Monday, December 03, 2007

My new toy

I'm not sure if I still have any readers, much less a reader who knows anything about 1911-A1 values, but I could use a little bit of help. I recently acquired a GunSite custom Springfield 1911-A1. It looks as though it's seen very little use. When I picked it up, I noticed the custom guide rod, night sights, brushed feed ramp, and very little wear. The rosewood (I think) GunSite grips just made me think it had been owned by a fan of the company. Once I took possession of it, though, I noticed the GunSite logo on the slide and on both mags (which are also numbered I and II).
I have no idea of the value of it, except that I got it for less than it's worth. I'm considering selling it, but I don't want to ask too much or too little. Also, I do like the gun, so this interest in selling it is something that may pass when I figure out the value.

I would've posted pics, but I couldn't seem to take any that turned out well--the logos glared up, the details didn't show, and I just am not a photographer. Sorry.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Yet another long conversation

Well, it's been over a month, but I now have at least one day off each week, it looks like. And I conveniently have something to write about.

Last night, my roommates decided to have a party. And it was a dressy sort of party, so I took off my XD and put on some dress clothes and my new 1911. It's my dress gun, I decided. Well, this drew the attention of those already used to me carrying, as well as those who were new to it (who were a surprise to me...). Of course, a few people had to see it, so I unloaded it and let folks look at it. One girl thought it was a "pretty" gun, while one guy freaked out as she held it. I didn't give him a second thought, since she pointed it in a safe direction and double-checked to see that it was unloaded.

Later, after he'd done some drinking, he insisted on confronting me about my choice to carry. His argument kept revolving around the "fact" that he's a second amendment guy, but he doesn't see a need to carry a pistol. He also said that he'd been on the wrong end of one before, and it's the scariest thing he figures he'll ever see.

He decided to explain to me that seeing the hammer back on the 1911 made it look like I was ready to snap and kill someone. I, of course, explained that A. the 1911 was designed to be carried that way and B. any gun you carry should be carried in a ready condition.

The argument he gave against this was based on his fear of a cocked hammer and the way cops carry. This threw me off a bit. I reminded him that cops generally carry with a round in the chamber, and he told me that his brother-in-law was a cop, so he "knows" that they don't. At that point, I really knew there was no arguing the point, since he was going to be damned sure no matter what I said.

Every time I tried to make a point, he'd tell me that he knew I wasn't going to snap, but that's the way it looked to anyone who didn't know me. I would then point out that I'm generally friendly and have really warmed some people to the idea of guns, and that the natural response to any fear of me snapping would be to arm others. That way, the threat could be neutralized much more efficiently. His response, of course, was that those people weren't going to arm themselves.

Finally, after 45 minutes of patiently explaining gun rights and preparedness, I finally asked his opinion on property rights. He failed to see the correlation until I pointed out that I wasn't going to do anything in his home without his permission, but that I was not going to ask his permission to carry in any manner I please in my own home. If he is uncomfortable with it, I'm not forcing anyone to come over (in fact, I'm not even encouraging it, truth be told).

I don't know if he'll come to any parties my roommates host from now on, and I don't really care. Most people who show up learn to accept my sidearm, and I don't even really like the guy. Wasted about an hour of my life talking to him, and walked away knowing that he'd probably never accept what I was saying, but at least he should know that I'm not going to give on this.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Apologies and whatnot

Okay, it's been far too long since I posted. I recently got a new job, and I had to work my old job for awhile. And we're stocking shelves and trying to get the store to open on time, which makes for long days and no time off.
Also, it's Cabela's. Which is awesome. I can't wait to buy things.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Higher ground?

According to this article, the right to bear arms shouldn't be infringed...unless it's to keep "unqualified" gun owners, criminals, and crazies from getting guns. Or to keep everyone else from getting bullets. Or if it is just a three-month wait. Or she doesn't feel comfortable with you having a gun.

Besides the spelling (than/then confusion caught my eye), grammar, punctuation, and word misuse (condone means to encourage, not discourage), the article lacks solid reasoning.

At one point, the author tells us that training is critical. Later, she says that guns owned for self-defense do not justify ammunition purchases, since you shouldn't be shooting in self-defense very often. She also completely misses the protection from tyranny side of the Second Amendment.

She cites gun laws and crime stats in other countries without citing sources or telling us the actual statistics. She tells us that the difference is in attitude, and that the American mentality is problematic. No evidence, of course. She even cites a Jodie Foster movie as proof of our problematic mindset. (By the way, for those who are unaware, Jodie Foster is very anti-gun.) A movie about vigilantism is her proof that Americans think that the solution to every problem is a gun.

The biggest argument in the article is that people "may not need a gun." Y'know, because you're certain to be safe everywhere you go. Because people aren't ever robbed, beaten, or raped by those who have no qualms with doing harm.

The worst part is that there are almost certainly people who will buy into this crap.

Thanks to War on Guns for pointing this out.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Increasingly irrelevant

Can we cause problems with something even more irrelevant? Why should Congress be making determinations as to which past events were genocides?

While I generally like meaningless debates in Congress, since it keeps them too busy to do much real damage, but this is ridiculous. Almost 100 years ago, many Armenians were killed by many Turks. It's a bit late to punish anyone, actually fix the problem, or do anything else of value. And with libs whining about how our policies make the world hate us, you'd think that they'd be more careful.

Uncommon knowledge

It seems to me that there is a dwindling supply of common knowledge. I could be wrong, but the more I talk to those only a bit younger than me, the less commonly known are the facts I had assumed everyone knew.

I can't make reference to Rorschach tests, Schrodinger's Cat, Atlas Shrugged, any Constitutional amendment after the first, or various other things without several quizzical looks and the need for long explanations. Spelling and grammar are lost arts, it seems. The apostrophe has invaded plurals and the semicolon has virtually disappeared.

If I start to talk about my favorite authors, some may have read the notes on a work or two; they are more interested, though, in whether I caught the latest episode of whatever's on TV. I'm far more likely to run across someone whose parents read Grisham than I am to run across someone who has ever read a book by choice.

It wasn't that long ago that I thought most people had been exposed to physics, math, literature, biology, history, and politics. Turns out they know a little about gravity, some addition and subtraction, how to read the TV Guide, enough about anatomy to reproduce, what happened in reruns of their favorite shows, and that Bush is President. Beyond that, I can't really assume much.

I may just be far more cynical than is necessary, but it's getting ridiculously frustrating to have to explain references I had once thought everyone knew. Newspeak, Alexander Hamilton's famous duel with Aaron Burr, and special relativity should all be at least familiar to college students these days, right?

I sure hope that working away from a university environment won't exacerbate this problem...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nobel-worthy?

I think I'm going to be sick. Al Gore apparently has a Nobel Peace Prize under his belt now. I didn't realize they handed them out for lying to the public and trying to induce hysteria.

You know his damned supporters will start throwing out the fact that he was awarded this prize. I can see it now:
"You do realize that NASA corrected the data, which now shows that the 1930s were the hottest decade on record, right?"
"Well, why did Gore when a Nobel Peace Prize, then?"
"That's irrelevant. His data has been proven flawed repeatedly."
"Do you have a Nobel Prize?"
"Also irrelevant."
"I believe the guy with the Nobel Prize."
"And I believe that you're going to be in intense pain soon."

I had already figured that it was kind of a joke at times when Carter got one, but I had hoped that was some sort of fluke. That hope is now broken.

As for the article, it doesn't surprise me that the NY Times would so readily pretend that this doesn't demean those who have actually deserved recognition.

It's kind of funny, though, to read such passages as "author of dozens of works from short stories to science fiction" (about the winner for literature). I wouldn't really consider this a range of works...in fact, I've read enough sci-fi short stories to believe that it's possible for this range to encompass the smallest variety I've ever seen encompassed by this sort of wording. You can't really define a range by a style and a genre...Were it defined as sci-fi novels to historical short stories, it would encompass something. Oh, well...the Times can't be bothered to actually learn about writing anything other than propaganda.

Lacey CItizen's Academy

A friend of mine is taking a citizen's academy from the Lacey Police Department. Most of it sounds as though it's the basic stuff--watchful eye, mark your possessions, write down serial numbers, etc. Apparently, though, they recently discussed guns.

I groaned when he told me this, then let him tell me what he had learned. They apparently went over the difference between automatic and semi-auto, as well as the difference between centerfire and rimfire (not the sort of thing I would expect). They learned how to unload a gun and check the chamber.

Best of all, they learned that open carry is legal in the state of Washington. Sure, it's only one cop that was telling them this, but the fact that he did so means that Lacey PD is coming around. He did, of course, make a comment about it being the "Wild West" around here, which leads me to believe he's not happy with open carry, but he admitted that it was entirely legal.

He also mentioned Opencarry.org, according to my information. He talked about how the group is fighting to make open carry a socially acceptable choice. My friend was surprised that he'd mention that, since I was the only person he'd ever heard of it from before that.

Sure, it's not going to stop people from being shocked by my gun, but it means I'm less likely to end up forced to fight a legal battle over it. It's a start.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Not quite the Taggart Comet

The Amtrak line that runs near my house (between Seattle and Portland) makes me really think about our views on mass transportation. It apparently broke down at least twice yesterday. In one case, they apparently paid for taxis to transport the passengers up to Seattle. In the other, a train that was scheduled to depart at 1930 hrs (I believe--it may have even been a 1900 train) didn't arrive at the station until about 2105.

The liberals would say that this means we should pump tax dollars into mass transportation. They'd point out that the trains can't be expected to run on time unless we keep them in good repair. "Think of those people who paid for a ticket and had to wait so long!" they'd cry.

I do think of those people who paid $60 for a trip from Olympia to Portland. I think that a train asking that kind of money for a ticket should be able to afford to stay in good repair. I think those people are being hosed by something that isn't held accountable. And subsidies have only made the problem worse. Any time you supply an income that isn't tied to actually providing goods or services, you have lessened the motivation to provide the highest possible quality in those goods or services. And when the solution to poor service is to increase that subsidy, you create incentive to provide only enough service to avoid being entirely shut down.

I guess I rant about this plenty, but today just made me think of the Taggart Transcontinental. I know that our monopoly lawsuits against anyone who provides the best product they can are even more like that, but the fact that my example for the day was a train really made it hit me even more profoundly. If only I had the courage and talent to attempt to be John Galt.

Memories

Whenever I reach a point where I have to change something major in my life, I get a bit more sentimental than I probably should. Things that weren't all that great start to look like they were good, and I find myself kind of regretting the change, even if it is 100% for the better. The job change I'm about to go through is no exception to this.

At my current job, which will soon be done, I have had to put up with constantly being expected to come in at a moment's notice, be scheduled by someone with an active grudge, "adjust" my time card so as not to end up with overtime, perform all sorts of extra duties with no extra compensation, take work home with me despite signing on to do security work, be passed up for the only title with a raise because my boss thought I didn't want it (I don't go whining for more money often), have low (for WA) wages with no benefits, and my grades suffered when I was a student because I was constantly called in for extra night shifts.

But I focus entirely upon the good sometimes. I've been able to blog at work (doing so right now), people can keep me company for a good three hours of the shift, everyone knows me, my boss sometimes buys me breakfast, work is the most social I ever get, I have some fun work stories, and I wouldn't know where to meet a decent woman outside a college setting.

I'm moving to a position with better pay, some benefits, and the chance to be around my favorite hobby all day long. I shouldn't wonder whether it's a good move. But I keep weighing the good of my current job against an imagined and arbitrary definition of the new. Oh, well. I guess it just means that, with all the bad, the last few years haven't been a total mistake.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Edutainment

I sometimes read MSN articles if they happen to catch my attention. My favorites are the ones that give dating tips psychologists offer. Not because they're useful, mind you...they are full of such inane and worthless minutiae.

If you want to know whether the date's going well, these articles say, watch where the other person puts her/his jacket, look at foot angles and positions, watch for leaning over or straightening up, and check where they've chosen to sit. If they've got a drink to stir, are they stirring the same way they would if they were alone?

Whatever happened to just going with the flow? Do we really need to watch feet, stirring, and hand positions? Can't you just ask whether the person would like to see you again?

Ah, well, it still kind of amuses me, and I get bored. I guess these articles serve a purpose.

Anger

Why can't women just get anger out of their system? Guys will punch each other, tell each other off, yell, or whatever else, and the anger's gone. Hell, I've seen guys physically fight and immediately go get a beer together. Women, on the other hand, sit there and seethe. They'll do the silent treatment, the sulking, and anything else that doesn't actively address the problem, and they'll keep it up for days.

The worst part is that they won't just direct that anger at the intended target. They get into a bad mood, and everyone's supposed to suffer. The target may be the focus, but anyone else is fair game for the anger, especially if they had the misfortune of being friendly with the target.

The funny thing is that the target would often be willing to atone and change, but women won't just address the issue, generally. They hold a grudge for awhile, and everyone suffers. Sure, guys don't generally fix the actual problem, but we focus our anger, get it out, and move on.

Yes, I'm aware that I've generalized this issue and there are more complex things to consider, but it just gets me every time...especially when I can't even figure out what has a woman so pissed off.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Evolution of the Ramblings

Hammer's post of the blog evolution meme got me thinking. I haven't been running this blog for all that long, but it has changed in many ways I wouldn't have guessed. When it was over at Eponym, I mostly did commentary on news stories posted by others. I felt like I was doing something by analyzing them more in-depth than was probably necessary.

This one started mostly because I had a friend looking to get into blogging, and it started out as mostly reposts of stuff I put on Eponym, but it didn't get updated too often. And my friend posted about three times before he lost interest and willpower.

When Eponym stopped providing a free service, I renamed this one (it had been Republitarian Rants before, but I always liked this name when I was on Eponym). It slowly became a place where I did commentary on the broader issues rather than specific news stories.

Well, that only lasts so long. It soon became commentary on political issues based on personal anecdotes. Pretty soon, the personal anecdotes were becoming less political. Now I just rant about whatever.

I wonder if I'll hit the point where I start talking about my childhood. I doubt it, since it was kind of boring, in my opinion, but we'll see where it goes from here.

I won't tag anyone, since I just kind of stole the meme. But I definitely encourage you to steal it like I did.

Luck and such

My luck is like a pendulum that just can't be controlled. It's ridiculous. Something good happens, something bad happens, good, bad, good, bad, etc.

In the past week and a half I had the following random luck:

At work, a new position seems to be opening up, creating upward possibilities.
My muse wanders off.
I start going out with an amazing girl.
Said amazing girl decides she jumped back into relationships too soon, so we should just be friends for now.
The day after that shock, she decides she wants to do something Saturday.
Then she decides to bring a friend.
Cabela's offers me a halfway decent job at the gun counter as Special Order Specialist.
I'm starting to get sick.

Now, mind you, I know that some of this is actually within my control a bit, so it might not seem like luck. Since I believe luck and fate are intertwined thoroughly with free will, I just count it all the same. Although I leave out stupid crap like punching something hard enough that I think I have a broken knuckle. Because that's just me creating problems for myself.

I'm fairly certain that there's a miniaturized version of me somewhere in the dark reaches of my mind, flipping a luck switch on and off trying to figure out which light it turns on.

Quick household lesson

Do your dishes come out of the dishwasher with food still caked on? Do people recoil at the odor around your sink? Are your dishes and silverware degrading at an accelerated pace? Do those you live with avoid doing your dishes at all costs?
Then you might be my roommates! I mean...you might need to learn to rinse.

Seriously, is rinsing a lost art these days? Did no one have parents? How the hell hard is it to look at a dish that still has crap stuck on it and realize you haven't rinsed it. Well, the past few roommates I've had seem to have trouble, so here's a handy little guide:

Step 1: Scrape any largish chunks of food off of the plate and into the garbage. A chicken bone should not be left out on a plate or put in the sink.
Step 2: Get the dish to the damned sink. This should easily be a given, but I have found that it's an easily missed step. And when you miss this one, you miss all of them.
Step 3: Run water over the dish, knocking off a lot of the smallish food debris that you missed in step one. You know, a little gravy or whatnot.
Step 4: Contrary to popular belief, this is not the time to leave some water in the dish and hope for some pixie magic. If there's anything not quickly knocked off by water, scrape a little or grab a sponge. Because I know you're not going to run the dishwasher before that crap dries on thoroughly.
Step 5: Either wash by hand or throw it in the dishwasher. And you're done! You have successfully made your residence a little less gross.

Now, by no means am I a neat freak. I have a lot of clutter, much of which I should just throw out, but clutter isn't gross. It just kind of makes me look even more lazy than I am. Seriously, though, who can't figure out that putting water into a bowl and letting stuff float around in it is disgusting? (My roommates, apparently.)

Slang and small-town dictionary

I don't get slang. At all. There are a few phrases and words I understand in some way, but that doesn't mean I have any idea why they seem so acceptable to so many people.

"My bad": Of course it was your damned mistake. Now apologize for it. Owning up to it is not the same as feeling even a little remorse.

"Grill": Yeah, I get that you're comparing your teeth to the grill on your car. I just don't understand why. I guess your car's grill would be the teeth if it had a face...but that's not a good reason. It just seems ignorant when I hear that somebody "messed up" someone else's "grill." Unless, of course, you damaged their propane or charcoal barbecue setup or the front of their car.

"Strapped": The first time someone asked whether I was strapped, it took several seconds and a little bit of body language reading to figure out that they were asking whether I was armed. I'm much more accustomed to things like being "strapped for cash."

"Off the hook": I know what it means, but I have no idea why it means that something's cool.

Now, mind you, some of my lingo might confuse those who use the slang that confuses me. SO I've come up with a handy guide to a few of my more common ones.

"Yonder": Over there. Distance can vary depending on the circumstances. "Over yonder" might be a few feet away in a room or a pretty good distance outdoors. You'll need to look where I'm pointing, though, since it does not indicate direction within the speech.

"Y'all": Contraction for "you all" or the plural of "you." Yes, I am aware that I'm from the northwest. It's still a useful term. I like being able to differentiate singular and plural "you."

"Ky-oat" (yes, this is a weird way of writing my pronunciation. I'm tired. Live with it.): You city folks pronounce coyote funny. "Ky-oatee" isn't my usual method of pronouncing coyote. They are still the same critter, so don't ask me how it's different from what you're talking about.

"City": Anything big enough to have a couple stoplights. You see, where I'm from, we didn't even have one of those blinker lights. When you call places like the outskirts of Puyallup rural while I can see multiple car dealerships, I get confused, just like you do when I call suburbs cities.

There's more, but I'm tired. There may be another installment soon.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Gun crazy?

Ah, another of these sorts of editorials. I'll take it step by step.
Even the National Rifle Association admitted after the Virginia Tech massacre that federal guns laws had to be tightened to keep weapons out of the hands of people who were demonstrably mentally ill.
That's one of the many reasons I cannot trust the NRA. Especially since background checks already disqualify those adjudicated mentally defective, even if they are still considered capable of taking care of themselves.
Could anyone oppose background checks to determine whether a would-be gun buyer had ever been deemed dangerously disturbed?
"Ever been" is important here. As is the definition of "dangerously disturbed." If a person has been deemed mentally stable again, there's a lot to go through to get their rights back. And which mental illnesses make someone dangerously disturbed? Say I had a bout with depression a few years back. Would that mean I had once been dangerously disturbed? What about the biases of those making the determination? I'd like to own more guns, which would lead some people to believe I'm not qualified to own any.
There is one such fanatic in the U.S. Senate: Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn has irresponsibly blocked a measure that sailed through the House after Seung-Hui Cho, a Virginia Tech student with a history of mental illness, bought firearms and used them to slaughter 32 people at the university.
Senator Tom Coburn knows that a knee-jerk reaction is not generally the best option, and he knows that rights are not to be revoked. Calling him an irresponsible fanatic is ludicrous. As for Cho's history of mental illness, unless I am mistaken, he was never adjudicated a danger to himself and others, nor was he ever confined to an institution. Most of his mental illness history comes to us in the form of anecdotes. I'm not 100% sure on this, of course, since I don't care all that much. Any free man or woman should never be barred the use of guns. If you can be allowed to live unsupervised, you can be allowed to own firearms.
The case revealed huge gaps in a federal database that is supposed to give gun dealers an instant read on whether purchasers are disqualified by virtue of criminal or mental histories.
In other words, the fact that this was one of few cases in which the guns were acquired legally has people up in arms.
Long Island Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband was murdered by the deranged Long Island Rail Road gunman, pushed a loophole-closing measure through the House, only to have Coburn shoot a companion bill down in the Senate.
Ah, McCarthy. She's certainly a model of sanity, isn't she? And what loopholes was she closing? Oh, yeah, she pretty much wanted to keep anyone who's seen a shrink from handling a gun. Also, the fact that her husband was murdered actually clouds her judgment, I'd say, rather than lending any credibility.
Coburn made use of a Senate rule that lets any senator put an indefinite hold on any piece of legislation. He asserts that the bill would be costly to implement and could wind up depriving some people of their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
He's right. How many veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD? How many people have gotten treatment for a mental illness, thus keeping themselves from ever becoming a danger. I would further say that a bill like this might prevent people from seeking the treatment they need.
Coburn is guilty of extremism at its worst. By blocking the proposed law, he is all but certainly ensuring that some Americans will be deprived of their lives by maniacs with guns.
Who is guilty of extremism? Senator Coburn is blocking an expensive piece of legislation that will deny Americans one of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. That's not extremism in the least.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lessons I'll never really learn

I've learned (relearned, in most cases) a few valuable lessons today.

1. When I start to think things are going downhill, I should trust my gut instinct. Telling myself that I'm just a pessimist just gets my hopes up.
2. I should not punch objects that are more durable than my fists.
2a. As far as coping mechanisms go, experiencing physical pain doesn't help as much as one might hope.
3. I should really think things through before sending emails to folks.
4. Going out and about doesn't actually keep my mind of things. It only distracts me for fleeting moments.
5. I know quantum mechanics, literature, guns, history, etc. I do not know a damned thing about people.
5a. Trying to figure people out just makes me end up being an idiot.

I'll try to post something better soon. Maybe it'll have to wait 'til tomorrow, though.

Guns in schools

With all the talk lately of guns in schools (some of it due to the OR teacher fighting for what should be assumed rights), there's a lot of talk out there about why they aren't a good idea:

Students will find them. If a teacher keeps his/her gun on his/her person, s/he shouldn't have to worry about a student finding it.
What about crossfire? A teacher firing back increases the odds of hitting an unintended target, perhaps, but only if the teacher doesn't wait for a clean shot. Also, if someone's dead set on killing folks, s/he needs to be taken down. More lives are risked by waiting than are risked by firing back.
What if the student takes it from the defending teacher? The odds of a student being able to take away a gun are pretty low, especially if the teacher has chosen to deploy the weapon.
Teachers aren't supposed to fight, but to teach. Well, there's certainly a little truth to this one, but we don't live in a utopia. You can't teach the dead, so you'd better protect the living.

Feel free to disagree with me, but I think that incidents could be stopped quickly if a few armed people were available, rather than having a "weapon-free" environment.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm a token redneck, I think

Working at a college, you run across a lot of city folk who just have absolutely no idea what it's like to be anywhere but big cities. They've never seen coyotes, elk, or sometimes even deer. Our campus is a nice one, with some wooded areas and some undeveloped land, so these kids are in for quite a shock. I've heard of questions about whether the deer are dangerous, sometimes including a second question about whether they're dangerous in mating season.

Well, sometimes these people find out that I'm from out in the boondocks. They have all sorts of questions. This weekend, a coworker decided to grill me with questions. He was amazed to learn that not all towns have stoplights, fast food, or even a few stores. He couldn't seem to understand how I could easily live with having to drive 15-20 minutes to get to school, not having hundreds of TV channels (I still don't have that), and not having a mall within ten minutes (closest was about an hour, which was plenty close for us).

He wanted to know if "rednecks" have "street cred," and tried to figure out the country equivalent of various rappers. He can't understand why I think of my knife as a tool, rather than a weapon or toy, and he certainly doesn't see a gun the same way I do. I generally pronounce coyote with a silent e, say ain't, howdy, and even y'all, and use terms like "over yonder" to describe locations I'm pointing at, and he just laughs at me like I'm the only person in the world who speaks that way. I tried to explain to him that a man should have a knife and a means of making fire on his person all the time, and he couldn't understand it.

I could probably really blow the kid's mind by telling him about how Mineral sometimes has multi-day power outages in the winter. I especially shouldn't tell him that those outages, though inconvenient, don't stop people from living their normal lives.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Perceptions

It's funny how quickly some perceptions can change. School has been in session for about a month. The freshmen here found out that I openly carry a firearm around two weeks ago. At first, a lot of them were either a little afraid of me or they wanted to know if I was packing wherever I was.

Now, they just know I'm a gun guy. Some may avoid me, but it's largely a non-issue. They've realized that I'm not too violent, nor am I crazy. It has lost the novelty, and it has lost the scare factor.

I'm kind of proud of myself. I don't generally have much patience when I'm around idiots, but it paid off to go ahead and play nice. My perceptions of some of them have also changed, of course. I figured some of them were the sort who'd be against me forever, and it turned out they were fairly open-minded, and all they needed was exposure to gun owners.

Overall, while there are a lot of things I know I won't ever agree with them on (flat-billed ball caps, piercings, etc.), I know that they aren't going to end up being as much of an annoyance to me as I had expected. I also found some of them that I would actively choose to be around. On a moderately related note, I examined my thoughts on age gaps for dating and adjusted them, too. But that's not really the sort of thing that belongs in this blog, I figure.

I'll try to write something better soon. I need my muse to return, though.

Sorry

Take one part still-missing muse, two parts hectic workdays, two parts new relationship, and a dash of internet problems, and you've got me updating the blog far less frequently than I should.
Sorry, folks. I'd like to say that I have it under control and posting will resume as normal immediately, but that's not true.
I'll try to put a little more effort into it, though. There'll be another post later tonight. Once again, I beg your forgiveness.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Country and students

As some of you might have guessed, I listen to country music a lot. Rock, ska, jazz, blues, etc. all hit my playlists quite a bit, but country is my primary choice. While I'm at work, I like to have music playing, which garners reactions from some of the students.

The other night, a Garth Brooks song was playing, and one kid commented to his friend that it was Garth Brooks. Once out of sight, he loudly told his friend that the best Garth Brooks song was track twelve of some certain CD. It was said in a let's laugh at the security guard tone of voice. I didn't really give a damn. Later that night, the same pair came in, and the same kid pretended he was arguing the point still. He thought he was out of earshot when he broke down laughing. I don't care what he thinks of my music, but it just didn't even seem like a funny way to mock it.

Others come through and hear something by Big and Rich and proclaim that they love country. Sorry, kids, but that ain't really very country. I like some of it, but it's rock or something. Same kids don't bat an eye when it's Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, or Chris Ledoux. It always makes me laugh a little, since I'm certain they don't recognize them as country, even though all the country singers like to mention Hank, Waylon, and Chris once in awhile.

Still others say they don't like country, but they like my selections (I often keep it to the more upbeat stuff, since I don't need to be lulled out of my senses). These ones don't start singing along, but they might stick around and listen a minute.

Finally, there are those couple of kids who sing along, ask if I've got anything by [insert new country artist here] and generally try to make it clear that they like country. One girl was telling her friends that she was just about the only student in the dorms who liked country, and I couldn't resist making a comment. I resisted the urge to tell her she wasn't, and instead asked one little question: "Do they not like Hank Williams and his era, or is it the new stuff they don't like?" I, of course, figured she'd end up admitting that she really only liked the new stuff. Instead, without any hesitation, she announced to her friends with authority: "There IS a difference. And no one seems to like either around here." She had never once seemed to notice anything that wasn't newer country, but I couldn't say much at that point. I'd just let her make a point to her friends, apparently, and I think she felt she was impressing me. Ah, well.

And, yeah, I know that this isn't much like my usual stuff, but my muse has wandered off. I strongly suspect Farmgirl's muse of kidnapping mine, but I can't prove anything.

Sorry

Sorry I haven't been posting. It's been a rough couple weeks at work. Working way late, dealing with all sorts of emergency-type situations, and being kind of sick, to boot. I'll try to put a post together sometime within the next couple hours.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Competition?

Europe has acted, hearing software companies crying "no fair!" They've fined Microsoft, and made them share code they've created with their competitors. This stems from Real Networks losing their share of the market and getting whiny.

Let's pretend that this is about something physical, rather than software. I build engines, let's say. You build transmissions. Well, I decide to get into the transmission business, and I start including my improved transmissions in the engines. You cry foul and demand that I provide you the plans and some of the parts to make those transmissions. Well, I designed them, I've built them, and you are a competitor. Is it competitive behavior to help my competitor beat me? Or is it competitive to make the best transmission I can and hope that the folks who use my engine like mine better?

Now, when we apply that to Windows Media Player and the way it crushed Real Player, Europe comes to an interesting conclusion. They figure that Microsoft shouldn't include features such as media players in their software, and that they should, in fact, give up source code to help competitors improve their software. Having tried Real Player (and many other media players), I'd have to say that I was never a fan. And others apparently found that it didn't suit their needs, either, since it lost the market. But, of course, Europe's courts feel that it's sad to see the loss of market share.

The goal is to "significantly" reduce Microsoft's market share, according to the European Competition Commisioner (doesn't this title make her sound more like she should be setting up sporting events?). Where do we go from here? Do they start requiring all computers be loaded with Windows, the Mac OS, and Linux? Do they decide that only a certain number of Windows PCs can be sold each year? Or do they simply begin subsidizing the other companies in order to equalize things?

Kinda reminds me of Rearden Steel and the Taggart Transcontinental. Will it get that bad? Will we end up with the mind on strike? Who is John Galt?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Groups again?

In the ongoing saga of my experiences with people, my roommate invited people over again. I had my XD45 on my hip, as usual, and some of the people were the same ones who'd been over for the barbecue.

One of them, realizing we weren't out in public this time, asked if he could see the gun. Somebody gasped as I unholstered, dropped the mag, and racked the chambered round out. There were murmurs of it being not only loaded, but cocked. "Can I cock it?" "Well, you should work the slide anyway, since you should always make sure any gun you've been handed is clear." "Can I pull the trigger?" "Well, since I know it's clear, as do you, point it in a safe direction." He happily pulled the trigger, much to the chagrin of a girl who thought it was cute to cower. He handed it back, somebody else wanted to see it, and people realized I wasn't going to hurt them. The questions started rolling then.

"Why do you carry in the safety of your own home?" "How do I get a concealed carry permit?" "How much did the gun cost?" "Have you ever had to use it?" "How do door-to-door salesmen react?"

They were coming pretty rapid-fire from around the room, so it was hard to even finish answering any of them. The first and last, though, are worth some discussion.

I carry in my own home because you never know what will happen, because it's more convenient than having all my guns upstairs, and because it feels natural to constantly have a gun on. People who wear their gun more of the time are less likely to feel awkward when they carry publicly, and are less likely to leave the gun at home all the time.

As for salesmen, they react to the way you treat them, not the gun. I've had them joke about me shooting them, I've had house alarm guys use it as an in, saying that I care about safety. Other alarm guys give up easily, since I cover my home security needs. I've never had any of them really put off by my gun, mostly because I'm a generally friendly guy.

I don't know what point of view the group walked away with, but I'm pretty sure that they went away with a more positive view of guns than they came in with, even with me a little stressed about so many people in my home.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another reason I don't do groups

You may remember my little story about a campfire incident. Well, I left out the part where I'm living with a member of the group that put the event on. Well, they wanted to have a barbecue, and we have a house with a little park out front. I wasn't asked, but given about 20 hours of warning that they were going to be there.

Fantastic. Not only did I not really want some of them to know where I live, I definitely didn't want a bunch of people wandering into, out of, and through the house. One friend suggested I set up a TV outside my room and watch with a shotgun across my lap. Since I have stuff I don't want them touching in various places in the house, I opted not to just stay upstairs.

Idiots or not, I tend to openly carry my XD45 in a Serpa holster. This barbecue was no exception. As people arrived, they could not seem to resist yelling things like "he's got a gun!" across the little park. Oddly enough, no one called the cops after hearing those yells, or the cops knew to ignore such things.

I, of course, was met with questions regarding the legality, purpose, model, etc. of the gun on my hip, and some of them thought it was a good joke to constantly reference it. "Betcha can't hit that kid from here." "Dude, you should play football with us." "Hey, nobody will try to tackle the guy with a gun." I mostly just stood around and watched everyone and ate some of their food.

Late in the event, one of their members came in his army fatigues and immediately asked "Are you carrying your gun?" Since he was looking directly at it and I was tired of people (also, he's pretty against the carry of guns, and I've had numerous head against the wall discussions with him), I said, "No, it's an optical illusion." "Is it loaded?" "Yeah." "It's even cocked, isn't it!?!?!" "Yeah." At this point, someone told him to stop freaking out about it, but the kid couldn't seem to see the problem.

Another kid went and sat on a porch a few doors down, which I hadn't noticed until a woman opened the door and asked him why he was there. He talked to her for a second, after which she went back inside and he sat back down. She is attractive, so he then kept trying to badger those of us living here to tell him who she was (I didn't know, but I wouldn't have told him, anyway).

Luckily, none of them messed anything up too badly. A frisbee (not mine, of course) is probably lost in a neighbor's yard, and a few cars had frisbees and footballs hit them, but no real damage was done. I do think that my roommate may now know that I don't really welcome this sort of event. I'm just glad that I didn't need to go anywhere during it, since I would've had to load up at least all my guns (though they weren't supposed to go to my room, I don't trust these guys to not go mess with my guns).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 Memorials

It seems that you need two of the following three things in order to properly memorialize 9/11 these days:
1. Small American flags, preferable a lot of them.
2. A moment of silence, most likely not related to the time of any significant event; 0911 seems to be a time that people find relevant.
3. A slogan such as "We Remember."

Now, don't get me wrong, these are all fine things. American flags are always a welcome addition to places like college campuses, where they are rarely seen. I'd prefer we pointed out that the flag still flies for freedom, despite the attempt to destroy that. A moment of silence is a fine way to reflect on the lives lost and the reminder that freedom must be preserved, even if the cost is high. It'd be nice if we tried to have it at a more meaningful time (0911 just seems a little hokey to me). And, of course, an easily remembered slogan helps keep it on everyone's mind. It also trivializes it a bit.

Problem is, it has become meaningless. We are now to remember it as a meaningless tragedy. These memorials memorialize the lives lost as though they were lost in some sort of natural disaster. Even with the tiny American flags, people just mourn the lives lost on that day.

It's bigger than that. I'm not trying to trivialize a single one of those lives, but it's far larger than the number of lives lost that day. Terrorism remains a real threat to democracy and Muslim extremism still threatens Western ideals. We should remember 9/11 with both sadness and anger. Those lives weren't just lost--they were brutally snatched up by those terrorists and the groups that sacrificed the terrorists in their war on Western civilization.

My heart still goes out to those who lost loved ones. It must be terribly difficult to be reminded by all the memorials each year. I truly cannot imagine the pain you go through. But I'm sure many of you still burn with righteous anger toward those to blame for the tragedy, as we all should. These memorials would mean a lot more if we acknowledged that part of it. We need to remember that these Muslim extremists declared war on not just the US, but freedom. And they were willing to kill all these innocent people in their war. There's room for a little anger with the sadness.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Willful incompetence

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's willful incompetence (there are actually more things I can't stand, as you probably suspected). If you are doing a job, even doing it half-assed, you should do it right, even if you're just doing the minimums. Don't screw things up for everyone else. If asked to perform a task, do it. If you don't want to go above and beyond the minimum acceptable requirement for the task, don't, but don't willfully screw it up or ignore it.

I work with people who think that the best method to get through the day is to do as little work as possible and kiss enough ass to make it look good. Unfortunately, this works well enough. Meanwhile, others are busting their asses and get jumped on for a simple mistake.

Our office was asked to provide a shuttle service to and from two off-campus locations. One of my coworkers remarked that he wouldn't drive it because "I don't get paid enough to do that. I pretty much just get paid enough to sit around and play video games." He further commented that he would refuse if directly asked.

This same employee will then come up with some sort of "helpful suggestion" to make the office run more smoothly. These ideas conveniently spring up when the boss is around, and he never actually follows through. On the other hand, several employees have fixed problems themselves whenever they saw a way to make things work better.

He also leaves whenever his relief shows up, be it 5 minutes before quitting time or 45. He does this without apprising the relief of the current status of the various buildings on campus, saying so much as a "thank you" for getting there early (something he never does), or really doing anything other than bitching about having to work.

If the patrol car needs to be fueled at the beginning of his shift, you can be damn sure his relief is going to need to fill it, since he won't.

I know that every workplace has at least one of this guy, but it really ticks me off when the boss doesn't realize or seem to care. But I guess I should just do my job and let everyone else worry about doing theirs, even if I know they won't.

Another sort of willful incompetence is found in the Assistant Director of our little office. She doesn't answer her phone, takes off early and arrives late, parks in the fire lane, and reams anyone who does something differently than she'd like it done. She does things wrong just because she doesn't like the boss, and she's been trying to get me fired ever since I made it clear that I don't put up with crap.

At least I kind of see why she's that way, though. She's got some problems she needs to deal with. The other guy, though, is just a dick.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Which guns to ban?

You know, the gun grabbers always look for a way to appease some gun owners while banning the favorite weapons of others. I figured I'd try to help them find some guns they could actually ban.

Automatics: Though they're already all but banned (can't get new ones and the existing ones are prohibitively expensive), I'm pretending we're starting from scratch. These are the sorts of weapons that would be effective in fighting tyranny, which puts them in perfect line with the intent of the Second Amendment. Constitutionally, then, these should be some of the most protected guns. Better not ban them.

Semiautomatic "Assault Weapons": Well, it's a lot of work to define these, especially if we want to allow "sporting" rifles. In fact, the gun grabbers can't even agree on the proper specs to define "assault weapons." Most of the features they tend to want to ban are safety features, anyway. Better look for something else to ban.

Handguns: While we could separate autoloaders and revolvers, let's face facts: handguns, in total, are concealable and portable. This makes them the perfect defense against street crime. It also makes them the weapon of choice for thugs, but law-abiding citizens need some means of defending themselves, especially the often-targeted elderly and women. The handgun is the perfect equalizer: linebacker or little old lady, you can handle a gun, and a gun will eliminate the threat posed by either.

Semiautomatic "Sporting Arms": Well, if we can't ban semiauto "assault rifles," we can't really ban something that provides the same function but looks friendlier. And banning semiautos as a group is really a huge leap. It would affect hunters, militiamen, and many people's home defense weapons. Can't risk alienating that many groups, now can we?

Bolt Action "Sniper" Rifles: We'd get the hunters angry, as well as those who would have a large caliber rifle for homeland defense. And, since sniper rifles would be effective in a fight against tyranny, we run into the same problem as banning autos.

Black Powder: Well, these aren't really "crime" weapons, and historians love working replicas of old weapons...and hunters like the challenge they can bring. I guess they're out.

Whoops, I guess it's hard to justify any bans on weapons, isn't it?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Reasoned Approach?

Over at War on Guns, I was pointed to this little bit of blather. David wrote a nice, succinct response, pointing out that there is a right way to interpret the Second Amendment. I cannot seem to be as concise.
Likewise, in one of the few thundering blunders made by the Founding Dads, we have the Second Amendment, in my humble opinion, a veritable smorgasbord of words that can be construed to arrive at any conclusion one wants. What the hell does it mean?

Arrive at any conclusion you want, huh? Well, I guess that's true. If you told me you would like a glass of water, I could arrive at the conclusion that you really wanted to be kicked in the groin, if I wanted to. Problem with coming to any conclusion you want is that you have to overlook the idea of a correct conclusion.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." Let's see if I can muddle through this "veritable smorgasbord" and find some meaning. Well-regulated, much to the chagrin of those who claim state control is necessary, means that the militia should remain in practice with their weapons. And even current code recognizes that the militia is comprised of all able-bodied males. The "security of a free State," of course, reminds us that we must remain ready to defend our freedom. The writings of the founding fathers should clarify that for you if you need a reminder. They were worried about home-grown tyranny more than they were about outside threats. The people, of course, refers to the populus as individuals. And, well, "shall not be infringed" means just that--the government is not to restrict the God-given right to self-defense.
If one focuses on the first two phrases, it's clear that gun ownership applies to the state's militia, probably as protection against feared federal hegemony, although it didn't work all that well in the Civil War. If one focuses on the last phrase, it's clear that the people's right to own veritable arsenals can never be withdrawn. Put the two together, and you have... mush.

First, it is never "clear" that gun ownership is to be left to the "state's militia." No, the first statements emphasize the why, not the who. The people are promised the right to keep and bear arms, not the states. There's no mush, unless you're referring to the area between your ears.

A case in D.C. may wind its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The District passed a law banning all hand guns except for current and former police while allowing rifles and shotguns as long as they're either "unloaded and disassembled or bound by trigger locks." An appeals court killed the law, and the city has asked the Supreme Court to hear it. Surprise, surprise, the Bush Administration opposes the law.

The gun ban in DC is ridiculous, illegal, and immoral. It was struck down legitimately, and the Supreme Court should hear the case and establish good precedent. It really doesn't matter whose administration dislikes which cities' laws, and I really think that throwing any administration into this is meant only to adjust certain perceptions by readers who may not like certain people.

Let us begin by acknowledging that the other side (whichever side you're on) has deep, powerful, often unconscious emotional reasons for their positions. And, while you're at it, admit you're in the same quandary. We pretend to argue logic and reason, but what's driving those arguments are perceived threats to important personal values. If we could talk about those values and those emotions, we'd at least make a start at having a discussion rather than a televised political debate among Presidential wannabes. We may even find that we have some of those values (self-preservation, family protection, security) in common but that the triggers for those values are different.

Not everyone "pretends" logic. In fact, many people have come to their opinions via reason and logic. Also, going to the root values and finding the differing triggers only shows whether someone uses logic. An irrational fear of an inanimate object isn't a rational response to a stimulus.
Next, how about we throw the 2nd Amendment into the trash heap of well-meant but stupid historical statements. There is no right way to interpret it, and we're just being intellectually dishonest if we pretend there is.

Again, I'll point you to the discussion above. There's a correct interpretation, and you are being intellectually dishonest to claim otherwise.
Then, given common values and no Constitutional guidelines, we seek compromise. The pro-gunners fear that banning handguns is but the first step in taking away all their guns. How are the anti-gunners going to assure them that isn't the case? (There are anti-gunners who do take that position; you probably don't want them in the room when you're negotiating.) The moderate anti-gunners focus on handguns because they're most easily misused by children, adults engaged in a free-for-all, or a simple, stupid, tragic accident. Plus, it's a lot harder to carry around a concealed shotgun than pistol.

It's always fun to get rid of pesky little things like the Bill of Rights, huh? Also, whether it's a step toward banning all guns or not, I'm not willing to give up my handguns. You see, it's exactly the ease of carry you dislike about them that makes them great for personal protection. Their misuse is a problem of education. You see, with the way people are told to hide their guns from children, kids aren't exposed to them and taught about gun safety. Don't trust the parents? Get gun safety into schools. I'll tell you what compromise I can live with here: if you don't want a handgun, don't buy one.
Except for vegetablearians, the blather about hunting is just so much, well, blather. Eat a steak you got from your local supermarket or kill a deer and eat the deer. There's no difference. I admit to being nauseated by those who trophy hunt, who simply kill for the sport of it. If that's a sport, so is smoking and drinking. But I wouldn't let my personal distaste for those chickens (like there's real danger in going after deer) interfere with my desire to strike a compromise with the pro-gunners that guarantees their right to rifles and shotguns.

And we've again pretended that guns are only used in hunting. Also, go to any college campus: drinking is a sport, and a competitive one at that (couldn't resist).
Of course, we have to address the automatic vs. semi-automatic issue as well as
the increasing number of guns that resemble Rambo's favorite wartime toys, but
once we're engaged in good faith efforts, one can hope that we can isolate the
extremists on both sides. I can't believe that every pro-gunner wants an Uzi...
or at least I hope not.

Actually, there's a large group that would get rid of semi-auto, too. And there's the fact that an automatic weapon is a better tool for tyranny prevention, bringing it more in line with the intent of the founders. Guns resembling those used by John Rambo are no more or less dangerous than wood-stocked guns with the same general mechanisms. And, no, I don't want an Uzi. I'd prefer a quality select-fire rifle to an SMG. And the Uzi is far from my first SMG choice.
See, not so hard. Sure. Actually, what's hardest is the first step, the discussions where people listen to each other with an open mind, seek areas of agreement, begin to develop a bit of trust in the good faith of their opponents.

Y'know, saying a bunch of things without any sort of debate doesn't prove that it would be easy to reach your "compromise." What's hardest for you is to admit that there may be a right side and a wrong side sometimes.

And y'know, I'll stick with the right side.

Monday, September 03, 2007

NRA, gun guys, and lunacy

Over at Keep and Bear Arms, they linked to a "Gun Guys" article that bashed those who don't kneel at the feet of the NRA and willingly allow rights to be whittled down to nothing.

Of course, they first have to pretend that the BATFE is in the right in their attempts to shut down Red's Trading Post. They make reference to The Gang as a "black helicopter" film and accuse all supporters of Red's of being unstable loonies.

Then, they point out that some of us yearn for the ability to buy military weapons, since those are the most effective for fighting tyranny. They quote Aaron Zelman of the JPFO and then make comments to the effect of dismissing full-auto weapons and cannons (used as historical reference) as being sheer lunacy.

We are accused of trying to "out crazy" the NRA, and are dismissed off-hand. Now, the "Gun Guys" have never been our friends, mind you. They have a banner ad for a site called "stopgundeaths.org" at the top of their pages, and they fight for more anti-gun laws. They aren't "gun guys" in any sense we would expect around here, but the surprise here isn't their opinion, but the responses on Keep and Bear Arms.

There were a few who fed everyone lines about the NRA being the "premier gun rights organization," as I hear so often. I expect that sort of thing, so it was a minor annoyance. The ones that got me were those who said that those of us unhappy with the NRA shouldn't go to other, less negotiating organizations, but should pay dues and be voting members.

Here's where I have to draw the line. They don't get to use my money to negotiate which rights they'll give up for me. The NRA, believe it or not, is not the only group out there that claims to fight for gun rights. There are others that do so and don't feel the need to give some of them up to preserve sporting firearms and whatnot. GOA, JPFO, and various other groups fight for the SECOND AMENDMENT, not "reasonable" gun laws. The NRA may be the name people remember, but they'll need to start offering a real service before they'll get my dues.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I don't do groups

I really can't deal well with people for extended periods. Especially groups. They put me on edge and tend to do/say stupid things.

Last night, I went to a get-together with a group of people. It was set around a campfire. I don't look directly at campfires, mostly because it compromises my ability to see my surroundings. I think I was the only one there who didn't stare into it, and I was asked why I worked to avoid facing directly into it. I answered honestly, and everyone looked at me funny. They then asked, "what, is a bear going to come eat us?" I explained that nothing was overly likely, though we had seen others drive by and take a good look. A little too good.

Then there was the kid that was trying to start crap. He even admitted this intention. I don't anger easily, but I did warn him that if he started a fight, I was prepared to defend myself however necessary. This sort of response generally calms these sorts of guys. He told me "if you pull a gun, I'll beat the sh*t out of you." At one point, he pulled out a knife, so I grabbed my gun (I didn't have to draw, though--glad the guy was sitting when he pulled the knife, since people get a little upset if a gun is drawn). He put it away, but he was still talking crap about how fast he could run and how I'd miss because ".45s are so inaccurate."

Then, shortly before I left, a guy threw linoleum onto the fire. No one's quite sure how it got into the pile of palettes, but it was not the sort of thing we should be burning. He apparently couldn't tell the difference in weight and texture between linoleum and plywood.

Yeah, I had to leave before there was some sort of actual trouble. I honestly knew better than to go in the first place, but I didn't expect quite the sort of idiocy I found. Next time I'm around a campfire in the woods, it's not going to be around a bunch of damned people.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Divisiveness

I have been criticized in certain circles for my choice not to patronize Larry's Guns (less relevant is this post). People point out that it's his property and that he is, by default, pro-gun. Those people forget that it's my money and that profiting from guns does not make one pro-gun.

Yes, property rights are important. Unless Larry changes his policy, I won't go back there. I therefore am not restricting his property rights at all. So let's leave that part out of the equation. I'm not planning on interfering with his property rights in the least.

Let's examine the statement that Larry is pro-gun and an ally. Yes, Larry does stand to lose his business if guns are ever banned. But that doesn't look likely, especially not anytime soon. Larry is not a young man, so he can probably safely guess that he'll never have to worry about an outright ban on guns. Would he lose money if certain guns were banned? That's hard to say. On the one hand, he could lose a chunk of his business, but there's always a question of how much of that would transfer to other gun types. And, of course, any time a ban goes into effect, his merchandise that will be affected has just had its value skyrocket.

Do I know that Larry is pro-gun? No. I don't know that he isn't, either. I know that he wouldn't like them all to be banned tomorrow, but I cannot verify his feelings toward restrictions of other sorts. I do, however, have an idea on his feelings about my choice of carry method. While he and his staff openly carry, he doesn't allow anyone who isn't law enforcement come in to browse/buy with a visible gun. This indicates to me that he would be willing to throw those of us who choose to open carry under the proverbial bus.

Any time someone to profit off my rights if they won't respect them completely. This isn't much different from hunters being willing to disown those of us who choose "non-sporting" arms. Zumbo still remembers how much it hurts to sell one group down the river. Some tell me not to be so quick to avoid Larry, but what sort of "experts" do the anti-gun folks love to trot out for the public? Gun owners, especially those who seem to have a lot of sway. A gun shop owner, then, is the sort of "expert" that can let them say that "rational" gun owners don't carry openly. By being against one form of carry, he is giving ground to the enemy. If we want to keep our freedoms, we need to defend them and attempt to gain ground, not choose the ground we'll give up.

I certainly won't pay for him to give up my rights. Every inch of my ground someone else gives up is a foot too far.

Seattle Brady Protest Results

Well, I think that WA ammo-purchasers probably outnumbered Brady protesters. Two, though, is fewer than I was expecting. I figured any sort of protesters in Seattle would draw at least a dozen people. I mean, it's Seattle, where people do enjoy a good protest.

I guess it's a pretty good sign for those of us who like our gun rights.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bought my ammo

Well, I bought my ammo today, and not one of the places I went to had posted fliers for it. they were all busy enough, which was a good sign, but I was disappointed that they didn't put in the effort to tape a piece of paper up somewhere.

I have ammo, though, and that's important. And I didn't get hassled for carrying openly, which is always good. I just wish I could've afforded to buy a gun today, too. But that's really the sort of thing I feel every time I go into gun shops.

I did see some folks protesting on an overpass, but it turned out that they were just protesting the war. Didn't see any Brady protesters.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My letter was published!

Wow. The Olympian actually published my letter. And before tomorrow, even. I know it was kind of short and had little real info, but I figured that was the best way to get it printed. I guess this means my last name is out there for you readers, but that's alright. I'm sure any astute reader who tried hard enough could've easily tracked me down.

Hopefully, you all get a chance to buy some ammo and/or other gun stuff tomorrow. I'm going to hit Wal-Mart, Sportsman's Warehouse, and J&S Guns, buying .45, .22, and .30-06, respectively. And if any of them are running a good deal, my shopping list may change a bit.

I'd order a press and some other reloading stuff from Midway, but I'm still not sure what equipment I'll want to start on (all I know is that it's about time I did start--can't find/afford 8mm, and .30-06 isn't cheap, either).

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dumb choices

What is it with people and not allowing themselves to realize that action A might be the sort of bad idea that could bring about consequence B?

For example, I was at a family reunion today. The hosts have a small dog, the breed of which I'm a bit unsure of. It's kind of like a smaller version of a border collie.

Not just one, but two relatives who were well aware of this nearly defenseless little dog thought it would be a good idea to bring their notoriously temperamental blue heelers. The big problem with these heelers is that they get the pack mentality going. With at least four heelers on the smaller dog's turf, this wasn't going to go well.

The dogs were still all around by the time I left, though one particular person put away one of the heelers. The way to protect the smaller dog, of course, was to keep the friendly little thing from wandering his own turf. He did get growly at the other dogs, but from the safe distance we kept him at. It was sad, since the little dog was well-behaved, friendly, and at home, much like the heelers should have been.

What kind of intelligence level does it take to recognize that your sometimes ill-behaved dogs might not be the best things to bring into an environment with small children and a small dog?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hiding rights

I noticed a short time ago that I have been linked to on Glock Talk. I was going to post on the forum, but I have to wait for moderator approval. Thanks, HerrGlock, for posting it there.

I noticed that there were folks talking about open carry as a bad idea in terms of politics. They have the mindset that lets them feel that keeping the guns hidden will keep their rights protected. They say that you shouldn't always exercise your rights.

I, of course, must disagree. The best way to protect rights is to exercise them without apology and without secrecy. If Joe Public is afraid of guns, is it because he sees them on the hips of law-abiding citizens too often? No, it is because this doesn't happen often enough. People will fight against the unknown, and will use the rarity of a practice as reason to prevent it. If people saw the sort of decent folks who carry, they might start to realize that it isn't guns that cause crime.

And one must ask why anything legal should be considered such a problem. Imagine the response you would get if you said, "Sure, you have freedom of religion, but I would advise you to choose Judaism. Christianity might get that freedom taken away." Or "Yeah, you have freedom of speech, but you shouldn't talk about Washingtonians, since they don't like being discussed." Practicing a right as fully as possible is the best way to preserve it. On several occasions, I've gotten to be an ambassador for gun rights, and people are actually fairly reasonable, by and large. They see that I am no attempting to do anything wrong, and they start to think about maybe buying guns. Some, of course, say they feel more comfortable knowing that I'm armed, though I try to encourage them to take their defense into their own hands.

If we don't open carry, they'll take it away and no one will say a word. As for the fear of being a "test case," that hardly holds water with so many WA police depts. issuing training bulletins and affirming the right to open carry.

Carry whatever way you want. Just remember that you shouldn't need to feel ashamed of your rights. And you don't do any favors to the cause when you seem willing to sell out those who do things differently than you do. Anyone remember Zumbo's problem with ARs? Sporting/non-sporting, carry method, anything that divides us makes us weaker. I support concealed carry, and I expect you to support open carry.

An odd talent of mine

I have some interesting (read: useless) talents. One of these is a knock with locks. I started thinking about this when I ran into a few days of lock issues in a row. One morning, I went with my relief down to a building that needed a couple doors unlocked. Our key to said building is getting worn out, so it takes some finesse to open some doors. The other guy tried for several seconds on the first door. I asked for a go at it, and it opened right up. Same with the second door. The third and final door, though, my coworker decided he would do. About a full minute or two later, I tried, and sure enough, it worked. After each of the first two doors, I had explained the means of finessing them, as best I could...he couldn't reproduce the feat.

The next night, a girl was having trouble with the key to her dorm room. I took the key, went to her door, and promptly let her in. I had her try it...of course, she couldn't reproduce the problem for me.

When I was a student, though, I had a bizarre experience. A custodian had locked her keys in a reflection room in the dorm I was occupying at the time. She asked whether our room keys would open that. They couldn't, I thought, but I'd try it. The key didn't fit properly, but the door opened. It should not have opened the door. My key was not made for the lock, nor did it work properly, but it somehow opened. I never could come up with a satisfactory explanation, nor could I reproduce the feat (I only tried once, but it kind of creeped me out).

Earlier still, when I was in high school, the football team stopped for dinner on the way to or from a game. A couple of us went to a different fast food joint than the others (we had a few options around). We decided to see about eating on the bus. I grabbed the door handle, turned it a bit, opened the door and climbed aboard. When the driver came back to the bus, she saw us and immediately went to find the coaches. She said that we had broken into the bus and shouldn't have been there. I, of course, told her the bus was unlocked. Oddly enough, it was still locked after we got in. I was able to reproduce the feat for the coaches and driver, but I was told that I'd probably be suspended. It was forgotten by the time anyone would've had a chance to talk to the principal, though, so I didn't even have to pay him a visit.

I also nearly got myself suspended for opening classrooms with ASB cards just before the teachers got there. Only once did one get upset, but I managed to talk my way out of trouble...once in awhile, I was even asked to open doors that needed to be open. The coaches' office, for example, needed to be open for various sports, and the coaches didn't always have their keys. I destroyed a few ASB cards on that one, up until I got to make the cards one year...I made up a couple specialized blanks of varying thicknesses (good old ID laminator works well for this sort of thing). It was like a set of lockpicks for my high school. They've probably improved the doors (and windows--they weren't immune, either) by now, but those were good times.

Wow...for the good kid, I certainly pulled a lot of crap, didn't I? And I didn't even mention the fights. But that's not the point. The point is that I have no idea where this knack for locks came from, but it sure comes in handy sometimes.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Congrats, Hammer

Everyone needs to head on over and congratulate Hammer on 50,000 blog hits. It's definitely no surprise he's had so many visitors. Every visit to his blog is entertaining, informative, and worth the time.

Congratulations, Hammer. Here's to the next 50k!

First gun shop to tell me not to OC...

Not too long ago, I posted about a retired cop who works in Larry's Guns, among other things. I said that I had OCed into Larry's before and would again. I did OC in there again, and have found that I won't be frequenting Larry's from now on.

I went in to see if he had decided not to post the flier for August 28th, or if perhaps he had forgotten. Before I could ask him, he spotted my gun.
He pointed at it and grunted, "You law enforcement?"
"No, sir," I replied.
"Then you can't carry like that."
"Well, you're aware open carry is legal, right?"
"Yeah, but not in MY store. Freaks out the customers. Get it out of here," he replied with typical Larry posturing.
"Alright, I'll go elsewhere."
"Have a nice life," he grunted as I left.
Oddly enough, Larry's wife seemed shocked by the entire exchange, though she didn't speak. I think she knew that Larry had just chased off a regular, but also knew there was little she could do about it.

It's too bad he was so willing to send me packing. He has one of the better selections of used guns in the area. Not the best customer service skills, nor the most knowledgeable employees, but several used guns, some of which are available at fair prices. I had liked to support his store despite the fact that I can get ammo and new guns cheaper at the big box retailers, but those days are over.

It's also odd that an off-duty cop dressed exactly like me would be able to OC without scaring the customers. Last time I checked, they look exactly like us mere mortals, but with more special privileges.

Several of you fine readers probably don't see any problem with being unable to OC into Larry's, but I won't be supporting him. Perhaps he would still have my business if he had been a little more reasonable about discussing his policy, but I won't be in there again. I don't hold it against anyone who chooses to go in there, of course, though I'll obviously discourage it.

If anyone is from around here, Larry's Guns is located in Olympia, WA.

Somebody Else's Problem

Ever figure that yelling loudly for help would be enough to protect you? Maybe you carry a "rape whistle" or somesuch. Well, hopefully you live amongst folks who care a bit more than this. Or, you know, you could provide for your own defense.
"The Somebody Else's Problem field is much simpler and more effective [than actually hiding something], and what's more can be run for over a hundred years on a single torch battery. This is because it relies on people's natural disposition not to see anything they don't want to, weren't expecting, or can't explain." -- Douglas Adams, on the SEP Field, Life, The Universe, And Everything.

You see, humans don't want to see a rape, nor do they wantto put themselves in harm's way to stop one. Additionally, the more witnesses there are, the greater the chance of each individual figuring someone else will call 911.

If you want to be safe, you need to provide for your safety in a real and substantial way. And not just by carrying a means of self-defense, but by putting yourself in as few dangerous situations as possible, being adequately prepared to defend yourself using whatever tools you carry, and staying aware of your surroundings at all times. I don't know whether the woman in the news story was at a party she thought would be safe, nor do I know whether she had any reason to trust or distrust her attacker. I can, however, be fairly confident in my belief that she could have defended herself. She was apparently able to knock on a nearby door, "yelling for the occupants to call police." This leads me to believe she had a chance to fight back, but was unprepared to do so.

I am not blaming her for this, of course, but stories like this illustrate the incredibly ineffectiveness of the plan of making enough noise to get someone to call the cops. There are certainly folks in the world who would defend you, but they aren't always going to be within earshot. A gunshot will not only stop the threat, but get the police there fairly quickly. A taser or pepper spray may well stop the attacker, as well. Yelling, though, relies on someone forgetting that you might well be somebody else's problem.

Self-Insufficiency

Y'know, we often blame defenselessness on our culture of victimisation. While this is a largely fair assessment, there's another part of the equation we forget. We also have a problem with people thinking everyone else is here to serve them. The police will get here in time because they're here to serve me.

Being in a service-oriented line of work, I notice this a lot more than some might. People act like they should never have to bother with anything. Our dorms allow access using student IDs as keycards, and people don't want to be bothered with them. They'd rather have to rely on someone else letting them in. Their rooms require normal keys, and they often rely on the hope that their roommate will be there or that Residence Life or Security will let them in. In many cases, they freely admit that it wasn't a mistake--they just thought they'd be able to get in.

Others are indignant if I tell them that I'll deal with them when I'm done performing one of the many other tasks I have to do for someone else. Sometimes, it's even too much to ask that they give me enough time to get to their part of campus. I know, I should have the decency to have sensed that there would be a need for me across campus, so I could be there before they called.

If a car is broken into, it's my fault for not having been in that particular lot at the moment someone saw a purse and smashed a window. It takes about 20 minutes to patrol campus (which, of course, I can't be doing at all times, since there are so many other duties). It takes about 30 seconds to smash a window and grab a purse. Even worse, people think they can leave valuables lying around in the common areas of the dorms, and then wonder how I could let them be stolen.

They don't just expect Security to be there entirely for them--they don't like having to go all the way to the cafeteria for food, and they want it open exactly when they feel like eating.

Is it any wonder, then, that people seem to think they can leave their protection in the hands of others? They seem to expect everyone else to do everything else for them.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Draw!

Over at War on Guns, we're pointed to an incident in which a kid *gasp* sketched a gun!! Imagine this kid, seeming like just another kid, but then you find that he would dare sketch a gun.

It really makes me think about how different it was when/where I grew up. It wasn't all that long ago that I was a kid growing up in the small town of Mineral. Around there, kids started shooting BB guns about as early as they could hold them, and started with .22s not long after. The BB guns could be shot just about anywhere. There was hardly a shed in town without a pretty good number of embedded BBs and dents from the ones that didn't penetrate. The .22s, of course, required a bit safer approach than a shed as a backstop.

I was lucky. We had enough land that I could go out back to shoot. Later, when we put animals out there, it was still okay to shoot, but the first shot had to be a careful one. After it, though, the animals all knew to stay away. The goats even learned the sight of a gun pretty quickly. Other kids, though, would have to go out into the woods or onto one of the many hills nearby. Hell, I liked to go out there to shoot, too. It tended to provide a better area, and it was more fun to go shooting with friends.

My experiences in school included a tendency to draw swords, jets, and guns (I never could draw a gun that looked quite right, but I always enjoyed drawing these things). Sometimes, they even wound up in the margins on things I turned in. I sometimes got reprimanded for not keeping my paper neat, but never for my choice of things to draw.

By junior high, we had no problem setting up times and places to go shooting while at school. And the teachers would sometimes help with suggestions. By high school, there were a number of hunters, so hunting season found rifles in many of the rigs in the parking lot. I was even in class one day when a student reached into his pocket and fished out some shotgun shells. He then said that he had forgotten to take them out after duck hunting. The harshest punishment I heard of for anyone in relation to guns was when some of the hunters were encouraged to park off-campus, since we were having visitors come and inspect the school.

It wasn't all that long ago, though I'm certain things have changed even in Morton High School (Mineral didn't have a HS). I'm also pretty sure that things weren't like that everywhere.

Welcome

Well, I just noticed that I have some new folks pouring in from both War on Guns and Keep and Bear Arms.
Welcome, folks! Take a look around if you'd like. There's certainly not a whole lot to see, but I'd like to at least point you to the blogroll on your right. Those folks all have blogs worth a look.
Thanks for coming, and I hope you've enjoyed your stay.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Open carry while delivering fliers

While I was out and about delivering fliers for gun shops to post up about August 28th, I decided to open carry. This is not unusual for me, and I wasn't planning on going anywhere it would really make me stand out.

The first gun shop I hit, J&S Gun Parts, said they'd look into posting a flier. I had already emailed them, but I don't think they check it much. I looked to see if they had any XD45 full-size mags in stock, then moved on to Larry's Guns, where Larry's wife seemed very excited about the flier.

I've carried openly in Larry's before, and I will again. Only one employee even gave me a second glance. He pointed toward it, smiled, and asked who I worked for. When I told him, he quickly frowned. As I had fully expected, he assumed I was an Only One. He told me that OC was "technically" legal, and I should expect to be stopped by the police. I explained that it was completely legal and the police were starting to be informed. I offered to go out to my car and get the training bulletins, but he brushed that off.
He told me that in Shelton, he would've stopped me. Trying not to be hostile, I said that he then would've let me go once my name cleared the system. He, of course, said he'd let me go and tell me to conceal. I asked what he'd say if I didn't have a concealed carry permit with me. He said he'd arrest me, which I promptly informed him would be a wrongful arrest. He started digging through a bag for his old, worn out copy of one of those traveler's guides to gun laws (I think...I never really saw the cover.
I browsed the store while he looked up what he needed, and even went out to get the training bulletins. When he finally found it, he pointed out that it said open carry was not recommended, as though this were the magical phrase that made it illegal. I showed him the training bulletins, which he scrutinized for a few minutes. He then scowled and said, "well what are these supposed to prove?" "Why, they're just proof that police departments are being trained to correctly interpret the law, which allows for open carry." He tried to tell me that someone being uncomfortable would make it brandishing, which I pointed out is not the case. I told him that a police officer could, at best, encourage me to move along.
He finally ended with a tirade about how he doesn't want people to know he's armed, since he'll then be shot. I tried to explain that OC can easily deter crime, as well. I didn't convince him that private citizens should be able to walk around with guns out in the open, but he started to see it as a possibility. Larry's grandkid, who was also working, seemed very receptive to the things I said.
I guess that an Only One stays the Only One no matter the circumstance.

I then went to get my oil changed (I know, I should do it myself, but I have nowhere to get rid of the used oil), and the folks there were happy to see the gun. One of them, a young kid, just couldn't keep his eyes off it. Turns out, he's from California, according to the other guy, and we all know how hard it is to even get permission to hide your gun.

The rest of the day, no one seemed to notice or care that I was armed, which is just fine by me.

I don't know whether J&S, Larry's, or Sportsman's Warehouse will post fliers or offer discounts, but I plan to hit at least two of them on Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Intellectual Elitism

I think I'm an intellectual elitist. I've never really had a problem with people who are a bit slow or who don't have the knowledge I take for granted as widely known, but I've noticed that I have an increasing tendency to think to myself (or, worse, say to someone else) that I don't think [person] is the sharpest knife in the drawer.

I'm not talking about people who intentionally limit themselves and are willfully ignorant, but the sort of person who just doesn't strike me as intelligent. For instance, one of the students has vowed to get me back for scaring her and her friends one night (ghost stories and an accomplice playing some tricks--good fun), and she said she had come up with a plan. She paused as though she had to think about it, then told me that she wasn't going to tell me what it was. I commented to a coworker that the girl didn't strike me as the brightest, and it hit me that I had no reason to believe that. After all, I don't know what was going through her head. It seems kind of silly to specify that she wasn't going to tell me her secret plan, but I say stupid things a lot. (Turns out, though, that she and her friends were watching one of those ridiculous MTV [or something like that...I don't know] dating shows tonight, which goes a long way to prove my hypothesis.)

I also realized that I don't know exactly what criteria I use to determine intelligence. It's just an instinct, as far as I can tell. While I'm generally correct (somehow) when I size someone up, I'm not 100% accurate, and it's not fair for me to figure someone's lacking without having some good proof.

I also really need to give myself some ground rules for determining common knowledge. If they don't know the relevance of the light slit experiment to quantum physics or the actual reasons for the Civil War, it's not because they aren't bright--those aren't the sorts of things everyone knows. Now, if a person can't do simple math or figure out the basics of sentence structure and punctuation, I have a basis for deciding they may not be bright.

I know that I probably won't stop sizing people up. I can at least try to stop myself from commenting on the intelligence of others based on very limited experiences. I make a fool of myself often enough to know that even an intelligent person can look pretty stupid.

Then again, if I hear them turn on some rap music, I feel I can adequately judge them to be lacking in the brains department.

Letter to the local rag

Well, I actually heard back from the Olympian regarding the letter I wrote them about August 28th. They claim that they tried to call, but I have not had my phone ring. I'll be calling them tomorrow to get it all straightened out, and maybe they'll even print it.
Or maybe they'll make a big show of telling me they don't have room to print my short letter. I don't expect too many folks to read it, but it'd be nice to get it in there.

UPDATE: I called in. They had apparently decided they didn't need to dial my area code. They couldn't tell me whether my letter would be printed, but they said that it was marked ASAP, which meant that it should be printed within a week. Apparently, the person I talked to didn't even glance at the letter, since August 28th is quite obviously time-sensitive. I guess I have to actually watch the paper for it, since they also couldn't send me a courtesy email telling me when/if they would print it.

Lead poisoning

I was browsing WikiHow again (I know it was a dumb idea), and I noticed that one of the gun articles claimed that lead poisoning was a big risk at indoor and outdoor shooting ranges, so you should go out to the desert to shoot. I changed it, but it really made me wonder what kind of person can't put facts together.

He or she went so far as to say that once or twice wouldn't be a big deal, so you shouldn't worry about it if you've gone, just don't go to the range often. There are many competition shooters who spend a LOT of time at the range. Or how about the range masters? Do either of those groups constantly suffer from lead poisoning? No. Why, then, would the author of some Wiki article think that lead exposure is such a risk that you shouldn't even go once a week?

Then again, this particular article was "How to Become a Gun Expert," and it included a brief description of revolvers, autoloaders, rifles, assault rifles, and shotguns, followed by a list of common handgun calibers. He hadn't even defined SA, DA, or SA/DA, though he used them a few times. It was useless, mostly.

Elvis's gun

I wonder if expanded background checks or other "reasonable restrictions" would've kept Elvis's handgun out of the wrong hands.
I'm guessing they wouldn't have. But, seriously, who steals that particular gun? Yeah, it'd be worth some money, but it'd be hard to sell. And I don't think it will be that useful in an attempt to frame Elvis for a crime.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pres. Candidates on Guns

Joe pointed me to this. It's a pretty good grading system for the Presidential candidates' stances on guns.
As expected, the Dems didn't fare too well, nor did some of the big-name GOP folks. It's useful info, even if you pretty much expected as much already, and any time someone else does my legwork is a good thing.

WikiHow

I don't know why I've left it on my Google page, but I get the Wikihow of the day. With such gems as how to gather chicken eggs (which includes such advice as slamming things into the nest boxes...not a good method), you'd think I would've removed the useless thing by now. I know...city folks don't always know how to approach a chicken, but it's ridiculous.

Well, they recently decided to tell me how to survive a school or workplace shooting. I had to click...how could I not be curious? They pissed me off from the get-go, though, as I suspected they might:
If there are students or coworkers who lawfully carry weapons or tools, they
will be able to explain this to your supervisor.

Yeah, I can explain to a supervisor that I want to have the means to defend myself in a victim disarmament zone. That's going to keep me on the job nicely.

They then say to lie flat and hope the shooter will mistake you for dead. To the article's credit, it says to fight back if you are about to be shot, but it's kind of late at that point.
Try talking to the shooter if you know them, but use caution. You could possibly change their mind, but remember, if they have a gun in their hand, they may not be
convinced by anything.
Y'know, because that gun will affect a person's mind. I'm not saying it's a great idea to try to talk a shooter down, but this wording tries to put the gun at fault.
Attacking an armed assailant is unwise unless you have absolutely no other
option. They have likely already decided to shoot people, and threatening them
will likely result in the deaths of you and even more around you. Leave
attacking the gunman to those equipped and trained to do so.

In other words, as long as there's a chance he'll be happy killing a few of your friends, just hope and pray he doesn't notice you. The worst thing you can do for yourself, in terms of survival, is just be a target. Remember, even if you survive, some won't. Can you live with yourself after you did nothing to try to save your friends? And the "Only Ones" have a tendency to not get in too quickly, so waiting on them will only be a means to watch the carnage.

The next couple points they make are about attacking the shooter as a group or grabbing his gun. I'm glad they at least mentioned some form of resistance.

They also go on to cover running and hiding. One little note I almost missed:
If you hear gunshots and are in a bathroom, your best bet is to remain in the
bathroom. The shooter could be right outside after all and probably won't waste
their time checking the bathrooms. Lock the bathroom door if you are able to. If
there is soap, put it on the floor near the door to make it slippery. It may
seem silly, but there is a good chance the shooter could slip and you could make
your escape.

Or, y'know, you could take that opportunity to try to disarm and/or detain the shooter. I think he might be pissed off if you've made him slip AND have run to get help.

In the "Tips" section, they mention karate as an option...but no mention of concealed weapons (or openly carried weapons, should that be an option). They do suggest pepper spray or a taser, though they say to only carry something that will be within the rules. My life, at least, is worth breaking a rule for.

I also noticed a link to How to Dodge Bullets. It's not all that bad, except in that it includes such tips as:
If you want to avoid this whole situation, do not have friends or enemies who
play with guns.

and
Realize that the best response when confronted by an armed assailant is passive
response. On the rare chance you are faced with a weapon, increasing the tension
or aggravating your assailant greatly increases your chances of dying.

Yeah, that's a great couple of tips. Don't know people with guns (because the assumption most will make is that anyone with guns is "playing" with them)...you probably already have friends with guns. And passive response? Yeah, you wouldn't want to aggravate him by surviving. If you are dealing with an armed assailant, he probably wants to kill you. You should want him to fail to kill you.

They do have several how to articles on pistol and rifle shooting, which is a plus, but they don't hit the Wikihow of the day, nor do they get linked to very much outside of the articles like them. They also always have warnings telling people to transport firearms unloaded, only handle them if you are experienced, and follow all applicable laws and rules. While the last one seems like good advice, I cannot offer it in good conscience. After all, the rules that disarm should be weighed against the small chance you'll need the gun. And that small chance will cost you a lot more than will the small chance your employer notices the concealed weapon.

I would've edited the school and workplace shooting article a little, but they had it locked. I guess they were afraid someone might encourage actual self-defense.