Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not a Lincoln Town Car, but - - -

21.5 miles per gallon

Created by The Car Connection

I first saw this on Roberta X’s blog. Frankly, given my age and some other factors, I’m surprised I scored as well as I did. I believe they gave me the benefit of a doubt, on a couple of points.

Fun, huh? Give ‘er a click and let’s see what sort of vehicle YOU equal.

Concerning HR 1022, Assault Weapons Ban renewal

It’s seldom you’ll read an out-and-out political article on this blog. There are so many writers more eloquent than I, more qualified than I am, that it seems presumptuous of me to try to influence others. Well, here’s a rather out of character bit of writing. Please bear with me for a few minutes.

My old friend Stephen A. Camp
sent along the link to this petition, with the comment that he doesn‘t know if these do any good but doesn’t think they can hurt. I believe that the situation now pending compels us ALL, not just firearms enthusiasts and gun owners, to do all we can to halt additional restrictions on our liberties.

It is a lot of trouble to send personal mail, paper or e-mail, to each of your legislators asking that they ALL oppose HR 1022, the proposed reenactment of the “Assault Weapons Ban.” Bothersome, but definitely worthwhile. At least SOME of the lawmakers in Washington and in the state capitols recall that they are there because the voters sent them to represent our interests. Justice and basic human rights should NOT be a popularity contest, but the fact remains, most representatives see their PRIMARY job as being re-elected. I believe that if we show them that a great many citizens decide our votes based on how THEY behave in the capitols, we can get their attention.

A personal request, friends - - Whether or not you sign THIS petition, please take a look at it. It will cost you maybe five minutes to look it over, make your decision, and sign up if you agree. Lots of individuals want to “keep a low profile,“ and not be noticed, lest the faceless “THEY“ single them out for attention. Well, think of it this way: The more good people who DO NOT MIND being noticed standing up for their rights, the less likely the anonymous functionaries can victimize individuals. Per Benjamin Franklin, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence: “. . . we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Now, RIGHT NOW, is the time to stand up and be counted. In two years, in even ONE year, we'll be too far behind the curve and it’ll be too late. Let us take every opportunity to place legislators on notice that we, the people, are watching what they do. Do they represent our best interests, or are they more concerned with silencing dissent? Please, write the letters, send e-mails, make phone calls, talk to friends who are NOT particularly active “gun people.” Don’t be shrill, but give them to understand: If the second amendment is trashed, diluted, ignored with impunity, what then of the REST of the
Bill of Rights? Shall the government act “for our own good,” and regulate the news media? What about your church? Any thoughts on being secure in your possessions and papers? How about forced self-incrimination, or that bothersome idea of trial by jury?

Hey, make no mistake. I am NOT a rabble rouser. I do NOT advocate the violent overthrow of our form of government. Far from it. But, by the same token, I don’t want to see this government, our veery freedoms, “regulated away,” one step at a time. I spent an entire career as a peace officer, a minion of the government -- of LOCAL government, subject to laws and ordinances mainly enacted by my community and state. City councilpersons, county commissioners, or state legislators sent to Austin from their home districts - - If any of these fail to represent their constituencies properly - - Texas voters are not bashful about replacing them. The system is not perfect, but it can work. So why not insist it work in our nation’s capitol?

Help us, friends. Help YOURSELVES. Do all in your power to resist passage of HR 1022, the reenactment of the "Assault Weapons Ban.” If Amendment II is made to fade away, what hope is there for the other nine?


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

National Ammunition Day

Internet pal Jay G (No, we’re not related,) operator of MArooned blog reminds us that today is (was) National Ammo Day. That last link explains the rationale in detail. In brief, the idea is to buy at least 100 rounds on WE19NOV.

Brigid, at
Home on the Range tells HER reasoning about buying her 100+ from a locally-owned shop. She feels it important enough that she won’t buy it from a huge, nationwide chain. (Okay, SHE named WalMart - - why shouldn’t I?) I certainly can’t argue with her reasoning, and in fact would “buy local” if the option was open to me. Unfortunately, I can’t locate a home-based store that retails ammunition anywhere in the county where I live.

This evening, I mentioned to Beloved Bride that National Ammo Day had kinda snuck up on me, and I hadn‘t bought any. (The 500-odd .45 ACP I reloaded in the past week doesn’t really count.) She reminded me that she was shooting a tactical match this Saturday, and if I wasn‘t going to get off the dime and hand load her some 9mm, I could just go out and buy her some. I’d planned to be shooting in the same match, but I’ve been asked to assist on the range at a scout activity on Saturday.

Anyhow, at 7:30 p.m. I drove to the Wally World in the county seat. I bought some Winchester White Box 9x19mm for Holly to feed “my” Browning High Power. Oh, you noticed those quotation marks? They’re because she’s coming more and more to think of it as HER pistol. Hell, I’d already given her a Kel Tec P11 AND a Colt Officers ACP of her very own, and now I have to ask her where she’s stashed my/our Buckmark .22 as well as the 9mm. Every time I grumble about this fact, she sweetly reminds me that Texas is a community property state. Additionally, she rather smugly makes not-so-casual mention of how she single-handedly tracked down and bought a vintage Colt Super .38 for my last birthday. And she didn’t bat an eye at the last two .45s I purchased. I mean, it’s not such a bad arrangement, and I didn’t carry the P35 that often anyway.

Back to the primary topic - - It would indeed be nice if each and every one of the estimated 75 million gun owners in the USA would each buy a hundred rounds of ammo this week. (It’s getting a bit late in the day, and the effect will be very similar if the ammo is purchased any time this week.) How about if some of those who would sacrifice our Second Amendment rights were to notice that the ammo shelves at the local stores are darn near empty? I wonder if any of ‘em are perceptive enough to get the message. As Brigid pointed out, if everyone participates, this is 75 BILLION fresh cartridges in circulation.

So, please - - If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to go find a shop that sells what you shoot. Pick up a hundred rounds or so of center fire ammo, if you can possibly afford it. If you’re into .22 rimfire, maybe a couple of ten-box bricks would be nice. You’ll feel good about having it on hand, and you MAY just possibly be helping make a point with the gun grabbers. Besides, it’s nice to be able to drop word of your purchase into conversation.

Good shooting.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Killer Contests?

In her always-entertaining blog, View From The Porch, my esteemed friend Tamara wrote a piece on 10NOV (Happy Birthday, USMC!) which she titled, Ninja combat powers, activate! The premise is that a recent publication, Guns & Ammo Book of Personal Defense, included
" . . . a piece by Chuck Taylor on how competition shooting will get you killed. Heck, even thinking about attending an IPSC event could get you grazed, and shooting an NRA Bullseye match is guaranteed to cause a mugging.. . . . the article was long on telling you that Chuck was a former world-class IPSC shooter, IPSC sucks, and... well, that was pretty much the long and the short of it, . . . ."

Tam’s article is well worth the reading, and I understand just what she’s saying, perhaps somewhat better than most of her readers. In 1980, I spent a week at Jeff Cooper's original Gunsite, largely under Chuck Taylor’s instruction. It is interesting that at that time, he was already a veteran IPSC shooter, but had nothing bad to say about that particular discipline. In fact, after my class, I stayed over an extra day to participlate in a large, local IPSC match, run by - - Guess who? Chuck put on an excellent and challenging match, during which I used to good advantage much of what HE had taught during the previous week. No, I didn't win, nor even place really high, but I was happy. At the end, I told Chuck that my decent performance was largely due to what I'd just learned from him and Jeff. He seemed quite gratified by my comments.

The International Practical Shooting Confederation was set up to provide a framework within which the PRACTICAL usage of firearms by individuals, and the Modern Technique of the Pistol
embodying the principals Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas (Accuracy, Power, Speed) could be fostered and advanced. Founded in 1976, IPSC at first worked on the premise that, in a match setting, a shooting scenario would be posed, and it was up to the individual shooter to “solve the problem” within broad rules, mostly concerned with safety. In this manner would the state of the art progress.

Now, (why even bother to state it?) no match stage, no matter how well thought-out, can hope to exactly simulate all the stresses and variables of a true armed confrontation. But you should compare the IDEA of a match or stage so structured with a regular bullseye shooting match, or even the well conceived but totally obsolete
Practical Pistol Course (PPC,) originated by the FBI. About all those two types of shooting have in common with IPSC, or the later IDPA, shooting are that they involve the use of handguns. When the shooter is required to exercise judgment in choice of targets, using strategy, tactics, and cover, while being scored for speed, noticible levels of stress are experienced. In matches which require the use of “street worthy” arms and holsters, frequently hidden by cover garments, a certain level of realism is truly present. A smooth, rapid draw, initiated by an external signal, combined with accurate hits, often on multiple targets, oft times needing to reload “on the clock,” is necessary to make a good showing in such a match. Who’s to say that these would NOT be good talents to possess if confronted by a deadly situation on a parking lot or in a dark hallway?

Whatever pressures are or are not present in this type of “game playing,” how could it fail to be more valuable practice and training than what we see on the range day after day? The shooter strolls up to the firing line (choosing a distance at which he feels comfortable) and loads up his pistol, often without even using a holster. Shooter takes his time, aims carefully, and fires off a magazine at a target. Shooter congratulates himself if he fires as many as TWO SHOTS A SECOND! We watch as the shooter repeats this same thing, over and over, until -- usually-- a box of ammo is expended. And you can see the same thing when the shooter is a police officer. The difference may be that the practicing cop USUALLY wears his duty rig on the firing line. Knowing that he is not being timed, the office seldom makes any attempt at a rapid draw. Periodic qualifications are about the only time that most officers make any attempt toward speed, and standards are seldom very high.

Speaking of periodic qualifications on the police range - - - I’ve been chided by more than one rangemaster, “You’re allowed 20 seconds on this string, JP. Why don’t you take your time and shoot a tighter group?” Well, there’s no good purpose to backtalk the guy in charge, especially in front of rookies. But I’ve been tempted to observe that while HE might give me a full third-of-a-minute, sumdood coming out of the Seven-11 with fifty-six stolen bucks and a Jennings .22 might not be so generous.

As I say, Tam’s article is good reading. Re-checking it while preparing this little effort, I note that some of her commentators also have some interesting and relevant observations. There is pretty wide agreement that, with proper mind set, participation in shooting matches is NOT necessarily an invitation to disaster on the street. Chuck Taylor has an impressive background in shooting, but I fear he may currently be sending a misleading message, just for the sake of controversy.