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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for October, 2011

Massad Ayoob

NIGHT OF THE LIVING MEMES

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Halloween is almost upon us, and Zombies are everywhere. Predominating in “haunted house” funfests. On TV in “The Walking Dead.” You may just see more little zombies than traditional witches, princesses, ghosts, and goblins on Trick or Treat night.  And of course, the video games, books, and movies.

Ruger has just come out with a Zombie Killer model of their little .380 pistol, the LCP, sold complete with a Zombie Survival Manual. Hornady has recently brought out a Zombie Killer line of ammunition as a novelty.  (One blog reader wonders what the implications will be in court if that stuff is used in actual self-defense.  My answer is, if you shot an Obama campaign worker with it, the use of specific zombie ammo might be construed as an element of premeditation.)

But, seriously, there hasn’t been a zombie outbreak since the last Presidential election. That kind of zombie needs to be defeated with ballots instead of bullets.

Some commentators think those who go to zombie shoots, buy zombie targets, or play first person shooter games where the targets are the undead, mean the participants are repressed mass murderers taking out their homicidal impulses on targets already dead to minimize their sins and expiate their guilt.  Some others see the zombie meme as a commentary on a society which has surrendered itself to a herd mentality in which they seek to greedily gobble all they can, and in which brains are destroyed.  (Ever notice how many zombie films take place in shopping malls, amusement parks, etc.?)  Others have ominously suggested that it gives practice for the day when society collapses into apocalypse, and hordes of people one considers less valuable than oneself must be executed for him to keep his trove of wealth and food and cetera.

And some of us think that whole deal has been a bit over-thought.

But, hey, what do I know? Only that shooting them in the head is bunk, strictly for movie zombies.

For real zombies, the ones we have to deal with every day, you’d have to shoot off their Bluetooths or put a bullet through their iPhones to render them helpless.

Maybe some folks are simply having harmless fun with the whole thing, like my friend Miguel Gonzalez in Miami, who is holding a three-gun Monster shoot for Halloween. There, you’ll have more to worry about than the Living Dead.  I’ve been to enough shooting matches to experience the Night of the Living Sandbaggers.

Enough from me: what’s YOUR take on the whole zombie meme?

The poster for Miggy Gonzalez’ Halloween Monster Mash Match.

Massad Ayoob

A SHINING EXAMPLE

Monday, October 24th, 2011

All of us shooters give lip service to proselytizing: “Take a new shooter to the range!” “Take someone hunting for the first time!” Few actually DO it, however, at least very often.
Once again, US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia inspires us. Just caught this from Eugene Volokh: http://volokh.com/2011/10/23/another-hunter-on-the-high-court/
Kudos to Justice Scalia for taking the time to do this. And kudos to Justice Kagan for being open-minded.
Scalia has obviously been a voice of reason for our side. Kagan has not. Will her new perspective be reflected in her next analysis of these issues on the highest Bench in the land? We won’t know until then.
Scalia has still set an example all of us would do well to follow.

Massad Ayoob

HALLOWEEN AND SHOOTERS

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Halloween approaches. It was my favorite holiday, next to Christmas, when I was a kid.  There’s still a special place for it in my heart.   When I was a (relatively) young dad, it pleased me greatly to take my kids out trick or treating and stand in the dark autumn night behind them and watch the fun.

Over the last several years, I’ve noticed the emergence of Halloween shoots at local gun clubs. They turn out to be big fun, too.

Some clubs have pumpkin shoots.  Blow hell outa those pulpy orange things. Its lotsa fun when you’re doing it… though it will never be any fun to clean up after.

Back in the ‘90s, a gun club I belonged to in New Hampshire had a Halloween pistol match every year. The targets were bowling pins on tables…and you had to shoot in costume.  Folks had fun with it. There were coneheads.  There were vampires.  There were witches.  One of my daughters went as a cowgirl, complete with Buscadero gun belt and a really-for-real .45 in her holster, which she used to decimate the pins.

One year I dressed up with a vampire cape and a sharkskin gun belt and holster…yes, I went as an attorney.

Early this month, I was in California teaching a class when the host club’s IDPA chapter (International Defensive Pistol Association) had a Halloween-themed match.  I was stuck lecturing in a classroom (AAUUGGHH!!) while everyone else had fun with stuff like:

There’s a witch target flying across the range on her broomstick, courtesy of the moving target apparatus.

And… you have to nail the first few targets, then reload with “your special silver bullets” to engage a werewolf, all while the clock is running.

And of course, it would take a whole separate blog entry to discuss the currently trendy zombie element…

In our country, Halloween has evolved into a time for fun.  It pleases me to see that this has come to encompass the shooting sports.

What’s you folks’ take on it?

Massad Ayoob

MODERN WEDDINGS

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

The Evil Princess and I recently attended the marriage of the daughter of a dear friend.  Times have changed.

The minister delivered a moving ceremony.  He read his Bible passages from a Kindle.

The music was administered from an electronic board that resembled something from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, complete with attached laptop.

The commemorative ice sculpture was fitted out with tubes through which icy martinis were mixed and dispensed to the attendees.  In assorted flavors such as apple and raspberry.  It turns out that raspberry vodka martinis are blue, and apple ones are green and don’t actually taste too bad…I never had a tart martini before.

I suddenly felt very, very old.

I hadn’t felt that antiquated since the marriage of my older daughter. I told her that since she was supposed to wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue,” I’d be happy to let her borrow the old, blue steel Smith & Wesson .38 Chief Special I was wearing under the cummerbund of my tux on the night I married her mother almost thirty years before, and I’d be happy to buy her a new thigh holster so she could wear it under her bridal gown.

She told me I was unclear on the concept…

Is it me, or have wedding customs changed?

The minister reads the vows for the happy couple from a Kindle.

 Hi-tech ice sculpture martini mixer.

 Apple flavor green martini makes its way through the ice cavern.

Massad Ayoob

“ iFight, Therefore, iPhone”

Monday, October 10th, 2011

I joke with people that if carrying an iPhone makes you a Yuppie, I am exempt because my iPhone lives in an armored MagPul carrier, and therefore, I am at worst a “Combat Yuppie.”
Ya know, it isn’t a joke anymore.
For decades, I’ve taught Good Guys how to do building searches. Since they came out with pocket phones that take pictures, I’ve included in the curriculum the tactic of putting your phone on photo mode, reaching it out around your cover when you’re doing the search, and simply taking a picture.  The camera will instantly show you an image of what’s visible from its perspective, without you having to stick your head out into the field of possible opposing gunfire to see it with your own eyes, and maybe get your head blown off for doing so.
And, for some time, we’ve had iPhone apps for calculating bullet drop at distances: iSniper.
It turns out that our innovative young soldiers and Marines have found more ingenious applications for their smart phones: maps, direct communications on the battlefield, and more. The military establishment had caught up with what our sharp young techno-warriors have often already figured out for themselves, as seen here: http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htiw/articles/20111005.aspx
If memory serves, it was Descartes who said, “I think, therefore I am.”  Perhaps the new motto for those in mortal conflict may be, “iFight, therefore iPhone.”
Most of you reading this are more techno-literate than I am.  Please share here any tips you have for using this technology to fight and reconnoiter, when the stakes on the table are the lives of the Good Guys and Gals.

 
 
 
 
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