More from Fallujah
Via Andrew Sullivan.
With Alpha Company, Task Force 2-2 Infantry.
More from the Wisconsin Front
While they're not dancing in the blood like the Brady's and the VPC, the editors at the Capital Times comes to conclusions which are not, IMO, quite correct.
Editorial: Blowing up gun myths
Note: Why do anti-gun folks always feel so compelled to use terms like 'blowing up' or 'shooting down' in their headlines? FWIW, guns don't blow things up. Explosives do.
At the risk of noting the obvious, Sunday's deadly confrontation between a semiautomatic weapon-wielding Minnesotan and a group of hunters in northern Wisconsin can and should be factored into debates about the availability of semiautomatic and automatic weapons.
At the risk of noting the obvious, there were no automatic weapons involved. With the exception of U.S. v Stewart (which is more of an inter/intra-state commerce case than a machine gun case), there really isn't anything in the mainstream public debate at this time about automatic weapons, so why are you even bringing it up?
When hunters in Sawyer County confronted the Minnesotan - a 36-year-old Hmong immigrant named Chai Vang who was in a deer stand on private property and told him that he would have to leave - several of the greatest myths that are peddled by opponents of gun control exploded.
- Myth One: A semiautomatic weapon is just another kind of gun. When he was told to leave, in what may or may not have been a racially charged incident, Vang is reported to have responded by opening fire with a high-powered semiautomatic SKS carbine. By the time he was done, six hunters - five men and a woman - were dead or dying. Two others were badly wounded. Several had been shot more than once. Though advocates for no-holds-barred gun policies will claim that just as much havoc could have been wreaked with a standard hunting rifle, that claim is nonsense.
First of all, it was a Saiga rifle in the same caliber, 7.62x39mm, which, in any case, is a medium powered round. .30-06, probably America's favorite deer round, is a high-powered round. But I digress.
Vang responded to being told to leave, and possible racial insults, by opening fire on the property owners. Probably not something they expected. Vang achieved what, to a soldier like myself, is known as tactical surprise. With that, and the ability to rapidly shift fire between targets, the type of weapon-semi-auto, pump action, lever action, or bolt action-doesn't really matter that much. The first time I used my bolt-action Swiss-made K-31 rifle in a competition, I put 10 rounds in a target smaller than a man's chest in under a minute, including time to reload. And 7.5mm Swiss kicks a hell of a lot harder than 7.62x39. Sgt. Alvin York managed to put out enough volume of fire from his M1917 Enfield rifle (another bolt action) to induce somewhere around 100 Germans to surrender to him. Add the fact that, by every account I've read, Vang was carrying at most 20 rounds of ammo. That means he wasn't just spraying the woods like Rambo. He was taking the time to aim, and he was hitting what he was aiming at. When the bad guy is a good shot with a cool head, the type of rifle he's using matters very little.
Semiautomatic weapons are increasingly popular among hunters of a not particularly sporting ilk. But it is comic to suggest that they are needed for hunting, unless the targets are people. In northern Wisconsin on Sunday, the toll was higher because the shooter had a semiautomatic weapon.
What, exactly, is unsporting about a semi-automatic rifle? If Vang had been using a semi-auto designed specifically for hunting, such as the Browning Automatic Rifle, the Remington 7400, or the Benelli R1, would you still be writing this? They're all semi-auto rifles, just like the Saiga. If anything, they're more 'powerful,' since they fire heavier bullets at higher velocities. As I stated previously, Vang was a good shot, with a cool head. Once he started shooting, the kind of rifle has was using didn't matter much.
- Myth Two: When people are well armed and trained to use their weapons, they can protect themselves against gun violence.
The victims in Sawyer County had access to guns and knew how to use them. Most of the dead had long experience with their weapons. But they were not prepared for a confrontation with a man who was ready to kill and was carrying a semiautomatic weapon.
The victims had access to guns, yes, but when the shooting started, they only had, according to reports that mention it, only one rifle between the eight of them. It may or may not have even been loaded-Vang says the victims fired at him, but most hunters don't walk around with a loaded rifle unless they're actually stalking game. And Vang's first shot hit the person with the gun. While I have no doubt that the victims were good shots with their rifles (if the majority had had rifles with them), there's a huge amount of difference between being a good shot on the rifle range, and being able to respond effectively when someone decides to start shooting at you. The Army goes to great length to train soldiers for this, but hunters don't practice for it-because they're after deer, and deer don't shoot back. The victims were not prepared for a confrontation with a man who was ready to kill, whether he was armed with an M240 machine gun or an English longbow.
But the fact that volatile situations are made dramatically more dangerous when semiautomatic weapons are present should be beyond debate.
No, it shouldn't. You only want it to be because you can't defend your position, so you don't want it challenged.
Sensible gun controls - perhaps in the form of a ban on hunting with semiautomatic and automatic weapons; perhaps in the form of a more sweeping restriction on the purchase of some guns - place some restrictions on the absolute right to bear arms. But such controls might well have saved at least some of the lives of those hunters.
Again with the "automatic weapons." I have never in my life even heard rumors of anyone hunting with a machine gun-so why do you keep inserting it into the debate? Semi-autos are not machine guns. Stop trying to link them and scare people. And we've already established that Vang could have done just as much damage with another type of weapon, anyway.
As for banning semi-autos from hunting, that would also have the effect of putting hunting even further out of reach, financially, of a lot of people. One of the reasons for the popularity of the SKS and the Saiga as hunting rifles is cost. Either one can be had for between $150-175. Inexpensive bolt-action hunting rifles start at roughly twice that.
Once Vang decided to start shooting, very little could have stopped him. He had the element of surprise, was facing unarmed opponents after he shot his first victim, and he had the will to kill. What kind of rifle he had didn't really matter. Maybe if more than one of his victims had been armed, with a loaded rifle, and had the presence of mind to return fire effectively, things might have been different. But magically turning Vang's Saiga into a .30-30 lever gun or some such wouldn't have changed anything.
Pols Vow to Fight to Protect
Vote Buying Programs Federal Workers
WASHINGTON — Some lawmakers have pledged to continue fighting to protect federal workers' jobs from what they say is unfair competitive bidding.
What qualifies as "unfair competitive bidding" to these Congresscritters (Dems, of course) means bids by private companies who pay their workers less and give them fewer or less generous benefits than government employees receive.
The battle over outsourcing (search) boiled down to which set of rules should be used to implement President Bush's plan to privatize certain "nonessential" government jobs, such as janitorial work or some administrative services. (emphasis in original)
Under Circular A-76, issued by the Office of Management and Budget (search) in May 2003, government workers in these positions must bid for their own jobs against private competitors.
Imagine that...opening jobs up to market competition. Can someone give me a compelling reason why the guy who mops the floor at my local post office needs to be employed by Uncle Sam, instead of Bob's Janitorial Services, Inc., if BJS, Inc can do the job for less? What really makes this ironic is that at the same time they're trying to save these vote-buying federal jobs, the Dems are whining about the budget defecit and saying we need to raise taxes. Also note the use of the word "outsourcing" by the author, which seems to me to be a subtle bit of editorializing, since it is usually code for having work down at an overseas locations where the costs of production are lower.
The article later includes two quotes from lobbyists (they don't call them that, of course) for two government employee unions. That, I think, hints at the real reason the Dems are fighting this program. Organized labor, as a percentage of the workforce, has been shrinking for years, with one notable exception: government employees. Government employees are among the most unionized workforce segments in the country. Competition from private sector groups means fewer government workers, which means fewer union workers, which means less union dues money, which means less union money for the Democrat party.
I'll leave the inferences up to you.
I Love My Wife, Part V
This actually happened several months ago, but I just became aware of it.
Back in the beginning of February, I bought two Yugo M59/66 SKSs, as a his/hers set. They arrived at my home just in time for Valentine's Day. I must have made an offhand remark to my wife that one of the rifles was her Valentine's Day present. (I did also get the requisite flowers and candy, as well as our last dinner out that didn't involve a babysitter-V-day is two days before my son's birthday.) Well, I forgot all about the rifle being a Valentine's Day present-to me it was just a gun a bought for my wife (to make it easier to justify the one for me.)
Well, not only does she love the rifle, but it turns out that she brags about the fact that I bought it for her for Valentine's Day to her friends.
And she thinks she's the lucky one.
I didn't manage to get on the computer to blog yesterday (only to check the lotto numbers-I was hoping to have a few million things to be thankful for, but alas, it was not to be.) So, here is my belated list of things I'm thankful for:
*My wife, who is truly amazing. She puts up with my long, 14 hour, 6 days a week schedule, while somehow managing to do a wonderful job raising our now 9 month old son. Every now and then she asks how she got so lucky as to end up with me. Funny that I ask the same question about her.
*My son, who was born with all his parts in working order, and who is a true joy, even when he cries, pukes, or does any of the other multitude of things that infants do to try their parent's patience. The smile on his face as he joyfully tears the house apart is an amazing thing.
*My family. My wife spent two weeks of this month in an Army school. My parents, who lucky for us are retired, flew to South Carolina from California, at their own expense, to babysit my son. And if/when my wife goes to Airborne School, they'll be back again. The support is tremendous, because without it, I don't know how I'd have survived.
*The safe return of my friends from Iraq. Before I was sent to Ft Jackson, I was part of the first Stryker Brigade at Ft Lewis. I left two months before they shipped out to Iraq. They are now back and enjoying the holidays with their families.
Letter from a Marine in Fallujah
Excerpt from a Marine home from Fallujah. Via Andrew Sullivan.
The enemy they fought burrowed into houses and fired through mouse holes cut in walls, lured them into houses rigged with explosives and detonated the houses on pursuing Marines, and actually hid behind surrender flags only to engage the Marines with small arms fire once they perceived that the Marines had let their guard down. I know of several instances where near dead enemy rolled grenades out on Marines who were preparing to render them aid. It was a fight to the finish in every sense and the Marines delivered. (emphasis added)
Something to think about when you read about that Marine who's been all over the news.
Fisking Off the Starboard Bow!
Jed at Freedom Sight has posted a nasty fisking of one of those "Hunters for Kerry" types who think the Second Amendment is about their deer rifle. A worthy read.
I Thought Those Weren't Useful for Hunting
I love it when gunowners act like jackasses and give the Brady morons ammunition.
BIRCHWOOD, Wis. — A dispute among deer hunters over a tree stand in northwestern Wisconsin erupted Sunday in a series of shootings that left five people dead and three others injured, officials said.
The incident happened when two hunters were returning to their rural cabin on private land in Sawyer County and saw the suspect in one of their tree stands, County Chief Deputy Tim Zeigle said. A confrontation and shooting followed.
OK...so we've got a guy who is trespassing on private land, which is a minor crime. And he's using someone else's stand, which, in deer country, is a cardinal sin. Although it's still nothing worth shooting anyone over.
It's not known who shot first, Zeigle said.
Both men were wounded and one of them radioed back to the cabin. Other hunters responded and were shot, he said. Some of the victims may have shot back at the suspect, Zeigle said.
The suspect was "sniping" at the victims with a SKS assault-style rifle (search), Zeigle said. He was "chasing after them and killing them," he said.
Ugh...media firearms ignorance alert. Oh wait, that bell wore out a long time ago. Even when the AWB was in place, the SKS didn't qualify, since it lacks a detachable magazine, a pistol grip, and a flash suppressor. Yes, it was originnally designed and built for military use, but so were the thousands of M1903 Springfields, and for that matter Model 1894 lever guns that journey into the deer woods every season. If anything, this nutjob probably would have been more deadly if he'd had a more powerful rifle like a .30-06 or some sort.
But he's still a nutjob who probably shouldn't have had a gun in the first place, who has given more fuel for the folks who want to ban so many of my toys. Chasing people down and making sure they're dead? If he shot first, he's a nutjob. If the property owners shot first, he might not be such a nut, but why the hell didn't he run as soon as he got a chance? That would have been my first thought-get the hell off the exposed stand and run like hell.
Two Years Gone By
Interesting and unusually sympathetic article in the hometown paper about Brian Borgelt, the former owner of Bull's Eye Shooter Supply in Tacoma, WA, the store that Mohammed and Malvo stole their Bushmaster from.