Day: July 3, 2013

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

08:06 – The religious nutters social conservatives in the North Carolina Senate have passed yet another bill that attempts to do an end-run around Roe v. Wade and numerous other court decisions that have confirmed a woman’s right to have an abortion. Their intention is to render that right meaningless by making it impossible for a woman to find a medical facility that performs abortions. The NC House is almost certain to cooperate with the Senate in passing a law that puts severe new restrictions on abortion. Fortunately, our governor, also a Republican, has already said that he won’t accept any further restrictions on abortion, so presumably he’ll veto whatever bill eventually passes.

With numerous states passing laws that infringe on their citizens’ rights, perhaps we need a new amendment to the US Constitution that mandates that anything that is legally permissible for citizens in one state is also legally permissible for citizens in all other states. So, for example, the fact that Vermont puts zero restrictions on its citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms would mean that no other state could do so. Same deal on legalizing marijuana for medical or personal use. I like that idea. We could call it the Freedom Amendment.

09:04 – I just filled a batch of bottles of Herzberg’s Stain for the forensic science kits. The automated dispenser worked fine, although I had my doubts. The stain is rather viscous. It’s based on iodine in a saturated solution of zinc chloride. Zinc chloride is extremely soluble in water, so much so that a saturated solution at room temperature is about 85% zinc chloride and 15% water by mass. In other words, water is the solute and solid zinc chloride is the solvent. The solution is very dense. When I picked up a one-liter soda bottle with only about 200 mL of stain in it, it felt like a full bottle of water. Next up is a batch of bottles of Jenk’s Stain, which is similar to Herzberg’s but is based on a saturated solution of magnesium chloride rather than zinc chloride.

14:16 – Steve and Heather, our neighbors across the street and down two houses, are moving this week. The bank foreclosed and the house goes to auction next week. Steve shouted to me yesterday and asked if I had any interest in a big bookshelf they planned to get rid of. He thought I might want it for holding kit stuff. I went in to look at it and it was indeed big: 12’3″ (3.7+ meters) wide, 10″ (25 cm) deep, and 6’4″ (1.9+ meters) tall. There’s a total of about 78 linear feet (~ 24 meters) of shelf space. It’s solid wood. I’m guessing pine, but it’s heavy enough that it might even be oak. Barbara went over to look at it last night and said she thought it’d be good in the basement for storing kit stuff. (We have several hundred SKUs, many of which are stored in shoe-box size plastic bins on shelves.) So I went over today with a tape measure and several bins to check its suitability. Bins fit the shelves two-high, which means I can fit 200+ bins on the shelf unit.

I’d planned to go down to Home Depot this week and buy a couple of these $99 units, which provide about 20 feet each of double-wide shelving. Call it 40 feet each, which means it’d take two of them to hold as many bins as the shelves I got from Steve. When I asked Steve how much I could pay him for the unit, he said he’d been thinking $200. That sounded fair, so that’s what I paid him.

Steve, his son, and his future son-in-law hauled it over to our house and put it in the basement for me. I called Barbara to let her know to be careful when she pulled in the garage because the new bookshelf was sitting between where she parks her car and where I park my 4×4. She asked how I’d gotten it over here, so of course I told her I’d just picked it up and carried it over. Didn’t fool her for a minute.

14:52 – I see that Illinois governor Pat Quinn–a Democrat, of course–is attempting to gut a concealed carry law, despite opposition from his own party. He’s doing the same thing abortion opponents do: if a law permits something you don’t like, just make the law meaningless by placing restrictions on it that effective destroy the intent of the law. Abortion opponents attempt to make a woman’s right to an abortion meaningless by making it impossible to get one. Anti-gun people attempt to make concealed carry laws ineffective by placing restrictions on where a permit holder can carry, which is what Quinn is doing now. He wants to forbid permit holders from carrying anywhere alcohol is served. So, it’s legal for them to carry before they arrive at a bar, illegal to carry while they’re in the bar, and then legal for them to carry after they leave the bar. What are they supposed to do? Check their guns at the door? Concealed carry permits need to be effective anywhere. If you have a permit (which you shouldn’t even need to carry a weapon, or so says the US Constitution), you’re allowed to carry anywhere that you are legally entitled to be. That includes place like federal courthouses, airliners, and so on.

But Quinn isn’t satisfied with just that. No, he also wants to restrict permit holders to carrying one weapon and one magazine with at most ten rounds of ammunition. Now, I have no objection to reasonable limits. If he’d limited permit holders to carrying, say, 100 weapons on their persons, and no more than 1,000 magazines, each with no more than 100 rounds, I’d have had no problem with that. But I think it’d be better to just allow permit holders to decide what and how much they wanted to carry. I suspect all of them would have been reasonable. For example, even back in the days when I sometimes went heavily armed, I seldom carried more than three concealed weapons–a .45 Colt Combat Commander, a .45 Star PD, and a .45 MAC-10 submachine gun, with only two 7-round magazines each for the pistols and half a dozen 30-round mags for the SMG.

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