A Disturbance In The Force

To paraphrase Darth Vader, “I detect a disturbance in the gun blogger force.”

That disturbance in the force is because Frank W. James – Farmer Frank – of Corn, Beans, Spent Brass, An Empty Page and A Deadline has decided to hang it up after four years. The frustrations he felt with the constraints of Blogger and some of their new “features” was too much for him. He made the announcement on Tuesday in his final post.

I’ve never made a dime off this blog, so by my father’s estimation it has had zero commercial value and my time was wasted……UNLESS I enjoyed it.

And I did for a long time, for over 4 years in fact, but due to the changes being made in the software that Blogger is now putting forth, I no longer enjoy it. In fact, this damn thing has become work.

Work that has zero value because Dad was right, I’m not getting paid anything for it, so it has had no value.

The alternatives in my view are worse because in just about all the acceptable (to me in terms of usage rules) cases I will have to spend money to do this nonsense which means by Dad’s reasoning my ‘work’ would have less than ‘zero’ value. It would have a negative value solely for ‘vanity’ purposes. That’s pretty lame and it’s not going to happen.

So, after approximately 480,000 visits and 626,000 page views over just 4 years of duration, this blog experiment has come to an end.

I’m glad I got to meet Frank at the recent NRA Annual Meeting. I know I will miss his blog. He promises to do guest blogging in the future for movie and book reviews. I plan to take him up on that offer as I am sure will a number of other bloggers.

It is a damn shame that in the effort to make things “better”, technology companies often ruin a decent product. I still can do more with MS Word 2003 than their 2007 version, I’m still not enamored with the Facebook timeline, and, like Frank, I don’t really care for the “new” version of Blogger. As my grandma used to muse, “Such as life.”

I Just Love Parody

In the last couple of weeks, a supposed gun blog appeared out of nowhere saying it was going to be the new paradigm. I think it was called Choke and Blunder or something like that. Part of the marketing campaign for this blog included insulting well-known bloggers, setting up “profiles” for nonexistent (and unwilling) participants, and posting many over-the-top comments when criticized. Suspicion has grown that this is a false-flag operation run by one of the gun prohibitionist organizations.

Thanks to some enterprising souls who shall remain nameless, a parody of this suspect blog has now appeared.

The parody blog, Smoking Blunder, can be found here. Share this link with your friends.

The Mainstream Media Notices Gun Bloggers

This weekend, the New York Times and the Arizona Republic, two papers on opposite ends of the country, featured stories in which gun bloggers played a role. To see this much recognition paid to gun bloggers by major newspapers is frankly amazing. I don’t think I’d be overstating things if I said that most in the media consider us gun bloggers as crazy fringe types ranting about gun rights, the Constitution, and the Second Amendment or posting about arcane topics such as the difference between .308 Winchester and 7.62 NATO.

The New York Times’s lead story in their Sunday Business section was about Cerberus and the Freedom Group. In a rather straightforward story, Times reporter Natasha Singer described how financier Stephen Feinberg, CEO of Cerberus, created what has become the Freedom Group of companies starting with Bushmaster and then adding icons such as Remington, Marlin, and Harrington and Richardson to the mix. The story details their place in the market, the relative lack of handguns in their product mix, and how this last factor could impact Freedom Group’s growth as concealed carry expands.

It is in the discussion of the growth of Freedom Group that gun bloggers are mentioned.

Still, the Freedom Group has ingested so many well-known brands so quickly that some gun owners are uneasy about what it might do next. Two years ago, a Cerberus managing director, George Kollitides, ran for the board of the N.R.A. Despite an endorsement from Remington, and the fact that he was a director of the Freedom Group and Remington, he lost. His campaign didn’t sit well with some gun bloggers, who viewed him as an industry interloper.

Andrew Arulanandam, the N.R.A.’s director for public affairs, declined to speculate about why Mr. Kollitides lost. “It’s a great question to ask our four million members,” he said.

The gun bloggers mentioned in the story are Sebastian and Bitter of Shall Not Be Questioned. It links to their 2009 endorsements for the NRA Board of Directors where they discussed why they were not endorsing George Kollitides.

The Arizona Republic featured a front page story today entitled “ATF gun probe: Behind the fall of Operation Fast and Furious.” The story by Dennis Wagner is one of the better overviews of Operation Fast and Furious and does a good job at outlining the scandal. It is even better at bringing to light the behind-the scenes moves that brought this scandal to public consciousness. As Wagner notes,

The initial story line of Fast and Furious was about outrage — anger that guns, let out of sight, had been used in crimes. But the backstory of the investigation is one of hidden motives, curious contradictions and strange allegiances, both among those who organized the effort and those who exposed it.

It goes into detail on how Senior Agent John Dodson sought out the advice of ATF veterans Jay Dobyns and Vincent Cefalu who eventually began to network with bloggers David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh.

Dobyns and Cefalu began networking with two of the most prominent and prolific Second Amendment bloggers in America.

David Codrea, an Ohio-based writer, is field editor for GUNS Magazine and an author on a website known as “The War on Guns: Notes From the Resistance.”

Mike Vanderboegh runs a website, Sipsey Street Irregulars, which he identifies as a gathering place for the 3 percent of Americans willing to fight for the right to bear arms.

Vanderboegh and Codrea, longtime friends, this year received Soldier of Fortune Magazine’s Second Amendment Freedom Award and the David and Goliath Award from Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

Dobyns says he turned to the bloggers because of a shared animus toward ATF administrators. “Do they have an agenda? Of course they do,” he said. “But it’s my experience that they’re not anti-ATF; they’re anti-bad ATF.”

Codrea and Vanderboegh began churning out essays on Fast and Furious, even giving the operation its sardonic nickname, “Project Gunwalker.” They joined forces with other bloggers, government employees and gun dealers in what Vanderboegh calls “a coalition of willing Lilliputians.”

The story recognizes the role that Codrea and Vanderboegh played as intermediaries between the whistleblowers and Congressional staffers. Indeed, it was their pressure that got people like Sen. Chuck Grassley to pay attention to the whistleblowers and give them protection. It also makes note of how improbable it was that a pair of Threepers got together with the ATF whistleblowers.

In interviews, Vanderbeogh and Codrea chuckle at the irony of government agents relying on their critics to find a congressional audience.

“It’s so improbable that ATF guys would come to us, the Second Amendment advocates,” Vanderbeogh says. “But we realized we did have common enemies in the ATF hierarchy.”

I am glad to see gun bloggers get their due in both stories. It is about time.

North Carolina Gun Blogs

Thanks to the efforts of Sean Sorrentino, six North Carolina gun bloggers (and four other fine folks) got together for a day of pistol training at the TigerSwan Training Collaboration Center near Fayetteville, North Carolina. More about that in later posts.

One of the important things that came out of Saturday is the realization that there is a growing gun blogger community within North Carolina. In addition to Sean, whom I had met before, I got to meet George (Newbie Shooter), Paul (Arms are the Mark of a Free Man), Larry (Last Refuge of a Scoundrel), and Rich (Knitebane Manor). And with the exception of George, we all attended an open carry dinner in Garner afterwards.

In addition, I just corresponded with Ron at When the Balloon Goes Up! which is a new gun blog that is off to a well-deserved fast start. Of course, I had to find out about a North Carolina blog by reading a blog in Pennsylvania!

If you look in my sidebar, you will notice a new addition. Just below my Blog Archives you will find a new section entitled NC Gun Blogs. I want to bring attention to the growing and vital North Carolina gun blogging community. While this list is not complete, it does include those bloggers with whom I have either corresponded or met in person. I fully expect this list to grow. Indeed, if you are a gun blogger and you reside in North Carolina, let me know and I’ll add you to the list.

Mini-Blogger Meet In St. Louis

Kurt Hofmann, the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, and I had our own little “blogger meet” today in southern Illinois. We met for lunch in Edwardsville which is home to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. It is also the county seat of Madison County which is also famous – or infamous depending on your inclinations – for the number of class-action lawsuits that have been filed in its courts.

It was nice to finally meet Kurt in person as we had corresponded for many months and I have been reading his columns for a while now. He arrived wearing his brand-new Project Gunwalker T-shirt which will make his fellow 82nd Airborne alumnus Sean Sorrentino very happy. Mine is waiting for me at the Post Office.

We talked about a number of things including deer hunting in Illinois versus North Carolina, shooting, politics, families, the prospects for concealed carry in Illinois, etc. And, of course, we discussed the latest House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings on Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunwalker). I think we were both amazed at how poorly William Newell presented himself in the hearings drawing even exasperated comments from Ranking Minority Member Elijah Cummings.

While discussing the region’s indoor shooting ranges, Kurt told me an amusing story of how he took out a target pulley system with his .500 S&W Magnum snubby(damn!). Kurt shoots from a lower position due to being in a wheelchair. The angle this time turned out just right for his bullet to clip the cable and sever it. Ooops! Still, anyone who can handle a .500 S&W Magnum snubby is more than OK in my book.

As long as Kurt is up for it, I think these lunches will be a regular thing when I come out to the St. Louis area. If there are other gun bloggers who would like to join us, please let me know. We may even be able to arrange a blogger shoot on the other side of the river in the free state of Missouri.

Miguel On Tactical Metrosexuals

Having reached the age where I need reading glasses to read this page as well as to see my front sights, I was very amused by Miguel’s latest at the Gun Free Zone about the Tactical Metrosexual.

You have seen the type: Dressed in Under Armour Black T-Shirts one size too small so the biceps (with the duty tribal tattoo) and other muscle groups are tightly defined. Oakley wraparound ballistic sunglasses that they never remove unless they are going to bed (But I bet they keep during sex), cargo pants…er… excuse me “tactical” pants in black or khaki and scuffed tan boots that scream “I was there” referring to their time as supply clerks in Iraq. At the range they’ll be carrying every piece of gear they can attach with MOLLE and more guns than a Latin Kings meeting in South Central LA. Their ultimate wet dream is to make the cover of SWAT magazine but they will settle for an insert in Soldier of Fortune.

It was written in reference to this post on another blog. Make sure to read Miguel’s full post.

I am solidly in Miguel’s camp on this one. I will admit to wearing Woolrich Covert Khakis. I find they are more comfortable than jeans and I’ll be damned if I’m going to wear “mom jeans”. I’ll leave those to the President.

UPDATE: I just saw this post on Tactical Fanboy. I think this is the appropriate camo for the well-dressed Tactical Metrosexual so they don’t have to wear old fat white guy BDU Woodland.