While I’m heartened by the victory in the 9th circuit, I fear it might be short lived. Trump has very nearly flipped the balance, but nearly isn’t flipped, and I’d say an en banc review will be difficult. The Duncan case might be a good setup for taking a case into the Supreme Court if there’s a change, and I think before too long there will be a change.

But who knows what will happen next year. Will there even be an NRA? I’d like to think a judge is going to scoff at politicians dissolving their political opposition, but get the wrong judge, and the worst could happen. Either way, I’m not sure how useful the NRA will be as long as it’s a cash cow for Bill Brewer’s law firm, which I’m sorry to say looks worse to me than NRA being a cash cow for Ackerman-McQueen.

One reason I’m not blogging as much is because who the hell knows anything? I feel like anyone who claims to know where this is all going is selling you something. I still believe we’re going through a political realignment, sure, but what new order is being born? Can’t tell you. The global trend is a populist backlash against globalism, but the wealthy have a habit of getting what they want. All I can tell you is that no one is happy with the old order, except the people who benefit from it.

I’m focusing on a new job, which has more challenges than I’ve faced in past work. They are actually a pretty competent outfit, compared to other places I’ve been, which means their problems are harder. Still, I’m surprised by how fast even good outfits grow their technical debt.

Being a club officer is also becoming a part-time job I don’t get paid for, and that shit is getting old fast. We’re going through tumultuous times, just as the country is, as problems that were mounting for years are now being addressed for good or ill. That costs time, money, and energy. Also, working in the technology sector, where people either adapt to change or wash out of the industry, I did not have an appreciation for how dispositionally conservative most people are. I don’t mean politically conservative, I mean it in the sense of distrusting and disliking change. I think that becomes more true the older people get. On a daily basis, the thing I struggle the most with is: “We’ve done it this way for 30 years. Why change it?”

87 thoughts on “Happenings”

  1. “I’m focusing on a new job, which has more challenges than I’ve faced in past work. . .Being a club officer is also becoming a part-time job I don’t get paid for, and that shit is getting old fast.”

    It strikes me how much what you are describing sounds like me, at your age, with only minor differences — IMO. I know you are almost exactly the same age as my older son.

    My sequence of events was, starting a business as a moonlight operation, at the same time I was president of a small but national shooting sports organization. The difference was, I went from being “shooting” active to being “politically” active, while you seem to have reversed that, at least somewhat. In my case I went from moonlighting to full-time, and then wasted huge amounts of otherwise chargeable time on political activity.

    All that said, I can’t advise you what to do, any more than I could confidently go back and re-order my own life. Just be comforted that if someday you look back and think you’ve wasted a huge amount of your life on nonsense, you won’t be the first or last in history.

    1. “…if someday you look back and think you’ve wasted a huge amount of your life on nonsense…”

      This reminds me of a quote someone made about advertising. “I waste half of my money on advertising. I just wish I could know which half.”

      I have noticed that life is, to a large extent, doing things that seem like a good idea, and looking back and seeing that those things weren’t as great as you thought after all.

      Even so, we do what we can do, and ultimately, we have to hope that things work out in the end, because of, and in some cases, despite, our best efforts!

      1. There are certain things, especially “political activism,” that seem IN MY OPINION to be contrived to exploit inexperienced but sincere younger people, generation after generation, to benefit a class of people who actually run things and are the only ones who know what is really going on. That is largely independent of “ideology.” But, it is also part of the overall culture’s mythology, so it is easy to marginalize anyone who figures things out and tries to blow the whistle.

        I have watched the Democrats since 2016, do any number of things, that seem mainly to recruit and vet new meat solely for the benefit of The Party; not necessarily to achieve the nominal goals.

        1. Political activism is indeed a funny animal.

          I have the impression that the Tea Party was a genuine grass-roots effort that was quickly contaminated by snake oil salesmen. To the degree it’s fizzled out, this is a major reason why.

          I also have the impression that Antifa/BLM has more top-down organization than we’re led to believe — however, I also have the impression that the “organizers” have lost control of what they created.

          Either way, I think it’s safe to say that there are people in either Party who think they know what is going on, and they think they are in charge, and sometimes they are … but sometimes they aren’t.

          I sort-of feel like I’m skirting “conspiracy theory” territory saying such things, though, but there’s a very simple explanation for what’s going on: all these movements are made up of individuals, each with their own motivations, and they are merely acting and reacting according to what they see. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes things spectacularly backfire.

          1. I have to say, that’s a more insightful post than most people will realize.

            I also have the impression that Antifa/BLM has more top-down organization than we’re led to believe. . .

            I have to ask, why do you say that? That’s leading to the question, if you are right, do you think they know it? By “they” I mean their rank-and-file participants.

            I have many times here expounded — from experience — that most things on the “conservative” or “libertarian” spectrum are not what they appear to be. And it is only due to lack of experience on the left, that I can’t say for certain that the same thing isn’t true at that end of the spectrum. But knowing what I experienced on the right end of the spectrum, I have to assume it is true.

            1. My impressions generally come from the news “sources” I tend to interact with — Instapundit, Tim Pool, Bill Whittle, etc — so I have to take my impressions with a grain of salt — but it’s little things, like stories about pallets of bricks made available at random places, stories about protests that start out peaceful until someone jumps in and starts something, and stories about how protesters are angry that people are showing up to vandalize things and pick fights.

              I don’t particularly think that the rank-and-file know about it, but I wouldn’t be surprized if they have suspicions. I also don’t think that the “Powers that Be” (in particular, the Democrats) are the ones pulling the strings, but I do think some sort of structure that isn’t plainly visible is (and they don’t necessarily have the best interest of the Democratic Party at heart, either).

              I have the impression that the Tea Parties started out organically, in no small part because I participated in a few, but also because it started out with a pretty simple premise: “No more bailouts! No more taxes!” And it started out as a protest against George W. Bush, which naturally continued with Obama in office (because in this particular issue, the two Parties seem to be in agreement — Obama merely continued the policies of W, and it’s probably safe to say that McCain would have done so as well).

              Having said that, it wasn’t hard to see that the “Powers that Be” pretty much early on were already trying to steer the Tea Parties to their advantage (with mixed results) — and after all was said and done, it became clear that for some of those people “their advantage” was strictly financial (ie, fleecing the Tea Party with little to no political effect to show for it), and not political.

              1. Oh, and I should also add: the “Anonymous” hacking group claimed that they had no top-down structure, that they did everything organically, but we don’t hear about them anymore because the FBI managed to figure out who the ringleaders were and arrested them. I could imagine something similar happening to Antifa/BLM, if their leaders are stupid enough to be doing illegal things (or there’s a clear “paper trail” indicating that they are organizing such illegal things).

                I wouldn’t count on their leadership being that stupid, though.

                I don’t think the Tea Party movement started out with that kind of leadership, though they may have developed it over time; since the Tea Party folks weren’t doing anything obviously illegal, it’s kindof hard to see how any such leadership would be arrested. (I could imagine a few heads of organizations being arrested for fraudulent donation collecting, but I have a hard time seeing how that would hurt the Tea Party movement, per se — indeed, I would imagine that helping, if anything!)

                1. I wouldn’t count on their leadership being that stupid, though.

                  I think they are, at least the on street leaders. I think that’s why riots have calmed down. The Feds are on to them.

                  1. Kyle Rittenhouse had something to do with the calming too. More or less the same happened after Kent State back in the day. The hard core carried on with their bombings but the mass participation fizzled.

              2. I don’t think the Tea Party movement started out with that kind of leadership. . .

                I haven’t looked into it but I would be equally sure it did.

                To fall back on my Old Stories: I don’t remember if I’ve ranted about it much here, but back in 1989, on my own initiative, I started an anti-tax-reform campaign in Bucks County, to resist a tax plan put forth by Democratic Governor Bob Casey Sr. Almost immediately I was drawn/recruited into a statewide campaign that was an astroturf Republican outfit, that met in the offices of a powerful Republican State Senator in Harrisburg. I of course deferred to them because I was a minimally experienced novice, and they were heavy-hitters. I took instructions-cum-orders from people in the offices of the county Republican Committee.

                Where I’m going with the story is, along the way in that campaign I conceived of the idea of having a “Tea Party” — an obvious anti-tax theme — probably at the riverfront park in Bristol. My Republican handler flat-out put a kibosh on the idea. I don’t know why, except that no one wanted me initiating anything. I was supposed to be a Useful Idiot, and stop there.

                Over the following decade I was recruited more than once as a known Useful Idiot to be the local public face for supposedly grassroots events, but they never were really grassroots.

                Fast forward another decade, during which I had backed away from my Useful Idiot status, and a buddy and I stumbled into one of the very first latter-day Tea Party rallies in another state’s capitol. Out of curiosity I took the opportunity to chat with some of the participants who had tables set up, etc. I saw the same things I was already familiar with; local cranks and delusional opportunists whose presence had been “facilitated” by a “suggestion” coming from some notable party or “movement” personality.

                Anecdotally: The friend I was with when we stumbled into the Tea Party rally, was at first a little bit scared by it; I’m not sure why. But when I next saw him a month or so later, he had a Gadsden Flag license plate on the front of his car.

                There are no grassroots. If individual initiative ever manifests, per my 1989 experience, it is immediately expropriated by some existing entity. If nothing else, the foundations for the Tea Party were being built long before the first upstart cranks found them ready to be built upon.
                Something you cited: Regarding those “piles of bricks”, I saw one video of such a pile being delivered by a police truck. Make of that what you will, including of course the possibility that the video was staged. Except where would anyone get a police truck, completely outfitted?

                1. I don’t think I saw that video personally, but I recall hearing about it. The thought that went through my mind upon hearing about it was wondering if some of the police are on the side of Antifa/BLM — or perhaps an officer or two were wanting to provide materials to give Antifa/BLM enough “rope” to hang themselves with.

                  I don’t recall thinking that the video may have been staged, but it’s not a possibility I’m willing to rule out, either.

                  Regardless, it’s things like this that give rise to conspiracy theories. (It doesn’t help that “conspiracy” can really exist, although not nearly to the degree that “theorists” often think they do.)

                2. “I haven’t looked into it but I would be equally sure it did.”

                  I did look into it and the consensus appears to be that the Tea Party was funded and facilitated by Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity. Both are fronts for corporate lobbying groups.

                  I think it was more than 20 years ago I adopted the guideline “If you encounter a group with some variation of ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ in its name, run, don’t walk, in the opposite direction as fast as you can.” Both words are sucker-bait for dreamy simpletons.

                  1. They didn’t come in until later to relieve the gullible of their money. When the movement got started, it was actually a bottom-up effort. But that didn’t last long.

                    1. That is consistent with my observation that “If individual initiative ever manifests, per my 1989 experience, it is immediately expropriated by some existing entity.”

                      In my Old Story about the 1989 “Vote No on Higher Taxes” campaign, I had never been a Republican, either, but they sure surrounded me fast. Then they wooed me for a couple more years before they gave up. Thankfully I figured out they didn’t give a crap about issues, only political power.

                      And remember — that was more than 30 years before Trump came along to prove it!

              3. Come to think of it, I think I would describe my impressions as “reading the vibes”.

                The problem with this, of course, is that “vibes” can be easily misread! And, to be sure, I could also be reading certain “vibes” correctly, but I may be missing out on other “vibes” that would tell me a different story….

                1. I guess I’m straining for a metaphor, but I’m thinking of how being exposed to a a very loud noise can cause us to hear things sounding kind of “hollow” for awhile.

                  The metaphor being, that things external to us can steer the “vibes” that we are reading. We are all exposed to a tremendous about of propaganda regarding things ideological or political. I would go so far as to suggest there is no such thing as an “independent thinker”, and I think there is a reason why very wise men/beings (e.g., Yoda) are usually portrayed as living in hermit-like isolation.

                2. The other problem is that the media is completely in the bag for the Left so we are dependent on alternative sources for the vibes which may not be the most reliable. For example, I have been following the question of whether the arson fires in the NW are linked to Antifa. Been a lot of this in right wing media but precious little that I would regard as solid. There have been some arrests of Antifa types for arson but mostly incompetent efforts to set fires in stupid places like freeway medians. I want to know about big fires but nothing. Saw one report that an Antifa type started a big fire in Oregon. But no links. I went looking and the guy looks like a crazy derelict to me. And of course, the MSM denies that anything at all except climate change is happening. As does the FBI which is in the bag too. After their statement, I went to the National Interagency Fire Center which lists most of the fires origins as unknown. Which means the FBI was just making stuff up for political reasons.

                  Another good example is the Transition Integrity Project, a Soros funded effort to wargame post-election insurrection. Lots in right wing media, nothing in MSM. Finally found a left-wing description. It actually looked reasonably consistent with the right-wing stuff except for one telling point. They stated that the Republican team was more aggressive than the Democrat team in pushing on the political levers. This is probably true but they left out the part about the Democrat team consisting of actual Democrats, led by John Podesta and the “Republican” team being a gaggle of Never-Trump neocons led by Kristol. I have no doubt that this group was indulging in their worst fantasies about Trump.

                  So it is really hard to read vibes.

                  1. “I have been following the question of whether the arson fires in the NW are linked to Antifa.”

                    In other words, you have been looking for confirmation of something that was already suggested to you and you are choosing to believe. It is based on a chracterization of Antifa that is totally false.

                    These two AP articles are strictly correct.

                    But, since they are MSM you will choose not to believe them. Maybe someone else will.

                    1. The fires could have been started by Antifa or Antifa sympathizers.

                      And LOL! Those two AP articles are strictly propaganda. Antifa is an organization or a set of organizations depending on how you want to look at it. it may be loosely organized, but nonetheless it is organized.

                      You appear to support domestic terrorism but socialists. Not sure why.

                    2. Sorry, just because you leftists like to stay in your bubble doesn’t mean I do. In the case of the first article, the AP was accurately quoting a coup plotter and seditionist. In the case of the second, it overlooks the inconvenient fact that al Queda is decentralized, which was no barrier to designating them as terrorists. It also raises the “white supremacist” bogeyman which the left loves in invoke. They are the modern day equivalent of witches which don’t actually exist but it sure does feel good to burn them. There are a few guys on the internet that claim to be so but are probably false flags.

                    3. How did I know what you guys were going to say?

                      Thanks Richard. Your denial that white supremacists even exist speaks volumes.

                    4. “But, since they are MSM you will choose not to believe them.”

                      The MSM hasn’t exactly been doing themselves any favors in convincing us to believe them. Indeed, when they announced that Trump was such a great threat that they need to abandon all objectivity to stop President Trump, they basically announced that we should take everything they report with a grain of salt.

                      This doesn’t mean that I think Antifa has been starting fires, mind you. It just means that I don’t believe the MSM. And it means that no one else should, either.

  2. Will the 9th take it en-banc?

    If not, what happens when a pro-gun circuit court decision hits the “grant cert” table at SCOTUS?

    (Or if the 9th’s en-banc panel ends up being a pro-gun panel. It could happen)

      1. en banc in the 9th isn’t the whole panel since it is so gigantic so Ian’s scenario could happen.

      2. We win when we get to the SC on a win. As we did in Heller.

        All the ones that we appeal on a loss to the SC get denied cert.

        If the 9th lets this stand and CA appeals to the SC then we are in a position to win.

        It would imo be hard for even Roberts to argue otherwise.

        I think he’s been able to thwart us by denying cert but won’t be able to do that if it is CA appealing, as it was when DC appealed Heller.

    1. Everyone remember, there is no guarantee that Trump/Federalist “conservatives” believe in individual rights, beyond the rights of individual corporations.

          1. I was responding to Andy B’s outworn trope about the Republicans being corporatist. The dying GOPe is for sure but for decades now, the Republicans have been becoming more downscale while the Democrats become more up scale. Look where the Wall Street and tech oligarch money goes.

            As for striking down the law, I think that is still in play. The best we get out of the 9th is a circuit split which puts the onus directly on King John the Squish.

            1. Trope? Outworn?

              When I underwent formal training as a “gun rights activist” at the behest of a national “gun right” organization I volunteered for (not the NRA) the training was provided by a national union-busting organization underwritten by the Koch brothers, Coors, the Prince family fortune, Scaifes, Olin Foundation, and the other usual corporate suspects.

              Despite the group’s nominal “single-issue” of being anti-labor, they had license to provide training to virtually every species of “activist” that would fall under the label “conservative”, including gun rights, pro-life, gay-bashing, tax-resisting, etc. The common denominator of interest to the Corpos was clearly anything that could be used to garner votes for Republicans.

              What I remember mainly is training in fundraising science and political dirty tricks. That was at the dawn of email, which science became derivative from snailmail principles. A basic principle was “never overestimate your target audience.”

              The “social conservative” issues were clearly at odds with the “libertarian” front affected by the Kochs; but they funded heavily anything that could fellow-travel with their personal economic interests. They apparently were interested in their own economic interests being delivered, but not so interested in the goals of the other conservative interests they funded — like, gun rights.

              In any case: Among front organizations funded by the usual Corpo suspects is the Federalist Society. If their people deliver on anything other than corporate interests, it is purely a whim of those individual members. What they are expected to deliver on is benefits for corporations.

              Here’s what I’ll give you: That was ~25 years ago, so there is wiggle-room for your “outworn” dismissal. But it appears to me that things have only gotten worse as “conservatives” have been conditioned to be ever more gullible, and today the country is where it is.

              It is worth pondering whether the NRA isn’t a microcosm of what has become of the Republican Party and the conservative movement in general.

              1. 25 years ago was the Age of the Bushes (bookends to Clinton). Whatever anyone thinks about Trump and Trumpists, I know of no one who thinks they are Bushies, including Trump and Bush themselves. So, yes your PoV is outdated.

                The populist (Trumpist) wing of the Republicans has little use for the Chamber of Commerce, the tech oligarchs, the big banks or the remaining Koch. These people do have a lot of money and undue influence but increasingly, they are moving left and will eventually be out of the Republican party completely.

                1. “The populist (Trumpist) wing of the Republicans has little use for the Chamber of Commerce, the tech oligarchs, the big banks or the remaining Koch.”

                  And who, pray tell, do you think put the “populists” where they are, in the first place?

                  Get Real. Nothing has happened that wasn’t orchestrated by the same people who always ran the “Right” side of the scam we live in. Things may blow up in their faces, but that will be a simple case of miscalculation; probably, moving too far, too fast when they thought the opportunity was there. But, I don’t see any of those bastards losing money at the moment.

                    1. And you should read a bit of history not written by populists, to perpetrate timeless Corporatists’ mythology. The “Chamber of Commerce” is only a faction of businesses represented on “Main Street” more so than “Wall Street.” When I was participating in an anti-tax-“reform” campaign in 1989, my material support came anonymously in plain brown wrappers, but the source was the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association.

                      It occurred to me overnight that the best working example of what I’m talking about is, the large-scale industrialist support for Italy’s, Spain’s and Germany’s “populists” before WWII.

                      Initially it was at least somewhat covert — as with the example I was talking about — but became in many cases overt when or shortly after the populists took over. Speaking of “internationalists”, America’s Standard Oil provided material aid to populist Franco’s troops at the start of the Spanish Civil War. There is a fair chance that the first time Stukas were flown in actual combat, they were fueled with American aviation fuel.

                      IG Farben was initially accused by the NSDAP of being a cabal of the “international Jewish conspiracy,” but that tactic for attacking dissenters within a decade made them primary financial supporters of the NSDAP, and they were rewarded with huge German government contracts. Any examples of that working in the U.S., today?

                      After 1945 many of the industrialists promulgated the myth that those early populists were only street thugs who had come to power on their own, through some mysterious accident or evolution of history. But per our U.S. example, those early populists would have faded into obscure history had they not been supported by heavy-duty funding by their nations’ elites — for which the Kochs and Coors and Scaife’s et al have been our analogs.

                      It remains to be seen whether they miscalculated.

                    2. I should add that for a long time now I have been using the term “facilitation”: The rich and politically powerful “facilitate” us useful idiots using our own resources to do their bidding.

                      My working example was June 14, 1994 when we held the biggest citizens rally ever, to that time (and maybe since?) in Harrisburg. About 10,000 gun owners, on a workday. It was nominally a “gun rights” rally, but anyone would have been forgiven for mistaking it for a Santorum Rally.

                      It was part of the “Republican [Un]Revolution” of that year, and a couple notable Republican personalities in Bucks County has whispered in our club president’s ear that it would be a Nice Idea if our club supported the “gun rights rally.” So we used club money to charter a couple buses to carry members to a Republican campaign rally. It was one of many ways the actions of useful idiots was facilitated to work for the Republican Party, while the cost to the Party itself was negligible.

                      I should stipulate that it took me a couple years to figure out what had gone on, driven by, that the rally had accomplished nothing at all for gun owners.

                  1. I would say, OK, boomer but I am the same age. But I do try to keep out of the thralls of my past. The US Chamber of Commerce of commerce is the creature of the the giant corporations and are part of the GOPe. The local chambers of commerce are a different beast and represent Main Street which is in the Trump coalition.

            2. “the training was provided by a national union-busting organization”

              I forgot to add that the existence of those sessions was treated as super-secret, not unlike meetings when I worked on programme noir (pardon my French) in the defense industry. One time when the network was recruiting new meat for training, I called somewhat openly for potential participants on the PAFOA site, and got my ass reamed majorly for doing so. No one could qualify unless they were vetted long beforehand.

              The question of course was, why so secret? Every cause has activists and good activists need training. The answer had to be that, just as with defense/national security secrecy, the associations themselves could not bear scrutiny.

              1. Probably. Same reason why the Open Society Foundation and Tides are so secretive.

      1. Yes and no.

        Yes, judges appointed by the left tend to be uniformly leftist, while judges appointed by Republicans tend to split roughly 50/50. Also in that the current split on the 9th, discounting the partially/largely retired “senior” judges, is 13/16 against liberty, with Trump having appointed 10 of those 13.

        No in that Trump appears to have put better people on the job of vetting potential judges, and may be more successful.

        TLDR: The 9th is increasingly an ideological tossup, and there’s a significant chance that we might still get a positive ruling out of an en-banc panel of the 9th.

      2. I think the observation should be made that it’s not so much that Trump/Federalist “conservatives” believe in the rights of individual corporations; it’s more that, even when they are steeped in the philosophy of liberty, they are nonetheless a product of our legal school system, and they are also government animals, regardless of how you slice it.

        Thus, they have a tendency to defer to government far more than they ought — and sometimes they’ll side with the government, even when they should be siding with the individual, or the corporation, as the case may be. I can see this even in some of the decisions by Clarence Thomas and Anthony Scalia.

        Indeed, this may be the single biggest reason why Conservatives have a difficult time finding justices that reflect their philosophy on government!

  3. I can’t see California failing to appeal to an en banc and the 9th refusing to see it en banc.

    It’s a coin toss how that ruling will go.

    If California wins, will we appeal to fickle and mercurial Supreme Court? Especially when there’s three other circuits who’ve ruled magazine size limits are A-OK?

    If California loses again, they’re certainly going to appeal to SCOTUS and there will be a circuit split. That makes cert more likely but doesn’t mean a win for our side is likely. Fickle and mercurial…

  4. “Still, I’m surprised by how fast even good outfits grow their technical debt.”

    Can you elaborate briefly what that means?


      1. Wow! Thanks for that!

        I’ve never encountered a definition more directly applicable to the gun rights movement!

        Technical debt (also known as design debt or code debt, but can be also related to other technical endeavors) is a concept in software development that reflects the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy (limited) solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer.

        And, it applied even before 2016!

  5. Shooting clubs have to adapt to changing times or die out with their members. Not everyone is interested in weekday night mandatory meetings, probationary fees and periods, mandatory clean up sessions, and fudd gun rules on top of all of that.

    1. “Shooting clubs have to adapt to changing times or die out with their members.”

      An interesting thought.

      I’m also thinking shooting clubs are based on a “cultural” premise that, for better or worse, no longer applies. But, I would need a lot more thought to elaborate on that. I’ll just suggest that most people not already wired-in to “The Gun Culture,” walking into a club meeting for the first time, would be somewhat bemused.

      1. In my experience, given what I’ve seen in SE PA clubs, the “fudd rules” tend to break down into two categories:

        * Don’t piss off the neighbors; and

        * We can afford to run like a cliquish HOA because we have more potential customers than we know what to do with.

        The second is relatively self-explanatory, and isn’t really Fuddishness per-se, so much as it’s wanting to exercise arbitrary power over other people for various reasons–Sometimes for profit (e.g. the training requirements at LPRGC), and in other cases just to feel powerful.

        The first is a bit more complicated, and the heart of the issue is that too many club officers fail to understand that the rules (e.g. magazine capacity limits and ROF restrictions) are about avoiding noise complaints, and thus try to sell them as rules necessary for safety. The proof of this is that the clubs where these rules exist tend to be the ones that are surrounded on all sides by dense suburban residential developments because they failed to buy up the farmland around them when it got sold 20-60 years ago. As a result, they have a lot of potential complainers right next to them, so they feel the need to go out of their way to avoid looking unreasonable when complaints are made. The clubs where you don’t see these rules tend to either still be in rural areas, and/or that have been smart about buying up the properties surrounding them.

        1. Round limitation weren’t about noise. It’s about keeping the wrong kind of shooter out. There’s a lot of legends that develop in a club about why certain things are the way they are, as people try to rationalize things. But those legends are almost always BS.

          1. “Round limitation weren’t about noise.”

            The possibly apocryphal story at our club was that once upon a time, at the old club grounds, a 1911 went full-auto and put a number of rounds over the backstop.

            Why five rounds was considered OK and not four or six, I have no idea; or why it was applied to non-self-loading firearms like revolvers. But that was the prevailing story from the day I joined almost 45 years ago.

            At least one member was thrown out of the club for violating the rule, which was a shame, because he was a young guy with potential. But at his hearing he argued with the club president, and that violated the unspoken, unrecorded rule, “Don’t question Authority”, which was characteristic of the Founding Generation.

            1. The possibly apocryphal story at our club was that once upon a time, at the old club grounds, a 1911 went full-auto and put a number of rounds over the backstop.

              I’ve heard that story too, but no one has ever been able to corroberate it. There’s no primary source. But I do know that it used to be single load only, but that it would get suspended if the right people were present. As best I can tell, the bullseye shooters were responsible for expanding it to 5, which also suited the silhouette shooters. So it stayed that way until we starting shooting sports where that limitation won’t work.

              1. “So it stayed that way until we starting shooting sports where that limitation won’t work.”

                The guy who got thrown out of the club was practicing shooting three double-taps.

                I advised him to be contrite at his hearing, and say he had been overcome by temptation, i.e., “the devil made him do it.” But he couldn’t help being defiant, so out he went.

          2. At a club in California (with no rounds limit), an older member claimed to remember a California law from his youth treating >12 rounds as a machine gun.

            1. It could have been an arbitrary, local municipal ordinance. Some people still applaud the Old West days when what the local sher’f decreed was The Law.

    2. Honestly, it would be a shame to lose all the clubs because everyone just wants to buy a product and wash their hands of it. If you don’t like the fudd rules, get involved and change it. That’s what I did.

      1. Recall that there was a time, immediately before you became active, when nothing was going to change, no matter what anyone did. People might “yes” you to death, to your face, and then nothing happened. (I’ll cite just one of my pet peeves, which was things voted on at the member meetings, with heavy support, that would never be memorialized in any way, and would be forgotten in little more than 2 – 3 months.)

        I think we both can think of someone who got on major shit-lists by challenging de facto “authority” — and my point isn’t whether he was right or wrong, it was just that “culturally” one did not challenge authority.

        My point is only about “culture”, and to some extent, culture “aging out.” If you have changed anything, it was because your timing was such that God was about to change the culture anyway.

        At least that’s what a previous generation that beat its head against too many walls tells itself. ;-)

          1. Yup. I don’t regret trying. I learned a lot and obviously what I could have done differently.

  6. It would not surprise me that gun clubs, and a lot of other organizations of all types, will soon be faced with “adaptability issues” that are driven by member, and prospective member, demands.

    It was a given that we had to live near where we worked, then commute to a particular location at a particular time, follow particular procedures, and perform particular work for a particular period.

    That’s gone. We can now do almost anything from almost anywhere at almost any time for almost anybody, including ourselves.

    A club, be it a gun club, yacht club or quilting club, will encounter the same thing. Why should I pay the same dues, attend the same meetings on the same schedule, etc. that 800 other people do? I want to bring my kids out once a month to shoot their .22s at 25 yards at reactive targets, or; my spouse and I own pistols, we’ll never use a 100 or 300 meter range, or; I want to be able to come out any day between sunrise and sunset and shoot on any range between 15 and 300 yards, or; I can shoot only after work, which means evenings, but the range isn’t open after sunset.

    If ranges, and by extension the gun clubs that have them, wish to keep up – meaning “maintain membership and community relevance” – it will mean different dues rates, different membership privileges, different support levels (as in “this range has Instructors on duty M-W-F between these hours, and that range doesn’t” or “the 25 yard range is lighted for use between civil twilight and 2100 hours for eligible members”).

    I doubt the Fudd Brigade which usually dominate club director boards will embrace such a philosophy.

    1. A club membership is not a product you buy. Because younger people think of it that way is why most of them will die, and not be replaced by other places to shoot that meet the expectations of younger people to pay for the product and not be involved.

      The Fudds understand civic life, which is why they dominate it. Every club needs people who just pay their dues and use the facilities a few times a year. That keeps the lights on.

      I’m not going to argue that clubs will need to reform to survive. The Fudds will kill a lot of them. But our generation is complicit in that by letting them do it.

      My club is just outside a major city, and we have a 200yd range. It would be a shame to lose that forever. If you want to keep a healthy shooting culture in the burbs, and you need to keep a healthy shooting culture in the burbs, there have to be places to shoot. Not just indoor commercial ranges, though they have their place.

      1. Interesting comment about the Fudds. Correct, I think but I think it is more a function of age than anything else. Not all old people are Fudds but all Fudds are old and steeped in Gun Culture 1.0.

        1. To some degree. It is a generational thing. Most millennial shooters, even if they had it handed down via family, took a different path in shooting than did prior generations. But yeah, I think one becomes less comfortable with change as a function of age. It’s not good for any organization to start looking like a retirement community.

    2. “That’s gone. We can now do almost anything from almost anywhere at almost any time for almost anybody, including ourselves.”

      I just want to point out, that has been becoming more true for roughly 35 years now. It was roughly 34 years ago I saw the first PC in my office in industry, said “That will be my Freedom Machine”, and was out the door and on my own roughly a year later. The fax machine was another biggy.

      But the two-income family will remain a factor for awhile; the main thing that kept us where we were was, my wife had a professional job that could not easily be replaced if we moved to where my druthers might be served. If the household “second income” (a de facto necessity these days, ‘else there ain’t enough money for powder and lead) cannot be performed remotely, there is not as much freedom as might be.

      “The Fudds understand civic life, which is why they dominate it.

      I’ll make this a partial reply to Sebastian’s comment.

      Yes and no. I think “civic life” is a function of the prevailing culture. For just one example, I’ve never thought my club was very good at promoting or following through on social activities. That’s not at all to suggest I thought I knew how to do it, because I knew I didn’t. But it seemed people were happy within their own little shooting cliques, and any efforts for including families or spouses into the club as a “civic whole” were half-hearted and isolated.

      To make an analogy, churches seem especially good at drawing in and inundating entire families in their culture; in effect to create an illusion of a wider “family.” There is always something going on to keep them together. I have never been aware of a gun club that managed that, at least for very long.

        1. As I said, I have no illusions I know how to do it, so I can’t be critical beyond observing that it’s never gotten done.

          On the other hand, it seems to come naturally to my example, churches.

          I suspect it has something to do with, that gun clubs are more “traditionally” male-oriented, and to possibly over-generalize, we males are not very inclined to sociability. I once encountered a quote that, “men like each other the way dogs like each other”, though I’ve spent years pondering exactly what that meant.

          On yet another hand: When we used to hold rifle matches in “coal country” there always seemed to be a pre-existing structure of local women who would step in to see that the “social” things like dinners and socializing around a keg got done. Maybe we have always suffered too much from “suburbanitis”, or maybe even a loss of some “ethnic” traditions.

        2. A general societal problem. See Bowling Alone. It’s not just gun clubs, it’s bowling leagues, the Elks, the VFW, etc. I don’t know how we get this back. Personally, I am an introvert, so I don’t understand these things but I do understand they are important to society. Evangelical churches seem to have cracked the code so perhaps we should study them.

          1. “Evangelical churches seem to have cracked the code so perhaps we should study them.”

            Part of the formula is to attract people in, then get them inundated in the “culture” and keep them inundated. Get them into as many activities as possible, and maintain a mild sense of disapproval or, “you can’t be a real [fill in the blank] unless you [fill in the blank]…” for falling short. Keep track of participation and reward it with expansive recognition in front of the group. Also extend that beyond the “charter” of the group, e.g., by providing social benefits (say, doing household/yard chores) for sick or needy, “deserving” members. Assign formal “rank” to “deserving” members and reward longevity in the culture. Rank that can be worn on the sleeve (figuratively speaking) is better yet.

          2. I need to reread that, it’s been a while.

            Age is a function of volunteering that’s not strictly related to whether one values that volunteering and participation, per se. If you have anything that requires a lot of volunteer time, your volunteer pool is going to be mainly older folks or much younger who haven’t started families yet… unless things are set up so that the whole family truly can participate, which is significantly harder for something like a gun club than a church, for example.

            1. Volunteering is also a feature of a high-trust society. Or maybe it is the other way around. Whatever we are today, high-trust doesn’t come to mind. And this is a long term problem so don’t be blaming it on Trump or Obama as per your political orientation.

              I can think of things that have contributed. The need to have two income families to maintain a middle class lifestyle and subsequently the loss of one or both of those incomes to globalization, the destruction of black families and institutions by the Great Society, the rise of social media, serial betrayals of their base by both political parties, rising dysfunction of public schools and so on.

            2. @Heather: I think you’re mostly right about that. I don’t really worry about the leaders of an organization trending older. But I do worry when young people just aren’t joining.

      1. Transcendent meaning. If gun ownership is about fun, that’s fleeting. If it is about preventing a minority from being sent by cattle car to Nevada, it is transcendent.

        1. “If it is about preventing a minority from being sent by cattle car to Nevada, it is transcendent.”

          Until the cultural memory of cattle cars becomes so lost that people begin saying “It Can’t Happen Here.”

          The deportation of the Nisei is still remembered. The Bisbee deportation of 1917 has become obscure history. And many armed citizens would say Bisbee was things working exactly the way they’re supposed to.

  7. On a daily basis, the thing I struggle the most with is: “We’ve done it this way for 30 years. Why change it?”

    I run into that all the time in my tech jobs too. It’s amazing when you think about it. The companies you’d think would be the most open to change are sometimes just like all the others.

  8. Interesting thread. As the saying goes “somebody has to make the donuts.” So many people want to show up and do the minimum. A minority will volunteer and do the heavy lifting. I did the youth sports coach thing, was on my boro’s Parks Commitee close to a decade, and have no just volunteered for another committee. It can get tiring. I would have rather been somewhere else most of the time for this activities – but I signed up and I showed up and I did my job. This is just too difficult for most, I guess. Those that show up make the rules. If you want to join a gun club here in NJ (I’m not a member) – you play by their rules. They want to keep the yahoos out and I can’t blame them. They have more demand than supply. I’ve been a guest at a few clubs and the average age was north of 65 – so there will be a change over.

    1. “As the saying goes “somebody has to make the donuts.” So many people want to show up and do the minimum.”

      I like your “make the donuts” metaphor because it is a good one for “things that become transactional”. I think the thread has really been about, the need to create a “subculture” and keep it alive. Unfortunately, I suspect that doing so needs to be at least somewhat cynical or at least “intentional.”

      In a broader culture, some subcultures evolve naturally. I’m thinking of popular youth sports, in the days before the pandemic. Others, like shooting sports in suburbia, seem to become mainly transactional.

      I’m recalling that more than 30 years ago, our club would host Boy Scouts and other youth organizations for shooting outings. The kids and parents would enjoy it, but I don’t recall any coming back for more after initial exposure.

      Of course I’m referring to a culture that was already “suburban.” But 50 – 60 years ago, we wanted no parts of “gun clubs” because we didn’t need them for our shooting fun. Involvement began when the suburban handwriting was on the wall, that we would someday have to look for “a place to shoot.” And that almost by definition was transactional. Cross-over to “subculture” was almost coincidental and often not lasting.

      1. “Supply does indeed exceed demand, which is why there are waiting lists.”

        But to continue my train of thought, is the demand for a “transaction” (pay for a place to shoot) or, to sign-on with a “subculture?”

        I’d submit that with Baby Boomers, the club “subculture” was more self-sustaining (though with numerous foibles and faults) while with GenX forward, there is more tendency to “transactional” thinking. The correlations aren’t perfect, obviously.

        1. I agree with the ‘transactional’ description. Gen X and forward are used to paying for things. They don’t appreciate that you might have to do more than show up with a credit card (or Venmo, Apple pay, etc.). Pay a bit more and get the premium or VIP experience. Funny thing, most of them now have “community service” requirements in order to graduate from high school (I am against it). Many do left-wing/social justice type things. My kids could have been excused from class to go to a BLM march. They really don’t get the idea of having to “pay your dues” like us older (I’m 58) folks do.

          You’re probably right on the subculture aspect. I found everyone a the clubs to be very nice. If I was a member I’d probably make some friends too. If you have guns in common – you probably have a few more things in common as well. I’d certainly be more likely to meet other Veterans at a gun club, I suspect.

          1. “Many do left-wing/social justice type things.”

            A real “educational” experience would be, to try to get approval to do something “alternative” and not-in-the-mainstream. The education would be in seeing the kinds of resistance experienced.

            I’m thinking of a guy I knew who insisted on doing “Irish studies” as independent study in high school, while everyone else was doing “African-American studies.” The resistance he experienced — and prevailed against — turned him into the most authentic “Irish Rebel” of American birth that I ever knew.

  9. Sorry you’ve had to move on from blogging, Keith. You were just so damn good at it!!

  10. “You were just so damn good at it!!

    And when your goal is nearest
    The end for others sought,
    Watch sloth and heathen Folly
    Bring all your hopes to nought.


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