolescent children may recommend to the ones they love.