by LF (7/2/98)
I started the Laissez Firearm page at the end of June `97. Seeing as how it's an anniversary and all . . .
Sorry that my output has been sadly thin of late. I place a large part of the blame on the incredibly lame vacation I took several months ago to the Knob Creek machine-gun shoot, which managed to depress the hell out of me. I'd heard about it for years, and due to my site had recently gotten a lot of additional information from Net correspondents.
The bulk, unfortunately, came out of this weasel-dick who only revealed at the last minute -- after I'd made too many firm commitments to cancel -- that he'd never been there before. Better yet, although boneboy runs a prominent commercial full-auto page, he does not even possess a buzzgun of his own, so his endless promises of "trigger time" were based on the assumption that his friends would gladly hand over their horrendously-expensive toys to a complete stranger. It didn't happen. Hey, it was only an eleven-hour drive, right?
My own fault, really. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!
Tips: If you do decide to partake, keep in mind that they run the event twice a year, so DO NOT GO TO THE APRIL SHOOT!!! The place was a ESPN2 MonsterTruck-style mudhole. The first night in, there were questions as to whether I could cross the only bridge out to civilization due to flooding, and the weather only got worse. And be sure to make hotel reservations far in advance. The campground is as sanitary as a ten-buck whore. And a lot of the campers either arrive dangerously ignorant, or become so after a few days of basting in their own stink -- primarily in the operation of their vehicles. Rooster-tailing thirty-foot blasts of mud onto a bunch of people you've never seen before might be funny, but not when they are all heavily-armed. Seeing that was the first time I'd ever had cause to doubt that famous Heinlein quote about the presence of weapons promoting politeness.
I spent my time there utterly wasted on a hurtful combination of vast amounts of alcohol, allergy medications, etc., and was hardly at my best as an "objective" observer, but much of what I heard and saw did not provide a lot of comfort.
I'm still unimpressed by the capabilities of most operators with shoulder-fired automatic weapons. The bowling-pin subgun match I watched yielded a lot of great pictures, but none of the competitors could've beaten a good man armed with a proper riot shotgun. Due to the rain, the only offical assault rifle competition that I heard of took place on a "jungle walk", which was closed to spectators, so the only stuff I saw was in a swamp set up for rentals. Not unexpectedly, the vast majority of gunners placed the vast majority of their shots way wide of their intended targets.
My take is that if you feel the burning need to go Class 3, buy a belt-fed as in a 1917 Browning or Ma Deuce. Now that's entertainment! I've still never shot one, but remain totally amazed at what they can accomplish. Awesome stuff.
The regulars all yakked like the event represented a glorious bastion of freedom in US of A. Well, yes and no. Certainly it was an astounding thing to watch in the Era of Clinton (and to be fair, let's remember that it was ol' Ron hisself who signed the bastardized McClure-Volkmer bill that will eventually end up killing their hobby when the last pre-Reagan full-auto piece wears out). But a lot of the guys I talked to did not even bring their scary guns along because their required paperwork had not shown up, and for the rest the risk of getting pulled over even if everything was in order promised a time-wasting hassle. "Free" yah sure.
Worse, a lot of them were comfortable white guys who could not give less than a shit about most of the laws passed in Washington or wherever, as long as they serve to advance the narrow, strictly utilitarian goal of keeping darkies off of their lawns. And they were almost to a man all for the insane War on Drugs, the source of most of our recent gun laws and other major incursions on our liberties.
I mean if anybody should know what's coming, it should be these largely well-educated sods (full-auto, for obvious economic reasons, is more accessible to the rich). But political sophistication does not appear to get issued along with big paychecks. I trust that they'll all get what's coming to 'em. As I said to a similarly-minded gent on a newsgroup many months ago, "when the DEA gets around to shooting white kids in your neighborhood from their new APCs, it'll be too late to start bitching." I generally found talking to the less-affluent guys less stressful, as they were more likely to restrict their political philosophy to the admirable principle of "leave me the fuck alone, and I'll return the favor," which I've long contended was one of the bedrock notions behind this nation's founding.
Don't get me wrong. I met a lot of great folks there who had their act seemingly wired-together. But no more so than I could find at any local gun show. Speaking of which, the show at the Creek's Pole Barn was admirably decent, given its size. It was skewed toward rattleguns, of course, but there were plenty of good deals on non-standard ammo. Just remember to bring tons of cash, as offering a check will just get you a nasty laugh.
Let's move on. Now here's some of the stuff that's been piling up:
I recently thought of an addition for the ever-popular Alcoholics Anonymous Quiz:
I finally broke down and listened to the "Dr. Laura" show for a few weeks after too many people to ignore recommended her. The program is a mixed bag. I like the fact that she stands her ground much more firmly than Limbaugh (every time a Depression-era hag calls to bitch about the size of her handout check, Jello Boy starts acting like somebody pooped in his cereal), but there are three really blatant things about her schtick that bug me.
First, since the lady is consistent, after seven or eight days you can figure out what her response will probably be as soon as you hear a caller's question. So the only surprises come in learning how the sad parade of wieners have managed to fuck up their lives. I'm sure that a lot of her listeners would turn up their noses at Jerry Springer or Ricki Lake, but she's just running a higher-class version of the same freak show. And it's pretty obvious that a goodly chunk of her callers check in so that they can be anonymously flogged nationwide. I've got nothing against masochism, but I don't care to be a party to it either.
Second, the lady's got a really tight little vision of how men and women should hook up, and what should come next. That's fine, and not surprisingly the bulk of her advice is as old as the hills. But certain things send her flying off into bizarre tizzies. Like there was this one broad who called up and whined about her fiance revealing that he did not wish to have kids. The Doc began ranting about how this guy was emotionally immature blah blah blah, building up such a head of steam that she forgot to ask the bride-to-be how she had gotten almost to the altar without ever thinking of bringing up the subject before. I mean, come on! Children require enormous financial and emotional outlays, so deciding not to have any is hardly a flippant move, but she was acting like it was his duty to breed. Like he's a bleedin' cockroach or something. If the Doc had been paying attention the obvious question to ask was whether the guy had had his personal seed delivery dingus snipped to show the, ah, firmness of his resolve. If he was still shooting live ammo, launching on him would have been much more justified.
Third, and most importantly, she's one of the "all [prominent] religions are basically the same" crowd. I'm a hard-core atheist, but that cranks even me off. No, they are NOT the same, you tit! What she means, of course, is that people just need to "believe in something greater than themselves". And that is a pretty way of saying that it's irrelevant whether or not a supernatural realm truly exists as long as the credulous believe that it does, because such faith helps to make them better people. Urrggh! So it does not matter if you kneel towards Mecca or spin a prayer wheel, just pick the set of rituals that discomfit you the least and you'll be all set. That's the sort of cynical crap that I expect from moralizing toxic filth like Bill Bennett or Amitai Etzioni, who want people staring dreamily up at the sky or down at their navels so that they can more easily be fitted with fresh chains. How can you call yourself religious if you don't believe in your heart of hearts that you have found the One True Way? I don't see a conflict between being tolerant of the beliefs of others and holding onto the notion that your path is the correct one. Anything less stinks like moral relativism to me.
If all that is not bad enough, she also has a nasty case of "charcoal briquette syndrome" (extra points to the first reader who can tell me which Vonnegut book I swiped that from) in that she is screechingly and hysterically anti-gun. So fuck her.
(A paraphrase of a sign seen on almost every uncovered dumptruck in North Carolina . . .)
I keep yakking about writing The Sleazy American Crime Novel. Scattered over several notebooks and miscellaneous scraps are maybe forty pages worth of bits that might actually socket together. Once I put some meat on the skeleton, I'll probably toss up a chapter or two here to see how they fly.