A New World

Returning from a long trip is always a joy and a pain. It takes me a week to get into the groove again.

I have returned from a six-week pilgrimage in Spain just in time to vote. It’s a pleasure not to have to get up early in a pilgrim dormitory where you worry about bed bugs and clean bathrooms, throw on the backpack and walk 15-20 miles a day. At home, there was a stack of mail and, this being the 21st century, a list of emails to answer and shooting sports product introductions to review online … otherwise mostly bills.

So this morning I got up early and walked the dogs; then I walked to the polling station at the nearby school administrative complex. I can’t imagine that my one vote counts for very much and yet I’m of the generation that can’t imagine having the opportunity and not voting. That would seem disrespectful to the law enforcement and military people who have fought so that I could have that privilege.

The first new product email that caught my eye in the stack of information and photos was a press release from Allegiance Ammunition, a Virginia company that specializes in “high-performance munitions for self-defense, hunting, sub-sonic and tactical applications” using bullets — not of lead, but of “powder metal.” They have introduced a new frangible, sub-sonic round in .223 (110 gr., 975 fps) called SilentStrike, the idea being that the powder metal core will cause the bullet to fragment on impact. Jeff Mullins at Allegiance says the thousands of tiny wound cavities cause “massive tissue damage.”

Frankly, with overdue bills to deal with and a couple notifications about official, bureaucratic BS from the state/county/city where I live, I’m not in the mood to study Allegiance’s SilentStrike. I neither endorse nor disparage fragmenting sub-sonic rounds. Truly, my mind just isn’t there yet … and it isn’t on the weight of my pack or the struggle to be understood in Castilian Spanish or one of the regional dialects in Catalonia or Galicia. My whole attention today — and probably tomorrow — is on what’s happening right now in America. (Technically, we live in the United States of America, but when people in Europe ask where one is from it is so much easier to respond “America,” which everyone understands. United States or los Estados Unidos or whatever takes them a minute to grasp.)

gunshop-spain

Europeans can legally own firearms, though they do not understand the American love affair or need for self-protection and home defense. This store in Santiago, in northern Spain, sold plenty of shotguns and air rifles. Prices were high by American standards, even though the most customary air rifle on the shelf was produced by GAMO, a Spanish company that imports its guns from China. What I did not see were rifles and handguns, although the shelf contained one air gun styled as a handgun. In Europe and most of the world, the only civilians who possess high-powered firearms are criminals! Unless we are lucky, the future may hold this type of social engineering in our future. Tomorrow, we’ll know for certain if it’s a new world…

I can’t pay attention to the ballistics of Allegiance’s SilentStrike ammo today because when I wake up in the morning I’m going to be living in a dramatically different world. The American people, or at least those who voted, will have chosen either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to preside over — perhaps even lead — this nation for the next four years. And, although both are ultra-rich and live in the Northeast U.S., the two people have quite different points of view, backgrounds and records. Tomorrow morning I’m either going to be very happy or truly alarmed. This election does matter and my life, my family’s life, can turn on this dime-day and at one moment I’m optimistic and, in the next, I’m pessimistic.

America is changing awfully rapidly and, in my small Baby Boomer opinion, not for the better. If you have not joined the NRA and the USCCA and secretly don’t have your concealed carry permit and have not stocked a few extra boxes of ammo, you need to take those steps tomorrow or, at the latest, this weekend. It’s one thing to “talk the talk” and quite another to “walk the walk.”

Having had a wonderful opportunity to travel, I do not believe there is a finer nation than our America. I am certainly not among the crowd that says that they will move to Canada or Australia or wherever if their candidate loses. Moving to a new country isn’t that easy and if my preferred candidate loses, I’m going to “man-up” and fight harder. So, I write this just prior to the election fully appreciating that our community may read it just afterwards.

However it turns out, this election is no longer in my hands. Of course, it never was. Now, instead of sitting and fretting, all I can do is study this press release from Allegiance and weigh the consequences, the results of using a fragmenting, sub-sonic bullet for self-defense. Then say a prayer because tomorrow, it’s a new world…