Thursday, December 31, 2009

Long Time No Post

The job run-up to the end of the year is insane. I have a whole bunch of stuff about half done, but no time to finish any of it.

My old cell phone started going odd, so I replaced it with a Motorola Droid. Android has a Blogger client, and I'm test-driving it with this post.

I can barely type with all ten fingers, let alone just my thumbs.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gray-Horse Melanoma

Gray horses are born dark and grow lighter over time. They also account for nearly all of the melanoma cases that occur in horses. Roughly seventy percent of grays have at least one visible melanoma by the age of ten. By fifteen, the rate is up to eighty percent.

Many years ago, I saw several aged gray horses die very unpleasantly after their melanomas suddenly went crazy, growing and multiplying wildly. I told myself I would never own a gray, so of course now I have two.

Beau is 14 years old and has the same five tiny tumors that haven't grown at all in the six years I've had him. Almost-10-year-old Judge was cancer-free until two years ago. His first melanoma on his tail grew from about the size of a 00 buckshot to over an inch in diameter since then. A second one appeared down inside his left ear back in April, and rapidly grew to about half an inch.

Based on the rate of cancer growth, my vet said Judge would need to go to a university teaching hospital for treatment. None of the currently available treatments are particularly successful though, none effecting a cure. All too often, they only "wake up" the cancer which then returns far more aggressively, leading to death.

While searching the web for any new progress with equine melanoma, I found references to research at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine using frankincense essential oil to treat this frustrating disease.

My holistic vet gave the idea of treating Judge's tumors with topical frankincense oil a thumbs-up. The oil is non-irritating to normal tissue, and the worst it would do is have no effect on the cancer while making him smell nice. She said if the straight oil proved to be well-tolerated I should add some DMSO to help it penetrate better.

In the clinical environment, researchers treat the tumors as many as five times a day. There was no way I could match that schedule, so I tried once a day for starters.

To my delight and amazement, the tumor inside Judge's ear began to respond immediately. The tumor had originally been very hard to the touch with a smooth surface. After I started applying the oil, its consistency became much softer. The surface is becoming crumbly and starting to flake away.

The much larger tumor on his tail hasn't shown any noticeable changes yet, but now that I've added the DMSO, I'm hopeful. If only one is going to improve, I'm glad it's the one inside his ear. The tail is a much easier surgical site if it eventually comes to that.

Frankincense has been used in medicine from the first milennium BCE. So-called "modern medicine" likes to denigrate anything outside itself as harmful at worst, quackery at best. If that were true, we never would have survived as a species to this day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm The Fun Police

After over forty years with horses, I have been well-trained in how to behave around them. My instructors were merciless in demanding strict attention to safety around the barn. Failing to give these large, powerful, highly reactive animals the respect they deserve can be very dangerous.

Now, though, the vast majority of horse owners don't have the benefit of proper training. Oh, it's still available all right, but they either do not know or do not care. They know little to nothing about the huge responsibility they've undertaken. Somehow, neither they, their barbarian children, nor their hapless horses get killed for the most part. Damfino how they accomplish that.
Today was a perfect example. It was a nice day, albeit windy, and I hoped to work with Sarge on Foot Handling 101. He's still a very green three-year-old who can be quick with his heels, and needs to know how to stand like a little gentleman for hoof trimming.

But no sooner did we go into the barn to start training than several other boarders showed up. Ignorant boarders. Ignorant boarders with ill-mannered children and loose dogs.

Enter four running, screeching, arm-waving little girls and a bouncing sawed-off little rat-dog-thing. Fortunately I was working on Sarge's front feet at the time, and thanks to the trust we've already built up, reflexes honed by much defensive training, and a lifetime spent with very quick critters, I managed to keep the situation from going seriously pear-shaped.

Now if I had ever acted like that in public at their age, I would not be alive today. My parents did not tolerate such behavior at all. But with the exception of one still-memorable scene when I first encountered a down escalator at about age four, I knew how to conduct myself in a polite, respectful manner.

The kids continued to run around, jump and shriek, throw things at each other, open trash cans storing feed that belonged to other boarders, and (only once) tried to play with my plastic tote full of grooming tools outside the stall.

That was when stopped I gritting my teeth and told them quite firmly they had better stop fooling around with other people's property, settle down and be quiet around horses, and take their noisy games outside. They froze in their tracks, wide-eyed, and hustled their butts out the door where they switched to throwing screaming tantrums when they all couldn't ride the same horse at the same time.

And the parents' reactions to the noisy play and tantrums? Absolutely nothing. Obviously this crap is perfectly normal and expected to them.

News flash, people. You're the grown-ups. The whole world is not your children's playground. There's a time and a place for everything, and it's your job to teach this to your precious darlings, not mine.

You chose to have horses. Nobody forced you to do this. Learn something before you take on a potentially dangerous activity. HORSES ARE HORSES, not Disney cartoons. The 230 grain +P Hornady XTP I keep in my carry gun delivers 461 foot-pounds of energy out of a five inch barrel. A thousand-pound spooking horse can hit you with well over 7,500 foot pounds of energy.

And I will not hesitate to put the heavy thumb on your offspring to protect myself, and them, from experiencing that first-hand.*

* I've already been splattered by horses plenty of times during the aforementioned forty-plus years when being as careful as humanly possible. Every experienced horse person knows of somebody who was killed or nearly killed doing everything right. I am in no hurry for a repeat.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ordered A Rifle

When I got my first paycheck from the new job, I almost fainted. Recovering quickly, I decided it was absolutely time to get that precision rifle.

So I did my homework, talked to lots of people, fondled a bunch of very nice guns, and ended up ordering one of these:

Now I need information to help me select an appropriate scope. Any suggestions?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Crazy Busy

Starting my second week on the job, I have to say this gig is awesome.

To paraphrase Crocodile Dundee, the network where I was working before wasn't a network. This is a network.

Data centers in 27 countries, 60,000 employees worldwide. And these people actually treat their network like it's important.

I have management tools I could only dream about before. Oh, I could write up business cases, do cost analyses, bring in vendors to put on dog-and-pony shows for management, and hope I'd actually get somebody to buy off on getting us what we needed to do our jobs.

Fat chance.

Once again, those idiots did me a favor when they laid me off.

The workload is enormous, but I don't mind a bit. It's acual, real work, not make-work dreamed up by admin-weenies trying to justify their existence. A second new hire started today, saw what he was getting himself into, and quit on the spot. Didn't even make it to lunch time.

What kind of lazy slugs are these people who expect to be paid big bucks for doing nothing? Oh, wait . . .

Monday, October 26, 2009

JOGI!!

With due credit, and apologies, to Joe.

Not much has been happening on this blog because Real Life™ got in the way. I found myself suddenly and unexpectedly needing to find new employment.

In this economy for sure, that quickly becomes a more-than-full-time occupation in itself. Trolling the employment sites, applying for anything I was even remotely qualified for, calling those headhunters that hunted me in the past, e-mails, phone calls, and the absolute worst of all.

Buying an Interview Suit.

Think "Career Girl Barbie." Gack.

Did I mention how much I hate the term "overqualified?"

I'm also not too crazy right now about volunteer organizations that refuse to understand that they are not The Very Most Important Thing in their members' lives. Sorry, folks, but Being Able To Pay My Bills takes precedence.

Anyway . . .

I now have a much better job with a Global Corporation with significantly higher pay, more flexible hours, and the option (indeed requirement) to work from home at least part of the time.

And I have to get a passport.

Sure, the workload will be insane. Current staff there puts in 70+ hours a week. No problem, I've been doing that for 18 years in IT. But instead of being expected to cover everything from servers, routers, switches, firewalls, and applications to carrier circuits, outside agency issues, and user desktop troubleshooting, I will have one specific area to focus on. That in itself will feel like a vacation.

My first day will be November 2, unless they can push my paperwork through faster. They want to start me middle of this week if possible.

I really should thank the **multiple expletives deleted** agency I used to work for.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cabela's Was Right

Last month, Cabela's proactively notified their California ammunition customers that they would no longer be able to ship to them if AB962 was signed into law.

Governor Arnold "I made millions shooting guns in movies but you peasants shouldn't have any" Schwarzenegger did exactly that just before the veto deadline.

According to his statement, he actually believes this will reduce crime. Or at least he says so. If it does, it will pretty much be a first, since no other gun control legislation has ever done so. A far more frequent effect of restricting citizens' access to firearms is an increase in violent crime.

Just as every single other restriction has only resulted in criminals obtaining weapons through off-book channels, this will do the same with ammunition. They're criminals. That's what they do.

Kommiefornia California will undoubtedly see some other effects that certain people there will consider good ones. Some gun owners will move to other states in disgust. Others will decide it's just too onerous to keep going and give up on owning guns. Gun-haters, gun-fearers, and gun-banners love anything that reduces the number of law-abiding gun owners.

Some who live there keep fighting the good fight.

The rest will bend over, grab their ankles, and submit to thumbprinting and registration. Until the next time another draconian law whittles away at the ranks.

Oh, sure, it could have been worse. The bill that was signed was previously amended to remove requirements for ammunution sellers to be licensed and restricting ammunition transfers to not more than fifty rounds a month.

Fifty rounds a month isn't even enough to maintain basic proficiency, never mind training or competition. I've never taken even a four-hour training class that used less than two hundred rounds.

It's easy to say this is California, what do you expect? But no matter where we live, every one of these worthless laws harms us all. Every one sets another dangerous precedent. And worst of all, when they don't accomplish anything, the idiots who wrote them are motivated to DO IT AGAIN, ONLY HARDER THIS TIME.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Firsts

Sarge is reaching the point in his training where he trusts me enough to give me the benefit of the doubt. I can present new things for him to learn, and because I haven't hurt him, his immediate reaction is calm curiosity instead of fear.

Today, I decided to try girthing him for the first time. With the scarring in his back, he might not be able to wear a girth comfortably. If so, he would be permanently retired at the ripe old age of three. I seriously doubt he'll ever be able to handle a saddle with the weight of a rider, but driving in harness might still be a possibility.

I used a training surcingle, first letting him look it over and then just laying it over his back. He thought that was okay, so I let down the off side, reached under him, and brought up the buckle end on his near side. Just holding against him was okay, too, so I buckled it on the longest hole.

No objection, so I took it up one notch, then another. The surcingle was girthed as snugly as if it was part of a driving harness. And Sarge's reaction to this? Yawn.

There was none of the excitement that used to happen back in the bad old days, when terrified horses were snubbed to posts as saddles were strapped in place. No bucking, no resistance, no pain, no fear. There was no halter, no rope, no physical restraint at all. And it took less than five minutes from start to finish.

After Sarge wandered around for a while looking bored by the whole thing, I figured why not introduce him to the round pen and longeing? After all, so far so good, and a chance to move out more would test how comfortable the surcingle really was for him.

So I put his halter on and led him out to the round pen. Once inside, I took his halter off to avoid any possibility he could catch it on the fence. Using a longe whip only to wiggle along his side as a suggestion to stay out on the circle instead of right next to me, he walked and trotted calmly in both directions for about ten minutes or so. Plenty of time for a first attempt.

Then we went back to the barn. I groomed him, told him he was wonderful, and turned him back out. Thus endeth the lesson.

Good horse training appears very boring, because nothing seems to be happening. A horse should walk off the very first time he wears a saddle the same as if it's the thousandth time. If anything more spectacular happens, it's my fault and not the horse's.

Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. Sound familiar?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bite Me, FTC

The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on product endorsements in blogs.

I write here from time to time about various items I have found useful. I place links to some companies, such as Wilson Combat and HideAwayKnife, in my blog sidebar because I use and like their products.

And I've bought and paid for every one of these items.

A company paying me to review their stuff? Please. First, you need to have, like, more than five readers for that to happen. Second, I don't do that.

A few companies have e-mailed me to post links, offering free or discounted merchandise in return, or a cut of any sales that come from my blog. I have never taken any of them up on their offers. I blog as a way to say things I want to say, not for commercial gain.

However, the FTC can choose to investigate me just because I post anything at all that might possibly imply I might possibly have some theoretical obscure relationship with an equipment manufacturer.

I love my Megan Magnum holster that I ordered, waited for, and paid for. Ditto my full custom built Wilson Combat 1911 based off their Elite Professional and my many HideAway knives. I wear Galco and Wilderness belts because they last and I like them, not because anyone paid me to.

I feed my horses Triple Crown Performance and Woody's Exacta Oats because I like their quality control and ingredients. I use an Ansur treeless saddle because I did a lot of research when I wanted to find something that wouldn't harm my horses' backs, and it has proven to be exactly that.

And not one of these companies has ever given me one red cent. Or any free products. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

I will continue to express my personal opinions about things I have bought and paid for myself.

Bite me, FTC.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sarge Has A Girlfriend

The last time Sarge (and Milton The EvilPony™ Bad Example for company) had to be separated from the herd for a while, a fat roan Quarter Horse mare moved in at the boarding farm. Since the barn owner wisely introduces newcomers gradually, he put her in with just Sarge and Milton at first. She started hanging around with Sarge, and quickly became thoroughly attached.

So now Sarge has a girlfriend, but he doesn't seem nearly as invested in the relationship as she is.

Yesterday when I went out to treat Sarge's scar, all the horses were out in the 50-acre pasture. I saw what looked like a chestnut-colored, Sarge-shaped blob off in the distance, so I called him. His head popped up, he whinnied, and came at a run. Fat Roan Mare initially followed him, but then stopped about fifty yards away.

I sprayed his withers with skin conditioner and treated his one spot of ringworm (love those childhood diseases) without having to halter him. He then chose to leave his herdmates and followed me all the way back to the barn by himself. Not "buddy sour" at all, no sir.

Fat Roan Mare kept calling him, but he ignored her and stayed with me. To reward him for following me back voluntarily, I made a big fuss over him, let him in the barn, and gave him some grain. Fat Roan Mare was still outside, pacing and yelling. He still completely ignored her tantrums, walking out of the barn like a gentleman when I opened the door. Then Sarge and Fat Roan Mare went back out to the pasture together.

That's what I love best about positive horse training, when they do the right things totally of their own volition, because they want to.

But I feel a little sorry for Fat Roan Mare's owners. They will probably get an unpleasant surprise one of these days when they try to take her away from her boyfriend. She sure is the clingy type.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Key Issues

Roberta X describes the fun she has when her key breaks off in her door.

Fortunately, she was able to grab onto the remains with her Leatherman. When it happened to me some years ago, I wasn't so lucky.

I had to climb the then-five-foot-high fence and crawl in through the dog door. In the rain.

You don't want to know.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sick Of This Crap

I live in the woods.

If you look really close, you can see about as much
of my house as is visible through the trees.

I've wanted to live in the woods all my life. Last time I looked, it has not yet been made illegal by the Great Codependent Authorities Who Know What's Best to live in the woods. I wildcraft medicinal herbs, watch monarch caterpillars munch on milkweed, and delight in the chaotic exuberance of wildness. What others see as order and artificially structured beauty makes me feel as if I'm being slowly suffocated.

I also have a privacy fence and a locked gate. My property is posted. I lost patience with trespassers and vandals many years ago, and it was a sheriff's deputy answering one of my calls back then who first told me I should get a gun.

I used to have my personal orders shipped to my office, but that's not allowed any more. So I have a nice big resin "deck box" outside the fence, right next to the locked gate, that is clearly marked PARCELS.

Then how come the friggin' UPS drivers can't put my damn parcels in the PARCELS box??

Oh, the folks at UPS agree that a box marked PARCELS is a perfectly acceptable way to receive deliveries when you're not home. They apologize profusely and the delivery is usually made the next day. They assure me it won't happen again.

Until the next time I'm supposed to get a package.

When I got home today, the delivery-du-jour had been sent back to the depot. UPS promised somebody will call me by 10:00 am tomorrow, and my package will be delivered. And they apologized and said it won't happen again. Yeah, right.

Since when is having your house visible from the road and allowing strangers direct access to your front door a requirement to order a book from Amazon, or a holster from LA Police Gear?

Reminder

Registration always leads to confiscation.

Guess He's Staying

A side-effect of my decades with Thoroughbred horses is that everyone must have his or her own good leather track halter with a brass nameplate. Even Milton The EvilPony™ has one.

Nobody does the Hairy Eyeball like Milton.

So of course I had to order one for Sarge.


Looks like he's official now.

Cost-Benefit Ratio

A draconian ammunition restriction bill, AB962, passed the Commiefornia California Assembly on September 11 (interesting date, that) by a 44-31 vote. The only hope left for gun owners in that state is a veto by Governor Arnold "I made millions shooting guns in movies but you peasants shouldn't have any" Schwarzenegger.

Cabela's has already announced they will no longer be able to ship ammo to California customers if this bill is signed.

The misbegotten politicians who favor this legislation claim it will reduce crime by making it harder for criminals to obtain ammunition. After all, guns without ammo are just funny-shaped clubs, right?

Remember that point.

Let's look at just how much ammunition is likely to ever be used in crimes.

According to the CDC's WISQARS database, in 2006 (the most recent year for which complete figures are available) the total number of firearm fatalities from all causes was 30,896. The total number of firearm injuries from all causes was 71,417. That gives us a total of 102,313 total firearm incidents that resulted in death or injury regardless of cause. Causes can include criminals killed or injured by police, genuine accidents, and justified self defense, but let's add them all together to make sure we're not missing anything.

There is no record of how many rounds were fired during any given firearm incident, but let's just pull a number out of any handy body orifice and assign a value of 5 to this question. That would give a potential total number of 511,565 rounds fired in incidents resulting in injury or death during 2006.

How does that compare to the total number of rounds of ammunition purchased during a typical year?

According to the NRA, Americans typically buy about 7,000,000,000 rounds of ammunition annually. This past year, though, the amount has jumped to about 9,000,000,000,rounds. But let's stick with the lower number, just to ensure the results of our calculations look as bad as possible. Divide 511,565 rounds of possibly-criminal ammo by 7,000,000,000 rounds bought during an average year, and we get 0.00731% of ammo that might possibly be used in a crime.

That's 13,683.5 rounds not used in any crime for every 1 that might have possibly been.


And that's just ammo bought annually. I have hundreds of rounds in calibers I don't shoot so much any more that I've had longer than a year. Nobody knows how much ammunition is owned by private citizens in this country, and that's a good thing.

Based on the numbers, it seems like the burden this legislation puts on law-abiding gun owners in California is vastly greater than any possible impact on crime. Criminals have as many off-book avenues for obtaining ammunition as they do for obtaining guns.

Instead of reducing crime, it has much greater potential to reduce the number of law-abiding gun owners in California due to yet another onerous set of hoops they need to jump through just to remain law-abiding gun owners.

Unless that's just what those misbegotten politicians really wanted all along.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sarge Progress

When I first got Sarge, he had a non-healing open wound on his withers, a souvenir from surviving an attack by a stallion when he was four months old. The stallion ripped most of the skin from his back and chest, as well as damaging muscles in his back. Everything healed up except an open area that was larger than my hand when I first saw it.

Here's how it looks now:

That's the good news. The bad news is that this nice, tight scar gets flaky and itchy, leading Sarge to roll and scratch himself on trees until he scuffs it open again. It's nowhere near as bad as it was at first, but I'd much rather he didn't skin it up at all.

My vet had me treat it with topical nitrofurazone ointment to get it to close up. I can keep gooping it up with that, but the stuff is nasty-slimy, attracts dirt, and requires I apply it wearing nitrile gloves. Corona and Bag Balm also tend to sit on the surface and collect debris. Horseman's Dream works well, but wears off too quickly.

Any suggestions?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Buying The Lie

Yale student Annie Le is murdered, and the comments here are rife with blather about how being armed would have been useless to prevent her death.

You can't protect yourself, don't even try.

Never mind that the "person of interest" in the murder of Yale student Annie Le has "deep scratches" on his chest, arms, and back:
"Sources also said investigators are finding evidence that the pint-size scientist who weighed only 90 pounds put up a fierce struggle against her attacker."
Looks to me like she had ample opportunity to save herself if she'd had effective tools and the training to use them. It takes time to inflict that many scratches. It takes a lot less time to inflict far fewer bullet holes that would have had a much better chance of stopping the attack.

You can't protect yourself, don't even try.

A Johns Hopkins student kills a home invader with a sword, and the so-called "experts" insist that resisting a rapist or robber puts the victim's life in danger.

Resisting puts your life in danger? As if it isn't already in danger when you're facing a violent criminal?

You can't protect yourself, don't even try.

Oh, they pay lip service to taking a "self-defense class," but I can't see the value of any class that doesn't teach you how to inflict sufficient devastation to an attacker to actually stop the threat. I seriously doubt any classes Yale might offer would provide methods to do so.

You can't protect yourself, don't even try.

All these advocates of helplessness have bought the lie that criminals won't harm submissive victims, and that it is impossible to defend yourself effectively against them.

Of course, in their mandatory-disarmament world, that is very likely true. At 4'11" and 90 pounds, Annie Le would be at a serious disadvantage against any average-size man. Three things are necessary to take effective action: tools, skills, and will. The tools, or force multipliers, are what allows a small woman to prevail against one or more larger, stronger assailants. Via Breda, we find out that Annie Le even wrote a magazine article about personal safety that stopped far short of making truly effective recommendations.

You can't protect yourself, don't even try.

Tools are not limited to guns by any means. Even the ever-popular whistle is technically a tool, albeit an extremely weak one. And it carries the expectation that saving my sorry ass is Somebody Else's job, not mine.

You can't protect yourself, don't even try.

Skills are also necessary, training and practice. And tools and skills are worthless without the will to use them. The will is by far the most critical leg of this triangle. But we're told the same thing by The Authorities over and over again.

You can't protect yourself, don't even try.

Never mind the many successful self-defense cases Clayton Cramer documents in his Civilian Self Defense Blog. Never mind the many cases Zendo Deb documents of victims killed by criminals after they complied with every demand.

The Johns Hopkins "safety measures" recommended by their Director of Education for Health and Wellness actually do say you should not resist a rapist. And this so-called advice is from a woman. The Illinois State Police still contend if you can't escape from a rapist you must not resist. Instead, the claim that women should tell the rapist they are pregnant or have AIDS, vomit on him, or poke him with a rat-tail comb. Of course, this is in Illinois, the only state in the country with absolutely no legal means of carrying a defensive firearm. Even Wisconsin allows open carry.

You can't protect yourself, don't even try.

How can these people live with themselves, saying citizens should meekly submit to violence and violation? What do they gain? More power? More control? A more infantilized populace waiting for Mommy or Daddy to come rescue them from the Big Bad? And what do the segments of the populace who believe that crap gain? An officially-sanctioned excuse to abdicate even more personal responsibility than they already have?

You can't protect yourself, don't even try.

It's all a lie, a terrible lie. Mommy and Daddy aren't coming. You're alone in that alley, or that parking lot, or your bedroom, or that Yale laboratory, alone with your worst nightmare, and scratching him with your fingernails isn't going to save you. All that will do is provide DNA evidence to help convict the criminal after you're dead.

Is that good enough for you? Was it good enough for Annie Le?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Radical Extremist

On September 10, Cass Sunstein was confirmed as the Obamessiah's "Regulatory Czar."

Let's see what kinds of organic fertilizer this nutjob shovels:

"We hardly need to imagine a world, however, in which people and institutions are being harmed by the rapid spread of damaging falsehoods via the Internet. We live in that world. What might be done to reduce the harm?"
Damaging falsehoods? Like conservative/libertarian blogs?

Sunstein does have his own form of libertarianism:
"The idea of libertarian paternalism might seem to be an oxymoron, but it is both possible and legitimate for private and public institutions to affect behavior while also respecting freedom of choice. Often people's preferences are ill-formed, and their choices will inevitably be influenced by default rules, framing effects, and starting points. In these circumstances, a form of paternalism cannot be avoided. Equipped with an understanding of behavioral findings of bounded rationality and bounded self-control, libertarian paternalists should attempt to steer people's choices in welfare-promoting directions without eliminating freedom of choice. It is also possible to show how a libertarian paternalist might select among the possible options and to assess how much choice to offer."
Steer people's choices? And how much choice to offer?

He also feels we should "celebrate" paying taxes:

"In what sense is the money in our pockets and bank accounts fully ‘ours’? Did we earn it by our own autonomous efforts? Could we have inherited it without the assistance of probate courts? Do we save it without the support of bank regulators? Could we spend it if there were no public officials to coordinate the efforts and pool the resources of the community in which we live?... Without taxes there would be no liberty. Without taxes there would be no property. Without taxes, few of us would have any assets worth defending. [It is] a dim fiction that some people enjoy and exercise their rights without placing any burden whatsoever on the public… There is no liberty without dependency."
Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano, an advocate of strict interpretation of Constitutional law, said about Sunstein, "We have never had anyone with this much power, who is this far to the Left, and who is this out of touch with the American people [appointed by a president]. His potential damage is limitless." Napolitano went on to say that Sunstein is likely on the president's short-list to be the next justice seated on the bench at the Supreme Court.

And you thought Sotomayor was bad?

Check here to see how your senators voted, and let them know how you feel about it. The 2010 midterm elections are closer than you think.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Knowing Your Limitations

Marko Kloos, the Munchkin Wrangler, hit yet another one out of the park with his essay, "A Vote For Gun Control Is A Vote For Thunderdome:"
Every martial art that involves direct unarmed hand-to-hand fighting has weight classes. This is done because a bantamweight boxer will get his clock cleaned by a heavyweight ninety-nine out of a hundred times. Sending a 115-pound fighter up against a 220-pound fighter is simply not an even contest, because the heavyweight can deal (and absorb) much more powerful punches.

Let me repeat that little factoid: even a trained fighter in prime shape has no realistic chance of winning an unarmed fight against a heavier opponent.
Of course, in the comments there were plenty of martial artists claiming that's just not true. They have seen the little guys beat the big guys, over and over, or done it themselves. Okay, fine, but they all seem to use the dojo as the source of their proof.

As Sgt. Rory Miller pointed out so well in "Meditations On Violence," real-life attacks bear no resemblance to sparring on the mats. Or fighting in the steel cage, for that matter.

I have training in empty-hand, but that doesn't make me any bigger, younger, or sounder than I already am. That's 5'4" tall, mumble-mumble years old, with plenty of creaky souvenirs from a misspent youth riding and falling off horses. Sure, I can throw the 6'5" and 300 pound uke around just fine when uke cooperates with the exercise, but if uke declines to participate? No freakin' way.

Now substitute a pack of street criminals for uke in that image . . .

The best thing I've learned from my empty-hand training is my own very real limitations when deprived of effective tools for self-defense.
The truth is that criminals who make a living threatening injury or death for the contents of a cash register or a wallet won’t be greatly handicapped by any laws that prohibit the carrying of guns. They carry them anyway, but as I’ve pointed out, they’d still tilt the favors in their odds even if the magic gun control fairy could make all the guns go *poof* overnight. Gun control is tossing their intended victims into the ring with them after forcibly disarming them…to make sure the violence doesn’t escalate.
Violence wasn't invented along with firearms. It's been around as long as the human species. Massacres and atrocities have been perpetrated on the weak by the strong for thousands of years. Julius Caesar didn't need guns to kill a million people. The machete was the primary weapon of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994.

As an old-West poem praising the Colt revolver supposedly said, "Be not afraid of any man, No matter what his size, When danger threatens, call on me, And I will Equalize."

As Marko has stated elsewhere, "People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society."

Rule by the young, the strong, and the many. None of which I happen to be. No matter how hard I train.

I will still train, of course. There is a place for empty-hand skills in anyone's defensive toolbox, just as there is for the stick, the blade, and the gun.

Just so we know, really know, their limitations. And ours.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Getting What You Ask For

I train animals. To help me understand how to do that better and more efficiently, I study behavior science. My preferred method of training is based on Applied Operant Conditioning, to be specific, Clicker Training.

Behavior science tells us that successful behaviors are repeated. Hence I use the clicker as a bridging signal/secondary reinforcer to tell my horses and dogs the exact instant when they've done something right. This action on their part earns them a paycheck/primary reinforcer: a piece of carrot, a horse cookie, a cheese cube. Once they understand the rules of the game, they participate eagerly, learn very quickly, and never forget what they've learned.

It's possible using these methods to teach any critter to do anything it's physically able to perform, even if that behavior is far outside what we normally think of as typical for the species.

Judge retrieving a dumbbell at age 3

But training doesn't always progress smoothly. Sometimes behaviors other than what I'm looking for crop up and persist. That's when I have to take a step back and think about what I am actually reinforcing versus what I think I'm reinforcing.

Because the behavior you're getting is what you're really rewarding, no matter what you think you're doing instead.

So what does all this blathering have to do with gun laws?

Human societies are far more complex systems than the relationship between an animal trainer and her animals, but the same principles apply. Whatever behaviors members of those societies manifest are successful behaviors.

So if you're seeing a whole lot of behaviors you don't want, you can bet those behaviors are being rewarded, somewhere, somehow.

Crime and criminal violence are behaviors we absolutely don't want. When those behaviors increase, it's because they are successful for their perpetrators. The rewards are immediate: the stolen money, the stolen property, the "pleasure" of gratifying a sick desire to inflict pain and suffering.

Society is very fond of positive punishment. Investigating a crime ideally results in an arrest, a conviction, and appropriate sentencing. That's all well and good, but it all takes place well after the fact. Some investigations go on for months or years, and in the mean time there are no adverse consequences of their antisocial behavior for the criminals.

For punishment to work as a behavior-modification method, it must be a significant and immediate consequence of the behavior. No criminal commits a crime thinking he'll be arrested while he holds up the liquor store. But if he sees there's a good chance holding up the liquor store will get him shot, well, that's a clear disincentive.

Over and above the value of dangerous victims making criminals think twice, though, we need to look at how society rewards criminal activity. This post discussed how low reporting and arrest/conviction rates can factor in, but there's a lot more to explore.

Now can anyone please explain to me how making it more difficult and dangerous for people like me, law abiding citizens, to own guns and defend ourselves effectively increases the risk and reduces the rewards for criminals who attack us?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beneath Contempt

Just when I thought my opinion of Ted Kennedy couldn't get any lower, William The Coroner had to remind us of this.

ETA: Looks like William The Coroner's post is gone, for whatever reason. That's okay. Plenty of others are pointing out the same things.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't Protect Yourself, Rely On The Police

Or not.

Two Marin County, California, sheriff's deputies watched from 50 feet away while a man killed two people with a shotgun on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge last week.

Not only did these armed and on-duty police officers not intervene with a murder happening right in front of them, they allowed the murderer to get in his car and drive away.

We always say that when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. But even if they're already at the scene, there's no guarantee they will take action. Of course, in Commiefornia California, some folks feel it's perfectly acceptable for the police to stand by and watch while a criminal commits murder.

Because "Nobody other than the intended targets were hurt."

See, they aren't actual people or anything, they're just "targets." If the police had, like, done their jobs, innocent bystanders could have been injured.

I would imagine the "intended targets" might disagree with that, as would their friends and families. Or even the comment-writer himself, should he ever end up looking down the barrel of a criminal's shotgun.

When violence strikes, make sure you have the tools, the skills, and the will to save yourself. Because waiting for the Only Ones to save you could take the rest of your life.

ETA: Looks like the Oakland Tribune pulled ol' Bud's comment. Did we just see a crumb of journalistic integrity?

ETA2: And now the crass comment is back! I knew that had to be just an illusion of journalistic integrity. It is, after all, the Bay Area.

H/T to David Hardy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Another One

Kristi Cornwell, 38, has been missing since about 9:00 pm on August 11. She disappeared near the same area where Meredith Emerson was abducted in 2008.
Cornwell's boyfriend, Douglas Davis, apparently attends a Cobb County church, according to a daily e-mailed report from Macland Baptist Church. According to the church e-mail, Davis was talking to Cornwell when she was approached.

"She told him a car was stopping near her and then started screaming, 'Don't take me,'" according to the church bulletin.
She was a former probation officer who "took firearms classes, taught self-defense and whizzed down the Dragon’s Tail – one of the most popular roads for bikers in the country – on her motorcycle. Yet she never had any problems."

Until last Tuesday night.

The park area where Meredith Emerson was taken prohibits usable firearms. From the information available, Kristi Cornwell appears to have been taken along a road that should be legal for concealed carry, if she had a permit and was carrying a gun.

It's so easy to fall into thinking a well-known area is safe. A gun can be awkward to carry all the time. I know, because unless I'm in an unavoidable defenseless-victim zone, I carry my bobtail Commander 1911 every waking hour. As Greg Perry says, "Your gun was made to be comforting. Your gun was never made to be comfortable."

And if you're walking alone along an empty road after dark and a car stops near you, you should be increasing your distance from it while getting an inconspicuous firing grip on your handgun.

Carry all the time. Because "BANG-BANG, BANG" is much more likely to prevent a kidnapping than "Don't take me."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fun With Machine Guns 2009

The 2009 Heritage of Freedom Jeff Wells Memorial Fun & Freedom Shoot in Kearney, Nebraska, on August 14-16 was, if you'll pardon the pun, an absolute blast.

There was a full complement of folks who brought lots of cool toys for spectators to learn about and shoot.

Most guns could be "rented" for the cost of the ammo used. The price of admission for spectators was $20 if unarmed, $10 if open-carrying (legal in Nebraska without any permit), and $5 if you had your CHP.

Full auto hardware included everything from mini-Uzi's to belt-fed machine guns.

Last year I came as a spectator. This year I got a shooting position of my own. Okay, my table wasn't nearly as impressive as some.

The AR is my Smith & Wesson M&P15T with bipod, ACOG, and a new snap-on cheek rest that does a wonderful job of letting me get a good cheek weld with the optic mounted on the carry handle. The other rifle is a Savage .270 Win with their Accu-Trigger that I borrowed from a friend.

This was the first chance I've had to get my AR out on a really long range. I had zeroed my ACOG for 200 indoors and was surprised the math had held up. Once I found out at what distances the targets were really set, I got my holdover straightened out and was getting good hits out to 400+ yards with both the AR and the bolt-action.

Nebraska's own Gunscribe, aka Tim Tyrrell Sr., with his BOHICA Arms .50 BMG upper on a DPMS AR-15 lower. 'Scribe is one of the original Second Amendment movers-and-shakers in this area, and laid the groundwork for what has now become the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association.

Yes, I shot Gunscribe's .50 BMG. Between that and a few hundred other rifle rounds I fired, I have a bruise on my shoulder today.

The thing that really blew my mind was people coming up to me and telling me they actually read my blog. I was honored to hear their compliments, and I humbly thank them -- and you others out there -- for your support.

I'm looking forward to next year's Fun And Freedom shoot already. It's tentatively scheduled for August 13-15 of 2010. Friday evening is for arrival and early setup, Saturday is an all-day affair, and Sunday finishes up by noon. So mark your calendar, come on out and play. That Tannerite isn't going to blow itself up.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Should Know Better

I now know better than to call my horses from a distance when they're the only ones in the pasture. It's only a ten acre field, so if I'm smart, I'll just walk all the way out to them, right?

With less, um, creative horses, sure. With mine, well, not so much.

I couldn't see them when I entered the pasture, so I started to walk from hilltop to hilltop. No horses. I didn't want a repeat of the previous day's excitement, so I didn't call them. Just kept walking and looking.

Still no horses. The barn owner always lets me know if he moves them, so I must be in the right place.

I walked the whole ten acres without seeing a single horse. Finally I decided to give up and call the barn owner in case he moved them and forgot to tell me. I headed back toward the gate to get my cell phone out of the car.

And as I got there, I turned in time to see all six horses. Following me. Far enough back that I wouldn't have seen them if they stayed at the bottoms of the hills I climbed.

The day was windy enough that I couldn't hear them walking through the grass. I didn't call them, so they didn't come any closer. It was hot enough that they probably didn't feel sufficiently motivated to climb all those hills.

Can't win for losing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Horsey Heart Attack Of The Day

So I go out to the barn to check on Sarge's progress, and all six of my critters are out by themselves in the small (ten acre) pasture. I get to hike out and find them.

Okay, fine. I traipse out to the top of the first hill and see them grazing on top of the second hill, about 100 yards away. So I call them. The heads pop up out of the grass, and they head my way.
At a dead run. All six abreast, shoulder to shoulder, like a freakin' offensive line. And as they get closer, they aren't slowing down.

Insert expletive of choice here.

Now my horses always come when I call them. But usually they're out with the rest of the herd and scattered around so they don't all reach me at once.

Or get carried away with the whole yee-haw-stampede mentality that horses can get into when running in a group.

I know better than to move when large animals are approaching at high speed. They can see me, and they have already decided where and how they are going to accommodate my presence. Horses are extremely careful not to run over people. Accidentally.

Knowing all of this does not mitigate the pucker factor in the least.

Yes, I stood my ground, and yes, they stopped. By skidding to a halt practically toe-to-toe and showering me with dirt and grass. Jolly fun, according to them.

From now on, I will walk all the way out to them as long as they're by themselves so they can bond with the new kid, and leave the long-distance recalls for when they're out with the herd again.

Or maybe push my luck and try to get some video. It was pretty spectacular.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Machine Guns Of August

Just a friendly reminder for the 2009 Heritage of Freedom Jeff Wells Memorial Fun & Freedom Shoot this weekend in Kearney, Nebraska.

August 15 & 16, 2009

Hours: Saturday 10:00 am to 5:40 pm, Sunday 8:00 am to 12 Noon

Spectators: Unarmed - $20.00, Armed - $10.00, CCW Holder - $5.00
Children under 12 - Free with Adult

Directions: I-80 Exit #272 - 5 miles south to Road S, 1 mile west and 1 mile north to the range

For more information, contact Walt Kamp II at (308) 236-7854. Leave your name and phone number if you get voice mail.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Putty In My Hands

Cando Theraputty, to be exact.

I'm always looking for ways to improve my shooting. My snubby convinced me that while my hands are strong, they're not strong enough. Fifty rounds through that little thing is still downright unpleasant. And the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel +P ammo I use for carry? Ouch.

I've tried those hand strengtheners with springs and the rubber balls without much success. A physical therapist friend suggested I try the putty, so I ordered a set of four-ounce containers of six different resistances from extra-extra soft to extra firm. A four-ounce blob is just right for a small woman's hand, and I can work through all six stages in ascending order in about twenty minutes while watching TV.

Noticeable improvement was very quick. I still think I suck, but my standards for suckage have become much higher.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Negative Carbon Footprint

Just for the heck of it I ran one of those "Carbon Footprint Calculators" off the web. It said I need 17 trees to offset my carbon emissions.

No problem.


What, you thought I was kidding when I said I lived in the woods?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

News Flash! Criminals LIE!

But, but, but, The Authorities tell us we need to just give them what they want and we'll be safe!

Via Howard Nemerov, the Austin Gun Rights Examiner, we hear about a home-invasion victim, Teresa Butz, whose last dying words were as follows:
Before she died, Butz talked to a neighbor, Albert Barrientes, saying of the attacker: "He told us if we did what he asked us to do, he wouldn't hurt us. He lied, he lied."
I take a criminal at face value. He's a criminal, a sociopath, a person who feels he is entitled to take the hard-earned property of others by force. His victims aren't people to him, they are things, they are prey to be harvested.

I don't care why he's chosen a life of crime, because that's what it truly is, his own personal choice. I don't care if his mommy was an addict or his daddy beat him. I can't possibly know that, and I don't care.

Let me repeat.

I. Don't. Care.

I will take at face value that he has already broken many laws when he tries to victimize me. If he has a weapon, I will take at face value that he is willing to use it effectively against me. I will not believe a single word he says.

And I will do everything in my power stop that criminal, because I cannot afford to trust that if I just give him what he wants I will be safe.
Concealed Carry Magazine recently published an article called "Shadow Figures" written by Bill Oliver. Mr. Oliver has been a forensic psychologist for 20 years, working in the California Penal System including the Pelican Bay Supermax prison. He has worked with and evaluated some of the nation's worst criminals, including Charles Manson. From his interview with one convicted violent predator:
He was robbing a convenience store in Texas and the woman teller complied with his orders promptly and offered no resistance of any kind. When asked why he shot her in the head if she was doing everything he told her to do, he replied in a cold, matter of fact way, "I killed her because I could . . . "
No, I will not be an accomplice in my own robbery, rape, or murder.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sarge Is Home

The health certificate and Coggins finally came, so Sarge is now home.

He's by himself for now with just Milton the EvilPony™ for company, so I can work on his chronic injury and put some basic handling skills on him. My goal is to be able to treat any problem without having to resort to physical restraint before he gets turned out in the big 50-acre pasture. He'll be introduced to the other horses gradually, starting with mine and working the others in a few at a time.

Milton is pretty much the poster child for Being A Bad Influence, though. I should know better than to put him in with an impressionable youngster.

For my entire horse-owning life, I've always had Thoroughbreds. They're kind of like my good 1911's, powerful and graceful, with tight tolerances. They are unforgiving of careless or inexpert handling, and novices should probably look elsewhere.

The only exceptions to date have been two small ponies, intended as company for the Thoroughbreds. Milton is even smaller than his predecessor, Varmint, over thirty years ago. Small ponies remind me of my snubby: strong for their size and difficult to control.

But Sarge, while being by the same Thoroughbred stallion as my younger gray Thoroughbred gelding, Judge, is out of a Quarter Horse mare and has Appendix AQHA papers. Quarter Horses are known as being docile, easy to manage, versatile, and a popular choice for less-experienced owners who want a good registered horse to learn on and show.

I feel like I now have the equine equivalent of a Glock!

Friday, July 24, 2009

New "Megan Magnum" Holster

My custom-made Kellogg Custom Megan Magnum holster arrived today!

I had it shipped to my office instead of home, because I have a perimeter fence and a locked gate. Delivery drivers usually just leave parcels on the ground, where they instantly beacon a "steal me" signal to the local miscreants.

Based on a quick test-fit in the ladies' room (just to see how it fits me, not my gun -- I work in a defenseless-victim zone), this should be the most awesome concealment holster for my Wilson 1911 evah!

I like to carry in the appendix position with a strong muzzle-forward rake. Every holster Kellogg makes is a full-custom hand build, so accommodating uncommon preferences is no problem for them. Pictures of course will follow.

Many, many thanks to Isaiah and Megan Kellogg of Kellogg Custom Leather. You folks rock!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The PSH Is Official

The concealed carry permit system became effective in Nebraska on January 1, 2007. So finally, over two and a half years later, the agency I work for finally noticed they (gasp!) had no sign on the door prohibiting concealed weapons. So of course they put one up.

I wondered how long it would take them.

The e-mail announcing this stated, "For the safety of all staff, we will be adding a 'No weapons permitted' sign on our front door. This applies to all employees (the employee handbook already bans weapons from the workplace) and civilians. It does not apply to law enforcement officers."

We work with/for law enforcement agencies from local through federal levels. Good thing they acknowledged the mysterious Jedi powers of the Only Ones capable of handling weapons competently. The employee handbook actually explicitly bans only "firearms and explosives," since technology folks who actually do useful work -- as opposed to policy wonks who sit around thinking of ways to keep useful work from getting done -- frequently have to employ sharp pointy things in the fulfillment of their duties.

It's "for the safety of all staff." Because we all know how well those "No weapons permitted" signs worked at Westroads.

ETA: Obviously they subscribe to the New Jersey governor's opinion of legally armed citizens.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Chicago Gun Rights Examiner

Don Gwinn is the new Chicago Gun Rights Examiner.

Don has moderated The Firing Line and The High Road forums and serves as a Director of Illinois Carry, the only Illinois gun-rights organization dedicated to winning shall-issue right-to-carry for Illinois. Don also blogs at The Armed School Teacher and answers all email sent to dongwinn@thefiringline.com.

Welcome to the blogroll, Don.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Common Sense Car Control

In New York, a man deliberately ran down fourteen people with his car, killing one.

Some comparisons:
♦ Number of privately owned guns in America: estimated 238-276 million

♦ Number of firearm deaths, all causes, in 2006: 30,896

♦ Number of deaths per firearm (averaging firearm estimate to 257 million): 0.0001202

♦ Number of nonfatal firearm injuries, all causes, in 2006: 71,417

♦ Number of nonfatal firearm injuries per firearm: 0.0002779

♦ Number of all motor vehicles in America: estimated 250,851,833

♦ Number of motor vehicle deaths, all causes, in 2006: 45,509

♦ Number of deaths per motor vehicle: 0.0001814

♦ Number of nonfatal motor vehicle injuries, all causes, in 2006: 4,279,070

♦ Number of nonfatal motor vehicle injuries per vehicle: 0.0170582
Death and injury data from CDC.

This gives us 1.5 car deaths for every gun death and 59.9 car injuries for every gun injury.

Surely anyone can see we need some common sense car control in this country. Maybe full background checks with mental health inquiries before issuing a driver's license. And nobody needs a car that goes faster than 30 miles per hour.

Think of the chilllldrennnn!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oleg's An Artist

With words as well as photos:
Would a stick be allowed for the defender? A rock? A piece of pipe? A sword? A crossbow? A pistol? So long as the intent is ethical, in this case prevention of harm to an innocent, what does it matter if the attacker is hit with a two-pound rock or a quarter-ounce bullet?

Tools don't matter. Actions with them do
.
READ THE WHOLE THING.

Monday, June 29, 2009

You KNEW That Was Gonna Leave A Mark

But it's not too bad of a mark considering how things started out.

This is all that's left so far of Farrah's Big Adventure:

I especially like how the new hair growing in where the vet had to clip her is darker than the rest of her sun-bleached coat.

Because the original wound went deep into the muscle, there's still some discomfort in the area. A friend who's an Equissage certified therapist will go over her to let me know what to to to help with that.

It should still tighten down some more, and become less obvious over time.

Guns In Restaurants!

On Sunday evening, two people carrying loaded firearms were observed at a local Outback Steakhouse. The woman was 5'4" tall, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and the man was 6'4" tall, wearing khaki pants and a polo shirt. They ordered dinner, did not sit in the bar, did not consume alcoholic beverages, and left without incident.

No shots were fired. Nothing happened.

Apparently the guns they carried were defective, because the proximity to alcohol in bottles and glasses in the restaurant did not immediately cause them to commit mass carnage.

Nor did the presence of alcohol in the restaurant cause the man to drive recklessly after leaving.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vanishing Act

Now you see it.

Now you don't.

Cool.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Priorities

As much as I'd like to take Signal 88's Civilian Rifle Fighting class on July 11 (it's even during National Training Week), I think my disposable income will be going elsewhere for a while.

Meet Sarge.


Sergeant Sweetie
General Jolie (TB) x Stink's Skipper (AQHA)

He's a half-brother to one of my Thoroughbreds, same Thoroughbred sire but his dam was an American Quarter Horse, making him Appendix-registered. Just turned three years old on June 1. He looks so much like his now-deceased dad it isn't even funny, except for that Quarter Horse butt. I'm such a sucker.

He was going to be put down before his life had really even begun, due to an injury he got at four months of age. It never healed properly, and never will heal without prolonged treatment.

The economy and the horse market being what they are, his owner didn't have the funds to fix him, and even then there's no guarantee he'll ever be rideable. The only buyers there are at horse sales for unrideable horses are buying for slaughter.

My vet's willing to give me a break on the surgery, and feels the prognosis is good. Will things hold together well enough for Sarge to eventually be ridden? Maybe, with extra precautions. If not, what's one more pasture potato when I have like three of them already?

Yeah, I actually have one of these:

Fat lot of good it does me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Never Would Have Guessed

Going through the manuals that came with some of my guns, I found this gem in a care-and-feeding booklet from Kimber:

Gee, ya think?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Role Model

I hope I'm half as good as Rachel when I'm her age.

Our youth-worshipping society has promulgated the idea that everyone inevitably turns into a pile of crap as they get older. I don't buy that for a minute.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Broadening My Interests

Except for some, ah, notable exceptions, my taste in music runs heavily toward head-banger metal. However, things like this:


And this:


Make it painfully obvious that I need to pay A LOT MORE attention to Country.

Learning Curve

The adventure of learning the snubby continues. Before I even picked up the gun from the dealer, I got a copy of Ed Lovette's book, "The Snubby Revolver: The ECQ, Backup, and Concealed Carry Standard" as a general reference. The book was invaluable in preparing me to approach this new tool from an informed perspective.

I got a Hogue Monogrip for the gun, and keep swapping between it and the factory grips. There's no question the Monogrip is easier to shoot, but the factory grips are much easier to conceal. Even tucked in a jeans pocket, the gun just disappears. I'm thinking I'll start out shooting the Monogrip and then switch back to the factory grips as I become more proficient.

I still can't seem to find a hold that feels natural and secure. I shoot high-thumb on semiautos, and obviously that can't work on a wheelgun. At least my hands are small enough to keep my thumbs away from the cylinder gap when habit takes over.

Experimenting around the house with an empty gun and an Ace bandage, I've found the alternative carry positions possible with little guns aren't as impractical as they seemed. With the right pants, ankle carry is perfectly doable using Massad Ayoob's big-drop-step-off-the-X draw. That method works so well that I wonder why anyone still says you have to take a knee or stand on one leg like a flamingo to draw a gun on your ankle. I don't wear dresses or skirts unless absolutely unavoidable, but discovered I could do a thigh rig if I had to. Worn not too far above the knee, it's acceptably comfortable and accessible, and sure beats not having a gun at all.

Several people have suggested Crimson Trace Lasergrips, either for defensive use or as a training aid. I have Lasergrips to fit my Hi-Powers and shelved them after using them for something over a year. Strange as it sounds, I found they slowed my shooting. I try to train for unconscious competence and anything that disrupts conditioned behavior chains tends to slow them down by breaking the pattern. I have a multi-caliber laser boresighter that is placed in the chamber, and will see if I can get a .38 Special adapter for it.

The trigger job smoothed things out beautifully while not significantly lightening the pull, so repeated dry practice is like physical therapy for my damaged trigger finger.

All in all, with the snubby, the journey is proving as valuable as the destination.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Protest Is Low-Level Terrorism

According to the Department of Defense.

From a written exam, given as part of Department of Defense employees’ routine training:
"Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism?”

— Attacking the Pentagon

— IEDs

— Hate crimes against racial groups

— Protests

The correct answer, according to the exam, is "Protests."
Hey, why not? After all, the Missouri Information Analysis Center and FBI already consider Constitutional conservatives, returning combat veterans, Ron Paul supporters, and gun-rights advocates to be "right-wing extremists" and potential domestic terrorists.

Wasn't Missouri the state where sheriffs and prosecutors were joining Obama "truth squads" to squelch dissenting campaign ads before the monumenetal eff-up 2008 presidential election?

Time to vote 'em all out, all right.

"We The People Are Coming"

Kevin Baker points us to Arizona resident Janet Contreras's open letter to our elected representatives:
Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.
Ms. Contreras's words to Glenn Beck in the transcript of his radio show:
Well, I don't want this. I don't want this fight, Glenn. I don't have the time or the energy or the financial resources for it, but that no longer matters. It no longer matters that I'm able or that I want this fight. I have to take it on. It's not a matter of choice anymore, which is why I wrote the letter.
As it must now be for us all.

READ THE WHOLE THING. And decide if you will let apathy and narcissistic entitlement hand this country over to criminals and thieves.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Are We Surprised?

Especially in light of the previous post.

95% Geek
Only 95%? Maybe there's still hope.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cool New Toys

No, not guns this time.

This is our new 22 TB fully redundant EMC Avamar enterprise backup. Once it's fully implemented and data replication is complete, one of the racks will be moved to our DR site.

Now THIS is what I call cable management!


Sigh.

Oh well, it's a geek thing. You wouldn't understand.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Freedom!

Farrah and Max are no longer confined to quarters. Surface injuries on horses can get to be kinda like radioactive decay: lots of progress at first, then it feels like the last little bit will never heal up. The vet finally said it was okay to kick 'em out of the barn. All concerned, horses and humans, were mightily relieved.

Thoroughbreds who have been cooped up for any length of time lose what few milligrams of common sense they ever had when finally turned loose, so they have to start out in a small area. Only after they demonstrate they are not going to go up like ten pounds of Tannerite at Boomershoot, they can start to be turned out in progressively larger areas.

Farrah actually behaving herself

It further complicated matters that going out on lush spring grass after being kept in on dry hay, alfalfa cubes, and Triple Crown has to be managed carefully as well. Fortunately, there's a mare with a new foal and a recently-gelded Welsh pony in pretty much the same boat. They will all be gradually acclimated to the pasture together before going back out in the herd.

Max(L) and Farrah(R)
Wishful thinking.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Presenting Reality Effectively

Eric S. Raymond, who's given us A Brief History Of Firearms Policy Fraud and Ethics From The Barrel Of A Gun, hits another one out of the park:
I listened to the others on the channel offer polite, reasoned, factually correct counterarguments to this guy, and get nowhere. And suddenly…suddenly, I understood why. It was because the beliefs the ignoramus was spouting were only surface structure; refuting them one-by-one could do no good without directly confronting the substructure, the emotional underpinnings that made ignoramus unable to consider or evaluate counter-evidence.

The need, here, was to undermine that substructure. And I saw the way to do it. This is what I said:

“You speak, but I hear only the bleating of a sheep. Your fear gives power to your enemies.”

Ignoramus typed another sentence of historical ignorance. My reply was “Baa! Baa! Baaaaa!”

And another. My reply was more sheep noises, more deliberate mockery. And you know what? A few rounds of this actually worked. Ignoramus protested that he wasn’t a sheep. At which point I asked him “Then why are you disarmed?”

*CRACK*

The conversation afterwards was completely different, and ended up with ignoramus speculating about meeting with one of our regulars in his area to do things with firearms.
READ THE WHOLE THING.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Embarrassing Music

In lieu of, like, actual content which requires a functional brain, I will join the "Five Most Embarrassing Albums" meme along with Marko, Tam, Sebastian, Uncle, Squeaky, and Joe:
  1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Album They had some good music on that show.
  2. C.W. McCall's Greatest Hits I used to live in the southwest-Iowa area he wrote into many of his songs. The Shelby County Tribune, the Nishnabotna River, the railroad tracks of Persia, all real.
  3. Popstars: Eden's Crush Remember Popstars, the show we have to thank for the whole "American Idol" genre?
  4. ABBA: The Album Hey, I like harmony sometimes, okay?
  5. Lard: The Last Temptation Of Reid Got it for that all-time classic, "They're Coming To Take Me Away."
I don't consider them embarrassing, but I do also have the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's timeless holiday albums, "A Very Scary Solstice" and "An Even Scarier Solstice." Who can resist carols like "I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog Sothoth," "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fish-Men," and "Harley Got Devoured by the Undead," especially when they sound exactly like their conventional counterparts . . . except for the lyrics. Slip those into the mix at your next Christmas party and watch the fun.

I have to apologize in advance to anyone crazy enough to do a road trip with me. They have to bring their own tunes or they're stuck listening to my usual run of Black Sabbath, Van Halen, and Rob Zombie.