Friday, May 28, 2010

"But this is why I'm really posting..."

Chicago's Mayor Daley is a bit of a psychopath when it comes to gun control. I mean, I get that it's an emotional subject for a lot of people, but I'd say opining that somebody should attack Supreme Court justices and threatening to shoot a reporter in the prostate go somewhat beyond the threshold of appropriate conduct for a civil servant. Not that I don't get it: his stubborn refusal to drop his city's unconstitutional handgun ban has led to a near-certain bombshell pro-gun precedent pending in the Supreme Court. Previously anti-gun Chicagoans are talking about ignoring the city's draconian gun laws and carrying illegally for self defense. And right in the midst of his flailing attempts to rustle up anti-gun sentiment, Chicago just had a high-profile example of the quintessential righteous defensive gun use: an 80-year-old veteran was at home with his wife and 12-year-old great grandson when an intruder with a history of drug and weapon charges broke in. The vet let the kid fire two shots at him before responding decisively with his own handgun (kept illegally despite the ban).

So it's a bad time to be a dude who's built part of his ego on gun control.

But this... Does anybody still believe this crap anymore:

[Daley said] "guns is not the answer to the problems that we see in a home, in the streets of America. It's as simple as that...the access to guns in America, the access today is higher today than at any period of time in America."

In 1905, any human being could walk into the Macy's in Manhattan, buy a swanky, high-tech semiautomatic pocket pistol and ammo at the sporting goods counter, load it up, slip it into his pocket, and walk out onto the street. And the only required paperwork was handing over the money.

Seriously, does anybody actually believe the "laxer gun laws than evah!" meme?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Missed opportunities

Yes, your chess playing robot is cool.

But man, anybody who can build that thing and not dress it as a sultan for its premier has no soul.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Perspective

Last month Texas governor Rick Perry was jogging with his dog. A coyote threatened his puppeh, so Perry shot it with his laser-sighted Ruger LCP. It was a non-story that was seized on by people who know little about coyotes or guns but have strong opinions on both.

A month later, Ruger showed its good-humored side by releasing a silly "Texas special LCP (sans laser, for some reason).

Again, not a huge story. But what grabbed me in that article was this:

UPDATE: Travis says ...
I was at an Ace Hardware in Waco, TX this weekend. The gun counter employee showed me a Coyote Special. He said that Ruger made 1,000 of them. Also, he said that Ruger had shipped 500 each to two different distributors in Texas. He claimed to have received the pistol from one of those distributors.


In Texas, there are gun counters at Ace Hardware?! Y'know, I'm pretty heavily involved in the gun rights issue, and I'm still sometimes surprised by how nonphobic much of the country is outside New Jersey.

ETA: Mind you, reading some of the liberaler coverage of the incident, some of the "critics" they interview make Austin sound like a little slice of New Jersey. Some of them seem unaware that people carry guns at all.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Adventures in Wedding Planning

One of the great advantages of hiring an Afghan family to cater your polyamorous wedding: they don't think it's particularly odd that there are two wives.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

...

All that. Six years. For a fucking hug convention in the Unitarian Church at the End of the Universe?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oh, for the love of...

The Violence Policy Center's Josh Sugarmann thinks increased gun sales were a bubble that has burst. His editorial has some flaws, but I wanted to point out a meme that really needs to die:

What's that you say? You've never heard of "modern sporting rifles"? Well, actually you have--except you probably know them as assault rifles. "Modern sporting rifle" is just the gun industry's latest rebranding effort by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) for lethal, high-capacity, military-bred firearms like the AR-15 and AK-47.

Forget the deliberate misuse of "assault rifle" (which the rifles in question patently are not). Forget the silly "lethal" scare word (as opposed to what kind of gun, exactly?).

"Military-bred"?

Look, I understand that one of the ways anti-gun advocates have gained traction in less enlightened areas is by calling some semiauto rifles "military-style". But honestly, the assumptions required to accept that line are so far removed from reality that it's a bit hard to remind myself that anybody could take it seriously.

_All_ civilian guns are military-bred, and all military guns are civilian-bred. Up until the world's military rifles went to select-fire in the mid 20th century, you would have been hard pressed to find many differences between soldiers' guns and house guns, except that the house gun would probably be better made. The two markets have always been intertwined.

Yes, the AR-15 and AK-47 are "military-bred--just like nearly every traditional bolt-action hunting rifle on the market.

[For the record, I think "modern sporting rifle" is inaccurate, too. Yes, they're sporting rifles. But they're _also_ ideal defensive rifles, which is easily half of the reason most are purchased. Pretending they're just for sport is disingenuous, and people can see that.]

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shotgun!

The ladies and I spent most of this past weekend in Maryland for Jay and Ash's wedding. I'd wish them the best, but seeing their faces, it seems completely unnecessary. In any case, good luck anyway, guys; welcome to the married club. Now when do I get grandchildren?!

It was a lovely ceremony, I had just enough too much local beer, and through all the hippy vegan food, I discovered that seared asparagus is freakin' delicious.

But obviously, I'm not here to talk about all that. I'm here to talk about the guns.

For Jay's bachelor party on Saturday, we shot sporting clays.

Y'know, I'd never gotten the whole shotgun thing before. They're short ranged, imprecise, heavy... Why would you want to inelegantly lob a handful of shot at a close target when you could be standing tall, clearing your mind, and punching holes in something a quarter mile away?

I was so very, very wrong. Acting on instinct, swinging the gun like it's part of your body and making a fast-moving target freakin' explode in front of you is an absolute blast. The shoulder bruises are just gravy. The three of us are soundly in love with scatterguns now, and will start saving up for our own as soon as we're done with the wedding. I get it now.

Danielle and I are reasonably good natural shots. Genevieve won the informal competition (and so didn't have to pay for dinner). G&D are both infatuated with Beretta semiautos (AL391s, I think), while I've already started feeling like an over/under double barrel is part of my body. It makes me feel a bit dirty, contemplating owning one of the most PC firearms on the planet, but I'll manage somehow. The little single shot .410 was wonderfully light in the hand, but frankly too light to swing naturally (another "I get it now" moment). It kind of makes me want a .410/.22 combo gun, though.

So. Gunnies. Any input on modern Beretta semis? Are they worth the money? We have no problem saving up longer for "use it your whole life and give it to your grandkids" guns, but would hate to pay a hefty designer premium on an okay gun (G loves black plastic and D won't accept anything but wood; is there a difference, qualitywise?). And any suggestions on an over/under grandkids gun whose price isn't quadrupled due to being engraved by blind monks and quenched in the blood of Italian virgins?

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Retraction, sorta

Apropos of my previous post, Ian points out another one of FN's new ads.

Turns out FN has no qualms about encouraging the ladies to get their self defense on.

Awesome sentiment, even if it's still a mediocre defensive gun. ;)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Please put down your weapon. You have 20 seconds to comply.

James reminds us how much nerds love Nerf guns.

My favorite thing about that love affair is how far tinker-nerds will take their love of foam ordnance. I mean, anybody can remove the velocity restrictors and instal more powerful springs.

But how many people will go the distance and turn a belt-fed full auto Nerf machine gun into a computer controlled sentry gun? It even has a range sensor to compensate for projectile drop.

That is some grade-A nerdery, there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Don't worry, ladies...

Robb Allen shares a nerdy gun macro:

From General interwebs


It won't mean much to you if you aren't a serious gun nerd (there's some, ah... spirited debate over whether the tiny bullets fired by FN's Five-seven pistol are quite ideal for self defense), but the original ad is a great illustration of something that drives me nuts in defensive gun advertising.

Look, I get the emotional impact of the scenario: standing between your family and danger is a pretty freakin' emotionally charged situation, and all advertising for safety equipment trades on the customer's fear of being unprepared for danger. Fine. So the melodramatic photo may be silly, but it ain't nohow offensive.

But for God's sake, there are two adult human beings in that household, evidently in fear of a deadly enough threat that a drawn pistol is called for. Why the hell would any family settle on an emergency plan that boils down to "one of us will deal with the danger while the other cowers and hopes it all turns out for the best, 'kay?"

Seriously, FN, you make great products. But this is just a stupid advertising strategy. Not only are you at best ignoring and at worst alienating the rapidly growing market of female defensive-gun owners, you're also implicitly encouraging your target audience to buy less of your product. If you're convinced you need the "ah am thah feerless sentry" vibe to sell defensive guns, at least give the mom in the background a second gun (maybe one of FN's classic Browning shotguns, elegant and traditional firearms designed for sport but more than capable of home defense, available from finer gun dealers everywhere). Your ad designers have evidently decided to reinforce an impression that a household of two adults can adequately address its needs with only one of your products. Fire them and hire Oleg Volk*.

[* - Don't actually hire just Oleg Volk. He takes pro-self defense photos of all different kinds of people with a wonderfully inclusive worldview, but not being an ad writer his copy is sometimes clumsy. Hire better ad guys, and license Volk's photos.]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

LOST SPOILERS:

Okay, so what ancient people spoke Latin, dressed and lived in round huts like Britannians, and gave their children Semitic names?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Steampunk World's Fair...

... makes the Make blog.

It still feels weird every time I see "Piscataway, New Jersey" in subculture reporting.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I can't believe nobody's beaten me to this...

...but if they have, my Google-fu can't find it.

From General interwebs

More on terrorists and guns

Oh, for fuck's sake...

The Times Square "bomber"'s gun? The one Bloomberg is trying to inflate into a pressing need for more useless gun laws? It was a pistol carbine:

It is fearsome looking, a carbine hybrid of a pistol and a long gun with a mouthful of a name: the Kel-Tec Sub Rifle 2000. Mr. Shahzad bought it, new, in March for about $400. It was found in the Isuzu Trooper that he drove to Kennedy International Airport on Monday, loaded, with multiple extra clips.

Because the Kel-Tec Sub Rifle 2000 is classified as a rifle, it required no permit, as pistols do in Connecticut. But with its folding stock, hand grip and appetite for pistol ammunition and not rifle ammunition, the Kel-Tec was about as close as one could get to a pistol that is not technically one.


They're trying to make this sound extra-scary, as if it's the best of both rifles and pistols. In fact, pistol carbines are easily the worst of both worlds. They have all the low power of handgun rounds with the lack of concealability (and legally mandated minimum barrel length) of rifles. They're niche guns primarily valuable to people who have trouble accurately aiming home-defense handguns. If we really want to try to rate guns on a scale of dangerousnessness, pistol carbines would be near the bottom, probably just over double-barreled shotguns.

The NYT is trying to imply that there's a "loophole" because this rifle uses handgun cartridges. This is not an advantage. The implication, insanely, is that this gun would be less dangerous if it used a rifle cartridge that's twice as powerful.

Extree! Extree! Read all abaaahht it!

Douchebag Mayor Wants to "Close the Terror Gap".

With the upcoming McDonald ruling seriously threatening the abusive prohibitions of enclaves like Chicago and NYC, Bloomberg is making a concerted push to get any incremental gun control he can right now. His current favorite toy is a federal-level scheme to add people on the FBI's terrorist watchlist, a secret list of about a million Americans against whom there isn't enough evidence to prosecute (the related but more exclusive No-Fly list--which has "merely" a few thousand names--has included peace activists and Senator Edward Kennedy).

Look. We have tens of thousands of words of gun control laws at the federal level. And most states have thousands more. Millions of people are already "prohibited persons". Guns are divided into a dizzying variety of perplexing categories for different levels of regulation. The retail distribution system has been crushed down into a strictly regulated stream with only a few approved venues of sale (with predictable effects on competition, by the way). All dealer sales are regulated, recorded, and subject to freakin' background checks at the time of every single purchase. Guns are subject to more regulation (well-meaning and otherwise) than any other consumer product I can think of.

And it's still not enough to keep an illiterate junkie from getting a gun.

I'm not going to play the "criminals will always get guns" card. I understand that the goal of gun control is to decrease the overall number of criminals with guns by making it more difficult, not to disarm all criminals. But apart from the fact that real life experience has shown us this strategy doesn't work (most illegal guns are simply bought by somebody with a clean record and passed to the criminal--a strategy that makes anything less than complete gun prohibition completely useless), we're talking about a highly motivated subset criminals preparing to break much bigger laws than a pet gun control scheme. These are not people who will be deterred by the trivial speedbump gun control presents.

Banning sales to those on the terrorist watchlist will accomplish precisely nothing except preventing millions of innocent Americans from exercising a Constitutional civil right without due process or meaningful recourse. And frankly, that's Bloomberg's intent in the first place.

Mmm... Nerdlight...

The Make blog shares a lamp made out of an old Atari console and cartridges:

From General interwebs


I must do this with an NES.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This is, like, the 87th time this has happened.

I love your little laugh...

Shockingly, a far-right fundamentalist "scholar" long involved in the battle to deny gay Americans equal protection under the law was caught traveling to Europe with a young male prostitute he'd met on rentboy.com.

At this point, reporting that a hyperreligious anti-gay crusader is getting hot man-on-man action* is about as unexpected as reporting that the sun rose this morning. But what made this one stand out was Rekers's excuse:

Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him."

I hired him to carry my baggage. I freakin' love this. It's as if the guy was reading some H. Rider Haggard novels when the scandal broke, and thought "that's it! I'll tell everybody I was embarking on a search for the fabled Egg of Mantumbi and needed a strapping young man to act as my porter and valet!"

As my friend Craig said, nothing beats the old standard "I was taking him on an all-expense paid vacation to Miami with just the two of us men alone in a hotel room so I could counsel him on the error of his sinful ways" for sheer ballsiness, but serious, serious points for being so disconnected from _any_ reality as to think anybody would believe you thought "rentboy.com" was a placement service for freelance bellhops. I suppose it's possible he googled "man for humping my sacks", but I don't expect too many bellhops' resumes lovingly describe their eight-inch uncut penises (never having worked in hospitality, I can't swear to this).

This is all a good lesson in the value of planning ahead.


[* - Actually, I doubt it's all that hot. Probably more like "tepid, furtive, skeezy man-on-boy action.]

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Observations from the Philly show

It takes some doing to get me into Philadelphia, but a White Elephant show will do it. Good times, good company, good show. Two observations:

- Speaking as a former poor college student, I consider it a compliment to get decent tips from an audience of poor college students at a free show. It's a perplexingly high compliment when one of them discreetly drops a hundred dollar bill in the tip jar.

- The Rotunda is a lovely venue. But if the U of Pennsylvania doesn't renovate and make use of the attached church sanctuary with its gorgeous arched ceiling, echoing marble walls, wallful of organ pipes, and fallen wrought iron chandelier, it will be a crime against architecture. At the very least, it would be a sublime place for a Call of Cthulhu LARP.