02 March 2009

Monday Musings...
If there's one thing I can always find amusement in (aside from watching the local freak show pass by my windows daily), it's the Fort Wayne newspapers. Yeah, I still get the PRINTED version, so sue me. I like having that pulp in my hands while chugging down the morning "Joe".
Yesterday was no exception.
In the METRO section was an article on the "Airsoft Assault".
(rolls eyes)...Here we go again.
Now to the uninitiated, that might seem alarming, but to me, I saw this coming...for quite a while.
Here's the link to the Journal-gazette article:
If you check MY archives WAY back on 24 October 2006, I had a post about look-alike weapons.
I alluded to the fact that something like yesterday's article WAS coming...and how many were listening?
Show of hands?
Well, those at Carroll High School must be as "in touch" as I've been all these years, because I could see this coming like a jail on wheels.
And when it comes to look-alike weapons, I could write a few pages in ANY police department's book, trust me.
It's what I do.
But screwing around, or being otherwise irresponsible with ANY weapon is bad. And today's mock "firearm clones" make it all the more important that everyone pays the hell attention. Misuse of these items can get you killed. It's not your Lone Ranger cap guns or Red Ryder rifles anymore, people.

You treat EVERY weapon as if it's loaded (and with respect), and ALWAYS practice personal responsibility when owning or operating one (kinda like having a vehicle).
I own more than a few airsoft weapons, and YES, I call ANY device that expels a projectile a WEAPON, and deservedly so.
I also own a paintball pistol and a couple of BB pistols, and a pellet pistol (yes, Virginia, there ARE differences).

And I own REAL firearms (9mm, 12 ga, and a .44 cal percussion pistol).
The airsoft weapons utilize a 6mm PLASTIC "BB" (that's a bit larger than the bullet used in an M-16, btw).
The (spring and CO2) BB pistols I have fire a 4mm copper BB (which is a shade smaller than an M-16 bullet at .177 caliber - the M-16s use a .223 caliber slug, just as a point of reference).
The RAM4 pistol I own fires a .43 caliber rubber ball OR paintball (that's a shade smaller than a .45 ACP round).
While my airsoft weapons use a SPRING to expel the "BB", the paintball pistol uses CO2 to shoot the projectile at muzzle velocities approaching 400 FPS (that WILL leave a mark). Ditto for my CO2-powered copper BB pistols (yes, Ralphie, they WILL put your eye out).
But the BIG selling point on most ALL of these weapons is their REALISM!
They are all 1:1 scale, and many have weight added so they "feel" as real as the actual firearm.
Most all of these items are made overseas, but are easily obtained through mail order (online), Internet auctions on eBay, sporting goods stores (like Dicks or Cabela's), as well as Wal-Mart and K-Mart, which carry many of these pistols and long guns. Hell, we couldn't even BUY a BB pistol of pellet gun IN the city of Philadelphia, and that as back in the 1970s. My dad and I went out to Bensalem township (to a mall) to get ours, but yet, we could go down to the Delaware river and plink cans all damn day...go figure.
Over the years, I've procured mine through all of the sources mentioned with great success.
And I will tell you straight away, ALL of mine LOOK REAL!
I "modified" them on purpose (for me), and I make NO bones about it.
Then again, I live in the "blighted" area of this city, and ANY little bit of "intimidation" I can muster without packing REAL heat 24/7/365 is an advantage I can live with. It's just part of "surviving" down here.
A few years back, I chased some argumentative ethnics off of my property with a spotlight, an AIRSOFT pistol, a damn loud voice and abrupt attitude.
If you know HOW to confront a situation, you WILL have the advantage. How to follow up ON that advantage will determine how well you can bluff the opposition, and nine times out of ten, THEY will back the hell off. It all comes down to "knowing your enemy".
You just have to avoid that "tenth" time, that's all...lol.
But let's look at those that have "other things" in mind when they come into possession of one of these airsoft weapons...
We have more than enough criminals WITH INTENT to bluff their way past a robbery, be it residential or business, using an airsoft weapon.
And they get away with it because people give them the benefit of the doubt as to the weapon being real, and that will SAVE a life or two in the process. So it's no surprise that the LEOs out there will respond to ANY threat with a look-alike weapon as a REAL weapon. The alternative could COST someone a life.
Now I always speak to the fact that we have so many dumb-ass criminals around, but the actuality is that these thugs are really not "stupid" in the strictest sense. Hell, they KNOW damn well WTF they're doing when they decide to commit a crime.
The stupidity enters into it regarding the MANNER they execute that crime.
You can rob a store (with an airsoft pistol) in broad daylight that has security cams all over and a gun-toting employee (stupid), OR you can scope the place out, wait until after closing, and go in through an adjoining wall from another place not so well secured, take out the camera system, bypass the alarms and make your getaway (smart).
If local trends are any indicator of the increased use of airsoft weapons in committing crime (stores report higher sales of such weapons), then expect some sort of BAN on them, just as other cities already have in place (Chicago, NYC, L.A., Detroit..well you see the pattern here).
And you can thank our criminals for that, or you can keep your head in the sand and blame the economy.
As a "city boy" that grew up with every type of toy gun imaginable (and knew what a "zip gun" was, and how to make them to boot), I don't intend to hand over my purchases that easy. That was part of my childhood, and did not turn me into some violence-crazed criminal, hell bent on shooting everyone in range.
But I will admit that my neighbors give me pause to reconsider that chain of thought at times.
I would suffer no great loss, nor shed any tears should ALL the "locals" up and drop dead from lead poisoning tomorrow.
In fact, that would be a damn good start (to reclaiming this neighborhood).
Yes, the days of "playing" Cops & Robbers are long gone, supplanted with the REAL version of the same neighborhood "game", only THIS time, the guns are REAL (or at least airsoft), and the crimes are REAL as well.
Ditto for Cowboys and Indians, but at least that's just not politically correct these days.
Kind of makes you wonder what today's kids DO with all that pent-up hostility when you can't let Billy go outside, whip out the old Hubley cap gun, and "bust a roll" into his buddies after school, can you?
(that's what more violent VIDEO GAMES are for, right?)
Oh, wait...they're shooting one another FOR REAL, aren't they now?
Well, as Dickens would say: "Better for them to die and decrease the surplus population".
(Damn, Bob...that's a bit severe, don'cha think?)
Now I know that Dickens was referring to Victorian era poverty and debtors prison in England, and NOT to kids committing crimes with guns on OUR streets, but it sure sounds like he was onto something.
Used to be an old saying that went: "If you LIVE by the gun, you will DIE by the gun".
Never heard anything said about AIRSOFT, though...weird, huh?
Stay safe out there, America.


indy said...

we had a bb gun shot out our brand new house back in the day at 721 blueberry lane. up in fort wayne. i'll never forget how my mom moved me out of the front bedroom towards the back of the house. this was in the early 70's. i came to dispise anything like a bb gun. as my dad would say. why own a fake. when you plan to use it to protect. i grew up on the real deal. and a quit grumpy attitude with the fake.

Bob G. said...

BB pistols and rifles, as well as pellet guns used to be more for plinking and "varmint control" (Dad used to shoot rats down by the river in Philly as a kid), but today, they're used to harass, annoy, intimidate all the way up to and including robbery, home invasion, assault, and carjacking.

WHat some people fail to understand (with these look-alikes)is that "they" feel they can push anyone around for any length of time, and nothing will be said OR done.

Well, my dad had a saying for THAT, too:
"Never mess with someone when you don't know a damn thing about them - you might wind up on the short end of the stick".

It's all about being RESPONSIBLE, and sadly, on our streets today, I'm just not seeing all that much of it.
Same goes for ethics and personal integrity.

Yep, it's GOOD to have the "real thing" (as far as weapons go), but it doesn't hurt to have some fun (with the airsoft and BB pistols) either.
Keeps the senses sharp.

Thanks for your comments.