Monday, March 23, 2020

Panic and Pew

Fear's a good thing in the sense of prudence, i.e., when it keeps us from doing egregiously dumb stuff on a consistent basis.  As we get older, we tend to get a little more cautious and prudent, and this is wisdom.

Fear is a bad thing if we allow it to drive us.  Fear can make us foolish, like irrationally buying large quantities of toilet paper just because we see others doing it.  People who  know nothing about firearms are now trying to buy weapons and ammunition.  Weapons are a part of my religion, true enough.  However, I've been carrying and using firearms for a good many decades -- since I was a little kid.  I'm not an expert, but I am familiar with what makes them go "bang" and the subsequent damage potential.

A friend of mine contacted me a couple of days ago talking about her husband's sudden desire to buy a gun.  He is apparently thinking things are going to get ugly where they live.  Their town is relatively small, probably 35,000-40,000 -- I haven't kept up on it, though I used to live in it, and a good two or three hours drive from nearest the big metropolitan areas.  I can't imagine there will be any kind of breakdown there.  But I love my friend and her family.  I offered to drive up there with one of my spare handguns and a sufficient amount of ammunition.  She wisely declined my offer since her husband -- who is a good guy despite the fact that he's a golfer, knows nothing about firearms.  I suggested that, in that case, he'd probably be better served with a baseball bat.  It would be tough to train him right now.

My friend grew up in the country in a family that hunted.  I'm pretty sure she has handled shotguns.   I was kind of shocked that they had no weapons.  It's a foreign concept to me.  While I am happy to see more people realizing they might need a gun of some kind, I'm a little concerned as well.  I don't think you have to be Jeff Cooper or Elmer Keith to benefit from owning a firearm.  Knowing the basics of operation and safety is a good idea, though.

Pay attention to the people you know who have a sudden interest in guns, and, when things get a little more normal -- as they will, take those folks out shooting.  Let them know how much fun it is when done safely.  We can use them on our side.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Interesting Times, Interesting Guns

OK, no one is making fun of preppers lately.  A couple of weeks ago, news outlets like CNN were labeling those talking about stocking up on food and basic household items conspiracy theorists.  Today they are suggesting you should "stock up".  It's a little late.

I guess it's always too late to panic.

Anyway, the power's on.  I have propane, water, and plenty of coffee, vitamins, Spam, canned chili, tuna, beans, frozen vegetables, oatmeal, even butter, eggs and tortillas.  I have toilet paper to get me through a couple of months -- might be an opportunity to use up that batch of single ply I bought by mistake a while back. 

Yesterday, I got in an extra 1100 rounds of handgun ammunition.  I'm not hoarding.  I'm going to shoot a bunch of it.  And that brings me to the subject of firearms, handguns especially.  I have expanded my collection over the last few years.  I have 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 magnum/.38 Special, .44 magnum, and, of course .22 LR and .22 WMR. 

What I usually carry is a Glock 9mm, either the Glock 17 Gen 3 or the Glock 26 Gen 5.  I wasn't sure I'd like the Baby Glock -- the 26, but I picked up a couple of 12-shot extended magazines for it, which gives me a little more to hold on to, and I find it shoots very well.  Plus, I can carry a fullsize 17-round magazines for it as a backup.  Shoot, I could even stick my 33-rounder in there.  I think that's the advantage, for me, of the 26 over the 43 or 43X.  I've accumulated a large number of Glock 17 magazines, both Glock factory mags and Magpuls.  The Magpuls are outstanding, by the way. 

I've had a Springfield XDM .40 S&W for ten or twelve years.  I like it.  I don't shoot it as much because .40 is not as economical to shoot as 9mm, at least it hasn't been.  Too, .40 is kind of snappy, not quite as much fun to shoot, though it is a very effective round with noticeably more power than Nine.  Is it a good gun?   Absolutely, I'd have no problem carrying it for self-defense.

Not too long ago I broke down and added a genuine 1911 .45ACP to my safe -- because I wanted to be a real man and everything.  Is it a good gun?  Yes, it is.  Am I going to carry it?  No.  No reason to.  It does have a great trigger, especially for someone used to striker-fired autoloaders.  The .45 cartridge itself looks impressive and obviously has a long track record of effectiveness for combat and self-defense.  It's really fun to shoot, and I can shoot it well enough, though there was a little bit of an adjustment period before I felt comfortable operating it. 

I am not knocking anybody for preferring a 1911.  I still shoot single-action revolvers and love them.  It is a somewhat archaic design, though less so than the SA revolver.  The 1911 is a reliable and effective weapon.  It's good.  It's just not what I like.  But I do have one, at least for now. 

Speaking of old-fashion firearms, the other weapon I carry frequently is a Smith & Wesson Model 65 .357 magnum.  Mine has a 4-inch barrel.  The fixed sights are zeroed pretty well for Remington 158 grain +P Lead Semi-Wadcutter Hollow Points, the old "FBI load", which is what I usually carry.  This DA revolver is a thing of beauty.  The trigger pull in double or single action is so sweet.  It's a K-frame and, with a good OWB holster, conceals well enough on me under a t-shirt or polo shirt.  I don't have to wear dress shirts or anything tucked in 99 days out of a hundred.  This is my going-to-the-country handgun (I kind of live in the country but you know what I mean).  For extra ammo, I put a couple of speed strips in my pocket.  They aren't as fast as a speedloader, but they are convenient.  Along with the +P ammo, I usually have a box of 158 grain .357 ammo in the truck as well.  The 125 grain and lighter magnum loads tend to be hard on the forcing cones of this generation of K-frames.  You can get some gas cutting, or so I hear.  The +P loads will handle most stuff and are easier on the ears if I have to shoot without my plugs in. 

Anyway, my point is any firearm is better than no firearm.  The one you like and shoot a lot is the best for you.  Caliber wars, Glock versus 1911, and the rest are silly disputes that are, or should be, done just for fun.  Make sure, when the world returns to relative normality that you keep up your ammo supply, and have enough toilet paper that you can share.  I'd hate to have a shoot-out over Charmin.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A Load-Bearing Wall

Nancy Pelosi is attacking those who suggest the impeachment inquiry might be a bad idea

"The weak response to these hearings has been, 'Let the election decide.' That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action, because POTUS is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections."

God forbid the voters should get to decide on their president. 

The Electoral College is a good idea, and it's a long-standing process.  It has worked, and it's the law.  Trump played by the rules and won.  Whatever a person thinks of Trump, that's the way it works.  A lot of people haven't liked various presidents, but, as Americans -- with notable exceptions in the cases of Lincoln, Kennedy, Garfield, and McKinley, plus some failed attempts, we have lived with them.  It is unwise in the extreme to pursue a different path for at its end lies "le Rasoir national", as the French once called it. 

I do not have to like Trump anymore than I had to like Obama, Bush, or Clinton to realize that trying to overturn a legitimate election is a recipe for disaster.  The Republicans tried with Clinton.  I despised and still despise Clinton, but it was a bad idea.  It is an even worse idea this time.  In Clinton's case, most people looked at the process as a joke, but at least there was a semblance of order about it.  Congress more or less played by the rules with a special prosecutor.  News was controlled by the mainstream media with very little resistance outside of talk radio.  Chaos was minimal.

This time, Trump has direct access to his supporters via the internet.  A majority of Americans no longer trust the national new syndicates.  A lot of us get our information through various channels via the internet.  We are already deeply divided in our attitudes toward the federal government.  The divide is not Republican versus Democrat. 

I, for example, no longer consider myself a Republican, thanks mostly to the Bushes, John McCain, and Mitt Romney.  If those idiots are right, I'd rather be wrong.  I am a nationalist because I'm not a globalist.  I believe in America First and in limited, tightly-controlled legal immigration.  I think there is a deep-state that consists of long-entrenched globalists in positions of power in the federal government.  Their concern is not what is best for the majority of Americans, but what is best for them and their corporate cronies who benefit from all those billions in federal government expenditures.  That includes the defense contractors, the big agricultural conglomerates, investment bankers, and others who love the subsidies they have lobbied for themselves.  Those are the players who see Trump's rise to power while spouting populist and nationalist sentiments as a threat. 

It really doesn't matter that much whether Trump means what he says entirely -- though he does appear to really believe some of it.  What matters is that he has given voice to something a significant segment of the American populace has sensed for a long time.  That's what makes him dangerous.  What they don't seem to understand is that a lot of us see their resistance to Trump as a threat to us, and we would see his removal outside of an election loss as a coup. 

If Trump is impeached, there could well be protests against the House.  If he is removed from office, I honestly think we could see an uprising, and it could get violent.  I would not be surprised by anything at that point because the Rule of Law is the Load-Bearing Wall. 

As entertaining as I might find it to see Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Mitt Romney, and numerous other politicians from both sides of the aisle dragged out of the Capitol and strung up on lampposts, it would not be the best outcome for our posterity.  I do not want that load-bearing wall removed.  It would be the end of much that I have loved and looked to all my life.  Pelosi's attitude is wrong and short-sighted, even from a political standpoint.  I hope she comes to her senses and ends this travesty before the wall falls down and leaves us all in the rubble.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Knives Are Not Good for Defense

That's a provocative title.  Notice, I didn't say self-defense, and I love knives.  I have dozens (at least) of all kinds, from expensive custom beauties to cheap, mass-produced junk.  I don't go anywhere without a knife, other than places where they run me through a metal detector.   

The point is that a knife is not a good defensive weapon.  A club or a stick can block and parry.  Knives cut, slash, and stab.  We're not talking about swords but about something you carry folded up in your pocket or hanging unobtrusively on your belt.  Can you get someone to stop hurting you by cutting them with a knife?  Absolutely.  The problem is that it is an offensive action on your part. 

My father told me about a street fight he got into back in the late 1920s.  Ninety years ago.  That's hard to believe.  He was closer to the Civil War than we are to that street fight.  Anyway, it was four or five on two, and Dad was one of the two.  As things were not going well, Dad's friend pulled a knife and started cutting people with it.  I imagine Dad did, too, but he never admitted it. The fight ended with some townspeople arriving with law enforcement.  Dad, I believe, found himself in some legal difficulties and was advised to leave the state for a couple of years. 

These days, I doubt the law would be so accommodating.  He would, most likely, have been severely fined and ended up with a criminal record if he managed to avoid jail. 

Can brandishing a knife get someone threatening you to back off?  Possibly, but it's not as good as a firearm.  Most of the time, when a firearm is used in a self-defense situation, it is not fired.  A three-inch pocket knife, while capable of causing serious injury and even death, does not carry the same intimidation factor as the business end of a firearm -- even something as anemic as a snub-nose .22 revolver.  No one wants to get shot with anything.  No one with any sense wants to get cut, but the number of sensible people likely to initiate an attack against another sensible person is relatively small.  I am not a lawyer, but I doubt that it is a good idea to "brandish" anything. 

Never draw a firearm unless you have reason to be legitimately "in fear for your life".  The same is true of a knife -- only I personally would never draw a knife unless I knew I had to use it.  I have advised my granddaughters that, if they are ever in a life-threatening situation, the first indication an attacker should have of the presence of a knife is his own blood coming from a wound.  Again, that's not legal advice, that's grandpa advice to smallish females. 

I have a concealed carry permit, though I no longer need one in my state.  I often carry a firearm, but, as I said, I always carry knives -- sometimes three or four, if you count multitools like the Wave and SAKs.  I carry edged tools because I like them.  They are handy, very often useful -- even essential, and they could, if absolutely necessary, be used to neutralize a threat. 

If some thug tries to choke you in an elevator or traps you in a restroom stall or tries to drag you into an alley, or if you are attacked by a party of thugs -- as happened a few years ago to a couple not far from here one night, you might have to resort to stabbing and slashing.  It may be your only choice, and I would rather have the choice, if it came to that, than not have it.  Used correctly in a life-threatening situation, a blade might save your life and get you out of that situation.  Then land you in court.  Still, better to be tried by twelve than carried by six applies to knives as well as guns.  

Friday, January 4, 2019

Cui Bono?

Cui bono?

This is a latin phrase used sometimes in criminal prosecutions.  It means, Who benefits? 

If you want to know why something comes to the forefront, why some issue is being pushed or promoted, ask that question first.  A parallel americanism is "follow the money". 

For example, transvestites and drag queens aren't new.  Why have transgender issues suddenly become the cause du jour?  Maybe because there is money to be made?  Up until four or five years ago, the idea of allowing young children to transition using hormones would have struck most people as unethical.  My trans friend, who is about my age, and only began the process in recent years, thinks giving hormones to teenagers, let alone those who have not reached puberty, is a bad idea.   Yet, it is becoming more acceptable.  Who makes money off of it other than the news and entertainment (but I repeat myself) media using it to sell soap? 

Pharmaceutical companies supply the chemicals, which, I would guess, will cause life-long medical issues requiring -- surprise, more drugs.  But I'm sure it's all driven by compassion and morality -- and building demand for your product.  A heroin dealer will always give you the first hit for nothing.   Besides, public opinion has to be manipulated before the insurance companies can be intimidated into footing the bill.

It doesn't matter what the issue is -- health care, immigration, war, gun control, climate change, movies, music -- the question is always the same.  Cui bono?

Am I cynical?  I am.  In this age of self-styled cynics, the problem is most of the professional ones  aren't nearly cynical enough.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Immigration, Population, and Government Jobs

When I was in college, back in the dark ages of the early 1970s, the big concern was the population bomb and a Malthusian fear of famine from trying to feed too many people.  We are still, nearly fifty years and three or four billion people later, running a food surplus in most of the world, most of time.  We owe that surplus to fossil fuels, petrochemicals, GMOs, and the dominance of agribusiness.  I'm not altogether sure that's a good thing, taken as a whole, but famine is, perhaps, the grimmest of reapers.

Now when I read about the dangers of declining populations, I have to wonder just a little.  Why would a more "sustainable" population be bad?  I tend to think it is for the same reason that immigration is heralded as a good, even when those immigrants are possessed of a vastly disparate cultural and religious background.  Most of the new immigrants and "refugees" pouring into the West are not assimilating or being altered by the culture.  The numbers are too large, the influx too rapid.

These immigrants are committing violent crimes.  They are putting a burden on the taxpayer who foots the bill for housing, welfare, health care, and education.  Governments are straining to handle and pay for the increasing numbers of unemployed and, often, unemployable foreigners.  Yet it is the government that allows immigration.  Are the people in power simply unaware of the problems and moved by compassion?

I think we all know the answer to that.  Could it be instead that more immigrants mean more votes for those who wish to expand the role of government?  Government, as I have said before, does not produce anything except more government.  Like the Blob, it exists to get bigger, more powerful, and more invasive.  Sure, there are some good people working in government jobs.  We don't deny that.  You can argue that some government jobs are necessary.  Firemen and police officers at the local level sometimes do essential and heroic work.  The guys down at the water treatment plant are saving lives every day.

So long as they are local and their jobs clearly defined, I have little problem with those who work for the city or the county.  Except for the teachers, but they aren't really local anymore.  And at the state and federal level, I'm obviously in favor of the Border Patrol and some degree of national defense.

The thing is that the political leaders in the West have no problem with an increase in crime or terrorism because it allows them to expand their control of the average citizen.  The NSA monitors all communications under the guise of the Patriot Act and the "War on Terror".  Despite the fact that drug prohibition feeds into gang violence just as alcohol prohibition did in the 1920s, the "War on Drugs" continues to enable police departments to expand, to militarize, and to excuse the routine seizure of property and assets without due process.

Government feeds on chaos.  More strain on the education system excuses and enables the employment of teachers and administrators on the government payroll.  The strain on health care justifies the government's push for more control of the health care system just as the increase in crime justifies the expansion of police departments and the prison system.  And the vast majority of those employed are now beholden to the great white father in Washington or London or Brussels for their paychecks, pensions, and lucrative benefits.

Eventually, who is left in the mobocracy to vote against such expansion?  The productive are now merely serfs in a vast fiefdom controlled by the political aristocrisy and their minions who now, more or less, vote for a living.

I can see where an end to uncontrolled immigration and a population decline would be seen as a threat.