The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Archive for July, 2009

Quote Of The Day

Posted by Bill Nance on July 28, 2009

If you’re a Republican, a lot of things are logical: the entire debt began the moment Obama took office; Bush and Cheney never tortured anyone, but Obama is about to; the WMDs really are in Iraq; the president has the constitutional power to send tanks into the streets to arrest any American without charges; deficits don’t matter; Obama is a Kenyan Muslim impostor; and Sarah Palin was qualified to be president of the United States at a moment’s notice. Politics as magical realism.

Andrew Sullivan, on the intellectual dishonesty and willful ignorance of right-wingers lately.

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Posted in Barack Obama, humor, Politics, Quote of the Day, Right-Wing Nut-jobery | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

With “Friends” Like These…

Posted by Bill Nance on July 15, 2009

A blogger calling himself “Dr. Omed” has a post encouraging stricter gun control on his blog that is frankly so wrong-headed I won’t even try to give a blow-by-blow rebuttal. I will try, however, to give some answers to his questions and poke holes in some of his assumptions about human beings.

First, here’s a sample of how he views human beings:

In my humble opinion, people who buy guns for self defense want to shoot people, want an excuse to shoot people, and want a gun handy to shoot the people should the proper occasion arise and the excuse provided. As recent events have demonstrated, the excuse threshold is lower for some than others. Most gun owners under most circumstances are Walter Mitty shooters and only dream of shooting someone.

…I bear the Mark of Cain the same as the assorted wingers I accused in my previous post. My point is that every human being on Earth has murder in their hearts, myself included. We are complicated creatures and we have a lot of things in our hearts, but murder is part of the mix. Anyone who denies this darkness in their hearts I personally would not trust within grabbing distance of a firearm.

Omed says he’s a gun owner. All I can say is I kind of wish he weren’t. Not that I think he shouldn’t be able to be one, I just think anyone with that view of guns would be best served not having one.

First, having murder in our hearts is a nice rhetorical flourish, but it doesn’t equate with the will, desire or practice of actually committing murder. People who do this are in a tiny minority measured in hundredths or thousandths of one percent.

Secondly, the idea that people who have guns for self-defense are just looking for an excuse to kill someone legally is so far from reality I can hardly begin to imagine where Omed is getting his information.

I don’t know if Omed carries his gun or not. But as someone who’s carried for many years I can assure you that the last thing on earth I want to do is shoot someone. Of course something I want to do even less is be victimized by a criminal.

Now I have some experience about what it’s like to shoot someone. Granted it’s second hand, but let me give you the juice in a nutshell: I have yet to meet a police officer who’s shot someone in the line of duty who doesn’t second-guess the shooting and wish there had been some way- any way, to avoid it, for the rest of their lives. These were totally righteous shootings. And the consequences to the shooter were life-changing.

Thanks, I really don’t want to have to live with having killed someone. BUT…I’d rather live with that than not live at all. And I think that’s where Omed gets it wrong.

Personally I think he’s been spending too much time on gun forums. It’s the internet and like all places where people can anonymously post, you get a large number of internet tough-guys, most of whom know nothing and when asked in person are actually a lot more tame than their internet postings.

He poses this question:

Now, I’ve already confessed that I find the death-dealing beauty of firearms seductive. I admitted I have murder in my heart. I’ve as much as said I’d like to shoot someone, give the right set of circumstances. Did I mention that I’m a Manic Depressive who drinks a bit?

The question you want to ask yourself is, do you want a person like me to be able to buy, with untracable cash in hand, a military grade assault rifle and all the ammo I can carry–as easily as I can buy a Mars Bar and a six pack at the corner Quikie Mart? Well, do ya–Punk?

That is my personal argument for stricter gun control.

Omed is clearly calling for a ban on private sales of firearms. I think this idea is as wrongheaded as one can get.

We need better criminal control, not better gun-control.  I’d like to see violent felons locked up for a very long time. Similarly I think people with such serious mental illnesses they are dangerous should be locked up, possibly forever.

But once you’ve served your time, I don’t think you should be walking around with a scarlet letter for the rest of your life. If you’re walking around you have paid your debt. The fact that we let violent felons go with relative slaps on the wrist or let them out on parole is the problem here, not the firearm or the “murder in our hearts.”

I don’t want ANY checks on firearms. I DO want to see a serious re-thinking of our criminal justice system. The idea that someone convicted of drug possession will be denied the fundamental human right of self defense long after they’ve served their sentence is obscene.

As the title says: with “friends” like Omed, gun owners don’t need any more enemies.

Posted in firearms, Guns Dammit!, Left-Wing Nut-Jobery, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Gun Pr0n and Range Report: Winchester 1300 Shotgun

Posted by Bill Nance on July 13, 2009

I finally had a chance to get our new shotgun to the range this weekend. After literally an entire month of rain, we finally had a sunny day yesterday.

The gun itself is a Winchester 1300. It’s a pump-action 12-gauge, which, without a dowel, holds 4 shells in the tube and one in the pipe. Winchester also makes an 8-shot version called the Defender. Barrels change out easily. A few quick twists of the magazine plug and you can swap barrels in about 15 seconds.

I was able to get hold of a virtually unfired gun. The original owner said he’d put less than a single box of ammo through it and true enough, the gun was spotless. Along with the gun came two barrels; one, an 18-inch barrel suitable for home defense and the other a 28-inch ventilated rib barrel, along with a full and a modified choke.

Winchester 1300 w/18" bbl (28" bbl also shown)

Winchester 1300 w/18" bbl (28" bbl also shown)

As I got it it had a folding stock and pistol grip, which I’ve removed.

Some of my readers may ask why I got rid of the tacticool setup. The answer is two-fold: First, this is likely to be the first gun I pick up in the middle of the night when the dogs are going berserk and the bad guys are coming. If, (God forbid) I actually have to shoot someone, the last thing on earth I want to do is give some hoplophobic district attorney something to show a jury that’s been “modified” to look scary. If you think this is paranoid, you aren’t paying attention to the news. It happens a lot, even in supposedly “gun-friendly” states, much less here in Mass. It’s one of the reasons I would never EVER carry reloads in a defensive gun. I can already hear the DA telling a jury: “He specially made these bullets to be extra-special deadly!”  A pistol grip isn’t especially useful for me. If you’re practiced and confident with a shotgun you don’t really need one, and unless I had no other choice I would never shoot a 12-gauge shotgun using just a pistol grip. Try doing that once (not recommended) and you’ll see what I mean -it hurts!

The other reason I changed back to the standard stock is that as a teaching aid I usually try to refrain from scary-looking guns for some audiences. My wife and I are especially trying to reach out to the urban, non-gun culture crowd. It’s hard enough to get these people to come to a class without having the first guns they’ve held in their hands looking like something they’ve seen Rambo using.

I got this gun primarily as a teaching aid. I’ve gone bird hunting twice and after finding out just how much I detest plucking birds I haven’t been out since. Still, when we teach home firearms safety a pump-action shotgun is a necessity because they are so very common as well as being my top recommendation for home defense.

The gun is a truly excellent piece of design. The slide is smooth and incredibly fast. You can rack a new shell into the chamber while the gun is still shouldered easily and as fast as any gun I’ve handled. Loading is simple and fast and unloading the gun is quickly accomplished with a slide release at the left-rear of the trigger housing.

I took a couple of shots with the 18-inch barrel with a target #8 load and at 21 feet it left a satisfying large large hole in the target. But the real fun was taking it out to the trap range to see if I was still as good as I used to be at shooting clays. (It’s been a long time since I did it last). Yes, I can still shoot them as well as ever and I had a ball until my wife insisted she was bored pulling the rope for me and we moved on to shoot some of our other guns. I will definitely be back though. I’ve never been a member of a gun-club before (out west your “range” is walking out your back door or taking a 5-minute drive up to the hills) and Harvard Sportsmen’s Club has a fine trap range.

I paid $300 for the whole setup and I’m very happy with it.  I would highly reccomend this gun to anyone. They can be had for about $250 used in reasonable condition and additional barrels run about $120 new.

Posted in firearms, Guns Dammit! | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Michael Jackson: Pedophile? Maybe. Popular singer? Sure. Important to Music or Culture as a Whole? Gimme a Break!

Posted by Bill Nance on July 6, 2009

We just got back from our fifth anniversary trip to Montreal tonight.  It was a wonderful trip where we got together with some old and some newer friends, had a ball at the Montreal Jazz Festival and got a chance to have stellar Paella at our favorite restaurant.

We had some down-time here and there and of course it always takes me a while to fall asleep, so we had a chance to watch the boob-tube for a while, mostly CNN, trying to get more on the Palin resignation, or on Iran.

Apparently Michael Jackson’s death and all the idiocy surrounding his life is the ONLY thing of import happening in the world.  At least if you’re CNN.

I have freaking news for you people, he wasn’t that big a deal.

Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Buddy Holly, The Beatles and The Doors all had lasting impacts on popular music that are 1000 times more lasting and serious than anything Michael Jackson ever even approached.  He was about as significant a figure as Fred Astaire when you look at his dancing, or as Paris Hilton when you look at anything else.

And of the above mentioned rock/blues bands/artists, none were ever indicted twice on child molestation charges.

He’s dead, and no crying from me.  For all you people acting as though he was Elvis, get a friggin grip.

And CNN has officially been removed from my list of reputable news sources. Anyone that devotes 24/7 coverage to Michael Jackson in the middle of giant news events goes to the bottom of the list. You’d be better off watching Fox. How pathetic is that?

Posted in Journalism, Rants | 4 Comments »