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Delicious LiveJournal Links for 1-15-2011

  • "Since Dhalgren’s publishing history still elicits minimal interest, let me try to straighten some of it out. Fred, you came to see us in our three-room second-floor Paddington Street flat in London, twice, once when we weren’t in and our upstairs neighbor was baby-sitting for not-quite-year-old Iva; then you came back, a second time, when Marilyn and I were both there. That’s when I told you about Dhalgren—and probably exaggerated the number of times and places it had been submitted. ... Undoubtedly this is the story I told Fred the evening he dropped in unexpectedly to say hello (along with the tale of Iva’s befuddled citizenship problems), as we sat chatting for an hour or so with my infant daughter’s blue- quilted baby basket on the rug between our feet, in front of the electric fire. Fred can be wonderfully warm hearted, and I think he took to the young expatriate couple ... That’s the actual story. But I can see the places misunderstandings might have crept in."
    (tags: sf)
  • Hamilton got more votes than any other UUP / UCUNF candidate at 2005 election - has now joined the Alliance Party!
  • The coming partitions must be performed with a combination of scalpel and ax, soft and hard power. Above all, the world must recognize that these partitions are inevitable. Our reflex is to fear changes on the map out of concern for violence or having to learn the names of new countries. But in an age when any group can acquire the tools of violent resistance, the only alternative to self-determination is perpetual conflict. 
    (tags: politics)
  • A long piece, with fascinating diversion into Bill Cash's revolutionary theory of the British constitution.
    (tags: eu ukpolitics)
  • "What is a Glock, and what is it designed to be used for? It’s a rapid-fire weapon that can accommodate a 30-bullet clip, and it has only one real use. It’s of very little value for hunting or for Grandma to keep under her pillow to repel burglars. What it is good for is the killing of groups of human beings by a single shooter, and for nothing else. For that reason, it was outlawed by federal statute until 2004, when that law expired and our Congress, cowardly as it always is when it comes to offending the National Rifle Association, failed to renew it." Most of us foreigners are baffled when we hear discussion of a 'gun control debate' in the USA. To the unbiased observer, it is clear that the debate is over, and the wrong side won.
    (tags: usa guns)



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 15th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
Actually, Fred's dead wrong about Glock.

If you visit the UK you'll see them everywhere, whenever you go through an airport -- in the belt holsters of armed police officers. Cops love them; the Glock 17 is the standard handgun used by most British police forces.

Glock is a manufacturer of semi-automatic pistols who came up with a couple of innovative tweaks. Large chunks of the body are made of resin rather than metal (so they're light), they have an innovative safety mechanism (whereby there's no separate safety catch but they can't fire unless the human is holding them correctly and squeezing the trigger), and most importantly, they don't jam. (Or rather, they jam a lot less often than other semi-automatics.)

The one point that's picking up a lot of stick is that, while a revolver holds 4-7 rounds in the chamber, and a regular automatic magazine holds 7-10 rounds, Glock manufacture an optional 15-round magazine for their pistols (by cunningly staggering the cartridges, zig-zag style, inside it to fit an extra 50% in).

I've fired one, on a range. I liked it, a lot. The 15-round magazine means more time plinking away at a paper target between reloads. That's all.

My understanding is the police don't bother with the 15 round magazine -- it makes the pistol heavier, and if you're a cop and you're engaged in a firefight with, say, someone attacking you or civilians around you, things have gone lethally off the rails if you need to fire off more than a single handful of rounds.

But demonizing Glock pistols or extended magazines makes no sense. The Arizona assassin stopped to swap magazines during his shooting spree, then continued; he managed to empty both the magazines he'd come with before anyone got to him and prevented him refilling them (a much more time-consuming process). Presumably if 15 round magazines were banned, he'd just have bought an extra 10 round magazine. If Glock products were banned, he'd have bought a Colt or a Beretta. And if guns were banned, he'd have bought a sword.

The real problems are the American attitudes to (a) mental illness and (b) gun control. And I submit that while (b) is deplorable, it's less important than (a), given that a huge proportion of the US prison population these days are mentally ill.

Edited at 2011-01-15 12:55 pm (UTC)
Jan. 15th, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
NB: In case it's unclear, my attitude to pistols is that: they're great for spending a couple of hours punching holes in paper targets on a firing range, but I don't want one for self-defence, I wouldn't keep one in my home, I really don't want random people carrying them around in their pockets in public, and if you feel owning one makes you safer, then there's something badly wrong with your society.

Also: Anyone who owns a gun for personal defence, and doesn't practice with it regularly -- and I'm not just talking about accuracy and rate of fire training here, but firearms safety and proper self-defence training -- is an idiot. (If they're ever in a situation where they need it they won't have the reflexes to use it properly. And if there's one thing worse than being confronted by a violent mugger or rapist, it's a violent mugger or rapist who has just relieved you of the handgun you were failing to successfully use on them.)

Edited at 2011-01-15 04:19 pm (UTC)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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