Teaching and demonstrating how to use explosives

Kevin sent me an email today asking if I had seen this:

TAMPA – Two Egyptian students at the University of South Florida were indicted Friday on federal explosives charges, but prosecutors would not say whether the men planned to carry out an attack or hurt anyone.

Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, 24, an engineering graduate student and teaching assistant at the Tampa-based university, and engineering student Youssef Samir Megahed, 21, have been held in South Carolina since Aug. 4 when they were stopped for speeding and authorities found explosives in the trunk of their car.

They were indicted by a grand jury in Tampa on charges of carrying explosive materials across state lines. Mohammed also faces terrorism-related charges for teaching and demonstrating how to use the explosives.

Referring to the “teaching and demonstrating” aspects Kevin then asked, “So running the Boomershoot makes you a criminal, or are you safe because you’re licensed?”

The answer to the first question, “Have I seen this?” is no. The other two questions are not so easily answered.

I’m almost certain running Boomershoot doesn’t make me a criminal. But as we know from experience with the Second Amendment and the lack of politicians and law enforcement being prosecuted under 18 USC 242 for enforcing illegal laws infringing the 2nd Amendment our government doesn’t follow the letter or even some vague shadow of the law. They will do basically whatever they want and then find a law, or loophole in the law, that gives them plausible authority and justification for their actions. Numerous example abound:

  • The early restrictions on firearms were aimed at, and only enforced, when the suspect was black.
  • Literacy tests for voting required that the prospective voter could read the newspaper–and blacks were given a Chinese newspaper to read for their test.
  • In New Jersey–“the legislative branch may as a matter of sound public policy and without impairing any constitutional guarantees, declare the act itself unlawful without any further requirement of mens rea or its equivalent… When dealing with guns, the citizen acts at his peril.”

So with that caveat, no, Boomershoot does not make me a criminal.

As to the final question, “Are you safe because you’re licensed?” I’m probably safer but as long as I’m alive I will never safe from harm. My license gives me visibility with the ATF and they can comfortably call me up and ask what is going on or ask if I know something about some event should the need arise. They can come out and visit the Taj Mahal where I make and store my explosives and can inventory it (my inventory is zero 99+% of the time). It is my belief they will be less likely to send the SWAT team on an early morning visit when they can sit down over a meal at the local restaurant and chat about things (as they have done on more than one occasion).

So what’s the story with “teaching and demonstrating how to use explosive” being a crime. It’s typical MSM getting details wrong. What is misleading about the newspaper report is what the law actually says versus what they reported. Here is the actual law:

(p) Distribution of Information Relating to Explosives, Destructive Devices, and Weapons of Mass Destruction.—

(1) Definitions.— In this subsection—

(A) the term “destructive device” has the same meaning as in section 921 (a)(4);
(B) the term “explosive” has the same meaning as in section 844 (j); and
(C) the term “weapon of mass destruction” has the same meaning as in section 2332a (c)(2).

(2) Prohibition.— It shall be unlawful for any person—

(A) to teach or demonstrate the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, with the intent that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence; or
(B) to teach or demonstrate to any person the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute to any person, by any means, information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, knowing that such person intends to use the teaching, demonstration, or information for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence.

So, unless I know that someone I am teaching, demonstrating, or providing information to about explosives intends to use it in an illegal manner, technically, I am fine. But, numerous times in the past people have claimed to know what I was thinking even though they were clueless. I don’t think like other people and when people are certain I must know or think something they are frequently wrong. Therefore I can’t be certain that some zealous prosecutor won’t decide I must be thinking something bad and decide to prosecute me.

There is a short side story to this law and Boomershoot. It was Dianne Feinstein that introduced the above law in 1995. It was this law, by Ms. Feinstein, specifically aimed at the Internet and the growing “militia movement”, that helped motivate me to create what is now known as Boomershoot and put information on how to make reactive targets on the net. I was, and am, deliberately thumbing my nose at her with Boomershoot by treading as close as I can but still staying within the law.

Larry Craig is resigning

Hot off the AP press:

Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig will resign from the Senate amid a furor over his arrest and guilty plea in a police sex sting in an airport men’s room, Republican officials said Friday.

Craig will announce at a news conference in Boise Saturday morning that he will resign effective Sept. 30, four state GOP officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It’s a significant blow to the gun rights movement at the Federal level. He is one of our strongest allies. Even if he is replaced with someone as rock solid on the issue they won’t have the seniority and hence the power Craig had.

As Sean and I were discussing at lunch today–I don’t care what he does with consenting adults in private. Hooking up in public restrooms (assuming he was doing that) is just plain stupid.

Straight into the bit bucket

Twice now I have tried to add a comment to Robyn Ringler’s post. In this post she hypothesizes an advertising campaign where the appearance of a gun shot victim is used to discourage gun ownership. She credits this idea to an anti-smoking campaign aimed at women:

Previous attempts on the smoking campaign, wrote the author, had not worked. Women weren’t moved by portraits of people dying of lung cancer or by campaigns about health or social problems like the fact that smoking causes bad breath and smelly hair. But the one thing women did respond to was a campaign about their looks. The fact that smoking causes wrinkles, discolors and dries skin, and ruins your appearance made a difference.

A couple days ago I made a comment and after clicking on the submitting button was given the message that the comment would have to be moderated. As of this afternoon the comment still had not appeared so I tried again. This time I kept a copy of the message to show that it wasn’t something rude or obnoxious. This time after pressing submit I didn’t even get a “moderated” message. It appears that comments from me go straight into “the bit bucket”. My comment was this:

It might backfire too. The thought process could be, “That is what will happen to the other guy if I carry a gun and someone messes with me.” The effects of smoking obviously happen to the smoker so it’s a different situation.

The comment I made a couple days ago was a sentence or two longer but otherwise was essentially the same.

I could maybe understand it if I had been leaving comments in the past which were crude, rude, or hostile, but I think these were the first attempts I have made to leave a comment on her blog. I have been rather blunt about her on my blog but on her blog I have done nothing even remotely offensive.

I guess it’s all part of Reasoned DiscourseTM.

Quote of the day–Esther Dyson

Few influential people involved with the Internet claim that it is a good in and of itself. It is a powerful tool for solving social problems, just as it is a tool for making money, finding lost relatives, receiving medical advice, or, come to that, trading instructions for making bombs.

Esther Dyson
[The gist of this can be said of virtually all technology (including firearms and explosives) and many other things such as free speech. Technology can used for both good and evil. It’s the user not the technology that is important. As with most bigots the anti-gun people are very narrow minded and can’t or refuse to see the big picture. Even pointing out analogies such as this fail on most of them. The most typical response I get when trying to make this point is, “But we are talking about guns!” as if they were the equivalent of letting cobras roam around in your home. Guns do not have minds and actions of their own. They are tools of the individuals in possession of them. Among other things firearms are used for recreation, to protect innocent life, and the much more rare, taking of innocent life.–Joe]

More Guns and Fewer Defenders

We’ve heard the story (via Kim).  We’re now told (by people who apparently have nothing productive to do, unless they happen to be working in market research for a gun company) that we in the U.S. have about 90 guns per 100 people, making this the most heavily armed nation in the world.

Not so fast.  They didn’t say 90 out of 100 people in the U.S. own guns.

In fact, something like half, or less than half, of American households are armed.  The 90:100 figure looks only at guns per capita.  Those who own guns tend to own several, and one person can only operate one gun (or in some cases, two, but mostly as a gimmick) at a time.  Are you more heavily armed if you own 10 guns than if you own one or two?  Not really.

I have a pile of guns, but if I really needed to use a gun for protection, I’d be able to use only one of them, leaving the others stowed in their cases and out of action.  At best I’d have a long-arm in my hands and a side arm on my hip.  At the worst I might be overcome by my assailant while trying to decide which gun to use (Let’s see; do I want the Italian auto-loader, the 870, the AK, or the…)

In Switzerland, most households contain at least one assault rifle, or such is the word on the street (I’m using the term “assault rifle” correctly here, which is an anomaly most in the media would not understand, but just so you know).   If you count the percentage of armed households (a dwelling containing at least one serviceable firearm) rather than the total number of guns per capita, which makes far more sense if we’re considering the armed, quick-response potential of a given population, the Swiss have a more heavily armed society than we Americans.  Only in the case of a sustained need (wherein you might find I would skillfully load all my guns and copious ammo supply into my full-sized, American, V-8 powered, four-wheel-drive pickup, transport them to a predetermined and communicated distribution point, and start handing them out to my neighbors) would the number of guns this individual owns ever be an issue, so long as its more than one or two.  So you can take about 20 guns out of Reuters’ figures, just for me alone.  In my home town though, I would estimate that there are more guns than people (its a very polite, peaceful town) so the number of skilled and determined marksmen, plus the ammo supply, would be the important figure.

But what are we talking about?  Maybe we’re talking about confiscation and don’t know it.  Reuters?

If we’re discussing issues of security related to the fighting readiness of a population as can be learned from history (the actual point of the Reuters article is not stated, but why else talk about how many guns the Joneses have?  Jealous?) we could count the number of legally disarmed Jews in Germany in the 1930s for example, compared to the number of armed Nazis.  Closer to home; we could count the number of unarmed students, combined with the number of unarmed faculty and unarmed staff (disarmed by campus rules) at Virginia Tech compared to the total number of armed assailants on campus that day, and by so doing we might come to a heightened level of actual shared wisdom (Reuters: take note).

Cases of mass death among unarmed populations abound, as is currently being demonstrated in parts of Africa and will yet again be demonstrated in another “gun free zone” in America no doubt, we having failed to learn from reality.  Hence it would seem that China, with only three “estimated” guns per 100 civilians, is ripe for yet another purge.  In Nigeria its 1:100.

This last I found bizarre:

Only about 12 percent of civilian weapons [worldwide] are thought to be registered with authorities.

“Thought to be registered”? Thought by whom?  We don’t know what’s registered?

Exactly why would it matter which guns are registered?  Is a registered gun more useful for self defense, or less so?  Is it more accurate, more powerful or less likely to malfunction?  Is a registered gun more likely to be confiscated by tyrants or less likely to be confiscated by tyrants?

Do criminals and tyrants register their guns, or are their victims’ guns the only guns being registered?  No one at Reuters seems to have a clue.

Just between you and me, I think I hit it up above:  Some people are screaming inside with jealousy and envy toward citizen gun owners, and its tearing them apart.

I’d like to see Reuters do a story on how much freedom people have around the world.  Maybe we’d find some wisdom there.

Quote of the day–John Gilmore

What if we could build a society where the information was never collected?  Where you could pay to rent a video without leaving a credit card number or a bank number?  Where you could prove you’re certified to drive without ever giving your name?  Where you could send and receive messages without revealing your physical location, like an electronic post office box?

That’s the kind of society I want to build.  I want a guarantee – with physics and mathematics, not with laws – that we can give ourselves things like real privacy of personal communications.  Encryption strong enough that even the NSA can’t break it.  We already know how.  But we’re not applying it.  We also need better protocols for mobile communication that can’t be tracked.

John Gilmore
A transcript of remarks given at the First Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, March 28,1991

What if they had a war and no one showed up?

We are in the middle of a culture war. The anti-gun bigots against gun owners. Yesterday they gave it their best shot and, here in Seattle, only two showed up:

The demonstration didn’t take long at all. In fact, it might have been the shortest in recent local history.

It might have been the smallest, too.

Two activists showed up. They stretched out on the ground for 32 seconds. Then they rolled up their banner — www.protesteasyguns.com — and headed for the parking lot.

To a certain extent it has been that way for years. The press just didn’t report it. I’ve attended protests where the pro-gun people outnumbered the anti-gun people 10 to 1 but the TV crew drove away without getting out of their van and the newspaper gave the bigots some polite words and failed to mention all the pro gun people present with signs.

The war isn’t over though. It’s not over until politicians and law enforcement who enforce unconstitutional gun laws are arrested and sent to prison without a moments hesitation.

How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates

Lots of interesting info here:

The FBI has quietly built a sophisticated, point-and-click surveillance system that performs instant wiretaps on almost any communications device, according to nearly a thousand pages of restricted documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The surveillance system, called DCSNet, for Digital Collection System Network, connects FBI wiretapping rooms to switches controlled by traditional land-line operators, internet-telephony providers and cellular companies. It is far more intricately woven into the nation’s telecom infrastructure than observers suspected.

It’s a “comprehensive wiretap system that intercepts wire-line phones, cellular phones, SMS and push-to-talk systems,” says Steven Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor and longtime surveillance expert.

[…]

Together, the surveillance systems let FBI agents play back recordings even as they are being captured (like TiVo), create master wiretap files, send digital recordings to translators, track the rough location of targets in real time using cell-tower information, and even stream intercepts outward to mobile surveillance vans.

FBI wiretapping rooms in field offices and undercover locations around the country are connected through a private, encrypted backbone that is separated from the internet. Sprint runs it on the government’s behalf.

The network allows an FBI agent in New York, for example, to remotely set up a wiretap on a cell phone based in Sacramento, California, and immediately learn the phone’s location, then begin receiving conversations, text messages and voicemail pass codes in New York. With a few keystrokes, the agent can route the recordings to language specialists for translation.

Big brother is listening.

Montana Gold

Caleb and I loaded up about 500 rounds of .40 S&W for the practice and match last weekend. We shot up almost all of them too.

The load we used was 180 grain Montana Gold CMJ’s over 6.1 grains of True Blue using Winchester primers. I’m not entire happy with this load. There is enough room in the case it would be very easy to get a double charge in there. I wouldn’t be surprised if a triple charge would fit. A friend suggested Competition instead. I’ll probably pick up a pound to test out. I have used N350 (6.2 grains) for years and it’s a great powder but a bit expensive and hard to find. I was thinking True Blue would be my replacement but now I’m not so sure.

The Montana Golds sure are pretty:

I have thousands of bullets to contribute to the cause. I went to Wade’s Eastside Guns today to pick up a few thousand primers but they don’t stock reloading components anymore. I’ll have to get them someplace else, I’m thinking Kesselring’s could use some of my business and they usually have N350 as well if the price isn’t too much different I’ll get a few pounds of N350 as well as a pound of Competition if they have it.

I hope the Brady bunch appreciates how much thought and effort I put into making this a special day.

Symmetry

Son-in-law Caleb and I went to the range on Saturday to practice for the steel match on Sunday. He hasn’t shot pistol much. A lot of rifle shooting under his belt but hardly any pistol experience. He did okay on Sunday. There was a certain amount of symmetry in the results–he came in third from the bottom and I came in third from the top.

That placement isn’t really fair however. Two of the shooters that came in above Caleb were shooting a .22. Caleb was shooting full power .40 S&W loads.

I still have some work to do with him. He’ll get better. I’ll let Kim keep him for a while longer.

Here are some pictures from the match:


Match winner, “Bad Bad Michael Brown” leaving the box under full power and doing a mag change at the same time


Caleb needs a few lessons on grip and posture


I didn’t realize it but Caleb took some pictures of me as I was leaving the same box as Mike above–mag change in progress as well.

Quote of the day–Laura Washington

If I had my way, the gun lobby would be looking at three yards and a cloud of dust. Let’s get organized and shove tougher gun policies right down their throats.

Laura Washington (novakevans@aol.com)
Gun lovers disarm control advocates
[As Ry once said, “Ah, the voice of reason.” No data to convince people “tougher gun policies” would make anyone safer. Just shove it “right down their throats”. But, what do you expect of a bigot? Uncle deals with her as well.

Update: Kevin wrote her a nice, but long (it was Kevin, what do you expect?), email and she responded. It was all very civil and nice.–Joe]

I have no idea what they were looking for

Someone in Greece was looking for “boomershoot survialist shop”? Whatever… they ended up finding my blog.

Your guess is as good as mine.

Domain Name   (Unknown) 
IP Address   213.249.57.# (Mega TV, Tiletipos)
ISP   PANAFON S.A.
Location  
Continent  :  Europe
Country  :  Greece  (Facts)
State/Region  :  Attiki
City  :  Athens
Lat/Long  :  37.9833, 23.7333 (Map)
Distance  :  6,097 miles
Language   Greek
el
Operating System   Microsoft Win2000
Browser   Internet Explorer 6.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)
Javascript   version 1.3
Monitor  

Resolution  :  1280 x 1024
Color Depth  :  32 bits

Time of Visit   Aug 27 2007 10:16:29 am
Last Page View   Aug 27 2007 10:16:29 am
Visit Length   0 seconds
Page Views   1
Referring URL http://www.google.gr…rvivalist shop&meta=
Search Engine google.gr
Search Words boomershoot survivalist shop
Visit Entry Page   http://blog.joehuffman.org/category/boomershoot/
Visit Exit Page   http://blog.joehuffman.org/category/boomershoot/
Out Click    
Time Zone   UTC+2:00
Visitor’s Time   Aug 27 2007 8:16:29 pm
Visit Number   185,007

The public servants who protect us

As Bruce asked, “Are the police taking stupid pills?”:

Two people who sprinkled flour in a parking lot to mark a trail for their offbeat running club inadvertently caused a bioterrorism scare and now face a felony charge.

The sprinkled powder forced hundreds to evacuate an IKEA furniture store Thursday.

The police charging them with a felony is evidence of a serious lack of brain cells but the mayoral spokeswoman probably could be outsmarted by police dog feces.

Mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the city plans to seek restitution from the Salchows, who are due in court Sept. 14.

“You see powder connected by arrows and chalk, you never know,” she said. “It could be a terrorist, it could be something more serious. We’re thankful it wasn’t, but there were a lot of resources that went into figuring that out.”

Bummer

Via Sebastian I discovered our NRA Board Member, and Idaho Senator, Larry Craig was arrested and plead guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Here are the articles I’ve read so far:

From the second article:

According to the police reports, a man, later identified as Craig, kept watching the undercover police officer through a crack in the stall, Roll Call reported. Craig then entered the next-door stall and placed his luggage against the opening under the stall door.

“My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall,” said the officer, Sgt. Dave Karsnia, in the report cited by Roll Call.

The report continued: “At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area.”

The report said Craig swiped his hand beneath the stall divider several times, and Karsnia showed his police identification under the stall.

It doesn’t appear anything happened beyond a creepy game of footsies, but it’s conduct unbecoming a Senator. Especially so for one that is one of gun rights strongest supporters.

On a local email list the subject line of the thread discussing this is “Is Larry a Fairy?”.

Update: The police report can be found here.

Quote of the day–David Niedrauer

The argument for gun control has always been based more on utopian visions than empirical facts. That, and the left simply does not trust an armed citizenry.

The media’s incessant attacks on the Second Amendment demonstrate clearly their liberal bias against gun ownership.

David Niedrauer
The Media Assault on the Second Amendment
Culture and Media Institute
Eye on Culture, Volume 1, Issue 11
[This just released report, written by a intern, is short but it has some good stuff in it. And the Brady Bunch is on the defensive about it. In the old days they would have just ignored it.–Joe]

My first thought was wrong

I saw the headline, Experts: Chicago mob diminished, but still going and my first thought was maybe they were putting the heat on Mayor Daley, but I was wrong. At least they didn’t mention it in this article. Daley really should be convicted of the felony, 18 USC 242, for his denying people their right to keep and bear arms under the color of law and the resultant deaths of hundreds of people. But it’s not going to happen anytime soon, if ever. We need to keep working in that direction though. Baby steps, if necessary, but that is my ultimate goal.

Quote of the day–Ted Nugent

Obama, he’s a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary! You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.

Ted Nugent
Ted Nugent Threatens to Kill Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton During Vicious Onstage Rant
Rolling Stone
August 24, 2007
[I find Nugent’s statement only worthy of particular note as a bad example for gun owners. But as pointed out by numerous people in the comments to the article Nugent did not threaten to kill anyone. Yet the headline and “The Gun Guys” claim he did threaten to kill them. I guess it’s just another case of the bigots not caring what the truth is.–Joe]

Makes no sense

Robyn Ringer, in her blog posting Unfettered Access to Guns Makes No Sense, says:

Restrictions must exist in regard to who can own a gun.  Allowing criminals, the mentally ill, and children easy access to guns makes no sense.  And restrictions must exist in regard to the types of guns that may be purchased.  Allowing the ownership of guns that can shoot down airplanes or cause massive numbers of casualties in just seconds or minutes makes no sense.

It’s actually Ringer that makes no sense. If someone is allowed “unfettered access” to gasoline and matches then they should have the same access to firearms. Either you can trust them to roam the streets or they should be locked up or, in rare cases, executed. Molotov Cocktails can take out tanks but you don’t hear the anti-gun bigots trying to restrict access to gasoline and bottles. It’s just guns their irrational minds cannot tolerate. These bigots need to be answer Just One Question. But of course they can’t answer it.

Interesting–just rambling mostly

Heather and Jon were married twenty six years and four days after Barb and I. Heather is the origin of the word “dooced“. She now blogs full time successfully enough to support her husband and child.

This week I received my first performance review after going to work full time at Microsoft last year. I was shocked to discover the size of the bonuses and stock grants (James called me up immediately after his review and reported similar shock, “That is a lot of money!”). Even counting the lost pay after being dooced myself (I still need to finish writing up the full story–lots of interesting details about what really happened) in about four or five years I will be financially better off that I would have been had I stayed at the lab. I would rather do the work (for the most part) I was doing at the lab but financially I can’t complain.