Cheap At The Price

In our rush to save money, we often end up causing ourselves far bigger problems.  Here’s one example:

A common blood pressure drug has been recalled worldwide and production has stopped after it was found to contain a cancer-causing chemical.

The drug Valsartan, made in a factory in China, was recalled in 22 countries including the UK and the US earlier in July, but the warning is now worldwide.

Investigators found a chemical used in rocket fuel, called N-Nitrosodimethylamine, had contaminated the drug’s production at Zhejiang Huahai, a Chinese supplier which ships the medicine worldwide.

N-Nitrosodimethylamine is thought to be carcinogenic, meaning it could cause cancer in humans, so production of the pills has stopped.

China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission said yesterday that the drug must not be used for diagnosis or treatment, and the pills have already been banned in the UK and US.

Experts say the contamination could date back as far as 2012, when the company changed its manufacturing process.

The main manufacturer in China is Zhejiang Huahai, which was founded in 1989 and listed on the Shanghai stock exchange in 2003, was one of the first Chinese companies to get drugs approved in the US market.

Let’s hear it for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration…

Overall, more than two-thirds of all active drug ingredients originate in China and India, industry experts estimate, with China accounting for the lion’s share.

The revelation that the problem with Valsartan likely dates back to changes in manufacturing processes at Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical six years ago suggests many patients could potentially have been exposed to cancer risk.

I’ve been taking Valsartan every day for well over ten years.  At a rough guess, that’s around four thousand pills.

Falling Apart

Here’s a good pointer as to when a society starts falling apart:  when the police don’t bother to arrest petty criminals.

[British]  Police are encouraging shop workers to detain thieves themselves with a ‘citizen’s arrest’, sparking an angry backlash from critics who accuse them of asking civilians to do their job for them.
Several forces have outlined how employees can take the law into their own hands, saying shoplifters can be detained if they are ‘reasonably suspected’ of committing a crime.
There is a suspicion that a spike in offences is being fuelled by hardcore shoplifters who have little fear of being caught.
Shocking figures have revealed thefts from shops have risen by almost a third over the past decade. Businesses across England and Wales recorded more than 382,100 last year – more than 1,000 every day. Yet the majority of police forces refuse to attend incidents if the goods stolen are worth less than £200.
Victims are instead told to report the crime online or via the non-emergency number 101 for ‘intelligence’ only, meaning it is unlikely to be investigated.

Of course, even if you do catch one of these criminals and make a citizen’s arrest — why would the Brits put the expression in quotes? — there’s no guarantee that the rozzers will show up anyway:

Have-a-go heroes who chased and caught a suspected thief were forced to let him go because police they were ‘too busy’ to arrest him.
The shopkeepers were bemused to be told by a police control room operator there was no-one to send despite the village’s police station being less than a mile away.
The business owners detained the man for up to 40 minutes in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, before releasing him.

Should have zip-tied the little prick to a parking meter and left him there to rot till the cops showed up.

And of course, gawd forbid that anyone should actually lay a hand on a criminal (e.g. by beating him with a cane) because oh no: only the police can beat people up in custody.  Thus my own remedy (two days in the stocks followed by a severe whipping) would probably cause these pussies to clutch their pearls and faint.  And ditto any attempt to take matters into your own hands in any other way:

A shop manager has put up posters of suspected shoplifters in his window after becoming fed up with a lack of action to the petty crime by the police.
John Keppie blew up CCTV images and placed home-made posters bearing the word ‘thief’ in his Bournemouth shop window after he says three girls spat in his face and stole drinks.
The Sweet Thoughts boss in Dorset said he took action after police failed to investigate, despite being offered the footage. But he claims officers have now warned him he could be fined for the posters.
Mr Keppie said that since the three posters appeared he has received a telephone call from the police telling him he isn’t allowed to have them up. He could be in breach of the Data Protection Act (2018) and liable to a fine.

And by the way: if you have a blood pressure problem, you will not want to read the rest of this linked article.

So yeah:  if you take away fear of punishment, of course the crime rate is going to rise.  Only in a failing state would this not be self-evident.

If you’re trying to reduce crime, what’s needed is not less, but even more prosecution — see then-NYC-AG Rudolph Giuliani’s “broken windows” policy, and its results.

It’s sad to see a once-great nation degenerate into one big chaotic crime scene.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: FN-FAL

So now that the Gummint has admitted that small-caliber guns are not “military” equipment, I think it’s time to look at a couple decent “civilian” rifles, which I will do here, and again over the next few days or so.

Everyone has written or is writing about the Usual Suspects (AR-15, AK-47 etc.), so I’ll look at what I think are viable alternatives.

Here, for example, is the SA-58 line in the manly 7.62x52mm NATO caliber from DSArms:

This should trigger all sorts of memories among men Of A Certain Age who served with it as the FN-FAL in various European armies during the mid-20th century period.  As the L1A1 it was the rifle of choice in the British and Commonwealth armies and as the R1, it was the standard-issue rifle during my time in the Seffrican Army (SADF). While my particular rifle was an absolute pig (shot-out barrel and a quirky mag release, to name but two “features”), that shouldn’t prevent anyone from getting one now.

And any gun designed by Dieudonné Saive (he of the improved Browning High Power design) should always be afforded a respectful hearing.

The biggest knock against the FN was its unreliability in dusty conditions (it’s the main reason the Israelis dumped it in favor of the Galil), although it should be said that later versions performed much better in this regard.  (For an overview of the FN-FAL, go here.)

As far as I’m concerned, its main problem is its weight — as I recall, mine (with a 21″ barrel, don’t ask) weighed in at just under 6kg (13lbs) unloaded — but I see that DSA has got their modern version down to a far more manageable 8.25lbs, which is good news.

You can get it still lighter with some versions, but then the lighter frame doesn’t handle the 7.62’s recoil as well.  Newton will not be denied.  Here’s what we’re talking about:


I’m not a big fan of the collapsible (“paratrooper”) stock, but I will grant that this feature allows for easier storage and carrying.  You may want to invest in a shoulder pad, however, if you’re going to have an extended range session with this puppy.

The FN-FAL doesn’t compete with the AR-15 much, because it’s more of a rifle for wide-open spaces, as opposed to short-range urban activities where it’s disadvantaged compared to its smaller counterparts.  I do think, though, that it’s a better rifle than Stoner’s AR-10 because it handles recoil better.

The only thing you need to know about the SA-58 is that it’s based on the “metric dimension” of the Steyr version, so it can’t use parts from “inch-dimensioned” variants common in the U.S. and Canada.

Would I take an SA-58 today over an AR-15?  If it was the shorter-barreled Combat Tactical Carbine (CTC) version, in a heartbeat.  (And I should also note that it’s a bear to make the basic FN tacti-cool, but the CTC makes it easy.)

Would I take an SA-58 over an AK47?  Probably not — unless I was facing the prospect of open-country (ergo longer-range) shooting.  Then, I believe the 7.62x51mm cartridge is a much better choice than the shorter 7.62x39mm, and I’d forego the CTC for the 18″-barreled fixed-stock option, and just pump iron for a few weeks first so I could handle the extra weight [sigh].

As always, comments are welcome.

Victories For Gunnies

Here are a couple of recent developments which are going to make gun-controllers go

 1)  The Ninth(!!!) Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that in terms of the Second Amendment, Americans have the right to bear arms for self-defense:  

Analyzing the text of the Second Amendment and reviewing the relevant history, including founding-era treatises and nineteenth century case law, the panel stated that it was unpersuaded by the county’s and the state’s argument that the Second Amendment only has force within the home.
“We do not take lightly the problem of gun violence,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote in Tuesday’s ruling. “But, for better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”

I know, for us of the gun-owning persuasion this may seem like a duh!  conclusion, but let’s not forget the socialists among us who (mistakenly) think that only gummint agencies should be allowed to carry guns in public.  So buy that judge a drink.  Here’s the killer of the two victories, however:

 2) Government Admits AR-15s Are Not Weapons of War

In its settlement with Cody Wilson’s Defense Distributed, [the State Department and the Department of Justice] admitted that semi-automatic firearms below .50 caliber are not weapons of war.
The amended regulations proposed in the settlement show the government will no longer look at semi-automatic firearms below .50 caliber as “military equipment” or weapons of war.

Saith Alan Gottlieb (PBUH):

“The federal government now saying semi-automatic firearms below .50 caliber are not inherently military means that they are admitting that rifles like the AR-15 are civilian in nature.”

I know, once again duh!  for us gunnies, but as Gottlieb adds:

“Gun rights organizations like the Second Amendment Foundation will now be able to use this government admission in debate and courtrooms from New York to California.”

Waddya think, folks?  Is it that time?  I believe it is.

About Damn Time

If you look at examples in history when ordinary Americans suddenly flipped out and killed government agents, you will find that most of these incidents occurred when the government took someone’s land without regard for the owner’s welfare, or “for the public good” without proper compensation.  When you consider that one of the few government functions that everyone can actually agree on is that government primarily exists to protect private property from the predations of others, it’s small wonder that people freak out and go to the guns when it’s government that turns into the predator.

Then we had the disgusting Kelo v. City of New London ruling by the Supremes, which basically said that Gummint could take your property and give it to a commercial developer, because his future development would result in tax income for the local authority.  (I’m still furious about this piece of unmitigated statist sophistry.)

Finally — and far too late — Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has done the right thing, and his bill will go to the Senate where it will likely pass by a massive majority (if it doesn’t, it will be time to warm up a few barrels of tar and empty a few down pillows) and be sent to the Oval Office for the finishing touch.  (I bet Trump will sign it into law with gritted teeth;  but sign it he’ll have to.)

Read the entire article, and feel free to break out into applause at the end of it.  As I suggested earlier, it’s just a shame this gross injustice wasn’t rectified thirty seconds after the Kelo ruling, but I’ll take what I can get.

Then And Now

I spoke a couple of days back about how England’s Green & Pleasant has turned into Brown & Hellish (and no, I’m not talking about their immigration problem, but their equally-problematic weather this year).

What many people seem to have forgotten is that earlier in the year Britain was gripped by an incredible winter storm — the so-called “Beast from the East” which practically froze the entire country solid.

So I invite you to go here and swipe the pictures right to left and vice-versa, just to make the comparison.  (I like the feature, by the way.)

And for the before & after pics of Britain’s recent heat wave, here.

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