Article – DEA chief: US abandoned plan to track cars near gun shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Drug Enforcement Administration abandoned an internal proposal to use surveillance cameras for photographing vehicle license plates near gun shows in the United States to investigate gun-trafficking, the agency’s chief said Wednesday.

This is why some folks attend these events in either cars that are not their own, or park well away from the show and walk in. (You know who you are!)  There have been cases in the past of people jotting down the license plates of cars parked at gun shows, and I do believe there was an episode in California where cars were followed from a Nevada border gun shop into California. Its a maddening state of affairs when this sort of thing is even considered.

Tangentially, Im not a fan of license plate readers. I was aghast and appalled to discover that my beloved Montana actually has readers at the border on I-90 to scan all plates coming and going in/out of the state. This is one of those areas that I just cannot get past emotionally. On an intellectual standpoint I can tell myself that the state has a right to monitor access on its thoroughfares, that there’s nothing illegal about it, etc, etc….but on an emotional level I want to head out there at 2am with a hammer and break every one of those stupid things.

Back to the issue at hand, though….. I loves me some gun shows. And if I’m not a ‘prohibited person’, then my parking at the gun show should be absolutely no ones business but mine and the person in the space next to me whose door I scuff. In a perfect world, the person who suggested license plate monitoring of people who haven’t given any indication of breaking the law would be told to clean out his desk and be out of the building faster than he can say “If you have nothing to hide then you should……..”.

The largest gun show in the state takes place close enough to me that I usually just ride my bicycle to the gun show. However, that doesn’t mean Im cool with .gov and their increasing ‘pre-crime’ maneuvering.

Squatters II – The gear edition

So what does the 22-year-old ‘screw the system’ parasite carry with them to ease their travels and accommodate their worthless existence? Glad you asked:

Lets start with the basic package…the backpack.

20150125_121111My wife, who has dealt with the kinds of people in her worklife, tells me that there are two classes of critter: ‘rubber tramp’ and ‘leather tramp’. The difference is that one lives outta their car, the other lives on foot. After that, there is a subspecies of ‘hippie homeless’ which are the younger crowd who are just, like, y’know, doing their own thing, man. A separate subset of the usual Sterno-guzzling, brushed-their-teeth-with-a-hammer, career homeless you see laying in puddles of urine.

Open the top flap of the pack and we get:

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Lets see..a couple space blankets, nail clippers, tickets for being in the park after hours, orange pack cover, elastic bowtie (???), ziploc bags, playing cards, packet of oatmeal, a note from another hipster who crashed at his place before he got evicted (name.Facebook redacted), and a few other small items. Interesting to note that there’s some signs of thinking ahead here…some food, matches, waterproofing, etc.

Lets move on to the side pockets…..

20150125_121748A rather extensive sewing kit, a plastic box full of safety pins and dental floss (the only personal hygiene item found. Probably used as extra-tough seewing thread), a cheap multitool, some paracord, river shoes, and markers for the ubiquitous “Need food. Anything will help. God bless” career enhancer.

In the body of the main pack:

20150125_122445Dog treats, a burner phone instruction book, a very cheesey but sharp sheath knife, some electrical tape, toilet paper, and a stunning collection of summonses/tickets and court proceedings that tell the story of our missing waste of skin. Apparently, at the tender age of 22, the lad was sacked from his job. In a fit of rage, he proceeded to trash a hotel room to the tune of $2800. While that would be enough for most people, he also acquired tickets for drug paraphernalia (wow, that was not spelled the way I thought), sleeping in the park, and a whole bunch of failures to appear. Sadly, it caught up to him and he spent a week or two as a guest of the county. He lamented that no one would take his calls from jail and that all his friends and family didnt seem to care :( Boo hoo, right?

After early January, he falls off the radar. Im guessing he split town in a hurry to avoid restitution of re-arrest for his chronic failures to appear. Nonetheless, whats interesting about all this is the things that this wretch carried in his pseudo-post-apocalyptic travels. There are a few more items that I have to cart off to the dumpster, like his sleeping bag and some clothes, but this is the most ‘gear’ portion of this stuff. Apparently, being able to sticth together clothing was very important as well as keeping warm. There was absolutely no first aid gear of any kind, nor any kind of personal hygiene gear…no soap, no toothbrush, no razor, nothing.

Of course, I suppose your needs are easily met when you freeload by crashing in peoples apartment buildings uninvited.

Do I have sympathy for this guy? Nope. If he were homeless and it was five below zero out, and he said “Dude, I’ll shovel out your sidewalk around the building if you’ll let me sleep in your basement for the night” that would have been one thing. If he had left a note apologizing for his trespass and acknowledging his crime that woulda been another. But instead, he’s a drug-using hipster who crashes in the basement, drops a deuce in a nonfunctioning toilet, and leaves his gear and food waste behind. So..no sympathy.

Squatters

Ugh…’real life’ has intruded lately, making my posting a little more sporadic than usual. I’m doing a sort of ‘property manager’ thing for my landlord. In exchange for a deal on the rent, I’m keeping an eye on the building, vacuuming the common areas, showing apartments to prospective tenants, etc.

The other day a tenant told me that the lock on the front door of the building was not working. Sure enough, the deadbolt would work regardless of the entry code you entered. The tenant mentioned that he had encountered people in the basement of the building where the laundry room is who did not belong there.

The basement of the apartment building is a rats warren of storage spaces, closets, not-up-to-code living spaces, and generally a great place to hide. So…grab the 870 and a flashlight and lets go look for squatters.

As it turns out, while I did not find any squatters I did find their nest:

20150121_201942A backpack, sleeping bad, spoiled food, and some personal belongings. All of which smelled horribly of body odor. In addition to the gear, there were a couple notebooks where the parasite had written about his hitchhiking and riding the rails across the US. The food labels were dated around Christmas so this guy left his gear and never came back, apparently. I’m guessing he either got tossed in jail or did something that made him leave town in a hurry.

The fact he was chronicling his journey leads me to believe he’s more of one of these 20-something hipster-homeless guys rather than some Sterno-chugging genuine homeless wretch.

So..if you’re going to go on a grand adventure, what does the parasitical traveler take with them? Theres a decent but no-name backpack, a Slumberjack sleeping bag, some clothing, a bag of small rocks, a small metal tin full of ‘slogan’ patches you’d sew on clothing, some smoking materials, snack wrappers, and not much else. Im guessing the truly valuable things like money, ID, a knife, etc, are things this guy kept on his person.

So what to do? Well, this crap goes in the dumpster. (Although I’ll keep a couple carabiners that are clipped to the pack.)

Clearly what is going on here is that someone discovered that the basement was nice, warm, and relatively unoccupied. When the temperature got too cold, they hid out in an out-of-the-way room in the basement. Rent-free. This is why we can’t have nice things.. because there is always some idiot who thinks that their need for something trumps your ownership of it. The landlord pays taxes on the building, pays for repairs, takes the financial hits of irresponsible tenants, tries to keep the place running, and some waste of skin decides that since its a cold night, perhaps that basement should be made available for those who need it.

This is the problem with the world today. Too many people figure that because they need something they are entitled to have it, at the expense of others. The most annoying case of it I see now are people who owe money on student loans and because they can’t pay them back (usually due to spending money on a course of study with no real financial future…Gender Issues In Renaissance Art, for example) decide that those loans should be ‘forgiven’. Geez, man..I’d love to have the .gov cut me a check for $50k and then have them forget about it when I claim it was predatory lending.

I’m probably feeling bitter because tax season approaches and, as a self-employed person, I get the full treatment.

Unfortunately, people like this are going to be exceptionally pervasive during any true crisis. They’ll demand that you ‘do something’ on their behalf because you have ‘all that [food/fuel/water/medicine/clothing]’ and they don’t. Never mind that their deficiencies could have been easily remedied if they’d actually done more thinking about the future and less pot-smoking down at the park with their buddies. Worse, they convince their fellow-travelers in .gov to give some legal standing to these demands for ‘fairness’.

These squatters are just symptomatic, but extremely emblematic, of the greater issue. Sadly, it is one that I don’t think I’m going to be able to resolve on any level greater than the immediate surroundings of the building I’m maintaining.

Remington 870 Dimple Removal

You know ‘em, you love ‘em…its the Remington 870 shotgun. A fine scattergun that is so widely represented in this country that you’d have to look pretty hard to find a police department that didn’t have them as the ‘standard’ shotgun. Reasonably affordable, well built, and the target of a huge accessory market, pretty much every survivalist has one. (Although, to be fair, Mossberg’s 500 series is probably an extremely close second-place finisher in this.)

A standard accessory that most folks drop onto their 870 is a magazine tube extension. After all, no one ever had a sudden violent emergency and thought ‘man, I wish I had one or two less shells in this thing.’ It used to be that adding a magazine extension was as simple as unscrew magazine endcap, remove old spring and follower, drop in follower and new spring, screw extension onto end of magazine tube…done. Unfortunately, a while back, the guys at Remington, for whatever reason, added two ‘dimples’ in the magazine tube. If you add a magazine extension, the dimples will keep the follower from traveling past those dimples.

Thus, if you want to add an extended magazine to your 870, and your mag tube has those dimples, you’re going to have to remove them. There are two methods for doing this:

  1. ‘Press out’ the dimples. This is often done by shoving a socket (from a socket wrench set) of apprpriate diameter down the magazine tube and using it as an anvil to press out the dimples with a c-clamp or hammer. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes you have a hell of a time removing that socket from the magazine tube.
  2. Drill out the dimples. Easy, fast, and usually trouble free.

Today, I went with option #2 . (By the way, you can Google ‘remove 870 dimples’ and get a buncha videos on either process.)

First step, unload shotgun, make sure its unloaded, unload it some more, and then, finally, make sure it’s unloaded.

Next up, remove barrel and forend. Easy peasy.

Behold the offending dimples:

The hated dimple. It’s like some sort of Schumer-Feinstein Speed Bump keeping an otherwise good shotgun from becoming a better shotgun.

The goal is to remove the whole bloody thing. For that, you’ll need a good size drill bit capable of easily and smoothly drilling metal.

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In this case, a 5/16″ bit, centered on the dimple, should be wide enough to do the job.

It’s a good bit easier to have someone else hold the gun steady while you get all drilltastic on it, but, if you have no choice, you can do the job solo.

20150117_144931Don’t be an idiot….drill through one dimple, then flip the gun over, and drill the other one. Don’t just drill straight through.

Now, once the drilling is done, you’ve still got some work ahead of you. That magazine follower needs to slide up and down that magazine tube like Sasha Grey on a Vegas stripper pole. So…you’re going to have to polish the inside of the magazine tube where you drilled the holes to make sure there are no rough edges or anything that will snag the magazine follower. There are a couple ways to do this…here’s the easiest. Go grab your Dremel set (aka ‘The Gunsmiths Friend’) and pull out one of those sanding/polishing drums. The holes you drilled aren’t so far down the magazine that you can’t reach them with the Dremel. I already had my drill out so I just chucked the Dremel bit into the drill.

20150117_145123Spin it up, get in there, and start polishing. You want to remove any jagged bit of metal from the drilling process. You want absolutely no jagged edge, lip, or raised metal from where the drill bit passed through the metal. You can’t really overpolish things, so go to far rather than not far enough.

When finished, I ran a 12 ga. BoreSnake through the mag tube a bunch of times to make sure any debris was removed.

20150117_145637

12 ga. BoreSnake to make sure debris is removed. Will also snag on any obvious jagged edges you missed.

A word about followers. This is the crappy, lightweight, flimsy, plastic, OEM follower Remington sent this shotgun out into the world with. Let’s not sugarcoat it…its a POS.

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Has the overall quality feel of the little plastic patio table that keeps the box lid off your pizza cheese. Doesn’t instill much confidence.

Other than it being a good, bright color it has nothing going for it. Oh, I’m sure it will work but I want something with some ruggedness, some heft, some substance.

20150117_150921

From Wilson Combat. Still plastic, but much more solid.

Wilson Combat 870 follower. There are some others out there, including stainless steel ones, but I’m comfortable with this one. Some followers have grooves to accommodate the dimples (so they claim). I don’t trust them. I’m sure there is a way the follower can rotate slightly in the magazine tube and then have the grooves not line up with dimples. You’re welcome to put your faith in them, but I’ll settle for a dimple-less mag tube and the peace of mind it brings.

So, once you have the drilled holes polished and smooth on the inside of the magazine tube it’s time to put the gun back together. I’m not going to tell you how..if you got it apart, you should be able to get it back together….if not, plenty of videos on YouTube to show you how.

The next thing, which I should hope you would find obvious, is to test the thing. Go get some dummy shotgun shells and load up the magazine. Cycle through all the shells. When the gun is empty the follower should be visible to show you that the gun is empty.

20150117_151157If the gun has ejected all the shells and you don’t see the follower, that means it is hung up in the tube. Take everything apart and get back to polishing. Also, check the follower for sharp edges as well. I slightly rounded the edges on mine just make sure it would run smoothly up and down the tube. Don’t neglect this function testing. When you’re done with the function test, do it again. And again. I do it about a dozen times because you really can’t have too much confidence in your firearms. When its done, load up the shotgun with your dummy shells and let it sit for a few days, then do the function check a few times again and make sure everything is fine. Once you’re satisfied, go to the range and shoot a case of cheap shells through it to give it a final function check.

20150117_150651

The finished product, exorcised of the dimples. Ready for whatever life throws at it. (Although, realistically, I need to get a rear sling swivel on there.

If you’re buying a used 870, check to see if it has the dimples. There are millions of ‘em out there that don’t and if its a choice between two used 870’s, equal in all respects except for the dimples, I’d buy the one without.

Do a pair of holes in the mag tube pose a risk of dirt getting in there? Well, certainly more risk than if the holes weren‘t there. However, the only time the holes are uncovered are when you actually cycle the action of the gun. The rest of the time they are covered by the forend. Honestly, I see it as a non-issue unless I drop the 870 in a sandbox or something.

There you have it – how to remove Remington 870 magazine dimples. Assuming you have a power drill and nothing else, you’ll need:

  • 5/16″ drill bit – about $3.00 for a good one
  • Dremel polishing/sanding drum – probably five bucks
  • 12 ga. BoreSnake – $12 but you should already have one of these anyway

Armed with this knowledge, I urge you to go forth and eliminate the dimples wherever you may find them…until our great nation is again a nation of undimpled Remington 870’s. So say we all.

 

ATF and the arm brace..now with 100% more WTF

ATF pens letter on ‘redesigning’ handgun with stabilizing brace
http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/01/16/sig-brace-no-go-per-atf/

Short version: ATFE sez it’s an arm brace..until you put it up to your shoulder…then you have magically ‘redesigned’ it into a shoulder stock and you’re treading into NFA country.

So..according to the weasels at ATFE…how you use something can ‘redesign’ it. It’s like ATFE has singlehandedly turned every household item into some sort of Transformer. Car out of gas? You’ve redesigned it into a sculpture. Taking a wiz on a campfire? You’ve redesigned your johnson into a fire extinguisher.

This will be interesting to see play out.

CostCo hashbrowns

There are some combinations that are just counter productive – black Klansman, blind tattoo artist, deaf piano tuner, claustrophobic escape artist, that sorta thing. Sadly, my particular dead-end combination is that Im a person who really likes to eat but doesnt really like to cook. In short, Im a lazy cook.

For example, I can make a very nice red sauce from scratch. Fresh basil, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, a bit of onion, a long time on the stove and – voila – terrific homemade spaghetti sauce. But nine times out of ten, I’ll just crack open a jar of prepared sauce because I want to eat, not cook.

As a result of this, I’m always on the look out for food that tastes good, keeps well, and requires minimal effort. As I was strolling through CostCo the other day I came across these:

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Yup, another crappy cellphone pic. Brand is “Golden Grill Russet”.

Now, to my way of thinking, nothing is going to make an apocalypse more bearable than a decent breakfast. The cheap and easy way out for most of us is a bucket full of those little packets of Quaker instant oatmeal. And, yeah, its better than nothing in a pinch. But when you’ve got a long day shooting looters, moving debris, scavenging the ruins, and running for your life ahead of you it might be nice to have a real breakfast. Fortunately, with a little pre-planning you can have eggs, bacon, fruit, hasbrowns, coffee, and orange drink for breakfast.

CostCo had these hashbrowns in little pint-size cardboard cartons and, being a sucker for ‘individual serving size’ packages, I threw ‘em in the cart. Figured I’d take a chance on them. The instructions say to open the container, fill with really hot water, close container, let sit for twelve minutes, drain, then fry in a pan. Okay, followed the instructions and twelve minutes later there was a huge pile of hash browns ready for the pan. I mean these things increased in size exponentially. I’m not a shy eater…. ‘two servings’ is what I’d consider single serve. But there was a lot of hash browns coming out of that container. Easily enough for two hungry guys and probably enough for at least three average people.

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Theres nothing in this pic for scale, but trust me…thats a LOT of hash browns. And they’re yummy.

Fried ‘em up in butter, added some salt and some ketchup, and they were really good. Highly recommend. Im going to have to pick up another one or two packages of them. Eight cartons to package so one or two should handle most short- to mid-length crises. They’d also be an amazingly good choice for camping if you break it down to a smaller package.

The packaging is about the same as a pint of milk – a treated, coated cardboard container. Expiration date is about a year, but as is usual in these sorts of things that date is probably very conservative. Unless the packaging takes some damage these should have years on them. I found them at CostCo but it turns out they’re available on Amazon as well (where they get very high reviews.)

Case of these, a can of bacon, some freeze dried eggs, big tub o’ Tang, and a couple cans of fruit, and you’ve pretty much got the long-term-storage breakfast thing under control. But, they’re also quite good to the point you might just use ‘em on a Sunday morning where you don’t feel like making a lot of effort. One of the rare ‘storage foods’ that really is good enough to eat during ‘normal’ times.

Folks you meet at CrossFit..or..How To Survive In The Woods

More CrossFit. Behold, a sweat angel:

20150109_184915This is what happens when after the workout you flop down on your back on the floor to try and get your breath back. This is also what it looks like, I would imagine, after the paramedics peel you off the floor and ship your carcass to the hospital.

But, more interestingly, the fella instructing the class had his own ‘lost in the woods’ survival experience that I was curious about. He got turned around while out hunting and wound up having to spend the night in the sticks as it dumped 13″ of snow on his position and the temperature clocked in around 0 degrees. He survived with no apparent injuries and was helicoptered out the next day. I asked him what happened:

Him and his hunting buddy drove up a forest service road way back into the boonies, they then parked and rode their mountain bikes further in, they then parked the bikes and hiked in on foot. They then split up, one guy heading up one ridge and one guy heading up the other. After a while he broke for lunch and as he was eating he spied a mule deer out of the corner of his eye. He chased after it and by the time he came up for air he realized he had gotten turned around. He wandered for a while, back tracking, climbing up and down the hills, before realizing he was well and thoroughly turned around.

The weather was starting to change and daylight was fading fast. He built himself a big fire , broke out his mylar blanket, and settled in for the night. He would alternate between getting wood for the fire and sitting on heated rocks to stay warm. His cellphone was dead and had minimal signal. At one point he tried it and it had just enough charge for him to get a GPS coord and to text those coords to his wife. But…he would have to make it through the night before help could get to him. The next morning he tried wandering towards what he thought was a road and as he did so the rescue ‘copter flew right over him on its way to the coords of his campsite. He was sure he’d screwed the pooch but they circled around again and he waved ‘em down with his space blanket. The recovered him and got him to safety.

1383305_10203834820924062_7193706435147102802_nI asked if he had carried any special survival gear and he said it was just the mylar, nalgene bottle, celphone, firestarter, and the usual hunting gear….no extra clothes. He said he normally would have carried a spare cellphone charger with him but it was in his truck and they had taken his buddys rig to go hunting. What he did do, which made all the difference in the world, was once he realized he was well and truly lost he made camp while there was still light to see what he was doing and got a big fire going. He did mention that he will make sure to take his GPS along next time. (I’d go with map-n-compass as a backup, but Im not going to armchair quarterback this guy to his face.)

As you know, even when cell reception is too spotty for voice, text messages can often get through. In his case it made all the difference.

It was an interesting conversation, mostly because this is the first time I’ve actually gotten to talk to someone who had one of these experiences and it was quite interesting to hear the first-hand account. He also says, by the way, his subsequent hunting trips have not been as deep into the sticks as that one. His wife keeps him ‘on a short leash’, as he says.

My own experiences hunting and getting caught in bad weather tell me that while it is very easy to go overboard and encumber yourself with too much gear, there’s definitely a possibility of undergearing yourself as well. Its a tough balancing act to keep things light enough for tromping up and down mountains all day and having the gear you need when things go sideways. Something to think about.

 

Article – Ted Turner’s Doomsday Video at CNN

When CNN launched in 1980, founder Ted Turner already knew how it was going to end. “Barring satellite problems, we won’t be signing off until the world ends,” he reportedly said. “When the end of the world comes, we’ll play ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ before we sign off.”

According to various rumors over the past three decades, Turner made good on that promise, creating a tape that would only be played in case of apocalypse: the combined Armed Forces marching band playing “Nearer My God to Thee,” according to The New Yorker. But few people had ever seen the tape… until now. Jalopnik writer Michael Ballaban has posted a grainy, minute-long video that he says he unearthed in 2009 while interning for Wolf Blitzer at The Situation Room, under the simple name “Turner Doomsday Video” (as seen in the screenshot above.) Formatted for standard-definition 4:3 television, it would make a bizarre sight today — although we might, obviously, be too busy with the end of days to notice.

Gotta tell you, if its the end of the world I have a lot better things to do than sit around watching CNN playing band music. And even if the end of the world event were truly ‘end of the world’ where we’re all 100% guaranteed dead tomorrow I would still have something(s) better to do and they mostly involve me being naked and a whole buncha chicks who realize that they’ve nothing left to lose.