Boomershoot prep weekend

I did a lot of preparation for Boomershoot 2005 this weekend.  I finished up reducing the volume of the 8“ target bodies so the neighbors don’t have so much stuff falling off the walls.  I didn’t do all the 8“ target bodies, just more than enough for this event.  I changed my method to do this.  The egg cartons were just too time consuming.  I switched to using the expanding sealing foam used in home repair.  It was much, much faster even if it was more expensive.  Here is a picture of some of the target bodies:

Also note the colors of the lids at the base of the stack of target bodies. I’m painting them different colors to help the shooter/spotter teams identify which target they are talking about.  There will be a white as well as the yellow, red, and “cardboard brown” shown in the picture above.  I have painted all the yellow and red lids I need for the 8“ targets just the white lids remain.  I’ll do the six inch lids and the rest of the 8“ lids sometime in March.

These are the new 4” targets we will be using for the main event on Sunday.  These are cardboard boxes with internal dimensions of 4x4x2 inches.  These targets will hold slightly more of the “reactive recipe“ than the old 4“ diameter targets did.  They come from the factory white so there will only be the three colors of them.  The clinic will use up the last of the 4” diameter targets with the plastic lids we used last year.

In other news I just sent in the comments from a number of proof readers (family and friends) on a article that is being written for a shooting magazine on the Boomershoot by someone that has attended the last two events.  It looks really good but we don’t know for certain if the magazine will actually publish it or not.  I doubt that it will appear before this years event so it probably won’t help attendance this year but it might for next year.

Next weekend, assuming the weather is favorable, we will be doing a bunch of experiments with new mixes to increase the sensitivity and reliability of detonation.  Then on the 27th of March we have a “private party“ to put on.  This is going to be a busy month for Boomershoot stuff.

I got an inquiry from someone in Wisconsin this weekend.  He will be a first from that state if he is able to make it.

Boomershoot 2005 update

As usual, lots of entries came in this last week of February but because I expanding the shooting line so much I still have 22 more shooting positions available.  I have 38 positions taken now.  I’m also officially in the black on paper.  That doesn’t count the loan I made to Boomershoot for the new explosives magazine last year and all the chemicals I purchased last year or the new generator I bought a month ago.  But since I had purchased nearly enough materials for this years event last year my cash flow has been very good this year.  I have paid back $1650 (including interest) on the loan and paid for the generator with this years money so I’m feeling pretty good about the money situation.

Since we have all the bloggers showing up this year I had hoped to get wireless internet service onsite.  I talked to the provider yesterday and found out that there are political obstacles to that happening.  They have been working on providing service in that area for some time but aren’t quite there yet.  There are permits they have to obtain and stuff like that.  The current schedule looks like “end of the summer“.  So, maybe Boomershoot 2006 will be the first to have live blogging.

There are just under nine weeks to Boomershoot 2005.  Next Saturday Ry and I will do a full day of experiments aimed at getting the mix more sensitive.  Then we will be ready until just a few days before the event when the work really begins.

Freedom everywhere

I drove 400 miles round trip to have dinner with a friend on Wednesday evening.  I always enjoy my time with him immensely.  Very, very, funny, and thought provoking.  I’ll share his solution to our war with Muslim extremists in some other post but a newspaper article I saw this evening reminded me of something else he said.  He made a comment about Bush’s State of the Union speech being insane if you read between the lines. “Oh?”, I asked. “How is that?” The answer I got was, “He wants to export freedom to everyone. That’s not much different than Caesar saying he wanted to bring civilization to everyone and the Conquistadors bringing Catholicism to everyone.”  Interesting viewpoint.  I hadn’t thought of it that way before.  My friend doesn’t exactly think everyone is ready or capable of handling freedom as we know it.  I’m not so sure but he has a number of data points from dealing with other cultures that I don’t have direct experience with.  Anyway the news indicates, insane or not, foreign governments are taking Bush seriously.

From the LA Times:

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called Saturday for a constitutional amendment to allow other candidates to run against him for the first time, a surprise move that could be a historic turning point in a country that has endured decades of repressive rule.

The announcement by Mubarak, a staunch U.S. ally, came days after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice canceled a trip to the Middle East this week amid mounting tension over the autocratic Egyptian leader’s crackdown on political opponents.

The New York Times gets it wrong

Yeah, I know, so what else is new?

They report on the bill before the U.S. Senate to protect the gun industry from junk lawsuits.  They claim:

 In September, the families of victims in the sniper shootings in the Washington area won a $2.5 million settlement from the dealer who supplied the snipers’ assault rifle.

Being generous to the reporter and editors, they are misleading when they say this.  The gun was stolen from the dealer by the two criminals.  Do they claim a bank that gets robbed provided money for the criminal to buy illegal drugs?

To give them credit where they deserve it, they did quote a spokesman for one of my Senators:

A spokesman for Senator Larry E. Craig, an Idaho Republican who sponsored the bill, said the lawsuits were inappropriate.

The suits “attempt to achieve gun control through judicial rather than the legislative means,” said the spokesman, Sid Smith. “If a drunk driver hits someone,” he said, “the car manufacturer is not held responsible so long as the car functioned correctly, so why should the gun industry be any different?”

Overall I give them a grade of ‘C’ on this article. In addition to the above blatant bias they only gave a few lines of coverage to the pro-freedom viewpoint and the vast majority to the anti-freedom viewpoint.

Huffman’s rule of firearms law

Denise’s comments here and the big story about CNN breaking Federal law to do an anti-freedom story on gun ownership reminds me of something I said a long time ago and remains true today:

Huffman’s rule of firearms law: Firearms law are so complex, victimless, and nonsensical that almost every firearms owner breaks multiple laws without knowing it. A general rule to compute the earned prison time for crimes committed is to multiply the number of years of activity in the shooting sports by five.

Joe Huffman
(Who, if caught and convicted, would spend the rest of his life in prison)
12/16/97

Adam Plumondore memorial service

As I reported before Adam was one of the Precision Rifle Clinic instructors at the last Boomershoot.  Rivrdog reports on his memorial service.

MSM reports:

Seattle Times
Seattle Times
The News Tribune
The News Tribune
KVAL News
Seattle PI
Seattle PI
KOMO TV
The Register Guard
KOIN News
The Oregonian
Bend.com
The Olympian
The Olympian
YubaNet

You can donate money to directly to the Lancer Memorial Fund which helps the families of those fallen in battle.  See near the bottom of this press release for more details.

More airport security test failures

An ex-employee at the San Francisco International Airport claims the security people doing the passenger screening cheat to pass the tests by federal auditors.  Bruce Schneier writes about the necessity of having trusted people.  This is true.  What he doesn’t point out is that in this case it’s probably an unsolvable problem.  Security is no stronger than the weakest link.  When you have thousands of people you have to trust to ensure the “sterile area” of the air transportation system is secure the odds of having one or more untrustworthy people is asymtotically close to one.

The odds of getting weapons onboard a plane when the passenger makes no attempt to hide the weapon is about 20%.  When the auditors deliberately try to evade security they classify the test results.  My guess is the results approach a 100% failure rate.

It’s time to consider alternatives.  Obtaining public acceptance of scientifically sound methods of security is a better position to be in than using publicly acceptable methods that can never succeed.

What did you do today … for freedom?

Kim du Toit has a picture of a poster from a previous war entitled “What did you do today … for freedom?“  It turns out I have been thinking about that a lot the last few days.  I just woke up a short while ago so I’ll write about yesterday instead of today.

What did I do for freedom yesterday?  I reviewed proposals for some Navy money and voted on which should be given funding and which should be dropped this time.  Then I worked on a portion of a solution to plug a security hole in our computers. 

But I can’t tell you how many times I think about Adam and wonder if there was a countermeasure for Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosives Devices (VBIEDs) that I should have thought of.  Without more details on what exactly happened to Adam I don’t know if any of my ideas could have made any difference.  But I keep thinking maybe there was something more I should have done with the ideas I did have or were suggested to me.  I presented them and sold them as best I could to management last fall but they didn’t go anywhere that I know of.  They could have been passed on to people better able to implement than I and classified–I just don’t know.  But could I have followed up more and pushed harder?  Could I have gotten something implemented and deployed in time to have prevented Adams death?  Probably not.  But what about the next VBIED?  Is there one that next week or next month or next year that will kill or injury Walter or my nephew or a few years from now after my niece graduates from West Point?  Is there something I could have done or should do to prevent it?  What if I had found someone to give my information on people searching for bomb building information sooner?  Technically, it’s not my job.  My job is with computer security.  I’m working to keep our computers and computer networks safe from attack.  Worthwhile endeavors in our fight to preserve our freedoms, but I often feel it’s not as pressing as solving the simple brute force attacks used by our current adversaries.

What to do?  Do my job as best I can, keep thinking, and keep feeding ideas to those who’s job it is to solve the immediate problems.  It’s time to get ready for work.  Today and every day is important.

Counter Intelligence advice

The following is only very slightly edited from a class I took yesterday.  I think it’s good advice for everyone.

We have become vulnerable everywhere because today’s terrorist confronts the United States indirectly.  This tactic exploits our vulnerabilities and negates our superior tactical and strategic advantage.  The terrorists are looking for headlines, high mortality, and high shock value.  The reality is that the risk is now on our home front.  We no longer can assume we are safe in the continental United States; as demonstrated by September 11, 2001 terrorist events.  The terrorists are bringing the fight to us.

You can help CI by being aware of activities that are precursors of a terrorist event and may provide a warning that saves lives and property.  The fundamental indicator is unusual and suspicious activities.  We must all remain alert to possibilities that are virtually limited only by one’s imagination.  We cannot accept the risk of complacency.  Our defense: unpredictability, situational awareness, patience, and vigilance.  Awareness, the eyes and voice of each individual, is critical to the success of the war against terrorism. 

A partial list of things worthy of additional attention:

  • People near a facility using or carrying video cameras or observation equipment (for example night vision devices)
  • People parking, standing or loitering over several days with no apparent reasonable explanation
  • Suspicious vehicles, something that is not normal for the situation or area
  • Unusual questioning about the facility or personal information
  • Frequent telephone calls claiming to be wrong numbers
  • Abandoned packages, briefcases, or suitcases
  • Low-flying aircraft, possibly observing the area
  • Any activity considered suspicious or unusual to you from what you normally observe.