Aug 15, 2016
Pennsylvania’s proud first female Attorney General hasn’t been able to practice law for months. Tonight, she was found guilty of perjury, obstruction, and other counts of abusing her official position in order to exact illegal revenge on an opponent.
Did I mention that the Clintons are huge supporters?
It shouldn’t be surprising that Kathleen Kane’s attorney indicates that she’s still not going to make any move to resign. The woman won’t give up, despite widespread calls from her party to resign. She has not yet been jailed, but she must come back to court tomorrow to surrender her passport, and she was issued a warning that any hint of retaliation against witnesses will put her behind bars immediately.
Aug 10, 2016
Shooting competitions from club to collegiate level are rarely segregated by gender, so why do the international shooting groups always insist the little ladies be put in a special category?
This is something I’ve wondered, but never really looked into. I’d love to see the actual arguments of the decision makers, but I’m not quite sure how many original records are really available from the International Olympic Committee or where they could even be found if they are accessible.
However, a few stories I found indicate that I’m definitely not the only one to take notice. And while it’s only a couple of anecdotal incidents that seem to make the news is, the trend does appear to be that when a woman wins over a man, various nations get together and demand that women be booted from the sport. They were largely mix gendered from 1968 until 1980 for most disciplines, though that lasted until 1992 for shotgun.
The WSJ highlighted gender segregation in the shooting sports back in 2012, and they pointed to 1976 in Montreal when Margaret Thompson Murdock tied with her male American teammate in smallbore. He requested a shoot-off, but they weren’t allowed under the rules of the time and the judges declared him the winner. She took silver, but she still holds the title of being the first woman to win a medal in shooting at the Olympics. After that, the article notes that it was primarily European teams who wanted women cut from the competition against men.
In 1992, a Chinese woman took the first ever gold medal in a mixed skeet competition. Not only did the IOC move to segregate the sport in reaction to this result, but they refused to offer skeet to women at all in the next Olympics. It is interesting that the two times that women actually do well and the first reaction of the international body is to kick them out of the boys’ club.
I have seen some people argue that women may have an advantage in shooting rifle standing because of their hips. I’m kind of mixed on my feelings there because, just like men, women don’t all have the same shape. But, I’m open to the argument since I’m far from an expert on that type of competition.
But those issues don’t apply in shotgun or pistol. In this updated article on the topic, the WSJ quotes Kim Rhode, “I’d love to compete against men.” They note that she regularly competes against men here in the US.
The International Shooting Sport Federation defends the segregation in the article by claiming that female participation has skyrocketed. But that kind of seems absurd. If it’s a mixed competition cut into two separate competitions, then of course female participation will increase – so will that of men! You have more spots to fill that must be filled by gender rather than strictly by scores. When they are allowed to compete together and only the top shooters are allowed to move on, then fewer members of both genders will be present.
Even if you want to say that they meant more women are participating at lower levels of competition than the Olympics, I would point out that it’s true across the board and not just for internationally sanctioned disciplines. Every shooting sport in the United States is seeing increased female involvement and it has nothing to do with some international bureaucrat deciding that little ladies need to be put into their own class to keep them from taking medals from the boys. There’s no reason these types of increases can’t happen in other countries.
Back when I was shooting silhouette, some of the longtime shooters would talk about how it wouldn’t take much for me to set a women’s long run record for air gun on at least one animal. Here I was just goofing off at club shoots only some of the time, and when I looked up the records, all it would have taken was one good day to get one. That actually made me feel a bit worse rather than better once I thought about it. They had to show incredible dedication to the sport to even imagine setting a record, but I could have put in only a little more practice to hold the women’s version of the title. It just seemed very unfair that a new female in the sport could achieve so much more than a male who started at the same level. But, hey, since it’s a domestic competition, at least the rules did allow the male and female to compete against one another in the first place. Women can beat men, and vice versa, in the meaningful competition.
Aug 3, 2016
USA Shooting has been pitching the story of Kim Rhode to mainstream media because she’s broken some pretty unique Olympic records during her years of competing. She’s the only American to win individual medals in five straight Olympics – only American at all, not just the only American shooter. Her presence in Rio also makes her the only American Olympian to compete on 5 continents. Beyond American records, she is the only woman to win three Olympic golds in shooting.
In addition to holding records, she’s overcome challenges that many Olympians would find it hard to overcome – like having her specialized sport discontinued and being forced to take up a new one. Her prized equipment was stolen at one point. Yet she makes news for keeping such an upbeat attitude about her sport and life’s many challenges.
With these kinds of records, this news story from May highlighted that the US Olympic team members have never recognized Kim Rhode with the honor of carrying the American flag during opening or closing ceremonies.
Instead, news came today that US swimmer Michael Phelps will carry the flag. He was chosen because he has won multiple medals in various swimming sports that are largely just swimming different distances in the same discipline. Oh, and the other headlines he has generated for the US Olympic team include an underage DUI arrest to which he pled guilty and being photographed with drug paraphernalia. And then there’s the second DUI arrest since he apparently didn’t learn the first time. As this article notes, after every single medal-winning games Phelps has competed in, he follows up with headline-making illegal activities.
Sure, let’s choose that guy because he holds an Olympic record to represent the United States in the ceremonies.
That said, I’m going to try and watch the Olympic shooting events if I can figure out how to stream it. (I think the NBC sports channel on Roku may have all the sports airing if I have read things correctly.) It’s a fairly minor show of support, but our Olympic shooters could probably use a little more support.
Jun 13, 2016
Sen. Bob Casey who ran a campaign to get the support of gun owners changed his tune quite a while ago. He’s on board with the sweeping semi-auto bans, private sale bans, and magazine bans.
Now he wants to make gun owners a felon if they are even suspected of potential crimes – beyond the standard “terror watch list” restriction which could end your right to possess firearms just for having the same name as some person who may not have even visited this country.
Convictions, evidence, and watch list status are no longer required under the plan he announced today. Let someone give your name as a suspect in some crime that happens to include a victim in a protected class, and you lose your Constitutional rights.
“The Hate Crimes Prevention Act would prohibit the purchase, possession or shipment of a firearm by anyone convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime or who received a hate crime sentence enhancement, and prohibit the sale of firearms to anyone reasonably suspected to be guilty of a misdemeanor hate crime. “
(Link via Reason.)
Jun 9, 2016
I was pleasantly surprised to catch a link on Instagram from Colonial Williamsburg advertising “A CW Guide for Gun Enthusiasts.”
What? A general family vacation spot specifically advertising they would be happy to host people who enjoy the shooting sports? Love it.
If you’re looking for a family vacation spot this year, then maybe check out their entire daily itinerary geared just for gun nuts. It sounds like an enjoyable day. (I’ve never been, so I can’t vouch for it.)
Jun 3, 2016
An armed robber who had a shotgun and zip ties targeted a local pharmacy this morning. Fortunately, the owner takes security seriously and has a video surveillance system that allowed him to see the shotgun before the robber got into the store. The owner also had a gun that he pulled, and he fired at the surprised bad guy.
I think the best part of this encounter is that the owner quickly called the police who could catch the getaway driver who was still waiting outside since he figured his buddy would be a while – trying to clear out the entire pharmacy after at least taking the owner hostage, if not killing him. Easy arrest, and hopefully easy clean-up inside.
UPDATE: And our really, really local outlet reports that the van was stolen out of New Jersey.
UPDATE II: And now we have the folks coming out that says the shotgun-toting robber with zip ties was engaged in a non-violent offense and didn’t deserve to be shot despite his willingness to shoot his victim. When I looked at the rest of the page, it didn’t appear to be a parody account. He seems to really believe that the pharmacist defending his own life committed murder.
And for the record, my right to bare arms is my right to wear sleeveless shirts and dresses. My right to bear arms, however, protects my right to defend myself from armed robbers ready to kill over access to drugs.
UPDATE III: And this is why I voted for our DA:
District Attorney David Heckler wholeheartedly agreed.
“There is no thought that we would prosecute the shooter in this case. He was entirely justified in his conduct, and frankly should be commended,” Heckler said.
“From what I can see, he performed a public service in taking out this fella,” Heckler continued. “The fella asked for what he got and he got it.”
UPDATE IV: And, it gets even better. The getaway driver admits he’s a criminal on probation – driving a stolen car to an armed robbery. It will be curious to see how long his record is back in New Jersey, as well as that of the dead thief who has yet to be identified.
Jun 1, 2016
When Sebastian was telling me the tales of different types of ice cream trucks he had available to him growing up based on whether he was at home or visiting an aunt or grandmother, I joked that there were ice cream truck turf wars that kept those boundaries in line.
I was joking because in America the idea that one would get violent over ice cream – especially when trucks often sell different types of ice cream novelties and cones – is just completely absurd. It’s insane.
But, apparently, the NYT reports that it’s the typical business model in New York City. It started out with trademark infringement that resulted in more than $765,000 in legal awards (that haven’t been paid by the offender), but then it elevated to surrounding competing trucks and beating on them. A driver for New York Ice Cream, the offending company, admits that they get physical with other drivers in an effort to enforce “turf” illegally. There’s apparently a decades-long history of violence among other companies, too. One driver in 1969 was kidnapped and had his truck blown up. More recently, a couple was beaten to critical condition with a wrench.
Talk about New York Values. It’s amazing that the city wants to leave the victims unable to defend themselves. Well, it’s not shocking since we’re not talking about America here.
May 24, 2016
One of the best reminders that NRA really does represent a real grassroots movement is that members directly elect the board of directors. There’s a clearly defined way to become a voter and the results are published openly.
I’ve added this year’s numbers to my collection of NRA voting data. There are a few interesting differences this year over previous years.
The number of voting members who were sent ballots has increased 36.5% since I started keeping track in 2006. Most of that growth has happened since 2011 when there appears to have been a cleaning of the rolls.
The yellow bar is how many were mailed back vs. how many were mailed in red.
2016S represents the special recall election of 2016.
The number of voters actually participating in the elections is, unfortunately, not very high and not growing substantially. But given that we have a growing problem of too many celebrities and are losing activist leaders with diverse skills, this may not be a great number. It would probably be better to see more informed voters rather than increasing numbers of people voting for any name they vaguely recognize from popular culture.
Perhaps one of the most interesting statistics is the fact that “last winner” was on a fewer percentage of ballots than ever before. The same was almost true for the top vote getter as well. (Technically, last year’s top vote winner, Ronnie Barrett, was on a lower percentage of the ballots, but not by much.) Those two numbers indicate to me that more voters are more likely bullet voting – voting only for a handful of candidates instead of all 25 slots. That’s actually a much smarter way to vote if you’re interested in getting key candidates on the board. Increasing the votes of those who you care about less could end up hurting your favorites on the ballot.
Another good number from this election is that the percentage of invalid ballots is still low – 2.79%. That’s compared to a high of 8.71% from the years I’ve been tracking. The most common mistake is marking too many candidates. But the next highest mistake is an easy one to fix – remembering to sign the envelope before you seal it and mail it. A whooping 723 voters didn’t have their ballots counted because of this authentication error.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is what a difference only a few votes makes. The difference between the candidate who did make the 25th seat and the one who did not was only 841 votes. That’s a number smaller than some 100% NRA clubs. Votes do matter, and I loved that NRA started giving out buttons to members who took the time to vote in the 76th director race. If they keep doing that, you know I’m going to start a collection and wear them on my pass each year. :)
May 24, 2016
While I was driving all the way from Louisville to Philadelphia-area yesterday, Sebastian handled the reporting of what so many always want to know – how many freedom lovers came out to hang out with fellow NRA members.
Beyond the fact that it’s the 2nd largest convention, how does it really compare? Fortunately for you all, I like data that no one else seems to keep.
I’ve been keeping track of the attendance ever since my first meeting in 2004, or as I call it, Pittsburgh #1. Since that first meeting I attended out of college, this year’s meeting was about 1/3 bigger (31.2%). Over last year, the growth was nearly 2,000 people, but only about 2%.
In that time, we’ve had 4 repeat cities – Louisville, Houston, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh. Aside from Houston which is kind of an anomaly, Louisville actually saw the greatest same city increase in attendance (21.5% compared to Pittsburgh at 16% and St. Louis at 14.3%).
Most of the dips you see in the early columns are simply location issues. That has become less of an issue since I started attending, as more people are willing to make this an annual or nearly annual tradition regardless of how far it is. In this article on Indianapolis securing two more years, they note that Houston’s last convention saw 43% of attendees coming from 200 miles away or more. You can see this reflected around the floor and in the member meeting where this year’s family of the youngest life member was from Chicago and the oldest life member traveled from Ft. Smith, Arkansas.
And while I don’t have firm numbers since the other side is against such measures, I can tell you that you can largely flip this chart around and chop off many zeros on the numbers to represent the anti-gun side presence at each event. There were actually a good number of protesters at Pittsburgh #1. They were pretty good spirited folks, too. There was a chanting contest and someone who shipped a Million Moms banner up from their Atlanta chapter. The biggest downers at the event were the ACLU volunteers who were trying to convince NRA members that they had no right to photograph protestors on the street, presumably in an effort to keep us from highlighting how few there were compared to the 61,319 NRA members. There was an uptick for Pittsburgh again in 2011, but otherwise, the protests just keep getting smaller.
It will be interesting to see the future. The event is getting large enough now that many cities simply cannot handle it. Even though Louisville has some of the largest event space in the country, the logistics just don’t work well. The Expo Center didn’t open enough gates for getting people into the parking lot, and there parking attendants weren’t on top of making sure spaces were filled in an orderly manner on their busiest days. They also apparently did nothing to try and direct traffic on the main roads to under-utilized gates. The gate we used (6) had very little wait on Friday based on the Google traffic report and very little on Saturday, too. That’s on the city hosts, and not on NRA. However, since NRA has to look at the bottom line of member experience, Louisville could lose future business by their unwillingness to manage traffic in a reasonable manner for an event they knew to be huge. Interestingly, it looks like Louisville is losing other conventions of similar sizes like the FFA which is close to 60,000 people. That article actually notes that new hotel space is only going up downtown, away from the Expo Center. That only compounds the traffic concerns.
As for the immediate future, the dates and locations are:
2019 – Indianapolis, Indiana
2020 – Nashville, Tennessee
May 21, 2016
Usually when a reporter wants to spin against the NRA and its millions of grassroots members, it’s a lot more subtle than outright fabrication of things that did not happen where cameras and thousands of people are present. I mean, let’s face it, that’s just bold to think you won’t get caught in that kind of lie.
However, that’s what Louisville Business First‘s Baylee Pulliam tried to pull off in her Twitter coverage of the NRA Annual Meeting.
Pulliam tried to claim that NRA was dubbing dog noises over video of Hillary.
Except they didn’t. It’s a complete lie that NRA dubbed barking noises over Hillary. NRA simply played the video of Hillary herself barking like a dog.
Even though I was in the law seminar during the political event, I checked with multiple people there, and I watched the video which NRA News helpfully streams live and posts after the event.
But don’t let that stop the narrative that must be told that NRA and its members hate women. No, Pulliam needs to help push a narrative, so false accusations of dubbing must fly around social media.
Since at least one person has called her out, Pulliam tried to delete her tweet. But was there any kind of correction or apology posted? Nope.
Acknowledging such an accusation means it gets documented that the reporter doesn’t actually keep up with current events and somehow missed the news of Hillary barking, doesn’t do research before throwing out claims against innocent organizations, or she really is simply willing to unfairly accuse NRA of actions they did not take until someone publicly calls her out. With more than 20,000 videos on YouTube and nearly 500,000 Google links when searching “Hillary Clinton barking,” I find it doubtful that someone covering political events would miss that kind of news. It’s certainly possible that she just throws out accusations and doesn’t do research before doing so, but that seems a little reckless for a reporter at a business-focused media outlet. Sadly, that leaves the third option as a very real possibility.