Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reasoned Discourse

Got in a debate on Facebook with a couple of anti gunners today. It began with this post:

anti 1: According to the Center for Disease Control(CDC)
In the year 2007
Homicide with a firearm: 12,129 (33 a day)
Suicide with a firearm: 17,348 (47.5 a day)
Death by accidental discharge of firearm: 721 (just over 2 a day)

I reply: 
Suicide: Guns are nearly unheard of in Japan, yet Japan's suicide rate is 23.8, versus the US rate of 11.8.
Homicide: This stat does not separate out lawful from unlawful homicide. Even so, there are an estimated 250 million firearms in the US, and even assuming that every firearm related homicide is caused by a unique actor, only one out of every 25,000 firearms is used to commit a homicide.
721 accidental firearm deaths means that pools, falling trees, and plastic buckets all have a higher accidental fatality rate than do firearms.
Each of the above firearm death statistics have one thing in common: people who misuse inanimate objects. It isn't the firearm, it is the person misusing it.
Anti 1: 
 Since we are talking about Japan, they have a population of roughly 130 million (or slightly less than half of ours) but had only 1000 murders in 2010 or less than a tenth of our murder rate. Why is our gun murder rate so much higher? Are Americans just 12 times more evil than the Japanese? Or is that the fact that it so much easier to get a gun here that the murder rate is so much higher? How about the United Kingdom? Population 63 million. The number of murders there in 2010? 619. What do the UK and Japan have in common? It is much harder for people (including the psychopathic ones) to get guns.
 Anti 2:
I guess you guys didn't see the three different shootings that happened in Seattle today...

The way that the statistics are compiled is one reason. In England, a death does not count as a homicide for statistical purposes until a person is actually convicted of the crime. Also, in Japan, if you look, our non gun murder rate is also higher. That is mostly because of a cultural difference. If you look at Switzerland, where every person is issued a machine gun with ammo to keep in their home, they have a murder rate that is almost nonexistent. To me, there are too many cultural and societal variables to compare one country to another for determining the effect of gun control on crime. A more useful comparison is either areas within the same culture with firearm law differences, or a country's crime rates before and after firearm laws.

 Anti 2:
Guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people, with guns.
and people without guns kill people, without guns. Is this reasoned discourse, or an exchange of one line cliches?
Since virtually all gun ownership was banned in England and Wales in 1997, the murder rate has risen at a rapid rate, and has more than doubled since gun controls were put in place. Considering the differences in reporting methods, the rates are not directly comparable between the UK and the US, but consider this: The US murder rate has been falling since 1997, and the UK rate climbing, so that the US rate, which was ten times higher than the UK rate in 1997, is now only three times higher. This, despite the fact that the 'assault weapons ban' expired in 2004, and that 49 of 50 states now allow concealed weapons. The loosening of gun restrictions in the US has actually accompanied a reduction in both violent crime, and homicide, while increasing gun and knife controls has seen surging crime in the UK.

Anti 2: You're right, a person could kill another person however they'd want but it's easier with a gun. People are more inclined to do something if it's easier.

there is a flip side to that: Predators prefer defenseless prey. This is true with humans, as much as with animals. A firearm is what allows a gay man to stop a group of 6 homophobes from beating him senseless, a 100 pound woman from being raped by a 250 pound male, or an old woman in a wheelchair from being robbed by an 18 year old thug. but rather than address my facts, you would prefer to engage in one liners and worn out cliches. No logic to your argument, just emotional appeals.
Anti 2:
You're being a dick in your conversation, consider me out. Have fun with your toy and wipe the saliva off your chin after you pull the trigger. Have a nice day.
They have nothing but personal attacks and worn out one liners. This is why we win.

Dominate. Intimidate. Control.

That is the motto displayed at the TSA's air marshal training center. They appear to be living up to that motto, with their unconstitutional searches being expanded to city buses, highways, and shopping malls.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee praised these violations of her constituents' rights with an explanation asinine even by congressional standards:
"We're looking to make sure that the lady I saw walking with a cane … knows that Metro cares as much about her as we do about building the light rail."
See, if you don't support the random harassment of ordinary people riding the bus to work, you're a callous bastard who doesn't care about little old ladies. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Money trouble

In 1960, social welfare benefits made up approximately 10 percent of all salaries and wages. In the year 2000, social welfare benefits made up approximately 21 percent of all salaries and wages. In 2011, social welfare benefits made up approximately 35 percent of all salaries and wages. Read more here.
While it is true that economic conditions are slightly better now than they were 5 years ago, they are by no means good, and much of the improvement purely exists on paper. The improvement is due in large part to the $5 trillion in bailout and stimulus money that has been dumped into the economy. Even so, foreclosures are beginning to climb, housing prices continue to fall, and the only reason why the dollar is stronger now than it was 3 months ago, is that the Euro is falling apart at a slightly faster rate than the dollar. However, we will soon join the Europeans, as the U.S. already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.
When Barack Obama took office, there were 32 million Americans on food stamps.  Now, there are more than 46 million Americans on food stamps.
During fiscal 2011, the U.S. government spent over 454 billion dollars just on interest on the national debt.
But just like we are seeing in Europe, if confidence in U.S. government debt starts to disappear the U.S. government could end up facing much higher interest rates to borrow money. If the average rate on U.S. government debt only rose to 7 percent, the U.S. government would be spending about 1.1 trillion dollars a year just on interest on the national debt.
During fiscal year 2011, the U.S. government spent 3.7 trillion dollars but it only brought in about 2.4 trillion dollars. So if we were spending 1.1 trillion dollars just on interest, that would be close to half of all the revenue the federal government brings in.
Right now, the Federal Reserve is manipulating the system in a desperate attempt to keep interest rates down.  During 2011, the Federal Reserve bought up approximately 61 percent of all government debt issued by the U.S. Treasury Department. Where does this go? The Fed monetizes that debt. They turn it into cash, which causes inflation.

From Infowars:
Check out the following excerpt from a report that was just released by LEAP/E2020….
 Over the next four years, the country will be subjected to political, economic, financial and social upheaval such as it has not known since the end of the Civil War which, by an accident of history, started exactly 150 years ago in 1861. During this period, the US will be simultaneously insolvent and ungovernable, turning that which was the “flagship” of the world in recent decades into a “drunken boat”. 

How do you think governments react when the country becomes 'ungovernable'?

Safeway supports beating pregnant women

At least, that is how it appears to me. Ryan Young, a Safeway employee, saw Quyen Van Tran beating his pregnant girlfriend, and told him to stop. When he didn't, Young pushed Tran away from the woman. The man was arrested, pled out, and was sentenced to three years' probation.

Young was told at the time of the incident that his job was safe, but was then suspended without pay for several weeks, during which the police sent a letter to the company praising Young's actions, and protesters managed to get a petition with 180,000 signatures sent to the company, after which the union was able to get him back to work at a different Safeway store.

It shouldn't take a petition, daily protests, and union representation for a company to know that employees should not tolerate men beating on pregnant women.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

No time for the Constitution

Sergeant Matthew Corrigan called the National Veterans Crisis Hotline for advice on sleeping because of nightmares from his year training Iraqi soldiers to look for IEDs in Fallujah. The operator, Beth, called 911 and reported Sgt. Corrigan “has a gun and wants to kill himself.”  He claims that he never threatened suicide.

In any case, what resulted was a SWAT standoff, where he was taken to the hospital for evaluation.The police then conducted a warrantless search of his home, causing extensive damage. The search revealed unregistered firearms.

Even if one assumes that he is lying, and did threaten suicide, once the sergeant had surrendered and was in custody, there was absolutely no valid reason for police to enter the home without a search warrant. Maybe there needs to be a law that bars anyone who is found in court to have violated a citizen's constitutional rights from ever again holding a government job. Maybe that will stop some of the abuses.

Monday, May 28, 2012

House gun

So I put a Picatinny hand rail on my AR15, and I also added this rail mounted light/laser/grip. It is a 450 lumen white LED light that can either be steady or strobe as either momentary or constant switched. I got it sighted in at the range, and it holds zero pretty well.

Along with some 70 grain hollow points, this will be an effective home defense gun.

Decline and fall of empires

Many in the prepper community talk about the SHTF, the Zombie apocalypse, the end of life as we know it, whatever they call it. In these cases, they almost invariably talk about waking up one morning, and things have fallen apart. That really isn't how it goes down. Societies don't fall apart overnight, and looking at how the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and now watching the European union, fall apart gives us a look at how things happen.
The Soviet Union spent years building up their military in the arms race of the cold war. This large amount of government spending was taking its toll on the productive parts of the economy, and the economy stalled. By 1985, the stagnation was obvious. The Soviet Union had been importing grain from the US throughout the 70s, because their own economy was not capable of producing staples. The central government was powerful enough, that change seemed impossible.
Eventually, the government could not maintain the strong hold that they had on the population, and cracks began to appear. In an effort to control costs, Premier Gorbachev became friendly with the US, and relations improved. A series of reforms was put in place that were designed to appease the population, but unrest continued. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. The military was upset that they were losing so much power and clout, and attempted a coup in 1991. The coup failed, and the Soviet Union collapsed, taking many of its satellite countries with it. The reason that the collapse that was decades in the making seemed to happen so quickly is that the government fought to maintain an appearance of normalcy until there was no fight left.
There are parallels here to the current state of the USA. Years of profligate, irresponsible spending have torn the guts out of our economy. The resulting tax burdens needed to sustain this spending, combined with the populist regulations put in place by bureaucrats, have forced the productive parts of the economy to either leave the country, or out of business. The small businessman has been regulated out of existence, and the large business has fled for distant lands. This has resulted in a country that cannot produce staples or maintain its standard of living, which has been falling for over 5 years. The central government is stable, so change or collapse seems impossible.
Cracks have begun to appear. The end of the US economy approaches, as the economic weight of our government's excessive spending increases. The government will attempt to maintain normalcy, and maintain order and control, and this is obvious by the ever increasing police presence, government cash giveaways, and other programs. However, the spending required for these programs will only worsen the problem in the long term. The decline will accelerate as the debt climbs.
The collapse is near, and I believe it will be in less than 20 years, perhaps less than a decade. Decades in the making, to those who have not been observant, it will appear to have happened with blinding speed.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Zombie apocalypse

Here we go.
Naked Man Allegedly Eating Victim's Face Shot And Killed By Miami Police.
. I hope they shot him in the head. All jokes aside, there is another link to the story here, and I want you to pay attention to the money quote:
Sergeant Altarr Williams, supervisor of Miami police’s Homicide Unit, said a man doesn’t have to be armed to be dangerous.
So to those who criticize Zimmerman for shooting an unarmed Travon Martin: try again to tell me how anyone is wrong in using deadly force against an unarmed attacker.

Blaming the victim

The internet news stories are flying. A woman gets drunk and breaks into a home at 3:30 in the morning. Confronted by an armed homeowner and given orders to halt, the intruder continued advancing towards them while shining a flashlight in the homeowner's face, and was shot. After she was shot, she pulled out a cell phone and made a call. The female intruder is taken to the hospital, where tests confirm that her blood alcohol was 0.2%. The woman was identified as Zoey Ripple, a recent graduate of the University of Colorado, who pled guilty to shoplifting in 2010.

ABC story here.

The homeowners are a pair of psychiatrists. The female of the couple was stalked by an unbalanced schizophrenic patient, who ultimately had a restraining order placed against her. They live in a $3 million home, and were sleeping with the door open, and a screen in place.

In the comments on these articles, many people are critical of the homeowners for a number of reasons. Among these reasons:
- They are just rich assholes.- This reason is stupid. The posters who claim this are dick bags who think that having money means that you deserve whatever happens to you.
- The intruder was just drunk and had no intent to commit a crime. -Since when does being drunk excuse you from following the law? and whether she intended to commit a crime or not, she did. What she did is a crime.
- The intruder was a pretty female. Ah, yes. We all know that pretty woman are never criminals.
- She was a "good girl" and helped organize a campus coat drive last winter and spent the summer of 2010 teaching English to children in Guatemala. She was also a convicted criminal. "Real" criminals usually don't just begin their first day as a career criminal by robbing a bank, they start small. As the homeowner, am I supposed to do a background check before defending myself?
- The homeowners are at fault for leaving the door open. This sounds suspiciously like the "She wanted it, or she wouldn't be dressed that way." defense.

There are a host of reasons to not be so drunk that you do stupid things like commit felonies. She could have been robbed or raped. Instead, she chose to break into a home, and fail to heed the armed homeowner's warning, and continued to advance on him while blinding him with a flashlight. From the homeowner's perspective, he couldn't see if the intruder had a weapon or an accomplice with a weapon, nor could he possibly know what the intruder's intent or criminal history was.

This could easily be avoided if the girl had not broken into a house and charged an armed homeowner.

A tip to homeowners: Put a really bright flashlight on your home defense gun, so an intruder can't blind you with a light of their own. Had this been an armed person, the homeowner may well have been killed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Nation of Jailers

There are over 2.2 million people in prison in the United States, a number which represents 0.7% of the nation's total population, or 743 people per 100,000. The US has the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world. One in six of those prisoners is in jail for marijuana. That means that over half a million people are in prison for marijuana in the United States. 

Isn't it time to either admit that the drug war is lost, or do we want to be more of a police state than we already are?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stacked shocks AGAIN?

I was teaching class today, and I had a student tell me that an EMS system to our north was using a protocol that instructed rescuers to use two defibrilators simultaneously, in order to deliver 720 joules to patients in refractory Ventricular Fibrillation. At the time, I hadn't known anything about this, so I told the student that this didn't sound right, but that I would research the subject and get back to him.

It turns out that he was half correct. The procedure calls for two defibrillators to be used to deliver two shocks in rapid sequence, one with the traditional pad placement at the sternum and apex, and the other being in an anterior-posterior configuration. This is not delivering 720 joules, for the following reason:

Defibrillators do not deliver 360 joules per shock. Modern defibrillators are biphasic, and they deliver a shock that is EQUIVALENT to 360 monophasic joules. This means that when you press the shock button, the monitor measures the patient's resistance to electrical current (called "impedance"), and delivers the energy that will get the appropriate energy to the fibrillating heart. This shock is actually 200j, and was determined to be the best energy level in clinical trials. (Mittal et al JACC 1999 24:1595-1601) Even so, the energy delivered would not even be equal to 400j, because the shocks are going to be delivered at least a half second apart. This makes them 2 "stacked shocks" of 200j each, not one 720j shock.

With that being said, systems using this procedure have had some success in converting stubborn Vfib with this protocol. My thought is that this is more due to either the placement of the pads of the second defibrillator in the anterior-posterior configuration, which would put more current directly through the heart, or is due to the fact that the shocks are being "stacked." What strikes me as typical here is that there is serious talk about going back to "stacked shocks" as part of the ACLS algorithm, considering that the AHA removed those with the 2000 update. Will we see a return of them in the 2015 ACLS update?

Instead of recommending a return to stacked shocks, how about a study to determine is there is another factor at play here, like pad placement?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Foreign Aid

So let me get this straight:
Osama Bin Laden was living in a house just a mile away from the main Pakistani military academy, the people who helped find him were convicted of treason, and committing acts against the national interests of Pakistan, and we still send Pakistan $1 billion in aid? How stupid is our country, that we continue to borrow money from China, so we can send it to our enemies?

Kerfluffle- my 2 cents

Years ago, I was shopping for a laser printer. The salesman at the store was telling me that "this printer prints with HP level quality." That was when I realized that if the HP printer was the one that others were being compared to, then I would be buying an HP.  After all, with the price points being close, I would be a fool not to buy quality.
The same should go with a self defense handgun. You should buy quality, because when you carry a firearm for self defense, you are literally betting your life that it will go "bang" when you need it to. Now most guns and ammunition made today have reliability that is far superior to where it was 100 years ago.

Rob Pincus recently fired up 1911 gun owners when he said that 1911s are not reliable, and issued a challenge. Michael Bane immediately added his opinion. Immediately, the fanboys came out of the woodwork with ludicrous claims:

- It is good, because the FBI HRT, my local SWAT team, etc. uses it.
This claim is stupid, because these SWAT teams are that- teams. They take that 1911 in as part of a team, with a half dozen other team members behind them. Besides, the 1911 isn't the primary weapon, it is a backup weapon. In either case, a failure of the gun is not as catastrophic as it would be for you- someone has their back.

- The 1911 is good, because it was the military issue sidearm for 80 years
and now it isn't. So does that mean it isn't good any more? Not only that, but are you saying that the US Government always buys on quality? Not politics?

- It is good, because many competitors use it in IPSC and IDPA matches
Those matches have rules that are designed to favor the 1911 platform. That was always one of the problems I had with those matches: they are gamed. IDPA has a division that is devoted to it, called "Custom Defensive Pistol," in which the pistol must be .45ACP loaded to a certain power factor, and cannot hold more than 8 rounds. Not only that, but those competitors are shooting $5,000 custom weapons. If you have $5K to spend, you will do better to buy a $1,000 pistol and $4,000 worth of practice ammo.

My personal favorite:
- No one used an XD to clear VC tunnels, or to root Japanese soldiers out of trenches
The guns in question had not even been invented yet. Silliness.

Look, I bought several 1911s, and ran them through their paces. The first that I bought was a Colt. Out of the box, it had problems. I couldn't fire 100 rounds without 5 or 10 stoppages. Everyone told me that 1911s have a break in period of 500 rounds. At 500, it was still not working. I took it in for warranty work, and they repaired it. It still wasn't reliable. Then my 1911 friends blamed me as the problem, accusing me everything from performing poor maintenance to 'limp wristing' but the fact is, my other pistols worked fine. The Colt became a safe queen.

I bought me some Kimbers. Three, to be exact. One, a Pro Carry, had problems similar to the Colt, but they were solved by the factory repair. I was happy with all of them, until the round counts got up there. Then, they became unreliable. It turns out that they need repair every 1,000 rounds or so, and major work every 3,000 or so.

That isn't reliable to me. I have a Sig pistol that I have had for over ten years, and it has over 20,000 rounds through it. It has only been to the shop once. (I must admit that another Sig that I had was just rebuilt because it rusted while in storage, but that is not the fault of the design) 1911s can't do that. I have one 1911 remaining, the Ultra Carry II. It was the only one of the four 1911s that I bought that works worth a damn. 25% is not a good batting average.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Certification versus licensure

One of the most frequent memes in EMS is that paramedics are certified, while nurses are licensed. The people who say this are misinformed. To understand why, we need to look at what the terms mean.

Certification, as it relates to this case, is the process whereby a person is said to have met a standard by a certifying authority. Certification is the process of publicly attesting that a specified quality or standard has been achieved or exceeded. Usually this standard includes education, experience, and an exam of knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the job. When an individual meets the standard, he or she receives certification from a certifying agency. The credibility and integrity of the certifying agency determines whether the agency’s certification means anything to the public. Certification is usually a voluntary process.

Licensing is an involuntary process, whereby a governmental authority grants permission for an entity to perform a given act. Licensing it always based on the action of a legislative body. Once a licensing law has been passed it becomes illegal for anyone to engage in that occupation unless he or she has a license. The health care professions are typically licensed at the state and/or local level, but not usually at the federal level. The license may or may not require that the person seeking the license meet a standard. Requirements for licensing vary from state to state. For example: Driver's licenses only require that a standard be met on initial issue, a fishing license has no requirements for a standard, and a Concealed Weapons permit usually requires meeting a standard.

This makes paramedic a license, just as nursing is a license.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Terrorism suspects caught

So the Feds claim to have arrested some homegrown terrorists over the weekend. They are accusing them of making Molotov cocktails, but the accused claim that it was only beer making equipment. As for me, I take the accusations with a grain of salt., because I remember the Hutaree false flag operation.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Letter to Governor Rick Scott

For those of you who do not know Jon Gutmacher, he is widely considered to be the best self defense attorney in the state of Florida. He literally wrote the book on firearms law in the state of Florida. His books are used as reference material by the judges of this state. If I am ever involved in a shooting in the state of Florida, I will do everything that I can to retain the services of Mr. Gutmacher.

This letter was sent from Mr. Gutmacher to the Florida Governor:

I have included below a copy of my email to the Governor's "Stand Your Ground" Task Force.  Assuming you agree -- please feel free to copy it and modify it to your liking  -- and send it out under your own name to the Commission at their email address:

Re:  "Stand Your Ground"  review task force     []

To the Honorable Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll and members of the Commission:

I would like to say that it will be difficult to take the work of this Commission seriously when it appears the Governor has deliberately  failed to either appoint, or invite qualified members of the NRA, or any civilian firearm instructors.  I would note that although I (Jon Gutmacher) am considered by many as the leading authority on the self defense and firearm statutes of this State -- and although I offered my services -- I was neither appointed or contacted -- and I further note that there is absolutely no indication that the head of the NRA in Florida, Marion Hammer,  was ever offered, or even considered for a seat on the Commission.   I would think that these would be "critical appointments" if there was even a minimal effort in making sure the Commission had a fair representation all of viewpoints -- and   essential experiences.  How a commission can be selected without including anyone who has been directly involved in the training of civilian CWP holders, or those  "most involved" in the CWP movement -- is both enigmatic and disgraceful.  It should leave all CWP and serious firearm owners in the State with the substantial misgivings, and a belief that they are being politically targeted purely for the benefit of the Governor's political ambitions.

Jon H. Gutmacher, Esq.
NRA Certified Firearms & Refuse to be a Victim Instructor
Author:  "Florida Firearms -- Law, Use & Ownership"

More Mainstream Media Lies

The mainstream media reports on the Zimmermna case, with CBS news filing this report on the statements made by Zimmerman's attorney. Of course, they had to insert the portions that support the narrative, when they had this to say:

Martin's autopsy showed he was shot through the heart. Gunpowder burns around his chest wound, called "stippling," suggest Zimmerman shot him no more than 18 inches away. The gun shot's trajectory was horizontal.
Diagrams also note Martin was hurt in the fight: blood on his head, a bruise around his eye, scarring on both hands.  (emphasis added)

This is where the lies are to be found. Don't take my word for it: read the autopsy yourself. On page seven, you will find the diagram that they are referring to.

Looking at the hands, there is one hand marked 'scar' and one marked 'abr'. A scar is old injury, and would not have happened during the fight with Zimmerman. 'Abr' means abrasion, as evidenced by the fact that it is mentioned in the list of injuries on page three. The scar is irrelevant to the investigation, as is the one shown by the diagram on Martin's right shoulder.
The note near the eye does not say 'bruise' for two reasons: there is no mention of it in the list of injuries, and 'bruise' is not the proper medical term and would not be used on a medical report.
The marks on the head part of the diagram are descriptors. The one on the head says "black short," which is a description of the decedent's hair, it most certainly does not say anything about "blood," and the one which is on the eye says "Brown," not "bruise." Both of these descriptors can be found on page two.

So what we have here is the mainstream media trying to shape the narrative, either because they are seeing what they want to see, or because they are deliberately trying to mislead the public. In either case, they cannot be trusted.

Gunshow funshow

I will be making an appearance at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando today for the Southern Classic gun and knife show. Maybe I can see something worth buying.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

No thanks

So my old employer found out that I am back, and I was offered my old job back. I told them I wasn't interested. I left government service because it is no longer a good job to have. For the past few years, the TEA party has been attacking public sector workers by claiming that their benefits are an endless gravy train.

The TEA party claims that public sector workers have benefits packages that are too generous, and they claim that the public and private sectors should be equivalent. Among their complaints:

- Public sector workers make too much money. The claim is that public sector workers make about 5 percent more than private sector workers on average.  Of course, they overlook a few details that would change the equation a bit:
 First, the hourly wages for public EMS in my area tell the story. EMS systems for local theme parks have starting wages of $18 an hour for paramedics, while my former employer starts paramedics who must also be firefighters at only $13 an hour. You would never know that by looking at take home pay. Many public workers like fire and paramedics do not get overtime at 40 hours like private sector workers, but at 52 hours. This results in a 56 hour work week because the employer is free to schedule workers to a 24 on/48 off work schedule, so that a firemedic works 2,912 a year, while the theme park medic works 2,080 hours a year. That results in the firemedic making 4.7% more money than his private sector counterpart, but at the expense of working 40% more hours.
Second, comparing all private sector pay to all public sector pay is not an apples to apples comparison. Comparing the majority of government jobs, with their higher educational requirements, to the private sector is not an even comparison.

It used to be that the disparity was made up with benefits packages like pensions and health insurance, but those have been under constant attack. The fact is that public sector health insurance and pensions combined only eat up 4% of the Florida state budget, while Medicaid consumes over 30%. Free lunches for poor kids in school add up to more than what it costs to fund the pensions of state employees.

When I left the fire department, I was earning just $19.27 an hour after spending 15 years at the same employer and receiving two promotions along the way. I worked for the government for a total of 21 years, and I get a pension of $32,400 a year. If I return to that job, I have to give up the pension for the duration of my employment. If I return to a private sector medic job, I don't. That means that I can work a 40 hour week and make $68K a year, or I can return to the fire department and make $58K a year. That is a no brainer.

I started looking for a job recently. Let's see what's out there.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Juries and evidence

In Florida, if you are selected for jury duty and actually show up, you are not selectable for another year. I have been called to jury duty twice in the past four years. The first was in November of 2008, and I sat in the jury holding until noon, and was then told I wasn't needed and sent home. The second was in July of 2010. The clerk sent out 200 summons, and only 110 actually bothered to show up. Fourteen made it to the jury.

This is brought to mind when I read the article about how people are protesting that a cop was found not guilty of beating a burglary suspect in Houston. Now, I am certainly not above slamming cops when they are wrong, and this may well have been the case here, I don't know. What I DO know is that the jury listened to all of the facts in the case, and returned a verdict of not guilty. That is it, as far as I am concerned.

There are people who claim that the jury was biased, because they were all white, and others in comments are claiming that the reason for this, is that the jury was constituted in the south. I have a number of problems with this:

1    It is racist to claim that white juries can't reach a decision based on the facts.

2   The jury pool is randomly selected from the general population of Houston. The population of Houston is 49% white, 25% black, and 5% Asian. The jury pool should have had a similar makeup. With all of that, only 2 blacks bothered to respond to the jury summons. That means that black people who received a summons were overwhelmingly unlikely to show up, probably due to apathy.

3   It could be that he was acquitted because of the actual evidence. The cop was accused of kicking the teen on the left side of his head, but photos presented at trial showed the teen's injuries were on the right side of his head. That may have been the reason.

4   Then the article talks about the Travon Martin case, even though it is completely irrelevant. This case was about a beating that allegedly took place with cops as the perpetrators, and the Martin shooting was a Hispanic citizen shooting of a black teen. Where is the relevance? This is about the press doing what it can to increase dissatisfaction on the part of black citizens.

A suspicious, conspiracy theory minded individual would begin to suspect that this is being done by the MSM to fire up apathetic black voters and inspire them to go to the polls. You see, this voting block voted 80% for Obama in 2008, and unless they show up to the polls in large numbers in November, Obama will lose the Whitehouse, because he is losing the swing voters.

Too many times, we hear about 'all white juries' when a decision doesn't go the way that the black community wants it to go. I got news for ya: Juries do this all the time. They hand down verdicts that don't always go the way that you would think they would, but they see ALL of the evidence, not just the part that the press manipulates. Try to remember that. Not everything that doesn't go your way is racism.

Benjamin Franklin was a slave

We often hear about how the Constitution was written by a bunch of bigoted slave owning white guys, as a way for people to discredit the founding fathers. We are told that slavery was all about white men owning black slaves. Too bad that those statements are misleading.

Ben Franklin was born in 1706 as one of seventeen children of Josiah Franklin and Abiah Folger. His father could not afford to pay for his education, so at 12 years old, his father signed an apprenticeship contract on Ben's behalf, making Ben an apprentice to his older brother James.

Under the law at the time, an apprentice worked for the master craftsman and in exchange was taught the skill of that craft. In essence, his father had signed him into indentured servitude. Ben did not want to work for his brother, and as a result his brother frequently whipped him.

Benjamin wanted to write for the paper too, but he knew that James would never let him. After all, Benjamin was just a lowly apprentice. So Ben began writing letters at night and signing them with the name of a fictional widow, Silence Dogood. Dogood was filled with advice and very critical of the world around her, particularly concerning the issue of how women were treated. Ben would sneak the letters under the print shop door at night so no one knew who was writing the pieces. In all, he wrote sixteen of the letters, and they were wildly popular. So popular in fact, that when Ben finally admitted to writing them, his brother was angry with him.

The paper that James owned was frequently critical of the government, and he was ultimately jailed for expressing those views, leaving Ben to run the paper. Upon release from jail, James was not grateful to Ben for keeping the paper going. Instead he kept harassing his younger brother and administering beatings from time to time. Ben could not take it and decided to run away in 1723, at the age of 17. Under the law at the time, this made Ben a fugitive, and he fled. He eventually wound up in Philadelphia.

Later in life, Ben Franklin owned slaves. It seems odd to think that a man who was in favor of liberty and who had been a slave himself would do so, but I think that judging the behavior of people from the past through the lens of our current attitudes and morals is not a fair comparison, especially considering that he became president of the Philadelphia Abolitionist society, and in 1790 petitioned congress to abolish slavery.

The petition, signed on February 3, 1790, asked the first Congress, then meeting in New York City, to "devise means for removing the Inconsistency from the Character of the American People," and to "promote mercy and justice toward this distressed Race."

Our founding fathers were not perfect men, but at least had to foresight to establish a government that protected freedom more than any other government on the planet.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Zimmerman case evolves

The evidence was released in the Martin/Zimmerman case today, including the autopsy results. There have been a few interesting developments in the past few days:

1 Martin was using drugs. THC, specifically. THC both impairs judgment and makes the user paranoid.

2 Martin's only injuries were the gunshot wound, and bruising on his knuckles, and the gunshot was delivered from a distance of less than 18 inches. This shoots holes in the theory that Zimmerman was the aggressor. If he was going to be the aggressor, Martin would have other injuries, or no injuries (other than being shot).

3 Zimmerman had a broken nose, lacerations, bruises, a split lip, and was complaining of a back injury.

So far, not one piece of evidence has been released that contradicts Zimmerman's version of events. While it is possible that Zimmerman was in the wrong here, we don't convict people on possibilities. We need proof beyond a reasonable doubt. As long as Zimmerman's version of events stands up to scrutiny, it remains a possibility. As long as it remains a possibility, that possibility makes self defense that reasonable doubt. As long as that doubt exists, Zimmerman cannot be guilty.

Edited to add: The  levels of THC (1.5 ng/mL) in the blood were low enough to show that Martin had not smoked marijuana within the last hour or so, and so low as to mean that he was probably not impaired at the time of the shooting. Levels in this range have been shown in studies to be present for up to 48 hours, so all the test shows is that Martin had been smoking marijuana within the last 48 hours.

Room guns

I have to admit that I do not wear a gun strapped to my side while I am at home. I frequently walk around the house in gym shorts, and those are not exactly suited for carrying a firearm. Now there are many here who point out that this would leave you defenseless against home invaders.

You could hide a firearm in rooms where you spend a lot of time, thereby always having a firearm within easy reach, but how do you do that? What about security? A gun safe or lock box in every room can get expensive. There is a solution for people who do not have children in the house: The Quick Draw.

This magnet allows you to hide a gun on the underside of furniture in rooms where you frequently spend time, meaning that you will always have a gun within easy reach, and an intruder, being unlikely to look at the underside of your kitchen table, will likely not find them. The real downside here is that you will have to police them all up, should children come over for a visit.

I have a few of these, and they allow me to stash a small revolver in the dining room, or a pistol to the underside of a coffee table, the bottom of the countertop inside of a drawer in the kitchen, or the underside of a desk at the office. You are limited only by your imagination, and the fact that the only security for the weapon is the fact that it is semi-hidden.

People with guns have the right of way

Borepatch has a link to a post that reminds me of a story of my own. Some of the details of this story have been altered, because I am not sure how classified all of it still is. Still a good story.

While doing time in the Navy, I spent some time temporarily assigned to security. I carried a 1911, and my job as an armed sentry was easy: Follow the orders of the security officer and his designees, and no one else. Since we had nuclear weapons present, the Marines guarded the nukes, we guarded everything else. I hated it.

The authority of an armed sentry is nearly absolute, otherwise a person intent on doing bad things would merely dress up as a general and order the sentry to let them in. The second principle when you are in a nuclear command is that there is no such thing as a hostage. We were instructed to shoot through intended hostages to hit the target, but the safety and security of the weapons was absolute. When a security alert is declared, everyone who is not on the security detail is trained to turn away from the security team and either go prone, or face first against the wall. I have seen marines strike and handcuff officers who didn't want to be ordered around by enlisted. The Navy took this security seriously.

My best story was the time that my partner and I (we were in pairs) were told to go to the safe and escort this officer and his briefcase filled with classified briefing papers from the safe to the place where the briefing would be held. We were told that at no time was this officer and his papers to be allowed out of our sight, and deadly force was authorized to protect them.

When we arrived at the location where the briefing was to be held, we were told by the officer that he would call us when the briefing was over, so that we could escort him back to the safe. That was when I pointed out to him that my orders were that I not let him or the papers out of my sight.The conversation went like this:

Officer: "You are not cleared for this information."
DM: "Sir, I have a security clearance, and I have my orders."
Officer: "I don't care what clearance you think you have, you are not cleared for this. I am countermanding those orders, and I order you to leave." 
DM: "Sir, I cannot take orders from anyone except my direct superiors. I have to stay." (my partner at this time is whispering in my ear that maybe we should just go, before we get  in trouble)
Officer: "If you do not leave, I will have the Chief Petty Officer remove you."
DM: "Sir, it is my duty to point out to you that I am carrying a sidearm, while you and the chief petty officer are not." (putting hand on pistol)
At this point, my partner is having a seizure, because I just threatened to shoot an officer. The officer grabs the telephone, calls the security officer, and demands that we be brought up on charges. That didn't work, and we stayed for the briefing.

I was sent back to my regular job less than a week later, three months before I was supposed to be.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


So with the local news reporting that Zimmerman had head injuries, including a broken nose, and Martin had a gunshot wound and injured knuckles, it is apparent to me that Zimmerman's account which claimed that Martin was the aggressor and was shot in self defense is the most plausible story, considering the evidence.

I recently had a conversation that shows how little some people understand about self defense and the law. Here is the conversation that I recently had:

Woman: but still Zimmerman was the one who followed Martin

DM:  Not illegal, and someone following someone is not a legal reason to begin beating on them.

Woman: no, but how do you know who "started it"? Martin had to fight harder, all he had was candy, Zimmerman had a gun.

DM:  One man has head injuries, the other has no other injury than the gunshot wound and bruised knuckles. This supports Zimmerman's statement that he was attacked by Martin. Since the state has to prove that Zimmerman is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, unless there is some other evidence here that changes the story, there is a real possibility that Zimmerman is telling the truth. As long as that possibility exists, there is reasonable doubt, which means that Zimmerman is not guilty.

Saying that Zimmerman had a gun is meaningless. It doesn't mean that Zimmerman was looking for trouble, simply because he carried a gun, any more than having car insurance means that you are looking to have a car accident. I have carried a gun every day for over 20 years, and not once have I started a fight while carrying it.

 Woman: No response.


Monday, May 14, 2012


My homeowner's insurance cost $1,200 a year. My insurance on my two automobiles costs $1,500 per year. I have been with the same insurance company for 7 years, and I have never filed a claim. In that time, they have collected nearly $20,000 from me in profit, without a single dollar in losses.

I called them this morning, because I was registering a vehicle that I bought in Missouri. Since I was moving the title and registration from Missouri to Florida, I had to provide proof of insurance. That was when they gave me the bad news: For the last two weeks, I have had no insurance. Apparently, they did a routine check of my file, and discovered that my credit score had dropped since the last time they checked, and they say that makes me uninsurable. They didn't even bother to send me a letter or make a telephone call to tell me that I was not insured. If I had not called, the first hint that I would have had would have been if I got in an accident. They didn't even refund the premiums that I paid for the year in advance.

If it weren't for the government demanding that I carry car insurance, I wouldn't. I am not sure about other states, but the law in Florida is that a vehicle owner must have insurance that pays the owners and occupants of other vehicles in the event that an accident occurs that is the insured driver's fault. In other words, you insure everyone except yourself. To insure your own vehicle costs extra. Here in Florida, there are so many drivers ignoring the law and driving without insurance, coverage for uninsured motorists is important.

I say that the law should be rewritten, so that I insure me and mine, and if you don't want insurance, then don't get any. Your loss.

Free healthcare?

As I said in yesterday's post, I met a guy while I was in Belize City who was telling me how he was making a living by playing the handout game. I let him go on and on about how great he had it, because I wanted to get a feel for how America and Americans were perceived in that part of the world.

One of the things he told me was that Belize had a health care system that was better than the US model, because all health care was free or subsidized. He then went on to tell me that he was surprised that the US didn't have free care as well. While researching some things for yesterday's post, I discovered why that is: Because the US is the majority of the health care system for Belize, at least the portions that require anything more complex than a simple office visit.

A portion of Belize's system is to subsidize travel to the US for patients that need:advanced care. Even at that, a significant portion of the funding for the health care system comes from the US, UN, Britain, and other countries, as well as volunteer health workers from other nations like the US.

PAP smears, C sections, cancer treatment, CT scans, chemotherapy, radiation therapy are performed in the US. MRI, nuclear medicine is simply not available. All doctors in Belize are educated elsewhere (5 out of every 7 are educated in Cuba) and are employees of the government and receive a salary of US$30,400 (BZ$60,800) a year (PDF alert). Many doctors, clinics, and hospitals will stay open after hours and treat the richer residents (and American expats) for cash, so that they can make some money on the side. All dental work, other than tooth extractions, is done within this private system after normal business hours.

This is not a free health care system, it is a triage and transport system with a black market way for people with money to actually get care. Since we here in the US do not have anyone to send our sick people to, we cannot have a system like this.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Raping Uncle Sugar

About three years ago, I traveled to Belize City, located in a nation where the average wage is less than $3,500 a year. While I was there, I met a 34 year old guy who came to the United States and worked here for 8 years as an illegal immigrant, bagging groceries in New York City. He explained to me how it is easy to live the good life.

He had gotten an ITIN, and was paying taxes. After eight years, he claimed that he hurt his back at the age of 29, and with the help of a law firm in Miami, was able to get Social Security Disability. This disability totals nearly $700 a month, and he gets it for the rest of his life, even though he lives in Belize. This means that he is getting  $8,400 a year, two and a half times the average citizen's wages.

Yes, there are many immigrants that are taking advantage of the giveaways and raping this country. The problem isn't the immigrants, it is the government giving away tons of money. Stop doing that, and we can go back to the days of immigrants coming here to build a better life, and away from immigrants coming here for free money.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Unfriending the United States

One of the cofounders of Facebook is renouncing his US citizenship because of high tax rates. With the tax rate rising to 40% from 33% this year, capital gains taxes rising, and foreign banks being required to report the funds of American citizens beginning Jan 1, he stands to lose nearly $2 billion in taxes this year alone.

His is a common  story: An immigrant who came to the country, made his money and then left. Simple math says that for every immigrant who becomes a billionaire, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, remain poor and on government benefits.

The Laffer curve is being proven correct, as thousands of billionaires leave this country, taking their capital with them. We in the United States are destined to be living in a third world country by the end of the century, perhaps even by 2030.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

'Traditional' marriage and the right to bear arms

In the 1830s, the people of Missouri were angry that Mormons were living among them and practicing bigamy. The Mormons committed other sins, in that they were opposed to slavery, tended to vote in cohesive blocks, and tended to elect other Mormons. This angered the local church going politicians, and they and their constituents began raiding Mormon settlements, and the Mormons began raiding them right back. The pattern was always the same: A Mormon settlement would be attacked, and when they fought back, they were accused of being an 'insurrection," and were driven from the land or killed. The locals would then confiscate their property. The Mormons eventually would settle around what is now Kansas City. Mormon petitions and lawsuits demanding a return of their property failed to bring any satisfaction: the non-Mormons refused to allow the Mormons to return to their land and reimbursement for confiscated and damaged property was refused.

William Peniston, a candidate for the state legislature, made disparaging statements about the Mormons, calling them "horse-thieves and robbers",and warned them not to vote in the election. Reminding Daviess residents of the growing electoral power of the Mormon community, Peniston made a speech in Gallatin claiming that if the Missourians "suffer such men as these [Mormons] to vote, you will soon lose your suffrage." Around 200 non-Mormons gathered in Gallatin on election day to prevent Mormons from voting.

On October 24, 1838, a state militia marched along the crooked river and confiscated weapons from Mormon homes. After imprisoning and preparing to execute Mormons who refused to turn in weapons, a Mormon raiding party attempted a rescue, which resulted in the Battle of the Crooked River. Four people were killed in the battle, and it resulted in the Governor issuing executive order 44, ordering the state militia to wipe out the Mormons.Three days later, the Haun's Mill massacre occured, where 19 Mormons were killed by the Militia, even though a truce was in effect at the time.

John Smith, the founder of the Mormon church was arrested and then murdered in his cell.The killers were let free.

This resulted in the Mormons fleeing to Utah under an agreement where the militia agreed to stop killing them if they left the country. Under the new church leader Brigham Young, they founded Salt Lake City in 1846.

In 1857, the United States Congress declared that Utah was a territory of the union, and President Buchanan demanded that the Mormons follow the laws on marriage, which Young refused. Buchanan sent 2,500 Federal troops, who ousted Young and replaced him with a more favorable Governor. Utah then applied for statehood under this government, and was accepted on the condition that they outlaw polygamy in their constitution.

There you have it, the tenth, first, and second amendments all violated to force marriage laws on a free people. Note that before tyranny could be carried out, the government needed a monopoly on force. It is also hard to believe people when they tell you that 'traditional marriage' has been the law of the land in the USA when they use that as an excuse to outlaw gay marriage, when you know that marriage as practiced in this country was enforced at the muzzle of a gun.

Cookbook medicine

There is a phrase that is used in EMS called 'cookbook medicine.' It means that the paramedic refers to and blindly applies written protocols or algorithms without thinking about what is really going on with the patient. Any patient who does not present with a problem in a textbook fashion is therefore not treated correctly. For example, a patient who complains of shortness of breath gets Albuterol and Atrovent, even if the patient is not experiencing bronchospasm. To call a paramedic a 'cookbook medic' is an insult, meaning that he or she is clueless, and simply following the protocol as if it were a cookbook.

This phenomenon is not limited to paramedics, and I have often taken medical providers to task for this way of practicing medicine. This is where we begin today's post, and is also the reason behind the lack of posts over the past week and a half:

As regular readers of this blog know, in November I retired from my job as a fire medic so that I could move to Missouri and attend graduate school, so that I could become a physician assistant. We were taking seven classes in the first semester: Radiology, Anatomy (with cadaver dissection), Behavioral Medicine, Molecular Pathophysiology, Clinical Assessment, Physiology, and Problem Based Learning. There were problems within the first month.

Don't get me wrong, my grades were good. I had an A in pathophysiology, a C in anatomy, and a B in the remainder of the courses. I will use several examples, but please understand that this is not a comprehensive list:

We were being taught to ask questions of the patient from a long list of questions, then we were to use software to search for diseases that match the abnormal responses in order to reach a diagnosis. Staff members would play the part of patients, and the students were literally reading questions right from their notes, without even knowing what they were asking. For example, a woman having epigastric pain radiating to her shoulder that is elicited by eating fatty food (obviously gall stones) was being asked about whether or not she had pertussis vaccinations as a child. I was not up for paying $50,000 to learn how to use WebMD.

Then there was the cluelessness of the faculty, one of whom insisted that all arrhythmia were caused by a malfunctioning SA node. I pointed out that AV blocks, VT, and AVNRT all occur in the presence of a normally functioning SA node. He told me I was wrong. I showed him evidence, including texts and studies. He still told me I was wrong. Another professor (who teaches cardiology) agreed with me. He still insisted that I was wrong.

Strike three was behavioral medicine. Our syllabus was a list of political topics, instead of medical ones and belonged in the poli sci department, not the medical. Here are some of the lectures we got:
Week 1: Using the musical arts in patient care: This was a guest lecturer that showed us how playing harp music would make patients happier
Week 2: "Stress, disease, and the AIDS pandemic" How Reagan and other white males are in a conspiracy to kill gays and discriminate against women. This is not an exaggeration. This is what the professor said.
Week 3: "Let me down easy" this was a video of a one woman play, a liberal look at healthcare and how unfair it is that the rich get better care
Week 4: "Domestic Violence: Vulnerable patients" This was a lecture on how men victimize women and children.
The class was separated into 6 groups, and each group was assigned a topic to research and present to the class as a lecture. Examples of the topics covered: Theories of personality development: male Hetero versus homosexual; Theories of personality development: Female hetero versus homosexual development; Working with and caring for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients.

So I decided that one semester was enough. I didn't think that I was getting my money's worth. I am back in Orlando, and I have some job interviews this week.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cops are a waste of money

I have had relatively few traffic tickets, yet I can say that I have lost far more money to cops in the form of traffic tickets than I have from thieves.
In 2005, I had someone steal a check for over $200 from my mailbox, forge my name and deposit into his bank account. The number of the account that the check was deposited in was printed on the back of the check. I went to the station to report the crime. I had a copy of the check. All the cop had to do was go to the bank, get the name of the account owner, and make the arrest. Anyone could have done it, it wasn't a hard crime to solve. The cops told me that they didn't have the manpower to solve a crime for such a small amount of money. On the way home, I passed 6 cops with cars pulled over, writing traffic tickets.

In 2000, my car was broken into, and my stereo, radar detector, cash, and other items totaling about $600 was stolen from it. The crime scene investigator came out and took fingerprints. They got a hit, and gave me the name of the person, and asked me to sign a paper saying that this man did not have permission to be in my vehicle. A month later, I was told that the criminal would not be arrested because the crime was too minor to waste resources on.

As a paramedic in 2010, I ran a call on a report of man who was unconscious and slumped over the wheel at an intersection. When I got there, he was obviously drunk, and I reached in and took the keys out of the ignition and put them on the vehicle roof. When the cops got there, they let the man call his girlfriend and let her give him a ride home. They said that they couldn't prove that he was behind the wheel. I told them I would testify, but then the cop told me that his shift was over soon, and he didn't want to stay late to do the paperwork.

Yet, in 2001 I got a traffic ticket for $184, which I subsequently paid. Eleven years later, the court sends me a letter saying that they miscalculated the fine for the ticket, and I owe them another $32. So it appears that no amount of money is too small when they stand to lose it.

I would rather take my chances with the supposed criminals. At least I can fight back against them.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Above the law? I am the law!

The cops here in Florida ignore the same laws that they enforce upon the rest of us. They (correctly) believe that they are above the law. The press here is on the case, and has been for months:
CBS news
Sun Sentinel part one, part two, part three
Miami area Blogs are on it
Orlando area blogs, as well

There are a lot of dishonest, criminal cops out there. I say criminal, because like a criminal gang, they engage in intimidation and retaliation when honest people come forward to make things right. An FDLE investigator recently concluded an investigation in a crash that killed 11 people on the Florida Turnpike, concluding that the Highway Patrolmen were at fault. The tires on his personal car were slashed at his home, and a copy of his report was left under his windshield wiper. It is obvious that this was done by cops, because the home address of law enforcement are kept secret from mere mortals, meaning that the only people who would have had access to this information are other cops.

Thin blue line, indeed.

So this group of people carries weapons, intimidates law enforcement and witnesses, engages in illegal acts, and takes millions of dollars from people. Sounds like a gang to me.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Zimmerman's 7 year old MySpace account

This is scary. You use your firearm in self defense, and not only do you have to defend yourself from the attack, and then defend yourself from the legal ramifications of the shooting, but you also must defend anything that you have ever done or said. This guy is having to defend a myspace page from when he was only 20 years old? Who among us could withstand that level of scrutiny?

What is really interesting here is the statement by Zimmerman's attorney that "inviting public scrutiny of the contents of this social media account invites scrutiny of the social media accounts of all parties involved,"which would seem to indicate that Travon Martin's social media accounts will also be fair game, including the ones that indicate drug and gang activity.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Shooting versus diving

In the comments here, Andy states that buying a $3,400 custom 1911 is less expensive than other hobbies like SCUBA. As a gunnie and as a master diver, I say that he is totally wrong. I added up what it would cost to get quality equipment and training, and tried to see how much I could get if I spent what I would buying a custom 1911.
Open water SCUBA class: $200

Mask, fins, booties, snorkel: $275

2 tanks: $350
Regulator set: $420
Octopus: $70
Dive computer with air integration: $600
Buoyancy compensator: $275
Total: $2,190
Of course, a new diver doesn't usually buy equipment that is this good. A basic scuba setup can be had for about $1200, plus the $200 certification class.

The cost to actually shoot the gun, like the cost to dive, is extra. Ammo runs about $175 for 500 rounds.  So if you shoot 200 rounds every time you go to the range, and you go once a week, ammo would cost about $3600 a year.

Air fills cost about $3. Hiring a charter boat to take you out would cost $50 for half a day. For that same $3600 it costs to shoot 200 rounds a week for a year, you could go SCUBA diving on a charter boat every Saturday and still have $700 left over.

Sure, you could reload your ammo and make it cheaper, but I can buy my own compressor and do beach diving, and my dives become cheaper still.

I just can't see spending over $3,000 for a special race gun. To each their own, I guess.