Quote of the day–Robert A. Levy

Two non-partisan, respected federal government agencies recently examined gun controls and found no statistically significant evidence to support their effectiveness. In 2004, the National Academy of Sciences reviewed 253 journal articles, 99 books, and 43 government publications evaluating 80 gun-control measures. The researchers could not identify a single gun-control regulation that reduced violent crime, suicide, or accidents. A year earlier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on an independent evaluation of firearms and ammunition bans, restrictions on acquisition, waiting periods, registration, licensing, child access prevention laws, and zero tolerance laws. Conclusion: none of the laws had a meaningful impact on gun violence.

Robert A. Levy
September 27, 2007
The D.C. Gun Ban: Supreme Court Preview
[Via Uncle.--Joe]

The bigots at Google

Uncle reports having problems with Google being bigots. I had similar problems a while back and had similarly unsatisfactory results. I really wish there were a good alternative to getting advertising on my blog. I don’t get a lot from them, currently about $0.80/day, but it pays my Internet related bills.

Here is the story of my experience with Google:

Vacation pictures

Thursday night we left the Huffman-Scott compound in the care of Caleb, Kim, and Xenia and headed to Missoula Montana. The next morning we went on a walk along the Clark Fork River:

We continued on to our time share condo in Columbia Falls and today went hiking in Glacier National Park. We hiked to Avalanche Lake. It is stunningly beautiful country. But it is also Grizzly bear country. And of course operational firearms are “illegal” in National Parks. I put illegal in quotes because the people that enacted and enforce that “law” are in violation of 18 USC 242. I’m hoping the Parker/Heller case will be a stepping stone to fixing that issue.

It’s a small world. Over two miles off the road up a rocky hiking trail, at the edge of Avalanche Lake, we had the couple on the left offer to take our picture together. We agreed (picture above this one) and we took a picture of them together with their camera for them. We talked a bit and Barb asked where they were from. “Idaho”, they said. “Where in Idaho?” we asked. “Troy”, was the reply that shocked us. Troy is about ten miles from Moscow where Barb and I have our home. It turns out that Barb works with one of their friends and knows several of the people they know.

There is a loop at the bottom of the trail, about 1/2 of a mile long, that is suitable for wheelchair bound people. Some of it is almost artistic in layout.

We are still in Columbia Falls at our condo. No easy Internet connection. I’m sitting in the lobby of the lodge to get a connection. Blogging will be light for a few more days.

Quote of the day–Bruce Schneier

For a while I’ve been saying that this whole national ID debate will be irrelevant soon. In the future you won’t have to show ID; they’ll already know who you are.

Bruce Schneier
September 26, 2007
The Technology of Homeland Security
[It was this article that inspired the above comment. My comment to Schneier's article was:

I used to specialize in biometrics and was underwhelmed at the actual capabilities compared to the marketing hype. And that was with people that weren’t even actively engaged in trying to defeat the technology. If someone really wants to defeat it the odds of success are very close to 100%.

“Novelty” contact lens easily defeat iris scans. Remote fingerprint scanning can be defeated with Band-Aids (or just the sticky tape part of it). More sophisticated/determined people will use contact lens with someone else’s iris pattern and be wearing someone else’s fingerprints.

The bottom line is that for the average person they might be able to know who you are and where you have been. Great information to use against your political opponents and for stalkers with access to the databases but useless for stopping smart and determined criminals.--Joe]

Gun porn–Saiga 12

I probably will get in trouble, as I have before, for using the word “porn” in the same post with one of my daughters. But I’m 300 miles away at the moment and figure everyone will have enough time to cool off before I get home.

Anyway, on Saturday I took some pictures of our daughter Kim as she checked out a Saiga-12 with a 10-round detachable magazine:

Caleb, my son-in-law, says he always listens to Kim and does what she tells him to. I think she was telling him to do something when I took that last picture above…

Halo 3 propaganda

Speaking of propaganda… I received an email at work yesterday saying something to the effect that the Halo 3 release will be the biggest release event in entertainment history. At least that is what I remember it saying. I don’t pay that much attention to games or publicity events.

What struck me was the number of copies they have ordered for employees. At the Redmond company store alone they brought in 25,000 copies. There will be additional shuttles from all over the main campus to the company store to help alleviate the parking issues that would result if people tried to drive themselves.

I asked James when he was going to pick up his copy. He told me that he pre-ordered his a year ago at some retail outlet so he could get some special edition version. Wow…

I stopped off at the company store yesterday at lunch time to pick up some software for Caleb. He told me no big hurry but I just know the store will be a madhouse the rest of this week. I saw a big empty space in the middle of the store where I expect the product will be stacked when it opens later this morning.

I also saw some Halo 3 hats on the shelf:

Yearning for Joseph Goebbels

Instead of addressing the deficiencies or giving it up as a bad idea they are hiring “public relations” consultants to convince the people a national ID card is a good thing. Why don’t they be honest about it and go for the tattoo on the forearm or the RFID chip under the skin? Of course they probably would need Joseph Goebbels reincarnated to get that “PR” campaign off the ground.

Details are here:

As controversy rages over forthcoming federal Real ID requirements, state officials should be plotting public relations strategies to counteract the well-publicized rebellion, past and present state motor vehicle administrators advised their colleagues Monday.

Civil liberties and privacy groups, as well as organizations like the National Governors Association, have attacked the 2005 law as insufficiently protective of privacy and too costly to implement. But that’s exactly the sort of message motor vehicle departments need to offset with their own materials trumpeting the plan’s perceived benefits, suggested Lucinda Babers, interim director of the District of Columbia DMV, and Betty Serian, a retired Pennsylvania Department of Transportation official who now runs a private consulting firm.

“I think it’s a classical textbook case of good communications planning, knowing who your audience is, and working that into your implementation plan for Real ID,” Serian said during a panel discussion on the first day of the Government ID Technology Summit here. About 100 state and federal officials and representatives from technology vendors were in attendance.

The Department of Homeland Security plans to issue final rules in the fall, but draft rules say that starting on May 11, 2008, Americans will need a federally approved, “machine readable” ID card to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security payments or take advantage of nearly any government service. (States that agree in advance to abide by the rules have until 2013 to comply.)

[...]

But even those states that fall into the anti-Real ID category should be thinking about how to make their residents feel happier about the requirements, the conference speakers said.

Sample messages could include, according to Serian: “It’s an improvement to your existing process, it’s a way to do the right things for the right reason, it will help prevent identity theft.”

They admit they have to make their residents feel happier. I’ve heard “arbeit macht frei” too. Do you feel happier now?

Quote of the day–Joseph Goebbels

That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result. It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.

Joseph Goebbels
Fest, The Face of the Third Reich, 90
[Does this remind you of any politicians and/or media outlets in the present day?--Joe]

They just don’t get it

I suppose its to be expected. You can’t get more government contracts if you were to tell them the problem cannot be solved as long as they are headed in that direction. But what you can do is sell them millions and millions of dollars of technology that can be defeated with a few dollars worth of mu-metal and/or a Faraday Shield. I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s just government money. They have to spend it on something anyway, right?

Here are the details:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a comforting prospect for the million or so daily passengers on U.S. airlines. Los Alamos National Laboratory is working on an alternative to the “sandwich bag” solution for carry-on liquids.

Passengers’ ability to carry liquids with them during boarding has improved since the original total ban installed after a plot involving liquid explosives on transatlantic flights was busted in London in August 2006.

A total ban has given way to a partial ban because current X-ray machines can detect liquids, but they don’t know the difference between Gatorade and a liquid explosive.

But the so-called “3-1-1″ plan for placing smaller-than-3-ounce liquid containers into one separately scanned, quart-size plastic bag per passenger remains an annoyance for many airport travelers, a fact that has not been lost on the department.

Within a month after the London scheme was foiled, said Michelle Espy, LANL’s co-principal investigator on the project, the laboratory had sketched out a “proof of concept” for a liquid-sensing instrument that has come to be called SENSIT.

In May this year, Brian Tait, a program manager in the Homeland Security Advanced Research Project Agency made a presentation on LANL’s demonstration for using magnetic resonance technology to perform non-invasive “liquid and solid explosive detection at ultra-low field without radiation.”

Espy said the technology is a variation on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a very low-field approach that the lab has been using for studying the brain in a technique known as magneto-encephalography, which is a way of reading signals emanating from the brain.

The sensor or magnetometer used in both the brain study and the bottle analyzer is known as a SQUID, an acronym that stands for Superconducting Quantum Interfering Device.

Comforting? I suppose you could say that. It will give some people a false sense of comfort. But then that’s what TSA is all about anyway. A Security Theater that makes some people feel good.

North Central Idaho Practical Field Ballistics Terminology: “M.O.C.”

We spent this weekend out camping in an Idaho mountain meadow, in an “open range” area (where cattle wander free, and are branded for later roundup).  Aside from being stunningly beautiful, with the fall colors coming on and the abundant wildlife resulting from recent logging operations (you did know that logging results in copious new foliage for the grazing of deer and elk, and cover for small game, didn’t you?) there are quite a lot of cow pies.

Grass and water go in one end of the bovine, you see, and cow pies are what come out of the other end.  The name applies whether the bovine in question is male or female.  That saves you the trouble of determining whether a given pie is a cow pie, a bull pie, or a heifer pie, etc..

I’d been doing some shooting out there with several firearms, and asked my 10 year-old daughter to get out her .22 rifle.  She wasn’t much interested until I pointed out that she could try shooting at small pieces of wood floating in a pond.  She quickly discovered that if you place a bullet just under the floating stick it will jump 15 feet into the air.  That got her attention, and she was soon asking for more ammo.  She’s a fairly new shooter, so her hit rate wasn’t very good, and she lost interest until she discovered that a fresh cow pie will explode if hit with a .22 Long Rifle hollowpoint.

In other words, her shooting may not be minute-of-angle accurate (one M.O.A. equals one sixtieth of a degree) but she can shoot “Minute Of Cow pie” (M.O.C.) which allows her to enjoy a 100% hit rate on these impromptu, reactive targets.

She spent the rest of the afternoon shooting cow pies with a big grin on her face (and me laughing to myself, thinking how wonderfully stereotypical, North-Idaho-redneck an activity that was).

For further study, I picked up some beer cans (probably discarded by some pale, leftist San Franciscans who thought getting drunk and littering in Idaho would be a hoot) filled them with water and shot them with various calibers.  It happens that a .223 Remington cartridge, pushing a 55 grain, hard-jacketed spitzer at around 3,000 feet per second will cause the water-filled aluminum can to burst out in all directions, yet still hold together in one piece, whereas a soft lead sphere of .495″ diameter (50 caliber patched round ball – the patched ball is an American innovation that was used with deadly effect against King George’s officers during the Revolution) traveling at about half that velocity will blow the can into several pieces, scattering them up and out about 15 yards, leaving the base of the can still holding water where it stood (I picked up the pieces and took them home if you must know, leaving the meadow cleaner than we found it).

I also discovered that you can hit gallon jug-sized targets at 200 yards (you do travel with a rangefinder, don’t you?) with a little youth model .22 rifle, zeroed at 20 yards, if you aim about 5 1/2 feet high.  You have enough time to bring the rifle down and listen/watch for the impact at that distance.

Ain’t freedom grand?

VPC stops by to visit

Nice of them to stop by.

Domain Name   e-nt.net ? (Network)
IP Address   66.7.41.# (Violence Policy Center)
ISP   eLink Communications
Location  
Continent  :  North America
Country  :  United States  (Facts)
State  :  District of Columbia
City  :  Washington
Lat/Long  :  38.9068, -77.0427 (Map)
Distance  :  2,071 miles
Language   English (U.S.)
en-us
Operating System   Microsoft WinXP
Browser   Internet Explorer 7.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
Javascript   version 1.3
Monitor  

Resolution  :  1024 x 768
Color Depth  :  32 bits

Time of Visit   Sep 24 2007 2:34:51 pm
Last Page View   Sep 24 2007 2:41:17 pm
Visit Length   6 minutes 26 seconds
Page Views   3
Referring URL http://blogsearch.go… Center%22&scoring=d
Search Engine blogsearch.google.com
Search Words “violence policy center”
Visit Entry Page   http://blog.joehuffman.org/2007/09/20/quote-of-the-day-cam-edwards/
Visit Exit Page   http://blog.joehuffman.org/2006/10/
Out Click   What A Tangled Web They Weave
http://www.camedwards.com/2007/09/19/what-a-tangled-web-they-weave/
Time Zone   UTC-5:00
Visitor’s Time   Sep 24 2007 5:34:51 pm
Visit Number   194,160

Since I now that I know their IP address I also went looking through old log files for them. They visited in March after doing a blog search for “Josh Sugarman”. Then they were here a couple times in August looking for stuff about Larry Craig. For more details see: VPCVisits.xls (28 KB)

Comment problems

People have been having problems with the anti-spam feature in comments. I’ve disabled the Captcha and enable some other things in an attempt to mitigate the resultant spam. I need to dig into the source code and fix the Captcha and other problems but I just haven’t gotten around to it.

If you have been frustrated by the comment issues please try again. I really like getting comments and don’t want you to give up on it.

Steel match pictures


Joe (a different Joe) ROs Don as he blasts through a stage. Yes, Joe’s shirt says “INFIDEL” on the back (and the front).


That’s Adam with the “air gun” practicing for the next stage.

 
As I mentioned in the QOD yesterday Xenia’s boyfriend John went with me to the match.

 
Michelle and Adam as he ROs while she shoots a few rounds.

We also had an anthropology grad student, Michelle, from Washington State University show up. I asked if she knew “Joan”, an anthropologist from WSU who has studied the gun culture. She claims to not know Joan Burbick (and here and here). Michelle has only been in town for a few weeks having just arrived from Iowa. She also said she is a Evolutionary Anthropologist while Joan is probably a Cultural Anthropologist which means they wouldn’t be as likely to meet each other. Since I was wrong about Joan being an anthropologist it’s quite believable.

We managed to talk her into shooting a little bit. She also claims to have only fired one gun on one occasion. Had it not been for her poor posture while shooting I, and probably everyone else, would not have believed her. In her first six shots I think she only had one miss. She did amazingly well for a completely new shooter. She emptied two magazines out of two different guns and didn’t develop a flinch which is quite common with new shooters with a fairly large caliber handgun.

I spent several minutes talking to her and answering questions. The questions had some anti-gun bias and I finally asked what her sort of opinion she had on guns. She said as anthropological observer she was not allowed to have an opinion.

Quote of the day–Joan Burbick

People in a society find ways to avoid conflict, and instead they find substitutes for it. I think the gun has become one of those substitutes.

Instead of addressing the root causes of the inequalities in our society, such as the limits of access to education, jobs, housing, the legal system etc., we invent or come up with crime scenarios. The gun becomes the substitute way to solve conflict in the United States, and the biggest conflict of all is crime.

So that’s how I view it as a political fetish — that it’s a substitution. This is a moment in the United States when access to political power is, I think, limited to a class of professional politicians and lobbyists. And the act of buying a gun can mimic political action. It makes people feel as if they are engaging in politics of political protest.

I’ll give an example of how I think guns have political meaning. One of my old friends who is an ex-Vietnam vet, a Navy pilot, said to me one night, “Whenever I get mad at the government, I go out and buy a gun.” And to me, that’s a form of mimicking political action. One is left only with a gun in one’s closet. One has not changed or affected the government at all. In that way, I see it as a fetish, a substitute.

Joan Burbick
October 16, 2006
Joan Burbick’s ‘Gun Show Nation’ Explains How the “Gun Rights” Movement is a White Male Political Power Play
[Just so you know what they think of you.--Joe]

Quote of the day–Greg Hamilton

If fact the whole culture of certain units is competition. They shoot “matches” quals, standards, stages, etc all the time. In that world everything is graded and the results posted for all to see.

These guys could be very good competition shooters, instead they are very good at killing our enemies.

Greg Hamilton
September 18, 2007 8:34 PM
[Greg teaches military, law enforcement, and private citizens how to shoot. He is very, very good. Not just at shooting but at teaching, thinking, understanding what he is doing, and explaining it.

On a related note--Xenia's boyfriend just came back from "playing in the sandbox". He went to a steel match with me today. His shooting has improved considerably since the last time we went to the range together. I still did better than he did, but he did make me proud. I should have some pictures up soon.--Joe]