Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Same Old, Same Old -- In Space

     The opinion piece is four years old but richly deserves mocking nevertheless: space writer James Oberg is bedwettingly horrified that the Russians still carry guns into space.

     Oberg has written extensively about the Russian space program and is well aware that cosmonauts have landed off-course several times, out where the bear and wolf and hostile locals roam.  He's well aware of it and brushes it off with, "...any off-course vehicle would have the entire U.S. rescue team at their disposal almost immediately.."

     Riiiight.  Because there's nothing at all difficult about sending a U.S. recovery team, hardware and all, to get in the way of a Russian operation in Kazakhstan, and no touchy issues of national and professional pride involved to slow efforts down, either.

     It's the same argument against bearing arms you hear from other fools: "The police will protect you."  Yes, when you need help immediately, the State is only minutes -- or, in the case of misaimed space travelers, hours or even a day -- away. What could possibly go wrong in that time?

     But Oberg is still fretting -- 'cos, in the middle of one of the most hostile environments imaginable, aboard a space station filled with horrible (and readily accessable) ways to die -- there are also, packed away in the puzzle-pieces-fit survival kits in a couple of Soyuz capsules, g-u-n-s.

     Pssst, James?  There's a whole lot of hard, hard vacuum out there, too, and toxic coolant and high-voltage electricity and pure oxygen and probably even some nitrogen tetroxide, of which only a little dab'll snuff ya.  There are even hammers and sharp, pointy objects.  Firearms are the least of the crews' worries.  If someone flips out (or goes coldly murderous) on ISS, they can obtain the means to do harm by merely reaching out.

     Alas, he's still worried, in part because there's foreigners aboard ISS, and all of them -- each and every one of those mean, scary, nasty, awful people -- will have access to guns.

     Just like they do on Earth.

     Grow up, James.  The Russians have guns in space.  They're not going to give them up.

     (For a little more woo and scolding on nitrogen tetroxide, along with some jaw-droppingly blithe puffery, try this PBS article.)

13 comments:

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

What's his problem? Astronauts are gov't workers like police officers sorta. Usually hoplophobes have no issue with gov't reps toting.

Eric said...

To quote Dr. McCoy: "Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence."

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I just had a vision of a bear trying to jack a mis-landed Soyuz capsule...

Anyway, Oberg probably thinks that this violates some accord on the peaceful use of space. When the aliens come to enslave us, I hope he remembers this little episode.

Robin said...

Oberg's piece is truly bizarre.

Robert Fowler said...

Wow. I wonder if he keeps clean undies in his desk drawer in case someone utters the word gun. I would hate to be that afraid of a inanimate object

Old NFO said...

Oberg is a few cards shy of a full deck...

Charles Pergiel said...

We haven't lost a space capsule yet (have we?), but it's still a possibility. We've lost entire airliners. All it would take would be an unlucky coincidence or six.

Roberta X, remotely said...

Charles: Other than two Shuttles?

Jeffro said...

Good Gawd. Prejudiced much?

Charles Pergiel said...

Lost, as in "we can't find it", not destroyed.

Roberta X said...

Oh!

JimO said...

Back off a bit from your obsessive combativeness and you may note I'm making fun of current 'politically correct' hoplophobia that nevertheless tolerates the Russian guns because -- we can't do anything about them. It's that cosmic hypocrisy I want to shower mockery on. I've got no problem with the guns -- I just want to tease the current White House officials who won't be consistent in their ideology [shocker]. Jeez, y'all need to get away from the gun range more often, your ability to listen and understand looks a tad stunted. See all my stuff at www.jamesoberg.com and you'll have a better idea where I stand on the big issues [I went "rocket-spotting" in North Korea for ten days last year, they made two mistakes, first to let me in, second to let me out -- check out what I found]. You might decide to be friends.

JimO said...

Roberta, I re-read the article, and don't recognize it as the version you seem to have thought you read. In MY article I wrote, "Cosmonauts regularly carry handguns on their Soyuz spacecraft — and actually, that's not unreasonable. There are practical and historical justifications." Then I mock the hypocrisy of the Russians and the spinelessness of US diplomats. Listen, if there's some nearby community college with a continuing education class in "reading for comprehension", I'd be glad to chip in for an ad hoc scholarship fund that you could use.