Monday, February 14, 2011


Mrs Giraffe is not fond of guns. She grew up in a house dominated by a gun fearing wussy, her mother. Her dad hunted a little, but he didn't pass it on to his daughters. He eventually quit, and his guns gather rust and dust somewhere. So Mrs. Giraffe didn't grow up as a shooter. I've been trying to get her to shoot a little, over the years. She had only fired a .22 until the other day.

Saturday, I decided she was going to have to shoot my .45 auto. There had been a large male Alaskan malamute around the place raising heck and abusing my new puppy. She called all the neighbors and nobody claimed him.

I told her to shoot him. She didn't want to. We don't have a dog catcher out in the country. I could have taken him to town but the dog cowered in fear every time I tried to handle him. I was afraid he would bite me. He usually left shortly after I got home.

The dog would be gone a couple days and then come back. One day after he had been a nuisance for over a week, the dog began grabbing the puppy and shaking it, and tossing it in the air. This was The Last Straw. She got the puppy into the house before he killed it. (the puppy is not housebroken, and I am allergic to cats and dogs, so he can't live inside.) She decided the dog must be killed. But she told me she didn't know how. I got rid of the it when I got home.

I had showed her how to operate my .45. She still remembered. But she had never shot it. She could have shot the dog if she needed to, but I think she was afraid, and she's never shot anything living. I threw a pop can out on the snowbank. She took aim and fired. I couldn't see any snow fly, I suspected she had missed by a mile. Then I noticed the hole through the can.

At least she can defend the house if she absolutely has to. I will try to make her more comfortable as time goes on.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wherein the M4 is criticized.

I had thought that the new piston ar's that are so fashionable right now were somewhat of a gimmick. Yes, the principle of not pooping where one eats* does make sense. I also thought that the current platform was working pretty well, but apparently this is disputed by some. I don't particularly feel the need to upgrade, as I don't live in the Iraqi desert, and I ain't got the money anyway.

* This refers to the AR's gas impingement system which routes propellant gases and therefore residue back into the action as a means to operate it.

H/T Concerned American

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Brother Difster has attacked licensing:

The only reason for government based licenses is that governments like to have control and other people in various professions want to artificially limit competition.
I don't necessarily disagree with him that licenses are used to reduce competition. That is definitely a downside, and in some cases is intentional. That is not the reason for licensing. Licensing is used for professionals who require a certain amount of knowledge or skill to perform their profession.

I'll use land surveying as an example. On occasion I have heard of people who have set their own property corners. They will helpfully show you where they are, and how they went about putting them there, with their Stanley tape measure, no doubt. Obviously they don't know it is illegal to do this. We would listen politely and then ignore them. Even if they are in the correct place, they don't hold any legal validity. They must be set by a licensed Surveyor for that.

There are methods, and standards of care, and some legal knowledge that is required to properly perform a survey. Some expensive equipment, that the average guy doesn't have.

If a license wasn't required, joe shmoe could go out and set his car axles for corners, and they would be just as valid as anyone else's, despite their being 5 feet off from the correct location. The next door neighbor, not liking the lack of precision, could go out and set his own, leading to a dispute. That would be one benefit to licensing. Land Surveyors sometimes get it wrong, but not nearly as often, and respect for the license will prevent some disputes. There are correct procedures that are used for establishing lost corners that a licensed individual must know. There are standards for setting monuments, that display the surveyor's name and license number so the monument is identifiable as to what it is, and who put it there.

Now could a private firm certify land surveyors? I suppose. So you hire one endorsed by a private firm because you want it done correctly, and your neighbor hires a bum off the street and slips him and extra five to take an extra five feet. Who decides which one is right? More needless court action.

With regards to Engineering. Do you want to live in a building designed by a licensed engineer who met the requirements for obtaining a license, or do you want to live in the one designed by an idiot who bought the drafting software? Nobody would ever lie, overstate their qualifications or experience would they? Sure your family can sue him after you are dead. But they won't collect, he won't have any money, and you will still be dead.

How about the engineer who has been in practice for 40 years, has a stellar reputation, but isn't up on the latest information? We are required to have continuing education to keep our license. I will admit, the continuing education as it is right now can be a joke. The threat of having your license pulled is also an incentive to be careful, in cases where lives may not be at stake.

As far as private certification, yes it could work in theory. But then you have the opportunity for someone to fake the certification, or competing endorsements. One costs a lot of money and you have to prove you know your stuff, the other you can get out of a cracker jack box. Anybody can make up a website telling how they've been certifying the best doctors for decades. Worse, there is no way to stop malpractice, and in some cases, malpractice is in the client's best interest.

As for the government using licenses as control? The problem is not licensing, it is over-reaching government. Some occupations really don't need licensing.

Now the system of licensing is far from perfect. (I should know, I've got two of them.). Sometimes the barrier of entry is too high, and sometimes there is an old boy network in control of the process, as I am lead to believe about a state to my east. Lawyers have licenses, and look at what boon to the public that is. Most professions predate licensing.

However, sometimes barriers to entry are not just for limiting competition. They are sometimes used to keep the morons out. Public safety is a good reason for licensing, even if it is just a hairdresser spreading lice.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

More government stupidity

When legislators get cute.

State lawmakers in South Dakota have introduced legislation that would require all residents aged 21 and over to purchase a firearm beginning in 2012.

This is nothing more than a stunt. Requiring someone to buy a gun is no more constitutional than requiring them to buy insurance.

Or is it? You see this is a state law, not a federal one. While the feds are prohibited from these over-reaching laws by the constitution, the states are not so long as they don't do anything otherwise prohibited. So the law may actually be legal.

Which is why the following quote actually makes the lawmaker look the fool:
"Do I or the other cosponsors believe that the State of South Dakota can require citizens to buy firearms? Of course not. But at the same time, we do not believe the federal government can order every citizen to buy health insurance," Wick told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
Anyway, I think it would be hilarious if it passed as is.