September 30, 2007

A Few Common-Sense Gun Laws

The victim disarmament movement loves to offer their latest incremental infringement of the right to keep and bear arms as just a common-sense law on top of the forty thousand gun laws already on the books around the country. Their consistent premise is that denying law abiding citizen access to a few more guns at a time will keep guns out of the hands of evil-doers and "off the streets". There is of course no evidence that these additional restrictions will have any such effect.

Marc Richardson has taken a careful look at the data about where evil-doers actually obtain their guns. Because he starts with data rather than feelings, the legislation he proposes aimed specifically at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals truly deserve that much misused label of a few common sense gun laws.

In the data which he reviewed, roughly 40 percent of the guns used to commit a crime were supplied by a friend or family member who may well have owned it legally. It is probable that in many of these cases, the owner knew the person he was supplying it to was up to no good. Requiring me to go thru a licensed dealer when I transfer a rifle to my hunting buddy will not discourage such loans; making it a felony to supply a firearm used in a crime will.

Another 40 percent come from illegal sources, either street vendors or directly thru theft. A typical stupidity of the War on Some Drugs is that when a criminal is caught dealing in both guns and drugs, prosecutors focus on the drug charges. A revision of this philosophy would discourage such diversification. The gun banners have proposed legislation which would penalize people from whom guns are stolen. Marc's proposal is much more worthy of the label common sense. Simply impose a cumulative mandatory sentence for each gun stolen. This may even reduce the number of illegal DVD players on the street, by making burglary less profitable overall.

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Quote For The Day

Hunting isn't about killing; you could go work at a slaughterhouse if you wanted that. Hunting is about HUNTING. The killing is just how you know you've won.
An aside in an essay by the Anarchangel on the subject of snipers. I've seen the same sentiment expressed as "You don't hunt in order to kill; you kill in order to hunt."

Most of the hunters I know are not into it for the sporting challenge. They actually hunt in order to harvest game for the table. I know one couple who never buy meat or fish from the butcher, living year round on venison, rabbit, wildfowl and the fish they catch.

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September 29, 2007

DARE Kampf

My friend M. Simon has reposted an essay comparing the police state of the current War On Some Drugs with the police state of Nazi Germany, written by someone who had witnessed both. I had been more inclined to think in terms of the Stalinist police state. When I was growing up, back in the time of the Red Scare, one of the things we were told in grade school was evil about the Soviet Union was that people were encouraged to inform upon one another; even family members. Today, grade school students are being encouraged to inform upon family members. I remember reading of one specific case of a young man whose mother was self-medicating her depression with methamphetamine, once the standard prescription for her condition. He turned her in believing he would get her help but instead she was imprisoned for drug possession. Hopefully that young man will never again trust his government.

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September 28, 2007

Malenkaya Pantera

I only barely passed Russian in high school forty years ago; I had the best accent but the worst handwriting. I've done nothing since to refresh what little knowledge I absorbed. I still managed to transliterate enough of the comments in Cyrillic as to have laughed out loud at this un-lolled kitteh pic.

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September 25, 2007

Can Anyone Explain This?

It is popular among hoplophobes to attribute psychological shortcomings to those of us who favor the right to keep and bear arms. Robb found a spectacular example in a comment thread.

Is it because if you were honest with everyone, you'd be forced to admit you all want guns because you're cowardly bullies consumed by crippling sexual inadequacy, and don't think anyone's life is worth more than your inconvenience?
How exactly is this supposed to work? If a man feels inadequate will buying a firearm make him more masculine, and if a woman feels inadequate will buying a firearm make her feel more feminine? Can we find deep significance in people's choices? Is Tam's fixation with Smith & Wesson revolvers perhaps the result of some pre-adolescent trauma?

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September 23, 2007

Situational Awareness

One could make light of the fact that it is a knife story found via a gun blog. One could make heavy of the relevance to a national political debate. What is really important is that she was paying enough attention to her environment that something out of the ordinary led her to adjust her condition so that when trouble did arise she was ready.

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September 22, 2007

The Perfect Drink

The topic for this week's recipe carnival has been announced as being drinking. There are an infinite range or formulations; I myself have published both silly and subtle. If your purpose is to enjoy the aesthetic experience of an alcoholic beverage, there is one simple procedure I consider optimum.

Take an ordinary shot glass, rinse it with very cold water, and shake it just about dry. Fill three quarters of the way with good Scotch whisky. The broad range of Scotch is worth exploring, but I suggest Talisker as the epitome of what they are all about. Fill a small tumbler with more of that cold water, and set it on the side. Pass the shot glass beneath your nose while inhaling easily. Take a sip, let it roll over your tongue, and then swallow. Take a sip of the water. Consume the rest of the wee dram similarly, altho with larger sips. When the shot glass is empty, you are done. The purpose of the alcohol in the whisky is mouth feel, not intoxication; the consumption of more is unnecessary.

The same procedure is also suitable for other distilled beverages. America's bourbon whiskey was developed by distillers with a background in making scotch. Many people speak well of Maker's Mark, but it is a corporate premium product rather than the work of a craftsman. My suggestion is Woodford Reserve. This, and not the nonsense with salt and lime, is the right way to drink tequila. You need only start with Hornitos, altho there is even better out there if your purpose is to savor and not to excuse wildness.

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They Got Off Easy

The winning link in Dean's open thread last night was to a report on a confrontation between the Ku Klux Klan and a bunch of clowns. I didn't expect to see that the racists were heartily mocked. I was thinking of the people my son has in mind when he threatens to call his circus friends; the guys who juggle sledgehammers.

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September 19, 2007

Crastinating Professionally

It was on this day in 2004, when I posted in honor of the popular Talk Like A stereotypical Fictional Pirate Day, that I expressed the intent to find a relevant quote from Makara Harconan, the pirate king in James H. Cobb's technothriller Target Lock. It has taken me several years to do so. He never talks "on camera" about his piracy, but here he explains the philosophy which led him to it.

We are, as they say in your country, high rollers. We live large, and the stakes are high when we gamble. When we lose, the loses are great, in money, in policy, and in lives. We must win - anyway we can, whenever we step to the table. Thus, the battlefields where we dare to lose are few and far between.
I think that is much more romantic than "Arrrgh, matey."

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Good Old Days

I didn't actually watch much daytime television as a youngster, but it was more than I watch now. I had an idea of what most of the shows were like but I don't recall how such presenters as Arthur Godfrey or Virginia Graham handled the popular topic of "Who is JanTrell's babydaddy, her husband's best friend or her best friend's husband?"

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September 18, 2007

Suggested Readings

My older sister claims to be so out of touch with modern technology as to think that global positioning means adjusting her bra straps, but in fact she is computer functional enough to carry on an email correspondence with me. She is, however, a fluffy-bunny leftie, so I refrained from correcting her that global positioning in fact means that Atlas shrugged.

One of the topics on which we correspond is the books we are reading. Again I care more about family affection than raising her consciousness, so I forego explaining to her why I am reading the Victory short story collection edited by Stephen Coonts, Applied Plastic Design in Steel by Robert O. Disque, and several hawkish books published shortly before the US entered World War II. Instead, I simply suggested the following books, which I believe my readers will also find of value:

Chicken Soup for the Vegetarian Soul
Artificial Intelligence for Dummies
Seven Habits of Highly Impulsive People

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September 16, 2007


Before Chicago was settled, the local population reportedly considered the area "bad medicine". At one time it was known as "Little Hell" and more recently, as Cabrini-Green. My memory will always be of the time it was necessary for me to drive along the edge of the area, and I saw an older white gentleman, in a wool business suit, with a scoped, bull-barreled Remington 700 on his shoulder, strolling away from one of the towers accompanied by two uniformed officers.

Now, this new great Chicago neighborhood is in a class by itself. I think the realtors should be subject to the same disclosure laws as when they sell the sweet innocent family the house built on a cemetery in all the horror films.

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September 13, 2007

Adoptive, Presumeably

A new Beowulf movie could be cool (imagine a cluster of them) regardless of which translation it is based upon. Despite the technology used to create the film, there is something not right about casting Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mother.

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September 08, 2007

I Have A Dream...

That someday the children of this great nation will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Sadly, that day is not here yet.

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September 06, 2007

Blaming The Object

Xavier has some thoughts on the way people behave in the course of using their mobile communications devices. Sadly, he blames the communications devices for the behavior, much the way the victim disarmament movement blames guns for the behavior of criminals. Vicious and destructive people will be vicious and destructive with or without a gun, and thoughtless self-centered people will be thoughtless and self-centered with or without a cell phone. The only way to address the problem is to address the behavior.

Xavier and some of his commenters describe the pager as being like a "ball and chain". Again, the answer is simple. My son had an employer ten years ago who asked him to obtain a pager. He brought this on himself by being the only employee reliable enough to contact in an emergency. I first saw a pager back in the late '60s. It was larger than a pack of cigarettes and truly was a beeper; it simply notified its carrier to call the service and get a message. Again, he had brought this upon himself, by being a top-flight thoracic surgeon. Don't want the "ball and chain" of a pager? Get a job where nobody gives an airborne activity whether you show up.

James has the same dislike of certain cell phone related behaviors, but he values the phones themselves because of the communication they can provide in an emergency. The cellular industry takes emergency communication seriously. Never have I gotten more attention from the engineers back at the office than when I reported that my non-emergency verification call to 911, always the first call on a new site or service, "could not be completed as dialed". The resultant conference call went all the way to California, lasted two hours, and ended with activation of the entire county being delayed for weeks, despite complaints from the marketing people.

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September 03, 2007

Cast And Curious

My wee wifey was watching the first movie in the series, with Vindy as the anti-hero. I wandered in and out such that I couldn't follow the story (which was just a framework to hang car action, shooting and emotional moments onto anyway) but one thing struck me as significant, especially if it reflects the real world more than motorcycle drive-bys without a passenger as shooter do.

It was evident to me that the police were more upset at the possibility that the truckers might fight back against hijacking than they were about the hijackings themselves.

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September 02, 2007

Show Us Your Papers

The classic identifier of an evil dictatorship, as seen in spy movies and similar thrillers, is that the authorities can stop you at any time and demand identification. The scary thing about this incident isn't that it happened to a US citizen, but that so many of the commenters are willing to slide down this slippery slope.

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September 01, 2007

Really, He Isn't

In the wake of the recent scandal, Senator Craig maintains that he is not gay. I'm willing to accept this. After all, if he were gay, he wouldn't have needed to expose himself to the risks involved in seeking a blow n' go in an airport bathroom. If he were gay, he could have a hunting buddy, and they could go to the cabin on the mountain now and then, and everyone would be much happier.

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Libertarian Paradox

Altho I consider myself to be a conservative of libertarian temperment, I find it necessary to confess that I accept the fact that there is an industry in this country which should be receiving closer oversight from Federal agencies such as OSHA and the EPA. That industry is the hazardous and environmentally destructive manufacture of methamphetamine.

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Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream

We are coming to the last days of summer. I saw the official signs of this yesterday. Halloween Express is setting up their outlet in the outlot at the Fairgrounds, and Goodwill is bringing out their Halloween merchandise. The worst of the heat may have passed, but cold treats are still appropriate, and cold treats don't get much better than this one.

2 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs -- lightly beaten
12 ounces cream cheese - cut into cubes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, heat the cream and milk to 175°; stir in sugar until dissolved. Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into the eggs. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches at least 160° and coats the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from the heat. Whisk in cream cheese until smooth. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full; freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze. Transfer to a freezer container; freeze for 2-4 hours before serving. Yield: 1-1/2 quarts.

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Gun Control Victims

We went on a road trip yesterday with a primary destination of Madistan. In hopes of provoking some Reasoned Discourse with residents of that hotbed of "progressivism" I wore a gun rights t-shirt from the Second Amendment Sisters. I didn't get any response from the residents of that determinedly fair city. What I got was even better.

As we worked our way back home along the secondary hiways, we stopped in a church thrift store in one of the towns we passed thru. A white haired gentleman sitting reading near the magazine rack asked to confirm that "No Gun Control Victims" meant I was in fact opposed to gun control. When I told him I was, he stood up and shook my hand. He then told me of his experience with gun control and its victims.

"Mister Nick" had managed construction projects around the world, but Nigeria was different from any place else he had worked. Absolute gun control - for the law abiding. The criminals ran rampant. Occasionally a handgun for protection would be offered to one of his workmen, but if in fact he bought it, that night the seller's brother the policeman would arrive to enforce the gun ban, confiscating the weapon (and no doubt returning it so the process would repeat), and collecting a $100 "fine" in lieu of prosecution. He told me of a native watchman (they couldn't have actual guards) who was found with his brains splattered across the gate, and of two of his workers on the floor with rifles held to their heads while the bandits discussed whether it was worth expending the bullets to kill them. He thinks it would be a good idea if we could send all the gun control advocates over there so they can live with the consequences, and we won't need to.

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