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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for December 7th, 2011

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

It is the 70th anniversary of the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. Thank God we have living Americans still among us who remember that terrible morning.  Cherish them, and if you have access to any of them, ask them about it.  While you still can.

Of the many enduring lessons of December 7, 1941, none resonates more than the importance of preparedness.  As a nation, we must remember that constant vigilance is not just the price of freedom, but the price of survival itself.

As individuals, we can practice that in microcosm.  As I mentioned in my last entry, my sweetheart’s grandson is with us for the week. He’ll be going through Marine boot camp this coming year, and we’re trying to give him a running start on the small arms side. Great warriors of WWII, from Col. John George in the Pacific Theater to Audie Murphy in the European, owed much of their success (and their survival!) in combat to the fact that they had both been serious shooters before the events of 12/7/41 put them in uniform fighting for their country.

In the last few days, the grandson has been briefed on the takedown, reassembly, and assorted subtleties of the M16/M4/AR15 platform by a recently retired Command Sergeant Major of the US Army Special Forces, and a Navy vet Colt armorer. They did the same for him with the Beretta M9 pistol, and shared their wisdom as to successful military life. A top Class III weapons specialist got the kid up and running with full auto.  So far he has qualified, though not yet made Expert and earned a Rifleman patch, at an Appleseed rifle event.  I tender my personal, deepest thanks to all who helped.

He shot a 588 out of 600 on a pistol course today with the Beretta and military ball ammo, extraordinary for someone new to the gun, but the kid is a quick study and implements instructions remarkably well.  The AR15 is already becoming an extension of his hands, and he is putting the 5.56mm NATO bullets where he’s told to put them. I have a couple more days with him, and the already four-figure count of spent brass is going to multiply on the long range shooting bays here.

In macrocosm for nations, in microcosm for individuals, the rule holds true: bad things are less likely to happen to those prepared to deal with those bad things. The warning of Santayana remains valid: those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.

It’s a good time to hug an American who wore, or wears, our nation’s uniform, and to say the never-trite, “Thank you for your service.”


The young man gets his first taste of full auto fire with HK MP5 submachine gun, courtesy of a local Class III dealer.

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