Saturday, August 02, 2008

Perspective and Intent

In June, I made my second visit to the J. M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma. I'll write more about the museum later. For now, suffice it to say, if you’re at all interested in firearms and have ANY reason to be in Northeast Oklahoma you owe it to yourself to pay a visit.

While there, I noticed a plaque displayed with the following on it:

My Arms Collection


These are man-made Tools of War or Peace, of Love or Hate
Labeled at will by man, their Creator.


Tools, ingeniously designed, used by Aggressor or Defender
classed again by man, their Maker.

Blameless, products of metal and wood, shaped by the skill of
Master Mechanics, embellished
by the hand of an Artist --
condemned because of mis-use by man, their Possessor.

A mighty Protector on the side of right -- A Destroyer on
the side of Evil -- an eternal Chameleon.

Look upon them as they are displayed -- impotent Curios of a
day now past, outliving their Masters.

Let their purpose and history be forever in the eyes of the
beholder; romantic, destroying or preserving; weaving untold tales
of daring or cowardice, of chivalry or cunning. But see them as
they shall always be -- ominous reminders of sudden action --
the instruments of the Quick and the Nemesis of the Dead.

Ray Riling 1960


Ray Riling was a long-time collector of arms and books about them. He also wrote several specialized works on various aspects of arms collecting. He established Ray Riling Arms Books Co., Inc., said to be America's oldest mail order arms books company. His son, Joe Riling, continues the business.

7 comments:

Ted said...

It's more than a little ironic that the anti-gun crowd paints us as ignorant, knuckle dragging rednecks, when there's so much excellent writing on the subject by gun enthusiasts.

Teddy Roosevelt and Jeff Cooper are two obvious examples, but this is an outstanding one.

Old NFO said...

Excellent! I WILL get there one day. I have bought a number of books from Joe.

SpeakerTweaker said...

Absolute poetry. Thank you for sharing that. I may otherwise have never known it was written.



tweaker

Anonymous said...

I used to go to the museum many years ago when it was in an old hotel. They had an old Colt potato-digger in the front window. Did go up several years ago to see the new museum, and it wasn't quite the same, but times change and they don't let the kids play with the machine guns like they used to.

Great post, as usual, amigo.
HV

Anonymous said...

I used to go to the museum many years ago when it was in an old hotel. They had an old Colt potato-digger in the front window. Did go up several years ago to see the new museum, and it wasn't quite the same, but times change and they don't let the kids play with the machine guns like they used to.

Great post, as usual, amigo.
HV

Anonymous said...

I used to go to the museum many years ago when it was in an old hotel. They had an old Colt potato-digger in the front window. Did go up several years ago to see the new museum, and it wasn't quite the same, but times change and they don't let the kids play with the machine guns like they used to.

Great post, as usual, amigo.
HV

Binky said...

I myself just visited the museum in November.

I came across this poem on the plaque in the little anteroom to the museum.

Absolutely moving.