Monday, July 28, 2014

Sorry, The Revolution Is Canceled!

I wasn’t sure what to write.  Then one of the blogs I follow inspired me.  It’s about revolution.

A lot of folks I know worry about UN troops becoming stationed on our soil to enforce UN regulations.  So they spray their steel rifle and pistol targets sky blue and turn plinking into a political statement.  I’m not too concerned about UN troops stationed in or going door-to-door in Cleveland looking for arms.  The UN doesn’t seem to have the political will or stomach to undertake and endure such an undertaking.  Even now, with Nigeria’s Boko Harakidnapping more than 290 young girls, the UN can’t seem to find a newspaper to roll up and smack ‘em on the nose.  And we’re worried about the UN stationing troops in Chicago?

But if they were to, that very well may cause a revolution. 

Before you rush into that cloud nine fantasy, stop and think about what it means.   It’s not Red Dawn.  Chris Hernandez paints a picture of what a revolution looks like in the real world at ground zero.  It’s worth reading.

When I was in college I had a simplistic view of the world.  I didn’t spend a lot of time talking about the “real world”, for two reasons.  What did I know?  Many of my classmates were Vietnam veterans and they knew the difference between an asshole and a hole in the ground.  But I remember the stories of Hungarians battling Soviet tanks with rocks and flaming bottles of gasoline. Much of the country was destroyed.

But also remember the conflict of Nixon’s embattled presidency.  

I read a brief snippet in the popular press, which lacking any context, purported that the Pentagon had sent letters to all the National Guard units warning them to be careful about interpreting the president’s direct orders. 

It seemed to me and many others, our country was on the edge.  One could imagine Nixon placing the Supreme Court in protective custody, closing both Houses of Congress, so they could go home and help calm troubled waters, and extending his presidency until the trouble was taken care of. 
It was the first time I thought it was a good thing the NRA fought to keep guns in our hands.  

It was the beginning of my conservative journey in life.  Nixon made me think and speculate a lot.  I knew I would fight to retain our freedoms.

What would it be like?  I envisioned myself lying just over the crest of a hill in winter clothing with other poorly fed and equipped irregulars waiting for a chance to kill other young people my age and possibly be killed as well.  I wondered what my future would look like assuming I survived.  I thought of the U.S. Civil War and how the areas that ‘hosted’ battles and troops were devastated following the war, taking years to recover.  And who could say what was left of our nation would be able to resist an opportunistic foreign invader.

Fortunately Nixon resigned.

Nowadays I think about Herbert McBride.  He wrote two books about his experience in WWI.  He had a great time for a while.  It was great fun killing Germans, until his best friend got shot and killed.  Then he wanted revenge, unable to see the boys he shot were someone else’s best friend. 

I also reflect on the young men I see today with a face or name tattooed on their calf muscle or bicep.  Remembrance of people they never want to forget for the rest of their lives.

No, a second American revolution isn’t going to be like some video game or chat room war.  It’s not going to be clean nor are you going to be able to partition your life so work is on Monday through Friday and, well Saturday and Sunday is revolution. 

Part of the irony of this blog entry is next week I’m joining a group men and women to shoot the Navy Qualifier with my AR.  I’m also trying to figure out how I can set up a moving target so both pistol and rifle shooters can get some practice with a moving target.  Last winter I read everything I could get my hands on from the army training manuals about moving troops and setting up ambushes and defenses.  I don’t want to be an expert, but if I need to listen to an expert about it, I’ve got a leg up.

Do I think there is going to be a revolution in my time?  

No, there will not be because training is the deterrent that makes us focus on real outcomes and not fantasy TV. 

And that makes revolution a last resort option.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sometime People Get It Right

 Dr Silverman gets it.  He works with dangerous and apparently, violent people.

The rest of the story is from several national news outlets.  I’ve reordered it to make sense and my comments and clarifications are in Italics.

Staff members had heard loud arguing inside Silverman's office during the appointment. They opened the door and noticed the patient had a gun pointed at the doctor, so they quietly closed the door and dialed  911.  (Unarmed, what else could they do?)

Caseworker Theresa Hunt, 53, of Philadelphia had accompanied Richard Plotts to an appointment with Silverman at a psychiatric crisis center adjacent to the hospital in Darby, just southwest of Philadelphia, authorities said.

District Attorney Jack Whelan said gunshots were heard a short time later, just before 2:30 p.m.

Plotts shot the caseworker in the face and fired several shots at Silverman, including one that grazed his temple and another that struck his thumb.  It appears Dr. Silverman was able to draw/retrieve his gun and Dr. Lee Silverman emptied his chamber, striking patient Richard Plotts several times.  (Curious use: emptied his chamber)

A spokeswoman for the Mercy Fitzgerald Health System said the hospital has a policy barring anyone except on-duty law enforcement officers from carrying weapons on its campus.

(Apparently the hospital rule doesn’t apply to criminals, who by definition break laws/rules.  This rule was most likely promulgated by people who do not deal with patients daily and are safely ensconced behind locked doors.  Having little to nothing to lose, they feel comfortable playing god.)

But Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux said that "without a doubt, I believe the doctor (Dr. Silverman) saved lives.  Without that firearm, this guy (the patient) could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition," the chief said.  (I’m sure Dr. Silverman will be asked to leave his practice for violating this policy.  Remember it’s not about saving lives, it’s about following the rules.)

There’s more to the story I’m sure.  Plotts’s possible criminal record is hinted at, the fact there was little or no security at the 200-odd bed teaching hospital was trotted out.  The media and liberals want to know if there were signs of impending danger which were misread by the doctor or caseworker.  It’s so much easier to blame the victims; they should have done something sooner.  That something is never clearly and completely explained.  Blaming the victims is comforting to some who believe if they do everything right, nothing bad will ever touch them.  Conservatives know that people do bad things often for no reason other than they want to. 

Despite being demonized by the liberals and the media (am I redundant?) the NRA is right.  It takes a good person with a gun to stop a bad person with a gun.

What’s the tactical take on this?

The operational words are concealed carry.  If you work or have to travel to dangerous places you should take precautions.  Concealed means nobody, not your buddy, not the boss, nobody knows you’re armed.  Nothing in this story talks about caliber or gun size.  A little six-shot .32 ACP when you need it is better than a 12 round .357 Sig left at home.

Dr. Silverman maybe looking for a job and it might be easier for him to find a new practice then you or I, but he still has that option.  Caseworker Hunt is dead. 

Which of these two do you want to emulate?

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Rant Mode: On

Shame, Shame, Shame on you, Zeppelin Rifle Club members.  You have a proud heritage of rifle and pistol shooting and you squander it on the altar of political correctness.

The NRA is the only national organization capable of dealing with the politicians and philosopher-kings who know they should rule by divine right and the natural order of things.  If it wasn’t just for that pesky, knuckle-dragging, Second Amendment-worshipping, redneck NRA, they'd show us how to run a country.

That any gun club would not insist their members are NRA members is just plain inconceivable to me.  It would be like finding Jews supporting the Holocaust.

A recent ZRC proposal to require all members to be NRA members was defeated by 5 votes.  That means more of the members present at the July 2014 meeting would rather pocket a year’s NRA membership at the risk of losing the one amendment that puts teeth in the Bill of Rights.

You’re cowards and quislings.
I’m sure you prissy pantywaists think everything is good and guaranteed.  Solid freedoms, assured rights and besides, you don’t like the NRA’s stance on hollow point bullets, or the youth programs, or the police training or something.  Maybe I’m just over analyzing, you’re just cheap.  You’d rather let someone else take care of it.  You’re the same kind of citizen that expects the police to keep the neighborhood safe, but slinks away when the police want witnesses to come forward. 

Nobody is perfect.  Not me, not you and certainly not the NRA.  But if you think your rights to read, write, speak, vote the way you want is assured, think again.  It’s only the presence of a possible armed response to government overreach that keeps the growing federal, state and local bureaucracies from running you over on their way to protect you from your ignorant ways.  Your rights are what the NRA is fighting to protect.  Maybe you’re the kind of fellow we were warned about:  You’d trade away your rights for the slave collar of comfort.

Now I’ve never been a fan of Roberts Rules of Orders.  I don’t think there are rules police who arrest you for not following Robert’s Rules.  So I’d put a line on the membership renewal form asking for the member's NRA number.  No NRA number, just return their check with a note saying “Sorry, but we can’t renew your membership.”  Then open the membership to the shooting community.  I’m sure you’ll find plenty of NRA card carrying members in the Akron area.  In some things the ZRC board should lead.

“We become brave by doing brave acts.”  Aristole. 

It was true then and it’s true now.

No, I’m not turning the rant mode off on this subject.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Of the three pistol ranges I have available to me, one is my favorite and I prefer to do all my shooting there.  The area is well bermed, open and airy with early morning and late afternoon shade.  What’s especially attractive about the range is the backstop is mostly mudstone and at least 40 feet tall.

My Favorite shooting Range
The green stuff on the backstop isn't the top; it's what's growing out the side of it.
Mudstone is relatively soft.  Soft compared to granite that is, but not as soft as mounded dirt.  Bullets, from .22LR to .30 caliber rifle hit the stone, damage it and are in turn deformed, robbing the bounce back of substantial amounts of energy.  This makes for relatively safe shooting, but even considering this we require eye (and ear) protection.

Typical pistol impact marks in the soft mudstone
Pistol bullet marks in soft mudstone.  The marks are shallow but wide craters.

.45 ACP recovered bullet after hitting mudstone backstop
Mushroomed .45 ACP.  Most of the mass is still present.

However, we recently brought out some steel to work with. 
Poppers are great.  They can be adjusted to fall depending on the bullet's kinetic energy (E=0.5Mass X Velocity squared) and shot placement.  

Steel poppers in front of  back stop
Steel poppers in front of back stop
They provide instant feedback and are easy to reset.  Almost everyone likes shooting reactive targets.  But bounce back from steel is a problem.  We got a little complacent and despite being about 10 yards from the steel, we experienced a wicked little bounce back.

A group of us were talking, when one of us experienced a stabbing pain in her right arm.  Under the shirt sleeve we found a little abrasion and indication of really impressive bruising to come.

Ricochet bullet and the resulting injury
Fortunately she didn’t require much more than a bandaid to keep the blood off her clothes.  We moved all the shooting back another 2 yards to increase the distance.

Because we were a tight little knot of people we saw it land and we found the bullet.

Ricocheted .45 ACP bullet
Recovered ricochet deformed .45 ACP bullet

The lead ricochet weighs 185 grains from a 230 gr copper jacketed .45 ACP.  We know this because only one person was shooting and we simply asked what he was shooting.

Compare this to the mushroomed 230 gr copper jacketed .45 ACP bounced off the mudstone (it never hit steel).  The ricochet off steel has more sharp edges and is a little more aerodynamic.  They were also found at two different distances indicating the mushroom had far less energy than the ricochet bullet.

What I think happened is the bullet hit the edge of the steel plate, smeared some of its mass off and bounced off the mudstone and then it was on its way to my wife’s arm.  Examination of the bullet seems to show two distinct impact surfaces.

The color is real, most of the swelling is a wide angle lens effect
A day or two later... Ouch!!!  Most of the swelling is a photographic artifact of using a wide angle lens for a close-up.  This is an upper arm.  Imagine your face or eyes.

I always ask, is there valuable content here or just yak-yakking?

Well, in the city with its steel and concrete, ricochets are likely.  Hollow points can minimize this problem, but not prevent it.  So even if you’re not an active participant, you could be injured by Betty, the bouncing bullet.  

As a participant it could be your Betty Bullet that injures a bystander.  Even worse, you could be injured by a bounce back and blinded or incapacitated.  Think about your target and not only what’s behind it, but what obstacles might obscure the path to it.  Under stress you might not even see those parking meters.

So always wear safety glasses.  You can find nice stylish ones in tints and colors that wrap around your face.  At night wear the cool yellow ones that help reduce glare.  Do this constantly and you will be soon be known as Joe Kool, but the joke will be on them.

Don’t scrimp with cheap glasses!

On the range, I suggest wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants, a ball cap as well as eye and ear protection, of course.  Increased distance from the firing line to backstop might help.  If your backstop is tall enough, consider what might happen if you pull the steel out another two yards.  The first ricochet has farther to go before hitting the backstop.

Flexible rubber barriers between the targets and backstop could help too.  I used to shoot at a range that hung industrial conveyor belts behind the targets but in front of the backstop made of steel belted tires.  That really stopped the bounce back.

Move everyone but the safety officer and shooter back from the firing line.

Nobody is reporting good results with frangible bullets.  There is no data, no penetration studies, not even stopping power discussions by lying pathological gun writers.  Frangible bullets haven’t reached the required state of development that they provide good penetration, expand in tissue and disintegrate if they hit anything harder than bone.  But someday they might, so keep an open mind about them. 

They might be the magic bullet we want.