Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hierarchy of Firearm Choices for Prepared Families

In today's world many people who are not currently gun owners are inspired by current events to consider purchasing one.  Lots of people are embracing the idea of taking a more active role in providing for their own security.  In the last 10 years the number of states that offer concealed carry licenses has doubled.  Many of the people I discuss the subject with aren't sure what sort of gun they should get, or they have been given random suggestions by people they know.  The right firearm for you is highly dependent on your intended purpose.  If you desire a gun to carry on your person you're going to look at different choices than if you desire a gun for home protection or in case of civil unrest.  The good news is there are a lot of good choices today.


When I teach firearm classes one of the things I stress is the difference between accident and negligence.  In today's enlightened society we seem to be unwilling to assign blame in many cases and disregard personal responsibility.  We call them "car accidents" not "car crashes".  Cars only crash when one or more parties involved have made an error.  We cry out against evil banks banks and title loan places lending money but don't hold those people borrowing the money they know they can't pay back accountable.  I could go on and on, but won't.  This time anyway.  :-)

Pay attention to this sentence- If a firearm you are handling discharges unintentionally and damages property or a person you have been negligent.  It's not an accident, it's not an oops, it's not somebody else's fault.  You have been negligent.  It's your fault.  You did something wrong.

Monday, January 30, 2012

St Louis Auto Show

I've been going to the auto show every year for some time, I've liked cars since I was a kid and like to see the new and upcoming models.  Plus, everything is so shiny.  Normally I really dig the show here in St Louis but this year it was pretty disappointing.  Disappointing enough that I'm going to have to consider whether I'm going to go next year or not.  Normally I just plan on going.

But this year the show area was a lot smaller than anytime since I've been going.  There was more space set up for odd things, like electric car and jeep test drives, and an area the size of the Toyota and Scion display that had a dozen hopped up Mustangs spread out.  That was weird.  They had a few supercars on hand, but there was a 20 minute line to walk through and look at them.  They were all behind ropes and the groups was circled around the outside and ushered out the exit.  It was very PT Barnum.

But mostly what made it "meh" was the lack of cars.  There were no concept cars.  The only new models I saw were the Fiat 500 Abarth and the 2013 Mustang.  The Mustang looks pretty much exactly like the current ones and the Abarth was behind ropes with the hood closed.  The engine and suspension is what makes them different from the standard 500 and you couldn't get in to look at either.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Triumph for Liberty

The Supreme Court rules for personal freedom this time.  They have ruled that bugging an automobile requires a search warrant.  Several departments in DC and California had asserted that it didn't.  Score one for the good guys!

My favorite quote from the article is:
All nine justices agreed that the GPS monitoring on the Jeep violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

That sort of thing gives me hope for the future. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Opposite of Progressive

You may have heard news recently regarding the Keystone XL oil pipeline.  The Republicans are super gung-ho about it, likely because their donors desire it.  The Dems aren't so hot on it and the President himself seems to be very against it.  Like any other significant undertaking in this country people have chosen sides and started digging in rather than working together to find a proper and eloquent solution.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Concealed Carry Options

Lots of new shooters are interested in guns as a tool to protect themselves from aggressive criminals.  This is a good reason to become a gun owner.  As mentioned in this post, smaller guns are harder to shoot well than larger guns, so it's up to each person to find the balance between ease of shooting and conceal-ability.  It's a compromise and each person has to make their own judgment call.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You can't spell ATROCITY without "government"

Today on the drive in to the office I heard a story on NPR that caught my interest.  It was about the eugenics program in North Carolina which ran for half a century ending in the 1970's.  This program performed sterilizations on people deemed unfit to society.  Sometimes "unfit" just meant "poor and uneducated".  Many of these were performed without the consent of the person being sterilized. 

The state was one of 31 to offer some sort of eugenics program.  Eugenics is a funny topic, it's one thing that seems to have support from the far right and far left (as defined by commercial media) in this country.  Of course they have very different inspiration for their support.  Regardless, it's an odd common ground to share.  I tend to simply think of it as an "extremist" view.  It doesn't often have widespread ongoing support in civilized societies and tends to be promoted by people with views to the outside of mainstream.  Eugenics does crop up quite often throughout history though.  But eugenics itself isn't the purpose of this post.  I do want to suggest it doesn't have a place in a civilized and open, liberty-rich society.

It was the comments from one of the sterilized women that really caught my interest.  She was incredulous that the government would have done this to her as a child without her consent.  (in this particular case it seems her parents consented)  I will admit, the woman did not sound as if education had been a high priority in her life, but being shocked that a government would act contrary to the best interest of the people should be expected, not a surprise.  History is full of injustices and atrocities carried out by governments.  In fact, if history can teach us anything, a government is uniquely capable and responsible for the worst injustices seen on this planet.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 Election Thoughts, part 1

Nobody likes you Gingrich.  You just need to stop.

Which 22 handgun is right for me starting out?

When people first start shooting, the advice they hear most is "Get a 22 and practice a lot.".  This is generally good advice I think.  There are a number of reasons why a 22 makes a great first gun.  They have minimal recoil and ammunition is very cheap.  It allows for lots of practice for less money than anything else.

There are lots of quality 22 rifles on the market.  In fact it's hard to find a bad one.  Unfortunately when it comes to handguns there are some stinkers out there.  The lower priced models from certain reputable manufacturers are either not durable, not reliable with common ammunition or both.

Counter Protest

Yesterday before I work I went to the Westboro Baptist Church counter-protest in front of the courthouse in my city.  I was proud to see a lot of people I knew and a local entertainment troupe in town decided to show up and out-silly the WBC crowd.  They were successful.  A man on stilts carried a banner that said "you must be this high to get into heaven".  A woman dressed as Charlie Chaplin played the part well and carried a sign that said "God hates gags".  My favorite sign was "Gwar hates everybody".  I think they portrayed the WBC message for being as foolish and arbitrary as it is.

I support a lot of rights that I think are in poor taste and have no place in civilized society.  Protesting at funeral is one of those.  I support a person's right to freedom of speech.  I think WBC should be able to do that.  I think they are all assholes for doing it.

But more than assholes, they are delusional.  They are pushing a message that doesn't make any sense.  I'm not sure what they are trying to achieve but from what I can tell the only thing they are getting is lots of bad press.  Maybe it's a recruitment tool, but if so they are only recruiting people whose hate exceeds their reasoning skills, or people who lack basic reasoning skills.  It seems the premise of the WBC crowd is: Because there are gay people in the US, God kills our soldiers on the battlefield and they are super happy about it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Should I use a rifle for home defense?

There are lots of thoughts on this and some recent trends and testing are changing opinions.  Unlike selecting a gun to carry with you concealed every day, size and weight is not as big of a consideration.  There are other considerations that rise to the forefront however.  One of the big ones is penetration, or specifically over-penetration.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Good Ways to Store Firearms Securely

If you are a firearm owner, you have a responsibility to make a serious effort to keep that gun out of the hands of people who shouldn't have it.  This group could include children, criminals and your drunken cousin Vinnie.  Some states even have safe storage laws that require this.  How you choose to safely store your firearm is up to you, you have to find the right balance between security and convenience.

Most new guns come with a lock
If you wanted the utmost in safety, you could disassemble your firearm and put the parts in two different safes, then the ammo in a third.  You could also attach a trigger lock and run a padlock through the action.  It would be very unlikely that any prohibited person could turn those precautions into a loaded firearm.  That's not really a practical solution for most situations though.  Perhaps your firearm is intended for use as a defensive weapon in your home?  You certainly wouldn't want it taken apart and locked in separate containers.  You'd desire something that offers more accessibility at a cost of less security.

You have to find the compromise between ease of use, security and accessibility you are comfortable with.  Fortunately today there are lots of products and you should be able to find one that strikes the right balance for you.  I'm going to discuss some popular options I am aware of here.