School Shooting Match

My son Alex is part of a high school school trap shooting team.  They had a match this morning near Rosalia, Washington, which was attented by several high school teams from around the region.  Trap is quite popular in Eastern WA, as this is one of the best places in the country for pheasant and quail hunting, to say nothing of the excellent duck and goose hunting opportunities.  From the shooting lines today, we saw several hundred geese in the air.


 



Above; No, it isn’t a crime scene or a network news story.  It depicts a fun event in which kids use guns and sharpen their skills on aerial targets, and so, by definition, it isn’t “news”.  The parking lot was packed with similar vehicles, open, loaded with guns and ammo.  Most people don’t bother to lock their vehicles, me included.



Above; an appropriately named school district.



Above; Alex in full target-busting mode.  That’s a decent hit– lots of small fragments.  If you hit one full-on, it disappears in a cloud of dust.  Scoring is the same either way.  If you break a little piece off the target, it’s a hit, same as a “duster”.



A great time was had by all.  Everyone was super nice.  There were decent facilities for those who wanted to stay warm and there was free coffee and decent food at very reasonable prices.  This locally operated club range was equipped with four trap houses, meaning 20 kids can be on the shooting line at one time.


I’d guess there were about 80 shooters attending and about 150 to 200 people there in total– Guns and ammo lying about everywhere, much like you’d find skis and poles sitting out on stands in front of a ski lodge.  Now if we were to take anything the anti gun-rights loons say with a shred of seriousness, we’d assume that all these kids would end up turning on each other in a bloddy shootout, as the stresses of competition became too much for them to handle, or something.  In fact, everyone was relaxed and friendly.  I will point out that, unlike a typical football game, there are no paramedics on standby at these events.  There would be no point in it.


Alex broke 26 of 50 targets, which isn’t bad, but a really good shooter would have hit 50 of 50.  Today there was some gusting wind, so even a really good shooter might have missed one or two because the targets were jumping around a bit in the wind.  If you’ve ever thrown a Frisbee in the wind you what know what I mean.  These clay targets fly a lot like little Frisbees.

Quote of the day–Jeffery Rosen

This summer, I talked to security experts on both sides of the political spectrum, and had several conversations with Chertoff, in an effort to answer the following question: Is DHS achieving its mission of making us safer? My reluctant conclusion is that, although Chertoff has performed impressively in an impossible job, the department is hard to justify with any rational analysis of costs and benefits. On the contrary, it’s arguably one of the most expensive marketing ventures in political history–an enterprise that seeks to make us feel safer instead of actually making us safer. The best argument for DHS is that the illusion of safety may itself provide tangible psychological and economic benefits: If people feel less afraid, they may be more likely to fly on planes. But even if conceived on these terms–as a more-than-$40-billion-dollar-a-year pacifier–the department is hard to defend, since there’s no good evidence that it has, in fact, calmed Americans down rather than making us more nervous.


Jeffery Rosen
December 24, 2008
Man-Made DisasterSix years on, the Department of Homeland Security is still a catastrophe.
[$40 Billion a year pacifer? Yup. That sounds about right for government work.


H/T to Bruce Schneier.--Joe]

Quote of the day–Sarah Brady

 

This week, the NRA filed outrageous papers in federal court … impugning our Brady members and organization in our fight against the Bush Administration’s last minute rule allowing guns in our National Parks.

 

In the court papers filed this week, the NRA says they:

 

deny that the Brady Campaign is a grassroots membership organization or that it is involved in fighting to prevent gun violence;
deny that the Brady Campaign is dedicated to safety;
deny that the members of the Brady Campaign, if any, will face an increased risk because of the new regulation.

 

We’ve worked long and hard to stop the NRA’s “any gun, anywhere for anyone” campaigns and I, for one, won’t stop now.

 

As far as I can remember, this is the first-ever direct strike against the Brady Campaign and its members in court! The gun lobby is reeling after their election defeats and losing ground on all fronts, so they have it in for us for sure.
But we have common sense — and public support — on our side!

 

I won’t stand for their lies — especially lies that call into question the deep dedication of members like you and our long-time efforts to keep our communities safe from gun violence.

 

I say, allowing loaded concealed handguns in our parks and wildlife refuges puts public safety at risk!

 

Sarah Brady
January, 2008
NRA ATTACKS BRADY MEMBERS IN NEW COURT PAPERS
[I find this interesting for a number of reasons.

 

 

  1. I was only able to find this in one location on the net. I tried several different search engines and only one page has this information. Apparently it's an email sent to Brady donors. I thought I was on the Brady email list but perhaps those lists get purged of people that don't donate money occasionally.
  2. I think it's great the NRA is attacking the Brady Campaign on their "grass roots" credentials. To the best of my knowledge they don't have a membership list, only a donor list.
  3. They think concealed handguns put the public at risk and it appears they may be forced to show the data that proves that. Just One Question may have to be answered in court!

 

--Joe]

Geometric progressions are fun

Ry sent me an email telling me about $99 1 TByte hard drives:



Don’t know if you’re in the market to upgrade (I’m not), but NewEgg is selling 1tb sata drives for $99 with free shipping.


this is the item:


 


use discount code: EMCABCKFC


Interesting. My first hard drive was a 10 MByte which I purchased in 1984. And the 1 TByte drives have been out for two years now.


Assuming the rate of data density increases at a constant rate we can compute when we will have drives of even more more mind boggling capacity.


10 TByte drives should be available in 4.6 years.
100 TByte drives should be available in 9.2 years.
1 PByte drives should be available in 13.8 years.
1 EByte drives should be available in 27.8 years.
1 ZByte drives should be available in 41.4 years.
1 YByte drives should be available in 55.2 years.


Of course using all the data is going to take a lot of computing horsepower. Like maybe a supercomputer.


I have just the thing for you…


Sign up NOW (the deadline is January 31st) to have a chance at receiving:



  • A Cray CX1 desk-side supercomputer

  • One of 10 Premium MSDN Visual Studio Professional subscriptions

  • One of 10 Xbox 360 consoles

Simple solutions from simple minds

Someone with more money than they know what to do with is considering how to “solve the gun problem” in Milwaukee. I would have thought he could just take his gun to a good gunsmith or, since he has so much money, just buy a new gun. But that isn’t what he has in mind:

 

His initial plan was to attack the problem at the source. Zilber wanted to target an infamous gun shop in the Milwaukee area with a pretty shocking record of being a place where too many legally purchased handguns eventually ended up in the hands of the bad guys.
So many of its guns fell into wrong hands, the place is more like a public nuisance than a legitimate business.
“I figured that if I bought the place and shut it down, that might eliminate the problem,” said Zilber. But he realized that wasn’t a viable solution; somebody would likely just open up another gun shop to serve the customers.

 

If it took more than a fraction of a second to come to this conclusion the clock speed on his CPU must be running way below 4.77 MHz (the original IBM PC clock rate). That the journalist even bothered to write it down shows his CPU is similarly handicapped. Further confirmation of this was another couple of paragraphs into the article:

 

Zilber chuckled when I mentioned comedian Chris Rock, who once said the key to gun control was making all guns free but charging an exorbitant amount – as high as $5,000 – for a single bullet.
That might make people think twice about firing a gun.
“That’s pretty good,” said Zilber. He didn’t dismiss it out of hand. “You could buy an ammunition company and do it that way.”
Sometimes, it takes bold thinking to pull off the impossible.

 

First off, he got the Chris Rock quote completely wrong. The point of Rock’s comment was that if each bullet cost $5000 then you would be surround by people wanting to steal them. So if you fired the gun there wouldn’t be innocent people that were shot.

 

Second, the buying of an ammunition company and shutting it down doesn’t different from doing the same thing to a gun shop–which he already dismissed as an ineffective idea.

 

I can’t figure these guys out. The only conclusion I can come up with is these people have some sort of mental problems.

The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008

Economics has been on a lot of people’s minds recently. Microsoft had a lay-off last week–the first ever that was motivated by external economics. I know two other gun bloggers that also dodged “the axe” in the last couple of months. I’ve had people approach me wanting information on buying guns and bulk food in a similar manner as I did just before Y2K. Federal interest rates are effectively zero. That has never happened before in my lifetime. Another economic indicator that we are in unusual circumstances is the money supply, or as Kevin put it, It’s Official: You May Now Panic. When you look at that graph note that the doubling of the money supply in the last year (yes that difficult to see spike is real, not just an artifact of the graphic) is unprecedented in the last 100 years. I attended a speech (if you want to call it that) by economist Paul Krugman yesterday–the auditorium was packed. The first hundred people or so received a free copy of his new book — The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008. It’s so new it is copyright 2009 and had to come directly from the printer. I have a copy in my hands now.


This blog post is mostly to capture my notes from listening to Krugman yesterday. I’m formulating a big blog post in my mind and hope to post it this weekend.


If in italics below it means it was a direct quotes (as best as I could capture).



  • Not as bad as the 30s–yet.

  • It is as bad as the early 80s.

  • This isn’t your fathers recession. This is your grandfathers recession.

  • All of the 1st world is falling at approximately the same rate.

  • The problem with the stimulus bill is that it isn’t big enough.

  • A trillion here and a trillion there and pretty soon you are talking about real money. A twist on Dirksen’s quote which got a laugh.

  • I’m not feeling panicky but uneasy.

  • I thought I was intellectually prepared.

  • It’s a whole lot harder to head off a second great depression than we thought.

  • The trouble with a big tax cut is that they aren’t spent. Tax cuts are a very bad tool for this type of problem. See also this blog post by Krugman.

  • Tax cuts made permanent won’t work because we can’t afford them.

  • We should seize troubled assets, clean them up, and then sell them. Just take the hit. “We” meaning the U.S. government.

  • There are no safe options. He was responding to a comment from someone about the risks of massive government spending–which Krugman is advocating. He is of the opinion that the stimulus package should be twice the size as the one proposed and passed yesterday.

  • The thing I’m most worried about is Kindelberg’s law: When given two options we will pursue both half-heartedly. I must have the spelling wrong on “Kindelberg”. I can’t find any such “law” on the net.

I’ve read the introduction and the first chapter of his new book. He says socialism is dead and it’s obvious to everyone except a few extremists who have their heads in the sand. But in his talk yesterday he said that “universal health care” would be a good thing to spend some of the two trillion in government spending he is proposing. His attitude was that “universal health care” was obviously a good thing. You could tell from his tone and the words he used that it wasn’t even open to debate with him. I have to wonder if maybe he is one of the extremists he was talking about in his book. See also Phil’s post from day before yesterday.

Washington may make suppressor use legal

Via Ry I discovered a much needed proposed change to Washington State law. Currently it is legal to purchase and possess a firearm noise suppressor but it is illegal to use it. To use it you must go to less repressive state such as Idaho or Oregon. This bill would make it legal to use the suppressor.


I have no idea if it has a chance of passing but I strongly support it. If you live in WA contact your representatives and let them know you support it too.

Quote of the day–Alan Gura

I think it’s time people took liberty seriously.


Alan Gura
Lead attorney in District of Columbia v. Heller
June 2008 interview with Nick Gillespie of reason.tv.
[Based on the results of the most recent election I have to conclude people have not taken liberty seriously and furthermore it may be that we have past the time where it will be possible to convince people to take liberty seriously. Appearances are that most people believe government is the solution to the problems created by government. That's very scary stuff.--Joe]

Quote of the day–Crotalus

If guns are an extension of a man’s penis, does that mean that men who support gun control secretly want to have vaginas?


Crotalus
January 23, 4:24 PM
In the comments to For the children…
[I had planned to never knowingly use the same QOTD as any other blogger within a month of them. Because this is such a good quote and such a good refutation of that tired attempt to derail a factual debate I am making an exception. H/T to SayUncle and Firehand.--Joe]

It’s the thought that counts

Drivers licenses (some exception apply, see comments), marriages, and divorces are recognized in all fifty states. Concealed carry licenses should be recognized as well. Full Faith and Credit, right? It isn’t that way in practice and it just one more example of the extensive bigotry (and here) against gun owners.

 

This isn’t the first time someone has tried to do something about it but it is nice to see another effort made:

 

Saying Americans need a “fighting chance” to confront outlaws in a violent society, U.S. Rep Cliff Stearns has gone on the offensive to promote his bill to allow concealed-weapons permit-holders to cross state lines without fear of having their constitutional rights curtailed by another state’s laws.

 

With President Obama being opposed to gun ownership even in the home, let alone in public, and all the anti-gun people in positions of leadership in the house the chances of this even making it out of committee let alone being passed are zero. But it might be useful to get the congress critters to show their colors in time for the next election.

“Yes” to Just One Question

I believe I have an answer to Joe’s “Just one Question”.

 

As Joe states;

 

There are three possible answers to this question.

  1. “I don’t know.” In which case my response is, “Come back to the debate when you can answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.”
  2. “No.” In which case my response is, “Then you should be advocating the repeal of ALL gun control laws and I don’t want to hear a single anti-freedom word from you on this topic again.”
  3. “Yes and here is my demonstration.”

 

My answer is; “Yes and here is my demonstration.”

 

In response to Clinton era attacks on gun rights, I and many other Americans decided to buy our first guns, or to get back into shooting after a long hiatus.  Gun dealers often credited Clinton (and his administration) for being “salesman of the year” for several years running.  The atmosphere at gun shows was very energetic, and the NRA’s membership got a large bump as people got guns and got involved in pro second amendment activism.  The NRA and other groups also started pushing harder for gun handling safety as it became clear that our right to keep and bear arms was seriously threatened.  This all falls under what we’ll call “backlash”.

 

The backlash against actual gun restriction resulted in more gun owners, more participation in shooting activities, more participation in pro 2A activism, more emphasis on safety and self defense, and many more states passing “shall issue” concealed carry laws.

 

More armed citizens, more of them carrying concealed, and more emphasis on safety and home security, and presto– violent crime has been going down in the areas where gun ownership has increased, and gun accidents have been on the decline for years, even with the increased gun ownership.

 

Hence, I submit that, due to public backlash, the average person has indeed been made safer by restricting access to handheld weapons.

 

The twist lies in the fact that guns weren’t simply banned except in a few small pockets in the U.S..  The question pertains to “restrictions” and not to full prohibition.  In those places where all guns were effectively outlawed, crime continued to rampage, but in places where we could still legally get and keep guns we became safer.  Semi-auto rifles and carbines (the so-called “assault weapons”) were purchased in the largest numbers too, because those were the ones most threatened (my first gun purchase ever was a Glock 20 with a 15 round magazine, because I knew the magazine restriction was coming.  I then bought several more 15 round magazines “while I still could”).  I maintain that the very large increase in interest in AR-15s and AKs, et al (“Evil Black Rifles” or EBRs) is in part due to the Clinton era restrictions.

 

Today, the Clinton era concerns are back.  The Obama groupies are wanting to pass more gun restrictions, and as a result, people are buying up guns, “while we still can”.  Most pointedly, they’re buying up semi-auto rifles and carbines, semi-auto pistols, full capacity magazines and folding or collapsible stocks, as those are all in the most threatened category.  We can only hope for more change in the form of backlash.  Do your part to make America even safer; encourage your friends and neighbors to get their first guns, join the NRA, and become active “while they still can”.

Quote of the day–David E. Young

At least five of the eight state declarations of rights were specifically, in the words of the state constitutions themselves, part of their state constitutions. An obvious error of this type from such a large assemblage of professional academic historians is unacceptable in an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. The nature of this error is not just an embarrassment for the historians. It brings into serious question the factual basis of the historians’ Heller amicus brief supporting Washington DC’s gun control laws because it indicates that these historians are not overly familiar with the relevant period sources their assertions relate to.


David E. Young
January 25, 2009
The Root Cause of Never-ending Second Amendment Dispute
[The errors the anti-gun people bring to the debate are so numerous and so persistent despite being corrected numerous times I find it difficult to believe they are innocent mistakes or even willful ignorance. In many cases I'm certain it's deliberate deception. And in some cases it's an admitted deception on their part.--Joe]

Quote of the day–Jeffrey A. Lamken

Properly read, the Second Amendment prevents unreasonable federal encroachment on the ability of the States to maintain, arm, and call forth their militias. It does not handicap the States’ exercise of their police powers to regulate dangerous instrumentalities, including firearms, to fulfill their equally central role of protecting the lives, liberty, and property of their citizens.


Jeffrey A. Lamken
January 2008
Brief supporting petitioners of amici curiae American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Ceasefire NJ, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Citizens for a Safer Minnesota, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Clifton Kirkpatrick in his capacity as the stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Educational Fund to stop Gun Violence, Freedom States Alliance, American Jewish Congress, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Gray Panthers, Gunfreekids.org, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Illinoisvictims.org, Iowans for the Prevention of Gun Violence, Jenna Foundation for Nonviolence, inc., Karla Zimmerman Memorial Foundation, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Council of Jewish Women, New England Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, DC Statehood Green Party, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence Education Fund, Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, Renée Olumbuni Rondeau Peace Foundation, Root (Reaching Out to Others Together) Inc., Union for Reform Judaism, Virginia Center for Public Safety, Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, and certain individual victims and families of victims of gun violence.
[Wrong. You lose. First clue--people have rights. States have powers. The words say, "...the right of the people..." Words have meanings and in a document as important the constitution of a nation each of those words were debated and very carefully chosen by very smart people who said exactly what they wanted to say. The first clue for people reading Lamken that he was full of it should be that you don't protect the liberty of a citizen by taking a liberty away.--Joe]