Thursday, October 30, 2008

William Shatner as "Mister Bigshot"

Shatner on Gun Control?

A frightening concept.

Two weeks ago, in a column titled "Slaughter of the goblins" I noted that "Kim ... has an interesting article". The crown jewel was a video (linked under the text noted above) which was presented as a pre-season tickler to a television show.

The video is controversial, but tantalizing in its outre-ness.

Unfortunately, it is no longer available in the link provided.

I hate broken links, or any variation thereof. So, to correct the situation I here present a bowdlerized version of the video.

Note that this is not exactly the same as the original version. Some words have been excised from the first few frames of the video, no no ill effect. What is bad is that Shatner's last line is also missing:

"Sweet Land of Liberty Valence!"

Since the video is not being touted, entirely out of context, as "Captain Kirk 'Shatner' on Gun Control" I've decided top add a few other videos from You Tube which are also touted as "... on gun control". Some of these are more interesting than others, so you may decide not to view them all.

First is John Stoessel listing the tenth of his Top Ten Myths: "The Myth of Gun Control":

Some people are strongly for gun-control. An easy example of this is Rosie McDonnell, who famously said "anyone who has a gun should go to jail".

Imagine my surprise when I discover that Rosie has since recanted that statement, sayingIt was the day after [the] Columbine [massacre]", and she was reacting "emotionally". Specifically she was not "at the top of [her game]" when she said that. Here's the video of her interview with Bill O'Reilly where she publically recanted that position. A little bit. (It's a five minute interview, in 2002 retrospect, so bear with me here. The pertinent statements are in the first 1:30 minutes.)

We have also heard a lot about the contentious May 19, 1999, interview with Tom Selleck, [8 minutes] where she is said to have 'ranted' or 'lit into him' [in an 8 minute interview].

Yes, she was rude and opinionated. Yes, she often interrupted Selleck before he could respond to her assertions. But her interview technique was not as bad as I had understood. Specifically, she did not then take the opportunity to say anything like she had been quoted before ("any who has a gun should go to jail", which incidentally I haven't yet managed to find a video.)

Don't get me wrong, I am no fan of Rosie. Still, after I dis a minimal amount of research I discovered that I was unable to substantiate the impression I had received about both her "go to thail" comment and the interview with Tom Selleck ... in which she came off as an ass, indubitably, but it was not as bad as I had expected.

Selleck, by the way, did manage to present himself as the voice of reason in the interview.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boy, 8, Shoots Self With Uzi at Gun Show - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - Boy, 8, Shoots Self With Uzi at Gun Show - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News

With an instructor watching, an 8-year-old boy at a gun fair aimed an Uzi submachine gun at a pumpkin and pulled the trigger as his dad reached for a camera.

It was his first time shooting a fully automatic gun, and the recoil of the weapon was too much for him. He lost control and fatally shot himself in the head.

Now gun safety experts — and some gun enthusiasts at the club where the shooting happened — are wondering why such a young child was allowed to fire a weapon used in war. Local, state and federal authorities are also investigating whether everyone involved had proper licenses or if anyone committed a criminal act.
This article focuses on the "why was this child allowed to shoot a machine gun? Why wasn't he adequately monitored by responsible, trained adults?"

I have to admit, I have the same questions.

The responsible parent (father) was reported to be several yards away, "reaching for a camera", when his son began shooting the subgun.

The responsible, trained instructor was not in a position to monitor and correct errors when the child began to shoot the subgun.

The child was not experienced in gun-handling, the father knew it (the older sibling had fired several firearms)

In the actual event, the full-auto machine-gun was too much for the boy to handle; and the subgun was so short that the muzzle tracked up, predictably, and the still-firing 9mm subgun worked its way up until it fired the fatal bullet into the brainpan of an innocent 8-year old boy.

It wasn't his fault. He had no idea what to expect, but he had been assured (presumably) by the innate authority of his father and the demonstrable experience of the instructor that he could handle it.l

Where do we go from here? What can we learn from this? What do we do about it? Who is responsible? What do we do to apportion responsibility and assign penalties ... if at all?

The Father:
According to the report, the Father was some distance away "reaching for a camera" when his son began shooting the Uzi.

I recognize that he wanted to capture the "Kodak Moment", and that he may not have realized that his son was going to begin shooting the gun before he was ready.

No excuse. He knew that his son was inexperienced, and presumably he was counting on the experience of The Instructor to prevent any unsafe actions.

Still, the responsibility of the father is to ensure the continued existence of his progeny. It may not be a Darwinistic result, and to typify it as such is both petty and disrespectful. In the final analysis the Father is responsible for the protection of his child, and this father failed miserably.

The Instructor:
It's difficult not to focus on the Instructor as the author of this tragedy, and I'm not even going to try to absolve him.

He had presented himself as an authority figure, he was responsible for the safe conduct of all persons and firearms on his venue, and he failed miserably. I'm sure he feels just terrible about that, but that means exactly nothing.

He allowed an undersized, inexperienced, confused child to kill himself through accident and misadventure. See the quotes around the words "accident" and "Misadventure" ... I didn't put them there. Quote marks are an excuse, and there is no excuse for the inattention and underappreciation of the potential for disaster which was not recognized here.

This ... person ... and words fail me, represented himself as an authority in the care and usage of full-automatic firearms. Yet he failed to present himself in a sufficiently close proximity to this obviosly inadequate childe to prevent what should have been the predictable consequent of handing a full-auto short subgun to a physically small and inexperienced person.
He should have KNOWN that a full-auto weapon would rise uncontrollably, and he should have started with his hand hovering over the weapon to prevent its rise past the vertical.

I picture him with a silly grin on his face, and his hands stuffed into his hip-pockets, assumig that the boy would be startled but that no permanently bad consequences would arise from the situation.

The sin of complacency.

For this sin, I can only prescribe civil suits which will forever deprive him of the means to make a living for the rest of his life.

For this sin, I coan only prescribe criminal penalties which will keep him in a small, grey, dank cell for the rest of his life.

Too punitive?

Not at all. A child who could have been anything, done anything, a Golden Child ... suffered the effects of a .358 inch, 125-grain object trepanned a child under his putative control control and protection. He had presented himself as The Instructor, accepeting all responsibilities and authoritiy. He fucked up. He deserves everything he gets, and I hope it hurts at least as much as the child's mother hurts tonight.

The Host Club:
Not without responsibility here. They accepted the credentials of The Instructor, They allowed this drama to be presented, without on-the-scene oversight. They are just as guilty of bad judgement and inattention. This is one club which should not be permitted to continue.


Again, I anticipate that readers may consider my criticism to be intemperate. I am reminded of my own home club, which hosts Full-Auto exravaganzas on an annual basis.

Would I be as condemnatory if a similar tragedy occurred at my home range?

Damn right!

If the club is not willing to staff a technically difficult stage with sufficent trained personell to prevent this sort of 'accident', it should be subject to the same penalties as I have described.

I teach an "Introduction to USPSA" class from time to time (although, not lately) and I have observed that New Shooters are often dangerously ill-equipped to demonstrate the gun-handling skills which this challenging competitifve venue presents.

I do the best I can to curb the untrained instincts of my students, and I am often uncomfortably aware that their skills are insufficient for immediate exercise of the kind of challenging stuff which USPSA/IPSC requires.

When I see that, I stop the student and require him or her to correct unsafe actions.

Under that basic level of ineptitude, I hover over my students so that I can stop them physically, if they are unresponsive of verbal warnings (or if their actions threaten to turn the muzzle of the gun in an unsafe direction.)

Still, I am uncomfortable dealing with new shooters who have'nt yet, or who are unable to, demonstrate an acceptable level of Gun-Handling Skills.

Toward that end I have encouraged the club to provide at least one secondary instructiong ... an experienced shooter whom I can rely upon to sot and handle the errs which I may miss because of inadvertantly inoptimal positioning.

I digress.

There are things an Instructor can do to prevent this kind of firearms tragedy. They were not recognized ... at least, they were not observed here.

He who presents himself as an Instuctor, and who does not provide the minimal amount of Safety to his students; he who allows an untested Instructor to represent his organization ... in the moment of Tragedy, both parties are subject to censure.


Recall Notice of Ruger LCP™ Pistol

Recall Notice of Ruger LCP™ pistol
Michael Bane at Downrange TV notes that the Ruger LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol) has been recalled for product upgrades.

They (Ruger) have been informed that a few owners have reported that the loaded .380 pistol may discharge when the dropped on a hard surface. Product Advisories note that this is a "free upgrade" and owners of the LCP with serial number beginning with "370" will also receive a free magazine to compensate them for the time and inconvenience.

This pistol was brought out, in part, to compete with the Kel-Tek P-3AT and the Beretta Bobcat .380 pistols.
UPDATE: 02-NOV-2008:
I note in passing that a comment has been registered which expresses confidence in the integrity of The Ruger Organization in their efforts to support their customers.

Understand, my article only notes that the recall has taken place, and is intended to inform Ruger LCP owners that the problem is being resolved by the vendor. It is not intended as a negative criticism of Ruger engineering. I acknowledge that handguns are inherently dangerous, and responsible manufacturers (of which Ruger is one) are determined to provide the best possible product to their customers ... but it is not unknown to discover after a product is released that engineering lapses may create product-reliabilit issues.

I do accept that Ruger is responding responsibly to reports that their product (the LCP) may discharge under extreme situations. I'm not being critical of them here. I am only letting your know that a problem has been identified, and Ruger is responding appropriately; in fact, the industry is anticipating any need of the Federal Government to advance Product Reliability issues.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Winter Rules: Part 1

Were it not for the horribly destructive effects of Global Warming, we should be will into the Rainy Season now.

For IPSC competition, this means that every outdoor match will be composed in equal parts of
  • chilled, soaked, cranky competitors and workers
  • soggy, slippery, hard-to-score cardboard targets
  • target frames (and steel Popper targets) that are blown down by the wind
  • slippery footing, and water saturated soil in which Popper stands dig deeper into the mud every time the steel falls ... changing the calibration
  • difficult to score paper targets from which tape will disappear


Good stage design and quality construction techniques are more critical during this part of the year. Travel conditions are less than optimal. Shorter daylight hours mean that we have less time to set up, shoot, and tear down the stages. As workers, rainy/muddy conditions make it more difficult to secure target frames, keep cardboard from being soaked, and handle wet, slippery and heavy steel targets.

As a consequence, there is a temptation to take short-cuts during stage construction. We're wet, we're cold, and we just want to put up the minimum amount of stage components.

We also tend to take shortcuts during shooting.

Most frequently, the practice of covering cardboard targets with plastic bags to protect them from the rain often increases frustration. It's easier to bag the targets before mounting them on the frames. Unfortunately, this means the targets will be stapled on each side of the target two or three times. It's impossible to tape the targets during the match because there isn't enough slack in the bags to reach up where the holes are, so competitors slash the bags until they can reach the holes. Then the wind blows the slashed bag apart, the rain soaks the targets, and the tape just falls off.

(Hint: bag the targets after they are stapled to the frame, then bag the targets. Put a couple of staples near the top of the target, through the bags. This will prevent the bags from being blown off by the wind, and the tapers can still lift the bags to tape the holes.)

Many of us who shoot several times a month, all year long, have bought Target Tapers. These are plastic tape-dispensers which allow us to quickly cover the bullet holes with squares of adhesive tape. They are very convenient, quick and easy to use, and even have the added advantage of increasing our reach when access to the surface of the target is restricted by bagging the targets.

Unfortunately, they provide too small a surface for the tape to reliably stick to targets which have become wet. Leave your Target Taper in the bag, and use Masking Tape instead to cover the bullet holes in cardboard targets. You can tear off great long strips of tape, using enough to ensure that they will stay in place. The earlier holes will be covered by enough tape that the surface of the target will soon be criss-crossed with tape. Masking tape is less likely to soak up water than cardboard; it is easier to get tape to stick to wet tape, than it is to get tape to stick to wet cardboard. Be profligate in the use of masking tape.

Let's go back to setting up the cardboard targets for a moment.

Most of us have become enamored with using a minimum number of target sticks to mount the maximum number of paper targets. That works during the dry months, when we don't have to bag the targets. But in the Rainy Season, overlapping targets are impossible to bag. Stage Designers should STRONGLY consider the use of painting paper targets with 'hard cover' Black paint instead of embedding white 'no-shoot' targets which must be stapled together to provide reliable scoring when a shot passes through a penalty target and then hits a scoring target.

It's always a good idea to deny the shooter a stage of full-size targets; make him pay for being too hasty with his shots, it will make a better man of him. (Assume the usual apologies for sexist bias in these remarks; constructing Feminist-Friendly sentences is too stilted and sacrifices clarity of concept for the dubious benefit of Political Correctness.)

But it is better to minimize the number of White Penalty Targets (which must be cautiously taped and sited, while they make it difficult to tape the accompanying Shoot Targets when the bags are stapled too tightly to allow for taping the bullet holes), and allow target restriction techniques which do not provide such match management penalties. To make this clearer: don't use no-shoots, use hard-cover instead.

Target Replacement
It's a good idea for the Match Director to provide a generous supply of replacement targets for each stage. They should be stored in a place where they are not going to get rain-soaked before they are used. Then provide a defined time in the match when all squads should replace the targets.

Example: "After you have completed your third stage of the six stage match, replace all targets which need replacement before shooting the fourth stage of the match. Don't replace the targets on the stage you are leaving; replace the targets on the stage you are about to shoot."

Provide plenty of staples, and make sure that the targets are all easy to replace.

Translation, for those who have not been paying attention: put one target on one stand, provide replacement bags, don't leave sticks poking up above targets, don't make the cardboard targets lean to one side so that you can't bag them after they have been stapled to the frame, and put no more than two staples, no less than one, through every bag. Oh, and make sure the staples securing the bags go into the frame, so they don't pull out.

Is it necessary to mention that the purpose of these instructions is to insure that the bag will protect the target from the weather, and still prevent the plastic bag from blowing off when the wind gusts -- and yet making it easy for the squads to tape the bullet holes without ripping or cutting the bags?

Design and Construction

During the Rainy Season, it is even more important that good design techniques be used to insure that there are no problems on any stage. Everybody may be assumed to be wet, tired, cold and cranky. It's hard to make problems go away. It's easier to make sure that the problems don't occur.

Toward this end, allow the stage designs to be simple, the stage procedures to be easily understood (and subject to only one interpretation), and don't put up complicated stages which are likely to cause mechanical problems. Mister Fixit is home in bed with the flu, so keep the number of swingers and bobbers and other moving targets down to the bare minimum. (The 'bare minimum' of moving targets is, essentially, zero.)

Every cardboard target must be bagged to protect it from the rain. Target arrays which move and which incorporate cardboard targets must still be bagged. Moving targets which are protected by a bag have two very important vulnerabilities during the Rainy Season.

  1. They are made of cardboard, so they must be bagged. But movement tends to throw off the bag, so they get wet.
  2. Cardboard targets also lose their structural integrity when they are wet. They go limp. The B-Zone disappears, so the people who shot that stage before it started raining have more target area available than those who shot it after the target got soaked. The first competitor who protests a stage because he wasn't presented with the same shooting problem as his brother, who started on that stage (when the target was dry, and he could see the B-zone) will legitimately cause that stage to be thrown out of the match. This is A Bad Thing.
Summary: The stage designs need to be simple, easy to build, easy to maintain, easy to score. The construction crew needs to be able to put them up quickly and accurately according to the design. The competitors need to experience no problems with the 'difficult' elements of the stage, which means they need to spend their time shooting ... not fixing props, asking for clarification of stage procedures. The stage design must be sufficiently basic that nobody slows down the match by asking for interpretation of the hair-brained way they decide to shoot the stage.

(I liked the last match I shot. There was one stage where it took an extra second to move to the 'nominal' shooting position to engage the final target array. Someone noticed that the two screening vision barriers were imperfectly mated ... there was a gap between them. Was this a legal shooting position? When asked, the Match Director [Evil Bill] was reported to have said "This is a Jerry Situation. If Jerry can see them, he can shoot them." I love Rainy Season matches!)

Matches held during trying climatic situations are problematic at best. We all want to get out of the house and go shooting. The Competition Season is over, we're talking about means-nothing Club Matches here. While the rules of safety remain the most important factor, there is no need to design and build stages which force the competitors to waste their time arguing over petty rules interpretations, or which frustrate them because the props just don't work.

Stage designs should include a lot of steel targets, because steel doesn't rot when it gets wet as do cardboard targets. Need a moving target, or a difficult-to-hit target to spice up the stage? Consider using a Texas Star or a Plate Rack. Keep the moving cardboard target arrays in the prop room over the winter.

For a detailed essay on Rainy Weather match design, and general guidelines about year-around stage design, see Winter Rules: Part 2.

Winter Rules: Part 2

In the 2006 Competition year, I was drafted to the the Competition Director of the Columbia Cascade Section (CCS) of USPSA. During that dreadful period, I was given free reign to impose my own personal bias on Stage Design and Construction for those matches which were designated "Points Matches".

That is, they were the one match per month which were considered "important", because the hi-scoring competitor in each division/class could win 'points' toward being awarded first chance at a slot to the USPSA national matches.

At the end of the competitive season, we held elections for our replacements. The new Competition Director (and my personal recommendation, because he was the only Certified Range Master in CCS) was my very dear friend, Tom.

As part of turning over the office, I sent Tom an email detailing the philosophy and guidelines which I had evolved during my own tenure. Given that he was not obliged to follow these precedents, I believed that they were well-grounded in common sense and experience, so I was not shy about recommending them to him.

I present a somewhat bowdlerized version of that email here, for your consideration. Frequent Readers of this blog will recognize that they represent my frequently blogged concerns.

* No stage designs relying on 'fault lines are assumed to extend to infinity'. Stub them off with rear fault lines, so nobody moves 3 feet behind the end of a 2x4 and calls it a legal shooting position.

* Per-shot Penalties will be specified in the stage procedures. The default for penalties shall be 'per occurance' unless otherwise specified. USPSA rules define when advantage is gained . . . having a foot outside a shooting box may NOT be grounds for per-shot penalties if
there is no advantage gained.

* Before any Points Match starts, the Competition Director (as well as all other BOD members present) will walk the stages. The purpose is to find stage design or stage construction situations which may cause reshoots, and cause the stage to be modified to alleviate the potential problem.

* All stage designs will be submitted to Competition Director (CD) at least one week before the scheduled match. Any potential problems identified by the CD will be resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the CD and the Club Rep. before the match date. Score sheets will be submitted along with the stage designs, to insure that round-count and target categorys are consistent between stage design and score sheet. Especially, disappearing targets will be identified as 'no-penalty-miss' targets on the score sheet.

* At the beginning of the competive season, all classifier stages will be selected by club reps, and approved by the CD. No classifiers will be repeated in points matches, no classifiers should be repeated during the season even in club matches. (Exception: Classifier Matches) Note: as of this date, this has NOT happened for matches scheduled during calendar 2006.

* In any conflict between the CD and the Club Rep, the final deciding authority is the Section Coordinator, whose decision will be final

* Points Match Scores will be submitted for publication on the Internetpromptly, so that the CD can update Points Race Standings and submit them to the Communications Director at the earliest possible date. The goal is to publish updated Points Race Standings within 24 hours of the publication of the match results.

* Points Match Stages which feature targets which may be 'shot up' quickly will recognize the difficulty of scoring the targets after they have been extensively pasted. To alleviate this situation, at least one set of replacement targets will be provided on the stage, along with a working staple gun and extra staples. Preferably, ALL targets will be provided with at least one set of replacements on every stage, within reason.

There may be more policies/guidelines which I have established, but I think this generally summarizes my efforts this year.

But there's one more:

Last week I established a more comprehensive policy regarding points matches held during the 'rainy season'. Here's the complete text of that policy:

1) Let's assume the rainy season starts now, and establish some guidelines to prevent the weather from forcing reshoots. Duplicates [duplicate/ replacement targets will be] available on-stage, under cover, for every IPSC target in the match. Extra bags, staple guns and staples in the stage boxes. During walk-through, encourage squads to change targets as soon as they get too wet or too shot up for the pasters to stick. IPSC targets with a LOT of hard cover (minimal scoring zone available) will always get too shot up faster than full-targets; include at least one [more] extra for those targets.

Rule of thumb: more than 50% hard cover, provide at least one [more] extra.

2) Unless there is reason to feel comfident that there will NOT be any rain, all targets are bagged at the beginning of the match. Bag the targets AFTER they are stapled to the sticks, not before. Put one or 2 staples thru each bag on the back of the sticks, near the TOP of the stick. leave enough slack so tapers & RO can raise the bag to access the bullet holes. The staples keep the bags from blowing away, the slack keeps them from slitting the bags to tape the bullet holes. See below.

3) Bagging multiple-target arrays is problematic. It's better to put each target on a separate stand, put the stands REAL close together, and peg the stands down. Yeah, I know, that's not always possible. One thing we can do, when setting up stages with several targets very close together, is to tie the sticks in the multiple stands together with a horizontal screwed to every stick in the array. This forces them all to be on the same plane. This still isn't the answer to every situation, but at least it prevents changes the relative positions due to wind or target replacement.

4) Bagging IPSC targets on a bobber requires special care. The bags will change the way the targets are presented if they drag on the ground, or it may allow the targets to get soaked if the bags don't completely cover the targets when they are 'cocked' (usually horizontal). It might be enough to put staples in the bags toward the bottom of the sticks, on the back of the target, but I leave it to the MD to determine the best way in each situation.

5) Staple the targets on the sticks so that the sticks are higher than the B-zone. This allows slack so tapers can get to b-zone hits without tearing or slitting the bags. Along this vein, during the walkthrough the should MD STRONGLY discourage the tapers from slitting the bags with a knife, or tearing them, to facilitate access to the surface of the target. It [slitting the bags] makes things easier for their squad, but causes problems for subsequent squads as the targets soak up water.

6) Assume the targets will get wet. Put at LEAST three staples in each stick. Witness the targets on the sticks, so when targets are replaced the old one CAB be completely disposed of without changing the shooting problem. [Note: two years after writing this, I realize I have no idea what I meant by the acronym "CAB". I presume I meant "CAN", and the original included a typographical error.] This will prevent water from the old target soaking the replacement target. (If the old target isn't so soaked that the target tears out of the staples, it probably doesn't need to be removed.)

... My primary concerns are safety, fairness, and shooter enjoyment. This last includes minimizing the number of reshoots because of the effects of rain on cardboard targets. I admit, this isn't going to make it easy on the setup crews.

The BOD will have the responsibility (and it will be my PRIMARY responsibility, until I'm replaced as Competition Director) during points matches to walk the stages and make sure there are no problems due to the way the stages are set up.

Unless [the Section Coordinator] objects, personally, or the MDs [Match Directors] have convincing reasons why these guidelines are not [to be]fo llowed, I or any of the BOD may request the MD to change the setup before the match can be started. The usual objections to shoot-through target arrays and illegal stages or procedures will be justification for delaying the match start. Stages which don't follow these special Rainy Season guidelines may also be required to be changed.

All the above may be regarded as "The Fine Print", but I will use them as my guideline before I allow a points match to be started during the Rainy Season.

I strongly encourage every MD to make these guidelines known to everyone on the match setup crew, to preclude delay of the match start during the Rainy Season.

Note that words and phrases included [in brackets] are additions to the original text.

In the final analysis, nobody objected to the guidelines I proposed in the last half of this essay, and I thought we enjoyed a relatively problem-free post-season period of CCS club matches.

(For the environment-specific balance of this topic, see Winter Rules: Part 1)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Will black voters be powder keg?

This is the last week in October, and as I write it is only one week until we elect a new President of the United States of America.

And ... the rhetoric is being ramped up!

Will black voters be powder keg?

The Obama campaign is accusing Republicans of trying to disenfranchise black voters in Detroit and other cities by using home foreclosure lists to turn them away from polls on Election Day.

The charges were initially raised by Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters of the Congressional Black Caucus, prompting Obama and the Democratic National Committee to sue the Michigan GOP.

The federal suit, which campaign lawyers acknowledge is based solely on unconfirmed reports and rumors, also alleges that Ohio Republicans and the Republican National Committee also have schemed to challenge voters who have lost their homes in the battleground state.

Republican officials in both states denied the allegations.

"We're not going to do that," said Michigan Republican Party spokesman Bill Nowling, "and we never talked about doing that."

Senior NAACP official Hilary Shelton said blacks would get angry if they felt disenfranchised because of voting irregularities.

"On Election Day," she said, "you may have some tempers flare."

While Shelton said police should prepare to control crowds, she warned against too big a police presence near polls, which she said could intimidate first-time minority voters.

Note that last sentence.

The police are warned to "control crowds", and in the same breath "warned against too big a police presence near polls".

It's a tightrope, and nobody will know which side the police will fall off until after the election.

But fall off they will ... unless O wins the election. That's all we hear in the news nowadays; a threat of violence if the democrats don't win the Presidency.

That's Coercion.


In the meantime, we have just learned of a 2001 interview in which O called for "Redistribution of Wealth":

But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.
That's Utopianism.


This country was conceived and dedicated in a Frontier Society, where each man was expected to be responsible for himself and for his family.

Less than 50 years ago the Democratic Party still seemed to believe in those values.
What ever happened to those words once uttered by (Democratic) president John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural Address (January 20, 1961)

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Has the democratic Party lost its way in the last 47 years? What has happened to Vision, to Leadership?

Or has it merely replace this out-dated policy with ... something else?

Here is a phrase you might bear in mind:
"Coercive Utopianism"

A translation would be extensive and Geek-Length. Let me just say that when I was in Army Basic Training we had a big hulking Training NCO ("Drill Sergeant") whose mantra was "You do what I say you do! Then we'll get along just fine."

That may be oversimplified, but it certainly describes the flavor.

In passing, and apropos of nothing at all, really, allow me to recommend some light reading:

"A State of Disobedience", by Tom Kratman

I just completed re-reading this book today.

This is where I first saw the phrase "Coercive Utopianism".

It wasn't used to describe a Change We Can Believe In.
UPDATE: 29-OCT-2008
Bill Whipple at Eject!Eject!Eject! has a much more rigorous 'fisking' of the 2001 Obama radio interview. I consider this a worthwhile read.

Note that at the Whipple website a commenter links to an "Obama Timeline". On the surface, this to provide damning evidence that, for example: O is not a natural-born American citizen; the man identified as his father is not in fact his father; O was brought up a Socialist by his associations with radical socialists; and there has been a conspiracy by the O campaign to obscure, obfuscate and obliterate information which would clearly make him an illegitimate or inappropriate candidate for the presidency. My own evaluation of the article is that the provided references are based on secondary and even tertiary sources, some of which don't actually refer to the points made in the text of the Obama Timeline. I don't recommend it as a legitimate sourse, I only mention it to illustrate that it is very difficult to learn the facts based on Internet sources which are often, in the final analysis, inadequately documented.

Also, here is an unedited uncut version of the O radio interview.

Tim Holm Update: Police host benefit for injured office

"I keep telling Tim, 'It's not the hand you're dealt, it's how you play the cards,' "

— Karen Holm, wife of injured officer Tim Holm

Police host benefit for injured officer | | Statesman Journal

I just received news that there was a benefit for Officer (and fellow IPSC shooter in the Columbia Cascade Section) Tim Holm this weekend.

I regret that I missed it.

The article does not provide information about where donations may be made.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dundee - Geek Steel

No, I didn't impress anyone at the Dundee match this weekend.

I was lucky to end up 25th of 60 competitors, 11th out of 14 Open Shooters, 6th of 7 B-Open competitors.

But it doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the match. Long ago I realized that I was not 'competitive', and I have been rewarded by any stage where I felt that I have performed near the limits of my ability.

Here, on Stage 6 ("S"), we were challenged to weave a tortuous labyrinth to engage 9 IPSC targets and 11 steel targets ... five of which were on a Texas Star and 6 on a Plate Rack. I took a couple of extra shots on the Star, and another couple of extra shots to take down the Plate Rack.

I could have done better ... most of my direct competitors did a better job ... but I was only a tenth of a second slower than the next-faster B-Open shooter for the exact same score.

Perhaps it would have turned out better if I would have practiced a time or two this year, but this didn't happen.

I'm not unhappy with my performance. To have done better, I would have needed to work at it.

This probably exemplifies the best I can do without practice, on a stage where I was the first shooter in the squad, and in a match which was very challenging.

No, I'm not making excuses. To do well at IPSC/USPSA competition requires a dedication which I just don't feel this year.

For me, the important thing is ... I had fun this day, and there were times when I did better than I expected. I got to see my friends, I got to shoot up a lot of ammunition, and (as long as I don't have films of all the people who shot the stage much better than I did), I looked good on video!

How much better does it get?

October Dundee Match

I went to an IPSC/USPSA match this weekend.

I've started a few articles this way, and as usual I have a story or two to tell.

This match was especially rewarding to me, because SWMBO had such a good experience in her 2nd Chemotherapy treatment that I felt justified in celebrating by going out with the boys and having a good time. (Interpretation: going to a USPSA match.)

Besides, my last match of two weeks ago had ended early, and unsatisfactorily. Then, my C-More sight failed on the first stage, and I was unable to replace the battery because the 'slot' on the tiny allen-screw holding the battery cover was stripped so I couldn't replace the battery. I had reluctantly given the STI Race gun to Fish to deliver to Rob Shepherd of Major Nyne Guns for repair, and gone home.

This morning (Saturday) I stopped by Rob's house in Salem to retrieve the pistol, and got to the range at Dundee just as they were starting the walkthrough. I was anticipating a good day. The weather was perfect ... fifty degrees when I got there, up to over 60 degrees by the time the match completed (at 3pm), and no wind or rain expected.

The Hobo Brasser had already signed me up on the same squad, so after I signed up and paid my $17 match fees, which also paid "somebody else" to tear down the stages and put all props and targets away, I joined The Hobo Brasser on our first stage.

Curiously, almost everyone in the 15-man squad experienced gun problems on that stage. I'm sure it was only coincidence, but most of us discovered that from time to time the slide would lock back when trying to bring the next cartridge up from the magazine. I had this experience in 3 of the 6 stages, but some competitors (such as Anthony, who switched guns after the first stage), experienced it on most if not all stages of the match.

I mention this only to justify the generally poor performance of most competitors at this match ... an only incidentally as an alibi for my own generally slow times. Even Norm The Ungrateful, who was Match Winner, had so many firearm reliability problems that he switched to his back-up pistol after two bad stages.

I never discovered why so many people suffered so many reliability problems in this match. For example, I stopped by the the Safety Table after the 2nd stage to visit with Norm while he was carefully cleaning his backup gun before he continued. It is possible that many of use (like me) had been delinquent in continuing a consistent gun-cleaning regimen after the end of the Competition Year.

On our third stage (for this 15-man squad, this was stage 4 -- "Stock Market Crash" -- in Bay 4 in "The Rifle Bay", which is a bifurcated area with two shooting bays at Dundee. You will be familiar with this Big Bay if you have ever competed in a Dundee Match ( especially including the Croc Match).

This stage involved lateral movement, and required us to move an attache from somewhere in the middle of the bay and deposit it in a half-cut plastic barrel repository on either side of the bay. There was a fault line running laterally across the bay. Watch the video, you will get the idea.

Because I was kept busy during the day, I only managed to film The Hobo Brasser on this stage. (YouTube version here)I want to focus on THB, because he was shooting Glock today (quoth he, several times: "I will be SO glad when I get my Open gun back" ... said Open Gun being at the Open Gun Doctor place undergoing a general rebuild.)

I was impressed that he managed to hit all of the US Poppers in this very challenging stage.

Here's how it looked:

Yes, THB did a good job of catching the teensy-weensy US Poppers on that stage, but that does not excuse him from being picked on.

While we were waiting for our turn to shoot Stage 5 "Roadblock", I happened to spot a small orange spot in the gravel covering the floor of the bay.

I looked, looked again, and for all the world it appeared to me that someone had put orange fingernail polish on the front-sight of his pistol, and then lost that front sight.

Bending to pick it up, I noticed that there were several other-sized of black composite material with orange color on one side. I surmised that someone had used orange-painted Clay Pigeons as targets on that bay (not unusually in 3-gun and Multigun competition, as well as Tactical/Practical Rifle and Tactical/Practical Carbine matches), and the shards of these Clay Pigeons virtually covered the floor of the bay.

Still, I was entranced by the similarity of this small piece of orange-painted bonded clay to the front sight of a pistol.

I took it to where The Hobo Brasser was sitting on his golf-stool, handed it to him and said:

"Look! A Front Sight for an early model Glock!

THB took one look, and promptly threw it at me. It bounced off my manly chest, and was lost forever in the gravel floor of the bay.

Guy Neil, also in our squad, laughed aloud at these antics as I berated THB for his intemperate Irish temper. "I was gonna blog about that pot-shard. You ruined my article, you Philistine!" I berated him. "Now what am I going to do for a Sunday Night Blog?"

The Hobo Brasser, as his habit, was unmoved by such a gentlemanly plea for help. He got up and shot the stage (YouTube version here) ... and missed a LOT of US Poppers!.

Okay, he didn't actually "miss a lot" of the steel targets. He took a couple of extra shots at a couple of the small US Poppers. I only exaggerate the difficulties for the sake of making the story more interesting.

Still, I ask you ... doesn't that shard of clay look to you as if it might be a prototype front sight for a Glock

Oh, right. It's only applicable if you are a Glock-o-phobe.

Well, that works for me.