On the Next Überpost.

Yes, I know I’ve been promising it for a while, but so far it’s gone through three iterations and I still don’t have it hammered out to a conclusion I can live with. This one’s very complex, and complicated by the fact that I’m currently reading Liberal Fascism which plays directly on the topic I’m writing about.

So I’m going to shelve it (again) until I can complete Liberal Fascism and get all my metaphorical ducks in a row. It seems like every day I find some new news article or old archived post by someone that I bookmark and stick in the file for this piece.

I think this one’s going to be long, even for me.

The current working title, if you’re interested, is “The George Orwell Daycare Center,” and it’s a much reworked and very extended takeoff from an earlier post, Philosophy melded with a more recent one, Human Reconstruction, the Healing of Souls, and the Remaking of Society, with a lot of other stuff mixed in, and a little RCOB thrown in for spice.

In the mean time, short filler posts. Sorry.

Yes, Exactly

From the Toronto Star“A look beyond the handgun ban”:

David Kennedy, an anthropologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, is the godfather of this approach. In 1996, when he was a professor at Harvard, Kennedy launched the Boston Gun Project, the first intervention of its kind. It reduced gun crime in the city by 60 per cent. Since then, it has blossomed to a number of cities across the U.nited States.

Kennedy views bans, like the one Miller is pushing for, as a symptom of the problem, not a cure. “For people desperately searching for a solution, it seems like it makes sense,” says Kennedy. “What they don’t understand is that there are better tools that don’t require law to implement, and are practically cookbook and off-the-shelf.”

Chicago’s Project Safe Neighbourhoods is close to Kennedy’s prescription (he helped advise on the project); Cincinnati’s Initiative to Reduce Violence is its full manifestation. In Cincinnati, gun-related homicides spiked in 2006 to 89, more than double the annual average, since 1991, of 43.

Kennedy’s research team unpacked what he calls typical trends: They identified 69 distinct street groups, comprising about 1,000 people. Of the 89 homicides, these 1,000 people – less than half a per cent of the city’s population – were connected to more than 75 per cent of them.

Identifying the problem makes the solution relatively simple, Kennedy says. “If we change the behaviour of these people, we solve the problem.”

(Emphasis mine.) Precisely what I’ve been saying since I started this blog. In America, and I assume pretty much worldwide, the vast majority of violent crime is committed by a tiny percentage of the population, almost all of whom have prior criminal records. As I have noted here in the past, American homicide rates are heavily skewed by the fact that young, black, urban males – who make up less than 13% of America’s population – commit and are the victims of well over half the homicides America suffers each year. And on top of that, the young, black, urban males that actually commit the murders are a tiny fraction of that 13%.

But the political response to this is “gun control”?

As SayUncle says, “Gun control is what you do instead of something.”

But the philosophy says the number of guns is the problem, not the behavior of a tiny, identifiable group of people, and since the philosophy cannot be wrong, the consistent failure of the “solution” – gun control – cannot be because the wrong path is being pursued. No, no! The failure must be due to improper implementation! The only response must be to do it again, only HARDER!.

(h/t: Say Uncle)

UPDATE and correction: Chris Byrne in comments notes:

Actually, blacks as a whole are about 14% of the population.

Young, male, urban blacks, are about 3% of the population.

Of those, 24% have a felony criminal record.

It’s not about race, it’s just demographics.

He’s right, and I knew that. According to the CDC’s data:

2005 – Total population 296,507,061
Black males 10-34 years old 7,763,680, or 2.62% of the population.

Homicides (all) – 10,438
Black males 10-34 – 5,181,

2.62% of the population, 49.6% of the victims.

One-gun-a-month laws, closing the “gun show loophole,” licensing, registration, “assault weapon” bans, and handgun bans will somehow make this all go away because “the number of guns” in America is the problem.

No it’s not.

Identifying the problem makes the solution relatively simple, Kennedy says. “If we change the behaviour of these people, we solve the problem.”

Yes indeed.

Quote of the Day.

Both campaigns are showing how green they are by filling mailboxes with metric tons of ads printed on the pulped carcasses of dead trees. The airwaves are jammed with promises that Barack will heal the sick and the blind, Hillary will get you a gold house and a rocket car, and both of them are promising they’ll not only slash gas prices and punish rich fat cats, but they’ll also get you a great-paying job and your own personal physician to live at your house and fix what ails you for free, Free, FREE!
Tam, from Misunderstanding the concept

Read the whole thing, because she’s bang-on about what the job of President is supposed to be limited to.

And McCain? His only saving grace is he’s not promising you your own personal physician. Like I said, he’s the least objectionable repulsive Democrat in the race.

Quote of the Day.

Obama wants me to believe that a candidate who: (1) was utterly supine and silent for 20 years in his own church as racial hate was propagated by the pastor; (2) who refuses to condemn a prominent supporter and fundraiser for whom bombing American sites is still seen as a good thing, and (3) who has said not a single word on the campaign trail as his party heavyweights removed post-Abramoff earmark reforms… is a candidate who will stand up to Washington interests and change the way business is done. While helping get America past its racial issues, and healing its political divides. That a candidate talking up charter schools as part of the solution, who has received positive ratings from teachers unions for blocking them, is to be taken at face value.

50 bucks for that whole bridge, you say?

Joe Katzman, Straining Belief: The Obama Campaign & Michelle’s UCLA Speech


Shooting Steel.

I shot my second Pima Pistol Club Steelworker’s match today, and did fairly well. They haven’t got the scores posted to the web yet (don’t know if they will, either) but I finished third in the Stock pistol class – and I was shooting my single-stack Kimber Classic with 8-round magazines. My total time for the five stages was a tick over 175 seconds, which was a good distance behind second place, but that guy was shooting a Browning Hi-Power, using Europellets and magazines with capacities as high as 17 rounds. He didn’t change mags much!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my performance today, though I really, really need to work on my speed at controlled pairs.

UPDATE – 4/28: Will has some constructive criticism.

Range Report:

Back from the Elsy Pearson rifle range outside of Casa Grande. First, I want to say something about the range itself. The city of Casa Grande has done a very nice job improving the range; raising the berms, providing covered shooting positions on the shorter bays, adding benches on the 50 yard range, and putting up fencing around the facility. My only complaint is that the fencing prevents vehicles from driving down the long (250 yard) bay. This makes toting out my 32-lb. 9″x12″x1″ steel AR-500 plates a no-go anymore. Needless to say, they didn’t make the trip this time.

The range is (currently) unattended – there are no rangemasters, so shooters are on their own recognizance. This is a mixed blessing because as we all know sometimes shooters are our own worst enemies. Rangemasters can sometimes resemble Eric “RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH!” Cartman, or other shooters on the range can sometimes be unsafe. (Yes, we admit it.) But today (as has been my past experience there) everyone was polite and safe.

The other downside of the range, since it’s unattended, is that it has no target stands and no restroom facilities other than “I’m going to step around this berm here…” The latter wasn’t much of an issue today, but I don’t have an actual target stand. I bought one of those cheap-ass “stick it in the ground” cardboard supports, but apparently the designer of this wonder of engineering has never heard of caliche. I had a little trouble setting up suitable target for a bit.

After getting unpacked and setting up the chronograph, I fired five rounds, cleaned, fired five more and cleaned again. Then I fired ten rounds through the chrono. While I was doing this I was getting the scope on target by aiming at rocks. This rifle is heavy enough that even shooting 175 grain rounds I could generally see the bullet impact downrange. Not always, but more often than not. Because the scope base has 20 MOA built into it, I had the elevation of the scope cranked all the way down. Good thing, too. I only brought it up about 1-½ turns to get it close at 200 yards. Windage was very close out of the box, so the scope mount is true to the bore.

The chronograph, a Chrony Beta Master, did not retain the information for my load which was 43.5 grains of Varget under the Sierra 175 grain MatchKing in a Lapua case touched off by a CCI BR-2 Large Rifle Benchrest primer. (Use at your own risk – I’m not responsible if this load blows up your gun!) To the best of my memory, the average velocity was about 2660 fps with an extreme spread of 75fps and a standard deviation of about 25fps, which is at best fair for a long-range load. I need to get the standard deviation down into the low teens or better.

Still, how’d it shoot?

Well, here are two sample groups from when I was getting the scope onto paper:

That was my second 5-shot group. This was my third one:

That’s at 200 yards. Winds were light, but occasionally gusty. I won’t blame any of those shots on wind. (Dammit.)

The interesting thing about the Leupold Tactical Milling Reticle in this scope is that at 14X there is an exactly ½ mill space in the center of the crosshairs. The orange target dots are 1″ in diameter, so they subtend ½ mill at 200 yards (or close enough not to be able to tell the difference.) I tried my damnedest to keep that tiny orange dot in the dead center of the reticle. Seems to work!

I spent the rest of my 50 rounds busting rocks and then plinking the steel targets located up on the side of the mountain that is the ultimate backstop at the Casa Grande range. I need to get a laser rangefinder next, because I estimate the plates I was shooting at were at about 600 yards. I hit ’em a few times, too! (I will blame wind – and range estimation – for the misses there.)

I had to remount the scope when I got home. Unfortunately at 14X the eye relief was too short for me to shoot comfortably, so I loosened the mount screws and shifted it back two notches on the base. That ought to work much better now, but I’m going to have to re-zero the scope. (*Damn!* Work, work, work, that’s all this hobby is!)

Next up on the agenda is to load another 50 of the 175SMKs over a bit lighter powder charge, and 50 of the Lapua 155 grain Scenar hollowpoints that are just as long as the SMKs. The primers on the first fifty flattened a tiny bit, but there was significant primer cup flow into the firing pin hole of bolt face. I think that load is just a bit hot for this rifle.

I also ran 100 rounds of my new .45ACP load through my Kimber Classic and Eclipse. I’m using the Ranier Ballistics 200 grain hollowpoint over 7.0 grains of Unique touched off with WLP primers. (Same warning – use this load data at your own risk!) The cases are mostly WCC once-fired match brass. Feed, function, and accuracy were on par with the (much more expensive) Speer 200 grain Gold Dot, so this is going to be my match ammo from now on. Now I need to load a couple hundred of them so I can shoot in the Pima Pistol Steelworker’s match tomorrow morning.

Finally, I still have to scrub the Remington barrel squeaky clean and treat it with Ultra Bore Coat before my next outing. I’m not much of a believer in “breaking in” a barrel, but I did want to get some rounds out of the rifle before treating it. Right now it’s definitely a sub-MOA gun. I want it to stay that way.

UPDATE: Here’s a shot of fired vs. unfired primers.

Pressure, no?

Bathroom Cleansers Cause Suicide.

We must ban them, for the chillllldren!

Japan teenager commits gas suicide, 120 evacuated

TOKYO — About 120 people were evacuated from their apartments in western Japan after a 14-year-old girl killed herself by producing and inhaling poisonous hydrogen sulphide gas, the local fire department said on Thursday.

The increasing use of such poisonous gas to commit suicide has received much media attention in Japan in recent months, after websites showed methods of creating the gas with bathroom cleansers.

At least 40 such cases of suicides have taken place this year, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported last week, citing the Japan Suicide Prevention Association.

Almost 90 people, including the girl’s mother who had been out at the time, went to hospital in Konan City on Wednesday night after the apartment “smelled like rotten eggs” from the hydrogen sulphide that the girl made, the local fire department said.

A note saying “poisonous gas being produced” was posted on the door of the girl’s apartment, and police found a bathroom cleanser container in the apartment that may have been used for making the gas, the fire department said.

Japan has the second highest suicide rate in the Group of Eight nations after Russia, a World Health Organization report showed.

The annual number of suicides has been above 30,000 for nine years in a row, police figures showed last year.

Boy, it’s a good thing they don’t have any guns! The entire population of Japan would be dead inside a year!

The G8 nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The WHO report the piece refers to is probably this one (PDF file) from 2004 which gives rates per 100,000 population for males and females separately according to the latest (available at the time) data.

For males the G8 rankings are as follows:

Russia: 69.3 (2002)
Japan: 35.2 (2000)
France: 26.1 (2001)
Germany: 20.4 (2001)
Canada: 18.4 (2000)
United States: 17.1 (2000)
United Kingdom: 11.8 (1999)
Italy: 10.9 (2000)

For females:

Japan: 13.4
Russia: 11.9
France: 9.4
Germany: 7.4
Canada: 5.2
United States: 4.0
Italy: 3.5
United Kingdom: 3.3

Wait… We have all those guns. Almost one for every man, woman, and child in the country! Guns cause suicide! I read that all the time!

Why aren’t we all dead?

(Or are we being lied to?)