Showing posts from 2012

That was then, this is now

Obama, 2008: “I believe in the Second Amendment. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won’t take your handgun away…I am not going to take your guns away. So if you want to find an excuse not to vote for me, don’t use that one because it just ain’t true. It ain’t true.”

Rights, responsibilities and guns

Advocates of still more gun laws are now saying "everything should be on the table "  in a great national dialog on guns and violence. I wonder if they really mean that, or simply mean that they want all kinds of new restrictions on gun ownership. Below I talk about the things I would particularly like to see on the table. Safe storage requirements We probably don't need new laws about this; the matter is covered in most states' law codes. We do need a talking-up campaign to emphasize the importance of keeping your guns secured from improper use. Though the laws are on the books they are frequently overlooked or ignored. We see that in stories where a little kid brings mommy's gun to school. That should be impossible.  I have from time to time advised people who have particular challenges storing a gun safely at home--kids from the neighborhood in and out of the house, or a visiting batty relative or whatever--to look into off site storage. A rental sto

Keeping schoolchildren safe...

The Israeli way. The problems we create for ourselves by declaring gun free zones would be obvious if we were to examine the matter logically. Saying, as if wishing would make it so, that there will be no weapons in a certain place is a denial of the world we actually live in. Only the law abiding observe the laws.  Side note: That looks like an M1 Carbine. It is nearly an ideal weapon for schoolmarms, for it is handy, light and it earns high marks for being easily controllable in rapid fire.  H/T to AZMulder77 on Twitter for posting a link to the picture.

Tactical grimness

Google credits me with the first use, on the Internet, of the term "tactical grimness." That is what I call the overserious attitude and dire words of many people when they talk about guns and shooting. I think it is an emotional response to their inner discomfort with the idea of shooting people or animals. If you are not comfortable shooting living targets, don't do it. Problem solved! The cop who has never fully come to terms with the thought that he might one day need to drop a felon, DRT , should change his line of work. The hunter who has issues over what he did to the animal should probably get his meat from the grocer. On the other hand some of the tactically grim people you meet just talk that way because they think it is expected. Some people behind the counters of some lesser gun shops talk that way, but it is just part of their sales patter. I'm so impressed I shop elsewhere. It's not that shooting is not a serious matter. But it is serious in a

Instructional video: basic revolver shooting

I do not want to give the impression that nothing the government does ever suits me. This old video from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center is excellent. It explains and demonstrates the use of the double action revolver. Thanks to PublicResourceOrg  for making it available on Youtube. My ideas about guns were formed back in an era when it was widely assumed that all of one's sidearm needs were adequately met with a small revolver and a big one. The classic pairing of a pocket snubnose and a full sized belt revolver, of the same brand, made particular sense in that both guns worked the same way, so you did not have to remember to do anything differently when changing from one to the other. I still think a fellow is pretty well armed if he has a couple of good revolvers and knows how to use them.

External ballistics of buckshot

A ballistics calculator for round ball shooting is available as a free download via this link:  . Hats off to the programmer for creating this calculator and making it freely available; it's a very nice tool. I'm not much into muzzle loaders myself, but I do shoot buckshot out of a newfangled breechloader. Because buckshot is just a lot of small round balls, you can use the calculator to take note of the exterior ballistic factors affecting the flight of your pellets. Among the things you can learn is how much buckshot drops at 100 yards if you know where to hold to hit at 30 yards, or at some other distance. I was interested to see that standard velocity 00 lands a little more than a foot low when held for 30. Smaller sizes and lower velocities drop even more. You can also find out how buckshot blows around in the wind and find out how much velocity and energy your pellets have at various distances.

Why communism fails inevitably

It is rather puzzling that some people continue to promote communism, the most thoroughly self-discrediting creed in history. Perhaps this video I found on Youtube will help to explain my puzzlement.  It traces communism's development from its beginning as an altruistic attempt to help the poor through its transformation into totalitarian police states that killed millions. The video includes pictures of some the victims, graphically dead. If you are deeply disturbed by that kind of thing, you should not watch it. The video stops too soon, though, by not proceeding to point out communism's inevitable breakdown and demise. It is not a sustainable plan for it makes no economic sense. Therefore the complete progression is from altruism to murderous brutality and from there to economic failure. It is a pretext, nothing more, when anyone who still wants communism talks about it helping the poor. The poor are not helped by declines in productivity followed by utter

What is truth?

In a previous post, I mentioned the dual intellectual heritage of the West: moral reasoning from the Bible and logical reasoning from the ancient Greeks. I would like to say more about that. It is now plain that we have squandered two inheritances. Neither kind of reasoning holds sway today. Instead, what people are interested in is affirming the things they want to be true and finding pretexts to do so. The title of this little piece quotes Pontius Pilate, who condemned Jesus to suffering and death. Its modern echo is  "That may be your truth, but it is not my truth." Either saying uses a little philosophical dodge and wriggle to produce a single answer that will work against all challenges. It is intellectual laziness so phrased as to seem clever and wise. Try it: If I tell you that something is surely true, you can simply respond that it is true for me but not for you. At times it is a fair enough thing to say. If I tell you that Mossberg makes a better pump gun than

The moral basis of socialism

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's. If you do not know where that comes from, it is in the Bible, Exodus Chapter 20. Moses has led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. God has given the people a short set of laws, the Ten Commandments. The passage quoted above is one of the ten. Of course this law and the rest are bedrock values of Judaism. Christianity, too, has recognized the high moral value and divinely practical tone of the Ten Commandments. The laws of God via Moses, as transmitted through Christianity, have been profoundly influential in shaping the ways Western culture has looked at things. Not coveting anything your neighbor has would seem to rule out the basis of 'redistributive social justice,' aka socialism. While both Christianity and socialism aim to help the poor, there is a fundament

Shooting at zombies

Discussion of zombie invasion scenarios is the shooting fraternity's way of poking gentle fun at itself. For years there were people working out what-if plans in case the country were invaded (the Red Dawn scenario) or in case of the breakdown of constitutional rule (WROL) or some other massive cultural disaster (TEOTWAWKI), such as anarchy ensuing after a nationwide failure of the electrical grid. While the Second Amendment and all it stands for would be of obvious usefulness in a national emergency, none of the scenarios happened, year after year. Thus was invented the zombie apocalypse scenario, a humorous way of lumping together all the awful what-if scenarios people had thought about. If you are ready for the zombie apocalypse, you are more than ready for any of the real world disasters mentioned above. We go to the range and have a good time shooting at zombie targets, which may, optionally, be rigged to bleed green blood when hit.  Obviously it is all a bit tongue in che

The last forbidden four letter word

I and wiser heads heads than mine have observed that the Western democracies, including the United States, are in moral, social and financial decline. I do not expect them to recover. They have thrown away their magic, lost the key that made them great. They will fall into history's ash heap. The word that defined the West was "truth." It meant something objective not personal. What was true for one was true for all. People could debate, and vigorously did, which things were true, but some things were and some were not. That was the thread that wove the social fabric. There were two contributors to this, Jew and Greek. The Jew said, and the Christian after him, that things were true because God's prophets spoke and what they said bore out. The Greeks said you know what is true for everyone because anyone can find it out for himself: repeatable observations, backed by formal logic and math, which they invented to prove their point. In other words the West receive

The 2014 elections

...the political ploy of bribing the people with their own  money falls apart. What happens when the people demand a bigger bribe? Dreary as the political situation is, there is some positive news. The Democrats will be very vulnerable in the midterm elections. How vulnerable they are depends on how bad the economy is then. I cannot see it being very good. Here and in Europe there are rumblings of troubles beyond those we have experienced heretofore.  Even the less reflective members of the public, here and abroad, are starting to understand that more government means less business. I want to focus on the European situation because I think it will likely come to a head in the next year or two. European governments are beginning to talk, at least, about curtailing public benefits. It's an unpopular idea. The populace decides what's popular and this ain't it. So we have an awkward balance of dissonant thoughts wherein the public is unhappy that there is not more publi

An unwholesome social dynamic

 ...even if a solid conservative had been running and had won the election, it would, in one important way, have made no difference . The ideas I'm going to share here came up in an email conversation with an old friend. I thought they might be of wider interest so I rewrote them as a blog post. I added some further thoughts that would have been obvious to my friend, who already knows how I think, but which might need a little bit of unpacking to be clear to other people. Firstly: Am I disappointed that Obama got reelected? I certainly am. I see his ideas and policies as all wrong. I am a fiscal conservative with libertarian leanings; he is a big government statist of the leftist persuasion. Unfortunately no one of my own persuasion was running: Romney, the Republican candidate, is a notable RINO. So there was really no one for me to vote for; I voted against Obama. Not enough people did. It is difficult for a challenger to win when not much differentiates him from the inc

Dangers of dialectic: No, Mr. Schumer, it isn't reasonable

Chuck Schumer is at it again. Exploiting the most recent case in which a mental patient got a gun, he sought, according to this article , to ...make it illegal to transfer or possess large capacity feeding devices such as gun magazines, belts, feed stripes and drums of more than 10 rounds of ammunition with the exception of .22 caliber rim fire ammunition.  He finds this reasonable. “We can debate where to draw the line of reasonableness, but we might be able to come to an agreement in the middle,” Schumer said. “Maybe, maybe, maybe we can pass some laws that might, might, might stop some of the unnecessary casualties … maybe there’s a way we can some together and try to break through the log jam and make sure the country is a better place.” The trouble is it is not reasonable at all. If we have violent gangsters rolling around with 30-round, normal capacity magazines, or 100-round, additional capacity drums, and there may be several of said criminals, then no, it is not rea

Obama has it backwards

Even if you grant him the full context of his remarks, they are still pretty damning. President Obama is taking heat for saying "If you've got a business, you didn't build that." His defenders,  here for example , say he is being taken out of context. But if you grant his remarks their full context , his words still reveal a basic misunderstanding of business and the economy. Here is an excerpt from his remarks, quoted from the White House web site. I trust I have included enough context for fairness; if not, the above link will give you the whole speech. I have emphasized the bit that is most controversial.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  (Applause.)      If you were successful,

The end of socialism

Socialism in its present form began as an intellectual fad in the nineteenth century, was tried in various countries in the twentieth and faces its final collapse in the twenty-first. Its end result is never a thriving economy or a good life for the people. In the last century it led to many millions of deaths. Currently the news is filled with the precarious health of Europe's 'socialism lite' schemes, which have led to unsupportable debts. In the U.S., Obama and his Democrat allies are pushing us down the same precipitous path. This cannot end well. At best, the West is facing a period of financial correction that will put an end to public confidence in socialists of all stripes. At worst...well, let us hope it does not come to that. Socialism is never sustainable because when you say 'to each according to his needs' everyone has needs, and when you say 'from each according to his abilities,' people's abilities flag. When you say 'to each acco

The French Mistake

The French people have spoken. They did not say what they intended, but said something that came out as an embarrassment. They are now living in that entertaining moment of having misspoken but not yet realized it. Everyone is snickering at them and they don't know why. What they have said, of course, is that they reject government austerity drives and approve of the burden imposed on the economy by public spending. They have elected a president who thinks government spending is a good thing and France needs to do more of it. The new president  doesn't like bankers  and wants to raise taxes on corporations and the rich. The new French president is borrowing a page from Obama's playbook in promising to soak the rich. The trouble with that plan, there or here, is that there are never enough rich people. You could beggar them all and not have enough money to run the country. At the same time, money taken from those who have it is money that will not be invested in produ

The crisis of the West

Beginning in Greece, and spreading across Europe, we see clear evidence that the socialistic way of doing things is a failure. I do not see how the USA can avoid similar painful lessons, since we won't or can't stop government growth, intrusion, waste and expense. There are two visions at work, two views of man and society. One says that the government is or should be the most important, biggest and most definitive factor in society. The other sees government as a necessary evil and wants to keep it to a minimum. The first view has the upper hand at the moment, but the second is having its point proven for it by the futility of legislating nirvana. You run out of other people's money. You find that you cannot borrow prosperity. What you subsidize you get more of, what you tax you get less of. So when we subsidize failure and bad lifestyle choices and, to pay for that, we tax success and thrift, the trend down the drain pretty well establishes itself. Greece is where 

Pigeons coming home, roosting everywhere

Municipalities are feeling the pinch from spending too much money. It is like the federal trend and the trend at the state level. Everyone figured out ways to grow the government. No one thought the matter through. Now we need to shrink our governments at all levels--and we don't know how. Harrisburg, PA Stockton, CA These are just the tip of the iceberg. The financial situation in Europe continues to deteriorate. The news from  Greece  and  Spain  is discouraging and there are new rumblings in  Portugal . As I have said before, the USA cannot escape a similar fate so long as we are pursuing a similar course. Last month the US government ran up the highest  monthly debt  in history. We lack the political will even to look squarely at the problem: You cannot borrow prosperity.

The Return of The Copybook Gods

This poem, written in 1919, is prescient of our own era. Back then, socialist ideas were making inroads against civilized society (the Russian Revolution was in 1917) and various utopian and progressive ideas were in vogue in various countries. The Western world was weary of war (Word War One had ended in 1918) and looked for a better tomorrow, usually in the wrong places. What, you may ask, was a copybook? It was an exercise for small schoolboys. At the top of the page, in perfect penmanship, was some wise saying or old maxim. The pupil was to copy the heading repeatedly down the page, imitating the penmanship. In the process he learned to be legible. At the same time he acquired a store of conventional wisdom and learned a bit about spelling and good phrasing as well.  A number of things in Kipling's poem are recognizable today because modern progressive ideas are not actually modern, but old tired ideas. The supposedly modern themes of arms control, sexual liberation

China sees what's going on

China has voiced concern over Europe's debts. Well they should. As I have previously noted , the West's debt crisis touches Chinese interests. China's Premier Wen Jiabao says China wants to help resolve the crisis. 

Top stories update

As I noted previously , there are three particularly important news stories in the present day: the Western debt crisis, rising Islamism in the Mideast and discontent and uncertainty in China. In this morning's news, we have riots in Greece  as the government makes some gestures toward cost control, and a report that Iran is prepared to carry out suicide boat attacks in the Persian gulf. The Tibet situation continues to ferment, of course, and has spilled over into parts of Sichuan, and a young nun has burned herself to death. On the other side of China, the village of Wukan is in the process of electing its own officials . You may remember that late last year, Wukan rebelled  against what residents perceived as a dishonest land grab by officials. No news reports of discontent, at this time, from points between eastern and western China. That must mean nothing is happening. . . or being reported.

Do it for the children

The next time some social liberal wrings her hands and says "do it for the children," meaning the congress must pass some expensive do-gooder scheme for the sake of future generations, point to this article  about the plight of Europe's young people. Unable to find jobs, in economies exhausted by government excesses, they are very frustrated. What the children need and deserve is opportunity, not the endless nannying of a welfare state. They cannot have both; it is one or the other.

Mossberg MVP bolt action rifle

Here's a review  from Peterson's Rifle Shooter magazine. The MVP is a 7 1/2 pound bolt action rifle that fires 5.56 NATO / .223 and--get this--feeds from AR-15 magazines. The design magicians at Mossberg did something rather clever to make the rifle feed reliably. In the past it has been a troublesome thing to make a bolt rifle feed from autoloader magazines, so they rethought the problem. Details are in the review linked above. The usefulness of a rifle of this sort is obvious: It's just the thing for the fellow who prefers a bolt action, but likes the convenience and extra firepower of box magazines. Because it fires the ubiquitous service cartridge and uses commonplace magazines, it will be fairly cheap to feed. At present the only stock offered is a benchrest-styled and robustly proportioned one made of laminated wood. For some uses a synthetic stock of lighter weight and trimmer lines would be preferable. Perhaps that will be an option by and by.  It looks like at

Is the Pope Catholic?

The Pope's remarkable offer to Anglicans, to join the Roman Catholic church on a fast track, while keeping some distinctive aspects of our worship and ministry, has something wrong with it. I am sure the Pope was and is unaware of the defect. After all, he is not an Anglican, and you would have to be one to see it. The people joining up under the Pope's offer are from the high church, and mainly the corner of it called Anglo-Catholic. The low church is not much interested. The problem is, without those low church people, it isn't really Anglicanism. We need them, for they are a part of us, as surely as a thumb is necessary to a hand. The glory of the Anglican communion is our integration of all shades of orthodox* belief in one church. It looks to me as if Anglicanism's Roman branch will lack the very thing that makes Anglicanism great. Links: A news story about the American ordinariate The Apostolic Constitution that frames the enterprise -----------------

Nice, politically correct warfighting

This poor jarhead , Lt.  Joshua Waddell,  has gotten jacked up over nice, politically correct rules of engagement in Afghanistan. There are several things wrong with an elaborate rule book about fighting nice, not least of which is the other fellows don't have one.

At least there's no inflation

The good news, per the gummint in Washington, is there is little inflation, practically none--ain't that nice? The only significant increases are in food and fuel. Now, as it happens, those are the only things I'm buying these days. So the news that price increases are largely confined to those things is not real swell news. Obama should stop patting himself on the back about it before he tires out his arm.

Personal defense: Further thoughts on the shotgun

Why a shotgun? The fighting shotgun is the best match to the usual scenarios that fall under the heading of justifiable self defense shootings. You need heavy firepower at close range and the best hit probability you can get. Almost all self defense shooting is at short range, and the shotgun, loaded with multi-projectile shells, is simply the best short range weapon. Its hit probability is twice that of a military rifle and nearly half again better than you get from a submachine gun. That is what was reported out of our military's JSSAP efforts and I see no reason to doubt it.  My informal range experiments show the shotgun is fast to address close targets because of the confidence factor. The shotgun's margin for error allows you to shoot quickly. Slugs As an expedient for longer range firing, the rifled slug, from a smoothbore shotgun, is effective at 75 yards, if the shotgun is equipped with rifle sights. When zeroed at 75 yards the typical slug's rise above th

Big government: What is wrong with it

Our problem is simple. Government, at all levels, has grown too big. It commands too large a share of the economy. It enforces far too many laws, policies, rules and regulations. Big government, the kind set up to solve everyone's problems, is at odds with two things I like very much, individual liberty and a robust economy. Fortunately, mega-governments always implode. They micro-manage what the people are doing and spend themselves to death. These things are interrelated because freedom and prosperity are related. Unfreedom leads in turn to unprosperity. By simultaneously demanding your money and making it harder for you to get some, government creates its own biggest problem. It mars the prosperity it depends upon to generate government revenue. If you, as a businessman, have to carefully tiptoe your way through thousands of pages of rules to make sure it is really okay to start that new business or project you have in mind, you may conclude that the regulatory overhead

Ruger American Rifle

Ruger is on a roll, introducing new guns faster than I can keep up. The Ruger American is a bolt action rifle with closed top receiver, interchangeable magazines, synthetic stock and a  short bolt-lift of seventy degrees. The trigger has a safety blade on its face; the trigger's pull weight is said to be adjustable from three to five pounds. Weight of the rifle is listed as 6.12 to 6.25 pounds. I haven't seen an example of this rifle yet. I remark at this time because the rifle reflects an industry trend toward the closed top, and because it is quite a departure for Ruger. Their high powered bolt actions have heretofore been based on the Mauser 98, a conservative approach. The Model 77 series (son of Mauser) continues in production, including the nifty Gunsite Scout Rifle . Some previous designs that followed the closed top, interchangeable magazine approach are the Steyr SBS and the Tikka T3. These are successful and well liked rifles. Perhaps Ruger called their new m

Friday the 13th: The Euro Zone

S&P downgraded the credit of nine countries; story here . In my estimate this is only the beginning. The dynamic is in place, and has been for a long time, for governments to grow and spend, but no one thought the matter through, and thought they might one day need to shrink and save. The humanist dream of government solving everyone's problems has proven to be a golden calf. Moses is coming down the mountain. Stay tuned for details.

The handbasket we are in, and where it is going

Allow me to vent. Thank you. Sometimes I need to. The government continues to grow in expense and intrusiveness. The economy continues to splutter along, like an engine missing on several cylinders. It now appears the gummint is cooking the books * on the unemployment rate. I suppose there are nicer ways to say it; what is reported out of a formula depends on the inputs and assumptions, but this is looking like a case of garbage in, garbage out. As it happens, the reporting bias just happens to make the administration look better than it would if the numbers were reported more on the square. The public is being habituated to more and more government intrusions into daily life. The founding principle of America, that of limited government, seems to have been thrown away in efforts to. . .run things. If you begin with the assumption that government ought to run things, to assure everything works out right--well, you are in for a disappointment. For starters, we have to remember t