Sunday, July 13, 2014

Germany 1 - Argentina 0

Now that the World Cup has finally run dry, can we get back to the Baseball?

Thanks to Borepatch for this one though.  I'm not quite convinced this is how FIFA wants the tourney to be remembered, but Whoops ... there it is.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Number Of The ... errr, Something

Just received official notice from the good folks at Elio Motors that I am number 4577 in line for my new car motorcycle vehicle.

WooT!

No idea when that becomes a delivery date next year, but notification of that will come as an inquiry into my desired styling and optional features a few weeks before my new auto-cycle (you pick a better description) goes down the assembly line.  I know I want a touring trailer towing package and, based on Tam's recent experience, I'm thinking a rear-view camera option too (the "luggage hatch" doesn't feature glass and, however narrow the fuselage, the rear-view mirrors still won't "see" around corners).  I'll have to see what the tunes and travelogue features offered will cost come the day, it already comes with a pretty decent sound system as part of the base vehicle package (along with ac/heat, power windows and the more usual modern vehicle creature features).

I'm excited.

I only live an hour-and-a-half from the assembly plant in Shreveport, LA; I wonder if the company would let me pick mine up from the factory?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Tea Party

... More resilient than Jesus.

Just ask House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:
Tea Party candidate soundly defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Tuesday, sending shockwaves through the Republican establishment and the Democratic Party.
And Dave Brat, the 52-year-old chairman of the Randolph-Macon College Department of Economics and Business in Ashland, Va., staged the huge upset without any help from major Tea Party organizations.
The expression "Quantity has a quality all its own" comes to mind here; grass roots everywhere isn't a "major group", but it's still everywhere.  Good luck in your future endeavors Eric, but keep in mind that your hand still doesn't belong in anybody else's pocket.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

For A Given Value Of "Gun School"

Most people who carry a firearm have made some effort to resolve the question of Why to shoot. There are a number of widely respected instructors on How to shoot.  What I don't think we see often enough are classes on When to shoot.   This coming Thursday, I'm going to get to check my home study of the laws governing firearm usage in Texas with the pros.

You know how you can feel pretty confident you have a good grasp on the issues and facts?  We'll see.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Some Of My Best Work ...

... shows up on other people's blog; this time Say Uncle bears the burden:
the ACT-UP crowd actually put the gay rights agenda BEHIND.Which so neatly explains why ACT-UP basically owns San Francisco politics now – and thinks the rest of the country recognizing gays as “different, but normal” is a huge loss for gay rights.
Which will work as a metaphor for what follows.
As I understand things, OCT was started with the specific intention of influencing Texas politics toward legalizing open carry of handguns in the state, and deliberately chose to illustrate the logical consistency of that position by demonstrating the already legal public open carry of rifles and shotguns by Texans.
Subsequently, it appears that at least some of the affiliate groups (specifically the one in Tarrant Co. – much of Dallas, essentially – and Austin) have been taken control of by individuals who deliberately conflate state political activism with federal 2A activism, and manage to consistently achieve a completely predictable mess of both as a result.
Holding public rallies featuring citizens carrying their “long guns” in public in support of a desired state legislative change is (and has been) well received by most citizens in the state. Texas law prohibits the carrying of “modern” sidearms (defined in this case as being manufactured after 1899) on your body outside of a very few specific activities, but a sizable percentage of state citizens are licensed to carry them concealed. Making the point that the same people can carry all (Ok, a couple of :)) their guns at the same time, but some of them have to be kept out of plain sight, makes a legitimate political point.
And, if that was the message actually being sent consistently, most gun owners in other states probably wouldn’t get too excited.
By expanding the OCT effort to also challenge federal law regarding 2A exercise, the basic OCT message is obscured and activists from other states are understandably enough more than a little annoyed that their efforts on the national level are being inhibited by these people badly making an argument in support of a strictly state-level issue (no matter how many different states have a similar effort underway).
The part I find most annoying is that, mostly as a result of college football rivalry, the Texas legislature will probably go ahead and vote to approve OC of handguns (probably only to those who have a CHL) next session, because Oklahoma just passed their version of OC earlier this year. Which means that these dillweeds in Dallas and Austin will no doubt be loudly claiming credit for how effective their efforts were and what A-holes the rest of us were, etc.
At least I could go back to wearing T-shirts that fit next year (or the following, depending).
I’ve tried to make the point about this before, but the OCTers involved have a well-practiced routine of arguing the other point whenever challenged and dismissing any naysayer as being anti-2A and so unworthy of offering criticism (and mostly won’t even acknowledge what I say anyway) (not that I’m anybody special). Fortunately, the out-session committee work is being largely done over the course of this week (6/2 thru 6/6), so much of the urgency these people are currently feeling will recede shortly.
Hopefully OCT as a state-wide group will get a better grip on their group message discipline before next year’s legislative session. Also, anyone working in their own state (or on the federal level) can find plenty of lesson material for their efforts from all this – some of it even good (ask yourselves, how many of the other local Texas political demonstrations [using the same basic format] on this issue have you heard mention of?).
I should point out that I'm actually sort of sympathetic to the argument that the Second Amendment's "shall not be infringed" clause ought to take precedence in laws directed at firearms ownership, but this is a distinct issue from that of the strategy of political activism and the disturbing failure recent Open Carry Texas efforts have demonstrated in trying to achieve that change to Texas legislation.  Successful political activists focus all discussion on their one message; these guys are deliberately muddying their message while also giving support to their opposition.

As has been said before; stop helping.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hey Morons; It Ain't About You

In yet another display of You're Doing It Wrong,  more would-be political activists who apparently claim affiliation with Open Carry Texas have made a public nuisance of themselves in support of our civil rights.  Again.  
When members of Open Carry Texas visited a Sonic location, they were once again asked to leave or leave their weapons behind before returning.
“Man, we can’t do nothing!” one of the protesters says in the video. “I feel like I’m a kid again, my mom won’t let me do anything.”
Not true, Nimrod, she obviously lets you go out in public without appropriate adult supervision, and is pissing off the rest of Texas as a result.  Not to mention every other gun owner in the country.  Yes, openly carrying a firearm ought to be an ordinary and commonplace activity; the need to demonstrate for political change in that regard ought to make it glaringly obvious that doing so now outside of an obvious political demonstration setting makes getting to that point less likely, which would be the opposite of what you claim to want (because this apparently really does need to be pointed out to you).

Demonstrating in support of civil rights is a storied tradition in the US, one that is fraught with opportunity to play into the hands of those who wish to deny us all the opportunity to exercise our rights.  If you aren't willing to make the effort to find out the right way to go about doing that sort of activity, how about you just leave the guns out of the activity all together, huh?

The idea here is to positively influence those in a position to increase the opportunity all of us should have to exercise our 2A rights and nothing about you at all.  If you can't do it that way, stop doing it at all; you're only making things worse for all Texans by your insistent displays of childish tantrums because you "can't do nothing".  It's entirely about all of our civil rights, not whatever stupidity you want to get up to today.

Update:  Not quite sure what I did wrong in the original.  The links all work now and the text says what I intended.  I've got to start using the "Preview" function before putting stuff up for scheduled publication.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How Something So Right Can Still Be Done So Wrong

On Tuesday morning (that would be this morning - this was supposed to post on Wednesday), I noticed an article published at NewsOK.com which noted the Chipotle restaurant chain response to two apparent Open Carry Texas supporters - I have no idea if they were actual members or not - carrying their rifles into one of the chains restaurants in Texas the previous Saturday.  The article noted:
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America said they petitioned the company as a reaction to open-carry gun activists at a Dallas-area Chipotle restaurant over the weekend.
Without bothering to look into the matter more deeply than that, I commented (which comment was copied to my Facebook page as well):
All Chipotle management has to do is post the legislatively approved signage at the front door and the presence of guns in their establishments will no longer be a problem for them or their remaining customers. People like to eat out where they are welcomed; I suspect Chipotle management knows this too. Mothers Demanding Obedience, not so much.
I then proceeded to go about my day, entirely missing out on all the sturm und drang that swept through the gun blogging part of these inter-connected series of tubes Al Gore graced us with.

Just to reiterate; I stand by my statement at NewsOK.com.  Texas gun laws expressly permit the public carrying of "long guns" (rifles and shotguns, basically) in public places, but also designates the specific signage requirements to forbid people doing so, commonly called 30.06 signs from the section of the Texas Penal Code in which they are described in minute detail (TPC 30.06).  While 30.06 signs are intended for concealed carry exclusion, they equally apply to any other manner of firearm carriage too.  If Chipotle (or Starbucks) or any other business or privately owned property wishes to exclude the carrying of firearms by non-cops on their property, there's your sign.  Put one up and let's all get on with our day.

That all said, there very definitely is a wrong way to go about abiding by the law you seek to have changed, and these two chappies have basically hit all the high points of doing so all in one go.  More than that, I think there is a reasonable case to be made that both men deliberately set about to "cause alarm" and the particular Chipotle restaurant manager would be well within his own rights to file a complaint with the appropriate law enforcement office against the two men for Disorderly Conduct.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Texas State Open Carry organization didn't offer their own supporting evidence as well.

Beyond all that, I also think we Texans who don't appreciate this type behavior ought to make a reasonable effort to positively identify our men in Dallas and make good and sure that all the rest of the state's citizens are thoroughly well aware of just how ignorantly some of us are capable of acting in public.  As long as groups like Moms Demand Obedience Action are going to so vehemently heap shame and approbation our way, we would do well to make plain exactly where it should be most vigorously applied.  Making a habit of putting the name to public displays of Egregious Stupid probably won't stamp out the practice entirely, but it might make future such buffoonery a bit more obviously so even to the politically opportunistic.

Having lived in Texas for over 20 summers now I am all in favor of allowing Open Carry of firearms, but let's all make the effort to do so like we've done so all along.  Making a big show of how you're dressed just draws attention to how insecure you are with your wardrobe.  It's like scoring a touchdown in the big football game; when you find yourself in the end zone, at least make it look like you've been there before.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blog-type Squee

Took the opportunity that being sick permitted and called in to tonight's edition of The Squirrel Report and got to talk to Kevin Baker who can wax lyrical about philosophy and rights, but apparently doesn't dance while still liking bacon.

All kidding aside, I managed to hold the enthusiasm to a mostly coherent level (I think) and conversing with the man I've been reading and citing as a reference in my personal education on these and other matters for so many years was a completely unexpected honor.  That I spent the better part of an hour and a half nerving myself up to.  You just don't want to choke, comes the moment, you know?  :)

There's just no way I'm going to make Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno, Nevada this year, but maybe I can put something together for '15.  Have to start rounding up suitable autograph swag ...  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Someone Is Wrong On The Internet (Maybe)

First place I saw it was at Weer'd Beard's and the consensus was that murder had been committed.  Then I read about it at Say Uncle, who thinks there is no "castle doctrine" or maybe "stand your ground" claim involved.  And finally I read it again at Pagun Blog (properly titled Shall Not Be Questioned) Another "Castle Doctrine" Case That Isn't.

With so much authoritative assertion on display, imagine my reaction when I read the Montana Code Annotated.  Better yet, don't imagine, read for yourself:
Montana statute seems to specifically say it is a “no duty to retreat” case.  
See Montana Code Annotated Sections 45-3-102 Use of force in defense of person, 45-3-102 Use of force in defense of occupied structure, 45-3-110 No duty to summon help or flee.* 
The first statute says in pertinent part, “A person is justified in the use of force … to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” 
The second section says in pertinent part, “A person is justified in the use of force … only if:  
     (a) the entry is made or attempted and the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent an assault on the person or another then in the occupied structure; or  
     (b) the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony in the occupied structure.” 
And thirdly, 45-3-110 reads in pertinent part: “… a person who is lawfully in a place or location and who is threatened with bodily injury or loss of life has no duty to retreat from a threat or summon law enforcement assistence prior to using force.”
Kaarma and Pflegger were in the structure lawfully. Dede (the dead criminal) was apparently in the commission of a home invasion (unlawful entry of an occupied structure, much more dangerous then a B&E) when Kaarma shot him. Kaarma went outside the still-occupied (by Ms.Pflegger) structure and engaged Dede with a firearm, resulting in Dede’s death. 
Montana law would seem to support a legitimate claim of self-defense with the added justification of no duty to retreat from a lawfully occupied “location or place”. I don’t find any requirement in Montana statute that property must be secured in order for the above to have force of law (those arguing that Kaarma and Pflegger “set a trap” must equally believe that cattle ranchers are also guilty because they don’t secure their livestock from tresspassers). 
If that isn’t a reasonable (and actually word-for-word explicit) description of SYG and the so-called “castle doctrine” (verbiage which never appears in any state’s pertinent legal code that I have discovered so far) both, then I think we will just have to agree that we disagree on the definition of “reasonable”. 
As to anyone’s guilt or innocence in this matter, that’s what trials are for, aren’t they? I also have to say that the defense declaring this to be a SYG/CD case seems quite reasonable to me given the statutes that apparently address this type of action in Montana. We’ll see. 
* Source: Self-Defense Laws of All 50 States.*
Quite aside from the widespread reluctance to call the BBC on their bald assertion that Kaarma fired without saying anything (and implying that Dede didn't either) - something not otherwise in evidence, I find the equally widespread ignorance on display by at least three well-respected gun bloggers as to the actual statutory meaning of "stand your ground" and "castle doctrine" in the Montana statutes to be the most disturbing aspect of this whole story.

I don't expect the BBC to get it right - I actually don't expect the BBC to honestly report the facts of this story whether or not they might support the pre-existing bias of that organization.  I do kinda expect at least as much effort to determine the actual facts of the law addressing this case as I made from those who seem willing to accept the mantle of "subject matter expert" that their respective blog reputations provide.  Everybody makes mistakes (and let me just say right now that IANAL and my reading of Montana statute could very easily be completely wrong), but the presumptive bias demonstrated in the reporting of all concerned takes the schaden right out of the freud, doesn't it?

Was this a legitimate case of self-defense or was it murder?  12 Montanans are going to have the duty to make that call, after being presented with all the facts (along with the evidence in support) and with a clear idea of what their states law has to say regarding killing someone in these specific circumstances.  A case to be followed without doubt and I hope we all do so as closely as our personal circumstance allows.

* A book I wholeheartedly recommend any gun owner own a copy of.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Some New Vintage Steven Den Beste

Which is pretty well described as a more concise blending of Vintage Steven Den Beste.  He replies to a correspondent who doesn't understand the nature and necessity of the 2nd Amendment to the US constitution:
Let's rewind back to 1789 when the Bill of Rights was written. It was only 6 years since the Revolution ended. And the early battles of the Revolution were fought by men using their own weapons. (That's what the Patriots used in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, for example.) Those who wrote the Bill of Rights were acutely aware that the only reason the Revolution was possible was because of widespread ownership of guns.

The Revolution was fought because the British government was perceived to have become tyrannical, and the Founders were well aware that the new government they were establishing could in turn become tyrannical. They included lots of checks and limits on the government, but knew that in the end the only sure way to prevent that was if the people had the means to rise in revolution, again.

The Second Amendment is the ultimate check. That's why it was included in the Bill of Rights.

This is what you're not going to like: the purpose of the Second Amendment is to make sure that the citizens of the US are sufficiently well armed to fight a revolution, if a new one is needed. That's what the "militia" referred to in it is about: in that time the word "militia" referred to the kind of thing that happened in Boston at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, where all able bodied men grabbed their own guns and fought on behalf of the community.

Which means that issues like hunting or self defense are a distraction. The Second Amendment is about allowing citizens to own weapons which are good enough to permit them to fight against a tyrant's army and win.
Tyrants can be either foreign or domestic in origin (that turn of phrase shows up in the original too), but the essential strength of the USA's fundamental governmental mindset is taken from the largely unspoken understanding that excess oppression can be met with counter excess from almost anyone in the general populace, whenever it appears, whoever the source.

As Steven says, "It isn't a perfect solution, but there aren't any others which have been as successful."  This weekend in particular, it seems appropriate to apply this particular ray of clarity to this specific question.