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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Thursday, July 29, 2004

musings late at night

i took my target rifle out of the safe tonight, intent on tinkering. i'm going out to the range this weekend, and wanted to make some adjustments to the scope mounts and the trigger stop. i had it taken down to component parts, cleaned and reassembled except for the final barrel insertion back into the stock. i realized i was humming.
i've been harassed for years about my whistling. i'm always whistling some tuneless soundtrack i hear playing in the background of my life's usual symphony of noise. but hum? not usually. it struck me that i was content, that i was doing something that brings me great peace and contentment. it seems weird that working on a gun would be peaceful, but it is. i don't have anything else going on to distract me while working on my firearms. they are the center of the universe for the time i've got them stripped down, parts soaking in solvent, considering what i'm going to tinker with next. it's not really a zen thing, as opposed to actually shooting them is, but more a centering and focusing of my manual skills and knowledge of mechanics. the world still exists, it just doesn't matter. when i'm shooting, there is nothing in the world but me, my firearm, and the target.
i've become something of an amateur gunsmith. i've done some machining, hand fitting, modifying, the sorts of things most active and dedicated shooters learn to do if they stay with the sport. i've rebuilt a loose and sloppy 1911A1 from a gun safe queen to a pistol range king. i've taken a spare receiver and trigger group, and built a tack driving target rifle around them. i have learned to reload ammo, not for the economy of the enterprise, but for the sheer joy of hand building the very best custom ammo for each weapon. i've developed loads that are capable of delivering off hand groups that are significantly better than any commercial stuff with the weapon in a machine rest. i'm a gun geek. i'm like the kid in an electronic store buying gizmos to bump his computer up just another notch.
i puzzled over this a little tonight. why guns? why not something a little more socially acceptable, like pewter soldiers or rebuilding cars, or tying flies for fishing. and i don't have a real solid answer other than because. because i grew up around guns. because i derive an almost euphoric pleasure from manufacturing the ammo to shoot through a gun that i've worked on to make it better than the manufacturer thought possible. because i feel a sense of accomplishment when i walk out to the 25 yard line, and can cover the 50 or so bullet impacts from my .357 with a silver dollar on those days when everything, including me, works just right. or finding the 100 yard target has one hole in it, caused by 10 bullets from my target rifle.
and i'm a closet zealot. well, that's bullshit. i'm openly pro-gun. why? first of all, i think that this country has succumbed to the hand wringing crowd that think all guns are evil, and should be melted for art projects. now why would that be? bad people with weapons have done bad things. ok. so put them in jail the first time they use a gun to commit a crime, and don't let them out. but guns are easy to obtain! sorry, but it would be a lot harder if everyone that owned a legal gun kept it in a safe when they weren't home.
and one other thing. here's where people always roll their eyes, and give each other THAT LOOK. oh god, he's going to use the defense of our country spiel again. yup, i am. i'm no gun crazed militia yahoo, living in a cabin in the backwoods, plotting the overthrow of the heathens running our great country. nope. i'm just someone that firmly believes that the founding fathers of this country knew a thing or two about despotic governments, and the likelihood of one occurring on these shores if the populace wasn't vigilant and prepared. that's why i like politics. keeps "them" squarely in my sites, and i know what it is they are trying to do. if i don't like what my government is doing, i stand up and tell them so. letters, public discussions, and voting are my tools. but my hole card is always my weapons. if the government becomes too onerous, or if the worst happens and we are invaded, i will, and am prepared to take the steps i feel are necessary to protect my family and my community. this isn’t wackjob musings, but well considered and thought out beliefs. one of my favorite sayings (thanks monty python) is that nobody expects the spanish inquisition. the jews, gypsys, homosexuals, jehovahs witnesses, and others certainly didn't expect the rise of the third reich, nor did they anticipate the repercussions of that horrific regime. and what was one of the very first things done upon the reich's ascendancy to power? gun control, and gun confiscation. just because things have been ok so far doesn't mean they couldn't take a radical shift. i was a boy scout, and have taken that motto to heart: "Be Prepared"
ok, done with my raving. guess the next sound i hear is the black helicopters swooping overhead as the swat team blows through my windows. ha

5 Comments:

Blogger Alison said...

Thanks for expressing your point of view. I'm not one of the hand-wringers, but I do think there's a problem in our country. I suppose the "for or against" thing is a question of upbringing -- no one in my family had guns, at least not that I know of, not even the rural PA folk.

In light of the current administration, it is reassuring to know that a people's uprising could, in theory, happen. Maybe that sounds all naive or whatever.

I do believe that the country has changed significantly since the 2nd amendment was concocted, however. I'm not sure it's still relevant as written. But like I said, maybe that sounds all naive. I don't know much about guns. I only held one in my life: a cop's gun. It was heavy and made me uneasy.

7/29/04, 2:49 PM  
Blogger bothenook said...

no, i think it's one of personal values and experiences. i grew up around guns. they were nothing more than tools. we used them to put meat on the table, and used them recreationally as well. the fact that i have a gun, well, several guns, should not be of concern to anybody but me. i'm not a criminal, nor am i an anarchist. but i also grew up with an understanding of what can happen to a population that allows itself to be disarmed. the worst things that have happened in recent history happened to folks that didn't think it could or would happen to them.
i also remember reading (can't find the reference right now, but i think i will go looking for it tonight) that one of the primary reasons the japanese didn't invade the us early in the war, when they had the momentum and the element of surprise, was that there were so many guns in households on the west coast. it was a deterrent, if you will.
i usually try to avoid putting complicated concepts into bumpersticker terms but one of my favorites is "an unarmed society is one of subjects, not citizens".
i don't advocate a complete repeal of gun control laws. but i do advocate an enforcement of the ones already passed, rather than new ones. the anti-gun crowd have embarked on a campaign of incrimentalism, where the slowly chip away at my rights to own and use a gun. it is none of their business how i spend my hard earned money, or my scant time off. if i want to go the range and shoot all day, that is and should be my right.
to use another famous platitude, "i fear the government that fears my guns".
and yes, ali, the world is a different place than it was when the constitution was signed. look at how we as a society have allowed personal freedoms to erode in the name of "the good of the whole". look at the abridgment of the 1st amendment. it's not only gun owners that are being manipulated and legislated into a more repressive state. heels dug in, i'm fighting all of the attacks on our way of life that are being foisted upon us as "for the good of all". we are legislating out personal responsibility and forcing conformity. i am responsible for the safe handling, use, and storage of my firearms. if they are taken due to my negligence, it is MY FAULT, and i should be required to pay society's price for that failing. by removing my guns completely, as they constantly try to do, they are not only forcing me into a cookie cutter mold of a "good citizen" because i let them, but they are taking away my responsibilities. it's the whole concept of "father knows best" that those folks are trying to force on me, when in fact, they would scream bloody murder if i (or someone in power) tried to regulate their lives. it's not only unfair (god i hate the word) but is hypocritical as well.
ok, off my soap box for a while

7/29/04, 5:11 PM  
Blogger Macbeau said...

For me, Guns have always been tools. Often fun tools, but tools none the less. They are also interesting "gadgets". Beyond their basic construction, there is also the added element of frustration in making them shoot accurately (and reliably) in combination with their ammo. I also see them as the means to secure you own liberty. Guns are the great equalizer among men. I believe the founding father not only intended personal ownership of firearms to ward off invading armies and protect against the excesses of govenment, but as an extension of your individual freedom. I believe that this country was founded on the basis of making your own way. Owning and being profficient with firearms ensures that someone else doesn't "infringe" on that pursuit.

I too, find it theraputic and relaxing to clean and tinker with my firearms. Heck, It was only recently that I found out that Hoppes #9 is not really an aroma therapy scent, although it should be...

7/30/04, 5:42 AM  
Blogger bothenook said...

hell, when i was single and dating some years ago, i always hoped a young lady would say something like " sniff, oooh, hoppes #9. i love that scent). of course, it never happened, but i certainly was hoping i'd find a gun nut so that i didn't need to justify firearms dineros. i lucked out and found a lady that didn't know a thing about guns, but recognized how much i enjoyed playing with them. i get the occasional "don't forget you still have a kid in college" look when i talk about buying a gun, but she's been a really good sport about the whole thing.

7/30/04, 3:14 PM  
Blogger Mr. Completely said...

Just found your blog through the Carnival of Cordite. Very well written!

It sounds like Alison needs an invite out to a local range and find out a little more about shooting, and those of us that shoot for fun and sport. Maybe a little plinking with a .22?

I'll be checking back from time to time to see what's going on....

8/26/05, 6:12 PM  

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