Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Change You Can Believe In

During SAFR Chicago, the time came to create Change We Could Believe In. Specifically, the "Old Diaper" had had its chance, and it was time for the "New Diaper" to get a shot at protecting the pants. The problem was that if you wanted to get to the restrooms in the Thompson Center with a stroller, you'd have to cross the crowd, get inside, find the right elevators and then take the hallway to the back. (I am being informed that the stroller is significantly cleaner than the public restrooms and therefore the ideal place to change the baby.)

But wait . . . . what's this? Why, it's art in the public square. It is aesthetically . . . . well, white and squiggly. But it is also hollow.
(I am being informed that this sculpture is A DINOSAUR.)

Anyway, inside it was shady, cool and private. Who says public art doesn't have a practical purpose? Change You Can Believe In, my friends.

I wonder what Dubuffet would say?

Lefty With a Gun

Got a message today from a new blogger who's also a new gun owner. It seems he's from the leftier side of the spectrum (It's a word! I mean, now it's a word.) And yet, he went out and got himself a gun, which led to some deeper thinking about why people own guns and what the 2nd Amendment really means. I've noticed that I tend to attract some folks who think of themselves as "lefties" but still want to talk about guns and self-defense, and I like that. Maybe these people feel better with a school teacher? I don't really know. It doesn't really matter. The thing a lot of people discover sooner or later is that "left" and "right" are really labels for coalitions of political alliances, some of them very tenuously connected. If you think you're a "lefty," that still doesn't really tell me what you believe. Does that mean you're pro-choice when it comes to abortion? Does it mean you think gays should be treated fairly? Does it mean you think guns are bad? Does it mean you think America pours the evangelical Christianity on a little thick?

Well, I agree with most of those things. Does that make me a "lefty?" I don't really see how; I'm a curmudgeonly, leave-me-alone old grouch, that's all. To many on the left, I'm a "righty" because I believe in a small government, a strong military, simple laws, strong contracts, individualism and property rights. But are those necessarily "right-wing" ideas? I don't really buy that either.

What I expect Lefty to discover through this process is that although some of his political positions may change as a shooter, his core principles won't necessarily change at all. Right will still be right. Wrong will still be wrong. He'll just have one more option for dealing with wrong if it finds him, and that's a good thing.

(And look, I admit to a slight touch of The Egos
at being lumped in with Breda, Ahab, and BillH as blogs Lefty has been reading for awhile. Heady stuff.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Guide to Chicago CCW for My Hoosier Friends

Tam, Caleb, and Uncle are all commenting on the sad case of Shrome George (someone might have made that name up as a joke, but I swear I didn't.) Shrome carried a 9mm pistol into the Taste of Chicago event last weekend (allegedly) and was arrested for his trouble because, you know, Chicago. Also Illinois.

Anyway, that led to a discussion of whether Shrome has a carry permit in Indiana, not that anybody seems to know the answer to that question. That led to a short discussion of Illinois carry laws (Executive Summary: DON'T.) and that led to Uncle summarizing the only method of acquiring a permit to carry a loaded firearm in Illinois, whether openly or concealed: "Run for office" is his advice.

See, Hoosiers, Illinois CCW laws aren't that complicated. Basically, if you want to carry a loaded firearm on your own time in Illinois, you need to be a "peace officer." You can either join a police force, or you can run for a position on a municipal council, because aldermen and mayors are considered "peace officers." Now, we're talking specifically about Chicago here, so a few specific qualifications are necessary.
How many of these apply to you?

I am the son/daughter/niece/nephew of a current or former Chicago Mayor or Alderman.

In exchange for city jobs and contracts, I can guarantee tens of millions of dollars in fees, donations, and campaign support for Mayor Daley.

I know several very embarassing secrets about the Daley/Mell/Burke family. Some involve bank account numbers.

If you meet these simple requirements, you too can get a CCW permit in Chicago! Good luck with that.

Sad Panda Alert: Fr. Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger at SAFR Chicago

I'll be honest: I was a little disappointed with the attendance at the Second Amendment Freedom Rally this year. Last year's crowd was larger, probably at least partly because the Heller decision and the presidential election energized a lot of casually pro-gun people. By comparison, this year's crowd was smaller . . . . but it was hard not to notice that the famous Father Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger of the Snuffy and JJ Show came out to protest us with a whopping three followers and no Jesse Jackson. I'm not kidding; this photo is not doctored in any way and there's no tricky use of angles. This is just the best Snuffy could do.

Incidentally, if you look closely, you can see a kid bravely holding up the wall in the background so that it won't fall, snuffing Snuffy and his three loyal disciples. Kane was interested in the SAFR event and all, but here he's staring at the police officers. He has just discovered that the Chicago PD uses four-wheel ATVs . . . with blue strobe lights . . . . and street tires. Naturally, he is impressed.
That's Kenny Polhamus of KAP Guns grinning like a drunken tourist in some poor girl's spring break photo (that would make you the young lady, Snuffy.) What I really didn't get was the purpose behind showing up with four people holding incomprehensible signs. The NRA is a corporate gun dealer? Wha? Let's look at all the ways that's odd:
  • The NRA doesn't sponsor the SAFR, Snuffy. That would be the ISRA and IllinoisCarry with a lot of help from the Second Amendment Sisters, Pink Pistols, and others. CORE was a big help this year (yes, the Congress Of Racial Equality.) The NRA didn't even send a representative this year, although an NRA member set up a table with NRA literature.
  • The NRA actually does sometimes sell guns, usually commemorative items, but I wouldn't say it's a gun dealer in any normal sense of the word. Either way, you don't explain why it's a bad thing to be a gun dealer. Are you assuming that people will see the words "gun dealer" and think "Heavens to Murgatroyd, not in my neighborhood!"? I don't see that happening.
  • If you're going to be a gun dealer, is it better to be a private company than a corporation? Why?
(Thanks to Robb Allen for the Sad Panda icon and Chris Conmy for the photos from SAFR. Click the Panda to see Robb's blog; click the photos to see Chris's other photos.)

Ammo Sighting

GAT Guns in Carpentersville, Illinois had all major calibers for sale. 9mm, .40, .45 . . . . and not just steel-cased stuff, but reloadable brass from Winchester, Aguila, and Sellier & Bellot. Lots of Portagee and Argentine surplus .308. Lots of .22lr in bulk packs.

I didn't want to spend a lot of money, but I picked up 500 rounds of Winchester white box .45 ball and a big bulk pack of Winchester Super-X .22lr (which seems to run most of our .22s a little better than some other brands.)

Paid more than I'd like, but it did my heart good to see full (-ish) ammunition shelves.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Is You There? Or Is You Square?

As these words are posted, the Second Amendment Freedom Rally is commencing in downtown Chicago. Before it's over, we're going to have a lot of fun.

Ralph Conner, the Chairman of CORE Chicago,
is going to talk about appearing in JPFO's movie
No Guns for Negroes and the racist roots of gun

Valinda Rowe is going to speak about
her experiences going from victim
to political activist.

Richard Pearson and Mike Weisman are going to tell us what ISRA has planned for the next year.

I hope you made it, but if you didn't, I hope you check in and see what's happening. Chris Conmy will be Twittering SAFR this year . . . actually, he started last night at Portillo's. This is the strength of the pro-gun movement: people. Numbers. Boots at the grassroots. The anti-gun side has great sticky gobs of money with which they do their best to drown us, and they're now moving to raise more in Illinois specifically to try to unseat pro-gun politicians--they've threatened to spend $75,000 in a single Illinois race to frighten their enemies. We don't have those gobs of money, but we do have what they don't: ordinary people who will give the small amounts of money they have, take time off work, and vote. SAFR is our expression of that difference writ large; the other side doesn't do anything like SAFR, despite the general belief that Chicago is "their territory," because they cannot do it. They don't have the ability to put out a call for large numbers of people to take a day off work and gather somewhere; most of the people who do such things for them are being paid in some way, while the people attending SAFR today took the day off and paid their own way.

That's the Illinois pro-gun movement. That's our strength. That's us.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Copper Brass!

(By the way, welcome to all Tam's readers. It triples my traffic when she links me.) :)

The city was throwing things away today, and Dad's Rule was in full effect.

You don't know Dad's Rule? That's the rule that states that if you throw away more than two items in my dad's presence, he will inevitably know someone who would be willing to pay money for at least one of the items being tossed.

Today, one of the items being tossed was a large cardboard box full to the brim of 50-round .38 Special ammunition boxes. Each of the ammo boxes (mostly Winchester white box) is full of .38 Special brass apparently saved long ago by the Police Department. Not 50 rounds per box, but full. I don't know how much is in there, but the whole thing is surprisingly heavy altogether. I wouldn't be shocked if it were 2-3,000 rounds.

Dad has a .38 Special, and I don't, but I have a reloading setup, and he doesn't. I tried to tell My Bride that we now need a .38, but she exercised her veto powers. Still, I think we can have a lot of fun shooting wadcutters through dad's revolver . . . . and what was the alternative?
Throw it away?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

White Supremacist Crazy-Head Arrested for Threatening Chicago Judges . . .

. . . . Chicago Tribune can't help but call him "blogger" instead.

I kid the Trib, but seriously, this is a guy who hosts radio shows and works with National Vanguard and other white supremacist groups, and to make your headline:

Blogger arrested in threats on federal judges

Well, it just seems like maybe they're letting some emotional content shine through, there.

I don't know a whole lot about Hal Turner except that he's another white supremacist (or separatist, or racialist, or whatever term he prefers) who doesn't get how the real world works. He's also full of beans, as evidenced by his years and years of making threats. He posted his ideas for unmanned drones with bombs to attack the Obama inauguration with the words, "I'm not saying what I'm going to do, but after Tuesday the name Hal Turner will go down in history." Only Tuesday came and went, he did nothing, and nobody cared.

He was actually arrested a couple of weeks ago on charges of inciting violence against state officials in Connecticut and elsewhere, but today it's the FBI who picked him up because the targets of his alleged threats were, again according to the Tribune, the three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals who ruled in favor of Chicago's handgun ban last month. I can certainly understand why people are angry at those particular judges, because the ruling was ridiculous (that was the one in which the 7th claimed that the right of self-defense is not fundamental; that the legislature creates the right to defend yourself, and if the legislature passes a law requiring that you submit to attack or murder, then that's that) but judges say and write stupid things all the time. These particular judges were swimming against the tide on that decision, and they knew it. They knew there was a pretty good chance that they would be overturned by the Supreme Court, and in fact the case has already been appealed to that body. So why freak out and threaten to kill these judges over that case?

You want my guess? Because, A., Hal Turner is the kind of nutjob who sees the world in terms of who he can blame for everything and never really needed a rational reason to whip out yet another death threat, and B., Hal Turner has learned from long experience that death threats are no big deal. He's been frothing away for years, not following through on any of these big macho threats, and nobody has done a whole lot about it. Reading between the lines, it looks like the Connecticut case may come to nothing as well; legal experts are saying that incitement will be hard to prosecute based on internet postings. Personally, I'm of the opinion that the internet is Serious Business--I saw it on a lol poster once--but the law doesn't see it that way. Apparently there's a de facto "loudmouth on the internet defense" built into most incitement statutes.

Pink Pistols On TV

Current TV has a show called "Vanguard Journalism"--sort of decentralized journalism done on shoestring budgets. Today their show was called "Pink Firepower."
"Does that mean what I think it means?" I wondered.

Indeed it did.

Apparently it first aired months ago. There was more to the show than the segment on the Pink Pistols, but the link will take you straight to the good stuff. Oleg Volk's "Bash This!" poster is featured. The report is a pretty fair one; if anything, it gives short shrift to opponents of the Pink Pistols. Only one dissenter is featured, actually, one Abbe Land of the West Hollywood City Council. It's not clear why she was consulted, unless she has some history of opposing the Pink Pistols. But even she isn't really refuting the Pink Pistols per se; she's the standard-issue California anti-gun politician . . . well, you'll see. Although she looks a little like a pug with a pickle in its mouth when she says it, she even has to conceded that "this is America, and if people want to form groups, they can form groups."

Best comment so far:
This story made me realize that there are, sadly, some places our country that are not as accepting of individual differences. Personally I don't think an armed weapon would be ideal. think just displaying a unarmed weapon would have the same effect without having the potential of causing death. Hopefully as time goes on, compassion for others will become widespread over-shadow the negative energy out there.

Far out. Lemme know how that whole energy think works out. See, Shaggy, the thing is, an "unarmed" weapon is essentially just a weapon that doesn't work. So as long as there's no need to use the thing, the effect might be the same. However, if you whip out your "unarmed" weapon and the local glee club continues to surround you, then you've got a bigger problem than the man with an "armed" weapon. He has the option of shooting his way out; all you're going to be able to do is wonder why it didn't work.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chicago 2A Freedom Rally THIS FRIDAY

Second Amendment Freedom Rally!
FRIDAY JUNE 26, 2009
11am - 2pm
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph St
Chicago, IL

featured in the hard-hitting video No Guns for Negroes

Come celebrate the first anniversary of
U.S. Supreme Court's decision in D.C. vs Heller.
Let's show our support for the RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS!

So, here's your chance. If you were a marshal last year, you know it was no problem at all. The James R. Thompson Center is a really good venue - there are no bad seats on the plaza - so volunteers do not have to worry about missing out on the rally by being a marshal.

If you didn't get a chance to help last year and you'd like to pitch in this time, jump aboard and welcome!

For those unfamiliar with the marshals' jobs, the responsibilities include:
  • Define the area and keep people out of the street for safety,
  • Keep the crowd from blocking entrances to the building or the sidewalks around the plaza,
  • Help people find signs, information, restrooms, water, etc.
  • Communicate with security and police personnel to handle emergencies
  • Look cheerful and answer questions, and most importantly:
  • Seriously, this next thing is really important, so pay attention:
  • Enjoy ourselves and have a fun day with like-minded people.
Last year a few of us spent maybe10 minutes at most after the rally picking up a few things, counting chairs, stacking things - in general helping with a minimal bit of clean up.

Please email reliable contact information to Marshal Volunteer Coordinator Don Gwinn at dongwinn@thefiringline.com or call 217-502-2452.


We thank each and every one of you for your diligence and commitment to the Second Amendment. Please feel free to forward this and all Firearm Alerts to your friends, family, and other contacts.
Valinda Rowe
IllinoisCarry.com spokesperson

Lineada, the New Blog on the Block

There's a new blogger out there, and, perhaps inevitably . . . . he's pimping a book.

He's also my son, Donovan, and he turned 13 yesterday, but don't let that fool you. He's got an epic novel under construction (working title: The Vampyre War Saga) which he'll tell you is "about love, betrayal, friendship, blood, war, and secrets." I should warn you that Donovan's vampyres are not sparkly, hunky, vegetarian teen idols. Donovan's vampyres live in the Shadow Realm, sort of an older Earth connected to our own dimension at only one point in London. They don't make friends with humans; they're quite clear on their place in the food chain, which may come from living in a place with a river made up entirely of human blood.

The "hero" of the book is Aethulwulf, both prince and sorcelock of the Vampyre race, and his antagonist is Theisis, a Vampyre traitor who turned against his royal family in one of those lineage disputes that so often ruin royal family reunions. Of course, when this happens in a Vampyre family, the stakes are a little higher than the standard "Everybody takes their own potato salad and leaves in a huff" that we humans face. The question is, can Aethulwulf and his friends get all the way across the Shadow Realm, cross in and out of the human realm, and make it back through the dragons, werewolves, zombies, giants and all the rest alive?

And if they manage that, and manage it quickly enough to give Theisis a battle before his army can take permanent control of the Shadow Realm . . . . is there any way they can win that battle?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scheduling Experiment . . .

I've never figured out how to schedule a post, so I'm hoping this works. We'll see. If it appears at 5:01 this evening, I'll know I've finally got that licked.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Goddamn Robots

I had to send an email to the Illinois State Board of Education yesterday, because I think they've overlooked a college course I took (They say I'm "deficient coursework in the psychological assessment of students with disabilities within the LBSI scope." Since I got an A in MSE528, "Psycho-Educational Testing," I can't tell whether they missed that course, whether I need more than one course, or whether I need more than 3 semester hours in that area . . . . and their letter doesn't specify, of course.

I attempted to resolve the matter by phone, but the number given for the certification department gave a busy signal no matter how many times I called over two days, of course.

Beginning to sense a pattern, I went to the ISBE website and clicked the "Contact" link. A web form presented itself for duty with reassuring alacrity, and I proceeded to fill it out and hit "Submit." A small red line of text appeared, thanking me for sending in my comments and/or questions and assuring me that my query would be answered as promptly as possible.

I should have had the sense to leave it at that, but instead I foolishly proceeded to open my email. Thunderbird cheerfully served up two messages from the ISBE Killer Robot Division (Dept. of Eating Old People's Medicine Dept.)* which had both apparently been delivered at 11:35 a.m. and which said--I am not making this up--this:
Delivery Status Notification (Failure)
This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients failed.

And yet also this:
Confirmation From : Certification

Thank you for contacting the Illinois State Board of Education.
We will make every effort to respond as quickly as possible.

Very Best Regards,

Public Information Center
Illinois State Board of Education

Notice that State Board of Education Robots don't capitalize very consistently? So did I. "ISBE ro-bot 4-4-7-3 does not und-er-stand your hu-man e-mo-tion of 'frus-tra-tion.' But ISBE ro-bot 4-4-7-3 finds this 'frus-tra-tion' fas-cin-a-ting. ISBE ro-bot 4-4-7-3 must cre-ate more frus-tra-tion in or-der to stu-dy your strange hu-man feelings. . ."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is It Paranoia If They Really Call You a Terrorist?

Low-level terrorism in Springfield, IL

I'm trying hard to be the voice of reason, here, but this is the kind of thing that makes it hard:
Days of our Trailers: Low Level Terrorism

Apparently, the DoD is teaching its personnel that "protests" are "low-level terrorism." No, I haven't seen a lesson plan or a presentation, but according to Fox News, the ACLU has obtained copies of a written exam with a question where the correct answer to "Which of these is an example of low-level terrorism?" is "protests." I've been a teacher for some time now, and I can tell you this: there are probably things being taught that aren't on the test, but it's very unlikely that there's anything on the test that's not being taught in depth.

The Defense Department defends this document in the Fox News story Roy linked by saying that it may be part of training for overseas personnel, and it may simply mean that protests are events to be avoided because they can be low-level terrorism in those other countries. I'm not really buying that one, but I suppose it's possible.

The thing that worries me about this is that Roy at Days of Our Trailers walked the state capitol here in Illinois with me back in March. We gathered in a convention hall, marched through the streets with uniformed people blocking the traffic (well, that was the Springfield Police Department, and we did, after all, have a parade permit for our low-level terrorizing, but they didn't have to enjoy it so much) and then held a rally on the lawn of the Capitol . . . there may have been some shouting and possibly some signs were waved in the air. Then we went inside and petitioned our representatives for redress of our grievances. I think I might be in some trouble if Roy decides to turn me in, but maybe I can explain that it was all his idea.

Low-level terrorists indoctrinating youth members in Chicago

I think it's very likely that this will go away as the test is quietly
retired and the new version miraculously loses the terrorism language . . . . which is good, in a way, because it's good that they realize they messed up and that something needs to be done. I worry that it's not good in the sense that this is not just a one-time slipup, but an attitude that's been slowly becoming more common for years now. The thing I hate to hear most is when someone says, "Sure, it's your right to protest, but it makes you look weird." Sure, it might, but I don't care. No one is going to embarass me out of exercising my rights. And guess what? If protesting is low-level terrorism, then next Friday I'm going to be a low-level terrorist again, and I'll wear that badge proudly. Come join us in Chicago on the 26th. We're going to be upbeat, we're going to have fun, but we're going to insist on our rights as Americans and as human beings, and if anyone tries to label us "low-level terrorists," they're going to be the ones embarassed.

Seriously, are these people the terrorists?

I'm a Goofball But I Love You

Nine years ago, this gorgeous creature took the plunge and got married. It hasn't always been a lot of fun to be married; her husband can be demanding sometimes, and dangerously immature at others. That is not hyperbole; sometimes his immaturity involves accelerants and explosives. Her children can be more than demanding; it takes amazing patience to deal with them day after day and still find a reason to cherish them every once in awhile. But if you've looked closely at this self-portrait, you might have noticed that her expression could be interpreted in a number of ways. She may have been going for a naughty librarian pout, but anyone who looks closely at the eyes and notes the arch of the eyebrows might note surprise, shock, and perhaps a note of apprehension about the future. It's an intriguing window into the soul. But what could she have seen that would put that hunted, harrowed expression on such a pretty face?

I think it's simple, really. Today is her ninth wedding anniversary. She has been married for nine years now, and the time has gone by faster than anyone expected, just as it always does. Next year will be ten years . . . and she never really considered herself a person who could have been married for ten years. But more than all that, at the true center of her disquiet, there is an epiphany, a realization, that seems in retrospect as if it should have been perfectly obvious all along. It's the kind of understanding that seems to dawn suddenly if only because we have been avoiding it by any means necessary until it was no longer possible. So what put that haunted look in her eyes?

It has suddenly washed over her as a wave washes over a toddler napping at high tide: she has not merely been married for nine years. She has been married to this doofus right here for nine long years, and there are long years yet to come. So many years.

I love you, My Bride. Please don't leave me for putting your naughty librarian portrait on the internet; nobody reads this anyway.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Iran: The Robust Debate, It Burns!

I have to admit, it's heartening to see that the video and audio of the crackdown in Iran is getting out to the world. The Iranian government tried its best to shut down the communications networks in Iran after the election, but it looks like there are holes the bag. That is excellent, yes.

Now, the question is, so what? OK, Iran had an "election" and a lot of Iranians got angry because they figure their incumbent bastards shut their reformer bastards out and tried to cover it up. And so? Is anyone going to do anything about it, or is the glorious revolution going to fizzle? I don't claim to know, I'm just asking.

Bleg: Electronic Hearing Protection Reviews

Shooting suppressed .22's in Tennessee spoiled me a little bit. I thought it was just too cool to be able to shoot with my boys and talk to them while guns were going off all around us. Now, I can't legally possess a suppressor, or "silencer" as they're known here, in the Land of Lincoln (State motto: "Did you know Lincoln lived here? Did you know you can still walk the route from his home to the drugstore where he bought his opiates?") But I spent some time thinking about this on the way home, and it occurred to me that maybe people wearing electronic hearing protection get most of the benefits of suppressed firearms. I mean, they don't hear the report, right? And they are able to talk to each other in normal voices, right? The only thing the electronic ears don't let you do, in theory, is shoot without bothering the neighbors (or the guy without electronic ears further down the line.)

So, do you have these magical audiological marvels? Do you think yours live up to the hype? At one time, people were saying the Howard Leight Impact Sport models were a good deal for the money. Anybody out there using these? What do you think? I like the price, but I don't really want to buy twice. What I want is something that will let me hear voices but cut out gunshots, and that's it. I don't need anything fancy, but I want it to be solid, and I won't have a fortune to spend.
Thanks, everybody.

Did I mention that the Second Amendment Freedom Rally in Chicago is less than two weeks away? I still need marshals, folks!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


(To see Oleg's journal and his other photos, click the pic)
I'm sure that's rhetorical, my Tennessean friend, so I've deleted a long point-by-point explanation of Illinois history. Instead, I hope everyone who can get to Chicago this month will join me at the James R. Thompson Building in downtown Chicago on June 26th. We're going to gather a crowd. We're going to listen to Ralph Conner, the Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in Chicago. We're going to make some noise across the street from Mayor Daley's office. We're going to meet like-minded people who are willing to take a Friday off in order to spend it shaking the tree of liberty a little. We're going to hear updates on the MacDonald v. Chicago/NRA v. Chicago cases, which are now at the petition stage at the Supreme Court, and we're going to discuss our strategy for passing License to Carry legislation in Illinois--now arguably the very last state in the union with no way to carry a defensive firearm.

I expect to see you there at the Second Amendment Freedom Rally (SAFR.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What Is Best In Life?

So, what else did the boys enjoy at Round Cove, besides the machine guns and grenade launchers and Clovis-point arrowheads? Well, for red-blooded young men of almost 13 years of age, what else?
A puppy, of course! "Sam" here was the star of the party, but "Angel" put in an appearance, too.

(Why? What did you think I meant?)

And here we see Donovan explaining the role of "Sorcelocks" in his epic fantasy project, The Vampire War Saga. We showed up without hats on the first morning, which immediately struck me as foolish, so we invested in three stylish chapeaus. Kane picked out a light woodland boonie hat, Donovan got a black ball cap emblazoned with "Special Forces" and a large badge . . . and I chose to suck up to our hosts with a tan Hero Gear hat, because you can't go wrong with a little flattery now and then.

The Who Says What Now?

Uhhhhh . . . . .
"The responsible white separatist community condemns this," he said. "It makes us look bad."
Well . . . good . . . for them . . . . I guess?

(Hat tipped to Uncle)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shootout at the Holocaust Museum

Just heard from the crew at FCPGroton that the security guard at the Holocaust Museum has died. Those guys in uniform in these public buildings are just canaries in the mine once the shooting starts--just marked targets who are almost never going to get the chance to shoot first.

Not good . . . I hate Nazis. You have to figure this one isn't too bright, even if you set aside his irrational Jewz-hating, because if he'd wanted to figure out the best way to build sympathy for Jews in America and bury his own movement in an even deeper hole than before, he couldn't have come up with many better ways. Doing what Buford Furrow did would be one.

If you think the Nazis had the right idea, fine, think whatever you want. But before you start shooting people, try talking to a few and see if your ideas survive a challenge. If they don't, maybe you're just wrong, genius.

(OK, writing this way, as if I'm giving advice to neo-Nazis who are somehow rational, decent people, is kind of dumb, too, but at least nobody gets hurt.)

Hero Gear Shoot Photo Roundup

Joe Lundberg at Hero Gear says there were over 600 gigabytes of photographs taken at the Hero Gear shoot, so you can imagine there may well be more, but some of the photographers there were taking photos as their jobs, so the fun stuff may take longer to percolate. If there are future roundups, they'll be new posts linked to this one. Click on the photo to be linked to the page described--don't accept looking at these small link photos or you'll miss out!

The Urban Shooter Podcast (Kenn Blanchard) about the Hero Gear gathering:
Black Man with a BIG gun--that's McCann Industries' new Garand in .458 Win Mag. A Garand capable of taking any game species on the planet. It's amazing . . . . but sadly, it apparently doesn't go "ping!"

Oleg Volk's Gallery of Hero Gear PhotosHere's Erika shooting the same Kel-Tec RFB I'm holding in my new page banner. It's a lot more fun to look at than my new page banner.

Skunkabilly's Flickr Photostream
For all you old TFL and THR hands, yes, this is that Skunkabilly. I actually got my son to ask Skunk to show him his carbon-fiber leg at lunch the first day.
Oh, and that's the mortar Kane fired.

Steve Rogers' Gallery
You can't really appreciate this photo in this size, so click on it. Now. The .50 BMG is powerful ballistically, but the unbridled fury of the muzzle brake is astounding.

Randy Samos' Gallery
The Momentum Foundation's helicopter was there for photo ops.

HisAmishness' GalleryWhen Randy sees a police vehicle, even a quasi-police vehicle, he just can't stop the instincts. Standard positions are assumed with alacrity. I can only assume this is due to years of repeated, consistent conditioning.

AR15.com Discussion Thread
You can buy this shirt at www.hero-gear.com

AR15Armory.com Discussion Thread
Oleg wonders who farted? I'm only guessing from the photo.

TN Gun Owners Discussion ThreadThe cave in which this was shot is an amazing place--deceptively deep, with tricky footing, but full of bats, with the roof full of micah and quartz that looks like the milky way when you aim a flashlight upward. It's also full of flint deposits that were mined by paleo-indian tribes thousands of years ago, and Nordeck Johnson, the owner of Round Cove, is an expert on their ways, tools and weapons who can tell you some surprising things. How about paleolithic people who could carry a single long spear, "reloading" it on the run after wounding prey as large as mastodon? The technology changes, but the basic problems really don't.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kane With An FN P90 at Hero Gear Shoot

Here's some fun that's hard to have in Illinois. And for anyone wondering about legality, this was shot in Tennessee, where submachine guns and suppressors are both perfectly legal.

I'm slowly getting some media together from the event. This is a video I shot with my cell phone; My Bride was on vacation in Minnesota with all our cameras at the time, so this was the best I could do, but I understand over 600 GB (that's GIGAbytes, folks) of high-resolution photos were taken this weekend, so as people sort through what they've made, we'll see more and more.

You can see Kane controlling the P90 with ease, though he did lift off the sights. My dad is standing behind him in the orange shirt with a hand on Kane (just in case) and the range officer is to their left. Dad and Donovan both fired full magazines from the P90 as well, and I do at least have photos of them.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Not Much Time

5:00 a.m. central. Heading back out to shoot many guns on top of a mountain. Good times to ensue.
Full report tomorrow.

Monday Morning Coming Down Update:

Anonymous, in comments, pointed out something important:
"Mountain? There are no mountains in the midwest."
This is true.
You 'ave deduce correctly, my frien'. We 'ave slipped the surly bonds of Illinois and soared like hawks on the wind (only with significantly more turkey sandwiches and yard sales) into the loving arms of the mid-south, which is geographically near the midwest but requires an adjustment of state of mind.
I'll write it all up later (we're still in Tennessee and a hot shower is calling me) but this weekend the boys have done everything from exploring caves with an expert on the paleoindians to finding clovis-pointed flint arrowheads in a field (we found two almost completely intact and one large fragment) to driving a 4x4 "mule" to firing every weapon from our old favorite .22 Ruger to a suppressed Walther P22 to a P90 submachine gun to a shoulder-stocked M203 grenade launcher (with orange marker grenades) to a black powder mortar (yes, Kane fired artillery.)
Amazing friends, amazing food, amazing places, great experiences. We're all completely weary, and I think Kane had mild heat exhaustion yesterday, but life is good.

My only regret is that it looks like Smoky Mountain Knife Works is too far away to hit on the way home today. It would double the trip home, and I'm just not up for it. Once again the SMKW showroom eludes me . . . but my day will come.

Karl's in trouble.

HA! Karl's in the deep muck now. Been waiting for this.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Appleseed Photos

Courtesy (and copyright) of John Boch, who achieved the rank of "Rifleman" this weekend:

Here's Kane with his Marlin Model 60. It's his favorite gun, but it was a big mistake to let him bring it. The poor little thing filled with dust and was unab
le to hold up to the round count. He started with his little red dot electronic sight, had that removed to use the iron sights, transition to a 1.5x Weaver (the only scope I had, and we had to buy rings) and then to 3-9x Burris. When the gun died, he switched to a 10/22 with a 3-9x variable scope (thanks, Nick!) and made a lot of progress. If you look closely, you can see the crate lid that's keeping my .223 brass off Kane's neck.

Here we can see Kane getting help from one of the instructors, "Papa" Papineau. A very patient man.

Here you can see Donovan and My Bride together on the other firing line. The slings are remarkably loose, aren't they?

Bloomberg News On the Chicago Gun Case: Doing It Wrong

The suburban "Daily Herald" has a piece put out by Bloomberg News service covering the 7th Circuit's decision to punt the McDonald v. Chicago case up to the Supreme Court. Shockingly, they missed a few things--starting with the first sentence.
A Chicago ordinance banning handguns and automatic weapons within city limits was upheld by a U.S. Court of Appeals panel, which rejected a challenge by the National Rifle Association.
Actually, nobody is challenging a ban on automatic weapons in Chicago. I don't know if Chicago even has such a law, to tell you the truth. Illinois does, which suffices for Chicago. What is being challenged is a total ban on handguns combined with ridiculously onerous restrictions on shotguns and rifles. Later, the unnamed reporter says that Chicago doesn't allow "concealed weapons, semi-automatic or automatic firearms." Maybe this is just an indication of how bizarrely Byzantine Chicago gun laws are, but that's a little off. Obviously, carrying a firearm (or pepper spray, or stun gun, or baton, or most knives) is illegal in Chicago whether it's concealed or not. And obviously, automatic weapons are illegal in Illinois, which means that if you own one here, you're also not complying with the federal red tape, which means you're looking at 10 years in the federal pen if you've got an automatic weapon in Chicago. Semi-automatic weapons are not any more banned than anything else, which is to say that if your semi-automatic weapon is a shotgun or a rifle, and it's not on the List of the Forbidden as promulgated by Cook County, and you manage to get through the registration process, you can keep it in Chicago. So if you've got an M1 Garand or a Winchester 1100 you want to register, have at it.
You know, the more I detail what it takes to own a gun in Chicago, the less I blame the reporter for just saying all these things are banned. He had a word count to hit, after all, and I'm this far into my rambling without even addressing the actual case.

The reporting on the case itself was actually not too bad, although it would have been nice to get a little depth rather than spinning this as a clear defeat of the pro-gun side. If you read it carefully, you can see between the lines that the 7th Circuit looked for a procedural way to rule against us and found it; they didn't rule on the 2nd or incorporation, they ruled that they weren't going to take the responsibility. Fair enough. What did bother me a little bit was the emphasis on the NRA's role in all this. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have the NRA involved, but would it kill them to mention the people who actually sued before the NRA? The people who have standing because they live in Chicago and are denied their constitutional right to keep and bear arms? Both my readers know these people, but I'm going to mention them anyway, because it irks me.
  • Otis McDonald
  • Adam Orlov
  • Colleen Lawson
  • David Lawson
  • Illinois State Rifle Association
  • Second Amendment Foundation
Again, that's taking nothing away from the NRA or their lead attorney, Stephen Halbrook. But the people above, and their attorneys Alan Gura and David Sigale, have done the yeoman's work on this case and deserve some credit for what they're doing. The two cases have been combined, but although both sets of plaintiffs are asking the court to recognize that the 2nd Amendment is incorporated via the 14th, they offer very different reasoning. It's entirely possible that one line of reasoning could be rejected, but the other accepted and the case thus saved for all the plaintiffs . . . . so it wouldn't be very fair to ignore most of the plaintiffs because one is a more familiar name nationally.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

7th Circuit Punts Chicago Gun Case With Alacrity

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its decision in McDonald v. Chicago, the "Chicago Gun Case." If you've had trouble getting the decision from the court's own webpage, here's a link that works and isn't likely to fail:
7th Circuit Decision, McDonald v. Chicago.

Now, if you're not familiar with the case so far, the short version goes like this:
  1. The Heller decision was handed down on June 26th, 2008. In it, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, and thus invalidates Washington, D.C.'s statute prohibiting the keeping of functional firearms and the owning of handguns.
  2. Within hours, Otis McDonald and company, along with the IL State Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation, filed suit against Chicago, claiming that the 2nd Amendment also invalidates its ban on handguns. The NRA followed suit soon after. Both cases ask the court to invalidate Chicago's statute, so they were merged by the court. The main difference in the two cases is that although both argue that the 2nd Amendment should be applied to Chicago because it should be incorporated by the 14th Amendment, they give different reasoning as to why the incorporation should be made.
  3. The federal court found in favor of Chicago, as expected, and the case was appealed the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (The 7th.)
  4. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (The 9th) ruled in a different case, Nordyke v. King, that the 2nd Amendment is indeed incorporated via the 14th Amendment, which means that it does restrict the actions of cities and states, not just the federal government. This ruling, however, only applies within the 9th Circuit (basically the west coast and parts of the far west.)
  5. During oral arguments on May 26th, judges Posner, Easterbrook and Bauer made it clear that they had no interest in ruling on the question at hand. Their position was that the SCOTUS had ruled that the 2nd is not incorporated, and only the SCOTUS can overrule that decision. This is not apparently strictly true, but it's close enough to be a fig leaf for what the court wanted to do, which was keep their hands and reputations far away from any decision that the 2nd Amendment means something. Someone, they implied, will probably rule that those old cases were wrong and that the 2nd is incorporated against local and state governments . . . . . but at least it won't be them.
  6. Fast forward to today, literally a week after oral arguments, and the decision has come down as expected. We are on a fast track to the Supreme Court here, people. With a split between federal appellate circuits, it's certain that the Supreme Court will hear this case. Incorporation of the 2nd Amendment via the 14th could come down as early as next spring, and then the fun of dismantling and rebuilding not only Chicago gun laws, but also Illinois gun laws, will begin. For an idea of what is to come, take a look at all the lawsuits proliferating in California as its wacky gun-control laws are dragged out into the light and challenged one by one.