Thursday, December 29, 2011

Physics and Firearms

This post should be subtitled "why little guns suck", because that's basically the theme.  Only instead of me saying it, I'm going to use math to "prove" that point.  I know somewhere my high school math teacher is saying "See!  You will use math in the real world!".  I hope I've made his day if nothing else.

As a student you may or may not have loved physics.  Personally I loved it.  It used math to explain why things happened the way they did.  It allowed people to predict things, which I've always thought was super cool.  So I'll be sharing my love of applied math with you in an article about why maybe that cute little lightweight handgun may not be the best choice for a starting shooter.  We have to start with an equation, but it's super basic.

F = M * A

Hey, that's pretty easy right?  We only care about three things here.  Force, Mass, and Acceleration.  So, what the equation states is that Force (in this case the force you feel in your hand called recoil) is equal to Mass times Acceleration.  We don't even have to work out the equation, but use it to illustrate why light guns recoil more.

How Firearms Relate to Personal Responsibility

As recent events in history have taught us there comes a time when your safety may depend on your ability to repel violent attackers.  We staff our police departments for peace time, selecting a level that can respond to most of the crimes at any given time within a reasonable amount of time.  During a wide scale disaster, emergency or situation that inspires social unrest like we've witnessed recently in the Arab Spring, we can't rely on the police to protect us.  There will be too many victims, too many perpetrators for a police department staffed for peace time to assist everyone.  Even during a typical day police response times vary greatly.

I live in a working class suburb in St Louis county.  We have a great police department, and for 2010 their average response time to a 911 call was around 2 minutes.  The time I summoned police they had two cars on my street in 60 seconds.  That's pretty impressive. 

However, if you travel 5 miles east you end up in a rougher part of town, the north side of St Louis city.  Average police response times in the Lou for 2010 were around 30 minutes.  That's a significant disparity.  If a person who lives within the city expects the police to arrive in time to stop a crime they are likely to be disappointed.  If there was a tornado, earthquake or terrorist attack then those average response times would climb dramatically.

This inspires a lot of people to own a firearm and learn how to use it.  It can be considered as an insurance policy- you hope you never need to use it but you are very appreciative when it is there.  It can be life changing if it's needed and you don't have it.

Personal Responsibility

I'm a big believer in personal responsibility.  You'll see that theme run through my posts here.  Everybody makes mistakes and most people need a helping hand from time to time, so I also believe in and support charity. 

I see however a lot of people in my world who wear the mantle of victimhood.  They make mistakes and immediately seek to blame another.  They see oppressors around every corner and feel they are "owed" certain goods or services.  Any setback in their life is due to the transgression of another, they spent all their time critiquing others and assuming they are always in the right.   I have to say in this way I must agree with a quote from Mark Twain:

"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living.  The world owes you nothing.  It was here first."


I want to use this space to share my thoughts on the challenges we face today in the United States.  It's a world where events with the most impact are eschewed news coverage in favor of celebrity drivel.  It's a country where corruption in business and government runs rampant and the traditional press has decided to not just ignore it, but become complicit in the efforts.

I'm eager to have a positive impact on this world.  I want my child to have opportunities that exceed the opportunities I've had.  I've given up hope on either of the ruling parties in this country to be involved in positive change, the corruption in our two-party system is endemic and quite possibly beyond fixing short of angry mobs with torches and pitchforks.  I'm hopeful we as peasants still have the opportunity to promote positive change through words and voting, but I fear the window of opportunity to do so is closing far faster than most of my peers realize.