Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sheepdogs, Wolves and Shivering Sheep

“There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs.  Some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world, and if it ever darkened their doorstep, they wouldn’t know how to protect themselves. Those are the sheep.  Then you’ve got predators, who use violence to prey on the weak.  They’re the wolves.  And then there are those blessed with the gift of aggression, an overpowering need to protect the flock.  These men are the rare breed who live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog.” 
- Wayne Kyle to his son Chris in "American Sniper,"  Clint Eastwood's interpretation of the autobiographical book of the same name.

The above quote is loosely based on an essay entitled “On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and although it was not in Chris Kyles autobiography, it was written into the script to give depth to who Chris Kyle was and what he was about.

Since the movies blockbuster opening, the term has quickly become a rallying point, an expression of pride pertaining to those who own and carry a sidearm for protection of themselves and others - but I
believe the quote goes deeper than that.  I certainly trust that those who have made the commitment to carry a gun for self-defense, who have spent countless hours and dollars training, are far more likely to be a Sheepdog than those that invest in Hope as a last line of defense in the most dire of circumstances.  I think those who carry have a heightened sense of responsibility to themselves and their loved ones, and by extension,  an innate sense of responsibility to those who are defenseless in the face of the Wolves. But in the context of the movie, I think it is more a warriors ideal than a statement of fact.  It is meant to bring out the hidden Sheepdog in all of us, to help us identify not just who we are, but who we can aspire to be.  Maybe what Chris Kyle's Father is saying is more a question than a statement.  Maybe what he is asking is this - Can you imagine the world and how it would be if we taught our children that it's a noble and just thing to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves?  To believe in and live by a Code of Honor that includes faith of principles and the strength of will to stand by them?

How much better would our world be if more people were Sheepdogs than Sheep?

In the end, if you consider yourself a Sheepdog, the lingering question you then have to ask is this... Do I want anyone else to know I'm a Sheepdog?

If you are Pro 2A, own a gun and or carry concealed, you've probably had discussions with close friends and family about your decision to carry and your beliefs in defending your Second Amendment Rights, and while most of us don't go around boasting about carrying a sidearm, there are probably more people who know you carry than you might suspect.  And this might be a problem.

By writing this blog and posting pro 2A articles to my Facebook page, many people know I carry a gun for self protection.  I've talked with many of them on the reasons why, or put them to my blog for answers to their questions.  But is this a good thing?

I like to think that I am educating those Sheep who would have our Second Amendment Rights suppressed by legislation, and I believe in the long haul that's how we make a difference.  We don't need to turn the Sheep into pro gun people, but if we can assuage their fears about those who carry, make it more of a "I don't want to carry, but I don't care if you do" ideal, we still win the fight.  But in a bad situation, I'm not so sure I want the Sheep to know I am carrying.

If the Sheep know you carry, are those people going to expect a certain response from you given their only real experience of these predicaments come from any number of television shows?  And in any given situation, are the Sheep going to feel threatened where you may not?  Do you want a fearful Sheep to unexpectedly offer up the fact that you're carrying, possibly inflaming a manageable situation?  Or worse yet, what if you are say, in a restaurant or a bank when three guys decide to walk in and rob the place?  Maybe they tell everyone to get on the floor.  Maybe they tell everyone that if anyone does something stupid, they will kill you all.  Maybe you've decided that the odds and logistics, at this point, are against you, and you decide to wait until an opportunity arises before making a move, if you make any at all.  And then, from out of nowhere, someone you know who is a Sheep, someone who is shaking with the fear of dying, points at you and tells the bad guys that you have a gun!  What then?  Their fear that you would pull your gun and get them all killed has now changed the situation in a very bad way.  They may have forced your hand or, worse yet, they may have just gotten you killed.

So, I think it's important to think through every angle when making decisions on what we say and to who.  For their safety and for ours.

As was told on a forum I belong to, a few couples are leaving a concert in Chicago, several of them are staunch anti gun people, but they are aware, through many discussions, that one in their crowd carries for self defense purposes.  As they turn to the large, fairly empty parking lot, they see several people of suspect intentions standing around their car, which is now by itself in the corner of the lot.  And now, these Sheep who want your gun banned, look at you and ask... "Do you have your gun on you?"

When the situation becomes menacing, everyone loves a Sheepdog.  But don't get your Sheepdog shot.

Stay Safe and Carry Responsibly
Hipshot

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Celebrities and the Second Amendment, Artwork and Keeping Our Children Safe

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Whenever I hear a celebrity speak out on the Second Amendment and gun control,  they seem to have an air of superiority about them, an arrogance, a self important smile of haughty derision that turns my ears deaf.  They almost never have anything to say of real importance or substance, always spewing emotional fear mongering, liberal buzzwords and over-used "facts" that have been rebutted ad nauseum - while showing just enough contempt for their audience to drive home their own closely held belief that they are smarter and better educated than the masses who would dare question their opinions as anything other than fact.  They truly have no idea how comical they are.

Bob Costas... are you listening?

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Is it a coincidence that BAFTE attempted to ban SS109 and M855 types of 5.56mm ammunition just one month after a U.N. ammo ban proposal of the same round?  Is it a coincidence that the Dictator Obama is knee deep in support of the U.N. Small Arms Treaty that Congress has already rejected?

And here's the kicker... The Dictator doesn't care that you know he tried to put one over on you.  He lives and dies with the clear conscience of someone who believes wholeheartedly in the Saul Alinsky / Cloward-Piven tenet that "the ends always justify the means."

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Some guns are a work of art. 
Plain and simple.



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I find it disheartening that gun control zealots are so blinded by their fear and hatred of an inanimate object that they would rather their child fall into harms way than teach them the NRA's Eddie Eagle program for child safety.   The simple lesson below, from the NRA site...


"Parents can teach their children the Eddie Eagle program at home. Simply call the Eddie eagle program at (800) 231-0752 or email eddie@nrahq.org to request a sample kit. Each kit includes a copy of the student workbook and sticker for your child along with program statistics, a description of material, an order form and the Parent's Guide to Gun Safety.  The Eddie Eagle program has no agenda other than accident prevention -- ensuring that children stay safe should they encounter a gun."

Yep... why would anyone want to teach their children how to stay safe should they happen upon a gun?  The antis prefer Moral superiority over child safety... sounds a little twisted if you ask me.  And here I thought it was for the children.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dogfight In Illinois Legislature Over Criminal Protection Zones

Here in the State of Illinois, law abiding citizens with a valid Concealed Carry license are denied access to public areas funded by taxes even though in the case of Moore v Madigan, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Posner wrote -  

"A blanket prohibition on carrying gun in public prevents a person from defending himself anywhere except inside his home; and so substantial a curtailment of the right of armed self-defense requires a greater showing of justification than merely that the public might benefit on balance from such a curtailment, though there is no proof it would."   

And “The Supreme Court has decided” that the Second Amendment “confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside.”  He added that a Chicago resident was “a good deal more likely to be attacked on a sidewalk in a rough neighborhood than in his apartment on the 35th floor of the Park Tower.”

How does it come to pass that while the Courts have affirmed our Second Amendment Rights to carry for self defense in public, legislators circumvent the ruling by outlawing public places, funded by tax dollars, for concealed carry?  Where is the 'common sense' in that?  How is this not a deliberate, treacherous, insidious and illegal infringement upon our Constitutional Rights as confirmed by the Courts ruling?

In "The Cruelty of Gun-Free Zones" economist and statistician John Lott states -
"The vast majority of mass shootings in the U.S. have been extensively planned beforehand — often many months or even years in advance, allowing the perpetrators to find unprotected targets and obtain weapons."

Here in Illinois there are 23 categories of prohibited places (Gun Free Zones) ranging from schools and stadiums to rest areas and parks.  With few exceptions, these prohibited sites are funded by tax dollars.  These Criminal Protection Zones have one thing in common - they are in place because fear mongering, left leaning legislators continue to press the idea that the gun itself is the problem, not the person behind the trigger.  They purposely ignore facts that prove gun free zones are shooting galleries, while at the same time preying on the hopolophobic, irrational and illogical fear of a self-righteous citizenry who cringe at the very sight of the scary black gun or rifle.

Now, thirteen months into concealed carry in Illinois, we continue to bring the fight to the anti's with a vengeance.  We are relentless and vigilant in the dogfight to free us from the garrison state of the bought and paid for gun control politicians who thumb their noses at the Courts and their constituency.

Early on it was estimated that 400,000 permits would be doled out in the first year alone, but that figure has fallen well short with roughly 105,000 permits issued at this time.

Why?

First, with public transportation being on the list of places Illinoisans may not carry, many have decided its not worth the time (16 hours of training) nor cost ($400 plus for training and CCL application fee) only to be left defenseless when traveling to and from work.  The only option to carry in that situation is in FOID transport mode - meaning you would need to find somewhere out of the public eye to unload and encase your gun before stepping onto a train or bus.

Add in the fact that Chicago, Cook County and the collar Counties account for half of the population in Illinois and those same areas use the bulk of the public transportation and it drives home the fact the anti-gun folk knew exactly what they were doing when they skewered the Courts order, while continuing to retaliate against those who want to exercise their Second Amendment Rights.  With high costs and the public transportation prohibition alone, they cut the effective populace who may wish to carry, from 12 million to 6 million.

And why do the liberal left continue to block our Rights at every opportunity?  Because the first rule of controlling the populace is to disarm them.  How is this accomplished?  For those who pledge fealty and reverence to their Socialist God - the all providing government - all that is needed is the warm fuzzy feeling bestowed by the thinly veiled lie of keeping the populace safe.  All anyone must do is look back through the history of the world to see this.  Anti's may roll their eyes, but the fact is our Government is persistent in eroding our Rights in the name of keeping us safe... as if safety trumps everything else.  Safety for us.  Safety for our children.  Safety from terrorists... Safety from gangs... Safety from mass shootings... and on and on.

But we must continue the fight!  Even as we embarrass the gun-control zealots with win after win in courtrooms and elections throughout the Country, they continue to push on all fronts - from Washington's I-594 to Minnesota's Bills HF 1361 and SF 1289, which would allow doctors and family members, including even distant relatives,  ex-husbands or ex-wives, to strip citizens of their gun rights without due process of law.

The arrogance of those politicians who fight to take away our rights is appalling.  In emailing Dick Durbin - the long tenured Democrat Senator from Illinois - I urged him to vote YES to The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2014 (S. 1908) which would allow those with a valid Concealed Carry permit to carry into other States - just like your drivers license. His response showed the hubris and pomposity of someone who believes in the omnipotence of the Government and his own, overblown, narcissistic ego...

"The elected representatives of each state are in the best position to know and understand the needs of the state. They should be allowed to determine for themselves the policies that govern their homes, streets, neighborhoods, and workplaces."

Senator Durbin believes that once elected, he should be a Dictator.  That you, the stupid, ignorant masses who huddle in fear and trepidation, should look to him as your single guiding light - and he is happy to do whatever he wants... his constituents be damned.  This is how anti gunners think, this is what they believe.


Here in Illinois, right now, there are many bills that will scale back the prohibited areas for concealed carry - including public transportation, rest areas, forest preserves and parks - those places that are paid for with public money.  These bills are waiting to see the light of day as insider fighting pushes them back, while at the same time bringing forth bills that will restrict further, our Right to carry.  The fight will continue for years to come, no doubt, but fight we must to preserve our Rights!

Stay Safe and Carry Responsibly

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Michael's new book  "I'm Married... Shoot Me!"  The harrowing tales of your average Husband - Children, insanity and manly cowardice, all wrapped up in love - is now available through Lulu.com 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mag Extension Follies and the Carry Gun Potpourri,

Six inches of snow in Chicago yesterday... so I'm just sitting around ruminating on the problems of the day...

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Ordered a few Garrison mag extensions for my Taurus TCP mags.  Bought them thru Amazon and they arrived toot-suit.  Having never changed any mag pads before, I took a swag (scientific wild ass guess) and with the keen and practiced eye of a former shade-tree mechanic, I pressed down on the little button inside the bottom of the mag pad with the tip of a pen and pulled the pad to the side, unlocking it from the bottom of the mag.


Taurus 738 TCP .380
Now, having studied the problem for some time before attempting the switch-out, my superior intellect deduced the pad was attached to a metal plate that was an integral and fixed part of the
magazine.  Unfortunately for me, I was wrong.  For those who, like me, apparently aren't quite as bright as a fifth grader, the pad holds in the bottom of the mag and the spring, and it does the job just fine unless you take the mag pad off without controlling the spring.  If you don't control the spring, it expands faster than a fat mans belly at a Thanksgiving feast (especially when the mag is loaded, you know, like mine was), sending the spring and assembly shooting out at the speed of sound - okay, it didn't break the sound barrier, but it did make a loud 'smack' sound when it careened off my forehead.


And just like that, the spring, the follower and the insert that the floor plate attaches to (yes, those are the correct terms - I looked them up, unfortunately, after the fact) were sent in many different directions across the living room.  My Son found the follower immediately - under the dining room table.  The floor plate was in the flower bowl on the coffee table and it was two days later that I found the spring nestled on top of the Grandkids Lego box that is up against the entertainment center.

So all in all, a one-minute change took a total of two days.  I hope it helps all you other like minded knuckleheads.  

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My first gun was a Walther P22 that I received as a Christmas present from my kids - yes, I'm quite aware that I'm a lucky guy.  I soon bought my ATI 1911 GI FX 45 as my carry gun and as a new gun owner, figured I was all set.  


Kahr CW45


 The funny thing is, I had no idea I had contracted the disease.

I love my 1911, but you know what?  That thing is heavy!  The gun loaded weighs in at nearly 2.75 lbs!  Add in a Crossbreed Supertuck, two mags on the off hand side and now I'm carrying around nearly four pounds of hardware on my belt.  I swear, when they send you a 1911, they should come with two extra mags and a set of suspenders.

So, last summer I ordered up my Taurus TCP - pictured above - 10.2 oz empty, roughly 14 oz loaded with JPH .380. - sitting in a DeSantis PocketTuk, and I've never looked back.  Two mags on the off hand side and I'm good to go with just a 1.5 pounds or so of gear.  Light, comfortable, easily concealable.

Colt Defender
Then, lately I've been wanting a little more firepower than the .380 can provide.  I love shooting a .45 ACP - it feels like the round is reaching out of the barrel, grabbing on and pulling its way out - and I feel a little more secure in its stopping power.  So I started looking around at lightweight 45's. 

So what was the lightest 45 I found?  I ended up buying a Kahr CW45.  21 oz. empty - 6+1 with two extra seven round mags from Buds Guns for roughly $405... it should be here shortly and then I will be happy with my arsenal.  I swear I won't need another gun.  No.. really... I mean it.  Sincerely...

Except for that Colt Defender...
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"So, Given The Situation, Is It Okay To Shoot?"


As we all know, if you belong to a gun forum, sooner or later you'll find long, contentious threads concerning the question - When is it alright to pull your sidearm in self defense?

The poster usually ending his thoughts with something along the lines of - "So, given the situation, is it okay to shoot?  Would it be justified?"  This opens the floodgates to every members imagination, training and opinion - where intricate scenario's are presented, discussed, dissected, debated, analyzed and rebutted ad-nauseam.

And beyond what we are taught in the classroom, what exactly is justified?

What if the guy wasn't intending to shoot?  What if his friend was holding a family member?  What if he's bashing in your drivers window with a bat?  What if he turns to run?  What if he doesn't have a gun, only a knife?  What if there's three of them and they are menacing you, but they don't show a gun, only say they have one?  What if its only your possessions?  What if...What If?  What If?!

Although these imaginative story lines do qualify as mental exercises, visualizations if you will, that help prepare the individual for a given high stress situation - not unlike a ball player who visualizes himself hitting a home run with two out in the bottom of the ninth - no two people will play the original poster's movie in his own head and see the same thing... and neither will twelve individuals on a jury.

This isn't a 'black and white' situation and it would seem to me in the end, after all the discussion and debate, the only one who decides when to pull his sidearm will be the one involved in the situation.  It is never cut and dried and if it were, we wouldn't have these discussions. Any given scenario has more variables than we can articulate.  How I see it in my head is different from how you see it in your head - but in the end, to paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart - I may not be able to describe a bad situation, but I know one when I see one. 

I believe the real quandry that will present itself in a shooting situation is the human mind's natural revulsion at taking someones life.  We train and prepare for as many variables as possible, except for the act of ending another human beings life - not withstanding those who crow about rather being judged by 12 than carried by 6. 

If you doubt this, then may I suggest you take the time to read the eye-opening book - "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society" by Lt Colonel Dave Grossman.  Given the Colonels findings - that taking a human life goes against everything we are, sometimes to the point of complete submission in the face of death - I believe the prompt to pulling your gun will be the realization that this fight is a fight against your own extinction. 

I'm saying, in the end it's instinctual.
 
My own experience through the years (none involving firearms) tells me there is a mental check down. Bad situation coming my way.  Can I get out?  Whats my best defense?  Is this a fist fight or is this something worse?  And so on and so on.  And this process happens in the blink of an eye, faster than you are consciously aware, so fast that when faced with having to articulate the process to the Police in the immediate aftermath, you may not be able to do so in a comprehensive and cogent manner.  (One more reason why you don't speak with the Police until you've talked with a lawyer.) It's a series of reactions to mental and visceral inputs that forces action. This is why the most important part of concealed
carry, beyond training, is to live in Condition Yellow.  To give yourself the opportunity to see a bad situation coming, before it escalates, allowing you time to process the scene and take appropriate steps to de-escalate, deter or avoid the situation completely.  I make Condition Yellow my comfort zone and hopefully that will keep me out of the fray.  You could give me 1000 situations and I believe it I would be hard pressed not to find a way to skee-daddle in 999 of them.  I want out.  I don't want a fight.  I don't want a confrontation.  I want to go home to my family.

But in the worst case scenario, when all possibilities of escape have been exhausted, when you are trapped with no way out, I believe pulling your sidearm will be a physical response to the realization that you are about to die.  The realization that this is going to happen and there is no way to avoid it.

So I believe it will always come down to "You're about to die."  The reason you are pulling your gun is not due to the laws of justification, or Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground or ability, jeopardy or opportunity.  It's not due to the discussion of what ifs and maybes.  The fight will be quick, chaotic, fierce and loud and your mind won't be thinking of Judges or juries or District Attorneys.  You mind won't be thinking of anything except the voice in your head that is raging at you... "You're about to die." 
 
Your training, knowledge, awareness and physical capabilities will give you the best opportunity to avoid the trouble, but failing that, in the aftermath you will know you did everything possible to walk away.

Stay Safe and Carry Responsibly
Hipshot 

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My new book "I'm Married... Shoot Me!"  The harrowing tales of your average Husband. Children, insanity and manly cowardice, all wrapped up in love - is now available through Lulu.com