Quote of the day—Michael Ignatieff

No one can be serious about public safety unless they are serious about gun control. That’s an essential element in any balanced approach to public safety, which is a concern to people in the Lower Mainland and Canadians from coast to coast.

Michael Ignatieff
Canadian Liberal leader
April 26, 2011
[Interesting that he says that it’s an “essential element.” And the evidence for that is where? He might as well be saying “ni**er/Jew/Muslim/homosexual control is an essential element of  public safety”. I’m nearly certain it would be easier to find data to support my version than his. Yet even if the evidence supported such claims the answer in any case must be not only, “No,” but “Hell no!”—Joe]

And so it begins

After going to sleep about 11:30 last night I woke up about 4:00 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. Last night I told son-in-law Caleb that we should leave by 7:00 AM so I have a little time to blog before loading the last of my stuff in my 4×4 and heading out to the Boomershoot site. I will probably continue to lack sleep until Sunday night when I will also have very sore muscles and have lost eight to ten pounds (I checked in a 202.8 pounds last night before going to bed). And friends and co-workers keep telling me, “Have fun at Boomershoot!” It’s not “fun” for me. “Rewarding” is a better word.

Four of my staff from out of state have checked in and will be ready to start preparing the site for the shooters shortly after I arrive. Others will arrive at various times throughout the day. My biggest task is delegating and communicating what I want done. It helps that I have staff that have done this for several years and don’t need much direction. But still, just keeping the tasks queued up is sometimes challenging because I want to do something just a little bit different than previously and I need to explain it or they need materials I haven’t got delivered to the proper location yet.

The site got more rain last night than I expected but the forecast is looking pretty good. It will be wet and messy out there for a few hours and perhaps all day today. The winds will be up to 15 MPH today too. That will help dry out the ground but it will be cold with the temperature never getting about 43F.

Quote of the day—meus_ovatio

I don’t think Mr. Huffman is capable, much less trustworthy, of “protecting innocent life”.

April 26, 2011
Comment to Democracy vs Totalitarianism: Hiding Godwin in the closet.
[It’s odd how people who have never met me or my family think they are qualified to make such sweeping statements with such certainty. But it shouldn’t be surprising. There are large numbers of people that find facts and reason obstacles to their belief systems. This is just one more example.—Joe]

Evidence of declining gun ownership

The VPC says gun ownership is at the lowest point since 1985. I guess that explains why Wal-Mart is discontinuing gun sales at more stores:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is quietly bringing back rifles, shotguns and ammunition to hundreds of U.S. stores as the hurting retail giant seeks to reinvigorate its one-stop shopping appeal and attract more male customers.

The world’s largest retailer stopped selling hunting rifles and bullets at all but a third of its U.S. stores five years ago, citing diminishing sales. It is now restoring them to hundreds of locations, bringing the total to nearly half of its more than 3,600 U.S. namesake stores…

Oh. Sorry. I got that wrong. Wal-Mart is bring gun sales back to stores it discontinued several years ago. Maybe the VPC is wrong too.

Overheard on the phone

Joe (calling the local auto repair shop): Hello, my name is Joe Huffman, I have a 2004 Chevy Aveo that…
Repair guy interrupts: Hi Joe! How was Boomershoot this year?
[discussion of Boomershoot]
Repair guy: Someone was pushing Boomershoot at the last Tea Party meeting we had in town.

I think I might have met him four or five years ago. Daughter Kim takes the car in more frequently than I do and gets similar questions about Boomershoot.

It’s a small town.

Quote of the day—sandwichwarrior

Mr. Huffman is what many liberals would charitably call a Right-wing-militia nut. He is sufficiently infamous that a certain member of this community has linked to news articles about him and others as proof of a nascent right-wing terrorist movement.

April 26, 2011
Democracy vs Totalitarianism: Hiding Godwin in the closet.
[There are more howlers in the comments. I’ll post another tomorrow.—Joe]

Rubber bands are the key

I’ve decided rubber bands are the magic ingredient that made it possible for successful Boomershoot events. Each year we use many hundreds of them. This year I thought our usage would decrease and perhaps nearly disappear by 2012. But this morning I realized they might come to the rescue yet again in the way we attach targets to the “clothes lines” (“Boomer Line”?).

Here is a “clothes line” (from Saturday):


And here is close up of a target:


We are attaching the target with a plastic bag tied around the parachute cord which is suspended between steel fence posts. This knot is hard to tie quickly and puts the target closer to the paracord than I’m comfortable with. It worked last year but it still worries me that a shooter will clip the line or the explosion will damage the line.

I think we can use rubber bands to fasten the plastic bag to the line. The key is finding the correct knot and implementing it correctly such that the target maintains it’s orientation correctly. I think I have figured out the knot. I’ll test my hypothesis with the knots on Thursday.

This means I have to buy more rubber bands now. [shrug] Rubber bands are cheap.

I just wish they sold rubber bands by quantity rather than by the pound. It makes purchasing the correct number more difficult.

Are there any homosexuals in your home?

Telephone surveys are a valuable method of obtaining data. Sometimes they are the only means by which data on a particular topic can be gathered. But there are times when they can give you very bad data.

Suppose you did a phone survey asking if there were any fugitives from justice living at your house. My guess is the data obtained would differ considerably from the actual value.

Suppose you did a phone survey asking if you had expensive jewelry. Probably to a lesser extent but still my guess is the answers given will not be accurate.

Furthermore my hypothesis is the differences from reality to the two questions above would be be fairly constant over time. If you asked about fugitives living at your home my guess is that you might get 1 out of 100 to admit a fugitive was living there when there was one and that would not change much from 25 years ago to today.

Now suppose you did a survey on how many homosexuals live in your home. If you did the survey in the 1950s my guess is the report of a “none” when in fact there was one or more would be very high. But if the survey were done today the false reporting would be much lower.

Surveys on gun ownership suffer from similar problems. There is a threat of oppressive regulation and confiscation in some jurisdictions and there is the threat of theft by non government actors as well. Gun owners have a vested interest in not giving accurate data to some random person calling up on the phone.

Hence, I am skeptical of the latest survey on gun ownership. The huge increase in gun sales during late 2008 and 2009 was do to fear of heavy restriction. This climate of fear would have been motivation to falsely report to survey takers.

Note that this is not a VPC survey but just a VPC interpretation of a survey. Had it been a VPC survey additional motivation for error introduction could have been present as well. The VPC conclusions are almost for certainly flawed. If they were correct then Brady Campaign and VPC “membership” would be up and the NRA membership would be down. But this is not the case. I don’t think we can determine what the true gun ownership numbers are but I’m nearly certain it is much higher than that reported in the survey.

As Sebastian said to the Brady Campaign, “Keep telling yourselves that.

Wetness at Boomershoot

When it is dry enough to farm Boomershoot is dry enough to be pleasant. This year things are still wet.

My brother sent me an email late last week. He hasn’t started farming yet this spring because it has been too cold and wet. He came back to the farm 25 years ago and kept records of various dates such as when he planted, fertilized, and harvested various crops. In those 25 years the latest he has ever started the spring work was April 21st. Hence every day he can’t get into the field it is setting a new record for him.

I was on site last weekend on both Saturday and Sunday. It was dry enough to get around okay in my 4×4 but the ground was very soft in places and I cut into the mud when driving to/from the Taj. There is also a small draw between the “Main” and “Lowlands” shooting positions. The range officers (and others) cross this area many, many times during the event. It had standing water in it and was very soft. If it is still wet on Sunday I will bring some concrete “stepping stones” to help keep people’s feet dry.

Both Saturday and Sunday it was warm and sunny and I’m sure it dried up a lot of the water but even at the end of the day on Sunday it was still wet enough that driving across the field multiple times to do build and place targets will create deep ruts. Yesterday was cloudy and it rained some in Moscow (my home) but the weather radar indicated the Boomershoot site missed most of the rain. The forecast for today is still on the cool side with a high of 47F but the sun is shining bright and the wind is blowing. That will help some.

The forecasts for the rest of the week indicate very little precipitation except for early Thursday morning (2:00 –> 5:00 AM). And possibly on Friday (with a chance of snow as well). Saturday and Sunday are forecast to be partly sunny and partly cloudy with highs of 53F and 59F. I expect this will result in a minor but net move toward dryness from what I saw last weekend.

I predict Boomershoot 2011 will be mostly comfortable but people are going get mud on their shoes and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see some vehicles get stuck in the mud.

Quote of the day—John Krupa III

Bullets are cheap – be generous – give them plenty.

John Krupa III
[See also this elaboration by Greg Hamilton.

This was in the context of self-defense and does not apply to all shooting situations. The most successful Boomershoot participants, for example, seem to expend far few rounds than the least successful.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Ry Jones

I’ve been cleared hot to spend some money for the enjoyment of Boomershoot attendees; in one case, you’ll see something this year: a different fireball! I’ll probably spend a couple hundred or so making this year’s fireball much more interesting. The smart money will be on standing back; I’m either going to fail spectacularly (spectators set alight, tents engulfed in flames), fail miserably (spend a bunch of money and have another sucky fireball), or succeed spectacularly (spectators almost set alight, tents almost engulfed in flames).

Ry Jones
April 24, 2011
In which money is turned into smoke, dust, blood
[The smart money is to tell Ry to keep the fireball further from the shooting line. I’m thinking maybe 30+ yards this time. The 2007 “flaming sticks falling from the sky” event was at 18 yards.—Joe]

Boomershoot prep

Yesterday Ry, his daughter Arden, my son-in-law Caleb, and I went out to the Boomershoot site. We did tests of a new target type invented and built by Ry. It was a little disappointing. I’ll put video up someday. I’m just too tired right now.

Most importantly though is that Caleb put in nearly 500 stakes at the tree line for targets. I put in the fence posts to create “clothes lines” to support more targets in the air above (sort of, they are offset some) the ground targets. This will give us space for about 1000 targets at the tree line. The tree line is about 375 yards from the shooting line and these targets always go fast and are completely consumed. By utilizing the vertical dimension we can put more targets in front of the same linear foot of berm (backstop) space.

I also worked on getting the extra Wi-Fi access point on the shooting line working. I was not successful and in fact just before I left I managed to get the configuration set such that I couldn’t access the network via Wi-Fi.

Today I went back out and finally got the Wi-Fi working. With the three access points I can now get on the net with my cell phone (my laptop had pretty good access already) from the tree line to the shooting line to the Taj. There are very few points on the normally traveled areas of that 40 acres that I can’t get access.

I also put up some fences posts for aerial targets on the hillside. I put them at the bottom of the hill probably closer than we have ever had hillside targets before. By suspending them we get the bullets hitting more into the hillside behind the target rather than bouncing off the ground with a shallow angle of attack on that range.

Quote of the day—Howard Nemerov

Homicide rates correlate with gun ownership, too. States with higher ownership rates and less gun control have lower Black homicide rates. States with the most gun control have lower White homicide rates. You could say that the Brady Campaign is racist and the data would support your point.

Howard Nemerov
April 2, 2011
UN Ignores Its Own Data to Promote Gun Ban
[I wouldn’t say the Brady Campaign is racist even if a quirk in the data lends support to that hypothesis. They have a very strong parallel to racist beliefs with the object of their irrational hate and fear being gun owners and even the inanimate object called a gun. I believe they will ultimately reach the social status of the KKK but it will probably take another generation or so to get there.—Joe]

Location info—why you should care

The iPhone (and cousins) storing of location information and similar activity by Android is turning out to be a pretty big scandal. Some people are saying, “I’ve got nothing to hide.” but most people I associate with don’t think that way. And since that guy writes for the NYT he doesn’t really count with most of the country anyway.

Brian X. Chen and Mike Isaac explain the issue better than I could:

Having a data file with over a year’s worth of your location information stored on your iPhone is a security risk.

So if a thief got his hands on your iPhone, he can figure out where you live and loot you there, too. Same goes for a hacker who gains remote access to the consolidated.db file. But if a thief or hacker dug into an Android device, there isn’t going to be much geodata saved on the smartphone to digitally stalk you. (There’s plenty of other data on smartphones such as text messages, address books and so forth, but at least we have control over what data we store in this regard.)

Bottom line, this data shouldn’t stick around on your iOS device, because it does nothing but put you at risk. And you should care about that, because this problem can be and should be fixed by Apple, and you should demand that.

I’m not at liberty to say much but I will say that I spent some time explaining the security of Windows Phone 7 location services to our Program Manager and Dev Manager this afternoon. Both seems satisfied with the status. It’s not as good as I would like it to be when I put on my utopian privacy hat but I think the tradeoffs made were within acceptable bounds. I’m also pleased that at every stage through the location service development process privacy was taken seriously by everyone I worked with. I had expected I would have to fight hard at times to protect location information but that was not the case. I only got pushback on some relatively minor issues, for legitimate needs, and the compromises made were acceptable to me.

WP7 location service does a much better job of protecting your privacy and giving you control over your data than the iPhone currently does and probably better than Android. And as long as I am working on location services I will do my best to make sure it stays that way.

It’s all about feelings

Just as we have been saying for decades the anti-gun movement (is it still a movement when they have been constipated for several years?) doesn’t have the data so they go with what they have—feelings:

I believe the open carry movement is very intimidating,” said Suzanne Verge of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “I think as a citizen I should be able to go along Colorado Boulevard and shop where I want to shop and not have to worry about running into somebody with a loaded weapon.”

I believe anti-gun activists are a threat to a free society. I think as a citizen I should be able to spend my time more productively than fighting them on a daily basis. And I want to have enough money in the bank that I never have to work again even if I were to buy all the ammo, guns, and explosives I wanted to shoot.

Just because someone wants something is not justification for the government to attempt providing it.

Update: John Richardson has things to say about Verge too.

Quote of the day—Kevin Lelonek

When we practice the privileges granted to us by our governing documents, in this case, the Bill of Rights and bearing arms, we enter into an implicit agreement with the Union to recognize and act according to the State’s rules and regulations for the use and ownership of arms. And as we agree to those rules, so does the government agree to act responsibly on behalf of our collective well-being.

In this manner, our relationship with our nation mirrors our relationship with our parents; both our parents and our nation raise us; both provide for our welfare; both teach us values and ethics; both act on our behalf for our well-being. And thus should we regard our nation; as a parental figure to be a moral example, an ideal to respect and to obey. For, if the dynamics of our relationship with our parents are mirrored functionally by the dynamics of our relationship with our country, so too should the convictions and loyalties that characterize the former persist in the latter.

Kevin Lelonek
April 12, 2011
Taking a shot at gun control
[Overall the opinion piece is benign toward the 2nd Amendment but Lelonek doesn’t even begin to get the concept of liberty.

The Bill of Rights doesn’t grant privileges. It guarantees rights. The only granting is that of certain enumerated powers to the government. The government is not a parent. The government is not an ideal. It is a necessary evil. The government is not to be obeyed by the people. The government must obey the people. The people must respect the laws which fall within the enumerated powers of the government.

Remember what Dwight Eisenhower and George Washington said about government.—Joe]

So this bald guy buys a flat iron

These two guys in black coats walked into Bartell’s Drug store tonight. They went to the aisle with the hair straightener equipment and carefully studied all the options. Finally the bald guy went to checkout with one that had a temperature setting that went all the way to 25 (presumably because 11 wasn’t enough). He just knew the clerk was going to ask what he was going to do with a flat iron.

“Pubic hair” was going to be answer because sealing plastic boxes filled with explosives just wouldn’t have worked out very well.

But no one asked.

Ry hints at what happened in the next hour or so.

Update: I have been informed that “hair straightener” is the term used for the chemicals that straighten hair and the heating tool is called a “flat iron”. It’s fixed now. Sorry, but what do you expect from a guy that almost doesn’t have any hair on his head?


It seems that every time the NRA comes to town the bigots come out of the woodwork:

Though gun sales to females increased significantly in recent years, Piendl said, “Sales to women remain the largest untapped growth market in the industry.”

The industry is unlikely to successfully tap that market until it conquers the pesky preconceived notions that likely turn off many females to the idea of gun ownership. Women likely won’t consider packing pistols if they are concerned that:

— Spending several hundred dollars on a serviceable handgun might leave them without enough money to get the full treatment at that next visit to the day spa.

— Carrying a gun in a small purse would leave less room for more important items, such as lipstick or compact.

— The baggy clothing required to successfully conceal most holsters would make them appear frumpy.

— Gunpowder residue might stain the new Karen Scott blouse they just bought at Macy’s.

— The gunpowder smell when the weapon is fired could totally overwhelm the Chanel they’re wearing.

— Most firearm accessories come only in one boring color: black.

— Target practice earplugs simply aren’t sexy.

This isn’t the first time Eric Heyl has expressed his disdain for gun owners.

Breda and Bitter also have some choice words for him.