Quote of the Day–Samuel Adams(01/25/2011)

“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first a right to life, secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.  Those are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.” –Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists

[This used to be commonly held and beloved by the people in this country.  Now we have a government that is spending every penny it doesn’t have.  It has created government agencies who’s sole purpose is to abuse the American people using that borrowed money.  Some would like to increase the tax burden on the public to help cover the cost of those new agencies.  Agencies who’s sole purpose is the destruction of liberty.  Stealing our property, to destroy our liberty, I wonder how long until they start destroying people’s lives.  Mr. Obama, you and the rest of Washington do have a debt of trust, but trust like integrity, once lost can never be regained.  –B]

Cops are being targeted?

I stumbled across an article today and here’s the headline:

Authorities Fear Cops Being Targeted After at Least 11 Officers Shot in 24 Hours

When the word targeted is used, one expects some sort of evidence of collusion or a string of incidents where no motive can be clearly identified.

Digging into the different events we see that many of these incidents center around known criminals.  For instance the Shooting in Port Orchard (emphasis mine):

The man, Anthony A. Martinez, who was killed by a Kitsap County sheriff’s deputy during the shootout outside a Walmart store, already was facing felony charges of kidnapping the girl last year in Utah when they apparently again took off together last week.

Or the shooting in St. Petersburg (emphasis mine):

The most recent incident at a fugitive’s house in St. Petersburg, Fla., left two officers dead and a U.S. marshal wounded Monday.

Or the shooting in Indiana(emphasis mine):

Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski says he believes 60-year-old Thomas Hardy is the man who shot officer David Moore twice in the face and in his chest and leg during a traffic stop Sunday, critically wounding Moore.

The Indiana Department of Correction says Hardy had a criminal history dating back to at least 1984, when he was sentenced to 13 years in prison on a burglary conviction. He was released on parole in 1990, but has been in and out of prison since then on various charges, including seven sentences for theft, one for cocaine possession and one for misdemeanor battery.

The only incident that really leaves any lingering questions is the shooting in Detroit.  Currently it appears the shooter was possibly upset at the conviction and sentencing of his brother Monday.  At the end of the article the Detroit Police Chief states the following:

“We don’t have any data, but there seems to be a type of criminal out there looking to thwart authority,” he told the station.

Thank you captain obvious.  Criminals do not care about the law and authority.  How egotistical do you have to be to think that people are hunting you just because you’re a cop.  About the only shooting that fits that description is the incident in Detroit, and that appears to be an isolated incident.  The rest were instances where the police were on the offensive and, surprise, the criminal shot back.  Note, I do not support the actions of criminals, however I do NOT find it surprising that they shot back.  To them they are fighting for survival, that’s what makes traffic stops and arrests so dangerous.  The criminal is about to get caught and from his point of view he has to fight to survive.

If the recent events are causing some police officers to believe they are being targeted, they might want to start investigating their behavior towards the public and remember that criminals do not obey the law.  I have dealt with some officers who definitely should not be wearing a uniform.  I am glad to say though most of my encounters with law enforcement have been very positive.  In talking to one of the officers I do see often, the reason they make sure that it’s positive is because of the help they get from the community because of it.  A few officers I know also like having citizens who carry because they know if it came to it we could and would help.  It boils down to knowing the officer though.  He likes the thought of a citizen being able to help should he require it, where I live a back up officer can take 20 minutes easily.  At the same time, I would be willing to help because his behavior towards me presents the likelihood that the officer is in the right in this instance. 

If you are an LEO and the events above make you feel like you’re being targeted, look at how you’re treating the public when you interact with them.  While it is understood you must be cautious, that gives you no reason to not be personable, approachable, or generally courteous.  Just because you wear the badge, doesn’t mean you’re exempt from laws or respectable behavior.  If you’re upset at the idea of the public video taping you while doing your job, you need to ask yourself why.  If it’s a public place, they certainly have every right.  There has been more than one incident where things occurred out of view of their dash camera and their microphone was off.

For those who think that officers can’t be personable, when I went and renewed my CPL I noticed the sheriff was wearing a 1911.  Ended up talking about firearms for a bit, he then pulled it out, unloaded it, and let me look at it, it was a Kimber TLE.  This was on Friday, he dropped my permit off the following Monday with my wife at home.  While some of that I realize is the benefit of living in a small town, the level of service and personably though should be what every department strives for.

Quote of the Day–Breda

I laughed. Friends from Arizona, Texas, Idaho, and Tennessee had been relaying messages in an attempt to locate the gunchick from Ohio…and I’d been on the opposite side of the same restaurant the entire time.
Isn’t the internet amazing? You meet the nicest people here.  –BredaA Funny Thing Happened

[While she may blame it on the niceties of the internet, I would be more apt to say it’s the general behavior of those in the gun community.  I have found the majority of the gun culture very friendly, helpful and open(seriously, watch the video, the guy let me squeeze of 10 bucks in ammo).  Gunnies naturally are eager to share their knowledge and help those around them, especially friends they’ve made along the way.  It doesn’t really have to be about guns, we just like helping.  -B]

Sometimes the truth hurts

For some reason this was marked as only “mostly true” though.

For the point the NRA is making — accidents only, guns v. medical misadventures — the numbers back up their claims but need clarification and context. We rate this claim Mostly True.

For those who aren’t aware, some doctors have been claiming that guns should be removed from the home because of the higher likely hood of being injured in an accident.  When one actually inspects the numbers you are more likely to die at the hands of your physician due to an accident than you are because of a firearm.

Politifact stated this was only mostly true, and from examining their reasoning it’s because of the number of deaths by suicide and murders.  The claim from doctors though pertains to accidents, and this statement is a rebuttal directly at doctors.  Not to mention the fact though that the number of deaths caused by those two items, would just be replaced by alternative tools.  CO2 in the garage, and a baseball bat both work to replace the firearm in the arena of suicides and murder.

Let’s play the substitution game:

  • You are more likely to be attacked by a toaster if you have one in your house.
  • You are more likely to suffer an electric shock if you have electricity wired to your house.
  • If you ride in a car, you’re more likely to die in an auto wreck. 

You can’t play the statistic game by saying because you have X it is more likely, that’s a given.  If you go see a doctor you’re more likely to die because a medical mistake.  There’s counters to each of the above:

  • Without a doctor you’re more likely to die from a simple disease. 
  • Without a car you’re more likely to die in a bicycle/horse/(insert alternative transportation idea here) riding accident. 
  • Without electricity you’re more likely to die in a fire caused by your alternative heat source.  Without a toaster, you wouldn’t have toast! 
  • Lastly, without a firearm, you are more likely to die at the hands of a criminal.

H/T: Alan


Earlier last week an incident was reported from the Peoples Republik of Massachusetts.  Shortly after the Gifford’s shooting an individual posted the following comment on his blog, “1 down and 534 to go”.

Personally I find this comment extremely distasteful and not the best way to attract positive attention.  That said however, he has every right to say it.  I am in no way supporting what he said, but I am stating he had every right to say it.  Without interference from the government.

Just because someone states something you dislike or do not agree with does not provide cause or reason to infringe on their rights.  In this case the police used someone’s statements, that are protected by the first amendment, to revoke the person’s second amendment rights.  Anyone who does not see this attack for what it is, or is standing on the sidelines because of what he said, it is your rights being attacked just the same.

Why can someone create a movie about the assassination of the president, but to make a comment such as this is wrong?

I am sure that on my site, I have written things that some may find to be inflammatory or threatening.  For this reason, I am TJIC.  I don’t like what he said, but I will fight for his right to say it.

Quote of the Day–Sebastian

Do I think I’ll ever need ten rounds to defend myself? Probably not. Do I think I’ll ever need one round to defend myself? Probably not. But f**k you if you try to throw me in prison for carrying the number of rounds my pistol was designed to carry.  –Sebastian

[I’m getting really tired of hearing this “need” argument being thrown around(read the first comment).  I’m beginning to think that people who through out the need argument must automatically be told to shut up until they prove they have a need to speak.  I am more than willing to fight for anyone’s rights to say what ever they want.  I do have a post on the TJIC incident in the works.  I am treading very lightly because, I do not condone what he said and I need to make sure that is quite clear.  However I do believe he had every right to say it.  To ignore an attack on one persons rights it to ignore an attack on my own.  -B]

The Economics of a Degree

Recently there have been a couple posts regarding higher education and student loans on a blog I frequent.  The wife and I having both recently graduated from a four year university thought we would provide some extra input about our observations.

I graduated from Washington State University with a BS in Electrical Engineering.  Starting salary  for a BS averages about $60K, MS $71K, and a Ph.D. $88k nationally.  The 5 years it took me to earn my degree cost approximately $90K total.  I could have taken a job as a CCNA immediately out of high school and made about $30K per year.  So, for 5 years in school, I spent approximately $90,000 and also lost an additional $30,000 plus raises for gained experience, figure at the end it would have been about $34,500.  So combining the opportunity cost, and the actual cost of my degree I’m in the hole approximately $250,000 dollars for my engineering degree.  Though I also am a little bit further off than most since I also had my CCNA, we could use a lower salary in the $18,000 range and it still comes in  at $185,000.  Using the average BSEE salary,  it would take me 14 years before I broke even with my earning power as a CCNA because of the debt.  This approximation does not take into account full promotions, it just assumes an annual 3.5% pay increase per year.


Comparing the MSEE and the BSEE, the advantage of the MSEE is not very apparent. It takes 18 years for the MSEE to equal the total income from the BSEE. image

This doesn’t even include some very basic things a BSEE could do to have a great advantage over a MSEE such as passing his EIT.  If the MSEE wanted to get his professional engineering license, he would be at minimum 2 years behind the BSEE.  This is because a 4 year apprenticeship is required.  But so far only a professional science degree has been covered, what about other science degrees.

The above would still hold true except now you have a new problem.  Finding a job to go with your degree.  Engineering jobs are usually in demand, before graduation I had multiple offers on the table, while jobs for Animal Science or a Biological Sciences degree not so much.  The wife got two Bachelors degrees from WSU, one in each of those fields.  She got the second degree hoping it would provide more job opportunities and didn’t require a lot in extra classes.

She spent an extra year in school getting the second degree, another $18,000.  In the end becoming a certified nursing assistant landed her a job, approximately $500 in a certification.  She has two degrees that she is unable to use.  She still has all that debt from her schooling though that is not actually working to increase her earning power.

I had another friend that went to school for a degree in business.  I know she aced her way through, but again no demand for a job.  Business majors are a dime a dozen, and what can they actually produce?  I know that overcoming the opportunity cost curve in her present state will be difficult.

I have another friend who got a degree in Oceanography.  He knew going in it would be difficult to find a job, however at the time the future employer was “The Department of the Navy.”  CNET though threw a wrench in that, he finished the degree anyway.  He’s now enlisted in the Coast Guard, hoping to use the degree but doesn’t look likely currently.

From the above a couple lessons can be learned.

    1. Unless you know exactly what you want to do, going to college is NOT smart. 
    2. Get a degree in something practical that aids in you becoming productive.  Productive means producing product.  Business is not really in that list. IE get a degree in a professional or technical field.
    3. It is better to work while going to school if possible and avoid debt at all costs.  I actually had an internship, but as an engineering intern I got paid.  Many friends in business school were interns for free.  WTF!?  The reason they told me was because there were so many applying that supply just swamped demand.
    4. Certainly getting a masters degree immediately after a bachelors isn’t the smartest move.  If you can’t get a job that is an option.  However you may want to reevaluate the demand of your field and possibly study a different subject.  Doing it piece meal while working is considerably more economical.
    5. Engineering, accounting, anything that is a Science degree is preferable.  Arts degrees are NOT going to help you with employment. 
    6. Justify the costs, make sure your degree is going to provide you with something usable at the end.  If your reasoning for going to college is, “Because that’s what you do after high school,” you are going to forever be someone’s slave.
    7. Find someone who works in the field you’d like to enter and get their input.  A smart man learns from his mistakes, a wise man learns from other peoples mistakes.
    8. Don’t get so lost on your goal that you miss warning signs that trouble lays ahead.  The wife’s original goal was to become a veterinarian.  There were some strong clues to start looking at different degrees before she was so far down the path she couldn’t change course.  She rationalized them, wanting her goal, and in the end got doubly burned.  This also goes back to justification.  To get her DVM it would have been approximately $130,000 on top of her undergrad costs.  A DVMs average salary is about $40,000-$45,000.  That’s $220,000 in debt to make $40,000 a year starting.  That is a HUGE red flag, remember you’re paying interest on that debt, and you aren’t going to make it all disappear overnight.
    9. Remember colleges are a business, when you hear things like, “No one is hiring people with Bachelors degrees.” They’re lying, how else do you think they keep people going to school forever?  Again, seek people in industry and get their input.  Do not believe what the college advisors or counselors say.  Again find a mentor in your field, who’s input will be unbiased.
    10. Maximize the difference between what you are earning now and what you will be earning at the end.  The larger the difference, the better the return on investment.  Education is an investment, and you can invest poorly.

Do not take this as I am anti education.  I am anything but, to me education and learning is a life long process.  However I think the role of college in learning and education has been warped and twisted beyond something useful.  I did learn a lot in the process of getting my degree, however over half of my time was spent on things that were truthfully useless and did not contribute to my goals.  They certainly aided in keeping me in the school for longer, with me paying tuition. 

Which leads me to my final rant.

I graduated with 152 credits, minimum is 120 to graduate, minimum for a BSEE is 145.  Why so many?  Because the college’s extra requirements, (classes that do not pertain to the subject), and then still meeting accreditation requirements for engineering.  Engineering fields have hard technical accreditations, that’s why the degrees are valuable.  However to meet that accreditation, many different classes are required.  The school then to “round” the student says we want you to take these classes as well.  Most of those rounding classes are politically correct garbage.  The bare minimum for the EE degree can barely be squeezed into a 4 year program.  You usually average about 18-19 credits a semester.  All engineering fields are extremely high, while other programs are about 15 credits a semester.  To put that in perspective, an engineering student takes one or two classes a semester more than a non-engineering student.  It is on the verge of becoming a 5 year program, but if that happens the school will loose funding.  WSU then adds another required general class.  To make the program remain 4 years, they will trim the value of credits for EE specific classes, but the altered class will still require the same amount of time.  A good example was my power lab, 2 credits, 6 hours a week in lab.  As a lab it’s weighted differently, but by hours it should have been 3 credits.  They did the same to other classes.  Overall my college experience was late nights, long hours cramming, doing homework and labs.  Remember those extra classes a semester, remember the professional degrees have real classes, not basket weaving.  They took lots of time and effort. 

It’s obvious college is nothing more than about making money, and the student is the one who’s pocket is being picked.  If you want to keep your money and come out a head, you need to have a plan and understand the game.

Update: If you are a veteran using your GI bill, to get the most out of it, try and major in something related to your MOS.  For example a buddy of mine was an Ex-Nuke and had worked in the WSU steam plant after he left the Navy.  He went back to school and graduated at about 36.  His major was computer engineering, however he also took a lot of classes pertaining to power and controls systems.  He will make up the total cost after about 8 to 9 years.  The degree allowed him job opportunities he wouldn’t have had otherwise, and the prior experience was still included.  His degree choice also didn’t make him have to start over.  Maximize on your experience, again look at the professional degrees and find a field that will let you use your military experience and training, it can actually put you at a higher pay grade than just having the bachelors.

TSA in a graphical display

Someone emailed me a graphic recently on the TSA and Airline terror.   Graphics are a great way of correlating data and finding patterns.

I wish the graphic included data back through the 1980s and 70s with the string of terrorist events that occurred then.  With only one data point shown prior to the September 11th attacks it’s hard to compare reactions by the public to before and after the TSA appeared.

What can be seen is there is considerably more traffic than before.  Terrorism hasn’t stopped people from flying.  Though the TSA has caused many to stop flying, while it may not be very noticeable, I find more have stopped because of TSA than because of the fear of terrorism.  One could glance at the graphic below and say TSA is working, but that’s not really looking at all the information contained there in.  As Mark Twain said, “There’s lies, damned lies, and statistics”. 

Source: Online UniversitiesOnline Universities - TSA