Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Standards, part 3

If you read this blog regularly, you've perhaps already read my thoughts on standards.  Shockingly enough, I have another example to share.

I listen to a fair bit of NPR during the week which I've talked about a few times.  This week talk of the bombers has been prominent, as it is on most news stations.  But one of the programs really caught my ear for the hypocrisy.  In the very same segment, I heard the statement "We don't want to allow people to use this tragedy to push immigration legislation." and "We need to look at how guns were used in this instance and determine if we need any new laws.".  This is incredulous in that the speakers don't even realize the have a double standard applied to the same event.  In their mind anything is fair game to promote gun control, but it's dishonorable to use tragedy to push other ideals.

If it didn't happen so often, it would boggle my mind.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Being Prepared for Emergencies

I have a lot of friends who make being prepared a priority in their life.  Part of the mentality is having a set number of items a person carries on their person everyday.  This is frequently referred to as Every Day Carry, or EDC.

A person's EDC list likely includes things you normally carry as well.  An ID.  Some money.  A bank card.  A phone.  It's pretty common for most people I know to carry all of those things.  But some of the more prepared may add other things to that.  A bandana, flashlight, knife and multitool make my list.  If you see me, I have at least those things on me.  I find I use the knife, flashlight and multitool almost every day.

Many people I know add a firearm to their EDC list.  Depending on who you are, I think that's a rational choice.  But there is one thing that a person may find more useful more often, and that's a first aid kit.  Just look to the bombing in Boston- a first aid kit and the training to use it could have helped people.  A gun would have been a liability as the police and military cracked down.  I'm not saying a person shouldn't carry a gun, only that if you do, it makes sense to carry a first aid kit as well.  And if you don't, it still makes sense to add a first aid kit to your EDC.  Many people I know carry a quality first aid kit in a bag, perhaps a backpack, purse or satchel.  If you want to be prepared it seems like a reasonable inconvenience. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The New Bike

I finally snapped a couple pics of my new bike.  It's the first motorcycle I've spent any money on right off.  Typically I don't customize vehicles, because I see that as wasted money.  It impacts me being able to get my money back out of them.  I also tend to buy used for that reason.  Nothing is better than buying something used, getting to experience it for a time, then selling it for what you bought it for.  It's one of the great attractions of firearms to me.

But, you have to do a little work to new vehicles, thanks to the EPA.  New cars don't run as efficiently as they could because they have to comply with EPA regs for cold start pollutants in a wide variety of conditions, 100 degrees at sea level to below freezing at 4,000' of altitude.  This means that many compromises need to be made, and efficiency suffers.  I've written about this before here and here

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Innovative Arms W.A.R. Gas Adjustable AR-15 Upper Reciever

If you've been reading along, I've spoken about finally putting my SBR (Short Barrel Rifle) together after having my paperwork approved for a year.  I ended up going with relatively fancy components since it was an effort a couple years in the making.  Since I was planning on running my SBR suppressed some of the time, I chose a Innovative Arms W.A.R. Gas Adjustable Upper Reciever.

The idea is similar to Noveske's Switchblock.  Since you get X amount of gas to operate your rifle when it's unsuppressed and some amount greater than X gas when you have a can affixed, in theory you can regulate this with a gas port so you aren't overgassed when the can is on.  My other suppressed AR-15 is certainly overgassed.  Even with some sealant at the charging hande, if you dump 20 rounds fast through it it sprays oil on your face.  It's not harmful, just annoying.  And probably bad for one's pores. 

Suppressor Comparison

As mentioned in this post, I am now the proud owner of two rifle suppressors.  They are a Surefire 762 Mini and a AAC Ranger 2.  They are of similar size and weight, with the Surefire being a bit longer and heavier.  There are two main differences.

The Surefire has a quick detach (QD) mount, allowing me to quickly attach it to anything with a matching muzzle device.  As well, the Surefire is a .30 caliber suppressor, where the Advanced Armament one is for .223 (and smaller) only.  As well as being for .30 caliber, the Surefire is rated for more powerful cartridges.  I couldn't shoot a 22-250 through my Ranger-2, even though it's 22 caliber, because the pressure is too high.  I could damage it.  However, cartridges of that power are perfectly fine to shoot through my Surefire can.  It offers more utility for the extra size and weight.

Standards, part 2

I've spoken before about media bias and media companies being propaganda machines.  There is some recent evidence of that in this subject, but that's not my main message.

You may have heard of the Kermit Gosnell trial.  Or you may not.  Kermit Gosnell (allegedly) has committed some atrocities as his work as an abortion provider.  Legal atrocities, this isn't me taking a moral stand against abortion.  Gosnell would instruct women to come in very late in their pregnancy and perform the "abortion" in a manner that often equated to a live birth, then kill the baby and sometimes cut off parts for keepsakes.

Again, this isn't me speaking out against abortion or reproductive rights, if you read about this man's actions he's obviously operating outside of legal abortion and purposefully so.  You may have not heard about it because most news companies have decided to not carry the story.  The reasoning is that by making the public aware of this man it could hurt abortion rights.  People may read the story and think that more regulation in that industry is a good idea.  They may want to restrict the right of abortion in some way.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I see a lot of propaganda from gun control and gun rights activists.  Both typically use fear to sell their message, whether it's "guns will murderize you" or "you need a gun or you aren't safe".  It is the way of things, people respond to fear, whether it's rational or not.  But one thing the gun control advocates seem to do is to delight in throwing about blood and tragedy.  I find it distasteful to promote a cause using the bloody shirts of a person who has been murdered.  Especially in tragedies, I find it distasteful and even dishonorable to use the event to promote an agenda.

Many reputable gun rights advocates try to avoid this sort of thing, trying to be respectful in the aftermath of a mass killing.  At the school shooting a few months back, the NRA refrained from making a statement other than supporting the victim's families for a week.  I think that's appropriate.

But since the bombing in Boston yesterday, I keep seeing parodies of propaganda calling for bomb control.  Gun rights people mocking gun control advocates by using their posters and changing "gun" to "bomb".  It's distasteful and disrespectful of the victims.  In fact, I'll go as far as to say I think it's shameful, and it hurts the movement.  People should stop doing it.  People with honor should be respectful to the injured and their families and discuss political and civil rights topics another day, using facts as the basis.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Trustworthiness Based on Employment

The basis of the idea of civilian gun control is that some people are less trustworthy than others.  If you are a police officer you are trusted to own and carry a gun.  If you are an accountant, you are not.  Well, unless you are an accountant for one of the scores of government agencies that provide guns to their employees.  So if you are a field engineer for the Dept of Agriculture you are trusted enough to be armed.  If you are a field engineer for an oil company, you are not.  If you are a case worker for the Dept of Education, you can carry a gun.  If you are a case worker for the Salvation Army, you are not.  This is the basis of gun control, if you work for the government, you are trustworthy.  If you do not, you are not.

This baffles me.  Now- police and soldiers, sure, they get special training.  But isn't it the training that matters?  Does the fact you work for a bureaucracy mean you are trustworthy enough to own a gun?  But working for a bank, a factory or an accounting firm means you aren't?  I really don't get the logic of that. 

What made me think about this point is two stories I read today.  One where a government didn't secure a bunch of guns, which resulted in 20,000 M-16 Assault Rifles (yes, actual assault rifles, not the rifles gun control advocates like to label "assault weapons" in the US).  The other, where a government agency in my state, a police agency even, handed over private information on hundreds of thousands of people in disregard for the law.

But if you follow the logic of gun control advocates, only these people are trustworthy enough to own and carry firearms. 

Government Agencies That Work

I was going to limit this post to praising the US Post Office, but that doesn't really fit my rambling style, so I'll comment on a few other government agencies that seem to do a pretty good job.  In general, people don't enjoy having to interface with government.  When was the last time you heard someone talk joyfully about the last time they had to get a building permit, went to the DMV, spoke with the IRS or has an impromptu meeting with the police?  It's pretty rare.

But some of my experiences contrast with this.  My local post office is fantastic.  The lines are never long, and yesterday I sent two small packages out, one to either coast.  Including the cost to use their packaging the total cost was less than $10.  That's pretty impressive, and I'm relatively sure they will get to their destination in a couple days.  UPS would have cost me double that.  That's one way the Post Office still is the leader, cost effective mailing of letters and small packages.  They do a great job for a very affordable price.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Do Politicians Believe in Math?

I'd guess politicians only believe in the fact that they can say whatever numbers they want and most people believe the numbers are truthful and comparative.  That's certainly not the case.

We live in a vibrant country.  People want to move here.  We have a growing population.  We have a growing work force.  Oh, wait, not according to the federal agency that publishes unemployment numbers.

See, they have a number they basically make up called the "Labor Participation Rate".  The number isn't made up, but how it's derived is, and it changes to suit the message politicians want to spread.  See, if somebody doesn't want to work, or decides to stop looking or goes on disability, they aren't considered unemployed!  It's like magic!  One day you are unemployed, then a day later you hit a threshold and now you are considered to not be!  As of now the Labor Participation rate is 63%.  That's rather low compared to history.

You'll also notice, if you follow that sort of thing, that most weeks the unemployment numbers are announced.  Then a couple days later they are adjusted to be worse.  Then the next week they announce the numbers (based off the adjusted numbers, of course) then quietly again they are adjusted to be worse than announced.  This happens most weeks.  We get the impression that the job market is improving faster than it is if we just pay attention to the headlines.  When you start to look at the actual data, the pictures is much less rosy.

I urge you to do your own research on this topic.  It will, unfortunately, hurt your faith in both politicians and the news you hear and read, but it's far better to understand the truth, and to understand how you are being lied to.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Tale of Two Carbines

I tend to learn by doing.  I can study material and remember it, but to remember something for years it helps if I do it.  I tend to enjoy the experience of things, which is one reason I tend to switch out motorcycles every few years.  It's not that I get bored with what I have or think something else will be better (although sometimes that is the case) mostly I just get to know what I have and I want to learn something else.  You can only really get to know something when you use it a lot.  But after I get to that stage, I tend to get wanderlust, I'm ready to learn something else.

Sequester, My Ass, part 3

And what do we see today regarding new government expenditures?  My favorite is the BATFE looking for bids for a new database, a database to track people and who they associate with on social media.  You know, like blogspot.  Or Facebook, or Google+ (or hell, gmail or gchat for that matter) or twitter, or flikr, or any place on the internet you login and share things with other people.  The ATF thinks they need to know who you talk to and share things with all the time, just in case they think you commit a crime.  See, it's hard for them to find your friends to try to get evidence against you during an investigation, so they want to be pro-active.  We're all on the verge of being criminals anyway, right?

Increasingly, if you type it on the internet, the government wants to store and track it.  Be careful what you write, lest your idea of free speech crosses the government's line of dissident or insurgent. 

Who Supports Gun Control?

Not cops.  Over and over again you see articles and studies showing that most beat cops (not the guys in the office or the sheriff types that are elected and mostly politicians) support private gun rights.  In fact, in this most recent study, more than twice as many cops think banning "assault weapons" will have cause violent crime to increase rather than decrease, although 70% think it will have no effect at all. 

85% of the officers polled think the legislation supported by the white house will have "No effect" or a "Negative effect" on crime.

Only 5% believe that having armed citizen president in an active shooter situation (a mass murderer, like a school or movie theater killer) would make the situation more deadly.  86% believe that having an armed citizen present would reduce or avoid casualties in a mass murder situation.  This is in line with examples we've seen when armed citizens are present.

81% believe that gun "buy backs" do nothing to affect crime in a given region.

Anyway, read through the questions and answers if you are interested.  It's solid data from the people who respond to violent crime as their job, and it's an opinion I respect.  Remember, gun control isn't about making people safer, it's about control.  It's an flimsy excuse to chip away at existing rights.

Humane Executions

Well, this is horrifying.  I'd much rather face a firing squad than the people who carry out executions professionally, it seems.

It's hard to be sympathetic for people who receive the death penalty for particularly evil crimes, but if we as a society take minutes or hours to perform an execution, it's time to rethink the methods being used.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Touch Down

As mentioned in a previous post, I recently picked up a new motorcycle.  For the last couple years my garage contained a V-Rod and a KLR-650.  Very different bikes, but both great machines.  The particular model of V-Rod was the VRSCR, or Street Rod.  (Harley has terrible names for many of their models)  It was only made for a couple years, and probably the best handling bike Harley ever made.  It didn't really catch on, Americans didn't appreciate things like dual Brembo brakes up front and a taller suspension that handled better than other V-Rods.  Well, in 2006 and 2007 they didn't.  But I loved that bike.  It handled like a bike that was much lighter, and had an engine that was seriously fast, even when carrying a passenger.

But, I get the urge to try different things once in a while, so I'm selling the V-Rod and picked up a new bike.  I haven't even put 200 miles on the new one, but I'm impressed with the handling so far.  HD has come a long way since the last Softail I owned, a 2001 model.  This bike turns quite well.  The brakes are strong, but seriously mushy, something I plan to remedy in short order.   But even putting as few of miles as I have on it, I'm using most of the tire.  I think this is a bike where I'll be using the whole width of the tire.  No chicken strips for me!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sequester, My Ass, part 2

We keep hearing in the news about services that will be cut and people losing their jobs due to the sequester.  I have a friend who is a research scientist, and he said they are all on the edge of their seats waiting to see what funding will be cut for research projects.

You know what isn't getting cut though?  The $62 million dollars the Department of Energy is spending on it's NASCAR team that hopes to race in 2015.  Because, see, it's more important to spend millions of dollars so an electric car can make left hand turns and make fast battery changes than in actually working on new clean energy sources.  That's just stupid.  The fact that it's unaffected by sequester shows our federal government is more interested in advertising and propaganda than projects that deliver results.