Monday, August 20, 2007

Finding the gun she likes - my Wifes story

I want to tell this story because it reinforces the advice constantly given to us males to let our wives/girlfriends/moms/etc. pick their own gun. And also to brag on my wife a little.

It started several months ago when I was standing at the gun safe. I don't remember if I was putting away or getting out, but my wife looked at me and said "Where's mine?". I thought "Oh, she wants one of her own - great!", now which one? All we had were a .38 snubbie and a 1911, which is my carry gun.

I was just smart enough to remember the advice given in many places to let her choose her own, but we don't have the money to be buying a lot of guns to try out until she finds the one she wants, so I was a little stuck. Most people I know who have guns are guys and they probably didn't have a good selection and variety of guns that would fit a woman who was trying to find her first gun. Plus, the one shop in town that rents guns doesn't have much of a selection of rentals. So I was kind of stuck.

Fast forward to last month, when I am reading the forums of one of my state's pro-gun organizations (Michigan Gun Owners), one of which is for the club I belong to (Capital City Rifle Club), and there was a post highlighting an article in our local birdcage lining supplier uhh, I mean newspaper about one of their female reporters going to a "Ladies Night" at the club and learning to shoot. One of the active forum members, a lady named Kay, was one of the instructors at that event, and I had corresponded with her a while back on some club matters so I knew who she was.

Well, I remembered my wife's question and I, not always needing a 2x4 before "getting it" understood this would be a great way to accomplish my goal of finding something that she likes to shoot. So I contacted her and asked when the next ladies night was and what kind of a selection they usually had, and that I would like my wife to come and check it out.

To my utter amazement, she sent back that she prefers 1-on-1's, and would love to do one for my wife, and let's schedule it. So we did.

It was understood from the beginning that this was to be between Kay and my wife, and I was to be relegated to the 50-yard line to shoot my rifles (Oh darn, what a punishment) [Edit: Kay asked me to test a .30 Carbine magazine she had just picked up, as long as I was down there]. Kay pulled a small suitcase full of handguns out of her trunk (literally) and proceeded to go through them all with us. She had everything from a little Beretta .25 (I think she said it was a Bobcat) and some .22 revolvers up to some 9mm Glocks and Springfields. She had some .357 Magnum revolvers, too. A very nice selection, indeed.

[Edited to add "Kay even had a .40 S&W or two in that suitcase". Sorry Kay - I forgot!]

They shot for a good 2-1/2 hours, and by the end of it, my wife had learned a lot more about guns and how they worked and why there were things like decockers, and she had found 2 guns she liked - a Bersa .380 and a Springfield XD9 Subcompact. She thought the Springfield was ugly but she liked it the best. She also had a huge grin on her face at the end, and took her targets home to show off. She's also talking about getting a couple of her friends and going to a "Ladies Day" next month, where they will add rifle and shotgun to the handgun, and give them a taste of everything.

Guess I'll be selling that snubby to help finance an XD for her! Christmas is coming, after all...Now, will she want basic black, OD green, or Coyote Brown? Decisions, Decisions...

Michigan State Police Headquarters

My Dad, a retired 26-year veteran of the MSP, passed this along to me. I suspect it is from the MSP retiree listserv he is subscribed to. It was written by MSP retiree Earl James.

I’m retired from the Michigan State Police. My duties took me from Calumet in the north to Detroit in the South. I have donated thousands of man-hours to the people of the state and have shed my blood in hand to hand combat. I served in several different capacities including the Governor’s Authorized Representative for Communications with the United States President during both man made and natural disasters. So, in the light of the above: I believe I have earned the right to speak out on a vital matter of public concern regarding whether the Michigan State Police should move their headquarters to the so-called “Triangle Project” site in Lansing. Such a move is foolhardy and the majority members of the Michigan State Police are opposed to such a move. Below are some of the reasons why most State Police are opposed to the move, most reasons correspond to the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

1) The annual cost for maintaining the new building would far exceed current expenses.

2) The new building would ignore the Michigan State Police rich history. One of the main buildings on the compound is known by all state police officers as “Mapes Hall”. Corporal Mapes was shot to death outside Sturgis, Michigan when he tried to arrest a dope runner.

3) For decades recruits were trained to become troopers at the Michigan State Police compound.

4) For decades, the Operations Division on the compound controlled the State Blockade System to apprehend kidnappers, prison escapees, bank robbers and other felons.

5) I have not talked with a single former trooper who believes this move by the state police to downtown Lansing will better serve the people. Most believe the supporters of this plan have little or no concern for the troopers who must work in this building. For example, current personnel working at the headquarters can park at the compound free of charge. In addition, they do not have to pay Lansing City Income Tax. So this means that personnel assigned to the new building would actually receive a cut in take home pay if forced to move to the new headquarters building.

Employees have to be concerned about where records are stored in the new building because the building will be in a flood plain. This has happened before when the Court of Appeal records were damaged in the same area.

The supporters of this project claim it will provide jobs for 500 people. Are taxpayers being asked to support a version of the old WPA project? (The WPA stands for Works Progress Administration established under President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the 1930’s depression)

Let us remember these 500 jobs would be short term at best.

In the final analysis, we must ask ourselves, who really benefits from this move? It certainly is not the people of the State of Michigan. It isn’t the Michigan State Police, but it is obvious the Land developers stand to pocket the most by ridding themselves of property of questionable value during a time period of economic down turn in Michigan.

Since it appears some politicians, Representative Jones and Senator Brown are notable exceptions, are thumbing their noses at the citizenry of Michigan and are disregarding the wishes of the vast majority of Michigan citizens who are opposed to building the new state police headquarters in Lansing during these hard uncertain times.

Perhaps this is the appropriate time for a federal investigation into possible corruption

Earl James Lansing, MI

This is something the Governess has been proposing for a while, and I never understood the need for it, just like I never understood the need to move people out of the State Secondary Complex south of town into downtown Lansing. The tax angle makes it very plain, as a typical Democrat loves to make people pay more taxes. This is one they can impose without increasing rates. I'm sure Mayor Bernaro has his hands in this cookie jar!

Working in Information Technology as I do, we have to do a lot of planning for what is called "Disaster Recovery", that is, what to do when things break, fail, or are destroyed. Everything from recovering a deleted file to restoring you operations and systems in case of some natural disaster like a tornado or a flood which destroys your primary site. Think New Orleans and you'll understand the scope of things that need to be planned for because if you don't, your operation is dead.

It seems to me that in addition to the reasons Mr. James lists, having important command, control, and communication facilities scattered ("distributed" is the IT term we use) makes a lot more sense than having them concentrated as the Governess proposes. This goes to the point about the flood plain that Mr. James made - it's a single point of failure. That means that a single event can incapacitate or take out all of the facilities you might need to respond to a disaster.

So, it seems that once again, the Governess is looking for political points at the expense of prudent planning. The new headquarters, if built, will probably be named the Granholm Headquarters Complex.

Does she know Robert Byrd?

It's getting positively Nagin-esqe here in Michigan! Like we need that...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fun with Full-Auto

I was honored to be invited to travel to "The Pit" in Lapeer, MI on Aug. 8 for some full-auto fun with The Shekel and the owner of Lagniappe the dog and Lagniappes Lair. These two are into full-auto firearms and were very generous in sharing the fun with several of us.

For a full account, click on over to Lagniappes Lair. There's pictures and everything!

I also got to shoot my M1 Carbine a little more, and my Enfield went out for the first time in my hands. I had done a little judicious polishing and bending of the follower in the 10-round magazine I had for the M1, and it performed flawlessly. I shot a full box, so that was five loading/shooting cycles without a jam. We'll see if that continues - hopefully it will.

"The Pit" is maintained by the Michigan DNR, but there are no shooting benches so it's hard to do some serious accuracy checking, so the Enfield No. 4 Mk. 2 got a 20-round box of Igman .303 British 180 grain bullets put through her, to check for function of the magazine and bolt. This gun is a surprisingly soft shooter, probably due to it's weight. I get a much bigger thump in the shoulder with the Mosin-Nagant (7.62x54R) and the Mauser (8mm Mauser) than with the Enfield. I seem to remember reading that the .303 is at the low end of the power scale for the cartridges of the major belligerents of WW2, but I don't know that for sure. I'll have to do a little more research into that.

One thing I do know is that I now have a couple of guns I can shoot at the ID4 match at the Capital City Rifle Club next summer!