Monday, September 30, 2013

Gunsite 499 Advanced Pistol - Day 3

By Dave Dargo

An exhausting day that started at 8:00 in the morning and finished about 9:30 at night, though we did take a 2 1/2 hour break for dinner.

This morning had us jump right into simulators, both indoor and outdoor.

The indoor simulator is a fairly straightforward shoot-house with static targets; both shoot and no-shoot. As I approached the door of the house the instructor said, "They're holding my daughter in there." Here's a clue, there's probably going to be a hostage target as well.

In the 499 class you're encouraged to move quickly and purposefully with three questions to ask: Where is the next potential danger area? From what position can I clear that area? How do I get to that position?

There are lots of doors and corners in this rather shabby house with well-worn furniture and appliances and we can't forget to clear the open windows. If someone can be there we better be clearing it. Even though the targets are static it is still a bit stressful as one attempts to solve each of the problems presented. One thought I had was I certainly wouldn't want a house with so many corners. Most of the distances in the house would dictate hammers rather than controlled pairs but we can also expect to have to make at least one head shot and we will have at least one no-shoot target. Being sure we understand what we see is critical - look at the hands of the targets to determine if they're a threat.

Immediately after the house clearing simulation we go to an outdoor simulator which is in an Arizona wash. I don't like the outdoor simulators though the hunters in the group seem to prefer them. The house exercises are a little more cozy and contained from my perspective and that allows me to break the larger problem down into a series of smaller problems. The targets in the outdoor simulators are a bit more difficult for me. The targets are grey pepper poppers and any no-shoot targets have the bottom painted red. We find the targets long before we are able to determine if they are shoot or no-shoot.

The only negative about the simulators is there's a fair amount of down time as we all wait for each other to finish.

After the simulators we were back on the square range and a smaller range shooting steel. We did the Dozier Drill as well as a number of other manufactured drills involving knocking over steel. Shooting steel is always fun as its a lot more satisfying seeing the immediate reaction rather than having to walk back and forth scoring a paper target.

On the square range we started to seriously practice the 499 school drills: 2 shots to each of two targets from 3 yards in 2 seconds, 2 shots to two targets from 7 yards in 3 seconds, 2 shots to two targets from 10 yards in 4 seconds, 2 shots to two targets from 25 yards in 5 seconds, 2 shots to a single target from 35 yards kneeling in 3 1/2 seconds and 2 shots to a single target from 50 yards prone in 7 seconds. All the pressure in these drills is internally generated but still palpable as each shooter attempts to better their score.

Besides the school drills we also worked on shooting while moving, shooting at moving targets and more and more school drills.

At this point it was time for a break so we went to Little Thumb Butte Bed and Breakfast for a nice dinner and some relaxation before our night shoot began.

At 6:30 we reconvened for another indoor and outdoor simulation with our flashlights ready.

The house simulation still wasn't overly complicated but the spaces became a bit tighter, the retreat positions became fewer and the targets were more hidden requiring a little stretching to get to the proper shooting position. Still, I prefer the indoor at night over any outdoor simulator.

But, alas, after I finished the indoor simulator it was time to go to the outdoor simulator. The same types of changes we saw to the indoor simulator applied to the outdoor as well.

Did I say I still prefer the indoor simulators? I learn a lot from the outdoor simulators but there's just too much going on for my taste.

We went through another 150 rounds of ball ammunition today and about 70 rounds of frangible in the simulators.

It was a long and busy day and we start again tomorrow with even more difficult problems to solve. I hope I can get through them without too much personal embarrassment.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gunsite 499 Advanced Pistol - Day 2

By Dave Dargo

The second day moved much faster though we shot about the same number of rounds. Yesterday, we went through about 230 of our 1,100 rounds of ball ammunition and today we expended another 245.

The weather, as predicted, is still exceptional with cool nights, down to about 45, and warm days, up to about 85. It is high desert so hydration can be a problem with some but we are constantly encouraged to drink water.

The morning started at the range at 8:00 and after about five minutes of dry-fire practice we went into the 350 school drills. At this point, the drills are timed with turning targets and we can score the targets as we finish each drill. All school drills are presentation from the holster and included single shot to the head from 3 yards in 1.5 seconds done twice, two shots center-of-mass in 1.5 seconds from seven yards, two shots center-of-mass in 2 seconds from 10 yards, two shots center-of-mass kneeling from 25 yards in 3.5 seconds and two shots prone from 35 yards in 7 seconds.

The center-of-mass circle has an 8-inch diameter. Shots inside the circle and head-plate are worth 5 points and shots outside the scoring areas but still on the painted part of the target are worth 2 points. This makes for 50 possible points and I'm typically in the 40-45 point range. I have difficulty with that 8" circle once we're out more than 25 yards. At that distance I'm just guessing where the circle is actually located because all I see is the 18"x30" paper target.

After the school drills things really began to move quickly.

Though we were still reviewing things we had already done in the 250 and 350 classes we started to move faster with the assumption that everyone was simply reviewing what was already known. As I mentioned yesterday, though, some students haven't been to Gunsite in years.

After the review drills which included pivots and turns we moved into one of the core components of the 499 class - one-handed pistol manipulation.

Most people find shooting one-handed different but still comfortable. Where it really gets interesting is drawing from a strong-side holster with the support hand and presenting the pistol for accurate shots with weak-side one-handed shooting. As interesting as that may be, it gets even more so as we have to clear Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3 malfunctions one-handed on both the strong and weak side. Clearing a Type 3 malfunction with one hand makes one-handed speed reloading seem like a walk in the park.

There are a lot of tricks to being able to run the slide on a semi-automatic with only one functioning hand. Some of those tricks go out the door though when dealing with range safety issues and being sure to not cover any of your fellow students. We persevered, though, and made good progress. No matter how much progress you make in these exercises you won't be able to take the ugly out of correcting a Type 3 malfunction one-handed. If you need to clear a Type 3 malfunction then you better have good cover or fast feet.

The day also saw us practicing getting out of vehicles while under threat, ground fighting - basically shooting from different positions while on the ground: lying on the left side, right side, on your back and over your head and on your back shooting between your knees.

To finish the morning off we all moved back to 50 yards to practice our 499 prone exercise against steel. Shooting steel was nice because we didn't have to keep walking back to the target to see if we were hitting the scoring zone.

After our lunch break and before heading back to the range we saw a short video of Colonel Jeff Cooper explaining the combat mindset. If you're able to find a video of Cooper giving one of his speeches you should take the time to watch it; they are always entertaining and enlightening.

After lunch we spent more time on the square range covering more review from the 250 and 350 classes and started to practice some of the 450 school drill exercises.

In the 499 class we will shoot standing from 25 yards, kneeling from 35 yards and prone from 50 yards and we practiced all these positions in the afternoon.

We finished with retention position shooting with movement off-line before breaking for a briefing on tomorrow's exercises.

Tomorrow we start the simulators, both indoor and outdoor and during the daytime and nighttime. We also get to break early to have a nice dinner at Little Thumb Butte Bed and Breakfast before returning for the night shoot.

I think about how many rounds we shot and don't particularly think that 475 is very many for two days. But then I remember that these were almost all done two at-a-time presenting from the holster with 11 shooters on the line. The time to do it all adds up.

My pistol was slowing down at the end of the day yesterday and the same held true for today. I spent a lot more time in the grit today and I can feel the slowness in my hands when I run the slide. Worse, I can feel grit in the trigger as I feel for trigger reset after taking a shot. I think I'll need to tear the gun down completely to get all the sand out of it and I'll need to do that tonight or move to my backup 1911.

I've got a lot of work to do before I can get to bed and get some much needed sleep.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gunsite 499 Advanced Pistol - Day 1

By Dave Dargo

My first visit to Gunsite was intimidating. It was an intimidation caused by the unknown; I had no idea what to expect.  My brother-in-law, Jim Jeansonne, had been imploring me to go for years and I kept saying, "Yeah, maybe someday."

I finally took their three-day introduction course, 150 Pistol in July, 2010. I was hooked on the first day and have been back many times. I still have a slight sense of intimidation when the courses start but now it's because of the known. I know I'll learn a lot and I also know I'll be tested.

I had taken the 499 course once before back in May and came out again this month to reinforce what I learned and to see if I could improve my performance.

The weather for this week is expected to be beautiful: clear blue skies and temperatures beginning in the morning at about 45 degrees and warming up to the mid-70s.  Gunsite is located in Paulden, Arizona, about a 100 mile drive from my home in Scottsdale. I try to stay at Little Thumb Butte Bed and Breakfast when I go to Gunsite but, unfortunately, they were full up this week putting me at the Days Inn in Chino Valley.

There is an expectation that the students attending the 499 class actually paid attention in the 250 (Introduction) and 350 (Intermediate) Defensive Pistol classes. However, they don't just throw you into the deep end right away. They do, however, move you there quickly.

Many of the people I meet at Gunsite"get" to go once a year. I go a little more often. Some students in this week's class hadn't been to Gunsite in over five years. As a result of the mixed levels of freshness in each student's training, the 499 class is designed to get everyone back up to speed with the Gunsite way.

The first day is spent doing pretty much everything that was learned in the 5-day 250 class as well as part of the 5-day 350 class. The second day will be finishing up the 350 class review and then moving right into the meat of the 499 class.

We spent the first hour with some classroom review of firearm safety, getting the administrative housekeeping out of the way and getting down to the range. Once on the range, though, things moved very quickly.

Before the morning was over we were deep into the 250 school-drills: drawing from the holster and a shot to the head from 3 yards, two shots center of mass from 5, 7 and 10 yards, kneeling at 15 yards and prone at 25 yards.

Once lunch was over we moved to the 350 school-drills: drawing from the holster and a shot to the head from 3 yards, two shots center of mass from 7, 10 and 15 yards, kneeling at 25 yards and prone at 35 yards.

In the next few days we will move to 499 distances which move the final standing position to 25 yards, kneeling at 35 yards and prone at 50 yards with additional complexities thrown in.

Today also saw us:
  • Moving before shooting to simulate moving off the line of attack
  • Using tactical and speed reloading techniques
  • Delivering controlled pairs - This is firing two shots with three sight pictures in the sequence: sight picture, shot break, sight picture, shot break, sight picture.
  • Delivering hammers - Two shots with only two sight pictures delivered much quicker than a controlled pair with the sequence: sight picture, shot break, shot break, sight picture.
  • Clearing malfunctions:
    • Type 1 - failure to fire
    • Type 2 - failure to eject
    • Type 3 - Some call this a feed-way stoppage and we practice it as a double-feed
  • Delivering a failure response - two shots center of mass, one shot to the head
  • Delivering a non-standard response - multiple shots (more than two) center of mass and an optional shot to the head
We went through about 230 rounds today out of our weekly expectation of 1,350. The ammo package for class is 1,100 rounds of ball for the square range and 250 rounds of frangible for use in the simulators.

All of these exercises were done with the expectation that they were review for us and to let us warm up for what the rest of the week will bring. Having been through a 499 class before I know there's a lot that will be delivered during the remaining four days of this class.

The biggest issue I run into is maintenance of my 1911 during the class. It's dry enough and dusty enough that dust gets everywhere. This is especially true when inserting those magazines back into the well after retrieving them from the ground after a speed reload or dropping to prone on the sand and pebble ground. Lubrication helps keeps parts moving but more lube attracts more dust. I can definitely sense the slide slowing down by the end of the day and past experience tells me to clean the gun daily to be able to get through the next day. I only really think about this at Gunsite. When I'm shooting in Louisiana I can go seemingly forever without ever being concerned with the slide slowing down.

The other issue is protecting my hands. I wrap some Nexcare Waterproof tape around my thumb because it will inevitably get cut up from the slide after 500 rounds or so. I also place some Moleskin Plus in the palm of my hand. My palm can only take so much pounding from gripping the gun before it becomes an issue. I never notice any of these issues when I shoot fewer than about 250 rounds but when doing the intense, repetitive training through 1,300 rounds it becomes quite noticeable.

I'm looking forward to the week with an eager anticipation as well as a certain level of intimidation. I have to keep my body and mind fully engaged just to meet the minimal standards I've set for myself.

I keep going back to Gunsite in order to drill the techniques into my head and to, hopefully, maintain a minimal level of competency with my pistol. So far, I have over 300 hours of training at Gunsite in addition to training from others.

I know other people who don't want any training. I hear them say they've been shooting their entire lives and don't need anyone to show them the proper method of getting a sight picture or pressing the trigger. That is certainly their right.

I, however, happen to believe that the responsible armed-citizen has had training and would welcome input from those with more experience in order to be more effective with their pistol.

I'm in Gunsite's Advanced Pistol class with other students who have taken many of the same courses as I. Some of us are very proficient and some of us need a bit of help. Sometimes, it is the same person who is both proficient and needs help and I'm glad to be among those willing to invest in their pistol craft.

I know that each of us in this class will come out at the end of the week better enabled than the first day and that can only be good.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Compromise? They Don't Know The Definition Of The Word!

By Dave Dargo

How much longer can the madness continue?

President Obama addressing the Congressional Black Caucus
Foundation's Legislative Conference dinner in Washington, D.C.
on Saturday, September 21

President Obama urged his supporters "to get back up and go back at it". What does he want his supporters to get back to? Gun control so "dangerous" people won't get their hands on guns.

President Obama, and many other Democrats, believe that the answer to incomprehensible acts of violence by the deranged is to burden the law-abiding. He believes the answer to gang-land's culture of violence in his home town is to make it more difficult for us to get the guns we have every right to own.

From this article in USA Today, one learns that three people were killed and 23 wounded in the latest Chicago-land violence. A three-year old boy was one of the wounded shot in a park in the city.

Each of the mass shootings he and the liberal media like to trot out have been committed by certifiably insane people yet there's no talk of our "crazy people" problem.

The Chicago violence, which is very similar to the violence in many large cities, is culture-born. It comes from a culture that says violence is perfectly acceptable. Yet there's no talk about our "culture" problem.

The shooter at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard heard voices and sought help. No help was forthcoming and, despite his record, no intervention occurred and, therefore, he was never entered into the background-check system.

No matter how much we expand the background-check system it would do no good unless those who are mentally ill are entered into the system.

President Obama calls for common-sense legislation to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people yet he hasn't called for any programs to identify those dangerous people.

The President's call has nothing to do with keeping anyone safe and everything to do with expanding government control of our daily lives.

The cultural divide between those who want a nanny state and those who believe in individual rights is just as great as the divide between we law abiding gun owners and the perpetrators of violence in Chicago.

That divide is so great that there is no compromise possible. We can't continue to compromise away our rights and we have to stop compromising away our safety in the name of politically correct treatment of violent predators.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What Do You Do When Reality Isn't Convenient To Your View Of The World?

By Dave Dargo

Another tragic day yesterday, this time at a military base in Washington, D.C. The man pictured here went on a rampage and the story is tragic. He made some decision at some point that he was going to kill other people.

Don't Even Mention His Name
The story, as it stands today, is that he legally bought a shotgun from a dealer after successfully passing a background check. He took that shotgun onto the Navy Yard in Southeast D.C. and killed an armed guard by shooting him in the head. He took the guard's 9mm gun and one of his spare magazines. At some point he took an AR-15 rifle from a locker and continued his attack killing 12 innocent people before either being killed or killing himself.

U.S. Representative, Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland has stated that the shooting will renew the debate about gun control. He went on to say, "I'm sure that it will renew the discussions about access to weapons that can be used to kill a lot of people quickly."

U.S. Senator, Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California said, "When will enough be enough? Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless loss of life."

Let's look at this particular individual and the renewed calls we see for gun control coming out of the progressive press and the Democratic lawmakers:

  • Let's have expanded background checks.
    • First - he went through the background check the hoplophobes want everyone to go through before buying a gun.
    • Second - he had a "Secret" security clearance. Doesn't a "Secret" security clearance indicate a more rigorous background check than the normal gun buyer is required to undergo? Doesn't this indicate that no level of background check would have found the issues this individual had?
  • We need to prevent people like this from getting access to "assault weapons".
    • He didn't buy an "assault weapon", he bought a shotgun and stole the "assault weapon" from the firearms lockup in the military facility.
At what point do the hoplophobes realize that reality doesn't mesh with their view of the world?

The issue is this individual may have suffered from PTSD and was involved in multiple shooting incidents before he went on this rampage. He was not convicted of any crime. No one can yet claim that he was adjudicated mentally unstable.

Without such adjudications he would not have made it into any background check system that would have prevented him from legally obtaining a gun.

He showed up for his rampage with the very gun the Democrats and Vice President Joe Biden suggest should be sufficient for home defense and they claim they have no interest in regulating: a shotgun.

Yesterday was a horrific day for those of us who abhor violence.

It is also proving to be a horrific day for those of us who appreciate logic and common sense from those who hold the power to pass more useless legislation.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How Do I Oppress Thee, Let Me Count The Ways

By Dave Dargo

In my previous post I made a comment, "In a year where we've seen unprecedented attacks against many of our rights by a national government gone wild..."

I will expand on that thought here. At some point we have to realize that it's not one or two mistakes made by a rogue government employee in some distant office but, rather, a concerted effort by both the national and local governments to exert more and more control over our daily lives.

Fast and Furious
The first scandal seemed to only involve firearms being smuggled into Mexico in a botched operation to uncover actual gun runners. Conspiracy theorists, however, note that the operation picked up steam at the same time leading Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill were calling for increased gun control measures because of the unchecked flow of assault rifles from the United States into Mexico. The Department of Justice never did answer all the questions posed by the government oversight committees.

But, hey, what's one minor scandal in the otherwise smooth operation of the national government. Never mind for a moment that U.S. law enforcement officers and others were killed by some of the very weapons our national government helped criminals smuggle into Mexico.

Paramilitary Police Raids in America
The CATO Institute published a study outlining the increasing use of paramilitary police raids in the United States now estimated to occur 40,000 times per year. The reports included stories of swat teams raiding garden clubs and destroying organic vegetable gardens in the mistaken pursuit of marijuana farms. The CATO Institute also published a map showing a sample of some of the botched raids in this country.

The EPA Turns Everyday Life Into A Federal Crime
U.S. Senator Rand Paul reports on a number of cases where the EPA has gone overboard and charged, prosecuted and jailed people who were polluting with non-pollutants. One highlight from the story involves John Rapanos who was charged with "polluting" the wetlands by leveling the soil on his property. Under the "migratory molecule" rule, the Army Corps claims that any isolated wetland can fall under federal jurisdiction because there is a speculative possibility that a water molecule from one wetland may reach another navigable waterway. In Mr. Rapanos' case, the nearest navigable water is roughly 20  miles from his property.

IRS Runs Roughshod Over Conservative Groups
The IRS targeted conservative groups for special harassment including those groups who outlined "government debt" in their advocacy application or advocated to "make America a better place to live". These groups were required to answer questions such as what books members were reading, what members had posted on their Facebook accounts and the content of member's prayers.

The IRS also audited conservative groups, including the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. Groups get audited all the time but what's remarkable about this particular audit is that it occurred in 2011 as the group was gearing up to campaign against the Democratic Party and President Obama.

IRS and Federal Election Commission Are Said To Collude Against Conservative Groups
One of the individuals involved in the IRS targeting of conservative advocacy groups was also involved as an attorney for the Federal Election Commission. The email referenced in the above linked article suggests an FEC attorney sought information from the IRS in order to influence an upcoming vote by the six FEC commissioners. The legal issue is that the FEC is prohibited by law from conducting an investigation into an organization before the FEC's six commissioners have voted to do so, yet the FEC attorney started that investigation in order to influence the upcoming vote.

Are we not to expect the IRS and FEC to collude in order to stifle political dissent?

The NSA Saga
As it turns out, contrary to Congressional under-oath testimony, the NSA does indeed spy on ordinary Americans. Worse than that, they get the support of a court system for some of what they do and they defy the courts for other things.

It turns out the NSA was listening in on real-time conversations and improperly collected calling records of ordinary Americans.

But wait, it gets better. We now learn that the NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with foreign governments. In this manner the NSA can claim they're following the law by not spying on Americans but buy turning raw data over to foreign governments they can have the foreign governments report back any interesting information they find.

The NSA and DEA
Let's not leave the issue to just spying. Let's include the DEA and perjury against Americans in court proceedings. It turns out the NSA is turning data over to the DEA for criminal investigations. However, the DEA can't legally use that information so they have to come up with plausible "parallel construction" of the information. In other words, the NSA gives information to the DEA. The DEA uses that information to create a case against someone. In court, though, the DEA makes up a completely different story about how they came about the information so as not to implicate the NSA.

At this point, the DEA is presenting false evidence against someone in a court of law. But the person's probably guilty anyway so it must be O.K.

It's Not Just Electronic Records
The United States Postal Service confirmed in the beginning of August that they photograph every piece of mail that goes through their system. Every letter you send is photographed by an agency that makes those photographs available to government agents when they so desire them.

International Travelers Targeted When Warrants Impossible To Get
Let's say the government wants to look at your computer and cell phone but doesn't have anywhere near the evidence necessary to procure a warrant. That's not a problem for them if you travel internationally. They simply add your name to the automated watch list and get your travel itinerary. When you return to the country they'll confiscate your electronic devices and keep them for however long they wish in order to examine them. The Border Patrol will send copies of your data to any other government agency that's interested. Basically, if you're an international traveler then no warrant is no problem.

The NSA Is At It Again By Corrupting Private Cryptographic Efforts
This one's a bit technical but is related to the known desire of the government, through the NSA, to be able to intercept all communications. People want their privacy so they encrypt their communications using some fairly common cryptographic processes. Well, those communications aren't so secret. It appears that the NSA has been inserting people onto the standards committees responsible for creating cryptographic standards to ensure that they can decode the communications.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist but it is extremely difficult to look at all of these things that have come to light in the last year or so and not think that governments have gotten out of control.

Your private phone call records are now recorded and kept by the government. Your mail is now photographed by the government. The government will manipulate the Border Patrol in order to gain physical access to your electronic devices. The EPA will stretch regulations as far as possible to hurt your private activity. The DEA now lies in court as a matter of policy in order to get convictions. The IRS wields its power to silence political opponents. Guns are smuggled to criminal gangs in order to justify expanded gun control laws.

Don't make the mistake of thinking these are isolated incidents; these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

Don't take freedom for granted. Become aware, become active and work to rid this nest of rats from positions of power.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Common Sense Prevails In Colorado

By Dave Dargo

In the frenetic push to embrace gun-control at any cost, two Colorado state senators failed to take into consideration the seriousness with which their constituents viewed their right to keep and bear arms.

The voters in the districts served by State Senators John Morse and Angela Giron voted yesterday to oust them from office; a more civilized form of running them out of town on a rail. The citizens, via a grass-roots campaign, stood up to billionaire Michael Bloomberg and other anti-gun provocateurs and waged a successful recall campaign against two of the loudest anti-gun voices in their state senate.

Voters rejected Senator Morse 50.9% to 49.0% and Senator Giron 56.0% to 43.9%.

Amazingly, neither the Denver Post nor Senator Morse get the message.

The Denver Post Editorial Board published their opinion, titled "Time to move on past Colorado recall elections," in which they call the recall elections an "ugly chapter in Colorado's political history".

They say that poor John Morse was targeted for his support of "modest gun control measures". The Denver Post repeatedly claimed that it was inappropriate to launch recalls simply for their anti-gun votes rather than waiting one year for regular elections. The Denver Post seems to fear that the recall process will now be used to undermine the system of regular, democratic elections.

Former Senator John Morse claimed the legislative session where he and his Democratic comrades passed stricter new gun laws "a successful one" and vowed that the Democratic party would "continue to fight".

The Denver Post seems to feel that recall elections should be for issues such as malfeasance and not for simple disagreements on political issues. The political sins of the former senators are much worse than simple malfeasance or corruption. Their transgression was ignoring the Constitution of the United States in a state where the majority of voters still respect that document. Their gluttonous desire to pander to those who would so brazenly trample on our rights, traditions and desires was the catalyst that fired up the recall movement that cost them their jobs.

Those who fight against our fundamental rights have been unable to understand the depth of our commitment. It is those who would so casually dismiss our rights who need to worry. In a year where we've seen unprecedented attacks against many of our rights by a national government gone wild, it is refreshing to see fellow citizens start to stand up for all of us for our rights.

The Denver Post wants us to move on and forget about this little political disagreement. I'm sure the anti-rights mayor of New York City would like the same.

Coloradans have acted as our collective proxy in delivering a message loud-and-clear that we will no longer sit idly by and accept as a compromise continued degradation of our fundamental rights.

I thank them for delivering that message and rather than "move on" as the Denver Post suggests. We will be moving forward and working towards the ouster of other anti-rights politicians.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Are Prepared Drivers Paranoid?

By Dave Dargo

Some people believe that those of us who carry a gun are paranoid. There are even studies that purport carrying a gun leads to paranoia. The foundation for such beliefs, in my opinion, rests on the fallacy that guns don't belong in a civilized society. I believe that carrying a gun is no more than simple preparation for potential dangerous encounters; encounters that occur every day.

My wife and I often drive between Scottsdale, Arizona and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This drive covers approximately 1,500 miles of which 880 miles is Interstate Highway 10 through the great state of Texas. For much of the drive through Texas the speed limit is a very civilized 80 miles per hour.

Last Saturday, at about 9:30 P.M., we were driving near the half-way point across Texas (mile marker 460). We were driving 80 miles per hour and passing an 18-wheeler when we saw something in the road about 100 feet ahead of us. Now, we see a lot of debris in the road on these drives but we weren't expecting a round hay feeder cover.

These structures are approximately 6' x 6' x 8' and weigh about 250 pounds.

At 80 miles per hour one covers 117 feet in 1 second. This device was less than one second away. We, the truck driver and I, saw it that late because it was rust in color and couldn't be seen until fully illuminated by our joint headlights.

Even though I wasn't expecting this device in the road I was, nevertheless, prepared.

The feeder was standing on its end without about 2/3 in the right-hand lane and the other 1/3 in the left-lane, which was my lane.

I said, "Uh-Oh, this won't be good." That statement got my wife's attention and she looked up and said something completely different.

I realized the feeder couldn't be avoided, looked where I wanted my car to go, steered in that direction and hit the accelerator. I almost succeeded in avoiding being hit. The cab of the tractor-trailor hit the feeder and it caromed into the right-rear corner of my car.

We were very fortunate that the owner of the feeder returned and claimed responsibility. All-in-all we feel fortunate that if someone had to get hit by the feeder it was us as we drive a rather substantial SUV. We shuddered when we thought what would have happened to someone in a smaller, less substantial vehicle.

While waiting for the Sheriff's deputy to arrive the truck driver and I spoke at length about what happened. She couldn't have gone any farther right and I couldn't have gone any farther left because of steep drop-offs on both sides of the road.

The natural reaction when one sees an object in the road is to brake hard. If I had chosen that option then the damage would have been much greater and we would have hit it head-on rather than getting hit laterally at the rear of the vehicle. I knew from driving training and conditioning that accelerating is often a better resolution for these situations.

Because I attended Bob Bondurant's School of High Performance Driving many years ago was I paranoid of other drivers or was I simply preparing myself to be a better driver? Because I attended Gunsite Academy to am I paranoid or preparing myself to be better prepared in case of violent confrontation?

Is someone who teaches defensive driving skills a radical spreading dangerous ideas about mistrusting other drivers? Why am I, a defensive firearms instructor, labeled a radical for spreading dangerous ideas about predators in our society.

Being prepared is a good thing, it's the Boy Scout motto.

Just as we need to be prepared for the unexpected road detritus we also need to be prepared for the unexpected human detritus. Just as it's not paranoia to be prepared for the road hazard it's not paranoia to be prepared for the predator hazard.

I guess I could have ignored preparation and just driven headlong into the hay feeder. Perhaps I could have then told the insurance company that preparing to avoid such a hazard is paranoia and who want's to appear paranoid?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

We Need More Laws

By Dave Dargo

Curiosity led me to where curiosity often leads me, to Google. I was curious about how many new laws had been passed over the past few years.

The first page I found highlighted some of the 40,000 new bills and resolutions passed by state legislatures in 2011 to take effect in 2012. I thought that was a little old and I wondered if I could find out how many were passed in 2012 to take effect in 2013. I sure could, it was 29,000.

In just those two years our state legislatures passed close to 70,000 new laws. But it's not just new laws that affect you. Federal regulations also affect you and carry the same weight as laws. During President Obama's fourth year in office federal regulators issued 2,605 new rules. Over the past decade the federal government has issued almost 38,000 new rules. Federal regulations now cover over 170,000 pages.

These are new laws and regulations added to those that already existed.

70,000 new laws passed by state legislatures over two years, over 2,600 rules from the federal government in one year.

It has become impossible to know if you've broken the law.

How many new laws did your state pass last year and are you aware of all the laws and regulations you may have violated today?

That old phrase, "There ought to be a law," is one that I just can't buy.