Thursday, March 24, 2011

WOW: Disaster Response | Mark's Daily Apple

There's a lot of advice on-line about being prepared for a disaster- and at the very least I suggest everyone have a bug out bag ready with enough food and water to see you through two or three days- but when it comes to being physically prepared the advice is usually to try and keep reasonably fit. Which is all well and good but have you ever wondered how to test to see if your fitness levels are sufficient to cope during a disaster? Well, wonder no more. Over at Mark's Daily Apple the Workout of the Week is called Disaster Response and it will let you know if your current level of activity is sufficient...or whether you need to reconsider your fitness regime in order to develop more practical strength and stamina.

WOW: Disaster Response | Mark's Daily Apple

Have fun, it looks like a blast.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It May Never End

I've just discovered this album by It May Never End called Such is Life and I'm really, really enjoying it. Have a listen and if you like it head on over here where you'll find links to download the album. Terrific stuff- I hope there's a follow up soon. This track is called To Fall Without Landing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Libya & The UK Military

The UK is not only involved in the no-fly campaign against Libya but PM Cameron seems to be desperately pushing to specifically topple the regime and kill Gaddafi. Just the other day a specific attack against him was called off at the last minute because of the presence of the press at the site. In fact, the government is now involved in a public spat with their top General on whether or not such a thing is even permissible.

The fact that the UK is even involved in Libya is of major concern to me, and not only because it seems to be a badly conceived, poorly defined mission with no clear objectives or command structure. My main concern is with the men and women of the UK military and the effects that another war will have on them, especially since the government has recently taken a machete to the military budget. Under the auspices of the Strategic Defence Review, the government has slashed spending, slashed jobs and slashed our nation's capability to wage war. The Independent described the spending review as meaning that the UK would be 'unable to launch major military operations overseas'. Which, let's face it, is precisely where you want to launch military operations.

The problem with this is that the SDR was not driven by the needs of the military nor based on the realities of the dangerous world we live in, it was driven by a need to cut spending and damn the results. Not only did the recent Strategic Defence Review not mention N. Africa once- no hint of turmoil anywhere in what is now one of the most volatile areas of the world- it takes no account of having to wage an air war in the Mediterranean or of having ground forces in the desert kingdom of Libya. In short, the paper upon which we're basing our future defence needs did not even have the foresight to predict major unrest a handful of months after its publication. Given that the military procurement process and training process moves at an almost glacial pace, it's important that our future needs are carefully considered. Skill sets do not appear overnight. If we lose a skill or a capability due to redundancies, we cannot simply regain it overnight when needed- it can take months or even years for the skill to be re-acquired and then for trainers to pass that skill on to the men who will take it into battle with them. And re-learning skills during a war is a sure way to get people killed. If we scrap a particular piece of equipment now, we not only lose it but the men with the ability to use it, plus the skills of those who maintain it. If at some later date we discover that actually we do need it, we not only need to re-purchase it but we need to re-learn and re-train a whole new generation of soldiers in its care and use. Not to mention the integration of the equipment/skill with the wider military.

Right now, 800 Royal Marines are on stand by to go to Libya, as the air war threatens to expand to the ground, and the SAS & SBS are already in country. But the UK has no aircraft carrier to stand off the coast and no Harrier jump jets to provide ground support- our new aircraft carriers won't be ready until 2016 and won't be able to carry planes until 2019. Incidentally of the two we're buying, only one will ever be operational- that's right, we're buying two but can only afford to run one.

Our armoured vehicles and artillery have been slashed (we've lost 40% of our tanks alone) - because when will Britain ever be involved in the flat, open expanses of desert where they are essential? Given that tanks not only provide the ability to project power against the enemy but also provide ground forces with a great deal of protection this makes no sense to me. Especially since other nations, for example Canada, are currently using them to good effect in Afghanistan.

Our number of soldiers has been drastically cut too so that we could not even mount another conflict like the Falklands without the help of other nations. Given that Argentina recently made noises about reclaiming the islands because of the oil there one has to ask who in government thought it was a good idea to make our future defence of the islands dependent on other nations. Who precisely? The US remained essentially neutral in the last conflict and the French, our current allies, supplied the Argentinians with Exocet missiles to attack our Navy. If Argentina moves to take the islands again, who specifically does the government see as helping us protect them? Who is going to lend us a fully functioning aircraft carrier? Perhaps this is a question someone, say an elected representative, should have asked before now. As it stands the new cuts mean that not only are we unable to launch a major offensive we will not be able to fight wars in more than one country at a time- only 30,000 men are available for a major conflict while 45,000 were needed for the initial invasion of Iraq for example. In a smaller conflict like Afghanistan we will only have a pool of 6,500 men- down from 9,500. If the no-fly zone fails to topple Gaddafi, how many troops will be needed and/or available to go in? What will that mean for the mission in Afghanistan? It bears mentioning here too that of all the foreign fighters in Iraq, the majority were from Libya- will they turn their guns on Allied troops once Gaddafi is gone?

At the time that Cameron was still threatening his intervention in Libya 170 nearly fully trained RAF pilots were made redundant, in addition to two whole Tornado squadrons (and all of our Harrier jump jets)- because when will Britain need pilots to enforce a no-fly zone or provide ground support to troops facing tanks?
Cameron has not only crippled the military with short-sighted cuts, his intervention in Libya now threatens to put servicemen at greater risk than they would have been only a year ago- in fact, the SDR specifically stated that there would be no wars of "liberal intervention" in the near future. The whole basis of the review was that Britain's future conflicts would look an awful lot like Afghanistan- it did not once take into account an action like Libya or any other potential hotspot around the world- back in October the thought of going to war against Libya was not even a possibility and yet here we are today on the verge of getting sucked into another ground war.

Basing future military needs on the actions we're currently involved in is not only short-sighted but it puts the lives of servicemen and women in danger- have they forgotten already how many died because British troops had Land Rovers and not armoured vehicles in Iraq? How many were killed because they had no body armour? In Afghanistan, troops have even needlessly been killed or maimed because they aren't even issued portable ladders so that they can enter walled compounds safely. Ladders for goodness sake- we can't provide troops with a simple item like that in the war that's already been going on for almost ten years and here we are starting another one.

Why is it always that the politicians who slash the military's capabilities are the same ones who so eagerly send them to war?

Monday, March 21, 2011

LGF And Breitbart

A recent tweet from Charles of LGF, retweeted by Andrew Breitbart, linked to a post which argued that the BIG conglomerate of websites were nothing more than a cargo cult. As evidence they presented the argument that the Planned Parenthood stings run by James O'Keefe "depended upon the right-wing fantasy that there exist extensive well-organized juvenile "sex-trafficking" rings, something that upon even cursory examination turns out to be utter crap."

Really? Organised sex trafficking rings pushing juvenile girls is a right wing fantasy? Well, not quite, as even a cursory examination- and an awareness of recent news- prove otherwise.

The owners of a local bar and restaurant are among 10 people accused of bringing young Mexican women and girls to Houston and forcing them into prostitution, U.S. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno said Thursday.

According to the indictment, Maria and Jose Rojas were involved in the recruitment of Mexican nationals, ages ranging from 14 to 30, to travel to the U.S. with the false expectation of legitimate jobs in bars and restaurants, beginning in 1999. Once the women arrived, the indictment alleges that the suspects used force, fraud and coercion to compel the women to work as prostitutes at their businesses.

"Their families back home are under threat," said Deputy Adrian Garcia with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. "It’s put into the minds of these women if they don’t cooperate, if they do have family back home terrible and horrible things will happen to them.

The indictment also alleges that beginning in 2003, the conspirators changed their tactics and began relying on pimps to provide the girls and young women and to keep them from escaping.

In fact, it's so NOT a fantasy that the FBI even operates an arm dedicated to combating Human Trafficking. A page on their website notes-

The majority of victims in FBI human trafficking cases are women and young girls from Central American and Asian countries. They are primarily forced into the commercial sex industry and..domestic servitude...there are an increasing number of young males being forced into the commercial sex industry as well.

So, far from being a right wing fantasy, a cursory examination reveals that it's actually a very real problem. Real enough for the FBI to dedicate efforts directly to combating it.

What was that you were saying about a cargo cult, LGF?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Chair

Stumbled across The Atlantic's photo section In Focus today and discovered a wealth of tremendous high-res photographs. I'd recommend popping over there to check it out, there are some amazing images on display.

The most recent post concerns the conflict in Libya and there are some photos I thought would be of particular interest here- images of rebel positions coming under aerial attack and those detailing the weapons (and techniques) used by the rebels. Russian arms are, not surprisingly, well represented but I was taken by the image below- a rebel armed with an FN FAL utilising an office chair as an anti-aircraft emplacement.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What's Wrong With The NHS

Two headlines that say it all about how the UK's National Health Service is run- and why, despite seeing massive increases in its funding under the Labour government, actual improvements in service were still not seen.

More than 50,000 frontline NHS jobs to be cut, researchers warn


NHS bosses' pay soars 50% as thousands of doctors and nurses face axe

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quote Of The Day

From a female British journalist who was sexually harassed in Tahrir Square-

From my previous experiences in the Arab world, I have accepted that a minor level of sexual harassment comes with the territory, so I brushed it off.

It immediately brought me to mind the comments of Tony Blair some time ago-

The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance. 
Perhaps he should tell that to the women who continue to be oppressed to this day in the Muslim world.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Obama Math

It's amazing that Obama isn't laughed at whenever he opens his mouth to talk about his new budget.

Add $2 trillion in new taxes, then add another $1 trillion in new spending and, presto, you’ve got $1 trillion of debt reduction. 

And where have we heard this before?

It’s the same kind of mad deficit accounting in Obamacare: It reduces debt by adding $540 billion in new spending, then adding $770 billion in new taxes. Presto: $230 billion of “debt reduction.” 

Good luck America- you need it.

A Taste Of Things To Come

The big news today is the continuing turmoil in, of all places, Wisconsin. To briefly sum up, the newly elected Governor and Republican majority there are attempting to dig the state out of it's budget black hole (a projected $3.6 billion deficit over the next two years)- and their first target is the unions. Michelle Malkin is is covering the story. Democrat law-makers have responded by actually running away, fleeing across state lines to hide out in Illinois: it takes the presence of a single Democrat to allow the budgeting process to continue you see.

While the brave Democrats have fled, the unions and their supporters are protesting, phoning in sick to shut down schools and intimidating Republican lawmakers to such an extent that they are coordinating with law enforcement-

I ask whether he is going home tonight, to sleep. He says, “We’re not disclosing that. My colleagues and I are not talking about that. We’re working with law enforcement” on the matter.

Remember, this is not some Third World nation we're talking about- it's Wisconsin, USA and the year is 2011. Yet we have elected representatives feeling so threatened that they cannot discuss if they are going to their own homes. We have other elected representatives who have just been voted into the minority throwing a hissy fit and refusing to show up for the work they were elected to do in order to sabotage the will of the people of their own state. Can you imagine the media furore if a Republican minority subverted the political process in such a way?

And where's the President on all of this? Is he calling for calm debate, for cooler heads to prevail? Is he roundly condemning the threats aimed at Republicans? Of course not- in fact, his own campaign apparatus is coordinating the protests.

Here's what one state employee wrote to Michelle Malkin, explaining that for the unions this fight is not just about pay and contributions but their stranglehold on employees-

The unions are scared to death they will lose their gravy train, you are forced to join the union upon state employment as a condition of employment, what is more tyrannical than that? So, now, the workers would be able to CHOOSE to join the union or not, and many will leave it. The rest will have to cut an actual check to the union each month, instead of having it garnished from their check, and the union knows people will get tired of that. THAT is what this is really about.

Doug Ross describes the situation in his own inimitable way-

The Democrats and the public sector union bosses created untenable compensation, pension and benefit packages... and then promptly destroyed them by making them so outrageous that the taxpayers simply can't afford them anymore. And instead of saving up the union members' dues money for tough times -- like these -- they spent all of that money electing Democrats and funding ever more untenable spending programs. Get it? There's no freaking money!

And yet Democrats and the unions are refusing to abide by the will of the people- in fact, they are demonstrating, just weeks after the attempted murder of Rep Giffords, with placards that deliberately echo what happened in Tucson - see the second and thirteenth image in this post in particular. Thus far only nine protesters have been arrested- but given the heated rhetoric being aimed at Republicans and the fact that law enforcement are involved we can only hope that the representatives and their families remain safe from harm.

The economy as a whole is suffering, unemployment is high, the USA as a whole is running trillion dollar deficits and the state budgets are on the verge of collapse- and yet the unions are refusing to give up one iota of their bloated compensation packages. The Democrats they helped get elected have abdicated their duty to the people of the state they represent (seems they've forgotten that they don't work just for the unions) and Republican lawmakers have had to work with police to ensure that they and their loved ones remain safe. And to top it all off the President's own campaign organisation is right in the thick of it.

It's not Greece, it's not some corrupt Banana Republic, it's the United States of America in the 21st century.

And this could just be the beginning of much worse to come.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Zombies And Cigarettes

Short zombie film from Spain- and winner of a whole bunch of different film festival awards ranging from Best Gore to Best Actress. The scenes of the outbreak first starting out are particularly well done.

Short film Zombies and cigarettes / English subtitle from Rafa Martínez on Vimeo.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Pocket Hammerless

It's the centennial of the 1911 pistol and the design is in no danger of fading from use. In fact, Colt and Springfield have apparently submitted models to the USMC for consideration for their replacement to the MEU/SOC pistol. There's plenty of life left in the old warhorse yet.

Given the enduring popularity of the pistol- and for the genius of John Moses Browning himself- I'm forced to wonder if the time is not right for a company to bring back another of his designs- the Colt 1903/1908 Pocket Hammerless. Though hardly a pocket pistol by today's micro-compact designs, it's a wonderfully elegant pistol and would make for a great companion piece for those days when the 1911 is thought too large and bulky for concealed carry. I'm sure that for those wanting a bit more oomph from their carry gun that it would be entirely feasible for a 9mm version to be produced too. To read a review of the original 1903 go here-

I shot over 500 rounds through this 1903 without one problem. Not one. And 300 rounds through another 1903 with similar results. Would I bet my life on an 89-year-old Colt? Yes, I would.

Originally manufactured from 1903 to 1945, more than half a million were made and I'd argue that now would be an excellent time for Colt- or another of the 1911 manufacturers- to bring another of Browning's classic designs back to life.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Police Advice

Britain's descent into an Onion-esque Bizarro world continues apace. After reports that police refused to patrol a night-time playground because it was too dark and spooky dangerous, comes the news that homeowners in several villages have been told to take down the wire-mesh placed over windows on sheds after a series of robberies...because burglars could be injured.

Take down your security precautions, burglars could be hurt- are you kidding me? There I was thinking that the police were there to arrest criminals, not perform health and safety risk assessments for them. What's coming next? Locked doors may force criminals to break windows, exposing them to the risk of severe lacerations- better leave your doors unlocked at night?

Gay Marriage

I think it was Clayton Cramer who once said that you could have freedom of speech or gay rights- but not both. It's not just freedom of speech that's at risk though. Here in the UK civil partnerships were made legal some years ago but even that is not enough for some gay rights activists- so the law has now been changed so that marriage is no longer defined as the union of a man and a woman.

Gays and lesbians will be able to 'marry' in church under new laws to be unveiled this week.
The historic decision by Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone will end the legal definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.
A gay couple will be able to refer to one of the partners as a 'husband', and a lesbian couple will be able to refer to one of the partners as a 'wife'.
A key part of the reform will bring an end to the ban that prevents civil partnerships being conducted in places of worship.

Gay marriage in places of worship? Yeah, exactly- since the law now says gay couples can get married in such places you know what's coming next-

The change could also lead to legal action by gay couples denied the right to marry in church.

I'd change that 'could' to 'will'. Never mind the rights of the churches to have their own beliefs, in politically correct Britain gay right trump those of everyone else. Pretty soon a gay couple will try to 'marry' in a church and be refused, they'll sue and the judge will rule that the law says they can be married there and to refuse them will be to discriminate against them, to infringe their human rights. In our new, PC world the religious apparently have no rights.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Bicycle Cops

UK police officers who are to conduct their patrols mounted on bicycles are to receive various training booklets from their individual forces to teach them to ride their bikes. The manuals, which are estimated to have cost thousands of pounds to produce, are being introduced because the idea that police officers actually be taught to ride bicycles was ridiculed.

Yeah, this is much better.

The manuals contain such gems of wisdom as "don't put your feet on the ground to slow down when going downhill". One of the manuals contains three pages on what snacks to eat. Another has a seven-point guide on how to get off a bicycle!

Essex police who do ride bikes on patrol are forbidden from using them to chase after criminals unless they have received advanced training- no doubt in high speed pursuit. Why they are using bikes when they aren't allowed to use them is not explained.

While it seems ridiculous we should perhaps not be too quick to judge. After all, two police forces managed to rack up 238 car crashes in just 18 months...inside their own car parks. Clearly, some of these officers have problems when it comes to operating wheeled vehicles.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Ronald Reagan Speech - 1964 Republican National Convention

President Reagan would have been 100 years old today.

Listening to this speech a few things are apparent. First of all, Obama is no great shakes as an orator compared to the Gipper. Reagan was a powerful speaker and a superlative spokesman for liberty. Second, the problems Reagan speaks of facing America in 1964 are not far removed from the problems facing it in 2011- a liberal caste intent on overturning the constraints of the Constitution and of expanding government intrusion into every facet of Americans' private lives.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Too Scary For Police

I wrote the last piece before I saw this- and now it really feels like I'm living in an Onion-inspired Twilight Zone.

Police in the UK have been banned from patrolling a playground at night because, get this, "it is considered dark and dangerous."

A senior police officer tried to defend the decision by describing the park as "a building site", an unlit area fraught with danger for the unwary PC who might be injured at any moment!

Of course, locals then pointed out that it's not a building site at all- it's actually a fully functioning playground where children are free to play during the day and that there is only minor work left to be completed.

Home-owners in the area - many of whom are old or disabled - complain it has become a magnet for young thugs and have reported dozens of incidents of anti-social behaviour. They have also found evidence of alcohol and drug use.

Given this new line of reasoning the police responded by saying that it was not their job to "keep the area clear". No mention of the vandalism and substance-abuse being carried out then.

It's Come To This

Another of those cases where you have to double check to see if the calendar has somehow rolled over to April 1st. It seems, more and more, that real life is resembling stories which more properly belong in The Onion.

A Canadian tourist flying home from the UK was prevented from bringing an ornament he had bought at a visit to the Royal Signals museum onto his flight- packed in his luggage- because the figure was of a soldier holding a tiny, three inch long resin gun.

As he passed through the security checkpoint he was stopped by a security officer who then contacted his supervisor-

'My wife asked for a "reality check", explaining how this offending piece of sculptured moulding is a 9 inch painted model with a moulded and painted rifle that is part of the figure.

'The supervisor was confident within the surety of the regulations and said a "firearm" is a firearm and cannot pass.

In fact, a spokeswoman for the airport said, "Items including firearms and items with the appearance of firearms are prohibited."

What kind of world do we live in where an ornament of a soldier holding a gun is prohibited? Surely the correct course of action would be for the airport to admit their mistake and announce that this was an isolated case of an official taking things more than a tad too literally. It's clearly not a real weapon, it clearly cannot be modified to function as a real weapon and it's clearly preposterous to anyone with even a hint of common-sense that a three inch long piece of resin on a statue constitutes "the appearance of a firearm"- what's he going to do- pretend that it's a real assault rifle and take over the plane?

I actually feel less safe knowing that these people are in charge of airport security.

Wasteful Spending By NHS

Despite massive increases in funding, the performance of British health care doesn't seem to be getting substantially better. People suffering from serious illnesses such as cancer are being denied life prolonging drugs because, in the words of NICE (the inappropriately named drug approval commission) they are not "cost effective". Yet at a time when the government is busy looking for cuts to save money, there is one area of the NHS where vast sums of money are being spent on medications which are far from cost effective- money which could surely be put to better use.

It seems that a loophole exists in NHS rules which allows pharmacists to receive any payment they request for so-called "specials". Basically, these are liquid forms of medications usually give in pill form, for example liquid paracetamol.

A woman contacted the Daily Mail when she discovered that the liquid paracetamol she received for her son was charged to the NHS at a staggering £175 for a 500ml bottle. To buy that over the counter, without prescription, would cost perhaps £10. And it doesn't end there-

The NHS spent more than £3 ­million on around 14,000 liquid formulations of this in 2009, at a cost of £208 each (the equivalent amount in pill form costs £1.12).

But there are other, more shocking, price differences. ‘I couldn’t believe an invoice I recently received,’ one London-based pharmacist told us, on condition on anonymity. 
‘It was for a supply of sodium chloride solution — salt water, basically, to treat a child with hormone problems. The charge was £570. I’ve been told it soon will be £1,000. The ingredients would have cost just pennies.’

The article contains many other examples of this colossal waste.

Since the NHS reimburses pharmacists for any ­specials they order — at whatever cost — business is booming. Latest figures show that NHS spending on specials rose from £58 million in 2006/7 to £164 million in 2009/10.

A massive part of this increase is because the NHS won't set pricing rules on specials- and it seems they have no plans to do so. A pharmacist can pay hundred of pounds for a medicine with an actual value of pennies and he will be reimbursed without question- yet at the same time cancer sufferers are being told that they cannot receive drugs that will actual prolong their lives because they are not "cost effective". And it's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wasteful spending.

It's little wonder that people are unhappy with the quality of care the NHS provides them with.

Friday, January 21, 2011

McCarthy's 'Magazine' Ban

There's been much discussion on the internet recently about Rep Carolyn McCarthy's bill which would place a limit on the number of rounds a handgun can hold in its magazine. The argument goes that because the deranged lunatic who shot (and mercifully only wounded) Rep Giffords in Tucson, Arizona used a 33-round high capacity magazine in the commission of his crime, then these magazines, and many others holding much less, should now be banned. If he had only had a 10 round magazine, they say, then nowhere near as many people would have been shot and either wounded or killed. I guess these people have little problem with the fatalities and injuries caused by the first 10 shots of any rampage, or any further injury caused by the shooter reloading his government-approved 10-round magazines.

The argument then goes on to state that no one really needs high capacity magazines carrying 33 rounds (and this is where they neglect to mention the 13 round magazines for the Browning High Power, 15 round magazines for the Beretta 92 or 17 round magazines for the Glock 17 that will also be banned- amongst many others). These, let it be made clear, are NOT "high capacity magazines". They are standard capacity magazines.

You see, according to the hoplophobes in Washington- whose familiarity with handguns and their defensive uses seems to extend as far as seeing them in the holsters of the police protecting them- there is no reasonable use for a high capacity magazine other than for mass-murderers to go on killing sprees.

Really? There's no other use for them? No, we're told, no one needs them. Which is interesting because the current bill carries an exemption not only for police officers but also retired police officers.

In other words, McCarthy and the other politicians who co-sponsored this bill believe that there is not only a use for 10-plus magazines but a need. Otherwise, the police would not be allowed to own them either. And there must also be a valid reason why a retired cop would need a 10-plus magazine. Quite why a retired police officer should be afforded extra rights not granted to his fellow citizens is unclear.

So, why would the police need magazines that hold more than 10-rounds? The police, after all, respond to crimes. If a violent criminal breaks into your home with the intent of causing you and your family harm why is it that the police you call to respond to the crime- who will most likely arrive after the criminal has done what he intends to do or has been stopped- need more than 10-rounds but you, the person who has to deal with the criminal face-to-face, on-your-own, need only 10? The police have access to pistols and often shotguns and carbines in their patrol cars. They often travel in pairs. They have access to armed back-up who will go out of their way to protect a fellow officer from harm. They even have access to specialist units specifically trained and armed to deal with highly dangerous situations.

I don't know about you but I've lost count of how many bullets all that adds up to. But the home-owner or woman walking to her car at night confronted by a gang with malicious intent- the person who has to face that threat ALONE is to be restricted to 10 rounds only?

I'm sorry but I fail to see the logic at work here. If a police officer needs more than 10-rounds then so too does the average law-abiding citizen. In fact, I'd argue that they are more in need of standard capacity magazines than the average police officer who has armed colleagues to support him. The person forced to draw a gun to defend themselves is faced with imminent danger at close range. Under these circumstances, and perhaps faced with more than one threat, the citizen needs every available shot they have.

The Tueller Drill established that the average man can cover 21 feet in 1.5 seconds. That time- 1.5 seconds- is the time it takes a practised police officer to draw and fire his holstered weapon twice. If faced with an attacker with a knife that means that the cop who can successfully draw and shoot- and score those two hits- could still be stabbed. Even fatal gunshot wounds do not put an attacker down immediately- he can often continue to operate after receiving those fatal wounds and inflict wounds of his own. Police officers are trained in conflict- and yet even when most of their confrontations occur at a range of less than six feet (one study examining this put a terrifying 81% of shooting confrontations at less than six feet) many of their shots fired miss the target.

These misses occur for a number of reasons, not least of which is stress- but also involved are bad lighting (many shootings occur at night in dimly lit areas) and the fact that the officer and armed bad guy can both be moving and that the officer could be receiving fire from the bad guy. These sudden, violent confrontations can occur with little warning (just watch some of those police dashboard-mounted camera video shows for proof) and are confusing, dangerous, stressful situations.

Let's now consider a young woman who carries a gun in her purse to protect herself as she walks to her car at night. She is confronted by a group of young men, in their late teens or early twenties. She is not only outnumbered but overpowered. If they choose to attack her, she cannot physically defend herself. Neither can she call the police for help- by the time she takes her phone out of her bag the men will be on her. When the men advance on her, perhaps even telling her of what lies in store for her, she draws her gun. The men respond in kind and the woman is forced to shoot. She fires her government-mandated 10 round magazine and hits two of the men more than once before the 10 shots are done. As with the highly trained police officer, some of her shots even at this close range miss the target. Only one of the men is totally incapacitated. The other wounded man and his untouched companion are now free to do what they wish to the now-defenceless young woman. They have weapons drawn already so she cannot reach for a reload.

And consider for a moment an elderly woman living alone. She owns a gun with a standard capacity 17 round magazine because she not only finds it hard to rack the slide but also because she finds it a slow and time-consuming task to remove one magazine and replace it with another. Her fingers are not as nimble and as strong as they used to be. Because she spent her working life as a nurse she is now banned from owning this magazine. Her ex-cop neighbour, who has no such problems with reloading, owns a 33 round magazine for his gun. When drug addicts decide to raid her home she shoots to defend herself. When the gun runs out of ammo the survivors come out of hiding and, as she struggles to reload, beat her to death with a crow bar.

If only she had her weapon loaded with a standard 17 round magazine she might have survived to see another dawn.

Or how about this-

This is a real video of an attempted home invasion. The gang of men, one of them armed with an AR-15 rifle, raced into an older man's home in an attempt to rob and, perhaps, attack him. Luckily, the home-owner was able to retrieve his handgun and shoot at the men. The gang turned and fled the determined, armed home-owner. But suppose for one moment that this gang had decided to use the weapons they had with them that day? Four men, one of them with a rifle, against a single man. If they had stood their ground, and if Rep McCarthy's bill had been passed, the home-owner would have had only ten rounds with which to defend himself.

Up against these armed home-invaders, do you suppose that you would have been able to successfully defend yourself with a government-approved 10-round magazine? Or would your chances of survival increase with 17?

This bill- which will not only ban high capacity magazines but also standard size magazines despite its name- will prevent law abiding citizens from utilising a tool that is not only currently legal but which has been around for decades. The Browning High Power, which holds 13 rounds in its standard size magazine, has been around since 1935. Even before then it was recognised that there was a need for handguns to hold as many rounds as possible.

Rep McCarthy might think that 10-rounds is sufficient for the average person to defend themselves from violence and death under all circumstances but the fact is that she is wrong. If police officers need more than 10 rounds to respond to crimes which have already been committed (and retired cops need them for their own defence and amusement), then the people on the front line, those actually facing criminals without body armour and armed partners and armed back-up have just as much, if not more, need.

And that doesn't even begin to tackle the question of how McCarthy reads the Second Amendment to mean that a person must prove a need to the government to own a certain type of magazine or weapon (some firearms will be banned under the 'magazine ban') rather than 'the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed'. It's perfectly clear to me that banning an integral part of a firearm and replacing it with a less satisfactory part- one which increases the owner's chances of being killed in a violent confrontation- is certainly infringing that right.