Monday, January 30, 2012

Internet gun commandos. *Sigh*

With a nod to Old NFO, I start this post with a deep, resigned sigh.

Internet gun commandos. Entertaining or irritating?

For the record, I call one and only one internet "discussion forum" home, and that would be Cast Boolits. There, I actually post and contribute, trade PMs (private messages), buy stuff, contribute financially to the forum's well-being, and have actually met some of the members and had lunch/dinner with them, etc. I'm a member of a boating forum BoaterEd, but read only and haven't posted in several years. Also a member of an aviation forum, but have never posted--read only. Anything I want to know, the "search" function is my friend. There are a few gun forums I'll stumble upon courtesy of a google search, but I've only joined one which was the Pennsylvania gun folks place, and I've made a few remarks there but not lately.

Cast Boolits is my home.

I'm a gun guy. A one hundred percent Texas pro-Second Amendment "get out of my damned face with your commie stinking gun-control bullshit" bonafide gun guy.

I wear the Gun Blog Black List badge with honor and with pride.

Some folks used to be fond of saying, "If you don't like Hank Williams, you can kiss my ass." I'm fond of saying, "If you don't like me having guns, you can kiss my ass."

I've carried a gun in defense of my country and fired it. I've carried a gun in defense of my fellow man by way of law enforcement and fired it. I've carried a gun in defense of myself and family by way of a concealed handgun license and have fired it. I believe in defense of country, defense of fellow citizen, and defense of self and family.

If this bothers anyone, I refer you back to the Hank Williams line.

I also reload my own ammo, which I refer to as handloading when it comes to my match-grade ammo. And I also cast my own boolits--known as bullets to the unwashed among us.

So Cast Boolits is a great place for bonafide gun guys like me.

Our crowd, I've been told, can be kind of intimidating to new or younger shooters. I once read a quote about us on another well-respected gun forum with a membership that numbers well over one-hundred thousand in which one of the original members and a moderator said, "Those old farts at Cast Boolits have forgotten more about reloading and casting and shooting than ninety-nine percent of us will ever know."

Some of us kind of resented being thought of as "old farts," so we did a poll and found out, damnit, that most of us ARE old farts.

So, when some youngster with self-inflicted delusions of grandeur when it comes to his "shooting abilities" shows up out of the blue, ostensibly to impress us with his knowledge, skill and experience, we can be kind of a tough crowd to impress.

Someone once called them "mall ninjas" in honor of some comic book character who went by the name of "Gecko45." I thought it was all a joke until someone e-mailed me the link to the legend that is now Gecko45.

Holy mother of mariachi midgets. That was the funniest stuff I have ever read in my life!

I'm thinking that this Gecko fella is over the top on purpose. . . kind of a satirical toss at some of the internet gun commandos who aren't quite as over the top, but instead are far worse because of something else:

They believe what they write about themselves.

I remember one rainy day a few weeks ago. . . I'm at home, watching it rain and eating a bowl of my homemade chili and surfing the net. One link leads to another which leads to another. I call it the "Lost In You Tube" syndrome. Anyhow, I end up on some obscure gun forum about modified "tactical shotguns and cloned H&Ks."

You can find anything on the internet.

Some guy named "Frog" was one of the room monitors and he was scolding some new member for making fun of a guy who had dressed up in his airsoft combat costume, but was holding his actual pimped out shotgun in one picture, and his pimped out something gun in another picture.

Oh. My. God.

It was then that I finally understood the term "internet commando" and "mall ninja."

I read the discussion, did a little digging (it was still raining outside, after all, and I had plenty of chili left) and found out this clown referred to himself as an "educational tactical security specialist."


Further digging revealed he was an unarmed school security employee in Houston, Texas. In fairness, he WAS hoping to move up in the security company and be transferred to one of the shopping malls they had under contract.

Oh. My. God.

One of the people in the discussion with this mister Frog fella actually asked the Houston school-crossing (unarmed) guard if he was, or was related to, the legendary Gecko45. No, the fellow replied, but he admitted to having a "great deal of respect" for Gecko45.

Even more frightening was the legions of DEFENDERS this clown had defending the two or three guys deriding him for looking like a cross between Idi Amin, Colonel Khadaffi and Rambo all dressed in SEAL Delta Force nomex basic black.

Read that again: Other guys were defending him for his delusions!

Oh. My. God.

So all of this comes crashing back to me when I stumbled across another post by some kid from somewhere in the lower South bragging about how "all his friends are impressed with how great he shoots" and how he "shoots his initials in the target" and that they all call him "Sniper, because he's that good."

He argues a bit with a few folks, then goes on to state that "nobody wants him shooting at them" because he's that good.

What a warrior, eh?

I was in the Air Force many years ago. We delivered Death and Bad Things to people and places we didn't like very much. The Death and Bad Things often went by the name of U.S. Navy SEALs and Green Berets and U.S. Army Rangers and Recon Marines. Pretty nice guys as long as you saluted the same flag. Stone cold professionals. And if they happened to have a difficulty or two in getting away from whatever appointment we dropped them off at, we had these fellas called Pararescuemen, or PJs, that made Superman, Bruce Lee and John Wayne all take two respectful steps back. The PJs didn't give two shits in Cheyenne where you were at or how many people were around that didn't like you--if you needed getting out, they got you out.

Now those are warriors. Real warriors. Hell, I salute ANYONE who gut-checked it up, left home and strapped on a pair of combat boots. Hey, you sacrificed. You served. You did your part.

Thank you.

But these internet warriors. . .

When I read about these guys on the internet shooting their initials in a target or being called "sniper" by their friends or telling us about how many "$100 bills" they've won on shooting bets, I smile.

Then I go re-read the Legend of Gecko45 and figure somewhere, this guy must've been the world's greatest sexual performer because he certainly spawned a helluva lot of offspring.


Murphy's Law said...

Whole lotta win in this post...and sadly, a whole lotta truth. But hey--everyone is a superstar on the internet, right? All men are studs, all women are smoking hot, and I'm even an astronaut...on the internet.

Old NFO said...

Murph is right, and they (in my opinion) have been the death of a lot of good gun forums; simply because they post their 'fantasy' world and then get butt hurt when they get called on it... Cast Boolits, Snipershide, Colt and S&W collector forums and maybe one or two others are about the only ones where people put up 'proof' of their capabilities (and most of us are old farts)...

FYI, we even invited a couple of them to show up at Quantico a couple of years ago and shoot with us. You can guess how many actually came out (crickets)... Great post, and concur with your comments about the 'real' professionals.

Anonymous said...

I am of two minds on this one Tex.

You are entirely correct about stupid people dressing up to pose for a role they are clearly not suited for. Somebody should politely take them aside and say a few discrete words.

On the other hand I feel sorry for them. They want to impress you and feel good about themselves by posing as warriors like you. In a sense you should feel complimented. You have made a real impression on them and they mean no harm.

I have no patience for the forums and the bloated wind bags that infest them though - I know what works for me and as you old farts pretty much know our business. I prefer to orate, pontificate and bloviate on the range - where it keeps me honest. I have been spanked a few times but at least I got my comeuppance in the right place - where everyone can get a good laugh out of it.


Tango Juliet said...

Once upon a time, during a handgun class at Thunder Ranch, Clint Smith observed, "Everybody was a sniper. Somebody had to drive the trucks. Somebody had to cook."

Being a smartass, I piped up, "I drove the sniper truck."

All I did was sail around in big circles on big gray boats in the western Pacific.

An Ordinary American said...

Murph--on the internet, I think I'm going to make myself. . . hmmm. I'm thinking. . . Hell, I don't know and what does it matter? Soon as you turn the computer off, you're back in the real world.

Maybe I oughta be okay with who I am HERE, eh?

Agree with you.

Old NFO--I'm a fair shot by MY standards, which are basically set forth in two ways: Do you put the bullet where you wanted to, and B) Have you ever had to do it when it no-shit counted?

Most of the time for the first, yes on the second.

That's plenty good enough for me. Lots of folks can answer yes to both or to one or the other and shoot absolute circles around me.

That's why we practice, right?

Anon--I have no problem with fantasies. Had them all the time during puberty.

Just seems that some wannabes never get past puberty.

TJ--That is a great quote from Clint. True, too. Seems like every "vet" I meet who is just back from "Stan" was a sniper.

For my generation of guys, we should've all been Green Berets (nobody really knew about the SEALs back then).

But it's kinda hard to pass yourself off as an ex-Green Beret when:

1. I have no idea what 99% of all the Army acronymns stand for.

2. I have no idea where 90% of all Army bases are--or are they posts? Or are they forts? (See what I mean--I'd be a lousy Green Beret)

3. My friends who know me would know better. Green Berets (like all the other hard asses) do a lot of running. Anyone who knows me has SEEN me try to run. (Now, put me in the water back then and I'd take on all comers. But you have to be able to run to get to the water, so alas, I lose again.)

4. You get busted when you're wearing your old Air Force OD fatigue shirt with the sleeves ripped out, but with your name, branch of service (US Air Force) and unit patches still sewn on. Green Berets didn't wear Air Force OD fatigue shirts from what I remember.

Hey, I was an Air Force guy. Did my job. Was a federal LE guy. Did my job. No heroics. Just my job like damn near everyone else I served with.

Now I carry a concealed firearm and just want to be left the hell alone by bad guys and internet commandos.

What's wrong with that?


Old NFO said...

"I'm a fair shot by MY standards, which are basically set forth in two ways: Do you put the bullet where you wanted to, and B) Have you ever had to do it when it no-shit counted?"

THAT is the real difference from the mall Ninjas; you (and others) have done it for real, and know the consequences of using a firearm to protect/stop/save your ass... AND you know that you live with those decisions that were made.

And secondly, you are comfortable with who you are and aren't into the game playing that the internet has proliferated...

I sure as hell don't go around wearing my flight suit all the time, nor do I claim to be anything I'm not; and those that know me can vouch for that... And that I need work on my pistol skills :-)

An Ordinary American said...

Old NFO--Hell, I just need to shoot more. Problem is, I enjoy my boolit casting and handloading and fiddling around in my reloading shop more than I do the actual shooting.

Same goes with flying and boating, although I enjoy being in the air and on the water more than underneath the airplane's belly or in the engine compartment of the boat.

So, I need to work on it all! But that's what the journey is all about. The destination often bores me--it's the getting to it that's interesting.


Old NFO said...

Ah yes, the journey... :-) At least WE have real journeys, not make believe ones :-D