Xenia’s John broke up with her

He must have known I was an hour’s drive away.  He showed up at the house yesterday when I wasn’t here.  He knew that for every tear he causes my daughter I cause a drop of his blood to be spilled.  I’ve been watching very closely and haven’t seen any tears yet.  She’s sad, but not crying (at least when I have seen it).  She’s an extremely stoic person.  I should have told him a drop of blood for every frown…

James and I just saw Serenity

Ry saw it prerelease and so did Kevin.  James and I went to the first showing in the area and got back about an hour ago.  It was very good.  James had a few nits to pick but I shot down most of those.  I had one nit to pick and James shot it down.  As expected with anything that Joss Whedon helps write is going to have some great dialog.  This was no exception.  Jayne, as usual, is so incredibly self centered and delivers his lines with such timing and such a straight face that the audience bursts into laughter.  I think my favorite was when someone (trying to avoid spoiling it for someone) says:

Someone: “Do you really think any of us are going to get out of this alive?”
Jayne (looks around, pauses): “I might.”

My favorite lines of the movie were the following (as best I can remember):

Someone 1: “If I had known this was going to happen I would have done things differently.  Back on the ship I would have been with you.”
Someone 2: “Are you saying… sex?”
Someone 1: “That’s what I’m saying.”
Someone 2: “To hell with dying.  I’m going to live.”

In another sequence:

Someone 1: “Landing could be interesting.”
Someone 2: “Define interesting.”
Someone 1: “Oh god, oh god, we’re all gonna die?”

This is a “Space Western”.  It’s a good one.  Lots of guns and blades and a good message.  And as Kevin said in his review:

Go see Serenity. You won’t be disappointed if you like this blog.

Deer pictures

Ry posted a link to a picture with three deer in it.  I could only find one.  Here is a picture Barb and I took last month while in Montana.  There are two deer in this picture.  One is obvious the other not so obvious.  We only saw it because it moved.

Click on the picture for a high resolution version.  Hint on the second deer: It’s a buck and it’s laying down.

White-tailed prospects

Yesterday I stumbled across a well worn path where no humans would have a reason to be frequently walking.  It must be a game trail I thought.  Without expecting to find any animals there during the middle of the day I walked along the path for probably only 50 feet before two white-tailed deer burst out from under a tree 30 or 40 feet away, ran down the hill, across the draw, and out of sight over the next hill.  The trail had led me directly to where they were bedded down.  It was right next to a wheat field.  They probably were grain fed, foliage or actually grain, all summer.

On the way home, about five miles from that same location, I saw two more deer.  I suspect I could have harvested one of them with my van had I been willing to trade the van for a few dozen pounds of meat (not a good trade).

Hunting season opens in 10 days.  Prospects look good at this point.

Reactive targets are now more reactive

I went to the Boomershoot site yesterday.  I spent the morning rearranging the Taj Mahal and managed to get all but about 100 pounds of the ammonium nitrate inside.  On the drive home I realized I could get the remaining AN inside as well.  I’ll do that the next time I go back.  I also cleaned up some spots that had rusted due to chemical spills and made changes such that spills will be much less likely to get on the metal in the future.

In the afternoon I started doing my experiments with reactive targets.  I did six different experiments.  I was able to determine a 1 3/8″ thick target is no less sensitive than a 3″ thick target.  In each and every test the 1 3/8″ thick target detonated with the same cartridge and at the same range (and in one case at a more distance range) than the 3″ thick target.  That is great news.  This allows me to use larger shooting area targets without exceeding the neighbors tolerance for the house walls being shaken. 

In experiments one and two I couldn’t reliably detonate the targets even at 10 yards distant with .22LR Stinger ammo.  With over ten hits at 10 yards I only got one detonation.  Examination revealed burn without the boom.  Black soot was around the entrance and sometimes the exit hole in the target.  The .223 detonated the targets on the first shot.  In experiment one I used the same chemical ratios as used for Boomershoot 2005 where we could usually detonate the targets with the same .22 rifle and ammo at 20 yards.  At 20 yards the bullet velocity is about 1500 fps and at 10 yards it is about 1550.  Something was different–I had introduced another variable and I knew what it was.  It was how I mixed the chemicals.  I made a change and in experiment three was able to detonate the targets on the first shot from 25 yards.  At 25 yards the velocity is about 1475 fps.

If a little of that is good, then how about a lot of that?  Experiment four–I moved the variable to it’s limit.  At 25 yards the targets detonated on the first shot.  Experiment five used the same mixing proceedure but I shot from 40 yards away with an estimated bullet velocity of 1400 fps.  One shot one boom.  Experiment six, same mixing proceedure and I switched to a different ammo.  American Eagle with a muzzle velocity of about 1200 fps.  Four hits at 20 yards with an estimated velocity at the target of 1150 resulted in burn but no boom.  At 12 yards I got one shot one boom and my thin plastic apron was perforated by small particles. I heard and felt particles bounce off my safety glasses.  My legs, being without the body armor, stung from multiple hits and still have red marks 12 hours later.  The pain didn’t matter.  The targets reliable detonated with an estimated target velocity of 1170 fps.

I made up another five targets and put them in storage for long range testing with the .223.  If .223 bullets will detonate the targets at the same velocity as the .22LR bullets and storing the targets for a few days doesn’t adversely affect the sensitivity then we may be able to detonate targets with a .223 at 700 yards.

Quote of the day–Samuel Cummings

Americans may like guns because they were reminiscent of the smell of outdoors, military heroism, the intensity of the hunt or merely because they are fascinated by the finely machined metal parts. Maybe the origin of a gun speaks of history; maybe the gun makes a man’s home seem to him less vulnerable; maybe these feelings are more justified in the country than in the city; but, above all, many of us believe that these feelings are a man’s own business and need not be judged by the Department of the Treasury or the Department of Justice.

Samuel Cummings

Quote of the day–Robert Heinlein

Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human.  At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.

Lazarus Long
A character in “Time Enough for Love” by Robert Heinlein
[Applicable to those anti-freedom, gun hating people that say "I don't believe numbers" or "I never trust statistics".  -- Joe]

Furious Iraqis

According to the UK Times Online:

Iraqis have reacted furiously to the three-year jail sentence imposed on Lynndie England, the US soldier pictured holding a naked Iraqi inmate on a leash at Abu Ghraib prison, provoking outrage across the world.

England, 22, was convicted on six counts of abuse while working as a prison guard, but was acquitted of a charge of conspiracy.

Last night she was jailed and dishonourably discharged from the US Army, but ordinary Iraqis said that it was not enough. They said the sentence exposed American hypocrisy, as it would have been more harsh had she been convicted of abusing Americans.

Iraqis were particularly incensed by the picture of England holding an inmate on a leash like a dog, a degrading act because Muslims regard dogs as unclean. In Iraq’s male-dominated society the idea of men being abused by a woman was said to be particularly humiliating.

 

Where are all the “furious” Iraqis over all the beheadings, bombings, and the executions of politicians and teachers in Iraq?  Do they not exist?  Or do they just not exist in the reality of the UK Times?

England stepped over the line in terms of handling of prisoners and is going to jail.  But as crimes go there one has to keep in mind there are a lot of people that will pay to be treated like that.  Not so with the treatment our enemies are dishing out to innocent people all over the world.  I don’t approve of what England did but once she has paid her debt to society (three years seems more than adequate to me) I’m hoping she can become a productive member of society.  Perhaps she can utilize her fame and experience in the alternate entertainment industry.

Hunting a white-tail

On Monday I bought my hunting license and a tag for a white-tailed deer.  This will be the first time I go hunting.  I never really had an interest and in some ways I still don’t.  I harvested a deer a couple years ago–while driving Barb’s Jeep.  The meat was very lean and quite good.  There was no gamy taste as the deer was grain feed off of the local crops.  But Barb, for some reason, can’t stand the smell of even the meat cooking in the house when she is there.  Kim and James (my two oldest kids) liked it though.  Xenia, being a vegetarian, has no interest.

A good part of the reason I got the license and tag is because they are so plentiful on the farm they are pests.  They destroy the crops.  Helping my brother to thin the herd a little bit will help him out.  It looks like I will have more time this year so I can hunt during week days and not just weekends.  If I get something I’ll be giving a good portion of the meat to my two oldest kids.  Hunting season opens October 10th.

Geocaching could get you arrested

I heard it on the radio yesterday while reloading ammo.  It’s on the web now:

Idaho 55 at the Rainbow Bridge was closed for about six hours Tuesday after a suspicious object was found underneath the bridge.

An ITD spokesman said investigators were conducting a routine bridge safety inspection around 9:30 a.m. today when they saw an object they could not identify. It was a green bucket with wires poking out.

Idaho State Police and the Boise Bomb Squad were called in to investigate and 17 miles of highway was closed. Investigators determined the bucket was filled with trinkets, photos and toys placed there as part of an online scavenger hunt called geocache. Players use a global positioning system to find the treasure.

Police say the man who stashed the object under the bridge has come forward and charges might be filed against him.

As it was said in a geocaching forum:

Consider. If all it takes to shut down the country is to toss ducted tape tupperware full of rocks with an old radio in it out the side of your window while you are driving down the interstate, then it won’t be long before terrorists start causing disruption in a mass scale by doing exactly that.

There are an almost infinite number of things we can’t and shouldn’t defend against.  Money is better spend attacking the root of the problem–extremist Muslims.  We must destroy their culture.

Almost surprised

Occasionally I’m surprised at how far the anti-freedom people will take things.  The banning of certain types of clothes took me by surprise.  That Gun Guys (anti-gun website) would suggest there is no such thing as justifiable homicide almost surprises me, but not quite.  In order maintain internal consistency they have to conclude that one life is just as valuable as any other life.  And so we end up with drivel like this:

What exactly is a “justifiable” homicide? Is it OK to kill people sometimes and not others.

And from their newsletter which doesn’t appear to be their website there is this:

For whatever reason, killing another human being, an act made simple and easy by firearms, is an act not lightly taken, and not without consequences.  Though a killing may be considered “legal” by any number of laws, that doesn’t necessarily make it right, and doesn’t mean that we should broaden laws without regard for those consequences.

Anyone that has taken any firearms self-defense class will have been exposed to the downside of using deadly force to defend innocent life.  The taking of a life is serious stuff.  But sometimes it’s the best of the available options.  And when the legal use of deadly force is employed the person on the receiving end of that deadly force made the choices that triggered the use of the deadly force.  It is they that bear the ultimate responsibility for their own injury or death.  For the “Gun Guys” to even hint that there is not a time and a place for the use of deadly force in the defense of innocent life shows how completely disconnected from reality they really are.  The last sentence of their email only seals that forgone conclusion.  I’m not surprised:

Legal or not, like anything else involved with firearms, “justifiable homicides” lead to more violence and pain.

Quote of the day–Eric Engstrom

If I were mad enough at someone to kill them I wouldn’t use a gun.  They might wink out on me before I wanted them to.  I would want them to know who it was and I would want them to feel the pain.

Eric Engstrom
[Probably said sometime in '96 or '97.  I responded by saying "I wouldn't use a gun either.  I'd use a propane torch and a wire brush." -- Joe]

Quick update

Last week I ordered some new boxes for possible use as reactive target containers for Boomershoot 2006.  They arrived today.  This year there were some indications the targets were failing to detonate because of they were very thin (some of them were only one inch thick).  The new ones have inside dimensions of 6″ x 6″ x 3″.  I’ll be doing some tests soon.  Perhaps this week sometime.  Or if I get an email from someone that wants to help out I might do the tests on an upcoming weekend if that would work out better for someone.

I spent part of the weekend cleaning out enough of the garage to make a path to my reloading bench and finding enough of my stuff to reload some 40 S&W ammo.  I reloaded about 50 rounds yesterday and 400 today.  There is an IPSC match next Sunday and I needed some ammo.

I’m expecting I will have some bad news to report soon.  I can’t really talk about it until it shows up in the papers.  I’ve been depressed enough lately and this only makes things worse.  I really should go make some explosives and detonate it at both “entertainingly close” and long range just to get me out of my depression.

Quote of the day–Aristotle

Those who have command of the arms in a country are masters of the state, and have it in their power to make what revolutions they please. [Thus,] there is no end to observations on the difference between the measures likely to be pursued by a minister backed by a standing army, and those of a court awed by the fear of an armed people.

Aristotle
Quoted by John Trenchard and Walter Moyle
“An Argument showing That a Standing Army is Inconsistent with a Free Government, and Absolutely Destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarchy.”

“Secure” flight report

More news on the airport insecurity front.  Bruce Schneier was on the working group that reviewed the plans for the TSA database to match passengers with names on the Watch List and the No-Fly List.  As usual Bruce asks questions they can’t answer without confirming they don’t have a clue about security.  The basic questions are in the report and are repeated on his blog.  Here is a taste:

The SFWG found that TSA has failed to answer certain key questions about Secure Flight: First and foremost, TSA has not articulated what the specific goals of Secure Flight are. Based on the limited test results presented to us, we cannot assess whether even the general goal of evaluating passengers for the risk they represent to aviation security is a realistic or feasible one or how TSA proposes to achieve it. We do not know how much or what kind of personal information the system will collect or how data from various sources will flow through the system.

Again, “TSA has not articulated what the specific goals of Secure Flight are.”  That’s absurd.  How many billions have we spent on airplane security since 9/11?  However much it has been it was all wasted if they can’t answer that simple question.  It’s time to reevaluate airplane security methods.

Bruce winds up with the story of a commercial pilot that was put on the no fly list–which means he can’t work and he can’t find out why.  He summarizes with:

Remember what the no-fly list is. It’s a list of people who are so dangerous that they can’t be allowed to board an airplane under any circumstances, yet so innocent that they can’t be arrested — even under the provisions of the PATRIOT Act.

Quote of the day–Tench Coxe

As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.

Tench Coxe
1755–1824

Progress against the bigots

From a KABA alert:

FEDERAL JUDGE HALTS NEW ORLEANS GUN SEIZURES

BELLEVUE, WA – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana this afternoon issued a temporary restraining order on behalf of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA), bringing an end to firearm seizures from citizens living in and around New Orleans.

District Judge Jay Zainey issued the restraining order against all parties named in a lawsuit filed Thursday by SAF and NRA. Defendants in the lawsuit include New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Chief Edwin Compass III.

“This is a great victory, not just for the NRA and SAF, but primarily for law-abiding gun owners everywhere,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “We are proud to have joined forces with the NRA to put an end to what has amounted to a warrantless gun grab by authorities in New Orleans and surrounding jurisdictions.

“Over the past three weeks,” he continued, “residents who had lost virtually everything in the devastation following Hurricane Katrina had also essentially been stripped of something even more precious, their civil rights, and their right of self-defense, because of these gun seizures.

“SAF and NRA had no alternative but to take action,” Gottlieb added. “If these gun confiscations had been allowed to continue without challenge, it would have set a dangerous precedent that would have encouraged authorities in other jurisdictions to believe they also could suspend the civil rights of citizens in the event of some other emergency.

“What must happen now, and quickly,” said Gottlieb, “is for authorities in the New Orleans area to explain how they will return all of those firearms to their rightful owners, and do it promptly. What this ruling affirms is that even in the face of great natural disasters, governments cannot arbitrarily deprive citizens of their rights. Thanks to some great teamwork between SAF and the NRA, this sort of thing will hopefully never happen again.”

PS Click here to make a contribution to help fund this lawsuit.

It’s just a small step.  But it’s certainly a step in the right direction.  From here we need to proceed to get one more more convictions on charges stemming for the violation of laws such as these:

18 USC 241

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or
If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—
They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

18 USC 242

Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

It’s a stretch, but if someone lost their life due to these jerks confiscating their firearms then some bigots could be facing the death penalty.

See also:

SAF and the NRA to file suit
SAF needs New Orleans info
Searching for survivors
This is the way it will always happen

See also: Random Nuclear Strikes.

Talking to the FBI

I got a call from the FBI this morning.  It wasn’t anything I can really talk about here or anything that might have adverse effects for me or my friends.  He said my name sounded familiar, “Did you call our office last week?”.  Nope.  I have never called their office.  As our conversatiion progressed his voice and his name gradually fell into place for me.  It turned out I have shot at IPSC matches with him occasionally.  I remember him as smart and somewhat intense.  He’s a pretty good shooter too.  Small world…