Tuesday, April 16, 2013

America's "Blind Spot"

US Gun Control and Gun Business - NRA is exposed -CBC The Fifth Estate - YouTube
(42 minute video)

I believe that all sides of an issue should be heard.  This is a side which I don't support, but I understand the need of people to find an answer to a problem which we don't have an immediate means to resolve.

At 16:02 ...  the NRA regarded " ... any compromise with the White House (regarding gun control) .. as treason".

A bit strong, and overstating the at-that-time debate.  But not perhaps not entirely unreasonable considering that the proposed alternatives would disarm honest, reasonable, and legal gun-owners of their right to "keep and bear arms".  The measures proposed and eventually enacted clearly violated the Second Amendment to the Constitution.  But in 1994 the Clinton White House chose to arbitrarily enact a ten-year ban ("Assault Weapons Ban", or "AWB") on perfectly legal firearms .. and on "Hight Capacity" magazines.  This act affected only legal, responsible gun owners, not the people  (ie: criminals) who typically ignore laws.  (That's why they call them "Criminals".)

These laws were reluctantly agreed to by many members of Congress, with the proviso that if, after a ten year "trial period", if the law did NOT result in a significant lessening of "firearms violence", they would be rendered null and void, and the law would be discontinued.

In 2004, federal statistics proved inevitably that the law had NO effect of "firearms violence", and congress made no objection to the "sunsetting" of this egregious law.  Note that both parties had equal voice in this  default decision, and so the law passed into history.  The video conveniently declines to address this historical fact.

The ATF:
At 17: 07  "What the DEA is to drugs, the ATF is to guns."

Oh, that is SO  kewl.  This video equates drugs (which drives people crazy and eventually kills them) to guns (which, by implication, has the same effect of people).

The first and most obvious difference is that firearms ownership is protected by the Second Amendment; drug usage is not.  Firearms ownership has a specific, legal purpose; usage of drugs has not.

and ...

"In the US today, there are more licensed gun stores than McDonald's Restaurants".

... and the point is .. what? That more people consider their ability to defend themselves against assault and tyranny than want to buy a Big Mac?   By that measure,  NY City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ought to LOVE gun stores, since he seems determined to keep  his citizens safe from trans-fats.

Or perhaps the point is that guns are "bad", and that any outlet for guns (even, or especially LICENSED gun stores) are "bad", too.

Later in the video, it focuses on a specific dealer (a pawn shop) which had sold a preponderance of firearms which were later used in crimes.  I can't help but agree that this strongly suggests that the dealer's policies are not consistent with an intent to prevent second-party purchases to provide guns to gang-bangers and drug dealers.  But I wonder why the reporters are confronting that dealer, instead of the ATF.  Isn't it the job of the ATF to monitor and follow-up on this kind of dealer practices?

And what has this to do with the purported focus of the "investigative news story" ... the NRA?

At 23:20:
".. the data ...  should have allowed firearms manufacturers to police themselves".

Incredibly, this entirely ignores the fact that firearms manufacturers are the most closely policed and restricted industry in the world.

Automobile manufacturers are not required to be accountable for the whimsy of their retail dealers to sell cars to bad drivers; although insurance agents may refuse to issue policies to the new owners, that in itself is not necessarily and impediment to purchasing a new Porsche.  Yet firearms manufacturers are held to a higher standard .. even though deaths from auto accidents account for more deaths every year.

The fact is, a not-so-recent Supreme Court decision has supported the amazing concept that Manufacturers .. yes, even manufacturers of The Evil Gun ... are not responsible for the retail policies of their primary customers:  Dealers who have already qualified for a Federal Fireams License (FFL), which is awarded and POLICED by the Federal Government.

When the Feds inject themselves into the market, they presumably accept responsibility for their own police powers.  Whatever happened to the idea that if you (the government, in any form) assumes authority for regulating an industry, they must necessarily assume responsibility for any failures too adequately regulate it?

(Incidentally Congress in 2005 passed a bill (now a law) which shields firearms manufacturers from liability when dealers sell guns to 'the wrong people', or when 'the wrong people' use guns 'badly'.  It's called the shield law, and it puts firearms manufacturers in the same category of automobile manufacturers.  That is, if they make a defective product, they are liable; if they make a reliable product, and it is used illegally .. they are not liable.)

The video, by the way, suggests that the "ATF database" is able to track all firearms transactions by dealers.  That's a half-truth.  When a FFL dealer (even a pawn shop) sells a gun, they are required by federal law to check whether the sale is or is not to someone who is forbidden (by law) to purchase a firearm.  Each individual transaction is processed through the NICS (National Instant Crime System).  Withing a few days, that data is deleted; purchasing a firearm does NOT irrevocably enter every purchaser in 'the system'.

However, the ATF audits FFL holder records regularly.  Contrary to what is stated in the video, they are NOT limited to a single visit each year.  ATF agents may .. and do .. visit as frequently as they deem needed in the case of a 'questionable' dealer.  There are literally thousands of apocryphal reports of ATF agents 'auditing' FFL establishments so frequently that they interfere in the dealer's ability to do business, since all records are reviewed, all firearms are examined, firearm serial numbers confirmed individually and recorded, and if there is a firearms which is missing and not recorded on the appropriate form (and/or the form is not found in the dealer files) the dealer is subject to immediate closure.  All firearms are confiscated and may be held for an unlimited time until the situation is resolved.  This is what happened to the West Coast dealer who was the original owner of the AR15 found in the possession of the DC Snipers .. who stole the gun from the shop (without the FFL owner's awareness until he was audited based on a serial number trace from the manufacturer to the dealer).

It's an imperfect system, that's true; but the responsibility rests with the ATF, because they decided that the were the best people to track firearms transfers.  If they screw it up .. it's their responsibility for having provided inadequate oversight.

Around 25:00  ...
... the video addresses the issue of firearms registration in Canada.  The NRA has taken the stance that the Canadian Solution is not appropriate, nor desirable in America.  The video addresses "...the demonetization of gun-control countries like Canada ..".

In fact, Canada's attempt to register, confiscate, and track firearms has proven to be a fiscally unsupportable effort.  Originally budgeted at an initial and annual cost of 2 millions of (Canadian) dollars, it immediately ballooned into a tens-of-millions-of-dollars-a-year governmental boondoggle.  Initiated in 1993, it was discontinued in 2013 (April 6, in point of fact) because (a) it was serving no identifiable purpose other than pissing of it's citizens, and (b) it cost more to supervise and regulate than was found to be beneficial.  Further, the bill which concluded the worthless registry " ... mandated the destruction of the non-restricted records of the registry as soon as feasible."

This unfortunate experience had the unexpected side-effect of demonstrating that the NRA, in resisting registration of firearms, has effectively saved the United States Government budget from experiencing a millions-a-year of unproductive expense.

Hmmm .. considering that firearms are exponentially more prevalent in America than in Canada, it wouldn't be unreasonable to consider that a "billions of dollars a year" boondoggle in America.  Wayne La Pierre might be forgiven for offering an unsolicited "You're Welcome" to Barack Obama and his entire administration.

(I'm ignoring the cheap shots at Larry Pratt, head of Gun Owners of America.)

At about 29:00 ...
.. the video takes a lick at their (and ATF's) "number one" bad dealer .. Valley Guns.  They cite (and display, briefly) a report which lists his Maryland shop with "13 violations" and (at 29:19) 483 "Gun Crime Traces".  The next three on the list are reported respectively with 245, 256, and  248 "Gun Crime Traces.  Valley Guns with 13 "violations" is compared to those next three who have (respectively) 12, 11, and 11 "violations".  (The nature of those violations is not explained.)

Let's take a minute to explore the definition of "Gun Crime Traces".

In reality, guns may be traced (by serial number) by many sources, including ATF and state, local and federal law-enforcement officers.  Every trace is counted regardless of the reason for the trace.  Traces may be entered for guns which have been found at the scene of a crime, or because they were found in the possession of someone who has had any kind of contact with a LEO, or because they were reported stolen or missing by the owner .. or because an ATF officer is looking at a list of firearms in the required records maintained by every FFL.  It does NOT necessarily indicate the number of guns where were found at the scene of a crime by LEO officers, or in the possession of charged criminals.

Once a FFL owner's business has been targeted by the ATF, it is not at all unusual for the agents to enter a 'trace' on EVERY firearm which that dealer has sold ... for as far back as that agent cares to search.  What they are looking for is to determine if the firearms which have been sold from that business have been associated with a crime.  Whether the search fails to return a positive result from that search is not counted any differently from the searches which reveal that a gun WAS involved in a crime.  The ATF searches, and the LEO searches, only record that the search was made.

This implies that the fact of a "Gun Crime Trace" has been initiated does not necessarily mean that it has determined that firearms sold by that business have ended up in the hands of criminals.  It's a misleading, mindless statistic which may be skewed by the the efforts of ATF and other agents.  It may or may not prove that the dealer is selling guns to criminals.

To be more clear: a high "Gun Crime Trace" statistic may actually indicate that guns ARE being used in crimes; but that information is not necessarily defined by the reported statistic; it only implies it if the trace requests are not inflated by artificial means.

(No, I'm not performing as an apologist for dishonest dealers; I'm merely saying that the statistics quoted in the video are not necessarily as condemnatory as the video seems to suggest.  Like all statistics, until you understand the source and meaning of the numbers, it's too easy to leap to the conclusions which the makers of this video, for example, SEEM to suggest.)

"At what point does a dealer's responsibility end?"
That's a good question.  Mr. Valley Guns may be an entirely unscrupulous person who couldn't care less if he is selling to criminals, or he may be a bad book-keeper or a bad businessman, or he could be an idiot.  The fact is, if he is recording transactions (even if erroneous information, such as the "wrong county where the buyer resides"), that may suggest that he is making an effort (if a half-hearted effort) to comply with the law.

Which is not to say that he shouldn't seek another line of work, because he seems to be unsuited to one where his product is the most highly monitored in the world .. including pharmacies!  And that takes us RIGHT back to the question: If this guy is selling guns to crooks, and the ATF is charged with preventing illegal firearms transactions, then who is guarding the guardians?

The answer to that question:  ultimately, the dealer was arrested, charged and convicted, so it appears that the ATF eventually got around to doing their job.  Good for them!  We don't want unscrupulous or inept firearms dealers any more than CBS does.

So ... that proves that the system works?  And if so, what's the point of mentioning this in the video?   One might be forgiven for being confused, since the logical assumption of the entire production was to show how the system did NOT work.

I only wish that CBS had gone after the guy who sold me a 1963 Corvair Spyder (you know, "Unsafe at Any Speed"?)  That's someone who was truly evil!
Bottom Line:
Anytime I see an interview with someone discussing firearms, and someone mentions one or more of the following phrases/words:
  • Why do you need ...
  • Common Sense
  • Reasonable Restrictions
  • Killing Machine
  • Assault Weapon
  • If it only saves one life ...
  • No reason to have (x#) bullets ..
  • High Capacity Magazines
  • Ten (6, 7, 8  .. pick a number at random) Round Limit 
  • You're less safe with a firearm in your home ...
  • You're 47 times more likely to be killed...
  • Let's "Do The Right Thing" ...
... I just want to walk away from the conversation.  This is a person who doesn't really want an answer, and will not listen if I offer it.

The only possible response would be something on the order of:
  • Why do you need a bible?
  • Why do you need a koran?
  • Why do you need a newspaper?
  • Why would you object to a search of your home, if have nothing to hide?
  • Why would you object to a video camera mounted in your home?
  • Why not allow troops to be quartered in your home?
  • Why would you object to the government monitoring your email?
  • What's wrong with NSA recording your phone conversations?
  • Why do you need a "speedy trial", especially if you know you're guilty?
  • Should you HAVE to answer questions at your trial?
  • What's wrong with a policeman saying "Move Along" at a protest?
  • Do you REALLY believe that everyone is endowed with certain inalienable rights?
  • Cars kill people; can you justify driving a dangerous weapon?
  • Why shouldn't the Army combat-assault your home?
  • Why shouldn't you be arrested for saying something in public that is offensive to me?
  • Don't you have a right to a driver's license?  Why are you tested before it is given to you?
  • Does congress give me the right to own a gun?
Not everybody understands that the Second Amendment has the same force of law as all of our other rights.  And anyone who would question that right cannot be convinced that it is not outdated, or that it applies to ammunition and magazines as well as to guns (read: email and internet transactions as well as newspapers and political pamphlets), or any other of the rights guaranteed .. not granted .. by the constitution.

It's as if they 'get' all their rights, except the one which the Founding Fathers considered so important that it was the second one in the Bill of Rights.

This blind spot is enough to make a grown man weep.

Sen. Collins To Back Compromise on Gun Background Checks

Sen. Collins To Back Compromise on Gun Background Checks:

Sen. Susan Collins said on Saturday that she would support the bipartisan compromise reached on expanded background checks — the first Republican senator to say so publicly. “I do intend to support it,” the three-term Maine senator told NBC News. Collins said she reviewed the bipartisan compromise, announced on Wednesday by GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and called it a “reasonable” approach. Under the deal, background checks would be expanded to gun shows and online sales.
"Compromise"?  There is no compromise to a Constitutional amendment!   It either IS, or it IS NOT!

I think I have not made clear my position vis a vis "Expanded Background Checks";

Essentially .. I am opposed to ANY bill which presupposes that the Senate (or the House,if they were empowered to propose a bill) might presents which in any way addresses the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

We are talking, here, about "Infringement".  Whether the proposed bill seems to address permissions or restrictions ... the Constitution is clear that it will not permit an "infringement".  That is .. implied, or imposed.

That the U.S. Senate would even imply that they may regulate our right to "keep and bear arms" is anathema .. even to the point where they might suggest that they will "allow" us a portion of the freedom which is already guaranteed by God and the Constitution.

You and I may experience a momentary lapse, in which we may accept an arbitrary ruling from Congress which says they will "allow" us to freely trade amongst ourselves ... as long as we meet their standards of "freely trade".

But that would be nothing less than a passive acceptance of their ability to restrict trade at their leisure .. or at their whim.

Think about it.

What if the senate passed a bill which stated that it was legal for us to state our (perfectly legal) convictions about any subject on the Internet.  If we accepted that, it would imply that they could as easily say that we could state our convictions .. but not on certain subjects, the nature of which would be determined at a future date..

The latter would be a violation of our First Amendment Rights; the former is a violation of our Second Amendment Rights.

Our congress has no more "right" to deny OR ACCEPT, legally, any part of our constitutional rights.

When we passively accept the one, then we passively accept the other.

Don't be passive; be pro-active.

Don't write, and certainly don't email (it's too easy to ignore) but PHONE your senator today.  Tell him/her that you are opposed to ANY bill which "infringes" on your Second Amendment Rights.

I'll go first!

Here is how to contact your U.S. Senator.

And .. here's a discussion about "Registration equals confiscation: even the Liberals accept the proposition!  (NOTE: this video loads very slowly; you may need to refresh it frequently, or tak other action to encourage it to have loaded it completely before viewing.)

"Registration equals Confiscation"  (See video at 2:30)

If you're really interested, here's a "Hannity vs Coulter"   discussion:

I won't expect you to pick this as your own personal "expression" of pro-gun hysteria.

Instead, I'll ask you only to choose whether you think anti-gun folks  have a more persuasive argument in reference to gun-control issues.

.. and, of course, whether we should listen to any argument which  contravenes the Second Amendment.

If the leftists' could present a case against the second amendment, wouldn't they have presented it by now?  Ignore the BS that they have presented to date; clearly, they don't understand the issues.

If they understood the issues, they wouldn't be arguing against the Constitution (which, to them, is a dead issue, completely outdated, and should be ignored .. but they are NOT willing to present the issue to Congress and the states, which is the ONLY manner in which they can legally dismiss a constitutional amendment!)

Go figure!

Boston Marathon bombing kills 3, injures over 140

Boston Marathon bombing kills 3, injures over 140 | US National Headlines | Comcast:
 BOSTON (AP) — Two bombs exploded in the crowded streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 140 in a bloody scene of shattered glass and severed limbs that raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S. 

A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still unfolding said the attack was being treated as an act of terrorism. 

 President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will "feel the full weight of justice." 

As many as two unexploded bombs were also found near the end of the 26.2-mile course as part of what appeared to be a well-coordinated attack, but they were safely disarmed, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation. 

The fiery twin blasts took place about 10 seconds and about 100 yards apart, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending dense plumes of smoke rising over the street and through the fluttering national flags lining the route. Blood stained the pavement, and huge shards were missing from window panes as high as three stories.
In the wake of these terrible injuries and death, President Obama has been reluctant to label the attack an act of terrorism.


“Any event with multiple explosive devices — as this appears to be — is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror,” the official told Reuters.

Clearly, it is an act of terrorism.  What other purpose can such attacks have?

But I believe I can understand the Presidential reluctance; in the 1996 bombing attack of the Atlanta Olympics, officials were too quick to blame a local man who was reported as having been seen loading a mysterious package in a trash bin; it turned out to be a harmless act by a maintenance worker.  We were too quick to jump to conclusions then, and it would be unwise to jump to conclusions about this day's tragedy.

We do seem to have more tragedies than we can keep up with lately, don't we?

Clearly, nobody can blame this on any lapse of awareness on the part of the president, his administration, or any branch of the government.  As we all know, explosive ordnance is highly restricted by law, and cannot be legally acquired without complete documentation including confirmation of identity and a permit to purchase explosive components.

We can only presume that explosives involved in these explosions were acquired out-of-country, and smuggled into America through our borders; an act which is also prohibited by law, so it's difficult to understand how it could have happened in any circumstances.  After all .. every act which must have performed is entirely contrary to the Rule of Law.

(The perpetrators, whomever they are, must have been mad.  Or exceedingly evil.  I'm pretty sure there is a law against that.  And if there is not an existing law prohibiting Evil Acts .. why now?  There should be one!)

As a native-born American, I am appalled by this sort of attack.  I would hope that the U.S. Senate would take such steps as seem necessary to curtail surreptitious importation of explosive devices from outside our borders.    We can only hope that our government would determine the source of the explosives used, and the means by which they smuggled explosives into our country.  We rely on our Government to protect us from attack, and cannot imagine how this can have been effected ... given the vigilant efforts of our border patrols to stop international incursions of persons and materials.

After all, the protection of our National Security is one of the primary Federal Requirements embodied in our Constitution.

I don't care what it takes, no effort is too extreme to protect our homeland from quasi-terrorist explosive attacks.  Whatever it takes to keep quasi-terrorists from importing devices of mass destruction into our borders;  if it saves just one child, is worth the effort. 

When I was in the army, we had a unit motto:

No mission too difficult, no sacrifice too great;

Duty First!

This is the motto of the First Infantry Division, and it has served our country well.

I'm sure that our leader, and our leadership, embrace the philosophy espoused there.  Our civilian leadership cannot aspire to greatness, if their determination might fail to meet the same level of responsibility as they require of our military.

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Shooter DQ's

I've noticed a disturbing trend over the past year, and that is:

I have been "DQ-ing"  (Match Disqualification) people who have attended the "Introduction to USPSA" class on their first match experience ... more than I have in previous years.

Are the shooters this year less competent in their gun-handling skills?  Have I become more "picky"?  Am I watching them closer?  Have I learned their weaknesses during the class, and learned to watch them more carefully?  Am I just getting old and cranky?

While I've been trying to find the answer in myself, perhaps the answer is some weird combination of "all of the above".

Shooter Incompetence?
The "safe gun-handling skills" required in IPSC type competition are far beyond the experiences of most shooters, for a lot of reasons.  Not least of these is that when they go to the range with their friends, there's an easy going, complaisant attitude toward gun safety.   In evidence to support that conjecture, I've seen TWO people DQ'd in the past year because they broke the basic rule of IPSC:  you do NOT handle your firearm unless at the safety table, or under the direct supervision of the Range Officer.

In both situations, the stage called for starting with the pistol placed on a table.  In both situations, the "next shooter" casually wandered up to the starting table, drew his pistol and placed it on the table .. while the RO was still involved with clearing the previous competitor.

These new shooters were in a semi-euphoric mood (evidenced by their laughing demeanor) and obviously didn't even think about what they were doing.  Nobody was downrange from them when they pulled the gun, and their lizard brain told them they were safe.

Both were embarrassed by the outcome, but neither of them had actually THOUGHT about what they were doing until they were DQ'd.  Both realized that they had violated safety rules ... after the fact had been pointed out to them.

I don't think it was actual INCOMPETENCE on their part.   It's just that, when they were at the range and shooting casually with friends, they thought nothing about handling firearms when there was nobody down-range of them.  In a very real way,  the experienced shooter has become habituated to the relaxed range rules of  'casual plinking'.  Even though they had been told the rules, and they had been enforced in training, it hadn't actually sunk in until they were DQ'd.  (Note that, generally speaking, both of the individuals involved had been taught in the class the rules of IPSC ... but this had not been emphasized;  the INTRO class syllabus has since been changed to include this specific issue.)

Have I become more "PICKY"? Am I watching them closer?  Have I learned their weaknesses during the class, and learned to watch them more carefully?

Yes, I have.

In a four hour class which sometimes involves more than a couple of students, it's difficult to immediately discern ALL of the 'bad habits' that people have picked up due to their prior experience.  As a consequence, I know what faults these people have demonstrated in class, and I am particularly watchful for any sign that they have fallen back to their old bad habits.

My experience has been that it is impossible for everyone to learn how to break their bad gun-handling habits from a single four-hour training experience.  The huge volume of information about protocol, procedures, learning the mantra of unsafe (DQ) actions, scoring, and a plethora of other "competition-related" subjects takes up a lot of the 60 minute time-span allotted to this complex subject.  In a large class, it often takes over 90 minutes.

The remaining (notional) three hour "Free Fire Exercise" is the real meat of the course of instruction.  It's not acceptable to cut down on the classroom segment of the class, because they NEED to know all the basic information.  The "Free Fire Exercise" where the students actually shoot, engage targets, and have an opportunity to show how well they can translate the instruction to actual experience ... is usually enough to find issues with each  student, and to address them.

But we're all only human, and sometimes in the week between the class and their first match ... old habits may sometimes overwhelm training.

Sometimes, the best training is to be told that you have failed to live up to the VERY exacting standards of IPSC Safety Rules;  the best thing you can to is to DQ a new shooter.  Having been DQ'd a few times myself, I can assure you that nothing so sensitizes a person to a particular safety rule than being kicked out of a match for its violation.

So .. yes, I am watching them very closely when I RO them during a match.

Trainer Skills Improvement:
I can say that, even though I've been a Certified Range Officer for over 20 years, nothing has sensitized ME more to watching for violation of safety rules, than watching new shooters during their first few matches.

Am I just getting old and cranky?
 Well, yes.  I am.  And I am becoming increasingly impatient with shooters who cannot manage to keep ALL the rules in the forefront of their minds.  They are running around with loaded guns, and I am very aware that in the class (and preceding documents which I have sent them via EMAIL before their class), I have told them:  "IPSC is safer than High-School Football!"

The reason for that assertion, of course, is that in IPSC competition there is always a Range Officer watching them closely to ensure that they compete safely .. it's not about scoring a goal for the home team.  It's about nobody getting hurt.

"Hurt Feelings" don't count.
The only one on the range who is possibly more disappointed when I DQ a new shooter .. is me.  I want them to do well, to be safe, and to enjoy the experience.  But if they can't handle all of the complex conjugations of competition vs safety, they are better off knowing that there is someone watching every move they make, every step they take, I am watching you.  (Okay, I stole that last part from a song.)

At the same time, when they go home to admit to their loved ones that they have been kicked out of an IPSC shooting match because they were unsafe ... there's an "UP" side to this.

The upside is ... nobody got hurt.  Nobody bled.  Nobody went to the hospital.  Nobody even got SCARED, because one shooter violated a safety rule without being called on it.  Usually, nobody else on the range that day even saw the safety violation .. except for the Range Officer.

That's his job .. to keep everybody else safe.

Every time I DQ someone, I'm disappointed.  I'm a Trainer.  I'm suppose to teach people better than that.

Well .. I do teach them, but it's impossible to know who is going to remember those lessons and incorporate them into their "Muscle Memory".  (How easy is it to learn to not handle your gun unless there is an RO there?  To keep your finger off the trigger if you're not engaging a target?  To not handle your gun unless there's an RO telling you to "Make Ready"?  To ALWAYS keep your firearm pointed safely down-range?  And a bunch of other rules that they have never before been required to follow?)

I'm sorely tempted to avoid squading with a new student in his or her first match.  I avoided that specific situation in the MARCH match, and there were NO Match Disqualifications on that day.  I was pleased to hear that, but I still wonder .. if I had been their Range Officer, would that have happened?

I think it would have; I had some excellent students during that period, and honestly I do not typically DQ new students at every match; in fact, it's an unusual occurrence when I DO have to DQ a new student.

The message I'm learning from this is that new shooters don't necessarily always find them selves overwhelmed in their first match.  Sometimes .. yes.  Sometimes .. no.

But when that happens, it pays to have an experienced, critical Range Officer watching to ensure that they are as safe as they think they are.  If they aren't, they are treated just like any other shooter: if they violate a safety rule, then their experienced responsible RO will (reluctantly) DQ them and get them off the range until their newly learned lesson sinks in.

Hopefully, I'm not going to be that RO.  But if I am, I can do that.  God knows I've done it before.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hooray! I'm a MILLIONAIRE!

I just received an email from  the "Storage Officer" at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Mr. John Munez.   He tells me that a box containing over five million dollars is waiting for me to claim it:

In view of your inability to receive your package with registration # UK8100AF from National UK Lottery London united kingdom,originally scheduled to be delivered to you by an agency, city express delivery (c.e.d). This package in a golden metal box valued $5,316,000 USD (five million three hundred and sixteen thousand dollars mistakenly arrived at Chicago O'Hare International Airport terminal 5 via British airways flight no.BA297 from Heathrow airport London sometime ago. The package with registration no, UK8100AF has been cleared by the USA customs and is 100% legitimate. The agency, attached to the airport, city express delivery (c.e.d) who delivered your package to your address have just return the package to our storage facility at the Chicago Airport, due to incomplete address.

Please reconfirm these information's;
 The letter goes on asking for my full name, Internet address, phone number, the airport nearest to my location, and my occupation.    It concludes:

Therefore, writing to inform you that the days of grace has elapsed and we shall begin to charge the daily storage fee of $25usd. Please call Golden Williams on (773) 455-7017 Extension 21 terminal 5 or  contact Email address: (chicagoairport92@yahoo.co.uk) to release this package directly to you.

Note that this notice serves as our last recovery notice to you as our department will be compelled to shortlist your package as an unclaimed consignment, and maybe forfeited.

Note: Delivery of your package from the airport to your residential address is free.
I thought that last part was a nice touch.  They're going to deliver my five million dollar gold box for free!

Full contact information was included, of course ... including a yahoo.co.uk email address (which was NOT the gmail.com address from which the email was sent).

(What, you think I don't look at the header details?)

Now, I sure don't want to miss my chance to pick up an easy five mill ... and take advantage of that tasty "Free Delivery" offer!   But I'm a little uncomfortable replying to either email address, or calling any of the phone numbers which were included in the contact information.   So I did what I always do.

I reported it to the FBI.

There's a division of the Feebies called IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) which accepts reports of larcenous attempts to either phish us or otherwise separate us from our hard earned dollars.  I filled out a long report (online) with much of the information "Mr Munez" was hoping I would send him.  Let the FEDS call the phone numbers, reply to the various email addresses, and talk to the REAL "Storage Office" at Terminal 5, Extension 11, located at 10000 West O'Hare.

It was a very impressive letter, but there are still some telling characteristics which cast doubt on the authenticity of this letter:

  • They didn't include my name
  • There were grammatical errors in the letter ("Please reconfirm these information's;")
  • The "yahoo.co.uk" email address doesn't seem a reasonable place to reply to the Chicago Airport
  • No security arrangements were expressed nor implied .. to send me five million dollars?
  • They were careful to mention that this box "has been cleared by the USA customs and is 100% legitimate"!
  •  ????? !
  • They needed my internet address (email), presumably because they sent this to so many people they couldn't be sure which one had self-identified as a greedy, larcenous sucker.
All of this ignores the most obvious twist.  I know I don't have any dead rich uncles in England who would have sent me a buncha boddle ina box of bullion.  (Sorry, couldn't resist the iteration.)   They know I know that.  This is a patent effort to encourage my participation in larceny.

In short, it's just another attempt to phish out my personal information.   It's Identity Theft.

I have to admit, it's a slick twist, from their point of view.  They don't ask for bank account or credit card information (although, it's a "first contact" ... and there is a mention of $25/day storage fees, which would probably be required from me 'before the item is released from storage').

And even if I balk at actually sending them money after step 2 or 3 or 4 in the scheme ... they might still have enough information to open bank or credit card accounts in my name.

In a quick search of the internet, I haven't been able to find reports of similar attempts.   But   if you receive an email like this, I encourage you (and tell your family and friends) that before they reply to ANY "out of the blue" emails, they might want to spend a minute and look at the FBI's "Looks Too Good To Be True" website.

If it looks too good to be true ... it probably isn't.

Sometimes you just have to appreciate how fast some athletic people are.

Sometimes you just have to appreciate how fast some athletic people are. [VIDEO]

I don't enjoy watching 'spectator sports', so I'm not a football fan.

And I graduated from Oregon State University, so obviously I'm not a great fan of the (University of Oregon) Ducks.

But I appreciate excellence in any endeavor.  Skill, talent, athletic ability ... I don't have them,  but I admire and love to watch those who do.

Sorry I can't provide the actual video here, so you'll just have to follow the link.

My understanding is that this video showcases a young UO football player named De'Anthony Thomas.

Excellence in motion.  I recommend the video.

It almost makes me want to watch football games, if such moments are often available.

Assault On Ammo - "Target Rich Environment" for Liberals?

Assault On Assault On Ammo - Connecticut Gun Control Bill - 2nd Amendment At Risk? - YouTube

(sic .. yes, that IS a direct quote on the original link.  I did not make make this up.)

This is a "Hannity" piece on the proposed Connecticut Gun Control Laws .. which would not only impose severe restriction on magazines, but also perhaps on ammunition.

First, watch the 9 minute video, which is youtube-dated April 2, 2013.

Okay, it kind of peters out after the first five minutes, but there are moments of glory for the Liberal Trans-nationalists among us. 

I draw your attention to two comments:

[Well .. three.  The video (at this moment, April 13,2013) included an ad asking yout to tell your senator to vote for "comprehensive background checks".  That may change in future viewings, although I don't expect it.]

The other two noteworthy comments: both by "Fox News Contributor Leslie Marshall".

First, at 1:50 into the video, Marshall says:

"... you know the second amendment does not address issues of taxation, registration, or ...anything regarding ammunition, and so this is within the boundaries."
At 6:51, in response to a question about why "... if they now go for ammunition, it's useless; there's no point", Marshall said:

"In my state .. California, Mike Thompson who is an avid hunter ... [cut explanatory verbiage]   ... said 'look, when you are hunting, you've got three rounds, you don't need and can't use 30 rounds'."
Okay, here are MY responses on these specific "Liberal Talking Points:


Here's the link:

Moynihan Asks Big Tax Increase On Ammunition

 (link opens in a new window)

New York Times, November 3, 1993:
 Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said today that he would insist that President Clinton's health-care plan include a huge increase in Federal taxes on handgun ammunition that would make some especially destructive bullets unaffordable.
The New York Democrat has often contended that the best way to attack gun violence would be to restrict the sale of ammunition, not guns. Today, for instance, he noted that the nation has a 200-year supply of guns but only a 4-year supply of ammunition.
"Guns don't kill people; bullets do," he told the Senate as he introduced his legislation today. "It is time the Federal Government began taxing handgun ammunition used in crime out of existence."
I never liked Moynihan's politics, but you have to admit that the man had STYLE!  Such a damn shame this his Democratic leadership descended to Ted Kennedy.

Later in the article, find this quote:

Mr. Moynihan's proposal would raise the current 11 percent tax on the wholesale price of handgun ammunition to 50 percent in most cases. It would not raise the tax on .22-caliber ammunition typically used for target shooting.
But it would raise the tax to 10,000 percent on the Winchester 9-millimeter hollow-tipped Black Talon cartridge with a bullet advertised as expanding "to expose razor-sharp reinforced jacket petals."
 (emphasis added)

... and, near the bottom of the article:

The manufacturer would not disclose the wholesale price, but Cameron Hopkins, editor of Firearms Industry Magazine in San Diego, said a box of 20 Black Talon cartridges would typically wholesale for about $16, including the 11 percent tax, and retail for about $24.
The 10,000 percent tax would push the price of a box to almost $150,000. The tax would not apply to people in law enforcement or the military.
Mike Jordan, manager of marketing technical services for the Winchester Ammunition Division of the Olin Corporation, said, "I wish the Congress people would attack crime as zealously as they do guns and ammunition."
  (emphasis added)

I love this article!  I've used it before, and I'm eternally grateful to the "all the news that's fit to print" NYT, because they've kept it active for almost 20 years.

It's not just the context of Moynihan's bizarre tax-them-to-death that I like, though.  Right at the VERY bottom of the article, there's a disclaimer from the editorial staff of the NYT:

Correction: November 8, 1993, Monday An article on Thursday about a proposal to tax handgun ammunition misstated the cost of some particularly destructive bullets under the plan. A 10,000 percent tax (calculated on the wholesale cost) would push the price of a $24 box of 20 Black Talon cartridges to $1,500, not to $150,000.
 Isn't that just beautiful?

Unlike the pretentious phonies of both the NYT and the Democratic party, you and I can do the math.  We run out of fingers, though, so I figure it thusly:  10,000 is ten-to-the-fourth power, so if I take the original price of a box of 20 cartridges ($16) and add four zeroes, then the after-tax price is (16 x 10000 + 16) = 160000 + 16 = $160,016.

So The Old Grey lady is right ... the figure is not $150,000; but she is also wrong .. it is not $1500 for a box of 20 cartridges.   It's not an order of magnitude less than originally reported, it's a significant amount more.

Forgive me, I'm experiencing a schadenfreude moment here.  I love it when liberals can't do the math and prestigious liberal institutions perjure themselves trying to cover up for them;  it's merely one example of how these folks have so much contempt for the people who are going to have to pay for their posturing.

But I digress.

The point is:  if the Liberals would add $160,000 to the purchase price of a box of 20 bullets, purely as a punitive measure, is it such a great stretch of the imagination to suggest that this may not be an "infringement" upon the Second Amendment?


[in-frinj] , in·fringed, in·fring·ing.
verb (used with object)
to commit a breach or infraction of; violate or transgress: to infringe a copyright; to infringe a rule.
verb (used without object)
to encroach or trespass (usually followed by on  or upon  ): Don't infringe on his privacy.

(2):  "Look, when you are hunting ...":

Well, I have to admit that Leslie is absolutely correct.  When you're hunting, if you can't get meat with three rounds, you're better off patronizing your friendly local butcher shop because you are NOT a hunter.

And I think it as rather sweet of Our Founding Fathers to recognize that, even though we no longer NEED to hunt for our food, some of us like to do it for sport.

Oh, wait a bit ... I'm confusing the 18th Century (where manly men typically HAD to hunt for food, or raise their own) with the 21st Century (where metro-men  typically are vegans .. or eat fish, or chicken at worst, and they shop at their local discount foods store).

Maybe the Liberals are right: in an era when hunting is considered a "sport" rather than a "matter of living vs starving to death", maybe the Second Amendment IS passe'.

The funny thing is, I don't see any reference to 'hunting' in the Second Amendment.

However I DO see the words:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.


a body of citizens enrolled for military service, and called out periodically for drill but serving full time only in emergencies.
a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers.
all able-bodied males considered by law eligible for military service.
4. a body of citizens organized in a paramilitary group and typically regarding themselves as defenders of individual rights against the presumed interference of the federal government

and ....



[si-kyoor-i-tee] plural se·cu·ri·ties, adjective
freedom from danger, risk, etc.; safety.
freedom from care, anxiety, or doubt; well-founded confidence.
something that secures or makes safe; protection; defense.
freedom from financial cares or from want: The insurance policy gave the family security.
precautions taken to guard against crime, attack, sabotage, espionage, etc.: The senator claimed security was lax and potential enemies know our plans.
Free State

I don't really mind spending an hour or two, from time to time, to parse the Second Amendment for the edification of politicians and talk-show "contributors".  But I wish that some of them would actually be among the people who READ this stuff.  Don't they have staffs who are willing and able .. and PAID ... to do this kind of research.

You know as well as I do that our Founding Fathers had a keen sense of the English Language.  They were very careful about the way they wrote our Constitution, and when it was signed, EVERY signatory among them knew exactly what they were signing .. and why.

Now we are something like 230 years later, and the people who propose to represent us have a lesser understanding of the Constitution .. and the English Language .. than we do.

I'm far beyond attributing their ignorance to stupidity.  Sometimes, you must take a deep breath and accept that these public figures .. often, but not always ... are merely duplicitous.  They are far too willing to use chicanery when logic will not serve their political purpose.  They have an agenda, they have a goal, and they will twist logic and history to suit THEIR ends.

Not ours.

They are advocates of government, which means CONTROL .. not freedom.