A Jeff Cooper Retrospective

The legislative efforts in this line continue to be mysterious.…

The legislative efforts in this line continue to be mysterious. According to the new Texas law, for example, a nurse may not carry her properly licensed pistol into a hospital. As we all know, a nurse is particularly vulnerable to violent attack, not in the corridors of the hospital, but on her way from the door to her car in the wee hours. If she really needs a sidearm, this is when she needs it, but current Texas law seems unconcerned. Editor’s note: Now in Texas, if the hospital gives the nurse permission to carry, then it is not against the law.

● In this dreary period in history where cowardice is a virtue, prevarication is normal, perversion is flaunted, and even our thoughts are censored, my own principal escape lies in hunting. When you get out in the woods, rifle in hand, in pursuit of noble prey, you can put the evils of the age to one side and dismiss them from your thoughts for the duration of the experience. Fishing doubtless provides a similar release, though I am not enough of a fisherman to know, but I must feel sorry for the non-hunters (and fishermen) for whom there is no window on the real world.

● We thought that everybody knew that you do not point toy guns at people, but it appears that an awful lot of people do not know what everybody should know. Some loony recently made this mistake in Phoenix and got himself shot dead by the police. Another thing we thought was common knowledge is that if you choose to fight with the police, you should be aware that the results can be pretty serious—like fatal. We just had a junkie attempt to take on the whole legal and judicial establishment by extraordinary force and violence, including spitting on the judge. Our most prominent journalistic bleeding heart in Arizona professed to be much put out when the miscreant wound up dead. He declaims that being a junkie is not a capital offense. It is not, but fighting with the police very well may be.

● The Stoic philosophers of Ancient Rome featured the motto, “Do good, for good is good to do.” The point is that one should not do good things in hope of any reward, either here below or in the afterlife, but rather that good deeds are good in and of themselves. They are their own reward. One can get into serious trouble by doing good deeds at random, as I have found out to my bitter sorrow, but that does not invalidate the principle.

● I was recently taken to task by an Israeli rangemaster for what he regarded as my casual attitude about “ploppies.” The term is an Afrikaaner invention referring to a spent bullet, which floats in from elsewhere and goes plop in the dirt at your feet. This Israeli thinks that ploppies are extremely perilous, but I think he is confusing spent bullets with ricochets. A ricochet can be quite dangerous, but only if the deflection of its original trajectory is relatively slight. When a bullet bounces off the ground or other obstacle, flies high in the air and comes back propelled mainly by gravity, it is no big deal. In the eye or in the teeth it may indeed cause some damage, but I have been hit six times by ploppies, and not one of them ever drew any blood.

● “Acquiring a fine gun is the easy part. Acquiring shooting skill is as difficult as ever.”—John Zen

● By now the British have fairly written into law the position that a personally owned firearm may only be acceptable for “sporting purposes.” Teddy Kennedy used this idea in the 1968 gun law, despite the fact that we in America are protected, at least theoretically, by the Second Amendment, which has nothing whatever to do with sport. Various sorts of legislators are still at it, and the BATF takes the notion of “legitimate sporting purpose” seriously, even though this would appear to be obviated by the supreme law of the land. This is a fight in which we all must continue to participate. Self-defense has nearly come to be a misdemeanor on the face of it in Britain, where the subject is conditioned with the belief that whatever happens he (or she) must not fight back. If the wimps prevail in the next election, you may be sure that America will then gain on Great Britain on the road to serfdom.

● It has long been a principle of mine that a man cannot have too many books, too many wines, or too much ammunition. It turns out that a number of governments in the world manifest considerable distress at the idea of large amounts of ammunition in private hands. They insist that any man who stockpiles thousands of rounds must have some sinister and ulterior purpose, which should be investigated by the state. Here we have yet another example of the thought control characteristic of the Age of the Common Man. Many on the left seem to hold that one may be punished not for what he does, but for what he thinks, as with what have come to be called “hate crimes.” In this age of thought-control, various sorts of busybodies, in and out of government, feel the need to arrange your thinking for you. In this matter of ammunition, I personally like to keep a large supply on hand, not for any specific purpose, but simply because it makes me feel good. To have a large supply—several thousand rounds—of .45 ACP, .30-06 and/or .308 is comforting in and of itself, and by no means necessarily because one has some conspiratorial notion about expending it. As you know, there are people who feel that the subtle way to disarm the people is to cut off the supply of ammunition. We hope that such people do not prevail, but it does not hurt to be prepared for unpleasant eventualities, thus we have seatbelts, crash helmets, life jackets, and pistols.

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