NBC special on “youth violence”

NBC was showing a program called “America Now: Faces Against Violence” that depicted the people involved with trying to reduce violent crime in Chicago.
I was intrigued that they really focused on “gun violence”, and many of the discussions involved complaints about “easy access to guns” rather than a profusion of violent criminals.
I commented to my wife that we have incredibly easy access to guns in our condo (( the holstered gun on my waist, two old revolvers in a case on the coffee table, and a pile of long guns in the closet )), yet we’re not even remotely prone to violence (( Though we do take MarioKart for Wii quite seriously )). Clearly, there’s more contributing to violent crime than simple access to firearms.
The parts of Chicago they were discussing had serious issues with gangs, drugs, and economic depression. I suspect these issues are a bit more important than bad guys getting guns. Take the guns away, and the gangs will use knives, rocks, or boards with a nail through it. Get rid of the gangs, and violent crime goes away. Funny how that works. I truly respect and admire those who are willing to guide vulnerable youth on the good path, away from violence and gangs.
I’m also quite happy that the law-abiding people in Chicago have had the most egregious restrictions overturned, and are able to (even though they need to jump through some hoops) own firearms for their own defense. Hopefully the remaining infringements will be overturned shortly, without the need for time-consuming legal battles.

Import oddness?

Sebastian comments on the impediments that the government is putting up to limit the importation of surplus M1s from South Korea.
I’m a bit confused, because the M1 that I bought in 2005 from the CMP was one the US had loaned the Greek government, prior to its return. I’d imagine that things would be similar with Korea. The CMP has been selling M1s to the public for decades without incident (( To the extent of my knowledge. )), so why would a government official think it’d be an issue now? I’m presuming that any M1s imported from Korea would go through the CMP or, at the very least, through an FFL — why would concerns about the guns ending up in the hands of bad guys be any different for these fine rifles than with any other type of gun?
If anything, you’d think it’d be a good thing for criminals to have M1s: they’re large, difficult to conceal, require a bit of training to use effectively (( For example, reloading quickly. )), are incredibly loud, have a limited, non-expandable ammunition capacity, and shoot relatively expensive .30-06 ammo.
They’d better not be cut up, crushed, or melted. M1s are fantastic rifles, and I would be hugely put out if they destroyed them.

Joe on Mobile Crypto

The Saudi and UAE governments are thinking of banning certain services on BlackBerry phones, as theyare encrypted and communicate to foreign systems.
Joe reminds us that while encrypted communications can be used for nefarious purposes, they can also be used for good. Phil Zimmermann, inventor of the common encryption software PGP feels the same way.
Indeed, they are used for good far more than for evil, and their use is almost ubiquitous: essentially any site that deals with personal or financial information is SSL-encrypted. Gmail uses SSL by default, and now even Google Search is available over SSL. Most instant-messaging clients use SSL between the client and server, and Skype uses transparent, end-to-end encryption for all voice, video, and chat messages, as well as file transfers.
In a way, crypto is not unlike firearms (( Even the government considers certain cryptosystems to be munitions, and restricts their export, although the restrictions have been considerably lessened in my lifetime.)) : it can be used by bad guys plotting dastardly deeds, but its benefits to society are considerably greater than its drawbacks.
In fact, I consider strong crypto to go hand-in-hand with free speech: being able to speak privately (and, on a related note, anonymously) is one of the strongest foundations of liberty. I hold this believe so strongly that I regularly use and encourage others to use strong crypto in their everyday lives. For those wishing to contact me securely, my PGP key is available here. One can also send me an S/MIME-signed message and I will reply with a signed+encrypted message.

CCWs for Murderers

That’s right, I believe Drew Douglas Grant, a person responsible for the intentional deaths of 4 children and a teacher, should be granted a permit for a handgun.

– Robb Allen, in this post.
Read out-of-context, this line is enough to send reasonable people into a fit of PSH…and rightfully so. Indeed, when I first read it, I was a bit taken aback. Upon reading the whole thing, however, I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with Robb.
Go forth and read.

Don’t Think So

AccuWeather says the current weather in Tucson (heavy rains, thunderstorms, 95F temps, etc.) are “very good conditions for golf”.
Somehow, the idea of walking around outside with a long, wet, conducting metal golf club while wearing wet, conducting clothing, while standing on wet, conducting grass seems like a really, really bad idea.
This reminds me of a Terry Pratchett quote:

“Let’s just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, he’d be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting ‘All gods are bastards’.”
— Rincewind discussing Twoflower (Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic)

Technology Marches On

In 1993, I was but a young lad of 11. At the time, my parents purchased a PowerBook 165c, the first color Mac laptop. It had a whopping 33MHz processor, 4MB of RAM, an 80MB hard disk, and a 8.9″ 8-bit 640 x 400 color passive matrix display that could display 256 colors. It weighed about 7 pounds. According to LowEndMac, it cost about $3,400. Ouch.
Today, I was looking at a new netbook made by System76, a small, independent company that sells hardware with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed. This computer has a HyperThreaded 1.66GHz processor (50x faster than the PowerBook if you only count one thread, 100x if you count both threads), 2GB of RAM (500x as much), a 250GB hard disk (3125x as large), and a 1024 x 600 LED-backlit screen that can display millions of colors. It weighs 2 pounds, and costs $389. It’s also physically smaller, has a battery that lasts about 4x as long, and has a stupidly fast wireless card.
All that in 17 years.
Firearms, however, have been around for quite a bit longer than 17 years, yet modern firearms are essentially the same as they were fifty years ago.
Where’s my Star Wars-esque blaster gun? Get crackin’, guys…

M1 History

Anyone know of any resources to trace the history of an M1 Garand based on its serial number?
I have a Springfield Armory M1 which, according to what I can tell, was made in 1950 and eventually made it into the hands of the Greek Army, from which it was later returned to the US and eventually into my possession.
I’d really like to get a bit more details on it, so as to better appreciate its history.

Matter of Time

Back when I lived in California, I was always surprised that the state required registration for handguns, but not for rifles and other long guns. Of course, I thought it was ludicrous to have any registration at all, but still, the thought of a partial registry seems particularly dumb.
Of course, the California legislature wasn’t satisfied with their partial registry, and so the creeping hand of government advances a bit with AB1810. The NRA has this to say about it:

AB1810 was passed by a 42-29 vote. In short, this bill would establish a registration system, similar to the one currently in place for handguns, for all newly-acquired long guns.? Under AB1810, the make, model and serial number of the firearm as well as the identifying information of the purchaser would be recorded and kept on file by the California Attorney General’s office.
If AB1810 were enacted, violent criminals would continue doing what they do now – obtain firearms through illegal means.? This bill would not decrease crime but will rather have disastrous effects on the already financially unstable Golden State.? AB1810 would impose additional burdens on California’s taxpayers to maintain the registration system as well as on the state’s licensed firearms dealers, small businesses who already deal with extensive business requirements.
One simply needs to look at Canada, a nation with draconian firearms registration, to see the results – billions in cumulative administrative costs, annual cost overruns, no clear substantiation of public safety benefits, unjust prosecution, and a bureaucratic complexity that daunts those willing to comply.? Ironically, California is considering a new registration scheme as Canada is considering doing away with its system.

I couldn’t say it any better. Hopefully this gets killed in the state senate and, if not, the governor vetoes it. While Arnold isn’t exactly a staunch ally of gun owners, he’s vetoed dumb anti-gun-rights bills in the past so it’s not unlikely he’ll veto this one.