Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Mini-Rant — and Best Wishes

"Happy Holidays!"

That phrase usually grates on my mind. It's fingernails-on-a-blackboard. It's so "politically correct" as to be painful.

We're not allowed to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah", for fear of offending non-Christians and/or non-Jews. We're told not to offer faith- or holiday-specific greetings because someone's feelings might be hurt. And so came the rise of the bland — but somehow considerate — "Happy Holidays!"

I say, "Enough!" I'm not doing it this year. Whatever religion you follow, whatever God you worship, He wants you to profess your faith and offer good tidings to your neighbors. We should all be proud to be Christians, Jews, or whatever.

So no, I won't choke back, do the politically correct thing, and wish anyone "Happy Holidays" anymore. I'd rather be a modern-day Maccabee:
The shape our country is in now, we need Maccabees, we need them badly. People that will not bow down to the false king of “Political Correctness” nor allow the sacrifice [of] good people on the alter of “tolerance” by them being put out of business, or having their TV show canceled because they talk about the Tanakh or the Bible. Nor because they choose to talk about G-d. We need people who recognize evil and teach others how to recognize it. We must become the Maccabees of today.
(Click through to read a VERY abbreviated history of the Maccabees. It's pretty awesome.)

OK, now that the rant is done, let me offer my sincerest and best (and in some cases, belated) wishes to all you and yours.

Merry Christmas.
(source: Wikipedia)

Happy Hanukkah.
(source: lds.net)

Good Yule.
(source: Why'd You Eat That?)

And Happy New Year.

Whatever you decide to celebrate, celebrate well and have a good time.

And as always, stay safe.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quote of the Day — Grace-Marie Turner (December 19, 2014)

Today's Quote of the Day comes from Grace-Marie Turner, of the Galen Institute (as quoted by John Fund's article at National Review Online), regarding the viability of "single-payer" health-care systems.

First, a little background:

Vermont — a highly-liberal Deep Blue state — opted to go above-and-beyond their obligations when it came to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). Instead of offering a public-funded health-care option, they chose to go full single-payer.

Naturally, it didn't work. Democratic State Governor Peter Shumlin just conceded that the $2 billion price tag (that's "billion", with a 'B') was too high, taxes would sky-rocket too much, and that his State's single-payer system could not be done.

Who'da thunk it? I mean, besides Republican Gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne, who — before the election — predicted this admission would come out ... wait for it ... after the election.

Which brings us to the Quote of the Day:
If Vermont can’t make it work, single-payer can’t work anywhere in the country where the economy has free and competitive markets. It’s more evidence that centralized government health care is simply not workable in America.
Zing!

Just a bit more background (from Census.gov and Vermont's Dept. of Labor, Economic & Labor Market Information): Vermont's population (2013 est.) is 626,630. The working-age demographic (over 18 years, less than 65) makes up 64% of the total population, which Vermont reports as 351,800 people. They have 4.4% unemployment, which means they should have plenty of workers contributing (via taxes) to run this program.

And it still couldn't be done. One more time, with feeling: If Vermont can't make it work, single-payer can't work anywhere with free, competitive markets.

Stay safe.

[Hat tip: Aleister, writing for Legal Insurrection.]

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Afternoon Tab Clearing — 12/19/2014

I've had a few items building up in my tabs that deserve sharing, but I don't have enough extra thoughts to add (or time!) to justify their own posts. So, it's time for a tab clearing!

From Rob Morse at his Slow Facts blog, a quick look at the evolution of our response to and preparation for violent crime. A nice compare/contrast from where we (most of us, anyway) were versus where we are now.

Jeff Knox, writing at the Buckeye Firearms Association, about Nathan Scott, the FSU student and Students for Concealed Carry on Campus activist who was shot in the leg Nov. 20 by a disturbed former student who opened fire in the campus library. Scott has a Concealed Weapon License, but — being a law-abiding citizen under a "No Guns on Campus" law — he didn't have his gun. The deranged shooter, of course, was not inconvenienced in the slightest by such a trivial law.

Families across the country are apparently offering up their loved ones to be the "next Michael Brown". I just have to ask, what kind of sick individuals would try to capitalize on the death of a loved one?

Bluegrass Bruce reports on the Bloomberg-funded "Universal Background Check" initiative making its way in Nevada. Violations of relevant rules have been reported, documented, and ultimately ignored by Nevada's Secretary of State, who certified the petitions as valid. And the NRA is thus far staying silent, but hopefully they've learned from Washington State's experience.

On that note, Joe Huffman asks, "What if?" in regards to Initiative 594. The law still needs to be overturned or repealed, but in the meantime, what if they passed a bad law and nobody complied? What if they passed a bad law, and loopholes were expanded (legally!) to make it totally meaningless?

Also from Joe Huffman, regarding the lawsuit against Bushmaster from the Sandy Hook victims' families, "Why Just the Gun Manufacturer?" Why not sue every manufacturer of every single component of every single item the shooter used that day?

Via ASM826 (co-blogging at Borepatch's site), a set of Animagraffs animations on how a 1911 pistol functions. They do some neat stuff.

From Miguel, an article from the Daily Mail Online about "Operation Fast & Furious", with crime-scene photos (WARNING: not for the faint of heart or stomach, but illustrative of the kind of inhuman monsters employed by the drug cartels). The primary cited source is Judicial Watch, so I guess their FOIA efforts to get around Obama's "executive privilege" must be paying off. Now, if only we could get the press to stop with the "botched trafficking sting" line. It wasn't "botched", people! The guns weren't tracked because BATFE/DOJ didn't even TRY to track them! Calling it a "botched" or "failed" sting removes or mitigates BATFE's/DOJ's liability and responsibility.

That's it for now. Stay safe, everyone.

Eight Children Stabbed To Death in Cairns, Australia

Tell me again how Australia is so much better after they outlawed guns. 

Eight children from same family stabbed to death in Cairns

Evil will find a way. Good has to actively resist it.


US Appeals Court Deems Mental Health Gun Law Unconstitutional

The three-judge panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that a federal ban on gun ownership for those who have been committed to a mental institution violated the Second Amendment rights of 73-year-old Clifford Charles Tyler.

Tyler attempted to buy a gun and was denied on the grounds that he had been committed to a mental institution in 1986 after suffering emotional problems stemming from a divorce. He was only in there for a month.
        Fox News
(Dreamstime.com)
Interesting. It's certain that many mental health gun laws are overbroad and draconian, as in this case. This ruling bucks the current legislative trend of expanding the impact of mental health issues on gun possession. Anti-gun California and New York are in the forefront of this push. For example: In California, 2nd Amendment rights can be immediately removed with just an accusation of mental instability. 

From the article:
“The government’s interest in keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill is not sufficiently related to depriving the mentally healthy, who had a distant episode of commitment, of their constitutional rights,” wrote Judge Danny Boggs, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, for the panel.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Quote of the Day — Douglas Adams (1980)

Douglas Adams
(source: Wikipedia)
Douglas Adams was a hilariously funny writer. His "Hitchhiker's Guide" 'trilogy' (actually five books) is, I think, a must-read.

Still, amidst the humor, you find a few quasi-philosophical quandaries, worded as only Mr. Adams can. This one is from the second of the "Hitchhiker's Guide" series, "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe":
The major problem — one of the major problems, for there are several — one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.

To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must
want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

[...]

Who can possibly rule if no one who wants to do it can be allowed to?
It's a good question. One that we still haven't found the answer to, and likely never will.

On one hand, the best leaders rarely seek out positions of leadership, and accept them reluctantly. No sane, trustworthy person wants to be in power over others; it's an immense responsibility, and an incredible hassle! But on the other hand, someone has to do the job. And on the shooting hand, how can we elect decent candidates if anyone who self-selects, by definition, cannot be trusted?*

Maybe it's just my cynicism after this last election, but.... If you figure this one out, let me know.

Stay safe.
------------
* - In Douglas Adams' novels, this was easily accomplished: the true ruler of the galaxy was so bat-$#!+ crazy that he had no idea he was, in fact, ruling anything.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Precision 10/22 Trigger!


Ruger just announced an aftermarket trigger for their 10/22 firearms. Two and a half pounds, smooth and crisp trigger pull.

Just what my 10/22s wants for Christmas!.

http://www.ruger.com/micros/BX-Trigger/

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy Bill of Rights Day!

In case many of our dear readers are unaware, December 15 is "Bill of Rights Day", established in 1941 by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to commemorate the formal adoption of the first 10 Constitutional Amendments 150 years earlier.

Not that they teach this part in public schools anymore, but the anti-Federalists of the day were concerned that the newly-enacted government — despite Constitutionally-limited powers — would expand its grasp beyond the Framers' intentions, and insisted on additional restrictions. This is directly spelled out in the Preamble to the Bill of Rights:
The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
Ratified on this day, December 15, in the year 1791, the Bill of Rights was extraordinary in that it described what are now known as "negative rights" — it does not define what the people must be allowed to do; rather, it defines what the government may not do:
  • Congress shall make no law....
  • ... the right of the People ... shall not be infringed.
  • No Soldier shall ... be quartered in any house....
  • The right of the people ... shall not be violated....
  • No person shall be held to answer for a ... crime....

The Bill of Rights, especially the first five Amendments, are a big "No" to the government. It's not even a "you may not"; it's a gigantic "you shall not" — a difference those living under "may-issue" CCW permitting processes rather than "shall-issue" ones can appreciate. The Framers used the word "shall" for a reason.

Happy Bill of Rights Day, everyone!

Stay safe.

(H/T: David Codrea who also notes that no American media outlet or newspaper is acknowledging the significance of this day in history, nor are either of the major political parties. There is, however, an article about it on the Russian news site, Sputnik News. Go figure.)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

On the So-Called "Caliber Wars"

It seems everyone has an opinion, so I thought I'd take a turn stepping into the minefield weighing in on this highly divisive topic.

Photo of loose cartridges
(source: Gun Nuts Media)
Via Uncle, in turn via Roberta X, we have an article from Caleb over at Gun Nuts Media, "Let's Talk About Handgun Stopping Power". Caleb does a good job dissecting the issue and burning away the straw-man arguments that come up, both in the article and the following comments.

(Note: Before it comes up here, too, let me clarify one thing: For the purposes of discussion, we're talking about service calibers for pistols — 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. No rimfire or magnum loads, and no rifle or shotgun rounds. I'm aware that plenty of bad guys have been put down by .22LR, .25 ACP, and .32 ACP, and that the 12-ga shot-shell is king of one-shot-stops, but let's stay on topic.)

Handgun rounds arranged by caliber
What? No .357 SIG? No .38 Spl?
(source: Buckeye Firearms Assoc.)
I also found this article by Greg Ellifritz at the Buckeye Firearms Association site, "An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power". Among other things, he points out that the vast majority of "one-shot-stops" are psychological; the wound isn't necessarily life-threatening, but the bad guy decides on his own initiative to cease his bad behavior. Being shot* tends to do that to most people, and if that's the case, even the lowly .22 will do the job. It's when the psychological aspect fails as a deterrent — when the bad guy is not inclined to cease after being shot or shot at — that the bigger calibers are useful for a physiological stop. It's worth a read, as well.

The bottom line: Assuming quality ammunition, a quality gun, and good shot placement, there's no appreciable difference between any of the "service calibers". So carry what you want. The "best" caliber is the one that you are comfortable with, that you practice and train with, and — most importantly — that you have with you when you need it. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, but the best "carry caliber" is the one you shoot well and will actually, y'know, carry.

Is that a non-answer? Yes. Does that make it an entirely personal choice? Yes.

Will people still insist that the 9mm is the best because of higher-round magazine capacity and lower felt recoil, or that the .45 ACP is best because it leaves a bigger hole (and because John Moses Browning!), or that the .40 S&W is the best because the FBI uses it? Absolutely. (The FBI, by the way, is switching to 9mm.**) Gun enthusiasts become invested — financially and emotionally — in their preferences, and will continue to present their opinions as if they were absolute truth. They're free to do that. Liberty is funny that way. But most will admit that when the feces connects with the rotary air impeller, any gun beats no gun.

Stay safe.
------------
* - The threat of being shot tends to discourage most bad guys, as well. That the vast majority of defensive gun uses end with no shots fired is old news.
** - So, what's going to happen now to DHS' infamous order of 1.6 billion rounds of .40 S&W hollow points from a while back?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Guess What, #Ferguson Protesters? #PoliceLivesMatter, Too!

I'm going to address this, hopefully, for the last time here (but I'm not going to hold my breath). I know this is going to piss some people off, but all this hysteria about police officers' "racially-motivated" "murders" is getting out of hand.

So here goes nothing.

To the "#BlackLivesMatter" crowd: Yes, they do.

But you know who else's lives matter?

The police.

Police Lives Matter, too, guys.
(source: Twitter feed)

Yes, police lives matter, too. So much so that they also have a hashtag — a couple, actually: #PoliceLivesMatter and #CopsLivesMatter — that I imagine will soon be trending as well.

Police lives matter, because it's the police who patrol those crime-ridden neighborhoods and do everything in their power to remove the criminal class and keep law-abiding folks safe. On the extremely rare occasion they're forced to use their weapons to stop crime or defend themselves or others, they get crucified in the media.

Talk about a thankless job.

So black lives matter, and so do police lives. But black lives just might matter TO police more than you may think.

Interest piqued? Read on below the break....

Friday, December 5, 2014

U.S. Army Seeks New Sidearm

U.S. Army seeking new sidearm to replace Beretta

 

Beretta M9
 In a move that should surprise exactly no one, the US Army has announce plans to replace the Beretta M9 service pistol. Troubled by the current pistol's heavy weight, long trigger pull, 2x4 shaped grip, spotty reliability, and brick-like ergonomics, the Army is seeking a modern alternative.

Just like it has for nearly every year of the Beretta's 30 years of service.

The announcement comes on the heels of an order for an additional 100,000 M9 pistols.

Cynics point to Washington, DC's miserable winter weather and the potential suppliers' sunny facilities as a reason for the proposed change.

HT Drudge, Washington Times

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I Am The Second Amendment

Brigid, proprietress of the Home On The Range blog, is a rare gem in the gravel pit of the intrawez. She writes an eclectic daily blog tinted with firearms, family, friends, dogs, philosophy, history, food, scotch, beer, aircraft, flying, military, fellowship, duty, and bacon.

It may seem to be a bit of dog's breakfast, but she writes about all these subjects with an unmatched, effortless brilliance. Words and thoughts flow together as if someone else was playing Tetras. It's said that she writes in Technicolor, but that's probably too bland a description. I think she writes with a Kodachrome pen dipped in bacon grease.

Brigid has the rare ability to bring focus and clarity to a subject; like a sudden, deft adjustment of a telescope. The latest example is her piece I am the Second Amendment. Stop reading this drivel; go there - Now!

Highly recommended. 
 
Pix from the Home on the Range blog