Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Five for Jed

Jed at Freedom Sight enjoys this sort of abuse and Carnaby Fudge abides.

1. Describe your best ever trip to the range.

2. If you had Captain Kirk's Tantalis Field device from the Mirror Mirror episode and you could use it on five people, whom would you be most tempted to use it on?

3. This picture (from one of my dad's books) used to creep me out when I was a little kid. Do you remember anything that creeped you out like that from your early childhood?

4. Fishing or Hunting? Bass or Trout? Deer or Elk?

5. Who the hell is going to win the GOP nomination for president in 2008? What are the odds it will be a RINO like McCain, Giuliani or some other such twit?

And there it is.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

My Five

So here's my answer to Say Uncle's five questions

1. You can have one handgun and one only for the rest of your life, which would it be?

While I have a great fondness for my Beretta 96 and the Bersa Thunder does conceal nicely, I'll have to go with the Les Baer Monolith Comanche.

It's a commander-size 1911, somewhat more concealable than the full size, and has a nifty full-length dust cover. I handled one over at Adventure Sports in Lynnwood. Me like.

2. Now, a rifle?

I'll assume we're talking legal, civilian weapons and go with the Loaded Standard Springfield M1A

I'd really like to have a SAKO bolt-action, but if I'm limited to only one rifle, that one will do it.

3. So, what exactly is Carnaby Fudge and what does it mean?

Carnaby Fudge is a reference from the Monty Python Book Shop skit.


Customer: (entering the bookshop) Good morning.

Proprietor (John Cleese): Good morning, sir. Can I help you?

C: Er, yes. Do you have a copy of "Thirty Days in the Samarkind Desert with the Duchess of Kent" by A. E. J. Eliott, O.B.E.?

P: Ah, well, I don't know the book, sir....

C: Er, never mind, never mind. How about "A Hundred and One Ways to Start a Fight"?

P: ...By?

C: An Irish gentleman whose name eludes me for the moment.

P: Ah, no, well we haven't got it in stock, sir....

C: Oh, well, not to worry, not to worry. Can you help me with "David Coperfield"?

P: Ah, yes, Dickens.

C: No....

P: (pause) I beg your pardon?

C: No, Edmund Wells.

P: I... *think* you'll find Charles Dickens wrote "David Copperfield", sir....

C: No, no, Dickens wrote "David Copperfield" with *two* Ps. This is "David Coperfield" with *one* P by Edmund Wells.

P: "David Coperfield" with one P?

C: Yes, I should have said.

P: Yes, well in that case we don't have it.

C: (peering over counter) Funny, you've got a lot of books here....

P: (slightly perturbed) Yes, we do, but we don't have "David Coperfield" with one P by Edmund Wells.

C: Pity, it's more thorough than the Dickens.


C: Yes...I wonder if it might be worth a look through all your "David Copperfield"s...

P: No, sir, all our "David Copperfield"s have two P's.

C: Are you quite sure?

P: Quite.

C: Not worth just looking?

P: Definitely not.

C: 'bout "Grate Expectations"?

P: Yes, well we have that....

C: That's "G-R-A-T-E Expectations," also by Edmund Wells.

P: (pause) Yes, well in that case we don't have it. We don't have anything by Edmund Wells, actually: he's not very popular.

C: Not "Knickerless Knickleby"? That's K-N-I-C-K-E-R-L-E-S-S.

P: (taciturn) No.

C: "Khristmas Karol" with a K?

P: (really quite perturbed) No....

C: Er, how about "A Sale of Two Titties"?


C: (moving towards door) Sorry to trouble you....

P: Not at all....

C: Good morning.

P: Good morning.

C: (turning around) Oh!

P: (deep breath) Yesss?

C: I wonder if you might have a copy of "Rarnaby Budge"?

P: No, as I say, we're right out of Edmund Wells!

C: No, not Edmund Wells - Charles Dikkens.

P: (pause - eagerly) Charles Dickens??

C: Yes.

P: (excitedly) You mean "Barnaby Rudge"!

C: No, "Rarnaby Budge" by Charles Dikkens. That's Dikkens with two Ks, the well-known Dutch author.

P: (slight pause) No, well we don't have "Rarnaby Budge" by Charles Dikkens with two Ks, the well-known Dutch author, and perhaps to save time I should add that we don't have "Carnaby Fudge" by Darles Chickens, or "Farmer of Sludge" by Marles Pickens, or even "Stickwick Stapers" by Farles Wickens with four M's and a silent Q!!!!! Why don't you try W. H. Smith's?

C: Ah did, They sent me here.

P: DID they.

C: Oh, I wonder...

P: Oh, do go on, please.

C: Yes...I wonder if you might have "The Amazing Adventures of Captain Gladys Stoutpamphlet and her Intrepid Spaniel Stig Amongst the Giant Pygmies of Beckles"...volume eight.

P: (after a pause for recovery) No, we don't have that...funny, we've got a lot of books here...well, I musn't keep you standing here...thank you,-- ...
and it goes on from there. It turns out that it's rather difficult to find a unique and silly email name for hotmail, so whilst trying out several dozen, that was the first one that came up unused.

4. You use Linux? What on earth for?

Good question. I'm a PhD student in aerospace control systems and Linux is what you use if you're cool (extra nerdy, that is). I used to HATE linux. Really hate it. I also used to hate MacOS, and still do. I was Windows all the way... I switched over to the NT platform after slogging with Windows 95 for a year. I dual-boot Linux and Windows 2000, but I've found that Linux can do everything Windows can do (except run Pro Engineer, my CAD package). And since Linux doesn't suffer from all the stupid viruses and all that, it's a nice system.

The thing that really got me into Linux was the advent of Gentoo. I finally stopped hating Linux when Gentoo came about. That, and I use LaTeX for all my word publishing, since most of my writing involves lots of math, and LaTeX is a far superior environment for math stuff than Word or Frame Maker. You can get LaTeX for Windows, but it comes built in with Linux.

5. Battlestar Galactica: 2005 or 1970's?

That's easy, 1970s. I've not seen a 2005 episode yet and this is still an easy question. Starbuck a girl? Come on. We just got the 1970s DVDs and I watch them with my son. They're great. The pilot episode is especially good. It reminds me of politics today, with the president of the humans getting all the battlestars destroyed by being a pacifist wiener and Adama leading with moral certainty.

All right, now who wants their five from me? Come on now... don't make me make this stuff up.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Brady Campaign Tries to Smear Sandra Froman

So the Brady Campaign has found something about the Red Lake tragedy to seize on. The new NRA president, Sandra Froman, advocates arming teachers in schools to provide deterrent and defense of students, which, of course, is seen as a bad thing by the Bradys. They'd rather paint bullseyes on our kids' foreheads and make the kids wear t-shirts exclaiming "fair game," or something. And then they report that Sandra Froman made the following claim
Sandra Froman, who will take over as NRA President next month in Houston, is no stranger to convex views on policy. She said last fall that the majority of the estimated 30,000 people who die from gunfire in the United States were criminals.
Now, I'm not sure exactly what convex views on policy are. Maybe they, like all things having a surface or boundary that curves or bulges outward, as the exterior of a sphere, are bad, and concave views are somehow good. I'm puzzled. Maybe I'm convex?

Anyway, I can't find online anthing that quotes Sandra Froman saying something like that. If anyone else knows, please let me know. I have a feeling that she was referring to the 12,000 to 13,000 non-suicide gun deaths, which I'm pretty sure are mostly criminals. In any case, including the suicide victims doesn't make her statement innacurate, on account of suicide is in fact a crime, which makes criminals of people who attempt it. And then we have this
“Putting more guns in our schools is an irresponsible position to advocate publicly – an awful, awful idea,” said Michael Barnes, President of the Brady Campaign.
And why is it an awful, awful idea? Maybe the NRA's idea is to reserve a room to fill with guns, or putting a couple in each kid's locker, or just dumping them randomly throughout the school?

That's all I got. Not very exciting, but neither was the Brady press release. And then they finish with this
To use a tragedy like this to advocate for more guns in the streets is unconscionable.
So said Michael Barnes. Yes, it's the good ol' guns in the streets. So guns in schools = guns in the streets? And using this tragedy to advocate more guns in the streets is unconscionable, while using this tragedy to advocate more gun control is... what? The gun control nitwits have run out of interesting things to say, and are now resorting (now? well, for a while) to trite or banal remarks or statements, especially expressed as if they were original or significant. They really ought to use to check their content before going to press.

That's really all I got. Still not exciting, and further still, neither are the Bradys.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

It's the Prozac

So it turns out that Jeff Weise, the Minnesota school shooter, was in fact on Prozac (hat tip: Drudge Report). I thought this would turn out to be the case when I first heard of the school shooting. I've read that many young school shooters were on anti-depressent medication in including Eric Harris of Columbine infamy. This is not surprising. Kevin, at Smallest Minority, notes that school shootings are a relatively new phenomenon. Well, Prozac and similar anti-depresents are also a relatively (on the same timescale no less) new phenomenon. Of course, this in itself does not prove a causal relationship. However, I am convinced that a causal relationship does exist.

To start, let's look at what's different -- and what's the same -- about today compared to days-gone-by (call it BPZ and APZ for Before Prozac and Anno Prozac). BPZ, kids certainly suffered from depression, anxiety, and all sorts of other bad feelings brought on by various things. APZ, none of that has changed. But, BPZ, they didn't go on shooting rampages.

What do Prozac and the other SRIs (seratonin reuptake inhibitors) do? Do they treat the cause of the depression or other bad feelings, or do they simply treat the symptoms? Let's suppose they simply suppress the symptoms. Given that mental health practitioners don't really know the cause of depression -- making it impossible for them to treat the cause -- is it good or bad to simply treat the symptoms?

I submit that it is not only bad, but a complete and total (redundancy alert) disaster, for one very simple reason. The normally functioning human organism, like any other organism, is a system in a state of remarkably stable equilibrium. In order to stay in this equilibrium, any input to the system that disturbs the equilibrium state must necessarily be counteracted by the organism to restore normalcy (where normalcy = equilibrium). That's what stable equilibrium is.

The point, one that very serious and missed by the mental health experts, is that bad feelings, depression, anxiety, and so on, are caused by the organism counteracting disturbance from equilibrium in an effort to return to normalcy. It is a colossal mistake to remove these bad feelings with drugs, because it interferes with a natural process and does nothing to return the organism to equilibrium.

Generally, any disturbance from normalcy resulting in bad feelings is itself caused by some behavior that resulted in immediate feelings of pleasure. In other words, pleasant feelings were the initial disturbance from equilibrium. The bad feelings are the reaction that motivates the organism to change its behavior and remove the cause of the disturbance. Don't get me wrong, this is not to say that pleasant feelings are themselves bad, but healthy pleasant feelings have to be earned, ususally through hard work. Pleasant feelings achieved "for free" inevitably result in depression. For example, I remember reading about a mental health expert who coined the term afluenza to refer to the phenomenon that is unusually common and predictable amongst lottery winners. The initial unearned pleasant euphoric state is inevitably replaced by depression. It's textbook.

So here is the key point. If the bad feelings are removed directly and artificially by drugs, the behavior that caused the bad feelings, because it is initially pleasant, can, and will be, continued. Obviously, this leads to a deepening of organic condition, that is, an increase in the disturbance from normalcy. Inevitably, the treatment is always more drugs. (The philosophy can't be wrong, so do it more, only harder!). And so we have the VICIOUS CYCLE WORSENING that results in the psychotic state required for these kids to go on shooting sprees.

This is a crude explanation of a profound and fundamental truth of human behavior. If you would like to start from the beginning you must read The Key to the Sciences of Man by D.G. Garan. The book is out of print, but most university libraries will have it, and you can get it used for cheap online.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Civilian Marksmanship Program... Iraq

Looks like the Iraqi's have the will, now they need the training. We all know the terrorists can't shoot for shit, Beirut offhand and all, so improving the marksmanship of the average Iraqi should prove to be quite beneficial. Hello? USA Military? CMP for Iraq please.

Stickwick Blog Hiatus

I need to take a break from blogs and blogging for a while. My graduate work is in a critical phase, and I just don't have the time or intellectual capacity to do anything other than to focus 100% on my research and teaching for a while. Carnaby will continue to dazzle and delight our three regular readers in my absence (and hopefully keep me informed of any major happenings in the blogosphere).

This has been a public service announcement.

VPC on Minnesota! Bullet Hoses Vindicated!

The Violence Policy Institute has figured out a way to use the Minnesota tragedy to their benefit. Just mention that there was a school shooting and then plug all your crap even though the issue of gun-control is not involved. Stupid dishonest bastards. They can't let a school shooting go by without using it to further their agenda, even if the situation makes it totally irrelevant.

In unrelated news, it seems that a bonafide bullet hose (via Brady definition) was used to fire a single shot by a police officer to put down a deranged man holding a baby at knife point.
When the man stood up with the infant, "one officer fired a single shot" with an AR-15 rifle, striking the suspect and leaving the baby unhurt, Kerlikowske said. No information was provided on the officer who fired the shot.
No doubt the shot was fired from the hip.

My Gorilla

I had a strange dream last night. In fact, I've had the same dream for the last two nights. I got into some sort of a fight with my gorilla (I don't really have a gorilla, needless to say) and I ended up bonking him on the head. I then proceeded to drag his unconscious body to the bathroom where I flushed him down the toilet. Also needless to say, he got stuck... about half way down. Of course this was a dream, so the toilet turned out to be a curly playground slide. I ended up crawling down to help move the good ol' gorilla along, at which point he starts waking up. Now I'm in a struggle with this stupid half-flushed gorilla and I can't figure out what to do or how I got in this mess. Fortunately at this point I woke up and that was that.

Just thought you might want to know, thanks for sharing and so forth. :p

Monday, March 21, 2005

Blood in the Streets! Where's Brady?

I wonder how long it will take Brady to jump on today's news of the school shooting in Minnesota? Actually, it seems to me that the Brady Bunch will steer clear of this episode. Why? See for yourself
Stately said the boy used his grandfather's police-issued weapon in the school rampage.
Or maybe they're trying to figure out how to spin this episode. I can feel their pain, a school shooting gone to waste because they can't blame assault weapons, gunshow loopholes, cop-killer ammo, insufficient gun-control and so forth. They can't tell the cops how to store their weapons at home and risk alienating the "Chiefs of Police" and all that bullshit either. But at least the school was a gun-free zone!

Now, a note to goddamn psycho killers: Please kill your worthless chickenshit selves first.

Musical Blog Chain Waste of Time

It's 3:17am on a work night and you can't sleep. What do you do? Perpetuate a silly blog-chain!

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
I have a grand total of two mp3 files on my computer. A Glass Hammer song ("One King") and a John Denver song ("Back Home Again").

2. The CD you last bought?
A Louis Armstrong greatest hits collection or something.

3. What was the last song you listened to before reading this message?
"Du Hast" (Rammstein).

4. Write down five songs that you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

Uh, lessee...

  • "Junkyard Angel" (Glass Hammer) - Just an all-around feel-good song.
  • "Je Me Souviens" (Jean-Michel Jarre) - Techno with class.
  • "Wackidoo" (Annbjørg Lien) - Kick-arse Norwegian Hardanger fusion.
  • "Piano Concerto No. 21" (Mozart) - This was my wedding march music.
  • "O Vis Aeternitatis" (Garmarna) - 12th-century religious poetry sung in Latin by a Swede and set to a viking-techno beat. Yay!
  • 5. Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

    Nobody, because this is dorky. Instead I'll just post it here where our three loyal readers can see it.

    Sunday, March 20, 2005

    Machine Your Own Beretta 92

    This is super-cool. Via the Beretta Forum, this guy is machining his own Beretta 92 frame from scratch. Pretty neat.

    He also does 1911s, ARs, and other stuff. Check it out.

    Friday, March 18, 2005

    Gregg Shorthand, Who Knew?

    Via Quizilla, via Jed. (Darn it, I have better things to do than take quizzes. Like reading blogs, for example).

    It 's comforting to say that 'practice makes perfect'....
    You are 'Gregg shorthand'. Originally designed to enable people to write faster, it is also very useful for writing things which one does not want other people to read, inasmuch as almost no one knows shorthand any more.

    You know how important it is to do things efficiently and on time. You also value your privacy, and (unlike some people) you do not pretend to be friends with just everyone; that would be ridiculous. When you do make friends, you take them seriously, and faithfully keep what they confide in you to yourself. Unfortunately, the work which you do (which is very important, of course) sometimes keeps you away from social activities, and you are often lonely. Your problem is that Gregg shorthand has been obsolete for a long time.
    What obsolete skill are you?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Stickwick's Note: I, too, am 'Gregg shorthand.' Dopey minds think alike?

    Bush != Hitler

    I support President Bush. I think he is a good president who is mostly doing good things. Despite left-wing stereotypes of right-wing exclusivity and zealotry, most of my friends are actually Democrats or liberals who do not support Bush (I'm in academia). That's fine with me. These people are mostly very young, and I believe that some of them have the makings of true conservatives later in life. Besides, for all my pontificating here, I'm OK with the fact that there are people who disagree with Bush's policies or even people who think Bush is just stupid. This is partially because we won in November (ha ha), but mostly it's because I believe that America wouldn't be America without dissent. That is, genuine and valid dissent. What is not valid -- and this truly disgusts me -- is the ceaseless "Bush = Hitler" meme. Not only is it stupid, arrogant, and flatly wrong, but its invocation shows a profound ignorance of history and lack of respect for the millions of people who were murdered by a truly fascistic regime.

    Victor David Hanson has penned an excellent article on why the Hitlerian comparison is so disturbing.

    Is there a danger to all this? Plenty. The slander not only brings a president down to the level of an evil murderer, but -- as worried Jewish leaders have pointed out -- elevates the architect of genocide to the level of an American president. Do the ghosts of six million that were incinerated -- or, for that matter, the tens of millions who were killed to promote or stop Hitler's madness -- count for so little that they can be so promiscuously induced when one wishes to object to stopping the filibuster of senatorial nominations or to ignore the objection of Europeans in removing the fascistic Saddam Hussein?

    There is something profoundly immoral for a latte-sipping, upscale Westerner of the postmodern age flippantly evoking Hitler when we think of the countless souls lost to the historical record who were systematically starved and gassed in the factories of death of the Third Reich.
    Read the whole thing.

    [Hat tip: Kim du Toit]

    Wednesday, March 16, 2005

    Eat the Bunny!

    I wish I'd thought of this, and the guy's raised $18k so far. Geez. Eat the darn bunny! Should have really done it yesterday on Eat an Animal for PETA day. Next year, I guess...

    How Berkeley Can You Be?

    In an effort to delay starting work for as long as possible this morning (the most procrastinatable thing in the world, right after "the neverending thesis," is the dreaded "neverending research paper that your advisor keeps reminding you could have been submitted a year ago"), I am posting even more stuff that isn't immediately (or ever) relevant, yet amusing nonetheless. Latest entry:

    How Berkeley Can You Be? A parade of the depressing addlepatedness that is Berkeley.

    Oh, and once you get down to the corpulent Klingons in the parade, keep in mind that these people are serious. If you doubt me, watch Trekkies.

    [Hat tip: Michelle Malkin]


    Here it is. The world's most unreadable blog.

    Monday, March 14, 2005

    Brits to Register Axes, Coffee Mugs, Pens, and Cat Litter

    Via Drudge, it seems that banning guns or anti-social behavior won't prevent some nutjob coming up to you with an axe and taking a few chops at your head. Virtually anything can be used as a weapon, so I suspect the Brits to follow suit with their logic of banning and go for the gusto. Eventually though, they'll have to ban paperwork after the first attack in which someone is smothered under a ton of registration papers. Too bad the victim wasn't armed with a gun. He might still be alive. When faced with an axe, your arms just don't cut the mustard.

    (3/15/05) Stickwick's Note: The gruesomeness of this case has bothered me ever since I read it, so I have been staying tuned to latest reports to see what details emerge. Well, Google News is, of course, flooded with stories about this awful occurence, and many of them seem to have the details mixed up. Some reports say the man was beheaded, others say he was nearly beheaded, while others still say that the head was only severely beaten. Stories also can't seem to agree on the victim's age, with some claiming it was 61-years old and others saying 67. This seems sloppy to me. Surely there is a way to verify this information before going to press. Or at the very least journalists ought to insert words like "believed to be" or "details are unclear." Why can't they admit when they don't know something for sure? Do they even care? Grrr!

    Sunday, March 13, 2005

    "Callous activists exploit massacre"

    A few days ago I was searching Google.Ca News for the latest scoop on the gun control debate sparked by the recent shooting deaths of four Mounties in Alberta, and found this logic-free editorial from the March 10 edition of the Toronto Star. It is titled, "Callous activists exploit massacre" or as I like to interpret it, "Canadians foolishly attempt to learn from experience." Excerpt:
    Tragedies all too often draw out activists who callously use the events to push their own political agendas. Sadly, the murder of four Mounties in Alberta last week has been no exception.
    The author, whoever she is (I'm just gonna assume it was written by a woman), goes on to take issue not only with (predictably) the anti-gun registry folks, but also with the pro-marijuana legalization crowd, and, surprisingly, a group that wants to impose stiffer penalties for drug violations.
    So what do the reprehensible acts of one unstable man have to do with marijuana laws and the gun registry? Despite what the lobbies would have us believe, not very much.
    So what do the the reprehensible acts of one illicit marijuana grower who used guns to murder people have to do with marijuana laws and the gun registry? Despite what your common sense would have you believe, not much. violent incident should not be allowed to undo the gun registry.
    However, one violent incident is allowed to bring about tough gun control laws.
    Despite huge cost overruns, there is ample evidence the registry is working. Nearly 90 per cent of guns in Canada are now registered.
    Whether the gun registry is actually working depends on your criterion for success. The author clues us in on what this criterion is whilst simultaneously admitting the real goal of the registry. Canadians were sold on the idea of a gun registry that was to serve as a crime-solving tool -- something it has failed utterly to do. However, the real point of the registry had nothing to do with crime, it was simply an excuse to get everyone registered; and as the author helpfully informs us, mission (nearly) accomplished. Phase 2: confiscation.
    Police around the country consult the database nearly 2,000 times a day and the vast majority of police chiefs support the registry.
    You don't say. Yet none of this activity has, to my knowledge, resulted in the solving of one single gun crime. Furthermore, nearly 2,000 consultations a day adds up to around 700,000 consultations a year. Does this mean there are 700,000 instances of guns being used in crimes across Canada?? Crimes that Canada's tough gun control laws were supposed to prevent?? If this isn't the case, then for what insidious purpose is the registry being consulted so often? Either way, this should be raising red flags all over the place.
    It is unclear if Roszko's guns were registered. But no one ever said the database would eliminate all violent crime.
    But a lot of people did say that the database would help prevent and/or solve at least some violent crime, and it hasn't.
    And for every heinous act like last week's police killings, how many more tragedies has the gun registry averted?
    Answer: NONE. And I have a better question: how many more tragedies could be averted if Canadians were permitted to carry guns?
    No law will ever prevent all evil. And this was clearly just that — the actions of a violent, sick man. That's why the gun and drug lobbies should be taken to task for exploiting this tragedy to further their own goals.
    Which is why the author is exploiting this tragedy taking this opportunity to assure us all that, despite an obvious failure of the gun registry and drug laws, a failure that, by the way, no one should use to further their own goals, and despite the fact that the gun registry doesn't work, the gun registry works. Also, don't be tempted to learn anything from this tragedy.
    Canadians should stop pointing fingers and concentrate on the task of mourning the deaths of four young officers cut down in their prime.
    Which, I'm sure, the author did just as soon as she was done pointing her finger at all those jerks who were pointing fingers.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    Trip to the Shootin'-Iron Range

    Some buddies and I made a trip to the rifle range to try out my new (used) Winchester 94. My buddies brought a nice little AR15 in 5.56mm and a SAKO Finnbear in 7mm magnum. Needless to say, the trip was a success. See...

    Notice the bad technique? I'm a rifle newbie, and I didn't know that it's bad form to place your other hand on the forestock when using a rest. Among the reasons why I like shooting, there's always some old guy around who knows what he's doing and who's keen to tell you when you're doing it wrong. I, for one, am keen to do things right. Anyway... see that ammo on the table? Thirty-three bucks for 20 rounds, yikes. The lowly .30-30 Winchester stuff beside the 7mm mag only ran me about eight bucks. Sheesh.

    Ah, and here's my trusty Winchester. I think I shot almost as well with the 1894, iron sights and all, as I did with the Finnbear. I guess the scope comes into play as you get better. Interesting.

    And here's a shot downrange at 100yds. Nice range. I think it's linked to on the sidebar as the Kenmore Gun Club. Great outfit.

    Of course a trip to the range would not be complete without a few rounds through a black (and green) tool-of-death. The trigger wasn't my favorite, but all-in-all a nice rifle to shoot. The recoil was reminiscent of my old Daisy BB-gun, especially compared to the SAKO. And... in case you want a pronunciation lesson, SAKO is pronounced like TACO, not like CAKE-O, this coming first hand from my Finnish brother in-law.

    And, of course, my good buddy lining up the SAKO.

    Thus ends my "trip to the range" show-and-tell slide-show. Please remain in your seats till the aisle has cleared.

    Stickwick's Note: Here's some trivia for you. "SAKO" is not someone's name, but a Finnish acronym which stands for "Suojeluskuntain Ase-ja Konepaja Osakeyhtiö." Everyone catch that? In english: "Finnish National Guard Arms and Engineering Workshop Company."

    When Will Canada Learn?

    What follows is a brief survey of the events following the recent and tragic slaying of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alberta. First, some details of the story

    MAYERTHORPE, Alta. (CP) - James Roszko lay in wait inside his Quonset hut for four Mounties he gunned down in a battle that ended with Roszko himself being wounded, RCMP said Saturday.

    "Our officers, all four of them, were shot and killed by James Roszko," said regional Supt. Marty Cheliak, releasing results of post-mortem examinations.

    "None of our officers were struck by friendly fire. James Roszko was hit by return fire by our officers. Those strikes did not result in his death. James Roszko then took his own life."

    Cheliak labelled the attack an "ambush" but wouldn't elaborate, except to say: "The investigation has shown that that's exactly what took place. That's why we're releasing that at this time."


    Roszko, 46, was a convicted child molester, a community menace and a known cop-hater.

    It was common knowledge that he had weapons on his farm. An application to search the property for stolen goods and a marijuana operation indicated Mounties were well aware they were dealing with a volatile individual. The application by Cpl. James Martin expressed concern about officer safety.

    A few things about this disturbed me: First, why wasn't this piece of rat sh-t in prison? Second, why did the RCMP think it was prudent to send four lightly-armed officers to deal with a man known to them as a menace to society/cop-hater/armed lunatic/drug manufacturer? It boggles the mind.

    But here's the main point, and one which is not lost on Canadians: what good are Canada's tough gun restrictions if they can't prevent this sort of thing from happening?

    Officials had this to say about the effectiveness of Canada's gun registry
    "This is obviously a tragedy of enormous proportions, but it's probably better described as a new chapter in a book that we already knew about as opposed to a whole new book." - B.C. Attorney General Geoff Plant, saying the danger posed by marijuana grow-ops is serious across the country.


    "The need to discuss tougher sentencing for marijuana grow house operators is paramount. (We are) facing an epidemic of marijuana grow-house operations in my riding" - Toronto-area MP Jim Karygiannis.


    "This has gone too far, it's not a laughing matter. We have legislation that may have the unintended effect of increasing marijuana grow operations. I think it's now time for Parliament to target marijuana grow operations, shut them down." - Liberal MP Dan McTeague.


    "We don't solve anything in society by legalizing things or by pretending they're not harmful to society." - RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli, on the issue of decriminalizing marijuana.
    And Canada's Public Safety Minister, Anne McLellan, sprung into action by
    ...quickly [holding] a news conference to say she will consider tougher penalties for grow operations in the proposed marijuana decriminalization bill.
    Uh, yeah. Seems that more than a few Canadian officials are trying desperately to spin this as a drug issue, not a gun issue. (Nevermind that Zaccardelli has it completely bass-ackwards -- legalizing some things does solve things in society.) Meanwhile, some in the Canadian media, like Arthur Weinreb of the Canadian Free Press, are asking why Canada's infamously expensive gun registry failed to prevent this tragedy

    Introduced in 1995 at an estimated cost of $119 million, the cost of the registry has now exceeded $1 billion. All this money has been spent by the government to force law abiding citizens to register their firearms. Meanwhile James Roszko, who was described by his own father as a "wicked devil"; who had a lengthy criminal record; who had served time for sexual assault and who had shot at people on prior occasions, was allowed to walk around possessing weapons to the knowledge of everyone in the community, including the police. Were the weapons that Roszko used to take the lives of the young police officers who were just beginning their careers in law enforcement registered in compliance with the law? It doesn’t really matter; whether they were or they weren’t, those men are still dead.

    Instead of letting the Liberals focus the debate on marijuana, they should be forced to account for their gun registry and how their wonderful legislation allowed a violent and unstable convicted child molester to possess firearms while everyone around them knew that he had them.

    If only that money had been put into providing more resources for the country’s police officers, those four men might at least have had a chance. But unfortunately, the government will continue to beat their collective chests and brag about the fact that they want to increase the maximum penalty for cultivating marijuana from 7 to 14 years. They should all be ashamed of themselves.


    And not all Canadian officials are spinning this away from the gun issue. Garry Breitkreuz, a Conservative MP and gun registry opponent from Yorkton, Sask., makes this charge:

    "Incident after incident like this clearly indicate the gun registry does not prevent this kind of crime," Breitkreuz said Monday outside the House of Commons.

    "It does not keep guns out of the hands of criminals. It is a paper-pushing exercise."

    Breitkreuz argues Canadian citizens would be much safer if Ottawa simply invested the $2 billion spent on the registry in boosting the resources of front-line police forces.

    "In this case, (Roszko) was already prohibited from owning firearms. The gun registry has no effect on this case."

    The gun registry has had no effect on any case. To my knowledge, the gun registry has not been used to solve one single gun crime in all of Canada since its implementation. Nevertheless, gun control advocate, Wendy Cukier, likens the abolishment of Canada's gun registry to

    ...dropping seatbelt laws just because someone dies in car crash while wearing a belt.

    "The fact that in this case the law obviously wasn't sufficient is not an argument to say therefore it doesn't work at all," said Wendy Cukier of the Montreal-based Coalition for Gun Control.

    "What a tragedy like this does is highlight the fact that we can do better."

    As Kevin at The Smallest Minority is wont to say, If it doesn't work, keep doing it, only HARDER. Right, Wendy? We also have this pearl of wisdom from Cukier

    "Gun control works," said Wendy Cukier, a professor of justice at Ryerson University in Toronto and president of the Coalition for Gun Control.

    Gun control works, except when it doesn't.

    The debate appears to be progressing from the (lack of) effectiveness of the gun registry to the (lack of) effectiveness of Canada's restrictive gun control laws

    Former RCMP commissioner Norm Inkster said the tragedy raises questions about how the gun registry failed to keep a powerful weapon from the hands of James Roszko, a man known as a violent psychopath.

    "My fear in the process is that we will lose sight of the fact that what happened is that four young members of the RCMP were murdered by a person who was an individual described by his own brother as a psychopath in possession of a powerful weapon," Inkster told Sun Media.

    "I would hate to see the aftermath of all of this overlook the fact that we are in a country where, apparently, people can acquire and retain powerful weapons."

    Americans, TAKE NOTE. We'll never be able to prevent every criminal and nutbar out there from acquiring weapons. The only thing gun control laws do is disarm the law-abiding. And you ought to ask yourselves, do you really want freaks like Roszko to be the only citizens with guns?

    Update: Zaccardelli and others have backed down from the drug issue, citing an initial lack of information as the reason for jumping on the grow-op issue so quickly after the killings.