chris_gerrib: (Default)
I've been away from this blog for a while. Once you get out of the habit of posting, you're out of the habit. Herewith, various thoughts.

1) Writing: I have committed writing again, adding nearly 4,000 words to the mystery novel. Based on the comments at my critique session, they were generally good words. More (hopefully) to follow.

2) Marching Morons, Gun Division: Comes news that a Minneapolis cop shot a crime victim through the car door of his squad car. Moreover, the cop was in the passenger side and the victim was talking to his partner through the driver's side window. It seems like the cop had his gun out and finger on the trigger way too soon. Unfortunately, that's called "involuntary manslaughter."

3) Marching Morons, Politics Division: After months of assurances by Donald Trump that nobody from his campaign met with the Russians, we hear that his son, son-in-law and then campaign manager took a meeting with the Russians. Words fail me.

4) Marching Morons, health care division: the wealthy comedian Scott Adams has, in the wake of the failure of the Republican party to repeal Obamacare, been pedaling various solutions to American health care. Conspicuously they all seem to have been conceived in a vacuum, and are completely unaware of the fact that the rest of the world cracked this code a long time ago.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
Guns, Fictional

One of the writers I follow, Tanya Huff, recently released a new book A Peace Divided. It's pseudo Mil-SF, in that the lead characters are ex-military who serve as a SWAT team for the interstellar police. It's an entertaining read.

However, in Huff's fictional world, civilians are completely disarmed. I've had issues with that before, in that a society that can repair toasters can make guns. Here, she's gone to even more extremes - her ex-military types literally do not have the word "pistol" in their vocabulary! All guns are long guns. I like the story, but this I don't buy.

Guns, Real

Readers of this blog know that I recently purchased a Ruger LCR. This "light carry revolver" is, as advertised, light. With full-power .38 ammunition, it's frankly painful to shoot. At my dad's recommendation, I purchased some Hornady Critical Defense bullets. These have lighter recoil and are designed for light carry guns. I shot some last night. My LCR still bounces, but it's gone from painful to unpleasant.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
I've fallen off the wagon of daily posts here. This week the main reason was my getting sick on Wednesday, which put the whole week in a tailspin. In any event, I shall try to do better.

Since they've accumulated, have some links:

1) My radio interview is up for a re-run. Visit The Author's Show.

2) An interesting two-part history of one of the most popular cartridges in history, the .38 special. Part 1 and Part 2.

3) Cora Buhlert on false memories.

4) Some pretty pictures: Equihen Plage: The Village of Inverted Boat Houses.

Ruger LCR

Dec. 29th, 2016 10:51 am
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I discussed this on Facebook but not here, so I'll do a bit of recycling. Over Thanksgiving, I bought a Ruger LCR pistol. The "LCR" stands for "Light Carry Revolver" and it is exactly what the label promises, a light revolver. It's aluminum frame and I got the hammerless version, so it will fit neatly in and come out of a pocket.

Over the Christmas Holiday That Was I took it out to the local range and fired it. The gun does in fact go bang and it's as accurate as any weapon with a 2 inch barrel has a right to be. 90% of self-defense shooting is inside 25 feet, and at that range any misses will be due to operator error, not the gun.

I will say it's not a pleasant gun to shoot. Recoil, even with standard target loads, is unpleasant, and I shot a few +P hollow-point rounds through the weapon (Article on what +P means). That really caused the gun to bite back! Having said that, I bought this gun as a "use in case of emergency" weapon, and for the limited amount of practice-firing I do I can handle the recoil.

In short, a useful addition to my collection.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I went home over the Thanksgiving weekend, where much food was eaten. Dad and I shot skeet on Friday, and on Saturday went to a gun show. I really didn't need to buy anything, but I talked myself into picking up a Ruger LCR. Thanks to the weirdness of Illinois gun law, I won't have it for a few days, but it's mine.

Simply put, I realized that in the unlikely event I need to carry a gun, it will be an improvised situation and I won't be able to "dress around my gun," so small is better.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
In order not to be "all Trump, all the time" herewith are three links of interest.

A) Via the fascinating show Air Disasters I got the full story on Helios Airways Flight 522. This is the flight where, due to a cabin pressurization failure, all passengers and crew were killed. Of especial note is that one of the flight attendants attempted to save the plane but waited an extremely long amount of time before doing so.

B) Actor Mike Rowe, who's made a name for himself as the star of TV's Dirty Jobs reality show, has interesting thoughts on who should or should not vote.

C) I have to admit a personal preference for revolvers. Having said that, I found this article recommending that the USAF use revolvers as their service pistol interesting.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
My writer's workshop held their monthly meeting last night. As a result of a discussion of a plot point in my book, I asked the five attendees "if a gun fell in your lap, could you get bullets for it?" All five said yes, even though only two of them had FOID cards, which are legally required in Illinois to own firearms or ammunition.

Back to the drawing board on that plot point. And this, folks, is why you should have a writer's group.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Long-time readers know I own guns, and am in general interested in their use for defensive purposes. I am also interested in keeping guns out of the hands of crooks and crazy people, but that's another post. In any event, here's three thoughts on gun ownership.

Thought #1

Just because some stranger is in your house doesn't mean you can shoot them. The author, a long-serving police officer, recounts a number of cases of finding drunks, Alzheimer's patients or "several unknown young men drinking the beer in his fridge. His college-aged son thought dad would be away on vacation another day and had given his buddies keys to the house so they could use it for a party spot."

Thought #2

Sometimes life is out of your control. The author walked out of the shower with nothing but a towel to find two strange women in her house. They were teachers, let in (against specific instructions) by the homeowner's then 4-year-old son. Another moral: "This goes to illustrate that if you are weighing the safety of yourself or your family on the understanding and application of instruction on a young child you are making a gamble with your life and the lives of your family members."

Thought #3

Clear communication in high-stress situations is important. Think about what you're going to say and do before you have to say and do it.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Over the weekend, I took my concealed carry course via Roy and Company in a nearby suburb. I have no immediate intentions to carry a gun. However, concealed carry permits are much like parachutes - if you ever need one, you need it right away and don't have time to go shopping for it. Due to the wide variation in state licensing standards and reciprocity, I took a multi-state class, which included training for Utah and Florida non-resident permits. The three of them give the broadest coverage available.

The class itself was underwhelming. The two old fogies teaching it were knowledgeable, although I had to put up with more than a little political BS. (Did you know that the Oklahoma City bombing was an inside job?) Since I was there to get training, not argue politics, I kept my mouth shut. There were only six of us, so it was a quick class.

The Illinois statute is poorly-written, with several clear cut-and-paste errors, and can be contradictory. All the contradictions were pointed out as proof of Madigan's conspiracy against gun-owners as opposed to errors, but again, not there for the politics. Illinois, unique among concealed carry states, requires one to actually shoot a weapon. This does not have to be the weapon one plans on carrying.

This class provided all materials needed, from pens and paper to a gun and bullets. We shot a small-frame .22 semi-auto. It was the same size as and mechanically functioned like a typical concealed carry 9 MM, just chambered in .22. I (and the rest of the class) had no problem scoring enough hits to pass the test. Now my task is to assemble all the various applications, pictures and related paperwork and send it off to the correct locations.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I'm on vacation, not in a coma, so I do have thoughts. Herewith are a few:

1) Comes news that a woman in Texas who made at least a side job of being armed and talking about it got shot in the back by her 4-year-old with her own gun. (Google it if you need to.) Here is Land Gerrib, 4-year-olds and guns do not mix, full stop.

2) Hilton Head Island is pretty. It's also nuts to drive in. Whomever laid out the roads has a near-vampiric allergy to right angles, and they don't believe in streetlights, even at major intersections. Add to that the local signage laws are "small and discreet" and that 90% of what you're looking for is in a shopping mall, finding stuff is Right Hard. (as opposed to Left hard, or whatever.)

3) I am not good at just "hanging out." I had a 30-minute argument with myself before I gave myself permission to do what most people do on vacation, namely hang out at the pool and read a book. I've also rode a bike up and down the beach, done some editing, caught a movie and relaxed.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
This is the last day of the year at Ye Daye Jobbe for me. So have some links to keep you happy.

A) Christmas dinner in Medieval times was not what we eat now.

B) Iceland has a wonderful Christmas Eve tradition - they give each other books and READ them that night.

C) Of interest to gun people - a quiz of gun knowledge. I got 28 of 30 right.

D) An interesting article about feminism and the latest edition of Star Wars.

E) For the "war on Christmas" set, a picture:

chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I had a nice Thanksgiving downstate, and hope your holiday (if you celebrate) was equally nice. The chief crisis of Thursday was that my key lime pie had not quite set, so got a bit runny after a lack of refrigeration. Next time, I'll need to test it before calling it done.

Friday was rainy, windy and cold, and so we spent the day inside, helping Mom with Christmas decorations and in my case doing some writing. On Saturday, which was sprinkling, windy and cold, we decided to leave the house. First, Dad and I went to Cayuga, IN to shoot skeet. There were eight people in the clubhouse, but only three of them were motivated to shoot.

Then, in the afternoon, Dad and I visited the Fluid Event Center, which is a grandly-named ex-warehouse, to visit a gun show. Dad was looking for a holster, and I was just looking. He found what he wanted, and I got to hold a KSG - Keltec shotgun. This is a futuristic weapon (enough so that I used it as the standard police shotgun in a novel). It's a downward-ejecting bullpup shotgun with two six-round magazines. The weapon, even unloaded, is quite heavy, but very short. Should one want or need a real "crowd-pleasing" shotgun, consider the KSG.

On Sunday, I came back up north, and caught a 4 PM showing of the latest movie in the Hunger Games series. The theater was reasonably full, suggesting that the movie is doing financially well. I concur with Anne Geyer - the movie did the ending better. Overall, I had a nice weekend, and now I'm back to the salt mines.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
One of the things about writing science fiction is that it's really very difficult to not write about politics. Politics, simply put, defines what much of we do and how we do it. In nations with authoritarian regimes, avoiding interaction with the police is highly desirable, difficult and something everybody does. In nations with weak court systems, avoiding being cheated in business dealings is difficult. So for my books set on Mars I needed to think about what political system I would apply and how it would work. Since I write action novels with pirates and crooks, I had to decide on gun policy for civilians.

A total ban on guns won't work in an industrial society, even one without 3-D printers. The same tools used to make toasters can be used to make a gun. So how does one decide who gets a gun? At the same time, I decided that Mars' early history consisted of a pair of invasions bookending a series of off-planet wars. I also looked at what I thought the American Founding Fathers had meant when they talked about a "well-regulated militia."

I decided the default policy on Mars is that to own a gun one needs to be a member of the state militia. Said member doesn't have to be a "drilling" member, so they don't have a uniform or a unit, but the do have some affiliation with the local militia. I also decided that the militia is not the US National Guard, which is defacto a Federal reserve army with some State gloss, but that the Martian Militia is fully under the control (and budget) of the states.

Since I'm not a fan of open carry, that's generally prohibited, unless going to or from a militia event, and I'm leaning towards concealed carry being a separate level within the militia. In short, the Martian Militia has teeth.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I'll be out of pocket tomorrow and all weekend, so here's the last post of the week.

Security In America

A two-fer from View From The Porch: First, our obsession with safety is rubbing off on the Kidz These Days and using drones to smuggle stuff into prisons. Tamara at "Porch" notes that a pistol can be airlifted by not-that-large of a drone. I have a story somewhere on my hard drive from a few years back of a prison break (from a robot-guarded prison) being facilitated by homemade cruise missiles.

Ooh, Pretty Pictures

Thanks to extra-clear water due to ice melt, old shipwrecks in Lake Michigan are visible from the air.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I grow weary of the Sad Puppies, especially when one of them shouts from the rooftops that he's so scared he can barely whisper. The butt-hurt is strong in that one.

Harrumph. Moving on, have some links about guns. All links generated by two old guys having too much fun in retirement.

A) Cowboy pistols do penetrate targets quite nicely.

B) Another nail in the coffin of "30 caliber carbine bullets don't penetrate" rags of truth.

C) Another review of the World's Most Useless Gun, the Taurus Judge.

D) Metal doors and bullets which would be a nice name for a rock band.

E) Busting an engine block with a bullet ain't as easy as it is in the movies.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
It's officially the 4th day of spring, but here in Chicago it's snowing to beat the band, so I'm not really feeling spring-like. Traffic is a bit slow, which confuses me since the snow is not sticking to any road more trafficked than a driveway, but then many things confuse me.

At any event, have a few links:

A) A reminder, my Rotary Club's fundraiser is tomorrow. You can attend or participate online. I'm offering a special prize - a steak and wine dinner cooked by me.

B) I've never been abused, but this abuser's hustle looks shockingly like what I see Internet trolls do.

C) So, while looking for something else, I came across "the box of truth." Two gun owners, both retired and with access to a range with a liberal policy, test various guns and gun myths. You'll see a couple more posts from them, but for today:

what really happens if you shoot rock salt from a shotgun

buckshot patterns from a shotgun (hint - get closer)

shooting off a padlock ain't like you see in the movies
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
So I've expressed before my dislike of the "sheep, wolves and sheepdog" meme. Late yesterday comes news of a white dude who tackles a black dude because the black dude is carrying a gun. Black dude, it turns out, has a legal concealed carry permit.

Needless to say I Am Not Amused. I don't want to focus on the racial aspect (although clearly it was a factor) but rather the sheepdog aspect. Sheepdogs herd, whether or not whatever they're herding needs to be herded. That can be problematic, as in this case, where the appropriate response would have been to just call the cops.

Thus endeth the lesson.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Two serious thoughts, prompted by things found on the Internet.

Thought #1 - The "Safety" of Public Places

This woman, who is now active in shooting and self-defense, tells a harrowing tale of her abduction and rape as an 18-year-old. She was abducted by somebody she knew from a busy restaurant. My point is that public places are only "safe" if one is prepared to make a gigantic screaming fit.

Basically, in any public place, at least half of the people there have their back to you, and pretty much all of them are doing their own thing. Unless you're willing to put on the Mother Of All Tantrums, bad things can happen and nobody will notice.

Thought #2 - Really?

From the "Tactical Professor" comes a tale of a man who accidentally shot his wife thinking she was a burglar. The first commentor on the post asks "really?" As in "wouldn't the first thing you'd do on hearing an intruder is wake your wife up?" And if she's not in bed, wouldn't finding her be high on the list of actions? In short, the commentor (and I) wonder how many of these "accidents" really aren't.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Like the label on the tin says:


This is why I am a fan of revolvers for self-defense. For those not clicking through, an experienced shooter with a well-used semi-auto experienced a malfunction, rendering her gun into a paperweight.

Jack The Ripper

So, a guy selling a book claims to have solved the Jack The Ripper mystery via DNA. Interesting, but given the age of his DNA evidence and other issues, not conclusive. At this point, I don't think we'll ever get conclusive evidence.

God's War

I recently finished Gods War: Bel Dame Apocrypha Vol 1. The book was billed as "fantasy." It's not, rather science fiction in which the characters use biological science vs. machines. Whatever you call it, I highly recommend it.


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