Archive for the ‘Guns’ Category

Quaint and curious

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

Lawrence forwarded me a link to a website that looks interesting, and that I hope to be able to explore further in the near future:

Yes, yes, I know: you didn’t know targets had balls. Ha ha, very funny. But seriously: is “the online presence of On Target!, The International Journal for Collectors of Target Balls”. “Target balls” being what exhibition shooters used in their demonstrations if they weren’t shooting live birds, and before the “clay pigeon” was introduced.

Quoth the “About” page:

These balls, similar in size and appearance to today’s glass Christmas tree ornaments, were the “only substitute ever invented for the living bird,” something that Annie Oakley is said to have had silk streamers stuffed inside, something that in one summer the Bohemian Glass Works (in New York City) was making at the rate of 1,250,000 over six months’ time, something Buffalo Bill Cody chased after on horseback, “old ladies” darned socks on and babies allegedly cut their teeth on — all according to an 1878 ad! In their heyday, target balls sold for a little over a penny each; today one ball has sold for as much as $28,500, although “common” balls, generally in amber or blue, can be acquired for as little as $100.

Of course, you can’t really talk about target balls without talking about the people who used them. Which is why On Target! tickles my fancy: I’m going to have to scrape up the bucks for a subscription and set of back issues.


Found at Half-Price Books a few days ago:

Precision Shooting at 1,000 Yards, edited by Dave Brennan. I’ve written before about the late and much lamented Precision Shooting magazine: I think I’ve also mentioned that there was a small press associated with it. I try to snap up books from that press whenever I find them, because:

  • they’re usually jam-packed with information
  • Even if they are old, the fundamental principles of accuracy don’t, and won’t change, barring some major revolution in arms technology (like caseless cartridges and electronic ignition systems, both of which have been ten years away for the 45 years I’ve been an avid person of the gun).

This is a collection of articles from the magazine. I paid $40 minus a 10% coupon for it, which is a little more than I usually like to spend on gun books. But asking prices for used copies on Amazon are in the $75 and up range, and the condition was good…

…and what made me pull the metaphorical trigger, so to speak, was the two-part article included in the volume, in which a small handful of eccentrics (and I mean that in the best possible way: I want to hang out with these guys) attempt to recreate Billy Dixon’s legendary long shot at the Second Battle of Adobe Walls in 1874.

Whodewhatnow? Billy Dixon was a buffalo hunter. He was part of a small group that was attacked by Comanches at Adobe Walls, Texas. They were besieged for the better part of three days (the Comanches initially intended to slaughter them in a sneak attack, but rolled a critical fail on initiative): on that third day, Mr. Dixon, encouraged by other members of the party, took a shot at a group of mounted Indians about 7/8ths of a mile away (remember, he was using an 1874 vintage Sharps rifle, with black powder cartridges, and no telescopic sight)…

…and knocked one of the warriors off his horse. The Comanches broke off the siege shortly afterwards.

For the rest of his life, Billy Dixon never claimed that the shot was anything other than a lucky one; his memoirs do not devote even a full paragraph to “the shot”.

(Side note: the Dixon memoirs are available from Project Gutenberg.)

(Side note 2: Mr. Dixon sounds like another person I’d love to have a few beers with. I love one of the things the authors of the Precision Shooting article say about him: to paraphrase, he didn’t hunt buffalo for the money, but because he loved long range shooting. Hunting buffalo was a great way to indulge that passion, and by the way make a few bucks on the side.)

Last time Mike the Musicologist was in Austin, this came up in discussion, though I disremember exactly how: I think we were discussing contemporary makers of falling block rifles, which led to a Google search, which led to me finding either this one or this one.

One other thing I find intriguing about this article: the shooters used rifles and bullets as close to Dixon’s as you could get at the time of their experiment, but used a modern smokeless black powder substitute instead of actual black power. Their reasoning for this:

What many modern shooters might not know is that black powder was, in that era, as highly developed as today’s best smokeless powders. Produced in England, Curtis & Harvey’s Diamond Grade was the world’s best, likely because of a superior charcoal root stock and extended blending time. As folklore had it, their charcoal came from a certain type of willow tree that grew only in one locale. Further, C&H could afford to prolong the blending operation because they could get a premium price for the superior product they produced. Serous target shooters widely acclaimed Kentucky Rifle from a United States producer, Hazards, as the best alternative choice but, nonetheless, a second-best choice. Behind these two premier powders came an entire plethora of brands, manufactured in various places around the world.

The author goes on to note that, if there was sufficient demand, someone somewhere would be turning out super-high-grade black powder today. But there isn’t enough demand, so the quality smokeless BP substitutes seem like a good choice for consistent results.

This casts a new light for me on a quote of the day I highlighted a while back from another buffalo hunter: “…by then I had begun to use the English powder…and it added 10 to 30 percent efficiency to my shooting.” I suspect this might have been a reference to the C&H product. Sadly, the Mayer book does not appear to be on Gutenberg, so I haven’t been able to confirm this.

Nostalgia is a moron.

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

When I was a teenager shooting the (stuff) out of BB guns in my backyard, I wanted a LARC M19-A “Annihilator” badly.

I’m not sure why I never got one: as I recall, they were around $35 in 1983 money (about $86 in today money), and I’m pretty sure I had that from my lawn moving ventures. It may have been some other minor petty inconvenience, something like parental permission.

In retrospect, that was probably a good thing, since:

  • I probably would have gotten into trouble with it somehow.
  • I would have had to feed it BBs and Freon. And while BBs were readily available at the places we shopped, I don’t remember if Freon cans were. I know you could get them at auto supply stores, but those were sort of off the beaten path for me.
  • I hear in retrospect that the M19-A had some QC problems.

(Side note: that review the writer talks about? It was written by Peter Hathaway Capstick, and is reprinted in one of his collections.)

Anyway, I have a job now, and can drive. And the world has changed, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better.

On the better side: the Crosman DPMS SBR Full-Auto BB Air Rifle.

Completely useless for any purpose other than fun, and it probably eats BBs and CO2 cartridges like they’re going out of style. And I plead guilty to kind of wanting one anyway.

(Hattip: Say Uncle.)

…you can’t authentically get your ‘80s Miami Vice LARP on without 10mm Auto.

I’m kind of glad to see the 10mm is making a comeback: maybe this will lead to cheaper ammo, and more loadings for the caliber. But none of the guns Tam discusses really turn my crank.

Then again, I’m still hoping to find a reasonably priced S&W 1076 before May, so take my opinion with a few grains of salt, some lime, a little Cointreau, and some tequila.

Obit watch: January 22, 2018.

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Hemmingway and Ruark have a new hunting partner.

Harry Selby passed away on Saturday at the age of 92.

I’ve touched briefly on Selby in the past, but more in the context of Ruark. So please indulge me:

Mr. Selby was a postwar protégé of the East Africa hunter Philip Hope Percival, who took Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway on safaris, and he became a professional hunter himself in the late 1940s. He took the American author Robert Ruark on safari in Tanganyika (now Tanzania), and with the 1953 publication of Ruark’s best-selling book “Horn of the Hunter,” Mr. Selby became one of Africa’s most famous hunting guides.

Without cellphones or evacuation helicopters, Mr. Selby had to be the doctor, mechanic, chauffeur, gin-rummy-and-drinking partner and universal guide, knowledgeable about mountain ranges, grassy plains, rivers, jungles, hunting laws, migratory patterns, and the Bushmen, Masai, Samburu, Dinka and Zulu tribes. He spoke three dialects of Swahili. And he improvised; if there was no firewood, he burned wildebeest dung.
He was no Gregory Peck, but had an easygoing personality that made for good company in the bush. He coped with emergencies, pulling a client clear of a stampede or a vehicle from a bog, treating snakebites or tracking a wounded lion in a thicket — his most dangerous game. He was left-handed, but his favorite gun was a right-handed .416 Rigby, which can knock down an onrushing bull elephant or Cape buffalo in a thundering instant.

For 30 years, Mr. Selby ran company operations in Botswana, and guided hunters and photographers into leased concessions covering thousands of square miles in the Okavango Delta in the north and the vast Kalahari Desert in the south, home of the click-talking Bushmen. He cut tracks and built airfields in the wilderness.
In 1970, he established Botswana’s first lodge and camps for photographic safaris. He hired guides and a large support staff for what became a dominant safari business in Southern Africa. After Ker, Downey and Selby was bought by Safari South in 1978, he remained a director, and even after resigning in 1993 he continued to lead safaris privately until retiring in 2000.

Noted actor Bradford Dillman.

Mr. Dillman played prominent roles in “The Enforcer” and “Sudden Impact,” the third and fourth films in the “Dirty Harry” series, and won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1975 for his work on the TV series “The ABC Afternoon Playbreak.”

He was “Capt. McKay” in “The Enforcer” and “Captain Briggs” (not to be confused with Hal Holbrook’s “Lt. Briggs” in “Magnum Force”) in “Sudden Impact”. As we all know, Callahan went through captains like CNN goes through Russian conspiracy theories.

And finally, more of local interest: Hisako Tsuchiyama Roberts. Mrs. Roberts and her husband, Thurman, founded the Salt Lick barbecue restaurant in Driftwood, a little outside of Austin.

Tsuchiyama Roberts, who held a masters degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, dedicated her professional life in Texas to running the restaurant in the idyllic setting. She brought her flavors of her own culture to the smoked meat specialists, according to her son, Scott Roberts, who in his 2014 book “Salt Lick Cookbook: A Story of Land, Family, and Love,” wrote about his mother’s tempura frying of vegetables and shrimp for the menu along with her addition of poppy seeds to cole slaw and celery seeds to potato salad.

…with her passing, family shared a tale of the diminutive Tsuchiyama Roberts felling a charging buck with the swing of a pecan bucket she was using for shelling and killing it with a rock while her husband and his friends were away on an unsuccessful hunting trip.

She was 104.

Convenience store news.

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

The Trump administration has drafted plans to strip key authorities from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, senior administration officials said on Friday, an acknowledgment that the agency has all but abandoned its legacy of fighting liquor and tobacco smugglers.

Under the Trump administration’s plan, the Treasury Department would inherit the authority to investigate tobacco and alcohol smuggling. The A.T.F. would need a new name. One possibility: the Bureau of Arson, Explosives and Firearms, or A.E.F.

Good, but not good enough. As I’ve said before, there’s no reason for the continued existence of BATFE: let Treasury handle the tax collection part of their mandate (including NFA), and let the FBI handle the criminal investigation part.

Worth noting:

At the heart of the proposal is cigarette smuggling, a venture that becomes more lucrative with every tax increase. Cigarette taxes vary wildly. Virginia charges $3 per carton. New York charges $43.50. A simple plot to buy cigarettes in one state and sell them in another can generate tens of thousands of dollars. Criminal organizations rely on more complicated schemes to move untaxed cigarettes in bulk, evading federal and state taxes. By some estimates, more than half of New York’s cigarettes come from the black market.

Is there really a compelling reason for the Federal government to spend money from Texas taxpayers to keep people from buying smokes in Virginia and reselling them in New York without paying the $43.50 a carton tax? I know, organized crime: but New York has their own law enforcement agencies, and if they really wanted to shut down organized crime, they could drop the $43.50 a carton tax.

Obit watch: January 14, 2018.

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

Some more from the past couple of days:

Keith Jackson, legendary announcer.

Edgar Ray Killen is burning in Hell.

David Toschi passed away a week ago Saturday. FotB RoadRich mentioned this to me in the middle of the week – he saw it on a low-rent cable channel – but I had a lot of trouble finding a good obit. I couldn’t find the actual obit on SFGate: I was only able to get at an version.

Anyway, “David who”? He was a famous San Francisco PD detective. He was one of the lead investigators on the Zodiac killings.

He was removed from the case after revelations that in 1976 he had sent several letters praising his own work to a San Francisco newspaper writer under fake names.
“It was a foolish thing to do,” he acknowledged at the time.

I don’t remember where I picked up this detail (maybe in the version), but that “newspaper writer” the NYT doesn’t name? Armistead Maupin, who was working as a reporter for the SF Chron at the time.

But that wasn’t the only reason he was semi-famous, at least among us common sewers connoisseurs:

Mr. Toschi was a personality in the police department even before his involvement with the Zodiac case, so much so that Steve McQueen had borrowed from him for the fictional police officer he played in the 1968 movie “Bullitt.”
“They literally were filming in my dad’s office,” Ms. Toschi-Chambers said. “My dad took off his jacket, and Steve McQueen said, ‘What is that?’ And my dad said, ‘That’s my holster.’ And Steve McQueen told the director, ‘I want one of those.’ ”

(I wonder what that holster was: and if it’s out of production, how much do vintage ones go for? There’s a discussion on, but I can’t judge how accurate it is.)

Clint Eastwood also drew on Mr. Toschi for his portrayal of the title character in “Dirty Harry,” Don Siegel’s influential 1971 movie about a San Francisco police inspector, Harry Callahan, who hunts a psychopathic killer. Mr. Toschi, though, was bothered by Callahan’s penchant for administering his own brand of justice. He is said to have walked out of a screening of the movie, which was released when the Zodiac investigation was in full swing.

(Damn shame. He missed out. And I still haven’t seen “Zodiac”.)

Edited to add: this might lead to a longer post later, but: there are certainly worse hobbies in the world than engaging in Steve McQueen cosplay. Though I will concede that could get expensive quick, especially if you go full “Bullitt” and start looking for a Mustang.

Obit watch: December 20, 2017.

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

This is one of those “wow, I’m surprised to see this in the Times” obits: Lones Wigger Jr.

Shameful confession: I was unfamiliar with Mr. Wigger until I read his obit. But he’s considered by many people to have been the greatest rifle shooter ever.

Wigger broke 29 world records and appeared in three Olympics, in 1964, 1968 and 1972. He also qualified for the 1980 Games in Moscow, which the United States boycotted in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
In the 1964 Games, in Tokyo, he won the gold medal in the sport’s showcase competition: the small-bore rifle, three-position (prone, kneeling and standing). At the same Games he took the silver medal in small-bore rifle, prone, missing the gold on a tiebreaker.

He also won gold in Munich in 1972 (three position free rifle).

Wigger also won 58 United States championships and more than 20 on the world stage. In five-Pan American Games, from 1963 to 1983, he won eight gold medals.

Inside the sport, he was self-effacing. “I’ve never been gifted with a lot of talent,” he once said. “I probably succeeded because I persevered.”

Mr. Wigger served honorably in the military:

…became an Army officer and rose to lieutenant colonel, mostly based in Fort Benning, Ga., as a riflery instructor. He had two tours of duty during the Vietnam War and taught American soldiers there marksmanship.
After three weeks of training in Vietnam, he told Sports Illustrated, his snipers were hitting their targets at 600 meters with the first shot from their M-14s.
“My best sniper was a ghetto kid from Chicago,” he said. “A Chicano we called Poppa Leech. He had all the patience in the world. He’d sit out there on a trail for three days straight, in the heat and the dark and the bugs.”

This makes me tear up a little:

His own children followed in his footsteps. His daughter, Deena, and his sons, Ron and Danny, have all been successful competitive shooters. Ron Wigger became the rifle team coach for the United States Military Academy at West Point.

As does this:

“How do you define ‘The Best Ever?’ Team USA quoted the two-time Olympic medalist Lanny Bassham as saying. “Would you add up the total medals won to see who is on top? Would you add up the total number of years he has dominated his sport? Would you take a survey of everyone who has been his competitor, to determine who received the most votes? Would you look at the number of national and world records held?
“Not only is Wigger the only name at the top of these lists; no other shooter even comes close.”

Because he got high.

Monday, December 18th, 2017

Because he got high, Ryan Boehle threatened to shoot cops.

Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration: “he planned to celebrate his 50th birthday by shooting police because he was upset about a drunken driving arrest in which his blood test came back negative for alcohol”.

Mr. Boehle was arrested. The police seized a total of 13 guns, “1,110 bullets” (sorry, I’m quoting the Statesman here) and 6.3 grams of marijuana.

Mr. Boehle was never actually charged for the threats. The judge in the case is quoted as calling his writings “marijuana-induced gibberish.” It sounds like this is one of those true threat/not a true threat sort of legal distinctions that Ken White keeps trying to explain to myself and other people, and I keep not understanding, but that’s getting off topic.

(Also, “Marijuana-Induced Gibberish” would be a great name for a band.)

But we have to throw him in jail for something, right?

(“Why?” Hey, that’s not the kind of question you should be asking.)

I know! We’ll get him for “making a false statement in connection with the attempted acquisition of a firearm”! Mr. Boehle has a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction from 1993 in Connecticut: he allegedly “slapped, choked and bit his girlfriend”. As a result of this, he apparently failed the background check at three Austin area gun shops (again, per the Statesman).

However, during pretrial litigation the charge was determined to be insufficient to prohibit gun possession.

Oh, dear. Now what is the state going to do?

Wait: there’s that devil’s lettuce they found!

With their case weakening, prosecutors held tight to the gun-and-weed charge, using it to successfully to argue that Boehle should be denied bond and kept in jail pending the resolution of the case. Characterizing Boehle as a habitual marijuana user took little effort from the government, which not only had the pot found in his home but also test results from the DWI arrest that showed the presence of the drug.

Cutting closer to the end of the story, Mr. Boehle pled out to a charge of “owning a gun as a prohibited person”. You see, pot is still federally illegal, and the law says it is illegal for a pot smoker to own guns.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals established the definition of an unlawful drug user who is unable to own guns in 1999, when it affirmed the conviction of a Midland man who had been arrested several times with marijuana. He argued on appeal that the law fails to establish a time frame for when a person must use a controlled substance in connection with the possession of a firearm. The court ruled that an ordinary person could determine the man was a drug user. He was sentenced to two years in prison.

This doesn’t happen a lot. The Statesman quotes one California attorney who specializes in pot law as saying he’s never seen this in 50 years of practice. On the other hand, though, the Honolulu PD famously recently sent out letters to people with medical marijuana cards: “Give up your guns, or else.” (They apparently haven’t followed through on the “or else” part yet.)

Mr. Boehle was sentenced to five years of probation, and will be drug tested as part of that. The twist at the end is: he has a form of epilepsy, and wants to use a low THC marijuana extract to treat it. But he’s going to have to get his probation terms modified to allow this treatment. Texas has only recently legalized the use of the extract to treat epilepsy (“…only after a patient has tried at least two other treatments”) so Mr. Boehle will be venturing into uncharted territory.

So, so close…

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Hutto is a fairly small city near Austin (about 15,000 people).

Two Hutto residents are facing charges after law enforcement found found meth and cocaine, nearly two dozen firearms, explosive devices and other paraphernalia inside a house.

Inside the home, the release says Hutto investigators recovered 21 rifles and handguns. One of the recovered firearms had been reported stolen 18 years ago, officials said.

Molotov cocktails, pipe bombs and several other weapons were arranged in a “defensive posture” throughout the residence, the release says.
Hutto police also found an illegal alcohol distillery at the property. Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission agents joined the other agencies in the house search to dismantle the distillery.

So we’ve got:

  • Alcohol
  • Firearms
  • and Explosives

Man, if they had just had untaxed cigarettes or something else equally ludicrous, we would have had the BATFE quadfecta.

Is safe! Is not safe!

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Another thing I haven’t had a chance to blog before now:

Vaultek makes gun safes. Among their models is the VT20i, which has a fingerprint reader and Bluetooth. You can use Bluetooth and an app to unlock the safe.

And, yes, you already know where this is going, don’t you?

In this case, the responsible party is Two Six Labs. This is a pretty fascinating takedown.

High points:

  • “The manufacturer’s Android application allows for unlimited pairing attempts with the safe. The pairing pin code is the same as the unlocking pin code. This allows for an attacker to identify the shared pincode by repeated brute force pairing attempts to the safe.”
  • “There is no encryption between the Android phone app and the safe. The application transmits the safe’s pin code in clear text after successfully pairing.”
  • “An attacker can remotely unlock any safe in this product line through specially formatted Bluetooth messages, even with no knowledge of the pin code…the safe does not verify the pin code, so an attacker can obtain authorization and unlock the safe using any arbitrary value as the pin code.”

Even if you aren’t into guns, or safes, or gun safes, I think this is a pretty good “how do I go about banging on a Bluetooth device” primer.

Somewhat to their credit, Vaultek says they are offering a patch, though it looks like you’ll have to send your safe back to get it. (Vaultek says they’ll cover shipping both ways, which can’t be cheap.)

Edited to add: something from Vaultek’s site on this issue:

Either of these methods are not easily captured and require several factors to execute including time, the right equipment, and close proximity to the safe.

They also refer to the attack as requiring “special equipment”. The “special equipment” is an Ubertooth, which you can get here and here, among other places.

As for proximity, that’s a good question that Two Six Labs didn’t address: with the right antenna and Bluetooth adapter, how far away can you be to make a successful attack? Does anyone remember the “Picking Bluetooth Low Energy Locks from a Quarter Mile Away” talk from DEFCON 24?

(Yes, door locks have to be accessible from the outside, while your gun safe is almost certainly inside. Modern construction almost certainly attenuates the signal some. But how much? Could I drive through the neighborhood with a Sena UD100 or something very much like it, just sniffing for Vaultek safes? And then come back later to attack them?)

Short notes from the legal beat.

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Dabrett Black is the man who shot Trooper Damon Allen to death on Thanksgiving Day.

Police camera footage obtained by WFAA-TV from the 2015 incident in Smith County, about 95 miles east of Dallas, shows Dabrett Black beating a sheriff’s deputy. The deputy, identified as Wesley Dean in court documents, no longer works at the department. The court documents say he suffered black eyes, a broken nose and lacerations above his eyes that required stitches to close. The footage also shows him talking to the in-car camera saying to imagine if he had had a weapon and talking about his belief that law enforcement officers target minorities.

Mr. Black was allowed to plead to a misdemeanor charge instead of two felony charges. The plea was not approved by the local DA or his assistant, which is apparently a violation of policy. However, the current DA has said he’s not going to fire the ADA who took the plea. That current ADA is running for the DA position, and doesn’t have any opposition.

When the shooting occurred, Black was free on $15,500 bail in another Smith County incident where he was charged with assault on an officer and evading arrest after a police chase this summer ended with Black allegedly ramming a patrol car.
Probation officers had told staff to be careful of Black in internal emails after the 2015 attack, according to the material obtained by WFAA. In a July 2015 email, a probation officer told staff he believed Black was trying to provoke them into responding and encouraged them to be vigilant both inside and outside the office because he believed Black was the kind of guy who would ambush someone.

Back in September, a man named Brandon Berrott was arrested and charged with making terroristic threats against his girlfriend. After his arrest, the threats continued: he was jailed “at least” three time, had to post bail, and lost his job.

The girlfriend, Lisa Marie Garcia, ultimately called the mayor of Baytown and complained that the state district judge who was presiding over the cases against Berrott was taking bribes to let Berrott out on bail.

And you won’t believe what happened next, as BuzzFeed would say:

Lisa Marie Garcia was charged with retaliation and online impersonation in a case prosecutors called “a nightmare.” She is accused of using fake social media accounts and cell phone apps to manufacture false threats and claims that appeared to be from her boyfriend. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison.

Yes, it’s another classic “b—-h set me up!” case that turns out to be true.

After her boyfriend made bail, Garcia set up Instagram accounts pretending to be him and sent messages to herself and the other woman threatening to kill each of them for calling the cops on him. She then took the messages to the Baytown Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, leading to seven charges being filed between Oct. 21 and Oct. 31.
Each time he got out on bail, Garcia would fake more messages and call the police, landing Berrott back in jail or court. He was accused of violating his bond conditions and no-contact orders.

Mr. Berrott was lucky enough to have an attorney who actually believed in his innocence, and who was able to convince the authorities to do more investigation.

[Britni] Cooper [the prosecutor – DB] said the onslaught of charges in October did not immediately raise red flags because the complaints were filed with different agencies. Once the DA’s office, the sheriff’s office and Baytown police department put the pieces together, the pattern and the holes, were easy to see.
As the investigation continued, she said prosecutors were instructed to stop accepting charges from Garcia, who continued calling the police and filing false reports even while Berrott was working with authorities to clear his name.

What kind of holes?

…one threatening message was sent at the same time as Berrott was on video handcuffed in the back of a police car.

The defense attorney was Carl Moore. Folks in Baytown, remember that name, and please throw some business his way if you can: it sounds like he’s one of the good guys. The scary thing is: how many other people are in jail for similar reasons, and don’t have that kind of support network?

This news broke late last night, while I was at the CPA class, so I wasn’t able to blog it at the time, and it has been covered a lot elsewhere. But I did want to say a few things about the acquittal of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate on charges of killing Kate Steinle, since I’ve touched on it before.

1. I’ve written before about my belief that “the verdict of a jury deserves a certain amount of deference“. I still believe that: the jury was there, I wasn’t, the jury saw and heard all the evidence, I didn’t, the jury deliberated, I didn’t. But sometimes, it’s real hard to hold on to your principles. Then again, if it was easy to have principles, would they be principles?

2. In that vein, “Law is the manifest will of the people, the conscious rule of the community.” But a lot of the comments I was reading last night at Instapundit are…disturbing. Have we really reached the point where people are ready to form lynch mobs?

(“Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”)

3. There’s a lot of smart stuff from other people out there on this case. In particular:

(Follow the thread from there.)

4. Also smart: Sarah Rumpf’s “Have We Been Lied to About the Kate Steinle Case?” There’s a lot in there that I didn’t know: I wasn’t following the case that closely, but other people have said the same thing. For example, the bullet that hit Steinle was actually a ricochet off the concrete pier.

There’s also some things that I have problems with, which are not Ms. Rumpf’s fault. In particular, the whole thing about the SIG being unusually prone to “accidental discharge”. I don’t own any SIGs: Mike the Musicologist is the SIG (and FN) guy. I also don’t own one of those cool trigger pull measuring gadgets, so I can’t tell you what the trigger pull on any of my auto pistols is. It looks like standard trigger pull on a Glock is somewhere between 5.3 and 6 pounds according to GlockTalk.

Is 4.4 pounds too light? That seems questionable. And a lot of those cited incidents seem to involve holstering the gun: could the problem not be with the SIG, but with people not keeping their booger hook off the bang switch?

In a four-year period (2012-2015), the New York City Police Department reported 54 accidental firearm discharges, 10 involving SIG Sauers.


New NYPD officers are allowed to choose from one of three 9mm service pistols: the SIG Sauer P226 DAO, Glock 17 Gen4, and Glock 19 Gen4. All duty handguns are modified to a 12-pound (53 N) NY-2 trigger pull.

It’s also not clear to me which model of SIG was involved in the shooting. I think this whole “bad gun!” thing needs some more investigation, and my short notes are already long enough as it is.

5. Also smart: Patterico on California homicide law. (Has anyone ever seen Patterico and Ken White in the same room together? Just asking.)

Early morning drinking.

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017


White men who fear poverty are more attached to their guns, Baylor study finds


(Warning! Slideshow!)

A photographer documents heat-packing women and the guns they love

(Warning! Slideshow!)

Quickies: November 25, 2017.

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

What do we always say, folks?

That’s right: don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.

Mike Riley out as Nebraska head coach. 19-19 over three seasons.

And this isn’t, but that soft wet sound you heard recently? That was the sound of Gregg Easterbrook’s head exploding. (For those who don’t remember, Easterbrook had some sort of grudge against Chip Kelly during his NFL coaching career, and wasn’t hesitant to advance that grudge in his column.)