Thursday, November 20, 2003

Another tale of, I mean Homeland Security, as related by J.J. Johnson:

"Seattle, Washington - 52 year old Desseria B. Whitmore had a pretty good life, some would say. After all, she had no criminal record, and was a Seattle bank executive. She and a travel companion were heading for a flight to Spokane, on the other side of the state... According to Port of Seattle police, federal screeners pulled them aside after finding what must have been something that was so dangerous to air travel, that it demanded immediate attention."

"The autopsy in this case is forth coming, but more than a few folks think this one stinks to high heaven. Right now, there are those ready to pound on the keyboards; fussing at the author for daring to question the police' actions in this case.
Before you do so, ask yourself, was stopping her for a marijuana pipe justified in the first place, or is that part of our new 'Homeland Security'?"

I would comment but I'm too disgusted. Go here if you're like to read Mr. Johnsons summary.

Edit - I happened across this just before I shut down the computer & thought it'd be an appropriate footnote:

As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms. — Tench Coxe in `Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution' under the Pseudonym "A Pennsylvanian" in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 col. 1
Rick Stanley writes from jail (via Liberty for All) He's not happy & I don't blame him one bit.

Pam Stanley has this update (dated Oct. 28th) over at Rick's blog. (permalinks aren't working but it's the first post as of today.)

Rick Stanley's website has more background info for ya.

Now I don't agree 100% with Mr. Stanley's tactics, but giving the circumstances I understand how he arrived at them. & it's not so much the idea of performing citizen's arrests on judges who violate the law (&/or constitution) that I disagree with; it's that his arguments tend to wander too close to a conspiracy theory for most people's taste.

That being said what really matters is that Mr. Stanley was arrested for openly wearing a firearm, prosecuted & sentenced in very questionable courtrooms by very suspect judges, & is now in jail because he told the judges (albeit in a crude way) that they didn't have the authority to do that to him, as his actions were protected by not one but two (count 'em; two) constitutions. He told them they were violating their oaths of office by continuing in this nonsense & they would be arrested if they kept it up.

Did he phrase it in the best way possible? Nope. But the basics of his sentiments are no damned different than any of ours would be were we in his position.

Mr. Stanley risked his freedom to challenge an unjust law in an unjust system. Perhaps he could have done it better, but before I berate him for his mistakes I must admit he made those mistakes in an attempt to defend our Rights.

Anyway, hit the links & read what the man has to say. & if you're in Colorado be sure to drop the appropriate parties a note. (Denver's mayor John Hickenlooper; Thorton's mayor Noel Busck; Colorado's governor Bill Owens; etc...) Hell, if you're outside of Colorado write the governor & remind him that your tourist dollars will probably go to the state least likely to jail you for exercising a Right.

& drop Mr. Stanley a note if ya can. Jail's a rather boring place to be from what I've heard. A letter might cheer him up.

Rick Stanley
Adams County Detention Facility
Box 5001
Brighton, CO
Here's an interesting explanation of why so many firearms in Iraq are malfunctioning:

"...But our investigation has found that a lubricant supplied by the military may be actually causing guns to jam. What's worse, soldiers say they were blocked from getting a better lubricant at a time when they needed it the most."

The report goes on to say that CLP (Clean, Lubricate, Protect), the military lubricant is causing sand to gum up the works of most weapons, particularly the M16, while Miltec is a better lubricant in this regard & was being denied to the troops by the military.

In a desert environment sand is a major problem for any weapon. To have lubricant in your weapon increases the ability of sand to get stuck in tight places on said weapon. Unfortunately because of friction some lubricant is necessary for prolonged use such as you might encounter in combat.

The problem is that most lubricants are oil based. This means that they do have a tendency to latch onto any small foreign particles, as they're sticky. CLP is oil based. Miltec appears to be some form of synthetic based liquid though.
There may be some truth to the articles (& Miltec's) claims; Miltec contains some formula that is supposed to impregnate the metal & still provides an adequate level of lubrication even when the liquid is wiped completely off.

So if they are correct then Miltec would be a superior lubricant to CLP. But they put too much weight on the choice of lubricant I'm afraid.

It's not that a good & correct lubricant won't make a difference; it most definitely will. But they neglect that the M16 design is somewhat problematic. It uses direct gas impingement to operate the action. This means there's a little tube that siphons off gas from the barrel & directs it directly towards the bolt. This in turn will foul up the action in short order, as residues from the gas are deposited in the receiver where the most critical parts must move.

The M16 design is basically the same, minus the automatic capabilities, as the AR15 style firearms. I have seen a lot of AR 15's in sporting use; from competition to varmint hunting. & in those roles they are good. They're lightweight, light recoiling, & accurate. But they do require more maintenance than other semi-automatic designs. This is mainly because the gas system fouls up the action more than another design of self loading rifle would, but the oddly shaped bolt head & chamber do present some minor cleaning problems, albeit to a much lesser degree.

In the civilian world there is usually time to clean the weapon at proper intervals & use enough preventative maintenance to minimize malfunctions. In the martial world there is not always going to be that chance to keep your weapon perfectly maintained.

So while a proper lube may have helped in general, they are still overlooking the fact that as a design the M16 is not appropriate for a combat role. & that is not even going into the cartridge the military uses in it; the 5.56x45mm NATO.

The nearest (but not exact) commercial equivalent to the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge is the .223 Remington. The military switched to the 5.56x45mm Nato round from the 7.62x51mm Nato round (whose nearest but not exact commercial equivalent is the .308 Winchester) based on the idea that the smaller cartridge would enable a soldier to provide more accurate fire, especially in fully automatic weapons & that the projectile would be sufficient for wounding enemy soldiers. Wounding is supposedly desirable as a wounded soldier ties up more of the enemies resources than a dead one.

However that avoids the issue of stopping power, which is where the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge lacks. In fact, its nearest commercial equivalent (the .223 Remington) is illegal to use on deer size game in most states. Coyotes are about the biggest animals that can be safely & legally hunted in most states with such a cartridge.

But I admit that I have little first hand experience with either the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge & M16 or their respective commercial equivalents. This is partially for the reasons I mentioned above concerning their respective shortcomings, but it's mainly because I've always been more partial to the .30-06 Springfield cartridge & the M1 Garand as a general purpose rifle & the humble little .22LR cartridge & the Ruger 10/22 carbine &/or rifle as a short range small game & varmint hunting round.

In any event while the choice of lube may be part of the problem by focusing on it they're ignoring the main problem, which is that the M16 is a design not suitable for general issue to front line troops.
Speaking of terrorists & guns, the Brady Campaign is wasting no time trying to raise awareness of this particular non issue:

"Although the Bush Administration claims to be using every tool to stop terrorism, there is clearly a problem when it comes to gun laws. Instead of aggressively using gun records, Ashcroft is misinterpreting a law regarding gun purchases at the expense of public safety. Last year, Ashcroft contradicted his legal counsel inside the Department of Justice when he testified in front of Congress claiming that the FBI can't audit the background check system to determine if suspected terrorists bought guns. He now stands in the way of keeping the FBI from learning when and where suspected terrorists bought guns."

Yes, if we'd have only stopped those terrorists from legally purchasing firearms then no one would have died on Spetember 11th. Oh wait - they used box cutters instead of guns didn't they?

However enforcing prior restraint based gun control laws kept those passengers on Spetember 11th from being able to mount a successful defense from said terrorists with box cutters.

Let me break it down for ya: the passengers were disarmed by their own government & unprepared to face men armed only with small knives, thus 3,000 or so died.

Now first & foremost the blame belongs with the terrorists that used boxcutters to hi jack the planes & turn them into missiles. But there's a fair share of the blame that rests with our own government for disarming people who could have fought back successfully with the proper equipment.

But as usual Brady & the other gun control supporters don't address this issue at all. Instead they encourage victim disarmement by our own government & then when they fail to protect the victims they call for more. I wonder if Hitler & Stalin had allies as good as these?

GOA has an alert concerning the anti-gun bills that are likely to pass in Congress, while pro-gun bills languish.

"To be sure, many top-level Democrats have finally realized that support for gun control cost them control of the House, the Senate and the White House.
Thus, given the politics of the issue, it is surprising that the only legislation likely to pass on firearms issues, as this session of Congress comes to an end, are anti-gun bills.
And Republicans are leading the charge!"

Whoda thunk it?

"The Republican leadership suspended the rules in the House and passed the plastic gun ban on a voice vote. Why not employ the same determination and pass any of the above-mentioned bills that would advance Second Amendment rights?
Why not force the Transportation Security Administration to REALLY start arming pilots, rather than letting them proceed at their current snail's pace? (At the agency's current rate of arming pilots, it will take 15 years to arm all the pilots who wish to defend their passengers and crew.)"

Did I ever mention that Republicans are thought of as pro-gun simply because they're better at hiding their anti-gun agenda than the Democrats are? It's not that they'r ebetter for us, they're just better are conning us on that particular issue.

But go read the thing in it's entirety & be sure to bring it up next time any Republican asks for money from you.

From Merriam-Webster;

Incremental: a policy or advocacy of a policy of political or social change by degrees: gradualism

See also Sen. Lautenberg.

Seems that democratically elected senator is trying to push another "common sense" gun law through the senate. It's a law that would require everyone who made a successful purchase of a firearm to be reported to the Justice Department if they're on a terrorism watch list.

From the CNN article:

"The Justice Department says the Brady gun control law prevents it from sharing information about successful transactions by suspects on its watch list -- or anyone else. The department says the law allows it to report attempted purchases only."

This is dangerous for a number of reasons. The biggest problem with the NICS or "instacheck" system is that until you try to purchase a firearm you may not know you're disqualified, but when you make that attempt you've broken the law. In other words a person thinks his record is clean & goes in to purchase a .22LR rifle for his son’s upcoming birthday. But the instant check (instant my ass!) denies him because unbeknownst to him his wife has filed a restraining order against him as the first step in a divorce proceeding. So not only does he not get to purchase the firearm he's now a criminal, because it's against the law to attempt to purchase a firearm when you're prohibited from doing so.

& that particular scenario was brought to us by Lautenberg, who pushed a bill through bearing his name that made restraining orders disqualifiers for purchasing a firearm.

"Government sources said 13 people named on the terrorism watch list have tried to buy guns, but the sources would not say how many of those attempts were successful."

Well unless someone's been breaking the law then since 13 attempted purchases were reported then none of them were successful, as a successful purchase wouldn't have been recorded. The reporter just stated that the Justice Department said it's illegal for them to keep records of successful firearms transactions. So if 13 people were reported as attempting to purchase then they bloody well wouldn't be mentioned if they were successful now would they? Honestly, can reporters not read their own freakin' stories?

"Law enforcement officials point out that not everyone on the watch list is a terrorist and that any purchases the officials would be informed of would be legal."

So they admit that they'd be keeping track of non-terrorists that complete a lawful transaction. But the problem is that if this bill passes, then the "watch list" would be expanded to keep tabs on people for other reasons. It's a nice little bait & switch; convince the people you need more power to watch terrorists & then use it to watch the people.

"What's more, they said, they are bound to work within the framework of the background-check system."

Be on the look out for cries to close the "instacheck” loophole"! & of course it'll be "for the children".

"Some critics suggest the Justice Department is being overly strict in its interpretation of the Brady gun control law, which mandates background checks for those buying handguns."

Of course they're being overly strict; after all they're still allowing sales to go through aren't they? Everyone knows a proper interpretation of the Brady law would negate all transaction by anyone who does not receive a government paycheck.

"Justice officials said the law does not allow personal information about gun buyers to be shared with law enforcement agencies.
'It flies in the face of everything John Ashcroft has said about fighting the war on terrorism,' one law enforcement official said."

Well there is a point to that; for some reason Ashcroft has been gentler on the 2nd amendment than the others when it comes to the war on terror. But he's still enforcing unconstitutional laws that violate our Right to Arms. This anonymous law enforcement official is possibly just bitter than Ashcroft didn't stop the sale of all firearms & outlaw their possession in the name of the war on terror.

"Lautenberg, a longtime gun control advocate, said he was perplexed by the Justice Department's position.
'I know the Bush administration has an extremist view of gun rights, but I never would have imagined that the attorney general would be taking specific steps to protect the rights of terrorists to obtain guns,' Lautenberg said in a statement.
He wants the Justice Department to tell law enforcement agencies when and where each gun is bought."

Remember that folks. Sen. Lautenberg feels if you are on a watch list that alone makes you a terrorist. Then again considering how he came to be in office this time around due process is probably not in his vocabulary.

But if he thinks Ashcroft, who is enforcing just as many unconstitutional gun control laws as Reno was, is an extremist, then I'd love to see what that (as we say back home) sumbitch thinks of this site, or most of those on my blogroll.

Sen. Lautenberg wants to push this through. I don't know if he is legitimately concerned or just ignorant about what he's doing. I frankly don't care. This bill would open up the door that has been so precariously shut; on the other side is a federal gun owner registry. They have it de facto now, & I wouldn't be surprised if they maintained an overt one. But the closer they get to not being restrained by law in keeping track of who has guns the more in danger we are. This would be a very big first step in that direction.