Wednesday, June 13, 2012

CCS asking for Equipment Donations!

Okay, it's not the Columbia Cascade Section asking for equipment donations, it's just me.

And it doesn't have to be a donation; it may be a loan, or a sale.

Almost every month, when I teach a new class of "Introduction to USPSA", I find students who don't have sufficient equipment to compete in matches.  Usually, it's a matter of crappy holsters; as often, they don't have enough magazines, or enough magazine carriers, to provide them with sufficient reloads to shoot some of the "Hi Round Count Stages".

Many of the folks who are really interested in competing want to shoot their first match as soon as possible, but they just can't afford, or can't receive the extra equipment necessary to shoot in their declared Division.

I try to help them out by offering what equipment I have, but often it doesn't fit their pistol, or their magazines.

Some of the equipment I have is not needed (because it's redundant, or not appropriate to the Division in which I expect to compete, so I offer it to the students.    But I'm concerned that these folks may not compete at all, because of the high start-uip costs.

If YOU have equipment which you don't use any more, I am hoping that you might be willing to donate it to the Introduction to USPSA Equipment Fund (which I just now established), so new shooters have what they need to decide whether they sufficiently enjoy the sport; if not, they can return the equipment.  If they want to continue competing, they can buy their own, or use what is available until they can afford to replace it with something that is more appropriate to their basic gear.

My thought is that they can buy the equipment (belts, magazine carriers, even magazines) from you at a "Used" price, which would save them money AND get the equipment to them in the week between the Introduction class, and their first match.

Of you want to to sell your gear at a reduced price, that's fine.  The new shooter will pay you what you ask, or decline the bargain.

If you want to just contribute the gear, it will be used by several shooters until they can get their own gear.

Do you want to sell it, but are willing to wait until they decide they want to keep it?  Okay, they can have the loan of it until they decide to buy their own, and return your gear; or they can pay you for it, and continue to use it.

The basic choices are:
  1. Sell it outright to whomever needs it, with no returns.
  2. Loan the equipment (it's still your), and when the student gets his/her own, it will be returned to the pool.
  3. Loan the equipment, with the possibility of selling it at a reduced price.
  4. Loan the equipment, with the understanding that it will be returned to the "pool" for use by the next student who needs it.
If you want to sell it, you set the price.  If it's more than the student wants to pay, then the transaction doesn't happen.

Okay, it can be complicated or simple.  It's your choice.

I don't care HOW you want to make the deal, as long as we can get usable (if dated) equipment to new shooters.  My only concern is that we encourage new people to TRY the sport, and if they don't like it, then they haven't spent a lot of money just to learn that it isn't for them.

Please contact me (contact me in the COMMENTS section for this post) and we'll work something out.  I won't be giving a July class, so there's at least six weeks for you to make a decision, set a price (if necessary), and arrange for the exchange of merchandise.   

I'll keep the gear, on trust.  I'll entrust the gear to the students;  if they rip us off, I won't be able to pay you.  Folks who know me, know that I won't be keeping the gear for myself.

Please think this over, and let me know if you're willing to make your gear available to new shooters.  But remember ... the more competitors there are, the more people who will show up at matches and Build The Sport!

(Also:  they will tape targets, pick up brass, and tell you what a GREAT shooter you are!)

Well, maybe not the last part.  but the more shooters we have, the better the sport gets.

UPDATE:  June 19, 2012
So far I have received emails from FOUR people who have offered to contribute their old gear.  Mostly, it's magazines, magazine pouches, and holsters.   These are three of the most essential items for IPSC type competition, so I'm sure they will be very welcome by new shooters in the future.

Mac has promised me that we can store them in the ARPC Club "Vault", so they'll be readily available.  And in the future, contributions can be turned in at either the Stat Shack during Match Days at ARPC, or at the Pro-shop.

They will be disbursed to shooters on the basis of need.  No strings attached, except that they will be encouraged to return them to the club Vault when they are able to replace them with gear which they can now afford, after they determine that they are committed to the sport.

Then they will be made available to other shooters.

I plan to keep track of which specific items are contributed by each donator.  I think that feedback should be available, although there is no requirements imposed on the recipients.  However, I don't plan to institute any major tracking program.  My experience has always been that people are more than eager to contribute to the sport, and to encourage new shooters.   The recipients of these donations will likely want to keep the Gear Box full, if only because they realize how helpful it may be for the New Shooters who follow them.  And if they don't?  Then the program will be discontinued.  Any system which becomes too cumbersome to administer will fail, so we'll make this one as 'unofficial' as possible and count on the good will of both donators and recipients.

If you donate, and later decide you want your gear back?  If we still have it, just ask for it.  Thanks for the loan, no problem.

Other clubs who also offer a Certification/New Shooter Safety Training Program might consider instituting a similar equipment repository.  As time goes by, and if unexpected situations occur, I'll keep you informed of  any negative consequences of this program.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gun Sales Up, Violent Crime Down (Again) | NSSF Blog

Gun Sales Up, Violent Crime Down (Again) | NSSF Blog: Preliminary crime statistics for 2011 released today by the FBI show a 4 percent decrease in violent crime–a continuation of a long-term downward trend nationwide. The report highlights that all four violent crime categories–murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault–declined in the country’s four major geographical regions and in all city population groups. The report also noted that violent crime decreased both in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties. The continuing decrease in violent crime comes at a time when firearms ownership has increased across America, a fact that utterly contradicts the mantra of anti-gun groups that that more guns equals more crime. “Every firearms owner should be armed with this information,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. Read the report. (opens in a new window)

The Skin Song; same song, different verse

For three and a half years I've been whining here about my crappy hands.

Admittedly, while SWMBO was slowly dying of cancer,  I tried to ignore my eczema;  it seemed to be (and it was) exceedingly self-centered of me to complain about what was essentially 'dry skin' while her lungs were rotting away.   It was worse when I came home from work and she asked me 'how are your hands?'.  It seemed graceless to complain .... and it would have been.

But she's gone now, and I've decided to go back to whining.

It's nothing more than an inconvenience, but it's debilitating to a "slightly" lesser degree than cancer;  when I try to do anything more strenuous than type on a computer keyboard, or read a book, the skin on my fingers dries out and splits.  And bleeds.  It's like getting paper-cuts, grasping nettles, or a severe sunburn ... often all at the same time.  Oh, and sometimes the skin on my hands just peels off, and I get these open bleeding wounds which make it really hard to do something like ... uh, shoot a pistol?  Even dimpled plastic grips get slippery.

So last month I went to my doctor (for the first time in a year), and HE asked me "how are your hands?  Still got the same problem?"

I admitted that I've adopted ways to cope with the problem.  I put ointment (Clobetasol, which is a 5 % steroid compound in a petroleum jelly base) on three or four times a day, and the rest of the time I just use vaseline petroleum jelly to keep my hands from drying out.  And I wear vinyl gloves about 12 hours a day to keep the stuff from drying out.  Still, it makes it awkward when I can't wash my hands with soap unless I immediately put that greasy crap all over my hands, and cover them with gloves.

My doctor, bless his heart, suggested that I see a Dermatologist.  I explained that the last one I saw did nothing more than prescribe clobetasol ointment and tell me to avoid washing and especially avoid soap.   And then last year, he retired ... mostly, I suspect he's living high on the extravagant fees he gets for telling people to quit washing.

To my surprise, my family doctor told me that there were now new dermatologists in town, and would I like him to refer me?

Would I?   Oh, HELL yes!

I went to see Dr. Vandergrift, and he didn't even look at my hands.  Not an auspicious start, from my perspective, but apparently he had been discussing my 'case' with my family doctor (who spent 9 months trying to eliminate the problem as being a fungus infection) and he understood that the only thing which had EVER helped was semi-annual massive infusion of Steroids ... which worked for a week at best.

(Then it came back, just as annoying and aggressive as ever.)

Dr. Vandergrift decided that since nothing else had been discovered to explain the situation, it must be an "acquired" allergy to some substance which had never been an issue until recent years.   He has referred me to the Oregon Health Science Unit (a division of the Oregon University System, and the Major Hospital facility in Oregon).

I made the appointment, and in subsequent phone calls to Doctor Pamela Norris I agreed to submit myself to a Patch Test.  This is the process where they scratch the skin on my back in about fifty places and deposit various substances, to see if my body reacts to them. I filled out a questionnaire, and after a couple of phone conversations with Dr. Norris's office, it turns out that they will be testing 150 substances, simultaneously.  It makes me feel like a Drunken Sailor getting his first tattoo during an extended shore-leave, and I haven't even had the tests yet!

On Monday, June 18, I'll show up at the office and they'll inscribe "MOTHER" on my back in 150 different languages.  In two days I'll come back, and they'll evaluate the results.

The next Monday, June 25, I go back for the 7-day evaluation.  Lord knows what that's going to be like.

In the meantime, I can NOT get my back wet until the testing period is completed.

There are a lot of benefits to living alone; when I say something funny, everyone in the room laughs at my jokes.  Everything stays just were I put it, and if I can't find it, it's my fault.  And if my dinner tastes crappy, I don't have to smile and say "It's delicious, Dear .. can we have this again next week?"  Instead I can just spit it out and phone for a pizza delivery.

Now there's another benefit to being a hermit:  when I haven't bathed for a week, I have nobody to offend but myself.

But, still ... Yuck!

   It isn't easy, being Geek.