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Friday, July 15, 2016

Why France?

It seems to happen almost every week. An extremist attacks innocent women and children and their families in the places they go to enjoy their time off, and time together. What appalling and horrific acts, Paris, Belgium, Florida, Dallas and now Nice. No matter who the perpetrator, no matter what their ridiculous reasons, I simply cannot fathom the mind that thinks their cause will be furthered, their hatred as-waged, or their "god" pleased by such wanton slaughter of people just going about their lives.

And of course, after the Dallas massacre, the same tired and discredited people crawled from the woodwork to try and push their tawdry anti gun agenda while the media shines the spotlight once more on a tragic event.

Thing is, as you watch the coverage of Nice - an event I have to say that bought me to tears, a VERY rare occurrence - and the previous coverage of Paris and Belgium, the one thing that categorically links those appalling attacks is one very simple but obvious fact, guns are not available to the public in either country.

This one simple plain fact is, broadly speaking, left out of pretty much every newsfeed I have watched thus far. Why is this, why are people allowed on TV saying that gun control is the issue that must be tackled? As the POS in Nice has proved with appalling obviousness, you can do a LOT more damage and hurt a LOT more innocent people with a truck or as in Boston, with a pressure cooker.

But there are no calls to ban trucks or cooking implements, why, because it doesn't fit the gun control agenda. Twist it as they may, they simply have to concede that in the face of terrorism the like of which the US has never known, and on a scale even Europe has never seen, the answer is not what they would like it to be.

The answer is that the people perpetrating the act are what need dealing with, their motivations examined, and ways found to prevent their "success's" in the future. Unpalatable though it maybe, we simply have to profile the people likely to carry out these attacks as best we can, and take steps to ensure our safety.

RIP those killed in Nice, and the injured are in our thoughts.

Friday, June 24, 2016

How many world events can you pack into a couple of weeks!

Since my last posting it seems that there have been more world changing events than anyone could have thought possible! Florida seems to have been on the wrong end of fate a little to often, with 3 tragedies in quick succession. The presidential race continues unabated, events in the UK and and Europe seem to be taking the UK away from the EU, and perhaps closer to the US.

And as all this is happening, amongst the turmoil in the world, and huge issues being faced by leaders the world over, what to the leaders of this fine country do, how do they rise above the political in fighting and baiting? They decide to hold a sit-in!

That's right, a sit-in! Whilst there are those who want draconian action to stem sales of "assault rifles" (although their use in crime is actually minuscule) and others who would I am sure support a bill mandating their ownership, and people prepared to throw civilized debate, negotiation and compromise under the bus, and sit on the floor till they get their own way, there will never be any progress.

As you can no doubt tell from the posts in this blog, I am an ardent gun supporter, and a supporter of the right to own them, but even I realize that there are contradictions that could and should be addressed in the gun laws as they stand. Universal background checks is something that has been mooted on many occasions, and something which, if you accept that background checks for new firearms are acceptable, is very difficult to argue against.

And then we arrive at the current issue of no fly lists. I have to say that if someone has been placed on a no fly list it's probably for a good reason. I struggle to understand why if someone is deemed enough of a risk to be prevented from flying, they are somehow not enough of a risk to suspend their ability to purchase firearms. I understand that there is a constitutional issue surrounding due process, but I don't really see what the argument is if the person concerned is immediately offered an appeal in court, and was suggested by the republicans in congress.

Sweeping "we got to control guns and ban assault weapons" statements are ridiculous to the point of being childish. fact is that even if there was the will to 'ban' guns, there are simply to many out there, and the only ones handed in will be from law abiding citizens, leaving the vast majority in the hands of those who dream of an unarmed population.

We really need to get a grip of this argument, and find some ground where we can all agree. This 'debate' has dragged on for as long as anyone can remember, and it's time to actually find a reasonable solution.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Seems even the courts disagree with each other!!

So, we have the happy situation in that we live in Arizona, where the firearms laws are the least restrictive of any in the country. But will that always be the case? There have been some interesting and apparantly contradictory decissions by various state supreme courts recently that almost guarantee that the US supreme court will take up the matter of concealed carry in the not to distant future.

On May 17th, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon handed down a judgement that Washington DC police's requirment for "individuals to show “good reason” to obtain a permit to carry a firearm on the streets of the nation’s capital" violated the "“core right of self-defense” granted in the Second Amendment".

The judge based his ruling on previous case law from 2008, and it seems that the city, after a request to have the decission held was denied, are preparing an appeal. The original long standing ban on carrying any firearms in public was overturned by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr in July 2014. Subsequently, he issued a further opinion in May last year, saying the District’s recently passed “good reason” requirement still “impinges on Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment right to bear arms,” because it did not target dangerous people or specifically how or where individuals carry weapons.

And that would seem to have been that, or was it? Today we have a ruling that would seem to go directly against these prior rulings. In California (where else!!) a 7-to-4 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, overturned a decision by a three-judge panel of the same court. California law requires applicants to demonstrate “good cause” for carrying a weapon, like working in a job with a security threat, which would seem to be exactly the same position as Washington residents had found themselves in.

It would seem that some district courts do not agree with others, that people have a fundamental right to defend themselves. It seems that in states like California, you are only allowed access to proper self defence if you are ALREADY in danger, or are rich or important. Is that really what the 2nd amendment was/is all about?

In a wider context, it would seem that this issue is destined to arrive at the US supreme court in the not to distant future, raising another disturbing prospect. At the moment, the Supreme Court could spilt 4 vs 4 on this issue, and that would seem likely. But what happens after the election. If the democrats win in November, and appoint a more "progressive" justice, will they uphold the intent of the 2nd amendment as they have done by a margin of 1 vote in the past?

All this only becomes an issue of course if the state attempts to institute draconian CCW laws, probably unlikely in Arizona, but does that mean we should rest easy? I would suggest that sitting back and discussing how lucky we are, and how they suffer in California, we do something now to prepare for what I would suggest is an inevitable attack on your right to carry a concealed firearm in the not to distant future.

But the $64,000 question is what do we do? How can we protect our rights and the 2nd amendment? I would really like to hear your thought, what do YOU think we should do? 

Todays ninth circuit court ruling.

May's Washington ruling.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fair, who said life was fair?

Fairness, what does that mean to you? Interesting question with many answers, depending on a great many thinks. What is fair to 1 person, is an outrage to the next. Is it fair that if I get on a bus, I should give up my seat if an old person needs it, even if  - as will probably be the case - I paid more for my ticket? No, it's not fair, but it's probably the right thing to do. This logic extends to lines that people have been waiting in, even parking lots. But get it wrong, and there'll be hell to pay!!

And get it wrong they certainly seem to have managed in California! It would seem that California's draconian gun laws are only for the seething masses of unwashed. It would seem that whereas CA legislators suffering an issue need to be able to defend themselves immediately, you and I must simply use very strong language and exercise patience while the police wing their way to us, hot foot through the Los Angeles rush hour traffic. "But they are important people" I hear you cry.

That is of course true, but of all the rights someone should possess, surely the right to defend yourself is one of the most important? This extends to the rhetoric of the liberal left. Invariably, after a huge rabble rousing speech about the horror of guns and gun violence, you can watch the speaker being escorted from the building, flanked by armed guards a plenty. Are the general population somehow immune from violence that would fall upon the speech maker, to the point that they have no need to protect them selves in a similar way to those that would attack them?

Something else crossed my desk earlier this week that made me smile. It seems that local manufacturer Patriot Ordnance Factory, or POF has made "The Donald" an offer, via psychic medium, and videographer Ben Philippi  it seems he would he will be unable to resist! It seems that POF are willing to "put a free rifle in every guard tower" on the wall of Trump!!  Just some figures I am lifting straight from the article,

The wall would apparently have to be 3.5million yards long, so with towers 1200 yards apart, that's 2,917 towers. If we assume a POF AR15 comes in around $2k, that would cost POF a smidge under $6 million. Not a bad gesture!

With the NRA now also backing "The Donald", and it seems momentum building, what do you think lays in store for the shooting fraternity in the event of a ceremony ending in the words "here are the keys to the Whitehouse President Trump"?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What are you doing this weekend?

What is your family favorite activity for Memorial day? Watch a parade, nice family dinner, perhaps visit a park, or go for a hike, maybe take the 4 wheelers for a spin? Sounds like a great all American weekend to me. But as with anything, you have to make sure you remain safe, and can deal with most of the situations you may encounter.

So you have packed a first aid kit, compass, maps, sunscreen, a hat, copious quantities of water, a phone, spare phone battery, and you've let someone know where your going, and when you are expected back. But hang on, is that all you need?

There are a variety of animals out there that see you as their memorial day dinner! It also seems that the immigration problem is spreading from normal border areas, further North towards the valley. This has lead Pinal county Sheriff Paul Babeu to issue a warning to anyone hiking, camping or exploring the desert wilderness in the Western part of Pinal county, that they might want to consider carrying a a firearm.

There have reportedly been a number of gun battles between drug and people smugglers in the southern part of Pinal county over the last few months. There are apparently drug smugglers, people smugglers, other 'crews' looking to rip off the 1st 2 groups, look outs and assassins all there just waiting for the opportunity attack each other.

While I completely and totally 100% agree with Sheriff Babeu, and for the record, every time I have been out exploring, I have been somewhat prepared in case there was an issue, I am left with the image in my head of Mr and Mrs Average, from number 12 Acacia Ave, hunkering down behind their 2015 Cadillac Excalade, loading up their shiny new DPMS AR15, with the 4 magazines of PMC they bought with the rifle, looking through the as yet un zeroed EoTech site, and dutifully taking on the massed ranks of the finest hit-men, smugglers, drug traffickers and other assembled masses of the criminal underworld that exploit Arizona's open border, certain in the knowledge that their CCW, and Introduction to Rifles P100 class will see them victorious!

Now, as I said at the start of this piece, I 100% agree with Sheriff Babeu, always be prepared if the worst should come your way, and I would certainly be armed if off to the wilds of the Arizona desert. But remember this, having the right equipment does NOT mean that it's a great idea to use it when a better remedy is at hand. When faced with the cream of the illegal border crossing underworld, I know what I would do, seek a way to turn 180 and depart at speed, and do pretty much anything to avoid an entanglement with them, unless I have literally no choice what so ever.

What I am trying to say is that is this, and many other situations in life, know your limitations, know your abilities, and do everything you to can to stay within them. That really is the brightest and best choice every time.

Darwin awards

Sadly I did not come up with that title, but it's a fine title for an occasional section I shall put in when the news story is just to good to miss.
So the police in that quiet backwater of Guadalupa were called to what they thought was a house fire. When they arrived, they discovered it was a man on fire.

"It's something we don't see every day especially in the town of Guadalupe," said Detective Doug Matteson with MCSO. It transpired he had been examining a flaregun, and it "went off" in his face!

It is said that the gentleman was intoxicated, no, I find that hard to believe! Lets remember that old saying, some of the best stories start with "here, hold my beer"!

Lets all be careful, and remember the 5 rules of gun safety!

Interview with Paul Babeu on ABC15 news.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The world is a very very strange place

With every passing day, my newsfeed makes me shake my head in disbelief. The stories from not only here in the US, but from around the world not only make me worry about the human race, but I also worry about those who think they have the solutions!

Take this story from the UK. 2 people, a couple in their 60's in a quiet town about 40 miles south of London are sitting in their house, minding their own business, when their door is kicked down, and 3 men invade their home. They are then tortured (there is no other word for it!) for sometime, with threats to kill other family members, and having "life changing injuries" inflicted on them, with the wife fighting for her life. Why, so that they would reveal any valuables they might have had!

"Why is this relevant?" I hear you cry. I have always felt comfortable legally carrying a firearm, concealed or otherwise, and at the very least, having one available. It's not that I want to take on the world, want to bring justice to where there inequity, peace to troubled lands etc etc etc, it's being happy in the knowledge that should there be a situation where my life, or that of my family are threatened, I have the means, and hopefully the opportunity to defend myself and my family. All other things being equal, I have a means to level the playing field.

What chance did these poor couple stand? In the UK, as far as makes any difference, ALL firearms are banned, with a few exceptions. So what chance does this poor couples stand when confronted by people who will commit bestial acts to deprive them of what they have worked for all their lives, and indeed their very lives! This is where the 'ban the guns' argument falls away. Those who wish to take what YOU have earned, and do you harm, they don't abide by the law. They don't worry about gun laws, theft, assault, torture or what the law says about minimum force, they will simply do what it takes to take everything you have!

Without a means to level the playing field, what is your response? More locks, on a door that is so easy to break it may as well be, and probably partly is, made of paper! Burglar alarm perhaps, great if you want to spend $50+ a month, and the crime happens to be in your house. Pepper spray, possibility, though you are just as likely to incapacitate yourself! A firearm is a force multiplication tool, like a hammer, or a wrench, nothing more nothing less. When used properly, it can and will give you peace of mind, do it's job flawlessly and keep your and yours safe, that's what it's for.

To seek a blanket ban on firearms is as nonsensical as banning aircraft because some crash from time to time, and almost always because of the fault of the human in charge. Are you willing to accept pilot less aircraft? The comparison stands up as you are afraid of a mechanical object that has no human input, as you are afraid of a gun, whilst ignoring the human input. In both cases, incidents are very rare, but only in the case of a firearm does anyone blame the mechanical object rather than the person in control of it.

But then of course, we have this brain donor! Ask yourself this, have you ever crashed your car to see if the seat belts work? Perhaps set a fire in your house to make sure the smoke alarms work? No, thought not! So what is the 'thought' process these guys used I wonder when deciding that testing a bullet proof jacket, buy wearing it, and having your friend shoot at you was a great idea!

Lets not give the anti gun lobby any more fuel to throw at us, keep safe out there, and if you have a though, that at 1st glance seems to be not the brightest thing you've ever done, STOP, because your 1st thought is probably the right one!!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Smart phones to smart guns?

I have an interesting story. Last night was Cinco de Mayo, a celebration I think that as an Englishman I can share with the Mexican nation as it involves a celebration of a victory over the French! I was enjoying an ice cold beer or several with my friends and neighbors, when someone suggested we should listen to the dulcet tones of Pink Floyd.

What a fine plan we all agreed, and as a full sound system in our garage is a little beyond our means, a 'smart' phone was located, along with a Bluetooth speaker, more usually found residing in my bathroom, where it thankfully does a great job of drowning out my attempts to re-create Pink Floyd. There then ensued much head scratching and annoyance as the assembled group made many fruitless attempts to made the 'smart' phone speak to a speaker, mere inches away, the same connection having been made last week.

After much bad language, cursing and frustration, a second 'smart' phone was located, and when finally my neighbors 13 year old son was sought and asked to see what he could do, Pink Floyd made a triumphant appearance in Maricopa.

Is there a point to my little story I hear you ask, well yes there is. 'Smart' guns have been making the rounds of the firearm industry for some years now. Many have tried to produce a practical weapon, that will protect people from accidental discharges, stolen guns etc. But are they as smart as people would have you believe, or are they TOO smart?

Taking my example above, a popular way to make a gun 'smart' is to have it communicate with a device held by the firearm's owner, maybe like a wrist watch. This communication is by Bluetooth, a great system used to connect devices like your phone to your car, or your headset. Another method is a fingerprint reader, used to identify authorized users, and allow the weapon to be used.

This would seem to throw up a number of issues. How many chargers do you have in your house already? It would seem that even the most basic system will require at least 1 more charger,also leading to a further issue of how do you charge your gun's system when it's in it's secure safe?

So assuming you have charged you gun, and are wearing your Bluetooth enabled 'smart watch', and you have cause to have to defend yourself. leaving aside fingerprint readers, which is a while new discussion, you draw your weapon speedily and safely, and it becomes clear you need to actually discharge your gun, you pull the trigger, having followed everything you were taught in your CCW class and your pistol classes, and low and behold nothing happens! Your Bluetooth device has locked onto another source, and suddenly, you are looking ar the wrong end of a assailant, who you have rightfully pulled a firearm on to defend yourself, that you now have no defense against!!

Not withstanding the above, if a firearm is stolen, does anyone believe that given time, and a little know how, electronic systems that are being described cannot to worked around, making the argument about making stolen guns worthless a little less easy to believe. As for safety (and this is where it gets controversial!) nothing is 100% safe. If you want to stop car accidents and deaths the only way to guarantee that is to wrap every car in expanding foam, and sealing the doors to prevent entry. Perfect solution, but now, you have something that that is useless to you in the role you bought it to perform.

Put simply, a car, gun, knife or motorcycle is as safe as the the people who control it. Properly trained people, who care and who act properly, will remain safe, those who dismiss risk and are haphazard about safety will continue to be hurt, and will hurt others, whether with a Glock or a Ford.