57 months for a victimless crime.

As I’ve said for many years “crime prevention” is a hot button for me.

This type of crap is rather annoying to me:

A Lincoln man will spend close to five years in federal prison for possessing a homemade gun silencer.

On Monday, United States District Judge Richard Kopf sentenced Douglas West to 57 months in prison following his conviction for unlawful possession of a silencer.

West, 50, admitted guilt in May 2009 after being arrested in Lincoln in 2006 with the homemade silencer.

The U.S. Attorney says tests conducted by the ATF laboratories confirmed that the device functioned as a silencer and that it had been used as gunpowder residue was detected inside the device.

A pillow or any number of household items also functions as a sound suppressor. And furthermore in some countries you are required to use a suppressor. Here you are punished if you don’t pay the $200 tax or you try to make your own.

And even using the criteria listed in the article, that it functions as a suppressor and that it had gunpowder residue inside the device, I’ll bet they could meet that standard using my coat sleeve even though I have never fired a gun through it.

Quote of the day–Alan Gura

As Petitioners note, preambles are examined only “[i]f words happen to still be dubious.” Pet. Br. 17 (quotation and citation omitted). “[B]ut when the words of the enacting clause are clear and positive, recourse must not be had to the preamble.” James Kent, 1 COMMENTARIES ON AMERICAN LAW 516 (9th ed. 1858). “The preamble can neither limit nor extend the meaning of a statute which is clear. Similarly, it cannot be used to create doubt or uncertainty.” Norman Singer, 2A SUTHERLAND ON STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION § 47.04, at 295 (7th ed. 2007).

Alan Gura
Robert A. Levy
Clark M. Neily III
February 24, 2008
RESPONDENT’S BRIEF On Writ Of Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals For The District Of Columbia Circuit
[Just a reminder to those bigots that keep insisting the 2nd Amendment only applies to the government having a right to own guns when they want to ignore the 9-0 decision in favor of an individual right in Heller.--Joe]

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

This post was inspired by this post by Rachel Lucas (H/T to David).

From her post:

The first thing that surprised me about Auschwitz is that it is not as secluded these days as I expected; it is just right there in what seems like the middle of this average small town. It’s just…right there. It is jarring. There’s a busy parking lot about 50 yards from the “front door,” a lot that is filled with buses and cars and noisy tourists. Again. Very jarring.

It was the most surreal moment of my life so far. There I was, facing this object I’ve seen in a thousand photographs, something that is attached in my mind to pure abject despair and massive human suffering…and it’s surrounded by happy tourists. It was almost like a Disneyland version of hell, just because of all the serene camera-toting tourists. Of which I was one, I know that, but still. It was nothing short of the worst case of cognitive dissonance I think I’ll ever experience.

There was such natural beauty visible to any human standing in the middle of Birkenau that day. It was as if nature was asserting herself over all the despair and ugliness. Look how green I can be, feel this perfect air, listen to this thunder, there is always something good that will come out of something awful.

How will you know when the plane, train or bus you are told by the government to board is headed to “the camp”? The sun will look no different on that day. The clouds won’t have your eulogy written in them. And the nearby buildings will look the same as it did the day and the week before. Will you fuss about your children’s clothes that just got dirty because they rubbed up against the lamp post? Will you worry if you packed enough underwear for your trip? Will you curse under your breath because you forgot to bring sunscreen or an extra jacket?

I will know when it is the government telling me I must get on a plane, train, or bus or report to a particular location. I won’t be worrying about dirt on anyone’s clothes or what I didn’t bring. I’ll be worrying about getting a good sight picture and alternate exit routes.

How will you know whether the medicine the government doctor gives you to ease your pain is in your best interests or the governments best interest? Will the treatment prescribed be for the good of society as a whole or will it be for the good of the individual?

I will know when the doctor gets his paycheck from the government and cannot get a job with similar compensation in the private sector.

How will you know when gays, blacks, Japanese, Muslims, or Jews are in danger of being sent to the camps?

I will know when the government demands that information be put in lists–whether that list is in the form of an ID card or a census. But census data can’t be legally used for 70 years, right? I’ve got news for you. U.S. census data was used to find Japanese citizens and send them them to the “War Relocation Camps” in 1942.

Just because you have never broken the law or injured another doesn’t mean those in power won’t think of you as a terrorist. Are you a gun owner? To some that means you are a potential threat to society. They may think 10% of gun owners “shouldn’t have guns”. But how can they determine which 10%? Just to be safe they have to send them all to the camps, just for a little while until they can sort them out, right? It is for the good of society. The world will be a better place soon. It’s will hurt for just a little bit. Sort of like an inoculation, a little jab and it stings for a few seconds and then everything will be better. It’s only 10%.

How will gun owners know when it’s time to start shooting? The sun will look no different on that day. The clouds won’t have their eulogy written in them…

Quote of the day–Joe Waldron

Most of their money comes from a single source, like Soros, the Joyce Foundation or the Tides Foundation (Maria Theresa Simoes Ferrara Heinz Kerry). Their “membership” is a joke.

Sad as the pro-gun lobby is in terms of membership — maybe six million nationwide out of 70-80 MILLION gun owners (and that double-counts many of us who belong to multiple organizations), we’re way more committed, individually, than the other side. That’s why the Brady Bunch “captured” (actually, co-opted) the name “and the Million Mom March” to give the impression of numbers that don’t exist.

Ditto Seattle’s “crime gun person,” whose huge salary is paid for by a grant from the anti-gun lobby.

Just more elitist SOBs who know better than you do how to run your life. You’re too stupid, so just shut up and do what you’re told, it’s for your own good. You see a lot of that mentality in the current health care debate, as well. The nanny-state crowd.

Joe Waldron
August 30, 2009
Washington CCW email list Subversive Gun Groups Question (membership required)
[How many members does the Brady Campaign have? Oh, that's right. There isn't even a way to become a member on their website.

This is reflected in the number of gun blogs as well. I only know of one active anti-gun blog that isn't a paid position. There are 127 pro gun blogs listed at GunBloggers and that is just a partial listing as I know of some gun blogs that aren't on that list (although I know there are some inactive blogs on that list as well).

I've attended numerous public hearings (such as this one) and public demonstrations. We outnumbered them at least 10 to one each time. Sometimes 100 to one. The rallies for I-676 a while back--we outnumbered them 1000 to one.

If the big money of the special interest anti-gun groups with the cooperation of the mainstream media wasn't in play it would be game over for them.--Joe]

Quote of the day–Kelsey

I’m a carbs based life form.

August 29, 2009
[Barb and I had lunch with son James and his girlfriend Kelsey today. Kelsey continues to please us with her sparkle and affection toward James. We all had fun and lots of laughs today. The following banter is just one example:

Barb: James was so sweet when he was little.
Kelsey: [to James] So when did you stop being sweet?
Joe: I think sweetness is a constant in your lifetime. If you use it up when you are little you don’t have any left when you get older.
Barb: [to Joe] So when did you use up your sweetness?
Joe: [after the laughter subsided] I’ve just been saving it for someone else.

Also discussed were lentil cookies, how James made QOTD in his comment about them, daughters Kim and Xenia‘s burping contests, and Xenia’s college speech and video about farts.

Barb’s brother says sister Susan has nice children but Barb has interesting children.–Joe]

More information needed

The North Carolina Supreme Court threw out a ban on a convicted felon having a gun.

I’ve read this from two different news outlets and two blogs (Say Uncle and the Confederate Yankee which he links to) but I think it all boils down to a single source which gives me insufficient information to answer the questions I want answered. Therefore I will speculate.

My speculation is that this felon, Barney Britt, had his gun rights restored under Federal law in 1987. North Carolina had no law banning convicted felons from gun ownership so he was able to own guns. Then in 2004 North Carolina passed a law that said convicted felons could not own a gun even if their rights had been restored under Federal law. Now he suddenly, after up to 17 years of legal gun ownership, he was prohibited from owning guns due to no recent fault of his own.

What I want to know is the reasoning of the court. Was it an ex post facto issue? Or was it in someway based on Heller and/or the Second Amendment and/or the North Carolina Constitution provision (in many ways nearly identical to the 2nd Amendment).

If it is an ex post facto issue then it’s not all that newsworthy. If it’s because of a right to keep and bear arms issue then it could much more interesting.

Update: Via Xrlq I have the ruling. The ruling was based on the NC Constitution. Very interesting.

As pointed out by the dissent “the majority has crafted an individualized exception for a sympathetic plaintiff.” But my quick scan of the ruling did not reveal guidelines/tests for other plaintiffs to determine their status other than “his uncontested lifelong nonviolence towards other citizens, his thirty years of lawabiding conduct since his crime, his seventeen years of responsible, lawful firearm possession between 1987 and 2004, and his assiduous and proactive compliance with the 2004 amendment, has affirmatively demonstrated that he is not among the class of citizens who pose a threat to public peace and safety.”

I expect the legislature will be amending the law to carve out exceptions or a process by which some felons can have their gun rights restored.

Pistol recoil pictures

As I mentioned on Twitter yesterday I had a request for permission to use some of my pictures in an Italian magazine and blog. He told me:

Both on my site and on my articles, I write about reloading, especially for pistols.

One of my elaboration led me to examine the correlation between recoil intensity and bullets weight. I will public this article both on my site and on “Armi Magazine” journal. Now I am searching some pictures about recoil.

This email to ask you if I could use some of beautiful photos from your blog, in particular that in attached (have you the HD format ?), for sure I will mention your name on the pictures.

Here are the pictures (cropped down to the interesting parts) I sent him:

Some of you will recognize the guns and others will recognize their own hands.

Update: I have a .pdf file of the completed article now. Only the first picture above was used (Robb, your hands may soon be famous in Italy). Once the article is actually published I should be getting a link to it and I will post it. Here is the title of the article:

“Tiro dinamico: palla leggera o pesante ?” – “Dynamic shooting (IPSC): light or heavy bullet?”

Sub title: “Rilevamento e tempo di riarmo di una pistola in funzione del peso palla” – “Recoil and slide time as a function of bullet weight”

As I have been shooting IPSC (now USPSA) for nearly 15 years this is a topic of great interest to me. From what I can tell looking at the graphs and picking up a few words and numbers in the article this is a very interesting article. I’ll probably spend the time to run it through an automated translator to get a better idea of what it says.

Quote of the day–’Doc’ Russia

I guess that the Democrats will try to pass the healthcare bill in Kennedy’s name. Of course, if you want an accurate descriptor, they would call it the Mary Jo Kopechne Memorial health service, and patients would spend their lives getting taken for a ride by an elected official who will try their best to screw them, and then die while they wait for someone in the government to do the right thing.

‘Doc’ Russia
August 26, 2009
More gallows humor
[Via an email from Scott K.

I cannot think of a single thing to add to this.--Joe]

By the numbers–the draw, splits, and reloads

Suppose you are interested in improving your pistol scores in a game where time matters–a lot. USPSA, Steel Challenge, or IDPA for example.

How do you go about that? Well, practice, sure. But what do you practice? And how do you know what your weak areas are? It was several years ago (since this post is about precise units of time it was 12 years, 10 months and 1 day ago) but I took a class called Intensive Handgun Skills and learned some interesting things about this topic.

I’m not sure why but a lot of people spend a lot of time practicing their draw (I used to too). They will spend hours trying to shave another 0.1 or 0.2 seconds off their draw. 0.5 seconds faster? That would be awesome, right?

Maybe not. Let’s do some simple arithmetic.

Suppose you are shooting a fairly simple stage such as El Presidente. You draw (and turn), shoot six rounds, reload, and shoot six more rounds.

That involves one draw, one reload, and ten splits. If you were to cut 0.05 seconds off each of your splits you are just as well off as if you had cut that awesome 0.5 seconds off of your draw or reload.

What about something even simpler? A Steel Challenge stage has five plates and involves drawing and shooting five rounds (assuming you hit them all with one shot). So that is one draw and four splits. In order to match that awesome 0.5 seconds you worked so hard to gain on your draw you need to improve your splits by only 0.125 seconds each.

That doesn’t mean you can ignore your draw or reloads but it does mean, in absolute terms, your split times are generally more important than the draw and reloads.

But how much is there to be gained in your shooting? If you are already getting 0.25 second A-zone double taps on the USPSA target at 10 yards getting another 0.05 seconds represents a 20% improvement. If your draw is 2.5 seconds then 0.5 seconds also represents a 20% improvement to it. One might think that the effort involved should be about the same, 20% either way. Right?

It turns out that isn’t true. Or at least that isn’t the way to bet.

A better way to look at the problem is to compare yourself to other shooters and keep yourself “balanced”. If you improve your weakest areas you will get a better return on your investment in practice time and ammo.

Here is a table they gave us (I added the “Calculated El Presidente” row) at that class nearly 13 years ago:

Intensive Handgun Skills
From Greg Hamilton at Insights (www.insightstraining.com) Standards: All Times Are With USPSA Target.  Range is 10 yards
IPSC: GM: 95->100%, M 85->95-%, A: 75->85-%, B: 60->75-%, C:40->60-%, D: < 40%
Approximate Level
Skill 40% 70% 75% 80% 85% 90% 95% 100%
Group Size (inches) 7.0 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0
2 shots on one A-zone (split time in seconds) 0.80 0.50 0.45 0.40 0.35 0.30 0.25 0.20
1 shot on 2 A-zone (split time in seconds) 0.95 0.60 0.55 0.49 0.43 0.37 0.31 0.25
Low Ready to 1 A-zone (seconds) 1.50 1.00 0.91 0.83 0.75 0.67 0.59 0.50
Close Quarters To 1 A-zone (seconds) 1.50 1.00 0.91 0.83 0.75 0.67 0.59 0.50
Draw to 1 A-zone (seconds) 3.00 2.00 1.85 1.68 1.51 1.34 1.17 1.00
1 shot, speed reload, 1 shot (split time in seconds) 4.50 3.00 2.75 2.50 2.25 2.00 1.75 1.50
Immediate action (seconds) 6.00 4.00 3.66 3.33 3.00 2.66 2.33 2.00
Remedial Action (seconds) 14.00 10.00 9.35 8.67 8.00 7.34 6.67 6.00
Calculated El Presidente 16.10 10.40 9.50 8.54 7.58 6.62 5.66 4.70
El Presidente (2 each on 3 targets, reload, 2 each on same 3 targets) < 5.0
Demi Presidente (2 each on 3 targets, reload, 1 each on upper A of same 3 targets) < 5.0

In the table above it is assumed you are getting all A-zone hits. If you aren’t getting A-zone hits in practice you are going too fast. You should push yourself until you occasionally get a non-A hit but then you back off such that you are just on the edge.

So if you are already getting 0.25 second A-Zone double taps you are shooting at about 95% of the skill level of the best shooters in the world. But if your draw is 2.5 seconds you are at about the 55% level. If you spend your time on your draw you should be able to cut 0.5 seconds off of it much faster and easier than you could cut another 0.05 off of your splits. And probably you will get over a full second off of it without too much trouble.

This assumes you are using the proper technique. You may be hitting a “wall” because you are practicing the wrong thing. If you are way off “balance” and things aren’t getting better as fast as you think they should then get some expert instruction to make sure you are practicing the right thing. Remember what Say Uncle said one year and five days ago.

Similar trade-offs can be made for determining what other skills you should practice.

Keep it balanced and practice the right things.

New Terror; Candles, OMG!

Sometimes when I read the news I think I’m back in jr. High school.  This time it feels like fourth grade elementary.  When I was in fourth grade, I observed a girl enjoying some canned cherries during lunch.  Unable, for whatever reason, to leave her in peace to enjoy her cherries, I walked close to her and said in a low voice; “You’re eating cow guts”.

Apparently this caused her to lose her appetite, and she was distressed enough to tell the teacher, who later called me on it.

Fast-forward to adulthood.  Today if you’re enjoying a hamburger, you hear from the food Nazis; “That’ll clog your arteries, contribute to deforestation in South America and pollute the atmosphere with methane (cow farts).”  You’re enjoying a smoke; “That’ll give you cancer and cause kids to have health problems, and you’re supporting Big Corporations that are trying to keep you addicted and kill you for profit.”  You’re having a soda; “All that sugar will detonate your pancreas and make you fat.”  You’re having a diet soda; “Those artificial sweeteners will give you cancer.”

“That car of yours is going to destroy the planet, you filthy planet killer you.”

“Unsafe at any speed” etc., etc., “That salad you’re eating is full of pesticides and that stuff was grown on corporate, industrial farms that have no regard for the planet…” etc., etc., etc.  It never ends, and if you’re resistant to this crap, congratulations, if you can avoid getting the “Swine Flu” which happens to be just like any normal, run-of-the-mill flu, but ZOMG we’re all gonna dieeee!

Today’s reason not to enjoy yourself is that your candlelit dinner is going to give you cancer.  So quit enjoying yourself (you selfish twit) be afraid, and call your Congressman to demand something be done about “Big Candle” before the children all die and the puppies all get cancer just so someone can enjoy a nice candlelit dinner while people in (insert country) are starving.

And you leftists think you’re all about rights and freedom and privacy and stuff.  I’m gonna tell the teacher on you.

I found a reference to this candle scare on Rush Limbaugh’s site  (and there are some great comments at the Washington Times article on the subject) while looking for the fantastic quotes he found regarding Death Panels.  More on that later.

Someone is actually spending money and time to research candle pollution.  Wow.  Like no one knew that burning things releases combustion products into the air.  I find that the phrase, “too much free time” tends to spring to mind.

Quote of the day–Father Denis Edward O’Brien

The Soldier

It is the soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier,
who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Father Denis Edward O’Brien
[Although O'Brien used the above poem in his writings he was apparently not the original author.

I'm reminded of this poem because, via Say Uncle, Take a Vet to Lunch is a worthy cause.--Joe]

Gun blogger roulette

Everyone knows what Russian Roulette is. But have you heard the joke about French Roulette? Yes, there is a real game by this name but many decades ago it was also a joke involving Bridget Bardot.

The post from Tamara this morning reminded me of the joke. I have modified it by substituting a different person for Bardot and it becomes “Gun Blogger Roulette” instead of French Roulette.

Q: Do you know how to play Gun Blogger Roulette?
A: Six guys take showers and you give them each a towel when they get out–one of the towels has Roberta X. in it.

Yeah, I know. I’m risking a lot with that.

It’s all in good fun, right? Right? Please?

It’s about time

The bigots in New York and New Jersey routinely violate Federal law and arrest gun owners that attempt to check their guns in as baggage on commercial flights.

David Hardy has links to briefs in the lawsuit against them. The facts of the case will probably enrage you:

However, Torraco testified that Sgt. Goldberg’s first question was “Where is your New York license?”. Goldberg testified that he asked if Torraco had a New York permit, to which Torraco explained that under 18 U.S.C. § 926A, he did not need one.

Torraco urged Goldberg to call the state prosecutor or other person who would know about § 926A. Goldberg “told me federal law does not apply in the State of New York. He told me very condescendingly that he ain’t calling nobody and that I was in his jurisdiction.”

Defendant Officer Robert Paulsen arrived at the scene and requested, and was shown, Winstanley’s permits for the firearms and driver’s license. He asked Winstanley if he had an Arizona permit. Winstanley responded that he did not need a permit to carry a weapon openly in Arizona, but that he did have a Florida permit, which permitted him to carry a concealed weapon in Arizona. Paulsen disagreed, although he later testified that he was only trained in New York and New Jersey state law. Winstanley asked to speak to Paulsen’s supervisor. Paulsen told Winstanley that if he persisted in asking to speak to a supervisor, he would place him under arrest.

“Federal law does not apply in the State of New York” and “I was his jurisdiction”. What if this was some big-bellied sheriff in Mississippi or Alabama saying that to a black guy and his wife peacefully going about their business?

I did note with some satisfaction the lawsuit “seeks to redress the deprivation, under color of the laws, statute, ordinances, regulations, customs and usages of the State of New York, of rights, privileges or immunities secured by the United States Constitution and by Acts of Congress.” And that it is against the following organizations and individuals:

PORT AUTHORITY OF NY & NJ BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS; KENNETH J. RINGLER, JR., Executive Director, Port Authority of NY & NJ; PORT AUTHORITY POLICE DEPARTMENT; SAMUEL J. PLUMERI, JR., Director of Public Safety/Superintendent of Police, Port Authority Police Department; CHRISTOPHER TRUCILLO, Chief, Port Authority Police Department; Port Authority Police SERGEANT GOLDBERG; Port Authority Police Officer ANTHONY ESPINAL (shield # 2134); Port Authority Police Officer PAULSEN (shield # 2306); Port Authority Police Officer, unknown at present (shield #1400); Port Authority Police LIEUTENANT, unknown at present (Lieutenant John Doe IV); Port Authority Police SERGEANT, unknown at present (Jane Doe I); Port Authority Police Officer, unknown at present (John Doe I); Port Authority Police Officer, unknown at present (John Doe II); and Port Authority Police Officer, unknown at present (John Doe III)

Until the individual bigots involved start having to pay a price this sort of thing will not stop. Maybe this time they will get slapped down by the courts rather than merely having the charges against the gun owners dropped as is usual in these cases.

Even so, it is my intent to not set foot in New Jersey unless I can buy hunting tags for New Jersey law enforcement and politicians.

Boomershoot 2010 work

On Saturday daughter Kim and I went to the Boomershoot site to do some prep and infrastructure work. We also did the data reduction thing on this visit.

Kim folded another 300 boxes to be used as target containers:

That is a total of 1135 boxes we have ready for next year. We plan on making another 1007. Those numbers just boggle my mind. The first three Boomershoot combined only had about 1/10th that number of targets.

I dug up the barrel used for cleaning water storage:

I rubbed the skin off my right thumb digging the hole. Kim offered me some gloves before I started digging but I figured my hands were tough enough to handle it. I was wrong.

I didn’t dig the hole entirely by hand…

I managed to misjudge where the barrel was and mangled the barrel with the backhoe pretty badly. But I didn’t damage it enough that it required repairs or replacement:

We thought we had a leak because the drain tile should have filled the tank with spring run-off but there was no water in it when we wanted it for Boomershoot 2009. As near as we could tell we did not have a leak at the outlet pipe as I suspected:

I now suspect that the tile overflow was actually more of a bypass than an overflow. We put in several gallons of water that we know went into the barrel and will go back in a couple weeks and see if there is still water in it. If there is then I will just modify the inlet/overflow and fill up the hole again.

Also on my next on-site visit I will be taking the bulldozer over to enhance the shooters berm. It needs to be made deeper and a little wider.

Senator Kennedy is dead

Senator Ted Kennedy died yesterday.

Posts from gun bloggers on this topic:

Kennedy was a vehement foe of gun owners. I gave him a little slack because two of his brothers were murdered by people with guns. But he used that all up, and more, with his treatment of women in general and Kopechne in particular.

Update: More gun bloggers have something to say:

Quote of the day–Jim Kessler

There is no constitutional right to carry a firearm. This is not even close on the constitutional scale — I have a right to carry a firearm wherever I go — it’s just not.

Jim Kessler
Of Third Way
August 25, 2009
Guns near Obama fuel ‘open-carry’ debate
[This is what I (and others, I forget where I originally saw it) call "Proof by vigorous assertion". It is most frequently used by two-year olds and in most cases is out-grown by age four. Mr. Kessler's development was apparently retarded.

The article claims Third Way is "the successor organization to the gun-control group Americans for Gun Safety" (see also the Wikipedia entry). It's nice that someone in the MSM (in this case MSNBC) is finally admitting AGS was anti-gun rather than an organization that intended to "promote responsible gun ownership". It's also interesting that if you go to the AGS Foundation website (http://www.agsfoundation.com/) you are redirected to Third Way and a pop-up informs you:

For current gun safety data and other information, we recommend the American Hunters and Shooters Association, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

For someone to simultaneously recommended AHSA with the Brady Campaign and other anti-gun organizations tells you all you need to know about AHSA--unless you wanted to know how many members this "national grassroots organization has". According to their Wikipedia entry, in 2005, it was less than 150.--Joe]