Thursday, March 31, 2011

Urban Resources: The .pdf library

Today's savvy keyboard kommandos are familiar with Adobe Reader, the popular document-sharing software that allows us to read .pdf files. It's loaded on most new PCs, and even if it's missing, it's free to download and upgrade (here).

Most of us take Adobe Reader for granted, noticing it only when it shows up on its own. I approach this urban resource differently, creating and maintaining a digital library of .pdf documents.

As I post this, that library has grown to 7.2GB. I've amassed nearly 2GB of reference materials on bushcraft and survival, 800MB on firearms, 150 maps, 200 military manuals and more. I have 2.5GB of instructions and related information on virtually everything I own -- from computers to cameras, radios to razors, security to SUVs.

All of these documents are available to me offline, with or without an Internet connection. Loaded onto a thumb drive they're easily portable. Yes, they require a working computer to view, and no, they're not EMP-proof, but that's what paper is for -- it's wise, of course, to keep a printed library of critical information.

The easiest way I've found to search for .pdf files is via Google. I type a search string, followed by:
Because my simple searches often are polluted by torrents and other spam, eliminating them from the results (or at least trying to eliminate them) cuts down on the annoyance:
-torrent -rapidshare filetype:pdf
To sleuth .pdf files on a particular website, I go to the site and use Google Toolbar, entering filetype:pdf in the search box and choosing Search Site from the adjacent drop-down menu. The same can be done via the Advanced Search option on Google.

I've found Google Books to be another source of useful .pdf files. I confine my searches to items offering Free Google eBooks and, when viewing a publication, I look for a Download or PDF link in the upper-right corner of the page.

Other favorites: The Internet Archive and Scribd. Slideshare, although it hosts mostly PowerPoint files, is worth mining for .pdf docs, too.

It's about knowledge, and there's a lot of it out there. With a little creative surfing, it's possible to build a considerable library.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Must-see TV

Last night my wife and I watched the CNN special, "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door" -- and we shuddered.

I can't say how complete or balanced CNN's reporting was, since I don't live in Murfreesboro. I can say, however, that the citizens opposed to the mosque are, in my opinion, an embarrassment to Liberty.

They showed themselves to be nothing but an ignorant horde of fear-mongering bigots. I'm deaf to any whining about "media bias" -- these fanatically Christian xenophobes bring shame on their community by their own words and their own actions. The irony is that the First Amendment allows for their idiocy, at the same time that they insult our nation's most essential founding principle.

CNN will re-air the report this weekend.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another gem from Kephart

"Good for Dad, Too"

"Among the millions who are over-age, or for other reasons are exempt from call to the colors, there are potential armies for home defence. The emergencies that demand such service come suddenly like floods or fires. A mob laughs at a posse of city men who never fired a gun. It quails before a band of cowboys or mountaineers who are known to be crack shots. The rangers and hill-billies may never have learned 'fours right,' but it is sure death to buck against them, just the same, and a mob knows it."

(From "
The OUTING Legion: The Only Road to Skill With the Rifle Is Through Practice" by Horace Kephart, Outing, November 1917. The advertisement appeared in the July 1917 issue of Forest & Stream.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bugging: Whatever the question is...

...this is not the answer:

For $50,000 (per adult), an outfit known as
Vivos will save you a place in one of its self-contained survival shelters. The company claims to have a "network" of these underground complexes -- 20 in the U.S. and two in Europe -- to save your well-heeled ass in case of:When the shit hits the fan, all you have to do is get to your assigned TEOTWAWKI timeshare -- each of which houses up to a thousand "members" -- before Vivos locks the door. Now that's (you should pardon the expression) turn-key survival.

Naturally, sales of doomsday shelters are up between 20% and 1,000% (depending on who's doing the bragging) in the wake of Japan's earthquake-tsunami-radiation disaster.

Whenever I hear about this kind of "assurance of life" racket, I know that
P.T. Barnum was right -- the whole thing strikes me as designed to separate naive people from their money. For the moment, though, let's suppose that it's the real deal, just as Vivos claims it is.

Fundamentally, the only difference between a big-bucks bunker and a community shelter is the price. Inhabiting the former will be the less fortunate and the ill-prepared; in the latter will be wealthy

No guns. No knives. No smoking.

Both groups will become nothing more than refugees. One, we may presume, would be free to go if they so choose, while the other paid dearly for the privilege of being imprisoned -- if, that is, they can even get to their gilded gaol.

And that -- actually getting there -- is among the myriad flaws of
bugging out in general and Vivos-type schemes in particular. Public panic will set in within an hour after a catastrophic event (or word of its imminence) and, as a result, order will start breaking down. Roads will clog with evacuees. Opportunistic crime will spike and carefully prepared BOVs will be stolen, stripped or otherwise rendered useless.

No, thanks.

My family and I have made very different choices. We cultivate a preparedness mindset, hone our skills and plan to shelter-in-place unless we have a damned good reason to leave -- 'cause in the end (again, please pardon the expression), there's no place like home.

(Oh, by the way -- if you're really into the "continuance of life" thing and want to throw money at preserving the human race instead of your own survival, Vivos offers a
CryoVault deal, too. "Join us in the gene pool," they say. Talk about chilly...)
"...pole shift, super volcano eruptions, solar flares, earthquakes, tsunamis, and asteroids...nuclear bombs, bio terrorism, chemical warfare...the return of Planet X (known as Nibiru) and the massive solar system disturbances it will cause."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mid-week road trip

The KintlaLake family traveled to West Virginia yesterday, an all-day excursion that began with a 3:30am wake-up call. We didn't get back home 'til nearly 10pm.

While my wife attended the morning funeral of a family friend, the younger spawn and I camped out for a while at our favorite
gun shop. We chewed the fat with the manager, as usual, talking guns and politics and weather and whatever else crossed our minds.

I'd brought my range bag along, fully intending to log some trigger time at the shop's indoor setup, but I was enjoying the conversation so thoroughly that I never got 'round to it.

Mrs. KintlaLake joined us there after lunch. We spent a few more hours in the cozy confines, long enough for the independent garage next door to silence an undercarriage rattle on our
Yukon XL. My wife, who practically grew up at the gun shop, even pitched-in to help with sales, advising a female customer about concealed-carry options.

I, of course, commemorated our visit by buying a knife.

Benchmade #10115 Salmon Creek Folding Fillet is part of the maker's "Red Class," a line of inexpensive (and mostly imported) knives discontinued after 2009. Its "Sliding Tail-Lock with Blade Guard" is one of the oddest mechanisms I know of.

I don't even fish, but I got to thinking that it might make a good light-duty knife around an outdoor kitchen. When the gun-shop manager offered it to me at half-price, I made it mine.

On our way out of town, we made our traditional stop for
Morgantown comfort food before heading north and west toward home. The setting sun was blinding, the mood was peaceful and our day, all told, was damned near perfect.

There's a handful of subjects that I'd like to raise on KintlaLake Blog but I probably won't have the time, at least not enough time to cover them in any depth. Take the tug-of-war between public-employee unions and state government, a struggle that's become especially bitter here in Ohio.

For now, a bottle of
Labor's Choice Whiskey -- the image clipped from an ad in a 1903 issue of The American Federationist, edited at the time by American Federation of Labor founder Samuel Gompers -- will have to do. Infer from that what you will.

And then there's Libya. In principle, the U.S. has no good strategic reason to be involved with the popular uprising -- we have no compelling national-security interest whatsoever -- but we can't seem to quit our role as the world's cop.

We're defending a mob, an anti-government mob. It's a brave rabble, certainly, but beyond that we don't know who they are or what the they might want when the smoke clears.

The Obama administration, after weeks of dithering and delaying and chatting it up with everyone across the globe except the People, now has us firing missiles and risking American lives -- all without being able to say just what we plan to accomplish.

Screw the U.N. and screw NATO; screw
War Powers and screw Dennis Kucinich. We have no military, economic or moral dog in this fight. It is, without a doubt, one of the biggest foreign-policy Charlie Foxtrots I've ever seen.

The President of the United States will address the nation on Monday -- nine days after our missiles started flying.

Behind in my reading
The December 2010 issue of American Rifleman included an article that preceded a couple of my posts (
here and here) about teaching marksmanship in Scouting. As its title suggests, "NRA & BSA: 100 Years of Partnership" marks the centennial of the National Rifle Association's involvement in Boy Scout shooting programs. It's typically self-congratulatory but worth reading anyway.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Horace sense, Part II

When Horace Kephart wrote "Arms for Defense of Honest Citizens," he was just getting warmed up.

The threat he addressed in September was still present the following May, taking ill-conceived form as the so-called "Shields Bill" introduced in the U.S. Senate. The measure, which aimed to prohibit the manufacture, transportation, sale and use of pistols within the United States, was precisely the unconstitutionally repressive "legislative enactment" sought by the anti-libertarian Thompson.

The literate woodsman's next salvo, likewise published in Outing, was "
The Right to Bear Arms." It was vintage Kephart -- plain-spoken, colorful and persuasive.

"Cain did not kill Abel with a pistol. No pistol ever slaughtered men so fast as a certain celebrated jawbone of an ass.

"It would be silly to blame the instrument for the deed, or to think that by abolishing up-to-date weapons we could abolish robbery and murder.

"If we want to check crime (and who among us sportsmen does not?) then, for goodness' sake, let us try to find some way that will work."

Facing a groundswell of opposition, much of it inspired by the likes of Kephart, eventually the Shields Bill failed to clear the Senate. As The American Rifleman observed nearly a decade later,
"The [Shields Bill] proposal was bad by every test and died as it deserved to die. In one form or another, this proposition has been advanced by many otherwise intelligent persons. Of late years, however, little is heard of it. Apparently, even its sponsors have learned that it is impracticable and undesirable."
And indeed it was -- but American gun owners have fought this same battle many times since, we fight it still today, and surely we'll fight it for years to come.

Again, I'm sharing the Outing magazine article's full text at the end of this post. To view it as it appeared in the May 1922 issue, click
here (Google Books) or here (graphic).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Right to Bear Arms
The Real Safeguard Against Anarchy Lies in "Millions of Good Civilians Who Have Arms and Know How to Use Them"

By Horace Kephart

Within the past twelve years about forty of my personal acquaintances have killed someone, or have been killed, in gunfights. All this happened in my own county and those adjoining it, which are so thinly settled that their combined population is' less than that of Erie, Pa., or Utica, N. Y.

These killers and their victims were not just names in the morning paper, to me. They were not people I had never heard of before and cared nothing about. I knew them individually; in most cases I knew their families or associates, I attended many of the trials, and in a few of those trials I was a witness.

None of these homicides was committed by a professional criminal. There was not one instance among them of a holdup, robbery, burglary or even theft. They were just fights between hot-headed men in a belated region where a fifteenth-century code of honor still persists and dominates public sentiment.

Every one of these killings, save the latest, was done with a pistol.

Does it follow that no murder would have been done if there had been no pistols?

It does not.

I knew these men. If they had been armed with nothing but fifteenth-century weapons there would have been as many casualties. Back in the fifteenth century, in reality, everybody who was somebody carried a sword, and everybody who was nobody carried a dirk. There were more homicides then, in proportion to the population, than we have now, in our year of the automobile and the automatic.

Cain did not kill Abel with a pistol. No pistol ever slaughtered men so fast as a certain celebrated jawbone of an ass.

It would be silly to blame the instrument for the deed, or to think that by abolishing up-to-date weapons we could abolish robbery and murder.

If we want to check crime (and who among us sportsmen does not?) then, for goodness' sake, let us try to find some way that will work.

Going back to my forty cases -- could they have been prevented by other laws than what we already had?

Well, let us eliminate a few at the start. Some of those men (take my word for it) needed killing.

Why not, then, by due process of law?

Because the law, in these cases, was impotent. If you were away off in a wilderness by yourself, and a bad man came along and attacked you with a deadly weapon, could you sit down there and wait for the sheriff? A consistent pacifist might do so; but he would be murdered, and his murderer would get away.

All of our non-resistants, men and women, who practice what they preach, owe their lives, their property, their honor, to neighbors who have arms, who know how to use them effectively and who have the manhood to do it whenever necessary.

But most of my dead acquaintances did not need killing. Would a new law have saved any of them?

Suppose, for instance, the Shields bill prohibiting the manufacture or sale of concealable weapons had already been passed.

It would not have saved a single one of these lives; because every one of the killers already owned a pistol. There is a saying here: "Everybody in this county who oughtn't to have a pistol has two."

Suppose, then, a far more drastic Federal law had been enacted, ordering all concealable weapons to be confiscated and destroyed. What would have resulted?

Not to trust my own judgment alone, I went out the other day and put that question to the first five or six prominent and responsible citizens that I met in my home town. Each and every man answered frankly: "They wouldn't get mine."

"Would you resist search and seizure?"'

"No: not if the officer had a warrant. But I'd know about that law before the officer got around: and then I'd let him smell his nose off."

These were typical good citizens talking, any one of them acceptable on a grand jury, and every one of them a church member.

What, then, could be done to cure a homicidal tendency, if prohibitory laws would do no good?

Well, consider this particular problem. No actual criminals involved who would kill for the sake of gain. Just an old-fashioned people with an old-fashioned code of honor that they valued higher than life itself. So long as that code persists there will be killings among them. In most cases whiskey started the quarrel; but it would be a perversion of truth to lay the whole blame on whiskey. What whiskey really did was to inflame passion and bring on insult or injury. But under just the same circumstances men of other communities would have fought the quarrel out with their fists. Here, under the fifteenth-century code, it must be settled with weapons.

Therefore, in this set of cases, a modern code must first be substituted for the ancient one; and you can't do that by legislative enactment any more than you could turn back the tide of the sea by such means. Church and school must effect the change.

But we sportsmen stand for fair play -- it is the cornerstone of our code -- and so let us be fair to even this ancient standard of honor. It has its good points as well as bad ones. Wherever it prevails there is more politeness between man and man (drunks excepted) than we see in modernized communities. In a land where nearly every man goes armed, every sober man treats, his fellows with respect, he regards others' rights, he avoids giving offence. And so there are fewer fights than in the other sort of society, the modernized sort: though the fights that do occur are likely to be deadly.

And in the old-fashioned land, there is far less crime against property -- the sort of crime that professional criminals practice -- than in new-fashioned places. Burglary and robbery are so rare as to be almost never on the court calendar. That is because the thug knows that every citizen is well prepared to take care of himself and his home. Crooks do not thrive, they do not even linger, where everybody carries a gun and knows very well how to use it.

But what is the use of mentioning such exceptional people and extraordinary conditions?

Well, maybe, not so exceptional as you think. In considering new legislation that is to govern every community in the United States, whether they locally want it or not, we should first of all consider whether it would work or not. Unenforceable laws are worse than no laws.

That old-fashioned code I have been talking about is the actual standard today in at least one-third of the territory of the United States. And it is the actual standard of countless individuals outside that third.

But let us turn now to the rest of the country and to the people who accept the modern standard.

Here we meet a quite different problem, as regards anti-firearms legislation. It is the problem of the armed crook. Can we disarm him by prohibiting the manufacture and sale of pistols? If not -- if he will arm himself in spite of everything that laws and policemen and courts can do -- then is it wise to prohibit decent citizens from owning the best weapons for self defence and home defence?

One question at a time. Can we disarm the crook?

It answers itself. A criminal can make his own weapons. We have laws against burglars' tools, but they have never done the least good on earth except to fasten an incidental guilt on anyone found carrying them. Our present laws against carrying concealed weapons do the same thing.

But a crook could not make a good revolver or automatic pistol.

No; why should he, if nobody else could get one? He would far rather employ a silent weapon, a sandbag or a knife, than a noisy one that instantly attracts attention and compels him to get away at once.

Bear in mind that I am not arguing for unrestricted traffic in pistols, or any other sort of weapons. I don't care two whoops for the commercial side of the question. All I am interested in is how to devise a practical way to fight crime, a way that will work. As a gun expert I know that anti-pistol laws would not work. All the propaganda of this sort that has been spread about by newspapers and by societies and by individuals is just a waste of breath. It helps to defeat the very cause it has enlisted under -- does so by advertising as a cure-all something that is a mere quack nostrum.

Good citizen! use your wits a bit. Put yourself, for the moment, in the crook's place. (If you haven't enough power of imagination for that, if you can't summon enough of it to enter the ABC class of a detective correspondence school, then, for the Lord's sake, don't try to frame laws against crime!)

What would you do if you were a robber, burglar, high-jacker, and the Government sent its agents everywhere confiscating pistols? You know they couldn't grab up ten million pistols in one night, nor in six months, nor in six years. And there are more than ten million pistols in this country right now. If you were a crook you would know plenty of places where such arms could be procured, law or no law. I am no crook; but I could buy a wagonload of them within forty-eight hours after the law was passed.

The next question: If crooks cannot be deprived of concealable weapons, then should good citizens be prohibited from owning defensive weapons that would place them on partly even terms with the crook in a fight?

Doesn't that answer itself, too? I can imagine only one plausible rejoinder, which is that the good citizen lacks either the skill to hit what he shoots at or the "guts" to do it.

Well, if that is so, then we have come to a pretty pass -- we the descendants of a line of pioneers who fought their way from sea to sea against enemies compared with which the doped gunman of the city street is a rotten coward. If that is so, then we are not worth the powder to shoot us down.

It is not so. There are four million registered sportsmen in this country licensed to use firearms in the field. They know how to shoot. There are four million ex-service men who were taught how to shoot, if they did not already know. There are other millions who could and would give good account of themselves in an encounter with arms.

There stands our real safeguard against anarchy -- back of the police and the standing army, those millions of good civilians who have arms and who know how to use them.

If we must pass a nation-wide law about pistols let it be a law that encourages reputable citizens to get the best ones and train themselves to use them right, and that makes it as difficult as possible for disreputable citizens to get arms equally good. The crook has too much advantage as things are. Turn the tables on him.

I purposely began this article with instances of gunfighting that a propagandist would seize upon as proof positive that all pistols should be confiscated. Perhaps I have told him some things he will not relish, because they show another side to the matter -- a side that mere emotionalism cannot or will not see. But, anyway, my object in mentioning those forty cases was to show that I am no theorist airing a hobby, but a serious observer of actual conditions whose own experience has made him think long and earnestly on this rather serious subject. That is why I have no patience with emotional reformers who jump up and ballyhoo about fake nostrums when the body politic is already sick from overdosing. Let us use less medicine and more sense.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Horace sense

I hope that third clip from Outing yesterday provoked some thought about guarding our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. In the 1920s, as now, many elected officials and even our fellow citizens are bent on disarming law-abiding Americans, seeking ultimately to prevent us from acting effectively in our own defense.

Today I'm going to introduce another voice of reason from 90 years ago, that of a man whose words appeared regularly in Outing. His name: Horace Kephart.

Known to most of us as a
founding father of the American out-of-doors movement or, perhaps, only as the proponent of a knife pattern that still carries his name, Kephart was extraordinarily knowledgeable about small arms. He published a book on the subject, Sporting Firearms, and he wrote a regular firearms feature for Outing. He also contributed to The American Rifleman and similar magazines. He designed the first lead bullet successful in high-powered .30 rifles.

Kephart not only knew a lot about guns, he understood the importance of bearing arms beyond the edge of woods. In September of 1921, Outing published his impassioned and (typically) eloquent case for preserving Americans' constitutional right -- "Arms for Defense of Honest Citizens."

His rhetorical target was restaurant baron
John R. Thompson, chief of a Chicago-based chain of whites-only lunch counters. Thompson, seizing on public fear that big-city gangland violence could infect communities nationwide, was spearheading a campaign to outlaw the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.

The millionaire's Utopian arguments were predictably naive. Kephart knew a slippery slope when he saw it, however, and he delivered an effective rebuttal of Thompson's "propaganda" -- beginning with the practical, closing with the constitutional. One especially quotable line:

"The citizen must be his own warrior, his own policeman, his own defender of his life and home."
I've included the full text of the article, including the editors' preface, at the end of this post; to see it as it appeared in Outing, click
here (Google Books) or here (graphic). Thompson's threat is eerily familiar, and Kephart's response rings as true today as it did in 1921.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[Do you believe in your right as a citizen to bear arms in your own defense? Do you believe that the Constitution of the United States means what it says? Do you intend to sit with folded hands while the rights that have been yours for a century and a half are wrenched from your grasp? Read this article by Horace Kephart and keep an eye on your Congressman and your State Legislator.]

Arms for Defense of Honest Citizens
An Answer to Mr. Thompson of Chicago and All Others Who Agree With Him

By Horace Kephart

In the New York Times of June 9, 1921, I noticed the following display advertisement:

I will pay $1,000 to anyone who will give one good reason why the revolver manufacturing industry should be allowed to exist in America and enjoy the facilities of the mails.

John R. Thompson, Chicago, Ill.

Mr. Thompson is president of a chain of one hundred and forty-four restaurants and stores located in thirty-six cities of the Union, covering the country from New York to Kansas City and from Chicago to New Orleans. No doubt he can well afford to spend money on propaganda against anything he dislikes.

But who would waste breath trying to convince the man who issues such a challenge and makes himself the sole judge of merit? Is it likely that such a person, so ostentatiously cocksure, would listen to any facts that confute his opinions?

One of my friends wrote to Mr. Thompson, not to argue the matter with him, but merely asking him to explain the process of reasoning by which he arrived at the conclusion that prohibition of pistols would eliminate or even restrict crime. In reply he received the following ready-prepared circular:

Chicago, June 20, 1921.

Dear Sir:

Many letters have been received in answer to my advertisement, and this letter is written as a reply.

The revolver is made to be concealed. No honest citizen nor honest purpose requires a concealed weapon. Therefore, no good reason exists for its manufacture or sale.

The rifle and shotgun have good uses and they meet all legitimate requirements for firearms. The public disarmed, our police can have no use for the revolver.

Had the assassins of our three martyred Presidents carried rifles their murderous intent would have been discovered -- the crimes prevented.

The revolver creates the professional criminal, the thug, the footpad, the burglar, the murderer. And yet the manufacturers of revolvers enjoy the facilities of the United States mails and every protection given to honest business.

I have challenged the manufacturers, who have made tremendous fortunes out of the manufacture and sale of revolvers, to give one good reason for their use. They have not done so, and they cannot, and this branch of their industry should not be permitted to continue.

The definite purpose of this publicity is to stop by legislative enactment the manufacture, importation, sale and use of the revolver; is to arouse a tremendous public sentiment that will back up our legislative bodies in putting through the necessary legislation. National disarmament would be a great blessing. The disarmament of our citizens would be a blessing to the home, and would bring safety and security into our everyday life.

Very truly yours,

Evidently this writer had settled the case to his own satisfaction before presenting it to the bar of public opinion, and he would have our state and national legislatures do likewise, in the good new way.

There are, however, more than seven million sportsmen in this country who own and use firearms for hunting and target practice. Most of these citizens own revolvers or other pistols, as well as their larger weapons. Many other millions of Americans possess pistols for personal and home defence. Criminals form only a small percentage of this reserve army of the nation. The honest men and women in this multitude deserve a hearing.

We all deplore the wave of crime that has followed in the wake of war and social upheaval. We detest hold-ups, burglaries, and butcheries with firearms as much as we do those committed with knives, hatchets, blackjacks, poisons, and bombs. But let us use common sense in our methods of combating crime, not confusing the instrument with the deed, nor means with motive.

One thing is certain: criminals never attack until they are sure the police are out of the way. Then they strike quickly. The victim finds himself almost or quite at hands' grip with his assailant. There is no time to go after a shotgun, much less to call and wait for help. The citizen must be his own warrior, his own policeman, his own defender of his life and home. And if he is not a match for the thug, he will go under.

Another thing is certain: more crimes of violence were committed, proportionally, in the days of sword and dirk than now. Such arms gave every advantage to the athletic thug over honest citizens weakened by indoor labor or muscle-bound by outdoor toil. No untrained man had a chance against the robber or assassin who was always practicing and perfecting his skill with rapier and knife.

But things changed when the revolver came in. Even a delicate woman, having a pistol, was now made dangerous for any brute to attack.

The best protection we have against robbery and arson, murder and rape, is the fact that, so far, a majority of our honest citizens have arms and know how to use them. Without these minute-men, ready and on the spot, our police and army would have to be increased tenfold.

Mr. Thompson and his ilk are certainly naive. Do they really believe that prohibition of the manufacture and ownership of pistols, instead of proper regulation, would do anything more than disarm good citizens -- do they believe it would keep men of criminal intent from carrying concealed weapons? Surely they have more sense than that.

Deprive a crook of his pistol, and how long will it take him to saw off most of the barrel and stock of a shotgun and carry it under his coat? Such a weapon is far more deadly than any revolver or automatic pistol, because it knocks down and kills at the first shot. Any military man will tell you so.

The next step, then, would be to prohibit the manufacture and sale of all firearms whatever. Well, suppose you did: what then is to hinder the making of bombs? Stop the sale of explosives? Why, that is childish. Anybody with a rudimentary knowledge of chemistry (and that includes many of the criminal class) can make high explosives out of raw materials that he can buy anywhere. He can even make a serviceable gunpowder out of sugar and throat lozenges. And anybody who does not know how to do such things can soon learn for himself in the public library. So let us amend the Constitution to destroy all libraries and to stop teaching chemistry in the schools!

We have mentioned that little-read document, the Constitution of the United States. Its Fifth [sic] Amendment, which is part of what we call our Bill of Rights, reads: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Authorities on constitutional law agree that the term "arms" in this passage means "any arms suitable for military purposes." Revolvers and pistols of adequate killing power are such weapons, and they can easily be carried concealed.

The long and the short of it is that Mr. Thompson's propaganda seeks to make criminals out of millions of honest Americans if they continue to exercise what is now, and always has been, their legal right guaranteed to them in perpetuity by the Constitution of the United States.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Forest & Stream: 'Nessmuk's Camp Fire'

I devoted the previous post to Outing, so this go-'round I thought I'd give equal time (sort of) to another venerable outers' publication.

Early in 1916, Forest & Stream magazine announced a new regular feature called "Nessmuk's Corner And Camp Fire." Its purpose was described (with feigned puffery) as being "For the Alleviation of the Woes and Troubles of the Camper and the Entertainment and Exchange of Views of Outdoor People Generally."

The feature was named for Woodcraft author, Forest & Stream contributor and out-of-doors icon "
Nessmuk" -- a.k.a. George Washington Sears, who'd died in 1890 -- and was hosted by the otherwise-unnamed "Old Camper." The magazine's readers were encouraged to provide the content:

"If you have any troubles or tangles growing out of your experiences, bring them to The Corner and we will endeavor to untrouble and untangle 'em. If you have had any curious adventures or have hit on some short-cut way of accomplishing things, let The Corner know about it, and the more 'cur'ouser' the story the better.

"Please remember that this is your Corner. The great army of Forest and Stream readers can keep it going only by contributing to it, for while 'Old Camper' may be able to stand up for a time under the burden of writing questions to himself and answering them, The Corner would quickly fizzle out under one man's editing."

By 1917, "Nessmuk's Corner And Camp Fire" had become simply "Nessmuk's Camp Fire." Its masthead would evolve, too -- the three examples below chart the changes through 1919, when The Camp Fire warranted a two-page opening spread.

Nessmuk's Camp Fire was a friendly, down-to-earth place in a magazine that strained to span the range from sophisticated to downright primitive. I've enjoyed every installment I've read.

I urge KintlaLake Blog readers to visit Google Books, dig up a volume of Forest & Stream and have a seat by The Camp Fire. You might, like me, learn a thing or two while you're there.

A few clips from Outing

One of the benefits of cruising Google Books, Internet Archive and similar sites is unexpectedly tripping over something useful or entertaining (or both). Today's surfing uncovered three such pearls, all in Outing magazine.

In the July 1922 issue, writer L.E. Eubanks gave us "
Your Emergency Camp Fire." His guidance -- from making the last match count (even if it's wet) to more aboriginal techniques -- is ageless and valuable, presented in friendly fashion.

Is this one-pager the sine qua non of firemaking? Of course not -- the ultimate authority, for each of us, is our own experience. From that perspective, what Eubanks wrote is well worth our time.

Published seven years earlier, "
Fire-Making in the Wet Woods" was a quarter-page filler that Outing's editors attributed only to "a correspondent." The author revealed that there is, in fact, dry fuel in damp landscapes -- we simply have to know where to look.
I'll flip back to that 1922 issue for the final clip, "
Let's Get Rid of Everything: Just a Few Precious Thoughts for the Anti-Firearms Agitators." It lacks a by-line, but I suspect that it was an editorial.

Clearly, the author was a crank -- a constitutionally righteous crank, but a crank just the same. His rant should remind present-day Americans that gun-grabbing legislators were around even back in the (mythical) "good old days."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


(C'mon, admit it -- when you saw the title of this post, you thought I was gonna talk about nuclear radiation. Am I right?)

I absolutely love my
Zippo lighter. Its brass case, over time, has developed a wonderful patina. (No, I don't polish it.) Like old leather, it's smooth and warm in my hand. As long as I keep it fed with fluid and flints, it fires every time.

If there's a down-side to a Zippo, it's the tendency for the fluid to evaporate. That's not a big problem, practically speaking, when I'm carrying it every day, but it's downright annoying (to say the least) when I pull it out to start a backyard fire, only to get all flick and no flame.

Yesterday I employed a trick that helps prevent the vapor from escaping. I cut a 3/4-inch
Ranger Band from a mountain-bike inner tube and slipped it over my Zippo, right where the case splits. It's by no means a hermetic seal, but it'll definitely extend the life of a fillup.

Even with this fix, it's always smart to top-off a Zippo before heading into the woods. Carrying a little extra fluid isn't a bad idea, either.

Now, about the
tin in the background of the photo -- it's one of several that Mrs. KintlaLake and I picked up at an after-Valentine's candy blowout (75% off). The rectangular box is hinged, measuring a useful 5-1/2 inches long by 2-1/2 inches wide by 3/4 inch deep.

I suspect that it'll be "re-purposed" soon to hold a kit of some sort.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On to the fourth

I had to double-check the calendar this morning -- sure enough, it was exactly three years ago today that I launched KintlaLake Blog.

Back then I was musing. Now I'm singing in the shower. How times have changed (or maybe not).

I can't say what possessed me to write that first post. If the 844 posts that followed hold the answer -- or a thread, or even a clue -- I sure as hell can't find it.

It is what it is. I think it's called life.

Anyway, with three years behind it, KintlaLake Blog's fourth year begins today. I have no idea, of course, where it'll go from here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan: Begging the question

If someone were to ask me, "What happened in Japan?" I could default to simple explanation: a major earthquake off the northeast coast, the temblor triggering a tsunami, and so on.

Those would be the facts. Accurate as they are, however, they aren't terribly useful right now -- not to millions of survivors caught up in the catastrophe, and not to those of us striving to learn from it.

The "disaster" here isn't an earthquake or a tsunami. It's unchecked HazMats, both chemical and biological, and fires raging out of control. It's shortages of fuel and food, fouled water supplies and squashed commerce. Where the power grid isn't in shambles, rolling blackouts have been employed. Communications and transportation systems either are damaged or have been taken off-line.

It's tens of thousands of people living as refugees in their own land. It's an infrastructure overwhelmed by forces of nature and undermined by compromises in design. It's an already-ailing economy, the world's third-largest, dealt a crippling blow.

What happened in Japan? A civilized, high-tech, First World nation has been sent careening madly toward collapse.

From a preparedness perspective, causes matter less than effects. Once we've catalogued our threats (surveyed "
the lay of the land," if you will) and determined specific needs (like potassium iodide tablets), we prepare to be as self-sufficient as possible in the face of present difficulty, regardless of what caused the difficulty.

Circumstances will dictate whether we
shelter-in-place or bug out, but the basics -- mindset, shelter, water, security, mobility, fire, food, health, communications and commerce -- apply in any case. The reason for executing our plan becomes virtually irrelevant.

And so we prepare primarily not for causes but for the aftermath, provided that we're lucky enough to have emerged from the original calamity -- and then we adapt to that aftermath, whatever form it takes. I'm sure that a survivor in Sendai today, for example, would agree with Jim Hanks, who escaped
US Airways flight 1549 after it splashed into the Hudson River two years ago:Survival is complex and cumulative. Outcomes are the result of actions building on actions. We survive one moment at a time, standing on a foundation of choices we've made.

Much is made of Japan's "culture of preparedness." Given the seismic threat, it's true that the Japanese people and their government are more involved and aware than, say, their American counterparts. Still, as I've watched events unfold over the last several days, it's obvious that survival -- and therefore preparedness -- is an inarguably individual endeavor.

Another thing that's clear (like we didn't know this already) is that we can count on the authorities to soft-pedal the scope, severity and impact of catastrophic events. That's actually wise, in a way -- most people panic when delivered an awful truth, and panic kills. A strategy of placating and appeasement requires fewer body bags.

With that in mind, we should act from our own experience and trust our instincts.

Just two more observations before I close. First, any American naive enough to believe that "it couldn't happen here" is on notice -- it can.

Second, if I turn on CNN again and have the misfortune of seeing
Ryan McDonald, an American teacher living in Japan, whine one more time about having only a bottle of water and a cup of rice noodles in 12 hours -- 12 hours! The agony! -- I swear I'm gonna hurl.

Mr. McDonald needs to pour himself a tall glass of shut the hell up and spend some time with
this photo:
"One of the things I discovered is that in a situation like this, you have to survive more than once."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Better move that 'marker'

"You're the state where the shot was heard around the world at Lexington and Concord! And you put a marker in the ground and paid with the blood of your ancestors!"

(Tea Party mascot and duly elected congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, demonstrating her mastery of Revolutionary War geography during a speech yesterday in New Hampshire. Rumor has it that she's canceled an upcoming appearance at Grant's Tomb.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Castle Doctrine, with a Norwegian accent

(Like most KintlaLake Blog readers, I'll wager, over the past two days I've been absorbing the gut-wrenching news coming out of Japan. I'll offer my observations in a future post -- tragic as it is, we can learn much from it.)

Norwegian immigrant Iver Johnson's company made bicycles, motorcycles and, for exactly 100 years of its operation, firearms. Founded in 1871, the enterprise folded in 1993.

I recall that my maternal grandfather owned (and at one time carried) an Iver Johnson revolver -- a .38, I think. The Massachusetts company's products also hold a place of infamy in American history -- in 1901, President William McKinley was felled by a round fired from an Iver Johnson revolver. So was presidential candidate Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

A couple of weeks ago I ran across an old
ad for Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works. It stuck with me not because of the "Safety Automatic" Revolver it promoted (I'm not really a wheelgun guy), but for the way it threw the pitch. To wit:

"'For years I have carried insurance on my life and home and jollied myself into thinking that this was all the protection a husband and father could throw around his family.

"'Last night a burglar broke into my neighbor's house. IF Reynolds had only had a revolver he --

"'That was enough for me! No temporizing with burglars in my home. I'm for real protection. I'll take this revolver I have in my hand, Mr. Clerk.'

"Are you ready -- when the time comes -- to do your duty by your burglar? Will you master him or will he master you? Will you give your family protection that is one jot short of real, full, complete protection?"

Home defense is nothing new, of course. And while it might be unusual for today's well-armed American to defend his or her castle with a five-shot .32 or an eight-shot .22, the mindset behind that Iver Johnson ad is as relevant now as it was in 1917.

* * *
I'll cap this post with one more 1917
ad, a two-page spread pushing Remington's rimfire rifles and ammunition.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

At last, a few words from Remington

As I've been piloting the WABAC Machine here, I've imagined a few KintlaLake Blog readers wondering why I've written so often about Winchester -- once a venerable American arms manufacturer, sadly it's now defunct -- and yet I've paid little attention to Remington.

After all, Remington reportedly is the oldest company in the U.S. still making its original product, and it's the oldest continuously operating manufacturer on the continent, and it's the only American company that makes both guns and ammo here in the U.S., and it's the largest domestic manufacturer of long guns.

So I'll take this opportunity, then, to highlight the "Remington UMC: for Shooting Right" campaign, a series of ads that ran in outdoors magazines throughout 1919.

Illustrated with art commissioned specifically for the purpose, the ads promoted the range of Remington products -- shotguns, rifles, pistols and ammunition. Each depicted a prototypically masculine American marksman or sportsman -- "dominating, well-coordinated manhood," to quote one of the ads -- and nodded to a segment of the company's market, from youngsters to hunters to recreational shooters.

The tone of the campaign was manly as hell and unabashedly nationalistic. This was post-WWI jingoism at its best, going well beyond flag-waving patriotic pride. (A latter-day jargonista might say that it made a case for "
American exceptionalism.") In "Trap Shooting Becomes of World-wide Importance," for example, the copy began,

"Every man who makes trap shooting one of his recreations thereby contributes both to his own pleasure and success in life and to the success and security of his country.

"The present great world demand for American leadership raises this long popular, valuable and distinctly American pastime of virile men to greater-than-ever importance."

From "Civilian America on the Rifle Range":
"America can not forget -- nor will the world -- that in assuming world-leadership she must make more than ever sure of backing up with reality the traditional skill in marksmanship of her citizens."
Between those two ads, it sounds to me like Remington advocated that Americans claim (or reclaim) the title, "a nation of riflemen."

My favorite, however, of those I've seen, has to be "More American Reserve Power." Below the image of a hunter resting with his kill, a Rocky Mountain Goat, this:

"The strength that comes from the hills was never worth more in this country than it is today. Both to the man himself and to all about him.

"No poison-pollen of Old World imperialism gone to seed can contaminate -- nor any attempt of crowd-sickened collectivism undermine -- the priceless individualism of the American who truly keeps his feet on the earth."

Wow -- any questions?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Traditions reflected

Sometimes a single sentence preserves a moment lost to passing time and vanishing traditions.
"What is more wonderful for a boy to learn than trigger magic?"
That was one of three questions posed in the opening paragraph of a Winchester ad published in The New York Times a few days before Christmas, 1919. It urged "all fathers of growing boys" to put an official Winchester Junior Rifle Corps Range Kit under the tree.

The headline addressed young readers, but the copy spoke naturally (and not very subtly) to adults. It began and ended with the phrase "real boy" -- that is, any real all-American boy wanted a rifle. Implicitly, then, any boy who didn't was a pantywaist (and so, probably, was his dad).

Even a century ago, holiday ads tended to be blunt that way.

A couple of months into the next year, Winchester began placing a series of new WJRC-themed ads in outdoors magazines. These were softer, commercially speaking, and focused on different dynamics of the father-son bond. Take this opening question (again, one of three) from a
full-page ad appearing in the February 1920 issue of Outing:
"Has your boy's voice begun to change?"
The copy went on to appeal to a dad's duty to teach his son essential skills -- notably gunhandling and marksmanship, with genuine Winchester .22 rifles, of course -- before the years passed them by.

The approach echoed a Remington ad running at about the same time, as well as the guidance offered by George Brown in the 1917 Forest & Stream article, "Give the Boy a Twenty-Two." I can't help noticing that it also reflects the father-son visions that I wrote about last month.

Traditions wax and wane in a direct relationship to the value placed on them by adult mentors, especially parents. Our kids recognize early-on what's important to us, and we must seize that fleeting moment.

By the time teenage rebellion kicks in, trust me, it's too late.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It doesn't get much better

Lately I've been treating myself to (or torturing myself with) 20 minutes of Rush Limbaugh each weekday, going so far as to impose the experience on my 15-year-old during the ride home from school. We find it entertaining, in a disturbing sort of way.

Shortly after 2pm today, Limbaugh began yakking about holding one particularly hot story until the final hour of his show -- and then regretting the move, because,
"...I realized that while people have heard [the story], they probably don't really know what to think about it totally 'til I've commented on it."
That, right there, tells us all we need to know about talk radio.

Anyway, the aforementioned hot story had to do with National Public Radio fundraising VP Ron Schiller getting hoodwinked by a couple of guys hired by right-wing slimeball
James O'Keefe, the pair posing as members of a phony Muslim group. And I was listening to the Prince of Pomposity prattle about the Duke of Deception duping a Lord of Liberalism. Entertainment-wise, that's just about as good as it gets.

On Limbaugh's website, the headline blares, "
NPR Executive Caught on Tape Being an Ignorant, Arrogant Liberal." The transcript captures the host highlighting Schiller's greatest hits:

"The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian...and I wouldn't even call it Christian. It's a weird, evangelical kind of movement.

"The current Republican Party is not even the Republican Party. It's been hijacked by this group that is...not just Islamophobic, but really xenophobic. I mean, basically...they believe in sort of white, middle America, gun-toting. I mean, it's pretty scary. They're...seriously racist, racist people."

"It feels to me as though there's a real anti-intellectual mood on the part of a significant part of the Republican Party. You know, in my personal opinion liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced. I am most disturbed by and disappointed by in this country, which is that the educated, so-called elite in this country is...too small a percentage of the population, so that you have this very large uneducated part of the population that...carries these ideas. It's...much more about anti-intellectualism than it is about [politics]."

"Republicans play off of the belief among the general population that most of our funding comes from the government. Very little of our funding comes from the government, but they act as though all of it comes from the government. ... Frankly, it is very clear that we would be better off in the long run without federal funding."

I'm hard-pressed to disagree with some of those points -- raging anti-intellectualism, xenophobia and the failure of the Tea Party, now polluted by the religious right's social agenda, to lift a libertarian message above an undercurrent of hate. And if public broadcasting really doesn't want taxpayers' money, we should grant Schiller's wish that federal funding disappear.

Problem is, Schiller stakes his claim to higher ground because he's a liberal -- his ideology makes him superior. That’s bullshit, of course.

Limbaugh, O'Keefe and their ilk, though they'd never admit it, suffer from the same condition that afflicts the left-wing Schiller. That they're "ignorant, arrogant" conservatives is the disease, not the cure.

(Watch the 12-minute version of Schiller's comeuppance here. If you have two hours to kill, you'll find the full video punking here.)

51% of Republicans

(For an explanation of the title of this post, presented in pdf form, click here.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Nation of Riflemen: RWVA's 'Project Appleseed'

Appleseed is a project of the non-profit Revolutionary War Veterans Association, which aims to teach us about our shared heritage and history along with traditional rifle-marksmanship skills. Traveling volunteer instructors acquaint students with the difficult choices, heroic actions and sacrifices made by the Founders on behalf of present-day Americans. To learn more about Project Appleseed, click here; for a pdf version of the February 2008 S.W.A.T. magazine article pictured above, click here.)