Archive for category: Guns

Tampa Police Get New Gats

13 Jun
June 13, 2018

According to this article, the Tampa Police Department has drunk the SIG-aide. TPD is switching from S&W M&P’s to the new hotness SIG P320’s. The modularity of the 320 was one of the reasons cited for the switch.

This is of interest to me because I’m wondering what TPD will be doing with their current pistols. Normally, I’d expect the pistols to be surplused to the public, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the current mayor tried to virtue signal by having them destroyed.

And I could use another couple M&P’s on the cheap.

More WTF From the Parkland Shooting

04 Jun
June 4, 2018

It came out last week that the Broward Sheriff Office commander on site during the Parkland shooting refused to allow special rescue teams from going in to render aid. Six times. These were special teams made up of paramedics and police for the express purpose of getting to the wounded in a possible hostile situation. Sixty times BSO refused to let special units into a shooting. You know where the big danger is people bleeding out – and you have precious little time to save them.

Takeaways:

  1. The BSO could not have fucked this situation up more outside of grooming the shooter and handing him the gun. At every opportunity before the shooting, they failed to take action that would have put the shooter in the system, and at least made him a prohibited person. During the shooting, they dusted off their 1995 school shooting manual and had no fucking clue how to appropriately respond.

  2. You are on your own. When seconds count, the good guys may be minutes away. Even if the good guys are coming, they can be roadblocked by feckless incompetents. Carry your damn guns when you can. Carry your damn tourniquets. Carry your damn flashlights. Train on your shooting. Train on your first aid. I’m just as bad as most people in keeping my training up to date, but I am working on that.

I’m hoping this will be the last horrific revelation, but I doubt it.

They’re Modest Because They Don’t Work

31 May
May 31, 2018

Oh look! One of the NYT writers put together a listicle of “modest” gun control proposals that will reduce “gun deaths.” Let’s see what brilliance has been spewed this time. Original text in italics.

1. Require universal background checks to see if a purchaser is a felon or a threat to others. The latest study finds that 22 percent of guns are obtained in the U.S. without a background check, and polls find that more than 90 percent of the public supports making these checks universal. Yet the federal government balks.

Let’s be charitable and say that the study is correct and that 22% of guns are purchased without background checks. It says nothing about how many of those are used in a crime. Moreover, as much as they keep repeating the 90% line, when the universal background check proposals hit the ballots, they fail or just barely pass – no where near this mythical 90%.

2. Improve background checks by allowing the federal government adequate time to perform them. At the moment, if the authorities have not completed the check within three business days, the buyer can get the gun. More than 90 percent of checks are completed within minutes, but a small number require investigation. The shooter who killed nine people at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015 should not have been able to purchase a weapon because of a drug history, but the background check was not finished in three days — so he was able to buy it.

Except the vast majority of these flags are false positives, which means that you are keeping the gun out of the hand of someone who should have it and may need it right fucking now. And considering how often the NICS system isn’t assigned enough personnel now, I’m hesitant to trust the federal government to properly staff it to investigate all the flags. Further, if you want to improve the system, let’s make sure all the fucking records are there.

3. Pass “red flag laws” that allow a judge to order the temporary removal of a gun from people who are a threat to themselves or others. Connecticut enacted the first of these laws back in 1999, and Indiana, California, Washington, Oregon and Florida have passed similar laws since. The idea is that if friends hear someone threaten suicide or mumble about attacking a school, the authorities can remove a gun. A hearing is later held with due process protections.

Yes, let’s deprive a person of their property without due process, and on the basis of unverifiable “whispers.” Nope, that won’t be abused. And do you really think that the police will return the individual’s property when it is determined (s)he is not a danger to the community? I mean, it’s not like they’ve refused to do so in the past or made the process so expensive most people walk away from their property.

4. Get guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Nearly half of women murdered in America are killed by a present or past lover, yet the existing laws in this area are full of loopholes.

Do you even know the fucking laws? People convicted of domestic abuse (even misdemeanor domestic abuse) are prohibited persons. That means they can’t legally purchase a gun. So, what are these loopholes? You mean like when a woman won’t press charges, and therefore the man is not convicted? That fucking sucks, but it’s not a loophole. Because we can’t deprive someone of their rights based on allegations.

5. Require safe storage of guns, preferably in a safe or at least with a trigger lock. One study found that only a minority of gun owners in the U.S. keep all their guns secure. When guns aren’t stored safely, it is easier for children to find them and play with them, for teenagers to use them for suicides, or for burglars to steal them. Some 300,000 guns are stolen each year in the United States.

Let’s start out with some real common sense. It is a good idea to keep your weapons secured and/or under your direct control. The devil is in the details – such as what happened in Heller. One other minor thing, accidental deaths by firearms (even among children) are at their lowest point – even with more guns in circulation.

6. Make serial numbers harder to file off, and require microstamping, so that cartridges can be traced back to the gun that fired the bullets.

Except that microstamping doesn’t work and increases the cost of the guns. Something that puts them out of the reach of people who actually need them for self defense. And how the fuck do serial numbers prevent “gun deaths?”

7. Invest in “smart guns” that require a PIN, fingerprint or nearby bracelet to fire. It’s outrageous that someone who steals my iPhone is foiled by my PIN, but stolen guns can be immediately fired. Smart guns shouldn’t be obligatory, but they should be an option. The way forward is probably for a police force to experiment with smart guns, giving them credibility with the public.

When the police or military start actually using them, I’ll start to these guns seriously. When they start actually using them and not disabling the smart devices, I may actually considering purchasing one. Guess what I will never do – support all guns be smart guns. Why? One becuse they significantly increase the cost and decrease the effectiveness of the gun. Two things that should never happen for items used for self defense.

Let’s take the smartphone example, since those are common items that have some sort of ID system. How often does your fingerprint scan fail to unlock your phone? Do you think it would be improved by hands coated in sweat – or blood? How often do you accidentally hit the wrong pin and have to re-enter? Do you think that would increase under stress – like fighting for your life? Do you want to waste a precious second of that fight unlocking your most effective means of protecting your life? And let’s not forget that criminals are already very good at bypassing current “smart” systems.

8. Support community anti-violence programs, like Cure Violence and Becoming a Man, that work with at-risk young people and show excellent success in reducing shootings. One study showed each dollar invested resulted in at least $5 in savings from reduced crime.

Stopped clocks and all that. Finally, something that might actually work because it gets to the real cause of “gun deaths” – people. Removing or restricting guns does not remove or restrict the violent tendencies of people born or bred into a criminal life. Those you need to either change through social and/or psychological programs. Or remove those people from general society if they are unable or unwilling to change.

9. Limit buyers in most cases to one or two gun purchases a month, to reduce gun trafficking.

Where has this worked? Virginia got rid of theirs because it was doing more to inconvenience lawful purchasers and doing nothing to stop the mostly mythical “iron pipeline.”

10. Invest in gun buybacks. Since 1994, Americans have acquired an additional 100 million guns. The average gun-owning household now has eight firearms, and as owners die there should be a big push to acquire these guns.

Again, another proposal shown not to fucking work. It’s a waste of public resources so that politicians can say they’ve “done something.” Although, it does give me a chance to pick up some guns on the cheap.

So, out of ten proposals, only one might work, and the rest are ineffective at best and cause deprivation of life and liberty at worst.

My Message To Publix

30 May
May 30, 2018

I am getting so tired of everything must be dragged into the political. If anything doesn’t toe the party line exactly, it must be destroyed. Publix recently got dragged into this when one side got mad about the company’s donations to a Republican politician, and then the other side got mad because Publix decided the backlash was enough to kill all of its political contributions.

I’m fucking tired of it. Here’s the message I sent to Publix:

I am sorry to see Publix being dragged through the mud by both sides in this latest flare up. I fully support Public’s right to contribute to causes and persons it chooses. I also support Publix’s decision to no longer contribute.

I have been a lifelong Publix customer and will continue to be so. I have joked with coworkers about refusing to move to any place that doesn’t have a Publix. For all the talk of boycotts, please know there are plenty of us who will continue to patronize your stores. Because Publix means high quality, excellent prices, and outstanding staff. As long as those continue to be core pillars for Publix, you will have my business.

Ineffectual Responses to Tragedy

28 May
May 28, 2018

Last week, a young mother and her child were killed because some young punks decided to go racing down Bayshore Boulevard. For those of you outside of Tampa, Bayshore is a street known for having significant pedestrian traffic. According to one of the local news stations, the punks were going in excess of 60 mph when they murdered the mother and child.

What was the city’s response? Was it to add additional patrols to stop racers before they caused problems? Nope. Was it to dedicate funding to modify Bayshore to make it safer for both pedestrians and drivers? No. Was it to reduce the speed limit from 40 mph to 35?

The City of Tampa said that the change was already planned for October, but this tragedy made them implement it now. So, because of the actions of three people already breaking the law – and supposedly aimed at a group already known for flouting the law – the City of Tampa is going to put restrictions on the rest of the drivers.

Where have I heard this before?

It’s Never Too Early To Review Preps

23 May
May 23, 2018

According to the researchers, 2018 is expected to have a busier than average hurricane season. Tampa has a lower than average hit rate, mostly due to Tampa Bay. That doesn’t mean we don’t get hit, as was demonstrated by Hurricane Irma last year.

What I learned from last year is that anything above a Category 1 (maybe 2) will mean I’m evacuating. Most likely over to my brother’s place. His place is better situated and I’m pretty sure we could ride out a Cat 3. Maybe down to the girlfriend’s. Higher than a Cat 3, and we’re all heading north. Which is why I’m glad I have the truck.

So, it’s time to start reviewing both the bug-in and the bug-out supplies. Food (human and cat), water, batteries, paper products, ammo, etc. All the fun stuff.

The good news is that after last year, I have stuff to make evacuation easier. Particularly for moving the important electronics and my cats. More importantly, my brother and I have a plan for taking stuff down, packing it up, and moving to another location.

Tab Clearing

17 May
May 17, 2018

I’m borrowing Tam’s title and clearing out articles that I meant to do full posts on.

Teaching Situational Awareness to Kids – Because I have two in my life, and I’d kinda like to keep them out of danger.

The Economist saying how wonderful universal health care is for all nations. This was one I wanted to fisk, but I’d recommend reading it to understand how the proponents think.

Syrian Metal Is War – Yeah, like I could scroll past that article.

[Finland ends its universal basic income experiment.(https://fee.org/articles/finland-ends-its-experiment-with-universal-basic-income/?utm_source=zapier&utm) I like the concept of a basic income that replaces all other welfare programs. It just doesn’t seem viable in the real world.

Start-ups make an alternative for braces, and the dental groups rent seek. – I hate when businesses use the violence of government to keep others out of the market.

The Volokh Conspiracy has an excellent column on not supporting laws you wouldn’t kill someone to enforce. Honestly, that would be an interesting bit of mandatory language in any law that assesses a criminal or civil penalty. Make the legislators affirm that this is important enough to possibly kill someone over.

A surprising column from The Atlantic on cultural appropriation. I swear to FSM that I would laugh in the face of any person foolish enough to accuse me of that. Or denigrate.

That’s all for now. I’ll probably need to do this again.

Rights and Goods

15 May
May 15, 2018

Right to life. Right to property. Right to keep and bear arms. Right to free speech. Right to free expression. Right to healthcare. Right to education. Right to religion. Right to associate. Right to clean water. Right to clean air. Right to privacy. Right to feel safe.

Some of these “rights” are not like the others. Can you spot the difference?

Rights, by their nature, are inherent to sentient beings. We have them because we have ownership of ourselves. So, the very first right – the bedrock of everything else is the right of property. I own myself, and by extension, I own what I create. I own the fruits of my labor or the fruits of my trade. The right of free expression protects my ability to create and trade. The right to self defense protects my ability to prevent others from forcibly taking my property – including my own life.

Because rights come from that fundamental property right, they cannot require the abrogation of others’ lives, labor, or capital. There can be no rights to food, education, and healthcare that are based upon the requirement that others are forced to surrender their time, knowledge, and resources – only the rights to produce and trade for education, healthcare, and food. Et cetera.

Usually at this point, I get lambasted by those who do believe in the rights to other people’s property that I want the less fortunate to be uneducated and die from a preventable disease caused by malnutrition. Or something similar. Because “muh rightz.” If they wanted to commit a straw man fallacy.

This is where social goods come in. By goods, I’m not denoting morality, but rather a product/service that is purchased to further social goals. Such as making sure every member of the society has a minimal level of education, healthcare, and food to function and be productive. Or to care for those who can’t care for themselves. Social goods are not rights. They are the cost of being in a society. As people have differing opinions of the value of market goods, they can have differing opinions on the value of social goods. They can also have differing values of how those goods are paid for and distributed.

My personal preference for social goods should be as much done through private means. Businesses and charities are more responsive to the needs and desires of their customers. Are they perfect? No. Businesses and charities are not some force of nature, but collections of people, and people can screw anything up. At the end of the day though, businesses and charities primary means of engagement is through voluntary exchange with their customers.

I’m very cautious about what social goods I think should be provided by government. Unlike businesses and charities, the government doesn’t require voluntary exchange. The government has the ability to enforce it’s (or more to the point, the people in power’s) desires through violence. That difference means that the government is not as responsive to its customers or efficient in the use of its resources.

Income Inequality- Bogus Statistic, Real Issue

14 May
May 14, 2018

I was listening to the Reason podcast with Jonathan Rauch was being interviewed about his new book. Of course, I’m going to recommend that you listen to the whole thing. I found it very enlightening about the nature of happiness, particularly for those hitting middle age.

One item that came up during the interview dealt with how most people view income inequality. In my opinion, I’ve always considered income inequality a bullshit metric. Something used to gin up the masses and sell papers and clicks. IMHO, the far more important metric is how are the people doing year over year or over time. It’s not like the economy is a closed system. As long as people’s lives are consistently getting better, then why should it matter if some segments are increasing more than others?

This is not normal human psychology. People tend to base their happiness on how they are doing compared to others. It really is important to keep up with the Jonses. When people don’t think they are improving as fast as the rest of the world, unhappiness abounds. This becomes intensified with all the media streams blaring out conspicuous consumption of the various media whores – I mean, celebrities.

This unhappiness is what unrest is made of. Or at least, one thing that can contribute to a restless population. It also appears to contribute to the rise of populists – on both sides of the traditional political spectrum. Note the rise of Trunp and Sanders. Both of them tapped into the unhappiness of the population by promising the people to make their lives better. To either bring the people’s livelihoods up – or bring down those the people think are doing too much better.

I’m not going to pretend that there’s an easy solution. It’s a psychological issue, and nothing about psychology is easy. People are just too fucked up. IMHO, there are some things that should be done. We need to look at economic policies that help increase people’s standards of living. My personal hobby horses are free trade, low taxes, and limited regulations. I don’t see how trying to redistribute wealth by taxing the top earners would help grow the economy and increase standards of living.

Although I still think it’s a bullshit metric, I’m going to take a more careful look into income inequality – but more as a gauge of the populace. This may be one of the leading indicators of a real civil problem. One that might require me to make sure I’ve got enough ammo and storm shutters on my windows.

Ride Sharing Scams

11 May
May 11, 2018

I found this Reader’s Digest article via Active Response Training. I’ve only recently started using ride sharing services, so I took a look.

Most of the scams are drivers asking for cash to double dip the fare. The biggest takeaway from this was if you’re paying through the app, and the driver demands cash, report him/her to the company. I would also recommend that you listen to your intuition. If something seems off, end the ride or don’t get into the car.