Monday, April 23, 2012


So a cop on a SWAT raid spies what he believes is a threat and discharges his weapon into the finger of a fellow officer. This smells like bullshit to me.
1 If there was a threat, then why did the only shot fired hit another cop? Why was the 'threat' not shot as well?
2 If there were no other injuries during the raid? Couldn't have been much of a threat.

This smells like a cop with poor trigger discipline trying to cover his ass after having a negligent discharge, and his fellow officers going along with it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

EMP and prepping

In a comment to yesterday's post, Robert Hewes asks if my radios are stored in a faraday cage. I assume that he is asking the question because he has heard of EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, and its ability to damage solid state electronics. I will explain why this should not be a concern for most preppers.
EMP works by exposing semiconductor components to voltages high enough to break down the semicondictor. There is nothing magic about EMP, it is simply a powerful radio wave in the microwave spectrum (4-20 GHz) with a wavelength between 1 and 5 centimeters. This pulse is subject to the same physical laws as any other form of electromagnetic energy. The two that you have to keep in mind are the fact that radio waves travel in straight lines, and that their energy dissipates according to the inverse square law.
EM energy traveling in a straight line prevents it from damaging anything beyond the horizon, and the inverse square laws say that energy drops off that the inverse square of the distance. An EM weapon capable of damaging electronics at half a mile would require 250 times as much energy at 60 miles.
To extend the reach of an EM weapon, you must either set it off relatively high in the atmosphere, thus extending the horizon, and you must greatly increase the power. Weapons that cause long range EM effects to semiconductors over great distances require a lot of energy. This is why nuclear weapons produce the powerful pulses that reach long distances, but not many others.
Couple that with the fact that radio equipment is hardened to withstand certain amounts of EM, due to their nature (they are built to receive EM, after all, they ARE radios, it's kind of what they do), and the problem becomes even more difficult.
In short, I am not worried about it. There are many things that I can prep for, and EMP is not on the radar.

Preparation and communications

As anyone who is a regular reader of this blog should know, I am a prepper, and have been for about eight years. It was being without power and fuel for ten days after Hurricane Charley (August 2004) first opened my eyes. Being a prepper doesn't mean that we are sitting around preparing for the end of the world, although if you are truly ready for that, you are ready for anything less than that.

One of the lessons that I learned during Hurricane Charley was the need for communications. Cell service was out for weeks. With no way to reach the outside world or communicate with family members was a severe handicap. So I added getting a HAM license as a step in my preparedness campaign. It was a simple test, and a $10 fee for the license, and you don't even need to know Morse code. In exchange, I got a license that allows me to operate radios that have enough reach for most disaster communications.

The radios I am using are mobile and portable FM units in the 2 meter and 70 cm band. These are useful for communications for a large area.  I have used the FT 7900 that I is mounted in my truck to talk to repeaters that are up to 50 miles away. I can routinely reach a repeater that is over 30 miles from my house. This allows me to talk to a person in Melbourne while I am sitting in my vehicle in Lakeland, over 60 miles away. If the repeater is out of the disaster area and has an active internet connection, I can use Echolink to talk to any radio operator in the world. Telephone patches are also available.

When talking directly to other radios without the use of a repeater, I regularly communicate with friends who are 8 or ten miles away with the vehicle mounted set. I'm sure I can reach farther, but we usually use repeaters for that.

I can hear you now: "So what? Those cheap radios at WalMart claim that they are able to reach 30 miles or more." To that, I say BULLSHIT. You are lucky to reach a mile with those things.

HAM radio is the way to go, if you are serious about disaster communications and about prepping. Give it a look, it is well worth it. A 2 meter mobile radio can be had for about $200 new, and the ability to reach the outside world and call for help can be priceless.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Outlawing objects

Stories like this one illustrate one thing: Laws that attempt to outlaw objects cannot ever be effective. In prison, nothing and no one is supposed to enter the facility without being searched. The prisoners and their cells can and are searched at any time, without a warrant.  If we cannot even keep people in prison from having contraband cell phones, how can the government keep people from owning weapons, drugs, or any other item?

Last year, California prison guards confiscated nearly 11,000 contraband phones, a sharp increase from 2007 when only 1,400 were found. Even Charles Manson, arguably the state's most notorious inmate, has twice been caught with contraband phones.

The answer is- they can't, and no amount of infringement of rights is going to change that, even if we were all treated like prisoners.

Friday, April 20, 2012

HamCity disappointment

I recently bought a new 2012 Ford Escape. I ordered the parts to install a HAM radio in it. When the package arrived today, the things in it were not the things that I ordered. They are shipping the right parts to me, along with a shipping label for returning the incorrect items. Now I have to wait ANOTHER week for the stuff to come in. 

The radio is a Yaesu FT-7900. It is a dual band radio (2 meter/70 centimeter). I have the wiring run and the antenna installed. It always makes me nervous to drill holes in a brand new vehicle. As soon as the parts come in and the radio installation is complete, I will post pictures.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Schoolyard bullies

David Codrea blogs about today's gun rights column. In the column, he writes about a 9 year old child, who is subject to repeated bullying and is suspended for defending himself.

I had a similar experience when my son was in the third grade. He was a very active young man, playing tackle football in a junior league. One day, they were out at recess playing soccer, when a 5th grade boy became angry because my son accidentally kicked the ball into his own goal. The bully sat on top of my son and punched him several times. He went to a teacher, and the teacher said she would not do anything about it. When my son came home that day and told me about it, I thought that he must surely be mistaken, so I contacted the school. After all, I found it hard to believe that a school would ignore this sort of behavior.

When I contacted the school, I was told that they did not witness the altercation, and if a teacher doesn't witness the incident, there is nothing that they can do. The principal also said that the teachers could not watch the kids every minute of the day.

The bullying continued. This kid was now beating on my son on a weekly basis. I told him to fight back. After all, he regularly hit children this boy's size on the football field, and there was nothing to be afraid of. My son then said that he was afraid of being suspended if he got in a fight. I told him that this was my problem to worry about, and I would support him if he defended himself. We then had a discussion about self defense and dealing with bullies.

Two days later, my son come home with a note saying that he was being suspended for five days, because he had been in a fight, and school policy stated that all participants in a fight would be suspended. I went down to the school to speak with the principal, and told them that such policies are laziness. A staff too lazy to properly supervise the kids in their care, and too lazy to find out what happened simply finding it easier to suspend all parties, rather than deal with troublemaking bullies. I also told them that if they insisted on going through with this suspension, I would be returning with my attorney. The matter was dropped.

As for the bully? My son had apparently hurt him badly enough that there were no more problems. Nothing stops a bully like forceful resistance.

Kids do not learn that violence is never the answer from these policies: Instead, bullies learn that they can run roughshod over others with no repercussions.

This new format for Blogger totally sucks

This format for the new Blogger is confusing and disorganized. I'm not sure I really like it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

When will this be available here?

So DuPont is selling a product called "Armura." It is a kit that can be installed on certain cars that resists handgun rounds up to .38 special. This appears to be roughly equivalent to NIJ level I body armor. This is accomplished by adding Kevlar panels to the interior of the body panels, and by changing out the glass. The kit adds roughly 200 pounds to the weight of the vehicle, which would likely have little, if any, effect on gas mileage. It costs about $12,000 to up armor a vehicle with this kit. The kit is available for the: Toyota Corolla, GM Vectra (same chassis as the Buick LaCrosse or Chevy Malibu), Honda Civic, Mitsubishi TR4 (similar to the Montero), Hyundai Tucson, Honda Fit, GM Agile, Kia Soul, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi ASX, and the GM Cruze.

It makes me wonder if there would be a market for this in the United States. I think if a company get the armor up to a IIA rating, expand vehicle availability, and could keep the cost where it is,there would be a brisk number of sales to be made. Preppers would love it.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Another though on Cosby's remarks

Why does his opinion in the Zimmerman/Martin case matter? Why is his opinion any more relevant than anyone else's? Is he a lawyer? A self defense expert? A firearms expert? Forensic examiner? Does the fact that he is a famous actor give him some sort of expertise in any relevant topic? Does the fact that he is black give him some sort of insight that the rest of us do not possess? No, none of the above.

So why do I care what he thinks? Why should any of us care?

Cosby, Martin, and Zimmerman

So when Bill Cosby was recently asked about the Martin/Zimmerman incident, his reply was this:
“We’ve got to get the gun out of the hands of people who are supposed to be on neighborhood watch,” said Mr. Cosby, whose remarks were the first he has made publicly about the case.
“Without a gun, I don’t see Mr. Zimmerman approaching Trayvon by himself,” Mr. Cosby explained. “The power-of-the-gun mentality had him unafraid to confront someone. Even police call for backup in similar situations.
“When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody,” he said.
There is so much fail in this statement, I will have to tackle it a piece at a time. I have so far tried to remain mostly silent on this case, because we all know that the press lies to sell more advertising, and we don't have all of the evidence, but I simply must weigh in here.

1 Zimmerman was not on "neighborhood watch" at the time of the shooting. According to his statements, he was on his way to Target when he spotted someone walking in the rain behind a row of houses. This made him suspicious, so he called police.

2 Also according to Zimmerman's statements, it was Travon Martin who approached George Zimmerman and initiated the contact. Before Martin's approach, Zimmerman was simply following him. Martin approached Zimmerman, initiated contact and then punched Zimmerman in the head, knocking him to the ground. Once Zimmerman was on the ground, Martin sat on top of Zimmerman's chest and began pounding Zimmerman's head into the pavement.

Even though the only witnesses to the incident only saw things from the point in time where Zimmerman was on the ground with Martin on top of him and didn't see what started the altercation, the ones who have come forward have not contradicted Zimmerman's account. Zimmerman's account of this event is also supported by the physical evidence: There were cuts on Zimmerman's head, and grass on his shirt. Witnesses heard someone yelling for help, and this can also be heard on the 911 tape. According to the funeral director (who is admittedly not a forensic examiner), there were no signs of a struggle on Martin's body, aside from the gunshot wound. However, we know from witness statements and from the screams on the 911 tape that Martin was involved in a physical altercation with Zimmerman.

If you are in a struggle where someone can be heard screaming for help, but you are not uninjured in that struggle, that indicates that you are the aggressor. For, again according to witnesses, one man was sitting on the other, and the one on top was seen striking the one on the bottom. It is unlikely that the one on the top is the one screaming for help. This all seems to support Zimmerman's account of events.

The only question here is in who initiated the altercation. Did it go down like Zimmerman claimed? Or did Zimmerman initiate the fight? The police questioned Zimmerman immediately following the shooting, and have done so on multiple occasions since. Even though he had no knowledge of what the other witnesses had to say, and very little time to work on a story, no glaring inconsistencies have emerged. Lies are seldom this airtight. I lean towards believing that Zimmerman's story is the truth. Until and unless something else is revealed to contradict this chain of events, I think this was a lawful use of lethal force in self defense.

3 I carry a gun. I do not carry a gun so I can kill people. I carry a gun to protect myself from the unlawful initiation of force by others. You do not have to worry about my gun unless you intend on attacking me. I suppose Mr. Cosby would be happier if Martin had simply pounded Zimmerman's head into the concrete and given him a brain injury, like what happened to this guy.

Many have tried to say that "Stand your Ground" is at fault here. That is incorrect. Stand your ground simply says that I do not have to run away before defending myself. Even if that law did not exist, there are only two possibilities here:
Either Zimmerman initiated the fight, which would not entitle him to the claim of self defense at all; or

Martin initiated the fight, which with Martin sitting on his chest, made it impossible for Zimmerman to attempt to flee.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Where is the outrage, Mr Sharpton?

As you look at this video, ask yourself what would happen if the victim had a weapon, and used it in defense. I suspect he would get the Zimmerman treatment. Where is the outrage about his attack? Crickets.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Hunger Games

I must admit that I have read the book, and seen the movie. For those who have not, I will try to not give any spoilers, but I have to say a few things. Many people complain that the movie and book were too bloody, and depict senseless death of children. The basis of the story is that a central government of a country called Panem (contraction of Pan-American) that is all that is left of what was once North America, is using a barbaric fight to the death between children to control the people of the 12 subordinate districts. The government, located in a region called the Capitol, resorts to police state tactics like murder and  the Hunger Games to demoralize and control the citizens of the twelve districts, which of which is required to send 2 children, one male and one female, to be slaughtered in the games.

This novel was a very effective story of resistance and tyranny, and I recommend that you read it with an eye towards a realization that police states seldom control their citizens with kind words and cotton candy. It is a good read, however. The novel is the first of a trilogy, and I am currently halfway through with the second.