Thursday, July 09, 2009

Houston, we have lock and load

In 2008, Mexico asked American officials for help in the effort to deny armament to Mexican drug gangs.

In Houston, ATF agents are responding with alacrity:

In front of a run-down shack in north Houston, federal agents step from a government sedan into 102-degree heat and face a critical question: How can the woman living here buy four high-end handguns in one day?

The house is worth $35,000. A screen dangles by a wall-unit air conditioner. Porch swing slats are smashed, the smattering of grass is flattened by cars and burned yellow by sun.

“I’ll do the talking on this one,” agent Tim Sloan, of South Carolina, told partner Brian Tumiel, of New York.

Success on the front lines of a government blitz on gunrunners supplying Mexican drug cartels with Houston weaponry hinges on logging heavy miles and knocking on countless doors. Dozens of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — sent here from around the country — are needed to follow what ATF acting director Kenneth Melson described as a “massive number of investigative leads.”

In Texas, ATF are kicking down doors and taking names, not because they think that American Citizens are purchasing illegal guns, though.

Their concern is that American are buying guns for the express purchase of reselling them in Mexico.

Given that the Mexican Drug Lords are living the life of feudal rulers in Mexico, a life-style which is supported by sales of illegal drugs in America, we need to wonder whether the Mexican Government is reciprocating by cutting down on drug shipments across the Rio Grande to America.

Are elements of the Mexican Government placing a high priority on stopping the shipments of illegal drugs into America?


Why not?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Second Amendment as a Viable "Right"

Much has been made, by "Gun Nuts" of the value of the Second Amendment as a viable statement in reference to the "right of self defense".

This position has been largely "poo-pooed" by "Gun Control Advocates. Their position seems to be that, in this age of civility, there is no reason why an honest citizen should need to possess a firearm for personal defense. After all, isn't that what the police are for?

No. the police have the mandate to solve crimes, not to prevent them. This is legal writ, and has served time and again to protect Law Enforcement Officers (and their departments) from civil suits from the families of victims who have notified LEO organizations that they considered themselves potential victims, and have not subsequently received dedicated protection from clearly identified potential assailants.

Sometimes we require a concrete example of the consequences of LEO failure to protect victims, and also of the consequences of disallowing individuals the right to arm themselves for self-defense .... even though they have been informed that blatant threats have been identified.

A case in point is a situation in Ciuddad LaBaron, Mexico, as described in this Houston Chronicle article from July 7, 2009.

Essentially, a religious community in Mexico, populated by "Dual Citizenship" families (Mexico/America) has historically been threatened by drug gangs mostly because they protested to the Mexican Government that local drug gangs were predating people in their area.

Benjamin LeBaron and other village leaders had led hundreds of people in May to Chihuahua City to demand government action in the abduction of Eric LeBaron, Benjamin’s 16-year-old brother. The kidnappers were demanding $1 million in ransom, but the LeBaron community had decided to instead pressure for the boys’s release, which occurred in mid-May.

“We’re fighting as a community,” Brent LeBaron said. “Standing up against extortionists and kidnappers. But we have never done anything against the drug lords. We stay away from the drug war because we know it’s a battle that we can’t win.”

A placard left with the bodies said the killings were in retribution for the June arrests by federal forces of 25 men in a distant village accused of running narcotics.

In America, we are allowed to protect ourselves by self-armament. The "Castle Law" is a visible confirmation of the Second Amendment.

But in Mexico, it is illegal to arm yourself to protect yourself, your neighbors and your family. Because citizens cannot own guns, only outlaws own guns -- which lends credence to the old 2nd Amendment slogan which is so denigrated by "gun-control advocates".

Here is the money-quote from the CRON article from Brent LaBaron, the cousin of one of the victims:
“We don’t know what to do,” he said. “We can’t bear arms. We have no way of legally protecting ourselves.”
While the liberals of America criticize Second Amendment Supporters, they (the Liberals) are protected by a Law Enforcement system which, although flawed, is superior to the Mexican example. American Liberals glorify the concept that honest individual citizens are incompetent and subject to random insanity. They suggest that nobody is personally competent to possess a firearm without yielding to the overwhelming temptation to use that firearm

That is patently bullshit. These gun-fearing wussies (to borrow from Kim de Tuit) are so fearful of their inability to resist their own primal impulse to chaos, they are unable to understand that sane people populate the world with them. Sane people don't want to run wild; they just want to be left alone.

It is entirely possible that a peaceful community, such as Ciudad LaBaron, would be able to defend itself if permitted to do so by the national government of Mexico.


Two dead, hundreds intimidated, and a God-fearing community becomes a "Last Man Standing" hostage to drug-runners and other outlaws.

Problem: a rural community terrorized.
Solution: The Second Amendment

SWMBO news - July 8, 2008

Last weekend (Independence Day) Sandie and I went to San Diego to visit my two children and their 7 children. We really enjoyed the opportunity to see how much the grandchildren have grown.

But there was a more vital element to our visit.

On Thursday, June July2, SWMBO received communications from the Genotype program at Boston Mass., suggesting that if she wanted to enroll in the program she could show up at U.C. Irvine (California) on Tuesday June July7, for interviews and to complete some forms. This is the necessary first step step toward enrolling in the program.

I immediately called my daughter, Jenn, in San Diego. I asked if she would be able to help SWMBO get from San Diego to Irvine (about 90 miles) on Tuesday. "No Problem, I can take the afternoon off) she replied.

(She had already found us a motel in San Diego who was willing to give us a 'deal' on a 3-day stay; we simply had to convert the reservation to a six-day stay.)

Yesterday, Tuesday, SWMBO and Jenn drove to Irvine and completed the initial interview process.

Then they went to Disneyland. What's the use of living, if you can't enjoy life?

I felt terrible about not being able to stay with SWMBO in San Diego, but I absolutely had to go to work for the 3 days when she would be in California. Jenn and I did whatever we could to make sure that she was comfortable staying in a motel for an extra 3 days, and providing for her own transportation.

When she returned to Corvallis this evening, after taking a shuttle-bus from the Portland International Airport (PDX), SWMBO was exuberant. She related that the program has already successfully treated a Lung Cancer patient with the same symptoms (including resistance to the benefits of Tarvastin Tarceva), and they are so far willing to accept SWMBO as a program participant.

As I have already stated, this is the epitome of HOPE.

HOPE that she will be judged a viable candidate for the program after she goes to Mass. Gen. for a biopsy.

HOPE that the program will find a genotype profile which matches a previous successful treatment patient.

HOPE that the treatment will result in a complete eradication of the cancer cells in her lungs, as happened with the previous patient.

There are, of course, no guarantees. But there is a chance, albiet a small chance, that the treatment will cure her of lung cancer.

It's too early to be too optimistic. That doesn't stop us from feeling optimistic.

Keep those prayers coming, folks. They really work.

I'm still impressed that Granddaughter Samantha refers to me (in conversations to SWMBO) as "Your Boyfriend".

I suppose I should be upset that I became the less-important member of this relationship, but I'm not.

As long as this world contains such perceptive five-year-old children as Samantha, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.

Miracles are still possible.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Web Hosting with VODA

Last night I signed up for a new web-hosting service. Unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage, domain-name registration, unlimited email accounts under my own domain name, and of course I can build web-pages in my domain.

I doubt I'll soon find a need for all the services they sold me (at not that high a cost), but one thing is certain: I will finally have a place where I can put files on the internet for download by others.

You may have noticed last week that I have become ultimately disgusted with YouTube's policy of removing the sound track of videos if the videos include music which is not on their 'approved' list. (Their 'approved list' is elevator music, not appropriate to the kind of videos I like to build.)

Resisting the impulse to editorialize about how I use the music that I bought, overlaying the sounds of gunfire and range commands, I have been driven to this by the litigious efforts of the Music Industry.

This is a move forward, though, not a passive-aggressive attempt to complain about The Way Things Are.

I like to shoot, I like to make and share videos of people shooting. Within the next week I'll begin uploading scored videos of people shooting, and readers will be able to both see the videos in small format, and then download the full-size video for their own personal collections.

It will take a while before I get all the pieces together, and learn how to use the new software, but today I have more options than I had yesterday.

I think that is A Good Thing.

Independence Day -- After the Fact

Last weekend SWMBO and I flew to San Diego to spend the holiday with my kids.

This is the first time, ever, that both children (Jenn and Ben), their spouses, and their children (all seven of them) have ever presented themselves in the same room at the same time, in my presence.

It was a madhouse!

But I enjoyed it anyway.

From time to time someone would put an infant in my arms and then stand back while someone photographed the event. Bad Idea. I am not photogenic. But I liked the kids, and generally ignored the photographers. Good idea. I provided the camera for most of these "Photo Opportunities", so I deleted them

Just to prove that I actually have infant grandchildren, I'll include some of the pictures here,.

This is Adrian ...

... and this is Logan.

Okay, so it's the same picture. Doesn't matter. They're twins, nobody can tell them apart anyway. It's like: "if you've seen one, you've seen them all."

Anyway, we not only enjoyed the Twins, but we enjoyed the rest of the family as well.

Interesting side-story: while I was in San Diego, grand-daughter Samantha referred to me as "Grandfather Jerry".

Sandie had to stay behind when I left, because she had an appointment at U.C. Irvie on Tuesday. After I left, samantha (in conversations with SWMBO), referred to me as "Your Boyfriend". I guess the grandfather thing is transitory, but Boyfriends are forever.

I'll never understand the mind-set of pre-adolescent females, but it's probably good that she understands the relationshiop.