Sunday, December 7, 2008

Some Thoughts on Weaponry

Events this weekend have brought weaponry to mind. I'm now the proud owner of a Ruger Mini-14, in stainless with a composite carbon stock. I bought it at the gun show Saturday morning, background check and everything. Its a sad state of affairs when an uninfringable right requires the seeking of government permission for its consummation, but this is a digression which many others have taken far better than I could, and for my piece, I'll save it for another time and place. The point is, times are making me rethink many of my priorities, and firepower is definitely moving up the list. I'm very happy with my purchase. The second, and more important event occurred sometime late that night, or early the next morning perhaps. I was awakened by shouting from outside, which I slowly recognized as my head cleared as a plea for help. A man's voice was calling out quite loudly for somebody to please help him. I pulled on my pants and my steel-toed workboots as fast as I could, and ran to the closet to arm myself. I had a choice: my Smith & Wesson .38 special, a double-action revolver, or my Walther PPK in .380, otherwise known as "The James Bond Gun" to non-gun afficionadoes. Its a semiautomatic slide-action weapon. In addition, I always carry a Gerber pocketknife with a one-handed action. I opted for the revolver. Not having a holster handy, I stuffed it in the waistband of my pants, and grabbed my denim jacket, fastening just the bottom button to barely conceal the bulge of the revolver and the protruding wooden grip. I went out into the night, my mother in law yelling at me in unintelligible (at least to me) Chinese, to look for the distressed individual and see if I could help him out. The point of the story here is not to make myself out into some kind of wannabe superhero. The point is, given the choice and in a pressing situation, I opted for a 19th century weapon over a much more modern and nominally higher performance version. Why? When I was a kid, I went shooting quite a bit. I wasn't bad. Now that I'm an old man, I don't get quite the practice I once did. Now, I'd still give myself good odds against some punk with a gat he'd maybe shot 3 times in his life, maybe 20:1 odds in my favor, but all the same, I'd like my weapon to be simple to operate. If I'm jacking with all the safeties and trying to load a round in the chamber and whatnot, I'm not shooting. Safety sitting in the closet safe and under enemy fire are two entirely different things. Sure, you can keep a round chambered all the time, but I'm not too keen keeping a live round in front of the hammer all the time. On top of that, I've shot a few living things in my life. Varmints are one thing, but lining up the sights on something like a deer will give you a case of the shakes like you wouldn't believe. Its part of the rush of hunting, I suppose. I've heard if you've shot enough, it goes away, but I guess I'm not there yet. At any rate, deer don't shoot back. I would imagine that being in a gunfight gives one a sever case of jangled nerves. Again, I want my weapon simple in such a case. I don't want to be fumbling around trying to remember how to operate the thing when the lead starts flying. As Kim du Toit would say, you pick up a revolver and it works. I suppose that if you handle your Desert Eagle or your Tech-9 on a regular basis, and can work it in your sleep, these are superior weapons. As for me, I'll stick with the fewest moving parts and the simplest operation. All things to consider in the purchase of a weapon. You'll probably want one in the coming months. So whatever happened to the guy? I don't know. He quit calling just before I made it outside, so I never really could tell what direction it was coming from. I did a quick walk through of my area of the apartment complex, but couldn't find anybody who seemed to be in trouble. For that early in the morning, there were quite a few other people stirring, so I figured either somebody else found him, or he decided he really didn't need that much help after all. No, I didn't call the cops. Why involve the state? They're not going to help you anyway. I figured I'd leave well enough alone, and not turn it into a bigger fiasco.

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