Monday, July 30, 2007

Small-scale free market solutions

I was part of a good free-market solution tonight. As usual, the government solution was late and ineffective.

I decided to take my half-hour federally mandated lunch break. Okay, so I still had the work phone on me and I fueled the patrol car while I was out, and it didn't last anywhere near30 minutes, but bear with me here.

After filling up the patrol car, I head over to the friendly neighborhood Jack in the Box. As I pull into the drive-through, I notice two men standing at the window. They aren't holding any weapons, and I see them before they see me. The box crackles out a request for me to wait a minute and they'd take my order.

The two men have spotted me by this point, and one of them walks up to the car. I work unarmed security, but it's a uniform and a marked car, so he's being careful to keep his hands visible. I appreciate that. He explains that he and his friend were hoping to order some food, but they can't order without a car. He asks if I'd mind getting them a couple burgers. I agree, so he hands me a couple of ones and a lot of pennies. I order and head up to the window. While I wait for my food (they were slow), a police officer walks up to the window and informs the girl working that "this gentleman [motions toward me without acknowledging my presence] is going to get them some food, then they'll leave." I sheepishly flash a smile and say something along the lines of "I figured this would get them out of your hair," ignoring the cop in kind.

Another employee comes close enough to the window to hear that and kind of glare. I didn't really care what he thought of the situation. The girl who was at the window actually became really friendly (probably realized that I had agreed soon enough to get them out of her hair without too much trouble). The cop was long gone before I got the food, which meant I was in charge of making sure the guys left. I told them to try not to bother any other fast food folks, and they happily took their meal and went on their way.

You may be wondering how this is a free market solution. Simple. The guys wanted food, so they paid me to get it for them. I wanted to get my food, so buying theirs sped up my attempt. The girl taking the order (who probably heard the deal through the ordering system) wanted to be rid of a nuisance, so she overlooked the fact that I was blatantly ordering for guys who she had just asked to leave. Hell, even the cop didn't waste any time. He figured it was taken care of, so he just left. You'll note that the private solution was efficient, beneficial to all, and didn't stir up too much ill will. The officer would have likely argued with them for a bit before convincing them to move on (though he may have even gone with the same method I used...I don't know for sure).

Yeah, some of you might say that I shouldn't have done it this way, but I can generally read intentions pretty well, and these guys just wanted a burger. Besides, I never took it out of drive, just in case.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Headphones and whatnot

The more I see of the fancy headphones with noise cancellation and whatever else, the more I dislike the fact that they are becoming more prevalent. Don't get me wrong, I like gadgets and whatnot...I just don't like the ones that put people even further into their own little worlds.

As most of my readers know, one major key to survival is attentiveness. Technology and attitudes that keep people from observing the world around them helps render those same people helpless. And I don't just mean self-defense. Our society encourages people to put a big cushy barrier between themselves and the world. Is it any wonder people don't recognize when they give up their rights? But they don't care. It doesn't concern them until it actually pierces the world they find in their Ipods, DVDs, and video games. Warrantless searches don't take the entertainment. Guns don't power gadgets.

Don't get me wrong...I listen to music, play video games, and watch movies. I just make sure they don't keep me from paying attention. I don't blast my ears with music...I keep it at a volume that allows me to hear my own soft footsteps. I don't avoid finding out what's going on in the world by constantly indulging in entertainment. In short, I watch and listen to the world around me. Inattentiveness creates victims, be they victims of violence, politics, or simply their own mistakes.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Opinions

"There ain't no good guys and there ain't no bad guys. There's only you and me, and we just disagree." These lyrics seem nice at first glance. Hell, I like the song. Problem is that it isn't so simple. Billy Dean knew that when he sang the song.

The problem is that people like to tell me that we just have a difference in opinion. There are anti-gunners who tell me that they respect my opinion, but they disagree. These same people fight to get guns banned. You cannot respect my opinion and yet legislate against it. If you respect my opinion, you admit that it is valid. If you legislate against it, you are declaring it invalid.

True respect is found in honest debate. If you actually respect my opinion, you don't walk away and try to erase it. You are welcome to attempt to show the superiority you obviously believe is in your opinion.

Funny thing about gun laws is that I don't force anyone to carry a gun. Gun grabbers, though, attempt to keep me from carrying one, owning one, or handling one. I'm willing to respect your right to remain unarmed. Please respect my right to be armed.

It is impossible to truly compromise in gun control. We are constantly asked to compromise...to allow "reasonable restrictions." There's a problem: only one side gives. You take away some of my freedom, and you give up nothing. Next time there's a "compromise" idea, I'm suggesting that everyone be required to own a minimum number of guns (which would vary in relation to the extent of the restrictions--there might be something about carrying a gun, too...and education is a must). If I have to give up some of my right to bear arms, you have to give up some of your right to be unarmed. Of course, I'll still demand repeal of the existing gun laws, since none of them included such reasonable compromises.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Just for fun

How to Win a Fight With a Liberal is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Conservative Identity:

You are an Anti-government Gunslinger, also known as a libertarian conservative. You believe in smaller government, states’ rights, gun rights, and that, as Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

Take the quiz at www.FightLiberals.com



I'd prefer to be called a conservative libertarian, but, hey, it's closer than a lot of these will get to an accurate label.
Hat tip to Heartless Libertarian.

Gun owner registration

The most common question I get when I talk about concealed carry permits is why I don't automatically recommend people get them.

Washington is a shall-issue state for concealed carry, and the fee isn't too bad. Of course, the cost or availability are not the issue here. Of course you shouldn't worry too much about an extra 50 bucks or the possibility they'll turn you down.

No, the issue here is the willingness of so many people to beg for their rights, then happily take a license and a pat on the head when they should demand the state not interfere with any rights. We have grown so complacent about government interference. We allow the government to tell us how, when, and where to carry. We allow them to force seatbelt use and motorcycle helmets. We allow them to meddle.

A government should leave the citizenry to live their lives. It should not tell people what to think, nor show them how. It should exist merely to keep the peace and provide only those services absolutely necessary (provide for defense, enforce the few laws necessary to keep people from trampling each other, etc.). We forget that the government has no right or need to constantly grow. A government by the people and for the people should never control the people.

Back to carry permits, the biggest problem isn't just that we've already given the government too much power, but that we show no sign of slowing government's expansion. Carry permits are gun owner registration. In Washington, your permit is supposed to be kept on record for one year after it expires. Do you believe it always gets removed right away? These sorts of records have this knack for getting overlooked. As I've told some folks, the first people disarmed are those who have submitted to every infringement the government dishes out. After all, they've already complied with a lot, why not get them to comply with a few more "reasonable" "requests?"

I'm not saying that everyone who gets a permit will comply with further infringement, mind you, but they're already on a list, so they're convenient targets even if they resist. Their names and addresses are on record, so the police just go knocking on doors. Mind you, I have no illusions about how easily I can be found, with or without a permit, especially being the outspoken gun guy I am. If I really wanted to keep my name off lists, I wouldn't be blogging about this and I'd buy all of my guns from private owners, rather than hitting the gun shop.

There are advantages, of course, to having a permit, but most people hear those a lot. It's the disadvantages that need a bit of spotlight now and then.

Yes, I'm aware that I've said all this before, but I keep hearing more of the same lines, and I think I've been getting more visitors.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

NH Machine Gun Shoot

At $25, this fundraiser sounds like a steal. If I were in or near New Hampshire, you could bet on me being there. For $25, you can spend the day firing various machine guns. Of course, the reporter would have you thinking this might be a horrible event.
Local Democrats say the event is in poor taste amid a spike in violent crime in Manchester and seeks to glorify the use of machine guns for political gain. The right to own guns has come under heightened scrutiny since the April shooting at Virginia Tech where a gunman killed 32 people.
Of course, all the stuff on the pro side was credited to the organizer, while this paragraph is credited to a nameless group of libs. And the VT reference is simply uncalled for.

How much of the violent crime cited here involved machine guns? None of it.

Buying a gun in New Hampshire, whose official motto is "Live Free or Die," is relatively easy.

The state does not require buyers to obtain a handgun license or undergo safety training before buying a handgun, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun-control lobby group.

In other words, New Hampshire is a free state. I'll go ahead and mention other relevant facts: open carry is allowed, though you need a concealed carry permit to have a loaded weapon in your vehicle. They are a shall-issue state for concealed carry, and they will honor permits from several states. They also have non-resident permits, available to anyone with a permit from any other state. Vermont residents may supply a letter from a sheriff if they don't have a permit from another state (Vermont requires no permit).

As far as gun rights go, NH is one of the better ones.

Of course, one can't expect an "authorized journalist" to find out everything I just found. It took me 2 minutes, and I don't think any of that was on the Brady page. They simply don't have time to do research. You'll also note that there is no mention in the article of a date for the fundraiser. Guess it would take too long to find the Manchester Republican Committee website, which clearly marks August 5th for the event. I suggest anyone in the area go have some fun. It's from 10-4 at the Pelham Fish and Game Club.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Greetings, visitor from the House!

After my post earlier about BATFU visits, I half expected one of their bots to hit my blog pretty quickly. The immediate hit I got, though, surprised me. It was not DOJ, but the US House of Representatives.
Thank you for your visit, and I hope that you return often. After all, you elected officials definitely have a lot of power when it comes to stopping the blatant abuses by the ATF. Please remember your responsibilities to the public.

Irony

The poor little BATFU is being harassed by big, mean Red's Trading Post, it seems. Guess they aren't used to being documented. Red's, of course, has been documenting everything and publishing it. I'd say more, but the link above (To the War on Guns) covers it pretty well.

BATFU visits

Well, I haven't had a DOJ visit for several posts. Others, though, have been logging a lot of visits. This ATF intimidation is blatant. It would not be difficult to hide the source of the visits if they were just trying to quietly observe. The goal, of course, is not to observe, but to make their presence known. They want to keep us from pointing out the abuse they've been piling onto Red's Trading Post. They want us to avoid telling people that Wayne Fincher is not guilty of breaking a single law that could pass constitutional muster. They want us to keep quiet about illegal raids, unnecessary violence, theft, and vandalism they actively heap onto undeserving citizens. In short, they want us to accept their horrible regime.
For the most part, there is likely very little actually being read. Much of this is probably done through automated means, merely to scare people with their visits. I'm sure actual agents read posts that bring up a lot of flags, but they aren't scared of what we say. They're scared BECAUSE we say things about them. You see, the thugs agents over there aren't used to oversight. They don't like an audience, for the most part. They especially don't like the ever-growing audience that would like to cancel all future performances. After all, harassment, intimidation, and tyranny won't pay too well anywhere in the private sector, so there's not a lot of work out there for the BATFU.
Fellow bloggers, keep writing. It's obviously working well enough to scare them.

Deliberating Deliberative Democracy

(And awful alliteration is always acceptable, apparently)

Well, my deliberative democracy post turned up a comment that I don't feel like reposting. The gist of it was that I don't understand what it's all about, I'd like it if I tried it, and I shouldn't be cynical.

You ever have a facilitated group discussion in college? Y'know, where the goal is to come to a consensus, and everyone is supposed to come away happy that they were heard? DD is an extension of this sort of thing.

It seems fantastic to those who see it as a way to bring people together, rather than divide them...the problem is, we don't all want to be brought together. Sometimes, people don't want to be meddled with. Sometimes, people want to be an outspoken minority, rather than a silent dissension within the majority.

The sad thing is that people actually believe that everyone will eventually feel the system is fantastic. The commenter included links to his blog posts. In one of them, he talked about a "World Cafe" event. He felt that people didn't understand the extent of the goals. He figured they would support the extensive, far-reaching goals he did...and he's probably right, in a way. As long as the changes come over time, the pot will slowly come to a boil without anyone noticing. He wanted to get rid of the "adversarial nature" of the Australian Parliament. Y'know, stuff like debating ideas and realizing that some ideas are in direct competition, and they cannot be equally viable.

He also threw out terms like "constructive exploration" and "inclusion" as being separate from groupthink. These are groupthink. Inclusion, especially, tends to indicate that the group will all think as a group, rather than individuals. And constructive exploration sounds a lot like the sort of stuff we've allowed to invade public schools...we don't get to point out the negatives, because that's not "constructive."

Call me cynical if you like. I've been in these discussions before, and as a conservative in a college setting, I've had a good taste of what it's like being the minority opinion which is almost immediately dismissed. I've also had a taste of being the one subtly guiding the group. It's not hard to encourage your ideas at the expense of diversity of opinion. Hell, groups are so dead-set on reaching a consensus that they'll "understand" a lot of things if you can convince them that it's the majority opinion.

Yeah, I'll stick with a government that has competing ideas, rather than consensus. You know what they say: You know you're wrong when everyone agrees with you.

Monday, July 23, 2007

BATFU

As most of you readers are aware, the BATFU seems to believe that they can operate outside the law of the land in a quest to strip us of our rights. They intimidate, coerce, harass, destroy, maim, steal, and kill, with no real oversight.

This is illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional, but they don't care. They'd like to see us all disarmed, and they'll do whatever they can to get closer to that goal. They are jackbooted thugs, at best, and the entire agency should be eliminated.

Well, to get to the point, there's a good site that's trying to collect documentation of the illegal behavior of the ATF, and I wanted to be sure my readers knew it was out there. That is all.

Deliberative Democracy

I'd love to simply write my thoughts on "deliberative democracy," but several others have written better explanations of it than I could hope to write, so it's best to lead you to them first. Blogonomicon, The Foundation for Economic Education, and The Liberty Sphere all have some good reading on the subject.

I'll still give you my thoughts on the subject, of course.

This is the ultimate expression of collectivism ruled by an elitist group. After all, the thought is that all people contribute to the debate, not the decision. Even if the people make the decision, we face tyranny by majority, but the fact that there's no vote-counting allows the ruling elite a lot of power. After all, if you've had the chance to speak, you feel you've been listened to. If the outcome doesn't match your choice, you probably guess that others made stronger points. In reality, of course, the lawmakers decided what they'd do long before anyone said a word.

A lot of psychologists simply listen to people spew their thoughts and opinions, which is really all the person wanted. Deliberative democracy hinges on a similar principle. Once you've given your opinion, as long as you feel you've had your time, you feel better about the outcome, even if it's completely opposite what you wanted. You contributed, or at least think you did, and that counts for something, at least psychologically.

The biggest inherent danger, of course, is the "hive mind." Once everyone has contributed, the outcome must be the best choice, right? So you start to see it as such. Pretty soon, everyone is certain that government choices are always best. This leads to a lack of intellectual debate, as well as an inherent trust in an inherently untrustworthy group of people.

Of course, to the Left, the idea of such collectivism looks great. They believe it will placate the public, which is their goal. If they can keep us placated, they can control us. If they can control us, they think it'll improve us. It's not an improvement, even if it does work. And it doesn't. There'll always be wolves to prey on the sheep you've made comfortable. And there'll always be a few independent thinkers the government will have to "quiet."

I'll stick with a constitutional republic. It's a lot better for those of us who may not want to assimilate ourselves into the hive mind.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Frustration

After a long night at work, I wasn't too tired...until my relief insisted on talking to me about things such as concealed carry permits. It was one of the most tiring conversations ever. He's all for jumping through hoops whenever the government says, keeping freed men disarmed long after they've paid their debt to society, and cooperating with the government should they compensate him for his guns. He's also pro-D.C. bans...

The most painful part, to me, was that he couldn't get it through his head that the citizenry can't prevent tyranny by complying with it. I told him that there are enough gun owners who wouldn't give in to make them give up. He said that the politicians wouldn't give up. I explained that it'll be really difficult for the politicians to get them when the police and military have written off the endeavor. And I really don't think a politician is going to come after them itself.

Of course, trying to explain my reasoning behind arming anyone who is free was pretty painful, too. I eventually had to leave, since he kept saying that he didn't care if people had paid their debt, they should never get their rights back. And he kept getting louder, as though it was a new counterpoint each decibel.

On the plus side, while I was working, I talked to a guy who mostly wanted to know which candidate I was backing. We talked at length, and he was willing to listen to reason on guns, affirmative action, states' rights, and various other subjects. I guess it's some sort of karmic balance or something.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Red light

Tell me this is about my safety. Close to a million dollars is just a bonus, right?

I especially like the case they cite. A van took his right on red, but didn't quite stop first. And the extent of the discussion between the two officers was "Look like he stopped?" "No." There's no thought given to it, even though it doesn't seem like the sort of red light runner we're supposed to be stopping. He yielded to traffic, but didn't quite stop, from the sound of it. Had it been a cop rather than a camera, he would've been told not to do it again.

And the fact that these tickets don't count as moving violations against your driving record really helps me buy the "safety" talks. We punish them by imposing a fee system for running red lights. You simply have to pay $101 per light you run. Hefty fee, but we can't have everyone abusing the privelege.

I'm just waiting for them to take this to the next step: speed cameras. Then seatbelt and jaywalking cameras. With the revenue from those, as well as the eventual public acceptance of such cameras, they'll have cameras pretty much everywhere, in hopes of catching some other criminals in the act. Maybe even cameras in homes, hoping to catch criminals preparing for crime. Are red light cameras Orwellian? Probably not. Are they a step in that direction? If we allow them to be. Call me crazy, but I'm not a fan of giving the police fancy cameras to watch me with.

As for now, they have the red light cameras as a big fundraiser. And they'll tell you they're keeping you safe.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Infringed?

A New Hampshire man had his concealed carry permit revoked because of an incident in which he used his revolver to illustrate a story. He challenged this revocation of his rights, and the State Supreme Court decided that this was not infringement.
Courts have tended to apply strict scrutiny when courts have deemed legislation "immediately suspect," she wrote. "Gun control legislation, by contrast, 'with its legislative motivation of public safety . . . is not inherently suspicious,' " Dalianis wrote, citing a University of California-Los Angeles study on strict scrutiny cases.
Gun control should be inherently suspicious. It violates God-given rights outlined in the Bill of Rights. Censorship, religious laws, and unwarranted searches are all suspect by nature...why shouldn't any other infringement be, as well.

Also, they claim that the man's rights are still intact because he can still carry openly and own guns. He can't legally open carry anywhere outside of walking distance, since a loaded firearm inside a vehicle is illegal without a concealed carry permit in New Hampshire. And we've seen what happens if he handles the gun in public, so he can't really get out of the car and load his gun.

"Shall not be infringed." The permit requirement is already infringement. Taking it away is worse.

Hat tip to The War on Guns.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

CC/OC

Since my post on open carry was (I believe) the most emailed post I've written, I figure it's time for a brief follow-up.

Concealed carry folks who don't have any interest in open carry tend to fall into three categories: those who don't feel comfortable enough (retention, attention, legal issues, etc.) to try open carry themselves, those who are afraid others will get scared, and those who vehemently argue against open carry. The first two are generally normal folks who get along just fine with concealed carry and don't feel the need to rock the boat. I have no problem with them. THey do not tell me I'm an idiot for open carry.

It's that third group that really gets to me. It is further divided into three subgroups: those who hate open carry because they fear political backlash, those who hate open carry because it seems "macho," and those who claim "tactical" advantages are abundant in concealed carry. There are, of course, those who fit combinations of subgroups, but we'll examine them as though they are very distinct.

Political Backlash: These folks think everyone's going to be scared, leading to more gun laws. Your average citizen, in my experience, isn't very anti-gun. Sure, they might be a little apprehensive, but they are only against guns because they've been told only crazies have 'em. Concealed carry lets them keep believing that. Open carry can change minds, so long as you are courteous and friendly. Yeah, there may be some who call the police or just leave, but the more often they see guns, the more comfortable they'll be. And the police may even inform them that it's legal to carry, further educating them.

Mcho: These people think that everyone who open carries is trying to be a "Rambo" or whatnot. It's hard to prove otherwise, possibly because they'd feel the need to act tough if they had a gun out in the open. Most OCers I know of are actually even less macho when carrying. When you know everyone can see you're armed, you watch your words and actions. It's the macho guy who ends up in some trouble.

Tactical: These ones are the worst. They tell you that people who open carry are constantly disarmed, the target of attacks, and lose the element of surprise. OCers are rarely disarmed, criminals more likely choose other targets (after all, they want someone who isn't armed), and rarely even notice a gun on a person's hip. Look at the tapes of convenience store hold-ups. Almost always, the gun is out before the perp enters, and it is immediately trained on the clerk, with hardly a glance at the customers. As for the element of surprise, it says a lot about someone when they want to conceal so that they have control over when a criminal sees the weapon. In many of these arguments, you get the feeling that the "tactics" guys are looking for trouble, figuring they'll be a hero. It's far better to prevent a crime than die trying to be a hero.

I have no problem with concealed carry. It's fantastic for a lot of situations. Almost no OCers will argue that concealed carry is wrong. Just remember that OC is alright, too.

Monday, July 16, 2007

He's a hack

War on Guns directed me to this. I can hardly begin to tell you what's wrong with it, but I'll start at the beginning.

First is the entire premise. He is comparing hacking laws to gun laws. But let's keep going.

The law, as he quoted it, does not seem to do what he says it does. It says that those programs are illegal for those preparing crimes. It is not a ban on hacking tools. It is an additional penalty for using/creating those programs when you are taken in for the hacking crime, much like additional penalties for using a gun in a crime.

He makes a near point by saying that guns don't kill people, but ends it with the anti statement "people with guns kill people." He then admits that hacking programs can be used maliciously, but says that it's not the same. He's right...it's not the same, but he's wrong on all the rest of his reasoning.

He says that it is hard to know whether a program was created/owned with malicious intent. The implication, of course, is that guns are only purchased with ill intentions. They are never used for sporting, defense, hunting, or any other use, according to the author.

He points out that guns have a shorter range than hackers. His argument is that gun laws will curb gun crime, but hacking laws can't stop people in other countries from targeting those with hacking laws. Of course, guns will find their way in through illicit means, and those victims that have been disarmed are easy prey. Also, other weapons are still available, making the smaller people easy prey for stronger, larger people. Also, hackers can be brought in for crimes they committed from abroad. Extradition may not always be plausible, but it is not impossible. Also, while a local gun law may look effective, it keeps defensive guns away. Hacking programs are not defensive. At best, they probe for weaknesses, allowing defenses to be programmed.

He is outraged that there's no exemption for security professionals (which is unnecessary, given the wording of the law, but let's keep going). He claims that countries with widescale gun bans make broad exemptions for security...citing police. Police using hacking software will always be unaffected by laws of these sorts...but he is not, of course, worried about that. He wants broad exemptions for private firms. England doesn't even arm a good portion of their cops. They certainly do not provide broad exemptions for private security.

He mentions that banning hacking software will cripple education. There was a time students learned firearms safety. It's just as important to learn gun basics as it is to learn about routers. If freedom is to be vigilantly guarded, gun knowledge is more important than network encryption.

He claims that more gun violence is accidental than criminal. He provides no support for this allegation, except that it is often repeated. It's an oft-repeated, consistently inaccurate "statistic." He also says it's easy to shoot someone. Which explains, of course, why so many police shootouts have ended without a hit. He says malicious hacking, on the other hand, must be planned precisely and thoroughly. Which, of course, explains the kids who think it's fun to test the waters, then go through with it because they found it to be easy.

"To me the whole think stinks of making a law without asking anyone who knows anything about the subject." (Grammar, punctuation, and spelling his) You mean like the politicians and "journalists" who think that they don't need to know a thing about guns?

Finally, let me add a few points he missed: Hacking is seen by a lot of kids (and adults) as cool and harmless. It wreaks havoc, costs money, and is not fun for the victims. Guns, too, are seen as cool, but people know the potential of a misused gun. Hacking, too, can cost lives. What would it do to communities if a hacker took out 911? It's not likely, but possible. Do these hacking tools protect lives directly? Guns do.

Had the guy written about these hacking tools without mentioning guns, he could've made a decent case, probably. As it is, all he did was spout drivel without any real substance.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Open Carry

I'm lucky enough to live in an open carry state, and I do carry openly some of the time (I need to get a better gunbelt before I do so more often). I've heard a lot of arguments against open carry, and some of them are downright bizarre.

If I'm to believe everything I'm told, open carry will make me a target for criminals, encourage lawlessness, get my gun grabbed, make the antis create more laws, and get me thrown in jail. It is also illegal, immoral, and stupid. But let's examine some of these ideas.

There is, admittedly, a chance that a criminal will target me first, since I am a marked threat. There is also, however, a chance that he'll walk away because he can be certain that at least one person is armed.

Lawlessness does not result from open carry. In fact, criminals want the advantage of surprise, so they would much prefer to conceal. A gun on everyone's hip makes for a more polite world, not just because the other guy's armed, but because you tend to be more aware of your own behavior when you know everyone can see you're armed.

Yes, there is a risk of someone trying to grab my gun. That is why retention practice is so important. If you remain aware and practice retention, though, no one should take your gun away. The irony I find is that some of my friends call crossdraw the "take my gun" carry method...but it has to be taken from the front. It's is probably the easiest carry to prevent a grab from, but that's for another post.

The idea that my carrying openly will create political backlash is actually kind of absurd. They already work hard to take our guns. They prefer we hide them, since they can pretend no one carries. Open carry educates people. People see a friendly, ordinary, not-so-scary citizen carrying and they start to question the idea that guns make people dangerous.

Yeah, open carry could get me thrown in jail. And if it does, it could also lead to the officer and/or department buying me a house. After all, wrongful arrest, illegal confiscation, harassment, and possible abuse are worth big bucks after I'm told I can walk. Sure, it wouldn't be nice to go to jail, and I really don't want to have to go through the whole process, but they sure wouldn't like the aftermath. But they know it, so they probably won't arrest me.

It's not illegal to open carry in WA. It's not immoral to carry openly. In fact, there was a time that concealed carry was considered dirty, sneaky, and downright dishonest. Open carry tells people that you aren't ashamed of yor decision to defend yourself and others, and are responsible for your own safety. As for the stupidity of open carry, I think I probably covered that in the arguments above.

Is open carry a sensible option for every person or every situation? No. Do I feel that all gun owners should be ashamed if they don't open carry? No. Do I feel that I should be ashamed because I do? No. Make your own decisions for your own defense, but always consider both open and concealed if you have both options.

Unsure about open carry laws in your state? Opencarry.org has a helpful map with all sorts of info.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Overdue range report

I just noticed my lack of a range report for my Steyr M40. I'll try to keep it short and sweet, since you can easily find detailed reviews elsewhere.

First off, she fit nicely in my hand, despite my hands being a bit larger than most other shooters'. The grip angle really made the gun feel balanced. It felt even better when I started shooting.

The recoil feels a little less snappy than most .40s, since the grip angle puts the barrel closer in line with your arm. It also comes back down very naturally.

Being designed as a .40 (unlike so many others that are .40 barrels on 9mm frames), the casings expand less than in others, which would be great if I were to start reloading. It also feels like a more solid design than the redesigned 9mms.

The sights are very good for quick target acquisition. They aren't long-distance precision sights, but they're fantastic for defensive use.

There were a few downsides, of course. The mags are stiffer than a new Glock mag, and shped slightly differently than I'd like, which made loading them kind of a chore. I'm sure they'll loosen up a bit, but I'm seriously considering finding a decent magloader.

Every few shots, a casing will come directly back at me, as will a bit of hot material. I inspected the casings, and I think the problem is the length of the loaded chamber indicator. They have a mark from something dragging across them, and it isn't the firing pin. I can probably fix this.

I don't know if I care for the trigger. It's a wide plastic trigger, which doesn't feel quite right to me. It's also a little heavier than I'd like, and I don't know of anyone who does Steyr trigger jobs.

Overall, she's a good gun, though I'm still much more of a .45 man. The Steyr, though, is a slightly smaller gun, which may make her a good one for slightly more discrete carry.

Presidential Picks

A lot of folks have asked me for predictions on the nominations for the Presidency. They never understand why I just get frustrated by all this.

Name recognition has brought Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Rudy Giuliani to the forefront. Love them or hate them, America knows these names.

Barack Obama is riding on his charisma (and doing well, too). Mitt Romney has been sucking up to every group who'll listen.

Fred Thompson has been hoping to win with wit, not to mention the fact that he's an actor, which reminds some of Reagan.

Ron Paul has attempted to win with honesty and straightforwardness...and the public will have none of that.

While a person can make predictions 'til he's blue in the face, it won't do any good to guess who'll win the nominations, pair up candidates, or sit here analyzing the polls. Do I think a Giuliani/Romney vs. Obama/Clinton scenario is likely? Yeah, a bit...but it's far too early to really guess. I'd love to see Ron Paul win the Republican nomination, but can I expect it? Probably not.

I'll encourage others to vote for Ron Paul, but I'm aware that some just aren't comfortable with a Libertarian-leaning candidate. I just don't really like the others. I don't trust Clinton, Obama, McCain, Giuliani, or Romney with most issues, and Thompson I'm kind of undecided on. I like the guy's attitude and some of his policies, but not so many policies as to really convince me to promote him.

I don't know who'll win, and I'm not sure I want to.

Concealed carry permit pros and cons

I've tried to explain the benefits and disadvantages of getting concealed weapons licenses to numerous individuals. Some of them think I come off sounding like an anti-government nut, and others completely agree with me. I try not to support one choice over another, as I am even a little unsure which is really the best way for me.

A license will allow you to purchase handguns with no waiting period (many states allow everyone this privelege, but I tend to talk to WA residents).

It will also remain on file for at least a year after it expires, marking you as a gun-control target.

Your name is likely already on file for gun purchases.

You will legally be allowed to carry a loaded weapon in your car.

It requires you to beg the government for a right you should already have.

You can legally carry a weapon openly in WA.

The concealed license will cover you should you accidentally conceal.

Police are not always aware that open carry is legal.

It costs money.

A trial costs more.

Ultimately, it's up to each person to decide whether they should submit to the government's licensing. There are always benefits to either side, as well as each side's disadvantages. Most (possibly all) of my friends who carry have submitted to the government. I don't believe it's right for the government to require it, but I don't hold it against a person whether they choose to be licensed or not.

Sorry about the bizarre rant this time. Maybe next post will be more interesting.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Duty to retreat?

Why did Borris Miles vote against the castle doctrine? Why, that's simple. As a former only one and current lawmaker, he figures he can't trust the rest of us to defend ourselves, but knows no one will question him.
I just wonder whether he retreated first.
While I'm all for him taking a creep out of circulation (temporarily...he hit the guy in the leg), I really wish he were willing to accept others' self-defense. As much as I'd like to hope this experience might change his mind, I'm sure it didn't.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The 4th of July

I didn't post about Independence Day on the 4th or 5th...I had meant to, but I wasn't sure what to write. I generally spend the holiday blowing things up and drinking a few beers. It's not in the spirit of the holiday, but it works for me.

A lot of people think of the military and the flag...still not what it's all about, but closer. Independence Day celebrates a time when private citizens were taxed without benefit, forced to quarter soldiers, and treated as lesser citizens based on location, so they fought back.

We tend to forget about it because we're comfortable. We couldn't imagine armed rebellion these days. We've got it good, according to most people...but how much better are things than they were when those men decided to stand up to Britain? We aren't forced to quarter soldiers, but look at where your taxes go. Can you honestly say that your tax dollars are going to largely beneficial programs? I can't. Look at the laws that affect you every day. You are forced to wear a seatbelt (in many states). Regulations keep you from getting products that you already know aren't necessarily safe. If you smoke, some states treat you as a leper, casting you out of public areas. Police no longer obtain warrants for many searches. Phone calls are screened for dangerous words. The government can take your property and give you whatever price they deem fair for it. To fly, you have to submit to draconian regulations regarding which items you may bring on the plane. As a private citizen, you aren't trusted with automatic weapons, and many areas even keep you from getting any guns without permission.

We are complacent, though. We may whine about some of it, but we comply. In fact, sometimes we willingly comply and defend these losses of freedom. One day a year, we celebrate men who refused to accept being kept under the heavy heel of government. Actually, one day a year, we pay a little lip-service to them and watch the fireworks. One day a year, we remain complacent in honor of men who wouldn't.

Mind you, I love my country...it's just that it's not quite the country I'd like it to be.

Hammer has a much better post on this topic.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Self-defense and whatnot

I've written on this topic before, but people always seem to come back to a few misconceptions about carrying a gun.

A gun is not a power trip. In fact, it is generally quite the opposite. Buying a gun is admitting that you can't defend yourself with your bare hands. I have a friend who briefly owned a USP, but got rid of it because he prefers swords. He is not a guy I'd ever want to get in a fistfight with, but that's not really going to do him much good if he were in a situation in which he needed a gun. After all, most criminals won't drop their gun to even the odds. This friend, though, has always felt tough enough to take on the world, so I'm not really going to convince him otherwise.

The police will not and cannot protect you. They cannot be everywhere, and the odds of them being around when you are in a self-defense situation are ridiculously low. It is selfish to rely on others for your protection. We have a self-centered society full of people who believe they deserve special treatment. Well, everyone can't have 24-hour police protection, so get over it and figure out how you're going to provide for your own survival.

The problem isn't that gun owners won't compromise. We've compromised our rights away. We allowed special taxes on certain guns. We allowed permit requirements. We allowed machine gun bans. We allowed background checks. We allowed waiting periods. We allowed our rights to be limited to the point that those who would see law-abiding citizens disarmed can envision their goal within their lifetime. We have so many restrictions that gun law is second only to tax law in its complexity. And the gungrabbers still call us unreasonable. They still demand we compromise. I'll compromise: rather than getting rid of all gun laws immediately, I am willing to meet you halfway--we'll start by getting rid of only half the gun laws. Of course, the question of which half is difficult, so gun owners will remove one, then the antis will remove one, and the process will continue in this fashion until half are gone. Of course, this sort of compromise is not what the antis want, but it's far closer than getting rid of all gun laws.

This ranting has probably gone on long enough. Happy Independence Day, everyone. Try to remember what it means.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I should not be allowed to look at anything in a gun shop

I was in the local gun shop today, looking at used rifles and whatnot, not really looking to buy anything unless there was a good deal, especially on an evil black rifle or something. I made the mistake of looking in the handgun cases...There was a pretty great deal on a very lightly used Steyr .40. Needless to say, I went straight to the bank (they wanted cash), came back with the money, and became the proud owner of another handgun I don't really need. I also left without the .45 ammo I was hoping to pick up. They didn't have any HSM hollowpoints in.