This is going to be another one of those posts wherein the backstory may or probably will not be explained. You are just going to have to deal with that.
Speaking on a personal level, I will never again do business with a company called “Texas AK Designs”, who are now apparently owned by / part of “Canis Design Group”. From my own personal experience, their shipping department is substandard, their customer service is basically non-existent, and their products… well, let me put it to you this way. I love Kel-Tec to death for the revolutionary and cutting-edge products they dream up, but the fit and finish of those products leaves me with a raging case of the heebie jeebies. That said, in comparison to the products from “Texas AK Designs” I have handled, products from Kel-Tec suddenly resemble a custom, hand-fitted 1911 from somewhere like Ed Brown.
Yes. It is that bad.
The parkerizing (or whatever finishing they use) is irregular, the metal is roughly cut, moving parts grate and squeak as they move, things that should not wobble do, and things that should fit into other things apparently do not. For example, their flagship product – a device that allows .223-chambered AK-pattern rifles to accept standard STANAG magazines – literally does not allow those magazines to drop free when the magazine release button is depressed. If you can dork up something that standardized, why should I trust you with any other measurements/dimensions?
And that is just their products. Apparently the folks behind the company get… shall we say “childishly upset” when other people come forward expressing concerns over the substandard quality of their products and regarding the difficulty they have had installing those products, to the point of attacking other small businesses on those business’ Facebook pages, and using those other business’ Facebook pages as springboards to advertise their own services. Having no particular dog in the fight myself, I am quite comfortable in saying that is pretty shameful behavior.
So, if you, like me, happen to desire an AK platform that can accept STANAG / M4 / M16 / AR15 / etc. magazines (just because .223 Saiga and VEPR magazines are stupidly expensive and hard to come by), I can only suggest investigating a company called Definitive Arms, LLC. For ~$450, they will take a rifle you provide, attach their conversion magazine well, reliability test it out for you, and send it back. For an additional $175, they will provide the same services, finish the firearm in their specific black parkerizing, and thread your barrel.
Honestly, I cannot say whether or not those prices are reasonable – this is something of a niche market – but these are the only other folks out there I am aware of doing this kind of thing.
Alternatively, if you are willing to consider something that is not technically an AK-platform, but functions in much the same way, take a look at Faxon Firearms’ ARAK-21 upper. It happily pins on to any AR-15 lower, allows for the use of folding stocks, and allows for in-the-field barrel swaps.
Oh, and yes, the glorious monstrosity at the top of this post would have been mine… if I had bothered to keep up with my finances in other arenas. As it is, I would like to thank Owen Martin at Snake Hound Machine for working with me on the build, and doubly thank him for finding that rifle another home once I concluded I could not reasonably purchase it any more. Unlike our federal government, I know when I am overextended. Unfortunately, Owen’s experiences with this particular build have convinced him never to do something like this ever again, so if you want one of your own… well, see the above post.
[Update] On the Twitters, @Keith1911 rightly asks, “what is wrong with a Kel-Tec SU-16?” In a word, nothing; in fact, I plan on procuring a PLR-16 at some point in the future, just because. For those unfamiliar, the SU-16 line of rifles uses a long-stroke gas piston for operation – much like the AK platform – but also uses STANAG magazines for feeding ammunition, so it would also satisfy my “AK-like-action-plus-STANAG-magazines” desires. That said, and simply put, there are better options out there. Like I said in the second paragraph above, the fit and finish of Kel-Tec products are not exactly what I would consider “confidence inspiring”, and they are not the most durable things in the world. Sure, most people are not going to stress test them to failure, but when you are looking for something that can meet the durability of the AK platform, well…
And aside from all that, despite having that funky-arsed magwell attached to its ventral side, the above rifle is still a Saiga .223, and uses all the same parts as any other Saiga / AK-platform rifle. Likewise, the upper receiver from Faxon is kind of unique, but it still uses the same AR-15-platform lower with all of the same parts commonalities as any other AR out there. The SU-16 family of rifles is unique unto themselves, with, as far as I know, no parts commonality with any other .223 rifle out there. Again, if you are looking for something that can meet the ubiquity of the AK platform, well…
So while the Kel-Tec rifles are an option, I do not think they are the best option… unless you are in a situation like Keith where he lives in Kalifornistan, and, in its factory original configuration, the SU-16CA does not require an asinine “bullet button” and is not an “assault weapon” under state law. Both an AK-platform rifle and the Faxon upper would count as the latter, which makes them either impossible to own or encumbered by the aforementioned or some other mechanical idiocy, and in that case, I can totally see purchasing a Kel-Tec. [/Update]
Yup, the Pre-Production Mustang Bullitt I have is still for sale. Asking price is down to $19,000, OBO, but I would prefer it to be out of my driveway by the end of the month, so make any offer you consider reasonable.
So, as a follow-up to my last post, here is the situation:
Yup, the master card finally kicked the bucket, limiting my resolution to 800 x 600 and putting those funky-arsed static lines across my screen.
The technical details is that I have a ~5ish year old Dell XPS desktop tower with two NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT 512MB cards in it SLI’d together (which, for those not familiar with the term, basically means the two cards function as one*). For the past week or so, when I was leaving that SLI bridge active, my screen would occasionally (i.e. every hour or so) take on some distinctly purple hues, my computer would BSOD with the screen blaming the video card, and then everything would reboot. If I disabled SLI, this was reduced to happening about once a day.
This morning, I was confronted with… that crap up there.
If I remove the port covers from the “slave” SLI card (basically the one the monitor is not normally plugged into) and try to plug the monitor into it, I get nothing.
If I power off and remove the “slave” SLI card, I still get that crap.
But here is the interesting thing: if I remove the “master” SLI card from the primary PCIe port and put the “slave” card in its place, the monitor displays the BIOS post data and the “Windows Loading” progress bar perfectly… and then loses all signal when the computer moves on to the “Windows Logon” screen.
So this is the question: does anyone know how to make the “slave” SLI card capable of being a “master” SLI card, or even an independent one?
My Google-fu is failing me, aside from laptop SLI cards apparently requiring a BIOS update to accomplish what I want. The good news is that thanks to the generosity of my father and Skas, I have a couple of video cards headed my way to try to get things up and running again, but until then, I have to work with a 3+ year-old Acer net-top dohicky. Biggest screen in the house, but not exactly the… slickest… machine.
First world problems and all that.
(* – That, of course, is a gross oversimplification, but it gets the point across.)
Alright, I am officially not a fan of North Carolina. Since moving to this state…
- My DSLR has broken (refuses to auto-focus).
- My printer has died (printer head went kaput, and those cost more than printers).
- My new-to-me Land Rover Defender’s engine detonated for no apparent reason.
- My desktop’s video cards are exhibiting all the classic symptoms of spontaneously combusting in the near future (no, I do not overclock, and yes, if you have a >512MB video card laying about collecting dust I would appreciate an email).
- I have had to pay more for exceeding the speed limit than I had to pay for being involved in an accident that ended with one car upside-down.
- A good friend of mine just had open-heart surgery (all reports are that the surgery went smoothly and he is recovering well).
- My father has been diagnosed with squamous cell cancer with no known origination source (he starts “carpet-bombing” radiation treatment (linear accelerator and chemo) next month).
No, almost none of that is the state’s fault, but damned if I will not blame it anywise.
In somewhat related news:
Which is good, because we are not Minbari. It only took us three months…
And to show that I have not been completely idle these past months of not-really blogging, you may do with these two graphics as you like:
… and …
And speaking of things found on Twitter, I give you the classic example of a “gun control” cultist’s psychological projection:
The government should tell you that you cannot own a firearm because he does not trust himself to own one. Statism, projection, insecurity, and assumptions, all in 140 characters or less, wrapped up with a tidy little bow. Granted, the author of this particular tweet is a British subject, and thus the very natures of freedom and liberty are probably foreign to him, but still; you cannot get a lot more perfect than that.
Oh, and if you need something to shake your head at and go “Whiskey tango foxtrot?” over, here are two parts of the same conversation:
The only reason I engaged the nutter above is that he is rabidly (and I do mean rabidly, in all of its irrational, frothing, abusive glory) anti-open-carry and pro-“gun control”… and then everything just fell off the rails. Of course, this is the same “ex-arms dealer” who literally could not differentiate a Mosin (specifically, this one) from a Mauser… literally, and then proceeded to tell me “Mosins use Mauser actions”. Ummmno. I guess that should have been my first clue.
One does not have to nucking futs to support “gun control”, but apparently it helps.
And on a lighter note, the first experimental batch has been started:
Details on the Rover will be forthcoming, along with probably a listing for its sale. Prayers for my father, if you are the praying type, would be appreciated, and I know the same is true for Dennis. As for the rest… well, I am still breathing. And I still dislike this state.
I will freely – and proudly – admit that I did not watch Obama’s pontificating to the American public this morning. I may be unemployed, but I definitely have better things to do.
I will likewise admit that I have not read a great deal of aftermath recapping or reporting… and my blood pressure thanks me for that.
That said, from my admittedly limited point of view, it would appear to me that Our Glorious President has arbitrarily and whimsically decided when, how, and even if he is going to enforce a law passed by Congress and signed by him, despite there being no Constitutional provisions for such a decision.
It is an inconvenient truth that the American society has always had a nagging, lurking, siren-like desire to return to an autocratic form of government – after all, it is easier to let our “betters” tell us what we need to know, and tell us how we should act, and tell us what we should do. Thinking for yourself is hard.
I am no political scientist or anything, but I dare say we are dangerously close to getting what none of my readers want, but what America has been driving towards for about… well, somewhere around 237 years.
All patch orders I have received are in the mail as of today.
For those folks who were paying me in a non-PayPal fashion, I have only received payment from one of you, I already shipped that order out, and I think the recipient already received it. If you sent me money and I have not sent you a patch yet, please drop me an email and we will work it out.
So take a look at the receipt to the left; it is a pretty standard product of someone who has cheap tastes and not a lot of money to spend on alcohol. You will have to forgive the Burnett’s Vodka – it is my intentions to see if I can use that as a base to make gin that tastes better than the New Amsterdam stuff but comes out cheaper. I will probably fail, but it will be fun along the way. Likewise, the E&J Brandy is for creating ginger liqueur, since an affordable version seems functionally impossible to find in our area.
Regardless, from having lived in a wide variety of states, the prices for the products purchased are pretty standard… except when you start considering the prices here in North Carolina.
Yup, those purchases were made in Georgia, at the Habersham Beverage Warehouse. Why? Because liquor and alcohol prices here in North Carolina are positively absurd. Why? Because the government runs the “Alcoholic Beverage Commission” (otherwise known as “ABC”) stores.
What do I define as “absurd”? Well, let us start at the top.
UV Vodka (I had no idea it was “carb-free”), 1.75L – $13.99 in GA, $18.95 in NC. You are paying an additional five dollars – 36% more than the Georgia price – for the privilege of having the government sell you your alcohol.
New Amsterdam Gin, 1.75L – $17.59 in GA, $19.95 in NC.
Burnett’s Vodka, 1.75L – $12.99 in GA, $15.95 in NC.
Cristalino Brut and Riondo Processco – In fairness, wine and beer can only be sold in non-ABC stores in North Carolina, so they are a bit outside the scope of this post. Prices still seem to be inflated here, but at least there appears to be a competitive market.
E&J VS Brandy, 750mL – $9.99 in GA, unavailable in Wake County (i.e. Raleigh) ABC stores. Why? In North Carolina, ABC store inventories are decided by the counties, and Wake County Department of Alcohol Beverage Control has, in its infinite wisdom, decided not to carry it. Why? Hell if I know. But since distilled spirits are only available through ABC stores, this product is simply unavailable in Raleigh. Best of luck trying to find it in a neighboring county, especially considering that the NC ABC system does not appear to allow for inter-county searches.
DeKuyper Blood Orange, 750mL – $10.99 in GA, unavailable in Wake County.
Evan Williams 1783, 750mL – $13.99 in GA, $14.95 in NC.
Knob Creek, 750mL – $26.99 in GA, $35.95 in NC.
In other words, what cost us $91.54 in Georgia (ignoring the things that cannot be sold here) would have cost us $113.15 here in Raleigh – a difference that could almost buy us another bottle of Knob Creek… assuming we bought it in GA.
You have no idea how thankful I am that North Carolina does not strictly forbid any private importation of alcohol into the state*.
But surely we must be getting something in return for that 24% price increase on our booze, right? Thankfully, the North Carolina ABC Commission explains that the markup on alcohol, which actually comes to a solid 80.8%, pays for:
Bailment fee that funds the ABC warehouse private contractor
Surcharge fee that funds the ABC Commission’s budget
Local ABC Board markup
Other miscellaneous tax
In other words, we are paying for the delivery costs of the alcohol to the state, we are paying to keep the State’s warehouse open, we are paying the salaries of the ABC Commissioners, we are paying a federal tax, we are paying a state tax (which is not the same as the 7% sales tax you also end up paying), we are paying for a random, just-because markup, we are paying for other people’s rehabilitation treatment, and we are paying for whatever else the state and county want us to.
In fact, the NC ABC Commission is so kind as to provide you a complete breakdown of where your money goes on all alcohol purchases, including a pretty little pie chart showing you, in full detail, how badly all forms of government are screwing you.
And lest someone claim that private corporations would have to pay the same costs in the end, I need only mutely point to the above receipt, and the difference in price between what I paid and what I would have paid. Yes, some of the costs – specifically the federal and state taxes – are functionally unavoidable, but the difference in prices more than adequately speaks for itself.
There is something of an apocryphal story about how the government supposedly failed to run a whorehouse, and while that did not quite go down the way the rumors claim, you can witness it in every state that still bitterly clings to the notion that the government should be in the business of selling its residents alcohol. And just think about that for a second – a non-zero number of states have concluded that only the government is permitted to sell you alcohol… the same substance that, not too long ago, the government tried to prohibit, in its entirety, in the States.
So they have gone from thinking it is the root of all evil to riding that gravy-train to the bank?
And lest you think I am being facetious with the whole “gravy train” comment, take a look at where the revenue from ABC stores goes – fully 75% of it went straight into North Carolina’s “General Fund”. In other words, the Great State of North Carolina has found yet another way to tax you, its residents, while conveniently being able to call it something other than an actual “tax”.
So how does all of this pertain to government ruining an industry? Alcohol sales are an industry (so is alcohol production, but, thankfully, states do not appear to have decided they need to get into that market… yet), and like all industries, price and selection can determine whether or not a given player in the market survives. Well, that would be the case in a free market. Unfortunately, North Carolina has realized they have a captive market – unless you happen to live near one of its borders, you aren’t going to drive upwards of four hours just to get some cheaper alcohol.
But we will.
We have family in Georgia. We have friends in Tennessee. And we are going to do our absolute damndest to hold off on buying “spirituous alcohol” until such time as we are in another state. Why? Because I believe that if you are going to tax someone, you should bloody well call it a tax. I believe in paying the least for the same exact product I possibly can. I believe free markets invariably are the best way to distribute and develop goods. I believe I should not be forced to pay to “rehabilitate” another person because of their poor choices. I know that if North Carolina let go of their strangle-hold on the alcohol industry, their “ABC” stores would wither and die within a year, at that – after all, would you pay $36 for something you could buy for $27 down the road?
And I absolutely hate the government deciding it can corner a market and rape their residents for being a captive market.
(* – Not that NC is much better than TN in that regard, mind you. Out of state purchases are limited to 4L of “spirituous liquor” per person, no matter the reason you are bringing it back to NC. Just as well Better Half and I had a few drinks with our hosts before we came back, given we were unaware of that law. Of course, I would wager the overwhelming majority of NC residents are unaware of that particular law.)
Patches look good, linoge.
There are laws against murder. People are still murdered every day.
There are laws against exceeding the speed limit. People still speed every day.
There are even laws against serving alcohol at bingo games. … Well, I got nothin’ on that one, actually.
The point of all of this is to observe, and hopefully educate, that laws do not stop crime. They cannot. They have not. They will not.
Laws, in general, do two things*. First, they define what a government does not like, whether it is killing another person (after all, no government likes having their population of taxpayers reduced), not paying your taxes (see previous comment), or consuming X substance (despite Y substance yielding much the same affect on you, but still being legal). Second, laws give governments the ability to punish people for doing things they do not like (or, alternatively, in the case of Obamacare, not doing something the government does like).
But laws do not stop behavior. Not only is it physically impossible for written words to actually prevent someone from doing something, in some cases, it can actually be illegal for the law to even try to stop you from doing something.
Illegal laws. What a novel concept.
Anywise, this simple fact – that words written by men in suits in marble buildings cannot control the behavior of men** – is a blind spot both Robb Allen and I have been observing in those who support “gun control” or its new rebranding, “gun sense”. These people appear to genuinely believe that some law or set of laws will actually prevent school shootings from ever happening.
Well, never mind, for a moment, that the largest mass murder at a school in American history did not involve a firearm at all, and just consider their argument for what it is. These people honestly believe that some random-assed combination of “universal background checks”, “safe storage laws”, arbitrary magazine capacity limitations, and/or who-knows-what-else will somehow stop a person intent on murdering others from doing so.
Except, as previously noted, there are laws against murder, and this person is intent on breaking them. In fact, laws against murder are some of the most sacrosanct in the world, and carry some of the stiffest and harshest penalties… if someone is bent on breaking those laws and accepting those consequences, do you really think “safe storage” laws will stop him?
Criminals break laws; that is, after all, why we call them criminals.
As Robb recently said in an email, “there is something borderline insane about thinking there is just one more law that will somehow make even the hardest of criminals think twice.” In the same vein, it is almost equally insane to believe criminals are aware of all of the laws they are breaking, much less the associated punishments. After all, can you name, off the top of your head, all of the various laws that would be broken by going overseas, purchasing a new-production Land Rover Defender, containering it up, shipping it back to the states, and driving it around on public roads? It is rather hard for a criminal to be deterred by a law if he is completely unaware of it or its repercussions.
And before someone trots out the straw man that my argument boils down to, “Well, if there is no point in X law because criminals will break it, then why have laws at all?” allow me to re-introduce you to the notions of malum prohibitum and malum in se. “Safe storage”, “universal background checks”, arbitrary magazine capacity limitations, and all the rest of those are malum prohibitum laws – having a magazine loaded with 30 rounds in New York state harms no one, but it is illegal there because the government has defined it as being illegal. On the other hand, laws prohibiting, and punishing, murder are malum in se laws – these are crimes deserving of punishment because you have detrimentally harmed someone against their will.
The latter is generally necessary for society to exist and get along within itself (though Christopher Burg may disagree). The former is only “necessary” because small-minded petty tyrants believe they have the ability to dictate others’ lives.
Guess which laws I support, and which laws I oppose?
But even though I support laws against murder, I am secure in the knowledge that those laws do not, and cannot, prevent murder, which is why I take steps to ensure my safety and the safety of my family. Why those who support “gun control” believe words written on a piece of paper will stop a murderer from plunging his knife into their chest, I will never understand.
(* – There are, of course, exceptions, but they are not particularly relevant to the conversation at hand.)
(** – Yes, some laws – and, more specifically, their associated punishments – can have a deterrent affect upon the criminal population, but that consists of changing criminals’ minds. Those criminals, if they chose to, could still physically commit the crimes they were discouraged from perpetrating.)
(Post written with the assistance of Robb Allen. Images borrowed from Oleg Volk.)
Remember that awesome new logo Oleg Volk dreamed up and I somehow managed to cobble together?
Remember how I promised I would make up patches of that logo?
Remember how the shipment was on its way?
And remember how fundraisers, moves, job hunts, and busted-ass vehicles got in the way of me actually selling the bloody things?
Well, ok, you might have missed that last item, but not the repercussions of it. Anywise, most of the above items have been taken care of or at least handled in such a way that they are not immediate, pressing problems, so we can get on to the good stuff.
The patches are now for sale.
Here’s the brief rundown: the patches measure 3” by 3.9”, are stitched using black, maroon, and white thread on a blue twill background, have fully-merrowed edges, and all of them come with velcro hook backing. If you like, you can also order a piece of velcro loop material, cut to the exact same dimensions/shape as the patch, so you can sew it onto whatever you plan on sticking the patch to.
To give you some idea of scale:
Yes, I know the Rifleman patch doesn’t really fit on the sporran (a Maxpedition Monkey Combat Admin Pouch, for those interested) arranged like that, but it gives you some idea of how big the “walls of the city” patch is.
Patches are $5.00 each, including shipping.
Patches with loop material are $5.50 each, including shipping.
If you want (a) patch(es), PayPal me the appropriate funds at “linoge (at) wallsofthecity (dot) net” with the shipping address you would like them sent to. As of this post, I have about 67 with hook material and 55 without on-hand, and they will be first-come, first-serve. Have at it, folks (just be aware that my shipping department is comprised of two destructive Russian Blues; it may take them a few days to get shipments out).
[Update] I still have Russian Origami t-shirts in XL in stock. If you want one, and order a patch, I will sell you a shirt at a discount price of $10. Include a request and appropriate funds in your payment. [/Update]
This Is The End: Jesus Christ on a Pogo Stick, people actually paid money to see this in the theater? Willingly? Consciously? And then they brought it back to the theaters to have another run?
And, hell, I wasted $1.20 to watch it myself; Redbox should count themselves lucky they do not have a return policy.
(Yes, this review was over one sentence in length, but the movie was that bad.)
Take a look at the image to the left.
If your semi-automatic, .22LR-caliber handgun can happily feed the cartridge on the right of the image all day long without hardly a hiccup or a concern, but patently refuses to do anything useful whatsoever with the cartridge on the left, you are doing it wrong.
No, I have never designed a firearm. No, I have never really built a firearm; I have, however, assembled a .22LR-caliber rifle, which shot remarkably well, and which required far more fitting and fiddling than I ever would have thought necessary for COTS parts. But it was about two steps away from being a match rifle, and was intended to be such, and even it has never absolutely refused to use any ammunition I have shoved in it.
So, yeah, if your pistol – that looks like it was fabricated on the cheapest RepRap 3D printer some elementary school student could afford/build – refuses to fire pretty much any standard round-nose, full-powder, standard-weight .22LR cartridge on the open commercial market these days… you are doing it wrong.
I will give you one guess as to which company I am referring to, and yes, I borrowed the image from their news release wherein they admit this deficiency in their firearm.
Let me tell you a story, though an admittedly dry, boring one.
Regular readers will know that I am a United States Navy veteran*, and, specifically, a Surface Warfare Officer; in short, this means I directed other people to drive ships around oceans. However, while ships are in port, they have something called a “quarterdeck”; I have no idea what happens to the quarterdeck when the ship is underway, but think of it like laps – they disappear when you stand up. In any case, quarterdecks are where the visitors and crew of the ship embark and disembark, and where the only access to and from the ship – the brow – is attached.
On the quarterdeck, you will find a variety of things – the ship’s log, a connection into the 1MC (the ship’s loudspeaker system), the various flags (assuming they are not already flying), and, of course, the Officer of the Deck (OOD) and the Petty Officer of the Watch (POOW). The Commanding Officer (CO) of a ship is always responsible for the ship**, whether it is in-port or underway, but he cannot always be onboard. When he is not and the ship is in-port, the Command Duty Officer (CDO) is his appointed representative, and is delegated some of the CO’s authority. The OOD, on the other hand, operates as the CDO’s representative on the quarterdeck of the ship, with the POOW operating as the OOD’s assistant.
OODs are responsible for ensuring the overall safety and operation of the ship while in-port – they pass 1MC announcements, sound bells for time progression, keep track of whether an officer is aboard or ashore, act as an interface between shoreside workers and onboard personnel for repair tasks, organize working parties, and check the IDs of persons attempting to access the ship. Additionally, should the situation arise, OODs and POOWs are the ship’s first line of physical defense while in-port – both carry M9 pistols. Depending on the ship’s size and threat condition, there can be additional roving/fixed patrols armed with a variety of other weapons, but if someone means to storm the ship, they are coming up the brow… right into the OOD and POOW.
As a junior officer in the Navy, I stood OOD for four to six hours every six days for the first three years of my career. Thankfully, all I did for those… countless… hours was check ID cards – there are a few stories I probably will not share, but the upshot is there were no shootouts on any of the ships I served on. In order to be qualified as an OOD, however, I had to get qualified on the M9.
Which is a sad story in and of itself.
“Qualifying” on the M9 consisted of sitting through a presentation given by the Gunnery Mates on how to operate, load, and fire the M9… and then go to the range and shoot the qualifying course. I was afforded no opportunity to practice, familiarize myself with the firearm, or do anything except get in front of the qualifying target and hope for the best. Thankfully, I managed to qualify as a “Sharpshooter” (meaning I scored somewhere between 204 and 227 out of 240)… and that was the last time I ever fired that ugly-arsed POS in the Navy.
However, despite the… lacking… “training” I received on that particular firearm***, the Navy, from my Department Head on up, trusted me to carry an M9 in Condition 2 with 45 rounds of ammunition in Pascagoula, Mayport, Ingleside, Norfolk, San Diego, Panama City, Manta, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Darwin, Brisbane, and other ports I am sure I am forgetting.
Do you know what the Navy did not trust me to do, however? The Navy did not trust me to carry a firearm off duty, or on the ship any time I was not on watch. While I was stationed in Mayport, FL, I possessed a Florida CCW permit; if I dared to bring a firearm onto base, concealed or otherwise, and it was discovered, I would have been up on serious, federal charges and/or court martial.
I satisfied the Floridian requirements for peacefully, responsible carrying a handgun in the state. I satisfied the military requirements for carrying a handgun on watch. It is even worth noting that I received and maintained a Department of Defense Secret clearance during my time in. But if I were to go out into Jacksonville, purchase the same handgun, stick it in the same craptacular holster the military used, and carry it onto the base as a personal firearm, the reaction I would have received would have been… one I would rather not be on the receiving end of.
Because that makes sense.
So, yes, military bases are “gun-free zones”, in that private citizens cannot carry personal firearms onto them, just like every other “gun-free zone” in existence. A lot of folks have been blaming President BJ Clinton for that particular rule, but the oldest thing I have found is Department of Defense Directive Number 5210.56 (*.pdf warning), dated 25FEB92, which states:
It is DoD Policy to limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel. The authorization to carry firearms shall be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried.
It is worth noting this directive supersedes DoD Directive 5210.66, “Carrying of Firearms by DoD Personnel”, dated 17MAR86.
Yes, military bases have gate guards – bases have between one and 10+ gates, with anywhere between two and 10+ guards (typically rent-a-cops of various types; we generally stopped using Marines at base gates long ago) per gate – and they might have some sort of roving patrol, but even that is not guaranteed (Pascagoula did not, and Mayport did not as far as I am aware). However, once an aggressor were to penetrate the outer shell of security afforded by those gate guards, there is no immediate second layer of defense – calls would have to be made, forces would have to be mobilized, and all the while, service members and their civil service counterparts are… well, screwed.
Why not allow service members to be their own second layer of security? After all, you are your own first responder, and you are the only person legally or morally responsible for your own safety. And, realistically, a vast number of military members – predominantly Marines and Army, granted, but more and more Air Force and Navy, thanks to the Individual Augmentation program – have received significantly more firearm-related training, if not real-world experience, than your average beat cop that would respond to a “mass shooting” event. Why not allow them to put that training and experience to work, rather than be forced to “shelter in place”**** and wish they had ammunition?
Oh, right, because the political points garnered by continuing the myth that
“gun-free zones” victim disarmament zones work is more important than anyone’s life, military or not. It is well past time for us to realize criminals do not obey signs, and disarming peaceful citizens only helps facilitate those who would prey on them.
(* – And, thankfully, free of any and all legal, moral, or contractual obligations to the military, which means I can say whatever I want about it now.
** – Barring two unique circumstances; can anyone name them?
*** – That “training” is why I went out and purchased my very first firearm and then got interested in the firearm-owning community, ending up with this weblog right here. So, thank the Navy?
**** – Can you imagine the Founding Father’s responses to the military – much less any American citizen – being ordered to “shelter in place”? Good grief.)
(Image of me on the deck of the Cleveland shamelessly stolen from the Brisbane Times.)
Not sure if any of my readers would be interested, but if anyone is looking for a contemporary, 3000+ square-foot, 4 bedroom / 2.5 bathroom, two-floor-plus-finished-basement house on half an acre that recently had its kitchen, living room, dining room, powder room, and master bathroom completely renovated from the floor panels up and that is very convenient to West Knoxville shopping, let me know.
I might have a lead on one…
I went out to wheel our trash and recycling to the curb this morning (yay for living somewhere that does not actually charge you to recycle… aside from the higher property and income taxes, of course), and was confronted with these guys, one chilling under each can:
No idea what either is (aside from “snake”), and by the time I had secured a better camera than my phone, both had slithered off into the wilds. Neither could have been more than 8-9” long.
Aside from that, my whole morning was spent installing this:
Given that my gun safe, unloaded, weighs twice as much as an average refrigerator already, and given that those trusses are spaced at 20” (which is a bit farther than I am used to), I figured that extra pylon would not hurt so much. Unfortunately that massive concrete block pier is for the stairwell / second story, and the two trusses that support the safe have absolutely no useful interaction with it at all. Thankfully, neither the footer for the jack nor the jack itself touches either the sewage drain line or the return vent around it…
Cannot say as though I enjoyed working in a space all of 3.5 feet tall, though.
This probably comes as no surprise to some of my readers, but I grew up in a very conservative family, and for many years, I had a… shall we say "less than salutary" view of homosexuals, transgenders, queers, and all of the rest of the terminologies and categories people can fall into other than "straight and square". I would not say I was homophobic, per se, simply because they did not frighten me, but rather in the "separate but… y’know what, just stay over there" heading.
I am quite proud to say I have gotten over that particular kink of mine. As to the how, it is quite simple – I got involved in firearms, and then the rights and liberties revolving firearms. After all, if I firmly and ardently believe that people should be free to choose how they will defend themselves and their families – or even if they will defend themselves and their families – it just is not internally consistent of me to not likewise believe that people should be free to choose with whom they spend their lives. And, being the engineer I am, I hate internal inconsistency almost more than anything else, so I modified my world view to be logically consistent across the board.
In other words, it all comes down to freedom of choice, and while liberals pay lip service to that concept… except when it comes to “firearms”, “self-defense”, or any of those other icky concepts, those of us who fully support the notion of “freedom” are honor-bound to uphold it… in its entirety.
So what does this have to do with the price of .22LR in Hell, Michigan? Regular readers of this weblog should be familiar with the name Erin Palette – after all, I gave her a fairly decent character reference on my way (mostly) out the door. Regular readers of hers are fairly aware of the fact that she leads something of a… non-traditional lifestyle.
Well, today, you get to find out how non-traditional.
Though I cannot access the logs directly at the moment (my desktop is in a box… somewhere, with my monitor in another box… somewhere, and… yeah), I can remember my private IRC conversation with Erin wherein she “outed” herself quite clearly, simply because her reaction amused me slightly. She told me she had something important to tell me, and that it would probably cause me to freak out a little. After even just four years in the Navy, it takes a bit to wierd me out, so I asked her to proceed, and she informed me that she was functionally a woman living in a man’s body. My response, and I darn near quote was, “Oh. Huh. Ok.”
A little surprised by my relative lack of reaction, I would imagine, she asked if I had any questions, and I asked for a little clarification, simply because my experience with the concept was… limited. Once we cleared up my relative ignorance, it was pretty much a non-event for me, though I understand how it was quite stressful for her.
The important thing, for me, is that Erin is Erin, regardless of the packaging she might come in.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares my opinion on that matter, even amongst those folks in the ostensibly pro-rights community, and those people have convinced Erin to be rather… cautious in how she shares her particular situation. Out of the goodness of her heart, she decided to do a photoshoot with Oleg Volk to try to increase the funds donated for the “Spay Squeaky” campaign, but knew that doing so could potentially have some pretty significant repercussions for her, even amongst the community she largely regards as friends.
And, frankly, that disappoints me. Unfortunately, having personally witnessed some of the bigotry Erin is concerned about – bigotry even from those who argue in support of rights… at least when they pertain to firearms – I know she has cause to be concerned. Which brings me to the upshot of this whole post:
If you have nothing nice to say, then sit the hell down and shut the hell up… to completely bastardize a comment my mother was fond of.
“Outing” herself to the world as body dysmorphic was a hard decision for Erin to make, and an even harder one to follow through on, as you can see from her post. However, should that decision or her lifestyle cause you heartache or grief, that is your problem, not hers, and if you make it her problem… Well, I would point out that not only is she armed, she has a lot of friends who are likewise armed, and none of us are terribly fond of standing by and allowing our friends to be bashed, be it gay-bashing or otherwise.
There is nothing wrong with Erin. There is nothing that should be fixed, or, as I understand it, even could be if the desire was there (apart from a full-up gender-reassignment surgery, which is not on the table for a variety of understandable reasons). And, frankly, it is none of your damned business or concern how Erin identifies herself – it does not impact your life, detrimentally or otherwise, and you have as much vote regarding it as I have a vote regarding what Pantone number your skin should be.
If you claim to support freedom, then it is time to support the freedom of all people to live their lives as they see fit, in whatever way they see fit, so long as they are not detrimentally affecting another person against other’s will. If you cannot bring yourself to do that, then you cannot honestly claim to support freedom, can you?
And if you are one of those folks who do wholeheartedly support freedom, head over Erin’s way and give her some words of kindness or support; I can only imagine what it is like to live with something like this for a significant fraction of your life, much less admit it to the world, but I know words of encouragement never hurt.
I am never again moving into a not-brand-new house/apartment/etc without first steam cleaning the carpets. Repeatedly. We have vacuumed, steam cleaned, vacuumed, vacuumed, steam cleaned, and vacuumed a single bedroom, and dust bunnies – drowned and otherwise – are still being pulled out of the carpet. Good times.
Irrespective of employment (since it was Better Half’s job that brought us here), I can only come up with one reason (you can purchase wine in grocery stores) that someone would live in North Carolina over Tennessee, and a whole host of reasons (higher gas prices, higher home prices, higher cost of living, higher taxes, positively absurd requirements to transfer a driver’s license from another state, auto “inspections” for registration, no ability to transfer carry permits from another state, even-more-sucky cable providers…) why someone would not. Oh well. I have lived worse places, but I am now seeing how/why North Carolina is frequently referred to as “The California of the East”, having lived in both.
Speaking of cable companies, I have used Comcast and I have used Charter, but Time Warner, after all of two weeks of being a customer, takes the cake as the worst cable company I have ever had the misfortune of using. They are the only landline company to provide service to our address, and the first tech out did not bring the hardware we specifically requested, the office we exchanged his useless hardware at gave us broken hardware, and the telephonic tech support could not identify it was broken. And, of course, they charged us for the privilege of having their incompetent tech come out. Two weeks later, we are up and running, and assuming I can figure out how to procure everything we watch through other sources, we are probably two months out from cutting the (television) cable entirely.
My home “office” will be in a turret. No, this had no bearing on our home selection. None at all.
And on a completely unrelated note, simply because it does not warrant a post of its own, anyone who seriously claims “blogs are dead” is just making a paltry, transparent excuse for their own laziness / lack of motivation. And, yes, I say that as a mostly-retired weblogger.
Linoge’s post below was a great reminder that I should post about KTKC…
September is the month to wear your kilts, gents! http://ambulancedriverfiles.com/2013/08/16/kilted-to-kick-cancer-2013-is-just-two-weeks-away/
I won’t be doing any fundraising, I do it for awareness (I do personally donate to the cause). If you can, please participate or do what you can to raise some awareness.
Bonus points for OCing / competing in a kilt.