Some people want a police state

How sad.  In Philadelphia of all places–where our constitution was written, debated, and presented to the individual states for ratification.  The people there are practically begging for a police state:

“If you get caught carrying a gun, you should automatically do time. Mandatory. No trial. Just like when you get caught driving without a license.”

“It should be 25 years in prison, no questions asked, if you get caught with an illegal handgun,”

… prospective gun purchasers be required to install a handgun safe box in their home or workplace. The vault-like box must be mounted, secure and inspected by the police before the gun purchaser would be allowed to take the gun home.

I’m reminded of a Machaivelli quote I posted a few weeks back.

Update: Because of the requirement to register to read the entire article I have included the entire article below:

Posted on Thu, Mar. 31, 2005


Daily News readers have big ideas to keep guns out of the hands of shooters.

More than 100 people e-mailed and phoned ideas to the newspaper yesterday. Many said they’re sick of gun violence. Some wonder at the sorry state of mayhem. Most have ideas that can help.

“Why is it easier to get a gun than it is to get a drivers’ license?” asked one reader. “If you get caught carrying a gun, you should automatically do time. Mandatory. No trial. Just like when you get caught driving without a license.”

Many callers urged lengthy mandatory sentences for gunslinging lawbreakers.

“Bottom line – give them some time,” said one reader.

Another said creeps don’t seem to respect the mandatory five-year sentences for gun crimes, so mandatory sentences should be longer.

“It should be 25 years in prison, no questions asked, if you get caught with an illegal handgun,” said one reader. “Five years is not scaring these guys. But if it were 25 years, the criminal might use something else besides a firearm.”

One thoughtful reader suggested that prospective gun purchasers be required to install a handgun safe box in their home or workplace. The vault-like box must be mounted, secure and inspected by the police before the gun purchaser would be allowed to take the gun home.

Do you have an idea to keep guns out of the hands of creeps? Tell us.

It can be a simple suggestion, like banning all handguns in Philadelphia. Or it can be complex, like mandating anti-gun classes in public schools.

Send your ideas to:

Stop Gun Violence
Philadelphia Daily News
Box 7788
Philadelphia PA 19101

(A computer error blocked many of your e-mail suggestions yesterday. If your message was returned, please try again.)
Call: 215-854-2600

Yeah, I know is down again.  Ry just brought up the backup server so it should work again before long for most people (I see traffic is showing up already).  If you visited recently you may have to flush your DNS cache (on Windows machines run “ipconfig /flushdns”).  Other people may need to wait even longer for the DNS cache on their companies gateway to expire.  Sorry about that.

There are a few pages out of date on the backup but nothing important.

If you sent email to anyone at in the last few hours they have not received it and I don’t know when they will.  I expect I will get it eventually.  If the website is working for you then any email you send now should be routed such that I get it soon.

Theoretical biometric vulnerability documented

People have been saying it would happen but this is the first time, to the best of my knowledge, it actually occurred:

Police in Malaysia are hunting for members of a violent gang who chopped off a car owner’s finger to get round the vehicle’s hi-tech security system.

The car, a Mercedes S-class, was protected by a fingerprint recognition system.

 The attackers forced Mr Kumaran to put his finger on the security panel to start the vehicle, bundled him into the back seat and drove off.

But having stripped the car, the thieves became frustrated when they wanted to restart it. They found they again could not bypass the immobiliser, which needs the owner’s fingerprint to disarm it.

They stripped Mr Kumaran naked and left him by the side of the road – but not before cutting off the end of his index finger with a machete.

Although there are lots of intelligent comments about this on the biometrics email list I am on there was one guy that said:

There is a simple solution to the problem of having your finger cut off to fool the sensor – don’t drive your Mercedes in Malaysia.

This guy has a severe case of cranial rectum inversion.

Barb comes to Richland

Barb managed to get away from work early yesterday and arrived at my place in Richland about 17:15.  I skipped aerobics and was there about three minutes later.  We had a nice dinner at Henry’s and went to bed by 19:30.  We are still in bed but of course awake since we went to sleep so early.  We both sleep much better when we are cuddled up in the same bed.

Unfortunately I have a meeting this morning at 9:00.  Any other time I would have arrived at work later and spent more time with Barb.  heavy sigh

It’s tough writing now with her so tight to my right side and interfering with the mouse under the covers between us.  And she keeps yanking the covers of me too.  And then there are the ‘other distractions’…

Ry is gone

heavy sigh

Ry is now working for Microsoft (see also this posting) again. We became acquainted with each other while working at MS via the MS Gun Club (MSGC) in the late 90’s.  We only met once (which I don’t remember) but saw a lot of each other’s posting in the MSGC public folder.  We were both contractors at MS and Ry had other contracts he worked on in the bay area between his MS gigs.  It was because of me living in Moscow, Idaho that Ry decided to check out the town as a place for him to raise his family.  He drove over for a visit, looked around, and moved his family there.  I still didn’t meet him.  It was at least a couple years later that I was reading a magazine while waiting to get on a plane at SeaTac (Seattle Tacoma airport) to come home to Idaho for the weekend from my job at Chromium.  This guy asks me, “Are you Joe Huffman?”  I confirmed his hunch and asked who he was and how he knew.  It was Ry. He said it was because I looked familiar, it was the gate for a plane to go to the Pullman-Moscow airport, my hat, and I was reading Precision Shooting.  We talked while waiting for the plane and I was thrilled.  He is so smart and so funny.  It was great.  He had just finished an interview at Microsoft.   I suggested he also consider Chromium, he agreed and got his resume in front of the right people the next week.  On the plane I loaned him my magazine and when we got off the plane less than an hour later he had finished it.  Ry reads incredibly fast.  Rather than him catch a taxi to his home in Moscow Barb and I gave him a ride.

Everyone at work was just as impressed by Ry as I was.  During the interview process the test manager came into my office and said that he had stopped the typical interrogation process and was going to have everyone else work on convincing Ry that Chromium was the place to work rather than Microsoft where he had received an offer.  A few days later Ry was working at Chromium just down the hall from me.  I found out that as he drove home from his interview at Chromium he stopped off at Vantage to use his minivan as a dune buggy in the sand dunes to celebrate how well the interview had gone at Chromium.  It was nearly midnight and when he tipped it over he had to walk a mile or so on the interstate to find someone who would give him a tow and get his van upright again.  This was just one of many well thought out adventures that I would hear about and occasionally witness.  Barb quickly concluded that he was incompletely myelinated.  There has been no evidence to contraindicate that diagnosis in the subsequent years (see also this posting).

Ry lived on the couch in the apartment I had in Kirkland most of the time we worked at Chromium and we were both laid off on the same day when Eric ran out of money.  I couldn’t tell you the number of times we have talked late into the night until the sun came up.  Such far ranging topics and ideas for things.  It’s always a thrill to be around Ry.  And he has been a tremendous help in the Boomershoot.  He was always ready to help test a new idea for explosives and had lots of ideas of his own.  And I especially loved it when one of us would come up with an idea and the other would immediately modify it to make it something that would actually work.  I would tell him that between the two of us we had a complete brain.

I so glad that he finally got a decent paying job after being laid off at Chromium, but he has moved 300 miles away.

heavy sigh

More sad news from the U.K.

A middle aged woman and her children have house and cars repeatedly vandalized.  After a mid-night confrontation she retrieves an air pistol and rifle from her house and shoots a few rounds into the ground near them.  The police show up and arrest her but not the vandals.  Read about it here.

Mrs Walker was being driven towards breaking point by groups of youths “terrorising” her neighbourhood. She logged a catalogue of complaints with officers, from abusive phone calls to thefts and vandalism.

Anonymous callers would abuse her son as a “poof”. A wing mirror of her other son’s car was broken off, the garden shed was broken into, ornaments thrown over the wall and fish stolen from her pond.

The final straw came when she noticed that a five-litre plastic container of washing up liquid was moved from the back garden and emptied over her son’s car in the driveway.

She was “fuming mad” when she rushed out of her house at night to confront a knot of teenagers 250 yards away. After an exchange of abuse she returned home to arm herself with a Walther CP88 gas-powered air pistol, which she had kept in her underwear drawer for four months since she had been burgled, and an air rifle.

She phoned the police to tell them that she was going to “shoot the f****** vandals. I’ve got an air rifle and a pistol and I’m going to shoot them.”

Mrs Walker squared up to one 18-year-old, firing off several rounds from the pistol into nearby ground. The youth, Robert McKiernan, now 19, who has a number of convictions including burglary, told her that she was a “psycho”.

She later expressed surprise when an armed response unit arrested her and not the youths. Afterwards she complained to officers: “Police are very sympathetic but the law is on the side of these criminals and yobbos and not the victims. They have all the rights.”

In this country, at least in the habitable parts like Idaho and Eastern Washington, had it been a real gun and she had not shot it they probably would have run away.  They would have never come back and the police would not have had cause to arrest her.  But with a air pistol the risk of permanent injury or death to a health 18 year-old male is pretty low and they probably will now figure this is great fun.  I think I would have confronted them with full IPSC gear in plain view on my belt, eye and ear protection in place, and carrying a shovel.  I would have informed them that if they stayed any longer or ever came back they would be staying MUCH longer.  Probably it would technically be a punishable offense but the police and prosecutors here would almost for certain do no more than suggest you not do that again while thinking that you handled it better than they could have in their official capacity.

Oh, and of course you can count on this arrest and conviction to go on record as a “gun crime” and used as further evidence why air guns and replicas should be banned.

My early years

Over in Kim duToit’s forum someone asked about when people learned about firearms and things related.  I told the following story and figured it would of interest here as well.  It’s slightly modified here for lack of some of the context in the forum and to correct a few spelling and grammar errors I found…

Back on the farm we used 1/2 stick of dynamite as the booster charge for the ammonium nitrate we had mixed with diesel.  I wish we had video of all the stumps we launched into the air.  There were hundreds of them.  I got to help with that when I was about 10 years old.   Dad let me shoot the .22 about then too.  My brothers and I shared a BB gun we got when I was about 12.  I went through the “killed a bird and never shot a living thing again” learning experience too.  It was ammonium triodide, an extremely sensitive contact explosive (a feather touching it or even sound will detonate it), that I almost blew up the school with.  The first batch lasted a week as my buddies and I played with tiny samples.  The second batch was much larger and I had the test tube leaning in the corner of my locker with the freshly combined iodine and ammonia with just a stopper loosely sitting on the top (gas is evolved in the process and it needed an escape).  When I came back to the locker it had tipped over and the sludge was about 1/4 inch deep all over the top shelf of the locker and running down the sides.  It was still wet and safe but it was drying out and would soon be explosive to the touch.  I ran to the chemistry teacher while my buddy kept others out of that section of the hallway.  I confessed to the teacher and he helped me clean up the mess without blowing anything up or telling the principal or my parents.  I didn’t tell my parents about it until 30 years later.  My brother and I use oxygen acetylene in plastic jugs and garbage sacks with dynamite fuse to ignite it.  Our biggest explosion shook the house 1/4 mile away and when we got back to the house Mom asked, “Did you hear that sonic boom a few minutes ago?”  We immediately affirmed an experience very similar to hers.

Then there was black powder we made and used in the “cannons” we made out of galvanized pipe.  The hand-loaded paraffin bullet I shot in the old .32-20 that hung on my bedroom wall out the bedroom window in the middle of the night at a stray dog.   All the experiments we did with firecrackers to see what they would do to various things.  Lots of Estes rockets with ‘special’ payloads.  The homemade 4th of July rocket that detonated about 2′ off the ground–fender height of Mom and Dad’s car.  We used the battery in the car for ignition of the rocket engine and it was too close to the launch pad to escape the consequences of the failed launch.

In college (fall of ’73) my interest in women overwhelmed my interest in firearms and pyrotechnics until after Clinton was elected President.  From there you can probably figure out my history from the web.

Boomershoot target distribution

I woke up at 2:00 this morning and after laying around for a long time grabbed the laptop computer and started working the hit probabilities and the target distribution.

See this picture to help visual the layout.  The large green tree on the left at the 380 yard line has been removed.

I plan on putting 210 4-inch and 40 6-inch targets at the 380 yard line.  From 575 to about 675 yards there will 120 4-inch, 280 6-inch, and 60 7-inch targets. At 700 yards there will be 10 7-inch targets.  There probably will also be a few 7-inch targets at 380 yards “roped off“ for the press and special guests.

This doesn’t include the clinic targets.  Current plans are for 80 4-inch and 40 6-inch targets to be used in the clinics.

Including the press that is about 850 targets.  The total amount of explosives will be about 830 pounds.  I had originally thought there would be over 1000 pounds of explosives but measurements on the new mix indicate the density is lower even though it is more powerful per unit volume than previous mixes.

Quote of the day–Josh Sugarmann

We can continue to push legislation of dubious effectiveness. Or we can acknowledge that gun violence is a public-health crisis fueled by an inherently dangerous consumer product. To end the crisis, we have to regulate–or, in the case of handguns and assault weapons, completely ban–the product.

Josh Sugarmann
Executive Director of the Violence Policy Center
From the article “Reverse Fire”
January/February 1994 Issue of Mother Jones

Boomershoot swag

For those of you that don’t know what swag is click here.

If you want to figure it out on your own just click here.

In years past I purchased t-shirts and sold them at the event.  I always had too many or too few, or the wrong sizes, whatever.  This year it will all be done online and you can buy hats and sweatshirts, and mugs too.  Probably other things too as I get around to it.  And Stephanie says she has some other designs coming out soon too.

Kim’s Easter Adventure

James and I are watching a movie.  We try to get together on the weekends and do something.  It hasn’t happened as much as it used to.  He was going to help with the Boomershoot private party but that got canceled so neither of us have anything else planned.  It just got started at about 15:00 when I get a call from Kim.  Her car will start but dies when she tries to do anything more than idle.  It sounds like it’s not getting enough fuel. 

“Are you low on gas?“
“No.  I have half a tank.“
“Could you have some bad gas?“
“Same place as always.  Where you and Mom get gas.“
“It’s been raining.  Have you left your gas cap off in the rain?“
“It’s probably either your fuel filter or your fuel pump.“
“How do I find out which it is?“
“We swap out the fuel filter and if that doesn’t fix the problem it’s the pump.  Where are you at?”
”Groan.”  Plummer is an hour’s drive from home. “Okay, well, I’ll go pick up a filter and come rescue you.”
”I want to visit Jessica first.”
”Groan.”  She is stranded.  It’s raining.  It will be dark soon.  I offer to rescue her and her highest priority is visiting with her friend.

We ended up deciding she would try to fix it up there on her own with the help of Jessica and friends.  She called back a bit later and said it was running just fine now without any mechanical attention.  Of course neither of us trust it.  We decide I will get a fuel filter before the stores close and then she will call me as she is leaving town.  There is very little cell phone reception between Plummer and Moscow.  If she doesn’t show up in Moscow within an hour I will come and find her. She is to stay in her car and just wait if it dies.

She calls at 17:45 to say she is leaving.  I set my alarm on my cell phone and 45 minutes later she calls to say she is in Moscow.  I just know she is driving faster than she should.  She visits another friend then comes over and to put on the new filter. I warn her that this doesn’t really seem like a fuel filter so much anymore.  If it were plugged it wouldn’t have gotten better.  It could be the fuel pump.  It could have been water in her gas.  But the fuel filter probably should be replaced anyway.

Kim may not have the best judgment but she is very good mechanically.  I pull the new fuel filter out of the box and she finds the old one.  I ask if she knows how to replace it.  She thinks she needs to bend “those thingys”.  “Not exactly.  Those are clamps which don’t exactly bend.”  I show her how to slide one clamp off and she does the other, removes the filter, replaces it with the new one, and puts the clamps back on.  The car starts up again and runs.  Kim takes off again. 

Who knows what adventure will be next?

Quote of the day–Kristen Rand

America must face the fact that we have a love affair with guns that exacts a tremendous and unacceptable cost in human lives lost. Mass shootings like that at Red Lake High School are the future for America’s children until policymakers decide it’s time to enact real gun control. Other countries have found the solution to mass shootings, and it consists of severe restrictions on the availability of specific classes of firearms, such as handguns and assault weapons.

Kristen Rand
Legislative director for the Violence Policy Center
News release March 22, 2005

[Note: The guns used were stolen from the shooters grandfather–a police officer killed by the shooter.  The school guard, also killed, was unarmed.]

I think it was the wind

The private party for tomorrows Boomershoot Adventure decided to reschedule.  The rain they could deal with using makeshift shelters and tarps.  The forecast of 15 MPH winds would have made the shelters impractical and their bullets wander.  These were people with hunting rifles and they were asking to be closer than 375 (they suggested 200) yards.  I was pushing for it some.  I would rather they had a good time as well as the added stress on my crew of dealing with the wet and the cold.