A Jeff Cooper Retrospective

In our despairing pursuit of precise communication we are continually…

In our despairing pursuit of precise communication we are continually affronted by the newspaper term “innocent civilians.” I am not at all sure what makes a civilian innocent, but when war invades populous places there are going to be non-combatants who will suffer from the efforts of uniformed soldiery. Whether they are innocent or not is a very complex question. Almost by definition guerilleros are “innocent” in that they are not soldiers paid by any military force. Throughout the beastly wars of the late twentieth century, large numbers of unpaid, un-uniformed, non-combatants have been caught up in disaster and slaughtered wholesale. This is, of course, tragic, but it does not imply that the innocents have been murdered by the guilty. Sometimes it has been conspicuously to the contrary. Let us watch that!

● Awhile back we commented upon how popular it is to embellish a point by mentioning that “studies have shown” it to be so. Now we have a really good one. A sociologist group at Harvard has come up with the shocking conclusion that citizens who have received adequate training in small arms are distinctly more likely to keep their personal weapons at the ready at home. The idea that a ready weapon is automatically a horribly anti-social manifestation seems so obvious to these Harvard types that they published the results of this survey.

We, of course, know that the only proper way to maintain a personally owned weapon in the household is loaded and ready. It would seem obvious even to a Harvard man that an unloaded weapon is totally useless. The interesting thing is that the newspapers that printed this piece and other newspapers that picked it up and reprinted it never seemed to think further about the matter.

I would certainly like to think that those people who received weapons training have profited by it, but we are not up against reasoned argument here. Hoplophobia is, after all, a true phobia, which means that it is not susceptible to reasoned argument. Remember when Kennesaw, Georgia, made it mandatory for all households to be armed, and the media viewed this with dismay? Well note further that in Kennesaw, Georgia, where there used to be very little armed violence, there now seems to be none.

What was it that Heinlein said about an armed society?

● It appears to us now that current American society in general believes that any amount of learning is a dangerous thing. To quote Florence King, “The egalitarian left says it isn’t relevant, and the Philistine right, it won’t help you earn a living.

● Looking at the world situation at this time a number of powerful popular commandments seem to take center stage. 1. For the politician, the commandment is: “Empower thyself!” 2. For the Third World chieftain: “Enrich thyself!” 3. For the populace at large: “Amuse thyself!” 4. For the good citizen: “Enlighten thyself!” Now then let us all choose up sides and see who wins the vote.

● Back in the Dark Ages when I was first interested in riflery, I was fascinated with hopping up the .30-06 cartridge. I, along with many others in the shooting world, was sold the notion that “more is better.” Early versions were the .30 Newton, the .300 Holland & Holland, and the .30 Halger. It did not occur to us innocents to ask why one would want more than what the .30-06 offers to the riflemen.

Well, it shoots flatter. (A bit, and that bit is so small that it makes no difference, since on the back curve of the trajectory differences in drop do not matter as long as they are known.) Well, it hits harder. (Yes, a bit, and to what purpose? If you sock any sort of beast short of buffalo in the proper place with a .30-06, you have him.)

A friend, who was demonstrating the Blaser rifle, told me that his most popular caliber is the .300 Weatherby Mag. It turns out that he sells his rifles primarily to rich Texas cowboys who figure that they cannot do it with a .30-06, so they better have a .300 Mag.

● “I once worked for a superb general at Quantico who posted up over the exit doorway of every office in the school complex the question, ‘What are you trying to do?’ written in gold letters upon a scarlet background. That is truly a shocking question for the majority of the human race

● The following penetrating paragraph is from family member Ed Detrixhe of Clyde, Kansas: “The first thing a conservative notices about leftists is how afraid they are. Any conversation with them soon, no immediately, leads to something they fear, and they fear almost everything. They fear food, tobacco, the sun, clothing, cars, open discussion, life, death, etc. Because of many of these deep fears it is not surprising that they are passionately interested in making life ‘safe.’ Life must be renewed. If something incidental, such as this freedom or that freedom, must be given up in order for life to be ‘safer,’ than so be it. (Perhaps this makes perfect sense because when someone is consumed by fear he is in effect imprisoned. Accordingly, the meaning of freedom changes.)”

● I have discovered a new use for air guns. Anchorage seems to be overrun with moose. These moose fancy city-dwelling because the streets are ordinarily plowed and thus makes movement easier. The local authorities frown on busting moose in your front yard within the city limits and without a license. If you sting this moose on the fanny with your air gun, it may occur to him that he is not welcome. Best not try this system on a cow with calf, however, for a cow moose with calf is one of the fiercer animals, and will generally choose attack over retreat.

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