Gun control in grief

These are bad days for Paul Hemeke and supporters. Just as people with a terminal illness go through the five stages of grief they see their world view dying and are experiencing a similar process. Here we have denial:

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the Chicago case is “unlikely to have much practical impact on most gun laws regardless of how the Court rules.”

“Even if the Court were to hold the Second Amendment applicable to states and localities,” he said, “such a ruling is unlikely to change the crucial holding by the Supreme Court in Heller that a wide range of reasonable gun laws are presumptively constitutional, and that the Second Amendment right is narrowly limited to guns in the home for self-defense.”

Quote of the day–Steve Chapman

Odds are it will lose. Last year’s ruling was limited to the District of Columbia, which is unique in being a federal enclave. The only question in this case is whether the 2nd Amendment applies to states and municipalities, as most other freedoms in the Bill of Rights now do.

It’s hard to think of a compelling reason that the court would say states don’t have to respect the right to keep and bear arms. Law professor Ronald Rotunda of Chapman University told me that he gives the Chicago law only a one in five chance of surviving.

Steve Chapman
September 30, 2009
The end of the Chicago handgun ban
[This was based on the news that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case that will decide whether the 2nd Amendment applies to states and other political jurisdictions or just the Federal government.

Amazing. Ten years ago I was talking to leaders in the gun rights movement who said that we would completely lose the right to keep and bear arms within ten years with Chicago-like discrimination against gun owners the norm. Now we are poised on the edge of slapping them aside into the dustbin of history along with segregated schools, restrooms, and water fountains.–Joe]

Machine Screws and Other Weird Numbers (rambling alert)

Maybe I’m the last to know, but I just found out that the nominal outer diameter of a gauge-numbered machine screw is defined as the gauge number multiplied by .013″, plus .060″.  The actual diameter is usually two or three thousandths or so under nominal.  I know ’cause we tried it.  And as you are all know doubt aware; once you reach a quarter inch, you’re going by fractional inch dimensions instead of gauge.  Wood screws go by their own, as yet mysterious to me, system, probably developed by some guy and his partner making screws by hand 250 years ago.

Who cares?  Well, we have run into problems with what we refer to as “stacking tolerances” in our production– a threading tap varies slightly (both initially and over time with wear) the anodizing depth varies slightly, and screw dimensions vary slightly even if you stick with one supplier.  If these variations all go in the wrong direction at once, you end up with customers calling you saying the screws are so tight in the mount that some of them are breaking, even though you’ve been doing everything exactly the same for years and it’s always worked nicely.  We started using +.001″ and +.002″ oversized form taps a few years ago, to make up for the thickness the anodizing adds to the threads, and then some, and the problem went away.  Now at least we can measure screws and know exactly how they vary from “nominal” as opposed to making simply comparative measurements.

This new (to me) tidbit of information is just icing on the cake for you engineers out there, in the unlikely event that you were as ignorant of such things as I was a few minutes ago.  What I still don’t understand is why we call a number eight screw a number eight screw instead of a .164″ screw.  Too many digits?  But then you’d not have to remember gauge x .013″ + .060″.

Some of these oddities come down from the past in “organic” ways.  Firearm bullet and bore diameters are a good example.  Who the hell came up with .223, .308 or .452, as opposed to, say .200, .250, .300 .350, etc?  Some of these unlikely numbers, at least in part, come from the days of black powder, wrought iron barrels, soft lead bullets, and the manufacturing tolerances of yore.  The realistic tolerances back then were nowhere near what’s possible now, and it resulted in some pretty weird numbers that became standards out of expediency and in response to backward compatibility issues.  I use a .454 ball (that number’s still with us) in an 1850s .44 percussion revolver for example, because the oversized ball gets better purchase on the sides of the chamber and on the rifling.  We would now refer to a .454 bullet as caliber 45, though you were shooting it from what was called a .44 caliber pistol back in the 1860s, and the modern 45 cal bullets are .451″ and .452″.  Modern 44 caliber bullets are .429″.  Huh?  I definitely need to learn more about this stuff.  In another .44 percussion revolver I have I use a .457″ ball– you want a ball that’s bigger than the cylinder, and a cylinder that’s bigger than the barrel groove diameter, so everything gets a sure, tight fit with the soft lead ball.

We still use grains as a unit of measurement, which came from some king somewhere telling us that the official definition of a pound was “seven thousand plump grains of wheat” (what poor saps had to count them, then recount them, and who verified their work?).  Shotgunners use the dram, which converts to the tidy number of 27.34375 grains, or the “dram equivalent”, which is a charge of modern smokeless powder that generates about the same energy as that number of drams of black powder.

If we were to start all over and reinvent guns from the beginning today, we’d no doubt end up with simpler units and numbers, but the world doesn’t work that way.  Each incremental development is built upon the previous one, and you don’t immediately re-tool everyone in the business, make all the old versions unusable, and change all the established experience and data, just for that little increment of improvement.

Still, I keep saying someone needs to reinvent the computer OS (or the very concept of the computer OS– maybe the very use of the term “OS” is thinking too much inside the box) from the beginning.  There is of course no basis– no established school of thought or system of evaluation that would warrant such a claim.

1200 baud was good enough for me

When I bought my first computer (an IBM XT) I splurged and bought a 1200 baud modem instead of the 300 baud almost everyone else was buying. It was amazingly fast. It would download the posts from the BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems) faster than I could read. How could anyone have a need for anything faster than that?

It’s a good thing we didn’t have the anti-free speech bigot equivalents of the anti-gun Senators Feinstein and Schumer who stopped the sale of new magazines with more than a 10 round capacity. Otherwise we would be still stuck at 1200 baud instead of 15,500,000,000,000 baud:

To achieve these results, researchers from the Bell Labs facility in Villarceaux, France used 155 lasers, each operating at a different frequency and carrying 100 Gigabits of data per second. The team multiplied the number of lasers by their transmission rate of 100 Gigabits per second and then multiplied the 15.5-Terabit-per-second result by the 7,000-kilometer distance achieved. The combination of speed multiplied by distance expressed as bit per second.kilometers is a standard measure for high-speed optical transmission.

Of course I and others discovered the 1200 baud modems were way too slow when we started downloading porn–even if they were just 320 x 200 x 256 color .GIF files. Just think of the improvement in quality and speed at which we will be able get our porn once we have terabit data connections. That should come close to the needs for one of Quark’s holosuites. We just need to get the holographic emitters working.

That would last me about 30 seconds

I guess it’s just what socialists do–they disarm their victims. In Venezuela:

This envisages what Mendoza called a “specific prohibition under which any person cannot buy more than 50 bullets a year.” Mendoza, a middle-ranking member of Chávez’s governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), said the proposal represented “a form of reducing the parameters when it comes to the use of firearms and ammunition.”

The deputy said the proposal had been drawn up in collaboration with the scientific and investigative police, CICPC – the equivalent of the FBI in Venezuela – the state security service, DISIP, the National Guard, and the Procurator General’s Office. As far as is known, none of these organizations are known to be staffed by innocents.

Mendoza said that under the reform, “nobody will be able to carry more than two clips and these must not have more than 34 rounds or bullets for personal defense.”

It depends on what I’m practicing but I could go through 50 rounds (an entire years allotment of ammo in Venezuela) in less than 30 seconds. It certainly would make my practice sessions shorter and cheaper. Of course if such a law were implemented in my political jurisdiction I probably would spend my remaining ammo shooting for real instead of just practice.

Air gun control

Registration then confiscation. She barely conceals her agenda:

She added she would like to see a step-by-step programme involving all sales and transfers of air guns to be registered initially.

“After that there should be an amnesty when people can hand in air weapons that are not registered. After that we need to carry out universal registration with campaigns making it clear that air guns are not toys, they are lethal weapons that can kill.”

Don’t just laugh and poke fun at “where Great Britain used to be”. Remember that in Seattle you can go to jail for having a slingshot in your pocket even though you are legally carrying a .45 on your hip. The bigots will encroach on our rights in any way they can.

Back in The Saddle

As reported elsewhere Kim and Connie sent out some emails to announce their return to the Internet. Here is most of mine:

From the “Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Roam The Internet” department:

Connie and I have decided to explore this strange new technology called “radio.” Starting on Saturday October 3rd, we will begin a weekend Internet radio show on

The show will run on Saturday and Sunday evenings, at 7pm Eastern/6pm Central. You can find a BlogTalkRadio widget to listen to our “preview” show at our new site:

We need help getting this off the ground, and a link or mention from you would be very much appreciated.

P.S. I still think this Internet thing is just a passing fad. Soon we’ll be back to quills and parchments, as it should be.

There is also a possibility that Kim will be attending Boomershoot 2010. The stars have to align properly for him and a position has to open up. But the odds are probably better than 50-50.

Quote of the day–Marko Kloos

Once again we see that a “no” tends to be far more effective against rapists, thieves, and other freelance thugs when it is spoken over the sights of a firearm.

Marko Kloos
you go, girl.
September 29, 2009
[Which, of course, reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by John Fogh.

H/T to Say Uncle.–Joe]

Mom logic isn’t

Do they think we won’t catch them and rub their noses in their attempted deception? Or are they so stupid that they can’t read the actual numbers? And they have the tag line “Real Stories. Real Honest. Real Moms”.

The lady doth insist too much, methinks.

Here are the scare quotes:

More than 500 children die annually from accidental gunshots. Some shoot themselves, while others kill friends or siblings after discovering a gun.

Here are more scary stats: Americans own 200 million firearms, and 35 percent of homes contain at least one gun. Last year, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found more than 1.7 million children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns.

The problem is that according to the CDC we have this data (2006 is the most recent I found–see table 10):

Cause of death (based on ICD, 2004) All ages Under 1 year 1-4 years 5-14 years 15-24 years 25-34 years 35-44 years 45-54 years 55-64 years 65-74 years 75-84 years 85 years and over
Accidental discharge of firearms (W32-W34) 642 13 41 193 113 74 84 49 33 34 8

So in order to arrive at “more than 500 children die annually” you would have to include “children” as old as 54 years old. Sure a lot of people want the government to treat people as children even at this age but it’s lying to actually include them in your children totals.

The real number is 54 children per year instead of “more than 500”. They are only off by a factor of 10.

So, assuming their 1.7 million number is right then the odds of one of those children in homes with loaded and unlocked guns accidentally being killed with a firearm is 54/1,700,000 or 1 in 31,481 (0.0032%) per year.

Gee… I wonder if they have an agenda. If they don’t then why do they inflate the numbers by a factor of 10? Crap for brains and/or the truth is just too inconvenient for them? You decide.

The press has it wrong again

Dave Workman explains:

That the local press has once again erroneously given the impression that the store has lost its FFL, when in actuality it is Borgelt’s license revocation that has been upheld, is one more reason for gun owners, and one frustrated firearms retailer, not to trust the news media.

This is one time the press has it coming.

The basic story is the previous owner of the Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply (the store from which Beltway Snipers stole the rifle they used) had his FFL revoked but the new owner is up and running just fine. The press is reporting the store lost it’s FFL and implies it has been shut down.

Half-truth, full-truth, who cares? Not the mainstream media with their “professional” journalists.

Flooring and science fiction

On my latest trip to Idaho and back I listened to a bunch of the Vicious Circle podcasts. I’m in the middle of Vicious Circle 18 (Sucky Science Fiction Movies) right now but I thought I would mention that I was particular struck by what Breda had to say in Vicious Circle 16 (Estrogen Overload!) as she was explaining the controversy in the lesbian community between shag carpets and hardwood floors. At least I think that what she was talking about. Someone else asked about landing strips in the same context so maybe I got confused along the way somehow.

Speaking of SF… just tonight son James and I just finished watching the Stargate: Atlantis series. We liked it. I’m kind of sad that it is over. It was so much better than the three seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine we waded through before it.

Quote of the day–Danville Editorial Board

While the president hasn’t proposed any specific gun control legislation, it’s also true that if every statement he’s ever made, every bill he’s ever supported and every position he’s ever taken during his entire political career were taken as a whole and proposed as legislation — which is not being done — then the gun owners would have something to fear.

But that’s not happening, for a couple of reasons. The Democrats have focused their attention on the economy. Also, Obama has moderated his views on these issues over the years. As a lawyer by training, he appears to understand the Second Amendment’s place in law, not as something to pay lip service to, but as one of the fundamental rights all Americans enjoy.

Danville Editorial Board
September 28, 2009
Worst kind of economic stimulus
[I agree President Obama has not been on the offense against gun owners since he took office. But before believing he has moderated his views on these issues I’m going to need some proof. Directing the DOJ to arrest and prosecute Federal, State, and local officials for violation of 18 USC 242 in regards to infringement of the 2nd Amendment would be a good start. Instead his cabinet is filled with people opposed to allowing citizens to exercise a specific enumerated right. I keep expecting him to “turn the dogs loose” on us.–Joe]

Boomershoot 2010 and infrastructure work

Daughter Kim and I made a quick run out to the Boomershoot site yesterday. We dropped 1200 surveyors stakes (that was all the builders supply had) for the Boomershoot 2010 targets. I’ll get another 300 before the event.

I put up another solar panel for charging the batteries. The last time I was out there I concluded the existing panels were dead. But after disconnecting them and testing them a little more carefully I decided it must have just been a loose connection. The new panel puts out 6 W peak. The three old ones, which are each about the same size as the new one, combined only put out 4.2 W peak. Plus the new one works much better on cloudy days.

Kim planted a bunch of grass where I had tore up the ground with the backhoe and dozer. Then she unloaded the stakes and organized the pile of stuff we store under a tarp.

We winterized the pump and we hauled away some old potassium chlorate barrels.

In a couple weeks we’ll go out there again for a private party we are putting on but we are probably about done with stuff until next spring.

Quote of the day–Lyle @ UltiMAK

Every part. Every last little bit of it, from its inception, from the thinking behind its inception, to all of its variants, to every attempt to implement it in any form, any time and anywhere it’s been foisted upon anyone. I consider socialism to be more offensive, more disgusting, more sickening, more dangerous, more deadly and more virulent than any disease– more destructive than any force known on Earth. Sold to the unwary as the warm-hearted answer to the suffering and problems we all face in life, it is the poison pill, cleverly slipped into all our forms of sustenance: our very food and drink, our homes, our schools and our institutions by the sick, the envious, the jealous and the hateful, who would be our masters and we their playthings.

Lyle @ UltiMAK
September 2, 2009
In response to the question, “What part of socialism do you disagree with?”
[One friend was a bit more succinct but only for those that understood the fundamentals, when he told me it was like a sugar pill that caused cancer twenty years later. “Here, try it! It’s sweet. Just a little bit…”–Joe]

Quote of the day–Thomas Jefferson

A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt…If the game runs sometime against us at home, we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake.

Thomas Jefferson
[President Obama and supporters, please meet my hero, Thomas Jefferson.–Joe]

SteveB talks about what I’m working on

Windows mobile 6.5 will be out soon. Windows Mobile 7.0 will come out later.

I’m working on 7.0 and it looks very nice. I too was worried about 6.5 until I saw it for the first time last week (competely different team so it’s not quite so weird that I didn’t see it sooner). 6.5 is a big step forward and I am much less worried about it now.

The release of 7.0 will make me much happier with our position in the mobile phone market.

That is all… Back to work…

Mixed feelings

While I approve of law enforcement finding and disrupting criminals before they can carry out their criminal acts I find it a little bit disconcerting that in this case the criminals/terrorists had to be led by the hand to actually commit (what they thought were) criminal acts:

Two men who professed devotion to Al Qaeda — one a convert to Islam, the other a Jordanian native — were charged Thursday with plotting to blow up buildings in Illinois and Texas.

In both cases, the men thought they were working with Al Qaeda operatives when they were really working with undercover federal agents.

One man, according to authorities, planted what he thought was an explosive outside a Dallas skyscraper, while the other parked a van, supposedly armed with a bomb, outside a federal courthouse in Springfield, Ill. The devices were fakes.

The FBI had a drug informant become friendly with Finton, according to the complaint. The informant told agents that Finton had talked about wanting to get terrorist training and to fight in Gaza against Israelis. Agents then worked to set up an “opportunity for action that we controlled,” began recording encounters with him and put him in touch with an undercover agent who told Finton he was an Al Qaeda operative.

In a July conversation, Finton allegedly told the agent he was considering attacks on “government buildings, banks and police stations.” His hope was that an attack would cause the U.S. military to withdraw from conflicts overseas.

“Finton said attacking the FBI office would be great, because he had no love for the police, so that would not bother him a bit,” according to the affidavit. He allegedly proposed bombing the federal building in Springfield in July with a backpack bomb or an explosive in a vehicle.

In August, the agent told Finton that the plan had been approved by his supervisors in Al Qaeda and had Finton make a videotaped message that supposedly was to be shown to organization leaders, including Osama bin Laden.

They apparently weren’t capable of building their own bombs so the FBI did it (fake ones of course) for them. And encouraged them with fake approval from the highest level within the terrorist organization. It sounds to me like the FBI was walking a fine line very close to entrapment.

This sounds like what the radicals of the 1960s said about how easy it was to identify the FBI infiltrators–they were the ones encouraging people to commit crimes.

Quote of the day–Wayne LaPierre

The Second Amendment is a constitutional right, not a carnival ride. How could the right to keep and bear arms ever be exercised in Rachel Maddow’s world, a world in which “keeping” arms wouldn’t be allowed? Would Ms. Maddow also like to see a world in which the First Amendment could only be exercised under the bright lights of a television studio? I suppose since she has her own show, she might not object to that either.

Wayne LaPierre
NRA Executive Director
September 24, 2009
[This tends to be an all too common theme–the constitution only applies if it doesn’t get in the way what someone wants the government to do. That’s not the way it is supposed to work and in fact things get really screwed up when this is the mode of operation.–Joe]

I wonder what tomorrow will bring

Bitter and Sebastian are teasing us on Twitter:

bitterb Oh wow. I just did a little Googling and found a pretty sizeable story on MAIG. Wait until tomorrow kiddies…

SebastianSH Sometimes in politics, the prairie dog sticks his head out of the hole and presents an easy shot. Tomorrow we eat prairie dog stew!

I’m looking forward to it. I expect it will appear here.

Update: It’s out, “That’s right, Nacheman admitted that in his position with MAIG, he also represents the Brady Bunch and that they both seek to accomplish the same agenda.”