Thursday, July 18, 2019

No Means No. Always.

I think we can all agree on that, right?

But "no means no" is usually associated with sexual assault. One person wants something, another doesn't, and we're all on the no means no bandwagon.

The problem is, though, that we, as a society, don't enforce this across the board. Here's an example that a friend of mine posted, along with her own story of being shamed for not drinking:


Here's the text that accompanies the picture. The gist of it is, people need to take no for an answer, even if it's something "trivial". There were example after example of people who'd been shamed for turning down something on the original post. 

My friend's sharing of the post, along with her own story, brought about many comments; in fact, the friend who posted it even felt the need to say that she does drink, she just didn't want to drink then. That broke my heart. No one should ever have to explain why they don't want to engage in an activity. Many of the comments were helpful excuses to help curb the shaming. Comments with a qualifier, such as "no thanks, I'm driving", "no thanks, I've got to go get my kids". Reading the comments, I got angry. We owe no one an explanation once we say no.

I'll admit, I might be a bit sensitive about the issue, but I truly believe in my heart that no means no and that no is a complete sentence. Period. If I have a visitor, and I offer them food or drink and they tell me no, then that's it. I will usually say, "if you change your mind, just let me know", but I don't shame them. And I certainly don't badger them to change their mind.

A couple of years ago my boss found out my first name, which I don't use. I'm a middle name kid, always have been. I have to use my first name occasionally for things like airplane tickets, because it's my legal name, but it's not the name I use. My boss thought it would be funny to call me by my first name. I told her that my name is my middle name and that I didn't want to be called by my first name. But she thought it was funny and proceeded to continue to call me by my first name, in a van full of co-workers, even after I'd told her not to. Our co-workers rapidly got uncomfortable with her easy dismissal of my no, and my refusal to laugh it off; they were laughing nervously and shifting in their seats every time I corrected her.

She continued to insist on calling me by my first name (and thought it was funny), throughout that day and into the next before I lost my shit and yelled at her in public, in the middle of Temple Square. I'm sure the other tourists loved that. 

I had set a boundary with my no and she continued to trample it, thinking it was funny.

Later that evening, we were at dinner with a co-worker. I ordered an alcoholic beverage, my boss ordered an alcoholic beverage, but our co-worker did not. To me, no big deal. My boss, however, refused to take no for an answer until he explained that as a diabetic, he couldn't drink alcohol. She then proceeded to look at me and say, "wouldn't it be funny if we just slipped him some alcohol one day?"

Here's the deal lady, no means no. 

Those incidents really opened my eyes to how we might say "no means no", but rarely is it believed. In seemingly innocuous situations, saying "no" opens the door for negotiation. If that's the case, is it no wonder that people don't abide by the word?

I think, in order to change anything, we need to start with ourselves, to take an honest look at ourselves. 
  • If someone tells us no, do we abide by it?
  • Are we making excuses for why we said no? (No is absolutely a complete sentence, though I prefer the more polite, "no, thank you".)
  • If we tell someone no and they ignore it, or start badgering us, do we engage in negotiation with them, or do we stand firm in our no?
I've seen memes that say we train people how to treat us. If that's the case, we can change the power of our no. In self defense, we talk a lot about boundaries. Setting them, enforcing them. This is a boundary that we need to enforce at all times if we want to see any change.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Year of the 22. Tikka T1x First Impression

If you watched our post SHOT show videos you know I said 2019, for me, would be the year of the 22.  Well, true to my word, it has started.

I recently purchased a Tikka T1x and here is a real fast first impression of this riffle.

Things I like:

1. Overall fit and finish is excellent.
2. The polymer stock is solid and sturdy.  Not flimsy in any way.  Excellent if you like the all weather capability of a polymer stock.
3. The receiver has the same inlet pattern as its big brother the T3x.  So you can use the same stock for both rifles.
4. 10 round detachable magazine.
5. medium weight barrel with threaded muzzle for your favorite muzzle device.
6. Trigger is amazing for a factory trigger.  User adjustable from 2.5 Lbs - 5 Lbs.  Single stage which means no slack, no creep, just a clean, crisp break.  For a mass produced factory trigger it is one of the best.
7.  Accuracy is excellent.  Using quality ammunition you can get near one hole groups at 25 and 50 yards.  Decent accuracy at 100 yards is also attainable.  The Tikka would be a viable candidate as a 22 trainer for your long range, precision rifle.  (this is what I'm using it for).
8. Bolt throw is only 45 degrees.  So plenty of room to mount any scope you want.


Things I don't like:

1. A little pricey.  In my area it retails for $470.  More than your average 22.  But I do think you get good value for your dollars.
2. Standard 11mm dovetail for scope rings.  This is a European standard but less common here in America.  I would  like to see the factory put on a standard 1913 Picatinny rail.  (Good news is, there are aftermarket options available)
3. The magazine protrudes down below the stock.  I would like to have a flush mounted magazine like the old Ruger 77/22 rifles.  This is mostly a preference than a true negative.
4.  The polymer stock could use more checkering.  It is slick where there is no checkering.
5.  The stock has no provision for an elevated cheek rest when mounting a scope.  You need to add an aftermarket pad to get a good cheek weld to the stock.  Or buy an aftermarket stock.
6.  No option for iron sights.  Though iron sights are going the way of the Dodo bird, it would be nice to have them as an option.


Final Thoughts:

 Would I buy this rifle again?  Yes!  Though a little on the expensive side for a 22, I think you get good value for your dollars.  I see the quality good enough you can pass this down to your children and even grandchildren.

If you are looking for a good general purpose target rifle or a hunting rifle, this is an excellent choice. If you want to build a 22 trainer to match your Tikka T3x, again, this is an excellent choice.

Yes, I do like this rifle.  I'll do a more detailed review later once I have more trigger time with it and make desired upgrades.

Now enjoy some photos of my latest outing with the rifle.


By:
Mez
April 2019


Stock rifle:


Shoots well with several brands of 22





At 100 yards, I think this rifle is capable of better groups.  I have shot smaller groups in the past.  
I will experiment with other brands of ammunition and practice more to verify.
I'll also weasel a bit and say the indoor ventilation was running on high and might have caused a few shots to drift.  






Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A Lesson From The Day Job

I don't talk about specifics from my day job very often. Here especially, and only rarely on my personal blog. I work in the insurance claims industry handling high exposure and litigated commercial liability claims. From time to time, I get assigned to handle claims involving the use of firearms in one form or another. It can be anything from a security guard discharging a gun in self defense to drug deals gone bad to drive by shootings and more.

Yesterday, a claim was assigned to me involving a tragic set of facts. I won't go into too much detail because anyone with more than novice Google Fu skills could probably track it down without too much trouble. Long story short and the lead in to the point of this post, a police officer had to shoot two dogs that had attacked someone.

I was able to meet with my insured this afternoon, and (unusually) there is security video of the event including the shooting. On the plus side, I get to see what happened and when. On the negative side, the incident happened more than 25 yards from where the security camera was mounted making details a little fuzzy (literally).

While I do not know what caliber the officer used, I feel pretty confident in assuming it was some flavor of Glock or Sig 9mm as the majority of the departments in my area issue either Glock 17s or Sig P226s in 9mm. I mention this only to say that the make and caliber of the gun are likely irrelevant given what I saw in the video.

Quick warning to the squeamish, I am about describe what I saw which resulted in the deaths of two dogs. I am a dog lover, and I had to watch it. So, I will do my best to mitigate the imagery.

The officer shot the first dog from a distance of about 5 yards. The first shot was not a killing shot, and the dog started spinning around very quickly. Now, I'm not going to fault the officer for failing to kill the dog on the first shot. I wasn't there, I don't know the officer's experience, etc. What my point here is that the response of the dog to the first shot made all subsequent shots much harder. The second dog, seeing what happened to dog number one, became very agitated and started a spin cycle of its own. I could not tell how many rounds were fired; however, I didn't see a reload involved. So, less than 17 is a safe assumption.

Here are the lessons I would like to offer up in light of this video.

1) Shot placement is everything. Make it count because you might only get one chance. It does not matter how fast you shoot or what caliber you use if you miss the target. Conversely, caliber (within reason) does not matter if you hit the target.
2) Moving targets are harder to hit. This should be self evident to most people, but it bears repeating.
3) Movement buys you time. In this case, the dog could potentially have survived the first shot had it had an avenue of escape and run away. In the self defense context, it's better to be a moving target than a static target.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Rock Island Armory VR80

One of the guns I was really excited about at SHOT Show was the VR80. I bought one as soon as I could find it and brought it home to play. I had a few issues with it, but I'm fairly certain they were GunDiva-caused issues, because I did something I never do - I read the manual. Not only did I read the manual, but I took the dang thing apart and put it back together. I never do that; usually, I get a gun home, take it out of the case and start shooting for the first 1,000 rounds.

I made a little video explaining what I think caused my issues, and it turns out others are having the same problem.



I haven't run the heavier loads through it yet, but I'm fairly certain that now that I've tightened everything down, we just have to make it through the "break in" phase. The manual says it takes about 50 rounds and I only have 10 of the lighter loads through. I had planned on running some more rounds through over the weekend, but didn't get around to it.

Once we're through the break in period, I'll post an update.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Mental Health and Red Flag Laws

Yesterday, I took an Adult Mental Health First Aid course. I signed up for it primarily because of the types of students I encounter in my day job - a lot of them come from a background of trauma and the majority of them are struggling with some sort of mental illness (anxiety, depression, PTSD). I wanted to be able to help them if they were in crisis. The instructor was excellent about reminding us that an 8-hour class does not qualify us to be therapists, but that we could use our training to be the bridge to get someone to professional help. You know, a lot like taking a basic first aid class doesn't make one a physician.

As you know, Colorado is one step closer to turning a proposed bill into a law. I mentioned in our video last week that Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) terrify me, because there's no due process. The onus is on the person from whom the guns were removed to prove that they are not a risk to themselves or others.

So, what does my class yesterday have to do with Red Flag laws? A lot, actually. Repeatedly yesterday we were told that people with mental illness (an illness that impacts their ability to function in a normal way: work, relationships, etc.) are far more likely to be victims of crime, not perpetrators of crime. So passing these bills under the guise of "safety" is crap. The statistics don't support the claim that people with mental illness suddenly "snap" and go on a killing rampage.

One of the things that we were taught to do yesterday was to ask the person, point-blank, if they had any intention of killing themselves or others. Don't sugar-coat it, just ask. Depending on the person's answer, you have options. If they say yes, they plan on killing themselves or others, keep them talking and get them help. Involve the police if necessary. If they say no, ask additional questions, guide them toward professional help.

The problem with the Red Flag laws is that they skip this major step, a step that could go a long way toward getting someone the help they need instead of acting as judge and jury.

I came away from yesterday's class even more against the proposed laws that I was before, but my opinion comes from a place of better education than the people trying to pass the laws. What's scary about that is that it only took one eight-hour class to become better educated about mental illness than the politicians. These laws are nothing more than "feel good" laws so lawmakers can say they're "doing something" to get guns away from dangerous people.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Politics of Guns: Interesting facts about the Aurora shooting

Another day, another shooting in America.  Yesterday, February 15th, there was a mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois.  (mass shooting being defined as 4 or more people being murdered) An employee who was about to be fired decided he needed to murder his fellow coworkers, for whatever reason.
He also wounded several police officers before he himself was killed by the police.

Link to original article:

Many will see this event as another tragedy that is proof positive we need more gun control.  But, some interesting facts have come to light that show it is not the lack of gun control that is the problem.  But the failure of government that is the problem.

Here is how government failed:

1. The gun was purchased in 2014 in the state of Illinois (OK, not to problematic)
2. Illinois has a state level law that requires you to be licensed and registered BEFORE  you buy a gun.  It is called a FOID (Firearm Owner ID).
3. You must go through a background check in order to get a FOID card.  Though he had several arrests in the past nothing significant that would prevent him from obtaining proper licensing.
4. After he obtained his FOID card and purchased a handgun, he then applied for a concealed carry license.  (this is where things get interesting)
5. During the licensing process for his carry permit, it came to light he had a FELONY assault conviction from 1995 in the state of Mississippi.  HOLY SHIT-SNACKS! HOW DID THIS GUY GET A FOID CARD IN THE FIRST PLACE?
6.  At this point the Illinois State Police revoked his FOID card, which now prohibits him from even possessing any firearms.
7. By court order he was to turn in his gun to the police.  (which he obviously didn't do)

WOW!
So, we have a convicted felon that somehow slipped through the cracks and was allowed to purchase a firearm, even though Illinois has a state level licensing and registration system.
Then you have the failure of government by not actively confiscating his handgun once they learned he was a convicted felon.  And this is the most egregious failure in this whole story.  You would think confiscating a firearm from a known, convicted felon would be cause enough for the police to take action and go confiscate any and all firearms?  Well, guess not.  They relied on the murderers good faith to turn in his gun.
I guess public safety is not really that important to any of the law enforcement agencies of Illinois.  (still feel safe traveling to Illinois?)

Oh, you think this is a one off instance and that we need more gun control.  Well, here are more examples of government failure.

Parkland:
February 14th was the one year anniversary of the Parkland shooting.  The anti-gunners were out in mass screaming for more gun control.  But here are some inconvienient facts about Parkland.
1. The murderer had violent mental problems since kindergarten.
2. He had 33 contacts with the local police for violent outbursts.  And two calls to the FBI about  his violent behavior.  You would think the Coward county Sheriff (not a typo) would at least put him on the no buy list?  But no, they just let it go.
3. He purchased his firearm legally from a licensed dealer with a background check.  Gee, if the Coward county sheriff had done their job, Parkland may have been prevented.

Texas Church murders:
1. The murderer had a felony domestic violence conviction AND was involuntary committed to a psychiatric hospital while serving in the Air Force.
2.  So how did a convicted felony buy a gun at a gun store and pass a background check?
3. Easy, the Air Force, and other military agencies, do not report criminal data to civilian law enforcement.
4.  Government failure!

South Carolina, Black church murders:
1.   This whack job had a felony drug arrest.  Not convicted, he was awaiting trial.
2.  So how did he legally purchase a gun from a licensed dealer and pass a background check?
3. Easy, the arresting police agency filled out the paperwork incorrectly and the data never made it to the NICS data base.

So here you have four instances were convicted (or felony arrest) felons and were able to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer AND pass the mandated background check.  How can this be?
Easy.  Here's the dirty secret no one wants to talk about, especially the anti-gunners.  The NICs database is missing upwards of 30% of the necessary data.  Not all agencies participate in supplying data to NICS.  (The military didn't until after the Texas church shooting).
So how effective will Universal Background Checks be when the database is missing 30% of the data?  Here's a hint, it won't be.  (but is sure will diminish your freedoms just a little bit more)

Why do we need more gun laws and further restrictions when the existing laws are poorly managed by government?  Why should we trust government to manage the new laws when they can't manage the laws they already have?
Now the anti-gunners are screaming for Universal Background Checks, ERPOs (extreme risk protection  orders) and New York state wants to view the last 2 years of your social media to verify you are not a whack job.
No thanks.  I'm not interested in giving up more freedom because the government (at all levels) can't do their job correctly.

I'm all for keeping guns away from the criminally minded and the mentally deranged.  But I'm not willing to give away all my freedom to do so.  I do not exist by the governments permission.  The government exists by my permission.   Rights are things we are born with, not granted to us by government or a piece of paper.

Bottom line:
Let's make the existing laws work FIRST then and only then should we re-evaluate and modify existing laws or pass new laws IF and only IF the existing laws no longer work.
We should also consider repealing dumb and ineffective laws.  (such as the 1934 NFA act.  especially since we now have the power of the internet and background checks)

No new laws are necessary.  When the anti-gunners scream we need more laws, you now have evidence that no we don't.

Time to push back and interject some logic and reason into the gun debate.



By: Mez
Feb. 2019