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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.


Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 by Mas | 47 Comments »

Why did I title this “Ferguson, Part I”?

Because we all KNOW there’s going to be more than “one part” to whatever happens when the Grand Jury announces their determination of the facts based on the testimony they’ve spent so long hearing.

As we all wait on tenterhooks for the determination of the Grand Jury, and for what happens next, we have to consider some basic facts.

Intelligence from the field has told Missouri’s Governor Nixon that he needs to call out the National Guard and have them ready.

Agenda-driven outside protesters are already there, and have been poised for quite some time. The protesters’ alliance encompasses many of the usual suspects in the race-baiting-for-money world, and more.  In a New Thing, the protesters have issued Rules of Engagement that they, uh, demand that the police follow: No protective gear allowed for cops, more than they’d usually wear, that sort of thing.  Uh, yeah…

Here’s a hint: when YOU propose “Rules of Engagement,” YOU are preparing to ENGAGE.

Some of the “protesters” are on the internet requesting donations of things like gas masks and, I’m told, even bullet-proof vests.  Huh.  Wonder what they’re planning to draw upon themselves…

I am hearing, “Don’t worry. It will be a peaceful demonstration.”  This from the same people who are talking about blocking highways (in bitterly cold winter weather) and keeping people from getting to and from work, ambulances from getting to hospitals, fire trucks from getting to fires, people from arriving at or departing from the St. Louis International Airport, etc. Keeping parents from picking up kids at school, and causing parents and kids alike who can’t make that connection, to panic.

I’m sorry, but that sounds to me very much like “disturbing the peace.”  Can anyone tell me how disturbing the peace of people who are not involved in the thing you are protesting is NOT a crime?  Can anyone tell me how, by definition, disturbing the peace is PEACEFUL?

Both sides seem to expect a verdict exonerating the officer who pulled the trigger. If it goes that way, I sincerely hope that people who have invested themselves heavily in potential violence protesting that verdict experience a sudden attack of massive self-control, and don’t do it.

But, a long cynicism-producing life tells me that this is not the most likely outcome.

If things “go south,” I can think of at least one cop (not me) who has suggested flamethrowers.

Many more observers, looking at the frigid weather in the Ferguson/St. Louis area – which many of us “in the business” believe may be a factor in the announcement being delayed this long – are of the opinion that fire hoses could come into play if extreme mob violence has to be contained.

I’m not recommending fire hoses, mind you, but given that the police in Ferguson have been shot at repeatedly since this whole thing began, and to the best of my knowledge the cops haven’t thrown anything but gas and rubber back, if things go violent a Night of the Frozen Ice Protesters might be preferable to another Kent State.

Readers, your input is welcome.


Sunday, November 16th, 2014 by Mas | 26 Comments »

Another American beheaded by the jihadis.  RIP, Peter Kassig.  And another announcement of holy war against us and our countrymen, everywhere including here.

On the main page of the Backwoods Home website is posted the current issue of the magazine, which includes this article: . It was assigned by BHM founder Dave Duffy, and written, before such recent events in our country as one lone wolf jihadist who beheaded a helpless woman in Oklahoma, and another attacked rookie cops with a hatchet in New York City.

It is significant that both of those potential mass murders was cut short by swift action.  In New York, two of the blindsided cops went down badly hurt, and then the other two ended the “ax attack” with a hail of 9mm Gold Dot +P bullets from their service pistols.  In Oklahoma, the carnage was terminated when the guy in charge of the workplace shot the jihadist down.  The businessman who performed the heroic rescue happened to be a reserve law enforcement officer who had his patrol rifle accessible. Was he an armed citizen, or a cop?  In my view, he was both, and it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is, a good guy with a gun was there to stop a bad guy obviously bent on mass murder.

This morning, I saw a talking head on national TV news ask the incredibly stupid question, “Should we take this threat seriously?”

Oh, I dunno…ask Peter Kassig.


Friday, November 14th, 2014 by Mas | 11 Comments »

On the first weekend of November, I shot my last major “run-and-gun” match of the year, the Citrus Challenge IDPA tournament ( mentioned earlier in this blog.  This past weekend, I shot what I expect to be my last major “stand in one place and shoot the damn gun” match, a Glock Sport Shooting Foundation ( event in St. Augustine, Florida.

Had a great time at both, learned lessons at both.   At Citrus Challenge, it was reinforced for me that when you get old, the “running” slows down before the “gunning.”

At St. Augustine, I was reminded – not for the first time this year, or ever – that if you want to perform well at a tournament, you really ought to train for it.  Entered in five “gun categories” at the Glock Shoot, each of which consists of three shooting stages, I shot my average on the cardboard targets but was sloppy and off-pace on the steel plate stage.  I haven’t shot the “Bianchi Plates” all year except at four matches, and it showed.  Pace is particularly critical on reaction targets.  I had come back from a deposition in a fatal shooting case on the opposite coast barely in time to get caught up on work mail, and put the guns into the car before the match.

Another lesson: my job requires me to do some shooting almost every week, and that at least keeps you consistent.  In this case, the consistent performance gave me a “gentleman’s C” overall grade that kept me from having to go into therapy or anything, but also showed that consistency can be the key to mediocrity.

On the plus side, my Significant Other is on a roll.  The preliminary results show that she was high female in the Civilian event.

My final lesson: I should model on Frank Butler. He was the 19th Century marksman who challenged Annie Oakley to a shooting match. She kicked his butt; he saw his future; and he devoted the rest of his life to being her manager.

Of course, Ms. Oakley may have been more manageable than my Significant Other…


Sunday, November 9th, 2014 by Mas | 15 Comments »

I’m writing this on November 9, the anniversary of kristallnacht, and there’s no better way to remember what that means than reading my friend (and yours, if you support gun owners’ civil rights) David Codrea, here:  In it he links to a very important essay by another friend, a man I’m proud to have had as a guest lecturer at one of my classes, Rabbi Ron Mermelstein: First published in 1998 by Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership, it is as timely now as it was then.  Perhaps more so, since in the interim we’ve had more gun prohibitionists claiming, with revisionist history worthy of Holocaust deniers, that the Nazis didn’t disarm the Jews and the Jews never could have fought to save themselves from genocide.

Monday will mark the Marine Corps Birthday; the USMC was founded in 1775. This coming Tuesday will be Veterans Day.  I don’t need to remind anyone here how much sacrifice those days of memorialization represent, sacrifice rendered in the name of the freedoms we now enjoy and hope to keep and even expand upon.

Over the centuries and much in the memory of living Americans, the butcher’s bill has been high.  May those good people not have been killed and maimed in vain.


Friday, November 7th, 2014 by Mas | 3 Comments »
Charles Gautier Citrus Challenge

In the tiny, cramped “pillbox,” Charles Gautier wields his customized Glock 34 9mm en route to winning the Citrus Challenge.

For a few years now, the Central Florida Rifle and Pistol group in Orlando has been running a major International Defensive Pistol Association match that has earned a reputation as one of the best on the national circuit.  Because it’s held the first weekend in November and I’m usually teaching in Arizona at that time, I had never been able to attend, but a change in schedule this year made it possible.  I’m glad it did.

Every stage was challenging, from the deceptively simple draw-and-shoot of the first challenge we all faced, to events with disappearing targets so fast that, literally, you could blink your eyes and miss seeing at least one of them.  Most of us thought the most demanding event was the one that crammed you into a tiny little pillbox with only three little gun ports to shoot from at an array of nine or so targets across your front.  At least one of the big guys needed help getting out of the box when he was done shooting.

The range safety officers were most fair with penalties and scoring. Not a “range nazi” in the bunch from what I saw.


People as old as me shouldn’t have to be backing away from armed robbers with a heavy-ass Courier’s Case handcuffed to one hand, but the Springfield Armory XD(m) 9mm helped me do that. I consider it Elder Abuse…:-(

I got to shoot in the same squad with the guy who turned out to win the overall match, Charles Gautier.  I had met him before – very knowledgeable and helpful shooter – but hadn’t seen him in action until last weekend’s Citrus Challenge.  His speed, smoothness, and accuracy were a pleasure to watch. Keep an eye on this guy at next year’s World Championships in Puerto Rico.

The shooters I run with, several of whom are my graduates, made me proud.  Among other honors, they captured two divisions with one-two finishes.  Deon Martin was champion in the .45 auto part of things, Custom Defense Pistol division, and John Strayer was right behind him for second overall and First Master. Deon won with the new Glock 41, and John was shooting a 1911.   In Stock Service Revolver division, Michael Dukes captured the Division Champion title, unseating defending champ Allen Davis, who was second overall among the six-shooter stalwarts and First Expert. Fast-rising Anthony Wojtyla won high Sharpshooter in Stock Service Pistol with his Glock 9mm, and a “bump” up to Expert class. The old guy here managed to take the Distinguished Senior title, which is kinda like “high geezer.”

IDPA is a great shooting sport, and a relevant one. Info is available at, where you’ll also find a link to Central Florida Rifle And Pistol which has monthly matches, and links to other clubs all over the country, at least one of which is probably within striking distance of you.



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