Friday, April 27, 2007
A student was arrested for writing an essay that threatened no one, but because it disturbed his teacher, he was reported to the police and arrested.
Twenty years ago, if someone had told me that this would be happening today, I would have thought they were crazy. But here we are.
The student is an emigrant from China and I have to wonder if he might have a more free life back in his homeland.
I wonder what this idiot teacher would have thought of a young H.P. Lovecraft.
I don’t like the idea of terrorists buying guns, or fertilizer, or even plane tickets. But it’s awful hard to tell who’s a terrorist and who isn’t. They don’t wear special terrorist uniforms. They come in more varieties than young middle-Eastern males. They don’t even proclaim their intentions when they buy a gun, fertilizer, or plane ticket.
Further, there’s the problem with civil rights that Lautenberg so willfully ignores. Is a person a terrorist simply because they have an interest in guns? Could one stretch "preparing for terrorism" to include participation in action shooting sports? Could one abet terrorism if they join the NRA or GOA? Lautenberg probably wishes he could get away with just such definitions.
This reminds me of a post I did some time ago, but can’t find now (at least not without a bunch more looking and I’m feeling lazy now. I remember mentioning a proposal that would add those who are on TSA’s terrorist watch list to the NICS check. If you’re on the list, no gun for you. (The TSA and other agencies use their list to deny boarding on airplanes or to flag people for extra checks.)
Teddy Kennedy found out he was on the list because some Irish terrorist had the same name. Many leftist condemned the list as oppressive and unfair. They rightly pointed out that people are listed for no apparent reason, or they have a similar or identical name to a real terrorist, or they don’t know they’re on the list, and there’s no good way to challenge their inclusion. We believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty with all due process. There is no real due process in how the list is compiled or administered.
If Lautenberg gets his way and “terrorists” are added to some sort of government watch list, will the leftists complain about an oppressive government? Or will they champion Lautenberg’s law simply because it involves guns? I think I know the answer.
That’s the left’s problem right now. They’re blind when it comes to guns. They don’t see gun ownership as a civil right. Instead, they support rights to privacy, rights to choose and oppose what they see as government oppression. But when it comes to guns, they’ll support oppression every time. They need to wake up.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tam of View From the Porch acquired a new antique gun the other day. She scored a Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector Model of 1905. I own one of these firearms and Tam’s post inspired this One From the Vault.
Hand Ejectors are fine guns and interesting pieces of history. Smith & Wesson needed to figure out new ways of building guns. They had long built top-break revolvers like the New Departure. Mechanically, it proved hard to build a top-break strong enough to withstand heavier pressures that smokeless powders produced. At least it was difficult to do without building a bulky, clumsy lock.
You couldn’t easily make casings eject automatically with a swing-out cylinder. So, designers decided that a little do-it-yourself was in order. They added a rod to the cylinder’s front, which the user pushed back to eject casings. Someone nicknamed it a "hand ejector" and the name stuck.
Hand Ejectors were popular and were made for a number of years. Collectors have defined eight design "changes" that were made to improve the revolvers. All told 144,684 of these guns were made.
My gun is a first change and I had it "lettered" a couple of years ago (the letter is where I got the production figures—thank you Mr. Roy Jinks of Smith & Wesson). It left the factory on March 24, 1906 and went to a distributing company, M.W. Robinson, Co. of New York City. That company shipped all over the country. It was shipped with a nickel finish and wood grips now long gone.
My revolver ended up in Idaho where my father acquired it in the 1960s. The gun had belonged to a town Marshall. If you look closely at this picture, you’ll notice there’s a notch in the after-market stag-horn grips. I wish I had more history on it, but the gun can’t speak.
My S&W Hand Ejector
The outside of the gun is in fairly good condition and all serial numbers match. The bore leaves a lot to be desired. It’s pitted because someone shot black powder or corrosive-primed cartridges and hadn’t cleaned it adequately. Also, the ejector was repaired and doesn’t have the correct tip. Still, I hope I look that good if I’m ever 101 years old.Hand Ejectors were chambered in a variety of cartridges. Like Tam’s, my gun is chambered for the .32-20. Winchester created the round in 1882 for their lever-action rifle. The medium-powered cartridge had a great reputation for taking small game. Many people liked having a revolver chambered in the same round as a rifle and .32-20s were fairly popular. It’s not seen much today, although it has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance with Cowboy Action Shooting.
Comparison of .32-20 cartridge with the ubiquitous .45 acp cartridge
I’ve shot the gun and for having a pitted bore, it shoots decently. Still, I don’t plan on shooting it much. It’s more of an heirloom now than a shooter. One way or another, this firearm will remain in my family. Gun-banners hope to make handgun possession illegal one of these days. They don’t feel the tug of history, family heirlooms, or even see guns as examples of technology’s evolution. They’re wrong, we’re right. They need to get over themselves.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Let me explain. It is very hard to be a gun aficionado in today’s world. Why? Well, let me be blunt. We are detested by many, many people in this country (more in the rest of the world). We are blamed for crime problems and every time some lunatic goes off on a rampage, well the bien pensant says it must be the gun culture.
This is a relatively new phenomenon.
When I was young, not all the long ago, I learned to shoot at scout camp, had cowboy style pop guns and no one had a second thought that this was wrong or improper. Today, it is almost tantamount to child abuse to teach a child to shoot and pop guns are as rare as hens teeth. An entire culture that was good and useful has been tossed on the dung heap of history and for what? Did we get a reduction in the amount and severity of crime?
Criminals ignore every gun law that is passed. Crime continues to climb or fall due to other factors that we barely address due to our elites fixation on guns as the root of all evil.
I've been thinking that the shooting at Virginia Tech has set the gun rights movement back 8 years. We are where we were in 1999, after Columbine. I see no more pro gun laws being passed on the national level and it will be hard to fight off new gun control laws.
It is extremely frustrating. We have worked hard to get where we are today and some lunatic destroyed it all in a few hours. The media is bleating its usual gun control line and we basically have to hunker down until some time passes. We take one step forward and the media pushes us two steps back. And where the media goes, the majority of the American people seem to follow, sooner or later. We become pariahs again, barely sentient, inbred hicks in the eyes of the elite and their followers.
I’m sick of it. I’m sick of not being able to talk about my favorite hobby because someone might be offended or even call the authorities because my "fascination with guns" must be the symptom of a sick mind or someone who might lose it at any minute.
I would like to be able to come out, so to speak, and be honest about my hobby. But, it is too dangerous, especially where I work (Massachusetts). Too many good people have had their careers destroyed because they had the temerity to be honest about their hobby.
I live for the day when a co-worker says something that implies that he may not be entirely hostile to the right to bear arms. A few knowing words and phrases are exchanged and a secret is shared. There are more than a few people that share this hobby, even in the "People’s Republic". But, it can be a risky enterprise, trying to get to know them.
I would like to live in a country where I could be honest and tell all of my co-workers that I am going to the NRA convention in St. Louis and not have to mumble that I am traveling there to visit some friends and family. Maybe other parts of the country are better, but not here.
I know for a fact that if too many people find out that you like to collect and shoot firearms, you will be distrusted and shunned. This has happened to someone close to me. This person is shunned basically because she enjoys shooting and collecting firearms. She overheard one of her co-workers suggesting that maybe someone should be informed of her "obsession with firearms."
At her office, workplace violence directives suggest that people who enjoy shooting and collecting firearms could be a danger and if they seem obsessive, they should be reported, so they can get counseling. But, how does one define obsessive? Well, in Massachusetts, obsessive means that you own guns, period. That makes you automatically suspect.
The irony is that this person’s co-worker is gay and Jewish. You would think that he would realize, more than anyone, what happens when the people are all disarmed. Does he not remember the Warsaw Ghetto? The final irony is that he is a potential informer.
I really don’t know how we as gun rights advocates can begin to turn this country around. The media is our biggest hurdle. Day after day, month after month, year after year, the media pumps out total lies, misinformation and propaganda that would make Goebbels proud. It is extremely difficult to fight this. All I can think of doing is continuing to support gun rights organizations like the NRA, Gun Owners of America, and JPFO. But our enemies are well funded and too many people in this country agree with them, 100%.
This shouldn’t be hard. We really aren’t asking for much. We just want to be left alone and not demonized and sanctioned because of our beliefs. But I suspect that isn’t going to happen. Our enemies want to crush us under their heels and if we so much as whimper, we will be attacked for being unreasonable.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
There is no gun control, no law, no rule that could prevent a mass shooting. New laws could make it harder for someone to get guns or ammo, but it wouldn't prevent them. People can buy any illegal substance with a bit of patience and enough cash. A person dedicated to carrying out a shooting, such as the bastard in Virginia, would be dedicated enough to get a gun illegally. Even in "gun-free" Japan, a mayor can be nurdered with a gun.
The only people that truly such laws would affect are those like Yosemite Sam and me and we aren't the problem. I can offer no solution and no news. I am still catching up on blogs and media reports.
Monday, April 16, 2007
For now, I have an unofficial, secondary, non-primary BAG Day purchase to share with you and if I don't find anything in Ohio it will become my official BAG Day gun. I bought it two weekends ago because it spoke to me.
It wasn't in the world's best condition when I found it and I had to disassemble it, remove old grease and dirt, and brush off a small amount of rust. Once I reassembled it, I had a very good and welcome addition to my collection.
Because Yosemite Sam and I are traveling, I only have one shot of it that was already on the camera. Without any further ado here is my unofficial possibly secondary BAG Day gun:
All of you probably know what it is. If you don't, it's a Type 99 Arisaka battle rifle used by the Japanese Empire in World War II. Mine has a semi-intact mum as you can see in the photo. It looks like someone passed a file or bayonet across it.
Most Arisakas were marked with the Imperial symbol, the chrysanthemum. When the Empire lost the war, they turned over weapons, but before doing they ground off the mum. Most Arisakas you see now have a area where the mum used to be.
I like to think mine may have been a battlefield "bring back." Many Japanese soldiers before surrendering would deface the mum somehow so gaijin would not defile it. I can't prove that this is what happened to mine, but when I disassembled the gun, I found small pieces of grass between the barrel and the stock as well as a liberal amount of dirt.
Of course, the grass is just as likely to have come from an importer's poor handling practices, someone using a surplus gun for hunting, or a myriad of other sources. Still, I have a probably naive dream of it having been used on some god-awful Pacific island. Then some desperate, starving Japanese soldier sawing away at the mum before he hugged a live grenade.
It's possible, but the gun can't tell me how the mum was partially defaced and how the grass got under the stock. Still, it's a very welcome addition to my World War II firearms collection.
My Arisaka is an earlier one (I need to do more research before I can figure out the date). It has a monopod attachment and the aircraft sights (little wings attached to the sight that supposedly showed how much to lead an airplane to shoot at it more accurately).
I'll keep you posted if it becomes my official BAG Day purchase.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
As usual, the NRA banquet ran smoothly. Even the food was halfway decent for convention food. They served a chicken breast cutlet with a small filet mignon. The chicken was about what you’d expect on a convention floor. A little rubbery, some flavor, but nothing to write home about. The filet though was much better. Mine anyway was tender, flavorful, and gone all too fast.
Former UN ambassador John Bolton gave the keynote speech. He talked about international threats to our gun rights. He said the people that oppose civilian, or "non-state actors," are persistent and dedicated to their goals. They believe taking away guns from you and me while allowing certain elite groups and "trusted" groups like soldiers and police retain theirs will somehow lead to utopia. He warns us to keep fighting.
Of course, he received the customary gift flintlock handcrafted rifle. Nice gift and because he’s no longer a government employee he will probably be able to keep his.
Uncentered Jumbotron shot of Bolton (It was hard to take the photo with all the people cheering)
Comedian T. Bubba Bechtel entertained us with his stirring support of the "bubba" lifestyle. Further entertainment was available. Budweiser sponsored a party off site with music, dancing, beer and the works. I hate to say this, but we passed it up. We’re getting too old for partying especially after walking around the exhibit floor all day.
Champion of bubbas, T. Bubba
Speaking of exhibit floors, we finished touring the floor and schmoozing this morning. I’ve mentioned here that my "Holy Grail" dream gun, the one I doubt I will ever achieve, is a transferable Thompson sub-machine gun. Well, the Thompson Collector’s Society was out in force with an amazing display of these guns. They had models I’ve never even read about. The photo doesn’t come near to doing justice to their display. I talked to the collectors even while I tried mightily to control the drool reflex.
Many More Were Here
Well that’s it for now. Tomorrow we’re on the road so posting may be spotty depending on where we stay. Hard to believe another year is in the bag.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
First thing, we attended the Annual Members Meeting. We’re both voting members so we had our credentials ready. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of substance to vote for or against. The officers make most of the real decisions. Members have less say than I would prefer in a perfect world. On the other hand, with about four million members, no business would get done if everyone chimed in once a year. What can you do?
Chris Cox, Director of NRA-ILA
As usual, the oldest and younger life members were identified for special recognition.
Here’s Taylor, the youngest member this year.
The election coordinator announced the results of the latest Board of Directors meeting. He mentioned the number of ballots that were sent out and then returned. Over 1.5 million ballots went to voting members and about 99,000 were returned and some of those were spoiled. Folks, that ain’t good. If you’re a voting member, get those ballots mailed back in, m’kay. Just saying.
We then hit the exhibit floor and roamed around most of the day. I believe there were more people than we saw in earlier conventions. An exhibitor we know told us that attendance might be about 62,000. I wouldn’t be surprised.
A Very Crowded Aisle-They all Were
We met Michael Bane of television's Shooting Gallery. We also met Bitter, Bitter Mom, and Sebastian who were also waiting to say hello to Michael. We enjoyed meeting all of them. In fact, Michael quipped that we had a gun blogger quorum.
We’re getting ready for the banquet. We’ll let you know how that goes. Bye for now.
Friday, April 13, 2007
This year's opening ceremony was marked by a political event. Chris Cox directs the lobbying arm of the NRA. He introduced a number of Missouri state legislators, then the state's Lieutenant Governor, and finally Governor Matt Blunt. The legislators had just passed a law that forbids any state or local police department from confiscating guns or ammo in an emergency. Blunt affirmed his support for the Second Amendment. He then set at a desk and signed the bill into law.
Governor Matt Blunt Addressing the NRA Convention
Now to the festivities. Ty England provided the entertainment at one time crooning to Sandra Froman (NRA President) on stage. He's an ardent gun supporter who gave up a recording contract when he refused to go on the Rosie O'Donnell show some years ago. He now has his own label.
We explored the exhibit hall for awhile and then I crashed in the hotel. I'm not the world's best flyer.
We're staying about a block from the convention center and enjoyed a soul food buffet spread. I even stayed awake.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
The center is really nice and looks to be a good place to hold the convention, and unlike last year, everything is in one area, so we won’t have to walk across the street.
Here is a picture of the entry to America’s Center with its NRA bunting:
Unfortunately, even though this is a NRA convention, concealed carry is verboten inside:
Here are the registration booths:
After my walk around the convention center, I walked around the downtown area and there seems to be plenty of bars and restaurants. I had dinner at a place called the Downtown Cantina and had a huge plate of Mexican food and a glass of Schlafly (a local microbrew) Hefeweizen. Excellent. The staff was friendly and the beer was cold and the service was fast. What more could you want.
I’m taking one of the NRA tours of St. Louis tomorrow with stops at the Gateway Arch and the Budweiser Plant. I’ll meet up with Denise afterwards and then we will go to the welcoming ceremony.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Their media is worse on Second Amendment issues. Every gun use is evil, statues with guns in them are evil, and gun owners are white and male and redneck and evil.
Every now and again, though, someone makes a statement in a liberal forum that bears repeating. Camille Paglia is a liberal and libertarian at the same time. She is published in Salon magazine, a very left-wing institution. She writes a column that periodically answers readers’ letters. A man from Brooklyn wanted to know her stand on the Second Amendment. Here is what she had to say in total:
As a Salon columnist (dating back to the founding of Salon in 1995), I have tried to provide a forum for defenders of the Second Amendment to make their case. The Northeastern major media, which remain heavily liberal, rarely permit these voices to be heard.
I do not own guns and have no interest in them. (Swords, those Homeric and chivalric emblems, have always attracted me more.) But as a libertarian, I read the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights as granting to private citizens the right to bear arms against the potential abuses of a government turned tyrannous. Furthermore, should police authority evaporate after a cataclysm of storm, flood, earthquake or terrorism, citizens have a right to defend their families and property against criminals and looters. If food and water are in short supply over a protracted period, expect predators and violence.
The horrendous problem of illegal guns now rampant among the urban underclass cannot be solved by depriving all American citizens of their Second Amendment rights. Major cities must address their internal problems, which include improving public education and vocational training, creating job-rich public works projects, and instituting on-the-street neighborhood policing. The major media, concentrated in their metropolises, should stop extrapolating their local issues to the nation as a whole.
I don't know if her solutions to urban violence would work, but I would have a lot less problem with liberal media if they could say the TRUTH about the Second Amendment.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Sometime ago, Yosemite Sam and I saw just how much guns interested at least one Japanese man. We went to a commercial indoor range for a little target practice. It's a range that also rents submachine guns and sells ammo. As we were signing up for a lane a man and a woman came to the counter to check out. She told me, "I hope you don't get the lane we had. There's a scary Japanese guy in the next one."
We entered the just vacated lane and, sure enough, there was a Japanese guy in the next lane. He was using one of the range's HK MP-5 fully auto guns. He wasn't scary to us, but he was intense and dedicated in his practice.
The area around was feet was covered with spent brass. I don't mean sprinkled, I mean covered like snow. Brass was piling up in corners and cartridges cases were sitting on top of another. It wasn't ankle deep, but I've never seen that much brass in one place shot by one person before.
While we were there, he kicked his way out of his brass pile and safely returned the MP-5 to the counter. He came back with a handgun and several boxes of ammo. He was hitting his target and taking his time with each shot. At one point while Yosemite was shooting, I complimented him on his shooting. He thanked me in polite but heavily accented English.
We went through six boxes each ourselves and then we left. He was still there shooting round after round and spending dollar after dollar. In fact, I can't imagine how much he spent there.
That's dedication and desparation all at the same time. Dedication to shooting and desparate to shoot all he can until he returns to his country where he can't shoot at all.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Some reviewers called it a right-wing fantasy full of vigilantes with guns. Others describe it as a left-wing movie and point to bad guys with pictures of Republicans in their offices. One of the good guys wears a Che Guevara tee-shirt. The man leading the evil-doers is a western Senator with a Dick Cheney vibe. The hero wonders about 9/11conspiracies.
Shooter is based on Stephen Hunter’s 1993 novel Point of Impact. I just finished reading it and it’s full of gunnie goodness. For some reason, I’d never heard of it and I’ve been a gunnie since I was eight years old. Maybe it’s a girl thing—wasting all that time on chick lit.
The book is about a disaffected Vietnam War master sniper named Bob Lee Swagger—gotta love that name. He retires on a service-connected disability to a mountaintop home in Arkansas with his dog and too many guns (as he describes it). A group of men led by a former colonel convinces Swagger that they need his help.
NOTE: Spoilers below.
They tell him about a plot to shoot the President and they need a sniper’s advice to foil the plot. They hook Swagger by telling him they have identified a Russian who is a former Soviet sniper, now turned contract killer. They convince Swagger that this man wounded him years ago and killed his spotter. So far as we know, the Russian never existed.
To make a long story short they set Swagger up as a patsy. However, the target isn’t the President, it’s an El Salvadoran Archbishop who apparently embraces liberation theology.
Swagger is helped by Nick Memphis—an FBI agent and former agency sniper—after Swagger saves Memphis’ life. In movie stills, Memphis is dark-haired and slender (he’s the one wearing the Che tee-shirt). In the book, he’s heavy-set and blond and Swagger nicknames him “Pork.” There’s no mention of a Che shirt. Together, they put a hurtin’ on the bad guys. It’s a good read for that alone.
Here’s the interesting thing. The book is politically as schizophrenic as the movie. It shows Swagger as a man who’s capable of violence, but in the service of justice even if he’s the one deciding what that is. He’s a shooting master and Hunter obviously knows guns. He wrote a beautiful elegy on the passing of Winchester as an American company (our post is here and the article is still available at the Washington Post). The book is full of gun knowledge, a love and respect for guns, and what it takes to hit a small target at 1,000 yards.
The book’s bad guys are a group of former military men. They work with a spook who’s attached to the CIA, the State Department, or both. The former soldiers are part of a “military-industrial complex” business that funnels weapons, training, and advisors to South American martinets among others. One El Salvadoran general massacred a village. The Americans helped lead it even though they didn’t condone it. All are trying to keep it covered up and the Archbishop becomes too nosy to live.
If you’re as old as I am, you’ll recognize that this political background is straight from the left-wing playbook of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Reagan’s administration funneled arms to the Contras in Nicaragua. There were Americans on the ground who probably helped right-wing dictators in South America.
I don’t know what Hunter’s politics are like. But, it doesn’t matter. He’s apparently a shooter and sympathizes with gun owners. That’s enough for me.
The movie updates the political environment in ways that I don’t necessarily like, but gunnie-ism shouldn’t be just for people who vote Republican. It transcends political agendas. Any man or woman who can shoot is most often a person who’s self-reliant and can protect his/her freedom and honor.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
On our way back, we plan to Support Buy A Gun Day. Yosemite Sam chose a few stores in Ohio to visit and we intend to add to our collection if the right gun at the right price presents itself--sometimes that C&R license really comes in handy. If you have any favorite gun stores in the Eastern Midwest (if there’s such a thing) just let us know.
We’ll blog about the convention (complete with pictures), Buy A Gun Day, any notable events or visits, so keep watching this space.
(Oh and just an event of note: This is my 500th post. I tend to write essays rather than make small news-oriented posts, so it took me awhile to get there.)