Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When will they come for my hammer?

Take a moment to look at the picture of a war hammer available at
war hammer.
Now go take a look at the popular hunting and target rifle:
and the US Army's Sniper rifle:

Do you see how little difference there is in the appearance of a rifle used by deer hunters and the one used by terrorist hunters?

There are people (for example: Pilozi, Feinstein, Obama) that want to ban or restrict weapons based on their appearance. Note that the new bill from Carolyn McCarthy,H.R. 297, is another Assault *Weapons* ban. Not guns, not firearms, not rifles. There is already a great deal of digital ink that has been spent on why there is no functional difference between a semi-auto rifle with a wood stock and a semi-auto rifle with a non-wood stock and a mount for a bipod or bayonet. And based on the appearances logic gunowners should expect attacks on their bolt action rifles as well. I want to go farther than that. I want us to think about banning "assault weapons" in general.

Lets get back to that war hammer and compare it to a common nail hammer. Stanley Tools has lots of hammers, large and small. You can see some at:

Let’s see, our war hammer has a square head, a spike instead of a nail claw, and a longer, metal shrouded hand grip compared to Stanley’s classic “16 oz. Curved Claw Wood Handle Nail Hammer”. But if you look at that webpage you can see “evil black” hammers. So, when the assault weapons banners come after our hammers will they decide that sporting purpose hammers should have the traditional wood shaft, not the military quality metal or modern fiberglass shafts? Will small tack hammers be banned because they are easily concealed? Will urban areas create local bans on sledge hammers because there is no reasonable use for a hammer of that size unless you live in the country driving fence posts? Will hammers over 16oz be considered to large for “civilian” use? Will normal people be allowed to only purchase claw hammers and not hammers with spikes because a spike on a handle would make it an assault weapon? What will that do to the market for pickaxes? Will those of us that own pickaxes be grandfathered? Will my old pick axe from my grandmother’s farm be considered a collectible and thus transferable to licensed collectors?

And will there be an outcry by members of the SCA and RenFaire performers when a writer for the Farmer’s Almanac suggests that there is no practical hobby purpose to their war hammers and that farmers and carpenters should not wish association between their hammers and the medieval recreationists’ hammers?

Do you think I'm being absurd? Let's not forget that hammers are used in deadly assaults. For example: 3 Women bludgeoned to death with hammer. Do I hear Frank Lautenberg preparing an amendment to a bill criminalizing the possession of hammers by men served with protection orders?

“The sword and the terrible weapon of the soldier, are the birth right of every American.”- Tenche Coxe (Philadelphia newsletter circa 1791)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Election Judges

I recommend that people who are really interested in helping our government work should do a stint as an election judge. I became one in a somewhat sideways manner. By Illinois rules I am considered a Republican because I last voted in a primary election as a Republican. Until I vote in a primary as something else I will continue to be considered a Republican. Even though this year I am the Vice-Chair of the Metro-East Libertarians. And one of the few Republicans in the county where I live. I have a friend who is very actively Democrat. And yes, we do have enjoyable conversations about politics. Any how, she knew that her precinct was going to need another non-Democrat as an election judge for the Nov 2006 General election. By IL law, it is going to be a long time before someone other than Repub or Dem will be able to serve as an election judge. I agreed to do it. The $50 for training and $150 for working election day was not actually an incentive since I lost money by not going to work that day.

It was an interesting and exhausting day. At the polling place by 5am (I often go to bed between 2-4am) and not able to leave until almost 8pm. But what got me was the inability of one of judges to follow the rules and instructions. And I'm sorry to say that twice I allowed myself to be coerced into following her lead. I promise you that it will not happen again.

Background: this part of IL uses the fill in the dot type ballets. Like a standardized test.

Incident 1: In setting up the little booths that people would use to fill out their forms the openings were suppose to be turned towards a wall. She insisted that they face the other way so that we could see if someone needed help. But also reducing the voters privacy.

Incident 2: "To save time" at the end of the day she insisted that we all pre-sign the paper work. Because the other judges agreed I only made a small issue of it. And then at the end of the day she almost violated election law and our sigs would have been on the paperwork. She was not going to count the write in votes! "Because they won't matter and don't apply to us anyway." There I put my foot down and when she continued to fight me I got ready to use my cellphone to call the county sheriff. She backed down.

I'm wondering how the primary/municipal elections are going to go this spring?