Before I get to the political, first the personal. Though the personal being the political and all, I guess it doesn’t much matter the order.
Still, there’s beef to the post for those of you who make it all the way through.
Anyway, I finally made it up to a nice little area in the mountains yesterday, complete with nice natural berms and a collection of metal and paper shooting targets. Got my SCAR-17 mostly zeroed in (I’ll take it to my range this week and get it set perfectly in a more controlled environment, with more exact yardage markers), and was able to fire it for the first time. After a few rounds, and an adjustment to lengthen the stock (I was shrugging my shoulder to rest the butt at first, and needed to learn to relax my posture), I started putting rounds on 5-10″ targets at about 135 yards from a makeshift bench, and using the swivel tripod / pistol grip as my front rest.
I also made an adjustment with my trigger pull, which is why I need to make with my pistols as well: pulling the trigger all the way through and holding all the way through the shot, then releasing it to get an audible reset click. With my pistols, I’ve noticed at longer range my shots tend to be low, which suggest to me that I’m using my ENORMOUS AND PRACTICALLY SUPERHUMAN hand and grip strength to pre-emptively compensate for the pushback/recoil of the report. So next range session with pistols will concentrate on a slower, more complete squeeze and hold — at least until I build the muscle memory to fully complete the shot.
– Not that I’m terribly off, mind you. I hit my targets, even out to 25 yards with both 45 pistols. In fact, I knocked one resetting target out of te ground with what I’m assuming as a +p+ round that had inadvertently found its way into my FMJ rounds. It’s just that when I learn to do something I like to really learn to do it well, until I’ve (mostly, and conditionally) mastered it.
Unless it’s like sex or some such. In which case, well, you know. I assume that leftist entitlement mindset and let my wife pay the taxes. IYKWIMAITYD.
My wife also shot the SCAR-17 308 / 7.62×51 from bench rest and tripod and she found the kick, such as it is, quite manageable and not at all uncomfortable. For such a stopping round, the 308, in concert with the pistol gas system, the ergonomics, and the delivery tubing not making its way into the stock in the SCAR-17 (which also allows the stock to be folded for easy maneuverability or, say, auto staging), is surprisingly comfortable to shoot, with very little jump, even as it heats up (like with, say, a FAL). Having said that, another petite woman who was with us — the wife of a former special forces buddy of mine with lots of rifle experience (she was one of the most helfpful in detailing my shoulder shrug problem) — felt that shooting the rifle from a standing position might have been a bit much for her frame. My own opinion is that the problem was that I had the grips and such configured for my wingspan, and that with a few adjustments she’d handle it fine. Even with the combat rifle scope, the pistol grip/bipod and a full 20 round mag, the weight comes out at just under 11 pounds.
My oldest son shot too — though not the SCAR. We gave him a full mag with the S&W M&P 15-22, and he loved it. He’s also probably the best shot of the family, at 8 years old. At about 25 yards he was plinking metal resetting targets with regularity as well as putting some nice groupings on the paper targets we’d set up.
All in all, a great and informative day — and one day closer to preparing me for the zombie apocalypse.
The night before, however, was a different story — and re-initiated the police drama I’ve been experiencing, which is quickly becoming, to my mind, harassment.
I went to the local brew pub Saturday night while my wife and kids were on a Cub Scout excursion to the Denver Zoo. I walked up, figured they’d either swing by to pick me up on the way home, or else I’d just hoof it back (it’s no more than a mile).
Before I left — and I kind of went on the spur of the moment because I was done working out and I was kind of bored — I texted the special ops guy I was going shooting with the next day to find out when he wanted to leave in the morning, where he wanted to meet up, what kinds of targets he wanted me to bring, etc. He gave me the info, and I let him know in my last text before walking out the door that I was heading to the brew pub, and that if he wanted to drop by I’d be there for an hour or so.
When I walked into the brew pub, I immediately saw my neighbor, the State Trooper, and his wife and one of his daughters at a table near the bar. And they saw me walk in.
I went directly to the bar, made some small talk with the tenders and some folks sitting next to me, and had a beer.
About 15 minutes later, my buddy showed up, tapped me on the shoulder, I turned, shook his hand, and we moved to a table right behind the bar stool where I’d been sitting.
Now, here’s the thing you need to know about my buddy. As an 8-year special forces soldier, a gun dealer, and a guy who teaches shooting, tactical combat technique, survival skills, etc., he is always carrying his sidearm. As he’s described it, putting it on is to him like grabbing a wallet is to us.
So he was wearing his sidearm, open carry, holstered, and once he sat down — out of view of the State Trooper and his family — he never once got up the entire time we sat and talked.
Over the course of 2 hours, he had one small beer (to my, say, 4, I think). Of the patrons in the brew pub that night, I knew all of them except for a table in the corner behind my friend (who would have been out of view of the side arm). The rest I’m friendly with. And I’m certain none of them were bothered or felt threatened by a friend of mine carrying a holstered sidearm, even if they knew he had it, which they likely didn’t. As I say, he was open carrying (he usually wears a longer shirt to conceal, but that night he was in a t-shirt), but the pistol and holster are both low profile, and as I reiterate, he didn’t get up from the table.
The State Trooper, now at the table next to us, got up a least once to go into the back where the restrooms are. After about an hour and a half, he left.
– And then 5 minutes later, two Frederick Police Officers walked into the bar and noted someone had complained about a guy with a handgun — mentioning that they felt “threatened”. This call was similar to the one the FPD received when I was outside with pieces of a pistol, running a bore snake through the barrel, and is the key language to compel the local police to come investigate.
That is to say, we have open carry laws, but if someone sees you open carrying and claims to feel threatened, you can be charged with, eg., menacing. Yet another example of the receiver of (and unspoken and iconographic) message being given control over the intent of the creator of the text — a situation that, as should be becoming apparent, is rife with the potential for abuse, particularly by motivated actors who know the laws and are looking to use them to harass or persecute you.
Now, the FPD was once again very friendly and nice; and in fact, both officers we spoke with, after my buddy was taken outside, told us that they always carry, even when off duty (I wonder if the State Trooper does, as well?). But because my 200+ pound ex special forces friend had a beer over the course of two hours, technically he could be considered “impaired”; and the fact that he never unsheathed the weapon, nor touched it any way, didn’t much matter.
Also, for the record, I have no proof that the State Trooper or his family had anything at all to do with the complaint. The FPD told me that the complaint was initially called in to some strange outpost, then relayed to them, and it was an hour before they finally responded.
So take that for what it’s worth.
Still, because I years ago filed a complaint against this State Trooper — I wanted it on record that I felt he was using his law enforcement authority to try to bully me and others in the neighborhood (plus, he had frightened my wife when he mentioned that, b/c of my fight training, had I tried to defend myself against a guy who’d cold cocked me, he could have legally shot me) — I have my suspicions that he and his family and their clique of friends, if they are in fact involved at all (and they may not have been on Saturday evening, though they have been before, and the coincidence is a bit too much to dismiss), are using wives and friends and calls to outside departments to keep the provenance of the complaints as hidden as possible.
But here’s the thing — and my buddy, who had to call his wife to come pick up his firearm and take it home for him (next time, just conceal it, he was told; and the owner of the bar and the bartenders, it so happens, weren’t happy with whomever called in the complaint, because they weren’t themselves first approached; and also, they told us that they don’t have any problem with responsible firearms bearing) — made the point: either the complainant actually thought, after an hour of my friend and I sitting and talking quietly and keeping to ourselves, that the open carrier, former special forces with many years in Afghanistan, was a legitimate lethal threat to someone (and so called in the report, potentially bringing the FPD into harms way. Or else they were using the FPD simply to try to harass a friend of mine in order to keep going a long-running feud, depleting limited town policing resources, and pulling officers out to intervene in a non-situation redounding to a fundamental Constitutional right.
Oh. And the State Trooper. Is former army. As an MP. Naturally.
Now, where am I going with all this. Well, first, that such a backdoor attempt to neuter remaining open carry laws — sure, you can open carry, unless that is someone sees you open carrying, or sees you cleaning a pistol or rifle, or sees you carrying ammo cans to a vehicle and claims to fear for their safety, because they see you have a firearm (rather than not knowing you have one, if you happen to have a concealed carry permit, which both he and I do) — is absurd, deconstructive of open carry laws on their face, and it’s something I’m thinking about taking up with some Second Amendment lawyers and town government.
And that’s not just because I believe the law is being used by unscrupulous people who themselves are around guns all the time (but believe only State Troopers should be able to have them; lest the balance of power gets all out of whack, and the little people without badges can just do whatever it is they please without proper vetting from state traffic police. For instance, my neighbor loves to carry his rifle by the sling from his cruiser to his house, not through the garage but in open site and taking the long route) — but rather because the law itself is in keeping with my years-long dissertation on what comes to count as honest interpretation, who controls the locus of meaning, and the increasing move, through the guises of safety or tolerance or some sort of “discomfort”, to use “progressive” PC tactics to criminalize legal behaviors and restrict freedoms to those sanctioned by government and bureaucratic agencies, despite their stature as natural rights.
No one has a “right” to feel “comfortable” at all times — and in fact, our First Amendment was written as a way to give that proclamation the force of a natural right. Too, people most certainly shouldn’t have a right to have our freedoms abridged — or keep us so harassed that we eventually relent and “voluntarily” relinquish our rights — just because they lay claim to not liking something we happen to be doing, be it on our porch or on our hips.
So you see? Synchronicity. protein wisdom coming full circle! The tyranny of an incoherent, but largely legally (and institutionally) adopted view of interpretation — here, the viewer of a visual text (the holstered sidearm) determines which possible meaning of that text works best to achieve her own motivation — and the law follows the business model of taking the (self-interested) path of least resistance (without worrying about the long term implications of what it is they are institutionalizing), putting the onus on the creator of the text to prove he didn’t mean what the receiver of the text decided he must or could mean.
Work that through in your heads.
Because I know that while this post began as a rather pedestrian recounting of my weekend — nothing more than an extra long Tweet, in fact — there really is more here. And it’s the how we get there matters portion of my years-long explications of language that need to be considered.
When I say that language — and more specifically, incoherent but readily adopted and institutionalized views of language — are at the root of lost liberty and the deconstruction of the Enlightenment paradigm erected around our founding ideals to protect and secure our natural rights and the freedom that flows from those rights, I am talking about more than mere semiotic niceties. The real-world applications of those beliefs — and our social/cultural/and legal concessions to the seemingly conciliatory nature of advocating mediation, compromise, and the path of least resistance with respect to the challenges of those founding ideals — is but providing short-term solutions while institutionalizing long-term moves toward tyranny and a police state, with truth built on consensus, and mob-rule populism taking the place of hoary old natural right designed specifically to protect the unpopular from the brayings of some temporary faddish mob.
To slightly alter a great Reagan line: There they go again.