Dragon’s Breath

Dragon’s breath consists primarily of magnesium pellets/shards. When the round is fired, sparks and flames can shoot out to about 100 ft. Dragons breath is normally chambered in 12 gauge 2 3/4″ shot shell. The rounds are safe to fire out of an improved cylinder bore as well as a modified choke barrel, common on many shotguns.

Mythology of American exceptionalism

“The top 1 percent of Americans now bring home almost 20 percent of the country’s annual income, and have seen their tax bills decline by almost half.”

I kept waiting for Andrew O’Hehir to just say congressional Democrats are pussies:

“Republicans know from many years of experience that if they push hard enough – on guns, on abortion, on welfare or healthcare or any other bedrock issue – Democrats will ultimately buckle and seek a compromise, even when the public doesn’t want them to. That’s because the Democratic Party is riven by internal contradictions, no longer represents the interests of working people with any consistency, and is (pardon my French) shit-scared of being portrayed as effete, effeminate and disloyal to the mythology of American exceptionalism.”

This is an interesting read but I’m thinking a lot of the people on food stamps and struggling to get buy don’t read Salon articles.

I won’t be voting for any more Democrats. Or Republicans. I’m done. If there’s a third-party candidate, I’ll vote for him/her. Don’t give a shit if they can’t win and I’m wasting my vote. I’ve done that don’t plan to again.

Southern Discomfort

From article by George Packer in The New Yorker:

The region was an American underbelly in the semi-tropical heat; the manners were softer, the violence swifter, the commerce slower, the thinking narrower, the past closer.

Following the upheavals of the civil-rights years, the New South was born: the South of air-conditioned subdivisions, suburban office parks, and Walmart. Modernization was paved with federal dollars, in the form of highways, military bases, space centers, and tax breaks for oil drilling.

the Southern way of life began to be embraced around the country until, in a sense, it came to stand for the “real America”: country music and Lynyrd Skynyrd, barbecue and nascar, political conservatism, God and guns, the code of masculinity, militarization, hostility to unions, and suspicion of government authority, especially in Washington, D.C.

As its political power declines, the South might occupy a place like Scotland’s in the United Kingdom, as a cultural draw for the rest of the country, with a hint of the theme park.

Gun Show

Some still shots from gun show in Columbia, MO. Not great shots but I was grabbing some of these on the sly. I wish I could have interviewed some of the buyers and sellers but that wasn’t going to happen. It would be a mistake for me to draw too many conclusions based on a couple of hours a my first gun show. The temptation to generalize and stereotype is strong. Some were there to make money. Some were collectors and hobbyists. And some were probably arming themselves for the day they have to “take this country back,” whatever that means. I was somewhat reassured by the lady selling scented candles and the guys selling beef jerky and BBQ rub.

James Arness

When I heard that James Arness had died my first thought was, “How could he still be alive?!” It’s just that Gunsmoke was so long ago.

So I dug out this photo taken when Craig Watson and I “interviewed” the popular TV actor when he appeared at the Sikeston Bootheel Rodeo. KBOA news guys John Reeder did the recording and Craig (on the right) and I asked some questions. Marshall Dillon signed my Fanner 50 holster.

What war actually feels like

Sebastian Junger was recently a guest on The Daily Show but you really don’t get much of a feel for a book (or the author) from those segments. Not sure why I picked up War but it’s hard to put down.

The war in Afghanistan seems very… abstract to me. I know it’s going on and people are dying (although we see almost no images of that) but it doesn’t seem real. Junger’s book (and the documentary, I assume) makes it seem very real.

I can’t tell if Junger has any views about whether the war is right or wrong or if that’s even a relevant question from the perspective the people fighting it. But his account makes it difficult to imagine anything like “winning.”

“The fact that networks of highly mobile amateurs can confound –even defeat– a professional army is the only thing that has prevented empires from completely determining the course of history. You can’t predict the outcome of a war simply by looking at the numbers.” – page 83

“The moral basis of the war doesn’t seem to interest soldiers much, and its long-term success or failure has a relevance of almost zero. Soldiers worry about those things about as much as farmhands worry about the global economy, which is to say, they recognize stupidity when it’s right in front of them but they generally leave the big picture to others.” – page 25

“…at one mile out (an) aircraft carrier is the size of a pencil eraser held at arm’s length. The plane covers that distance in thirty-six seconds and must land on a section of flight deck measuring seven yards wide and forty-five yards long.” – page 34

“…he joined the Army because he was tired of partying and living at this mother’s house, and now he’s behind sandbags on a hilltop in Afghanistan getting absolutely rocked.” – page 67

“Once while leaning against some sandbags I was surprised to feel some dirt fly in my face. It didn’t make any sense until I heard the gunshots a second later. How close was that round? Six inches? A foot?” – page 71

“It certainly isn’t beautiful up there, but the fact that it might be the last place you’ll ever see does give it a kind of glow.” – page 71

“The problem with fear, though, is that it isn’t any one thing. Fear has a whole taxonomy — anxiety, dread, panic, foreboding — and you could be braced for one form and completely fall apart facing another.” – page 73

“If I had any illusions about personal courage, they dissolved in the days or hours before something big, dread accumulating in my blood like some kind of toxin until I felt too apathetic to even tie my boots properly.” – page 74

“There are different kinds of strength, and containing fear may be the most profound, the one without which armies couldn’t function and wars couldn’t be fought (God forbid).” – page 74

“…an enormous amount of war-fighting simply consists of carrying heavy loads uphill.” – page 75

“If you’re not prepared to walk for someone you’re certainly not prepared to die for them, and that goes to the heart of whether you should even be in the platoon.” – page 77

“(He) had some kind of crazy redneck strength that was more like hydraulics than musculature.” – page 75

“The fact that networks of highly mobile amateurs can confound –even defeat– a professional army is the only thing that has prevented empires from completely determining the course of history. You can’t predict the outcome of a war simply by looking at the numbers.” – page 83

A “Vietnam moment” was one in which you weren’t so much getting misled as getting asked to participate in a kind of collective wishful thinking.” – page 132

“…much of modern military tactics is geared toward maneuvering the enemy into a position where they can essentially be massacred from safety. It sounds dishonorable only if you imagine that modern war is about honor; it’s not. It’s about winning, which means killing the enemy on the most unequal terms possible. Anything less simply results in the loss of more of your own men.” – page 140

“The enemy now had a weapon that unnerved the Americans more than small-arms fire ever could: random luck. Every time you drove down the road you were engaged in a twisted existential exercise where each moment was the only proof you’d ever have that you hadn’t been blown up the moment before.” – page 142

“War is a lot of things and it’s useless to pretend exciting isn’t one of them. It’s insanely exciting. The machinery of war and the sound it makes and the urgency of its use and the consequences of almost everything about it are the most exciting things anyone engaged in war will ever know.”

“War is supposed to feel bad because undeniably bad things happen in it, but for a nineteen-year-old at the working end of a .50 cal during a firefight that everyone comes out of okay, war is life multiplied by some number that no one has ever heard of.” – page 144

“The moral basis of the war doesn’t seem to interest soldiers much, and its long-term success or failure has a relevance of almost zero. Soldiers worry about those things about as much as farmhands worry about the global economy, which is to say, they recognize stupidity when it’s right in front of them but they generally leave the big picture to others.” – page 25

“…at one mile out (an) aircraft carrier is the size of a pencil eraser held at arm’s length. The plane covers that distance in thirty-six seconds and must land on a section of flight deck measuring seven yards wide and forty-five yards long.” – page 34

“…he joined the Army because he was tired of partying and living at this mother’s house, and now he’s behind sandbags on a hilltop in Afghanistan getting absolutely rocked.” – page 67

“Once while leaning against some sandbags I was surprised to feel some dirt fly in my face. It didn’t make any sense until I heard the gunshots a second later. How close was that round? Six inches? A foot?” – page 71

“It certainly isn’t beautiful up there, but the fact that it might be the last place you’ll ever see does give it a kind of glow.” – page 71

“The problem with fear, though, is that it isn’t any one thing. Fear has a whole taxonomy — anxiety, dread, panic, foreboding — and you could be braced for one form and completely fall apart facing another.” – page 73

“If I had any illusions about personal courage, they dissolved in the days or hours before something big, dread accumulating in my blood like some kind of toxin until I felt too apathetic to even tie my boots properly.” – page 74

“There are different kinds of strength, and containing fear may be the most profound, the one without which armies couldn’t function and wars couldn’t be fought (God forbid).” – page 74

“…an enormous amount of war-fighting simply consists of carrying heavy loads uphill.” – page 75

“If you’re not prepared to walk for someone you’re certainly not prepared to die for them, and that goes to the heart of whether you should even be in the platoon.” – page 77

“(He) had some kind of crazy redneck strength that was more like hydraulics than musculature.” – page 75

“The fact that networks of highly mobile amateurs can confound –even defeat– a professional army is the only thing that has prevented empires from completely determining the course of history. You can’t predict the outcome of a war simply by looking at the numbers.” – page 83

A “Vietnam moment” was one in which you weren’t so much getting misled as getting asked to participate in a kind of collective wishful thinking.” – page 132

“…much of modern military tactics is geared toward maneuvering the enemy into a position where they can essentially be massacred from safety. It sounds dishonorable only if you imagine that modern war is about honor; it’s not. It’s about winning, which means killing the enemy on the most unequal terms possible. Anything less simply results in the loss of more of your own men.” – page 140

“The enemy now had a weapon that unnerved the Americans more than small-arms fire ever could: random luck. Every time you drove down the road you were engaged in a twisted existential exercise where each moment was the only proof you’d ever have that you hadn’t been blown up the moment before.” – page 142

“War is a lot of things and it’s useless to pretend exciting isn’t one of them. It’s insanely exciting. The machinery of war and the sound it makes and the urgency of its use and the consequences of almost everything about it are the most exciting things anyone engaged in war will ever know.”

“War is supposed to feel bad because undeniably bad things happen in it, but for a nineteen-year-old at the working end of a .50 cal during a firefight that everyone comes out of okay, war is life multiplied by some number that no one has ever heard of.” – page 144

Shorting America

“It’s weird enough living in a country where a man can legally own an arsenal of machine guns, but his neighbor growing a pot plant will send a team of DEA agents kicking his door in with a no-knock warrant. But this goes even beyond that. If I go online today to HaveNoLifeAndBetOnSports.com and bet fifty dollars on the Bucks against the Celtics tonight, I’m a criminal. But some gazillionaire firm in New York can legally bet against the United States of America in unlimited amounts in a trade that has nothing to do with anything, but a guess about how many other people will make the same bet.”

— Matt Taibbi

Free handguns from smays.com

“A week after the election of the nation’s first black president, gun buyers across the country are flocking to gun stores to stock up on assault rifles, handguns and ammunition. Some say they are worried that the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama will attempt to re-impose the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004. Others fear the loss of their right to own handguns. A few say they are preparing to protect themselves in the event of a race war. — L.A. Times

I support the right to own a deer rifle or a shotgun or a handgun, for that matter. No point in talking about race war or assault weapons. That’s moron country.

But here’s a wager I offered today and I’ll extend it to readers who really believe the new administration is going to take away your right to own a handgun.

You buy a new pistola for, say, $500. If the right to buy or own a handgun is limited in any way by the end of Obama’s first term, I’ll pay you $500. If not, you pay me $500. We’ll give the money to an agreed-upon third party to hold.

What do you say? Here’s your chance to get a free Beretta (or whatever). Hit the comment link and we’ll set it up.