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.

A Novel Approach to Self-Defense

It’s an oft-used cliche that anti-gun-rights people are fixated on the relative size of men’s…ahem, packages ((I still have yet to understand why this is the case, as essentially all of the gun owners I know personally, both male and female, seem to have satisfactory sex lives with no complaints about penis size. How did this cliche come about?)). This is usually phrased in a way similar to “Gun owners have small penises, and thus own firearms to compensate for this shortcoming ((Pun very much intended.)).”
However, an online comment on a recent article in the local rag proposed an interesting approach to self-defense:

I don’t need to carry a gun everywhere I go. All the real men in my family have a real penis.

My reading of this comment is that, due to its magnitude, the commenter would be able to fend off a criminal attacker with his (( Based on the posted name, the commenter is male.)) penis. I admit this is a rather novel idea, and one I haven’t considered before. This might be plausible, as several gunbloggers (including myself and Robb) are known for not liking pants. Intriguing. I would consider experimenting with such a tactic, but I’m a bit deterred by potential public indecency charges that such…uh…”open carry” might lead to. I think that it might be wiser to keep the junk and the gun concealed (or perhaps the gun carried openly, based on the situation and the weather).
On a more serious note, unless one is attacked while naked by an extremely self-conscious criminal, it’s unlikely that the size of one’s wibbly bits will have any bearing whatsoever on the outcome of a violent confrontation. It’s probably far better to rely on training and weapons designed for the purpose. To quote Breda, “Carry your gun – it’s a lighter burden than regret.”

Storage

Having just moved to my?fianc?e’s condo, I had to sell my Cannon safe (( Yes, I realize it’s not a terribly secure safe, even if it looks fancy. In the future, I’ll stick to cheaper ones with equal security until I can afford (and the floors can support) a proper safe. )).
For now, though, things look a bit like like this:

My Barracks at Ft. Lewis, On the Morning of Deployment. Time: Oh-Dark-Thirty

…only without the machine guns.
It’s the mark of a well-balanced, tolerant household — or at the very least, an interesting household — when nobody is the least bit perturbed (or, indeed surprised) to have a silencer and a few loaded AR-15 magazines on the coffee table, a Mossberg 500 propped up against the chair off to the side, a box of .22 next to the TV, and an AR-15 next to the couch (where it was resting before the?fianc?e?wanted to watch TV and moved it). Granted, we don’t have any kids, so that’s something we don’t need to worry about. (For those who are interested, everything’s lying about because I had been taking everything out of the padded gun cases, putting the cases into the closet on the porch, and making room for things in the lockable closet — it doesn’t normally look like a room in which a squad of soldiers is gearing up.)
I’m marrying a wonderful woman. 🙂

Secret Underground Lair

The Brady Campaign likely has a nice office for their operations. The NRA certainly does.
What does my hidden base look like? Not much, actually:

Why so barren? I’m moving out of my apartment this coming week, and just ended up selling my desk today, so things are a bit spartan. The textbook on my desk, such as it is, is an advanced undergraduate textbook on thermodynamics; I’m studying for my last finals before graduating.
The gun-rights-lobby consists of a whole lot of ordinary people like myself — though perhaps the others wear pants more often — who take a few minutes out of their busy days to write to their congressmen, write something on their blog, send a brief note out on Twitter, go to the range, or take a new person shooting. Why? Because we’re passionate about it. We shoot and talk about shooting because that’s what we love to do.
Love of liberty is a powerful thing, and as well-funded and politically connected as those who oppose the rights of law-abiding, honest people to keep and bear arms are, they have nothing that comes close.
That said, it’s time for me to get back to studying.

Why I Love Arizona

I was recently summoned for jury duty ((Why anyone would want an educated, ex-military, libertarian, gun-owning physics student on their jury is beyond me, but they sure love summoning me.)). In the paperwork, I noted that they prohibit weapons beyond a security checkpoint. As this is a courthouse, I have no problem with such a prohibition.
Still, I wanted to be sure I could legally carry up to the checkpoint, so I gave them a call. It went something like this:

Operator: “Jurry Commissioner’s office. How may I help you?”
Me: “Hi, I was recently summoned for jury duty and in the paperwork, I noticed that weapons are prohibited past the security checkpoint. Is there a place to check legally-carried weapons prior to the checkpoint?”
Operator: “Yes. That’s not a problem. We have plenty of lockers to hold privately-owned weapons for jurors.”
Me: “Excellent. Thank you.”

Not only is the lawful carriage of arms commonplace here, but even the courthouses have lockers to store firearms prior to the checkpoint. I seem to recall there actually being a law about this, as I saw similar lockers at the Motor Vehicles Department, but I can’t recall what specific law that was…
I love the fact that I can make a call regarding the storage of privately-owned weapons and get a simple, factual response. No assumption that I’m a police officer (as has happened a few times at the airport when checking guns), no questions of “Why would you bring a gun to a courthouse?”, or anything else along those lines.

Don’t Be Stupid

Gun safety is remarkably easy. Unfortunately, there’s a fair amount of people who Just Don’t Get It (( For example, the guy who went out to the National Forest to shoot with his family. He brought along his wife and several young children (say 5-10 years old. None of them had hearing protection or eye protection, yet were shooting various firearms (ranging from .22s to .410 shotshells to 12ga shotshells and 7.62x39mm rifles), all within a few feet of the kids. Don’t forget the chain-smoking either.)).
Don’t be those people.

Warning: Decidedly not-safe-for-work language throughout.

AZ Constitutional Carry Passes

From the AzCDL:

YOU did it!? Today, April 16, 2010, Governor Brewer signed SB 1108, the AzCDL-requested Constitutional Carry bill, into law.? Arizona now becomes the third state to not require written permission from the government for law-abiding citizens to exercise their right to bear arms discretely.? Because Arizona is the first state in the U.S. with a large urban population to take this significant step, this is a watershed moment for the entire country.
[…]
If you don’t have a permit, don’t start carrying concealed just yet.? The law won’t become effective until 90 days after “Sine Die” when the Legislature officially adjourns.? Since they are still working through a slew of bills, we don’t expect Sine Die anytime soon.? In past years, the effective date of bills has been around September.
CCW permits still have a purpose.? You’ll need one to streamline gun purchases, to carry in states that honor Arizona permits and for carrying concealed in establishments that serve alcohol.? And, the training you receive to obtain a permit is an added bonus.? Along with restoring your right to bear arms, SB 1108 added additional training opportunities for obtaining a permit.? NRA classes and training from places like Front Sight and Gunsite will be able to qualify as permit training.
If you decide not to obtain a CCW permit, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train.? The heaviest thing about wearing a firearm is the responsibility that comes with it.? Take that money that you save on permit and renewal fees and spend it on quality training as often as you can.? Lead by example ? the world is watching.

Outstanding news.