Saturday, April 18, 2009

Close to home

This story, unlike some break-ins, had a happy ending. It also happens to have occurred in my city, which is not known as a particularly violent place to live.


A suspected burglar is under arrest Saturday morning after police say the homeowner took security into their own hands.

Colorado Springs police say they were called to 3295 West Woodmen Road on a report that a person armed with a knife had just broken into the caller's home. The caller told police they had used their gun to fire a shot at the armed suspect and the suspect had run away.

Police and K-9 units found the suspect in the woods with non-life threatening wound to his lower leg. He was transported to Memorial Hospital and arrested after he was released.

The suspect, Ricky Hatcher, was booked into the Criminal Justice Center for Felony Menacing.

Police say the homeowner and Hatcher may have known each other. Police say the homeowner is not facing charges pending further review by the District Attorneys office.


I've got to make sure my wife reads this. (For some reason, and I could be wrong, but I have the feeling the homeowner involved is a woman, mainly because it's written using variants of they which, as any decent writer knows, is not correct grammar.)

Take care.

Others' perception of you could be jeanetic

George Will recently penned a piece opining on the the proliferation of denim wearers and, most importantly, the philosophy behind this several-decades-long phenomenon. You can read it below, along with my comments, of course.


Demon Denim
By George F. Will

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On any American street, or in any airport or mall, you see the same sad tableau: A 10-year-old boy is walking with his father, whose development was evidently arrested when he was that age, judging by his clothes. Father and son are dressed identically -- running shoes, T-shirts. And jeans, always jeans. If mother is there, she, too, is draped in denim. [James Howard Kunstler called it the infantilization of the American adult male, although it goes for American adult females too.]

Writer Daniel Akst has noticed and has had a constructive conniption. He should be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has earned it by identifying an obnoxious misuse of freedom. [Sorry, George, but that's going a bit too far. Freedom means putting up with slobs who have no idea that's what they are, but I kind of get your drift.] Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he has denounced denim, summoning Americans to soul-searching and repentance about the plague of that ubiquitous fabric, which is symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche.

It is, he says, a manifestation of "the modern trend toward undifferentiated dressing, in which we all strive to look equally shabby." Denim reflects "our most nostalgic and destructive agrarian longings -- the ones that prompted all those exurban McMansions now sliding off their manicured lawns and into foreclosure." Jeans come prewashed and acid-treated to make them look like what they are not -- authentic work clothes for horny-handed sons of toil and the soil. Denim on the bourgeoisie is, Akst says, the wardrobe equivalent of driving a Hummer to a Whole Foods store -- discordant. [True.]

Long ago, when James Dean and Marlon Brando wore it, denim was, Akst says, "a symbol of youthful defiance." [Now, since practically everyone wears denim, kids have to show youthful defiance by wearing their baseball hats cockeyed, or having tats or piercings.] Today, Silicon Valley billionaires are rebels without causes beyond poses, wearing jeans when introducing new products. [Yeah, I've noticed this over the years. They try so much to be some kind of iconoclast, but they end up looking like they're trying too hard and merely appear foolish.] Akst's summa contra denim is grand as far as it goes, but it only scratches the surface of this blight on Americans' surfaces. Denim is the infantile uniform of a nation in which entertainment frequently features childlike adults ("Seinfeld," "Two and a Half Men") and cartoons for adults ("King of the Hill"). Seventy-five percent of American "gamers" -- people who play video games -- are older than 18 and nevertheless are allowed to vote. In their undifferentiated dress, children and their childish parents become undifferentiated audiences for juvenilized movies (the six -- so far -- "Batman" adventures and "Indiana Jones and the Credit-Default Swaps," coming soon to a cineplex near you). [Yes! YEEEESSSSS!!! Oh, and let's not forget the worship of sports teams and all of the piggish behavior that seems to entail.] Denim is the clerical vestment for the priesthood of all believers in democracy's catechism of leveling -- thou shalt not dress better than society's most slovenly. To do so would be to commit the sin of lookism -- of believing that appearance matters. [If appearance DIDN'T matter, then why is the media and pop culture filled with images of so-called beautiful people? Of course appearance matters, which is why every mother's son and daughter ought to do their best to look neat, clean, and well-dressed at least a couple of days a week.] That heresy leads to denying the universal appropriateness of everything, and then to the elitist assertion that there is good and bad taste. [In other words, it leads to the "Who are you to judge?" mentality which, when embraced, leads to more and more boorish behavior, dress, and attitude. It leads to mindless lemming-like conformity and a suppression of thought, and that's NEVER a good thing.]

Denim is the carefully calculated costume of people eager to communicate indifference to appearances. But the appearances that people choose to present in public are cues from which we make inferences about their maturity and respect for those to whom they are presenting themselves. [This is so true. If you dress casually, what does that say about your attitude and thoughts about your audience? Not much in my book.]

Do not blame Levi Strauss for the misuse of Levi's. [I don't.] When the Gold Rush began, Strauss moved to San Francisco planning to sell strong fabric for the 49ers' tents and wagon covers. Eventually, however, he made tough pants, reinforced by copper rivets, for the tough men who knelt on the muddy, stony banks of Northern California creeks, panning for gold. Today it is silly for Americans whose closest approximation of physical labor consists of loading their bags of clubs into golf carts to go around in public dressed for driving steers up the Chisholm Trail to the railhead in Abilene. [Bwaahaha!]

This is not complicated. For men, sartorial good taste can be reduced to one rule: If Fred Astaire would not have worn it, don't wear it. For women, substitute Grace Kelly. [Hmmm, I hadn't thought of it that way, but I guess that's as good a milepost as any to start from.]

Edmund Burke -- what he would have thought of the denimization of America can be inferred from his lament that the French Revolution assaulted "the decent drapery of life"; it is a straight line from the fall of the Bastille to the rise of denim -- said: "To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely." Ours would be much more so if supposed grown-ups would heed St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, and St. Barack's inaugural sermon to the Americans, by putting away childish things, starting with [but not limited to] denim.

(A confession: The author owns one pair of jeans. Wore them once. Had to. Such was the dress code for former senator Jack Danforth's 70th birthday party, where Jerry Jeff Walker sang his classic "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother." Music for a jeans-wearing crowd.)


Bravo!, George Will, for bringing up this topic. Too bad it will fall on deaf ears, or those that do hear your message will miss its point entirely and dismiss you as a snob. Oh well, pearls before swine and all that.

By the way, one of my favorite things to do is to put on a pair of casual chinos, dress shoes, a dress shirt (no tie), and a sports coat and shop for a few things at Wal-mart. The looks I get from the slovenly dressed there, which comprise about 95% of shoppers, are priceless. It's all great, good fun, and my little slap at the ignorant, boorish behavior and dress that has become the norm in America.

Take care.

P.S. I own more than one pair of jeans, but I don't wear them every single day. I also have other forms of dress and I believe I'll be wearing those forms more and more in the future so as to differentiate myself from the rabble.

P.P.S. No doubt some of you will say, "I don't care what others think of me." Yes, you do. Would you rather drive a shiny, new, paid-off car, or an old beater? Be honest. Have you ever checked your nostrils in a mirror to see if there is anything there that shouldn't be? Sure you have, because you care about what someone might think of you should you have dried snot ringing your nose. Don't give me that tact; try it on someone else. If you truly don't care, then forget this post and go in peace like the slob you've likely always been.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jack Weaver

I didn't even know he was still alive. Well, I guess he's not anymore.


The shooting world lost one of its best-known names last week. Former Los Angeles County Deputy Jack Weaver, 80, died Tuesday in Carson City. Weaver, for those of you not familiar with the name, is the man for whom the Weaver Shooting Stance is named.

After experimenting with a variety of shooting stances and modifications, Weaver decided the best position for reaction shooting was simple: two hands on the weapon, gun up a foot or so above the vertical centerline of the body, and head slightly dropped. This gave him what he called a "flash picture" of the target. It also gave him the 1959 "Leatherslap" gunfighting title. As he explained "it looked kind of stupid, and everybody was laughing at me, but it worked."

After three years of losing to Weaver, Guns and Ammo writer and legendary shooting expert Jeff Cooper proclaimed the Weaver Stance "decisively superior" to anything else. In fact, Cooper incorporated Weaver's stance into his Modern Technique of the Pistol.

On Saturday evening, I spoke with Weaver's son, Alan, about his father and learned that this last year of his life had been one "of a rock star" after American Handgunner published a story about Weaver and his stance in its May issue. "All last year," Alan said, "Dad got letters, videos, patches from police departments and shooting clubs, tons of mementos that made him realize that people did remember him and his contributions."

We all remember Weaver's contribution to shooting -every time we take a two handed Weaver, or modified Weaver or whatever you call it.

--Jim Shepherd


Like or loathe his stance (I kind of like it), he did help move accurate handgun shooting to the point it is today.

Take care.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Truly newsworthy

Which came first, a population of dolts or a press that reports such drivel?


LOS ANGELES – Miley Cyrus and alter-ego Hannah Montana have double-teamed their way to another No. 1 box office debut.

Cyrus' "Hannah Montana: The Movie" opened this weekend with $34 million in ticket sales. The big weekend follows Cyrus' first-place premiere last year with her 3-D concert film.

The movie is a big-screen installment of the Disney Channel series about a teen living a double life as an ordinary high school girl and pop star Hannah.

"Hanna Montana" drew $17.3 million on Friday for the biggest opening day ever for a G-rated live-action movie.

"Fast & Furious" fell back to second place this weekend. The street-racing thriller pulled in $28.8 million to raise its domestic total to $118 million.


I see America's greatest achievements rapidly fading in the rear view mirror.

Take care.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Battle of Blenheim

Here's a little poem I stumbled across that I thought others might like. Take a gander and see what you think.


The Battle of Blenheim
Robert Southey (1774-1843)

It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar's work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round,
Which he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.

Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
And, with a natural sigh,
"'Tis some poor fellow's skull," said he,
"Who fell in the great victory.

"I find them in the garden,
For there's many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men," said he,
"Were slain in that great victory."

"Now tell us what 'twas all about,"
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
"Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for."

"It was the English," Kaspar cried,
"Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for,
I could not well make out;
But everybody said," quoth he,
"That 'twas a famous victory.

"My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.

"With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

"They say it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

"Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won,
And our good Prince Eugene."
"Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!"
Said little Wilhelmine.
"Nay... nay... my little girl," quoth he,
"It was a famous victory.

"And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win."
"But what good came of it at last?"
Quoth little Peterkin.
"Why that I cannot tell," said he,
"But 'twas a famous victory."

Note: Prince Eugene: Fran├žois Eugene de Savoie-Carignan, a brilliant general who aided Marlborough in defeating the Bavarians and French at Blenheim, Bavaria, August 13, 1704.


Ah, the folly of war. Too bad this bit of wisdom isn't learned by every child in grade school in America. Nah, that couldn't happen, it might give the little darlings nightmares, although many seem to watch movies with vicious characters and graphic, violent action at far too young an age with scant parental supervision.

Take care.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"When seconds count,...

the police are only minutes away."

Anyone who's been around the self-defense arena for very long has probably heard this little truism more than once. The Binghampton shootings reinforces the dead-on veracity of this maxim. In a statement by Police Chief Joseph Zikuski on the shootings, he showed that sometimes the police are MANY minutes away.

The chief defended the time it took officers to go into the building — an hour to 90 minutes.

"If some crazy lunatic decides to pick up a gun and go someplace and start shooting people, I really don't have the answer how long for us that could prevent anything like that," Zikuski said.

"What I will tell you is that the police did the right thing," he said. "We have procedures and protocols."

Remember this the next time someone exhorts you to leave your own self-defense to the police and just dial 911. Procedures and protocols are fine, usually, but sometimes exigent circumstances dictate actual thought over mechanized rote.

Oh, by the way, Chief, I do have an answer on how to, at the very least, keep the body count down: responsible armed citizens. Had someone in that facility been armed, although no one can guarantee it, I'd be willing to bet things would have turned out less favorably for the murderer. But, with the average resident of New York state rendered helpless by governmental decree by not being allowed to be legally armed, a tragedy occurred instead.

No one can predict what will make a weak mind snap. The best we can do is be prepared to take defensive action when it happens, be that defensive action running away or defending yourself with a weapon, especially a firearm.

Take care.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ipso facto

Yup, this proves it: Anyone who is a gun owner and is concerned that the Obama administration is hostile to the private ownership of guns is only a hair's breadth away from a mass shooting. Or so the following report would love for you to believe (by implication, of course).


Police official: 3 officers killed in Pa. shooting

By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press Writer

PITTSBURGH – A man opened fire on officers during a domestic disturbance call Saturday morning, killing three of them, a police official said. Friends said he feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns. [Okay, so are a lot of people, what does that have to do with what a disturbed individual has done? Nothing, of course, but it helps to associate in weak minds that gun ownership, concern about confiscation, and (especially) insanity are somehow linked.]

Three officers were killed, said a police official at the scene who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Police spokeswoman Diane Richard would only say that at least five officers were wounded, but wouldn't give any other details. [My condolences to the families of the officers killed and wounded.]

The man who fired at the officers was arrested after a several-hour standoff. One witness reported hearing hundreds of shots. [The implication here being that the assailant fired hundreds of rounds. But what if it was the cops pouring in the rounds? It wouldn't be the first time.]

The shootings occurred just two weeks after four police officers March 21 in Oakland, Calif., in the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001. [The day when a lot of police officers died and not a shot was fired. Forgot that little detail, didn't you, you Brady and VPC shill.]

Police did not immediately release the gunman's identity, but his friends at the scene described him as a young man who thought the Obama administration would ban guns. [Would that they could, believe me.]

One friend, Edward Perkovic, said the gunman feared "the Obama gun ban that's on the way" and "didn't like our rights being infringed upon." Another longtime friend, Aaron Vire, said he feared that President Obama was going to take away his rights, though he said he "wasn't violently against Obama." [I'd say this young man, aside from his time-out for insane behavior, had a better grasp on things than many folks.]

Perkovic, a 22-year-old who said he was the gunman's best friend, said he got a call at work from him in which he said, "Eddie, I am going to die today. ... Tell your family I love them and I love you." [Eddie, being a heterosexual, was naturally repulsed.]

Perkovic said: "I heard gunshots and he hung up. ... He sounded like he was in pain, like he got shot."

Vire, 23, said the gunman once had an Internet talk show but that it wasn't successful. Vire said his friend had an AK-47 rifle and several powerful handguns, including a .357 Magnum. [Ewww! "Powerful handguns." No attempt at shading/influencing there, right Mr. Reporter-man?]

The officers were called to the home in the Stanton Heights neighborhood at about 7 a.m., Richard said. [The gunman was an early riser.]

Tom Moffitt, 51, a city firefighter who lives two blocks away, said he heard about the shooting on his scanner and came to the scene, where he heard "hundreds, just hundreds of shots. And not just once — several times." [What!?!? So Moffitt heard hundreds of rounds fired several times? Does this mean close to a thousand or more rounds were fired? This makes no sense, the ignorance of this witness is abundantly apparent, and his statement can be dismissed as unreliable.]

Rob Gift, 45, who lives a block away, said he heard rapid gunfire as he was letting his dog out.

He said the neighborhood of well-kept single-family houses and manicured lawns is home to many police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other city workers.

"It's just a very quiet neighborhood," Gift said. [I guess the point of including Gift's statement is to show this wasn't some inner-city neighborhood filled with drug houses. Plus, it shows that those darn, dirty gun owners just can't be trusted not to fly off the handle and start popping people, even in good neighborhoods.]


Take care.

Sportsman's Warehouse

Last week, Sportsman's Warehouse filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Apparently the chain is yet another victim of a shrinking consumerism-based economy. Judging merely by the scarcity of reloading components on the shelves of the Colorado Springs store, I am not surprised. The scarcity makes me believe they should be called Sportsman's Wherehouse.

I first became aware of Sportsman's Warehouse after I stumbled upon one in Denver about five years ago. The store had a fantastic selection of shooting goods, as well as many other things outdoors related. When Colorado Springs finally got a store, I looked forward to it with anticipation and, for a while, I was not disappointed. But after a couple of years, some cracks started to show. Reloading supplies began to be stocked with increasing irregularity and spots on the shelves for the more popular items would stay bare for weeks on end, and this was long before the current buy-it-all-now-'cause-they're-gonna-ban/hyper-tax-it ammo hysteria.

I'm not sure who was handling the supply logistics for the store/chain, but their incompetency during the good times was painfully evident. As everyone with even a cursory understanding of how to run a business knows, keeping a ready and steady supply on hand of products, especially popular ones, is crucial to the bottom line and to the long-time survival of the concern.

Maybe this bankruptcy reorganization will help SW get its act together and, once the ammo hysteria dies down a bit and ammo makers can catch up on backorders, become a successful retailer. But the pessimist in me says that is unlikely, particularly if some changes are not made in upper management and the usual way of doing business.

There, see how easy that fix was? I'll tell you, the problem with the world is that it doesn't have me to run it. For example, I can fix the US economy with just the few following words: STOP SPENDING MORE THAN YOU MAKE, AND ALWAYS VOTE FOR LIBERTY FIRST (making the huge assumption that you have a clue what liberty is), NOT A PARTY, MORONS! (Actually, there's a bit more to it than that, but those are the roots of most of the problem.)

Take care.