Monday, June 30, 2008
I arrived at the airport two hours before flight time. I had two guns, a 9mm Glock 17 and a 10mm EAA Witness. Each was unloaded and sans magazine. And each was in its own locked steel case from Brownells. I had two set of keys for the cases: one set for the TSA, if they wanted ‘em (and they would!) and one set on a keychain attached to my carry-on bag. The cases were carried in a hard-sided briefcase with combination locks, but the combos were set to “open”. I had two empty Witness magazines and three empty Glock magazines in a clear Zip-Lock bag and I carried this inside the briefcase, too.
Inside my suitcase I had a box of 10mm ammo and a box of 9mm ammo, in their original retail boxes. And these were, in turn, inside clear Zip-Lock bags.
I walked past curb-side check-in and went to the airline ticket counter. There was a line. The attendant told me that I could use automated check-in and I lifted the briefcase and said, “I have some special baggage to check in.” She nodded – she knew what I meant; people carrying guns into airports isn’t really THAT unusual. I always try to avoid saying the word “gun” or “firearm” in an airport. But four months ago the counter agent at Reagan National asked me in a very audible “stage whisper”, “Oh! Is it an unloaded firearm?” Thirty sets of eyes, some as big as saucers, swiveled in my direction.
So when I got to the head of the line I put my briefcase on the counter, opened it and unlocked each gun-box and showed her that the gun was empty (empty magazine well and empty chamber). I used the lid of the briefcase to hide the guns from view by the other passengers in line behind me. I also showed her that the magazines were empty. She filled out the little card and I signed it. She kept the original and put the blaze-orange “UNLOADED FIREARM(S)” tag inside my briefcase. She charged me $25 for the second checked bag, then she walked me around to the TSA security station and handed me and my luggage over to the TSA agent, a nice but very serious-looking young man. He put my suitcase and my briefcase on the conveyor into the X-Ray machine. He asked me to please stand nearby and wait.
As soon as the briefcase came off the line the agent took it to an inspection desk and opened it. Then he came back to me and asked for the keys. I gave him the keys and he walked back and opened each box in turn and inspected each gun. Then he closed the briefcase and put it on the conveyor to the luggage handling area. He walked back to me, handed over the keys, and said, “So, which one do you like?” I answered, “Well, the ten-mil is a heavy, all-steel gun and doesn’t really kick that hard. But compared to the ten, the Glock shoots like a .22!” He said, “Cool!” and I was on my way to the gate. The whole thing took less than five minutes.
On the way back, the procedure was a little different. I got my boarding pass from the automated machine, which also charged my credit card $25 for the second checked bag, and then I waited for the attendant. Same drill: show the unloaded guns, sign the card, put the orange tag inside the briefcase. Then the ticket agent instructed me to walk, unaccompanied, to the TSA security station, while she carried my bags somewhere else. So I went through the TSA screening routine, including a “puffer machine” that they have at Indy Airport but not in D.C. A half-hour later I was having coffee in the gate area when my name was paged. “U.S. Airways passenger Turk Turon please come to gate D-3.” The gate attendant wanted my keys. I gave her the keys and she disappeared thru a door; five minutes later she came back and said, “Everything’s fine. Thank you.” And the flight was uneventful. I got to work that morning on time!
The way I do it, with separated locked boxes and a lockable briefcase, is probably overkill, but I want to have a little extra material to work with in case I run into a steely-eyed inspector who insists that the ammo be under lock and key too. In that case I would offer to put the ammo in the briefcase and move the two gun boxes to my big rollaround suitcase. But that has never happened. Also, the blaze-orange hang-tags just scream “There’s a gun inside!” and having an outer container means that the ticket agents will put the tag inside the briefcase, where it can’t be seen. Packing the guns and the ammo in the same bag is strictly forbidden, even if they are locked within separate lock-boxes, so if you carry ammo you're going to get stuck with the “extra bag” fee.
Sometimes the TSA agent will ask if you have any ammo in your bags. If you do, they’ll want to know that it’s in its original retail box. The purpose is to prevent rounds from getting loose inside the cargo hold. I ALWAYS pack the ammo in its original boxes, just in case they ask. I have never had the TSA ask to actually see the ammo boxes, but if they did, I want to show them that I am in compliance with their rules. When I arrived in Indy and unpacked, I found that the box of 9mm had opened. This was Winchester White Box, so it was loose inside the box. But the Zip-Lock bag was still sealed, so I knew that I did not have any loose rounds rolling around inside my suitcase. Just gives a little extra peace of mind.
On my last return flight from the Indy BlogMeet, the box of 9mm took a pretty big hit, but the Zip-Lock caught the stray rounds.
I thought the sumbitch was daid!
Dr. K is the author of most of the "gun control" studies published in the medical literature in the 1980's and 1990's. He is the lead author of the 1986 article, "Protection or Peril?" which is the source of the now-discredited factoid that "a gun in the home is 43 times more likely to be used to kill a family member than a burglar, rapist or other intruder." After a firestorm of criticism from other academics over his methods and conclusions, Dr. K backed down to 22-to-1, and then to 12-to-1, which is the ratio he uses in this article.
As an inveterate (and indefatigable) writer of letters to the editor, I could not resist, and, since the WaPo won't publish it, I thought I would share it with mah bloggies:
To the editor,
In the article in Sunday’s paper, “Guns For Safety? Dream On, Scalia”, Dr. Arthur Kellermann says this, “A number of scientific studies, published in the world's most rigorous, peer-reviewed journals, show that the risks of keeping a loaded gun in the home strongly outweigh the potential benefits.”
It’s a good thing that The Washington Post isn’t a “rigorous, peer-reviewed journal”, because Kellermann’s statement is simply false. And as the author of the majority of those studies, he knows this. Kellermann’s studies may be peer-reviewed, but his statements to the mass media are not.
The studies he cites rely on statistical models which cannot distinguish between cause and effect. For example, Kellermann finds a group of gun-owning households with high homicide rates and concludes that owning a gun caused the increase in homicide risk. He all but ignores the equally-likely and far more plausible explanation that the victim already had a high risk of homicide when he decided to bring a gun into the house, and it was not the gun that caused the increase in homicide risk. In fact, hundreds of victims in Kellermann's studies have died by stabbing, strangling, beatings, and even poisoning, but the "risk factor" technique allows Kellermann to count these as "gun-related deaths".
If Kellermann used his technique in a study to identify the causes of obesity, and he discovered a lot of diet soda in the refrigerators of his obese subjects, he would conclude that consuming diet soda causes obesity. Of course, he couldn’t say that in his final report; he would have to say that “consuming diet soda is associated with obesity”. That would satisfy the peer-reviewers and his study could be published in a medical journal. Then Dr. Kellermann would be free to tell the mainstream press that he “strongly advises against keeping diet soda in the house” because it is “strongly and independently associated with obesity”.
Most of the subjects in Kellermann’s studies were taken from coroners’ reports. That seems logical until you realize that in his sample, every single gun-owner was dead before the study even began. When you start with a statistical sample like that, no wonder owning a gun looks so dangerous. But tens of millions of Americans own guns safely and responsibly, and Kellermann might be interested in meeting some of them, if he could just stop chasing ambulances.
The power of being a Supreme Court Justice is pretty intoxicating stuff, and I do not think any of the Justices (past or present) have been able to avoid getting a bit tipsy on it. Stevens, though, has drained the bottle, eaten the worm, and is driving around in the middle of the night looking for an open Taco Bell;
The comments are still coming in too fast to read them, but this one is too good not to share!
Sunday, June 29, 2008
And this is the UniGun, made from scratch by the Unibomber, Ted Kaczynski:These and many more guns are in the Newseum in Washington, DC.
And now with the Unibomber's cabin, fully re-assembled.
It smells funny.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Here's the audio track from PBS Newshour.
And here's WBUR (Boston University Radio) - first 16 minutes of the program.
And SCOTUSblog (bless 'em!) has a comprehensive list of links here.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Eugene Robinson, WaPo columnist who used to march in lock-step with the Brady Campaign, admits SCOTUS got it right, saying:
The big problem, for me, is the clarity of the Second Amendment's guarantee of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms." The traditional argument in favor of gun control has been that this is a collective right, accorded to state militias. This has always struck me as a real stretch, if not a total dodge.Wow.
(She should have been immediately arrested by the FBI's Tactical Irony Squad.)
Funny, I don't see any scrapes on her knuckles.
Seriously, talk about a "poster girl" for the Second Amendment! I mean, Clayton Cramer is a nice guy and all, but ...
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The blogosphere exploded with news, celebration and commentary. What a wonderful day!
So much has been written today that I don't think I can add much to the celebration. At one point my Google Reader had 73 unread posts, all of them about the decision. The Volokh Conspiracy was inaccessible to me for most of the day; they tried to save themselves by cutting off comments, but their overloaded server still crashed, taking them out of action for ninety minutes. The brave men and women at SCOTUSblog soldiered on, liveblogging, against incredible odds.
There are a few posts that really stand out: Breda posted a victory dance, then went to the range; Caleb gave us fireworks; Brigid baked a pie; Robb Allen popped a bottle of champagne, then posted a photo of an unhappy loser; Bitter and Sebastian shared a special after-dinner drink. There were excellent posts from everybody about this landmark decision and it's impossible to cite everybody without the danger of leaving someone out - you know who you are!
Fifteen minutes after the announcement the Illinois State Rifle Association filed suit to overturn the Chicago gun ban. Good!! Allen Gura is their attorney, and they already have a website up!
About the 5-to-4 decision:
1) I wish that it had been more lopsided, but
2) the fact that it was so close indicates that Scalia got every iota of concurrence he could and still retain a winning margin, and
3) it shows how vulnerable we are to losing our rights if just one or two Federal judges decide to reason them away in the name of "public safety" or "public order" or whatever the "crisis of the moment" is. "Fighting terrorism", for example.
Jack Weinstein, I'm looking at you!
Somebody (Clint Smith?) once said, "A pistol is what you use to fight your way back to your rifle." Today we might say, "The Second Amendment is what you use to fight your way back to the First Amendment."
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
People my age can remember being teenagers when "She Loves You" did, in fact, explode out of our transistor radios in 1964. Wow. Perfect choice of words: "explode". That's exactly what it did. Those four guys were supernatural. Three guitars, three voices and a set of drums, that's all they had.
Maybe I missed it but as far as I can see no one has mentioned the best Beatles song ever, "She Loves You."
So many of the later songs people pick are only technically "Beatles" songs in that, "Yesterday" is a perfect example, these are really solo performances. But "She Loves You" is the single best example of why The Beatles became what they became, and also the best song EVER about an orgasm. It is a song that - how many others can you think of? - starts with the chorus which virtually explodes out of the transistor radio you probably heard it on if you can remember when it first showed up. It sounded like nothing else we'd ever heard and has never NOT sounded exciting and vibrant right up to this afternoon.
One last note.... EVERY other major band of the time - Stones, Who, Kinks, Animals, Yardbirds, Lovin Spoonful, etc. - had "Greatest Hits" albums that came out around 1965-1966. The ONLY band that didn't was The Beatles because it would have had to have been a boxed set of all their LPs to that point.
Wait. It's about an orgasm?!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
This is Ben; he is confused:
"Plastics," advises Mr. McGuire.
"Are you here for an affair?" asks author Buck Henry.
Why, yes! Turns out he is! Is there a more iconic shot anywhere in the movies?
Ann Bancroft gives him this look (behind his back) their first time.
There are those legs again!
Katherine Ross plays Elaine Robinson. In about five seconds Elaine's world is going to implode.
Don't turn around!
Aw, fer cryin' out loud!
Elaine will never be truly happy again.
Ben goes looking for Elaine. Richard Dreyfus and Norman Fell are no help at all.
Mr. Robinson (the wonderful Murray Hamilton) calls Ben some bad names.But in the end Elaine and Ben are reunited on the bus.
And live happily ever after. Hey! Isn't that Neal Cassady driving?This movie actually stands up pretty well. Good, understated, natural acting; Great cast; Wonderful script; Brilliant direction.
She renounced Islam, and they put a price on her head. The Dutch (the Dutch! fer cryin' out loud) yanked her citizenship papers, and she got political asylum in the U.S.
This link is to a series of video interviews she gave the Washington Post.
She committed one of the meanest, nastiest, witchiest, most sadistic effed-up murders in history.
Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted Atkins, said she deserved the death penalty in 1971. But the former prosecutor said he believed now that Atkins has sincerely renounced Manson and that her 37 years in prison, along with her illness, changed things.
"She has paid substantially, though not completely, for her horrendous crimes. Paying completely would mean imposing the death penalty," Bugliosi said. "But given that she has six months to live, and the loss of her leg, I don't have an objection to her being released."
Thursday, June 12, 2008
And it's Alex Kozinski!
This is not good. Kozinski is one of the few friends of the Second Amendment on the bench in California.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
This picture shows how the scope mount has a U-shaped channel down the center. This channel allows the iron sights to be used without removing the mount from the gun. The scope, though, is another matter, as the huge bell of the front optic completely blocks the iron sight. Get some taller rings, though, and you're in business!
Ellen Burstyn plays Alice:
Alice works in a diner with Flo and Mel:
Here's a wide shot of the diner. The little blond girl with glasses is Laura Dern, daughter of Diane Ladd (who plays Flo) and Bruce Dern (who ain't in the flick):
Also appearing is Jodie Foster as Audrey:
And the always despicable Harvey Keitel as Ben:
Best line in the movie:
Mel to Flo: "Am I glad I'm not married to YOU!"
Flo to Mel: "Man, I could lay under you, eat fried chicken and do a crossword puzzle at the same time. That's how much you'd bother ME!"