Sunday, September 6, 2015

25 Doctrines for a Better Society

  1. Public schools will be funded at the state level rather than the local area. Rich areas and poor areas will not have different qualities of education. Public schools will be funded at the expense of the whole public, sending kids to private schools or not having kids don’t provide an option to opt out of paying for the education of the general public. An educated public benefits everyone.
  2. Public servants in the field (teachers, firefighters, police, soldiers) will be paid more. Administrators will only be paid more based on their years in the field.
  3. Politicians will be paid the median wage of the area they represent.
  4. Property taxes and sales taxes will be repealed, to be replaced with a more progressive income tax (such as nobody pays any tax on the first $25k they earn and everyone pays 50% on everything over $450 they earn, with varying tax brackets in-between). Capital gains will be treated the same as regular income. No cap on security tax. I don’t believe on being taxed both when you earn money and when you spend it. I also don’t like that you can lose your property just because you fail to pay a never-ending tax on it. Inherited wealth and land is treated as income (with an exemption on the first $100-500k of it).
  5. All bacon shall be crispy, not limp or burnt.
  6. Student loan rate will be 0.1%. Public colleges will be free for students who maintain a B average or higher.
  7. Blue laws will be ruled unconstitutional.
  8. Businesses will be able to deduct double the amount of a worker’s salary on salaries up to $100k from taxable profits. This will encourage higher salaries and the put the money in the hands of the people rather than government. This will apply to employees who are US citizens or those with work Visas.
  9. A nation with no poverty is a nation with less crime.
  10. The original, theatrical versions of Star Wars, with only cleaned up original special effects, will always be available for sale on whatever highest definition format is available.
  11. There will be no law barring consensual activity between adults. We can discuss the resurgence of pistol duels later.
  12. Protect the environment and inspect our food. We need an FDA and EPA. Though, people should be able to take unapproved, experimental drugs if they really want.
  13. Legalize all drugs. However, only licensed dealers and suppliers can provide them. Cut out the murdering drug lords and terrorist profits from the drug trade. Advertising recreational drugs will be illegal, but businesses that sell them will be taxed to fund programs to help addicts.
  14. Background checks required for all gun transfers/sales and ammo. No exceptions. For ammo, background checks need only be done once a year. No other restrictions on firearms but keep the Class 3 license requirement for certain weapons. Work to get states to agree on one good training requirement for concealed carry permits so that it makes sense for one’s license to work in all states. That will include: proficiency with a firearm, knowledge of safety, and knowledge of related laws.
  15. Minimum wage will provide an actual livable wage if working 40 hours. Currently, that should be about $14/hour. All jobs will have paid sick, maternity, and paternity leave.
  16. Election days will be national holidays so that everyone can participate. Transportation will be made available to polling locations for those who have need of it.
  17. Abolish the Electoral College. Move power from the states to the people.
  18. Only individuals can make campaign contributions with a limit of $10k per person. No other entities may do so (be they businesses, special interest groups, or labor unions).
  19. Parties must hold their own private primaries. Elections will require the winner to secure 50% of the vote. If none get that, a runoff election will be held between the two options that got the highest votes. This will enable third parties to better compete.
  20. Pizza Hut will sell in the US every type of pizza they sell across the world because some of those pizzas are awesome.
  21. Any war on foreign soil mandates an increase in taxes (minimum 2%) on the people to pay for it. Politicians better think twice before engaging in war and make damn sure it’s worth it. Eliminate the draft. We haven’t used it when needed recently anyway. A volunteer army is sufficient. A nation of cowards doesn’t deserve to survive.
  22. Expedite our immigration process. If people are being transported in barrels in trucks driven by gangsters over here, our immigration process must be pretty terrible. Make those already here and working, going to school, or in the military into citizens if violating immigration law was their only crime. Also, military service guarantees citizenship.
  23. If the government is ever under budget (ha), a refund will be issued to taxpayers in their tax returns.
  24. Major cities will have high-speed mass transit between them.
  25. The government safety net will include food, housing, and health care for all citizens. A society must be judged by how it treats its least.
  26. Abolish "for profit" privatized prisons.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Concealed Carry Course with a Concealed Progressive

            So, I'm back home after a long day. Finished up a 12 hour course to get certification for a CCW permit. It ran 8 a.m. to 830 p.m., including firing range time from 630-830. Last night, I went to bed at 12:40ish. I fell asleep around 2:40ish I think and had set my alarm for 6:45 a.m. This was a long day.

            There were 9 people in the class, including me and my plus one. The instructor was an ex-marine, ex law enforcement NRA instructor. Everyone seemed very nice. Although there was a creepy old guy who looked like the “cleaner” from season 2 of Breaking Bad. There was a lady and her aunt, an African man (as in from Africa with an accent and all) and his lady friend, two gun collectors, and “the cleaner.” Two people weren’t stark white. Diversity! Technically, I’m (mixed) Hispanic, but I look like every other Caucasian.

            The class was very boring (to me who already had basic knowledge). The instructor seemed to rush through stuff just so he could get us on the street carrying concealed weapons. However, he had many interesting personal stories. I think I stood out in class as one of the more vocal people, asking lots of questions (but trying not to stir the pot as you might have expected).

            My only real worry about this class was putting up with a bunch of political propaganda regarding guns. The instructor did make the silly remark that asked why we don’t ban knives along with guns because they kill people too; however, I became surprised later on. The instructor, NRA no less, said everyone who buys a gun should have a background check (additionally, that we should improve the system to contain more background information and gun registration). One of the gun collectors also made comments that seemed to come from both political spectrums. (I convinced the other gun collector to buy an UpLula magazine loader like mine. It’s made in Israel so you know it’s hardcore.)

            I don’t know that these people know that improved background checks were something Congress tried to pass last year but failed at due to NRA propaganda, but I kind of doubt it. Maybe, just maybe, some NRA members are like Catholics in that they may not agree with everything the Pope says.

            Even more amazingly, the instructor and several others criticized the “open carry jerks” who have been in the news lately. The instructor said they’re being called “whamos” on the internet which means “military wannabes.”

            I got some free coupons though the gun shop didn’t have anything I wanted. None of the holsters fit my gun. Even with the coupons, ammo can still be bought cheaper at Bass Pro Shop which isn’t considered by most to be the cheap place to buy ammo.

            So anyway, I scored 100% on the written test (which he had us grade ourselves).

            At the firing range, I impressed myself. The attached pictures pretty much say it all. Everyone in class was just stunned and congratulating me, asking about my shooting background. I wasn’t even shooting with my “dominant eye” (which happens to be the left one despite being right-handed) or using the breathing control methods they recommended. Rather, I shot how I’ve always been trained to. Frankly, I was surprised everyone’s targets weren’t more like mine.

            I got some comments to shoot elsewhere or to draw a smiley face, but the instructor chastised me that headshots didn’t count after drawing one eye. Other than that and the shot someone else made on my target near the gun, all my shots are grouped in the two spots where the instructor said to shoot. All in all, about 50 shots to the center.

            They allowed some free shooting afterwards so I finished the smiley face, and the instructor challenged me to do a double-tap (two in the chest and one in the head) which he said I did. My plus one told me to stop showing off when there was just 3 of us in the range and to be sure not to be late back in the classroom. (Hey, they said two hours of range time was included, and I wanted to get in my range time!)

            So anyway, got my certification certificate which is just a qualification letter and not an actual license to carry. I also got a certificate for completion of the NRA basic pistol course which was part of the class.

            As this is being posted about a year after it took place, I’ll give an update that I totally understand why some people feel the need to buy so many guns. I’ve always collected things, be it movie memorabilia or really anything. Since getting back into target shooting, I’ve bought several new guns that are considered among the best for target shooting. A CZ SP-01 (upgraded version of one of the most common military 9mm sidearms in the world which has also been used to win competitions) and an XDM .45 with 5.25” barrel (the competition ready model). I also ended up getting a Ruger LCR which I’d previously considered. Only, I got the .38 model with fiber optic sight which improved upon the horrible base model sights and is an ultralight revolver. I discovered the .357 was both more heavy and also wasted most of the power of the .357 round in a short barrel. Rugers are renowned for their durability. However, I still prefer to carry my XDS. With the N82 Tactical holster I bought, nothing is more comfortable.

These all come highly recommended.
              So the question should probably be has this (what some would call a) progressive liberal carried since taking this course, the answer is yes if my previous mention of holster comfort wasn’t a giveaway. Sometimes, I’ve just done it because I paid money to get the certification and license and other times because I was going to an area that wasn’t so nice. At times, I thought of it as doing a social experiment to see how the crazy gun nuts live. After a while, I’ve started to wonder if I’ve become one of them. Well, I still believe all gun purchases and transfers should be subject to a background check. It’s been painless whenever I’ve done it. I say, don’t make it easy on the bad people. Force them to buy their guns from other criminals. See my earlier article on why I support background checks, want to expand them, and want to improve them (so that they are more effective and only ban individuals who are a real danger to society).

            However, I’ve found myself frustrated when I see signs on businesses that say no guns allowed. I think to myself that, “Sure, this will keep out a law-abiding tree hugger such as myself with a concealed weapon he’ll never touch, but this won’t keep out anyone coming in to shoot up the place.” So, I’ve come around to the anti-“gun free” zone side. It’d be different if such places had metal detectors and provided security for those inside.

It would also be a different story to only forbid open carry, especially as concealed carry is a special privilege that adds to the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. After all, someone slinging around an AR-15 on their back can not only make others uncomfortable, but it is also a large object that can get in the way, accidentally hit others when you move, and cause other related issues.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Now that I'm in the system, is the Government coming for my guns?

On Sunday, I bought my first gun. It was an interesting experience for several reasons.

For quite some time, I've been considering buying a firearm, if for no other reason than I enjoy going to the range to target shoot. It's a game of skill, like bowling or darts, just a rather loud one. With a brief rash of crime in my area last year, I started to think acquiring something for self-defense and getting a conceal carry permit might be a good idea. So, I've been thinking about this for some time, but only recently gotten serious about it (say in the last six months). I hope to take the conceal carry course next month.

The Final Research

Over Mother's Day weekend, I took the wife target shooting. In addition to being intended as a fun activity, it also served a dual purpose of researching something I might want to buy. They didn't have any of the models I'd researched, but they had one vaguely similar subcompact revolver.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I went to the range where I could actually rent the last two subcompact contenders I was considering. I'd started with a list of 4 and had cut the two Glocks (Glock 27 in .40 and Glock 29 in 10mm) from the running. They were both heavier, larger, and more expensive than the other two.

So on this last Saturday, I compared the .357 Ruger LCR revolver (actually a .38 model but close enough) and the Springfield Armory .45 XDS autopistol. Both of these guns are essentially Noisy Crickets (hope you get the Men in Black reference). I started the day having in my mind decided the revolver was what I wanted. I enjoyed the one I shot at the previous range, and I'm biased towards revolvers because of their maintenance simplicity, reliability, and smaller "footprint" for carrying since most of the bulk is in the chamber and handle. After spending 30 minutes and 50 rounds with each, I rather preferred the autopistol.

What I found was that I was much more accurate with the pistol and was able to do a quick follow-up second shot if I wanted. I wasn't very accurate with the double-tap, but it was possible. The pistol also had nice fiber optic sights that made the sights glow.

For whatever reason, my accuracy was dreadful with the revolver. The sights, all black and a bit difficult to see, sure didn't help. I'm not sure it hurt, but the crap reloaded ammo the range sold me probably also didn't help either. All the shots hit the target for the most part, but it was nowhere as good. I used a 9.5 inch wide target at 7 yd (21 ft) and 15 yd (45 ft). I would've done 25 yd, but this range wasn't that big. 

It was also impossible for me to do a double-tap with the revolver. I had to re-aim after each shot since the recoil threw me off completely. The recoil didn't actually feel that bad, but I couldn't hit the target doing two rapid shots. This revolver had a concealed hammer so it was double-action only, meaning there is no pulling back on the hammer required between shots. While this is something that might improve with practice, I'm not going to buy something because I "might" be able to use it. However, inability to do rapid fire didn't disqualify the revolver. It still had a lot going for it, such as size, reliability, and ease of use. If I were to get the .357, it would also still be able to fire cheaper .38 ammo when I wanted.

I went home and thought it over. I compared my targets from both range days. I did more Internet research, reading reviews, reading forums, and watching videos. I decided on the .45 pistol. This would be something small I could carry if need be that would also be fun to shoot for target practice. It was also on sale until the end of the month, making it cheaper than the revolver.

So, I went back on the next day to the local gun shop to make my purchase.

The Background Check

When I was handed a 4-page foldout to fill out, I was pretty intimidated. It was full of questions in small type. However, he said I only had to fill out the first page. I had to put basic information and mark yes to the first question and no to all the rest. It asked questions such as, "Are you a fugitive from justice?" and "When was the last time you beat your wife?" I really hope they double-check that stuff because if I was a bad guy, I'd have lied. I then browsed the store while he made a 5 minute phone call, and it was done.

Thankfully, there was no waiting period. I could take the gun home that day. I told him that was good because I'd have been disappointed if I was currently angry and needed a gun right away. Fortunately, the clerk had a sense of humor.

In all, the transaction was quick and easy. I was even able to use my Discover Card and rack up some Cash Back award. I did want some accessories, none of which they had, so that was disappointing. I'll have to shop elsewhere for a magazine loader (since loading magazines hurts my fingers) and an extended magazine for less reloading when target shooting. The extended mag also includes a grip extender for this pocket cannon I've purchased. (I've since found a universal magazine loader on Amazon.)

The store clerk gave me a coupon for an hour of free range time - although I dislike the Target World range because I never see someone on duty and the booth walls allow your neighbor to pelt you with their ejected brass. He also recommended where I could get the accessories I wanted. I was very pleased.

The Concealed Carry Course

I'll provide an update when I've taken this. Given that I'm rarely hanging out in the bad part of town at night, I doubt I'd regularly wear a concealed weapon. However, I think I could use the education the course provides. Additionally, it will prevent me from accidentally breaking some law when transporting a firearm to the range from home. State laws are a somewhat confusing mire about that. For example: "You must have the gun unloaded in the trunk, and each individual bullet must be separately bagged in a separate part of the vehicle - except on Tuesdays." I'm pretty sure that's actual Ohio state law.

What I Bought

If interested, this is what I bought:

I thought I'd leave you witha  video of that guy who's videos I found educational. Though, I'm not saying he's not a nut, just an entertaining and educational nut. Of course, we're all a nut to someone out there.

Examining Gun Culture from the Inside

If you've read other posts on my blog (or if you've not and just looked at the titles), you may think I'm some anti-gun zealot. On the contrary, I learned to shoot at a young age and have recently been looking into taking a concealed carry course and buying a gun for that purpose.

Over Mother's Day, I took my wife out to the range so she could get experience with my revolver. I rented a compact .357, a Taurus Raging Bull (a giant Dirty Harry style .44 magnum revolver), and a .44 Deset Eagle. I just tried out some Hollywood-popularized guns since they didn't actually have much I wanted to try out before owning.

One thing I've noticed about gun culture in my educating myself about various things recently is that people who are fans of concealed carry are very passionate about it. You might say... too passionate.

On various forums, they discuss boycotting restaurants and other establishments that won't let them carry their guns inside. My first reaction was, "How terrified must these people be in order to not be able to feel safe without packing heat?" It can't be that all these places are in bad neighborhoods.

This last Saturday, I went to a gun and knife show that was part of a flea market I visited and noticed that the rules required anyone carrying a gun to unload their weapon before entering. They even had to leave their ammo behind. Do people who conceal carry boycott gun shows? Do they ask, "Why do gun shows hate the Second Amendment." I don't understand how the hypocrisy doesn't reach up and smack these people in the face.

It reminded me of how Georgia recently passed some laws allowing guns to be carried in churches and whatnot. However, the politicians still made sure guns couldn't be allowed in the building where THEY worked. Maybe, they think it's not really such a good idea?

At this gun show, I didn't buy anything from the vendor who sold pictures of Obama posing with Hitler as well as plastic target Obama heads. I get that most gun people probably wouldn't be friendly towards me, being what most would consider radically liberal; however, I'm not going to deal with someone who's in your face about it in addition to being fruit loops. Selling Hitler pictures is just in poor taste.

I did buy two survival knives (for just $17) since they're quite different from the five Swiss Army knives I have.

I also got myself a towering soft-serve ice cream cone... chocolate.
I recently watched several Youtube videos by TheYankeeMarshal. He's very entertaining and very educational, despite being what some would call a "gun nut." On the contrary, he's actually very sensible. In fact, he made a joke about guns and ninjas which I myself made just a week earlier. We must really think alike in some regards! The joke was regarding how many bullets should a defensive gun be able to carry? Citing statistics, the chances of needing more than three bullets is the same as being hit by lighting twice. A 5-shot revolver is plenty. The chances of needing three 16-shot clips because you're suddenly attacked by 48 ninjas is very slim. Even then, it probably wouldn't be enough because there might be 49 ninjas or you might miss once. And in 95% of cases outside the home, defensive use of a gun doesn't result in the gun actually being fired.

So, we both made the same ninjas vs ammunition need joke.

Anyway, my point is that I think I'll just carry around a live hand grenade for protection.

But just so you don't think I agree with everything he says on his channel . . .

In other videos, he advises people who conceal carry to just ignore signs that say guns are not permitted and to leave if you get caught and asked to leave. That is a disrespectful attitude bordering on the psychos who take their assault rifles to family restaurants. Concealed carrying where permitted is one thing. Open carrying in a tactful manner is one thing. Upholstering and waving around your weapons in a Chipotle is asshole behavior. I'm waiting for the day when a concerned citizens shoots the guys showing up with rifles because he thinks they're there to rob the place. However so far, all that's happened is employees have hidden in the back when such nuts show up.

All in all, I think it would be best to just not enter a place if they say you can't bring your weapon and you don't think it's safe without one. After all, isn't the best self-defense technique to avoid a dangerous situation in the first place. If you think you might need your weapon somewhere, maybe that's where you shouldn't go with or without your gun.

I'll leave you with some John Oliver since I think he's funny.