Saturday, March 3, 2012

.38 Caliber Therapy

Ever have a day when you felt everything you touched turned into poop and you just had to leave for an hour  with your favorite Smith & Wesson .38 Special Military and Police five-screw Hand Ejector six-inch barrel revolver, fully nickel-plated with reddish walnut combat grips and pump half a box of wadcutters down range until the black circle in the middle of that target was just a big ragged hole? I feel better just writing about it.

Of course, exorcising demons is only one use for heating up a perfectly innocent firearm. Some mornings at the 100 meter rifle range, beneath the cool corrugated ceiling and loading your first clip of the day one shell at a time with a nine o'clock wind on your cheek, the day holds nothing but promise. The problem is, not enough shooting sportsmen can enjoy these simple pleasures whenever they wish. There are not enough ranges.

We need more pistol, rifle, and shotgun ranges. It seems odd to me that people get into bidding wars to live right off the fairway of a golf course. One fella got his retirement wish right downwind from the Tee box of the club's 16th hole; a nice brick home with a patio just off the master bedroom. On his second day in that lovely residence, he stepped out in his pajamas into the perfumed grassy breeze, stretched, yawned contentedly and then performed a perfect half tuck forward roll with a pike layout, assisted by a high velocity Titelist golf ball to the back of his cranium. For months afterward, he spoke in tongues and swore he saw Jesus with his dead cousin Ambrose. That could never happen at a properly run rifle range.

More decent firearms sportsmen and women are being needlessly injured every day as hapless targets on golf courses, or lunging for a baseline backhand at the tennis court. Hamstrings, concussions, pulled this and torn that, all injuries that could be prevented by spending more time on a safe firing line.

Read American Shooter, learn about our gun culture and help turn this mess around.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

"Weapons" or "Firearms"

No sooner did I finish the last post than I tuned into an interview on-line of Bill Maher by Piers Morgan. Normally, I love Bill Maher. Piers Morgan sails on neutral waters with his whiney British accent, but okay. They were discussing guns and the gun culture in the United States. Maher likened guns to his antibiotics. He accepts his pills, but he doesn't "love" them, doesn't polish them, doesn't worship them. They are there if needed. Morgan whined about having 300,000,000 "weapons" in the United states and that shut everything down for me.

All weapons are not guns and all guns are not weapons. A gun is designed to fire a missile at a distant target. Not a distant head, or a distant chest, or foot, or other body part. A knife is designed to cut -- not designed to cut throats, or commit hari-kiri. Just to cut. We make a gun or a knife a weapon. Fewer people are hurt on a rifle range than on a golf course, or a tennis court each year.

The police and military design guns to be weapons, because defending lives and property is part of their jobs. In some countries miliary service is compulsary and a military rifle is in every family closet and young men and women are trained in its use. We don't do that. There is a disconnect in the U.S. between "weapons" for the police and military and "firearms" for the general population -- or there should be. Gun manufacturers have chosen to beat the warfare drum and promise military superpowers to whomever buys one of their weapons. Testosterone-dipped Americans are brain-washed into buying the Rambo concept and every once in a while one of them goes off the tracks on onto the 10:00 PM news.

American Shooter supports the idea of that disconnect between military and police "weapons" and "firearms" for American sportsmen and women. The distinction is important if we are to return to our traditional roots.

Woof and Stomp Truth Management

On February 28, the Chicago Tribune published a canned feature called the "Truth-O-Meter" from an outfit called Politifact that analizes claims and statements made by politicians and their chums in an attempt to discover some grain of truth amid the rhetoric. Wayne LaPierre, boss of the NRA spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference. LaPierre claimed President Obama "endorsed a total ban on the sale and possession of all handguns." Based on a 1996 Illinois state voter multiple questionnaire, which the then candidate for the Illinois senate staff said he never saw, someone typed "yes" after a question on banning all handguns. This yellowing antique "evidence" in the sweaty hands of the NRA Truth Managers triggered a feeding frenzy culminating in the concept  that the president is just "biding his time" to get re-elected in 2012 and then he springs into action to unleash a holy war on all gun owners. To date, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has given the president flunking marks in his views on gun banning and every survey known to man verifies this fact. President Obama should be judged by the only two playing fields that count: his actual statements and his actual record not by the aluminum foil hat people who use the Internet like a dirty hand towel.

While writng American Shooter and about our gun culture, I laid out my idea of shutting down this hopping from one foot to the other with savage glee every time some fragment of soggy-bottom logic happens to align with ideological stars and the torches are lit for another Muggles Parade. Mixed metaphor aside, American Shooting Sportsmen and women are developing a tin ear where hate and meaness are the tools of debate. Let's use our resources and imagination to let the public in on our traditional and character-building sport.