Saturday, April 30, 2005

Thirty Years Ago Today

Thirty years ago today I wept at the sight of desperate Vietnamese falling from the skids of helicopters as they tried to escape the coming bloodbath.

The fall of Saigon marked the climax of the greatest betrayal in American history. To this day no one knows exactly how many people died in summary executions and of malnutrition, torture and overwork in the 'reeducation camps'. Nor is there a good handle on the number of Cambodians that died to prove that the Domino Theory was real.

The tragic thing was that we won that war, by the time we pulled our ground troops out all the RVN needed was air and naval support and a supply of weapons and ammunition. Until the Democrats in Congress cut those supplies off the RVN troops defeated every offensive attempted by the NVA. They even had a a little luck in offensive operations, pushing the NVA back and spoiling the buildups for planned NVA operations.

We Americans are still counting the costs. Some 58,000 killed and missing and there's no telling how many veterans died early, some from wounds and injuries, some from the various chemicals we were exposed to and some from heartbreak. This cost is still mounting. Most of the Agent Orange cancer has done it's work but the higher percentage of Parkinson's Disease, among others, in the no longer young veterans is still taking it's toll.

Another cost we are still counting is the doubt that other nations and peoples still feel about whether or not America's word can be depended upon. After Viet Nam and Cambodia, after Carter left Iran to fend for itself and after we let the Shiites of southern Iraq be slaughtered after Gulf War One, I cannot understand why people just can't figure out why so many Iraqis are sitting on the fence as we and the Iraqi police and military fight the terrorists.

This cost may eventually be higher than those 58,000 that never grew old.

April 30, 1975. The day that America's solemn word became worthless.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Errand Day

Errand Day today, been out and about spending money like I have it. Keep this up I'll be blogging from the Poorhouse. Made the mistake of stopping in to see what they had at the Grand Closing Sale at an Ultimate Electronics Store, now I have to set up a new VCR/DVD player, not a bad deal at seventy-odd bucks, including tax. I'm going to be farting around teaching myself how to link some of my favorite blogs that aren't part of the Bad Example Family for the rest of the evening so this will have to do for a Lame Post.

As an aside, I can see why that Ultimate Electronics store is closing, snotty staff and if that's the ultimate in electronics, how come they got no cumputer stuff?.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Child Proof Guns Or Gun Proof Children?

As any dad with some old magazines in his sock drawer knows, there is no way to hide things from your children. This most assuredly includes a home-protection gun. Once the little monst, um, children start walking there is no way to keep something ready for use that children cannot find, even if they have to form an Abby-Grabby style human pyramid, they'll import Lyndie Englund to show them how, if they have to.

This bodes ill for those who wish to keep a shootin' iron for 'just in case' but it's not insurmountable. I happen to believe that there is simply no way to keep a gun ready for use and childproof at the same time. The answer is not childproof guns, it's gunproof children.

Once a child is old enough to understand what a gun is, and what it does, gunproofing isn't difficult. Before that age their little hands are too small and not strong enough to be a problem if we take just a couple of simple precautions. If your chosen house gun is a revolver, take it to a gunsmith and have the hammer spur milled off. Children that small can't work the double action trigger. If an autoloader or pump or autoloading shotgun is your choice it's even easier, an empty chamber. Load the magazine, leave the chamber empty.If they're not strong enough to rack the slide, we're golden. It's a good way to keep your housegun anyway. If we get awakened in the middle of the night the time it takes to chamber a round just might get us awake enough to avoid a tragedy.

Once a child is about five or so, it's time to start the gunproofing. Step one is simple enough, shoot a melon, something about head size like a cantalope or honeydew (I especially like the honeydew as it gives the the feeling that I'm shootin' those damn lists) with a gun and load big enough to blow it up. Test this first! Make sure that this load is impressive, if it's not, try another load. If you have to beg a shooting buddy for the loan of a bigbore or high velocity gun, do so. And, fa Heaven's sake, practice enough that you hit on the first shot, we're trying to impress the little bas, um, angels. Do NOT bother with hearing protection for them and don't let 'em stick their fingers in their ears. Keep them about ten feet or so behind, the noise of one shot won't cause any real damage. It will be unpleasent. Good. Just remember ten feet or so behind and a little to the side so they can see the impact. This, BTW is the only time we ever shoot around the kids without suitable hearing protection. Ever.

Then lead them up to inspect the melon carnage. Don't say anything for a minute, just let them take it in. Then give them The Speech.

Step two is the step we adults like. Have the kid(s) clean the guns, the outside first, then as they get a little more mature, the whole thing. Use the stinky solvents. Take the mystery out of the gun. Let them know they'll get to shoot when they're strong enough to handle it and have a little ceremonial test of strength each time. Our children will learn that the gun is not a toy but a serious tool that can do neat things but, like that circular saw in the garage, isn't for little kids. Make a big deal out of passing that first strength test and shooting outing. Involve the littler kids in the small party afterwards, something like a cake an ice cream or pizza party so they know their time will come. Kids aren't stupid, they're just kids. They know there are all kinds of things that they can't do yet. Your gun will be like your car, something for someday, not today.

This, along with periodic repititions of The Speech, will gunproof your children up until the age when you can start the final step in gunproofing the kids...supervised shooting in a Junior NRA Program.

The child that spends time shooting under the wing of a crusty old NRA Range Safety Officer will find it almost impossible to be unsafe with a gun. As parents, though, we must do our part. If the RSO finds it neccessary to yell at our kid, or even put him off the firing line, he, and now sometimes she, is right. Even if we think the RSO is wrong or unfair, in front of the kids, they're right. Any disagreements should be aired out far away from the kids. It's like when we learn how not to let the kids play Mom against Dad, or vice versa.

On the odd chance that a nongunny parent is reading this far, especially the parent who, for whatever reasons, doesn't like guns, I implore those parents to find a friend or reletive who does shoot to give the melon demonstration to your kids. In these days of gangbangers tossing guns out while running from the police and all the other possiblities, there's no telling what your child might discover. The condensed version of The Speech is easy, it's simply a suitably embellished version of The Rules:
A gun is not a toy.
If you find a gun, STOP. DON'T TOUCH. GET AWAY. TELL AN ADULT. Let those kids know that even if they are somewhere they aren't supposed to be, doing something they aren't supposed to be doing, they won't be punished, telling that adult about a stray gun is far more important in the scheme of things than whatever the kids were doing, right? Let's all, shooters and nonshooters alike put a stop to seven year olds shooting six year olds. They are our kids, they're worth the effort.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Belmont Club Looks at Iran.

Belmont Club
The usually keen-eyed Wretchard of Belmont Club fame has an analysis of the threat Iran poses and what we can do about it. I am in full agreement with him that the direct threat to the mainland US is slight, as is the threat to US and the better armed and equipped coalition Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. I rather part with him about the problems we would face in countering an increased threat from Iran.
Wretchard's basic premise seems to be that our ground troops in Iraq are on the wrong side of the Zagros Mountains to be a real threat to the population centers of Iran. He may well be right, as if that matters.
I do not believe we have the same strategic goals in Iran as we do in Afghanistan and Iraq where we are trying to prove that we can change two very different Islamic societies. If our gambits in Afghanistan and Iraq work, as is quite likely, we won't need to prove it can work elsewhere.
All we have to do is take out their ability to make trouble for us. This we can do without putting ground troops in. We've a whole lot of men and some women too, sitting around in flight suits wishing they were in the air. The only thing they want to know about the road network through the mountains is where is something to blow up. Zoomies just love to see stuff blow up.
We've got airbases in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as some in Uzbekistan and, IIRC, Turkmenistan. The waters surrounding Iran are an American lake. A few days to work over the Iranian AntiAir capabilities and every tank, weapons facility, barracks and place for the Mullahs to meet so they can discuss what flea powder works in their beards becomes a plinking range for our aircrews. Heck, much of Iran is within range of our Attack Helos, we've more than a few of those,too. I'm pretty sure the crews of those Commanches and Sea Cobras like to see stuff blow up too.
Road networks and landing beaches won't matter, what matters is the range of our aircraft.

Update: That is Apache Aircrews, I'm not sure what I was thinking with Commanche unless it was that my part of Texas never had Apaches but I'm less than a hundred miles from Commanche territory.

Who Is this guy?

Yet another Blog is born. Why? Primarily because I want to be able to comment on other Blogs, most often MilBlogs and Political/News Blogs without hijacking their comments sections.
I shall also chronicle my adventures with growing old and battling Parkinson's Disease, my lifelong love of shooting and handloading ammunition and, if I ever learn how to post pictures, the readers will be subjected to a regular theme entitled something like "Run For Your Lives! He's Got New Grandbaby Pictures"
Politically I'm a Libertarian with a wife, kids and grandkids, which means I'm conservative with only a few vestiges of that Libertarianism left. I'm not particularly interested in anyone's sex lives than my own and Linda Lou's. The gay issues do not interest me at all except as they effect the larger society, I've problems of my own. Who someone else chooses to lie down next to is none of my business. I'm fifty-eight years old and not once in my life has anyone asked my permission to be gay.
The same goes with race, creed and national origin and heritage. I've lived among and worked with every imaginable piece of the puzzle that makes up America and have found that people are individuals, not members of a group.
To the extent I have a Blog Family it would be the Bad Example ( Gang. Harvey and his crowd have been beating me up about making this leap for most of a year. I've resisted this step because of my near-total ignorance on how to work this thing. Harvey has been kind enough to post entries on his site that I've sent as E-Mails. I barely know how to work that. I know I shall be needing a LOT of help getting this thing off the ground. Thinking of Harv as a Blogfather is difficult though, being as how I'm older than he is. It's kind of like the guy who is his own Grandpa.
I'm not really much of an original thinker, I'm more likely to synthesize the thoughts of others and come up with some oddball hybrid of my own based on how my life's experience matches up with that thought. My education, such as it is, owes far more to the Public Library than the American Association of University Professors., if there is such an outfit.
Well, my beloved wants to go online, so here goes the obligatory lame first post. I hope someone will help me rig a blogroll soon.