Day: November 2, 2015

Monday, 2 November 2015

08:38 – We’re having typical autumn weather here, rainy and breezy with highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the 50’s. We’ve had a couple inches of rain in the last few days, with more to come. Between the wind and rain, most of the leaves are down. No really cold weather yet. We probably won’t see any significant snow or ice for a month or more, although we have had noticeable frost on roofs and lawns once or twice already.

Like everyone, we’ve gotten notice of the Obamacare open enrollment period for 2016. The monthly premiums, deductibles, and co-pays are all increasing. No surprise there. What I don’t understand is how the subsidies work for those with incomes low enough to receive them. I paid our first month’s premium in full by credit card when I signed us up. That covered October. We got a bill for the full amount for November, which Barbara just wrote a check for. If our income was $40,000/year, we’d have to pay only $200/month instead of $1,200. Most people with that income can’t afford to pay $1,200/month all year and wait to get the subsidy when they file their tax returns. Presumably there’s some mechanism that allows them to pay only the subsidized $200/month premium, but I don’t see any explanation on the Obamacare website or the BCBS website of how to do that. I often see figures about how many people have signed up for Obamacare but don’t pay their premiums. Perhaps this is why that happens.

10:18 – Back 40 years or so ago, I spent an afternoon shooting on a 500-yard range with a gun whose name I don’t even remember. There wasn’t any wind to speak of. He was shooting a tuned .30-06 Model 70, and getting consistent 4″ to 6″ 10-shot groups at 500 yards. That’s one minute of angle, MOA.

I remember thinking at the time that this guy could dominate and control a 500-yard radius from wherever he and his rifle happened to be. Back then, I did such simple calculations in my head without even having to think about it, and I realized that this guy controlled a surface area of more than 7,000,000 square feet, or more than 160 acres. One quarter of a square mile.

It was then that I started thinking about weapons (and shooters) in terms of the area they could control rather than their lineal ranges. With my .45 pistol or a riot shotgun, I can control an acre or so. With one of my .223/5.56 rifles, something like 40 acres, assuming a useful range of 250 yards or so.

Ten of me in one location could control that 40 acres with a weight of 10X or, more realistically, an area of 1.6 acres with a weight of 250X. If things ever do get really bad and we find ourselves having to defend ourselves and our home against bands of roving looters, that’s a lot of weigh on a relatively small surface area. Particularly when you consider that the average gang-banger and his weapon can’t control even one acre because he can’t hit anything other than by chance. Those ten of me, not even considering the defenders’ advantage, should be able to deal with 250 or more attackers.

Of course, that’s assuming we have ten of me, which we may well not have. But even a relative novice shooter firing a shotgun or rimfire rifle from cover can control an acre, which is one of the reasons I encourage my family and friends to learn to shoot. A bunch of people who can control an acre supplemented by a few who can control 40 acres or more would be able to put up a strong defense against violent would-be looters.

I don’t think it’ll come to that, or at least I really hope it won’t, but I believe there’s maybe a 10% chance that it will come to that sometime in the next few years. If it does, I want to be prepared.

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