Too Many to Choose From

Today’s Quote of the Day comes from Victor Davis Hansons’s Works and Days column The New Commandments on the Barn Wall. There are too many to choose from in that short, pithy, depressing piece, but I’m going with this one:

8) Neanderthals need nerds. The cool gang banger who is knifed on Saturday night suddenly in extremis worships the surgeon who stiches up his liver and kidneys — a target whom he would otherwise have robbed earlier that Saturday afternoon. The thug who strips the copper wire from our streetlights nonetheless assumes a nerdish engineer will keep designing the wiring scheme that runs his car’s CD. For the good life to go on, each illiterate punk demands one corresponding graduate student at MIT to take care of him. When the former outnumber the latter, then civilization usually winds down.

“The worst thing about living in the declining era of a great civilization…is knowing that you are.” – R.A. Heinlein

“Help us put construction workers back to work!”

Chinese construction workers.  Here, in the U.S.

Via ABC News, no less.

And in a nod to what Mike Rowe has been saying for quite a while now:

ABC’s Chris Cuomo: “Why can’t the Americans do it as quickly as the Chinese? What makes them so special?”

Tony Anziano, Cal DOT: “One issue that you will consistently hear every time you go to a fabrication site in this country is that they struggle at this point in time to obtain welders. That is an issue in this country.”

So they’re bringing them over from China? This makes economic sense?

THIS Might Make Me Want to Try Shotgunning


And it was invented by the Brits, no less!

The ATS Gnat has been hugely popular in the UK for many years, and has featured in events such as high profile celebrity charity shoots held at most of Britain’s most famous shooting grounds, to private parties at country estates. The Gnat Shooting System is unique. Shotgun events normally involve the downing of conventional targets such as clay pigeons or game. We have perfected a high speed, maneuverable, radio controlled drone which takes the sport to the next level.

The aircraft flies at speeds of up to 80 mph, with extremely rapid directional changes and fighter like agility. Controlled by very experienced “pilots”, the shooters prey is probably one of the hardest targets they will ever encounter.

My brother is an RC pilot and plane builder. Hey! We can finally share a hobby!

The System Worked as Designed

Another victim of domestic violence, “protected” by a piece of tissue paper.

Friend of domestic violence victim: “She was afraid of him and he killed her”

Reporter: Corinne Hautala

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – A 31-year-old mother of two was found dead inside her home in the 3800 block of South Kolb Road.

Tucson Police said it responded to a caller, who told the 911 dispatcher his friend called him and said her ex-boyfriend had just arrived at her home.

When police arrived, officers said they found Claudia Pascual dead and a male suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Another case of “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

Pascual’s co-workers said that Pascual had a restraining order against the gunman. They said after a domestic violence incident she broke up his him and that’s when he started to stalk her.

“He was stalking her, followed her everywhere,” said Dodge-Harrison. “She couldn’t get away from him. She reported it. Nothing could be done. She was afraid of him and he killed her.”

Her friends believe the system failed to protect her.

Well, DUH.

9OYS sat down with attorney Mike Piccarreta to ask him, how effective are protection orders?

“Well it’s a piece of paper and if somebody doesn’t want to follow the law and is bent on harming you a piece of paper isn’t going to stop them,” he said.

You’ll note, it wasn’t a cop who said that.

The details in the restraining order will also determine how much police can do.

Pascual’s friends said they hope her story will encourage others to seek more protection if they too feel police aren’t doing enough.

What can the police do? They’re not responsible for protecting you. They can’t be.

Pascual’s co-workers said they are determined to turn the tragedy into something good, they want her name to live on. They’re looking into planning fundraisers and raising awareness about domestic violence.

How about about raising awareness of self-defense and firearm training? Think that might help?  Think Pascual might have been willing to shoot the guy if she believed she was protecting her two kids?

Quote of the Day – Tam Edition

The internet has been a goose that has been laying economic golden eggs for an amazing amount of time, considering the continual ham-handed efforts of the government to try and serve itself up some foie gras.

from Wrong on so very many levels

As commenter Windy Wilson observes:

Tam has a lock on uttering pithy, humorous and trenchant one liners like no one since at least Mark Twain, and possibly Ralph Waldo Emerson (who lacked the humor).

Thankfully, the internet means that millions can get a chance to read them.

The Decline of Violence

Instapundit links to an interesting Reason piece on the decline of violence throughout history, as chronicled by Harvard University cognitive neuroscientist Steven Pinker in his new book.

The book is entitled The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.  Ronald Bailey, the author of the piece writes:

Human nature did not change, but our institutions did, encouraging people to restrain their natural tendencies toward violence.

I am reminded of a Usenet sigline by one Trefor Thomas:

To be civilized is to restrain the ability to commit mayhem. To be incapable of committing mayhem is not the mark of the civilized, merely the domesticated.

I get the uncomfortable feeling that the decline of violence is due to that violence being banked away for a rainy day. As Bailey notes, human nature hasn’t changed.

What has changed is that violence has largely gone from from personal, retail events to state-level wholesale slaughter. As Tam has noted,

Central governments have managed to turn murder from a hobby pursued at home by individual craftsmen into a wholesale industry churning out slipshod and substandard corpses in numbers that can’t be read without sounding like Carl Sagan.

True, the overall percentages have declined, but when violence is really unleashed the casualties are overwhelming. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned from economics, it’s that past performance is no guarantee of future results.

If When Iran does go nuclear, for instance ….

Match Report – Bowling Pins, 2/12/12

Or:  How we do things in the Big City.

Attendance was better this month.  Seven people joined me to shoot the match.  A couple of regulars couldn’t make it, but a couple of others managed to rejoin us and a couple I hope will become regulars.  Only two of us brought “minor” pistols, and one of us had function problems, so I managed to win minor for a change, essentially by default.  All eight of us brought Major pistols, almost uniformly .45’s.  I had to be different, and brought my Witness in .40 for a change.  But I’ll come back to that.

Seven of us brought .22’s.  Jim Burnett took that class handily.  I just wasn’t fast enough this time.  Five of us brought revolvers, two of them .44 Magnums with full-house loads.  Let’s just say the pin damage this month was significant.  But I managed to win the Revolver class this time.  I have apparently learned how to hit with my S&W 327.  I even managed to clean a table with five shots, double-action once.  No one was more shocked than I was.

Jim Burnett also won Major with his Clark Custom pin gun, and beat me for overall pistol champion, but here was the highlight of the day:  The second set of the second round of Major, we had a little… “incident.”  Watch:

Thanks to Jim Bertrand and his hat-cam for catching that.