Amusing Observation

Crimson Trace laser grips for guns have a scary “Caution – Laser Radiation Is Emitted From This Aperture” warning label next to the laser diode.
Of course, there’s no “Caution – Bullets Are Emitted From This Aperture” warnings on the barrel.
Somehow, I think the bullets are more dangerous than a Class I laser diode.

NRA Annual Meeting

Quick summary (more to come later, I’m just relaxing at The Girl(tm)’s house):

  • Met a few other gunbloggers.
  • Perused the exhibits.
  • Have sore feet from walking all bloody day.
  • Trying to convince The Girl(tm) that we should put a Barrett M82A1 on the wedding registry is surprisingly difficult. She wants stuff like dishes, bedsheets, and so on. Who knew? Maybe an AR-50? I’ll keep trying.
  • I’ve got a bunch of pictures from the day that I need to sort through. For the time being, enjoy this one:

Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse

I think we can all agree that if ignorance of the law was an excuse, we’d get a lot more people falsely claiming ignorance in order to shirk responsibility for their crimes.
However, such a policy also requires that people are, in fact, aware of the law in question.
Essentially everyone knows it’s illegal to exceed the marked speed limit on a street (though enforcement of such laws is often given a bit of wiggle room), it’s illegal to assault another, rob banks, or other such actions. Knowledge of such laws are common.
In many cases, however, people aren’t aware of specific laws — such a law may not be something that a reasonably person might expect to exist (as opposed to, for example, a law against robbing banks), or the law may have recently been changed.
For example, it’s my understanding that using lead shot while hunting waterfowl is illegal. While not exactly common knowledge outside of the waterfowling community, all the bird hunters I know are well aware of the prohibition. However, how many people are aware that the use of lead ammunition if illegal in wide swaths of California (evidently to protect condors from ingesting bullets and getting lead poisoning)? There’s a lot of people who have been shooting regular lead ammo in California for decades before the law changed — the passage of such a law is not exactly common knowledge (it wasn’t reported in the media), and many of these shooters don’t subscribe to any newsletters, blogs, publications, or other means of learning about such a law. Very few people wake up in the morning and think, “I wonder if shooting lead ammo is still legal. I should check.” Unknowningly, these people become criminals when they go out to the woods to shoot as they had for decades.
Same thing with so-called “assault weapons” in California — when the state changed the law to require registration (and eventual prohibition) of such guns, very few people complied. While I’m sure that a not-insignificant number of shooters said “Screw that.” and didn’t bother registering out of idealogical reasons, I’d imagine that most gun owners were simply unaware of the law and remain unaware to this day as nobody has made them aware of the law, and they wouldn’t ever think of checking as the concept of a ban based on cosmetic features is so non-common-sensical that the thought would simply never occur to them.
When the ATF has to split California’s gun laws into two parts because they’re so numerous, I think that exceeds some sort of threshold. The average person should not need to consult a lawyer to ensure that their everyday actions are not in violation of some law that they’ve never heard of.
While ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse, such a policy requires that the average person can reasonably be expected to know the law. With the huge amounts of laws covering the minutest aspects of one’s life, I don’t believe it’s reasonable that an average person be expected to know every single law.
What can be done? Repealing onerous, obscure, or obfuscated laws seems…unlikely. Sending citizens an annual list of laws that apply to them will simply waste money for printing and postage; even if someone did read all the laws in such a document, it’s unlikely that’d be able to read all of them before the next edition arrives. If they did manage to read them, it’s unlikely they’d understand them all or how they apply without consulting a lawyer. Any sort of simplified “Legal FAQ” is likely to leave out information that applies to some groups.
Honestly, I’m not sure how things can practically be made better without some fundamental change in the law (see the aforementioned repealing of various laws).

NRA Meeting Meetup?

As mentioned previously, I will be attending the NRA Annual meeting with my friend and fellow blogger Louis, my fiancee, and (traveling there separately) another friend and blogger Doug and his brother.
I’d love to meet some of my gentle readers, as well as other bloggers. If anyone wants to meet up on Saturday (I won’t be able to make it on Friday), please contact me by email and I can provide my cell number so we can coordinate at the event.
See you all there!


I’m a scientist, not a businessman. I know next to nothing about making a profit except “sell stuff for higher than it cost you to make/purchase/acquire.” I leave the details to the experts, particularly when it comes to marketing.
I don’t like it when vendors don’t provide sufficient details, particularly technical details, in their catalogs, websites, or other media. I really dislike annoying ads that flash, blink or otherwise compete for my attention. I like simple, informative data that tells me what I want to know. I also know that one should really double-check one’s text prior to publishing it (( Though I admit to not doing this on occasion. )), particularly when one is putting together a catalog/website to sell things. It’s espescially important when publishing something in a different language.
For example, observe the following exerpt of a description of a sillicone, flexible, roll-up USB keyboard:

Finally a ruggedized keyboard which can withstand all kinds of abuse! This flexible keyboard is made of thigh quality silicone material, which offers the perfect combination of practicality, durability, comport, and flexibility. The unique material allows you not only to clean the keyboard with soap and water, but also makes it resistant to any dirt, even coffee or tea!

Thigh quality? Really? I always associated sillicone with breasts, not thighs. Perhaps they were trying to say, “thick, high quality”?
I’m not sure that a keyboard can “comport” — it might be comfortable, but I can’t really see how an inanimate object could misbehave.
While coffee might not be the best-tasting substance ever (though it smells fantastic!), I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “dirt.”
I suspect that the description was written by some Chinese person with a passable knowledge of English, but they really should have run their text past a native English speaker to see if the text actually makes sense. Surely a one-time cost of a hundred bucks or so is sufficient for someone with a bit of attention to detail and knowledge of the target audience’s language to look over it and make corrections, particularly when they’ll be cranking out a brazillion of whatever device they’ll be selling (hopefully at a profit).
If their marketing department can’t pay any attention to detail, I shudder to think of what their actual manufacturing department does.

Uh, ok…

Back in February, I ordered some Mec-Gar magazines from an online vendor on behalf of a friend of mine. Turns out that the vendor’s website lied and they didn’t have the magazines in stock (but I didn’t know this at the time).
After a few weeks and no email other than the “Your order has been received.” message, I figured I should email them and check. After a day or two, they replied and indicated that they were out of stock and they’d send them whenever they got them in.
A month or two goes by and my friend was getting antsy, so I ordered them from CDNN, who had them on my doorstep within a week. I emailed the original vendor and asked that they cancel the order and confirm said cancellation. I received no response, but archived the email anyway to make sure I’d have it as evidence if there was ever any issues.
Today, I had a notice on my door that UPS had dropped off a parcel with my apartment manager. I wasn’t expecting anything, so I was a bit confused. Upon opening the package, I discovered the magazines I had ordered way back when.
I’m particularly puzzled as I checked my credit card records and the vendor never actually charged me for the magazines or shipping. Very weird. I’ve written to the vendor to clear this up and actually pay for the magazines.
Perhaps I should take this to stick to well-known, reputable vendors like Midway who have a good order-tracking system rather than looking to save a buck or two by buying from some small, relatively unknown vendor.

NRA Annual Meeting

I’m going to be attending the NRA Annual Meeting and Second Amendment Blog Bash, though I’ll be unable to attend on Friday due to exams. I’ll be up on Saturday morning with Louis,? a friend and fellow blogger, as well as my fianc?e Sarah.
If anyone wants to meet up, please feel free to contact me by email and I’ll be glad to provide my cell number so we can link up at the meeting.
Interesting note: according to the NRA, lawful carriage of firearms is allowed at the entire event and exhibit hall, with the exception of events where alcohol is served (such as the banquets). Since I don’t intend to attend such banquets, I’ll be carrying.
Other interesting note: The NRA has been running ads on various electronic billboards (I didn’t see any physical boards, just the electronic ones) around the Phoenix metro area. I find it fantastic that they’re running billboards for the general public, and that there’s not some media or public backlash (at least I haven’t heard or seen any).
Hope to see everyone there!

Government Websites

$DEITY, I forgot how much I hate dealing with the government. They’re inefficient, bloated, and complicated.
I’m applying for academic benefits from the VA, and have to deal with all their normal government suckiness, but even worse, their web design skills suck and they use overloaded, slow Microsoft servers.
The only thing worse than government paperwork is government websites in lieu of paperwork.