Deja vu

For some reason reading this made me think of present day Bush Derangement Syndrome:

Sara Jane Moore, who took a shot at President Ford in a bizarre assassination attempt just 17 days after a disciple of Charles Manson tried to kill Ford, was paroled Monday after 32 years behind bars.

Moore, 77, was released from the federal prison in Dublin, east of San Francisco, where she had been serving a life sentence, the Bureau of Prisons said.

[...]

In recent interviews, Moore said she regretted her actions, saying she was blinded by her radical political views and convinced that the government had declared war on the left.

“I was functioning, I think, purely on adrenaline and not thinking clearly. I have often said that I had put blinders on and I was only listening to what I wanted to hear,” she said a year ago in an interview with KGO-TV.

[...]

Moore was born Sara Jane Kahn in Charleston, W.Va. She acted in high school plays and dreamed of being a film actress.

In the 1970s, Moore began working for People in Need, a free food program established by millionaire Randolph Hearst in exchange for the return for his daughter Patty, who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974.

Moore soon became involved with radical leftists, ex-convicts and other members of San Francisco’s counterculture.

[...]

“I was going to go down anyway,” she said in a 1982 interview with the San Jose Mercury News. “If the government was going to kill me, I was going to make some kind of statement.”

A New Years Eve Party?

From my Sitemeter it appears someone is looking for a good time on New Years Eve:

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ISP   Road Runner
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Continent  :  North America
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State  :  Idaho
City  :  Coeur D Alene
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Sorry, we won’t be having that type of party at our place tonight. It will be spent with our kids, Barb’s sister, and her family. And when I say that, keep in mind this is Idaho, not West Virginia or some such place.

ATF special agent gets it right

We all jump on the ATF etc. when they screw up and use the Brady Bunch talking points. But here is one case where it appears one of the agents got things right:

According to Peter Forcelli, a supervisory special agent with ATF, most of the arms were assault weapons such as AK-47s and AR-15s.

Whether Bentley will face charges for the weapons will be based on such factors as whether the guns were bought before or after Bentley’s conviction or if they were stolen, Forcelli said.

“You can own automatic weapons. There are certain things you can do to legally own them,” Forcelli said. “We have yet to determine if he’s done any of that or not.”

ATF laboratory personnel will conduct firing tests on the seized weapons to determine if any are fully automatic.

It is still unclear what Bentley was planning to do with weapons, whether he was a collector or had something else in mind because of his “propensity for violence,” Forcelli said.

“There are people who have large collections of weapons that are 100 hundred percent legit,” Forcelli said. “We’re still determining if these were.”

The person in question was serving two years probation for a December 2006 felony endangerment conviction and had 75 guns in a storage locker. Given that it seems to me Special Agent Forcelli was giving the guy every benefit of the doubt. He also correctly reports the guns could be legal under U.S. law.

Thank you agent Forcelli.

I’m still of the opinion that the ATF should not exist but given that it does exist I’m a lot more tolerant of the individuals that work there when they have a clue as to what they are doing. My personal experience with ATF personnel has been good and I’m inclined to believe the bad cases are relatively rare. Should we ever get to the time and place in gun rights activism where we are prosecuting law enforcement personnel for crimes under 18 USC 242 prior behavior should play a significant part in their sentence.

Boomershoot snowman

Yesterday my daughters, my son-in-law, and I went out to the Boomershoot site and built a snowman.

It’s a 34 43 Mbyte .WMV file. Don’t even think about it unless you have a high speed connection.

Crank the volume up. There are some subtle sounds.

Update: I just updated the video. There were some very significant changes. The slow parts were sped up, the interesting parts were slowed down and a lot more detail added.

Some technical details: Five gallons of gasoline, ten pounds of Boomerite, and one shot from an AR-15 chambered in .223.

Update2: One of the reasons to make this video was for America’s Funniest Home Videos who requested people make videos of building then destroying a snowmen in “creative” ways. Reading the fine print for the submission I discovered I must take the video off the web when I submit it. I’m giving everyone until Midnight January 2nd to view it. Then it’s coming down. Sorry about that.

Update3: I’ve removed the link to the video. Send me an email if you want to view a private copy.

New ammonium nitrate regulations

Last Wednesday Bush signed into law a new restriction on our freedom which does nothing but create another bureaucracy. The Los Angles Times has a pretty good write up on it but the tone is “the Feds should have done more”:

Ammonium nitrate regulated — sort of

The fertilizer can be used in explosives. Some in law enforcement and counter-terrorism wanted much tighter controls than Congress passed.

More than 12 years after Timothy J. McVeigh used ammonium nitrate fertilizer to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building, Congress quietly passed legislation this month to regulate sales of the explosive.

But the Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate Act of 2007, part of an appropriations measure signed Wednesday by President Bush, falls far short of the strict law that some in the counter-terrorism community and federal law enforcement were hoping for.

[...]

Outside groups are asking for tougher action. “Congress simply didn’t understand what it was doing,” said Peter Stockton, senior investigator for one of the groups, the Project on Government Oversight, which is a watchdog on national security issues.

“Maybe they thought doing something was better than nothing.”

The text of the actual law is here. Assuming I’m reading the version of the bill that was actually signed there is an exemption for people with an explosives license (me). The biggest impact I see to most readers of this blog is that if you want to buy Target Master Exploding Targets or Tannerite maybe you should do it now. Both of those products use ammonium nitrate as their primary ingredient.

This law also affects farmers in a big way.

Under the new law you will be required to register with “Homeland Security” before you can manufacture, sell, or buy, AN. The seller will be required to maintain records. If anyone violates these new regulations they can be fined up to $50,000 per violation.

There will be regulations implemented which will provide “guidance” on storage and sales which of course will do nothing but harass the innocent. Just like the regulations on firearms do nothing the terrorists that want to do evil will steal their materials or use a strawman. Or if they are suicide bombers they will just go through the registration process and buy it just like legitimate users. It’s not that difficult to manufacture either. The chemical formula is NH4NO3. The elements to manufacture it can all be obtained from the air. Try regulating those precursor chemicals.

Like Stockton, above, I think they just wanted to “do something”. And as I pointed out in my QOTD today even “experts” (I hesitate to call anyone who works for the government an expert on anything other than government) don’t think it does anything for security. It’s nothing but more security theater for the masses.

Quote of the day–Bill Albright

The bill really does not guarantee anything for the security of the citizens of the United States.

Bill Albright
December 2007
Ammonium nitrate regulated — sort of
A Defense Department consultant who spent his career at the ATF.
[Albright is correct in what he says but my impression is that he believes there should be more regulation. More on this stupid law in my next post.--Joe]

Just let me store it

Poor guy. Assuming it wasn’t stolen, if he had just let me store it everything would have turned out so much better:

Authorities raid barn filled with military-grade explosives

SUFFOLK, Va. – Authorities are questioning an ex-Navy SEAL this evening after a raid that officials say turned up enough military-grade explosives to damage an entire Suffolk neighborhood.

Suffolk fire and rescue spokesman Jim Judkins says police secured a warrant yesterday and raided a barn on Ferry Point Road after receiving a tip.

Police have been joined investigating the barn by FBI and ATF agents, and the Virginia State Police this evening.

The unidentified former SEAL is in custody and is cooperating with authorities.

Judkins didn’t specify just how much explosive material was in the barn.

But he says it was enough to do damage to houses about one-third of a mile in any direction.

You can be sure the barn wasn’t “filled”. Based on the information I have he probably had about 1000 pounds of high explosives. Most explosives are within a factor of two of the density of water so you could put that much explosives in a car that is capable of holding five large men. It wouldn’t have filled the barn. I wish I knew where it was on Ferry Point Road. If it was actually greater than 320 feet of the road or 800 feet of inhabited building (halve that if it was in the woods out of sight of the buildings or road) then the distances were acceptable according to ATF regulations. But it doesn’t sound like he had an appropriate storage magazine for the materials. [heavy sigh]

Quote of the day–Patrick Smith

The truth is, regardless of how many pointy tools and shampoo bottles we confiscate, there shall remain an unlimited number of ways to smuggle dangerous items onto a plane. The precise shape, form and substance of those items is irrelevant. We are not fighting materials, we are fighting the imagination and cleverness of the would-be saboteur.

Thus, what most people fail to grasp is that the nuts and bolts of keeping terrorists away from planes is not really the job of airport security at all. Rather, it’s the job of government agencies and law enforcement. It’s not very glamorous, but the grunt work of hunting down terrorists takes place far off stage, relying on the diligent work of cops, spies and intelligence officers. Air crimes need to be stopped at the planning stages. By the time a terrorist gets to the airport, chances are it’s too late.

Patrick Smith
December 28, 2007
The Airport Security Follies
[As near as I can tell the only people that argue for the continued existence or claim effectiveness of the TSA are the people of the TSA. It's not that the people of the TSA are necessarily stupid or incompetent, its that it is an unsolvable problem. It's time we considered alternatives.--Joe]

H.R. 4900 text

As reported earlier (and here and here) H.R. 4900 makes some reforms in the ATF regulations and Federal firearms laws. The text of the bill is now available on-line here. It’s all NRA-ILA said it was and more. Alas, it doesn’t do anything of interest to me in terms of explosives, but I’m very happy with what it does in regards to firearms.

The following item was reported by NRA-ILA but was lacking in detail and should be of interest to a great number of people.

SEC. 210. CLARIFICATIONS RELATING TO MANUFACTURING OF FIREARMS.

    (a) Clarification of Definition of Manufacturing- Section 921(a)(10) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: `The term `manufacturing’ shall not include repairing firearms, making or fitting special barrels, stocks, trigger mechanisms, or other parts to firearms, or engraving or otherwise altering the appearance of firearms.’.

    (b) Clarification of Definition of Dealer- Section 921(a)(11)(B) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking `or trigger mechanisms to firearms’ and inserting `trigger mechanisms, or other parts to firearms, or engraving or otherwise altering the appearance of firearms’.

Striking, adding, and inserting in the original as described in the bill we end up with:

(10) The term “manufacturer” means any person engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms or ammunition for purposes of sale or distribution; and the term “licensed manufacturer” means any such person licensed under the provisions of this chapter. The term `manufacturing’ shall not include repairing firearms, making or fitting special barrels, stocks, trigger mechanisms, or other parts to firearms, or engraving or otherwise altering the appearance of firearms.

(11) The term “dealer” means (A) any person engaged in the business of selling firearms at wholesale or retail, (B) any person engaged in the business of repairing firearms or of making or fitting special barrels, stocks, trigger mechanisms, or other parts to firearms, or engraving or otherwise altering the appearance of firearms, or (C) any person who is a pawnbroker. The term “licensed dealer” means any dealer who is licensed under the provisions of this chapter.

Hence gunsmiths need to have a dealers license but not a manufactures license. This is an improvement. But on the downside it means that you need to be careful if you charge a friend for helping him mount a scope on his hunting rifle or give her AR-15 a pink paint job. Conceivable you could be considered to be “in the business” and need a dealers license. This is not the case under current law as I understand it (I am not a lawyer!).

I have to wonder why the Feds should have any interest at all in “engraving or otherwise altering the appearance of firearms”. I think the entire section (B) should be removed but if that is impractical then at least the engraving and appearance should be removed.

Interesting questions

From Sitemeter, “can a fingerprint be recovered from a fired shell casing”? My guess is yes, at least under some circumstances. DNA from the oils left behind should be possible too.

The more interesting question is, “Who’s asking?” Is it someone on the criminal side or on the law enforcement side?

Domain Name relyonmedia.com ? (Commercial)
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What’s going on here?

I don’t know if was the reporter or the ATF agent. But it was probably one of them that has a decimal point out of place or has much more valuable AKs that I have ever heard of:

Agents said Thursday they found the 42 weapons in a storage locker about 10 days ago. There guns were worth $250,000 in all: Belgian-made “FN” handguns, semiautomatic AK rifles and other pistols. They also found four olive boxes loaded with 50-caliber bullets—ammunition that’s big enough to take out an airplane.

“These are, quite frankly, weapons of war,” ATF special agent Tom Mangan said as he picked up an assault rifle and examined it.

“The type of fire power you’re seeing here is on the increase,” he said. “You’re seeing sophisticated weapons, military weapons, assault type weapons, assault pistols, very expensive pistols.”

ATF officials said gun runners typically gather large caches of weapons anonymously through “straw” purchases. They might give someone $100 to go into a gun show or a Wal-Mart and buy a few rifles at a time. They might buy guns over the Internet.

Any idea what an “olive box” is? Ignoring that–the 42 weapons figures out to nearly $6,000 per firearm. Could it be someone was that sloppy with the numbers? Or was it something else? If it were just the numbers I would give someone a pass for making a careless mistake. But the ATF agent is exaggerating with the other stuff too. It makes me suspicious. Mr. Mangan sure gets his name in the news frequently.

Quote of the day–Rev. Jesse Jackson

The fact that it is legal does not make it moral. Jim Crow was legal, but it was not moral. Denying women the right to vote was legal, but it was not moral. Denying workers the right to organize was legal, but not moral.

Rev. Jesse Jackson
President of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
July 12, 2007
Anti-gun activists building momentum
[This is from the same article as the QOTD from yesterday where Father Michael Pfleger used this same theme to push for more restrictions on gun owners. Another thing that strikes me about this line of thinking is that they are comparing the lack of restrictions on firearms to excessive restrictions on people in years past. They are whining about excessive freedom yet invoking memories of repression. Do they even have a glimpse of the irony? I sometimes think they are incredibly stupid to use such crude attempts at emotional trickery. But I keep hearing the voice of Sean Flynn telling me otherwise.--Joe]

Christmas at the Huffman-Scott compound

Update: More pictures from Xenia.

Christmas Eve Barb told me the toilet needed to be fixed. I told her the part she thought was broken still had some life in it:

But men who wish to remain married know better than to argue so I replaced it anyway.

We first went to my parents place to have dinner with them and my brothers. We then opened presents with them. Here is a picture of our gathering:

We then returned to our place and opened more presents. Among other things I received three great t-shirts and a high quality pistol case.

The third t-shirt I received says, “There are very few personal problems that can’t be solved with a suitable application of high explosives.”

Another awesome item was the scrapbook of Boomershoot (and other things) that Barb and Xenia made for me.

I got Barb an iPod Nano, a Bluetooth headset for her cell phone, and the items in this package which she refused to show to anyone else:

James and Xenia got some shirts too:


(I have no idea what this means.)

Xenia also learned a lesson in rattling the cage of wild animals:

Our princess Kimberly got a load of stuff but seemed to like the tools for the kitchen the best. The Christmas decoration below will come in handy next year.

Caleb got a black Boomershoot M-65 field jacket like mine but also seemed to like the Hickory Farms smoked cheese that he ate like it was a sandwich:

Merry Christmas from the entire Huffman-Scott clan.