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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for January 6th, 2011

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, January 6th, 2011

My condolences to all who lost people they cared about during the recent holiday season.

Brother trainer Rich Grassi alerted me to the fact that Jerri Lindell had just passed at 81. She looked, and acted, much younger. She was the wife of one of my mentors, Jim Lindell in Kansas City, the master police instructor who refined the lateral vascular restraint technique and whose system of handgun retention – which I still teach – has been estimated to have saved as many police lives as everyday-wear body armor. All of us who taught under Jim knew her as a surrogate mom, who cared as much for every one of Jim’s student as she did for all of us. Working quietly behind the scenes and managing the office every year, she was one of the unsung heroes who don’t get the credit when everything goes right and training saves good people’s lives. Condolences to Jim and the rest of the Lindell “training family” may be sent to NLETC.

I learned from our mutual friend JD Jones that Larry Kelly, founder of Mag-na-port, had succumbed to lung cancer. Like JD, he was one of the all-time great handgun hunters, and one of those who did much to make it the popular sport it is today. He was a pioneer in Electron Discharge Machining (EDM) to make recoil ports that redirected expanding gases from burning powder as jets that held the muzzles down, allowing faster accurate followup shots. Larry made good shooting easier with hunting guns, target guns, and defense guns. I’m proud to own some beautifully custom-smithed Mag-na-port guns, including one Larry himself used to bag a humongous boar, and I know his son Ken will continue the family tradition. Mag-na-port has always been generous in its contributions to the fight for gun owners’ civil rights, and to the shooting sports.  You can send your condolences to Larry’s family and the Mag-na-port team at Mag-na-port.

Our own Backwoods Home Blogger Claire Wolfe was the one who let us all know that we had lost a tireless fighter for civil rights: Aaron Zelman, founder and director of Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership. I used to joke with him that I was his first “token Arab” member. Brother Zelman’s was the most forthright voice that reminded the world of the madness of depriving citizens of the right to keep and bear arms, in a time when there were still living victims of the Holocaust to speak to the direction where that took nations. Aaron also had a dry, but very real, sense of humor. One day he and I were chatting together at a gun owners’ rights function, and a passerby joked with tongue only partly in cheek, “Oh, no! The Jew is facing off with the Arab! There’s gonna be trouble.” Aaron rolled his eyes, and I replied in my best serious tone, “Damn right! Aaron and I are gonna solve this Jew-Arab thing once and for all. We’re gonna go out in the alley, roll up our sleeves…and beat the crap out of an Englishman.” Yes, my super-serious brother Aaron COULD laugh, as it turns out. I hope all of you will continue to support JPFO, one of the strongest and most articulate voices for your rights as a gun owner. You can show your support at JPFO.

Death is part of life. Much as we hate it, we have to accept it.  May we all leave such memories and legacies as these three fine people, and touch as many lives in positive ways as they did.

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