Links for Friday, 13 April 2012

Women, interested in firearms… in California?
Yes! On March 24th the Women on Target event, held at an outdoor shooting range in southern California drew 100+ women for 100 slots. The event was designed to familiarize women with the sport of shooting – and was taught by women, with the men delegated to workhorse duties.

There is still hope for Kalifornia.


Do as I say, not as I…
Evidently, Bill Cosby has weighed in on the Trayvon Martin case. From ABC (emphasis added),

“We’ve got to get the gun out of the hands of people who are supposed to be on neighborhood watch,” Cosby said in his first public remarks about the case, published today.

“Without a gun, I don’t see Mr. Zimmerman approaching Trayvon by himself,” Cosby added. “The power-of-the-gun mentality had him unafraid to confront someone. Even police call for backup in similar situations.

“When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody.”


Flash back to 2005, in this New York Magazine article titled, New York’s Gun Culture (emphasis added),

Who’s Packing Heat?

Taxi Driver star Robert De Niro is one of New York’s most famous gun owners, as is his friend Harvey Keitel. Others on the list include Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (a former Marine), Don Imus, Bill Cosby, Joan Rivers, Howard Stern, Tommy Mottola, and Donald Trump (just one pistol, says his spokeswoman, who didn’t know the make).

Let’s hope that Bill doesn’t ever carry his gun.


Of course, if we can’t trust Neighborhood Watch members to carry, then at least we can trust the police?
Only until their guns “accidentally fire”. From CBS Chicago (emphasis added),

An off-duty Chicago Police officer was wounded Thursday night when her gun accidentally fired.

Police say the female officer was in the 2100 block of East 71st Street when her gun went off around 7:20 p.m. Thursday.

Again: guns don’t “accidentally fire” nor do they “go off” all by themselves.


Not heeding the fact that guns don’t accidentally go off can be deadly
From South Carolina,

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office has identified the man killed following an accidental shooting that occurred Monday at a North Charleston gun range.

According to witnesses at the gun range, Patteron was shooting on a lane when he stopped to inspect the weapon. He turned the handgun toward himself when it discharged, striking him.


“That is what you get. If you out doing something you ain’t supposed to be doing, that is what happens”
Another homeowner protects herself by using her firearm.


More young people are killed in Chicago than any other American city
Yet, Chicago had a ban on handgun ownership from 1982 until 2010 (and still tries to make it difficult to own a firearm).

So much for the notion that banning guns reduces crime.

Emergency / Disaster Kits: What you need, or don’t need, to have ready

Recent events in Japan have highlighted the need for emergency preparedness, whether at home, in the car, or at work / school. Do you live in an area where, given the occurrence of a natural (or man-made) disaster, you might face the possibility of being without food / water / electricity / natural gas / gov’t services / etc, for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks? Having lived in California for almost my entire life, I’ve experienced a fair share of earthquakes, yet it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I seriously considered having any type of emergency preparedness kit readily available. While some may think such considerations to be examples of paranoia, I tend to agree with the motto:  “Prepared. Not scared.”

So, should you have an emergency kit and, if you do, what should it contain? First off, I’m no expert in this field, and I’m simply relating data I’ve gathered through research and experience. That said, my answer to the question of whether one should have an emergency kit is a resounding YES! However, while commonality of survival practices will dictate the main contents of the kits (e.g., food, water, first-aid), context will dictate many of the specific contents. For example, not living in a hurricane prone area, I am not too concerned about the effects of a Category 5 storm blowing through, and since we’re not in tornado alley, I have no tornado bunker or strong-room to maintain. However, I have implemented earthquake related safety measures (e.g., bolted bookcases to the walls, have a gas / water shut-off wrench available, keep footwear near the bed).

There is a plethora of information available on how and what to stock in your emergency supply kits. To assist you, many of the sources I have used are listed at the end of this post.

Read the rest of this entry

When inanimate objects are blamed

In light of the recent Tucson mass shooting, and the negligent discharge shooting (as it now appears) at a high school in the Los Angeles area, the usual cries are voiced regarding gun control. Over the past 15 years, however, it seems that gun control lobbies have lost more battles then they’ve won. Lately, an interesting, if not entirely expected tactic they’ve taken, is that of placing their crosshairs on the purchasing of ammunition. After all, so the thinking must go, if one does not have any ammunition then one’s firearm suddenly becomes nothing more than a club.

Last year, California gun-control advocates introduced, and passed AB962, which would have forced citizens who desired to purchase “handgun” ammunition to conduct the transaction in a face-to-face setting, providing photo-ID, residence address, and a thumbprint (i.e., registering themselves and their actions with the state). Signed by then Governor/Terminator Arnold Schwarzennegger, the bill was touted as promoting our own safety. From the governor,

Although I have previously vetoed legislation similar to this measure, local governments have demonstrated that requiring ammunition vendors to keep records on ammunition sales improves public safety. These records have allowed law enforcement to arrest and prosecute persons who have no business possessing firearms and ammunition: gang members, violent parolees, second and third strikers, and even people previously serving time in state prison for murder.

Such thinking must surely have been inspired by the fact that so many gang-bangers get their handgun ammunition at places like Walmart or through on-line vendors (/sarcasm).

AB962 was set to go into effect in a few weeks.

Word has come in, this morning, that AB962 has been successfully appealed in court. From an NRA news announcement,

The lawsuit—funded by the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol (CRPA) Foundation as part of a joint Legal Action Project—was prompted in part by the many objections and questions raised by confused police, ammunition purchasers, and sellers about what ammunition is covered by the new law.

Many of the nation’s largest mail-order and online ammunition retailers had already announced that they would soon end sales to California residents. If the law had gone into effect, it would have required that “handgun ammunition” be stored out of the reach of customers, that ammunition vendors collect ammunition sales registration information and thumbprints from purchasers, and that vendors conduct transactions face to face for all deliveries and transfers of “handgun ammunition.”

AB962 was just another in a string of laws which do nothing more than restrict the actions of law-abiding citizens. Let’s hope that continued resistance to a Nanny-State mentality will help set the tone for the real hope and change our country needs.

Rusty Nails (SCO v. 19)

Human nature was displayed this past week, since the catalyst event of the mass shooting in Tucson. Initiated by the heinous act of a crazed individual, we’ve seen both the good – and the bad – in humanity since. Following are a few quick links and thoughts:

Palin breaks silence on Tucson
So reads the title to a post in the New Mexico Independent. Following the herd of liberals who immediately began blaming the Right for the shooting, the title of this post leads us to believe that Sarah Palin had some obligation to respond to, due to her implicit responsibility for, the attempted assassination of Rep. Giffords.


The New MSM Mantra: Publish first, check later
Initial reports, from “trusted” news organizations, indicated that Rep. Giffords had, in fact, been killed. From a Reuters report (via Malkin),

Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona died after being shot in the head while meeting constituents at a grocery store in Tucson, NPR reported on Saturday.

As we saw, beginning at least back at 9/11, and continuing through major events such as Hurricane Katrina, the instantaneous response time of 21st century technology does not negate the need for real time (and, sometimes slow time) fact checking.


“It was crazy. A photographer with a [telephoto] lens was outside and he yells ‘Shooter! Shooter! Get down! And I didn’t,”
You may have heard about Rep. Giffords intern Daniel Hernandez, indeed, the President referenced him, and his heroic acts, in his memorial speech. Or perhaps you heard about the 74 year-old veteran, Bill Badger, who helped tackle the shooting suspect. But how many of you heard about Joe Zamudio, who happened to be buying cigarettes as the shooter commenced his mayhem? Zamudio heard the gunshots (and he recognized them as gunshots – something most people have a difficult time doing), and instead of running away from the sound, he ran towards it. Why? Zamudio was armed, legally, with his own handgun, and was ready to use it on the shooter.


Boxer’s lack of common sense
Senator Barbara Boxer (D – Calif) thinks that part of the cause for the mass shooting in Tucson, other than a deranged individual deciding to shoot other human beings, is that laws on concealed carry are too lax. From Boxer,

I am particularly interested in California’s concealed weapons law, which requires someone who wants to carry a concealed weapon to first receive a permit from their local sheriff or police chief.

In California, you need to be at least 21 years old, show good cause for carrying and show good moral character to carry a concealed weapon. There is a check – an important check – on who is carrying a concealed weapon.

Perhaps someone should educate M’am Boxer that: 1) the Tucson mass shooting had nothing to do with concealed carry and, 2) concealed carry laws, whether strict or lenient, have no bearing on whether a criminal chooses to conceal his weapon.


Twisted Thinking
In A Right to Bear Glocks?, we read,

If Loughner had gone to the Safeway carrying a regular pistol, the kind most Americans think of when they think of the right to bear arms, Giffords would probably still have been shot and we would still be having that conversation about whether it was a sane idea to put her Congressional district in the cross hairs of a rifle on the Internet.

Loughner’s gun, a 9-millimeter Glock, is extremely easy to fire over and over, and it can carry a 30-bullet clip. It is “not suited for hunting or personal protection,” said Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign. “What it’s good for is killing and injuring a lot of people quickly.”

Setting aside the silly notion of a “regular pistol” that is somehow connected to “the right to bear arms”, I would agree with Helmke – the 30 round magazine is not suited for hunting or personal protection. I would imagine that the extended length of the magazine, combined with the added weight of the cartridges, would affect the shooter’s accuracy and, when one is interested in personal protection, one is also interested in accuracy. Understand that while the 30 round magazine, for a handgun, is a cumbersome oddity, the use of standard capacity magazines (in the range of 10 – 19 rounds) would not appreciably alter the situation. If a shooter knows how to exchange magazines, a magazine replacement can be accomplished very quickly.

Suzanna Hupp, whose parents were murdered in the Luby’s Cafeteria mass shooting, explained to lawmakers this very point (around the 1:50 mark).


Oh my… Did he really say that?
Per the WSJ, a quote from Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter (HT: Ron’s Bloviaing),

Conservatives like to argue that these are isolated incidents carried out by lunatics and therefore carry no big lessons (unless the perpetrator is Muslim, in which case it’s terrorism); liberals view them as opportunities to address various social ills. Obama is in the latter category and should act accordingly. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” Rahm Emanuel famously said in 2008. The same goes for a shooting spree that gravely wounds a beloved congresswoman.

Rusty Nails (SCO v. 18)

Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room! From a news report headline, Gunman opens fire at school board meeting.

A gunman held the Bay District School Board hostage Tuesday in a videotaped drama, ultimately opening fire on them before being shot and disabled by Mike Jones, the district’s chief of safety, security and police. After being shot several times, Clay Duke, 56, turned his pistol on himself in front of the stunned group, ending his life with a shot to the head, Panama City Police officials said.

The chilling video, if you desire to watch, was aired on CNN.

How could this have happened? After all, the school board meeting was being held in a GUN-FREE SCHOOL ZONE. Per David Codrea,

In accordance with the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, employees of the District, parents of students, and visitors (with the exception of law enforcement officers) shall not possess, discharge or attempt to discharge a weapon as described in School Board Policy 7.203 on any facilities or real or personal property owned by the School Board.

Unfortunately, a “gun-free zone” mentality usually equates with a “reality-denying” state of mind.


You just point, and shoot… right? If you watch the video referenced above, you may be asking yourself, “How could he miss at such a close range?”.

That’s a good question.

Let’s discount the fact that there is a possibility that the gunman intentionally missed (it doesn’t, after all, seem to fit in with his other actions). To better understand how the gunman missed I think one should first understand the dynamics of what happens when shooting a handgun.

  1. Physics is involved. There is a cartridge chambered in a gun barrel and, when fired, propels a projectile (the bullet) through and out of the barrel. Obviously wherever the barrel is pointed is the direction the bullet will travel.
  2. This then brings us to the human element – that of pointing, or aiming, the weapon in the direction of the intended target. Semiautomatic handguns typically have two sights on top of the slide: a front sight, and a rear sight. To achieve proper sighting, there is a thing known as a “sight picture”, which is the lining up of the target, the front sight, the rear sight, and the shooter’s eyes. This is not an insignificant point, as even the slightest variation in alignment will result in the bullet going somewhere not intended. This problem is only exacerbated with shorter barrels, which give a shorter distance between the front and rear sights.
  3. Congruent with sight alignment is the shooter’s stance. When a handgun is fired there is a recoil from the force generated by the gases coming out of the barrel. To best control the effects of recoil on the shooter’s arms and body, the shooter should essentially stand leaning forward a bit, so as to use their weight to help absorb the recoil forces.
  4. Another aspect of shooting properly is that of the shooter’s grip on the handgun. A proper grip, with two hands, also helps control the effects of recoil, thereby allowing the shooter to reacquire the target in his sights.
  5. Lastly, shooting accuracy is also determined by the shooter’s proficiency at “trigger control“. Any errant movement on the handgun at the time the bullet is fired will affect the sight alignment, thereby sending the bullet off course. If the shooter “anticipates” the recoil of the handgun, he will inadvertently shoot high and to the right (if he’s right handed). If the shooter “yanks” the trigger, instead of gently squeezing it, he will shoot low and to the left.

In viewing the video of the school board shooting, it appears the shooter’s stance was leaning back, he had no sight alignment (the gun was not at eye level), he shot one handed, and he exaggerated the recoil effects not only on the upward swing but in returning to acquire his “sight picture”. While it seems unlikely for him to miss at such close range, in my opinion, none of his actions contributed towards him shooting his intended victims (which is very lucky for them).


Let everyone sing (except, perhaps, those feeling closed in?) For the introverts out there who may be apprehensive at this most extroverted time of the year, here are some tips to help alleviate the stress:

  • Hide in plain sight: On a group excursion to a mall or shopping district, while everyone else is distracted by shiny things, you can wander off… for some alone time.
  • Sit in a dark room: Take the kids… to a movie.
  • Make a “sacrifice”: Volunteer for supermarket duty. …you can stroll up and down the aisles, sing along with the piped-in music (Christmas carols, I presume), commune with nothing more demanding than Brussels sprouts and canned pumpkin.
  • Have a project: I’m a fan of jigsaw puzzles during long stretches of house time with others. Set it up on a table and there it sits, for days, where anyone can work it when the mood strikes.


Death and taxes, together forever When asked about the enormous estate tax, despite the deceased individual having paid taxes their entire life, the response, “You won’t be paying anything because you will be dead,” seems to me to expose the liberal mindset for what it is.