Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Citizen Simian?

That's what Spanish Socialists want:
The Spanish Socialist Party will introduce a bill in the Congress of Deputies calling for "the immediate inclusion of (simians) in the category of persons, and that they be given the moral and legal protection that currently are only enjoyed by human beings."
This begs the question (actually it begs a LOT of questions, especially about the rationality of socialists, but anyway): do these socialist whackjobs plan on ape suffrage? Is this some strange socialist plan to garner more votes? Do they not know that apes, once they gain voting rights, will simply form their own splinter party in an attempt to gain worldwide political power and to force slavery and their bizarre socio-political views upon humans? You know, like socialists?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Rational decision-making process

NYC's Mayor Bloomberg (cough*RINO who rode Giuliani's coattails into the mayor's office*cough) has brought together the mayors of 13 major cities for a "Gun Summit" to discuss how to prevent gun deaths in their cities. Naturally, a group representing gun manufacturers asked if they could speak to the mayors:

"Our industry has developed programs that are working to reduce criminal misuse of firearms," Lawrence Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, wrote the mayor.
"We would welcome the opportunity to educate mayors about these programs."

You'd think that a group that is meeting to discuss gun safety and criminal misuse of firearms would like to hear from the industry producing and selling the firearms and would more than likely prefer to continue doing so, right? Well, the NSSF got the door slammed in it's face:

"Are they mayors?" asked Stu Loeser, Bloomberg's press secretary, dismissing the request out of hand.

A statement like that would imply that only mayors will be discussing the issue, wouldn't it? Think again. Here's what the official press release for the event said a few days ago:

This first-ever Gun Summit will be a daylong event in New York City beginning with a morning symposium outlining best practices from cities across the country followed by a panel of the nation's leading experts on gun crimes.

A panel of the "leading experts on gun crimes," eh? Are they mayors? Nope. So, is this symposium of mayors truly unbiased? No. If they were rational and unbiased they would understand that the problem is not the guns used in crimes, it's the people who use the guns in crimes. Too bad Bloomberg and the others don't want to face that fact. It's much easier to deflect responsibility elsewhere.

Be honest, Bloomberg. It's not a "Gun Summit." It's an "Anti-Gun Summit." It couldn't be anything else; you designed it that way.

h/t-Cam Edwards via Bitter.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I Want to Believe

Scully is single again. Which means step 1 of my Plan is complete. The whole Plan?

Step 1: Gillian Anderson single again.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: A Garm/Gillian union.

The Plan admittedly needs some fleshing out, but I believe that the underlying principles that were used to formulate the overall concept are sound, and worthy of further research.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Steven Seagal Watch #11

That's right, the Ponytailed One is back, and this time it's NOT a movie on the USA network at 3 in the afternoon on a Saturday. Nor is it life-changing display of his patented flurry of punches or the blizzard of roundhouse kicks he can unleash from at will from underneath his belt-overhanging gut, rather, it's a "rare appearance" at a Canadian casino with his band, Thunderbox (chuckle-snort). Even now, his Canadian True Fans can see the oily master of the art of human destruction LIVE and in person, mumbling and whispering his way through the opus that is "Songs From the Crystal Cave," which we first mentioned here.

The steamroller that is Seagal is rolling through Canada as we speak. . . prepare yourselves for annihilation, for a U.S. tour cannot be far behind. And people laughed when I told them they needed to stockpile food and ammunition. . .

Friday, April 21, 2006

Reactions to the GA “Illegals” law

Somehow I missed this article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution* yesterday, but it's still worth mentioning. First up, here's what an international relations expert in Mexico City had to say:

It's having an impact on how [Mexicans] believe immigrants are perceived --- as a threat to cultural values, as a cost to the state.

Hmm. . . why would illegal immigrants be considered "a cost to the state?" Maybe it's because they are? I could care less about a "threat to cultural values," since I don't have any general problems with another person's culture, but illegal immigrants have chosen to break the law of the country they ostensibly want to become citizens of, and that's not an issue of culture, that's an issue of the law in this state. Illegals want to partake in government services for which they have not paid. Therefore, they are in fact a cost to the citizens of this state.

Moving on, it seems that the government of Mexico, shockingly enough, isn't fond of the new legislation either:

Implementing the Georgia law could result in "acts of discrimination" against Mexicans living in Georgia, Ruben Aguilar, spokesman for President Vicente Fox, told reporters Tuesday.

What discrimination? Does the law say, or has any Georgia lawmaker said, that only illegal immigrants from Mexico are being "targeted?" No, it doesn't. This is not an issue of racism or discrimination toward Mexicans, it's about serving the needs and wants of the people of Georgia, which is what we elected our officials to do, and is something that happens rarely enough.

"It's the position of [Fox] that the half-measures in this law are insufficient to resolve ... the complex phenomenon of immigration between Mexico and the United States," Aguilar said.

What about the complex phenomenon of non-citizens in this state receiving services that citizens paid for? Why is it so apparently shocking to Mr. Fox that Georgians want, demand, and are (hopefully, anyway, I'm still not convinced that this isn't just election year grandstanding) getting change? Aguilar makes an interesting turn of phrase there too: "phenomenon of immigration between Mexico and the U.S." Between, eh? Worried about that flood of Michiganders flowing across the Rio Grande into Mexico, are we? How about the "phenomenon of ILLEGAL immigration INTO the U.S. from Mexico, with the tacit, if not explicit, consent of the Mexican government?" Time for a little spokesman-on-spokesman action:

"This is not an anti-immigrant law. It is a fairness issue. This is saying that people should come in the front door, not the back door, and that the laws of our country and our state need to be obeyed. We are a hospitable people in the state of Georgia, but when folks wish to immigrate to the country, they need to do it in a legal way," [Georgia Gov. Purdue's spokesman] McLagan said.
By the way, how has Mexico treated immigrants to their own country, the vast majority of whom are merely transients on their way to the U.S.?

The level of brutality Central American migrants face in Mexico was apparent Monday, when police conducting a raid for undocumented migrants near a rail yard outside Mexico City shot to death a local man, apparently because his dark skin and work clothes made officers think he was a migrant.
. . .
The Mexican government acknowledges that many federal, state and local officials are on the take from the people-smugglers who move hundreds of thousands of Central Americans north, and that migrants are particularly vulnerable to abuse by corrupt police.

That's right, the Mexican government acknowledges the corruption in their own system while simultaneously condemning the state government in another country for doing something that it's citizens want done, on the same issue. According to the Mexican government, we're racists discriminating against Mexicans, while their own agents kill one of their citizens because his dark skin made him look like a migrant. That's just one example, by the way; the article linked above is well worth a read.

The real money quote from the AJC article came from state Sen. Chip Rogers:

I challenge President Fox to reread Senate Bill 529, and if he can find a single reference to Mexico or any foreign nation, I will move to repeal 529.

I would suggest the government of Mexico stop concerning themselves with what we do in Georgia and instead worry about their own corrupt government, which has caused millions of their own citizens to leave their home country. A foreign government has no place in making Georgia law.

Damn straight.

Previous:
Well, it's a start...

*The AJC may require registration. Sorry.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wow...Just, Wow

Woman watches her sister burn to death.
MIAMI BEACH, FL -- In an odd twist of fate, a sister caught her sister's last minutes alive - without even knowing.

Maria Ramoutar and her sister were in separate cars on their way back from Miami Beach when Maria saw a fiery car crash. She decided to videotape it with her cell phone.

Four people inside that burning car died, including Maria's sister.
So she took a video recording of a burning car, with people inside it, with her phone. Her phone. A device that can be used, among other things, to call emergency personnel. I was only a little amazed and disgusted at humanity at this point. Then I read the last two sentences of the article:
Maria didn't find out it was her sister till the next day. Now she says she wishes she would have done something to save her.
But four unknown people, well, screw them. Nice, lady. That's just swell of you.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Well, it's a start...

The new Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, that is. Who knows if the state will enforce the new law, but at least they got my phone calls and emails. . . OK, so it probably (definitely) wasn't just MY phone calls and emails, but at least the lawmakers here in Georgia are doing SOMETHING. The law, signed by Gov. Purdue Monday,

denies many state services paid for by taxpayers to people who are in the United States illegally. It also forces contractors doing business with the state to verify the legal status of new workers, and requires police to notify immigration officials if people charged with crimes are illegal immigrants.

Fine with me. I'm all for the benefits and services resulting from my tax dollars, the dollars that I've literally bled for (nailguns, saws, etc. . . even if you're careful, they always win), NOT going to someone who hasn't payed their own taxes. Why should the citizens of Georgia be possibly denied the full benefits of their citizenship for the sake of someone who wants those benefits without the responsibilities? Oh, and if someone comes back with the "Americans can't/won't do the jobs that illegals do" mantra, you can go to hell, since you have such a low opinion of Americans (I'm looking at you, McCain).

I'm not completely unsympathetic though; all people have individual natural rights; for example, illegal immigrants who are in need of immediate health care deserve prompt and professional treatment. When they're well, put 'em on a one-way bus or plane back home. Additionally, I do think that the process (NOT the requirements) to become a citizen takes too long. Want to naturalize? Fine, prove that you're not a criminal or terrorist, here's your I-551, take these tests, congrats, you can vote, you have until April 15th to file your taxes. It doesn't need to take 10 years or more.

By the by, I don't care one iota about the nationality of illegal aliens. The point to me is neither where they're from nor is it how they got here, be they "fence-jumpers" or someone who's grossly overstayed their visa. The point is that if the immigrants are illegal, they should not be benefiting from the taxes of Georgia's citizens, be they Mexican, Russian, Canadian, Martian. . . OK, that last one would actually be pretty cool, but it probably ain't going to happen anytime soon. If a person wants to legally become a citizen of the United States and the State of Georgia, I'll welcome them with open arms. However, to have the benefits that being a citizen brings entails also means having to accept the responsibilities of being a citizen as well.

I do have reservations about the bill, but those are mostly born out of the cynicism I feel regarding the state of affairs in this country. Will this law actually be enforced, or is it merely lip service to the conservative base in Georgia to maintain control of the General Assembly?* According to Gov. Purdue, it's the Georgia government's

responsibility [. . .] that our taxpayers are not taken advantage of and that our citizens are protected.

I'll take that at face value, but my aforementioned cynicism won't allow me to hold my breath. Will this be the first step toward true immigration control in this country, or is it going to be ignored and unenforced like so many of our immigration laws? I hope the former. I'll leave the last word for State Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Dist. 159), who sums the issue up quite succinctly:

What part of illegal don't you understand? We want people who are here illegally to become residents and to become taxpaying citizens just like everyone else is.

That about sums it up.

*Hey Media, it's called the "
Georgia General Assembly," not the "Legislature" down here. Been that way since 1777. A minor point, but it's a pet peeve.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

So...Who Are We Lynching Again?

The Duke rape story. Yes. Yes, we gotta say something about this...nightmare. To me it just sums up exactly the problem. The media rushed to judgment on the accusation of rape by white Duke athletes, then turned on a billion-dollar dime, and rushed to judgment on the alleged victim because the DNA (the media's favorite, only, and magical evidence) came back negative for the players. Even though, as I recall, one player was reported having refused testing. Oh! There's no DNA the case is totally blown!

Not that I'm not on one side or the other; the DA, and many DA.'s seem to fall in this trap, might be trying to jockey for more political heft. A nice fat trial of the year could do just that, but who knows? Fact is a woman reported being raped on or about March 14th. Now, that's about a month ago. If she had no evidence other than her own word I doubt a grand jury would be looking at it, and reports are she's got injuries. So, I've got an idea: before we decide what happened, let's get together 6 or 12 regular folk, a panel if you will, and show the all the facts, then ask them what's the truth. Whatever decision they make we'll go with. We can call their decision, oh I don't know--just off the top of my head--a verdict.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sat. Gunblogging: The $5000 Gun Vault

"Saturday Gunblogging" posts are posts with which I indulge myself by talking about (usually) the equipment of the shooting sports. These are often topics extensively covered elsewhere in the gun world, but whatever; I like talking about 'em.

So I visited The Other Side of Kim yesterday and read a great post regarding an email from another reader soliciting advice regarding what firearms to buy if one was starting a collection and had $5000 with which to do so. Hmmm. . . my firearms geek interest was piqued. So I asked myself, "Garm, if you were starting from scratch, and had $5000 to build a practical gun collection and were able to get anything you wanted (excluding Class III/NFA as their prices make ownership quite impractical), what exactly would you get?" (I always question myself using long compound sentences.) So I decided to build my own list. . . this has the potential to be a long post. . . My list is built towards fulfilling 4 needs:
1) Self-Defense Carry/Home-Defense,
2) Plinking/Paper-Punching/Target Shooting,
3) Hunting, and to a lesser extent
4) Battle-Rifle/SHTF (s**t-hits-the-fan; basically a collapse of law and order, e.g. post-Katrina... Not too likely, but chance favors a prepared armory.)
Of course, Kim's going to do 2 lists; one for "volume" and one for "quality." Mine is more geared toward the "quality" end of the spectrum. So with that in mind, here's my list, using approximate "street" prices and also like Kim's post, with a running aggregate cost in parentheses. At first glance, $5000 doesn't seem like a lot of money to use when building a firearms collection, but I found that if you're selective and think about the role you need each firearm to fulfill, you can stretch 5 G's surprisingly far. Anyway, here's my list:
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1) Springfield Armory Stainless Mil-Spec 1911: $650 ($650)
Self-Defense Carry/Home-Defense/Target/SHTF
Kim's correct: every gun owner should own, or at least seriously consider owning a 1911, and you can't go wrong with an SA-branded model. In my humble opinion, the 1911 chambered in the venerable .45 ACP is the best "general purpose" handgun available today, equally suited for carry (open or CCW), home-defense, combat, etc. They're accurate, battle-proven (many times over) and my God, do they look good. Kim chose a parkarized model, but I prefer the Stainless Steel version. . . they just look better to me. The only thing I'd really want that the Mil-Spec doesn't have is some good night sights, but those aren't that expensive to have installed.

2) Remington 870 Express Synthetic (w/2 barrels): $325 ($975)
Home-Defense/Targets/Hunting/SHTF
If there is any firearm that can fill a huge variety of roles, and defines the role of the firearm as a tool, the synthetic stocked 870 pump shotgun is the one. It's tough, it's cheap, it works forever, and requires very little maintenance. The reason I specified two barrels is because the 870 comes with either a long barrel (26"/28") or short barrel (18"). I'd prefer both, and why not save money by just buying an extra barrel instead of another gun? The long barrel would be for fowling, deer hunting (w/slugs), skeet/trap, etc., with the 18 incher swapped out for home defense duties. Not only that, but a 12 gauge shotgun offers a HUGE variety of shell loadings, from very light shot up to huge rifled slugs, which adds considerably to it's versatility. Oh, and there's a huge (HUGE) amount of after market accessories available. I can't say enough about the 870.

3) Ruger 22/45 Mark III: $275 ($1250)
Target/Plinking
Everyone needs a .22 pistol. They're fun, cheap to shoot, and offer good training opportunities for both the novice and the experienced shooter. I love Ruger Mark III's, mostly because of the fact that my father taught me to shoot with one, and thus I have a certain nostalgic attraction to the model. When Ruger came out with the "22/45" subset, I was pretty excited, since I'm (obviously) a 1911 fanboy, and the 22/45 approximates the controls and grip angle of a 1911, which makes it a great companion piece for the 1911 shooter, since .22 ammo is really cheap, and can be bought anywhere. If I was going to suggest a "first gun" to the novice shooter, or was going to train a novice shooter, I'd suggest/use a Ruger 22/45 Mark III. . . and I have, many times. Of course, one could save anywhere between $50 and $100 by buying another brand or model, but I'll take the Mark III, thank you very much. Their price/fun/accuracy/training value is outstanding.

OK, we could stop right there and have a decent little arsenal, covering home defense (1911 and 870), plinking/target (all of them), and to lesser extent, hunting (870) and SHTF (1911 and 870), all for less than $1300. But we have $3750 more dollars to play with, so let's get a little more specific in the genres I set above.

4) Kahr CW4043: $500 ($1750)
Self-Defense Carry
As much as I love the 1911, it's a big pistol that is not always suited for carry, especially in a hot environment where CCW is limited due to clothing necessities (like shorts and a polo shirt). That's why the CW4043 is perfect for a "summer carry" piece: It's small, it's thin, it's light, and it comes in a "real caliber" of the street proven .40 S&W. It's not available yet, so that price is optimistic (the MSRP is $533, and I doubt street pricing will be much less). I LOVE Kahr pistols though. . . I don't own one personally, but am very familiar with them. They're small, they pack a punch, they look good, and they're reliable. They're also kinda expensive, but I like 'em enough to make them worth it; besides, the CW line is their inexpensive line.

By the way, Kahr's website is a little funky, so the link above takes you to their front page; you'll have to look up the CW4043 from there.

5) Kel-Tec CNC P3AT: $250 ($2000)
Self-Defense Carry
Sometimes, you just need a really tiny gun, which the P3AT is. It's not really good for shooting very far beyond 3 yards, and it's chambered in .380 ACP (get it? P-3-A-T?), which is marginal for a self-defense round, but it's good enough for the purpose of this weapon: backup and "not-even-notice-it's-there" carry. Seriously, you can put one of these in a pocket and forget about it, it's that small and light. Neither this pistol nor the Kahr above are really that good for plinking; they're small and light, so the recoil's pretty sharp.

6) Ruger 10/22DSP: $200 ($2200)
Target/Plinking/Hunting
I chose the 10/22 for no other reason than that they're common, and the DSP model specifically because I think the walnut stock is prettier than the generic hardwood of the lesser models. Really I just needed a .22 rifle to fulfill the same role as the .22 pistol, but for rifles: they're cheap to buy, cheap to shoot, and are great training tools. Plus they're fun to plink with and are decent varmint guns.

7) Savage Model 10GXP3: $500 ($2700)
Hunting/Target
I'm choosing the Savage to fill the role of dedicated hunting rifle for the same reason as Kim: For the money, there is no other new rifle that matches the quality, accuracy, and aesthetics of the Savage 10. In fact, you'd have to spend a significant amount more money to get more rifle. With the addition of their excellent "Accu-Trigger" system a few years ago, Savage really locked up the market on high-quality, decently-priced rifles. It comes in many calibers, but the .308 Winchester is the most common, and most versatile, of all the middle-range calibers. And the 10GXP3 package comes with scope, so there you go.

8) Ruger GP100 4 inch barrel: $450 ($3150)
Self-Defense Carry/Home-Defense/Target
Wheelguns are just plain cool and classic. I chose this one somewhat grudgingly, since I'm actually more of a fan of the Colt Python (mmmm... python... greatest.pistol.ever.) and the S&W Model 19, but those are not made anymore, and used examples can get way up there in price. That's not to say I don't like the GP100, because I love the GP100; I just love the other two more, with my lust for the Python bordering on the unnatural. A .357 Magnum revolver, and especially the GP100, is one versatile handgun. You can load 'em up with light .38 Special loads and plink all day or put in some full-house loads and have a blast, literally. Also, a wheelgun in this chambering is a great woods gun as well as a great bedside home-defense gun. . . they're simple, powerful, and, especially in the case of the GP100, super-reliable. Plus, they make a good choice to arm someone "on the fly," which makes it a great companion to the. . .

9) Marlin Model 1894C: $400 ($3550)
Home-Defense/Hunting/Target/SHTF
Very few things are as fun, as classic, or as reliable as an old-fashioned lever-action rifle. They evoke memories of all those great cowboy movies and they're true American classics. Marlin (since Winchester closed it's doors this year) offers the best variety of styles and calibers right now, and I'm choosing the 1894C because it's chambered in the .357 Magnum pistol round, which, with the added velocity of the 18.5" barrel, is one hell of a good round for medium sized game. It's light, it's handy, it's easy to learn, and, especially when combined with the GP100 above, makes a great rifle with which to arm someone in case of a SHTF situation, or any other situation where you might need to arm another person. After all, a long gun/handgun combo in the same caliber makes a lot of sense to me. Oh, and it'll shoot .38 Special too, which makes it LOADS of fun for plinking.

10) Springfield Armory SOCOM II: $1450...maybe ($5000)
SHTF/Hunting (kinda)/Target (kinda)/Male Reproductive Organ Enlarger (definitly)
OK, this is where Kim and I differ the most. He has a predilection for milsurp rifles, which I completely understand since I like 'em too, and his first list is geared toward quantity instead of quality. . . not that any of his choices are crappy guns, since none are; we just have different preferences. The reasons I chose the SOCOM II are 4-fold: it's chambered in a great, fight-ending battle/hunting caliber (7.62 NATO/.308 Win.), it's short and handy (though heavy), it's tough (based on the battle-proven WWII M-1 Garand and the M14, which is still used by our troops today), and it's a very, very versatile rifle. It's meant to be used as a defensive/offensive weapon for home-defense and SHTF, or in the case of the police/military, as a CQB and medium-range rifle. Not to mention that it would make a wonderful brush gun, heavy-cover hunting rifle, or ranch gun, although it's a little expensive if you want to use it for just those roles. . . but remember, I'm shooting (no pun intended) for choosing a rifle that fills many roles here. It's basically the latest version of said Garand, geared toward modern versatility, what with it's rails, shorter barrel, and synthetic stock. In a SHTF situation (or in a pinch, a hunting situation) it can be used to rapidly engage targets out to about 300-400 yards with iron sights or a scope. Yeah, you can buy about 8 really nice SKS's or 4 decent AK's (both great, reliable battle rifles) for what one of these uberguns cost, but in my view, you sacrifice range, accuracy, the modular benefits of the Cluster Rail (lights and lasers and scopes, oh my!), and the wonderful .308 Win. cartridge. Which, by the way, is widely available across the country, while the supply of 7.62x39mm cartridge the SKS/AK variants use is largely dependent on foreign sources. Oh, and that $1450.00 figure? That's if you're lucky. . . SOCOM's are expensive and in high demand right now, which is interesting, given that it has an admittedly bad cost-to-usefulness ratio. But I still really, really want one.
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So there it is: what my $5000 worth of guns would be, were I to buy them all at once. Not that that is actually going to happen, but it'd be fun if it did. I think I filled the criteria I set for myself quite well. Unless you're going to Africa or Alaska anytime soon, this collection of 10 guns will cover about 90% of all needs, with plenty of overlap. And for all you know, I may already have anywhere between none and all of those guns already. . .

PS-If you made it all the way through that, you are at least a Level 1 Gun Geek. . . The sad thing is the fact that I could have gone on a LOT longer about all of them . . .

On Banning Guns

So I'm watching Shooting Gallery on TV, already in the pro-gun mindset, and, in my ramblings across the interweb, I run across a little blurb about more gun bans. It seems that Boston is attempting to ban specific guns from ownership by law-abiding citizens. Great. This time, the gun-haters are going after the Barrett .50 Rifles, the new FN Five-seveN, and the new Smith & Wesson Model 500, under the pretense that they're all "Cop-Killers." The actual article is short, and I've already summed it up, but here it is in full:

The City Council yesterday unanimously passed a petition to ban certain ''cop killer" firearms and stiffen offender penalties. The legislation will add the FN Five-Seven, .50 cal. Smith & Wesson, and .50 cal. Barrett to the city's assault weapon's ban. Possession of illegal firearms also will now carry a minimum, mandatory one-year jail sentence under the legislation. Before it takes effect, the petition must be approved by the mayor and state lawmakers.

Oh, where to begin. Well, I think I'll pick a quick nit: the article, in calling both the Barrett and the S&W ".50's" is not correct, and implies that the two firearms are of equal power. The Barrett rifle fires the .50 BMG cartridge, which is what I'm sure the average person, and these lawmakers, thinks of when they hear "50" and "gun" in the same sentence. The S&W 500 pistol uses the .500 S&W Magnum cartridge, the bullet of which is shorter, somewhat lighter, and has considerably less power than the .50 BMG, though considerably more power than just about any other repeating handgun. The ONLY THING these rounds have in common is their nominal bullet diameter. Ok, now that I cleared up that little bothersome inaccuracy, let's move on to the actual meat of the proposal and what I think about gun bans in general.

First of all, the cop-out of hanging the moniker "cop-killer" on a specific firearm is nothing more than an attempt at creating an emotional response in someone who may be equivocal on the subject of gun rights and ownership. For example, if someone stabs a cop with a steak knife, is that brand and model of steak knife now a "cop-killing steak knife?" No, of course not. The other steak knives in the kitchen drawer are still steak knives, unwittingly awaiting their implementation in the role for which they were they designed: cutting steak. They're tools that were designed by humans for humans, and their use depends entirely upon the actions of the user. If one really wants to delve into the more abstract realms of philosophy, one could make the argument that the knives do not exist until such time as they are used by one who wields them, since when they are sitting in the drawer, they serve no purpose, and have no sense of "self," as living creatures do. It's no different when those concepts are applied to firearms: they're inanimate objects, machines designed to be implemented by thinking humans. It's intellectually dishonest, at best, to say that a firearm, any firearm, is "a cop-killer." Yes, guns are designed for specific purposes, and yes, some people use firearms in heinous ways, but the key phrase there is "people use." The gun doesn't do anything of it's own free will, as it has none. If a person DECIDES that they are going to kill a police officer, then they are SOLELY responsible for their subsequent actions. The gun isn't a "cop-killer;" the person is. Yes, this is a rehash of the old cliche, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people," but in all honesty, that is not a cliche; it's a truism. Why are these lawmakers trying to keep inanimate objects out of the hands of those who haven't yet committed a crime?

Let's move away from the philosophical aspects of the issue and look at the actual guns under the guillotine of misplaced political action. All three of these firearms are powerful firearms, and are designed for specific purposes. The Barrett .50 is designed for long-range shooting, and when I say long-range, I mean LONG RANGE, like 1000+ meters. It's almost 5 feet long and weighs over 30 lbs., without a long-range scope and the heavy ammunition. They're made in relatively small numbers and are very, very expensive, their price ranging anywhere between $3,000 (for a very used older model) and $10,000+, depending on the model. In civilian use, they're used in long-range shooting matches (out to a mile!) and for some hunting applications. I've never shot anything beyond about 300 meters, and I can't imagine how hard it must be to shoot a target a MILE away, which is the point of civilians wanting to own these rifles: it's friggin' hard to shoot long distance, and is more a matter of the skill of the shooter than the size of the rifle. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that Boston already prohibits the unlawful discharge of firearms within their city limits (which I have NO problem with) and it's doubtful that a lawful Barrett-owning Bostonian would want to shoot his/her rifle in the city anyway. Besides, how many Bostonians actually own these rifles? And why would a common criminal with cop-killing on his mind want one of these uberguns anyway? And why would he spend $10,000 to do it? And where the HELL is he going to put it!?! These things don't exactly fit in the trunk of your average small car, much less in a pants pocket. If a criminal does want to use one these rifles and presumably already has enough cash on hand, why would he bother buying one legally in the first place? Does the criminal really want that paperwork on file and available to the authorities?

Which brings use to the next firearm on the chopping block: the S&W M500, a weapon expressly designed to bring medium-rifle power to the hunter who'd prefer the relative compactness of a handgun. I say "relative compactness" because the smallest example of a 500 is over 10 inches long and weighs 3.5 lbs., unloaded, which is pretty daggum heavy for a pistol. The more common version is over 15 inches long and weighs over 4.5 lbs. Both versions cost about $1000, minimum, but they're so new and because their production is so far fairly limited, that price is very bottom end. Like I said, these pistols are designed specifically with the handgun hunter in mind, with one-stop shots on deer, wild hogs, and on one video I've seen, on a bison(!), or for personal protection in bear country. These are big, heavy, expensive, limited guns, and man, are they great tools to use out in the bush. But they're still small when compared to a rifle with comparable power, which makes them perfect for an urban-dwelling hunter who wants to get into the country every now-and-again and doesn't want to have to keep a long gun locked up and hidden away. For that matter, they make great guns for the outdoorsman who wants to hunt his game of choice, but doesn't want to pack a 12 lbs. rifle all over the Great Outdoors.

And now we come to the last firearm up for bannination, the FN Five-seveN, so named because of the cartridge it was designed around, the 5.7x28mm. Yes, this cartridge was designed to pierce body armor, but no, those rounds are not available to the public, unless they have a Class III firearms license, which is notoriously hard to get and is stringently regulated by the Federal Government. (Extensive background checks and possible inspections via the BATF if you want one) The rounds that ARE available to the public are conventional cartridges, meaning they are NOT armor-piercing. In fact, the only thing they have going for them is their high-velocity (for a handgun), which is great for varmint/target shooting, but not so good from a personal self-defense standpoint. In other words, the handgun in question isn't armor piercing; a specific bullet that can be used in it is, and that's already strictly regulated!

So to wrap up, the lawmakers in this specific case, and anti-gun legislators in general, are woefully un- or miseducated on these three firearms and others, and worse, so paralyzed by their "if it's a gun it's EVIL" mentality, that they're trying once again to regulate that which they personally don't like out of existence. Now I don't deny that these guns, and many others, can be and have been used to commit crimes, but again, who used them in these crimes? Law-abiding citizens? No, of course not. They were used by criminals, by definition, and those criminals should be punished. But instead of strongly enforcing or strengthening the laws against the violent actions of criminals, anti-gun lawmakers and the anti-gun lobby would rather criminalize inanimate objects, regardless of who uses them. It's the unlawful users of these guns who should be regulated and punished, not the lawful users and owners. To me, these are self-evident truths, but obviously, these lawmakers haven't gotten the memo.

One last question to all the liberal constitutional-rights activists out there: When are you going to give the 2nd Amendment as much weight as the rest of the Amendments?

[/rant]

Friday, April 07, 2006

Invasions From Within

I highly recommend reading La Shawn Barber's excellent short essay on the recent illegal immigration goings-on and the bill that stalled out in the Senate today. Here's a sample:
Pardoning illegal aliens and allowing them to continue benefiting from their illegal activity sends a strong message to others inclined to disregard America'’s immigration law. It also sends a message to America'’s hard-working legal citizens and residents: screw you.

The rule of law has been eroding for some time now. Think about the effect amnesty will have on criminal aliens who commit additional crimes, especially the ones prone drinking, driving, and killing innocent people. The word illegal is rendered meaningless. If flouting immigration law isn't illegal, why should drunk driving be illegal? Or selling drugs? [emphasis mine]

That's been my thinking about it in a nutshell. Read the whole thing.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Lewis "counsels" McKinney (UPDATED)

Or rather, he tries to, says The Hill this morning. I've actually been waiting to hear what Rep. Lewis had to say about McKinney, for a number of reasons:
1) He's the senior member of the GA delegation,
2) The GA delegation has been rather tight-lipped about the whole McKinney freakout, and
3) His district (the 5th) is very similar demographically, politically, etc. to her's (the 4th).
And what, pray tell did he say to her? To shut up, basically:
I told her she needs to lower the temperature and stop holding the press conferences. I don't think it had any impact because she is still going on all the TV shows.
That's a pretty measured response, given the fact that she's making not only the Democratic party look bad (or at least giving the GOP more ammunition), but also making the Georgia delegation, and the voters who elected her, also look like fools with her disgraceful actions. The article goes on to say that
Lewis said other members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) had also told McKinney to back off, adding that she had little support in the group. It held an emergency meeting last night to discuss the issue, a House source said.
"Discuss," as in, "How do we get her to SHUT THE HELL UP." Not all the Democrats in Congress are crazy (just misguided), and more than a few would not only like to be reelected, but to see a member of their party in the White House in a couple of years. To them, this should be and could be a non-story, if McKinney hadn't started calling press conferences to allege racism on the part of the Capitol Police. Now she, and they by proxy, are getting all kinds of bad press, which they can ill afford. Not to mention that the GOP can be seen in the background, trying to quietly sweep Tom Delay, et al. under the rug, laughing at McKinney all the while.

McKinney is rapidly becoming the laughingstock of Congress, which is no small feat, and she doesn't seem to realize it, wrapped up as she is in her world of personal conspiracy and rascism. In fact, I know of at least one conservative blogger in her district who's planning on voting for the Democratic Party challenger to her seat this July, just to keep her from going back to D.C.

Oh, and Cynthia, next time you want to fly singers to Atlanta, we'd appreciate it if you didn't do it with taxpayer-funded office supply money. And it's not your job to find out who killed Tupac (what, no love for Biggie?). In fact, she needs to read John at Right Wing News' "Cynthia McKinney's Road to Recovery." They're pretty simple steps, but I think it will soon be too late for her to turn back, since even some of her friends are beginning to abandon her.

*UPDATE: Malkin has links to the video of McKinney's "apology," which isn't an apology for hitting a cop, but an apology that the situation "escalated:"
I come before this body to personally express again my sincere regret about the encounter with the capitol hill police. . .There should not have been any physical contact in this incident. . . I am sorry that this misunderstanding happened at all and I regret its escalation and I apologize. [emphasis mine]
Um, yeah. Pay attention to the part I bolded. . . not exactly a mea culpa, is it? Also, scroll down a bit on Malkin's page and read about McKinney's privately-hired bodyguard threatening a reporter. A reporter from ATLANTA. Classy. Here's the video of that little incident, if you'd like to watch.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tammy Bruce on Sen. McCain

Specifically, on apparently thinking Americans wouldn't deign to do hard work:
Not only does he not deserve to even think about being president, he should not be in the U.S. senate. He is an example of the opportunistic narcissists in Washington whose only concern is their own career as they do whatever they think it'll take to advance themselves.
Here's the rest; it's well-worth a read.

Jesus Loves Porn Stars

The American Bible Society is refusing to print New Testaments (here and here) with covers that say "Jesus Loves Porn Stars." Well, doesn't He? That's what I was lead to believe, in the sense that Jesus loves everyone, regardless of who they are, what they do, etc. That's also what California ministers Mike Foster and Craig Gross apparently believe, and they're trying to reach out to members of the porn industry with their ministry, xxxchurch.com, a name I'm sure has confused more than a few people (#1 Christian Porn site. . .wah?). Yet the ABS, by not printing Bibles that are expressly marketed to those whom the vast majority of Christians believe to be sinners, seems to miss the point of their own website's headline:
Good News for Everyone

Not only that, but in their own mission statement, The American Bible Society says,

Our mission today is to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford, so all people may experience its life-changing message.

So wait a minute. . . Your mission is to get the "Good News" to "all people" but when two guys try to let porn stars know that Jesus loves them, even though they're sinners, you tell the two guys you won't help? I mean, Gross and Foster have a decent marketing scheme (after all, that is a pretty big part of evangelism) in that they're using a kitschy, if not downright cheesy, cover to promote their wares (salvation in the form of the words of Christ) to those who are living a life of sin. What exactly is the problem here? All Gross and Foster are doing is attempting to present a very old concept/product in a new and perhaps shocking way in order to bring some wayward sheep back into the flock. The cover doesn't say "Jesus Loves Porn," it says "Jesus Loves Porn Stars." Does the ABS preach only to the converted? Are porn stars not "good enough" to be forgiven by Jesus, in their view? After all, Jesus said to the sinful woman,

Your faith has saved you; go in peace.

In my view, that's one of the central points of the New Testament: to save everyone, even the sinners. The American Bible Company can do whatever they want, as is their right, but to say that all people should experience the New Testament's "life-changing message" and then not print a New Testament marketed to a specific group of people because the words "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" are "misleading and inappropriate for a New Testament" is just being hypocritical and worse, ignorant of that message.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Teaching the children

Two scenarios:

1) A middle-school kid drops a knife on the floor of his classroom, having hidden it up to that point in the day. Result? Expulsion.

2) A middle-school kid, a student at the same school as the first kid, realizes before he gets to school that he forgot to take his knife out of his pocket and, realizing his mistake, immediately gives the knife to a school official, explaining his mistake. Result? Possible Expulsion, already suspended.
What's the difference between those two scenarios? Personal responsibility, for one thing. According to the IndyStar article that details the story, Elliot Voge, an eighth-grader at Stonybrook Middle School, did exactly what is described in scenario number two. He was apparently using a Swiss Army Knife to whittle wood the day before. Wait, a 14-yr old boy whittling wood?? But that's so. . . so traditionally Norman Rockwell Americana! I'll bet he even has his Whittlin' Chit. He should have been playing an XBox instead of learning how to create something and actually use his mind. I digress. . .

Voge apparently forgot that he left the knife in his coat. So he did the responsible thing: he gave the knife to the school's treasurer, apparently the first school official he saw in the school office. And what happens?

As a result of Elliot's actions, the school's principal, Jimmy Meadows, suspended Elliot for the maximum 10 school days as allowed by law and recommended Elliot be expelled. A confidential expulsion hearing is scheduled for April 10.

Wait. . . so if he hadn't turned the knife in and was caught he'd be facing the same amount of punishment? The kid made a mistake. He "fessed up", as my grandmother would say. According to the article, Voge is a quintessential "good kid": good grades, recommended for advanced placement courses when he gets to high school, and "has never had any other disciplinary matter arise against him in his school years." Plus, he whittles! And takes responsibility for his actions and mistakes. This sounds like the kid one would WANT to have.

Yet he's being punished for his responsibility. I'm not saying he shouldn't be punished, since after all, he did bring a knife to school, which is not allowed and shouldn't be allowed, but a maximum suspension and possible expulsion? That is too much. If he simply kept the knife hidden away, in flagrant violation of school policies, and did not get caught with it, he'd be in a better situation than he is in now. What kind of message does that send to his classmates? According to the attorney Voge's family hired to represent them,

Their message is to be dishonest, take more chances.

After all, another of the school's zero-tolerance policies is for students "to report knowledge of deadly or dangerous weapons or threats of violence to the school administration." And be punished for it. Because god forbid we teach children that they should do the right thing.

Future Leaders of the Free World

Why is it that male frats and college sports teams seem to consistently engage in the kind of bacchanalian homoerotic adventures that, if they weren't engaged in under the pretense of "building brotherhood," would make the Village People's "Biker" cringe at their flaming gayness? I mean, we've all known guys like this; I'm sure they're in every high school and college in the nation. They constantly bash gays, in the age-old Alpha-male ritual of asserting masculinity by picking on those they view as less masculine than themselves. Yet here they are, dressed in women's underwear, almost naked, arms around their "brothers" and "teammates," obviously drunk and uninhibited. . . about five minutes away from finding out the origin of one of the alternative definitions for the word "bottom." Hey, whatever, this is America, and they have every right to live whatever lifestyle they choose, just as I have a right to live my hetero, non-gaybashing lifestyle.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Face the Wrath of Doctor Doom!!


Bah! Who dares sully the name of DOOM!!! Apparently, a lizard expert has been labeled Dr. Doom for his crazy, murderous views. He reportedly called for murdering a majority of the globe's population to save the earth--oh and he think lizards are our equals (which is nuts because lizards are obviously way better than us). Did he say it? Who cares. The real questions are only two: 1) who is so foolish as to compare my idol Dr. Doom with a tree hugging crazy that is clearly sexually attracted to lizards? He's really much more like the Batman: TAS Ras al'Ghul, who wished to return the world its natural perfection. 2) This phony Doom claims he speaks only to the converted. I find it interesting that there are enough people for killing the human race that one could work speaking tours with them and give them a collective name. I consider this a possible prank, but even so, the name of DOOM will be avenged.