February 10, 2005

Wrong & Felonious

Triggerfinger has a post up about a man who stole a rifle. Did the man get caught? Nope; he freely admits it though. Was he prosecuted? Nope; in fact he's been lauded for it - even by the victim of his crime. Did the article condemn him for the thief he is? Nope; it treats his actions as being correct for the circumstances. Did the local cops do anything? Yep; they received stolen goods & conspired to destroy the evidence.

Let us fisk...

"You could say the Romanian-made military rifle was the last straw for Sheldon Abrams of West Linn.

Or you might say that when Abrams' son brought an SKS semiautomatic home, it was the cue to take a big step as a parent. And though Abrams is still dealing with the fallout, it already looks as though he and his son may find a deeper, more meaningful relationship."

I say the man has conned his son into thinking that theft is okay & (certain) guns are bad. I'd also say that Jim Jones & his followers could be said to have found a "deeper, more meaningful relationship". That doesn't mean he should be praised for his actions. Nor should this thief.

"Late last month, Abrams was distressed to see that his 19-year-old son, Evan, had bought a 7.62mm infantry rifle from a friend for $300."

Note: 19 years old.

"He bought this gun from another youngster in town,' said Abrams, 59, a mortgage consultant. 'They'd been out in the woods, shooting rocks, trees and probably anything that moved. I could see a problem coming."

Probably shooting anything that moves? If a person feels that distrustful about his own child then A: said child should be restrained in the presence of anything that potentially could cause harm (i.e. firearms, cars, water buckets, rocks, dirt, etc) & B: that does not speak much of that person's parenting skills does it?

Shooting in the woods has been going on since firearms were invented. Tack on bows & arrows & shooting in the woods has been going on for thousands of years. As long as it was either public land or private land used with permission & a suitable backstop was used then there is nothing wrong with shooting in the woods.

It is mere speculation on the thief's part that living creatures were targets & it speaks deeply of the thief's view about firearms & the people who use them.

"Now, Abrams isn't an anti-gun fanatic or a prude."


"He grew up in Minnesota, where deer hunting was a seasonal rite. And he got firsthand experience with firearms while serving in the U.S. Army, training with an M-16."

Difi has (or had) a concealed carry permit. Does that mean she's not anti-gun? Having served in the military is no effective counter to a charge of hoplophobia. Kerry served if you recall, yet he's one of the most anti-gun senators currently drawing a government paycheck.

"But I looked at this cheaply made SKS and said, 'It's not a target gun. It's not for hunting. It's made for killing people,’ Abrams said. ‘When I heard him talking about how you customize it, I got really worried."

It was a mass produced rifle for communist nations. Of course it was cheaply made. That does not impart illegitimacy on anything. The STEN submachinegun was cheaply made but yet it was one of the most effective submachineguns of its day.

But let's look at the rifle in question for a moment. I give you the Samozaryadnyj Karabin Simonova. Headsbunker also has a nice little write up on the SKS.

Now as for it being a target gun - well no; it's not on par with an AR-15 or a tuned M1 Garand or M14/M1A. But it can be used in certain rifle competitions. I don't know how well it'd do (owing to its cartridge & its sights) but it could be used in High Power matches. Some clubs even have matches specifically for military surplus rifles & the SKS qualifies.

The SKS is well suited to hunting. It's light & handy, has decent accuracy & shoots a cartridge that's only slightly less powerful than the venerable .30-30 Winchester. It'd be just the ticket for small to medium deer sized game at modest ranges (under 150 yards or so). 5 round magazines can be had for states that restrict the number of rounds a semi-automatic rifle is allowed to have while hunting, & 'sporter" stocks, aperture sights & scopes are sold as after market accessories. Here's a rather handsome example of a sporterized SKS. I wonder if that was the customization that scared the thief.

An SKS was not made to kill people. Like all firearms it was made to launch a projectile. The projectile could have been made to kill people but to say a firearm was made for killing people is like saying a car is made to hit pedestrians. Specifically though the SKS was designed as a military rifle. In the last days of the bolt action rifle it offered advantages to the military. But today its main selling points are price, economy (the ammo is cheap) & versatility (it can be used for plinking, informal target shooting, varmint & big game hunting as well as self defense & defense of community/state/country).

"And that was a signal to Abrams that he needed to step in."

Buying an economical & versatile rifle is a signal to commit theft?

"Abrams said he always enjoyed a good relationship with Evan, who has been alternately living with him and his ex-wife since they split up in 1994. He took Evan to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, after his bar mitzvah and attended all of Evan's football games and lacrosse matches at West Linn High School. After graduation, when Evan expressed an interest in working for the Portland & Western Railroad, his father helped to outfit him for work as an apprentice conductor.

'But I think I'd been too much his pal -- and not enough his father,' Abrams said. 'This gun was over the top."

So he makes up for not being enough of a father by becoming a thief?

"For the uninitiated, the SKS rifle was adopted by the Soviet Army just after World War II. It was inspired by the German StG 44, the first of a whole breed of assault rifles -- light and compact, with high magazine capacities. Most are capable of fully automatic fire, like a machine gun.

The SKS falls short of that definition by being a semiautomatic -- that is, you must pull the trigger for each shot. It is chambered for a cartridge roughly equivalent in energy to a .30-30, common in deer rifles."

(I must say I was taken back by the author's description of an SKS. I have a few points to nitpick but I seldom see anything so fairly worded about firearms. Rick Bella is to be commended for that.)

All assault rifles are capable of fully automatic fire. That's one of the main criteria for being classified as an assault rifle. "Assault weapons" as defined by the now deceased federal law & a few state laws refer to semi-automatic rifles exclusively.

The SKS is not considered an assault rifle because it's a semi. In addition to that its magazine is not detachable (which spared it from being included in the federal "assault weapons" ban. Modifications can be made for it to accept detachable magazines, but in its original form it was loaded via stripper clips which charged the magazine without removing it from the rifle. I've seen 30 round fixed (i.e. non-detachable) mags for the SKS but 10 round mags were the most common. As such I wouldn't compare it to any weapon with a "high magazine capacity", nor would I mention it in the same sentence as assault rifles or even "assault weapons" except to demonstrate that it was neither.

But despite the relatively fair assessment I noticed two things. The first was the two paragraphs devoted to describing the SKS used roughly half of the space to discuss assault rifles. It did disclaim that the SKS was an assault rifle but why spend so much time talking about them? It could have been an innocent way of explaining what the SKS wasn’t but we've all seen this technique used in the past to deliberately muddle the waters. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment.

The second thing is the mention of the SKS being chambered for a cartridge slightly less powerful than the .30-30. Since the author knew this then why was there no correction offered that the SKS wasn't a hunting rifle as the thief claimed?

"I knew from the way Evan was swinging the gun's muzzle around that he was not handling it safely,' Abrams said. 'This was a disaster waiting to happen."

I can appreciate the situation & the feeling of foreboding. But instead of turning thief why didn't this man who had been trained in the use of arms by the government teach his son how to handle the rifle safely? Is ignorance of safe gun handling valid justification for having your rifle stolen?

"So, over Evan's objections, Abrams locked the SKS in the trunk of his car. Then he called his doctor for advice."

Imagine that; a person objecting to having his property stolen. But calling a doctor to receive counsel on what to do with stolen goods?

"She said to get rid of it,' he said. 'So I called my girlfriend, and she said to get rid of it, too."

That's a second opinion? If your girlfriend corroborates what your doctor said then everything's alright?

But instead of offering the correct counsel (return the stolen property to its rightful owner) he decided on the advice of his doctor & his girlfriend to dispose of his ill gotten gain. Wonder what they'd have told him if he admitted killing someone & had the body in the trunk? Given the moral heights of the advice he received this time I'd wager it wouldn't be much different.

& just out of curiosity why the hell did he call his doctor? I wonder if he's got the number for his dentist in his speed dial in case he ever has car trouble. Maybe his mechanic is strictly for ethical & health dilemmas?

"He had the gun in his trunk for nearly 24 hours before he stopped outside the West Linn Police Station and called the front desk. Sgt. Rick Senger came out to take the gun.
And 80 rounds of ammunition.
And two high-capacity magazines.
And an ammunition box, cleaning kit and hard-shell case."

That's quite a list. Glad he took the time to itemize what he stole. If every thief were as considerate as this one prosecutors all over the country would be grateful.

But why didn't the good sergeant arrest the thief? It's obvious he had enough evidence & I doubt the thief went to any effort to deny what he had done.

"The gun went into the police evidence locker and will be destroyed at the incinerator in Brooks, where Marion County burns garbage to generate energy."

Shameful. Just shameful.

"But the story doesn't end there.
Evan initially was furious that his father would intervene in his affairs.
'I was mad at him,' Evan said. 'I took it as a $300 loss on my side and against my right to bear arms."

Yep. Omit the phrase "initially" & I'd say that was a good description of any sane person's reaction when their firearms are stolen.

"But after a couple of weeks he has come to appreciate a new perspective on his behavior -- and his father's.
'I've been thinking about it, and I really didn't need an assault rifle,' Evan said. 'In the long run, my dad probably did save my life -- or somebody else's. Of course, I'm still out the $300, but he said he'd pay me back."

An SKS is not an assault rifle. & I’m sure he doesn’t “need” condoms. But they’re nice to have around & he’d be damned well pissed if his dad stole them too.

I wonder if after a couple of weeks they'd come to a new perspective on having their T.V. & VCR/DVD player stolen. After all they really don't need a T.V. or movies & the sedentary lifestyle a T.V. can cause would probably be detrimental to their health.

So after a few weeks he couldn't bear viewing his father as a thief & he changed his mind about it being theft. He justified it by thinking he'd be irresponsible. He made peace with his dad's crime by demeaning his self. Add to that liberal (pun intended) doses of his father justifying his crime & you see the results: a kid brainwashed into thinking that having his property stolen was a good thing. Lenin laid awake nights hoping for people like this.

"And, Evan said, chuckling, 'I might have to remind him of that."

Reminding someone to pay you back for the property they stole from you should be a source of distress or anger, not amusement.

It's abhorrent that a man should be written about favorably when he steals a person's property. It's worse that his accessories in this crime aren't local fences or street thugs but cops who cheerfully receive the stolen goods with a promise to destroy them & a victim who excuses the actions.

This is where I’d usually point out that incidents like this one do not bode well for our country or our society. A man steals a rifle & hands it over to cops who claim they’ll destroy it. The victim of the theft justifies the thief’s actions as being proper & a newspaper article that discusses the situation never mentions the idea that what the thief did was wrong. What more could I add? That speaks volumes all by its self.

Posted by Publicola at February 10, 2005 06:51 AM

You know, the one thing that is left out is Evan's mental ability. It is possible that while Evan is okay as a basic functional member of society, he shouldn't have a firearm. Could be due to:
1. His father never taught him about guns at all.
2. His father knows his kid is irresponsible and would be shooting up the town shortly, possibly due to being unable to control himself, having never been taught as a child.
3. The child is a few bricks shy of a full load, the father knows it, so does the reporter, doesn't want to embarrass the child, so they left it out.

But why was this published at all? Sounds like an anti-2A story meant as a moral lesson to the general public that guns are bad and children (no matter how old) should never be allowed to handle them. Therefore, it is a parental duty to remove bad guns from their children (no matter their age). Within a generation all guns would be removed from society, through moralistic journalistic teaching - that is far more dangerous than the case of theft.

Posted by: Outlaw3 at February 10, 2005 07:51 AM

Ah...it looks as though Evan has been successfully re-educated.

Posted by: Blake at February 10, 2005 03:10 PM

Retarded people don't get hired to train as a railroad conductor, so we can rule out that. I call theft, and a happy victim since he has since learned that 'gunz r bad and he don't need 1'.

Posted by: Garrum at February 11, 2005 04:07 AM

I didn't say he was retarded. I said he might not be all there, though otherwise just fine. You mean you have never, ever met someone you just shake your head about because they are irresponsible and don't connect their actions to any consequences at all? This kind of person might see firing at a target in the woods as a great idea, though the homeowner on the other side of the small stand of trees would take exception to having his siding ventilated.

Posted by: Outlaw3 at February 11, 2005 08:08 AM

Yes, that's possible, but I think that if he had been doing something truly irresponsible like shooting towards houses, there would be mention of police reports made due to complaints. And the father's comment about the muzzle being "waved around" I attribute to the father being an absolute pussy about guns, and the "waving around" actually meant that he could see the muzzle period, thus he filled his thong with urine and set about stealing another adult's property.

But the fact of the matter is that either the son is so handicapped and so incapable that he cannot be allowed to own anything more dangerous than a box of crayons and require 24 hour a day supervision, or he is a free agent, possessed of a free will and liable if he does something reckless or dangerous, in which case people that take his stuff are simply thieves acting under the color "safety".

Posted by: Garrum at February 11, 2005 03:52 PM

If the father doesn't trust him at 19, an adult, how can he trust him as a conductor when the conductor will be responsible for evacuating people in an emergency or working the brakes or signals or whatever they do on freight trains?
The son agrees with the father. What is the surprise. If he doesn't its get out of the house, meaning he has to pay for room, board, clothes, food, transportation, job etc. In short be an adult.
Something the kid will have trouble doing, if ever, thanks to the fathers action.
And the writer implies that the father is a real good, wise, father.
This is definitely an anti gun article.

Posted by: Terry at February 12, 2005 02:21 AM

The fact that it's in the paper at all means it's a message. Lots of different messages can be taken from this, none of 'em good.

Posted by: Stoney at February 14, 2005 03:27 AM

$300 for a secondhand Romanian?

Christ, I wouldn't pay over $250 retail for a VG-Exc. Yugoslavian. Kid got ripped off, I say.

Also, the kid's a complete doofus for saying "In the long run, my dad probably did save my life -- or somebody else's". Either he's a responsible firearms handler, in which case he just said something completely false (and is a doofus for that), or he's utterly irresponsible and a danger to those around him, and thus a doofus on that account.


Posted by: Sigivald at February 14, 2005 12:48 PM

YEAH, I gave 119 for my Norico SKS and thought that was too high! The SKS is an excellent point prover to use against liberals. You show them one (especialy with an ak magazine) and they say "is that a machine gun?" "Isn't that illigal?" "OOh, thats scarry looking, people shouldent have them!" "Its made for killing people!" all come belching out. Obviously its all a bunch of bull!

Posted by: WILDWILLIE at October 24, 2005 11:20 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?