Malcolm dissents

Malcolm Brooks, author of Painted Horses and a capital- F Friend of Q, was so appalled by an Adam Gopnik anti- gun rant in the New Yorker that he wrote the furious and sometimes even funny riposte below.

Turns out he was “baited” with an old essay, but the truth remains. Apparently no one at the NYRKR has yet realized that not only is Gopnik’s statement that it is almost impossible to own a gun in Canada wrong (or as we say, a “lie”), but Canada’s only move on guns in recent years was to abandon its flawed, useless, and ruinously expensive long gun registration scheme.

There are dangers to living in a bubble; I am remembering Pauline Kael’s statement that Nixon must have stolen the election because nobody she knew had voted for him.

In Berkeley.

Malcolm:

 I don’t regard myself to be on “the right,” whatever that means in this Fantasia of a current political climate, but I own a pile of guns and have been shooting and hunting with them since childhood. True, certain European countries have stringent gun laws, and some or possibly all of them likely have lower homicide rates than our own experiment-in-progress. On the other hand, it’s not “impossible” to own a gun in Scotland, which still ushers in the Glorious Twelfth in traditional fashion with a lot of booming double-guns and dead grouse in the heather. Meanwhile, following the Velvet Revolution the Czech Republic quickly moved to reverse draconian Soviet regulations designed to keep guns out of the hands of anyone who might pose a threat to the regime, and Czechs are currently about as armed to the teeth as the Swiss, with similarly little trouble. America is a unique situation, with a degree of class and racial and regional diversity that might be described as unprecedented in the history of the world. Frankly, for a heterogeneous, even polyglot nation of 300 million with an estimated one gun per person, it’s somewhat astonishing that gun violence is as rare as it is on a per capita basis, despite the best efforts of a sensationalizing media to portray statistically rare (if undeniably tragic) mass shooting events as some sort of social pandemic. As far as straight gun homicides go, the vast majority are demonstrably related to black market drug trafficking, which itself is a product of foolish, draconian, and totally paternalistic state policy rife with corruption at every level and probably knowingly engineered to prop up excessively militarized domestic law enforcement departments, privatized penal institutions, and for all I know the GDP of Mexico. Don’t even get me going on Big Pharma and whatever barrage of untested drugs-du-jour it wants to ram down the throats of Americans at the earliest possible age, except to say I’d far rather see both legal and illegal drug policy reform than squads of the aforementioned LEO’s coming around to confiscate the guns of American citizens, be they Bobby Seale, Dennis Banks, the Pink Pistols, or myself. And frankly, essays and punditry such as the above, in which some air-conditioned wonk blathers on about sixty or so million American gun owners as though their collective character is somehow flawed, retrograde, inbred, gap-toothed, or otherwise unevolved enough EVEN TO NOTICE THE BLATHER, let alone have a change of heart and whistle kumbaya whilst agreeably handing over the artifacts of their own enthusiasms, are about as insulting as it gets. Let’s not forget that we are talking about people who keep the electrical grid up and the toilets flushing and the trash hauled off and the food magically appearing in the grocery store; stop having this conversation as though it’s solely the purview of a self-congratulatory intellectual class, because that isn’t what stands to have its pastimes and ways of life criminalized. And honestly, I’d love to see one-fiftieth the ire out of the left over Snowden’s current straits as it seems endlessly to have over legally owned firearms in a free nation. So basically, this: if you or Adam Gopnik or Barack Obama want my prized 1924 Mannlicher-Schoenauer, or the 1955 Czech BRNO my son shot his first two elk with, or anything else in the safe, you are all welcome to go purchase your own. You can’t have mine. Get the picture?

Steve again: one more thing I have always wondered about: since most military people and cops I know are firmly pro- gun, just who is going to take our guns away?

Worst Design Idea EVER

From California Home and Design, proving once and for all that everything you suspected about California is true…

To quote them, “Enter the second-floor 1908 library… Designing for a modern family, DeSousa was challenged to fill the shelves with real books when today most are read with an iPad. With the help of Bookbythefoot.com, a site that provides salvage books by the linear foot, DeSousa adorned the shelves with hundreds of paper bound books.”

And painted them all white.

Carriage horses: the battle begins

I should have said– and will now– to check in just in case something that is actually important comes up. I would not brag that most of what is reported here is important in the grand sense– but my defense of animal- human bonds, the “Old Ways”: partnerships, “jobs”, memes– IS. I helped push back the AR tide when they tried to ban coursing in California. The good guys won that one, however temporarily.

But now, a more visible and symbolic fight has commenced for real in New York. A blinkered urbanite might be forgiven for misunderstanding dogs that chase jacks and their human partners. But more than sixty percent of New Yorkers, three newspapers, an actor (Liam Neeson), a horse trainer (Buck Brannaman), and just about everybody but the most self righteous and resentful Animal Rightsers and a few dubious real estate developers–oh, and the silly playpen Marxist mayor who won his office when only 26 percent of the electorate voted, who did so with the money of said developers (the stables are prime real estate), and who is a “strong Animal Rights activist” who has never owned an animal of any kind, but who tells the little kid of one of the horse drivers that his father is “immoral”, while refusing to meet the drivers; a “man of the people” who says that his administration’s highest goal and priority is to take away the livings of working people who have never been accused of a single act of cruelty…

The battle is joined: Read Jonathan Katz here for a good summary;if you subscribe to him he will keep you up to date. Then join us in sending some funds to the drivers here.

If the screaming fanatics of AR win this one, no city animal will be safe.  A lot of country friends forget that, a few years ago, Albuquerque animal activists tried to enforce draconian dog regs that slipped by in Albuquerque to the rest of our very rural and western state (ban on more than two dogs, rigorous permits including no in- house litters, on- site inspections, and huge fees to breed, and apparently only AKC purebreds).  They want a war, they have a big war chest– check out HSUS– and believe they can win it, while the carriage drivers only want to live in peace. If they want to play ISIS to our border fortress, our Kobani, let us be as brave as the Kurds. Stop them in New York before they knock on your door.

OK, a little humor. Mayor DiBlasio claims he is a “Marxist”. He says so; I am not red-baiting him. If we must have Marxists, let them be like this iconic one. Here he is shooting birds in exile in the Caucasus in 1926 (next stop Kazakhstan, where he mostly hunted birds with his dog for two years); with his rabbits, in lonelier exile in Mexico; and big- game fishing a la Hemingway off Mexico, shortly before the traitorous “Ramon Mercader”, who had insinuated himself into Trotsky’s trust,  sneaked up behind him and put an icepick in his head (if you think I am comparing that sleazy Stalinist hit man to “the coward Robert Ford”, of course I am!).

Stunningly Stupid

… even for “Reality” TV. Paul Domski writes: “The Discovery Channel has a program called “Naked and Afraid” where they send people to exotic places with no clothes or food and watch them as make their living, what a thrill right?  Anyway a recent episode shot in Bolivia featured this A-hole apparently killing and roasting a Bat falcon.  There are a whole host of people speaking out against the Discovery Channel, with internet campaigns springing up on several online venues.”

Here is a link to their ethics department.

Does it matter that it is a Bat falcon? Well, yeah– I expect that there are a hell of a lot of things easier to catch and better to eat than a five ounce, declining, beautiful, and illegal falcon, and that they just did it for the gross- out factor. This is especially insulting when hunters of legal game are losing their shows on other networks and being insulted on National Geographic.

It is official

You might have figured it out in comments below but it is official: because the Feds are allowing a three- decade exemption for wind farms to kill as many eagles as they “need” to, and because they exert no pressure on tribal use (right and understandable for religious practice, but ignoring the profitable if clandestine traffic in feathers for dance costumes), falconers will no longer be allowed to catch “up to six” eagles for falconry in areas of proven depredation, exactly reversing the win- win scenario Cat details below.

Nobody ever took six a year, an infinitesimal part of the breeding surplus; ranchers had proven predators removed; falconers got the companionship of one of the world’s formidable predators, often for decades, and the chance to participate in one of if not THE oldest falconry tradition on earth, at least six thousand years old.

Presumably if we do not fight this it means “for three decades?” Or forever?

And why in hell not allow trapping in wind farms?

No more of this!

What is this man DOING?

And how long is he likely to be doing it?

From the cover of a new issue of a venerable outdoor mag that employs several friends, a “re- creation” of a 1912 cover. Well, sorta, kinda…

But: how many times has this man been on a horse?

How long do you think the horse’s ears will be pointed forward. after he shoots over them?

How long do you think his feet will be in the stirrups?

As he is not even using a hasty sling, where do you think the rifle will be?

Where do you think he will be?

Where will the horse be?

What will happen to his quarry? Where will IT be?

Myself, I would never shoot over a horse’s head with anything; hold a rifle like that while shooting offhand, never mind from a horse which I wouldn’t do; or hold the reins with the gun like that.*  Most likely I would get off the horse, and look for a more supported shooting position. This may be because I  have some deficiencies in horsemanship and accuracy, but also because at 63 I am aware of that fact.

If I did shoot off a horse, I would likely find out if the horse was used to it or not, use a .30-30 or other mild old lever rifle, and point it away from the horse’s head. And still not hold the reins like that.

Also, look at the position of the butt on the hunter’s shoulder. If it is (and it no doubt is) a .300-plus Short Magnum or other loud barrel- burner invented less than ten years ago, it is not only going to make the horse shoot straight up in the air,  it’s gonna hurt his shoulder and his cheek, before it hits the ground and breaks its stock. That’s OK, because he probably wouldn’t have hit his elk anyway, having bought his rifle and scope on the way to the airport (as one of the clients at a hunting camp Libby used to cook for did), and then laughingly refused to sight it in (ditto).

His clothes sure are clean and pressed (though why on earth does he need camo in this situation?), but if he cheeks the stock properly, his hat brim will be in the way. Trust me on that.

O tempora! O mores!

* The 1912 cover, unfortunately about the size of a postage stamp, shows a cowboy shooting what I think is a lever action at a 3/4 angle away from the head of the horse, with dropped reins trailing on the ground.

Another dumb quote

From a review in the New Yorker for 27 August: “Buying a car, Grescoe writes “is the beginning of a spiral through selfishness, road rage, and anomie, one whose ultimate goal is the mall or the gated community”.

Unless you, you know, live in the country.

Do our coastal elites even “get” Upstate New York? (Yes, I know Grescoe is Canadian).

What they might think of a town of less than a thousand, forty miles on one side and 26 on the other from the nearest small towns, and 100 from a city, is hard to imagine.

Rants & Raves

Abby Mouat runs an amazing gun catalog reprint press. I have both ordered from and contributed to it, and recommend it without reservation to my readers.

But in the Internet world no good deed goes unpunished. Abby believes in letting the world see when you make a rude fool of yourself, and publishes the best of the worst in a section of her monthly newsletter called Rants & Raves. Here is a very mild selection.

(1)”My granddad left me a gun and I want to know how much I can get for it. It’s pretty rusty and some parts are missing. The caliber is about a quarter inch but the barrel is blocked. The round thing where the bullets go is missing. Can you give me an appraisal of the value of this beautiful old antique? Sally”

Sally, I hate to tell you this but that gun is probably worth nothing at all. Send me a picture and I’ll try to be more specific. Abby

“Abby, that is pretty specific already, but here is the picture…”

Sally, what you have is an Iver Johnson .22 Sealed Eight which, I am sorry to say is, indeed worth nothing in the condition you found it. Abby

“Thanks, but I am going to get another opinion. Sally”

(2)”Last year I ordered the book from you and it was good. This year I want the other one but I am not home so I can’t tell you wich one it was that I need so please send it right away because I am buying a Marlin and need it when I get home. Here is my credit card: 8021… Jim”

Jim, I have no idea which of our 2000 catalogs and manuals you ordered and cannot look it up because I don’t know your last name or address and your email doesn’t match any on file.

More Dog Morons

Sari from our Asia Group sent me a link to this (nearly) unbelievable story about New Guinea singing dogs.

It begins: “The New Guinea Singing Dogs are the rarest in the world. Just 150 were known to exist before the bust at Randy Hammond’s home. Now there are 235.”

So they “rescued” and neutered them.

Was their owner abusing them? Even the idiotic story suggests not:

“The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture describes Hammond as a hoarder, and he’s been charged with animal cruelty, among other offenses. Despite the 85 dogs living in 27 small enclosures, Wendt describes these fox-like canines who can climb trees as “pretty healthy…In the last two years, Hammond turned all his attention to care for his wife, battling cancer…Wendt says Hammond has been very cooperative with his group and law enforcement, and that he truly cares about the dogs, who are attached to him… The number of dogs “just exploded. It went from 50 to 85 dogs in two years,” Wendt says. “That’s when it turns into chaos.”

First they were going to rescue them by– what else? — putting them down. (Vicki Hearne used to say ARists preferred all animals to be either cute or dead). But (the “caring” warden who arrested the owner, one Georgia) “…Martin wouldn’t allow that. As Wendt writes in a note of thanks on the New Guinea Singing Dog International Yahoo site: …(She) realized that these rare and special dogs needed a chance to survive…”

With no descendants– genetically and evolutionarily dead. Sorry, I don’t buy “too inbred” either– why not breed out to some of those other rare dogs?

But the fix is in. No dissent mentioned in the story. Four “choices” to make about it– “This story makes me happy/ inspired/ laugh/ intrigued”– why not disgusted, appalled, murderous, depressed? And you can only comment on (Evil) Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg being a private arm of Big Brother…

When Big Nanny, AR, and moronic institutionalized “compassion” meet there are no civil rights and no fertile dogs. (Re)read Vicki Hearne. Me? I’ll defend my own genetic gold. Molon labe.

Neglected Book

Rebecca O’Connor’s Lift, her literary falconry memoir and one of the best falconer’s memoirs ever written, had such good press I thought it would automatically be come a success (this despite my having written to her about “… terrific reviews, indifferent agents, incompetent publishers, [and] few sales…”). But NOOO. She has sold only 411 copies.

This is a disgrace, and at the very least an instance about how we no longer know how to market or identify good books “with trees in them”*– a subject I will have more to say about later.

Meanwhile Lift is the kind of book any Querencia regular will love– if you read the first paragraph, you will be hooked. If you don’t have it already, do yourself and Rebecca a favor: go here and order it.

*Norman MacLean’s A River Runs Through it was rejected by virtually every NY publisher, one of whom complained “This book has trees in it!”