Perception of Public Safety

I read you can no longer find a pressure cooker in the Boston area for sale. If this is not a case of over reaction, there has yet to be one. Modifying one of the old phrases from the NRA (I think), ‘Pressure cookers don’t kill people, people kill people.’

People who over react to situations need to realize that living is a risk. There is no legislating any of us are going to wake up tomorrow. There is no protecting ourselves from someone else is willing to risk everything to harm us.

Without going through the obvious facts of flu deaths each year, death from automobile accidents, falling off ladders, chairs, or down the stairs, there are so many ways to die each day it is mind boggling that so many of us make it through to the next day.

Where I grew up as a kid, we used to hunt and fish a lot. Hunting and fishing was a way of life. It put food on the table and stretched the family budget beyond the paychecks ability alone. People lived on fish and game. We also had some funny laws around hunting and fishing. Of course there were very creating ways around those laws. They were illegal, but the need to eat outweighed the legality for some people.

One law I found the funniest was hunting season for game birds. Generally one hunted game birds in the same areas others hunted deer. The only difference was the weapon used and the time of the year. First it was bird season, followed by a few weeks of no hunting, then came deer season.

During the bird hunting season, those that could not wait used illegal hard to detect methods to take deer. Some used their deer hunting rifles, and others used more creative approaches. Deer season did not apply to these people at all. They did what they wanted.

The Department of Fish and Game was sensitive during this two week no hunting period to any gun shots coming from the woods. People who were needing to eat, found creative way to take game boards with out a gun. They did what they wanted.

In the spring in the lakes and rivers, game fish schooled up to spawn. Fishing was illegal during this period, or it was illegal to fish for certain species of fish. For example, you could fish in the shallows of an area where the Bass were spawning for Northern Pike, but you could not fish for Bass because the season was not open yet. I have never seen species selective artificial lures, or live bait.

Snagging hooks were banned at all fishing waters. Yet most of the fisherman had at least one treble hook that would pass for a snagging hook in their tackle boxes. If you talked long enough or new each other well enough one learned of other ways to take fish other than legal methods.

If someone is determined, search the net for methods, or creative enough to come up with something new on their own, there are multiple ways to do almost anything. Self bans on pressure cookers in the Boston area, and probably most of America, does not make our streets safer. Each of us is still as likely to be killed each day by explosion as we were some months ago.

Legislating any activity or item does not ensure our safety. If someone wants to do something bad enough, they will find a way. Which brings me to my previous article on slingshots. Much to my surprise I discovered I was a law breaker as a kid growing up. On occasion I had my slingshot with me within city limits of a city where they were banned.

Today, I doubt there are any slingshots being carried by kids in that city. If kids are serious enough, they are carrying something more vicious than slingshots. Kids are probably carrying stolen guns hidden in their baggy clothes. If they do not have access to a gun, or can not afford one, and feel the need to protect themselves, they carry something else. Knives, baseball bats, or other hand weapons.

In a hurry or leaving?

We depend on each other for our safety

Look at the man in the picture. What is inside the black camera shoulder bag? How about the packages? Is that really an eye glass case in his top pocket? Is the bulge around his waste really belly fat? Why are his jeans and shirt a little baggy?

Do you know why people have their keys on the end of a lanyard? Maybe we should think about banning keys. Some do it because they see others do it. Others do it, because they have a perfectly legal, very serious weapon in their possession.

Does that dog owner have a pit bull because they love the breed, for personal protection, or is it a barely contained attack dog?

What about the person with that walking stick. Is there more to that walking sick or cane than meets the eye? It could be a gun, saber, or other weapon depending on the owners creativity and ability to disguise.

How about the driver of that car. Were they trying to hit you, or just not paying attention for an instant? We can only legislate individual safety so far. The rest is risk we have to accept as part of normal life.

Slingshot Fever

I developed the slingshot bug last week. After thinking, watching, and reading about all the different slingshots available, I learned I am pretty clueless as to what I want or need in a slinghshot frame.

I decided to make my own simple frame, to get a better idea of what I really want in a slingshot. There are so many great frame makers around, I do not want to commit to buying a frame until I know what type of frame I want and why I want it.

This frame is very simple to make. All you really need is a hacksaw blade and sandpaper if you have no tools to speak of. Of course the more choices you have for tools the better your end result should be.

This frame is a basic slingshot frame, and should not be considered for anything serious, as injury may occur from material defects. This is the cheapest of the cheap almost ready made frames. Pay attention to the grain of the wood as you make your choice. The grain needs running vertical in the handle.

Cost to make if you have a usable saw and sandpaper is less than $5.00.
Materials: I went to Walmart and found their cheapest three inch paint brush ~ $1.50. Grabbed a one pound bag of dried Chick Peas ~ $1.50. At an office supply store I found a pack #64 rubber bands for ~ $1.70.

Once home: Using a kitchen knife, oops, I mean flat tip screwdriver, I removed the four tacks holding the brush on the paintbrush handle.
Using a pencil, I drew a slingshot frame on the paintbrush handle.

With my twenty-five year old jig saw I went to work. Be careful with the band tie area, do not get too aggressive.

Find two round toothpicks. Using the toothpick ends, preferably with a drop of glue plug the four holes left from the tacks.

Sanding is next. This step is optional I suppose.

For finishing, you can use mineral, or any cooking oil. Better choice is linseed oil if you have some around.

Paint Brush FrameFor the bands, chain rubber bands together until you get about nine inches of band. Repeat. You want about a seven to eight inch draw if I understood the videos and reading correctly. What I did instead was buy the longest rubber bands I found and used one band on each side. I think chaining the #64 bands will be more powerful however.

Attach the bands using a rubber band cut apart for each side. Wind it tight around the fork, making sure the distance of the bands from the center is the same distance. Tie the rubber band off like you are tying a shoe, only not the loops. You will have to spit on the knot before you tighten it, or it may break from stress. Spit makes the rubber slippery.

For the pouch, I used folded duct tape.

The frame will be about 4.5 inches +/_ tall and 3 inches +/- wide depending on where you cut off the bottom.

There are numerous videos, many made by forum members (and others) about attaching bands and learning how to shoot without pain. I watched a lot of them. Due to the small frame size, I use the Pickle Fork Shooter (pfs) style. I don’t know if you have to, but I feel more comfortable with the pfs style.

You won’t have a lot of slingshot that will win any design awards. You will have a useful, functional slingshot to get you started. The upside is you won’t be going to the doctor because you shot yourself in the thumb or finger with heavy ammunition fired from a powerful slingshot as you learn the basics. You also won’t have spent many dollars on a frame that does not work for you because you prefer a different shooting style.

As you practice using your basic slingshot, you (we both) will have a better idea of what you want your real slingshot to look like and how powerful you want it. At this point you will be an informed buyer, and will be able to better relate to one of the custom frame makers on this board. You will know what you want your ‘real’ slingshot to look like and how you will use it.

If you want to read more about slingshots, I suggest you redirect over to the Slingshot Forum where, “Slingshot Forum is a site where you can come to learn about all things related to slingshots. Come here for slingshots for sale, wooden, videos, pictures, DIY,

I have learned a lot on the forum, and yet I have barely scratched the surface. Good people there, I think you will enjoy visiting the forum.

Subscribe and Apply for a Credit Card Too

Turn off pop ups

Between subscribe and buy something popups, most sites drive away more readers than they gain with poorly thought out advertising choices

I was on a web site a few minutes ago following a clickable link from a very popular website. The article I wanted to read sounded interesting. About a company that is seldom boring to start with, and changes as fast as any giant company is able to change. This article was about change and venture, and change rules the net.

I was barely on the site five seconds when a pop up blocking the article  appeared. The pop up was asking me to subscribe? I had not even read the first sentence of the article, why should I be interested in subscribing?

I clicked the ad closed of course. Shortly a second popup appeared asking me if I was interested in a credit card? By the time I skimmed to the end of the article, guess what? There was a third pop up blocking the rest of the page. I was through reading anything this site had to offer, and did not read the popup.

When is enough enough? When does a site not want new readers on its site? When does a site not want readers to subscribe?

Unless the site contains information not contained any where else, who is going to subscribe within seconds of arriving? Who is going to apply for a credit card from a popup within a seconds of arriving at a new site?

Oh yes! I really need another credit card, I am so happy I found this site….Who is going to be anything except annoyed, with such a poorly executed site? I would like to meet the person who subscribes, applies for credit, and answers the third popup in an affirmative manner.

This instance, and this was a first, I did something I have never done. I put up with more popups clicking my way to the “contact us” section of the website. I sent the website an email summarizing  what I wrote here, finishing with writing I won’t be back to the site in the future.

Let’s be realistic. Named web sites can be as cheap per month as a meal from a fast food place. There is no huge investment to recover. What you are offering is probably not unique. What there is on these sites is greed. The site creator wants to believe  what they are marketing is so valuable they need continuous disrupting advertisements within seconds of a stranger dropping by before they leave the site.

If the information on any website is useful and needed, most people usually kick in a few bucks and become a subscriber. When a visitor is bombarded with advertisements, alarms should be going off in the visitors head. The sites min reason for existence is  for one purpose only. Helping visitors part with their money before they think about what they are doing.

If you own a web site that bombards visitors with blocking ads within seconds of landing on your site, do yourself a favor and stop the ads. Place a side bar or other not so intrusive message asking for readers to subscribe. If they appreciate what your site offers, and there are not hundreds or thousands of similar sites readers will gladly subscribe – if readers really need the information you are providing.

I am an average web user. I can not list the number of sites I go to only to leave within seconds from the site being plastering itself  with advertisements to subscribe or buy a product the site is offering. I am of the opinion that the average adult that can afford internet access,  they also make reasonable decisions about parting with their money after the fact, not before. I could be wrong here, but I doubt it.

Of course with that out of the way, if you feel this information was that on target, riveting, and will increase your subscriber numbers ten fold, feel free to recommend this site to your friends and associates. Of course before doing those steps, send me a few Franklin’s first.  You know the greenish ones with Ben’s picture in the center?