It was cold.
Ammo was hard to get.
Few showed up.
The results were great.
We are keeping our fingers crossed that 2014 will be better.
It was cold.
Ammo was hard to get.
Few showed up.
The results were great.
We are keeping our fingers crossed that 2014 will be better.
This morning I attempted to pop open a can of Pepsi Throwback, but apparently the top of the can was not scored deeply enough for the opening tab to function properly, and I wound up with an unopened can and the separated pull tab in my hand. Not to be discouraged, I used the can opener in my Leatherman to open the can, and enjoy my Pepsi. this brought back memories of my childhood. When I was around seven years old, I liked to use my finger to push the flap of can top flat against the underside of the lid for some reason. I honestly have no idea why that held such appeal to me. When my dad saw me doing this on several occasions, he mistakenly thought that I was dropping the pull tab into the can, and he’d take the drink away from me, citing that I could accidentally swallow the pull tab and injure myself. He never understood my explanation when I tried to clarify that in reality, there was no loose metal in the can. I would often drink diet sodas, because the aspartame would give me such a buzz. In fact, I’d often eat artificial sweetener tabs like mints for the same head rush. At the time I never made the connection that the subsequent skull-throbbing headache was a direct result of the aspartame. I always had headaches when I was younger. When I started avoiding that crap, the headaches disappeared. As I have matured, artificial sweeteners stopped giving me any kind of buzz, but the headaches are still guaranteed, often accompanied by nausea. Sometimes I wish that everything was so simple as misunderstandings over soft drink cans and avoiding the wrong food additives.
At the risk of severely alienating some of my readers, I’m going to take a swing at this horribly controversial issue. A rough head count shows that about forty of my FaceBook friends have changed their profile picture to show their support for equal marriage rights. I’ve seen a lot of these:
…as well as the gun/freedom bent varieties:
…cullinary variations, of course:
…and for the ultimate in head-scratching hilarity, the kittens flying over The Grand Canyon variation:
About half of those have switched to something else at this point. One of my friends even shared this video in which the young man speaking makes a very excellent argument for gay marriage as viewed through biblical scripture:
Of roughly 1,400* friends, this represents less than a 3% showing in the first place which has tapered off to just under 1.5%. I do not for one instant believe that support for gay marriage rights is this abysmally low. As much of a stupid cliche as it is, I have friends that are gay. I’m not going to call them out as examples, as I feel that would be rude. I do feel that they have as much right to pursue happiness as the straight among us. I am of the opinion that the government has no place in my bedroom, and therefore it has no place in yours. I am not wholly convinced that a homosexual lifestyle is morally acceptable**, but I don’t believe that it should be legislated out, nor do I think that my moral convictions or leanings should come into account in a consensual act between adults when I’m not included. I have told as much to some of my gay friends at one time or another, and they’ve taken it quite well.
I also have some friends who despite feeling homosexual attractions, practice relationships with people of the opposite sex. Through conversation, I have learned that this can be due to them having moral convictions concerning their lifestyle choices. I don’t know whether this is true for all of them, but it is for at least some.
You can’t help who you are attracted to, but you can choose what to do with that.
I’ve heard critics of this stance point out that these people are merely denying their own nature and pushing down the desires of their heart and body, but I don’t see it that way. If I did everything my body told me to without concern for my personal convictions as to what is right and wrong, my wife would have left me by now! Many people stifle dark desires that would land them in jail or get them killed. We are creatures of choice and free will. I will not say that this is the right lifestyle choice for everyone who has an alternative attraction going on, but I do believe that it is a valid choice for some, whose convictions dictate it. In being sensitive to the lifestyle choices of others, let’s be careful not to step on the toes of those who have made even more difficult lifestyle choices.
The older I get, I’m becoming more and more fiscally conservative and libertarian, which manifests in the form of social liberalism at times. I do not believe that my marriage certificate grants justification to my committed relationship to Jennifer, but I will admit that it does make taxes and a will easier, and I understand why homosexuals want the same benefits. So, despite my uncertainty, I do believe that they should have that as a choice. I do not believe that a church should be required to grant a wedding between members of the same sex if that goes against their beliefs. There are plenty of churches that would gladly opt in though, so I don’t anticipate that would be a problem. I don’t know what has or has not happened in the courts this week, because I haven’t been following that closely. But, I do hope that they’ll make the right choice.
*The actual number is 1,398. It was higher last week. I must have pissed someone off. LOL!
**And, that may have more to do with the fact that I personally find two dudes kissing to be gross, but then again, I’ve seen a lot of straight couples that I would not want to watch making out either.
As many of you know, this past weekend was our second annual Central Oklahoma Gunblogger Schutenfest. A splendid time was had by all. the turnout was smaller than anticipated, which I blame on the current ammo shortage combined with less than perfect weather. I literally had people straight up tell me that they weren’t coming because they couldn’t afford the ammo. Yes, I could have used less wind and another ten degrees of warmth, but it was still a lot of fun. Shortly after we arrived at the range on Saturday morning, with a glitter in his eye, Teen Bot asked me if I packed some 20-gauge shot shells.
Several years ago, I had bought a beautiful little Winchester 1300 in 20-gauge with the coolest youth furniture on it. This was a pawn shop find, barely used (if at all), with a vent rib and winchokes. This was one of those deals where I’d seen the gun previously, and we were going into the shop for another purpose. On the way, I commented, “if they’ll take $xxx for that gun, I’m going to buy it. Then when at the store, the owner offered to sell it for a price significantly lower than my proposed price.
The youth stock and fore end make this gun ideal for smaller statured people and children, which makes it an awesome new shooter trainer for our arsenal. When I bought it, Teen Bot was still small enough that I thought he’d get a lot of use out of it. But for whatever reason, the boy was completely frightened of any shotguns bigger than a .410. He would practice stance at home, and even mount up the empty gun, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with it on the range. Often he’d claim that he’d screwed up the courage to try it today, only to chicken out when we actually got in the open air.
This went on until one day, the three of us showed up on the property with nothing in the car but shotguns, bird shot, and a case of clays. I had Teen Bot operate the thrower for me for a bit, and then he said that he’d like to try that 20-gauge. And then, he was totally hooked. In short order, he was busting clays like a pro. Sadly, this timed poorly with his major growth spurt. He’s now nearly as tall as me, and the youth sized 20-gauge is a little on the small side for him anymore, after him putting a paltry 100 or so shells through it.
Fast forward to Saturday morning. I dug around in the trunk for the 20-gauge with no success. I asked Jennifer if she had packed the gun, and she confirmed that she had not. She’d meant to, but she specifically remembers not packing that case. So, I asked Teen Bot if he’d like to try 12-gauge instead, assuring him that the recoil was not much worse. He tentatively agreed to give it a go. We don’t have a 12-gauge in the house that most people would consider an acceptable clay gun, and the first gun I grabbed was Jennifer’s Defender. Teen Bot shoved seven shells in the magazine and I started throwing clays for him. Again, he was busting clays and having a great time.
The boy is going to need a shotgun of his own. I knew this day was coming eventually. When I bought the 20-gauge, a big reason was so that he could start learning to use a shotgun, but it’s not a gun that I really saw him taking into adulthood as his. So, now I’m thinking about the economics of a decent, multipurpose shotgun. Remington 870s are fairly easy to source for around $400. You can get a brand new Mossberg for $200 or less if you are looking right. And, I still see like new Winchester 1300s between $250 and $350 on occasion. No, I’m not buying him a Kel Tec KSG with an EOTech mounted on it. His birthday is long past, so I’m going to have to figure out some occasion that will be appropriate for gift giving.
On Saturday, as I was handling clay targets, my life-long friend, Rob asked me how much a box of clays costs. I told him that I thought I usually paid around $10. He commented that shooting was an expensive hobby. I didn’t say much to that at the time. Shooting can get really expensive really fast. But, about $10 for a case of ~100 clays, and around $30 for a case of shot shells will keep a family entertained for a day. That’s cheaper than going to a theme park or even the theater, and it’s far better for exercising the body and mind, and bonding between participants. In the grand scheme of things, it probably one of the cheaper forms of entertainment, especially if you consider the benefits! And now, I wish that I was outside shooting clays instead of here at my laptop. Well, there really aren’t enough hours of work time before the weekend anyway.
About a month ago, I wrote about my trip to the local Academy to pick up some ammunition. On Friday, I decided to swing by there again to pick up a little more. I’ve been trying to keep an inventory on what we have in stock, and bone up on everything in anticipation of Central Oklahoma Gunblogger Schutenfest, which is less than two weeks away now! Thanks to my friend Mark, I’m now very well stocked on .22lr. We have enough .45 to last us a bit. We’re good enough on rifle ammo right now. We don’t have much 9mm, but we don’t shoot much 9mm, so it doesn’t matter much. We are running a little low on our revolver calibers. Revolver ammunition has not been behind the counter like the higher-demand cartridges, but I figured that I’d pick up some .223 or 9mm while I was in the store, just for good measure. When I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a line of people going in the front door. That was weird. When I stepped into the store, I saw a few people at the customer service counter buying ammo. It didn’t look as crowded as it had been on my previous visit in February, so I stepped toward it to see what ammo they had available.
The pile looked a little slimmer than it had last time, but obviously, they did have a small selection of ammo for auto-loading rifles and pistols. Just then, a store employee addressed me and asked if I wanted to buy ammo. When I affirmed this, he motioned and instructed me to get to the back of the line.
I couldn’t get the front of the line in scope, but this is close to it. See the lady in the black heels toward the back there? She’s not at the back of the line. The line turns the corner there between the clothing section in the middle and the shelves on the other side. Please note the position of the heeled lady in this next shot:
She seemed like a nice enough lady when I spoke with her. She was after .38 Special for her carry gun, and she would not find any there. It was pretty obvious to me that there was not enough ammunition for everyone in line. I didn’t bother getting in line, but caught these pictures to share here.
I don’t know why that guy was wearing a support belt, but he didn’t look too thrilled about having his picture taken. A cute little blonde employee approached me and asked if I got some good pictures. I told her that I thought I did. I chatted with her for a few minutes and expressed that when I had been in only a few weeks earlier, that the situation was far better than this. She said that this was the worst that she has seen it and that it seems to be getting progressively worse all the time. Here’s a picture from the shelves where the line turned around the corner toward the front of the store, where the ammo was being doled out:
When I made it back to the regular ammo shelf, I found no .38 Special and no .357 Magnum. The nice lady in the black heels was there, searching for the same. There were also a couple of younger guys staring at the shelf in disbelief. They had 10mm, .38 Short Colt, and .41 Magnum on the shelf. There was one box of .44 Special in aluminum cases. There were several brands of .44 Magnum, but it was all the heavy hollow-points that sell for forty bucks for a box of twenty-five rounds – not exactly what you want to make into a day at the range. We discussed whether you could shoot .38 Colt out of a .38 Special or .357 Magnum. One of the guys assured me that it would work fine, but I decided not to chance it. I left the store without product, but not empty handed. I was glad to have been there ready with my camera to document the situation. On my way out of the store, I walked along a man in camouflaged pants and a beard who was inspecting the contents of his shopping bag. I recognized him as being one of the patrons at the front of the line.
“Did you have to get here early to get in line?” I asked him.
“Yeah,” he smiled, “well, I was actually a little late for me. I only got here at 7:25.”
The store opens at 8:00.
“Really?” I asked him, “What time do you usually get here then?”
“Well, I try to be here at about 4:30 or 5:00,” he explained.
“That early?” I inquired.
“Yup,” he confirmed, “There are a few people who get here at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. Same ones every time. They’re the ones who get all the guns. Of course, the store has their seven-day limit thing, but other than that, you can count on seeing those same people.”
Chills down my spine. As we parted ways, I told him to take care. Teen Bot had a field trip at the museum that we all went on later that morning. That evening, Jennifer and I went to our favorite indoor gun range. We had their classic and delicious onion burgers at their cafe, and I stood at their ammo counter for a while. I picked up a box of .38 Special and a box of .357 Magnum, both in FMJ from Federal’s American Eagle label. I also picked up a box of .38 +p Gold Dots for Jennifer’s Nana. The three boxes cost me something in the way of $84.00 after tax. Five years ago, the same selection would have cost half of that. Not only is ammunition in high demand. The store section of the same range used to keep their handgun displays packed full. They have probably forty or so display cabinets that used to be filled with thirty or forty guns each. This i what they look like now:
What you see there is a selection of nine lonely handguns where there used to be a hundred, consistently. I thought that the insanity would be fading by now. I thought wrong. It just seems to be picking up pace. People are paying $50 for PMags that sold for less than $20 six months ago. They’re buying up $800 AR15s for $3,000 a pop. My sister-in-law is thinking of selling her XD9 Subcompact at current market value to put towards a defensive handgun and a race gun after the panic dies down. To be perfectly honest, if someone had some nice lever-actions in .22lr, .357 Magnum, and .30-30, I’d probably consider trading for my Star15 Dissipator, a few mags, and ammo. These are interesting times we live in, to be sure. We must remember that this is an unsustainable bubble. The AWB will not pass and the market will be flooded with excess guns and ammo, and then there will be a lovely recession in pricing on these goods as they flow out from where the hoarders currently have them. Keep your congresscritters on speed-dial and ride this thing out the best you can, and do be careful!
Last year sometime, I received an email invitation to a beer tasting at the gun range closest to our house.
You read that right. The indoor climate-controlled gun range that is within stumbling distance of my home had several breweries come out, set up booths, and serve beer on the premises. But, don’t worry – they had the drinking section separated from the shooting section and they weren’t letting anyone shoot who had been drinking. They had taken names to draw for door prizes, and I had tasted Coop Ale Works‘ entire flight at least twice when they called my name. If you like beer, and you ever come through Oklahoma City, I highly recommend stopping in to give these guys a whirl, as they know their craft well, and brew some tasty refreshments. So, as they had just called my name, I went to retrieve my door prize. They handed me a handsome pint glass with the Coop logo silkscreened on one side and a list of their beers on the other. There was a matching, black t-shirt rolled up and stuffed in the glass. Oddly, I’ve wound up with quite a few beer t-shirts in circumstances not unlike this one. I did what any good beer fan would have in my circumstance, and took my glass to the Coop rep serving DNR, and showed him that my prize glass was defective.
“Because it’s empty?” he clarified. Ah! We have a quick one here, “I’m not filling that for you. You don’t want a full pint of DNR right now.” Oh well, you can’t blame a guy for trying. A good time was had by all, the alcohol may have influenced me to spend some money on Magpul accessories. I have no idea where the t-shirt wound up, but the glass took up residence on my kitchen counter and has been my go-to glass since then. Anytime I need a glass of filtered water, that’s the glass I grab. What if I want a glass of Hanson Key Lime soda? Coop glass, that’s what. I have had to make an actual effort to remember to cycle this thing through the dishwasher from time to time, as I’ve been in the habit of simply rinsing it and setting it by the espresso machine until I used it next. Until today, that is.
When Teen Bot and I were done with our Red Baron pizza, I walked into the dark kitchen and reached toward the sink to rinse my plate. The cuff on my O.G. caught on the lip of my Coop glass and it fell to its death upon the tile floor. It was almost like it fell in slow motion, with me reaching after it crying, “NNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” But, it was too late.
As I swept up its remains, it called out to me, “Why? Why didn’t you save me? We had so many good times together!” And, I gave it a burial in File Thirteen in a coffin made from the Red Barron pizza box with the end folded shut. So, now I need a new go to cup. I was thinking maybe something like this:
Or even this:
Then again, something like this wouldn’t break if I dropped it:
I put those on my Amazon wish list anyway. Maybe I’ll get lucky and someone will gift me one.
I’m sorry for how… …manic my posting has been. It seems that right as I get into the habit of daily blog entries something random occurs and all of a sudden you get nothing for two weeks or so. Well, I don’t have a whole lot to report this morning, but I thought you deserved some kind of update. It may have been a mistake to incorporate bacon into two meals yesterday. Weird dreams were had by all. Perhaps even weirder than this:
However, they weren’t nearly as weird as the time I had the epic dream about the evil corporation that was transforming me into a sasquatch and Jennifer into some kind of electric babe, and we were supposed to forget each other in the whole transformation process. That one pretty well took the weird cake for me, and yet it was cohesive enough a story that I could probably write it into a pretty entertaining narrative. I’ve been wanting to do that, but I’m trying to decide whether I should write it in first person or limited third. And then, do I write it as myself, or change identification for the sake of the write up?
In Jennifer’s dreaming, we had to run some miscreants out of LawDog‘s flower bed, threatening them that they had trespassed into the wrong garden, and then we all had a party. In my dream, my parents dismantled my car, so I had a sleep-over in a car shop with my best buds (because that’s totally what grown men do), until the place got overrun by people doing some kind of battle drills, and then this random chick from YouTube kissed my neck in something of an emotional breakdown, and they had to drag her away.
So, yeah. The dreams were weird but not all that weird in the grand scheme of things. I may see what it would take to set up a parallel page here where I can post some fiction work, and get some of that down. Or, should I simply create a “fictional narrative” category and post it in line here, as some other bloggers tend to do? Also, I’d love your input about the form of my write up of the previously mentioned weird dream – whether I ought to go first or third person, and whether I should rename characters or roll with it like it happened in my unconscious mind.
A couple weeks ago, my lovely wife posted an entry about personal security. She relayed a story about a man we witnessed in the bank drive through who thoughtlessly announced to everyone else around that he was getting large amounts of cash. Yeah, not real bright. Her rant about his behavior reminded me of one of my personal peevs. All too often, I will see women in the store who have placed their purses in the kiddy seats of the shopping carts and have turned their backs on them. They will stand there in their own little world, staring at the goods on the shelf, with their valuables behind them, across the isle. I have literally walked between a woman and her purse, because that was the path that she left available down the isle. All too often, I have thought to myself that if I were not so honest, I could take that purse, unnoticed. Beyond that, someone could reach into the purse and take the wallet, going unnoticed for longer, thus affording more opportunity to get away. Between cash, credit cards, and identification, and often jewelry and firearms, women put all of their important stuff in their purses. Perhaps someone can help me with this because I don’t get it. Why in the world would you make it so easy for a thief to rip you off? Does this come from a false sense of security or what?
This is like the people who don’t bother to lock their doors. I have no delusions that the dead bolt on my front door will keep the boogyman out, even less so the lock on the sliding glass door in the back. However, I’m not going to make it easy for anybody to come in uninvited. I know full well that if someone wanted to force entry into my home, the door would kick in or the window would break. But, the bad guy is going to have to actually make the effort, and then they have to contend with me. I am by no means a high-speed, low-drag, gun ninja. Heck, I don’t even own any ‘tactical pants’. But, I do try to be observant. I subconsciously look for the exits and scan crowds for suspicious looking people. I don’t get called on it, so I don’t think I’m obvious about it. I’ve instructed my son to not talk to people about our belongings because I don’t want anyone to have a reason to want to take what is ours. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that low-profile is good even if I have friends that are a whole lot better at it than I am.
Don’t obsess, but when you’re out in the world, make sure you aren’t being the easy victim. Those women I’ve seen who don’t pay attention to their purses – I guarantee they’ll have purses stolen or picked at one time or another. I have been tempted to confront them and tell them how easily they could be robbed, but I’m afraid that would come across as threatening. It would be a lot of fun to print up some fliers about personal safety and just drop them in purses when I see this situation. Again, if I got caught doing anything of the sort, it would probably mean trouble for me. Similarly, you can’t very well start trying door knobs and wandering into peoples homes to warn them to lock their doors because you might get shot that way. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to say this to my readers, but please ask yourself whether you are exposing yourself to risk. There’s no need to be paranoid, but it doesn’t hurt to do a little self-analysis.
Today, due to a lack of motivation to write a blog entry, I started splicing some of the miscellaneous shooting video clips that we have amassed over the years. It’s less than two minutes, and I’d really appreciate if if you would watch it and give me some feedback. I really wasn’t setting out to make a statement, but this is what I wound up with:
I think it came out pretty well. What do you think? Overall, I think my videos are turning out better and better. I might eventually wind up as one of those people.
Edited *twice* to FINALLY fix a typo in the captions on the video.
I’m sure that by now you’ve all seen this:
…which was transcribed here thusly:
Heslin: I don’t know how many people have young children or children. But just try putting yourself in the place that I’m in or these other parents that are here. Having a child that you lost. It’s not a good feeling; not a good feeling to look at your child laying in a casket or looking at your child with a bullet wound to the forehead. I ask if there’s anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question: Why anybody in this room needs to have an, one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips…..Not one person can answer that question.”
Crowd/Alleged Hecklers: “Second Amendment shall not be infringed”
Public official: “Please no comments while Mr. Heslin is speaking. Or we’ll clear the room. Mr. Heslin, please continue.”
And, I’m nearly equally sure that you’re familiar with the longer version of the footage, as seen here:
When I first watched this, of course I disagreed with Mr. Heslin’s assessment, even if I felt horribly empathetic for him. My first thought was that this man was deeply distraught and it was unfair of the Senate to ask him to come and speak in that state. His words stuck with me, and some of them just really rubbed me wrong, and I had to come back and address this. In searching on the internet, I could not find a transcription of the full, sixteen-minute video. So, I have transcribed it myself below. I wanted to add my own commentary, but rather than interrupt, I’ve provided reference numbers in the text that will coordinate with my comments below. I have also added helpful links in the text where I felt they were appropriate. Mr. Heslin has a heavy accent, and was a little disjointed in his speech. I’ve attempted to make this an unabridged, verbatim transcription. I thought about dropping his ‘um’s and ‘uh’s, but decided to leave them in, not to make fun of Mr. Heslin, but to be as thorough and literal as possible. Although his grammar is quite poor, I have quoted it verbatim, and will not ridicule him for it. I did redact the shooter’s name, as I will not promote the faming, which is a major part of the problem.
Neil Heslin: “Good morning. My name is Neil Heslin. Jesse Louis was my son. He was six years old. He was a victim at Sandy Hook. I’m here today to just hopefully get the word out that changes have to be made.(1) Uh. I’ll tell you a little bit about Jesse. He was a boy who loved life. Um. Lived it to the fullest.(2) Uh. His mother and I are both separated; he spent equal amount of time with both of us. And um, he was my son, he was my buddy, he was my best friend.(3) And, I never thought I’d be here speaking like this; asking for changes, on my son’s behalf.(4) And, I never thought I’d be laying a crest… The happiest day of my life was the day he was born. He’s my only son and my only family. And, the worst day of my life was the day when I had… when this happened, and I buried him.(5) And, I was raised in a household with guns and weapons. In fact, I started skeet shooting when I was eight years old. I was educated on the safety of guns. I was… my father was an avid hunter. I was hunting ever since I was eight or ten or twelve years old with him. I’m not a gun owner now.(6) And uh… I… I think a lot of changes need to be made as for the safety and handling of guns, regulations of the guns(7): handguns, long arms, um… whatever you want to classify as an assault weapon(8), uh… Something like happened in Newtown…”
*fire alarm sounds*
Heslin: “Something like happened in Newtown can…”
Intercom: “May I have your attention please?”
Public official: “Just a moment. Just a moment please sir.”
intercom: “May I have your attention please. There has been a fire reported in the building. Please proceed to the nearest exit and leave the building.”
*crowd stands up and video breaks*
Heslin: “Back now that we all survived the fire(9).”
Public official: “Thank you. Now we are ready to ah, ready to continue now. Thank you, Mr. Heslin.”
Heslin: “Now that we all survived the fire here(9)… Um… Getting back to where I left off: I was raised with firearms and hunting and skeet shooting.(10) I’m not in favor of banning guns or weapons.(11) I’m in favor of… would like to see a lot stricter regulations, being on a Federal regulaton and a state level.(12) Um. There’s a lot of facts… a lot of things that should be changed to prevent what happened: mental health, um, being a big part, uh; going back to the basics, better parenting, uh… When I was raised, I was raised to respect my parents and my elders, not to kill my mother when she was sleeping.(13)
Uh. It’s… it’s just shocking what happened in Newtown.(14) And uh… I look at these weapons that were presented by the state police here: the uh assault, so-called assault weapons, meaning military-style and military looking(15) – you can categorize it or classify them however you want(16). I still, still can’t see why any civilian, anybody in this room in fact, needs weapons of that sort(17). You’re not going to use them for hunting(18); even for home protection(19). Semi-automatic and automatic weapon is one of the most inaccurate weapons out there. The sole purpose of semi-auto… those AR15s or the AK47s is put a lot of lead out in a battlefield quickly, and that’s what they do.(20) And, that’s what they did at Sandy Hook Elementary school on the fourteenth. That wasn’t just a killing, that was a massacre. Those children and those victims were shot apart. And, my son was one of them.(21) And uh. This picture I brought with me today was taken six years ago; it was my son when he was six months old, and myself. That was my mother’s Christmas gift that year. My mother passed away five years ago, ironically, on the same day that Jesse perished. Um. I just hope some good can come out of this in changes for mental health, the ban of assault weapons, or there’s a… I just can’t fathom why any of us need that in our society or in our home. Why do we need thirty-round magazines or cartridges?(22) There’s no one in this room here that has the capability, mentally or physically, to take on twenty people, or fifteen people, where you would need thirty rounds of ammunition.(23) There’s no reason for it. And, I hope everbody in this room can realize that and see that. There’s a lot of people here that are in favor of guns, and not changes. But, if they open their eyes and their minds, and supported changes and it would give them more rights, if it was on a Federal regulated program. It would give them more rights to take hunting weapons in and out of different states.(24) I think both sides really need to work together to pass regulations that work for everybody. And, I’m never going to have my son back.(25) I accepted what happened that day when it happened. I didn’t like it. I couldn’t change it. He wouldn’t want me to sit around crying or feeling bad. I’m not trying to do something to help him – and to help the other victims(26). That school was a beautiful place. It was like Maybury, going to that school in the morning. I never saw anybody that wasn’t happy there.(27) And, I dropped, we dropped him off that morning at 9:04 (I saw the clock), I walked him into that cla… into the, to the school. He gave me a hug and a kiss. He said, he said… And, I gave him a hug and a kiss back. And, he said, “goodbye.” He said, “I love you.” And, he said, “I love Mom too.” We were supposed to go back and make gingerbread houses that day; we never made it. Twenty minutes after that, my son was dead. And, there’s no reason for it.(28) There’s no reason that *redacted*‘s mother should have had those weapons in that home, locked up or not locked up(29) with a child(30) that apparently had mental issues. Um. I think a lot of it goes back to mental issues. Years ago, when we had Bellevue and Fairfield Hills, people were committed.(31) You never heard of crimes like this.(32) And, I think that’s a big thing that they have to focus on along with gun control. And, a place to start is banning these weapons. There’s no reason for these. There’s no place on the street for them.(33) Another argument that.. uh.. people have is, “Well, the criminals will have these weapons.” You’re never going to take weapons away from criminals, or drug dealers, or people on the streets that have them. You have to make very strict penalties for that, and not a slap on the wrist, not probation. You’ve got to make mandatory, harsh jail terms for those people.(34) If they’re convicted of committing a crime with a weapon, whether it be a robbery, a hold-up, an assault, there’s got to be strict penalties. You’re not going to take, banning the firearms, you’re not going to get them away from the criminals.(35) But, we don’t need these weapons on the street or in our homes. We don’t.(36) And, I ask everybody to think about it, and everybody in this room, whether you’re in favor of guns, or in favor of banning them, to try to work together to come up with reasonable changes that work. And, I think one place to start is with the regulations on background checks – thorough background checks for everyone who purchases a weapon. Resales have to have thorough background checks.(37) I think a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault-type weapons needs to be in place; more strict guidelines on people who own them, such as the state has and the Federal government has with machine guns.(38) Um.
I just can’t believe what happened at Newtown. I dropped, we dropped Jesse off at 9:04 and an hour and a half later I was back at that school and it was like a military installation – SWAT team members, families in hysteric – uh, hysterical, state police from all over the state, FBI, uh. It was unbelievable. Students there looking to be reunited with their parents; parents looking for their children; I was looking for my son, I was looking for his classroom. They were never to be found.(39) What some of the surviving students’ parents told me: my son, Jesse yelled, “Run! Run now!” He was in Miss Soto’s class; ten of the students survived; my son wasn’t one of them. I hope those words helped those children survive.(40) And, I just… I just hope that some change can come out of it and that’s positive and good. Newtown’s a broken community. I see the people up there; they’re heartbroken with their heavy hearts. I had the opportunity to go into Chalk Hill School where these children are, and it wasn’t a good feeling; it was a very sad feeling. And, it’s something that should have never happened.(41)
And, getting back to these high-capacity weapons: We’re not living in the wild west. We’re not, we’re not a third-world nation. We have the strongest military in the world. We don’t need to defend our homes with weapons like that.(42) I just hope that everybody in this room, as I said before, can support change. Ban hi… Ban assault weapons and high-capacity clips and magazines. And, that’s a step in the right direction. And, support Federal changes and regulations.
And, I don’t know how many people have young children, or children, but just try putting yourself in the place of I’m in or these other parents that are here and having a child that you’ve lost – it’s not a good feeling.(43) It’s not a good feeling to look at your child laying in a casket or looking at your child with a bullet wound to the forehead. It’s a real sad thing.
You know, I wish… I ask if anybody in this room can give me one reason, or challenge this question: Why? Anybody in this room needs to have an assault… one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips? And, not one person can answer that question, or give me an an…(44)
From the crowd: “The Second Amendment shall not be infringed.”
From the bench: “Please, please no comments while Mr. Heslin is speaking.”
From the bench: “Or, I will clear the room. Mr. Heslin, please continue.”
Heslin: “Anybody, anyway, we’re all entitled to our own opinion,(45) and I respect their opinions and their thoughts. But, I wish they’d respect mine and give it a little bit of thought, and realize that it could have been their child that was in that school that day.(46) And, I don’t think of any of the massacres or shootings in this country – I believe they all happen with an assault weapon, or assault-style weapon, high-capacity clips(47): Aurora(48), Columbine(49), um, Sandy Hook… And, they were, I believe they were all purchased legally, too(50). Uh. Not to say that it.. you know, massa.. uh.. assaults like that couldn’t have happened in another way but you need to cut down on the guns – those type of guns. There’s no reason for it. And, they cause destruction and they cause massacre.(51) And, that’s what they were made to do.(52) And, uh. You know, I just ask that they could place a ban on them.(53) That’s all I have to say at this time.
Public official: “Thank you Mr. Heslin and thank you for having the fortitude to come and be here today in the wake of the terrible loss of your beautiful son Jesse. Thank you so much.”
Heslin: “Thank you very much.”
*Applause from the crowd*
(1) – I understand him introducing himself and telling how his word is applicable, but he didn’t take more than three sentences to jump from that straight to gun control. I find this troubling already.
(2) – Sounds like a neat kid. The whole situation is truly heart-breaking.
(3) – “Son,” obviously, “buddy” I can truly relate to, but “best friend”? I’ve heard people refer to their grown offspring as “best friend,” but never a six-year-old. I can’t find anything explicitly wrong with this, but it does strike me as odd.
(4) – We all know that his son will not benefit from any “changes”, and this is simply an emotional appeal for a knee-jerk reaction.
(5) – I pray to God that I never find out how horrible that has to feel. No one should ever have to bury their children.
(6) – Totally irrelevant. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with skeet shooting or hunting. I don’t think that you should be forced to own guns if you don’t want to.
(7) – I hope no legislation is passed based on your beliefs that would lead to the restriction of my rights. This is not callous, it has nothing to do with the loss of life as perpetrated by bad people.
(8) – What I “want to classify” as an “assault weapon” is already illegal, although I feel it should not be.
(9) – I find it weird that he felt that it was so important to tell this joke that he reiterated it. I understand that someone who is going through tragedy can act oddly, so I don’t think this necessarily implies anything. I just find it odd.
(10) – Again, irrelevant.
(11) – Except…
(12) – The fed makes it a PITA for us to buy and own guns already. And, you want that to be more strict? How about we punish the criminals instead of the good guys?
(13) – I don’t think anyone is raised to shoot his or her mother while she sleeps. Ultimately, we are creatures of free choice, and unfortunately, some people turn out bad despite a parent’s best efforts or genuinely good parenting.
(14) – It is shocking, and I don’t think anyone is disputing that. We should not be shocked when these events happen as we have created the formula in which these things happen. If we keep sensationalizing mass murderers and keep banning weapons in schools, killers will come forth and murder in places where they meet no resistance for the contrariety.
(15) – Are the aesthetics of the guns used of any relevance in the least? At the risk of sounding heartless, your son would not be any less dead had he been killed with anything else.
(16) – See point #8.
(17) – It’s got nothing to do with need. We have a natural right to defend ourselves that is guaranteed by the constitution.
(18) – Irrelevant but demonstrably false.
(19) – Wrong again.
(20) – This is one of the more ignorant statements I’ve heard on the subject of guns and reveales an impressive lack of experience on the subject.
(21) – Reiterating the tragedy is not valid to the point of the argument. It is an emotional appeal that doesn’t add intelligence to the discussion.
(22) – Confusing misuse of terminology aside… So, you don’t want to ban all guns, only the most popular and in the most common use? Gotcha. Do you realize that’s like saying, “I don’t wan to ban all Japanese cars, just the Hondas and Toyotas.”
(23) – Maybe not in that room. But, you get out here to free country, and you might be amazed at what a well-trained individual can do.
(24) – So, more strict gun controls would give us more gun rights? That’s some twisted logic right there.
(25) – Horrible but true. My heart goes out to you.
(26) – Isn’t that a contradiction of you asking for changes on your son’s behalf? (point #4)
(27) – Totally irrelevant emotional appeals again.
(28) – It was a senseless tragedy, to be sure, but…
(29) – Don’t conflate the act with the tools. It was not wrong of her to have these inanimate objects, and neither you nor any one else has yet given a reasonable argument to the contrary.
(30) – Not a “child”, but a “man”. We’re talking about a twenty year old. By the time I was twenty, I was a married, home owning father. The crime was his alone. The sin was his alone. At the age of twenty, one is no longer the responsibility of one’s parents.
(31) – I’m not sure I can get behind the involuntary denial of freedom of people based on the label of insanity, lacking any evidence more tangible than the word of a professional. As often as people get misdiagnosed by physicians and psychologists, it just seems like an awful big crack for people to slip through.
(32) – You also forget that in the days of the big asylums, students would lean their guns in the corner of the classroom because they were going hunting after class.
(33) – They are in millions of privately owned safes in this country. Millions of these guns have never killed and never will kill anyone. And yet, you want to punish millions of innocent people for the crime of one. I can’t really say I blame you for wanting someone, anyone even, to pay for your son’s death. But, you are taking out your frustration and anger on people who don’t deserve the blame.
(34) – This is the first point that I actually agree with. If we don’t lock up the criminals, they’ll be out committing crimes. They will get guns and they will commit crimes with them. Keep them in jail, or shoot them dead.
(35) – And yet, you want to take the most effective form of defense from the very people who would be victimized by these criminals.
(36) – You don’t. Don’t force your values on the rest of us.
(37) – The states that don’t use the NICS system have to call the FBI for a background check. The current background checks are an inconvenience to the law-abiding that we begrudgingly accept in the hopes that it will make it a little harder for criminals to get guns. Ratcheting up on that only punishes the law abiding.
(38) – The restrictions on machine guns are completely unreasonable and were a knee-jerk response to other high-profile violent crimes. We would be better served to rescind those restrictions than to add standard-capacity magazines and the most popular rifles and pistols.
(39) – Completely irrelevant.
(40) – Your son was a brave little boy, and he should be greatly mourned. You should be proud of the time that he had.
(41) – The Newtown shooting should have never happened, true. But, we live in a fallen world with bad people. Of course the community is torn up about it. There’s no other way they can be.
(42) – All it takes for evil to win is for good men to do nothing. If you disarm us, this is our eventual future. WARNING – extremely graphic pictures at the link
(43) – Teaching your children responsible gun handling goes far further toward their safety than attempting to insulate them from guns. I can’t imagine the pain you must be in, but it is still no excuse to deny good people of their rights.
(44) – And, that was no rhetorical question.
(45) – But, you seem to think you are entitled to your own facts as well.
(46) – I have considered this, and it is an excellent reason to not send our children to a gun-free zone for so many hours every day. There are plenty of alternatives for most of us already.
(47) – Demonstrably false; the Oklahoma city bombing and 911 come right to mind.
(48) – The Aurora shooter demonstrated a proficiency in building effective bombs. His body count could have been so much higher if he didn’t have guns.
(49) – The Columbine shooters used no such guns, and that shooting took place during the 1994 AWB, demonstrating the point that those intent on evil will use whatever tools they can get their hands on.
(50) – Aurora is the anomalous exception that provides your argument any modicum of credence. The Columbine shooters bought their guns illegally, through straw purchases and illegal private sales. The Sandy Hook shooter murdered his mother and stole her car and guns, which I’m fairly certain was not legal. All of the provided examples are people intent on evil, carrying out evil where they know guns aren’t allowed.
(51) – They do not cause destruction and massacre. Those intent on evil cause destruction and massacre. The gun itself causes nothing at all, and there are millions in circulation that have never spilled innocent blood.
(52) – I’m getting so tired of the “intended purpose” fallacy. Forget the fact that more children die from drowning than from gunfire because guns were “designed” to kill. Do you know what was originally designed to kill? Hammers and clubs. And according to the FBI, they’re still taking more lives than rifles.
(53) – No.
I still think it was wrong of them to ask him to come and testify in the first place. Then again, the whole pony show is a disgusting farce and I really hope the whole thing blows up in their faces. If you’ve read this all the way to this point, please do leave me a comment to let me know. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t though. This did turn out pretty long.