The New Guy Is In Office…….

Folks, it is time to shift gears and focus on our job ahead. Whether you think he won, stole or other wise assumed the Presidency through fraud, chicanery or other means, Joey Biden is the new sheriff in town. You saw it happen on live TV, replete with his wonderful son, Hunter by his side. We don’t have to like it, but we’re going to live with it until his waning mental capacity runs out or he is timed out in four years. If the Trump administration taught us anything, it taught us how to criticize like never before. Hang on Joey, you’re not going to like this.

Where the hell was your plea for unity four years ago, Joey?

First, follow the money. The new administration is going to need buckets of it to push their agenda through. Covid has taught us that being thrifty at the government level is not necessary. Thrifty is a word to describe what ordinary Americans are living through to keep the lights on and food on the table. The progressive agenda, that will bite Joey in the ass every waking minute he is in office, will cost an arm and a leg, all through taxation, something the Democratic Party knows a lot about. The lying has started with Corn Pop Joey reneging on his promise to distribute 2 grand to Americans for Covid relief. Check the headlines in Georgia where Democratic leaders are already having buyers remorse over their Senatorial vote for guys who promised a “new” check for the big 2 which is now being scaled back by Corn Pop, to 1400.

Next we need to watch this immigration thing. We have third world throngs on the march, loudly quoting Corn Pop’s pledge to open our borders. It is going to take a lot of money to feed these new Democratic voters and take care of their medical needs. Remember, Corn Pop wants the census redone to include these folks in the count so as to inflate voter roles, increase Democratic Base support and favorably impact re-districting. Corn Pop has already shut down construction of the wall, which is akin to fencing half of your yard….but that is another story.

Next up, for folks that are engaged, is the 2d Amendment. Corn Pop and his troop have never seen a gun they like. The courts have generally viewed the 2d Amendment favorably for folks who understand guns so we breathe a little more easily. Before you grab your AR and rip a magazine down range at steel plate, think about taxation. Taxation has nothing to do with anything other than raising money and influencing a political issue. When the courts finally decide YOU can decide what kind of gun you want, Corn Pop and his crew will tax the hell out of ammunition and accessories to a level that makes owning a gun on par with owning a car. Remember, Obama pushed his health care fiasco through on the basis of taxation.

Now for the Covid thing. Corn Pop has no more idea about how to improve this situation than I do. He is issuing an order suggesting that a mask on airplanes and trains is going to fix the problem. He is going to manage the roll out of vaccines expeditiously, never mind that until manufacturing capacity is geared up, his super efficient distribution plan has nothing to distribute. You do have to marvel, though, on his selling of Corona virus mismanagement to enough folks to get him the seat in the Oval Office.

Let’s talk gasoline. Corn Pop and his pal John Kerry, are going to fix the world wide pollution problem through an all out war on the fossil fuel industry. Never mind that most of the precious metals necessary to battery production come from Russia and China, and that solar power, to date, has evolved to the point where a good solar powered Seiko watch will quit in a day or so without being in the presence of the sun. Most of the world wants clean air, but the big guns in nasty air are China and Russia, at last check run by the Communist Party who have little regard for the opinions of John “Swift boat” Kerry and Corn Pop. Please don’t ignore the application of taxes on fossil fuels, remember, we have learned that political gains can be made through this wonderful tool!

Finally there is the push for what I call “unisex”. We have a new cabinet level, transgender person in Corn Pop’s circus. I get it, boys can love boys and girls can love girls, the commercials on television are teaching us this in no uncertain terms. I am an old veteran and sometimes you get naked in wartime situations, and with the confusion of combat that permeates a battlefield, I am not sure that having a person who exhibits characteristics of both sexes in a fighting position with you is a good thing. I can guarantee there is going to be tension and likely a problem here…..but what the heck, to each his own. My advice to Corn Pop is to slow down just a bit. It has taken us hundreds of years to get where we are, and this process will not be helped by the new found urgency that Corn Pop’s rainbow coalition is pushing.

We are in for a ride, my friends, and we must not lose focus. We are up to our armpits in the liberal revolution comprised of the media, the progressives and the democratic arm of the Republican Party. Stay vigilant and in touch with the courageous, not yet jaundiced legislators we know are out there. Re-focus………part one is in the books.

Have a wonderful weekend!

SR

My First Week Without Facebook……

I made it! Like an alcoholic rocking back at the Betty Ford Center where celebrity drinkers go to regain control of their lives, I have endured a full week without social media. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, even though I love communication in all it’s forms. A candid assessment is in order here so let’s get started.

To be sure, there are a number of things that I miss. Before signing off, I read where a good friend lost a beloved hunting companion in the form of his pointer dog. I feel fortunate to share in his grief that is known only to those of us who love our dogs. I will miss the opportunities to help friends with a kind word when they suffer an egregious loss in their family, whether it be a dog or a person. There is a nagging reality that I may never know of these losses, a real benefit of social media. Along those lines, social media offers a glimpse, sometimes a little deeper than is necessary, into the health of those who you care about. I miss the reassurance that comes with being in a herd of like minded people to face the political uncertainty of our future. When you rely on mainstream media (I do not) the truth is so far from reality, it challenges your very notion of right and wrong. I am getting along just fine with the Wall Street Journal and our local televised news outlets. I miss the opportunity to shovel sarcasm in a forum that offers ample opportunities to do so. Folks who have made a living in the uniformed services all have a mechanism to deal with the harsher realities of life, a common bond that requires little thought to decipher. I miss my association with them and those who support them.

What do I not miss? I do not miss the uneasy feeling when confronted with “fact” that has no factual basis. I do not miss sorting through proclamations and propaganda designed to stir emotion and sway perception. I do not miss the push by big tech to control the message. I do not miss the absolute declarations of certainty by people who should damned well know better than to rely on “always”, “never” “only” and other declarations offered in defense of a position. With the exception of math, life and death, these words should be banned from use. I do not miss the cheer leading that comes with espousing an opinion, especially when the cheerleaders do not have the intellect to challenge a position with reason and instead offer a cute personal insult. I don’t miss the cowards who slink around these forums, offering opinions that cannot be challenged. These are the people who are brave hearts when sitting in their living rooms and spineless one on one. Every debate coach in America has to blanche at the lack of intellect it takes to push a ridiculous point in this forum. Facebook has exposed a chink in my personal armor. I have tended to accept friends based on the preferences of other, well meaning friends who might not have the same criteria that I rely on. Social media opens a world of personal preference and personal data to folks you simply don’t know.

Easy enough!

My departure from Facebook has provided me the opportunity to begin scrubbing my public persona and manage friendships the old way, email, the telephone and pen and paper, the only true record of one’s image. Sure, my withdrawal from social media has been challenging, and I am sure there are many aspects that I have not yet realized.

So far…….so good!

Have a great weekend!

SR

Social Media, The Great Enabler……..

Yesterday, I deactivated my Facebook account. I am certain this deactivation will lead to a permanent divorce from this insidious killer of friends and I will likely go back to the old ways of communication. While the social media platforms allow the instant expression of opinion and conviction, they also are terribly destructive. It occurred to me that I was participating in a unbelievably dangerous exercise that chooses friends and makes enemies while the politically aligned owners of the platforms revel in their incredible power to control the message. I am 71 years old, and do not need to play their game.

An amazing addiction

First up, are friends lists. Folks when someone is “unfriended” it is not a divorce, replete with a division of property and courtroom fight. Unfortunately, that is how is is viewed. In reality it often means we are fed up with the cheer leaders who offer one shot, personal attacks in support of your “friends” position. It is like watching a playground fight, with bystanders cheering on their favorite participant. We tend to choose friends with an eye to whom they are friends with….and this is complicated. I think you see my point.

Social media has incredible power. I am finished with permitting them to subtly manage my response to the political scene in America that I feel is as threatening as any event since the division over Vietnam. Sorry to say, I have allowed myself to be pulled into this discussion in a vivid and dangerous way. When you are provided with advisories that suggest your association with policing may be exposing you to retribution from those who do not appreciate the profession, you are are not the sharpest pencil in the box if you persist. At the end of the day, it has occurred to me that my opinions on political matters are of little passing interest to folks whose minds are made up. Like a trout laying behind a rock, I have been too quick to take the bait, and that is squarely on me. Social media enables carefully scripted nonsense while weeding out differing opinion to suit their political agenda. The problem is that nonsense to one is gospel to the other and big tech manipulates the message.

Foreign interference in our affairs must love social media. It is the perfect conduit for psychological warfare in a country that feeds on freedom of expression and an open media. This topic alone is worthy of pages of discourse as it is yet another insidious aspect of social media. Instead of scripted little paper messages from an airplane, or Tokyo Rose broadcasts to our troops, it is a keystroke away from our offices and living rooms. Congress talks about it, but as of yet, hasn’t gotten off their collective asses to address this issue.

Finally, I am concerned with just what the social media giants know about me. I find it fascinating that if I google a new fish bait, I am soon bombarded with ads for bass boats and the latest package junkets to New Zealand and it’s fishing. They know I am a conservative, likely my church affiliation, what kind of car I drive and what my dining preferences are. They know that I am a 2d Amendment supporter, where I live and about my vacation preferences. They know exactly which politicians I prefer and those that I loathe. It is a sad state of affairs when Facebook knows more about you than your most trusted friend who will always have your back. In this vicious, divided environment in America, a bullhorn is not advisable. There are too many folks who hate bullhorns……..

I recall specifically where I was and what I was doing when a friend suggested that I join Facebook. Another friend, sitting with us, suggested in the strongest possible terms that becoming involved with social media would be the biggest mistake that could possibly be made. Friend number 2 was not persuasive. I should have listened to him. To those of you who enjoy social media, may God bless you. There are many great aspects to this discourse enabler. For me, I have reached the point where the disadvantages outweigh the advantages and I will go back to print media, the local news and email to accomplish my information needs. Like any addict, I will waver in my resolve, but believe I can break the habit. When something is no longer fun, experience has taught me to stay away from it.

The paper was just delivered, time to catch up!

SR

There Is No Checklist In Police Work…….

Pilots learn early in their training to rely on a checklist to safely fly an aircraft of any shape and size. Interestingly, experience has little to do with the requirement to rely on a carefully prepared checklist to make sure that you fly safely and competently. One of my flying mentors, an airline super pilot with over 30,000 hours, still relies on a methodical checklist review before calling for clearance to fly. He flew 777’s all over the world and now flies General Aviation airplanes with the same degree of diligence. Police officers, when they hit the streets, do not have a checklist. Human nature does not lend itself to uniformity, and one approach does not serve every need. Let’s talk about it a bit.

The current lack of support for the policing profession is rooted in the unfortunate death of folks in police confrontations. It is popular to demand that police officers be retrained with an emphasis on peaceful resolution of confrontation as if a degree in psychology is going to be helpful in handling an intoxicated individual who is hell bent on fighting. Rather than advantaged, the psychologist is going to be woefully under equipped to handle a sociopath who is brandishing a deadly weapon and advancing menacingly. There is no time to apply a textbook, clinical technique to the management of this confrontation. Someone is going to get hurt. I can guarantee that political figures who want policing defunded would rather have an armed, street wise officer between them and a homicidal sociopath than a school trained conversationalist. When this encounter develops, there is no time for a checklist. Again, someone is likely going to get hurt.

Congratulations to the fringe who has managed to fool the fools in charge.

I am writing today, because reasonable people are being led by folks who are anything but reasonable. Oregon has just legalized heroin and crystal meth for recreational use, thus turning another group of potentially dangerous folks out to be regulated by the police. We are on the verge of completely legalizing marijuana with no empirical system in place to determine the degree of impairment while driving or interacting in public. The police will handle the problems without the aid of a checklist. These political figures are bending to the will of a presumably small element of our society and handing off their regulation to the police. There is no checklist for handling a meth addled person who has become violent. In these confrontations there is, again, a very real possibility that someone is going to get hurt. The officer’s role is to determine exactly who that someone is. I am guessing that political figures that scream for the abolishing of the police have little respect for authority in the first place. Reason is nowhere to be seen in their lame justifications.

It is believed that medical error accounts for over 250,000 deaths in America each year, the third leading cause of death. We still stand behind our medical professionals and recognize the practice of medicine is an inexact science that involves judgement. Is it too much to ask that we accord police professionals more respect than suggesting this profession that delivers thousands upon thousands of peaceful resolutions each year be tossed? I think not.

We begin the year with “0” on the score card for police deaths. This score will begin to climb in short order and we need to recognize the role the police play in instilling order in what would otherwise be a chaotic and self destructing free society. We work without a checklist……..because a checklist won’t work. Just as there is no uniformity in people, there is no uniformity in approaches to them……….

Have a great weekend, and super New Year!

SR

Did You Get The License Number of What Hit Us…………….?

The title of today’s blog seems apt given this year that has managed to run over most of us in more ways than one. The good news is that if you are reading this blog, you are still standing and will forever benefit from this tough year. My old Zone Sergeant often reminded us after an event we might have handled differently that “bought’n learning is the best learning”. The Master has given us a cross to carry this past year, and those of us still standing are ready for the next challenge, stronger and wiser. As is the course of nature, each year sees fewer and fewer of us available to accept the challenge of the New Year. Soon enough, we all will be remembered as opposed to remembering. God bless the folks in the first category.

Each and every soul on earth that still is capable of conscious thought and has a working memory, will allocate space in our minds for the word “Covid”. It has painted a year of our lives in some awful color not on the color spectrum. It is not finished with us yet, but we appear to be on the verge of relegating it to the same corner of hell where polio and other horrid maladies reside. We owe a tremendous debt to the fine minds that have not only found a way to prevent this demonic malady, but devised the logistical chain to distribute the medicine on a massive scale. How is this bought’n learning? We know that anything can become a political issue that is capable of swinging the very ideology of a country in a new direction, even a lousy little virus. It likely will not be in our lifetime, but God willing, we will utter the word “Covid” with the same frequency we utter “polio” or “cholera”……….

The license number of what hit us is more than covid. The number also has things like politics, hatred, division and a new wave of destruction and inability to cope with things that don’t suit us on it. This has been the year of transformation from peaceful resolution to violent confrontation. We have been divided and joined together at the same time. We are divided politically, but each side of the political spectrum has become more unified than ever. This split political personality has allowed hatred to grow unabated. We are wiser in that we recognize this concern, but still we are hell bent on no concession. Our political leadership has no concept of meeting in the middle and I don’t see much progress in the tea leaves of 2021. The Hatfields and McCoys are alive and well.

Bring it 2021. We’re going to kick your butt!

Finally, in this year that we should forget but never will, the economy takes a front row seat. Few can argue we began the year with a booming economy that has been torched by the afore mentioned issues. The same sage old Sergeant that I referred to was also fond of saying that “all things are possible with enough time and money”. It is a wonderful time to be retired in that a fixed income is indeed an income and those who were toiling for every dollar to keep their lifestyle right side up are now scrambling to meet the basic necessities. Our success is built on a simple concept, you work, you earn and you live. Hopefully in 2021, the opportunity to work will again be abundant, businesses will begin to thrive and rebuild and our neighbors will smile rather than cry. It has been a tough year, and America has been dealt a tough hand to play, but play it we will and ask for a new deal as soon as the cards are down.

I appreciate all of my friends, neighbors and family. I thrive on communication and without you it wouldn’t exist. Have a wonderful New Year and hit the ground running. There is no quit in us……..and that, folks, is formidable!

SR

An Epiphany………

Unless you live under a large, flat rock on the banks of a muddy creek, you have read about and discussed the reasons for the madness we are seeing in this country at present. This is not intended as a political musing, rather the reveal of the real reason why folks are raising hell on a our streets and bent on the destruction of reminders of our colorful history. However, in the end, politicians are the wind beneath the sails of people who are concerned with their relevancy. Give me a few minutes of your time, and I suspect you will have a little better understanding as to why we are changing the names of sports teams and renaming a school currently named after President Lincoln. The reason, my friends, is the desire to become or remain relevant.

America is populated with a large number of folks who are not satisfied with their impact on our culture and society. They hunger for relevancy in any form. If your contribution to personal infamy is limited to a 8 to 5 job, or no job at all, and you still feel as if you are not contributing, what better way to cement your legacy than tearing up something for the sake of relevance. When you can say you have attended a violent protest, and hit an officer in the head, you are suddenly relevant. When you burn a building down, or destroy a monument that means nothing to you beyond the convenient and lame reason that you are “offended” you become relevant. If you are one of the vast number of civic officials that condone these actions, you are relevant. If you are a loud mouth politician that is screaming to defund the police, in any form, you are seeking relevance in an arena where you had little relevance before this opportunity seized your weak mind. It is a huge mistake to buy into the reasoning that is very much a part of the justification for this irrational behavior, “that a statue, or Native American name, or President Lincoln was a racist, etc.”, is because you are offended. Offense is a convenient lie to justify the desire to be relevant. How does this get us to where we are today?

Seeking relevance, his day in the sun.

There are two basic avenues for relevancy. The first is a productive life as a responsible, gainfully employed individual who contributes positively to the success of the Republic. Thank you for this contribution. The other way is to negatively impact this Republic for the feeling of relevancy when you assault an officer, tear down a concrete monument or set a town on fire. If the political leadership would concentrate on rewarding group one and stopping group two in their tracks, we would be able to curb this unchecked desire to become relevant through destruction and abhorrent behavior. The totally ignorant wave of support to unfund the police is an example of civic leadership that wants to be relevant. See the point?

I am not advocating becoming Lemmings to the sea. There needs to be reasonable dissension and the consideration of divergent viewpoints. That being said, what a sad state of affairs when you sit down with your grand-kids and tell them you smacked a police officer or tore down a statue because you were suddenly offended. What a supreme disservice to that child. If we continue to reward the folks who are seeking relevancy in destructive venues, we are going to soon hand the country to them, and that is a monumental tragedy,

Have a great weekend!

SR

Technivorm…….Not Your Grand-Daddy’s Percolator……

Over the past several years, we have made a concerted effort to buy products that are either US made or made in a country that is a friend of the USA. This endeavor is challenging and fun as well as rewarding in terms of quality and utility. Particularly challenging is the acquisition of things that you plug in or put batteries in. A look around your home will confirm the mastery of the Chinese in this arena. This is not a Chinese hit piece, rather a quest for excellence.

I have written about coffee in the past. I didn’t drink the stuff in the years leading up to and through my Army days. I had not “acquired” a taste for it. I suppose that a hard snow, bitter cold and the company of a fellow officer while we waited for the next weather related event on our highways presented the perfect opportunity to swill a cup of Joe as you waited for your trousers from the knee down to dry out and the feeling to return to your feet from your last jaunt down an embankment to check on a driver not up to the task of winter driving. I learned to drink coffee with the big boys back in those days. The quality of the coffee in a truck stop or country cafe hinged on the cleanliness of the pot or big, commercial coffee maker. The tars and black stuff burned into the bottom of a carafe could be a real eye opener. Folks know exactly what I am talking about. Our search for the perfect cup of brew has taken another remarkable turn for the better with the acquisition of our latest coffee maker, a Technivorm Mocha Master. Let’s have a look.

Technivorm is a Dutch manufacturer of coffee makers. They build a brewer for every conceivable need from a little one cup pour over delight, to bigger machines that can service the whole crew on Thanksgiving when coffee is necessary to keep the peace in a family that does not share the same political philosophy. Their coffee makers are aptly named Mocha Master, advertised as the world’s number one rated coffee maker. We have about a week’s experience with a smaller, one cup pour over maker and are quite impressed. My grand-son, a student at Missouri S&T where long hours in books are greatly facilitated with coffee, has become quite the coffee critic. I made him a cup of Keurig stuff and served it next to a cup of pour over from the Mocha Master, in a blind test. He quietly referred to the K-Cup of nectar as awful when compared to the pour over. We agree.

The Technivorm, Cup One, Mocha Master

I have written about Starbucks in past musings. It is really awful coffee in the company of clever additives that almost always involve sugar or some other magic potion to change the entire nature of the beverage. The Mocha Master requires 4 minutes to turn out an exact 10.5 oz. cup of the smoothest, most robust coffee that can be had anywhere. Mind you, a quality grind is necessary or nothing is gained, and quality grinds are out there. We grind our own from a select few companies that I have reviewed in the past.

Now for a coffee endorsement. Coffee has been empirically linked to a lower mortality rate. It positively impacts strokes, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes. It is linked to lower rates of Parkinson’s disease, is shown to keep liver enzymes in check, and strengthens the strands in our DNA. Coffee drinkers have a 26% lower rate of colon cancer and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. There is an established link between coffee and a lower risk of strokes. All of these benefits are MORE pronounced in the female gender! As a final benefit, I have noticed that a good coffee at first light clears my head and prepares me for a dialogue with Sharon who always rises with a fresh new set of considerations and suggestions for our day ahead. You do not drop your guard around this lady, trust me. Coffee keeps me in the dialogue!

I can whole heartedly recommend the acquisition of a Mocha Master if you really enjoy, make that savor, a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. There is a reason why they are rated at the top of the heap when it comes to the art of coffee brewing on a personal or household level. As we shovel dirt on the disaster known as 2020, let’s give thought to beginning the new year with a cup of God’s own nectar….coffee from a brewer made by people who have been building these things since 1964. You will not be disappointed.

Have a great week!

SR

Hand Washing, Alcohol and The Virus…..

No, this is not another lay perspective on our dance with the Big C, rather a condensed set of facts gleaned from the John’s Hopkins School of Medicine that may help us understand WHY soap and alcohol are the first line of defense against this scourge. We blindly accept or reject the advice we are given relative to this disease and I think a drill down into why they will help us until the vaccine is distributed.

This virus is not a living organism, it is a protein molecule covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat) which when absorbed by the cells in the eyes, nose or mouth changes their genetic code and converts them into aggressor and multiplier cells. Since it is not a living organism it cannot be killed. It has to decay on it’s own, dependent on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lays.

A scourge in all it’s splendor

The virus is fragile. It is protected by the layer of fat which explains why soap and detergent are effective. They dissolve fat. No fat and the virus breaks down. Hot water also breaks down fat, which is why hot water and soap are so effective at attacking the virus. Alcohol, in concentrations of at least 65% dissolves all fat, and is deadly to the fat covering the virus.

No bactericide or antibiotic will touch the virus because it is not a living thing, and antibiotics can’t kill what is not alive. The virus cannot penetrate healthy skin, leaving the mucosa mentioned above as the portals of entry. Whisky won’t work as it seldom approaches 65% alcohol. The virus can survive on inanimate surfaces, which is why you should wash your hands after handling things, ie; knobs, switches and etc. before touching your mouth, eyes and nose.

Masks protect against the dispersal of the micro sized droplets that are exhaled by people infected with the virus. They also are somewhat effective against your spread of the droplets to folks around you. Crowds are bad, for obvious reasons. It is simply a game, where the stakes are high and the odds multiply against you as you are exposed to more people.There is no demonstrated transmission of the virus by food. It requires direct contact with a person who may be bringing your food to the table…back to hand washing and alcohol. It should be apparent by now that distancing is also effective.

Okay, enough. This is why hand washing with soap and the use of plain old alcohol in concentrations above 65% work. I am not a doctor or virologist but I can read. Now we know why the real experts tout soap and alcohol as the first line of defense until we are inoculated.

Have a great week and toss the paranoia. We’ll get through this pretty quickly and can, sometime next year, return to living like American’s like to live. To quote an old political hack from my past…….

You can bet on it!

Our Gun Culture….

This week, I finally located a particular .22 caliber rim fire rifle that has been in demand since it’s recent introduction. It is not a weapon of war, rather a precision, bolt action rifle capable of tremendous accuracy. I bought it to target shoot and dispatch an occasional crockpot full of squirrels, soon to be combined with rice and mushrooms in a favorite recipe on a cold winter day. That being said, it is still a firearm thus a target for those who think guns are inherently bad. They are not, some people are however, and a gun in a bad person’s hands is not a good thing.

A Tika (Sako) for paper and squirrels

I was raised in a gun rich environment. Military brats are exposed to the sound of guns from their first day in this world. This, coupled with my enjoyment of hunting and the feel of a firearm where wood ( polymer ) and steel come together in the name of precision and beauty are important to me. I recently reduced my firearms collection down to a more utilitarian group, but still exceed the national average of 5 firearms per gun owner, actually by a significant number. I am not alone. It is estimated that 17 million firearms have been sold this year and that 40% of Americans either own a gun or live with someone who does. While hard to estimate, it is thought that some 390 million guns exist in America. A whopping 67% of folks who bought guns this year say they bought them for personal protection, even though the actual instances of their use in personal protection scenarios is minuscule by comparison. Today’s firearms, like today’s automobiles are not your grandfathers stuff. They are refined and have evolved into devices capable of unbelievable accuracy and efficiency. Many so called “weapons of war”, while looking sinister, are really platforms for all kinds of accessories ranging from night vision optics to powerful telescopic sights with range finding capabilities. Competitive shooting sports run the gamut from a weekend fund raising turkey shoot to elaborate multi-station timed fire courses involving athleticism, gun handling and split second decision making.

There are vast differences in hunters, shooters and those who argue for self protection. Some folks can bridge these differences and can be classified across the entire spectrum. A hunter must have the ability to look a living thing in the eye and deliver a killing shot to the animal or critter. On a visceral level, it is no different than filleting a crappie still flopping on the cutting board. Some people have the constitution to do this, some do not. Shooters are thrilled when their grouping is tight and skill rewarded with a scored performance on whatever targets they are shooting at. Self protection aficionados may or may not know much about their gun of choice but have a sense of urgency brought about by the homicide rates that are climbing in America, and the new administration. There is no argument that guns pose an increased risk. The accessibility to a gun, on short notice, results in a sobering statistic in cases of domestic homicide, suicide and of course, accidental shootings.

Let’s tie this matter up, albeit simplistically. The (purported) incoming administration is not gun friendly, however; they do grasp basic mathematics. There is one hell of a lot of gun owners in America, of which the vast majority are law abiding and pose little risk to society. I find it interesting that we turn the average person into a gun owner with little or no education as to the responsibilities that accompany this privilege. I see pop-up adds for schools and classes that purport to provide training on the nuances of gun ownership both legally and ethically, entirely voluntarily and with no accreditation whatsoever. I watched a diminutive lady buy a big bore pistol this week while I waited for my background check to come back. I asked her if she was an experienced shooter and she told me no, but was going to find someone or someplace to help her learn to shoot this pistol that would intimidate even experienced hand gunners. Some years ago, I was involved in bringing Highway Patrol wives in for basic training with the handguns their husbands carried. They left knowing how to load, unload and handle the firearm they were living with. I don’t think we do that today, but certainly should. The wives were deeply appreciative.

In my view, training and education is a palatable alternative to the cry for confiscation, type casting and outrageous taxing of a right held to be constitutional. Like an automobile, you should be able to demonstrate a level of competency before turning out into the streets with a device that has lethal implications in inexperienced hands. If you are a bad actor, and are caught with a firearm and can not produce a training certificate, you are summonsed and your gun confiscated. Before you discount this approach, think of the alternatives. At some point, gun hating administrations are coming after your privilege to own a firearm through the egregious means I mention above. How do you want it? A stiff tax, confiscation, regulations limiting a magazine to two or three rounds? I suggest that attacking this problem from the people standpoint rather than gun standpoint is a better alternative. Ammunition sales are up 139% since the Biden ticket came into being, and guns are flying off of racks like Halloween candy. You know why. If you have a better strategy, and someone may have, get it on the table. There are too damned many people in power positions who simply do not understand our gun culture….and they will threaten ownership when the opportunity exists. It is time we remove guns from the liberal, political strategy bag of people who do not get it.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

SR

A Story About Barbed Wire….

After many years of sitting out deer seasons, I returned to the woods this year with little intention of killing anything. I had ample opportunities at yearlings and does, who were invariably traveling together, carefully picking their way through a poor mast crop on Wilson’s Ridge. Wilson’s Ridge is owned by my sister and brother-in-law and overlooks the Pomme De Terre arm of Truman lake. The deer in these parts are not in a class with the beautiful bucks taken in north Missouri that have been gracing social media this year, as they have no crops to browse and are used to running the razorbacks that comprise this part of the country. So it is that I write about a deer hunt that doesn’t end in a picture of a trophy, rather a picture of barbed wire that has been encapsulated by a tree. There is a story here that is known only to God. I imagine the story goes something like this.

If an old piece of wire could talk.

To some minds the picture accompanying this article has some sort of humorous connotation, however; to me it tells a story of hard living on a piece of rocky ground carefully fenced off from a neighbor many years ago. Fences are for livestock and privacy, and one has to work hard to imagine either issue being a concern on this craggy bluff. I thought about the toil involved in making a fence across these hollows and ledges, stringing wire from tree to tree as a fence post is out of the question up here. The two-barbed wire tells me this was a turn of the century fence overlooking what was once the Pomme de Terre river, in a region known for dinosaurs in ancient times. This wire has seen year upon year of blistering heat and frigid snow dulling the points and gradually sapping it’s strength. The tree, mightily offended by the tacking of the wire to its trunk, has encapsulated the wire, growing around it relying on the tree equivalent of scar tissue to make it a part of the tree for the rest of it’s life. I wondered where the fence builder, long since departed, is resting eternally. He was probably of European ancestry, likely Scotch or Irish, once removed from Kentucky, Tennessee or the Carolinas. It is certain that he gave little thought to a man testing this wire well over a hundred years from the day he strung it. There is no water on this ridge, so he undoubtedly drank from the Pomme or contrived some form of cistern on his ground. He was used to back breaking, hard work as he relied upon wood for heat and shelter many years before the advent of the chainsaw. He would have marveled and likely cussed the impoundment of Truman Lake as so many natives in these parts still do. I said a silent prayer for his soul, at rest after his existence in this rugged, beautiful part of the country. His rest is well earned.

Sunset on Wilson’s Ridge

I enjoyed this deer hunt immensely. I passed on taking a deer for the sake of killing, which would have been the case, as venison was never a particular favorite table fare for me, having long since being replaced by quail and crappie! I was able to talk strategy with Dennis, revisit history and gaze over Truman Lake, to me a nearly sacred place. I spent an hour being scolded by a young squirrel who did not appreciate my sitting close to his old snag of a den tree. Most importantly, I was able to identify with the old piece of barbed wire, a reminder that all things on earth are time limited. Like the wire, I am still here, brittle and not as sharp as in years past, likely to be offensive to someone who gets too close or takes me for granted. The wire will be here when I am gone and maybe, just maybe, another person will happen by and pay their respect to it’s history.

Have a great week!

SR