Monday, September 29, 2008

Self-censorship

Recently, I've been thinking about the possibility that potential employers might find the things I've written and judge me by them. This is a very real possibility, especially considering the possibility I'll soon be applying to the Teach for America program. Now, the things that they'll find with my last name attached are mostly political articles, some Facebook stuff, and a couple things from high school athletics. And the things that have my full first name aren't even attached to me, mostly. I'm not horribly concerned, but the thought of censoring myself for the sake of a career sickens me a bit.

Of course, many career choices bother me, as well. I don't like a job that has no variety, nor one that seems futile. I dislike the idea of going to work for someone else every day, never getting ahead, never doing anything the way I want to. I like freedom, change, and meaning, and those sometimes seem so rare that combining them seems impossible. In a way, the reason I dislike self-censorship is because I know it only leads to doing things for someone else, in their way, every futile day.

Over at xkcd, there's a pretty good commentary on the subject of self-censorship, and I think it'll do better than I would for saying everything else I'd like to say on the subject:


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Linguistic entropy

Please, for the good of future generations, do not allow encourage the decline of the English language. Broaden your vocabulary, don't succumb to texting abbreviations, and learn to use semicolons correctly.

You may wonder why I would suddenly rant about the ever-deteriorating state of the common vernacular. Well, the laws of entropy should not apply to language. It is not a closed system. Also, a collapse of language is a collapse of intellect. If you can no longer communicate ideas, you can no longer test them, and you end up with fewer and fewer valid hypotheses.

Of course, those are the distal causes. What, you ask, is the proximal cause? (Okay, so you may have used the term "immediate" or the phrase "this time," but that's just splitting hairs.)

At work, I recently had to explain what I meant when I used the term "infeasible" (not the first word I've had to define, just the most recent). I thought it was funny to define it as "not feasible." I then tried using "viable" in my definition, and finally had to sum it up as "not readily possible or practical." This particular college student told me that I was only causing myself problems when I use "big words." I told her that she shouldn't mind expanding her vocabulary. She seems vocally opposed to such a practice, which baffles me.

People are actively choosing to regress, be it in the consistently lacking spelling and grammar on these vast interwebs, the texting madness, or deciding to actively oppose expanded vocabulary. We are pushing ourselves toward Orwellian Newspeak. Of course, I'm guessing that Newspeak doesn't factor all that prominently into the Cliffnotes, and that's most of the Orwell reading of these opponents of intelligent discourse.

To put it into the terminology we seem to be heading toward, this is double-plus ungood.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stem cell ads

Gregoire's newest ad points out that Rossi is against embryonic stem cell research. A man with Parkinson's tells us his hope lies with embryonic stem cell research, and he couldn't vote for someone against it.

Of course, no one mentions adult stem cells or the progress made with them. Nobody mentions how uncontrollable the embryonic stem cells have been thus far. But, then, why would they? It's not about help, but political gain. Has Gregoire done anything to promote stem cell research? Will Rossi ban it? No, it's a non-issue. But it's an issue you can get people excited about.

I guess it's just easier. And it may be more effective than talk about balancing budgets. After all, people seem to forget whose pockets the government's money comes from.

Tangible investments

On the radio today, they started talking about investing in a turbulent time. One of them pointed out that those wishing to invest in gold should get the actual gold, rather than certificates. The other two were astounded by this. They didn't know why anyone would want to invest in gold, though they did recognize that paper promises could be rendered meaningless. They wanted to know about buying gold bars and the sort of people who buy gold.

Investing in tangibles is a safe route, for the most part. Gold and silver have value that isn't linked to the performance of any particular economy. They tend to go up in value, rather than losing value to inflation. Governments can't just print more gold or silver. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you should convert your savings to gold bars. No, investing in some gold coins gives you some wealth that'll still be there if the dollar (or other currency of your choice) bottoms out.

The only way gold will be worthless is if we end up in a situation where survival is the only priority. Gold, at that point, will be heavy metal that has little use. Hopefully, though, you have some investments that are of more use. Guns, ammo, tools, food, and other supplies with inherent utility are going to be the only things with value in a survival-based society. But once things calm down, gold will almost invariably be a standard of wealth again. And, hey, if you had enough of the necessities, you probably got some gold for almost nothing during the bad times.

Yep, tangibles are nice.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Election options...

Well, I've been thinking about the options in this election. McCain's choice of Palin as a running mate makes him almost palatable as a candidate. Obama and Biden, of course, are not an option for me, and I can't stomach Barr, even with Paul on the ticket.

I've heard people encouraging Libertarian votes simply for national recognition, but I don't think I can vote Barr. I've even heard rumors of a write-in campaign for Galt. Yes, John Galt, the fictional character who led Rand's strike of the mind.

Still others are choosing not to vote to protest the lousy choices. Of course, that'll be considered voter apathy when everything's tallied, and it won't make any sort of actual statement. At least the John Galt write-ins will be seen, if only by those tallying votes. If enough votes are cast, those who know who John Galt is will at least hear that some people made a statement. Whoever is elected, though, will still be elected.

Sure, things look pretty bleak, but you have to decide whether to speak to that or attempt to choose the lesser of two evils. Hell, if we had a good write-in campaign for Cthulhu, we might be able to show just how evil the lesser evil seems, or at least how ridiculous it is that we feel forced to choose the lesser of two evils.

I can't tell you how to vote, nor am I willing to tell you how I'm voting. You vote how you think you should, and I'll vote how I think I should. Or something like that.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Denial

I had an odd experience with a customer's answers on a 4473 today.

A fellow employee came to me and asked for some help, since he had a customer who'd answered some questions in a way that would prevent the sale. As I got to the customer, he was filling out the state pistol application, so I turned to the 4473. I immediately stopped the man, who was a bit confused. I told him that we would be forced to deny the sale.

He asked me why, explaining that he must not have kept up with gun laws as of late. I pointed out the first disqualifying answer: he said he had been convicted of a felony. He said that he understood it, and he had been convicted. I asked whether he'd had his record expunged. He said he was now eligible, but hadn't gotten around to it yet.

Well, I explained to him that it would be in his best interests to get his record expunged, and I moved on to the next problem.

I pointed out that he'd claimed that he had been adjudicated mentally defective, and I said that it might also go away if it was related. He said that it was separate, but it was against his will. I told him that being committed against his will is something that I couldn't really tell him how to remove from his record. I suggested he check with the courthouse.

Finally, I arrived at his third and final disqualifying answer. I asked whether the domestic violence may have been related to either of the other problems, but he said that it was even older. I suggested he try to get that expunged as well.

He then asked why these were disqualifying him from purchasing a black powder revolver. I explained that our state no longer differentiates between cartridge handgun and powder handgun. He told me that his relative was also a felon and hunted black powder. I explained that our particular company was playing it safe and applying the fairly recent change in handgun law to long guns, as well, and some places might not. I encouraged him to check with a game warden and find out his options.

He may've gone to buy a bow. He was probably the nicest person ever about his denial, and was extremely grateful for my patient explanations, which astounded me.

Of course, if I had it my way, anyone allowed to interact with the public without a custodian present should be allowed the rights afforded everyone, especially given that those rights are preexisting.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So far, the Large Hadron Collider has not caused the end of the world. It has, however, inspired quite the amusing rap.

9/11

A few of my customers were surprised to realize that today was 9/11. It's been seven years, and we no longer hear as many reminders, which is natural. How many people remember the anniversary of Pearl Harbor's bombing? As time passes, memories fade.

But seven years is a far cry from ancient history. People can easily recall, if reminded, the images of the billowing smoke, the people jumping, and the collapse of the towers. People can easily recall the anger they felt that some terrorists with box cutters were able to wreak such destruction.

The anger and hurt may not be as fresh, but the memories can awaken them. The main problem is finding a clear target for that rage. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, there were clear sides. The Germans and Japanese were our enemies. This attack left us with terrorists as our enemies. Terrorism has no city, no country, no convenient target. It's hard to keep people angry at a nebulous group such as "terrorists."

Now, I don't pretend to have a solution. Terrorism is a difficult target. I just ask that people try to remember what was done. And remember that we don't want it to happen again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mechanical Bull Stalker

Per Hammer's suggestion, I figure I'd better tell the mechanical bull stalker story in its entirety.

For a period of time, I was a regular at a bar that had a mechanical bull a couple nights a week. The drinks were priced fairly and the bar staff learned who I was and my drinks: Long Island, Killer Kool-Aid, Absolut double screwdriver, and then we go from there. But this isn't really overly relevant.

The bar had ladies night every Friday, which included the bull, a DJ, and free cover for the ladies. Well, I started realizing that some of the girls liked to root for me when I rode the bull, and it made for a decent conversation start. (For those who might not have guessed, I'm not really all that good with the ladies, so I need all the help I can get.) After enough alcohol, it didn't even hurt all that badly. (Yeah, I know...it's not a real bull by any means, but the guy running the thing can really make that thing go if he wants to, and it can hurt.)

Well, one Friday, the DJ held a bull-riding contest. Everyone who wanted to participate gave the DJ their names, and the bull was to be turned to full speed immediately. The goal, of course, was eight seconds, but no one was expected to meet that lofty goal in this bar.

Considering the DJ knew me and he normally played hip-hop, I asked him to play something country for my ride. Of course, he made a big announcement about how he was playing it per my request and that I was the regular bullrider in the bunch. This, of course, increased expectations.

I lasted about two seconds, which was disappointing, but still longer than anyone else. The DJ declared me the winner and I won a free drink. Now, I was probably a little beyond the point that I needed another drink, but I'm not gonna pass up another double screwdriver. I'm up at the bar getting said drink, when a girl who's starting to look a little attractive walks up to order. While I still had enough of my wits about me to know that she wasn't fantastic when she walked in, so I didn't really flirt or anything. I just warned her not to impale her hand on the receipt nail, which she found really amusing.

Well, I continued to hang out for awhile, but decide that I'd better go before it gets too close to closing time. The hand-impale girl and her friends happened to leave at the same time, and I heard her yell, "Good night, Drew!" Thrown off-guard, I responded "Well, I guess I'm at a disadvantage, since you know my name, and I don't know yours." She introduced herself as Brenda, mentioned that she got my name from the bullriding and told me that she'd probably be back and asked if I would be. Since it was obvious I was a regular, I didn't deny it.

I figured that I might see her there again, but I wasn't overly worried. Well, one day I hopped onto MySpace and had a new friend request. From Brenda. She had learned my FIRST name from the bullriding contest, gone onto MySpace, and looked for people based on the bar. Considering I think I was in a different zip code than the bar, I've wondered quite a bit how large a geographic area she had checked.

More disturbing, though, might've been the fact that she had no friends on MySpace. It appeared that she had made the account just to find me...

Now, I had been forcibly acquainted with internet stalking before, so you'd think I would've learned not to have too much info on MySpace. She found my AOL Instant Messenger screenname, though, and managed to be on whenever I was. Now, I try not to be too blunt sometimes, so I would talk to her, but avoid going to her place or meeting her anywhere.

One day, she told me that she'd been divorced and asked whether that would be a problem. Well, I tried to explain to her that I had no problem with anything she'd done, since it did not affect me at all. I tried to explain that we were not, in fact, starting any sort of relationship, but she was having none of that. Finally, I started avoiding her.

Before I started ignoring her, her MySpace had gained a friend or two. They disappeared. THen most of the pictures. Then the profile. And I never heard from her again.

I believe that she was my final internet stalker, and that's been alright. But I don't think I changed my habits online.

Yep. I don't learn and I attract the strangest sorts of people.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sentence meme

You finish the first part of the sentence in red with your own unique response. I stole it from Hammer.

1. My uncle once caught me being fairly unsafe at the lake with his kid.

2. Never in my life have I been to another continent.

3. When I was five I had taught myself to read, I'm told.

4. High school was worthless, but I miss football and wrestling.

5. I will never forget to lock my doors.

6. Once I met a fairly famous musician who was a decent guy (John Nolan).

7. There’s this boy I know who is a bit more than I can put up with.

8. Once, at a bar, I won a mechanical bull-riding contest and apparently earned a stalker in addition to my free drink.

9. By noon, I often feel like I could use a drink if I'm going to continue dealing with people.

10. Last night I was at my parents' house, kept awake by the pets.

11. If only I had a better job, I might stop my recent tooth-grinding.

12. Next time I go to church, I'll realize why it's been so long.

13. What worries me most is the theft of individual rights.

14. When I turn my head left I see a wall.

15. When I turn my head right I see the television.

16. You know I’m lying when I say, "I enjoy my job."

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is the cartoons. Yeah, so I'm a youngster.

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare it would be some minor role. Shakespearean ways are not my ways.

19. By this time next year I damn well better be making more money.

20. A better name for me would be David, I guess. A lot of people seem to mistake me for one.

21. I have a hard time understanding why people are so stupid and dependent.

22. If I ever go back to school, I'll get at least enough education to teach at the college level, I think.

23. You know I like you if you aren't stupid.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be the person who helped me the most toward earning said award.

25. Take my advice, don't take a break in the middle of your education.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Craigslist shot someone? Oh, wait, no...

Last I checked, Craigslist doesn't allow firearms to be sold on its site. That's one of the reasons I don't have too much use for it. What I don't understand is why this guy is suing them for allegedly hosting an ad that sold a gun he was shot with.

Even if the ad lasted long enough on Craigslist for the gun to be sold, it violated their terms of service. Also, if you were hit by a drunk driver whose car came from Craigslist, you'd have no suit. But this similar misuse is worth a ten million dollar lawsuit?

The only person at fault here is the shooter. You could try to make the argument that the seller knew he was prohibited, but it would be a hard sell.

I can only hope that this suit gets a decent jury. If this guy wins any damages from Craigslist, it'll be bad juju for anyone who will actually allow gun ads.

Friday, September 05, 2008

More on jury rights

It's easy to see why people are misinformed about jury rights. Judges instruct juries very carefully, avoiding mention of such practices as jury nullification. People passing out pamphlets to would-be jurors are arrested and charged with jury tampering. TV, books, and movies show juries following these orders, but having the tough decision as to whether the evidence is strong enough. And, of course, we've tried to develop such a sense of deference to authority, no one wants to stick their neck out in the courtroom.

Judges and lawyers alike hate jury nullification, because it's a wild card. They don't like juries to do anything like declare a law unjust. They want a jury to weigh the evidence and decide whether they believe the law was broken by the defendant, whether they believe the law is just or unjust.

Other than just the evasion of the subject of jury nullification, judges often choose which evidence juries may or may not hear, as well as which arguments will be allowed. For example, gun cases aren't generally argued on a Second Amendment basis, mostly because judges get squeamish about juries deciding the Constitutionality of a law.

Juror selection, too, involves attempts to avoid jury nullification. Someone well-informed of their rights as a juror is generally not chosen, because they'll tell other jurors. If a jury knows their rights, they might exercise them.

As with any right, a right you don't know is a right you don't exercise. And a right unexercised is lost. Read up on your rights sometime.

Jury Rights Day

I remember thinking as a kid that jury trials were a little odd, since the jury would be swayed by arguments other than the law. Well, I looked into it, and I began to understand. Jury nullification is an important part of our legal system, though many judges abhor it.

Today is Jury Rights Day, the anniversary of William Penn's jury refusing to convict him for preaching a Quaker sermon. The judge refused to let the jurors read the law themselves, as judges like to do, and the jury decided that they could not, therefore, find him guilty.

The jury was denied food and water, then thrown in jail, but they did not relent.

I just wish more jurors were informed.

(I may blog a little more on this subject after work.)

Gun owner for Obama, huh?

Letters from people who feel the need to point out that they are gun owners are often unsettling.

"To the best of my Internet research, that kind of attack on Obama's "Second Amendment" position is too extreme for even the National Rifle Association." Well, I'd almost have to agree with you there, given the ratings they like to dole out like candy to undeserving politicians.

"The NRA has, admittedly, created its scary profile of Obama's position from the people who support him (guilt by association) and his voting record." And they were supposed to use his empty promises, instead? If there are two ways to predict a politician's moves, it's to look at what he might do to pander to his supporters and look at what he's done in the past. And, when those two intersect, you find that it's not difficult to make predictions.

"It has extrapolated, from any indication contrary to their wishes, that Obama wishes gun owners total harm." Well, if you're looking to ban "assault weapons," make it harder to purchase guns, or keep people from selling their privately owned guns, you DO wish us total harm. Every step is a step toward total disarmament. We have far too many gun laws now.

"But, then, their 'official' articles qualify (as I paraphrase): 'Well, he must believe that, because some of those damn liberals we fear most believe that.'" Again, it's more like this: "He's forced to believe that, since his support base wants him to." Also, you seem to have stopped talking about his voting record, which shows that he's more than willing to vote against gun owners.

"The NRA doesn't like Obama's voting record." Oh, you brought that back up. Yeah, it's too bad they seem to forget McCain's record, but of course they don't like Obama's record.

"The NRA has set their first line of defense so far forward of any noticeable effect on law-abiding gun owners, that their hair trigger goes of at any mention of 'law' and 'gun.'" Actually, if you've been keeping score at home, you should know that the NRA is often stepping forward to promote laws contrary to their purpose. We've seen them push for stricter mental health guidelines (which would disqualify many a vet, or caused them to avoid psychiatric treatment they would need). We've heard them promote victim-disarmament school zones. They are not nearly as hard-line as, say, the JPFO. Or myself.

"
It's classic paranoia." Hmm...every time a gun law's passed, it adds another restriction against the right to bear arms. Therefore, we should embrace them? This is like saying that it's paranoid to avoid sticking your hand in a fire. It might not burn this time, right?

"According to the candidate, himself, 'Barack Obama ... recognizes the great conservation legacy of America's hunters and anglers and has great respect for the passion that hunters and anglers have for their sport.'" What about self-defense, homeland defense, target shooting, or home defense? What about resisting tyranny? Oh, yeah, and whatever happened to judging someone not by their words, but by their actions? Tell you what, I'll punch you several times, then tell you that I'm a peaceful and non-aggressive man. Then I'll draw my fist back again. If I did this, would you expect another punch, or my newfound peaceful self?

"Will the NRA believe Obama's moderation on the issue?" I hope not. Also, I believe that your "moderation" is still in direct violation of the Constitution. Both in the President's scope of powers and in the right to keep and bear arms. This brand of "moderation" means taking away my rights.

"Paranoiacs don't believe anything that doesn't fit their dark fantasies." And optimists don't believe anything that fits their bright ones. Obama's record, his party, his running mate, and his voters all seem to line up with my "dark fantasies," though, so I think the sun in your mind's eye has a blinding effect.

"So, they inflame rather than inform." First, the NRA is hardly expected to provide a simple, objective look at the facts. Like your letter, they editorialize. Secondly, in this case, the information is enough to inflame. Finally, it is sometimes better to inflame. An unmotivated man is apathetic, while a motivated man will work for his cause. You sometimes need to motivate. In this case, too much gushing talk is heard about Obama, and we need to let the people see the reality to motivate them to disbelieve his lies.

"No one is coming to rural Oregon to take away your gun." No, not yet. They'll expect you to come turn it in. They want you to beg them to take it. After all, they'll only have your best interests in mind, right? When they come to take your gun, they'll want more than that. After all, you will have been a disobedient little servant, and you might be telling others, too.

"I'm a gun owner." You might be the guy with a shotgun OR a rifle, but certainly not both, since that's only for us crazies. Or you might be one of the folks who pretends to be a gun owner to attempt to gain trust. In any case, you are, at best, a gun owner that has not yet felt freedom slipping away.

"I once enjoyed shooting up many rounds of free government ammunition as part of an NRA program." The civilian marksmanship program, huh? And it's funny how this seems almost like it was eons ago when you last shot. The point of the program, which you missed, was to keep the armed citizenry prepared, not for hunting, but for the possibility of defending against tyranny from home or abroad.

"American Rifleman comes to our family post office box." Yeah, it's hard to get the NRA to quit sending stuff, huh?

"And, you can tell, I'm not afraid of reasonable gun laws." By this, you of course mean the ones that don't yet affect you. You probably don't own handguns, "assault weapons," or more than one or two guns. You probably don't realize that a hunting rifle could be considered a "high-powered sniper rifle," or that the shotgun might be banned due to the inability to do ballistics matching. Yeah, they can come up with justification for anything, but they'll wait until they've almost completely disarmed the public before they attempt a full-on ban on firearms.

"I am afraid that polarizing nonsense like this 'ten-point' fabrication will let the ballistophobes paint legitimate gun owners as lunatics." Ah, the old "we'll look like lunatics" tactic. Except that no one's advocating rebellion (well, no one writing for the NRA, at least, no matter how much it might be necessary in the not-too-distant future). All they did was tell their members what Obama might mean for gun owners, based on his past actions and his present supporters (many of whom expect favors in exchange for their support). That's not a lunatic move, and it is almost impossible to pretend it might be.

"Then you could have really oppressive legislation." That's always the scare tactic: don't stand up to the inch-by-inch assault, or they might try for yards at a time (which, you might note, is the exact opposite of the old addage "give an inch and he'll take a mile"). You realize, though, that consistent inches make for consistent yards. If those who try to write these laws try something big, then maybe the gun owners will finally see that they can't just worry about the guns they like. Giving inches is worse than defending yards. Hell, we should be retaking some of those inches, feet, and yards we've already let them take.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Arsenal?

A story like this disturbs me.

'''Police hit the jackpot. I stopped counting after 18 shotguns,' Prewitt said Tuesday morning from the driveway of her Iona Avenue home." Shotguns, last I checked, are perfectly legal. And there is no limit to them, either.

"Prewitt said she watched as officers also confiscated what she described as grenades from the home of Benjamin B. Terril, 50, a Buchtel High School science teacher." Grenades? I love the sensationalized reporting here. Somebody getting jumpy over shotguns thinks she sees grenades, and the reporter jumps all over it.

"Terril is in the Summit County Jail on charges of possessing explosive materials, carrying a concealed weapon, having weapons under disability and drug abuse." A science teacher is bound to have "explosive materials." Heck, every household probably has some chemicals that we could classify as explosive. And someone with a lot of guns is likely to have reloading components. I don't know the state laws there, but it sounds as though he was on his property, so the concealed weapon charge is ridiculous. Not that I think there should be any restrictions, but I don't think that a weapon on one's person is illegal on a person's own property. The "weapons under disability" charge is where they start to have something, though it's disgusting that it is possible. The problem, though, is that a teaching background check would've probably kept anyone legally ineligible for a gun from teaching. And the drug abuse is mentioned without any possession charge, which really makes you wonder.

"Police spokesman Lt. Rick Edwards said Akron police received an anonymous call around 7:45 p.m. Monday, reporting Terril and another man were arguing and pointing guns at each other. Police said both men appeared to be intoxicated." I always love "anonymous tips," since they can be used to justify just about anything. Later in the article, we're told the gun was found in his pocket, not his hand. And the other man isn't mentioned again. Makes a person wonder about some of the facts.

"Terril gave officers permission to search his home, where they said they found an 'arsenal of weapons' and an array of explosive material." "Arsenal," huh? And "array?" These are relative terms, and we're given no basis on which to judge them.

"A half-dozen empty beer cans, a plastic bag of fruit, two crumpled dollar bills and another 78 cents in change were strewn across the front porch of Terril's home Tuesday morning." Beer, fruit, and pocket change are hardly evidence of anything, and the fact that they were there Tuesday morning may only be a testament to the search. Cops tend to make a bit of a mess.

''I was surprised and shocked. You have to wonder what he was up to. It looks like he was getting ready for World War III,'' Again, we hear from the panicky neighbor. Hell, I probably have a neighbor or two who'd say the same about my "arsenal."

'''Ben was always a good guy who kept to himself,' said Swaidner. He said he had no idea that there were so many weapons in the house." A good man with guns is not problematic. Nor is he criminal.

"Akron schools Superintendent David James said Terril, a teacher in the district since 1996, has been placed on paid administrative leave while the case is under investigation." And the school is out a teacher.

"It then goes through their Office of Professional Conduct and they will determine whether that person will be able to retain their teaching license." And we can guess what they'll say. I hope they don't, but I'm guessing they'll strip him of his license.

"'My biggest concern is that that person is not around our kids,' James said." Yeah, he might teach them to be self-sufficient and free...we can't have that.

"In 1992, Terril was arrested in Stark County for carrying a concealed weapon — a felony — and driving while intoxicated, a first-degree misdemeanor, according to court records." And he ended up pleaing no contest in the DWI and not guilty on the weapon. Not a big issue, as far as I can tell. He also attended the court-mandated course. We're done, then.

We're then told that he said he'd never been convicted of anything more than a minor traffic violation, which a criminal record check backed up. And we're then supposed to believe he's a horrible person.

"According to the resume in Terril's personnel file, he served in the U.S. Army from 1975 to 1991 and achieved the rank of captain. He graduated from the University of Akron in 1996 with a bachelor of science degree in secondary education and was certified to teach science and biology." A former military man who owns guns. No surprise there. And he is a science teacher. Nothing big and scary about any of it.

Sure, there may be more to this than we're told, but it really sounds like he made a mistake inviting the cops in, and it sounds like there's a lot of hype here. I wonder which, if any, charges the DA will actually pursue.

Reasonable? McCain? In the same sentence?

People seem so willing to believe McCain...

"All of Obama's big-name supporters are anti-Second Amendment activists like Mayors Daley of Chicago and Bloomberg of New York." Yes, we know that Obama is anti-gun, but why should we vote McCain?

"On the other hand, Sen. John McCain met with the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre and pledged to support the Second Amendment and to appoint conservative judges to the courts whenever he has the opportunity." Oh, I see. Because he backpedals just enough to get some face time with LaPierre (who is more than willing to gut the Second Amendment himself), we're supposed to believe he won't keep trying to keep private sellers out of gun shows, and we're supposed to ignore his previous votes (only 4 of 15 were on our side, according to GOA).

"McCain's views are much more reasonable and just one reason I support him fully. I urge others to do so." I cannot, in good conscience, support McCain, nor even call his views "reasonable."

On the other hand, some people are paying attention and urging others to do so.

Monday, September 01, 2008

New acquisition

A few people told me to be wary of a recent purchase. They looked at the gun and figured it might be unsafe to fire. Of course, they had their reasons to doubt.

The barrel is a bit rusty...
It's not pretty, but it'll send shot downrange.

The receiver, too, has some cosmetic problems:

And the buttplate is a bit banged-up:
The parts may be crap, but you put it all together, and you've got a Firefly...erm, I mean, you have a Beretta AL2. (Sorry...I couldn't resist abusing a Firefly quote.)
And, really, for a $35 shotgun, it's pretty amazing.

It's kind of a funny story, too. A guy sold it to the Gun Library, and they gave him $25, since neither he nor they could put it together (they only bought it because he was selling several guns all at the same time). One of the guys then offered me the gun for $35 if I could put it together. I looked at it for a second, flipped one part around, and had it together in a moment. He cursed a bit, but there'd been witnesses to the promise, so I got it for $35. The wood's in good condition, everything is definitely functional, and a little work'll even make it look pretty decent.

Fixed choke, 3" capable, and semi-auto. I wasn't looking for it, but I definitely got a good gun.