Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Why Abortion is Wrong

I am reading the Bible using the Lutheran Daily Lectionary published by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. If you read each day's lectionary lesson, you will at the end of the year, have read the entire Bible. Then you start all over, because the Bible is a deep book, and what you read last year will mean something different and more wonderful today.  Today's readings included the 23rd chapter of Ezekiel. The prophet Ezekiel writes at the time of the Babylonian exile.  In his prophesies of the destruction of Jerusalem he writes:
For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands; with their idols they have committed adultery, and they have even offered up to them for food the children whom they have borne to me.
Back before the Babylonian exile, the Israelites waged a constant battle against the fertility cults that surrounded them, and lived among them.  . Believers in these cults believed, in the manner of infantile egoism, that they through their actions in keeping the fertility gods favorable to them, could bring the rains, and make the crops grow. So, the believers performed rites in front of the idols of these gods, and sacrificed children to them.  (Compare these believers in fertility gods to global climate change alarmists today.)   While their motives were certainly different, they were more understandable. For if there was no rain, there would be no crops, and the people would starve to death. Thus they had a powerful incentive. One can even understand in the circumstances that an ancient Israelite might take out a little insurance, right?

But, the one unforgivable sin, you see, is failure to trust in the Lord, the one who brought them out of Egypt, the one who defended them time and again. For as Jesus says, in Matthew 5:45:
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
So, our God, Creator of everything that is and everything that is not, finds the murder of your children as abhorrent as do we.  Whether it is because of a lack of trust in God, or for other reasons, abortion is wrong.

But you don't believe in God, do you?a  You are a modern woman, and above all that myth and legend, and superstition.  And I am not here to change your mind, for that would be a fool's errand.  I am here to tell you though, that you will not be happy as a result.  You will pine for your child, and you will curse the day you listened to the feminists who said you could have it all.  Another false promise form false prophetesses, for everyone must make choices, and some choices foreclose others.  Be careful in the choices you make.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Why we can't give in on bump stocks

Selwyn Duke has an article today that explains why the gun rights community will fight tooth and nail to prevent the government from infringing our Second Amendment rights by banning bump fire stocks.  Dukes article entitled Why I Oppose Banning Bump Stocks in today's American Thinker perfectly captures the attitude of a lot of people in the gun rights community. Duke:
The latest firearm-equipment boogeyman is the “bump stock,” a device allowing one to fire a semi-automatic rifle more rapidly. Liberals learned of bump stocks because Las Vegas murderer Stephen Paddock had modified 12 of his rifles with them.
This has made them a target for prohibition, and an easy one, too. After all, almost no one wants to buy a bump stock, so even many Republicans — and the National Rifle Association — are willing to place greater restrictions on the device. I also have no plans to acquire one, but I wouldn’t even consider outlawing the stock. Why?
Well, for that, you will have to read the rest of the article.  Suffice it to say that Duke is past weary of the ever changing drive to ban whatever it is that is the latest piece of firearm equipment.  If you are old enough, you will remember when they wanted to ban the so called cheap  "Saturday night special" because supposedly urban blacks used them to kill each other.  Notice the racist overtones here, and these were Democrats that wanted them banned. But it doesn't really matter.  What matters is that they can ban something, anything, then they will be back the next shooting for another slice.

Duke's idea is to try to pin down liberals as follows before we give in to any sort of ban:

*  You say bump stocks allow a person to fire too rapidly. Okay, what exactly is the maximum number of rounds per minute a weapon available to the public should be capable of firing? What’s your reasoning?
*  “High-capacity magazines” is an ambiguous term. Exactly what size magazine should citizens be allowed to own? What’s your reasoning?
*  Don’t tell us about “high-powered rifles.” Tell us exactly what the maximum muzzle velocity of a publicly available firearm should be. What’s your reasoning?
*  Another ambiguous (and misleading) term is “armor-piercing ammunition.” What exactly should the maximum penetration power of a publicly available round be? What’s your reasoning?
Once you formulate your concrete vision (for the first time in your lives), please present it. If we accept it, though, note what the agreement means: You don’t get to ask for more anti-gun laws ever again. There’s no more politicizing of the issue after every shooting. The vision is conceived, articulated, agreed upon — and then set in stone.
Of course, Duke realizes that this is highly unlikely, and short of them offering a unified, all gun grabbers agree on this list, there is really no point in discussing it further

Thursday, October 12, 2017

My Stack On Medium Quick Access Safe

About a year ago Mrs PolyKahr saw a good deal for Stack On Medium Quick Access Safes to keep curious fingers off our guns when we don't have immediate control of them. We each stuck one on our night stands, and programmed the biometric lock with a combination that we each could remember. Of course, a biometric lock requires batteries or a secure source of electricity, which means that the biometric lock has to be backed up with a mechanical lock and key.  Batteries will fail at the moment you need them the most, and there is no such thing as absolutely secure electricity.

Mind you, these are not like a Liberty Safe that is so heavy the bad guy can't steal it, and is fireproof and all the other proofs.  These safes are not designed to thwart all comers.  These are just designed for peace of mind if you have young children running around.

I personally take my weapon out at night and keep it on top of the safe, because if awakened by a bad guy in my house at night, I don't want to have to be fumbling with the biometric lock to get to my gun.  That being said, I have noticed of late that the battery case, which is on the upper part of the inside of the safe has begun to sag a bit, making contact with the batteries somewhat iffy at times.  Of course, I can always use the key, but that means I could have bought a cheaper safe if I didn't have to have the biometric lock.  Otherwise, the safe has done the job it was intended to do.  However, I would not buy another one, there are cheaper alternatives. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Make No Mistake-This Is War

There have been several articles about the recent assault on the Second Amendment as a result of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. While the dead are buried, the wounded are tended, and the police search for a motive, the Left is busy calling for a bunch of stupidity that will not affect the next mass shooting, but will burden all the law abiding people that did NOT have anything to do with the mass killing. I intend to highlight a few of those today, gentle reader, if I may.

The first is Alicia Colon's article that appeared in the American Thinker October 8, 2017 entitled The Unbelievable Stupidity of Those Who Believe that Laws Stop the Lawless. As a readers digest version, the title says it all. Of course the Left doesn't really believe that there is some magic incantation or formula that will suddenly cause evil people to be good. Indeed, if there were, the whole of the Christian Church could declare victory and the reign of Jesus on earth. But there is no such magic incantation, and so one must view the manufactured anguish of the Left as nothing more than an attempt to convince the American public to give up their Second Amendment rights. In any case, go and read the whole thing, as she makes some other good points as well.

Next up is William Sullivan's piece on October 9, 2017 at the American Thinker entitled The Logical End of the Left's Antigun Crusade.   Sullivan takes as his starting point an interview with Representative Don Calloway on the Tucker Carlson show:

Recently on Tucker Carlson’s show, Don Calloway (Rep D-MO) opened with this pearl of insight into the leftist mind, suggesting that “mass shootings are the result of the types of weapons that are available to our society, and the lethality of weapons that are available to our society.”
But are mass shootings truly “the result of the types of weapons available to our society?” Follow that logic to its reasonable end.
Following which, Sullivan destroys the logic of the Left by pointing out that the total number of people killed by mass shooters in the last 51 years is 948 people. This is tragic. More tragic still is that 3,827 people were killed in 2014 alone by either being beaten of stabbed. Morally, there is no difference between being stabbed, or beaten, or being shot by a mass shooter. Yet one is held out as being more reprehensible. Moreover, it is not the existence of the weapons themselves that are the cause of these mass shootings, but the murderous intent of evil people.  Guns, as always, are inanimate tools.  They do not influence people who do not have the desire to kill, to become killers.  The problem, as always, is the people themselves.

Today there are a number of proposals out there to ban the so called "bump stock" to prevent someone from doing the same thing the Las Vegas shooter did. Years ago one of the flashy moves in cowboy movies was to "fan" the hammer of a Colt 45 Peacemaker or similar single action revolver while the shooter held down the trigger. The result was a very rapid rate of fire. But no one actually did this in real life. It was only the trick shot artists who might fan his revolver in a demonstration. One could not actually aim while fanning. Similarly, bump fire has been around, but it is not very accurate, and people don't (usually) use bump fire in real life. So, conservatives are not all fired up to defend the bump fire stock since, as Spike Hanson points out in his piece at the American Thinker entitled To Win the Second Amendment War:
Whether or not bump stocks end up banned is a trivial matter. The war over the Second Amendment will not hinge on the outcome of this particular battle. Both sides know this; the importance of the issue is entirely psychological.
For progressives, a win would be a move in the right direction, evidence that conservatives are vulnerable. It would be comparable to the Doolittle Raid against the Japanese homeland in 1942 – a strike of no great strategic import but invaluable as a way to shift national confidence from the Japanese to the American side.
For conservatives, there is little to be gained by thwarting this progressive gambit (which is the reason some are prepared to make a tactical retreat). Why expend resources on such an insignificant matter when winning it will not much advance the Second Amendment cause? Why, indeed! The answer is that a defensive mindset leads to defeat. Fainthearted people rarely win at war. This is no less true for a political war than it is for a military one.
And there it is. I myself have no real interest in fighting this fight. But we must, because we can not give on inch. Not one more inch. This is a war, and we can not lose it. The NRA has signaled that they are agreeable to banning bump fire stocks. But then the NRA have been the Neville Chamberlains of the gun rights movement since I can remember. Their appeasements have given us the gun control laws we have today. And those laws have nothing in common with the American system of Constitutional government, but more with Fascistic and totalitarian governments. Therefore I urge readers to consider joining the GOA effort to stop Congress from passing a bump stock ban, and get back to work giving us National Reciprocity.

This is war. We can not lose it.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Solution to Las Vegas Is Not Making Things Illegal

The shooting in Las Vegas has spawned many emotions.  Everyone of course deplores what the shooter did.  Most of us are also impressed with the speed with which the police responded, and are comforted by the stories of people helping people at the scene.

Some people believe that somehow we need to do SOMETHING, anything, even if what we do would not have stopped the Las Vegas shooter.  So it is with the calls to make the bump fire stock and similar products illegal.  Supposedly, the reason the shooter could fire so rapidly is because he had a "bump fire" stock installed on his semiautomatic rifles.  With training, the bump fire stock allows more rapid fire that one can achieve with the trigger finger only, approximating what can be achieved with a fully automatic weapon.  It sounds reasonable, right?  If the killer couldn't get a hold of a bump fire stock?  Similarly, if Cain hadn't had easy access to a rock, Able would have still been alive.  But of course we can make rocks illegal, can we?  Indeed, trying to protect people by making things that can kill illegal is a fool's errand.

If we are looking for a solution, we are looking in the wrong direction if we are seeking to make various inanimate objects illegal  The problem is not the existence of semiautomatic rifles, or indeed any firearm.  It is also not the existence of devices like the bump fire stock.  The problem is that a man decided to commit an evil act and kill as many people as possible.  Since everybody is an image of our Creator, the desire to kill another human being indicates a hatred of God.  Of course, murder is already illegal.   There is nothing our legislators can do, except of course posture and virtue signal.

The truth is that tragedies like  Las Vegas can't really be prevented.  The only way to prevent a tragedy is to change the killer's heart.  No man can do that, only the Holy Spirit can do that.  But the Holy Spirit can only do that if he can be exposed to the Christian message.

Update:  Please also read The Ugly Truth for Liberals: Gun Control Will Not Stop Mass Shootingsm by John Hawkins.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Digital Amateur Radio

I wanted to talk a little today about the "digital" modes of transmitting information over the radio waves.  A digital mode involve signals that transmit some combination of discrete frequencies by one station that can then be decoded by another station to reveal the information being transmitted.

The oldest "digital" mode is what is called Continuous Wave (CW) that transmits Morse code.  The transmitter is either on or off.  The length of the elements are either long or short.  These long, often called "dah" and the short, called "dit" thus make up a binary code, the differing combinations of which make up all the letters, digits, punctuation and pro-signs of Morse code.  CW is still practiced in Amateur Radio, and can be used anywhere in the amateur bands.

Radio Teletype, abbreviated RTTY, is a radio implementation of a land line technology that was an early form of sending text over the phone lines.  The wire services such as UPI, used teletype extensively.  RTTY uses two tones, usually 170 Hz apart, to transmit the letters, digits, punctuation, and again certain pro-signs to transmit text as opposed to voice.  RTTY proceeds at 45.45 baud, or about 60 words per minute.  Once upon a time, to operate RTTY one had to make a substantial investment in converting old teletype machines to transmit over the air.  But with the advent of personal computers, software took over this function, and with a simple sound card as the interface between the computer and the transmitter, one could be in the RTTY business.   Today, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) promotes RTTY as a digital mode that is very popular.  It is also one of the easiest to understand, and to set up the software to run. But in fact, only a few experts with RTTY operate during contests, and there seems to be little other activity.  So I have to question the ARRL's notion of the term "popular."  As a result, a new practitioner can not get any experience themselves, because RTTY operators only use their equipment at certain times when a new person will be reluctant to try out the mode.

Since 2000, a number of digital modes using inexpensive sound cards as the interface between your computer and a transmitter have popped up like mushrooms.  One of these, PSK31, is a digital mode that uses phase shift keying to key the transmitter at 31 baud.  The mode was designed to be used as a conversational mode for "rag chewing" as opposed to simple contesting.  As late as 2012, ARRL was promoting PSK31.  The advantage of PSK31 is that 25 or 30 conversations can be going on simultaneously in the same bandwidth as a voice conversation over Single Side Band (SSB).  Unfortunately, PSK31 has fallen out of favor as well.

The latest bright shiny object in the digital amateur radio constellation is a product called FT8.  I have not looked into FT8 yet, but it comes out of the same developers as JT9 and JT65.  These modes were designed to explore the common problem of digging a signal out of the noise.  The high frequency bands, where Amateur Radio operates are plagued by varying degrees of static noise.  As more and more electrically powered devices come on the market, the static noise has become stronger and stronger.  The JT programs are capable of digging a readable signal that is buried deep in the dirt.  They are great for contesting, for DXing (radio talk for contacts between two countries) and for QRP (radio talk for low power operation).   However, these programs are not designed for conversing.   A typical exchange involving call sign, grid locator, and signal report takes 6 minutes!   Radio, if it is to be more than an expensive toy, must be able to convey more that the person calling, and a location and signal report.  In times of disaster, we must be able to convey what we need to survive, health and welfare traffic, and other emergency communications.  In good times, Amateur Radio shows that people, wherever they are, are fundamentally the same.

While it is interesting to get signals out of static, and amateurs should pursue that, I would like to see more activity on modes that operate at or just above the noise threshold such as RTTY and PSK31.  These modes actually can convey useful information in a timely fashion.  Using PSK31 signals, I have noted that my CQs have been heard as far as Europe, South America, Africa, and across the U. S, at only 25 watts of power.  Imagine that a signal with the power of a 25 watt light bulb can be decoded at half way around the world, in high static conditions.  Yet no one is responding.  I guess they are all chasing after the latest shiny object.  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

In 65 Years, the World Has Turned Upside Down

This piece was published on August 30, 2017, but with Labor day coming, and preparations for a house full of guests, I didn't have much time to devote to finding stories to highlight for readers.  The article in question is by David French at the National Review entitled Can a Progressive's 'Inclusive Values' Include Christianity? French starts off by acknowledging that he has signed the Nashville Statement, which, as he points out:
Over the weekend, I was honored to sign a document called the Nashville Statement. It’s a basic declaration of Christian orthodoxy on sexuality, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. Its 14 articles can be boiled down to a simple statement: We believe the Bible is the word of God, and the word of God declares that sexual intimacy is reserved for the lifelong union of a man and a woman in marriage. It acknowledges the reality of same-sex attraction as well as the reality of transgender self-conceptions, but denies that God sanctions same-sex sexual activity or a transgendered self-conception that is at odds with biological reality. In other words, it’s basic Christianity.
Too often I think we hear the words of condemnation: we have sinned, but we don't hear the words of grace: but if you truly repent, God will forgive you. The Nashviille Statement contains both the condemnation and the grace. It is thus well balanced, and indeed, I signed it myself. Would that the church body to which our congregation belongs, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America could write such a powerful, yet Biblically accurate statement of faith. Alas, it has been taken over by radicals like so many other institutions in America. But according to French, many Evangelicals think that being a Christian means never hurting anyone's feelings:
The backlash was of course immediate, with multiple liberal Evangelicals deriding the statement as cruel or mean. In their theology, God’s word is subject to an overriding cultural and political test. One can reject even His clearest commands if those commands are “mean” or “intolerant.” And what’s “mean” or “intolerant” is — oddly enough — defined almost entirely by secular social revolutionaries...
The statements by Jen Hatmaker, a respected Evangelical and author, are troubling to say the least. It is as if she has read and internalized only one half of the Bible, and discarded the other half. But Jen Hatmaker at least represents just one person's opinion. She has no power to make us do anything. The mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry's statement that the Nashville Statement does not represent the "inclusive values of the city & the people of Nashville" is more troubling because:
This statement is in many ways far more ominous than anything that comes from the liberal Evangelical world. The liberal Evangelical argument is one reason that the Nashville Statement was necessary. The authors and signatories expected pushback. Barry’s statement, however, is different. It’s not separation of church and state, it’s a declaration of state against church. We are reaching a troubling stage of American politics when the reality of American pluralism is yielding to a demand for cultural and religious uniformity. Megan Barry is expected to have a position on civil rights and civil liberties, but that’s a far cry from stating that Biblical orthodoxy is incompatible with the “inclusive values” of a city that’s located in the heart of the Bible Belt. The Southern Baptist Convention has a headquarter building right in downtown Nashville. You can’t drive five minutes in Nashville without seeing a church that’s teaching exactly the values and beliefs contained in the Nashville Statement. Is Barry’s position that they should change their ways, shut up, or leave?
We are living in times not much different that those Paul describes in his letters to the Corinthians. In 65 years the world has been turned upside down. Father give us strength to keep proclaiming your word.