The folks over at Slate have written up a history of holding your gun sideways. As you might have expected, the Angry Men added some interesting commentary.

Angry Military Man
Unprofessional jackasses. This is one cultural trend that seriously pisses me off, I had a devil of a time trying to teach people how to properly hold a fucking pistol. They were always trying to be gangsta.

Angry Overeducated Catholic
But AMM why does this annoy you? I mean, I understand that this idiocy by your students annoyed you, sure. But how is this outcome anything but welcome:

As police chased Raymond “Ready” Martinez through Times Square on Thursday, the street hustler and aspiring rapper fired two shots, holding the gun sideways “like a character out of a rap video.” According to the New York Post, Martinez’s side grip caused the gun to jam, enabling police to shoot and kill the suspect.

By all means, let’s do whatever we can to encourage this sort of poor gun control by our criminal classes. If they’re going to abuse their rights, at least let them abuse them in a way that minimizes their danger to others and maximizes their danger to themselves.

I want a lack of professionalism in my would-be professional criminals!

Angry Immigrant
In that case…

I would like to propose a new gangsta style grip that involves holding the pistol upside down next to the head, barrel pointing forward. This would allow the spent casing to bounce “awesomely” off of the temple of the shooter, signifying toughness and promote true “def” style hearing loss.

Sighting the barrel directly next to the eyes should maximize the shooter’s conception of aiming accuracy, as it brings a point-and-shoot cyborg mentality for the shooter.

This new all-def method makes no claims of actual accuracy improvement. In case of a gun jamming, this may cause grievous explosive injury to the shooter, but that’s the risk of being tru-4-life.

Angry Libertarian
We can do better and have.

A suspect in the rape and armed robbery of several woman in River Forest accidentally shot himself in the head during a police chase Monday night in Oak Park. The suspect died several hours later.

Angry Overeducated Catholic
Well, yes, but of course in this case do we have any certain knowledge that he was in fact holding his gun when he shot himself in the head? There may have been a little officer-assisted suicide going on…this is River Forest we’re talking about.

On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that this guy was one of the dullest knives in the drawer. Of course there’s the inevitable tagline in modern America:

Patillo had convictions for aggravated unlawful use of a fire arm and drugs. He was paroled April 25 from the Sheridan Correctional Center.

Gosh, a parolee is released and within a year escalates to even more dangerous and violent offenses? What a shocker!*

Be interesting to find out whether this guy was off as part of Governor Quinn’s early release programs to save money…apparently they’re quietly releasing increasingly dangerous types because of funding issues.

Yippee!

*Note that this crap also makes the lives of actual reformed ex-cons even harder. Now that everyone knows that parole is a “get out of jail to rape and murder for free” card, there’s even less chance given to actual honest parolees who earned their parole through actual reform. When you make an earned privilege a natural right, you cheapen it 9 times out of 10.

Advertisements

Women pay more for health insurance than men, have more extensive health needs than men, and suffer unique forms of discrimination in their coverage.

Unbelievable. Women have more health needs…. and that drives up their health insurance? Call me crazy, but discrimination might not be the reason.

In a desperate move akin to Britain’s imperial expansion in search of good food, Pope Benedict today opened the door to the wholesale importation of Anglicans to expand the pool of singing Catholics.

While in public Vatican officials still toe the line that they are re-integrating lost members of the flock with Catholic Church and “the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion.” and noting that there “have been groups of Anglicans who have entered while preserving some ‘corporate’ structure”, in private officials were more forthcoming.

In one off the record conversation one Cardinal was quite blunt: “Listen, we’ve been trying to get Catholics in the Latin rite to sing well for almost 50 years. It hasn’t worked. It’s time for some fresh blood. Desperately bad music calls for desperate measures.”

Another official explained that “while we’ve had some success in the past with retail level conversions, moving to the next level requires us to go ‘corporate’. Otherwise we just won’t make any real progress over the next one hundred years.” When pressed on any confusion to the faithful that might result from the wholesale conversion of Anglican parishes the official replied that “we expect any hearing person to be able to tell the difference when the entrance hymn begins, although it might take the tone deaf a little bit longer.”

There was a recent hijacking attempt in New Zealand. The attempt seems to have prompted a reporter to find out just how bad airport security is:

The reporter arrived at the domestic terminal yesterday for the 10.30am Air New Zealand flight to Napier, carrying the kitchen knife, with a 20cm blade and a toy firearm in hand luggage.

He said there were no checks and “I was free to walk on with anything I pleased”.

After checking in and simply presenting my boarding pass at the gate, I stepped on to NZ5751 for the 50-minute journey to Hawke’s Bay.

The CAA’s communications manager Bill Sommer today dismissed the stunt as “irresponsible and illegal”. He said the reporter’s action could have compromised the safety of other passengers and could have led to aircraft delays.

In other words, the Emperor doesn’t have any clothes. Let’s think a bit about Bill Sommer’s claims. The first claim, that it could have compromised the safety of other passengers is simply silly. Toy guns on planes don’t compromise safety. The 20 cm knife might, conceivably, hurt a few people. But reporters generally don’t go on attack sprees, so the only way it would have hurt someone is if a nutcase noticed the reporter had the knife, took it, and then went on the attack. That sounds pretty unlikely to me.

The second claim, that the knife and toy gun could have lead to aircraft delays is more believable. But only because Bill Sommer’s demonstration of the New Zealand’s Civial Air Administrations overall intelligence.

Would it have been too hard to say something rational like the following:

Yesterday a flaw in our airport security was demonstrated. We are embarrassed by the failure and will attempt to fix it.

That’s all the situation requires.

Every year, before Easter, the Catholic Church celebrates Holy Week. Holy Week is good time for the smells and bells Catholics. It’s a different week in the liturgical year — palms, parts of the Gospel read outside of the Church, empty tabernacles. And incense. Lots of incense. All designed to let you know that this week is different.

One of the unofficial rituals is carping over the Holy Thursday’s washing of feet. During the Holy Thursday mass there is an optional ritual — the washing of feet. During this ritual the celebrant imitates Jesus’ washing his disciples feet at the last super. This is supposed to remind the celebrant that he is a servant of the community. On occasion the reminder has lasted until Easter.

Now, in a classical “Blessed are the makers of all dairy products” moment, there is a great deal of argument over what kind of people should have their feet washed, ie, should they be men or women? The instructions from the Vatican are quite clear; they people having their feet washed should be men. The 12 apostles, were, after all, men. Some claim we should follow His example. But, others are clearly upset that women are excluded.

What to do?

I have three proposals for modifying the rite.

Proposal one: Jesus didn’t just wash men’s feet. No, the interpretation is rather more particular about it then that. In my modified rite #1, the twelve foot washees must have names identical to the twelve apostles. Otherwise, confusion among the faithful might result and people might not realize that the people having their feet washed represent the twelve apostles.

Proposal two: Jesus didn’t just wash men’s feet. No, he washed first century Jews feet. I’m willing to give in on the first century part, but for proposal two the twelve people having their feet washed must be Jewish. And have names identical to the twelve apostles.

Proposal three: Holy Thursday is considered to be when the apostles were ordained (note: this means they all bailed on Him after ordination), therefor — all twelve foot washees must be bishops. Converted from Judaism. With names matching the twelve apostles.

The current trend towards touch screen voting, which was touched of by the 2000 presidential election debacle, appears to have peaked, but without anyone actually having learned anything. I figure that by the time the New York times runs an article on why touch screen voting is a bad idea the whole thing has peaked.

Although the article correctly notes that touch screen voting sucks for all of the reasons computers suck — they don’t work — it doesn’t even consider that problem is really with what we want. In other words, like the couple that wants to live near a train station but not near train tracks, what we want is stupid.

Consider this example from “The Limits of Software: People, Projects and Perspectives” by Robert N. Britcher. While designing an air traffic control some ninny thought it would be a good idea to allow controllers to customize their font sizes. Sounds like a good idea at first blush — you want controllers to be comfortable, right? Well, it turns out to be a really bad idea with unintended complications. In air traffic control software it turns out to be really important to know what can be seen by the controller. If you don’t know how large the font is in advance it turns out to be really hard to ensure something can be seen.

What Americans want with their voting system is pretty similar; a nice idea at first blush, but in reality, stupid. We want to know the election results instantly, to make sure that every vote counted matches the intent of the voter, and no fraud. That’s what we want, right?

Well, yes, it is what we want, and it is pretty stupid. For starters, the 2000 election demonstrated that we can do just fine not knowing who the president will be until December. Somehow we survived.

Asking for absolutes in a country with 170+ million registered voters is foolish. Even trying to make sure every votes matches voter intents is stupid — on the order of trying to move a mountain with a teaspoon. It would be better to specify a percentage.Trying to remove all fraud is stupid — we should try to minimize it instead (after all, what would Chicagoans do as a hobby without voter fraud?)

So, what’s the solution? It’s pretty simple.

Simple, arbitrary standards for counting votes. We don’t have to agonize over dimpled or hanging chads, or agonize over how optical ballots are counted.

We don’t agonize over the 18 years who missed voter registration by a day, do we? Or the 17 year olds who would do a better job voting then some 60 year olds. No, we set a simple standard and stick to it.

For punch cards the “system” would involve very large posters at polling places that say:

  • Hanging chads count as votes.
  • Dimpled chad’s don’t count as votes.

You could throw some pictures of bad ballots up too. It doesn’t really matter what the rules are, so long as they are clear and formulated before the election.

Yes, this would disenfranchise some people. I don’t care — the rest of us have some right to an orderly election too.

Every now and then I see something in a news report too stupid to believe. Today’s quote comes from the Chicago Tribune. The gang banger and defendant in question is was found guilty of taking some pot shots at some of Chicago’s finest.

“It comes down to who do you believe, honest cops or a gang banger,” said Assistant State’s Atty. Joseph Ruggiero. “What is this guy doing carrying around a loaded weapon in a high-crime gang area?”

Now, granted, the defendant is probably a scum-bag gang banger who was dumb enough to take pot shots at Chicago cops. But, let’s think about what the Assistant State Attorney said for a bit. His logic is a bit weak.If I was to carry around a gun for personal protection, where would I carry it? The nice safe neighborhoods, where I would never need it? Or, maybe, just maybe, the bad neighborhoods.And there isn’t much point to carrying around an unloaded gun. So the fact that the gun was loaded doesn’t mean much either.So it basically comes down to believing the Chicago cops. Which is real easy these days.