Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Silence Is The Goal

The assault on free speech by many countries across the globe is gaining a foothold here in America, as well. While we still enjoy the ability to say what we will, and to post what we will here on the Web, free speech is nonetheless under attack in the media and in the halls of government, where such scum as Harry Reid and John Kerry whine about how we shouldn't be allowed to voice any opinions that offend their particular sensibilities. Those That Would Rule Us do not wish us to say anything which might awaken others to our actual plight as their chattel. Any criticism of government, socialism, "social justice", wealth distribution, etc. are deemed damaging, subversive, seditious.

The excellent owner of the blog Eternity Road, Francis W. Porretto, has written an article under his nom de plume (or alter ego), Curmudgeon Emeritus. It is entitled, Silence is the Goal. Our silence, that is. The silencing of Those Who Would Not Be Ruled. We are not talking about anarchists (for the most part ;-), but simply those who believe in the natural rights of the individual, and their inviolability by those who think they know better, or simply wish to exert power and control over the rest of us.

Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly has taken an incredibly nasty hit in Merry Old England, where those whom the government disapproves of suffer beatings and arrest even when peaceably convening in the venue of a pub. In Canada, people have been sued and harassed for expressing an opinion about muslims and islam, the "religion of peace". We won't even start on the long and tortuous trials of Geert Wilders in Denmark.

There is a strong movement by liberals, Democrats especially, to silence those of us who feel threatened by the changes occurring both in our government and in our society. They have already muddied the waters significantly by redefining our language to mean what they wish it to mean, making it difficult to have a meaningful discussion of these issues as what they mean by a particular word is diametrically opposite of what the word formerly meant. Bringing this country to the condition where it is no longer permissible to voice an opinion contrary to "political correctness" would be tantamount to silencing any dissent they wish to be silenced.

Please read Silence is the Goal, and take it to heart.

An excellent post on the upcoming ruckus and how cops may respond

Mike at http://mike-istan.blogspot.com/ did a must-read post on "Concord Bridge or Fort Sumter". There were some responses to it speaking to the likelihood of the police following their oath to the Constitution vs how they may actually behave. Some felt that "small-town" cops would have more invested in their community, as opposed to "big-city" cops. Some of the folks in law enforcement and former military (as am I) claimed that they fully supported the Constitution and honored their oath. Here is my response (which I posted there), as I see it:

As a former peace officer in both big city and small town departments, I have to take some of the people who responded to task.

As Mike stated in response to a post about small town police:

It is probably unavoidable with big-city police who see bad stuff
every day, but it is disconcerting to see nice suburban officer Jones
all buffed out from gym time, head shaved, wrap around tactical
sunglasses, and tactical pants bloused into tactical boots (black of
course). I'm sure he is a fine officer, but it looks like he has
succumbed to early onset thinblueline-itis.

I guarantee you, having not only worked in two small town departments as well as at the California Highway Patrol and as a San Diego police officer, many of today’s young officers have indeed succumbed to “them vs us”. Being members of the community, small and local as it is, does not define them. They revel in their position of “authoritah”, shaved head and heavy badge and all. The time of the Andy Griffith style f police officer is long gone.

I saw this just a few weeks back, when my flight instructor was yanked out at gun point of the Cessna I was preparing to taxi from the apron to the runway. He had had a non-violent domestic disagreement with his wife for which she had pressed charges, and the young city cop treated him as if he were a piece of filth, instead of the patient, compassionate, and friendly man that I - and all of his friends in town - knew this 65 year old man to be. The deputy sheriff who was backing him up (an older, more mature man) was polite and professional, but not this young town cop.

Those who responded here, claiming they always supported and defended the Constitution are not being honest, with us or with themselves. If they enforced the laws that are on the books, they have gone counter to the Constitution. If they have arrested anyone for any sort of weapons violation - gun, knife (too long, double-edged, concealed), billy, loaded firearm, etc., they have violated the Second Amendment. If they have arrested anyone for drug use, they have violated the Constitution, for wherein does it give the government the right to legislate a private activity such as self-medication? If an arrest - and a ticket is an arrest with a promise to appear in place of being taken into custody - is made for lack of insurance, driving without a license, driving without a seat belt or helmet, then again, the Constitution has been ignored. [Yes, the states do have the power to pass various laws, but I submit that those such as being forced to purchase insurance - automobile, as opposed to healthcare, but both are wrong - and I believe the seat belt and helmet laws are equally wrong.]

I was as guilty of this as anyone else, although I did let a _lot_ of people go on these violations of “law” when I was in law enforcement. In California, it was a felony to ignore a felony, so there were times when I had a partner and my choice was to arrest or be arrested myself if that partner snitched me off, so I took the safe route (rather than the Constitutional route).

I’d bet a month’s income that these folks responding here to Mike’s post are as guilty of this as I was, hence my statement that they are not being honest. As far as military folks go, their ROE _used_ to be broader than those of the police, although I understand that isn’t the case anymore, thanks to the Pretender-in-Chief and those he has running the military. The former ROE were reasonable and necessary, given what the military was tasked to accomplish. I have no argument with that.

However, given the psychology of those sworn to obey their orders, trained to obey without thinking (for the most part, though most military folk do think in spite of such training), and the psychology of those acting in a group, thoughts of rights and Constitutionality are almost always far from their minds. Recall Tom Baugh’s brief essay on “When to Shoot the Colonels”.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Even some of the liberals get it

Incredibly, Yahoo - which I use for my email base, preferring it slightly over Google - has just posted a news release not only critical of Obama's damage to our economy and the job market, but also speaks of the damage that eco-extremists do to our economy and the functioning of our society.

"The six-month delay was ordered to allow for time to study the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing or fracking. The Environmental Protection Agency has stacks of studies and monitoring reports on the practice dating back to the 1950s. President Obama's move to satisfy a fraction of extreme environmental groups fearful that fracking would harm waterways shattered the economic hopes of an entire state.

Planned drilling in multiple Ohio regions offers more than direct drilling and transportation employment. A steady paycheck for shale and natural gas industry workers would be spent in towns across the state providing funds for non-drilling businesses. Communities would benefit from increased sales at local businesses, delinquent property taxes would get paid helping public levies and struggling homeowners would be able to prevent foreclosure.

Anti-drilling rhetoric by some environmental groups opposed to drilling in the national forest is juvenile and not based in fact. Ohio Environmental Council spokesman Jack Shaner said drilling in the Wayne would turn the Ohio Valley into Ozone Alley. There have been a multitude of oil and gas wells pumping in the forest for years without causing a harmful impact on either the environment or muscle-powered recreational opportunities."

Although I don't read much of Yahoo News, being disenchanted with their liberal slant upon most issues, from what I have seen, it is quite unusual to see Yahoo publishing anything either critical of Obama or less than completely supportive of the "green" eco-extremist camp. The clear and rational treatment of this particular issue by the writer, Tara Dodrill, is refreshing, and seeing it presented on Yahoo News is simply amazing. Please read the whole thing, and consider contacting Yahoo to thank them for "printing" such an accurate portrayal of the damage Obama has been doing to our country, a thing routinely ignored by the mainstream media.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A beautiful artifact, along with some introspection

The wife and I have been a bit busy. A 7000 mile trip East and back, visiting family and friends. A stop at Oklahoma, where we had the unfortunate experience of discovering how thin blood can be, along with some unpleasant work emptying out an old house we owned (sold now to a neighbor) of the last of our belongings we wished to keep and transport into storage here in Montana. The trip lead to a new acquisition, which we will come to, anon.

I wish my insight was equal to my willingness to be introspective, but alas, it is not. Somehow, in spite of the best of intentions, my character is faulty enough to alienate many of the people I would have chosen to remain friends with, had I the wit to behave in a more acceptable fashion, whatever that might be. (This is true of relatives, as well as acquaintances.)

A former friend in Baton Rouge, who I still think well of, once made the statement that a true friend was someone he would "take a bullet for". For those of you who are not members of the gun culture, or supporters of our Constitution, in which the Second Amendment reiterates the natural right of self-defense via firearm (and how a free country requires that the general populace be willing to train and equip - be "well-regulated" - in the use of arms if it wishes to remain free), my friend meant that quite literally. He would step between a bullet fired and someone he considered a friend.

That is a laudable stance to take, and shows how strongly he values true friendship, but it falls short for me. Yes, I would take a bullet for those I love well enough to call "friend" (to include many of my relatives), but for me, a true friend is someone who takes you as you are, warts and all. Since some of my warts seem to be as large as the Rock of Gibraltar, I can count the number of my true friends on the fingers (and thumb) of one hand. People who have seen me be foolish, or self-involved, or forgetful of the needs of those around me, or hurtful without intent, but hurtful nonetheless. For that (literal) handful of stalwarts, those saints willing to continue to value me in spite of my shortcomings, I say a heartfelt "thank you". Those few are indeed friends. My two uncles in Connecticut, who we visited this trip, are in that category. One is conservative, the other a loving and compassionate liberal who remains dear to my heart even though he consorts with those who have damaged, and who wish to further destroy, my very liberty (Democrats and other liberals).

For my wife's sister and brother-in-law who live a half-mile from the property we just sold, sayonara, baby. They are still upset because we will not join their brand of Fundamentalist, Holy Roller, lie on the floor and speak in tongues brand of Christianity. They were very helpful while we were there, but when we stopped by to pick up a few items we had left in storage at their farm, they insisted on also returning every single gift we had ever given them in the last ten or so years. I think it was meant to be a slap in the face. I won't miss them, but my wife is sad that her only sister could be so cold.

Now for the fun part, which I hope you will enjoy much more than my rambling introspection. I do not understand the operation of this blog site well enough to insert photos where I might like in the text, so what you saw at the start of all of this - a photo of a replica 1874 Sharps rifle - is what we will talk about next.

I'm certain the folks at the Shiloh Rifle Company of Big Timber, Montana get down on their knees and thank Tom Selleck and the producers of Quigley Down Under every night before they go to sleep. As so many of us have told them, seeing his rifle in that film has caused a longing that could only be requited by the purchase of one of their gorgeous rifles.

Now, the company was well known amongst shooters for the high quality of their rifles long before the movie, but it has generated such an interest and increase in customers that I know they will always be thankful for that exposure of their excellent craftsmanship.

I actually had no intention of buying one of their rifles at this time. My wife and I were returning to Montana when we stopped at a truck stop just west of Butte, MT for fuel. As the pump at the RV part of the station wouldn't take my credit card for some reason, I went inside to leave it while I fueled up. The gal at the counter insisted I needed to pick a particular value to spend, in spite of the fact that I wanted to fill up, and had no idea what that would cost. I wasn't willing to guess and have to leave with a tank less than full, so I left without buying any. About twenty miles further west, we saw signs for a station at Big Timber, MT. While I was pumping the tank on the UHaul truck full, I noticed a building across the street labeled "Shiloh Rifle Company".

Knowing this was the maker of the "Quigley Down Under" Sharps rifle, I just had to go look. My wife was excited to see it too, as she is a fan of the movie and Tom Selleck. Understand that I knew I was perfectly safe, as there is a twelve-month waiting period for the making of one of these rifles. No worries that I would spend $1800 up on a rifle. When we got inside, the various models were sitting on pegs on one wall, and we were told we could pick them up and handle them all we wanted. They were gorgeous. I especially liked the Quigley and the Long Range Express models. Absolutely gorgeous.

When I spoke to the wife/co-owner Lucinda, she told me about the waiting period for a custom rifle. When I spoke of liking the Long Range Express model, she pointed to a rack behind the counter, and said they had several Montana Roughrider models there, which were identical to the LRE, except that they had the cheek rests sanded off (for those wanting a more traditional look, or at least no cheek piece). Then she hooked me - these rifles were "pre-made" and for sale right now. Oh, no. I picked up two of them, and was instantly lost, as needful of one of those rifles as a junkie needing a fix.

The base price of the Roughrider was $1900. The cost for my rifle, with the extra custom additions, was just over $2900 (with an extra $175 to re-chamber from 45-70 to 45-110). It should be noted that $223 of that was for Federal Excise Tax. Yes, they tax the entire sale, custom extras and all. Eleven percent. It's a crime. If some portion of it is due to the Pittman-Robertson Act, I wouldn't mind so much. Restoration of wildlife habitat can be a good thing (if the eco-freak liberals don't go overboard with it), and the fact that the funds cannot be diverted the way Social Security funds have been is good, too. But I'm not certain that is where the money is actually going. Anyway, $3200 for a rifle was way, way more than I had any intention of spending, but as we had just sold the Oklahoma property (for a slight loss) and could easily afford it, my wife told me to go for it. She didn't have to say it twice, for sure and for certain.

Sorry I couldn't seem to get a better overall photo, but this is the Shiloh Montana Roughrider model, chambered in 45-110. It has a number of upgrades: semi-fancy wood (you should see what "fancy" entails!), "pack harden" finish (absolutely beautiful bone and charcoal case hardening), a lovely pewter fore-end tip/escutcheon, double set triggers, full-buckhorn rear sight, a case hardened shotgun style buttplate, and a 34" heavy full-octagon barrel.

The second shot shows the locking block lowered, the breech face exposed, and the chamber open. Next is the pewter fore-end tip, then the right side of the lock work, with the lever down and the triggers exposed, then a closer shot of the pack harden finish, followed by a still slightly out-of-focus overall shot to include that 34" barrel.

The barrel is the heavy full octagon, which I believe weighs 16 pounds all by itself. I don't know what the total weight is, but I do know I will be glad for it when I start touching off those 45-110's loaded with a 535 grain Lyman Postell alloy bullet at around 1400 fps. For those of you who are not shooters, the heavier the bullet (in any particular caliber), the heavier the recoil. A heavy firearm (due to the physics involved of mass vs momentum) will deliver less felt recoil than a lighter firearm. The forces actually remain the same, but when the same amount of energy has to move a greater mass, the mass moves less (a shorter distance). So the "shove" feels significantly less when the weapon is very heavy.

The pictures do not do this rifle justice. It is a work of art, with the wood-to-metal fit being excellent, the case hardening superbly beautiful, the lock work smooth and solid in operation, the set trigger so light I will either re-set it a bit heavier or simply not use it. I am hoping the brass and loading paraphernalia arrive tomorrow so that I can start loading some rounds to fire. (I will be using the afore-mentioned Lyman 535 grain Postell pushed by about 60 grains of a new black powder substitute called Blackhorn 209. It is sold by the Western Powder company (the Accurate Arms powder company) , and it is supposed to be clean burning, non-corrosive, and very accurate. I intend to load 100 rounds, to take with me on my trip to St. George, Utah, where my wife and I will be spending the winter months in our fifth-wheel.

We plan to visit Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, the Canyonlands, the Arches National Park outside of Moab, Mesa Verde in nearby Colorado, Canyon de Chelly (and other sites such as Kiet Siel near Kayenta) in Arizona, and whatever else we come across. We have been to Tuzigoot, Montezuma's Castle, and a bunch of other locations, but may hit some of them again. The Four Corners area is replete with amazing ruins, rock formations, and incredible landscapes. We are looking forward to it.

While we are in that area, I intend to find some place where we can shoot at 1000 yards, to try the Shiloh Sharps out, as well as my 7.62x51 with some 175 grain BTHP rounds that simulate the old M118 long range military cartridge. I read an article where some forensic scientists who thought the 45-70 couldn't reach out to 1500 yards tested it and some 45-110 rounds. Firing at a 35 degree, the 45-70 landed a heavy bullet (675 grains, heavier than most people normally shoot, but a duplicate of an historic long-range cartridge used back in the 1800's) 3600 yards away. [ Correction: This was a round fired from a 50-90, not a 45-70. Billy Dixon used a 50-90 Sharps, and that is what was being tested, along with a 45-110 they brought along as well. I am including a photo of a 45-110 round next to a 45-70 round for comparison.] The 45-110 was fired with a standard load in common use, and it landed over 3500 yards away. For you engineers out there, the 45-70 round reached an altitude of 4000 feet in its trajectory. We pilots should take note, as well. I hope the folks at ATF who acquired some aircraft are listening, too.