Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Harleys, ARs, and 1911s

I have been asked why I don't ride a Harley.  I've never ridden one, can't even remember throwing a leg over one.  That's not because they are not great, classic bikes, and it's not even because I'm a Yamaha fanboi.  My answer is usually something along the lines of "I like to ride bikes, not work on them."  If you don't "wrench", you're not a real biker, according to some.  I did do some mechanical work on my old two-strokes back in the '70s, cleaning carburetors or whatever.  Don't really care about doing it anymore, but maybe that qualifies me.

Most people who own a Harley for very long start on the path of customization.  They are always adding some performance enhancement, appearance enhancement, comfort enhancement, coolness enhancement.  I admit to replacing the stock muffler on my V Star with a Cobra bolt-on -- and I confess, I just did it to get a better exhaust note.  I added a modest, transparent bug deflector, passenger boards and a passenger backrest because the stock bike lacked those things, and my occasional passenger needed the boards and backrest.  I'm done.  For the FJ-09, I've done nothing.

Again, I have no problem with Harleys or people that ride them and modify them, and enjoy themselves in doing so.  When I see them out or at bike shows, I admire both the bikes and the people.

The point here is that AR-type rifles have a lot in common with Harleys, I think.  There are all kinds of aftermarket equipment, enhancements, and gadgets available for both.  It's the same with 1911 pistols.  You can just do all kinds of things to them.  And Ruger 10/22s, that's another one.  My 10/22 is box stock except for a top rail I added in case I ever want to (or have to) add optic sights.

I've had this Ruger AR now for several months.  I have said before that, though I once had to qualify with an AR, my first impression was negative, but that was 30-some years ago.  Times change.  Everybody loves ARs.  Clinton was going to be elected, and they would be banned.  I'm glad I have one in the safe along with a bunch of 30-round magazines.

I still don't like it.  First, the trigger is just horrible.  I'm not one of those shooters who has to have a minimal trigger pull.  Heavier triggers don't bother me much.  I'm always a little skeptical of a trigger being really light.  But the trigger on that Ruger AR-556 is absolute crap.

Of course, I can easily buy an aftermarket trigger and install it myself.  That's the AR mentality, the Harley mentality, the 1911 mentality.  I have a Remington 700 mentality -- not the lightest trigger in the world, but clean and functional.  I have a Yamaha mentality and a Glock mentality.  Why not just have something that works more than adequately as is?  Again, I'm not criticizing anybody for making a bike, a weapon or anything else "perfect" for them.  I'm just lazy and too average to worry about it.

Given that, here are my thoughts on black rifles in general.  For most hunting and shooting at longer ranges, beyond 150 to 200 yards, I would rather have something other than a .223/5.56.  A .223 is more than adequate for whitetail deer at limited ranges, with proper projectiles and good shot placement.  It's a good varmint round and will humanely put down a coyote out to 250 yard, maybe, if the shooter does his part and, again, with the right projectiles.  I have a single-shot .223 which is a lot more fun to shoot than the AR if I want to do that.

Yes, I know that ARs "own the 600-yard line" in target shooting.  I saw a video of Jerry Miculek breaking an 8- or 10-inch diameter balloon at a 1000 yards with a pistol.  But Mr. Miculek is some sort of benevolent, superpowered mutant sent by God to humble the ordinary inhabitants of this planet.  Also it's a balloon, fragile and with no negative consequences for projectile failure.

At closer ranges, say, inside a house or in the event of a serious social encounter on my property, I would much, much rather have my Remington 870, with the 18.5 inch, rifle-sighted barrel on it (AKA, Geraldean).  My second choice would be this stupidly fun-to-shoot Glock 17, my Springfield XDM or even my 10/22.

Oh, I modified my Glock.  I put a Clipdraw on it in lieu of a holster.  The Glock users' group on Fakebook chimped out.
There no trigger guard, which is completely unsafe.  When I responded that I never carry a round in the chamber, I received the usual arguments that I might as well carry a brick.  Is this the OK Corral?  Faced with an attacker who is too close to allow me to safely draw and rack the slide, I'm not going to be shooting anyway.  That's why I have knives in every pocket.  Currently the Clipdraw is attached for small-of-the-back carry and a right-hand draw.  A few days after I joined the users' group, I unfollowed it.  I like my Glock the way it is, and they were all about changing stuff.  More power to them -- I'm just not interested.  

Which brings us back to the AR.  I put a nice 1.5-4x variable-power scope on it.  That's probably all I'm going to do.  I'll take it out now and then, shoot it, clean it, put it back.  I don't figure on ever shooting anything live with it or even punching much paper.  Like the Glock users' group, it just doesn't interest me, which is probably a sign of some personality defect on my part.

I understand the military people who essentially learned to shoot with an AR.  I think they are great for new shooters.  The recoil is mild.  They can be adjusted to fit smaller or larger shooters.  They are great platforms for building whatever kind of rifle a person needs.  The applications and adaptions are almost endless.  Hunting, self-defense, competition, or just having fun, anyone can build an AR that is perfect for him or her, and perfect for whatever it is a person wants to do with it.

Except me.  It doesn't intimidate me or impress me.  I can see why other people like them, and I can't quite explain why I don't -- but I don't.  The rest of you have fun.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Educated in Public

Want to know why your local government schools consume three-fourths of your property taxes, plus lottery money and state and federal taxes and still cry for more dollars?  This was a comment from Vox Popoli that confirms information I've heard before:

dc.sunsets wrote Is this the Aussie version of Mainstreaming?
In US grade schools, a kid qualified one month to be INSTITUTIONALIZED for behavioral aberrations will sit next to your kid the week he or she is released. (This is not hyperbole, it's two anecdotes from my wife's grade school.) 
We see the news of St. Paul high schools being run by (minority) thugs, but it turns out that "Special Ed Inclusion" is near-universal K-5th or K-6th, and it's not just the 60-70 IQ imbeciles, it's the screamers, the furniture-throwers, the pencil-stabbers who all go into the pot with normal kids. 
No joke: <60 IQ kid gets a full-time paraprofessional, annual cost $10k, so said kid's total cost to the school dist for K-H.S. is easily $100,000 and likely three times the cost of future engineers, plumbers & electricians. 
Fake schools deliver fake educations.
This is public education in America.  Yes, there are good schools.  Yes, your school is different.  Yet standards continue to decline even as costs rise.  Teachers can't teach kids who do not have the capacity to learn or the willingness to learn no matter how much you pay them or how few kids are in the room or how nice the physical surrounding or how generous the pensions or anything else.

Public education is a failure.

The reason I don't care who heads the U.S. Dept. of Education is that it is just another spongy layer of useless bureaucracy soaking up money to line the pockets of bureaucrats and contractors.  I will support public education when local school boards have full autonomy on establishing curriculum, classroom discipline, pay, and whom to hire and fire.  Without all the paperwork, I have my doubts that essentially worthless administrators would be able to justify their six-figure incomes to the locals in rural school districts.  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blinded by Science!

This post relates mainly to pseudo-science spokesmuppet, Bill Nye, and climate change.

This is the link to Ike's 1961 Farewell Address that the above references and links to, if you want to read it first.  Eisenhower was a pretty smart old boy.

The post reminded me of an exchange I had with someone the other day about spanking children.  There has been a study conducted, allegedly, over fifty years that shows how detrimental corporeal punishment is to children.  I said that 50,000 years of experience has proven otherwise.

The first challenger hit me about how I had lived so long.  My reply was that I had spoken with the gods of the copy book headings.  Someone else offered not so much an argument as a condemnation of my archaic attitude.  I pointed out that the same western civilization that had practiced disciplining children for all of its history had also provided the culture and technology that allowed him to condemn them on his smart phone.

A third person attacked on the basis of the advancement of science, saying that we have "progressed" because of the scientific method and thus the results of the study were better than the experience of millions of families over thousands of years, which brings me to the point of all this.

Science is not a unified disciplined.  Physics, chemistry, to some extent biology -- these disciplines are very different from psychology and sociology, for example.  We have advanced tremendously in our understanding of physical science.  Our engineering in electronics is far ahead of where it was fifty years ago.  Most of the advances in medicine are the result of improved technology -- engineering rather than biology.  We do know quite a bit more about genetics than we used to.  No one argues about the value of our studies in those areas.

However, I would like for someone to point out to me some of the positive improvements in my life as a result of advancements in sociology.  I'll sit here and wait if you need a few minutes.   ... Really, I rather think that I would not know if sociology ceased to exist as a "science".

With psychology and psychiatry, I could agree that there have been improvements in the treatment of mental illness, but some of the drugs being used can have frighteningly dangerous adverse effects.  People who commit mass murders are often found to be taking psychotropic prescription drugs -- omelets/eggs, I suppose.

Dr. Spock speculated -- and that's what it was, speculation -- that spanking should be avoided.  That was a lot more than fifty years ago.  A lot of children in my generation were raised by Spock's method.  I was not.  The good thing was, back in those days, you could still get away with punching an obnoxious kid in the mouth.  If his parents refused to straighten him out, there was a good chance his peers would teach him a lesson.  I'm afraid that is not the case anymore.

Aside from the contamination of science with politics and political power that Eisenhower warned about, some things, like the study on spanking, pass themselves off as science but are hardly in the same class as studying the properties of graphene, developing better lithium ion batteries, or building a liquid thorium reactor.

The argument from Science! is, thus, a logical fallacy.  If you have a good family, the odds are improved that it will produce good children, and disciplined, adaptive, socially well adjusted adults.  A good family, history and tradition -- which are at least as much science as is sociology -- tell us, is a mother and a father together in a loving, supportive, trusting relationship, teaching the child their values and passing on their traditions.

Physical discipline is a natural outgrowth of living in an unsafe world.  When failing to obey parents could easily mean death, a little bit of pain helps to inoculate the child against all the dangers that are out there.  We do it because it works.

Morality is pragmatic.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The NYT Fears For Democracy

Actually, the Times fears democracy.

The narrative must be protected.  Read the Neoreactionary analysis.  The NYT link is embedded there if you want to check the original.

Having no restrictions on voting in a representative republic is fine with the establishment power brokers.  Watering down a nation's culture and will through the mass importation of invaders who have no desire nor motivation to assimilate, who know nothing of its history, who share no values, principles or ideals with its native citizens is, in the estimation of the institutional wise men, perfectly in keeping with preserving the West.

The internet is not breaking the hold of the Ministry of Truth media, but it is forming cracks in the outer wall.  There are still people who think that anything on "Today", "The View", or the evening news is fact.  They trust in the "journalistic integrity" of people who hold Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, and Brian Williams as models to be emulated.

Television news is propaganda used to sell soap.