Friday, September 30, 2005

From the "That Sucker's Huge!" department

I received some impressive pictures by email today, so I went searching to see if it's another internet hoax (as many of these things are), and this one appears to be for real. From the Centre Daily Times:
Using archery tackle that would suit Luke Skywalker, two Missouri archers won a tag-team version of gar wars at Sam Rayburn Lake, bagging a gigantic alligator gar that weighed 244 1/2 pounds. It is the pending Bowfishing Association of America world record. The giant fish is not, however, the largest of its species taken with bow and arrow in Texas.
Here are the pix (click for larger versions):

That beats the heck out of the 5-footer my dad and I caught on a trotline in the San Miguel Creek once. Yikes.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

One Nation Under Cthulhu

One of my regular search terms is "Cthulhu." Just so I can see if anything interesting pops up, like a new movie or book or something. Mostly I just get hits about video games and a now bankrupt gaming company called Hip Interactive.

But today this curious letter to the editor turned up. Heh.

Stun Gun Fun(?)

This very brief article doesn't appear to have a solid point but it opens with an odd statement:
Not everyone who owns a stun gun uses it for self defense and a lot of them have gotten hurt or killed.
My question is: then what in the heck are they using it for?

Texas 2004 Crime Statistics are out

East Texas Review has lots of numbers:
The 2004 Texas crime stats are out. While crime overall remains stable, some categories are showing significant change. Murder rates continue to plummet from all-time highs a decade ago, but drug and alcohol-related crimes are increasing. The good news is that overall crime has fallen significantly since the early 1990s.

During that period, Texas invested heavily in new jails. This has reduced the rate of inmates being released early, which is important because 30 percent re-arrest rate for paroled offenders out three years (based on a Legislative Budget Board report last January).

Arguing against that link is the fact that Texas' crime statistics reasonably reflect national trends. The state crime statistics are reported under the Uniform Crime Report, using a standardized formula that allows comparison with national figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). A glance at the numbers show Texas is well in line with those statistics.

In 2004, for example, violent crime decreased by 2 percent nationally and 2.1 percent in Texas. The statistics show two pictures: the number of crimes and the crime rate, adjusted for population and reflecting the number of crimes per 100,000 persons. Unless otherwise noted, all numbers in this story reflect only the crime rate.
Like I said, lots of numbers, nothing especially surprising, except that rape has increased, when all other violent crimes have decreased.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Chief Compass "resigns"


It was the first thing I thought when I heard the news on the radio today.

Kerrville to host Olympic Shooters

From the Bandera Bulletin:
The Hill Country Shooting Sports Center was named this year as a venue to host Olympic shooting competitions, drawing marksmen and media to the quiet Hill Country town of Kerrville.
There's also some info about the neighboring Bandera Gun Club. I like this quote:
Clements said that many Kerrville shooters are members of the Bandera club, including area instructors who use Bandera's range to qualify to carry concealed handgun licenses. According to Clements, most area guest ranches are members of the club. International visitors who carry their own firearms here can visit the range and enjoy a round of shooting.

"They are fascinated that Texans can just go out, buy guns and shoot them; they're not restrained from anything, as long as they aren't a convicted felon," Clements said.

A well-balanced opinion piece from...Eugene, OR!

At least I think it's pretty well-balanced. And from a university newspaper, no less.

From Oregon Daily Emerald:
...Much as the NRA rubs me the wrong way; I kind of like their minimal rules attitude. This is America, and we have the right to bear arms. I don't think the average person needs an AK-47 or a machine gun, but I think that if you want, and are responsible and well-behaved enough, you should be able to carry a weapon. The NRA loves to stress the point that a criminal's number one deterrent is the thought of an armed victim. They cite FBI data that shows states with right-to-carry laws, like Oregon, have 24 percent lower total violent crime, 22 percent lower murder rates, 37 percent lower robbery rates and 20 percent lower aggravated assault rates.

I hope this incident at the Indigo District does not prompt too many people to shake their fists and yell, "There ought to be a law!" Most gun crimes are committed by criminals, not licensed citizens. What happened this weekend is terrible, but I doubt it will start a trend. Gun control is not the sole responsibly of the government--armed citizens must do their part too. If you do own a gun, you should be a role model and an exemplary citizen. When the line between armed citizens and criminals begins to blur, the right to bear arms will too.
I don't agree with everything in it, particularly the apparent "I can't believe I'm agreeing with the NRA" attitude, but I actually am surprised at this coming from a university in Eugene.

My Version

UPDATE: The picture has been tweaked for better legibility. The original bitmap was converted to jpg by Blogger. The bitmap version is easier to read.

Submitted to Carnival of Cordite #32.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Hell Day for Head

Do not miss reading this extremely compelling account of Head and his family trying to evacuate during Hurricane Rita. Sometimes I'm very glad that I live so far from the coast.

Follow up to "Banned Books Week"

Throughout history, more and different kinds of people and groups of all persuasions than you might first suppose, who, for all sorts of reasons, have attempted--and continue to attempt--to suppress anything that conflicts with or anyone who disagrees with their own beliefs.

In his book Free Speech for Me--But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other, Nat Hentoff writes that "the lust to suppress can come from any direction." He quotes Phil Kerby, a former editor of the Los Angeles Times, as saying, "Censorship is the strongest drive in human nature; sex is a weak second."

I was surprised to see how few of these books I have read. I notice that many of them are books that are intended by marketers for "junvenile" or teenage readers, like those by Judy Blume. This is probably why I haven't read all that many of them. Not that there's anything wrong with them. I have read a few books oriented toward that demographic, long after I was a member of it, and many of them are very good. I was kind of expecting to see a book called I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier. But then his The Chocolate War is on the list, which I haven't read. I Am the Cheese is a book that I first read in high school and was deeply troubled by it. In fact, memories of it haunted me for years. Many years later I found a copy of it in a used book store and finally re-read it. It is still very disturbing, by what is revealed in the first-person narrative as well as the third-person bits of information that intersperse and end it. I don't know how Cormier could have conceived such a plot, or what possibly inspired him, except that he must be a writing genius.

So here is a list of the ones from the big list that I have read. One other comment: a book-loving aunt of mine gave me Tom Sawyer for Christmas when I was five years old, and I pretty much grew up reading it--multiple times.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (own)
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (read but don't own--same with many Steinbeck novels)
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling (own first three)
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (read but don't own)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (own the whole series)
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (own)
The Witches by Roald Dahl (own a few by Dahl)
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (read but don't own)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (own--also The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell)
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell (own)
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (read but don't own)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (own)

Also on this list was Flowers for Algernon, which I'm pretty sure I have here somewhere, but I've never read it. (Why would I want a library full of books I've already read?) And I may actually own some of the books listed, but I haven't seen them in so long I've forgotten if they are actually mine or not. I have a lot of books. It's hard to keep track of them all. I also have several books by authors who are on this list for some other book.

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, the annual event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.

Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
quotes taken from the American Library Association website

The Truth About Gun Control comments on Brady Tactics

The Truth About Gun Control has some excellent comments about the latest scare tactics of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Lawful Self-Defense Reduce Gun Violence:
Let's look at that. If you were a criminal, would you be more or less likely to attack someone if you knew he had a lawful duty to run away before he could use force against you? Would you, the criminal, support a law that restricted how people could defend themselves against you?

If lawful defensive shooters actually obeyed the duty-to-retreat law, undoubtedly many of them would be maimed or killed by the attacker they tried to run away from. People that were armed and capable of stopping an attack would still fall victim to the criminals. The whole point of carrying defensive arms would be thwarted-- which is obviously what the Brady bunch wants. If they can find some reason to say that defensive arms don't help save lives, they can make the case that carrying arms should be banned. And they don't care how many good people have to be killed by criminals to achieve that end.
As usual, read the whole thing.

More on USCCA

Several days ago I posted about learning of a group called the United States Concealed Carry Association. After reading some stuff about them on the Internet, I went ahead and subscribed to their magazine. I just wanted to point out that there is one thing for sure that separates them from certain other gun mags: they encourage and solicit submissions from their members/readers, instead having all articles written exclusively by a paid staff. I had been looking for a good opportunity to mention this, and decided today would be a good day because of a form email that I just received. It states, in part:
The toughest part of every issue of Concealed Carry Magazine is coming up with a good cover image. The last three cover images of the magazine were taken by USCCA members.

Based on the great results we had with these members, we would like to include all of our USCCA members and/or subscribers in this opportunity to be on the cover of CCM.

Aside from the rule that we always want a "person" and not just a gun on the cover, we're open to pretty much anything. We'd like to stay away from the traditional "gun magazine" photo of gun with tactical knife nearby alongside some scattered ammo!

Would you be interested in submitting a potential cover photo?

We are asking for only high resolution digital photographs. A standard 3x5 print will not work.

This is another opportunity for you to have a positive impact on the firearms community and be on the cover of a magazine!
I have yet to receive my first issue, but I think I can already safely say that I'm going to enjoy reading this magazine.

One more word on the Handgun Club of America

The War on Guns has still more info from Bill St. Clair.

Wadcutter has a new CZ52

Well, new to Wadcutter, anyway. Check out his comments on this extremely fun hand cannon.

Hurricane Heat

Some readers may have noticed the little weather sticker in the sidebar. I've had something similar to this on just about every web page I've ever had, because it interests me. However, one should note that this information is taken from a weather station at (I think) Randolph Airforce Base (or possibly Stinson Field), both of which are some distance from where I actually live. I have a mini-weather station at my own house which recorded a wild temperature variance yesterday, with a low of 69 at about 7:00 AM and a high of 109 at about 4:30 PM. I think this is what's left of Rita's energy falling apart and washing out over the country for hundreds of miles. High temperatures should return to the high 90's in a couple of days. Actually, they are predicting a high of only 89 for Friday. Won't that be nice.

Oh yeah, the kids have a day off school because of a "teacher's work day." So I'm home baby-sitting today instead of working. I get to hide from the heat, this time.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Some Texas Laws relating to looting...

The Volokh Conspiracy reminds us of some Texas laws that are pertinent to looters and those who would defend against them:
9.41. (a) A person . . . is justified in using force against another . . . to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on the [person's] land or unlawful interference with the [person's] property.

(b) A person unlawfully dispossessed . . . by another is justified in using force against the other . . . to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the property if the actor uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit after the dispossession . . . .

9.42. [Deadly force may be used in the above situations] . . . to the degree [the actor] reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or

(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and

(3) [the actor] reasonably believes that:

(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or

(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

People can also use deadly force to protect others' property under similar circumstances, if they reasonably believe the target committed or is committing theft or attempted theft (9.43).

Again, I might advise Texans not to take advantage of their legal rights under these sections in some situations. But I would surely advise all Texans to remember that Texas property owners have those rights, and many have the reputation of being willing to use them.
And there is that odd "nighttime" added in to those laws. Does that mean after sunset, or does it include circumstances when the storm clouds are so heavy that the sun is blocked out and it's so dark that the street lights come on? After all, dark is dark.

tnx to Alphecca

Banned Books Week

September 24 - October 1 is Banned Books Week. Check out the lists of The Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 and The Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2004, and see how many "banned" books you've read without realizing it.

I have one problem with their list of last year's books. On their list is "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture by Michael A. Bellesiles, for inaccuracy and political viewpoint." No, political viewpoint has nothing to do with it, and "inaccuracy" is an understatement.

For the first time in many years, Huckleberry Finn dropped off the top ten list of 2004.

UPDATE: Lest Darkness Fall has some thoughts on this, as well.

Texas Minutemen prepare to patrol Falfurrias ranch

From The Monitor:
'We've always had traffic,' he said on a recent evening on his ranch, located near the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint. He had just closed up his clinic for the night, but was still in his scrubs. Vickers put on his cowboy hat and nursed a cold beer.

'Initially, it was the old Mexican peasant. The past five years, it's just been hordes of people, huge groups of 100 to 150.'

'There's a violent segment coming across.'

Vickers said illegal immigration is hidden even to those living just miles north of the Rio Grande.

People are stealing farm equipment and plowing down fences, letting loose cattle and littering the Valley, he said.

In fact, Vickers says, some times up to seven to nine times a night, his cattle meander onto U.S. Highway 281 because an illegal immigrant cut his fence. He now has 7.5 miles of his fence electrified, but 'powered down so it won't kill �em.'

'People of the Valley are not exposed to the reality of the situation. They don't know the magnitude of the problem,' he said.

And it's not just property destruction that worries Vickers.

'Three days after the (presidential) inauguration...I was fixing a hole in my fence. I found dinars,' he said of the Sudanese currency. 'Sudan is an Arab terrorist state.

'The terrorist threat is incredible,' he said. 'We're demanding change.'

La Vernia makes history

Yesterday I witnessed (and got caught up in) what was probably the first traffic back-up in the history of La Vernia. State highway 87 is a four-lane highway from San Antonio to La Vernia, but then in the middle of town it gets squeezed down to two lanes. There was so much traffic returning to the coast that that narrowing of the highway backed up traffic for about 3 miles.

Omega Doom Dog

Battle robots could join dogs on South Korea border:
Armed, six-legged robots may one day work alongside man's best friend on the southern side of the Korean DMZ.

South Korea will spend 33.4 billion won over the next five years to develop the robots for the heavily fortified demilitarised zone that divides the peninsula, the Communications Ministry said in a statement Friday.

South Korea envisages the robots performing roles on the battlefield now done by dogs, such as sniffing for explosives and catching intruders, the ministry said.

The robots will stand knee-high to the average adult, mounted on wheels for road missions or on as many as eight legs to get them over uneven terrain, it said. Equipped with firearms, they will be able to carry out combat missions via remote control.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

What the hell kind of insensitive crap is this?

Now, in principal, I agree with the overall gist of this article. The San Antonio mucky-mucks have been crying for a pro-football team for years--that's why the Alamodome is there (if we build it, they will come). The way the S.A. vultures dove on this opportunity was something approaching shameful, it seems to me. The waters hadn't even receded from New Orleans and they were already converting the outside of the 'dome to Saints colors and logos. But I cannot allow this opening sentence to just slide by:
The corpses still lying in the flooded streets provide fine dining for the rats of New Orleans, who have never eaten as well as they are eating right now.
This writer needs to be taken out behind the woodshed and be repeatedly beaten with a large pile of firewood.

(P.S. Pardon the language, but...)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Federal Judge Halts New Orleans Gun Seizures

Federal Judge Halts New Orleans Gun Seizures:
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana this afternoon issued a temporary restraining order on behalf of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA), bringing an end to firearm seizures from citizens living in and around New Orleans.

District Judge Jay Zaney issued the restraining order against all parties named in a lawsuit filed Thursday by SAF and NRA. Defendants in the lawsuit include New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Chief Edwin Compass III.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

To whom it may concern...

Blogging will be limited for the next few days (I'm sure the blogosphere will be shaken to its very foundations). And I have to work Saturday, which is usually my best day. Apparently someone in the chain of command has mistaken San Antonio for a coastal city, and they "want to get as far ahead as possible before the hurricane hits."

Handgun Club of America Update

The War on Guns brings us a favorable update on the HCA. Follow the link for more links to new sections of their website that address some of the concerns previously expressed at The War on Guns.

UPDATE: Check the comments.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

That's about right...

Bob Kane's Batman
You're Bob Kane's Batman. You're a dark, mysterious
vigilante who often kills his villains, and
uses a gun. Your girlfriend's Julie Madison, an
aspiring actress who thinks you're nothing more
than a playboy millionaire. At this stage,
you're fighting foes such as Dr.Death and the
Monk, but they're only the beginning.

What kind of Batman are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

tnx to Roscoes Excuse

Confusing concealed carry laws in Alaska

It seems the two biggest states both have some confusing laws and confused law-enforcers. This from Anchorage Daily News:
What does it all mean? Who has to let in people with guns? Depends who's talking.

For instance, city officials, including Traini, Police Chief Walt Monegan and Mayor Mark Begich, say it means a legal gun owner can carry a pistol into City Hall, or the Assembly chambers because the state law doesn't specifically ban municipal buildings.

State Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Kenai, who sponsored the bill restricting the city from passing tougher laws, disagrees.

It's no more strict for the city to prohibit firearms in a city building than it is for the state to ban them in a state building, such as a courthouse. The law leaves room for interpretation, he said.

Anchorage's Deputy Clerk Linda Heim thinks people should not be allowed to bring guns into City Hall. What if someone is mad at the mayor, the tax collector or the clerk, she said.
Then of course there should be a law! Everyone knows that someone in a murderous rage will be stopped cold by some words written on a piece of paper.

tnx to NRA-ILA

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sturm, Ruger & Co. Second Quarter Report 2005

Ruger has posted their 2005 Second Quarter Report (pdf file). Link posted here because I am not only a gun owner and a Ruger owner, I am also a Ruger stockholder (although admittedly only a very small stockholder).

In the second quarter of 2005, net sales were $34.4 million, compared to $32.7 million in the second quarter of 2004, producing break-even results for the second quarter of 2005, as compared to a net loss of $0.5 million or $0.02 per share in the second quarter of 2004. For the six months ended June 30, 2005, net sales were $78.7 million and net income was $3.7 million, or $0.14 per share. For the corresponding period in 2004, net sales were $73.0 million and net income was $3.4 million, or $0.13 per share.

Firearm unit shipments in the second quarter increased 11% from the prior year due to strong demand and shipments of the new family of Ruger Mark III .22 caliber pistols, the Ruger P345 centerfire pistols, and Ruger 10/22 rifles. Shipments of our 10/22 rifles were enhanced by a dealer-driven rebate program in effect in May and June. Also in high demand are the new family of Ruger Vaqueros, the 50th Anniversary Ruger Blackhawk, the new family of Ruger Ranch Rifles and the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan. Though production engineering shortcomings have significantly curtailed shipments of these new products up until late summer, these problems have now largely been rectified, and we look forward to significantly increased new revolver and rifle shipments in the latter half of the year.

Kree kruh vergo, gebba kalto kree!

Aarrr! Shiver me timbers, it's Talk Like a Pirate Day, ye scurvy dogs! So here're some links about the bloodthirstiest blackguard of all time. And if anyone says otherwise, I'll keelhaul ye, spit ye on me cutlass, and feed yer bits to th' sharks!

I don't know how many people can say they have a favorite pirate, but ever since I read a book about pirates when I was in fifth grade, I can say I have had a favorite pirate. Sure, he was a bloodthirsty s.o.b. who undoubtedly was responsible for the murder of hundreds of innocent people, but, well, reading about him still fascinates me.

A short biography of Edward Teach:
Edward "Blackbeard" Teach was undoubtedly was one the most feared and most despised pirates of all time. Edward Teach is thought to have lived in England before his pirate career, although his exact origins are unknown. He was named "Blackbeard", for his large black beard that almost covered his entire face. To strike terror in the hearts of his enemies Blackbeard would weave hemp into his hair, and light it during battle. Edward Teach was an unusually large man, carrying two swords, numerous knives, and pistols--he was feared by his own crew.

At the sight of this pirate, many of his victims were quick to surrender without a fight. If they did, he would often times just take their valuables, rum, and weapons--allowing them to sail away. However, if the vessel resisted capture, he would either kill the crew, or maroon them. Blackbeard needed to maintain his devilish image in order to maintain the respect of his crew (very few members of the crew doubted that he was the devil himself, very few didn't fear him, and therefore they obeyed him).
The death of Edward Teach:
Maynard attacked; a volley of shot crippled the Adventure by bringing down sails and masts. Maynard had craftily hidden most of his men below decks, so as the two boats ran together Blackbeard boarded with 10 of his pirates thinking the crew were wiped out by his earlier fire. A life and death struggle ensued as the hidden crew streamed up through the hatches hacking at Blackbeard's men and knocking them down in their wake. Maynard and Blackbeard were soon involved in a desperate struggle. Maynard, wounded by Blackbeard's cutlass, fired his pistol at the Pirate at point blank range. Although wounded Blackbeard continued to fight, and was attacked by several of the sailors who slashed at his face and hands. A Highlander from the Jane joined the fight and set about Blackbeard with his broadsword. The first blow cut Blackbeard's neck, and he cried out "Well done lad." The second mighty blow took off the Pirate's head.

The crew of the Adventure continued to fight for their lives but the Ranger finally rallied and got back into the battle. Despite the desperate fight of the pirates the battle was soon over and a number of prisoners taken, the Adventure was secured with its decks running in blood.

The battle could have had a different ending, Blackbeard had ordered one of his crew to blow up the powder magazine if the boat was taken, fortunately for the survivors one of his less determined shipmates stopped him. The battle was over. It was rumoured that Blackbeard's headless body ran amok and jumped into the water swimming around the ship. Whatever the truth of these tales Maynard sailed home with Blackbeard's head on a pole.
Many accounts say that Blackbeard finally died with 5 bullets in him as well as numerous sword wounds. I guess what I like best about Mr. Teach is his attitude:

"Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you."

Pieces of eight!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Raging Bull in .410

I have no desire to buy this gun. I just like reading about new and interesting guns. This one is new, whether it's interesting or not is up to you. This new addition to the Raging Bull series by Taurus. I don't think it's actually available yet; it isn't on their website. I just read about it in the new Gun Digest.
This curious critter shoots either the venerable .44-40 or the .410. I don't know what purpose a .410 revolver would serve, but it would certainly be a great conversation piece at the range.

Come and Take It

This post at TFS Magnum reminded me of the Texan version, which I found a detailed history of at the pro-gun commercial website Battle Flags, Etc. (they sell flags).
The fog lifted suddenly as a curtain, showing both forces drawn up on an open prairie. With the Come and Take It flag flying, the Gonzales cannon fired, and Captain Castaneda immediately requested a parley, asking why he was being attacked.

Colonel Moore, commander of the Texans, explained that the Captain had demanded a cannon given to the Texans for 'the defense of themselves and the constitution and the laws of the country,' while he, Castaneda, 'was acting under orders of the tyrant Santa Anna, who had broken and trampled underfoot all the state and federal constitutions of Mexico, except that of Texas,' which last the Texans were prepared to defend.

Castaneda answered that 'he was himself a republican, as were two-thirds of the Mexican nation, but he was a professional officer of the government,' and while that government had indeed undergone certain surprising changes, it was the government, and the people of Texas were bound to submit to it.

Moore then suggested to the Captain, if he were a republican, he should join the revolution against tyranny by surrendering his command, and join them in the fight. Captain Castaneda replied stiffly that he would obey his orders. At this, Moore returned to his own lines and ordered the Texans to open fire. There was a brief skirmish, and the Mexican force immediately abandoned the field and rode back toward San Antonio.

Also available is another flag with a modern update.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Interesting Thing of the Day is Active Again

Joe Kissel is back from summer vacation and blogging again at Interesting Thing of the Day. This is one of my favorite blogs, which I have been reading since...I don't remember when. One of the first blogs I ever started checking on a regular basis, anyway. Here's a sample of a recent post, Paris Catacombs:
Beyond that sign was another world--and one of the creepiest things I've ever seen. What at first appeared to be walls built of small stones were in fact huge, orderly piles of human bones. Tibias and femurs by the thousands were stacked neatly, interspersed with rows of skulls, which were sometimes arranged very artistically in a cross or other pattern. There were no intact skeletons; the goal of the arrangement had clearly been maximum compactness. I could only assume that the ribs, spines, and other bones filled in the spaces behind the walls of large leg bones. Most of the stacks of bones rose to a height of about 5 ft. (1.5m), and while some were just a couple of yards deep, there was at least one area where the bones stretched back for a good 20 yards (18m), as you could see from the narrow gap left on top. The tunnels of bones stretched on and on; many side passages were blocked with locked gates, but even the path designated for tourists was about a mile (1.5km) long.

The bones began accumulating in the catacombs in 1786, just as momentum for the Revolution was building in Paris. Real estate was scarce while the cemeteries were becoming severely overcrowded. The government decided to reclaim the large swaths of land used for cemeteries by relocating the remains of the departed citizens to the empty limestone quarries, whose tunnels were at that time on the outskirts of town. The process of disinterring the bones from the cemeteries, moving them solemnly into the quarries, and arranging them there took several decades. No attempt was made to identify or separate individual bodies, but each set of bones was marked with a plaque signifying the cemetery they came from and the year in which they were moved. By the time the relocation was finished in 1860, an estimated five to six million skeletons had been moved to the catacombs.

United States Concealed Carry Association

A firearm accessory which I recently purchased came with a brochure for United States Concealed Carry Association. According to their website, they are only about a year old (relatively new). Right at the top of their home page is everyone's favorite quote by Robert Heinlein, "An armed society is a polite society." There's a free weekly email report (membership not required), and their magazine costs $40 for 8 issues per year (but as with most subscriptions, there's a special offer to save money if you buy 3 years at once). Besides the magazine, members also get a quarterly email newsletter. They are also sponsoring a gun giveaway, the prize being a NAA Guardian in the caliber of your choice.

I had never heard of this organization before, but so far it looks pretty good, with their magazine focusing exclusively on concealed carry tactics and issues.
recent cover
Each issue contains a profile of an individual person-on-the-street who has chosen to carry concealed, an article from the "woman's perspective," a gun review, gear review, and true stories of self defensive gun use, as well as other articles. The website has some sample articles available in pdf format. (I am having problems actually downloading them, which could be a problem on my end, so I can't comment on them right now. Maybe later).

Anyway, it looks like a interesting magazine and organization, and I thought I should mention it.

UPDATE: Here are some favorable comments I found at By the way, I think this is the first website I've ever visited that uses the .us domain. Not that it's significant. It's just that I knew this domain existed but I think this the first time I personally have ever seen it used.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Constitution Week Sept 17-23

Huh. According to NRA-ILA, tomorrow begins "Constitution Week." Does this mean that for one week, the government actually has to observe the Constitution?

That would be nice.

Today's Horoscope

Today, dear Aries, you might find yourself picking up uncanny telepathic messages from a friend who lives some distance from you. A telephone call might reveal that this person has just received some good news - and that they were just thinking of calling you! This probably won't be the only ESP experience you have today. Your level of intuition is very high, so be prepared for some unusually strong psychic messages.
Maybe that explains the odd craving I've been having for pickled apricots.

The Flight That Fought Back

I taped it last Sunday, and watched it today. It is the most moving and nerve-wracking thing I have ever seen on television. This is one tape that already has the erase-tab removed and will go into the permanent stack. This program/tribute should be watched repeatedly, I'd say at least once per year, just to make sure memories stay fresh.

Brown Berets Get Ready to Harrass Minutemen

KGBT TV in Harlingen reports:
Those times are over. Minutemen stay away,' said Pablo Delgado, a spokesman for the Brown Berets, a group similar to the Black Panthers.

Delgado said that he's heading up the group here in Texas, just like he helped to do back in the mid-1960s when the once powerful militant group was first formed in East Los Angeles during the Chicano Liberation movement.

'At the time, we had racism and discrimination against the Mexican-American people, like the Ku Klux Klan. Now, (it's) the Minutemen.
The president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. of Texas, Al Garza, had this to say:
'We are not out there provoking anyone especially the Hispanic community. We are there to focus on the pipelines,' Garza said. 'If they have a problem with that to me that means that simply they are advocating illegal immigrants. I can only say that we are not going to confront anybody. We are working within the law and we are going to stick to it.'
Brown Beret Delgado remarks:
'And a message to Al Garza or Ed Garza, I don't know his name. I think that he does not know where he comes from,' Delgado said. 'We the Brown Beret organization do not recognize him as a Hispanic or as a Mexicano. To us, he is nothing.'
No racism here, folks. No, none at all.

UPDATE: See also previous related post Who's the Racist?

Tough Sh*t

'I know I am personally concerned about this,' Tobias said. 'The concern here is that if a judge finds there is a legitimate reason to have [an extended] protective order issued, then Breeden therefore can't carry a weapon and serve in the full capacity. Where do our responsibilities lie with our citizens?'
I'd say they lie with getting rid of a police seargent who tries to chop down his estranged wife's kitchen door with a hatchet, but then I'm funny that way.

Maybe they could try actually reading the law

More news on Texas HB 823. Waco Tribune-Herald reports:

Some police agencies basically accepted all trips made in a private vehicle, even if it was just to the store and back. Others required people to be traveling from city to city, across county lines or even to another state.

To stop that uneven application of the law, Rep. Terry Keel, R-Austin, authored House Bill 823 this spring. It says people are presumed to be traveling as long as they are in a private vehicle, are not engaging in criminal activity other than a minor traffic violation, are not a member of a criminal street gang and are not prohibited by any other law from possessing a firearm.

Keel said he chose those terms because they are objective measures police can quickly check in the field. He said the way the law is worded gives a legal presumption in favor of citizens. That means as long as someone meets that criteria, he or she should be allowed to go on his way and not fear arrest.

The new law took effect Sept. 1.

'I don't think there is any ambiguity at all,' said Keel, who has served as both the sheriff and an assistant district attorney in Travis County.

But some of Keel's colleagues in law enforcement disagree.

'Regardless of what the Legislature intended, what they wrote on paper is unclear,' said Shannon Edmonds, a staff attorney for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. 'That happens a lot.'

Gee, maybe because they're more interested in harrassing law-abiding citizens than actually fighting crime?

Unfortunately, as Edmonds said, "A defense is a legal concept for the court," Edmonds said. "There is no such thing as a defense from arrest. There's just a defense from prosecution. This issue is going to have to be hammered out in the courts."

Montgomery, AL Mayor Sticks to his Guns

From Montgomery Advertiser:
Mayor Bobby Bright is unapologetic and stands firm behind comments he made this week about the need for residents to buy guns and learn how to use them to protect themselves from criminals.

It is a solid concept for people to protect themselves since the criminal justice system is not working, Bright said.

'In my opinion, people need to buy a weapon, buy a gun, educate themselves on how to use that gun and they need to use that weapon to protect themselves from the criminal element out there,' he said Thursday.

'I will not back away from that concept. It is a sensitive issue. It is simply me as the mayor wanting and caring enough about our citizens here to tell them this may be the best way they can help us protect themselves.'

Bright said he will not budge from his stance.

This is why I'm home today...

From KBTV News:
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Austin-San Marcos came in at number one for the worst fall allergies in the U.S., Dallas-Fort Worth was number eight, San Antonio was at number 15, McAllen-Edinburg came in at number 25 and Houston-Galveston was at number 28.
We have been working very hard this week, and I have abstained from allergy medication because it makes me even more thirsty. The constant drainage and raw sinuses has finally caught up with me. Since the heavy rains of last weekend, the mold has just exploded around here.

Self Defense in Church

This is why I carry, even on Sunday.

Senatorial Stupidity

The American Princess has been doing a great job in summarizing the Roberts hearings. A couple of recent posts are John Roberts Update and Lessons Learned from John Roberts. The latter is especially enlightening. How did these people ever get elected?

GOA on New Orleans Gun Confiscation

The Gun Owners of America website has a collection of links relating to the gun confiscation in New Orleans. Of particular note is So What Is GOA Doing About All This?:
GOA is adamant that the gun confiscations in New Orleans are an outrage and the offending officials need to be held accountable.

As soon as we knew the score GOA began drafting legislation at the federal level. We began looking for a sponsor in Congress that same week. The language is designed as an amendment to any supplemental appropriations bill to be added in the appropriate place saying:

provided, however, that no funds appropriated pursuant to any provision of law may be used (1) to involuntarily force any person out of that person's home if the person is not in imminent danger, or (2) to disarm law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Interested gun owners should contact their Representatives and ask them to sponsor/cosponsor this legislation. We are knocking on doors on the Hill but welcome all the help we can get.

(In legislative sessions to come, we are looking to take similar action at the state level... if a state has a statute relating to emergency procedures, we want language inserted therein specifically prohibiting gun confiscation when those procedures are implemented.)

After combing through Louisiana law, we cannot find any authority for gun confiscation from law-abiding citizens by state officials including the declaration of martial law necessitated by a natural disaster. This utter disregard for state and federal law by state or federal officials acting on their behalf cannot be tolerated.

Many people have suggested that GOA go to the courts to get an injunction against the offending officials, but GOA does not have standing to bring suit in these instances. No guns owned by GOA employees were confiscated. The plaintiff in any such action would have to be a person whose rights were directly violated. It is known that there is a directly-affected Louisiana attorney who states he is bringing suit. We would certainly file an amicus brief in this case, and are prepared to spend money to advance it. We approve of court action and will make the appropriate response when any person with standing does bring suit.

Other than legislative and court action, the remaining avenue is information dissemination... the purpose of this web section. Please help publicize the situation.

We have been inundated with e-mail on this subject and we are thankful that there are so many people concerned. Our position and action plan:

Yes -- it is an outrage
Yes -- we are attempting to do something about it
Yes -- we are in front of the media in New Orleans and nationwide, doing radio interviews, issuing press releases and editorial opinions
Yes -- we have model legislation and are currently looking to introduce same
Yes -- we support court action; we will file a brief, but lack standing to file suit in the organization's name
Yes -- we are using e-mail and the web to inform members and others
Yes -- we think the confiscation of firearms from law-abiding citizens is illegal and unconstitutional, period
UPDATE: Click here to "rattle some cages" and further the cause. I did. Unfortunately, my representative doesn't actually represent me. He's too busy with other things, like sponsoring legislation advocating for official recognition of the 250th anniversary of Laredo, and co-sponsoring establishment and observation of a legal public holiday in honor of Cesar Chavez. Stuff like that.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Grits for Breakfast on Texas HB 823

Grits for Breakfast has a good post with some good comments also added by others on HB 823, the "Texas traveling" law.

tnx to Say Uncle

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Project Bore Snake Press Release

AmmoGuide has issued a press release about Project Bore Snake:
FRESNO, CA - September 14, 2005 - Jim Kochheiser, Director of Project Bore Snake ( announced today the project is now fully prepared to provide all of the envisioned services to our frontline soldiers in theatre in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Project BoreSnake was created to help American soldiers with their weapon cleaning needs by furnishing state of the art materials not available through normal military sources. The harsh daily environments found in Afghanistan and Iraq include fine-grained sand and wind, requiring our soldiers to clean their weapons many times a day to ensure proper function.

The project purchases materials from Hoppe's, a leader in manufacture and distribution of their patented and very sophisticated "BoreSnake" cleaning devices along with their Elite Cleaner and Oil products.

Using their first class website (donated by AmmoGuide) to conduct all activities, the project can receive tax-deductible donations which are automatically deposited into the banking accounts of one of the sponsors, the East Fresno Kiwanis Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization.

Families and loved ones from around the world can use the website to nominate their favorite soldier to receive the project's standard "Snake Kit" in .223 and 9mm Calibers, with Cleaner and Oil, or the selection can call for the "Sniper Kit" which provides these highly trained specialists the larger .308 and .50 Caliber "BoreSnakes" for front line sniper duty. These kits also include Cleaner and Oil.

Testimonials, from on duty soldiers, received through the website, have confirmed the value of the project and the validity of the need. Donations have come from people of all walks of life with one common interest: to help our soldiers come home safe and sound after doing their very important work.

More information can be found at or by calling Jim Kochheiser at (559) 222-4050.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gun-buying time

I have mentioned recently a couple of guns that I would really like to buy (like this and this). But recent events have made me re-evaluate what I should really add to my collection. To be honest with myself, if I just want a hunting rifle, my dad has two that are perfectly useful. Although right now I can easily afford to add a gun to the collection, part of me still has to justify it to myself, so I have been thinking about this a lot for the past several days.

I do not have anything that I would consider a "SHTF gun."

My criteria for such a weapon are:
1) Must use ammo that is easily found and widely available.
2) Must use ammo that can also be used in a handgun.
2a) Such ammo should be in a caliber in which I already own at least one handgun.
3) Must also be able to serve as a hunting rifle if needed--i.e., a "hundred-yard deer gun."

Based on these three (four) items, I've already pretty much decided what it has to be. Today I visited the manufacturer's website, printed out their page on it (downloaded the manual too, btw), and I will begin visiting local gun stores to check on prices and availability.

If any readers feel the need to comment on this, and have other criteria that should be considered, please feel free to speak up. Feel free to guess at what I'm looking for--if you guess correctly, I'll say you're right! Sorry, no prizes.

Gun free schoolzones

Of Arms and the Law comments on gun free schoolzones, and points us to a very interesting map of Phoenix with all the zones applied at

I'd like to see one for San Antonio.

The War on Guns Checks Out The Handgun Club of America UPDATED

Check out The War on Guns: Check Out The Handgun Club of America! for lots of comments on this organization that have been posted since Mr. Codrea's original post.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Mysterious Disappearing News Feed

The NRA-ILA newsfeed, after vanishing for a few days, has returned from the dark abyss with several new interesting links. Check it out.

Oh no! I've been blacklisted!

I regret to inform everyone that I have been added to the Blue Flypaper Black List. Now that everyone of intellect will know to avoid my site, it is only a matter of time before it fades into obscurity. I will have no recourse but to abandon my pathetic attempt at blogging and go back to shooting squirrels in my back yard.

In what seems to be true leftist fashion, True Blue states on her blacklist that I "am a self-described 'womyn-hating gun-toting right-wing reactionary.'" However, if you follow this link, you will see that if was not I, but True Blue herself, who gave me this description.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

One September Day...

Brady Release Refers to HB 5143

Here's the scoop:
Here is the Michigan legislative language, from House Bill 5143:

'A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.'

Here is the Florida language:

'A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.'
Apparently they think that being identical to the Florida law is bad. This is why there can never be any discussion of any sort with these people.

According to the Bradys, if you are not engaged in unlawful activity and have a right to be where you happen to be, and are attacked, you should not be allowed to defend yourself. You should run away--run away--and let the punk shoot you in the back as you try to scale the first 6-foot chain-link fence you run into.

UPDATE: Full text of HB 5143 can be found here.

tnx again to David Codrea of The War On Guns for the info

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The War on Guns Checks Out The Handgun Club of America

The War on Guns has some words of caution regarding The Handgun Club of America, which many bloggers have recently mentioned.

I myself recently mentioned them, although it was only about one of their archived articles about what they consider the worst handguns in history.

Mr. Codrea noted that part of their gun safety rules includes storing ammunition separately from unloaded firearms, which of course renders the firearms useless, and that this is the same position held by the Brady Center. However, if you check out their article about trigger locks, they seem to be anti-trigger lock and pro-storing loaded firearms securely in some locked but quickly openable safe.

I also, like Mr. Codrea, don't appreciate them underhandedly calling other pro-gun groups (and by inference, myself) irrational by referring to themselves as a "calm, rational alternative."

Get ready for Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19

September 19 is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Finally, a good reason to call everyone at work "Jim-lad," and enigmatically screech "pieces of eight!"

Not that I don't already do that. It's just that for one day at least, I'll have a good reason.

tnx & a pint o' grog to Right Hand of God

UPDATED: The Worst Handguns in History

This post has been updated.

Michigan bills would allow residents to fatally shoot intruders

I'm guessing this is what the Brady squad was talking about:
Michigan residents could fatally shoot someone who breaks into their home or vehicle without facing criminal or civil prosecution under proposed legislation.

The two-bill package, which is opposed by anti-gun violence groups, would assume that a person who forcibly enters or intrudes in a home or occupied vehicle intends to kill or hurt the owner or occupant. It is patterned after a law signed earlier this year in Florida.

The bills, introduced Wednesday, also would eliminate the requirement that people who are being attacked have to retreat before responding, as long as they're in a place they legally have a right to be.
As far as I'm concerned, this is a movement that needs to spread just as widely as concealed carry has.

tnx to Alphecca and Daily Pundit

UPDATE: There two bills in the Michigan legislature to which they could be referring: HB 5142 and HB 5153. I think the Brady boobs left their press release intentionally vague so they could use it for either one. Thanks to David Codrea at The War on Guns for this information.

Carnival of Cordite online

The new double-barreled edition of Carnival of Cordite is up, with loads of cross-vectored gun-hurricane-related news.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Brady Goonsquad Press Release

It's just so full of...but what can we expect from these people:
'Firing guns in public is a horrible, dangerous thing to do,' Foster said. 'What happened to me and the other victims at the Freedom Festival that day is part of the proof. If this bill had been law then, there might have been more guns firing. That would not have made the situation safer. The people of Michigan were very kind to those of us who were injured as we began our recovery. I urge them to tell their representatives to kill this bill.'
Yes, much safer just to lie there meekly and let some punk shoot up a crowd of people out to enjoy themselves for the day.

I haven't been able to find the actual details of this new bill. The Brady goons, of course, only call it by the scary quote name of "Shoot First." If they had actually released the bill number someone might accidentally find out what it really says.

Unexpected (dumb) questions

I awakened from a bizarre nightmare about 30 minutes ago and have given up on sleep. Nothing better to do, so...

Yesterday as I was parking the company truck and locking up the yard, a man drove up and asked me two questions. The second question was "how do I get to Seaworld?" This is not an unreasonable question. Now, I am not the best person to ask for directions in San Antonio. I have never lived there, and although I've worked there for some time, I still find my way around quickly only because I carry a Mapsco mapbook. Fortunately, I had been reading meters in the shadow of Seaworld that morning, so it was easy to tell him how to get there. No, it was his first question that momentarily threw me: "Is this San Antonio, Texas?"

I'd say that just about beats my previous best dumb question(s), which were asked by a woman in an Exxon station on IH35 as I was buying a drink one day. Her questions started well enough, and rapidly got worse:
"Which highway do I take to get to Dallas?"
"That one right there, 35," I answered.
(then it started to go downhill)
"Which way?"
"Which way is north?"
"That way."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Worst Handguns in History

Via Alphecca, I found this entertaining article about The Worst Handguns in History. Some of them I've never heard of. An upcoming article will also feature the ugliest handguns in history. I think the Hi-Point should probably make both lists.

UPDATE: A thought just occured to me: Why was the Lorcin not on this list? It certainly must be one of the worst handguns in history. I have a .380 Lorcin. I have not attempted to fire it in several years, and in fact, I removed the striker so that it is not currently capable of firing. The first shot will work, and it will hit what you aim at, but whether any subsequent rounds will actually make it properly into the chamber is anybody's guess.

As for the ugliest guns, I would not include the Liberator as they appear to do (the list isn't up yet, I don't think). This was a special purpose gun never intended nor used for commercial sales. But that's just me. On the other hand, I would nominate the Downsizer.

A Lesson to be Learned

This is a report about a woman who allegedly fired a gun to scare off a couple of dogs that were about to attack her:
Lee had been confronted by other dogs while walking her dog in the past, and had been bitten rather severely on one occasion. She also described her own dog as old and having severe health problems, and therefore not reliable protection from the other dogs. She was also a retired deputy sheriff, and still carried a gun. After the dogs refused to leave and - according to Lee - began their encirclement maneuver, she took out her handgun and fired it at the dogs. The sound of the shot scared the two dogs away.

The area where she fired the gun was fairly densely developed. In the general vicinity were an auto repair shop, a Kentucky Fried Chicken, a real estate office, and a wooded area that ended with a large concrete wall. The bullet from Lee's gun struck the hood of a vehicle parked outside the real estate office; the bullet was never found.
First, the idea that self-defense only applies against human attackers (the judge's opinion) is absolutely ludicrious. I propose that this judge should try defending himself from a pair of attacking dogs with his bare hands.

But, the lesson to be learned here, I think, is that a gun is not to be discharged just to scare anything or anyone. That bullet should have been aimed, and it should have stopped when it hit one of those dogs.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Woo hoo! I'm 39th!

Mr. Completely's e-Postal Match #2 "Snub-or-Not" Results are in, and I came in last! I did get special mention for "managing to even hit the target." I have said it before: those NAA minis are more accurate than most people would expect.

Man-made vs. natural disaster

Here is a thought-provoking article by Robert Tracinski of The Intellectual Activist:
Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists--myself included--did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Mr. Completely's E-Postal Match #2 -- "Snub or Not" Entry

This post has been edited from the original.

Ah, well. I was determined to get an entry for this match, and post it, no matter how bad it made me look. Mr. Completely was looking for snubs on this match, so I went with the snubbiest snubby I have: a North American Arms Mini-Revolver with a 1 1/8" barrel. I fired a few shots at a big Shoot-N-C target to warm up, and hit it a few times, so went ahead with the match targets. Target #1, standing:

click for larger picture

The judge's final ruling is that this is worth 75. I was much tougher on myself, because some of those shots hit the wrong target.

So I went to resting position. I was sitting on my back steps with my elbows on my knees--that's about the best I could come up with for a bench rest. Inexplicably, to me, my shooting got worse. This is worth 40.

click for larger picture

It might be that my shooting was getting worse because it was 102 in the shade behind my house, and by the time I got to the second target I had sweat running in my eyes. I don't know.

So there you have it. I will say, in my defense, that I never intended nor expected this gun to be used at 10-yard ranges. This is at most a last-ditch defense, and when I do practice with it, I am usually at ranges of 5 yards or less. I will take comfort in the fact that if I aim at the center of someone's torso at 10 yards, I am going to hit them somewhere in the torso (or possibly the throat--it seems to go high on me).

I tried a new grip that someone had suggested. I used my strong hand only to wrap around the grips and hold it. I used my weak hand, wrapped around my strong hand, to cock and pull the trigger. It was much more comfortable and stable than usual, and I fired all 50 shots without wearing my fingers out like I usually do. This makes me look forward to doing more real practice with it. I just need to get some really big Shoot-N-C targets.

In addition, I know that I can enter with other guns and longer barrels. But I thought it would be interesting to try the mini-revolver. Also, I was unable to go to the range or anywhere else that I could do extensive shooting. If I shoot on my own property, I have to keep the noise down. If I start banging away with larger calibers someone might get annoyed. The ammo used here were relatively quiet CCI Short CB's. I didn't have enough of them on hand to fire another 50 rounds with my other .22 revolver. Also I was going for the "smallest gun used." Heh.

Lessons learned:
1) If I'm ever attacked by a horde of zombies or deep ones, this gun ain't gonna cut it.
2) No matter how much I practice, this gun is never going to be a sniper rifle.
3) Now that I've found a better way to hold it, I'm going to shoot it more often.

Entered in Mr. Completely's E-Postal Match #2--Snub or Not

Katrina news from around San Antonio

Katrina victims experience new heartbreak, new joy in new place gives us some information about the out-of-business Levi factory. This article also gives us some numbers:
At a news conference Saturday, Mayor Phil Hardberger said the old Montgomery Ward store in the Windsor Park Mall is being readied for 3,300 people, and that the owners had donated $25,000 worth of food.


Susan Simmons, the commander of the Texas Disaster Medical Assistance Team, was coordinating efforts at building 1536 at KellyUSA, which eventually will house 4,500 people.
Another article, Red Cross Discourages Opening Your Home to Evacuees, mentions that there are 2,000 now living at the old Levi factory.

UPDATED: Officials confiscate weapons from planes speaks for itself:
San Antonio officials also have discovered and confiscated a number of weapons evacuees left behind on the planes rather than risk arrest once they descend the aircraft, Rios said.

In Louisiana, "they don't have the manpower we have to do the screening when they deboard," Rios said.

SAPD and the Texas Department of Public Safety are working together to monitor evacuees and check their belongings, a meticulous process that's "almost like when you come into another country," Rios said, because they want to ensure no one brings in illegal items or items that could yield disease.
Mixed feelings. I would not want to be weaponless if I were a refugee, but the police will be held liable when a crime occurs (and you know they will), so what else are they going to do?

The Watchdog wants everyone to remember to donate blood:
Sometimes overlooked, the donation of blood is essential and can save lives. With patients being transported to hospitals here, there is a dire need for blood donations, especially since The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is also on stand-by alert to assist sites in the disaster area. The center is urgently asking eligible blood donors to give as soon as possible. You must be 17 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good general health.

Donors may give at any of the following locations: the headquarters, 6211 Interstate 10 West at First Park Ten Blvd.; Northeast Donor Room, 8527 Village Drive, Suite 106; Methodist Healthcare Donor Room, 4410 Medical Drive, Suite 220. Call first for hours and to be sure the center can accommodate all donors.
Authorities are also talking about the possibility of creating a tent city at KellyUSA if necessary. I think this should be an extreme last resort. Daytime highs are still routinely breaking 100, with heat indexes hitting around 105-110. This is not a good time of year to be living in an outdoor tent city, if it can be prevented. In addition, we are having scattered and localized, although quite intense, thunderstorms. Better to use the Freeman Coliseum first. At least then they would have a real roof and some shelter from the sun and weather.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Texas Extends Right-to-Carry Reciprocity to Michigan and Virginia!

So reads the NRA-ILA headline, and since they added an exclamation point, I suppose they are quite ecstatic about it.

However, if you take a look at this Texas reciprocity list, you will notice four states in which the reciprocity is unilateral. That is, Texas will honor their licenses, by they won't honor Texas licenses. This is getting to be annoying. What's so bad about our CHLs that they won't honor them? I would especially like New Mexico to reciprocate, because I actually have a good reason to vacation there once a year or so.

When you don't have a gun, you do what you can #3

A Tanzanian man survived a lion attack apparently because he just didn't give up:
'I somehow managed to muster the strength to battle with it,' the 50-year-old said from his hospital bed after the attack last weekend. 'I was in a state of shock, but kept fighting it with all my strength. I refused to lie down and be killed by the animal.'
Previous entries: #1, #2.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Tom Dunn calls it quits

I doubt that any of the few readers I do have, have ever heard of Tom Dunn. Mr. Dunn is the creator, editor, and publisher of an occasional quarterly called The Pipe Smoker's Ephemeris. He has had to stop his much-appreciated and irreplaceable work due to a return of the cancer he thought he had licked. This publication has no web presence--this was strictly a paper and mail project. So here, four months early, is the last ever Santa-with-a-pipe Christmas postcard Mr. Dunn will send.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Tom.

HB 823 in the news...

For some reason, the media waited until the law was actually passed before they jumped on it. Here's an example of what we are seeing, this from KWTX TV:
Texans have long been allowed to carry handguns in their vehicles when they're traveling, but starting Thursday anyone over 21 who's not a gang member may carry a concealed weapon in a vehicle whether traveling or not.
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

As in, incorrect.

Journalists, please bother to actually read the law before you spout off on it. I'm going to keep posting this until it either gets through or I lose control and smash the screen with my forehead.

The law actually states:
(i) For purposes of Subsection (b)(3), a person is presumed to be traveling if the person is:
(1) in a private motor vehicle;
(2) not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic;
(3) not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm;
(4) not a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01; and
(5) not carrying a handgun in plain view.

This law has now defined traveling. It does not permit Texans to carry a concealed weapon in their motor vehicle "whether they are traveling or not." It states that they are now permitted to carry a concealed weapon in their motor vehicle when they are traveling, and goes on to clearly define traveling.

Journalists, reporters, whatever you want to be called--get it right, or shut up.

Previous referece: Some HB823 Details

Representative Terry Keel's press release on HB823

NRA-ILA has this press release from Representative Terry Keel (Austin):
HB 823 represents the first time a presumption has been crafted in favor of a defendant in the modern penal code of Texas. The presumption applies unless the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the facts giving rise to the presumption do not exist. If the state fails to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the facts giving rise to the presumption do not exist, the jury must find that the presumed fact exists. By enacting this evidentiary standard in conjunction with the presumption, the legislation is intended to have the practical effect of preventing in the first place the arrest of citizens who meet the newly specified prerequisites of being a presumed traveler.

It should be noted that the very real problem of citizens having to prove their innocence after arrest by the assertion of their right to carry a firearm while traveling was the reason for a 1997 legislative change which replaced the "defense" of traveling with a classification of the statute of UCW as instead entirely "inapplicable" to a traveler. This change was well-intentioned but did not have the intended effect of protecting honest citizens from potential arrest because the term "traveling" was still left to individual police or judicial officials to define on a case-by-case basis. As a consequence, law-abiding citizens who availed themselves of their right to have a handgun while traveling continued to face arrest and often later prevailed only in a court of law after proving that they were indeed traveling.

In enacting HB 823, the 79th legislature, like all previous legislatures, declined to define traveling as a narrow set of particular circumstances. For example, to require someone to have an overnight stay in a journey in order to be classified as a traveler would be unfair to persons traveling great distances in one day. Likewise, a requirement that a citizen be "crossing county lines" may make no sense, such as in areas of Texas where travelers drive hundreds of miles without leaving a single county. Moreover, the ability of police to elicit such evidence and consistently apply its subjective terms on the street in a traffic stop has not proven practical, at all. The new statute instead focuses on a defined set of relevant, objective facts that are capable of being determined on the spot by law officers.

Here's the deal...

A while back some of the hits I was seeing in my web stats spooked me. So I tried to cover my tracks by hiding my actual identity as well as I could. I think I was only being paranoid. I don't like trying to hide behind a pseudonym, even a cool one like "Nightgaunt."

I have been wanting to create another blog using Blogger's "book" template to put some of my stuff back on the Internet. I think that doing so will help add a little more motivation to my writing something new. And, I want anyone who reads it to know that it and this blog are by the same guy.

The link to the hymns will also be added back in.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Why have I blogrolled Blue Flypaper?

Some readers of this blog might be wondering why in blue blazes have I added the extreme liberal blog known as Blue Flypaper to my blogroll. It is not because I am seeking "balance." I don't believe in balance. Well, I do believe in a general sort of law/chaos balance in the Moorcockian tradition, but so-called "balance" of the sort I am thinking of is impossible, because one side refuses to sit still on the scale.

It is very simple. If there were more blogs like this, there would be no need for other-point-of-view blogs at all. With her every word, our friend True Blue just digs herself further in. There is no need for me even to criticize...I merely point you her way. Anyone with a couple of brain cells to rub together will quickly know how utterly lunatic (in the adjective sense) such an extremist viewpoint is. She quite simply saves me the trouble of saying anything myself. As a "womyn-hating gun-toting right wing reactionary," I'm sure True Blue knows that thinking of something intelligent myself is something of a challenge for me.

Don't get me wrong, I feel no hatred here. True Blue does an admirable job of putting forth her whacked-out views in an eloquent and cogent fashion. I admire her for her writing talent as well as her courage for speaking up about what she believes in. It's just that...well, I think she's nuts.

True Blue, as someone who supposedly lives in a "blue" state, I suppose that means you don't live anywhere near San Antonio, or anywhere else in Texas, for that matter (except maybe Austin). If you did live in this area, I would be happy to accompany you to the shooting range some sunny weekend. I'm sure that a morning spent punching holes in paper with very small, fast-moving pieces of copper-jacketed lead would change your entire outlook on the world. Heck, I'd even be happy to take you squirrel hunting. I'd even show you how to skin a squirrel and cook some mighty tasty tofu-free squirrel stew. I would be especially pleased, after such an experience, to advise you on choosing a new firearm of your very own (provided you are legally allowed to own one, of course).

How about it, Blue? Try seeing things from the other side. It could make you a new "womyn."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bad news overload

If my recent posts seem somewhat frivolous in light of recent events...well, we suddenly and unexpectedly lost a friend of the family this week. That, coupled with all the bad hurricane news and various other things has caused me to suffer from severe bad news overload. I just had to do something lighter to keep from going stark staring insane.

Top 100 music meme

Here's another ridiculous meme which I feel compelled to try out, found at Baboon Pirates. The rules are: go to the Music Outfitters website. Type the year you graduated high school into the search box. Pick the link that says "list of the 100 most popular songs." Songs that sucked get strikethroughs, good songs get boldfaced, and your favorite song of the list gets underlined.

First let it be known that I have on more than one occasion referred to the 80's as "the decade when all the music sucked." I'm not entirely serious in saying that, however. I did like some music. My tastes have changed a lot since then, so in participating in this meme, I have felt compelled to add some comments where appropriate. Here's the list from 1982.

1. Physical, Olivia Newton-John
2. Eye Of The Tiger, Survivor
3. I Love Rock N' Roll, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
4. Ebony And Ivory, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
5. Centerfold, J. Geils Band
6. Don't You Want Me, Human League
7. Jack And Diane, John Cougar
8. Hurts So Good, John Cougar
9. Abracadabra, Steve Miller Band
10. Hard To Say I'm Sorry, Chicago
11. Tainted Love, Soft Cell
12. Chariots Of Fire, Vangelis
13. Harden My Heart, Quarterflash
14. Rosanna, Toto (but I still like Africa)
15. I Can't Go For That, Daryl Hall and John Oates
16. 867-5309 (Jenny), Tommy Tutone
17. Key Largo, Bertie Higgins
18. You Should Hear How She Talks About You, Melissa Manchester
19. Waiting For A Girl Like You, Foreigner
20. Don't Talk To Strangers, Rick Springfield
21. The Sweetest Thing, Juice Newton (I still like Juice, too)
22. Always On My Mind, Willie Nelson
23. Shake It Up, Cars (anything by the Cars)
24. Let It Whip, Dazz Band
25. We Got The Beat, Go-Go's
26. The Other Woman, Ray Parker Jr.
27. Turn Your Love Around, George Benson
28. Sweet Dreams, Air Supply
29. Only The Lonely, Motels
30. Who Can It Be Now?, Men At Work (anything by Men At Work)
31. Hold Me, Fleetwood Mac
32. Eye In The Sky, Alan Parsons Project (another group I still listen to on occasion)
33. Let's Groove, Earth, Wind and Fire
34. Open Arms, Journey
35. Leader Of The Band, Dan Fogelberg
36. Leather And Lace, Stevie Nicks and Don Henley
37. Even The Nights Are Better, Air Supply
38. I've Never Been To Me, Charlene (what the heck was this song about, anyway?)
39. '65 Love Affair, Paul Davis
40. Heat Of The Moment, Asia
41. Take It Easy On Me, Little River Band
42. Pac-man Fever, Buckner and Garcia
43. That Girl, Stevie Wonder
44. Private Eyes, Daryl Hall and John Oates
45. Trouble, Lindsey Buckingham
46. Making Love, Roberta Flack
47. Love's Been A Little Bit Hard On Me, Juice Newton
48. Young Turks, Rod Stewart
49. Freeze-frame, J. Geils Band
50. Keep The Fire Burnin', REO Speedwagon (I still listen to REO occasionally)
51. Do You Believe In Love, Huey Lewis and The News
52. Cool Night, Paul Davis
53. Caught Up In You, 38 Special (my favorite 38 Special is What if I'd Been the One)
54. Why Do Fools Fall In Love?, Diana Ross
55. Love In The First Degree, Alabama (this was a very popular song among my classmates)
56. Hooked On Classics, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (a grotesque bastardization of classical music, imho)
57. Wasted On The Way, Crosby, Stills and Nash
58. Think I'm In Love, Eddie Money
59. Love Is In Control, Donna Summer
60. Personally, Karla Bonoff
61. One Hundred Ways, Quincy Jones
62. Blue Eyes, Elton John
63. Our Lips Are Sealed, Go-Go's
64. You Could Have Been With Me, Sheena Easton (I actually once bought a Sheena Easton cassette just for this song)
65. You Can Do Magic, America (anything by America--I still listen to them sometimes)
66. Did It In A Minute, Daryl Hall and John Oates
67. I Ran, A Flock Of Seagulls
68. Somebody's Baby, Jackson Browne
69. Oh No, Commodores
70. Take It Away, Paul McCartney
71. It's Gonna Take A Miracle, Deneice Williams
72. Love Will Turn You Around, Kenny Rogers
73. Don't Stop Bellevin', Journey
74. Comin' In And Out Of Your Life, Barbra Streisand
75. Gloria, Laura Branigan
76. Empty Garden, Elton John
77. Yesterday's Songs, Neil Diamond
78. Crimson And Clover, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
79. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Police
80. Here I Am, Air Supply (sigh...yes, I liked Air Supply back then)
81. I Keep Forgettin', Michael Mcdonald
82. Get Down On It, Kool and The Gang
83. Any Day Now, Ronnie Milsap
84. Make A Move On Me, Olivia Newton-John
85. Take My Heart, Kool and The Gang
86. Mirror Mirror, Diana Ross
87. Vacation, Go-Go's
88. (Oh) Pretty Woman, Van Halen (I prefer the original)
89. Should I Do It, Pointer Sisters
90. Hot In The City, Billy Idol
91. Kids In America, Kim Wilde
92. Man On Your Mind, Little River Band
93. What's Forever For, Michael Murphy
94. Waiting On A Friend, Rolling Stones
95. Do I Do, Stevie Wonder
96. Working For The Weekend, Loverboy
97. Goin' Down, Greg Guidry
98. Arthur's Theme, Christopher Cross
99. Through The Years, Kenny Rogers
100. Edge Of Seventeen, Stevie Nicks (I still like Stevie Nicks, too)

Take it Easy on Me is definitely my favorite from this list. I included it on a mix tape that I made several years ago. A lot of those songs I don't even remember ever hearing. I'll also confess that I really liked Cristopher Cross's first album, but his second didn't thrill me at all. If any songs of Styx had managed to make the top 100 in 1982, they would have all been boldfaced. I think they skipped that year (IIRC, Paradise Theater was 1981 and Kilroy Was Here was 1983--I could get up and check my albums but I'm hungry and tired of typing for now).

The hazards of shooting left-handed

As a teenager twenty plus years ago, a friend of mine and I spent our winter weekend nights varmint hunting. Fur-bearing varmints, that is. I ran a trap line every fur season, but since neither of us were really interested in a social life, we chose to go after raccoons and ringtails on Friday and Saturday nights (and more often, during Christmas break). Neither of us could afford to buy a real coonhound, although we did own several mix-hounds during the years. None of them ever turned into very good hunters though. In fact, the best hunting dog I ever had was a half-German shepherd, half-collie named Rex.

Due to our lack of good huntings dogs (Rex excluded), we exercised our other option in finding coons at night: the spotlight.

(I know, this is getting off to a slow start, but I'm getting to the gun stuff eventually, don't worry).

Under normal circumstances, I used a headlamp. It was a light that strapped to my head with an elastic band, and was powered by a six-volt battery in a pouch on my belt. The lens had been painted with red fingernail polish to make it harder for animals to see (in theory), as well as not screwing with my human night vision too much. Unfortunately, on the night in question, my last battery had gone dead and I was forced to use a regular flashlight.

My gun of choice at this time was a Ruger 10/22 (it probably still would be, if it hadn't been stolen many years later...sigh...).

Also under normal circumstances, my 10/22 would have been loaded with regular ol' Long Rifle ammo. Unfortunately, on this night I had run out of LR's, so I loaded it up with my other favorite, CCI Stingers. The Stinger has a case that is about 1/10-inch longer than a regular LR case, which means it has slightly more surface area with which to transmit heat if it comes in contact with bare skin. It is also loaded with a larger amount of a slower-burning powder than regular LR ammo. This means it is exposed to a larger amount of burning cordite for a longer time than a regular LR. These differences might be minimal--they might not even matter. However, they eventually came to seem important to me on the night in question.

I remember it was a cold night. Cold enough that I was wearing long johns. Fortunately, they were two-piece long johns, so the shirt and pants were seperate from each other. This also came to be important to me on that night.

In case I didn't mention it before, I'm left-handed.

Rex had treed a coon. My hunting associate was working around the other side of the tree, trying to make enough noise to spook the coon around to my side where I could spot it and shoot it. I was in shooting position, gun at shoulder. My right hand was wrapped around both the flashlight and the forearm, gripping them both together. My right thumb was on the flashlight's button so I could switch it on as soon as I thought I saw the coon.

I saw movement up in the darkness. I switched on the light. I knew, since it was just a white light, that I would only have a split second to nail that coon before he scurried behind the trunk. His eyes reflected red, and I covered one with the front sight and fired.

I had just enough self-control at this point to more or less place the gun on the ground with my left hand, instead of just dropping it. At the same time, I was trying to rip my clothes open with my right hand. As my left hand was freed of the gun, both hands joined in. That flashlight fell to the ground, unheeded. Several choice epithets filled the still night air.

Afterward I pieced together what had happened. As I said, the flashlight was gripped up against the side of the gun. When I fired, the shell ejected and hit the flashlight, from whence it bounced backward, hit me in the throat, and fell inside my long johns. It briefly rested against my chest before dropping all the way to just beneath my belly button where my shirts were tucked in. It left me with three burn marks. The one on my stomach was the worst, where it was pressed against my skin for a full second or two before I got my clothes torn apart enough to make the shell fall out.

The one on my neck was the most obvious. Everyone thought it was a hickey (yeah, like that would have ever happened). I learned two things that night: don't block the ejection port with a flashlight, and always pack an extra six-volt battery.

Okay, three things. If you hit a raccoon in the head with a Stinger, he is dead before he even falls off the limb.

By the way, that 10/22 was my first gun. Although my dad signed the papers for it, I paid for it with money that I had made from trapping. Boy, sometimes I really miss that gun.

Submitted to Carnival of Cordite.