Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Zumbo's new career

Looks as though Zumbo's already outdated in his new career. It's funny. You should read it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Zumbo fiasco

I'm sure most people who care have already heard about the Zumbo fiasco. I was going to avoid posting about it, but Outdoor Life decided to remove his blog for awhile. This could be a quick fix to appease sponsors such as Remington who have denounced Zumbo fairly thoroughly, especially with their wallets. If it's not, though, they've removed both his original post and the apology, probably in an attempt to save the few subscriptions people weren't withdrawing (links courtesy of War on Guns). Their little message doesn't even address anyone's concerns (besides saying they support 2A rights). They simply pulled him because of the "controversy." In other words, they saw the fecal matter hitting the oscillator and grabbed an umbrella.
A few of the highlights of his post really stick out for me. He mentions the creation of tackdriver "assault rifles" as though it's a bad thing. Last I checked, accuracy was one of the things most hunters looked for in guns. An accurate, easily converted, fairly light rifle is a good hunting rifle, whether it has an old wood stock or the "evil black gun" look to it. ARs and the like are versatile, since you can quickly and easily convert them for whatever use you need just by changing uppers. If I weren't nearly broke right now, I'd like to build a decent AR, since I really don't have a decent homeland defense rifle at the moment.
I'll admit that my deer rifle is a Remington 7400, with the wood stock and all the other things that look like a traditional hunting rifle (though a semi-auto, which Zumbo might not like), but it's not because I have a problem with what others use. I use it because I have it. It also means something to me, since it was my Granddad's rifle (I never did figure out why I was the one to get it, but it was left to me specifically as a deer rifle, so that's what I'll use unless it breaks down or something).

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I prefer to use the pre-existing rules

War on Guns pointed me to an interesting letter:

To all those promoting Wayne Fincher’s being elevated to folk hero status for breaking the law, enough already. The argument of Second Amendment violation in his circumstance is ridiculous. Neither the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights contains a single word about automatic weapons. Also absent is any mention of anti-tank weapons, driving under the influence, dealing drugs at the local schoolyard or child pornography. These are all issues we, as a society, have deemed to be generally bad ideas, and we put in place laws to deal with the excesses of others.

Mr. Fincher’s case is not a Second Amendment case. It is a case about not following the rules, or more precisely, interpreting the rules to suit one’s own interests. Before dismissing this as another letter from the fringe, I am a gun enthusiast, a consultant to the firearms industry, NRA member, and I hold a federal firearms license. I also play by the rules.

Russ Whitfield

Fort Smith

Well, Russ, it seems you have some interesting misconceptions to talk about. The Constitution doesn't mention anti-tank or automatic weapons, as you've noted. That's true. It also doesn't mention those arms as bannable ones. The fact that we sit idly by as our rights erode does not, in fact, make the erosion Constitutional. Also, let's look at your examples of other behaviors. Drunk driving, as you mention, is illegal. Alcohol, however, is not. If I safely own and operate a fully automatic weapon, it is much more like drinking in the safety of my own home. "Dealing drugs at the local schoolyard" is stopped for two reasons: legality of drugs and children being too young to consistently make good decisions. We can argue about the reasoning behind keeping drugs illegal, which would save this example from being sheer shock value. But it's obvious you chose it just to shock people into agreement. Child pornography is stripping a child of his/her rights. Owning a weapon, assuming one doesn't begin killing indiscriminately (which very few legally owned weapons are used for, anyway), does not infringe on your rights in the least.

As for the "we, as a society" statement, I must respectfully disagree. We haven't decided them to be generally bad ideas. Lawmakers have. They've also decided that I need to wear my seatbelt, hot coffee needs warning labels, and marijuana should be illegal. They are somewhat hit and miss on lawmaking. Some laws are okay, others strip us of rights. In any case, society hasn't necessarily decided. Also, look at which laws strip rights from people before they've done anything. Did you get a permit to write that letter, Russ? You should have, just in case you were at risk of libel. Is my blog federally licensed? Do journalists go through federal background checks before they can write? Why, then, do we allow prior restraint to factor into firearms laws? If I commit murder, I should be punished. If I choose to own a weapon for self-defense, defense against tyranny, and to exercise my rights, I should be able to.

It's a "case about not following the rules," you say? Yeah, most court cases are set up as just that. After all, you don't generally get prosecuted for following the rules. The question, though, is whether the rules follow the greater and older rules. The Bill of Rights, in fact, is just an acknowledgement of preexisting rights, ones that we, as a society, believe to apply to all humans. If a law goes against the Constitution, that law should not be upheld. If it goes against natural rights, it shouldn't even be considered.

A gun enthusiast, huh? And a consultant to the firearms industry? What better way to make them money than to encourage people to buy guns that conform to the law, rather than modifying old guns. As for the NRA membership, that doesn't impress me at all. Few pro-gun organizations have done as much to erode gun rights as the NRA. Federal firearms license? Again, not really a qualification for talking about the validity of gun law. Thanks for playing, Russ, but you just don't get it. Sheeple like you are more than willing to watch your rights disappear. When do you draw the line? And will you still be able to defend your rights when they cross that line?

"Assault" weapons

Carolyn McCarthy, a Democrat from New York, has decided it's time to ban "assault weapons" again. HR 1022 now has text up. She's actually trying to ban a wider variety of weapons than the previous ban. A semi-auto will be banned if it has a folding or telescoping stock, a threaded barrel, a pistol grip, a forward grip, or a barrel shroud. And that's assuming it doesn't look too much like any of the models specifically banned. There are rules for shotguns and pistols, as well, and a ban on the importation of "large capacity ammunition feeding devices." Read the bill. And the sections of the old assault weapons ban that it will reinstate. While you do that, I'll go spend my meager savings on high-capacity magazines, just in case it passes. I was really hoping they'd hold off a little longer before trying this again.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Initiative, Referendum, and how to make them stop

I don't know how many people keep up with politics in my home state of Washington, but there was a recent hearing on some of the bills our state is trying to push through to fight the initiative process.
HB 2019 would make signature gatherers sign under oath. They already have to sign, but good old lefty Joe McDermott doesn't think that's enough. Signing under oath should scare off a few petition gatherers, or at least put the fear of God and prosecution into them, right?
HB 2018, also a McDermott creation, wants anyone who employs paid signature gatherers to get a permit. The permit would be good for a single petition and the signature gatherers would have to keep it with them while gathering signatures. Great opportunity to hassle people trying to change our screwy laws (including, of course, the volunteers, who would still be asked to provide their permit, I'm sure). And who else foresees the definition of "paid" getting pretty fuzzy if this makes it through? After all, a lot of volunteer signature gatherers get free food, a shirt, or some other compensation.
SB 5181 wants signature gatherers to wear nametags. The tags would have the person's name and their status as either a volunteer or paid signature gatherer. Y'know, because the public needs to be able to quickly name the signature gatherer. And paid folks are sure to get fewer signatures if this passes, regardless of whether the petition has merit. After all, there are a lot of people who don't want to fix laws if someone's getting money (except, of course, those people who made it screwy in the first place--we're all providing that paycheck).
At Friday's public hearing on these bills, a man gave a nice little speech about the problems with these bills: "I've never been harassed by the public as I'm being harassedby the Legislature that I helped put into office. What possible threat do I pose that I need be licensed, regulated and leaned on by the government.I'm singled out because I might possibly bring a conflicting point of viewto the ballot. I find this to be discriminatory and outrageous. Shame on those who put another burden on a hardworking taxpayer doing a legitimate job. Just please leave me alone."
That last sentence, of course, pretty much sums up my thoughts on government in general.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Rudy, guns, and rights

Rudy just doesn't get it sometimes. According to this article, he "addressed a potentially troublesome issue with conservative voters" in California recently. He didn't address it very well. He claims to "understand the Second Amendment," while pointing out that his gun control policies had no effect on hunting. Last I checked, the amendment in question mentioned nothing about hunting. He can't claim to "understand the right to bear arms" if he thinks it's about hunting.

He also claimed his gun control helped reduce crime in NYC, which is supposed to be justification enough. Taking away freedom of the press might reduce libel, but you never hear that discussed. The right to bear arms is not contingent upon crime rates. Even if gun control actually reduced crime, taking away the God-given right to self-preservation is not justified. Humans have the right to defend themselves from crime and tyranny using the best modern tools available.

Rudy, are you the tyrant who would take away that right? You don't have my vote.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hostage situation

Looks as though some college students are in trouble for a faked hostage situation. The hostage, a rubber duck, seems to have been unhurt.
If this were some students crucifying a rubber duck, putting out a video against heterosexuality, or basically doing anything that might actually be considered offensive to most rational human beings, they would be applauded for their actions. Instead, because their faked accents might make the video seem anti-Muslim, they are told that this is not a free speech issue, because they should know better than to be so insensitive.
The students had even accompanied the video of them threatening a rubber duck with a note explaining that it was meant to be a harmless joke. They apparently had already figured out that they couldn't rely on sheer absurdity to explain itself these days.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Better ban screwdrivers

Look at one of the sentences in a Fox News report about a stabbing: "Kevin Mair of Plantation walked into his classroom at Atlantic Technical Center using a cane and sound-blocking headphones similar to those used in a gun range, said Officer Anthony Avello of the Coconut Creek Police Department." He stabs people with a screwdriver, but the cop can't just say he was wearing hearing protection. Nope, those earmuffs were similar to those people use on gun ranges.
Three people were stabbed and the guy fled (he was later apprehended). No one could adequately defend against a screwdriver, apparently. I'm guessing this tech school had rules against concealed carry.
The kicker, to me, is that he expected a business class to drop everything and teach some black history, it seems. Yes, he was agitated about an overall lack of black history, but it was a tech school. They teach trades, not history. Your local community college may have an entire department dedicated to African-American studies, but the tech school had better drop their curriculum for a month, or someone's getting stabbed with a screwdriver. The man must have all sorts of problems for that to make sense.