Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cognitive disconnect

Heard on NPR this morning - an Obama supporter talking about Sarah Palin.

"She's a little wet behind the ears, but I think she could make a great president someday."

The mind boggles at the disconnect. I hope her vote for Obama had nothing to do with Palin and only reflected her views on other issues.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pirates successfully repelled - by GUNS!

Arming ships to stop pirate attacks works.
Somali pirates attacked the Maersk Alabama on Wednesday for the second time in seven months and were thwarted by private guards on board the U.S.-flagged ship who fired off guns and a high-decibel noise device.
See? Pirates don't want to deal with high-risk targets - ones that can perforate their precious hides with lead. Unfortunately, some people still don't get it.
However, Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the London-based think tank Chatham House, said the international maritime community was still "solidly against" armed guards aboard vessels at sea, but that American ships have taken a different line than the rest of the international community.

"Shipping companies are still pretty much overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of armed guards," Middleton said. "Lots of private security companies employee people who don't have maritime experience. Also, there's the idea that it's the responsibility of states and navies to provide security. I would think it's a step backward if we start privatizing security of the shipping trade."
No matter how much you trust other people to protect you, ultimately you are responsible for your own safety. The owners of the Maersk Alabama have at least partially realized that, and addressed it by hiring an armed security team. They have at least realized (through bitter experience) that you cannot rely on people who aren't there - the navies of the world simply cannot provide an armed escort for every single ship on the oceans. When there is a navy vessel close enough to respond to an attack, the pirates just go looking for another victim where there isn't one close enough.

This quote sums it up nicely:

"Somali pirates understand one thing and only one thing, and that's force," said Capt. Joseph Murphy, who teaches maritime security at the school. "They analyze risk very carefully, and when the risk is too high they are going to step back. They are not going to jeopardize themselves."
Sounds like most criminals, to me.

This should NEVER happen

Hunter's bullet kills Ferrum student.

One Ferrum College student was killed and another injured about 4 p.m. Tuesday by a hunter who apparently mistook them for deer, authorities said.

Three students were collecting frogs for a biology class along a Franklin County-owned trail about a mile west of campus when one of them, a female, was fatally shot in the chest and another, a male, was shot in the hand, a college spokeswoman said.

[ . . . ]

Kimberly Boudinot said over the phone from her home in Irvington, near the Chesapeake Bay, that her stepson Regis Boudinot, 20, a junior at the college, was shot in the hand. She said a bullet had struck the female student, and then entered Regis' right arm before exiting through his hand.

Rule 4: Be sure of your target, what is near your target, and what is BEHIND your target.

It is every hunter's responsibility to make POSITIVE target identification before firing. It doesn't matter if someone is wearing a high-visibility color or not, YOU must make absolutely sure your target is what you think it is before you pull the trigger - no one else can do it for you. That bullet can never be taken back once it is fired, and a life ended by your failure can never be restored. It will weigh on you for the rest of your life.

Be careful, and be responsible out there folks. Hunters are not the only ones in the woods in hunting season.

Caldwell Fields Killings - Update 2009-11-18

Police seek van seen near time of Caldwell Fields killings.

Investigators are looking for the driver of a silver or gray minivan that was seen parked in the Caldwell Fields lot where two Virginia Tech students were killed in August, they said Tuesday.

According to the article, it is not being considered a suspect vehicle. The van was apparently seen parked there August 26. The killings took place sometime during the evening/night of August 26 & 27.

Anyone who stumbles across this blog and has any information, please come forward.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I've been talking for a while about getting better holsters for my 2 main carry guns. I had been looking at the Comp-Tac M-TAC after hearing good things about it from other blogs, but Comp-Tac doesn't actually make that model, or anything similar, for any gun that I actually own. A quick internet search for something similar took me to Crossbreed Holsters. On Saturday night, I finally took the plunge, and ordered these two holsters.
[click to embiggenate, but beware - it's a cell phone photo]

Delivery was quick. They came in today - less than a week after I ordered them - despite a disclaimer on their site saying "Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. We are a small shop and make them by hand. Thanks for your patience and understanding." I like that kind of service. They also come with a lifetime warranty.

The one on the left is their SuperTuck Deluxe, in black, made for my Taurus PT-145 Millennium Pro. The smaller one is the MicroClip, with my Kel-Tec P3AT. The total cost was $140.20 ($58.50 for the MicroClip + $69.75 for the SuperTuck + 11.95 S&H). Not unreasonable for a pair of good, tuckable IWB holsters.

Since I only got them today, I can't really give an in depth review, but they seem to be solidly built and well put together. Since they came while I was at work, I was able to do a "test run" when I got home using the MicroClip (which is intended for wear at work, with a suit), and it seems to be comfortable and secure, and looks like it conceals well. Draw testing shows good retention, but not too much - though the leather backing means I can't get my thumb around the grip until it clears the holster. They offer a "combat cut" on the SuperTuck to alleviate that issue, but not on the MicroClip. I may eventually want to make that modification myself, and maybe on both holsters, but I'll wait to see how the "road testing" goes.

The SuperTuck may need a little adjusting - the (unloaded) Taurus will fall out if you hold it upside-down - but the holsters also come with instructions on how to adjust the retention. I don't plan to do anything until I've had a chance to actually wear it "as is," since it might be just fine once it's inside my belt. We'll see, since my preferred method of disarming myself is to remove the entire holster with the gun still in it (there's less chance of an ND from accidentally frobbing something I shouldn't in the process).

No matter what, they certainly look to be better than these:

That's an Uncle Mike's IWB holster and a BullDog ankle holster. Cheap and functional, and that's about all you can say about them. I've been using the ankle holster five days a week for about 6 months now, and the elastic is just about shot. I also learned that I don't like ankle holsters for anything but a back-up gun anyway, because you essentially have to become immobile to access it. Even if it's just for a moment, that's a bad idea in a real-life situation.

I'll probably have a more in-depth review up in a couple of weeks.

(Silly Gubbmit Agency Disclaimer - Sorry guys, I paid full retail price for everything I've ever gotten from this manufacturer/retailer - the sum total of which consists entirely of these two holsters.)

Negligent, or accidental?

A little thought exercise, from a story in the Roanoke Times today: "Salem man wounds hunting partner":

A man closes the action on his double-barrel shotgun, and it discharges. The pellets ricochet off a nearby truck and strike his friend in the face and chest.

The way the story is written, the discharge appears to have been the result of a malfunction, not a Rule 3 violation (assuming the paper got the facts right - always a big caveat with the MSM). He (supposedly) knew it was loaded, so there was no Rule 1 violation, and he wasn't actually preparing to fire, so Rule 4 didn't really apply.

I find myself somewhat torn on this one. There was a Rule 2 violation (because there was a truck in front of the muzzle). Metal objects, like vehicles, can cause ricochets. On the other hand, maybe he didn't see it through some trees, or something. Maybe the geography meant the truck was the safest direction to point the gun (though it would be better to leave the action open until reaching a better location in that case).

Ricochets can be hard to anticipate, and even harder to predict, especially when you're not expecting the gun to fire in the first place. Inanimate objects, if you know no one is behind them, are often considered a "safe direction," especially if you don't particularly care about the object and don't expect a discharge.

So what say you, dear readers - negligent, or accidental?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Obama's Priorities

You should watch the video here. Then you should be angry. Very angry.

At a (presumably) emergency press conference convened to address the Fort Hood shootings, our illustrious President spends the first 2 minutes congratulating people about the conference he's at (based on the comments at the site, it's a Native American conference), and giving a "shout out" to someone in the audience.

That really is a full 2 minutes from the time stamp on the video. A full 2 minutes before he even mentions the tragedy at Fort Hood, at a press conference called specifically for that issue. His friends and cronies are more important to him.

How very presidential. And of course the MSM seems to be ignoring this hideous insensitivity. No mention of it anywhere, and they're apparently editing out that first 2 minutes when they replay the video.

Be angry - and remember this in 2012.

H/T to Ace of Spades HQ, by way of a comment at Patterico's Pontifications, by way of SayUncle.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Election Day 2009!

Don't forget to Vote today!

I find my self distressingly underprepared for today's election. Part of it may have to do with how much I have going on at the moment. Not only do I work a full-time job as a paralegal, I'm also taking a legal research class at the local community college. I'm an active member of the local rescue squad, and in addition to 8 hours of duty a week, I'm putting together a training on fractures and crush injuries because the state's training budget is dead. The real distraction, though, is that I'm in the process of buying my first house. I don't want to jinx it (knock on wood), so I won't say anymore except that it's more time consuming and nerve wracking than I thought.

A little quick research, though, and I think I've figured out most of my votes:

Governor: One of my main issues this year is Virginia's stupid ban on concealed carry in restaurants. Both candidates have indicated their support for repealing the ban, but my impression is that Bob McDonnell is stronger on other gun rights issues, so he gets my vote.

Lt. Gov.: While I'm definitely in a "throw the bums out" mood when it comes to incumbents, Bob Bolling is the only candidate who bothered to respond to the VCDL candidate survey, so he gets my vote.

Attorney General: Just like the candidates for Lt. Gov., Ken Cuccenilli is the only candidate who bothered to respond to the VCDL candidate survey, so he gets my vote.

Delegate: My candidates for Delegate are Paul Cornett (Independent) and James Shuler (Democrat, incumbent). Like I said before, I'm definitely in a "throw the bums out" mood when it comes to incumbents, and I'm not that fond of Democrats either. Ordinarily, an incumbent Dem running against a new Independent would be the last person I'd vote for. Unfortunately, there's a few problems here. The first one being that I haven't been able to find any information on Cornett except for a few newspaper articles. He's a Virgina Tech student (a senior), and the impression I get from the articles is that he seems to be running because he can, not because he disagrees with any of Shuler's positions. While I don't really trust newspapers, I just can't find any other information about him. Neither candidate responded to the VCDL survey, but I do know that Shuler voted for the repeal of the restaurant CHP ban last year, and also voted to override the Governor's veto of it. That, plus the lack of information on his opponent, means he gets my vote.

Town Council: This is the one I'm the least prepared for. There are 9 candidates for 4 positions on the council, and this is where the "throw the bums out" strategy will come into play the most. Blacksburg has a long history of bad decisions when it comes to attracting businesses to the town. The debacle with the (possible) Wally World at the "First and Main" project was probably the worst. I expect that issue drove off several business that may have been considering moving into town, and the way they drove off Sonic just reinforced the perception. (I don't have links handy, but I'm sure if you Google "Blacksburg Wal-mart" and "Blacksburg Sonic" you'll get the whole story.) First and Main actually has a big banner by the main road saying "[Candidate X] voted against Sonic" - it's that kind of issue in this town. I know one candidate personally, and not only do I agree with a good number of his opinions, I know for a fact that he will change his position if he's shown evidence that he's wrong. That's very important, and yet another reason to vote for him. For the rest, incumbents will be out, but I really don't know enough about the rest. If I can find the Roanoke Times article where they gave their endorsements, that will guide me too - to vote against anyone they endorsed.

Well, that's my thought process (such as it was this year). Again, don't forget to vote!