Sunday, July 20, 2014

I can post cool cars, too . . .

The older I get, the more summer time makes me look wistfully at little red convertibles. Probably a mid-life crisis coming on.
Doesn't that look like fun? (In the summer . . . . )

Possible USPSA Production Pistol Technique Breakthrough!?

I got off my butt and went to the weekly Springfield Tactical Shooters USPSA club shoot, which is one stage, indoors, every Thursday night. It was a simple run n' gun stage, with eight silhouettes, nothing blocked, nothing hidden, but arranged with two in the open, one through a port, then five more through two ports. In Production, there wasn't much to think about; there were no long or difficult shots, and there was a longer movement between shots after the sixth shot--the obvious place to reload.

I had fun running it and shot 15 alphas with one charlie in each run, but at my usual slow pace. First run was about sixteen seconds, the second run was about 15. This was my first attempt with the new Warren Tactical night sights on my Glock 17 in place of the stock plastic pieces. I may not be fast yet, but the sight picture was a revelation. I have actually not shot a dot torture with these sights yet, so that'll be the next thing to check out before I make the drive to Memphis to try out Rangemaster next month.

That wasn't the breakthrough. The breakthrough was getting lost in conversation with one of the regulars who invited me to join a practice group that sets up a stage and runs it repeatedly with coaching every week. There's no way I can do both every week after school starts, but lack of a place and time to practice shooting with movement and decision-making has held me back, not only in the sport but in developing as a shooter. I listen to podcasts and talk about improving, but I don't own a timer, nor do I practice live fire outside of these little one-stage club matches. That can't go on.

So! Things to look forward to because I should get better:

  • As I learn these Warren sights, I expect them to make my job easier than the stock pieces ever did.
  • Rangemaster's Level II handgun course on August 15th, to get the rust off and learn Rangemaster's way of doing the basics. If I like it as much as I think I will, Rangemaster Level III will follow.
  • Practice outside USPSA matches, with coaching from A/Master/Grandmaster shooters.
  • Beginning with August 3rd, competing in full-length club matches the first Sunday of every month locally.
  • I haven't written about this, but my wife gave me Laserlyte's Laser Target for our anniversary. I've been drawing at it across the kitchen with the SIRT laser trainer for awhile, but now I think I'm going to find a place to set it up at 25 yards or so and practice at that distance daily. I need it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

#BanTheBox: What could go wrong?

From The Governor's Twitter:

Everyone in Illinois deserves a second chance when it comes to getting a job . . . and employers have no right to know (well, to ask, really) whether a job applicant has ever been convicted of a crime.
Look, I'm sympathetic to people who would like to turn things around after they've paid their debt, especially in a society where we've felonized so many things that most of us can't go more than a few days without committing one felony or other. But as Matt said the other day, the most reliable indicator of future criminal behavior is past criminal behavior. I can't see solving the problem of too few jobs for ex-cons by trying to force employers to hire more of them against their wills . . . . and I question whether this will do anything except lead more employers to be quicker to listen to "gut feelings" about applicants. How accurate will those gut feelings, as influenced by personal attitudes about race, sex, and appearance, be? Are we setting ex-cons up to get more opportunities at the expense of employers, or are we setting up law-abiding people to be judged too risky by employers who aren't allowed to ask about their histories?

I think you meant "ELL ee dee," buddy.

The Light Angel Store is spamming me with ever-more-threatening offers of outdoor lighting.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes: Highway Gunplay

Poor Matt Sinclair.

A judge here in Illinois recently ruled that Sinclair can't have his charge of Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon thrown out on the basis that his (apparently allegedly loaded) firearm would have been legal to possess in Illinois, if only he had waited three months, paid a $150 fee, undergone 16 hours of mandatory training, and made application to the Illinois State Police for a concealed carry license (CCL) before waiting another two to three months for his license to arrive. Sinclair's argument was that, since there was a delay between the date that the old statute went away (by court order) and the implementation of the CCL program, he had the right to carry his firearm in the meantime without the permit.

I'm actually kind of inclined to agree with that argument in the abstract, but that isn't how our legal system works in any other case, so there was never much hope for these kinds of desperate moves from defense lawyers. As the judge pointed out in her decision, the law was in place and clearly stated that firearms couldn't be carried loaded in Illinois except with a CCL, and the fact that there was a delay before the CCL could be acquired didn't undo that, especially since everyone knew how long the delay was supposed to be.

I'm sure the judge would claim not to be biased against Sinclair's motion by the other facts of the case, but I freely admit that I'm not rootin' for him. See, Sinclair probably wouldn't have (allegedly) gotten caught with his firearm, except that Sinclair, who played linebacker for the University of Illinois Fightin' Illini and now coaches or administrates or something, got a little worked up on the way home from a game against Purdue in Indiana. There's a very nice lady who alleges that she called the cops because Sinclair "pointed a handgun out of his truck's window" at someone right in front of her on the interstate. For some reason, she panicked and called the cops, who stopped Sinclair at the next exit and (allegedly) found his gun and a set of brass knuckles, which are still verboten in Illinois to this day. It turns out that it was all just a bit of grab-ass hijinks on the highway--you know how boys can be. Sinclair was only pointing the pistol at another U of I staff member, and he was only kidding. The lady behind them somehow misinterpreted a guy pointing a gun at another guy on the interstate as some kind of dangerous and/or criminal situation, though, and here we are.

I'm peppering this with allegedlies mostly for the fun of it; Sinclair, his head coach, and lawyers on both sides seem like they've gotten past the point of trying to argue about whether Sinclair actually pointed a (loaded?) handgun at a dude's noggin in public while driving. The head coach was so outraged that he actually publicly declared that Sinclair had "clearly had a lapse in judgment after returning to Champaign-Urbana on Saturday," language usually reserved for actual rape or attempted murder in NCAA Division I.

Yup, that sucked (Thing One's first hour of independence, Version 1.2)

When last we left our young protagonist, he was still stuck on Version 1.1 of his story.

Version 1.2 maintains all the main elements of Version 1 (he was innocently driving someone else's car at 0130 when he was struck by a drunk driver turning left at a red light into his path, no one was badly hurt even though he and his half-sister weren't wearing seat belts, probably because he successfully applied the Jesus Take The Wheel Gambit, but both vehicles were totaled, and to add insult to injury, the cops not only refused to believe his story, but they also had the temerity to administer breathalyzer on the scene, so they ticketed him for running the red light in addition to failure to carry insurance and even denied that the other driver was DUI, since she blew 0.04 BAC.)

The biggest change in version 1.2 is a slight tweaking of a detail that was changed in Version 1.1; in 1.1, we learned that Thing One had taken over ownership of SugarDaddy's pickup after the crash. After Version 1.2, Thing One claims that "I owned the truck before the crash, but I didn't know it. Sugardaddy had actually signed it over to me already, but he didn't tell me about it."

To be clear, Thing One thought, or claimed to think, that he had taken ownership of this truck without finding out about it. He thinks, or claims to think, that Sugardaddy can sign the title in such a way that legal ownership is transferred to whoever he chooses--and the recipient doesn't have to take any action.
"Now you see, Daniel-san? Smashed-up pickup truck come from within. You have inside you all along! Same-same sake inside Miyagi."

If I'd ever believed that was possible, I know what I'd have done with the power to force someone to own a car without their consent or knowledge: I'd have "signed over" our much-hated 1994 Camaro to, like, Mike Bloomberg or that lady that runs his Moms Demand Things group.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rolling Stone's 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America List is Just a List of All the Guns

So, hey, Rolling Stone . . . how many kinds of guns you gonna put on your list of the 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America?

But not literally every kind of gun, right? Because that would be pointless, except as a transparent cry for clicks. Let's see what you've got so far:
  1. "Pistols." Like . . . all pistols? Well . . . OK. I see you've singled out Glocks and copy/pasted some weirdly irrelevant details from Wikipedia or something. Maybe Glocks are the most dangerous pistols? No? Well, good effort, champ.
  2. "Revolvers."  Would you care to elaborate? Oh, you meant the handgun kind of revolvers and not grenade launchers? You're right, that does really clear things up. I'm sure that's what everyone was wondering. Is there, maybe, somebody else there who could--nope, moving on? OK then.
  3. "Rifles." Created to address the inaccuracy of smoothbore muskets. I mean, the thing about that kind of statement is that it's true. It's not technically wrong. It's the idea that you thought it was relevant to your point that reveals your lunacy. It's like describing a sports car as an enclosed space in which one can listen to music using magnets. It's not false, it's just . . . . balmy.
  4. "Shotguns." Well, I'm not going to pretend I didn't see that coming. So we've got pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns so far. Next pretty much has to be machine guns or replica miniature field artillery, right? Remember that one episode of Magnum, P.I. where Higgins was making Magnum and the boys pretend to be the French at Waterloo while he fired his little cannon at them? Good times. Also, I can't tell what you were trying to say about shotgun shells by calling them "fixed" in comparison to rifle cartridges, which were described as "metallic." Please advise.
  5. Derringers. Ding-damned Derringers, y'all. I can't even. I don't know. All my feelings are . . . you know what, Rolling Stone? You're all right. All is forgiven, you goofy sonsabitches. Just don't ever start making sense. You're beautiful, just the way you are.