Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Musical Interlude

With all the rain we've had, yeah....

H/T to Rob at My Tumultuous Journey
and yes, they are also easy on the ears...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

These are our "Betters"?

Hearings started today in the US House of Representatives today regarding the BATFE's Operation Fast and Furious.  For those of you unfamiliar, this was a case where Federally Licenced Firearm Dealers (aka FFL's) reported to the Phoenix ATF office their suspicions that certain buyers were buying guns to give/sell to "Prohibited Persons" (people who cannot legally buy firearms).  These are called "Straw Purchases" and are illegal. As in going to Federal Prison illegal. And these guns were going to drug gangs both in the US and Mexico.

In an effort to "prove" that US FFL's were selling guns to Mexican Drug Gangs/Cartels, the highest levels of  the BATFE ordered that the sales and allowing the guns to "walk" were to continue, despite the warnings and red flags raised by several BATFE agents.  Warnings that these guns probably could and would be used against US Law Enforcement Officers.

Tragically this is what transpired.  Customs and Border Patrol Officer Brian Terry was killed in a firefight with Mexican Drug Gang Members shortly before Christmas 2010, with guns that had been allowed to "walk".

Now hundreds of firearms that were allowed to "walk" are in the hands of drug cartels and other criminals.  Mostly likely some of those guns will end up killing Americans.  Guns that had the BATFE done their job would have been prevented from going into the wrong hands. 

BATFE agents that raised the warnings were threatened with retribution if they didn't "follow the company line".

It is simply unconscionable that the very agency charged with preventing such crimes, actively encouraged it, by allowing it to continued unabated.  Those that made that decision need to not only be removed from office, but also held to account for the murder of Officer Terry and any others killed or maimed by guns they allowed to "walk".

Sadly that won't happen.  They will be shuffled off to a nice retirement courtesy of you and I, and the whole sordid affair will be swept under the rug.  And the BATFE will continue on as before, possibly with more funding to "improve" their methods and tactics.  I say enough.  The BATFE needs to be disbanded as they should have been at the end of Prohibition.  They serve no function that cannot be readily absorb by other Federal Agencies.  The FBI already operates the NICS system for the background checks on gun buyers. Licensing and inspecting FFL's could easily be done by the FBI and reduce the duplication of effort when it comes to enforcing the law.

Creating crime to justify your existence, simply proves that you need not to exist.  The BATFE needs to go.

First They Came For The Light Bulbs.

Not content to make people start hoarding 100W light bulbs.  Now they are going after rat poison.  Yep, in true "We know what's best for you, peasant" mode, the EPA has banned the sale of rodent poisons.  Unless your are a exterminator then you can gouge sell the the bait stations to consumers as part of a treatment.


If you are not outraged yet, you're not paying attention.

Legalize DDT, it's much safer then DEET.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Department of Education has a SWAT Team ?!?!?!?!?

A while back there was a news item about the US Dept. of Education buying 27 short barrelled Remington 870 Shotguns.  That was back in March 2010  and there was much nattering on various gun blogs about why the DOE needed shotguns.  However, most of the nattering had to do with the fact that why the hell we even need a Federal Department of Education when this is clearly a function of Parents and the Local School Boards. Period. Full Stop.

Well now we know why they need them.  Since having your own Tact-I-Cool SWAT Team seems to be a requirement of every Federal Bureaucracy.  (I mean even the USDA has a SWAT unit, for what ?  Do they really expect this ? )

As I've stated, having a professional, well-trained group able to stop or prevent, isolate and contain VERY BAD PEOPLE about to do VERY BAD THINGS, is a good thing.   But, and this is very important, this gives the LEA the option to use these folks WHEN THEY ARE NOT NEEDED.    Because to justify the extra cost associated with the toys and the "training" that goes along with having one of these units, they get used in situations where other, less flashy methods could achieve the desired result of bad people being arrested and brought before the bar of justice.

Not to long ago we had the Keystone Kops of the Pima County Sheriff's Office shoot a two combat tour veteran of Iraq, in his own home.  Now we have this.

Okay, "Dynamic Entry" is justified when the warrant servers believe that the evidence may be readily destroyed or someone inside may be hurt or killed.

But what in G-d's name justifies the use of the DOE SWAT team in this case.  They were looking for a whole bunch of paperwork and computer stuff..  Did they think she would flush a computer down the toilet ?  Or her maybe burn a bunch of paperwork before Johnnie Law could get inside?  Why not simply surround the house and then knock?   If anybody comes squirting out, put the habeas grabbus on them.  Easy Peezy, Lemon Squeezey.  More then likely, no one gets shot, and at worst maybe some grass stains from the tackle. Then go through the house and execute the search warrant.

So here's the warrant.  So again, tell me why the US Department of Education needs a SWAT Team for this?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hanging out with Gunnies

The highlight of last weekend was not getting to shoot free ammo out of other people's fully automatic firearms, but was being around other bloggers.  And not just bloggers, but Gun Bloggers.

If you ever spend anytime with people who like to shoot, aka "Gunnies", you'll discover that they are generous to a fault.  Here's the best example I can give.

About a year or so ago we were teaching the live fire portion of a Illinois Department of Natural Resources Hunter Safety Education class.  We had one kid, a little younger,  about 10 years old if I remember correctly, and he was somewhat smaller then the other kids in the class.  He was having a hard time hitting the clay birds with Youth Sized Remington 870 in 20 gauge, as it was a little big for him.  One of our club members, who is not an Hunter Ed Instructor was walking by and had stopped to watch and talk to us instructors.  When he saw that the kid was having trouble getting on the bird, he said "Hey, hold on.  Let me go get my 28 gauge and try that."  And hustles off toward the parking lot.  We let some other kids shoot and he comes back with his 28 guage Over/Under and a couple of boxes of 28 gauge shells. 

We show the kid how to load the gun and take the safety off and be ready to shoot.  The kid calls pull and breaks the bird with his first shot.  He then proceeds to dust about seven or eight birds in row.  I was standing back behind the firing line with the kid's Dad.  Dad is suddenly all smiles, as visions of a Father/Son bird hunt ending with filled game bags, dance through his head.  He smiles, looks at me and asks, "How much for a gun like that."   I smile, because I shoot with the club member who has volunteered his shotgun for the kid to use and know the gun well.

"About a year or two of college."  is my answer.  The dad looks at me somewhat confused.  I simply smile and say , "That's a Ceaesar Guerini Maxum Sporting Model that has been "fitted" (meaning: custom built) to the club member.  So that's somewhere around $15,000 in shotgun your son is holding."

All the blood drained from dad's face.  I'm not sure whether it was because the Father/Son bird hunt dream ended, or he suddenly had visions of his 10 year old son dropping or otherwise "breaking" a $15,000 shotgun, or both.

But that's what "Gun People" are like.  If you're out on a range, they will simply offer to let you shoot their guns.  They are polite and courteous.  They smile and enjoy themselves while shooting and want you to enjoy yourself as well. They are friendly and personable and fun to be around.

So getting to spend the weekend with the people whose blogs I read on daily basis, plus pioneers of the internet 2nd Amendment movement, like Oleg Volk, made me as giddy as a a teenage girl.   And I'm not the only one to feel that way.  But it was really great to meet, talk with, and share a meal with the likes of Tam and Kenn Blanchard, along with everyone else there.

However, the nicest people were our hosts.  They went well out of their way to make sure that we had a good time.  Especially their Marketing Director Angela DeGloma.  Now, I normally think that marketing people are as about as useful as a kickstand on a tank. But she setup and organized this past weekend's festivities.  And did a magnificent job.  It was the first and only time in my life I have ever given someone with "Marketing" in their title a standing ovation.   She earned it.  And  has earned my business.