Fighting small fires

Have you ever spent any time fighting fire? In the woods or maybe a grass fire? If you have you know you need to jump on things as soon as you can. Extinguish it while it is still small. A spark might start something on the other side of your fire break and if you don’t put it out soon it will quickly get as big as the original blaze.

John Snyder is helping us by dealing with a spark from the mostly contained, but still burning fire, of the gun control movement. The Vatican is supporting gun control at the UN:

The St. Gabriel Possenti Society, a Virginia-based organization devoted to protecting the individual’s right to self-defense, criticized statements by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s representative at the UN, endorsing “the promotion of disarmament” and calling for stiffer international controls on the sale and possession of firearms.

John Snyder, the founder and chairman of the St. Gabriel Possenti Society, said the archbishop’s words pointed to a “terribly misguided secular political initiative.” He urged Catholics in the US to protest that initiative.

This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned Mr. Snyder. He was dealing with another small fire a few months ago.

You should also know that John Snyder isn’t just some random person. He’s also the Capital Hill Editor of Gun Week.

That would be distracting alright

Some of the first evidence in the Miami Muslims case is coming out. I’m sure bringing down the tallest building in the U.S. would get the attention of neighbors:

A man accused of leading a group that authorities said was plotting to blow up the Sears Tower wanted to create a distraction so he could free Muslim prisoners at a nearby jail, a prosecutor said Friday.

Narseal Batiste, 32, who is accused of leading the group, was recorded as he spoke to an FBI informant who was posing as an al-Qaida operative, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Arango.

He said that his plan was to blow up the Sears Tower, distract law enforcement and break into a nearby jail to set his “Muslim brothers” free, Arango said.

The video tape is going to be tough to refute:

During a video clip from surveillance footage played by the prosecution, Batiste said that he wanted to start “a real ground war.” Arango said Baptiste likened bin Laden to “an angel” at another meeting.

My impression of these guys is that they were sincere in their stated desire to kill Americans but they were incompetent. But it could be the FBI just wants the general public to believe they were incompetent. That would give other terrorists reason to be less cautious. The desired mindset might be, “Those bozos got caught because they were stupid.  We just need to be smarter and we will be fine.”  Rather than, “We need to be exceedingly careful. Those Miami dudes were no dummies and still got caught.”

It’s hard to say.

It doesn’t give me a lot of confidence that the first terror cell caught, at least publicly, in a long time appears to be incompetent. It may mean that there are lots of others operating out there that are competent and just aren’t being detected by our law enforcement people.

The socialist mindset baffles me

From Britain:

Train fares double in secret deal by ministers
By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

THE Government struck a secret deal with Britain’s biggest train company to double fares on some routes as the cheapest way of reducing overcrowding.

A spokesman for the department said: “We accepted that this was a good commercial solution to the problem of overcrowding.”

He admitted that the department had not been as transparent as it could have been but the decision about when to make the increase had been left to First.

Asked whether similar increases would be imposed at South West Trains, the spokesman said: “We are open to any innovative solutions which can reduce overcrowding on SWT.”

Prices might increase in a free market too–if there were significant barriers to increasing the capacity. But you don’t “solve the problem” of more demand for your product than you can supply by increasing the price. You increase the supply! But the socialists seem unable to learn from history. A friend who was in the USSR in the ’80s told me of the long lines of people waiting for toilet paper, sugar, shoes, butter, and just about everything. The demand far, far exceeded the supply yet they could never figure out how to solve the problem.

One of my favorite examples of the failures of government is that the USSR, a socialist system of government, tried for 80 years to increase food production enough to feed their own people. For the last 75 years the U.S., a capitalist society, tried to decrease food production enough for the prices to increase. Both failed.

Maybe they did feed him to the hogs

The main topic of this article is Osama bin Laden grieving over the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. I’m so sad for him–I wish someone would just put him out of his misery. We do have some more 500 pound bombs, right? Even a properly placed 168 grain bullet would end his suffering.

But that’s not the most interesting point in the article to me.  This is interesting:

“I say to Bush, you should deliver the body (of al-Zarqawi) to his family, and don’t be too happy. Our flag hasn’t fallen, thanks be to God. It has passed from one lion to another lion in Islam,” the message in Arabic says, according to a translation by Octavia Nasr, CNN’s senior editor for Arab affairs.

“We will continue, God willing, to fight you and your allies everywhere, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan, until we drain your money and kill your men and send you home defeated, God willing, as we defeated you before, thanks to God, in Somalia.”

Notice that you can thank Bill Clinton for contributing to this war because of what he did in Somalia.  He encouraged the Muslim extremists by tucked his tail between his legs and running away.

But this is the most interesting:

The U.S. government has never given a public accounting of what happened to al-Zarqawi’s body after the autopsy.

Perhaps the pig hasn’t finished digesting him yet so we can send the remains home.

Slipping the leash off

I been wondering if the U.S. quietly slipped the leash off of Israel and said, “KILL!”. They sure have been aggressive in the last few days. Here is the latest story:

Israeli warplanes struck the Palestinian Interior Ministry early Friday, setting it ablaze as Arab leaders tried to forge a deal that would halt the Israeli offensive and free a 19-year-old soldier held by gunmen allied with the ruling Islamic Hamas.

The bombing was one of more than a dozen across the Gaza Strip after midnight, though Israel called off a planned ground invasion of northern Gaza on Thursday in order to give diplomacy another chance.

If Israel were to draw some of the fighters from Iraq and Afghanistan into Gaza for extermination it wouldn’t hurt my feelings any. Show us how it is done. Just let us know if we are going to be downwind of any hazardous dust.

Stopping bad guys

I stumbled across some old work of mine yesterday.  I was just one of a few that provided comments to the King County (Seattle area) Board of Health in January of 2000. They announced they were going to hear a report on “Firearms as a Public Health Issue” and public input was welcome. I and a few other good guy activists showed up to give our input. The procedure was rather odd. We had to give our input before we heard their report. We also had to sign up ahead of time and they called our names one at a time to talk to the board about our topic. Another odd thing was there were none of the bad guys signed up to testify as the cutoff time came and went.  IIRC Joe Waldron speculated they figured it was a slam dunk and they didn’t need to bother showing up.

But what to say? We hadn’t heard the report, so how could we comment? We had some hints though. The “public health” meme was probably at it’s peak about then and the arguments were well known. I had my laptop with me and started writing up a little speech. I took the laptop to the podium with me and read from the screen. I forget how much time I had, something like two minutes or so.

Here are the official meeting notes. Here is what the notes say about my input:

Joe Huffman lives in Moscow, Idaho, but also maintains a home in Redmond, Washington.

Any study of gun ownership and use must take into account the benefits. He is concerned that in the report to the Board, they’re unlikely to see the lives saved, the rapes stopped, and all the other millions of times each year that firearms are used by private citizens for self-defense. Ninety-eight percent of the time, that’s without a single shot being fired. You might think he exaggerating when he says millions of times each year, but he’s not. Numerous peer reviewed studies by criminologists put the number literally as high as 2.5 to 3 million times per year. When the people here today listen to the report, he’d like them to remember the silent benefits of gun ownership. Ask if it includes the health benefits as well as the trauma, crippling, and deaths that are caused by firearms. Ask if the trauma and deaths are police shootings that are completely justified or are accidents or criminal acts. If they don’t include the benefits, ask why not. Ask if they can point to a single place or time where reducing the availability of weapons had made the common people safer. Mr. Huffman has been asking that question in debates for years, and has yet to hear a verifiable affirmative response. If the report is only on the costs and not on the benefits, ask why they don’t have an interest in the benefits. Ask if it would be appropriate to report on the 100,000 medical accidents each year that result in death without noting the millions of lives saved and improved. Of course, it wouldn’t be appropriate, but yet it’s the same thing.

After our testimony we got to listen to the report being presented. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been. You can read about it in the notes.

Then a most outrageous thing happened. Pam Eakes, President of Mothers Against Violence in America was invited to speak even though she hadn’t signed in before the deadline, didn’t get there until after most of us had spoken, and then she was given more time than any of the good guys were. I suspect she was called when the input was all going against them and she rushed into town to try and help.

That evening I heard my voice on the radio.  The meeting was recorded and the radio station had extracted a few sound bites. I provided the sound bite for the good guys.

At that time many gun rights leaders thought we were just fighting to slow them down as best we could. They didn’t say that in public of course.  But in private, when no one was within earshot they would tell the insiders, the people whose loyalty wasn’t in question and asked the right questions. They told me it wasn’t going to be possible to stop them or reverse the tide. We were fighting a lost battle they said. Another 10 years and it would all be over except for the shouting. The courts wouldn’t help us and the 2nd Amendment would just be a vestigial organ that in another 10 or 20 years after that no one really knew what it had ever meant.

Today, as near as I can tell, Mothers Against Violence in America doesn’t exist anymore (http://www.mavia.org was their website). I’m pretty sure Ms. Eakes was the founder and the only public face to that organization. She got lots of media attention. I suppose it wasn’t really a fair fight. Ms. Eakes against the millions of NRA members, hundreds of thousands of members in SAF and CCRKBA, the JPFO and dozens of other organizations. The media tried to even things up by giving her far more than her fair share of coverage. But in a fight of millions against a handful it’s generally safer to bet on the millions.

Even though I was, and am, just one of millions of people that contributed to some of our recent victories for the right to keep and bear arms I’d like to think I contributed a measurable part in stopping the bad guys in King County Washington that day. And mostly it was because I, an Idaho resident living 300 miles from the battle front that day, bothered to show up. You can show up and make a difference too. Ry and I were talking about this on Wednesday. Human nature applies to gun (and anti-gun) activists too. If you can just show up you can make a much bigger impact than you might imagine because most of the time showing up is 90% of the battle.

Quote of the day–The Gun Guys

For all their grunting and hawing about how bad criminals are, the gun lobby actually has a pretty good deal going with murders and illegal gun traffickers. The gun industry sells guns to the criminals, and the criminals get in trouble for it. The gun lobby gets paid, and they set up the laws so that the penalties go only to the person who uses the gun, and no further.

Gun Guys
The NRA Sees “Value” in Protecting Illegal Gun Traffickers
June 29, 2006
[When they say things like that I don't think I need to explain how these Gun Guys have mental problems.--Joe]

Quote of the day–Haim Ramon

He is not immune, no matter where he is. He definitely is in our sights, just as every terrorist, every person who operates against us by means of terror, is a target.

Haim Ramon
Israeli justice minister
June 29, 2006
Warning that Israel could target Khaled Meshaal, Hamas’ exiled political chief, based in Damascus, Syria, who has been blamed for blocking Shalit’s (a kidnapped Israeli soldier) release by the militants in Gaza.
[Israel also bombed the electrical power generation capabilities of Gaza, and took out three bridges, and arrested dozens of politicians. I say it's a good first step. I still think feeding them to the hogs is the right way to handle the Islamic extremists.--Joe]

The distortions of Josh Sugarmann

Mr. Sugarmann has a post about how terrible the NRA and their lapdogs in the U.S. House are. There is something you need to know about Sugarmann.

In this post he keeps talking about “guns traced to crime”. Don’t think that slightly odd wording wasn’t given very careful thought by Sugarmann.  It implies “guns used in the commission of a crime” but that isn’t what is being discussed. The data the ATF has on gun traces includes guns that are stolen property. It’s inseparable from the guns used to commit crimes. Sugarmann knows this and deliberately misleads the ignorant.

This type of behavior isn’t anything new from Sugarmann. He distorted the truth to pursue his agenda on “assault weapons” and admitted it in the planning of that assault on our liberties.  From the VPC web site:

Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

See also his distortions connecting guns to murder-suicides.

Nothing new from the New York Times

So you think the New York Times are opposed to our war against terrorists? Do you think they are giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

And your point is?

It’s what they do:

Even after the failed coup attempt of July 20, 1944, the New York Times commented reproachfully that the conspirators had plotted for an entire year “to kidnap or kill the head of the German state and commander in chief of the Army,” something one would not “normally expect within an officers’ corps and a civilized government.

From Plotting Hitler’s Death: The Story of the German Resistance by Joachim Fest page 165.

Update: Answering questions about the context–the point of that section of the book was that the German resistance against Hitler was unable to even get lip service support. This wasn’t limited to just the NYT. It was sort of like they viewed an uprising by the people of Germany to be “unsporting conduct” or something. Here is the additional context from the book (“these Germans” refers to the people plotting to kill and/or overthrow Hitler):

Most of the politicians and military leaders who they unsuccessfully courted in London, The Hague, and Washington still believed, however, that these Germans were committing “treason” and therefore regarded them with contempt. There was no appreciation of the fact that the opponents of the Nazi regime felt guided by new principles and laws whose legitimacy did not end at national borders. Even after the failed coup…

There is nothing more in the book to shed light on what the intent of the NYT was. Was it they wanted really wanted Germany to win? Were they opposed “on principle” to war and believed there would be less fighting/killing if Hitler were left in power even if he was “less than perfect”?  Or was it some sort of “honor” thing the German resistance had violated? A trip into the archives for the original NYT is probably the only way to clarify it further.

Off topic: Welcome to all the visitors brought here by the post on The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.  I received more visits in one day for this one post than I normally receive for everything in a week. You might also be interested Boomershoot (fun with guns and explosives).

Human nature

Thanks to Ry for pointing this out.

Some things don’t change even in over a 100 years. It’s a bit long but it contains background and support for this gem:

And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure Socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all? A first-mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting “the bounce” Saturday night, holds many a worker to his place.

Socialism and communism are doomed to failure because of this fatal flaw in human nature. All successful organizations must address reality and human nature is part of reality. Whether it’s socialists, communists, or bigoted anti-gun nuts, they all live in a dream world where human nature is what they wish it to be rather than what it is.

DirectXBox

I’m only about a year late on this. I’m not big on anniversaries and generally only pay attention if it’s socially required behavior.

Alex St. John wrote an article on the 10 year anniversary of Direct-X. I had a minor role in the development of Direct-X 1 and a few of the later versions. What our son James didn’t know was that his precious XBoxes were originally intended to be the game console known as “DirectXBox”. I told him last night as we were watching another few episodes of Star Gate SG-1 using his XBox 360 as a DVD player. He thought it was quite a let down to know it was named over something as mundane as that.

I should take his autographed (by Eric Engstrom) copy of Renegades of the Empire away from him.

AK clays

Suppose you could mount a red-dot scope securely on the top of an AK rifle. What would that do for you in terms of target acquistion speed and accuracy? 

The answer is AK clays (~60 MByte .MOV file) are a reality.

Brought to you, in more ways than one, by UltiMAK.

One of these days we are going to make Boomer Clays work.  If nothing else I’m going to fill a milk jug with Boomerite and lob it into the air with giant slingshot for Lyle to shoot.

Quote of the day–Robert Joseph

We recognize the rights of the oppressed to defend themselves against tyrannical and genocidal regimes and oppose a blanket ban on non-state actors.

Robert Joseph
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control
June 27, 2006
Speaking at the U.N. conference on “illegal small arms”.
[Expressed only slightly more forcefully, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."--Joe]

Venn diagram of the intersection of sanity and women

Last night while helping James put together some of his new furniture for his apartment he asked me, “Are there any sane women out there?” I had to laugh. That’s a great question. I laughed even harder when I saw this post by Heather this morning (check out the pictures at the bottom of the post).

I told James I sometimes wonder about that myself. I remember after Barb went through nearly 24 hours of labor, a C-section, having her abdomen opened up with her uterus flopped out on her stomach in a cold room while it was being flushed with saline solution, put back together, numb from the nipples down (the spinal), and was shaking from the cold so bad (and she HATES being cold) that she could barely hold James, her first born.  I was pretty wiped out from just watching it all happen and Barb could tell it was hard on me.  Through her chattering teeth she reassured me, “It will be easier next time.”

NEXT TIME?

It could be the hormones or something but women are not sane. If they were it would mean the end of our species. James, you can either isolate yourself or you can try to enjoy the ride. It can be wild at times and it can be great at times but never expect sanity.

Password protected cartridges

The idea is just plain stupid:

Safety catches do not always prevent firearm accidents and even newfangled biometric guns, which check the identity of a user by their fingerprint, cannot stop thieves from using stolen ammunition in other weapons.

The way to make firearms really safe, says Hebert Meyerle of Germany, is to password-protect the ammunition itself.

Meyerle is patenting a design for a modified cartridge that would be fired by a burst of high-frequency radio energy. But the energy would only ignite the charge if a solid-state switch within the cartridge had been activated. This would only happen if a password entered into the gun using a tiny keypad matched one stored in the cartridge.

The people in the comments get it right. The commenters missed (as of my last reading) another concern of mine that the communication between the gun and the ammo might also be electronically jammed.

An idea doesn’t have to have a market to patentable and a patent was granted on this bad idea.

Iran and Russia

I have to wonder why Russia is somewhat supportive of Iran. Iran backed terrorists just killed four Russian diplomats claiming it was because of the Russian involvement in Chechnya. Diplomats! Not just some low life engineers (like me) or soldiers, but diplomats–the official representatives of the Russian government. And with Iran helping with the conventional bomb building in Iraq what do you think will happen if Iran can produce nukes? And if nukes for Iraq isn’t worrisome enough for them what makes Russia think that Iranian nukes won’t be showing up in Chechnya and Russia?

Now Iran is saying the offer by Russia, the U.S., China, France, and Germany will be responded to in late August. The deadline given to Iran to accept or reject the offer was June 29. That’s two months to closer to having a nuclear bomb.

They are stalling for time. Time is something they must not be allowed to have. Perhaps Russia is getting a clue about that.

Regulating CO2

From the Seattle Times:

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear arguments on whether the federal government must regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, a case that could have broad implications for utilities, auto manufacturers and other industries nationwide.

The high court agreed Monday to consider whether the Bush administration must regulate carbon dioxide in order to combat global warming.

CO2?????  If it weren’t for it being a violation of the various rights (sometimes I wonder why I should respect the rights of those that don’t respect my rights to keep and bear arms) the way I would reduce CO2 emissions would be to encourage the environmental wackos to stop breathing.  This attack from the wackos is not about “global warming” or “climate change”.  The man-made effects on the global climate are so small it’s almost impossible to measure.  Therefore the motivation for these attacks can only be attributed to something else.  Possible candidates for the real reason include anti-capitalism, a scam to make money by the proponents of these claims, and mental disorders.  I’m partial the mental disorder hypothesis myself–When Prophecy Fails successfully explains many of these nut cases.

Did you know that water vapor is a bigger contributor to the green house effect than CO2?  See also Jeff’s post on this subject.  And that when gasoline or diesel is burned it produces more water vapor (by volume, not mass) than it does CO2?  Of course we could always limit water vapor emissions from the wackos as well.