Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Better Way

There's got to be a better run our government, that is.  
A quick internet search looking for jokes or funny quotes about congress brings up too many to count.  If it's that bad, shouldn't we figure out how make it not so funny?  Let me propose something:

Let's give our congressmen and senators 30 days each spring and 30 days each fall to be in session--no more than that.  We can pay them 1000 per day when they're in session and give them a cell phone and tablet to do all their out of session communications.  Establish a list of "must-do" legislation that will be done, and let the the chips fall where they may on the rest of it.  They would have to prioritize and get the job done.  When their sessions are done, they go home to real jobs so they get to feel what it's like to live like the common folks whose lives they meddle with on a daily basis.

It's apparent that they haven't been doing a very good job with the time they get every year, so maybe if we put some constraints on them they'd actually step up to the plate and do something.

Of course, to make this happen, Congress would have to pass legislation to authorize it...oh....never mind!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review of Firearms Safety

I guess it's time to write about something to do with ammo again--after all, it is in the name of the blog.  The thought of basic safety is on my mind this morning...Guess that's ammo related.

In my years of being a gun enthusiast and my time in training (a police firearms instructor since 1985) lax safety practices have been particularly disturbing to me. Whether it's range discipline by a police agency or at any other range, personal handling practice by individuals, or the practice and behavior of "professionals" in gun shops, it a problem.  My personal favorite shop has a couple real professionals--both retired police firearms instructors--their safety practices are admirable and I'd like to think that they're picked up on by the customers, even though I know better.

Let's review some of the basics

First, all guns are always loaded until you have checked them yourself!  Don't rely on anyone to tell you "It's empty, I checked."  Treat it as loaded until you've checked yourself. When you check it, make sure you see the chamber and the feeding system.  Work the action a couple times--some tube-fed .22 rifles if unloaded in a certain sequence, will have a round "in the system."  I've seen that happen at least twice.  Check a gun any time it's been out of your control for any amount of time.

Second, keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you're on target and have decided to fire.  I well recall the account of a young police officer,  never been trained in proper trigger discipline, who was running to make an arrest when he fell and accidentally pulled the trigger of his revolver.  His round struck a man who, though violating the law, according to the law didn't deserve to get shot.  The officer went through years of turmoil before that was settled out.  Proper training and personal discipline on that would have prevented that.

Next would be keeping the muzzle in a safe direction.  Admittedly, safe is a relative term, where is safe in a concrete room?  Pick the direction in which if there is a round discharged, only minor property damage would occur.  If guns are checked and fingers are off triggers, there should never be round touched off in an unsafe direction.

Finally is target environment awareness.  Within hunter training, the instructors usually tell the shooters to be sure of their target and what's beyond it.  That's an over-simplification; a non-target can find its way into the line of fire.  If you're on a range, a dirt bike might come between you and the target...yeah, I've seen that; a deer might wander out of the sidelines as you prepare to fire...had that happen too; or someone one horseback might come out from around the berm...had that happen as well.  Awareness is the key.  Also, on the range you have to be sure that the backstop is adequate.  Shooting a .22 into a steel backstop rated for that is fine...using the same for a .223 is not a safe thing.  If you're using an informal range, you might be shooting into a grassy hillside or gravel bank.  Look out for rocks or anything else that could cause a ricochet, either back at you or into a direction where it might do harm.  If you're hunting, be totally aware of your surroundings.  There are many folks (many clueless about hunting) who are in the woods during the many game seasons.  Keep looking around and be sure when you spot a legitimate target it's well identified and the bullet can't pass through it and strike something else.

Related to all this is how professionals pass their guns back and forth between themselves.  The muzzle should be in a safe direction, the action should be open and the safety--if any--should be on.  That marks a professional.

We live in a world where the uneducated are hostile to firearms.  Let's not give them any ammunition against us by behaving in any unsafe ways.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Upcoming Events

A couple weeks ago, I had a call that was something of an SOS.  All of a sudden, the Adirondack Sportsmen's Dinner was in need of another seminar presenter.  I hadn't been there in a few years and the draw for my seminar had dwindled a bit after the first years of packed-out rooms.  What I do is only for a smaller group of folks with the interest in defensive handgunning.  To make a long story short, I'll be there doing a course on Handgun Basics.
Check out the website and if you're interested, get a reservation quickly because it's usually packed early.  Hope to see you there. That's on March 23rd.

Friday night, I had another SOS from the organizer of the Wells Dinner.  Seems he's having the same problem with seminar speakers.  I'd stopped doing that event several years back because it's held in a school and the administration at the time was not gun-friendly.  One way or another, with or without real guns, this year I'll be doing the seminar there also.  That's on March 9th at the Wells Central School.  I don't have contact information at the moment and there's no current information on the web.

Also on March 23rd, is the Baptist Church of Northville's "Critter Dinner."  It's at 530 and will be held at BCON Corner in Northville.  That's just a men's night out with food--lots of it.  It might be a wild game dish, or maybe an ordinary meatloaf.  It might be some of Barb Klueg's "coyote dropping" desert, or "The Gamewarden's Decoy Dessert."  Ya' never know what's going to show up.
I'll be doing my seminar in Schroon Lake and making a rocket run across Rt. 8 to get back to Northville for the latter half of that.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Since the first of the year I've been frequently filling the pulpit of a small church that is currently without a pastor.  Tomorrow morning I'll be preaching the fourth message in a series on the foundations of the faith.  One of the great scandals of modern Christianity is its failure to know and understand its history.  Along with that, the comprehension of the foundations of the faith have gone away.  Many churches don't preach, or at least don't emphasize many of the things that are important: the blood of Christ, the reality of hell and other things. I've tried in these four messages to incite a hunger to regain the knowledge of history and the facts of the foundation.
In my first message, we started with 2 Timothy 2 and looked at the five critical concepts of the Reformation.  They were know as the five solae: Sola fide, Sola Christo, Sola gratia, Sola scriptura, and Sola Dei Gloria.  That's Latin for faith alone, Christ alone, grace alone, scripture alone, and glory to God alone.  We also discussed the need to pass those concepts down to the next generation of the church.
Next we went to Romans 1 and spoke about God's wrath, the reason for it and "respectable" sins--those we don't think are all that bad.  We noted that Paul didn't pull any punches in dealing with the diversity within the young Roman church.  They all had the same problem--sin, and the same need--faith in Christ.
Last week was from Romans 3, where we dug into the meaning of some of those words we toss around all the time, but the meaning of which has been largely lost to the masses.  Grace, justification, propitiation...all can be tough concepts.  Within this message, the necessity of Christ's shed blood came into view quite vividly.
Tomorrow is from Romans 6 and deals with the fact that pay day is coming and the wages of sin is death.  We'll be looking three time frames of salvation, a concept I picked up at a conference a couple years back.  I have been saved from sin's penalty; I'm being saved from its power and will be saved from its presence.
Within this message we'll talk about the reality of Hell, and the certainty of Heaven.  I'm looking forward to bringing that message.  I borrowed some of the great imagery from Jonathan Edwards' powerful sermon,  Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
So far in this series, I've also been able to weave in the five points of Calvinism--TULIP:  the total depravity of man; unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and the perseverance of the saints.  It's been an aggressive series.
I have but one message left in this "Romp through Romans," and won't get a chance to deliver it until May or June, so this will be a wrap up of the basics.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Quick Get-away

We had two days that we both free so we were outtahere!
I'd found a neat country store in central Vermont a while back while on a motorcycle trip with a buddy of mine.  Despite the fact that I figured it could be expensive, I knew I had to take my wife there--in the car so we could carry home our trophies, of course.  (Truth be told, she was very reserved, even on the chocolate.)
We found our way to the Vermont Country Store in Weston Vt. about noon on a snowy, blustery day in February--typical winter weather for the region--and dove in.  The place is great, from candy, specialty meats and cheese to hardware to clothing, it's a great place.  It's a trip down memory lane for us, many of the things within are not found in most stores today, but were staples "back in the day" when we grew up.  It took us about two hours to get through it.  It was time well spent.
Then we drove across the Green Mountains back to the Champlain Valley to have dinner and spend the night, planning to find a place to do some sight-seeing on our snowshoes the next day.  Our sights for the day were the Shelburne Country Store and Green Mountain Coffee's Visitor Center.  We never found enough snow to put our shoes on.  Well, there was a lot of snow in the mountains; but the terrain was not what we were looking for to do a nice winter afternoon walk on the shoes.
So, the trip turned into another "foodie" trip.  We found a Cabbot cheese shop, a Lake Champlain Chocolate shop and some pretty tasty cider donuts (though "award winning" we like the ones from Golden Harvest in Valatie, NY better).
Along the way we also bought some critters, though for cuddling not for eating.  We came home with a bunny and ducky and a llama.
It was a great trip and we were home early enough so we could get a good start for the next day without being exhausted.  Now, it's back to normal--whatever that means for us.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Take a Minute--PLEASE!

In the last 24 hours or so, there have been some interesting things that have come my way by way of either email of facebook.  They're interesting, thought provoking, and garbage.   One of them was such collection of misinformation it was mind-boggling.
Generally, this type of message comes from some well-intended source who is genuinely concerned about a topic and feels the need to pass on this urgent bit of frightening information about it.  It can be about  health, politics, religion...whatever; garbage is still garbage.
The worst part is, most of this information is so easily debunked.  A search on your favorite search engine will generally show the fallacy of such things.  One minute of work will save the embarrassment of being publicly corrected--"HEY, STUPID! SNOPES IT!"--or maybe more subtly dealt with by way of a discreet message or email; but the offender could easily have saved that by doing a minute's work.
Another problem is that it weakens the credibility of not just the one who sent it, but that of all who identify with his or her beliefs.  I don't want to be the one who weakens my cause.

Please folks, take a minute; check your facts; if it's too far-fetched to believe, it probably is not to be believed.  If not to be believed, certainly it's not worth passing around by every method available at your fingertips.

Enjoy your work

"A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God." So says "the Preacher" in the book of Ecclesiastes; but how many of us find true  satisfaction in our work?  Yesterday I was reminded of a man who truly enjoys his work when my son mentioned a very nice restaurant in Northern New Jersey which got me thinking about the owner there--a man who truly enjoys his craft.
We've been privileged to enjoy this restaurant a couple times and the experience has been wonderful.  It's an upscale place with valet parking, well trained staff and an owner who loves his business.  He personally  oversees virtually every part of the day to day operation of the restaurant and behind the scenes spends early morning hours scouring NY City's Fulton Fish Market for the best and freshest in seafood, for which his restaurant is noted.  From the perspective of the public, he greets his guests warmly at the door, checks on them while you're dining and always has a smile on his face. Yes, he fully enjoys--finds satisfaction--his work.  His dedication to his business makes it an attractive place to eat.
And yet we look around and see countless folks who have no love of their work, and I truly pity them.  The jobs may pay well or poorly, they may be glamorous or quite mundane, but whatever it might be we're told to find satisfaction in it, noting there says that it's going to be drop into our laps.  If you can't find satisfaction in your work, find a new line of work.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Right Believing, Right Living

Like most Christians, there are things I struggle with.  One of the many is the relationship between faith and works.  It's an age-old discussion, so I'm in the company of many much more knowledgeable than I am; but it's frustrating still.

Obviously, not one Christian is perfect.  I have enough notable errors--we can safely call these sin--in my life to keep me humble and lots of family and friends who can remind me of that with nothing but a raised eyebrow; but like many, I work hard, with the aid of the Holy Spirit to live a responsible Christian life and not give the cause of Christ a bad name (though I'm sure I do that occasionally despite my best attempts).
However, we see many professing Christians living lives that are horrible.  They might be quiet Christians, who aren't terribly vocal about their faith and live like the rest of the world; or they may be outspoken ones that make it very plain what they believe, but by their behavior give everyone around them cause to step back and say "REALLY?"  "HE'S a Christian?"  Those loud ones are the once that concern me.

In my profession, I had friends in another agency who had very bad feelings about Christians on account of one of their supervisors.  His office was filled with Christian sayings on plaques; there was a Bible on his desk; Christian radio stations were always on in his office and patrol car....that kind of guy.  However, he was the most miserable man to work for.  He treated his officers like pawns in a chess game, told them name it; he was not the visible image of a good Christian.  Though I'm sure his belief was right, his life--at least at work--surely didn't show it.

Another fellow, in another agency, quickly became my friend after I noticed his uniform had some Christian items displayed on it, and I started a dialogue.  He had a church-going family and was, for all to see, a good Christian man.  All went well for a while, then I found that he was having an affair with a young woman...and all his coworkers knew it.  What a black eye on the cause of Christ.

Both of these men--though I'm sure they were believers--were not showing it by their works and bringing the cause of Christ into disrespect.

Faith--belief--is what brings about salvation, that can't be disputed Biblically; but, if the life is not changed by the belief, is the belief really there?  Hmmm.

I'm disturbed by many friends who tell me that they're believers, though their behavior makes me wonder.  I've often said that you cannot fly in the face of God's laws and expect him to bless you--that seems to be what many of my friends are doing.  My job is not to be critical, but to make sure I get my life right--maybe being something of a positive role model to them.  I can ask some probing questions, offer advice; but to point fingers is not my job.  It's still disturbing to see my friends living lives that are not God-glorifying.  I worry about what God might have to do in order to get their attention.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Character of a Nation

"To ride, shoot straight and speak the truth,
This was the ancient law of youth.
Old times are gone, old days are done;
But the law runs true, my little son."
(Source unknown, probably dating back to ancient Persia and modified in the late 19th century.)

That poem, which I recall seeing on a statue at some point in my youth, always rang true in me.  Even at a young age, I recognized that the concepts of being able to get where you need to be, get the job done and do it honestly were the gist of the statement.

Though it may not be necessary to ride a horse any more, the idea of being able to get going--to be self-motivated--is certainly displayed within the "riding" statement.  Riding was inclusive of many things: caring for the horse, proper care and use of the equipment; it was not just jumping on and going, there was a process involved.  Those who are the self-starters in this world, the hard workers, always have the process of their labor--which should be something to be enjoyed, not dreaded--to keep them going.

Shooting straight might not be necessary, (though maybe more necessary in some areas); but the idea of being able to protect and care for yourself is certainly embodied here also.  In a society where most folks are waiting for "THE GOVERNMENT" to take care of all their needs, this is something to which we need to return.  Earning a living, acquiring and keeping property are but small parts of this. We need also to build relationships and rebuild the sense of community that allowed our nation to leave largely at peace.

Speaking the truth and living with integrity ought to be simple yet seem to be dying characteristics of today's culture.  Truth is relative, or so we're told...and that's if it's necessary at all!  (Evasion of truth developed into an art-form under the presidency of Bill Clinton.)  My truth is not necessarily your truth....  HOGWASH!  Truth is truth. As truth suffers, a nation dies.

Another wonder old saying, much older and with a known author, points us in the right direction.
"... whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things."

The author of that gem is the Apostle Paul, writing to the Church in Philippi in the first century AD.  If we were to think on only those things, if our governments would contemplate only those things and make decisions according only those simple principles, think of how things would be.  Just imagine the character of our culture, the nation would live.  We would grow to again be a vibrant, productive people at peace with each other--and more importantly, with our God.

Self-motivation, self-sufficiency and integrity, are things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.  Three things that are suffering in our nation, and without them our nation will die.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Maybe not so normal

After making some commentary on what seems to be the ever evolving state of normal in our lives, I happened to catch a preview for a new TV show called, I believe, Freak Show.  Sorry folks, but there's NOTHING there that I'd call normal.  Anyone so intent on being that bizarre, messing with their bodies that badly cannot be right.
The human body is a piece of perfect engineering.   Its many systems work in harmony together the greater majority of the time and generally don't need to be re-engineered; but these folks are doing it.  That's not just abnormal; that is nuts!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Normal is just a setting on the dryer....

Yeah, that's a bit of an odd saying; but the other good one is "for all anyone else knows, we are a normal family."  I guess the point is that normal for me might not be what it is for you.  For that matter, normal today, might not look like the normal of yesterday.
We were talking last night about a traumatic time in our lives.  Peggy was in Virginia and I had come home from doing some mission work in Costa Rica.  I walked into our house about 3 AM and found that things were very wrong.  The heating system had frozen, pipes had split--then thawed--and now my house was being inundated with an endless supply of hot water.   We later figured that it had been running for about three days.  That was certainly not normal.   I shut off water and and the furnace, then spent the night with little sleep in a nearby motel.
From that point on, normal became an evolving term.  We learned to adapt to the changes because of those things that were consistent.  We found that consistency was more important than our perception of normalcy.
Our pastor started praying and notifying our church family who then prayed.  Over those first few days the consistency of having friends--particularly praying friends--was of critical importance.  My insurance agent came to the house to give his suggestions--and he bought me enough bottled water to make my own coffee.  A local businessman sent a machine and operator to clear the driveway of the recent snow so that I could get the equipment to start to restore the house; the operator was a friend who laughed with me at the nature of the situation, did his work, shared some coffee and was on his way--and he surely prayed on his way home.  One true friend--my "in-law-in-law," called and just asked "do you want us to come down?"  Of course the answer was yes.
Over the following days more friends and coworkers came and went, others helped us out in ways too numerous to mention.  Some fed us, some opened their homes to us some gave money....   Normal was redefined nearly every day of that nearly four month rebuilding of our home.  We faced new challenges often, and got through them.  Each day was a new normal whether a work day, or a day spent dealing with repairs on the house.
I've come to realize that for me, the only true normal in my life is continual dependence on my God.  That is how I was raised, it is how I've lived, and I pray that it is how I will live the rest of my life.  Without that dependence, nothing in this story would have been normal.  The consistency of an almighty God, the godly friends and many other good friends...that let us be normal in the midst of chaos that could have torn others apart.
I was reminded of the verse "My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Glory."  I guess that's enough to make any of us normal.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

From the Southern Gentleman

When Cops Retire

When a good cop leaves the 'job' and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased and yet others, who may have already retired, wonder. We wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind,because we already know. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times. We know in the law enforcement life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet . We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.

These are the burdens of the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the law enforcement world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing. Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the 'job' and merely being allowed to leave 'active' duty.

So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that 'Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called children of God,' and you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.
Thanks, Pal.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Christians and Diversity

Christians who hold to the absolutes of Biblical standards often get insulted for their lack of attention to cultural diversity.  They're not sensitive to the perceived needs of specific groups, or so it is said.  They--OK, let's make that we--should be more sensitive to those who have different backgrounds than we do, different values.  We're told that we should not be so hard-line on our beliefs.
When Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans, that document from which we get so much of our doctrine, he was writing to a group about as diverse as could be.  This was the first generation of the church. There were newly converted from all walks of life, all races and cultures.  Rome was the center of the world for all practical purposes, and all nations met there.  People from all groups were composed the first century church; converted Jews, Romans, Greeks, slaves, freemen, soldiers barbarians...were all among them.  
Paul had no problem being sensitive to the needs of each because the need was the same:  All needed the saving grace of Christ because all were guilty of sin.  The fact that the cultures were filled with many types of sin made no difference to him, he named the behavior sin and moved on.  He gave the same remedy for all sin and the same patterns of proper behavior to all, regardless of their individual backgrounds   
If you think that the culture today demands different treatment, check out the culture of first century AD Rome.  Prostitution and homosexuality were rampant, politics was crooked, the poor could be oppressed by the rich...need I go on?  
Yes, Paul addressed diversity then and the same words are applicable now.  Sin, grace, faith, redemption atonement,...they addressed the diverse needs of Paul's day; they address our needs today.  


My family grew up singing hymns.  We sang them in church, at the piano at our house, friends' homes, my grandparents' house...lots of places.  They were sung with gusto and much inflection on the music.  The little variations on the part of the piano players added to the overall quality of the music produced.
Several times in the last few years I've had the occasion (where a piano player was lacking) to sing hymns played by what a friend calls the "piano player in a box."  It's a CD with the hymns produced digitally.  They are played in perfect time with zero inflection.  I had survived singing as a participant, but a few times recently I've had to lead the singing to this digitally produced stuff.  I messed it up pretty badly in a couple places--OK, a lot of places.
There are a couple lessons here.  The first, and most important is our proximity to perfection.  We aren't even close.  The best singers, those with impeccable skills, will not keep to the exacting time of a computer--the perfect time.  It makes me think of Romans 3:23: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  The best of us just won't be perfect.  No matter how hard we try we will not achieve the perfection that is required.  That's why Christ had to die, so that God could look on as though we were perfect, even though we are not, and never will be.
The other lesson is a bit convoluted, but is an interesting thought.  As each musician has his own interpretation on the music, each Christian (and here I'm talking those who have accepted Christ and are attempting to live up to his standard, not nominal Christians) will have minor variations in his attempts at getting it perfect.  Some musicians might hold a note, fiddle with the timing here and there, maybe even change a note once in a while, whatever works for their style.  This is their work to make a pleasant piece of music.  Each Christian in our attempt to get it right will have a few of those "imperfections" in our lives also.  They're part of us; but hopefully we're trying to get our lives the way Christ would have us live them.
My music will never be perfectly timed, and my life will never be that of a perfect Christian; but I strive to make good music, and I strive to make my life pleasant and pleasing to my God.

Lost Battle or Lost War

Thought I'm largely in favor of the anti government sentiment that's out there today, I am in favor only if the process used to combat it is in itself lawful.  Those of us who love our freedoms must understand that we cannot violently break the law to uphold or recover the law.  There may be some justification for civil disobedience; but it must be civil disobedience--not uncivilized.

We must recognize that this is not a battle of gun control, it's a battle of control.  Over the last century or so our national state and local governments have slowly--in some cases not so slowly--worked their way into so many areas of our lives that we don't even recognize where our freedoms have been taken.
Our tax money goes to things many of us will not support, and over time that becomes normal.  That, folks, is taking our freedom to earn and spend as we choose. Newer and increasing taxes further reduce those freedoms.
Our right to speak our minds is being silenced.  If I speak up against someone or something I dislike, I'm a hater or a bigot.  Those whose behaviors or ideal I dislike can call me a hater--and that's OK.  The right to speak your mind largely depends on which side of the fence your on.  That's the new normal.
Our freedom of religion is quite surely being eroded.  Many years back, the supposedly wise justices of the Supreme Court found a "penumbra" (shadow) of separation of church and state around the amendment giving us freedom of religion.  Over the years, that has given our nation a freedom from religion that most of us find disturbing.  Interestingly, Christians--protestant and Catholic--are the ones taking the biggest hits on this; but anyone who firmly stands on a religious principal is attacked in some way.  As an aside on that, note that as the ideals (Bible based ideals) upon which our nation  was founded have been pressed into the background, our society has slid into all manner of immorality and decay.
All these, and more, have become so firmly entrenched in society that they are now the norm.  Those battles have been lost.
Now the right to keep and bear arms is being attacked.  One police chief has said that we are but one generation from being a disarmed nation!  He might be right.  Around here, only a generation ago, guns were in the corners of kitchens and living rooms in most homes.  Everyone knew where they were, knew where the ammo was and knew how to use the guns.  Kids tended their trap lines going to and from school and left their guns in the principal's office.  Most pickups had a gun rack with a .22 or a.pump shotgun and the trucks were generally unlocked. Then it became fashionable and "safer" to lock up our guns and ammo in separate places--the new normal.  Now we have gun safes; even my own guns are locked up! We wouldn't dare pick up a child at school with a deer rifle in our vehicle for fear of being arrested.   That's the new normal.
Now, New York has a ban on magazines with more than seven rounds--only days ago, it was 10 rounds.  If I understand correctly, pistol permits once valid for life must be renewed every 5 years--that's the new normal.
With some time spent in the books and newspapers, I'm sure I could come up with more examples, but I think the point is made.  Gun control is but one battle in a war of ideology that's been raging for over a hundred years.   I fear that the tide has turned so far that it may now be past the point of no return.

So back to my original thought.  Our battle ground at the moment is the ballot box and the mailbox (though social media has largely replaced mail--a good thing for spreading the word).   We must spread facts, not innuendo.  If you're going to pass something on, make sure your information is right.  Though it's good to show emotion, don't let the emotion overrun the argument.  If you're going to put something in print, get it right--check spelling, grammar, etc.  Educated people won't read poorly written arguments and those folks must be reached and persuaded.
Our battle today is not, and I cannot stress this enough, not by means of the ammo box as some seem to be advocating.  I'll be rooting for you--and working by way of the ballot box and mail box--but I'm afraid I'd betting against you if I were a betting man.  I fear that the war has been lost.  I pray that I am wrong.