Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reality Check.


KUHNER: Will Obama steal the 2012 election? "When democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizen still gets to vote."

"Weapons free" -- a statement by a commander to a subordinate unit that it is free to use its weapons if attacked by an enemy.
You know, I was having a conversation about this subject with a friend the other day and up pops this op-ed piece in the Washington Times.
Mr. Holder says his department’s aim is to “expand the franchise.” This begs the question: Expand it for whom? Jim Crow is long dead; not one single eligible voter has been turned away because of an ID requirement. In other words, minorities are not being disenfranchised. What Mr. Holder really means is to expand the vote to groups that will help ensure a Democratic victory in 2012 - ACORN and its nefarious allies.
Stealing an election is not beyond this administration. After all, it’s the Chicago Way.
Indeed, my friend made this argument using almost exactly these words. I smiled, and said, "I don't suppose we could get that lucky."
"Huh?!?" he reacted. "LUCKY?"
Sure, I told him. Any election of Obama presupposes that he would avoid responsibility for the truth about the Gunwalker Conspiracy, that the political remedies had failed utterly. For Obama to steal the election -- in the era of the Internet -- would be the final, self-administered coup de grace to his, and the two-party predatory system's, legitimacy.
"We couldn't ask for a better declaration of war on the American people than that," I told him. "After that, we're 'weapons free' to defend ourselves against any assault, for the regime will be plainly illegitimate and will lack the standing to enforce ANY of its diktats."
He looked troubled -- as troubled as I felt even though the logic of such a situation took me to that conclusion.
He shook his head, and said, "Yeah, well, 'when democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizen still gets to vote,' right?"

Taking Stock. Two losers for 2011 -- the Brady Bunch and the Mexican people.

The Brady Bunch and other gun banners have a bad year.
The end of a year is the time to take stock of the changes wrought in the previous 365 days. There is no telling how history will view 2011. For some the result has been disappointing. Here are two retrospectives of the losers of 2011 -- The Brady Bunch and the Mexican people.
As Howard Nemerov reminds us, it has been "A Tough Year for Gun Control’s Brady Campaign." Nemerov points wryly to the triumphalism of the Brady Bunch's reaction to the election of Obama:
The 2008 election marked a major victory for common sense gun laws. Never in our nation’s history have we had an incoming President and Vice President more supportive of strong gun laws. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence strongly endorsed the Obama-Biden ticket, and for good reason. Barack Obama has consistently supported strong sensible gun violence prevention laws throughout his career, and Joe Biden has been a leader in Congress for strong gun laws. After eight years of an Administration that catered to the gun lobby, deprived gun violence victims of their rights, and turned a deaf ear to law enforcement and communities seeking to strengthen, not weaken, our gun laws, the incoming Obama-Biden administration represents an historic opportunity for this country to responsibly address our gun violence problem. The fact that Obama and Biden won — and won convincingly, even in many states with heavy rates of gun ownership — also demonstrated that support for common sense gun laws is a winning message across the country and is not a dangerous political “wedge” issue that must be avoided by politicians.
Yet, Nemerov points out:
By the end of 2009 — the latest year for which data are publicly available — Brady’s total net assets were negative $564,123. Between 2006 and 2009, Brady’s total revenues dropped from $4,636,210 to $4,004,014, including investment income and royalties. Brady began listing membership income as a separate line item in 2009. Mailing list company Consumerbase sells a Brady list currently containing 123,562 names, and reports that the average donation is $40. Collating these numbers with Brady’s tax return indicates they have about 32,000 members, plus 68,000 other contributors. (These numbers include the Million Mom March, which is now part of the Brady Campaign.) By comparison, the Texas State Rifle Association has 40,000 members, and the National Rifle Association has “nearly four million members.” Meanwhile, the Second Amendment continued experiencing a gradual recovery across America.
And of course there was the Gunwalker Scandal which may yet prove to be the shipwreck of all the gun confiscationists' hopes, perhaps for the next decade.
Yet, as badly as the Gunwalker Scandal backfired on the administration and their gun control myrmidons, we are not yet to the end, or even the middle, of the search for truth and justice in that murderous plot against the lives and liberty of the inhabitants of this hemisphere.
I was reminded of this when I asked a Mexican journalist who has worked the Gunwalker Scandal story since early on the following question: "Where do you see this story going in 2012 in Mexico?"
The reply was not hopeful, contrasting the ignorance of the likely PRI candidate with the PAN "Gunwalker? "Que es esto?" attitudes:
Oh Mr. Vanderboegh!!
My fuel deposit of hope is almost empty. I am driving with the reserve. Recently the [TV Televisa "appointed"] candidate Enrique Peña Nieto has evidenciated in a monumental act his lack of knowledge of his own culture, and of the needs of his own people... You certainly should know about this...
The famous Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes said about Peña Nieto: "He is a very ignorant man"
This satire is funny, it's in Mexican slang though:
But the problem are not these type of politicians (?). The problem is the puppetmasters who put them in place, that's the problem in the global theather (théâtre de l'absurde) of presidential candidates these days.
World politics has turned, in my opinion, into a theatre for the plebeius, for the poor people in the street whose script is written and controlled by their powerful $$$$$ puppetmasters from the heights of their . . . crystal palaces.
The PAN precandidates appear with a colgate smile in the newspapers. Of what are they laughing about? Of the more than 50,000 death in Mexico??
New revelations in the coming Gunwalker Scandal hearings might push it forward into the forefront of the Mexican presidential election next year, but then, maybe not.
I am increasingly reminded of the line from Terminator 2: "No fate but what we make."

Well, it seems I am one of the "Fabulous Fifty Bloggers"

Doug Ross at Director Blue announces "the winners of the 2011 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards, the most prestigious new media awards in the conservative blogosphere. Or, at the very least, in the 993 area code. These awards recognize a variety of blogs and websites operating in the conservative hemisphere of the Internet, all of which have worked tirelessly to protect America from Statism -- some in very unique ways."
Scroll down the list and you will find this listing -- Best Investigative Bloggers: Sipsey Street Irregulars and Gun Rights Examiner (tie)
Well, whaddaya know?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Praxis: Dated but excellent Brit training film on shooting positions.


Light posting this morning. Moving some of my papers to the BPL archives.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. (The more things change, the more they stay the same.)
In order to get it in under the deadline -- i.e., before the year is up -- this morning I must go to the Birmingham Public Library Archives, sign the papers, and begin the process of donating my Constitutional militia period papers, the years roughly 1992-2006. By agreement, they will not be available to interested parties until January 2014 (it will take them that long to process, sort and categorize them). Going through them has been a real trip down memory lane. There are email exchanges from PIML, early militia organizational documents, lots of stuff on the private investigation of the Oklahoma City Bombing, probably close to ten or twelve filing cabinets worth, at least, after we winnow out and discard the duplicates. (A process that my daughters are helping with.) Most interesting is the stuff regarding the 90s and the cover-up artists of the Clinton Administration such as Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano, who did an admirable job (from their point of view) on Ruby Ridge, Waco and Oklahoma City, most of whom now seem to be in even higher up positions in the Obama Administration and tied into Gunwalker and PATCON. I will have more on that later today.

Idaho fishwrapper doesn't like small handguns (among other things). My reply.

New Idaho collectivist bedwetters' nemesis: Ruger LC-9.
"Why are you opposed to my daughters having the perfect anti-rape device? Are you some kind of tribe of vicarious misogynists who promote rape from afar and are either indifferent to the suffering or get off on it? How sick is that?"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

David Codrea: "ATF management to treat Gunwalker crimes as personnel policy violations."

They might. Doesn't mean other folks will.

This smells of clandestine gunwalking. There's a federal government snitch somewhere in this, I'd bet a bottle of Bushmill's Irish Whiskey on it.

Owner of Lynnwood gun shop unsure about 100 weapons stolen in 2010.
In March 2010, thieves struck a Lynnwood gun shop, making off with nearly 100 handguns.
At the time, Lynnwood police joined the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in asking the public for tips leading to anyone responsible.
Later that spring, they said no arrests had been made, and none of the guns had been recovered.
Now, more than a year and a half later, investigators won't discuss the case. It's not clear what happened to all the stolen weapons or if arrests ever were made.
Lynnwood police referred all questions to federal investigators. An ATF spokeswoman said they do not discuss ongoing cases.
The burglary was reported at Lynnwood Gun & Ammunition along Highway 99.
None of the guns were ever returned to the business, owner Randy Ketchum said. He heard rumors of what happened, but he doesn't know if anyone ever was held responsible.
He believes some of the guns were recovered, but he said a federal firearms-tracing official told him that if the serial numbers were removed, there was little they could do.

Now this fellow apparently got confused about whether he was on duty or not.

"'I’m a cop, I can do whatever I want' off-duty policeman shouts before 'executing guy in bar' over a game of darts." See, if he'd been on duty and in uniform he could have got away with this. Who knows? He still might.

Bloomberg does a hit piece on the NRA.

Not a big surprise that the "journalists" at Bloomberg would do so, of course.

Praxis: The Carl Gustav, affectionately known as "The Goose."

A tip of the boonie hat to Irregular Michael, who provides us this link to "Tank Snipers!" by Jack Murphy:
More and more reports are coming out telling us that the Taliban in Afghanistan has finally figured out the limited range of American rifles and other small arms. Acting accordingly, we are told that they are maintaining as much stand off as possible when engaging US forces, remaining just outside the maximum effective range of our soldier’s ammunition while firing at them with heavy machine guns and RPGs. The Carl Gustaf has the potential to change that when employed properly. “Existing systems…such as the M141 Bunker Defeat Munition, M72 LAW, M136 AT-4 and the SMAW, are only effective inside of 500 meters. The Army says the Carl-Gustaf [max effective range 1,000m] is more effective than waiting on mortars and less expensive than artillery or Javelin missiles.”
Afghanistan has also seen the resurgence in interest of the old M40 series 106mm recoilless rifle as well. Murphy follows up with another story on the ins and outs of the Goose: Carl Gustaf, Tactical Employment and Training

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

David Codrea: Administration/media collaboration continues Gunwalker misdirection

"Serrano said it, I believe it, that settles it." Or, not.

Sipsey Street Exclusive: "Personnel is policy." Part One. Who Dennis Burke is and why he was sent to Phoenix.

Personnel is policy. The success of the new President is dependent not only on articulating his vision for America and his commitment to policies that will realize that vision, but also on appointing people to his management and policy team--from the Cabinet-level Secretary to the confidential assistant in an agency office--who share that vision and are willing to work tirelessly to make it a reality. -- Robert E. Moffit, Director of Domestic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, 8 January 2001, writing about the George "Dubya" Bush transition.
It should be noted that Burke is not a newcomer to the business of gun control. In an article in the Arizona Republic about the political ramifications on Arizona politicians for supporting gun control, former Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ), a supporter of the Clinton "Assault Weapons Ban", had this to say about Dennis Burke:
DeConcini credits Judiciary Committee staff aide Dennis Burke, now the U.S. attorney for Arizona, for much of the work in developing the ban, which became law during DeConcini's final year in the Senate but expired after 10 years.
Burke also was Senior Policy Analyst for the White House's Domestic Policy Council from 1995 to 1997. This time overlaps with when Elena Kagan - now Justice Kagan - served as its Deputy Director. It was during this time that Executive Orders were used to further extend the ban on so-called assault weapons and to implement the Brady Act. Given his prior work on the Assault Weapons Ban in the Senate, it would not surprise me that Burke assisted in this effort.
Looking at Burke's background and his attitude towards gun rights and those who support them, I see this as even further confirmation that the intent of Operation Fast and Furious from the very beginning was to build support for another so-called assault weapons ban. I just don't think it was coincidental that Operation Fast and Furious was centered in Arizona as opposed New Mexico or west Texas where the U.S. Attorneys have long careers as prosecutors. -- John Richardson.
"Banning guns is an idea whose time has come." -- United States Senator Joe Biden, quoted by AP, 18 November 1993.
Let us step into the Wayback Machine with Peabody and Sherman to the year 1989. George Herbert Walker Bush, Dubya's daddy, has just won the 1988 election. On 17 January, Patrick Purdy commits the Stockton California school yard massacre with a semi-automatic Kalashnikov that he bought in a Sandy, Oregon gun shop despite an extensive history of criminal arrests for everything from male prostitution to drug dealing to being an accomplice to armed robbery. Oddly enough, Purdy was able to buy the weapon legally, for despite his long list of criminal arrests, HE HAD NEVER BEEN CONVICTED OF A DISQUALIFYING CRIME by the California "justice system" nor had he been adjudicated mentally ill.
Purdy, a guy who apparently hated all humanity but particularly Asian immigrants (he had flirted with joining the Aryan Nations), killed five little kids and wounded 29 others, plus a school teacher. He then blew his own brains out with a pistol. On the stock of the AK Purdy had carved the words "freedom", "victory", "Earthman", and "Hezbollah" and he was wearing a Vietnam era flak jacket upon which he written "PLO", "Libya", and "death to the Great Satin" with a Magic Marker. It is assumed he meant Satan not satin, but then Purdy had been determined to be borderline mentally retarded as well.
Now this act was a powerful indictment of the California justice system -- that an essentially career criminal had been able to be arrested so many times yet never convicted of a serious crime that disqualified him from legally buying a weapon. Yet did the political elites react with demands to fix that system? Of course not. They took steps to ban semiautomatic rifles of military appearance and utility. In this, they were following in lockstep a path set out previously by citizen disarmament advocates like Josh Sugarmann of the National Coalition to Ban Handguns (now of the more deceptively named Violence Policy Center) who understood how to use use the corruption of language to shape political battlefields.
"Assault weapons — just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms — are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons." - Josh Sugarmann, Assault Weapons and Accessories in America, 1988
The application of the term "assault weapon," which in fact referred to full auto military rifles and machine guns, was a brilliant stroke on Sugarmann's part. Anti-gun politicians, with whom Sugarmann spoke regularly, leaped on the opportunity to obscure the differences in the public mind and thereby obtain the political consent for a outright ban. From this point in our Wayback Machine trip, I am going to let Dennis DeConcini, then powerful Democrat Senator from Arizona, be our guide, for truly he was right in the middle of subsequent events. With him all the way was a rising star in the Democrat gun control universe, a fellow you probably have heard of if you've read this column more than once -- Dennis K. Burke. The following is excerpted from DeConcini's memoir, Senator Dennis DeConcini: From the Center of the Aisle, University of Arizona Press, 2006.
Prior to this event, I was a strong Second Amendment supporter . . . my voting record in that regard made me an NRA "100 percenter" . . . But the firearm usede in the Stockton massacre, an inexpensive Chinese version of the Soviet AK-47, drew considerable media attention. . . Even First Lady Barbara Bush was surprised to learn that they were legal in the United States. She thought they had been banned, but following the Stockton massacre, she said, "They should be."
In this changing context, on February 8, 1989 . . . Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D -- OH) introduced S386, the Assault Weapon Control Act of 1989. Responding to a reporter's question Metzenbaum announced his motivation . . . "No," he said, "we're not looking at how to control criminals . . . we're talking about banning AK-47s and semi-automatic guns." Indeed, the great national debate over federal legislation dealing with automatic weapons had reached a milestone. -- pp. 106-107.
Note that even here, DeConcini mistakenly -- or perhaps intentionally -- elides the differences between full auto and semi auto weapons.
In addition to Metzenbaum's legislative proposal, the newly installed George H.W. Bush administration took action that further placed gun control at the forefront of public debate. On March 14, 1989, after several cities and states had passed laws banning various automatic weapons . . . William Bennett, on his first day as "drug czar," issued a one-page statement that was in essence a reversal of Republican policy: "Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady and I have discussed assault weapons and he has decided to suspend, effective immediately, the importation of several types of assault-type weapons. . . Three weeks later, on April 5, 1989, President Bush, who had taken a few tepid steps toward the gun-control supporters, expanded on Bennett's pronouncement and on the suspension on the importation of assault weapons."
Ah, yes, George H.W. Bush, the recent annointee of Mitt Romney as the next GOP presidential candidate. Many trace the elder Bush's treason to the Second Amendment here as one of the principal cause of his reelection defeat in 1992. A read of Dave Kopel's George Bush and the NRA is instructive for background. DeConcini continues:
. . . At this time I received intense lobbying from both camps. Several police organizations, supportive of gun control in general and of the Metzenbaum bill in particular, approached me with the intent of seeking my endorsement of the legislation. At first, I rebuffed these overtures because I thought Senator Metzenbaum's bill was too draconian and could not generate enough support to become law. I agreed with the motivation and intent of the Ohio senator's legislative proposal, but after seriously reviewing the bill I had deep reservations about its broad provisions. . . I consulted with my majority counsel to the Judiciary Committee, Dennis Burke, who rightfully informed me that I could not turn my back on the police organizations, who, like the NRA, had supported me. -- pp. 108-109.
Ah, yes, the "police organizations," who were so very happy to be federalized and militarized and pampered and supported with ever greater budgets throughout the ever-growing drug war. Of course they were the "Only Ones" who could be trusted with guns, weren't they? You know why they call tyrannies "police states" don't you? Because the police call the shots. DeConcini:
(The NRA's) inflexible stance, coupled with the pressing need to take action, prompted me to offer a middle way through this political quagmire. . . (DeConcini then crafted, with the help of Dennis K. Burke, the "Anti-Drug Assault Weapons Limitation Act of 1989.) . . . In effect, my bill banned future sales of several types of semiautomatic assault weapons, both domestic and imported, but allowed present owners to keep their firearms. S747 called for prohibition of nine specific firearms, none of which was typically used for hunting . . . Dennis Burke helped navigate this legislation through seemingly innumerable obstacles. He has recalled that NRA officers and members "went through the roof" because to them I had defected to the other side. They immediately began a direct mail campaign against me. They also instituted a mass phone campaign to derail the proposed legislation. One humorous memo from Senator John McCain suggested the degree of commitment the NRA had in trying to scuttle my bill. . . "I mean, how many times can you hear the argument that it's every red-blooded American's right to carry an AK-47 to defend himself against those really vicious attack deer wearing Kevlar vests?" -- pp. 109-110.
U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke.
. . . Dennis Burke reported that the lies and exaggerations (of the NRA) stretched credulity and were almost humorous, but we had to acknowledge that the NRA was sending this material to the voters of Arizona. Although this mailing no doubt caused me political damage, I knew that the NRA was hurting itself with this extreme reaction. My bill would prevent even harsher legislation . . .(Here, DeConcini recounts the struggle to get his version of the ban out of the Senate Judiciary Committee which was split along party lines. In the footnotes to this chapter he tells us: "Dennis Burke had many duties, but he was one of my primary staff on the Judiciary Committee." DeConcini indicates that a crucial vote was Arlen Specter, GOP Senator from Pennsylvania, who played coy games about the vote.) Although the Republicans on the committee remained calm, my counsel, Dennis Burke, informed me that in this particular instance Specter could be a wild card. . .
As Dennis and I waited and watched while the deadline for voting approached, we noticed that the Republican on the committee grew increasingly nervous. Several aides were sent to find Specter. Judiciary Committee Joe Biden (D-Delaware) counted off the final seconds. As he prepared to announce that the bill passed seven to six, Specter entered the room and stunned all of us with his actions. He looked at Biden and said, "I'm sorry, Mr. Chairman, I can't vote on this bill. My staff has not briefed me adequately." Then he turned and walked out. With that weird ending to the hearings, the Judiciary Committee moved my bill to the Senate floor. -- pp. 111-112
DeConcini reports that Specter's motivations were provided by several national police organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, and the International Organization of Chiefs of Police, who backed the bill. When it came to more gun control and citizen disarmament, these groups of tax-feeders have ever been faithful soldiers against the Constitution they swore to uphold. Fast forward to May 1990. The bill is one of three anti-gun proposals -- Deconcini's, Metzenbaum's and one by Strom Thurmond -- which are competing to be included in a larger bill, S1970, the Comprehensive Crime Control Act. Deconcini's was already in the language of the bill, having been voted out of committee thanks to Specter's strange performance. The DeConcini/Burke plan was almost deleted beforehand because Joe Biden didn't think they had the votes. In a late night meeting in the office of then Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, DeConcini, ably supported by Burke's staff work, was able to keep his language in the bill. Metzenbaum's and Thurmond's plans, then, would have to be voted on as amendments, to stand or fall on their own. DeConcini:
On May 22, 1990, Senator Metzenbaum passionately spoke in behalf of his bill . . . His bill was soundly defeated, eighty-two to seventeen. The Senate then turned to Senator Hatch's motion to strike what he called the "Deconcini ban" from the crime bill, S1970. I recall how Dennis Burke and I prepared for defeat, believing nwe had done everything we could to win. After two hours and fifteen minutes of debate, the Senate chose to recess at around 10:45 that night and would reconvene at 9:30AM the next day, May 23.
That morning Dennis Burke and other staff members placed a number of postersize photographs of the assault weapons to be banned on easels at the back of the Senate chamber. The impact was that these guns looked nothing like hunting rifles. Senators began gathering in groups, gazing at the photos and shaking their heads. I stood before the photo of the Streetsweeper and asked a senator beside me, "Would you go hunting with this?" . . . An extraordinary thing took place on the Senate floor that day. Floor debate was aimed more for the record than to convince colleagues to vote one way or the other. Most votes were decided long before being cast. In this case, however, senators were making their decisions on the Senate floor. As they lingered around the photos and talked, Dennis Burke, thinking quickly, contacted several law enforcement leaders and had them call the senators, saying they would provide cover from any NRA attack. . . When the clerk reported the final tally, fifty-one to forty-nine, to uphold the assault weapons ban, we could barely contain ourselves. -- pp. 114-115.
The victory was Dennis K. Burke's as much, or even more, than Dennis DeConcini's. Burke had become a potent player in the drive for more gun control. And that drive began in 1989, two decades before he was selected by the Obama administration to go back out and run the Phoenix U.S. Attorney's office and a little program called Fast and Furious.
Note: In Personnel is Policy, Part Two, we track Dennis K. Burke as the Clinton Administration comes into power and he shepherds both the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons ban through the Senate Judiciary Committee and then leaves the Senate to become a policy player in the Clinton Administration whose principal concern is more gun control.

Voting with their wallets.

2011 Smashes Sales Record for Guns.

Praxis: Disassembly of the M-14 bolt without a bolt tool.

Handy little tip.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The regime -- both parties -- attacks the Internet again.

SOPA is the end of us, say bloggers.

I am a grandpa . . . again.

Olivia Laura Vanderboegh, my new red-headed grandaughter, was born around 0400 local time in Germany, 28 December 2011. Baby is great, momma is great, brother is excited and daddy is proud. He'll be sorry in a few years, but for now, this is the best belated Christmas gift we could ask for.

Bees living in their heads. Calling the ATF on an insane rule. Manufacturer takes ATF letters to Len Savage seriously and creates a "bird's head grip" for the Mossberg 500 Cruiser that is consistent with ATF rulings. "Danger, Will Robinson!"

"Sure, understanding today's complex world of the future is a little like having bees live in your head. But, there they are." -- The Honorable Chester Cadaver on "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus," Firesign Theater, 1971.
National Firearms Act Definitions
Any Other Weapon
26 U.S.C. § 5845(E)
For the purposes of the National Firearms Act, the term “Any Other Weapon” means:
* Any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive;
* A pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell;
* Weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading; and
* Any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire.
Such term shall not include a pistol or a revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed ammunition.
Holy NFA, Batman!
The 14″ 12-Gauge That ISN’T NFA!
I get a lot of questions from customers about the “new” ATF ruling regarding pistol-grip-only (PGO) firearms with 14″ barrels that aren’t considered NFA items.
Well, first off, let me say, it’s not a new ruling. It’s the same position that ATF has always taken regarding PGO firearms that fire a fixed shotgun shell that have NEVER had a buttstock attached to them — they’re NOT shotguns! They’re simply firearms. As such, they don’t necessarily need to have 18″+ barrels on them to remain out of the purview of the NFA.
You see, the very definition of a “shotgun” requires that it be “designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder…” Without a buttstock ever having been fitted to the PGO firearms in question, they can’t be fired from the shoulder and are therefore not shotguns. Hence, with a 14″ barrel, they can’t be considered short-barreled shotguns, as they aren’t shotguns to begin with.
Mossberg 500 Cruiser as it came from the factory.
Let me see if I can explain what this fellow has just done. With the production of a grip that replaces the factory pistol grip of a Mossberg 500 Cruiser, he has just forced the Destructive Device provision that has never been enforced on AOWs out of the closet, because SOMEBODY at ATF won't let this trot-out of a sawed-off to go unchallenged, and it will totally screw with sawed-off shotgun cases in the minds of the sensible people who sit on juries rather than the brain-copulating parsing ATF does with the law.
If ATF declares this item to be a Destructive Device, the fear will quake amongst the pistol-grip shotgun owning hoi polloi about the AOWs with bore diameters exceeding 1/2" --- and ATF will have quite the mess on its hands owing to the anger of the Elmer Fudds who own said "pistol grip" firearms.
The beauty of it from the manufacturers point of view? He's not an FFL. This is an aftermarket part which, even if the ATF decides that, contrary to their own diktats, that use of said pistol grip on a "non-shotgun" with a short barrel violates the law. (Even though it still manages to comply with the law as it stands now.) The part will still be sellable to other folks who decide not to use a short barrel, but rather just mount it on their 18" barrel Mossberg. Q.E.D., it cannot be banned and the manufacturer will still not lose money, no matter how the ATF rules. I love it.

David Codrea: Holder’s OIG ’Gunwalker’ investigation passes historic milestone today.

Exceeds time it took Warren Commission to produce report on JFK murder."

Local Police Employing Aerial Drones to Spy From Sky. On a related note, Marlin Goose Guns are still available.

"Forget Iran and Afghanistan. Americans have unmanned drones flying over their own heads, and more are coming."
On a related note, Marlin Goose guns are still available.

Russia says no to Kalashnikovs

End of an era.

Wonderful! George Soros continues to waste his money on limp dick Media Matters. And Rachel Madcow still obsesses over me. I'm touched.

"2011: A Year In The NRA's "Insane Paranoid" Conspiracy Theories." "More importantly, do you remember who Mike Vanderboegh is?" Note in the background they misspell "intimidation."

One more hypocrite anti-gun mayor. This time from Alabama, the putz.

"Pistol-packing mayor draws heat."

Yeah, well, we don't trust you either anymore, Bob Barr.

"Newt gets bum rap on gun rights." Yer right, Bob. He's a bum on on gun rights.

Voting with their feet.

"Where we goin', Ma?" "Back to Oklahoma, son, to get out from under these infernal taxes. . . You brung the SKS we never declared, didn't ya?" "Yes, ma." "And the two crates of Chinese steel core ammo?" "Yes, ma. . . Got 'em hid under the quilts in back." "Good boy. We're goin' back to someplace free where ya kin shoot all day and not have somebody eyein' yer magazine capacity."
Businesses Exit California and Illinois.
Line of hard-working Korean shopkeepers leaving LA.
Huh. Totalitarian politicians puzzled by free people's rejection of socialism. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to build a wall between Kalifornia and the rest of the continental United States. None for the Mexican border, though.

Proliferation of Federal Snakes. Totalitarianism on the McDonald's business model.

"TSA screenings aren't just for airports anymore." LA Times: "Roving security teams increasingly visit train stations, subways and other mass transit sites to deter terrorism. Critics say it's largely political theater."
More than 5 Billion Gropes Copped Nationwide. . . and counting.
The Transportation Security Administration isn't just in airports anymore. TSA teams are increasingly conducting searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and other mass transit locations around the country.
"We are not the Airport Security Administration," said Ray Dineen, the air marshal in charge of the TSA office in Charlotte. "We take that transportation part seriously."
The TSA's 25 "viper" teams — for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response — have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year. Department of Homeland Security officials have asked Congress for funding to add 12 more teams next year.
I've got a question: When are we going to stop funding our own oppression? Or should we just wait until some righteous citizen gets drawn down on by one of Janet the Second's Ronald McDonald control freak 'roid rager clown with a badge and shoots all the sonsabitches in the general area in righteous self-defense to kick off the ball?

The federal carbuncle class grows some more.

Federal workers starting at much higher pay than in past.

Gabriel and the Spooky Owl. (A Christmas story for my grandsons.)

(NOTE: I would like to give a tip of the boonie hat and deep genuflection to Alabama Division of Wildlife biologist John S. Powers who wrote this article about owls which appeared in a January 2011 copy of The Trussville Tribune and to my grandson Gabriel, who first told me by phone the story of his own encounter with a spooky old owl outside his house in Germany. Together they gave me the idea and the factual structure around which I built this story.)
Gabriel and the Spooky Owl, by Mike Vanderboegh.
Dedicated to both my grandsons Mason and Gabriel Vanderboegh, half-brothers, perhaps, but each all Vanderboegh. If Mason is not in this story it is not because I don't think of him and miss him daily.
The first thing you should know is that there was a war. It doesn't matter which war, or when, not really, not to this story anyway. It was the war that Gabriel's daddy had to fight in, so after he went away to the army, Gabriel and his mother moved back to her parents' farm in north Alabama. Gabriel's granddaddy lived way back up in the hills, in a converted dogtrot cabin. They called it a "dogtrot" because it had been built when there were still unfriendly Indians roaming around and the safest cabin to build was actually two square ones made of big square-cut logs and no windows downstairs, just stout doors that could be barred, and an open porch that connected the two squares and an upper story that spanned the two. (If you think about it, if all you have is for construction is a cross-cut saw, a hatchet, an axe and maybe an augur for boring hole for the wooden pegs to hold the smaller pieces together, it is a lot easier to build two stout log squares with a space in between them and then connect them bottom and top.)
The dogtrot was really designed to be a little fort. With no windows down below, the settlers would cut firing slits in the logs so they could fire through and each lower square could support the other with fire from flintlock rifles if somebody tried to break down the door of the other. The stairs to the upper level were internal to the rooms so nobody could get in the top part of the house without going through the lower and each stair ended at another stout door with firing slits on the other side. They even cut removable firing ports in the oak plank floors of the upper story which covered the stairs, so that even if an enemy got inside one of the lower squares, they could still be shot at by people defending the upper rooms. In the upper story, then, were the only windows in the house and even these had stout shutters with firing slits that could be pulled shut in case of attack. The thick logs and oak planks were well-nigh bulletproof to the weapons of the day.
I know, I know, I'm getting to the dogtrot part. Anyway, with a big open porch below, between the two lower squares, you could sit in a rocking chair out of the hot Alabama sun of a summer and stay cool in the shade. Of course, it being open and all, the dogs would also shelter there, and could run from the front to the back without encountering a door, so it got the name of "dogtrot."
After the Trail of Tears, when the federal government had forcibly removed the Cherokees, Upper Creeks and Chickasaws from the state, adjoining rooms and a cookhouse had been built on out back and other windows and doors had been cut in the thick logs to make the living arrangements cooler and more convenient and the logs had been covered over inside with nicer looking boards. But Gabriel, being just six years old at the time, didn't know any of this. He just knew that this was his grandpa and grandma's house and it wasn't as nice as his own home. It also smelled funny and he didn't like it.
John Looney Pioneer House Museum, a dogtrot cabin near present-day Ashville, Alabama, built about 1820.
But I had to tell you all of that to explain how it was that Gabriel came to have one of the upper rooms with a window, for that was how he met the spooky owl.
For starters, Gabriel didn't like his room because it was high up the steep stairs, which were difficult for him to climb, and once he was upstairs he couldn't hear a thing downstairs from the add-on room where his grandma and grandpa lived, nor could he hear the familiar sounds of his mother who lived in the room down below him. Gabriel's momma took the lower room because she was about to have a baby and she couldn't take walking up and down the stairs. Gabriel was, then, all alone upstairs and quite cut off from all the people who made life familiar and comforting. Even the fireplace at the end of the room had its own plaster ductwork up through the brick chimney, so he didn't even have the ability to listen downstairs, for chimneys make remarkably good stethoscopes, you know.
But Gabriel didn't have a chimney for a stethoscope.
He really was quite alone at night, and, like most young boys and girls, the night scared him.
Actually, though, he wasn't quite ALONE alone. For almost every night there was an old barn owl which perched on a tree branch right outside his window.
The owl scared Gabriel much more than the dark. It scared him, way down deep, where strange and mysterious things often reach, especially when you're young. Especially when they are armed with sharp talons and sharper beaks. Especially when they make shrieking, scary noises and seem to look right through you.
Of course, Gabriel wasn't the first human being, child or adult, who had been scared by an owl. Cavemen drew vivid pictures of owls deep in European caves, and even after people emerged from caves and began building houses outside, owls were feared and avoided. Some people thought owls were emissaries of the devil and that they brought bad tidings and death. Others thought that they actually were wise messengers from God and were lucky. The ancient Greeks believed the owl to be a bird of wisdom, an idea which continues today. The Indians who lived in Alabama long before any white people thought them to be messengers to tribal shamans, who could, if they were themselves wise, interpret what The People should do. (All the various tribes had a word for themselves. Each called their own tribe "The People" in various languages and dialects and other tribes "The Others." It wasn't until the Europeans came to America that they discovered that were "Others" stranger than the "Others" that they were familiar with, but that is another story.)
Cherokee shamans considered owls to be particularly valuable consultants for all important tribal decisions. Some Indians believed owls were responsible for guiding the souls of the dead safely to the afterlife and still others fletched their arrows with owl feathers so that they would fly silently, like the owls themselves.
(It wasn't true of course, owls make as much noise flapping their wings as any other big bird. But when an owl strikes, it generally leaves its perch by extending its wings quietly and falling in flight, gliding silently in on the target it wants to kill and eat, so maybe it was this last part of the owls' movements that made the Indians believe in the silence of owl fletching. Or maybe it was just good marketing on the part of some ancient Indian who specialized in gathering owl feathers. One guess is as good as another, as Gabriel's grandpa always said.)
Now a lot of people think that all owls hoot, or say, "Who!" "Who!" A lot of them do. But not the barn owl. The barn owl has a shriek like a banshee, the mythical creature from Irish folklore, who was said to start out in a keening moan and to shift to a shriek if she was ignored. Gabriel's grandfather knew all about banshees, or so it seemed, for he occasionally told ghost stories about the women of the fairy mounds and how back in the "Old Country" they were thought to be an omen of death, occasionally being seen washing the blood stained armor of some brave knight about to die.
Grandpa loved to tell such stories, and the more they scared Gabriel, the more Grandpa seemed to like them. Gabriel didn't like them, but that didn't seem to bother Grandpa. And when Gabriel would cry out in fear, Grandpa would say, "Well, if you don't believe me, ask your Grandma, her people believe in banshees too." Grandma was mostly Cherokee, and she would always nod solemnly to Gabriel and beckon him to come to her and she would always wipe his tears with her apron that she always wore and fold him in her arms as if to say, "I won't let the banshee get you, Gabriel," which was more words than Gabriel had ever heard her speak at one time because, as Grandpa explained, "Cherokees ain't much fer talkin'," which Grandpa more than made up for, him being Scotch-Irish, as he said. What Scotch-Irish meant, Gabriel was a bit uncertain, but mostly it seemed to mean that every now and then Grandpa drank entirely too much "popskull" and that drunk or sober he talked ALL the time. If that's what Scotch-Irish meant, then Gabriel was prepared to believe that Grandpa was the most Scotch-Irish man he knew. But in Gabriel's mind, his Grandma's largely silent love didn't much make up for the fact that if there WERE banshees then one might end up getting HIM some night.
And so it was that very first night that Gabriel slept in the upstairs room of the old dogtrot cabin, he found he couldn't sleep, tossing and turning and worrying about banshees and possibly more horrible creatures out there in the dark north Alabama hills, just past the window pane, against which the fingers of the tree tapped, tapped and tapped again with the wind.
In fact, Gabriel was quite awake when the old barn owl announced itself with keening, sustained screech, just outside the window. It was ear-shattering. It was frightening beyond all reason and belief in God Almighty. It was, Gabriel was certain, the bloody-handed banshee come to take his soul.
And Gabriel screamed right along with the owl that he thought was a banshee. In fact, he screamed so loud that he frightened the owl away from the window and off it went, flapping and shrieking so Gabriel never saw it that first night.
In fact, he didn't see much of anything that night because after that he was hiding under the covers. And he didn't go to sleep for a long, long time until his fear and exhaustion came and took him finally from waking to terrible nightmares of the banshee coming to get him. (Downstairs, Gabriel's muffled scream caused his tired mother to turn over in the old fashioned rope-bed, her sleep bothered but not interrupted. On the backside of the house, Grandma and Grandpa slept on too. Accustomed to the chorus of familiar night sounds of the farm, of which the barn owl's shriek was quite a frequent contributor, they didn't even stir.
The next morning Gabriel found his mother in the kitchen, peeling and slicing potatoes to fry, and he interrupted her work to tell her that a banshee had been at his window the night before and could he please, please, sleep with her that night? Grandma was fixing bacon and eggs for breakfast at the cast iron stove across the big room, and stopped her toil long enough to turn around and deliver a regular oration on the subject of Gabriel's bad night: "Jest a barn owl."
Now I'm not sure if Calvin Coolidge had been born yet when this story takes place, but it was for sure and certain that Grandma could have given "Silent Cal" lessons.
For her part, his mother just nodded her head to Grandma, who turned back to her skillets, eggs and bacon, and then gently her daughter started to explain to Gabriel about barn owls. Gabriel, with that unearthly shriek still sounding in his head, didn't believe a word of it. Nothing that loud and scary could have had corporeal form. It MUST have been a banshee.
Gabriel's mother saw that she wasn't getting through to the boy, but said she'd have Grandpa explain about barn owls later. One thing was clear though, Gabriel was not getting out of his lonely prison upstairs. He was a "big boy" now and would have to figure out how big boys were supposed to act. Gabriel thought that if being a big boy meant getting carried off by a banshee, he was sure he wanted to stay little for a long, long time.
That night, he trudged up the stairs to his smelly, musty old room as reluctantly as a condemned Fenian mounting the King's gallows back in the "old Country." (Gabriel didn't know what a Fenian was either, although they often figured prominently in his Grandpa's stories. Mostly they seemed to end up getting mysteriously but consistently hanged all the time, which didn't seem to Gabriel to be an occupation with much of a future.)
That night, neither the barn owl nor a banshee showed up on the branch outside his window and Gabriel, being exhausted from the previous night, fell almost instantly asleep and slept like a baby. For his part, Grandpa had been working all day and into the night with the harvest and so had not had a chance to explain to Gabriel about barn owls, although he did make a banshee joke at supper, with a big smile and a wink for Gabriel, who didn't find any of it the least bit funny. But on the third night, by the light of the full moon, the barn owl came back.
It announced its arrival with a regular "THUMP!" on the side of the cabin wall just to the right of the window, as the branch gave way to the owl's considerable bulk upon landing and smacked up against the thick structure. Gabriel, who was just on the verge of sleep, instantly came awake and sat bolt upright in the bed, all his sense straining.
Outside the window, through the simple cotton curtains, he could see something, something ANIMATE, shifting about on the branch. It was the owl, and he was hungry. Now something happened that readers may not credit because in the story thus far we have highlighted Gabriel's very real fears. But the truth of the matter was that Gabriel really was quite a brave little boy, and he was also quite curious. Gabriel also knew a couple of things, because since the unearthly shriek he had done a lot of thinking about banshees. In none of Grandpa's stories about the banshees did they go "THUMP!" They screamed, they keened, they moaned, they shrieked, sometimes they washed armor, but they didn't thump.
Secondly, if all a banshee was was some kind of noisy ghost then walls wouldn't stop them. Other ghosts Grandpa had told him about could walk through walls, so why would a wall stop a banshee? (This was actually something Gabriel had worried quite a bit about in the past 48 hours, that the banshee just might come right through the wall and snatch his soul off to Hell. Gabriel knew about Hell. His momma had explained it to him, and they read the Bible often in the morning and before bed. Not only that, but the Baptist preacher at the camp meetings knew an awful lot about Hell, and he alone, of all the other adults Gabriel knew, was almost as long-winded as Grandpa. When he got going about Hell, he could go on for hours. So, yes, Gabriel knew about Hell.)
Armed with this logic, Gabriel's curiosity overcame his fear. Very slowly, he pulled back the covers and swung his feet over the side of the bed. The floor was cold, it always was, and it threw a shiver up the entire length of his body. But it was not, Gabriel realized, fear. (Gabriel was also very bright, did I tell you that?) Anyway, he eased over to the curtains and peeked out. There, illuminated by the moonlight, was the most striking, amazing, impossible and scary thing Gabriel had ever seen, up close or far away.
Now a barn owl is a pale, long-winged, long-legged owl with a short, sort of square tail. This one was a humdinger of a big barn owl too. He was pushing two feet in length and had a wingspan of twice that. Its face was heart-shaped and brilliant white in the moonlight, and it had the most piercing black eyes Gabriel had ever seen or would see later in life, and he lived to a ripe old age. The ridge of feathers above the beak resembled a long nose. What wasn't white was a fine, rich brown that gave way to pearly white, mottled with speckles of brown and black. The bill of the owl, which had vivisected with precision so many mice, rats, chipmunks and other rodents, was a luminescent hard-edged white and its talons, which snared the victims all, were by contrast jet black.
Gabriel was mesmerized. His logic had taken him to the window and his logic had been right. This was no banshee. This was the most magnificent bird he had ever seen. Then the owl did something even more startling. Totally ignoring Gabriel's face in the window, it let go of the branch and glided away, flashing by the light of the full moon, wings fully extended, talons deployed dropping like death from above on an invisible quarry below.
Gabriel thought it was going to dive right into the ground, but at the last instant, it broke sharply as its quarry, a field mouse, zigged when it should have zagged, and the owl, deftly snatching it up, rose heavenward on great flapping wings and disappeared from sight around the cabin toward the barn across the lane. It was a demonstration of skill and power that Gabriel would remember the rest of his life.
Gabriel watched long into the night, but the owl did not come back. Finally, reluctantly, Gabriel crept back to bed, chilled through, but strangely excited and happy.
For one thing, Gabriel concluded, the banshee would not be coming to steal his soul down to Hell. Not just yet, anyway.
After that, Gabriel sought out his Grandpa to find out more about the barn owl and his kind. Grandpa knew the owl as an old friend knows another, he said to Gabriel's surprise. Grandpa explained how farmers liked to have barn owls around to keep down on the rats and mice around the farm, because those vermin not only can eat the farmer's crops in storage but also foul the rest that they leave behind with their droppings. Plus, said Grandpa, "they're filthy critters what brings disease."
Grandpa told Gabriel about how a barn owl will sometimes hiss like a snake to scare away intruders, and when captured or cornered by something bigger than themselves, how they throw themselves on their backs and flail around with their razor-sharp talons, slashing and scaring their enemy. Sometimes, Grandpa said, angry barn owls will make raspy warning and a click-snap with its bill, "jest to let you know yer about to git the business end of him."
The owl, said Grandpa, was a good friend, but a grumpy one. "Jest give him a wide berth and he'll do his job and you won't git yer nose bit off." Grandpa claimed to know someone whose nose had been bitten off by a barn owl, but when he said it he had the look in his eye that he got in his other stories just before his daughter would say, "Irish blarney." Gabriel didn't know exactly what Irish blarney was either, but he got the feeling that his momma didn't believe what his Grandpa was saying. Before his daddy had gone off to war, Gabriel had once overheard him say to his Gabriel's momma that her daddy "shoveled more manure with his mouth than anybody on God's earth." His momma had laughed, so Gabriel guessed that blarney meant the same thing as manure. I told you he was a bright boy.
Grandpa said one other thing that bothered Gabriel. The owl, he said, had been hanging around the place for more than twenty years, how many more he couldn't exactly say. The owl was surely about as old as most owls get before they die, maybe older. One day soon, Grandpa said, we'll be needing another owl, and he hoped that they'd get one as good and faithful as this one.
Anyway, after that Gabriel would study the old spooky barn owl every chance he got. It got to where the owl would look back at Gabriel through the window and not only not be startled at his presence but almost seem, well, friendly. Finally, Gabriel took to leaving the window open and one night the owl came right into the room and perched on top of the chiffarobe.
Gabriel didn't make a sound. He tried not to even breathe. Eventually, the owl, having searched the room with its night vision and finding nothing to eat, flapped away on its great wings, straight out the window, though how it timed the beat to avoid hitting the sides of the window happened so fast that later Gabriel couldn't quite figure it out.
Months passed, and the time came when the shriek no longer even startled him, and he came to consider it as just a hello from an old friend in the dark. The spooky old owl taught him how not to be afraid of the dark, too. Gabriel learned a lot from that old barn owl that fall and winter.
Then came the spring. And with the spring, came the rat.
Norwegian rats, who didn't come from Norway, in the hold of an Eighteenth Century ship.
The rat, had any human seen him before Gabriel came face to face with him, was a big, brown rat and would have been called a "Rattus norvegicus," or Norwegian rat, by any scientist of the day. This was to distinguish him and his kind from the much smaller common black rat, known to the scientists as "Rattus rattus." Why he was named a Norwegian rat by John Berkenhout, the eighteenth century English scientist who labeled his kind, remains somewhat of a mystery, since it was later determined that England was infested with such rats long before Norway and in fact they had originated in northern China. By such logic does the Transportation Safety Administration strip search Lutheran ministers from Denmark looking for jihadi bombs these days, so perhaps we shouldn't think so poorly of the judgment of John Berkenhout, even if he was a royal agent of George the Third in the American colonies during the Revolution. Although, come to think of it, Norwegian rats first appeared in America in the 1770s, so maybe Berkenhout brought them with him. Hmmm.
John Berkenhout, scientific slanderer of innocent Norwegians. He named a rat after them, even though it was found in Britain first and originally came from China.
The thing about this rat was, Norwegian or not, well . . . he was BIG. He wasn't quite as big as the giant rats of Sumatra, but he was the biggest rat Gabriel had ever seen.
Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and the Giant Rats of Sumatra.
The rat had come upriver from the port of Mobile in a load of grain on a barge and wasn't discovered until the sack it was hiding in broke open at Parmenter's Store down on the Byler Road. When Gabriel came face to face with the rat on the back porch of the dogtrot cabin, it was hungry, smelled food from the kitchen, and was aggressive. It was also infected with the germ called "ratbite fever," which back then killed fully half of the people who contracted it.
The rat was in fact the closest that young Gabriel had ever come to dying up to that point in his young life. And it was ready to attack.
Gabriel began backing up, out of instinct as much as anything. Too late.
The rat leaped.
But not fast enough.
There was blur, and then a huge collision as the barn owl sank its talons into the rat at full killing speed. Together they tumbled off the porch and into the dust. For this was no field mouse, no black rat. The barn owl had picked on an enemy every bit as big in the body as it was.
It was a fair fight.
The rat's incisors were quick and powerful. Together, the owl's talons and beak were quicker and struck more deeply and surely. The rat got in one effective bite, just one, on the breast of the owl. After that, the razor beak closed on the back of the rat's neck, the talons digging deep into the haunches. Feathers and fur flew. More feathers than fur, but then there was more rat's blood in the dust. Then much more. Then too much. As the owl's beak severed the rat's spinal cord, it spasmed one final time to escape the death from above that it could no longer strike, then died.
The owl held onto the neck of the rat for some time. Maybe it was a few seconds. To Gabriel it seemed like an eternity. Then, almost gently, it released the rat and sort of . . . collected itself . . . blood running down its chest feathers, staining the white, the cream, the black and brown speckles.
Those big black eyes looked through Gabriel. Then, after a false start, the barn owl flapped away on those big wings, around the house, and seemed to be on course for the barn across the lane when Gabriel lost sight of it.
Grandpa was in the fields. Grandma and Gabriel's momma were tending his new sister inside the house. It took some time to tell them, one by one, about the fight between the rat and the owl, and to show them the rat's body.
Still, nobody, not one of them believed it, at first.
You see, the thing is, that both owls and rats are largely nocturnal -- creatures of the night. But the duel in the dust, when the owl intercepted the rat's leap toward Gabriel, happened, if Gabriel was to be believed, at just about high noon in bright daylight with the backdrop of a cloudless sky.
Grandpa, even after examining and then burying the carcass, still was skeptical. So too was Gabriel's mother. It was unheard of, an owl flying at noon.
Finally, Grandma held up her hand to silence their objections and the room fell quiet. She then gave the longest speech Gabriel ever heard her give, before or since.
She prefaced it with a question.
"Gabriel, do you know what your name means?"
No, he replied, no one had ever told him. It was just his name. It meant, well, him. What else could it mean?
"It means 'God is my strength.' In the Bible Gabriel is God's archangel, His messenger to His people."
She paused. Then she fixed Gabriel with a look at once so loving and yet commanding that he couldn't breathe.
His Grandma said, "I think that owl was God's messenger to you."
And then she smiled.
One thing was certain.
The spooky old barn owl never came back.
Gabriel never saw him again, and they never found his body.
One day, a few weeks later, Gabriel was still fretting over the loss of his friend and speculating over why he had never been able to find the owl's body.
Grandma listened for a bit, and then just held up that imperious hand. When Gabriel was silent, Grandma said, "Flew back to Heaven, I 'spect."
And those were the last words she had to say on the subject.
As he grew older, Gabriel came to believe that Grandma was probably right, as she was with most things.

Monday, December 26, 2011

What the Vanderboeghs got for Christmas gifts.

I have been asked what I gave and got for Christmas this year enough times that I guess I'll just post it here. And no, it wasn't ammo. This Christmas, like most folks everywhere, we didn't have a whole lot of gift-giving going on, just mostly enjoyed the time together, for the girls haven't been home long enough for anybody to be stir-crazy and edgy yet. (Anybody who has female progeny, especially soon-to-be adult and testing-the-limits sisters, you know what I mean.) I got my wife Rosey a modest gift certificate for some new shoes 'cause I'm sure not dumb enough to be going out on that limb to buy them myself. In return, she found a copy of the DVD set, The Pacific, which I've never seen and she did darn good to find one left in the store as well as doing great on the price. The girls got me a new wallet to replace the one I've had for at least 10 years by our best reckoning. (I guess they got embarrassed every time I pulled it out, it was pretty threadbare.) Rosey got the girls some clothes and such. I play no part in that process other than forking over my contribution to buy them. (I try my darnedest to stay out of chick stores like Target, so it is a good trade.) Other than a box I'm working on for Matt, Nicole and Gabriel, that's about it. In return, they are about to present me with my first granddaughter, who will likely be born this week and will be named Olivia. Pretty name. Gabriel is pretty excited about getting a sister. I'll post a picture here when Olivia arrives. Let's hope she looks more like her beautiful mother than any of us male Vanderboegh mugs, or, worse, Matt's grandfather on his mother's side. Ouch! It would be terrible to be born with an innate purchase order for cosmetic surgery that drastic!
In any case, a wonderful time was had by all. So thanks for all the good wishes we had in the mail and email. As you can see, they all came true.

Birds of a gun control feather flock together. For these guys, the fix is always in.

"Schumer bro-in-law judge nod stuns NJ." What the heck, it's only a federal judgeship in New Jersey.
Sen. Charles Schumer’s brother-in-law was quietly nominated this month to a federal judgeship in New Jersey — a move that has some in the Garden State crying political foul, The Post has learned.
Kevin McNulty, who is married to Schumer’s sister, Fran, was named to the US District Court by the White House late on Friday, Dec. 16. According to a boilerplate quote, President Obama believes McNulty is a “distinguished individual” who “will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”
New Jersey’s two US senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, followed that up with their own news release heaping praise on the nominee.
What no one mentioned is that McNulty, 57, was the last-minute choice of Lautenberg, who had been leaning toward other candidates until surprisingly submitting McNulty’s name to the White House.
Lautenberg and his aides have given no public explanation for the decision to go with McNulty even though the latter had never been publicly touted as a contender for the job, which carries life tenure and a $174,000-a-year salary.
“No one knows why he did it,” said one person involved in the nomination process. “Everyone thinks it’s all about 2014 and Frank making sure he has Chuck in his corner.”

More later this afternoon.

But right now I have to go on a short trip to see a man about a mule.

Well, well. All you Utahns who are a little bit miffed about the Gunwalker Conspiracy. One of the conspirators is coming to a neighborhood near you.

Field Marshal Erich von Holder.
US Attorney General Holder to visit Utah, MLK Commission.
Controversial United States Attorney General Eric Holder will visit Utah during January and is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech for the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission Luncheon on Friday, January 13, 2012.
Holder is the first person of African-American decent to hold the office, and was invited by the commission several months ago. Holder’s office confirmed the commitment last week, and the committee is looking for a facility large enough to handle a large number of participants. The luncheon is currently planned to begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.
I think the author meant "African-American descent" rather than "African-American decent" but you get the idea.
I can imagine all sorts of nonviolent guerrilla theater opportunities here to embarrass one of the big Gunwalker Conspirators. Go ahead, Utahns, impress me. Just remember to send me a full report with pictures afterward.

"Things will most likely get ugly." The selective leaks go on apace, trying to convince us that Gunwalker was all the fault of Melson & below.

Here's the latest White House spin courtesy of the ever faithful Richard Serrano of the LA Times:
In a confidential deposition with congressional investigators, the then-head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives blamed agents, field supervisors and even his top command for never advising him that for more than a year, his agency allowed illegal gun sales along the southwestern U.S. border.
The deposition, which was taken in July and was recently obtained by the Washington bureau, shows that Kenneth E. Melson was irate. Even his chief intelligence officer at ATF headquarters was upset with the operation, dubbed Fast and Furious, but did little to shut it down, Melson complained. "He didn't come in and tell me, either," Melson said. "And he's on the same damn floor as I am."
Oh, yes, poor little Ken. Far more interesting though is that my sources tell me that the Democrats leaked this to Serrano, not the GOP side of the committee. What does that tell you. "They're doing battlefield preparation for the hearing," one said. "It is all the fault of the ATF." Serrano's story seems crafted to portray the meme:
But B. Todd Jones, Melson's replacement as acting director of the agency, said in an interview that Melson allowed overzealous field agents and supervisors to go beyond approved tactics.
Pointing out that the ATF has had five acting directors in the last six years, Jones said the resulting weak management structure has given some field agents a license to operate independently of Washington.
"There was a vacuum. Fast and Furious went off the rails, and there were plenty of opportunities to pivot so none of this would happen," Jones said. . .
"Anybody, including Mr. Melson, who waits for things to happen or waits for information to come to them, that is something I personally am not a believer in," Jones said. "I'm a believer in management by walking around. If you're not hearing it, you seek it out. And there are a lot of ways to do that other than sitting in your corner office waiting for memos to come in."
Yes, well, since ole B. Todd has been "walking around around, he's had an opportunity to sack those involved with the Gunwalker Scandal and hasn't -- has had an opportunity to sack people in the Chief Counsels' Office of ATF, who continue, behind the scenes to make like for the whistleblowers a living hell. One wonders what kind of "walking around" ole B. Todd has done in a job that is only part-time for him.
But the most revealing paragraphs of the Serrano story are these last ones:
Justice officials said they were never told about the Fast and Furious tactics and cite ATF internal emails as evidence.
Hours after Terry was killed south of Tucson, David J. Voth, the ATF group supervisor for Fast and Furious in Phoenix, sent an email to lead Agent Hope A. MacAllister. He titled the email, "no more rose colored glasses."
"If you have not heard a Border Patrol agent was shoot and killed here in Arizona," he told her. "The trace came back to Fast and Furious…Ugh...! Call as soon as you can, things will most likely get ugly."
"Justice officials said they were never told about the Fast and Furious tactics and cite ATF internal emails as evidence."
From the very beginning of the breaking of this scandal with the death of Brian Terry, the DOJ and White House have sought to deny, first, the very existence of gunwalking, then when that was no longer deniable, knowledge of "the tactics" of gunwalking.
Yet, no one has yet asked specific questions -- under oath in hearings -- about FBI and DEA participation; about the March 2009 meeting between "Gunwalker Bill" Newell and the White House; about the 26 October 2009 teleconference at DOJ with Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller and the top federal prosecutors in the Southwestern border states, including Phoenix's Dennis Burke where they are reported to have decided on a strategy to identify and eliminate entire arms trafficking networks rather than low–level buyers.
Because of these failures of omission -- of questions or witness lists -- the White and DOJ have been able to get away with the meme: "Why we're shocked, SHOCKED, to find gunwalking going on here!"
This reporter is told that all the chickens will come home to roost at the next hearing, that this has all been "a careful and deliberate stalk to get the big game," in the words of one source. We shall see.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve.

I went out yesterday briefly to pick up my medicine and discovered The Annual Madness -- those folks so obsessed by the shopping compulsion that their faces become set in a death rictus, their actions jerky and fevered, their driving like malfunctioning Terminators, oblivious to everybody and everything except Obtaining -- was abroad in the land. For a minute or two, you'd have thought it was the Cannibal Zombie Apocalypse instead of Christmas. I was very glad to get home and enjoy my own precious gifts, my wife and two daughters. I was going to do some reposts today as I continue to struggle with the edits to Absolved, but actually I think that the best thing I can do is simply to remind everybody of the Reason for the season. Absent big headlines, I'll probably not have any substantive posts until Monday. Any presents I have for y'all will be delivered then. May God bless and keep you all this Christmas. Mike