Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Nature of a Background Check

Up until thirty-odd years ago....the only folks in America doing background checks....were the US military and intelligence folks.  You went and signed up at the recruiting station, and they'd run a check.  As long as you didn't have any felony convictions...you were typically safe.  Even if you were detained for something, and later released....that didn't really show up in these background checks.  For the intelligence side of the house, they'd typically come to your neighbors or associates and ask stupid questions.  That would settle all requirements in the end.

Today?  Companies like Home Depot and Loews will run their version of a background check.

If you get selected for a job in the Obama administration...you have a background check.  In this case, don't worry about admitting to drug stuff....it's mostly avoiding to pay taxes or having affairs with Russian women that might get you into some hassle.

If a bank hired you.....they usually will run a check to see if you've been arrested for anything....especially forgery or embezzlement.

Want a dog from the local pet shelter?  Well.....there's a chance that they may want to run their own version of a background check on you.

Some women now....in the moments of considering a marriage with a guy.....will hire up a private detective like Magnum PI, and do a background check on their Prince Charming.

Some guys planning a run for office.....will do a personal background check on all members of their family to ensure no surprises occur in the midst of a million-dollar campaign.  This is usually where you discover your cousin is half-owner in a go-go club in Atlanta, or your wife was arrested for violent assault while in college, or that your nephew Karl worked for a French opera company in his youth.

So you come to this odd question.  Do background checks work?  Only if the data exists, or is accurate.

We are breeding an entire society that wants to believe in background checks.  You would hope that the local TV station makes sure that Ernie (the new TV weather guy).....actually has a degree in weather stuff.  You would hope that your local cops have hired your cousin Barney and already know about his drug arrest record from 1988.  You would hope that the President did a background check on some guy from Memphis that he wants on his staff....and knows that this guy has been in front of a federal judge on six occasions.

The sad thing is that no one ever did a background check on General Andrew Jackson to ensure he had no issues before appointing him as a general.  No one checked out the booze background of Senator Ted Kennedy before voting for him on five different occasions.  No one bothered to check out your car mechanic that charges $50 an hour to rebuild your transmission.

Onward we go....filling squares.


Our Original Assault Rifle

For a brief moment of history....the original assault weapon introduced to America....was the M1 Carbine.

Yes, for all practical purposes as GI's went to Europe and the Pacific...the M1 was our first real assault rifle.  GI's returned from the war with a respect for the gun.

The clip? Well....that's a curious thing.  You had the twelve shot clip or the thirty-shot clip.

The gun?  If you kept it oiled up....it worked.

Years later, into the 1960s....the Pentagon introduced the M-16 to the Army and Marines.  Negativity over the M-16 was almost immediate because it was prone to jamming.....something that the M-1 just didn't do.

Would the M1 be considered an assault rifle by today's standards?  It's hard to say.  Some people would want to suggest that while on TV.  But it's a technology developed out of 1941.  The twelve-shot clip?  Well....it won't pass with the suggestion of a ten-bullet limit.  A gun and a technology that's over sixty years old, and it would not pass the political suggestions of 2013.

Buying a M1 Carbine today?  For a pretty decent model...you could be talking about $800 to $1k.

How many thirty-round magazines exist in the US today?  That's a curious thing which you can't take a guess at.  There might be a million of them sitting out in sheds and basements across America.