Quote of the Moment

"Beep Industries currently has no openings. This is a good thing. Any number of career paths are better than game development. Lots of jobs are more lucrative and far less work. We hear marketing and animal husbandry are filled with potential."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Making Up My Mind, Part 02

I was planning on making this a much more ordered and scholarly post in the vein of Part 1 in this series, but a post by Caleb over at Gun Nuts inspired me to take it in a different direction.

You see, fear, or at least the refusal to be ruled by it, figures into my own decision to carry. It's like this: for various reasons, I tend to work past midnight 3-4 times a week. Often this means my car is the last one in the parking lot, and while my building itself is quite secure, the parking lot is somewhat less so. Trespassers, car prowls, and break-ins are, if not entirely common, certainly an occasional occurrence and annoyance.

For these reasons, when I work late, I walk past a bunch of windows overlooking the parking lot and the path to my car, scanning carefully for anything or anyone irregular. Then I walk out the door knowing that if I missed something, or there was someone in a spot I couldn't see, then I'm pretty much screwed. I don't have the conditioning to run, or the skills to put up much of a fight. It'd be a Very Bad Night for me.

If I lived alone, that might be all right. It's one thing to run risks when you're the only one who might suffer major detriment, but it's quite another when your risks could have a dramatic effect on a wife and three little children. While my overall risks may still be fairly low, evaluated against my lack of latent defensive skills, and the possible consequences of failure, left me with two questions: How much gun can I afford, and what caliber should it be?

My security is my responsibility, and I'm going to make sure I have the tools to defend myself as best I can. The news carries too many people with sound-bytes of "I never thought this could happen in my neighborhood." I refuse to be one of them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shoot Him In The Gun!

I'm a little surprised none of the gunbloggers I read seem to have covered this yet, but the most recent Mythbusters covered the popular "disarm the poor bad guy by shooting his gun" myth that's popular both in the movies and with anti-gun advocates who've gained their gun knowledge from movies.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of videos up on Discovery.com, but here's a summary and some of my own observations.

1. Even under lab conditions, you can't knock the gun out of someone's hands 100%. The first test they guys ran was to make a mechanical analogue with the same grip strength as a human hand, and try to shoot the gun out of it. Even with perfect alignment, they couldn't successfully shoot the gun out of the hand when it was pointed forward in firing position.

2. Lead Bullets + Steel Guns = Flying Fragments. The tests referenced above also revealed what happens when a lead bullet strikes a gun: the bullet fragments, providing fast-moving chunks of lead that go in multiple, unpredictable directions. Take a look at the start of this video. In the full episode, they show that a number of the bullet fragments hit the guy holding the gun, and had the gun been next to the head of a hostage, it's entirely possible some of the fragments could have hit the hostage too. Lead fragments and unarmored human tissue aren't a happy mix.

3. You can't predict the human element. To test variations in human reactions, they worked up a way to have the user hold a gun that fired in a different direction, simulating the shock of a bullet hit, and remote fired the gun when the holder wasn't expecting it. Here's a video explaining the design, and the physics that make it work. Jaime dropped the gun two out of three times. Adam never dropped it. Had Adam been an actual target, he could potentially have gotten his gun up and a center of mass shot off even after his gun was hit.

Admittedly, the show wasn't perfect. I would have liked to see the show take the experiments farther, testing different calibers and bouncing a few rounds of a Glock or another wonder-nine, but this did have some great visuals and proof.

What did the episode teach, really? For people who actually make the "well, the cops are trained marksmen, they should just shoot the bad guys in the arms, legs, or gun", this should provide some solid visual and scientific proof for why shooting someone's gun is a bad idea. People will still get hurt, and it's not reliable.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Making Up My Mind, Part 01

A week ago, I broke from my normal work routine to take an early lunch break. I drove downtown to the non-descript building that houses our local police department, and emerged a half-hour later with a lighter wallet and slightly smudged fingertips. Assuming no major bureaucratic foul-ups, I should be receiving a piece of paper sometime in early January that gives me the legal ability to carry a concealed handgun.

"But why?" I've been asked a couple of times. It's a fair question. I live and work in a pretty safe neighborhood, the weekly crime blotter usually shows about as many DUI stops as violent crimes, and I've never been the victim of a violent crime. What made me, a married father of three who has never owned a gun decide that it's time to begin going about armed.

The answer is, admittedly, pretty complex, but I'm going to do my best to explain it here. Really, my reasons can be divided into two groups: general concepts, and personal realizations. I'll cover the general concepts now, and the personal stuff in another post.

In general terms, I've always been comfortable with guns. My father was a member of law enforcement, so I grew up around firearms, and shot them with my dad on a few occasions. In my adult life, I've been known to make an occasional trip to the local range and blast holes in paper targets for a relaxing afternoon. Oddly enough, in spite of being the oldest of my siblings, I'm the only one who has yet to actually own a gun.

A couple of years ago, though, I started reading a lot of "gunbloggers." These folks have a lot of other interests, backgrounds, and hobbies, but they also share general conviction about the benefits of an armed citizenry, the rights of people to be armed, and the fun of shooting. Bloggers such as Ambulance Driver, Caleb, Breda, Lawdog, The Atomic Nerds, and a host of others were instrumental in developing my world view to a point where I could intellectually accept the benefits of being an armed citizen.

These are what got me to accept the use of going about armed. But going from rational acceptance to personally embracing the armed citizen life would require some developments in my personal life as well.

We'll cover those in Part 02 of this series.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Coming back

My last post of any significance was about sixteen months ago. For all intents and purposes, this has been a dead blog in the mean time, but here I am, starting again.

Why bother? Mostly because I feel like I have some things to say again, some stories I want to tell, and my muse has finally come back.

Why did I stop? That’s a much more complicated answer. I suppose a bit of the blame can go to a chaotic work schedule while we pushed our latest game out the door that left me a little burnt out, and bringing our third child into the world probably didn’t help either. But the truth is, this blog had become all about my flying journey, and that had come to an abrupt halt in September when I realized that the money was gone, and the funding source I’d hoped to have wasn’t going to happen. Blame the economy, blame the housing bubble, mostly blame me for stupidly optimistic planning, but the fact remains that I made two supervised solo flights, and one unsupervised solo flight of a few touch and goes, then walked away from the airfield.

It sounds silly, but it hurt too much to come back to this blog. I felt kind of sad every time I saw a Cessna or a Piper fly overhead in the clear blue sky this summer. Flying had been my dream for years, and I did not happily choose to postpone that dream once again. Getting back to a place where I could go to the airport again, or think about this blog, took a long time. Approximately sixteen months, apparently.

But I’m back. Like I said above, I feel like my voice is coming back, and I’ve got a few things to say. Some interesting things have been happening in my life, as Mrs. FTYD and I have tried to live more financially responsibly, FTYD Junior has passed four years old and turned into a pretty interesting kid, FTYD Daughter provides weekly lessons in understanding women and why men have trouble doing so, and FTYD Boy #2 is cute. And I’ve made the decision to join the ranks of the armed Americans. That last one there, is what’s probably going to be a big topic for the next few months at least, as I spend some time explaining how I came to make the decision to be an armed family, and explore the fun of figuring out what gun to buy when you’re a total newbie.

Thanks for reading, and see you soon.

For those with wings, fly to your dreams.

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I'm returning to blogging. There will be new content posted in the next couple of days.