Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Range Police (or "When Curmudgeons Attack")

Say Uncle made a very important post yesterday and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to second it (also read comments on his post).

Uncle tells us about a recent experience at a gun range. He and three friends were shooting black rifles among other guns when a curmudgeon came over. Our "friendly" curmudgeon was the day’s range officer and he complained about their noise (at a shooting range!), the fact that an SKS had a bayonet on it (which according to him was illegal, never mind that it’s not), and he made other assorted gratuitous comments.

I second the story because a similar incident happened to Bill and I. We were shooting shotguns at a club in Massachusetts. We were on an unused trap field brushing up before a pheasant hunt. We were shooting our pump-action hunting shotguns and using a foot operated thrower. We’d set the thrower so that it threw away from us and slightly quartering—a very common pheasant hunting shot. If we missed a shot, we did what we would do in the field, which is to shoot a follow up shot. We obviously weren’t shooting trap.

Well, we were minding our business when a club officer comes waddling over, let’s call him Curly. Moe and Larry were a few yards behind him, guarding his six from us desperados, I guess. Curly proceeds to check our club membership cards since he didn’t remember us from the last time we’d met.

Curly snorts at our shotguns as if they were garbage (a Remington 870 may be common, but its not garbage). He says, “You can’t shoot those things here like that.” I’m a little taken aback and I say politely, “Like what, Curly?” His rejoinder was, “You just can’t blast away until you hit a target, there’s rules in trap shooting.”

We tell him, we’re not shooting trap, we’re brushing up for a hunting trip. He then says, “It doesn’t matter, we got rules about how you shoot here, you can’t just shoot like you want to.” Now mind you there are no posted rules and there are no rules in the club’s rulebook that addressed what we were doing one way or the other.

I told him, “Where should we practice?” He hems and haws, and then says, “Well, you can’t put any more than two shells in those things at a time and no more than one shot at one clay. We got standards here.” Bill is about ready to tell him to waddle himself out of here and shove it. I agreed to his stipulations, but only to keep the peace and finish the box of clays.

We had done nothing wrong. There’s nothing, even now, in the rulebook about using the filed as we were. And, our set up was safe. In fact, Bill and I are NRA certified Range Safety Officers and our club cards show that. But it’s not the first time we’ve heard recitals of rules that don’t exist or laws that aren’t laws; only a figment of someone’s imagination.

Curmudgeons are not just older people, we’ve had younger people tell us our black rifles were illegal, that our ammunition was wrong for our gun (like our SKS takes .223 Rem), even how to hold a gun, and many other gratuitous comments. Half the time, they come from people who’ve been given a little authority and they have to express it. They deliberately look for something a little different from what they do. Then they pounce.

These petty people could kill off shooting if they don’t change their ways. Shooting should be relaxing, enjoyable, and fun. It’s awfully hard to get into a relaxed shooting state-of-mind after you’ve been bawled out for infringing a rule or law that never existed in the first place. If you haven’t been shooting long enough to know when to stand your ground, you may make it your last trip.

The sad thing is, a handful of these curmudgeons seem to want to keep others out of shooting. They want it to be their club and their hobby. Well, they’ll probably be around to see the death of their “sportsman’s club” and perhaps of shooting itself.

So, if you have a curmudgeon at your range, take away his range officer cap, don’t re-elect him to the board, and don’t give him authority. You’ll be saving others some grief.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Let's Fight Crime with the New York Times

I never thought I would see a certain line of thought in the New York Times editorial page. Nicholas Kristof is a liberal, but at least he thinks about and analyzes his positions. In today’s editorial “To Catch a Thief,” he takes on criminal behavior and ways to reduce crime.

He believes that building more prisons is not the solution. He feels that many politicians don’t want to say that. Instead, they’d rather please constituents with a “string ‘em up” argument. Kristof believes we need to take a more original line to crime reduction.

Without discussing the merits of his other ideas lets look at one broad theme. Kristof cites LoJack car alarm systems. When a LoJack equipped car is stolen, a radio signal is sent to police and helps them locate the car. Because LoJack is hidden, a car thief can’t tell what car is equipped with one and thereby greatly increases his risks. Eventually, he’ll pick a LoJack equipped car and find himself in jail. Other systems, such as The Club, are visible to a thief and thus passes the risk onto an easier to steal car. Further, increasing the risk to car thiefs helps everyone because we all enjoy resulting reductions in car theft.

Kristof also wonders if home owners could install a silent burglar alarm. That way, if a burglar breaks into your house, the police will catch him in the act and pack him off to jail. Audible alarms and yard signs only convince a thief to attack another house. One problem I can see with a silent alarm is I wouldn’t want a dirtbag in my house at all, let alone for the length of time it takes police to respond. Maybe this idea needs a little more thought.

Kristof challenges us to come up with other ideas that could reduce crime. I’ve got one that could reduce armed robbery maybe even murder and I’ll address it to Mr. Kristof. The idea is simple; let law-abiding citizens carry concealed firearms. Then, let these citizens go about their normal affairs with their sidearms cleverly concealed. If a mutant, sorry Mr. Kristof, let me rephrase. If a misguided member of our community tries to rob that citizen, he or she can take action and thus raise the mutant’s misguided person’s risk considerably.

To make it even better, let’s ensure that our goblins misguided community members learn that a percentage of citizens are armed. Such knowledge will greatly reduce armed robbery and other crimes against persons. After all, a criminal will know any particular victim could shoot him, thus increasing risk. Since a criminal would not know which victim was carrying a gun, he would find a different line of work.

Now that I’m on a roll, I have an idea that would reduce forcible rape. Make sure that a goodly number of women carry concealed firearms and ensure that dirtbags misguided criminals know that they could get killed or; even worse, get their manhood shot off if they try to rape any woman.

Mr. Kristof, I’m using the outline of your idea here. In a nutshell, identifying ways to catch or perhaps stop criminals in the act, raising their risk to the point where they and their ilk will find honest work.

I have to admit though that my ideas aren’t original to me. They’re what John Lott and other pro-gun writers have been saying for years. It’s also why 33 states have adopted “shall issue” (or permitless) concealed weapon laws. It’s the apotheosis of the common sense idea that you might reduce crime by raising the risk of those who would commit crime.

While my argument is the same as Kristof’s, I doubt he or other editors at The New York Times will adopt it. After all, it means the end of gun control as we know it today-- even in New York City. It’s an idea whose time has come. So how about it Mr. Kristof, want to suggest this idea to your editors and readers? {Cue crickets chirping.}

Monday, June 27, 2005

Home Stuff and 2nd Amendment Democrats

What a weekend we had. Bill and I are doing home improvements on our new condo. Our first project is installing a Pergo floor. We spent about three of our precious project hours trying to buy a table saw at three different Home Depots. The first didn’t have the one we wanted in stock. The second could not find the ones they had in stock, and finally the third had several in stock, it just took a while to get it off the top level. Of course, we had to assemble the saw and take up the old carpeting.

To make a long story short, we finally laid some Pergo and it looks really good, but we didn’t get as far as we’d hoped. Oh well, there’s a long weekend coming up.

One more thing, because of all the stoop labor and kneeling involved, I discovered there are certain muscles in my legs and back that haven’t been used for a while. Now, they’re reminding me of their existence. I woke up this morning as stiff as the Pergo we were laying. I even walk like John Wayne now, although I don’t say “Pilgrim” a lot.

Enough Pergo blogging. I stumbled on a new web site called “Amendment II Democrats” that is trying to become the liberal voice for gun ownership. It’s new and doesn’t have much content yet, but I love the old CNN cartoon on its home page (a Million Mommie is going out to march, behind her is a Soviet-style police state thug who says he is behind her 100%).

I think liberals buying and learning to use guns is a good thing. The more people--whether they are liberals, Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, or libertarians--who support the Second Amendment the better.

There are some liberal Second Amendment supporters who embrace registration and licensing, both of which are anathema to me especailly after living in Massachusetts, the home of such evil schemes.

I am not sure if the owners of “Amendment II Democrats” embrace such schemes. They also want to elect a pro-gun Democrat Congress in 2006. They will bear watching on several levels. But, for now, I welcome any one who wants join us gun nuts in protecting our firearm rights

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Home Improvements and Kelo

I haven’t said anything about the Kelo decision because Bill’s quotes have been eloquent enough for me. This will be my only post on the matter, unless there’s a new development.

In case you haven’t heard, the United States Supreme Court decided Kelo vs. City of New London. Five black robed tyrants justices held that a city can take private land from its owner and give to a private developer if the city thinks the other private party can make a more productive use of that property. (Here’s a good primer, also many other bloggers and news outlets have covered it better than I can.)

I’m a former liberal. When I first heard about the decision that quiet, hidden liberal voice that I’ve not quite choked off muttered about damn conservatives talking land from the little people and giving it to the rich. Boy howdy was that voice wrong. It was the Court’s liberal wing that decided against Kelo and others living in a working class, but not blighted neighborhood. It was the same gang, plus Scalia, that decided the medical marijuana case (Gonzalez v. Raich). Raich expanded the Commerce Clause to mean that that the Feds can get involved in virtually any aspect of American life.

These two cases radically expand the power of government at any of its many levels to impinge on our lives. I was dismayed at the Raich decision, again decided by so-called liberals. When I was a liberal, liberalism meant expanded personal freedoms, and power to the little people. Or, rather that’s how it was sold to young idealistic teens. Now it means increased state interference in our private lives.

The Raich decision dismayed me, but the Kelo decision horrified me. It means no one’s property is safe, but those of us who aren’t rich are more at risk. If you own a nice house and a few acres, what’s to stop a city to decide a McMansion isn’t a better use of that land? If you own a McMansion, what’s to stop a city from deciding that a Wal-Mart isn’t a better use of the land? Horrible implications.

There are political, even gunnie, implications as well. What’s to stop a city, county etc. to decide it wants to close a shooting range, abortion clinic, or any other entity unpopular in that city? There’s nothing to stop that city from taking the property if they can find a developer willing to use it.

Kelo outrages me. I understand the need for limited eminent domain; that there is a need to take private land for public use after compensating the owner. But Kelo pushes legitimate eminent domain into the illegitimate realm of tyranny. This must not stand, but our only legal recourse is convincing our state legislators to pass laws limiting eminent domain to true public use, not this expanded definition.

Beyond this recourse lies the ammo can. Do these black-robed tyrants really want to start another revolution or civil war? What were they thinking when they decided Raich and Kelo? Do they have any idea what property rights mean to a property owner or one who hopes to own property? God save the Republic from fools such as these.

Now that I’ve mastered my outrage, Bill and I will be working in our new condo. We’re laying a Pergo floor. I sort of wonder if we should bother since our city might have designs on the land. After all, we only own it at the sufferance of our masters in City Hall, the State House, or Washington and we will be paying a sort of rent (taxes). Guess I haven’t quite mastered my outrage after all.

Friday, June 24, 2005

As true then as now

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness……. The history of the present King of Great Britain United States Supreme Court is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. ……..

Thursday, June 23, 2005

This is my response to today's Kelo decision

"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts
they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...
And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure."

--Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

More Range Closings

From the ever informative Kim du Toit, we find a story about gun-banners who want to close down a range that has long served its community. A new development was built and a new elementary school is being built. People who just moved into the area now don't like the noise and many are worried about children in playgrounds. One more time, let's hear the refrain of, "It's for the children," sang in your most plainitive voices.

Give me a break. These people come into a new area and immediately they want to remodel it. If guns are concerned, no matter how safe one makes the range, there's always the children to consider.

The range Bill and I joined recently has gone through no little expense and trouble to redesign all the ranges and ensure that no bullet could leave the range. Otherwise, the "it's for the children" gang would claim that bullets are peppering their roofs and endangering their children. It doesn't make any difference that there is no evidence of a bullet let alone one that hit a roof. Or, if they find a bullet someone there is no evidence that it came from the range and not the nearby woods. Still, one must be a good neighbor I guess and please the local gun fearing wussies by tightening up on safety.

This is how our gun rights will disappear. Our neighbors will be so concerned for children, they'll start to get politicians to close down ranges. They'll say shooters could use one in the next town over--one more suited for shooting because it's a smaller, more rural town. That is, until that new town gets bigger. Before long, you'll be driving across your state or paying an exorbitant fee at a "safe" indoor range." One made safe by location, armored walls, soundproofing, .22 Long Rifle only, no drawing from holsters, and everything else they can think of to make it "safe for the children."

The problem is many of those politicians and "mommies" who're trying to set gun safety policies have never shot a gun before. They have no idea what makes a range safe. They don't know how far shotgun shot can carry, all they hear is a big boom and imagine something out of a movie they once saw. They have no idea what make a berm safe to shoot rifles into and yet they try to tell us how to do it.

I'm getting tired of it. If it's not a new bill to fight, it's a range closing. If it's not lead, it's the noise. If it's not a new school, then it's a new church. And, always, "It's for the children." We must fight to keep our gun rights on every front they open. The fight is worth it, but Claire Wolfe time seems to be getting closer. (And, compared to Bill, "Yosemite Sam," I'm the quiet, moderate one.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Gun-Banning Moonbat"

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Monday, June 20, 2005

We're Still Here

Bill and I are actually glad today (Monday) is a work day. It'll give us a chance to rest. We had a very busy four days. I had to fly to Maryland and back for a two-hour meeting on Thursday. Of course, my plane back home ended up sitting on the runway for about two hours--the same length of time as the meeting. I was not a happy camper.

Friday, we closed on our condo. We are now the proud owners of a New Hampshire home! Now instead of our occasional real estate blogging, you'll be subjected to our home improvement blogging.

Speaking of which, we bought some flooring to replace a dirty carpet over the weekend and did some clean-up and further inspection.

We are now ready to resume gun-blogging. Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Burglary in Newton, MA

I don’t know how many of you know of Howie Carr. He’s somewhat right of center radio talk show host on WRKO in Boston. Carr is sympathetic to gun owners although he doesn’t devote too many shows to gun issues.

I caught the last segment of his show yesterday when he featured a 911 call. It was a woman in Newton, Massachusetts who was suffering a burglary. The dispatcher collected the information as she sent units to the caller’s home. The caller said she had locked herself in the bathroom but her infant and toddler were asleep in their bedrooms. She began fairly calm, but got more distraught and the call ended with her screaming uncontrollably.

I checked Boston Globe for similar stories and I think, although I’m not sure, that this one may be the same case, Cynthia Lothian was the victim. The paper very dispassionately laid out facts and stated the suspected burglar, Timothy J. Carlson, left because of her screams. They caught him later and they suspect that he may be involved in up to 50 burglaries in Newton and nearby towns.

If it’s the same case, then all ended well. Still, I heard stark terror in her voice. Her scream became almost that of an animal. Her babies were left unprotected from a suspected burglar, one who was found later with a razor knife and a six-inch nail—again if it’s the same case.

I felt sorry for the woman. She had no choice but to cower in her bathroom. Her only weapons her voice and her phone. While her situation ended all right, it could have been very different. She or her children could be dead or injured now, a burglar free to attack again.

If she owned a gun and learned how to use it, she could have called for police help. She could have still barricaded herself in the bathroom or felt more able to go to her children. She would have had her gun in case the burglar did worse than break in and then leave once he heard her screaming. She would have had options. Instead she had only her terror.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Getting Rid of Some Guns

Yesterday, Countertop Chronicles posted about a New York Times article on the lengths a metrosexual assclown sensitive guy went to get rid of several guns. Countertop is actuallyone of my daily reads, but I didn’t read him until I saw the link in Alphecca’s Weekly Check on the Bias. I was at an all-day conference Monday and just didn’t get around to reading blogs. Shame on me.

Both Alphecca and Countertop covered the story, but because I experienced such a jaw-dropping moment, such anguished disbelief, I have to blog on it for my own sanity. Let me sketch it all out before I get to those parts that so bothered me.

Our oh so noble author, Mike Kessler, once lived in Los Angeles. He now lives in Boulder, Colorado where he edits Skiing Magazine (you might want to think about dropping your subscriptions). Our intrepid hero helped a friend, Elizabeth, remove belongings from her deceased brother’s home. They found a locked metal box with her brother’s small collection of handguns—they had no key, but she knew what was in it. She wanted to get rid of the guns or in Kessler’s words, have them “…put out of commission.”

He didn’t want them and decided the police would be happy to get them off the streets. He recounts trying to get LAPD to take them. They refused to take them because they were in a locked box. He got a locksmith to open it. He took them, now in a cardboard box, to Glendale PD. The officer there offered to buy them as a private sale. Our narrator didn't want any part of what could have been a shady deal.

He goes through a few moral permutations and decides to smash the guns. OH THE HUMANITY! He actually, if he is to be believed, broke up these fine weapons ( he described them I believe he had a Glock, a Smith & Wesson revolver, and a pocket sized .25 caliber, although there may have been another .38 and another small gun).

Kessler is proud of his act of vandalism and that’s enough for me to curse his name and his actions. Anyone who would do that to a gun deserves a plague of boils and locusts. Still, there are other troubling things here.

For instance, Kessler states, “…I'd been to the indoor shooting range over the years…and each time I enjoyed it. It made me shaky with excitement, and scared, like looking over the edge of a tall bridge.”

Oh my God, he got all shaky with excitement and scared. Then during his moral permutations he confesses, “Every time I'd been to a shooting range, I was fascinated by the power I wielded.” I hate to say it, but I don’t trust such a person with a gun. Excited, scary, fascinated with power. Get him a shrink, not a Glock.

But now here’s a funny thing. Kessler says he has shot guns before. When the locksmith opened the box, he had to take the guns to a friend, a former hunting guide who still owns old rifles no less, to inspect them. He found that they were loaded and his friend gave Kessler a quick lesson in unloading them.

Now, I’ve got a few questions. How the hell do you shoot a gun without knowing how to load and unload it? If he really did shoot guns at all, what lackwit turned him lose with a gun he didn’t know how to verify was loaded, or how to unload it? Or did he go to a range and have someone hand him loaded guns that he could fire a couple of times and then leave on the table for someone else to deal with?

Finally, what kind of human being would take a “fifteen-pound” ax (?) and smash up valuable items? He could have sold them for Elizabeth. They could have donated the money to the Brady Bunch if they really wanted to be ironic. Instead, smashing at least two fine weapons is a sign of a mental disorder in my view.

There may be a degree of projection in Kessler’s mind here. He talked earlier about a feeling of power and he’s concerned that kids will get the smashed guns and stage a “made for TV movie” so he throws the battered pieces into a bag adds dirt and old paint, and then throws them away. Take that you evil guns you.

The man is proud of his vandalism. I hope Elizabeth’s brother’s ghost haunts him and maybe her too.

Monday, June 13, 2005

More on Thugs, Coyotes, and Bears

Last Friday, I posted on bears and coyotes that are now found in Boston’s metropolitan area. I also mentioned two-legged predators who predate on their own kind. In a comment, Blueeyes (# 2) believed I might be exaggerating the threat of animal attack. He wrote a very well reasoned comment, for which I thank him. He believes danger posed by wild animals is an insufficient reason to own guns when compared to thugs and the Second Amendment.

Here is where I differ from him. For too many Americans, the Second Amendment is a dead letter. At best, they believe it protects a state’s right to have a degree of influence over its National Guard. At worst, they believe it’s a relic from a bygone age. New scholarship has shown how flawed both arguments are (starting with Sanford Levinson’s “The Embarrassing Second Amendment”). We gunnies are making progress in ensuring that the correct reading of our Constitution’s Second Amendment is used in courts and in media, but we have a long way to go.

Using guns against thugs (mutants, goblins, however you want to describe human predators who have no feelings) in self-defense or defense of another is certainly a valid use of guns. It is also one that is fraught with a lot of emotional weight. I’ve had people tell me that burglary shouldn’t be a death sentence, that a person who fought and killed an attacker was a murderer as well, that violence even in a noble cause only increases violence. These people don’t get it and Bostonians in particular seem to suffer from an extreme case of anti-gunnie-ism.

Using wild animals as an argument for defending yourself is valid. I am not an animal behaviorist, but coyotes do eat pets frequently. A colleague’s neighbor in Jamaica Plain saw a coyote carry off her cat. My original post, Coyotes in Boston, mentioned a Boston Globe story about a man who witnessed a coyote killing his dog. So, I have one second-hand story and one documented story on coyote pet attacks in Boston’s metropolitan area. I have seen other stories also.

Further, I’ve seen coyotes while hunting (I don’t hunt coyotes since I eat what I kill) and these animals are as large as any German Shepherd I’ve seen. I would put their weight at 50 to 60 pounds--certainly large enough to kill a toddler. I honestly believe that such an event could happen, especially if one had no weapon to stop a possible attack.

Here’s my greatest concern though. Massachusetts has set up an elaborate gun-licensing scheme to discourage gun ownership. When I lived in that state, I got a gun license. Believe me when I say, Massachusetts’s gun laws are a mess. Many people don’t want to own a gun in the first place, but even those who do must go through a legal maze before buying one. (Read here for a description and cites to Massachusetts law). Blueeyes mentioned bear spray as a way to fend off an animal attack. In Massachusetts you have to get a Firearms Identification Card to own only pepper spray of any description. Even if you could own it, you still have to get up close and personal to use it.

A gun is a necessary defense tool. When you need one no other item will do. Massachusetts has disarmed most of its people and it likes it that way. But, I grew up near the country and now the country (wild animals) is coming to Boston. Citizens of Massachusetts need to have a firearm available to deal with an overly aggressive coyote or bear and a mutant.

Also, anywhere you have wild animals you have the chance of rabies in the population. Rabid animals behave very differently from their species’ norms. If one is bitten by a rabid animal, one must recover that animal or its carcass for testing or else potentially undergo a series of rabies shots. A gun is the best way to deal with a rabid animal.

Finally, I believe a gun is a tool for self-defense and a recreational item (target shooting). I don’t believe I should be forced to convince anyone that I have a need to own a tool. Living among thugs, coyotes, bears, and even possibly a rabid chipmunk is enough justification, if I really needed one, to buy a gun and learn how to shoot.

So, once again thanks Blueeyes for your excellent comment, but we will have to agree to disagree on at least a few of your otherwise excellent points.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Thugs, Coyotes, and Bears--Oh My

Back in May, I posted on Coyotes in Boston. That is, the fact that predators were discovered near downtown Boston, in its innermost suburbs.

When predators are found in gun-fearing locations, city and state leaders and their citizens suffer a sort of paralysis. All of a sudden they realize that danger exists. When listening to people on radio talk shows, or journalists writing about in newspapers, you begin to get a feeling that a penny is about to drop. You almost swear that Massachusetts's leaders will stop their gun grabbing. You begin to think that they will realize there are reasons to keep and bear arms, and that our Second Amendment provides for our common defense—even that of an individual against a predator.

You think that such an awakening might happen, but too long ingrained habits rear their heads. Massachusetts’s gun-fearing and gun-hating leaders and their followers begin to understand that if guns are useful against four-legged predators they might be useful against two-legged predators as well. But accepting that would mean that all those gun owners and NRA members were right. Further, they can’t accept they’ve made such a horrible mistake. An error that’s led to the deaths of countless crime victims and will lead to children’s death in the maws of coyotes. Their minds shut down in horror. After a few moments of stuttering cognitive dissonance, the mental wheels begin spinning again and they once more resume a cry of “Ban those guns, ban those guns.”

If you think that Boston and its environs are a peaceful area, read mASSBackwards almost any day, but you might as well start here. City leaders can’t see how their policies are endangering their citizens and citizens demand that their leaders save them. They don’t see how taking personal responsibility for their own safety is the only way out of a brutal spiral they have created and perpetuated in the name of peace, love, and Kumbaya.

Having wild animals in one’s back yard does focus one’s mind. Now, not only do we have coyotes near downtown Boston we have black bears in its outer suburbs.

Don’t get me wrong, I like bears. I like their big shambling bodies and how they loll back on their haunches like nature’s Falstaff. Still, I wouldn’t want to find a bear in my back yard. Even more, I wouldn’t like to find a sow with her cubs in my back yard with me between her and her cubs and no gun in my hand.

I don’t want to exaggerate black bears’ ferocity. But, they’re wild animals that are much stronger than us and can very easily kill a large man if they feel threatened. They will kill pets and they could easily kill children. So, Boston sleep tight tonight in your righteous belief that two-legged predators will disarm themselves because you passed some silly gun licensing laws and that the police can protect you from all harm.

Sleep tight Boston knowing that many of your citizens have self-righteously forbade any gun, even a toy gun for Junior, from entering your home.

Sleep tight Boston while your dogs and cats become a snack for your local coyote.

Sleep tight Boston knowing that bears won’t bother you unless you bother them; provided they don’t feel you’re a threat, they’re not rabid, and they don’t decide to enter your house because they caught a remarkable smell of fried chicken through your window. That same delicious smell that is in your and your children’s hair and bedclothes.

Sleep tight Boston. You’ve striven so hard to disarm your citizens that now there’s no need to fear animals or thugs. Sleep that deep peaceful sleep of the deluded.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Girls Will Be Girls, And Men Should Be Men

Kim du Toit linked an article on metrosexuals (urbanized males who excessively groom, preen and are overly fashion conscious). Yesterday, I read a Little Green Footballs post on a State Department magazine that will be sent all over the world. One article described the beauty regime of a young metrosexual.

Since these young urban males take more care of their grooming than many do women, Kim even accuses women of trying to make men more like women.

I concede his point, but I don’t know if women are behind men becoming more like women. Most women I know, myself included, like men who take care of themselves, but who do not preen. We want men to shave regularly or to grow and groom a beard. Two days of beard growth is like sandpaper on one’s cheek or other sensitive areas. We want men who bathe enough to eradicate odor, but not so much that he begins to smell like, well, a woman. He should also wear clothing appropriate to where we are going—like no shorts and tee shirts to a romantic restaurant. But, moisturizers, make-up, man-purses; c’mon guys get a grip and find your gorm if at all possible.

I guess the topic hits home because I have a similar problem; I’m a woman who likes guns and hunting. I often clean guns after shooting and my hands are not a pretty sight with Break-Free and powder residue all over them. Often, I smell more like Hoppe’s # 9 than Chanel #5. At the range, I’m more likely to have a smudge of powder under my eyes than eye shadow.

When I’m hunting, I’ wear baggy clothes and big boots. Because I’m tall (5’9”), I have biggish feet and I call my boots Frankenboots since they make my feet look even bigger. If a hunt is successful, I will have bloody hands and bloody camos. Even if a hunt isn’t successful, Bill and I come back dirty, sweaty, and neither of us smell like a metrosexual.

People I know have considered what I do “unladylike” whatever the hell that means. (Maybe it means not saying, "whatever the hell that means").

I can’t understand why so many women don’t follow my lead and get messy occasionally. They’re missing out on so much. I hate the girly-girl excuse of, “Oh no I might break a nail.” Gals, we ain't fragile flowers, even if we don’t want men to realize it. That’s not to say we need to be like men. Also, we need to give men their space. Face it there’re times when men need to get away from our chirping. But, guns and hunting are not automatically a male purview. In fact, when it comes to guns, John Moses Browning himself never made one that tested for testosterone in order to fire them.

To be honest, I do get all girly at times, but folks it takes effort. Armpits and legs need shaving, then there’s make up, nails, hair, and oh don’t get me started. Now that I’m over 50 it seems like even more work is involved (so far, I’m lucky--no gray hair yet). That said, I can’t understand why a man would want to put themselves through such grief.

I hope trends will lead to more women becoming involved in guns and hunting. But, I don’t want to live it a world where men aren’t men. God help us if all men go metrosexual. Beauty salons just wouldn’t be the same.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

One From the Vault--vi

Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket

There is so much in the news and blogs today. There is an excellent discussion of the Supreme Court’s medical marijuana decision and possible impact on gun cases, the release of John Kerry’s crappy college grades, a story on how a group of yachters drove off Yemeni pirates with a shotgun but the press gives short shrift to them even having a shotgun. With so much to blog about, I can either spin about in a dither or do a "One From the Vault" post. Here goes.

Seriously, I like sharing my collection with readers. I wish I had better camera equipment and skills, but I get my point across. Besides, I think these entries are worth the price of your admission to Ten Ring.

As I’ve posted before, I’m fond of mouse guns; that is, small guns made to be carried in a pocket. These little guns aren’t very accurate, you can’t hunt with them, and most shoot such under-powered cartridges that you might hurt an attacker more by hitting him with the gun than with a bullet. Also, gun grabbers tend to view them as cheap, dangerous, and easily concealed. Despite all criticisms, I like them. I think they’re little engineering jewels and I have several in my collection.

With that in mind, today’s victim entry is the Colt 1908 Vest Pocket Pistol, a .25 caliber pistol.

Colt Vest Pocket pistols were first produced in 1908 and went through several design changes, primarily new safety features. For instance, a magazine disconnect (remove the magazine and the gun won’t fire) was added in 1916. Colt made the gun until 1948 (only one was made that year so actually 1947). The war years of 1942-1945 also halted production. About 420,000 of these little guys were made. In 1958, Colt introduced a similar model called the Junior Colt.

Posted by Hello

Colt Vest Pockets were popular with men and women. As a woman, the grip fits my hand perfectly. Most of the grips for these little guns are plastic, but you could order one with factory walnut, ivory, carved ivory, mother of pearl, and carved mother of pearl grips. Most of the guns were blued, but one could order gold plated, silver plated, and nickel finishes. The Colt factory offered engraving and given the number of places to engrave on a 1908, engraving could be extremely fancy.

My Vest Pocket is blued with standard plastic grips appropriate to its year of manufacture. It was made in late 1919 when 43,000 of its brothers and sisters were born. Mine still has case-hardening colors on the trigger, grip safety, and slide lock safety. Most of its bluing is still intact. It is mechanically sound and complete with all matching serial numbers. It weighs only thirteen ounces and is 4.5 inches long overall.

I’ve taken this little fellow to the range and it is fairly accurate up to 25 feet, at ten feet it is surprisingly accurate even though its sights are minimal. In fact they are a groove carved in the rear leading to the front with a slight lump ending the groove. I think its accuracy is a factor of how well it fits my hand. It feels like an extension of my hand though my little finger doesn’t touch the gun at all. For an 86-year-old gun, it proved quite reliable. I had one stovepipe type misfeed that could be due to ammo or a weak magazine spring.

I mentioned engineering in these small packages. To disassemble all you have to do is pull the slide back a little and give the barrel a slight turn. It comes apart easily and goes together easily. All it takes is a little knowledge of how far back to move its slide and which direction to twist.

Appropriately, the Vest Pocket pistol fits in a pocket of an old vest with only a little bit of the grip showing (Vest Pocket is not truly descriptive, the name differentiates between it and the larger Colt 1903 Pocket Pistol). I tried it in the watch pocket of Bill’s jeans and it fits perfectly. I can imagine a man during the Roaring Twenties putting on a suit and slipping his Colt 1908 in a pocket or a woman sliding it into a beaded purse.

Colt Vest Pocket pistols represent a different era. They came from a time when people didn’t question a person’s need to carry a gun. It was just done. It was a more civilized time.

Other “One From the Vault” posts:
Smith & Wesson 340PD
Trapdoor Springfield
Beretta 21A
Winchester 101
Broomhandle Mauser "Bolo"

Monday, June 06, 2005

On Losing Shooting Ranges

Bill and I had a busy weekend with real estate meetings and other not so fun stuff. We did manage to get out to the range and shoot for awhile. I shot my Sig Hammerli target pistol and my AR-15 carbine. Bill shot his Baikal target pistol and his Schmidt-Rubin K31 Swiss rifle. Considering we haven’t burned any gunpowder for too long now, we both liked how our bullets hit more or less where we aimed.

It was great being out at the range on a sunny day after so many rainy days in May. We go to a private club that we had to join just to find a place to shoot. There are too few public ranges or even informal plinking ranges here.

Speaking of places to shoot, Michael Bane lost his range a few days ago. The United States Forest Service as represented, so far as I know, by a lone anti-gun ranger said no more shooting here. When you go to Michael’s post (and you should), be sure to read the comments for more background and information.

Back in April, Bill and I faced a similar loss. There’s a public area in Merrimack, New Hampshire called Horse Hill Nature Preserve. It’s been used for decades for hunting, target shooting, and other outdoorsy stuff. To the best of my knowledge, no one has been hurt or killed there because of shooting or hunting. A handful of nearby residents complained about noise and managed to get a petition that would have banned any shooting, even hunting, at the preserve. City councilmen softened it to limit only target shooting and to conduct a study on hunting affects.

The watered down version was offered to the voters and I’ll be damned, but it passed by an almost two-to-one margin. And New Hampshire is the “Live Free or Die” state. Since our state has a firearms preemption law, there’s a chance the state will squash the new regulation, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Ranges on public lands are getting few and far between. Granted, people still go out into the forest and set up a target and bang away, but in a congested area like Southern New Hampshire that’s not always a good idea. The dedicated shooter is then forced to look a private ranges open to anyone. Of course, these ranges have an hourly charge. Bill and I were spending way too much of our hard-earned dollars at one of these ranges.

We joined the private club and have a place to shoot for now. I don’t know if anti-gunnies are behind ranges closing and high range fee (their activities could drive up range insurance costs). For that matter they don’t have to be behind it. Market forces are enough to change shooting, as we know it. Back when I was a teenager, I could bike or later drive to the edge of town and plink to my heart’s content. No one whined about noise, no one called cops or rangers. Shooting was a normal activity 30 or so years ago.

Now shooting is a suspect activity. People who’ve never touched a gun before pass laws or regulations telling us where, when, and what to shoot. Neighbors have no toleration for a little noise on a Saturday afternoon. They view gunshots as a nuisance at best and something to fear at worst. To me, gunshots are the sound of freedom. I guess I’m just an old-fashioned gal in a new-fangled world.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Types of Anti-Gunnies Part II

In yesterday’s post, I identified six groups of gun grabbers based on their primary motive for opposing gun rights. There are shadings between them. So, I think it is useful to assign certain gun banners to a primary category, it might be useful to imagine the categories as a sort of Myer-Briggs smorgasbord (i.e., Statist/Victim/Legal Eagle). This is especially true of those who go out of their way to ban guns.

Here are a few ideas on how to deal with arguments by and members of these groups.

Hoplophobes are probably the easiest group to reach even though certain individuals may be impossible to convince. These people have an unreasoning fear of guns, but for an unknown number if they become familiar with a gun, shooting it, marrying into a gun owning family, etc. can eliminate their fears. In fact, gun purchases and concealed carry permitees increased after 9/11. Presumably, some of these purchasers were hoplophobes who lost their fear of guns due to increased fears over domestic terrorism. In fact, 9/11 gave gunnies a potent argument against hoplophobia since around 3,000 people were murdered without one gun present. These folks might be reached through offers of trips to shooting ranges, if they can overcome their fears.

Pacifists are hard to reach because most are certain that they’re right and no argument will change their minds. They are very dangerous to gunnies and must be fought head on. They might respond to information that gun control is a necessary precursor to genocide. The example of Darfur shows what happens when a government and their pawns clash with unarmed rivals. To protect ourselves from unrepentant pacifists we must strive to pass laws that strengthen the Second Amendment. If they ever achieve office they can at least face a thicket of laws to cut through before they begin gun grabbing.

Legal Eagles are hard to persuade, but unlike pacifists they can be convinced. Showing them evidence that gun bans don’t work, such as England’s bans, disturbs their worldviews. They will take time to process evidence, but eventually a handful will come around (Laurence Tribe for example). Unlike other groups, people in this category need facts, figures, and a good argument. Since they have a legalistic mindset, they appreciate a good debate. Read up on Second Amendment issues so that when you come up against a legal eagle you can defeat their rote arguments.

Victims cannot be persuaded. They believe in what they are doing and cloak themselves in their grief. At the same time, we must not be unsympathetic to their losses. Bad people do use guns to hurt good people. Telling victims that if they or their loved ones had been armed they would be unhurt or alive today is a slap in the face for them. They have to be fought with laws that protect us from them. We also need to decide what if anything we gunnies can do to reduce gun violence. I am not sure what we can do since I don’t trust Project Exile type solutions, and I don’t accept any form of gun control. Still, we must be willing to listen and not throw their grief back at them.

Opportunists go wherever the wind blows. This group can be very dangerous to us since they speak to perceived wisdom. They get elected and their ideas get noticed because those ideas mirror those shared by certain population segments. The media is our greatest enemy and their best ally. We need to secure friends in the media through journalist shooting classes and other outreach. We have made some strides here.

Elitists are snobs even when they’re gun collectors and avid shooters. Many are relatively harmless to our gun rights, except those who support bans on certain guns and try to limit gun ownership. Massachusetts’ gun control scheme is one example since getting a license is so often dependent on who you know and if you are of "a right sort." We can’t change their minds, so never put one in office and fight any kind of gun licensing scheme. We can reach out to them based on their shooting. If we can get them into shooting and owning fine black rifles they won’t support another “assault weapon” ban.

Statists believe that the state is benevolent and can lead us to a promised land. They will never admit they are wrong even if you show them what’s happening in places like England and Darfur. Like a Legal Eagle, they believe that one more law will solve gun violence only for them it’s actually one more increase in state power. They want registration, licensing, and every other power to “save” us from ourselves. They must be fought head on and on several fronts. For them, any increase in state power even as distant from gun control such as Kyoto Accords is a goal and tool for increased state interference in our lives.

As I said, there may be other categories and there may be different ways to fight anti-gunnies. But, I believe it is easier to fight an enemy one understands. I hope this idea makes at least a small contribution to our success.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Types of Anti-Gunnies

I got to thinking today about people who want to ban guns. These thoughts reminded me of our second blog post in which I described categories of gun owners.

It might be useful to categorize gun banners too. I tend to think in terms of categories since I categorize information as part of my job. I based my gun-banner categories on motives for wishing to ban all or certain guns. Let’s see what we get when we try to identify groups of gun haters.

True Hoplophobes fear guns unreasonably. They’ve probably never touched a gun. They believe that a gun can go off if they look at it funny, and feel that a gun turns a person into a Neanderthalic killer. Hoplophobes may give money to anti-gun organization and are willing to vote our rights away, but few are not leaders in anti-gun organizations. In fact, most tend to ignore the entire subject. However, if you marry one he or she will make you get rid of your guns.

Pacifists hate guns since they’re made to kill. They don’t necessarily fear guns, they just don’t understand why anyone could own or like to shoot firearms. They don’t recognize any sporting uses for guns, even hunting is bad since people kill Bambi. They believe self-defense is wrong since you might hurt or kill your fellow man. For them, it’s better to turn the other cheek or “be like Gandhi.” Many of them have religious (Christian or Eastern) motivations or are ex-hippies. They won’t rest until they convert all of us to their way of thinking. The editorial writers of the Christian Science Monitor are good examples.

Legal Eagles believe that if they pass enough laws they will end gun violence. Because they are law-abiding themselves, they tend to explain criminal behavior with poverty or a bad childhood rather than accepting a person might choose a life of crime. They blame Chicago’s and Washington, D.C.’s gun violence on other states like Virginia that haven’t reduced gun availability. They are confounded by reports that handgun crime has increased in England despite banning almost everything that even looks like a handgun. Senator Charles Schumer is one example.

Victims have actually survived gun violence themselves or someone close to them was maimed or killed with a gun. They ally themselves closely with Legal Eagles especially, but build bridges with anyone who can help their cause. The want to make sure that no other parent or spouse will ever feel the grief of gun violence. They are the speakers at Million Mom March rallies and include notable gun banners such as Sarah Brady and Carolyn McCarthy.

Opportunists are primarily politicians or “celebrities” who see gun banning as a cause that will help their popularity. They read polls that convinced them that most Americans want gun control. They don’t study the polls close enough to see that public opinion on guns is a mixed bag. For instance, a 2002 ABC News poll states that 73% of Americans believe the Second Amendment guarantees individual rights to guns, but 57% favor more gun control. People want to end gun violence, but they don’t want to end gun ownership at least not totally. Bill Clinton and most of Hollywood belongs here.

Elitists believe that gun ownership is fine for them and their "kind." They stereotype gun owners who haven’t attended the correct schools as troglodytes and rednecks. Elitists own guns, but lean toward fine shotguns and collector pieces. John Kerry is an example.

Statists can be from any walk of life, but politicians pose the most danger to us. Similar to Elitists, they believe that only certain people should have guns, but would limit gun ownership to the military or police. (Kerry could be in this group since he said if you wanted to own “assault weapons” you should join the military; however I think he has no problems with fine guns being in the hands of “his kind of people.”) They believe most Americans are too violent to be trusted with gun ownership. Al Gore belongs with these people.

There is cross-pollination between these categories. For instance, to win arguments a pacifist might borrow language from statists, but I believe most gun banners come to their beliefs through one primary motive. There may be other categories I haven’t identified, but I think my list is a good start.

Once we identify categories of gun-banners we still need to figure out how to convince individuals in each group to change their gun banning ways or how to neutralize their arguments. That will be in my next post.

06/06/05: I wrote the companion to this piece. Click here to read it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

An Editorial Writer on Gun Owners

Between condo buying and getting married, I haven’t been keeping up with the blogs and news as much as I should. While reading Ravenwood’s Universe I noticed a post about an editorial written by Lionel Van Deerlin appearing in the San Diego Union-Tribune on May 12. I told you I’ve been our of touch for awhile.

I actually felt my blood pressure rise as I read Van Deerlin’s editorial. I even wondered how his editors could have let him publish such a stilted and unfair piece. And, then I realized they believed every argument, every statement Van Deerlin uttered about gun owners and NRA. He was preaching to the choir and the choir was happy to let him sing while they hummed along.

So let us delve more deeply into Van Deerlin’s twisted arguments. In his first paragraph, Van Deerlin proudly waves his membership card in the "Bash George Bush" club. He describes NRA as a Bush beneficiary along with off-shore tax profiteers, contractors in Iraq, and religious right preachers. You gotta hand it to him; he is sneering, snide, and cynical all in his first paragraph.

He goes on to cite the Assault Weapon Ban as just one example of Bush helping an unholy alliance between NRA leaders and gun makers. Then, according to him, NRA lawyers are fanning our all over the country, “…to widen the beachhead for gun laws that won't stop until every American packs a pistol as casually – and yes, as lawfully – as his cell phone.”

I don’t know if NRA lawyers are pushing these laws, but I if not, I sure wish they would. Why shouldn’t law-abiding Americans be able to pack a pistol anywhere a police officer can pack one? If Van Deerlin could hear me now, his jaw would drop and his eyes would bug out. He couldn’t fathom that many of us think that carrying a concealed pistol for self-defense is a self-evident right. No, I imagine that he believes every "right-thinking person" understands how absurd it is to carry a gun—until that person finds out why he or she needs one.

He bashes Florida’s recently enacted “Castle Doctrine,” which states that if a reasonable person feels his or her life is in danger there is no special requirement to retreat from that danger. You can meet it with deadly force. Van Deerlin exaggerates the law into a license to murder anyone and a get-out-of-jail free card, “No court henceforth will have a right to convict, thanks to new rules that Gov. Jeb Bush was happy to sign into law. "I felt threatened" is all a judge or jury need hear to acquit.” Not close at all Mr. Van Deerlin, and one hopes you find treatment for that reading comprehension problem you’re exhibiting here. But, then again, I guess an accurate account of Florida’s new law wouldn’t serve his purposes.

He then describes efforts in other states to ease or revoke laws on carrying concealed weapons in places that serve alcohol (Ravenwood finds an error in his linking Virginia’s Citizen’s Defense League with NRA). Here Van Deerlin reveals just how little he regards Americans who subject themselves to FBI checks, criminal history checks, testing, training and everything else one must do in most states to carry a gun legally. To paraphrase, he believes armed Americans would let a chef know his food was inedible with a bullet. How insulting, how typically elitist and snobbish. How very stereotypical of an editorialist writing about gun owners.

He closes with two paragraphs. In one, he states NRA is on a roll and mentioned NRA’s convention Bill and I attended in April. The final paragraph ends with a snarky statement tying gun owners and gun homicides together. But, he can’t understand that the two don’t go together. Very few murderers have ever joined NRA, got a concealed weapon permit, got a curio and relics license, and took other steps that so many gun owners go through today.

Van Deerlin’s chief problem is shared by so many others in his profession. They are ignorant about gun owners and they don’t want to learn. They’ve received wisdom from on high that gun owners want to shoot at anyone who looks different from them. He needs to pull his head out of his fundament office and meet shooters, find out why so many states have enacted “shall issue” concealed carry.

If he did he would discover that gun owners have historically low accident rates, that concealed carry licensees don’t act like movie cowboys, and that blood hasn’t stained our streets with the end of the Assault Weapons ban. Still, I doubt he'll change his mind. He likes his sarcastic little tissue of lies more than the truth.