Saturday, August 23, 2008

When Will This Nightmare End?

ObamA Chooses Senator Joe Biden D. Deleware as his Vice Presidential Running Mate by Carol Lloyd — obama choses joe biden as vp mate | Gather

To paraphrase Rush Limbaugh, Obama has had a difficult time selecting a vice-presidential running mate for the 2008 Presidential elections, because everyone he would have selected had resumes so much better than his that it made the (presumptive) Presidential candidate seem incompetent.

(And so it should.)

Consequently, BHO has chosen the absolutely perfect running mate: Joe Biden, The Distinguished Dipshit from Delaware.

What's good about this? They are both about as deep as a mud-puddle n a parking lot, and Biden is perhaps the only U.S. Senator who typically embarrasses himself in public with his "unscripted remarks" more regularly than does Obama.

In a word, Biden is so bad, he makes Obama look good ... in comparison.

This, my friends is what makes Politics a dirty word in any honest household.

As author John Barnes said: "This is an idea so stupid that it could only have been conceived by a Politician."


For those of us who are Second Amendment believers, Michael Bane had a few words (and more links) to illustrate exactly why Biden is so repugnant.

Both Biden and Obama are determinedly Anti-Second Amendment ... despite Obama's "Urban Liberal" frantic attempts earlier in the year to position himself as Pro-Second Amendment.

His To Lose
In January, Salon announced of McCain that the Republican Nomination (over Romney) was "His to Lose".

More recently (February), The Economist announced of Obama that the Presidential Election (over McCain) was "His to Lose".

These to final candidates are equally so repugnant to most Americans, there is little to select from.

Obama, the most Liberal Democrat in the senate (and nearly the most inexperienced, with absolutely no background except for Academia, Law, and Politics) is completely acceptable to most Democrats.

McCain is an acknowledged War Hero. (Wasn't that big on the Democratic priorities when John Kerry was running against "The Draft Dodger Bush" in 2004, and Al Bore in 200)? ... and below the Event Horizon when Bill Clinton ran against George Bush Sr. in 1992? Curious how the concept of Military Experience varies for Democrats depending on the party affiliation of the candidates.)

McCain has proven leadership qualities during his time in the military.

On the other hand, his recent legislative record (Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants; Campaign Finance Reform) has been both anti-conservative and anti-constitutional. These political antics, if nothing else has alienated what might have been his "Conservative Base". Consequently, a lot of Republicans may vote for him (especially Second Amendment voters, under the umbrella of "Anybody But The Anti-Gun Urban Liberal"), but many true conservatives ... who have more than a single issue ... may choose to NOT vote for him. They may write in a candidate, refuse to vote (under the principal that there is no reason to vote for McCain), or indeed they may actually vote for Obama.

This last decision is usually based on the reasoning that "We can't vote for a Conservative, we might as well vote for the Liberal. Sure, he'll trash the country. But it may make it easier to get true Conservatives elected into Congress in 2010, and a Conservative may be a more palatable candidate in the 2012 Presidential Elections."

I don't know where they're going to find this hypothetically electable Conservative Candidate; we sure couldn't find one this year.)


For now, our choices seem to range from A to B. And that's pretty much the way it looked while we were looking for an acceptable Republican (Conservative?) candidate, and many of us are disappointed that there seems little reason to choose one of the 'final' Presidential candidates.

How can you make your choice?

I can't speak for you. But for me, it was bad enough that Obama was the not-middle-of-the-road choice of the Democrats, but to put Biden on the ticket was the ultimate statement that the Democ-Rats don't care about the electorate, and they are so arrogant that they think ANYBODY could win as long as he wasn't McCain. The sad thing is, they may be right.

What can McCain do to fight this "All Losers, All The Time" Democratic ticket?

There are two choices, and maybe a few variations on the themes:

First: McCain can choose a real Conservative as his running mate. I'm not sure where he could find one, I'm not happy with another politician from Arkansas and I'm not sure how many other Conservatives would be.

Second: McCain can choose a Non-Conservative, to make himself seem more appealing to middle-of-the-road voters. Again, this may be the more viable choice, but I don't know who he could pick who would be acceptable to Republicans, not entirely odious to Conservatives, and perhaps attractive to a few semi-liberal.

This seems like Political Suicide to me, but McCain has never shied away from Liberals and Liberal Political Concepts before.

The worst possible case is that he would choose (as has been suggested) Joe Lieberman for a running mate. Lieberman has been 100% Liberal on all issues except Iraq, so why McCain should choose him for his VP is entirely beyond me. But it could happen.

Bottom line?

Conservatives and Republicans alike are not going to be very comfortable over the next four years.

Hopefully, The Nightmare Will End in 2012. In the meantime, we can expect a lot of liberal judges to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Great. Just what we needed.

We are so screwed.

De Agony of De Feet

Taekwondo athlete faces lifetime ban for kicking referee in the head

One-time Olympic taekwondo champ Angel Matos of Cuba was booted from the sport for life after angrily kicking a referee in the face following his disqualification in a bronze medal match.

Matos - who took the gold in 2000 - flew into a rage Saturday after referee Chakir Chelbat disqualified him for exceeding the one-minute limit for injury treatment.

There's a lot that we can say about this. We can decry Matos' obvious failure to understand the concept of "Sport". We can talk about his not "being a good loser". And we can discuss the many ways in which his intemperate reaction has put his chosen sport (which was his life) in "Ill Repute".

Let's roll it all up into Door Number Two: "Being a Good Loser".

Many serious competitors will respond with this acerbic quote: "Show me a Good Loser, and I'll show you a Loser."

For the most keenly competitive, there is no acceptable alternative to winning. That is what makes them good competitors. They don't know how to lose "gracefully". They will not allow the concept of losing to taint their determination, and it is all part of their plan to win. Often, this is the critical 'edge' which turns a stellar performance (in a field of stellar performers) into a Win.

And win they do.

Matos won in the 2000 Olympics.

He came in at 11th place in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Clearly, he was disappointed in this finish, and his determination was even more powerful than it had been in 2000; back then, he didn't have a reputation to protect. Today, he did.

When he was knocked down today, he was either unwilling or unable to regain his feet after the 60-second countdown. (Boxers only have 10 seconds!) The referee "disqualified" him, which we can only assume was vaguely similar to being "Disqualified" in IPSC/USPSA shooting competition. (Note the vague nod to the notional theme of the blog.)

Matos reacted badly. He physically assaulted the referee who had DQ'd him ... more than once. And then he spit on the mats to further express his extreme disgust at what he must have perceived to be an unfair judgment which had nothing to do with his competence at his sport.

He really thought he could win.

After all, he was fighting with two broken toes. The endurance of pain in pursuit of victory is a primary indicator of excellence in all sorts of competition.

I'm not excusing Matos' out-of-control behavior. I'm only trying to understand it.

At that level of competition, nobody is a "Nice Guy". To Win, is everything. And in his pain, and disappointment, and sense of having not being dealt with fairly he lashed out against the perceived author of his loss ... the referee.

The referee just ... walked off the floor.

After Matos departed, Cuban coach Leudis Gonzalez said the decision to disqualify the Olympian was "too strict" - and suggested the match was fixed. Gonzalez claimed he was offered cash for Matos to throw the fight.

The World Taekwondo Federation announced a lifetime ban on both athlete and coach, ruling neither can ever participate in any championships sanctioned by the organization.

And the WTF could do nothing less, to defend the sport.

He did The Wrong Thing, so they Did The Right Thing. This is one time that "Throw Him Under The Bus" was needful.

Matos, of course, is ruined. As is his coach. And this is as it should be, because at the extremely high level of competition, it must not only be fair, but it must be seen to be fair.

Moving back to the world of IPSC/USPSA, if a competitor exhibited a similar expression of outrage ... or, as we say in the real world, "threw a hissy-fit", that competitor should similarly be banned eternally from competition.

Unfortunately, that is not always the way it works.

But even if the competition is only at the Club level, that is the way it should work.

You know what I'm saying?

Comcast Hell

I didn't get any blogging done Thursday night. I was in Comcast Hell.

It's kinda complicated, and I'm not sure I can tell the story right, but I'll give it a shot.

Mom moved into this trailer park several years ago, and one of the attractions was that she got free Cable television. Comcast Cable (TV) connection was part of the deal.

She pays x number of dollars for the space, and the traier park pays her Comcast cable connection as part of the rent.

Step one of Comcast Hell.\

I'm not sure how the next step happened, but apparently Mom got a Good Deal on Comcast Telephone. They send her a bill, she pays the bill by check, and she hastaken Step Twin Comcast Hell.

In May of last year I organized a high-speed internet connection for her using (you guessed it) Comcast Internet. It was her birthday (or Mother's Day ... not sure now, they are only two days apart) but it was a good deal for her. It got her out of AOL Hell (dial-up modem, slow download, all of her thirty-something nieces sending her jokes and pictures and such, she needed a faster download time.

You guessed it: Step 3 in Comcast Hell.

It took a couple of months, but I managed to get the autopay contract with Comcast so that her Internet connection was automatically deducted from my bank account. And every month, I checked my bank statement online to confirm that her Internet bill was being paid.

At least, that's what I thought. Little did I know that I had just entered the Comcast Twilight Zone.

About three months ago (I learned, reviewing past bills), Comcast arbitrarily and unilaterally changed the account number on the autopay I had set up. I was no longer paying Mom's Internet charges, I was paying her phone. I'm fairly certain that this was the result of Comcast Shenanigans, because I did not now her 15-digit account number for her phone account. Comcast never acknowledged this, but that's not surprising because the did not warn either Mom or me that they had changed the account arrangement to which we had agreed.
(That's not entirely true. They sent me a bill every month, warning that the Internet account was in arrears. Of course, I didn't open the hard-copy statements, because I was confident that it only acknowledged that I had automatically paid her bill for Internet access, as it had done for several months previously.

The Comcast Hell time-bomb was ticking, and yesterday (Thursday), the Bomb exploded.

As I was getting ready to leave for the office, I received a phone call from my (much older, retired) sister announcing that Mom's Comcast account was being closed because she had not paid her Internet bill. She had, in turn, been warned because Mom had received a visit from a man who was an employee of Comcast, and had been set to rip out her cable connection. Thankfully Mom turned him away without allowing him access to the physical premises. But it was clearly a crisis, so I told my sister [yawn!] that I had to finish dressing for work, and I would handle it after I got home at the end of the day.

I was phlegmatic about the affair, because I KNEW that I had been making monthly payments on the account. In proof, I had my ban statements which cited that I was making two monthly payments to Comcast: one for my own Internet connection, and one for Mom's.


Move to 6pm, and the moment when I received an almost-tearful phone call from my 90-year-old mother, who ALWAYS pays her bills and pays hem as they come it. She has NEVER had a utility cut off, because she is nearly fanatic about paying all of her bills, on time if need be but usually ahead of the due date. She is not familiar with the experience of being dunned for payment on account, and didn't know what to do.

After a half-hour conversation, I had convinced her that I would handle it. This was surely nothing more than a Technical Glitch, and it was certainly nothing that she should worry about.

"I'll call you in a couple of hours, Mom, when I get off work and can talk to the good folks at Comcast. I'm sure they'll understand."

The thing is, they were not at all understanding; if Mom hadn't faced down the Comcast technician at her door, he would have removed all physical connections between Comcast cable and her home.

He would have removed the Cable TV connection, the phone connection, and the Internet connection ... all because the Internet bills was in arrears ... because Comcast had changed the billing.

That's right. As I later learned, my monthly automatic payments were being applied to Mom's Comcast Phone Bill instead of to her Internet Bill. This was not a change I would have, or could have, performed. I didn't even know her 16-digit acount number; It would have been impossible for me to change, even deliberately.

After Mom's phone call to my desk at the office, I scooted for home and got on the phone. After four hours on the phone, I learned that the bills had been sent to me but I had ignored them because I arrogantly assumed that the latest statements were the same as those I received a year ago ... noting more than an acknowledgment that the monthly bill had bee automatically paid.

I was soon dis-abused of this misconception as I spen the next hour and a half with the Customer Service Representative, "Arland", who apparently felt obliged to restate in every way possible the many ways in which I was entirely in the wrong. (He calmed down when I stated that my intention was to pay the bill. He lost interest when I said I wanted to change the billing so I was paying the Internet Access, and that a monthly bill for the Comcast Phone Service should be sent to my mother, as it had been for the past FIVE YEARS!

So I spent a couple of hours talkng to a CSR about the account, and a couple more hours talking to a Technical Person named "Jessie".

Jessie, in turn, pointed me at an online webpage where I could address qustions to an autobot ... an online program which would feed me canned questions and magically wink-out what needed to be done to resolve my problem.

As I had expected, and as I had mentioned to Jessie ... the auto-bot was unable to help me; The question was (in a manner reminiscent of Obama's response to Pro-Choice questions) "above mypay grade."

Eventually I made online contact with a CSR who could type, and that person (afer I had provided all inf the information available) assured me that all of the Billing changes I had requested, had been accomplished.

I'm warmed by her re-assurances; but I am not convinced. I suspect that I will have to take the same, or very similar .. steps until the billing priorities are p roperly established.

Here's the bottom line:

Unless you are a Corporae Lawyer, avoid paying for a 'portion' of someone else's COMCAST services. They are not competent to establish, track and control such a bizarre arrangement. Imagine a son paying for his mother's internet access. I think this is certainly not in their Job Description.

Howevre, Comcat is very good at shutting off ALL services (not just the service which is in arrears), and intimidating 90-year old widows at their doorstep.

It took me part of he night just to pay the total outstandig bill, and receive assurances that her services would NOT be cut off.

Translated: the service guy has gone home for the day. We can't hurt ou any more, sopay the bil and we'll forget to send him back.

Eventually, we got the services restored and Mom is much happier now. I think this is much beter than it was before, if only because my mother is no longer crying.

I finished my Thursday night on-line, arrangngfor the biling o be 'as it was before.". I think. But it takes six week for the changes to go into effect, and nobody knows WHAT Comcast will actually do to resolve the problem. Remember, these are the same people who originally avowd that the entire contretemps was MY fault.

So expect the same, or similar confusion next month.

And do NOT expect Comcast to take any extreme measures to shield us from Comcast Hell.

I'll keep your posted.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Are we there yet?

My, how time flies.

It has been eleven years since Nick Alexakos, President of the International Practical shooting Confederation (IPSC), petitioned the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to accept IPSC as a "Demonstration Sport" in the 2004 Olympics.

The IOC replied, essentially: "Not only 'No', but "Hell No!" Their determination may have been fueled ... it may have been decided ... by this statement from a non-IOC source:

ISSF (International Shooting Sports Federation) Secretary General Horst G. Schreiber:
They have approached us once, but we said we are not cooperating with them. We want nothing to do with them. The black sheriffs [security guards], the bodyguards—they're all members of this practical shooting. We want none of them in our group....It is not a sport. I think it's a camouflage for those who are supposed to deliver their high-power .45 pistols to the government, and they [seek to] find some sort of a legal possibility to keep possession of their revolvers or pistols.
So, an international shooting organization pierced the proposed demonstration with a bodkin of pure hatred for pistols, and for a sport which is designed to poke holes in cardboard ... with the added caveat that the request may be nothing more honorable than a crass commercial venture.

Thank you, Herr Schreiber. "What did YOU do in the war, Daddy?"

On the other hand, I find it somewhat charming to learn that the people ["black sheriffs"] who protect the bigwigs [ the Schreibers of this world] enjoy and appreciate Practical Pistol competition. Maybe we need to find a new class of Elitists.

This defeat for IPSC was a source of great amusement to the Violence Policy Center (VPC), which (in their "Gold Metal Gunslingers" series) gleefully recounted the story.

And some IPSC members, including myself, castigated Mr. Alexakos for his poor timing. The consensus among this disappointed group was that this effort, its rude rebuff, and the resulting bad publicity set back the cause of International acceptance of extreme Competitive Shooting at least a decade.

In the light of this year's Olympic competition in the shooting sports, and the perceived greater appreciation for pneumatic, smallbore and shotgun competition, at least one Gun Writer wonders whether it isn't time to include Practical Shooting to The Olympics, if only in very small mouse-steps.
It may ... be time to start lobbying the USOC [Ed: United States Olympic Committee] for practical shooting.

It's not beach volleyball, but watching shooters run, slide, shoot, reload and shoot again is- at least in my opinion - a made for television event. Telegenic events get coverage- shooting events, especially the moving and shooting events, can draw crowds and encourage participation- and media coverage.

There are the obvious concerns, but it would seem that lower-power equipment combined with electronic scoring technology (and a few lasers, sirens and some pyrotechnics maybe to familiarize shooters with distractions) could add up to rivetingly entertaining competitions.

But that may be the television producer in me looking for more shooting on television.

-- Jim Shepherd, "The Shooting Wire" August 18, 2008

(Shepherd is speaking in the context of the Scholastic Clay Target Program, which encourages young people to compete in Shotgun shooting.)

In its eight-year history, the SCTP has brought nearly 30,000 youths into trap, skeet and sporting clays competitions. But the program's undisputed validation as an international training ground came this past week in Beijing.

... it is now obvious to everyone that the SCTP program and its tough series of qualifying competitions can identify world-class shooters early in their shooting careers. It's an argument that has quietly -but not always civilly - raged between shooting disciplines that cross-pollination doesn't work, but it's hard to argue with the results. The names Hancock and Cogdell make that point impossible to argue.

Medals, as they say in Olympic sports, are what matters. SCTP shooters have produced two medals in the best Olympic showing the United States has made in more than four decades.

SCTP shooters have produced.

Shepherd's theme is that the SCTP program, introducing young people to the shooting sports and providing coaching and other support and encouragement, can produce World-Class Competitors ... and (most impressive to the USOC), bring Olympic medals back to America.

I don't know. I would like to think that Shepherd is right; the Olympics (especially the Summer Olympics, with its emphasis on outdoor sport) has a long history -- a couple thousand years -- of testing military prowess among the participating athletes. Recent world cultural evolution has chosen to ignore the genesis of the Olympics, but one need not be especially perceptive to recognize that most Olympic sports are based upon warfare.

Think: Javelin (spear-chucking), Discus (rock-chucking), running (Battle of Marathon?), low-jump (broken field running = military assault), pole-vaulting (take the castle), wrestling (hand-to-hand combat), fencing (swords), equestrian sports (cavalry), weight lifting (raw strength) ... we could go on and on, but you can supply your own interpretations.

The Olympics were based on military conflict. In fact, all sports may be said, in one way or another, to be based on conflict whether military or not.

For the IOC to deny another category of competition because it is based on conflict, because it demonstrates weapons prowess, or because it includes hardware (modern weapons) which were not technologically available 2000 years ago seems disingenuous.

In the final analysis, the attempt by Mr. Alexakos 11 years ago to introduce what may be interpreted as Combat Pistol (this was the original name for IPSC competition) as a legitimate Olympic sport in any context, seems to me to have been doomed by purely political imperatives. This, I'm sure, comes as no surprise to anyone.

And whether Mr. Alexakos should be castigated for his poor timing is now of only historic interest.

You may not agree with Mr. Shepherd, but perhaps today is the time to begin campaigning for a "Practical Shooting" event, either as a "demonstration" or as an entirely accepted Olympic "event".

Think ... Archery, 21st Century Style.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Should Teachers Be Allowed To Carry Guns?

Should Teachers Be Allowed To Carry Guns?, Tiny Texas District OKs It; Could It Prevent Columbines?; Issue Debated, On The Early Show - CBS News

This is news, but it isn't exactly "new news".

Yesterday, a school district in Texas announced that they were seriously considering allowing their teachers to carry guns.

Why? Because they are a very SMALL school district, and they are a half-hour away from any reasonable response time in case of an emergency. Having watched the news on television, the district Board of Education were aware that schools were typically considered a "Gun Free Zone", and that is interpreted by predatory types as meaning "a safe-to-shoot, target rich environment zone". (cf: Columbine)

(See link to CBS video here.)

Knowing that they couldn't count on 911 to save their students the BOE elected to adopt a down-home security solution. They can't afford the ability to lock down their school, and aren't certain it will provide reliable defensive capability, so they'll allow their faculty (and staff) to act as impromptu security guards.

Harold, Texas,School Board Superintendent David Thweat:
"The people who are going into these situations are evil ... I'm not going to be Politically Correct on this ... I don't care what their problems are, they've gone in and killed children. And if they come into our school, they are going to meet resistance. And I think if they did, these crack-pots would stop going into them."

Oh, there were some restrictions. The teachers (assumedly, also staff including administrators such as the school principal) must complete training to qualify, and must hold Concealed Weapons permits issued by the county sheriff after all requirements had been met. But Texas is a "Shall Issue state", and that mean exactly what it says. If the applicant meets the requirements, the sheriff shall issue the permit.

Also, of course, the teachers were required to keep the firearm completely concealed so that nobody knew who was and who wasn't packing. And one assumes that the individual was responsible for securing the firearms at all times. Also, they teachers who volunteered for this must be approved by the School Board.

Let's recap:
  • Applicants work at schools in the district -- check.
  • Applicants receive appropriate training -- check.
  • Applicants apply for, and receive, carry license from sheriff's office -- check.
  • Applicants are all volunteers -- check.
  • Applicants are pre-approved by the School Board -- check.
  • Applicants are responsible -- check.
So we have a bunch of certifiably responsible citizens with guns, who are voluntarily willing to put their lives on the line to defend their students. Where's the down side?

Oh my, let me count the ways.

No, that's not necessary. According to the CBS news story, which has so far received 381 comments on the original short article, there are at least three typical responses by the reading public:

One: "I think this is a wrong!"
Example from Isobel36:
To arm teachers is wrong! Their main duty is to educate not to think about a resonse to a dangerous student. There has to be a better way. If not, take your child out of the public schools!
Well, that was enlightening. But typical.

Two: "I think this a wonderful idea."
Example from behappy2-2:
I think it is a wonderful idea. Who would be in a better position to defend the kids from an armed intruder than the adult responsible for them while they are in school? The teachers (at least most of them) care about the children as if they were their own. That is why they teach, it surely isn''t for the money. Remember: when SECONDS count, the police are only MINUTES away!
This at least relates to reality.

Three: "I don't know if it's a good idea or not, but it's a sad commentary on our current society!"
Example from Gaye5:
If it has got to the stage where teachers have to wear guns to protect themselves and other students that is pathetic. It is about time that our authorities and families start to wonder why this is happening and when society started to get so bad.. I know why and many of you out there do also.
I am old enough now to remember when a child was well disciplined and sat in school and learnt, they grew up to be health, hard working well disciplined adults who brought up children the same.

Actually, there's a fourth category of responses: "I don't really like it, but I can't think of a better idea, either."
Example from patriot12436:
I have mixed feelings about this. I see the need for protection because of the violence from students against teachers and bus drivers, but i would want very strict training required before they start carrying in schools. Having lived in Texas i understand where they are coming from and the point that the nearest police station is 30 minutes from the school is also a factor.
Apparently, the middle-of-the-road veers toward the right.

Oh, I almost forgot the sneering, dismissive, ad hominem attacking group.
Example from Joe Transit:
Of course teachers should carry guns, students should wear full body armor, the principals office a gun turret. The school bus replaced with a tank. The caulk board should have little ducks moving back and forth. Any student making less then a B, shot in the head right between the eyes. No more Ritalin. That way if Bush needs to look for WMD''s he can find it in his Texas backyard.
(Actually, I agree with the "no more Ritalin" part.)

and ...
Example from cbs3200:
The American Idiots Association (AKA the NRA) fully supports guns in the classroom.

There's always the greviously misinformed:
Example from IDDNSG:
Gun owners KILL THEMSELVES with their guns MORE OFTEN than they kill anybody else. I supose [sic] that''s a good thing!
... continued with another post from the same source:
"Guns dont kill people,it takes someone to aim and pull the trigger."

And EVERY SINGLE TIME, that "someone" is a GUN OWNER!

Conclusion: Guns don''t kill people. Gun Owners Kill People! Obviously, we should OUTLAW Gun Owners!

They''re all a bunch of re.tards anyway! Case in point: they all think that a gun can PROTECT them, when a gun, by design, can only KILL. Killing someone is NOT the same thing as protecting yourself.

Besides, if a Gun Nut can have a gun, so can EVERYBODY else. Whoever shoots first wins (''cause the other person is DEAD!). Everybody shoots everybody. Everybody dies. That''s NOT safety! It''s INS.AN.ITY! The END of civilization.

Gun Nutz are anarchists!
Well, geez, it's really hard to shoot a gun if you don't have one.

What do _I_ think?

Frankly, I think it's worth trying. No other security measure which has been attempted in this country has so far stopped the crazies from killing innocents in Gun Free Zones (eg: schools, churches, shopping malls, restaurants, etc.)

On the other hand there have been instances when in these SAME "Gun Free Zones", one or two armed responders have been seen to stop, or significantly reduce the number of casualties, in the same venues.

But there have been very few times when Schools have been willing to have armed citizens on-site.

Isn't it about time to try it? If nothing else, the publicity might be sufficient to warn predators that they won't have a free shot at their victims.

Surely someone will, eventually, suggest that this policy, the arming of people in a usually Gun Free Zone, will attract a predator. Just to try their luck, and thumb their nose at the audacity of peaceful honest citizens to protect themselves.

I think that if the predators are so sick that they consider this a "challenge", they are already predisposed to shoot up their local school. At least this way, there's a chance that they may be thwarted.

I repeat: Where's the down-side?

2008 World Speed Steel Championships

PIRU, Calif. - Spc. KC Eusebio of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) is once again the world's fastest gun as he won the Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships in a new record time of 79.16 seconds. It is the second time Eusebio, who hails from Diamond Bar, California, has won the coveted title and the third time it has gone to a USAMU shooter in the last four years.

Eusebio topped a field the world's best shooters including second place finisher BJ Norris, who also took second in 2007, third place shooter and 2006 champion JJ Racaza, fellow USAMU shooter and the defending world champion SSG. Max Michel who placed fourth. Revolver legend Jerry Miculek finished fifth overall.

"KC is recognized as one of the fastest shooters in the world and anytime he steps foot on a speed shooting range he's immediately among those favored to win. His record setting performance this year has set the bar incredibly high and the shooting world eagerly awaits next year's match when KC will defend his title," said Dave Thomas, Executive Director of the Steel Challenge Shooting Association.

Only two new world records were set by the top shooters. Max Michel set a new world record on the stage Pendulum shooting a 10.07 to crush the previous record of 10.72 previously held by Jerry Miculek. BJ Norris also set a world record by beating Max Michel's time of 10.06 on the stage Speed Option by shooting a 9.81. Both Michel and Norris each hold three of the eight world records.

Among the women shooters Kay Clark-Miculek claimed an amazing seventh World Speed Shooting Championship having won the title in 2006-2004, 2001, 2000 and 1997. She also holds all the current world records for the eight stages in the Steel Challenge.

"Kay is simply the best female shooter in the world with an uncanny ability to win again and again. No other shooter, male or female, has so completely dominated the Steel Challenge like Kay has and there's no reason to believe we won't see Kay's name atop the leader board in the future," said Thomas.

Also competing in the Open Division were Jim Duncan of Hemet, Ichiro Nagata of Le Grand and Deleana Saylor of Crescent City, California and Ryan Leonard of Canby, Oregon. Leonard led the group taking the title as Overall Junior by a margin of 1.43 seconds in a time of 96.14 that was good enough for 21st overall. Nagata shot a time of 113.96 to take the Distinguished Senior title. Duncan's 120.53 won him the title as Overall Senior by just 1.05 seconds. And the 12 year-old Saylor took the title as top Pre-Teen.

In the Limited match, Owasso, Oklahoma resident Phil Strader of the U.S. Shooting Academy posted the fastest time and edged out second place finisher JJ Racaza by just 0.91 of a second. Strader's time of 92.58 was good enough for 10th place overall.

Strader also won the Iron Sighted Rimfire Pistol match in a time of 85.51 beating out Seiichi Ishikawa.

Team Glock's Dave Sevigny of Mableton, Georgia won the Open Rimfire Pistol match with a time of 69.26 edging out BJ Norris by just 0.54 of a second. Sevigny also placed fourth in the Limited match and seventh overall shooting his Open Glock pistol.

There was little surprise in the revolver division as Team Smith & Wesson shooters locked up the titles. In the Optical Sighted Revolver division the title went to Jerry Miculek. His time of 89.57, which placed Miculek fifth overall, was more than 17 seconds faster than his closest competitor, Mark Itzstein of Little Elm, Texas. Miculek also took top honors in the Rimfire Rifle match again beating Itzstein but this time by a smaller margin of 2.22 seconds.

Team Smith & Wesson's other wheelgunner, David Olhasso of Holland, Pennsylvania, outshot John Bagakis of Livermore, California by 5.42 seconds in the Iron Sighted Revolver match to claim the title.

Ohlasso switched guns, going with a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic M&P pistol to help him take the Stock Service Pistol title. Olhasso beat out Seiichi Ishikawa for the title shooting a time of 119.68 which was just 1.85 seconds faster than Ishikawa's 121.53.

In the Enhanced Service Pistol match, Taran Butler of Simi Valley, California claimed the title of fastest gun by shooting a time of 119.63 to beat out Mark Hobbs of Coarsegold, California by nearly 10 seconds. Butler's time also won him the SureFire X300 Lightning Challenge which required shooters to attach an X300 to their pistol and compete with it throughout the entire match.

In the Custom Defensive Pistol match JT Tedder of Moorpark, California beat fellow Golden State shooter Jeff Ryan of Redondo Beach by 14.69 seconds with a time of 137.38 to win the match.

Rounding out the handgun competition, Clyde Harrison shot a time of 168.23 seconds beating Frank D'Amato of Mesa, Arizona in the Single Action Revolver match.

In the Shotgun match it was Butler again beating Hobbs to walk away with the title, but this time by just 2.1 seconds. In the match that was sponsored by Vang Comp Systems, competitors shot two stages of knock down popper style targets using a Vang Comp full house pump shotgun.

The Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championship is the crown jewel competition in the sport of Speed Shooting which is governed by the Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA). Both professional and amateur shooters competed for their share of over $350,000 in cash and prizes. More than 200 competitors from 19 states and 4 foreign countries faced off against the clock and eight stages of fire in the three-day event held outside Los Angeles.


You may have noticed that the accomplishments of Ryan Leonard have been slightly emphasized.

(Photo courtesy of Mr Completely. Click on photo for full-size view.)

That may be due to the fact that Ryan is something of a Local Hero here in the Columbia Cascade Section of Oregon. Ryan, son of Nick Leonard (who has almost single-handedly managed to keep Speed Steel competition alive in NW Oregon), has been shooting competitively since he was 10 years old. I think it took him 3 years to beat me consistently in USPSA competition, and I have seen nothing but the backside of the lad for the last 3 years in both USPSA and Speed Steel.

Is Ryan another KC? Hard to tell, they started out at about the same age.

Ryan has already learned everything his father had to teach him, and is very much like Nick at matches; they exhibit the same speed, same personality, and the same drive go fast and win.

But Ryan started out very young, and has so far benefited from the coaching of an experienced shooter.

It may be time to find him a professional coach, if he is to remain competitive at a world-class level when he leaves Junior Competition.

NOTE and disclaimer: This article is based on an email sent to me as a subscriber to The Shooting Wire. I have quoted from the original Shooting Wire article extensively because it is representative of the kind of coverage of competition shooting news which is often not available from any other source. Shooting Wire Editor Jim Shepherd is aware that from time to time I draw heavily upon material from this source, and since he has not yet objected I will continue from time to time to credit him and The Shooting Wire with wonderfully informative articles. I strongly encourage you, if you find this article interesting, to subscribe to the service. (Subscribe here, please.)
All images from The Shooting Wire, except where other attribution has been specified.

Disneyland Meets Florida Laws ... just

You may recall that on July 5, Disneyland Florida announced that it would not feel obliged to accommodate a new state law requiring them to allow employees to keep firearms in their cars, when they are parked in the employee parking lot.

The reason: a minor clause excepting employers who keep explosives on-site, designed for Military bases.

Disneyland (Orlando) maintains a stock of fireworks, which it considered a legitimate qualification.

However, last week Disney demonstrated an abrupt about-face in its corporate policy when it announced that it would, under certain (not too burdensome) circumstances abide by the new Florida State Law.
ORLANDO, Fla. - Walt Disney World is revising its employee gun ban policy.

That's according to a company memo obtained Friday.

With the change, some Disney employees will be allowed to keep a gun locked in a car as long as the employee has a concealed-weapons permit, the gun isn't visible, and the weapon isn't taken out of the car.

The memo says the change only applies to employees who work at facilities outside the Walt Disney World Resort area.

Disney had previously claimed to be exempt from a new state law that allows Florida residents to keep firearms in their vehicles while at work.

The company's policy applies only to employees. Guests with valid permits can keep guns in their cars.


Sounds pretty good, eh? They're finally deciding that it's better to obey the law than to parse the law.

Perhaps not. Here's the operative paragraph in the press release:

The memo says the change only applies to employees who work at facilities outside the Walt Disney World Resort area.

I've never been to Disneyland, or to Florida, but my best guess is that "...facilities outside the Walt Disney World Resort area" constitutes at least 90% of the Disney properties in Florida. (More likely 99%.) And the number of employees in this exclusive area are mostly executives or drones ... it works for Disney either way, because they don't much care what happens to the employees; they are NOT in the public eye, there.

What appears to be a grand concession to State Law turns into a demonstration of (in their eyes) an expression of sangfroid. Nothing more. Perhaps less.

And that concession is only because, as it's not a 'public area', they don't store fireworks on the premises ... which means that their weasel-words are not legally applicable, so they can't STOP the odd employee from bringing his gun to town.

The Corporate Policy at Disneyland (Orlando), where most of the employees work, hasn't changed a bit.

In other words, employees (who have undergone a background check) are mostly still prevented from having a firearms in their car in the employee parking lot. But guests (who are complete strangers to the Corporation) may have guns in their cars in the Guest parking lot.

Does this sound to you as if the Disney corporation has a vendetta against their employees? Well, they know best. After all, the Employees are the people who portray Mickey Mouse, Minnie, and Tigger as they meet with guests. They certainly wouldn't abuse a guest.

Does Disney not trust their procedures for vetting their employees? If not, wouldn't it be better to improve their policy on hiring, rather than to defy state laws?

Perhaps. But this way is cheaper, and easier. Not to mention that the Disney corporation is less likely to suffer from violating state law than from violating their guests.

It's not a lot of fun to be pessimistic and cynical, but it does have its good side: at least I'm never disappointed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Finger! Finger!

And I ask, whose paranoid are you?: Feral Shoots Self, Other Feral, Drops Pistol.

A U.S. Marshal managed to shoot himself in the butt, and another officer in the ankle, while holstering his pistol after dropping off a prisoner early this month.

As David Codrea said, it's a "Two-Fer".

The full video is available here, while an edited, but larger-format segment of the video is available from KVIA-TV here.

The rest of this is pure speculation on my part.

It appears that, while holstering his pistol, the Marshal allowed some portion of his anatomy (his finger?) or his apparel (the tail of his snazzy photographer's vest?) to come between the holster and the trigger. When he jammed the pistol into the holster, that darned thing "Just ... went off!" (Imagine that? Darned guns, they do that a lot. "Not my fault!")

I'm obviously playing in my mind the scene where the U.S. Marshal attempts to justify the 'incident' to his superiors.

The thing is, this is exactly the kind of incident that is addressed (and almost universally avoided) by training competitors in the many "Practical" shooting venues: IPSC, USPSA, IDPA -- they all emphasize that you absolutely must keep your booger-hook off the bang-switch while holstering.

I know, I know. This guy must deliver prisoners on a daily basis, and he must always be required to deposit his pistol in the lock-down area. He probably re-holsters his pistol several times a day, five days a week.

Still, he screwed up.

What will you bet that the U.S. Marshal's Service institutes, within the next 30 days, a program of remedial training in "Safe Holstering" for all agents?

They could save themselves a lot of training time and expense if they just required their agents to enroll in a Practical Shooting sport, and attend at least one match each month.

Jeff Cooper's Rules of Gun Safety





Question: How many of these rules are violated here?
Answer: at least three; perhaps all four.

Darned FBI-slant holsters, anyway.

Army Shooting Tips

Travis Tomasie and Max Michael spent some time together on the U.S. Army Shooting Team. During that time, they made a few videos showing "how to do it".

I ran across these YouTube videos while I was checking out a comment on a video I had made of Travis doing a speed reload under what might be called "Laboratory Conditions".


I noticed a link there which showed Young Corporal Tomasie doing the same speedy-reload thing under "Range Conditions", and in a training environment.


On the same page, I found Ssg. Max Michael's Army Pro Tips video which described "Shooting On The Move".


I can do these things, but I can't do them nearly as well, as quickly, or as reliably as these guys.

As far as I know, Travis and Max are no longer in the military. That's the loss of the U.S. Army. (In comments, bgary informs us that "Travis and Max are both *very* much still in the military, and active members of the Army Marksmanship Unit.") I hope that the American Military learn from their expertise and inculcate some of their Shooting Tips to help train other American soldiers in the techniques of pistol shooting.

Oh! I know there are going to be a few folks who will be appalled when they see muzzles sweeping the camera during the filming. I can only assume that the cameras are not manned, and that nobody actually was swept. I don't KNOW that, but I do know that these two fine young men are too highly trained and experienced to feel comfortable with pointing their pistols 'uprange'.
UPDATE: 20-AUG-2008
Corrected military status of Travis and Max; H/T to bgary.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Man whose lawsuit scuttled DC gun ban gets permit

Man whose lawsuit scuttled DC gun ban gets permit

The man whose lawsuit overturned Washington's handgun ban has successfully registered his revolver, ending a more than 30-year wait to keep the weapon in his home.

Dick Heller walked out of D.C. police headquarters Monday, clutching a yellow firearms registration certificate stamped "approved." He gave the thumbs-up sign, grinned and said, "Victory!"

Heller was among the first people to seek a gun permit under new rules adopted after the Supreme Court struck down the city's 32-year-old handgun ban inJune. Heller was the plaintiff in that case.

He won approval to keep a .22-caliber revolver at home after coming to police headquarters in July to be fingerprinted and take a firearms proficiency test. Police approved the weapon after completing a background check.

You may recall that last month I reported that Dick Heller applied to the District of Columbia for a gun permit. At the time, I suggested (hell, I said straight out!) that he applied for a permit for a Semi-Automatic Pistol in direct defiance to D.C.'s defiance of the Supreme Court decision.

That may be so, but what D.C. did today was to grant his permit for ... a .22 caliber revolver.

Not quite the Big Boom we had hoped for, but this is a Giant Step for Man in terms of the 2nd Amendment in the District of Columbia.

Dick Heller is still my hero. If he leads us through the deep, dark twisty woods of Gun Control with tiny baby steps, this is still leadership in terms of Gun Control in D.C.

Thanks for showing us the way, Mr. Heller.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thunder, lightning and Rain

I hear Thunder outside. The clouds are gathering.

Soon we will see Lightning, and feel the Rain.

It's August in Oregon. The middle of the month. We expect to hear the thunder, and maybe a few paltry raindrops heavy with moisture will fall, but nothing serious.

That's the way it is tonite. The thunder, for a few seconds, and a moment of the PlopPlopPlop of rain. Then ... nothing, until the Thunder rumbles again in the distance.

We may see some Lightening tonite. At least, those of us who care to stay up for it. Most of us will go to bed soon, and fall asleep under the cannon-boom of Thunder with few cares. It's too soon for the rains to start.

But sometime during this week, the rains will come. Heavier, and closer, and more frequent as the days slide by.

The Dog Days of Summer are passing. Our plans for picnics, outings and "be sure to put on your sunblock" are slipping away.

Soon, too soon, the rains will be here. We will morph into our rainy season selfs again.

It is traditional in this part of the country to expect sun and summer's glowing heat after Independence Day and before Labor Day.

After Labor day, the betting and the planning shifts. We worry less about bringing Sun Block to our outings than we do to bringing Rain Gear.

For it will rain, and soon. Already I feel the soft coolth of Autumn through the window. Yes, we still need to turn on the Air Conditioner to sleep comfortably of a night, but soon the world will reverse itself and we will say to each other "Yes, but it's a Dry Heat" only with a sense of jocularity, and we will swelter in rain coats while the heavens drench ourselves and our days.

Dust turns to mud. Shallow depressions in the earth become mud puddles, meant for splashing and to impede our passage.

There are sunny days left to come, but the dark days are upon us. The Summer Soldiers here, those who love the warmth and cherish the ability to leave our doors without seeking coats and warm clothing, anticipate the following days with a resigned sense of dread.


On the shooting range, plastic bags appear over cardboard targets, and we curse as we try to apply masking tape over soggy paper. Steel targets predominate, and are not painted. The timers appear inside zip-lock bags, and the score sheets must be shielded by umbrellas which drip, drip, drip from the rib-points.

During this time, for the next nine insufferable months, we deal with disappointment and inconvenience. We sing the mantra of Camp Grenada.

We ask ourselves again, why do we inflict this discomfort upon ourselves? Why do we even bother rising before the chilly sun, driving expensive miles to muddy ranges with insufficient shielding from the rain, ready to scurry for cover when the lightning threatens from the ominous clouds?

Because we love it so.

That is our curse, and our salvation.

[lyrics here]