for a less civilized age

I am certainly not encouraging my readers to knowingly break the law, nor am I saying I am going to break the law, but we all know how absurdly ineffective security theater really is, and the notion that law-abiding, peaceful citizens should be forcibly disarmed while criminals will simply ignore, bypass, or plow through the “security” measures is… distasteful. 

Thankfully, people have been thinking outside the box when it comes to self-defense implements for inside “non-permissive” zones; for example, my tactical pen has been through airport security repeatedly on two continents with nary a problem.  Or, if you want something a little more purpose-built, you can consider something like the SOB Puncher, created by the “Sheriff of Baghdad” John McPhee

IMG_7272-001

The Puncher measures 4.57” in overall length, and 2.165” in overall width, and is made of two laminated scales of G10 micarta and thus has no magnetic signature. 

IMG_7274-001

The handle section is 0.51” thick, with the blade segment being 0.255”, and the blade itself extends 2.6” past the finger guards. 

IMG_7275-001

This is definitely not meant to be an everyday-carry kind of knife; the G10 is dense enough that the grind does provide it a noticeable edge and a point that will assuredly work, but sharpening it is not really an option and the handle does not lend itself to trivial tasks like box-opening. 

IMG_7284-001

From a scant day of fooling around with it, I have found that gripping it, at least for me, has to be done carefully.  If I just grab it quickly, the blade has a tendency to protrude out from my proximal interphalangeal joint (basically, the first one out from your knuckles), which cants it down about 30 degrees.  It is still in the right direction, but one punches with one’s knuckles, not one’s fingers. 

IMG_7285-001

When I grasp the grip between my first and last phalanges, however (i.e. not involving my palm at all), the result would work just fine for an average punch. 

IMG_7287-001

Obviously strikes can be modified for the direction of the blade, but it is something to bear in mind. 

IMG_7279-001

I do not have any mil-spec-correct MOLLE equipment handy at the moment (the blade width – 1.03 at its widest – was designed to fit in those loops), but I dare say my tactical sporran provides a convenient place to mount it. 

IMG_7281-001

I am still contemplating how to make a kydex sheath/holster/holder for this thing, given I do not always have tactical gear on (no, really); I have a few random ideas, but am not sure whether or not I can execute them, especially since the goal is to use a minimum of metal, if any at all. 

Alton Brown regularly warns against unitaskers, and I generally agree with him.  In fact, SGM (ret) McPhee makes it quite clear that he intended this little implement for people who Go Places, Do Things, and intentionally put themselves in harm’s way… in other words, not lazy slobs like me.  However, this tickled my irony bone, and serves as a wonderful reminder that if people really want to circumvent security measures, they can and they will.  It is wise to plan, train, and possibly equip accordingly. 

(Speaking of, I have no idea of the legality of carrying this gidget in your state, much less my own.  I am not sure if this legally counts as a “knife” on account of having no metal or cutting edge to speak of, or what other category it might fall under.  I imagine that if you were to use it, you would have larger issues to contend with, but, as always, your remaining lawful is up to you, not me.) 

(If you want an SOB Puncher of your own, you will have to email SGM (ret) McPhee directly at “john (at) sobtactical (dot) com” on account of SOB’s marketplace not being operational quite yet.) 

on the military and firearms

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. 

IMG_0216-001On 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. 

400deckportholeHowever, 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. 

DSCF4971-001Yes, 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.) 

2012, in review

It is that time of the year again… Just like all the previous posts like this one, I am using Google Analytics data, with the same warning that its numbers do not match the numbers generated by other statistics engines. Likewise, we will compare numbers against last year.

Absolute Unique Visitors: 94,843 (35% increase)

Visits: 174,805 (9% increase)

Peak Daily Visitors: 1,549 (23JAN12) (27% decrease)

Average Daily Visitors: 478.92 (9% increase)

Pageviews: 244,249 (not tracked previously)

Total Posts: 512 (46% decrease)

And speaking of discrepancies, StatCounter shows 203,477 unique visitors, 273,178 visits/pageloads (they do not appear to differentiate), a peak of 1,964 on the same day, and an average of 746 visits a day. On the other hand, WordPress’ stat engine shows 280,000 pageviews total and a peak of 2,187 views on 23JAN.

Top Referring Sites:

1. Say Uncle (no change)
2. Weer’d World (+1)
3. Gun Blog Black List (+7)
4. Sharp as a Marble (+1)
5. Days of our Trailers (-1)
6. PJ Media (new)
7. Gun Free Zone (new)
8. The Gun Wire (new)
9. Everyday, No Days Off (no change)
10. Alphecca (new)

Top Keywords:

1. walls of the city (no change)
2. gunsamerica (new)
3. 9mm luger (no change)
4. little bear holsters (new)
5. lucy lawless (new)
6. renee wyatt divorce (new)
7. the truth about guns (new)
8. spartacus (-2)
9. firefly alignment chart (+1)
10. linoge (-8)

Top Posts:

1. the truth about the truth about guns and robert farago
2. cz-75 magazines in a baby eagle / jericho 941 – a review
3. a criminal perspective
4. gunsmoke lied. twice.
5. graphics matter, year the fourth
6. exile machine’s hammerhead ar-15 rifle grip
7. you are your own first responder
8. gun control demotivator
9. the inconsistency of gun control
10. and this is why you wear eye protection at the range

All said, it was a somewhat quiet yet for "walls of the city"; apparently my posting dropped by almost half, but, conversely, my readership picked up between 10 and 35%, depending on which statistic you think "counts". I guess this means I put more value in my individual posts, or just that I have larger archives for more people to go digging through.

Speaking of archives, three of my top-ten posts are not from this year, and two are from 2010. Interesting.

The two big traffic bumps this year occurred when Instapundit linked to my post about how Florida concealed carriers are more law-abiding than Mayors Against Illegal Guns members and when I exposed the fetid pile of waste that lurks beneath the surface of The Truth About Guns. I am not entirely sure what, exactly, that says about what you folks like to read, but I suppose it says something.

And as for the search terms people use to find this site… well, I have nothing positive to say.

all i am going to say

Do not expect much of a post from me about the shooting at the school in Newtown, CT last Friday; I, for one, do not believe in using the blood of victims as a fuel to further my political goals, unlike your average "gun control" fetishist. My thoughts and prayers are unquestionably with the families of those killed in this horrific crime, though, and if you do want something to read, you should read this.

I will say this much: "gun control" failed those children. Connecticut has an "assault weapon" ban. It did not work. Schools are "gun-free zones". That magical forcefield did not work. It is illegal to carry a handgun in Connecticut in public without a license. That did not stop the murderer. The teachers and principal of the elementary school were disarmed by the force of law. Even though at least one of them tried to resist, he lacked the tools to do so effectively.

And yet, despite the abject and complete failure of "gun control", the answer is… more "gun control"? How does that even begin to make sense?

More to the point, how does it make sense to punish millions of law-abiding American citizens because one person chose to become a criminal? I am not responsible for other people’s actions. I am not accountable for other people’s actions. As such, I refuse to be punished for those actions. At least the asshole murderer (who shall remain nameless on this site, for reasons well-documented here) took care of his own punishment for us.

And one final comment: "gun control" remains racist, even to this day. Every month, Chicago sees more firearm-related fatalities than transpired in Newtown on Friday, with the overwhelming majority of the victims being of darker skin tones. "Gun control" extremists never seem to care about those people, though (probably because such caring would be something of a tacit admission that the draconian "gun control" in Chicago is not working out so well for the city). Likewise, we will probably never know how many thousands of Mexicans, and possibly Americans, were killed with firearms the federal government smuggled across the border into Mexico as part of Operation Fast and Furious. Unfortunately, anti-rights cultists do not seem to care about brown victims.

But give those blood-dancing, victim-exploiting vampires a school full of lily-white children murdered by someone using a firearm, and all of a sudden, it is "GAME ON!" (Yes, there were minorities represented amongst the Sandy Hook shooting victims, but there were also whites shot in Chicago; the point stands.) I do not think I can adequately describe my contempt for such people.

In the end, I hate that these children were murdered, but I also hate that people like Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School who attempted to stop the murderer bare-handed, were prohibited from employing tools that have a recorded history of stopping spree- and mass-shooters. "Gun free zones" demonstrably do not work, and only create an environment where mass-murderers know they will not encounter any kind of armed, effective resistance. How about we give up on a failed program and try something else?

black (rifle) friday

goesto30

Hopefully everyone had a good, happy, safe, and filling Thanksgiving with your loved ones / families / brothers-in-arms / whomever else you might have spent it with.  We actually had dinner at Cracker Barrel – no joke – and had to wait somewhere around 30 minutes to get a table; the food was decent (very good turkey and ham), and the price ($9 a person) could not be beaten, especially once you factor in the inevitable clean-up that no one ever wants to do. 

Today, Better Half and I studiously avoided any major shopping center and bummed around downtown Chattanooga, which, by the way, is a very gun-unfriendly town – they have tried, very unsuccessfully, so far as I can tell, to declare significant portions of the entire downtown district as “victim disarmament zones”… er, sorry, “gun free zones”.  For example, across the Tennessee River is the Walnut Street Bridge, a classic girder bridge that has been refurbished to be a walking bridge from Northshore to Downtown.  It is quite clearly posted as being a “victim disarmament zone” on one end, and not at all posted on the other end, making it, so far as my reading of the state law goes, a non-binding posting, but I certainly will not be one to test that theory.  I will leave it to the reader’s imagination as to which end of the bridge I entered first… 

Anywise, the time off has also allowed me to finish up the image you see to the right, which I am very seriously considering putting on a t-shirt, if anyone is interested.  For those folks who do not get the reference, allow me to first extend my condolences, and then demand you watch the following clip: 

Ours are about 19 louder. 

So what do folks think?  T-shirt design, or another sufficiently-inside joke that no one will get it?  I figure putting the design exactly as you see it on a white shirt, biased all the way to the right side, running as far up and down the shirt as I can get away with.  Anywise, let me know what you think – prices will not be more than $20 a shirt, but we are going to do ordering a bit differently with this one, if I go forward with it. 

And I would be remiss in not observing that Brownells came up with the original “Black Rifle Friday” concept, and that you can save 10% off any order greater than $150 with the code DU9 through the end of Monday. 

graphics matter – we do requests

Over the weekend, the below email came in from Miguel at Gun Free Zone:

Have you done a correlation/whatever is called between the number of guns in a country and the # murders and/or violent crimes?

The attachment is a list of countries and their number of guns according to the Small Arms Survey which the antis can’t bitch about because it is a group on their side. I used this wikipedia link to get the number of Homicides per country.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

According to that, it only "takes" Great Britain 4,709 guns to have a homicide. The US requires 20,000 guns to have a homicide.

OK, so I have no clue about statistics and every time I open Excel I go "What kind of sorcery is this?" but I think you get the idea.

One of your graphics work there perhaps?

Attached to the email was the 2011 update to the Small Arms Survey, complete with a table supposedly showing "Civilian gun ownership for 40 countries, in descending order of averaged civilian firearms"… except, after looking at the source information for the table, it shows no such thing, so I am not even going to bother linking to the 2011 document in this post.

Anywise, the question intrigued the statistician in my mind, so here we are. We are all familiar with the tried-and-false "argument" of the anti-rights cultists that "more guns = more deaths" – a hypothesis we have already tested and found significantly wanting. However, assume for a moment that we accept that we take complete leave of our senses and logic and accept that hypothesis as true; given that basis, how many more guns does it take to yield another murder?

After all, if more guns results in more murder, then there must be some kind of metric one could build indicating that if you add X more guns to the population, you will get Y more murders. So how many firearms does it "take" to "cause" a murder?

As with all such questions, the answer is complicated. Given that most individual states in America do not document how many firearms their residents own (as they should not, and never should do), we are going to have to look farther abroad for our dataset and instead consider this question across international borders. Instead of simply limiting ourselves to the numbers included in the 2011 Small Arms Survey update, we will instead return to the original 2007 document (*.pdf warning) which documents, estimates, and straight-up guesses at firearm ownership in 178 different countries (I used the average of the Low Total From Outside Sources and High Total From Outside Sources where available, Registered if not). Of those countries, I will use the numbers for every country in North, South, and Central America; North, South, Eastern, and Western Europe; Oceania; and a few other odds and ends to round out a good sample body of 90. (Do note that some useful countries were omitted from the Survey, like Denmark, India, and Luxembourg.)

Much though I hate to use Wikipedia as a source for… anything, really, we will also use the page Miguel linked to in his email, simply because it has hundreds of countries’ statistics all in one conveniently, easily-sourced location.

So what is the end result? Probably not what you think:

GunsPerMurder

(You will probably want to download this thing to view locally; it is huge, and the text is, obviously, small.)

First off, way to go Iceland for messing with the curve, by only having one murder in 2010. Bravo.

Moving on, the numbers at the far right end of the orange bar indication how many firearms there are in the country per murder transpiring in the country. Given that Iceland has somewhere around 90,000 firearms in-country and all of one murder, it’s number is obvious. America has somewhere around 270,000,000 (probably far north of that, but that is the official number) firearms and we had 12,996 murders in 2010, so it "takes" somewhere around 20775 firearms to "create" an unlawful killing. Obviously firearms do not create murders any more than spoons cause obesity, but, as I said at the beginning, we surrendered logic and reason in order to adopt the "more guns = more deaths" hypothesis and further examine it.

Now, remember that higher numbers are "better", in that it "takes" more guns to "cause" a murder. So consider the countries above us… and then the countries below us. For example, observe how the functional theocracies typically rank over us, at least if they have not suffered a war recently. Likewise, those countries with a strong history in firearms – or just an absurdly low population or population density – are up there with us or above us. Now, take a look at where the United Kingdom – the oft-vaunted example of "ideal" "gun control" – falls on the chart: apparently their firearms are four times more deadly than ours. Or how about Mexico, where private ownership of firearms is functionally impossible, but "murder" seems to be the recreational sport of choice? Hell, Fiji has functionally no guns (all of 1538, or "what I have buried in my back yard"), but they managed to crank out 23 murders despite that.

While this interesting chart does answer Miguel’s question – with the answer being "it depends" – it is also not as honest as it could be; after all, Fiji has a population of under a million souls, while Switzerland has over 7 million folks on its rolls. So how does the rate of firearm ownership affect the rate of murders in these various countries?

Wrong question. Just seeing if you all are paying attention – as always, I am not here to document that guns affect murders, or even crime in general; I am sorely equipped to do so (read: "underpaid") and the examination of that kind of causal relationship would require a lot more consideration and information than I have available at the moment. So, the right question is, "How does the rate of firearm ownership correlate to the murder rate in these various countries?" Kind of like this:

MurderGunsInternational

That line slanting to the lower-right and disappearing beneath the x-axis is the trendline for the datapoints, and the equation for that line tells you everything you need to know. Specifically, there is a correlation coefficient of -0.2055 between the rate of firearm ownership and the rate of murders in the 90 countries I have documented on the bar chart above. In other words, using those countries’ data from a single year as our test population, countries with higher gun ownership rates tend to enjoy lower murder rates and vice versa. However, this is a very weak correlation, and thus does not hold true in all cases.

As always, there are more forces at play here than just the number of firearms in public circulation; after all, the median household income for Switzerland is somewhere around $27,000 USD, while Mexico’s is more like $5,000 USD. Likewise, population density is not really a problem for those crazy folks in Iceland (though I would imagine other things are), but Brazil is largely uninhabited too… in a bad way for the millions of folks living there.

In any case, given the negative correlation between firearm ownership rates in various countries and murder rates in those same countries, the causality outright claimed by "more guns = more deaths" cannot exist, even across international borders. If there were even a chance of a causal relationship, the trendline in the above graphic would be sloping up to the right, rather than down, as the hypothesis would clearly indicate.

I sincerely wish there were a simple and easy way of reducing murders and other violent crimes, but the simple, honest, rational truth is that restricting/controlling/banning inanimate lumps of machined metals does not work. It has not worked before, it has not worked in other countries, and it is not working here; how about we consider alternatives, and try to find something that does work?

(Source Excel spreadsheet available here.)

(Updated in 2014 with labels on the second chart.) 

knoxville chick-fil-a respects your rights

I meant to put up this post over the weekend, but life conspired against me, and then Say Uncle linked to my last post, and here we are. However, the short-and-sweet of it is this:

The Knoxville / Turkey Creek Chick-Fil-A has NOT posted itself as a “gun-free zone” / victim-disarmament zone.

I drove by the store yesterday, and neither of its two entrances were posted with anything even approximating a “gunbuster” sticker, “no guns allowed” sign, or anything of the sort. Better yet, it does not look like they are going to post, per a conversation Liston Matthews had with the store manager.

Given the franchisee agreement CFA reportedly requires of their managers, and given that CFA’s stated position is that they will respect whatever laws allowing or banning open/concealed carry there are in whatever state their stores are located in, I cannot say as though I am greatly surprised by this turn of events.

So, considering that CFA was not turned into a victim-disarmament zone due to one manager’s overreaction to the peaceful and lawful open carrying of a private firearm, how about all of the knee-jerk open-carry-haters in the audience just go ahead, sit down, and take some deep breaths, lest you burst a blood-vessel, eh? If nothing else, this situation worked out to be a net positive, since this manager is now more than aware of how many of his customers are interested in patronizing his business while simultaneously exercising their rights, and further aware of corporate’s policies towards his store and their working relationship.