Sunday, October 30, 2011

USPSA Presidential Elections Run-off

Here are two (not so) very surprising results from the 2011 USPSA Presidential election;

  1. not very many USPSA members submitted their ballots, or submitted them before the deadline; and ..
  2. therefore, so few ballots were received that it was impossible to determine a 'winner', within the definition of the UPSA constitution.
The reason why that's not very surprising is that most people in USPSA don't much care who occupies the position of President; they just want to go shoot, and not be bothered with organizational details.

Isn't it odd that so many of us volunteer to work as Range Officers, and instructors, but won't vote on a Presidential election?

Well, no. No really

According to the accounting company hired to monitor the results (Jacob Jarvis) ....
about 5,500 valid votes were received, out of the approximately 18,000 current members eligible to vote. Which means that less than one out of three of us cared enough to register an opinion.

Again, this isn't all that surprising. Most of us just want to go shoot club matches. Some of us attend Sectional matches, fewer attend Area (Level III) matches, and typically about 500 individuals compete in National Matches (that is, 500/18,000 or about 0.3%; of the 2 or more National Matches, a significant number attended more than one match --- every year). And most of those National Match attendees are those who think they have a reasonable chance to win.

Note: I've attended a few National Matches, but never expected to win. I have never been disappointed; I never won.

This supports my original thesis; most of us just want to shoot. It's not that we are victims of ennui. As long as a national organization exists in any form, and club matches are still held regularly within a reasonable driving distance, and a working classification system is maintained regularly, we don't much care who is driving the bus.

Unfortunately, this is not characteristic of a healthy, thriving, viable organization. It does not provide a sense of confidence that this sporting organization can continue for the foreseeable future.

Let's look a the the run-off for President: Michael Voigt (the incumbent) garnered 2,639 votes, for 48% of the valid received ballots. Phil Strader (the challenger) received 1,890 votes for 34.4% of the valid received ballots. The three 'other' listed challengers received less than half of the votes, all together, that Phil Strader received. Total votes received: 30.2% of the ballots sent out.

Why Should We Care?
Actually, if all you want to do is to shoot club matches once a month, should you care who is the President of USPSA?

No, of course you shouldn't. After USPSA collapses, you can still get together with your friends every now and then and go shoot IPSC-like matches. It just requires a lot more organizational effort on the few people who are still willing to put on a match.

Of course, if USPSA falls, then there is no classification system. Then you won't be able to provide a viable "relative scoring" of one competitor to all others.

Is this likely to happen? No, probably not. At least, not for a while. If you are wondering why you really NEED a USPSA (or an IPSC) organization, it's ultimately all for the classification system. Most of us couldn't care less who is the President of the USPSA; after all, the incumbent is always intrinsically interested in the continuation of the organization, because this is where they earn their living.

Professional Shooters
Let's look at the two top contenders for the office: Michael Voigt and Phil Strader. These two gentlemen can reasonably be described as Professional Shooters. They make their living from competition and from training. Until Michael Voigt was elected in way-back-when (1998?), all of the USPSA presidents were more 'administrators' than 'professional shooters'.

They may have competed in International matches, but it wasn't because their primary qualification was name-recognition, because they were "professional shooters". They may have attended, and competed in, International matches; but it wasn't because they expected to win. They just wanted to shoot. Like you, and me.

Mission Statements of the President(s) of USPSA

And we have reaped the benefits of the vision of the current USPSA President, Michael Voigt. After all, he headed the effort for USPSA to semi-divorce itself from IPSC, as far as the American competition rules are allowed to differ from the International competition rules.

Or did he? Wasn't it the members of the Board of Directors who actually spear-headed the effort for USPSA to continue with a rule book which actually reflected the unique second-amendment friendly environment of the United States?

Many of the regions of IPSC could not legally compete because of the legal requirements of their national governments. I don't know how many IPSC Regions cannot use the "Metric Target", for example (because it is contrary to National Law to shoot at 'human-form' targets), but it is a significant number.

In fact, during the compilation of the USPSA rules of competition, Michael Voigt found himself voting against some motions of the USPSA Board of Directors, because Voigt was the only member who regularly competed in Level IV "International" competition.

But most of us in USPSA ... surely over 95% of us .... haven't ever competed internationally. We don't much care what IPSC thinks is an appropriate limitation on target shape or presentation. We just want to shoot at club matches, and the limitations that IPSC had enacted were anathema to many of us. The USPSA Board of Directors, in fact, led the way in deciding that, for example, a rule which disallowed targets to be displayed when rotated more than 90 degrees from vertical made no sense to us.

And we don't really like the IPSC Division definitions of Standard and Modified. IPSC doesn't recognize Limited, Limited-10, Single-Stack, etc. divisions.

European and other Regions are often restricted in the definition of acceptable competitive rules, because they have "local" (National) laws which regulate what they can and cannot do. For example, some nations (eg: England and Tokyo) will not allow their citizens to own pistols; they have to shoot with 'airsoft' guns, at best, and can only shoot 'real' guns by travelling outside their own country of origin. Consequently, they can't write a rule book which allows the same freedoms as we enjoy in America; they are obliged to bow to the dictates of their political masters.

USPSA Autonomy
And so, there is a decided NEED for USPSA to maintain its autonomy outside of the global anti-gun, anti-freedom agenda with which so many of our international friends must contend ... and we can ignore. It's not the American Way. It's the United Nations "Let's Make All Civilian Firearms Ownership Illegal" way.

I don't want some foreign government to decide what firearms I can and cannot own, nor how I can use them, nor what target shape (isn't that bizarre?) I can shoot them at. And neither do you.

What we need is a USPSA President who can stand up for 'inalienable rights' against intrusive governmental interference. That's asking a lot of the leader of a relatively minor sporting organization, although that is exactly what we would prefer ... if it was only possible.

We can't free our international friends from these intrusive laws, but we can stand up for our own rights and serve as a shining example of a nation where the government can't apply arbitrary restrictions on our Second Amendment Rights. Can other nations learn from us? Probably not; they have been so brainwashed by socialist agendas, they are willing to abrogate the competitive rules of their own sports, just to allow themselves their primary consideration ....

... they just want to go shooting on the weekends. Just like you, and me. We don't HAVE to go shooting every weekend, to remain active. It's enough to know that we can, and when we go to a match we know that there's not some interfering "Suit" telling us we're bad just because we want to poke holes in cardboard and make that steel target go

Whaddy gonna do?
So sometime in the next month, a majority of us 18, 197 eligible voting members need to send in our ballot and take a stand. The right to vote is essential to American citizenship, even if it's just to choose the leader of our sporting organization for the next few years.

What am I going to do? I'm going to vote for Phil Strader, instead of Michael Voight. Nothing against Mr. Voigt; he's an honorable man, and he's done his best during the past several years to keep USPSA on track and consistent with the priorities we hold dear.

My personal opinion is that it's time to bring a new man onto the scene, and see what he can do with the office. My hope is that he will be a leader. The BOD has been blessed with leaders during the past several years, but many of them have 'retired', and I miss their leadership qualities (even though I have offended a few of them with my criticisms on specific occasions.)

I don't personally know most of the current BOD members, so I'm hoping for a strong leader who will take our best interests to heart. My feeling is that (a) Mr. Voigt has done what he can in the past, and we need a new leader ... perhaps he has a new vision, and I'd like to see what he can do with the office; and (b) although this is not intended as a criticism of Mr. Strader, who is a good man and a great competitor AND a good firearms/competition instructor, I would very much have been able to elect someone who does not make (or augment) his living from his shooting career.

But if we must have a "Professional Shooter" as the next USPSA President, I would rather let the 'new blood' take his best shot at it.

I'm hoping for an A-zone double tap.

You can vote for whom ever you choose; but --- choose someone. Don't let my vote constitute too much of the valid votes, if you don't agree with me. Or even if you do. we're looking for at least a 50% return on the votes, this time.

Run, shoot, or get out of the way!

Jerry the (My "Honor Scholar" can kick your "Honor Scholar's" ass!) Geek