Posts belonging to Category Guns

Still Operating Under The Same Old Delusions

I’ve been contemplating whether to comment on the Virginia Tech shooting or not.  At times, having been doing this for about five years, you realize that you’ve probably said it all before, though.

So I’ll refer you back to what I said in July, 2003 after one city council member shot another in New York City:

The shooting in New York yesterday got me to thinking about the way our society treats guns and the crazy idea that we can somehow create a “bubble” of safety which is free from all harmful elements.

For some time now I’ve thought about violent crime in a way similar to disease.  The agents of the disease can be thought of as malevolent microorganisms that are damaging the host organism by harming the individual cells that make up the whole.  We can choose a couple of alternative ways of dealing with this problem: 1) sterilization (the boy in the bubble method), and 2) immunization (distributing the means of counterattack and prevention throughout the body).  I am of the opinion that the second option, as related to a distributed defense (i.e. a pack not a herd, to borrow a phrase) is ultimately better. 

The first option, sterilization, means attempting to prevent the disease causing elements from even getting into the body.  In real life this is manifested in airport screening, metal detectors at courthouse entrances, gun-free school zones, the federal statute against having a gun in a postal facility, etc.  From my vantage point these methods have not only failed miserably, but they make the problem worse, since they create zones of increased vulnerability.  In fact, we seem to see more cases of mass shootings in gun-free zones.  I tend to think that this occurs because the killers, while mad or insane, do engage in some calculation about the relative chances for success of their plans.  Especially when they’re trying to make a big splash.  Which would make more noise in the press?  A story about a mass murder or a story about an armed citizen stopping an attacker (no need to answer that one, since we know how the media will report each one already).  There will always be holes in the “bubble” that will be exploited by those with evil intent.  Let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that a perfect barrier is not possible (if you think it is possible, solve the problem of drugs getting into prisons first and get back to me).

Immunization is not necessarily a perfect defense.  It requires distribution of the means to respond to the threat throughout the body of the people.  It does not always work.  There may even be times when innocent people are killed.  This is comparable to real immunization, where a vaccine sometimes kills people.  Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where there are no perfect solutions.  But this does have the advantage of not having to rely on the convenient fiction that it’s possible to screen out all threats and live happily within a bubble.  While microorganisms can’t think or weigh the consequences of their actions, criminals sometimes do.  Not only does having a distributed defense allow for swift preventative action against criminals, it can act as a deterrent, lowering the chances of success and dissuading some from committing certain types of crimes.  And for those criminals who don’t get the message, it removes them from the pool of criminals, so they won’t be around to commit future crimes.

I suppose the only thing I can think to add, which I discussed with some members of our CERT class on Tuesday night, is the fact that once you’re in a situation where someone is lining you up against the wall, you should consider yourself dead at that point and you’ve got nothing left to lose by fighting back.  But this requires the right mindset, which our culture seems intent on breeding out of us.  I’d recommend getting a copy of Jeff Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense.  It’s more of a pamphlet than a book, but it gives you a glimpse into the warrior mindset. 

The right mindset is, in some ways, probably more important than what weapons you might have.  It allows you to use what you have at hand with speed, surprise, and ruthlessness when required. 


This saying has been bugging me for a while:

Guns cause crime like flies cause garbage.

This pithy little quote is popular among some in the pro-gun community, but I have to admit that it bugs me greatly.  I understand the sentiment, but most people (rightly so) have a fairly negative view of flies.  The quote just comes across as trashy to me.    raspberry

Knife At A Gun Fight

The issue of dealing with someone armed with a knife comes up from time to time.  It was fresh on my mind because of this recent post at Kim du Toit’s site, which is why I noticed this short piece in this morning’s Ft. Worth Star Telegram.

PLAINVIEW—Two police officers fatally shot a resident of an apartment complex for mentally and physically disabled people Thursday after the woman threatened an officer with a 14-inch knife, authorities said. It was the second officer-involved shooting in this West Texas town since September. Officers repeatedly asked the woman to drop the knife, then one officer fired two rounds from a beanbag shotgun at her, Plainview police Capt. Michael Carroll said. The officer was backing up when “he tripped on something and the other two officers then fired as she was still coming,” Carroll said.

Of course we always get the obligatory quote about how the deceased was such a nice person:

The woman had lived in the 20-unit complex for 20 years, assistant manager Gayle Walker said. “She was a dear, sweet lady,” Walker said.

Lest anyone be mistaken, using (or even brandishing, depending on distance) a knife constitutes deadly force.  Worse, someone with a knife is actually MORE dangerous than someone with a gun at 21-ft (the typical distance demonstrated for the Tueller drill).  People need to understand that unless someone has years of specialized training, attempting to disarm someone with a knife is a dangerous and likely losing proposition.  The idea that we should play ninja with the bad guy because “he only had a knife” is dangerous and stupid.

In this instance (provided that it was correctly reported), it seems as if the police went above and beyond by attempting to use non-lethals before being forced to shoot.  A 14-inch knife is a deadly weapon and isn’t something to be trifled with.

Inexpensive .243

Sometimes things happen with spooky synchronicity.  Someone emailed me via my gun show page contact form asking about a “new or used 243 (combo, youth or adult)” for a Christmas present at the lowest price possible.

Now this is a difficult question to answer, as there are many possible rifle models that meet her first criteria (.243, combo, youth, adult).  But price is another matter.  Not being that familiar with prices for .243 rifles, I consulted GunBroker and some other sites to get a feel for MSRP and average selling prices.

What got my attention, though, was that this came right after I’d been looking at this morning’s Cabela’s circular, which just happened to have a Savage 11FYXP3 Youth Combo in .243 for $409.99.  (Note that the Cabela’s ad shows it as a 111FYXP3, but that it doesn’t appear on Savage’s site.  From what I can see, this may have been a typo on the part of Cabela’s, as the ones that start with “111” appear to be long action, which doesn’t include the .243, while the “11” models are short action and include .243.)

I don’t know what kind of scope that is, but for a .243 with Accutrigger, this seems like a decent price (the base 11F model without a scope lists for $509 and seems to hover around $400 in the market).  Yeah, it’s got a synthetic stock, but that’s to be expected at this price point. 

Also worth noting, given my recent post about youth rifles is a CZ Scout on sale for $199.99.

Idiot With Gun

Here’s yet more proof of why it’s not smart to mix drunk idiots and guns.

A 47-year-old man who was shot in the head Wednesday night during an exchange about whether he could smoke inside a friend’s house died Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

Robert Williams was pronounced dead at 3:10 p.m. at John Peter Smith Hospital.

Margore Carter, 49, was arrested Thursday evening by members of the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force at a relative’s home in Arlington, police said. She faces a murder charge.

A witness said that “the suspect then jokingly stated that she had something that would make him go outside,” Boetcher said.

Carter went to her bedroom and returned with a gun, investigators said.

Acting Sgt. Mike Carroll said she first aimed the gun at a window near Williams and pulled the trigger. The gun just clicked.

“From the other witnesses’ statements, they all thought she was kind of playing around,” Carroll said. “She then walks up to him, puts it to his head and pulls the trigger, and it does go off.

“According to her, she was surprised.”

There are two things I don’t accept as excuses when it comes to ND’s:  a) It just went off; and, b) It was unloaded.  I *always* follow the rule that a gun is loaded unless I’m doing something that specifically calls for it to be unloaded (such as cleaning).  I even recheck if it’s left my hand since I last checked.

I can’t abide a shooter who, upon being called out for bad gun handling behavior, tries to excuse it by saying that it isn’t loaded.  It’s really not very hard to maintain safe habits, and excuses are rather poor comfort when your neighbor is lying dead on his floor, stuck down like a bolt from the blue by *your* “oops.” 

And the “it just went off” excuse is utter crapola.  Barring mechanical malfunction (which is very rare and still requires violation of the three rules to cause harm), guns require some kind of human input to fire.  As someone so eloquently stated somewhere that I can’t remember, “Keep your booger hook off the bang switch!”

Anyhow, this idiot (enhanced by alcohol), willfully violated all three rules, resulting in the death of another person.  Let’s hope she gets plenty of time in the gray-bar hotel to contemplate her errors.

Little Pink Rifles

Lawdog mentions something interesting about the availability of a particular model of .22LR rifle:

Of course, since Little Miss is a girly-girl, nothing will do but to get her the Model 225.

Why, you ask?

Because it’s the one with the laminated pink stock. Duh.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find that to be completely and utterly cool—It’s a dedicated Girl’s First Rifle.

About bloody time!

Apparently, I’m not the only one to think this, because we couldn’t find a Crickett Model 225 at any of the gun stores we called.

Not only that, but each store we talked to informed us that their suppliers were out of the laminated pink ones until after Christmas.

That news gives me the warm fuzzies.

That news tells me that a whole bunch of little girls are getting a rifle for a present.

For those not familiar with the Crickett rifles, they’re small .22’s suitable for children to use when learning.  Here’s the 225:

It’s a single shot, bolt-action, with a manual cocking mechanism.  This means that the shooter has to concentrate on making the shot count and that a very specific set of deliberate actions is required to prepare the rifle for shooting (just loading a round in the chamber and closing the bolt isn’t sufficient).

My nieces have a model 230, which is the one with the synthetic black stock.  Here’s my older niece shooting it just after Christmas last year:

After they were done I gave it a try.  It’s got such a short length of pull that it’s not really very comfortable for an adult, but I found it to be acceptably accurate.  Still, if you’ve ever seen an adult sit in a chair in a kindergarten classroom, you can imagine shooting this rifle is something akin to that.

Anyhow, it’s not intended for people like me.  It’s entirely suitable for teaching discipline and marksmanship, though.

National Ammo Day 2006

I’d almost forgotten that today is National Ammo Day.  For those not part of the “gun culture,” it’s a day (extended now to a week) where gun owners purchase at least 100 rounds of ammo each.

I’ve certainly been known to puchase a round or three, even outside of ammo day/week.  But this time finds me fairly well stocked, which brings up the dillemma of what to buy.

I’ve converted part of an undisclosed closet into my ammo area.  The primary storage cabinet is an old gun locker, which is filled to capacity at the moment (at least where there are shelves; I keep intending to add shelves to the larger compartment but keep procrastinating).

I’ve got plenty of .22:

I’ve also got plenty of 9mm, .38Spl, .45ACP, .357Mag, and .380Auto:

Not to mention 12ga, and (on the right) 7.62×39 as well as some evil high-cap mags for my evil AK-47:

This year I guess I’ll get some more JHP rounds for the various calibers that might be of use.  It’s always good to buy a little extra for occasional practice (although it’s mighty expensive).

Cheap Heaters

In Xavier’s latest pawn shop circuit post he mentions encountering some cheap guns.

At Kenny’s shop I found a couple of junk guns, both priced under $100. Kenny didn’t have anything else. He said the Jennings and Lorcins tend to sell pretty quickly. I asked him how much he loans on them. He replied 10-20 dollars. Just enough to buy a rock. Interesting. I have occasionally pondered buying one of these cheap guns just to learn about them. Then again, I might just buy a spritz bottle of Tabasco sauce and squirt my eyeballs.

I’m guessing that he doesn’t like them, given that last bit about the Tabasco.  smirk

Anyhow, it reminded me of something.  A friend of mine bought a little Jennings J22* back when we were in college because there had been some breakins near her house and she didn’t have a lot of money (heck, none of us did back then).

Fast forward 15 years to 2005 when she asked me about shooting lessons and learning how to use the Jennings.  At the time she was living in Lewisville and the neighborhood was going downhill (someone had broken into her house one weekend while she was away). 

We went to the range at Bass Pro and practiced the basics with my S&W 22S, then pulled out the Jennings.  She did fairly well with it, but I had a hard time of it, just barely keeping on the paper.  First, it’s so small that I couldn’t get my little finger on it, which annoys me no end.  But, and this is odd, this stupid little Jennings scared me.  I flinched every time I fired it.  I’ve shot thousands of rounds of .45 from a little 3” Kimber (the Ultra CDP II), I’ve shot .44 magnums, and even .38Spl +P out of a 2” snubnose.  I’ve never had that kind of flinch with any other gun.

But then being in fear of having the gun blow up in your hand will do that to you.

I just hope my friend never has to use that Jennings.  As someone said in one discussion group or another, “it beats a rolled up newspaper.”  Still, though, one of these days I hope I might persuade her to get something more reliable.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good, reliable handgun.  If I were in the situation of needing a handgun, but not wanting to spend a lot, I’d probably go to a gun show to look for a used Ruger GP-100, or perhaps a new Taurus.  A few years back I bought a GP-100 for $250 (including a nice leather holster and three speedloaders) from a dealer who had taken it in trade for another gun.  I admit it was a lucky find, but they’re out there if you’re looking.  At another show a friend of mine acquired a Dan Wesson .357 revolver for $325 from a private seller (bonus: no 4473 required).

Granted, none of these are as cheap as the Jennings, but the old adage that you get what you pay for remains true.

Update:  I just remembered the Makarov.  Lots of people swear by them and surplus units can be had for about $150 at gun shows.  I’ve got one sitting in my safe that I acquired about a year ago.  Unfortunately, after cleaning (cosmoline sucks) and oiling, I put it back in the safe and left it there.  Something always seemed to come up when leaving for the range and other guns got to go while the poor Makarov sat forlorn.  I’m going to make it a priority to take it with me next time.

* While searching for a picture of the Jennings, I came across a post from Mr. Completely in which he, in a mad fit of optimism, had fired a postal match with one.  Much hilarity ensued.

More on Burleson

I’ve updated my previous post about the Burleson school district.

Burleson Wimps Out

The Burleson school district has “reassigned” Greg Crane, the teacher who was behind the training that taught students to fight back against an armed attacker.  Mr. Crane was formerly a police officer and developed the idea when he asked his wife, a teacher, what she would do if her classroom were to be attacked and she didn’t have an answer.

So far, there is only this video from Fox 4, so I don’t have a transcript to quote from. 

From the video, here is a brief summary:

  • Last Friday the district sent a letter to all parents outlining that they do not support any student resisting an attacker (i.e. they want to continue with the failed cooperate and die strategy).
  • The letter was signed by all principals in the district, save one, the principal of the school where Greg Crane taught, who also happens to be his wife.
  • Greg Crane was “reassigned” from his classroom teaching role to working from home.
  • The Burleson school district is now hiding behind confidentiality rules with regards to Mr. Crane and won’t discuss him further.
  • Mr. Crane says he has not been given a reason for the “reassignment” and is retaining a lawyer.

I should have known that a school district with the spine to teach children to resist an attack was too good to be true.  It sounds to me as if the district didn’t like being at the center of national attention with regards to the training and decided to throw Mr. Crane under the bus to make the stink go away.  But it seems fishy to me, since the Fox 4 report points out that hundreds of teachers and students have been trained in this method.  That couldn’t happen without at least the tacit approval of the school administration.

Update (10/26/2006):  Yesterday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram has more information about the situation in Burleson.

The district is “clarifying” its position:

Students in the Burleson school district can learn to defend themselves by throwing objects at an armed intruder, but a teacher went too far by instructing them to physically attack someone as part of a security program, district officials said Tuesday.

In recent days, the district sent letters home with 8,500 students clarifying its position on a training video that concerned parents and school officials when local TV news stations aired it this month.

The video, produced by a company paid to teach safety classes at Burleson schools, showed children throwing objects at someone posing as an armed intruder in a classroom, then attacking him.

The classes are part of a security program launched by the district last year to make schools safer. Greg Crane, a criminal-justice teacher at Burleson High School and a former police officer, taught the skills through his company, Response Options.

District officials said they still approve of the rest of Crane’s instructional material.

A money motive?  Or at least a distraction…

The letters come two weeks before voters will decide on a $259 million bond package to build and renovate schools as well as enhance security. Officials said the upcoming election has no bearing on their decision to notify parents about the video.

Fox 4 was saying that he’d been “reassigned,” although the Star Telegram couldn’t get a straight answer out of the school district:

On Tuesday, a receptionist at Burleson High said Crane was not there. Crane did not answer repeated calls to his home, and Crummel declined to comment on news reports that Crane had been reassigned.

“All I can say is, he’s still employed by our school district,” he said.

At least they aren’t staying with cooperate and die like I originally thought.  But just “distracting” the gunman without an attack seems more dangerous to me than attacking him.  Or at least it could be.  What happens when you run out of stuff to throw?  What about the last student who’s trying to run away after everyone else has escaped? 

Especially with a long gun, closing with the shooter might be better, but there are no hard and fast rules here.  I’m of the “shoot the bastard” school of thought, but that requires someone responsible with a gun on the scene.  And we all know what kind of wailing and moaning that type of thought generates. 

But one thing I do want to say about the whole “debate” is that the phrase “arming teachers” probably isn’t the best one.  For those of the socialist bent it brings up images of every teacher lining up in a school armory to obtain a gun (and if you think I’m being funny about this, just read some of the comments on this topic on various blogs).  We need a pithy, short, phrase to encapsulate the concept of getting the state out of the way of those who have the will and the skill to take action.