Archive for October, 2007

A Curious Silence

October 31, 2007

Not long ago I was flipping through the NRA’s political journal, America’s First Freedom, which I get as a member of the NRA. The issue I had in hand was the October issue, and in his column Wayne LaPierre was beating the anti-Democrat drum, raising the alarm about how Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would screw the American gun owner and the gun industry to the wall if they managed to get elected. All the standard bugaboos were brought up — licensing, registration, reinstatement of the semi-auto ban and the rolling back of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
Now, all of those are certainly viable threats, of which we all should be ever mindful. But reading LaPierre’s column, I noticed no mention of anyone on the Republican side. Which to me was a little bit off, because as you know, at least one candidate on the GOP side supports at least licensing and registration, and this candidate was one of the big-city mayors — in fact, the ONLY Republican mayor — to file suit against several firearm manufacturers for allegedly “flooding the streets with guns.” No, that’s not an actual Giuliani quote as far as I remember, but it quite accurately summed up his philosophy when he was in the driver’s seat in New York. And anyone who reads Bruce at No Looking Backwards knows Mitt Romney’s just as bad, notwithstanding his lifetime membership in the NRA. (More knowledgeable folks than myself have said that the NRA is violating its own bylaws for not expelling folks like Romney and Michael Moore, but that’s another post altogether.)
What’s more, LaPierre made noises about planned Democratic infringements on the First Amendment as well, but again, absolutely no mention of anyone on the Republican side. Which is astonishing to me, considering the fact that a certain Republican senator running for president has his name on the biggest infringement of the First Amendment ever to come down the pike. Many people say the RKBA shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and I wholeheartedly agree with that. And the NRA is making that goal of the RKBA not being a partisan issue that much harder with its silence regarding the biggest faults of the front-runners on the GOP side of the aisle. We need a bipartisan consensus to keep our rights, not a bipartisan consensus to take more of them away, and that last thing is exactly what we would get if the Republican candidates LaPierre did not mention in his column were elected. Romney and Giuliani are every bit as bad as Clinton and Obama on the issue, and they deserve to be called out on it. The NRA is severely undermining its credibility by not doing that. It won’t be anything but bad if the NRA is seen to be little more than shills for the Republicans, and seeing things like what Wayne LaPierre wrote in his column does nothing to dispel that notion. We deserve better.

A History Lesson in Motion

October 28, 2007

From the AP this morning, via the Houston Chronicle, the bit in bold caught my eye…

They travel for days though checkpoints, across dangerous roads and past Myanmar’s bribe-hungry soldiers to make it to the Thai border. They’re not refugees fleeing the junta โ€” they simply want to see a doctor.

Myanmar has one of the world’s worst health care systems, with tens of thousands dying each year from malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, dysentery, diarrhea and a litany of other illnesses.

While there are hospitals in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation also known as Burma, only a few can afford to pay hospital workers the various “fees” in the tightly controlled nation fueled by corruption.

“Even if you use the toilet in the hospital you have to pay money,” said a 70-year-old man from Phyu Township, who journeyed two days by bus to see a doctor at the Thai border town of Mae Sot and have a cataract removed. He declined to give his name for fear of reprisals.

“They never think of improving health care,” he said. “They only pull the trigger. Because they are holding the guns, we have to live like this.”

But remember, my friends, the government must have a monopoly on force!
In all seriousness, though, I would love to see those who subscribe to that notion be forcibly deported to places where they would have to bear all the consequences of such a circumstance. I do wonder, though, why exactly they don’t go live in one of those places. Like all the leftists who threatened to leave the country when George W. Bush was reelected in 2004, just get off their tails and leave. There are plenty other places in the world where the government has that monopoly on force, why the hell won’t these people just go to those ratholes instead of trying to make our country just like them? Food for thought…

…and I should care, why?

October 27, 2007

Via Cassy Fiano comes this interview with John Rich of the mainstream country audio freakshow-trainwreck Big and Rich:

John is an avid supportive of Fred Thompson’s presidential bid because he’s a conservative who agrees with Fred’s voting record.

The pro-lifer is against gay marriage.

“I think if you legalize that, you’ve got to legalize some other things that are pretty unsavory,” he says. “You can call me a radical, but how can you tell an aunt that she can’t marry her nephew if they are really in love and sharing the bills? How can you tell them they can’t get married, but something else that’s unnatural can happen?”

We are encouraged to show our support for Big and Rich the best we can. And for the life of me I can’t understand why. I would guess part of this support would include buying cds, concert tickets ‘n’ swag. And I just won’t do that just because John Rich says something I agree with, just as I didn’t throw my Dixie Chick cds under the bus because of their asinine remarks on the London stage in March 2003. When it all gets down to the nitty-gritty, to be honest I really don’t care what these people think and I don’t understand why so many people do. I do wish many of them would keep their mouths shut, though. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — one of the reasons I so admire George Strait is that he stays the hell away from the political crap and lets himself and his art stand on their own merits instead of throwing sand in the gears by doing stupid shit like what Rich and the Dixie Chicks did. And yeah, it’s stupid. These people shouldn’t be touted as authorities on politics — or looked up to — any more than the New England Journal of Medicine should be touted or looked up to as an authority on guns; as a matter of fact, I personally am that much less inclined to support Big and Rich, if only because of those who agree with John Rich saying we should support them because of what he said.

What Else Can You Tell These People But Where To Go?

October 26, 2007

Via just about everyone comes this snippet from this story about various protests on college campuses around the country regarding their criminal empowerment policies, from Peter Hamm of The Brady Campaign to Prevent People From Possessing the Means of Effective Self Defense:

“You don’t like the fact that you can’t have a gun on your college campus? Drop out of school.”

Pardon my french, but Peter Hamm, you pusillanimous prick, you can climb right back on that moral high horse and ride it straight to hell. And I am just going to leave it at that, before I say something really, really low-road.

Rebecca Aguilar Speaks

October 25, 2007

…and it seems she’s none too happy with her fate…

“I don’t know if I’ll survive without a blemish,” she says. “Every time you Google my name now it’s like ‘Aguilar, suspension or ambush.’ Before it was ‘Aguilar, award-winner.’ It’s changed in a week.”

Bwaaaahahaha! Payback’s a cast-iron bitch, ain’t it? If you ambush people on camera and get suspended for it, well, I’d guess that’s generally what happens in the Internet age, but that’s just one man’s wild-arsed shot in the dark. But here’s what gets me:

But the camera kept rolling and Walton kept talking. What most viewers remember is Aguilar asking him, “Are you a trigger happy kind of person? Is that what you wanted to do — shoot to kill?”

Aguilar asked this in a non-confrontational tone that she maintained throughout the interview.

“The way I asked him was not in a harsh manner,” she says. “I’m very careful about my tone. Because since I am a woman, I don’t want to be called the b-word.”

Call me crazy, but it’s just scary as hell to think this woman made her career in the communication field, because she’s missing something here that’s just fundamental, and it pains me to think that it has to be pointed out to a media professional in a major market like Dallas-Fort Worth. Specifically — there are just some questions that are going to come across as loaded no matter in what tone of voice you ask them, and I am sure I am not the only one who thinks that terms like “trigger happy” or “shoot to kill” loads those questions so hot that they definitely qualify as a brazen crossing of the line of decency. And it’s yet another insult to my intelligence and that of many others that this reporter would think we wouldn’t see those questions like that. As a commenter on The High Road said,
“This is the bare, naked face of media conceit. Let us all watch and learn.”

…and if you would like to see some more evidence of said media conceit, take a gander at some of the comments here. It would seem that at least a few people in the media indeed saw Rebecca Aguilar’s actions and think she did nothing wrong. For some strange reason a quote from Billy Beck comes to mind from a comment made at Tam’s place as she was ruminating on the death of Kathryn Johnston — a question that needs to be asked of the media in situations just like this one:

“…does it remotely concern you that untold numbers of your fellow Americans are beginning to hate your f**king ass with a fury that you can’t imagine through those beady eyes of yours?
“It should. It really should.”

So, Mitt Romney, How DO You Define Self-Defense?

October 24, 2007

Via Bruce at No Looking Backwards comes a reply from Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, to a letter from Red’s Trading Post — the Idaho gun shop that’s more or less under siege by the ATF — asking Mr. Romney about his stance on our right to effective self-defense, also known as the Right to Keep And Bear Arms. Mr. Romney’s response:

I firmly believe in the importance of responsible gun ownership and sales. As a member of the National Rifle Association, I do not believe that we need any more federal gun control laws. I also recognize that some types of extreme weapons, those which were not meant for hunting, sport, or self-defense, have no business being on the streets.

I have to wonder, just exactly how Romney defines self-defense. How about, say, the Jews at the Warsaw Ghetto? What did he think they were doing? Or how about the Korean shopkeepers during the L.A. riots of 1992, what did he think they were doing? I love how these politicians say they’re for owning defensive arms and in the next breath more or less advocate bans on certain defensive arms…wait, no, I don’t love that. I hate it and think it’s absolutely infuriating that said politicians never, ever get called out on such a crystal-clear contradiction. Why do these mooks continually insist on insulting our intelligence like that?

My Friday Gun Shop Adventure

October 23, 2007

So last Friday after I picked up my new gun, I was on the hunt for some half-decent factory ammo to run through it, namely the Remington UMC. It’s about the hottest factory practice ammo you’re gonna find on the shelf, drives a 180-grain FMJ at about 1150 fps, or so they advertise. I’d only seen it at one gun store around here, Shooters Supply, which of course closed earlier this year. I’d seen references to another little shop in Vidor here and there, Gary’s Guns out on Highway 12 just northeast of where it runs into the interstate.
So after I took care of my Friday business, I rode out there to pick some up. I’d called ’em before and the clerk told me they had plenty of it.
“You might wanna stock up now, my friend, ’cause it’s only gonna go up from here.” One more reason I am quite glad I took up reloading.
Anyway, I got out there late Friday afternoon. They had a pretty good selection of pretty much anything gun-related you’d want, at least with what I could tell with my somewhat cursory glance around the store. The guy at the counter told me, “We got anything you could want, what do you like?”
Bet you could guess what I told him, too. “Well, I have a bit of a fetish for 1911s.”
The ole boy didn’t miss a beat. “What caliber? .45, 9mm, 10mm? How ’bout a .38 Super?”
“Well,” I said, as I glanced down at a Kimber 10mm identical to the one I picked up last year, “I do like the 10mm, in fact, I picked up a Dan Wesson Razorback earlier today.”
“Well then. You need a .38 Super. Check this out.” With that he pulled out one of the most beautiful Smith & Wesson 1911s I’d ever seen — a Doug Koenig model from the S&W Performance Center, with the square trigger. As far as I remember, the price on that thing was somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500.
“Try it out and see what you think.”
Lord have mercy. They say the 1911 generally has the best trigger pull of any pistol, but this was out of this world. The trigger pull alone would have been worth the price tag, you just wouldn’t belieeeeve. But I’d have been paying it off forever. Speaking of that, the store clerk piped up again.
“We got this little thing called layaway…”
“Yeah, and I have this little friend in my pocket called a credit card, but it’d hate me forever, and I already shoot one esoteric caliber, I can’t quite afford another right now…” I did say that as I laughed and grinned, though. “But I do have another little friend at home, an RCBS turret press.”
And off the discussion went into reloading. He said he loaded a bunch of calibers, though I don’t remember which ones he said he loaded the most. 9mm, 10mm, .45, .38 Super, 9×23 were some of the ones he mentioned, though. I asked him if he had any pet loads for the Centimeter, but he said he only played around with that one. My impression was pretty favorable, though. The guy sounded like he knew his stuff pretty well. All that and virgin 10mm brass, to boot — the only place in the Golden Triangle I’ve seen it! No once-fired, but none of the other shops I’d frequented had that either. As far as I remember it was about $15 per hundred, With that price, and the other components, one could load 10mm at a price that runs neck-and-neck with factory .45acp, and that’s hardly a bad thing. Like I say, I’ll be checking them out more…

Southeast Texas Gun Shoppe Musings

October 23, 2007

Via ye olde Site Meter, I got a visit today by someone from Lamar University, my alma mater, who googled the phrase “Buy guns in Beaumont Tx.”
And I don’t know what to tell ya as far as that goes, but to say that if you want the best price, doooon’t buy ’em at Gander Mountain. Gander has a pretty good selection, but the prices are just outrageous, and from what I hear even more so since Shooters Supply closed down a little over six months ago. I heard last week at the range that the week Shooters closed, both Academy and Gander Mountain jacked up the prices on their pistols by about $100. I would certainly like to know how the Beaumont Gander Mountain’s gun sales have gone since it opened two years ago. No matter how brisk their firearm sales might be, what does it say for Gander Mountain that a little shop like Shooters managed to stay open and still do pretty good business? And for something a little more concrete, consider this: I saw a used Dan Wesson Razorback — the gun I picked up late last week — in Gander Mountain some time ago and it was right at $800 before tax — which works out to about $865 after tax, and maybe more if Gander charges a NICS and/or transfer fee. But I got mine new in the box from my friendly local FFL for not quite $900 out the door. But that’s just my situation. I was in Gary’s Guns out on Highway 12 in Vidor (more on that a little later) getting the Remington green box 10mm and they had a pretty good selection, and the prices were comparable to Shooters Supply, who like Gary’s was a Kimber master dealer. If that’s what you’re looking for, I’d check them out, and I’ve heard Jim’s Firearms in Nederland has good prices for the pistols from Yonkers too. Beyond that I don’t know. Shooters was the only actual gun store I bought a gun from. All the rest have come from another FFL; the only other gun store I’ve dealt with around here on a regular basis is BZ Gun and Repair in Groves, and that’s been for reloading supplies. I don’t know how much cheaper on average they’d be, but you won’t find them higher anywhere than Gander Mountain. As I told my FFL, I go to Gander to look — but I come see him when I want to buy.

Range Report: Dan Wesson Razorback

October 21, 2007

So late yesterday morning, the Razorback and I ventured out to the gun club, with 100 rounds of 180-grain Remington UMC in the green box. And just for grins, I brought along the chronograph to see how the actual velocity of that particular load compared to the advertised velocity of 1150 fps. I set up the target at the 7-yard mark and loaded the two magazines the pistol came with and it was off to the races. I was a bit disappointed, though, as the ammo didn’t quite get to the advertised velocity; if I remember right it was running somewhere between 1080 and 1100 fps. I was shooting ragged holes, though, more or less. The Razorback shoots every bit as good as it looks. ๐Ÿ™‚ Seems I was shooting a bit to the right, but it ate every round without a problem, and the trigger’s nice and crisp. Of course I’d expect nothing less for what I forked over for that pistol, but again, it’s just extremely well-built — and at about $200 less than the Kimber Stainless Target II, well, I just cannot say enough good things about it. (Of course, I won’t be getting rid of said Kimber any time soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And to be fair, the price of the Kimber did include two extra magazines.) If you’re looking for a good 10mm 1911-type pistol, this one gets the Live from the (upper) Texas Gulf Coast Seal of Approval. Can’t recommend Dan Wesson highly enough. I may just have to get another once I pay off the credit card…

yes, sir, one of the great songs of the canon…

October 21, 2007

Now playing, here: Johnny Bush, “There Stands the Glass.” I love Strait’s live version of this, but it’s just an all-around great song, period.

And another one, right after it! Brian Burns, “I’ve Been Everywhere (In Texas),” from his 2002 cd The Eagle and the Snake. If you haven’t gotten that one, you really should…