Saturday, August 27, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tonight's moon

To my friends around the world:
 I got some surplus power company, military and satellite stuff and made a high power laser.  I etched a message to you on the face of the moon.  Tell me what you see.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hunters, unite

Hunters,  Rise above the fray of gun control and be separate (better) than the wackos and political fear-mongers clamoring for and against gun control. This article by Thomas Heberlein
A sociologist of Sweden gets my agreement.  In college, I studied Sociology from a professor whom's life's work was studying Sweden.  He concluded Sweden was and is 50 years more advanced than the rest of the world's cultures:

Twenty years ago, I headed to Sweden for a sabbatical year to study the country’s attitudes toward hunting. As a responsible hunter, I brought my own guns — an old 12-gauge shotgun and a Remington .30-06 — because I didn’t want to miss a shot or wound an animal using unfamiliar, borrowed firearms.

As a sociologist I thought that bringing my own firearms would give me some firsthand experience with European gun laws. That happened sooner than I expected.

My employer, the Swedish Hunters Association, had filled out all the paperwork (including paying the tax), so there was no problem getting my guns into the country. But I couldn’t take them to my apartment, as I would have in the United States.

Instead, like all guns in Sweden, they had to be stored in a locked safe, so colleagues took them directly to the wildlife research lab that has a walk-in vault to store firearms.

I began to think more about the responsibilities of gun owners rather than gun owners' rights
Before I could hunt, there was the trip to the rifle range where my shooting scores were registered. While this is not required by law, I was told that landowners would not let me hunt moose, nor would a hunting team accept me, unless I showed I could hit a target — not just a paper target but a full-size plywood moose at 100 yards, standing and moving.

Much of what happened when I went hunting in Sweden was strange to me — hunting birds in the mountains with unloaded shotguns for example, stopping the moose hunt after a couple of hours to sit around a campfire roasting hot dogs, and then butchering a trophy moose without taking even one picture. (Here's my report on the differences in Swedish and American hunting.)

Being in this new setting that was much like and yet so different from Wisconsin got me thinking about hunting in new ways. I began to think more about the responsibilities of gun owners rather than gun owners' rights. I also learned that it was possible to maintain a lively hunting culture along with mandatory gun registration and required safe storage.

As we face a firearm crisis in America today, it’s time for hunters to stop hiding behind the Second Amendment and claim the moral high ground as our nation’s responsible gun owners.

The nation demands some action, and we, more than 13 million gun owners who hunt, are in a unique position to lead the way. Firearm registration as part of our normal licensing process could both strengthen our hunting tradition and at the same time help break the national logjam of inaction.

In Sweden, only responsible people can have guns
Here’s how the Swedish system works: Only responsible people are trusted with firearms. Sweden licenses guns in much the same way we license cars and drivers. You can have up to six guns but can get more with special permission.

To apply for a firearm permit you must first take a year-long hunter training program and pass a written and shooting test. You can also apply for a gun permit if you’ve been a member of an established shooting club for six months.

In addition to undergoing training, Sweden’s gun owners must store their firearms safely. Guns must be locked away in a vault, not stored beneath your car seat or in the nightstand where your kids can find them.

Responsibility in Sweden goes further yet: Convicted of a felony? No guns for you. Beat your wife? No guns. Under a restraining order? No guns. Drive drunk? No guns.

(The gun law does not spell out specific actions that cause a citizen to be "unfit" to have a gun permit. It does say that the police must have a "reasonable cause" to suspend a permit, and these kinds of things might signal that a gun owner is "unfit.")

Even so, being responsible is not such a tough job. Sweden denies permits to only about 1,000 people a year (out of 600,000 permit holders), and they can appeal their rejection to the courts.

I learned that it was possible to maintain a lively hunting culture along with mandatory gun registration and required safe storage
And despite these restrictions, Sweden has a strong hunting culture. The heavily forested country is about the size of California but with one-fourth the people. Its moose population per acre is the world’s largest, and moose hunting is front-page news. The king himself hunts moose, and small towns shut down for the season opener much like Wisconsin towns do for the state's deer season.

Sweden has nearly 300,000 hunters, which means it has a readily armed population should it need defense. And make no mistake: Guns are part of Sweden’s culture, history, and national defense — even though it has enjoyed more than 200 years of peace.

Many of my Swedish colleagues served in the military and are proficient with firearms. They can practice at shooting ranges all over Stockholm. When hiking in a city park, it’s common to hear the measured shots of target practice nearby.

And yet gun violence is low in Sweden. The country ranks 10th out of 178 countries in the world for per capita gun ownership but in 2014 had only 21 homicides by firearms. In contrast, the US is first in per capita ownership and had more than 8,000 gun homicides in 2014. Controlling for population, US firearms homicides are 700 percent higher than Sweden’s.

At my Wisconsin hunting camp, there are no gun rights – just gun responsibilities
My favorite place in the world is an old cabin in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, where Heberlein relatives and friends have gathered every year for the past seven decades to hunt ruffed grouse and white-tailed deer. My fondest, proudest, and happiest memories of friendship, accomplishment, and even despair have occurred in the presence of firearms in that camp.
But in my hunting camp, gun rights don’t exist — just gun responsibilities. Wally and Norman know that. Wally was walking down the nearby White City logging road with Dick at his side when his .30-30 lever-action rifle fired unexpectedly. If Dick had been walking ahead of him, Dick would have been the one who didn’t show up at camp that next year instead of Wally, whose carelessness cost him his camp privileges.

Norman, meanwhile, is one of the world’s nicest guys, but he doesn’t hunt with us anymore either. Twice his gun went off accidentally.

I doubt most Americans understand how its hunters focus on gun responsibilities. Novice hunters are taught how to handle guns: Assume every gun is always loaded — even if you’re sure it’s not. Never point a gun at anything you would not shoot. The ground and sky are the exceptions, but not a house, a barn, or the neighbor’s cat. If you find yourself looking into someone’s gun muzzle, you’re always right to call out the hazardous infraction.

In our public rhetoric we may talk about the right to bear arms, but in our hunting life we focus on our safe gun-handling responsibilities to our fellow hunters. We don’t tolerate irresponsible hunters in the field, so why support the alleged rights of gun owners who make mass murders too. 
How American hunters can claim the moral high ground for gun owners
It’s time to show the world that we hunters are the responsible gun owners in America. We can’t wait for Congress to pass new gun control legislation — it seems bound by money and lobbyists to never act. We hunters should use our own institutions, which we fund with license fees, to maintain safe and responsible gun ownership.

We don’t have to wait for the nation to act. We can work state by state to incorporate hunting firearm registration as part of our normal licensing process. Today when you buy a hunting license, you must meet a number of requirements like being a state resident, being a certain age, and in most states providing evidence of hunter safety training.

For each animal, the type of weapon that is legal is already specified in the rules. It would be a simple step in the licensing process to require hunters to specify the serial number of all firearms they are using for hunting. Registering the weapon would make it legal for hunting.

This registration won’t make hunting any safer — hunting will be just as safe whether the gun is registered or not. But it will signal to the vast majority of Americans who support responsible gun ownership that we hunters are willing to make a visible step as responsible gun owners.

Wildlife commissions set hunting rules in most states, so it’s in their authority to require that any firearms used for hunting in that state be registered with the agency. It’s as simple as listing the make, model, and serial number of the firearms you will use for hunting when you buy your license.

Hunters don’t need expensive, time-consuming background checks — we are already trained. This proposal would apply only to firearms used for hunting. You wouldn’t need to register the AK, AR, handgun, or MSR (modern sporting rifle) you keep in the closet for home defense; our wildlife agencies makes rules only for guns used in the hunt, not all guns. Non-hunting firearms should also be under control, but let’s start first by registering the millions of firearms used for hunting.

We hunters have our own police — conservation wardens — who number 5,000 strong nationally. We even pay their wages through our hunting fees to make sure we obey the rules. When wardens check a hunter in the field, they determine if the firearm is the right caliber as determined by the hunting regulations. For waterfowl, the magazine is checked to make sure it can only shoot three shells rather than the five for which it was designed. The shells the hunters are carrying are checked to make sure they are nontoxic.

It would be a simple matter for the warden to check the serial number on the gun and compare those printed out on the back of the hunter’s license or to query an electronic data base. If you’re caught hunting with an unregistered gun, then you’re hunting illegally and are subject to fines and lost hunting privileges. It is as simple as that.

Of course this idea faces obstacles, including the biggest one of all: hunters’ unwillingness to change. Anything. We love hunting so much that its traditions and practices create strong emotional ties that we defend instinctively and passionately. If you doubt it, just ask any wildlife manager how stubbornly hunters resist even minor changes to rules and quotas.

Many will say self-registration won’t save lives. They’re right ... and wrong. Hunter involvement in mass shootings is so unusual that no one is keeping the statistics. Hunters very rarely inflict such evil on innocent lives.

But that’s not the point. Self-registration of our hunting weapons would distinguish us from other gun owners, not in words but in deeds. We would be taking the first step toward universal gun registration by registering our hunting firearms. Non-hunting gun owners who want to prove that they are responsible might want to join the hunting registration system.

Registration could lead gradually to requiring safe storage by locking all hunting guns in gun vaults. That would prevent tragedies in our own homes, which does mean saving lives. Ask the hunter who has lost a child to an accident or horseplay with an unsecured rifle or handgun.

Of course, we can expect to hear this mantra: "If they know who owns guns, they can come and take them away." But "they" already know. Computerized lists of licensed hunters are in government offices in all 50 states, and many of those lists are public information. One must assume they figured out that licensed hunters have guns.

How many more mass shootings must we watch with helpless impotence while asking, "What I can do?"
Won’t self-registration of guns reduce hunter numbers? I’ve spent much of my career studying hunter population dynamics, and I’m concerned about declines in hunting. But I don’t think the dropout group will be large.

Many hunters claim they’ll quit hunting when license fees go up, and, yes, license numbers often dip the first year, but most return the next. Hunting matters that much to us. And, yes, some might keep their hunting firearms secret and give up hunting instead. Personally, I’m willing to see them go. I want to hunt with men and women who responsibly register their hunting firearms.

Why do this? The answer is obvious, isn’t it? How many more mass shootings must we watch with helpless impotence while asking, "What I can do?" To protect what we love — our hunting life — we must differentiate ourselves from other gun owners.

By choosing to register our guns with our wildlife agencies, we would follow a long history of putting restrictions on ourselves for the greater good: bag limits, season lengths, blaze orange clothing, and so on. We will be recognized as the responsible registered gun owners.

Sweden shows it’s possible to have a serious hunting culture with firearms restrictions. With rights comes responsibility. Let’s show the way. Who will be the courageous, visionary sportsmen and women who establish the first hunter registration system in Vermont, or New York, or in my home state of Wisconsin, and take a step forward to sensible gun use in America?

Thomas Heberlein is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin Madison and was a guest professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. He divides his time between Sweden and Wisconsin. He is working on a book called Falling in Love With Sweden: One Mistake at a Time. 
Thomas Heberlein

By ~M(f):
Getting publicity from the USA's sick-ass, fear-mongering, 24/7 commercial media is what drives mass killings; NOT GUNS! If no guns, then bombs, trucks, knives etc. Boycott commercials/commercial media, and mass killings will go way down. ~.
Hit SHARE, if you got this far.

Zombie Apocalypse is here, now

Phone zombies blocking isles in stores
Phone zombies walking into your right rear quarter panel in crosswalks and elsewhere
Phone zombies driving half the posted speed
Stopping 5 car lengths behind
And then not going on green
Slowing US productivity
Don't be silent
Do as I do
Get their window down
Yell, "Put down the phone!"
Around here they talking to those that did not get asylum yet
Tell them, "Do the right thing, go back to your sorry-ass country and fix things there.  Don't stay here and slow us down.
Either way, PUT THE PHONE DOWN!"

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Fifty Years

Stardate: [-27] 4200 (2nd century of the 4th millennium, 27 epochs until the rebirth of the Universe.)
Not since time B.S. (Before Spouse) has something so ominous aligned.  
In this Summer's Solstice (our wedding day) the near Super m00n will be of it's strongest potential (FULL MOON.) 
 First time in 49 years!
Enjoy watching: