The long view.

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My intent with this blog was to keep my politics elsewhere. I talk about it enough that I wanted a safe haven from it. Safe havens however are few and far between; neither schools nor churches are safe anymore and I don’t see why this space is any different. So let’s get some hip waders and a manure fork ready and get to it.

Now unlike most folks who own a semi automatic rifle with a magazine, I bought mine as a tool to use. We have had cougar in the back woods and if I am going to look for a missing goat in the darkness, and it always seems to be dark when this happens, I take the rifle, and a flashlight with me. Even so I am extremely aware of the houses around me. A bullet has no soul and just goes where it’s pointed, through whatever is in the way. I never take a full magazine because after three or four shots whatever animal you are shooting at will be on you, gone or dead. I take 5 rounds just to be safe.

Each finger pull sends forth a shard of metal traveling 3500 feet per second in a line that ends in an object. If that object is a tree or a hillside no one cares; if its someone’s kid its negligent homicide.  Twenty rounds, twenty lines radiate from you to, what?  30 rounds is 30 lines. But you can go higher: 50, 60 even a 100. If you are at a range with a target that holds still safety is easy. In the woods in the dark with an animal that can run 30 miles an hour? Well that’s another thing. And these little lead chunks go far. I can reasonable expect to hit a target at 200 yards five out six times with this gun and call myself an average shot. In the photo above it’s about 200 yards to the wooden field corner posts.  I would be hard pressed to tell friend from foe at that range; the gun has a scope but its rude to scope people when its attached to a gun… you know because it means you are pointing a gun at them.

The bullet though travels without sight; it will travel on past my accurate range: on the other side of the road the freeway runs about 900 Meters away at around along which twenty to thirty thousand vehicles a day travel. I have neighbors who have kids that run in the woods; I have come to the conclusion that there are certain angles that I simply could not shoot towards for fear of killing someone and I live in a pretty sparsely populated area. Up to 1300 meters the bullet travels at a velocity which could be lethal.  If you think an AR-15 is a home defense gun draw a circle around your house one and a half miles in diameter and estimate how many people live there. That’s how many people whose lives would be in danger if you engaged in a shoot out with your “self-defense gun”.

On the other hand, I do still keep the gun. As I said it has a use for me though it isn’t my favorite. The magazine makes it easier to unload before I go in the house instead of having to cycle rounds out through the receiver.  But do I need twenty rounds in that magazine? No there is no event in my life that would warrant twenty rounds. Just like there is no reason I would ever be pointing a gun at someone 200 yards away. So if the magazine has no purpose and poses a significant threat to public safety, shouldn’t it be regulated?

This is not an event without precedent; although machine guns go back to the gatling gun and the American Civil War, early machine guns were (and still are) fabulously expensive and difficult to maintain. The invention of the Thompson Submachine Gun put automatic fire in the hands of ordinary Americans. After a series of bloody events the guns became regulated almost to the point of extinction in public hands. Similarly semi automatic rifles with high-capacity magazines have gone from expensive oddities to common; recently I got an email offering one for $474.00, a fraction of their former cost. We have had a series of bloody events showing they are a public safety hazard and us, and by which I mean our duly elected representatives should seek to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” and allow us our rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Because that is more important than being able to put a hundred holes in a paper target without changing magazines.

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