It couldn’t happen here, could it?

I read. By that, I mean I read a lot. If you see me away from home, you may notice I have my tablet with me. I have a couple of thousand books on it. I finished a book last night, Joe Steel by Harry Turtledove.’m not going to give it a review. I rarely, if ever, review books. I’ve read a lot of Turtledove’s books and his favorite theme is Alternate History. I would suggest you read this one. It has some critical insights within it.

The alternate history in this book is simple…what if Joe Stalin’s parents had emigrated to the US well before Joe Stalin was born? Leon Trotsky, a darling of some current leftists, would have succeeded V. I. Lenin to lead communist Russia. Joe Stalin, who is called Joe Steel in the book, becomes a California congressmen running against FDR in 1932…and FDR and Eleanor mysteriously die in a fire in the New York Governor’s mansion.

I remember my father saying, he was an FDR democrat, that the country came to within a hair’s breadth of a revolution in 1932. Progressive propaganda blamed Wall Street for the nation’s woes. Some of that blame is valid; much was not.

The book uses that concept to show how the US could be changed into a dictatorship by an unprincipled strongman. I don’t know Turtledove’s politics but some of the tactics used by Joe Steel are eerily similar to some being used by Barak Obama.

How could the US be suborned into a dictatorship? The answer is in the book if you look: complacency, ignorance, and bigotry against the fundamental principles of this nation with a well-planned attack by democrats against free enterprise and capitalism. Take a look at our current politics and you’ll see the parallels in the book.

When FDR’s tactics were blocked by the Supreme Court, FDR attempted to pack the court with his cronies. In Joe Steel, Stalin has them charged with trumped up violations and shoots them for treason. The aims of FDR and Joe Steel were the same, only the tactics were different.

The book disturbed me. Not by its theme nor of its plot; it disturbed me because it could easily happen here. We don’t have someone knocking on our door in the middle of the night. They use battering rams instead.


If you’re a student of military history, you may have noticed something that is no longer allowed in the US military. Not all that long ago, a soldier’s weapons were stored, not in the armory, but with him in his barracks. In the 1990’s, during Clinton’s administration, that changed and those weapons were removed, taken from the troops. If the question was asked, “Why?” no real answer was given. There is one very reasonable motivation—the military leadership feared their troops.

The disarming of the military had consequences. One direct consequence was the massacre at Ft. Hood. There have been other, less well-known incidents as well.

Ted Cruz has an answer. Allow troops to carry personal weapons on base. It won’t alleviate the fears of mutiny by the leadership. It will, however, allow troops to have the means to be able to defend themselves and their families.

Ted Cruz takes on the military, says ‘Second Amendment rights are removed’ from troops on base

Base commanders fear accidents, escalation of personal disputes

– The Washington Times – Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz is asking lawmakers to consider allowing troops to carry personal firearms on base for protection, reviving a fight that has previously been a nonstarter with Congress after military leaders said they didn’t support the change.

While many lawmakers said Tuesday they were open to having a discussion on changing the rules in a Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing, most said that they would defer issues of base security to military leaders — who have historically been against allowing concealed carry on their posts.

Mr. Cruz formally sent a letter to Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and chairman of the committee, on Tuesday afternoon asking for a hearing on the subject, saying that current restrictions impede Second Amendment rights and weaken the safety and security of troops.

“The men and women in our military have been at war for over a decade; they understand the responsibilities that go along with carrying a firearm,” Mr. Cruz wrote in the letter. “Yet their Second Amendment rights are removed at the front gate.”

I suggest you read the entire column at the Washington Times website. It’s worth a read.

Old Guns

I was reading an e-mail from someone on a mail list about old guns. He was saying how well he liked his S&W revolver—called it an old gun. From his description, I would guess the pistol was made sometime in the late 1970s.

That’s old!?!?

I’ve seen 60 come and go. I have three guns older than I am. Now, that’s old!

The least old of these three is my M1 Garand that I bought through the ODCMP program several years ago. It was made in the Springfield Armory in February 1942 according to the serial number. It was later rebuilt at the Rock Island Armory but it still has all Springfield parts. It passes the go-no go test and is a real shooter. I’ve zero’d it for 100yds. With a bench rest and iron sights, I can punch out a 6″ grouping. That is amazing considering one facet of the rifle. It’s been used and abused. The few inches of rifling at the muzzle are worn to a smooth bore. But it has a good crown and still groups well.

I had thought about replacing the barrel but decided not to do that. I want to keep it just like I got it with all the dings and gouges on the wood, the wear on the exposed metal parts, all as near I can to it’s earned condition. The only thing I’ve done is to swab most—but not all, of the copper fouling out of the barrel. It still has that copper tint when examined with a bore-light, but I’m going to leave that part of its heritage where it is.

My next oldest is my Marlin Model 39 .22lr (the picture is of a Model 39A.) As best I can determine, my Model 39 was built in the 1930s. It has some older-sytle sights that I will replace with some Williams peep-sights. I’ve never been able to hit anything with Buckhorn sights. I can’t decide to place the front sight at the top between the “horns” or at the bottom of the V.

I just like the way this rifle handles. For me, it has a natural point. I can bring it to my shoulder and it points nicely where I want to aim. There is not any shifting at the shoulder, ducking to the stock to see the sights—it just fits. I usually shoot CCI high-speed Velociraptor ammo. I bought a brick of this when it first came out. In my M39, it chronos at around 1600fps. The next fastest high-speed .22lr ammo clocks in at 1400fps. That is not bad for a .22lr. A 40gr slug at 1400fps or 1600fps makes a nice small game meat rifle.

When I was growing up on the farm, I would often take my .22 rifle out after school and bring home some squirrels or a rabbit or two for the pantry. I still love squirrel and rabbit—it they are prepared properly. As with all wild game, you must insure you cook them correctly to prevent disease. My mother always scalded game before freezing it or cooking it further.

My last old gun is my Remington Model 11. My father owned a Remington 12ga. Model 11. It originally had a cracked stock. The bluing had most been worn off and the metal had that old worn steel look. It made the shotgun appear well used. As a Christmas present one year, my mother took it to our local gunsmith and had new wood installed and the rest re-blued. When it was finished, it looked new.

When I was in High School in the early 1960s, I had the serial number checked. I discovered this shotgun had been made in 1921—originally as part of a War Department order. The US Army canceled the order at the end of WW1 and the production was modified for the civilian market.

Dad’s Model 11 was stolen a few years later along with all the rest of our rifles and shotguns. A few years ago, I was at a Gunshow in Springfield, MO and came across a man who was selling three Remington Model 11s. I bought the best of the three for $150. I never made a better deal. My “new” Model 11 appears to be a PD cast-off. It has O.M.P. stamped on the receiver. I was told that meant “Ontario Mounted Police.” Somehow that doesn’t ring true but it’s a good story. Accordingt to its serial number, it was built in the late 1920s. My Model 11 is a 12ga, full choke shotgun. I’ve thought about buying some additional barrels, a home defense barrel and one with a modified choke for birds. Unfortunately, I’ve not found a source. It appears it’s easier just to buy a complete new shotgun that find replacement barrels.

All three of these guns are full working shooters. I like them. I’m comfortable with them. There has been new designs that are supposed to be better, but from what I’ve seen, the new designs work no better than these half-century or older weapons. New is not always best.