A Tale of Two Bullets: The Epoch of Incredulity

I digress from my “normal” bar banter for the first time to get on my soap box about an issue I am vehemently passionate about. The topic is one that like (1) abortion (2) gay marriage (3) drug legalization and (4) capital punishment – incites ridiculous levels of irrationality and passion as opposed to substance and reason. That topic is guns. WARNING: Long diatribe ahead having nothing to do with bartending.

I’m a gun dude. Scratch that – I’m the gun dude (one who is not a Law Enforcement Officer). When friends/family eventually find out that I’m a proud, card-toting, New York City gun owner (a rare minority), they have mostly one of two reactions: (1) astonishment, outrage and/or disgust or (2) their eyes light up like kids at Christmas and they want as much information as I can possibly muster. They think “Cool bro! I want to shoot!.” In many cases, that makes me the de-facto paranoid lunatic or the cool “gun dude,” respectively. Group #2 will thereafter engage me in mostly ignorant, but harmless talk about guns at every opportunity. The latter camp is almost always guys.

I live in New York City – the world headquarters of modern-day Fascism, liberal gun-grabbing, uber-Draconian handgun/rifle licensing/registration schemes. We’ve also bred and elected a whole lot of leftist, out-of-touch, municipal government sheep. In other words, this town is the National poster child for the anti-2nd-amendment crowd. This is not NRA or S.A.F. territory. I’m a member of both organizations, by the way. I don’t necessarily agree with their actions and agendas, but both of them staunchly defend our constitutional right to bear arms. Extremists at the other end of the spectrum would love nothing more than to eradicate said right entirely in the name of “public safety” – a farce and idiot’s vision in itself (more on that later).

Most folks I’ve met that were born, raised, or assimilated into New York City have had little to no hands-on exposure to any type of firearm at all. That’s a really unfortunate side-effect of urban living. Urbanization has also wreaked havoc on other important issues and skills like (a) consuming natural/healthy foods (b) getting your fat ass up from your office chair and engaging in physical labor and (c) learning to fix stuff yourself.  Eh… I digress.

I was fortunate. Despite being a City dweller, I had all kinds of exposure to non-City experiences. My first firearm experience came at age 11, when I first went to away to Boy Scout camp up in Narrowsburg, NY. It’s a stunning, natural 14,000 acre getaway called Ten Mile River. Given multiple activity options, I made a bee-line for the Archery and Rifle ranges. I can’t really explain why. Boyish curiosity? Innate “cop sense?” Maybe some of both. Regardless, I quickly earned my Rifle Shooting Merit badge. The same goes for the Archery badge. I was a bad-ass on the range. Meaning: I kicked royal arse with consistently tight groupings, rifle handling, safety, etc. My guess is that T.M.R. is not much different these days. But back then, safety procedures was paramount – the first thing we learned It was drilled into our heads repeatedly. We shot Marlin .22, bolt-action rifles. Those rimfire rifles weren’t blow-shit-up destruction-worthy, but for a learning gun at 11 years old, it was pure heaven. Over the following Summers, I mastered the .22 and moved on to 12-guage, over-and-under, skeet. Fun times…

I was also lucky enough to have my second Scout Master be a retired NYPD cop – Mr. P. He was gracious enough to bestow upon us older kids (15 – 17) an experience of a lifetime – one that would further help shape my future and instill an incredible respect, admiration, and joy of shooting. Mr. P took us up a few times to a private property somewhere in Connecticut. There, he set up a table and a few curious looking lock-boxes. He first sat us down for a half-hour or so and took us through some very serious safety procedures. He made us all agree to his terms, which we gladly did. Mr. P then grew the most devilishly proud and happy smile I ever recall. He was an extremely generous and genuinely loving fella to us all. He was a portly, red-faced dad – one of easiest to get along with people you’ll ever meet. Anyway, on the table, he laid down the following:

  • Smith & Wesson standard (or was in his time on the force) .38 service revolver
  • Smith & Wesson Snub-Nose revolver (I assume this was his off-duty gun)
  • Baretta 9mm semi-auto
  • Walther PPK (can’t remember caliber)
  • A .22 semi-auto
  • A pump 12-gauge shotgun

Each outing, we’d shoot at soda cans, bottles, etc. for hours with a gigantic hill as a backstop. As you can imagine, we wore the happiest, shit-eating grins a group of young boys possibly could – for days. Guess what? Nobody killed each other, or anyone else. Nor did any “accidents” occur.  To this day, not one of use was inspired to get irrationally “gun crazy” or go postal as adults.

I have several childhood friends and regular bar customers who work as cops for the NYPD. Some of them have recently retired after hitting the magical 20 year mark. Many of them love to shoot and talk shop. I must admin that I do harbor a bit of jealousy (not in a spiteful way) in that at this point in my life, I wish I could turn the clock back 20 years or so and go into law enforcement of some sort. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, as they say. I wouldn’t have done it for the retirement perks but rather, for the love of the occupation and the fact that I know that I would have been a spectacular officer based on my personality. Oh well. Maybe I’ll pull a Steven Seagal one of these days.

Anyway, in the decades since my teens, my interaction with any kind of firearm has been limited (sadly) to (1) a few corporate Sporting Clay outings up at Orvis Sandanona in Milbrook, NY and (2) gun talk with my cop friends once in a blue moon at their houses or at the range. The limitations weren’t entirely by choice. I neglected to obtain any type of permit for many years mostly because I’ve lived in the capital of “we don’t wan’t you to have a gun, so we’ll make it as onerous and expensive as we possibly can without incurring the wrath of the Supreme Court” New York City.

Not too long ago, I finally caved and went and got my permits and weapons. I joined the range and re-familiarized myself with my childhood hobby (and right) that brought me such joy. As a parent, follower of the law, family defender and generally concerned citizen, I employ necessary safety procedures for safe-keeping. I also find it incredibly important to “de-demonize” guns and teach my children everything I know. For similar reasons, I also talk to them frequently about drugs, sex and other important issues that affect or have the potential to affect them.

So, with a bit of my gun-loving history as a backdrop, I delve into my latest run-in with one of the brainwashed know-it-alls…

A couple of days after that horrifically saddening Auroa, CO Batman movie, lunatic shooting spree, I happened to be at the local park playing with my meatbally cute daughter. Being a beautifully sunny Summer day, sure as shit, there were many other Moms and Dads doing the same. I happened upon one of the wife’s friend’s kids and their Dad. That wickedly evil Mr. Softee truck creeped by every 20 minutes – playing that nightmare inducing chime and belching nasty black fumes and soot from it’s old, ill-maintained diesel engine (why to do they all do that?). Much to my annoyance, we got to the point where we were both coerced into allowing our little ones to consume ice cream before dinner.

Dad Dude and I got to shooting the breeze. Wouldn’t you know it? Aurora, CO came up in conversation. That wasn’t terribly unexpected or upsetting (just yet). We’re both around the same age, in the same business (Information Technology), and have young children. We’re both productive, law-abiding members of Bloobergistan and often discuss recent events.

During the chit-chat about the devastation, we both conveyed our sorrow and horror at the situation out there – particularly because of the small children who were maimed and killed. We could both sympathize and envision a situation where we had to take emergency measures to keep our families safe. However, nothing could prepare me for what came out of Dad Dude’s lips next. I was taken aback as he went on a tirade, spouting off a litany of gun-grabbing, mass-media, liberal inaccuracies. Let’s go through some of the better ones shall we?

  • Dad Dude: “Can you freaking believe it? That guy bought thousands of ‘bullets’ on-line! He bought them long before the shooting. Who the hell needs thousands of ‘bullets’? For what reason? I can’t believe he did that. I can’t believe he bought them on the Internet.”
  • Dad Dude: “I mean, he had a god-damned assault rifle! An assault rifle! Can you believe it? He was walking around with a military rifle - in The United States. He probably got it at Walmart out there. I mean, he likely said to himself ‘gee, I need some milk, cookies, dish-washing soap, and… oh! Hey, here’s an assault rifle. Let me get that too. How much is that, cashier?’
  • Dad Dude: And he bought that weapon legally! WTF?”
  • Dad Dude: “Oh… to make matters worse, he used hollow point bullets! I mean really? Can you believe it? Hollow fucking point bullets! I’m just in shock.”

So at this point, I had a sick and angry feeling all about me. I had a few options. My gut reaction was to go full-on bitter beer face and argue this nonsense full-speed-ahead. But, within an instant – my quick wit evaluated the comments, the company, my wife’s relationship with his wife, the park full of kids, dumb-ass Dad Dude’s pre-disposition to guns, and my own desire to remain on good terms with his family. I decided it would be better for all involved to STFU in this particular instance. All I did was take a long pause, cross my arms, look dismayed and say “I understand.” I then casually changed the subject and within a minute or two, decided to pack up and get as far away from dumbass as I possibly could lest I burst a few rage-filled capillaries on my forehead and combat his ignorance with fact (and a few insults).

This clown, who I otherwise kind of like, has not one iota of understanding of firearms. In all likelihood, he has never handled, much less fired any type of gun. I suspect so based on his asinine outburst of fear-mongering, inaccurate comments, and the fact that I know he  was born and raised in a state of tyranny New York City.

I did my best to forget this park gun-talk incident, but shit… It’s eating at me like rabid wolf on a the carcass of a fresh killed buck. So here I am – blogging about it. Allow me to dissect the situation and finally address his stupid comments one by one:

1. Thousands of Rounds. Look, I suspect millions of good people in this country have hundreds of cartridges in storage on their properties. In addition, I’d guess that there are also many other folks who have a whole lot more than hundreds of rounds at the ready. It’s not uncommon and it doesn’t make you a raging psychopath about to go postal on local businesses, Dad Dude. I can go through a few hundred rounds in just one outing at the range. Big fucking deal. $30 bucks or so will get you a “small” box of 500 .22 cartridges.

2.Internet Purchases. What the fuck does that have to do with anything? What is the relevance of buying ammunition (in bulk) at your neighborhood Walmart, gun shop or online? What difference does it make? Why would you get all animated and pissed off about it? A legal product was bought in a legal fashion, and shipped via legal carriers to a legitimate residence and legal gun owner. Get it? The shooter was bat-shit crazy, but that’s another matter altogether.

3. Assault Rifles. God damned! People really are stupid. I was dying to get into to it with Dad Dude and ask him exactly what he believed an “assault rifle” to be, and what the impact may have been in the shooting. I gonna go out on a limb here and assume his vision of an “assault rifle” is what he sees on CNN and Fox News day in and day out – pictures of AK-47s and AR-15 variants. Had I gathered the cojones to as him at the time, I’d bet dollars for doughnuts he would have mentioned something about high-capacity magazines and full-auto fire. Lulz! This assault (no pun intended) on the common – uneducated – man is the direct result of mass media’s yellow journalism – the immediate and recurring sensationalism of every shooting incident that ever takes place. The neverending televised display of third-world country thugs firing their AKs in the air. Furthermore, we don’t yet have details on which exact weapon the shooter fired at whom. The nutbag was carrying an AR-15 (Dad Dude’s assault rifle), a .40 caliber Glock handgun, and a shotgun. We don’t yet know exactly which ones he used.

4. Legally Purchased Firearms. Yep. It seems that way doesn’t it? Millions of people have purchased similar weapons legally. What are you trying to say Dad Dude? Are you calling millions of people crazy terrorists? You don’t see the millions of American gun owners running around acting the fool, do you? As much as I love guns, I’m actually in favor of basic gun control measures (unlike some powerful national organizations). Namely: quality background checks (mental and criminal) and “shall-issue” licenses which I feel should be the nationwide norm. Could it be that Jimbo was on crackpot meds, had previous psychiatric ward stays, was on schizo meds, or was otherwise acting nutty weeks/months prior to the shooting? Sure – could be. We don’t have all the facts just yet.

5. Hollow Points. This gets under my skin the most. “Hollow Points” in Dad Dude’s tiny noggin must mean “Cop Killer” bullets. Dad Dude has no point of reference other than – again – the bullshit spewed over and over on mainstram news which has clearly corrupted his tiny grey matter. Had Dad Dude ventured out to El Goog to take part in even 10 minutes of research, he may not have blurted out an idiotic statement.

Have a gander at the picture on the top of this post. You have two cartridges in .45 caliber. On the right, is an FMJ (Full Metal Jacket). On the left is a JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) or simply, “hollow point,” a term the media just loves to harp on as “extra dangerous” and portray as being designed only for law enforcement. Do you know what happens when you shoot someone with an FMJ or JHP? Depending on where you hit them, they wind up seriously maimed or dead!

FMJs are cheaper than JHPs. Therefore, most folks I know wind up using them for range days (target practice). They wind up keeping JHPs for defense purposes whether that’s law enforcement or personal/home protection. I can hear the liberals cringing right now at the use of the term “defense” as it relates to firearms. Fuck ‘em.

JHPs are designed to expand on impact whereas FMJs generally retain their form. Why is that an issue and why does the media tell the sheep “hollow points” are “killer bullets?” Again, FMJs kill people just as dead. However, in certain instances and with higher-power loads and guns, they can often travel through their target, walls, car doors, etc. The JHPs, on the other hand, expand like mushrooms when they strike their target, impacting said objective with more surface area. As a result, the bullets (not cartridges at that point) typically do more damage to the intended target, often resulting in more rapid “bleeding out,” but the projectiles do not travel much beyond. You can roughly equate it to regular shoes v. snow shoes – similar concept.

In practice, JHPs (again “hollow points”) tend to be “safer” (to unintended targets) in the sense that they have less potential to hit things behind their targets. However, all else being equal, they will tear up significantly more tissue than their FMJ brethren because of the increased impact area. In other words, if you’re shooting at someone who has broken into your crib at 3am wielding a machete, and you’re fortunate enough to hit him with your JHP-loaded pistol, chances are (1) he’s going to be in a world of hurt (2) if you’ve hit the chest cavity, he may go down quicker and (3) you have a far less chance of your bullet tearing through the bad guy (B.G. in gun speak) and sheet rock, finally lodging itself in your neighbor’s ass; that would be very bad.

Next, the media – many of whom I also suspect also have little to no practical experience with firearms – have long portrayed JHPs as being “extra deadly,” with a magical ability to rip through law enforcement ballistic vests (a.k.a., bulletproof vests). In the real world, not some NYC crusader’s concocted vision, JHPs have less of an ability to penetrate. That’s because of the aforementioned impact expansion characteristics. They have a reduced “piercing” ability as some of the the kinetic energy is used to simply borough a bigger hole. Furthermore, to penetrate most Type II (lightweight Kevlar) ballistic armored vests, you would need “high-powered” handguns and associated rounds with a capability significantly higher than 1,000 fps muzzle velocity. A lot of common handguns don’t fall into this category save for some Magnums. Most rifles do however. It’s not uncommon for a center-fire rifle to exceed well beyond 2,000 fps at the muzzle – rendering commonly used ballistic armor useless.

In Summary, thanks Dad Dude. Thanks for severely getting under my skin – irritating me like the swarm of mosquitoes that call my backyard home. All the while, I’m trying desperately to get my Bone-In Fillet grilled just right whilst trying to suck down a few fine bottles of Mackesons Stout. Thanks for reminding me how corrupt mainstream media happens to be and how their continual agenda to instill gun Fear and Loathing in New York is working so very well. Thanks for perpetuating the myth of how getting rid of guns entirely will magically get rid of BGs and shootings (not at all). BGs will always have guns – even if you shut down every legitimate manufacturer in the country and instituted an outright ban nationwide.

Mostly, thanks for buying my precious little princess shitty Mr. Softee ice cream that she desperately loves.

Well wishes go out to the Aurora, CO victims’ families. May their pain someday subside and their remaining loved ones live safe and relatively happy lives. May the shooter rot in jail, get shanked in prison, or better yet – be eventually administered large doses of happy-dream-making Potassium Chloride.

Ok. I’m done… (for now). Back to bartending.

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