Sunday, July 31, 2022

The Assertion that Firearms are designed to kill

A common "talking point" circulating in the "gun control" debate is: "Firearms are designed to kill."

I have shot tens of thousands of rounds from .22 (tiny) shotguns, handguns, semi-and fully automatic rifles through M1 Abrams tank (105mm at the time, now 120mm). Through providential timing, I never had to fire a round at a person intending to kill them.

So was all that time wasted?

No -- shooting is a discipline and inculcates care, precision, attention to detail, habits of safety, and commitment to improvement. It forces the shooter to think, concentrate, adapt, and control the body despite outside stimuli.

There's a quote attributed to Thoreau: ""Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

This describes most hobbies: fishermen and hunters spend far more time walking, studying, observing, preparing, and learning than they do reeling in fish or dragging a trophy.

So it is with firearms -- I've spent 40-50x more time cleaning, dry firing, reading, listening, watching, and learning than on the range. On the range I have to control my breathing, focus on the task at hand, objectively criticize my last shot, and analyze why this shot landed here while that one landed there. When done I pick up spent brass, recover targets, write in a notebook, and make sure the range is ready for the next user.

Few things force humility as quickly as a session on a range. Every shooter -- no matter how accomplished -- leaves thinking "I should have done that thing better. I need to work on that."

This striving to do better is a hallmark of any useful sport or hobby.

Most firearms have as much to do with "killing" as riding a motorcycle has with racing, flying an airplane has to do with strafing and bombing, and operating a lighter has to do with arson.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Advertising and Firearms

Americans are bombarded by advertisements. I can't pump fuel without hearing some chirpy presenter tell me about the tasty vittles mere steps away.
I ignore 98% of them (it's a thing in our house to mute any commercials during the few ad-riddled programs we watch), but some still seep through.

I've written extensively on the use of deadly force. I served in uniform for 21 years (in specialties that trained direct action, not support). Yet I still had to work through whether or not I could use deadly force in a clear defensive situation (my blog is here: ).

Bottom line? It's not easy.

Too many firearms ads are glib about self-defense: "Bad guy stalking female model opening car door in the dark"). 

There's more to self-defense than a purchase.

But what other area in American advertising lays out the complex path from "buy" to "master and use"?


Instead, we're lied to, constantly: Diet pills and the right hairdo will transform you into a 20-year-old Olympian. An app will make you a native French speaker. A book will make you an ideal parent. A car will provide status and prestige. A "supplement" will restore your fading cognition. A seminar will teach you "Five ways to Make Awesome [insert thing here]."

That said, it's easy to point to a thing and say, "Aha! Person A used thing x to do bad. Remove thing x!" The tragedy in this is we focus on the thing because we have bought into the ad concept: "Buy thing y, be fit / beautiful / strong / smart / etc."

We've been programmed: "Good thing? Right purchase. Bad thing? Poor purchase."

Meanwhile, these cases are evidence of deeper problems wrought by pharmacopeia, dysfunctional families, easy divorce, serial polygamy, drug and death culture in movies, music, and games, youthful angst, lack of role models, and the cult of celebrity. For every mass killer adolescent boy, there are 100,000 other adolescent boys with equal access to firearms who never commit mass murder.

These problems require objective assessment and careful thought leading to the often uncomfortable shattering of illusions crafted by slick marketing of all types.

Few people will admit that. Fewer will do anything about it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Sad and Predictable

 "Progressives" and their mouthpieces in education, universities, government, and media have been actively pressing to create a generation of self-loathing, unskilled, poorly nourished, addicted, young men.

They blame them for all society's ills (e.g. "toxic masculinity" and "patriarchy").

They condemn their sexuality ("Men can get pregnant").

They loudly praise deviants, gangsters, criminals, killers, and thugs (See nearly all recent music, movies, and video games).

They imply only celebrities (e.g. "people famous for being well known") are worth noticing.

They depict firearms as all-powerful death machines (see any movie).

They pump them full of a toxic stew of chemicals to make them more like girls in elementary school and less raucous in middle and high school (

Confused, pressured, beat-down, and/or uncaring parents adopt the corporate ethic of dropping children off for others to tend to them. These same parents have been conditioned to abandon them. Parents are told restrictions and guidelines and limits are "repressive." So these boys grow up untethered to any purpose, meaning, or good.

The same people demand we "celebrate" alphabet rainbows and provide special opportunities for girls while they ignore, marginalize, loathe, and reject boys and men. 

Then everyone acts shocked when these warped, marginalized, disconnected, drugged creatures act irrationally.

And when they do, the very enablers and cheerleaders for the destruction of boys and men immediately blame the implements, not the ennui machine they created.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Three Things You Must Know Before Carrying a Firearm for Self-Defense

Many Americans have recently bought a gun for “self-defense.” This is laudable, as it demonstrates people understand that they are responsible for their own security as much as they are for acquiring food and shelter.

Like food and shelter, a gun requires some thought before use. Perhaps you avoid super spicy food right before bedtime or prefer a single-story house – in every case, you weigh options based on budget, needs, desires, intended use, possible long-term effects, and more. We spend years perfecting our tastes, identifying favorite recipes, avoiding certain foods, or refreshing or remodeling our houses. These are lifelong pursuits, and as conditions change, our requirements change.

So it is with self-defense: it’s not simply the purchase of a gun. It’s a continuous journey of learning, adapting, acquiring, and casting off to suit the situation and conditions.

However, there are three subject areas every firearm owner needs to know: Operation, Use, and Legal implications.

Friday, April 15, 2022

"A Thief in the Night"

 I grew up in the 60s and 70s. My parents attended a Pentecostal church and by the mid-70s the constant refrain was "Jesus is coming back any moment!"

The underlying message was "We had it good back in the day, but not anymore. Too bad for you, kid."

Planning for the future, hopes, dreams, investment in the next generation -- all were waved aside by holy hand-wringing over whatever the latest news confirmed about the last days.

This was not a good message to a 12-year-old. "What's the use?" is not the way to begin life.

Nevertheless, through God's grace and time served in the USAF and US Army I learned the value of diligence, investment, unpaid extra work, self-growth, constant learning, useful business, and constructive leisure (each of these is deemed a blessing by the writer of Ecclesiastes). And I still believe Jesus can return at any moment.

But Jesus warned us that he would return and that the master expects the servant to be working when he returns (Matthew 24:47). Some love to use the example of Matthew 24 as proof of the rapture, but what they fail to emphasize is that two men are working in a field. Two women will be working at a grind mill.

Both are working. One of each pair has hope and expectation, yet nonetheless, they work.

Bad theology has emerged again in recent days. Many churches are waving off politics as "a choice between two evils."

They prefer to keep their heads down, avoid being noticed, remain in safe enclaves, and ride it out.

Is it "holiness" to promote my safety, my comfort, and my status while the world collapses all around?

Or are we using holiness as a cover for cowardice?

Thank God Peter, John, Paul, Timothy, Andrew, Stephen, Augustine, Martin Luther, Jan Hus, William Wilberforce, and tens of thousands of other believers through the millennia stood tall as bright shining lights in a dark world in spite of the contradictions, calumny, rejection, and rage.

Ephesians 2:10: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

We are instructed to be active, to work -- and nearly all work supposes a result to come in the future. 

Therefore, we should plant, mill, build, defend, create, invest, and move forward in confidence and leave the times and dates in God's hands.

Philippians 1:22-24 "But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."

Thursday, January 6, 2022



Thank you for your reply via email on January 4th to my inquiry as to why you voted “yea” on HR 550. In that response you stated:

“Let me begin by saying that this bill does not create a federal vaccine database or give the government access to patient vaccination records. In fact, H.R. 550 does the opposite. It makes Americans’ immunizations more secure by ensuring all data is confidential and deidentified so that it cannot be accessed by any government entity. It also enhances and modernizes immunization information systems already run by state and local governments to ensure the information in them is secured and kept private. As you can see, H.R. 550 will protect Americans by prohibiting the government from viewing their vaccination status. Additionally, this legislation establishes guardrails so that funds appropriated in the bill cannot be used to enforce vaccine mandates." 

I am now even more concerned that you assert HR 550 “does not create a federal vaccine database” and that the $400 million dollars (nearly ½ a billion, or $783 for every person residing in Lancaster County) “cannot be used to enforce vaccine mandates” when the bill itself contains this definition:

SEC 2824.a.1.f Definition.—In this section, the term ‘immunization information system’ means a confidential, population-based, computerized database that records immunization doses administered by any health care provider to persons within the geographic area covered by that database.

I have some knowledge of government systems and how legal “safeguards” can be circumvented. I am also very familiar with how “data sharing” can link disparate datasets. While you may think “This bill doesn’t create a single federal database...” quite frankly, that does not matter. If the data is federated (e.g., maintained in separate databases but linked via interfaces) then it is a de facto centralized database.

The first paragraph of the bill contains clauses that make the intent clear. The IMMUNIZATION INFORMATION SYSTEM DATA MODERNIZATION AND EXPANSION act authorizes the secretary to “conduct activities (including with respect to interoperability, population reporting, and bidirectional reporting) to expand, enhance, and improve immunization information systems.” In paragraph 1.iv the bill authorizes “... improving the secure bidirectional exchange of immunization record data among Federal, State, local, Tribal, and territorial governmental entities and non-governmental entities...”

While the language is mildly technical, “bidirectional exchange” of data enables centralization. It’s rather disingenuous to claim that the bill “does not create a federal vaccine database.” Of course not – who does that anymore? Monolithic databases are being migrated to clouds and similar decentralized platforms as fast as anyone can afford. Monoliths are being replaced by layered compute and data storage.

If publication and subscription of data were somehow constrained, there might be some support for your contention that it’s not a “database,” however there is no such constraining language in the bill. In fact, the bill states:

"(viii) supporting real-time immunization record data exchange and reporting, to support rapid identification of immunization coverage gaps;”

Why would it need "real-time data exchange"?

It's obvious that this capability does more than limited queries for forensic analysis.

Further, the bill authorizes “(v) supporting the standardization of immunization information systems to accelerate interoperability with health information technology, including with health information technology certified under section 3001(c)(5) or with health information networks;”

While the $400 million does not authorize yet another Oracle database, it does far, far more – it opens up every dataset at every level to real-time exchange and access by the federal government.

The intent and result are the same: a single pane of glass can have access to all records at all data repositories. It doesn’t require a degree in data science to predict what can be done with this federated data. You assert that the act “cannot be used to enforce vaccine mandates,” and yet the bill authorizes “(ix) improving completeness of data by facilitating the capability of immunization information systems to exchange data, directly or indirectly, with immunization information systems in other jurisdictions...”

It’s curious that the “other jurisdictions” are not defined. If they were, then the database connectivity could be constrained. It is not, and so there are no constraints.

I read the bill through several times and have yet to determine what “guardrails” were established to prevent the use of the federated data for vaccine status tracking. Yet even if the data is anonymized, it’s not a stretch to deduce the location, occupation, age, sex, and health care system interaction frequency of who is or is not complying with a mandate. And while the data accessible within this particular system may be anonymized, at some point there is a linkage between record and aggregated data. Are you absolutely certain that the resultant federated dataset cannot be used that the anonymity is a mere chimera?

Like tens of thousands of others, my DoD security clearance investigation data in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) database was hacked by the Chinese in 2013. They accessed Social Security numbers, names of relatives, place of birth, every address I’ve ever lived at, every employer, every trip to a foreign country -- everything about my background that the US Government required to process my clearance. 

You were unable to protect the most private personal information of thousands of people with top-secret security clearances from being downloaded to servers in China. OPM did not admit this until 2015.

Over a year later I received a letter informing me I would be given “free identity theft protection” for three years. 

Pardon me if assurances from the same government that “guardrails” will protect medical records are met with skepticism. 

Therefore, I am still disappointed that you voted to approve this bill, both for its unconstrained scope and for its huge price tag. But of more concern is the inexorable march towards centralization which only ends up with more control for a few and fewer liberties for the many.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

My Thoughts on the .45 caliber Model 1911 Handgun

The M1911 .45 caliber was (and remains) one of the finest handguns ever designed, produced, and carried. The problem for most folks firing a 1911 isn’t the firearm or the .45 caliber round - it's training.

My first experience with a 1911 was in the Army National Guard. I barely hit anything, found it cumbersome and heavy and was bitterly disappointed. I rejected the .45 and eventually settled on 9mm. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was searching for a tool that would minimize my deficiencies.

First, Army training for sidearms was (and likely remains) woefully inadequate. I was a recently minted lieutenant (after ten years as an enlisted soldier and NCO). For my introduction to the 1911 I was instructed to head to the range and “qualify.” The training consisted of a short review on loading, unloading, and reloading (all tasks required on the course of fire). There was no zero, no practice runs, no instruction on proper grip, stance, or recoil control.

Second, Army training was inadequate because the thinking was “If you need a handgun you’re screwed anyway.” I was a tank platoon leader — what tanker would exchange a 105mm main gun, .50 caliber machine gun, a pair of 7.62 machine gun, and 60 tons of mass for a pitiful handgun in any situation?

Third, just about every soldier I encountered (officer, enlisted, and NCO) treated the handgun as a birthright: “Of course I can shoot this — point and click, right?”

Thus, there’s no surprise people have bad experiences and chalked it up to the “recoil” of the mighty .45.

In fact, the M1911 is an all-steel weapon with plenty of mass. While the round is a bit larger than a 9mm (the .”45” refers to a fraction of an inch — thus less than 1/2” inch wide), the mass of the firing platform helps dampen felt-recoil. The standard .45 issue FMJ round is also a rather slow projectile (around 900 FPS, whereas a rifle fires 1700 and more FPS). Since Force = mass X velocity squared (F=mv2) (thanks for the correction), a heavy, slow thing might have the same felt recoil of a fast, small thing (all other factors being equal).

It wasn’t until several years passed I decided to get serious about handguns. I took some training, shot a lot, and settled on the 9mm as the default choice. More time passed, but I kept running into serious shooters who swore by the .45. After encountering enough of these fans of John Browning I decided to give the M1911 another look.

It was eye-opening. After more training and more focus on proper grip, stance, and overall engagement I learned how to properly fire a handgun.

I found the 1911 trigger was sublime. The recoil was actually less. My ability to put 7 rounds on target in a short amount of time improved. I bought a “Commander” size .45 and that has become my primary carry firearm.

I went from “Yeah, those things are a piece of junk” to “John Browning was a genius for the ages.” And now, I suppose, I’m also one of those old guys that shoots a .45 at the range and other shooters with plastic guns look over and think, “He’s so behind the times.”

The Assertion that Firearms are designed to kill

A common "talking point" circulating in the "gun control" debate is: "Firearms are designed to kill." I have s...