See this. Commentary later, cooking dinner now.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Situational awareness can take you part of the way. Don't open your door to strangers at night. Keep your front door free of obstructions that limit visibility from inside the house. And keep your gun on you.
During World War Two, a staggering number of non-firearm companies turned out guns. From Singer sewing machine to Rock-ola, to General Motors and beyond, machinery was retooled to supply arms to us and our allies.
Currently, things are being increasingly manufactured overseas by companies that had retooled at that time to supply guns to US forces. You ask, 'So what?' Well, that means that skill in manufacturing is being outsourced, and factories (with their related equipment) are now located in rather more unstable parts of the world. If a GM plant in Detroit can retool and crank out M3 Subguns, what precisely would stop one in Mexico from being retooled to produce AK rifles? And how certain are we that the Cartels cant get their hands on them?
The right to Arms is a core principle of the American Constitution. It was instrumental in the formation of our country, it is a central tenet of our government structure, and while many today argue that it is an anachronism, it continues to be a reserve for our future protection.
Much is made of the Second Amendment being a 'Doomsday Provision,' to ward off imposed tyranny. While I agree that this is, indeed, a factor of its application, I find the focus on it, especially from our camp, a little bit disconcerting. For one, it opens us up to being painted as traitors and insurrectionists; its very hard to simultaneously argue that we are patriots while asserting that we have arms to ward off the encroachment of the state, which we argue is made up of the people (or ought to be), which is in fact, us.
What is so often overlooked is the fact that we are still the stalwart line of defense for this nation. Oh yes, I know the arguments- this is an age of jets and bombs, airstrikes and machine guns. We wouldn't stand a chance against an invading army. To some extent, there is truth there. It would indeed be difficult to turn back a well armed military with air support and armor. But is that really the threat?
I would like to turn your attention to the nation of Mali, in Central Africa. Mali is a country roughly twice the size of Texas, with 14 million people. Mali has seen a rough patch, undergoing a string of coups that stripped its military of leadership and allowed their supply chain to wither and become obsolete. Their defense budget was slashed to try and prevent the military from holding too much power, and instability left their borders open to revolt and invasion, and so revolt and invasion began. Currently, a force of irregular troops (identified as Islamist Rebels) hold large portions of the country. When they attack, the Malian troops flee and desert. The French military is conducting operations to try and turn back the tide, but are receiving little to no support internationally. And so, Malians die in the interim.
When we talk of the 'well-regulated militia,' we are talking of the ability of the average citizen to defend his homeland against invasion or usurpation. Looking through some numbers on Mali (from Wikipedia, but apparently sourced from the 2007 Small Arms survey) there are roughly 160,000 civilian owned firearms in Mali (14.5 million people x 1.1 Firearms/100 people). If we assume each gun owner only has a single gun, that means only 1.1% of the population is armed. If we assume anyone owns more than one (which is highly likely) that drops rapidly below 1%. An unarmed population has absolutely NO CHANCE to defend their nation against an invasion. Take into consideration that the military of Mali was stripped bare from it's previously well-supplied levels, and are currently more likely to run away than do battle with the invaders, and the Republic of Mali is totally defenseless in the face of a ground attack that carries no air support, no official chain of command, and has no official uniform.
Someone, I'm sure, will argue that we are not Mali, that it 'can't happen here', that they are not a developed nation like us, and to them I say, 'Bull$#!*.' Mali was once one of the ruling nations in all of Africa, a beacon of civilization. They have a Constitutional Republic which they have been unable to keep. IT CAN HAPPEN HERE! We are not special in this regard- we don't have some magical pixie dust of America. If we truly accept that all people are created equal, we have to admit that what is happening in Mali can, in turn, happen to us IF WE LET IT. And people, denying the right of sovereign American Citizens to bear arms is a big step in letting it. Don't let that be taken away.
Friday, January 18, 2013
I'm well aware that I'm preaching to the choir, but this bears repeating- the day is not done. In addition to your US Reps and Senators, there are also local factors to consider.
Illinois has already faced down the first salvo, but New Yorkers never got a chance. The newly signed law there is now the strictest in the nation, and others are coming on hard.
Its not all bad news, though. There is time, though precious little, to get involved.
Write your local reps. Write your Sheriffs. Write to everyone, whether they are pro or anti gun. The Pro's need to know we stand with them; the Anti's need to know we oppose.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
I called into the Squirrel Report tonite. That was awesome. You know how hard it is to remember all those things you were going to say when you call in figuring you won't get through? I'll try harder next time. Or drink more... BTW, if you Weer'd reads this, the enchiladas were delicous.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
So, the official word from the Administration is that Secession is not allowed. Ok then. What are the odds of getting an Amendment started?
I'm going to put this out there, by no means am I renouncing mu citizenship- I'm talking about a serious legal framework for ending a contract.
People still think the Civil War was about slavery- guess what, folks, it wasn't. Slavery was an aspect of the political landscape, and a notable point of difference between the North and South, but it was not cause for the war (if it was, the Emancipation Proclamation would have PRECEDED the conflict, rather than being a later addition to it). The cause of the war was Federal overreach, and Federal overreach won.
So lets do some political legwork first. We owe it, to ourselves and others, to exhaust peaceful options before folks start getting all stir-crazy.
A Constitutional Amendment needs to be introduced, laying a groundwork for leaving the union. If we can get this done, we have a very good option on averting a LOT of unrest.
I think we should start it with the mirror of the votes needed to petition for statehood, and include some negotiation points to account for National debt, Federal holdings, and military bases. Chime in with suggestions!
Sunday, January 13, 2013
It is important to note here that these steps are not a one-time thing. You will find, as you build your holster, that the more pieces you put together, the more times you will have to soak and mold your holster. Just be careful to place the gun in the exact same spot, and you will be fine. Also, after the first few pieces start to take their molding, you can begin to trim the holster towards it's final shape.
Here are links to the other steps in this process
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Agweb, the Dept of Agriculture's news site, has this commentary on why US farmers should help out developing nations.
I'm going to make two additional salient points.
First, while the US is a world leader in ag technology, and our producers are operating out of some of the best arable land in the world, we don't have a monopoly on food (nor should we) and we don't have infinite resources. As can be seen in the San Juaquin valley in CA (the most fertile valley in the world, not kidding), agriculture is in increasing competition with urban areas for water and land. Even without getting into the climate debate, the raw facts are that an average of X water falls on the US per year. Water is the limiting factor in nearly all agriculture. We cannot produce twice as much food on X acres without a suitable increase in water, and as the population continues to grow, so does food demand and water demand. Helping to develope agriculture in poorer areas not only helps generate opportunity for the farmers there, but helps domestic farmers investigate other techniques, many of which could be applied here to reduce our water impact, effectively increasing the amount of food grown per gallon of water.
Second, we should care about helping farmers in other countries for the same reasons we should support human rights in other countries. Because if we don't help, people sufder and die, without need. We have it in our power to help mitigate that, and I believe doing so is a very natural and moral thing to do.
Check out this post by Tim at Gunnuts Media, then come back. I started to leave this as a comment, and realized I was hijacking the post, so I will comment here.
I had a great moment last night in a grocery in Oregon. I open carry as a matter of course, and have drawn far more complements on it than otherwise. Only once have I been asked to refrain, and then it was very polite, and I have honored that request (mostly by not going there, but there you have it).
That being said, I have in recent years started taking much more care in the image I present. I've gone from torn jeans and sleeveless tshirts to wearing casual, clean buttondown shirts. I never wear my torn or stained clothing in public while armed. I traded out my well-loved canvas jacket for a classy leather one. My goal, going armed in public, is to present myself as stable, polite, and responsible.
These days, I am a new father, so that adds another layer in things- literally. I am usually the one that is carrying little Danger around the store. I figure My Lovely Wife packed him around for quite some time already, so its my turn. Which means I am out in public, armed, with a very small child in one if those Swedish Marsupial kid carriers. Trust me, its quite a look.
But its hard to argue with image. The people we are trying to reach are not those on our fringe, or even on our side. Its the ones in the middle, that haven't made their minds up. But maybe, yesterday in a grocery store in Oregon, people saw a young father, nicely dressed, carrying his son and a pistol and thought, 'Maybe that's what a gun owner looks like.' And maybe they changed their minds about gun control. I couldn't do that if I was still wearing torn up old jeans and a sleeveless tee with my tattoos showing.
The unfinished series on holster making is certainly the biggest search engine draw to this site- I need to finish that series. The problem is, it takes time to put together posts with pictures, etc, and time is something I don't have a lot of with a 2 month old around. So, keep looking, I'll get it posted.
PP- I'm still working on yours. See above, life with a 2 month old.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Here's a skill I've been working on: old-school rapid fire with a bolt gun.
My setup is an SMLE (bubba sporter) with a homemade 3 point sling. A lot of people don't care for the 3 point, others love it (Jeff Cooper says!). I dig it. Once you are set up, you can asjust the length of the sling all day for carrying, and not lose time getting slung up tight. When its adjusted right, the gun is locked on to your support arm, bringing the full weight of your upper body into settling recoil. Also, it allows you to let go with the firing hand and not let the gun slip.
So, you have your rifle slung up tight. Settle it firmly into your shoulder with your support hand. You should be able to let go completely with your shooting hand. Next, grab the bolt handle. Grip it firmly with your thumb and forefinger. There it will stay, for the next 10 rounds (five, if its not a smle). Both eyes open, like you are shooting a pistol. Get on target, and rip open the action and chamber a round. Reach out with your middle finger and pull the trigger. BAM! Rip open the action as soon as recoil starts, slamming it shut as the gun is coming back down, and slap the trigger as soon as the sights come back on target. BAM! Rinse and repeat for ten rounds. Now, grab your stripper clip (note: yes, this is an actual clip. A little spring steel piece that holds 5 rounds in a straight line.) with your shooting hand. Drop it in the clip guide and shove the rounds in. Yank the clip out of the guide and grab the bolt again. Five more rounds on target, then back to the clip. The last five rounds go downrange.
Congratulations, you just put twenty rounds of 174 gr bullets into a man sized target in as many seconds. Thats as fast as many people can run a semiauto, and you've launched the equivalent of 60 rounds of .223 (by weight). By the way, you've just expended $64. Grin in a manic fashion to mask the sound of your wallet screaming.
Fun, wasn't it? During WWI, the German army was convinced that the Brits all had machine guns, they were that adept at firing in this manner. Thats probably no small part of the SMLE remaining on service until the 1960s.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
One of the major problems of our time is whether or not to trust each other with our own fate. That distrust is the root of great evil.
Ideally, we have a Constitutional Republic, which means that the citizens rule the nation by voting. We vote for our representatives in government, whom we expect to fulfill our instructions to the seat of government. These representatives get together and draft new laws (or modify old ones) that apply equally to all citizens. We have to trust that we will make the right choices, and that they will honor our will.However, they are constrained to operate within a system of limitations- limitations that are decided by a Supermajority vote. In this way, we enforce that trust, preserving the rights of the minority, no matter which ideology is in power at the time. Thus, to change the rules of play, it requires the consent of an overwhelming majority of the nation.
Thats the idealized version.
The problem is, we are trusting those representatives less and less, and they, in their turn, are growing distrustful of us.We no longer have faith in their actions, and that, it seems to me, is a reflection of the lack of trust we have in the people who elect them. How many times did we hear the 47% comment during the election? How many people took that statement (out of context, I must add) and used it to dismiss some portion of the voting bloc? Not just on one side, either; Republicans reflected on the remark and decided that those people were bought and paid for, not acting in the best interest of the nation, and therefore not to be trusted to run the country, while Democrats took affront, and decided that anyone who thought the former was some kind of conniving bastard, willing to write off the 47% of the populace who 'didn't matter', who should not be trusted to run the nation. Its not a vote of mistrust in our lawmakers only (though it is that) but its a mistrust of the people that select them. Common ground cannot be found, because the populace, at the urging of the very servants we elect, increasingly distrusts the motives of the opposition.
Its getting even deeper than that these days, though. People are starting to doubt the very humanity of their political opposites. Vitriol is running high, civic discourse is harder to find than ever, and the anonymity of the internet makes it all very easy to run at the mouth and froth at the brain, with no social repercussions (I should know, I'm doing it right now).
The Internet Debate adage known as Godwin's law states that as the length of an internet argument grows, the likelihood of someone being compared to the Nazis approaches 1. Well, lets get this out of the way.
I don't think it was the gun registration that turned the corner on evil in Nazi Germany. I don't think it was the forcible service, or the Gestapo. I don't think it was national health service or the standardization of schools. In many ways, I don't even think it was the twisted psyche of Adolf Hitler, or his ability to move crowds and inspire fear or loyalty that did it. None of those things, excepting Hitler, are an evil of their own- they are the result of mistrust in people to take care of themselves. Eventually, they became a deep enough mistrust that people could safely dismiss the humanity of others. Jews, Gypsies, racial minorities, political dissidents- they were not to be trusted, they weren't one of us, they might as well not be human... and eventually, when urged by a horribly twisted and evil philosophical leader, they were purged.
I never really understood how a people, an entire culture, could turn so vicious, so vile, and act in such despicable ways. I always saw things like this in history books and assumed they were evil from the start- Hitler, Stalin, the mass murderers in Rwanda- I had to assume they were evil, because I had no framework for how a culture could condone the acts of madmen so fully. Now I am beginning to see it.
I am beginning to see it in the immigration policies of the right, the xenophobia and homophobia. Little whispers that grow to a roar, saying they are not to be trusted, they are not real people, they are not like us. I see it in the agenda politics of the left, the social controls, gun control, thought control. Fall in line, do as you are told, we will take care of you, you can't be trusted to take care of yourself.
Its not like they are real people... Read that, and let the chill sink in. Who is thinking that about you? Who have you thought that about? The rich, the poor, outsiders, insiders, big business, welfare recipients, immigrants, hicks, flyover bumpkins, coastal elites. The 1%, the 47%, crazy gun nuts, unthinking sheeple, Rethuglicans, Democraps. Muslims, Jews, atheists, bible-thumpers, single mothers, gays, abortion doctors, global warming deniers, the NRA, gun-banners. We are learning, in the back of our minds, to dismiss their humanity, and once that happens, all manner of atrocities can be unleashed. After all, its not like they are real people. They practically aren't even human, and they're not to be trusted...
Monday, January 7, 2013
I've been a bit doom and gloom lately, eh? How about a cinnamon bun recipe.
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tb sugar (I use brown sugar for the dough)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tb melted butter
3 1/2 cups flour
1 stick melted butter (less the above Tb)
1 cup sugar (white sugar is fine here)
2 Tb ground cinnamon
Warm the milk on low heat to about 100 degrees. Add sugar, salt, and yeast, and set aside to proof 5 min or so. Add melted butter. Mix in flour until doughy and sticky, set in warmed oven to rise, about 40 min, until tripled. Turn out on a floured surface and knead, dusting with flour, until smooth and elastic. Back in the oven to rise again.
While rising, melt the rest of your butter. Add sugar and cinnamon, and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted, about 5-10 min. Heat oven to 350.
Turn dough onto floured surface and roll to a rectangle, about 24" x 12", about 1/4" thick. Depending on how much room you have, sometimes its helpful to do this in two batches. Spread the filling evenly on the rolled dough, all the way to the edges. Roll into a 24" round (or two 12" rounds) and slice into 2" peices with a very sharp knife.
Lightly oil a 9x9 pan. Arrange the pieces in the pan, standing them on end. For end pieces, put cut side up. Bake at 350 for 35-40 min, until light brown on top.
Now eat them, and think about how tasty they are. If you have an infant son, as I do, these can be made at 0 crap thirty in the morning, so your loved one can awake to fresh cinnamon buns.
I don't do icing- for that, you're on your own.
So, after five very sporadic years, I've gotten somewhere around 5,000 hits, judging by the site odometer. Going by Google Stats, its about 10,000 clicks (I believe they count each view, so changing pages is a fresh pageview). I'm aware there are all kinds of suggestions out there to run a 'successful' blog, but I'm not real worried about that.
What I AM curious about is my readership.
For example, I've been linked by a couple big dogs, and have comments from others, so there's about 7-10 people at least who read my words whom I have never met in realspace. Thank you for coming, I appreciate it- several of you are among the reasons I started doing this, and others are among the reasons I continue. Also, if you are ever in NW Oregon, it would be fun to someday meet some of my internet people for reals.
I also know that many of my cousins have read it, because I've drawn comments in real life and fb from them. I love you guys, and I'm always hoping to see more of you. We may disagree politically sometimes, but family ties are stronger than that. Any time any of you want to shoot, come visit in OR, we'll make it happen. Or come to see Danger, he's real cute, and growing like a weed.
I also am aware that my Mother reads this blog. Hi Mom! I love you! Let this be a lesson- you're never too old or mature to tell your Mom you love her, nor ever so far out in the weeds that she will stop loving you. Mom, you are a big part of setting the tone for these works. Although not always possible, I make the effort to always write in ways that will make you proud, at least of the words if not always the content. Too, these words are in a pubkic forum, and I was taught to meet a certain degree of civility in public; this has tempered some of my more, um, vehement moments.
So who did I miss? Leave me a comment! I'm curious to know who reads, who I'm reaching, who agrees or doesn't agree.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
OK, this one isn't a new gripe. If we divide the gun argument into people who know v. don't know, we get a group that has experience and firsthamd knowledge, and a group that watches movies.
I don't know how many times we've seen action movies with hundreds of rounds fired without a reload, but the big ones, the ones that really get me, are the autos. People see Hollywood Leadman X running through the scene, full auto running out of his mp5 or m-16 for 3-5 min, no reloads. But the m-16 has a cycle rate of roughly 800 rounds per minute. So, figuring a 30 rd mag, lets do the math.
800 rounds per minute is 13.33 rounds per second, gives us a mag dump in 2.25 seconds (as long as it doesn't jam). All those scenes that people base their knowledge of machine guns on are crap; the guns simply don't work that way. That certainly doesn't stop people from believing it, though.
Long story short- if you are smart enough to know Hollywood Leadman X didn't ACTUALLY die while filming (leaving out Brandon Lee, God rest his soul) you're smart enough to realize the guns don't work like that. So before people decide what they want done about 'scary bullet hoses', they should get some actual facts.
So, let me get this straight- our representatives in Congress hashed out a deal, two years ago, by which we could allow the US to borrow more money if we promised to start cutting programs, but if we didn't get it figured out, they stuck in mandatory cuts at a later date. The Republicans (who ran on fiscal conservative platforms) want to keep spending on THEIR programs, so cutting them is out. The Democrats (who ran on social equality) won't bidge on THEIR programs, so cutting them is out. So they crafted (at our expense) a deal to raise taxes and NOT CUT SPENDING, to continue to fund programs that are hemmoraging money, changed the rules so that taxes went up on EVERYONE, and now want to borrow more money, probably in return for promising (but REALLY, this time) to make cuts, later, maybe, if we have to. Because if we don't borrow more money, we can't pay for the projects that are hemmoraging money. And this is referred to as 'progress' and 'averting the fiscal cliff' which was the agreement they made in order to borrow more money last time.
Hang on tight, because when this goes off the rails, its going to make the Greek austerity riots look like Saturday in the park.
Leela: I can't see, are we boned?
Bender: Yep, we're boned.
Friday, January 4, 2013
I see a lot of numbers played with in letters to the editor, news outlets and others, comparing the US 'handgun deaths' to England, Japan, Canada, etc., and there needs to be more perspective on them.
The quoted numbers I've seen are 30,000 'gun deaths' for the US versus low hundreds for England, middle hundreds for others, and so on. To start- the 30k number which is usually quoted is a finding of a man named Kellerman, who is funded through the Joyce Foundation, a group which funds several other anti-gun groups. Besides being questionable from the standpoint of non-objective study (would anyone accept statistics from the NRA with the same faith?) that study has been debunked in peer review, as inaccurate. Further, that study includes a very large number (nearly half) of suicides, which are not reflected in the statistics of other nations, many of which only report criminal homicides. Also included are accidents, police shootings, and justifiable homicides.
Next, compare the populations- the US has about 350 million people vs England' 53 million, and Canada's 33 million. Australia comes in at 22 million. Theres absolutely zero accuracy in comparing the total number of deaths betwixt these nations and the US.
In order to properly compare any of these countries to the US, you need to 1) either include all suicides from all nations regardless of means, or remove them from the US numbers, 2) account for legitimate deaths, such as police shootings and justified self defense, and 3) account for population.
To say 'the US has x gun deaths, while England has x' is disengenuous at best, and an outright malicious falsehood at worst.
I don't have the numbers, at present, but I may have to gather them, and check back in with more data.