Holsters 4 Heros

The girls pushed me into this. Jennifer likes to brag about nice thing that I do way more than I like to. Anyway, it’s no secret that I have done my craft for the benefit of the troops at one time or another. More and more often, I have our men and women overseas contacting me to inquire about a custom holster for their issued M9 pistol. I hear the issued holsters are pretty crappy. Anyway, I would really like to be able to not charge these brave people who are serving – I’d like to make them a holster and ship it. Unfortunately, not operating at a loss is more important in my business model than supplying holsters to the troops. Bills get paid better anyway. I was chatting with Erin and bemoaning this very fact. Currently, I’ve been working with several individuals in our armed forces who are looking for new rigs. I was telling her about a woman in particular in Afghanistan who needs a different holster. Erin said that as generous as people have been to her, she would be more than happy to help pay for this young lady’s holster. And then, an idea was born. I ran the idea past A Girl, as this is kind of up her alley. She loved it. And the idea became a plan. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to have to do legally, but my plan is to offer the custom M9 holsters for sale, but treat the troops like their money is useless. I’ll accept donations from anyone who cares to sponsor an M9 holster, and I’ll keep a list of those who are serving that have expressed interest in a holster, and basically have a random draw for the next recipient if the list of interested gets too long. Is that too vague, or too specific? Is there anything I should be thinking of differently about this? Any of you law savvy people know of anything that I need to be careful about with this thing? I want your input. So, bring on the flames. And the advice. And start donating.

The Contempt Vote

Currently, I’m watching the debates preceding the vote on Holder’s Fast & Furious. I can’t believe the partisan disingenuous bromides and talking points. This is why I don’t usually follow politics in depth.

UPDATE…

“Psychic”, San Fran Nan?

Alright. I’m going semi-live with this.

Use your psychic powers, Nancy!

So all that stonewalling we saw going on didn’t really happen?

When did she start getting all concerned with the constitution anyway?

Aaaaaaaaaand, it’s time to blame Bush again. *sigh.*

I voted against James Lankford in the primary, but he seems like a pretty good guy anyway.

It’s unfortunate how much blood dancing there is on both sides of the isle. Brian Terry’s death sucks. But, that’s not the primary issue at hand.

Heh. John Dingell just said “ATM” instead of “ATF”.

If CSpan’s call-in commenters are any indication, “appalled” is the magic word today.

For a little while there, I was afraid that it would come down to a straight, party-line vote. So far, I’m seeing twelve democrat “yea”s. Color me shocked!

I don’t see this as a partisan issue at all. Statements were made. Later, they were edited as having been false. What more do you need to know?

How many votes are necessary, anyway?

Looks like it passed.

Demos still blaming Bush.

Internet Shoe Meme

Phlegmmy wrote about shoes being connected to personality and then my lovely wife followed suit. Today, I’m wearing a cream colored pair of vintage Tony Llamas with brown lizard wingtips and riding heels. What do my shoes say about me anyway? So, I did a Google search and wound up taking this quiz on Seventeen. It said that it was a personality test based on shoes, but it also asked about dresses and makeup, which is stuff that I don’t really participate in. Weird. Anyway, the results say “I’m Style Savvy!” Which, I guess is pretty true. The longer personality description is as follows:

You’ll try anything once! This applies to your footwear and your life. You know what you like, for instance a wedge in the summer and some kitten heels in the winter, but are also willing to try something more daring when called for. Loving the spiked boot trend? You’re already hitting the mall for a new pair. If it doesn’t work out, you know you’ll always have your go-to shoe styles to fall back on.

Wait. A wedge? Kitten heels? Spiked boot? I think Seventeen thinks I’m a cross-dresser. 😕 Maybe I should have taken the shoe personality quiz on 247Girl instead.

New York

I know among my readers that I’m preaching to the choir with this one, but I just couldn’t let it go. The Columbus Dispatch brings us this delightful story of a Bible college student who gets harassed by New York’s finest over their unclear knife laws.* As facepalm inducing as the story itself is, the comment section is even better. Are all New Yorkers assholes, or just the ones who commented in this thread? Comments like this one deeply concern me:

Agreed that the police were overzealous. Let’s remember though, that this kid was carrying not one, but two knives. Obviously he didn’t carry them on the plane. But he felt the need to pack them both and carry them both on the streets of NYC. There is something going on in this kid’s head that he isn’t being completely honest about.

Emphasis mine. Wait. What? You see, different knives have different characteristics and therefore different useful applications. The fixed blade knife in the kid’s backpack was for carving. The folder in his pocket was for general utility. At any given time, I’ve got at least two knives on me, and often more like four or five. Guess how many knife fights I’ve been in? If you guessed zero, you win. And, that’s not the only concerning comment.

The gravity knife rule has its very specific reasons for existing here and that’s not for you as visitors to our community to judge.

Quit shaking that finger at me! There’s this thing called a ‘First Amendment’ that guarantees that I can say whatever I want regardless of whether you like it or not. Besides that, the very specific reasons for the gravity knife rule is so the police can control the populace, you sheep!

“NYC is an idiotic city, not deserving of my tourism dollars. Anyone who supports this lunacy deserves to live there. Stupid is stupid. I’ll keep my clip knife and my .40.” Oh you sound very intelligent, JD Packin. Dinner must be fun in your household. But what do you do with your grenade launcher and samurai sword?

Wow. Just wow. So, this guy has made an assumption that he’s interacting with a dumb country bumpkin or possibly a mall ninja because the other party chooses to stay out of a place that disallows certain otherwise legal inanimate objects? Perhaps JD simply doesn’t wish to be presumed as a common criminal?

Please, hayseeds, if this story is leading you to boycott New York, by all means do so. They don’t want your large, doughy selves clogging up the sidewalk in front of the Times Square Olive Garden.

Hayseed? Is that what you call us out here in flyover country? That’s probably the funniest pejorative I’ve heard. It’s also pretty funny that you think that we all eat poorly. You’re making yourself look bad there. The best comment in the thread though, I have saved for last. I have posted it in its entirety below, chopped up to add my own commentary. A user who calls himself Laughing At You Not With You (tklawson) writes:

It’s very simple, George. Carrying knives is illegal in NYC, and if you are carrying one, then YOU ARE a thug and a criminal, as this thug, Clayton Baltzer, found out.

You know, there is codified law and common law. When the two don’t align properly, you make criminals out of good people. Using this fact to justify calling this kid a ‘thug’ is just disingenuous. The fact that I am a law-abiding citizen wearing a fully loaded .45 caliber pistol with no external safety on my hip in addition to two “gravity” knives, and yet crossing a single one of numerous specific borders within the United States would make me a felon – that fact is sick and wrong. The young man who was arrested in the story may have been a criminal by code, but the law makers are the moral criminals.

Please keep your Hayseed chewing self out of New York, as we do not want you here.

I’m not sure I would piss on NYC if it was on fire.

We have better things to do than complain about the laws in Columbus…

Again, freedom of speech.

…but evidently, you seem to have plenty of time on your hands to complain about our laws and make broad generalizations, like that we are all a bunch of freedom hating liberals.

Which sadly seems to be true with rare exception. Thanks for enforcing the stereotypes.

Have you ever been to NYC?

I know he’s not addressing me personally, but I’ve never been to New York State even.

There is absolutely NO REASON for anyone to carry one, let alone two knives around on the subway system.

Wait. It’s necessary to have a reason to carry an inanimate object? This deeply troubles me that in Free America there are individuals that feel like I should have to justify my non-threatening actions and decisions. I’ve heard rumors of people in my community paying up to $1,500.00 for seats at basketball games. Although I personally find that to be ridiculous and wasteful, I also don’t believe those people should have to justify that waste to me. Can you hurt someone with a knife? Of course! Please don’t presume that I am going to hurt someone with a knife unless you outlaw all blunt objects too. And dogs over a certain size. Or perhaps, we could be treated like adults instead?

It’s ridiculous to try and rationalize this young man’s behavior.

Don’t need to. He didn’t do anything wrong.

NYC is not a boy scout camp.

??? There are many utility applications for a knife in everyday life if you never go camping. This statement is just confusing.

People do not pitch their tents in Times Square and build a campfire roasting marshmallows and singing kumbaya.

Um… well… actually… I guess you live under a rock in NYC?

This is a city where people live and work…

More or less.

…and laws like this are created to keep kids from vandalizing our subway cars using, get this: pocket knives to carve grafitti into the walls.

Again, you presume the presence of a knife to be prima facie evidence of intent to vandalize. What’s even sillier about your assertion is that you’re saying a screwdriver, can opener, or even Grandpa’s Buck knife aren’t as suitable tools for said vandalism as a “gravity” knife. *Scratches head* Why not simply outlaw vandalism and call it a day? Oh wait…

So please, respect our town, and if you can’t do that, stay on the farm.

I do not live on a farm FYI, but I have absolutely no respect for NYC whatsoever and will not darken it with my presence unless and until it respects the individual’s right to individuality. I mourn the fact that such places do even exist in my beloved United States of America. Indeed, there are many places in the world, inside and outside our national borders that I would otherwise love to visit but for the powers that be placing little or no value in the individual. I will not be shamed for my stand on such issues. This proud nation was not founded on principles of limiting what people may or may not own or transport. That is not freedom or liberty. Those who would trade their liberty for safety deserve neither. Congratulations, people of New York. You get what you deserve.

*The term “gravity knife” is such a straw man. It is no more useful or specific than the term “assault rifle”.

Holy Carp!

So, this guy decides to vandalize some local cop cars using dead fish as bludgeons. And he did it on camera too! From the linked article:

Makes you wonder — why use a fish rather than a baseball bat or hammer?

Because it’s weird, which makes it funny, that’s why. I don’t know, maybe he just did it for the halibut.

H/T to TF&G

CCI .22 Quiet

At SHOT show, CCI unveiled their newest .22lr loading, “Quiet“. For some time now, I’ve been a major fan of their CB Caps for target practice, new shooters, and small game.* The CBs are a .22 Short case loaded with a 29-grain lead round nose bullet with an advertised velocity of 710-fps, although they have chronographed at 620-650 fps out of quite a few guns that I’ve tested with barrel lengths ranging from 4-inches to 26-inches. Out of a 26-inch barreled bolt-action, this loading is quieter than the very action of the gun. My Winchester M69A has a track impressed in the sides of its 5-round magazine that is intended to guide the cartridge by its rim, and it feeds these quite reliably. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve fired this combination in front of other people only to have them proclaim that they have air rifles that are louder.

The most obvious reason I like the CB Caps is the fact that they are so very quiet. Hearing protection is silly when the sound produced is less than what you experience driving down the road. Thus, new shooters can hear instructions given in a speaking voice. Even as gentle as it is on the ears, it packs enough destructive power at the receiving end to very reliably dispatch rodents. I’ve used this very combination for reliable one shot drops on both rabbit and squirrel at ranges between ten and forty yards. The .22 Shorts work very nicely in bolt actions and our little S&W 617, and a tube mag fed .22 can accept about a jillion of the things! However, I haven’t been able to get them to feed from the magazines of our 10/22s or my dad’s Ruger pre-Mark.

CCIs .22 Quiet mitigates this particular flaw by giving us a loading very similar to the CB, but in a full-sized .22lr case. Instead of a 29 grain bullet, they’ve loaded up a standard 40-grain bullet, but the advertised velocity is the same 710-fps. The additional 38% mass should make for more penetration at longer distances, which should be good for bigger small game than the rodents that I’ve been shooting. Even better than that, these should feed in the 10/22 and pre-Mark. I’m sure they won’t work the actions, but being able to feed them through the action manually is acceptable to me. This basically extends the utility that I’ve gotten out of my Winchester to the Rugers in the house.

Needless to say, I’ve been looking for the stuff since I first heard of it, and nobody has had any. In fact, in response to me asking about it, most of the ammo counter guys have countered with, “You mean Subsonic?” And then, I’ve had to explain to them that this was a completely different loading, brand new on the market in fact. Yesterday, Jennifer and I stopped in to Academy to get her an Okc Thunder t-shirt to wear at work. I simply can’t walk into that store without taking a look around at the merchandise. We strolled down the ammo isle and noted the prevalence of Hornady Zombie-Max ammunition.

We were about to turn and leave when I heard Jennifer squeal and point to the shelf. I looked but could barely believe my eyes when I saw the little blue boxes labeled CCI .22 Quiet. They had not yet even tagged the shelf, and it appeared that they had been shoved in with the ‘other weird .22 stuff’. They had 12 boxes of 50 on the shelf, but we fixed that. I’m not sure exactly when we’re going to make it out to the range, but expect a full report.** If this stuff does everything I expect it to, it will quickly become among my most favorite of calibers. The CB Caps have become one of my favorites even within their limited usefulness.

*For those antis that claim firearms to be compensation for genital insecurities, what does it mean that one of my favorite calibers is less than 3/4-in long, less than 1/4-in in diameter, and is inherently so quiet?

**If any of you have a chronograph and would like to come and help with testing, you would be quite welcome – just email me or notify in comments. I want to measure velocity and decibel level of several loadings through several different guns for the sake of argument. It would be neat to figure out a way to do a relative test of penetration as well.

Living with a teen

When my son was born, he was five pounds and twelve ounces. I could basically hold him in one hand. Delivery was quick and relatively painless. I’d heard so many horror stories of birthing women screaming at the man that they would punctuate the delivery by ripping his balls off. Jenni breathed calmly and pushed calmly and spoke soft “I love you”s to me with a gentle smile. No. I’m not making this up. He didn’t need to be smacked to start breathing. It seemed like as soon as his head cleared, he took a deep breath and lit into a mighty cry that belied his diminutive size.

That night, I slept in the recliner in Jenni‘s hotel hospital room. The nurses swaddled the baby and laid him in the recliner with me. I got no more than ten minutes of sleep that night, and none of it was in more than ten consecutive seconds. I was so scared. Specifically that night, I was scared that I might stir in my sleep and smother the tiny miracle. On a grander scale, I was twenty years old, just married, just bought a house, and never had a decent job. I was terrified of the responsibility that was so impossibly huge, and in negative correlation to the exiguous size of the brand new child. That’s when my hair started thinning. It was that first, sleepless night of being a father – with the two most important people in the world in the same room with me. And I had to stop being a kid and start to be a man.

That tiny baby is now thirteen years old. His hair hangs down to his broadening shoulders, like mine did when I was a teen. He lacks about four inches to overtake my height. His hands and feet are as long as mine, and his knuckles are taking on a similar knobbiness to mine. He’s no longer the little kid you see in the header images of this blog. His voice is creeping down into a low baritone like mine. When I roughhouse with him, it’s no longer like playing with a boy, it’s far more like sparring with a man. He often stinks. He has not yet learned the habit of applying deodorant consistently, or learned how much of it to use. His jaw line is squaring out. He complains of aches. I remember this phase of life being excruciating, the bones stretching and reformatting of their own volition. I could practically hear the growth in the quiet of the night. Of course he aches.

He still plays with toys, but is rapidly losing interest in them. He is still very naive about sexuality. He has always liked girls, but he doesn’t seem to see them as viable mates just yet. He gets upset seemingly at random. He’ll make statements through tears of irrational anger that contradict assertions he made just last week. When I call him on his inconsistency he’ll shout out something like, “I WAS OVERREACTING!!!” and then I lose it. I don’t actually laugh in his face, but I do tell him that his ability to acknowledge such things is a sign of maturity. Then I write about it on my blog and laugh at his misfortune behind his back. Because it’s funny. But, that’s only because I can now see it from both sides.

I remember gaining the better part of a foot over a summer break. My voice dropped three octaves in the same time period. I vividly remember laying in bed with every inch of my body throbbing angry aches as bones crackled and twisted and stretched the flesh attached to them. Curled up in a ball, I croaked out breathy sobs of misery, bereft of voice as I had no midrange between the shrinking soprano head voice I’d always known, and the incoming baritone voice that started below natural speaking range. And it’s not just that I hurt or that my voice was broken. My new body stunk. Even to me. And it leaked stuff. It was gross and I hated it. I remember wondering why we couldn’t do this stuff in a cocoon like bugs do. It seemed to be no less a transformation than that of a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly. And then, just as quickly, it wasn’t so bad anymore. Once I got used to how it worked, the new voice mostly worked despite an awkward crack every once in a while. As the growth spurt slowed, the pain subsided. I learned which cleansers and products to use to mitigate the stuff leaking out. I was strong, and that felt good. And, I was taller than my peers. It seems that I was an early bloomer and I returned to school several inches taller than most, and with this fabulous manly voice that made the other children’s eyes wide. The boys were jealous and the girls swooned. Then, the other boys caught their wind and I was short again. But, this isn’t about me.

Indeed, I can laugh at Teen Bot, but it’s only because it seems like I was just there. I know it sucks. In retrospect, it’s actually quite comical, and he will discover this as well. He’s honestly got a great sense of humor about it already. When his voice cracks, he’s the first to laugh and make fun of himself. We bought him used shoes last week and made sure to get them several sizes too big. His feet have filled up most of the difference in the meantime. I kid you not. This is why we bought used. There’s no sense in spending a lot of money on shoes he’s literally not going to be able to wear in three weeks. I’ll buy him nice footwear when his feet stabilize a little in sizing. In the meantime, I’m keeping an eye on my boots! I plan to let you know when he surpasses my height. At the rate he’s going, that won’t be long. I’m thinking well before the start of school.

He’s getting tall and strong and handsome. He’s a wicked shot with a rifle and he’s smart enough to do anything he cares to. Still trying to help him find his scholastic motivation… He cares about people and animals, and he has a good heart. In a lot of ways I feel like I might just about have this parenting thing figured out. In many other ways, I’m still that terrified twenty year old kid in the recliner in the hospital. That baby was such an incredibly heavy five pounds, twelve ounces, and that was the easiest it would ever be. Every phase of his development has been even harder than the last, but far more fun and rewarding. After over thirteen years, I still worry that I’m not doing it right. He’s turning into a man – I can’t stop that. But, is he turning into the right man because of the influence of his elders? God, I sure hope so. Only time will tell.

Bridges burned

For some time now, we’ve been hanging out with some of the neighbors every Saturday night we’re available. Some of them will start out fairly early in the afternoon and often drink beer until well after midnight. It’s a nice opportunity to maintain friendship with the locals and a nice time to relax mid-weekend. Jenni and I usually turn in fairly early from our Saturday activities, so having a beer with the neighbors is usually quite convenient for us. Granted, we turn in before the younger ones are ready to call it quits, and we don’t start nearly as early as some. But, the time that we spend with them is fun and valuable. It’s been interesting to get to know these people and discover that my preconceived notions of each one of them have been completely wrong. In getting to know them, one in particular has raised… not alarm exactly, but wariness.

This particular individual is a drunk. Many people like to drink, but this guy is a textbook alcoholic. When he’s not working, he’s drinking. He doesn’t remember what he said or did when he was drinking. Often, in his drunken stupor, he doesn’t remember what he said or did only minutes earlier. He likes to push the envelope and say inflammatory things when he’s been drinking. Drunk. I personally don’t like to drink excessively, as I don’t like the feeling of loss of control. I’d make a terrible druggy. When I drink, I like to kind of maintain the buzzed level and not really push it into ‘drunk’ zone at all. Even so, I don’t mind when people get drunk just as long as they can keep something of their wits. In other words, I don’t like people who get drunk and stupid like this guy does.

A few weeks ago, we were invited to a backyard cook out at the drunk’s house. Things seemed to be going well until the drunk started spouting disparaging vitriol about women and how his view on them. As if to prove a point, he started drunk-dialing his girlfriends each in turn and commanding them to bring him a can of Skoal and a bottle of Crown Royal. Each conversation ended with him screaming through the phone that he didn’t need the other party and they would have to ‘learn their place’. He had about four or five phone calls that were exactly in this format. Needless to say, he wound up with no Skoal and no Crown Royal. Jenni gets combative with this guy. She informed him that his girls were damaged. Thankfully, they weren’t so damaged as to comply with his drunken demands that night. Truthfully, I think the drunk is damaged himself. I believe he grew up without a mom and his dad didn’t really have any idea how to raise a kid. I don’t say that as an insult to him – he just seems to be lacking some of the fundamental character traits that more traditional upbringing instills.

A couple weeks ago, Jenni and I found ourselves on a Friday night throwing a bunch of meat on the smoker as we often like to do. We’d gone to the store and had wound up with way more food than we’d be able to eat ourselves. This isn’t usually a problem as we love our leftovers! And, my philosophy on the smoker is this: If I’m going to bother to light the fire and make the heat and smoke, I’m going to fill that thing up with food. No sense wasting the energy otherwise. Right? Jenni suggested that we should invite the couple from down the street to enjoy the food with us. I thought that sounded like a fine idea so she texted the other woman. Moments later, they were coming around our house with a cooler of beer and a sack of potatoes. And, they were followed by the drunk.

*sigh.*

I didn’t want the drunk to come over. We didn’t invite him. We invited the other couple. I’ve gotten to the point that I would prefer that he just go and do his own thing. I hate the thought that he’s mistreating women over there, but that’s preferable to him being a wild element in my life. In all fairness, Jenni’s text message was likely an ambiguous invitation to “you guys” and he was likely standing in their yard when the invitation went through. So, even though we didn’t intend to invite him, he was here now. Unless someone does something to necessitate it immediately, I don’t make it a habit to run people away from my home. In retrospect, I may need to work on that.

In all honesty, the five of us were having a great time on the back deck, enjoying the food and the fire. There was much joking and conversation and just general good times. Then the drunk did his thing again. This time his tirade was racial. He started by railing against ‘the blacks’ and then moved on to the statement, “You ain’t right if you ain’t white.” You know, a lot of people have had a little much to drink and said something stupid. I have at one time or another – perhaps not a bombshell like that, but still. I attempt to live my life as per James 1:19, quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. You know when you get mad at something someone said and it turns out that you misheard them and now you look stupid? Yeah. I hate that.

It’s not like I exactly tolerate racial hate speech in my home, but I thought that maybe the drunk could be put down gently. I’m married to a quarter Filipino and my best male friend is black after all. But, when you are the guy who reacts to a situation like this calmly, it doesn’t go the way you would have planned for it to. Jenni got in the drunk’s face and explained to him that her grandfather immigrated from the Philippines and she isn’t exactly ‘white.’ Then the guy who is the other half of the aforementioned couple jumped into the action. He and the drunk got face to face and yelled at each other for a minute. That’s about when the drunk stormed back to his house in a huff. At this point, I’m pretty sure I was still standing on the porch with a finger in the air, mouth open to deliver my calm words, since I was determined to settle this like civilized people. Again, I may need to work on that.

Anyway, we haven’t seen or heard from the drunk since then, and apparently neither has the couple down the street. He’s not missed. I sincerely hope that he eventually gets the help that he needs, but I’m not holding my breath either. Frankly, if I never see him again, that will be fine. I don’t think I was wrong to not get in the drunk’s face when he started his bullshit, and I don’t think that it would have been appropriate to throw him out by his coattails when he showed up in the first place, but I wonder if I could have done something differently. One thing is certain – there’s a line that has been drawn and he is absolutely no longer welcome here. At this point, if he showed up, I would certainly have him leave. Still, there’s a broad, gray line in the middle there.