Posts belonging to Category Guns

Real Evil…

Have no doubt, there are evil people doing evil things out there:

Members of a multi-agency task force and a Texas Ranger are trying to develop leads in the shooting Wednesday of an Alvarado store clerk who died late Thursday at a Fort Worth hospital.

Karen Burke died at 11:04 p.m. Thursday at John Peter Smith Hospital, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

Burke, 52, of Alvarado was shot early Wednesday while mopping the floor at the Shell Travel Center off Interstate 35W in Alavardo, police said.

The robber, whose features were concealed by a dark hooded sweatshirt, followed her through the door to the store after she had gone outside, possibly to empty the mop bucket. And then she was shot.

From the TV coverage I kept getting the feeling that this place was somehow familiar.  I finally realized that I had stopped there a couple of times on my way back from Austin. 

Anyhow, this case really brings home the idiocy of the advice to “just give them what they want and they’ll go away” that we often hear when there is a robbery.  In this case, there was absolutely no chance for the store clerk to give this guy anything.  Further, what he apparently wanted was for her to die.  Which also illustrates the moral bankruptcy of the idea that everyone can be reasoned with if we’d just have enough ‘empathy’ or ‘compassion.’  How do you reason with someone whose first act is to shoot you?

Or, as Cowtown Cop puts it:

There is, and all ways have been, a portion of the human race who will use whatever weapon comes to hand to further their selfish ambitions. These folks are evil. They don’t feel any empathy or compassion for their fellow humans. They just don’t care, and there are a lot of them.

Would the clerk having a gun have prevented this?  It’s impossible to say for certain.  However, owning one and carrying it promotes situational awareness and preparedness for these sorts of situations.  From what I saw on the video I would have pegged this guy as squirrelly from the get-go.  It’s late July and the temperature is still in the high 80’s at 1:00am and he’s wearing a long-sleeved hoodie with the hood up.  More than that, though, he appears to be wearing gloves, which would have set off all sorts of alarm bells in my head.  He’s also acting suspicious by trying to shield his face from the video cameras. 

Practicing good situational awareness is probably the most important part of all this, and even if one chooses not to carry a gun, it’s still important.  In this case there wasn’t a lot of time to react, but there were still warning signs in the suspect’s dress and behavior. 

It should be noted that I do not want this taken in any way as blaming the victim in this case.  All responsibility for this incident belongs with the shooter.  He’s an evil bastard and he deserves to be squashed like a bug.  But we can learn from the incident and remind ourselves that violent encounters are often unexpected and they progress extremely quickly (i.e. it’ll be over before you can even get to your phone, much less dial 911).  You have to always be on alert and prepared to react. 

ELGS Update

For those that might be interested, new show dates have been added to the DFW Gun Show page (mostly for the Big Town and Mesquite Rodeo locations).

Surprised It Hasn’t Already Happened

While these “new” terrorism warnings might be the usual chatter, it’s probably prudent to take them seriously.

The FBI is warning that al Qaeda may be preparing a series of holiday attacks on U.S. shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to an intelligence report distributed to law enforcement authorities across the country this morning. (Click here for full text.)

The alert said al Qaeda “hoped to disrupt the U.S. economy and has been planning the attack for the past two years.”

Law enforcement officials tell that the FBI received the information in late September and declassified it yesterday for wide distribution. 

While the moonbat contingent is out in force in the comments claiming this is the usual spin, I’m a bit surprised it hasn’t happened yet.  It doesn’t require a great deal of sophistication, nor does it require lots of resources or planning.  Heck, Tom Clancy even wrote a novel (not exactly his best work) that included mall attacks as part of the plot.  And while Mr. Clancy isn’t a national security asset, he’s oddly prescient when it comes to ways to attack America (viz. Debt of Honor, with its 747-attack on the U.S. Capitol, written in 1994).

Anyhow, malls are soft targets, and malls in places like Chicago and Los Angeles are especially soft, given their silly but draconian (and likely unconstitutional) gun laws.  It’s been nearly four years now, but my opinion has not changed (see Sterilization vs Immunization).  The best defense is one that is distributed among the people.  Relying on a centralized “authority” to respond and keep you safe is a recipe for heartbreak, disappointment, and likely death. 

So maintain Condition Yellow, and if you’ve got ‘em, carry ‘em.

No Tolerance, No Brains

Picture of key chain with 1911 pistol ornamentSometimes I can’t help but wonder if school “administrators” don’t have their brains sucked out when they take the job.  In a textbook case of PSH, a Dallas elementary school suspended a 4-year-old pre-K student for bringing a key chain with a toy gun to school.

One Dallas mom is fighting back after her 4-year-old son was suspended from school for bringing a miniature toy gun key chain to class.

Elijah brought his new toy to his pre-kindergarten class at Casa View Elementary without permission, said his mom, Desiree Trevino. But she says a suspension is too harsh, and Elijah should have gotten a warning.

While the school district and the family agree that the trinket was obviously a toy, the DISD stands by their decision, citing a no tolerance policy.

As usual, I think “no tolerance” is a good euphemism for “no brains.”  I saw this spokes-weasel on the news last night, and I don’t know how he could utter the following with a straight face.

“The message is please don’t bring toy guns or knives or anything that looks like it might be dangerous to school,” said Jon Dahlander, DISD spokesman.

What’s it going to take to get a little bit of common sense back in schools?  If people get all freaked out and have a PSH reaction to a little keychain, I fear for the future of the current generation.  The only thing that gives me hope is that perhaps when they grow up there will be a backlash against such stupidity.

Stupid Excuse

I meant to comment on this on Wednesday, but things have been a bit crazy lately.  The “tattoo bandit” decided to have a press conference to talk about her escapades.  First, though, she seemed to be surprised by all the attention:

Surrounded by photographers, videographers and reporters from six TV stations and two newspapers, Harvey said she was surprised by all the media attention.

“I couldn’t believe that I was getting that much coverage,” she said. “I was freaking out. … I couldn’t even go into Wal-Mart without people staring at me. That was not the reaction I wanted. I was trying to hide.”

I don’t know… maybe that whole armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping thing might just be something that catches the public’s attention.  But maybe I’m just strange that way.

But this isn’t the main topic I wanted to discuss.  This is what was bugging me:

Phyllis Dawn Harvey, who became known as the “tattoo bandit” during a 12-day crime spree, said she never had any bullets in her gun.

I always hate it when people say “it wasn’t loaded.”  Either as an excuse for poor gun handling or as a mitigating factor in a criminal case, it sets my teeth on edge.  In real life, there’s no way to tell a gun is loaded without close inspection.  If someone is pointing one at you or waving it around your best bet is to proceed as if it’s loaded.  She’s just lucky that she didn’t encounter a police officer or an armed citizen. 

In general, Texas law doesn’t seem to distinguish between loaded and unloaded (there is an exception for making a firearm accessible to a child).  Either with regards to aggravated robbery or simple carrying, the law appears to regard a firearm as a deadly weapon.  I think this makes sense, because as I mentioned above, there is generally no readily distinguishable feature that can help someone (at a distance and under the influence of adrenalin) tell if a gun is loaded.

Spam Blowback Continues

Despite removing all catch-alls, thereby killing the Joe Jobbers in their tracks, I still seem to be banned from sending email to certain people.  Most notably people with AOL email addresses.

I had someone contact me yesterday via my Contact Form to ask some questions about the Marlin Camp Carbine, but my reply got bounced.  AOL informed me that it was not accepting email from my address.

Now this is stupid on the part of AOL, since I never sent spam to their users.  But they still put my domain into their blacklist of spammers, apparently because of the previous Joe Job crap. 

Anyhow… if you try to contact me and you’re using AOL (or Earthlink) and you don’t hear back from me, you might want to investigate getting a less brain-dead email provider.


Another Oleg Volk masterpiece.

Found via Tamara K.

No Place For Plastic

In my last entry I mentioned mining new veins of stupidity.  I guess there’s no better place to start than my own…

On Saturday I met up with some friends over at Bass-Pro for some time on the pistol range.  When I got back I decided to go ahead and clean the guns right then so I wouldn’t have to worry about it later.  As I was disassembling my S&W 22S I somehow managed to dislodge the entire slide assembly, which (under spring tension) launched itself into the air and landed on the hard tile floor.

It’s not like I wasn’t warned that it could happen:

I’d also had the spring and recoil rod launch themselves before (I ended up having to order a new recoil rod, as I never found the original in that incident).  Still, even being careful and mindful of all the past incidents and warnings, I somehow managed to fumble the damn thing. 

When I picked it up I noticed that the little “cup” that holds the recoil spring was broken.  It’s part of what they call the “slide insert” (#37) and it’s made of plastic.  The slide insert also holds the firing pin, firing pin return spring, and firing pin stop pin (6,7,8).  In other words, it houses the firing pin assembly.  Fortunately, all of these parts are available from Brownells and together only cost $19.42.  Not a horribly costly mistake, I guess, but it’s still annoying that important internal components of a pistol would be made from plastic. 

Speaking of internal components made of plastic, my other annoyance with this gun is the recoil spacer (part #25 in the previous diagram):

It seems to be a weak spot in the design of this gun.  It’s made of nylon and it seems to wear out quickly.  They’re not terribly expensive ($1.69 from Brownells), but it seems like a bad idea to use something so fragile as part of the recoil spring assembly.  I had just replaced the one in this gun before going to the range.  We only put about 50-100 rounds through it and already the new spacer was showing signs of wear.  I don’t have an exact count of the rounds expended with the one I had previously replaced, but I don’t think it was more than 500.

Now there are those who also decry the use of “plastic” (or polymer as the manufacturers prefer) at all, but I’ve found that if done right it’s not a problem (such as the lower frame of the Glocks and Springfield XD’s).  I should also note that my Browing Buckmark uses a plastic recoil spacer, but even after all the times its been fired the spacer looks nearly new (I’m guessing several thousand rounds).

Holster Your Weapons!

It appears that someone lost a loaded handgun at the Keller-Smithfield playground (oddly called an “activity node” by the city).

On Thursday morning a young boy found a small .22 caliber “pocket” pistol in a sandbox at the Keller Smithfield Activity Node.  He did the right thing by alerting his parent and a call was made to our department.  We seized the loaded handgun and we are working with ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) in an attempt to trace the origin and owner of the pistol. At the present time we do not have an open case of a stolen firearm in Keller that matches the gun found in the sand box.  We believe that someone may have been sitting on the edge of a sandbox and the gun which is designed with a belt or pocket clip was inadvertently dropped.  This was a very serious incident and we are so fortunate that the young boy did the right thing.

—Keller PD E-Safe News, April 20, 2007

I saw the email yesterday afternoon and didn’t think that much more about it until I reached the Keller-Smithfield end of the trail when walking Boots and noticed the Channel 11 news van.  They seemed to be wrapping up their 6:00pm live coverage when I arrived. 

This incident is a good reminder to all people who carry handguns that they have a duty to retain control of those handguns at all times.  Aside from the safety issue of a child finding the weapon, there could also be legal liability.  If the person who had the gun didn’t have a CHL, then there could be a UCW charge, which is a Class A misdemeanor (up to one year in jail and up to $4000 fine).  And there is also the possibility of a charge under Texas Penal Code §46.13 (making a firearm accessible to a child, which is a Class C misdemeanor if no one is injured), although this section requires proving “criminal negligence.”

As for whether BATFE will be able to trace the owner, it will depend on how the current owner purchased it, or whether it was stolen (and not reported).  If the current owner is the first owner and purchased it from a FFL licensee, then the BATFE can follow the trail from manufacturer to dealer.  If it has been sold multiple times, then it will depend on the entire chain being documented.  FFL licensees are required to document all sales, but private sellers have no such requirement.  I know some private sellers who document all sales and some who don’t.  Of course if it’s stolen, the trail will end with the last documented purchaser.  Which is a good reason to report all thefts as soon as you’re aware of them.  If I were the police I’d be suspicious of someone reporting their .22 pocket pistol stolen today, given the news reports (aside from Channel 11, it was also on all the other local stations last night and this morning).

Finally, this also points out the benefits of good record keeping.  I keep records of the model and serial numbers for all my guns*.  Should any of them be stolen I will be able to give specific information to the police for tracing and recovery, as well as for insurance purposes.

* This brings up an interesting problem for some gun owners, in that most don’t quite trust the government not to abrogate the BoR at some point and decide to confiscate all guns.  So there are likely a good number of “off the books” guns purchased through anonymous private sales and not recorded anywhere.  Gun banners should keep this in mind should they attempt to enforce any such Utopian gun-control fantasies. 

Proper Paranoia

I guess I do have more to say about the subject of mass shootings that I realized when I wrote my last entry.

When I wrote the original item that I referenced I still worked in a traditional office environment.  These days I work for the same company, but I work from home.  Given that my company is run by GFW’s, I’d actually given the scenario of a mass shooter some thought.

Their policy is that guns, knives, pepper-spray, or anything else that can be used as a weapon is forbidden from the premises, as well as the parking lot (which is a topic of interest these days in the Texas legislature).  After taking a look at our security, I quickly came to the conclusion that we were a soft target.  Security was unarmed and unable to handle an armed intruder.  Further, most people didn’t seem to take the badge-in requirements seriously, so it’d be easy for someone to tailgate their way into the building.

I decided that I would do whatever possible in my power to avoid being just another victim.  Now I wasn’t about to go chasing around the building playing ninja hoping to catch the bad guy.  But if the shooter made it into my area, I was prepared to try to take him by surprise as best as I could, using whatever I happened to have nearby.  This plan was necessarily loose, as you don’t always know where you’ll be, but at least it’s something to start from. 

I’m sure there are some people out there who will think this line of thought unnecessarily paranoid.  But I think it’s only prudent to at least have given it some thought.  I work for a fairly large multi-national corporation.  There has been at least one such event in the company’s history.  So it’s not exactly something that’s completely out of the realm of possibility.  And it’s something that the management was concerned about (especially in today’s environment of the disposable resource/employee), although it’s obvious that they weren’t willing to take the steps to let us defend ourselves.

Anyhow, I don’t have to worry so much about that particular problem these days, since I don’t go into the office very often.  But on those occasions that I do, I keep it in mind.  Sometimes a bit of paranoia is a good thing.