Saturday, November 25, 2006

Close enough

Took a friend and his wife to my club's IPSC-style shoot today. Brought the Glock 34 I bought yesterday. When I test-fired it before buying, it seemed to be slightly left, so I was going to adjust the sights. Fired a single test shot. Under normal circumstances I'd fire a group before messing with the sights, this time I decided it wasn't necessary:

CCW

One of the best gun quotes I've seen was a man who's wife asked him "Do you think you will need a gun at Sam's Club?". His reply: "If I thought I was going to need a gun at Sam's club, I wouldn't go there". That sums up a lot of my thoughts on carrying a gun. Since getting my license, I generally carry when it isn't fairly inconvenient. I don't carry at work because it is posted no guns at the turnstiles. I could almost certainly get away with keeping a gun in my car, I don't like that idea on a regular basis--although I've never had anything stolen from a locked car, I'm paranoid about having a gun stolen. I avoid shopping where stores have chosen to ban legal guns, I will shop (or eat) where the business is required by law to ban guns.

I didn't initially plan to carry much. I got my license for two reasons--One was political, the other was so my wife would get hers. We took the training together, she applied in our county, I applied in an adjacent county and mine came first. I wanted to work the bugs out so I could give her better advice, and discovered that I like carrying. It doesn't make me tough. In fact, it does exactly the opposite--I can't risk escalating a minor situation into violence, so I need to back down in most cases. I think it will help to know that I am choosing to back down for the other guy's safety, or because shooting someone is expensive, not out of fear of physical violence. The gun isn't to let me wander bad neighborhoods, it isn't to protect property--It is to protect my life and the lives of those I love. I might use it to protect another innocent, but that depends a lot on the situation.

In the fairly short time I've been carrying, I've had a couple of minor incidents that made me think about the gun. The first was only a few days after I started--Wife and I were walking our dogs, and another dog burst out of his yard and charged us, and started scuffling with our bigger dog. I began to reach for my gun out of a startled reflex, but stopped that before I even got my shirt out of the way. Instead I kept my hand near, and challenged the dog, towering over him and shouting at him to go home. He did. Don't know what would have been different without the gun--Now that I've thought of the proper response, I think I'd act the same way, but I don't think I'd have been able to bluff as well without either the gun or some prior thought. The gun helped me act like "top dog", and helped to think of a good nonviolent way to stop the problem, knowing I had backup.

Memorial day weekend fireworks in the nearby city (we live in a small town)--On the way to the car there was a fairly narrow, crowded bike path. Ahead was a drunk muttering angrily to himself about someone pushing him. We held back, and we let him go 20 feet or so ahead. Again, not much different in how I would have handled it without being armed, except possibly more amusing than it would have been otherwise. Drunk was somewhat smaller than me, although I'm guessing a far more experienced street fighter, since I haven't thrown a blow in anger since junior high school in the late 1970's. He finally picked a small old man to verbally challenge-I watched until he staggered off, apparently satisfied after a brief verbal assault. I did try to figure out what I should do if he physically assaulted the old man--I still don't know.

Third time, same city was brief--Was alone, walking downtown--Fairly unusual, I do that about once every other year or so. A fairly respectable looking black man in his 20's was carrying grocery bags. As he passed he said to me (at least I think it was to me, there was nobody else close) "Next time I'll kick your F***ing Ass". No clue why. Again the only difference because I was carrying is that I was more amused than frightened. Didn't change my behavior--I watched to make sure he kept going by, as I continued in the opposite direction.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Health Care

The health care payment system in the US is broken. Providers don't have any effective way of forcing payment; all they can do is transfer costs to those who will pay. This is effectively a very inefficient form of national health insurance, biased towards some of the most expensive methods.

We need a system where health care gets paid for, or doesn't happen. This means either some sort of government funding, or a system where if you show up without a means to pay, you get turned away even if that means you die.

My proposal:
First, make everyone eligible for no/low cost insurance, with no means testing. This should have a fairly low co-pay for doctor's visits, urgent care visits and most prescriptions, and a fairly high co-pay for an emergency room visit, with vigorous collection activity for ER co-pays.

The no/low cost version would be rationed. Money would be spent where it does the most good--that would mean that some treatments that are expensive compared to their results would not be available. You wouldn't be guaranteed a choice of doctors, and in almost all cases where there is a choice between convenience or low cost, low cost would win.

Traditional private insurance would be encouraged and subsidized at least to the cost of the basic system, and it would be required to have substantially equal coverage.

Another necessary part of this is an overhaul of malpractice. All doctors will make mistakes. All doctors will have patients with undesirable outcomes. The system needs to strike a balance between weeding out incompetent doctors and making every poor outcome a financial windfall for the victim or their family.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What did you really mean?

One of the problems I see in the gun control debate is defining expectations and limiting the scope of restrictions. Ohio has strict rules totally prohibiting carry in a class D liquor license where drinks are dispensed. Unfortunately, this includes most non-fast-food restaurants.

Drunks shouldn't carry guns. I have little capacity for alcohol, so I shouldn't drink at all when I'm going to carry. I should NOT have to put my gun away because people around me are drinking, or because those other people have impaired judgment. I'm only slightly irritated that I can't carry in a bar, I'm significantly irritated that I can't carry in a nice restaurant. I am extremely irritated that apparently I need to telephone a restaurant to find out if they have a liquor license before I set foot on the property.

I don't want criminals and gang-bangers to carry around schools. Honest people shouldn't be restricted. My understanding of federal law is that I'm OK near a school in Ohio, but if I go to a reciprocal state, I cannot be with a loaded firearm within 1000 feet of a school even if I am otherwise legal, and even if I don't know that a school exists there. This law is not enforced unless there is another crime, but it exists and can be selectively enforced. I doubt there are many gang bangers with concealed handgun licenses.

There should be no unintentional felonies. By this I mean that someone who knows the law and is trying to comply should not be able to accidentally commit a felony. Not knowing where a school in Kentucky is located could wind up being a felony. With Ohio's stupid car carry laws, having my shirt get bunched up around my gun could be a felony.

I'm rarely all that bothered by being without a gun in the particular banned place--I'm more concerned with where I've had to leave my gun, or with having to leave my gun behind on the trip TO the banned place. A recent example--I was in Cincinnati, and wanted to eat at a LaRosa's that serves alcohol. I was willing to go there unarmed. If my gun had been locked up, I'd have been willing to leave it locked. I was NOT willing to let people see me put a gun away, then leave the car unattended. One of the problems with current law is that I cannot touch my gun while driving. I believe that the intent here is to prevent brandishing--I shouldn't be able to display my gun no matter how much of an idiot the person that just cut me off is, but I should be able to put the gun away at a stoplight before I get to a destination.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

CCW

Oralia and I are taking classes for concealed carry permits. In Ohio, that's 12 hours of training, including 2 hours of live-fire range time. Oralia is nervous about some of the neighborhoods she has to work in. I'm getting mine partly to keep her company, partly for political reasons--I want the CCW law to succeed. Oralia plans to carry, don't know that I will want to enough to get a second gun.

Our gun is a Springfield Armory XD-40 subcompact. .40 caliber, polymer (nice word for plastic) frame-Similar to a Glock, with an added grip safety, and many say a more natural pointing angle. Only problem so far is that Oralia has a hard time locking the slide open. She can chamber a round, check for an empty chamber, and if necessary she can use an empty magazine to lock the slide open.

Our instructor is a trip--Came to the door in Khaki hat and shirt with NRA patches, and with a holstered pistol exposed. Part of the class is identifying the 6 major types of handgun (Auto or revolver, Single action, double action or DA only). He had examples of each, including a .480--Big enough that a .44 magnum cartridge will fit inside a .480 shell. Also carried a knife that appeared to open like a switchblade. Missing a front tooth. On the other hand, he's charging the two of us a total of $175, and loaning us another Springfield XD 40 so we don't have to share.

Friday, March 10, 2006

beginnings

Don't know what I'm going to include here, or if I'll even keep it up.

I'm working third shift, and sleep during the daytime. Got woke up by the mailman delivering yet another watch, sent "sign for" mail. Couldn't quite get back to sleep, got woke up again by a pizza delivery to the wrong street.