Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 13, No. 9          September 2005

Hunting Season

Since our leftist political segment insists that the NRA was responsible for the rightist victories in the last elections, we must give the Association full credit for the maintenance of liberty in this country. Since this country is the last bastion of political liberty throughout the world, we can assert that liberty is now proclaimed throughout the world through the efforts of the organized shooters of the United States. Membership in the NRA is a prideful thing, and those who seek office in the Association should be well aware of the significance of the positions they seek. As a member of the Board, I am often addressed as a sort of ombudsman by citizens who see a need for more active participation by the Association in public affairs. On the other hand, there are those who insist that the NRA is too hard-nosed about this and refuses to compromise. The proper path, I feel, lies somewhere in the middle. If we are too crotchety for some people but not crotchety enough for others, it may be that we are following the right path. It is to hope.

Currently the solid bronze bullet, designated X, seems a favorite according to field reports. It simplifies manufacture considerably, and it appears to give uniform impact performance throughout the world. When it first appeared, the Bronze X bullet acquired a reputation as being a trifle too hard for uniform expansion at all velocities, but current issue is doing very well. I look forward to more examples from both Africa and North America.

With hunting season now fully underway in the northern hemisphere, a good many friends and relations are afield at this time seeking to inspire the spirits and fill the larder. We expect many good C-stories to cross our desk before long.

A good place to gather up such things will be the annual Theodore Roosevelt Reunion at Whittington. We note that a good many political activists and gun-owning libertarians are not hunters. It has always seemed to me that a properly decorated household includes a careful selection of hunting trophies, located on available wall space, but not to the point of clutter. My father was not a hunter, and my early experience did not involve a house full of noble feral contributions. I have always, however, prized a selection of good examples, and since I am not going to collect any more, I think the balance has come out pretty well. Daughter Lindy is at this point up in Alaska harassing the caribou with Jim West and Steve Lunceford. Her success may or may not provide us with further specimens, which is okay because there is just not any more room.

Did you notice how much safer we all felt when Martha Stewart was in prison? Horiuchi and O.J. Simpson were obviously much less of a hazard to society - I guess.

When we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, there was certainly no reluctance for this dire act. Amongst the men involved in the fight in the Pacific, we gathered the idea that the Nips were simply not going to surrender, and that if we went forward with the invasion of the Japanese homeland, we could expect to suffer about 1 million American dead, at the same time killing about 20 million Japanese. That was the figure that I gathered in my job as an assistant G2 for the landing on Kyushu. It meant to me that the only way that I could avoid being killed in the invasion would be to suffer a critical injury and be evacuated alive - not a pleasant prospect. Historical review seems to agree that Japan had been so reduced by our submarine campaign that, coupled with the B29s, the Emperor might actually have decided to surrender. We did not know this, nor did we suspect it, and we were prepared for a very nasty campaign - on both sides.

Further research discloses the presence of a Japanese policy directive which called for the murder of all American prisoners being held at the time. This comes to the number of 144,000, all to be put to death immediately upon the landing of the first allied soldier on the homeland of Japan. I thought the decision to drop the bomb was fully justified at that time, and I think so even more now. The atom bomb was a dreadful thing, but its use turned out to be an enormous life-saver.

This poses a massive political option at this present stage in history. Various powers now have the capacity to employ the nuclear weapon, but the choices do not seem to force any cataclysmic decision. Just how does one employ nuclear power against an enemy who has no concrete political structure? I suppose that the Jihadis may feel that the eradication of Israel is not only a feasible, but a desirable course of action. That, however, does not offer a contrary move. Parallels are offered in regard to the refusal of either side to use poison gas in World War II, but the circumstances are not comparable. Such a puzzlement!

In times of major popular crisis, we often propose a "Department of Public Security." If we look at this calmly, we must realize that the Department of Public Security is the armed citizen. This is so obvious that there would seem to be no need to announce it further.

This 2006 election is going to be a really nasty contest. I do not know where to place any bets at this time.

We hear that there have been two buffalo fatalities this year and at least one attributable to lion. So far in 2005 we hear that one of the losers wants to sue Federal Ammunition for the efficiency of the lion, or something of the sort. Certainly litigation seems to be the answer to everything, and someone will figure out a way to hold Katrina financially responsible for rinsing out New Orleans. It has also been suggested that we have a parallel here in the cleansing of Sodom and Gomorrah. This may make some sense if we can just find an opposing legal entity.

We note with satisfaction that the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a Marine General who wears his shooting badges meticulously.
"A US Marine is a shooting machine
And don't you ever forget it."
We invite the brotherhood to complete the verse.

It seems to me that our public school systems covered more ground and covered it better back when I was involved in it. I do not believe that this is mere simple-minded nostalgia, but rather has some basis in fact. For example, in junior high, which included the 7th, 8th and 9th grades, six practical subjects were required of all students - one per semester. The subjects included wood shop, machine shop, agriculture, mechanical drawing, auto shop, and electric shop. These subjects were required of all boys. Girls were required to take six other subjects more suitable to their presumed future occupations. The six practical subjects did much to fit a man to being useful around the house, in addition to saving a good deal of money after graduation by doing things which he would otherwise have to pay for. I do not think this program has been continued at this time, which is too bad when we now have a whole department of federal government devoted to the subject. Back at the time that I mentioned, there was no federal department of education, which may have something to do with it.

On the subject of what is now called "higher education," I note that in times gone by a doctorate in philosophy (PhD) was pretty hot stuff, whereas today I encounter various holders of advanced degrees who can hardly write a constructive sentence, much less contribute to the total store of human knowledge. I also note that today's students in "lower education" select specialized subject matter long before they have really begun to acquire a general education. We find students opting for fairly advanced esoterica even before they have acquired a basic familiarity with geography, zoology, political theory, or basic chemistry. In these times gone by, the student could not enter a major university before he had taken basic ground work in both chemistry and physics. (It is true, though, that some universities required remedial course work from freshmen in English, math and history. We used to label those subjects with the derogatory title "bonehead," as in "bonehead English," etc.)

Have you noticed this peculiar attention that journalists have been paying to firearms terminology? We see them insisting upon "a semi-automatic, 9mm handgun," when just "pistol" would do. The action of a firearm is hardly ever relevant to the story itself, and if it is, the journalist usually knows too little about the subject for him to use it in a significant fashion.

This Blackwater organization seems to have unlimited money, and offers very nice contracts to qualified fighting men. Several Gunsite graduates have been taken on for mercenary service in the sand box, and it is good to know that there is a place where they can find proper employment.

The condotieri of the Italian Renaissance were generally paid in loot, but one wonders who is putting the loot up at this time.

We hope to see the term monsoon dropped now that the summer rains have passed. The term monsoon refers to the periodic rains of Southeast Asia, and it has no relationship to the Southwest United States.

There does not seem to be any question but what the ragheads will hit us again. It is not whether but when. One cannot back out of a Holy War. Preemptive defeat of the opposition would seem to be the only answer. The problem is detecting and defining the hostile entity.

Our friend and colleague, Hans Edelmaier of Salzburg, has come up with a neat, specific definition for the fighting man. The kind of man who is aware that the world is crisp and violent, and that he may have to use lethal force to enjoy it, is termed Homo pugnans, as opposed, presumably, to Homo herbivorus, or Homo ovidis. All members of the Gunsite family may be called Homo pugnans. Let us be prepared to discuss this at length at the forthcoming Reunion at Whittington coming up shortly.

The Countess would like it pointed out that two terms feminine and feminist should be carefully separated. Laura Bush is feminine. Diane Feinstein is a feminist. There is a difference.

The Katrina disaster has developed for us a new consonant in the form of a combined t and n, as in Baton Rouge. The current crop of commentators cannot separate the t from the n, but use a sort of gulp to join the two. You get this by failure to separate the tongue from the palate when shifting over to the n. It does sound a bit odd until you get used to it.

We hear with great interest the possibility of a revival of the giant sable in Angola. At one time we thought that the giant sable was simply a color phase of the sable itself, but now it appears that the giant sable is a separate species, thought to be extinct. It would be wonderful news that it has indeed revived.

Pat Robertson seems to have stirred up a storm in his suggestion that we "take out" the current president of Venezuela. Political assassination may be a good thing to use from time to time - most would agree that the world would be better off if Fidel Castro had been taken out a long time ago - but this sort of thing is not good to discuss. Sovereign states have been known to arrange a murder of personal opposition from time to time throughout history, but it is above all a secret operation. If you talk about it, you open a Pandora's box, best remained closed. Certainly it is difficult for any government to carry out operations which are truly secret, and it is best if they do not try. Stalin arranged for the murder of Trotsky, but he did not do so very well. Calvo Sotelo was murdered by the Spanish communists to their advantage, but this was an exception. Julius Caesar, of course, is a classic example of political assassination, but we are still not quite sure of how that was done, or whether, for that matter, it was a good thing. Robertson may have thought that he was chatting loosely, but his topic was taken seriously by too many people. Today assassination is fairly widespread throughout the Near East, but its conduct is difficult to follow in a society where almost all important people use some variety of the same name. I think we can conclude that murder is a bad thing. The less said about it the better.

Note that Pat Rogers, one of the fully qualified masters of the modern technique, has now separated himself completely from Gunsite, and may reestablish himself at a new location in Virginia.

We can find nothing wrong with John Roberts as our Chief Justice. Evidently the socialists feel that he should have an "agenda," while he maintains that the job is to interpret the law as written. The bad guys pick at him in an effort to disclose some degree of partisanship, so far without success. Chief Justice Roberts would be a great forward step as a strict constructionist, which I think is what the Constitution demands.

We are delighted to learn that our suggestion about income tax remission for winners of the Medal of Honor has been accepted by various persons of consequence. This is such a nifty idea that we can't see why it has not been acted upon long ere this. It is a no-lose proposition without any negative aspect. Anyone who holds the Medal of Honor has paid in full for his membership in the Liberty Club, and his individual periodic contribution is too slight to dent the budget.

The idea needs important support. The President is the one to act. Write him!

Does anyone find that the 376 Scout (Dragoon) kicks too hard? I have asked this question for some years here at the Ranch, on both novice and expert marksmen, and I do not find it to be the case. Personally I only can detect the difference in recoil effect between the Scout and the Dragoon by side-by-side tests, and I think that the notion of excessive recoil in the Dragoon is an error. I suppose that if the cartridge is indeed too rough for the piece, it will wind up by breaking reticles in telescopes. So far it has not done so, but we have fired the combination too little to justify a conclusion. I think that the Dragoon is a nifty item, though I was not impressed with it when it was introduced. It is practically perfect for Alaska, and also for the African low veldt. It almost duplicates the impact effect on the 375 Holland when using the 300-grain bullet, and it does this in a weapon which provides the wonderful convenience of the Scout configuration. Everybody should have one!

It appears regrettable that Steyr Mannlicher does not seem to organize its activities as well as it should. It produces wonderful weapons, and has for a long time, but its corporate management and marketing has always been less than what we might desire. I presented a Mannlicher Model M to the late, great Joe Foss a decade ago, and he was delighted with its performance. That was before the appearance of the Scout, but it established the point that the Mannlicher people have always been able to produce excellent firearms, even if they do not know how to sell them.

Last time when we were in the Alps, we attended a major practical pistol contest put on by the family of the late Alessandro Cirla, a distinguished sportsman and member of the Gunsite family. This event put us in mind of the funeral games of ancient Greece. At our current advanced age we feel that it might be fitting for the family to contemplate a funeral rally when the time comes, properly starting in Chamonix and winding up at Steyr or Munich. The route might include various favorite spots from Grindelwald to Salzburg, and provide a pleasant measure of sports driving, including Lo Stelvio.

Not to hurry. Just a thought.

Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal use only. Not for publication.