Farewell

Greetings all,

We are the sons of Popgun, affectionately known as Butch to most here in the real world. It is with much sadness we must share with you his sudden passing on the morning of Tuesday, July 31st 2012.

The past few weeks have been difficult as anyone would understand. In dealing with our loss we did not want to forget about all those whom dad touched with his writing, both in life and through his blogs.

Several bloggers in particular were very influential on him. We don’t know how many posts were forwarded to us with the comment, “They said it better than I could.” Special thanks to you Bayou Renaissance Man, View From the Porch, John Lott, and Lawdog.

We were always very proud of him for freely sharing his love of life and country with us (and anyone else within earshot). We wanted to let you know how much he appreciated his readers. We would love to know of any notable posts or conversations with Dad that left an impression on you. Please share in the comments section and we will publish them as we can.

Again, thanks so much for being a part of Popgun’s world. We lost a good one.

Warm Regards,

The Sons of Gun

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Murder in Aurora, revisited

The mass murder at the theater in Aurora, Colorado, happened in a theater which has a no-guns policy.

Gee, that worked well, didn’t it?

I might point out also that the killer was stopped by the arrival of more guns – in the hands of law-abiding police officers, in this case. Spree killers are always stopped by the arrival of the next gun. Sometimes it is a cop; sometimes it is a private citizen with a handgun license. But they are always stopped with the arrival of the next gun.

To reiterate the obvious; if somebody near enough in the audience was armed, many lives might have been saved. The cops are only minutes away; if somebody in the audience was armed, they might have made the response time merely seconds. No-gun zones are places where murderers like to hunt, because they know that for a while at least, nobody will be shooting back. It is amazing to me how many well-meaning folks don’t grasp this concept.

And every public school in the country is a no-gun zone, by government decree. Many malls and theaters are also no-gun zones by their own choice. Those signs only keep out the law-abiding.

-Popgun

P.S. My initial post about this incident is here.
P.P.S. John Lott has a detailed post on this incident here.

ADDENDUM 7/26/2012: Article showing that “With a single exception, every multiple-victim public shooting in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed since at least 1950 has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry their own firearms.”

Posted in Current Events, Guns and Self Defense | Leave a comment

Vacation in Durango

Texas Grandma and I drove to Durango, Colorado for our vacation a couple of weeks ago; we met our son J who flew from New York to meet us there.

It was a great vacation, but it was not without its hazards.

It took us two days to get there, staying at a motel on the way; and two days to get back the same way. That’s a lot of driving. We spent the night in Amarillo, both ways. From our home in East Texas, we drove more than 11 hours the first day, and were still in Texas. We did have adventures on the way, checking out portions of historic Route 66.

The second day, we arrived on target, checked in at the Caboose Motel, and picked up J at the local airport. The Caboose is an older motel that really was pretty nice; my only real complaint is that the towels are too small for a 260 pound adult. It felt like I was drying off with a hand towel.

Day 3, we went up to a resort where we rode the ski lifts, and what they call the Alpine Slide – think of a luge in a concrete track with a special skateboard. This was a lot of fun, and the scenery is awesome up there, for us flat-landers. We saw several deer, and some smaller critters (probably of the squirrel family), as well.

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On the way back to the motel, we stopped at a roadside spring. That’s when the battery on our Caravan went kaput. Some very friendly and nice locals were riding by on bicycles, who stopped to help. We wound up having it towed to the local Firestone place, who installed a new battery and checked it out to make sure there wasn’t anything else wrong with the charging system. I do have to say that all the natives of Durango that we encountered seemed to be real nice folks.

Day 4, we went on the Mild to Wild Jeep / Train tour. They take you on a nice tour bus up to Silverton (rising in elevation from around 6,500 to 10,000 feet), where your group gets on one of several different types of off-road vehicles set up for multiple passengers. From here, you go on what they call “maintained roads” up above the tree line into the mountains, up to around 13,500 feet. “Maintained roads” by the way, are rock-paved trails that you will NOT get over in a two-wheel drive vehicle. Ours was a six-wheeled military vehicle of some type. This segment of the trip takes around three hours. I must say that you get to see things on the Jeep tour that you miss any other way. The view of the mountains, and many mines, and remains of old mine workings and buildings. It’s amazing that the miners were able to do these things considering mule transport, and harsh winters.

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The views from there are awesome. You need to do this, at least once in your life. I’m the guy in the hat.

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After you get back to Silverton, you have enough time to shop a bit or eat a meal, than you take the Silverton & Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad back to Durango. It’s downhill all the way, a slow passage through mountains and over gorges, mostly following the Animas River. Beautiful scenery all the way, both above and below. Texas Grandma had taken 1017 photos and maxed out her camera’s memory, at this point.

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Day 5, we drove to Four Corners, about 1 1/2 hours from Durango. This is where four states (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado) meet at one point, so you can walk through four states in a few seconds. There’s really not much there except for a marker, and some local Indians who sell jewelry and things like that, but it was still fun.

I have a Texas concealed handgun license; it is interesting to think about the fact that I could pass through four different sets of laws just by walking in a circle. Of course I did review the relevant laws for all the states we would possibly enter, before going on this trip, and I was careful not to infringe the law. I do wish gun laws were uniform across the U.S. Just by walking into New York, for instance, I could wind up in jail for years, for doing something that was perfectly legal on this trip.

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We marveled at how you can see storms coming across the desert. In East Texas, your line of site is usually limited by trees; up there, you can see stuff coming for miles. My hat got blown off.

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Day 6, we shopped in the morning in downtown Durango, where I found a hotcake so big I couldn’t finish it; then we dropped J at the airport and departed for Texas. We got to Amarillo about midnight local time.

Bless his heart, J had a lot of trouble traveling. None of us will ever fly United again – ever. Incoming, his first flight out of New York was cancelled, and he had to scramble to a different airport at a personal cost of over $100 (cab fare) to catch an alternate flight to Denver where he caught his connecting flight to Durango. Then, on the way back, his flight out of Durango to Denver was cancelled. First they told him it was a mechanical problem with the plane, but they changed it to weather-related when they realized they’d have to pay for hotel rooms for the passengers if it was their fault. J didn’t get out until the next morning. It cost him around another $150 for a motel room. Two cancellations on the same trip, and a certain amount of dishonesty to boot. His out of pocket un-budgeted expenses directly due to United’s poor maintenance and service was over $250.

As for us, we were still about five hours from home on Day 7, when the engine light came on. Whee. But we did finally make it home. It’s about 1000 miles each way, not including side trips, etc. We were really glad to get home.

It was a good trip, and a lot of fun – but way too much driving.

-Popgun

Posted in Current Events, Stories | Leave a comment

Hot….

Our air conditioning flaked out night before last. Whine.

It got up to about 97°F last night. Texas Grandma and I slept under numerous fans, in 90° ambient temperatures most of the night. The repairman comes Monday morning at 8:30, so there will be at least one more night like this.

This episode makes me think back to when I was a kid. I believe I was in my early teens when our family first got air conditioning – a window unit in the living room. Thinking back, that would have been around 1964 or thereabouts. That was the first time my family had ever lived in air conditioning, and even then, none of us had it in the bedrooms. We did have an attic fan, though, which was nice. I remember my Grandfather Pop had an evaporative cooler which helped cool one room. This worked by blowing a fan across a wetted mat surface and into the room.

I guess if you are used to it, it’s no big deal, but it’s pretty unpleasant right now. I do marvel at how adaptable people are, though. There was no temperature control of any sort for most of the history of human-kind; only in the last hundred years has air conditioning been available at all; and it has probably been commonly available only the last 60 years or so. And now it is so pervasive that we only notice its absence.

Right now, I think A/C is one of the nicer boons of modern technology. When it works.

-Popgun

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Proud to be a Texan

A Texan man caught another man in the very act of trying to rape his five-year-old daughter. And in the process of stopping this awful, vile act, the would-be child molester died at the hands of the father.

Kind of makes me proud that the father is a Texan. Kind of proud of the members of the Grand Jury that acquitted him, too. Good job all around, as far as I’m concerned.

-Popgun

Posted in Current Events | 1 Comment

Cars Are More Dangerous Than Guns

I really don’t understand the horror some people have for guns. Really, they should be afraid of driving.

I have contended for a long time that cars and trucks and other moving vehicles are far more deadly than guns which are legally carried for self defense.

My reasoning is as follows:

First, handguns being carried legally are not ordinarily handled except when getting dressed or undressed. In my case this amounts to perhaps 30 seconds in the course of a day. The rest of the time they are inert and quite safe in the holster (you do have your gun in a holster, right?). Risk due to human error equals perhaps 30 seconds in 24 hours.

Second, with a handgun, shooting someone requires several things to go right; you must draw, disengage any safety, aim the gun and pull the trigger, for instance. And one bullet is not likely to damage more than one person.

Comparing this to automotive dangers:

First, vehicles are manually controlled at all times. Every second you (or the guy approaching you at 70 mph) are behind the wheel, you (and he) are subject to human error. If either one of you screws up, terrible things happen. Think about two drivers approaching each other on a two lane road, both at, say 60 mph. Let’s say one car has your family of four in it, and the other has just the driver. If either one of you make the wrong mistake, five people could easily die or be horribly injured.

The probability of this happening is many times what it is for a handgun accident, because most of us are subject to this scenario many times each day, and because twice as many people (either driver) can cause the accident.

Further, consider the comparison of kinetic energy available to an automobile compared to a handgun bullet:

The equation is KE = (m * v^2) / 2
where KE is kinetic energy, m = mass, and v = velocity

For the bullet, based on a 230 grain (0.0329 lb.) .45 auto slug traveling at 900 feet per second, KE (converted) comes in at 414 foot-pounds. (I cheated and used a physics calculator here).

For the car, based on a 3000 pound car traveling at 60 mph, a similar calculation arrives at a value of 361,036 foot-pounds. This is 872 times the force exerted by the bullet. And that is doubled in a two-car head-on collision.

So with a car, you have many, many times the opportunity to have an accident – and much, much higher forces are involved if you do. And for that matter, in a car you are more likely to impact something, since you are probably inside the moving object! Plus, it is far easier to hit something you don’t want to, in a car that is six feet wide and 17 feet long.

John Lott has an interesting article up this morning about mass killings using vehicles; he brings together a number of cases where people, intentionally or otherwise, drove into crowds, etc. It kind of drives home my point.

Gunsafe says that there are about 43,000 accidental vehicular deaths each year, and about 1,100 fatal firearms accidents per year. By that measure, cars are 39 times more likely to kill you than a gun.

Be careful driving, folks!

-Popgun

Posted in Guns and Self Defense, Philosophy | 1 Comment

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Yesterday, my boss walked in my office and asked me what supercalifragilisticexpialidocious means.

I love my job!

-Popgun

Posted in Current Events, Stories | 8 Comments