The Eclectic One

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Archive for the ‘firearms’ Category

Merchant Ship Guards Kill First Pirate. Predictably the Pacifists Have a Hissy

Posted by Bill Nance on March 31, 2010

Private security guards shot and killed a Somali pirate during an attack on a merchant ship off the coast of East Africa in what is believed to be the first such killing by armed contractors, the EU Naval Force spokesman said Wednesday.

The death comes amid fears that increasingly aggressive pirates and the growing use of armed private security contractors onboard vessels could fuel increased violence on the high seas. The handling of the case may have legal implications beyond the individuals involved in Tuesday’s shooting.

The guards were onboard the MV Almezaan when a pirate group approached it twice, said EU Naval Force spokesman Cmdr. John Harbour. During the second approach on the Panamanian-flagged cargo ship which is United Arab Emirates owned, there was an exchange of fire between the guards and the pirates.

An EU Naval Force frigate was dispatched to the scene and launched a helicopter that located the pirates. Seven pirates were found, including one who had died from small caliber gunshot wounds, indicating he had been shot by the contractors, said Harbour. The six remaining pirates were taken into custody.

Crews are becoming increasingly adept at repelling attacks by pirates in the dangerous waters of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. But pirates are becoming more aggressive in response, shooting bullets and rocket-propelled grenades at ships to try to intimidate captains into stopping.

Several organizations, including the International Maritime Bureau, have expressed fears that the use of armed security contractors could encourage pirates to be more violent when taking a ship. Sailors have been hurt or killed before but this generally happens by accident or through poor health. There has only been one known execution of a hostage despite dozens of pirate hijackings.

You have GOT to be joking.

The last sentence of that article is a simple falsehood. In fact, entire ships have disappeared, crews and all, never to be heard from again. In another case I’m aware of, the entire crew was executed. Granted these cases occurred in Indonesia, but the idea that if you offer no resistance to a boarding of your vessel by pirates you are SAFER is simply astonishing in it’s naivete.

This is gun control writ large. And out on the high seas, apparently International Maritime Bureau is just like Martha Coakley: they discourage self help.  According to these geniuses, just give up, pay the ransom and you will be allowed to live with only minimal risk. So if one of these qat-chewing goatherders

blows you in half with an AK because he’s you know, a criminal who’s a cat-chewing goatherder with an AK, I guess you were just the unlucky one.

It might occur to some of you that when ships offer no resistance and warships can’t protect them, and where the ship owners will pay large ransoms every time, you have an environment which only encourages more attacks.  But that doesn’t matter as long as no one picks up a weapon to defend themselves.

This is the ugly face of modern neo-pacifism. It’s the same kind of face that goes white as a sheet at the thought of a person having a gun on them for defensive purposes.  They’re not real pacifists of course. They’re perfectly happy to let the police or military kill people. But god forbid an individual or group of individuals should protect themselves. No, they should just have the decency to die quietly.

Pacifism is unethical.  “Turn the other cheek ” is not saintly, it merely assists in tyranny.  When I refuse to defend myself or anyone else, I merely empower others to exert their will over me and others. If more than a tiny fraction of people acted like this we wouldn’t even have a country, much less a free world.

The far-left and yes, even the less than far-left, loves the idea of pacifism. The more you get toward the center, the more they’re willing to let hired killers do their dirty work (as though soldiers and police doing the killing somehow evades moral culpability on the part of those who support them). But the notion of honest people taking up arms to defend their lives from criminals horrifies them. And it’s that latter sentiment which should disgust everyone.

As pernicious as the idea of pacifism may be, the hypocrisy rampant in these neo-pacifists is particularly disturbing. There are not nor will there ever be enough soldiers/police to keep you safe from bad guys at all times. That is a fact that no rational person can even argue against. And the neo-pacifists aren’t even morally opposed to killing bad guys. So their stated goal of keeping merchant ships disarmed, or on a more personal note, keeping law abiding citizens from owning or carrying guns for self-defense, is outright evil.  They may as well come out and say it.

“Our demonstrably failed ideology is more important than your life.”

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Posted in Crime, firearms, gun control, International, Law & Order, Rants | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

We Don’t Let Blind People Drive….

Posted by Bill Nance on February 11, 2010

So why in God’s name do we let anti-gun, hoplophobic people who know nothing about firearms or firearm safety try to mandate safety practices they don’t even understand?

The latest genius effort?   … wait for it…. Childproof guns.

Yep, This is a new meme coming from among other places, the Million Mom March (aka ignorant women with no common sense).  According to these mechanical engineers,firearms experts, idiots, guns can be made as safe as a teddy bear. Sure, hand your kid that 1911 that shoots a 230-grain projectile at 865 fps. It’s ok, because the MMM has passed laws that made guns safe as a teddy bear!

Think I’m joking?

Childproof Handguns make good sense!
Many products are regulated to make them safe to be used around children:

  • Medicine bottles have childproof caps;
  • Toys for young children are made with parts that cannot be swallowed; and
  • Teddy bears and dolls must be made of non-toxic, non-flammable materials

And how, pray tell, does one make a gun safe for 4-year-old johnny to cuddle up with all by his lonesome? According to the Brady Campaign (who sponsors MMM):  Loaded Chamber Indicators.

I kid you not. these idiots insist on trying to mandate a loaded chamber indicator as a child-safety device on firearms.

To those of you who don’t know what a loaded chamber indicator is, it’s a tab, or colored piece of plastic that is supposed to show when the chamber of a semi-auto racking handgun has a cartridge in it. The idea is that rather than checking to see if the gun is actually loaded, you can use the little tab (which is nearly invisible in most cases) to see if you’ve got one in the pipe. Yes, that’s right. Don’t actually CHECK, use the mechanical device (which can FAIL) to save yourself that extra 1 second which it takes to just look for yourself.

Basic safe gun handling indicates that you keep the gun unloaded until ready to fire. That mean’s you’ve removed the magazine, racked the slide to eject any loaded cartridges and re-checked the chamber just to be sure.  IN THAT ORDER. This is the only method of which I’m aware to be SURE a semi-auto handgun is actually unloaded. If there’s another way to be SURE, I don’t know it and I’m a NRA and State Police certified firearms safety instructor.*

So a loaded chamber indicator would do exactly what to keep kids safe from guns?  That’s right, nothing. In fact, a good bit LESS than nothing. In fact, an LCI is an open invitation to use unsafe gun handling techniques which will, absolutely and without question, lead eventually to a tragedy. You can be certain as the sun rising in the east that some jackass will use this to indicate whether or not his gun is unloaded, that it will fail and he will shoot someone. I’d be amazed if this hasn’t already happened.

Of what utility is the device? None. Zero. Nada.

If you want to check for a loaded chamber on a semi-auto handgun, you rack the slide and LOOK. You do NOT trust to a mechanical device (which can fail) to tell you something that 2 seconds and your own eyes can tell you without any possible error.  Why would you use a loaded chamber indicator? I can only think of one possible use for them and it’s a practice you’re a fool to follow:  That is, before you holster your defensive sidearm that you use the device to see if you’re fully loaded.

If you carry a semi-auto and keep a round in the chamber, that means you practice defensive tactics with this in mind. You draw, release the safety if there is one, aim and fire.What happens if the loaded chamber indicator is stuck or otherwise malfunctioning and in fact there is nothing in the chamber?

You get to hear the loudest noise in the world: a click instead of a bang. In a defensive situation that is likely to mean the difference between life and death. Are you SURE you want to bet your life on the LCI?  -Me neither.

So here we have the Million stupid person Mom March and the Brady Bunch calling for a device which actually increases the danger associated with handguns and claiming it’s going to make guns childproof.-Like a TEDDY BEAR.

I have news for the MMM and the Brady bunch: There is no such thing as a child-proof gun.

There are only GUN-SAFE Children.

That is, kids trained in basic gun safety, which starts with STOP, DON’T TOUCH, GET A GROWNUP.   You’d think educating kids about gun safety would be something these well-meaning authoritarians do-gooders would love wouldn’t you? But oh no, the antis don’t want the NRA’s award-winning educational program “Eddie Eagle” in schools to teach safety.  Oh noes, not the NRA! (shudder horror) No, they’d rather legislate new “features” which make our kids and everyone else demonstrably LESS safe than they were before.

This is how we got an “Assault Weapons” ban that banned vast numbers of firearms for nothing other than the way they looked. This is how we made felons of anyone from New Hampshire that  that makes the mistake of bringing his perfectly legal 13-round magazine into Mass. when he comes here for a shooting competition.

Only this nonsense is infinitely worse. It actually increases the danger of the firearms that the hoplophobes are so frightened of in the first place.

So I propose a new rule:

No one gets to talk about gun safety, gun handling or gun laws until they can pass a basic firearms knowledge and safety test. The test, which is part of the NRA’s basic home firearms safety course is trivial. Any eight year-old could pass it with thirty minutes instruction. Of course this means that it’s well beyond the comprehension of the average Brady Bunch member.

Gun Safety Training: Because you can’t legislate away ignorance or stupidity.

*Disclaimer: I am not in any way speaking for the NRA. I am speaking strictly as a private person. the opinions expressed in this article are mine alone.

Posted in Creeping Fascism watch, firearms, gun control, Guns Dammit!, hoplophobia, Rants, Stupid people with firearms | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

California Police Chiefs Back Off On Gun Control Measure

Posted by Bill Nance on January 13, 2010

Well, they did it. The California hoplophobes, a decades-long majority in the state legislature  has finally managed to come up with a gun control idea so stupid even the notoriously anti-gun California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) can’t support it: Microstamping.

In case you don’t know what microstamping is, here’s a good description along with California’s iteration of the process:

Firearms microstamping is the process by which firearms manufacturers would have to micro laser-engrave a gun’s make, model and serial number on two distinct parts of each gun, including the firing pin, so that in theory the information would be imprinted on the cartridge casing when the pistol is fired. Legislation mandating microstamping in California was signed into law in 2007 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) and was slated to take effect this New Year’s Day (2010); however, since the technology remains encumbered by patents it cannot be certified by the California Department of Justice and therefore has not been implemented.

Other people have written about this incredibly bizarre idea California is trying to mandate, but I thought I’d add my 2¢, with the excuse of the letter the California Police Chiefs Association (Which has rarely met a people gun control idea it didn’t like) sent to the California AG saying essentially, “woops.

{From the letter: } Publicly available, peer-reviewed studies conducted by independent research organizations conclude that the technology does not function reliably and that criminals can remove the markings easily in mere seconds. We believe that these findings require examination prior to implementation.”

In other words, the technical flaws of the idea without any other argument needing to be made makes this a stupid idea. But the letter itself is a perfect example of the ignorance and hypocrisy inherent in the idea of requiring the microstamp in the first place, much less registering individual gun owners.    In it’s own words the CPCA references the fact that criminals can easily find a way to evade detection via a firearm registration scheme as one of it’s reasons for opposition to the bill.

“Criminals can remove the markings easily in mere seconds.”

The antis can’t manage to come up with even a remotely plausible scenario in which this stuff would solve many crimes, even if they got everything they wanted. But they want it anyway.

To many who don’t know or care much about guns, gun registration doesn’t sound like a big deal. And if you don’t know anything about microstamping, and much more importantly the assumptions that its supposed efectiveness rests upon, it might not sound like a bad thing. I mean, it’s supposed to help the cops solve crimes right?

The only problem is that this simply isn’t the case.

Microstamping guns and registering individual gun owners depends on a large number of things for them to make more than the very slightest difference in catching bad guys. And trust me, I was a crime reporter for years in an area with high gang violence and lots of shootings. I know whereof I speak.

First, and most easily shown to be false, is the required assumption that guns used by criminals are legally owned and obtained by said criminals. Otherwise having the murder weapon (or shell casing in the case of microstamping is useless.- There’s no connection to the shooter. Microstamping, or even posession of the weapon used will only provide a connection to the gun shop that originally sold the gun or if there is registration of guns as well, a connection in some cases to a previous owner of the firearm.

That won’t help.

We have actual numbers on this stuff. They are released by the FBI and most states every single year, and wide-ranging reports, even those submitted by Clinton Administration appointees and staff in the justice department have concluded that the vast majority of crimes are committed by people with previously existing criminal records, which bars any legal purchase of a firearm, people under age to posesss a firearm legally, and in a staggeringly large percentage of cases, where the gun is stolen or obtained from an illegal black market, so far removed from the original source that tracing is virtually impossible.

Essentially, their excuse for logic is that the thing they want to use for crime solving is the one thing they are absolutely certain to not have, even with the most stringent of registration/microstamping provisions.

First, there are a grand total of about 500-600 unsolved homicides in California each year. About 2/3 of those (following national statistics) are committed with a firearm. Many of these are caught the following year, so the real number of cases where absent more information on the gun could possibly help solve otherwise unsolved cases is already very small. Knowing who used to have the gun legally is of very little help in most cases.

Microstamping, even if it were trivial to do and worked every time rests upon the idea that there are lots of cases where:

  1. A registered gun is used in a crime by a legal gun owner or someone to whom he knowingly gave the gun
  2. Which isn’t a revolver
  3. The perpetrator doesn’t pick up his brass
  4. The perpetrator keeps the gun after committing a crime with it instead of reporting it lost/stolen
  5. The perpetrator is not otherwise tied to the crime
  6. The perpetrator hasn’t altered the gun to defeat registration/microstamping requirements

Is this true for more than a handful of cases? For this they want to spend millions, make ammunition AND firearms prohibitively expensive for all but the well-to-do and cost the state yet more jobs as anyone who is in the firearms business or cares about their human right of self defense, rapidly flees the Golden State.  Like the famous “assault weapon” ban, where the Justice department noted that fewer than .75% of gun crimes were committed by “assault weapons” and that hi-capacity magazines seemed to make no difference in terms of numbers of people injured or in rounds fired, this is another solution to a problem that doesn’t exist outside Sarah Brady’s fantasies.

I gave up on Democrat politicians showing any common sense on gun control a long time ago, but this is enough to make my jaded opinions sit back in awe.  This is beyond stupid. As a matter of fact:

Posted in Crime, firearms, gun control, Guns Dammit!, hoplophobia, Left-Wing Nut-Jobery, Politics, Prison and Justice, Stupid Idea Watch | Tagged: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Image Of The Day

Posted by Bill Nance on September 2, 2009

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Bullet by Till Melchior

You can see more of this artist’s work here.

Posted in firearms, Guns Dammit!, Image of the Day | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Permanent Second-Class Citizenship

Posted by Bill Nance on August 30, 2009

SayUncle has a tidbit that I enjoyed reading, especially the comments on the post because they pose some interesting questions that go to the heart of our criminal Justice system.

The Juice:

The North Carolina Supreme Court says a 2004 law that bars convicted felons from having a gun, even within their own home or business, is unconstitutional.

Good. Civil rights should be restored once your debt to society is paid.

I often disagree with posts on this blog but here I think he nails it.

Historically the concept of “criminal records” are a fairly new thing. Once upon a time if you committed a crime, went to prison and got out, you could move to a new town or state and start all over again. Now, once you commit any crime anywhere, that record stays with you forever.

The problem with this is that when we release someone who has served their sentence, they enter into a lifetime of second-class citizenship. They can’t vote, they can’t own a firearm for self defense and they are barred from many many jobs where “being a felon” instantly puts them out of the running, even if their crime had nothing to do with the job. With the advent of $20 internet-based criminal record searches that absolutely anyone can run you can’t even lie about your past and have any hope of it not coming up.

A felony record, or for that matter even a misdemeanor conviction can keep you from obtaining anything more than menial employment at minimum wage forever. Is that the price we want to impose for owning an eagle feather? Yes, that’s a felony. As are countless other victimless crimes.

Think about that for a minute. An 18-year-old fool does something incredibly stupid, like taking a joy-ride in a stolen car, gets caught, does a couple of years in prison (which is hardly a trivial price to pay for an hour’s stupidity that didn’t hurt anyone) and forever more is consigned to wear a scarlet letter of FELON, no matter where he goes or how he lives his life no matter how virtuous.

And people wonder why we have high recidivism rates?

What’s the purpose of a criminal justice system anyway? Would not most people agree that it’s primarily to keep people safe from people who would prey on them, serve as an example to other would-be criminals and give the public some sense that justice is being done? Beyond that I suppose you could add rehabilitation, but experience shows prison is a lousy place for that. To deter people from re-offending you ghave to offer some hope for a future. Our current system does not. Quite the opposite.

I’m not talking about being soft on perpetrators. If you commit a serious crime the penalties should be stiff. If you attempt murder I’m quite content with locking your ass up for a very, very long time, possibly forever. If you break into a house you should do years, not months. I could go on down the list, but hey, committing a serious crime and getting caught should hurt. A lot.

But keeping people who have served every day of their sentences as second class citizens forever is just plain counter-productive. If you’re still dangerous, you shouldn’t be getting out of prison. If you’re not, then it’s time to wipe the slate clean, at least as far as the general public will ever know, and letting you start out fresh with the ability to make a new life. After all, it’s not like starting out fresh at age 30 after a ten-year prison sentence is a walk in the park under any circumstances, record or no record.

I’m fine with the courts keeping records. And I’m fine with the concept of throwing away the key on repeat serious offenders. But what we’re doing with the current system is throwing away the key on people who have made one serious mistake. And think about it for a moment: If you’re to be consigned to a life of minimum wage jobs and sucking up to the boss in fear he’ll fire you and you won’t get another just as crappy job, why the Hell would you not go back into crime? We’re asking people to make entirely irrational choices and then we’re surprised when they give us the finger.

Let them do their time. Eliminate parole. But once they’re out, restore their rights. All of them. Anything else is just tyranny to no purpose an makes even rehabilitated folks want to go back to breaking the law. What the Hell, at least that has some dignity to it, risk or no risk.

Posted in Crime, firearms, Law & Order, Prison and Justice | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gun Pr0n and Range Report: Colt Woodsman

Posted by Bill Nance on August 30, 2009

My lovely bride was surfing the net looking at guns we’d like to have but can probably never expect to afford when she stumbled over a Colt Woodsman for sale on GunBroker. There were only minutes left on the auction and no bids, so we bid the minimum to meet the auction floor ($250) and sure enough, the gun was ours. Since all the Woodsmans, even the 1973s have been declared C&R eligible we could get it sent directly to the house with our Curios and Relics FFL.

Now, a little history. The Colt Woodsman is actually the very first pistol I shot, way back in Boy Scouts 35 years ago. For decades the Woodsman was everyone’s first pistol. Like all the truly great Icons of 20th century firearms, John Moses Browning had a hand in designing this beauty and as ever, his elegance and simplicity of design shows through. The Woodsman had an uninterrupted manufacturing run of six decades from 1915 to 1973.  Colt put out three distinct versions of the Woodsman: the 1st series, which was made from 1915 up through 1941, the second series which changed the frame slightly and which was manufactured through 1955 and the third series which was made up until they dropped the gun in 1973.

Among current firearms out there, the Ruger Mark IIs and IIIs fill the same niche, but one look at the internals tells you they are nowhere near being equals.

At any rate, when my wife first expressed an interest in learning to shoot pistols the Woodsman was the first gun I thought of. Unfortunately they can be hard to find in good condition for less than $700 and that was simply more than I wanted to spend at the time for a .22 pistol. So picking up a functioning Woodsman for $250 was a very happy surprise.

Colt Woodsman

Colt Woodsman

Our gun is a 1936 1st series. The grips pictured are aftermarket but genuine antler, not plastic. When we got the gun there was a good bit of rust on it, thankfully all surface rust, which, after my wife the gun-detailer went to work on it quickly came off. the bluing is faded in a couple of spots and rubbed off completely on a small part of the frame in front of the slide, but otherwise the gun is in quite good shape, though it’s obviously seen a lot of use. The barrel is in fair condition, the rifling being worn but clear and the crown is showing a good bit of wear as well.

Today we took it out and shot it for the first time and it shoots quite well. I didn’t get a chance to bench-rest it for an accuracy test, but free-hand it was putting bullets in a three-inch group except for when yours truly pooched the shot by jerking the trigger.

I checked with our local gunsmith and a complete refit will run about $225 which will make this little shooter as fine a .22 semi-auto as you’re likely to find outside a $1000 + target pistol. And hey, it’s a JMB design -you can’t put a pricetag on that.

If you run into a woodsman in decent condition for less than $600 buy it. It’s a great little gun and a genuine piece of American history.

Posted in firearms, Guns Dammit! | 2 Comments »

Legaly Correct, Tactically Stupid

Posted by Bill Nance on August 28, 2009

The left-wing blogosphere is going apeshit over people showing up to Obama appearances open-carrying guns of various shapes and sizes. What’s behind the hysteria? In a word: fear.

Fear of guns and fear of people who have them and far more, fear of people who carry them.

I won’t go into the hysteria of the gun-grabbers. It’s all been said before. Instead I want to talk about the wisdom of those people choosing a political meeting about healthcare as a place for an in-your-face demonstration for RKBA.

It’s stupid folks. It’s incredibly bad tactics. It scares the bejeebers out of moderates who would normally be on our side and convinces absolutely no one who wasn’t already passionate about the issue. Worse yet, it’s another thing to throw out to moderate voters, the people who decide elections, to show that those gun people are just dangerous nutcases waiting to go postal.

Case in point:

Dumbshittery in action

Dumbshittery in action

This genius shows up to an Obama meeting on healthcare with a sign that quite directly calls for the shedding of the blood of patriots and tyrants; as in, you know, Obama. There is no other way to take this kind of statement. By itself it’s an obnoxious sign. I mean seriously, you’re going to have an armed revolt over healthcare reform? pulease. Grow the Hell up. But when you add the sidearm now it’s not just stupid, it hurts me. Because now the message stops being whatever the original point was and starts being about how dangerous people who own guns are.

Now, does Mister Dumbshit have the right to open carry? Of course. He even has the right to open carry to a political meeting. But it’s stupid to do so and even more stupid to do so carrying that sign.

Let’s face it folks, I’d put the odds of Obama going through a full term without a credible assasination attempt at slim and none. And that’s without any of the hyperbole on the right. Even if the guy was a conservative, his skin color alone makes a sadly large number of people in this country think: “Holy crap, there’s a nigger in the whitehouse.”  We can pretend all day long that isn’t true, but it is. And when that happens, succesful or not, clowns like this are going to get all of us blamed. It will be all about the gun, not the racist jerk that took the shot. And the grabbers will point to pictures like this and say “See? didn’t we tell you these people are dangerous?” Of course they’d do that anyway. But everytime they say it now, they’ll show this picture and scream “I told you so!”

There is a time and a place for everything. Even stupid signs, and yes, certainly for open carry protests. They happen not infrequently in New Hampshire and generally I’m all for them. People should be made to understand that people with guns aren’t dangerous. The best protests I’ve seen have been protests where open-carry advocates have picked up trash in town. What better face to put out to the community?

But this kind of crap is the polar opposite. Carry a sign calling for armed revolt while openly armed at a presidential meeting about something wholly unrelated to guns and no one gets the RKBA message. They get a message that people with guns are freakin looneys who need to be disarmed.

Every time I hear about stuff like this I shake my head. Who needs the Brady Bunch when we have fools like this on “our side?”

Posted in Barack Obama, firearms, Guns Dammit!, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Reporting While Armed: The Horror!

Posted by Bill Nance on August 14, 2009

Patrick Appel links to a story about Afghan reporters who are routinely armed for self-defense.

Patrick’s selected quote:

[If] a local journo writes a story that burns a big-shot in government or the drug trade, the reporter will be looking over his or her shoulder (to say nothing of their family’s) for years to come. I don’t know any reporters who carry a gun in the US. Here, I know more than a few reporters who won’t leave the newsroom unless fully strapped.

The original story is about Afghanistan’s dangerous environment, which is hardly a surprise. But the notion that reporters might need to be armed is something that only happens in third-world pestholes is stupid beyond words.

Let me share from my personal experience since I  was a crime reporter for several years.

For a couple of decades now, any crime reporter who actually does their job, as opposed to simply taking dictation from the local police department and talking with the occasional victim, is in serious danger more than occasionally. I’m not complaining about the danger, the streets in crime infested neighborhoods are more violent places than they used to be. But that’s far truer for the residents than for reporters who don’t live there.

If you’re following the scanner, going to crime scenes, talking with neighbors and witnesses etc. in Crack Central at 3am, you’re not unlikely to be accosted by people who really really don’t want the press there asking questions and taking pictures. This is one reason why you almost never see pictures and read interviews with witnesses that were taken at the time unless they happen to be at the scene with a dozen cops around. There are plenty of places where reporters are missing good stories because they aren’t safe for an unarmed person to walk around snooping, even in broad daylight.

The reason all this is bad for newspaper readers is you miss the actual facts, which are often quite different from what the police are saying. As a reporter, you fail to get a genuine understanding not only of the event, but of trends, gang affiliations and lots of other things that give you a depth of knowledge which allows you to inform your readers about what’s going on on a larger scale. In other words, you have no perspective.

Crime sells, so reporters are always going to write about it. It’s also interesting because it’s conflict, which fascinates almost everyone on some level. But how often do you read or hear that crime levels nationally are going down, but in one district, or small subsection of a city the crime rate is 30% above the state’s?  That’s a not infrequently the case and the overall number of murders in a city can be a meaningless statistic. Many police departments don’t keep statistics by neighborhoods and the ones that do don’t share “intelligence information” (not subject to freedom of information act requests) with reporters. If you live in Chicago, the murders in one or two sections may make up 50% of the city’s total. That indicates one area has a crime problem, not the city as a whole.  But reporters who just report blood and take dictation from the cops will never grasp that very important fact.

So if you’re going out there and hustling and taking a few risks (it’s still 10 times safer than being a steelworker) it’s prudent to be armed. I was able to avoid a serious confrontation or assault simply by warning several gang members that I was armed. Who knows how many problems this saved me with other people they talked to.  Criminals don’t like to mess with people who are armed and ready to defend themselves.  Absent a very good reason (like being a rival gang member) they leave you alone.

So I know it’s taking a different tangent from the story Appel linked, but I think the point remains a valid one. That the writer in question doesn’t know any reporters in the ‘States who carry speaks to American reporter’s timidity and hoplophobia, not just that Afghanistan is a dangerous place. I mean seriously, we already knew Afghanistan was dangerous didn’t we?

Posted in afghanistan, Crime, firearms, hoplophobia, International, Journalism | 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 »