Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Shotgun, the Six-Twelve. Do Want!

Last Saturday an coworker of mine and darned good guy to boot showed me something that had very recently been shown of at the 2014 SHOT Show. For those of you who don't know the SHOT Show is a gigantic expo where firearm, ammunition, and general firearm manufacturing companies go to show off all their shiny new and innovative hardware to enthusiasts with the means to distribute information, and thus promote cool things to the firearm community. I've wanted to sneak into there for years, but so far have had little luck.

Anyway, I was shown a picture and some information on one of the newest and coolest firearms I've seen in a good while: The Crye Precision Six-Twelve, a revolving shotgun that can be attached to the underside of an AR or its own bullpup platform.

Ain't that just the neatest thing? Burning powder, I want one of these bad! It's a darned innovative contraption that gives yet another layer of firepower to the already versatile AR platform. Sadly there don't appear to be plans on attaching these to lever guns, and I somehow doubt that duct tape will solve this problem. Ah well, I can dream! The ideas running through my head on what you can load into this and in what configurations make me salivate. It is a double action system, meaning that it is all finger powered. No gas feed, no pump, no ejection, just a robust cylinder and six rounds of twelve gauge influence. Obviously this setup is a boon to police and military forces who need to breach doors. How delightful to see that innovation is still alive!

While I haven't yet found any live fire demonstrations, we can identify some of the pros and cons of this fairly quickly.
Pros: A reliable system with virtually no chance of malfunctioning during firing, a compact frame that can fit on many modern combat rifles, and can handle just about any modern twelve gauge shell on the market from low powered stuff to high pressure shells all the way to specialty off-the-wall shells. The cylinder can be switched out for a fresh one a bit like older cap and ball revolvers back in the day.
Cons: A somewhat fat profile with the cylinder, no way around it. Reloading will be less convenient than conventional pump action and magazine fed shotguns. Although a fast reload can be managed by having a spare, it's still a cylinder with six twelve gauge shells. That'll be a bugger to lug around. Low ammunition capacity, although you certainly can't expect any better from any other shotgun of the same length and in the same mounting, so I suppose this isn't quite a con for its current application.

Overall this is a darned fascinating invention that is already drawing the interest of not just gun nuts, but of military and police forces, who will most certainly find it to be of good use.
I'm very optimistic of its future and hope that I can eventually get ahold of one myself some day and find a way to Frankenstein it to a lever action repeater.
It tickles my nostalgic and engineering heart that 179 years, in the age of fully automatic rifles, rail guns, coil guns and lasers that the concept of a revolving cylinder to hold ammunition by Samuel Colt
It tickles my nostalgic and engineering heart that 179 years after Samuel Colt made the first practical revolver, that the concept is still being utilized effectively in the age of fully automatic weapons, rail guns, coil guns and lasers. Imagine if Samuel Colt and Elisha Collier could see the basic principle surviving even now!

Book Review: Death in the Long Grass

Several years ago my craze for hunting literature started, ferreting around on Amazon for whatever I could find and afford. My adoration for people such as Theodore Roosevelt was in full swing and I ordered his book Theodore Roosevelt On Hunting. Award winning title, what? Well, at least it isn't misleading. On an impulse I added Death in the Long Grass to my roster, having a vague recommendation from an associate. Boy was that a decision I didn't expect to pay off!
Shortly later my package arrived, and trying not to salivate over my new merchandise I figured I would save Teddy's work after reading DTG, saving the best for last sort of thing.

How little I expected to like what I'd found! Written by Peter Hathaway Capstick, Death in the Long Grass is a collection of information and true stories about the wildlife in Africa, both in modern and the old days. Many of his own recitations are from his days of working as a professional hunter, guiding clients in the thick of the bushveldt. If you wish to read true, hair raising stories about lions, elephants, hippos, and any other type of dangerous animal of Africa, then this is the book for you! His own hands on experience gives great weight to his words, although very little of it is politically correct. Well, he was in the business of doing things, not trying to conform to social norms which he defies with exceptional weaving of words in a style that I've only seen rivaled once.

It's difficult to really identify his style, as it shifts here and there. On one hand he can lead an introduction with such thick atmosphere and detail that you'd expect him to be writing rugged poetry. Then he switches gears and delivers a frank, semi-sarcastic but amazingly entertaining tone. Often writers deliver information in a static, vague way as if they are talking to themselves. Peter however feels like he's sitting across from you and speaking to you directly, a manner which I find most engaging and mixes wonderfully with his excellent sense of humor that appeals to immature dolts like myself. His tone can shift between serious and winsome, or both at the same time without being jarring, yet it always feels like I'm talking to a normal person, which makes you feel as if you're actually getting to know the author as if you're engaging in his adventures with him. Ahhh, such a rare trait in writing!

Specific content you ask? Well, we get a spicy mixture of physical descriptions, particular man eaters, both ones he has dealt with or not, behaviors, hunting tactics, hunting ethics, superb stuff! But the gritty action is by far the best. From sorting out man eating lions and leopards to the reality-defying vitality of Nile crocs, to the ferocity of a wounded cape buffalo all the way to finding an unsociable black mamba in the toilet, this book has excellent tales that are sure to raise your hackles!

For context on how other people I know latched on, I lent this to my church bishop once. He was skeptical about a former stock broker from New Jersey writing about things in Africa, especially as he himself spent some time in the Savannah himself. But he decided to give it a try after much insistence. It took me almost four months to get that thing back, and even then only after I informed him that I was once again in possession of my firearm arsenal and ammunition. Good grief, I all but had to pry the thing from his hands with a crowbar to get my copy back! He enjoyed the book just as much as I did and was a full believer. To help soothe the misery of being separated from his newfound love, I gave him a copy of another book by Peter Capstick, but that's for a different post. I also lent this copy to another friend during a book swap, and while he wasn't quite as rabid about it as others were, he distinctly enjoyed it and even now we can still recite some of the anecdotes.

I highly recommend this book and hope some of you get the chance to take a peek. If you are interested you can find a copy right here. :) Happy hunting gents!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Thoughts on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Howdy all! I'm here to do the obvious, which I will state anyway because it's my blog and I can type whatever I darned well please, give my opinions on the latest Tolkien movie, The Desolation of Smaug.
Just to briefly encapsulate my thoughts on the prior movie, An Unexpected Journey, I loved it so dearly that after I saw it I had no choice but to get a copy on DVD ASAP, all the while humming Misty Mountains at work while getting strange looks from my coworkers. While it was long, I felt enthralled and enjoyed myself from beginning to end. As much as I like the LOTR movies earlier, I just couldn't immerse myself the same way that I could with Unexpected Journey. It went out of its way to make the world blossom, taking its time to discuss culture, history, everything that made the books shine. Jackson actually makes a noticeable attempt to make the dwarves seem like individuals, whereas in the original book... well, let's face it, only Thorin and Balin had any real identity. Here Jackson strives to make each character distinct and I felt myself discovering small features about some of the dwarves who before were just names on a checklist.

Jackson makes some changes that were actually badly needed. While the original story was clearly for children with some deeper elements, there were always a few parts that bothered me that Jackson fixes. For example, the part with the trolls: In the book Bilbo gets his furry feet caught, and the dwarves wonder what's taking him so bloody long and blunder one by one, unarmed and without any contingency plans, right into the dreaded potato sack ambush. Cripes, that was embarrassing. In the movie though, Kili and Fili see that stuff is going poorly, go get the rest of their gang and bust in with swords flashing, axes slashing, and hammers bashing. Words were unable to express the joy I felt when they were actually darned well prepared for conflict and could hold their own when pressed. Joy! I know that many people felt that the movie was dreadfully long, and I can understand how if you aren't a big fan you'll have problems. I can't help myself though, I loved the crap out of it. I love world building and Journey did that wonderfully.
Okay, so much for brief, but whatever. Onto the next movie!

If Unexpected Journey was a slow start that steadily gained momentum like a steam engine, then Desolation of Smaug is like a roller coaster with someone ignoring safety precautions on speed parameters. I can't think of any part that not only was saturated with atmosphere but also had enough action to choke a greedy python. Right from the start we get some things that Jackson changes that actually improve the overall story and make much more sense. When reading The Hobbit I never really asked why Gandalf was bopping around with a squad of dwarves when he had no real personal stake in it, or even how he hooked up with them in the first place. Or why they reeeally needed a burglar. Journey deduces a very clever motivation, that being that Gandalf suspects that an evil power is rising and that a dragon like Smaug would be a pretty unfair advantage if war were to erupt. Thus he gives aid to Thorin, the rightful heir to Erebor to defeat Smaug while also helping to stabilize the dwarf politics. This actually very reasonably reflects Gandalf's style of getting things done: Getting people motivated, moving people around to where they need to be, and setting very well thought out goals.

We first see how Gandalf gets the whole ball rolling, which was pretty slick, and then we jump to the company trying to dodge massive orcs, slavering wargs, and the were-bear Bjorn. I was SO happy that they included Bjorn in this incarnation, although I'm still not sure if I agree with some of the changes they made to him. Ah well. Anyway, after dealing with him it's off to Mirkwood, one of the things I found coolest in the book. Truth be told it's a lot shorter than I thought it'd be given how big the forest is, but boy do they give you the impression of how darned spooky it is. The place is gloomy, deceptive, and confusing. Y'know, just like the DMV.
But when the spiders show up... Good grief! Peter Jackson has a most unnerving talent for making large insects and arachnids attacking people in dark places terrifying. It seems he still hasn't lost his touch from the gorge scene in his remake of King Kong. If you have arachnophobia, I recommend plugging your ears and covering your eyes. And not having sadistic friends with unusually hairy hands nearby.

Jackson does a magnificent job of keeping the narrative flowing smoothly and efficiently while keeping your attention super-glued to the screen. This is why I myself have very little problem with him making changes from the book, as it is often necessary to make changes and it works here wonderfully. When it looks like all is lost the elves actually swoop in to turn the spiders into arrow holders and the dwarves into Forced Guests. This is where we meet our elven amazon Tauriel, who absolutely kicks arse. *Happy sigh* It is cool seeing Tauriel and Legolas fight together, two lovely elven ladies beating up orcs! ;)
Before continuing here, I must confess I developed great affection for Kili and Fili. A pair of bros who are battle capable, young and enthusiastic. I absolutely loved when the Elves were frisking Fili and finding enough sharp pointy things to outfit a troop of paranoid boy scouts. I suspect part of Tauriel's character was to appeal to the female warrior demographic, and I shan't blame it in the least. At no point does she seem weak, incompetent or dumb. This lady could kick my tail without much trouble, which is awesome.

Personally I find the relationship between Tauriel and Kili to be quite cute and while I'm far from being an expert on the subject of love, I find it to be more believable than most I see. Anyway, back to the action. The scene where they escape from the elves and the orcs down the river is unbelievably fun and enjoyable. You've got orcs shooting nasty arrows and swinging blades, the dwarves grabbing weapons and punching, the elves jumping from barrel to barrel while launching arrows, everything you could wish to see from an action scene!

Going to Lake Town and bopping around inside was a surprising treat in just how well done it was. I could feel the cold radiating from the screen as I watched the shallow snow drifts, chilly water and fur-clad townspeople. I really didn't expect to be so taken in with the place! Bard isn't the captain of the watch here, but is still sufficiently hard core that I feel even the elf archers have to think twice. Bard really comes across as a shrewd, intelligent, crafty and capable dude just trying to keep his family fed and found myself really warming up to him. The Master and his toady are really good at seeming like greedy, uncaring and callous creeps just out for themselves. Insert democrat joke here.
Jackson continues to show his prowess in this film by making the simple acts of going into Bard's house seem energetic and fun. Now that's top of the line movie making!

Meanwhile Gandalf is tending to other matters, venturing forth into the dreaded fortress of Dol Goldur. Man, just say that out loud and tell me it doesn't sound spooky. Gandalf really shows how brave and capable he is by walking by himself into a place I'd hesitate venturing into with a platoon behind me. The confrontation he has with Necromancer being revealed as Sauron is delightfully epic, as it darned well should be, and I am SO happy Jackson decided to show us what was going on there. In the books the goings on there are only mentioned in passing and have little bearing on the rest of the story, despite how important it is. This is giving the in depth look at the source material and bringing the world to life that I love.

Anyway, the bulk of the company finally heads towards Lonely Mountain, ready to finally throw down. Kili, Fili, Bofur and Nori stay behind, on account of Kili coming down with a nasty case of Being Poisoned by Orc Arrow-itis. Nasty condition, what? Although this gives a pretty awesome plot of Azog's second in command, Bolg, who looks more intimidating that a 800 pound rabid boar, trying to finish off the dwarves still in Lake Town. Tauriel and Legolas swoop in and deliver some darned good action as they trade slashes with orcs. Did I mention there's good action in this movie? Tauriel then breaks a few tropes by being the one to rescue the guy she likes while needing little to no assistance and being in complete control of her situation. Dangit, why is it that I never have pretty women with bows rescuing me? Some guys get all the luck.

Meanwhile, after what I felt was an unnecessary delay for "The last light of Durin's Day," we get a change that makes a good bit of sense. What do they need Bilbo, the burglar for? In the original book it was basically to sneak into the mountain, swipe some swag, get his tail back and... well, that's about it. Just grab something, anything, shiny and report back. Here it is to find the Arkenstone, which is needed for Thorin to be recognized by the other dwarf kingdoms as the King Under the Mountain. This... makes a lot of sense. Perfect sense actually. Nice work writers!
Ah, but finally to the true climax: meeting the dreaded Smaug. I'm ecstatic to say that he meets any and all expectations I had. Holy crap, this giant lizard is more intimidating than asking a gorgeous lady out on a first date! Okay, maybe for me, but you get the idea. My gosh they deliver on making Smaug every bit as huge, monstrous and devastating as you could ever hope. I personally felt that the action with Smaug went on a bit too long, but it was by no means boring. I know a few people groaned at how it ended on a cliff-hanger, but I didn't mind that much myself. It was a GOOD cliff-hanger, can't deny that!
This is a nitpick, but through out the entire movie after the dwarves get captured I kept wondering when Thorin was going to get Orcrist back. I had an eye on that darned thing from beginning to end because I know Thorin gets to use it later. Unless that gets changed too. I hope not. Orcrist in this incarnation looks unbelievably bad-arse. The big forward weighted blade and the tang set into the bone handle, holy crap yeah... Gotta give props for all the weapons having a feel to them, reflecting the races that made them. Love it!

Overall, I bloody love Desolation of Smaug, and can't bloody wait for the next and last piece to come out. Considering how the last will have Smaug slain, The Battle of Five Armies and defeating Sauron at Dol Goldur, we're in for even bigger and better action, which is kind of a scary cool thought. I apologize that this review is a bit schizophrenic and poorly constructed, but it's late and I'm tired.

I hope that this has been an informative and entertaining review and that you all enjoyed it! Oh, and there are spoilers. Better late than never! ;)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The poor man's combat rifle

Ever since the Emperor of America was elected I've noticed that there has been a nearly unprecedented rush for every single item that propels a projectile made of metal that anyone can get their hands on. Many have had the (reasonable) fear that he might try to confiscate some of those pea-shooters, for the public good of course, and leave us vulnerable to the predators of our streets and politicians who don't care quite as much as they say. The result has been endless surges of new and old shooters alike clamoring for firearms that they can use to effectively fight off invaders, Nazis, zombies, Nazi zombies, criminals and giant catfish.
Good grief, the only section of the economy that hasn't been absolutely ravaged by federal incompetence, not for a lack of trying mind you, has been the firearm and ammunition market. The companies from mom and pop to multi-national corporate levels haven't had a prayer of keeping up with demand.
The most popular choice by far has been the all-famous AR-15, the firearm equivalent of a set of Legos due to its unbelievable modular capabilities. However, its popularity has also resulted in it being almost impossible to procure, along with any cartridge it's chambered in, not to mention the ones left being extremely expensive. This has left many people, mostly newer shooters or those with a tight budget, feeling left out. What other long gun can they rely upon to fight everything from mice to aliens? Well, if you happen to fall into this category, worry not! There is an alternative, one that is often overlooked, but will only be for your benefit. This is the lever action rifle.

The old lever action rifle is the great-grand daddy of all combat firearms, and has virtues that still make it relevant today. While it isn't the same as an AR decked out to the ear canals with bells and whistles, it has other advantages that rarely show up in specs. So take a seat and listen to some of the things I've learned.
First off, your average tube-magazine lever gun is almost always going to be cheaper than a decked out semi-auto. In fact, for one thousand dollars you can afford a decent lever gun, add new sights, a sling, ammo, a shell carrier and an ammo pouch. An AR off the shelf will usually hit you for around 1,500 dollars, depending on the manufacturer and dealer, although I know some reach higher than that. That isn't counting modifications, ammo, magazines, parts, flashlights, lasers, water purifiers, ice cream dispensers and coat racks that have become common. It's a wonder some ARs don't need a cell phone tower to update shooting tips!
So if you have a budget that doesn't allow for messing around then I hopefully have your attention.

Alright, you ask, cheap is one thing, but what else does it have to offer? I'm glad you asked! They are very compact, take up very little space, and if you have ammo, they will work. You don't have to worry about gas problems, jams and not having magazines. Wonderfully simple. I also love the virtue of being able to top off the tube magazine without disabling it. Many firearms are effectively disarmed the moment you go to reload. Bolt actions are out of the conflict the second you open the bolt to top them off just out of virtue of how they work. It's difficult to keep track of how much ammo you have with semi-autos due to the fact that you can't tell how much ammo is in each magazine without taking shells out and counting, and if you have a dozen half used mags you have an absolute logistical nightmare. With break open long guns you are dead to the world until you close them up. Not for lever guns! In fact lever guns, pump action shotguns, and pump action rifles with tube magazines all have the virtue of being reloadable without disabling the action. The moment you have a lull you can slip a few shells through the loading gate and still be ready to roll if something unexpected comes around the corner. Slower to load, sure, but difficult to be caught with your pants down. Coupled with the fast action you can keep up a very steady rate of fire under almost any circumstances.

One thing I love about classic built lever guns is that they are so easy to handle and keep ammo for. Semi-autos, while they are amazing with switching out magazines to keep putting bad guys down, have the natural consequence of having to lug around dozens of magazines. I've seen chest rigs just for carrying around spare mags, and they look heavy! Also makes it a bit challenging to carry other stuff. I'm not trying to knock on semi-autos, as they are darned good for a reason, but they also have their limitations. For my lever gun, I have a small MOLLE pouch that I hook to my belt, this pouch to be exact.
You know how many shells I can fit into that little thing? Two hundred and fifty. Just on my hip. An AR user, with thirty round mags with a good rig can usually carry around three hundred bullets. Oh, they can carry a heck of a lot more than that, but cripes they take up space and weight! My little rig alone carries a large capacity, while not weighing much. I can tote around a pack and other gear and not be heavily loaded! Especially out on the trail, it's far easier to walk around in. I can also dig into the pouch for reloads easy.

There are many different models out there for you to choose, but I'll keep it to the basic tube magazine models.
Rossi here has a large selection of 1892 carbines, a very strong stout design that will serve well.

You can find the omnipresent Winchester 94 carbine almost anywhere from gun shows, pawn shops, online auctions, everywhere. The reason there were over seven MILLION of these rifles produced is because they're just so darned versatile and steadfast. It's not unusual to find them for as low as 300$, which is a good price. They are reasonably accurate within their range and are as reliable as the rising sun. In fact, these are so common and reasonable that I find difficulty in reasoning why I shouldn't have one!
It's closest competitor, the Marlin 336, is an equal, if slightly more expensive. I won't describe all the differences between the two here, just because I don't want to drone on for too long for one post. I may comment on them later however.

The Marlin 1894 is one of the models I have, and it's an extremely dandy carbine. These things are darned hard to get ahold of, so much so that I attribute acquiring my model directly to divine intervention. If you see a model in 357 Magnum chambering, pick it up! I mean it! Or hold onto it and sell it to me!

There are also the new Marlin 308 and 338 long guns, an attempt to match the typical range of far shooting bolt actions. While I still feel the jury is out on these newer ones, they seem reasonable for longer distances, although they wouldn't be my first choice, mostly out of virtue that they have longer barrels and their ammo isn't nearly as easy to get ahold of as things like 30-30s or 357's.

Besides the carbines there are also the big framed pill-pushers, the Marlin 1895 and the Winchester 1886. Both have very strong frames chambered in huge hunting cartridges such as my beloved 45-70, 444 Marlin, 450 Marlin, and other but obsolete bison cartridges. These are meant more for hunting very big game than for anything else, but can attend to other jobs in a pinch. Just be careful if you have one of these dinosaur slayers for home defense; even low powered loads in any of these cartridges will go through any intruder, his two pals standing behind him and still have the risk of penetrating through the walls and into someone who you didn't mean to hit. They also don't hold quite as much as some of the carbines, but even so they are well worth having around.

It's important to remember that even today with fast firing semi-autos and one hundred round beta magazines that these ancestors are just as potent today as they were one hundred years ago. In some ways they are even more powerful today than back then: We have better burning powders, advanced and highly specialized bullets and far superior optics. They are still fully capable of stopping bad guys and defending the homestead in this modern era just as effectively as back when horses and trains were still the primary modes of transportation.

I hope that this has gotten the attention of some prospective gun buyers and users and has given a decent insight to some of the advantages of the oldest combat rifle still around. Later on I'll give more detailed information on modifications you can make, how to use lever guns appropriately and effectively, and general shooting tips.
Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Arizona Pocket Death Ray

Well, here's my first real post. This here is an incident from my childhood that I shall cherish and share with the world. Although my memory is a bit fuzzy, so a few details might be a wee bit exaggerated.
Anyway, gather round and lend me an ear!

T'was a sunny afternoon at Camp Geronimo, Arizona, a wondrous chunk of land for Boy Scouts to hone their skills in woodcraft and intellect.
It was just after lunch and about a dozen of us campers were gathered on the porch of the Trading Post, waiting for its doors to swing open and allow us to throw money at their overpriced goods. Ahhh, how I remember the smoothie special, a glorious combination of blueberry and strawberry sugar mixed with ice, dubbed the Bloody Smurf! Tellers there had some exceptional imagination for names.

For those of you who have never gone to a scout camp before, it's basically a place where you voluntarily sever your connections to electronics and the world at large. Young campers go about to various classes to earn badges for whatever they are focusing on. A bit like public school, except way more interesting and you have the chance of doing some actually cool things. It was also reasonably wild, plenty of small critters running around for hundreds of eager children to harass. While the official camp rules said to not mess around with them, the Nature Lodge, which was in charge of dealing with animals for educational purposes, put out bloody bounties if kids brought in anything special. I was sure to take them up on that.

Anyway, the Trading Post was the only place you could buy stuff at there, and the only place besides the Mess Hall that had food. If you wanted chow at any time that wasn't a designated meal time, then the Trading Post was your only hope. Aside from myself there was also my Dad and about a dozen other campers chilling in the shade. While young teens usually don't have the best track record for patience, we managed to last the hour admirably. My Dad entertained us with one of his new toys, and certainly his most shiny: a high-tech signal mirror!

Okay, it seemed high-tech at the time. It was really just a specially set mirror for mega-reflection capabilities with a little hole in the middle for sighting accurately. The darned thing was meant for shining sunlight into the eyes of pilots flying planes and helicopters if you happened to be lost. Sadly, Daddy hadn't gotten his tail lost yet as the camp councilors kept an eye on him almost as closely as the rest of us, and was thus denied the chance use it effectively. Now, if you've ever dealt with a 46-year old child, you know that sometimes you just have to make up reasons to use your toys.

Anywhat, the time for shopping was near. We could all feel it. Gear was stowed and zippers sang as we prepared to move in. Our hopes soared as we saw movement behind the shutters of the big glass window. The time was almost upon us!
Or so we thought.

Instead of the door being opened and admitting us, a bespectacled fella hung up a sign informing us that we had just wasted an hour of our valuable lives because the Trading Post was going to remain closed for the day. This was hour our loyal patience and dedication was rewarded? We couldn't let this stand. Mob mentality set in quickly. Shouts of discontent and malice sprang from our mouths and fists raised in the air, mine among them. Civil unrest would surely follow, engulfing the entire state in chaos. Hmm, there's that memory hiccup again...

To be fair, it probably wasn't this guy who decided to keep the place closed. But it was kinda hard to not blame him. He assumed that since there was a piece of glass between himself and a dozen semi-adults he was reasonably safe and assumed a rather smug and condescending attitude. Never before had shoulders been shrugged with such insolence! And that smirk, oh how it dripped with condescension! Our collective rage began to reach its peak, our barely-past-puberty voices joining together as we called for justice!

Then it happened. Remember that signal mirror Daddy had been fiddling with? The one meant for being blasted at bloody aircraft? It seemed that he had found a fitting use for this mirror and the Arizona sun in the dead of summer at high noon. A brilliant light lanced forth, cutting through the shade like a knife, past the feeble defense of glass and magnified ten-fold through the spectacles and directly into the villain's eyes. Wisps of feathery smoke rose from his eyes as they shriveled like raisins. If he didn't have eye problems before, he sure did now. The scoundrel lost his sense of balance, blinded by the intense beam, first staggering backwards, then forwards. Into the glass. Thunk! He then staggered out of sight. We didn't see him get back up.

Silenced reigned for a few stunned seconds, Dad looking just as shocked as the rest of us. Suddenly, everyone decided they didn't want to get into the Trading Post so bad after all. We all remembered we had something important to do over in the direction of Not At The Trading Post. Now, since camp officials didn't come around asking for murder witnesses I'm going to just assume the dude lived. Good thing too, since if such a horrible thing had happened the Feds would surely have banned the use of signal mirrors by civilians.

Don't I just have the best father in the world? Enjoy!