All work and no play…

Some temptations are just too great for mere mortal men to resist:

Muscle Shoals police officer on administrative leave, accused of shooting deer on duty: A Muscle Shoals police officer is accused of shooting a deer on TVA property while on duty Sunday, according to The Times’ news partner, WHNT news 19.

 I have to admit that I feel sympathy for Officer Scoggins. Given that the TVA is a federally owned corporation, one would assume that hunting would be permitted on it, and per a page the TVA site, hunting is considered alongside other recreation activities. Hunting on TVA lands is also discussed on this forum, with the consensus there being that it is permissable.

I’m not a hunter, so I am not well versed on hunting laws in Alabama, but I am an anachronist (not anarchist), so I am inclined to support the notion that public lands, and most of TVA property should fit that definition, should be available for public use.

So if hunting is allowed, what is Officer Scoggins crime? Was engaging in personal affairs during work hours? This would be quite an extreme example of such, but again, hearkening back several generations, I think this wouldn’t have been given a second glance in our glorious “Mayberry” days. What would Sheriff Andy Taylor have done? Ol’ Andy would have bagged it and tagged it and invited all of his friends over to enjoy that with which the Lord had provided. There would have been deer barbeque, potato salad, and sweet tea for all.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in that simple time anymore. We live in a complicated world where everything has multiple consequences and simple actions have complicated responses. Was Officer Scoggins wrong to shoot the deer? I don’t know. One can only hope that someone swooped in to gather the carcass and turn it into something tasty.

Henry Repeating Arms recovery effort

I got the following email from Henry Repeating Arms and thought I would share it:


Dear Valued Henry Customers,


We are pleased to report that we are well on our way to a full recovery from the significant damage sustained from Hurricane Sandy. More than 100 pieces of manufacturing machinery that were damaged by salt water are on track to be repaired or replaced by December 1st. We expect to be fully operational by the beginning of December and have already begun shipping Henry rifles to our distributors.

cnc-machineAnthony Imperato, President of the company states, “This is a painstaking process. We’ve had to replace motors, circuit boards, pumps, coolant tanks, and more. Some of our most expensive sophisticated machinery was damaged beyond repair and had to be replaced outright. We are getting through this with the help of some very talented people including our own staff and we’re on track to emerge stronger with increased manufacturing capacity”.

Anthony Imperato
Henry Repeating Arms

goldenboy scroll

Henry Repeating ArmsHenry Repeating Arms is one of the country’s leading rifle manufacturers. Their legendary name dates back to 1860 when Benjamin Tyler Henry invented and patented the first practical repeating rifle during the Civil War. It became known as the “gun you could load on Sunday and shoot all week long.” Henry rifles went on to play a significant role in the frontier days of the American West and soon became one of the most legendary, respected and sought after rifles in the history of firearms. The company’s primary manufacturing facility is in Bayonne, New Jersey and they have a second facility in Rice Lake, Wisconsin.


1842 Vampire Hunting Kit

1842 Vampire Hunting Kit:
A reader spotted an auction at for a vampire hunting kit produced in 1842. The kit contains a crude percussion lock pistol, four silver bullets (engraved with crosses) and a powerhorn along with numerous other quintessential anti-vampire accessories such as wooden stakes, a bible, a mirror and a crucifix.

I think the gun industry of the 1800s missed an excellent marketing opportunity. As far as I know there were no Winchester Model 1894 carbines engraved with vampires or shipped from the factory with silver bullets. Just think how much money Mr. John Moses Browning could have made if he had jumped on the vampire craze.

I imagine that 150 years from now people are going to marvel at the piles of anti-zombie gear found in old attics and conclude we all lived in fear of a zombie uprising.

[ Many thanks to ColonelColt for the tip. ]

Of Gangsters and Duellists

I’ve never considered a correlation between the stereotypical sideways grip of a gangster and a dueling, but the article below makes such a thought plausible:

Super Modified Gangster Grip:
Matt Steele teaches the Gangster Grip, Modified Gangster Grip and Super Modified Gangster Grip.

Jon Davis, a Marine Corps weapons instructor, posted a long article on Quora in which he suggested that gangsters hold their gun sideways due to the mistaken belief that you can aim faster that way …

I am a former Marine Corps marksmanship instructor. I specialized in pistols and have fired these weapons thousands of times. That said, the thought has crossed my mind. The answer didn’t come to me until another coach (from the “hood”) gave me a good reason why this technique would be used. In practice it actually does utilize one very important sighting practice, but fails overall. This is a good idea in theory, but fails miserably in the actual execution.

My theory is that gangsters shoot poorly on purpose. They need to be seen to be dangerous to both their comrades and to their enemies but the cost of actually killing someone is very high (prison and/or retaliation).

If a gangster is obliged to shoot at another gangster, he is much better off not just missing but also signalling to his opponent that he is not trying to actually trying to kill him. Holding a pistol sideways like an idiot is one way to signal intent to miss. Holding an AR-15 with an EOTech while wearing a ballistic vest signals the opposite.

The practice of shooting at someone with the intention of missing goes back to the days of duels. To delope is to throw away a shot. Alexander Hamilton infamously let it be known that he intended to delope during his duel with Vice President Aaron Burr, but Burr shot him dead anyway.

Eugene Onegin and Vladimir Lensky’s duel by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin [ Many thanks to jdun1911 & mrsatyre for emailing me the tip. ]

 There are different systems of honor that many of us would not consider honorable in the least, but honor is a subjective concept. We must accept, or at least acknowledge that there are different codes (Pirate code, honor among thieves, etc.) that are incompatible with our particular moral beliefs. Truth may be absolute, but morals and honor are interpretable.

But back to the article, why use a flimsy, inaccurate grip as a way to delope? It’s not spelled out in the article above, but it is a way to save face while maintaining that hardcore “gangsta” persona. It’s primal. It is staring in the face of death and hoping ones adversary desires life as well.

Historically, most duels were a show of honor that one hoped would not result in death (my interpretation), although many did. They were also by and large subject to a Code Duello with resolution mechanisms built in to avoid the duel if at all possible. The code was not law, but it was ingrained in the system of honor.

As the 19th century rolled on, duelists turned pugilists (the increased lethality of pistols probably was a huge contributor) put down their arms and put up their fists to resolve disputes. The era saw the Code Duello evolve into the Marquess of Queensbury Rules for boxing.

As time passed, even boxing to resolve disputes was seen as a barbaric means of maintaining one’s honor. In a world of email flaming and nasty Facebook posts, I can see a place for dueling, but in a non-lethal and acceptable fashion. Here is my proposal for when one’s honor has been sullied by an adversary:

  • Obtain a copy of John Lyde Wilson’s The Code of Honor (print, ebook).
  • Read the book and try to settle the dispute without violence. Have your second handle the negotiations. You do have a good friend to be your second, don’t you?
  • If that doesn’t work, buy a pair of identical paint ball guns, an inexpensive model like this would fit the bill well. Don’t forget the safety gear
  • Abide by the rules. Don’t be a brigand.
  • After the affair is settled and your honor is secured, sit down with your “adversary” and your respective seconds for a cup of tea or whatever. Enjoy the fact that you’ve resolved your matter in a good old fashioned duel and nobody had to die. You might have a bruise for a day or two if your opponent had a well placed shot, but you both get to go home to your families with your egos intact.
[Update: 17 October 2012]
A colleague pointed out that my idea is not that novel. Retronaut documents a 1909 duel where wax bullets were used.