Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Anti-Gun Idiocy in RI

The Boston Globe is running this story about a “gun” buyback program run in Providence , Rhode Island, that buys and destroys TOY GUNS!

It never ceases to amaze me how easily people are duped into thinking that symbolic, feel-good, addle-brained programs like this one will have an impact on gun violence. I also think that elementary school aged children are too young to understand the symbolism. But the program sure works to enable the Attorney General Patrick Lynch to cliam he is doing something about the problem!

About 200 children attended the gun bash, said Jim Baum, a prosecutor with Lynch’s office who helps run it. The event used to be held four or five times a year, but budget cuts have forced them to scale back the program, he said. City and state employees donate many of the toys, along with nearby businesses.

“We hope it makes a difference,’’ Baum said.

How typical of political hacks: spend money on a idiotic program without knowing if it effective, or even what you're trying to accomplish with the program.

Take a few minutes to read the comments at the end of the article. Boston Globe readers think the program is pretty stupid as well.  Why not do something constructive that might actually help children be safe, like hold an Eddie Eagle Safety Program in the school.

Hat tip to Calguns.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Panama City School Board Shooting - Comments At Greg Laden's Blog

I am sure that everyone has heard of the shooting at a Panama City,FL school board meeting. If not, you can read about, and watch the remarkable video of the incident in the Washington Post. Greg Laden posted these comments about this incident on his blog. The one I take particular issue with is this:

Clay Duke tried to kill several school board members, but missed from a distance of between 6 and 8 feet with his Smith & Wesson pistol. Indeed, over 25 rounds were fired in the small public space, all aimed from a short distance, and only one fatal shot occurred. This puts an end to the idea that if everyone in every public meeting had a pistol that the bad guys would be easily dispatched. 
To which I replied on his blog in the comments section:

Your comments about the marksmanship of the shooter proving ANYTHING about the ability of other people being able to stop this attack with lethal force is simply ignorant.
You completely disregard any consideration about the level of training that the shooter may or may not have had. If he was really trying to shoot the people seated at the desk, then his level of training was absolutely minimal, bordering on non-existent. He had target shooting conditions, and he missed. He was either a bad shot, or he deliberately missed.

Either way, he is not excused, because potential victims cannot know what his intent might be, so if armed, they would be completely justified to shoot back.

I can assure with complete confidence that the shooters lack of competence DOES NOT in any way invalidate the possibility of any one of the victims from being able to shoot the assailant and stop the attack. Your assertion is actually nonsense because all of the victims were unarmed, and their level of training is unknown.

Any implication from this incident that armed self defense is worthless is in fact worthless

To which, Greg Laden replied:

Left Coast Conservative: You completely disregard any consideration about the level of training that the shooter may or may not have had.
Of course the level of ability or training matters, an that is exactly my point! When the average gun-nut moron comes around screaming that if only everybody had a gun there would be no shooting, they are of average ability. Some can shoot, some are like Mr Clay. This is not a difficult concept.
I can assure with complete confidence that the shooters lack of competence DOES NOT in any way invalidate the possibility of any one of the victims from being able to shoot the assailant and stop the attack.
Oh, that makes me feel much better. I just watched a guy on a video empty his extra large clip a few feet from a concentration of people and the only hit he could manage is when he put the barrel of the gun to his own head and pulled the trigger.
Your assertion is actually nonsense because all of the victims were unarmed, and their level of training is unknown.
I'm talking about the hooting ability of the assailant, the gun nut with the gun, not the victims, who did not have guns. Jeesh.
Any implication from this incident that armed self defense is worthless is in fact worthless.
No it isn't. On the other hand, any implication that the average gun nut who comes by screaming about how everybody's gotta carry a gun or we iz all dooomeded is .... well, just look at your idiotic comment!

So, let me take these points one at a time:
  1. I don't claim that if citizens were armed, that there would be no shootings. I do claim, that citizens can defend themselves and very possibly stop the attack. Look at what Mr. Duke did when met with resistance: he shot himself. This is not an uncommon reaction.
  2. Once again, just because Clay duke was a lousy shot, does not mean everyone is a lousy shot. I just spent a day in a defensive shooting class and any one of the students in that class could have shot at and hit Mr. Duke from the positions of the board members, especially since they would had the board meeting table to rest their hands on while shooting.
  3. I know you were talking about the shooting ability of Mr. Duke, but you project his lack of marksmanship on everyone else to discount the value of armed self defense.
  4. And hence my claim that your opinion is worthless for judging the value of armed self defense. Remember, it was an armed man that ended this incident, a man with training available to anyone, should they seek it out.
Greg Laden, it seems to me that you think anyone who advocates armed self defense is a gun nut, and idiot, and that they would use their firearms in a irresponsible and ineffective manner. The record shows that you a simply wrong about that:

Learn About Guns
The Bluff

There are many more examples that can be easily found. My core assertion is this: with proper training, any one of the people at the meeting could have quickly ended the attack. No one who carries a gun in public should do so without training.

California Cap and Trade - Kill Jobs without Saving the Globe

Last week the California Air Resources Board voted to impose a cap and trade system in California starting in 2012.
My mind boggles that this state is continuing to careen down the path of economic ruin, but others are looking forward to California's folly:
They also empower the business development arms of the various states now led by Republican legislative majorities and energetic, business-friendly governors like Ohio's John Kasich, Florida's Rick Scott, Texas' Rick Perry, Michigan's Rick Snyder, Wisconsin's Scott Walker and Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett, among others.

The job-seeking professionals accompanied by their smiling, just-elected governors will be happy to set up appointments with the governor so that a side-by-side comparison of life under California's new rules contrasts with life in, say, the Buckeye State.

Arnold's "legacy" is thus a job-killing, metastasizing bureaucracy that accomplishes only the destruction of jobs without even a miniscule impact on the world's climate.
Is anyone paying attention at all? Bueller...Bueller?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

NRA Personal Protection in the Home Class

Last week, 11 December, 2010, I attended the NRA Personal Protection in the Home class offered by Bay Area Professionals for Firearms Safety and Education (BayProfs), and held at the San Jose Municipal Firing Range, home of the Santa Clara Valley Rifle Club. I had previously taken the NRA Basic Pistol class from BayProfs, and found it to be very valuable for a novice handgun enthusiast, and I had been looking forward to taking this class for quite some time. I was not disappointed.

Students were expected to provide a firearm, a holster, gun belt, magazine carrier, and at least three magazines. BayProfs provided the instructors, ammunition, and the venue. BayProfs also provided each student with a packet of instructional materials that included the NRA Guide To the Basics of Personal Protection Inside the Home, and the book How To Own A Gun And Stay Out Of Jail, 2010 Edition, which, in my opinion, every gun owner in California should own and read. The fee for the class was $200 for an entire day of instruction: 9 AM to 6 PM.

While BayProfs recommended standard Kydex training holsters, I had long since purchased a rig in leather, and on consultation with Tom Laye, the training director for BayProfs, got the approval to use my rig. It consists of:

The class size was small, only seven people, with a mix of ages and genders. Two students in my class were women, one of whom could not have weighed more that 90 pounds soaking wet, who shot a full size automatic pistol as competently as any other student in the class. While all individuals in the class had taken the NRA Basic Pistol Class from BayProfs (a prerequisite), some had taken additional classes from other organizations. While a variety of firearms were used by the students, no revolvers were present in this class.

It is well known by any student that has taken BayProfs class that the BayProfs instructors are huge enthusiasts of the famous 1911 pistol, which was designed by the famous John Browning, and has been in continuous use and production for nearly one hundred years. Every instructor present had a 1911 pistol in their holster, and while a few joking comments about how the students should “get a real gun” were heard, the BayProfs instructors are all of the conviction that any gun in a credible defensive caliber will work just fine for personal protection. The gun is a tool, the weapon is a person with training, the correct mindset, and a determination to survive, holding the gun.

The instructor to student ratio was high, with six instructors present to help the students as well as ensure safety on the firing range. The class format alternated between lecture and shooting sessions on the range. Topics covered included, but were not limited to, firearms safety, the ethics and morality of self defense, legal aspects of the use of deadly force, the use of cover and concealment, and defensive shooting techniques. Safety was a paramount concern during the shooting sessions, with each student paired with an instructor, and a range master keeping watch over everyone. NRA rules required that the class was run with a “cold range”, which means that no loaded pistols were holstered. Students practiced the draw and presentation with unloaded pistols, and only loaded them on command of the range master after drawing, presenting to target, and then entering the low ready position. All shooting commenced from the low ready position. When a course of fire was completed, instructors required each student to clear their firearm, show the instructor that the firearm was clear, and then drop the hammer on the empty chamber.

There was as much discussion about how to avoid a gunfight as there was about how to survive one. The class emphasizes that the only gunfight one wins is the gunfight one avoids in the first place. Once the shooting starts, one does not “win”, one only survives. Awareness of ones surroundings was taught as the key discipline to learn to avoid violent encounters whenever possible, and to be fully prepared for them when avoidance fails. Awareness combined with prior planning is essential if one is to act effectively once a threat is encountered, and employment of a firearm is always the last option in any plan, used only when everything else fails.

Shooting sessions started with a marksmanship check of each student, and proceeded to a demonstration of combat accuracy, and the explanation of the “flash sight” picture. As the day went on, more elements were added the shooting problem: shooting from cover, shooting around corners from both the strong and weak sides, shooting from the kneeling position, and transitions between standing and kneeling. One of the final shooting exercises was two fast shots to the center of mass of the target, with aimed shots into the cranio-optical cavity. This exercise was very challenging, and some students had to reload a more than once to accomplish the task. After the very first shooting session all students were responsible for keeping their magazines loaded, and for reloading their firearms as required during all courses of fire, further simulating the conditions that might be faced during a real firefight.

One of the final exercises of the day was BayProfs version of the Teuller Drill, a demonstration of how fast an attacker can close to knife range before an armed defender can draw and fire. With a shooter in the low ready position and facing down range, another student, the runner, placed his hand on the shooters shoulder and faced up range. The runner would start running up range at a moment of their choosing, and the length of distance covered before the shooter could place an effective round on the target was measured. In almost all cases the runner could cover 20 to 30 feet before the shooter could react and fire, demonstrating why all police agencies and defensive shooting instructors consider an attacker with a knife a deadly threat within 7 yards of a defender.

One instructor, fresh from a defensive shotgun class, gave a short talk and demonstration of defensive shotgun usage, including shooting a few rounds to demonstrate the spread of the pellets and effectiveness of the weapon in self defense. Each student was then invited to shoot the gun, a modified Remington 870 Police Magnum. I must say that I was very impressed with the gun, and with the effects of the Vang Comp ported shotgun barrel. Seeing the spread of 00 buckshot at 7 yards clearly showed why shotguns must be aimed for maximum effect, not simply pointed as so many people assume.

The class ended with a recap of the most important points covered that day, and with tips for both dry practice and range drills for the students to use to hone the techniques introduced in the class. Dry practice drawing and presenting the firearm to the target and reloading the fireatm help develop “muscle memory”, making these operations automatic in a defensive situation. Emphasis is placed on correctness of each motion, not on speed. As one instructor said, “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” Range drills included a sight flash shot at center mass, followed by a head shot using a 3”x5” index card as a target.

My final impression of this class is that it was a very good introduction to practical, defensive shooting. The quality of the instructors was evident, as well as their enthusiasm for the subject. Instructor demeanor in the class is supportive and consultative, without the “boot camp” mentality that I have heard other instructors use. This must be especially comforting for female members of the class who might be intimidated by strident instructors. An amazing amount of material and new concepts were presented, too much to master in one day, or even adequately absorb. Should this class be offered again, I would be tempted to repeat is because I am sure I would come away the second time learning things that I missed in the first session, and with a deeper understanding of things that I thought I knew. I do know that this class has changed how I will practice at the range, and during dry practice at home.