September Pieces Of My Mind #2

Directed three days of metal detecting, with occasional rain. Photo Cheyenne Olander.
  • Reading about the insane US firearms situation, I’m glad to be living in a country where it’s illegal to even carry a knife in public unless you’re a carpenter or a hiker.
  • Heritage outreach through civil disobedience. Someone local in Aska has replaced the decades-outdated sign with a new one using information from a handout I gave them at a talk one month ago!
  • I don’t think it was very nice of Marc Bolan to tell his girlfriend that she was built like a car.
  • My metal detectorist friends did 132 hours of unpaid skilled labour for my project today. That’s over three weeks full time. Same tomorrow. Same on Sunday.
  • Ridiculous shame memories. This one really takes the cake. I’m still embarrassed about telling my friend’s mom when I was ~11 that this song changed time signatures when I meant that it upped the tempo.
  • It’s odd to constantly be reminded about that author’s feud with that identity movement when I have vaguely positive feelings about both but don’t really care much about either.
  • Movie: In Bruges (2008). Buddy movie with intentional and unintentional gang murders in the titular Flemish city. Ralph Fiennes speaks good Cockney. Grade: OK.
  • Funny how US reenactors don’t have Medieval fairs, they have Renaissance fairs instead.
  • Prepping to run my first scenario in the Ashen Stars gritty space opera RPG. I’ve only game mastered once since the 90s. Feeling good about it!
  • In scientific papers, “acidic” usually means “hallucinatory”.
  • Writing an anonymous peer review statement, referring the author to my PhD thesis (not gratuitously), correcting an error that Rundkvist 2003 made.
  • I’m directing a He-man remake set in Jamaica, where he fights Selector, an evil reggae DJ.
  • I think it was Terry Pratchett who wrote that large libraries bend and occasionally break space-time. I just found evidence of this. Ing-Marie Pettersson Jensen’s PhD thesis was published in 2012. The Royal Academy of Letters’ library is one of Northern Europe’s largest specialist research libraries for archaeology. There the book is stickered and shelved “02/1165”. That is, it entered the library ten years before it was printed.
  • Jrette asked me to drive her & her young fellow to a convenient trail head on the Sörmlandsleden hiking trail.
  • I’m so very tired of people’s political idiocy.
  • Talked to a new acquaintance at a potluck. “You’re very sociable, aren’t you? Are you perhaps a salesman?”
  • My dad gave me this classic 60s or 70s Fjällräven hiking backpack. A little grimy but fully functional. I’ve taken it apart, washed it and polished the rivets.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

16 thoughts on “September Pieces Of My Mind #2”

  1. “Reading about the insane US firearms situation, I’m glad to be living in a country where it’s illegal to even carry a knife in public unless you’re a carpenter or a hiker.”

    Yes, the firearms situation in the States is insane. However, numbers and availability aren’t the only issues. In Sweden, guns are not uncommon because many people hunt moose. 🙂 But I’ve never felt in danger there.

    I don’t see a simple solution in the States. Neither the Constitution nor its interpretation will change any time soon. And even if one or both did, how will you collect the guns? No-one knows how many there are nor who owns what. Hoping that law-abiding citizens turn them in won’t work, because then it will actually be true that “if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”.

    Maybe the only solution is for Elon Musk to get a million people to Mars and start over. He can turn it into a nudist planet while he’s at it.

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  2. Those defeatist arguments were used in Australia when the firearm laws were tightened and there was a government buy-back to encourage people to surrender their firearms, and an amnesty on illegal firearms. It was still a massive success.

    The same tired arguments were rolled out when New Zealand belatedly copied what Australia did, with the same result.

    With far fewer firearms in the community, it becomes much more difficult for criminals to obtain them.

    The firearms situation in Sweden cannot be compared to the USA because there are restrictions on the types of firearms, and strict rules about how the firearms are to be kept in locked storage.

    Finally, people don’t use guns to hunt elk, they use rifles – bolt action hunting rifles with scopes, mostly, which are not the weapon of choice for a mass shooting or carrying as a concealed weapon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Finally, people don’t use guns to hunt elk”

      In the USA (which is the topic of this discussion), “gun” is the generic term. Small ones are “handguns” or “pistols”. (In Sweden, “Gun” is a woman’s name.)

      Of course, hunting rifles are not the weapon of choice for carrying concealed or for a mass shooting. However, in the USA it is allowed to carry weapons openly, so little need to conceal them. 😐 Also, most deaths from firearms in the USA are not from mass shootings. A hunting rifle is also good at killing individual people.

      Don’t assume that that which worked in Australia and New Zealand would work in the USA.

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      1. Bullshit. A gun is a smooth bored firearm like a shotgun, a rifle is a firearm with a rifled barrel. That applies to long weapons, and that terminology is used in the USA; I know for a certainty that it is.

        Pistols are either called that, handguns or sidearms.

        I am pointing out that you are using the same defeatist argument that was used in Australia and New Zealand to try to dissuade against changes to the legislation – that all of the good people will surrender their firearms, which means only the bad guys will have firearms, which will make the situation worse. 1. It’s not true – it will make it more difficult for the bad guys to get firearms. 2. Even if true, it would not make the situation worse.

        The same argument is used repeatedly in the USA to justify not amending the relevant legislation. It’s bullshit.

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      2. You might recall (but probably won’t) that when Barack Obama tasked Joe Biden with looking at amending the firearms legislation, they actually talked about considering what was done in Australia because it was a success story that might well be usefully tried in the USA. I don’t know where that went to, but in the end it evidently didn’t happen – too much pushback from the NRA or whatever. I am going to make the assumption that Barack Obama and Joe Biden know at least as much about the USA as you do, as outlandish as that might be.

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      3. So explain to an American that when he visits a country with gun control, like Hong Kong, it is OK to walk around with a rifle or shotgun. What can you buy in a gun shop?

        I lived there 18 years and had two guns of my own (a rifle and a shotgun); we had 10 in our house. I know what I’m talking about.

        Sure, Obama looked into a lot of things. Single-payer, high-quality, inexpensive health insurance works in many countries in the world, but Obama wasn’t able to implement it.

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      4. “So explain to an American that when he visits a country with gun control, like Hong Kong, it is OK to walk around with a rifle or shotgun.”

        What? Are you on something, or do you speak a different dialect of English from me?

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      5. I will side mostly with John on this dispute. It is true that this sort of legislation is unlikely to advance as long as Republicans control either the Presidency or one or both branches of Congress, because too many Republican politicians prefer the status quo. But that can be changed via the ballot box, and in case you haven’t noticed, there is an election in the US in six weeks.

        There is strong support among the US public for restricting civilian access to military grade weapons. In the past that has been countered by strong lobbying efforts by groups like the NRA as well as people making threats against politicians (the latter arguably qualifying as terrorism). But the NRA is much weaker now than it was during the Obama administration: it is under investigation by the State of New York for internal self-dealing and other financial issues, and it is known to have been infiltrated by one or more Russian agents (Maria Butina is the one whose name has been made public). It would not be difficult for a Democratic congress to present a bill restricting such weapons for a Democratic President to sign.

        There is still the question on whether and how the courts in the US would rule on such a ban, but the courts will not rule on the subject until and unless a law is enacted and challenged, so it is not currently the case that the courts are preventing the enactment of such a law.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Restricting “military grade” weapons would not, in my Swedish opinion, be enough. I think it’s insane how many people in the US have automatic handguns. Their proliferation is like nuclear waste across the land, because they are very long-lived and continue to be lethal. You could place a ban on their sale today and everyone would still have a working automatic 50 years later.

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      7. Right; maybe a law will be passed, maybe it will be upheld by the courts, but in practice I don’t see any way to collect a significant fraction of the weapons, much less a significant fraction from the bad guys.

        There is an amendment to the Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, which won’t be overturned in our lifetimes. At most one could restrict some weapons, but restricting “garden variety” weapons wouldn’t be possible legally—even if one could implement it.

        https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gun (actually related to the Swedish name)

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      8. The way they did it in Australia and New Zealand was to offer a buy-back deal. In both countries they got literally millions, bearing in the mind the much smaller populations of Oz and NZ. Maybe that would work in the USA and maybe it wouldn’t, but it would be worth a try.

        No, the bad guys would probably not sell back their firearms, or not all of them. Everyone knows that. I have already explained twice why that is not the point. How many times do I need to explain something to you before you understand it?

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      9. The bad guys already have enough guns and ammo to wreak havoc for years to come. Yes, it would make it difficult to get new weapons, but if the programme were effective, then they could be pretty sure when breaking in to a house that the occupants are unarmed.

        A country where there are many weapons (but probably none has as many as the USA) for historical reasons is different from a country where a substantial fraction of the population owns weapons.

        Also, the whole discussion is moot unless the constitution is changed.

        There might really be a civil war if Trump loses. Something similar would happen if the second amendment were put up for discussion. Really.

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      10. In Sweden, burglary and armed robbery are two different jobs. Burglars do not want to meet anybody. Armed robbery is usually groups of teenagers threatening single teenagers for their jackets and cell phones.

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  3. Even when the Democrats controlled everything, there was no chance of a change.

    Note that Bernie Sanders is opposed to gun control, at least more opposed than many other Democrats.

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  4. Gun reform in the US is not going to happen in my lifetime. When someone points out that Vancouver, BC has a much lower murder rate than Seattle, WA, the usual reply is that it can’t be Canadian gun laws, it has to be that Canadians are our moral superiors. They may be right.

    US reënactors have their Renfairs, but we Americans have our Medieval Manors which try to recreate the European Middle Ages in the best Hollywood tradition by way of Charles Laughton’s famous haunch gnawing in his portrayal of (post-medieval) Henry VIII. I think the North Americans of that era were building mounds and eating unpronounceable forest and prairie grains, at least when they weren’t killing Vikings. Since they didn’t write anything down, it’s hard to create a proper fictionalized version of it.

    Does “alkali” in a scientific paper mean stone cold sober? In the scientific papers I read, “acidic” usually means has protons to spare. Also, on the subject, He-man sounds like a guy with a non-flammable blimp or balloon. Either that or he blows up balloons and has a high pitched squeaky voice.

    As for Marc Bolan’s girlfriend, it depends on the car. Try reading McLuhan’s classic, “The Mechanical Bride” and consider that in the US, from the 1920s into the 1980s, odds are an American’s first time sex took place in an automobile. All those 1950s and early 1960s car songs were actually about sex.

    Liked by 1 person

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