Due to some unforeseen issues, it took a long time for me to be able to publicly select and acknowledge the winners of the essay contest I announced on Facebook late last year. I announced the contest on Facebook and made it open only to those who had already "liked" the blog because it was not an attempt to inflate the number of "likes" on Facebook. I wanted to spend my own money to reward those who already followed my work and showed intellectual prowess.
As it turned out, it was a pretty difficult decision. There were no bad essays turned in - and there were more than those mentioned here. Of course I wanted to reward everyone, but in the end decided on three prizes.
Here are the winners and the prizes:
1st Place - Terence Nelan - Case of .22LR (6300 rounds)
2nd place - Matthew TY - 5 30rd Lancer mags
3rd place - Francis Sullivan - AR bolt and BCM GFH
And the beginning of each essay (see link for full version):
Gun Control as Race Control in the United States
This essay summarizes the legislative efforts by the white power structure in the United States to keep minority populations disarmed, and therefore more easily controlled. Although white concern over the possession of arms pre-dates the founding of the American republic, with even free blacks required licenses to possess or carry arms in Britain’s North American Colonies, this essay will begin just after the Revolutionary War Period.
Gun Control and Minorities
Since the birth of the United States, gun control laws have been implemented to control or prevent minorities from keeping and bearing arms. To better understand the history of gun control laws passed with the intent to prevent and regulate the minority ownership of firearms in the proper context they have been categorized into laws passed within three distinct eras. These eras are Pre-Civil War America (1776 - 1861), Post-Civil War America (1861 – 1910), and Modern America (1910-present).
M9 Pistol Trials
The JSSAPC tests in 1980 and 1984 to find the US military’s replacement to the M1911 service pistol are the source of many angst-ridden remarks throughout firearm internet forums. Allegations of foul play range from simple beliefs of favoritism to full-on tin foil hat level conspiracy theories. This essay will analyze the procedure and results of the 1980 and 1984 competitions in order to find the most severe problem with their design or execution.
As mentioned previously, I will be co-teaching an AR-15 course in Utah over Memorial Day Weekend. It will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 25/26. Here's some info for those who may be interested in the course:
It'd be best to fly in to Salt Lake City on Friday evening, we should be able to pick everyone up from the airport. The range location is about 15 miles north of Tremonton, Utah. It's pretty remote and the whole range is approximately 55,000 acres. This will let us do a lot of really interesting shooting.
Breakfast on Saturday will be at 0730, class starts at 0830. We will do some shooting at night on Saturday, but there will be a number of breaks throughout the day. We plan to wrap up Sunday late afternoon, but we'll be around Sunday night in case anyone wants extra instructional portions or more one-on-one coaching.
The cost of the class is $300. Lodging is available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, up to you as to when you stay there, it'll just be $50 per night to cover lodging and food. The rooms have bunk beds, so you'll probably have a roommate.
Payment can be by check or credit card - we'll be setting up a "product" on the Deliberate Dynamics webpage that can be purchased, if you'd like to pay by CC.
As for equipment, it's pretty simple:
Rifle with sling
3 magazines and one magazine pouch
Flashlight (weapon mounted preferred)
Eye/ear protection (day and night lenses)
Bag, backpack, OR bipod (bipod not required)
Sturdy clothing appropriate for outdoor use in potentially inclement weather
Kneepads/elbowpads might come in handy
At least two and preferably three sets of footwear are recommended (boots, shoes, and flip flops or shower shoes for the lodge)
All experience levels are welcome. We have a curriculum that new and seasoned shooters will learn a lot from. As long as you can handle firearms safely, you'll be most welcome at the class.
Next month - over Memorial Day Weekend, May 25/26 - I will be teaching a class which will largely relate to the AR-15 platform. I've been thinking about doing this for a while, and a fantastic opportunity has presented itself. Sniper Country in northern Utah offers a phenomenal environment for shooting - with a known-distance range out to 1800 yards - as well as a lodge which students may stay in as well as use for classroom portions.
The course has been designed to fill gaps left by other training courses that do not or cannot address certain skills and types of knowledge relating to the AR-15 rifle. The unique environment in which this class is held will allow the student to push themselves and their firearm beyond what they might have thought possible.
There will be an emphasis on making the time and ammunition invested by the student count. Students will receive a significant amount of classroom instruction which will be reinforced by range time tailored establish the skills discussed in the classroom. Marksmanship will take precedence over a high volume of fire, but the skills learned during the class may be applied to all aspects of shooting with an AR-15. Unique evaluation and feedback methods will be used to ensure that every student is learning and developing as much as possible throughout the course.
Classroom time will also be devoted to helping the student gain a higher understanding of the rifle – seeing it as a system, not as an assembly of discrete components. Through this process, the student will move from basic manipulation of the rifle's controls to a thorough understanding of how and why the rifle functions – and malfunctions - as it does. The ultimate goal of the class is to enable the student to use their rifle in a variety of environments and situations with maximum effectiveness.
Because education is a primary consideration, two instructors will ensure that each student receives the instruction they need to develop necessary skills and knowledge. Jim Staley and I will be teaching the class. Jim was a Scout/Sniper in 1st Force Recon. My bio may be found at the "about" link on this blog.
The round count will be under 400 of centerfire rifle (.223/5.56/5.45 recommended). Price is $300 plus $50 per night for food/lodging (optional, but considering location, it's a pretty good deal).
I like seeing the whole picture when I try to make up my mind about something.
When evaluating conduct between citizens and LE, it's helpful to see video of the entire event. In the case of the Temple PD and that Army E-8, we don't have the whole event on video. Just what appears to be a clash of egos. I instinctively dislike fat and/or disheveled cops (you may call me prejudiced, but any uniform should be worn with pride, not slovenliness). Furthermore, I don't like an attitude among some in law enforcement that armed civilians are suspect. Fortunately, most cops don't fall into either category.
That said, I also tend to dislike people who act irrationally when presented with something they don't like. It dilutes any moral/legal high ground they may have had in the face of unjust action by a police officer. I also dislike people who think they won't get any response when they sling an AR and walk around in anything but the most remote areas. Even if it's perfectly legal in your area, most people don't know that, and even many cops may be unaware of your behavior being legal and not probable cause for a stop. Unless you're out there specifically to make a point about open carry - well, if you are out there for that purpose, then you definitely shouldn't make the sort of statements the Army SNCO appears to have made. See my above comment about rational behavior.
When this person also has a history of making things up - then makes claims/charges that cannot be corroborated by their video - I become skeptical and do not wish to take a side.
I was once told by a state trooper during a traffic stop that if I reached for the handgun on my passenger seat, "it's over." The next words out of his mouth were "Now hand it to me."
I could have thrown a hissy fit about "being disarmed" - or pointed out the cognitive dissonance involved in his statements. Shortly thereafter, I might have ended up with a free bullet or two from that trooper's .40 caliber Sig, which he had his hand on in its holster, retention lever down. Or been arrested for some random charge, or gotten a much bigger traffic citation than he ended up writing.
But I chose to tell him verbally that I would pick it up with my left hand and pass it over. Then I did exactly that. He calmed down, we had a nice talk, and I ended up with no points on my license.
Sometimes, when dealing with police, it's better to momentarily comply with their instructions than it is to make a mountain out of a molehill. If you so desire, you may contest the actions of the officer later without a high risk of damage to your person, your finances, or your career.
I think gun owners can and should play a role in identifying potential mass killers. We're the people who will in some way encounter a lot of murderers before they act, and we know what stands out. When it's appropriate, we need to discuss relevant facts with the proper authorities. That's not to say we should report anyone and everyone for anything that looks mildly odd, but if you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, you should act on that feeling.