Nov 30, 2012

Castle Doctrine; How Many Times Can I Shoot?

You'll never meet two cuter kids than Haile Kifer, 18, and Nicholas Brady Schaeffel, 17, cousins who personify the American ideal of wholesome good looks. They could do Pepsodent ads.

You'll also never meet a 64-year-old retired government security geek who looks more ominous than Byron Smith. He's the guy who shot them. And shot and shot.

Haile and Nick could easily have been featured in a happy 1940s Ronald Reagan/June Allyson movie. Unfortunately, they seemed to enjoy burglarizing other folks' homes.

Every media outlet in America lusts for a piece of this story, lots of drama plus a segue into another Castle Doctrine shouting match.

It happened Thanksgiving Day. Byron says he was tinkering in his basement shop when Nick came down the stairs, either unarmed or carrying a piece of pipe.  So Byron shot him, dropped, him, and fired a finisher.

Then came Haile. And the second most bizarre fact -- if fact it be -- of the tale.

Smith said he sat down in a chair when Kifer started walking down the steps. Smith shot her and she also fell down the stairs. He tried to shoot her a second time, but his rifle* jammed. When the gun jammed, Kifer laughed at him, fueling his anger...

(He then used his  ".22 revolver" to silence her misplaced sense of humor.)

"If you're trying to shoot somebody and they laugh at you, you go again," he told police.

Most bizarre: He let the bodies season for 24 hours before deciding to ask a neighbor to call the cops who booked him for Murder Two.

It's going to be hard to find a hero in this one.


The dead thugs made the overriding error.  All they had to do to stay alive on Thanksgiving Day was to decline to invade that home.   No burglary, no funeral,  no anguished families.

And Shooter Smith is not destined to become the poster boy for libertarian self-defense principles. He was conceptually within that framework when he raised the rifle against threat  and shot until the young man fell helpless.  Likewise, there's no argument against his stopping the girl's advance. But:

Smith told police he then shot Kifer "more times than I needed to" in the chest, leaving her gasping for air. He ended her suffering with a "good, clean finishing shot" under her chin. 

He probably blew his Castle Doctrine protections somewhere amidst the gunfire, but if not then, later when he told the authorities he "wanted them dead."

Good gawdamighty.  Was there ever a more compelling example of the need to shut your stupid mouth and hire a lawyer to do your talking for you?

There's a lot more to be sorted out, and the accused finally got a lawyer, a man we rather assume is trying hard to recall everything he ever read about the diminished responsibility defense.


*A Mini-14, according to my private spook in the MSM.

Nov 29, 2012

The outsider

Nature made her to be an outside cat -- and me to inhabit a catless house. Who am I to dispute Nature no matter how pathetically she gazes in?

She's getting fat. Needs a name. Also needs a heated cat house for the coming cold.

Yes, I'm well aware that the window could stand washing, recaulking, and painting. This will be done when I am finished with the cat house, unless I'm too tired or something.

Nov 28, 2012

Arab Spring, Act II

The AP tells us:

A widening dispute between the president and the nation's judiciary is at the center of the uproar over a constitutional declaration placing Morsi above oversight of any kind, including by the courts.

Dang. Democracy in the Middle East fails again, and we are all astounded.

I hate radical solutions, but I fear we must send Susan Rice to Cairo with a page  of talking points.

Personally, I blame the video.

Nov 27, 2012

A little gun lust

Next Saturday morning is reserved for a lethal weapons bazaar out in the country, a backwash farm not from from the head waters of Stony Creek where Inkpadutah's band of Wahpekute Dakotas liked to hunt elk when they were not busy killing white people for stealing their land.

Nothing on the auction goes back as far as the ~ 1855 to 1865 period when old Inky was making a pest of himself in these parts. Only the Colt D.A. .38 comes within a long generation of being contemporary. It could be a model as early as 1892 or as late as 1905, the latter only as a USMC variant. It took Colt a long time to get this one right, especially to make the cylinder turn the right way. I owned one decades ago, flimsy lockwork, impossible trigger, and all.

The lineup, with the three that interest me in bold:

GUNS: Mossberg Model 185D-B 20 ga. bolt action, 2 3/4" chamber; Winchester 3030 Model 94, used very little; Marlin Model 19G, 12 ga. pump shot gun w/long barrel; Marlin Model #37 -22 pump rifle; Colt DA 32  (sic) w/case & US issue holster, was Jim's dad's WWI issue; Rohm 22 Magnum Model 66; Ruger 22 long, auto.; Colt Huntsman 22 long rifle, auto; WWI steel helmet; WWI gas mask; 1917 Camp Dodge pic.; 1917 Soldier's Handbook; lrg. military shell

World War 1 is a bit outside my interest, probably because I have never fully shaken the vague notion that Mrs. Wilson may have chosen the wrong side.  Kaiser Bill wasn't really an evil dude, and it might have been useful to have a bunch of snobbish Prussian junkers between us and Joe Stalin in the middle third of the 20th Century.  God knows the Frogs and the Brits weren't all that useful.

Still, the Colt is a bona fide U.S. Military relic, so maybe I'll bid even though it was a miserable design first built for a pipsqueak cartridge. Also, this example is rough.

So is the Colt Huntsman, but I'll try for it anyway. In the first place the one already resident in the local vault is lonely. In the second, it will make my friend K grit his teeth in jealousy again, and that's worth something. :)

The Marlin Model 37 would likewise make good company for the M-38 already in hand. They're fraternal if not identical twins,  and a sweeter little rabbit gun/plinker never existed.

So, we'll see, but I'll show up at Dick's auction prepared to be disappointed. Our agrarians are flush this fall with crop money, drought disaster money, ethanol mandate money and Lord knows what else from the generous hands of His Ineptness and master gardener Tom Vilsack.  This tends to make them excitable at auctions.

Nov 22, 2012


There's nothing like a Thanksgiving Dinner  with old friends to make a fellow thankful to live in a time and place where, on one day each year, wretched excess feels  just right.

Nov 21, 2012

Quote of the Day: Tam on the Flippy Lindsay Stone

Why do we "blog," people?

For attention, of course. Is it possible to find a "post" -- or, for that matter, any piece of writing, anywhere, in any medium -- which doesn't announce in one way or another, "See how cool I am?" Not to worry, fellow writers.  A sin so universal is no sin at all; like gravity, it is a natural fact, something to which we  accommodate ourselves.

But we use and abuse our keyboards for other reasons, causes beyond the human desire for one 15-minute period of personal fame after another.

In this libertarian-ish corner we emphasize mocking authoritarians. Strip the pretentious bastards bare.  Lock them in stocks on the village green. Joyfully invite public attention to their warty morals. It is a vital public service.

We have the good fortune to exist under a Constitution which protects our rights to the most forceful speech and gesture from criminal prosecution. This includes you and me calling President Obama ugly names, and it includes Lindsay Stone.

She's the thoughtless bitch who deemed it harmlessly cute to be photographed at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, flipping  off something or someone.  The internet made her famous, then infamous, and she slithered under the First Amendment blankie. That's her defense against being arrested, and I glory in the fact that she has it.

At the same time, I would shed no tears if Fortune punished her with a loathsome disease, perhaps severe adult-onset acne. Her attention must be engaged with the notion that some things, however legal, mark her as a thickhead whose taste and judgement ceased developing about the time she was potty trained.

Now, we can do only a little to alter the fact that obnoxious numbskulls exist among us and that the internet gives them power, or at least wide exposure.  But we should try. That's where discerning writers come in, encapsulating the concept in a couple dozen words which even Lindsay might one day understand.

It's the difference between lighting up next to a "NO SMOKING" sign, and lighting up next to a "NO SMOKING" sign in a pediatric lung cancer ward. One's rebellious, the other's reprehensible.


Nov 20, 2012

As a public service...

...I post the following because the internet is desperately short of cute kitty pictures.

I think this is the sole survivor of a litter thrown by a now-missing black mama in my wildflower/weed patch. It took up residence in the bilge of the long-drydocked pocket cruiser where my daughter found and fed it a few days ago. I continue to subsidize its nutritional needs. Since last night it's been rooted where you see it, near the commandant's quarters deck.

New Dog Libby hissy-fits but is willing, upon command, to stop trying to turn it into lunch.

I'm no cat man, but a good hard-working outside, repeat outside, feline would have some pest control advantages around here so I'll continue the St. Francis routine.


And just so no one thinks I've gone completely softheaded and barmy, I still concentrate on more important stuff than cats.

It's another rebuilt 1903 Springfield, someone else's good work from many years ago in the excellent .257 Roberts. it's too seldom shot around here, but Grandson and I blew the cobwebs from the barrel Saturday. Great fun, and it will be worked a little harder in the future.

Lyman. Real men don't have no truck with tilliescopes and laserites.

(Actually, I'm kind of proud of the bench. It's a retired oak entertainment unit banished from the living room when the flat screen electric teevee set arrived. An hour with the saws and drills turned it into a good rifle cleaning and tinkering stand.)

Nov 19, 2012

The Yellow Man's Burden

His Ineptness continues his mission to Asia, and we all praise the wider application of the skills which have brought him -- and the nation -- such acclaim for peacemaking in places like Benghazi and Gaza.

Banging with Gramps

The Great Annual Clan Pheasant Shoot-At is history, and Camp Jiggleview has reverted to its genteel semi-squalid quietude.  It is  now inhabited by a mere six legs (one biped plus New Dog Libby) compared to about 40 at the peak.

This gathering of armed citizens and their aristocratic dogs has been going on for close to 20 years. Its motto is something like search and destroy prior to grins over unhealthy food and a certain small ration of good whiskey. 

Every annual session leaves a special memory. This year it came from our friend Dan who shared the Camp J Transient Officers Quarters with my son, grandson, and four-leggers Ruby and  Storm. Dan suffered a minor thumb cut Thursday -- something about a small mishap with the action of his OU gun. Over Friday morning coffee he told me he would be leaving early because the wound had been badly exacerbated. I asked for details. 

Well, I was rearranging dogs in the sleeping bag and ...

And if that doesn't  perfectly capture the flavor of these things, nothing does.


One more, almost as good.

I have an intricate range  box, the product of my late father's creative mind and careful workmanship. When my youngest heir and assign, age 17,  opened it he found a three-screw Ruger Single-Six, a Colt Huntsman, and a GI Colt 1911A1.

I allowed as how we still had enough daylight to run back out to the countryside for a spot of handgun practice and asked him to pick a pistol. Whereupon: "Let's just take the whole box." 

Is that a well-trained lad or what?

Nov 13, 2012

And yet another crisis in the our current Age of Ineptitude:

The Senate has scheduled an early evening procedural vote Tuesday for a sportsmen's bill that will decide the fate of 41 polar bear carcasses that hunters want to bring home from Canada as big-game trophies. Hunters killed the bears just before a 2008 ban on polar bear trophy imports took effect, but were not able to bring them home before the Fish and Wildlife Services listed them as a threatened species.

A small suggestion: Whenever an issue of this magnitude rises above the decision-making capacity of a clerk-typist, turn it over to a smart GS7.  Give him or her 30 seconds to say yes or no, or to order a coin toss.

Fer krissakes.


AP characterizes the bill as 19 measures "favorable to sportsmen." Okay, but I'll bet my second-best rifle that at least 17 of them -- including the bears -- do nothing more than fix idiocies previously created by by presidents, congresspeople, or the unelected regulators of national life.

Nov 9, 2012

The Second Four-Year Plan

TMR has been politics free since the Tuesday sadness, and it's still not quite ready to add it's mite to the national noise except in a brief and general way. The election left the TMR feeling like a different Travis McGee, suffering from  "...a bad burger, too quickly eaten."

Freedom lost ground. We can look forward to new dictates which will have the primary effect of making us apply for more permission ships and hall passes as we try to go about our productive -- or at worst harmless -- daily business. The de facto devaluation of our currency will continue and probably accelerate.

it is quite discouraging.

Prepping for a Sandy

There's nothing contrived for a  photograph here. That's where and how the lanterns and the atlas live. It's a corner of the big, libertarian bay window installed some years ago.

( Libertarian" in the sense that the project required, but was built without, a permission slip from the Regulators of the village of Smugleye-on-Lake. The sheriff has not been around with a warrant yet, illustrating that you sometimes get away with egregious anti-social behavior.  Part of the secret is just doing it while keeping your mouth shut until the statute of limitations runs out.)

Our power grid is quite dependable out here, even in the land of the tornado and the fierce blizzard. But sometimes the lights do go out, and when that happens at night I am in Room 101. The Worst Thing in the World is boredom.

Here in just a couple of square feet is an escape, illumination and information.

It isn't everything a fellow needs for survival, just a start. But, funny, it just seems to lead to other units of self-sufficiency. A few more lanterns, several feet of books, candles, LED flashlights, stashed lentils, rice, canned food, and so forth.

I tend to identify this attitude as "country," but I'm probably wrong. Even in Manhattan, Hoboken, there must be thousands of citizens of common sense and the ability to think ahead. We're led to an opposite view largely by the electric television industry which finds it more dramatic, and hence better for the Neilsons, to point their cameras exclusively at the bleaters.

"Don't nobody come to help me yet. Whattem I gonna do?"

I dunno  for sure. I suppose you could try hanging another picture of President Obama or Governor Chris your wall.

Nov 7, 2012


On election-eve  morning I watched The Fountainhead and thought deeply about  libertarian/objectivist values.

"You lie, James. You just leered at Patricia."

Dang. You ketcha me up, amigo.

Nov 6, 2012

Travis McGee votes

I am Travis McGee today and a committed, decided voter, convinced that the oval I blacken makes a difference.

It is vainglorious, but it is good for the soul to scour the rust from the tin-plate  armour, adjust the cookpot helmet, mount my pathetic Rocinante, swaybacked, galled  and, like me I fear, something of a redundancy in this Brave New World.

I am off to tilt me the Hell out of a quasi-American Windmill. May my bent lance lodge between the blades -- stopping them cold -- of narcissism, revenge, contrived drama, and a lust for those glorious days when Lenin was still respectable, the days when all that was deemed good was deemed collective. Collective planning. Collective work. Collective reward. Collective guilt. Or, as the Windmill huffs it: "Forward." Or, sometimes, "You didn't build this."

Which is to say that I take my little vote seriously, almost ceremoniously.  I will shower and closely shave, dress neatly, and enter the polling place as a first sergeant enters the company barracks.

But sadly I will still be thinking of the corollary decision. Against the sitting ruler, certainly, but for whom?

My state is close. The historically best poll calls it His Ineptness by five, meaning I should feel free to cast an honest libertarian vote. Other polls have it closer. Meaning that I should choose the quasi-Republican.

I suspect the decision won't come until the pencil hovers over the paper. I may or may not report it, but you'll be able to figure it out if you happen to be around  Smugleye-on-Lake voting central.

If for Mr. Johnson, I'll walk out whistling a happy tune as I stride off to round up a few election-gathering supplies for this evening.

If for Mr. Romney, I'll slink home, futilely trying to persuade myself  that I am a hero of the fighting retreat, but feeling badly in need of another shower.

Nov 5, 2012

The wisest of the wise

Lindsey Graham just told MSNBC that if Romney loses it is for "just one reason -- demographics."

Man, you just can't fool a United States senator. Or a crack political analyst like Chuck Todd who treated the Lindsey revelation as a profound, eerrrrr, revelation, like, y'know, from Mount Sinai.


Richard J. Daley of Chicago: When people are out of work unemployment results.

Nov 3, 2012

The cost of Sandy: zero or so

The cabal news networks on the electric teevee are running out of human interest stories. (Tell me, Elizabeth, did it make you cry when you lost your dolly and saw your pretty little kitty drown right in front of you?)

So they're forced to move on to higher-IQ journalism --- Cost of Sandy $50 billion, OMG!!!

Of course it won't be $50 billion. That's a number plucked from bureaucratic butts in order to persuade us proles that our leaders are on top of things and have some foggy notion of what they're talking about. It will be higher, much higher with Obama's promise to "ignore red tape" and give every New Jersey tax-sucker everything he asks for.

Just for giggles, let's pretend the actual Sandy loss is $85 billion. So what? That's just what Ben Bernanke and the Feds spend every thirty days in buying debt that even a Lehman Brothers trader wouldn't have touched. Kwee 1, Kwee 2, Kwee 3 et seq.

You argue back that the Fed doesn't have any money to buy anything, not even enough to replace a single tassel on its Guccis? You forget. The Fed is allowed to make money. And we mean "make," not "earn."

It works like this. Every 30 days Ben strolls into his office about 9 o'clock. He rings for his administrative assistant who wheels in the cart with his fresh-squeezed orange juice in a silver server. He smiles at the first sip, starts humming zippity doo dah zippity day what a wonderful job. The he turns to his Cray and taps a few keys. Presto, $85 billion in nice new money.

The only difference this month is that he'll have to do it twice. Once to routinely buy the unrepayable debt. Once more for New Jersey pols and their neighbors.

So he puts in for overtime?

CNN has just made the Walking Dead zombies look compassionate and tasteful. A producer who missed a fine career as a ghoul sicced his film crew on the woman whose sons were "swept from her arms" and on the man who refused to take her and the boys in. Or who did not.

J---- H. C----- on a pogo stick.

Nov 2, 2012

Marry me, Peggy?

Every now and then I forget that Peggy Noonan likes the concept of government a little too much. Usually, I forget it when she writes about the pretensions of its posturing nabobs.  Lately, of course, the poseur-in-chief  has most suffered her graceful sting.

It is one thing to think you're Lebron. Its another thing to keep missing the basket and losing games and still think you're Lebron.
And that really was the problem: (Obama)  had the confidence without the full capability. And he gathered around him friends and associates who adored him, who were themselves talented but maybe not quite big enough for the game they were in. 
What an elegant way to say His Ineptness is in over his swollen head and should stick to rousing the rabble  south of the Blackstone Hotel. 
I recommend reading the whole thing. And if you happen to run across Ms. Noonan, please tell her I was just kidding about getting hitched. On the other hand, if she would settle for a couple of picnic hours with wine and a basket of cold chicken, I'm hers.


Tam is sweating (and joking; after all, she is Tam)  her way through  a darkness, waiting on laboratory tests to say yea or nay about a condition no one wants. Drop on over to wish her well.

Sandy note

Mayor-Against-Guns Bloomberg touts a "couple of murder-free days" in post-Sandy Manhattan. He can't say why, but he hints it's because of his brilliant municipal leadership.

Could be, but more likely:

"Hey, Bro, lets go down to Virginia and buy some assault rifles and come back and  shoot some mofos and take their stuff."

"Can't do it Homie. Ain't no way to get across the bridges and da tunnels is flooded."

"Well, sheeeee-it then. If  I can't get no gun guess I'll just go on up to the church and help Father Flanagan feed nuns and orphans."


Nice Sandy. (Arfing for votes)

Hurricane Sandy is one for the books, History will recall it as the photo op that saved a president's seat. Also the seat widely expected to seek re-election as boss politician of New Jersey.

MSNBC is having the most fun. The Channel of the Left is cutting programming costs in half by just putting up still shots of Christie and Obama staring deeply and lovingly into one another's eyes.  Over and over, concentrating on the images suggesting they need a room.


On some level His Ineptness may give a tiny Jack Schidtt about the the human unpleasantness in the Middle Atlantic states. As a politician, which he is above all else, you have to believe he delights in this October surprise. At a cost no greater than that of composing the right touchy-feely sentences he wins the Battle of the "Earned" Media  in the final seven days.  It wouldn't work so well for him if voters listened to him with their reasoning facilities in the "on" mode. For instance:

Yesterday he provided a detail of his relief program. He has ordered all federal bureaucrats to return all New Jersey calls "within 15  minutes," to ignore  "red tape" and to "find a way to say yes" to any state, county, municipal, or township nabob who figures the nation owes him something. That sort of open-trough policy would corrupt even the nation's most honestly governed state. (South Dakota, probably.).

In the days of free-range hogs in Iowa, we had a similar battle cry. "SOOO-EEEEE. Come pig pig pig."  

(cf .Katrina, Irene)