Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Government Waste in St Louis

I read the website for my local paper 4 or 5 days a week.  It's got a fair bit of liberal bias to the editorials, but that's pretty common in traditional newspapers.  It's also serving a primarily left-leaning city, so it makes sense their editorial staff would match the readers political disposition.

Once in a while though one of the articles surprises me.  It really seems like they don't do much research into a lot of stories, and one I read today really highlighted that.  The story talked about the local police department and how some officers were getting raises and the department was getting some new guns.  Seems like a pretty normal and dry story for a local beat reporter, right?

2012 NRA Meetings and Convention

The 2012 NRA meetings were in St Louis this year and I attended on Friday and Saturday.  There were some neat toys, but one thing that really struck me.

The crowd was very skewed to people who are older, male and white.  This wouldn't surprise some people since popular media reports constantly call out how old, monochrome and penis-equipped NRA members are.  But in my experience at local ranges, gun shops and shooting events that doesn't represent the shooting public. 

There's not a time I go to the range when 25% or more of the people there aren't women.  At the range I go to the most it's common to stand in line next to a black woman, or a Hispanic dude, or an Indian couple.  It's odd to be there and only see white people even though the range is in a predominately white neighborhood.  I can't think of a time when I've been there and didn't see women.

The NRA show reminded me of the shooting range 20 years ago- a buncha old white dudes.  Hopefully the people who attend NRA events change like I've seen in the general shooting public.  The shooting community is better when everyone participates. 

Also, the attendees of the show were in general less attractive on average than the general public.  Or maybe I just hang out with attractive people or don't go to Wal-mart enough.  But it was noticeable enough that my wife pointed it out as well.  I found that interesting too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Case for Civilian Ownership of Machine Guns

Many people are shocked when they find out there is a process by which civilians in the US can purchase and possess machine guns.  Due to how the country operates manufacturing, we need these provisions.  There needs to be a system by which we can permit civilians to possess all classes of firearms.

Unlike communist countries or more totalitarian regimes, the government in the US doesn't control the production of goods.  In fact, the government provides very few goods for itself.  Most of what it uses is designed, developed and manufactured by private companies.  Whether it's light bulbs, pencils, computers, automobiles, buildings or military hardware, the process is the same.  The government agency accepts bids to provide goods at a set specification.  Private companies compete for these contracts to sell goods to the government agencies.

Why does this process have to do with your neighbor being able to buy a machine gun?  Well, all those private companies are owned, run and staffed by regular citizens, like your neighbor.  Maybe even you.  Maybe you work for a company that makes pencils, or automobiles or parts for tanks.  Maybe you work for Boeing and you make fighter jets.  Maybe you work for Colt and you make M-16's.