Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Gun Culture

Firearms, Popular Culture, Random Musings and Idle Chit Chat, Schutzenfest

To be correct the term should be:  Firearms Ethos. 

I just completed a weekend infused with testosterone, barbecue and spent powder.  It was Schützenfest 2014 – the sixth annual shooting festival I have had the privilege to host.  My conservative estimate is that there were upwards of thirty firearms in my household for the festivities.  Rifles, shotguns and pistols.  Chambered in all manner of calibers and representing such names as Colt, Springfield, and Browning, Ruger, Mauser and more.  The recovered brass filled a pail. 

I’m sure someone reading this blog is going to come to the conclusion that I am some sort of deranged nut-case that should be carefully observed and probably checked.  From a distance.  All of those firearms?  And an actual shooting festival?  This has got to be some serious-bad craziness. 

The truth of the matter is most people think I’m rather normal.  I love my wife and my extended family.  I’ve held the same job for thirty four years.  My politics are not radicalized.  I pay my bills on time.  Three of my cars have more than a hundred thousand miles on them.  My jewelry is my wedding band.  My wardrobe supplier is Kohl’s, LL Bean and Fleet Farm.  I have cool-looking surgical scars and not a single tattoo.  I volunteer my time and talents regularly.  By all outward appearances I’m rather unexciting.  I also happen to like firearms. 

I’ve earned a couple of marksmanship qualifications and hold a CC permit.  At home up-north I openly carry.  When I walk my dogs in the woods and fields I prefer to carry a shotgun during the hunting seasons.  The pistol and shotgun are tools.  Sure, I hunt. But I also like to shoot.  There is something satisfying about the art and science of making a difficult and accurate shot which is no different than someone who derives their satisfaction from the art and science of making a difficult camera shot.  Both of us are honing our skills with our respective tools.  Both of us are normal. 

So getting back the shooting festival we all had a terrifically fun time - to the point of hilarity.  It was apparent who the best with pistol was and who was best with rifle.  They were crowned as Schützenkoenig (shooting king).  And the entire event was exceedingly safe.  We all were diligent about range precautions because a firearm can be a dangerous tool and should be treated accordingly.  A serious firearms enthusiast takes these things seriously. 

And it struck me at some point what a terrifically fine bunch of fellows all of the participants were.  They are not a collection of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, gun-toting, goof-balls.  In contrast most of us hold graduate degrees and are capable of carrying-on a discourse of current events and politics without raising our voices.  Pretty normal guys in my view. 

I don’t ordinarily blog about this subject but every so often there is a breathless news account of some heinous crime committed by someone with a firearm.  And in virtually every instance the perpetrator could be described as abnormal.  What the media doesn’t report are the millions upon millions of normal and boring firearm owners who quietly live their lives in a manner that I would describe as background noise.  Failure to acknowledge that humdrum reality sort of rubs me the wrong way.  Nevertheless, I don’t dwell on it. 

The firearms ethos – insipidly normal – and capable of making a mean batch of Buffalo wings… 


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