Thursday, December 1, 2016

Words, to thoughts, to trouble or triumph... words...

     I have a normal American education: home, public school system and college.  I was a soldier and went through many schools and attitude adjustments while in uniform. I have visited, worked in and lived in other countries and cultures and driven as quickly as I could through some of them (don't remember ever stopping in Belgium). I have talked with foreigners in their home country, in their language (I did it badly, but I did try) and I do know that in their country in their language they aren't the alien, I was. I am so thankful they were kind and had courtesy, when faced with my presence.

   I read a lot, and spend too much time on Facebook but I have noticed there aren't a lot of really nice people writing nor contributing on it, and the ads are really slowing my addiction to it.  But they don't need me for anything.  There are good people, with real lives, families and good friends and I like to see them and see what they share. I haven't gotten to the point of blocking, dropping or abandoning the Facebook feed.  But really, all I have to do is go to the YMCA, Church, or shooting range (I have a new one for me The Marksman , just down the road), and whatever flows on the internets will not affect me. Thank you for choices.

   Coming back from Vietnam in 1971 with bad habits and stupidity, I was telling a war story (and I do not remember the story) in my mother's living room, with family around and the F-word flowed easily from my lips and my mind went into alarms, flashing lights and screams from my nicer side. You couldn't have told it from my story - I just rolled right on over good manners, honor and decency. No more foul language came out but there was a burn scar in my mind over that word and using it right there in front of my mother, and family. I have used the word since, but only in moments of romantic passions.... believe that and I will sell you a swamp by the Potomac River. But I don't use it much at all, although I do understand all the possible correct ways it could be used, is used by others, and all the evil and terrible ways it is used by others. So I believe word choice always matters, it tells me a lot about the person using the word.

   The other night, I wrote something about being a staggering drunk and taking off my gun, which sounds like good sense in one way, and acceptance of stupid behavior another. Well, it wasn't true, I was trying to sound like I had a life.  The reality of changing into my bedtime Mickey Mouse pajamas is not the romantic heroic adventurer - I was about to close out on Facebook.  If I were totally honest I would say 'Earl, just a retired old fat man' and allow the world to paint its own picture of me... I don't have a problem with being old and so near death (knowing the future is shorter than my past is near to death).  But lovely words, can make our lives fun, loving, caring and happy, lovely words work. So do all the words used to convey ugly... there are many. The political season and human hen pecking bring all kinds of ugly labels, words and bad choices.

   Going to a Southern Korean Baptist Church where the majority culture, language and religious experience is based on Confucian relationships - I once noted that I felt like a benignly oppressed minority (being a paleskin American) and my darker skinned Baptist Brother said, yep, he had been that way all his life.  I can't be concerned about being a minority, I have been the only American soldier in a village in Germany, and in Korea and in Vietnam... the children look at you like 'what a strange looking, acting and what is he going to do next???' from around the corner of a building - built of bamboo, packed clay, or timber frames or bricks.  Well, the only thing I could do, of course, was to smile gently, don't step on anything and continue along going my way... survival mode level one.

   For sure, I will be labeled many things by people that don't know me, and by people that kinda
know me, and by friends and family that do know me... except the last normally just call me Earl, which has for many years explained it all.  You wouldn't want to hear our wives tell each other laughing about Dungey men as husbands - but it has always made me think that genetics might be more difficult to hide than environmental molding.  What I do know, is that I never have to accept anything I don't feel is true - especially words that I won't use and don't understand... so all those times I am supposed to feel terrible because sticks and stones and names left marks - just makes for my thicker skin, and I remember that the young ladies practicing their bullying on my mother, who had no idea what foul words were in English when she came to America as a teenager (words her parents never taught her) like water on most ducks backs - just rolling off... no acceptance.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Truth is, as Americans, we can do anything we are willing to fight about.

  Thanksgiving Day, thank you LORD, for all our blessings, the challenges and work you have set before us, and the strength and skills to work for your glory.

  It is a day to remember, and I have spent too much of it on Facebook and photos this morning, the Hallmark Yule Log is burning on my monitor with various singers adding to the holiday spirit, wrong holiday but like Greater California it will all merge on I5 one day.

  The family friends memories are enough, I can still taste warm rolls with melting butter from many of my childhood festive tables. Hope your holidays are brighter than the media, you certainly are brighter in love and life than they will ever be. God bless all your best and give your fears a rest.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Unpacked and cleaned up the Caravan...

   Washed all the clothes, repaired the demonstration rifle I always bring for demos. Looking at a better mounting of the laser pointer, although that laser bore sighter doesn't look too expensive. I did like it that Will had one we could borrow. Stepping right up, Will!

   So my final Appleseed of the year 2016, is in the history books. I had signed up for only one day, thinking that I had to get back for Sunday school, then the church decided to have combined service for Thanksgiving on the 20th, and that eliminated all Sunday schools. Okay, I get one more day on the range.

   The wind was interesting, the rain not very testing, but the threat was always there. All instruction given, there were some repeat Appleseeders in the line, good for them, and there were brand new to shooting to listen and learn. What didn't seem to happen was converting what we instructed to improved performance in target engagement.... our bad. But the foundation is laid, and will get filled in with study, dry practice and study. See you all on the range again, in another Appleseed event.

   Nice meeting you Frankie, I like the M1 carbine better after seeing you trying to master it. My father brought one back to the Continental United States, because he saw its potential in WWII in the Pacific, but then the idea of getting home and getting back into civilian (read 'real life') life loomed and he dropped it off in the amnesty box, because. You did better with the AR, but really, it will always be the shooter not the rifle that makes the difference.

   Rebekah, thanks for coming and trying all the positions, so remember next time, you can shoot all you want from whatever works. And I hope you get free of the pains.

   Curtis, lots of work on positions, six steps of the shot and NPOA, when the shot is right, squeeze and follow through... practice without bullets. They only add distraction.

   The two flankers, Will and Eric, sorry you were on a hillside, but that does happen sometimes. Eric practice both sides, a little more two eyes open pistol and shotgun practice. But you are left handed, shoot that way, practice both ways but always all six steps to make the shot, every shot.  Make everyone of them count.

  Trevor and Jerry, thanks for coming and trying to catch all that we offered.  More practice and more relaxing into your position (gravity rules) and your sling.

   Steve Cz, you will do better and better, you have a great attitude.  Movses you were working hard to do everything we taught, more practice and study and come on back, it really does work after a bit.

   Karl, thank you for the day you spent with us, come on back and thank you for the email that was posted to the AAR by Kimber Custom.  It does mean so much when our shooters speak up, write about the program and think that they will be better prepared next time.

   Robert, outstanding shooting, don't you think you are sandbagging now? There is an orange cap waiting for you.  Read Paul Revere's Ride and get excited about Liberty. America would only be Canada without it.. not that Canada isn't a fine country, but they aren't the same.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The weekend away...

   I went to Port Townsend to work on an Appleseed event, like I have done often enough in the past. It was one of the best Appleseeds I have ever attended, lots of great shooters, listening asking and paying attention to advice - then going and doing even better than we could expect.  Solid, yes I had met and worked with some of them before - but that is like working with the crew that joins you to put on the instruction, the set up and the clean up after.  You would hate going to the range all by yourself and friends and family always can make your experience much better.  Saw two shooters using their sling over their shoulder and back, seems to be something the modern military might teach, it did work.

Picture from a range long ago not in this post
    I had enough persistence to keep suggesting to Bob to use a loop sling, which he finally did and then watched his wonder that it made his groups smaller.  I think he figured using a .308 would make up for accuracy, but he is learning.  I hope to see him in February and find out if he used the dry practice to become even better when he uses bullets on paper.

   I enjoyed Alex and Robert on the far left of the firing line, just outside of the canopy coverage and directly under the rain pelting down. It just made them wet, they drove on not worrying about the little stuff.  Since on day two they were awesome and made Rifleman, that concentration in difficulty will be added to my next training day, a guy kind of thing.

  Colin brought, Beau, Garret and Indy, and they were having too good a time, but they came to shoot. I couldn't figure out why Garret could shoot so very well on Stage 1, until Colin mentioned he was more of a shotgunner, then it made sense. But I was very happy when Indy made her 228 Rifleman score, so was the shoot boss, Janer.

   Aaron was quiet, but taking notes for self, and using his AR like he depended on mastering it. He made Rifleman and promised to drag some of his reluctant friends to another one! Seems folks are still hung up on media myths about firearms, groups that quote Revolutionary War history, and teach rifle marksmanship... well, I have been doing this for eight years and except for slowly falling apart and then recovering (which has nothing to do with the organization or my interest) I do so like being rewarded by smiles and thank you from newly inspired Americans to find out more, this isn't a militia organization.  This is marksmanship and history, glad I could help.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

There are some great ideas generated by the campaigns that neither candidate will live up to...

   I was teaching something in Sunday school, first word I used they wanted a definition for (fifth graders) Affluence, and I spelt it wrong. But I was amazed they didn't have it as a base word in their vocabulary... they see daily, just going through their backpacks and parents' automobiles, they know affluent and affluence.

   Then I was also teaching about the tower of Babel, and stressed how important it was that they learn a second language.  He who does not know foreign languages does not know anything about his own. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kunst and Alterthum. Sounds so much better in German, or Deutch. :)  

  This isn't about the election, it is about America.  And no matter what the NRA says, the cause is Liberty not freedom, and they aren't the same word. America was founded by breaking away from England, keeping the language with rights to change it, and some some love of law, from, by and for the people.  Immediately, there were power grabs and defaults of debts and responsibility.  But we are better than that.  Most of us down here in the fly over country (and everywhere is flyover country anymore) have much higher values on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - but the government seems to taint, corrupt and find convincing ideas to make all of us miserable.  Wondering how it could be so wrong, not seeing the people behind the bad and stupid behavior of our, OUR elected representatives.

   Well, I am convinced that government, an institution, does not love the people.  Maybe governments can't have love for anything. The governments do seem to have survival instincts.  And they want to grow, and be more powerful and definitely in charge and paid attention to... I still remember Microsoft getting the treatment from Congress, cause Bill Gates and company hadn't bowed down and sent gifts. I always thought Mr. Gates should have called for inspection of all the government computers and found all the unlicensed copies of Microsoft programs on government computers... it would have been interesting.  My point is government is about power, centralizing it and holding it against all others.

  And the folks working for the government hardly ever have a great idea, they always fall back on force to make sure things go the way they want them to, and the people hardly ever know the people behind the need to make things happen. A layer of underemployed but overpaid lawyers and former public servants muffle any outcry of complaint about somethings that stink at the local level but are too far away from the media and the powers that be enriching themselves.

   So tomorrow, people will be elected to offices, and none of them are leaders - they could be leaders, but most Americans will go their own way always.  Serving in office means just that - serving.  Not ruling, there isn't any ruling without nobility and kings, there is service, and it is supposed to be public service.

   I would love to have: government out of the way of progress, Americans will invent a better way. Government regulations hardly work, because smart folks are paid well to get around the stupid obstacles in the way of progress. 

   I want the same classification on the government forms that the IRS demonstrates so well. There is no block for racial identity, because money doesn't care.  Should be the same on everything else the government does... no block on racial id.

Stronger together is true, and only those that want to divide us, are looking to control our participation. Do your own thing, liberty demands it.


Friday, October 28, 2016

How does one do that...

  I had an unexpected great discussion with an older man at the YMCA, and I only mention that he was older because he thinks I am young... he was a priest and is now a former someone from financial management, that plays racquetball. Anyway, something in passing was said by me about being only a two issue voter - gun control and abortion, which stimulated him to discuss my views on gun control - we had an good enough conversation to get to the abortion issue after that was concluded. Neither of us moved our opinions of those issues, but did modify our knowledge and respect for the other man as we talked. Remember I am telling this story, doesn't have to be any truth to it.

  When I get back home after picking up fuel and fluids and saying hello to my chair bound wife, doctor follow up today. I went up on the internet and Facebook and find a picture of one of my FB friends, that was once in the firing battery where I served as 1st Sergeant.  I read the comments and left some of my own, and then had a couple of exchanges with others because of that.  Okay, except about four in the following morning I wake up to panic about how wrong I was about when and where and who the Battery Commander was at that time.... so I moved the largest German Beer Stein and the little box of pictures, to get to the larger box of certificates, EERs and wonderful me paperwork. Where I get the proper names for the proper times and stuff, January 1984, How quickly it all goes bye,

  I may have to go back to bed, but today is my wife's.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Appleseed doesn't keep me away too long...

   Sometimes I have to admit to getting old, and wearing out, but not after standing on my feet for two windy cool days on Whidbey Island in the Great NorthWest.

   It wasn't until the Shoot Boss asked me where to set up, I remembered I was the old hand at this range. Many of the shooters reminded me that I had worked with them before, although from their level of skill I couldn't be certain. We taught them everything, but I did notice our future rifleman thinking too much about his shot (fussing the shot we call it) but by the second day he had it together.

  Over all I wanted more follow through, I wanted better trigger control, and I wanted slings that didn't slip on down to the elbow - prone with a hasty sling is tough if you don't keep the tension on.  I wanted them to be a bit more serious about shooting so many fine center fire rifles and making the hits count.  Sometimes they looked like a club on a social event. But then, that was what this was to them, a club social event. The instructors worked with the shooters over equipment issues. There seemed to be lots of progress, but not consistent. Like learn to do this while forgetting what was learned before that..  doesn't work.

  We told the story of the strikes of the match, and the dangerous old men and dame. Ben also took his flintlock out, demonstrated the loading and shooting and then permitted those interested to fire a shot, too. About six, and one rang the steel target. At twenty-five meters it was close enough that I could hear it ring.  Good time, cleaned up well, only two Rifleman scores earned, but they were better by the second day than they had been on the first. We sent them off to spread a love of Liberty throughout the land...

It  was only twenty miles to Concord and Paul Revere didn't make it on his horse, someone else had to spread the word, and they did.  Won't you?