Friday, January 29, 2016

Why I keep dropping my NRA membership

Last month, in a fit of pique with anti-gun a$$h01%S, I joined the NRA.

This isn't the first time I've done that.  In the past XX years I must have joined, then failed to renew, my NRA membership at least a dozen times.

Why do I quit?

Let me tell you about THIS time, as it's fresh in my memory:

As soon as I (re)joined the NRA, they sent me a WELCOME letter with my membership card. (I had specified "no magazine", as I can read it in the barbershop down the street every monty.)

Then they sent me another letter, asking me to renew my membership.  Hey, I just JOINED!

Then they sent me another letter, asking me to renew my membership "early" so I could "save a lot of money".

Then they sent me another letter, asking me to send a "donation".

Then they sent me another letter, and I don't know exactly what they were asking, but money was certainly part of the plea.

Then they sent me another letter, which I opened but didn't read as soon as I saw the word RENEW.

Then they sent me another letter, which offered me insurance.

Then they sent me another letter, which was a "Dues Increase Notification".

Then they sent me another letter, which I looked at and didn't read.

Then they sent me another letter, which I threw away unopened.

Then the sent me more letters ... which began to piss me off.

So I'll not rescind my membership, but I won't believe in the "membership has benefits" thingie because it also incurs a burdensome number of annoying letters.

Today I got another letter .. I thought it was from the NRA but when I took another look I discoverd it was from AAA who wants to sell me insurance. (So I don't need the NRA, right?  I threw that one away ... I swear these folks use the same promotion agencies.)

The next letter was from someone who wanted to sell me funeral services.

Then came one which wanted to sell me a cemetery plot.

I've got the plot right here, guys.  I think you're all in cahoots.  I feel like I've been locked into one of those PONZI schemes.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Take from it what you will

The Most Powerful Images of 2015 - The Atlantic - The Atlantic:

The Most Powerful Images of 2015 Dec 17, 2015 | 17-part series Video by The Atlantic Over the course of the year, The Atlantic’s Alan Taylor reviews thousands of photographs as he winnows them down to assemble his In Focus galleries. These curated selections feature photographs from all over the globe, covering everything from the ongoing conflict in Syria to celestial bodies in the far reaches of space. In this video, we collected some of the most striking and iconic photos of 2015 to take a look back at the year that was.
No comment.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Building Gun-Handling Expertise

Repetition and habit | Cornered Cat:

Not long ago, I saw a guy at a gun store take an “unloaded” gun and absent-mindedly press its muzzle against his own left palm as he pressed the trigger while he was talking to the clerk. I have no idea what he thought he was doing. But what he was actually doing was reinforcing a dangerous habit of not paying attention to or caring about where the gun was pointed. That habit could (and very likely will!) reach up and bite him some day — and when it does, he will also likely join the ranks of many, many people who say stuff like, “Well if you just check to be sure it’s unloaded…” But the problem isn’t the loaded or unloaded status of the gun. It’s the deeply built-in bad habit that was caused by repeatedly doing something dangerous with the gun until that motion became something the shooter did without conscious thought. It became a habit.
This is a topic which deserves as much attention as possible, and it's headlined by the story of an incident which sounds very familiar to me.

Fifty plus years ago, my sister's boyfriend (now and for a long time my much beloved brother-in-law) came to the family home to visit her.  She had some things to do, so she left him alone to amuse himself.  He did so by walking into my room (I was out of the house), picking up my .22 caliber CO2-powered pellet gun, and shooting himself in the hand with it.  (Note that the pellet gun wasn't COCKED when I left it there, but there was a pellet in the chamber.)

Apparently, he just wanted to see how powerful the "PUFF" was, so he cocked the gun, pushed the muzzle against the palm of his hand and pulled the trigger.

Not only was the CO2 charge of air more powerful than he expected (it was a new cartridge, fully charged) but it put the pellet clear through his hand.   He cried out, my sister took him to the hospital, and he got a bandage and some antiseptic.

Later, he told me what had happened and said:

"I just couldn't BELIEVE that you would leave a loaded gun laying around the house!"

(In other words, it was my fault.  And BTW, I was the youngest person in the house, and the pellet gun was in my bedroom, and he had no permission to be messing with "my stuff".)

In response, I told him that "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LOADED GUN!"

also, "you're older than I am, you should be more responsible. And I hope you learned something from this and never fuck around with my shit again because the next time ....".  (Thankfully I never finished that sentence.)

The lesson, of course, is that smart people do stupid things.

I still keep loaded guns in my house, but I'm the only one here, and when I have visitors I warn them that there are loaded guns and to please keep their booger hook off the bang switch or else they will bleed.  And yes, I don't that many visitors.


Last Summer I was competing at a USPSA match locally, and a fellow who had only been involved in the sport for a month or so came to sit beside me and ask for advice.

He asked how he could make it faster to load a fresh magazine, because (as I had taught him when he attended my "Introduction To USPSA" safety class a couple of months earlier), reloads are one of the biggest time-wasters in a sport which equates time-elapsed with accuracy of the shots.

I had already noticed, when observing his performance in two previous stages in the match, that he would shoot until his pistol ran out of ammunition.  It always seemed to take him by surprise, and he wasted several valuable seconds discovering that he had to reload, processing the information, and deciding what to do next.

NOTE: We had already discussed this in the class, but he apparently was not listening because the information seemed not to be pertinent.  However, now that he was actively competing, he had learned the lesson the hard way ... Time Matters in IPSC competition.  And he wanted to improve his performance.

We talked for a while.  I noted that shooting to slide-lock was inefficient.  I suggested that he plan out his stage performance before he actually began to shoot the stage, by planning when and how to engage each array and (not incidentally) determining WHEN he would reload a new magazine when he was performing another "time-wasting" activity ... usually, when moving from one shooting position to the next.

I also suggested that this was one of the gun-handling skills which he might practice, to his benefit, and that he already knew how to reload the next magazine ... he only needed to pre-plan his 'game plan' for each match stage, and be sure to walk through the stage so he could program his short-memory game plan and he didn't have to THINK about what to do next when he was in actual "competition mode".

That is:  (a) learn the skills of efficiently reloading a new, full magazine into your pistol; and
(b) at the pre-determined "reload points", go ahead and reload even though you may not really need to do so 'yet', but you have "dead Time" and you can do so without penalty.  (EG: You're moving during that phase, and while you are moving you can reload without wasting time.)

He nodded his head.  Did whatever he hear make an impression on him?

No, he did not. For the rest of the match, he continued to shoot to "slide lock" and then spend from 3 to 7 seconds reacting, and then reloading, and (usually, because he had gone to 'slide lock') racking his slide to load the next round in the newly reloaded magazine.

That man never came back to compete again.  Probably, because he allowed himself to become  inundated with "information overload".    The skills which he might have learned during the class seemed unimportant to him; but in 'real life' (during a match competition) he discovered that he had failed to develop important skills .... and he just shut down, rather than learn from the negative experience and IMMEDIATELY attempt to incorporate new information into his game plan.

Lessons Learned:

After 30+ years of competition, and 10+ of teaching, I have learned that you can never have too much training, or too much experience.

Too much ammunition, or too many magazines.

That is why I carry much more ammunition, in many more magazines, than I could possibly "need" to complete a stage exercise.  I may lose a magazine; I may flub a reload; I may have inadvertently 'short-loaded" a magazine, and need to do more reloads than I had expected.

During  competition, I may experience a jam; the best way to clear it is to drop the magazine (perhaps rack the slide to clear the chamber) and load a new magazine.  If you don't  have an extra magazine, you are reduced to bending over to retrieve a previously loaded magazine.  This is time wasted.

Note that this does not only apply to Competition: it also applies to self-defense.  Except that in self-defense, you not only lose time, you may lose your life because people are active engaging (SHOOTING AT!) you.

I USE TO COMPETE in "Open Class", where I had the luxury of using magazines which would  hold 18, even 26 rounds of ammunition.

Now I compete in "Limited Ten" class, where I can have no more than ten rounds in my magazine.

This teaches me to plan reloads ... expect them ... and always be prepared for a situation which doesn't fit my "Game Plan"

Self Defense:

This approach is applicable to Self Defense.   If you expect to have 20+ rounds available to you in competition, you will expect (even if subconsciously) to have that many rounds available to you In Real Life (IRL).  So, unless your "home defense firearm" is going to be a pistol with a very large capacity magazine, there is no problem.  With experience in Competition, you will learn to intuitively know when your magazine is low on ammunition, and you will change to a new, fresh, fully loaded magazine without even thinking about it.  That's A Good Thing!  You will learn to keep track of your ammunition expenditure subconsciously, and when you begin to feel fretful that you are low on ammunition you will perform a reload without consciously thinking about it.  When it is convenient, of course, and when it does not expose you to return fire in a defensive situation.

But if you train to expect no more than 7 or 8 rounds (as when you are shooting a single-stack pistol of the 1911 variety), you will learn to keep track of your rounds-expended (if subconsciously) and automatically perform a reload from your reserve supply of ammunition when it is appropriate.

There is no substitute for Practical Experience.
The old saying "Train Like You Will Fight"  and fight like you train .... is an eternal verity; it's always true, and if you follow that guideline you may still go wrong.
But those .. unexpected surprises ... are more likely to happen as if you train (compete) to have  25 rounds in your gun and are surprised when you shoot eight rounds and your gun goes to slide-lock .. unexpectedly.

Train to have 8 rounds in your gun, if that's the reality, and fight to reload every time you can.  And have LOTS of extra magazines, and LOTS of extra ammunition.  (and never lose track of a magazine  that isn't completely "empty" .. one or two rounds can made a lot of difference in the resolution of a gunfight.)

There's an old saying that "IPSC CAN GET YOU KILLED"
That's bullshit.

IPSC will teach you safe, fast, reliable intuitive responses to a variety of surprising situations.

But you still need to be aware of cover and concealment, retention of partially-expended magazines, and round-count in all of its manifestations.

It's a jungle out there.

Be the evilest man in the valley.  And survive.

Trumpiness Trumps Trump

Two weeks ago I wrote:

I do NOT like Donald Trump.  I'm outraged that this is the best candidate the Republicans can find....
I like everyone else on the Republican Report Card even less, because they seem like children.  ON ONE HAND, Trump is at least a grown up and understands money .... I'm just not sure that this is the same thing as being "a viable candidate" or "presidential timbre" (whatever that means).On the other hand, everyone who seems to be campaigning for the Democratic Nomination is so extreme that they make Trump seem rational.
I take it back.
Nothing can make Trump seem rational.

Now, I'm willing to settle for "not evil" (which lets Hillary out of the running).

But I'm not willing to give up the "Trainwreck" theme, as Trumps Billions have created an egomaniacal  monster ... (should I have said "megalomaniacal"?  I always seem to get those two mixed up) ... whose self-love is only exceeded by his disdain for any opinion other than his own.

Which puts him squarely in the same category as Obama, only with more money and more power.

So it would appear that there are NO candidates for President of the United States.  Rubio and that other guy whose name I can't remember have assumed the back seat, apparently hoping to be tagged for the VP spot when the country votes FOR The Donald and AGAINST The Hillary (who is soon to be wearing prison blues anyway;  I wonder how Trump engineered that one.)

Remember "I Have A Dream"?

That was probably the most powerful speech ever given during the 20th century.  I would have voted for that man.

Compare that with this:

While I'm opposed to unrestricted immigration, this ad makes my teeth hurt.

So, I will officially oppose Donald Pouty-Lips as soon as I find a Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton.

Any suggestions?


What we NEED is another Abraham Lincoln, not another pampered Billionaire

Will The Patriarch Of American Gun Control Jump Into The 2016 Race?:
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, has told his aides to draw up plans for an independent campaign for the U.S. presidency, according to a source familiar with the situation. Bloomberg has advised friends and associates that he would be willing to spend at least $1 billion of his own money on a campaign for the November 2016 election, according to the source, who spoke on condition on anonymity to discuss the former mayor’s thinking.
Trump vs Bloomberg?
Please allow me to be the first to say this:

A pox on BOTH their houses!

It has come down to this; that someone seems bound to buy the Presidency.
And both of the choices are enough to gag a maggot.

Pompous pop-in-jays, the both of them.

Almost .... not quite but almost ... Clinton is beginning to seem "the lesser of two weevils".

So here's the latest campaign slogan:


Dear ATF: Bite Me

ATF: New Rule On Gun Sellers Will Be Handled On A 'Case By Case' Basis | The Daily Caller:
January 20, 2016
LAS VEGAS — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) insists the agency will enforce President Barack Obama’s new executive actions “on a case by case basis.” Obama issued several executive actions pertaining to firearms earlier in the month. The ATF will start enforcing a rule any person selling firearms from a store, a gun shows, or online must have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) and conduct background checks. The administration stressed that there is no “specific threshold number of firearms purchased or sold that triggers the licensure requirement.” An ATF representative told The Daily Caller at the SHOT Show Tuesday, “It depends on how much you’re doing it and there’s no line. There’s no bright line number.”
(emphasis added)

Dear ATF:
I'm sorry, you have to do better than that.
I know I'm fairly ignorant about the law, but I do know the meaning of "Ex Post Pacto".

That means that if it's not against the law when I perform an action, I can't be held accountable for "illegal" actions which were not illegal before I do the action.

So if I go sell three guns at a gun show, as a private citizen, I haven't broken a law.
If I sell a dozen guns, I still haven't broken a law.
Because I'm not operating a business ... I'm just liquidating my private assets.

So if YOU ... BATF Agent that you are ... arbitrarily decide that I'm "operating a business" because I sold more than x-number of firearms during an hour, a day, a weekend ... you can't prosecute me for it until you determine what the "Bright Line Number" is.


This is a brand new concept that your bosses know, the guys on the 7th floor? ... just dreamed up and now you have to work with it. Right?

SUCKS to be you.  If you could get A Real Job, you wouldn't have to be trying to figure out what your GOVERNMENTAL job is.

You know, there are rules, and there are laws.  One of the common characteristics of both RULES and LAWS is that there has to be some measure of default.

For example:

Washington State Lawmakers condemn homeowners to non-defensible condition

Washington State Lawmakers Push Gun Storage Law, 'Assault Weapons' Ban - Breitbart:
On January 22 Washington state lawmakers held a hearing on a proposal to requirement gun owners in the state to lock up their guns in the home.
 This comes just under two weeks after state representative Jim Moeller (D-49th) introduced legislation to ban the possession of the “assault weapons” in the state. According to The News Tribune, Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Lake Forest Park) spoke for requiring law-abiding citizens to lock up their guns in their homes. Kagi said, “Requiring gun owners to safely store firearms is common sense.” She added, “About 1 million households in Washington state contain unsafe firearms, and the children in those homes are at risk.
Details not yet clear, but this sounds like a blanket indictment of the individual ability to keep protective firearms immediately at hand.

The Liberal mantra "It's For The CHILLLLLLLDRENNNNN" rings loud and clear here.   The thought that firearms might also be used to protect children is ignored ... as is the thought that these firearms need to be readily available.