This is going to be long, somewhat convoluted, and likely of little interest to anyone other than me. I promise I'll get back to talking about guns and optics soon enough.
One of the publications I subscribe to is Commentary Magazine.
I am going to go and say some fairly uncomplimentary things about one of their latest pearls and before I do that, I want to lay some background.
I find their take on things really interesting and agree with quite a lot of it although that seems to be restricted to subjects they actually know something about. Thankfully, they comment on all sorts of stuff including the things they know very little about. That provides for a fascinating insight into how mainstream conservative intellectuals think.
For those not familiar with these guys, Commentary has been around for a while and is basically a New York based Jewish conservative publication. Most of the views of the people who work there are of general mainstream conservative bend. The editor, John Podhoretz seems to be a big government republican (or at least comes off as one) and the other primary contributors (Christine Rosen, Abe Greenwald and Noah Rothman) are overall of that same general bend. They are smart, well educated and their opinions are usually well reasoned. I think they overuse some SAT words, which greatly limits their appeal, but I always find the analysis interesting.
Republican Party is a big tent party, so if I were to characterize which part of the tent they are in, I'd say that they are the highly cultured coastal elites who happen to espouse mostly conservative ideology. These are the kinds of conservatives that are (or used to be before Trump) allowed to all the liberal cocktail parties where they want to have a token conservative or two.
They are good on the theoretical stuff, but they really fall flat on their face when it comes to matters involving the "fly over" country. This is where the Commentary magazine folks have marginally more insight than writers at Salon or Vox, but not much more.
For example, they hate guns, know nothing specific about the military or blue collar middle class and have zero understanding of what the media calls "right wing militia". As I said, these are the same coastal elites that just happen to lean toward conservatism ideologically. They all have some sort of significant liberal arts education with all the strengths and weaknesses that provides. One of the weaknesses is that you come out of that a committed elitist. Another is a considerable lack of exposure to anything related to STEM fields or to people who work in STEM fields. They simply do not understand how a lot of things work. Now, unlike their Left wing brethren, these guys (and gals) do feel the need to explain how they arrive to their opinions. It is a nice insight into what is happening in their heads and I have really developed a lot of appreciation into how intellectually capable they are whether I disagree with them or not on any given topic.
For conservative pundits, it is much more natural to be in the opposition to whoever is in the White House, so Trump presidency is a problem for them. On one hand, it is nice to have a Republican in the White House. On the other hand, they really despise Trump and do not understand Trump. He does not speak like they expect a politician to speak and doe snot do things the way a politician does things. There are the same qualities that gave Trump the presidency in 2016 (although I am not so sure it will work again in 2020). Peter Thiel very wisely said that Trump's supporters take him seriously, but not literally. Pundits do the exact opposite and that includes the Commentary crew.
It so happens that, me being a gun writer and an engineer, the subjects where they stumble the most I the ones I have some knowledge of.
What prompted this post and this long introduction is they October 9th podcast: https://www.commentarymagazine.com/noah-rothman/can-they-get-away-with-it/
More specifically, the part where they talk about the plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Witmer. Having red O.Henry's The Ransom of Red Chief, I am inclined to think that whoever kidnaps here will return her to the original destination within 24 hours with a sizable cash sum to just keep her there. However, attempted kidnapping an elected official is a serious problem and I am happy that the lunatics who plotted to do that have been caught. Opinions diverge on whether they are right wing militia or Timothy McVeigh-style committed anarchists who hate all government. I am inclined toward the latter, but I am sure we will know soon enough.
What caught my attention was how quickly John Podhoretz assigned blame for this to Trump. His assertion is that Trump's tweets were the reason behind the plot. That is so blatantly stupid, I had to address it.
Lord knows, I wish Trump would tweet in a more intelligent fashion, but then again I am not his target audience.
Also, at the time when they recorded the podcast, very very little was known about the plot. The one thing that was knows already was that the FBI infiltrated the organization. They've been watching them long enough to have sold them some weapons and explosives.
That alone means that whatever Trump happened to be tweeting yesterday (which is what was discussed during the podcast) is completely irrelevant in this situation. FBI has to have been watching them for months to collect all that evidence. Only elitist pundits who have never done anything other than abuse their computer keyboards think that his kind of stuff can happen overnight. That's the downside of our political elite: vast majority of them on both sides of the aisle are lawyers, journalists, etc. They think and talk smoothly and glibly. However, their experience with actually doing something is, at best minimal. All their accomplishments, while significant, are of spectacularly unproductive nature.
Aside from that, another thing I thought odd was that the FBI mole was selling them weapons. That sure as hell does not sound like a right wing militia. Those guys have been better armed than the FBI since Bill Clinton was president. If I were a betting man, I would think these are some anarchist lunatics who ran out of weed, but I am sure we will know the specifics soon enough.
I gave it a couple of days and figured it is time to do a live show on intermediate magnifications in LPVOs and a couple of other updates.
I am budgeting 30-45 minutes for this, but it might go to a full hour depending on how it goes.
I'd like to do a quick overview of how the hog hunt went, the gear I was looking at and why I love doing this stuff.
Let's aim for tomorrow (Tuesday, October 12th) at noon Mountain Time.
Here is the wrap up of the Steiner M1050r LRF bincoulars that I have been playing with for a quite a while now.
Observation optics is a pretty involved subject as is, further complicated by the fact that most observation optics are not made for shooters. Here is a live show I did on observation optics that touches on this:
This binocular is decidedly not intended for birders. As the name implies, it is squarely aimed at military and law enforcement applications. It is a very competent overall design, but there is a feature that is sorely missing.
Let me know what you think once you watch the video. The binocular in question is the Steiner Military 10x50r LRF: https://bit.ly/2WA88hY
It is a solid design overall with excellent optics and good LRF performance. There is, however, one critical feature missing.
The registration for SHOT 2022 is finally open and I am in the process of making something resembling a schedule for it. The way it usually works, I make a detailed schedule and it goes to hell in a handbasket eight minutes after the show starts. Still, I have to make plans.
Interestingly, the Safari International event is in Las Vegas this year and overlapping with SHOT.
SHOT is Tuesday through Friday and SCI is Wednesday through Saturday.
I normally do not go to SCI given that it is more of a hunting oriented event. However, given that I am gearing up for my4th hunt this year (aoudad sheep in April, spring black bear in Alaska in June, hogs in Texas two weeks ago and New Mexico elk coming up in December), I can no longer say that I am not really a hunter with any sort of honesty.
I may not be a good hunter, but I am a hunter. Apparently.
With all that, I may be able to sneak over to the SCI show on Saturday. I always run out of time at SHOT, so I doubt I will be able to give up...
Folks, I am going to do another livecast tomorrow focusing on LPVOs and FIxed Power scopes when both are equipped with an offset RDS.
Matt of Everyday Marksman and Jacob of Pro-gun Millenial will join me tomorrow.
Yesterday's livecast, once we got done with the original topic of discussion veered a little bit toward other aspects of shooting quickly with conventional riflescopes and the topic of OEGs (Occluded Eye Gunsights) came up. I figured that I should probably write a short article on how they work when I realized that I already have and that Guns and Ammo makes this one available online.
It went into the 2019 Retro issue when they asked to write a little bit about OEGs since they were famously used in the Son-Tay raid.
It did make me want to re-visit the subject, so I pinged the good folks at Armson USA to see if I can borrow a modern OEG form them and go over the subject in more detail.