Nice shootin', Tex.

The temperature flirted with 40 degrees today and it was sunny so I asked the kids if they wanted to go outside and shoot some targets. A very enthusiastic "YEAH!" was the reply.

So we did!

John shooting the bb gun

Started off with John going over the rules of handling firearms and then it was time to shoot. He's fairly small for his age and the bb gun is too big for him to shoulder correctly. But it's light enough that he can do an unconventional hold on it. Working with him on the mechanics of holding a rifle and how/why to support it correctly.

He's actually a decent shot and while he likes shooting at paper targets that he creates, he really enjoys more reactive ones. Soda cans are good, especially if they're full and shaken, but his favorites are some of his little plastic dinosaurs. I can't help but smile when he gets a hit and shouts "Yeah! Take that dinosaur!"

He's getting mature enough to start coming to a real shooting range this summer. I'm trying to decide if it makes sense to get a youth .22 rifle, maybe a Cricket, or if I should get a .22 pistol instead. I think even a Cricket might be a bit big on him even now.

Oh well, if that's my biggest problem, I certainly can't complain!

Why I do what I do...

The news over the last few weeks has been more tragic than normal - or the tragedies have been closer to home at least. These situations have spurred many conversations, all with the same question: "Why?"

Some truly are trying to piece together an answer that makes sense. Some are trying to find a way to twist the events to fit, and further, their narrative. A large majority of them turn into questions on firearms - questions on both the laws regulating them and the right (or lack thereof) to owning them. I avoid most of these discussions as they tend to be an echo chamber for whichever side is held by the person.

However, some of them have gotten personal - questioning why I - a white, almost middle-aged, male in a relatively safe suburb of a relatively safe city - would need/want/deserve to own and carry a firearm. Especially a semi-automatic pistol.

The most direct was simply "WHY? Why do you carry a gun?" The question was simple and straightforward and, though it was loaded with unspoken negative assumptions, I could tell the person truly was interested in an honest answer.


That's a question with many answers - some of them loaded with experienced, defensive sarcasm, some with a shrug of "not again", and some just wanting to deflect attention - all of them true, all of them with a good time and place, none of them capable of bridging the gap of understanding of someone who has not been exposed to firearms outside of the idiot box or big screen. Here was my answer to this person, this time:

I like to cover my bases.

I do this in all aspects of my life.
  • I'm a computer programmer so I back up my code to multiple places. Not because I WANT my hard drive to crash but I know it's possible and this will help me resolve the problem. Hasn't happened yet.
  • I work in an office building without an onsite medical staff so I carry a decent first aid kit that, in addition to the normal cuts and scrapes, can handle most minor traumas - at least until EMS arrives. I don't WANT anyone to be injured but I know that if they are, help is a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes away. This kit HAS been used for serious injuries twice now.
  • I drive a car to work and I keep a much more extensive first aid kit, jumper cables, and a fire extinguisher in the car. I don't WANT to have a need for those, but I have them in case I do. I have needed the jumper cables both for my car and for strangers - but not the hefty first aid kit or the fire extinguisher. I'm keeping them anyway.
  • When I was a firefighter, I kept a lot of equipment in my gear - rope and webbing in case I had to bail out of a window or drag another to safety, wire cutters to free myself from entanglement, an axe and halligan in case I had to breach a door or wall. I didn't WANT to need those, but knew there was a chance I would. They added several pounds to the already heavy gear. I carried them anyway.
  • I'm a father of two with a third on the way. I have a healthy (scarily healthy) life insurance policy. I certainly don't WANT to need it, but I want my family to be supported if needed.
  • I often carry a firearm and for the same reason as I have a life insurance policy. I don't WANT to use it but I want to have as many options available should I ever need to defend myself.

After hearing about carrying a firearm in context of all of the other steps I take to cover my bases, she seemed to at least acknowledge that there was a logical reason for it that she hadn't previously allowed herself to consider. I think she had expected something like "Because I can" or "Haven't you heard of the Second Amendment?" - all of which are true and acceptable reasons and may be why I OWN firearms. But I only carry them because I think they're another valuable tool in the toolbox.

I don't think she's sold on the concept (at least not yet - going to try to get her to the range soon) but her position has moderated significantly now that she can put actual logic behind it.

It's all fun and games ...

Oh wait, if you teach them right, it CAN be fun and games!

John got a bb gun for Christmas last year and he's had a blast getting out in the backyard to shoot it. Zoe finally expressed interest in joining her brother so we grabbed some targets and headed outside.

John shooting

Zoe shooting

They both took turns shooting and insisted on running up after each shot to debate who had the closer hole. Zoe still has trouble pulling the trigger by herself but she's got the enthusiasm! Paper targets were a lot of fun but they got to see how dangerous a bb can be when we shot some unopened soda cans - seeing them fall over and soda jet out of the hole left an impression.

John is just about old enough to get out to the real shooting range - now I just need to get a better .22 rifle for him to shoot. Poor me - another good reason to buy a rifle.

Denver, CO vs Canton, OH

Denver, CO and Canton, OH both had great entries in the "Cops Gone Wild" category.

Denver was a strong contender with this one:
A Denver police officer fired for driving 88 mph above the speed limit while intoxicated has appealed his dismissal, arguing that the penalty is unfair and overly harsh.

Derrick Curtis Saunders, who had previously been cleared of charges he pointed a gun at a McDonald's employee in 2009, was arrested for speeding and DUI by the Colorado State Patrol. He couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

Saunders was traveling 143 mph in a 55-mph zone on June 17, 2010, according to the order terminating him, issued by Manager of Safety Alex Martinez on Dec. 7.

Source: Denver Post

Canton brought out their big guns with Officer Harless :
Officer Daniel Harless, who is currently under investigation for threatening to execute a concealed handgun license-holder during a traffic stop, and for a separate incident in which he threatened to send the suspects "to the grave" if they moved, adding, "I will shoot you in the face and I'll go to sleep tonight," is now also under investigation for a THIRD incident which was also caught on tape.

Source: Buckeye Firearms Association

So, to summarize:

Denver - a Denver cop drives drunk at a massively high speed (143 mph in a 55 mph zone) and gets fired, sentenced to five days in jail, fined $300 and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. Seems a bit lenient to me, but at least it was some form of punishment.

Canton - a Canton cop threatens to execute people on THREE separate occasions and gets to keep his job while awaiting the results of a "hearing" and the only reason the hearing even happened is because of the publicity surrounding the THIRD incident. Had that youtube video not gone viral, it's likely that Canton would have swept this under the rug AGAIN.

So, what's the lesson we learned? If you're a supreme, power-mad asshole of the highest order who threatens to beat, torture, and execute a man ON CAMERA (like Officer Harless), then you should choose the Canton, OH police department over the Denver, CO police department.

New Shooter - Don't Shoot Your Eye Out Kid!

My son has been asking when he can come to the range with me for quite some time. I figured I'd ease him into it so I suggested to my brother that a BB gun would be a good gift idea. Well, he certainly took that idea and ran with it!

What did he open Christmas morning? A Crosman BB/Pellet rifle! To say he was excited would be an understatement.

John on Christmas morning

In the backyard

Got him out this morning to shoot it for the first time. Lined a few empty cans and an empty milk jug at about 30 feet. While not a natural (yet!), he managed to hit about 50% of the targets the first time! He's a bit small to really use it well - we will see how well he grows into over the next few years before we upgrade him to his own .22 rifle.

I was one proud papa this morning!

Eric Holder - Beltway Bob

"There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!" - that was quote from Baghdad Bob, the Iraqi Minister of Information, during the initial phase of war in Iraq. He was brutally, and deservedly, mocked for his inane and obvious lies.

It appears that, even here in America, we have our own version. Our own Beltway Bob.

His name is Eric Holder, US Attorney General.

Attorney General Eric Holder insists "nobody at the Justice Department has lied" about the gun-running scandal Fast and Furious. That in itself is a lie, as his deputy's emails prove.

- Investors Business Daily
And, much like Iraqi Information Minister, Eric "Beltway Bob" Holder is the mouthpiece for a corrupt and evil bureaucracy that engages in, covers up, and glosses over the very criminal actions for which they're so eager to prosecute others.

Big Week for Officer Harless ... Maybe

Looks like Officer Daniel Harless, a Canton Ohio police officer, may FINALLY get his disciplinary hearing. Buckeye Firearms reports that, after being postponed several times, it is currently scheduled for December 15th. The reason for previous postponements? He's on sick leave due to a PTSD disability.

As I've said before, Officer Harless is a supreme, power-mad asshole of the highest order who threatens to beat, torture, and execute a man ON CAMERA. He's the one making threats like this:
I swear to God this little bull crap you pulled has me so hot. You know what I should have done? I tell you what I should have done. As soon as I saw your gun I shoulda taken two steps back, pulled my Glock 40, and just put ten bullets in your ass and let you drop. And I wouldn't of lost any sleep. Do you understand me? And he would have been a nice witness as I executed you because you're stupid.

- Buckeye Firearms article
- YouTube video of the incident
Officer Harless should be jailed for threatening and intimidating someone as an officer of the law. At the very least, he should be fired and never employed as a police officer again. Of course, that's what should have happened the last time Officer Harless went nuclear on the job. Good luck, Canton Ohio. Hopefully the thin blue line won't sweep this one under rug ... again. And hopefully Allen Schulman has stopped crying in his wheaties.

Help Me Choose a .22 Pistol

I got a nice, early Christmas gift of some cash this year and I'm interested in filling in the .22LR pistol gap in my "arsenal." I want to get a pistol that will make teaching newbies an easier process. That, and my son is getting close to being old enough to introduce to shooting.

I'm currently looking at the Sig Mosquito, the Buckmark, or the Mark III. I'd also consider a revolver but I don't have any experience with those.

So, internet gun enthusiasts, please share some of your wisdom with me and let me know what you recommend and why!

Allen Schulman, Canton City Council President, is unclear on the concept

Allen Schulman, President of the City Council of Canton, OH, cries in his Wheaties. He's unhappy that one of Canton's police officers, Daniel Harless, was caught on camera threatening a man, numerous times, with death and serious injury. Officer Harless informs the man that he should have stepped back, drawn his gun, and put ten rounds in the guy. He goes on to say that he would have executed the man and slept soundly that night. All of this while being filmed by the camera in his own patrol car.

Let me say this again: Officer Harless, a supreme, power-mad asshole of the highest order, threatens to beat, torture, and execute a man ON CAMERA. And, as these sort of videos are prone to do, the dash cam video went viral, bringing well-earned shame and ridicule down upon the town of Canton, the police department, and Officer Daniel Harless.

One would think that Allen Schulman, the President of the Canton, OH City Council, would be angry and outspoken after this incident. And you would be correct! However, Council President Allen Schulman is NOT speaking out against Officer Daniel Harless nor his behavior. He's angry that people from outside of Canton have been calling him to complain about Officer Harless and his atrocious, criminal behavior.

I'm sorry Allen Schulman, but having a Canton mailing address and voter registration is not a requirement to observe and be outraged at the behavior of a psychopath such as Officer Daniel Harless. Rather than stand up, acknowledge, and condemn the outrageous behavior of one of your town's officers, you've chosen to circle the wagons and attempt to divert attention away from Officer Harless by whining and complaining about the very people with whom you should be agreeing.

Quote of the Day

"Daddy, I want to go to the shooting range!"
- my almost-four-year-old son, John

Words that I've been waiting to hear and didn't really expect this soon! We've been practicing the four rules and he's start to get them down. Slowly but surely. And the 10/22 is still pretty big on him so I think I'll be shopping for a BB gun this week. But still, I'm thrilled!