Saturday, January 07, 2006
Brings up a good point. Someone starts yapping about the high rate of murders involving firearms here, they either don't know about total rates, i.e. by all causes, or don't care; guns are bad and that's all that counts. Being able to point out those total numbers can really take the wind from their sails. And in the case of the really annoying GFWs, it really pisses them off, too.
"THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials."
As Michelle says, this is Big News, and ought to be on the front pages. Want to hold your breath until it is?
I didn't think so.
I've mentioned I used to play around in the SCA. Well, one evening the local group had been asked to do a demo for some organization. The guy I was to fight was working hard at a Japanese persona, and at that time fought only with katana. We'd sparred some times before, and that night we agreed to use his chosen weapons. Time came and we got up on the stage and stood facing while we were introduced, rules explained, etc.
I had always seen SCA combat as a game. I'd never taken it seriously, seeing it as a real fight. Until tonight. For some reason, this time, I looked at Taisho and thought, "You're mine". Everything around me faded into the background; I could hear everything but only the sounds from my opponent counted, I knew where everything/everyone around me was without having to glance aside. And the fight began.
And this time it was a real fight to me. I was fairly skilled, but not taking it dead-serious kept me from getting much better. But this time, everything was focused. He was better, better than me at this style but I had him on the defensive from the start. I have no idea how long it lasted, probably no more than a minute, then I feinted him out of position and made a beautiful cross-body cut into him, and he folded and went down. I stepped back, they called me the winner, and then, I couldn't move. I mean I couldn't move; I had to lean my helmet on the sword pommel- point on the floor- to keep from falling over. Truly realistic training is much like a real battle, it drains you, and this was the first time ever in SCA combat I'd done this. I think somebody led me off the stage, at least I didn't really remember walking off. And after we both calmed down, Taisho basically said "What the hell was THAT?" I said something like "I remembered to concentrate this time" and left it at that.
I was wearing a steel helmet that probably weighed about 6-8 pounds, a padded tunic and leather and steel scale laced onto a leather backing body armor, shoulders to mid-thigh, some leather armor over arms and gauntlets for the hands. Probably about 45-50 pounds total weight, and the sword weighed about three.
What made me remember this was thinking of what our troops wear. Fatigues, and armor, often elbow and knee pads, helmet, goggles, sometimes night-vision gear. Ammo and first-aid kit and water and food and personal weapons. Sometimes a belt for the guy with the machinegun or other ammo for somebody with the heavy-weapons stuff. And so on. David Drake wrote in Fortress that what a lot of people didn't realize is that the infantry grunt carries everything he needs on his body, and hopes it's enough at the same time he's sweating to carry it all. And in real combat; real outdo the other guys, kill or die combat. I don't think I can imagine the level of stress, and the let-down at the end, when the shooting stops. And then they have to stay mobile and alert until things are secured and they're relieved...
A lot of people have said it better than I can; we OWE these people bigtime for doing what so many of us cannot for whatever reason.
Friday, January 06, 2006
"A series of internal documents from the U.S. Secret Service obtained by this newspaper provide details of a project involving the transfer of thousands of telephone and bank records to a government database with the help of U.S. telephone and financial company executives. "
"Federal prosecutors would, over a year later, use the roadmap created by the so-called Daryl Bridges calling card to obtain convictions in the Denver federal trials of McVeigh and Nichols. However, during each trial there was scant mention of any role played by Riley or the Secret Service in obtaining the phone records.
Instead, a series of FBI agents and phone company executives would take the stand to tell jurors a much more “sanitized” version of how the records were obtained.
At no time did the government admit that federal agents were able to obtain thousands of unsuspecting Americans’ phone and bank records without their knowledge, nor did the government show a court any evidence that these citizens had done anything illegal."
Gee, I thought all was wonderfulness and light before the Eeeville Bushymacchimphitler took office?
Update: I found this link at No Quarters; this crap is for real. Here's his post on it.
" Police in the United Kingdom have now been authorized to arrest anyone at any time for any reason, according to the UK Telegraph."
Civil liberties? What are those?
"Before the law changes, police were able to arrest suspects only if the police had reason to believe that the suspects were going to commit a crime punishable by at least five years of jail. Those restrictions have been dropped such that police can now arrest and detain anyone that they think might commit any type of crime. Police will still have to file a report explaining why they thought arresting someone was necessary."
I looked over the Telegraph site for more information and couldn't find reference to this. I did, however, find this:
"The government was accused last night of compiling a national DNA database "by stealth" as police reported a rapid increase in genetic profiling in recent years." Sound interesting?
"The growth in the UK database has followed several legal changes allowing the DNA taken from people who are acquitted, or arrested and questioned but never charged - or even cautioned - to be retained indefinitely.
No other country gives its police greater freedom to obtain, use and store genetic information and most remove the profiles if the person is acquitted or not charged."Near the end it has this from the Home Office minister:"
Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister, said: "It is vital that the police are equipped with the powers they need to enable them to do their jobs properly and effectively. The powers need to be updated to reflect modern policing priorities and the changing nature of criminal activity.
"We need to maintain the crucial balance between the powers of the police and an individual's rights.
"The introduction of a single, rationalised power of arrest simplifies arrest powers and requires the police officer to consider the necessity of the arrest." Yeah, it really simplifies things when you can bust someone you think, might, commit any type of crime.
Combine this with the ever-increasing video surveillance, and the plan to track every motor vehicle all the time... If you're planning a trip to Formerly Great Britain, be damn careful when you're there.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Ruger New Model Super Single-Six, to use the whole name. 5.5" barrel, adjustable sights, and came with both .22LR and .22 Magnum cylinders. Like Cowboy, I wasn't old enough to buy it myself, Dad did the honors there, and I've had it ever since. Not too many magnums have been fired(I was always short of money, and they's expensive), but I have no idea how many long rifle cartridges have gone down the bore. When I first heard of them, I wanted to get a Wolff spring kit to lighten the trigger, but a: didn't have the money then, either and b: since then just never got around to it. Realistically, wouldn't make a lot of difference; the trigger has a bit of creep, but it's not heavy, and someday I'll get around to taking it apart and polishing things.
Nicely accurate, and solid in the hand. I found a holster that fit, and used it to carry it on fishing and camping trips and hikes. Barring disaster, it'll go to the kids to argue over someday.
The first gun? Marlin Model 60 .22 rifle. I don't have it because it belongs to my daughter now.
"A Williston man who admitted repeatedly sexually assaulting a young girl for four years was sentenced Wednesday to spend 60 days in prison -- a punishment that angered the victim's family but was defended by the judge as the only way to provide counseling for the perpetrator."
And when the prosecutor asked for at least an eight-year sentance? "Cashman, though, told the crowded courtroom that punishment was not his priority in sentencing Hulett, but rather finding treatment for the man to prevent future abuse."
How about this, judge; you could prevent future abuse by LOCKING HIS ASS UP FOR A LONG DAMN TIME! He repeated his crime over FOUR YEARS, YOU IDIOT! He RAPED the kid over and over and over, and YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT HIM GETTING COUNSELING?!?!?
This is the kind of thing tar and feathers exist in tandem for. And a nice, splintery rail, too. It's hard to imagine anything else as vile as what this walking piece of trash did; and it's hard to believe a rational adult could do something as idiotically PC as this worthless excuse for a judge did.
And you know what? If a family member of the kid beat the crap out of the molester, let alone hanged him as he deserves, this jackass jurist would probably want them imprisoned for life; after all, the 'justice system' had dealt with the miscreant, right?
God, it's enough to make you dig up pitchforks and torches.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Found this at the library, and decided to give it a try. It's about snipers and their craft. And it does have some good bits and pieces of history. Unfortunately, it suffers from two faults: first, the guy obviously read a lot of references, but never actually learned enough about the subject to tell good info from crap; and second, he occasionally lets political bias into his writing.
The major problem is not being able to sift crap from good information. Best way to cover this is to give some quotes from the book.
On the problem of the musket ball: "Additionally the soft lead ball itself had a tendancy to deform as it traveled through the air, meaning that it lost power and accuracy in flight... Sometimes musket balls ended up as no more than flattened lumps of metal that scarcely broke the skin of their intended targets."(page 85)
On German snipers in WWI: "...using rifles with muzzle velocities of around 3,000 feet per second - more than twice the speed of the deadly Mauser of twenty years earlier."(page 165). I never knew a 7mm Mauser only had a MV of 1500fps.
Referring to the 8mm Mauser: "The bullets had hard metal jackets and were larger than the Minie' ball - about three-tenths of an inch in diameter, or .30 caliber"(page 153). Considering the Minie' ball was, in the arms he speaks of, .57 or .58 caliber, I think he needs a ruler.
And one of the really good ones. Most of you have heard of the Snipers Triangle; his definition of how it's used is priceless: "The sniper wants to place himself on high ground or in a sufficiently elevated position to be shooting down on his target. If he misses the clean head shot then the bullet should still travel through the head, down through the neck, along the long axis of the body, through the heart and out of the back. This vastly increases the chances of hitting a major organ such as the heart or liver or severing an artery."(page 252-253)
And so on. I think he must have taken some things he read or heard of and come up with his own ideas on how things work; that last bit, for instance. Either that or he swallowed the hook, line and sinker when someone threw him a line of BS.
The political bias doesn't show that often, but the time that pissed me off was a reference to a mission of Sgt. Carlos Hathcock in Vietnam. He'd been sent out to kill a Frenchman who was helping the North, among other ways by torturing American prisoners for information. Hathcock made the shot, and this jerk's opinion is "Whatever the Frenchman's crimes - and they may have included the torturing of captives - Hathcock's mission was an act of sniping as terrorism."(page 252). It takes a real friggin' idiot to pop out with this.
Overall, I'd have to say give it a pass. There are lots better books out there on the subject.
Note: I will give him this, he reminded me of something. At the Battle of Saratoga, Daniel Morgan gave the order for a British general trying to rally his men to be shot. The official words are "That gallant officer is General Fraser", he said. "I admire him, but it is necessary that he should die. Do your duty." Considering what is known of Morgan, he more likely said "You see that bastard on the gray horse? Kill him." In any case, Timothy Murphy climbed a tree for a better line of sight and did the job nicely.
Today, being the first day since I got this thing that a: the weather is decent, b: I'm not at work and c: I had time, I took it out to try at 100 yards. To refresh your memory of which I speak,
Yeah, it's kind of washed out. January, low sun, no helping it. That white thing over the rear sight is bacause of the angle; I was getting a LOT of glare into the sight, so I taped a piece of target paper up as a shade. Which worked very well. Wind was a bit gusty, too.
I tried this with both the Korean M2 ball which works so well in my M1, and- having gotten myself some for Christmas- some Greek ball I ordered from CMP. Both hit at the same point of aim so far as I can tell, and gave pretty much identical accuracy.
I fired about 40 rounds total, and saved three targets. Some were not in the 'bragging' category, but that went away when I made the sight shade. Which gave me this:
The group on the left was the first three, I checked them through the scope, adjusted windage, and shot the next two. Adjusted, then fired the next target, lower three first, then the next two:
Note that while I strung the first three vertically, the horizontal dispersion is damn near zero.
Which made me very happy. This rifle, with standard ball, will shoot minute of angle or better; not sometimes, but every time when the guy shooting it does his part. I'm really tempted to get some match bullets and work on some loads, for it and the M1 both. And I need to find a place with a longer range, I'd really like to try this at 200 & 300.
I'm saving this target for last because, though I like it, I can't repeat it. Not so far, at least. This is right after I made the sunshade, and it's three shots. The first and third are the one hole at the left:
Honest and for true, I swear it! The second wasn't a surprise, I thought I'd pulled it. After the third I used the spotting scope, and couldn't figure out where the third round went, so I walked down and checked it. That hole is just slightly out of round, which flat amazed me.
Not bad for a rifle built in 1943.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
A few years ago I was invited to a New Years party in Dallas. I took a bottle of whiskey as my contribution to things, and on the evening off we went(staying with friends, one of whom didn't drink, hell NO I wasn't driving). Party went very nicely until...
Most of the people there are Rennies(i.e., people who work at/live for Renaissance fairs), and were generally good people(Mouthfull, where are you now?). Great fun was had by all, the host took note of the fact that I spoke better English after some booze than I did sober, and somebody kept topping up my drink. With straight whiskey. Late in the evening, a while before midnight as I recall, I was sitting in a corner, halfway dozing; very drunk, and very aware that if I sat there a while and drank nothing more but water or tea I'd be fine. FINE, I tell you. And then a couple of people(man and woman, and later I could not remember who) started talking about the bit the woman was working on to gross out patrons(people who just come to the fair, wear regular clothes, i.e. normal people, though they wouldn't have put it that way).
I can't remember what the hell she came up with, I just remember that it was so bloody gross that after about ten minutes I arose fairly unsteadily from my nice, comfortable, warm corner and headed for the bathroom. Which luckily was empty. Where I proceeded to involuntarity purge my system of what seemed like everything except my lower intestines. Apparently noisily because when I left the host was at the door inquiring as to whether medical attention was needed.
I assured him no, just water. NOW, please. Which he did provide, and which I drank a damn lot of. By this time it was just about midnight, and I was in much better shape than I'd have expected, and the toast(beer passed around in a by God drinking horn) I did not have to bypass. Then I was (probably, this is a bit fuzzy) guided to the car and we went home.
The folks I stayed with had a big two-bedroom house, big bedrooms, but one was given over entirely to an office/workspace for jewelry work, so they had a cot in the attic for visitors. Not bad at all, actually; the heater was up there, it was warm and the cot was comfortable, it both gave me a place to stay and allowed people the chance to refer to me as the odd relative who lived in the attic. God knows how I made it up the ladder, but I did.
Came the morning, and probably because of all the water I'd had I did NOT have a hangover, but I didn't feel quite right, either. So I sat up and contemplated the universe until it occurred to me that food might be a good idea. So I dressed and went downladder, and happily it was only a short time after that my hosts came dragging out. I looked at them and suggested "Food?". They paused, hubby said that sounded like a good idea, so they dressed and off we went.
There's a chain in the Fort Worth area called Beefers, and they served breadfast until 2 p.m. on New Years, so there we went. No, it wasn't 1:30, only about 10:30. I got the BIG breakfast, as I recall a small chicken-fried steak, and hash browns, and two over easy, and a biscuit and gravy. And the Lord did smile upon me, for I took the first bite and a feeling of peace came over me, and all was right with the world. And I sat there and attacked my plate. About halfway through I looked across the table at wifey, who was leaning her head on one hand while she poked at her plate with the other; she turned barely-open eyes at me and asked, in a cracked voice, "How can you eat at a time like this?".
That was my worst awakening that had anything to do with booze, amazingly. Especially considering my mood for quite a while after my divorce. As of now, I've never woke up with a hangover. Never. A little fuzzy a couple of times, but nothing some liquid and food didn't take care of. I have aided some friends through the aftermath of one, and it's made me very happy to have avoided that particular experience.
And Steve? I had to work the day before AND New Years, so I had reason(besides not wanting to be on the road with a bunch of idiots and/or drunks) to wake up clear-eyed, as us virtuous folk do. So yell away.
(but if I'm nice, can I come to ManCamp someday? Please? I'll bring good scotch, I promise)
When I first heard about this crap, one of the quotes was from a National Guardsman from- I'm ashamed to say- Oklahoma, saying something like "I never thought it would come to this, but we're doing it". It took a certain amount of restraint to keep from calling the OK headquarters for these people and asking what the hell they train these people to do? that they'll follow orders like this. The thought occurred that we took drastic action about 60 years ago against a bunch of people who used "I had to follow orders" as an excuse.
That's not counting the various law enforcement 'professionals' who, as Xavier put it, showed once and for all just what a lot of them think of the Constitution and their oath. I've been around LE for most of my life, and I've been bothered many times by things done. This is up at the top of the list.
Xavier is right, we need to keep this in mind and keep it up as a subject. Lawsuits have been filed, but you can bet that the major media will, if they can, say not a damn word about it. If, as Xavier says, some bubbas in LA doubt it actually happened, there's a real damn problem with public memory and care about our rights.
Additional: remember the gun show in VA where ATF agents and local LE were illegally taking information from NICS sheets and going to people's homes to question relatives and/or neighbors about them? I had heard the show organizers were going to file suit; anyone know if they did? This is ANOTHER one that's slipped out of mind, and shouldn't.