Friday, December 19, 2008

The First Lady of Star Trek

Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Feb. 23, 1932 - Dec. 19, 2008

She was known for her roles as Nurse (later Doctor) Christine Chapel in the original Star Trek series, and as the voice of Federation computers in most of the series and movies, a role she took on again for the new Star Trek movie by J.J. Abrams. She also played the first officer, known only as "Number One," in the original pilot.

She will be missed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All I want for Christmas...

It looks like it's gunny Christmas list time. As long as I'm dreaming, here's mine:

1) a basic, but good quality, 1911, with 2 spare mags
2) a Ruger LCP with a spare mag
3) holsters (IWB for both, and an ankle holster for the LCP)
4) an M1 Garand, with a dozen clips and a bayonet
5) 2000 rounds for each of my guns

It would be nice.

H/T to Robb at Sharp as a Marble.

Huh?

Must be one heck of an eggbeater.

It doesn't get more deadly than an AK-47

Well, I haven't done the fisking thing before, but this article just cries out for it, and I haven't seen where anyone else has done it yet. So, here it is:

It Doesn't Get More Deadly Than an AK-47

PEORIA —

The recent discovery of two rapid-fire, high-powered assault-style rifles in Peoria has alarmed police because they know the devastating punch they pack. And when police are worried, residents ought to be.

Rule 1: The language is always loaded.

The first gun, a knock-off version of an AK-47, was recovered Oct. 29 from a Central Peoria house as police raided the home looking for drugs. Three days later, another AK-47-type semi-automatic rifle was used against officers in a shoot-out that ended with the gunman being killed.

"It doesn't get more deadly than an AK-47," Peoria police spokesman Doug Burgess said.

What about those horrible .50 caliber rifles? Aren't they supposed to be able to cut a man in half from a mile away, and knock 747s out of the air? That sounds more deadly to me!

Figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives show a marked increase in the number of AK-style weapons traced and entered into the agency's computer database because they had been seized or connected to a crime.

The number of such tracings rose even while the federal assault weapons ban was in effect and has continued to climb since its expiration.

So wait, you're saying the AWB didn't work?

Since 1993, the year before the ban took effect, ATF has recorded a more than sevenfold increase in the guns - which includes the original Russian-made AK-47 and a variety of copycats from around the world. The number of AK-type guns climbed from 1,140 in 1993 to 8,547 last year.

The numbers confirm what is happening here locally with the guns: They're getting into criminals' hands.

But.... they're criminals! It's illegal for them to have guns! There oughtta be a law against that!

"Personally, I know a lot of these guns are out there," said Peoria police Sgt. Doug Theobald, adding officers occasionally find the rifles during raids or arrests. "Most of the time it's regular gun owners that have them in their gun safe. They don't sell drugs or shoot at police.

"The concern is if a criminal has one," he said. "It's not the gun itself, but the person standing behind the gun."

I'm surprised this made it into the story. It almost sounds like they're trying to say that regular gun owners aren't criminals. That's completely contrary to what the MSM's masters at the Brady Campaign say. It must be a typo.

Because the weapon is shoulder-mounted, its accuracy is substantial.

Shoulder-mounted? You mean it attaches to your shoulder, unlike every other rifle out there?

The standard bullet, a 7.62x39mm, is highly lethal as it can travel up to 400 meters.


WOW! Up to 400 meters! That's really lethal! But, wait a minute, I hear a .22 can travel over a mile. So a .22 must be so lethal it can kill you just by looking at you! The killer doesn't even have to pull the trigger!

The common AK-47 magazine holds 30 rounds and is flat with a curve in it to allow the bullets to feed properly. Other higher-capacity magazines, some holding twice or triple the normal amount, also can be used.

With such a large magazine attached, the rifle has the capability to "lay down suppressive fire," meaning it can shoot 20-30 high velocity rounds as fast as the gunman can squeeze the trigger, said Theobald.

So if I only shoot 19 rounds, it's not suppressive fire? What about 5, or 10?

"(The bullets) can go through brick walls, a car, just about anything," Burgess said. "The penetrating power of the round is unbelievable."

So can almost any round used for hunting. In fact, the rounds that can't are generally not allowed for hunting in most states, because they're not considered powerful enough.

Police have reported finding the rounds inside the former Warner Homes public housing complex after they blew through the exterior brick wall. Two years ago at Landmark Apartments, eight bullet holes were found in an apartment. Shell casings found outside the apartment matched bullets used in an AK-47 assault rifle.

Another example of the gun's packing-power is in the 1999 homicide of Marcus Risby. Charles Childs fired an Egyptian-made AK-47 rifle 30 times into a house on Garfield Avenue. His best friend, Risby, was killed by one of the bullets as he stood outside the front of the house, as part of a plan to get revenge on the home's occupant. The bullet went all the way through the house to kill him.

When faced with criminals armed with these kinds of weapons, Peoria police are equipped with higher-powered guns to match the threat.

I thought it didn't get more deadly than an AK-47. How can the police have higher-power guns if they don't exist?

"We have the capacity of going against weapons systems like that," said Theobald, who oversees the department's Special Response Team, whose members are trained and certified to use fully-automatic, military-style assault rifles.

You mean the bullet-hoses-of-death? The ones that no one can possibly control? I thought the only purpose of those was to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. The police shouldn't need to be able to do that, should they? They should only shoot at the bad guys, right?

Thirty-two patrol officers also are commissioned with semi-automatic rifles and have the guns with them while on-duty.

So, there's some magic field that means the police don't need to worry about overpenetration? Just the criminals and "regular gun owners?"

"The concern for the public is the same as for police," Theobald said. "These bullets will keep traveling and go through cars and houses, regardless of what the intended target was for the bad guy. They can hit innocent bystanders."

They just keep going, and going, and going....
----

H/T to David Codrea at The War on Guns for this one.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

On the whole Plaxico Burress mess.

Xavier has a post up with his take on Plaxico Burress. While I agree that Plaxico is a complete idiot, and a thug, I have to disagree with the overall thrust of the post, which seems to be that we should let him hang (figuratively) for what he did, and that he should not be allowed to use the Heller decision to challenge the law he's being charged under. I urge you to read his post, and my comment, which I'm also posting here because it sums up my position fairly well.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on this one, Xavier. If you believe the law he broke is unconstitutional, then his motivation, knowledge, intent, recklessness, stupidity, and arrogance should all be irrelevant. He has the same right to challenge the law on Constitutional grounds as anyone else. His money simply gives him a better ability to do so, and his fame is what brought it to our attention. Right or not, that is the way it is.

Heller does apply, not because it applies to him, or to the situation, but because it applies to the law that he is being charged under. If New York's law equates to a de facto ban on handguns, it is unconstitutional under Heller, and a persons reasons and intent are irrelevant. Even if he was carrying it so that he could go kill someone later, he still should be able to challenge the law in question. An unconstitutional law should be challenged at every possible opportunity.

Is Plaxico Burress an ideal person to be doing this? No. Is he one of us? Heck no. Should he be charged with other crimes? Yes, he should be charged with criminal negligence, reckless endangerment, making false statements to police, and (if it's in New York's laws) carrying a firearm while intoxicated. He's an idiot, and it's only blind luck that no on else was injured or killed.

You said "If he decided to go, he did not need to carry a gun." Since when is need supposed to be a requirement to exercise one's Second Amendment rights? Since when is the lack of ability to hire bodyguards, or the lack of "other options" supposed to be a requirement to exercise one's Second Amendment rights?

It is not about "bend[ing] the law unjust when the man who caught the winning touchdown in the 2008 Super Bowl violates it" or for getting him "preferential treatment in a court of law." It's about striking down an unconstitutional law. To paraphrase your own conclusion, "The Constitution is simply the Constitution, and it applies to New York City."
*Please note that the "stupidity" label for this post is for Plaxico Burress's stupidity, not Xavier. I have nothing but respect for Xavier, and I don't think he's stupid, or even being stupid in his post.

Monday, December 01, 2008

You can’t have effective gun control in a free society.

Jim W makes an excellent observation in a comment over at SayUncle.
The main problem is that gun control people think that they can take guns out of the hands of criminals by passing laws.
[...]
Without prison type levels of control, you can’t effectively disarm people who don’t want to be disarmed. And even then, you are not going to have a foolproof success rate.

And if these measures barely work in prison (which is enormously expensive and the residents have no rights at all) it sure as hell isn’t going to work in a society where people have rights to privacy and not being searched, etc. You can’t have effective gun control in a free society. [emphasis mine.]

Think about it. In prisons - where the inmates are subject to detailed searches whenever the guards want, where their contact with the outside world is severely limited and constantly monitored, where their daily movements and activities are severely restricted and constantly monitored - prisoners still get weapons, and still kill other prisoners.

If we can't keep weapons out of prisons - the most restrictive environment we can create - there is simply no possibility of keeping them out of a free society.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Dangers of Disarmament, and of relying on others to protect you.

Sometimes they won't.
There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back.
and
"I told some policemen the gunmen had moved towards the rear of the station but they refused to follow them. What is the point if having policemen with guns if they refuse to use them? I only wish I had a gun rather than a camera." [emphasis mine]
From an interview with a photographer in Mumbai, about the terrorist attacks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Words to Give You Chills

Are you suggesting that we might have a religious nut referring to antimatter using a code-word that also means "purification"?
From the webcomic Schlock Mercenary, a funny read.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Light blogging

Not that I blog a lot, normally, but I really got burned out on anything political with the election, so I haven't done anything much more than read a few of my regular sites.

This week, I'm at the annual Virginia EMS Symposium in Norfolk. I'll be taking a lot of classes towards my recertification, so blogging will probably remain light. Or I may do a post or two about the symposium. It just depends on how I feel.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Sarahcudda wins again!





And they tried to criticize McCain for his choice of running mate?! Somebody find me a cluebat!

Hat tip to The Breda Fallacy for the video.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell endorses Obama

(Link in title)

Well. Like everybody else, I am surprised. I think that this will seriously affect the election. Colin Powell is still widely respected by people in both parties, and many who are still undecided will follow him.

This looks like it will be very bad for McCain.

On Joe the Plumber, Obama's Campaign, and the MSM

One of the most interesting things about the whole Joe the Plumber situation is what it shows us about Obama's campaign and the MSM. Instead of looking at Joe's question and Obama's answer, they are doing everything they can to smear Joe in an effort to divert people's attention away from the real issue.

Frankly, whether Joe is a stand-up guy or a tax-avoiding, unlicensed hack is irrelevant. His question, whether serious or rhetorical, is insightful and probing. Obama's answer, unscripted and unplanned, shows us a disturbing side of his beliefs, and his plans for the nation.

Let's make Joe's question a little more generic. Same question, just not as specific to Joe. "If my business makes more than $250,000 a year, your new plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?"

Now let's look at Obama's answer.
"I don't want to punish your success, it's just that I want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance at success, too. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." (emphasis mine)
Think about that. If you're successful, he wants to make sure that other's have a "chance at success" too - by forcibly taking the money you worked for, and earned, and giving it to people who haven't earned it, and who may not have worked for it at all.

That's not what taxes are for. Taxes are supposed to pay for government, and for the things government is supposed to provide, like roads, courts, police, and other infrastructure. The things that private enterprise cannot do well, or is unwilling to do because it's not profitable.

What Obama plans is called socialism, and that is disturbing. But his campaign and the MSM don't want us to know that, so they are trying to distract us by getting people to focus on the person who asked the question, and not the question itself, or the answer.

Disturbing? You decide.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

An Profound Insight

From Robb at Sharp As A Marble.

Each time you allow your representatives to tack on more and more "regulations", you limit your freedom more and more. Each time you vote to increase the power of the government, even when you think that particular increase is beneficial, it will never go away and always be added on to, generally by people who you didn't want to have that power in the first place.

People who try to understand the U.S. Constitution tend to forget that the government under that constitution was not our first government. The founding fathers wanted the weakest government they could get away with, because they didn't trust government. The first U.S. government, under the Articles of Confederation, was so weak it couldn't do what was needed. There's a reason the Constitution is designed to limit the power of the government.

The founders knew even then that government, when not heavily restricted, will eventually grow beyond necessity and into tyranny. It is the nature of the beast, and that is why the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written to limit the powers of the Federal government.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Nope, no bias here!

If this is true, it's shameful. ABC news apparently heavily edited Charlie Gibson's interview with Gov. Palin, and tried to do so in a way that makes her look unprepared, and dangerously hawkish.

At least one of the clips I've seen is obviously edited. Many of her answers seem to be abruptly cut off, or start too abruptly. His questions seem the same. The interview doesn't "flow" like a real discussion would. One is at about 0:58 into the clip, after he explains what he means by "the Bush Doctrine." The camera is on her face, and her hands are in her lap. The camera cuts to a side view, and her right hand is suddenly up at chin level. According to the transcript, here is what was cut out (in bold):

GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

PALIN: I agree that a president’s job, when they swear in their oath to uphold our Constitution, their top priority is to defend the United States of America.

I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people.

GIBSON: Do we have a right to anticipatory self-defense? Do we have a right to make a preemptive strike again another country if we feel that country might strike us?

PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country.
In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.


The most noticeable one is immediately after that, at about 1:11 in the clip. Again from a front view of her face, this time with her hand visibly and being used to emphasize her point, the camera switches to a side view, and now her hands are suddenly in her lap. What was left out is part of the above quote (in bold).

PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.

GIBSON: Do we have the right to be making cross-border attacks into Pakistan from Afghanistan, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government?
I encourage you to read the whole transcript. Pay attention to what was edited out of what was actually broadcast. Form your own opinion of Gov. Palin, and how the media is trying to twist her image to make her look like someone she isn't.

[h/t to DirtCrashr, via a comment at SayUncle]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Media Bias? What Media Bias? (Long post)

[I know this is about a week old, but I needed to let it simmer in my mind for a while.]

There's a growing opinion that the media treats the Obama campaign better than the McCain campaign. The media, of course, denies this, claiming to be neutral and just reporting the facts. I have commented before about how an article can be 100% factually true and factual, while still being biased. It can be done with nothing more complicated than simple word choice, picking words and phrases that cast the facts in a favorable or unfavorable light. Compare the following sentences, "A bystander legally carrying a concealed handgun interrupted the robbery, exchanging gunshots with the robbers before they fled the scene," and "Another armed man in the store started a gunfight with the alleged robbers, causing them to run for their lives." Both tell the facts, but one uses charged language, making the CHP holder look dangerous and reckless.

But that's a discussion for another post. The purpose of this post is to point out how the media is showing thier bias against the Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin, and favoring the Democrat ticket. I start with this.

It's funny, but I don't remember seeing anything like this after Obama's convention speech, or after Biden's acceptance speech. Just Governor Palin's. (I will freely admit I may have missed either if they exist. If anyone knows of it, and can provide a link to prove it, let me know and I will stand corrected.) Now most of the time, a Yahoo! headline will stay "on top" like this for one or two hours, and then be rotated to one of those four bottom positions before it's taken of the main page completely. This one was on top for almost eight hours!

Now, let's look at the actual article.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.

Some examples:

PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."
I'll admit, $750 million is a lot, especially when compared to other states. But that figure is absolutely meaningless in this context unless you compare it to how much Alaska requested before she became governor. Did it go up, or down? Did it stay the same? Did she veto any requests and have the legislature override her? How much higher than other states requests was that? How does this amount compare to other states when adjusted for the higher cost of everything in Alaska? Is it unusual for a town that size in Alaska to have a lobbyist in DC? How does that $27 million compare to other Alaskan towns that size?

I'll be the first to admit, I actually wish she would shut up about the "bridge to nowhere." It's too easy for the Dems to turn it into a great sound byte against her. Bottom line, she did originally support it. But let's think about that bridge for a moment. Let's remember what her job actually was at the time - mayor of Wasilla, AK, and then Governor of Alaska. Part of both jobs is to support funding necessary improvements in her town and her state. Apparently, any people in Alaska, and especially in Ketchikan, felt that the bridge was needed. Without the bridge, the only way to get to that airport is by a ferry, which runs a set schedule and is vulnerable to weather delays. Remember, in Alaska, airports are much, much more important than in the rest of the U.S. (except maybe Hawaii), because there are places you can't get to except by air. And as for the cost, building that bridge in Alaska is going to be substantially more expensive than building the exact same bridge anywhere in the lower 48.

These "facts" may be true, but they don't support the AP's accusation because they have no relevant context. The AP shows it's bias because it presents these facts in a manner that makes them appear relevent.

PALIN: "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate."

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.
The AP is not even addressing the same issue here. Gov. Palin's assertion was that Obama has not "authored a single law or reform." They never state that he has. They simply list a few laws that he "helped" pass. As far as the "two big, contentious measures in Illinois," there are several points they don't address. Did they become law? What do they mean "he was a leader" on those measures? Did he actually author them? Did he author any major sections? Again, an answer without relevant context.

PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.
They shoot themselves in the foot with this one. They say it themselves. McCain's plan would cut taxes for everyone. Obama's plan raises taxes on the wealthy and on successful small businesses. That sounds like what she said, with more detail. As far as how much each plan would increase after-tax income, notice that they only compare for the middle class. What about the poor, or the "upper-middle" classes?

MCCAIN: "She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply ... She's responsible for 20 percent of the nation's energy supply. I'm entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America," he said in an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson.

THE FACTS: McCain's phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she's no more "responsible" for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state — by population.
This one seems a bit of a wash, although I think that the size, terrain, and isolation of Alaska create unique challenges for a governor that balance out the smaller population. Under the Alaska constitution, the oil belongs to the people of Alaska, and the oil companies lease the right to drill and sell it. I believe that the governor's office is responsible for any lease negotiations that come up, and for interfacing with the oil companies otherwise. Beyond that, I don't really know enough about the governor's role in managing Alaska's oil to comment. Though I do believe that is more than the governor of Texas does.

MCCAIN: "She's the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities," he said on ABC.

THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, they assume those duties under "federal status," which means they report to the Defense Department, not their governors. Alaska's national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations.
Again, I don't really know enough about how much interaction a governor has with their National Guard to comment here, though I do believe that any border state deals with national security issues. Additionally, unlike any other border state, Alaska shares a water border with a less-than-friendly nation with a history of aggression - Russia. Given Alaska's isolation from the rest of the U.S., that has to be a concern of any Alaskan governor.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.
I have to think this is just jumping on a misstatement. My bet is that Huckabee intended to say that she got a higer percentage of the vote than Biden. For him to have meant it the way they say here would simply be non-sensical. Without knowing the actual numbers, of course, I can't say if he would have been right or not.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: "We need change, all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."

THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.
I can't say much to that, except that Republican - especially over the last eight years - doesn't neccessarily equal conservative. Don't forget that one of the biggest complaints conservatives have had in recent years has been about RINOs - Republicans In Name Only. This is one reason "change" has been such a popular message this election, and why Gov. Palin is so popular with conservatives.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Poor Excuse for a Scandal

A good analysis of Gov. Palin's so-called "scandal" here.

(Found through a comment to a post at The Volokh Conspiracy.)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin - A good choice.

As I said earlier, here's more...

Why is she a good choice? Well, there is no question about her conservative credentials:
  1. Pro-life.
  2. Pro-gun.
  3. When she takes an oath to uphold the constitution, she takes it seriously (she vetoed a bill that would have banned Alaska from granting same-sex partner benefits - even though she supported it - because it would have violated the state constitution).
  4. She has a long history of rooting out corruption in government - regardless of party.
  5. Cuts spending (including her own salary), and works to balance the budget.
All of this is public record, and easily available for all to see.

What about weak points?

Experience
Many are criticizing her selection saying she "lacks experience" and that it invalidates McCain's criticism of Obama's lack of experience. After all, she'll be "only a heartbeat away from the presidency." But there are several reasons this is a false argument.

She has four years experience on the Wasilla city council, and seven years as the mayor. She has nearly two years experience as the governor of Alaska. While Alaska is one of the most sparsely populated states, this is still more experience in an executive position than Obama can lay claim to (without even counting her time as mayor of Wasilla). In addition is something I never considered until I read a very insightful comment by Straightarrow over at SayUncle.

Given the sheer size of Alaska and its low population density, it would be much more difficult to run than other states. Wyoming still has the lowest population density of any state in the union, but nowhere near the vast distances between population centers. Services and infrastucture demands in Alaska will prove the mettle of an executive or reveal them to be unsuited for the task.

A person competent to administer any other state could still be in over his/her head in Alaska. With Palin’s record of success to this point in the toughest laboratory of leadership in the country I find it amazing that some are so dismissive of the talent and character it takes to perform well in that laboratory.

Think about it. It's not really obvious until you do. How much infrastructure goes into something as basic as maintining the roads in a state like Alaska? Harsh winters, permafrost, limited resources, and roads that go through countless miles of wilderness. Then there's the harbors, which are essential to maintaining civilization in Alaska. Ice buildup on any harbor structures has to be a constant problem, and repairs are probably only possible in the short summers. It has to be done right the first time. Now imagine you have to do all of this with a limited tax base (i.e. a small population), and all the materials - especially fuel - are significantly more expensive than in more populous states, and if those harbors and roads shut down - either because of damage or weather - you can't get any more materials to fix them until they reopen.

Obama has nothing even close to this level of experience. He's been a legislator for almost all of his career, with no government executive experience.

Oh, and lets not forget the fact that she's running for vice-president, while he's running for the real thing. I think it's just a little more important for him to be experienced than for her.

The Public Safety Commissioner dismissal "scandal."

This is probably the greatest "weakness" that she has, and it's not much if you look at the actual facts.

As of August 29, 2008, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is being investigated by an independent investigator hired by the legislature to determine whether she abused her power when she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan.
On July 11, 2008, Palin dismissed Monegan and instead offered him a position as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he turned down. Her power to fire him is not in dispute. But Monegan alleged that his dismissal may have been an abuse of power tied to his reluctance to fire Palin's former brother-in law, an Alaska State Trooper, Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a divorce and child custody battle with Palin's sister, Molly McCann.
Hmm. Okay, using your position as governor to try to get your ex-brother-in-law fired, as some sort of payback for a custody battle, sounds pretty bad. If that was all it was. Let's read on.

In 2006, before Palin was governor, Wooten was suspended for 10 days for threatening to kill McCann's (and Palin's) father, tasering his 11-year-old stepson, drinking beer in his squad car, and violating game laws. After a union protest, the suspension was reduced to five days.
You know, even if this guy wasn't my sister's ex, even if I'd never met him before in my life, I would want to know just why the heck he wasn't in a jail cell somewhere, never mind why he still had a badge. A five day suspension? That's just plain ridiculous!

Of course, there's also the question of whether or not she even knew at the time that the whole "abuse of power" was even happening.

Palin acknowledged that there were a number of calls from her office on the matter, and that in one of these Frank Bailey, a member of her administration, mentioned "a family tie with the Governor there" and said "we don't know why this guy is still working." Both Palin and Bailey say that happened without her knowledge and was unrelated to her dismissal of Monegan, and Bailey was put on leave for two months for acting outside the scope of his authority as the Director of Boards and Commissions.
Bailey is either a really loyal politico, or she really didn't know what he was doing until afterwards and got mad. But frankly, any governor's staffer who doesn't look into why a trooper like Wooten hasn't been fired isn't doing his job, regardless of any relationship to the governor. The difference here is that it was probably that same relationship that brought it to their attention.

Frankly, McCain didn't pick her to lure the die-hard "Hillary" democrats to him, or because he thought the hard-core feminists would vote for him just because she's a woman (from what I've seen on the 'net, they hate her more than him - she's a woman on "all the wrong sides of women's issues" - basically a traitor in their minds). He picked her because she has a strong appeal to his conservative core constituents, and her strengths serve to lure the conservative leaning undecided to vote for him. The fact that she is a woman will be a draw for the middle leaning "Hillary" crowd too, but that's really just a bonus.

YES!!!!!

Sarah Palin for Vice-President!

Like many, I had hoped for this, and expected to be disappointed. I'm glad I was wrong.

And a cool picture. (from Bruce, with a h/t to SayUncle.) I think I know where she stands on the 2nd Amendment.



More after work.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Good Guys Don't Always Win

Another one from Xavier. Go here and read the whole story.

Did you read it? Good. Here are a few things I hope you noticed.

"As they walked from the business toward their Chevrolet Tahoe vehicle, Katherine, who was carrying the night deposit from Catfish King, observed a male suspect running toward her from the wood line at the back corner of the property," an arrest affidavit stated. "She heard the suspect yell something, but she did not understand what he said."

Womack, brandishing a handgun, then shot Jeffreys in the ankle before exchanging gunfire with Labrozzi, who had a handgun on him, the report stated.

If the story here is correct, he never gave them a chance to comply, or even make sure his demands were understood. He just started shooting.

Criminal records show Womack has one prior arrest. Hudson police booked him into Angelina County Jail in March 2007 and charged him with deadly conduct for allegedly fighting at Hudson High School where he was a student.
Like most criminals who kill, this was not his first time breaking the law, and not his first violent crime either.

Sunday night's deadly attempted robbery is the second incident in eight months at Catfish King in which an armed robber approached a manager closing the business. [...] In the December robbery, the woman [ed. - Not the same woman.] told police she was walking to her car when she heard a rustling noise in the woods before two males with blue bandanas approached her. One pulled a handgun and told her, "This is a robbery." The other sprayed the woman with pepper spray and took her purse before both ran back into the woods.
Again, the victim was attacked without being given a chance to comply. She was lucky they only wanted the money, and not her. That robbery could easily have turned into a kidnapping and rape once she was incapacitated by the pepper spray.

A month later, the same assistant manager was robbed at gunpoint while making a deposit at Huntington State Bank[.]
That makes three robberies since December, two of which were on the premises. This business has obviously been targeted. The cockroaches have been watching to learn where the money goes, and when, and have been taking advantage of it. It makes me think that Labrozzi was escorting Jeffreys (his girlfriend) because of the previous incidents. I would be. The police simply cannot be there every single night for every business, or even for one business every night for eight months. I think he knew that.

Things to learn from this:

1) The cockroaches won't always threaten and make demands, often they simply attack and take. Don't trust them not to attack.

2) Be aware of your surroundings. Condition yellow is good. If you're carrying large amounts of money, at night, with few or no other people around, you should be even more alert. Something closer to condition orange, but with no specific threat source. In my mind I call this condition amber. You are both vulnerable and desirable as a target, but there is no specific threat to focus on.

3) The police cannot protect you if they are not there with you when the attack occurs. If that were the case, the cockroaches would either go somewhere else, or wait until the police are not there to protect you. Do not rely on the police to protect you.

4) The sad truth is that, even if you are aware, alert, armed, and prepared for an attack, you still might not survive. All that only gives you a greater chance of survival, not a guarantee. Unfortunately, one innocent in this case did not survive. However, his sacrifice allowed his girlfriend, another innocent, to survive, and allowed the police to catch this particular cockroach.

This is nothing but a tragedy, but
Keith Edward Labrozzi II, 24, of Lufkin, Texas, died a hero.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why should I always carry?

Xavier has a good post by Don Myers on why we should always take advantage of our carry permits. You should also check out this (which gives details on the story behind the post) and this (on recognizing threats), both related to the topic.

Bottom line, evil happens everywhere.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Enough is enough.

[The following was posted by me as a comment at SayUncle in response to another comment. I've seen this same sentiment expressed in comments in various other blogs, and couldn't leave it alone anymore. The shooter shall remain nameless.]
-------
"Well you gotta admit they secured the perimeter at Va.Tech. Not one cops got across it before [nameless one] was finished. That’s a hundred percent effective. And they never lost a victim, they found them all."
Straightarrow: Please read the timeline from the report on Virginia Tech. It's available here. Specifically, look at page 7 of the PDF that link takes you to.
"9:45 a.m. The first police officers arrive at Norris Hall, [...] rush to one entrance, then another, and then a third but find all three chained shut. Attempts to shoot open the locks fail." (emphasis added)
and on page 8:
"9:50 a.m. Using a shotgun, police shoot open the ordinary key lock of a fourth entrance to Norris Hall that goes to a machine shop and that could not be chained. The police hear gunshots as they enter the building. They immediately follow the sounds to the second floor."
The news cameras didn't get there until 10-15 minutes into the incident. That's when all the footage of officers outside was filmed. Yes, they were securing the perimeter... BECAUSE OTHER OFFICERS WERE ALREADY INSIDE!

I don't know if you're familiar with Norris Hall, but 5 minutes is about the right amount of time to run around the building to try the main entrances, and then figure out where else you might be able to get inside. The ground floor windows are not an option. They have metal panes, and the windows themselves are very narrow. I doubt a full grown man in a ballistic vest and a gunbelt could squeeze through easily, if at all, and it would be stupid to try when you don't know if the gunman could come into that room while you're halfway through.

I'm sorry if I come off as ranting here, but I've seen this same sentiment in several blog comments over the last few weeks, and I can't let it go unanswered anymore. It pisses me off, because it ascribes cowardice where none exists, because it's WRONG, because it's based on MSM misinformation, and because the facts can be easily checked by anyone interested.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Road Rage + Concealed Carry Permit = NO Shots Fired!

Story here.

The summary is: Lost college student pulls over to check his map. Guy in a Porsche pulls in behind him, gets out of his car and approaches with a baseball bat, yelling about how slow the student was driving. Student takes his Glock out of the glove compartment, gets out of the car with the pistol visible. Man with bat puts his hands up, gets back in his car and drives away.

The student called law enforcement from his parents' home, no charges filed against him.

A perfect and legitimate defensive use of a firearm.

h/t to Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Jury Nullification

Wandering around the web, I stumbled on this thread on jury nullification at Patterico's Pontifications. The best comment on the subject I found there is this one. In part:

Jury nullification is the reason for juries in the first place. Absent that power, there is no reason whatever to involve nonspecialists in evaluating evidence and applying the law.
[...]
The reason juries exist, and are supposed to be made up of the “peers” — social equals — of the defendant, is that the jury has the power to say, “Yes, this was a violation of the law, but the law is an ass in this case. Turn ‘im loose!”
[...]
A jury that cannot nullify is not a jury. It is a panel of incompetent lawyers. Eliminate that power and you have eliminated the guarantee that the jury system offers the accused.
The important part here is "in this case." Jury nullification in one case does not affect any other case - past, present, or (for the most part) future. It applies only to the specific case the jury is deciding. Unlike a circuit court (or higher) decision, it is not binding on any other case, anywhere - even in the same court the next day. The law remains as it was.

It can also be a great tool if the legislature is not paying attention to the people. If enough prosecutions under a bad law are victims of jury nullification, there's a good chance the prosecutors will stop bringing charges under that particular law, because it looks bad if they lose (and that is where it can affect future cases).

Having said all that, there is another important point that needs to be made. Jury nullification is a tool that should be used both sparingly and carefully. It has been used for good (when juries would refuse to convict conductors on the underground railroad) and evil (when juries would refuse to convict klansmen for murders). It still has that potential today, and likely always will.

Note: I know this was an old thread, but I got inspired, and just couldn't leave the subject alone.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Heller, Round 2!

Really, who didn't see this coming?

In a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Dick Heller and two other plaintiffs allege that the city's new gun regulations still violate rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

h/t to David Codrea at The War on Guns.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Xavier Thoughts: An Encounter At Wal-Mart

This was posted back in March, but I just stumbled on it today.

Xavier Thoughts: An Encounter At Wal-Mart

It's a good example of why situational awareness is so important, and how to handle the aftermath of a defensive gun use when no shots are fired and the bad guys leave.

I've also added Xavier Thoughts to the list on the left, once I realized it wasn't there.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Missed Point About Heller

I never got around to posting an analysis of DC v. Heller. There have been so many others on the web who have, and have done a better job than I probably could, that I just didn't do it. (And I succumbed to a bit of Heller "burnout" reading so many of them.) But there's one point I've noticed missing from most of those otherwise excellent blog posts. I've mentioned it in a couple of comments, but haven't really seen it anywhere, so here it is:

Heller will eventually lead to a ruling that a state may prohibit either open carry or concealed carry, but not both.

There are two key passages:
As the quotations earlier in this opinion demonstrate,the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right. The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of “arms” that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose. The prohibition extends, moreover, to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute.Under any of the standards of scrutiny that we have applied to enumerated constitutional rights, banning from the home “the most preferred firearm in the nation to ‘keep’ and use for protection of one’s home and family,” 478 F. 3d, at 400, would fail constitutional muster.
and:
It is no answer to say, as petitioners do, that it is permissible to ban the possession of handguns so long as the possession of other firearms (i.e., long guns) is allowed. It is enough to note, as we have observed, that the American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon.
DC v. Heller, 554 U. S. ____ (2008), p. 56-57, (PDF p. 59-60)

Heller
dealt only with carrying firearms within one's home. However, by so inextricably joining the 2nd Amendment to the right to self-defense, the Court has left the door wide open to a future ruling that some form of carry (open or concealed) must be allowed outside the home as well. This follows from the simple fact that a person's right to self defense does not end when he leaves his home. There is ample case law supporting an individual's right to self defense, and most of it deals with situations where the individual in question is not at his home or place of business.

From this it is simple. If I have the right to self defense outside my home, and that right is "central to the Second Amendment right," then a law restricting my Second Amendment right only to my home cannot be constitutional. I have that right in any place that I have the right to self defense.

Monday, June 30, 2008

A Good Example of Media Bias

Compare these two stories: here at CNN, and here at ABC. They are both about the same thing, but have key differences in language use that change the whole impression given by the story. The key sentences are at the beginning of each story.

From CNN:
A Texas man who shot and killed two men he suspected of burglarizing his neighbor's home was cleared in the shootings Monday by a grand jury.
From ABC:
A Texas man who shot and killed two men he believed to be burglarizing his neighbor's home won't be going to trial. A grand jury today failed to indict Joe Horn[.]
It may be my own bias, but CNN appears to be trying to be more neutral, or slightly favoring Mr. Horn. ABC is almost blatant in their opinion that he should have been indicted. But don't take my word for it. I encourage everyone to read both stories and judge for themselves.

A news story should use neutral word choices, and present only the facts (but all of the facts), letting the reader decide. Save the opinions for the editorials.

What was Rule 2 again?

I've never had a high opinion of the French military (something about WWII and a house of cards), but this is utter stupidity.

A quick summary: In what appears to have been a simulation/demonstration of a terrorist situation during "open barracks day," where "a crowd of hundreds of visitors [were] watching parachute commandos simulate an assault to free hostages," a soldier in the crowd, playing the part of a terrorist, opened fire on the crowd. This was part of the simulation, and he was using blanks. He then reloaded and fired again, only this time, his second magazine was loaded with live rounds. At least 17 people were injured, including 5 children. At this point they are claiming this was accidental.

There are several points of stupidity here.

1. I don't know how it works in the military (especially the French military), but if I know I'm going to be firing blanks into a crowd, I'm not going to be using any magazine I haven't loaded myself. I want to visually ensure that every single round that goes in those magazines is really, truly, a blank. Then I'm going to mark those magazines in a very distinct, very obvious, and very noticeable way. Something on the order of day-glow orange tape around the entire body of the magazine.

2. When I reload, I'm going to take a moment to look at that fresh magazine. Is it completely wrapped in that same day-glow orange tape? If not, it doesn't get used. If it is, I'm going to look at the first round, which should be visible at the top of the magazine. I'm going to verify it really is a blank by looking at it.* I'm going to look at it twice. If there is any doubt whatsoever that it really is a blank, the magazine doesn't get used. Period.
*(This is assuming that there is a visible difference for blanks that will work with the weapon in question. I've never actually seen one, but not having some visible indication strikes me as incredibly stupid. More so than this particular situation.)

3. I'm not going to be so stupid as to actually point the muzzle of my weapon at any person. Remember Rule 2??!! (Left side of the page, at the top. Read it again. Refresh it in your memory.) Even blanks can kill, in the right circumstances. Remember Brandon Lee? You usually don't realize the right circumstances exist until it's too late. Do you want to kill that child? No? THEN DON'T POINT YOUR GUN AT HIM!!!!!!

I can understand that in military training firing blanks at another soldier may be an acceptable risk. The risk of death or injury from a blank (or an unnoticed live round) is actually pretty low, and the benefits (i.e. training someone to react correctly when someone else is shooting at them) may be worth the risk. But this should never, ever, happen at a simple demonstration, and especially not by firing blanks at civilians or observers. Primary responsibility lies with the soldier who pulled the trigger, but this was a failure at all levels involved in planning and executing this demonstration.

Fortunately, no one was killed by this idiocy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blogs Added

Politics, Guns & Beer
(hat-tip to Rob Allen at Sharp as a Marble)

and, since I just realized he wasn't already there:
Sharp as a Marble

The Heller Effect Begins

BELLEVUE, WA – Following Thursday’s (5-4) ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right to keep and bear arms, and that a municipal gun ban violates that right, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) filed a federal lawsuit (complaint) challenging the City of Chicago’s long-standing handgun ban.
Full press release at ChicagoGunCase.com

Also added to the link list.

(hat-tip to Rob Allen at Sharp as a Marble)

DC v. Heller - First Impressions

Not done reading it yet, but I am done for today. I prefer to hold my comments until I've read the whole thing, and this one is 60+ pages for the majority opinion, and 157 pages total!

Preliminary opinion, based on the syllabus, what I've read so far, and what I've seen on other blogs? More good than bad: it established the 2nd Amendment as protecting an individual right, which is very important, and gives lower courts a good starting point. On the other hand, it does not rule out licensing and/or registration. On the gripping hand, for jurisdictions that do require licensing and/or registration, it seems to say that only shall-issue would be constitutional.
Assuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights, the District must permit him to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.
District of Columbia, et al. v. Heller, Slip Op., p. 64 ( p. 67 of the PDF) (emphasis added)

Additionally, while the majority does not specifically address the scrutiny issue, footnote 27 is promising because it outright rejects rational basis scrutiny.
If all that was required to overcome the right to keep and bear arms was a rational basis, the Second Amendment would be redundant with the separate constitutional prohibitions on irrational laws, and would have no effect.
Heller, Slip Op., Footnote 27, p. 56, 57 (p. 59, 60 of the PDF)

While footnotes are considered dicta, footnotes in a Supreme Court majority opinion are often considered more binding than circuit court decisions, and are usually given more weight by lower courts than the dissenting opinion in the same case.

Well, that's more than I planned on getting into tonight. More later this weekend!

Heller Affirmed!

The Supreme Court affirmed the D.C. Circuit Court's decision in Heller.

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
DC v. Heller, Syllabus, Available here.

More after work.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SCOTUS Watch

No Heller today. Should be tomorrow.

They also ruled the death penalty unconstitutional for child-rape. My initial opinion is strongly opposed to that ruling, but I haven't read it for details yet. It appears to have been a 5-4 vote split right across conservative/liberal lines. I'm disappointed, but not surprised. I'll probably do a more detailed post about this one later.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why didn't they FIGHT??!!! (Part 2)

Since I posted on this yesterday, I've had a chance to distance myself from my anger a bit. I've also found some more complete stories about it here (thanks to David Codrea at The War on Guns) and here (by a Yahoo! search). There are a couple of points the original story didn't make clear. I'll be mixing quotes from the two stories linked to above.

At least one tried to stop the 27-year-old attacker, who swung and slammed the toddler into the asphalt and stomped on him behind his parked four-door Toyota pickup.

"One (person) tried to intervene, and the suspect pushed him off and continued assaulting the baby," Singh said.


By the time the ambulance had left the scene, Singh said, almost a dozen people had witnessed some part of the incident, with at least two trying to physically stop the suspect.

So, contrary to my prior belief, "at least" two people did try to physically intervene. This was not made clear in the earlier story I read, and I stand corrected on that point.

But...

Out of almost a dozen people, only two tried to do anything. And it doesn't look like they tried very hard. If being "pushed off" is enough to keep you from stopping something like this, then you're not really trying. If you're not beaten to the ground, unable to move, and you didn't stop him, you didn't try hard enough. I stand by my original assessment of these worthless cowards.

On a more positive note, the officer and his pilot are to be commended. The officer made the immediate decision to set down in a field by the road so he could get out and intervene, and the pilot did it. Let me emphasize, this is not something that is done lightly. This happened at 10:00 at night. Helicopter pilots are justifiably paranoid about things like power lines, because they are hard to see, hard to gauge distance to from the air, and they can kill a helicopter before anyone on board knows what's going on. At night they're practically invisible. As an EMS provider, I know for a fact that most pilots won't land in a field at night unless it's a regularly used LZ (landing zone) that they know has been used in daylight where such hazards can be easily seen. They also won't land in a field at night if it's not marked off, (usually done with fire or rescue vehicles), so they can see where the edges are. I have, in fact, seen some pilots refuse a known LZ because they weren't comfortable with it at night.
This pilot landed in an unmarked, unscouted, presumably unknown field, at night. If he had missed seeing a power line, or a tree, or anything, he could have killed himself and the officer with him. Seeing the situation, he took the risk.

That's the kind of courage every one of the bystanders should have shown. Instead, they let him "push" them off.

Cowards.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Why didn't they FIGHT??!!!

This is just sick. (Please note that due to the nature of this story, I will break my usual rule of no profanity. And there will be yelling. Lots of yelling. There is just no other way to accurately get my feelings about this, and my point, across.)

Officials said Monday that 27-year-old Sergio Casian Aguilar parked his car on the country road Saturday night and proceeded to stomp, kick and punch a 2-year-old officials believe to be his son.
and
Passers-by called 911 and attempted to intervene. Dan Robinson, the chief of a local volunteer fire department, says he got out of his car and tried to stop Aguilar, whom he described as having a "total hollowness in his eyes."

He was finally shot at the scene by an officer responding to calls from bystanders. The original version from this morning is gone, and Yahoo! news doesn't seem to have a way to find it, but it mentioned that the first witnesses were an elderly couple who called 911, and that 2 or 3 other cars stopped with people calling 911. Although both stories mentioned people trying to stop him, neither mentioned any physical altercation, or anyone getting hurt trying to stop him.

The first thing I thought when I saw this was: Why the hell are you bothering to call 911?! When yelling at him to stop didn't work, why the fuck did nobody try to FIGHT him. He's beating the shit out of a 2 YEAR OLD CHILD for God's sake!! I know this is Kalifornia, so shooting him was probably not an option for these people, but even the elderly couple, if they can drive, they can swing a tire iron at his head from behind! There were 3 or 4 cars there, meaning at least 3 or 4 people. Dogpile the son of a bitch! Don't just stand there with your thumbs up your asses waiting for the police and watching a 2 year old child get beaten to death!! STOP HIM!!!!!

What's worse is the fire chief. Dan Robinson, you are a worthless piece of SHIT! You didn't "try to stop him," you tried to talk to him. He was beating this kid bloody. The story this morning said the child was so badly beaten that they were going to have to use DNA to identify him! If you're an active fire chief, you are not a 90 pound weakling. If you are? You're in the business of saving lives. As a volunteer. GRAB A TIRE IRON!! Hit him with a fire extinguisher!! Do something, DON'T JUST FUCKING STAND THERE!!!!

Even if he beats you senseless, even if he breaks every bone in your body, even if he kills you, protecting an innocent child is worth it. When he's beating you, he's not beating the child. If you last long enough, the police that the other useless cowards called will get there. Even if he finishes with you, you've bought the child some time.

There are some things worth fighting for. There are some things worth being injured for. There are some things worth dying for.

Stopping something like this is one of them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Tragedy, and a Lesson

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A 4-year-old girl shot herself in the chest Monday after snatching her grandmother's handgun from the woman's purse while riding in a shopping cart at a Sam's Club store, authorities said.

Full story here.

Thankfully, the child survived. It could have been much worse. As much as I hate to speak ill of someone who has undergone such a horrible experience, this incident illustrates two important points that must be made for safety's sake.

The grandmother in this case was negligent, and her granddaughter was hurt because of it. I'm sorry if that comes off as insensitive, but it's the truth. She left a loaded gun in easy reach of a 4 year old child.

1) There are several flaws with off-body (i.e. in a purse, jacket, etc.) carry. One of which is that if the bag is out of your reach, then the gun is out of your control. If a thief snatches it from the shopping cart, he has your gun, and you're left defenseless. If you set it down and forget to take it with you when you leave, you're defenseless and your gun is probably lost forever. If your 4 year old looks through it while your back is turned, tragedy will follow.

2) Don't ever assume that just because a gun is hidden, a child won't find it. This is true at home as well as in your purse. Secure means locked up, or in your possession and under your immediate control. Ladies, if you leave your purse with a 4 year old, they will eventually decide to look through it. The purse is where mommy keeps all the neat stuff, and the money she uses to buy toys. If you carry your gun there, they will play with it, and they will get hurt.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Welcome to Soviet Washington, DC. Your travel papers please.

This is being covered by several blogs, but I had to put my two cents in anyway.

This is how tyranny begins. Small infringements on rights are made to sound reasonable, due to circumstances at the time. The tyrants-to-be build on people's fears, and propose 'solutions' that may or may not work to fix the problem, using fear to get people to consent to give up rights and freedoms. Then another fear comes along, and the tyrants-to-be do it all over again. This time it's easy to go a little farther, to infringe peoples rights even more, because people are used to the last infringement. It's normal to them now. So a bigger infringement is seen as being not much, because it's not a lot more than what people are used to. And people are afraid, and willing, because it might fix the cause of their fear. (This works even better if the previous infringement even appears to have worked.) Eventually, you have tyranny.

How does this apply to DC? First you have the intermittent checkpoints they're creating now. Checking peoples ID for their addresses and, if they don't live in the neighborhood, making them give a 'legitimate purpose' to enter. Once people get used to that, and start thinking it's 'normal' and 'legitimate,' they'll say "We're seeing results, but it's not as effective as it could be. There's still a crime problem." The next step will be to make the checkpoint permanent. Then once people are used to that, they'll add more. Then they'll say "It worked in this neighborhood, we're going to do it in other 'high crime' areas." Other cities will start, because "it worked in Washington." Eventually, we'll need to state a 'legitimate purpose' when you try to cross state or even county lines, and to enter cities. Then you'll have to state a 'legitimate purpose,' and get government approval, before you travel. Travel papers. Just like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

If anyone thinks this is far-fetched, that it could never go that far in America, look at gun control for an example. Washington DC is a good place to start. First they started restricting some guns. They restricted when and who could carry guns away from home. Who could carry concealed. Soon, very few could own a handgun. Eventually, the laws became so pervasive that they dictate what you can do with a gun inside your own home. Today, carrying a functional gun from one room to another in your own home is illegal in DC.

Look at gun control in Canada. In Great Britain. In Australia. The American Colonies of the British Empire. (Wait, that last one didn't really take, did it?)

Look at Nazi Germany. Soviet Russia. They started with small infringements, or infringing the rights of unpopular groups. Then more, bits and pieces at a time. Eventually, they fell into tyranny.

If we do not stop this today, if we allow these small, popular infringements to continue, they will build into tyranny. It may take ten, fifty, or one hundred years, but it will happen.

Unless it is stopped today.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gunman Stopped by Armed Citizen!

Found this on Snowflakes in Hell, who found it at Dustin's Gun Blog. The basic story is that a man went into a Nevada bar and started shooting, killing two and wounding two. When he stopped to reload and then started shooting again a bar patron with a concealed carry permit shot and killed him. The police and District Attorney have determined that it was a justifiable homicide under Nevada law.

First things first: THANK YOU, UNNAMED CITIZEN! You have shown your true colors as a good, caring, person. I hope you have friends and family who will support you. Killing is not easy (and I never want to meet someone for whom it is easy), but remember, you did the right thing! Never let anyone tell you differently.

Now, several points come to mind:

a) There were only two reasons for this guy to reload. Either he didn't get the people he was there for, or he was just going to keep shooting until someone stopped him. Either way, he wasn't done killing. Most likely this was a mass murder in the making. He brought extra magazines. With most targeted killings or confrontations that escalate, the shooter fires a few times and then runs, trying to avoid police. This guy stayed and reloaded, indicating that he was going to keep shooting. This could have been a very bad incident. According to the story, there were about 300 people "in and around" the bar.

b) With an armed, law abiding citizen on scene, the whole incident was over by the time the police arrived. Even with an extremely fast reaction and response time by the police, there would have been a much higher body count if this good man had not been allowed to carry his weapon. Remember, the killer was reloading when he was stopped. Even if he was after a specific person, he obviously didn't care about hurting innocent bystanders. Out of an entire "high capacity" magazine, only four people were hit. How many shots missed? How many of those four was he actually aiming at? This is a perfect example of how armed citizens prevent such mass shootings. [Correction: He had already reloaded, and had started shooting again, when he was stopped.]

c) "High capacity" handgun. "At some point during this shooting spree Villagomez allegedly stopped and according to witnesses reloaded his high capacity handgun and began shooting again." They do not clarify what they mean by "high capacity." Chances are, it was just a regular gun, i.e. 10-14 round capacity. This appears, on it's surface, to be intentionally inflammatory language, and smacks of biased (and therefore bad) journalism. Leave the bias to the editorials, and report the facts - all the facts - and let the readers draw their own conclusions.

All in all, an excellent example of how armed citizens can save lives. I shudder to think of what might have happened if this had happened here in Virginia, where concealed carry is illegal in any establishment that is licensed to serve alcohol. Unless there was an off duty cop present (they're exempted), it would have been a massacre. (Surprisingly, open carry is allowed in such places, but even many who carry regularly are uncomfortable with doing so openly in a bar.) [Note: I'm not against open carry anywhere, even in bars. I'm just surprised. I would have assumed that if anything was allowed, it would be the other way around. But that's another post for another time.]

Sunday, May 18, 2008

IT'S ALWAYS LOADED!!!

I keep reading stories about people being injured from negligent discharges, and they always have one thing in common: failure to follow the four rules of gun safety. (Look to the left. There they are.) Most important is Rule 1: IT'S ALWAYS LOADED!!!!

People who forget Rule 1 tend to stop following the other rules because "it's not loaded." When that happens, people get shot. It's not accidental, it's negligent. Someone has neglected to follow the rules of gun safety. It's no one's fault but the person handling the gun.

If disassembling your gun is required to clean it, remember Rule 1, and remember the other rules as well. Many guns require that you pull the trigger as part of disassembling them. If this is the case, don't rely on the fact that you checked it just a minute ago and it wasn't loaded, or you didn't reload it after using it. Check it immediately before pulling the trigger. Don't just take a quick look. Take a long look. Think to yourself "magazine empty or removed - check; chamber empty - check." Then, and only then, point the weapon in a safe direction and then pull the trigger.

If you're teaching gun safety, and have to use a real gun to do so, don't do it with a loaded gun, and always follow the rules.

If you follow these four rules all the time, you will never shoot anyone. Unless you mean to.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thoughts On the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights

Note: This is only my reasoned opinion, as an average citizen. I am not an attorney. Do not take this as legal advice. If you do, you will probably be arrested, since the courts and the government do not seem to agree with me. You have been warned.

Something recently struck me about the Second Amendment. It actually contains the boldest and most powerful statement of protection of any of the ten amendments that are the Bill of Rights. The phrase "shall not be infringed" is clear, concise, and says that not even the slightest restriction or regulation is to be tolerated. Think of this: an infraction is "the act or an instance of infringing" and an infraction is the smallest violation of law possible. Driving 20 in a 15mph zone is defined as an infraction. Nobody counts an infraction as a crime. But the Second Amendment is the only part of the Bill of Rights that says a right "shall not be infringed."

Read all ten. You can find them here.

The First Amendment? It says "Congress shall make no law [...] abridging [...]" the rights listed. The founders did not say that the states could not do so. The First Amendment specifies congress, which, the way the Constitution was written and interpreted at the time, meant that it did not apply to the states.

The Third Amendment does not specify a right, but while it does limit a government action, it also limits that restriction. "[...] in time of war, [...] in a manner prescribed by law."

The Fourth Amendment limits it's right, using the words "unreasonable" and "probable cause." If the government has reason, or probable cause, they can search and seize and arrest with impunity.

The Fifth Amendment enumerates several restrictions on the government, but, except for the restrictions against double-jeopardy and self-incrimination, each of them has exceptions. Even self-incrimination is questionable - a comma instead of a semicolon places it grammatically within the effect of the "due process" exception. And nowhere does it specify these as "rights," though they are understood as such.

The Sixth Amendment says "the accused shall enjoy" the rights listed. Nowhere does it say that these rights shall not be regulated.

The Seventh Amendment simply extends the right of trial by jury to civil cases. The amendment itself restricts this right to matters over twenty dollars (a ridiculously small amount, by today's standards, but significant at the time).

The Eighth Amendment, while restricting the government, again never uses the word "right," and is written in subjective terms ("excessive," and "cruel and unusual") which are argued regularly in front of the Supreme Court.

The Ninth Amendment simply protects rights that are not specifically stated in the Constitution, and the Tenth Amendment says that anything not addressed in the Constitution is reserved to the states or the people.

Nowhere in the Bill of Rights is a right protected as fiercely, and as specifically, as in the operative clause of the Second Amendment. "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It specifies that this is a right, that it belongs to the people, and that it shall not be infringed. It allows no restriction, no regulation, and no debate. It does not limit this prohibition to the Federal government - it is a blanket statement. What does this mean?

It means that no gun control law passed by the federal government is constitutional.
Because it is a blanket statement, it means that the power to regulate or restrict guns is prohibited to the states, as well as to the federal government.
It means that no gun control law passed by a state government is constitutional.
It means that no government can tell you that you can't carry your gun concealed, or into a business that serves alcohol, or onto school property. Your rights apply everywhere.
It means that the government cannot restrict the type or number of guns that you can purchase.

It means that, while the government cannot restrict or regulate who can have guns, what kind of guns you can have, or where you can carry your guns, it can bring charges against you based on your actions.
If I fire my gun into the air, I can and should be charged with reckless endangerment. I have recklessly done something which could injure or kill someone. If I throw a knife in the air in a crowd, it could also injure or kill someone, and I can and should be charged with reckless endangerment. A bullet travels farther than I can see, so no crowd is needed to make it reckless and dangerous.
If I shoot and kill someone, and it was not done in defense of myself, my property, or someone else, that is murder. It is still murder if I kill them with a knife, or a bat, or my bare hands.
If I point my gun at someone to frighten them into giving me money, I have committed robbery, and should be punished accordingly. It is still robbery if I used a knife, or a bat.

No gun control law is constitutional. The wording of the Second Amendment is absolute and unyielding. Unfortunately, no court in this nation recognizes that fact today.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." U.S. Constitution, Amendment 2