Monday, December 29, 2008

Four Years Ago Today

How about that? The Ten Ring is four years old today. Four years ago, I had this insane notion of tossing my words into the ether and Yosemite Sam didn't yell stop. In fact, he came along for the ride.

We have met bloggers and other people we would never have met. We have enjoyed the ride and plan to continue. Who knows, you may one day read an eighth anniversary post. How about that?

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Yosemite Sam and I are on our mini-vacation. Needless to say we are enjoying the relaxation and getting away from it all, I am using my Blackberry, so this will be short.

Santa was good to us. Yosemite got a sextant. He is a surveyor and cartographer, so it is right up his alley.

I got one of those flintlock pistol kits. I like working with my hands and have tools and equipment left over from when I did art and object conservation. I've also heard building one of those is an excellent way to understand how guns work.

Enough for now--my thumbs are cramping.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Chirstmas and Happy Holidays

I wanted to wish any one who reads one or all of our posts a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and a fabulous New Years.

Yosemite Sam and I are on an all too brief vacation and will continue to blog. Our posts will be short because I'll be blogging from my Blackberry. My thumbs aren't very fast. So enjoy your holidays and if you're traveling keep safe and here's hoping you don't get stuck in an airport.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hearing while Shooting

Yosemite Sam and I are getting ready for our holidays. We're taking a mini-vacation and plan on getting a little shooting done.

Speaking of shooting, we went to the range last Sunday. While there, I learned that I have to do something about my hearing loss. I was eight-years old when I started shooting. I shot outdoors, but without hearing protection. It just wasn't done back in those caveman days. Since then, I'm religious about making sure I wear plugs or muffs in or around my ears. Still, I'm hard of hearing (ask Yosemite Sam about my preferred TV volume setting).

What happened at the range you ask? Well, I was practicing bullseye shooting and in my defense I was deep in the zone. I had blocked out the rifle shooter on one side of me, the rapid-fire pistol shooter on the other side, and even my dear Yosemite Sam. The range officer called a cease fire and guess what, I was still potting away at my target. Yosemite had to get right up to the back of my head and yell "cease fire."

With that, my gun went to the table and my hands went up. I wondered what had gone wrong and to my relief found out it was no worse than a target carrier that had fallen and the range staff needed to repair it. No harm done, but I still feel bad. I know that when anyone calls a cease fire, it must be immediate and unquestioned.

I'm going to need muffs that block loud noises, but allows one to hear normal speech. I've seen ads for these electronic things, but have never tried them (they're a little spendy). Can anyone recommend a specific brand or model and mention how well they work? Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Is John Galt at Work

It's hard to believe it's been a week since I last posted and I was doing so good for awhile. Work has been picking up...yadda, yadda, yadda.

Here's something that struck me enough to grab the keyboard and bang away. Have you ever had an experience of reading a novel and thinking that the plot is unfolding in reality?

I've been reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (link below, and since Rand was a capitalist, I get a small cut if you buy it using my link). Politically, I'm a small "l" libertarian who wants to be left alone, so I was aware of Rand's books, but never picked one up. Dr. Helen's blog post on going John Galt inspired me to buy a copy and I finally cracked it open last week.

If you've ever read the book you'll know that it's comprised of over 1100 pages of closely printed text. It has long paragraphs of densely reasoned ideology that Rand puts into the mouths of her characters. That said, somehow the story and building suspense carries you along fairly fast.

John Galt is one of the three main heroes of the book. Galt has decided that society is irredeemable and that the "people of the mind;" that is, those who produce and use their minds to build bridges, railroads, and steel mills should go on strike by withdrawing their abilities from society.

Galt and others are tired of taxes, regulations, unions, social experiments (paying people based on need, not on ability). Many of America's brightest industrialists along with a musician, judge, movie star, and others withdraw. The society begins to collapse although the strikers give it a shove every now and then to hasten its fall.

That's what struck me: Is John Galt(ism) already at work? Look at the crap around us today.
  • Industrialists move production overseas for cheaper wages and less regulation;
  • Three car companies are failing partly because of union/retiree contracts;
  • Laws encourage risky mortgage loans;
  • People feel that they're owed a living simply by being born;
  • Our roads are falling apart;
  • and more.

Of course, our economy and society is no where near to the collapse depicted in Atlas Shrugged, but one still wonders. It's a good read, slow in places, but something that will raise many thoughts as you read it.

The scariest thought I had while reading the book: what if the best and brightest are going on strike and John Galt didn't invite me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Call a Waammbulance

The New York Times editorial board has thrown itself a crying fit over the new rule that permits concealed carry in the National Parks. It drips with condescension. Here’s a couple of quotes:

“Anticipating what Barack Obama has called “common-sense gun safety laws,” the Bush administration has rushed through a last-minute gun rule that is the antithesis of common sense.”
It doesn’t discuss why lawful carry of a gun in wilderness is not common sense. I grew up in the West where there are four and two-legged predators. My family always had guns in our camping gear. Parks are comparatively safe and one may never need a gun, but my house is safe and I may never need fire insurance. I still pay for it though.

“The presence of concealed, loaded weapons is likely to change that [safe parks], and it also is likely to pose an increased threat to wildlife.”

The rule change doesn’t change criminal behavior it only allows concealed carry permitees who meet certain conditions to carry a gun in a park. These permitees are among the most law-abiding people in the country. They won’t be shooting indiscriminately or poaching.

Finally here’s the kicker:
“Unfortunately, far too many states have laws that allow citizens to carry concealed weapons. But no one should misinterpret those laws as the will of the people. They too are the will of the N.R.A., which has done everything in its power to force dangerous gun laws through one State Legislature after the next.”

State after state has passed concealed carry laws. In each state, anti-gunners claimed there would be “blood on the streets,” “Dodge City shootouts,” and deadly road rage. None of that has happened. While we can’t prove that crime has not gone down because of these laws, we can show it has not gone up. There is no evidence that these are “dangerous gun laws.”

I don’t know if concealed carry is the “will of the people.” I don’t know how to determine that other than pointing out that legislatures have passed these laws. I believe permitless concealed carry is optimal, but with the current system we prove every day that “the people” have nothing to fear from permitees.

Being able to carry a gun even with a permit is a liberty. I thought liberal editorial boards supported the increase of personal liberty. I guess, not where guns are concerned.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

100 Things Meme

I have nothing today, thanks to meetings and other fun at work. Someone did ask me to do the 100 questions thing in an e-mai. Curious people sometimes get answers so here goes:

100 things I've done - items I have done are in bold

1. Started your own blog. (Duh)
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band. If a high school band counts.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. Some time ago anyway.
7. Been to Disneyland. When I was little and to Disney World too, but not to Epcot.

8. Climbed a mountain. If smallish mountains in New Hampshire (in a car), Texas, and the highest point in Florida counts.
9. Held a praying mantis. Yick, no—ever see a close up photo of one of those things.
10. Sang a solo. When younger and in church and I am not a singer—can’t carry a tune in a box.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris. I’ve been there several times and want to go back.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. I can write and draw a bit, but I am not accomplished.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning. That would be the great shrimp incident of 1992—I still have memory of that misery.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. Yosemite Sam and I went to the Louvre on a winter evening and were the only people in the room with Mona Lisa.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch-hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. But, don’t tell anyone….
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb. In a petting zoo, if that counts.
26. Gone skinny dipping. Alright I admit it, now get your minds out of the gutter.
27. Run a Marathon. Are you freaking kidding me!!!
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run. In softball in high school.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community. Not up close, but traveled through them.
36. Taught yourself a new language. I taught myself French, went to France, came back and hired a tutor for my next trip, enough said.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. I am in that position now and happy with what I have (I will accept any and all raises though).
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke. See #10 for my singing abilities.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance. I've been lucky.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. The latter not the former.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business. An art conservation studio.
58. Taken a martial arts class. I’ve taken more than one.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. Not for awhile though.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check. A long time ago in college.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone. I had a greenstick fracture in my arm and my nose has been broken twice (should have ducked).
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. Been on, but not driving it.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Fairly often.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury. I served on a sexual abuse of a child case, one of the most intense experiences in my life.
91. Met someone famous. Several, but they would have no memory of me (including Fred Thompson, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Frank Church, Dirk Kempthorne, and a few others).
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one. Grandparent and I dread the day I lose my parents.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake. When I was little.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone. You have to ask nowadays, how about “Owned a land-line phone.”
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

I'm not going to tag anyone with this. The list is interesting though and it reminded me of the many phases of my life and the things I still want to do. There are a few though I don't want to do at all such as being involved in a law suit, being in an ambulance, and holding a praying mantis.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Reading Stephen Hunter

This isn’t a book review mainly because I haven’t finished the book yet, but I’m reading Stephen Hunter’s The 47th Samurai now. I got introduced to Mr. Hunter’s novels after I saw the movie Shooter and reviewed the book here. After that, I started reading more of Hunter’s work.

In case you don’t know, Hunter is a movie reviewer for the Washington Post. He once wrote spy/war novels and then invented the character of Bob Lee Swagger and later his father, Earl Swagger. Earl won the Medal of Honor at Iwo Jima and served as an Arkansas state trooper (no spoilers, but Earl died young). Bob Lee was a master sniper in Vietnam.

Both characters are fascinating individuals and I grew to like them a lot, even though Hunter’s novels are far removed from other genres I love (literary fiction, certain chick-lit, sci-fi in particular). I waited for The 47th Samurai to come out in paper and wish now that I had just bought when it first came out in hardback.

As the title implies, Bob Lee Swagger is in Japan. Earl had captured a Japanese sword that proves to be important to a businessman who is tied to Yakuza gangsters. Swagger returns the sword to a family who is later slaughtered. He must fight the Yakuza as a blood-debt to the family. He learns rudimentary sword skills and couples that with his determination and honor.

I’m reading the book with a fine “suspension of disbelief.” Swagger is a master with guns and I doubt one could master the sword as fast as he does—even though Hunter takes pains to depict Swagger as being very lucky. That said it’s a good read and an excellent way to spend some entertainment hours.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Stimulating the Economy

As it always does, the news cycle has moved on. There are few articles written with indignant tones about crazed gun owners buying guns, ammo, and magazines. Of course, people are still buying and the news cycle may cover it again, but for now it’s quiet.

Yosemite Sam and I gladly helped stimulate the economy. We bought some ammo, a few magazines, and three rifles.

We felt that Obama would win the election, particularly when the economy so dramatically tanked. On Columbus Day, Yosemite Sam bought a Dragunov-type rifle and I bought an AR-15 rifle. When we were in New Hampshire this past weekend, I saw another rifle that anti-gunners hate, an SKS.

Well, it followed me home. The one I bought was made in the former Soviet Union’s Izhevsk arsenal during 1954. It's a welcome addition to the collection even though Yosemite Sam owns another Russian SKS.

Obama may not lead an anti-gun campaign (remains to be seen), but our foes in Congress and the bureaucracy will be heartened. It would only take certain interpretations of existing laws to slow or stop imports of ammo and guns. It would only take passing and signing of a law banning sales of black rifles. It wouldn’t take much to damage our gun rights.

That’s why Yosemite and I decided to spend about $2,500.00 of our hard-earned money on three rifles and other items. They were rifles we had talked about buying anyway, so we can thank the incoming administration for motivating us. And, here they are with a bonus close up of the SKS.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Home and Mumbai Ramblings

Yosemite Sam and I returned from New Hampshire on Sunday. Traffic was unbelievable that day and the wet weather didn’t help. We helped support out our favorite gun shop in New Hampshire. I’ll be posting more on that tomorrow when I can download pictures from the camera. Let’s just say, something followed us home.

I wanted to say something about the Mumbai incident. I probably have nothing here that you already haven't read, but here goes.

Every gun or suicide-belt attack illustrates how a defensive posture doesn’t work. My point does not include just terrorists, but also rampage shooters, angry spouses, and even garden variety armed robbers. Our leaders hope to defeat these people by giving us security theater. They ban guns from civilian carry in public places, they set up metal detectors, have unarmed guards check luggage and IDs, write security manuals. Then they tell us we’re safer.

Such defensive postures are an illusion. Granted, they may make car bombings more difficult if vehicles are kept back from buildings by barricades or building design. But, all the metal detectors in the world won’t stop a woman wearing a suicide belt, or a man with a gun.

The only thing that stops these attacks is the death of the would-be attacker. The only way to affect that death is to have armed people on the scene. Those people could be police or military, but there aren't enough of them to protect every possible target.

Armed citizens can help. They couldn't prevent all deaths, they may even accidentally shoot an innocent person (police or military could do so as well), but overall they could reduce the carnage by applying controlled and justified violence. In all events, it’s better to have people fight than cower under a table waiting for that fatal bullet.

It’s a sad thing to write that. I’d prefer to live in a world with puppies and unicorns where no violence is done to others for good or evil reasons. I don’t live in that world and neither do you.

It is time to realize that all the security at airports and in our buildings cannot make us safe. It may have a role to play, but without enough armed citizens who by definition are at possible targets at all times, there is no real safety.

If I ruled America, I’d ensure that Americans had access to good training and ranges for practice. I don’t and the security theater will remain our paradigm.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Yosemite Sam and I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are home in New Hampshire and it is good to be here. Yosemite Sam loves how quiet it is. Our cat loves being able to go upstairs and be away from the dog.

I cooked a small meal with some traditional elements. We called family. In short, we had a great day. It is good to be away from thinking about politics, work, and other stuff.

We took that civics test that many people are talking (no link, not sure how to do links on a Blackberry). Yosemite Sam got every one right and I missed one. I noticed these results are similar to other gun bloggers and commenters. Not too bad for a bunch of cousin-loving, redneck, bitter clingers. The average on the web site was about 78 per cent.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Over The River

Well, I tried to blog yesterday, but I am taking today off and the boss kept tossing stuff on my desk to get done before my mini-vacation.

Of course I could have blogged from home, but packing took precedence. I am posting this from Yosemite Sam's truck from my Blackberry (phone-blogging, is this a great country or what).

We're on our way home to New Hampshire where we will eat, shoot our new and old guns, and have fun. Talk to you all later.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Gun Nut Weekend

Yosemite Sam and I were busy enjoying our gun-nuttiness to its fullest. That also means that we spent more money than we planned. Oh well, such is life. After all, what’s the point of working if you can’t spend the proceeds of that work on something you enjoy?

Friday night, Yosemite Sam and I joined yet another gun club, an Izaak Walton League Chapter here in Maryland. The chapter is also engaged in conservation work, supporting fishing and hunting rights, and other good works. All in all, we believe it’s a good fit. Still a year’s worth of membership and initiation fees does make the pocketbook a bit lighter.

Saturday, we went to the Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly, VA (thanks to Matt at Armed Canadian for offering to pick stuff up early for us—we saw his comment to this post too late to take him up on it).

Yesterday was cold with a raw wind. We arrived at the Dulles Expo Center around 10:30and faced full parking lots. After parking, we stood outside in line for about 15 minutes with the wind chapping our faces, the concrete chilling our feet. We paid the $12.00 each admission fee and roamed around.

We bought some books, several magazines for our ARs and a semi-auto handgun of mine. We didn’t buy ammo partly because we had recently bought some and because they had few individual boxes. Dealers had good supplies of 1000 round cases of .223, but we’re waiting for pay day and we’ll be in tax-free New Hampshire over Thanksgiving (wink wink.

We saw lots of guns in this huge show. Dealers showed $25,000 muskets, and $25,000 Thompson submachine guns (not the same dealers). Disturbingly, there was no beef jerky. Sad, but true. Ammo dealers and black rifle dealers were doing a brisk business.

We saw media camera crews interviewing dealers and customers. I hope they don’t focus on militaria vendors with their German helmets and swastikas, but that’s probably too much to hope for. We witnessed the humanity that you see at guns shows; ordinary people who simply like to shoot and go to a gun show for wide selections of guns, gear, and accessories all at 15% included.

In short, we came home poorer, tired, and today I am reading about the competitive AR-15, one of the books I bought at the show.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sad Commentary

In going through the referrals in Sitemeter, I noticed a sad commentary on today’s attitude toward gunnies. A Google searcher was looking for how society views people who choose “riflery.” I may be reading too much into it, or even reading it wrong (see screenshot and you can interpret it as you wish).

At one time in America owning a rifle and mastering it was not something that you would even question. For various reasons people valued those skills. The book I reviewed here has a chapter on a famous rifle match in the 1800s held at Creedmoor and how the public was entranced with the plucky American team.

It’s a shame that nowadays we even after worry about society’s attitude toward us. It’s even worse that we have to worry about gun bans and other such nonsense. Life in America today. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Voting with Our Pocketbooks

We have all read of increases in gun, ammo, and accessories sales. Stores are running out of guns, prices are going up, magazines are getting hard to find. The anti-gun people are fuming in numerous editorials and on places like Democratic Underground.

I believe most of the increase stems from concerns that the incoming administration will pass laws that ban sales of black rifles, ban sales of normal capacity magazines, and who knows what they might pass to decrease ammo sales.

The best way to let the incoming administration know how we feel is to continue “voting with our pocketbooks.” When people open up their wallets and plunk down $1,000.00 for a rifle, $100.00 for magazines, and $200.00 for ammo it means that people are serious about owning all three. It means more guns in American hands. It means that enforcing future bans will be a nightmare.

Today is National Ammo Day. If you can’t buy ammo today, get out this weekend and buy at least 100 rounds. In Michael Bane’s words, “Buy, Buy, Buy.”

Yosemite Sam and I are going to a gun show in Virginia this weekend and we’ll be buying magazines (if available) and more ammo. Who knows, maybe another booomstick will follow us home.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fudds Redux

(NOTE: Yosemite Sam put up a post on this subject just as I was finishing this one. Rather than toss it in the bit bucket, here it is.)

Bill Schneider has gone and started the whole Fudd thing up again. We all know what a Fudd is. Well, don’t we? Just in case, “Fudd” is derived from Elmer Fudd the hapless hunter of Bugs Bunny. It often describes people who are lukewarm on at least some aspects of gun rights, but could mean more depending on the reader.

I think the name Fudd is too encompassing to be useful. Yosemite Sam said recently “Fuck the Fudds” a sentiment not well received by some. By Fudds, Yosemite didn't mean all hunters, bullseye shooters, silhouette shooters, or others who don’t do “tactical.” Instead he defined Fudds as those gun owners who actively work against gun rights—or at least rights to own some guns (see comment #14).

Schneider went ahead and proved Yosemite right. He said, “Losing some of my gun rights doesn’t make my top twenty concerns. If that makes me a ‘traitor,’ well, we have a pandemic of treason in this country.” He would gladly trade some of his gun rights in order to have Obama fight corporate greed, homelessness, and stop “unwinnable” wars. He even takes us to task for saying we would not buy from Cooper Firearms because company president Dan Cooper supported Obama.

Have you noticed that when union members or others on the left agree not to spend their hard-earned money for a cause it’s noble. When gun owners do it, it’s somehow “a mean-spirited attack” (yes Schneider said that).

I have no argument against Fudds if it means only hunters. Yosemite Sam and I hunt and often have as much luck in the field as good ole Elmer had against Bugs. But I do have plenty to say, none of it nice, about gun owners who would throw me and mine under the bus.

These gun owners aren’t Fudds, they’re turncoats who want to register/license guns, ban black rifles or handguns, and support “common-sense restrictions.” We have enough of these laws that don’t work.

Here’s a big difference between them and me. You see, I’ll gladly protect their rights to own an over/under shotgun and a scoped Cooper rifle. In fact, I own guns that the Fuddiest Fudd would love. But, they’re willing to ban other guns that I own and like to shoot.

Oh, Schneider also took the NRA to task and believes that 99% of us gun nuts belong to it. Let's prove him right. If you're not a member, clicky.

There’s a gun show coming up, I think I need more magazines, ammo, maybe another black rifle. Hmmm….

Fudd the Fudds

Sebastian has a short post that questions the use of this term. What can I say, I disagree. I think the word Fudd is a useful term for the subset of hunters who just don't get it and will gleefully vote for someone like Obama and throw every other shooter under the bus as long as they get to keep their precious hunting rifles and shotguns.

As I said in a comment on his blog:
I for one have never seen the term Fudd ever used as a general term for all hunters. If that was the case, I would be a Fudd as well. I just can’t get with the program of making nice with a group(Fudd’s & western Democrats) who hold my rights in disdain and tell me that the government would never take away my guns(unless I own a military style “assault weapon” or a handgun or a bb gun or ……).

We (the non-Fudd's) didn't create the wedge in the shooting community. I have absolutely no problem with them as long as they leave me and mine alone. But they don't want to do that. They have been selling our rights down the river for the last 40 years and I for one have no desire to play nice-nice with them.

How many of you out there have a story about a Fudd at the gun club that was giving you crap because of your black rifle or your less than pricey shotgun? I bet just about everyone has a story.

Maybe when Fudds stop looking down on the rest of the shooting community as nothing more than dog shit on their shoes, I can make nice. Anyone see that happening anytime soon?

Friday, November 14, 2008

American Rifle: A Biography (Gunnie Book Review)

Alexander Rose is an American-born military historian who grew up in Australia, was educated in Great Britain, once lived in Canada, now lives in New York, and a former journalist. He wrote American Rifle as a biography of well, American rifles. Given his own mini-biography (see his website) you might think we would decry the role of rifles in America (given that there is an “America Sucks” school of history).

Instead, Rose has maintained an admirable objectivity. He concerns himself primarily with military rifles. Sometimes he makes room for discussions of what was going on in the civilian market, but mainly as that market would then or later affect the military.

American Rifle opens with a vignette. In 1772, Charles Wilson Peale is painting a portrait of the youngish George Washington who insisted that a rifle be included in the background. The book then backtracks into earlier history of the rifle. Later, Rose states that Washington learned to appreciate rifles as an Indian fighter on the colonial frontier.

Washington became the model of what Rose describes as the tension between sharpshooting and mass firing philosophies. As commander of the colonial forces during the American Revolution, Washington at first stressed aimed fire by small bands of marksmen. He learned that battle still had to be joined with soldiers bearing muskets (in fact, the army had too many rifles and scrambled to find muskets). The conflict between marksmanship and mass-firing continued to affect rifle development throughout United States history.

Rose names the advocates of marksmanship the “progressives” (no relation to people who use the name today) who believed that war could be fought by small cadres of marksmen who would surgically destroy an enemy through long-range carefully aimed shots. He names the mass-firing disciples the “diehards” who believed in throwing a great deal of lead while fighting at closer ranges—much like 18th century lines of musket wielding troops who pointed their weapons but did not aim them.

Rose discusses the development of most of America’s military rifles and shows how the tension between progressives and diehards explain some truly surprising choices in military rifles. For instance, after the Civil War the Ordnance Department believed the “Trapdoor” Springfield had reached the absolute zenith of accuracy and fire discipline. Small bands of marksmen could use it to hit officers and enemy soldiers at 1,000 yards. In this context, former Union officers and others formed the National Rifle Association to increase marksmanship and lead the way to such a military.

Unfortunately for progressives, soldiers experienced something quite different in the Indian Wars. Instead, Indians attacked quickly and tried to get among the soldiers. The soldiers needed repeating rifles that could throw a lot of lead. They pushed the military to consider repeating arms such as the Winchester and others.

Slowly, the army began to adopt repeaters, but even as late as 1900 kept a magazine cut-off that would force a soldier to load one cartridge at a time (as on the 1903 Springfield rifle). Another five rounds were kept in “reserve” in the internal magazine.

Today, we still have arguments between very accurate guns and rapid-firing guns and tactics that take advantage of one or both (see the chapter on the M-14 versus the M-16 especially).

I wish Rose had included more discussion of civilian guns. Granted, most civilian makers have tried to get the military interested in their guns. Also, military developments certainly impact the civilian market (less so now with banning civilian ownership and development of new fully-auto rifles).

American Rifle explains how our rifles came into being. It describes the successful innovations and the failures. It shows that their development was not just one straight line from the Kentucky Rifle to the M4 Carbine. At any point, another road could have been taken. It tells of lost opportunities such as the early breechloader invented by John H. Hall. It is well written and a valuable addition to any gunnie’s library.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remember what I said about Fudds(or Blue Dogs)

via Sebastian, we have a new name to add to the growing list of so-called pro-gun, Obama supporting Democrats.

John Patrick Williams is a former Congressman from Montana who wrote another one of those screeds about how I support gun rights, but the NRA is now so radical and partisan and Obama isn't going to take your guns.

They must have a form letter keyed up on the server at the DNC.

He starts by asserting his pro-gun creds:
"During my nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, I had a 100 percent
voting record with the National Rifle Association. Not once did I vote for gun
control; ..."

He goes on to say how the NRA endorsed him in each of his elections.

Now we come to the BUT.

"Thus, I have been both saddened and alarmed to watch that organization's
three-decade-long lurch toward the political Far Right"

But they still supported him, a Democrat and they still support pro-gun Democrats, like Dan Boren from Oklahoma who spoke at the 2008 NRA convention.

He goes on:

"The organization's primary focus should be on vastly improving game habitat in
America, advancing hunting fair play, and the safety of our youngest hunters."

No, the primary focus of the organization should be what the membership vote for it to do. The membership see the 3 decade long attack on their right to bear arms and they want the NRA to fight that.

Now he really gets out the smoke generator:
"First the good news: The federal government, your elected officials, never have
and are not now conspiring to take our guns."

You have to wonder where this guy was throughout the 1990's, on Mars? Does he not remember the Assault Weapon Ban, Diane Feinstein's famous remark about Mr. & Mrs. America to turn them all in. The confiscations in California, which his party runs, lock, stock & barrel.


"The urge to blame President-elect Obama is a transparent example of how utterly
partisan the gun groups and far too many of their adherents have become."

Wow, did he really say that. Sorry to be rude, Mr. Congressman, but have you looked on your President-elect's transition web site. It says, right there, that he wants to restore the "assault weapons ban. And we are the ones that are paranoid and partisan for taking the man at his word?

He goes on to say that Obama's record "somewhat favored gun control" Somewhat! The man is on record saying that he wants to ban concealed carry, ban so-called "assault weapons", the list goes on & on & on. He is without a doubt the most anti-gun individual to be elected President in American history.

But Congressman Williams, I'll make you a deal.

If Obama would say the following, maybe a little faith and trust could develop about your party's commitment to the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution:

I will sign no bill or issue no executive order that in any way, shape or form infringes on Americans rights & freedom to own any firearms or firearm paraphernalia they may so choose to own that are legal at the time I was elected.

Guess what, it isn't going to happen.

Folks, get used to this. The Democrats are going to go whole hog to discredit the NRA and gun owners. They are going to trot out their pet Blue Dogs and get them to write editorials like this which I term I support gun rights but.....

It's going to get worse before it gets better.

We Already Have Gun Control Laws

Yesterday, Ten Ring had 835 hits (a lot for us). Most of them came from links to this post on why gunnies are buying guns now. Thanks to CrankyLitProf for the link and kind words, kudos to Tam, and thanks to SayUncle.

I wrote a comment on CrankyLitProf (if you have a love/hate relationship with a cat, you must read this post). I wanted to follow up on that comment and my original post. If you’re already a gunnie, this will be old hat, but maybe not so much for others.

Many Americans say that they don't want governement to take away our guns. They only want tougher controls. You see that's the problem, most of these people have little ideas about what laws exist now (read the links for more details--I could write too many words about all of them).

Gun owners have watched government impose tougher controls for years. In 1934 there was the tax on machine guns and sawed-off shotguns (among other items). That law is still in effect. In 1968 Congress passed the backbone of gun laws in the United States. Certain aspects of the law proved too draconian and hard to enforce and were ameliorated in 1986 with the Firearm Owners Protection Act.

Since 1986, there have been other laws and executive orders that chipped away at gun rights. Then there was the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban (AWB). The problem with this law is there's no such thing as an “assault weapon” and the law tried to define one as a semi-automatic gun (not machine guns) with certain features (bayonet lugs, pistol grips, etc.). It expired and was not renewed in 2004.

The law made no sense. Worse a gun owner could unwittingly become a felon. For instance, a husband and wife could have bought a rifle in 1998 and both used it for target shooting. The wife needed a shorter stock, so rather than buy a new rifle, the husband puts an adjustable stock on it. If the gun had been made prior to 1994, that act would be legal. If it were made after 1994, the husband committed a felony.

In the final analysis the Center for Disease Control commissioned a blue ribbon panel to find out if gun laws actually reduced crime. After exhaustive research the panel announced, “The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes.” (They added that the absence of findings was not evidence the laws were ineffective either.)

So, after 40 or 74 years (depending on how you date them) gun control laws have not proven effective. However, hundreds if not thousands of gun owners, gun store proprietors, gunsmiths and others have been prosecuted for technical violations of ineffective laws. Millions of gun owners have had to make their way through a minefield of complicated laws.

More gun laws will not solve the problem of gun violence. Instead, go to the heart of it and figure out why too many young men are shooting, stabbing, and bludgeoning other young men. But, that solution takes too much work. So, instead we’re hearing about another round of ineffective laws. It’s enough to make you cry.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reconciliation and All That

I stumbled on a new site (thanks Smallest Minority). People send a message by posting pictures of themselves holding up signs. This one is called "From 52 to 48 with Love." Most of the messages, as the site name implies, are from Obama voters to McCain voters. They make nicey-nicey kissy faces for us. Their messages are things like, "58 to 48 = 1" and "Together we can make us better."

Hard to argue with the sentiment, but that's all it is. Most of them want us to come over to their side. To unite behind their Obama.

I agree that Obama won the election and he's legitimately the President-Elect. But, I'm concerned about what his policies will do to me and mine. For instance, one of the 52's mentioned we can have better health care if we work together. I don't want government to have power over me that health care could entail.

People have told me not to sweat about an Obama presidency. They say he would not want to spend the political capital it would take to pass gun control, socialized health care, green issues, etc.

Here's the thing. What if Obama decides that his ideas are too important to put on hold? What if he feels he won't win a second term because so many oppose him? He could go hell for leather and ram through many of his ideas in his first two years in office. He could then spend the next two years defending his gains against a possibly less favorable Congress (a significant percentage of Americans support almost everything he wants, so he might not even lose Congress).

By the time there's a new President, the damage would be done. We gunnies have never been able to get rid of the Hughes amendment. Could we get rid of an Obama imposed ban on "assault weapons," a ban on concealed carry, a new department for health care, a new civilian security force, etc? We might be able to change or abolish some things, but the damage will be done for years to come.

And, while we're at it, I know that the 52's on the photo site are trying to extend an olive branch and for that I thank them. But, will they promise to support the President after Obama who tries to undo Obama's terrible policies?

The stakes are frighteningly high, which is why I'll resist the new President with everything I can. I will use this blog, my letter writing skills, and everything else I can to slow down the juggernaut. My contribution will be vanishingly small, but united we can make a difference, so--forgive me--Together We Can!

Friday, November 07, 2008

More Guns in American Hands, Yay

Surprise! Surprise! I glanced at the on-line version of The New York Times (I do not subscribe to that or to any other paper, and still I read a lot of news--ain't the web grand). What do I see, but an article about increased gun sales.

These increases are not just a little bump. I guess the entire country must have read my post advocating we buy guns, ammo, and reloading supplies (I know it's not so, just let me bask in my delusion for a moment...there done).

Yosemite Sam and I already did our part. Once the economy tanked, I suspected that Obama would win. We went to New Hampshire over Columbus Day and I bought a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle to join my AR-15 carbine (an M4gery with collapsible stock and even a [useless] bayonet lug].

Yosemite Sam bought a Dragunov-type rifle that he's wanted for awhile. He likes the AK platform. I found that I can't shoot one. The recoil slams its stock into my cheek bone and bruising around the face is not good.

This weekend, we're going to a sporting goods store in Pennsylvania (we don't entirely trust Maryland gun laws yet) and buy some ammo, AR magazines, and reloading supplies. That is, if they are available.

In case there is an anti-gunnie reading this, I honestly don't expect to fire a rifle in anger. I'm not preparing for a survivalist's wet-dream. I'm buying them to ensure that I will have guns and ammo I need and want no matter what laws you pass. I will have them and I will pass my guns down to my heirs. But, please understand this, if you ban possession of guns and ammo, I will not turn them in, I will not register them, and I will die defending them.

Freedom to speak, to worship or not to worship as I see fit, and to own guns are all freedoms worth fighting for. I could list more freedoms, but that's enough for now.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Constructive Ideas for Hope and Change

I'm sober now and re-read my last post. The scary thing is that I would change little of it. You see, Yosemite Sam is more strident than I am. When I say things like, "...he will never be my president" you know how despondent I am. I have always cherished liberty and freedom. Liberty is heading out the window and the American people opened that window. That's the source of my despondency.

I called in sick today, but tomorrow I face my liberal coworkers--basically my entire office and boss. I have to face a woman who brags about ripping down McCain signs. A man who bought a $100.00 bottle of champagne in 2004 to toast a Kerry victory and finally blogged about drinking it last night. There's more, but I won't bore you. Suffice it to say I have to suck it up.

But, I want to be constructive here. Let's talk about protecting our firearm rights. Yosemite Sam included some of these ideas in an uber-post, so I'll repeat ourselves a little. Also, don't forget that states might enact laws even if nothing happens at the Federal level.

--Expect an "Assault Weapons" Ban sometime in the next two years. It's possible that Obama and company will not want to spend political capital, but don't count on it. Buy ammo, black rifles, and magazines.

--Expect laws to curb ammo availability such as taxation or purchase/storage limits. Some states and Congresscritters hate the fact that people can make their own ammo. Learn to reload and buy equipment and components. With care, anyone can make safe loads and thus avoid taxes, ammo registries, etc.

--Expect range closings and further demonization of gun owners. Join a local range. Be an advocate for gun ownership. Let them know you're not a cousin-lovin', banjo playin', big-bellied redneck. But, also let them know that you'll never give up your guns and your liberty.

--Expect the introduction of various anti-gun laws such as bans on concealed carry, specific weapon bans (not just AWBs), zoning gun stores out of business, convoluted regulations that are impossible to meet, etc. To fight them join the NRA.

I know that many say the NRA compromises too much. Maybe so, but if government is going to pass draconian laws, it's better to have a lobbyist that can help reduce their impact. The deck is stacked against legal and societal agreement with "the right to bear arms shall not be infringed." We have a long ways to go to get back to a basic and correct understanding of the Second Amendment. Our rights disappeared incrementally, we can protect them or get them back the same way.

Lastly, remember that we gunnies have made a lot of progress. The anti-gun people will have a lot to roll back. We can still win legislative and court victories even with an anti-gun administration. We must work to find and elect good people who will protect our rights. We must fund and file legal challenges to every anti-gun law that comes down the pike.

Let's get 'er done.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President (N)obama

Well, at this time it looks like Obama will be the President. I am not happy about that at all and I am far from being a McCain fan. I also admit that I've had a little too much Southern Comfort to really make sense so forgive me any faux pas.

In the spirit of reconciliation I will accept Obama as the President. I will give him the same "support" and acceptance that lefties gave Bush in the last eight years. I will give him the same respect that they gave Bush and Condi Rice and Dick Cheney. I will give him the same treatment that they gave to Sarah Palin.

Yep, Obama is the president now. But, he will never be my president. He will also not be the president of almost half of the American people. The other 51% that voted for this empty suit have earned their socialism good and hard. I only hope the blowback from his policies doesn't hit me and mine.

May God have mercy on America.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Get Out and Vote!!

I hope I'm wrong, but I think Obama will win this election. Granted the polls may be wrong for any number of reasons, but they are consistent and that gives me pause. I also have a gut feeling that we will be talking about a President Obama on Wednesday.

Even if you think McCain will lose, I urge everyone to vote. If there are enough of us, Obama may only have an Electoral College win while losing the popular vote. Even if he wins both electoral and popular votes, we will put him on notice. He will see that 47-49% of Americans do not want him in the Oval Office.

I don't know if that will influence how he governs, but it could. It could also give those who oppose or are affected by Obama's policies (be that "share the wealth," or anti-gun laws) hope that we can change the political landscape in 2010 and ulitmately in 2012. Hey, that means we too can have Hope and Change.

Friday, October 31, 2008

We Aim to Fight

Sebastain has an interesting post and comment thread about the Cooper firearms issue.

Here is my take:

Well, since the board of directors essentially fired Dan Cooper, there seems to be alot more of us than people like MTGunowner(a commenter on Sebastian's post) and his ilk.

Face it Fudds, you’re a dying breed.
Dan Cooper was willing to sell us out to support a politician that has never met a gun control proposal that he didn’t whole heartedly support and feel that it probably didn’t go far enough. Hell, Obama is on tape saying he supports a Federal ban on concealed carry. That’s telling people in Montana & Alaska that they can’t peaceably carry their firearms as they have been doing for years.

Well, we aren’t going to take it anymore. We aren’t going to give our custom to businesses that will sell us down the river hoping that the crocodile will eat them last.
This isn’t 1992 anymore. We are organized and we are going to fight.

If you support gun banning politicians, we will NOT DO BUSINESS WITH YOU.

Actually, I'll take it further than that.

Fuck the Fudds.

They have been selling our gun rights down the river for the last 50 years.

They are ones who have allowed the anti-gun politicans to get away with the lie that the 2nd Amendement is about hunting.

What I propose is an old fashioned shunning

We will not do business in any way with these people who support by words or deeds politicians who aim to deprive us of our god-given rights.

I've had enough.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Death at a Gun Club

I was spending a little free time reading the Boston Globe. I was dismayed to read an article about an eight-year old boy dying at a gun club's machine gun shoot.

Evidently, an instructor and the boy's father let the boy fire a fully-automatic Uzi. Before anyone could react, the short-barreled gun's recoil forced it to climb and turn on the boy. A bullet struck him in the head.

The article linked above has, as of this post, 61 comments. All the commenters describe it as senseless. Several betray the ignorance of the commmenters who call for bans on all "assault weapons." Anti-gunners have been very effective in making sure full-auto and semi-auto guns are confused in people's minds.

Still, I must weigh in with an opinion, but it is just that. I was not there at the club and I don't know all the particulars. Given that, here it is: the boy should not have been allowed to fire the gun on full-auto unless its magazine had been loaded with no more than three rounds.

I have never fired a full-auto Uzi, but I have fired several automatic weapons including a Thompson, MP-5, and an AWD M/11 in 9mm. I know about muzzle climb and how to defeat it--trigger control.

The M/11 I fired has a very high rate of fire. It can climb and pivot toward you faster than you think. It comes with a little strap in the front to help you control it. If you fire it without the wire stock extended or the strap around your hand, or a suppressor to provide a forward grip (or all three), it could easily get away from you.

An eight-year old does not have the experience or trigger discipline to control a small subgun with a full magazine. The gun's owner, the instructor, the father, and the gun club made a mistake. Accidents happen, but we must take care to prevent them.

I am sorry for the family's loss and the trauma that all the participants and witnesses to this tragedy will suffer. Unfortunately, they have given the anti-gun people another terrible incident to exploit.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How 'bout That

Have you ever watched your car's odometer click up to a nice round, fat number? I have. I just checked Sitemeter and Ten Ring is about to hit 300,000 visits (it's on 299,997 right now).

Thank you all for your support even though we haven't won any contests for most blog posts.

We are both planning election/gun posts and taking a deep breath because of the closeness of the polls. Keep watching this space. Thanks again.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Here we are, less than a month from the presidential election and well, let's say that I am not at all sanguine that my side is going to carry the day this time around. I just have to look around, with my jaw dropped in astonishment that this country is on the verge of giving the highest office in the land to the Chicago political machine. Let that sink in. The most corrupt institution in this country will have their finger on the button, so to speak, and be in a position to influence all of our lives. Mayor Daley's kingdom could quite possibly get a whole lot bigger.

The debate last night didn't put my mind at ease or make me feel any more confident. Let's face it, if the American people have a choice between a Democrat and a Democrat, they'll pick the Democrat(the real one) every time.

With that said, I think that the odds are way better than even that Barak Obama will be the next President of the United States.

There are many reasons for this, but I will name several.

1.) It is extremely difficult for a party in power to win reelection for a third term after 8 years in the White House. It has only been done twice since the Second World War: in 1948 with Truman, by the skin of his nose and in 1988 with George HW Bush, after the popular presidency of Ronald Reagan. With this fact in mind, it is already an uphill struggle, particularly so with one of the most unpopular Presidents in a generation as the current President. Regardless of other circumstances, John McCain has his work cut out for him.

2.) In hard economic times the American people invariably turn out the party in power. From Hoover to FDR, Carter to Reagan and Bush to Clinton, the American people turn to the other party when the economy sours. Maybe this is unfair, but people want someone to blame when their economic future looks bleak. This time it is the Republicans turn to get spanked.

3.) Americans love Socialism. One of the things I notice while reading right-leaning blogs is the argument to not vote for Obama because he is a socialist. Regardless of the truth of this statement, to the teeming masses of the American people, this is a feature not a bug. Think of all of the semi-Socialist programs already in place (eg. Social Security & Medicare) and think what would happen if any Republican Congress or President was to try to end any of them. I think we all know that they would be hounded from office. This is the hurdle that the Reagan Revolution could not leap and why it stalled in the mid-80’s. Americans love their socialist programs and have no problem with more of the same.

4.) Youth and/or eloquence always wins elections. Let’s face the hard fact, Obama sounds good and is quite a contrast to the old and tired looking John McCain. That may be unfair, but elections are seldom fair or about the best person winning.

With these points in mind, I find it almost impossible to believe that John McCain will win the upcoming election. Unless there is a major revelation or breakdown in the Obama camp, I don’t see how he can lose.

So, how are we as gunnies going to deal with this situation?

First things first, take a deep breath and realize that it is not the end of the world.

We have a lot more going for us than we did in 1992 when Bill Clinton was elected President. Concealed Carry is the law of the land in 48 states and Shall Issue is the law in the majority of those 48.

We have the Heller decision that recognizes the Right to Bear Arms beyond anything we could have hoped in the 90’s.

So from the start, we are not starting from the low level we were at when Clinton became President. A lot has been accomplished in the last decade and our opponents will have a hard time trying to roll that back. I also wonder how much they will try.

One of the holy grails for the Democratic Party is some sort of universal health care coverage. Several years ago, I visited the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO and they had a list of the Democratic Party planks in 1948. One of them was, you guessed it, universal health care. So, they have wanted this for a loooooong time. Now, if they from the get go govern to the Left, as Bill Clinton did in 1993, they will immediately get a push back from half of the American people, as Bill Clinton learned in 1994. If they want to accomplish any of their agenda, they will have to moderate and at least attempt to govern from the middle. So, if they push radical gun control or other radical Left policies, they will be shut down in their tracks and there will be a party switch in Congress in 2010.

Another factor that will ameliorate the influence of Obama and the Democrats is the flip side of America’s love of Socialism. America may love its socialism, but it hates taxes. The problem for the Democrats is that to pay for one, you have to raise the other. Raise them too high and they risk being turned out en-masse from office. Raising them in the teeth of a recession is committing collective suicide. The Democrats can try deficit spending, but then they face a return to the stagflation of the seventies. If they go too far with either tax hikes or deficit spending, they risk being turned out on their ear. With the programs that Obama has promised, they will have a real problem trying to pay for them without turning to one of the two choices just mentioned.

Finally, I think it is time for the Democratic Party to put its money where its mouth is. They have been reacting to and blaming Bush for the last two years they have been in power. Now, they can take their try at leadership. It's a lot harder to lead than to react to the other party. Let's face it, the Democrats have been acting like the opposition party for the last two years. I can't think of one element of their agenda that they have moved forward. They were ostensibly elected to "get us out of Iraq" and not only are we still in Iraq, they have passed every one of Bush's Iraq funding proposals. If I was of the Left, I wouldn't be very happy at all with them.

Now, they won't have Bush to kick around anymore. If they are in charge of everything, they will have to come up with proposals, defend them, and bear the consequences for their success or failure. It should be interesting.

So, as I said, it is not the end of the world, it just seems like it. American politics has built in corrective factors that do a pretty good job of keeping things from straying too far from the middle.

Now, that I have said all of this, how can we deal with this as individuals?

1.) Donate to the NRA: If you are not a member, join now. If you are a member, increase your membership to the next highest level. Give extra to the NRA-ILA as well. They will be our primary front in stopping any anti-gun legislation the Democrats may pass. I don’t think the Democrats will immediately try to pass much gun control for the reason I stated above, but they also may let their emotions get the better of them (they are wont to do that). A strong, well-funded NRA will be our best defense against that.

2.) Buy any gun on your wish list that you have been putting off for the future, particularly if that gun is an evil black rifle. If any gun control does get passed, it will be a renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban. Buy them now while you can.

3.) Buy ammo(nuff said)

4.) Put the Blue Dogs toes to the fire. The Democrats won Congress in 2006 because they ran people for Congress in states like Virginia and Montana who are pro gun rights. If the Democratic leadership starts to push gun control, let the Blue Dogs know that we expect them to vote against their leadership. If they don’t, let them know that they can easily be replaced by a Republican who will support the right to bear arms.

Again, it’s not the end of the world. We gunnies need to keep fighting and let the other side know that we are not going to curl up and quit just because they managed to get their guy in, for once.
Regardless of the outcome of this election, be sure to go and vote for John McCain. This election will still be close and McCain could win a squeaker. I think the odds are against him, but you never know. Anything could happen.

Societal Frustration

I guess I'm feeling a little depressed right now. I'm depressed that we might soon face a "perfect storm" of frustration in this country.

One frustration among our fellow citizens is the election. No matter who wins, the new president will face the hostility of almost half the country. Now, I don't want Obama to win this election. I would like to say though that I will accept the loss and then support my country’s president. But, I will never support Obama. He is totally antithetical to me and my beliefs. Surprisingly so, because I still have some sympathy with certain leftist ideas.

If Obama wins, then I fear his supporters more than the man himself. They are reading all sorts of hopey-changey stuff onto the Obama blank slate. They hope for their change, which to some means "free" doctor visits, a brand new house provided by the government, all sorts of social justice (whatever that is), and world peace. They won't get it and they’ll be mad.

The economy is another source of frustration. My retirement account lost about 8% of its value. That hurts. But what about people who’ll lose more than just a little retirement account paper money? Who could lose their jobs, homes, families? There could be a lot of frustrated people.

Look back at history and you’ll see that frustrated people often look for a “man on horseback” to lead them. They sometimes pick a Napoleon or a Hitler. Obama is neither of these examples, but he may inadvertently pave the way for such a person who could be from either the left or the right. God only knows how all of that would fall out. Or, maybe we’ll just muddle through as our nation usually does.

Long-term speculation is only so much hot air. Too much can change. Still, I’m concerned about the short term. Will frustrated people strike out in riots and social unrest? Will crime rise along with a faltering economy? Will frustrated people take it out on anyone they blame for their problems (whites could attack blacks or vice versa, the dispossessed could attack the comfortable, etc).

Yosemite Sam and I already decided to buy another black rifle in case there’s a new “assault weapons” ban. I just hope we never have to use it any other place than the range. Six months ago I would have scoffed at the idea. Given the current and potential levels of frustration, now I’m not so sure.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

No Way, No How

Evidently some people in what used to be great Britain want us to eat less meat and dairy. Of course, they tie it into "global warming." Best defined as "the amorphous threat that will ensure we can tell you how to live." You know, that thing.

They tell us that we must ration meat and dairy to small servings. Here is what they would have us eat in a week:
  • 1 quarter-pound beefburger
  • 2 sausages
  • 3 rashers of bacon
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 litre of milk or 100g of cheese
I don't eat that much milk in a week, but I eat more cheese than that. As for the meat, that's about a day's consumption. I am back on a low-carb diet and losing weight fast--so there.

I'm a proud former liberal. I believed that gays shouldn't be hassled, that birth control was up to me, that I should be able to wear pants in church, that I shouldn't have to go to church at all if I didn't want to, and that racial and ethnic equality was right and fair. I still believe all that and more, but I no longer support these foolish progressives.

Everything they do recently has been a way to force you into something. Give up meat to save Gaia. Give up guns to protect the children. Pay more taxes to fight poverty. Don't drive a big car. Don't, don't, don't.

I'm tired of these people. I want them to go away and take their oppression with them. Leave me alone. As a song I once considered a liberal anthem said, "he can't even run his own life, I'll be damned if he'll run mine!"

As far as the anti-meat article; roll it in tempeh, texture it with tofu, sprinkle it with a few sprouts, and cram it where the sun don't shine. LEAVE ME ALONE!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Good Day Shooting and Buying

It’s been awhile since I posted about shooting and gun collecting. It’s been a hectic eight months. Our new jobs came with a lot of new responsibilities as well as new rewards. Shooting and collecting got shoved off to the side.

I managed to get in some quality range and gun show time on September 13 (I know it’s been ten days, sigh). Yosemite was out of town and I was at loose ends. I got up early that day and headed to the NRA Headquarters Range in Virginia. I shot my bullseye pistol and a 1911. Even with a break in practice, the skills are still there. Good times.

Later, I headed to the gun show at the Dulles Convention Center. Coincidently, Sebastian and Bitter were there sometime during the day, but I didn’t see them.

This show was the largest I’ve attended and had an excellent selection. Here are a few highlights: a table with about ten transferable Thompson sub-machine guns; another with a full-auto and transferable AK-47, the first I’ve seen; an authentic matchlock; many flintlocks and other antiques; and lots more.

Of course, full-auto offerings are beyond my bank account. Still, I managed to add a “holy grail” gun to my little collection. Ironically, the vendor selling the gun is from New Hampshire.

Here’s a picture:

Yes, it’s another broomhandle Mauser. I love these old guns. This one is a “red nine.” The German Army needed more handguns during World War I and commissioned Mauser to build broomhandles that chambered their military round, 9mm. To differentiate them from existing 7.63mm guns, they carved 9s on the grips and painted the number red.

Mine has finish wear and the grips are worn, but the rifling is sharp, the bore is perfect, and it’s mechanically sound. All serial numbered parts match—including both grips. I took it home, dismantled it, and cleaned off years of accumulated gunk and grease.

To be political for a minute, I am basically a handgun shooter and collector. I can and do shoot rifles and shotguns, but my true love is handgun shooting, particularly bullseye. It challenges me and satisfies me more than any other shooting sport (or any other sport for that matter).

Pistol shooting and handgun ownership is suspect to people like Obama and Biden. I believe Biden when he said that Obama wouldn’t take away his over/under shotguns, but what about my handguns?

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Voting Plea

I’m going to be controversial today and make a voting plea. I’m voting for McCain (more happily for Palin) and I urge you to join me. There’s a lot at stake in this election.

Obama is a member of Chicago’s political machine with a thin resume and a huge ego. Enough said. Obama is one thing, but his ardent followers are scary. They want to bring us to a promised land of “progressivism;” where we’re gun free, there’re no criminals, we don’t eat meat, we ride bikes to our green workplaces, quality health care is free to everyone. A world that does not and never will exist.

They will try to force their vision on us so that we too will see the light. They want utopia and such people are threats to us all.

McCain is far from an ideal candidate (think McCain-Feingold, and his gun show opposition). Because of that, some people say they won't vote for the “lesser of two evils.” Others say that principle forbids them from voting for McCain. Still others say to vote your conscience.

Normally, I‘d agree with the last sentiment. But this election is too important to lose. We need every vote we can get, so here’s my plea. Vote for McCain to cancel the votes of these Code Pink members in this picture. Remember, they’ll vote for Obama. Cancel their votes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Ago

I REMEMBER, but not every one does.

UPDATE (4:00pm): I dashed this off between meetings. Sorry I did not have time to really say what I still feel. However, here is a post I wrote two years ago that says it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sarah Palin

I have a few thoughts about the Palin pick. In short, it’s wonderful.

I haven’t seen the Republican base this fired up since Reagan.

Let’s face it, things have pretty much sucked for Conservatives since Reagan left office. We never really liked Daddy Bush and held our nose to vote for him and got rewarded with more gun control and a realization that we were not very good lip readers. It goes without saying that the Clinton years sucked for Conservatives and then we had another Bush come along that has been a bigger disappointment than Daddy. So, this election we were all prepared to hold our nose and vote for McCain, even though we knew he would suck(but not nearly as much as Obama) and what does that magnificent bastard do: He picks one of us!

Gun owner, hunter, at least some respect for limited government, hell, she’s even about my age, and is smoking hot to boot.

No wonder the Left and their media bitches are in a tizzy. In fact, it seems that Obama is now running against Palin.

I love how he is going on about her lack of experience and is attacking her record. Well, at least she has a record to attack and actually made real, live decisions instead of voting present most of the time. Real man of courage and change there Mr. Senator.

The more I think about it, the more I admire McCain's sheer genius in making this pick. Palin is like crack for the Left. They can't leave her alone. I've long said that if Obama could shut his mouth for 6 months, he would win the election easily. But that is one thing he absolutely cannot do. Obama & the Democrats certainly cannot keep quiet about Palin, who is a refutation of everything they believe in.

Finally, the icing on the cake is that the press has been so nakedly partisan in their hate filled diatribes against Governor Palin; they are finally revealed as complete shills for the Democratic Party. And mean and nasty shills to boot.

It's all great and I will greatly enjoy pulling the lever for McCain/Palin in November

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Let's Not Have a "Great Leader"

Sometimes it takes a clown to tell the truth. Penn Jillette, a graduate of a clown college, tells it like it is in a CNN guest editorial. Jillette states,
…I don't think our next president being a great leader is a good thing.

I'm worried about someone smarter than Bush taking over that tremendous power. Charisma and ambition increase my fear exponentially, and a great leader scares me to death.
He goes on to say,

I don't want anyone as president who promises to take care of me. I may be stupid, but I want a chance to try to be a grown-up and take care of my family. Freedom means the freedom to be stupid, and that's what I want. I don't want anyone to feel my pain or tell me to ask what we can do for our country, or give us all money and take care of us.

One of my liberal co-workers asked me what I wanted from government. I told him that I want government to leave me alone.

I want to live free. If I fall flat on my face, I don’t want government to pick me up and dust me off. I can do and have done both. I don’t want government to tell me what property to own or how to use my property unless such use could damage the person or property or peace of another. (For instance, I should be able to shoot a gun on my property, but my bullets must stay on my property and I shouldn’t be doing it at 2:00 a.m. when I have neighbors).

I expect government to pass reasonable laws based on harm to person, property, and peace. However, government shouldn’t protect “peace” by passing laws based on someone being offended. That cuts both ways—someone can be “offended” by gays just like someone else can be “offended” by gun ownership.

The only thing that Jillette said that I don’t agree with is his final statement,

…the only way to waste your vote is to vote!

The stakes are too high this time to not vote. Let’s defeat Obama-Biden, the most anti-gun and probably most anti-freedom ticket ever.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

An Open Letter to Anti-Gun People

Recently, a hunter was arrested in Denver during the Democratic Party Convention. A number of blogs mentioned the story, but the first time I saw it was on Bitter’s site, which includes a link to the newspaper article.

In short, a man checked into the same hotel that Nancy Pelosi was in. He was preparing for a hunting trip in Africa and carried cased rifles and had handguns in his luggage. The Secret Service and Denver Police arrested the man on concealed weapons charges, took him to jail, and let him out on a $10,000.00 bond. Pelosi congratulated law enforcement for their quick action.

There’s no evidence in the article that the man presented any sort of threat to Pelosi. Not only that, there’s no evidence he broke any laws. (I will grant you, that we’re talking about a newspaper article and they don’t always get the story straight.)

His guns were unloaded and in locked cases or suitcases. That’s exactly how the TSA lets gunowners transport guns in checked luggage. It’s how gun-fearing states like Massachusetts says we must transport guns to a range. He was following the law.

He was arrested because of arbitrary law enforcement. Granted, the Secret Service has to take executive protection very seriously. But, given the facts as we know them, did they have to arrest the man? Couldn’t they have interviewed him and suggested the hotel lock up his firearms?

Unless there’s some unreported fact, he won’t be convicted of anything. He will need a lawyer, probably cancel his hunting trip (possibly losing money), and he suffered the indignity of arrest.

Let me explain my chagrin in a way that even the most ardent gun hater will understand. Let’s imagine you’re driving 63 mph in an area clearly marked 65 mph. It’s a sunny day, there’s no construction, and traffic’s light. A cop pulls you over and gives you a ticket for speeding. He tells you that he thinks the speed limit should be 55 because it’s safer and saves gas. You fight the ticket and win, but you lose time in court and at least some of your trust in law enforcement.

Law-abiding gunnies by definition follow your laws—some of which make no sense at all. Even when we do that, we still get arrested. Is it going to get to the point where we can be arrested for even thinking about a gun? Is that what we’re coming to? Do we really want to allow cops and federal agents to arrest anyone on a whim?

I thought we were a nation of laws agreed to by our representatives. I thought that if we followed those laws we could have freedom within those well-defined limitations. I hope I’m not wrong, because if I am, then tyranny or strife lies ahead.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Criminals and Gun Skills

SayUncle points to a report on a study of criminal versus police shootings. It illustrates very well that too many police officers underestimate the shooting abilities of gangbangers. I would say that’s also true of those of us who carry a concealed gun. Here are some important takeaways, but be sure to read the whole thing:
  • Some criminals start to carry a gun from 9 to 12 years old;
  • Nearly 40% of offenders have formal firearms training, primarily military;
  • More than 80% practice more than 23 times a year;
  • More than 40% had been involved in earlier shooting incidents;
  • Offenders fully expect to kill or be killed and have little or no moral or ethical restraints;
  • Most carry their guns in their front of their pants without a holster;
  • Whatever handgun that is available is their weapon of choice;
  • Some have a female companion carry a gun for them;
  • Criminals laugh at gun laws.

What surprised me most in the study was the finding about practice and formal training. Too often we gunnies picture criminals as holding their guns sideways, being untrained, and never practicing.

Instead, we see a picture of criminals practicing about twice a month. We find that a large minority of them have professional training. That suggests that those with training are able to teach those who don’t have that training. Also, in a confrontation with more than one criminal, a female may have a gun that she can pass to her boyfriend or shoot you herself.

This is a very clear picture of armed criminals. It is also very sobering. While it is better to face these miscreants armed, remember that they are likely to have real street combat experience and possibly more training and practice than you. As they said on Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there.”

Monday, August 04, 2008

A Good Use for BATFE

Well, here is one good use for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. I hope the BATFE and other agencies catch the people who firebombed these researchers’ houses. It is only a matter of time before these domestic terrorists start killing people here in the USA.

I am an animal lover, but I don't think "a pig is dog is a boy." We should never be intentionally cruel to animals who can and do suffer. But scientists must be able to do research (not necessarily test cosmetics) on animals. We are also omnivores and we must use animals for meat. We also keep pets and dogs and humans have been together for a long, long time (cats only less so). Such are the facts of life and these animal activists need to grow up.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nutritional Experts(?)

Work has been exceedingly poopy lately. Poopy is a technical term for being very busy, but never feeling you’ve accomplished much. Frustrating in other words. I haven’t posted lately. Oh well. I really don’t have much to say today either. Because of work, I haven’t been following blogs or gun news or much of anything.

I thought I would break my silence here though and mention something about nutrition seen on the New York Times’ TierneyLab. Once again medical experts are changing the paradigm about what is healthy. Saturated fat and its handmaiden cholesterol, was the big boogieman for most of my life, but recent studies show it ain’t necessarily so.

This bugs me. Hell, this infuriates me. I have tried to follow doctors’ advice and eat right. I followed the USDA Food Pyramid. The result; well, people who’ve met me can tell you that I’m big (polite for fat).

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on diet. It seems like Dr. Atkins, of all people, was more or less right. A low-carb diet or one with very low processed carbs (white rice, white flour, potatoes, etc) is good for you.

Yosemite Sam (who is not fat) and I went on my version of Atkins. I did not use the menus in the book, but I read it for ideas and used them. Yosemite Sam and I ate meats, butter, whole milk, nuts, eggs, bacon, and green vegetables for about three months. We were never hungry. (Travel interrupted the diet for me, but I will return to it soon.)

During that time, I lost about 10% of my body weight—that’s ten percent not ten pounds. Yosemite Sam tends to high-cholesterol (I don’t). At last measurement, his good cholesterol levels were up, his bad cholesterol levels were down. In other words, we both got healthier.

Why do experts screw us over so much and why do we let them? I feared the Atkins diet until I read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes (mentioned in the link above). Similarly, experts tell us that having a gun in the home is dangerous, that more guns equals more crime, that cow farts overheat the planet.

We do it to ourselves. We seek words of wisdom and believe we find them from doctors, social scientists, and others. Instead, we see that the last fifty years of nutritional science is the medical equivalent of “bleeding” patients and the last thirty years of anti-gun scholarship is worse than worthless.

Maybe we should listen to our parents or grandparents more. I remember my mom saying, “don’t eat pasta, it’s fattening,” or my granddad saying, “let’s go shooting.”

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What happened to my Country?

Denise has been cajoling me for awhile to do a blog post, but I’ve always had excuses for why I couldn’t do one. Too busy, too tired, or nothing to say cover the most common excuses. But I don’t think any of them get to the real reason why I haven’t felt like posting. Despondency: a growing feeling of despondency and despair over the current state and future of this country. Here is an example.

Now that I live in the DC area and with the price of gasoline at over $4 per gallon, I take the Metro to work. It’s not all that bad. I get to read during my commute and I get a subsidy for it through my work. I don’t particularly like the crowds, but I’ve learned to adapt.

Everything has gone more or less the same for the last 3 months. Then yesterday, I noticed a ramped up police presence. When I got off at my stop, police were all over the platform; making me wonder if there was an incident or high profile arrest, taking place. I left the station and continued to work, forgetting about it for the rest of the day.

In the evening, though, a curious incident took place. The train stopped at a station and two police officers, with M16’s, got on the car, one at the front and one at the back. My interest was immediately piqued, but soon, I could feel resentment and anger boiling up inside of me.

This was happening in America.

This wasn’t some airport or security zone. This was on a subway car, full of commuters, going home. I remember when I traveled to Kenya, when I was in the Air Force, and I noticed that soldiers and police with machine guns commonly patrolled civilian areas and I remember thinking with pride that I lived in a country where that didn’t happen.

No more.

The police stayed on the train for 3 stops and got off. The anger stayed with me until I got home and mentioned this incident to Denise. She told me that she had heard on the radio that they were doing some kind of terrorist training exercise and that what I had encountered was probably part of that.

Not to sound like a Nutroots Leftist, but I have a few questions and comments concerning the incident I just related.

1.) What is the purpose of having police patrolling in public areas with M16’s? If there is a terrorist incident, the two cops would have ended up shooting half the car. The M16 is completely ill suited to this kind of close quarters situation. If anything, they should be armed with shotguns, which would greatly reduce the likelihood of killing innocents.

So, if the M16 is so ill suited to this kind of situation, then why do the police carry them?

I would say intimidation.

They dress in black tactical gear and carry automatic weapons to intimidate both potential terrorists and the public.
Face it, by militarizing the police, we have created a de-facto army, that is starting to take on the characteristics of an occupation force. Being militarized, the police have to have an enemy to fight and face it, that enemy just might be all of us.

2.) What is the purpose of this training exercise? Does anyone actually believe that all of this actually would dissuade any would be terrorists. The police states of the Middle East don’t stop terrorist acts, why should a nascent one in this country discourage them.

No, I think one of the reasons they have these exercises is to get the American people more used to the idea of seeing paramilitary police, parading around with automatic weapons. Enough exercises and most people won’t think anything of it.

This gets me to my final point.

I don’t see any possible change of direction from this course that the nation has taken. Both political parties support policies that support the militarization of police.

The Republicans directly through their support and sponsorship of the War on Drugs and the Democrats because they just love the idea of Big, Coercive Government.

Nothing will change about that. To all of you Leftists that say that Obama will change everything, give me a break. Already, he is shifting his message to appeal to more people and if he is elected, I guarantee that he will continue the same policies (while adding even worse ones), including Bush’s Iraq policy.
And to the Republicans: I remember all of the complaining about exit strategies concerning Bosnia & Kosovo. Guess what, Bush has been President for 7 ½ years and we still have troops in the Balkans; so much for an exit strategy.

Finally, and the real cause of my despondency, I can’t even blame all of these politicians that much. They are just doing and saying these things to get elected. The real cause of our problems is the American people.

Somewhere along the line, the majority of people in this country decided that liberty and freedom was just too much gosh darn hard work. They voted in people to pass laws that would make their lives easier and make them feel safe. And guess what, the politicians they hired did what they were told to do.
Until the American people, on a wholesale basis, support the idea of freedom, not just for themselves, but for the people they disagree with as well, we will continue to get more of the same.

The thing is, I really don’t see that happening any time soon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heller of a Good Time (I Hope)

Okay, I'm sitting here on pins and needles. I have ScotusBlog open and ready to see what the Heller decision is. I did the same Monday and yesterday; so much for productivity. I think it will go our way, but who knows. More later.

UPDATE: 10:10 and nothing, these pins and needles are getting uncomfortable.

UPDATE: 10:13 SCOTUS has confirmed what we already know. There is an individual right to own a firearm. Breyer, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg dissented and Scalia wrote the majority opinion. I was hoping for something better than 5-4, but we will have to see how this all shakes out.

I believe that one phase of our fight to protect our right to keep and bear arms is over. We won that phase. Now will come battles to determine what reasonable restrictions might be allowed. These battles could be worse than the Second Amendment battles. Gun owners could divide into several camps; those who believe reasonable is having a revolver and shotgun and those (like me) who like all kinds of guns--other camps are possible.

Let's stay together and fight the next battles. Now back to my real work. (10:20)