Juan Cole: presumably a jackass, but definitely in favor of censorship

so what do you say we just turn this website over to janklow just bitching about totally random things that no one cares about? wait, we weren’t there already?!

now, one of the things i do on the internet is read a range of random news/current events/whatever sites and blogs for reasons i can’t really explain, since it’s not like this is required for my field of study or employment and certainly doesn’t seem to add to my quality of life; still, it happens regardless. anyway, it’s usually the case that i get turned on to said site through another and continue to read it because i find its material interesting. in this case, we’re talking about Juan Cole’s blog Informed Comment, a blog on the topic of, to quote the site, “an independent and informed perspective on Middle Eastern and American politics.”

Juan Cole
Juan Cole: noted expert on firearm technology

and i would agree with that; Cole seems to know the topic(s) in question and while i cannot recall the specific reason why i started reading his blog, i was certainly linked there by another author for some reason and enjoyed his work on the topics he purports his blog to be about. i certainly have no credentials or other standing to otherwise malign his work, but then i wouldn’t anyway. except…

so the thing is, a guy who blogs about one topic (even if it’s a HUGE topic that you can easily go down the rabbit hole on) is invariably going to discuss off-topic things of interest, and Cole does that. and one of the failings Juan Cole seems to seriously possess is to presume he is the same degree of expert on those things as he is on his topic of, well, ACTUAL knowledge. it’s a little like listening to Tom Cruise expound on psychiatry: i have no doubt that, whatever his level of natural skill, Tom Cruise could thoughtfully explain acting and his methods… but that doesn’t mean he knows as much about medical matters. now, MOST of us understand this and rein ourselves in when we’re about to lecture people on topics we lack knowledge of. but in Cole’s case…

ANYWAY, one of Cole’s pet peeves is OMG AMERICAN GUN LAWS and, as you can imagine, i have some strong opinions on this as well. now, i do not consider myself an expert, but there are many aspects of firearm ownership that i AM familiar with. but what brings us to our particular topic is this: some months ago, on one particular occasion, Cole began to opine that what the US needs is gun laws on par with Canada and other nations that do not allow the ownership of semi-automatic firearms, a statement that is, frankly, entirely false, and which someone can discover to be false with minimal effort. and frankly, this is a disappointing position from anyone with any level of education, because it seems to me that if i were to argue “let’s install this country’s series of laws,” i would first, you know, LEARN WHAT THEY ARE.

on this occasion, i pointed out, in what i assure you was the politest fashion possible, despite whatever you know about me, that this position was not correct, on the grounds that, well, you can own semi-automatic firearms in Canada. he disagreed and supported his argument on the grounds that i was wrong because… well, because he disagreed. i reiterated my point (essentially, that while Canada has more strict laws in many respects, a total ban on semi-automatics is not one of them), and he then began to delete my posts.

now, i know this is really just being Mad On The Internet on my behalf, but this is the kind of stuff that really grinds my gears. like a professor that rails against 4th Amendment violations while promoting 2nd Amendment violations or something! but more seriously, this is the result of several things:

#01. the continuing misconception by anti-gun people that “semi-automatics” means “FUCKING MILITARY-ISSUE MACHINE GUNS”;
#02. the willful efforts by these people to not bother to learn what they’re actually talking about;
#03. people’s misconception that knowing a LOT about one topic means you know a goddamn thing about another topic.

Glock 17
#04. THIS IS NOT A GODDAMN MACHINE GUN

summation: Juan Cole sucks and i have no doubt he’d have harsh words for someone who actively censored his words. this is why i don’t read his site, which was quite informative and enjoyable when on topic, anymore. internet rant over.

50% making fun of racist drunk, 50% guns guns guns. blame Maryland’s illustrious governor for this

Joe Rickey Hundley
Joe Rickey Hundley: “okay, i admit that i am racist and hate children, but i am not THAT much of a drunk!”

man pleads guilty to slapping toddler on Delta flight

so i was walking into work the other morning and this story came on the television, with the declaration from the man in question (AKA Joe Rickey Hundley, whose name is apparently being styled like that of a serial killer) that alcohol “may have been a factor in his actions.” say what?

“The man accused of slapping a toddler on a Delta Air Lines flight early this year pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday afternoon. Joe Rickey Hundley agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in which he could serve up to six months in federal prison, instead of a maximum one-year term he would have faced if he had gone to trial and lost.

Hundley, 61, and his attorney acknowledged that alcohol may have been a factor in his actions on Feb. 8, but both gave more weight to the fact that Hundley’s son was about to die. “I discussed the issues over grief… in AA meetings I’ve been going to since February,” Hundley said when U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Baverman asked whether he’d been to counseling since the incident.”

MAY have been a factor, mind you; sure, he was accused of slapping a toddler and yelling a related racial slur, but how dare you consider him to be a drunk of any sort? in fact, isn’t the way this is supposed to work that you do something awful and/or racist and then, after the fact, run with the excuse that “oh, yeah, i was totally drunk and thus needed to yell slurs!” at least that’s what i learned from that episode of Law & Order: SVU where Chevy Chase is a horrible version of drunk racist Mel Gibson and i just wish Chevy Chase was dead.

also… how does the fact that your son was/is about to die make you want to yell a slur at a baby? still not getting that one. well, let’s read on:

“Hundley was arrested after allegedly striking a 19-month-old baby during a flight from Minneapolis to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, prosecutors said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzette Smikle said Hundley was seated on the row with Jessica Bennett, whose 19-month-old son stood in the rear of the plane during much of the flight. But as the flight descended into Atlanta that evening, the little boy likely became irritated by the change in altitude and began crying, prosecutors said.

Smikle said Hundley used a racial slur when he addressed Bennett about the crying child. “Ms. Bennett said, ‘What did you say?'” Smikle told the court. “Mr. Hundley leaned over and fell against the face of Ms. Bennett.” Bennett told authorities after the flight that Hundley told her to “shut that (racial slur) baby up,” then slapped the child in the face with an open hand, leaving a scratch beneath the toddler’s eye, according to a federal affidavit. “He appeared to be intoxicated at the time,” Smikle said Wednesday in court.”

now, the most i could see is if Hundley hadn’t really used a slur and Bennett said, “well, if i add that he threw in a racial slur, it’ll make him sound TERRIBLE and help my case.” but we’d still be talking about a drunk guy that slapped a toddler, so frankly, i am quite inclined to believe he did all of the above things… especially since his argument is less “i might get drunk occasionally, but i would never yell a racial slur at a baby” and more “GRIEF MADE ME A RACIST BABY-PUNCHER!” i find the latter to be… less packed with veracity.

“Hundley initially pleaded not guilty, and was due to fight the charge in a trial set to begin Thursday. But his attorney Marcia Shein said he decided on Tuesday to enter a guilty plea. “He couldn’t take it anymore,” Shein said after the plea hearing.

She said he was traveling to Atlanta that February evening after having been awake for 24 hours straight to have his adult son, who was lying brain-dead in a metro hospital, taken off life support. Hundley’s son, Shein said, had intentionally taken an overdose of insulin, and died shortly after that. “He lost a child,” she said of the elder Hundley. “And to hear a child scream … he lost it. He was up for 24 hours determining whether to unplug his son.”

now, i don’t mean to minimize the fact that if your son has to be taken off life support, it’s very traumatic… but let’s be honest here, was this really not something more along the lines of “i was completely stressed out (possibly because of the whole scenario with my son) and the sound of a child crying was TURBO-ANNOYING and thus i reacted out of mindless rage?” obviously you can’t say that and expect a jury to say “SET THIS HERO FREE,” so you have to run with something else… but i’ll tell you, i have seen a lot of people deep in episodes of grief, and none of them have felt compelled to slap a child.

and again… what about grief makes you want to yell racial slurs? oh wait, his lawyer had something to add:

“Shein said her client admits drinking during the flight. “Certainly, he’d had at least one cocktail and he lost his cool,” she said. “He shouldn’t have, obviously, and that’s what he’s paying the price for.””

now, okay, if you mean he’s paying the price “for losing his cool,” fine, we’ll come back to this… but if you mean he’s paying the price for having had “at least one cocktail”… look, let’s be clear about this, he’s paying the price for SLAPPING A TODDLER IN THE FACE. somehow i suspect that if he’d, say, just drunkenly yelled racial slurs in the face of the toddler, he wouldn’t be going to jail for six months.

“An executive for an aviation company in Idaho, Hundley was fired from his job amid the media attention to the allegations. And he hasn’t worked full-time since, he said in court. The plea agreement requires him to seek drug or alcohol treatment and undergo anger-management counseling. “I’ve already enrolled in” an anger management program “and am seeking approval of the government,” Hundley told Baverman in court. “We would ask for probation,” Shein said. “He’s already lost his son and his job.””

again, i understand they’re basically saying “go easy on this asshole because his life has been rough recently”… but come on, while you can argue the job loss thing WAS punishment for this child-slapping, his son dying is not “punishment” he suffered as a result of his actions. in fact, thinking about it, it doesn’t even seem that Hundley is SORRY for slapping this child, just that he feels justified because he was sad at the time.

“Shein said although her client admitted guilt, neither she nor Hundley agreed completely with the allegations. “The racial slur was not the basis for the injury to the child,” she told Baverman.”

nice. this is code for “well, we admit he said the slur, but it should be irrelevant for the purposes of punishing me for this crime.” which, okay, maybe it’s not what he should be SENTENCED for (that would be “slapping a toddler”), but if your concern about the allegations is “well, sure, he was drunk and proceeded to yell a slur and slap a child, but he’s not admitting the slur hurt the child”… i don’t know, i guess a lawyer has to argue these things, but again, i would just have gone with “he was tragically drunk and he’s sorry he’s an asshole.” then again, i am not a lawyer.

also, a little belated, but:

AR-180 meets M76 in

the final (well, if you don’t count lowers for projects) actions before our “lovely” Maryland ban took place: the SIG 551, which i really wish i had the means to construct one of those crazy super-magazines for by clipping four or five 30-round magazines together with their little integral clips (but i won’t, thanks Maryland); and the Steyr AUG, which with that barrel length, i have to admit, is SO GODDAMN TINY. in fact, it’s tiny enough that if it wasn’t banned by name, it would still be too short to pass the “copycat” test. also, please don’t ask me how a “copycat” test is about features and length and not being copies of banned rifles. just… just don’t try to make sense out of it.

of course, if you DO count lowers for projects (and maybe we should, since i listed that last one)…

so damn many Engage Armament E4 lowers

yeah, a couple of things to work out post-10.01. but given the way this year has gone, i think it’s pretty clear these are going to be longer-term projects and not anything that i will be funding the completion of any time soon.