Black Panthers [Podcast 557]

This week on the BMWAG show podcast I share the history of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Andrew Branca returns with his segment on the Law of Self Defense, my cohost Monster, aka Michael Woodland, talks about a guy that responded to the tragedies by destroying his rifle. There was a tragic shooting in Florida and as a result the gun control people are on a roll. I share where I was last week.

This weekend is the premier of the Disney movie, Black Panther. a radically different kind of comic-book movie, one with a proud Afrocentric twist, featuring a nearly all-black cast, that largely ignores the United States and focuses instead on the fictional nation of Wakanda — I loved it. It had a little Lion King in it… It was one of Marvels best adaptations.  But back in the day…

Around February 1981, while stationed in Camp Pendleton California, a engineer base in San Mateo, a young Marine Lance Corporal named Blanchard got into trouble and called a r”acist, a militant, a subversive” for reading the history of the Black Panther Party.

Here’s the history.

The Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO), also known as the Black Panther Party, was started in 1965 under the direction of Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activist Stokely Carmichael.  In 1965, Lowndes County in Alabama was 80% black but not a single black citizen was registered to vote.  Carmichael arrived in the county to organize a voter registration project and from this came the LCFO. Party members adopted the black panther as their symbol for their independent political organization.

More than half of the African American population in Lowndes County lived below the poverty line.  Moreover, white supremacists had a long history of extreme violence towards anyone who attempted to vote or otherwise challenge all-white rule.  Lowndes County Freedom Organization members didn’t simply want to vote to place other white candidates in office.  Instead they wanted to be able to vote for their own candidates.

White voters in Lowndes County reacted strongly to the LCFO.  In many instances, whites evicted their sharecroppers, leaving many blacks homeless and unemployed.  Whites also refused to serve known LCFO members in stores and restaurants.  Small riots broke out with the local police often firing only on blacks during these confrontations.  However, the LCFO pushed forward and continued to organize and register voters.  In 1966, several LFCO candidates ran for office in the general election but failed to win.  While their attempt was unsuccessful, the LCFO continued to fight and their goal and motto of “black power” spread outside of Alabama.

The movement spread all over the nation.  Two black Californians, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, asked for permission to use the black panther emblem that the Lowndes County Freedom Organization had adopted, for their newly formed Black Panther Party.  The Oakland-based Black Panther Party became a much more prominent organization than the LCFO.  Thus few people remember the origins of this powerful symbol with impoverished African Americans in a central Alabama County.

The Black Panthers, dressed in black berets and black leather jackets, organized armed citizen patrols of Oakland and other U.S. cities. At its peak in 1968, the Black Panther Party had roughly 2,000 members. The organization later declined as a result of internal tensions, deadly shootouts and FBI counterintelligence activities aimed at weakening the organization.

Founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale met in 1961 while students at Merritt College in Oakland, California.

They both protested the college’s “Pioneer Day” celebration, which honored the pioneers who came to California in the 1800s, but omitted the role of African Americans in settling the American West. Seale and Newton formed the Negro History Fact Group, which called on the school to offer classes in black history.

They founded the Black Panthers in the wake of the assassination of black nationalist Malcolm X and after police in San Francisco shot and killed an unarmed black teen named Matthew Johnson.

Originally dubbed the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the organization was founded in October 1966. The Black Panthers’ early activities primarily involved monitoring police activities in black communities in Oakland and other cities.

As they instituted a number of social programs and engaged in political activities, their popularity grew. The Black Panthers drew widespread support from urban centers with large minority communities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. By 1968, the Black Panthers had roughly 2,000 members across the country.

Newton and Seale drew on Marxist ideology for the party platform. They outlined the organization’s philosophical views and political objectives in a Ten-Point Program.

The Ten-Point Program

1.We Want Freedom. We Want Power To Determine The Destiny Of Our Black Community.

2.We Want Full Employment For Our People.

3.We Want An End To The Robbery  By The Capitalists Of Our Black Community.

4.We Want Decent Housing Fit For The Shelter Of Human Beings.

5.We Want Education For Our People That Exposes  The True Nature Of This Decadent American Society. We Want Education That Teaches Us Our True History  And Our Role In The Present-Day Society.

6.We Want All Black Men To Be Exempt From Military Service.

7.We Want An Immediate End To Police Brutality And Murder Of Black People.

8.We Want Freedom For All Black Men  Held In Federal, State, County And City Prisons And Jails.

9.We Want All Black People When Brought To Trial To Be Tried In  Court By A Jury Of Their Peer Group Or People From Their Black Communities, As Defined By The Constitution Of The United States.

10.We Want Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice And Peace.
.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

The Black Panthers were part of the larger Black Power movement, which emphasized black pride, community control and unification for civil rights.

While the Black Panthers were often portrayed as a gang, their leadership saw the organization as a political party whose goal was getting more African Americans elected to political office. They were unsuccessful on this front. By the early 1970s, FBI counterintelligence efforts, criminal activities and an internal rift between group members weakened the party as a political force.

The Black Panthers did, however, start a number of popular community social programs, including free breakfast programs for school children and free health clinics in 13 African American communities across the United States.

The Black Panthers were involved in numerous violent encounters with police. In 1967, founder Huey Newton allegedly killed Oakland police officer John Frey. Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1968 and was sentenced to two to 15 years in prison. An appellate court decision later reversed the conviction.

Eldridge Cleaver, editor of the Black Panther’s newspaper, and 17-year old Black Panther member and treasurer Bobby Hutton, were involved in a shootout with police in 1968 that left Hutton dead and two police officers wounded.

Conflicts within the party often turned violent too. In 1969, Black Panther Party member Alex Rackley was tortured and murdered by other Black Panthers who thought him a police informant.

Black Panther bookkeeper Betty Van Patter was found beaten and murdered in 1974. No one was charged with the death, though many believed that party leadership was responsible.

The Black Panthers’ socialist message and black nationalist focus made them the target of a secret FBI counterintelligence program called COINTELPRO.

In 1969, the FBI declared the Black Panthers a communist organization and an enemy of the United States government. The first FBI’s first director, J. Edgar Hoover, in 1968 called the Black Panthers, “One of the greatest threats to the nation’s internal security.”

The FBI worked to weaken the Panthers by exploited existing rivalries between black nationalist groups. They also worked to undermine and dismantle the Free Breakfast for Children Program and other community social programs instituted by the Black Panthers.

In 1968, Chicago police gunned down and killed Black Panther Party members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, who were asleep in their apartment.

About a hundred bullets were fired in what police described as a fierce gun battle with members of the Black Panther Party. However, ballistics experts later determined that only one of those bullets came from the Panthers’ side.

Although the FBI was not responsible for leading the raid, a federal grand jury later indicated that the bureau played a significant role in the events leading up to the raid.

The Black Panther Party officially dissolved in 1982.

I have learned many things about American history.  It’s not always pretty.  I do not romanticize it.  The purpose of history is to learn from it so we won’t make the same mistakes again.  We are living longer, so we might as well live better.  Go forward my friends…

Sadly, this week, this happened…

in the News

 

 

 

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It Ain’t Me, Babe

Any of the young men pictured in this article could be me…
 
I entered high school in 1977. Before I graduated in 1981 I had been taught rifle marksmanship; we pushed back the desks, set up traps, and actually shot 4-position 10-meter air rifle *in the classroom*. I received the Tennessee Hunter’s Education course as part of the curriculum in JROTC; as part of that we went to the range and shot rifles, muzzleloaders, shotguns, and archery. Nobody shot up my high school.
 
I entered college in the fall of 1981. Before graduating in 1985 I was taught the operation and maintenance of the M16A1 and the M60 machine gun…and how to use them in the field. Never mind my schooling in the employment of the hand grenade, the Claymore mine and construction of field-expedient booby traps. Nobody shot up my university.
 
 
And even before any of this took place, I had been educated in the use of firearms by my father, at home. I owned guns. I used guns. When people ask me the first time I ever shot a gun, I truthfully tell them that I have no memory of it. I have had access to guns ALL MY LIFE. I have never attacked anyone, anywhere, ever.
 
Some will say, “But Dave, you’re different. Not everyone grew up like that.” And on a certain level, they’d be right. The difference between then and now is not the guns, it’s the people, and it’s the times. I…and people like me…are not the problem. The problems are multiple, and complex, and societal, and many are outlined in the linked article. You really ought to read it.
 
But the problem is not the existence, presence, or availability of guns. They have been widely available in this country since the founding, and no matter what law is passed, they always will be…at least to those unconcerned with breaking the law. To suggest we “just get rid of all the guns” is just as feasible as suggesting “just get rid of all the heroin.” While it is tempting to reach for a simple solution to a complex problem, it is also folly.
 
New laws and regulations which would restrict my access to firearms will protect no one. New laws and regulations which would restrict access to firearms by the over 100 MILLION gun owners who have never harmed anyone will…obviously…protect no one. So let’s drop the foolish notion that gun control will fix any of this. Nothing could be further from the truth.

556 – Lift Every Voice & Sing

History

On Christmas Day 1951, Harry T. Moore and his wife, Harriette, had just finished celebrating their silver anniversary when a bomb blew up their home in Mims, Fla. The explosion killed the couple, and they became the first martyrs from civil rights movement the 1950s. For seventeen years, in an era of official indifference and outright hostility, the soft-spoken but resolute Moore traveled the back roads of the state on a mission to educate, evangelize, and organize. On Christmas night in 1951, in Mims, Florida, a bomb placed under his bed ended Harry Moore’s life. His wife, Harriette, died of her wounds a week later. And I bet you have never heard of it.

Armed Citizens News

Man shot attempting to break into house in Liberty Eylau

Fort Bragg soldier allegedly shoots, kills wife’s attacker at North Carolina home

Homeowner shoots suspected burglar in southern Indian River County, Sheriff’s Office says

Concealed Carry holder holds robbery suspect at gunpoint

“We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”  Jesse Owens 

Support http://Crossbreedholsters.com – buy something.

Get your concealed Carry insurance at http://USCCA.Blackmanwithagun.com

Check out the Law of Self Defense

Michael J. Woodland and I on video.

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555 – Remembering the 54th Massachusetts Black Infantry

 

On this, the 555th episode of the Black Man With A Gun Show Podcast I share the history of the US Army 54th Colored Regiment Unit.  For those that like to hear good guys with guns story I have some this week for you.  Introducing Andrew Branca of the Law of Self Defense Podcast this week.  And I have a little monologue about my son, the state of Maryland and how do you get a gun in Maryland.

The 54th Massachusetts Infantry was formed  January 26,  1863

History of Company B,

Organized at Readville and mustered in May 13, 1863. Left Boston on Steamer “De Molay” for Hilton Head, S. C., May 28, arriving there June 3.

Attached to U. S. Forces, St. Helena Island, S. C., 10th Army Corps, Dept. of the South, to July, 1863. 3rd Brigade 1st Division, Morris Island, S. C., 10th Army Corps, July, 1863. 3rd Brigade, Morris Island, S. C., to August, 1863.

4th Brigade, Morris Island, S. C., to November, 1863. 3rd Brigade, Morris Island, S. C., to January, 1864. Montgomery’s Brigade, District of Hilton Head, S. C., to February, 1864. Montgomery’s Brigade, District of Florida, February, 1864. 3rd Brigade, Ames’ Division, District of Florida, to April, 1864. Folly and Morris Islands, S. C., Northern District, Dept. South, to October, 1864. 1st Separate Brigade, Dept. South, to November, 1864. 2nd Brigade, Coast Division, Dept. South, to February, 1865. 1st Separate Brigade, Northern District, Dept. South, to March, 1865. 1st Separate Brigade, District of Charleston, S. C., Dept. South, to June, 1865. 3rd Sub-District, District of, Charleston, Dept. South Carolina, to August, 1865.

SERVICE — At Thompson’s Plantation near Beaufort, S. C., June 4-8, 1863. Moved to St. Simon’s Island June 8-9. Expedition up Altamaha River June 10-11. At St. Simon’s Island June 12-24. At St. Helena Island June 25-July 8. To Stono Inlet July 8. Expedition against James Island July 9-16. Affair Legaresville July 13. Secessionville July 16. Moved to Morris Island July 16-18. Assault on Fort Wagner July 18. Siege operations against Forts Wagner and Gregg, Morris Island, July 18-September 7, and against Fort Sumter and Charleston September 7, 1863, to January 28, 1864. Capture of Forts Wagner and Gregg September 7, 1863. Moved to Hilton Head, S. C., January 28, 1864. Expedition to Jacksonville, Fla., February 5-7. Capture of Jacksonville February 6. Expedition to Lake City, Fla., February 7-22. Battle of Olustee February 20. Duty at Jacksonville till April 17. Moved to Morris Island April 17-18. Duty on Morris and Folly Islands, S. C., till November, 1864. Expedition to James Island June 30-July 10. Actions on James Island July 2, 9 and 10. Six Companies in charge of rebel prisoners under fire of Charleston Batteries September 7 to October 20. Eight Companies moved to Hilton Head, November 27. (Cos. “B” and “F” at Morris Island till February, 1865.) Expedition to Boyd’s Neck, S. C., November 29-30. Boyd’s Landing November 29. Battle of Honey Hill November 30. Demonstration on Charleston Camp; Savannah Railroad December 6-9. Moved to Graham’s Neck December 20. Connect with Sherman’s Army at Pocotaligo, S. C., January 15, 1865. March to Charleston January 15-February 23, skirmishing all the way. (Cos. “B” and “F” occupy Charleston February 18.) Regiment on duty at Charleston February 27 to March 12. At Savannah, Ga., March 13-27. At Georgetown, S. C., March 31-April 5. Potter’s Expedition to Camden April 5-25. Seven Mile Bridge April 6. Destruction of Eppes’ Bridge, Black River, April 7. Dingle’s Mills April 9. Destruction of Rolling Stock at Wateree Junction April 11. Singleton’s Plantation April 12. Statesburg April 15. Occupation of Camden April 17. Boykin’s Mills April 18. At Georgetown April 25. Duty at Georgetown, Charleston, and various points in South Carolina April 25 to August 17. Mustered out at Mount Pleasant, S. C., August 20, 1865. Discharged at Boston, Mass., September 1, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 5 Officers and 104 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 160 Enlisted men by disease. Total 270.      http://www.54thmass.org/regiment-history

Law of Self Defense

Introducing a legal segment from Attorney Andrew Branca, check out this offer.

Armed Citizen News

Intruder kicks open door, gets shot by Lakeland homeowner, police say

Police say landlord fired gun at tenant in dispute

Arrest made in connection to attempted home invasion

2 people injured after shooting each other in NW Houston, police say

Police: Suspect shot after failed home invasion Saturday

One Shot in Home Invasion in Town of Horseheads

And as promised more information on the Return of the Urban Shooter, Gun Ownership in Maryland.  How do you start the process of getting a pistol in the state of Maryland? (HQL) Inspired by my son’s new desire to shoot.

 

 

Question:  Do I change the name of the show back to the Urban Shooter Podcast, or leave it as the “Black Man With A Gun Show”

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Ammunition Nomenclature: Eliminating Confusion for Newbie Shooters

For someone new to firearms and ammunition, it can be confusing to understand the different names and terms given to ammunition cartridges. There are several types and shapes of ammunition, and knowing the difference can make a big impact on the safety and performance of the firearm.

 

The confusion is brought about by the absence of a naming standard. Generally, the numbers used in ammunition indicate the metal bullet’s diameter. Therefore, a .45 means that it is .45 of an inch in diameter while the diameter of a .22 is .22 of an inch.

 

The compound number used to describe ammunition represents diameter to length ratio, such as:

 

  • 56×45 mm – 5.56mm wide, 45mm long
  • 9×19 mm – 9mm wide, 19mm long

 

Shotshells on the other hand are measured in gauge. The larger diameter is the lower number. A 12-gauge shell is 70mm in length, which is about 2.5 inches. It is also available in 3-inch magnum.

 

Components of a cartridge

 

A cartridge is the type packaging of small arms ammunition, which is composed of four parts:

 

  • Case – which is typically made of steel, nickel or brass
  • Primer – the propellant’s ignition. It is the round dimple located at the cartridge’s base.
  • Propellant/powder – the gunpowder
  • Projectile – the actual bullet

 

A cartridge with propellant but without a bullet is called a blank. A dummy or drill round does not have a primer, propellant and bullet, and typically used for training purposes and when checking the performance of a firearm. A dummy round is also called a snap cap.

 

Types of cartridges

 

As there are several types of firearms, there are also different types of cartridges that are loaded into them. The types include the following:

 

  • 8mm Mauser (actually 7.9mm)
  • 12 gauge Shotshell
  • .22 Long Rifle
  • 45x39mm Soviet
  • 56x45mm NATO (.223 Remington)
  • 62x39mm Soviet
  • 62x51mm (.308 Winchester)
  • 62x54mm Russian (rimless base)
  • .44 Magnum (rimless base)
  • .45 Automatic Colt Pistol or ACP
  • 9x19mm Para. (also called Parabellum, Luger or just 9mm, but they slightly vary in length)

 

What is a caliber?

 

Caliber or calibre, (abbreviation – cal.) is the estimated diameter of the internal part of the gun’s barrel. It also represents the diameter of the projectile or the bullet. A .45 caliber gun for example means that the barrel diameter measures .45 of an inch or close to but still not quite half an inch.

 

Diameters can be expressed in metric as well, such as 9mm guns. The decimal point is typically dropped when said orally, but included in written descriptions.

 

Here are examples of the typical naming conventions, to make it easier for you to understand the caliber of the ammunition (ammo).

 

  • 30-06 – the first number represents the caliber of the ammo, while 06 represents the year 1906 (standard rifle cartridge of the U.S. military)
  • 270 Winchester – approximate diameter of the bullet (actual size – .277-inch); Winchester is the manufacturer that standardized this type of ammo.
  • 375 H&H Magnum – bullet diameter = .375-inch; H&H stands for Holland & Holland, a British manufacturer; magnum is the name given to the ammo because it is slightly bigger than its counterparts
  • 220 Swift – about .224″ in diameter; swift is added because it is exceedingly fast (also manufactured by Winchester)
  • 45-70 Government – officially adopted for the use of the U.S. government; size is .458″
  • 30-30 Winchester – first number is its diameter while the second number represents its 30 grains of black powder load.
  • 45 ACP – the ’45’ represents the diameter of the bullet while ACP refers to the original gun, the Automatic Colt Pistol model 1911.

 

Types of bullets

 

The projectile or the bullet, which is the actual piece that flies out of a firearm, comes in different types, which are usually called by their acronyms, as follows:

 

  • LRN – Lead Round Nose
  • WC – Wad Cutter
  • SWC – Semi Wad Cutter
  • SJ – Semi Jacketed
  • SJHP – Semi Jacketed Hollow Point
  • JHP – Jacketed Hollow Point
  • FMJ – Full Metal Jacket
  • SP – Soft Point (not coating on bullet tip, exposing the lead)
  • AP – Armor Piercing (alloy core)
  • BT – Boat Tail (cartridge’s read end is tapered for flight stability of the projectile)
  • BTHP – Boat Tail Hollow Point
  • RBCD – Special (the acronym is the name of the manufacturer)

 

Ammunition nomenclature is definitely confusing. The important thing to remember is to have the appropriate ammunition and protection for your firearm. The diameter should perfectly match the size of the gun’s barrel to have the right seal.

 

With the market flooded with different makers, you need to be specific when you purchase your cartridges. A common 7.62 could be for a 7.62×59, 7.62×54 Russian, 7.62×54 Russian, 7.62×39 Soviet or a 7.62×25 Tokarov.

 

Contributor:  Imran Khan

 

It’s A Major Award!

In case you missed it, the National Association for Gun Rights plans to recognize Congressman Thomas Massie for being a champion for gun rights. In his most recent act as such a champion for gun rights, the Congressman chose to vote against H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

No…you did not misread that. To show his support for your gun rights, Congressman Thomas Massie voted against national concealed carry reciprocity. Now, he’ll tell you he supports “reciprocity,” but he never connects that word with “national.” This is because his support is only for the bill he introduced, H.R. 2909, which enforces reciprocity only in the District of Columbia…where he works.  He also says that he opposed H.R. 38 because of the “Fix NICS” language which was added to it. But ask him if he’d support H.R. 38 without that language, and all you’ll get is silence.

Never co-sponsored HR 38, even months before it was amended to include NICS.

No matter how he tries to spin it…he voted against my right to carry my concealed firearm when I drive through Illinois. And yours.

He voted against my right to carry a concealed firearm when traveling to Massachusetts, or New York, or Chicago for work. And yours.

He voted against my right to carry my concealed firearm into New Jersey to attend a martial arts seminar.  Without the national reciprocity which Massie opposes, New Jersey can continue to jail people like Shaneen Allen or Donna Gracy. Or me. Or you.

For this, the NAGR will present him with their “.50 Cal Award.” Mind you, this is an organization whose most notable achievement in the advancement of national gun rights is that they have never actually advanced national gun rights in any meaningful way. I cannot think of a single piece of significant national pro-gun legislation which NAGR has helped pass. If there’s something they’ve done to increase my gun freedoms, I am unaware of it.

So I guess it is 1984 after all. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. And a vote against more gun liberty gets you a major award from a national gun rights group which doesn’t advance national gun rights.

Personally, I’d prefer the leg lamp.

 

As a postscript, I will tell you that the gun shop which is hosting this award ceremony is in my local area (Triggers in Florence, Kentucky), and if I can get free on Thursday, I’ll go check it out. If I do, it will be the last time I ever set foot in that particular store. Any gun shop which would celebrate this will never get another dime of mine.

Reboot

As you probably already know, the Black Man With A Gun website recently experienced what you might call a “catastrophic event.” Kenn has successfully recovered some of the content, but much was lost for good, including over five years of my writing. As you might expect, my first, knee-jerk reaction was…well, unprintable here. But I have learned over the years that the old adage about crying over spilled milk is true…and that time spent lamenting what cannot be undone is also time wasted.

So I am embracing this “reboot” as an opportunity for a fresh start. And in the spirit of that fresh start, I have a confession to make. For those of you who are unaware, you should know that I…Dave Cole…am not black. In fact, I am as white as they come. Most of my ancestors came here from Scotland, England, and Germany shortly after the Mayflower landed, and we’ve been here ever since. I spent almost the first half of my life in East Tennessee, before serving in Texas, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Korea with the United States Army for nine years as an Air Defense Artillery officer. Then I got out and moved to Northern Kentucky near Cincinnati, where I have worked in both private industry and as a police officer.

Not black.

Then early in 2012, I was listening to Kenn’s Black Man With A Gun podcast when he asked if there were any writers out there who might like to contribute to his website. I’ve always liked to use the written word as my own personal outlet, and I had some stuff I’d already written handy…so I sent it to Kenn. He emailed me back inside of an hour asking, “Can I go ahead and start posting this material?” I said “Sure,” and the rest is history.

But today…Martin Luther King Day…what is even more important to note is what Kenn Blanchard did not ask me. Before accepting my writing to post on the Black Man With A Gun website, he did not ask me what color my skin was. He simply read my writing, and judged whether it was good or not, regardless of the color of the person that it came from.

Isn’t that what Martin Luther King was talking about? Isn’t that exactly the way he would have wanted us to treat each other? Rather than focusing on our differences, Black Man With A Gun is a place where we focus on our commonalities…a love of guns, shooting, and liberty. I’m personally quite proud to be a part of this team, and excited to reboot into 2018 with all of you.

Guest Post: Do You Know About the AppleSeed Project?

Jack Billington

I really hate to mention it here in this realm of derring-do and expertise in all things martial.

But I’m a lousy rifle shot.

Picture it: I’m a guerrilla fighter. My comrades are counting on my sniping skills to take out a key enemy position. I aim, breathe, squeeze the trigger — and take out a cow in a barn 12 degrees to the left, alerting the enemy, losing the battle, and depriving my fellow fighters of milk they need for survival.
Fortunately, no one is likely ever to be dumb enough to rely on my sniping skills.

Still, one recent Saturday I found myself, rifle in hand, at a nearby farm in the company of 20 women and girls.

We were there to attend a LadySeed, the women-only version of an Appleseed marksmanship clinic. Project Appleseed, as you may know, is an effort to turn Americans back into expert shooters “one rifleman at a time.” Its events are put on by the wonderfully named Revolutionary War Veterans Association and are staffed entirely by volunteers.

It’s not just about shooting. Each Appleseed also features an extended history lesson focused on April 19, 1775.

But mostly it’s shooting.
A blog post is too short to cover much about the events. The quickest and best thing to say is this is valuable training for anyone — man, woman, or child — who wants to buff up on rifle skills and do it with excellent help and in good company. And if there’s an Appleseed near me in the uber-boonies, there’ll probably be one near you at some time or another. Schedules are listed on the organization’s site.

Appleseed is not ideal for someone who has never fired a gun. Still, the woman next to me on the firing line was a newbie. She began the day unable to hit the paper. By the time we dragged our tired selves home, she was punching impressive holes.

The friend who came with me and I quickly realized we had handicapped ourselves by not bringing proper equipment. She had a bolt action with a single five-round magazine, and I had a tube-fed Savage that was my brother’s Cub Scout gun back when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
A semiauto .22 with two or more mags and a sling is really a must to get the most out of an Appleseed.

Turns out there’s a good equipment list linked right from the front page of the Project Appleseed website. But since we came to the class sign-up via a different route, we never saw it and couldn’t find one. It was our fault for not digging deeper. But it would have been nice had the organizers ensured that every attendee had such a list.

That’s a nit-pick. There are many, many more positive things to say. For the sake of brevity, I’ll focus on one: the excellent volunteer staff. The instructors in our case were all women — and could easily have been professional trainers.

Appleseed got started just five years ago with roughly two dozen clinics. This year, according to our instructors, it’s putting on close to 1,000. Even the New York Times took notice — although predictably the writer put the scariest possible slant on things.

Did my friend and I emerge as better shooters? Hard to say. Most people in the class did — and that was just on the first day. For a variety of reasons, we decided to skip the Sunday session. Both of us felt we’d have made more progress had we brought semi-autos.

But there’s always another Appleseed. And maybe someday “I’ll be good enough not to pot that cow.”