It’s been more than two years since the last post, but it’s time to dust off the ol’ keyboard and get back to it. The ease of posting on Facebook and Twitter sapped the gunblogosphere of its vitality, but I think we’ve all learned our lessons about that as of 2021, yes?
I’m still here in California, having successfully exited my fun but stressful career as consigliere to a couple of freewheeling entrepreneurs for a much less exciting, yet still fun, position in legal academia — one with the rare defined-benefit pension plan. Phil may pop in to tell of his adventures, but suffice it to say he’s doing quite well. Dave from Michigan’s still the only one of us, I believe, who’s actually competed in the Precision Rifle Series, and I hope he’ll chime in as well. Many, many thanks to big B for getting us back online safe and sound.
(Yes, the header image has the old site address. Yes, I’m working on fixing that. Be patient, true believers!)
Still lots of updating and link-fixing to do, but it’s good to be back.
Currently puffing a celebratory Undercrown Maduro and sipping some of my precious stash of Elmer T. Lee. It’s been 25 years since I saw the lonely flyer tacked up in a back hallway of UC Davis Law School, plaintively calling for students to submit law review articles supporting the right to keep and bear arms in hopes of winning a year’s tuition. I joined the Federalist Society that day. That flyer was my awakening and introduction to a more than 30-year hard-fought campaign by the NRA, SAF, Calguns Foundation and to build up the legal scholarship to win Heller and McDonald, and soon more such victories… with BRETT
I’ve mentioned my high-school choir teacher David Pool once or twice before; a Juilliard grad, he was known for taking insecure nerds, geeks and social outcasts and turning them into self-confident young men and women, starting by treating us first as men and women, not children. Right out of the gate he’d hold us to higher standards — but teach us how to attain them, too.
Think of a drill sergeant making you a man (or woman) but referencing classical music and art and literature in between barking at you to “FIX it, [enter your name here]!” That command might have applied to hitting a note or sorting out your love life. Great advice in all cases.
I’ve not seen Mr. Holland’s Opus, but my mother said Richard Dreyfuss’ character reminded her of Pool.
Well, Jordan Peterson reminds me a bit of Pool, and he’s made quite the recent splash, viz,:
Now, this bit is certainly entertaining, and reminds me of the way Pool would work us through a music piece at a certain level, but Peterson’s skills at forensic combat aren’t enough to explain why young men are devouring what he says and writes and thinks as though they’re intellectually and emotionally starved for meaning. Given the state of discourse in society and academe, I expect they are. Men like Pool were few and far between when I was a child, perhaps less so now. Yet nowadays one man can have a greater reach than ever before. Who took up that baton? Arguably, Peterson’s running with it now.
The wife and I recently downloaded Peterson’s popular self-helpÂ 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos on Kindle, and the cool thing about the Audible version is that Peterson reads it to you himself.
I really like his approach in this book — it is a useful practical introduction to concepts that I understand are part of his larger project, which seems to be nothing less than saving Western Civilization, as discussed here in the Weekly Standard.
(An aside: I follow the article’s various Twitter feeds, and it was gratifying to watch his tweets sort of talk through the idea of the article, and then get enough feedback that he had something valuable to say that he turned it into the Weekly Standard piece within a matter of days. That, I think, is the best sort of Twitter.)
One lesson of Sidney Hook’s The Hero in History was that great men rise to the need of the times. I’m cautiously optimistic, just three chapters in to 12 Rules for Life, that Peterson and his work may be part of the antidote to our great civilizational malaise.
Who can argue with a 600-plus-yard pistol for elk? (And yes, I know about Elmer Keith and his .44 Magnum as a long-range elk gun. You and I are not Elmer Keith, and this is not about that.)
Ages ago I had a live link to this article by my specialty-pistols mentor and guru Ernie Bishop, but the link’s now dead, so Ernie graciously provided me with a copy to share. Temporarily hosting the files on Facebook until I figure out how to get them on the RNS server. I think clicking on each image below the fold should embiggen them.
Nowadays Ernie’s playing around with things like 6 Creedmoor necked down to .22 caliber at ridiculously fast twists for the 2k prairie-dog goal….
One of these and some cordage would be a bloody useful piece of kit for the pocket or backpack.
For the last 20 years I’ve kept a pair of cheap Wal-Mart glove liners (usually seasonal items, about a buck a pair) in the pocket of every coat I own. Hands down (heh) that’s easily been the most useful lifehack I’ve done. But one of these and some cordage would work in a pinch.
Eric Ambler’s A COFFIN FOR DIMITRIOS (1939) is one of my favorite novels, for the noir atmospherics alone.
(That I number more than one fellow as casually amoral and exotic as Dmitrios Makropoulos among my professional colleagues just adds relish to each rereading.)
Hitchcock’s writer Robert Arthur anthologized the ninth chapter “Belgrade, 1926” as a stand-alone short story, and it remains as near-perfect a piece of short suspense fiction as I could want. Seek it out.
I don’t know much about these things, but apparently one does not have to lay a couple of hundred miles’ worth of mines to make a two-hundred-mile wide corridor of sea impassible. One just lays one or two small fields without letting one’s enemy know just where. It is necessary, then, for them to find out the positions of those minefields.
That, then, was G.’s job in Belgrade. Italian agents found out about the minefields. G., the expert spy, was commissioned to do the real work of discovering where they were to be laid, without — a most important point this — without letting the Yugoslavs find out that he had done so. If they did find out, of course, they would promptly change the positions.
In that last part of his task G. failed. The reason for his failure was Dimitrios.
It has always seemed to me that a spy’s job must be an extraordinarily difficult one. What I mean is this. If I were sent to Belgrade by the British Government with orders to get hold of the details of a secret mine-laying project for the Straits of Otranto, I should not even know where to start. Supposing I knew, as G. knew, that the details were recorded by means of markings on a navigational chart of the Straits. Very well. How many copies of the chart are kept? I would not know. Where are they kept? I would not know. I might reasonably suppose that at least one copy would be kept somewhere in the Ministry of Marine, but the Ministry of Marine is a large place. Moreover, the chart will almost certainly be under lock and key. And even if, as seems unlikely, I were able to find in which room it is kept and how to get to it, how should I set about obtaining a copy of it without letting the Yugoslavs know that I had done so?
When I tell you that within a month of his arrival in Belgrade, G. had not only found out where a copy of the chart was kept, but had also made up his mind how he was going to copy that copy without the Yugoslavs knowing, you will see that he is entitled to describe himself as competent.
How did he do it? What ingenious manoevre, what subtle trick made it possible? I shall try to break the news gently.
Posing as a German, the representative of an optical instrument-maker in Dresden, he struck up an acquaintance with a clerk in the Submarine Defence Department (which dealt with submarine nets, booms, mine-laying and mine-sweeping) of the Ministry of Marine!
Pitiful, wasn’t it! The amazing thing is that he himself regards it as a very astute move. His sense of humour is quite paralyzed.
This brings us to another area where U.S. systems are outranged: ground vehicles. Researchers at the University of Virginia successfully 3D printed a drone body in one day. By snapping in place an electric motor, two batteries, and an Android cell phone, they made a fully autonomous drone that could carry 1.5 pounds approximately 50 kilometers â€” six times the range of the U.S. Hellfire missile. In 2014, it took about 31 hours to print and assemble the drone at a total cost of about $800. Since then printers have become over 100 times faster and will get faster still. UPS currently plans a 1,000 printer plant, which at todayâ€™s printing speeds could potentially print 100,000 drones a day. The limitation is no longer the printing but the assembly and shipment of the finished products. Both processes can be automated with robots. In the near future, drones could be produced at a rate exceeding many types of ammunition â€” and often for less per round. A swarm of tens of thousands of autonomous but non-coordinating drones is clearly possible. Armed with small explosive loads, these drones could score mobility kills on all non-armored vehicles and even damage thin-skinned armor. Such an attack will bring an armored brigade to a rapid halt due to lack of fuel.