Evolve Together

February 19th, 2014


This video has been making the rounds lately, and I think it's hilarious.

It was conceived by Evolve Together. Founder Rebecca Bond came out briefly and vaguely on the general issue of violence after Sandy Hook, but she doesn't appear to be aligned with any of the usual gun-control groups. Of course, the anti-gunners have learned to be sneaky with their affiliations and finances, and it's suspicious that they haven't reached out to any of the mainstream gun groups for support.

The video itself was produced by Saatchi & Saatchi, who have done some gun-control work in the past, but I don't know if that was relevant in this case.

Despite the out-of-period weapon (repeaters weren't around until 80 years after ratification), it contains a message gun folks really need to take it to heart.

Continued »

Rogue 2 is Down

February 18th, 2014


Christopher Malcom has passed away at the age of 67. He played Zev Senesca in the Empire Strikes Back.

If you don't know who that is, you can do your penance by watching the original trilogy again tonight.

This Affects Us All

February 16th, 2014


Michael Dunn has been convicted on three counts of attempted second-degree murder. The conviction follows an altercation in which he fired into a car following an argument over loud music with the occupants. While the trial didn't generate the same media coverage as the Zimmerman case, it's still national news. It's also still a problem for us.

There are three parallels to the Zimmerman case. The first is race. We don't know that it was a factor in Dunn's decision to open fire, but it's going to come up anyway.

The second is the media focus on Florida's "stand your ground" law, despite the fact that it's not relevant. Neither Dunn or Zimmerman ever requested a pretrial hearing in accordance with the law. Both men allowed their legal counsel to run the case in front of a jury. Nonetheless, there's a groundswell of activism to repeal those laws, and Shannon Watts (now funded by Michael Bloomberg) is taking point on the initiative.

Third? The State's Attorney in charge of the case is Angela Corey, the same person who prosecuted Zimmerman and Marissa Alexander. It should be noted that this jury agonized for over 30 hours to convict Dunn, but the jury in the Alexander case took less than 15 minutes to do so.

I could also harp on the borderline incompetence of legal counsel. Zimmerman's lawyer cracked "knock knock" jokes in his opening statements, while Dunn's lawyer made some outlandish statements to the media. The most unsettling was, "I believe that it will be extremely clear that Mr. Dunn acted as any responsible firearm owner would have under the same circumstances."

What? Responsible firearm owners don't get into fatal confrontations over loud music. Responsible firearm owners don't blindly open fire on an occupied vehicle, nor do they shoot at it when it's driving away. Responsible firearm owners don't leave the scene of a shooting to go order pizza and cocktails, then drive 130 miles home before contacting the police.

Michael Dunn isn't a responsible firearm owner. He's a vigilante and a racist. These are his own words:

The jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs. This may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these (expletive) idiots, when they’re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.

He's not us. He doesn't represent us. Yet the media and our opponents are going to do their best to make it look like he does, and perception is what matters.

An Unexpected Win

February 14th, 2014


Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a surprising verdict in the case of Peruta v. San Diego [pdf]. California's requirement that applicants for concealed carry permits prove "good cause" has been ruled unconstitutional. 

The district court erred in denying the applicant’s motion for summary judgment on the Second Amendment claim because San Diego County’s “good cause” permitting requirement impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense. [p. 77]

Wow. Nobody really expected that from this court, and I really didn't expect this from Judge O'Scannlain, who was less than helpful in Nordyke.

Continued »

By Ysgramor's Scraggly Beard

February 12th, 2014


☠☠☠☠. Really. I mean, ☠☠☠☠.

I guess I'm not going anywhere for awhile. On the bright side, I still have power. Many people in Georgia don't at the moment. Fortunately, everyone knew enough to get off the roads before the worst hit.

The bird feeder gets pretty popular in this weather, and I'm getting visitors I've not seen before.

Bird Feeder

Here's hoping something thaws by tomorrow.

Here We Go Again

February 12th, 2014


It looks like we're in for a repeat performance of the weather problems we had two weeks ago. As usual, our infrastructure is woefully underprepared. People may be stuck in their houses for several days, and power outages are likely. We can expect a bit of finger-pointing when it's over, but nothing will change.

In the meantime, make sure you've got batteries charged and your 30-caliber magazine clips loaded. For while we sit at home and eat Cheetos, the Draugr are training.

Everybody's an Expert

February 11th, 2014


The Truth About Guns has a review of the new Remington R-51 pistol in which the author perceives numerous shortcomings in the design. I might be inclined to take him seriously if he actually seemed to understand the gun in question.

It works more like a Luger P08 than anything else, with a fixed barrel and short-stroke style action.

The R51 doesn't work anything like a Luger. It uses a delayed blowback mechanism, while the Luger has a unique toggle-lock system. I suppose we could stretch the criteria and claim that the pistols are similar because both fire the 9mm cartridge, both feed from a removable magazine, and both have fixed barrels. Of course, that would mean the R51 is also identical to the Steyr GB or the H&K P7, which is hardly the case.

It's unfortunate he didn't like the R-51 as much as his Glock, but if he's going to sound credible, he needs to better understand the things he's reviewing. Some server space, a few advertisers, and some artificial controversy do not a gun expert make.

Acceptance vs. Investigation

February 5th, 2014


Last night, Bill Nye debated Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis. It didn't go so well for Nye.

Why? Because Ham has certainty on his side, and certainty isn't something scientists do. Scientists don't accept explanations without proof, and they're smart enough to admit when they don't know something. Creationists, on the other hand, claim to have all the answers. At the end of the day, the latter approach appeals more to a crowd.

Creationists generally issue a few stock arguments against various theories, most of which are easily debunked by even the layman. Notice the insistence that the second law of thermodynamics (entropy, in short) invalidates the concept of evolution. What they're missing is that Carnot's law applies in a closed system, not an open one.

Someone needs to tell the guy in picture #21 that the Big Bang was not the result of an exploding star. The lady in picture #5 asks how we can have sunsets without God. That would be due to the fact that the earth is round. It rotates on an axis, and the part on which she's standing sometimes rotates away from the sun. We've sent out spacecraft which have more than adequately demonstrated this.

There are plenty of Christians who believe the earth is more than 4,000 years old, and there are many who have no problem with evolution. So, why do so many still choose dogma over demonstration? If one's faith is so fragile that it can't withstand new pardigms, that's a personal matter. The same things creationists want stripped from our textbooks are the very foundations of medicine, technology, and commerce.

Abolish those things, and we turn back 300 years of progress.

Gimmick Ammunition

February 4th, 2014

RIP bullets

It's a new year, which means we have to endure yet another company proclaiming a new and "revolutionary" bullet design. This time around, it's the tactfully-named RIP Ammo.

It certainly looks intimidating, but it's really nothing new. A similar design was used on the old Kaswer Law Grabber (also known as the Pin Grabber) back in the 1980's. Law enforcement failed to embrace the cartridge, just as they've ignored the terrorist-slapping hyperbole of a similar offering from Extreme Shock. Extravagant claims are made, but the ammunition inevitably fails to live up to them.

The RIP ammunition doesn't appear to be much better. Performance of their 9mm load appears to be equivalent to two rounds of .22 LR. So, there's that. I'd also expect serious deformation and setback when these are chambered more than once in an automatic pistol. Accuracy? Tactical Ninja LLC probably hasn't considered that an important factor.

Furthermore, consider being involved in a self-defense shooting in which there's doubt. Sure, the guys on the internet or at the gun shop counter make claims about "clean shoots," but things can go wrong and perception can vary. Are the detectives and the DA's office going to give me a cookie and a medal for cleaning up the streets?

Not always. If I get hauled before a grand jury, using this kind of ammunition could lead to some questions about motivation and mindset. Stick with proven, common designs.

Always with the Democrats

January 31st, 2014


We've got eleven Democrats retiring from Congress this year: four from the Senate and seven from the House. While gun owners will hardly miss Carolyn McCarthy or Henry Waxman, we're also losing a few allies. For all the facile claims that the Republicans support the 2nd Amendment and the Democrats don't, this may be of interest.

Tom Harkin of Iowa and Carl Levin of Michigan both co-sponsored the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act and have F ratings from the NRA, as does Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. On the other hand, consider Max Baucus, who holds a B rating. Despite some weirdness about "smart guns," he voted against the Manchin-Toomey amendment. You may recall that Manchin and Toomey are both Republicans, not Democrats.

In the house, we bid adieu to McCarthy and Waxman, who were of course rated F by the NRA. Also leaving are Jim Moran of Virginia and George Miller of California, both of whom sponsored the magazine ban (I am not writing that out twice!) when it was in the House. Both have F ratings from the NRA.

But we also lose Jim Matheson of Utah, who has a B+ rating and broke ranks with his party by voting to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt over the Fast & Furious debacle. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina holds an A rating, and Bill Owens of New York holds an A+ from the PVF.

So there we are. The Red/Blue dichotomy isn't as clear and simple as many would claim, and we do ourselves a disservice by assuming it is.

49 Words for Snow

January 29th, 2014

49 Words for Snow

There's a longstanding myth that the Inuit have 50 words for snow. While they do have quite a few, there are just as many in English. Consider "flurry," "blizzard," and "sleet" for example. In fact, there are quite a few similarities between languages, such as the ubiquitous phrase, "umiatsiaasara pullattagaq nimerussanik ulikkaarpoq."

Snow Day

January 28th, 2014


When it snows, the wolves come.

Maia Derping

…or at least, Derp Hound. As far as I know, this is the first time Maia's seen snow. She seems to approve.

Frozen bird feeder

Meanwhile, my whole yard looks like a Joni Mitchell album cover.

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