Sunday, December 30, 2012

This seemed worth documenting.

An interesting account, certainly, framed by an event that many of us remember quite vividly.  It's fairly well-told, and other than the slightly creepy vibe one gets off the glaringly military buddy figure (the "heroic Israeli tank commander"), there is much that is instructive in there.

So, the author now understands that "it" can come to him at any time.  He also seems to have made a few connections regarding the State's relationship to "its" people, and just might understand that maintaining the means of resistance is something worth ignoring "the law" over.

Excellent.  The more people that understand that, the better.

And once a people are sufficiently "armed" to fend off the core protection-racket function of the State...they just might be ready to ask what they really need from the State at all.

Friday, December 28, 2012

...a seducer's lie.

Well hello there, Lawrence Hunter.  You caught me quite by surprise there, writing for Forbes and all, but I'll not let the source get in the way of the content:  this is just freaking outstanding:

Politicians who insist on despoiling the Constitution just a little bit for some greater good (gun control for “collective security”) are like a blackguard who lies to an innocent that she can yield to his advances, retain her virtue and risk getting only just a little bit pregnant—a seducer’s lie.

There is no amount of "wish I'd said that" that is sufficient to praise that image.  Like the battered wife analogy describing Liberty's relationship to the State, it works on every level you care to pursue.

The whole article is excellent;  a highly usable resource that can reach people who need to be reached.  Again, I'd not have expected Forbes for this much principle over pragmatism, but if minds are going to change, it's got to start somewhere, and I'm happy to call it out where I see it.

Deep tip of the hat to Vanderboegh for this one.  May Hunter's article successfully prepare many new people for the work of MBV, Codrea, Grigg...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ruger's Gunsite Scout Rifle.

Weee, a gear post!

We were in Soldotna today and I took an opportunity to stop in at a preferred gunshop (the few available locally are already all on my shit-list and I just don't bother any more) to ask how business is, over the last week with all the Sandy Hook-related blood dancing and comitant panic buying.  (This dealer seems typical for what I've seen in Alaska, with about 30-40% of rifle stock being Evil Black Rifles, as a norm...and not a one was visible today.  "Yup, every one of 'em gone in a couple of days.") looking at what was available, what should catch my eye but a copy of Ruger's Gunsite Scout Rifle, which I had not met before in person.  That problem is now remedied...

...and I, for one, am quite impressed.

The fella behind the counter was affable and nice enough, but he had no clue whatsoever about this gun.  He started to spin me a line about how he thought this model was created as a response to fears about semiauto bans (see, it's got this rail...) and I politely stopped him before he could make a proper fool of himself.  I didn't even bother going into the history, after he went blank-stare on the mere mention of Jeff Cooper (sigh), but just told him that the concept was meticulously designed, well before even the first "assault weapon" hysteria, and left it at that.  After a quick scan of everything I asked if I could try the trigger;  he said sure, and so I did a mount-press-snap-press-snap sequence* at full speed.  It wasn't really that fast--I'm hardly exceptional--but he was suddenly wide-eyed at a display he pretty clearly had never seen before, and I think he started listening to me more after that.  :-)

Anyway, here's what I would consider wrong with the rifle, at least from a design standpoint.  First and foremost, there is no middle sling stud for a proper Ching Sling mount.   I would wager considerable coin that Col. Cooper would have been forceful on this point;  he often stated that he would rather have a Ching Sling on his rifle than a telescopic sight.  And nobody that I have met personally, who has worked with the Ching Sling for the duration of a serious rifle class, tolerates anything less on a serious rifle.  I can only conjecture that the doctrine at Gunsite, now, is not what it used to be, and this parameter was thus not specified to Ruger as a requirement.  Fortunately, adding a third stud in the traditional manner, or something more elegant perhaps attached to the existing forward action screw, should prove to be a minor custom upgrade, well worth the effort.

The rest of the problems are minor.  The 10-round magazine seems bulky, given that it is a single-stack design.  The magazine release seems just a bit clumsy, but habituation may make that problem go away completely.  The stock, of course, is too long, even with all the spacers removed, but most riflemen (sigh) continue to insist on stocks that are "perfectly fitted" while in a warm gunshop with no bulky clothing on, and standing in the single shooting position most tolerant of a too-long stock.  (Try that same stock, prone, looped up, with a parka on, and get back to me on that whole "perfect fit" BS.)  And again, a too-long stock is a simple problem to fix.

But hell, even as picky as I am about rifles (and I readily admit, I am), that's about all I can think of that's wrong.  Okay, the Ruger doesn't have the Steyr Scout's really ingenious integral bipod, magazine cutoff system, nor secondary magazine well in the butt, and since I didn't have a scale I don't know if it properly "makes weight" (as long as we're dishing, the Steyr doesn't technically quite "make weight" either), but seriously, those are minor points, and the Ruger does actually have some design advantages over the Steyr.  The Ruger does use true controlled-round feed and inertial ejection as specified by the Scout Conference, whereas the Steyr, as excellent as it is, uses a Sako style extractor for push-feed, and a plunger ejector.  The reserve sights on the Steyr are quite serviceable, but the ones on the Ruger will be superior when the scope comes off.  The Ruger's flash-hider is not strictly necessary, but it seems well-done and to the extent it works, may prove an advantage in low light.  And the Ruger's magazines, if a little bulkier than perhaps they need be, do promise to lay flat and may tolerate field abuse better than the Steyr's, over time.

This rifle is nice.  The trigger is far better than I expected, reasonably light and quite crisp.  You'll hit out to the limits of your capability with it.  The action was typical M77, with the ergonomic and positive three-position safety (I love my Steyr, but I confess I prefer the M77's safety lever, even moreso than the Winchester M70 three-position lever that it was inspired by), and even new-in-box I didn't notice any tendency for bolt binding;  after a good break-in it should be as good as anyone shooting it for clean, smooth reliability.  And the M77's bolt handle is properly uncheckered, for working at maximum speed.

The detachable metal box magazine is nice, and apparently they come in 5-round (not quite flush-fit) and 10-round (almost but not quite too long for a good low prone position) varieties.  I gather they're not based on existing designs, which is almost annoying (I'd have loved it if I could share M14 magazines with a Scout rifle) but for a true Scout rifle, it's probably not that big a deal.  The release mechanism seems like a slightly trimmer variation of the M14, but may take a specific technique that I've not trained with yet to make it 100% foolproof.  I'd have to see it in action to comment further.

The ghost-ring sights are superb.  The rear aperture could be a bit larger with no loss in precision and probably a measurable improvement in speed, but it looks well-thought out otherwise, and both front and rear seem well-protected.  I'd love to see a tritium insert for the front post, but that's a personal wish.

Street price was under $800, which given the feature-set and core design, is simply outstanding.  You could easily add a Scout Scope with QD rings, a Ching Sling with third stud, and at least a sixpack of magazines (I'd get half 5s and half 10s), and you'd still come in under $1500 for a "true Scout" that would be right at home next to a Steyr.  Okay, maybe the barrel won't be the exquisite precision tube that seems to come on most Steyrs, but it will be plenty accurate enough to take advantage of the design.

I know that you can build a Scout-type rifle for less than this, but I don't think you could build a better rifle for that price, all-up, period.  And with this rifle design, if you know what you're doing, you can hold your own with any semi-auto out there, plus retain the ability to hit precisely...way out there.  As Col. Cooper would have put it, if a skilled rifleman can't solve his immediate problem with six rounds from a Scout rifle, he has a problem that cannot be solved with any rifle, and really needs to move to a new position right freakin' now.

If anyone asks me what one rifle (s)he should buy, to handle anything a rifle might be called upon to do...I can think of only one reason I would not recommend this one, hands down.

It has nothing to do with the rifle itelf, which seems just superb.

In the end, I'd just much rather give my money to Ronnie Barrett, than to Bill Ruger.   :-)

* For anyone reading this who can't quite visualize what I'm talking about, this is about the proper technique for running a bolt-action rifle, wherein the rifle does not come off the shoulder between shots.  What I was doing here was a snap-shot, immediate reload, and an instant second shot with another immediate reload.  From low ready (buttstock on belt), the rifle is mounted to the shoulder for the snap-shot (the safety comes off as the rifle is mounted), in which the shot comes between 1-2 seconds after the signal, and then without moving the head or the left hand at all, the right hand runs the bolt forcefully, ejecting the fired case and reloading the chamber with a fresh cartridge, and returns to the trigger for the immediate second shot.  With good technique that second shot can break well within two seconds of the first one, depending on how precise the second shot needs to be.  A good bolt rifleman will always reload his chamber instantly after breaking a shot;  he will be his own "auto-loader" and his next shot will be ready as soon as his eyes have re-acquired the sights after recoil.

Dave Anderson illustrates the bolt technique pretty well:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Well now.

This being the only reference to this story that I've seen, it's always possible that it's not true, but then again, it would hardly be surprising if there's been a lot of willful ignoring of a story that just happens to fly in the face of multiple blood-dancer memes at the same time.  (They're awful busy right about now, see...)

And so here is a report that the Clackamas mall shooter was actually confronted by an armed citizen, who may very well have prevented any further bloodshed by his mere presence.

"He was working on his rifle," said Meli. "He kept pulling the charging handle and hitting the side."

The break in gunfire allowed Meli to pull out his own gun, but he never took his eyes off the shooter.

"As I was going down to pull, I saw someone in the back of the Charlotte move, and I knew if I fired and missed, I could hit them," he said.

Meli took cover inside a nearby store. He never pulled the trigger. He stands by that decision.

"I'm not beating myself up cause I didn't shoot him," said Meli. "I know after he saw me, I think the last shot he fired was the one he used on himself."

Well now that is interesting, isn't it?  Again, presuming the veracity of the locally-reported story, here we have an armed citizen that responded admirably, electing not to shoot based on Rule 4 (and 2, for that matter) and the immediate analysis that the shooter was not an immediate threat while trying to clear his malfunction.  That would be an outstanding performance, under stress.

The wording of the story does not make it perfectly clear, and Meli's statement was probably intended to be "the next shot he fired" rather than "the last shot he fired" (which would be forensically useless given "...was the one he used on himself"), but it certainly seems, as Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker notes, that it was Meli's display of capacity that ended the fight:

Indeed the shooter did shoot himself next, despite having multiple additional unarmed people available near him to continue his rampage, along with additional cartridges, once he unjammed the gun.


He saw the man who, despite a sign claiming that there were no guns in the mall, was in fact armed and able to return fire. The assailant's illusion of a free-fire zone where all the people he wanted to shoot were free from the risk of returning fire had been dispelled; had he elected to shoot another unarmed and helpless individual the odds are good that he would have exposed himself to being shot as he would have had to move in a fashion that would have given the CCW holder a clear shot at him.

As such he elected to take his own life since he knew, at that point, that he no longer had the ability to continue to murder people without reprisal.

Well stated.  Sure, it's conjecture, since the attacker is not around to tell us for sure, but the fact remains that no further victims were claimed after the display of resistance. 

And we should highlight that one.  The display of resistance.  Meli did not need to fire, and he did not.  He was a thinking, adaptive individual, reacting under fire in a manner that the Brady Bunch would have you believe is impossible.  And yet here we are.  (Care to wager how many rounds would have flown if it were one or more cops in Meli's position?)

Hopefully this story is true, and others pick up on it.  If so, it's a powerful and instructive anecdote attending an otherwise horrible event.

If not:  it bloody well should be.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This is how pogroms begin.

So I learn that Discovery Channel has cancelled its hit program "American Guns".

A Discovery rep told FOX411 that “American Guns” – which is out of production and not currently broadcasting new episodes – has been canceled and will not return for a third season. This comes as something of a surprise given its growing popularity. The show had a 50 percent ratings increase for its second season premiere, and one of its stars, Renee Wyatt, recently said she would “definitely” be interested in returning for season three. The rep, however, would not link the show’s cancelation to the Connecticut school massacre.

Of course not.  It must have nothing at all to do with the "intense scrutiny" that has "flood[ed] the show's Facebook page calling for its cancellation"...including such logically persuasive tidbits as:

“I know you all have to make money but would Discovery Channel PLEASE consider ceasing to broadcast the show in the U.K.? Sadly your program makes buying/owning guns seem fun, glamorous, even normal,” wrote one. Another tweeted, “Dear Discovery Channel: it’s not appropriate showing the program American Guns now!” Another weighed in: “With Discovery shows like 'Sons of Guns', 'American Guns', 'Ted Nugent's Gun Country' etc it's not surprising how guns r seen as acceptable.”

It seems the critics may have been heard.

Oh, ya think?

Look, I can understand Discovery's disinclination to coming right out and saying so;  I have no doubt that the pressure against them is quite real (both from the above mass of PSH brainiacs and doubtless a variety of state/corporate pressure we may never see), but they'd just be stupid to openly admit it--lucky for them they're at the point in the business cycle when they can plausibly cancel ("not renew") for undisclosed reasons.

Ferchrissakes, just look at the above.  These are not ideas that can be reasoned with, because they do not admit any reality other than their own.  It matters not if an alternate reality is perfectly peaceable;  if it is not something of which they approve, it is to be actively destroyed by whatever means possible--by shouting it down on one end, and of course by forcing it with law on the other.  The simple market expedient of not watching just isn't...aggressive enough.

Sadly your program makes buying/owning guns seem fun, glamorous, even normal.

To this mindset, the alternate, peaceable reality of tens of millions of others must be actively unmade, rather than left to exist on its own as something that some people simply find weird.

This is how pogroms begin, isn't it?

This example is just one among several at the current moment, and I've no doubt that the feeding frenzy among the victim-disarmament crowd will produce more.  But it's a bit personal to me because I happen to know the Wyatts.  I've only seen one episode of the show myself, but it does appear to have its share of public appeal.

Rich Wyatt is one of the very few left who still teaches Jeff Cooper rifle and pistol technique.  I have "gone to class" for both rifle and pistol with him, and several of my personal guns have come from the Gunsmoke smithy.  Although there is a great distance between us politically--he is far more bound up in the traditional game than I am--we agree on much of substance, especially in the practical matter of protecting one's own skin.

If you ever get a chance to train with Rich or his crew, take it.  Ignore any politics that may differ from yours, and learn from him.  You will not be disappointed.

Thanks, Wendy McElroy...

...for noticing.

Monday, December 17, 2012

And speaking of crocodile tears...

...if you haven't already, go check out Grigg and Silber on the topic. 

Grigg gets right down to it in that beautiful matter-of-fact language that is so refreshing in this plasticene time.  He opens:

“They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” intoned the murderer of 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki as he began the liturgy of official mourning for the victims of the Newtown massacre.

Every time children die in an outbreak of violence, “I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent,” continued the head of a regime that will not explain to Nasser al-Awlaki why his son Anwar and grandson Abdulrahman – both of the U.S. citizens – were murdered by presidential decree.

“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” insisted the official who has presided over dozens of lethal drone attacks in Pakistan and other countries with whom the U.S. is not formally at war.

Tears welled up in Obama’s eyes as he pronounced the familiar, facile phrases of selective sympathy. After ordering that U.S. flags be flown at half-mast for a week, Obama said that he and his wife would hug their children a little closer tonight as he empathizes with the parents whose children were murdered in Newtown.

It’s doubtful that he was moved to similar thoughts of vicarious bereavement as he contemplated the parents in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan who have been left childless because of his actions. 

Silber goes much further into the psychology.  Even the hardcore may have trouble agreeing fully with everything he says, but all of it is worth consideration.

Now I want to draw your attention to several other issues that will never be mentioned during the current exercise in national mourning. I again emphasize that I exclude from this analysis those persons and families directly affected by these events. My concern here is the national immersion in this story. This enthusiasm, and there is no other word to describe it, for demonstrating how deeply one is affected, how vast is one's grief, how completely shattered everyone is by these deaths -- everyone, that is, who is supposedly "decent" and "caring," and who is grief-stricken and shattered by these deaths but not by many thousands of other deaths -- is a symptom of a culture that is profoundly disturbed.

In wrapping up, he brings back the brimstone:

And while there are references now and then in news stories to Newtown being a "wealthy" or "affluent" town, I haven't seen much highlighting of some easily available facts about Newtown: 95% of those who live in Newtown are white, and the estimated median household family income is around $120,000. This is one very small, enormously privileged fraction of America; it certainly is not representative of America in any general sense in the smallest degree.

And that makes it the perfect tragedy for the Age of Obama, and the perfect opportunity for Weeping Obama to make his appearance. Never mind those whom Obama orders to be murdered; don't give a thought to the children abused, humiliated and tormented in ways that will scar them for the rest of their lives; ignore the families destroyed by Obama's zealous pursuit of the monstrous War on Drugs. None of those victims are people like us, they're not human beings who actually matter. Who gives a damn what happens to them? These are among the hideous effects of the unrelentingly cruel and brutal reality America entered when it elected its first black president, a man who perfectly embodies the white authoritarian-corporatist-militarist State, and who ran as a white man. You elected -- and reelected -- a white man who is also a vicious killer. What did you expect?

I'm with these guys.  Crocodile tears don't much impress me.

Sick of the faux piety and crocodile tears.

These were the kindest things I could think of to say on Facebook, in light of an increasing stream of sanctimonious bullshit regarding the oh so obvious conclusion that the proper response to the Sandy Hook disaster is to do more of what made it inevitable it in the first place.  (There is a whole lot I did not post.)

In rereading for documenting here, I notice that I made several uncharacteristic writing errors, which is probably just due to being nearly debilitated by simple fury.  (Such are painful to look at, but I haven't edited them here.)  I don't know whether such an observation is a bona fide that I've still got my humanity intact, or proof that I need to work on maintaining a clearer head in the face of an exasperating stupidity that is in no way original or new.  Hopefully, both.

Anyway, the first thing I managed was this:

As the well-oiled machine gears up to capitalize yet again on an event of the most wrenching sort of horror, most will once again miss the most important takeaway of all: law, and the cultural conditioning that it promotes, has failed--again--to protect the innocent. I've already heard (and of course will continue to hear) much regurgitated boilerplate about more law, more enforcement, more of a ll the sort of things that have already been tried hundreds and thousands of times before. The sort of things that were already in place in Connecticut, and--QED--failed to protect the innocent, again.

This machine is horribly effective, and we'll probably get new "law" out of it, while failing to do anything constructive. Again.

To achieve a different result, we'd have to do something...different. 

Today, I felt compelled to vent the following:

Americans are (somewhat justly) ridiculed the world over for not thinking through the problem they are so outwardly sure they know how to cure. And so it is hardly surprising to see so many otherwise intelligent people tripping over themselves to line up in support of the ridiculous idea of applying even more of what didn't work this time, in the nearly religious faith that it simply must work next time, because...well, because their hearts are sick, and they want it to be that way.

What this is, is infuriating. And it has nothing to do with some ridiculous prurience of some people hanging on to a hobby, either: the sickness is in our THINKING. Thinking that the proper response to a disaster in which one law-breaker has his murderous way with a whole clutch of law-abiders, flying in the face of multiple simultaneous laws, is to apply...more law. WTF?

Look: is the goal to protect innocent life? If it is--if in fact it really is more important to you than anything else--then it is more important than the rule of law. And you need to recognize that if your first reaction to such a disaster is "bad man shouldn't have", that you fail the test. It doesn't matter that "bad man shouldn't have". Bad man DID have. What are you going to do about it then, here, right now?

This is not a question most people are willing contemplate. But the truth does not require your consent. On the other hand, "the law" is an ever-available absolution fantasy.

You can line up to pass more law all you want. The result, like all that came before it, will fail, and more will die because they put their faith in your legal promise of protection.

You want to know what breaks my heart? THAT DOES.

"These are the times that try men's souls."  Roger that, brother.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Hat tip to Mike Vanderboegh for this one.

Human powered pumps that look like they might really do the job when other conveniences fail, and useful supporting articles for context and details.

This one highlighted at Resilient Communities:

And via link-chasing, these covered at Resilient Design Institute:

Note the positioning right on the well cap.  Backup, indeed!

Bookmarks acquired, reading list updated.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Yo, Bob...

So I see you went all Dudley Do-Right on us yesterday, and made your point about as clearly as anyone could expect.

Duly noted;  roger that.

My request is simply this:  Bob, show us the courage of your convictions and be the first guy through my door.  Yourself.  None of this hire-a-goon-squad-to-do-the-dirty-work-for-you shit;  there's no noble embiggenment in that, and you're all about the noble embiggenment of the morally superior being, aren't you?

You want to disarm me, you bring it yourself.

That is all.