Damned Little Linky, No Thinky

Content here at TSM has been admittedly thin of late.  Sorry.  I’m working on a piece that is long, involved, filled with links and graphs and quotes…

…and is thoroughly harshing my mellow.

It’ll be a few days.

In the mean time, chew on this:  Gun laws, access and background checks must be re-examined

That’s from the one remaining daily paper in this town. Yeah, they’re revving up the “gun control” engines again.  By all means, read the comments.

Quote of the Day – Billy Beck Edition

I keep saying it: the basic conflict in American politics is individualism vs. collectivism in all its pretense forms and manifestation. I keep saying it because no arrangements of coalition electoral politics will address this fundamental schism: as the necessary economic implications become real, so-called ‘democracy’ becomes impotent to manage coalition demands, all while the force of ‘law’ becomes more arbitrary at coalition demand.

I’ve been saying it for at least fifteen years: “The pace of this thing is picking up.”

I hate to keep saying it, because I know it’s no fun to hear it and it just wears my narrow white ass out to keep-ass saying it, but the real problem under all this is fucking enormous

I really don’t think it can be fixed before it really goes the way of the pear. We’re really in it. In our lifetimes.

Billy Beck, Two-FourWhat Really Happened

GBR VI – Wanna Go?

Ok, the dates for the sixth annual Gun Blogger’s Rendezvous have been set, Sept. 8-11, 2011.  The venue is again the Silver Legacy hotel and casino in Reno, Nevada. I’ve been to all five so far, and I don’t plan to miss this one.

Last year’s schedule of activities will give you some idea of what to expect if you’ve never attended one of these, but bear in mind that for most of us, the reason to attend is to get together in person with people we know and like on-line, and have long, uninterrupted face-to-face conversations about the things we care about and find interesting.  Oh, and we get to shoot a lot, too.  Not to mention, EAT a lot.

Plus, there’s great swag to be had, provided by the heavy hitters in the firearms industry.  Last year Midway USA gave us pistol pouches and other neat stuff (cups, hats, shirts etc.), Brownell’s donated another of their very nice top-of-the-line range bags, lots of AR-15 magazines and other stuff.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation bought us pizza dinner one night, and the NRA bought us breakfast one morning.  Glock gave away a certificate good for any standard handgun, and MKS supply gave away a 9mm Hi Point carbine.  Para-USA gave away a 35%-off discount certificate for one of their handguns.  Crimson Trace donated a certificate for one of their products, and there was much moreWe raised $5,088 for Soldier’s Angels’ Project Valour-IT.

This year is shaping up to be as good or better.  Our oldest attendee, Bea, who first attended GBR IV in the company of her grandson, came back last year because she had so much fun.  Her grandson couldn’t make it, so she twisted her son’s arm and made him bring her!  Bea shoots .22 and .45 Ruger revolvers (and anything else you put in her hands) and reloads for her .45 Blackhawk.  She and Ruger’s representative Lori Petoske got along great, and Bea has convinced Lori to convince Ruger to donate a convertible Blackhawk for this year’s Rendezvous.  You’ve got to read that story.

Year before last, I donated a Para GI Expert 1911.  (2009 was berry, berry good to me.  Until December.)  Last year, I donated a set of La Rue QD rings.  This year all I can donate is $400 worth of air travel to the Rendezvous.  If you want to come, but the air fare is going to be a problem, let me know.  I’ve got $400 worth of travel vouchers from United Airlines.  United makes actually using these vouchers as difficult as possible.  You have to book the flight over the telephone – no internet booking – and they charge a premium for doing it that way, but tickets purchased with the vouchers can be in anyone’s name.  I just have to be the one picking them up at the United counter, since it’s my name on the vouchers.

You have to be SURE you can make it.  Tickets purchased with these vouchers are not refundable or transferable (see what I mean about making it difficult to use them?)  If the tickets cost more than $400, I cannot pick up the difference.  If you can, great, but we’ll have to figure out how to handle that.  Contact me at the email address on the left sidebar (<—— ) and tell me your story.  If I get more than one person interested in going, I'll review and compare your stories and your ticket prices and make a selection.  All decisions are final.  But the earlier we get the tickets booked, the less they should cost overall.  I'll wait until the end of March or so before making a decision (and there will be follow-on Rendezvous posts linking back to this one in the mean time).

You don’t have to be a blogger to attend.  Readers are more than welcome.  I really hope to see the biggest turnout ever for a Rendezvous!

Quote of the Day – The Scum Also Rises Edition

Every combination of two or more human beings has both a useful aspect and a political aspect. These tend to conflict with each other. As the political aspect becomes more and more influential, the organization ceases to be useful to its members and starts using them.
Why does this happen? Because the better an organization is at fulfilling its purpose, the more it attracts people who see the organization as an opportunity to advance themselves.
The ability to get ahead in an organization is simply another talent, like the ability to play chess, paint pictures, do coronary bypass operations or pick pockets. There are some people who are extraordinarily good at manipulating organizations to serve their own ends. The Russians, who have suffered under such people for centuries, have a name for them — apparatchiks. It was an observer of apparatchiks who coined the maxim, “The scum rises to the top.”

Empire of the Rising Scum, Robert Shea

Found in a link in a comment to a post at Roberta’s that’s quite good in its own right. That’s just a taste. Read the whole thing.

Quote of the Day II – Blindingly Obvious Edition

The elite live in a different country than the rest of Americans. It is not possible to understand the System and its actions without understanding this fact. The elite see its own ascendancy as just, and cannot understand the anger below. Yet the rules for success used by the elite are often very different from the rules observed by ordinary people. This leads the elite to believe that those below ‘cannot be told’ the real reason for decisions that are made. The question becomes what should the people be told, not what the facts are. The perplexity of the voter who tries first one party and then the other, winding up always with the same elite, shows how democracy has given way to rule by the System’s managers. Shared knowledge leads to shared assumptions, which are even more crucial than  knowledge in making it possible for the elite managers to work together without  ‘conspiracy.’ These invisible shared assumptions are the real Constitution, the real fundamental law, which guides the System.

Charles A. Reich, Opposing the System

I somehow doubt I share much in common with Mr. Reich from a socio-political standpoint, but our viewpoints certainly coincide on this position.

Match Report – Bowling Pins

Today’s match went very well, though turnout was down, I believe, because of Valentine’s Day. We had ten shooters with 22 guns, and everybody brought (or borrowed) a .22! I never expected the rimfire class to be the most popular, but it is.

We ran the match in the now-standard three-abreast mode, requiring one of the three shooters to win twice before moving on to the next group. If I didn’t have three shooters, we just went head-to-head with two. You have to lose two sets to be eliminated from competition.

At the end of the day, we had an undefeated champion of centerfire, Jim Burnett. He won Major with his Clark Custom pin gun, a 1911 in John Moses Browning’s (pbuh) .45ACP, and Minor with a Beretta 92 chambered for the Europellet, going undefeated in seven matches over a total of seventeen tables, including two ties. Since he couldn’t shoot against himself for the spot of overall centerfire champion, we just gave it to him anyway.

In .22 class we had a total of thirteen matches, and the finish was a doozy. After the first round, only two of us remained undefeated, Travis Higgins and myself. We lined up head-to-head, and I managed to eke out the win. At the end of the day, it was again me against Travis. To win the match, he would have to beat me on not two, but four tables.

He did.

But I had a lot of fun losing to him.

First round was downrange about 9:00AM, and we were packed up and leaving by about noon. Everybody had a good time. I’m looking forward to next month already!

Only 57%?

The forces of victim disarmament have managed to change the culture of Switzerland somewhat in the last several years, but not too much, yet. They did manage to get a referendum on the ballot to prohibit ex-military personnel (Switzerland has compulsory service for young males) from keeping their military-issue weapons at home. When mustering out, the Swiss government offers thir soldiers the opportunity to buy their issued weapons at rock-bottom prices. Since they act as the reserve, doing so makes tactical and strategic sense. The government used to issue them sealed spam=cans of ammunition for those weapons, but as I understand it, that was changed a while back. I’m not sure what the rules are now.

Anyway, the referendum was yesterday. It failed by 57% overall, 70% in some cantons.  This was the pertinent part, I thought:

For decades, Swiss militiamen kept their army-issued firearms stashed in closets or under beds at home. But support for keeping so many guns at home has eroded, with opposition led by women, doctors and police, who claim that the easy availability of arms facilitates domestic violence, suicides and homicides. They contested the need to keep guns at home given that Switzerland hasn’t come under threat since World War II.

Opponents of the referendum argued that the initiative was tantamount to a vote of no confidence in the Swiss army. Each side used stark images to sway voters. The referendum’s supporters used a teddy bear with blood dripping from a hole in its chest, brandishing the motto, “Protect your family.”

I am reminded of that piece I linked yesterday:

First of all, they persuade people that some Damned Thing is immoral. Then they show that the free market allows or encourages that immoral thing. Then they can say, “well, we wish we didn’t have to do this, but I’m afraid we’re going to have to intervene in that part of the economy, to stop the Damned Thing, sorry”. This leaves the free marketeer floundering around having to try to justify the continuance of the Damned Thing in the name of some nebulous “liberty”. And then they say, “so your selfish desire for “liberty” means this Damned Thing must go on?” and you lose the argument in public, because most of the audience have been persuaded that there is a moral crisis that must be addressed, and you are a heartless asshole who just doesn’t care.

See? it’s being done everywhere.

I was reminded of this, too, in response to “They contested the need to keep guns at home given that Switzerland hasn’t come under threat since World War II.”:

My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed – where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.