Wednesday, September 24, 2014

                                                                            Beauty or Beast

  My friend Miss Ellen posed a question to me the other day and it has had me thinking of the way my taste in guns has changed over the years. Miss Ellen asked me “Hey Monty, I have a question…..what do you think of hammerless guns? I just think they’re ugly and I don’t like them.” There have been times where I’ve said the same thing about various guns, but have grown to embrace them all now. Have I grown older and wiser or was I just hard headed and set in my ways before? Has my taste in guns changed and become more diverse or am I just an easy sell these days? It’s not just new, modern guns that I had esthetic issues with, but some old guns. These days though, I see them in a very different light.

  The same night Miss Ellen sent me her question, I was texting with my Cousin Jason and he was telling me about taking his family shooting over the previous weekend. He told me what guns they had been shooting and how everyone did and which gun they seem to favor the most. He mentioned shooting his Glock and I said “Those Glocks are ugly as Hell, but they run like a scalded dog.” (I’m a Glock fan, so Glock fans please keep reading). Jason said “After a while, they’re not ugly. You look at it and it’s a Glock.” He was spot on in that assessment and I knew exactly what he meant. I grew up when guns were made of blued steel and wood and it took me a long time to come to the same conclusion about Glocks that my Cousin had. I grew up loving 1911’s and revolvers (and I still love them) and when Glock hit the scene they were far, far different. I seriously thought they were as ugly as a mud fence and I couldn’t understand why anyone would want such a thing. If someone proudly showed me their Glock, I did my best to brag on them and their handgun choice, but silently I wondered about their taste in guns. It is difficult to admit, but they knew something I didn’t.  Soon though, Glock won me over in two ways and I have been a fan ever since.  The first way was back during the Clinton Administration when they were bullying gun companies to “voluntarily” sign on to the Clinton plan of limiting civilian sales and adding restrictions and policies that were clearly anti-gun. Smith and Wesson, then owned by a British company, signed on and nearly went bankrupt because of it. Thankfully the British company soon sold S&W and the new folks set about repairing their damaged brand. Getting to work one morning after PT, I looked at the newspaper and read that Glock refused to sign on with the Clinton plan and said they would take their chances in court. I went to a local gun store that day at lunch and bought a Glock 21 to support the company for taking a stand for freedom and the Second Amendment. Then Glock won me over the second way when I took my Glock 21 to the range and found out that it did indeed run like a scalded dog. I’ve been in love with Glock ever since. When my Cousin said “After a while, they’re not ugly. You look at it and it’s a Glock”, he broke down exactly the way that I feel about them now. I used to say “oh…’s a Glock” but now I say “Oh! It’s a Glock!”

  On the old gun side that I used to think was ugly was the old Browning Auto 5 shotgun. I remember being a kid back in the ‘60’s (yes, my memories are in black and white) and going to see my Uncle on the farm in Arkansas. He had an old Browning Auto 5 hanging on his gun rack with a few other guns and even way back then it looked ancient and out of place next to my Cousin’s Remington 870 Wingmaster. I had no interest in the Auto 5, but man I loved that 870 Wingmaster (and still do). It turns out, like the Glock owners before I became one, my Uncle knew something I didn’t know (he knew a lot more than I’ll ever know, but we’re talking about his shotgun now). I had never even held one and wasn’t interested in picking one up at a gun show just to check it out. In my mind it was the gun equivalent of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  All of that would change in a matter of seconds one day. Several years ago, my Uncle was in need of a replacement for his Browning Auto 5 and I set about to find him one. I found one that was in pretty good condition and I checked it out from top to bottom. Once I got it home, I cleaned it up and put some oil on it and then it happened…….I brought it up to my shoulder and sighted in on an imaginary duck and like a bolt of lightning hitting me, I suddenly understood what he saw in that design. It was flawless and beautiful and balanced and I was in love with it. I also felt like an idiot for my previous views on the Auto 5. Tastes change, times change, circumstances change. I have always loved guns, but I haven’t always loved all guns. Now I do. I love them all. I want one of each and two of most.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

                                      Volunteering Our Rights Away

  A while back, I was talking with one of my friends about the things going on in the notoriously anti-gun States. He asked how the government could ever take everyone’s guns away. There were so many guns and so many gun owners, how could they possibly do away with the Second Amendment and gather up everyone’s arms like they have done in the United Kingdom. It would be easy to not be so worried about it because it seems like an insurmountable task for the government to pull off and we have the Second Amendment there to protect us from such a thing. As has been said about restraining orders; the Second Amendment is only as good as the paper it is written on. If we do not defend it vigorously and at every single encroachment of our Rights, we stand to lose everything. We would do well to take personal offense at each and every encroachment of our Rights, no matter how small and no matter the words they’ll use to describe the encroachments. Your ears should perk up when you hear a politician or anti-gun (read anti-Rights) person or media type when they say things like “common sense gun control” or say “we aren’t trying to take away your hunting guns” or when they spout false narratives like the “gun show loophole” and give fake numbers claiming “the vast majority of gun owners favor universal background checks”.

  While talking about this with my friend, I explained that it was indeed very possible for the government to do what many think would be impossible. The anti’s have an ongoing agenda to divide gun owners from each other. We have talked here before about the divide and conquer approach they use to separate us into smaller groups of gun owners, where they can then pick us off one group at a time. Have no doubt that this approach works. It was used effectively in England. You probably know a fellow gun owner that doesn’t like “military styled guns”.  That fellow gun owner doesn’t understand that an attack on one gun is an attack on every gun. To an anti, there is no difference between an AR 15 and your Grandfather’s old pump shotgun.

  Seeing the news recently that Maryland is thinking about legislation authorizing the confiscation of AR and AK 47 types of rifles that they had required to be registered previously. As we know, registration leads to confiscation. Every person that registered their weapons in Maryland (or elsewhere) essentially signed them over to the government of Maryland and they are basically waiting until the government decides to pick them up. All they needed to know was what you have and where you live. It doesn’t really matter which State you live in either. No State is safe if the Congress gets involved. We are very fortunate that when Sandy Hook happened, we had a divided Congress. Had that terrible event happened in the first two years of the Obama Administration when he had an overwhelming majority in both houses of Congress, we would have seen Draconian laws thrown together and rammed through over night. With all of the Hoplophobia going on after the shooting, we would probably have seen the kinds of laws put into place that we saw happen in England and Australia. Overnight, everything would have changed. Many of your guns would have been deemed illegal and be required to be surrendered. There is no telling where we would be and what kind of laws we would be living with had Sandy Hook happened in 2009. It’s a safe bet that those laws would have made the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban look like pro gun legislation. Everything would have changed and we would all be faced with the decision to surrender our guns and our Rights or defy the laws passed and risk arrest, conviction and being a Felon.
   You will see all over the internet people proclaiming that they will never surrender their weapons and getting tattoos proclaiming “ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ” and waiving the Gonzales flag saying “Come and Take It", but sadly, many of our gun owning Brethren will not defend their Rights…….. or ours. I told my friend that many will lose their nerve and surrender their guns and their Rights. Once something is claimed to be unworthy (suddenly illegal) of being covered by the Second Amendment, like the “evil assault rifles” and need to be registered, many folks will do just that. Then, as they are considering in Maryland, Connecticut and New York, when the governments decide they are even too dangerous to just be registered…..that they need to be voluntarily surrendered or forcibly confiscated; many will fear the power of the government as they go about enforcing an un-Constitutional law and they will turn their guns in. The media will show lines of people turning their guns in to sway the opinion of others that “everyone is turning their guns in” and more gun owners will become weakened in their resolve to resist. There will be rewards offered for neighbors to turn in anyone they know of that has a banned gun and you’ll see the media going for a ride along as the Police raid houses and take the gun owner into custody and be paraded in front of their cameras in handcuffs. They will show 3 or 4 weapons being removed and it will be described as an “arsenal of assault weapons” and a “cache” of ammunition being found. They will tell us of the stiff prison sentence the accused was facing. And more will surrender their weapons and their Rights.

  When it comes down to it, like the Founding Fathers that stood in the face of tyranny, only 3 percent will be left to carry the load and fight for the rights of the 97 percent. If it ever comes to it, and it looks more like it every day, push will come to shove. Those that seek total control will force each of us to make a decision as to which path we will take; fighting for our Rights or surrendering them. Never forget that there are only two reasons why anyone would want to disarm a law abiding citizen: To control them and/or do them harm. How could the government ever take away everyone’s guns? They’ll start by getting half of us to voluntarily surrender our arms and our Rights. Gun owners will do half (or more) of the work for any government that seeks to disarm its citizens. Even the act of typing those words is hateful to me, but I believe that is the truth. That will leave a whole lot of work for the III percenters out there to carry.


Monday, August 4, 2014

                                                                                The Lost Legion
   With a title like this, I’m sure some Roman history buffs immediately thought of that period in time. I wish that was our topic for this post {and I wish I knew enough to write on that topic intelligently} but sadly that is not the case for this post. Sadly, this post is about the apparent self destruction of what was once a promising gun company. It is about the wasting of potential and the promise that something new, exciting and different was taking place. In the very crowded AR market, there is a lot of competition, but really very little innovation. It is mostly just variations on the same theme. A Legion in Roman history was a formidable force and it appeared this company could have been a formidable force in the gun world; the potential and promise were so strong. The Legions were what projected the power of Rome throughout the known world. A Roman Legion was between 3,000-5,000 trained soldiers, roughly the equivalent in size of a U.S. Army Brigade. You can imagine that a lost Roman Legion would represent the loss of power and potential. It would represent the wasted potential of what they could have brought to bear and of the promise that Rome spent treasure to create. There is little that bothers me more than wasted potential. Having the ability to do something, but letting that potential go to waste is truly shameful. It is far better to try something and fail {and learn from that} than it is to just fail without putting forth the effort to even try……to really try. A couple of things that the Roman Legions had were honor and integrity. With honor and integrity there is trust. Whether it is an individual or a company that you are dealing with, their word should be their bond.  Their integrity should be without question. Once lost, it is almost impossible for a person or a company to regain. A severely damaged brand rarely recovers when integrity is what was lost.

  I was drawn to supporting this gun company very early on. One of my friends went to work there and his passion and drive had me sold. We would often talk for hours about what he was doing and about the direction he was helping them grow and build their company. For the first year or eighteen months or so, anytime I went there he would usually be there alone coating parts and building some incredible rifles, getting them shipped off and demonstrating their products on ranges around Texas. His passion for what he was doing showed in his work. His exuberance was infectious and had me trying to figure out how to get one of the rifles for myself. For this company, my friend built a great deal enthusiasm and support throughout the firearms community. They garnered a great deal of National level attention and had their rifles featured for two consecutive years on Jim Scoutten’s Shooting USA’s SHOT Show coverage. They were unique. They had potential. They had the promise of independent thinking and ingenuity in a very crowded industry. Imagine a little start up gun company, very early in their existence getting that kind of coverage and you can see why folks were excited. Personal friends of mine and friends of this blog and of our Facebook page saw me being a big supporter, customer and promoter of this company. And then things started to change.

  My friend tried to steer them the right way. He offered wise counsel and in his dealings with everyone that he brought in, he was fair to the point of great personal expense to make sure that everyone dealing with this company was taken care of and fairly treated. There were talks of expansion, promises made…..and broken. More promises made…..and broken. There is always the proverbial “straw that broke the Camel’s back”. Once that happened, it signaled the direction the company was going and it seemed to me that it would only be a matter of time before the company’s new direction ended in failure. This was the point that I backed away from any public support of the company. It was not a positive direction that the owner wanted to move. Customers submitted orders and funds and waited for tens of months for a product that it appears many will never receive. Payrolls were missed for employees that were going above and beyond in their efforts to make the company a success. They made sacrifices to the benefit of the company and were given promises in return. Promises made….. and broken. There started to be an abundance of people openly trying to reach this company on their Facebook page for answers because they couldn’t get anyone on the phone and their emails went unanswered. Those messages posted to the company page were mostly left unanswered also. Then the complaints started flooding in and were a serious indicator that things were indeed going bad. Seeing the promise and potential at the start and now seeing what seems to ultimately be the end of the company brings with it a certain pain for those that believed. Like your hometown baseball team almost hitting one out of the park to win a championship and instead seeing that homerun turn into a foul ball that was caught by the outfielder, ending the game with a loss for your team…..and then finding out your player took a half hearted swing, not even leaving the batter’s box to head toward first base. Good folks worked there and poured everything they had into the company to make it a success because they believed in the promise and potential. I saw the effort they put in and I saw their desire for the company to succeed, often at personal expense. Good people poured honest money into this company and ordered guns based on promises that something special and unique in the gun world be coming their way. But sadly, in what appears to be the end, it was largely promises made………. and broken.

  I still believe in something unique and special. I believe in the vision that my friend has and will follow him as he moves forward with his own company where things will be done his way. I still believe in the passion, potential and hard work that I know he brings to the gun industry. I stopped believing, supporting or promoting the other company quite a while ago though. Like the Lost Legion of Rome, they are probably destined to be little more than the mirage it appears they’ve turned out to be. It appears they were nothing more than promises made……..and broken.


Friday, July 18, 2014

                                         “The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend”
  That saying from the Middle East is the mindset that all gun owners should adopt when it comes to dealing with the never ending assault on our Rights. Our enemies in this fight are the anti-gun politicians and groups. Have no doubt that they are unified in their desire to end civilian ownership of guns. Our goal should be to unify all gun owners and have everyone fighting the fight against those that seek to disarm us. Like I’ve said here before; there are only two reasons why anyone would want to disarm a law abiding citizen: 1) To control them and/or 2) To do them harm. We should take offense at both.

  The problem we have as gun owners is that we separate ourselves too often into smaller groups. Many gun owners don’t realize that an attack on one type of gun is an attack on every kind of gun. We’ve talked before about how the anti’s use the “divide and conquer” approach to picking off different types of guns, or even parts of guns like with the standard capacity magazine bans in some States, one at a time. Each gain they make at encroaching on our Rights is a win for them, no matter how small. As gun owners, far too often we enable the anti’s with their divide and conquer approach when we squabble amongst ourselves or think that we aren’t worried about anti-gun efforts because “they are not talking about the kinds of guns I own”. Sadly, we are very, very wrong if we think they aren’t talking about the types of guns we own when they say “we aren’t trying to take away your hunting guns”. They most definitely are talking about taking away each and every gun you own, one gun at a time. After they get rid of the so-called “assault rifles” they will target, so to speak, all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. Next will be your scoped Remington Model 700 by calling it “the same sniper rifle used by military snipers”. Think back to the times President Obama has said “Weapons of war don’t belong on our streets” and you can see how that will all tie in.
  Think right now about who the anti-gun politicians and anti-gun groups scream the loudest about. What organization do they hate the most? Our enemies will tell us who they fear the most. That is who they will attack and demonize and that is who we should throw our full support behind. The problem is that is often where we squabble amongst ourselves. This is where we need to remember the saying “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. If the National Rifle Association is the organization that popped into your head to the question of which organization our enemies fear the most, you are correct. Is the NRA perfect? No. Can we change the NRA without being voting members? No. Do you ever wonder why the NRA isn’t challenging a certain gun case in the courts, when it is clearly an un-Constitutional gun law? I know I often question why the NRA isn’t as aggressive at going after un-Constitutional gun laws as I would like. Part of the problem is that there are somewhere between 90-93 million gun owners (and growing by the day), but only about 5 million gun owners belong to the NRA. Multiply 90 million times the $25 yearly membership dues and you can see the overwhelming monetary clout that we could bring to bear against those that wish to take away our Right to keep and bear arms. The time to take a stand is not when they come after our guns, but before they even try to pass un-Constitutional anti-gun laws. It’s before we elect them to public office without knowing where they stand. If you are not a member, please join today. If you are a member, give a gift membership to a friend or family member for their birthday present. If each NRA member gave one NRA membership gift, we could double our numbers over night.  Hit the link below and Jim Scoutten will pay $10 towards your membership or your gift membership. Get in on the fight to defend our Rights and help grow the NRA numbers. Work to change the things we don’t like about the NRA from within as voting members. An attack on one gun is an attack on all guns.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”



Monday, June 30, 2014

                                                                     I Don’t Really Care

  When it comes to guns and shooting, it really doesn’t matter to me which shooting sport someone loves the most or which gun or type of gun anyone prefers. I don’t really care if you love your Glock and hate 1911’s or you love 1911’s and hate Glock. It doesn’t matter to me if you are a shotgun aficionado and only shoot trap or skeet and you wouldn’t consider owning an AR or AK. It doesn’t matter to me if someone only likes handgun shooting or their tastes lead them to prefer precision shooting disciplines.  It doesn’t matter if you only own guns for hunting or whether you are a muzzle loader enthusiast, a Class III owner or a 3 gun competitor; it’s really irrelevant to the main discussion of our Second Amendment Rights. My only concerns are that you own guns and shoot, bring others to our cause and that we all stick together.

  We’ve talked before on this blog about the “divide and conquer” approach that anti-gun groups and politicians use. They will try to separate gun owners into smaller, niche groups and attempt to divide the individual groups from each other; thereby making it easier to make gains against the Second Amendment one group at a time. When a group or politician declares “we aren’t trying to take away your hunting guns” you should know two things: 1) They know full and well that the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting and 2) Their statement should read “We aren’t trying to take away your hunting guns…..yet”.  They are simply dividing hunters from 3 gunners or folks that own and use the AR or other military themed small arms. They’ll say things like “Who needs a 30 round magazine (or more likely they’ll call it a 30 caliber shell high capacity clip for a Ghost gun shooting 30 shells per second) for hunting”, again denying the point, deliberately so, that the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting. The divide and conquer approach worked horribly well in Great Britain because the gun owners there allowed themselves to be divided. Shotgun owners didn’t care at all that they were going after pistols, because that wasn’t their preferred gun or type of shooting. Right down the line the anti’s went, going after the next group in line until they had effectively neutered the gun owners in Great Britain as a whole……..piece by piece, gun by gun, group by group.

  The truth be told, anti-gun groups and politicians are so woefully ignorant of guns that there really is no distinction to them between an AR 15 and your Grandfather’s old pump shotgun. They want both eradicated from civilian ownership. They want all guns out of civilian hands. When we think about the thousands and thousands of times each month that guns in the hands of good people have stopped a criminal from assaulting them or others, halted crimes of all sorts and saved the lives of innocent people and we realize which side of each event that the anti’s are on, we can begin to understand how evil their end state really is.

  I don’t really don’t care which gun or type of shooting discipline anyone prefers; I only care that good people own guns, know how to use them and shoot them and that we all stick together. Have no doubt that the anti-gun groups and politicians really don’t care what kind of gun you own or what type of shooting discipline you prefer either. They only want to get guns out of the hands of civilian ownership and they will divide us to conquer us. An assault on one type of gun is an assault on every gun. To quote one of our brilliant Founding Fathers {and thank God for our brilliant Founding Fathers}:
"We must all hang together, Gentlemen, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."
Ben Franklin

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

                                    Table Legs and the Responsibility of Defense

  Most of us probably know friends or family members that are not on board with the Second Amendment.  The odd thing is that most of those people will still believe that they have a right to defend themselves and their family, but will discount the very instrument that gives them the greatest ability to defend their life, the lives of their family and their property. It reminds me a story that one of my friends relayed to me about a husband and wife that live in the D.C. area. They were totally against guns and the individual Right to keep and bear arms. He would talk with them about self defense and guns in a way to draw out their thoughts and make them think. It turns out they believed in their right to defend themselves, each other and their home. Their tool of choice was……a table leg. To be kind, these folks weren’t exactly following the Charles Atlas fitness routine and they weren’t training with their self defense weapon of choice in order to wield it effectively. The bludgeoning they would take with their own table leg if they were ever confronted with a physically superior attacker and managed a weak “swing and a miss” would  make for a very gruesome crime scene. The only tool that would put them on equal footing would be the very tool that they were so strongly against: a gun.

  We have a God given right to self defense. We also have the responsibility of self defense, especially when others depend on us to defend them. Having a family but lacking the very tools needed to protect them in these dangerous times we live in is irresponsible. To be cavalier about our own health and our own right to self defense is one thing when one lives alone with no one else depending on them. When others depend on us, it is quite another. Depending on 911 getting the police to you in time to save you from an attacker is a gamble of the worst sort. The Police carry guns for their protection, not ours. There’s a reason they carry crime tape and the chalk to outline where the body was last positioned. As the saying goes “when seconds count, the Police are only minutes away.”

  With the couple mentioned in the first paragraph; their thinking towards guns, as is the case with most people that are against guns, is mostly based on fear and ignorance. They are ignorant in the use of guns and can’t imagine anyone outside of law enforcement and the military being capable or trained enough to use firearms. Both fear and ignorance can be overcome, if done correctly, by those of us that believe in the Second Amendment. If done incorrectly; we could further solidify their anti gun stance and views. Invite someone like the couple above to go shooting when you can. Start them off slow and easy. Work on getting rid of their unhealthy fear first. Teach them to have respect for guns, but not fear them. I’ve seen people handle a gun for the first time literally trembling with fear that it was going to go off and blow up in their hands, even when the gun was made clear and shown to them that it was unloaded. Once you’ve gotten them past the majority of their irrational fear about guns, ease them into learning about guns to begin the process of removing their ignorance. There is an awful lot to learn {and the learning never stops} and we don’t want to overwhelm them at first. Take care of them while they are with you and never play the recoil game with them by getting them to shoot something that is well beyond their entry level skill set or physical abilities {the most severe recoil I ever felt was when I was about 5 years old shooting 12 gauge 00 Buck magnum loads. To this day, nearly 48 years later, I have to consciously fight to overcome the flinch every time I go to the range to shoot}. Bring them into gun safety and the shooting sports responsibly and we can win over folks that are anti gun. Their fear and ignorance can be overcome and it is our responsibility as gun owners to bring as many new folks to our side as possible. And besides, everyone smiles at the range. It’ll be a great time and they will enjoy themselves.

   There is a growing movement by the anti’s to portray gun owners as a fringe, kook element of society instead of the main stream citizens we actually are. They will highlight a single irresponsible act by a gun owner or criminal using a gun while ignoring the thousands of times each day that a gun is brought to bear in defending one’s life, family, innocent bystanders and property. We must do our part to counter their efforts. We must welcome new folks to our side and bring them in the right way. It is our responsibility. Thank you to everyone out there providing the proper training and doing all they can to responsibly bring new folks to our cause.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

                                                   Playing Hooky and Living Well

  Talking with my boss today at work, we shared a few stories about being kids and playing hooky and what we did on those “unauthorized, unaccompanied field trips”. That has me remembering all the things I did and the peace that I felt when I was out of school and away from home. It has me rather thankful that I grew up then instead of these days where the school contacts the parents by email/text/Facebook or phone calls immediately if you even show up late. I would have probably died an early death if the schools had that kind of electronic surveillance and instant contact with parents back in the 60’s and ‘70’s.

  I got a very early start with playing hooky. I was born in Northeast Arkansas outside of the town of Blytheville and lived there on the family farm for a few years before moving just down the road to West Memphis, Arkansas. When I started school there at Maddux Elementary, my Grandfather would often drive down and take me out of school to go with him to the cattle auctions in Memphis. Back then, he could just walk into the school and tell them who he was and that he needed to sign me out. After a while, I think they’d see him driving up in his truck and have me in the office waiting on him when he walked in the door. Those days were the best days ever. It was just me and him and the amazingly fast talking auctioneer. I was usually the only kid there and that made me feel even more special. My Grandfather would spend the auction schooling me on the cattle that were going through while the fast talker was rattling off numbers and the bidding was going on all around us. In all the times at the auction there in Memphis, I don’t recall him ever buying a cow or even bidding on one. It was more for entertainment and something we did together.  Cattle were something that he understood completely and he wanted to share that knowledge with me. I’m thankful to this day for every minute of those hooky days with him.

  Moving to Northeast Tennessee some years later took me away from the cattle auctions and those days I shared with my Grandfather there. By then I knew that I cherished the knowledge gained outside of school more than I valued the knowledge my teachers tried their best to impart on me. I do apologize to them that my thoughts and desires were a long way away from the classroom. It’s just that they were up against all those wonderful things that were outside while we were stuck there inside. I’m afraid that most of them sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher to my ears and my distracted mind; muffled and barely audible until I’d be snapped back to reality when a question they would ask me finally penetrated my thoughts. These days they’d probably put me on medication, but I was just a boy; nothing more and nothing less.

  Once I reached driving age and had an old 1968 F 100 Ford pickup {named Duke}, I was able to feel the freedom and peace that I felt from the cattle auction hooky days. I played old fashioned hooky like in the “Our Gang” TV show. I’d go fishing, hiking, hunting or just somewhere to sit out in the woods or by a river to listen and learn and think. My high school; Dobyns-Bennett High School in beautiful Northeast Tennessee, had these huge windows that faced the mountains. It really wasn’t my fault that I played hooky so much. They’d have had better attendance out if me if it hadn’t been for those huge windows.  Quite a few days while at school, after passing those huge windows on the way to my next cell…..uh, I mean classroom, I’d write a note saying that I had a Doctor’s appointment so I could slip out early when the mountains seemed to call me extra loudly. It really wasn’t my fault. Really.

  There were days that my best friend J.P. and I would go hunting before school and then drive to school, park in the parking lot with our shotguns or rifles in the gun rack in my truck and we’d be off to hunt after school. Put that in terms of the way things are these days and they’d be calling out the SWAT teams and every news channel at the local and National level would be circling overhead in helicopters while they put the entire city on lockdown. We have certainly lost a great deal, haven’t we? On more than one Monday, J.P. and I would be running late going to school after a weekend of fishing and then remember that all of our fishing gear was still in the back of the truck. It was much easier to get an excuse for missing a day the next day than it was for coming in late, so we’d just go fishing. See, it really wasn’t my fault…’s like they encouraged me to take the whole day for fishing. I have two grandsons now and I really need to take them to a cattle auction. I’d hate to have all this Hooky knowledge and not pass that down to them. There’s just so much to learn outside of school.