Geek Is As Geek Does

January 21st, 2016

I was reading this essay about Aragorn’s claim to the throne of Gondor.  (Hat tip to Sarah at Glenn’s.)

What is that?  You don’t know what or who Aragorn or Gondor is or are?  The two names come from the Lord of the Rings books, and you should probably just ignore the reference if you aren’t interested in really involved high fantasy novels.  After all, discussing whether or not a fictional character is entitled to rule other fictional people smacks of way too much inside baseball.

Still, I am hardly immune to such discussions myself.  In fact, one such geekout occurred way back in 2002 when I went to see The Two Towers, the second movie in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.  I made the mistake of bringing along Ralph, a buddy of mine who is blessed with an extremely active imagination.  This means that he is rarely bored like the rest of us, but it also means he has never come across a work of fiction where he could resist putting himself in the middle of the action.  This was no exception.

A little background.  See, some Viking dudes who ride horses had a vast enemy army bearing down on them, so they bunkered up in an ancient fort.

helms-deep

Up on the wall were the good guys, hugely outnumbered and looking worried.

Theoden_at_hornburg

Down in the plain below the walls were these guys.

orc army at helm's deep

orc soldier at helms deep

Things went along well enough for me so far as the cinema experience is concerned, but then the defenders decide to thin out the invading army via some bow-and-arrow work.

archers on the wall at helms deep

That is when Ralph leaned over and started to voice his opinion as to what the guys on the wall were doing wrong.

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Drop In The Bucket

January 14th, 2016

Couple of things came to my attention this morning.

The first is this oped which notes that European citizens are arming themselves in record numbers after the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015.  This makes perfect sense, as evil people hellbent on slaughtering innocent people always lay plans to attack where there are few or no police. No matter how tempting, they tend to avoid those places where there is a heavy police presence when contemplating mayhem at the point of a gun.

troops guard the eiffel tower

The cops usually show up to take down the terrorists only after the body count has risen.  Not their fault, they just weren’t there.

So what is the solution?

If I were a member of the European Union, I would introduce the following legislation: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Obviously not gonna happen, but a nice fantasy nonetheless.

In a similar vein, we get this from the BBC.  It seems that the London Metropolitan Police are going to add 600 armed officers to their ranks in order to boost their anti-terrorism response.

met armed police officer

(Picture source.)

Just one city, and they already have plenty of armed officers.  Not a bad idea, I think, but allowing law abiding citizens to arm themselves would be way cheaper.

(Hat tip to Glenn.)

Crime Pays!

January 13th, 2016

The Trace presents itself as an actual news website, when it is actually a rabidly anti-gun organization funded by the rabidly anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg.  Just like all propaganda sources which religiously pursue an agenda without thought to the facts, any claims made on the site should be assumed to be twisted to fit the narrative.

That having been said, I came across an article which claims to have parsed the police reports in Chicago to find the types of guns seized from criminals.  I found the results to be a bit surprising.

Trace-ChicagoGuns

(Picture source, and please click on the pic for a larger version.)

Long time readers know that I worked as a fingerprint technician back in the early 1990’s for the police in Columbus, Ohio.  At the time, the officers I worked alongside mentioned cheap .25 autoloaders as being the gun of choice for criminals.  Although extremely small and concealable, the makes and models of the guns seized were shoddily made as well as being extremely cheap and inexpensive.  There were a few quality firearms found, but not many.

According to the chart above, the world has turned a lot since I last inked some prints.  The crappy guns are dead last, while the vast majority of criminals seem to be able to afford the good stuff.

One exception are handguns produced by Hi Point, which are in fifth place on the chart.  That particular manufacturer produces reliable guns that are certainly as capable as more expensive designs, but which are priced at the lower end of the spectrum.  I would have expected them to have been more numerous, but whatever.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, in the past quarter century,  the criminals have upgraded their illegal arsenals so far as lethality is concerned.  Very few small caliber guns, and a great many that chamber the same potent ammunition used by the police.

Crime has been on the decline over that same period, which is a very good thing indeed.  But while the odds of encountering a violent criminal has fallen, it seems that the bad guys have looked to more deadly means to carry out their vile intentions.  And law abiding citizens should disarm to counter this increased threat?

I don’t think that is very reasonable.

What Kind Of Sewer Was It?

January 10th, 2016

El Chapo Guzman, the head of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel, has been captured once more.

el chapo captured

The Mexican government sent in the Marines to storm the suburban compound where the drug lord was hiding out.  Leaving his men to shoot it out with the troops, he grabbed an assault rifle and hoofed it through the sewers.  He emerged some distance away, where he commandeered a vehicle.  It didn’t do him any good, as he was captured soon after.

I’ve heard some reports that the tunnels where he played rat was a “drainage sewer”, but below is a picture that supposedly shows the gun Guzman abandoned when he popped out onto the street.

el chapo abandoned gun

I can almost smell it from here!

What Is The Big Deal?

December 26th, 2015

A long as I have been alive, it has been legal in my home state of Ohio to “open carry.”  This phrase means nothing more than it is not against the law to carry a loaded gun around in public, as long as it is neither concealed from view nor brandished about in a threatening manner.

That means one could do this ….

hip holster

But one could not do this …

MBDMAFO EC003

It has been this way for my entire half century, even before licenses to carry concealed firearms were issued.

Oh, there are other restrictions.  You couldn’t drive around with a loaded gun in the car, couldn’t try to enter courthouses or certain places of business, etc etc.  Stuff like that.  But the main point is that it never caused a problem, and I’m somewhat at a loss as to how it could cause any sort of crises.

Now that I have moved to Texas, I was a bit surprised to find that the Lone Star State does not have legal open carry.  This is going to change in a week or so as soon as 2016 starts, but news articles like this are a bit of a surprise.  As the author states, …

“… the prospect of seeing armed citizens walking down the sidewalk, driving in their cars, eating at restaurants, or even depositing a check at the bank has some Texans—including police—on edge.”

So the good people of Texas are far more criminal and violent than those in Ohio?  Have I relocated to a savage land populated by a savage people?

Um, no, probably not.  I’m thinkin’ that the author of the news report was just trying to be a bit dramatic in order to add interest to the story.

In fact, it would appear that Texas has a few more restrictions on carrying firearms than Ohio.   According to Wikipedia, only those with concealed carry permits are allowed to carry openly.  Seems odd to me, but there you go.

well dressed man with dual shoulder holsters carrying 1911 handguns

Anyway, I’m not at all concerned by this development.  I think that concealed carry provides a greater societal benefit, as criminals tend to be warier when they don’t know if someone can resist their violent attentions, but I also don’t see why there would be any problems with open carry.

The Spirit of Christmas

December 25th, 2015

The Spirit of Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!

I Didn’t Get Any Coal This Year!

December 24th, 2015

tis the season

ADDENDUM: Tactical Christmas stockings are available through Amazon, among others places.

All Things Must Pass

December 22nd, 2015

I have long said that I prefer autoloaders to revolvers when choosing self defense tools.  The main reason is ease of reloading an autoloader over a revolver, and the fact that most wheel guns hold less to begin with.

My main carry gun for the past 15 years has been a Taurus Millennium Pro chambered in 9mm Parabelum.

taurus millenium pro

taurus pt111 with magazine

A polymer frame design which boasts a 10-round magazine.  I’d always carry an extra magazine, belted against the opposite hip from where the gun would ride.

The handgun has seen some use, as I would use it in my charity self defense course.  Was it finally showing some wear after a decade and a half?  Nothing really noticeable could be seen on the outside, but I started to have trouble when reassembling all of the parts after cleaning.

Taurus_PT145_Disassembled

(Picture source.)

Everything had to be lined up juuuust right, or else the slide would scrape to a stop about halfway through the cycle process.  It was a real pain to get everything pulled apart so I could try again.

What was wrong?  Beats me.  My guess is that some small protrusion on the polymer frame had been worn down a little bit over the years, just enough so it was tricky to get all the parts lined up correctly, but I really can’t say.

Does this mean the gun was completely unreliable?  No, as it would function flawlessly just as long as I got everything in place.  Taurus has a lifetime no-questions-asked repair warranty, so I just went ahead and sent it in and let them take care of the problem.  It came back and seemed fine.

But we are talking about my primary self defense tool!   Even though it seemed to be working just fine and dandy, and even though it had always worked as soon as it was successfully assembled, my confidence was gone.  I started to have nightmares about the gun failing to cycle as the hordes closed in!

fail to feed jam

Okay, time to retire this old warhorse and go to something else.  But what, exactly?

I’ll discuss what I decided to do in the next post.

 

The Path We Take

December 6th, 2015

I once knew a guy named David …

He was a nice fellow, a member of my Dungeons and Dragons gaming group.  One day he announced that his fiancee dumped him, he had a crappy job that paid peanuts so he couldn’t afford his own apartment, and his stepmother hated him so he couldn’t move back in with Dad.  He asked for help, just a couch to crash for a few weeks, but no one stepped up.  Looked like the streets for him.

sad guy sitting on curb

So I took him in, but I bet you had already figured that was going to happen.

He got his own room, and no bills.  The deal was that he saved up six months take home pay before he found his own place so he would never be that kind of helpless again.  Then he would walk his own path.

The arrangement lasted about a year.  Then David took to coming home pretty well lit from the cheap beer he would buy at cheap bars, which didn’t bother me in the slightest.  What irked is that he would have these massive (ahem) movements while drunk, so massive that the pipes couldn’t gulp it all down in one go.

fancy toilet

He would refrain from taking care of the problem for fear that his drunken lack of coordination would make pungent matters worse, which was probably a good idea.  But that left me to tend to the stinky stew, which was not a good idea in any way.   I eventually got tired of plunging another man’s stool, and informed David that it was time for him to get his own place even if he had yet to save up the target amount.  We parted amicably, and kept in touch.

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I Have Arrived

December 6th, 2015

The trip from Ohio to Texas is complete.  1333 miles total (2133 kilometers), and the only wrong turn found me suddenly descending an off ramp on to the mean streets of East St. Louis.

burned out building in east st louis

This made me extremely nervous, and not because I found myself in yet another high crime area.  It was due to the fact that I was unarmed at the time, and couldn’t defend myself if the need arose.

I am currently licensed to carry concealed firearms from two states, Ohio and Arizona.  Below is an interactive map from usconcealedcarry.com which depicts the places where CCW licenses are honored.  Blue is where carry a firearm for my protection is legal, and red is where I would be committing a felony.

 

The quickest route took me through Illinois, where the state government pretty much never saw a private citizen with a gun that they didn’t want to throw in jail.  (For my readers who do not hail from the US, I started from the area marked OH, and was traveling to the part marked TX.  Illinois is the red area marked IL on the map.)  I avoided any potential unpleasantness with the law by stopping right at the border in Indiana (IN) in order to disarm myself.  The plan was to stop at the first rest area I encountered after crossing into Missouri (MO) and rearm.

Bottom line is that my guns were in the trunk of the car, inside locked cases, while the ammo was in the cabin with me.  Felt rather odd for me to be helpless, but I suppose that is the way most people live their entire lives.

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