“I Just Want To Say ‘Good Luck, We’re All Counting On You’.”

“I Just Want To Say ‘Good Luck, We’re All Counting On You’.”

I’ll never forget the complete and utter feeling of helplessness I had, years and years ago, when we walked out of the hospital with the eight-pound bundle of cute stuffed into a car seat that was our first child.

“WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO NOW????” was the only thing that was going through our minds as we drove home. Yes, the hospital gave us a two-hour lecture on how to raise a kid and yes, I had already changed a couple of diapers and had been spit up on a few times, but neither of us had any clue about how to raise up another human being.

Fortunately for my wife and I, we had grandparents who knew what do, and guided us along the way to where we are now, with two healthy teenaged boys in the house. It was their previous experience and wisdom that allowed us to make good choices about how to we would perform the full-time job of raising our sons.

Now pause for a second.

Years ago, in my first CCW class, I had about two hours of hands-on training on how to shoot a gun, and even that amount wasn’t required to get a permit in Arizona. I was lucky: Because I shot at one of the best ranges in the country, there were people there that could and would help me undertake the full-time job of carrying a firearm. I was fortunate, but most people aren’t, and as such, the vast majority of people who get a concealed carry permit never carry their guns on a regular basis… They were never taught how to do it every single day.

You don’t raise a child on the days that you think you FEEL you should raise a child… you do it every day, whether you feel like it or not.

And you don’t carry a gun to protect your children on the days that you FEEL you should carry one… you do it every day, whether you feel like it or not.

Lollapop-pop-pop-looza

Lollapop-pop-pop-looza

Speaking of events and culture, It’s been almost 27 years since the first Lollapalooza concert in Chandler, Arizona*. I went with a bunch of my friends who were also into alternative rock, and it was life-changing.

This is before Nirvana made it big: Nirvana’s “Nevermind” wouldn’t be released in September of that year, and “grunge” was something you scraped off a dirty dishpan. Big hair metal bands ruled the rock world, and the music I listened to, The Smiths, The Pixies and New Order was sequestered to a late-night two-hour show on MTV. Alternative music was still, well, alternative, and just wasn’t being played on FM radio where everyone could hear it.

It was, however, being played on a small low-power AM station, KUKQ. KUKQ was everything to me and my friends, because prior to this, I was the weirdo for listening to cutting-edge rock rather than banging my head to Ratt or listening to old Led Zep or Pink Floyd cuts. With today’s a la carte media, where even the most obscure track is out there on YouTube somewhere, It’s hard for people of this day and age to understand what it was like to have a rallying point for people of like interests to come together and share a common experience.

Lollapalooza was all that, and it was all that on steroids. Me and literally thousands of other people who shared a common passion were all in one place, enjoying our music and all that went along with it. Lollapalooza wasn’t just a concert: There were tattoo and piercing parlors (neither of which were mainstream at the time) and side stages and a host of other events that were meant to compliment the music and reinforce the culture of alternative music.

Which brings me to guns. Pick up everything I just said, and drop on top of Gun Culture 2.0. The closest thing we have to the Lollapalooza experience is the NRA Annual Meeting, but if you listen to something other than country music, you’re kinda (T)SOL when it comes to culture at that event, and it’s the same with the USCCA’s Concealed Carry meeting as well.

It’s not just about guns, it’s about music and sport and life and… everything. Jerome Griffin mentioned to me recently that DropZone Gunner, an event that mashes up 3 Gun with obstacle racing, was designed with Lollapalooza in mind, and I think he’s on to something there. Gun ownership is being pushed to the side of American culture, and anything we can do to push it back to the middle is a very good thing indeed.

 

* 27 years is also the same amount of time from Lollapalooza to Beatlemania. Egad, I’m old.

Emotional Rescue.

Emotional Rescue.

This post at Ricochet started off as a diatribe against the idiots who cry out that “weapons of war don’t belong on our streets!,” every time someone is shot with an AR-15 which is, in reality, a rather uncommon occurrence.

However, it turned out to be something more, it turned into a celebration of a simple, honest man, and his simple, honest love for his family.

Turns out I attach more emotions to my guns than I thought I did.

The Marching Morons.

The Marching Morons.

A friend of mine posted a link on social media to yet another Antifa/Black Block armed defensive league that’s popped up as of late. I’m not going to link to them because I see no reason to give them any more notoriety, however, that’s their photo up there at the top of the post. These guys look a lot more squared away than others I’ve seen who have showed up to demonstrations with airsoft rifles, but that’s really not saying much, is it?

When these wannabe revolutionaries first started showing up on the scene, my initial impression of them was that they are pretty much a joke. However, the shooting of Rep. Scalise should serve as a warning to us that while they might be a joke, that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. Groups like this look and act like a bunch of pathetic losers, right up to the point where they shoot a sitting Congressman, park a Ryder van outside of a federal building or fly a plane into a building in New York.

And then suddenly, they’re not losers, they’re a serious threat.

One thing that did pop into my mind, though, is that while most of the people in groups like this (and their polar opposites in the Threeper / Militia movement) will eschew any formal firearms training and look down at the rest of us from their perch high upon Mt. Stupid, there will be a few who realize that their skills at violence are not up to fulfilling their dream of violent revolution, and they’lll seek out better training.

As such, it might be a good idea for my friends in the firearms training community to do a quick glimpse at the social media footprint of everyone who signs up for their class from here on out, just so you can say you tried to screen out the nut cases. While it probably wouldn’t have helped in the case of the most recent incident in Las Vegas, if one of the people in your Intro To AR class spends his time on social media complaining about the worldwide Zionist conspiracy and asks around for places to get Tannerite in bulk, you might want to think about refunding his or her class fee.

There probably ain’t a whole lot of firearms trainers out there who would like be known as an unindicted co-conspirator (or worse) for the rest of their lives. Yes, some sanitation of background is possible, but at least you can testify in court that you did your due diligence. It kinda sucks that we have to worry about such things, but that’s the world we live in now.

Still Don’t Go To Shows

Still Don’t Go To Shows

I wrote this almost six years ago, and it’s still true today.

I am just not into gun shows. Don’t know if I ever will be. I’m not really into guns as objects, I’m into guns as tools, and ever since I got my eight guns, I’ve been buying stuff either as backup to what I already own or to compete in specific competitions.

But buying guns because they’re guns? Nah, not really.

This is not really a surprise. I never collected cameras when I was a shooter, and I never bought the latest, greatest gear either. My medium format was a 25 year old ‘Blad, and my 35mm’s were FM2’s and a FG’s, not an F4.

If it works, use it.

Marko posted this on Facebook awhile back, and it reminds me just how long it’s been since I read “The Book Of Five Rings“.

“You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.”

― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

… And Knowing Is Half The Battle.

… And Knowing Is Half The Battle.

The other half is the battle is, of course, beating the enemy into submission with decisive movement and overwhelming firepower.

Funny how they never mentioned that part in those old G.I. Joe cartoons.

I digress.

If you have any interest at all in training people to shoot well or moving the ball forward when it comes to firearms ownership in America, take more than a few moments and read Karl Rehn’s “Beyond The One Percent” series. It’s breathtakingly good, and lays out the issues we face clearer and more presicely than anything I’ve read before.

What’s interesting is that his recommendations closely mirror my own experience. When I got my CCW, lo these many years ago, my instructor taught the class in two sections, over the course of a weekend. At the time, Arizona required class room instruction and a live-fire portion before granting a permit (that’s changed since then), and my instructor broke up the class into two parts: A classroom portion that talked about Arizona gun laws, etc, on a Saturday, and then a brief range session the following day, with an optional, inexpensive (less than $100) stress fire / holster practice session immediately following. Most of the students in my class opted for the live fire practice, giving students a taste of the concealed carry lifestyle and the stress fire found in competition, and doubling the instructor’s take from the class in the process.

Instructors would do well to stop thinking of themselves as selling a product (concealed carry classes, gun training, etc.) and start seeing themselves as evangelists for a way of life.

The Possible First, Then The Unlikely.

The Possible First, Then The Unlikely.

I have two young sons. They tend to do stupid things. They have a better chance of getting hurt and needing first aid than my chance of needing a spare magazine for my concealed carry pistol of choice. Therefore, do I carry bandaids and other such things with me pretty much all the time?

You bet I do.

Because of my lifestyle, the odds of me needing to use a Bandaid are pretty good. The odds of me getting into a gunfight and needing  to use a spare mag are incredibly small. The stakes, though… the stakes are incredibly mortal.

No One Expects The Gunsite Inquisition

No One Expects The Gunsite Inquisition

Because I hate wasting good stuff on an away game.

“Our chief weapon is the 1911. And the color code. Our two chief weapons are the 1911 and the color code and the Weaver Stance. Our THREE chief weapons are the 1911, the color code, the Weaver Stance and the surprise trigger break. AMONGST OUR WEAPONRY are such diverse elements as the 1911, the color code, the Weaver Stance, the surprise trigger break and nice decals of a raven on our trucks.

Oh bugger. I’ll come in again.” *

Explainer:

* I should probably state for the record that I absolutely and unequivocally believe that Gunsite is one of the best places in the world to learn how to use a pistol. However, if you can’t laugh at the people on your side, you’re going to be bloody useless at laughing at the people on the other side of your cause.

Just HOW Gun-Friendly Is Your State, Anyways?

Just HOW Gun-Friendly Is Your State, Anyways?

I was kinda surprised how many limitations there were on gun ownership when I moved to Florida. This state has a reputation as being “gun friendly” (aka “the Gunshine State”), but in reality, it’s just not so, and it’s not just the lack of open carry. For instance, you don’t realize how much time you save on a busy Saturday at the gun store by not having to do a background check on a gun purchase if you have your concealed carry permit, as you do in Arizona. And then there’s the need for a concealed carry permit and a bunch of other things that  add up.

The Smoking Barrel has a great little round up of per-state gun laws that puts it all in perspective. It’s pretty useful, go check it out.

Also, it’s worth noting that there is a big difference between states that have good laws regarding gun ownership, and good laws that cover the defensive use of guns, and according to Andrew Branca (who knows a thing or two about this sort of stuff…) Florida has the best laws for armed civilians who need to (legally) defend their lives, so we got that going for us.