Thursday, September 09, 2021

The Collapse LXXX: Firearms

29 March 20XX

My Dear Lucilius:

Today was the monthly cleaning of firearms.

 My “firearm battery” (a very fancy word for a very plain thing) consists of a pistol, two rifles, and a shotgun. They all have a varied history, of course: the . pistol I acquired because one day my father decided I needed one; one rifle (a single shot loader from the 1940’s) came from my grandfather: and the other rifle and shotgun just “appeared”, as these things do.

Yes, I know. Why did I not acquire a more robust firearm collection, given the time and circumstances? Frankly, not a great deal of interest. Firearms were always for me at best a tool to be used: I seldom hunted, and the likelihood that I would have to defend myself seemed relatively a far away proposition, especially once I relocated here as people are pretty far enough apart in general terms and a stranger trying to burst their way in – at least in these parts – would be picked out long before they reached the point of doing harm.

And so I got a moderate proficiency – enough to hit targets with some degree of accuracy and kill something if I absolutely needed to. But it was mostly practice or a way to have something to discuss with others at gatherings.

I polish them and clean them, checking for rust and collections of dust – there are none, of course as I have always tried to take the best care of them, assuming I could not or would not be able to buy replacements. After each cleaning, they will get placed back to where they came, and an ammunition count done (as I have done every month since I moved here) – more important now than ever since, of course, there will be little new ammunition to be bought, only traded for or reloaded if possible.

Could I use them if pushed to it? Ah, Lucilius, there is the rub. Many an armchair gunfighter has declared themselves as “ready and able”; few know how they would react under actual circumstances. One can only imagine the adrenaline, some level of fear and uncertainty, even concern about being hit themselves. This may be different for those that have served in such conflicts, but I am a relatively sheltered man with the biggest “attack” I have ever faced being a fellow iaidoka bearing down on me with a wooden weapon.

Still, I clean, account, and mentally prepare. Because while there is no sure knowing, intent should count for something.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca


  1. Anonymous3:45 AM

    Firearms for self defense are only useful if the person carrying it is willing to use it. Many will purchase a firearm and ammunition for it, then set it in a 'safe place' for an emergency. It isn't a talisman - practice using it and becoming familiar with its functions is just as important as having it.

    And as stated, you really don't know how you would really react if circumstances force you to defend yourself.

    1. Anonymous - There is the rub - but not only with firearms but with any weapon. I have trained almost daily with the sword for over 12 years, yet in practice situation for practical application (we call them "bunkai") I as often freeze up as act - partially because I truly worry about being able to control the bokuto (wooden sword) and cause an injury).

      That said, one would like to believe that, in the call of that time, one would act without hesitation (to your point, practice, practice, practice). Perhaps I would say I would rather err on the side I think Seneca is on than the one where one goes out determined to act no matter what. That always seems to end badly.

  2. Anonymous10:44 AM

    There were stories of the Old West, where the gun fighter acting in haste killed a friend who was trying to help them.

    1. It is not just gunfighters. One of the most under-rated things in sword work is monitoring where the kissaki (sword tip) is. In the heat of combat, it is incredibly easy to cut one's allies or friends by just being wild and not paying attention.

  3. Alas, too many these days are reluctant to use the most powerful weapons at our disposal; the spoken and written word! Now is NOT the time to "freeze up," folks!

    1. Pete, behind most every change in political and governmental system is a long history of the spoken and written word. We have the Committees of Correspondence of course, but Havel and Solzhenitsyn are just as relevant. This sort of thing is far in advance of any actual unfortunateness.


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