Jennifer wrote a post addressing the death of my paternal grandfather this last weekend. As she said, he wasn’t supposed to make it past thirty, and he managed to more than triple that expectancy. He followed his heart and followed God through life and passed away in peace. He should be remembered as an inspiration to us all. Thanks to all of you who have already offered your condolences, and thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.
I don’t usually embed comics here. What I mean to say is that I don’t believe I’ve ever embedded an XKCD comic here, but I found this one particularly compelling:
I would challenge each of you to deliberately spread words of kindness this weekend. Except if you’re talking to a werewolf. You probably shouldn’t talk to werewolves at all. It’s a full moon tonight after all. Keep your silver bullets on hand.
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.
Sorry for the absence of posts. I’m currently sick. More on that later. In the meantime, go give money to Linoge’s fund raiser for veterans.
Linoge at Walls of the City has a fund raiser going right now to benefit our veterans. Not only is this an awesome cause, he’s giving away some pretty sweet prizes to boot! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to donate to the prize pack on this one, but that has much more to do with scheduling than anything else. So, please do head his direction and check it out! If you’re generous and win some cool stuff because of it, I want to hear about it.
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.
If you’ve been following my blog, you probably read my musings about building a geodesic dome as a house. If you read the comments section, you know that there’s been some discussion going on. Inventive told me that he grew up living in a dome house that his dad built. I asked for pics and description, and he posted a blog entry of his own with current pictures of his parents’ home. It looks pretty good, especially after the remodel. My favorite is the last picture, where you can see the new furniture on the new floor, with freshly painted triangle panels in the wall behind, with the script “When you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart” painted on the wall. Words to live by! Please do go check out his pics and commentary.
I think this cockamamie scheme of ours might actually be doable! I showed my scribbles of brainstormed floor plans to my parents on Saturday and they seemed pretty excited about it. We discussed location, and we’re pretty sure where we’re going to build it – for now anyway. There’s still plenty of time to change our minds. With the kit that we’re looking at and the floor plan we’re thinking towards, we’ll have lots of space for house guests. That will be a first for us, and we’re pretty excited about the prospect! Of course, I’ll publish more when I have more to report.
At the end of the year, my hunting license expired, as did my unfilled deer tags. I went ahead and purchased my 2013 hunting license as well as one more deer tag, since I had another two weeks to hunt. I figured if I shot a deer, it counts towards 2012, and if not, I’d have it in the fall. Things were slow going for the last two weeks, with many excuses to not get out to the farm including weather and other engagements. Well, we went out on Tuesday afternoon, as it was the last day of the season.
The drive out was pleasant and uneventful. When we made our way into the hollow, we spotted three does. They were very familiar to us as we have seen this trio countless times in pictures and in real life. This was the same doe and her two yearlings that we spotted when we took Teen Bot out for Youth Deer Gun in October. Indeed, this was the very same doe that he passed up the shot on for multiple moral dilemmas. Good kid.
Those two yearlings have grown a lot in the last few months. Now they are nearly as big as their mother. Before I could get within one hundred yards of them, they spotted me and walked into the woods to watch me from there. I stopped and waited quietly to see what would happen. The slightly larger offspring walked back out from the treeline and watched me. With her ears erect and her nose pointed at me, she laid down in the grass and waited as I waited. I pulled out my camera and snapped a picture of her, at the full 5x optical zoom that my Nikon affords me. I didn’t bother posting the picture. You can see the doe if you know where to look, but I felt like it would be useless here.
So, there we sat in a man versus nature game of chicken; me not daring to move for fear of spooking them, the deer not daring to move for fear of me. The slightly smaller yearling tentatively walked from the treeline and stood beside her sister. With fifteen minutes left of the season, we waited, staring at each other. Neither one of them was in a position for an ethical kill and they were out of bow range anyway. Then suddenly, the three of them made an about face and bounded off to their left, up the trail that they’d carved through the woods toward the car path.
I swapped out the SD card in the camera in the hollow. With ten minutes to spare, we headed back up the trail, swapping out the card in the other camera along the way. I hoped to cross paths with them again at the top of the property with minutes to spare before the end of shooting hours. When we made it back to the gate, the deer were nowhere to be seen and it was time to call it quits. Oh well. Although there was no harvest, the hunt was good. I learned a lot and feel like I have skills that I can put to work in the fall.
As we drove back towards the city, we mused together about the combined deer seasons, and what we had learned. We even laughed about the fact that this particular doe had so narrowly escaped on so many occasions. I was about to take the turn from the property road onto the main road when something came out of nowhere and struck the front of the car in a flash of gray and a startling thud.
“What the!?!?!” I exclaimed as I put full pressure to the Brembo brake calipers. The Italian brakes stopped the car as abruptly as they should and I threw on the hand brake and the hazard lights.
“What was that?” Jennifer asked.
“I don’t know,” I said as I climbed out of the car, “some kind of animal.”
As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I saw a crumpled mass on the edge of the road. I shined my flashlight to see a relatively large feathered form. I squinted and looked for movement or blood. Suddenly, the creature popped to its feet, wings hanging to its sides.
“Stay back!” Jennifer said, to either Teen Bot, or me, or the bird, I can’t be sure
It stumbled side to side. Standing about two feet tall, its flat beak and horn-like crests gave it away. I reached for my camera about the time the owl shook its head as if to shake off the disorientation. Before I had the camera powered on, the creature shook its head again, spread its broad wings and confidently flapped them several times to propel itself into the air, circling to the nearby treeline.
“Well,” Jennifer mused, “I guess it’s okay.”
“Clearly,” I said, “Those were not the movements of an injured animal.”
Returning to the car, we inspected the front driver’s corner where it had hit. There were brush-like marks in the dust on the front fender near the headlight. We had not hit it, it had hit us. That explained why it was only dazed and not broken. We got back in the car and headed home. It was a good trip overall, and the three and a half months of deer archery were enriching even if they didn’t put meat in the freezer.
Today, I did a little maintenance to my bow and resorted my arrows. I am on the look out for a feeder which I will attempt to maintain year round. We will continue to scout and watch the deer, and we will more than likely sit in the blind with cameras instead of guns and archery equipment at one time or another. The rabbits, squirrels, and quail have been prevalent, and we’ll continue to pursue them. By the time Deer Archery opens in October, we will be far more prepared than we were this year, and I’m sure we’ll have more stories to share!
Let me start this by saying that it’s been particularly painful to do the research for this entry and run across pics of the victims of the recent school massacre. How many gifts under trees will never be opened? How many parents promised their child activities for after school that they will never be able to deliver? “I wish I’d hugged him once more, a little tighter and a little longer.” “I shouldn’t have been so picky about her finishing her vegetables at dinner last night.” “We really should have taken that vacation last year instead of picking up those extra hours at work.” “Why were my last words to him ‘you’re going to be late’ and not ‘I love you’?”* I can’t even imagine. I thank God for the safety of my family and ask Him to bring comfort to the survivors of this horrible event. When this happened, I had no intention of jumping into the fray with the politics and the debates over rights. However, it is clear that the enemies of freedom know no rest and will exploit these deaths no matter what we do. Therefore, we cannot remain silent. We must be vigilant and firm, and put the blame where it belongs – on the perpetrator and his depravity, not his upbringing, not his mental condition, and not the tools used. Evil exists and it cannot be contained, explained, justified, or prevented.
The Obama administration has been hedging toward a gun ban since they took the White House four years ago, and it’s been no well-kept secret that he has a problem with handguns and at least some long guns. In 1934, those that would limit our liberty pushed through the National Firearms Act, appealing to people’s emotions, based on the violence enacted by gangsters and prohibition-era bootleggers. In the modern day, the War on Drugs is the equivalent of alcohol prohibition, and the Mexican drug cartels are the booze gangs in our world. The incorrectly called ‘assault weapons’ today are in effect the same whipping boy that the ‘gang guns’ were then. Just as they were able to enact such massive limits then, someone connected to the current administration thought that if they could prove that the drug cartels were being armed by the United States gun market, they could pass sweeping legislation, using the politics of the ’30s as a model. Since that wasn’t true, they had to make it true. And then Fast and Furious blew up in their faces.** Since manufacturing their own straw man didn’t work, they had to wait for the right crisis to happen on its own. The 1934 NFA was not the first law to limit firearms in our country, it was just the biggest and most far-reaching to date. In 1934, automatic guns a.k.a. ‘assault weapons’, silencers, and short-barrelled rifles and shotguns, were demonized and prohibited from private ownership without an expensive tax and an arduous process of paperwork. Riding on the same momentum, they were able to pass the Federal Firearms Act in 1938, which required gun dealers to hold a government-issued license, and permanently closed the ‘gun show loophole’ that the antis still complain about seventy-five years later.
Since the gun control advocates can’t make a case based on facts***, they ram legislation through on emotional appeals and knee-jerk reactions. This is what they did when they passed their second large piece of legislation, the Gun Control Act of 1968, appealing to people’s sense of hurt and loss from the tragic assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy. You see, when people are upset enough, you don’t have to use facts to convince them to take action. The 1968 GCA extended the 1938 ban to grenades and bombs, and replaced the regulations laid out by 1938 FFA with far more strict regulations. There were even murmurs following the shooting of Senator Giffords in 2011, but it didn’t stick. My guess is that the administration, already on thin ice because of a poorly performing economy, didn’t want to risk losing reelection because of a controversial if not unpopular gun ban.
Remember what I wrote above about F&F under the current administration? The anti-gun crowd will never hesitate to act shady and underhanded to get what they want. In 1986, Senator William J. Hughes slipped an amendment into the Firearm Owners Protection Act which prohibited new automatic or select fire guns to go to private ownership by import or manufacture. The FOPA genuinely did set out to protect gun owners from overreaching legislation, and yet it severely limited full-autos, not immediately, but it did set the beginning of the end. Today, a law-abiding citizen can go through the proper channels and legally obtain a new short-barreled rifle or shotgun, a silencer, and several other highly-restricted items, but not a new ‘machine gun’. If a private citizen wants a fully-automatic gun, the shopping list consists of the finite number of guns that were already registered to private use in 1986, and these guns are all over twenty-six years old. Those that have been lost, stolen, broken beyond repair, or mis-registered and thus seized by the ATF are out of the game and no longer available to private ownership. Therefore, these guns are incredibly expensive, rare, and essentially a rich man’s toy. Of all legally-owned automatic guns, there have only been a couple incidents where one was used in a criminal murder, one of which perpetrated by a police officer.
There have been many smaller gun regulations passed since this time, most notably the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. WARNING – the link goes to a liberal, anti-gun website. Again, because of a rash of mass shootings, people were scared and anti-gun legislators were able to slip in this beast of a law, with the stipulation that it would expire after ten years, at which point, it could be reevaluated for renewal. As it turned out, the AWB didn’t have any redeeming effect on crime or violence and was allowed to sunset in 2004. This bill criminalized magazines that held more than ten rounds and rifles with certain aesthetic features. This is what politicians refer to when they call for a ‘new’ or ‘reinstated’ assault weapons ban. The rumor mill says that military-pattern semi-automatic rifles would be out, as would magazines that hold in excess of ten rounds.
As I’ve mentioned(***), I will come back and post numbers and comparisons that show that none of these laws have done any good, but have only put more of a burden on law-abiding citizens. Stranger cites that there are well over 20,000 gun control laws currently in effect in the United States. Both he and Linoge have a lot of good documentation proving that gun control does not work. There are a lot of people doing a good job collating this data, but these two come to mind now.
Any measure of gun control is not about public safety. Period. There are two types of gun control advocates – those who aren’t aware of this fact and those who do know this fact. That is to say that among gun control advocates, you have the ignorant and the wicked. I asserted this on twitter over the weekend and had quite a bit of blowback because of it. They are rallying the troops. This is it, folks. The issue at hand is not whether the Sandy Hook shooting was horrible or not. And the issue is not guns, and what is or is not permitted by our current laws, and yet that’s what they are trying to make it abo