Knee Jerks

Last weekend a friend and I planed on going out for some informal target practice.  For you un-initiated, his is also known as plinking.  It’s one of my favorite ways of relaxing after a difficult week at work.  No I don’t think about death and destruction and substituting objects of distain for targets.  (With the exception of garden gnomes) Practicing with a firearm demands lots of concentration and adherence to strict safety rules.  Placing shots into a target, whether its tin cans, paper, golf balls, or garden gnomes, takes concentration, consistency, and a steady hand.  The same skills are required for bowling, darts, golf, or any other activity where you play against yourself.  The main difference is that accidents are much less forgiving with deadly weapons.


Anyway, the day before leaving for the prairie I went to Sportsman’s Warehouse to pick up ammunition.  I keep a healthy store of food for all my guns and dislike running low, so I generally replace what I plan to use before I use it.  I have plenty of .22s, usually at least a thousand rounds lying around, and at about $13 for a brick of 500 they are ridiculously cheap.  This time I wanted to bring my Beretta Stampede out to play.  It’s a great pistol but it takes a lot of practice to be accurate.


When I arrived at Sportsman’s and walked down the ammunition isle I was shocked to see the shelves were nearly bare.  Sure there were hundreds of rounds of odd rifle ammunition for hunters, but the common hand gun ammo was simply gone from the shelves.38 special, .357mag, .45LC, .45acp, 9mm, they were all gone. Even the common rifle calibers were gone, 7.62×39, .223, .308, 30-06, and 30-30 were all missing from the shelves.  It’s like going to Walgreens and finding that someone bought all the products labeled (As seen on TV).  How does a gun-nut store like Sportsman’s Warehouse run out of ammo?  Sure it’s the beginning of hunting season but they still had a lot of the common hunting cartridges. 


So who gets credit for the gun-nut stimulus package?


I have been reading about how guns and ammo sales have been increasing in direct proportion to the success of the Obama campaign.  From what I read on different websites, forums, and in conversations I have had with the clerks at Sportsman’s it appears that there are several reasons for the massive buy out of guns and ammo.


  1. Some people fear that the Obama administration (Democrats) will re-enact the assault weapons ban of the Clinton administration.  So they are buying “Black rifles” and high capacity hand guns.
  2. Other people are afraid of some kind of tax hike on ammunition.  So they are buying while the ammo is cheap. 
  3. Then there are the people who feel that with all the cataclysmic news about impending economic collapse, hordes of desperate and starving looters will descend upon their homes and only an armed defense can save their possessions.


And people call me crazy for preparing for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

So some people can thank President (elect) Obama for increased gun and ammo sales. Others can thank President (Lame duck) Bush for the economy and paranoia that drives others to buy. 

In reality the credit goes to over hyped fear pimps.

These gun-nuts are part of a group of people I call Knee Jerks.  They don’t have the wherewithal to be prepared all the time, so they simply react to any news they perceive to be a threat. 

In December of 1999 these same people were buying up generators, bottled water, portable radios, and duct tape in preparation of Y2K. 

On Sept 11th 2001 the same people were waiting in line at gas stations to fill up every car, truck, gas can, jerry can, and pop bottles to hoard as much gas as they could before the “towel-heads” Raise the prices, jerks indeed.


About once a year or so we have a serious snow storm. After each one, a gaggle of Knee Jerks head to the grocery store and buy up all the eggs, milk, bread, and bottled water.  This is done out of fear that trucks won’t make it in to town.  Then three days later every one digs out and life goes on as usual, except these people have a crap load of perishables in the fridge.


And on and on.


I find it better to always be a little bit prepared.  Then when something bad happens I don’t have to worry about jerky knees.  I have water, and don’t need eggs and milk.  I already have duct tape, camping gear, medical supplies, flairs, torches, pitchforks, etc… and I have all the guns I need.  I don’t need to buy more simply because the Whitehouse gets a change in décor. Note I said need not want.   


Trying to react to what the government may do sometime in the future is an exercise akin to trying to predict the weather. The wind blows one way then another, but there is no reason to become frantic.  Running to the store to buy guns and ammo because of a potential for some kind of regulation is like stocking up food in July because we may have a blizzard in January.  Keeping a stock of non perishables on hand is a good idea any time, not just when a storm approaches. 

Be Prepared don’t React


Also there is no indication that more gun control is even on the agenda. 


It’s not like the Obama administration doesn’t have a few more important things on the burner.  With plans to print up bazillions of dollars to shower on whoever claims to need a bailout, an unpopular war, universal health care, republicans to demonize, and deciding how much freedom to allow, their plate is just about full.


When it’s all said and done. I still firmly believe in the rights of the Knee Jerks.  Nothing should be put in place to regulate or restrict this species.  They stimulate the economy with their impulse buying and over stocking of perishables. 


I predict that in the near future the used gun market will be a wash with nearly new unused firearms.  Then the Knee Jerks will eventually need money to buy the next panic item, like booze, cigarettes, or tinfoil and start selling off their un-used firearms.


I predict that 2010 will be a fine year for finding some great used gun sales.


BTW I did find ammo in Eaton at an ACE hardware store.  I asked the clerk why they had ammo while every other store was sold out. 


He had no idea what I was talking about.



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5 thoughts on “Knee Jerks

  1. planetross says:

    I’m sure you’ve written this entry with “ammo” and “guns” as an example of Knee Jerk reactions to things, but … to a lot of people outside the U.S., who have never seen a gun on anyone but a policeman maybe, this entry probably seems surreal.

    I liked this one.

    I see on your flag chart you have a lot of followers in Japan! hee hee!

    Yes, I am sure that some of what I see on an every day basis and do for fun would seem odd from the perspective of others around the world. It is common to hear gun fire on cold mornings from my back yard due to goose hunting. In the area where I live people openly carrying weapons while out on the prairie or in small towns. This does not faze me in the slightest bit. It’s still not uncommon to see rifle racks in the back windows of pick up trucks. However, in a big city near the coasts, either east or west, this would be shocking and reason to contact the authorities.
    It’s a cultural thing that I find interesting. It’s also kind of liberating for people who live in areas where weapons are uncommon to visit my little slice of heaven that Burrowowl calls the “fly-over”. I enjoy taking friends from the city out to the prairie and giving them a sidearm to carry. Most people really enjoy the experience, some are hesitant and a bit unnerved, but I always find it entertaining.

  2. planetross says:

    For me, seeing people walking around with something other than a shotgun for hunting would seem strange.

    I didn’t comment on the other surreal part: the thinking behind the reasons you give for people buying a lot of ammo. I can understand worries about the price of ammo going up, but the other 2 related to concerns about the Government bend my mind. I think in a lot of countries people don’t think like that.
    I’m not suggesting this thinking is wrong (to each their own), it is just so far removed from anything I would ever think that I find it difficult to understand.
    I could be wrong; I usually am.

  3. Burrowowl says:

    For me, seeing anybody not in a police uniform walking around with a firearm would be cause for concern. That just doesn’t happen around these parts. If somebody was walking down the street in downtown Santa Rosa with a shotgun in-hand, one of my first assumptions would be that he was looking to shoot somebody with it. I can barely remember to grab my cellphone on the way out the door. What would I want to keep track of a gun for?

    On second thought, seeing police officers with firearms is reasonable cause for concern around here, where our cops have an unfortunate reputation for shooting people that didn’t exactly have it coming to ’em.

  4. S. Le says:

    You should never shoot at gnomes. They don’t react well to it. You don’t want to see a gnome when it is angry. Of course, if you are a GOOD shot, you have no worries, yeah?

    Quite right. There is nothing more dangerous than a frightened or wounded garden gnome.
    BTW, I am a good shot.

  5. I’m commonly seen walking through town with a firearm, usually on my way to the car so I can get to the range. Costal Maine is still pretty laid back when it comes to guns. The only place I wouldn’t try this is in Kennebunkport.

    Happily, carrying a fire arm in public doesn’t send folks here running for the nearest SWAT team… yet. I’m guessing that it will come to that as some point though.

    -Turkish Prawn

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