Thursday, August 30, 2007

Red's Trading Post: Red for Congress?

Probably because I have written a couple of articles about Red's Trading Post, I have found myself on the mailing list for Red's owner and GM, Ryan Horsley.

Just a few minutes ago, I received the following email from Mr. Horsley. (Do check the links; much more information is available there):
We will be showing the Premiere of David T. Hardy's Documentary in Twin Falls:

I have received several phone calls and e-mails from people calling on me to fill Senator Craig's seat if he resigns, Tony from Liberty Sphere offers his opinion:

The State of Idaho has always held the Second Amendment in very high regard, as do I. I am not sure what Senator Craig's plans entail but I am just pleased with the overwhelming support that I have received in this fight with the ATF.

Again thank you for your thoughts and prayers, it really means a lot.
Thank You,
(Note: webpage addresses originally included as text have been converted to links for convenience.)
In light of Idaho Senator Craig's recent embarrassment, Idaho ma soon be looking for a new Senator. Given the gun-friendly culture of the state and Horsley's recent POSITIVE press, it's conceivable that "Red" may in fact turn out to be a viable candidate.

Horsley may not turn out to be the 21st Century's answer to Davie Crockett, but our country was founded on the premise of a legislature comprising citizen volunteers, not professional politicians.

I don't live in Idaho, but it's clear that we can do worse than for a state to be represented in the Senate by a Ryan Horsley. Demonstrably, Idaho has been represented by worse!

How bad would it be if all of the professional politicians in the House and the Senate were replaced by "Mister Smith"?

I'm thinking of Massachusetts, California and New York, specifically. You can add your own state's representatives. You know who you are.

I'm just saying -- how bad could it be to have a the Senate include an FFL holder here and there?

Here's Horsley's latest article asking "Does (the) ATF Acting Director Deserve to be Confirmed?"

Think about it.

"Courage Still Counts"

Michael Yon in Iraq

I try not to make a big thing about it, because the war in Iraq is not directly related to the main theme of this blog.

But I have encouraged you to read Michael Yon before, and I will continue to do so for many reasons. It's not just that the man is, in my mind, the Ernie Pyle of the 21st century, but because he's damn readable.

Mostly, I read Yon and I think you would want to because he writes the stories that we need to read.

It's impossible to cherry-pick individual stories, and it's difficult to navigate his archives. He doesn't have an index of his stories. What you do is, you find ONE story in his current links list, read it, and then start following the links which are embedded in almost every story.

I've been reading his "Ghosts of Anbar" four-part series, and this is as good a place as any to start. He just published Part III of IV. It took me probably 15 minutes to read, but I spent over an hour following the embedded (you should excuse the expression) links to earlier stories. You can search for "Ghosts" in his website search engine, but it isn't available from current articles and you need to learn the keywords to know what you're looking for.

I'll save you the trouble. In his "Ghosts of Anbar" series, Yon just published Part III, which you find here (August 30, 2007), but you probably want to read Part I (August 22, 2007) and Part II (August 27, 2007) first.

No word on when Part IV will be published. (UPDATE: read PART IV now!) As you read the articles, you will intuit that quality writing takes a lot of time; putting it together with pictures, and captioning the photos, takes even more time.

Give him a week, you won't be disappointed.

And while you're there, contribute to his fund. It's the best use you'll ever find for a PayPal account.

Iraq, here, looks a lot like Vietnam.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Code Red

The things you learn from reading Other Bloggers.

The Geek With A .45 (no relation) doesn't write nearly as often as he should, because he is an excellent writer and he does his homework.

Today, he wrote about a Virginia resident
who wore an open-carry pistol to a park and was, as a result, arrested -- despite a state law which makes his actions entirely legal.

(If you read RKBA bloggers often, or World Net Daily -- daily -- you probably have already read the original story.)

The bottom line is, the Norfolk, Va. city council attempted to impose draconian Gun Control laws, to the point that they violated Virginia State Law. The arrestee was vindicated when that fact was pointed out and eventually confirmed. This article discusses the unrest when Virginia RKBA supporters attended a Norfolk City Council meeting and, essentially, were very clear in making the point that a City can't violate State law with impunity.

Word is, one City Council member stomped out of the meeting, muttering something about protesting their protest ... which was characterized as "rowdy".
That's just the surface of the issue.

GWA45 also links to Joe Jeff "" Soyer Sawyer, a well-known Gun Blogger, who has REALLY done his homework.

Apparently, while the well-attended Norfolk protest was going on, Gun Control Advocates across the nation were using the 44th Anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech as an excuse to protest the Second Amendment and civilian ownership of firearms everywhere.

Here's where Alphecca's homework pays off.

Alphecca first links to a Seattle Post Intelliger (a major Liberal rag) article describing the protest in Washington State, where a gun-control protest was attended by ... TWO protesters.

The demonstration didn't take long at all. In fact, it might have been the shortest in recent local history.

It might have been the smallest, too.

Two activists showed up. They stretched out on the ground for 32 seconds. Then they rolled up their banner -- -- and headed for the parking lot.

Good choice, when your 'protest' is outnumbered by the press.

Alphecca goes on to cite a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania "Inquirer" article describing a protest held there last Tuesday night. (Click on the image to see it full size. See the sign in the background.)

This is where I stop following the tracks of Blogger homework, and pay attention to what they turned up. This article is well-written, and deserves some special attention:

Organizers said the gathering of about 200 people at 10th and Spring Garden Streets was held a few doors from Colosimo's gun store to emphasize the problem of straw purchasers of guns, those who buy firearms legally and transfer hem to criminals who are forbidden by law from possessing them. But they said Colosimo's was not involved in any illegal activity. (Emphasis added.)
Two hundred people showing up for a rally addressing a public-safety issue isn't bad. Philadelphia can't have more than a million or two people living there, and although its gun-control laws are among the toughest in the nation they obviously think they need MORE gun-control laws.

Interesting that the protesters chose to hold their rally in the near vicinity of a gun store, to protest straw purchases, which are illegal, even though they admit that the gun store "was not involved in any illegal activity".

You say "Geek, why did they chose that location for their rally? After all, the gun shop was admittedly abiding the law."

Answer: because they hate the idea of guns, any gun, and just 'obeying the law' isn't sufficient justification for their existence. This mind-set isn't based on any recognizable logic system. It's all emotion.
"Criminologists are telling us that as long as we have a high volume of illegal firearms in our community we cannot expect the homicide rate go down," said Minister Rodney Muhammad of Muhammad's Mosque Number 12 in Philadelphia.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usWhat does he want Philadelphia to do? Make a law against breaking the law? Might as well ask "How you gonna solve a problem like Maria?"

"We have one underlying problem," ( City Councilman Darrell) Clarke said. "We have too much violence in Philadelphia. We can no longer prosper as a city if the news always leads off with someone being killed."

He added that it was critical that the state Legislature allow Philadelphia to establish its own gun laws.

Clarke and other speakers stressed that the gun violence in Philadelphia and other cities was fueled by a lack of jobs for young black and Latino men.

Here's another Useful Idiot who instinctively believes that the Evening News on Channel 11 defines his culture. Shouldn't the media reflect the community? This idiot doesn't seem to think so ... instead, he's trying to live up to the image presented by a bunch of 9-2-5 Suits.

In two short sentences, he wants the city to lead the state legislature to pass even more restrictive gun laws which don't make a difference, and he blames others for the "lack of jobs".

I can't help wonder how many of these young men submitted a job application this week. America is the Land of Opportunity, but it won't come knocking on your door. You have to go looking for it, as did the people who now have jobs. This guy is riding the coat-tails of "Gun Control" to further his personal agenda of Victim-ocracy.

Stories like this just make me see red.
UPDATE: 03-SEP-2007:
Cowboy Blob notes that the author of is "Jeff Soyer", not "Joe Sawyer". I have corrected that misinformation in the text. Thanks for the correction.

If YOU find an error here or in other Cogito Ergo Geek articles, I invite you to submit corrections either in the COMMENTS section or by mailing me directly (see the email address at the end of every Geek webpage.) I will appreciate it, and will respond as soon as I learn of my errors.

USPSA Elections, Part 2 - Literally!

On August 20, 2007, I posted an article discussing the USPSA Presidential and (for some areas) Area Director elections.

In a jovial mood, I discussed the problem of "The Dog Ate My Ballot", and was appropriately informed by "USPSA does *not* send replacement ballots to individuals".

Today, SWMBO suggested that I check my mailbox, which I did. What I discovered is that "USPSA does *not* send replacement ballots to individuals", but USPSA does send replacement ballots to ... everybody. (Except for Foreign Addresses, which had originally been sent ballots via First Class Mail.

What I found in my mailbox was a new ballot, yellow in color, and carefully designated "New USPSA Ballot" along with an advisory that I should
"See the enclosed letter for an explanation of this ballot. Additional information is available in the members area at
If you're a member of USPSA, you should go to the webpage, sign on to the Members Area, and look at the top entry, "Ballots sent via USPS First Class Mail".

Click on the "Additional Details Here" link to get the whole story.

Here's the short version:
The mailing service which shipped out the original ballots mistakenly sent them out "bulk rate" instead of "first class". This caused a delay, resulting in some members perhaps not having as long as USPSA had intended for them to vote.

The USPSA BOD met and decided that they should extend the voting period. For reasons which are not clear to me (I'm a Geek, folks don't expect much from me) USPSA decided that they should send Replacement Ballots to all members. I'm guessing that the deciding factor was that "bulk mail" doesn't get the same respect that "first class mail" gets, so some ballots may have legitimately gone astray.

Your dog may never had had a nibble. Neither may you.

The "New Ballots" (referred to as the "First Class" Ballots) are printed on yellow paper, and they include the verbiage printed in green, above. That's so simple, even a Geek could understand it.

So you have, potentially, two chances to vote. What happens if you do?

Each ballot is numbered, so the auditors Know Who You Are. They are tasked with the onerous job of collecting and evaluating all of the ballots. (Which means they hired an Office Temp for a half-day. Cost to them: approximately $40.)

If they receive only one ballot with your ballot number, that vote counts.
Of they receive TWO ballots with your ballot number, only the Yellow ballot (the "First Class" ballot) will be counted.

Only ballots , of either shade (white or yellow), which are received before the October 1, 2007, deadline will be counted.

If I'm wrong about this, may Dave Thomas strike me ... no, let me rephrase that. I hope Dave will let me know so I can correct my misinterpretation.

Dave doesn't get the whole credit for this, but National Elections probably fall within his Area of Responsibility so we should probably recognize his professional approach to the administrative boondoggle which was NOT HIS FAULT!

Also, please note that the entire USPSA Board of Directors voted on this approach, and unanimously determined that this was the right approach.

Let me add my vote, and I hope you agree, that USPSA has gone beyond the minimal limits of responsibility in ensuring that all members have been provided with sufficient opportunity and time to vote for the candidates of their choice.


I'm not changing my vote.

Michael McCarter for President!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

USPSA 2008 Rule Book: General Observations 3

This is the last in a 3-part series of "General Observations" (usually informational, sometimes explanatory, occasionally critical) regarding the new USPSA rule book. It is preceded by General Observations 1 and General Observations 2.

In our examination of the USPSA-specific differences between the new USPSA rule book and the previous IPSC/USPSA rule (January, 2004), it seems appropriate to mention the general differences between the current USPSA rule book and the 2004 version.

(IPSC is the International Practical Shooting Confederation. It is the world-wide ruling body charged with maintaining the rules used for International competition. The rule book published by that organization is often used without change by many regions for Local/Regional competition, and is mandatory for use in International competition.)

First, it was authored by the USPSA Board of Directors, plus the USPSA President (Michael Voigt) with input from John Amidon, the USPSA Vice-President and leader of the National Range Officer Institute (NROI). USPSA has previously used the IPSC rule book, but had received a dispensation to publish a USPSA version which included special variants of certain rules to reflect the culture, the preference, and the less-intrusive laws regulating the possession and use of firearms. Because this rule book is an entirely American publication, there are no rules which refer to IPSC competition in the International sense.

Second, early in 2007 the rules which were proposed by the authors were presented to the USPSA membership in a Draft form, and the members were encouraged to submit critical comments and suggestions for change. USPSA member suggestions were accepted until the end of March, 2007, and many of the comments and suggestions were used by the authors to present a truly superior set of competitive rules.

This is a milestone in IPSC competition in America, because for the first time in two decades American competitors are allowed to ignore rules, regulations, targets and divisions which have no bearing on competition within their own home Region. In fact, this happy situation is due to an outreaching by the USPSA President and Board of Directors to IPSC in a sincere effort to continue the mutually supportive relationship between the American and the International bodies, while allowing USPSA to retain the flavor of local competition. Special thanks are due to Bruce Gary, Director of Area 1, who spearheaded this effort.

Enough of the background. In General Comments 2, we left off with Chapter 6: Match Structure.

We'll continue with

Chapter 7: Match Management

Adds the post of "Tournament Director" (TD).
This is specifically important to USPSA because of the increasing popularity of Multigun and 3-gun competitions, where Pistol, Rifle and/or Shotgun stages are included. The distinction between a Match and a Tournament are uniquely important in USPSA, because this level of competition is not typical of IPSC (International) Practical Shooting competitions.

Chapter 8: The Course Of Fire
Rule 8.3.1 changes the Range Officer Command "Load and Make Ready" to "Make Ready". This is a convenient way to avoid the confusion when a stage specifies that the competitor must start the stage with an unloaded firearm.

We can expect an awkward learning curve, after generations of Range Officers have become accustomed to instructing shooters to "Load and Make Ready". However, when the 2004 Rule Book was introduced we learned to say, at the competitor's obvious conclusion of a stage, "IF clear, hammer down, holster" instead of "Gun clear, hammer down, holster". We can learn this one, too.

A valuable corollary to this is rule, which specifically forbids the Competitor from moving away from the start position after the firearms has been loaded, without the Range Officer's specific permission. This scenario has been encountered during actual competition, which suggests that this rule is not without justification. That is, it meets the Geek criteria of "A Good Rule" in that it addresses a previously defined problematic situation.

Many of the rules which have been considered "excessive" in the 2004 manual have been omitted from this version. Competitors may take sighting pictures with a loaded weapon, and may take sighting pictures on as many targets as they deem advisable. Competitors are still restricted from walking a stage or 'playing with' the props and/or targets without the Range Officer's permission, but the egrigious 'procedural penalties' are absent. USPSA expects all competitors to be responsible. The only remaining penalty is a Match DQ for "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" if the competitor is specifically instructed by the RO to "STOP DOING THAT", and ignoring the RO command.

Rule 8.6.1 specifically allows coaching in Level I ("Club Match") competition under certain conditions. One assumes that this would be applicable to new shooters, who haven't the experience to make the kind of judgments which come with experience. However, any shooter may receive coaching, at the RO's discretion, by requesting it. (Frankly, I think this rule has been included to help make the New Shooter experience more fun and rewarding. Nobody expects them to win the match; they're just trying to survive. It only enhances the competitive experience when the RO is legally permitted to suggest that when a target has been shot at so many times that a reload is neccesary, the competitor might consider 'moving on' to another target.)

Chapter 9: Scoring
Rule 9.1.7 define target stand 'sticks' as "neither hard cover or soft cover", so if a shot goes through a stick ... you own it.

Rules 9.4.1 and 9.4.2: EVERY hit on a paper or steel no-shoot target will be counted as a penalty of twice the point-value of a maximum scoring hit. This removes the "no more than two penalties may be scored on a no-shoot, no matter how many times it has been hit" rule which had been egregiously added to the 2004 rule book. Thank you, USPSA, for removing this bizarre rule which is rumored to have been imposed in order to make the 'new shooter' feel more 'comfortable'. If one may editorialize a primary concept of Practical Shooting is that "if you shoot it, you own it, and rules which undermine this principle are detrimental to the game.

NOTA BENE: The "Radial Tears" Rule (defining the circumstances under which an 'enlarged hole in a paper target' would be considered a hit) has been removed from the final version. The Draft version required the RO to look for a 'grease mark, striations or a crown' to determine the legitimacy of a 'hit'. That this sub-rule has been removed is evidence of the authors listening to the members, who prefer that the Range Officer use his own experience to determine whether a hit is justified.

Rules 9.9.3 and 9.9.4 referencing "Scoring of Moving Targets":
9.9.3 Moving scoring targets will always incur failure to shoot at and miss penalties if a competitor fails to activate the mechanism which initiates the target movement.

9.9.4 Level I matches only - If the written stage briefing prohibits the engagement of certain targets prior to activation, the competitor will incur one procedural penalty per shot fired at such targets prior to operating the activating mechanism, up to the maximum number of available hits (see Rule
I think this is an important rule because it is part of the mechanism which allowed removal of the confusing version of rule US1.5.1 (regarding "Freestyle" competition) which stated only:
US1.5.1 - Level I matches are not required to comply strictly with the freestyle requirements or round count limitations.
This rule was so confusing that it caused a lot of frustration and bad feelings on the part of both the competitors and the stage designers (and Match Directors) when a stage design approved by the MD was not readily accepted by the competitors. We're glad that rule has been eliminated from the 2008 USPSA rule book. Instead, we see this verbiage which is much more understandable and much less confusing: Appearing scoring targets must be designed and constructed to be obscured to the competitor (during the course of fire) prior to activation. Level I matches are encouraged but not required to strictly comply with this requirement. The written stage briefing may prohibit competitors from engaging certain target(s) which may be visible prior to activation until the operation of the activating mechanism has been initiated (see Rule 9.9.4).

Chapter 10: Penalties
During the Draft Review period, one rule was subjected to much criticism. It was confusing, and the justification was not obvious.

Essentially, it was typified by a course of fire which required a competitor to negotiate an area which in part included a 'lane' or path which was defined by 'boundaries'. This proposal would have prevented the competitor from leaving the lane to shot-cut to a more advantageous shooting place, by penalizing the competitor one procedural (5 points) for each STEP taken outside the boundaries!

The response of the USPSA membership, during the Draft Review process, was apparently overwhelming and certainly vociferous.

The details of the protests are many and, essentially, unimportant. The results are very important.

Consequently, Rule 10.2.11, instead of looking something like this:
Unless specified otherwise in the written stage briefing, a competitor who, following the start signal, leaves the boundaries of the shooting area with at least one foot in contact with the ground and gains a significant advantage by advancing to a later part of the shooting area(s), such as taking a “short cut” to a later part of the defined shooting area (s), will receive 1 procedural penalty per step taken outside the shooting area.
... has been removed from the final version. Instead, we see only this rule:
10.2.1 A competitor who fires shots while any part of their body is touching the ground or while stepping on an object beyond a Shooting Box, a Fault Line or a Boundary Line or who gains support or stability through contact with an object which is wholly beyond and not attached to a Shooting Box, Fault Line, or Boundary Line, will receive one procedural penalty for each occurrence. However, if the competitor has gained a significant advantage on any target(s) while faulting, the competitor may instead be assessed one procedural penalty for each shot fired at the subject target(s) while faulting. No penalty is assessed if a competitor does not fire any shots while faulting. (Emphasis added.) (see UPDATE: 29-AUG-2007 at the bottom of this page.)
This is much more familiar, and complies with the original concept that penalties are not usually assigned when not in the act of shooting, except for Safety Violations. (Exceptions may occur, but I admit I can't think of any at the moment. Readers may choose to submit examples.)

I have chosen NOT to include the subsequent chapters of the new rules in these General Observations, because as soon as we get into the Appendices the degree of minutiae is overwhelming.

I note in passing that there was some controversy in a rule which appeared to prohibit usage of the DOH holster in some Divisions. The Board of Directors have issued an unofficial statement to the effect that their appendicized regulations on holster position in Production class was not intended to forbid usage of this utilitarian holster, and they intended to make such changes as were necessary to permit it. I can't say whether this change has been completed. I'll leave it to others to read the new rules and determine the consequences of the final results.

One again, I emphasize that the purpose of this three-part series was NOT to provide a definitive comparison between the old rule book and the new. You can see by the extensive verbiage presented on these three articles that the changes are extensive, and often profound.

Instead, I only hope to familiarize the reader (presumably a practitioner of Practical Shooting Competition under the auspices of USPSA) with the more obvious changes. There may be a few subtle changes between the current 'final' version of the USPSA 2008 Rule Book and that which is actually printed. I have not control over that process.

My over all 'General' impression is that this version represents a break-through improvement over competitive rules which have been published for at least the past decade. Personally, I am extremely grateful to the USPSA Board of Directors for their diligence and determination to provide a superior set of competitive rules.

I think they have succeeded admirably.
UPDATE: 29-AUG-2007

I received an email from Bruce Gary, USPSA Area 1 Director (Board of Directors Member, and one of the authors of the new rule book) mentioning that rule 10.2.1 will not appear as cited above. One of their goals during the rewrite was to remove all mention of "Boundaries" and "Boundary Lines" from the rule book. This reference seems to have been overlooked.

Here's the full text of his message:
The last bit in your analysis should probably be edited. "Boundary Lines" are not in the final rulebook, they have been pulled out entirely, replaced by the "forbidden actions" language in the Board motion that passed in the same online meeting as the rulebook itself. ...