Saturday, October 02, 2004

An interesting, and scary, exchange

One way or another I've been around law enforcement for quite a while, and I've met both kinds. Those who I'd trust with my kid's lives, and those I wouldn't trust to guard an empty doghouse, with all the variations between. One of the problems in law enforcement is that it both attracts people who want power over others, and some who enter the field develop it over time- much like bureaucrats in many agencies. And one of the effects in many is "I can have guns, you people shouldn't". Smallest Minority has a link to a e-mail exchange between a lady with Armed Females of America (don't you just love that name?) and someone who claims to be a New York PD officer. It's very instructive into the attitude problem.

One of the things that always comes up in the 'only cops & military should be allowed guns' line is that law enforcement are trained and more capable, and 'civilians' are not. My observation has been that an awful lot of cops- at one range they say most that come in- are lousy shots. Once they're on the force, most of them only practice when qualifications are coming up, and as long as they pass, that's it. Not another shot fired until next time. The last one I saw, a couple of weeks ago, was shooting from 5-15 yards with his Glock on a full-size silhouette. He had almost as many holes in the paper around the silhouette as there were in it. As he was leaving, I looked up as he passed by and he asked, "How you doing?" I said, "Better than I expected", and he responded "So am I!"
Folks, it was flat bad shooting, and he probably knew it, but since it might just be enough to qualify it was good enough. And that's what you commonly see. But that doesn't matter, you see, they're professionally trained, so lousy shooting doesn't really matter. Or something like that.

Anyway, check out the link. It's not good.

Why isn't this stuff being reported by the News?

Check out this column, and please tell me why these things- especially the dead women and kids in the mosque- are not plastered across the front page, or being loudly reported on the evening news?

It's all damned important, it greatly affects how people see what's going on, so why isn't it widely reported by the big media outlets?

In some cases, it may indeed be 'institutionalized blindness' to things reporters don't like, but in many I'm now convinced it's because a lot of 'journalists' don't want people to know about it; it'll undercut what the 'journalists' want us to think.

(yeah, I'm putting journalists in scare quotes; what they're doing is scary)

Update: there's a letter at this site claiming that the mess noted above didn't happen. Have to scroll down a ways to get to the letter in question.

We need the U.N.'s approval why?

"Congressional investigators say that France, Russia and China systematically sabotaged the former United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq by preventing the United States and Britain from investigating whether Saddam Hussein was diverting billions of dollars. . . ." (from Instapundit)

Let's see, Sudan and Cuban on the Human Rights Council, France and Germany and Russia telling us to give the sanctions longer to work while they're violating them for cash & oil from Iraq, and no matter what the problem the U.S. is obviously to blame for it and can only make amends by prostrating ourselves and handing over our money...

The U.N. may once have had a chance to be a serious organization for peace and freedom, but I rather doubt it. Too many of the governments involved have for too many years followed the old "Your betters have spoken, you peasants obey!" method of government, and looked on the U.N. as a way for them to have a hand in controlling other countries, and stealing from them.

One of the reasons I really don't like Kofi Annan is his insistance that all countries of the world should ban the ownership of 'small arms' from citazens (citazen seems to translate to 'subject' in U.N.-speak). And he defines 'small arms' as being pretty much ANY firearm. Can't let a bunch of peasants run around armed, you know, they might get to thinking the actually have some say in how their lives should go. Yeah, there's a price in people owning arms; all rights have costs.

Get rid of that pesky 1st Amendment, and lots of dangerous information could be kept out of untrustworthy hands. Get rid of that damned 4th, you can search anyone's home or business without the hassle of getting a warrant and can use anything you find, could put lots of bad people away. And so forth.

People, all rights have costs as well as benefits. You don't get something for nothing. And giving up liberties, because someone says you'll be better off (by whose definition?) gets you screwed. And everyone else, down the road.

And I've got news for the folks who like the idea of having the U.N. taking a hand in our elections; the first time some blue-hatted flunky tries to give orders or direct a U.S. polling place, he's going to find out just exactly what most Americans think of that nonsense.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The weather's doing it now

Yesterday, high of 84 and low this morning 65. High today 82, low tonight expected to be 45-49 with the high tomorrow 65.

Yes, I'm glad the 90+ degree days are done, but right now my hands are aching as the front moves through. Good thing is if I get a chance to go chase dove, this front should have them moving through fairly well.

And, just maybe, later this month or next, I may get a chance to be terminally rude to Bambi. Venison with a merlot sauce, damn!

Law enforcement in Britain ( when your cause is not politically correct)

We've always heard a lot about how wonderful things are in Britain. The bobbies don't carry guns, extreme restrictions on firearms, low crime rates, etc.

Well, the inconvenient (for that viewpoint) facts are that crime in Britain is high, lots of the bad guys have guns- and use them- and you can be jailed if you too energetically defend yourself against an attacker.

Today I found this at Free Market Fairy Tales. Apparently, if you are demonstrating in a non-politically correct cause, British police have a rather cavalier attitude toward 'freedom of speech' and 'necessary force'.

(But Americans are a bunch of violent, nasty cowboy types! Yeah, right)

What the hell is wrong with the Media pt. II

Found at Sondrak.

Some of these people are just plain on the enemy side.


From reports, Cameron Diaz now has to be classed as giving dumb blondes a bad name.

And to any celebrity out their saying they'll move out of the country if Bush wins, I will make a contribution to your moving expenses.

What the hell is wrong with the Major Media?

Rather & Co. violate basically all the rules of responsible journalism, and wind up swinging in the wind for it. And THEN, just to prove how full of crap they are, CBS runs a big story on the draft being snuck in. A big story based on a phony e-mail. And then defend themselves by saying that the fact the e-mail was phony doesn't count:
Producer Linda Karas: "The truth of the e-mails were absolutely irrelevant to the piece, because all the story said was that people were worried. It’s a story about human beings that are afraid of the draft. We did not say that this (e-mail) was true, it’s just circulating. We are not verifying the e-mail."

I'm new at this, but it was always my impression that JOURNALIST'S were supposed to care whether or not their story was true and their sources good.

Quote found at Instapundit.

Update: CBS and NBC did the fake draft e-mail story.

Tony Blair

The Prime Minister of Great Britain is having heart surgery. Hope all goes well.

Tony Blair is not one of my favorite people. True, he's on our side in the war, but in most other ways he'd count as an opponent or enemy of much I believe in.

He doesn't want any private citazen to own arms. He wants the government running everyone's life; what doctor you'll see and when, what house you can live in, what you child will be taught in the school you will send him to, etc.
The government owns your money and property, you're just allowed to keep some of it. You can't say or write things that might hurt someone's feelings, especially if the hurt feelings belong to some minority group member. And you simply must get the UN and European Union to agree to everything.

I do give him credit for being smart enough to see that we have to fight the Islamist nutcases and defeat them now, or it'll be very much worse in the future, and tough enough to push it through his government and stick it out. But he's not our friend in all things.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Hardening and tempering

When you forge a knife, the last, and possibly most critical stages, are hardening and tempering. You take the forged, rough-ground blade and bring it up to critical temperature. It has to be even; if the section you need to make hard varies in temperature along it's length, it won't harden evenly. And then you quench it in oil. It smokes and bubbles, and puts incredible stress on the piece. If there's a flaw it may crack, or shatter. It's possible for a crack to form internally, that may not show itself until you test the finished piece, and it breaks.

Then you temper it. You take the hardened blade, and heat it again, to a lower temperature. It's a balancing act; if you get it too hot, you remove too much of the hardness. Not hot enough, it'll be brittle, and can snap when put under stress. Fine steel, badly heat-treated, may be junk. Moderately good steel with first-class treatment, can be marvelous.

I was thinking, after the previous post, about the two candidates, and about hardening and tempering in humans. Someone can seem a marvelous person, and fall apart or show real flaws after the stresses involved; others, who may not seem like much of anything, can have a lot of impurities burned out, and become far more than they'd have known without the fire.

Yeah, Kerry was actually under fire in Viet Nam a few times. And Bush flew fighters, which can also kill you and others. In later years, other things happened. Kerry went into politics right away, Bush not for quite a while from what I know. Kerry seems to have used the time in the Navy mostly as a way to pad a resume' for later political use, and whacked on the people he served with. I think that, under different circumstances, Bush might well have made a career of the Air Force. Bush's real forging came later, I think. Drinking and whatever else, and then his wife said, "Straighten up, or else", and meant it. And he did.

I think Bush came out of the fires quite possibly better metal than went in. I don't think Kerry changed; he just stayed the same, like a mild steel that can't be hardened. And I know which I trust more right now.

Debates? I don't need no stinking debates!

I almost never watch presidential debates. In this case, I have no intention to. I flat do not trust Kerry.
I don't trust him to carry on the war (I don't know if he really believes it is a war).
I don't trust him not to try to boost taxes any and every way he can.
I don't trust him not to try to ban every firearm and round of ammunition possible.
I don't trush him not to try to take as much power over our lives as possible.

No, I don't trust Bush on everything. He's done some thing's that really ticked me off, and he hasn't done some things I really think he should have. He's been far too willing to compromise on some important things. BUT...

And it's a big 'but'. I think he really believes that we're in a war for long-term survival of our system, and intends to win. And I can forgive an awful lot for that.

Socialism in Canada, and what's about to happen

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler has a link to an article in a Canadian newspaper about the start of what amounts to a revolution.

Apparently, ownership of property in Canada is considered a privilege bestowed by the government, and some people are damn tired of it. And considering the people organizing are in large part the people who grow the food...

Check it out.

Why don't I like Kerry? Let me count the ways...

One of the biggest is his stand on firearms. He runs around doing photo ops with shotguns- including some really bad gunhandling- and telling everyone how he loves to hunt (how many people hunt deer crawling around in the woods on their belly?). But, if I'm not mistaken, he's voted for every gun ban, tax, restriction, license idea, etc., that has come through the Senate.

On the subject of the Assault Weapons Ban, may it rest in compost heap, he made the standard comment about "you don't need a machine gun to hunt deer", along with various other crap. The Second Amendment doesn't say a thing about hunting, it speaks of the right of the citazen to arms. And the AWB had nothing to do with machine guns; the National Firearms Act of 1934 does that on the federal level.

And he's been right in the middle of that load of crap that "we don't want to ban guns, we just want common-sense safety laws" that always involve banning or licensing or otherwise restricting ownership of arms.

If you aren't familiar with how various states/countries gun control laws have worked out, as far as crime goes, check out Smallest Minority. The man has done a marvelous job of tracking a lot of this stuff.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


While finishing the previous post, I ran to take my cookies out of the oven. And as I was sliding those hot, soft, chip- and pecan-laden beauties off the sheet, the handle broke off the spatula.

!?#*@()&!! However, I have a spare, so the cookies are saved!

National Ammo Day's a'comin!

I'd forgotten about it, but was reminded when checking out Kim du Toit this evening. It's a wonderful way to a: stock up, and b: annoy certain people and politicians, both at the same time!

Only 100 rounds. With .22's, a couple of bucks. Or, hell, get a brick. 500 rounds will go faster than you think. Don't own a gun yet? Great time to buy one. Roll on over to Kim's place and check it out.

Update: link fixed

What's in a name?

One reason I went ahead and started this blog was a comment from Ann Althouse. I'd written to her about a post on how Kerry lost her. In the back & forth I mentioned that Firehand came from a memorable occasion, and she said I ought to blog about it. So here it is:

I mentioned earlier that I do a bit of blacksmithing. One fine fall day, I had the forge running to make a tool called a spring fuller. I was using a straightened-out section of coil spring about 3/4" in diameter. I'd shaped one end, then cooled it off so I could hold onto it while I worked the rest, then put the center, which needed to be flattened, in the fire.

It takes a while for a piece that thick and long to heat. So I arranged tools, petted the dogs, and waited. When the center was red, I picked it up.

Have you ever touched something that was really hot? Steel doesn't get a visible heat glow 'till about 1000 degrees F, and the end wasn't glowing, but it was DAMN hot. First I heard a sizzle. Then I realized what was happening and dropped it- it stuck a bit- and immediately stuck my hand in the slack tub.

A slack tub is just something full of water for cooling metal off. In this case it was an old crisper drawer from a refrigerator, two-thirds full. There were leaves floating in it, the dogs- and probably squirrels and birds- drank out of it, it had steel scale in it, but it had been sitting out overnight and it was cold. Which is probably all that saved me from much worse. After a minute or so, with the dogs sitting there wondering why I had that funny look on my face, I took my hand out, looked at it, and went in the house (I'd turned off the blower while standing there). Found my wife in the living room and said something like "I got burned, what do you think?"

She looked at my hand and said, "I'll get the kids ready", and off to the doctor we went.

First, second and borderline third degree, over most of my left palm and fingers. At that stage treatment involved soaking it in antiseptic, then covering with antibiotic and bandages. All through this I sat there with my hand now feeling like it was about to fall off (and it might hurt a bit less if it did, do you think?). Note to other nurses three days out of school: it does not help the patient's frame of mind when you look at the hand, ask "What's wrong with it?", hear "Burns", look again, get a 'yuck' expression on your face and say, "Uh".

That was the first time in my life I've actually wanted pain medication. A prescription for Tylenol 3, the stuff with codeine, was given and promptly filled. It took about forty-five minutes from taking the first for effect to be noticed, and it was wonderful; the pain just faded out. No fuzziness, no 'Whee!', just no more pain. The cessation of pain was one of the most wonderful thing's I've ever felt. I'd been burned before, but not this badly.

Happily, my then-wife had a lot of studies in herbology behind her, and after the initial 24 hours, put some of her stuff on the skin when rebandaging. Three days later, when the doctor examined it, he was fairly amazed. He'd been fairly sure they'd have to do some debriding, but none was required. For which I was profoundly grateful.

That's the story behind Firehand. And yes, I'm a lot more careful about checking things that should be cool before I try to pick them up.

Dan Rather and Sandy Berger

I heartily approve of all the beating up on Dan Rather. I haven't been able to stand him for years, and he finally let his partisanship pull him out into a position he can't bluff out of. A lot of media weenies are trying to help, but I don't think it'll work.

My strongest memory of Rather is from a newcast one day before we went into Bosnia. In one city people were able to get to the market for the first time in nearly two weeks, and while they were waiting to by someone dropped two or three mortar shells into the town square. It was a bloody mess. CBS News came on that evening (I still watched it then) and Dan said, in appropriately serious voice, something like "Massacre in Bosnia, dozens dead or hurting". And then, in a perked-up voice, "But first, in the O.J. Simpson trial today..." I have no idea what he said after that, as I was jumping up and down and screaming at the screen. I didn't like him before, and I flat couldn't stand him after that.

Ref Sandy Berger, Instapundit has questions from a man about Berger's case (scroll down). And they're good questions. This guy stole classified files from the National Archive, and 'lost' some of them. And now he's dropped out of sight. Is he going to be prosecuted? If not, why not? There's no excuse for either his actions, or the deference he's received from far too many people about this.

Weather changes

Oklahoma weather generally follows one of two patterns: it either sits steady for long periods of time, or it whacks you from behind repeatedly. Highs near 100, a day or so later 70's. Cold, then warms up, then cold, etc. It can get damn wearing at times.

I used to live in a town called Medford, up near the KS border. In winter there was virtually nothing between you and the north pole but some trees and an occasional elk or deer. This meant it could be about zero F. for days, then be in the 30's & 40's within forty-eight hours. On one occasion, the weatherman on the ten P.M. news said we were going to have some flurries overnight, 'but they won't amount to anything'. Less than ten hours later, there was a measured three feet of snow on the ground in several counties, including ours.

It's supposed to be in the 80's today, about 80 tomorrow, then a front with rain and 60's to low 70's for highs. And it could then dry out and warm up enough that walking through woods sounds like you're stomping on potato chips.

We'll see.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Kerry becoming the Great Pumpkin?

Hog on Ice has a nice post on the apparent skin problem of Kerry.

For God's sake, guy, either get out in the sun or just don't worry about it! Beats looking like a bigger kid went over your face with a marker.


Assuming anyone winds up reading this, welcome!

No, I have no earth-shattering revelations to make. I do have opinions, ideas, likes and dislikes, and opining about them is what this is for.

I like dogs and cats (ferrets and various other critters, too) . I like all kinds of music, classical to rock to traditional to fusion. Science fiction and mysteries are my favorite books, though I'll read almost anything.

I like guns, and motorcycles, and knives/swords/axes, and other shiny things.

And I have no interest in 'reaching an understanding' with people who want us dead; i.e. terrorists, communists, and others of the fascist tribe.

Freedom of Speech has to apply to groups you don't like and ideas you don't agree with. If it doesn't then you don't really like the idea, you just like saying you do. Ain't the same thing, folks.

This is the beginning, we'll see how it goes.