Dear J—

Back when I did a small amount of machining in school for a project, the machinists always told us about taking up the backlash in the positioners: this was the small amount of slop in the acme screws, and when you reverse direction on those screws (changing from moving in to moving out, for instance), there would be a small amount of play where the handle would turn with no corresponding movement in the positioning stage. Since the measurement you apply is based on the scale attached to the handle, you could wind up a few thousandths of an inch off on your dimensions if you didn’t take up the backlash.

I know there’s that other term that political people use in measuring reaction and especially an angry one at that but let’s just ignore that for now. So. Backlash.

I read somewhere yesterday amidst the chaos in San Bernardino that there have been something like 354 mass shootings (not sure how that’s defined, but I’ll assume “more than one person shot” works) so far this year and yeah, I think it’s time to take away the toys. You don’t do this all at once with the idea that you’re going to be comprehensive. You also have to take up the backlash when you’re reversing direction, right? We are those kids who have demonstrated we can’t play with them responsibly: take them all away, not just ban sales of new guns. They’ve all gotta go.



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