Saturday, January 02, 2016

Odds and Ends

Criterion is going to have Garand barrels in .35 Whelen available this spring. I assume they'll only be in the u.s.g.i. contour, though they do make tanker as well as gas trap barrels. You can also opt for one of their barrels in .308 Winchester as well as .270 Winchester, but .35 Whelen definitely has more punch than anything else offered (at least since McCann passed away and his .338 Winchester Magnum and .458 Winchester Magnum Garands went out of production).

Speaking of non standard cartridges for Garands,  Lothar Walther has Garand barrels in diverse chamberings. In addition to .30-06, .308 Winchester and .270 Winchester they have tubes in 7x64, 8x57IS, and 9.3x62.

Henning has made a "cone fit" guide rod for the Tanfoglio (EAA Witness) pistols for years. The shape of the rod reduces frame distortion that can occur with the factory guide rod and heavy loads, especially in 10mm and .45 ACP. Well now he has a variation on that, called "Last Defense". The muzzle end of the guide rod is sharpened into a spear point.

Being a firm believer in bayonets for long guns I of course wholeheartedly approve of this product. Henning notes that on long slide Tanfoglio's (such as the Limited, Stock III and Match) the spike will only protrude when the slide is locked back, which means you won't have to alter your holster.

Clement Custom Guns is doing a cool little conversion. If you send him your GP-100 in .357 magnum (along with some money) he'll send you back your GP-100 in 10mm. I'm tempted.

Course a 10mm is okay, but I do ponder getting a decent size pistol, say in .64 caliber. Not only would it be .14" better than a 10mm, but in that 1733 configuration it'll be great for non-permissive environments! Though even a flintlock pistol will still get you a felony indictment in New Jersey, but who'd want to go there anyway? Unless of course to liberate the place.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Movie Watching

I'm not crazy about the way Hollywood treats certain stories. For example, the Harry Potter flicks diverged too much from the books for me to really approve. (Actually the first two weren't bad interpretations, but after Harris passed things went downhill fairly quickly.) After the 6th, someone pointed out that they were successful at the box office, and I answered that they could have a movie comprised of stick figures and it'd still sell well - and lo and behold, in the last movie they did feature a segment with stick figures. But the story, as relayed by the books, was compelling enough that people would go see the movies no matter what. That provides a false metric for movie makers to go by, and reinforces their tampering with, and in some cases completely screwing up a story.

The usual justification is that some changes had to be made to transfer a tale from pages to film. My usual response is "bullshit!". While some changes are necessary for the switch in mediums, most are simply a director wanting to tell his story, not the story.  The omission of The Scouring of the Shire from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Ring films, and the Burning of the Burrow which was inserted into Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince are two examples of a director's whims adversely affecting the tale they claim to be telling. Of course Starship Troopers, Noah, and Exodus: Gods and Kings are atrociously different from the source materially, to the point that only the names give a clue as to what story they're claiming to tell.

With that in mind I'm real damn skittish about Disney's handling of Star Wars. I've been a Star Wars fan since about 1977, and in fact it could be argued that John Williams (the composer, not to be confused with the other John Williams, who's a helluva guitarist) score pushed me in the direction of a musical career. So I want to like it, I really do. But I know how Hollywood has a way of screwing up stories - hell, Lucas did a fair job of screwing up the story that was his! (I of course refer to the prequels that must not be named).

In short, I don't really want to know what color Pinocchio's nose saber is gonna be, or find out that there is, indeed, a Darth Jiminy.

Le sigh.

(I did watch the first season of Star Wars: Rebels and thought it was decent, but I don't want to get my hopes up too high.)

So I reluctantly did some looking online. It's been about a decade since I went to a theater to watch a movie and wanted to see what theater options were available. Turns out none. The theaters within my town all have no weapons policies. Of course I could just keep my coat on & no one would be the wiser, but that would mean I was giving money to folks that want me to be disarmed. I'll pass on that.

My personal boycott won't cripple any of the theaters around here, and I doubt if all the gun owners in the area called them and reported their disdain for the no weapons policy that the theaters would change their tune. But I just don't want to do business with those that would prefer I was defenseless. I don't want any part in sustaining their distasteful practices.

I still may look around for a theater in a neighboring town (other than Denver proper of course) or I may just wait til it comes out on DVD. Should be around May or so, which everyone but the execs at Disney know is the proper time to first view a new Star Wars film. (The heathens!) Besides, I can smoke while watching DVD's, and not have to go through a credit check and establish collateral for an extra large bag of popcorn that may or may not be fresh. Plus, should anyone bust in and try to shoot up the place I'll have better options than a hogleg with which to quell the miscreants.

For now I'll make do with an in depth review of the BlasTech DL-44 from Jerry Miculek, which can be found here.

More Maths

There have been calls by some for "mandatory buybacks" of firearms. This of course is nothing more than a misleading euphemism (how can government "buy back" what it never possessed?) for confiscation. Proponents of such measures have neglected their calculators. Luckily I'm here to help.

I'd estimate there are 150 million gun owners in America, but let's go with the more common figure of 100 million. 1/2 of 1 percent of that would be 500,000.

There are about 800,000 police officers in the u.S. That's in total, not just on duty at any given moment. Let us assume that all of those 800,000 policeman would follow orders and go about confiscating firearms.

If one half of one percent of the gun owners in this country forcibly resist attempts at confiscation, only 4/5th's of us would have to shoot twice before we went home. That would leave an entire field army of gunowners with no law enforcement agents standing twixt us and the politicians. Even if all of us were killed and we each took 1.6 of the enemy out with us, that would completely eliminate the police forces in the united States.

Keep in mind that's an extremely low estimate of how many gun owners would forcibly resist confiscation, and an unrealistically high estimate of the numbers of policemen that would try to carry out such a dictate. I'd guess that between 5% and 10% of the police force would openly switch sides in such an event, and another 10% to 30% would refuse to obey such an order, either openly or covertly, which would leave only 680,000 at most to try to round up all our guns. I'd also be disappointed if less than 1% of my original estimate of gun owners didn't participate in the resistance, which'd place the number of defenders at 1.5 million.

What I think most politicians fail to realize, is that the constitution's enumeration of the Right to arms isn't there to protect us, it's there to protect them.

But as has been said, maths r hard.

Maths R Hard

I dislike using statistics. When the methodology isn't flawed and everything is on the up and up (which is damned rare) the most they can do is point in a general direction. Correlation is not synonymous with causation after all, and often the results will lead one down a false trail. In addition it tends to negate individuality.

That being said I see a lot of talk about the number of people killed in the u.S. with firearms and clamoring for a way to reduce that number by restrictions or even outright prohibitions on firearm possession by non-government agents. There are a few numbers to keep in mind.

Around 30,000 people are killed each year with firearms in the u.S. Roughly 16,000 are suicides, a little less than 1,000 are negligent shootings (what are erroneously referred to as accidental shootings), and the rest are homicides, both justifiable and non-justifiable.

So 30,000 people a year, if constant would mean that in a decade 300,000 people die as a result of gunfire. In a century that'd be 3,000,000 people dead from gunshot wounds.

That means it'd take an entire century to equal the number of people killed during the 2 years of the Holodomor (if we go by the lowest estimates). It'd take between 2 to 4 decades to equal the number murdered during the 2 years of the Yezhovshchina. It'd take from 3 to 5 decades to match what happened in the 4 years of the Medz Yeghern. (But combined with the 6 years of the Sayfo and the 9 years of the Greek Genocide, another 2 or 3 decades could be added to equal what the Ottoman government did around World War 1.) It'd take about a decade to match the body count from the 6 weeks during the Rape of Nanking.

To match the death toll from Hitler's 4 years of murder would take 2 to 5 centuries. For 30 years of Stalin (including the above mentioned Holodomor) it'd take from 7 to 14 centuries. The 30 or so years of Mao would take a little over 2.5 millennia.

For the number of people killed with firearms in the u.S. per year to be equal to the number of people murdered by their own governments in the 20th century, it would take about 8.7 millennia.

If 30,000 people a year were killed by gunfire from the beginnings of the Copper Age til present, it'd still take another 1,200 years before the numbers equaled what governments did to their own people in the 20th century alone.

It's estimated that around 100 million Americans own firearms. I think that number is low and would assume around 150 million Americans own at least one firearm.  But going with the low figure that'd mean for every 3,300 or so gun owners, 1 person dies as a result of gunfire.

There are roughly 2.7 million people working for the u.S. government. If we use that number and apply it to other governments from the 20th century (which is most assuredly a very high estimate), then for every government worker in Nazi Germany 5.5 people were murdered. For every government worker under Stalin 16 people were murdered. For every government employee of Mao almost 30 people were murdered.

Yet because 30,000 people are killed with firearms in a given year by government and non-government actors, some folks are insisting that all firearms be turned over so that only government may posses them?

Indeed, maths r hard.