Stupid Question

October 2nd, 2015

An article at Gizmodo wonders why there aren’t more copies of Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks at public libraries.


The authors of the essay try and get all scientifical about the question.  Waste of time.  The answer is obvious.

I’ve been playing the game since 1977, when the 1st Edition boxed set came out.  I know exactly why there aren’t more copies in libraries.  It is because people keep stealing them!

stealing books

I remember distinctly that rulebooks and source books for the game started to appear on library shelves in the late 1970’s as the popularity of the game soared.  I also remember that the books would disappear within days or weeks as cash-strapped gamers would fill their backpacks and walk out with the swag.

The books are expensive, which makes sense since the publisher can only sell one copy to each customer before they stop looking to buy.  After you have the rules, why buy another copy?  At last, why buy another copy as long as your girlfriend’s cat doesn’t pee on the book and make it smell to high heaven.

kitten wants to pee

So people short on money will snag an unsecured book.  Besides, do these guys look like they have any disposable income?

right now other people are having sex

The 1911 Mafia : A Personal Reflection

September 28th, 2015

I was very careful when first starting out in the shooting sports.  I hung out for hours at a local shooting range, asking the old hands endless questions concerning their hobby.   What was the best caliber?  The best design?  The best manufacturer?

Their recommendations led me to purchase a 1911 chambered in the .45 ACP cartridge, and made by the hoary gun firm of Colt.  It took less than 200 rounds for the brand new, factory fresh gun to fail in a catastrophic manner.

1911 catastrophic slide failure

That was both the first and last 1911 I have ever owned, as well as the first and last gun from Colt.

I sent the gun back to Colt, and they replaced it without comment.  According to my buddies at the range, such failures were not uncommon at the time when it came to Colt firearms.  Unlucky me, I had just drawn the short straw in the 1911 lottery.

The guys behind the counter wouldn’t give me full credit for the 1911, even though it was a new gun sent as a replacement for the crappy hunk-a-junk their flawed advice prompted me to buy in the first place.  I peered through the glass of the display case where the used guns were kept, and spotted a matte black beauty that looked pretty neat to my admittedly inexperienced eye.

s&w model 39

It was a S&W Model 39 with rubber grips, and the asking price was a great deal less than the trade in for the Colt.  Seems I could get the gun, as well as a hefty supply of ammo, as long as I gave up the 1911.  As you might imagine, I jumped at the chance!

Chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge, the Model 39 feeds from an 8 round single-stack magazine.  It came with an adjustable rear sight, and I put all that more-or-less free ammo to good use by carefully shooting and adjusting, shooting and adjusting, until it was zeroed in.  I learned a lot about proper gun handling from that firearm, as well as a great deal about effective armed self defense.  Years later, it was the first gun my first student ever fired in my charity self defense course.

I thought Model 39 was pretty snazzy myself, but my gun talking friends let it be known that I was no longer their friend.  I chose a 9mm over a .45, a Smith over a Colt?  Apostate!  Heathen!  Limp-wristed girly man!  Unwashed freak!  Might as well learn how to play guitar and vote Democrat, you filthy hippy!

filthy hippy

This might seem to be an extreme reaction, but I’ve run across it from time to time over the years.  There was one instance where I was approached at the firing range while conducting a class.  This concerned citizen was unhappy because I was teaching my students all wrong, as I didn’t have any guns chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge.  How could my students defend themselves with such paltry firepower as I had available?  They would shoot and shoot and shoot, and the best that could be hoped was that the bad guy would die of infection in a few days time!

Sounds like a joke?  I thought so at first, but he didn’t much like the way I laughed at his suggestion.

This attitude seems to have withered a lot over the past few decades.  I would have to attribute it to the vast numbers of new shooters who have joined our ranks, most of whom are only interested in carrying a concealed firearm for emergency self defense.  Added to this is the dizzying array of new designs that have been introduced to cater to this desire.  It is tough to maintain that only a 1911 chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge is suitable for defense when the nightly news is full of stories where the bad guys were stopped by something else.  I suppose most people just forge ahead in the way that they find comfortable, and ignore the old guard.

If only I had done that, back in the day!

So what happened to that M39, what I considered to be my first gun even though it was actually my second?

As mentioned before, it was used in my charity self defense course.  I tried to keep it going as long as I could, replacing this or that part when they became worn, but it eventually succumbed to a case of diminishing returns.  All in all, about six or seven thousand rounds were fired through that used gun before I finally had to let it retire.  There are people alive today living free from fear because of that gun.

I think that is a pretty good legacy, even if it wasn’t chambered for a forty-five.


September 14th, 2015

maple sugar bacon donut

The maple sugar bacon donut in front would be the first consumed, the coconut covered monstrosity in back would probably not be eaten at all.

I would have to say that the pastries are arranged in pretty much the order they would go.  Whoever packed the box knew human nature pretty well.

This isn’t a picture taken by myself, as I have never encountered a maple sugar bacon donut.  Which means that I have to move to someplace civilized!

Serial Killer Gear

September 8th, 2015

Pity poor Chillicothe, Ohio.  (Chill-ah-koth-ee Ah-hia.)  Never a big city, it has seen better days nonetheless.  Except for an historical drama play that has been held in an outdoor theater there since 1973, there is very little to recommend the town itself.

chillicothe ohio

It is a very pretty patch of ground, however, with some interesting hiking to be had up and down the hilly landscape.  I’ve walked over most of the area myself, and can recommend it for the extremely well preserved mounds built by native American cultures that vanished close to two thousand years ago.

All that is well and good, but there is trouble to be found in this small slice of Americana.    In law enforcement circles, the unofficial word is that the place is a hotbed of marijuana smuggling and prostitution.

That is small potatoes compared to what has been going on in Chillicothe these past twelve months.  Seems a serial killer came to town in order to sample the ladies of the evening.

prostitute on street corner

Six women disappeared from their usual street corners.  Four eventually turned up again, but things weren’t taking the usual turn.  They were all disposed of in different ways.

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How Very French!

August 24th, 2015

Remember the terrorist wannabee that shot up the train in France, only to be beaten into unconsciousness by three Americans?

This news article reports that the crew of the train barricaded themselves in their staffroom when the shooting started, and refused to help as passengers banged on the door and begged for aid.

welcome to france we surrender

Gotta Catch Them All

August 24th, 2015

Police in Boston, Massachusetts claim to have foiled a pair of misfits who threatened to kill attendees at the Pokemon World Championships, which was held just this past weekend.

james stumbo 27 years old arrested on weapon charges

kevin norton 18 years old arrested on weapon charges

Seems the event is by invitation only, and the two were slated to compete in the Masters Division.  They drove to Boston from Iowa, and tried to enter the convention building the day before everything started.  Police were waiting, and turned them away.

It took a few hours, but police then obtained a search warrant that allowed them to check the interior of the car the two were driving.  They found guns and ammunition, as well as a lone hunting knife.

guns the alleged pokemon shooters were going to use

Since the state of Massachusetts has some pretty restrictive gun laws, the authorities were then able to arrest the pair.  Near as I can tell their offenses were that they had magazines for the AR style rifle which could hold more than ten rounds, and they didn’t have licenses for their guns which would allow them to transport them inside the state.

The police say that they foiled a mass shooting, saving a bunch of innocent Pokemon players from the attentions of some depraved terrorist wannabees.  But what did the pair do to justify such harsh claims?

Well, for one thing, they had been so incredibly stupid that they posted a picture on Facebook of the weapons they were bringing with them to the convention.

the guns the pokemon attendees brought to boston

Police also pointed to a single line where one of the two doofi said they were going to kill the competition.

single line appearing on facebook that the police treated as a significant threat

I don’t know, this seems to be pretty weak tea for the police to be high-fiving each other and crowing about how they stopped a mass slaughter.  They have to take every threat seriously, and they did good work, but I don’t see the slam dunk they claim.

Couple of gamers want to play tough guys, so they take their guns with them when they go to the big city for a convention.  They try to get inside the convention hall the day before the event so they will know where everything is before the swirling crowds get on the way.   And no one in history has ever posted something unwise on Facebook?

One factor that gives me pause is the rather large ammo cache they brought with them.  Kind of an excessive amount of gun food if all they were doing was an ego stroke, but it could be that they were worried about being caught in more race riots.

On the “innocent prank gone wrong” side of the scales, the police found the guns and ammo inside the car when they served their search warrant, not inside the hotel room where the gamers were staying.  Wouldn’t they want their murder tools to be close if they were planning on killing innocents by the bucketfull?

Keep in mind that I agree with the actions of law enforcement.  These two morons from Iowa took guns into a state which boasts one of the heaviest infestations of anti-gun freaks in the nation, and they bragged about it on the Internet!  The cops are there to enforce the law, not to pick and choose which laws will be upheld.  The suspects have only been charged with weapon offenses, not intent to commit terrorist acts, which is exactly what one would expect if the authorities were playing it straight.

That having been said, I think that there would have to be a lot more evidence of a plot to commit mass murder before I’d sign on to the idea that the cops foiled an active shooter event in the making.  Maybe they have such evidence and it never made it into the press release, but right now it looks like the police are bigger braggarts than the people they arrested.

Cthulhu Door Knocker

August 21st, 2015

cthulhu door knocker

For the person who wants their front door to say “GO AWAY!”

What Is A Safe Queen?

August 17th, 2015

fancy dress sword 1

fancy dress sword 2

My oh my!  Ain’t that the prettiest thing ever!

Of course, I’d never carry something like that around for my own personal defense.  It would be locked up at home, only to see the light of day if I was going to a formal dress ball or costume party.

So what would I carry about my person so I would be a hard target for evildoers?

plain unadorned cutlass

Not fancy at all, but really serviceable.  Try to attack James and you get the chop-chop!

Swords are not the only thing to get the bling treatment.

engraved 1911

My oh my!  Ain’t that the prettiest thing ever!  All that gold leaf and mother-of-pearl grip panels and all.

I bet the gun is fully functional, but I would still never carry it for defense.  My personal arm would look something like this.

plain unadorned 1911

Hmmm.  Looks like I need to give the old warhorse a good cleaning!

A reader had heard the term “safe queen”, and was wondering what that was.  It refers to guns that are never used, and are instead locked up in the gun safe.

Fancy firearms with engraving and hand wrought grips are but the most common examples.  It could be a antique bought as an investment, a rare gun that the owner wanted to acquire because they thought it was neat, or even a plain-jane gun that once belonged to a beloved family member that is kept for sentimental purposes.  The reasons are legion, with the only common trait being that the guns are squirreled away and almost never used for their intended purpose.

If someone talks about a safe queen it is usually in a tone of derision and scorn.  It is not a polite thing to say about another person’s firearms, unless they use the phrase first.

Suicide By Cop

August 7th, 2015

It seemed to be yet another crazed gunman looking to kill as many innocent people as possible.  The venue for the attack was a movie theater known for their anti-gun policy, which would ensure plenty of helpless victims.

The suspect was reportedly well armed.  He had a gun, pepper spray, and a hatchet.

taurus millenium pro

defensive chemical spray


He was also carrying two backpacks, and no one knew what was tucked away inside.

two alpine canvas backpacks

So all of the basic elements were there for an active shooter who had spent months planning his hellish last stand, but the details rang false.

The movie had been out for months, long enough for interest to wane, and was shown at 13:00 hours (1:00 PM).  Only seven people were in attendance.

sparsely attended theater

The suspect started to attack other people with the pepper spray and hatchet, but didn’t shoot anyone.  Although one patron suffered a hatchet wound on the shoulder, and a total of three were doused with spray, everyone managed to run out of the theater without getting killed.

It makes sense that he wasn’t trying to shoot anyone because he wasn’t armed with an actual firearm.  The gun he had was an airsoft toy, a gun that shoots soft plastic pellets.

airsoft handgun with red tip barrel

A lone police officer entered the dark theater after the terrified ticket buyers made their escape.  He initially reported that he exchanged gunfire with the suspect.

This might seem rather odd to some.  Wasn’t the suspect shooting off a toy?

It was indeed a toy but some of them are made to make a fairly loud noise, which aligns with the goal of making the replica as realistic as possible.  The noise produced is not as loud as an actual firearm, but that little detail would probably be lost if one thought they were in a life-or-death situation.

The officer left the theater, other officers took up positions at the rear of the building in case the suspect tried to leave by the back doors, and the SWAT team was called in.  They apparently gave the suspect many chances to give up, but he refused to cooperate.  He was finally killed by officers outside when he tried to leave by the aforementioned back doors with a backpack strapped to his chest.

It looks to me like the police did the best they could under the circumstances.  Surprising no one, the suspect turns out to be a mentally disturbed young man with a long history of bad behavior.  Goodness only knows what was going through what was left of his mind, but it appears to me that he was given multiple chances to accept the help he needed.  The pity is that nothing worked.

Some Thoughts On Dual Wielding

August 3rd, 2015

I was watching a few YouTube videos where the subject of dual wielding swords was discussed.

dual wielding swords

The consensus was that it certainly was a very prevalent technique back in the day, but it was useful only in very limited circumstances.  There was a reason why people didn’t haul around two swords all the time.

So what about dual wielding handguns?  Do I address this in my charity course?

Most of my students are, shall I say, of a certain age.


They tend to be extremely down to earth.  Practical, realistic, logical.

This is generally not the case with younger students.  Instead of a wealth of past experiences to draw upon to make decisions about the real world, they tend to filter reality through what they have seen and done on their computers.

video game fan

That is why I sometimes get questions about dual wielding.


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