Monday, December 31, 2012

Why take this one?

I may be letting sarcasm take a strong tone in the last few posts, but I take pride in not operating at the lowest common denominator. People arguing for increased gun control, however, do seem to gravitate towards insults, hysteria, and jokes about relative size of genitalia; their concerns regarding how I feel about my genitalia are simultaneously unfounded (since I don't reference it, ever, they have no evidence regarding either the dimensions thereof nor my personal outlook on those dimensions) and very very creepy. "Lets all keep our parts to ourselves, said the high priest to the actress" (Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time).
Anyone who defaults to arguments more suited to a 9 year old is not having a debate, so its difficult to say we really have a widespread national 'Debate' going on.
Cries for a 'Conversation' about gun control seem to be popping up as well. We HAVE been having a comversation- control advocates have been telling us we should give them all up, and we have been telling them 'NO!' Just because one is dissatisfied with the outcome does not mean one can dismiss the comversation as non-existent.
Cries for 'Compromise' have gone up- a word to which there is more than one meaning. When we look at the compromises offered, it seems more that are asking us to do so in the manner of a compromised bridge structure, or having compromised one's morals. What we want are more freedoms, what they want are less- yet we are expected to compromise, and get slightly less. And, for what in return? Isnt that how compromise works? Pardon, but us giving up what we want and they getting what they want isn't compromise on my part. Its concession to a tantrum.
In closing, I offer a solution. In myriad ways, those working to institute changes in our country that are in opposition to the founding principles of our government greatly enjoy pointing outside our borders, to other nations they feel are more 'enlightened'. By all reports, there are many nations which approach their ideal, but only one which really approaches ours.
I encourage them, "Go forth! Your ties to this country must be tentative at least, so what constrains you here? Are there not enough places in the world to suit your needs that you must destroy mine? Go! If England suits you with their national health service and weapons laws, move to England! Australia? How wonderfully exotic, amd gun-free enough to suit your needs, I wager. Swedish Socialism? Chinese Communism? Argentina, Brazil, France? Go! We will not keep you here, nor miss your absence. But I have nowhere left- you have hounded my people throughout history, and we have no nation left to flee to, so here we make our stand. Get thee gone, and we may even help you pack."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Having it both ways

I have noticed a very disturbing tendency in many discussions around guns and the people arguing both for and against them- inconsistency. The same people who are vocal about restrictive gun laws are equally vocal about civil restrictions on people's personal lives. This internal disconnect makes me question their true dedication to either cause. One day, any given group may be strident about the injustices levvied on the populace by the FBI, then turn around the next and tell us, with a straight face, that I should trust exclusively in the police to protect me from harm. Others will look me in the eye and say that we have our god-given rights as Americans, then categorically dismiss huge swaths of the population for trying to obtain those same rights. State issued ID cards for voting are somehow racist, but government should screen us before allowing us near a firearm. Freedom of speech is sacrosanct, but censorship of dissent is a worthy cause.

You can't have it both ways. Either we are a free people, capable of making our own decisions, or we are serfs, servants who need cared for. You don't get to pick and choose which cause de jure warrants your internal belief system- all that indicates is that you are not possessed of one.

People on the right, you need to look at your views on freedom and decide whether we deserve ours, or if we should be gathered up and sent back to the lands of our ancestors. People on the left, you need to look at your views on the government and decide if its a benevolent force, saving us from ourselves or a juggernaut which needs to be kept in check by personal liberties. This mix and match shit has to go.

I don't have room in my life for hypocrisy.

Look at your beliefs, and find the inconsistencies. Look at the actions and beliefs of your politicians, of your associates, and find the inconsistencies. Challenge those inconsistencies, root them out, and then maybe we can have a meaningful discussion.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More like Europe

I keep hearing sounds from news sources, web sites, etc that sound an awful lot like 'Why can't the US be more like Europe?'

It seems to me that the reason the US speaks English is because it was founded by people that CAME from England because they had more going for them in an empty (comparatively- we won't get into the Native American situation here) wasteland than they did in England. We then fought TWO wars to make it damn assured that we WERENT England. Over the next hundred years, we took in cast-offs from EVERY OTHER European nation who had it way better here than in the Old Country, then fought a short war with Spain, who had screwed the pooch on their OWN colony effort, built ourselves into a world superpower in order to pull the Allies collective asses out of TWO wars, at great loss of life, stared down the threat of mutually assured destruction, and built a legal and social system that has been the envy of the world, and remained a world leader in the art of going to war to protect the citizenry of other countries all over the globe, even though the end threat to our personal homeland never materialized, except through sporadic terrorist action.

I suppose if we really want to be more like Europe, we should ignore any and all external threats, drive out our citizenry, then wait to get embroiled in a hopelessly destructive war with little chance to survive, and see who wants to pull us out.

Or was that not the same Europe you were talking about?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hubris of Gun Control

I've read, here and there, some commentary to the effect of 'Military style weapons do not need to be owned by civilians because nobody has invaded us for x many years, so they never will.'

This, more than any immediate tyranny of our own government, is wind we should be tacking against. While it is certainly of great concern to a free people that their government not fail or, in the extreme, attack them, we still maintain at least a functioning government. Until such time as the ballot box no longer functions, we still can avail ourselves of it. On the other hand, our nation is still beset by powerful enemies; the arrogance that we are untouchable by an enemy is a hubris that can cost us not only our rights, but our very nation.

Disarmament has historically led to few worthwhile outcomes. In Russia, Germany, and Cambodia, the atrocities were domestic, perpetrated by a government against its own people. In England, France, and Belgium, the post-war drawdown of military strength left them ill prepared to resist invasion. In the UK and Australia, civilian disarmament has, perhaps, led to a smaller proportion of gun crime, but increases in general violent crime negate much of that. In the process, further reforms have led to the unfortunate instance of severe prosecution for honorable self-defense. The current state of Central Africa is such that the only weapons are in the hands of marauders and warlords, with large portions of the population in refugee camps that are regularly attacked by outside forces. To believe, in our arrogance, that it would have an entirely different effect here than in any other corner of the globe borders on the absurd.

The notion that we require no civilian strength due to our military prowess and recent history is to ignore the vast majority of military experience, as well as to refuse the lessons inherent in every other nation's heritage. No nation in history has been entirely immune to military invasion. I see no driving reason that this is suddenly invalid. As regards military experience, one has only to discuss ground troop operations with any veteran of our most recent wars to know that one of the most serious threats to their safety is an armed civilian populace. This was made painfully apparent in Southeast Asia, during the wars in Korea and Vietnam, and has continued to bear out in actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. To dismiss this experience is to act without regard for the threats to our military forces and an abject failure to apply the lessons learned by our military to our national security.

The sheer arrogance of believing so strongly in our own moral authority is staggering. In the face of such enemies as we currently face, it would be a great error to open ourselves to this threat. Even a strong man can be felled by a lesser in a fight, if he lets his guard down. Our civilian ownership of firearms is a part of that guard. It would surpass arrogance, and move firmly into the realm of abject foolishness, for us to lay aside that safeguard.

Some ideas for mental health reform

Since I've been very vocal recently about the need for reform in the mental health field, I think its time to float some ideas.

First, I think we need to work on identification of illness. Privacy, especially in health care, is an absolute necessity, but I believe that, in order for reform to happen, we need the ability to cross check between law enforcement and medical professionals. As an idea, we could create a framework by which medical records could be flagged for violent mental illness tendencies and cross-referenced with criminal records. This would also allow law enforcement access to a violent history. I'm thinking we use a double blind system, where doctors and cops could see the flags, but access to the actual records would be by court order only. This maintains the confidential nature of the medical records. If we based the criteria on flag-counting, we can minimize false positives, as well as minimizing systemic abuse (as in cops or shrinks flagging records without cause). After a certain number of flags are marked, a review board would be able to recommend to the court whether or not to unseal the records.

Next, we need to revamp access to durable care. It has been noted that the largest treatment centers for mental illness are actually contained inside the prison system. This indicates to me that there is little to no support system for treatment until after a criminal conviction.

*A cautionary note- previously, mental health care was the purview of institutions that were little more than dumping grounds for people that were too hard to deal with. The nature of their illness and the level of apathy involved transformed many of them into nightmares, where even basic care was denied. Upon committal, patients would remain, without treatment (except for experimental therapy such as lobotomy or electro-shock) until they died. Conditions were often abhorrent.*

We need to establish reliable long-term treatment centers specifically to treat mental illness. They need to be staffed with professionals and should offer rehabilitation services, such as skill training and employment services. I am picturing something akin to drug and alcohol rehab centers with a heavy mixture of group home settings and work release. Aside- manufacturing and skilled artisan jobs would be a good fit here. Both would provide for compensation, job skills, and pride of self, while not requiring a lot of public contact and allowing for easy pickup and dropoff of patients.

Third- any and all flags, judgements, and records need to have an expiration date. This is CRITICAL because it will help ease the stigma of diagnosis. We have every reason to believe that there are people that would otherwise have sought help if it were not for the permanent nature of the diagnosis. If any and all diagnosese are inactive for a period of, say, 5 years, they would be sealed and rendered inactive unless additional flags are noted.

So that's my start. It won't entirely fix the problem, but its a framework to address the shortcomings of our current system. Please, leave comments regarding amendments. Lets get moving on this.

Monday, December 17, 2012

To all Gun Owners, Especially those who are not Politically Active

I've put more posts up here in the last week than in several months prior to that. I deeply wish that I had a better reason for doing so.

We, as gunnies, are under attack for the actions of madmen. Our ways and beliefs are going to be decried as 'enabling'. We are going to be told that these actions are due to OUR guns, OUR rights, OUR beliefs, despite the fact that this could not be further from the case. We are going to be told that we are few, and alone, and our rights should be sacrificed on the altar of political belief. Do not believe them.

Do not let them hound you into silence. People are going to be throwing around terms like 'Gun Lobby' and 'Evil NRA'. Don't let them get away with it. They want us to feel like we are alone in the woods, and we are surrounded. THAT IS NOT THE CASE. There are millions of us, in thousands of towns. We are in all 50 states, DC, and other countries. Remind them. When you see your neighbor believing the lies told about us, remind them that the gun lobby is YOU. Remind them that they are not removing the rights of some faceless, nebulous gun-owner. They are robbing the rights of their neighbors, their friends, their family. Be the face of the American Gun Owner. Remind yourselves and each other that we are not alone in this fight.

Our political opponenta will try to paint you with the blood of these children- remember that this action is not on your hands. They will try to paint you as uncaring monsters- show them they are wrong, show your neighbors and friends that those people are wrong about you. These are people that are willing to lie, to cheat, to use vitriol and bile against us. Rise above that. Expose their lies, brush aside their vitriol and stand proud. Show people the quality of your nature ans your beliefs, and the nastiness will hold no meaning.

Above all, do not fall silent. To retreat is to cede the arguement, and they that lie, and cheat, and defile your character while dabbling in the blood of the innocent and the grief of those left behind, will win the day. Don't sit back, and allow your rights, your reputation, and your culture to be sullied like this.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Commentary on school security from an Army officer

Go read it. It makes good sense.

Another Tip o the Hat to Sebastian, who is blogging enough for several these days.

Regarding mental illness

A post from a heartbroken mother of a different kind...

I drew a comment on one of my previous posts about this, and it certainly is a current failing of our healthcare system. We need to find a way to SAFELY AND HUMANELY manage these illnesses. I've seen footage from mental hospitals in years past, and it is unconscionable. People, and make no mistake, they ARE people no matter that they have a debilitating illness, should be treates better than that. But to cut people loose that represent a clear danger to themselves and others does service to neither us nor them.

So whats the answer? I don't know. But its something that needs AN answer, before we lose too much and still haven't fixed it.

Tip o the Hat to Sebastian at SNBQ.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Info! Armed citizen in Clackamas!

Now we have this new information!

I must comment, well done on all fronts, Mr Meli. Busy now, will comment more soon.

Tip o the cap to Sebastian @SNBQ

New External Pressure

From the AP, international pressure for us to surrender our rights.

Mostly from places where people already have, to little avail, or places that don't like us much anyhow.

Contact your Congresspeople. NOW. We took our day, now we have to wade back into the political arena. Let them know this will not stand.

Friday, December 14, 2012

From the Clackamas County Sheriff

This letter was posted today regarding the Portland Mall shooting.

I find it respectful and thoughtful, and it helps remind me that there are people out there whose job is to help; and they take it seriously.

A lot of people did a lot of things right that day. A lot of people stepped up to help others get clear, took steps to reduce exposure to the shooter, and stepped in to cover things against the worst case. In looking at the response, I think they would have been prepared had the event been even more catastrophic. Thankfully, it was not, though that is of little solace to grieving families.

Well done, First Responders.

On the ownership of Military Style weapons

One thing has often struck me regarding the private ownership of military style weapons, and their relationship to the 2nd Amendment. While many have commented on the use of firearms as a doomsday provision against domestic tyranny, we forget, sometimes, that they are also a hedge against foreign invasion.

In this time, and current global climate, I would not be the first to admit that the United States is the pre-eminant military power, in terms of technology and influence. We field a combined Army, Navy, including the Marine Corp, and Air Force made up entirely of volunteer servicemen, with the ability to project our military influence into any corner of the globe. Technological advances allow us to wage war or defend our sovereignty in minutes, rather than weeks. We have not seen a foreign military attack the Continental US for 200 years. I do not doubt that this has led, at least in part, to the belief that such a thing is not possible, nor ever will be.

That belief is wrong.

Part of the reason that we maintain the ability to project strength abroad is due to the fact that a foreign invasion would be unlikely to succeed. We are able to deploy our military internationally because we do not require the bulk of it to remain at home. And why is that? Domestic gun ownership. The United States has more civilians under arms, and willing to defend her, than most other countries have soldiers in their standing armies. In addition, many of those armies are made up of conscripts and/or mandatory enlistment. Because we have such domestic strength, we can focus our efforts outside of the country, to intercept threats at a greater distance, and offer greater aid to our allies.

That ability is under threat. While our enemies multiply and grow in strength, our country is flagging. Safety and security have dulled our natural watchfulness. That very watchfulness saw us through the most destructive land wars in modern history. The very specter of our domestic strength turned away the fiercest enemies our nation ever faced, without firing a single shot. If we turn away from that now, if we sacrifice our own strength to appease the baseless fears of others, we stand to lose more than we ever were threatened with during WWII.

During that war, we saw our allies beaten and bloodied by a foe they once thought vanquished. Britain, in particular, felt so newly secure that they destroyed massive amounts of military equipment, safe in the knowledge that such war could never come again. When it did, we put our manufacturing might to work building not only our own weapons, but theirs as well. The United States were the source of firepower for no less than three major players in the war. If we sacrifice that ability, and the security of a well armed nation, I do not see an ally that will be willing or able to fill the supply if war revisits our shores.

THAT is the well regulated militia. A militia consisting of anyone willing, able, and supplied to defend our nation.

Enemy Action?

With only a matter of days separating shootings here in Portland and now in Conneticut, and a scant few months from the Denver attack, I am beginning to lose my faith in coincidence. Whats the saying? Once is an accident, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action?

I'm beginning to believe this is enemy action. The hard part is, I cant identify an enemy at this point. As a nation, and a culture, we have plenty of enemies- some, even, with the wherewithal to exert covert pressure on us. I am not willing to lay these actions at the feet of political opponents- even at their most misguided, this is beyond the pale. At the same time, I KNOW that there are groups more than willing to lay these deaths at OUR feet.

Occam's Razor be damned, there has got to be some common tie here. There is too much coincidence- assaults carried out by seemingly innocuous young men, all using similar methods and weapons, in such a short period of time. I fear we have found the domestic equivalent of suicide bombers in the middle east.

This is all too disturbing for words. Somewhere, there is a hand at work, and we are being played.

Stay cautious, people. We need to get to the root of this, or it WILL break us as a nation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Update to Mall shooting

It appears the firearm in question (an AR 15) was stolen. Will update again when I find appropriatr information. Commentary to follow later.

Color me surprised

Within 18 hours of the Portland Mall shooting, drafts of capacity limiting legislation are introduced. I suspect they keep these handy, to introduce at the first moment. I will be contacting my representative immediately, as should anyone that reads this, who resides in Oregon. Lets nip this in the bud.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So this is happening...

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SHOTS_FIRED_MALL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

I almost want to post without comment, but can't. This happened here, in my town; incidently, the place we moved to to get away from Phoenix, where crine in our area was on the rise. Shit.

Please, I'm sharing this for the sake of information. Commentary will come later. At this time, please offer up only support for families and victims. If you are in the area, it may be time to get involved politically, but at this time, I will refrain.

Stay safe out there.

Update:

Official report is two victims killed, one wounded is in serious but stable condition. Killer is dead of apparent self inflicted gunshot wound.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A parting of the clouds

Danger is much improving. Modern antibiotics are wonderful things- some scant few years ago, we probably would have been a tick in the column marked Deadly Fever, and today we are a few short, scary days from a healthy, thriving newborn. Thank you, anyone who offered prayers and thoughts on his behalf. They aided greatly, I have no doubt.

Blog content may return to its previous, ridiculously unpredictable schedule. Lets face it, I aint gonna get famous blogging like this.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Still raining...

Our little man is still under the weather, but the clouds are lightening. If anyone out there is planning on sacrificing a chicken or something on his behalf (or eating one, or anything, really) theres still time. His antibiotics are working well, and now its just a matter of time until we get Danger home again.

Thanks, anyone out there praying and pulling for him. Danger appreciates it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Under the Weather

Blog content often dries up around here- this time I have a good reason. My Lovely Wife and I welcomed our happy baby boy (Codename: Danger) to the world the day before Halloween. Well, he's back in the hospital again. A bladder infection, at two weeks of age, is a serious thing.

So Danger is a bit under the weather. We will be spending the next week in and out if the NICU.

I would never ask this for myself, but seeing as this is my kid- if anyone has an extra prayer, or a positive vibe, or a sacrifice to Gaia; whatever your thing is, we're not picky. Just send them his way. He's doing well in antibiotics, but a little extra help never hurt anyone.

Thanks, from us and from Danger.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Just for the record

Sometimes they get it right. Police shoot and injure Oregon man.

They were there inside 5 minutes, tased him, then fired 2 shots. He was punching a woman in the face, stabbed his neighbor, and advanced on the officers with a weapon. As much as the cops get dogged on, sometimes its important to remember there are good ones, who do the right things in the right order. Would that their number increases, and the other declines.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Armistice, Thankfulness, and Remembrance

To all of my friends and family in service to the nation, my profound thanks. My young son sleeps in peace because rough men stand in the dark, or in the mud, or in the sand, or ship decks, on his behalf.

To those of you who have passed the fire thus far unscathed- you pledged yourself to accept scars and injury on our part, and I am thankful it has not been required of you.

To those of you who bear those scars- on this day in 1918, the guns fell silent. I hope for you a future that holds healing, as those men looked to the future and no longer saw war, but healing and rest. May you feel the swell of pride, and not the twinge of wounds.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Everyone loves a good Conspiracy Theory

And heres the seeds of one- why are the Presidents picks (Holder, now Petraeus, at CIA) suddenly vacating, or considering doing so?

Hypothesize away!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Whither shall we go from here?

Now that I've got that last rant off of my chest, I have a few observations to make regarding where I will be spending my time and attention moving forward.

I have been at odds with the Republican party for some time now, mostly regarding their social engineering platforms. I grew up in a rural community in a very sparsely populated state, and it may surprise more than a few people that my family traditionally belongs to the Democratic Party. My Grandad was actually the chairman of the local Democratic board for many years, and was fairly active in local and statewide politics. Most of my family still consider themselves Democrats, for a variety of reasons. Many of those reasons involve the ham-fisted social engineering of the Republican party, and the tendency towards the very rich and the megacorporations that goes hand in hand with the party as it is today. While I have many faults with the Democratic Party on the Federal scale, those beliefs do not often coincide with the ground level politics of many of its members.

In the last 50 years, we have seen some pretty major shifts in the focus of the two major parties. Somehow, the 'Peace, Love, and Freedom' Democrats of the 60s and 70s have morphed into the 'Nanny State' Democrats of today. The Republican Party has shifted away from Barry Goldwater and become ever increasingly Puritan- to their detriment.

We saw this play out numerous times in this election cycle. Witness the backlash on Todd Akin for his ill-advised 'Shut that whole thing down' comment, and Richard Mourdock's 'God-Intended Baby' comment. In both these races, an ostensibly viable candidate was brought to a halt by the Republican Party's insistence on Social and Moral Engineering through government power. Other Republicans, such as Minnesota's Michelle Bachmann, faced tough races, for reasons certain to include their support for the Defense of Marriage Act (which I find a travesty on any number of levels). Social and Moral engineering is losing races for the Republican Party. Unfortunately, it is one of the few places where they place the majority of their effort. Ultimately, I expect a wholesale shift away from these morality play politics, which will leave these players high and dry, and probably end in giving away their seats to the opposing party.

To circle back, I think it is important to recall the number of people involved in the Democratic party that are NOT the major Washington DC players. I find it perfectly reasonable to believe there are large numbers of people, within the Democratic Party, who are open to ideas such as fiscal responsibility and gun rights. The reason that I find this so reasonable is that I know quite a few. Their politics, although they still differ from my own, do not align with the Party leadership. These are the people that we need to be courting. We have seen a few of them- recall the Blue Dog Democrats. While ostensibly moderates, it must be noted that many of them would make acceptable candidates on a fiscal conservative standpoint. They are also, often, from Southern states, where rural areas and gun ownership are certainly prevalent. Too, they are being weeded out in the primaries by more radical and strongly leftist mainstream Democrats.

To that end, I am considering shifting my 'Official' Party affiliation to the Democratic Party- don't get me wrong, here, I'm not changing my views, nor am I compromising my core values. I had almost as many misgivings about registering in Oregon as a Republican as I do about registering as a Democrat. But it seems to me that there are more chances to influence people on a low level in the Democratic Party. By finding ground-level Democrats that are open to reducing debt and government intrusion, and are friendly to gun rights and personal freedom, we can begin to push that party towards our end goal. There may even come a time when we can push the various portions of both parties into cooperating on our behalf- possibly even creating a strong coalition and the seeds of a new party of freedom. Rather than fighting the statist Democrats in the general election, using equally statist and repugnant Republicans, lets fight them in the Primaries, using young buck Democrats that we can convince to back our ideals. What we're doing right now isn't gaining ground- we had best watch our backs lest we lose all the ground we have made in the last 10 years. It may be time to watch the tide, and shore up our lines with a few ascendant Democrats. We know it works when it makes new shooters, maybe it will work when we make new politicians.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Just one election comment

I was going to let this day by, but I have something to say.

Everyone out there saying, "Look what Gary Johnson did to the election!" or "ZOMG VOTE THEFT DAMN YOU LIBERTARIANS" or "Just swallow your pride and vote for us... because vote for us..." I say: Screw you guys.

No, I mean it. Screw you guys. I accept that Barack Obama is not the guy we want in charge of our gun rights, but to come down on your high horse and say, in a most holier than thou way, that this is OUR fault, as though the one million votes that Gary got were the exact million votes that threw the race, is about as smug and infuriating as it is possible to be. If I want smug and superior, I'll register as a Dem and vote in THEIR primary. You want to pin your loss on someone, and we are it. Well, screw you, I'm not taking the fall.

Everyone that wants to blame this on the crazy Libertarians needs to realize- NOBODY COURTED US FOR OUR VOTE. Oh, sure, we get some lip service. But nobody came out and said, "Hey, you, in the back, that just want to be left alone... What can we do to make YOU happy?" Which makes me think that we were not a critical voting bloc, yes? We were, maybe, not the moderate independents that both camps were appealing to? So why, in the fiery depths of bipartisan burning f#$%ing HELL are we the ones that are expected to compromise our beliefs and vote YOUR guy into power? How was that supposed to work? We are goddamn Libertarians, for Pete's sake, not toeing the line IS THE ENTIRETY OF OUR PLATFORM! So we are expected to just fall into place, and vote blindly for the guy thats just as bad, bit in different ways than the other guy that sucks? I repeat: Screw you.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Exceptionally American

I find it worthy of note that we are a nation built of malcontents- not willing to suffer under their heel, we cast aside their society, fled their beloved lands, and began anew. At each turning, American malcontents thrust aside the ideals of their 'betters' and found boundless achievements waiting on the far side of toil. In truth, their disgust at our simplicity may be the horror of watching their castoffs surpass them. While there are some in this nation that would debase their natural right of self governance and supplicate themselves to the lands that sent us forth, many of us recall that fact: where once we were unworthy, we have risen to surpass them. What can they now promise us that we cannot gain for ourselves?

I now send you forth to Borepatch, for Context and Copeland.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Regarding books...

I love books. Even books I dont like. A book is a symbol of technique that changed the world, a sea change from a time when knowledge could be lost forever to an untimely death, to a world of a long sustained wealth of knowledge, unlocked only by a basic knowledge and a hunger to learn. Keep your ebooks and iPads. My library needs only to remain dry to pass the wisdom of eons to generations...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Open Carry Redux

So Im listening to the Squirrel Report (you ARE following, right?) and they are talking about Open Carry. I LOVE talking about Open Carry. I love Open Carrying. That being said, I have always lived in an OC friendly state. Montana growing up, Arizona after that, now Oregon. I LOVE IT. And I've gotten nearly zero negative comments, a couple seriously positive responses, and only one (1!) slightly negative response. I get a little weary of of PSH references, because its really a non-issue. As in NOT AN ISSUE. So, go forth and OC. Its good for you, and all of us. Plus, its got vitamins!

Squirrel!

I wish I had time on Thursdays for this...
And they're not on this week, so I'm listening to backlogs. I keep listening, and want to talk, I want to call in, I want to DEBATE! But here on the far coast, it all goes down at dinnertime. Right now Im working around the house, and find myself talking to my earbuds, frustrated by their inability to hear me. Go- listen, follow, enjoy. Call in, if you can. These people are awesome.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fix Bayonet!

I just had an awesome thought- build a 'workhorse' ar. You know the type; tuned for reliability, solid fixed sights, nothing too fancy or heavy. Paint it all colors of the rainbow. Fix bayonet! Your workhorse ar has now been magically transformed into a tactical rainbow unicorn!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

An Ironic Tone

Inspired by new member K-

This post has no nutritional value; if life like a Talking Heads song, we have this line-

'You start a conversation you cant even finish... You're talking a lot, but you're not SAYING anything... When I've got nothing to say, my lips are sealed... Say something once, why say it again?'

However, it still beats the hell out of Life During Wartime...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New faces!

I see I have picked up two new members! Thanks for visiting, K and Trucker Mom! Please, explore the sidebars and the old posts, and leave some comments, if you feel like!

Woo Hoo, I'm up to 4 members!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wind and Water...


I find many people to be woefully underinformed regarding wind power. The thing- THE thing, really- about wind power, is that from an engineering standpoint, the power generation factor of wind is... zero. I'm not saying that it can't help, I'm not saying that it can't work; what I'm saying here is that because of its reliability, it CAN NOT replace a single other source of electrical generation. It has to do with the way our power grid is set up- there is no electrical storage capacity in our grid system. This isn't (really) a knock on the engineers, because there is not really any great NEED for storage capacity. Our generation abilities have almost always been sufficient to the task at hand.

One of the properties of the electrical grid is that electricity tolerates incredible little variation. The direct relationship between volts, amps, and watts means that any variation in the supply system can drastically alter the supply of energy, and cause catastrophic problems if it does not remain in balance. I'll try not to bore you with the formulas, especially since I am not an electrical engineer, and will probably get some of this wrong. The long and short is, Watts (or VA) are equal to Volts multiplied by Amperes. The equation is simple- W=VA (which is why watts are sometimes referred to as VA). Wattage is a measure of how much energy is being used or provided. A 100 watt bulb uses 100 watts of energy. Most household appliances, with the exception of high load items, use 120VAC power (sometimes called 110, 115, 120V, which is due to the tolerance for very SLIGHT variation) the AC portion means Alternating Current, which is extraneous to our discussion at this time. Therefore, by our equation, a 100 watt bulb, at 120 Volts equals .83 amps. If available energy exceeds this, that's all well and good. However, if available current does not meet this number, things begin to shift. As load exceeds supply, voltage begins to drop. As voltage drops, amperage begins to rise. Another way to look at it is when amperage (or wattage) rises, voltage begins to drop. A bulb designed around 100W/120V (iow, .83A), will not be able to withstand the amperage of operating at 100W/80V (1.25A). Other systems are even more sensitive. Any variation in supply will put household appliances (an especially anything with a computer board) outside of their design parameters. Things designed around 120 V power, when supplied with 80V, have a tendency to run poorly or not at all, and can cause breakers to trip, fuses to blow, and wiring to melt (sometimes light on fire!). Variations outside the standard are NOT good for an electrical system.

How does this relate to wind power? Easy- wind power is variable. HIGHLY variable. In fact, generation from a single plant can vary anywhere from its maximum rated output to zero. If the wind dies down, generation drops to zero. Without a viable method of storage, this means its average electrical output, the number used for calculating reliability, is also zero. Wind power, without storage capability, can never be used as a sole source of electricity. In order to supply a full power grid, there will always need to be a secondary power source.

Well, then, Mr. Smartass, do we just abandon green energy and keep burning fossil fuels until we run out? No. I said at the very beginning that I was not contraindicating its usefulness. The difference is twofold. The first, as touched on already, is storage. There aren't enough batteries in the world to operate the United States, at full consumption, for a single hour (probably more like a single second). However, if enough people were to install some sort of consumer scale wind power AND A STORAGE SYSTEM, the average draw of each house on the grid would decrease, and lead to a direct reduction in the amount of electrical generation required. This would allow the power generation to be reduced (or, more accurately, would reduce the need to expand). Its ironic, but the best way to influence power consumption on a national scale is actually to diffuse the generation. As more and more gadgets enter our lives, and we continue to build and expand upon the power grid, an influx in solar and wind generation can reduce the need to build new or larger generation plants. However, without the ability to store energy, all this will be for nought. The gigantic wind farms one sees in many places here in the west represent the lease efficient implementation of wind power that I can think of. They are vanity constructions, federally subsidized generation plants with an average output of zero. Only be decentralizing the grid, and producing power locally, can real energy efficiency be realized, and truly 'green' energy be produced.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What ELSE are they not telling us?

I want you all to click thru to this video, then come back.
This will take some time- shake off your tl;dr and dive in.

American trust in the press is at a historical low and WE KNOW IT. I have my differences with the administration, and I think that Romney is to be trusted little more, if at all. But the saving grace has always been that we could trust the NEWS. Even if we couldnt trust the politicians, we could trust the reporters. Watergate is a pretty shallow pool compared to the depths we skate over today. The Constitutionally protected (not provided, protected; but thats a different rant) right to freedom of the press will be worth NOTHING if that right is abdicated for a few dollars.

Watergate was about staying in power- raiding the files for an inside view, then covering it up. We have the elements of a GLOBAL CONFRONTATION brewing, and we get fluff pieces about MTV Rejects continuing to do stupid things. A law abiding group of citizens concerned with profligate spending is labeled a terrorist organization, but a wastrel, unguided student movement that causes millions of dollars nationwide in damages is a Freedom movement? Meanwhile ACTUAL GODDAMN TERRORIST GROUPS ARE ATTACKING OUR DIPLOMATS WORLDWIDE and we are told its all our fault for letting some shitbrain asshole do what assholes are wont to do?
Think, for a monent, about Pakistan. The President is allowed to have a special, secret list, including American citizens therein, which nobody is allowed to see, except by his whim, and sends ROBOT ASSASSINS INTO SOVEREIGN NATIONS TO ELIMINATE THE PEOPLE ON IT AND THE PRESS IS OK WITH THIS!?! What if Bush had done this? What if Romney wins and decides that George Soros is on his list? What if Obama wins, and decides Rush Limbaugh is on his list? What if either of them tell the news outlets to report it as a heart attack AND THEY DO?

Hyperbole much? Maybe. But when the Ministry of Love tells you that we have always been at war with Eastasia and that chocolate rations have been increased, dont go looking for a free press to check against. Just take your Soma and go back to your view wall, Betas. Its all down the memory hole, and there is no Foundation to save us. All those dystopian futures that we read in sci-fi- all the systems in place, and we thought, "yeah, but what happened between now and then?" We are living it. Right now.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Does nature care as much for us as we for it.

Via Borepatch, a discussion CO2 efficiency. As for my personal views- I do believe we, as a species, have an obligation to protect and maintain the world ecology- our advances in technology have allowed us to counteract the forces of nature to a degree beyond any other species. This tech has been the catalyst for our success and developement. It has also allowed us to have a disproportionate effect on the world around us, meaning the fate of the world as we know it is in our figurative hands. Preferring to live and let live, I find it to be morally sound to lessen my impact on other species when I can. While I have very strong doubts about the science involved in AGW, I do not deny that we have had a negative impact on our habitat, and this is a problem. It would be a good thing to mitigate this effect.

However, TANSTAFL. Nuclear power is low air impact, but costly, and carries other hazards. Coal is cheaper, but has many environmental impacts. Natural gas burns much cleaner than coal, but fracking comes with its own costs (I prefer not to be able to light my tapwater on fire) The most carbon neutral energy source available is hydroelectric, but dams are under attack on many fronts. Every one of our sources has a cost.

There are some, of course, who feel we should do NONE of these things. Mainly, it seems, this idea is espoused by people who do not understand the further implications of their beliefs. I find quite an irony in the idea that there are groups of people who feel it is nobler, somehow, to be without- a form of asceticism, if you will. If everybody followed their lead, to give up all our technological progress, to the benefit of the natural world, we would then be subject to the whims of the natural, which are aggressive and devoid of mercy or regret. The strong will live, the weak will fail, and we would then be free of the forced acetics, and could regain our current state without their burden.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

No 2012 Farm Bill

While its a bit far afield from my gunny readers, I would take note of the failure to pass a Farm Bill for 2012. The House has recessed, making it a virtual certainty that there will be no replacement when the current bill sunsets, at the end of the month.

There are a few ways this will affect the population.

Firstly, scheduled farm subsidies will not have authority to be paid. I know, the Libertarian in me objects to farm subsidies, but the farmer in me knows theres precious little profit in it at ground level, and this money helps defray that fact. The subsidies may ne paod anyway, but without an active farm bill, there is no current authority to do so. This will have the effect of ruining more than a couple farmers that are on the edge. Further, it will reduce the food supply for next year, causing prices to rise.

Second, the authority to issue foos stamps is tied to the farm bill. In much the same way, food stamps MAY continue to go out- this will be entirely deficit money, as there is no law (LITERALLY NO LAW) that authorizes or even defines the rules for food stamps. If the check fails to go out- expect riots. Lots of riots. Because all those people receiving them will be both hungry and confused (and probably pissed off that their free money is not appearing).

Third, an issue related to the first. There is one farm bill that remains in effect, as it has no sunset provision. The farm bill of 1949 sets some subsidies based on the purchasing power of product raised. This is not ideal, because the food price has changed a LOT since this bill went into effect. The long and short of this is that food products will be worth more poured out on the ground and lit on fire than they are sold to consumers. Without a DRASTIC rise in food cost, we may easily see valuable food going to waste while starving people riot over the loss of their panum et circensis.

Unless this gets ironed out, be concerned. Very concerned.

Stay safe out there.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Slick Mittens vs the World

I am very much not a Republican. In point of fact, the top tier ends of both parties greatly concern me on behalf of the goal of liberty. The Democrat party wants to enslave me for some nebulous 'greater good.' The Republican party wants to enslave me to a corporate powerhouse. Lets not play games here, our nation was decidedly not in a healthier place when elite business owners were forcing their employees to work 90 hour weeks, for minimal compensation, in horrible conditions, prior to the rise of labor unions. Nor will we be any better when a ruthless mob makes policy, stealing everythimg from everyone to give to everyone else. The heart of the matter is that moderation is the key to balance, and NOBODY geys fired up about moderation.
Mitt Romney represents the least ideal combination of the two parties. I suspect that he will, in fact, do well to put the largest corporate policymakers more securely in the seat of power. I suspect that he will do little to rein in the spending and profligate waste of resources at the Federal levek. At the same time, I suspect he will be a failure on the civil rights front. Governments expansion with regressive social policy. A fiscal liberal and a social conservative. The Dark Side of moderate.
Today, the Democrats are jaded, disappointed in their star pupil- he was given every opportunity and he has failed them. The Republican party, however, is fired up. They are ready and willing to put an R back on top, no matter who it is. Mitt Romney has rewritten his image to conform to their demands, but I do not believe he has changed his core beliefs. The end result is the Republican party could very well, in their thirst for a Conservative in Chief, push a man into high office that would never have otherwise been able to sustain their interest.

The long shot is, a rabidly conservative base is in a position to elect a moderate, none if whose real policies agree with theirs, to replace an abject failure, none of whose policies are his own, in the office of the President. The MOST ironic part is that there is no other way to elect him. The right despises his political views as much as the left.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm back...

ish. I took a bit of a break there, because things have been hectic. In fact, they still are. We are closing in rapidly on the date of arrival for our newest family member, our firstborn son. I still have to finish the home we are living in. And life continues to be Interesting on a global front. So I think its time to post more paranoid ramblings, as well as finish up some of the series I have started. Stay tuned, if anyone missed me, just dont expect a great volume. Like I said, life is hectic.

Legacy skills

I love legacy skills. Legacy skills are the ones that are being eroded by science and technology, or require tools no longer in common use, or belong to a class of things that 'people just dont do', those people being the nebulous 'Average Americans'. I sat on the floor today and hemmed curtains for Danger's bedroom, wearing a gun in a handmade leather holster, and I may can some homegrown tomatoes tomorrow. Thankfully, I come from a family filled with people who still DO stuff like that... :-)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Nobody asked me to be quiet

So I'm not going to. Blogger day of silence? News to me. I spend enough time not blogging as it is, but I'mm just enough of a non-follower to post this in disregard. Yes, I'm absolutely as concerned about the rest of my inalienable rights as I am about 2A.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

So make one that does...

I have a problem with gear- mostly that I don't like a lot of it. I'm very lean for my height, so clothes are tricky to fit. It seems like every piece of work or personal gear I own is ALMOST perfect, and I like things to be just so. This, more than anything, drives my impulse to personalize and modify equipment.

There is one other major factor- cost. Custom, especially in the realm of gear and guns, is expensive. So I find things that are close to perfect, and modify them as I see fit.

This brings me to my latest project, my shirtslicker. I have a dilemma; I live in Oregon, and I work outdoors, and I hate raincoats. They're clammy, they rustle (I prefer the option of stealth, although I talk loud enough to negate it), and they cling to me, and annoy me. So I stand in the rain and get wet, which is less than ideal. Today, I lit upon a solution. I took a regular long sleeve cotton shirt and waxed it.

It turns out, oilcloth is really just cotton canvas treated with linseed oil and wax. For the cost of a few bucks in boot wax, and the knowledge that I can never wash this shirt again, I have a rain resistant piece if outerwear that meets all my criteria. Its as simple as applying a thick, even coating of boot wax (I prefer Obenauf's LP, but could only find Sno-Seal), rubbing it in, then hitting it with a hair dryer to push it into the cotton. I may need to put an additional coat on, but I'll try it tomorrow and see how it works.

So it really is as simple as that. If you can't find the item that works, just make one that does. If you can't do that, well, I'd advise learning.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Somehow my Quantum Mechanic...

Always seems to charge more than the estimate. Watching a Discovery channel special about wormholes, a few things occur to me.

1) In theory, there is no difference between theory and reality. In reality, there is. When a super mega smart astrophysicist says warping space is easy, and you can go as fast as you want, he's right. In theory, we can go faster than light. In REALITY we haven't gotten TO light speed yet. Maybe if you were nicer to the engineers, they would help you with that.

2) When talking about real stuff, try to get it right. To the people that know how things work, you sound like an idiot, which costs you in credibility. The highway tunnel is not made of concrete and reinforced steel. It's made of reinforced CONCRETE and STEEL. Pedantic? Yes. But it is an important distinction.

3) We, as a nation, are spending serious money paying dreamers to think very cool thoughts about visiting other stars, while cutting the positions of very serious people who ACTUALLY GOT US TO THE MOON. Who needs a horse when we can spend all our dough on this nifty cart?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hmmm...

Art thys thyng working?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Even the Quote of the Day is a link...

Still busy busy. Making countertops today! So, just to remember how to work this thingy, I link you to a previous quote from Kevin Baker at TSM. Just in case you weren't reading TSM, you should be. Careful, it takes time...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pratchett of the (How far apart were we going to do these?)

"Aagrahgaah," said Detritus mournfully.


"Don't mind me, just don't spit it on my boot," said Vimes.


"It mean-" Detritus waved a huge hand, "like... dem things, what only come in..." he paused looked at his fingers, while his lips moved "...fours. Aagrahgaah. It mean lit'rally der time when you see dem little pebbles and you jus' know dere's gonna be a great big landslide on toppa you and it already too late to run. Dat moment, dat's aagragaah."


Vimes's own lips moved. "Forebodings?"


"Dat's der bunny."


"Where does the word come from?"


Detritus shrugged. "Maybe it named after der soun' you make just as a t'ousand ton of rock hit you."


- Jingo, by Terry Pratchett, page 13 (from the top, after Leshp has reappeared, and they're watching the people in Sator Square harangue and such. I'm telling you, RTWT)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bad Things Happen to Good People Bag, some assy req'd

After a pretty serious amount of interest (at least on MY scale, Thanks Tam!) in my version of the ready bag (choose your favorite nickname! Heck, you can call it Flobert for all I care) I thought I'd put together a real post, pictures and everything! So here's my new Go-Bag.

Here's an overview of my ideal: I'm building a bag that I can have with me at basically all times. I need it to be well organized, convenient, and full of things that I will PROBABLY need. This last requirement is where I shift away from the traditional Bug Out Bag. I have noticed that there are people in the world that are building these Bug Out Bags that have absolutely no concept of how hard it is to carry an 80 lb pack. I HAVE carried an 80 lb pack, and it SUCKS! More to the point, it is nearly impossible, without serious training (yes, I'm looking at you, USMC) to 'grab' an 80 lb backpack and just walk away. Yes, I know the hardcore will excoriate me for not including 17 loaded 35 rd magazines for my M4gery, but I don't even have one of those, so it's a moot point.

What's NOT  moot point, is that this bag is not a 3 day zombie invasion bag. My battle rifle is at home (don't muck about, I am pretty good with stripper clips, and I'm pretty sure I can lay effective fire from the SMLE as fast as the next totally untrained random guy) and that's where I'm trying to get to. If you've waited until you have 8 minutes to duck out before the fall of man, a 3 day bag won't do you any good. So this is a 24 hour bag. It contains a junk-drawer cross section of all the things I think would come in handy if I were REALLY stranded, as well as a few things that I know come in handy on an irregular basis. You all know the chassis I chose (if not, click here) so this is a rundown of the stuff I put in it.

First stop, exterior. As you can see, my hatchet rides quit nicely on the MOLLE webbing that covers the face of the bag. This is just an ordinary hand axe from Gerber- lightweight, stays sharp, handy as all hell. I chose the long handle hatchet, but to suit other needs there is also a compact handle (about 7in) and a camp axe (about 24in) available.

Next, front interior pocket.

As you can see, this pocket has a lot of organizers, which I like.This one contains some of the various school standards, such as pens, pencils, scratch paper, and various patchcords for phones and music, etc. Nothing too exciting here. I have added small bottles of mouthwash, shampoo, and contact solution (and a spare contact case) for some basic hygiene.The first two forms of fire are here, a standard Bic lighter and some strike anywhere matches. I generally prefer to have at least 2 or more means of starting a fire on my person. Two is One and One is None; this applies to fire sources more than others, since they are relatively fragile.

Main Pocket.

This one, as you can well see, has A LOT of pockets. Remember, this is built as a tool bag, so each one of these pockets would hold a wrench, ratchet, or etc. This is great for organizing. Which is also great for me, because in this portion I have, in no particular order: A can of Stearno, roll of duct tape, 3 road flares, water purification tablets, a sewing kit, extra socks, work gloves, ziplock bags, batteries, a hunting knife, sharpening stone, rubber bands, zipties, a small roll of twine, wet-wipes, and two packages of tissues. Whew! Say that 5 times fast! I'm not going to go into the utility or reasoning behind these items, as I'm sure that most people can spot that pretty easily, but I'm going to mention one that most seem to leave off the list: dry socks. You know what the difference is between jungle rot and athlete's foot? You guessed it, dry socks. Also, one will notice that I have rather a lot of items included that are for sanitation. This is not a theoretical inclusion- wet wipes are in there from personal experience. Whether filthy from fire or flood extraction or from gutting a deer, wet wipes can make you feel like an entirely new person. Tissues, by the way, handily double as toilet paper, and there's a reason that fireline crews call that stuff 'mountain money.'

Next up, Blowout Kit(s)

I say multiple kits because I keep a handful of these around at all times. The main portion of my kit in this bag is not actually included, but attached to the outside. That is the small, camerabag looking 'Husky' item that you can see clipped to the waist strap (shown on far right). I keep it thusly because I firmly believe that Blowout kits should be something one does not have to dig for. If you need it, you generally need it when every second counts. Inside that kit, I have the usual bandages, wipes, tweezers, tape, etc. but I also have added an Isreali Battle Dressing, a packet of Celox styptic powder (don't be stupid with this stuff) and a small tube of Super Glue (see previous disclaimer). My booster kit (shown to center) contains extras of several items, including tape, ointment, gauze, and another IBD. This booster kit occupies its own dedicated pocket, which will shortly have a First Aid label applied to it.

A last note on things I haven't added yet. There are a few items that I still have to add to this particular Go-Bag, but they are redundancy items, for the most part. I am going to add a permanent resident flashlight, (two is one and one is none) as well as a spare Leatherman tool (to supplement the one that lives on my side full-time). Some paracord will be added shortly (it's around, just not in the kit yet). The last item is one that I'll have to chase down; a solar/dynamo radio, with USB plugs for charging electronics. Just think how far we have come that I'm trying to figure out how to power my cell phone with a hand crank...

Anyhow, there you have it. That's my Bad Things Happen to Good People Bag. Handy, ever present, and weighing in at a current 13 lbs. After all, if the first rule of gun fights is to have your gun with you, then the first rule of survival is to have your tools with you. An 80lb 3 day pack does you no good if it's safe, at home, cause the damn thing's to heavy to move around.  Stay safe!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Clausewitz- A book review in at least two parts...

OK, through book one and now for some actual review-y type things.

First off, this guy really seems to know his stuff.  The version that I purchased was compiled by several historians (although none of them particularly military) and they included, in the introduction, a timeline of his life. The man served in at least 3 different armies, fought both alongside and against Napoleon Bonaparte, and was an officer for most of his 53 years. He joined the army of Prussia at the age of 12. So, yeah, experience is a big 'check.'

In point of fact, I am also not a military man. There was a time when I strongly considered service, but in the end, I went a different direction. Many of my friends and family members, however, have undertaken military service, so I do have their experience to draw from.That being said, most of the military people I know are/were enlisted men, not officers and certainly not commanders, so much of the wisdom Clausewitz imparts I have little context for. This is not to say it is not valuable information, and indeed his wisdom has given me a curiously different insight on the current prosecution of our various wars.

I have finished Book One, which was the most thoroughly reviewed and edited book the author was able to produce. It is clear from the various introductions, and from the author's notes, that he intended to continue to revise the later works, as well, but his life and career were ended by illness at what we could consider (even for the time) a rather young age. Book One explores the Idea of War; that is to say Why we go to war, What its use and purpose is, and What it means to fight a war. He begins to lay out his theories regarding the major purposes of war and of what traits make a good, or even great, commander. His comments regarding the 'Friction' of war were of particular interest to me, as he makes it quite clear that it would be folly to disregard the individuals that make up your command. This struck me as distinct, especially given the propensity for historians to regard wars as games of chess, or statistical features.

Cross-application- This one can be a little hazy, but I believe many of the concepts he espouses, although he prefaces them as features of war and combat, can also apply to business and personal life. The portions regarding the relationship between both allies and enemies is particularly of interest in the business world. While a large part of the book thus far deals with features found in war that are not found elsewhere, there remain many worthwhile concepts here to explore.

In Conclusion, Carl von Clausewitz begins to lay out the foundations of his epic work- Why and how war is prosecuted and what it takes to win one.

So far, going very well- stylewise, this is not a fast read, as many of the comments and ideas require one to stop and ruminate. Take extra time to read it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bad Things Happen to Good People Bag

is my version of the Bug Out Bag. Don't get me wrong, I'm as paranoid/crazy about things as the next right wing blogger survivalist gun nut (ok, well that depends on who the NEXT one is). But I don't see a lot of utility in prepping a bag to scram before the Feds get there. What I DO see a lot of utility in is having a bag, generally at one's disposal at any given time, with emergency necessities in it.

Most of the places I go, I carry my hunting lumbar pack. It's basically a gigantic fanny pack with a shoulder harness, a couple of small pockets on each hip, and a couple of water bottle pockets. It goes to the beach, to the farmers market, on walks with the dog, and generally is seen on my shoulders if I'm out doing something recreational (ie, more than 90 seconds from the car). My Lovely Wife calls it my purse, although nowhere as cavernous or crowded as her own. It generally has a few dog treats, bags for picking up the dog poo, a FAK, some fire, and a knife. During hunting season, it gets a few more goodies, and has served me well.

My other bag is the one I refer to as my Bad Things Happen to Good People Bag. Yeah, it's a little bulkier to say, but it makes a difference in explaining to underenlightened persons. It contains many of the same things as my small pack, but it larger quantity, with a few extras like gloves, batteries, extra flashlight, larger knife and sharpening stone, etc. It rides in the truck with me and is, basically, my kit should some tragedy or emergency befall me. I have just recently purchased a new chassis for its construction.

The new bag is made by AWP (they make tool belts) and listed as their Tread Bottom Tool Backpack. It has about a gazillion organizing pockets inside, a laptop sized divider, a cavernous center section, and the outside is covered in MOLLE webbing. It also has a rubberized tire tread pattern base (namesake, I believe), well padded straps and a padded and ventilated back. In short, its got all the things that I was looking for in the various 'tactical' backpacks, but at roughly a third of the price. I'll let you know how it holds up, but I think it's going to fit the bill nicely.

As a short disclaimer: Nobody paid me to say this. I think I may like this thing; if I don't, I'll say that, too. I am not affiliated with or sponsored by Lowe's or AWP. So there; neener neener neener.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Clausewitz- a Book Review in as many parts necessary- 1

I'm barely into Carl von Clausewitz' seminal work 'On War' and already I am fascinated.

Incidentally, I was originally made aware of his work via Borepatch's link (via Isegoria) to THIS.

Thus far, it's an interesting departure from Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War,' which is much more a practical guide, with specific strategies and tactics. Granted, there is a LOT left of the book itself, which was a labor of more than half of von Clauswitz' life (he died of cholera at 53, having joined the military at age 12). However, where Sun Tzu can be read as a handbook on the practical application of War, 'On War' is a collection of wisdom regarding the theory of War itself; it's causes, limitations, and factors. Although I have finished a mere 30ish pages of it, its application to a wider range of subjects is already apparent. The civilization we live in would be much better served, in my opinion, if more people were exposed to Clausewitz and less to Machiavelli.

So far, strongly recommended.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pratchett of the (Insert Random Measure of Time)

And he was not certain, not certain at all, what he'd do if the prisoner gave him any lip or tried to be smart. Beating people up in little rooms... he knew where that led. And if you did it for a good reason, you'd do it for a bad one. You couldn't say "we're the good guys" and do bad-guy things.

- Thud, p 256, after the bit with the dwarfs in the basement, when the mine was cracked open and the bodies were found, but before they went off to... oh just read the whole thing. Its worth it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Long Gaps...

Life has been very busy. I'm working full days on the largest commercial construction project in the US, building handrails and platforms and paths, saving lives every day, etc etc. No seriously, I've been very busy.

This means all nine people who read this blog have been mildly disappointed, and therefore are reading someone ELSE'S blog (I can recommend some good ones, check the sidebar) instead.

So this is me, taking yet another large break from blogging. I have the rest of my holster building series written up, waiting for pictures to be formatted, and I'm hoping to get it stuck out there soon. I just started reading 'On War' by Carl von Clausewitz, so I'm hoping to get some fodder from that. I've also been kicking around a 'Pratchett of the (insert random time measurement)' series, so I'm compiling a few quotes there. For those of you that have not had the pleasure- go forth, and read you some Terry Pratchett. It's good stuff, and quite insightful for a satirist.

Other than that, please continue to talk amongst yourselves- blogging will resume when time permits.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Holster Making 101 Round 3


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Step 3- Layout

Now that we have a design, its time to transfer that design to a template, and then, the leather. The first thing to do is trace the outline of the gun on a piece of paper (newspaper works well for this, with its large format). Make a mock-up version of the holster, cutting it out of paper with scissors, and using tape to add additional length if required. When you have successfully created your mock-up, transfer it to your leather. If your holster is going to use more than one piece of leather, it helps to move the template around for least waste. Trace the template ON THE INSIDE SURFACE, and cut it out of the leather, leaving generous margins around the edges (at least 1/2” on all finished sides, and on stitched areas, 1”). Its easy to cut more off, it's much more difficult to add leather. Depending on the thickness of your material, the outside dimensions will vary A LOT from your initial measurements. Additionally, if your design involves a bent piece of leather with a lamination, cut the first piece, then use more paper to template the second piece.
This will save you a lot of time and effort. When in doubt, exaggerate the size. As mentioned before, its easy to make it smaller.

Once all your pieces are cut, you can dye them the right color, or you can wait until the end. Leather dye is usually alcohol based, so be aware that it can shrink leather, so if you wait until the end, make sure the gun is left in to dry. If you elect to dye now, be prepared for the mess- when you wet the leather later to mold it, a lot of the dye will get on your hands.

For more on Holster Making, see these additional Posts


Open Carry in Oregon

I got a comment, today, at the grocery store. I'd like to expound, for a moment, on the subject of Open Carry.

Open Carry draws a lot of heated debate, and is the source of one of the larger schisms in the Gunblog realm. I would say, in its own right, it is nearly as hotly debated at 9mm v .45, or .30-06 v .270. I have been party to debates that rapidly devolved as ugly as any with an anti-rights viewpoint.

For myself, however, I can only give my personal experience. This, as with any singular source, is anecdotal and not 'evidence.' But it is mine.

In Montana, where I was born, Open Carry is perfectly legal. As a matter of fact (and a matter of law) Concealed Carry without a license is perfectly legal, provided you are not inside the city limits of an incorporated city or town. Only within the legal boundaries of a municipality does the state of Montana require a Concealed Carry permit. In Arizona, my next port of call, the rules were somewhat different, requiring, at first, a specific testing course to receive a Carry license (I don't know how difficult it was, I never took it). A little later on, of course, Arizona changed to Constitutional Carry, and I carried concealed without any worries. Arizona is also an Open Carry legal state.

In neither of these states did I habitually carry my firearm openly. I maintained a Concealed Weapons permit in the state of Montana for several years, and mostly practiced what I call 'discreet carry,' which is an openly worn belt holster with a cover garment. I tried the Inside the Waistband holster, but was not a fan. I would point out that whenever I carried in this manner, I was carrying a full size automatic pistol. With a cover garment, usually a long sleeve shirt, to my knowledge I was never 'made' by anyone unless I took the cover shirt off. When outside city limits, of course, I generally wore Openly, as I would be actively engaged in shooting, hunting, hiking, etc. In Arizona, I wore my gun in a similar manner, discretely holstered under my shirt. On a few occasions, I did carry openly into, for example, convenience stores on my way out of town to go shooting.

This brings me to our recent relocation to Oregon. Oregon is an Open Carry state with a curious mix of preemption laws. Municipal code can preempt state-allowed Open Carry, without a permit. The concealed carry permit, however, allows the holder to carry either Openly or Concealed, effectively preempting those municipal laws. Currently there are several cities that have laws such as these on the books, including Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, and Eugene. Without a carry permit, which time and funding have not allowed at this juncture, I am limited to Open Carry. This means that I am not allowed to carry my firearm into the city limits of those previously mentioned places.

Since moving here to Oregon, I have undertaken to carry my firearm whenever and wherever possible. This means grocery stores, gas stations, the Home Depot, basically everywhere. At first, it was a little bit nerve-racking, but I soon settled into it. I do use a thumbsnap holster (of my own creation) so rest assured, I maintain pretty good retention. In the last year, I have gotten a few comments/reactions, but I would say that number is in the single digits. Quite frankly, it is a non-starter, and I don't think very many people even notice that I am armed, despite wearing my firearm plainly in a belt holster, in full accordance with the law. Of the few comments I have received, or in one case overheard, the majority have been decidedly neutral. I have had a couple of conversations with store employees at the grocery store, but mostly regarding the novelty of the situation. I have overheard a very observant and responsible young man (of about 10) draw attention to my going visibly armed, whose mother (despite my obvious non-LEO appearance) explained that I was probably a cop. On one occasion, I had quite a conversation with a fellow at the magazine rack in a store, who had a great many questions regarding Open Carry, which I gladly answered to the best of my knowledge. Once, an older couple at Wendy's expressed their approval, commenting that it would be nice to see more people showing some responsibility for their own safety. On only one occasion have I received any negative feedback on my armed presence, and it was in a Convenience store. The manager, in that case, politely requested that I not continue to carry in his store, and I have obliged (which is to say, I don't go in there if I am armed).

And that's it, really. Of all the 'world ending' hypotheses put about by people critical of the practice, not a single one has befallen me in an entire year. On average, I don't even receive a comment once a month. No-one has ever tried to grab my gun, I have never been targeted by criminal, cops, or security guards, and I have never had to use (or even handle) my firearm in a public place. I am truly beginning to believe that the 'public opinion' is not. In truth, the public doesn't care. So wear your gun. Exercise your right. Sure, it is possible to come across the Officer Harless' of the world, but that happened to a concealed carrier. It has not happened, and I do not expect it. On the other hand, I have, I believe, made some headway in the battle to accept Open Carry. I'll continue to do so at every possible opportunity.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Busy Busy....

I hope nobody thought that last post was a goodbye. It wasn't. This week I started a new job; one that actually pays in money, rather than working on our house, which, while fulfilling, doesn't buy the groceries. At any rate, new job starts at 0600 and runs till usually 1530, sometimes 1630. And every third Saturday I get to stay home. So its off to the grind again for me, I'll try to get something put up tomorrow or tonite.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thanks, by the way...

For coming here and reading this stuff. I know a lot of it gets a paranoid around here, but, looking at the stat tab on blogger, February is a record month already, and its just barely half over. I know I'm no high-falutin 1000 click a day blog, but its humbling for people to click over and read my stuff. Some of you I know, and some I have only met in the various pages and comment sections we have in common. I started this blog a couple years ago, as an outlet for some frustration. It went silent for a while, until I fired it back up this winter. Its still an outlet, and now I know that at least a few people have read it. I went from a previous high pageview of 110 views/month to well over 327 so far this month. So thanks! Come by anytime.

Countering a Frequent Argument

I'm going to address one of the major 'gun-control' arguments today.

'Sure, guns are fine out here in the sticks, but you can't let people in the city have them. It would be chaos, people would shoot it out over nothing.' This is often referred to as the 'blood in the streets' argument. It's often used when some municipality is looking at reducing restrictions.

Many other people have reams of data regarding this argument. I am not a statistician, so I'm not going to delve into the numbers. I can point you here for that part of the argument. Go ahead, read it and come back. I'm going to address the state of mind portion of the argument.

First, this argument, like many others, is based on a root distrust of citizens as a whole. That is to say, arguing that people are not intelligent or trustworthy enough to own guns. Location has little to do with intelligence or trustworthiness. I know plenty of intelligent and trustworthy people, and likewise I know more than a few that are neither. Occasionally, one comes across a person that has either of these traits without the other. I can find no geographical link to place of residence that supports the root theory that people in location X are generally better/worse people. I have noted some cultural differences from place to place, but that does not address the issue of systemic spontaneous violence.

Second the 'he just snapped' nature of the argument. It is common to allege that, if a person were in possession of a firearm, they will eventually just freak out and shoot a bunch of people. I think we can generally dismiss this claim on example; I know LOTS of people that own firearms, and have zero evidence that any of the trustworthy people I know have ever snapped and killed someone in the heat of the moment. I do know some people (indirectly, in most cases) that have been involved in violent confrontations, or intended to do so, but in each of these cases, the deciding factor was state-of-mind, not access to weapons.

The third factor is one that is the darling of many anti-gun activists- the idea that the tool is to blame, not the user. Yes, firearms are, by design, instruments of applied force. Yes, true accidents happen, as well as the more common dangerous negligence. This is possible with many other tools, but none so politically charged as firearms. Because of my (near constant) contact with dangerous things, I have a perspective on their use. Neither my firearms nor I have ever harmed a person through direct action. The same can be said of my nail guns, saws, bats, hammers, vehicles, etc etc. The gun on my hip does not override my ability to think. It does not override my self control. It is inert, unless I choose to use it. My gun does not have its own impetus, nor does it have its own thoughts or dreams. By my side or in my hand, it does what I tell it to do, and nothing more.

Finally, to state of mind. This is the active argument- the one I use to dispute these claims. When someone says, 'there would be people being shot left and right' I counter with a question. "Have you ever been so mad that you hit someone with a pipe? Have you ever just snapped and struck someone with a hammer? Have you ever been so incensed by another person's thoughtless action that you rammed them with your car? Stabbed them? Struck them? Drowned them?" The response is, almost invariably (lets face it, all of us know SOMEBODY) no. The average human does not respond in that manner. I have been in heated arguments with people, over politics, religion, red meat consumption, and have never resorted to direct violence. Why would I act differently with a firearm? Yes, incidents like this happen, on a sporadic basis, but there is no overriding animus in the tool used. Further, posing this question puts the argument in a personal light. Instead of talking about some vague 'public,' we are now talking about YOU. Would YOU stab someone over a parking space? Would YOU beat someone to death over incorrect change? No? Then why would you shoot them? And what makes every other person so much less trustworthy than YOU?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Starbucks Appreciation Day

Some little while back, a bit player in the anti-gun lineup proposed doing a Valentines Day boycott of Starbuck's Coffee. Being somewhat reactionary (oh c'mon, that's not a bad thing. Think 'Reaction Time.) the gunblog community has decided to do a BUYcott in counterprotest. I'm not entirely sure who thought the thing up, originally, but its spread pretty quickly (probably Sebastian at TBFKASIH, now PAGunblog: see here, here, and here).

Well, I did my part. What's more, I almost NEVER go to Starbucks. Part of it is that I generally drink my coffee at home, where I can make it myself, part of it is the stubborn insistence on ordering 'medium' as a size, and part of it is the unwillingness to spend 2 bucks on a cup of coffee, when I can buy a 1 3/4 lb can of it for $9. That's a good month's worth of coffee around this homestead.

Today, in gratitude for just continuing not to do anything, we have THIS.

One medium cup of drip coffee. And yes, I did ask for medium, and you know what? The barista didn't even blink. It took about 3 minutes, from the time I stepped out of the car to the back in the seat, driving away with my java. I went online afterward and let them know, via feedback card, what the deal was. Did you get your Starbuck's?

For more links and stories, check out PAGunblog's report and click on over to Weer'd Beard's*

*Edited to add link. At least Twice...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Regarding the Tragedy in Norway

I saw a news story about the arraignment of the Norwegian Kids Camp shooter recently. Apparently he asked the court to give him a medal. I originally posted this on Facebook, just after the shooting happened, when he was still in his 15 minutes of fame. I'm going to re-post it in its entirety.

I have read some of the Norway shooter's writing (his manifesto is 1500+ pages, I've skimmed). A lot of the things he says make some sense, and this infuriates me.

First off, I will come out and say up front that what I have read is a pretty good example of 'being a Nazi *&^%-face', dressed up in the kind of language that facilitated that system's rise to power in the early 20th century. This is not the bit that I agree with, obviously.

A lot of the manifesto has to do with the breakdown of societal identification. As one society lets its identity erode, other, more forceful entities can and will move in to fill the void. Happens over and over throughout history. Also touches on a handful of programs from way back that were designed to cause this to happen. This is the bit that I agree with. I think that our culture, which we think of as Western Civilization, has managed to become self-deprecating in the extreme, and is opening the door for replacement. The real question is, what culture will we replace it with?

Here we diverge again (whew!). I think we should be replacing the current idiom with a culture of self-reliance, pride in one's self, capability, and compassion. He thinks we should be resurrecting the classic 'White guy runs the world cuz he's best at it, while the women stay at home and make/raise babies' culture. Bleeeech...

The part that infuriates me is that he seems to honestly believe that best way to get people to come to his point of view is to SLAUGHTER CHILDREN! I'm simply refraining here from what I really think of this, because it would take too long and there aren't enough swearwords or cruel and unusual punishments to explain the depth of my feelings...

The second part that infuriates me is the things that we agree with are now verboten. Any peep that sounds anything like anything that is related to this body of work is now an instant and automatic dismissal into the 'yeah you're probably a psycho child killer on the inside too' category. The result of his action has been not only to FAIL to draw people into his camp, but to completely alienate anyone who was mildly sympathetic up to this point. AND he's managing to destroy a few other causes while he is at it.

Anybody want to start a conspiracy theory? This guy has done more damage to the side he purports to be on than any single act in the last 10 years. What possibility is there that he was a creation intended for just that purpose? I wouldn't put that sort of thing past Nixon or Johnson, and I don't think they were the MOST evil people in history. Food for thought.

I will continue to work on my culture of self-reliance, pride in one's self, capability, and compassion. The nice thing about self-reliance is that it doesn't take other people believing in it to work. I will also continue to refrain from hurting children, or, really, anybody.

Disgusting...

Lions Tigers and Bears, Oh my!

Actually, none of the above. But Wolves? Yes.

You see, I differ from a lot of people when it comes to predators. I'm a conservative, yes, but I'm very much a conservationist at heart. Wilderness areas? All for them. Wildlife? Count me in. Wolf re-introduction? Check.

I come from a part of the world where the wolves never really left. People have CLAIMED there are no more, but the locals know better. Ask anybody that tries to keep livestock in the Ninemile area.

I'm all about restoring predators. I want them EVERYWHERE. I really do. I want wolves in Forest Park, Portland OR. I want wolves in Central Park, NYC. I want packs of wild predatory creatures stalking the land in major cities. I want Grizzly bears reintroduced in LA County. Why not? They've got the Griz on the state flag in the People's Republik of Kalifornia, why not give them some real bears?

A couple of reasons for this-

1) I think it's good for the ecology. Keep them in check, yes, manage them properly, but don't let them die out, because then we've lost part of what was a balanced system- it can never truly be restored.
2) I'm not the heartless bastard people think I probably am. I hunt, I kill, I eat red meat and feel very good about doing so. If I could feasibly make it to the point that I had to personally kill every meal that I eat for the year, I would do so. That doesn't mean I'm some kind of psycho- it means I'm a carnivore. I can identify, to a degree, with the wolves and bears. I like them, and they ARE cute and furry, even if I know, deep down, they are not nearly as friendly as my dog.
3) I think it would be damn funny. Yuppies with their pugs and teacup poodles, cowering in fear in Central Park. Granola hippies on ill-timed late afternoon hikes building security fires within the city limits of Portland, waving their feeble torches at the darkness while they fervently wish their mother was there to hold them. Hollywood big shots with million dollar bank accounts mauled on city streets, because they took a shortcut down an alley that happened to have an investigative bear in a dumpster. I really think that would be fun. And it would make much nicer headlines than the current panem et circenses that politics and the news have become.

So yes, Governor Otter, we would love some of your spare wolves. Just drop ship them to Portland and New York. Lets do this...

Hoster Making 101, Round 2

Step 2- Design

Now we come to part wherein I take the previous constraints, and design a holster. I make each of my holsters by hand, one by one, for specific firearms. Each one is an original, and I've not yet made a true duplicate yet. I have the general purpose, general design, and some of the constraints, but at this point in the process, I'm missing some very important details. That's when I suddenly had an idea. I asked for a photograph of the actual end user, wearing the most likely clothing and belt when using the holster, holding the gun as though drawing. This gave me some very important details (in fact, I've had everyone since then do the same thing): I now know where they wanted to put the gun on the their waist, what the natural cant of holster would be, and what height they wanted their sidearm to sit at. The best way to get this picture is to have the end user pose in this manner, and take the picture as square to the gun as possible.

I can then print the picture and use it as a reference. To figure cant, I take the printed photo, draw lines along the top of the belt and the center of the bore, and measure the angle from vertical (perpendicular to the belt). To figure height, I compare the location of the top of the belt to the trigger guard and slide. Now, I can do a quick sketch to decide what the holster will look like. Sometimes actual placement of the firearm doesn't work- for example, the placement of the belt would interfere with proper grip, or the gun would be so high on the belt as to be unstable. In most cases, these issues can be identified in the sketch and figured out before the leather is cut.
Stay tuned, plenty more on this to come!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Holster Making 101


-->The following is a tutorial on the holster making process. I photo documented the process I used to make a holster for a friend's sidearm. The arm in question is a Beretta PX4 Storm in 9mm. I'm breaking this down into a series of posts, as it is a long and involved process; stay tuned, this is just the beginning.

Step 1- Planning

The first step in any project is planning. The 6P's apply here as much as anywhere (Proper Planning Prevent Piss Poor Performance). In this case, it involved establishing the purpose for the holster, the end user, and the natural tendency of the shooter.

Purpose- The main purpose of this holster is general carry, usually while camping, out in the desert, etc. There are a number of different reasons to establish this. Building an open carry holster has a different set of requirements than building a concealed carry holster. Concealed carry dictates that the firearm is held very close to the body, with as little visibility (printing) as possible. Building an open carry holster allows the gun to stand further away from the body, which is much more comfortable, and allows easier access. The gun will, of course, be a great deal more visible as a result. Another factor is retention. Concealed Carry holsters are often open top affairs, without any retention other than the fit of the holster. I have used some holsters that were little more than a neoprene sock with a plastic belt clip. I was running around the yard with the dog one day, and my sidearm fell out. Not ideal. Open Carry holsters more commonly have a solid retention device. I find this has a number of different purposes. Mechanical locks, such as the Blackhawk Serpa or the Safariland ALS, are strictly for retention, to keep people from 'getting grabby.' This is a concern for all carriers, but more of an issue for LEOs, who are more likely to be grappling with an assailant (y'know, part of the job description and all). Thumbbreak and strap style retention is a less expensive way to go about this, with a few additional features. One feature is that more of the sidearm is covered. I tend to think that a full thumbbreak strap which covers a majority of the sidearm tends to look a great deal less threatening. A third style is full flap covers. A lot of older and specialized military holsters use this design, and it involves an additional feature- protection from the elements. In the real world, this style of holster is most common for hiking, to protect the sidearm from the elements as well as from brush, trees, etc. As the purpose of this holster is to use while camping, generally in the dry, and recreational shooting, we elected to go with the thumbreak open holster.

The End User- One of the things that can set a holster apart from the rest is fit. Its important to note that not all people are the same size and shape. Depending on who will most commonly use the holster, it will fit better with a certain amount of outward angle, or a higher/lower ride on the belt, a different angle of cant. Style of dress makes a difference; locating the belt-line of one's pants is very important to proper angle and height. Also, a holster that fits one person perfectly may be the wrong cant or the wrong position for a taller person, with longer limbs. In this particular instance, I will not that the end user does not habitually carry this firearm (this is the first holster for the user) so there are no real examples of what works/ doesn't work for them. This comes into play a little bit more in the next facet.

The natural tendencies of the shooter- This is the part where I lump in all of the end user's personal preferences. For example, some shooters have an aggressive stance that requires a steep cant, some shooters don't like the look of pancake holsters, some shooters prefer a cross draw or some other belt position. Of course, color and finish are attached to this as well, but I consider those firmly secondary to function. As mentioned before, this particular shooter has not had a lot of experience wearing a sidearm. Generally, prior to this, the firearm was removed from the original hard case, loaded and fired, and returned to the hard case at the end of the day. This meant that there were very few personal preferences that were actually known beforehand. They had, quite literally, no idea what the wanted in a holster. This lead me to a discovery that has helped me to build better holsters... the placement photo.

This is Post One of several, for the Next Step click here!
For Part 3, try this one!
*Edited to add link