Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Range Time!

I was pretty sure today would be a light day at work, and it was, so I was able to get to the range for a while afterward. I think next time I'll go to a different range that has much cheaper rates.

I have come to the conclusion that if I ever want to do any serious pistol shooting I'm going to have to build myself a personal pistol range. There doesn't seem to be a single range in San Antonio that allows so-called "rapid fire." Which means, no double-tap practice. Also, of course, no "shooting while moving" practice.

I did put 140 rounds through the XD40, which puts me right at 200 rounds total. Today there were two failure-to-feeds, but I'm pretty sure it was an ammo problem, not a gun problem. This is because I was shooting gun show reloads that I had a previous problem with. I had already sorted through all of these rounds by dropping each into the (disassembled) barrel to ensure proper seating, but they seemed to be extremely dirty. About 5 shots into a magazine, I was shooting through a haze of smoke. That's never happened to me before with any of my semi-autos. The two f-t-f's today were toward the end, and were probably due to the gun just being dirty after more than 100 rounds pretty much non-stop. Both rounds cycled normally when "recycled."

The "previous problem" caused a jam so bad that it required a gunsmith to fix, and he showed me how the ammo was at fault. This was why I had checked every single round remaining, of which about 10% were bad.

This range has a pistol range which has a hook on a cable to hang your target. You then run the target out to any distance up to 15 yards. I did most of my shooting with my left (strong) hand in the 10-15 yard range. I tried a couple of magazines worth right-handed, but didn't feel completely comfortable with it so I went back to left only. I have done lots of right-handed shooting before but I guess it's been so long I'm just out of practice.

The ammo was purchased from two different vendors. One batch was 180 FMJ and the other 180 grain JHP. The JHP's were noticeably hotter than the others. I've since discovered a gun store that has some pretty cheap factory ammo and I will probably just go there next time.

Now to get a holster.

Regarding the Minuteman Project...

Movement beginning in South Carolina:
"Local residents who have voiced public concern over illegal immigrants on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton say they have been in contact with the Minuteman Project about joining forces.

The national group mobilized hundreds of citizen volunteers to patrol the Arizona-Mexico border in April, a move that met with strong approval from some advocates of stricter immigration controls but with harsh criticism from many quarters. National members of the Minuteman Project could not be reached for comment.

A local effort would not necessarily involve such patrols. The idea would be to focus on businesses thought to be hiring illegal workers, according to Ebba Gamer, president of the anti-illegal immigration group Citizens for a Better Community. Gamer said the group is helping to start a statewide chapter of the Minuteman Project."
And in some related news, here's something really astounding from Eagle Pass, Texas:
The number of illegal immigrants from Central America and Brazil caught crossing into this Texas border city jumped threefold in the past year as they rush to exploit a legal loophole, U.S. authorities said.

The U.S. Border Patrol has nabbed 15,195 non-Mexican migrants crossing over the Rio Bravo around Eagle Pass in the past eight months, a rise of almost 240 percent on the same period last year, officials said on Monday.

Agents say what they call "OTMs" -- "other than Mexican migrants" -- now account for 90 percent of all migrant detentions in the sweltering trade and ranching hub of 40,000 people. That is up from the 5 percent to 10 percent nationwide normally recorded by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Here is (apparently) why:
"'Word is out that we are unable to detain the other than Mexican crossers, and they are exploiting a bottleneck in the system,' Dennis Smith, the Border Patrol's spokesman for the local Del Rio Sector, told Reuters.

Whereas Mexican citizens are processed and swiftly deported, non-Mexicans are either detained or let out on bail pending an appearance before an immigration court.

Following a security and criminal background check, those not deemed a security threat or found to have a criminal record, are released with a notice to appear before an immigration judge within 30 days.

The immigration summons, dubbed 'the diploma' by local residents in the remote border community, allows them to travel on into the United States legally, crossing Border Patrol road blocks set up to collar illegal migrants in south Texas.

Agents say the rush to reach Eagle Pass has been boosted by good communications links from cities in the Mexican interior, and they say they can time immigrant arrivals from the city of Piedras Negras to the south by using the Mexican bus schedule.
Pardon the language, but holy crap!

Monday, May 30, 2005

I can sympathize with this guy...

Gillette, Ill.:
"A 46-year-old man allegedly set his own home on fire in order to get two visitors to leave, police said."

Sunday, May 29, 2005

This looks like a good car safe...

I just ordered one these car safes from Center of Mass. It looks like a good product at a good price. Thanks to GeekWithA.45 for the pointer.

The Sarcastic Brain

I thought this was very interesting, considering that the use of sarcasm is one of my primary methods of operation:
"Shamay-Tsoory believes that, apart from brain injury, perhaps even subtle differences in the 'wiring' of this region can leave people unable to empathize with others, and it is this lack of ascertaining another's emotional state that may be responsible for the inability to understand sarcasm."
I think I might even have extra wiring, or something.

tnx to Tigerhawk

Something for you Lovecraft fans...


Saturday, May 28, 2005

I bought a flag today...

I have never flown the flag at my home before. But, for the past few years, I have been thinking I should get one to fly on patriotic days such as Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, Independence Day, etc. So today the kids and I went out and bought one, the kind that just sticks into a mount that you put where you want. I put the mount on a post at the end of the driveway, and explained to the kids that we are going to fly it on certain holidays, but not all the time (I think it makes a better point, that way). What was it that finally made me do it? I think it was superfreakazoids like this.

"80 Million Americans Have Guns?"

The GeekWithA.45 recounts an interesting conversation he had at work:
"I looked at BD, while it sunk in. He had a distant look in his eyes, as he reread the Second Amendment. I don't know what he was thinking. Perhaps he was wondering if he would have had to flee his homeland if it weren't so easy for relatively small, undisciplined gangs of armed thugs to run things. '80 million Americans have guns? Really? This is true? Enough for everybody?'"

About Me

This is a post that will take the place of me filling out one of Blogger's official "profiles." I'm going to provide a permanent link for this post under my "Links" section in the sidebar.

I was born on Palm Sunday in 1964. I grew up living in the country out eastwardly of San Antonio, Texas. I went to a small school in a small town. Where I lived, as a first grader, our school bus didn't come down our road to the house. I was dropped off at the highway and walked about 2 miles home every day. Back then, we lived in more or less of a wilderness. One day I even saw a cougar while walking home, which scared the snot out of me.

I grew up in a family in which my father worked full time, but also raised cattle and pigs for extra money (and for a while, goats as well). We always had a big garden on our 20 acres, and my summertime chores always included keeping that big sucker very well irrigated. I was also the Assistant Pig-Keeper.

During my childhood, my father owned three guns: a .22 rifle, a 16-gauge shotgun, and a .243. These are basically the only three types of firearms that are practical for the life we had. The .22 for general purposes, varmints, and occasional plinking, the shotgun for dove hunting, and the centerfire rifle for deer. A friend of the family broke me in on centerfire handguns when I was a teenager, and I have always had a thing for handguns over all others.

I rarely had a real summertime job. I made most of my money during winters, by trapping, skinning, and selling pelts. I knew this was as close as I'd ever come to living like a "frontiersman" and I enjoyed the heck out of it.

I graduated high school and went to college, where I majored in music. I played the sax and a little piano. About this time I realized that I didn't have the ambition or dedication that it would take to become a professional musician, and with the dreadful fate of ending up a band director ahead of me, I dropped out and went to work.

I spent some time working in a feed mill as a stacker. This is a guy who picks up the feed sacks from the conveyor after they have been filled and sewn shut, and stacks them on a pallet.

I spent several years going up and down the ladder in a pizza restaurant. I went to a tech school and got an associate's degree in electronics. I got a job for a company as a pager repair tech. The same month that I finished paying my school loan (about 10 years later), the company closed down the shop and I was out of a job.

I got a commercial license and drove a truck for a while. I spent a short time as a security guard. Another short time installing alarm systems in houses that were under construction. Then came the current job as a meter reader. I don't think I could handle going back to a desk job like I had as a repair tech. I think sitting there all day in one spot would drive me nuts. As hard as my job is, I do like being outdoors most of the time and I know all the exercise is making me a lot healthier than the sedentary bench job I had before.

I am a member of the Church of Christ. Yes, I am one of those dreaded conservative Christians who are at the root of all the problems in the world. I am not perfect, and I think my greatest weakness is my occasional inability to keep silent when I should keep silent. I am outraged at many things I see in the world, and I often find that polite conversation is insufficient at expressing my anger.

I used to read a lot more than I do now. Most of the time I am so tired when I go to bed that I fall asleep right away, whereas I used to stay up for hours reading into the small hours of the night. Most of my reading time is spent just keeping abreast of world events by reading news and blogs on the Internet.

As you have probably already figured out, I am a big fan of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. While growing up, I spent most of my time reading science fiction, fantasy, and westerns. These days I like to read a lot of non-fiction, filling in my ignorance about various wars, and occasionally reading some true crime books, as well as mystery novels.

This post could be subject to updating, whenever I think of anything more that I should add to it.

UPDATE: Or, what is this blog all about? The main body of this blog is simply clip-blogging: I post excerpts from and links to news articles and websites that interest me. Sometimes I might comment on them. Occasionally I will attempt a satirical "news" article myself, if something I read happens to inspire me. Expect other oddball, bleak and/or sarcastic humor to pop up often. Obscure book, movie and TV references are par for the course. Items regarding H.P. Lovecraft may also appear in the midst of all the gun stuff.

Friday Night Ramble: One Day Late

I wore myself out with last night's post about HPL and zombie guns, so I didn't post the usual ramble. So here goes.

Work was tough this week. I spent two days (1 1/2 routes) reading meters in Olmos Park alone, and that is one of the three worst places in S.A. to read meters. The other two, in case you're curious, is Terrell Hills and the Monte Vista Historic District. I slowly worked my way westward during the week, basically starting just a little west of highway 281 and ending on the west side of Blanco Rd. By Azathoth, it was bad. Those of us who are "full time" meter readers for our project sometimes take a sort of perverse pride in knowing that, under normal circumstances, we earn more money for the company than those who never do anything but deliver overdue bill notices. This week was not under normal circumstances by any means, and I actually earned less for the company than the slackers, and I worked my butt off. My main gripe this week is something that you just can't get people to believe, no matter what. Here it is, folks: Your meter reader is a lot better off being alone in the yard with your dog than if you are out there with him. Your dog is going to be a lot more dangerous if he thinks he has to protect you personally. Just peek out the window or something if you think you have to watch, but don't go out there in the yard and start yelling at the dog to shut up. The dog doesn't know what you're yelling about, all he knows is that you are in distress because you're screaming, and the only thing that poor dumb mutt can think of is that the stranger is causing your distress, and he's going to go ape $#@! crazy until the stranger is gone. And don't think you automatically know how your dog will react because you're around him all the time. Chances are, that meter reader deals with a couple hundred unfamiliar dogs every day, and he can tell in 5 seconds more about how you're dog will react than you ever will.

The heat was getting bad this week, but we fortunately had a late thunderstorm pass through on Thursday that cooled things off a little for Friday. That's it for the ramble tonight. I have a couple of other posts to make under separate subjects. So there.

Guns & Journalism in the Philippines

A few weeks ago I posted a link to this article about the possibility of journalists carrying guns in the Philippines. This strikes me as a contrast between there and the U.S., where it often seems that "journalists" are largely anti-self-defense.

Today this turns up:
"Blasting away at targets with 0.45 caliber pistols, a group of militant Philippine journalists held their first 'fun shoot' Thursday to make clear they were not taking media killings lying down."
"'I did not want to ask for a permit to carry them (guns) because I believed that the pen is mightier than the gun, but with what's happening now, journalists are being killed like helpless chickens,' said Pablo Hernandez, a tabloid columnist.

Hernandez, known for his hard-hitting commentaries on smugglers and crooked cops, traded shots with two men on a motorcycle this month after he and a friend noticed their car was being followed in Manila.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) rejects the idea of reporters carrying weapons, but a growing number are arming themselves in Manila and other cities after police endorsed self-protection for the media earlier this year.

'While I am not going to stop any journalists who think they ought to carry arms, I just hope they go through the legal process,' said NUJP President Inday Varona.

'What the NUJP can do is to consistently reach out to them and tell them that this is not the answer.'

But the failure to convict anyone for the murders of nearly 70 journalists since democracy was restored in 1986 with the overthrow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos has left journalists skeptical of the government's ability to protect them."
Skeptical. There's an understatement. That's 70 since 1986, and 5 this year alone.

Important Info at The Countertop Chronicles

Please proceed forthwith to The Countertop Chronicles: Asshole of the week for the name, address, and phone number of the idiot publisher of the Northwest Florida Daily News who decided to publish the names and addresses of all of Florida's concealed carry permit holders.

A special note to other Floridians whose names were not on this list: You just became an easier target.

tnx to The Freeholder

Friday, May 27, 2005

Makarov My Day

Check out Heads Bunker for a great post about one of my favorite guns, the Makarov.

Scary stuff in China

If you are even remotely interested in what's going on in the realm of a possible influenza pandemic, you should check out Avian Flu. Here is a recent post: What is really going on in China?

H.P. Lovecraft and Zombie guns

Chaos over at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot posted a couple of things this week which interested me. The first was his observation that many gun folks are also Lovecraft fans. I think this is more owing to the universality of Lovecraft's writings than to anything else. Just about everyone, regardless of political/social/religious leanings, provided they have something of an imagination, can appreciate the fear stimulus invoked by these tales of the unknown. That's my theory, anyway. Chaos has also been posting a few of his favorite HPL quotes, so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and post a couple. Tonight's quote is from The Festival. This is one of my favorite stories, although it is not really considered one of his "major" tales like The Call of Cthulhu or The Shadow Over Innsmouth. This tale has an excellent example of how Lovecraft could describe something by not describing it:
"...there flopped rhythmically a horde of tamed, trained, hybrid winged things that no sound eye could ever wholly grasp, or sound brain ever wholly remember. They were not altogether crows, nor moles, nor buzzards, nor ants, nor vampire bats, nor decomposed human beings; but something I cannot and must not recall."
There are plenty of stories which result in the death (or fate worse than death) of the protagonist, and sure, those are scary. But to me, the truly haunting tale is the one in which the protagonist survives more or less intact, but leaves the reader with the knowledge that the he will be haunted by memories/dreams/visions of his experience forever afterward. This may be why Lovecraft's writings were always better--to me--than some other writers. There is almost always someone who survives but will be forever after psychologically scarred by the experience.

Chaos' other post that struck a chord in me was his question of what would be one's preferred zombie gun. I should begin by the disclaimer that the article he referenced was, according to Snopes, an April Fools Day spoof. However, this does not invalidate his question. Perhaps this also struck me strangely because (since I usually have lots of opportunity for my mind to wander while working--yes, it is quite easy for one part of the brain to read meters, watch for hazardous obstacles, and keep an eye out for dogs while another part thinks of something else entirely) I found myself this week wondering what would be the best handgun to have on hand if one were to encounter a small horde of Deep Ones. This question is especially problematic because my preferred caliber, the .357 Magnum, wasn't introduced until 1935. Most of Lovecraft's stories were set before this, so I found myself contemplating only calibers and handguns that were more widely available in his time. (This question becomes even more pertinent when thinking in terms of playing the Call of Cthulhu game). My only conclusion could be: the M1911 in .45 ACP, or if necessary, one of the early revolver variants that used this round such as the M1917 Army revolver (or any revolver that fired the .45 Long Colt, for that matter). A Thompson submachine gun would probably also not be a bad idea, if one were allowed something other than a handgun. I would also not mind too terribly if I had a couple of good friends backing me up with a couple of 12-gauges loaded with heavy buckshot. Of course, if the horde is of any respectable size at all, I think the best bet would be to do as the main character of The Shadow Over Innsmouth did: hide and hope they don't find you (which turned out to be irrevlevant in the end).

But back to the original question of zombies. They kind of zombie I am most familiar with is that portrayed in Night of the Living Dead and various sequels. These zombies required massive destruction of the brain in order to be destroyed. Shotguns may be good for this, but it seems to me that buckshot would be better against monsters which could be stopped by torso shots. So in handgun terms, I think anything with plenty of power and a decent number of shots before reloading would work. I would recommend the .357, .44 Magnum, or even the .50 AE. One of the lever-actions in .357, a camp carbine in .45, or a Ruger carbine in .40 would probably all be great for blasting zombie brains.

Anti-Minuteman Project Protestors Get Violent, Get Arrested

This from Southern California's NBC4 TV News:
"Harold Edmund Netkin, 69, was initially handcuffed Wednesday night, but was later released without being cited, said Garden Grove Police Lt. Mike Handfield.

Netkin's car was surrounded as he arrived at the Garden Grove Women's Club, 9501 Chapman Ave., and demonstrators rocked the vehicle and banged on it, Handfield said.

'We determined it was reasonable for him to move forward,' Handfield said.

Two people who were standing in front of Netkin's car fell down when he moved forward, the sergeant said. One complained of knee and shoulder pain and was taken to a local hospital, he said.

According to broadcast reports, the other also went to the hospital.

Police were aware of the demonstration and had five dozen officers on scene 'expecting to keep the peace,' Handfield said. But some of the estimated 300 demonstrators were there 'not to protest but to commit criminal acts,' he said.

'A small contingent of people that were troublemakers had backpacks filled with full cans of soda that they were throwing and also cans filled with marbles that they threw,' Handfield said.

Some of the protesters wore rubber gloves and donned sweatshirt hoods pulled tightly so only a small portion of their faces could be seen, he said."

Internet Scumbags Trying to Cash in on Minuteman Project

A heads up from the North County Times:
"[Minuteman Project founder Jim] Gilchrist, who lives in Oceanside, has posted a consumer-warning notice on his Web site. At least one group is using the Minuteman Project name to solicit money.

The advisory reads: 'The Minuteman Project is located in Aliso Viejo, California and maintains only one web site address: www.minutemanproject.com. Several groups have adopted the term 'minuteman' in their names. They are not part of the Minuteman Project.'"

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Minuteman Project and Texas

The Brownsville Herald reports:
"Eleven state senators have filed a resolution urging Gov. Rick Perry to oppose any plans the Minuteman Project has to patrol the Texas-Mexico border."
"U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Houston, has also sent a letter to Perry urging him to 'disinvite' the Minutemen."
Perry responded...
"...that he cannot 'disinvite' people he never invited, and said any law-abiding citizens are free to travel in and out of the state."
"If you want to send the Minutemen home, I urge you to make sure we have enough federal agents on the border to secure it."

Texas Courthouses May Become Somewhat Safer...

In the wake of the courthouse shooting in Tyler, Texas, the Tyler Morning Telegraph reports:
"A bill Texas senators unanimously passed Tuesday could allow district attorneys, county attorneys and criminal district attorneys as well as federal judges to carry concealed handguns inside courthouses for protection."
The report also notes that "the bill passed out of the House with an amendment to add bailiffs."

They might also want to add an amendment that the bailiffs should have access to a centerfire rifle capable of defeating body armor.

Gun law restores concealed-carry rights in Minnesota

Good news for self defense from Minnesota:
"Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday signed a bill that allows easier statewide access to handgun permits. The law, which restores an identical 2003 measure that was struck down by the courts, takes effect immediately."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Alphecca: Weekly Check on the Bias

The Weekly Check on the Bias is up at Alphecca, and something I posted got mentioned!

Half-price renewals for Texas CHL seniors' permits

The Austin American-Statesman reports:
"The Senate on a voice vote Monday passed House Bill 1038, which would cut in half the renewal fee for seniors' concealed handgun permits. That means the current fee of $70 for a renewal would be $35 for anyone at least 60 years old.

Concealed handgun permits, which the state started issuing in 1995, last four years. The fee for an initial permit--which is set by the Department of Public Safety--is $140, and under current law, seniors and indigent Texans already got a 50 percent break on an initial permit.

But the law does not provide the same break for renewals. HB 1038, sponsored by state Rep. Carl Isett, R-Lubbock, and state Sen. Kim Brimer, R-Fort Worth, does not address the fee for indigent people."

Domestic Violence Victims Empowerment Act still waiting on final vote

News 14 in North Carolina reports that the Domestic Violence Victims Empowerment Act is still waiting on a final vote:
"Rep. Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus) is sponsoring a bill to give domestic violence victims easier access to concealed handgun permits. It's designed to allow victims to protect themselves in an emergency situation.

Grass Roots North Carolina/Forum for Firearms Education, a gun rights group that helped bring the bill to life, now says recent changes have made it too weak."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Border Patrol Considers Using Minutemen

In yet another story in which citizens who observe and report criminal activity are referred to as "vigilantes," the New Standard nevertheless reports this:
"According to a story published on the Government Executive website, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert Bonner told members of the House Government Reform Committee on May 12 that the agency needs thousands more new agents to monitor US borders, and that it may look to 'more effectively harness the citizen volunteers.'"
Neighborhood Watch folks better be careful. If you see someone breaking in to your neighbor's house and you call the police, you're a vigilante.

CCKRBA Challenges Brady Campaign to 'Stop Lying and Admit You Support Gun Bans'

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms chairman Alan Gottlieb issues a challenge:
"Gottlieb noted the Brady group's history of supporting bans, on lightweight handguns with polymer components, on sport-utility rifles, on large-caliber target rifles, on big handguns because they are powerful, on small handguns because they are concealable, and on inexpensive handguns because people can afford them.

'They should change their name to the Brady Campaign to Eradicate the Private Ownership of Firearms, to more accurately reflect reality,' Gottlieb said. 'They have repeatedly filed court briefs insisting that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual constitutional right.'"

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A severe lack of gun activity

I didn't manage any gun-related activites this weekend, but I did try a new experiment. I don't usually carry all the time, because it just isn't comfortable. But Saturday I had to run down the road for a bag of charcoal, so I popped in the ol' SP-101. When I got back home, I continued to wear it all day. I spent most of the day outside, barbecuing. I have a New Braunfels Smoker with which I have become quite proficient in making extremely good smoked meats. This time I did a small brisket as well as some country-style pork ribs. The pork was especially good (I'm not really a huge fan of brisket). So I was barbecuing and carrying outside in 100-degree heat. God knows what the heat index was. Okay, I was in the shade most of the time so it probably wasn't over 100.

Anyway, by the time I went inside the gun did have sweat on it. But cleaning it off before I put it away will probably prevent any sweat-related damage. While outside, I also unloaded it and practiced drawing it from concealment for a while, which I think I need to do more of. Wearing it for so long was not as uncomfortable as I thought it would be.

I am hoping that on the upcoming Memorial Day I can do some real shooting. I am planning on, at a minimum, doing some range time with an old .22 rifle of my dad's and doing a write-up on it.

Deer Butt Humor

In keep with my new resolution of trying to post one "humorous" thing per week, here is a picture that I recently received in the old inbox, with the subject: Nobody rings my doorbell anymore. Posted by Hello

I just noticed...

...that I got added to another blogroll. So if you've followed a link here from No Quarters, welcome. This is primarily a blog of items which I think are important, or at least notable. There are very few editorials here, and even fewer astute observations.

CCKRBA chimes in on proposed changes to D.C.'s gun laws

"Triumvirate of Tyranny." Heh. I like that. Link here. Excerpt:
"'These three, Mayor Anthony Williams, Police Chief Charles Ramsey, and Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton,' he continued, 'constitute an anti-right to self-defense triumvirate of tyranny. Their opposition to elimination of local law prohibiting the acquisition of handguns by law-abiding citizens, even in their own homes, for self-defense against ruthless, violent criminals makes a mockery of the citizens' right to life itself. Their continuance in office in the Nation's Capital undermines the spirit of freedom which our country represents.'"
You tell 'em, John.

Supreme Idiocy

Jeff at Alphecca brings us a report of a teacher who accidentally discharged a black powder rifle. I don't believe it. How do you forget that you've just rammed powder and ball down the barrel? How do you accidentally charge the flash pan or put a cap on the nipple? Here's the key line: "Kettering police were called to investigate after several neighbors in the area heard the gun discharge, striking the tool trailer." He shot it, knowing full well what he was doing, and got caught. Idiot.

A Canadian law I can agree with

I think this is actually a good idea:
The British Columbia Appeals Court upheld a law that prohibits the results of voting in Eastern Canada from being reported in Western Canada before polls in the West have also closed.

The law is designed to prevent voters in the West from being unfairly influenced by election results in the East.

Canada is spread over six times zones and even with an attempt to coordinate voting times, polls on the Pacific Coast close three hours after those in the eastern-most province of Newfoundland.

Stupid Crooks use Toy Gun

But did they simply use it to threaten people into doing their will by making them believe it was real? No, they used a plastic toy to try and pistol whip someone:
Two thieves in Hong Kong on Thursday tried to rob a 55-year-old woman working as a parking lot cleaner, the Ming Pao Daily News reported Friday. Police said when the woman wouldn't hand over any money, the men began hitting her on the head with a toy gun, the paper reported.
Good thing they don't live around here. They probably wouldn't have survived the encounter.

Arizona Border Patrol official asked to resign

Several days ago I mentioned this. Now WorldNetDaily brings us this:
Eight members of the House signed a letter written by Tancredo to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff calling for Nicely's resignation. A total of 10 members signed a separate letter by Tancredo calling for the House Judiciary Committee to initiate an investigation into the 'stand down' orders.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Florida's New Self-Defense Law

The Volokh Conspiracy has an excellent rundown of Florida's new law.

I'm stealing this quote...

Here's a quote from No Quarters that I'm going to copy here, just because.
A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks. Thomas Jefferson, Encyclopedia of T. Jefferson, 318, Foley, Ed., reissued 1967.

Fun at Texas Death Row

Executed Offenders is a database of capital punishment in Texas, including the offenders' last words (but not last meal):
Yes sir, can you hear me? To you Irene, Thank You. I love you all. All right Warden, I'm ready.
Here's what he did. He had just been paroled from serving a term for attempted capital murder, and lost no time in succeeding in his next attempt. It happened on a night full of thunder, lightning, rain, and death. It happened a few miles from my house. I'm glad they got him.

For Crime Watchers

Chicago crime database is a freely browsable database of crime in Chicago, with charts, maps, crime locations (garage, apartment, residence, etc.), etc. It also has RSS feeds for every police beat and city block.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Friday Night Ramble 5/20/05

I spent only one day delivering notices this week, all to apartments. Apartment delivery can be somewhat grueling, especially when said apartment complexes seem to have been designed by M.C. Escher. Driving around for 6 hours in the Fredricksburg Road/Medical Drive area is bad. It's bad just driving through it to get somewhere else. Being stuck there all day is terrible.

The rest of the week was meter reading, mostly not too bad. Today was especially light, since I was assigned only a half-route. The only bad part about today was the heat. It's getting to be that time of the year, and it's not even really bad yet.

But enough of that. This afternoon I saw an old movie that I hadn't seen in probably 20 years or more: Defiance. This is a 1980 film starring Jan-Michael Vincent, with some other familiar faces in Danny Aiello, Theresa Saldana and Art Carney (and maybe a few others I don't recognize). This was Vincent in his pre-Airwolf days, and I don't know, maybe this is the best role of his career. I was sad to see him self-destruct and pretty much disappear, and I would still like to see him land more of a major role in a decent movie. I've always like this kind of movie. I never get tired of seeing movies in which someone righteously beats the snot out of a bunch of worthless punks. I also get a kick from being reminded of things that are uniquely in that time, like handbills advertising a Pablo Cruise concert. But my question is: How did that bad-guy gang leader get his hands on a Luger? Now, I know, it is a usual movie stunt to have a bad guy use a Luger (or a broomhandle Mauser), but that would be more expected from a movie set in 1950 than 1980. Just seems kind of odd, to me.

I don't have much to ramble on about tonight. Everyone else has covered Newsweekgate and the latest Star Wars movie quite thoroughly. But I will say that I will never think of Darth Vader in the same way again.

Racism? Or Not?

Clayton Cramer has some thoughful thoughts on the Minuteman Project.

Never bring a watermelon to a gunfight

Lest Darkness Fall provides us with a link to someone shooting a watermelon with a S&W .500 Magnum. If you've read my blog much at all, you probably already know what I'm going to say about this: Now that's stoppin' power!

Meter reader saves the day

A report from the Marion Star (Ohio) about Libby Malone, a meter reader who "was able to prevent a fire from destroying a Marion home and helped preserve one family's memories of a daughter they had recently lost." This is another incident that doesn't surprise me. You might be amazed at the things you see when you spend seven hours a day walking the streets and alleys of the naked city.

Minuteman Project going to California

The Minuteman Project has reached an agreement with Friends of the Border Patrol in California:
FBP Chairman Andy Ramirez said more than 500 volunteers have signed up to patrol areas of the California-Mexico border in August, including former Border Patrol agents, retired police and military personnel and pilots. He said yesterday that at least 2,000 more applications from volunteers nationwide are still being reviewed.

Concealed Handgun News from Across the Country

It was a busy couple of days in the realm of concealed handguns. The St. Cloud Times reports that the Minnesota House of Representatives has passed the revised CCW bill, which will now go to Governor Tim Pawlenty, who has already said that he will sign it into law.

News 14 TV in North Carolina reports on a new bill that would allow local sheriffs to issue a temporary concealed handgun permit to "any domestic violence victim with a protective order." In another report, a bill has also been introduced that would allow judges to carry a concealed weapon in the courtroom.

And finally, Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn (both Texas Republicans) have begun working "to lift a three-decade ban on handguns in the District of Columbia." A couple of quotes from this one: "Hutchison's bill, with 28 co-sponsors by late afternoon, would allow handguns, rifles and shotguns to be kept loaded in homes and places of business. It would not change city restrictions on carrying concealed weapons and would apply only to residents; Virginia and Maryland residents still could not bring guns into Washington." And: "But in the 15 years after Washington banned guns in 1976, the senators said, Washington's homicide rate jumped 200 percent while the national rate rose 12 percent."

Assault Journalism

In the wake of the recent Newsweek debacle, Alan Gottleib applies the goofball logic of anti-gun-rights people to the First Amendment at Keep and Bear Arms. Here's a snippet:
Henceforth, the First Amendment will be interpreted to apply only to state-owned newspapers. When the First Amendment was written, nobody envisioned computers, high speed presses, and the internet or television and radio news. There is no individual right to become a reporter, especially a freelance journalist. Only reporters employed by state-owned print media outlets have a legitimate reason to own laptops or personal home computers.

"Errors mar otherwise lousy article"

Some letters to the editor in the Miami New Times point out plenty of errors in an article I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Looks like good news for Minnesotans

This report from WCCO TV:
A bill allowing more law-abiding Minnesotans to legally carry a handgun easily passed the House on Wednesday and now goes to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who said he will sign it.

The Republican-controlled House voted 86-47 to reinstate the so-called conceal-carry law, which has been overturned by the courts. The 2003 law allowed adults with a clean record, no mental illness and proper training to get a permit to carry a gun.

Minuteman Project Harrassment

From a report at Officer.com:
Dozens of people from across the country went on patrol in April in a display that received international media attention, and project organizers said smaller operations were still continuing.

More than 60 Minuteman volunteers went back on patrol last weekend between Miller and Ash canyons and helped in the capture of 17 illegal immigrants Saturday night.

Gary Cole, operations manager for the Minutemen, said the organization has filed a complaint with the FBI about the web site but interference with border patrolling has been a minor annoyance so far.

''We ran an operation this weekend, a very successful one,'' Cole said.
Also, WorldNetDaily reports that swarmtheminutemen-dot-com is calling the Minutemen "hyper-patriotic bigots" and "white-hooded vigilantes." And this:
At the bottom of each page describing possible harassment projects, the site states, apparently as a disclaimer: "Of course we don't suggest that you actually DO any of this, we're just sharing information. We really don't think you should do any of these things, you silly 'communist/anarchist/criminal reactionary!'"
I've heard that one before. Say what you want, and then say, "We're only joking! Where's your sense of humor?" Uh-huh. Looks like the ACLU freakazoids have some allies.

Meter reader in Albuquerque, NM finds body of murder victim

I have slogged through some truly horrendous back alleys looking for meters, and this is something that is sometimes prominent in my mind. It doesn't surprise me at all:
The murder investigation was sparked by a Public Service Company of New Mexico meter reader who spotted the body of a man in a yard in the 1600 block of Bonito Lane SW at about 10:15 Tuesday morning.

Progress Energy To Start Installing "Wireless Meters"

This report is from Raleigh, NC, but it is happening slowly but surely in San Antonio as well:
The new automated meters will broadcast a signal that can be read from a truck or other vehicle seveal feet away, allowing the meter reader to literally drive through the area to find out your power usage for the month. Progress Energy hopes that it will cut down on the meter readers it needs to hire, since it often relies on outside independent contractors to do the job currently.
I am an "outside independent contractor." I have a feeling my days are numbered, but the big changeover will probably take at least a couple of more years to be complete. We'll see.

Utah Gun-rights activists are opposing two appeals court nominees

The Salt Lake Tribune reports on Gun Owners of Utah, who are opposing some anti-self-defense judges for nomination to the state appeals court:
"If you do not trust law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, what are the odds you're going to trust them to make other personal decisions about themselves?" Hardy asked. "The issue does serve as a powerful microscope under which to examine other underlying philosophies."

Texas CHL News for military personnel

Swanky Conservative reports:
If you are a Texas resident and a member of, or honorably discharged from the military and a second amendment supporter, House Bill 322 in the Texas Legislature is of interest as is House Bill 685. HB 322 reduces the cost of a concealed carry permit and HB 685 eliminates the requirement for range instruction if you've completed a course of training in handgun proficiency or familiarization as part of the persons service with the armed forces or state military forces.

tnx to Media Lies

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Anti-Minutemen site threatened with shutdown

From KVOA TV in Tucson:
A Scottsdale Internet company says it will force one of its Web site clients to stop promoting harassment of the Minutemen project.

If it doesn't cease, the site could be shut down.

Swarm-the-minutemen-dot-com is encouraging people to go into the desert border areas and blast their radios or bang pots and pans in an effort to confuse and harass Minutemen volunteers.
Appears they could be in violation of their terms of service.

Meanwhile, in Florida...

Anti-self-defense goofball Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer is convinced that concealed carry licensees will now be shooting people every time someone honks a horn at them in traffic.

One year for Ohio

WHIO TV notes that the concealed carry law in Ohio has hit the one year mark. "Since April 2004, the Ohio Sheriff's department said it has issued 51,998 licenses to carry a concealed handgun." They also note that 544 license applications were denied.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Wives & Guns

Shooter's post at parallax adjustment (Six Gun Swede) reminds me of something that happened a while back. My wife is not really afraid of guns, but she is wary of them. I had just bought a used S&W Model 28, the Highway Patrolman model in .357. I loaded it up with some .38 Special for the wife the shoot. I threw a Pepsi can out in the back yard and we backed off about 10 yards. Her first shot went right through the middle of the can. I said, "Wow, you drilled it right through the middle!" Her response: "But I was aiming at the big P."

Arrest for committing felony is not a violation of civil rights.

The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law says that arresting someone for committing a felony is a violation of their civil rights, but Special Assistant County Attorney Barnett Lotstein (Maricopa County, AZ) disagrees:
Special Assistant County Attorney Barnett Lotstein said Thomas' office is sticking by its decision.

"We are confident that the decision we made with regard to Haab was appropriate," Lotstein said. "He did not break the law, and we do not prosecute someone if they're not breaking the law just to make a point. That's what some people want us to do."

Arizona's citizen's arrest law allows a person to arrest someone committing a felony, and in Haab's case, one of the illegal immigrants was smuggling humans and the other six were conspiring with him, both federal felonies, Thomas has said.
As usual, emphasis mine.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Minutemen Return for the Weekend

KOLD TV in Tucson has this report that some of the Minutemen have returned to their posts just for this weekend:
With just a few days notice, the minutemen organized nearly 150 volunteers to watch the Arizona/Mexico border this weekend. "This is something we feel really strongly about and it's unfortunate that I have to take another weekend out of my life to come down here," Geiger told KOLD News 13.
[Area rancher Joe] Scelso says the Minutemen Project in April must have left an ongoing effect on the border, because it's still pretty quiet around his ranch. "It wasn't until they did show up down here that we finally got the relief we've been hoping for, because the government sure hasn't been doing it," Scelso told KOLD News 13.

Firearms vs. Economic Development

Check out this good read over at The Volokh Conspiracy:
The international gun prohibition movement aggravates the problem, by allowing kleptocracies to shift the blame away from themselves, and to instead blame good citizens who only want to protect their families from government-sponsored violence.

Effects of Minuteman Project being felt across the country

The Deseret News (Utah) brings us a report that three MP volunteers have returned home to Utah to start a Minuteman Project there (in a state without international borders). Says the report: "They're creating the Utah Minuteman Project in an effort to bring visibility to the illegal immigration issue by targeting businesses and working for policy change." Their website is http://www.utahminuteman.com/.

Meanwhile, in some other reports, people are still apparently lacking in their knowledge of basic English. (But, considering the topic, that shouldn't be surprising).

Please allow me to clarify.

Look up the word "vigilante" in any dictionary. You will see something like this: "One who takes or advocates the taking of law enforcement into one's own hands."

Please tell me how many members of the Minuteman Project during their stakeout in Arizona during the month of April have taken the law into their own hands (which would mean capturing, judging, and carrying out sentence). Then please tell me how many observed illegal activity and reported it to the proper authorities. Now do you see the difference? No, probably not.

Illegal aliens do have some rights (I refuse to refer to them as "immigrants"). They do not have the right to enter or remain in this country illegally. Because it's illegal, see? No, probably not.

Perhaps they're using "vigilante" in its original sense. Originating from the Latin vigilare, meaning "to be watchful." In that sense, they were being vigilant. They watched. They reported what they saw. But I doubt if these folks would actually look up the real meanings of words that they use. After all, they are professional journalists and historians, and I'm only some ignorant schmuck with an inconsequential personal blog.

Pop the Zombie

I guess I would be remiss if I didn't mention Deanimator, a simple online zombie-shooting game. It isn't really Lovecraftian, except that the name of it is a play on Re-Animator, of course. All I can say is, that poor guy must be stuck with a 32 S&W Long or something, it just don't have any stoppin' power. And he sure isn't in a hurry to reload.

Of course, during the time when HPL's stories were set, they didn't yet have the .357 Magnum. But they did have the .45 ACP (or even .45 Long Colt). Gosh!

Saturday, May 14, 2005


I hate it when Bloglines goes down on a weekend when I'm trying to catch up. It's supposed to be back in about 30 minutes so I'll just post something to kill some time.

I'm running out of my favorite pipe tobacco (sigh again). My favorite--heh, I just realized what I'd written. At one time, I thought I had already found my favorite, and it was very different from this one. But this has definitely taken first place. It's a blend called Bayou Night made by Craig Tarler of Cornell & Diehl. It is a very hefty blend with an unusually high proportion of a special kind of tobacco called Perique. I've heard it's a full 50% Perique, but I don't know that for sure. This time, instead of ordering only a sampler pack for variety, I'm going to get a whole pound of this stuff, as well as a pound of another blend called Grey Ghost, which is a blend of Virginia and maduro cigar leaf. Another "different" kind of blend, but quite good. There are others I'd like to stock up on, but I don't know if I should lay out that kind of cash right now.

And in yet another sigh, I realize I'm going to have to cut down on reading some other blogs. There are so many good ones out there, so much valuable information, that I don't just have the time to keep up with everything. I find that I am enjoying the "personal" sort of blogs more than the big guns. I honestly don't know where some of these folks find the time to do so much blogging. Also, since I discovered that Yahoo will build an RSS feed for any search I want to throw into their news service, I have subscribed to a few searches that are more oriented to the specifics of things I'm interested in.

Someone came to this site in the past week after Googling the sentence "I just bought a 218 Bee Raging Hornet." Whoever it was, I would love to read your comments on this gun. It just sounds like it would be such a fantastically fun gun to shoot.

What is my deal with the .218 Bee? It is completely sentimental. I first hunted deer when I was 14 years old, and we didn't have the money to purchase my own rifle. So we borrowed an old Winchester from my great-uncle (r.i.p., Uncle John L.). I don't remember the model, but it was a bolt action .218 Bee with a 3-round detachable magazine. Yes, I know, this caliber is "too small for deer," and in fact would be illegal for such use in some states. It is legal in Texas, however, and this particular rifle was the first deer gun for many members of my family. Eventually I had to give it back, as my great-uncle wished to pass it on to his grandson. I was sorry to see it go, but bore no hard feelings.

I took two deer with that old rifle before I had to give it back. The first fell within 30 yards or so of where it was shot. The second was another story. That buck must have run about 200 yards through the brush before it finally keeled over. Fortunately, I was a fairly good tracker back then, but I did spend several sweaty minutes creeping through the brush, afraid with every step that I'd lose the next bit of sign--a patch or torn sand here where his hoof went through the leaves, a splat of blood there--and never find him. I did find him though, and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I did. By the time my dad caught up with me, the buck was field-dressed and lying the back of the truck, and I was asleep in the cab. That was something my dad thought was quite funny: that I could kill a deer and then go to sleep immediately afterwards.

I would never take one of those Taurus revolvers out deer hunting. But just the thought of having a gun that would shoot those tiny centerfire rounds appeals to me very much. Maybe someday.

The Minuteman Project is coming to Texas

This article from the Houston Chronicle tells the story:
Chris Simcox, the leader of the controversial Arizona group that is attempting to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants from Mexico, says he is considering October for the beginning of patrols along the Rio Grande in South Texas. Other patrols are being considered for New Mexico and California.
I'll be watching the news on this.

tnx to JunkYardBlog

This "Remote Hunting" thing...

Jeff at Alphecca posts his opinion on this (proposed) activity. For what it's worth (not much, probably), I'm against it as well. Hunting isn't a game. You are going to take an animal's life. You need to be there to see it in all its wild glory before you touch the trigger. You need to be there to follow its blood trail in case your shot goes slightly amiss. You need to be there to find it fallen, eyes glazed, tongue distended. You need to be there to gut it and bleed it and throw it in the back of the truck. You need to be there to quarter it and butcher it properly.

If you can't do that, you don't deserve to eat it. If you don't plan on eating it, you don't have any business killing it in the first place. So there.

My own favorite fifty

Disclaimer: If you are already familiar with black powder firearms, you will probably not find this informative. If you have never used one, you may find this useful.

Some recent discussions about the .50 BMG (see Carnival of Cordite #13) put me in mind of a few years ago when someone I know (at the time he was a co-worker) had purchased a single-shot .50 BMG (I forget the exact make & model). We were discussing it at work, which involved me asking lots of questions and him answering them. Someone overheard and asked if I had a "fifty." Sure, I replied, a .50 Hawken. What's that? they asked. "It's a muzzle loader," I answered. "It sounds like thunder and makes a big cloud of blue smoke that smells like the fires of hell." A somewhat overblown description, perhaps, but not entirely inaccurate.

My earliest memory of anything to do with the Hawken is the movie Jeremiah Johnson. For years as a kid, I was under the impression that this was an immensely powerful rifle that only the baddest and toughest could shoot. I mean, after all, the first time Jeremiah shot it, it flipped him over backwards. My impression can be excused as childhood ignorance, I hope. That said, it is still quite a potent firearm in the realm of black powder.

In my opinion, every gun buff should own at least one black powder muzzle-loading rifle. Perhaps, arguably, he/she should own a handgun as well. I say arguably, because I don't own a black powder handgun myself yet. I would like a single-shot pistol such as the "Hawken style" pistols that can be found to match the rifle, but I would also not mind having one of these:
Posted by Hello

That's a replica Walker Colt, the .44 Magnum of black powder revolvers.

But I digress. As I said, I think every gun buff/nut/owner should also own a muzzle loader. Not one of those fancy-shmancy bastard guns inline abominations that eat Pyrodex pellets, for goodness sake, but a real replica (can you have a real replica?) of the olden days when every shot had to count and speed loading wasn't really an option.

Mine looks like this:
Posted by Hello
Except that mine is a left-handed version (the patch box, hammer, and nipple/fire hole are on the left side of the gun). I would have nothing against a Pennsylvania/Kentucky rifle either, but after talking it over a lot with another blackpowder gun owner, I decided to go with the Hawken style because the hooked breech design makes cleaning a lot easier.

Why do I say that you should own a gun like this? Because using it will give you a whole new perspective.

Make sure you go shooting on a nice, hot summer day. Even better if you live somewhere (like I do) where the summertime (that is, April through November) humidity rarely falls below 80%. Be sure and use black powder. You can use Pyrodex and a few other substitutes, but that's cheating. They don't foul enough. I can't speak of the other substitutes because I've never used them, but I can also add that Pyrodex has a higher ignition point than black powder, so in practical terms, black powder will fire off faster and more reliably. Besides, Pyrodex is fake. According to what I have read, back when it was first invented, it was too clean. It didn't smoke enough, and it didn't smell like black powder. So they added some extra goop to make it more closely simulate black powder. Just use the real thing. You won't be sorry.

Why a hot, summer day? Why high humidity? After 30 to 40 minutes of constantly loading, shooting, and barrel-swabbing, you will begin to realize it's like work. If you have a flintlock, it's going to be even more like work. High humidity makes the fouling that much stickier and gunkier. It could mean the difference between swabbing the barrel every other shot (high humidity) or every fourth or fifth shot (lower humidity).

And I can guarantee it's not going to knock you over backwards. That's just Hollywood hooey. I once touched off one of those enormous sabot slugs backed up with 90 grains of the black stuff and the recoil only made me take about half a step backwards to regain my balance. It's not that big of a deal. Just make sure you have your shoulder firmly seated in the curve of the butt. A little bit off-center and one of those sharp ends might make you yelp.

Sometimes I feel like I'm still, well, cheating. I started out using pre-lubed patches, but that was just too easy and not authentic enough. So I went to some patches that I lubed myself with Neatsfoot Oil. It works quite well, but I tried some other stuff called Bore Butter and it seems to help reduce fouling better than Neatsfoot. So I've been using Bore Butter ever since, but in an emergency I could go back to Neatsfoot if I had to. I just wish they made an unscented version of Bore Butter. The stuff I have smells like wintergreen. I've heard they also have a pine-scented version (good grief!).

I once ran into a guy who was into cowboy action shooting and black powder shooting. Ah ha, I thought, this is the guy to ask about patches. I told him what I had been using and asked him what he used. "Oh," he said, "I just use the pre-lubed stuff." Go figure.

So anyway. If you are looking for nice, tight groups with a muzzle loader you not only have to carefully aim each shot, but you also have to carefully make sure each shot is loaded exactly the same if you want to have any kind of consistant accuracy. This may sound obvious, but what it means is that your powder measure has to be topped off at the same level every time, your patch has to be completely and throroughly lubed the same way every time, your ball has to be centered exactly in the patch every time, and the whole package has to be rammed and packed in the same way every time. After you've taken care of all these loading details, then you can shoot.

My accuracy is still kind of lousy. I can get all my shots onto the standard rifle target at 100 yards, but getting them inside even the outer ring is another question. But, I didn't really buy this gun for hunting. I bought it for fun.

With everything I've said, it may sound like I'm trying to discourage anyone from owning one of these. Not at all. I said everyone should own one, and I meant it. After a day of thunderous, brimstone-infused target shooting, you will come home dirty, grimy, and smelling, like, well, brimstone. (Some people say rotten eggs but to me brimstone sounds much cooler). Oh, and when you get home, the day isn't over. You know how when you go shoot your suppository smokeless powder gun of choice, and you sometimes just "wait until later" to clean it? That doesn't go with black powder. It is highly corrosive and will eat the metal of your gun away if it isn't cleaned well. That's where the hooked breech design of the Hawken comes in. The barrel easily detaches from the stock. You just fill up a 5-gallon bucket with very hot soapy water (I just use Dawn dish soap), put a cleaning patch on a jag, and work it up and down in the barrel. This will cause a sort of hydraulic action by pulling and pushing water in and out through the fire hole. Use very hot water so that when you take it out, it will quicky evaporate and air-dry itself. Then run a dry patch through a few times just for completion's sake.

Some people have asked me what the difference is. In simplistic terms, a smokeless powder rifle will go crack, and the recoil is a sharp kick. A black powder rifle will go boom, and the recoil is a fast push. Also, a black powder rifle makes a big cloud of blue smoke that smells like the fires of hell. Did I already mention that?

It will give you a whole new perspective. Shooting a cartridge firearm afterwards will almost seem like cheating. And you will have a whole new respect for those guys who didn't have a choice in the matter. The mountain men, the Minutemen, those guys at that place called the Alamo, that lone farmer homesteading on the prairie, with a wife and kids, and nothing between him and the wilderness but a lead ball, a patch, and 75 grains of gunpowder.

Minnesotans getting closer to reinstating concealed carry

A short article from the St. Cloud Times:

[The bill] would guarantee a permit to adults older than 21 who receive required training, pay a fee and pass a background check.

The bill would replace the current law, which gives law enforcement officials the right to deny permits to applicants at their discretion. It would reinstate a law the Legislature approved in 2003, which the courts have found to be unconstitutional because it was attached to an unrelated bill to obtain a vote.

Be sure and check out...

...the plain-spoken eloquence at Shakey Pete's.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Oh, and by the way...

If you have somehow managed to find your way here via the blogroll at Heads Bunker, glad to have you. Just don't waste too much time here, there are lots of other more interesting places to be.

Minuteman Project Aftermath

Holy cow. I just about can't believe this:
U.S. Border Patrol agents have been ordered not to arrest illegal aliens along the section of the Arizona border where protesters patrolled last month because an increase in apprehensions there would prove the effectiveness of Minuteman volunteers, The Washington Times has learned.
tnx to Right Hand of God

Friday Night Ramble 05/13/05

At birth a witch laid on me monstrous spells...

And so begins a poem called Singer in the Mist, by Robert E. Howard. It is a poem that I memorized a long time ago because someone said it reminded him of me. I am reminded it of it tonight because, although I would sometimes like to be more explicit about certain aspects of my employment, I dare not. The odds of anyone who matters ever reading this blog are extremely small, yet, that infinitesmal likelihood means that it will almost certainly happen. This is one aspect of the curse.

I will say that my morning was considerably brightened today when I saw a certain name on the list of people who would be reading meters instead of delivering notices. I actually laughed aloud.

This week started easy, and then got very hard. Southside meter routes seem to be disproportionately long, and CPS always seems to get behind and need us more often in that area. Thus, I spent Wednesday through today in various southside neighborhoods. Yesterday there must have been a worn spot on one sock, because I developed a blister that turned somewhat painful today and is still making me limp now. Today I even accomplished something new. It is a horrendous route which I have done 7 or 8 times since our "project" started (about 1 1/2 years now), and I have never been able to finish it in one day. Today I did finish it, although it nearly killed me. The intense humidity didn't help much, either.

No dangerous dog encounters to report for this week. In fact, I spent a couple of minutes today with the friendliest pit bull I have ever met.

Tonight I have been reading an entire blog. Yes, this is the first time I've ever gone all the way through all the archives and read every word. The blog is The Darth Side, and it is told from the point of view of Darth Vader. It is funny, and sometimes very touching. The author of it is a great writer. I recommend it for anyone who wants to get in some quality fiction laced with good doses of humor.

Speaking of which, I laughed for quite some time yesterday over accounts of the escalating tensions between China and Right Hand of God. I gotta start reading more humor.

Well, lo and behold...

Sure, I could edit my last entry, but what would be the fun in that? Mere minutes after typing up the last post, what should I find but this:

The public could no longer find out who has a state permit to carry a concealed handgun under a bill approved unanimously Thursday by the Texas Senate.

A permit holder's identity could be disclosed only if that person has been arrested, indicted or convicted of a crime.

The Senate approved the measure with little discussion. It was tacked onto a bill that would extend the renewal time for a concealed handgun license.

The House passed a measure in March that also would keep permit holder identities secret.

Under current law, the Department of Public Safety must disclose whether someone holds a concealed handgun license to any person submitting a written request. Opponents of the current system say it allows potential criminals to determine whether a victim is licensed to carry a concealed handgun.

How about that?

More on Concealed Carry in Ohio

A piece in the Medina County Gazette (Ohio) about concealed carry now that it has been in effect for a year there. The author rightly (in my opinion) points out that it has not caused vigilantism to run rampant, nor has the mere presence of concealed carry obviously deterred any crimes, because, well, you can't really prove a negative. But I just wanted to mention that there is one aspect of the law on Ohio which I find absolutely horrifying:
As the concealed-carry law stands, only members of the news media may see the list of permit holders. The Gazette so far has not published the list, but other newspapers have. Hassinger said he disagrees with the media-only aspect of it. Either the list should be public or it shouldn't be. No in-between.
In-between, hell. There shouldn't be a list, period. In Texas it is possible to find out if a specific individual has a license, but that individual must be specifically named, and all you get is a yes or a no. And frankly, I am uncomfortable even with that. Allowing a complete list is insane. And whose idea was it to give media outlets the sole power in accessing and publicizing this list? Ye gads, it boggles the mind.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

More Stupid Gun Tricks

A deputy holding a gun safety class in an Anderson County (South Carolina) middle school apparently pulled a really dumb stunt when he had a student demonstrate "how hard it was to take a gun from an officer's holster."
'The officer there today had a major lapse in judgment,' Crenshaw said Wednesday. 'He was just trying to be nice to the kids and made a faulty decision. It was an accident. The good Lord blessed us that nobody got hurt.'
Yep. God looks out for children and idiots, or something like that.

Good dog!

I have written plenty of complaints about dogs here, so I must be fair and post this link about a stray dog that saved an abandoned baby in Kenya. The dog--now named Mkombozi (or "Savior")--has been given a home as well.

Now that's hot sauce!

Winds of Change has a few comments (w/ link) about a new hot sauce this is 8,000 times hotter than Louisiana ant piss Tabasco, at a whopping 16,000,000 Scovilles. I use another fairly potent sauce called Vicious Viper to soup up chili. At a mere 250,000 Scovilles, 5 drops will heat up a pot of chili quite nicely. Somebody should put this stuff in a spray can. It would make a heck of a chihuahua sauce.

5 day waiting period for swimming pools?

Willisms.com has an interesting gun-related Trivia Tidbit Of The Day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Operation Falcon

"Operation FALCON successfully executed in excess of 10,340 felony arrest warrants and cleared by arrest or other means over 13,851 warrants."

But only 243 weapons were seized. Posse Incitatus has more.

tnx to Clayton Cramer's Blog

Some Dawsonville, GA workers get lucky

Employees of various stores in Dawsonville, GA, chase away an armed robber. Fortunately for them, he wasn't desperate enough to actually use the gun.

Better luck next year for Nebraska

Nebraskans will have to wait until next year for another chance to legally defend themselves from unlawful violent attack.

Monday, May 09, 2005

More on the service Ruger

I mentioned before about the 5,000 units of the Ruger P95 being ordered by the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command of Rock Island, IL. There's another brief mention of this in the June 2005 issue of Guns & Ammo. It mentions that each pistol is shipped with 10-round magazines. What the...? Why aren't they being issued the standard 15-rounders, I mean, they're in the military. (Yes, for this model of pistol 15 rounds is standard capacity. Ten-round magazines are low capacity. Anything that makes the magazine stick out past the butt of the grips is high capacity, if you feel that you still need that category for any useful purpose). Another funny thing in this article is that they are still shipped in the regular Ruger plastic box, just like for civilians, complete with the "safety" locks. Of course, the soldiers have no use for the locks, so they have become quite popular as bicycle locks among some Iraqis. Unfortunately, all the locks use the same key.

I still say that if they were going to give them Rugers, they should've gone for the P97 or the newer P345.

Massachusetts man loses concealed carry license because of his zipper

Sticking to their guns is an article from the Daily News about Joseph Landers, who had his license revoked because his coat blew open, momentarily revealing his legally carried firearm.
Landers' coat was not entirely zipped up that day, and when the wind blew it open, a Dedham Police officer across the street zoomed in and noticed the gun. Upon request by the officer, Landers produced a valid five-year license issued in 1995 to carry the gun. But the problem was, state law required that he keep the weapon concealed.

While the officer let Landers go without an arrest, the Adams Street resident soon after received notice from Dedham Police Chief Dennis Teehan that his Class A license to carry firearms had been revoked due to the incident.
"I have always erred on the side of caution when issuing a license to carry firearms," Teehan said in a 2001 letter reaffirming his denial. "For this reason, I find it necessary to deny your request for a license to carry."
What is to err here? His coat blew open. He has no criminal record. He had followed all the rules. There was no arrest. This is just arbitrarily jumping on this poor guy by an obviously anti-self-defense chief of police. But then, it's Massachusetts, so I guess he should be glad he's not in jail just for possessing a firearm at all.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Concealed carry in North Carolina

A permit to pack is an article from the News-Record of North Carolina (all emphasis mine):
While experts debate the merits of concealed handguns, this much is known: a News & Record analysis of thousands of state records shows proponents made at least one accurate prediction -- those who receive permits follow the law.

One-tenth of 1 percent of all permits issued since the law's inception have been revoked. Though the State Bureau of Investigation declined to release what led to revocations, local law enforcement officials say most weren't because of crime.

And those who carry hidden handguns may surprise you.

They're teachers and electricians, salon owners and factory workers, bus drivers and university accountants.

"As we like to say, a concealed-handgun-permit holder is the only certified law-abiding citizen that a law enforcement officer is likely to meet," said Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina. "The people who have concealed handgun permits by and large are very ordinary people. They come from all walks of life."
There are also some lines from the victimization folks, like:
But she said the expansion of the law -- allowing permit holders to purchase guns without a sheriff's direct knowledge -- sets a dangerous precedent.
I haven't noticed any dangerous problems here in Texas. I don't see why NC would be any different. Also:
"In some states, almost anyone can get a concealed-carry permit."
Well, I would say almost anyone you meet is a law-abiding citizen, so why shouldn't almost anyone be allowed to carry concealed?

A couple of differences between the Texas and NC laws. They qualify with their handgun at 21 feet, which apparently in NC is "the maximum distance allowed under law for shooting an attacker in self-defense." That's kind of scary. How in the heck under that kind of stress are you going to be able to tell if they're within the "legal to shoot" zone? Besides, I don't see any criminals waiting to make sure they're within 21 feet before they start shooting at me. I'm glad TX doesn't have that restriction, and I think the NC gun folks should start some lobbying on this nonsense, if they haven't already.

The other difference I noticed is that the woman profiled used a .22, assuming this report is correct. No one should seriously expect to use a .22 for their standard personal defensive weapon, and they should qualify with something closer that what they actually plan on using. In Texas, you must qualify with a minimum of a .32 caliber firearm. Originally a minimum .38 caliber was necessary, but they changed it later on. What type of .32 is not specified, but of course I suppose they are referring to the .32 ACP.

I find this requirement kind of funny, because it means that you can legally qualify with your little .32 ACP Kel-Tec, but you would not be allowed to qualify with the vastly more powerful and difficult to handle CZ-52, because the CZ uses 7.62x25mm, which is technically only .30 caliber.

And I finally received my certified law-abiding citizen card in the mail yesterday. I messed around and waited so long that I was not able to legally carry for about 6 weeks. It's nice to have a license in my wallet again.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I once wrote some fiction...


If you repeat a lie often enough...

I consider it way outside my purview to comment on the Tony Blair election, but NPR has been whipping this idea to death recently: that he won but he really lost. Chrenkoff has some very good comments on this, with numbers to back it up.

Saturday Night Special #3

This week's link collection are all for various holsters and carry gear.

Michaels of Oregon -- All kinds of holsters for all kinds of guns.
Welcome to The Wilderness -- Slings, holsters, belts, lights, and other tactical accessories.
Excalibur Enterprises Survival and Emergency Preparedness Supplies -- Holsters, fanny packs, optics, and other tactical gear.
Concealed carry handgun holsters by PagerPal -- Holsters mainly for smaller guns disguised with a fake pager. I don't know, a Bravo Plus pager these days would look pretty suspicious to me. (But then, I'm an ex-pager tech).
Pocket Holsters -- Hand crafted holsters for small handguns and derringers, carried in the pocket.
Action-Direct -- Holsters and carry gear, plus knives, sights, and other accessories.
Passport Holsters - Concealed Carry Holsters and Unique Handgun Concealment Products -- Holsters as well as briefcases, purses, etc., all designed for concealed carry.
Holsters from Fobus USA -- Fobus USA.
DeSantis Holster & Leather Goods
Holsters.com - SAFARILAND Holsters, Duty Gear, and more
Comp-tac [www.comp-tac.com] -- Maker of a "tuckable" holster for the XD40 that I am going to get pretty soon.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Unarmed security guards are useless

An opinion piece in the San Antonio Lightning has so many quotable quotes that I can only recommend reading the whole thing, but it boils down to this one quote:
There is a simple lesson here. Unarmed security officers can't protect themselves let alone others from armed killers.
I spent a very brief time as a security guard at the Texas Department of Child Welfare Services in San Antonio. There were usually 3 or 4 guards on duty, as well as one armed police officer. As you can imagine, a place that looks out for child welfare often involves protecting that child from his/her biological parents. I saw a lot of scumbags coming through that door. But get this: the guards were at the front entrance, supervising the entry of every single person (employees and "clients") into that building. The armed officer was about 100 feet down the main hallway, closer to the center of the ground floor. Due to the "security" design of the entrance, there was basically no way to escape if a violent person had come in through that front door. On the other hand, the officer on duty would have been easily able to hear the gunshots that would be dispatching us and be able to react in some way. It wouldn't have done us, or the receptionists, one bit of good. We would all be deadmeat.

Fortunately during my time there, we had no such people come through the door. I couldn't even get away with carrying concealed, because the security guards had to be scanned in as well. I couldn't even keep my Swiss Army Knife on me while on the job. My personal defensive weapon was safely (and distantly) stowed in my vehicle, which may have given me a chance if I happened to be the one patrolling the parking lot when something went down. I fully understand where this commentor is coming from.


Friday Night Ramble

Not much exciting this week, work-wise. Spent all week delivering notices, no meter reading. Thursday and Friday were deliveries out in the "country," very low volume (50 one day and 29 the next), very high mileage driving all over the eastern part of Bexar County. Dogs were no problem. As a general rule, country dogs are a lot less crazy than city dogs, probably because they get to roam on a lot more range, and are more free to socialize with each other. A dog kept apart from all other dogs for it's entire life gets somewhat whacko after a while. I did encounter a trio of Dobermans today, but one was scared and the other two were friendly as all get-out. I have encountered very few vicious Dobermans.

I wanted to mention that I realize very few people read this blog regularly, occasionally someone comes through and leaves a comment, but probably doesn't ever come back. If I ever saw my number of subscriptions go up to "2" on Bloglines I think I would probably faint. Yeah, I have subscribed to my own blog (you don't see it on the blogroll because it's marked as "private"), but it's not because of some big ego or anything. I do it so that I can see how my articles look when they come out on Bloglines, in case I need to tweak the formatting. I also do it to see how long it takes an article to show up after I've posted it (usually a matter of minutes). And there's that number of subscribers. A lot of the blogs I read have very few Bloglines subscribers, but I know that lots of other people read them "straight," without using any kind of news aggregator.

Something that I don't want anyone to do is to put me on their blogroll merely because their blog is on my blogroll. This "courtesy blogrolling" is not for me unless you feel that I actually am worth checking into occasionally.

By the way, the free web statistic tracker that I use shows that the one blog that sends most people over here is Lest Darkness Fall. A lot of other folks have come through here due to my occasional posts regarding the Minuteman Project. Also by the way LDF, you have 2 subscribers who use Bloglines (one besides myself). Whiskey Tango Foxtrot has also been sending a few hits my way.

I occasionally see that someone has been here by Googling certain search terms that I have mentioned. If you come through here only to find that I have just mentioned something in passing, please feel free to leave a comment asking for more information. If I can add anything to it, I will. For example, yesterday someone came here after Googling "sp 101 ruger concealed carry." This was something I just mentioned briefly, but now I feel that I should add more detail to it.

This week I had a couple of article titles that might be too obscure to make sense to anyone. The time-traveler post made a reference to John Titor. I'm not going to try and explain it, but if you're curious, just go to johntitor.com. The other one I will explain ("Okay, Rockford, throw out the BB gun...). It was an old episode of The Rockford Files, in which Jim Rockford was holed up in a house with a woman while a gunman waited outside to kill him, occasionally firing shots into the house. Rockford asked the woman if she had a gun, and she replied, "I have an old pellet gun that I shoot gophers with." Rockford says, "Well, you better get it out." He eases the barrel through a crack in the window and takes a potshot at the bad guy. The pellet richochets off the hood of the BG's car and stings his cheek. After recoiling slightly, he realizes what happened, and yells, "Okay, Rockford, throw out the BB gun." Among people who know me, I am semi-famous for having a wealth of useless, trivial data in my memory. This is just one of those bits of trivia.

The book by Bob Dole has been very gripping, and hard to put down. Books by people who were actually there seem to be better than books by scholars who have only studied something. I'll probably comment more on the book when I finish it, which will probably be tomorrow.


A swift, deft dissection of a popular factoid at Insane Troll Logic:
The Pelopenesian War? Economic motives
The Trojan War? A woman
The Napoleanic Wars? Land
The Revolutionary War? Land/freedom
The Crimean War? Who the Hell knows
The American Civil War? Federalism/economics/slavery
World War I? Strange alliances, land
World War II? Land, alliances
Korean War? Civil War, ideology
Vietnam War? Civil War, ideology
The Persian Gulf War? Alliances, land, oil

Dirty Harry should've had one of these

Very cool picutres of Kim du Toit lighting up a S&W .500 Magnum. Now that's a hand-held howitzer.

Paging John Titor...

A student at MIT is hosting a time-traveller convention. More power to you, Amal.

Philippine police to allow journalists under threat to carry guns

AP has this article about how tough it is to be a journalist in the Philippines.
Sixty-seven journalists in the Philippines have been killed since 1986--23 of them in the past three years alone, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, or NUJP, said. The mostly unresolved deaths prompted the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists to describe the Philippines as the world's "most murderous" country for reporters.
Bataoil said the police will issue permits to journalists who are licensed gun owners to carry firearms outside their residence only if they prove there is a "verified threat" on their lives.
Gun owners have to undergo neuro-psychological and drug tests plus a gun safety seminar before they are issued licenses.
I have no objection to a gun safety seminar, but I would be interested to see what kind of neuro-psychological test they are subjected to. It reminds me of Superintendant Fowler's attitude on the Britcom The Thin Blue Line: "Anyone who thinks they need a gun is obviously too unbalanced to own one." That's a paraphrase, I don't remember the exact words, but then, it's only a TV show.

Nobody wants poor Bobo the Ratdog

Bobo the ratdog chihuahua that I mentioned last month, has now apparently been outcast by his owner(s). So I assume that unless someone jumps forward to save him, it's only a matter of time for poor Bobo. This must be one bad-a#$ chihuahua. Maybe they should have tried some chihuahua sauce.