August 16, 2012

It’s been three months since I did a potpourri of unconnected items, so I shall indulge myself again. This may get to be a quarterly habit, I don’t know. Who can think that far ahead?

There is something of a thread connecting some of these items in that they are follow-ups to topics left hanging from previous columns. For example:

Imprimis. My May 24th column was inspired by Michael Wolff’s New York magazine cover story on his mother and the issue of death with or without dignity. I declared my own intentions:

I have a good selection of guns and have made up my mind that if it comes to diapers, I shall see myself out with a gun. I will not wear diapers”€”that’s the end point for me, the milestone I am determined not to pass.

This generated comments and emails along the lines of: “Yeah, that’s what they all say.” A couple of readers pointed out an implicit paradox”€”that such an extreme act of desperation is motivated by loss of physical capability, yet you need physical capability to go through with that terminal act.

Obviously some foreknowledge of your catastrophic decline is necessary, and procrastination would not be your friend. People manage it, though. Here’s one:

A desperate WWII veteran killed himself with a shotgun because he feared he would have to go into a care home and loose [sic] his independence, an inquest heard.

George Duckmanton, 88, whose eyesight was failing, was terrified by his deteriorating health and did not want to lose his freedom.

The comment thread seems to be entirely supportive: He’s a brave man that “€œmade the right decision,”€ etc. Although, mind you, the story is from a British newspaper.

“€œImagination is part of the human package, and it needs to be fed if we’re to take an interest in anything at all.”€

Item. Still on guns: On July 19th I reported on taking our own family shotgun apart, with a follow-up note on August 9th and a reassuring blog post here.

I got masses of reader help and advice on that, for which many thanks all around. The piece I had left over was the “connector,” part number 65 in the schematic on the amazing Numrich website. The safety doesn’t work without it, a thing I had not noticed because I was using shotted dummy shells to test the mechanism, so absent fear of an accidental firing I did not think of the safety.

So did the shotgun work on Saturday’s live-firing test? Yes it did”€”perfectly, through three rounds of skeet and some range work. Heh.

Item. On July 26th I gave a passing mention to Civil War reenactments. Well, here’s one“€”not from our Civil War, but from England’s:

When grandfather Alf Thompson saw a knife-wielding robber, he knew exactly how to tackle him”€”by turning into the Cavalier swordsman he loves to play in re-enactments of Civil War battles.

The old boy, a member of the Sealed Knot society of reenactors, went to a store to buy a newspaper and walked in on a robbery in progress. His 17th-century military skills took over, and the perp is now serving four years at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Item. On the matter of our own Civil War (War Between the States, War of Northern Aggression, Second American Revolution, whatever), apparently it’s never over. NewsBusters has a piece on travel writer Chuck Thompson, who thinks this would be a better country without the South:

“We didn’t let the South go when we had the chance. We would have avoided a lot of problems,” Thompson said….

The problem, he said, is that “dim-witted, mouth-breathing, racist rednecks” represent enormous “voting quorums” in the South.


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