Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Review: "Glock: The Rise of America's Gun" by Paul M. Barrett

 How did an unknown Austrian engineer who had barely ever touched a gun come to develop the most iconic modern handgun, with the largest market share in production today? Author Paul Barrett does an excellent job of tracking Glock’s meteoric rise from a Viennese suburb into a handgun empire that trounced the established monoliths of the American handgun industry, like Smith and Wesson. If you are interested in Glock’s, firearms, the gun industry and the wrangling’s of modern gun politics in America, you will thoroughly enjoy Glock.

I began reading this book with a basic knowledge of Glock’s history but Barrett provides a detailed account of the company’s character and inner workings, based on his research with industry insiders and Glock employees. One could say that Gaston Glock was a man who found himself in the right place at the right time, both in Austria and the US. The initially unassuming Austrian decided to compete for a government contract to supply pistols to the Austrian military. Lacking the infrastructural or a priori design path-dependency held by other companies, a factor later believed to have been a benefit as opposed to a constraint, he set about designing a unique handgun. His timing in the USA was also fortuitous – the late 80’s saw many police departments wanting to upgrade their duty side arms from predominantly 6 shot revolvers to higher capacity pistols. A number of high profile police shootouts that left the authorities feeling under-gunned precipitated this review of duty gun capabilities (many of these events also became slightly embellished).  Many in the US at that stage still saw ‘wonder 9’s’ as Euro-trash; the all-American 1911 .45 being the only pistol worthy of consideration. This alongside with the Glock’s unusual features and polymer frame meant that the pistol was initially met with scepticism. However it wasn’t just good timing that worked in Glock’s favour, the fact is that the pistol was, and remains, and very ergonomic, ultra-reliable and user-friendly handgun. It didn’t take the police long to see the light, in part because of the Glock’s capabilities and in part because of the company's innovations outside of pistol design.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

'Fly Fish Stoke'

When it comes to making quality, aesthetically pleasing outdoor videos I have to hand it to the fly-fishing community, they really turn out some stimulating video...

Patagonia's Fly Fish Stoke

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rinella on water

Always striking how hunting is often seen as an egregious activity while many people who care about wildlife often allow things like golf courses to be established, relatively unchecked. 'Developments' run roughshod over wildlands with impunity, being sold as vital social goods. Ok let me not rant any further, this one just got me thinking...

Steve Rinella on water in the west

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stabbing TR in the back?

"Sportsmen" stab Theodore Roosevelt in the back

Some interesting issues coming to light in the US:

1)      Is the North American model of public wildlife access ‘socialist’? Yes, because highly gentrified wildlife for the elite is a great road to walk! NOT. Ideology trumps process and preferred outcomes all the time with rabid ideologues.

2)      Game disappearing from the western states? I am no expert but could that have to do with urban sprawl? The proliferation of ‘ranchettes’ on heavily subdivided family farms? Habitat degradation? Agricultural competition?

These strident privatization voices emitting from those with a political and economic incentive are concerning indeed…

© Brian Joubert

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The zealotry for bone.

I saw this video posted online some time ago and it got me thinking about the issues of highly selective trophy-based management, as well as the ethics and politics surrounding it. Manipulating wildlife through selection is not new. The act of leaving a certain buck to breed trophy offspring is a common practice and certainly on the ‘lesser-end’ of manipulation; the animal also remains functionally wild. At the more objectionable end is the use of livestock breeding practices to farm fantastically bigger horns and antlers. I personally don’t mind the former but I think we lose something innate to hunting (and to being an honest hunter), when we embark on the latter, when we seek domestic trophies purely for the inch value. This is not the conservation of endangered species through intensive management and domestic captivity; it’s the acquiescence and surrender to the Record Book Religion.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Review: "The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance" by Tovar Cerulli

Excerpt from the book: “…I saw beauty in my food. In salad greens, I saw the tiny, delicate leaves that first sprout from earth and seed. In strawberries, I saw the rain falling on Joey’s fields a couple miles down the road, and tasted the sun that warmed and fattened the fruit.
But in those same crop fields, I also saw missing forests and prairies. In tofu, I saw the rifles and shotguns used to plug deer in soybean fields. In grains, I saw the birds, mice, and rabbits sliced by combines. In cabbage, I saw caterpillars killed by insecticides, organic or not. I salad greens, I saw a whitetail cut open and dragged around the perimeter of a farm field, the scent of blood warning other deer not to eat the organic arugula and radicchio destined for upscale restaurants and grocery stores in San Francisco. In Joey’s kale and berries, I saw smoke-bombed [woodchuck] burrows.

Even in the vegetables from our garden –broccoli and green beans, lettuce and snap peas – I saw the wild grasses we uprooted, the earthworms we chopped with our shovels, the beetles I crushed between thumb and forefinger, the woodchucks I shot, and the dairy cows whose manure and carcasses fed the soil. In my own life and in the lives around me – heron and trout, hawk and hare, coyote and deer – I saw that the entire living breathing, eating world was more beautiful and more terrible than I had imagined. Like Richard, I saw that sentient beings fed on sentient beings”. Pgs246/7.

The above passage, for me, is an appropriate prĂ©cis of the overarching lesson conveyed in Tovar Cerulli’s well written and though provoking book – The Mindful Carnivore. Through the personal narrative of his conversion from vegan to hunter, Cerulli paints a coherent picture of the ethical and biological rationale for this seemingly about-face decision.  What appears to be a transition between incompatible beliefs is shown to be the outcome of the same path to environmental enlightenment.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Debutante Hunters - Sundance Film Festival

 Click the link below. A great clip about women hunters in South Carolina with some honest expression and real love for the hunt in its entirety (sorry, I couldn't embed the clip).

The heartfelt admission that 'it's like home' makes me think that those lessons and that ethic will be properly passed to her children...