All posts by Animal

Animal’s Daily News

Armed and Sexy.
Armed and Sexy.

Here’s an interesting viewpoint on what the author calls the Luxury of Self-Defense.  Excerpt:

The most fundamental unalienable human right is the right to self-defense. This would seem self-evident, a basic understanding for all rational people. After all, if individuals do not possess that right, the consequences are obvious—and brutal. If one doesn’t possess that right, what other right matters?

How is it then, that many citizens of the United States of America, circa 2015, do all they can to not only deny the existence of the individual right to self-defense, but labor ceaselessly to deprive individuals of the most effective means and methods—arguably, concealed handguns–of defending their lives? Are they merely deluded, oblivious to reality, or is their stance intentional, a means to an end? How is it such people are accorded positions of honor, leadership and respect among men when they are working to deny men the very right that makes the continued existence of men—and which constrains governmental power—possible?

In large part, it’s because of emotion.

Glock GirlIn all of the states that have passed concealed-carry reform – all fifty now, in one form or another – the arguments against concealed-carry have been irrational and emotional, sometimes hysterical.

Granted there are irrational arguments on both sides of every issue, every time, but in this case there is a huge dichotomy.  What examples the opponents of concealed-carry were able to muster were examples of criminals misusing guns, not people who went through mandatory training and background checks to get a concealed-carry permit.

The right to self-defense isn’t a luxury.  It’s a natural right; a right that we have by nature of being moral agents, moral actors in a moral society.  It’s something that must only be taken away for cause, and only for a compelling cause – only when an actor has made the decision to act in a way that causes harm, never because there is some potential that an inanimate object owned by that person may cause some harm at some point.

Acts count.  Potential does not.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Once again, our thanks go out to The Other McCain and Wombat-socho for the Rule Five links!

I don’t often miss a weekday blog post, but spending all day in an airplane and thawing out from the Montreal trip made it necessary.

Speaking of flying; it’s still unclear what went wrong with a Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed in the French Alps yesterday.  Excerpt:

Airline officials say confusion continues to surround the final moments of the Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday morning.

All 150 passengers on board the plane are feared dead, as reports from the crash site suggest it could take “days” to recover the bodies of victims from an area of debris spanning kilometres.

President Francois Hollande has said there will be a full investigation into what caused the plane to plummet into the side of a mountain in a remote region 100 miles north of Nice, calling it “a tragedy on our soil”.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that search teams had managed to land near the site but found no survivors, adding that there were no indications as to what caused the crash.

When something like this happens, it is common for peripatetic travelers like yr. obdt. to be questioned on whether we are nervous about flying after the incident.  My answer?  No, not really.  My living requires travel, and on some projects – like the current one – I find myself in serious danger of sprouting feathers.  And if a plane is going to go down because of some catastrophic mechanical failure – which is, I might add, still extremely unlikely, publicity over such events notwithstanding – my worrying about it won’t change things one way or the other.

Montreal by Night.
Montreal by Night.

But what if this was an act of terror?

At this point I’m inclined to doubt it.  Why?  None of the usual assholes have claimed credit yet.  These terrorist asswipes are a vocal lot, and usually pretty quick to proclaim their responsibility for the latest outrage.

As for me, in about 72 hours I’ll be flying the friendly skies again.


Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

In Montreal this morning – Tabernac!  Sometimes the traveling life manages to take yr. obdt. to someplace interesting; unfortunately, there won’t be time to explore, as I’m on a plane out tomorrow morning.

Quebec is in part an interesting place because there is a slowly-growing movement for le belle Province to do something that the former U.S. Confederate states tried to do and were dissuaded from; to secede from their parent nation.

And not only do Francophone Quebecois think of breaking away from Anglophone Canada – but so do the western provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia and the Yukon, as well as the eastern provinces of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador.  The Balkanization of Canada may or may not ever come about, but if it does, North America would look a lot different.

An upstanding Canadian citizen.
An upstanding Canadian citizen.

Imagine if the United States went through a similar balkanization.  If that were to happen, it seems logical that California would go on its own; the Pacific Northwest another way, the Rocky Mountain States and (perhaps) the upper Midwest; the former Confederate states and the Northeast may form two more nations.

Add to that the Alaskan Free State and the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the United States is, as they say, done past.

No great republic lasts forever.  Ours won’t either.

Rule Five Friday

2015_03_20_Rule Five Friday (1)The Gospel of John Moses Browning

1 In the beginning was the 1911, and the 1911 was THE pistol, and it was good. And behold the Lord said, “Thou shalt not muck with my disciple John’s design for it is good and it workith. For John made the 1911, and lo all of his weapons, from the designs which I, the Lord, gave him upon the mountain.”

 2 “And shouldst thou muck with it, and hang all manner of foul implements upon it, and profane its internal parts, thou shalt surely have malfunctions, and in the midst of battle thou shalt surely come to harm.”

 3 And as the ages passed men in their ignorance and arrogance didst forget the word of the Lord and began to profane the 1911. The tribe of the gamesman did place recoil spring guides and extended slide releases upon the 1911 and their metal smiths didst tighten the tolerances and alter parts to their liking, their clearness of mind being clouded by lust.

2015_03_20_Rule Five Friday (2)4 Their artisans did hang all manner of foul implements upon the 1911 and did so alter it that it became impractical to purchase. For lo, the artisans didst charge a great tax upon the purchasers of the 1911 so that the lowly field worker could not afford one. And the profaning of the internal parts didst render it unworkable when the dust of the land fell upon it,  and these profaners didst try and fit more rounds of ammunition into the magazines than the holy number of seven, appointed for the .45.

5 And lo, they didst install adjustable sights, which are an abomination unto the Lord. For they doth break and lose their zero when thou dost need true aim. And those who have done so will be slain in great numbers by their enemies in the great battle. a

6 And it came to pass that the Lord didst see the abomination wrought by man and didst cause, as he had warned, fearful malfunctions to come upon the abominations and upon the artisans who thought they could do no wrong.

7 Seeing the malfunctions and the confusion of men, the lord of the underworld did see an opportunity to further ensnare man and didst bring forth pistols made of plastic, whose form was such that they looked and felt like a brick, yet the eyes of man being clouded, they were consumed by the plastic pistol and did buy vast quantities of them.

 8 And being a deceitful spirit, the lord of the underworld did make these plastic pistols unamenable to the artisans of earth and they were unable to muck much with the design, and lo these pistols did appear to function.

2015_03_20_Rule Five Friday (3) 9 And the evil one also brought forth pistols in which the trigger didst both cock and fire them and which require a “dingus” to make them appear safe.

10 But man being stupid did not understand these new pistols and didst proceed to shoot themselves with the plastic pistol and with the trigger cocking pistols for lo their manual of arms required great intelligence which man had long since forsaken. Yet man continue to gloat over these new pistols blaming evil forces for the negligent discharges which they themselves had committed.

11 And when man had been totally ensnared with the plastic pistol, the lord of the underworld didst cause a plague of the terrible Ka-Boom to descend upon man and the plastic pistols delivered their retribution upon men. And there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth in the land.

12 Then seeing that the eyes of man were slowly being opened and that man was truly sorrowful for his sinful misdeeds, the Lord did send his messengers in the form of artisans who did hear and obey the teachings of the prophet and who didst restore the profaned 1911s to their proper configuration, and lo, to the amazement of men they didst begin to work as the prophet had intended.

2015_03_20_Rule Five Friday (4)13 And the men of the land didst drive out the charlatans and profaners from the land, and there was joy and peace in the land, except for the evil sprits which tried occasionally to prey on the men and women of the land and who were sent to the place of eternal damnation b by the followers of John.

Several old manuscripts add the following text. “And they [also rendered as “these men”] didst chamber it for cartridges who’s calibers startith with numbers less than the Holy Number 4.  And lo the Lord did cause great grief amongst these men when their enemies who were struck in battle with these lesser numbers didst not fall but did continue to cause great harm.”

b or Hell

Yr. obdt works in a high-tech industry and duly appreciate how modern technology improves our lives.  But sometimes you run into a design that is so effective, so complete, so truly and simply wrought as to defy improvement for many decades.

The 1911 Browning pistol is one such.  I toted one many moons ago as a company aidman in an Infantry outfit, and have one in the safe today – a plain, unaltered, unadorned mil-spec 1911A1 pattern prettied up only with a set of ivory polymer grips.

Every shooter should be familiar with the 1911 and its Gospel.

2015_03_20_Rule Five Friday (5)

Animal’s Daily News

Governor Scott Walker Comes Out Swinging.  Excerpt:

If Republicans want to know how to respond to President Obama’s barbs and attacks, they should pay close attention to what Gov. Scott Walker said after Obama smacked him for signing a right-to-work bill.

Facepalm-bearObama, who believes that he should comment on anything and everything under the sun, issued a written statement condemning the law.

“I’m deeply disappointed,” he said, “that a new anti-worker law in Wisconsin will weaken, rather than strengthen, workers in the new economy.”

Obama then claimed that Walker’s action was part of an “inexcusable assault on unions, led by powerful interests and their allies in government.”

Clearly Obama needs to take a civics refresher course. After all, the bill that landed on Walker’s desk was the result of the state’s duly elected representatives’ 62-35 vote in favor of it — and that after 20 hours of debate. In other words, democracy at work.

But what’s really interesting is how Walker responded to Obama’s tantrum. Rather than meekly taking Obama’s blows, as most Republicans seem wont to do, Walker punched back — hard.

“On the heels of vetoing Keystone pipeline legislation, which would have paved the way to create thousands of quality, middle-class jobs, the president should be looking to states, like Wisconsin, as an example for Angry-Bearhow to grow our economy,” Walker told National Review Online.

“Despite a stagnant national economy and a lack of leadership in Washington, since we took office, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is down to 5%, and more than 100,000 jobs and 30,000 businesses have been created.”

The national GOP needs to sit up and take notice.  They have been walking entirely too softly lately.  If there’s one thing Democrats have always been good at, it’s going on the offensive; if there’s a second thing Democrats have always been good at, it’s sticking together.

The Republican coalition contains a lot of stubborn, independently-minded individuals, in my near-forty years of politics-watching I would say much more so than the Democrats.  But that doesn’t always translate well into electoral victories – and neither does (as Governor Romney maddeningly did in the 2012 debates) politely declining to go on the offense.

Republicans face an opportunity in 2016.  A vigorous candidate, one who is not afraid to go on the offensive and maybe metaphorically (if not literally) willing to call a spade a fucking shovel – that’s what they need to win.  Governor Walker is showing he might just have the right stuff.

Animal’s Hump Day Newton

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

No, the title is not a typo.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries there was a firearms designer who was decades ahead of his time.  His name was Charles Newton, and in addition to creating the still-in-use .250 Savage and the obsolete .22 Savage Hi-Power cartridges, along with a forerunner of the .25-06 Remington, Mr. Newton also created a line of bolt-action sporting rifles that would not be out of place in any of the world’s game fields today.

Newton Rifle
Newton Rifle

The Newton bolt rifles featured controlled feed, hinged floorplates, set triggers, state of the art sights (for the time) and scope mounts – this at a time when lever-action, open-sighted rifles were the most common arm found in North American hunting camps.  He also produced an innovative straight-pull bolt gun called the Newton Leverbolt, which proved somewhat less commercially successful, in no small part because of the sudden onset of the Great Depression.

The regular Buffalo Newton bolt gun was available in the ubiquitous .30-06, and for some years I’ve been keeping a space in the gun rack open in case I stumble across a good example of such.  While Newton rifles are still highly collectible, if one ends up in our rack it will nevertheless see field time.  That’s what rifles are made for; that’s what they should be used for.

I’m pretty sure Mr. Newton would have wanted it that way.


Animal’s Daily News

Yum BearIt seems the Neandertal wore jewelry.  Who knew?  Excerpt:

Neanderthals hunted mammoths, bison and other powerful animals for food — yet their fiercest foes may have been the massive eagles they snared to make jewellery. The talons of white-tailed eagles found at a Neanderthal site in Croatia show cut marks and patterns of wear that suggest the claws were donned as personal ornaments.

“They’re very powerful birds. It takes a certain amount of bravery and foolishness, even, to catch one of these things,” says David Frayer, a palaeoanthropologist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, whose team describes the claws in paper published on 12 March in the journal PLoS ONE.  With wing spans of around 2 metres, the birds are Europe’s largest aerial predator.

The 130,000 year-old talons were discovered more than a century ago in a rock shelter near the town Krapina in northern Croatia. Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger, a geologist, dug them up between 1899 and 1905 as part of a trove of animal remains, stone tools and Neanderthal bones and teeth. He sent them to a colleague for identification, and probably never saw the talons again, thinks Frayer: “The cut marks are so obvious that someone like Gorjanović would have seen them.”

Neandertal NecklaceIt’s not too surprising that the Neandertal have recently been found to be far more advanced than we thought only a few decades ago.  They were anything but shambling, stupid brutes once dismissed as “cave men” but rather hardy, intelligent people who survived for half a million years in a savage wilderness, even in Ice Age Europe.  They had language, they had brains larger than ours, they specialized in hunting the largest game in their Paleolithic world.

And, True Believers, if your ancestry has any background from Europe or western Asia, you carry some of their genes.  Now there’s an interesting tidbit for contemplation.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

What a surprise – there is no link between gun ownership and crime rates.  Excerpt:

When Kleck applied his three methodological criteria (valid measure of gun ownership, causality procedures, controlled for >5 confounding variables) to the studies, he found that the more criteria they met, the more likely they were to show no link between gun ownership and crime. The reversal was particularly noticeable for homicide. While 65% of the studies that met none of the criteria found a link between gun ownership and homicide, the three studies that met all of the criteria did not.

“The overall pattern is very clear – the more methodologically adequate research is, the less likely it is to support the more guns-more crime hypothesis,” Kleck remarked.

Here’s the issue with the “gun ownership/crime rate” hypothesis; it all too frequently does not differentiate between legal gun owners and criminals who (illegally) own guns.

And none of these attempts to link legal gun ownership with crime take into account the millions of instances in every year in which legal gun owners use guns to prevent crimes.

Armed and DangerousIf it’s a correlation you seek, it may be more revealing to look at the population density of areas with high crime rates, not gun ownership.  Violent crime, even though it has been decreasing steadily since the 1980s, is still higher in urban areas than rural or suburban areas.  Why?  Maybe it’s just a matter of crowding.  Rats exhibit anti-social behavior when overcrowded, and – behaviorally – humans aren’t as different than rats as we’d like to think.

Another matter is the toxic urban “thug” culture that has infested our cities.  This urban subculture ridicules education, demeans women, demonizes “snitches” and glorifies drug use, alcoholism and assault.

That, not legal gun use, is the problem with our inner cities.