Thursday, March 13, 2008

Warmup to DC v HELLER

I've been conspicuously absent from the rush to publish on this vital Supreme Court case. I have no expertise in constitutional law, but there are so many excellent commentaries in the gunblog world that I would rather read what they have to say about it than research it myself.

You can pick and choose among the better known blogs, or just pick one that you trust and follow his links.

My personal choice is the Michael Bane Blog. For starters, read his articles of March 12 and March 13, 2008.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Hat Tip to Hook for this one. Caution: Not exactly SFW (Safe For Work).

Gangbanger drops by the local Bodega to pick up a couple of bucks to tide him over, and gets more ... or less ... than he had expected.

Sure, she gave him the cash, and then storeclerk Karen cashed in his chips for him.
Well, not permanently, but effectively.

Note that sometimes a "D-Zone Hit" is entirely effective.

No, definitely NSFW.
Note also that I can't swear that the dialogue is accurate.

But if that's not the way the story was told, it's at least the way it should be told.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Practical Rifle: Segway

The Tri-County Gun Club (TCGC) at Sherwood,Oregon, has a very active Practical Rifle program.

They've been shooting this sport (earlier known as 'Tactical Rifle' until USPSA finally got on the ball with their own Multi-gun and 3-gun organized competition) forever. Okay, maybe it was only the last 15 years, but the dedication of the local adherents of this sport is impressive.

They shoot in the mud, usually. They make competitors crawl through the mud, roll in the mud and sometimes swim in the mud to get from one position to the next.

Did I say "Roll in the mud?" Sometimes they roll through the mud.

Last weekend (Saturday .. and repeated Sunday, March 8 & 9, 2008) the match included a stage where you were required to 'roll through the mud', shooting at targets as you go -- while mounted on a Segway.

The driving force of the program now is Randy S., a local LEO, who sometimes shoots USPSA Pistol. (I remember Randy winning some stages and his division at the 1994 USPSA Oregon Open, a state match before there was more than one Section in Oregon.) It's not that Randy can't shoot USPSA Pistol, it's just that he finds the Rifle competition so much more interesting, challenging, and fun.

Randy often has to design the courses of fire for each match himself, and stage designers are always on the lookout for a gimmick or an element of difficulty that is at least new, preferably unique.

I think he has probably outdone himself in the 'unique' department with the introduction of a Segway as a mobile shooting platform.

You remember the Segway? They were introduced in 2001 after a long period of pre-production marketing; we heard a lot about the word "Segway", but nobody knew what it was. It could have been a financial planning software package, a mobile-telephone plan, a personal airplane or a new brand of bubble-gum. All we knew was that it was going to revolutionize us in our personal life. Turns out that it was a "personal transporter", which was "more than a scooter".

(Note: when browsing the Segway website, note that some of the links will crash your browser. At least, that's what happened to me ... several times ... when using Firefox as my browser. You might have better luck using Internet Explorer to browse the Segway website.)

One of the proposed uses was as a mobility aid for LEO on patrol, suitable for street/sidewalk, beach, parking lot and mall. As such, they were sold to several police agencies that had a patrol responsibility. (They were also marketed for inner-city courier services to replace the bicycle, commuters and shoppers, but that's another story.)

Apparently, an Oregon Police Agency (we're not all deep-woods rain forests here, we actually have cities in Oregon) bought one and it has probably been languishing in a store room for the past several years.

I'm guessing here that 'someone' finally decided that as long as they already owned the Segway, they should explore its utility vis a vis actual high-profile police situations. Specifically: what should be included in the training manual for officers on a Segway who find themselves in a Lethal Threat situation?

Since Randy is a Training Officer in a police department, it seems reasonable that he would be charged with experimenting with the Segway in a contact situation. And what better way than to employ the Segway in a Practical Rifle situation where Time and Accuracy are an intrinsic part of evaluating performance ... and the only 'new' element is the introduction of the Segway as a firing platform?

As I say, I am guessing here. And I don't know if other competitors used the Segway to navigate this Course of Fire. (Randy is the shooter in the following video.)

All I'm saying for certain is: this is what it looks like.

(Everybody is having fun here: even the cameraman is laughing. Note that the Segway 'drifts' while the shooter is engaging targets ... that information would be 'good to know' when training patrolmen to shoot from a Segway.)
UPDATE: 07-JUL-2008

Sorry, the video has been removed from the user. I'll see if I can get a copy of it and post it directly here.

Thanks to Nick for reporting the 'broken link'.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Little Girl Dead: Liberal Milking of a Theme

From Sutton at "The Walmart Place" via Xavier Thoughts, we find this:

It's about responsibility in firearms ownership, and Liberal Angst, and one Liberal's desperate attempt to put a 'nuanced' (or 'balanced') face on the story of a little girl killed because he (another child, in the guise of a man) left a handgun where his girlfriend's 18-month-old daughter could just ... pick it up off the table, and pull the trigger.

As you will be, I am struggling to deal with the sheer outrage at an "adult" who is so irresponsible that he allows the tragic death of a child to happen because he likes playing with guns.

Yes, many of us consider firearms to be the means by which we can 'play' (at competition, or in other hobbies such as collection) or be a sport (again, competition, and hunting). Most of us, I imagine, have a more serious attitude toward firearms: they are a tool and like a handaxe or a hacksaw they are capable of causing injury.[

But never the injury of a child. We never assume that a child this young is capable of a responsible attitude toward firearms. At 18 months, everything is a curiosity .. everything is a toy.

In response (or perhaps as a follow-up) to this tragedy, "Sutten" goes to a gun show where strange people and stranger shooting-related products are for sale.

Sutton (a gender-neutral name, but I'll refer to the author as 'she') strives valiantly with the demonstrations of Bill of Rights displays which, to her, are obviously shocking. Her distaste is clear, but to her credit she attempts to describe rather than criticize:

This was my first time at a gun show, and I didn’t know what to expect, exactly. I knew that gun shows are something of a flash point in our ongoing national debate about guns. The opportunity to sell guns to each other is important to a lot of gun owners, and gun shows are widely considered to be next on the chopping block when it comes to gun-control policy. If, for example, the federal government were to impose a nationwide three-day waiting period (which it’s not entirely clear the federal government would have authority to do, but still), gun shows would effectively cease to exist, since only sales initiated on Friday morning could be concluded before the weekend were over.

Meanwhile, to the “other side,” the people the gun enthusiasts refer to as “antis” (as in “anti-gun,” or maybe even “anti-freedom,” and of course, as the t-shirts for sale at the gun show advised, “freedom isn’t free”), gun shows are murky and ominous-sounding affairs where, it is assumed, people who somehow couldn’t buy guns otherwise are able to obtain them, not to mention the fact that the events gather concentrations of people who are really into guns, an enthusiasm that is frankly hard for many outsiders to understand.

It’s not hard for me to understand, at least on some levels. I shot for the first time in Coast Guard boot camp and carried a sidearm regularly (and long arms less regularly) when I operated as a boarding officer in the Florida Straits. I found I was passably good at target shooting, which was a thrill for a city kid who hadn’t grown up around guns, but that wasn’t the only attraction. Certain other powerful emotions took hold of me during those early experiences, emotions related to the high-stakes feeling of responsibility and the focused concentration necessary for safe gun handling, as well as the aesthetic pleasure of using one of the last categories of well-made things. Short of fancy sports cars, after all, one is not likely — in our increasingly disposable world — to become intimate with very many other mechanical devices that are machined and assembled and tuned to such precise and narrow specifications. .

So it’s not so hard for me to understand the enthusiasm some people feel for guns. There are some other things in the gun world it is harder for me to understand, however.

Really? She seems uncommonly introspective for one who is experiencing her first gun show.

At 10:30 in the morning, the show was already well-attended. The crowd was overwhelmingly male and tended toward middle age and girth, lots of plaid and fleece stretched over lots of ponderous bellies and wide backs, which made it hard to squeeze through the narrow aisles.

Sutton treats a 'trip to a gun show' as if it were a city-kid's school field trip to the farm. She holds her nose against the smell and watches where she steps, trying to ignore the porcine bodies bumping against her.

A comment:
Gun Shows are a two-pronged affair, and participants have tried hard to accommodate those who don't understand them and who are uncomfortable with the concept that a private citizen may (usually) trade freely with another private citizen in exchange of personal firearms.

In fact, that accommodation is entirely one-sided, as those who believe firearms should always be controlled by the Government will never reciprocate, never attempt to really understand the concept of personal responsibility.

As Sutton says: "The question is whether we have any good way to prevent gun sales to the stupid at the policy level, as opposed to, say, harshly punishing the Smails of the world."

That's a good question. Stupid, but deserving of response.

Should the person who sold a pistol to "Smails'" vendor have declined the transaction? Certainly, but how is a seller to know that the buyer is an irresponsible mutt except by current actions? How would the grocer who sells a mop-pail know that the purchaser would leave it on the floor, full of soapy water, for an inquisitive toddler to fall into and drown?

I find it disturbing that when Sutton writes this piece, she casually mentioned that:
"The girl’s mother, who was away from home on Wednesday evening, was quoted as saying that Smail was in the habit of handling the gun around the house."
Yet she ... Sutton ... wastes no column inches discussing the responsibility of "the girl's mother" for her willingness to leave her child alone, unsupervised, in the sole care of a man who was "... in the habit of handling the gun around the house."

The fact that an unnamed *(?)* daughter is left in the care of a known irresponsible adult is more telling, to me, than that the identified "irresponsible adult" acted as he is known to act: Irresponsibly.

Should she ... the Mother of this child ... have left a toddler alone in the care of a six-year-old child? Probably, not; but why not?

It is at least arguable that the person of "Smails" had demonstrated no more sense of responsibility than another child, and an inexperienced and unthinking child, at that. The degree of responsibility is similar. Who's the responsible adult here?



Sutton has about exhausted her primary theme of the tragic and needless death of a small girl. But she isn't done yet. Instead, she harps on the theme of "Gun Shows Are Bad" ... as if the tragedy of a Little Girl Dead is only the catchy lead-in to a Liberal Anti-Gun Policy Statement.

Sutton goes on to list the characteristics of the Gun Show which disturb her.

But, Oh, I don't really want to go there.

To Sutton, this tragedy is a Talking Point. This is just another way to support a Liberal Political Statement about gun control, and how people who go to Gun Shows are unfeeling, uncaring, irresponsible jerks.

I know people who go to gun shows; this does not describe them. More, I know the people who sponsor, organize and run gun shows; this does not describe them.

Everyone that I call 'friend' is appalled by this story, by the death of a child. I know people who probably aren't so affected by the story, but they are not my friends.

They're people like Sutton, who is indistinguishable from an opportunist with an agenda; willing to make political hay while the societal sun shines ... and when the story is no longer Page 1 news are entirely willing to forget about that 18-month-old who died because her mother wanted a Man in her life more than she wanted to protect her child.

Why does Sutton write an article about a Little Girl Dead, then use the majority of her time talking about a gun show and how odious it is to her?

Because the child isn't important to her.
Except as a lead-in to a slam on Gun Shows, for Christ's Sake.

I have no sympathy for Sutton's Liberal Angst; it's as phony as her name.

And I have no love for the Walmart Blogger, whose societal awareness is less deep than John Edwards' $600 haircut.

A pox upon the "Sutton", for her false concern about the death of a child.

And another pox on her, for her touchy-feely article.

Also for her attempt to turn this story into a Liberal rant on their Liberal political platform.

I have no affection for dissemblers and liars.
I have no respect for those who would feed upon the blood of innocents.
I have no patience for those who disguise themselves as loving, caring people when they are vultures of the political spectrum.

Thank you, host Xavier Thoughts, for being so wise as to restrict your response to: "In the end, it's all about personal responsibility." You said the same as I, but didn't have to think it through to reach the true perspective, as I did.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Paul Does His Job

At the ARPC (Albany Rifle and Pistol Club) match yesterday, I was lucky enough to catch a USPSA Range Officer in the act of not DQ'ing a new shooter for violating a safety rule, but instead intervening before an "Unsafe Act" was committed.

The scene was a stage where vision and engagement of a series of targets along the sides of the bay was restricted by barriers. The shooter was channeled into a limited area moving toward the rear berm (I'll include a badly filmed video at the end to show what it looks like), and it was possible for shooters to see/engage uprange targets from a downrange shooting location.

Possible ... but not safe, and not legal.

The "new shooter" (Scott) engaged the targets on the left side of the bay from the first shooting position, and in doing so experienced a jam. Clearing the jam distracted him from his game plan, so instead of also engaging the targets on the other side of the bay, he moved downrange to engage the next set of targets.

From this second shooting position, he could see the pair of targets which he had failed to engage from the uprange position.

He must have hesitated, he must have given some unconscious non-verbal signal that he was about to turn back and engage these targets because Paul, the Range Officer, stopped him.

Paul, using only verbal commands, directed him to 'unload and show clear' and then directed the taping crew to retape the targets; he would require the new shooter to reshoot the stage after standing down for a few minutes.

All of this was not known to the rest of the squad at the time. We who were watching the action could see that targets were not engaged from a 'legal' position, and assumed that the new shooter had moved his pistol toward the uprange targets -- resulting in a Match Disqualification, or "DQ".

We were momentarily disappointed, because there were three New Shooters in this squad, and it's not only discouraging for anyone to DQ on his first match (second stage!), but disruptive for the other new shooters.

However, when Scott retired to the stage bay, we learned that he had not only not been DQ'd, but the RO had scheduled him to reshoot the stage after Scott had recovered from the close encounter of the unsafe kind.

As the targets were being taped and reset, I talked with Paul, the Range Officer. He explained that he could see that Scott was obviously upset because he had failed to engage the uprange targets as soon as he arrived at the next shooting position. Deducing that Scott would try to engage these targets from an unsafe location, Paul took advantage of the new USPSA rule which allow a Range Officer to 'coach' a New Shooter, or anyone else who needs assistance in a Level 1 ("Club") match.
8.6 Assistance or Interference
8.6.1 No assistance of any kind can be given to a competitor during a course of fire, except that any Range Officer assigned to a stage may issue safety warnings to a competitor at any time. Such warnings will not be grounds for the competitor to be awarded a reshoot.
8.6.2 Any person providing interference or unauthorized assistance to a competitor during a course of fire (and the competitor receiving such assistance) may, at the discretion of a Range Officer, incur a procedural penalty for that stage and/or be subject to Section 10.6. When approved by the Range Officer, competitors at Level I
matches may, without penalty, receive whatever coaching or
assistance they request.

Observers, who had been disappointed for Scott when we thought he had DQ'd, were enthusiastic about encouraging Scott not to allow this minor setback (no safety rules were violated) to detract from his enjoyment of the shooting experience.

When he got back up to the line for his reshoot, Scott performed well and, in fact, proved to be undaunted by his first engagement of the Texas Star target.

(I apologize for including a very amateurish video here; BLOGGER doesn't make it easy for me to edit the file before I publish it. But it's possible ... I am just too lazy to make the effort!)

After Scott's first 'truncated' attempt, RO Paul noticed me in the crowd of spectators and came over to talk.

He asked: "Are you going to write about this?"

I answered: "Now that you mention it, I am. I'm impressed that you stopped him from DQ'ing."

Paul suggested that if I did write an article about this event, I should title it "The Asshole from Dundee Finally Does Something Right".

I resisted the temptation to extend his sense of humor to the Internet. There were two reasons for my uncharacteristic reticence to indulge in 'shock tactics in Blogging':

First, Paul is not an 'Asshole'. He is an experienced, committed Range Officer who always strives to ensure that every competitor shoots safely and enjoys the experience, especially those who are shooting their first match;
Second, the title turned out to be too long to fit on one line of the blog title banner.

All kidding aside, I was impressed by Paul's skill and integrity, as much as I was impressed by Scott's ability to face up to the challenge of The Texas Star and end up Looking Good!


I don't often visit the USPSA website.

Maybe once a month, maybe less often. I'm not as concerned as some folks are about my classification scores and besides, I have a link on my blog which allows me to check my classification without going to the USPSA website first. (* You can use that link too; check the sidebar.)

But when I visited the website tonite to look up the new rule book, (found on the USPSA NROI website), I discovered that someone (USPSA Executive Director Dave Thomas?) had been keeping Webmaster (and Area Director) Rob Boudrie busy setting up New Features.

One pleasant surprise was that there's an entirely new category in the website: Ladies' USPSA, called the Ladies Zone. This is available directly, you don't have to go through either the USPSA website or the Members' page, with it's cumbersome sign-on protocol). It includes a very professional looking video, so don't be shy about expending the five minutes or so you will find yourself watching it.

Also on the Main Page (today ... expect this content to be updated):
. 2008 US Junior Invitationals:
  • This match is the first match of its kind in the United States and open to all USPSA members who are in the junior category (under the age of 18) at the beginning of the match and at special request of the USPSA President, Michael Voigt, their parents. Invitations will be sent to all junior USPSA members, inviting them to this match. All divisions and classes will be recognized. click here to read more about the match and click here to download an entry form for the match.
By the way, the "Additional Content" link on the sidebar of the main webpage doesn't seem to be working right now. By the time you read this, it will probably be changed so that it doesn't display from the main page.. But in the meantime you can go there directly by clicking on the Member Link and signing on with your logon id and
password, which you can receive directly from USPSA.