It’s Not About Me

But in a way, it is.

Like (apparently) a lot of gunbloggers, “I have very few friends in meatspace”. I “know” a lot more people through my interaction with them in the interwebs than I do in person. When, as it happens, someone I “know” or “know of” dies, I feel the loss. The first time this happened to me was when Acidman passed in 2006. When Cathy Siepp died in 2007 I was affected, not because I had ever corresponded with her, but because I’d read so much of what she’d written.

William the Coroner passed away in November. I had listened to William on Vicious Circle, and had seen his comments at other blogs. I had read a few of his posts, but I didn’t “know” him. When Neptunis Lex recently perished in a plane crash, I didn’t comment because I hadn’t really read his blog and really didn’t “know” him either, but both of these men had significant effects on people I do know, and I mourned their loss.

Today we hear that Newbius has joined the ranks of of Bloggers of the Great Beyond. Again, I didn’t read Newbius, and I’ve never met him, but when I clicked over to his blog and saw his blogroll I was taken aback. Under “Deep Thoughts” he has listed only seven blogs, and mine is one of them. The other six are extremely fine company to be in.

And I had no idea. I am honored that he thought well enough of my work to put TSM on his short list. I am abashed that I did not “know” him well enough to be aware of that fact.

I wish I’d gotten a chance to meet the man, and try his pizza. Dammit.

I think I’ll pass on his recommendation:

Stop reading this and go hug somebody important to you. Do it now.

Fair winds, Newbius.


No free ice cream for you.  I’m out of town on a job, and it looks like I’ll be busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest for the next several days.  On the plus side, I’ve got an überpost brewing in the back of my head that might get out in the next week or six.  On the minus side, it won’t be upbeat and inspirational. 

In good news, it looks like I’m going to be able to go to the upcoming Dallas area blogshoot on April 21. Another opportunity to meet fellow bloggers and shoot guns! Gas expenses will be stiff, but what the hey. The Mustang gets pretty good mileage.

Anybody else from Arizona going? I’m planning on driving over in one day on Friday the 20th, and taking it easy coming back, Sunday and Monday the 22nd & 23rd. It’s about 15 hours each way. (Same as Reno, interestingly enough…)

I haven’t been to DFW area since 2004. It’ll be nice to go back.

Remember, It’s a Feature, not a Bug!

Today Instapundit linked to a WSJ piece, Escape From a North Korean Prison, the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, a North Korean man born in a concentration camp, who escaped to South Korea in 2005. It was an interesting coincidence, because my wife and I had just watched the 2009 documentary Kimjongilia, which included Mr. Shin’s story among several others.

The WSJ piece was written by Blaine Hardin, author of the forthcoming book Excape from Camp 14, a longer exploration of Mr. Shin’s life.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper also has the story, How one man escaped from a North Korean prison camp with a bit more detail. Excerpt:

His first memory is an execution. He walked with his mother to a wheat field, where guards had rounded up several thousand prisoners. The boy crawled between legs to the front row, where he saw guards tying a man to a wooden pole

Shin In Geun was four years old, too young to understand the speech that came before that killing. At dozens of executions in years to come, he would listen to a guard telling the crowd that the prisoner about to die had been offered “redemption” through hard labour, but had rejected the generosity of the North Korean government.

Guards stuffed pebbles into the prisoner’s mouth, covered his head with a hood and shot him.

I strongly recommend you read the rest.

I also watched another, similarly-themed film recently, 2010’s The Way Back, the story of a Polish Army lieutenant, Janusz, imprisoned by the Russians early in WWII, who escaped with several other prisoners and walked over 4,000 miles from Siberia to India. The book this story is based on, The Long Walk, is almost definitely fiction passed off as fact, but according to Wikipedia:

Soviet records confirm that Rawicz was a Polish soldier imprisoned in the USSR, but differ from The Long Walk in detail on the reasons for his arrest and the exact places of imprisonment. Polish Army records show that Rawicz left the USSR directly for Iran in 1942, which contradicts the book’s storyline. Aside from matters concerning his health, his arrival in Palestine is verified by the records. The story of the escape to India comes from Rawicz himself. The BBC report does mention the account of Captain Rupert Mayne, an intelligence officer in Calcutta, who – years after the war – said that in 1942 he had debriefed three emaciated men claiming to have escaped from a Siberian Gulag camp.

In the context of this post, one of the most interesting things in The Way Back is when the escapees reach China in early 1941, the portion they reach is already Maoist. Communism has reached China before them, thus they decide they must forge on to Tibet and freedom.  I recommend both films.  The Way Back, fictional or not, is well made and powerful.  Kimjongilia is brutal and depressing, but something everyone should see.  A commenter, to the WSJ piece, “george kamburoff” writes:

We have more people in cages than the North Koreans, and a larger percentage of our population is in cages, and now the conservatives have put the Directorate of Fatherland Security, Suppression, and Punishment on us, to make SURE we do not step out of line.

Remember how free we were “BB” – Before Bush? No machi8ne(sic) guns in airports, no inspection lines, no armed guards making all of us suspects? Our own conservatives are turning US into North Korea.

Yeah. Way to get a grip on reality.  From the Korea Herald, Feb. 15, 2012:

Kim Jong-un regime in Pyongyang warns of ‘three-generation wipeout’ for defection

In a letter sent to the White House on Monday, the North Korea Freedom Coalition said China’s repatriation policy not only directly violates the international agreements it has signed but has also created an environment of violent activity in China.

The group said North Korean agents “roam freely” killing humanitarian workers trying to help the refugees, while the majority of North Korean female refugees fall victim to human trafficking.

The human rights groups said that they were reportedly told that China will repatriate the North Korean defectors by Feb. 20 who, if returned, are likely to face harsh punishment such as detention, torture or even execution.

Especially as North Korea is under the new leadership of Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang is strongly warning of a “three-generation wipe-out” of any family with a North Korean caught defecting.

“george kamburoff” is politely invited to defect from the USA. I’ll help him pack, and chip in $100 for plane fare.  His immediate and extended family need not worry.

BTW, those “humanitarian workers” trying to aid North Korean defectors in China?  They’re mostly Chinese Christians.

“We Have to Pass It to Find Out What’s In It!”


Obama signed Obamacare into law on this date, two years ago:


Well, we’re finding out what’s in it.

But then, we already knew what was in it before it passed.


Krauthammer has more.  We are so #@%*ed. And we’re not voting our way out.

Quote of the Day – Brian Lamb Edition

From Ed Driscoll’s “How is Your Son?”:

Has Al Gore, or any of his fellow travelers, even stopped to consider whether there has ever been a human society that was able to maintain a growing and vibrant economy during a period of declining population? I do not mean to suggest that population growth is necessary to economic growth, but I would like to hear some examples that demonstrate that it is not or even just some philosophical argument about why it is not. Or consider his call for government to dictate the development of new technologies–does anyone seriously think that some cadre of World Government bureaucrats would be competent to pick and choose what technologies are most likely to succeed, never mind the likelihood that such a system would simply be riddled with corruption. If the Twentieth Century proved anything it is that government is the enemy of human progress, perhaps even the enemy of mankind. But here is a prospective President of the United States who believes that government should be massively expanded and given an enormous range of powers over our lives. I find that pretty disturbing.

His fellow travelers don’t.

On the .25ACP and “Stopping Power”

There have been comments to the post below concerning the lack of “stopping power” of the .25ACP cartridge, and I can’t say I disagree with them, but I would like to share one story of how a .25 saved one man’s life.  Back long before I started blogging, I spent a lot of time on the rec.guns and talk.politics.guns Usenet groups.  J. David Phillips was a contributor to both of those groups using the handle “Flimflam”, and was a genuinely interesting guy.  He ran a pawn shop out of Crystal River, Florida, and one day I and the other users of these groups were stunned to find out that David had been the victim of a sword-wielding maniac. 

David was in the hospital.  His attacker was in the morgue.

His story, from September of 2000 is good reading, and I’m going to archive it here:

I own a one man pawn and jewelry store in Crystal River, Florida. On September 26th, 2000, a South Korean came into my store to pick up a revolver he’d paid for the preceeding week. Due to my county’s three day wait period, he had to wait until Tuesday to pick up the gun. He was waiting on the step when I arrived to open at eleven. ( yeah, I know banker’s hours)

When I called the gun in, FDLE said it was a ‘conditional refusal’, and that allowed them three more days to make up their mind. Well, the customer wasn’t too pleased about it, and said he wanted the gun NOW. “Nope, can’t have it until FDLE clears you.” That wasn’t what he wanted to hear, so he sulked out the door. I got his phone number before he left, and assured him I’d call when the information was relayed to me. After the verbal exchange we had, I decided that there was NO WAY I was going to transfer a firearm to this guy , period!

A little while later, a good friend of mine came into the store to BS awhile, and said there was a guy “stalking around” in the bushes of the building next door. I went out the back of my store, and there was the customer “stalking around” in the bushes of my next door neighbor’s resturant. huh? I asked him what he was doing, and he replied he’d lost something. Ok, I can somewhat understand that, as I’ve done the same thing. However, not in my neighbors bushes.

My friend left the store at approximately, 1:15pm, and before he drove away, he came in to tell me the guy was still on the other side of the building just looking around. At this, I decided to call the local police, and dialed their non emergency number.

Within a few seconds of my friend’s car leaving the parking lot, in comes the guy, walking real fast down the main aisle of the store. I’m still waiting on the phone to ring, when he suddenly produces a 3 ft Ninja Sword from behind his back and states “This is a Ninja Sword”, and sticks it into my right shoulder very deeply.

At the instant I ‘sorta’ realized what was happening, I pushed hard against my desk, as I was sitting down in a roller equipped chair. That propelled me backwards at a rapid rate, until the wheels reached the edge of the protective plastic cover over the carpet. When the wheels reached the carpet, the chair stopped, and my fat ass was launched backwards onto the floor. Instantly, I was upside down on my back, bleeding like a stuck pig, and wondering what in the hell was going on with this?

My Glock 19, that I carried religously, was lying on top of my file cabinet under my desk. I passed it by rather quickly when I was propelled backwards by arms and fear. I wasn’t able to grab it, and never got back to it again.

Anyway, the jerk with the sword had run around my desk, and I was finding myself fending off repeated stabs to me by using my hands and arms as parrying instruments. Not recommended behavior. I’m starting to get a headache while writing this. It is not pleasant to recall.

When I had finally struggled to my feet, I’d been stabbed another couple of times, but nothing as serious as the first one. I was bleeding profusely by now from all of the minor and major cuts. The only thing I could think of at the time, was to distance myself from the blade, as my arms just weren’t long enough to combat this threat.

I cutoff the battle, and made a dash to my office door, which was about five steps away. He was right there with me as I opened the door. I fought my way inside the door, and slammed it as hard as I could on him. The sword came all the way through the steel cased door, so I guess it was fairly sharp 🙂

Next, I ran to my desk, as I knew there was a loaded 38 Chief’s Special in the desk drawer. As I got to the desk, I tripped on some of my usual junk in the floor, and sprawled out on top of the desk, destroying my computer and everything on top of the desk. At that moment, I realized that the 38 was in the drawer, but hell, not only was it not loaded, it wasn’t even in one piece. I’d taken it apart the other day or so to clean it, and it was still in pieces. haha, jokes on me 🙂

Got up from the desk, and turned to face my attacker. Then, the jerk gave me the worst of it, as he stabbed me in my left abdomen, right above the belt line. It went all the way in , within a half inch of piercing my other side. Hurt like hell. But, I was pissed, so I kept on fighting anyway. By this time, I was starting to fade, as I’d lost a lot of blood, and my hits on him didn’t seem to be having much of an effect. In actuality, I was going fast, and was pretty demoralized, as I realized that this was probably it for me, and this jerk was going to get the best of the situation.

We waltzed around my office for a minute or so, while I was trying to pull out the sword with my left hand, and he was using both of his hands to try to push it in deeper. I had bruised marks on my left joints of my fingers for a couple of months, where I had a death grip on the damn thing.

At the moment when we danced to the front of the office, I realized I had a way out. I finally remembered my little Beretta 950SB in my right pants pocket. Yep, a lowly 25ACP, with rounds in it, that I hadn’t even bothered to purchase. A friend of mine gave me a box of 25 ammo ( cheap Winchester hardball stuff), and that is what was in it. NO ONE will EVER realize the way I felt when I realized that I was not going to go alone. People talk about an epiphany, but that doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling when someone gives you the ability to fight back. I pulled it out very deliberately, and thumbed the hammer back. All the while, my attacker was still trying to stuff the sword in deeper, and I was doing my best to keep him from succeeding.

I knew using a sub caliber firearm center mass would be a joke, so I pulled it up in front of my right eye, while thumbing back the hammer. When he realized what was about to happen, his eyes became REAL large. That was what I aimed for, his left eye. I only thought I’d fired about two or three times, but in reality I fired five rounds. That was a surprise to me when they told me that.

I hit him four times in the left eye, and the other round was taken into one of his hands, and went through my front office door fifteen feet behind him. The door is a steel cased door, and the bullet penetrated all the way through, out into the parking lot.

Two of the four bullets that went into his head penetrated all the way through, and fell spent, on the ground ten feet behind him. The last two bounced around in his head, one lodging in the upper cervical region of his spine, and the other in his grey matter. He dropped like a brick, and made a lot of back and forth motions on the floor, like someone having a seizure. Yeah, I guess it ‘was’ a seizure.

I stumbled out to the show room, and bent over the desk holding my guts in while dialing 911. I stayed on the phone until some kids came into the store before the black and whites showed up. I told them they really ought to go, as this was not a good time to shop 🙂 The B&Ws grabbed them as they were getting ready to drive out of the parking lot, so I had to stumble out front to tell them the kids had nothing to do with this, and not to shoot them.

I was glad to see they did not get shot in the process. Sometimes kids will do strange, unexpected things, and I was concerned with all of the adrenalin flowing in the cops, they might get anxious with the kids. No sweat, as it worked out ok.

The meat wagon showed up in a few minutes, and I was finally allowed to lie down on the gurney. That alone, was worth the wait. It had been a long fifteen minutes since my friend had left.

They plugged the holes a little bit, and gave me oxygen. The local airport is about a half mile down the road, so I was taken there to be “slicked” away to St. Joseph’s in Tampa Trauma Unit.

I stayed there for a total of ten days, with the first three in intensive care. For the first eight hours or so, they didn’t know if I’d make it or not. Obviously, I did.

The perpetrator’s plug was pulled the next morning, as he was brain dead. I talked to the para’s a while later, and they stated he was only breathing about four times a minute when they pulled him from the floor. I still have a huge stain in the carpet to remind me.

Lessons learned:

1. ALWAYS have your choice of firearm on your person. An arms length away can be too far. Mine was.

2., ALWAYS have your firearm ready to go– chamber loaded, safety on or off– your choice. I kept my Beretta chamber loaded, and hammer down as it is a single action gun. All that was needed was to thumb the hammer back. My Glock is even better, as all that is needed is to pull the trigger. Nothing is faster to bring to bear to fire. NOTHING.

3. ALWAYS think of a way out, no matter where you are. My success in this incident was due to a lot of different things that came into play for me.

a. I was of a stronger will than my opponent. I had more reason to live , so I was motivated and pissed as well.

b. I was well versed in pistolcraft, and practice frequently with what I carry— including my backup. I know full well the limitations of my backup, as well as my primary piece.

c. I was extremely lucky, as luck would have it. If the jerk had been a true ‘messenger of death’, then I’d have been stabbed in my left chest, and died at the desk. He wasn’t, and I wasn’t. Therefore, that opened up an opportunity for my self defense.

I fought fiercely and relentlessly. I offered no quarter and gave none. This was for my life, and I was not going to go peacefully.

I did not.

The .25 ain’t much, but it beats having nothing but foul language.

More info is available in this post. Unfortunately, David passed away a couple of years ago in South America from a tropical disease. I would imagine his wounds were a contributing factor.


We finally had the family get-together to celebrate the March birthdays, and one of the gifts I received was a Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless .25! One like this, but not in as good condition:

Of course, the one in the one in the picture was made in 1922. Mine (S/N 195XXX) was made in 1919.  That makes it the second oldest gun I own, after my 1917 Enfield (1918).

Damn, this thing is tiny!  The trigger is long and heavy, and the sights make the term “vestigial” seem excessive, but it’s still pretty cool!