Friday, January 25, 2013

Sheriff Clarke encourages the public to defend themselves if necessary

Driving home from work yesterday I caught this public service announcement on the radio:

First of all, let me just say that I have a new found respect for Sheriff Clarke. And he has a real badass cop-sounding voice to boot.

Anyways, there are many things I find interesting about this PSA.

First, the message at its core is acknowledging that police really have no ability to help during a violent crime in progress. I think most people already know this, but to hear the top cop in the largest county in Wisconsin say it certainly clears it up if there was any doubt.

Second, he is encouraging people to be accountable for their own safety and the safety of their loved ones. Don't think for a second that a violent criminal is going to want to negotiate your safety. They prefer to prey on the weak and the helpless because they won't fight back.

Third, he infers that the best way to protect yourself and your family is with a firearm. I hope the public takes this for what it's worth instead of turning it into a political argument. David Clarke is non-partisan and has gone toe to toe with many Democrat and Republican politicians in his day. He has always supported the 2nd Amendment because he has seen how it has made a difference in situations where there are violent criminals involved.

The fourth, final, and most important thing he is communicating is that people should be properly trained to use their firearm in case they are ever forced to defend themselves. This doesn't mean simply taking a concealed-carry course or going to a gun range and having someone showing you how to shoot. Those are just the initial steps. Simply having a gun lying around for self defense doesn't mean you will be able to defend yourself and your family with it successfully. You must become proficient with your firearm. Practice, practice, practice, and more and more practice. Treat it as a second or third hobby so it becomes part of your way of life.

As Sheriff Clarke states in the PSA, "You have a duty to protect yourself and your family." Becoming a good shot through practice will ensure that if the time comes, you'll be ready.

Thanks to the Jay Weber Show for the sound clip.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hollywood demands a plan

As if their violent movies and shows have had no part in creating our violent society, a bunch of Hollywood celebrities have united to tell the American people that gun violence is bad. They want us to ask Washington to act.

Funny...I've yet to hear of an actor who turned down a movie because it had violence in it...

Here's a nice rebuttal to their hypocrisy (contains some adult language):

Thanks to Joe Potosky of The Lost Target blog for posting this before me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

We're all idiots, and so are we...

Do you ever read articles online or see things on television that make you question the direction our species is headed? I feel like I'm questioning where humanity is headed more and more each day. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm getting older and "wiser" each day. Maybe my parents and grandparents had the same concerns as they were navigating through middle age.

But I highly doubt that they ever had to mentally digest anything as grotesque as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

They also didn't live in a world where everyone truly has a voice, as is the case today. Our country's forefathers would be tickled pink to know how easy it is for people to be heard these days. I can only imagine how disappointed they would be if they were alive and able to hear how people used their voices.

Luckily for them, most of those guys have been dead for 200 years.

Instead, you and I are fortunate enough to witness the Honey Boo Boos, the Snookis, celebrities in rehab, and "real" housewives rise to fame as Americans clamor for more and more stupidity. Some have called it the "dumbing down" of America. That dumbing down has naturally trickled into other areas of our society, including politics.

Most of our so-called leaders today are more concerned with "holding the line" against their competing political party and making a name for themselves instead of strengthening our country for long-term prosperity. G.W. Bush made his name with the controversial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama made his name with his controversial health care act (he himself even refers to it as "Obamacare" in a true display of narcissism).

Other politicians in lower positions introduce ridiculous nonsensical bills to get their name out there. For example, in this most recent session of Congress, a whole slough of idiotic bills has been introduced. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) introduced a bill (H.R. 193) that would force farmers to pay a fee on patented seeds which they plan to save after a harvest. The money would go into an unknown fund controlled by the Secretary of Agriculture and would be used for unspecified purposes. There's also no real reason why farmers should have to pay such a fee for doing something so benign. Read more here.

In addition to the nonsense bills, there are also dangerous bills floating around out there. This example also comes from the latest session of Congress. Representative José Serrano (D-NY) has proposed legislation (H.R. 15) that would repeal the 22nd Amendment, which currently puts a limit on the number of terms a president may serve. Read more about this bill here.

I have a huge issue with this proposal, and you should too. The Bill of Rights and the other Amendments to the U.S. Constitution are in place to act as checks and balances for the government to make sure they aren't overstepping their boundaries. Limiting the number of terms a president serves is one of the greatest checks and balances because it ensures the American people that there will always be different views and tactics coming from the White House.

Neither of the bills I mentioned has a snowball's chance in hell of getting through committee, let alone passing a vote in the House or Senate.

"So why are you all up in arms about them if they're not going to pass?" Because I want to highlight that there are idiots in Congress, and if we continue to give them passes whenever they show us just how incompetent and unqualified they are, then we are just as idiotic as they are. We can set a better course for our country and our species by actually giving a damn about the political landscape on a regular basis instead of just every four years when there's a presidential election.

Most people hate politics because at some point in their life, someone was passionate about a political topic and out-argued them about it. Since then, they've decided not to care so much about politics because it's the easy thing to do. I used to be in this group of people.

Politics can be uncomfortable and often times evoke emotional responses that are difficult to deal with. But this shouldn't stop us from caring about our country and our species. If we stop caring, then the idiots will rule the world, and before you know it Honey Boo Boo Child is a member of the delegation from the state of Georgia.

This truly was a rant, and I apologize for it, but I can't apologize for caring about my country and about humanity. I will now leave you with some famous words from Forrest Gump which are very relevant to this discussion: "Stupid is as stupid does."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Guest Post by John O'Connor - Preventing Hearing Loss For Those Who Shoot Guns

Today's post comes from a fellow shooting sports blogger, John O'Connor. He is passionate about hearing loss in shooters and hunters, and his post addresses that very topic. Enjoy!

Preventing Hearing Loss For Those Who Shoot Guns

Searching for the right kind of hearing protection while you hunt can’t often times be a tough task.  Many people have different thoughts on what they feel the best kind of hearing protection is.  Hearing devices come in many different makes, models and sizes.  They also range in prices from very cheap to very expensive.  When choosing hearing protection, make sure that you select the device that is the most comfortable for you but also provides you with the most protection.  It is crazy to think that some people still refuse to wear hearing protection while they hunt especially after hearing that out of roughly 40 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, close to 10 million cases can be attributed to Noise-Induced hearing loss or NIHL.  Hearing loss can be gradual over time but with NIHL one sudden exposure to a loud noise for example from a gunshot can cause permanent damage.  That is why it is vital to always have proper hearing protection on while hunting.

My father who has been a hunter for many years often chose to not pay much attention to his hearing protection while he was practicing at the shooting range or while he was out in the field trying to take down that prized buck.  Regardless of the situation he never chose to wear ear protection and he is now paying for it today.  Although hunting is not the only cause of his hearing loss, it did pay a very significant role in decreasing his hearing levels.  In order to be able to hear better, my father wears hearing aids.  His hearing aids help him not only while hunting, but also while watching television, driving or even something simple like conversing with others. Many hunters these days choose to wear hearing aids while they hunt under their hearing protection.  Behind the ear or inside the ear hearing aids can range anywhere from $40.00 to $700.00 depending on what different types of features you are looking to include.

Are Firearms Really Dangerous To Your Hearing?

The short answer to this question is yes. The longer answer requires some knowledge of noise levels. A shotgun can produce more than 160 decibels of sound. This is more than a college football stadium at its loudest point. In some cases, this can be too much for the ears to take. Elizabeth J. Rosen wrote an article for the University of Texas in which she notes the dangers associated with things this loud. That article, which can be read at, notes that long-term exposure to these loud sounds can leave a person with permanent hearing loss. The good news for hunters is that they can smartly protect their hearing if they will use some effective pieces of equipment and follow some simple rules.

Stay Away From Enclosed Ranges

You do not need to go shooting in an enclosed setting. With the proliferation of outdoor gun ranges today, people can take care of their practice without going inside. When on the inside, gun noises are amplified to dangerous levels. People who do a lot of shooting at indoor ranges dramatically increase the chances of long-term hearing loss.

Are Basic Earplugs Enough?

Some people combat the problem by putting in basic earplugs. These can usually be had for a few bucks down at the local store. Though these are better than nothing, they do not necessarily help with the problem. Earplugs have a tendency to change shape in your ears. They will often fail to do the job that you need. Many people opt for more advanced levels of protection instead.

Custom Molded Earplugs

Earplugs for shooting have been evolving in a rapid pace over the years.  Another option for hunters is a set of custom molded shooting earplugs.  These earplugs can be fit to your ear and can offer many great features.  This type of earplug is often equipped with acoustic filters that allow you to hear your surroundings better while also providing substantial protection.  This acoustic filter is designed to let you hear safe level sounds while providing protection against firearm blasts.  The price ranges for these can vary depending on what you are looking to get.  You could spend anywhere between $3.00 to $140.00 a pair.  Some places offer discounts for buying them in bulk.

Over The Head Earmuffs

People who take their hearing very seriously might opt for over the head earmuffs. These are often called "clamshell" earmuffs at the local store. They provide an extra level of noise cancellation. They are also quite stable and will generally not fall off without a significant disturbance. People who are shooting especially loud guns will want to go this far.

Electronic Earmuffs

Those who insist on shooting at an indoor range or wanting the maximum form of protection might go one step further. These people might opt for electronic earmuffs that are able to cancel out noise completely. Though expensive, these pieces of equipment will provide full protection. Electronic earmuffs allow in all sounds that are less than 80 dB.  Any sounds that exceed this noise level are immediately cancelled out.  This allows hunters to hear other group members and incoming animals while still protecting their hearing at the same time.

Your hearing is important. If you are going to do a lot of hunting or shooting, you need to take steps to ensure that your ears are protected. By following the tips listed above, you have a chance to do that.

Hi my name is John O'Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss.  My father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters, are affected by hearing loss.  I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is our job to spread awareness where we can.  Check out my new blog at!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chicago reaches "lucky" number 500; media still hypocritical

I found another CNN piece talking about how the current gun debates are empty and meaningless because it's the same old garbage regurgitated each time the debate is stirred up again. Within that article, the author (Roland Martin) talks about how Chicago just had its 500th homicide this year and no one seems to care.

Mr. Martin brings up some great points in his article which align with things I've been thinking/saying for some time now. Maybe I'll talk about some of those points in a later post, but for now I want to focus on this big city violence vs. mass shootings topic.

It has always amazed me at the outcry for tighter gun control when a bunch of innocent, middle class, typically white, people are senselessly killed in mass shootings. Yet every single day people are dying in the streets of America's large cities. News outlets and politicians see these senseless acts of violence as nuisances and black eyes on their cities, but mass shootings are viewed as revenue generators and political platforms.

Case in point, people are shot senselessly every single day in Milwaukee and you never hear a peep from the mayor, but when tragedies like the shooting at the Azana Spa in Brookfield happen, mayor Tom Barrett made appearances to console victims families and to talk about the need for tighter gun laws. You'll never see him do those kinds of things for those "north side" shootings that happen to claim the lives of lesser-privileged people in his own city. Even the media doesn't care.

Check out this article from the Journal-Sentinel. There seems to be a story like this in their news feed every day. They never do a follow-up story to tell you who the person was, or to give you information about him (like if he left behind a wife or children, or if he was a victim of a robbery or if he was a criminal, or anything else).

Until our society stops being so hypocritical when it comes to our violent culture, there's little chance of minimizing the chances of another Newtown, Littleton, Oak Creek, or Brookfield from happening again.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Gun Free" zones

I came across this CNN opinion piece making a case for arming school officials and removing "gun free" zones to prevent mass shootings like the one that took place last week in Connecticut. My personal feeling is that principals, teachers, counselors and secretaries shouldn't be required or expected to learn how to defend themselves and their students if they don't want to. However, I do think that if all schools had armed security staff or police liaisons on hand, it would go a long way to deter these tragic events.

I don't intend to debate my stance or the moral/societal issues at hand. What I did want to call out was this statistic from the article related to mass shootings and "gun free" zones:

"...with just one exception, the attack on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, in 2011, every public shooting since 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns. The massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine, Virginia Tech and the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, all took place in gun-free zones."

Here's another article that references that statistic and also contains other compelling statistics. Just thought I'd share because I'm a big fan of facts. Of course, everyone interprets things differently so I'm sure someone has issues with these.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nebraska Hunting Trip December 2012

I recently returned from a waterfowl trip to Nebraska. It was three and a half days of some great bird hunting, as well as wonderful time spent with family. My uncle Bob graciously hosts us at his property in western Nebraska each year, and we were joined by my brother Rob, my father Jerry, and my father-in-law Rick. The birds were working well, and the shooting was pretty good. Here are some pics from the trip.

Our First Morning Haul

Rick, Jett, & Me After Our First Morning's Hunt

Another First Morning Shot With Bob, Jett, & Me

Rob & Me After Day Two

Dad & Jake (not sure which day this is)

After Day Three's Hunt

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