29 March 2012

Winning the Hearts and Minds, the fight is already on.

In every war the bulk of the leadership looks to the previous war for solutions.  I've been guilty of thinking that the war hasn't started yet because they haven't come for me in the night with a tactical team.

But in reality, we have enough collusion between the Main Stream Media and Government that what we really have is "The Glorious Peoples News Service" which spouts the party line and damn the facts.  With all the investigative resources of Fox News you think that Obama's Birth Certificate and Draft Card would have been old news by now.

So the war is already on.  And there have been enough casualties that  haunt me as I fear leaving my family to fend for themselves more than I fear yet another deployment to a sandbox.

The "Republican Revolution" of 1994 and repeated again in 2010 is a mild form of insurgency.  The TEA Party is definitely a very polite insurgency.  However the forces of liberty are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the people.  Why?  Because our foes do their thinking with their hearts and their feeling with their brains.

You can see it at Huffpo, Firedoglake, DailyKos, and the answer to all their questions is "More Government Intervention" because they view the world like a small child who still believes Daddy is big enough to slay the monster under the bed.  They want a Daddy who provides for them, and for Everyone! and they don't understand why some of us just want to play with our blocks in the corner and be left alone.  They truly are incapable of desiring a world where they are responsible for their own success or failure, where Daddy isn't their to catch them when they fall.  Substitute Nanny for Daddy if you wish.

They don't care about facts, as children do not care that Daddy doesn't have enough money for Ice Cream in this week's food budget.  They still holler for Ice Cream! and to them it is free because they don't have to manage a budget. 

This is the enemy.  This is half of our nation.  Eventually there will come a time when such people are demanding that tactical teams visit you in the darkness of night to shoot your dog and take you in, dead or alive.  They don't care which.  Why?  Because those who believe in liberty, individual responsibility, are a direct threat to their comfortable existence.  And before some wheelchair bound person living on Social Security benefits spouts off and tells me how uncomfortable his existence is, pre-emptively fuck you.  Your life is a series of comforts and conveniences the likes of which has never been seen before in history.  I'm sure that you feel uncomfortable, and I understand that nothing we do can make you walk again.  But in the words of Jim Goad, "Life is brutally unfair."

Those are the people who are our target audience, because they are the target audience of the statists.  The ones who believe as only the zealous can that more government is better government because it is in their own best interest.

This is why the TSA is fighting so hard to avoid privatized security at airports.  Once people see an alternative to government, they make like good little consumers and vote with their feet.  So this is where the fight is now, and every person who comes to the side of liberty now is one less screaming for our blood later.

And with that, I'm going to finish my beer and read some escapist fiction.

28 March 2012

Zombie Book Review

Since I haven't read the books in question (time is in short supply and my "to read" pile only keeps growing) I bought George Hill's "Uprising USA" for my wife, who makes time to read zombie books.

Zombies are a great vehicle to talk about survival, tactics, disaster prepping, and surviving TEOTWAWKI after a SHTF scenario.  Obviously Zombies aren't real (although in Chicago and Louisiana the dead have been known to vote Democrat) they serve as a pretty good generic disaster.

So my wife read the Jesse Petersen "Married With Zombies" trilogy, and I asked her to compare/contrast with George Hill's "Uprising USA" as I being me was interested in her opinion.

The biggest difference I noticed is that she giggled when reading "Married" and asked a lot of questions when reading "Uprising"  I had to explain to my wife a lot of the gun/military jargon.  After all George dropped a number letter acronym almost every page "FN SCAR, AR-15, FS2000, Carl Gustov, 5.56mm, 6.8 SPC, Savage 10FP" which to someone who isn't abreast of the latest in gun technology caused my wife to turn to me and ask "what is this?"  My normal answer was, "a black military looking rifle" until we got to the Carl Gustov, which I shortened to "rocket launcher."  For "MOAB" I answered, "Mother of All Bombs"

What follows is my wife's words, paraphrased by me.

The tactics in Uprising USA are much better.  "Married With Zombies" was a comedy, and "Uprising USA" is in an autobiographical fiction.  "Uprising" is a more of a believable read than "Married with Zombies."

I could see where the political ramifications of trying to hold some semblance of government together in "Uprising", much more believable than in "Married With Zombies" where they just built an "eastern wall" that segregated the nation at the Mississippi River.  I like the creative licensing that George Hill used to create "Master Zombies" or "Red Eye Zombies" which was definitely a different twist on the Zombie genre.  There are a lot of unanswered questions that I hope are answered in "Uprising UK."

I don't think I was the target audience for "Uprising USA" as it had a lot of military/gun jargon that I had to ask my husband for clarification.

"Uprising" was about building a group and going out and organizing, where as "Married" was about survival and making it to the wall.  There really wasn't a sense of purpose in "Married" other than personal survival.  George Hill kind of glosses over interpersonal relationships in "Uprising" where "Married" focused on relationship survival.

26 March 2012

The Zimmerman/Martin thing is really stirring the pot.

So some internet idiot going by the handle "jharp" (the link will take you over to Sebastian's, where jharp got snitty on Robb Allen) wrote this little bit of comedy gold.  Seriously, how much fail can one person put into their head before they forget to breathe?
I believe in lots of police. Lots of them. It is safer for police and safer for us. And if they must raise my taxes to pay for the number of police that it takes to keep my neighborhood safe so be it.
I do not want untrained hot headed bozos like Mr Zimmerman being my neighborhood police. It is a job for professionals.
 Ok, since I've seen this sort of "leave it to the professionals" attitude before, let us take a look at what police actually do.

They show up at crime scenes.  Why do they show up at crime scenes?  Because Police have no duty to protect individuals.  Even if the individual in question has a Court Issued Restraining Order.  Even if the individual in question is in the Witness Protection Program.  No matter how you slice it, the cops are not liable for jack if you happen to stop breathing on their watch.

And as for having more cops?  I don't see how having 20 or 50 people show up at a crime scene makes any difference, it only takes one to outline the corpse.

But wait Merc, surely you read those stories about cops stopping a crime in progress!  Yup, I do, and I also read about private citizens stopping crime in progress.  Seriously, even a blind pig gets the random acorn.  In terms of crime deterrent, cops don't even cause a dent in statistics.  Do you know what DOES cause a dent in statistics (meaning crime goes down, jharp I'm looking at you here)?  Right to carry laws.  Instead of "blood in the streets" it is yet another case of the the "mild mild west."

I ain't a betting man, but I'd bet I have more invested in keeping my ass alive than any cop on the planet.  And if I have to shoot a 17 year old who is attacking me to stay alive, I will.  Just like a COP would.

I wonder if we'll have internet after the crash?

Our economy has moved along with some sort of "Brownian Motion" for so long that a paradigm shift in structure will become the next "Black Swan" event for our generation.  For those not familiar with the term, "Brownian Motion" describes the largely chaotic movement of particles in a fluid suspension.  The paradigm shift to which I refer is what happens when the fluid suspension gets flushed, no matter the motion of any individual particle the whole system is doomed.  Right now we are so in debt that we can't get out of it, and the only options left are hyperinflation or default.

But it isn't a "Black Swan" event, it is the predictable end of our fiscal insanity.  After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result right?  We passed the "tipping point" of income to debt ratio as a nation a while back, and as a result saw our "stellar credit" downgraded (but not downgraded enough in my opinion).  We see the drama playing out in Greece, where the birthplace of rationalism burns in the anger of a fiery mob.  And we still added even more debt to our balance sheet this year, and will likely add more soon.  After all, when the house is burning, why NOT max out the credit card?

I predict that the Euro will fall first.  The US Dollar will follow.  Of course it could happen the other way around.  Or it could not happen at all.  To me the mass illusion of normalcy would be the most intriguing outcome of all.

What would happen if the world just decided to ignore the math?  I mean, that is what we as a culture have been doing up until now, pretending that the hard and fast rules of mathematics don't apply.  Would we continue on down the rabbit hole of debt is money and pray that no one notices the Emperor Has No Clothes? It is like staying at the same BlackJack table even though the house has run out of cards.  Every game has to end at some point, and our economy is going to leave the high roller table and go play penny slots for a while. 

So far it seems too much to ask for an American Pinochet.  But a Pinochet isn't what is needed, we don't have a Nationalized Industry (aside from GM and Chrysler, the Fed Reserve, Goldman Sachs, too big to fail, etc) that needs privatizing.  So it isn't like there is much for a Pinochet to do except roll back some of the regulatory agencies, decrease the government bloat (probably to include my job, but there are casualties in every war).

Right now the international money markets are crawdadding away from the dollar in that they aren't buying any more.  But really it is an international game of financial chicken as each country holding US bonds tries to get out of the game without causing a run on the dollar.  This is a variation on the classic "The Prisoner's Dilemma" in that everyone who has any skin in the game loses less by doing nothing.  The first country to blink and put US bonds on the market would cause the whole house of cards to come crumbling down.

Why do I know this?  Because the numbers don't lie.  There isn't anyone left to buy US Debt, and even if there were they wouldn't be that foolish.

Conversely, our last great financial Crisis was brought about by the private sector.  The value of the dollar actually increased during the Depression.  History doesn't repeat, but it rhymes.  So this time our financial crisis was brought about by Government Sector playing in the private sector.  That tells me that the relative free fall of the dollar isn't going to stop any time soon.  I'd like to say that Government got us into this mess, after all the legislation that spelled our doom came about before I was born.  But the problem with a Democracy is that you get the government you deserve.  And so we have. 

So whatever sort of government replaces our current one, I'd like to see a more limited franchise.  Maybe you have to pay taxes to vote (screw you Thoreau) or maybe you need to own property (screw you renters) or maybe you need to have served honorably in federal service (as proposed by Heinlein).  But this universal suffrage crap has done nothing but spend us into poverty.  I am convinced that an egalitarian society will commit cultural suicide.  Or at least the egalitarian society will claim "moral superiority" while being bent over and Sandusky'd by a limited franchise meritocratic society.

24 March 2012

The Heckler's Veto

The reason that main stream newspapers and networks gloss over the blatant bigotry, hate, injustice, and violence of islam is that Muslims will fucking go jihadi on you for speaking the truth.  In the TV series "Rome" Antony replies "You have all the men of character, and I have an angry mob that will dance in the ashes of the Senate."  The best laid laws of truth and justice fail in the face of an angry mob.

This has been referred to as "The Heckler's Veto" in that it stops the honest debate of anything.  When one side will resort to violence or engage in tactics outside of societal norms, then democracy and freedom of speech are dead.  Violence is power.  Anyone who wants to reduce your personal capacity for violence wants to make you less powerful and more helpless.  Stalin knew this, Mao knew this, even the Brady Bunch know this to be true.  This is why they seek to disarm those who would resist them in their misguided goal of seeking ever more power over others.  When we say a word like "control" it is only a substitute for "power."  You "control" a beast because you have "power" over it.

Which brings us to the unfortunately named George Zimmerman.  Had George been named "Ray-Ray Jackson" we would know nothing about him and the unfortunate episode with Trayvon Martin would be chalked up as nothing more than "yet another example of black on black violence."  There would be no calls for "justice" which is nothing more than a substitution for the word "revenge."  Evidently it is just fine to kill black people if you are also a black person.  As soon as you have a white sounding name (heaven forbid someone named Chet Worthington the Third ever put a cap in a brother's ass, or we'll see race riots the likes of which God has only seen).

Was it murder or was it self defense?  That is for the legal system in Florida to work out.  Unfortunately the "Heckler's Veto" is so loud that I can't believe that any sort of impartiality is available.  The crowds are crying for blood, CRUCIFY HIM!!   How ironic that various "Reverends" are calling for the crucifixion of a man still considered innocent.  Think they might know something about temperance, mercy, forgiveness, patience, and trusting in the Lord to protect his people.  Funny how religious faith goes out the window when there is a chance to whip a crowd into a mindless fury and get some free publicity.

I say again, violence is power.   Power to oppress, power to resist oppression.  Not all violence is legal in our justice system, but should I go be judged for my actions, I would like the roar of the crowd to be for impartial justice, not blood.

22 March 2012


Every once in a while I'll get an itch between my shoulder blades and a vague feeling that something bad is coming down the pike.

I'm sure that to those of the "progressive" bent will call it "combat veteran paranoia" or other such nonsense.  Anyways the last time I got this "itchy" was in 2006 getting ready for a repeat terrorist event that never happened.  So I don't know why I'm feeling particularly unprepared and insecure now, but I am and so little by little the wife and I are getting ready to test a one week survival plan.  It won't be a true "survival" week because we'll have utilities, but it should test our food plan.  Later on we can do the "camp stove cooking" to test our resiliency for loss of utilities.

But, prepping really means "organizing" to a large extent, and for the last hour I set up the "shelving unit of the apocalypse" in the basement.  http://www.amazon.com/Raxa-Power-Garage-Shelving-Shelves/dp/B005EG44K2/ref=pd_sim_sbs_hi_5 I don't know if this is the same unit we bought at Costco a few years back, but it is the closest I could find on amazon.com

I also upgraded 9 milspec STANAG magazines with MAGPUL no tilt followers.  I chose yellow followers because I figure that it will make the mag easier to see if I drop it inadvertently after a mag change, and I'm not so tacticool that I need a seldom seen piece of kit to be an earth tone.  Still hoping to find more 20 rounders, but with the prices on the used market being what they are, I might as well purchase new 20 round MAGPUL poly magazines.

Culture, Civilization, and getting ready for the fall

So Tam and Guffaw in AZ both ruminated on "gun culture" and that got me to thinking.  As a member of the “gun culture” I’m pretty comfortable being labeled.  I also own a motorcycle, a few “semi-custom” knives, and enjoy assembling PC’s.  I don’t subscribe to any magazines that cater to the gun crowd, the knife crowd, motorcycle crowd or even the tech crowd.  That I don’t subscribe to the publications doesn’t mean that I’m not a member of “gun culture” or “knife culture” or “tech culture.”
What it means is that I’m more casual about my relationship with my tools than someone who lives and breathes monster trucks, rock crawlers, and mud boggers.  I can enjoy science fiction without attending Conventions with other people dressed as Spock.  I can enjoy fantasy without dressing like Frodo.
People use labels to pigeon hole other people.  “Oh he’s a Democrat, that means he’s an evil communist.”  While it may be a true statement, it is still mentally lazy.  I would prefer someone say, “He is a democrat who is pro life and pro gun because he comes from a rural Texas district but has never voted against more government intrusion into the lives of everyday citizens.”  That would be a more true statement.  “The man is a flaming radical communist and JFK would sic a Special Forces Team on him if he were still around” is also a pretty accurate statement regarding some modern Democrats.
But getting back to labels and culture.  Not all cultures are equal.  Some cultures are superior to other cultures.  That is why cultures rise or fall.  The Romans were superior, right up until they weren’t.  The British ruled the world, up until they didn’t.  The Gun Culture is definitely a culture, as we are in a cultural struggle for dominance with the Anti-Freedom Culture.  So while there is a “hardcore” center of our culture that lives and breathes the minutia of ballistics and retention systems, the much broader group is much less invested in guns as anything but a tool for the retention of individual freedom. 
In the end, it is the struggle between our two cultures that is important.  I don’t really care about iscosolese vs. weaver, I don’t care about 5.56 vs 7.62, I don’t care about AR vs. AK.  I care about my culture continuing on to have those debates.  And the only way we can continue as a culture is to win the culture wars.
But culture is not civilization.  Cultural norms can outlast a civilization by a long time.  The philosophy of "stoicism" has come down the path of time to define what we think of as "masculine."  So even though our civilization may be crumbling around us (grab what you can to pad the fall now) our culture may live on in the next civilization.

I mean come on, if we look at Rome, Russia, even Britain, and we can see that we are going down the same time worn path.

1. Expensive foreign wars that have nothing to do with national security? Check.
2. Currency devaluing at a predictable rate? Check
3. Ever tighter restrictions on freedom in a desperate grasp to stop the slide that restricting freedom causes? Check
4. The breakup of the Empire causes the collapse of the military back to "home base?"  Check and double check.  Pax Romana ended, Pax Britainia ended, and Pax Americana is over.

The best possible future I see for my people, my "gun culture" people, is a self sufficient militia along the Swiss model (or Finnish if you prefer).  The worst possible future is that of Britain, or Russia.  The experiment in Democracy that began in 1917 with the death of the Republic is coming to the inevitable end. 

21 March 2012

New Sights

Some people go home and research new headers for that engine they are rebuilding out in the garage.  I pour over rifle specs and try to figure out how to get better as a shooter.  So I needed to order some parts for a Lee Auto Disk Pro (go from chain return to spring return) and since you can't just order six bucks worth of parts from Midway I added a .052" rear sight for my AR and a "national match" front sight post (which I didn't measure with my dial caliper but seems like it is darn near half the width of a standard front sight post).  I also ordered a bunch of yellow Magpul no tilt followers to upgrade my GI spec mags.  I'm tired of my rounds getting hung up in a 30 rounder, and old Vietnam era 20 round mags are like gold, I haven't found any for sale or trade in a long time.

So now my "Frankenstein" AR is even more so, Colt HBAR upper with DPMS sights, Rock River Free float tube on a Rock River lower with a Geissele trigger.  Slowly but surely this rifle is getting modified to exactly what I think it should be, and hopefully the tighter aiming points translates into tighter scores.

I'm going to try the stick on wheel weight under the hand guard trick as soon as I get get to a tire shop.

17 March 2012

That difficult "causality" assumption

Breaking news! Atmospheric CO2 plunged during formation of an ice age! 

At least if you read the hype printed here.  http://www.zmescience.com/research/ice-sheets-in-antarctica-formed-by-massive-fall-in-co2/

The article lays out a very simple argument.  CO2 content fell, glaciers and ice sheets formed, ergo the CO2 fall caused the shift.  Unfortunately for the writers of the article, most folks with a science background are a little more intelligent than to take that at face value.

First off, what caused a massive drop in CO2 content in the atmosphere?  Logically it couldn't all be taken in to photosynthesis as we know that the carbon cycle of mature ecosystems is "carbon neutral" and since there weren't a whole lot of industrial logging/fishing going on 34 million years ago we can safely assume that we are dealing with "mature ecosystems."

So the only safe assumption is that the atmospheric CO2 was instead absorbed into the oceans as a dissolved gas.  The solubility of a gas into a liquid is Temperature Dependent (capitalized for emphasis) and the cooler a liquid (the more orderly the molecules) and the more dissolved gas it can support.  This is why deep ocean "upwellings" that bring nutrients and dissolved gasses to the surface where photosynthesis can happen make for good fishing grounds. 

Bottom line, as oceans get COLDER they TAKE IN more and more CO2.  This means that a drop in atmospheric CO2 doesn't CAUSE the cold, it is a SYMPTOM of the COLD.  Everybody clear on that?  The planet cools, the oceans cool, and they suck CO2 (and O2 and N2) out of the atmosphere.

The real question then becomes, "What CAUSED the cooling?"  If we can eliminate the CO2 drop as the cause, that leaves us with two very plausible options.  1, atmospheric aerosols (from a massive eruption or asteroid impact) or Solar variance.  The last time we saw a significant drop in Solar Output was the "Little Ice Age" which in less than 400 years wiped out any gains made by the "Medieval Warm Period" and ice carnivals on the river Thames.

Those who study energy on the planetary level know that it doesn't take long to turn Planet Earth into Planet Snowball.  Once Planet Earth is in a Planet Snowball state, the energy transfer from Solar Radiance to the planets surface is reduced because of the shift in albedo that reflects more and more energy back into space.  Succinctly put, there is a "tipping point" in terms of shifting albedo when Solar energy input ceases to matter because the surface of the planet cannot take it in, and an Ice Age becomes a self replicating cycle.  The planet is too white to absorb enough energy to turn green.  So far there is no known mechanism as to how our "Big Blue Marble" breaks out of an Ice Age.

The bigger, and more important questions, are "What causes Planet Earth to come out of periods of glaciation in a regular manner" (something that has happened long before mankind showed up) and "why has CO2 levels consistently risen prior to falling after the onset of glaciation?"  We are pretty sure that SUV's weren't around for the last few periods of Ice Ages and Interglacial Periods, so why did the CO2 levels "fluctuate" from less than now to more than double now?  These are the questions that I am interested in.

Rest, creativity, helluva week.

The other day Tam was waxing poetic about how PJ O'Rourke has lost some of his funny, and ended up saying "maybe it is true that those raising kids are too tired to raise hell."

I'd link to her post, but I'm too tired and you've probably already read it anyways.

This week has been, "educational" in the terms of "Good Army Training" which is milspeak for "this week sucked ass."  My boss wears a gold oak leaf, and he's now in the process of retiring.  So I get to fill in for him (not a problem, good units train to "two deep" and I'm only one below him) but there leaves no one behind me to fill in for my work.  So I'm filling "double duty" for a little while.  Most nights this week I drug my ass home at night just to crawl into bed to wake up a few hours later and do it all again.  However, success requires sacrifice.  "Rewarding Family Life, Career Success, Good Nights Sleep: Choose any two" is a pretty good way to sum it all up.

So being tired explains why the best I could manage for the last week was a quote from RobertaX which required no thought all on my part.  

But happy St. Patty's Day.  May rainbow farting unicorns lead you to a pot of a fungible commodity.

16 March 2012

Quote of the Day.

Here at randomthoughtsandguns aren't exactly known for a "QOTD" as other blogs have done.  But this one liner is so full of win that I simply had to share.
Claire, I think your clock's broke.


11 March 2012

Why I need practice.

So on this blog I have waxed long and poetic about how High Power matches are making me a better rifleman.  It still holds true even though I shot a pretty abysmal 617-1X yesterday.  When you think about how that compares to a perfect 800-80X, I missed the X 79 times.  When you think in terms of statistics, 617/800 = 77.128%, which means I couldn't even hold the 8 ring.

However, having slept on that bad score overnight, I'm looking at the numbers 8, 9 and 10 a LOT on my 200 rapid and 300 rapid scores.  Where I'm looking at 6's, 7's, 5's, and M's is 200 standing slow and 500 prone slow.  So this confirms that my choice to focus on dry fire practice was right (what can I say, I know where I'm in need of work), and my wind reading skills at distance need some work (seriously, I was holding the front sight post off to the right of the black and the impact would still be on the left side of the target).  Now it isn't that I shot awful, at 500 it was two 10s, four 9s, six 8s, three 7s, one 6, two 5s, and two misses.  12 of 20 shots were 8 or tighter, but those misses killed me (hold for a three o'clock wind call and then it switches to a nine meant I missed the target twice).

So, my next goal?  No more M's.  If I had turned those M's into 5's it would have been an additional 15 points this match.  Goal after that?  Keep all shots in the black.  Goal after that?  Not sure yet.

09 March 2012

Branching out into a new shooting discipline

When I was stationed at Fort Lewis I lived in an off post neighborhood that was still zoned “rural county” which allowed me to set up a 50 foot small bore range in my backyard.  I had to set up my shooting position in the kitchen and shoot through an open door to get the whole 50 feet, and I had to use 22 Short ammunition to keep the noise down, but it was a great way to relax after a hard day.
Now that I live in a place where that is not an option, I decided that I would go a different route.  The basement of my current residence is sort of L shaped, with just enough space on the long avenue of the L to set up an indoor air gun range.
 It has been literally decades since I owned a BB Gun, but the NRA keeps touting “3 Position Air Rifle” as the “gateway drug” for the next generation to get hooked on shooting.  So I started researching.  It turns out that air guns go from really cheap single pump smoothbores to Olympic quality masterpieces (I think this is true for every hobby, from model trains to mountain biking).  I wanted something that would complement my rifles, so that eliminated all the smoothbores.  I don’t need maximum killer velocity so that eliminated the need for a multiple pump, cartridge, or pre-charged pneumatic system.  This narrowed the field down to “single pump air rifle” which is still a fairly large field.
The air rifle that caught my eye was a Daisy Avanti 753, with a Lothar Walther Barrel (my 9.3x62 has a LW barrel, and it is excellent), solid wood stock, and competition sights.  With a price tag north of what I wanted to pay (but still way south of Olympic quality rifles), I looked for a less expensive option.  I settled on a Daisy 953 Powerline.  The 953 is billed as an entry level precision air rifle.  The difference between the 753 and 953 is the lack of a LW barrel, and the 953 replaces the wood stock with a plastic stock of the same design.  After purchasing aftermarket sights for 35 bucks the 953 comes in at about a third of the price of the 753.  The owner’s manual that came with the 953 assured me that the rifle is capable of .32 inch groups at 10 meters.  By my rough math ( invTAN (0.32 inch group /393.7 inches distance)*60) that comes out to a 2.8 MOA tolerance at that range.  Considering that the bull of the targets I will be aiming at are going to have a 1.25 inch diameter I think I’ll be ok with the accuracy of the rifle.
So, I have the air rifle now, and I have the space to set up an indoor range, just need to print off some 10 meter air rifle targets and purchase a variety of pellets to do an accuracy test.  I hope that this will meet my training needs for position shooting, even if it does nothing for my wind reading skills.  Fortunately I don’t have to travel far to practice reading the wind, at least not in March in Kentucky. 

04 March 2012

How I became a "Gunny"

I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't interested in firearms.  My earliest happy memories are of my father holding his Marlin Model 60 up and letting me sight down the barrel and pull the trigger.  As a child my hero's wore uniforms, and this was the 1980s, the era of Rambo and GI Joe cartoons.  My favorite was LT Falcon, a Green Beret of the "snake eater" variety.

When I was a teenager my parents bought their first pistol that I could remember, a Smith and Wesson 422.  That pistol is LOUD, and oh so very cool.  Something else happened around that time, William Jefferson Clinton was elected President of the United States, and the Democrats achieved a majority in both the House and Senate, effectively controlling two branches of government for the first time in a long time.  Did they pass "universal healthcare" which was such a talking point at the time?  No, they passed the Assault Weapons Ban.  It would take Obama and "Obamacare" to cause the second "Republican Revolution" and lose the House majority.  It seems like there is a Democrat Playbook that says "Once we achieve a majority, we will make one piece of crap legislation that really sucks to make us lose power."

Now I may be a simple country boy, but the AWB really pissed me off, and it evidently pissed off a bunch of actual voters because the 94 "Republican Revolution" happened.  Government spending didn't increase as fast as it had under the Dems, and by the end of the decade there was a "tax surplus" which is another thing that hadn't happened in living memory. Also by the end of the decade I'd graduated High School while concurrently earning an Associate of General Studies and enlisted in the US Army as a 31F, (which became 25F, which is now 25N).  The first firearm I ever purchased was a Marlin 94 in 44 magnum.  That might be the most fun you'll ever have with your clothes on.

Now at this time I wasn't a "gunny" because I really only owned one rifle, but in 2002 when my 4 year hitch was up I came back to land of perpetual rain and went back to college on the GI Bill whilst serving in the Army Reserve.  And I went hog wild buying old milsurp rifles.  I fell in love with Mausers.  If you don't own a Mauser rifle and something designed by JMB then you can't really call yourself a "gunny" in my book.  Although with the rising prices on milsurps I'd say that a Mosin is an acceptable substitute, and a Glock is quickly becoming the replacement for the 1911 amongst the new generation.  Gaston Glock will never be remembered for vast contributions to the gun world, but he will be remembered for getting one thing right, the same way John C. Garand is remembered for creating what Patton called, "The greatest battle implement ever devised."

So there I was, collecting milsurps, sporterizing milsurps, trading stuff at gun shows, learning to reload, that I really became a "gunny" as I surrounded myself online with people who were interested in similar ideas.  The great thing about gunnies isn't that we adore the second amendment (we do) but that we adore ALL of the first 10 amendments, the whole kit and kaboodle.  Which is why you'll read more about TSA unreasonable search and seizure on a gun blog than you will from an ACLU press release.  Gunnies aren't about guns.  Gunnies are about the freedoms necessary for a Nation to embrace gun culture, and enjoy the benefits of lower crime verses those countries that don't trust upstanding adults with the right to keep and bear arms.

So it would seem that my military service combined with my college experience indoctrinated me into the "freedom extremist" camp.  One thing that is true about my military service is that I am not fighting for you, nor am I fighting for your freedoms.  If you want support a true hero fighting for freedom go support Alan Gura and the Second Amendment Foundation.  I'm just a guy who collects a paycheck for volunteering to do a job with a well known risk set.

But along the way I have learned a few things.  People who don't trust you to be responsible with a firearm also don't trust you to have the ability to speak your mind.  Political correctness is intellectual prudishness and unwillingness to discuss the obvious, it is dishonesty of the most insidious nature in that it deprives free speech and honest discussion.  Gunnies are amongst the most disagreeable people on the planet, ask two gunnies get three opinions, but at the end of the day I would rather disagree with a fellow gunny than anyone else on the planet.  In my experience gunnies accept that free people disagree, and it is the only culture I know of that truly embraces those differences.  I mean I have a very outspoken gay blogger on my blogroll, and I have sat down for a meal with him, and we are probably miles apart on most other political issues, but I want a world for him where he and everyone in a similar circumstance can protect themselves from bigotted assholes.

Other cultures that "celebrate freedom" are really nothing more than groups that celebrate homogeneity, from motorcycle clubs to drum circles, it is the same BS from everyone in the group.  Not so with gunnies.  We have gays, goths, The Queen of Snark, an Engineer who hosts Boomershoot for fun, Active/Reserve/Retired Military, Moms, college kids, Ph.D's, Mensa members, machinists, artists, political activists, preppers, threepers, pacifists (yup, Ghandi was one of us), we are truly "diverse" and connected only by our mutual desire for the freedom to be left alone to do what we want to do.  That is what keeps us together, keeps us blogging, and I am thankful that I am not the smartest guy in the room when it comes to my blogroll.

So there you have it.  I'm not a gunny because I really really like guns.  I'm a gunny because I really really like freedom, and piss on those who would take it away from any of you.

03 March 2012


Others have blogged about fitness in much more persuasive words than I can put together here.  But the bottom line is this, just like your shooting skills, if you aren't getting better you are wasting time at worst or marking time at best.  So to talk about PT, I'm going to talk about shooting, then meander back into PT.

Why would you go to the range, shoot a 2" group, and repeat that performance every week?  Never better than 2 inches.  For the same investment in time you can work on sight alignment, trigger control, breath control, and even if all you did was shrink your groups to 1.75 inches, that is improvement. 

In the shooting sports the results is a sum of man and machine.  Quality firearm, quality ammo, quality training, and if you work hard enough you can become an Olympic level competitor.  However I don't see the "practical shooting" disciplines making it into the Olympics any time soon.

So getting better as a "practical shooter" or any other discipline that is designed to simulate the surviving of violent encounters isn't like earning a Black Belt or SEAL Trident.  Those things you wear on your body are binary, either you have them or you don't.  Training is analog, it is what gives one guy an edge over another guy.

Since I've gotten back to the US I've obsessed with dry fire exercises to align my breathing, stance, and trigger control.  My goal isn't to shoot one ragged hole, my goal is to shoot to the limits of my equipment and keep my shots in the 10 ring.  I've missed having a 50 foot rimfire range in my backyard, so I've been shopping around for an air rifle that I can use in the basement.  If anyone is interested I'm looking at a Daisy 953 with competition sights.  I think it would be a good way to get useable gear without spending all my paycheck.

But getting back into exercises.  The last time I failed a PT test I was recovering from pneumonia and just couldn't breath during the two mile run.  I was ashamed and embarrassed.  Once my lungs cleared up my run time went back into my normal range and all was well and good.  Except that I'm not obsessing about getting better on my PT.

I don't keep records of my PT tests, I don't time my runs.  I don't do the things to improve my body that competitive shooters do to improve their performance.  I'm surprised that it has taken me this long into my career to make the cognitive leap between disciplines.

Overweight Soldiers have told me "I've never had to run two miles in combat."  Neither have I, but I have had to run around a FOB gaining accountability of my people after a VBIED attack.  I've never had to do a pushup to stop the enemy from advancing, but I have had to carry a room mate back to his bunk after he drank too much and blacked out.  Every time I've had to do something that may have been physically challenging I've managed to accomplish the task.

But PT isn't just about accomplishing the task, it is about mastering the task.  You run not so that you can make it to the top of the hill, but so you can make it too the top of the hill and then fight.  You do pushups not so that you can flex on the beach but to pass up a rucksack to the next soldier in the cargo chain without wasting time to rest.  If you practice the simple things hard, the hard things become simple.

If you hit a plateau, don't worry.  It happens to everyone and is a normal part of any activity from athletic performance to weight loss to musical skill.  Keep with it.  Challenge yourself.  Because as lethal as 2" groups are, when you halve that you double your effective lethal distance.  Challenge yourself, because as laudable as a 7 minute mile is, a 6 minute mile and a minute to prep your shooting position is better.