Friday, August 13, 2010

Gun taboos

I took my kids into the national forest in the mountains behind our home to target shoot.  We set up to shoot .22 rifles at targets 50 feet away on the side of the mountain.  We here 3/4 of a mile from any buildings and there are no official trails on the side of the mountain where we were.  I saw no hikers on the side of the mountain and set up targets where the bullets would fly directly into the dirt behind them.  My kids wore eye and ear protection and took turns shooting one at a time to prevent an accident, since I was the only adult working with them.  My eleven year old daughter and nine year old son are getting very proficient with keeping their fingers off the trigger and pointing the guns in a safe direction at all times.  I am not concerned with my kids coming across a loaded gun at someone else's house.  They have learned to respect and be careful with guns.

We were following all of the National Forest gun laws as follows:

According to the Code of Federal Regulations (title 36), recreational shooting can take place on the National Forests and Grasslands, as long as:

1. You are further than 150 yards from a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation area or occupied area.
2. You are not shooting across or on a National Forest System Road or adjacent body of water.
3. You are not shooting in any manner or place where any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge.

There are also laws an littering.  My kids collect their brass and all the garbage from targets to candy wrappers when we are done, whether or not it is our garbage.

Some hikers walked up along the dirt trail that was behind us.  The trail ran perpendicular to our shooting lane.  My daughter was shooting.  I had her safety her .22LR with a green Hogue stock and a bull barrel.  She slung it over her shoulder as a courtesy as they passed.  As they passed they told us we should shoot at a shooting range because people hike in the National forest.  I thought of saying they should walk their dog at a dog park on a leash (it is illegal to let a dog off it's leash like they were doing), or they should hike somewhere else because sometimes people shoot there.  But I didn't.  I was polite and waited for them to pass behind us.  As the lady passed she pulled out her cell phone and started snapping pictures of us.  Presumably, she called the police and was informed that we can shoot in the National Forest, but it still ticked me off. 
I guess what upsets me is people's ignorance to law and their attempt at imposing what they "think" the law should be on other people.  So many grow up without exposure to guns and it makes them afraid of those who have had exposure, even when they are following all the rules.  How did guns become so taboo in our country? A good law abiding citizen in California can't get a concealed carry permit. There is a general mistrust of guns becoming more prevalent in our society.
Utah is still pretty gun friendly.  It is actually legal to walk into Wal-mart with a loaded pistol on your belt.  It is called "open carry" and is totally allowed.  You will probably get the police called on you, but it is legal.  To carry a firearm concealed in Utah you must have a special concealed carry permit.  That permit lets you carry a firearm almost anywhere.  I have a concealed carry permit.  I am a big fan of carrying a .45 Glock in an inside the pants holster whenever I leave my home for self-defense.  I hope I never have to use it for that purpose. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

How many flies could a fly-trap trap if a fly-trap could trap flies?

While at the home improvement store the other day, my six year old son, Coleman, spotted a Venus fly-trap for sale.  He had seen them on a cartoon and wanted to bring one home to feed crickets.  I told him he could get one if he saved his money.  We went back a couple of days later after he did some weeding in our yard to earn six dollars for the plant. 

Once we got the plant home from the store we set it on the kitchen counter.  He ran upstairs.  We have four pet lizards and a container full of crickets to feed them in my bedroom.  He returned to the kitchen holding the cricket carrier in his hand like a sacrificial lamb. 

He had a huge grin on his face as he chased the smallest cricket in the container around the clear plastic walls.  Once he got hold of the insect, he stuck it into one of the plants claws.  The prison gates of the plant clamped down over the insect as it squirmed to get free. 

My son yelled out, "COOL!" and reached back into the container for another cricket.  He repeated the process two more times before I escorted the crickets back to their spot next to the lizard cage.  The lizards live in the master bedroom with my wife and I.  I love the sound of crickets at night. 

My son followed me upstairs with his plant in hand.  He put it in his windowsill. 

A couple of days passed and I went in my bathroom to brush my teeth before bed.  Next to my sink was the covered Venus fly-trap.  I pulled off the cover and jumped when three full-size jumbo crickets left from their prison and lept for cover behind the cologne and face soap.  My son thought his plant was so ferocious it could take on bugs that were a third it's size. 

I rinsed off my toothbrush and spit in the sink, watching the three crickets make their way through the labyrinth of hair products on my wife's side of the faucet.  After a few minutes, I managed to wrangle up the crickets, who were promptly released in the lizard cage to live out their final days. 

My son came in my room in his guitar-hero underpants and a white wife-beater t-shirt and went straight to the plant.  He carefully lifted the lid to search for living crickets.

He turned to me with the pot in his hand, a smile exploded across his face.  He said, "Ah, Dad, yoo arent goin' to believe this!  My plant ate three GINORMOUS crickets.  It mus've been very hungry.  I'll get it some more." 

"No.  No more crickets.  I think your plant is full."