Friday, December 31, 2004

It followed me home.....

My "new" Series 1 Kimber Compact CDP....between a pair of old friends. A Christmas present to myself.

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Friday, December 24, 2004

A soldier's Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone
in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.

I looked all about. A strange sight I did see
No Tinsel. No presents. Not even a tree.
No stocking by the chimney, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
sober thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice.
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.

So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.

And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.
I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.

But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

~By James M. Schmidt~

May God bless America and all who defend her.

Merry Christmas, from my family to yours.

6 words

Rich Galen over at Mullings has an excellent post on behalf of our men and women in harm's way. This deserves a read regardless of your position on the war in Iraq.

"Merry Christmas. I love you too."

Are they gone yet?

Not exactly gun related, but interesting: The Committee to Explore California Secession /

I'll have more to say on this later, but for now........ Buh-Bye!!

Pictures to piss off liberals

Introducing our new sponsorable element: Pictures to piss off liberals!

Today's picture features my 12 year old daughter engaging the 600 yard gong with "her" AR-15.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Self Defense - here and there

While reading the January 2005 issue of America's 1st Freedom, I ran across this gem on page 22:

An unwitting Shelby County, Ala., homeowner unknowingly helped in the capture of four inmates who had escaped from a Georgia prison. When the citizen arrived home early one morning, he found four men attempting to rob his house. the homeowner retrieved his gun and fired, hitting one in the face. The men fled but dropped their injured conspirator at a nearby store so that he could get medical attention. Shortly thereafter, the three other men were apprehended in the area without incident. The homeowner was not charged, according to the local district attorney, because, "If we as a society ever get to the point where people are not entitled to defend themselves in their own home, then the law has totally lost its perspective."

Birmingham News Birmingham, Ala., 10/13/04

Your assignment for tonight is to compare and contrast that story and the statement by the local DA, to the story of Tony Martin. Kevin has some good commentary on the British "no self defense" issue over at The Smallest Minority. For another British view, check this out.

"......then the law has totally lost its perspective." That appears to be the case in jolly old England.

Accidental firearm fatalities at all time low

Good news.....the National Safety Council has reported that accidental fatalities related to firearms are at an all time low. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has more info......

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Why teach kids how to shoot?

I'm often asked by folks who are not "gun people" why I teach kids to shoot. Sometimes the questions have to do with the physical ability to handle a firearm safely (which I will address later), sometimes the questions center around the maturity level required for "that kind" of activity (also to be addressed later), but usually the question is phrased in such a way as to make it sound like I'm teaching them to be killers.

This is where the soapbox comes out.

The biggest, most important reason to teach kids to shoot is safety. Television, movies, video games, and even music are filled with depictions of guns being used in an unsafe, violent, and often illegal manner. Villians use them with impunity, heroes use them irresponsibly, and everybody has them. Contrast this with zero tolerance policies in our public schools, mainstream media outlets that delight in only reporting the bad things that happen involving firearms, and a concerted effort by anti-gun political groups to paint guns as the root of all evil. What do these opposing viewpoints leave our children with?

Curiosity and misconception.

The curiosity aspect should be obvious to any parent who has ever tried to keep their children out of the closet at Christmas time. If you don't tell the kids that there are presents in the closet they will never look there, but as soon as they find out where the presents are they must go look. If guns are omnipresent in every form of entertainment, yet are taboo in "real life" the curiosity factor goes through the roof. All of their heroes have them, all of the villians have them, the characters they play in their video games have them.......and the kid who lives down the street says that his Dad has one too. If kids are never allowed to touch them, never allowed to learn how to handle them safely, never taught the responsibility associated with posessing a firearm, what do you suppose will happen the first time they encounter one in an unsupervised environment?

Teaching kids how to use guns safely and responsibly takes away the mystery.

My kids have known that I have guns since they were old enough to understand what they were. Even before they were taught to shoot, they were allowed to see and touch them in a safe, supervised environment. The rule at our house was (and still is) that the kids are allowed to look at and touch any firearm in the house at any time - if they ask. Dire consequences await them if they do not ask, but the "open door" policy on the safe has always prevented that. No matter what else is going on, if the kids ask to see one they get to see it. Any time they want. What does this accomplish? It satisfies their curiosity and removes the mystery. The guns change from something to whisper about to just another thing around the house......just like the can opener. There is nothing special about the can opener because they get to see it any time they want. Firearms should be the same. These show and tell sessions are the perfect time to introduce the kids to safe gun handling. Don't just take it out of the safe and hold it in front of them how to make sure it's unloaded and let them hold it. Teach them to keep their finger off the trigger (unlike their favorite actor) and to point the muzzle in a safe direction. After a few minutes they'll lose interest and go back to what they were doing. And they won't be trying to sneak a peak when you're not around.

At this point my critics will say "That's fine around the house, but what about teaching them to actually use a gun? Won't that make them want to shoot people?" My response is that if your child wants to shoot people you should be seeking professional help for the child. If your child does not know right from wrong, then you have failed as a parent. I have a neighbor who absolutely refuses to allow her son to go shooting because she thinks that if he learns how to use a gun he will use one to commit suicide. Of course, this same woman still has steak knives in her kitchen, rope in the garage, razors in the bathroom, and her son is not in therapy. Is she really concerned about him committing suicide or is that just an excuse to keep him from going?

"...quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est."
[...a sword never kills anybody; it's a tool in the killer's hand.]

—(Lucius Annaeus) Seneca "the Younger" (ca. 4 BC-65 AD),
Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales,
[Letters to Lucilius on Morals,]
Letter 87, c.63-65 AD

I don't generally speak Latin to the kids I teach, but this idea is part of the first lesson. All first time shooters are taught that the gun itself is simply an inanimate object. Alone, it is not capable of doing anything at all. It must be acted upon by on outside force......a person. The person is in control - not the gun. My job as an instructor is to make sure they control the gun responsibly and safely. The first lesson also includes a visual demonstration (when possible) of what guns are capable of doing. Usually this is accomplished by shooting a watermelon with a 12 gauge shotgun. A big mess and a vivid memory.

Un-teaching (is that a word?) all of the gun handling "skills" that are shown on TV and in the movies is another of the first lessons. With a few notable exceptions, actors never seem to worry about keeping their finger off the trigger, muzzle control, overpenetration, or any other real world concerns. I feel that a safety lecture and a watermelon demonstration should be mandatory for every school age child, if for no other reason than to counter the images shown to them in the media.

Even if the kids don't enjoy shooting, I guarantee that after an afternoon at the range they will leave with a healthy respect for firearms and an understanding of how to handle them safely. That is the number one reason.

More to follow tomorrow............for now, spend some time here.

Kids and guns......why?

I've noticed that the blog hasn't even been up for 24 hours and I'm already getting hits. Fantastic! Welcome everyone! The only problem is that I really don't have much content yet. Stay tuned! Over the next few hours/days I'll be posting quite a few essays on "why and how."

For now, this would be a good place for you to start.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Who is this guy?

I'm a 35 year old, married, father of two from Arizona. I enjoy doing anything that gets me outside, but my real passion is for the shooting sports. I am currently the lead instructor for the Buckeye Hills Sportsman Club youth shotgun program. I've already taught my own two children to shoot rifles and handguns, and now I'm teaching them (and 17 other kids) to shoot shotguns at flying targets. I'm not doing this alone though....I have 7 other instructors in the program.

To find out more about the BHSC or the Scholastic Clay Target Program, click on the links to the right.

Why "One in a row...." ?

The title of this blog comes from one of the lessons I teach to new clay target shooters. It's very common for new (and old) shooters to worry about hitting 5 in a row, or 25 in a row, or 100 in a row. This makes them concentrate more on not breaking the string than they do on hitting the target.....and they break the string. I teach new shooters that they are only shooting at one target at a time. They may be shooting in a 200 target event, but they are still only shooting at one target at a time. Even when they are shooting doubles (two targets in the air at once) they still are only shooting one target at a time. That target is the only one they should be thinking about. That target is the only one that is important. That target is the only one they have to hit.

One in a row.........


Greetings and salutations to all! Welcome to my first attempt at blogging. I'm not sure where this experiment will lead, but I'm going to give it my best. You can expect most of the content to be related to guns and shooting.....generally centered around introducing beginners (especially children) to the sport. Pro 2nd Amendment essays and rants will appear, as will equipment reviews and a whole lot of homespun philosophy.

Where am I going? I don't know.
When will I get there? I'm not certain.
All I know is I am on my way........

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