Launching the Anvil

One of the obscure American traditions displayed at Boomershoot is the "Anvil Launch", in which one anvil is placed on top of another, the space in between is packed with black powder, and the whole thing lit with a fuse.  The result: the anvil on top goes flying into the air, hopefully mostly straight up.

This year's boomershoot had two anvil launches.  I got video of both of them.
Keep in mind that a typical steel anvil weighs about 100-125 lbs, and can reach what looks like several hundred feet into the air. 

I probably don't actually need to say this, but don't try this at home.

Thu May 14 03:06:51 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Well, now: this is interesting...

It's rare to see an article in the mainstream media that's positive about gun rights.  But when I look at the author, it's not so surprising: the article was written by Declan McCullagh, whose work I have followed for some time through his PoliTech mailing list and blog.

He's covering one of the gun-rights cases in California, this one focused on obtaining shall-issue concealed carry.  This is an issue where California is particularly vulnerable, as there have already been cases where the country sheriffs have used the concealed carry licensing system as their personal privilege to extend or deny to political supporters and opponents.

Thu May 14 03:04:50 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

For those of you who wondered...

... whether allowing concealed carry on college campuses could make a difference, consider the example described in this article.  10 lives saved, one criminal dead and the other fled.  My own state of Texas may be about to pass a law allowing concealed carry on campus, and while it's probably not a response to this specific incident, it's certainly the hypothetical possibility of lives saved by an immediate armed response that has been driving the legislation.

Thu May 14 03:00:50 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another Mexican Gun Show...

... only this one is a "show" in the sense of being staged.  There's a ".50-caliber anti-aircraft machinegun platform" that is really an aluminum museum replica with an inaccurate, semiautomatic conversion of the BMG; there's a single young female "guard" who was arrested at the time of the seizure but not yet to be charged with anything.A former BATFE agent offers the following anonymous commentary:
The former agent says it is not out of the realm of possibility that the Mexican government staged the gun bust, or at least hyped the press conference, using previously seized weapons in order to bolster its chances of securing additional aid from the U.S. government to help continue its escalation of the drug war. The former agent adds that he is suspicious of all the coincidences surrounding the weapons seizure ? including the fact that the guns were found by accident during a routine patrol, at least one of the guns was a replica, and one of the gun platforms was nothing more than an aluminum prop.

?It?s happened before,? the former agent says. ?You bring in some dope or guns from the [police] warehouse as props. It?s a big game.?
A big game indeed: one that nets Mexican government officials more foreign aid from the US, and feeds Obama's desire for a casus belli on gun control.

Wed May 13 03:27:06 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Boomershoot 2009: Boomers with handguns

OK, so they are large handguns shooting rifle ammunition.  They are, nonetheless, handguns and they can be shot with a single hand accurately enough to hit a boomer.  I took a few minutes during lunch to talk with the person shooting them on camera, and look at a few of the pistols.  I didn't get as much time as I had hoped -- the shooting starts up again on the end of the video.  I didn't have my ear protection with me, so I wrapped things up as quickly as I could and left to find my ears.

UPDATE: I forgot to link Random Nuclear Strikes, where the subject of this interview blogs (including a little about the video itself).

Tue May 12 00:46:52 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Why not just call it Big Brother?

AT&T's new GPS tracking service "FamilyMap" is just waiting for the government to start writing warrants.  Assuming that they bother writing warrants anymore; the latest fad under the Patriot Act is to demand business records without a warrant using a National Security Letter.  Once AT&T is tracking your location as a business service, the records are just normal business records like any other... and your movements are subject to government scrutiny.

Tue May 12 00:41:34 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Boomershoot 2009: Opening Ceremonies

Video from Joe's short speech introducing Boomershoot 2009 is here.  Highlights include some details about targets for this year (camoflage, hanging from string) and a brief discussion about the tv crew that was supposed to be on site for the fireball.  Unfortunately they were not able to make it for the opening ceremonies so the fireball was rescheduled for the lunch break.

Mon May 11 01:21:06 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ignorance + Linux == Criminal Activity?

At Boston College, a Linux user had all of his computer equipment confiscated by the campus police.  They were seeking to determine whether he had sent an email "outing" another student as being gay to a campus mailing list.  Never mind that doing so is not a crime.  What's more worrisome is what was listed on the search warrant as supporting elements for probable cause:
"[The student] is a computer science major who is considered a master of the trade amongst his peers... it is not uncommon for [the student] to appear with unknown laptop computers which he says are given to him by Boston College for field testing or he is "fixing" for other students.  [The student] uses two different operating systems to hide his illegal activities.  One is the regular B. C. operating system [presumably windows] and the other is a black screen with white font which he uses prompt commands on."
So using Linux, or even DOS (which would equally fit that sparse description), is now grounds for probable cause?

Fri May 08 02:19:21 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Boomershoot 2009 High Intensity Event

Ironically, one of the highlights of boomershoot in years past has been the "cleanup" part of the event.  This traditionally took place after the main event, to clean up any remaining targets that had been missed by the shooters.  People would take their semi-auto rifles to point-blank ranges and detonate any remaining targets from there.

Demand for this event was high.  There weren't enough targets, so Joe started making more targets designated specifically for cleanup.  And he started charging for participation.  In 2009, Joe reached the final stage in the evolution of the "Cleanup" event: it is now a separate event held on a separate day only for those who pay, and doesn't really have anything to do with cleanup at all... so he renamed it the High Intensity Event.

And I got it all on video.

Thu May 07 02:41:00 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama appoints MADD executive to highway safety post

Radley Balko has this to say:
Hurley is a lifelong anti-alcohol activist. MADD's top priority during his stint as CEO was to get states to pass a law mandating ignition interlock devices in the cars of all first-time DWI offenders. The device requires you to blow into a tube before starting your car, then blow again at set intervals as you're driving. Under Hurley's watch, MADD also gave a "qualified endorsement" for bills in the New York and New Mexico legislatures that would have required the devices in all cars sold in those states.

Wed May 06 10:37:37 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

NRA challenges Pittsburgh's lost, stolen law

Dave Hardy says he says standing and ripeness problems.  I tend to agree with this analysis; none of the plaintiffs appear to have been penalized by the legislation.  They have neither been convicted of violating it, nor deterred from exercising their fundamental rights.  It's going to be hard to show harm here. 

That said, the law does appear to violate state preemption laws on its face; I can't see any set of facts that would allow the challenged law to be valid.  While standing may be a legal requirement even in a clear-cut case like this, making it a requirement to challenge a law will effectively allow the city to pick defendants carefully to ensure none of them have the means to challenge the law effectively.  The end result of that will be a law that facially violates state law yet is nonetheless left in force.

Mon May 04 09:20:56 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ending the ban on concealed carry in Texas public universities

From the Austin American Statesman, one of the more liberal papers in Texas:

It is tempting to think that banning guns from a geographical area might make that area safe, but the problem is who obeys the law.

Experience shows that those who are intent on causing harm ignore the ban.

The result is that we have created a zone where killers feel safe.

The Texas House of Representatives has wisely passed out of committee a bill to allow permitted concealed handguns on public college campuses and give private ones the option to do the same. Gov. Rick Perry has said that he supports the general principle.
This isn't likely to pass without a lot of screaming and wailing from the education lobby -- but it should pass, and there is reason to hope that it will.  After all, we are talking about Texas.  The fact is, there is solid statistical data indicating that concealed carry licensees are honest, law-abiding folks not brutal killers.  Having more honest, law-abiding folks in position to stop brutal killers is undeniably a good thing.  It just does not make sense to cordon off a section of land otherwise open to the public and declare it a free-fire zone where criminals are certain not to encounter any opposition.

I got the word from John Lott.

Mon May 04 04:18:11 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Souter retiring; Kopel profiles replacements

The news is all over the airwaves: Justice Souter, one of the reliably liberal votes on the Court, is retiring.  Cynics may note that the timing of the rumors began shortly after Arlen Specter switched parties, giving Obama's appointment a 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority.  Dave Kopel profiles some of the possible appointments at the Second Amendment Project.

None of them are really any good for the 2nd Amendment.  But we knew that already.

Mon May 04 03:18:21 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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