Range Day 24 FEB 18

Posted: February 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

Last week I bought a Ruger American Pistol in 9mm.  It was the more expensive of the two Ruger pistols I was considering but I am totally happy with my choice.  The pistol fits my grip well, handles easily and operates like a champ.  The image below was my first 50 rounds.  I had one more outlier in my second 50 rounds.  I was firing 115 gn Blazer FMJ.  I only had two 50 round boxes on me and I would have bought more at the range but they had it for $18.50 a box and I got mine for $11 per box.  So if you go to WCW Kenmore ranges and they tell you they have competitive ammo prices, they are not being truthful. I was also the only person on the line keeping my shots in the eight inch circle.  Funny since I have not been shooting for very long.

24feb range day

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No Worries, I’m good.

Posted: February 23, 2018 in Uncategorized

Some friendship is tenuous, unexpectedly so in fact.  I know someone who over the last year has become a vegan.  I don’t judge others on this choice, I understand the various reasons.  I know more than a few people who follow that particular path.  It isn’t my path.  They respect my decision and I respect their decision.  The only time it creates conflict is when we choose to dine out together.  This particular person posted one of those memes that compare the habits of others to something terrible in order to shame them for their personal choices. In this case it was comparing pigs to dogs.  Her point was that you love your dog, it is a living thing, you are sad when it dies.  A pig is also a living thing and if it is your pet you would also be sad when it dies, yet people eat pigs (yay bacon) and not dogs. I did not point out that there are places in the world where dog is regularly on the menu.  I did point out that I personally would eat a dog in a given situation because as much as I like dogs (I like most animals quite a lot) if I have the choice between starving to death or eating a dog I can safely say that I would probably carve Fido into stew meat.  The other person found this abhorrent and disgusting.  I admit that the idea of eating a pet is a terrible one but in a situation where food is so scarce that you might think about eating your pet is it really a service to the animal let it live when you can no longer provide for it?  That same dog in the same situation will probably be out looking for other animals it can eat and animals not your friend would happily dine on you.  Pigs may be smart and cuddly and just as good a pet as dogs but if people is all there is to eat then people is what they will eat.

I did not bother to pursue the conversation.  It turns out that this person has actually stopped following me in social media already.  Now I don’t know if that was inspired by my comments about eating a dog or if it pre-dated the interaction.  But I am a leather worker, have been for years and she had even praised my work in the past.  Her husband had already asked me about making belts and pouches for his next gig at a Ren Faire in spring.  Now she is telling me that she thinks I am insane because I would eat the dead carcass of another animal.  Her phrasing actually implied that she thinks everyone who eats meat is insane, including her other “friends” and acquaintances.  There was an unexpected vehemence there and I cannot help but wonder how many other people she is interacting with every day, also via social media, who do not realize that she thinks they have a disgusting, insane habit.  She painted a picture where I am somehow less than she is because I would eat something else that had a “life force”.

BAM, another person gone form my sphere.  I know, it seems like trend lately.  Some of it is because I am choosing my fights.  I cannot tell you how many people I have snoozed for 30 days on FB because I just don’t have the energy to deal with their flailing and inability to listen to my points in a civil discussion.  I have also recently removed a good dozen or so people from my social media.  I am not angry at them, in fact I am indifferent.  I am choosing to keep the people near me who actually interact with me and, heaven forbid, occasionally converse with me on any given subject.  It does my social paranoia no good what so ever to have people around who never seem to want to talk to me of their own choosing.  I just start thinking that I obviously don’t have much impact on them.  That’s fine, I am an acquired taste, I know.  There are some down sides to this practice.  If you aren’t careful you can end up with an echo chamber of people who just mirror your opinions and ideas.  So far that hasn’t happened.  I connect with people via social media who hold vastly different opinions and we still manage to get along just fine and even seek out each other’s company.

I don’t have time for shit like that.  Rai reminded me this morning to seek mindfulness.  A concept that I touched on a lot when I was working with a therapist but really my goal was to address my social anxiety which I count as a success since I am way better than I used to be.  Because I learned that anxiety is just worrying about something that hasn’t happened and may not happen yet.  Even if it does happen what is the worst possible outcome?  When you break the fear down it is a lot easier to figure what you should and should not be anxious about.  Like going to a social function really doesn’t have any dire consequences.  A bad night out doesn’t generally end in death and destruction and torment.  But I think that I spent so much time working on the anxiety issue that I let mindfulness slip away.  Cultivating a mindful attitude is also key to reducing stress and anxiety.  It is easier to maintain a mindful outlook when you are not dealing with a cacophony of voices, internal or external.  This is true for me, it may not be for you.  So I am trying to do the things that reduce my stress.  I am looking for my joy and I am trying to compartmentalize things so that I don’t feel overwhelmed, which has been a large part of my anxiety ingredient list for many years.

Don’t fret.  I am not depressed.  The world may make me sad or angry or even afraid but I am not on a self destructive path.  I am just trying to be a lot more choosey about what I let in.

I only went in for ammo

Posted: February 19, 2018 in Firearms

I went in for two boxes of 9mm FMJ on my way to the range to break in my new pistol.

They made me an offer I could not refuse, $650 for a $900 rifle.  That is not a suppressor, this is the target model, that lets you tune your barrel to counter the harmonic vibrations of a given type of ammo.

mymini14

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Image  —  Posted: February 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

Range Day 4FEB18

Posted: February 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

Spent about three hours at the range on Sunday, this was from the first hour or so.  Keeping a rifle steady seems easier without a scope 🙂27540473_10215825339011600_6883476896844914375_n

Heavy Shit

Posted: January 25, 2018 in Uncategorized

I have not been to a LARP since this time last year, which was Shadow Accord.  I sold off my fancy foam weapons other than the boffers my friend Brittany made for me.  My costumes are in storage bins.  My friends often ask me when I am coming back to Oz, when I am coming back to Shadow Accord, or if I am still going to try Alliance or Legacies.  I have a difficult time making any sort of committal statement.  LARP is something I really enjoy.  Most of my hobbies dovetail nicely into LARPing and I would have a significantly smaller social circle, not that it is very big, if I had not got into the local games.  So why am I so reticent to keep going?

The short answer is Bleed.

LARP can be intense.  You may find yourself experience epic highs and lows and just like a good book or movie this can cause catharsis.  People can become depressed when their character suffers a setback or worse still is killed off during a game.  Anger, sadness, joy are all common during a weekend of playing pretend out in the woods with your friends.  That emotion can bleed into your real life, color your perceptions and drive your actions.  For many people the drive home after the game is plenty of time to chill out, normalize their emotional levels and move on with the task of getting ready for the next work week.  Some people are effected more, maybe they need to take some time out during game and go off alone.  Maybe it takes them days to process things, maybe they need to examine what caused the actual emotional upset and talk to someone about it.  Whatever the case may be a healthy group and a healthy game community can usually handle it.

My problem is not game bleed, but RL Bleed.  Since November of 2016 I just feel like there is a constant assault on sanity and emotional security.  Civil rights are being stomped on, the global community is being dismantled and the advances, what few there have been in the last eight decades feel like they are being demolished.  We live in a country where a civil authority can decide to detain whomever they want for arbitrary reasons.  Law enforcement officers who commit abusive acts of power are not prosecuted despite overwhelming evidence against them and ethno centric white nationalists do not fear spewing hateful rhetoric or advocating violence because the reactions and attitudes of the current administration not only seem to support them but actively refuse to disavow them.

I know people will say that maybe LARP will provide some escapism and for many people it may do that but to me it feels like actively adding to an emotional burden.  I already have anger, sadness and occasionally a bit of joy.  I already have intense emotional reactions to the things I am seeing on the news, I do not want to go simulate those things.  I do not know what the solution is for me personally but it is something I think about often.

A Letter to My State Reps

Posted: January 23, 2018 in Uncategorized

Given the civil and political climate of this country, my wife and have become firearms owners over the last year.  In the process of getting proper instruction and learning to safely and responsibly, handle a gun I find that I have a whole new set of thoughts and reactions to firearm legislation.  Below are my thoughts concerning recent proposed legislation in the state of Washington.  I am sure that common sense can prevail and that you, my chosen representatives will spend just as much time on the far more important civil rights issues currently at stake.  I personally feel that it is far more important to address issues of inequality and systemic institutionalized racism than to concentrate efforts on how many bullets are in the magazine of my firearm.  I would like to see efforts tooth and nail put toward combating the casual destruction of the environment and halting the growth of nationalist ethno-centric fascism currently be encouraged by the highest political office in this country.  I am a liberal democratic firearms owner and I thank you for your time and consideration as you read this communication.

Legislative concerns:

The regulation of firearms by local governments, specifically city governments and the removal of state preemption will likely create more inadvertent criminals tax the already over stressed resources and training of local law enforcement.  The obvious caveat being that if you criminalize the possession of a firearm within city limits then only criminals will have them.  A law abiding, tax paying citizen and resident may choose to comply with the law and not carry a firearm within a defined boundary, despite WA being an open carry state and a shall issue state with regards to concealed carry permits.  However, the criminal element, who by definition regularly breaks the law, is not going to stop at the mystical city boundary and relinquish their firearm to the nearest law enforcement officer.  That person is going to go merrily about their business knowing that the general population has been disarmed.

Similar considerations must also be taken into account when addressing legislation that covers carrying a weapon, concealed or otherwise, in a given specific location such as licensed childcare center premises, childcare center-provided transportation, or areas of facilities being used exclusively by a childcare center:

(1) Any firearm;

(2) Any other dangerous weapon as described in RCW 9.41.250;

(3) Any air gun, including any air pistol or air rifle;

(4) Any portable device manufactured to function as a weapon and which is commonly known as a stun gun, including a projectile stun gun; or

(5) Any device, object, or instrument that is used or intended to be used as a weapon with the intent to injure a person by an electric shock, charge, or impulse.

By enacting the legislation you are creating a pool of victims and invalidating not only, a state right but also a constitutional right.  The provisions above would serve only to endanger care providers and their charges.  While it is true that disturbed individuals have targeted schools and childcare facilities those same individuals would have proceeded with their heinous acts even if these provisions were in place, where as an immediate armed response on the site of the incident would likely have mitigated the situation and prevented further tragedy.  Preventing a law-abiding person from carrying a firearm is not going to stop a criminal or disturbed individual from perpetrating damage and destruction of life.  Unless the point is to have these locations hire armed security, not a bad idea, though it is an expensive solution which many such facilities may not be able to afford, this should be re considered to address the possibility of providing/requiring training to interested child care providers so that they may intern assure the parents of their charges that the children will be in a safe environment, protected in actuality and not just on paper.

Concerning the prohibition of “large capacity magazines”, I must only conjecture that people who believe this will make a difference in the safety of victims know nothing about the use of firearms.  Agencies across this country have shown that the size of the magazine makes no difference in the ability of the aggressor to do harm, nor does it aid people in stopping that person from wreaking mayhem.  There are exceptions of course.  Someone using a double-barreled side-by-side shot gun will take more time to reload than someone using a weapon with a larger capacity takes, however I urge you go to you tube and look up the various cowboy action shooting sports and multi gun shooting sports.  With very little practice, a shooter can vastly reduce the actual reload time of the weapon.  You cannot ban a person’s physical ability to use a tool effectively.  Once more people who think that reducing the amount of ammunition a firearm can hold, legally, are not paying attention to how gun violence is being committed.  Criminals using handguns can easily carry multiple handguns, simply drop the empty, and quickly draw another.  Rifle users can easily and quickly change the magazine in a rifle.  That is true for any rifle not just the feared AR platform.  Some people seem to think that firearms built to military specifications are also more concealable.  Anyone who believes that needs to look at what a fully equipped soldier carries into battle.  Which brings up the phrase “assault rifle”.  This is a buzzword used by fear mongers who do not know anything about firearms.  Every rifle made since the matchlock of the 14th century was made for military use. The addition of physical, often cosmetic elements does not make that rifle more or less dangerous.  A powerful bolt-action hunting rifle in the hands of a practiced user can be far more deadly than an unfortunately disturbed individual with a semi-automatic rifle.

There are obvious modifications to a firearm, which are valid to prohibit.  Items such as a bump stock, which vastly increases the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle, is an excellent example of something that should never have been allowed to be easily obtained.  They should have been NFA items from the outset.  Yet people seem to think that making a suppressor easy to get is a bad idea.  An item, which protects the hearing of the user and those around them, is somehow more devious than an item designed to make a firearm more dangerous.  Personally, I also feel that bump stocks are a danger to the user, anyone who disagrees should look up tolerances for rifle barrels and how hot they can get.

Trigger modification devices also seem to put the uniformed populace on edge.  Many of the safest and most common handguns currently for sale and in operation in the country have modified triggers.  They have a built in safety feature.  Now I am certain that this type of modification comes up because people believe that the modification of a trigger assembly can somehow make the weapon more deadly.  This is possibly a valid point, but the gun still fires one bullet with each trigger pull no matter what existing modifications are possible to implement.  Given that the plethora of shooting sports, up to and including Olympic shooters often employ modified triggers, perhaps this subject requires more consideration.

Prohibitions on a person purchasing a firearm unless, at the time of the purchase, presents to the seller proof that they are covered by a qualified liability insurance policy must have been penned by someone in the insurance industry.  While it does make sense to have insurance to cover not only your firearm as well as the possible defensive use of that firearm, it should be optional.  Given the long standing and, I believe, innate corruption in the insurance industry all that this would do is inspire people to cheat, lead to expensive lawsuits, and lining the pockets of some insurance agent somewhere who suddenly has the ability to choose for whatever reason not to cover someone.  As for FFL holders, they already have an FFL, they have been approved by federal law enforcement agencies to conduct their business.  Requiring expensive insurance options would likely put many out of business, which would have a detrimental effect to local law enforcement as well as private owners.

Licensing!  Finally legislation that makes some common sense.  Yes, this country should have a national level firearms license.  It should work just like a driver’s license.  Every state in the union requires education, training and testing in order to gain the privilege to drive a motor vehicle and if you want to drive something bigger, you need more certification and training.  I see no reason that this same paradigm should not be applied to ownership of firearms.  While it does not do anything to limit criminal possession of firearms, something that cannot even through prohibition be controlled, it means that you have a much more educated gun culture.  I personally have been at a firing range and seen people with little or no training allowed to operate a handgun.  Needless to say that I do not go to that range anymore.  It is my firm belief that legislation of this type will also limit the number of people casually buying firearms and if it is administered at the national level then all questions of reciprocity and educational standards more easily enacted.  Barring that, I would love to see legislation of this type enacted at the state level.  On a similar note, state and federal backed educational resources would vastly improve the existing gun culture in this country.  I personally despise the NRA-ILA and will go to great lengths not to give them any money.  Even though I value the education that their instructors can impart, I have no control over what that money does once it is in the coffers of that organization.  I would much rather pay into the state coffers to get similar instruction.

On a related note, I feel that legislation which prohibits the creation of an active gun registry or a database of firearms owners is a complete no brainer.  I want law enforcement to know what firearms I own and when I bought them and if I sold them.  I want homicide detectives to be able to quickly and easily acquire the providence of a weapon used in a murder or crime.  I want people to be accept responsibility for these useful yet very dangerous tools.  If my car is used in a crime, the DOL can give pertinent information to the police to help them solve the crime.  I see no reason why firearms should not be treated the same way.

 

With respect,

Andrew MacEwen