Friday, December 4, 2015

A return of the Minuteman?

I harken back to an earlier time for an answer to a modern issue. In colonial times a threat to the community was met by a response from the Minutemen. The “Indians” are raiding? The French are attacking? The Minutemen are the answer. An immediate response from within the community. The greater “Militia” likely would be the solution to the raid but would take time to muster just as the police and emergency response can take some time to materialize. The Minuteman stood ready to respond “within a minutes notice”. He was the holding force to allow the Militia of the day to assemble enough force to deal with the problem. I am not saying that the Police and emergency response is slow or insufficient. I am saying it is not and cannot be instant and immediate. Whether the Jihadis take on the role once belonging to the “Indians” or even if the Zombie Apocalypse should present itself, we need to be and have Minutemen again. We need trained citizens capable of responding to armed conflict or disaster. We need our own modern version of the Minuteman inside our community and ready to respond armed and ready at a “minutes notice”. I have long viewed the open carrier and concealed carrier as the potential answer to this but now see that as insufficient. Perhaps we need a more Swiss or Israeli answer. A rifle and someone to use it may be our answer and we need better access and greater numbers inside our communities. 2 topics to discuss: Is there really a need? What “kit” should our modern Minuteman have. The original Minuteman had his rifle or musket and his haversack with 3 days supplies and powder ready to go. It was contained enough that it could accompany him anywhere he happened to be. What should be essentially part of and how to carry our modern “kit”.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Feeling "pithy"

So, there I was, feeling a bit "pithy" this weekend, when a thought began to form. Here for discussion: “Communism” is the garrote that violently strangles the human spirit in full view of the world. “Socialism” is the soft comfy pillow that is held over its face in the dark of the night. The results are the same. The motives are the same. Why, then, is one perceived as less threatening than the other? Neither can tolerate the individual. Both need to be opposed. T.A.F February 24, 2014

Saturday, September 14, 2013

When God smiles on you....


So there I was feeling a bit grumpy and sorry for myself when I heard it.  That DEEP low rumble.  Aircraft! Big! Radial engines!

How did I come to be in this grumpy state? There is an event at work requiring my attention on a weekend.  The same weekend of a blog shoot in WV (3 hours-ish away) and the same weekend of a Lure Coursing event that a certain Irish Wolfhound under my roof would love to attend.  I am stuck on a short leash.

Wife and dog get up early and head to the Coursing event, I stay home and head off to my event, grumpy that it exists.  I make my official appearance, make sure all under my purview is operating as it should, and wander home again.  Wife has been texting excitedly about the dog running (it is amazing to see these critter run flat out) and I have decided to head out and join them.  I make a brief stop at a WalMart out of my usual range, near my event, for outing supplies and my ubiquitous check of the ammo locker.  Oh goodie! Bulk packs of 12Gauge slugs, both I and my local store are out and I have some scope work to do with my shotie. 

Heading home to pick up the video camera when the phone rings: Wife reports a minor injury to the dog that ends the coursing participation.  Nothing serious but her running is done for today.  Well, crap!  No point in driving out to watch or video.  So I head home with no major plans for the day remaining.  I decide it is time to check e-mail and ammo prices.  I do so wish the politicians (that damnable blight upon humanity that they are) would stop with all the attempts at gun and ammo restrictions.  I long for the day when there was at least a good chance that my ammo of need MIGHT be on a shelf at some local establishment.  I find that I now follow the 5.56mm prices like a Wall Street maven follows the Dow.

But any who, there I am at the computer when I start to notice that unusual sound building to the point where the house is vibrating.  My neighbors probably already think me a bit odd but would have had it confirmed when I run out into the front yard and start scanning the sky for the sound.  It is in the cedar tree or rather behind it, moving away.  I round the tree and can finally see it: broad low rounded wings, 4 big radial engines, single tail.  Why is a B-17 flying over my house?  I stand alone in my front yard, no neighbors have seen either me or the aircraft.  I watch in awe as it heads away to the east.  Had I not been tethered to town for my event, had I not given up on the Coursing event, I would not have been here at this moment.  Sure tasted like lemon aide all of a sudden.

If Wikipedia is accurate, there are 11 surviving, flyable B-17s in the United States, all “G” models, most on the west coast.  I have visited a couple in my life at air shows and had one serendipitous flyby while on a vacation.  Today one visited my house.  A quick check for a nearby air show comes up empty. What are the odds?

But as they say “Wait there’s more”!  I am truly at this point in my writing when I hear it again!  Could it be?  I run outside this time remembering to grab the SLR on the way out the door.  It is behind the house this time my view is blocked but it is close.  I find the angle between the house and the trees, I draw the camera to my eye.  I forget to focus but it looks ok. I forget to zoom but I can see it in the viewfinder.  CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, until my view is blocked by other houses and trees.  I realize my hair is standing on end.  Yes, I am an airplane geek.  I always have been.

I will attempt to blow up the picks if they worked out and add them to the post. What I could not see on the first pass was the paintjob.  This bird is flat olive drab with yellow markings.  I hope the pics are clear! 

 
 
It has made a third pass and my son was home to see it as well.  obviously my quick google-fu has failed to find some local event.  But I shall try again.
 
Google-fu to the rescue.  The aircraft "The Movie Memphis Belle" not to be confused with the original "Memphis Belle" but was her stand in for the movie of that name is making an appearance at the Hanover County Airport today.  They are selling rides and must be giving good value for the ticket prices ($450.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!) as my house is almost 11 miles from there.  My guess is that they are about 2000 feet up and they have made a 4th pass over the house this time with my wife witnessing. The bird is a "G" model originally but does not wear the chin turret to better match the original.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

While I was away....

I have severely tapered off on my postings.  Part of it is due to a shortage of good material (when God smiles on your life you find few things to comment on) and part of it is due to finding a good use for some of my free time: Appleseed.  About 2 years ago I dragged wife and son to something I had read about called Appleseed.  I had been planning on going for awhile and had purchased a Mossberg 702 Plinkster for the task.  Well, taking the wife meant that she had to have something to shoot and that Plinkster just felt good to her.  (Jump ahead 2 years and that rifle has moved into a leopard print case that matches her range bag and I no longer think of it in terms of "MY" rifle.) My son was going to use my grandfather's Remington 552 (tubefed rifles are not the best choice we would discover) or the CMMG conversion in an AR.  That left me struggling with what to shoot as that pretty much emptied the gun safe of anything remotely usable.  Father's Day was at hand and I was blessed to be ready to make my next rifle purchase.  I ordered a CZ 452FS in .22WMR.  Having decided to go .22WMR, I started shopping for ammo and found a deal that I wish I could repeat.  900 rounds of FMJ bulk packed for $89.00.  Had I known what a good deal this was, I would have at least doubled my order.  At around ten cents a round even with the addition of shipping that is untouchable!  The lowest grades of .22WMR run fourteen and the better can go as high as forty cents.  The upside was that I had a new rifle that had a detachable magazine.  The downside was I was going to do timed stages with a bolt action rifle.
I purchased the slings available from Bass Pro Shops since I had read that a sling was essential to getting the most out of an Appleseed.  Other than sighting in I had not fired this rifle and had not shot alot of any long guns in over 30 years.  I thought I was ready.  I was somewhat mistaken.
Appleseed teaches the 3 primary shooting positions, standing, sitting/kneeling, and prone.  It teaches the use of the military sling, primarily the loop sling for sitting and prone and the hasty sling for standing.  In my college days I had shot rifle on an ROTC range.  I do remember shooting prone.  I do not remember slings.  Somewhere along the way I had been introduced to wrapping one's arm in the sling to tighten up the slack.  I had a sling on my hunting rifle.  I would learn that I knew almost nothing about the sling and the benefits from using it correctly.
I did the best I could with my sling.  Not being a mil-spec sling, it left much to be desired.  Once when I really tighteened it down, the plastic buckle broke.  I honestly do not remember how I tried to use it as a loop sling but do remember needing to wrap my arm twice to take up the slack.  (At my second Appleseed some months later, I would have a eueaka moment when I used a mil-spec sling.  It was "Oh that's how it goes!" )  I was shooting decent groups struggling to understand sling technique.  My wife, already a competent shooter was improving steadily.  My son struggled with equipment issues, the 552 started jamming so he switched to the AR with the converter.  We later discovered that the conversions commonly lack the accuracy (4MOA) necessary for Appleseed. It had some feeding isuues at first too.  For him it would be a frustrating weekend.  Learning NPOA (Natural Point Of Aim) was the key to my weekend.  I was not a bad shot to start with.  NPOA brought my repeat shots to the same place,  Groups got smaller.  We ended the day with our first AQT followed with a Redcoat target.  A few fliers kept me from the necessary score.
A good nights sleep and Ibuprofen prepared us for the second day and I opened with a clean Redcoat target, a good omen.  Later in the morning as I approached Doug, the senior instructor with a target to be scored he asked me "Do you know what I see? I think I see a Rifleman score."  When he had a chance to score the target a bit later, I discovered I had scored 216, indeed scoring Rifleman.  I would manage to do so again a few more times that day.  My wife was tightening her groups through the morning, then when it looked like she too would score Rifleman, her scores fell off and her groups opened up.  It was a mystery right up until her scope fell off her rifle.   There would not be enough time left for her to sight in again once it was reattached.  Her Second Appleseed would be her first Rifleman score instead.  My son would be on a borrowed Ruger 10/22 with  only limited success.
It was more than shooting, there was history too.  I am a history nut.  I was hooked.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wonderings

We tried to grow pumpkins this year. We failed. Planted two different times in 2 different places and both sets of plants died. So how did we get pumpkins? The compost heap with seeds that must have been from last years halloween Jack-o-lantern grew them for us. I harvested one in August and one in October. Another unexpected blessing. Thank you, God, for this blessing.