Thursday, December 27, 2012

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Judging by your response to my Sandy Hook Blogs, you out there in the Bloggosphere are both incensed and confused! Let me give those of you, less firearm's oriented, a crash course in munitions. Not that I'm an expert mind you, but had grown up with hunters and practiced marksmen, and am one myself. And of course entwined in my familiar anti-current administration, anti-liberal, anti politically correct, anti-socialism rhetoric

With Obama following Rahm Emanuel’s rule of never letting a “serious crisis go to waste” he has announced that he will use “all the power of his office” to institute laws to prevent the Newtown horror from ever happening again.  Cue the anti-gun opportunists.  Less than four days after the tragedy we have had Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Shumer, Carolyn McCarthy, Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and a cast of thousands of mindless politicians, talking head newscasters, and assorted second amendment bashers lining up for their turn at proposing completely preposterous, ineffectual, ridiculous “solutions” to keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally deficient.  Bravo.  If I hear one more of these sheep refer to an “assault weapon” as a “machine gun”, use “clip” instead of  “magazine”, “automatic” in place of “semi-automatic” or start ranting on about such nonsense as “cop killer bullets”, “microstamping”, or the necessity of “allowing” the public to possess “military style” firearms, my head is going to explode.  So many sheep and so little time.  Where do I start?  

Let’s start with the most preposterous:  a rifle is a rifle, boys and girls.  Whether it is painted black, has a flash hider, a bayonet lug, a collapsable stock, a picatinny rail, a laser site, a magazine forward of the pistol style grip, it’s all lipstick on a pig.  All these politicians have their knickers in a twist over esthetics without a consideration to statistics. I am yet to hear that a 7-Eleven was effectively knocked over because the assailant’s rifle had a bayonet lug and a flash hider.  Fact of the matter is: rifles are used in only 2.78% of all murders.  And that’s all rifles, with so- called assault weapons an even smaller percentage of that (the FBI does not make a distinction, but makes note of their rarity).  More people are murdered by knives (13.21%) and just hands and feet (6.6%), yet I haven’t seen a call by our astute leaders to ban cutlery or human extremities. Rifles are just too cumbersome, the barrels are too long, they are difficult to conceal, and there are far more effective options if your intent is murderous mayhem.  

So what’s the big deal with “assault weapons”?  They make for good press, that’s what.  They are lethally attractive, threatening in appearance, conjuring up images of SWAT teams, drug cartels and military action.  They are prominently featured in video games where their picatinny rails support all sorts of flashlights, laser sites, holographic sites, scopes and assorted bling to add to their lethal appearance.  But under all that hardware is a good old-fashioned semi-automatic rifle.  Pull the trigger, it fires one shot.  No bursts, no continuous fire.  One shot.  It is not a machine gun, stupid. Granted, the magazine can make the difference here.  With many states having existing magazine restrictions, especially in the red states, the big 30 round banana shaped mags are more of a rarity, and even 20 rounders are scarce for purchase in the northeast.  But there is still a boatload of them out there, readily available to the criminal element.  10 rounds is more the norm on new purchases, consistent with many handguns, but anyone reasonably proficient can change out a magazine in less than 2 seconds.  Kinda like Bloomberg’s ban on Big Gulps…..just buy two 16 ounce cups and voila!, you have high capacity.  Duh. Unfortunately, assault rifles also appear to be the weapon of choice for deranged rampage style killers.  Probably because these nitwits all have the same thing in common:  they are gamers, learning their trade at the controls of a Playstation or an X-Box.  They seek drama, and what’s cooler than an assault weapon? Hollywood showed them that.  They want to kill as many people as possible and a big old magazine or better yet a bunch of magazines will do the trick.  They always pick soft targets, you know the ones where you’re least likely to encounter resistance and find the largest number of unsuspecting victims.  Like those “gun free” zones.  And you want to get maximum press, your 15 minutes of fame.  Rack up a large body count and the media will glorify your killing spree all month, maybe even get you a cover on People magazine.  And lastly, as soon as you encounter resistance, off yourself.  It’s almost like there’s some kind of rampage killer handbook.  Oh yeah, there is:  NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, and yes…the entire internet.  Keep it up, right now there’s another disenfranchised nut-case out there taking notes.

And why can’t I have such a rifle? Muzzle loaders were replaced by bolt action rifles firing cartridges.  Bolt actions were replaced by semi-automatics. Even in National Match competition for high power rifles, the venerable action of the M1 Garand (and subsequently the M14: same action with a detachable magazine) has been replaced by the AR style platform.  And why wouldn’t it?  The AR (designation for the designer, Armalite, not the political term “assault rifle”) platform has been around for over 40 years, has become the standard for American military style rifles and has become refined in both function and accuracy.  As the M1 Garand took the place of the bolt action Springfield in match competition, why wouldn’t the AR replace the Garand as the technology creeps into the shooting sports as well?  But why do I need an assault weapon?  Why do I need a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, an Aston Martin, a Corvette, or a Porsche?  If the speed limit is 65 miles per hour, a speed limit established by our government for the purpose of safety, why do I need a vehicle that goes nearly 200 miles per hour?  Certainly that serves no purpose, and is inherently unsafe to both the driver and the public at large.  After all, 40000 people are killed each year in car accidents , making the automobile the most dangerous consumer product in the world.  People should just be restricted to driving a 1932 Ford Victoria.  After all, it is slower, serves the same purpose and is inherently safer.  A Ferrari belongs only in the hands of a professional race car driver, doesn’t it? Well, think of an assault weapon as a Ferrari, a race car.  It is efficient, it is accurate, it is available in a multitude of cartridges, it is safe in the hands of a skilled user, it is lightweight, it has a tolerable recoil and it is versatile for both hunting, especially varmint hunting, and target practice.  Why wouldn’t a sportsman select a weapon that reflects the best that technology has to offer?  And also bear in mind that not all of us are sitting in a Starbucks this morning sipping a latte, reading the New York Times and contemplating whether we should take the Beamer or the Prius to the symphony tonight.  Some of us hunt, some of us target shoot, some of us are shooting skeet, and some of us need to keep the coyote population in check.  A gun is a  tool for sporting purposes as well as a tool tailored to the needs of where we live. 

But what about those high capacity magazines?  Why do you need one of those?  Sportsmen don’t purchase high capacity magazines for the purpose of obliterating game with multiple shots, although some varmints are the exception.  The purpose of most hunting is actually to preserve the condition of the game for consumption.  And if you intend to take a trophy, you lose style points if it is filled with holes. A high capacity magazine is a convenience for the range.  When you go skiing, you don’t necessarily enjoy riding the lift.  When you play golf, you don’t enjoy riding the golf cart to the next tee.  When you play tennis, you don’t enjoy picking up the balls between points.  You actually want to play the sport.  Similarly, when at the range, you want to maximize your time shooting, not reloading your magazine.  To get proficient at your sport, you want to practice the actual sport, not the grunt task of reloading a magazine with a nice tight spring.  Like it or not liberals, PETA members, and democrats:  hunting is a sport and target shooting is a skill, whether you choose to practice it or not.  I personally think golf is ridiculous, but I do not denigrate it because I don’t play, nor to I profess to know anything about the skill required to play it.  So back off about something that you don’t know anything about, and stop pretending to be an expert when it is apparent that you haven’t a clue on the subject. It’s like a vegetarian lecturing me on the evils of eating steak.  Shut up.

And you have to love the cast of simpletons out there picketing in front of the NRA headquarters with such signs, obviously fostered by genius, like : the “NRA is killing our children”.  You can’t be serious.  With Occupy Wall Street closing up shop, you mental midgets have nothing else to do?  Please.  Protesting against the NRA for gun violence is like picketing Triple A for car accidents.  You liberals just love to spout off with your pre-conceived notions about the NRA, the Tea Party, or Fox News without actually knowing anything about them, or worse, basing your opinions on what other liberals have said about them.  The one thing that mass murderers and liberals all have in common is that neither of them is a member of the NRA. It’s like blaming high cholesterol on the dairy lobby or The American Medical Association for malpractice.  They have a subject relationship, but no responsibility for the individual.  One is disconnected from the other, and largely ignorant of the other’s perspective. Now, the NRA tone is admittedly strident in defending the second amendment and promoting the shooting sports. It is well organized and is an effective political force.  But the NRA is also more effective in promoting gun safety than any liberal politician could ever dream of being, taking into account the hundreds of ill-enforced, and phenomenally ineffective gun laws currently on the books.   The NRA is pure and simple the mouthpiece for the law-abiding gun owner.  Do any of you liberals actually think that the NRA promotes gun violence?  When was the last time you heard:  In related news, it was found that the robbers of the First National Bank were all NRA members? Punishing the law-abiding for the actions of the criminal element is completely nonsensical. Like the Tea Party, the NRA  appears to be a cross section of America, mostly males (although the female membership appears to be growing steadily) , majority white, veterans, hunters, and marksmen who enjoy the shooting sports and have a propensity for conservative ideals.  One doesn’t join the NRA for the latest tips on how to knock over a liquor store.  In fact the latest issue of American Rifleman, the official NRA publication, contained two pages of politically oriented editorials, and an analysis of what gun owners can expect from the next four years under Obama rule, but the remainder of the magazine featured an article reviewing a new handgun offering, an historical article on the US Marines, an article on holsters, an article on a hunting cartridge and an article on how to properly fit your shotgun for hunting, as well as scattered reports on training, state associations, firearm identification, values and gun shows.  Hardly seditious stuff.  And if you are seeking training in how to properly use your firearm don’t you go to the firearm experts?  More shooters have been trained by NRA certified instructors than anyone else outside the military, and most likely many military and police officers received training from the NRA. 

So when the NRA stated the obvious in their press conference: that schools should be protected by armed security and that our culture of violence in movies, video games, television, and rap music is contributing to this epic wave of moral turpitude, why did the liberal press go absolutely apoplectic? Because the NRA is an easy scapegoat for the simpletons. NRA membership makes up 1.14% of the US population, and with 300 million firearms in the hands of US citizens it is a good bet that the NRA doesn’t represent anywhere close to the majority of gun “owners”.  It can’t possibly be our fault that we’ve become a godless, entitlement driven, porn watching, morally skewed, violent, bunch of primitives. Witness the Christmas Eve shooting in Webster, New York.  What have we come to? Have you watched television recently?  Tune into the Kardashians for a couple of episodes and ask yourself that question again.  Americans are embarrassing.  And not in the tacky dressing, camera toting way that used to unnerve Parisians.  At least in those days we had gravitas.  We had brawn.  We worked harder than everyone else, we produced more, and we carried a big stick.  We were cowboys.  Now we are an apologizing, sniveling bunch of whiners, pointing fingers at everyone else for our misfortunes and commanding zero respect on the world stage.  And we are being led by a President with an open hatred for our way of life, seeking higher levels of entitlements on the backs of the productive, willing to cede our place in the world to the United Nations with their pitifully corrupt third world despots. And why wouldn’t we want to protect our most precious cargo, our children?  We protect banks with armed guards, we protect our money with armored cars and phalanxes of security personnel and we protect politicians and celebrities with small armies of armed bodyguards.  We walk through metal detectors and get patted down at sporting events, concerts, the airport and in public buildings without protest.  And yet isn’t it laughable that money, celebrity and politicians are, based on their level of security, more important to us than our children, so much so that the media pillories the NRA for suggesting a change in priorities.  Pitiful.

So go ahead, ban assault weapons, ban firearms, ban them all and sentence America to a wave of violence and crime unseen in history.  Sentence an entire generation to joblessness, perpetuated by a government that favors power over the people, that places entitlement over accomplishment, favoring redistribution and Keynesian economics, the same policies that have doomed Europe to mediocrity, only to have us follow as some sort of sad historical footnote.  Make the political class the new aristocracy with their lavish entitlements on the backs of the taxpayer under the guise of leveling the playing field and making us all equal not just in opportunity, but in wealth, regardless of effort or success.  To hell with the Constitution. Let them eat cake. We are a special country, a special people.  We have unique demographics and unique geography.  We are not Europe, nor do we care to be.  It is time to rethink our future, redefine “progress” and restore America to her place in the world with our Constitution as our guide.  A mindless, short sighted excision of the Second Amendment from our Constitution is not the place to start.

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