When I was a little boy, reading matter was a staple on the family list of Christmas presents. As both primary gifts and “stocking-stuffers,” I did the same with my kids, and they do the same with theirs. This being mainly a gun blog, let’s look at some good reading for “gun guys and gals” on your gift list. Be warned: there will be some degree of controversy in each.
“Gun Guys: A Road Trip.” Author Dan Baum is a self-described left-wing liberal gun owner, who I think did his best to take an unprejudiced look at the whole gun ownership controversy. The book is insightful interviewing and participatory journalism in which the reader hears from those of us who carry, as well as those who hate guns. Like most impartial views of this complicated topic, he will manage to anger the hard-core advocates on either side, but I think a dispassionate reading will show that logic brought him, for the most part, to our side. (Which seems to be the usual outcome in unprejudiced analysis of this topic, but I digress.) Wherever the reader personally comes down on the issue, no one can expect to defeat an opponent they don’t understand, and Baum gives insight into the thinking of pro-gun and anti-gun people alike.
“The Third Bullet.” Stephen Hunter is one of my very favorite novelists. His fictionalized account of the JFK assassination, while I don’t see it as a template for reality, may be the most believable “conspiracy theory” yet to see print. I think it’s appropriate that it’s presented as fiction. It is, simply, a great read brought to us by a master of the writer’s craft.
“Dangerous Men.” Scott Ferguson is a lifelong student of human conflict in general and gunfighters of the Old West in particular. He is also a deeply-experienced instructor of defensive shooting and police officer survival tactics. Blending vocation with avocation, “Dangerous Men” is a study of gunfights and the people who fought them. From the OK Corral to the infamous “FBI Firefight” of 4/11/86, Scott reminds us that different historians have different takes on these events, but the takeaway lessons of tactics and the psychology of coping with mortal violence remain the same over the centuries. Excellent, insightful reading for anyone who keeps or carries a gun.
The first two are now out in paperback for affordable stocking-stuffers, as well as hardcover, Kindle and Audio. I’ve seen the first two on the rack at Barnes & Noble. Amazon has “Dangerous Men” in eBook form at their Kindle Store.
Having just finished three non-stop Shark Week months, I find myself where many others are now: Good Lord, it’s Christmas shopping time!
Testing assorted gun-related products as part of my work, I run across some pretty cool stuff now and then. One line I’ve had great luck with is the Scott-e-Vest series, at www.scottevest.com. Since being introduced to this stuff a few years ago, I’ve found myself wearing pants, shirt, vest and jacket and just bought a new vest for my Significant Other, who prefers this design to anything else on the market.
Top-quality material and manufacture combine here with ingenious hidden pocket designs. The Scott-e-Vest line began, as its name implies, with gear for geeks. Pockets for all your iSfuff…and, it turns out, useful pockets for gun stuff. These garments have tunnels for wires and other cool features.
Check out the website. We pistol-packers find much of interest, but for even the non-gun people on your list, the whole techno-pocket theme will appeal to giftees who share my Significant Other’s ethos: “ iPod, iPad, iPhone, therefore I am.”
It looks as if some will be experiencing rough weather on Thanksgiving…for some folks, in more ways than one.
We’ll all be giving thanks for different things. A couple of weeks ago, my good friend Dan was stricken with a massive heart attack that almost killed him. Great docs brought him back, and he’s now at home recovering from a quad bypass. Best of luck, bro.
The grieving of others makes our own thanks more solemn. Yesterday, a good friend buried his wife of many, many years. He nursed her to the end while pancreatic cancer ravaged her. Shortly before that, another old friend lost his only son at age 40 in a tragic car crash.
Like anyone else, I’m grateful for my loved ones, my friends, and my colleagues. I’m grateful also to the readers here, for their spirited discussions. And I’m grateful to the extended families of my three friends mentioned above, who gave them support in a time when they needed it most.
We could all do worse than aspire to be the people for whom others give thanks on Thanksgiving.
I wish a safe, pleasant and meaningful Thanksgiving to you all.
It will be a rare American who isn’t reminded of the fiftieth anniversary of the JFK assassination today, unless they’re out in the deer woods. That’s where my future father-in-law was when it happened, along with his daughter, my future wife, who was helping him drag his whitetail buck home.
I was home from school, sick with mono, and ironically reading a LOOK magazine article about the President and his son, when the first news flash came over the TV.
Those of us sentient then remember where we were when we heard the news. We’ve lived to see half a century of assorted conspiracy theories. And, on that day, we saw the birth of the late 20th Century’s fixation on “gun control.”
There will be many memories and many thoughts among you all today. Feel free to share here.
As always, we have to wait for all the facts to be in. At this time, authorities are indicating there will be no charges.
Brings us to an interesting theory, though.
If you are present, without society’s designated protectors there, or likely to get there in time, that’s when you become the “first responder” to the emergency, and you might be the only one there who can determine whether the innocent victim survives or not.
That’s why we encourage every responsible person to know first aid, in case there are now emergency medical professionals there when it happens. To save life and ward off the death of the innocent, until the designated paramedics or emergency medical technicians have too long an ETA (estimated time of arrival) when the victim is going to die unless they’re treated NOW.
That’s why we encourage every citizen to have fire extinguishers, and know how and when to use them, when the conflagration is right here, right now, and the firefighters are ETA distant. So innocent victims are saved from things that will kill them or horribly maim them unless they are protected NOW.
And that’s why, when the monster is about to kill someone you love, you need an emergency rescue tool to stop that from happening, if the police aren’t there NOW to stop them for you and time has run out.
This is why I have, for decades now, taught that the defensive firearm is directly analogous to the fire extinguisher you’d find in any well prepared home in the civilized world.
There will be those who will say that the rescuers in this case “took the law into their own hands.” Well, when a person with a compound fracture of the leg lies in front of you and the medics aren’t there yet, is it not right and just to lay hands on the inured limb, apply traction, and take the injury “into your own hands”? If the fire is burning now and you can stop it with the extinguisher, are you wrong to pick up that device and smother the deadly fire “with your own hands”?
And if the law lies broken in front of you, should YOU not take it into your own hands to apply the equivalent of life-saving direct pressure or the agony-reducing traction with those very hands?