Thursday, August 18, 2005

Vile Bill's IPSC Shooting Genesis

Vile Bill and I have been exchanging email for the past week, and I have to say that referring to this gentleman as "Vile Bill" is similar to Robin Hood referring to the oversized John Little as "Little John". Bill seems to be a genuine Nice Guy, and a devoted convert to IPSC competition.

He retains this gentle humor even though he lives in Canoga Park, California. Canoga Park may be a nice place to live, but the politics of his home state are difficult to endure. For example, he wants to start 3-gun competition but can't own an AR in California. Bummer, Dude!

Bill sent me the link to an article he had written for this website. (You can read the article by clicking on the title of this article, or click here.) While the original article refers to "combat shooting", he is really talking about his introduction to IPSC generally, and USPSA specifically.

The experiences of "The Wizard of Canoga Park" (note obscure reference to Edison) are typical of many people who found IPSC as a means to fill a need, and actively sought a sport that matched their criteria by searching the interned. I told him that a thousand people could sign their names to his article, because surely that many people took the first step (an Internet search) of their own volition and were surprised by the warm reception they received.

Essentially, Bill wanted to shoot his pistol but found bullseye unexciting. His Internet search referenced both IDPA and IPSC/USPSA. The tone of IDPA was dismissive and contemptuous of IPSC, so naturally he chose IPSC. This isn't surprising to me. In my experience, the people who choose IPSC over IDPA may be a little rebellious, but they uniformly do not respond positively to a group of people whose instinctive response to competing venues smacks of elitism. This should, perhaps, be a lesson to us all.

Bill not only found an exciting sport in IPSC, but he found people who were inclusive and friendly. As Bill wrote in a private email:

If I dare say, I think it's a good account of someone who came across a great recreational outlet and some of the greatest people he's ever had occasion to associate with.

I always have the hope a non-USPSA'er might see it and give it a, er, shot. . . . (I)t's really about the people and the camaraderie. I've gotten the tips, the trigger jobs, etc. In fact, I think I trust my gunsmith/buddy more than I do my doctor!
I share his hopes that this will be read by people who don't currently shoot IPSC, who may even be entirely unaware that the competitive venue exists. It may encourage them to research the competitive venues available, and decide (as so many people who read this website have decided) that IPSC is a fun, safe and exciting sport.

Here's where I get on my soap-box.

I think that the individual clubs can do much more to attract new participants than USPSA itself. While the regional headquarters does provide a small amount of funding for some grass-roots programs, there is no leadership or policy to actively encourage clubs to make the effort.

Maybe our leadership needs to work on policy in regards to marketing the sport.
Maybe we need new leadership.

I don't know what we can expect from USPSA, but we (as IPSC competitors, and members of gun clubs which host IPSC competitions), don't need to wait for USPSA to show us how to build membership. We can design our own programs.

For example, one of the cheapest ways to attract new people would be for the club to print up a 3-fold brochure about the activities available at their club (prominently featuring IPSC competition, of course) and put them on the checkout counter of every gun store in their area. They need to follow-up to make sure that plenty of the folders are still available, and resupply the stores as needed. The brochure should include a contact number where anyone could call for more information, and even a website URL if available.

Every club which runs IPSC matches in the Columbia Cascade Section (CCS) has a website, and links to their IPSC program are on the main webpage. Also, at least one of the clubs (to my certain knowledge) has both USPSA brochures and club brochures, which they provide to attendees at their semi-annual gun shows.

A couple of years ago, SWMBO and I hosted a table at the gun show. We put out all of our various pistols, all the holsters and belts and magazines and magazine carriers, and wore our STI shirts and hats as a sort of uniform. The bright colors attracted some attention. Even more effective, we had a video tape a friend had made of the last Area Championship match, and we had that playing (with the sound turned up!) on a portable TV/VICAR combination on the table. We alternated the match film with training films I had purchased from Ron Avery. Between the two video sources, we had constant sight-and-sound attractions which often caused the aisle to clog up because we had so many people standing there, watching the videos.

SWMBO and I constantly manned the table for both days. We were friendly and happy to talk about IPSC and any other shooting-related subject the passers-by asked about. We repeatedly described the equipment differences between the Divisions, as represented by the various pistols on display, and we gave away so many brochures the first day, we had to go to Kinko's that night to print up another hundred in black-and-white (we were paying for this out of our pockets, so we weren't about to spring for full-color copies!)

The club had sponsored the table, and all we had to do was provide decorations and exhibits. They provided the initial run of brochures and they had the club table right behind ours, with a somewhat larger supply PLUS the club president and vice president on hand to answer more questions.

Also, they had sponsored a table for the Full-Auto (Machine Gun) program at the club, and sited that table right next to ours. Between the three tables, they had a crowd of people clustered in a small area at all times.

They didn't track any of the new memberships, or new IPSC competitors, who were enrolled because of that two-day effort, but judging by the number of visitors we had I assume that both the club and USPSA gained some new members through these efforts.

Not every gun club can present a website for their club AND a separate one for their IPSC discipline as does the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club.

But every club can, and should, provide brochures advertising the club and describe the kind of shooting activities available there. One of our friends, Awesome Al, recently showed me the prototype of a brochure which he had designed on his home computer. It was a 3-fold brochure (8x10 printed on both sides, full-color, folded into thirds) which was camera-ready for submittal to a printer. I hope his club provided the funds for the printing, and equally as important established a plan to distribute these brochures where they would be picked up by people who have already demonstrated an interest in shooting.

Again, any place where shooters gather is a good place to advertise. Gun shows, gun shops, public ranges -- these are all good candidates.

Here are other places where these brochures may be placed in quantity, or at least displayed:
  • the bulletin board at your place of work
  • shopping centers
  • churches (yes, churches!)
  • community centers
  • schools
  • youth centers
  • flea markets
  • yard / garage sales
  • sporting events
  • tucked behind windshield wipers in parking lots
  • on ranges at your gun club (people attending may not be aware of the wide variety of shooting sports available to them)
  • on ranges at OTHER gun clubs (it may encourage the BOD of those gun clubs to offer other shooting sports, or draw shooters to your club to try new sports)
I'm sure you can expand on the list. You know best where members of your community gather.
You will note that my list includes venues which cater to children. The USPSA Junior Program conducts an active youth drive, and of course parents are strongly encouraged to attend -- or even to join their children.

The emphasis on safety and training in IPSC is paramount; everyone who participates must receive training and undergo a testing regimen which insures that every participant is aware of, and is able to abide by, the necessary basic rules of gun safety AND the special techniques which are part of IPSC competition. Nobody is allowed to actual participate in competition until he or she has proven that they have both the skills and the maturity to safely handle firearms under the pressures of competition.

I have personal knowledge of people who had the desire to participate, but were unable to demonstrate safe firearms handling knowledge and skills even after training was competed, and were prevented from joining competition.

This is an extreme sport. It isn't for everyone. While we would like 'everyone' to participate, this isn't possible. IPSC is perhaps one of the safest action-shooting sports available if only because its standards are high.

The 'State' cannot -- or will not -- set standards of proficiency to insure safety in competition. It is to the credit of USPSA that this organization will and does set standards, and enforces them. When any competitor, no matter how experienced, fails to meet minimum safety standards on any given day, he or she is immediately stopped and Disqualified from further competition for the remainder of that match. Those who continually fail to meet safety standards (and they are few, given the rigor of the training and certification process) eventually drop out due to repeated disappointment; or, if their violation of safety standards is particularly egregious, USPSA acts to revoke their permission to compete.

Ultimately, IPSC is a safe sport because the safety standards are set high. They are constantly monitored by experienced and trained Range Officers. Any violation of safety rules immediately results in punitive action, which means that the offender is stopped from shooting.

This permits the sport to activively solicit juniors (with the consent and participation of their parents or guardians), and people who may not have previously considered Action Shooting as a viable sport.

This is a completely results-oriented sport. If you can meet the standards, you can compete. If you can meet the safety standards, but aren't particularly competitive -- you can still compete. If you are not a safe competitor, you can not compete.

In this day of ignoring responsibility for our individual actions, there are no excuses.

What could be more fair?

Thus Vile Bill can work to attract new participants in IPSC, with the comforting assurance that those who cannot participate safely will be weeded out. Those who are left will be at least safe. Whether they are good company will be accepted or rejected by societal pressures.

IPSC shooters will not abide a "jerk" among them.

They find no friends, and they don't get invited to the barbecues

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Michael Yon Online Magazine

You probably have noticed a few things here. First, this is primarily a 'sporting blog', supporting my love of IPSC competition. After that, it's a RKBA blog -- again, having to do with the 2nd amendment, not always in terms of competition.

After that I get down to the politics and writing 'whenever I have something to say, or when I just feel like ranting'.

The bottom line is that this serves as my own personal bookmark.

I often (see below) add a link to my sidebar and encourage people to visit the referenced website because I think it's interesting. The thing is, whenever I sign on to the Internet I go to my blog first, and then I use the sidebar links to go to the places which I have found interesting in the past.

Such a place is Michael Yon's Online Magazine.

You can't spend as much time as I do surfing the internet without coming across references to Michael Yon. He is a free-lance journalist who has gone to Iraq to find out what is happening, so he can report it to the world at large. Often he does this by going out on patrols with American troops.

Tonite I came across a link to one of his recent articles (I don't even remember who was the source of the link, I was so impressed with the content) and found it to be incredibly real, incredibly pertinent, and extremely well written.

Flashback: One of my great-aunts died a few years ago, and while I was helping the family clean up the house so it could be sold I ran across a book of Ernie Pyle's articles. More important, inside the book I found a veritable treasure trove of Ernie Pyle articles from World War II which she had carefully clipped out of the newspapers and saved. (My family has always been readers, and compulsive savers of information; you can see that I came by my retentive tendencies naturally.)

These new writings are similar in content and quality with the greatest War Jounalists of our times. I don't feel at all self-conscious about comparing Michael Yon with Ernie Pyle. In fact, Pyle often was so consumed with the need to make each individual soldier 'real' to his readers that he would slow the narrative by introducing each according to a formula. (eg: "Private First Class Joseph Smith, 23, of Salt Lake City, Utah.")

Yon introduces the people in his articles, but usually he has no need to pander to the editor of the Salt Lake City "Tribune" or the Dodge City "Kansan". In fact, he sometimes deliberately declines to provide more than a tagline identification to the people he writes about. For example, he writes with great respect and affection of "Captain V", but he does not slow down the narrative to identify him further.

All of this steamy series of accolades are the result of reading a single article by Yon. Here is the link to that article, and here is the link to his website. I will add the website link to my sidebar as well, because I can see that I will be revisiting it daily to see what else is new, and also to read all of the archived articles he has published.

I don't even have to clip the articles out and press them in a book. They'll be there, any time I can get my hands on a computer and a modem.

My great-aunt would have killed for the information access I enjoy.

Now you can have the same access for the low-low price of -- free.

Only a fool would resist such an offer.

Scrolling back through my browser history, I can give "Firing For Effect" the hat-tip for his reference to BlackFive which provided the link Michael Yon.

( I can see that I'll eventually be including links to BlackFive on my sidebar as well, for my own personal convenience if for no other reason.)

Fire for Effect

I reaped a comment the other day from a reader who signed himself "Vile Bill". Nobody with a nickname like that should be ignored, so I followed his link to his website, "Firing For Effect".

VileBill's an IPSC shooter from Canoga Park, California, who has been posting for . . . well, all I know is that his archives go back to January of last year. His sitemeter is recently installed, so don't let the hit-count fool you. The thing is, VileBill is an IPSC shooter, and as such he is okay in my book.

I just wanted to let you all know a little background on VileBill, because I'm adding a link to his blog on my sidebar. Go check it out, and be sure to browse through his archives. From my brief tour, I can see that he's providing an interesting journal of his progress from IPSC NuGuy to someone who is buying a wide-body pistol to support the transition from Limited 10 to Limited.

There's a hidden agenda here, and it's mine. VileBill told me where I can get software that interfaces seamlessly with BlogSpot so I can now support TrackBack processing. I'll check that out, and hopefully install it next week sometime. You can see, I owe the man.

Oregon Blastorama

It appears that the scheduled bloggershoot is -- er -- on schedule.

Saturday, August 20, a few (4? 6? 8?) PNW bloggers will doff their pajamas and climb into the cleanest-smelling bluejeans they can find in the laundry for an afternoon at the range in Portland, Oregon.

As is typical of the most important technical conferences, this one will begin with lunch.

Lunch is noonish at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse on Center Street in Jantzen Beach. (This is on the West side of the I5 Freeways, I think around Exit 302).

After lunch, the whole shootin' match will move over to the shootin' range: "The Place To Shoot" at 940 N. Haden Meadows Drive ... which is located on the EAST side of the freeeway.

There was some discussion of a BBQ afterwards, but I can't speak to that.

I'll be bringing my IPSC pistols, plus the .41 Magnum Blackhawk affectionately known as "The Hand Cannon". IIRC, TPTS allows magnum pistols to be fired on their range, so be prepared to double-up on ear protection.

I have no idea what kinds of firepower the other participants will bring, but it's a great opportunity to shoot each other's pistols for fun and bragging rights. If you plan to attend, you might want to bring something to shoot. That is, something I've never shot before, because I'll want to shoot it. Bring plenty of ammunition, okay?

My main priority will be to meet new chums, and take a LOT of photographs.

You'll recognize The Geek. I'll be wearing my "Usual Suspects" hat.
See the photo in the upper right-hand corner of the blog? That isn't it.

This is it.
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Ugly looking thing, eh?

The cap is starting to look a little shabby, too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Keystone Kops III: What Is A Tool?

In response to popular demand (Zippy wanted to know, according to an earlier comment on this blogsite), I've decided to post ONE MORE ARTICLE about the 2005 Columbia Cascade Section Tournament.

This is about IPSC Rules of Competition. If you're not interested in the subject, there's nothing happening here, move on.

We had two incidents at the CCS Section Match which presented questions concerning the interpretation of the current rules. One was "What Is A Tool?", and the other was "I've Lost My Ears And I Can't Get UP!"

What Is A Tool?>
In the Keystone Kops match, a competitor experienced a firearms malfunction in that the magazine of his CZ locked up the slide when he slam-reloaded at slide-lock.

This happened twice to this competitor. I was the RO on the second occurance, and had heard that this was a malf that had happened on an earlier stage that day. I didn't stop the competitor, but after he had completed the stage I had the time recorded and before I scored the targets I called the Range Master (who was doubling as the Match Director, and also happened to be the Section Coordinator) to the stage. Aware that this would be a controversial call, I described the circumstances and the activities of the competitor, and asked the RM what would be the appropriate penalty.

He (the RM) thought for a moment, and declared one procedural penalty for using a tool to clear a malf. I conceded the point without comment and continued to score the targets.

I didn't agree with the call.

Here's the applicable rule, according to the current rule book:

5.7 Malfunctions – Competitor’s Equipment

5.7.1 In the event that a competitor’s handgun malfunctions after the start signal, the competitor may safely attempt to correct the problem and continue the course of fire. During such corrective action, the competitor must keep the muzzle of the handgun pointing safely downrange at all times. The competitor may not use rods, or other tools to correct the malfunction. Violations will result in a zero score for the stage.

Later, the RM reconsidered his decision and rescinded the procedural penalty. The competitor's score was arbitrarily altered to remove the procrdural penalty, and he was allowed to have used his spare magazine to clear the jam without penalty.

This may turn out to be a more controversial decision than I expected.
For example, Bruce Gary (who is the Area 1 Director in the USPSA Board of Directors) brought up this question in his recent comments in the USPSA Forum discussing this topic.

The consensus in that forum seemed to be that the use of a magazine to clear a jam did not constitute the use of a 'tool'. This position is give credence because Troy McManus, one of the National Ranger Officer Institute's (NROI) Instructors conceded that a magazine was not a 'Tool' in the sense suggested by the rule.

Do I agree with this decision?
I do not!

It is unfortunate that the rule book does not define the word "Tool". That makes it much more difficult to interpret the rule.

To further complicate the question John Amidon (VP of USPSA and the NROI Director) responded to a question in the then-current issue of the Front Sight Magazine (July - August, Vol 22 #4, Pp. 4.72) which touched upon this question. Unfortunately the question directly addressed the use of 'props' to clear a jam, not the use of 'tools' or the definition of the term. The resulting Interpretation served only to NOT define a 'prop' as a 'tool', and allows the use of a 'prop' to clear a jam -- "as long as it is done safely ...".

Do I agree with this decision?
I do not.

I happen to belong to the "Chimpanzee" school of thought in regards to this queston; anything that would be considered as a 'tool' if a Chimp used it to draw a snack of ants out of an anthill, will be considered a 'tool' if it was used by an IPSC competitor. Thus any object used to clear a malfunction would incur imposition of the zero-the-stage clause of the rules.

Here's an interesting question: do I agree with the rule?
I most decidedly and emphaticallyl do NOT!
I think it is, to resort to the vernacular, a "Stupid Rule". It serves no purpose, it needlessly penalizes the competitor, and if there was a legitimate goal to the emposing this restriction it should necessarily have included a definition of the word 'tool'. However, since it did NOT define the term, then all objects which are not something you were born with must be considered a 'tool' and its use penalized to the degree specified by the rule book.

Either that, or you (a) define the term, (b) lessen the penalties at least under some circumstances which have not been defined, or (c) delete the rule as unenforceable.

My choice would be to delete the rule as unenforceable.
Nobody knows what a 'tool' is, and the latest "interpretatioon" by the Director of NROI serves only to obfuscate the rule, not clarify it. If John Amidon can't come up with a clear and all-encompassing interpretation, who can?

My second choice would be to define the term 'tool' so that everybody understands what is and what is not prohibited.

Is a magazine a 'tool'? Or is anything that is not a "rod" a tool?

I think that if you have a Leatherman on your belt, and you can use it to clear a jam, the RO should just shut up and sit back; as long as the gun is pointed in a safe direction, the competitor can use whatever is available to clear a jam.

If the competitor comes to the line without sufficient tools on his person to clear whatever malfunction may occur, it's the competitors problem for not being ... competititive.

I voiced my displeasure about this rule a year ago, and my voice was not heard. I doubt it will be heard now, but you KNOW the question will arise again and the answer will be every bit as unsatisfactory as it is today.

What's the bottom line?

A 'tool' is whatever the RO de jour says it is. The rule is unenforceable, so it will be enforced arbitrarily and inequitably.

Lose the rule, Dude; it doesn't work and it should never have been accepted by the USPSA BOD. Their bad for letting it slip by.

I've Lost My Ears And I Can't Get UP!

Here's another interesting situation which occurred during the CCS Section Tournament.

During the Jungle Run, a competitor tripped over the log which restricted access to the Jungle Run. His ear protection (ear muffs) fell off, and he was sprawled on the ground. He kept the muzzle of his pistol pointed safely downrange, so he was not DQ'd. Using only his weak hand, he managed to put his ear muffs back on, got to his feet, engaged the targets before him successfully, and moved down to engage the last target in the array.

Unfortunately, he was a little distracted and dragged the muzzle of his gun past the 180-degree line on that last target. He was stopped by the Range Officer (RO), and received a DQ (Match Disqualification.) This DQ was justified by the circumstances, as ragged as they were.

Here's the rub:
the competitor should have stopped himself, or the RO should have stopped him, because his ear protection had been dislodged in the fall.

5.4.3 If a Range Official notices that a competitor has lost or displaced their eye or ear protection during a course of fire, or has com­menced a course of fire without them, the Range Official must immediately stop the competitor who will be required to reshoot the course of fire after the protective devices have been restored.

Unfortunately, the RO was not aware (or not familiar with) the applicable rule, so the he didn't shopt he competitor.

The competitor didn't know he could call for a break, so HE didn't stop himself.

Ultimately, the competitor continued with what had already been a disatrous run on the stage, and consequently performed an unsafe act.

Should the involved people (the RO and the competitor) have been familiar with the applicable rules, and stopped the stage? Darned right they should, and as a consequence of their inaction the competitor went on to perform an unsafe act and was DQ'd.

But I can't fault either party. I wasn't sure about the actual applicable rules myself, until the rule book was brought out and we started reading the rules.

There is no happy ending to this story. The only thing I can suggest is that everyone who competes in IPSC competetition read the rule book thoroughly and memorize all the cheesy little rules that may make the difference between completing the match and being DQ's. Sometimes, the rules that mess you up aren't the rules that cause you to be DQ'd.

Think about it, and if you're not already a certified RO you might consider taking the training.

It could save your match.

Tears In My Eyes:The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: Tears In My Eyes

While I often find the ranting of The Emperor Misha entertaining, I don't always agree with his radically extreme conservative viewpoint. That's the reason that I put his website in a special category in my sidebar. Essentially, I visit his blogsite (which is vastly more popular than my own poor efforts) only to reassure myself that extremist viewpoints may be viscerally satisfying to the author, but don't always show him as a rational person.

I don't quote his opinion because I don't use such rough language except in the rare occasion when I am so outraged that calmer expression will not serve my purpose. Misha seems to find it appropriate far too frequently for my taste. Perhaps I suffer from excessive dispassion, but since I don't agree with him I won't clutter up my own work with vulgar invective.

Misha's point is that he is distraught and outraged by the images of Israelis forcing other Israelis out of their homes. That's understandable, and I share the same distress.

His other point is that it's all George W. Bush's fault. He thinks it was an American decision, forced upon Mr. Sharon, and that Mr. Bush should be the recipient of all the invective and disgust which many of us feel as a result of this shameful occurrence.

I don't agree.

Misha doesn't cite any references to support his theory, other than his own passion. My readings convince me that this was NOT an American tactic, that the White House was NOT the author of this socio-political boondoggle, and that to blame him for the wrongful decision of the Israeli Prime Minister is to be uninformed, irresponsible, and wrong. (And I have told him just that, in a comment to the website of The Anti-Idiotarion Rottweiler.)

I consider Daniel Pipes a much more credible reference to the events occurring in Israel today.

In a recent article, Mr. Pipes states:

The Israeli government's removal of its own citizens from Gaza ranks as one of the worst errors ever made by a democracy.

This step is the worse for being self-imposed, not the result of pressure from Washington. When the Bush administration first heard in December 2003 that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had unilaterally decided to pull all soldiers and civilians from Gaza, it responded coolly. Months of persuasion were needed to get the White House to embrace the initiative.

I don't know about you, but I'm more inclined to give credence to a man who wrote about the situation four months ago, when it was current-news, than I am to accept the diatribe of a man who makes apparently unfounded accusations.

You'll have to read the citations provided here -- and please go find your own references before you make up your own mind -- to make an intelligent, informed decision that you can defend.

You know what I think.

I think that uniformed passion is not the best measure of a painful event.

Monday, August 15, 2005

staghounds: Moslems stand AGAINST murder, no publicity...

staghounds: Moslems stand AGAINST murder, no publicity...

Staghounds is a blogger who just doesn't blog enough.

I added him to my sidebar a couple of months ago because he says things, and presents perspectives, which nobody else can offer.

And I don't read his work as often as I should. Maybe he'll take the hint and blog more frequently, but that may not be the best solution; unlike others I could name, he writes when he has something to say. I could learn from him.

A month ago, he wrote about the Moslem reaction to Islamic Extremists. I'm reading what he says, and it is encouraging that Moslems are denouncing the murder of innocents.

In this one instance, his take is much more positive than mine.

Here's why:
This morning I was listening to the radio while I was getting ready for work. I listened to the Laura Ingraham show, on a station which I have tuned in on my alarm-clock/radio because her voice is so irritating that I am driven from my bed. (This is important, because I am NOT a "Morning Person"!)

A representative of the American Moslem Community was the guest commentator, and he was saying all the right things, until he hit a bump in the ideological road. I don't have direct quotes for the whole thing, so some of this should be taken as a paraphrase. (I'm not willing to pay six bucks a month to the Laura 365 Club to access the transcripts. Perhaps a reader who does have the membership can find the transcript and forward it to me.)

He said:

The world has a problem with the extremists, and moderate Moslems are the only ones who can do something about it. We represent a religion of peace ... When we have Moslems strapping bombs to their bodies and blowing up people, some of them Moslems, then .....

(emphasis added)
and he lost me there.

"Some of them Moslems".

THAT is the problem.

I have yet to hear a clear, unequivocal Moslem denouncement of terrorists blowing up people. There's always a qualifier. In this statement, the qualifier is that "some of them (are) Moslems".

What has that to do with anything? Sure, it's a shame that Moslems are being killed by their own people ... both in the sense of adherence to a religious belief and frequently in the sense of common membership in a national/cultural/geographic group.

The way these statements are worded, they give the impression that the priorities are:
(a) we're killing our own people, and that is not justified by the effort to achieve a goal, or
(b) it's not that we think it's wrong to kill people, but it's wrong because it makes all Moslems look bad.

Why can't we hear just ONE Moslem spokesman say:
"It's wrong to kill people. Even killing declared combatants is deplorable, but there is a group of Moslems who feel justified in killing ANYBODY, even non-combatants, in the most horrible manners imaginable. We Moslems must speak out against this and make it clear that we do not support terrorism or murder regardless of the espoused cause and regardless of the religion of the victims."
When I hear that kind of statement, which doesn't equivocate and doesn't present a sense of outrage based on the fact that members of their religion are adversely affected by terrorist actions, then I'll begin to believe that "Moderate Moslems" are equally as horrified as the rest of the world.

Until that day, I can't accept the proposition that "Moderate Moslems" are all that moderate.

They cleave to a sense of "Them" versus "Us", and until non-Moslems are unconsciously accepted "Them" as part of "Us" there is no real credibility in the concept of Moslems being part of a community which is being equally preyed upon by the terrorists.

Until that day, the Radical Islamists (?) will continue to assume, and rightly, that they have at least tacit approval and support from ALL Moslems.

Anything less is just bullshit. Damned insulting bullshit, at that!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Croc Match I

"Barsoom" posted a warning to the Unofficial IPSC List that the 2005 Annual Croc Dundee ("You Got Bullets?) Hi-Round quasi-IPSC match was scheduled for Labor Day weekend, and mentioned that it features the Surprise Jungle Run stage.

I want to take some of your time and precious band-width to give you an idea of just what we're talking about when Oregonians ("Ory_Gun_Ians") say "Jungle".

It's a Rain Forest, Folks!

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(Photo Hosting courtesy of ... click on all photos for hi-res image)

Here's a picture of the June Club Match at Dundee, The Club Match. No surprises here, the competitors get to walk the stage before they shoot it. (A similar stage was also offered at the Columbia Cascade Sectional Match in early August ... again, it was NOT a 'surprise stage'; every competitor knew where the targets were, and what they looked like.)

After you get started, there are various targets stuck back in the ferns and brush, and MOST of them are readily visible ... if you're paying attention.

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Here's a couple of targets which you can easily see from the trail you're RUNNING on. Note the log over the trail? Some people think they can hit the target while they're in the air, jumping over the log. Note that the ONLY Match DQ during the CCS Section Match was from someone who jumped over the log instead of stepping over it. (Note also that this person did NOT DQ because he tripped over the log ... which he did ... but because he broke the 180 Degree line by running past a later target while he was shooting at it!)

Here's what a LOT of targets look like, at the end of the trail. Lots of targets, lots of rounds to have in your magazine when you get there.

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The thing about the Croc Match is that you have to keep track of the rounds you have actually shot, so you know when to reload. Y'see, there are EIGHT stages, and the round count is estimated at OVER 450 rounds. Do the math. You'll be shooting over 50 rounds for EVERY stage. Um, do I need to say that sixty-round stages are NOT uncommon?

I shot this match several times with a single-stack pistol (The Beloved Kimber), with Chip McCormick 10-round magazines. Then, they had nine stages and 400+ rounds, which means I could get away with having five 10-round magazines and a bunch of 8-round magazines. Chances are, I would have to do some standing reloads with that gun this year. I wouldn't want to go to the match with less than six 10-round magazines, and a bunch of extra mags as well.

I have seen a couple of revolvers at this match. One year, Steve Alley ("Alley Cat") showed up with a little red wagon which he had modified by bolting vertical 1/4" dowling to the sides, so he could slide his speed-loaders on them. The speed-loaders were handy there, but he didn't drag the wagon with him. He put the six-round speed-loaders on his belt, and he looked a lot like Pancho Villa with all that ammo on him. He also put several speed-loaders in his pockets, because it's difficult to put more than a dozen on a belt without dragging your pants down around your ankles.

The good news is that the ("Banzaii Ballistic!") Croc Match stages are usually 10-round friendly. The bad news is that the targets are not always easy to hit, and if you have to make up a miss it can ruin your whole stage.

Even people who are shooting open guns, with magazine capacity of 25 to 30 rounds, find themselves either making a standing reload or dumping a half-full magazine in the middle of the stage because they JUST CAN'T COUNT!

Here's a photo of someone who will NOT be going to the Croc Match:
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Am I Going to compete?

I don't know. I just shot a lost-brass match last week, and to be honest I hate to take brand new Winchester .38 super brass to a a lost brass match.

Here's a picture of somebody who WILL be there.
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And here are people who are just ... not sure.

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Okay, so many I'm not real sure about the last two, but it's still a Great Match.
Okay, it could happen.
I'll be there.

You'll brass for me, right?