I like Mr. Bain and thought this was spot on. For those of you that were caught with your pants down in the ammo department the last 8 or 9 months, don't let it happen again, please.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Michael's Rant de Jour...
I think I gotta go all Big Bang Theory nerd boy on you today and talk about Niels Bohr, a Nobel Prize winner for physics in 1922 and one of the fathers of quantum mechanics. He was also 'way cool...Bohrs proudly referred to himself as a "dilettante," because he felt it was important to approach each new question from a starting point of total ignorance. When the Nazis invaded Denmark, Bohr's home, in 1940, he wanted to make sure the Nazis didn't find the Nobel gold medals awarded to Max von Laue and James Franck. He dissolved the gold medals in acid, then stored the acid on a shelf in his Physics Institute throughout the war. After the war, the gold was precipitated out of the acid and the medals re-struck by the Nobel Foundation. That, my friends, is the ultimate Nerd Save.
There are 2 quotes from Bohr that should be carved in the digital marble over the entrance to the Internet and memorized by everybody who passes that way. The first is:
An expert is a person who has found out by his own painful experience all the mistakes that one can make in a very narrow field.
I'll tell you the second quote in a minute.
There are 2 memes on Ye Olde Internete that are driving me bonkers crazy these days. The first is this pompous navel-gazing on how we all might determine which are the "good" - read, people who agree with me - gun blogs versus the bad - read, people who either don't agree with me or are actually making money at this - gun blogs. Who's an expert, and who's not. Sort of reminds me of a "law" about science fiction a few decades ago, I believe attributed to author Ted Sturgeon, something along the lines of, "Ninety percent of all science fiction is crap, but that's okay since 90% of everything is crap."
Pantheon in Rome, built A.D. 126 and never restored
Of course that was a few years ago, and the percentage is not doubt higher today. When my Sweetie and I went to the Pantheon in Rome a couple of weeks ago, she marveled that this amazing structure, built in A.D. 126 was not only still standing, unrestored, but still amazingly beautiful. I noted that, hey, our culture has created Hangover 3!
Let's stipulate that, based on Sturgeon's Law, 90% of all gun blogs are crap. Okay, cool. But I would say our challenge is to sift wheat from chaff...even in the crappiest of the 90% there is still wisdom to be found. Even the least "expert" of experts might bring us the single nugget of truth that might, just might, be the one that saves your life on the day when the balloon goes up. And here's what I think is a critical point...experts, even experts under Bohr's definition who have actually done as opposed to reading about other people doing, often have radically different interpretations and opinions about similar topics. There are quite legitimate experts with who I drastically disagree (not to mention dislike), but that doesn't mean every word that comes out of their mouth is total dreck.
We live, for at least a little while longer, in an open marketplace of ideas. A key point of living in that open marketplace of ideas is that the individual is responsible for sorting through those ideas. Gosh, doesn't that sound just like what we say about self-defense, that the individual is ultimately the only person responsible for his or her self-defense? Do both those responsibilities put more pressure on the individual? You betcha!
Never trust "gate-keeprs," including me. The problem with gate-keepers - people who ostensibly want to steer you toward those blogs/experts/products/whatever that are "certified" (by said gate-keeper) - is first that they want to be gate-keepers at all. LOL! Use your own brain!
The second meme that is irritating me to death is the seemingly endless tripe about how the ammo shortage is the result of "hoarders." I have written and talked about on DOWN RANGE Radio my thoughts on the ammo shortage (here's the short list), to wit, that it is the result of a "perfect storm" that includes increased demand from the flood of new shooters (Gun Culture Ver. 2.0) and the changing shooting habits of existing shooters, the increased demand caused by the very real attempts by the state and federal government to restrict ammo purchases/possession, increased world-wide tensions resulting in preparatory ammo purchases by numerous governments, the continued U.S. war footing (including a depletion of the National Reserve of ammo) that guarantees massive Dot.Gov ammo purchases for the foreseeable future, the exhaustion of the massive WW2 and Cold War surplus ammo caches in Europe, the drastic increase in demand for baseline manufacturing commodities like lead and copper, necessary for ammunition production, from countries like China and India and probably a couple of other factors I have totally overlooked.
Whenever I read that everything would be just ducky if we all only bought only what ammo we needed instead of a case, it reminds me of where that thinking comes from: "Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen!" That rollicking Karl Marx! What a card! But in the last couple of weeks I read forum posts where shooters who always picked up a single box of ammo at Wally-World on the way to the Saturday match now bitterly attack "hoarders" who have made this stupid practice impossible; other shooters who explain how they have refused to take up reloading because it is 1) expensive, 2) boring and 3) takes a lot of time and now those damn hoarders have ruined it for them.
I have said this before...my definition of a "hoarder" is someone who was smarter than you. Given the current vicious meme about ammo hoarders, what does this tell us should the feces really hit the Schumer (as Jim Rawles says)? How quickly do you think your neighbors, your friends, your relatives, will turn on you about the "hoarded" food in your basement, your "hoarded" medical supplies, that "Hoarded" Big Berkey water filter you bought to guarantee your family's fresh water or the solar panels you're "hoarding" on your roof? We are a nation of grasshoppers who like to tell ourselves we're ants right up until the point that we're tested on the very things that ants do. And keep in mind that a horde of locust can quite literally overwhelm a country.
For years I and many other people have talked about the necessity of taking responsibility for the safety of ourselves and those under our care. We have urged you to simply follow the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared!
For those of you bemoaning those damn ammo hoarders, what did you think "Be Prepared!" actually meant?
Finally, Niels Bohr's other great quote:
Some subjects are so serious that one can only joke about them.