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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.

Archive for May, 2011

Massad Ayoob


Monday, May 30th, 2011

I wish you all a meaningful Memorial Day.

How many Americans sacrificed their lives for us to have the freedoms we’ll enjoy today? I’m not sure there actually is a confirmed count.

Every newspaper in the country will probably have an editorial comment reminding us that while we’re grilling food on the holiday weekend, we’re supposed to be commemorating Americans who died to keep us free to have that time with our families and the rest of those we love.

I’ll be spending my Memorial Day working on a shooting case in which it appears that a family’s right to keep and bear arms may have prevented family members from being murdered by a criminal.  Seems to me like a fitting way to commemorate that particular holiday…

The first of our American soldiers fought with their own guns, flintlock rifles brought from home, in the Revolutionary War.  As our nation’s history developed, one pattern that emerged was that the guns used to fight for our country became the models that the fighting generation, and those that followed, wanted to own as private citizens after the given war.  Bolt action rifles in the early 20th Century…semiautomatic .30 caliber rifles in the middle part of that century…and all of those, plus the AR15 format, today.  There are those in our country who would steal that righteous tradition from us…something to remember in every upcoming election, and something to bring up and holds the candidates’ feet to the fire about.

Memorial Day. To Memorialize.

Let us all remember, and thank…


Massad Ayoob


Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Oliver del Signore, the webmaster and fellow blogger here at Backwoods Home, sent me the following.  Pay particular attention to the mention of the Brady bunch in this link:

Now, I realize that an e-tard Luddite like me has no business discussing social networking sites.  But even I can see the chilling effect this development can have on civil rights groups, such as ours.

I’d like to hear all y’all’s take on it.


Massad Ayoob


Monday, May 23rd, 2011

I see in the morning newspaper that Jon Huntsman, an Obama appointee, is campaigning in New Hampshire for the Presidential nomination. He apparently stopped at one of my favorite gun shops, Riley’s in Hooksett. Haven’t seen documentation of his position on gun owners’ civil rights yet, though. Mitt Romney has been reaching out to gun folks, though colleagues in Massachusetts tell me he wasn’t exactly a friend of firearms owners during his tenure there.
Meanwhile, on the White House front, we hear this:
Prospects for the next couple of years are not encouraging.
I renew my plea for Condoleeza Rice to throw her hat in the ring.

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Tom Givens’ National Tactical Conference and Polite Society match finished up last weekend at the fabulous US Shooting Academy range in Tulsa. About 100 attendees picked from a smorgasbord of hands-on fighting classes, live-fire tactical shooting programs, and relevant classroom lecture.  There was a smattering of military, and I’d guess about 15% or so police, with the rest of the student body and staff made up of armed citizens.

The match, named after Robert Heinlein’s comment (popularized by Jeff Cooper) that an armed society is a polite society, was a challenge as always. Half was “standard exercises” that included firing from various downed defender positions, at distances from three paces to twenty-two with carry guns. The other half was “run to cover and shoot” scenario work against reactive 3-D humanoid mannikins from DVD Targets. Congratulations to the winners: The overall champion was Wayne Dobbs, a retired police officer from Texas, and the female champion was Gail Pepin, producer of the ProArms Podcasts.

Psychologist William Aprill lectured on behavior patterns of violent criminal offenders. Dr. Martin Topper addressed ammunition selection and theories that interfaced terminal ballistics with medical perspectives on incapacitation of the human body. John Hearne gave an excellent analysis of the FBI gunfight in Dade County, Florida 25 years ago, which embodied many timeless lessons in shootout survival. Claude Werner detailed how to interact with other good guys, including family members, when a deadly danger situation forces you to bring your gun into action.  Carl Rehn gave a tutorial on how to stage force-on-force training for maximum relevance to real-world encounters. Steve Moses taught “VIP protection for dummies.” My topic was managing the emotional and psychological aftermath of the use of deadly force.

Hands-on fighting included armed encounters that begin as physical fights, with my old friend “Southnarc,” who may be teaching under his own name when he retires from undercover police work not long from now.   Mike Brown of Tulsa PD taught weapon access in a clinch.  Tactical field treatment of gunshot wounds was taught by Caleb Causey.

Live-fire training encompassed Fire For Effect with Jim Higginbotham, Snubby Skills (Claude Werner), Critical Fundamentals of Combative Pistol (Wayne Dobbs), Unorthodox Shooting Positions (Rob Pincus), Shotgun Skills (Will Andrews), and Support Hand Only Techniques (Brian Hill).

Camaraderie was strong and a meaningful training experience was had by all. Date and venue for next year’s event have not been set at this writing, but information is available at sometime this coming summer.

Attendees learn to fight in the clinch in Mike Brown’s class.

Brian Hill begins demonstration of left-hand-only reload.

Brian Hill at National Tactical Conference

Gail Pepin has right target down, left target begins to rock back from impact of shot as spent casing just exits the chamber.

Gail Pepin at National Tactical Conference

Host Tom Givens, left, presents awards to high lawman and overall Polite Society Match champ Wayne Dobbs.

Wayne Dobbs and Tom Givens at National Tactical Conference

Attendees had option to shoot assorted exotic firearms. These machine guns are, from left, Browning .30, Browning .50, and .30 cal. Minigun.

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

On April 27 in this blog, commenting on training at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, I pointed out that some of the instructors saw “Mumbai coming to the USA” and mentioned the roles of both first-responder cops and armed citizens at mass-murder sites. Since then, Osama bin Laden has been whacked, and the wire services have reported, “Al-Qaida’s plots are usually large-scale and involve planning over months or even years. But Western intelligence officials say they are seeing increased chatter about cheap, small-scale attacks – perhaps by individuals or small extremist groups inspired to take revenge for the killing (of bin Laden).”  It turns out that those ILEETA instructors were prescient.

Unfortunately, for the last couple of weeks this corner of the Backwoods Home blogs somehow got turned into a cop-bashing fest. I’ve deleted no commentary, and have tried to avoid repeating good points made by many posters, and I haven’t individually answered every comment. In my last blog entry here, I answered some of the questions raised by critics. Some more have come up since on commentary, so I’ll address those now.

“Isn’t militarization of police reflected in their changed uniforms? BDUs?” For cops, Battle Dress Uniform means mainly…cargo pants. Cops need pockets.  The change was frankly overdue: dress uniforms aren’t practical for manhunts in the woods or searching the swamps for lost kids. The still-incomplete changeover from spiffy Sam Browne belts to fabric utility belts reduces weight constantly carried around the waist, which is one reason so many cops retire on disability with lower back problems. Blood-borne pathogens also wash out of nylon much more easily than they clean off of leather.

“We don’t mind you having AR15s, we just don’t want you pointing them at little old ladies on traffic stops.” Uh…we DON’T.  If you find a cop doing that, let me know. Let his boss know, too.

“We resent cops being able to get fully automatic weapons more easily than us.” Um, that’s been the case since the National Firearms Act of 1934, and it’s just now constituting a “militarization of the police”? Please.  Good Lord, wait ‘til folks like that find out that soldiers and Marines have machine guns, too…will they fear and distrust all of them, as well?

One commentator mentioned that some of the other Backwoods Home writers have published anti-authoritarian essays and asked if I considered them cop-haters, too. No, of course not: none of them to my knowledge has ever said that all cops are to be feared and are unworthy of trust, as so many commentators have said here.

My take on the several YouTube video clips sent along? Analyzing video is a separate topic in and of itself. By definition, each camera gets only one angle of view at any given moment…the two dimensional eye of the camera lacks the often-critical third dimension of depth…what went before and after is lost to the camera…and if people don’t know what to look for, it’s human nature that they won’t see it. If anyone would care to debate that, I’d be happy to offer a tutorial with examples.

Thanks to Big Tex and the others who have injected an articulate, much needed dose of reality here. One blog reader implied that he lost faith in all cops when one of his friends, a policeman, told him he thought the world broke down into cops and everybody else. The reader thought, rightly, that was horrible.  It has appalled me for these two weeks to see how many people said that because one cop might be bad, they had to assume that all cops were bad. And dammit, that’s just as horrible.

Some folks need to wake up and smell the hypocrisy.


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