Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Hail the Police State, part 11

I recently attended a SWAT team training session.  I'm not a cop, but an organization I volunteer with has been used to play bad guys for SWAT training a few times.  It's fun, although it's super weird even thinking about pointing a gun at a cop, whether it's an exercise or not.  At this last one the cops were raiding a Islamic extremist camp that had a hostage.  The cops were very, very good at not shooting people on prayer rugs, which was very heartening.  They have a tough job, I wouldn't want to be in their shoes trying to make instant decisions about who the bad guys are and who isn't.

This exercise had police from a number of different departments, and one thing I noticed was every one of them looked like a soldier.  All of them had on military-style battle dress uniforms (BDU's) helmets, vests full of gear and serious carbines, short barreled rifles and sub-machine guns. 

Remember when cops used to dress like this?

Now far too often they look like this

Anyway, it reminded me of this, which I thought I'd share.  Take the quiz and see how you do. 

It's all part of the militarization of police, the two groups are becoming harder and harder to tell apart.  In general, that's bad as police and soldiers have very different jobs, although more and more they are working together.

Stay safe out there!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why Voting 3rd Party Makes Sense

The greatest triumph of the two political parties in this country is that people really believe that if they don't stamp R or D on their ballot they are throwing their vote away.  That no matter how bad one of the candidates is, if he's a little better than the the other candidate, the one who can't win at any cost.  The ruling parties have convinced American voters that it's a binary decision.

That frankly, is a load of crap.

Monday, October 29, 2012

All Hail the Police State, part 10

One of the problems with the militarization of the police is it changes how they respond to calls.  As police departments are issued military hardware, they look for ways to use it.  The military hardware was first distributed under the guise of the war on drugs, now to supposedly combat terrorism.  What ends up happening is we put people who are very good at being cops in a new role, one they aren't as comfortable with.  Uniforms matter, and changing from a Police uniform to a SWAT or Soldier uniform changes the mentality of the wearer.

Here is a tragic story where the parents are discussing how calling the police ended up with their son dead.  Teenagers attempting or committing suicide is a common occurrence, it's been a common theme in popular literature for centuries.  There are many ways to deal with it

Only this time we have a kid who got a bad grade, started drinking and told his mom he was going to kill himself.  She calls 911 and the local police department rolls out a SWAT team, complete with riot shields, an armored personnel carrier and a sniper.  The situation ended with the kid breaking a window and the sniper shooting him dead.  I can't imagine how that is anyone's best case scenario.

When your only tool is a SWAT team, every call starts looking like a raid....

Monday, October 22, 2012

All Hail the Police State, part 9

Today we'll see two recent disconcerting stories about this nation trending towards a police state.  

First we have the Department of Homeland Security (you know, that department that didn't even exist a few years ago) working with Amtrack to implement new security protocols on trains.  You know, because trains are constantly used by enemies of the state.

Second, we had a terrible mass murder over the weekend in a small town in Wisconsin.  Incidentally, this shooting took place in a building which was a gun-free zone, again showing that criminals don't follow regulations.  But that's not the issue I want to discuss.  It's the response to this event and more importantly how it was covered by the media.  FBI rolls in troops and armored vehicles and only foreign news sources report it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

22 Caliber Bullet Options

I am an avid reloader, also known as handloading.  This is the practice of making your own ammunition.  Some people do it as a cost saving measure, some people do it to control the consistency (and thus accuracy) of their ammo.  Some people do it to create ammunition they can't easily find.  I do it for a mix of those three reasons.  I can produce common revolver cartridges, like 357 magnum and 44 special, for half of what a store-bought ammo costs.  I can create rifle cartridges that are suited for a specific purpose.  I can create light loads (my specialty) for new shooters- cartridges that offer less recoil and muzzle blast but are still quite accurate.  The brass case of a cartridge can be used many times, so it's environmentally friendly as well.

Last night I had a friend over who loaded up some 223 cartridges.  Over the years I've collected a variety of different 22 caliber bullets and I thought I'd line some up and take a picture, then discuss differences in bullet design.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Downside to Firearm Suppressors

Other than the cost, lengthy process to acquire and weight a suppressor (or silencer or muffler as they are commonly called) there is another downside.  It's a downside a lot of people don't know about, or don't properly appreciate, until they own one.

They make your gun dirty.  Very dirty.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dragon Day

As a kid Red Dawn was one of my favorite movies.  It came out during my formative years, when a boy is looking for his place in the universe.  The idea that a person could be heroic and fight evil is very attractive as a youth.  Nobody wants to be a banker at 16, they want to do something epic.  Red Dawn offered that in their storyline and they pulled from current geopolitical tension at the time to craft an (almost) believable scenario.  I love underdog stories.

The remake of Red Dawn, not so much.  Hollywood is so pansified they couldn't pick an enemy of the US better than North Korea, who isn't a threat at all.  It would have been too un-PC to pick a country that could actually do us harm, like Pakistan, India, China or Iran.  From the trailers it just looks like a typical action flick that really doesn't have any link to anyone's actual fears today.

But then I saw a trailer for Dragon Day.  This seems like a better remake of the original Red Dawn than the actual remake of Red Dawn.  It calls on actual concerns today- financial difficulties that cause the US to default on certain debts and cyber attacks on infrastructure.  Both of those are real risks we face in 2012, and something people are more concerned about than soldiers parachuting into our town square.

Since it's an independent movie, it may not have the amazing explosions and million dollar actors.  I think that makes me like it even more.  So many movies today let the story suffer and just fluff itself up with car chase scenes, acrobatic fights and big explosions.  I'd rather enjoy a story.

Anyway, here is the trailer.  Check out their site if you like it, they are looking for funding to finish it up.