Friday, April 11, 2008

The Fisking of a Fisker: Stick to Things You Understand, Please.

(UPDATE: I got Sweden's "silencer" laws wrong, but I'm going to leave my error. Maybe it will teach me humility. Probably not. Anyway, a guy from Sweden was nice enough to set me straight. Go read it when you're done with this.)

Tamara and the Atomic Nerds and a bunch of others talked about this days ago, so I'm behind the times as usual, but I can't let it go. A fine online publication called "
Feminist Ezine" found Oleg's propaganda site ( ) and the author found herself in such a fit of fear and loathing that she attempted a fisking. To say it didn't go well would be an understatement; I think she may have injured herself. I apologize, but I have to revisit the highlights if only to get them out of my head.

Actually much of the effort has been to keep guns and weapons that are considered "too dangerous" off the streets. Things like rocket launchers, grenades and other items usable by terrorists. Besides, who carries a grenade or an automatic sub-machinegun like a Mac 10 around for self-defense?

That would have been an interesting point and the beginning of a good argument in 1933. 75 years later, after the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1934, it's either dishonest or foolish. Rocket launchers (usable rocket launchers and usable rockets) and live grenades have been very strictly controlled for 74 years now, ma'am. So have submachine guns, sound mufflers, rifles and shotguns less than 26" overall length, rifles with barrels shorter than 16", shotguns with barrels shorter than 18", and a few other items covered by that particular law.

Okay, so apparently anti-gun activists are NAZI children now. That is going to take a big leap of faith to believe. Also, I have NEVER heard of any laws trying to prohibit shotguns, which is primarily a weapon for hunting deer, elk, bears. I could however see laws prohibited automatic assault rifles (like the kind the military sometimes use) because their purpose is not to shoot deer but to go on a shooting spree (aka, to go postal).
Uh huh. If you haven't heard of attempts to ban shotguns, you haven't been paying attention. I kind of suspected that from the rest of the article, to tell the truth. Shotguns are used for hunting, for fighting, for self-defense, for target practice and for competition. The only reason many politicians claim they don't want to ban shotguns is to pacify people like yourself who believe that means they "aren't after the hunters." The problem with that is that hunting is not some sacred right as opposed to defending oneself, family, community. It's not even mentioned in the primary legal guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms, the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In gun control debates, hunting is always a red herring.

The other target of the prohibitionists are the magazines. A standard magazine for a small or medium caliber rifle is thirty rounds. In 1994 such a magazine cost $15 and worked reliably. A standard magazine for a handgun held about fifteen rounds and cost $20.

The reasoning for this was simple: Magazine clips that contain 10 bullets are more useful to people who carry automatic weapons (which are illegal in most states). You just hold down the trigger and the handgun keeps firing, a bit like a machine gun, which means the criminal in question has the ability to fire many rounds at a police officer quickly and easily, and is more likely to hit the target as a result. Thanks to the 10 bullet limit the person runs out of bullets a lot faster. Since that law has been in place officers in many American states have seen a dramatic drop in the death of police officers due to automatic weapons.
Here we can see clearly that our subject has never fired a semi-automatic handgun. If you could fire multiple shots by holding down the trigger, your weapon would not be "a bit like a machine gun." It would be one, and IF you lived in a state that allows citizens to own automatic weapons (Illinois doesn't) then you'd still need to have a tax stamp for it, meaning that you'd paid your $200 tax, been fingerprinted, had your background checked by the federal government and waited months, in addition to jumping through a hundred other hoops and waiting for months.

Your last sentence was clearly made up on the spot. The number of police officers killed in the United States using automatic weapons hovers right at zero year after year. The so-called "Assault Weapons Ban" had no effect at all on any fully-automatic weapon; it only applied to firearms manufactured between 1994 and 2004. Since it's illegal for a private citizen to own any automatic weapon manufactured after 1986, that means there were zero automatic weapons affected by the ban. If you don't believe me, check the FBI's Unified Crime Report for 2004, the last year of the ban. It clearly states the numbers killed with handguns, rifles, shotguns, knives, and cars over the previous ten years. Automatic weapons are not mentioned. At all. That's because you can count the number of crimes committed with legally-owned automatic weapons over the last 75 years on one hand. It just doesn't happen.

After production of magazines with capacity over ten rounds was banned in 1994, the prices on the standard magazines had increased to to over $100 for most models. The crippled ten-round versions had to be produced in a way that makes restoring them to standard capacity impossible. Those changes made ten-round magazines less reliable. In 2004, that ill-intentioned law sunset, but several states implemented even more restrictive versions of their own.

Those changes were only less reliable for people using automatic weapons. The new magazines were designed specifically to jam up frequently when used in an automatic gun.
No, they weren't, and again, I have to think it would have served you well to write about something you knew at least a little bit about. Making things up is not going to work. I have to admit, you're the first person I've ever heard make that particular assertion, and I've argued with hundreds of anti-gun activists in my time. I've heard a lot of whoppers, but you don't even seem to care about making yours the least bit believable.
The "new" magazines (shooters call them "post-ban") were designed to hold a maximum of ten cartridges. No other modifications were made on a widespread basis. It's possible that some company, somewhere, manufactured magazines for automatic weapons and decided to make their own product unreliable, but since I've never heard of it and that would be incredibly stupid (literally incredible, as in "impossible to believe") I'll just ask you to name one manufacturer who did such a thing. Just one, please. That should be easy.

Why the need for standard magazines? Ask your local police officer. He is on patrol with a handgun which uses standard magazines and, in many cities, an automatic rifle or a submachine gun with standard magazines. Under stress, even well-trained people can miss. Moreover, a single hit is not guaranteed to stop an attack. Fortunately, he has the benefit of body armor and backup just a radio call away.

Precisely. Criminals are the ones who use automatic weapons and therefore are willing to pay more to find the old standard magazine clips.
Again, the use of automatic weapons by a criminal is very, very, VERY rare and already prohibited by federal law. It's a federal felony for a felon to possess ANY firearm, much less a machine gun. Moreover, your assertion that only criminals would pay for the pre-ban magazines only serves to demonstrate again that you have no idea what you're talking about. You never visited a gun shop, gun show, or public firing range between 1994 and 2004.
It's almost unfair to pick on you like this.

Apparently anti-gun activists are just like rapists and wife-beaters, in addition to being NAZI children. Wow. We agree rape is more about power than sex, but so is high-powered machine guns and assault rifles. Its not about self-defense. Its the feeling of POWER when you pull the trigger on a Sig or an Aug and shoot the target with armor-piercing rounds. That kind of extreme power is addictive and a bit like the first time you sit behind the wheel of a really fast car. You can feel the power in the palm of your hands. You can control it. You feel safe and dangerous at the same time and it gives you an adrenaline rush. Protection? Bah! For the brief instant you are the angel of death and have the power to take lives. It is a power-trip and there is no doubt about it.
OK, at this point I'm not really kidding anymore: You have issues that would best be explored with a professional therapist of some kind.

Some weapons are specifically designed to be used covertly. Weapons like the Colt M4A1 assault rifle (military issue) come with detachable silencers which can pick off enemies at distances without even a whisper. Such weapons are banned because they are designed specifically for assassins, snipers and government agents. They are not the kind of thing you want your wacko next door neighbour owning. Piss off your neighbour and he could shoot you 30 times from 200 yards away and nobody would even hear the gun fire.
So, here we learn four very important lessons:
1. M4's are shipped with suppressors. Who knew? Certainly not the thousands of U.S. soldiers carrying them right now.
2. M4's are available for civilian purchase. Not AR15 carbines with M4 profiles, mind you, we're not talking about your "M4gery" here. Real M4A1's with selector switches, three-round burst, and apparently, a "silencer" in every box. The Firearm Owner's Protection Act of 1986 never passed in this strange parallel dimension where Spock has a beard.
3. "Silencers" suppress all sound and make a short-barreled 5.56 rifle sound like a "whisper." Because real life is basically the same as movies.
4. All the countries in Europe that treat "silencers" like what they are--simple devices to muffle a very loud machine--are bad places to live. The author would certainly never want to live in France, or in Sweden, because in those places mufflers for firearms are legal, cheap, and even encouraged in order to lessen the nuisance of noisy guns and increase safety. Step out your door in Sweden, kids, and you're taking your life in your hands. Your evil Swedish neighbor is probably in a sniper hide with a suppressed SIG 550, flipping a coin to see whether today is your day to die.
Because that's what happens to people who are allowed to own weapons.

The person who wrote the website we are criticizing is extremely paranoid. Next he'll tell you the government is out to brainwash you or something like that . . . . .Told you so. There is some evidence to suggest the United States is becoming a police state, but we would also have to admit the cause of that is more the result of rampant gun crime and the growth of terrorism. If the Jews during WWII had had more guns available to them it would have been one more excuse for Hitler to hunt them all down, which he attempted anyway. Exploring What-If scenarios is a bit time consuming however so we shall skip that tangent.
"The person's" name is Oleg Volk. He grew up in the Soviet Union, so you'll have to pardon him if he's too dumb to realize that governments are benign and totalitarianism is a myth left over from the Cold War. He seems to think that Russians are not necessarily worse people than Americans, and that Russians created a totalitarian regime that ground its people through a bureaucratic prison machine. I believe he was influenced by other paranoid crazies. There was this author named Solzhenitsyn, and a weirdo from England named Orwell, and a bunch of others who wrote these nutty books about how governments sometimes do really bad things, and if there's no one around to put them in check, they do progressively worse things until the normal state of existence is terrible but no one has the power to fight back.

Oleg also has this regrettable tendency to act like Jews and particularly Holocaust survivors are some kind of authority on the Holocaust. A lot of them aren't as enlightened as you are, you know. A lot of them think that fighting back might have been better than being gassed and cremated for no real reason, or being forced to work yourself to death on starvation rations. They point to irrelevant stuff like the Warsaw Ghetto uprising to indicate that Jews could have fought back if they'd had the weapons and the will. I mean, I've tried to tell them that the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto outnumbered the few thousand troops the Nazis could throw at them, and they only held them off for about 5 months, so clearly that was a monumental failure. Like modern mugging victims, they should have avoided eye contact, made no threatening gestures, and given the Nazis what they wanted.
But what can I tell you? People are stubborn when it comes to resisting genocide.

Yet the states which have the most onerous and restrictive laws, all make exceptions for police and military use. They claim that most models of guns are unsafe to the users...unless the users are police officers. Many politicians have bodyguards armed with the guns prohibited to the rest of us.

And rightly so. Only people who are responsible and knowledgeable of the weapons they carry should be using them. We're not about to start handing out Desert Eagles to school children after all, even in the event of a war children should be the last people given arms. We feel that the police and the military have the proper training, the responsibility and indeed the DUTY to use the best possible weapons for defending America.

This is very important, so I want you to concentrate and read carefully: your feeeeelings are inaccurate and irrelevant. Private citizens have access to the same or better level of training as any police or military officer or enlistee. I won't even attempt to list all the schools here; Google "firearm training" for a start.

No one in their right mind looks for trouble. Yet, we must take up arms in self-protection, wouldn't using effective tools help? Our opposition won't go easier on us just because we use obsolete and ineffective means of self-protection.

That is true, but what if the opposition is forced to use obsolete weaponry or can't even find a weapon period? A criminal could rob a convenience store with a baseball bat or a knife, but it is hardly an effective weapon against a bank teller behind reinforced glass.

Which is why people who only have a stick or a knife generally rob people who aren't behind reinforced glass. Besides, I don't know what kind of neighborhood you live in, but where I live, just about everyone has a gun and none of the bank tellers are hidden behind glass unless you go through a drive-through. I wonder why that is? Could it be that we have a lot of guns but not a lot of bank robbers?

What makes an effective weapon? Semi-automatic clones of army rifles have been generally considered effective. They are reliable, durable and accept a cartridge of sufficient effectiveness. Because the type is so common, ammunition and magazines are relatively inexpensive, though that is changing as restrictive laws reduce their availability. A mothballed rifle and its ammunition can remain usable for decades. For that reason, people who would do us harm would much prefer that we had no access to such useful means of self-defense.

No dispute there. Whole heartedly agree. Statistically however you are 4 times more likely to be murdered or accidentally shot by a relative or a close friend than you are by a complete stranger. Tempers flare, people get mentally disturbed, your uncle goes crazy with lust for your 10 year old daughter and decides to kill you and kidnap your daughter. When he pulls out his old rifle from his Vietnam days you aren't really going to have any time to reach for your trusty .357 Magnum. That is the thing about gun murders. They happen so fast that even if you did have a gun in the house it would be too late.

Wow. I feel compelled to repeat myself: Seek professional help.

So I shouldn't be allowed to own a rifle (unless I kill animals with it, of course) because my uncle might turn out to be a deranged pedophile and then won't I be sorry? Hey, what if you didn't let your crazy violent pervert of an uncle into your house? What if you just didn't associate with him at all?

And why does he have an old rifle from his Vietnam days? Did he steal his issued weapon? Sounds like he's been a bad egg for a long time.

Ability to defeat body armor is one of the useful characteristics of rifles. Just as the crossbow and the longbow challenged the dominance of the armored knight, the rifle reduces the ability of an armored enforcer to operate with impunity against civilians.

So why does regular law-abiding citizens need high powered rifles and/or armor piercing bullets? Answer: They don't. Only criminals and terrorists want that kind of weaponry. We make exceptions for the SWAT team and the military, but otherwise such weapons need to be kept off the streets and away from youth gangs. The last thing we need is teenagers bringing armor-piercing bullets to school.

I'm glad you asked. Here's why:

1. Most body armor worn by police and military is rated to stop handguns. Military infantry wears armor rated a bit higher; it'll stop small, light rifle rounds like the ones fired from an AR-15 and some of the ones fired from AK-47 and AK-74 variants.

That's it. If you get shot with grandpa's 90-year-old .30-06 deer-hunting rifle while wearing one of those vests worn by police officers, it won't even slow it down very much. Not because grandpa keeps steel-cored "armor piercing" rounds in his hunting rifle, but because that vest was never meant to stop centerfire rifle ammunition. This is like being upset that you crashed into a building at 60 mph and the air bags didn't save you. They were never designed to do that, and banning buildings isn't going to make anything better. Remember, you're all about the hunters, right? That means you don't want to take away evil armor-piercing calibers like .30-30 (the most popular deer hunting round in America for over 100 years) or the .30-06, or the various 6.5mm calibers the Europeans love so much (confession: I do too) or the .223 or the .308 or the 1-oz. slugs for my 12-gauge shotgun, because although all of them will go through the average patrol officer's vest like a fact sailing over your head, ALL of them are very popular hunting calibers and NONE of them were designed to penetrate armor.

2. Because if the Jews were rising up against the military and para-military forces of a police state in 2008, their opponents would be wearing body armor and their pistols wouldn't have been very useful. If Americans retain the right to own the weapons that can win that fight, then Americans have less chance that they'll have to fight it. That's worth it right there.

3. Because you can't have the other advantages of the centerfire, smokeless-powder, cartridge-loaded rifle without the penetration that people like you hate so much. The range of the rifle, its accuracy at that range, and its ability to knock down game or an enemy effectively at what is, for very good reason, referred to as "rifle range" are all functions of the velocity at which it projects missiles of a given weight and shape. The only way to make it incapable of penetrating armor designed to stop slower rounds coming from handguns is to take away that velocity and therefore take away the range and power that make the rifle worth having--even to your precious friends the hunters. I am a hunter, by the way, and I get the impression that you're not. You can see I'm not pretending that I don't find your attempt to pretend to be even-handed by pretending to love hunters contemptible.


Mattexian said...

Lobotomies and sterilization, 'cause they're beyond psychiatric help. Not even a Reeducation Camp in their beloved Soviet Union would fix them.

Tam said...

Was that not just some Strategic Intercontinental Ballistic Stupid?

Don Gwinn said...

The thing is, I know this post was pointless. Even if she reads it, she'll roll her eyes and say something like "This gun nut doesn't even know how guns work!"

But I just couldn't leave it alone.

And I've REALLY got to learn how to make page jumps so I can hide at least part of these huge posts.

Larry said...

I had to follow up as well.

And here is the article on expandable post summaries...

Mikael said...

Ok nice rant.

However I'll have to correct you on something that you probably made up/exaggerated for the sake of riddicule:

[i]4. All the countries in Europe that treat "silencers" like what they are--simple devices to muffle a very loud machine--are bad places to live. The author would certainly never want to live in France, or in Sweden, because in those places mufflers for firearms are legal, cheap, and even encouraged in order to lessen the nuisance of noisy guns and increase safety. Step out your door in Sweden, kids, and you're taking your life in your hands. Your evil Swedish neighbor is probably in a sniper hide with a suppressed SIG 550, flipping a coin to see whether today is your day to die.[/]

Sweden has MUCH stricter firearms laws than the US. Silencers are of course totally banned. It takes 2 years in a shooting club to be considered for a handgun licence(and then it's a range licence only, no carry), the same or a hunting licence(requires the passing of a hunting course, and land to hunt on) for rifles. We also have restrictions such as no semi-automatic shotgun can have a magazine that fits more than 4 shells.

Still, we might have as high, or higher per capita number of fully automatic weapons in people's homes in this country, simply because the "Home Defense" forces(national guard) are required to have their G3A1 in a gun safe at home, also some anti-sabotage teams(such as that of Swedish Steel Inc) are allowed SMGs, I know such a person, I believe he has/had a Carl Gustav m/45 at home. American soldiers in vietnam loved their licenced copy of those I understand.

And last, a comment that you're not going to like: it's true that the one possitive influence of heavy gun control is that crimes of passion have less fatalities in such countries, because for example, the husband walking in on his wife cheating on him isn't going to be carrying a pistol.

Still, I'm doubtful that makes up for the lack of firearms as for example self-defense for women.

Don Gwinn said...

You make an interesting point. I'll probably pull this out to the main page, since you went to some effort and it's hidden away in here.

I took the infomration about Swedish "silencer" laws from this article in the Western Criminology Review.

Guess I should have checked further! I knew there were several European countries where mufflers were legal and was only looking for confirmation of specific countries, and I still fouled up.

In this THR thread, Norwegian member UltimaThule says mufflers are legal for hunting and theoretically legal to own, but in practice almost impossible to get. Maybe that's where American confusion comes in.


Don Gwinn said...

Great Googly Moogly, why didn't somebody tell me my links were no good?


J.R.Shirley said...

Don, this is an incredible response. (I tried to respond to the original article, but found no replies section.)

I do have another correction re this: "the 1-oz. slugs for my 12-gauge shotgun, because although all of them will go through the average patrol officer's vest like a fact sailing over your head".

Standard slugs will not defeat common level 2 body armor. I know this because I have tested it, at about 2 meters. (Unless hitting the trauma plate, you will have a section of armor about as wide as a small maraschino jar pushed at least 2" into the target, though. Certainly more "impactful" than standard 00 buck, which didn't even dent the railroad tie backstop.

.223 will penetrate, at least the front side of the vest, and probably most of the "body". .44 Magnum will sometimes penetrate at least the front armor. .45-70 300 grain SJHP at about 1650 fps will blow through the front armor, railroad tie, back armor, and keep on truckin'.

Vest tested was a 10-year old Second Chance.


Anonymous said...