Sunday, April 22, 2018

Interesting firearms manufacturing news

SCCY Firearms is moving from Florida to Tennessee.

Obviously, something like this takes a lot of time and planning, and therefore isn't a reaction to last month's foolishness revolving around the Parkland, FL school shooting--although I wouldn't be surprised if the alleged Republican governor's actions didn't add an exclamation point to it. Instead, I would suspect this is nothing more than the creeping Yankification of Florida that has been going on for the last couple of decades. While the northern retirees weren't so bad, the new waves of younger immigrants are bringing their liberal viewpoints with them, and the word from sources in Florida is that times are a changin' in the state that gave us shall issue concealed carry.

Pity, since there is a lot to like about Florida once you get outside the cities.

You really want to zero your rifle?

Then you do it this way. No shortcuts.

Of course this CDC study on defensive gun use never saw the light of day

It's really quite simple. The CDC buried a study that showed that guns are used defensively nearly 2.5 million times a year because it doesn't fit the narrative. It simply wouldn't do to have that sort of information out running around when we're trying to demonize gun owners and legislate he right to own guns out of existence.

And scientists wonder why the public doesn't trust them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Someone in the Minnesota legislature doesn't like guns

(Via The Woodpile Report)

The masks have come off in Minnesota, as Representatives Linda Slocum, Fue Lee, Jean Wagenius, Karen Clark and David Bly have introduced HF 3022, an unnamed bill that will, in essence, make it well-nigh impossible to own a firearm or ammunition in the Gopher state. Seven other legislators have had their names removed as authors from the bill. There is no word if that had anything to do with voters armed with tar and feathers.

According to alloutdoor.com, this steaming pile o' crap will mean

– Permit required to own a gun
– Permit required to buy a gun
– Permit required to sell a gun
– Local law enforcement gets to deny all types of gun permits
– Local law enforcement gets to deny permits to carry
– Personal medical information must be shared with law enforcement
– All firearm transfers must be reported
– All guns must be registered (fees set by local law enforcement)
– Registration must be renewed annually
– Local law enforcement may conduct warrantless “safety inspections” of gun owner’s homes
– Local law enforcement sets “safe storage” policies
– Five day waiting period for all transfers
– Transfers must be done through an FFL (even between private parties)
– Fees may be charged for transfers
– Local law enforcement may conduct background investigation on transfers
– Total ban on any gun which meets broad “assault weapon” definition – banned guns must be destroyed or surrendered
– Ban thumbhole stocks
– Ban adjustable stocks
– Ban pistol grip stocks
– Limit fixed magazine capacity to 7 rounds
– Ban any magazine capable of holding more than 7 rounds
– Suspension of gun rights based on complaints from anonymous parties
– Recriminalization of suppressors
– Bump stock ban
– All ammunition sales will be registered
– Permit required to purchase ammunition
– Make gun owner private data public, including number and type of guns owned and your address

Just remember, the gun banners' end game is for all of us to be disarmed and dead. If you think I'm exaggerating, please re-read the above.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"Guns are not the solution to our safety."

So sayeth the spokesperson for the North Carolina Council of Churches, a group that contains churches that, as a resident of North Carolina, I recognize among the more liberal in my state.

Obviously, I don't buy that, and I doubt that few if any of you do either. Unfortunately the population growth here has attracted certain elements that I wish had remained where they came from. "Californication" doesn't only happen when residents from California move in.

But the thing that offends me is that this group claims that we view our guns as idols. Seriously? I don't have a shrine to my guns. There isn't a dark room, lit only by candles that holds and AR-15 in a cradle, flanked by cases of XM855 ammo.

That would be a fire hazard. :-)

This does, however, point out quite nicely the bizarre viewpoint of some gun grabbers as well as their depth of misunderstanding of gun owners. I think it also points out that this is a gulf that will not be bridged.

I fear what is coming.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

We'll have successful commercial nuclear fusion in 10 years

(Via The Woodpile Report)

We've been hearing the 10 year refrain for nuclear fusion every year for at least 2 decades now. Could it be possible that someone is really on the verge of making it come true--next year?

Saying that this would be a game changer is putting it mildly. Not only would it change things here on Planet Earth, but can you imagine what it could do in space?

We'll all be "tinfoil hat-wearing, black-helicopter conspiracy theorists" soon

Ars Techica reports that the Directorate of State Security Department of Homeland Security is building a database to "keep tabs on over 290,000 "global news sources" and develop an extensive database for an unconfirmed number of "media influencers."

Furthermore, the DHS contract calls for the firm selected to build this monstrosity to

...deliver "media-comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers" for a span ranging from one to five years, all with the aim of tracking "any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event." Part of that data-combing effort would include the development of a "database" that gathers intel about "journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers, etc.," including locations, beats, reporter "types," contact details, overviews of each "influencer's" previous coverage, current publications, and "any other information that could be relevant."

Yes, there will apparently be an app to allow easy access all that for authorized users. But don't be concerned, access to the data will be password protected.

For those concerned that this is going too far, DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton says that this is "standard practice" and continues that "Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tinfoil hat-wearing, black-helicopter conspiracy theorists."

I'm not buying DHS's BS. If they were simply tracking news stories, OK. That's nothing more than what a clipping service provides. But tracking the authors, editors, their contact details and on and on? I view that as stepping into an entirely new realm of activity that is meant by the Deep State to chill the exercise of free speech. They intend it to be taken that way and they know it will be taken that way. The frightening thought is that They. Don't. Care. They don't believe they need to care--no one has ever made them care before. The Big Question is "Will anyone be able to make them care this time?"

Now excuse me while I hit up Amazon and order one of those restaurant-size rolls of aluminium foil, suitable for the entire family.

Edit, 4/12/2018, 1526: According to The Woodpile Report #524, per Denninger this database is already built and in production. I didn't understand this as such in the original report, but Remus's link does say that. Effing wonderful.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

You're actually surprised?

(Via SurvivalBlog)

Karl Denninger seems surprised at the following:


The government is, of course, entitled to be wrong and repair that error which is what they're claiming they're doing now.  What it's not entitled to do, however, is turn you into a felon if you don't destroy or turn over a thing you were explicitly told, in writing, was legal and nothing more-nefarious or subject to regulation than a plastic box.  At absolute minimum the government is required (under the 5th Amendment) to pay you for the current fair market value of that device plus all your costs (e.g. sales tax) associated with same and to pay the manufacturers the imputed value of their facility, inventory and forward foregone earnings (and employee salaries) that would have been generated but for their error.  They could also ban the things on a forward basis (limiting any 5th Amendment claim of "taking" to the manufacturers) and leave alone anyone who already owns one.





Folks, it isn't like this is something new. The Federal Government has done exactly this before, and in the realm of firearms. They will do it again, if not with bump stocks, with some other firearms accessory. I can't recall an incident, but I'm sure they've done it in non-firearms areas as well. Governments want to control everything and everyone, "for their own good", not to mention the safety of the public and the stability of the government.

THIS IS WHAT ALL GOVERNMENTS EVENTUALLY DO WHEN LEFT UNCHECKED.

We The People have let our government go unchecked for far too long. In fact, we've probably let it go so long that, like a garden that has suffered decades of mistreatment and neglect, it's simply better to rip it all out and start over. Of course, there is much more danger in that approach with government than with a garden, but we've tried for most of my lifetime to "fix" government, and every fix has made things worse over time.

We are facing a time when our choices will be so constrained that they will all be equally bad, all equally high risk. I suppose it's possible that we are already there, but the optimist in me hopes not. But even if we aren't there now, we had best prepare for that time. It may arrive sooner and more suddenly than we expect.

My hero!

A Greensboro, NC citizen lets the Greensboro City council have a piece of his mind as they consider closing down the long-running Greensboro Gun and Knife Show. The city attorney has already warned them that this would be illegal, but as with so many liberal politicians, they're going to plow ahead anyway. Because they're smarter, you know.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Who will be your allies?

I was reading through some back content on SurvivalBlog when I came across this quote from Mike Williamson:

I have noticed, as have several others, that the last few weeks have had a huge upswing in black attendance at gun shows. I saw a significant increase in black families–middle class, respectable–coming into the local show and leaving with purchases. Most were buying AK and AR platform rifles, pump shotguns and Glock or Smith and Wesson handguns. These are all practical, reliable defensive tools.

Clearly, they’re aware of the threats they will face during civil unrest, and are insuring against it. Anti-gun rhetoric to the contrary, they were of course welcomed by the rest of the firearm community and the vendors.

It will be interesting to see if this presages any shift in the upcoming elections.

As I've noted in a number of my "gun show report" posts, I've been seeing a constant increase in the attendance of women and blacks at gun shows for several years. I view this as a welcome trend, since more gun owners is a good thing for the gun culture. Mike's last sentence brings me around to something that I've discussed with folks in the real world, but not here. I want to toss it out and see if any of my 3 readers have thoughts on it.

I grew up during the time of the civil rights movement, school desegregation and the cultural upheavals that accompanied them. In my part of the South, it wasn't that big a deal for us kids--it seems to me, at least in my memory, that the adults had most of the issues with the process. Middle and upper class whites picked up, packed up and moved when school districts were redrawn or when the urban renewal caused neighborhoods to, shall we say, change complexion in ways they didn't approve of.

Poor folks just stayed put and figured out how to make it work as best we could.

Where I grew up wasn't all that far from a black neighborhood. This was normal in the South; the rich folks didn't care for poor people of any skin color in their neighborhoods. So I had already been going to school with some black kids, although it wasn't that many. Desegregation saw to it that that changed.

Desegregation also saw an increase in the use of school buses, because almost no one went to the schools closest to them any longer. I couldn't walk the third mile or so to my neighborhood school, I had to be bused halfway across town to a different school, and the kids who had went to that school were in turn bused to my old school. This was somehow going to make things better for all of us.

I don't know how it worked out for them, but for me it wasn't so great. The first couple of years weren't too bad, but when junior high school came around, it became a dangerous and miserable experience. I was one of the smaller kids, had no muscles to speak of and was a nerd to top it off. I may as well had a target painted on my back. Every bully and wannabe bully in school seemed to gravitate toward me. My Dad tried to teach me how to fight so I could stand up for myself, but that simply got me hauled into the principle's office for fighting (well, more like getting my ass kicked) and my parents' called in as well. Not so good.

The school buses were even less pleasant, if such thing were possible. The only positive thing, I'm ashamed to say, is that there were a couple of girls on my bus who were even more popular targets than I was, so until their parents removed them, I caught a break. But once they were gone, I caught hell.

So I decided that the school  bus could go fuck itself. My Dad dropped me off in the morning, and I could just walk home in the afternoon, a distance of several miles. Through the black part of town. Not the nice black part of town, either. But none of the black kids ever had bullied me, so somehow I figured it would be OK. I didn't tell my parents about my cunning plan.

So I walked home, occasionally accompanied by some of my black classmates who lived close enough that they had to walk. No bus service if you lived withing a mile, I believe it was, so some of them had to walk. You know what happened?

Nothing. Not when I had someone with me, and not when I didn't. I made that walk for almost 2 years, rain or shine, warm or cold, with and without company, and I never, ever, was bothered by anyone on my way home. Me, this skinny white kid in the middle of one of the least "nice" neighborhoods in town.

At the time, I never really thought much of it. To me, people were people, and I didn't make much out of race. Sure, I knew there were black people who were slovenly, criminal, "not nice". I also knew a hell of a lot of white people who fit that description too. One lived next door and was a city cop. He also cheated on his wife and beat her and the kids. That's life on the poor side of town.

But as I got older and accumulated "life experience", I started to put some things together. As I've gotten older and seen even more, I've been able to boil it down to something of an essence. It goes like this.

By and large, the color of one's skin doesn't matter half as much as another color, the color green--as in money. Allow me to expand on the thinking behind this.

There's an old saying from the 60s, "Life is like a shit sandwich--the more bread you have, the less shit you have to eat." Having been poor and having been well off, I can tell you there is a large amount of truth in that.

Poor people, no matter the color of their skin, have more in common with other poor people than poor people and rich people with the same skin color. The concerns of the latter group have little in common with those of the poor. Poor people are very concerned about keeping a roof over their head and having something to eat. These aren't concerns for rich people, other than what neighborhood they want to live in and what restaurant they want to eat in.

Poor people are concerned if they can get a cheap car and keep it running, and do they have $5 for gas. (Hey, 1970s.) Rich people are concerned what their next car will be and when they can buy it--and they always "fill 'er up!"

Poor people have to be concerned about every interaction with the police, and with good reason. Poor people are far more often the victims of crime and far more often the perpetrators of it, so there is a certain amount of built-in suspicion in the cops when they deal with the poor. Rich people generally don't deal with the police, and when they do, the attitude of the police is totally different. I've seen this first hand. I've went through police roadblocks on a weekend with a friend in an old truck, dressed for yard work and hauling trash, and I've went through them dressed for work in the office and driving my car. Trust me when I tell you they were very different experiences.

I could keep on, but hopefully those examples are enough to give you a feeling for the concept I'm espousing. To misquote F. Scott Fitzgerald, the rich and their concerns are very different from ours. I don't say that this is good or bad, I merely recognize that it's a fact.

So if things get tight, or should things go pear-shaped on us, who will be your allies? What groups will you look to when you reach out beyond your friends or your immediate neighborhood in order to create some sort of alliance of like-minded individuals so that everyone has a better chance of surviving?

This is a question that you may want to consider now. While you can look at the news and see all sorts of signs pointing toward future hard times, we aren't there just yet. There is still time to build the friendships and acquaintances that prove important in future hard times. But you want to concentrate on those who are going to be the most compatible with you over the long run.

Be sure you pick the right folks.

Edit, 4/3/2018, 1217: Sorry about that unholy white background that was present in the first 24 hours this was up. I'm going to have to start reviewing every post from the blog view rather than trusting Blogger to get things right, I suppose. Effing Google.

They want more gun control

Gun control has had its chance since 1934 and the National Firearms Act. There are over 20,000 gun laws in the US--20,000 chances to show gun control works. But, as always, the gun grabbers want more. Just how many more chances do we need to give gun control before we have a blinding flash of the obvious and declare that it doesn't work?

We all know the answer to that. After they have managed to enact the law that allows them to go door-to-door and confiscate them all by force. Remember, their ultimate goal is to take them all, and then eliminate us by whatever means they deem necessary.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The NRA, its positions and my relationship to them--one last time

I'm going to address this subject one final time. After this, anyone who brings it up is going to get branded as a troll and I will ban your ass from commenting. This has gone on long enough; this is my place on the Intertubz, you're wasting my time and I'm officially over it. Comments will be closed on this post. You don't like it, get your own blog.

Before that, some housekeeping. This came in as a comment to a totally unrelated story, with the comment that they couldn't find a way to contact me on the blog. 

On the right side of the page there is a contact form. If you're running something like Ghostery or Ad-Block, you may not see it. I run Ghostery as well and I've found it buggers up a lot of the standard Blogger widgets. If you're going to read Blogger blogs, you may want to white list the entire *.blogspot.com domain, or if you want to be more granular, each of the Blogger blogs you frequent.

I've recently come to discover that these tools, used without discretion, are more of a club than a scalpel. There are a ton of things blocked in Ghostery, and not all of them are "bad". But that's a different post. If you want my take on it, leave me a note and I'll write about it.

On to the subject at hand, which is the NRA, my support for it and the incessant idiocy that some people want to keep trotting out on the subject . I received the following over the weekend:


I'm an NRA Benefactor member. I've bought Life memberships for both of my kids. This weekend I wrote checks to both the NRA Political Victory Fund and the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. That's called putting your money where your mouth is. I have to wonder how many of the NRA's detractors have as much coin invested in the political side of the game, not to mention things like working tables at gun shows and talking to local politicians, as I have in the last few years.

I'm not going to bother to go back and search for the number of times I've taken the NRA to task on this blog. Just because I support them doesn't mean I'm blind. When I think they're wrong I'll let them know. After writing checks this weekend, I wrote to them letting them know that any support for these bullshit ERPOs is an idiotic move that hearkens back to the bad old days of the NRA. I put it nicer than that, but that was the gist of the message.

I also have in front of me my 2018 ballot for the NRA Board of Directors. One of the nice things about being a Life Member or above (or an annual member of some years standing) is that you get to vote for the BOD members. This year there are 35 names and I can vote for 25. I plan on vote bombing, which means I'm going to vote for a few candidates whose positions would tend to put more hardcore Second Amendment backbone into the NRA's positions. At the same time, I don't want to turn the NRA into a group that is so absolutist that no one in DC or the 50 state capitals will listen to them.

You see, it's a balancing act. Politics, and yes, Second Amendment advocacy is politics, is the art of the possible. The secret is recognizing what is possible, and I think the NRA, living in as close proximity to DC as it does, often doesn't see the world the way those of us further away do. They get caught up in all the "inside the Beltway" business and start believing all the propaganda they're immersed in, including their own. I think they'd be well advised to have another headquarters elsewhere and a staff rotation system so that people got a break from the Beltway.

However, I'm one voice, and a tiny little one, out of 5 or 6 million NRA members. If you want to have a voice, you're going to need to join and put your money where your mouth is. Otherwise, you're just background noise that's going to be tuned out. The NRA has been doing it to you for years, and I'm starting as of now.

Edit, 3/27/2018 1142: Fixed the comment instructions to say that the form is on the right side of the page rather than the left. Derp. Thanks to Bert for the catch.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#DeleteFacebook ?

I believe I've posted a few times on the utility of Facebook and the declining utility of same. Well, about a month ago, I deactivated my account and told Facebook not to bother me with their incessant "so-and-so posted this" attempts to get me back on their (dis)service.

No one thing brought me to the place where I turned it off, rather, it was a long series of events. As with my on-going efforts to de-Google my life (you're reading this on the last major vestige of Google in my life), I sort of walked into it slowly and deliberately, and one Sunday afternoon, I pulled the plug. *plink* No more Facebook.

There were still some things on Facebook I liked. Various ham radio pages, some WW II pages and the like all were still of interest. But the on-going deterioration of the overall experience due to the constant changes to the all-holy Facebook Algorithm, more and more intrusive ads and the steady leftist politicization of the platform all told me it was time to leave, and leave I did.

You know, I don't miss it at all. I have other places to get the ham info, and while I do miss the WW II stuff (it was mostly pictures), I don't miss the constant bickering that went with the content. I guess that silence is really golden, at least to a great extent.

I'm not alone. More and more people are retreating from or deleting Facebook from their lives, enough so that the hashtage #deletefacebook is trending in a minor way.

I wonder if we will ever learn the lesson of the Amish? They understand that technology is a double edged sword, and that it has to be rigorously controlled lest is take control of your life. I also recall a high school reading of Thoreau, "Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify." After a lifetime spent in and with high tech, I doubt I will ever be able to renounce it all, but I find myself more and more willing to give up parts of it nearly without argument. As a father who will very soon face an empty nest, the urge to clean house, to rid myself of possessions held tightly for years, many of them of decreasing utility to an aging man, is growing in strength.

I think this is simply the natural progression of someone who is unarguably in the autumn of their life. Luckily for me I've always loved autumn, with it's bright days, crisp temperatures, the changing colors of the trees, high school and college football and wood smoke in the air. There's still time for a little more fishing, some afternoons at the range and now, again, cycling. Camping takes on an extra level of pleasure as well.

But it's also time for putting the yard and garden to bed for winter, ensuring the house is ready for the cold rains and snow, that wood is split and the chimney is swept. For us humans who have to face our age, it's a time to do those same things in our lives. We update family trusts and wills, check over powers of attorney, ensure that the "Do Not Resuscitate" order is is findable and unfortunately start attending the funerals of friends who are departing early.

Still, if the actuarial tables can be trusted, most of us have many years left in which we can find things of interest and joy. Like others, I'm just going to look for them in places other than Facebook.

I see this as a Good Thing.

About that school shooting in Maryland

This little jewel popped up on one of the last social media sites I still frequent. Take a look at that long list of laws, most of them relating to firearms, all of which were passed by politicians who assured us that each and every one of them was "A good first step" or "Another step to reign in gun violence" or that we had to "Think of the Children!" or some other phrase meant to appeal to those who emote rather than think.

You know, I'd like to take all those politicians and their allies in all the gun grabber groups, stand them en masse up against a wall and...slather them in the blood of all the victims they have created. After all, they enjoy dancing in the blood of those victims--why not give them a full treatment.

My built-in nasty streak aside, this little graphic once again points out something that our side has been saying for years. You stop a bad guy with a gun by having a good guy with a gun close at hand. This doesn't mean no one will get hurt or killed. The good guy will always be, unfortunately, behind the curve. The bad guy will always control the where and when of a mass shooting. We have to wait for the balloon to go up and then react to the situation. But when you have an armed person on hand, whether they are, as in this case, a police officer, or they're just your average citizen who has decided to take personal responsibility and act as their own first responder, quick reaction in a mass shooting event saves lives.

No amount of angry teenagers on TV will change that fact.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Who needs the geographic coordinates of your front door?

When we can geo-locate every outdoor picture on the Internet?

It's getting hard to have a reasonable conspiracy theory these days; government is so far ahead of the tinfoil hat brigade that there's no catching up.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Let there be light

As usual, I found this while I was looking at other things on the Intertubz. The Humphrey Gas Light.

I remember similar lights in old travel trailers when I was a kid. I don't know what models were available back then, but today there are a variety of models, colors and accessories that should allow you to adapt these for just about any use. The immediate uses I see is for off-grid lighting or emergency lighting. If you were building or retrofitting a house or a building, it wouldn't be much trouble to pipe in propane to various locations and install some of these for future use.

Boy...

This week's Woodpile Report is a dandy. Yes, you ought to read it yourself, but I'm going to toss out a few items that I liked in particular.

I'm not sure if you've kept up with the information drops by or even heard of the Internet entity known as "Q". In certain parts of the Internet, there is much speculation on the information being dropped--some of it is pretty much conspiracy theory on steroids. But what if it isn't, and Q is really someone or a group of people who are in the know of doings so dark that they make the average conspiracy theorist look tame?

Illinois moves toward gun confiscation: a bill introduced in Illinois would attempt to force, probably unsuccessfully if history is any indicator, 18-20 year olds to surrender legally owned "assault rifles". Lawsuits are likely being prepped in the event of the passage of this affront on the Constitution, but frankly I won't give them much chance of success, given there is already a national prohibition of the purchase of handguns by 18-20 year olds. I still contend we should raise the age of majority to 21 and allow the Democrats to put their money where their mouths are.

Washington State "extreme risk protection order" law is actually used, by the book, Intertubz loses it's mind. The Raconteur Report rolls out some  information on why this is not the end of the world for gun rights and why it may actually be a good thing. I'm willing to let the court case work itself out before calling for everyone to go to the mattresses.

Young socialists in expensive locals are willing to pay old socialist big bucks to be miserable, as long as it's a comfortable misery. At least that's how I understand it.

We need to try socialism again, harder, because Trump. Or Whiteness, or some such BS. Personally, I think we need to try a complete societal breakdown. At least we might be able to get away with shooting the damn socialists without legal repercussions.

I'll stop here, before I just re-link the who thing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Big government killed free checking; Amazon may save it

(Via Claire Wolfe)

An interesting tale of how a checking account came to cost a bank $349/year to provide, why they can't make money off checking accounts any longer and how Amazon may change that dynamic.

Once again, an over-reaching government screwed things up for everyone. A healthy dose of unintended consequences didn't help. Who couldn't have seen those coming?

A little something from Miguel

(Via Michael Bane on Facebook)

Miguel has harsh yet true words for those who oppose the "Fix NICS" bill and the NRA haters.

He's right. The people who want to kill these things need to be forced to eat the entire shit sandwich the next time we have another school shootathon and the liberals finally get their wet dream gun ban. If we won't clean our own house, eventually, they're going to get the opportunity to do it for us, and we won't like it.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Cycling, anyone?

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that I've taken up cycling as an enjoyable way to get some exercise. I may go into some depth about it as the weather gets better, which I hope is soon. It's supposed to snow tomorrow--not much, but it's March and we should have seen the last of Old Man Winter for the most part. Life in North Carolina.

At any rate, I've subscribed to a few cycling email newsletters, and this was in one of them. 8 On-the-Road Bike Repairs You Need to Know. Being of the prepper nature I had already thought through a tool kit for my bike, and I have most of these skills from my old high speed, low drag days when I road biked. However, there are a couple of tricks in there that I didn't know about. Very cool.

Like rust, gun grabbers never sleep

Here is is, straight from the horse's...mouth. They want them all, folks. AR-15s, your old Marlin Glenfield, great-grandpa's shotgun. They want them all. They will use whatever pretense they can use to get them. "This is merely the beginning."

When gun grabbers tell you something like this, you'd better take them at their word. They're not done yet.

Understand that there is no politician, no political party, that we can trust to stand by us in this fight. The latest assault on our rights in Florida was passed by a Republican controlled legislature and signed by a Republican governor (who happens to be a transplant from gun ban happy Illinois). Politicians blow wherever the wind blows them. Right now, the wind is not blowing from our direction. That needs to change.

There are things we can do as individuals to make this change. It's important to write, email and call your elected critters at every level when you get the word they are considering legislation that will curtail your rights. I just got an email from our state gun rights group on a move by a local municipality that would shut down one of the biggest gun shows in the state. You bet I'm letting those worthies know that I'm not happy with that idea.

You should be a member of the NRA. While there are a lot of gun owners who piss and moan about the NRA not being pure enough or asking for money too often or whatever, the NRA is suing in federal court to overturn the Florida law. Things like this cost money, and I'm going to drop some coin into some of the NRA's various online cups to help support the fight. I'd much rather the fight take place in a court room than on my front porch.

Speaking of the NRA, if you aren't a member, why? Because you were once and they asked you for money? They called you on the phone or sent you mail? Like I said, fighting for your rights costs money. Lobbying in DC and 50 state capitals isn't cheap and if you want it done well, you don't do it on the cheap. You hire professionals and you give them the best tools of the trade, and that includes money. We gun owners supply the money. You don't want phone calls, just tell them and they'll stop. You don't want the mail, simply toss it.

And please, for the love of John Moses Browning, don't tell me about Gun Owners of America and the rest. Sure, they're doing good works, but the NRA is the 800 pound gorilla. With something like 6 million members, when they knock on doors, the doors open. We need to give them more members so they can say they represent 8 million, 10 million, 20 million voters, because nothing gets a politician's attention like the possibility of being an unemployed politician.

Way too many people thought they could relax when Trump won the presidency. They've spent the last year plus kicked back and doing jack for gun rights. Well guess what? The other side hasn't been kicked back--they've been organizing and waiting for the right time to make another mad dash for gun bans. 17 dead kids in Florida was their right time. They're on the move and moving hard and fast. Get off your butt and start fighting back.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

I think I'm going to print this out and frame it

(Via The Shooting Wire)

"Our chief politicians, billionaires, anti-gun Hollywood celebrities, and even money being transported in trucks are all protected by people with guns. Aren't kids just as important? What's wrong with these people? Why do they demand that we keep the kids at such risk?"


And every time a Hollywood star, a media talking head, a gun grabber or a politician mouths off with some idiotic nonsense about guns, I'm going to take it off the wall and beat them over the head with it.

When my kids were in school, which is about a quarter mile from our home (middle and high school are next door to each other) and were old enough to understand the issue, we had a talk about the possibility of a nut job showing up at their school with a gun.

Much to Mrs. Freeholder's chagrin and against her will (she's a teacher, you see), Daddy told them that at the first sound of gunfire they were to get out of their school by the fastest route possible and run like hell for the nearest cover or concealment, then make their way home staying concealed as much as possible. They were specifically to ignore the orders of any teacher or staff who told them to do otherwise--Daddy would deal with the fallout if there was any.

The reason I told them this is that I had no intention of my kids becoming statistics. In the event of a school shooting, that's what the previously mentioned crowd wants--they want a body count, and the bigger the better. They want to climb up on that pile of dead kids and lecture us on how smart they are and how evil we are until they can convince just enough people that they can force their viewpoint on us, oddly enough at the point of a gun, this one held by the state.

Well, I wasn't going to have that then with my kids, and I won't have it now with someone else's kids. It's time we protect our kids as well as these worthless pieces of protoplasm are protected. I read that at the self-congratulatory Oscars a few days ago there were over 500 cops in multiple rings of security, all so the beautiful people could feel safe and protected while they patted each other on the back and lectured the rest of us on Trump, sex and guns.

In the meantime, out in the real Los Angles, the lectured were being robbed, raped and murdered, and all they could do was call Dial-A-Prayer 911 because California's laws make it nearly impossible to carry a gun for self defense.

It's high time that the lectured stand up to the lecturing and pull them down off that podium. And hit them over the head with our own brand of "common sense".

Edit, 1958: Wow--sorry about that white background. Not sure where that came from, but it's fixed now.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

When the antibiotic chickens come home to roost

For some years the medical community has been warning that there might well be a time when bugs would show up that no antibiotic would work on. Recent research shows we're another day closer now.

This has implications for how we live our lives. As someone with a legitimate allergy to flu shots (I landed in the hospital the two times I took them, so my chart now has a big flag on it), I recently rescheduled a trip to the doc, pushing it out a couple of months. Why? To avoid the hack-n-snot brigade which is currently infesting every medical office in the area. I haven't gotten any bug this winter and I'm hoping to not get one before warm weather arrives. Others do the same; a couple of weeks ago Mrs. Freeholder refused to go to the doc-in-a-box with what turned out to be a raging sinus infection because she didn't want to be exposed to them either.

Imagine this attitude in a time when we have a bunch of superbugs that laugh at antibiotics. The medical community, however reluctantly, has been forced to acknowledge that a doctor's office or a hospital is not only a place to get care, but also a place to get sick. If there are antibiotic immune bugs out there, will people avoid seeking medical care for fear of contracting one, even if their problem is treatable? The implications for creating a multi-faceted public health crisis seem very real to me.

It would be very bad if one or more became epidemic, or worse, weaponized. I could see Johnny Jihadi now. "Ali, we must gather 500 martyrs. Ahmed has the contracted the . We will allow him to infect them all, then fly them to the cities of our enemies, where they will spread it to as many people as possible before they die."

Talk about a low-tech end of the world. You know, that concept would make a great doomer TV show.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Saran? Like Saran Wrap?

(Via The Woodpile Report)

Storing parts to minimize corrosion. This may come in handy soon.

Weaponized high school students

(Via In the MIDDLE of the RIGHT)

The Federalist asks "Why Did It Take Two Weeks To Discover Parkland Students’ Astroturfing?" Author David Hines lays out the case that there was a well oiled machine behind this, and I don't doubt it. However, I don't think that was why it took two weeks for folks to figure this out, although it doubtless had something to do with it.

I think one of the biggest reasons, at least for the folks on our side, is that we're good people. We don't dance in the blood when a mass shooting occurs. The other side, our enemy, has absolutely no problem with doing that and a lot more besides. Like taking advantage of kids in the aftermath of a tragedy. Especially when those kids have already been primed to be taken advantage of by an educational system ran by the same leftists that want to take away our guns.

Feel free to say I'm a conspiracy theorist nut. But wait until the next spree killer shows up a a gun-free school zone and see how fast this happens again, and just how many well known leftists are involved.

I'll be happy to be proven wrong--if you can.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Being a good neighbor

There's a post on the SurvivalBlog about being a good neighbor in the American Redoubt. I would suggest that it's applicable to pretty much anywhere those of good intentions live.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

When is a bill to shut down online sex trafficking a bad thing?

When it does nothing for its stated purpose and damages online communities instead.

I have this terrible feeling that someone wants to cripple the Intertubz as a method of communication. The sad thing is that they can do it, given enough time. Might want to see if you can fleaBay an old modem and download a copy of the FidoNet software.

Handy item when you're debating

Or if you'd like to check your own thought processes. A list of cognitive biases.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

They'll take it away and kill you with it

An MSNBC "terror analyst" very nearly trots out the old anti-gun canard of "You don't need a gun for self-defense because the criminal will just take it away from you and kill you with it." Rather than that, he says that if we start arming teachers, the police will shoot them.

Honestly, given the rash of police shootings of armed good guys recently, I do have to almost say the guy has a point. However, if the police officers are properly trained and held to the same standard as an armed citizen, this becomes a much smaller risk.

"But wait! Ermagherd! The police have only a split second to react to the armed person!"

So do we, cupcake, and we're held to a much higher standard. It's time the folks with the badges were held to that higher standard that everyone says they should be held to. It can start right here. The police's seeming free pass to shoot anyone with a gun and walk away needs to end.

Monday, February 26, 2018

They don't make them like they used to

Portraits of fighting men of the American Revolution--made in 1864. An amazing snapshot of our history.

The quality of and fact checking your decision making

(I'm trying to close some of the jillion tabs I've been keeping open in my browser for weeks. I believe this one comes via Charles Chu.)

People, as a group, generally suck at making good decisions on the big things, but we as individuals generally think we're pretty good at it. And we, as individuals, are normally wrong in that conceit. Even when we get a decision right, there's a good chance we got it right, but not for the reasons we think.

That's gotta leave a ding in the ol' ego, don'tcha think?

Unfortunately it's all too true. Do an Internet search on "decision making" and you'll get an astounding number of pages all of which say they can give you a leg up on making good decisions, big or small. Now consider this question: Would there be so many of them, many of them academic in nature, if we made good decisions most of the time? Yeah.

Looking at some of those pages, there are numerous and complex ways to improve your decision making skills. There are so many that reaching a bad decision on which one to use could lead you to disaster.

I'm fully aware that I don't always make the best decisions--it ticks me off, too. I try to learn from my mistakes, but it is difficult because you don't always remember exactly why you made a certain decision. "I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time," doesn't really help you out.

This article describes a fairly simple and technologically retro technique called a "decision journal" that might appeal to some interested in improving their decisions on the big things. It's not suited for small decisions because it's a manual system, and honestly, most of us do fine a picking out which gas station to stop at or where to eat lunch. But those big decisions, like should I leave my current job for this "I think" great new job or should we leave this economically moribund area and move here because "things seem to be going better", are exactly the sort of thing it's suited for.

I'm not making any of those big decisions right now. Us retired folks don't have many big decisions to make, it seems. However, I think I'm going to print our a few of those pages and slip them into a binder for use when something does come up, and see how they work out.

And that Internet search on "decision making"? Now there's an interesting rabbit hole for a rainy afternoon....

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Best response to gun control advocates I've heard and thoughts on spree killings/mass murders

Last night NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch stuck her head (neck, shoulders and the rest of her body) into the lion's mouth at a CNN "town hall". I want to pull out this one exceptionally pithy quote, because it's the best response I've heard to those who keep demanding more gun control in the face of the failure of gun control.

"The government can't keep you safe and some people want us to give up our firearms and rely solely upon the protection of the same government that's already failed us numerous times to keep us safe. And then they also call Trump a tyrant but they say they want the president to also confiscate our firearms? Try to figure that one out."

Don't stretch your brain, because if you're able to deal with elementary logic, you know that the demands of the gun banners equate to a demand for a magic wand, and there are no magic wands.

Nothing I've heard trotted out as a potential solution since the latest murderous rampage appears to have any hope of stopping the next murderous rampage. The closest thing is finding some way to identify these men (Sorry guys, but it's us men doing this--when's the last time we had a female shooter at one of these events?) before they strike. Great idea, if someone happens to find a crystal ball. I expect that to work as well as finding that magic wand.

We've had spree killers and mass murders in the world since forever. Wikipedia has a list with entries dating back to 1543. We hear more about them now because we communicate better. CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC and a host of others are all on TVs in every place I go, or so it seems. Even my barber can't do without the noise. We know that the increased publicity about a suicide actually increases the likelihood of more suicides--it's called the Werther Effect. There's now evidence that there is a similar effect relating to mass murders. Great.

From the historical data I can find online, it seems that spree killers and mass murders, while known historically, are more prevalent in modern times, say the last 150 or so years. Why? Obviously, technology has to play some part. Being brutally honest with ourselves, it's easier to kill a bunch of people with a magazine fed firearm than it is with a rock. But that can't be the only factor, because these things have been happening for hundreds of years and probably much longer. Humans have killed humans since the Og picked up a rock and conked Mog because he wanted that tasty morsel of mammoth meat Mog had.

It appears that these occurrences have become more prevalent in the last 40 years based on data. Why is that? It isn't because guns suddenly became more available or more easily available. Restrictions on guns and gun purchases, contrary to the piteous whines of gun banners and the media, are at their highest point in US history. It also can't be because guns have suddenly become more deadly in some way. The AR-15 has been readily available in the civilian market since the late 1980s, and other so-called "assault rifles" have been available for nearly as long. If it was the guns, we would have seen this crescendo of violence far sooner.

 Looking around the Intertubz to see if I could find any academic work on the subject, I stumbled across a non-academic piece on Medium, The Cost of a Good Story: What the Mass Media Doesn’t Tell You About Mass Murder. Author Anthony Galli makes a decent case that we, the media consuming public, working hand in glove with a media in search of ever more sensational stories to feed a public that is becoming thick-skinned to televised bloodshed and suffering, have built a feedback loop that has unwittingly incorporated that "mass murder begets mass murder effect" I mentioned earlier. The result is outbreaks of spree killings/mass murders followed by periods of calm, followed by another outbreak.

He also believes that the potential mass murderer is motivated by fame, and that the media attention to the current killer simply helps to spin up the next killer. Where have we heard that before?

Galli proposes that we as media consumers need to "chide" the media every time they report on a mass murder in a way that gives the killer any attention. Don't use his name, blur out his face if he's on camera. Deny him the fame he craves. Sounds like a reasonable idea, at the very least it couldn't hurt. The trick would be getting the media to go along with it.

Galli also points out that we are easily distracted by statistics. We're far more concerned by the realistically very few people who are killed per year in mass murders, something that has pretty much been proven time after time we can do little about (other than being armed and taking responsibility for our own safety, but that's not something I think he's agree with) and yet we don't seem concerned with the 37,000 people who die every year in traffic accidents, which is something we could effect.

This's a good point. I believe there is actually a psychological term for this, but it escapes me (maybe someone else who does remember will be so kind and leave it as a comment), but we have a natural propensity to do this sort of thing.

I'm sure there may be other things I'm not think of at the moment. But we've trod this ground so often that it's getting so I can't see it clearly any more. Familiarity is breeding contempt, but it is breeding brain fog.

Can we pull a solution out of what we have so far? If we're looking for a magic wand that will fix the problem, the answer is no. We may have a tool or two that we as a society could use to help ameliorate the issue, if we could persuade the other side to listen, which I think is unlikely.

Instead, I think we're going to remain two groups of chimpanzees screaming at each other for some time to come. Each side wants something that the other either can't or won't give, so the screaming will continue. Perhaps one side will pick up some sticks and beat the other into submission. That's been tried before, and worked to some extent. Then the other side picked up some sticks and fought back, so now we all have sticks and we're still screaming.

But remember, until we do come up with some answer or some improvements, we will see this happen again. Some guy is going to want his 15 minutes of fame, and he'll find a soft target to achieve it. As individuals, all we can do is carry, train and stay vigilant.

Maybe, in the end, that's all the answer we really need.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Long-term Prepping As We Age

I believe that I've mentioned elsewhere that my earliest interest in preparedness was started by reading books like The Swiss Family Robinson and My Side of the Mountain as a young teenager. While entertaining, I can look back now and see how unrealistic they were.

One thing both books had in common is that they put one person or a small group in a situation where they had to plan for long-term survival with little or no help from outside. They had whatever supplies they had with them, whatever they could find in the environment around them and that was pretty much it. At least in My Side of the Mountain Sam, the teenage protagonist, has some help from the local librarian and access to the local town.

In my early years, say late teens and early 20s, I was in the mode of "I'll take my backpack of stuff and restart civilization on my own in the woods." Ye flippin' gods I was ignorant in those days. Thankfully I never had to actually do any actual surviving.

For some years after that, I was a lapsed survivalist. But my work in Y2K remediation opened my eyes to just how fragile our civilization could be, and I, like a lot of others, started to prepare just in case all our efforts came to naught. Fortunately, we were good at our work and with the exception of minor and easily overcome glitches, Y2K went down in history as a footnote in terms of disasters.

The door, once opened, didn't close. I had a wife and small children, and it was my duty to take care of them no matter what the situation. Despite Mrs. Freeholder's skepticism, I began building stocks of "beans, bullets and band-aids". Over the years, a number of things crossed our path that brought her to the point of view that at least some of those preparations were not such a bad idea after all, but she has never been completely on board with the concept of preparedness.

In my own planning, I've never thought that preparing for a single scenario was a great idea. I have no problem looking at the disasters that are most likely to befall you as starting points, but my prime thought has been that if you design your preparations (and for that matter, your life) for resiliency and depth, redundantly covering the basic needs, you should be able to ride out any situation that can be ridden out. Even now, as I have to reconsider what is and isn't possible as we age, I still think that is a sound methodology.

So, as we age and find ourselves with fewer birthdays left to celebrate than we have celebrated, how, if at all, should our view of prepping change? So far I see four big areas to consider.

First, as we age, we are more likely to develop a chronic medical condition. Generally, these will make the sufferer dependent on some form of modern medicine, such as drugs, either to function normally or to function at all. I've mentioned my own problem, hypothyroidism. When I run out of my stockpiled thyroid hormone supplement, I'll be next to useless in a month or so. Others, such as those dependent on blood pressure or heart regulation meds, will die in days or weeks when their supply runs out. Still others, dependent on drugs for mental stability, will become dangers to themselves or others shortly after their supply runs out.

Second, even without a chronic medical condition, as we age we are less able to put out the large amounts of physical effort that a full grid-down scenario would require. Everything that we have machines to help with now will have to be accomplished by muscle power if the grid is down. Even those among us who are "genetic freaks" and who have aged remarkably well will eventually show the strain. For that matter, so will even the best conditioned 25 year olds.

Third, disease will be another big area of concern, since as we age our immune system becomes less able to fight off invaders. While they're available, get immunizations such as shingles and pneumonia, and keep your tetanus booster up to date. If an event occurs, careful attention to hygiene will be necessary for both young and old in order to prevent disease and its spread. Cleanliness will truly be next to Godliness. Lastly, quarantine will become necessary and common once again when a communicable illness strikes.

Fourth, age effects us mentally. We are less able to learn new things, less mentally agile and overall slower mentally. Our reflexes also slow down. These things can be offset to some extent by various sorts of mental exercises, exposure to new situations and possibly dietary supplements. This does not even address the various cognitive disorders that can arise with age, such as dementia and Alzheimer's. While this is much further down the list of concerns, it may be the most frightening in a long-term scenario, because it will generally be untreatable.

Survival, especially in a long-term scenario, is hard work at any age, but most challenging for those over 40 or 45. Every author or thinker who has considered the subject in depth has predicted that the death rate in the over 50 age group in a long-term survival scenario will approach 100% within a year's time. I agree that without strong efforts on the part of preppers that this will probably occur, and in my particular situation is why I am no longer planning for long-term scenarios. I can't make it and knowing Mrs. Freeholder as I do, she probably won't either. It's a sad conclusion to reach, but fortunately I don't think our chances of seeing one of those scenarios occur is very great. My planning is concentrating on being able to survive something like a long-term socio-economic slump on terms of the Great Depression plus.

For those who are not in the same situation as we are, this is the best reason to build your community of friends who can be counted on in an emergency now. A mix of ages, sexes and skills, and within reason, a larger rather than smaller group that is physically located near each other will be the best asset to be had if things get really bad. Even in a long-term "slide" scenario, I believe this will still give you the best chance to make it to the other side. You can have all the beans, bullets and band-aids you want, but without people, I don't think they'll be useful.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Prepping as we age--social isolation and loneliness

“My last friend died last week. I don’t know one single person on this earth anymore. Not one.”

As a human being I read that story and my heart aches for that man. Not just because as a person I feel for him, but I have seen elderly people in my family and Mrs. Freeholder's family who had similar feelings. Nothing will take the wind out of your sails quite so thoroughly as your father looking you calmly in the eye and telling you that he is ready to die.

He was quite serious. His wife, my mother, had been dead for a bit over 3 years by then and his health was deserting him. I could see the signs that the end was approaching, and I think he could as well. He passed on, quietly, before another year was over.

As we grow older, we are warned to guard against many different things. Be sure you don't outlive your money. Be sure you have medi-gap insurance. Be sure you rethink your house so it's easier and safer to live with as your physical abilities change.

Exactly how can you be sure that you don't outlive everyone you know?

In some ways, that was what happened to my Dad. Sure, he had me, the only child, and my wife. He had his grandkids, who he loved very much. And that was pretty much the sum total of the people he had left on this earth. He had outlived everyone else in his family, or lost track of them for various reasons. His friends were mostly dead. Those that weren't were caught in his situation, physically unable to drive safely. None of them could carry on a phone conversation because all of them couldn't hear very well. (Winning World War II  carried a lot of prices, one of them being the hearing of the men who were on the front lines.) He didn't really know his neighbors except to wave at them if he saw them, and that happened infrequently.

I visited several times a week, we took him out to eat at least once a week (or as he became less able to get around, brought it in to him) and I called the remaining days. But that isn't much of a substitute for a social life.

It's been documented as far back as 2013 that social isolation and loneliness can be deadly to senior citizens. Continuing research only confirms that finding. I have no doubt in my mind that it contributed to my father's willingness to die. I don't think it was so much that he wanted to die, really, as it was he didn't want to keep on living the way he was living.

Even being 30 years younger than he was when he died and in much better health, I can understand. Having retired early, my social life has been rather dramatically scaled back--you don't realize how much of your life revolves around your job until it doesn't. And I had nothing ready to take the place of my "friends from work".

Unlike my Dad, I am quite computer and Internet literate, and spend probably too much time in front of a computer. While it might have opened up something of a new world for him if he had chosen to open himself up to it, it's already a part of my life, so it isn't going to add anything to my life. To the contrary, I've recently been cutting myself off from the so-called "social media", finding that it is nothing but and OCD gratification loop and a time suck when you have nothing to keep it in check for you, like a real job.

I do have my hobbies, and while they do have their social sides to them, they aren't the sort of thing that gets you out of the house a lot, except to the range, and it's pretty hard to have a conversation with earplugs in and firearms going off randomly around you. Those of you who have hobbies that are more social, keep them up. They may well be a life line as you age.

Having caught up a bit on the comings and goings at SurvivalBlog last night, I caught myself wondering how this particular concern will work out for the hardcore prepper folks who have relocated to the "Redoubt", where humanity is spread rather thinner than it is in my location.

The consideration my wife and I have been giving to moving toward larger concentrations of humanity rather than away from them (Heretic! Burn him!) have in part been driven in part by this very concern. We're looking for things to get us out of the house and out among people--concerts, ball games, exhibits of various sorts. All the things that as preppers or wise individuals concerned with our self defense we've been striving to avoid or minimize all these years. It feels...odd and alien. I haven't lived in an urban area in well over 20 years, and the concept makes the muscles between my shoulder blades tense up. Still, it's something that needs to be looked at. Aging in place isn't going to be good if it also ages you prematurely.

Fortunately, I see no danger of my turning into some lonely, wizened old man just yet. I'm looking around to see if there are jobs that I might jump into in a part time fashion, or maybe some volunteer opportunities. There is a VA hospital nearby that may need a hand. There are also a couple of small museums that might need a docent.

Let's not have any of us not knowing anyone on this earth.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

I apparently did something stupid...again

I have this habit of managing to do dumb things when doing maintenance on this blog. This time I have magically hosed the generic blogroll. I'm going to put it back, but it strikes me as a really good time to winnow it down to the blogs that really interest me now, as opposed to those who interested me at some other time. I suspect this list is going to get much shorter.

If your blog gets trimmed, please don't take it personally. My interests have a habit of changing often.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Another school shooting

And once again, the blood dancers, gun banners and general know-nothing idiots all come creeping out from under their rocks. Cockroaches have better manners.

There isn't a media outlet today that isn't simply seething with their blather. Look, I'm sympathetic with the parents' losses; for crying out loud I have two kids myself. I'm not a monster.

That's the point. I'm not a monster. Our 19 year old shooter is your monster. Not Smith and Wesson, not the gun store who (legally, it seems, much to the chagrin of those above named) sold him the gun, not the ammunition manufacturer, not Uber, not the company who made his breakfast cereal. I'm sorry to break that to you.

I'm also sorry to break it to you that no, once again I and my fellow gun owners will not be taking responsibility for this twisted little waste of protoplasm's actions. My ARs killed no one yesterday. They stayed in the safe, minding their own business. Which is what all law abiding gun owners' guns do, except when we decide we'd like to go exercise our civil rights and hunt, plink, participate in a shooting sport or some other legal gun-related activity.

Nor will we be cooperating with with whatever version of gun grabbing you have in mind this time around. I've seen all the old canards trotted out, some of them in new clothes, such as the piece on FoxNews by someone named Liz Peek who claims it's time for conservatives to stand against mass murder. Funny, I didn't know that conservatives supported mass murder. I've never seen that on any elected official's--conservative, liberal or otherwise--list of campaign promises.

Of course, Ms. Peek also thinks that we need to get rid of "high-powered rapid-fire guns" because they are "too dangerous". Of course, she also says that full auto guns are illegal and "Hunters or those who enjoy shooting clay pigeons don’t use semi-automatic weapons."

When you are this damn ignorant about the subject you choose to opine on, there is no fucking way I'm going to take a word you say seriously. Go sit in the corner and be quiet, the adults are talking here. Should you decide to educate yourself on the subject, then I'll be gracious enough to give you a fair hearing.

Others are demanding that the politicians do what they do best and "do something". God save us from politicians doing something. That's how we find ourselves in the various social and economic messes we're in now. Politicians, please count to 10. Take a deep breath. Then take a vacation--for a few months. When you get back, then we can discuss this with cooler heads.

Sure, I'd like to wave a magic wand and make it so that these things didn't happen any more. No thinking, feeling person wants to see another mass murderer trying to get the high score. But there is no magic wand, and that's what all these people want. And no matter how had they wish for it to appear, it won't.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The ultimate triumph of socialism

The ultimate triumph of socialism is rapidly becoming obvious in Venezuela. Every time I read one of these articles I wonder how much further they can sink before the people revolt, and every time the answer is apparently "a little further."

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Against the backdrop of a 1000 point drop in the Dow, I'm going to toss this into your lap

I expect that most of the folks who happen by this particular spot on the Intertubz have at least heard of Strauss and Howe's book The Fourth Turning. If you haven't you're going to be behind the curve for this post. I would say "Go read it and I'll wait," but it's 400 pages in paperback and takes considerable time and digestion. If you haven't read it, I suggest getting a copy and doing so as soon as you can. I have, and it definitely...interrupted is a good word...my thinking on a lot of things having to do with planning for the future, at least when it comes to extreme cases.

Some months back, a two part post appeared on The Burning Platform blog entitled "The Unbearable Slowness of Fourth Turnings". (Link is to Part 1, there is link to Part 2 at the bottom of it.) Jim Quinn, the author of the blog, basically explains why it's taking so long for this whole Fourth Turning thing to really get moving, considering he believes it began in 2008.

I'm not going to rehash his post. He doesn't need my interference, and you should go read it yourself. All I want to do is point out that our great societal problem and its associated issues havn't gone away. As I noted in this morning's post it's been kind of easy to get lulled into a sense of complacency in the last few months. I think that, from the point of view of most people with a similar point of view as ours, things have been going relatively well. The other side has been quiet for the most part, nobody's coming after our guns, the economy has been improving and we've been watching Trump rub the other side's nose in it all. It's been quite a party.

But to some extent, it's the sort of party that was had just after Prohibition passed, where people drank up the last of the booze in the house in one big blow out. Sobriety is going to set in, sooner rather than later, I suspect. It's probably going to set in with all the subtly of a 2x4 to the head when it happens, unless you're paying attention and are ready to duck at the right moment.

Is today's 1000 point drop in the Dow that moment? Is it the moment where things start to accelerate? Beats me. It may be a market correction, the beginning of another painful yet standard bear market or it could be that moment. Only history will be able to make that judgement. But it doesn't hurt to consider your status in light of those options, and any others you may see. Depending on your situation, financial and otherwise, each scenario will require certain reactions from you. It may be no more than an elevation in your level of attention, but you need to take that action.

The last thing you want to do is find yourself in the position of our forces on the island of Oahu on December 7, 1941 at 7:47 AM. Because by 8 AM, things weren't going so well.

A hot civil war

We haven't heard much talk lately about civil war in the US. However, if you think that means the left has settled down, I suggest you read this article from one of my local news organs. This particular leftist, a professor at the University of North Carolina, decided that since no one was "doing something" that he would arm himself and take matters into his own hands. Thankfully, calmer heads among law enforcement prevailed.

It isn't over. They didn't win in 2016, they're still angry and they're still trying to figure out how to reverse their loss "by any means necessary". Further, I believe that they will, if they regain power, work to "reform the system" to ensure that no one who disagrees with them ever wins again.

No, this isn't over by a long shot, much to our society's detriment.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

And now for this musical interlude

Since I now have all this time on my hands, I've been able to do things that I used to do, like listen to music. Providentially, ESR recently wrote an interesting piece positing that The blues ate rock and roll! It's an interesting read, and if you have some time, even more interesting to follow along the listening trail.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

A bit old, but a good take on the ARRL BOD issue

Since I'm not a big fan of the NFL at this juncture, I'm kind of left out of the national frenzy involving this year's Super Bowl. So I've been toddling around the Interwebz and ran into this oldish thread on QRZ addressing the ARRL and their current tar baby, the Board of Directors Code of Conduct and other ill-advised changes.

Stephen Bloom, KL7SB, has done some homework and makes some interesting points about the makeup of the ARRL hierarchy that you probably ought to read if you're a member. Definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

Monday, January 29, 2018

So what do you do on a crappy, rainy Sunday?

Why, you go to the Greensboro Gun Show, of course.

Not surprisingly, with no major sports events on the idiot box (sorry NFL, nobody cares about you or the Pro Bowl these days), the Sunday edition of the show was quite well attended. As per the New Usual, attendance by women, blacks, Hispanics and any other minority you'd care to mention was obvious and welcome--the more broad-based the interest in and support of gun rights, the harder it's going to be for the Other Side to try and take them away when Our Side isn't in power.

I also made my first sighting of a new species-a Hipster. Yes, in all his plaid-wearing and bearded hipness, an honest-to-God Hipster. Cool. We're really going mainstream in a big way.

For me, this was the first show in something over a year, so it was an opportunity to check prices and see what was for sale and for how much. Besides, my old friend Steve-o-rini from a former employer wanted to go, and it's always more fun when you have company. Son wanted to go, but a bout of Nasty Gastro Bug #482 kept him chained in his new digs. (He's feeling much better today, thanks for asking.)

So, what did I see? Ammo. Plenty of ammo, all popular calibers and in abundance, by the box or the case. Prices, however, are still above pre-Obama levels and I suspect will never return to Good Old Days pricing. Inflation in the cost of raw materials and a larger pool of shooters are seeing to that. I priced .308 and nearly had a stroke. The days of buying a 900 round case of South African surplus for $190 are long gone, let me tell you.

ARs. Boy did we see ARs. Bargain basement ARs at $369 plus tax, although they had no sights. Still, they were of reasonable quality--they'd make a great first AR for someone who didn't have one, or AR for someone on a tight budget or perhaps a spare. Better quality guns, such as Ruger, Stag Arms or Springfield, could be had for $500-$750. These were guns that were bringing $800-$1000 a year ago. If you wanted top shelf stuff, how about a Daniel Defense for $1300? If you were interested in an AR10, I saw several DPMS guns for $800. Yeah, ARs are available at fire sale prices at all levels of quality. Get yours now while the bargains are available.

Pistols. Lots of pistols except the one I wanted, of course. I had saved my pennies to replace my original Ruger LCP with its Crimson Trace red laser with the new LCP II with a green Crimson Trace laser. There was not a one to be found. However, there were plenty of everything else. Prices were about where they were a year ago, which I take as indicating that the market is still good in this area.

Hunting guns, both rifle and shotgun. There were plenty of both and with the new manufacturing techniques, you can have high performance guns at what are realistically bargain basement prices compared to decades past.

Collector-type guns. There were quite a few. Prices varied, but I didn't see any bargains. Given it was Sunday, that's not a surprise. I also didn't see any being sold.

Buyers. I saw far fewer buyers than I expected. Of course, sales are way down now that the Gun Salesman of the Decade is out of office. This is probably not a wise move if you still need to fill in holes in your armory or your collection, but it's understandable. I only saw one AR sold along with a few pistols. Dealers that I know normally do a great business at this show were standing around. Of course, it is January. Christmas spending was up and people have bills to pay, so perhaps that is part of the reason sales appeared to be slow.

Private sellers. Boy, did I see a lot of them. It almost looked like 2008-9, when people were selling whatever they could to have some cash. I saw one guy selling Lugars. Man, if I had had money like I used to, I probably could have picked up a bargain or two there. Plenty of other guys with ARs (felt sorry for them), various hunting guns and handguns. I didn't see many of those change hands. I had thought about taking one of mine to see if I could start downsizing my accumulation, and I'm glad now that I didn't. The asking prices for used guns that went begging tell me I may need to sit on mine for a while until the market comes back.

As always, everyone was polite and well mannered. I only saw one dealer who was being a jackass, and that was because he was being undersold by pretty much everyone else at the show. Dude, where I come from that's called a clue, but I guess you're from somewhere else.

So that's the report of the last Greensboro show for the season. Next one is in August. That gives me time to save more pennies. :-)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ham radio projects

Like so many ham radio clubs, the club where I'm a member has been struggling with an aging member demographic and declining membership numbers. So at our last meeting we all got homework--come up with 5 ideas to improve meeting attendance and 5 projects that could be done after a meeting.

Me, I cheat. I used search engines. :-) I'm a firm believer in not re-inventing the wheel.

Looking at projects, I found a lot of interesting links. It's a shame to let them all go mostly to waste, since I only need 5 projects. So here they are. Feel free to let your inner maker run wild.


The dummy load project looks particularly interesting.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Who said you can't fight City Hall (or the ARRL)?

It seems that when enough people protest loudly enough and threaten to not renew enough memberships (and I suspect some other monetary hits we know nothing of), the ARRL can indeed listen to the concerns of its members:

Meeting January 19-20, the ARRL Board of Directors adopted a motion to a review the entire code of conduct for Board members, known officially as the ARRL Policy on Board Governance and Conduct of Members of the Board of Directors and Vice Directors. ARRL Officers, Directors, and Vice Directors will review the code of conduct and complete a final draft version by mid-May for the July Board meeting.

In the same motion, the Board deleted and suspended, effective immediately, sections that were considered ambiguous and in conflict with the intent of the code of conduct requiring Board members to act in the best interest of the League's membership.

There's more than that, but that's the part that addresses what I've been making noise about. I have to admit I'm shocked. I honestly expected the BOD to attempt to ignore the issue to death, which I feared would exacerbate an already bad membership trend. While they still may wind up hand us a less than desirable outcome on the subject, at least for now they appear to be paying attention to the concerns of their members.

I shall be cautious about being guardedly optimistic.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

It's all a wonderful head-in-the-sand lifestyle

Until the ugly reality of the world intrudes. Comedian Tim Young was perfectly content to wander through life in Condition White until life sent him 2 armed robbers, who relieved him of his wallet and "tossed him around". A number of witnesses a half-block away failed to rush to his rescue. Considering this happened in still anti-gun Washington DC, they were likely substantially less well armed than the robbers, and wisely kept their distance from the festivities.

Now Young  is seeking a concealed carry permit. “When you’re in an instance where there’s a gun is pointed at you and your life is being threatened for your property and no one’s going to help—and now I know that no one’s going to help—I want to feel more secure. I want to feel safe, and I have something to defend myself with.”

Welcome to our club, Tim. Indoor range is on the right.

Friday, January 19, 2018

And so we get this missive from the ARRL's President on the Board of Director's imbroglio

Rick Roderick, K5UR, has been kind enough to notice that the natives are restless. Or, as he puts it, we are listening to "...an organized misinformation campaign. It is being orchestrated by a group of hams, some of whom are well-intentioned but have been misled." I'll assume I'm in that later category, just to be nice.

I'm not going to address Pres. Roderick's statements on the pending Bylaws changes. I've read a bit about them and I'll admit being concerned, but I haven't delved into the subject deeply enough to develop an opinion. I'm going to stick to the Board of Directors' (from here on to be known as the "BOD") recent changes to the BOD's Code of Conduct.

Pres. Roderick states that "The principal suggestion is that ARRL operates under some “cloak of secrecy.” The criticism is unfair and undeserved." While that may currently be true, the new Code is written in such a way that abuse is baked in. In the "Standards of Conduct" section, under "6. Confidentiality", subpart "c", there is the following statement:
c. A Board member may not, in disclosing anything about the Board’s deliberations,
discuss or disclose the votes of the Board or of individual Board members (including his/
her own) unless the Board has previously made the votes public. Nor shall any Board
member falsely characterize the positions, policies or decisions of the Board or the points
of view taken by any member of the Board with respect to them. 
If you read it quickly and don't parse it carefully, it sounds fine. Don't disclose information about votes publicly unless the ARRL has already made the information public. Here it is again, with the part I feel is problematic highlighted:
c. A Board member may not, in disclosing anything about the Board’s deliberations,
discuss or disclose the votes of the Board or of individual Board members (including his/
her own) unless the Board has previously made the votes public
.
Nor shall any Board
member falsely characterize the positions, policies or decisions of the Board or the points
of view taken by any member of the Board with respect to them. 
So here is how I see this working if the ARRL wants to clamp down on information. If they don't make any of the votes public, no director can do so, even if he wishes to make his/her vote on the issue public. Instant cone of silence as long as the directors go along with it. And if they don't--they're out of there, as the League has already made very clear. Yes, I believe the abuse is starting.

I also find the entirety of "7. Public Statements" to be problematic. It is simply written far too broadly. This is the part of the Code used to hang N6AA. As written, it allows the Board of Directors to be judge, jury and executioner. The accused has little recourse if the judge and jury are stacked. It's awfully easy to claim that someone didn't give enough notice that they were speaking for themselves, and pretty difficult to prove you did. What is the standard, after all?

"9. Relation with Staff" paragraph "e" also troubles me. "Board members should never conduct independent investigations...." But I suppose that, under "5. Relations Among Board Members" you're only allowed to report wrong-doing by other Board members, it's cool. The possible damage is limited. Not.

Pres. Roderick states that "When it [speaking of the Code of Conduct] was adopted by the Board a year ago, it was posted for ARRL members to read." So it was, if anyone noticed. I have to wonder how many members did. And if they did, what of it? By that time, it was passed. Any damage was done.

Overall, I consider the letter to be content free. It reads well and sounds great--but it actually addresses nothing. At most it restates and amplifies the League's existing positions. I view it as nothing more than an attempt to buy time and hope that it all blows over.

As this trundles on, I grow less and less likely to renew my ARRL membership. Despite the things they have historically done for radio amateurs, it seems that times are a changin' and we amateurs may be taking a back seat. It's happened in other advocacy groups. Any of you gunnies reading this will surely remember the bad old days when the NRA's leadership pretty much ignored the members and decided they wanted to be Washington Insiders, much to the damage to our Second Amendment rights. I don't want to see that here, but I'm growing more and more afraid that is exactly what I'm seeing.