Saturday, September 12, 2015

How about some good news?

Dave Markowitz notes a paper from scholar Dr. John Lott, "Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States", which is just chock full of concealed carry goodness, as well as being guaranteed to make any gunbanner cry in their pinot noir.  Among the more interesting facts:

  • The number of permittees is up substantially
  • The number of Constitutional Carry states is up
  • Taking all things into account, it is the number of adults with concealed carry permits that is driving crime down
  • Concealed carry permit holders are incredibly law-abiding citizens
It seems that the blood that is always predicted by those who would ban guns still stubbornly refuses to flow in the streets.  Now if we can start getting rid of the criminal friendly gun free zones, maybe we can end their blood dancing antics once and for all.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I shall not be donning the sackcloth and ashes this year

I'm not joining the national catharsis this year, and I doubt I will from here on out.  The tragedy that claimed the lives of 3000+ of our countrymen that day and many thousands in the wars since has been exploited to turn us into a nation that is afraid of it's own shadow.  "See something, say something."

Well, I see something, and I'm damn well saying something.  The terrorists won, and won bigger than they could have hoped for in their wildest dreams.  In the name of fighting terrorism, we have, for the most part willingly, surrendered much of what remained of our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.  Want to travel?  At the airport you'll be herded like cattle in your stocking feet, and woe unto he or she who has the temerity to question the blue-gloved goons that are Too Stupid for Arbys.  And because of one incident in France--France, for Pete's sake--we'll likely be doing the same if we want to take a train and probably a bus.  Pretty soon, our cars will quiz us about where we are going while the seat gives us a free proctological exam in case we're smuggling something up there (like the remains of our dignity).

Thanks to Edward Snowden, a man to whose memory we may one day erect monuments, we now know our government tracks pretty much every move we make, from financial to bowel.  The Stasi didn't have it so good.  Orwell missed the date by a few years, but in terms of the intrusiveness of the surveillance, the man wasn't nearly a big enough thinker.

License plate readers catch one crazy-ass murderer in Virginia, but invade the privacy of tens if not hundreds of thousands of others daily.  One right that was not specifically recognized in the Constitution--the right to be left alone and in peace--is not yours any more.  Step outside your house and you're not only subject to having your license plate scanned while you drive, but if you live in a metro area or a growing number of smaller cities and some towns, once you park and start walking you'd better smile, because you're on Candid Camera, and that camera is backed up by sophisticated facial recognition technology.  You're not going to be able to be anonymous in the crowd much longer.

Your privacy is shredded in many other ways, a Death of a Thousand Cuts, and we all willingly participate.  Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram and a host of other "sharing" sites entice us into sharing far more than we should with an audience the size of which a writer of 50 years ago could only hope for.  Grocery stores, discount chains, even auto parts stores all have affinity cards that give you discounts if you'll just let them track your purchases a little better.

I find is simply amazing that we allow our government (and let's note, it's being done to us by Democrats and Republicans alike) to intrude into every private space, and if they miss one, hell, we'll take a picture of it and put it on Facebook.  But we've been primed for this since 2001, because we've all become used to living in a surveillance state.  We've been told for years that the terrorists, why, they are right here among us!  There are terror cells right here, just waiting for the word from Ali al Sumdood to come out  and raise all manner of heck.  They're coming over the borders, mixing in with the flood tide of illegal aliens!  They're everywhere!  Eeek!

Odd that, in 14 years, none of them have gotten the word to do anything, and realistically, we're still as soft a target as we were on September 10, 2001.  And the US Air Force, while on vacation, has still caught more terrorists than the TSA.  And they had to go to France to do it.  Funny how that has worked out.

Folks, we've been sold a bill of goods.  All those thousands who have died...I'm pretty sure we've not gotten the value they thought they were buying us with their lives, and that pains me deeply.  All of those tomorrows sacrificed, the marriages that will never happen, the babies that will never be born, the Little League games that will never be watched, the dance recitals that won't be attended...all so that the various and sundry assholes in power can stay in power and enrich themselves and their friends.  And I'm not talking about our sock-puppet politicians, I'm talking about the true power, the people with their hands up the puppets' arses.

So today, the day that we are surrounded by the ghosts of 9/11, if you want to pay a tribute to them, take that moment of silence and think.  Think about how no one has let this crisis go to waste, and how other crises have conveniently popped up just as the powers that be needed them, and they haven't gone to waste either.

I think we've been played, and masterfully so.

Monday, September 07, 2015

An exercise in tab clearing

Whenever I think I'm going to get a little breathing space, I'm proven wrong.  The Higher Education Institution IT Department will be running at half its normal staffing level as of this Friday as I lose another person to the greener grass of just about everywhere else.  When you're paying 25-50% under market salary, this happens a lot, and given the inescapable fact that the job market for computer geeks has picked up quite nicely around here, they can't count on being able to pick up hired help on the cheap any longer.

Except they seem dead set on continuing to do so.  Current incoming resumes notwithstanding, the prevalent attitude on high is that we'll simply train them.  How we are supposed to run things during the period while these new people are being trained up into useful and knowledgeable employees is dismissed with much arm waving and comments of "You'll figure it out."

Yes, yes I will.  That's why I have a resume too, although it will be more difficult for me to make a move.  But in the mean time, I'm going to be very busy, and all those browser tabs I've been holding open with the laughable concept of using them for blog posts, well, they need to get closed.  So here they are, with minimal comment, I'm afraid.

Crimson Trace has a series of 7 videos on the subject of  "Training With Laser Sights".  If I hear one more Gun Store Genius say "Whatcha gunna do when th' battries go dead?" I may just use them for a practice target.  Modern laser sights run just about forever on a good set of batteries, and you get some visual warning before they die.  Crimson Trace even give you free batteries for life if you'll just sign up for the program.  Add to that the simple fact that the iron sights don't fall off your gun when you put the laser on, and you have a damn fine system going.

I used to be concerned about whether the laser could take the beating of life on a gun, but if they can survive in today's war zones, I think they'll survive for most of us.  Throw in a nice dose of presbyopia (getting old is for the birds) and the laser has now become a must-have accessory on any gun I'm going to bet my life on.  Try one out, but be careful, because you're going to get hooked.

"6 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Recoil Control With A Handgun"  One thing I've noticed when watching Mike Seeklander shoot is how little his pistol seems to come off the target in recoil.  Me?  You can measure my split times with a calendar some days.  This is how you get the splits down to where you need a shot timer to measure them.

Once you can aim and control your recoil, you can practice more effectively.  So you'll want to start shooting some drills.  MountainGuerrilla has words on the drill that you probably aren't shooting enough, or correctly--the snap shot.

Moving from guns to more prepping oriented skills, let's hit vacucanning.  Vacucanning is a food preservation method that uses vacuum rather than heat to preserve food.  You still use mason jars and lids, however.  The gear isn't cheap, but you will get savings from being able to reuse lids.  You can get a ready-made vacucanner at vacucanner.com, or, the Internet being what it is, there are plans for building your own here.

That's it--tab clearing complete.  Hat tip to Crimson Trace for the email notice for the vids and to the Survival Podcast for the vacucanner information.  It's been so long on the gun stuff I forget where I found it.

Stay safe.  Continue enjoying the Bernie and Donald Show--I know I am.  Pay attention to things economic.  There are currents way down deep that may cause trouble in the months to come.  Watch the increasing levels of violence, especially the attacks on police.  Yes, I have my issues with the cops, but I just want them to play by the same rules we have to play by.  Assassination is not something I would advocate.  This could lead to some serious blow back.  Always remember, as Michael Bane says, violence is a virus--and a highly contagious one at that.  Mind your 6.