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My body, my….self…?

My sense is that abortion was the issue of this week’s mid-term election. After all, all of the digital online advertising I received about Fetterman, Shapiro, and Mastriano was about that one issue. And Democrat Party poll workers confirmed their own belief that abortion would galvanize their voters. It seems to have worked, and fended off what was touted as a “red wave” of conservative response to failed governance in Washington DC.

My mind wanders back to 1972 or 1973, when I was a young kid, but old enough to become self aware. My hippie parents had the Our Bodies, Our Selves book laying out in the living room. When no adults were around I would look at this book and marvel at the array of hairy women parading their naked bodies in it. At an early age, then, I determined that naked woman was good, hairy was not good. One idea that sticks in my mind (having long ago eradicated the book’s “natural” images from my memory banks) is the novel concept that a person’s body is their own.

I think freedom-loving Americans can emphatically agree on this, that a person’s body is their own and nobody else’s.  Where Americans diverge from one another is what is our body? Is it just the living, walking adult body, or does that also include young humans growing inside of it?

Reasonable people can and should debate this subject, and if pro-Life advocates want to make headway politically and culturally, then they have got to do a much better job explaining their perspective on when human life begins, why it is sacred, and how abortion-on-demand is not a my body, my self policy issue, but rather an “our bodies intertwined together” humanity issue. They must do a much better job, as this week’s election results demonstrate (assuming no election fraud occurred, which in some states is once again already obvious and in-your-face to the point of training voters to regularly accept it from one political party).

To be fair to the pro-Life anti-abortion voters, advocates, and candidates like Doug Mastriano, a lot of Americans felt like the two-year Covid1984 plandemic was one gigantic official assault on the idea of Our Bodies, Our Selves. A lot of voters this week showed up to vote against the unconstitutional government overreach, official lies, official illegalities, and government personnel self-enrichment that characterized the past two years of Covid1984. They thought other Americans felt the same.

Draconian lockdowns to the point of absurdity (lone sea kayakers being surrounded by heavily armed police boats and arrested for violating a “public health code,” sunbathers sitting totally alone on a beach, and married couples sitting alone in their car at scenic overlooks being similarly mistreated by aggressive police officers etc.), pointless and highly damaging school closures, useless mask requirements, and dangerous fake vaccine requirements that are now yielding an enormous number of vaccine-caused injuries and deaths, all and every aspect of the Covid1984 experience was one huge pile of Our Bodies, Our Selves books being symbolically burned by government staffers and leftist political activists in a joyous ceremony to mark the end of the idea that your body is yours and yours alone, and to emphasize that the government, their government, can do to you whatever it wants whenever it wants.

Conservative voters and candidates mistakenly thought that leftists would be consistent in their body sovereignty thinking, that everyone else felt the same (logically consistent) as conservatives about this disaster, and that they would vote accordingly.

And this is the confusing part of this my body, my self as a public policy issue and debate subject. On the one hand we have a lot of Americans who were and still are being severely damaged by the government’s purposefully bad handling of Covid1984, and they are pushing back. (Despite the Biden DOJ’s designation of them as “domestic terrorists” for merely speaking out in official taxpayer-funded venues.)

And on the other hand we have a lot of Americans who think that not only is the government’s brutal and useless Covid1984 overreach into your body and your body choices great public policy, but that the use of crushing government coercive force to implement it and force you to comply or be destroyed was just great, too. And yet a lot of these same people are the pro abortion Our Bodies, Our Selves believers who were animated enough to show up to vote this week.

This is confusing because it is inconsistent. Choice should be choice…right?

If you spend time reading this blog, then you already know I am not enamored of liberal/ leftist thinking, because I cannot make it make sense. And to be fair, most leftists and liberals I speak with about this are quite honest about it: They don’t care about logic, reason, or being consistent. They want their political issues the way they want them, and to hell with your criticisms.

In a democratic nation and in a Western Civilization based on logic, reason, debate, and persuasion, we have a conundrum here. Americans are talking right past each other, and not just about our bodies being sovereign from outside forces. Americans are failing to communicate with each other on a whole array of political and cultural topics. I am firmly on the side of reason, logic, and reasoned debate being at the center of our governance process, and so I stand firmly with the dreaded “conservatives.”

But I will say this to the conservatives, like governor candidate Doug Mastriano: If you are going to make the elimination or regulation of abortion your main public policy goal, then you had damned well better explain it to the public very carefully, frame it in context of the 2020-2022 Covid1984 government assault on Americans’ bodies, and you had better not do any interviews where snippets of your public statements can be used to paint you into a corner. At least half of America is not able or willing to discuss this subject, and to them only the axe-murdering abortion of a helpless and sacred child is their singular and joyous right; what the government does to their bodies the other 99% of the time is the business of the government and none of their own. They are not thinking clearly about this, and candidates must work hard to connect the abortion dot to the Covid1984 dot for future voters. Or don’t work on it, and shut the hell up about it.

And I will also say this to the liberals/ leftists: Your apparent worshiping of abortion as an act, to the point of killing the living, viable child at birth, makes you look like a primitive bloodthirsty death cult. This is not civilized behavior by people who advocate for myriad other intrusive government policies “if it saves just one child.” So long as you inhabit this childish shadowland of disconnected and strongly contrasting public policies, your fellow Americans will understandably deride you as foolish children who actually hate children.

Does this book also apply to the victims of bad government policies on Covid? If not, then there is no body sovereignty for anyone

 

Voting for Fetterman is voting for child molesters & violent criminals

While it is a cold, sad, but irrefutable fact that voting for senate candidate John Fetterman here in Pennsylvania is a vote for child molesters and violent criminals, and failed schools, it is also a sad fact that voting for just about any if not every Democrat Party candidate these days means the same thing.

So extreme has the Democrat Party become that I cannot think of one single Democrat Party candidate running for office anywhere who has disavowed or will disavow the teachers’ unions violent blitzkrieg attack against American children, against kids’ innocence, against American families, against American parents and their parental rights, and for child molesters and pedophiles.

When we consider that the Democrat Party has universally across America produced candidates like John Fetterman who are also totally pro-violent criminals (Fetterman says that violent criminals are actually victims) and anti-police (instead of recognizing there are a lot of great police who keep us safe and only a handful of bad cops), you have to wonder why the hell would any normal American vote for a single Democrat anywhere?

I ask this question as a former Democrat Party member who was active in many Pennsylvania Democrat Party campaigns to the point of serving as the 1988 Al Gore for President campaign’s central Pennsylvania director. But recall that in 1988 Al Gore was endorsed by the National Rifle Association and various pro-life groups. It is not that I left the Democrat Party but that Al Gore and the Democrat Party left me with their extreme positions. They are now so extreme and destructive that only the incurious and the happily unthinking vote for them.

Do not vote for John Fetterman. If you vote for him, you are also voting for child molesters and violent criminals, both of whom Fetterman believes should be roaming your neighborhood at will, without repercussion. Normal people do not believe these things or vote for these things.

Primitive hunting techniques are more important than ever

In this day and age of popular stainless steel and plastic hunting rifles and Hubble telescope-sized rifle scopes, primitive hunting techniques and weapons are more important than ever. Something in the bad age of video games and instant gratification happened to the American character in the past thirty years or so, and so many young Americans have become lazy and even a bit heartless, as a result. Hunting culture has suffered from this, too. Really badly. Today’s focus seems to be predominantly on the kill, and much less on the process of the hunt.

Those curious about the distinction here should look up some neat videos from real hunters in the big woods of Vermont, Pennsylvania, and the Adirondacks.

Hunting should never be just about, or mostly about, killing an animal. Especially if the hunter wants to call it a trophy and put it up on his or her wall as a representation of his skill.

People trying to justify 300, 400 yard long range shots (or farther) on unsuspecting animals are not hunting, they are assassinating. Their wood craft often sucks, their field craft is limited to wearing camouflage, and their knowledge of the game animal is negligible. They are not really hunters, but rather shooters. Their high-tech guns, ammo, and rifle scopes are a crutch diminishing their need for good woodcraft, and it also results in a lack of appreciation for an actual hunt, and a lower value placed on the animal.

Culling oversized wild animal populations for the benefit of the environment is one thing, but hunting wild animals for pleasure and clean meat should be accomplished with skill. Age-old skills that everyone can respect. Hard-won wild animals taken with real skill under fair chase conditions are all trophies.

An unsuspecting big game animal assassinated at long range (or worse, inside a high fence, or over bait) requires very little hunting skill, and can never be said to be a trophy that is reflective of the hunter’s skill set. And yet isn’t this why so many hunters want big antlers and broad hides? They see these big animals as a reflection of their hunting prowess, of their manhood, their chest-thumping status within the outdoors community. As a result, America has developed a hunting culture driven by bigger-is-better trophies, at any cost, all too often achieved through long-range assassinations of unsuspecting wildlife, or over bait. Fair chase, which has always been at the heart of hunting, has been tossed away in favor of quick gratification and unfounded ego bragging rights.

The primary reason why primitive hunting weapons are so important today, is that someone has to keep the culture of hunting alive. What is a primitive hunting weapon? Pretty much any legal implement that requires the hunter to work hard to develop unique field craft/ wood craft skills, including the ability to penetrate within a fairly close range of the prey animal’s eyes, ears, and nose: Any bow (compound bow, stick bow, self bow, longbow, or other hand-held vertically limbed bow), spear, atl-atl, open-sighted black powder or centerfire rifle, any large bore handgun with or without a scope, should qualify. Flintlocks, percussion cap black powder muzzleloaders, and traditional bows are especially challenging to master and to harvest wild game with.

All of these primitive weapons require the hunter to actually hunt, to rely upon his woodcraft to carry him quietly and unseen across the landscape, and into a fair and close range of his prey animal. Animals taken with primitive weapons and techniques are earned in every way, and therefore they are fully appreciated.

Few experiences bother me more than watching some internet video of a fourteen year-old hunter running his hands over the antlers of a recently deceased buck, and listening to this inexperienced mere child discuss the finer aspects of this rack, its inches, its points, its relative size, and its (barf on my feet) trail camera name. Usually the child has shot the deer from an elevated box blind that conceals all of the hunter’s scent, sound, and movement. Whoever has taught these kids to hunt this way exclusively, and to then look at deer harvested this way as so many bragging rights, has done a huge disservice to these kids. These kids are going to grow up into poachers and baiters, always trying to prove how great of a “hunter” they are, and how studly and manly they are, at any cost. They will end up doing anything to score the next “record book” animal. These young kids who are being warped right now with this trophy nonsense are the future of America’s hunting culture, and what a crappy culture it will be if it is dominated by big egos and even bigger mouths armed with sniper rifles and no actual hunting skill.

Moms, dads, grandpas and uncles who are beginning to teach kids to hunt right now can do two simple things that will ensure their little student grows up into an ethical, responsible, high quality, law-abiding hunter: Make them use open sights on single-shot firearms and bows.

The skills that young hunters develop from having to rely on open sights and single shots (primitive weapons) will force them to achieve a high level of field craft, wood craft, and fair chase values. Developing skill requires a person to overcome challenges and adversity, often making mistakes along the way. And that results in better character.

Forcing kids to get close to their prey animal, and to take only carefully aimed shots with just open sights, will result in people who become really  excellent hunters. Adults can always opt to add a scope to their rifle as their eyes age, but the lessons learned early on in concealment, controlling movement, playing wind direction, and instinctive shooting will keep the respectable art of hunting alive and well.

This Fall, get your little one started on a flintlock or old Fred Bear recurve bow from the get-go, for squirrels and deer, and watch as a true hunter is born.

Long live the Queen

England’s Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday, aged 96 and wise beyond her years. A monarch beloved by so many of The People in an age of individualism, as she was, must be special. What is intriguing is that it is not so much what Queen Elizabeth said, but both how she said what she said, and even more important, what she left unsaid. Her mere dignified if mute presence was all that was required to ensure that some event stood proudly and solidly. That is true power.

Queen Elizabeth stood as a symbol of times gone by and hopefully not completely gone through our fingers. The past times of which we speak here included dignity, respect for others, following the law, placing others above one’s self, making sacrifices in the present for future gains, fealty to a higher order and set of rules than what I myself wants right now, and so on.

You could call Queen Elizabeth the last living representative of Tradition. Not just English tradition, but Western Civilization’s traditions. As much as someone such as I might oppose monarchy on its face (more on this below), I have also come to appreciate and value the role of that tradition. Especially in light of the violent anarchic abyss swallowing up America and Europe as you read these words. Monarchy in general, and Queen Elizabeth in particular, today stand for tradition’s consistency if nothing else. And it is consistency Western Civilization needs so desperately now.

Into the breach steps Charles, Prince of Wales, and soon to be coronated King Charles or perhaps some other historic name. Perhaps he will become a King George, a name which has both greatly positive and also very negative histories. Either way, a change of name will do Charles good, especially if it changes him. It is hard to imagine a person less befitting the role of king than this Charles, because he is a spoiled playboy whose private life often reflected the 1970s’ wilder freedoms and lack of seriousness. That Charles pretends at climate change environmentalism makes him even worse, because his carbon footprint must be the size of…well, a large island I have seen somewhere. Yet he speaks down to us about our own consumptions. Yuck. Nothing undermines authority more than spoiled, contemptible authoritarians like Charles.

If there is one redeemable aspect of Charles it was his prior focus on conserving England’s spectacular countryside landscape. In that he did everything correctly, from outright preservation to careful low-impact development that reflected the ancient dovetail fit of English citizen into life sustaining shire, thatched roofs and all. Oh how I wish that this land conservation ethic had been Charles’ sole love and hallmark. This one cause alone is sufficient to mark a king with greatness and to make him a true leader of his people. England’s spectacular landscape shaped its people, and to preserve that landscape is to preserve its values and culture.

Sadly, Charles is as unstable as water, and stands at the opposite end of the character and intelligence spectrum as his now deceased mother. His endless tabloid blathering on about every ridiculous little leftist cause reveals a weakness of wit and backbone that augurs poorly. One does not know where Queen Elizabeth’s death and Charles’ ascension will take England and Western Civilization, but it is probably going to accelerate the current decline. We all can work hard to advance the cause of freedom, hope, pray, and even don Druid’s robes if it will move Charles in the correct direction as a leader. Success will probably require all of these efforts.

Half of my own family is Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, with very famous ancestors who in the 1770s bravely and successfully confronted an ascendant Britain to win freedom of choice for many from a tyrannical British monarch bent on subjugating everyone through coercive force of arms. I was raised to deride monarchy and aristocracy. And yet here I am, saying Long Live the Queen.

She was not just England’s queen, she was our queen, as well.

Queen Elizabeth, our shared civilization needs you more now than ever. May you intervene for the better from above.

Everything about this photo says “Leader.” Her steady, unflinching eye and solid, familiar hand shooting a firearm. The loving and approving gaze of the officer. How many American “leaders” today are there with her qualities? Hmmm?

Harrisburg’s Midtown Scholar A+ experience

One of the pleasures of maintaining a blog is the opportunity to write about any old subject the author desires. It could be cats, dogs, selecting household paint colors (the best quality I ever saw were at the Farrow & Ball store in Dublin, Ireland. The best. Unbelievable, really.), gardening, hikes, nature photos, cooking, the funny turns of daily life, and of course politics and culture. Well, I had long ago hoped to write about all of these things, minus the cats. But the political developments since the Obama years have grown into a now direct threat to American democracy. As was Obama’s stated plan for “fundamental change,” whether Americans wanted it, or not. So the political stuff has dominated here, even though there should be so much more to life to write about.

Despite the incredible political developments since Biden’s Satanic Red Hell speech in Pennsylvania last week (during which Biden made no mention of China or fentanyl or the open border and instead declared official US military war against his political opponents), and a federal judge stopping the corrupt FBI from any further handling of the thousands of pages of medical records, accounting records, and private legal records that the FBI stole from President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home for political gain against him, I am taking a moment to recognize a local used book store. Why not, we all need a break from the political misery that is gripping our beautiful nation.

And we are recognizing not just any book store, but the Mid Town Scholar book store here in Harrisburg. A small business run by a guy named Eric Papenfuse, who had the fatal attraction of politics inflame his brain. He served as Harrisburg’s beleagured mayor for eight years, and is now blessedly back to running a really neat used book store that provides so much happiness for so many people.

Yay Eric!

I want to thank Eric for having the Mid Town Scholar open at all. In 2012, when I ran for state senate, Eric’s book store café in Mid-Town hosted all of the political debates in a safe and nice atmosphere, with good seating for a large audience, and good electronics for communicating with the public. It was a real service to the public to provide that forum, which I always appreciated and which the Harrisburg area and Dauphin County benefited from.

So fast forward just a few years and I am looking for A River Runs Through It in paperback, as a gift for my son who is beginning his life adventure as a young adult. I grew up bait fishing and fly fishing in Central Pennsylvania’s trout streams, limestone and freestone, and Norman Maclean’s Siddhartha-like use of the unifying river theme in his amazing book is an important idea for all young people to begin life’s journey with. And so I was determined that this wonderful book was going to be my gift to the traveling boy.

Problem was, I could not really find it in paperback. Not new or even just slightly used, for any reasonable amount. And it seemed a lot of sellers wanted an arm and a leg for what should be a five buck book, especially one that was literally eaten by a dog. After failing to find what I wanted at Abe Books, and despairing of Amazon’s heartless tactics, I decided on a whim to try our local community’s used book store, Mid Town Scholar. And I was like “I’ll be damned,” because they actually had two copies. Each for a great price.

So I ordered both copies online, one for my son and one for me, as my own original from 1992 long ago swam off into someone else’s book collection. Within a few days I had professional email notices telling me exactly where my two books were, and that I could pick them up in person, if I wanted to, either at the café in Midtown Harrisburg, or possibly at the warehouse not far from my home, when they were ready. And so that is what I opted to do, to pick it up at the warehouse. Even though this is not how I was supposed to pick up the books, the staff still emailed with me and helped me get what I wanted in the way I wanted it. In a nutshell, I met the nicest, most cheerful and personable people working for Mid Town Scholar, who treated me most professionally and who delivered A+ customer service.

Thank you, Mid Town Scholar staff! What an excellent experience.

And on top of all the excellent technical support and customer support experience, both books were brand new. They did not seem to have any wear or use. Talk about receiving something rewarding ordered unseen on line, and relying on someone else’s judgment about its quality, and being more than pleasantly surprised. I don’t know if Mid Town Scholar can replicate this kind of experience every time for book buyers, but I will say I am really pleased with my experience from beginning to end.

One of four or five, maybe six or seven, Mid Town Scholar Book Store warehouses in the Harrisburg area

This particular warehouse was a beehive of activity as friendly staff wrapped book orders for shipping. It was here that Seong met me and handed me my wrapped books. That I was supposed to pick up downtown at the cafe, not here at the warehouse. Seong and everyone else was cheerful and happy to see me get what I wanted. I had a great experience

This is the Mid Town Scholar book store warehouse that I was informed about in my customer order email. It is quite unassuming, but behind these doors lie a treasure of unimaginable value and fun. Thank you for letting me pick up my books here, folks

Books are nowhere near dead, and I encourage everyone to buy some used books. They don’t need batteries, they don’t strain your eyes, and it is amazing what was printed not too long ago. For five bucks you can enter a book’s magical world and learn a lot, and then hand the book off to someone else. Or leave it in a doctor’s office with a note to the next owner.

 

Joe Biden and his supporters are America’s biggest threat

There. I have crossed a barrier I never thought I would cross, which is criticizing registered Democrats who vote for bad people who destroy America, like Joe Biden.

Until today, with this blog post, I had never before laid blame on my fellow Americans for making their individual choices at the voting booth. Despite being the target myself of liberals, leftists, Democrats, all angered by my voting choices and political views, and always telling myself that they can change.

Traditionally, conservatives (what a laugh… conservatives… today’s conservative is 1980’s tolerant, open-minded, accepting liberal, while today’s liberals are a mob of bigoted Nazi Brown Shirts) see liberals as good people with bad ideas, while liberals see conservatives as just bad people, period. It is why conservatives agreeably hold onto their liberal Democrat friends even as those same people are reviling their conservative family and friends. These two groups see each other so differently. That is mostly due to the incessant drumbeat of dehumanization that liberals/ leftists have heaped on Republicans, conservatives, patriots, white people, etc. for five decades. Joe Biden did more of it today.

Well, after Joe Biden’s horrible public statements here in Pennsylvania, I don’t think it is possible for me to just let everyday Democrats off the hook any longer. They have empowered Biden’s cruelty and dangerousness, and they are accountable.

If you concur with Biden’s threat to law-abiding American gun owners that they will be bombed into submission by US government F-15 fighter jets, then you have divorced yourself from America as it was founded and run until 18 months ago, and you have separated yourself from the majority of people who live here. We conservatives and liberals really do inhabit two different worlds, and we really cannot live together. No wonder Biden’s supporters are gleeful about the open border and the millions of illegal migrants coming over it. Biden’s supporters have more in common with these illegals than they do with me, apparently.

Duly noted.

For the record, which political party is pushing civilian disarmament, the crushing and total censorship and elimination of opposing voices and arguments, an all-knowing, all-powerful, big and unaccountable government, $600 limits on cash expenditures from our personal accounts, the elimination of cash money and a transition to a Big Brother digital money, the blocking of transparent elections and the use of openly corrupted election machines, the centralizing of all decision making including all elections, the destruction of legal due process as the DOJ and FBI SWAT teams blow up and attack the homes of innocent Republicans simply because they are Republicans, the sexual grooming and political indoctrination of our children?

The Democrat Party.

This is all evil crap and it is all part and parcel of the new Democrat Party and its local adherents. Shame on every one of you. Shame, shame, shame.

I never thought I would write something like this, and I hope I am proven wrong by an old friend or some huge voter shift away from the rogue Democrat Party. But given how so many of my Democrat friends and even some family have simply walked away from me, it seems like a vain hope. I am purposefully late to the party of anger and division, but if that is what Joe Biden and his supporters are constantly serving, then I guess I will eventually take a swig from my own jug of it.

Dear Democrat voters, your double-standard lawlessness and your war against the Constitution and against law-abiding Americans is unsustainable. Your rotten un-American beliefs and your destructive actions are a direct threat to democracy in general and to America as a republic run by its citizens. Will America survive another Democrat Party insurrection? We barely survived the first one from 1861 to 1865. If America goes fifty-fifty, that is, even odds, then no, we won’t survive this latest Democrat assault on democracy.

And we know who to blame.

 

Joe Biden, Fentanyl dealer of the millennium

Last night I was called to the home of a friend, who asked me to help him pick up his sick wife. These are “elderly” people who often require physical assistance with heavy or tall things, and I figured she was on a couch, needing help going upstairs.

I entered the house and found her curled up in the fetal position on the kitchen floor, her head resting on a pillow, eyes closed.

“My son died this night six years ago, and my heart is broken,” she said. “All I can think about is what a beautiful and innocent child he was.”

Though I had heard the general story before, I asked her how her son had died, and she murmured “Fentanyl.”

Fentanyl is a dangerous, highly toxic drug that has been killing mostly young Americans for the past ten years (my friend’s son was in his fifties), both occasional “recreational” drug users and addicts. Often mixed into marijuana or heroin, fentanyl can apparently provide an extra “kick” to the already intense “high” from the primary illegal drug. But fentanyl can also kill people, because it easily shuts down the nervous system. It stops our regular automatic breathing and our heart from beating.

Over the past few years, it appears that fentanyl is becoming ever stronger, ‘hitting the street’ in such purity that now even a tiny amount is causing Americans to drop dead on the spot after taking just one puff of laced marijuana. A new fad has criminals leaving folded dollar bills lying on the ground with fentanyl dust on them; just the invisible dust alone is strong enough to kill the person picking  up the dollar bill with their bare fingers.

All indications are that China is the main source of fentanyl in America, dumping pure fentanyl and more common drugs laced with it into and onto America. It is a lost leader in their war on our youth, whose naivete and carelessness leads them to smoke, snort, rub, eat, huff, drink etc whatever is presented to them as a casual and harmless recreational drug. While China most assuredly is America’s brutal enemy, I mostly blame the 1970s Cheech and Chong dope culture for this stupid attitude. Being a goofy stoner is no longer harmless or funny, because it is too often an immediate death sentence. The cost of recreational drug use is no longer measured in bags of Cheetos eaten or lost work time while staring off into space, but rather in beautiful young Americans stacked high at the local morgues from one end of the nation to the other.

With America’s southern border along Mexico now wide open, because of the Biden Administration’s illegal attempt to flood America with illegal trespassers who the Democrat Party hopes will become illegal or maybe legal voters, fentanyl is now pouring like a river into America. Where illegal humans flow unchecked into America, so flows fentanyl and the other illegal drugs (as well as human slave trafficking, child sex slaves, prostitution, violent terrorists etc.).

The number one person responsible for this river of death into America is White House resident Joe Biden. We could easily congratulate Poor Ol’ Joe for being the fentanyl salesman or dealer of the year or the decade, but it’s no joke. Biden is literally killing thousands of beautiful American children, and leaving their parents curled up in the fetal position, clutching a small stuffed animal their dead child once held for comfort. He could stop the carnage by closing our border and regulating what and who comes through, but Biden’s lust for political power is so much more important than our children.

Once again, as a former Democrat, I have to ask current registered Democrats “Why on earth do you continue to vote for and support this crazy political party that cares nothing for the collateral damage we all suffer from its terrible policies?

 

Enjoy the end of Summer!

Summer time is almost everyone’s favorite time of the year (skiers can be forgiven for wanting snow). During the summer months, we vacation, adventure outdoors, travel to see beautiful new places, see family and spend real time sitting around and communicating/ socializing face to face instead of device to device, take time off from work to recharge the batteries, etc.

Well, our summer this year has been just as fleeting as every other summer I can remember. It is just about over for most people, but may I make a suggestion: Visit a beach of your desire this weekend and into September. Fresh water or salt water (I grew up going to Pine Grove Furnace State Park far far away from the eastern coast, whose artificial sand beach provided endless satisfaction and happiness well into my twenties). Beaches have a lot less traffic and visitors after late August, and there is something so uniquely and deeply satisfying about sitting on a quiet beach with a good book, toes in the warm sand, and no demands.

The summer is nearly over, and I hope you make the most of what is left of it. Because our life is not just about the future, but the present.

 

Eastern Traditional Archery Rendezvous 2022

Jack Keith brought me to my first Eastern Traditional Archery Rendezvous in 2000, back when it was held at Denton Hill State Park in Potter County, Pennsylvania. Jack was the new and the first president of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation, fresh from the Army National Guard out at Fort Indiantown Gap. I helped Jack get the brand new PPFF office set up, and he treated me to a trip up north that changed my life.

At the 2000 ETAR, Jack introduced me to Mike Fedora, who was one of the individual forces behind resurrecting traditional archery in America. Many people will argue that traditional archery never went away, but after Mike Fedora started making modern stick bows in reflex-deflex (a high performance combination of long bow and recurve), a lot more bow makers joined in. Fedora made me a bow to my body’s specifications that fit me like a glove, and that I still use. It is a 52 Lb @ 28″ reflex-deflex that is an extension of my soul. Having hunted small game and deer as a kid with cheap fiberglass bows and also a basic Fred Bear bow, I was excited to get my very first custom bow.

Fast forward 22 years and ETAR is now held at Ski Sawmill on the Tioga County-Lycoming County line, on the beautiful Oregon Hill plateau near Pine Creek Valley.

Two years ago my son purchased his second custom bow at ETAR (his first was when he was eight years old). It is by David Darling at The Kalamazoo Bow Works, a 46# @ 25″ draw beautiful statement about how far bow making has come in the past twenty years. Better epoxies, better bow presses, better materials, and constant refinements of the reflex-deflex style now yield bows that are as light as a feather, but which pack enough punch to take any North American animal.

Last week I got to participate in one of traditional bow hunter Fred Asbell’s classes. Although Mister Asbell is 82 years old, he is still out shooting a traditional bow and helping people figure out everything from their grip to their release to how and when to draw on a deer that is just five yards away. While you can watch online videos of sheep hunters killing huge wilderness rams at 450 yards with ultra magnum rifles topped with the Hubble Space Scope all day long, what you won’t see much of are the rare Fred Asbells, taking huge trophy rams with a recurve at 40 yards after a day-long crawl. Fred Asbell is a legend for a reason, and we are so fortunate to have him helping us today.

The two things that Mister Asbell said to me that I took away were I must “allow” my brain to follow its natural inclination when shooting instinctively. This allowance is a natural flow that is easily interrupted by overthinking a shot, aiming a shot, etc. Second, he said that in order to ingrain that natural pattern of allowance so that it becomes truly instinctive, I must both “practice daily,” and make sure that I am “practicing smart.” Meaning, concentrate on each and every arrow being released. He said that as soon as I find myself mindlessly flinging arrows, it is time to stop, because it will simply reinforce bad habits, instead of honing good habits and improving skill.

Advice like this sounds basic, but that’s the genius of someone like Mister Asbell: He breaks down all the artificial complications into just a few words and physical activities that can be easily achieved, if the shooter but focuses each and every arrow released off the bow rest.

Lots of Amish are beginning to camp out at ETAR, and I am hearing more and more from hunting outfitters from Quebec and Newfoundland to Alaska how their Amish and Mennonite clients are showing up with traditional bows and muzzleloaders, and yet outshooting the other hunter clients who are each carrying the super ultra magnums topped with a Hubble Space Scope. Just sit on any of the many ETAR ranges’ firing lines and watch tiny little barefoot Amish kids step up and let fly, and you will understand how they do it, why they grow up to be such amazing archers. No training wheels, no special stabilizers or sights on their bows…

One of the things I always enjoy about ETAR is that I can strike up a conversation with literally anyone, and have a long conversation about American politics and culture, or a long joke-telling session, and always end with a friendly “Real nice to meet ya!”

My own desire is to see Clay Hayes and Ryan Gill set up separate and joint workshops on primitive archery (not just traditional, but a stick and a sinew string with flint-tipped arrows). Plenty of ETAR participants are bringing nice Osage orange split bow blanks, so there is a demand for this kind of truly rustic archery.

This year’s attendance was over 4,000 on Friday, so overall it was probably over 10,000, guessing, when it wrapped up lunch time on Sunday. Major brands like KUIU were represented. To my eye this year’s ETAR was a grand success. If you have a desire to get back to basic archery, so you can have more fun both shooting and hunting, then I recommend visiting ETAR next year. Bring a trailer or a tent, and be prepared to camp out among a lot of other really neat, positive, happy people. When we drove off site, we were watching people begin to potluck Friday dinner. People probably save up their best pronghorn, elk, bison, and venison cuts to cook and share at ETAR. Talk about good people and good times…

A dedicated young man practicing with his new bow at ETAR 2022. His shooting form was praised by an old timer as “a stone cold killer.”

Traditional archery legend Fred Asbell helps Dave improve his bow grip

 

 

 

The swap-meet is probably the most exciting opportunity to acquire raw materials, rare items, hand made archery stuff. When it first started the place was a zoo! Probably a thousand people excitedly milling about looking at all kinds of neat items laid out on blankets

This photo does no justice to the huge number of tents and campers we saw at ETAR 2022

 

 

 

The all-American man who got me back into traditional archery. Jack made me a set of cedar arrows twenty years ago that now sit as a remembrance to this amazing human being. Dear Jack, it is good you are not here to see what has happened to your beloved West Point, your beloved US Army, or your beloved America…but don’t worry, we will fix it

Bidenflation just killed a national publication gem

“Soaring prices of paper, shipping, ink, and printing have put us into the red, and we can no longer function,” reads the personal note I received on a fabulous custom Double Gun Journal card from DGJ proprietors Daniel and Joanna.

What a message: Disastrous loss, beautifully wrapped and delivered on a silver platter.

My first encounter with the DGJ was spring 1991, in Rockville, Maryland, on a Tower Records bookstore shelf, along with Grey’s Sporting Journal and other fancier field sports publications. But the DGJ was different than any other publication I had ever seen, and, therefore, every quarter thereafter I purchased the latest edition and learned about reloading for black powder firearms long believed to be “obsolete” or “dangerous!” or un-sexy enough to compete with modern mass produced plastic and stainless steel firearms lacking a soul, a heart, or even personal appeal.

Distinguished gun and outdoor writers like Ross Seyfried and Sherman Bell introduced modern shooters, antique gun enthusiasts, and financially or historically oriented gun collectors to actually making those beautiful historic firearms shoot once again. Seyfried and Bell, in particular, removed the mystique and veil from antique rifles, double rifles, and double barreled shotguns with Damascus or twist barrels.

It turns out that the beautifully hand crafted double barreled black powder rifles and shotguns of the 1800s, and the early nitro express rifles of the 1900-1930 period, did not just look good. They also shot with incredible precision.

Since the late 1990s I have been an annual subscriber to the DGJ, eagerly awaiting each quarterly installment. In 2017, 2018, and 2022 I published a number of technical articles about Charles Lancaster double rifles. Of particular focus has been the development of Lancaster’s most valuable trademark technology, their singular oval bore rifling. For those with any curiosity, the Lancaster oval bore rifling looks like a smooth shotgun barrel. But if you squint your eyes and look hard enough, you will eventually discern an egg-shaped bore that rotates on a central axis. Lancaster’s proprietary oval bore rifling was long ago, and remains today, one of the great mysteries of sporting arms ballistics, because it absolutely defies physics. And yet, it works incredibly well.

An 1888 Charles Lancaster black powder double rifle that I shoot regularly is capable of placing paper patched bullets from BOTH its barrels into a 1.5″ hole at 100 yards. Now THAT is the very definition of firearm accuracy.

Charles Lancaster oval bore double rifles were The Thing for wealthy sportsmen around the world from the 1850s into the 1920s. That I eventually became the probable “expert” on Charles Lancaster oval bore rifles is due to a simple mistake, or a weird act of Godly intervention, or Fate. Because when now deceased Maine forester extraordinaire Tim Scott asked me to buy his Charles Lancaster .450 BPE double rifle, I bit. And then Ross Seyfried walked me through the steps of making it shoot safely. After that I was hooked, and the rest is history (see also lancasterovalbore.com).

And so here we are, saying goodbye to one of the last, if not THE last artisanal publication in America. A family owned business for decades, a byword and watchword and often the final word on antique firearms technology and reloading, the DGJ is irreplaceable. And yet it too is now fallen victim to Joe Biden’s hyperinflation. Everything is so expensive now, so much more expensive than it was just a year ago.

I recognize that Biden’s purposefully destructive economic policies are aimed at re-setting America into a more communist China-type place. While most Americans oppose this needless, illegal, forced, and destructive change, I think the loss of the DGJ is like the proverbial canary in a coal mine: Its early demise warns of us of coming dangers that can be fatal to us, too.

If you are interested in contacting the DGJ to acquire back issues, binders, beautiful note cards and artwork, etc., they can be reached at 231-536-7439 in central Michigan.

Maybe some day younger Americans will encounter these treasures, and discover an appreciation for fine firearms

My final article in the Double Gun Journal, thanks to Joe Biden’s purposefully destructive economic policies