Friday, March 25, 2005

Flying

(Via The Travel Insider)

I used to fly a fair amount on commercial airlines. I wasn't what we would now call a "frequent flyer", but I probably averaged once a year in the 80s. In the 90s, after marriage and kids, flying became a non-issue--no money and no need.

Now, the kids are older, money is sort of available, and there are some places I'd like to see that are beyond what I consider an easy drive of a day or two duration. But I'm going to drive if I want to go to them. No flying for me.

Since the advent of the TSA, I've made a rule that it will take a situation beyond life and death for me to subject myself to the tender mercies of the TSA and the commercial airlines. We've all have heard the stories about lousy airline service, and based on an informal poll of people who have flown recently on various airlines, the service really is, on average, poor.

We've also heard and continue to hear stories about the TSA and their efforts to put the US airline industry out of business keep us safe while flying.

Here's the most incredible story I've heard on that subject. Completely unreported in the Legacy Media, it deserves to be known. A man is dies on an American Airlines flight for unclear reasons. The story changes, drastically, in each retelling. I won't go into the details; you need to read it for yourself.

The level of inconsistency in the story is scary. Mr. Lee is partly at fault, but the end result and what appears, to my untrained eye, to be the beginning of a cover-up are simply unbelievable.

The TSA needs to be reigned in and forced to take the steps that would result in actual safety improvements for the flying public--whether those steps are politically correct or not. The US government needs to get out of the airline subsidy/bailout business (which we as taxpayers are funding, in case you've missed it) and allow the market to eliminate the airlines that can't--or shouldn't--survive.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Wise words for the blogger

(Via Likelihood of Confusion)

It's always very easy for a blogger to get caught up in the moment and write something that perhaps shouldn't have been written (or at least should have been written differently). NewComm Forum Blogzine has an excellent article on libel that's a must-read for all bloggers. Forewarned is forearmed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

"An armed society..."

"is a polite society." So sayeth Robert A. Heinlein. And today in the National Review Online, John Lott gives us the scientific numbers to back up that (for me, at least) cherished assertion.

We know there have been a number of high profile mass shootings recently. But the Legacy Media, as usual, spins the story along the typical "Guns are bad! Guns are e-e-e-vil! We must ban guns!" For the children, of course.

But what they don't tell you, won't tell you, can't tell you least they have to admit that all of the anti-gun crappola that has spewed forth from them for years is just that, are the actual statistics:

Bill Landes and I have examined all the multiple-victim public shootings with two or more victims in the United States from 1977 to 1999 and found that when states passed right-to-carry laws, these attacks fell by 60 percent. Deaths and injuries from multiple-victim public shootings fell on average by 78 percent.

...

...more than two million times each year that Americans use guns defensively are never discussed — even though this is five times as often as the 450,000 times that guns are used to commit crimes over the last couple of years.

...

...a quarter of the public-school shootings were stopped by citizens with guns before uniformed police could arrive.
(Oh my! Vigilante justice! How horrible! We must ban their guns! For the children!)

Of course, Mr. Lott makes the point that all law-abiding (while grumbling all the time about the idiocy of it) gun owners are not the problem. It's an excellent point that any of us can use when talking to the antis:

A three-year prison term for violating a gun-free zone represents a real penalty for a law-abiding citizen. Adding three years to a criminal’s sentence when he is probably already going to face multiple death penalties or life sentences for a murderous rampage is probably not going to be the penalty that stops the criminal from committing his crime.

None of what he says is really new; I've seen most of it on the various gun boards scattered across the Internet. But the service he does us by bringing it all together in a nice, neat package is incalculable. Read it, and be well prepared the next time an anti wants to lecture you on the evils of private firearm ownership.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Greetings from the Hickory, NC Gun & Knife Show!

March 19 saw yours truly venturing to the Hickory, NC Gun and Knife (and junk, as usual) show, meeting up with some old friends and new acquaintances.

I guess I shouldn't be too harsh, there was less in the junk category than usual. Only one vendor was totally non-gun. She was selling those little etched crystals that sit on a base and collect dust around the house. I think she believed that all us husbands would feel sorry for our wives, who were being good sports and coming to the gun show just to be with us--and buy them a pretty. The Freeholder learned about this one a long time ago--Momma stays home when I go to the gun show! (This is aside from the fact Momma wouldn't be caught dead at a gun show.)

There was a good variety of sellers for most items, but no one selling reloading supplies, which had been the stated reason for the trip. There was one fellow with a rather eclectic assortment of dies and a few bags of once-fired brass, and that was it.

Prices were widely variable. You would have someone with a good price on, say, a DPMS AR-15 in A3 configuration (not that I was looking all that closely, you understand). Next door, a gun similar in all respects was 50% more. One bunch was selling South African 7.62 NATO surplus ammo for $260/case. Right across the isle, someone else is selling it for $200/case. Guess who was selling more ammo?

It also seems that interest, at least in the selling of, side-by-side doubles is growing. I was several dealers with tables full of old doubles. I'm really jonesing for nice one, and it tried my selfcontrol, but I looked and passed on. Maybe one of these days....

I did finds some ammo bargains, outside of the above mentioned South African surplus. Winchester reduced recoil 00-buck for $2/box if you bought 10 or more boxes. Works for me. I also bought an Uncle Mikes Kydex holster and magazine holder for use at the range, and a few other odd and ends, including a copy of Boston's Gun Bible (the revised edition). I was also able to buy an inexpensive (you know, cheap) 3x9 scope for an inexpensive Winchester Model 70 I've had for a while. Not a great scope, but good enough for the intended purpose.

The lunch excursion to Hooters also served the cause of general merriment.

The funniest line of the day came from a friend. We were waiting just outside the door for someone, watching everyone come out with their purchases (or what they'd failed to sell). He remarked "You know, we could make a fortune. We print up t-shirts that say 'My husband went to the gun show and all I got was this lousy t-shirt'. We'd clean up."

Great--another "non-gun vendor at a gun show" is born. Thanks, bud!

Officer Friendly update

(Via Wolfesblog and other sources)

It would seem that Officer Friendly has been suspended from his position as an undercover officer for the Drug Enforcement Administration. The hoot is that he wasn't suspended for being armed, stupid and damned lucky for the negligent discharge (ND) of his pistol in a classroom full of kids. He wasn't suspended for allowing his cover to be blown in front of a class of 4th graders in Orlando, FL. Now wait for it...

He was suspended for videotaping the incident.

Oh yeah, and they've launched an investigation to find out who leaked the tape.

This is sheer lunacy. I can see him being suspended for the ND. I can see him suspended for blowing his cover, apparently deliberately. But suspended for videotaping the event for posterity? Pluh-ease! Claire Wolfe and some others think he's been suspended for embarrassing the DEA, and I tend to agree.

It would would seem that Officer Friendly shot himself in the foot in more ways than one.