Just Where Will It Stop?

A hunting blogger recently opened debate about supposed “high-fenced hunting” and preserve hunting. He has since added to it and I haven’t fully caught up. However, based on the opening of the post, I had to say something. My comments focus on the hunting community given the context. But, I think it easily translates into discussions we have about the shooting sports and gun ownership in general. So, without further delay, here it is:

If we, the hunting population start to define what hunting is, where will it stop?

In the spirit of Fark, THIS!

This right here, in my opinion is the biggest threat to hunting. Yes, there are huge legal and cultural threats, too. But, ultimately, when I see the community dividing over really stupid issues (the most divisive and common I see is related to access), that’s where I see the downfall of hunting.

Yes, I recognize that my use of the term “stupid issues” isn’t making the conversation any easier. I realize there are valuable opinions on many sides of any given issue. On the other hand, I want to grab many I have had to deal with by the shoulders and shake them violently while screaming, “Do you want your sport to die, you freakin’ idiot?” But, if it helps, I think the same thing about many sport shooters I encounter, too. :)

In PA, the latest debate was over expanding crossbow use. I kid you not, I met several guys who were more outraged over that decision than they would have been if the had cut all hunting seasons in half. Sebastian was talking to one outdoor writer here who was just laughing about the entire thing. He pointed out that these very same people and groups screamed as loudly about compound bows years ago – and now they would scream bloody murder if you tried to restrict compound bows. Meanwhile, as non-hunters who care about the issue, Sebastian & I are wondering why, if it has the possibility of opening up hunting to a slightly broader audience, bow hunters are seeking to shut it down.

Hunters have got to start getting on the same page if they hope to keep the sport alive for their kids and grandkids. That doesn’t mean that every hunter has to agree on every issue. It means that the first question asked should be whether the subject at hand (property access, apprentice hunting, license changes, rifle/bow/whathever use, preserves, etc.) has an opportunity to open up the sport to new or no longer active participants. If the answer is yes (and it will be most of the time), then the discussion should really just be a matter of weighing the costs and benefits. I think even changing how those issues are debated will get more hunters closer to the same page.

Sorry for such a long comment that doesn’t directly address the issue at hand. But, I think the point you made is particularly relevant to many of the debates in the community.

Before any shooters jump on the bandwagon with the idea that we’re superior to hunting in that we don’t have these same divides, that’s simply not true.  In fact, the perceived divide between shooting and hunting interests is a key example.  I say perceived because I meet very few hunters who are willing or ready to throw shooters under the bus.  But, I talk to an awful lot of shooters who make the accusation about hunters and therefore justify throwing hunting issues under the bus in the name of revenge.  No movement is perfect, and we have divisions within the shooting community, just like they have divisions in the hunting community.  It’s time to find ways to reshape some of our conversations about internal issues.

What Does a Politicized GM Plan Look Like?

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker spoke with White House officials about their plans for GM after Obama fired the CEO.

Corker said he spoke to Steven Rattner, chairman of the Obama task force, late Sunday and was told the administration might use a section of the bankruptcy code to conduct a quick restructuring and decide which plants will stay alive.

When I first read this, I mentioned to Sebastian that they could easily target red state plants first and make it a political game.

Oh, did I mention my uncle works for GM in Oklahoma, the only state to go more solidly red this year, and was told there’s a meeting for all workers (regardless of shift) on Thursday morning?

Obviously, I don’t know details about GM’s operations, and it may make sense to close that plant or to have substantial cuts there. But, when the WH is making personnel decisions, there’s always going to be room for political considerations and favors or punishment for friends and foes. In other words, we’ll never really know when cuts are made on the business merits or the political whims of Rahm & his buddies.

Obama’s Achievement

President Obama has managed to do what no other leader has been able to accomplish.  He has brought unionized auto workers and management together.

“It’s the age-old Wall Street vs. Main Street smackdown again,” said Brian Fredline, president of UAW Local 602 at a plant near Lansing. “You have all kinds of funding available to banks that are apparently too big to fail, but they’re also too big to be responsible.”

“But when it comes to auto manufacturing and middle-class jobs and people that don’t matter on Wall Street, there are certainly different standards that we have to meet — higher standards — than the financials. That is a double standard that exists and it’s unfair,” Fredline said.

Many workers — not generally known for their affection toward executives — even sympathized with Rick Wagoner, who was forced to step down as chief executive of General Motors Corp. He was by turns called a “sacrificial lamb,” “scapegoat” and “fall guy.”

Home Improvement: Lighting up Our New Patio

While we wait for the concrete to cure, I’ll tackle another issue in our patio repair/makeover.  I mentioned in a previous post that we need new lighting fixtures in the back. I think the ones out there are almost as old as I am. I am torn, so I’m turning to you interwebz. However, know that when I ask for your input, it doesn’t mean I’ll take it. No offense meant by that, it’s just that I’m a woman.

My first instinct when I open up the outdoor lighting sections of the Home Depot and Lowe’s websites is to look at the pretty brown lights. I adore brown. If I could wear brown every day, I would. I go over board on the brown. But, fortunately for me, brown is a nice simple decorating color. Then I realized that we’re getting white gutters. Overall, the trim of the house is a combination of white and blue while we also have some dark red brick and cream stucco. (Don’t ask, it’s hard to explain how all these textures and colors work.) Obviously, based on photos, you can see these lights will go up against the brick. The trim around the door will remain for a while until we pull out the door and replace it with a sliding door that will likely be white, possibly with some blue trim depending on our options at the time. So silver seems like a more neutral color choice in all of this.

That said, I’m not sure I’m 100% sold on the color and styles available for the budget. So, that’s where you come in, Interwebz.

choice1Choice 1: This is the first light I found that somewhat caught my eye. There is no “collection” so the same fixture would have to be used in the back and the front. There is no motion detection, a feature we would like for the front, but not for the back.

This sounds a little odd, but our house, when you look at it for a while, kind of reminds you of a boat.  It doesn’t look like a boat, but maybe because it’s the kind of house I would expect to see on a lake or near a marina.  This light, for some reason, speaks to that feel.  That may be a bad thing.

Click to enlarge all photos.

choice2Choice 2: The lamp on the left is the second one I found that caught my eye.  It has the perk of coming in a collection that gives us more choices for a different light for the front of the house.  The one on the right is the first of those two choices.  The larger light again does not have motion detection for the front, which kind of sucks.

I was not a huge fan of the lamp for the front.  It is much taller than what we have now, and I’m worried it will be too prominent for a relatively small  space.  (Most of the front of the house is a wall of windows with only a sliver of brick between them and the door.

choice3Choice 3: This is the same light for the back, but another of the collection to go out front.  Again, there is no motion detection for the lamp that would go on the front of the house.

The lamp for the front isn’t really a “match,” but it is from the same family of fixtures.  It’s about 3 inches shorter than what we have in the front now, so it would work.  It’s als0 a much cheaper combination than the last choice which makes me a bigger fan.  Yay for budget-friendly!

choice4Choice 4: These two don’t actually match.  One is from Lowe’s and the other Home Depot.  BUT…the lamp choice for the front comes with a motion detector – a plus.  Obviously, the fixtures will be on different sides of the house, so the match issue may not really be much of one since they do have some features which are somewhat similar.

So, this is it for the silver fixture options.  I’m still considering browns because there are some that I think are more the style I’d prefer, and I don’t think we should rule brown out.  Fundamentally, it’s still a neutral color that would work well with the brick.  I may also go back and look at some black fixtures.  I don’t think I want that much contrast out there, but I’ll take a look.  It’s the color of most lamps in the neighborhood that aren’t brass.

Guns Booming Back Home

Another anti-gun Newspaper from the area writes a story on gun sales, this one from Delaware County where I grew up:

Law-abiding gun owners are making sweet sounds for gun shop owners, with sales skyrocketing along with applications for gun permits in the county over concerns President Barack Obama may set his sights on stiffer gun laws after focusing on the economy.

Apparently applications for LTCs in Delaware COunty are up 21.5% in the first two months of the year.

Of the total applications in 2008, 1,875, or 57 percent, were new or first-time applications, according to Sheriff Joseph F. McGinn.

Read the whole thing.  It’s pretty good coming from the Delco Times.

Self-Destruction From the Other Side

It’s a great relief that when the anti-gun folks actually do show a little grass roots, they are just as self-destructive as we can be.  State Representative Eddie Washington, in Illinois, took a walk on an important gun control measure, because he thought it gave too much to the gun rights community.  Their reaction?

With a small group of protesters standing outside his downtown office, Washington told the News-Sun he didn’t vote in favor of House Bill 48 last Wednesday because he didn’t agree with all parts of the bill.

Washington voted “present” on the bill, which failed by a 60 to 55 margin. The bill called for background checks for private firearm sales, though it also featured a number of exemptions, which Washington said he didn’t fully support.

Washington has a history of supporting anti-violence legislation, including helping to secure funding to restore the Cease Fire group.

This guy is one of your best friends, and you’re going to target him because he took a walk on one bill and is holding out for more?  It gets even nuttier:

She believes he, along with two other black legislators — Rep. Chuck Jackson, Rockford, and Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, East St. Louis — didn’t vote for the bill because of influence and contributions from the National Rifle Association.

Bishop’s group contends that a $3,000 donation last summer from International Union of Operating Engineer’s Local 150 led to Washington’s indecision, citing the group’s has conservative members and its leaders ties to NRA.

If Vandermyde got them to walk, bravo my good man.  But I think it’s a safe bet that these legislators aren’t much in the way of influenced by NRA.  Jennifer Bishop should be reluctant to turn on friends over one vote, after a history of supporting their cause.  What grass roots army are you going to use to defeat him?  What happens when he keeps his seat?  Do you think he won’t be a little pissed you turned on him so quickly?

I’ve seen activists on our side sour good relationships over less, so I’m happy to see these kinds of self-destructive tendencies aren’t just limited to gun rights supporters.

Interesting Second Amendment Case

This case Eugene Volokh highlights challenges part of California’s Welfare and Instutions Code, which bars people who have been involuntarily admitted for mental treatment from possessing firearms for a period of 5 years.  I believe this section would also apply a federal ban as well.  The plaintiff in the case went through the normal channels for relief from this type of firearms disability, and was denied.

The question is whether or not a “preponderance of evidence” standard is sufficient to deny Second Amendment rights, or whether a stronger standard, such as “clear and convincing evidence” need to be required for a civil commitment.  The court reasons:

When evaluating whether the private interest affected by the civil proceeding requires a standard of proof higher than the preponderance of the evidence standard, the courts consider “the nature of the private interest threatened and the permanency of the threatened loss.” (Assuming arguendo the Second Amendment applies to the states, under Heller an individual’s right to possess certain firearms in the home for defensive purposes is of constitutional stature. However, under section 8103, the deprivation of this interest is temporary, lasting for five years. Further, the loss concerns the loss of property, and does not involve deprivation of physical liberty or severance of familial ties. The deprivation is not akin to the types of cases -— such as termination of parental rights, civil commitment, or deportation —- where a clear and convincing evidence standard is typically imposed. Moreover, although the loss of the right to possess firearms can impact an individual’s ability to defend him- or herself, the deprivation does not leave the individual exposed to danger without recourse to other defensive measures, such as installing home security devices and summoning the police.

The court goes on to argue that balancing the consequences of a mentally unstable person having a gun, versus the temporary loss of liberty favor using preponderance of the evidence standard.

What I don’t quite understand is why, in a case like this, the “clear and convincing” standard isn’t sufficient?  I would imagine even under that standard this guy is pretty clearly and convincingly mentally disturbed.  I think the court also errs in assuming that substitutes are as readily effective.  As someone in the comments point out, “Those alternatives were just as available to the residents of Washington DC, but the supreme court rejected such reasoning when presented by the DC government.”

I can understand why the judge felt the need to reach this conclusion, because this person is a poor plaintiff to be making Second Amendment claims.  Who wants to be responsible for allowing a mentally disturbed individual access to firearms?  But I think the standard is too low, and relegates the Second Amendment to second class status among our panoply of rights.

I’d say I hope the case is appealed, but this plaintiff is awful.  It would be ideal to appeal a better case, but we might not get ideal.

John Rosenthal Finds New Demon

Looks like he’s gone from wanting to ban guns to wanting to ban bottled water:

Opposition to the bottled water industry is just beginning to gain momentum. In December 2008 the City of Toronto became the largest city in the world to pass a comprehensive policy banning bottled water in City buildings and aggressively reinvesting in the City’s public water supply delivery system. Other major urban centers, like Seattle and New York are promoting their own tap water over bottled water. According to the Container Recycling Institute, just supplying Americans with plastic water bottles for one year consumes more than 47 million gallons of oil, enough to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere. Ninety percent of used water bottles are not recycled. In California alone, more than 1 billion plastic bottles end up in California’s landfills each year, leaking toxic additives, such as phthalates, into the groundwater and taking 1,000 years to biodegrade.

Why can’t these people just leave well enough alone and stop telling people how to live their lives?  Bitter is going to head to the store today to get some more Coke Zero.  I’ll make sure she picks up a nice palette of bottled water, and we’ll drink a few in honor of AHSA co-founder John Rosenthal.

There’s one reason I sometimes drink bottled water.  My tap water tastes bad, and Britta doesn’t help much.  But hey, I welcome the change.  I anxiously await the creation of the American Water Drinkers Association, to defend the rights of water drinking Americans everywhere.

Home Improvement: The Pour

Yesterday, the concrete guy came by to check on the status of water in the piling holes.  They were pretty full, so he knew he had to bring a pump today to get them emptied in order to pour the concrete.

This morning, we woke to the sounds of them working on the frame and prepping for the concrete to go in around 7 or 7:30 (the clock is on Sebastian’s side, so I’m guessing here).  Right before Sebastian left, the concrete truck arrived.  That was exciting.  Even more exciting was watching them work.  The concrete truck waited in the alley while Norm’s two assistants brought it over one wheelbarrow-full at a time.  Norm mixed it up to to fill in all the important areas, and then one of the other guys took over smoothing it down for hours.  He left shortly before 3pm.  That was a long day of smoothing out concrete.

I have to admit, I was most shocked when they started putting in lines where there were none before.  And this is why we’re reminded why it’s better to hire pros for some projects.  The simple lines and the pattern that they added to the newly created border transformed that patio.  This home is clearly a starter home, so you can never get too fancy with any decor.  But, because of that, details have the chance to stand out.  And this, when I look outside, really stands out in a good way.

I have to say that this was a fantastic investment.  We got a great deal with the contractor, and I would not be shocked that even in a down market, that Sebastian would see every dime from this project back – and more.  It’s that big of a difference.

Rampaging Killers

Dr. Helen offers some insight into the minds of a lot of these rampage killers, and suggests ways that these people can be detected and helped before they kill.  PDB, who is a native of North Carolina, offers some other commentary on the situation.  I would add that I think the media has a lot to do with these rampage shooters as well, as Uncle points out, they always seem to come in threes.