Republican control of both houses of Congress is huge for all in the gun owners’ civil rights movement. The key thing from my point of view is Congressional approval of Federal judges and particularly new Supreme Court justices the lame duck anti-gun President is expected to appoint in the next two years. The specter of Eric Holder sitting on the Supreme Court is no longer something we need to shudder before.
On local fronts, Charlie Crist, a waffler on more than the gun issue and an opponent of Stand Your Ground rights, missed his Bloomberg-funded bid to topple pro-gun Florida Governor Scott, and Illinois gun owners will be better off with their new Republican governor than they were under the ferociously anti-gun Pat Quinn. A Republican governor has to be an improvement for gun owners in Maryland, too.
Election Day made another specter, that of President Hillary Clinton, a little less substantial. According to TV reports this morning, more than 30 of the Democrats she and her husband campaigned for were trounced.
There were disappointments, though. In Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper managed to stay in office by less than 1.5% of the vote, thanks to a heavy turnout from the Yuppie enclaves, despite it being proven in public that he had lied to his constituents and his state’s own sheriffs about his ill-conceived, Bloomberg-inspired “assault weapons ban.” And, in a triumph of Bloomberg purchasing power and propaganda that would have made Goebbels weep in envy, Washington state voters approved the egregious 594 initiative criminalizing ordinary lending of guns between law-abiding people.
Looking at it as a gun owner, I’m not so much into the Republican versus Democrat thing. I’m a registered Independent, and in most elections vote for candidates from both parties according to the individual rather than the party. Yet we can’t escape the fact that the Democratic Party itself has published strong anti-gun planks, and the Republican Party has not. I’ll take a proven pro-gun “D” over a waffling or unproven “R” anytime, but the Republican sweep is, in toto, something our side has every right to celebrate.
I’m a father of daughters and have had the privilege of training multiple female shooting champions, including both of those daughters who each won national titles while still in their teens. I’ve also spoken in court for some forty female law enforcement officers who were fired for failure to qualify with handguns that weren’t the right size for them (and which they sometimes weren’t trained with correctly), when I was able to confirm that proper training and suitable police weapons that DID fit them allowed them to qualify just fine. So, it pleases this old testosterone creature when the estrogen tribe kicks butt with guns.
At the NRA annual conference in Indianapolis this year, I got to meet Lena Miculek. She’s the daughter of two old friends: Jerry Miculek, whom I consider the greatest double action revolver shooter of our time and probably ever, and Kay Clark-Miculek, a national champion shooter in her own right and a kick-ass gunsmith who built the Clark Custom Ruger 10/22 I used to earn a Rifleman patch at my first Appleseed event.
Yeah, there may be a genetics component: if the sire and the dam are both Kentucky Derby winners, you can expect their filly to win races, too. More to the point, though, both Jerry and Kay have shown themselves for decades to be exemplary as both human beings and shooting athletes, and they passed their dedication to excellence along to their daughter as well as all their knowledge. She has been stomping mucho boo-tay in three-gun (rifle/shotgun/handgun) competition. Her father is duly appreciative: see photo.
Closer to home for this writer, estrogen still ruled this week. Last Saturday, we finished a MAG-40 class in Florida and as usual, staff shot a pace-setter demonstration of the qualification, and then it was the students’ turn. The instructors toss in $5 apiece, top staffer taking all…students pony up a buck each, winning student taking all…and anybody who beats me gets an autographed $5. Tie scores on point value over the 60-shot qualification course are broken by group measurement: tightest shot cluster prevails.
Among the students were many instructors and some proven competition shooters, and the staff half a dozen state and regional shooting champions and at least four who have held national titles in handgun shooting competition. When the proverbial gunsmoke had cleared, there were more than a couple of us who had perfect 300 out of 300 scores. Mine lost on tie-breaker to that of Lt. Col. Dave “the Blaze” Blazek, USAF retired, who last month won the title of high military shooter at the IDPA National Championships in Tulsa. Dave usually beats me anyway, but to add insult to injury, he did it this time shooting southpaw even though he’s naturally right-handed…and I’m awfully proud of him.
However, beating us BOTH and everyone else, was my own significant other, the Evil Princess. She does that, every now and then – beating everybody on the range, including all the men, and most cruelly, including ME – because, I suspect, she just likes to feel the testosterone drop about ten degrees in male-dominated environments. J
And nobody’s prouder of that than me. Chicks rule!
A few weeks ago in Arkansas, I was teaching a 40-hour class for armed citizens and off duty cops. The course finishes with a tough written exam on deadly force law and tactics, and a 60-shot live fire qualification encompassing dominant hand only, non-dominant hand only, speed reloads, shooting from cover positions, and cetera. Before the students shoot, the staff runs a “pace-setter”: we shoot the timed course of fire while they watch, so they can get a good mental image of what the stances and techniques they’re expected to perform look like, and how fast they’ll have to do it to score well. Given that there are fixed time limits, this also lets the observers kinda “set their internal clock.” Part of the incentive is, whatever score I shoot, if the student ties me they get an autographed dollar bill inscribed, “You tied me at my own game,” and if they outshoot me, they earn an autographed five-dollar bill that says, “You beat me at my own game.”
Nothing makes me prouder of my students than giving them one of those dollar bills. I confess, however, to mixed feelings about having to pay out a fiver. On the one hand, as I tell them beforehand, there’s no greater compliment a student can pay an instructor than to outperform the teacher in the skill being taught. On the other hand, there’s the personal excoriation of “Oh, crap, I blew it!”
I normally shoot it with a perfect 300 out of 300 points score, as I damn well should, having run this course for decades. But – less than half an hour after telling them to stay at a “conscious competence” level and think about every shot as they’re squeezing it off, I violated my own rule and let myself slip into the “unconscious competence” mode sometimes called “automatic pilot.” The sight alignment was hard and solid from the fifteen yard line, but my stance wasn’t quite perfect for natural point of aim apparently, and about the time that I saw the well-aligned sights had drifted to the right and realized that I was automatically pressing the trigger, there was a very brief instant when I thought, “The sights need to come more left but my finger is pressing the trigger and” — BANG!
The sights told me the story before I saw the bullet hole: I had broken the shot prematurely with the gun aligned to 3 o’clock of where I needed the shot to go, and that was exactly where the 230 grain Winchester .45 ACP hardball bullet hit…just outside the maximum 5-point zone and into the four-point zone. I did what I should have done beforehand, and turned off the auto pilot and went back to conscious competence – thinking about what I was doing. The rest of the shots went center, but I finished with a 299 out of 300…and yes, that cost me more than one five-dollar bill.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School atrocity of December 2012, anti-gun politicians fell over themselves ramrodding poorly crafted legislation into law, in the vain hope that Kool-Aid flavored Band-Aids would somehow cure a societal cancer. Second only to Governor Cuomo in New York in this respect, was Governor Hickenlooper in Colorado.