Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ignorance Leads To Bigotry

The entire Zumbo affair can be summed up in one word, ignorance. As we know, ignorance often leads to bigotry. As the panoply of outdoor writers gird their loins and march forth to defend Zumbo, we are seeing a lot of ignorance on display. Here are some highlights:

1.) The fascist NRA destroyed poor Zumbo.

Bullshit. The NRA had nothing whatsoever to do with the Internet based grassroots opposition to Zumbo’s comments. In fact, the NRA only reacted when Zumbo has already lost his sponsors, his TV show was suspended and the dust was already on the ground.

2.) Nobody should hunt with those "assault rifles", "assault weapon" things.

There seems to be a lot of misconceptions out there in the hunting world about "black rifles".
They are not assault rifles. An assault rifle is a fully automatic weapon that is heavily regulated. New ones are not for sale to civilians. No one is seriously arguing that these should be used for hunting. An AR-15 is not an assault rifle.

An assault weapon is an arbitrary construct by Congress in which certain features were considered to be "bad". The defunct assault weapons ban only allowed two of these scary features and also banned certain firearms deemed too scary. All of these firearms were functionally the same as any other semi-automatic firearm ie.) one pull of the trigger for each round fired.

I’ve seen a lot of comments about black rifles being underpowered for hunting. I would agree that in most cases, the .223 round is underpowered for deer hunting, but AR rifles are a system that allows for multiple calibers. An easy change of the upper assembly and you can have a rifle in many different calibers that are suitable for larger game.

Therefore, these firearms are perfectly suitable for hunting and have a lot to recommend them due to their light weight and ease of conversion between various calibers.

3.) Those rabid gun rights extremists were too hard on poor Zumbo.

As far as I’m concerned, Zumbo has paid enough. He has made a reasonable apology and I think he is trying to make amends. I think that as he learns more about black rifles, and his ignorance fades away, his bigotry will fade as well.

But, I do not think that gun rights activists overreacted. Calling black rifles, terrorist rifles is a slap in the face to the many thousands of law abiding gun owners who use these firearms in competition, target practice and yes, for hunting. We are not terrorists and it angers us and hurts us when someone who is supposed to be on our side displays his ignorance and bigotry.

4.) Those gun rights extremists are paranoid about the government taking their guns.

I saw this in several comments to editorials by outdoors writers. People who really believe this and who are actually gun owners and not bearers of false flags must be some new mutation of man and ostrich. I am only in my early 40’s, but I distinctly remember the time in my youth when guns were a part of this country’s culture. Since then, I have seen bans, background checks, and in states like Massachusetts, registration and bans of entire classes of guns.
Gun owners are treated worse than sex offenders in Massachusetts and have to register every firearms purchase with the Criminal History Systems Board. When they move, Massachusetts’s gun owners have to inform this Board and their new and previous police chiefs. If we are paranoid, IT IS FOR GOOD REASON.

5.) Zumbo’s First Amendment rights have been infringed.

I’ve seen this comment in several places and it saddens me that so many are ignorant of the Constitution. All the First Amendment does is limit the government from infringing on our liberty to speak freely. No government agency got Zumbo fired, the government was not involved AT ALL. Private individuals reacting to Zumbo’s speech by pushing for boycotts is not limiting Zumbo’s free speech. You may speak freely, but if you decide to call me a terrorist, don’t be surprised if there are repercussions.

In conclusion, I bear no ill will towards Jim Zumbo. I wish him future success and I hope he learns about the "black rifle" community and that he gets his sponsors and television show back. Hunters, target shooters, tactical tommies and all of the shooting community need to work together. The gun banners want to ban all of our guns, including your hunting rifle. They will just demonize it as a sniper rifle, run it through the media and then Turn it in Mr. & Mrs. America. Remember, we must hang together, or we will most surely hang separately.

Gun Bans, the Numbers Don't Add Up

I had a little time to kill at work (hush, don’t tell the boss) and I used it to look at Representative Carolyn McCarthy’s bill that would bring back the “Assault Weapons” ban if passed. This time it would be new, improved, and ban even more guns.

First off, I know there’s no malice in the bill number, but come off it, HR 1022, the model number of one of the most popular .22 caliber semi-auto rifles ever made, the Ruger 10/22. Talk about serendipity.

The bill is masterful in its obfuscation. Here’s a bit that boggles logic as I know it: “…a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event.”

Then there’s the ever-popular definition of a pistol grip: “The term `pistol grip' means a grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip.” So if the wood has a pimple-sized bulge behind the trigger, would that be a grip? Come on our bureaucrats can write better definitions than that.

The bill concentrates on rifles as did its now-sunsetted predecessor. A few handguns are listed and fewer shotguns are mentioned. However, if the pistol grip language were improperly (properly?) interpreted many more shotguns and rifles would fall under the bill’s sway.

For people who support crime prevention, there’s a serious problem with “assault weapon” bans. Most murders are committed with handguns, but these bans aren’t focused on handguns. Let me be clear, that I oppose bans on handgun ownership. I’m a handgun enthusiast, collector, and shooter.

That said, I looked up murder rates and found, courtesy of the FBI, an interesting table. It lists statistics on murders committed in 2005 and shows how they were committed. I downloaded it as an Excel spreadsheet and ran some percentages. Here are the highlights:

There were 14,860 murders and 67.9% were committed with firearms proving that firearms are the weapon of choice for most murderers. Still, 32.1% (or 4,760) were committed with other types of weapons. Thus, even if guns were successfully banned, we would still have murders and probably many more more than 4,760.

Looking a little deeper we see that handguns were used in 50.8% of all murders. However, only 3.5% of murderers used shotguns and 2.9% chose rifles. This number includes all rifles, not just “black” ones. (Note: 10.7% of murders were committed with firearms, but of unknown types).

So, fewer than 3% of murders were committed with the guns McCarthy’s bill would most restrict. By contrast, 6.0% of all murders are committed with hands and feet (that includes pushing).

The numbers speak for themselves. Don’t let anyone tell you that gun banning is about reducing crime, it’s about control of you and me.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Need to Educate the Dedicated Hunter

Yosemite Sam and I stumbled on yet another "hook and bullet" writer who doesn't understand why so many people were angry at Zumbo. Mark Henckel of the Billings Gazette says:

As I wrote to an outdoor writer friend of mine as this was blowing up, 'You know, that could have been me. I could have written much the same as Zumbo did. I wouldn't have worded it that way. I wouldn't have called for a ban on those guns. But I know exactly what Jim was getting at in what he wrote.'

For one thing, Zumbo writes from the standpoint of being a lifelong hunter - not necessarily a target shooter. There are differences between hunting and both competitive target shooting or simply target shooting for fun.
He then went on to say:

If people are doing that [getting clean kills] with ARs and AKs, that's fine, but I'll admit that it's a surprise to me, too. Those wouldn't be my first choices for hunting rifles either.

Granted, Zumbo's choice of words was inflammatory. He didn't spell out what he meant as well as he could have either, in terms of hunting guns and shooting guns for the range. And to talk of a hunting ban was stupid. Instead, he should have simply said there are far better rifle choices out there to accomplish hunting tasks.
Henckel makes assumptions about black rifles and the AR platform in particular. He assumes that black rifles are not accurate enough and come in calibers unsuited to hunting. We know that's wrong, but the hunters don't. Zumbo and his compatriots aren't educated about the rifles. I suspect, though, that many don't want to be educated.

I then read comments whose writers even more clearly show their ignorance black rifles. A few grudgingly agreed with the idea they might be useful in prairie dog or coyote hunting, but never for big game. Some thought that they should be left to target shooting only. At least one commenter called for an outright ban so anti-gunnies would be happy and leave his guns alone.

Along with ignorance, we might be seeing a technological paradigm shift. People can get devoted to a particular technology and disparage something new that comes along. For instance, some people were hesitant to give up fountain pens in favor of ball-point pens, or typewriters for computers.

Hunters who decry black rifles (remember not all hunters are Fuddites) need to understand that times are changing. Gun technology has advanced beyond the Mauser action. Also, veterans coming out of training are comfortable with an AR-type gun. When they become civilians some may not want to carry such a rifle a again, but most gravitate toward the ARs.

Further, from everything I've seen, target shooters outnumber hunters by large percentages. A few commenters decried Remington's decision to drop Zumbo. They don't realize that Remington made a canny business decision that also happened to be correct.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Apology accepted Mr. Zumbo

Jim Zumbo has apologized to the shooting community and it seems that he finally gets it. Here is the apology from Ted Nugent's forum.

The last few days have been an educational experience, to say the least. My ill-conceived inflammatory blog, as all of you now know, set off a firestorm that, I’m told, has never before been equaled. I’m not proud of that.

Let me say this at the outset. My words here are from the heart, and all mine. No one can censor me, and I answer to no one but myself. And I have no one to blame but myself. Outdoor Life, a magazine that I worked for full-time as Hunting Editor for almost 30 years, fired me yesterday. My TV show was cancelled yesterday. Many of my sponsors have issued statements on their website to sever all relationships. This may cause many of you to do backflips and dance in the streets, but, of course, I’m not laughing, nor am I looking for sympathy. I don’t want a pity party.

They say hindsight is golden. Looking back, I can’t believe I said the words “ban” and “terrorist” in the context that I did. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that. I can explain this as sheer ignorance and an irresponsible use of words. What I’ve learned over the last few days has enlightened and amazed me. As a guy who hunts 200 days a year, does seminars on hunting, wrote for six hunting magazines, had a hunting TV show, and wrote 20 books on hunting, how could I have been so ignorant and out of touch with reality in the world of hunting and shooting?

But I was. I really can’t explain it, maybe because I just summarily dismissed the firearms in question in my mind when I saw them in magazines and catalogs. I saw one “black” firearm in a hunting camp in all my 50 years of hunting, and I shot one last year off a boat when fishing in Alaska. To tell the truth, it was fun and I enjoyed it immensely, but I never considered one for use in hunting. I have to tell you that I have had a revelation. I’m learning that many of my pals own AR-15’s and similar firearms and indeed use them for hunting. I was totally unaware that they were being used for legitimate hunting purposes. That is the absolute truth.

My biggest regret is not the financial impact of all this. I’m almost 67 and retirement is an option. The dreadful impact here is that I inadvertently struck a spear into the hearts of the people I love most…America’s gun owners. And, even though this huge cadre of dedicated people have succeeded in stripping me of my career, I hold no grudges. I will continue to stand as firm on pro hunting as I’ve ever done. But what’s different now is that I’ll do all I can to educate others who are, or were, as ignorant as I was about “black” rifles and the controversy that surrounds them. My promise to you is that I’ll learn all I can about these firearms, and by the time this week is out, I’ll order one. The NUGE has invited me to hunt with him using AR-15’s, and I’m eager to go, and learn. I’ll do all I can to spread the word.

I understand that many of you will not accept this apology, believing that the damage has been done and there’s no way to repair it. You have that right. But let me say this. I mentioned this above, and I’ll repeat it. I’m willing to seize this opportunity to educate hunters and shooters who shared my ignorance. If you’re willing to allow me to do that, we can indeed, in my mind, form a stronger bond within our ranks. Maybe in a roundabout way we can bring something good out of this.

Jim Zumbo

I'm heartened by the fact that he has apologized for calling other gun owners, terrorists and for advocating a hunting ban. This was the crux of the matter for me. I have no problem that he personally dislikes AR's and AK's. To each his own. But to advocate for any kind of ban is just pure Brady Bunch rhetoric.

One question I still have for Mr. Zumbo, is: Would you support the use and ownership of "black rifles", even if they had no hunting uses?

He really needs to understand that the right to bear arms is not about hunting. This right transcends hunting or any sport.

I hope that he learns from this experience and if he still dislikes "black rifles", then fine. But maybe, just maybe, he will have learned to respect the shooting choices of others.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Final (Maybe) Zumbo Thoughts

I hope all the best for Jim Zumbo in the future. I hope that he understands why his blog post caused such a blogstorm and that he learns from it. I hope he goes hunting with Ted Nugent and understands that an AR-15 is a valid gun in certain hunting applications. Maybe he could even regain our trust. But, that doesn’t mean I agree one whit with what he said, beyond the note that he has the right to say whatever he wants to.

Let’s revisit Zumbo’s post for just a moment. He said of AR-15s and AK-type guns, "I call them ‘assault’ rifles…" and "I'll go so far as to call them ‘terrorist’ rifles" and "As hunters, we don't need the image of walking around the woods carrying one of these weapons." He then called for a ban on them in the hunting fields.

You can’t get much clearer than that, but the very first comment on his post said it even better. "If you don't care who you intimidate by the look of your firearm (or you secretly enjoy looking like Rambo), you are not caring enough about the public perception of our endangered sport."

Zumbo and this commenter see no place for black rifles in their sport. To me that’s much more harmful than having him call black rifles terrorist weapons. Most gunnies don’t like "sporting use" as a test for guns. That is, a gun is only appropriate for people to own if it can be used in a valid "sport" such as hunting. But, the concept is enshrined in laws and even in the anti-gunnies' promise, "We don’t want to take away your hunting guns."

Black rifles are gaining a place in the hunting fields as many other bloggers and comment writers have pointed out. They are excellent platforms for prairie dog and coyote hunting and can be good deer rifles depending on caliber. In other words, they have a sporting use beyond target uses. I've never heard anti-gunnies say they don't want to take away our target, plinking, or whatever guns.

When a noted gun owner and hunter like Zumbo publically says that black rifles have no place in the hunting fields, it's tantamount to saying they have no use in any arena. It goes to the heart of the "sporting use" issue and gives anti-gunnies one more string to tug on in hopes of unraveling our gun rights.

Still something very good may come of all the pixels that have been spilled about Zumbo. Michael Bane makes some very good points about where the firearm market and community are going now. Be sure to give it a read if you haven’t already.

Calling People Fuddite

The dust is settling from l’affaire Zumbo. Cooler heads have spoken. They point out (in comments to my last post) that words like Fuddites and Elmer Fudd wannabees are hurtful.

Bitter has argued that we should have taken the opportunity to educate Jim Zumbo and those who might agree with him. Comments to Tam’s recent post said similar things.

Maybe they’re right and then again maybe not.

Here’s the thing; there are gun owners out there who cry out for terms like fuddite. Think about it for a minute. John Kerry is a hunter. He went out during the 2004 campaign, shot a goose, and did other huntsman like things. He proved, at least to me, that he could handle a shotgun. Yet, I wouldn’t trust him to protect my gun rights.

There are other gun owners who are hunters first and gun owners second. There are hunters and shotgun sports enthusiasts who look down at handgun sports, repeating shotguns, and especially black rifles.

Yosemite and I have ran into range curmudgeons who’ve disparaged our pump-action shotguns and that post was inspired by a similar experience of SayUncle’s.

I’ve received an e-mail saying my posts are well-written and well-reasoned, but too long. For the sake of brevity, I'm going to break now and take up this idea a little later. But, the upshot is there are some gun owners who simply must be described in a term like fuddite. If you can think of more polite, but descriptive term, then be my guest.

Monday, February 19, 2007

More Zumbo-Dumbo Thoughts

My, my, my. What a blogswarm. You've seen what Jim Zumbo, now forever called Dumbo, said. If not, here's Yosemite Sam's post on the matter to bring you up to speed. If you want to read Zumbo's blog, be forewarned that there are well over 2,000 comments and it could load slooowwwwlllllyyyy.

Zumbo said that AR-type rifles were not hunting arms. That there is no place in the hunting sports for them. He said he'd never seen anyone hunt with them although they're used a lot in prairie dog and coyote hunting.

If I take him at face value then I have two thoughts. One, he is (was) an elite hunter who's (former) sponsors ensure he had the best hunting experience far from the madding crowd. Or, he has blocked out the sight of hunters using the dreaded evil black rifles.

He states he's a traditionalist and prefers the dedicated hunting rifle. Well, I'm a traditionalist and that doesn't stop me from owning, shooting, an enjoying an AR-15. I like guns. I like 'em with synthetic stocks, I like 'em with wood, I like 'em with blued metal, I like 'em parkerized. You get the idea. I'm an unabashed gun nut although I prefer some guns over others.

That's the problem. Hunters, shotgunners, and others aren't gun nuts. Some hunters may shoot a box of 20 rifle rounds a year. They come to a range, sight-in, take a few practice shots, and then go hunting the next weekend. Fuddites (Elmer Fudd wannabes) one and all.

The same is true about shotgun sports enthusiasts who don't support other gun sports. John Rosenthal owns shotguns and uses them in skeet and/or trap shooting. He would gladly support bans on your black rifles, your handguns, maybe even your pump-action shotguns. I suppose I could make an argument about Cowboy Action Shooters who may think black rifles are evil, but you get the idea. With gun owners like these who needs enemies.

Gun owners like Zumbo and Rosenthal don't understand that we're all in this together. Gun banners don't want us to have guns period. They're dedicated to this idea and they're satisfied though not happy to move in baby steps. They're incrementalists who know they cannot win today, but they might chip away at gun rights.

They're satisfied to bans guns one type at a time. If they can ban black rifles, they will move to handguns, they will move to repeating shotguns, and finally go after the fine Purdeys that only the elites can afford.

Then again, maybe they'll stop at the truly fine guns because only their kinda people can afford them. That way the disgusting hoi polloi will be disarmed and the elites can then have a truly great society to shape as they will.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Reason 2345323 why I hate Fuddites

So much for a quiet, peaceful, carefree, Sunday. I decided to check out the Intertubes and click over to Instapundit and see a link to a post by some fuddite. I click over to the post and read it and do a double take.

Did he just call AR-15 owners, terrorists?

"I'll go so far as to call them "terrorist" rifles."

He did.

Now I’m getting pissed. I start to read the comments to this post and begin to realize that there must be thousands. I skim through them and realize that the whole Internet gun-owning community is pissed, really pissed.

Then I read Mr. Fudd’s CYA apology( he even drags out the Nuge man himself) and if anything I am angrier. No real apology for calling AR-15 owners terrorists. The sense I got was that he was apologizing for the shit storm he released and not his original post, which I think shows his true feelings.

Now, I’m clicking all over the gunny blogosphere and everyone(Tam, Smallest Minority , War on Guns and Pistolero ) is taking him to task. Be sure to click over to this post by Michael Bane and read his comments. I guess that there is a lot of mumbling about boycotts and the owner of Remington is saying to please cool this talk since they will take out the trash.

As I read in a comment on one of the multitudinous posts covering this issue: Mr. Fudd needs to spend the rest of his life sitting on the porch eating oatmeal. With friends like this………

Just as I was finishing up on this post, Michael Bane and Smallest Minority have posts up about how the Bradys are already crowing about their new friend. We'll be years undoing this travesty. Zumbo(Dumbo) has got to go.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Surprise from VPC

I never thought I would agree with the VPC (Violence Policy Center) on much of anything other than the color of grass or that the sun was out on a cloudless day.

If you’re not familiar with the VPC they’re about as anti-gun as you can get. For instance, they oppose “smart gun” technology (a gun that can only be fired by its owner through biometrics or similar unproven gadget). They oppose it because they believe more people would buy a gun if it were “safer.”

I stumbled on an argument that they made against Firearm Licensing and Registration. It’s a fact sheet that gives pros and cons of such schemes. Given VPC’s sponsorship you’d expect that the pros would far outweigh the cons. Surprise!

VPC’s pros include better tracing, knowing the types of guns a criminal (or a citizen having a bad day—my paraphrase) possesses, discouraging casual buyers etc.

Their cons are a good argument against licensing and registration: they’re expensive and they use Canada as an example, have little impact on must gun violence (there are a few assumptions here that I might argue with, but won’t right now—i.e., “most gun murders are between people who know each other” like drug dealer vs. drug dealer maybe), and political opposition.

They point out that automobile licensing and registration didn’t save lives. Instead improvements in roads and cars saved lives. This is where they most reveal their true colors. They want regulations on guns and their makers.

You knew there had to be a twist somewhere.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

One From the Vault

Walther P-38

It’s impossible to really talk about Walther P-38s without mentioning Lugers as you'll note when you read this post. You may want to glance at this "One From the Vault" about Lugers.

The German military knew they needed a new service pistol well before World War II. The Luger is a fine pistol, but it was too expensive to make in quantity. Its parts are machined from steel and then hand fitted. Further, it wasn’t really made for the muck and mud of a battlefield. Mud could jam in finely spaced parts (especially the partially exposed sear) and turn the pistol into a clumsy club.

The Germans faced a problem when it came to inventing new weapons. The Treaty of Versailles ending World War I forbade them from doing so. Well, secrecy is always an option and the German military commissioned research into a new design to be developed on the sly.

Walther created prototypes that eventually became the Walther-P38 (P-38 means pistol [pistollen in German] adopted in 1938). By 1938, secrecy was less of a concern and the pistol was adopted into service.

My Walther P-38 Made in 1943

Walther used some of its old concepts, but fielded a surprisingly modern design, much more so than the Luger that it officially replaced. The gun is double-action for one thing. You could chamber a round and then flip the safety decocking the hammer. (Given the state of Germany’s wartime production, I recommend that you don’t try this feature unless you’re at a range with the muzzle pointing in a safe direction.) The gun even has a loaded chamber indicator, something to cheer the heart of anti-gunners who think gadgets prevent all sorts of gun accidents.

Even though the pistol officially replaced the Luger, many officers continued to carry the older pistol. For some, it was tradition and for others it was due to wartime shortages.

Wartime Walther P-38s are marked with codes. The Army Weapons Office, the Heereswaffenamt, insisted that military goods should not be marked with the manufacturer’s name. The reasons include the Nazi penchant for not letting the left hand know what the right was doing. Also, there was some strategic value in disguising the maker so that allies wouldn't learn where goods were made and bomb the plants (they did anyway).

Walther developed the pistol, but they couldn’t keep up with wartime demand and licensed their patents and design. A few companies made P-38s although most were made by either Walther or Mauser. Heereswaffenamt codes for P38s include "ac" for Walther’s Zella-Mehlis plant, "byf" and "svw" for Mauser’s Oberndorf plant, and"cyq" for Mauser’s Spreewerke.

A few complete guns were made in Turkey ("mke") and in Czechoslovakia ("jvd"). Most Czech manufacturing, however, was limited to parts like barrels and FN (Fabrique Nationale) in Belgium, which made frames and slides.

The French assembled a few P-38s from captured parts after the allies liberated France. The total P-38 production for Germany was about 1,200,000 pistols. Production resumed in the 1950s originally for police weapons. Walther sold some in America and ended production in the 1990s.

Walther made my gun in 1943. It has all matching serial numbers and the appropriate proofmarks. The plastic grips with deep grooves were a wartime concept. They believed a gun so equipped would be easier to hold onto in mud than if it had wooden, checkered grips. I’ve never tested it—something about tossing my guns into mud hurts my collector’s heart. In case you're wondering, the magazine holds 8 rounds of 9mm Parabellum (aka 9mm Luger) ammunition.

My gun’s finish leaves a little to be desired, but that was standard in German production after 1941-42. By 1945, even metallurgical standards had eroded, so don’t trust safeties on any late war gun. In fact, use but don’t trust safeties at all—practice the four rules of safe gun handling.

I’ve fired the gun and it is very reliable and quite accurate. Its recoil is very manageable and is a joy to shoot. I guess maybe there is something about German engineering. P-38s are still available although I’ve noticed rising prices. They’re an interesting part of history.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A Gun, A Mom, and a Murder

Gun-banners always decry the availability of guns. They don’t explain how the vast majority of gun owners never commit a crime with their guns—tools really. (Shane quote redux, “A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”).

As Shane said, it all depends on the user. I wonder what the gun-banners say about a mother who gives her teenage a gun so he can extract revenge for a fight he lost. Her son shot the person who won the fight and he died in the hospital.

How do you stop gun violence when a person’s mother encourages it? You can’t take away guns because you can’t un-invent them or make them impossible for criminals to get (look at England, which has a rising rate of gun violence despite banning all handguns). The mother could also give her son a baseball bat just as easily.

The only thing you can do is stand in amazement at the depravity of someone who encourages and enables a murder and make sure her and her son never walk free again.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Guns, Mayors, and Hard Issues

This is hardly news now, but another mayor has defected from New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s group. You know, the group that wants to stop “illegal” guns, even if it hurts the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Mayor Mark Begich of Anchorage, Alaska wrote a letter to the local paper (second on page) saying that while he’s concerned with gun crime in Anchorage, he realized Bloomberg’s ideas conflict with the right to bear arms. He was also dismayed that pro-gun groups were not part of the discussion.

I’m not writing this post because another mayor has left Bloomberg’s phony coalition. No, I’m posting to remind people that anti-gunnies can fool even our friends. Bloomberg and his ilk discuss law and order. They point to the real problem of teenage hoods with guns. They say they want to stop the killing and the wounding.

The only thing they will examine is banning or making guns harder to get. They look at ways of getting guns away from law-abiding gun owners knowing that they are the only ones who will obey anti-gun laws.

They refuse to look directly at several problems. They won’t look at the role of an armed citizenry. They ignore or discount any evidence that civilian use of guns could reduce crime. They won’t look at making sure teenage thugs spend hard-time in prison if they abuse a gun. They don’t look at the fact that too many young black men are killing too many young black men.

These are hard issues. Instead of dealing with them, they would rather figure out a way to register your guns, so that they could confiscate them if they think they could get away with it. Failing that, they would make it illegal for you to buy more than one gun a month. They would support total handgun bans in cities.

Mayor Begich was taken in by Bloomberg’s platitudes, but Begich finally saw the light. Make sure that you aren’t fooled by anti-freedom words disguised in law and order rhetoric.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Weekend, Taxes, and Shane

Bill and I had a languorous, lazy weekend. It’s cold here now and we didn’t go shooting, didn’t take long walks in the moonlight, or much of anything else. Still, it wasn’t totally uneventful and we did a few things that affect our gunnie lives albeit in minor ways.

I updated Ten Ring’s blogroll and will try to do better with keeping it up to date (as I look up and to my left, and slowly cross my fingers). A big welcome to new bloggers. If anyone else wants to exchange links, just let me know.

Bill and I did a rough draft of out Federal income tax. Grrr, such a pain in the butt that is. Our first pass ended up with us owing around $7,000.00! A little more checking, a lot of head scratching, and then finding that we hadn’t subtracted a large deduction, led us to a more accurate guess of a $35.00 refund.

I guess that’s good planning, but I’ll miss not getting a decent-sized refund—even though I know it’s like giving Uncle Sam an interest free loan. I usually use it to buy a gun and most often on April 15, BAG (Buy A Gun) Day. Plus, our condo association is trying to hit us up with an assessment for new roofs, Grrr.

We also watched the Super Bowl. No real observations. A couple of funny commercials, but most of them were blech. Bill and I actually liked Prince’s half-time show. I was set to not like it, but I have to admit Prince is talented. It couldn’t have been easy performing in the pouring rain.

We watched a movie or two and for the first time each of us saw Shane. Speaking for myself, I’ve seen pieces of it on television, but never the whole thing. Shane is usually named in the top three of four Westerns ever made. It deserves its accolades. The guns were accurate and the western clothing looked authentic (except for some of the female star’s clothes and hair styles).

Bill and I sat up straight when the main character said something that we both believe in and which we’ve argued many times here; “A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

As I said, we had a quiet weekend, but discovered a quote we'll need to put on Ten Ring somewhere.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Boston, Mooninites, and Terrorism

Bill and I live and work near the site of the latest “terrorist” attack. The Mooninites “attacked” Boston the other day when Cartoon Network through intermediaries used one of these ill-tempered cartoon characters in a poorly planned viral marketing scheme.

It's been in the national news, but here it's all the radio talk show hosts and reporters are talking about. A very quick synopsis: two slacker-type performance artists got a gig to build and install some flat LED signboards that are about 1.5 by 1 foot in size. Other artists in nine other cities did the same thing.

Someone in Boston noticed and reported one near a transit station. Boston and State Police called out the riot squad, bomb squad, SWAT Squad, and every other squad imaginable. They shut down the city for most of the day.

The signboards proved harmless, and ended up being the talk of the town—that and an impromptu press conference in which the two artists talked only about hair (one has a set of dreadlocks that must be seen to be believed).

In some ways, the police response was proper. The signs had batteries and wires and needed to be checked. In other ways, the police went overboard. Authorities in other cities, including New York City, examined the signs and realized they were just signs. Boston leaders explain that Boston is sensitive to terrorism because two of the 9/11 planes left from here. Still, Boston cannot be more sensitive than New York is about this issue.

There were no winners in this idiocy, but it points to freedom in a post 9/11 world. We’ve already turned air travel into a statist’s dream. All that searching, patting down, magnetometers, government agents, baggies for toiletries must make someone happy. It doesn’t put a smile on my face.

Are we going to get so worried about terrorism that we close down cities when someone hangs up a sign that remotely looks like an “unattended package?” Are we going to fear that a garage-sale flyer is a coded message to a sleeper cell, that a gun club meeting is a militia gathering, that a truck parked too close to a building will explode?

It’s a dangerous world. Terrorists, foreign and domestic, want to attack us again. They could do so with a soda bottle full of a biological agent. They could turn a car into a bomb even more easily than they could make a bomb look like a small signboard. We have to be vigilant, but let’s not turn our cities and our lives into something like our airports.

And, I promise not to flee from every unattended soda bottle I see.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bring On Your Links

Well, the “New Blogger” (unsure about “Old Blogger”) has been down for most of the day. I even had a short post ready, but lost it somewhere in the ether. Oh well, I’ll try and reconstruct later. I can’t even complain about it being down. I don’t pay anything for it.

Anyway, through referral logs, I’ve noticed people getting to Ten Ring from new blogs. I get set in my ways and don’t read enough of the new bloggers.

Because of that, I’ve been remiss in keeping our blogroll up to date. Therefore if you have a blog and would like a link on Ten Ring, and if you link to here (reciprocity is a good thing), I’ll blogroll your blog this weekend and/or the next. Just leave a URL in comments or send me an e-mail to the address on your right.

(Note: I reserve the right though not to link a blog that is truly racist, anti-gun [unless you can give me a very good argument], that tends to think discourse begins with “doodiehead” and ends with “fuck off,” or is otherwise unlinkable.)