The effects of idiocy – customs folding knife import ban

I’ve touched on the recent changes to customs practice where they consider a folding knife with a thumb stud (eg spyderco) to be a flick knife, but haven’t seen too many effects of this stupidity other than forum posts of individuals. I have now come across a case which might add some legitimacy to these utterly idiotic changes. The State Emergency Service is no longer able to supply members trained in vertical rescue with one handed opening knives, which is considered a necessary piece of kit. From the newsletter (SES Equipment Update May 2011)

We have been advised from our supplier of a delay with deliveries of the S831 folding rescue knives issued to VR operators. Australian Customs has a current ban on the importation of this item due to safety concerns. The manufacturer is currently in discussions with Australian Customs to try and resolve this issue. An update will be provided as soon as an outcome is reached on this issue.

I imagine paramedics, firefighters and police will soon start to run into similar problems. Note that the one handed opening knives which are being seized by customs are not illegal to possess in any state of Australia.

Interesting study on gun control

I found this study on gun control very interesting.

Go and read it, right now.

While I don’t agree 100% with them (especially the part where they conclude that more guns (i.e. concealed carry) actually makes you safer), most of what they say I think is very insightful. Looking at changes to overall violent crime rates (as opposed to just gun related crime) after changes to gun laws just makes sense. I particularly like the line “…violence involving guns is not qualitatively worse than other violence: being bludgeoned to death is not less horrific than being shot to death.”

Given that there is a massive financial cost, and what seems to be a flow on social cost from similar thinking (knife laws, speed cameras etc) for potentially no or negligible increase in safety, I can’t help but feel that the emotional issue of gun control is sapping funding away from much more important areas – like safer road design/construction, driver training and behavioural (rather than speed) based enforcement.

Can’t say I’ve ever even been threatened with a gun (or any sort of face to face physical violence for that matter), but I sure as hell have been nearly killed many times on the roads. Do the numbers, where is the money better spent?


2013-08-06 EDIT: Here’s another interesting article I came across regarding the gun buyback in Australia in 1997. Note that this was written just after the buyback, but it seems that it has some pretty good points that stand up very well 15+ years later.

The Brisbane floods – A “Natural Inconvenience”

I’m going to start this off by stating that a) I am a Brisbane resident, and b) I’m a volunteer with the SES. I am NOT talking about the Toowoomba/Lockyer valley flooding – that is terrible and a disaster by most standards. While my house isn’t flood affected, I’ve seen houses go under, and spoken to a number of residents who were waiting for their houses to go under.

For the last few days, since the flood has affected Brisbane, there has been non-stop, round the clock news coverage on all the major news channels. It has also made international news, with relief funds set up in various countries.

While it is heartwarming to know that the world is behind us, really, it’s not that bad.

What is happening to Brisbane sucks, and thousands of people have lost everything. But no one in Brisbane has died or had any serious injuries so far, and quite frankly if anyone does, it will most likely because they are being dicks.

Property damage will no doubt cost billions, both in losses and consequential damages, but a lot of this cost could have been avoided. A lot of houses near the predicted peak were not evacuated until the last minute, leading to a lot more loss than was really necessary.

So really, get over it. Its not a disaster, it’s an inconvenience. There are many other worse natural disasters that, although they don’t get 24/7 media coverage, are actually much worse than what Brisbane has had to put up with.

Smart roofing – not very smart at all

I recently tried to get a quote from Smart Roofing in Brisbane. They didn’t turn up, then proceeded to have a go at me when I told them that I wasn’t interested in their business. Here’s a review I posted to their Google Maps page – I’m posting it here again as the first post seems to have disappeared.

Although they responded to my web query in a timely manner, they failed to turn up to an arranged quote.

A week later, when Aaron (0402 714 326) called back, I explained to him that I’d already made a decision, and that in any case, if he couldn’t keep a simple appointment to make a quote (and hence waste my time away from work) then I wasn’t interested in their business anyway.

Do I get an apology? No, I get a condescending Aaron try and tell me that I must be “Mr Perfect” and have a go at me for not wanting his business.

No matter how good a service they might provide, it can’t be that much better or cheaper than everyone else that it is worth putting up with rude and unprofessional behaviour, on top of missed appointments.

So, no way in hell i’d ever do business with them with an attitude like that.

Australian weapons stupidity

A deadly weapon used by evil gangs, apparently

Australia, it seems, it heading down the shithole. Victoria is first in line, but the rest of the states are lining up behind her.

Take, for example, under Victoria’s new weapons legislation, a kubotan, is a prohibited weapon – that is, you need permission (page 16) from the chief of police to even own one. Don’t forget that the police have the power to randomly stop and search anyone for weapons, without probable cause. Even regular slingshots (page 11) or double bladed pen-knives (page 7). And don’t even think about those nasty, evil laser pointer cat toys – they’ve been banned for years. Oh, and if you’re under 18, no picnics for you, since even the sale of plastic knives is prohibited to those under 18. In Queensland, proposed changes to the weapons legislation would consider “discharging” a laser pointer in the same manner as discharging a firearm.

In concert, it seems, with these changes, customs have recently cracked down on knife imports. A number of sources indicate that customs are now confiscating any folding knife with a thumb stud, claiming they are “flick” knives.

While I am not a gun owner or advocate for the “right to bear arms”, this study by the Fraser institute seems pretty hard to argue with. I highly recommend reading it in full. The gist of it is that they compared per-capita violent crime rates in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. A reduction in gun violence means nothing if there is a corresponding increase in other types of violence – as the study says, “violence involving guns is not qualitatively worse than other violence: being bludgeoned to death is not less horrific than being shot to death.”. Their research actually showed that increasingly restrictive gun laws might actually increase the violent crime rate. I’m not sure that I quite agree with that last bit, but restricting access to weapons clearly does nothing to address the desire of some people to commit violent crime, nor the abilities of police to deter/prosecute said people. The fact that we’ve seen an increase in “glassing” shows that people will always find a way if they want to.

EBC Supermoto disc for XT600 – update

Well, I figured out what the hell was going on finally. The “alloy caliper relocation bracket” is actually a replacement caliper mounting plate. As it is a two piston sliding caliper, there is a steel mounting plate that is part of the caliper. I’ve now fitted this, and it does indeed seem to fit well.

I have, however, completely lost faith in EBC as a company, and will be doing my darnedest to make sure that I, nor anyone I know, buys anything EBC ever again. When a company is selling a product and they describe it as having an “anodised alloy relocation bracket”, but then come back to you saying that “it should be made out of stainless steel because of the high stresses in a bracket”, you can’t help but realise that they don’t know their arse from their head. ( sell a similar kit made by Lucas, which is an alternative)

So, yes it works, but EBC have demonstrated to me that they haven’t got a fucking clue, and I will never buy anything EBC ever again.

Family distraught after judge rules that two wrongs don’t make a right

From the Herald Sun:

THE family of a young driver who killed his mate before his mum was murdered by the victim’s grieving dad has described his appeal loss as “heartless”.
Chaplin, 22,  killed Leigh Charter, 20,  while drink-driving and at high speed.

A year later, Mr Charter’s father, Leigh snr, took revenge, murdering Chaplin’s mother Wendy, seriously wounding his father and stabbing his brother and cousin in a frenzied knife attack.

He then killed himself.

Chaplin had a blood alcohol level was 0.085 and was doing 126km/h in an 80km/h zone when he lost control on a bend as he fiddled with the radio.

So, let’s get this straight. First, he kills someone (who happens to be his best mate – so what, he still killed someone) while driving drunk and very dangerously. Then, a victim’s relative decides to take revenge and murders the driver’s mother then kills himself. Yep, that sucks and is wrong, but how does that mean he should get off any sort of punishment for killing someone while driving drunk and dangerously? It’s not like he got a ridiculously harsh penalty – 18 months in jail is not much, considering he’s killed someone.

I suppose when you have relative claiming that the death from the car crash “was just an accident”, what can you expect? I mean, he was so drunk it is obvious that it wasn’t his fault he decided to get in a car and be a fuckwit. I bet they also sympathise with rapists, who get the wrong end of the stick when the girls were clearly asking for it.

What the fuck is happening to this country?