There’s an easy question

Are Virginia gun laws to blame for gun trafficking in New York?

No. NY laws that effectively subsidize gun trafficking — making it profitable to buy guns at full retail price and smuggle them to NY — are responsible.

And here’s a question of my own for the victim disarmers: If the ready availability of guns in permissive [insert state of your choice] causes crime in your restrictive crime-ridden state, why doesn’t it cause crime in the firearms-source state?

Taxachusetts blames New Hampshire, NY blames VA (and everybody else). And we just look at relative crimes rates and blame the criminals in those other locales.

UPDATED: Sub Base Kings Bay Advanced Technology Sonic Weapon System Redux

[scroll down for update]

I finally got an actual response from the sub base this morning. Bear in mind that I’ve been contacting them since December of last year.

Sir,
Responding just so you have my direct email and not the generic office address.
Please know that the announcing system we use has not been adjusted. The announcements are made at our Waterfront Restricted Area every 15 minutes.
I am sorry this is so bothersome to you.
v/r
Scott

Scott Bassett
Public Affairs Officer
Naval Submarine Base
Kings Bay, GA
Office: 912.573.4718
Cell: 912.467.1312

Well. That certainly called for a reply.

Dear Mr. Bassett,

I understand from the person who answered the PAO phone (912-573-4718, per base web site) the night of March 2, 2017 that your Advanced Technology Sonic Weapon System’s audio gain is not adjustable, which seems in line with your statement that the volume has not been adjusted. I regret to inform you that your system has suffered a cataclysmic failure of the amplifier(s) AGC circuitry, which has effectively weaponized it.

Per a long time resident, your announcements were not audible in this
area until the Fall of 2014. At first, the announcements were merely
audible, but not particularly disturbing to us (I did pity those closer
to the base).

Gradually, the announcements became louder until, in December 2016, they were audible inside my closed house half a mile from the fence line. In fact, as I’ve pointed out, at that time they achieved a level
demonstrably capable of waking me up. This was not a steady progression, however, as some days-to-weeks the volume would drop.

Your nonadjustable system’s audio output has varied. Most notably, the volume went down immediately after I CC’d Rep. Carter and Senators Isakson and Perdue on my complaint. The volume stayed down for days, then rose once more. After I CC’d the base PAO on my letter to the Tribune & Georgian editor, the volume mysteriously went down to a nearly reasonable level until Thursday, March 2, 2017, evening (the very day the letter was published) when, again, the announcements were audible inside my closed house half a mile from the fence line.

I do not know the geographic extent of your “Waterfront Restricted
Area.” I had assumed that the noise source was speakers along the fence line at Charlie Smith Sr. Highway. If the source is along the Cumberland River — approximately four miles from my house rather than half a mile (per Mapquest) — then the volume is far higher than I feared.

As for the timing of announcements, my guess that they are triggered by actual alarms being tripped by animals was based upon the fact that I hear the announcements at irregular intervals, sometimes less than fifteen minutes. Perhaps your announcements go out to multiple zones sequentially and I’m merely hearing various different zones one after another. Or perhaps your timing circuit needs a new 555 or associated RC circuits. I’m sure a qualified electrician’s mate can help you with that, as well as the AGC.

While your technicians sort out the AGC failure, might I suggest that
they install a volume control pot (https://www.amazon.com/volume-control-potentiometer-Industrial-Scientific/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A16310091%2Ck%3Avolume%20control%20potentiometer)
as a stopgap measure?

I do have a few questions:

1. Where did the Navy obtain a public address system with no audio gain control? I’ve never seen one before, including when I worked on base PA systems for the USAF. But I’ve only been working in comm/electronics and computers since the late ’70s.

2. What tactical doctrine mandate requires your announcements to be
audible inside enclosed structures half a mile to four miles from your
installation?

3. Was there a significant engineering change made to your PA system
during the Fall 2014 time frame?

Thank you for your attention to this maintenance/repair issue.

Sincerely,

Carl “Bear” Bussjaeger
Author: Net Assets, Bargaining Position, The Anarchy Belt, and more
http://www.bussjaeger.org

I CC’d Carter’s office and the local paper’s editor. I look forward to any response, as I expect such to be morbidly amusing.

UPDATE: I happened to be outside when an announcement went off at (I checked my watch) 3:23:30 PM. It was loud enough to be audible, but probably would not have been audible indoors. Per Bassett, if this were on a 15 minute timer, the next announcement would be at 3:38:30 PM.

-crickets-

I waited until 3:41. Still no announcement. Yep, the “timer” is apparently as hosed as the Automatic Gain Control (since they say it isn’t manually adjustable).

Oh, and I got a snail mail from Rep. “Buddy” Carter. To clarify, they say the announcements come from the easternmost part of the base. According to Mapquest that’s at least 4 miles away.

UPDATE 2, 3-7-2017: It seems my email to Bassett bounced.

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients was aborted after 13.0 hour(s):

* scott.bassett@navy.mil

Reason: There was an error while attempting to deliver your message with [Subject: “Re: Letter to the Editor: Base PA and ID Theft”] to scott.bassett@navy.mil. It has been in queue too long, and will not attempt delivery again.

Evolution in action

California bicyclists would be allowed to roll past stop signs under proposed law
Cyclists would be allowed to pedal past stop signs — without stopping — under legislation proposed by two lawmakers who say it would make the roads safer.

The two-tiered approach to the rules of the road — one for cyclists and one for cars — is unlikely to ease growing tensions over sharing California’s roadways.

I’m in favor of anything that would allow Californians to voluntarily remove themselves from the gene and voter pools.

UPDATED: Sub Base Kings Bay, episode too-damned-many: They’re just fucking with me now.

[Scroll down for updates.]

So I’ve been spending the past two and a half months trying to get the Naval Idiots at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay to turn down the volume on their perimeter alarm PA system. Yeah, I started this back in December last year, when the blaring “This is a restricted area…” announcements started waking me up. Inside the house. With the windows closed. Half mile from the base fenceline. It goes on 24/7, intermittently as some radicalized rodent hellbent on furry terrorism trips the sensors.

Typically, I complain, the volume goes down for a few days, the volume goes back up. Lather, rinse, repeat. For frickin’ months.

Senators Isakson and Perdue are merely useless. Representative Earl “Buddy” Carter’s office simply demands my name, address, email address, phone number (which I’ve given them repeatedly) and my Social Security number and date of birth. Since ol’ Emmitt Nolan won’t state the statutory authorization for requesting SSAN and DOB, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, I’m leaning towards wondering if he’s running a private ID theft scheme out of the congresscritter’s office. But with fed-level ‘crats, sheer stupidity and incompetence may be sufficient explanation.

So I tried writing a letter to the editor of the local paper:

As those unfortunate enough to reside within a mile or so of Kings Bay sub base know, the installation has a little problem with their perimeter alarm PA system volume control. As an example, the “This is a restricted area…” announcements (triggered 24/7, apparently by squirrels and other radicalized rodents infiltrating the perimeter for nefarious purposes) often are loud enough to wake me up, in my bedroom with closed windows, on the far side of the house, half a mile from the base perimeter. I pity those living closer to the fence line; they must be dealing with permanent hearing loss and bleeding ears.

I bore this gradually worsening problem stoically until December 2016, when I couldn’t take it anymore. I emailed the base, inquiring if there was a tactical reason for the excessive volume — perhaps to disintegrate the little tree rats and possums by sheer sound pressure — and requesting that they turn it down. I received no reply, but the volume was turned down slightly. For a while; then back up. I complained again, this time CC’ing Rep. Carter and Senators Isakson and Perdue. The base turned it down again, but never replied.

The volume stayed down for just five days.

I complained yet again, once more CC’ing Carter, Isakson, and Perdue. Volume went down for approximately one day (but now randomly gets turned up and down).

A week later,”Emmitt Nolan, Caseworker/Field Representative” for Rep. Carter finally emailed me to demand my name, physical address, phone number, and email address, and what my complaint is; all of which I had already provided multiple times. He also demanded my social security number and date of birth. I replied by noting that my SSAN and DOB hardly seem germane to rotating a volume control knob, and asked why he needs that. If email routing headers did not indicate this came from a house.gov server, I would have taken it for a phishing scam by someone who read of the issue on my Internet blog.

Nolan responded that if I didn’t given him my SSAN and DOB — you know, data beloved by ID thieves — then he would not assist me me at all. To which I replied by asking for “the authority (whether granted by statute, or by Executive order of the President) which authorizes the solicitation of the information and whether disclosure of such information is mandatory or voluntary” required by the Privacy Act of 1974.

He refused to answer. Notice of this behavior, reported to Carter’s office, likewise went without answer, which could simply be due to Nolan himself screening all those letters.

Yes, a simple problem of base/community relations has turned into what looks a lot like an ID theft scam operated out of a congressman’s office, and ignored by Carter.

I CC’d the NSBKB Public Affairs Office and Carter’s Emmitt Nolan on the LtE. Seemed fair.

The volume immediately got turned down to nearly reasonable levels.

Today, my letter ran in the paper. Tonight, the base turned the volume up again. Yes, I’m hearing those “deadly force authorized” warnings — inside the house, half a mile away — as I type.

I sent another email to the base.

The brief interlude from blaring PA announcements — from when I CC’d NSKB on the Letter to the Editor until tonight — was nice. But hearing your security weasels crank up the PA volume again the very night after the letter was published in the paper suggests you’re just fucking with us now.

Turn down the damned volume.

I CC’d Isakson, Perdue, and Carter again, just for the helluvit, not out of any expectation they’ll suddenly decide to help.

Then I called the Base PA Office. The weasel who answered the phone immediately knew what I was complaining about and explained that he knew I think the volume is getting turned up, but really and truly it’s just automated and they can’t adjust the volume. He was upset that I was complaining at 11 o’clock at night. I told him I was calling at 11 o’clock at night because I’m hearing the fucking announcements at 11 o’clock at night (that’s a paraphrase; I was less polite).

So another email off to the congresscritters.

The volume is loud enough despite months of complaints (it was down for a few days, but got cranked up again after the letter to the editor ran in the paper), that I called the NSB Kings Bays Public Affairs Office in addition to emailing them.

The person who answered the phone immediately understood that this was in regard to the PA being too loud. Clearly they know of the problem.

Then the person answering the phone complained that I was calling at 11 o’clock at night, to which I explained that it’s 11 o’clock at night and I can hear the PA system in my house half a mile from the base.

The idiot claimed that the volume never changes (despite it clearly being turned up this evening after a week of nearly reasonable levels) because it’s an automated system. As an eleven year veteran who spent that time working on communications systems including base public address systems, I vehemently pointed out that excuse is bullshit.

Too date, no one has given _any_ reason — rational or irrational — why the announcements need to be so loud — whether automated or tweaked by bored security personnel — to be audible inside a house half a mile from the base perimeter.

Please get this turned down PERMANENTLY.

A very large percentage of the local population is dependent upon the base; hell, a bunch are Navy personnel. They may be afraid to complain about the noise lest it adversely impact their careers. My goal in further publicizing this is to let them know that someone else already is complaining and they won’t be alone if they speak up.

My secondary goal is to make sure Isakson, Perdue, and especially Buddy Carter know that unless they get off their fat complacent asses, I’ll be happy to work to get them thrown out of office as their times come up. (Carter in particular needs to find out what the hell Emmitt Nolan is up to.)

Update, 1:34 PM: Oh, what the hell. Another letter to the editor. It’s a small local paper. They apparently enjoy printing mildly outrageous letters. Hopefully, this one will make the cut, too.

Subject: No Volume Control on Base PA System?

Dear Editor,

Thursday night, after a week of Naval Sub Base Kings Bay perimeter PA system announcements being at a nearly reasonable sound level, the volume went back up, to the point that once again “This is a restricted area…” was audible inside my home, with windows closed, half a mile from the base fence line. Besides yet another email, I phoned the base Public Affairs Office (912-573-4718) to voice my displeasure.

Apparently the annoyingly loud PA declarations are a figment of my imagination, because the person who answered the phone assured me that I only “think” the volume is up, and they cannot turn the PA system up or down because — if only this had been a video call so that I could have seen if he said this with a straight face — the base PA system DOESN’T HAVE a volume control. Where they could even FIND a PA system without volume control beats me; I can only assume — if this is true — that the taxpayers grossly overpaid for a custom misdesigned system.

That PAO person was also upset that I dared call at 2300, at night. I informed him that I called at 2300 because the PA is blaring at 2300. Perhaps I disturbed his midshift nap.

If someone from the base maintenance offices will contact me, I’ll be happy to provide them with Amazon links to affordable PA systems which actually have volume control knobs.

Many people in the local area, both military and civilian employees, are dependent upon the base and may be hesitant to risk their careers or livelihood by rocking the boat with noise complaints. Nonetheless, the immediate recognition of the issue by the Public Affairs Office, and
silly there’s-no-volume-control prepared cover story, make it clear that the base knows about the problem already. So others disturbed by the ridiculously unnecessary (the base has for months declined to explain why the PA system should even be audible for half a mile, adjustable or not) noise can raise their own objections.

I guess Ash Wednesday is supposed to be a time of reflection*

Glitter for Ash Wednesday?
It wasn’t your typical forehead cross on Ash Wednesday, to promote inclusion of LGBT Christians, New York group Parity asked churches to use purple glitter during Ash Wednesday services. The group says the glitter symbolizes a “sign of our hope, which does not despair.”

I’d show this to my father, but I’m afraid he have a heart attack.


* Line shamelessly stolen from my sister.