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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 the ‘Preparedness’ Category

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

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.

Massad Ayoob


Sunday, November 16th, 2014

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.

Massad Ayoob


Sunday, November 9th, 2014

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.

Massad Ayoob


Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Three weeks ago today, on Sunday June 8, I was in the fourth day of a MAG-40 class in Kankakee, Illinois. Among other topics of the day, I warned the students that one of the dangers of armed intervention was “tailgunners,” criminal accomplices who cover their “point man” while pretending to be shoppers, and will assassinate anyone who interferes with their fellow thugs. That same day, some 1800 miles away, that scenario was acted out with tragic results.

A vicious psycho couple walked into a pizza joint where two Las Vegas Metro officers were taking a meal break, and ambushed and murdered them. Taking the slain officers’ pistols and spare ammo, they made their way to a nearby WalMart. The male of the pair fired a shot into the ceiling and ordered everyone out. One armed citizen, Joseph Wilcox, drew his own Glock and moved toward the gunman. The tailgunner, the gunman’s wife, sidled up beside Wilcox and shot him dead. The two nutcases then shot it out with police, and died.

I’ve waited this long to address it because it takes that long for the facts to shake out. Early reports said one of the first two officers returned fire and wounded one of the perps; turns out that wasn’t true. Early reports said the armed citizen was female, and had wounded one of the cop-killers; turns out, no and no. First reports said the female psycho killed her husband and then herself; later reports say a police bullet killed him and she didn’t shoot him at all, though she did put a slug in her own head after being anchored by a police bullet in the final gunfight.

No one with a three-digit IQ has blamed officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo for their own deaths: they were bushwhacked suddenly and without discernible warning. Not so the private citizen, Joseph Wilcox. An amazing number of people on the Internet accused him of “getting himself killed,” with one idiot even suggesting that he died while “playing Barney Fife.” An interesting parallel was seen on two threads over at In the “Carry Issues” section, quite a few people thought Wilcox had overstepped his bounds. They took the position that the gun they carried was only to protect themselves and their families, not the public. Interestingly enough, in the “Cop Talk” section of the same forum, police officers felt he had done the right thing and agreed with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, who publicly proclaimed Wilcox to have died a hero and probably saved multiple innocent lives by interrupting the plans of the two whacked-out murderers.

Readers…I’d be very much interested in hearing YOUR take on this.

Massad Ayoob


Monday, October 21st, 2013

Hunting season is upon us.  Be sure to sight in!  The deer rifle that was spot on last year may not be so as of now.  Moisture getting into a wooden rifle stock, swelling the wood so that it applies pressure on the barrel…a bump to the scope or the iron sights between last season and now can throw shots of the course of aim…a change in ammo can alter elevation and even windage…there are lots of things which can mess up point of aim/point of impact coordinates.

I was reminded of this some ten days ago in Arkansas, when I was testing a new pistol and teaching a first-level class simultaneously.  Using the test gun to teach with seemed like a good idea.  I sneaked onto the line with the new 9mm Walther (the PPQ M2, a pretty cool little gun, actually) and put a few shots downrange offhand with 115 grain ammo.  It shot where it looked. I figured it would do to demonstrate the qualification course to the class on the last day.

When that day came, I loaded the Walther with 147 grain ammo I grabbed out of the back of my van.  All went well until we hit the 15 yard line, and after the first six shots I noticed the group was going way high.  I corrected with “Kentucky windage,” holding proportionally low, and finished with a 298 out of 300 possible points.  Four of the rising six had gone into the upper part of the eight-inch circle in the center of the IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) target, but two had gone just over, costing me one point down apiece.

The deal I make with my students is that I and the staff will demonstrate the course of fire they’re expected to perform, to “model” it so they have a fresh mental image of what is expected of them in the next few minutes, and to “set their internal clock” as to the time frames in which they’ll have to perform the sequences of fire.  If they tie my score, they get an autographed dollar bill that says “You tied me at my own game,” and if they beat me, an autographed five dollar bill inscribed, “You beat me at my own game.”

Out of 40 or so shooters, that 298 cost me four five dollar bills and change.  It’s more than worth the money to have graduates who can shoot like that.  Still, as much as it pleases me to give out the $1 bills, I confess to mixed feelings about the $5s.

In the advanced course that followed, on the first day when that crew of students was watching the mandatory safety film, I slipped out to the range and tested the Walther on a bench rest.  Interesting thing: that particular pistol put its shots center at 15 and 25 yards with 115 grain ammo, but sent them way high at both distances with the 147 grain rounds I used in the qual. I should have done that part of the test before the first qualification.

Nobody’s fault but mine: I had not tested that gun with that ammo at “predictable using distance” before shooting it for anything serious.

There’s a lesson there.

The price I paid was cheap compared to losing the winter supply of elk meat because I had sighted in with a different load than the one I took into the hunting field. And a whole lot cheaper than if I had been shooting for survival instead of a “fistful of dollars.”

Learn from my mistake.  Get sighted in.

And if you have any experiences in this vein, please post them here, so others may learn in time to prevent poor shot placement.



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