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Debating a combat veteran

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Monkeyleg, Jul 23, 2005.

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  1. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    I recently started a new job, and one of the guys there is a Viet Nam vet. He was drafted, then enlisted, and was in the war for six years, four of them with the Rangers.

    He's very much a liberal, but on gun issues he's a moderate. He believes in concealed carry (he carries a pretty wicked knife, and sometimes a derringer), likes to shoot handguns, and for the most part supports gun ownership.

    I enjoy debating with him because he's calm and rational, and there aren't any hard feelings if we disagree.

    Anyway, yesterday we were talking about guns again. He pressed me on gun laws, and I think I successfully shot down the Brady Law, the AW ban, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and other anti-gun laws.

    However, I had a hard time with him on full-auto's. I took the position that thirty rounds from a magazine in seconds isn't much different than thirty from a magazine in twenty seconds. Further, the FOPA of 1986 only raised the cost of full-auto's. And that the GCA of 1934 merely taxed a type of firearm that was never in much demand for civilians to begin with (Auto Ordnance practically was begging people to buy Thompson's). And that, since 1934, only a couple of hundred thousand had been registered, with only one being used in a crime. And that there are many full-auto's in the hands of criminals, but they come through the drug channels.

    His positions on full-auto's were: if an untrained person--such as a kid-- got his/her hands on one, they would do more damage than with a semi-auto; that the small number of full-auto's registered means the '34 GCA worked; and that full-auto's are more deadly. He based that last statement on his experience in Viet Nam.

    We also got on the subject of "cop-killer" ammunition. I was able to explain that almost any rifle round larger than .22 LR will penetrate Kevlar, that armor-piercing ammunition is already restricted, and that the term "cop killer bullets" is a media creation. I ran down the story of CBS and the KTK ammo story from the 1980's, and how CBS was irresponsible for running the story, a point he especially agreed with. All in all, not too bad.

    He then turned to the dreaded Black Talon ammo. I explained that the issue over the Black Talon ammo was more media hype, that the ammo was still available by another name, and that hollowpoint ammo is made by many manufacturers for both hunting and defense. I then explained the purpose: efficiency, less chance of over-penetration, more humane kills when hunting, and more effective stopping power for defense.

    He couldn't quite wrap his mind around this, as he's shot some Black Talon ammo, and imagined what it would do to a human body.

    I don't think I won him over on that one, although I'm not sure why. After all, if you need to shoot someone, you want your shot to be as effective as possible in stopping the person by shutting down the system.

    Here's where I have a hard time: he's been in combat, and I haven't; he's killed people, and I haven't (I would never even presume to ask how many he killed); he's seen the effects of all sorts of weaponry, and I haven't.

    So, what I know about killing and ballistics and hollowpoints and full-auto's killing power are from reading. What he knows is from his experience with killing with FMJ's, full-auto's, and other weapons (such as claymores).

    I think I could bring him around on the issue of legalizing full-auto's, and I may have brought him around to accept hollowpoints, although I'm not sure.

    Any suggestions? I think I may have a chance to create a 100% pro-2A liberal if I do it right.
     
  2. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Member

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    Geez, sounds like you already effectively debated any incorrect preconceived notions he previously had and that the fellow now agrees with 95% of everything you've discussed together. Just keep at it with this last bit and I'm sure he'll come around :D

    Is the issue him not understanding JHP ammo in general versus FMJ, or Black Talons in particular?
     
  3. OH25shooter

    OH25shooter Member

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    I'm confused. What exactly do you want for him? He's been there, done that. Armed military combat. What's your point?
     
  4. boofus

    boofus Guest

    Whats the difference between a 9 round burst from a MP5 and a single round of 00 buckshot? Pretty much the same thing, except the MP5 won't send projectiles flying around at 2000fps like some shotgun loads. If people are responsible enough to handle a shotgun, they should be responsible enough to handle a MG.
     
  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    It's not the gun that's safe or dangerous, but the shooter.
     
  6. RoyG

    RoyG Member

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    Not to be negitive but I would question anyone that claimed to have spent 6 years in VN. Lots of fake vets out there. Most of the guys I know don't talk about their time there with outsiders. And those that do usually change their story once they are cornered with a real vet or facts.
     
  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    Full-auto is wonderful as long as the shooter has an adequate supply of ammunition and a suitable target. If you examine the North Hollywood bank robbery, the two robbers had an adequate supply of ammo, but no targets to use it on. They shot up a lot of automobiles and buildings, but they really didn't hurt that many people in relation to the amount of ammunition they expended.

    I'm beginning to think your ex-Ranger friend isn't the weapons expert he purports to be. He seems to be hung up on the 'killer buzz saw' effect of a Black Talon bullet. If he brings this up, ask him how many revolutions he thinks that bullet makes as it 'buzzes' it way through the human torseau. Hint: Know the rifling twist of most handguns in use today.

    I'm with RoyG on this one. Six years in an awfully long time. I am aware of some career soldiers who did two, maybe three tours there, but at the most that comes out to no more than three years.

    I suggest a more objective look at what he claims to be. Start with his age. Is he in his late fifties to early sixties? How does his age stack up against when he claims to have been in Vietnam?

    A good friend of mine was a California Highway Patrolman. He told me one day he was talked out of a speeding ticket by a naval aviator who regaled him with stories of his flying combat over North Vietnam. My friend was suitably impressed with the aviator's stories until I asked my friend how old the naval aviator was. He told me. I said that made him about eighteen years old when the war ended. I assured them there were no eighteen year old naval aviators during the Vietnam War.

    If your friend passes the age test, casually ask him some questions about where his Ranger unit operated and when. I had an acquaintance who said he was a Marine and was exposed to Agent Orange, which explained his poor health and recurring bouts with cancer. When I asked him what company, battalion, and regiment he was assigned to, when and where his unit operated, he had a terrible lapse of memory. He couldn't remember.

    Said 'Marine' constantly complained the Veterans Administration wouldn't treat his ailments. Every time I showed him the VA was recognizing more and more ailments as service connected due to Vietnam service, he made up new excuses why the VA wouldn't treat him, though he never made a trip to the local VA hospital see if he qualified for treatment under the new guidelines.

    Pilgrim
     
  8. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    No, this guy definitely served for the time he claims. That's very well established amongst those in our industry here.

    Maybe it would be okay to have him 95% of the way there, but I see the potential for him to be 100%. And, for the others in my industry who share his liberal views, his solid commitment to gun rights would be invaluable.
     
  9. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    His age is a good place to start. I was a lifer and only did 2 tours and I reenlisted for one of them. Ranger is a school ,I can't remember any true US Army Ranger companys in nam like in WW2 or today. I mean Ranger qualified people were their ,in SF, Regular gunts MP's.Doctors. Several of my Pilots wore Ranger tabs. I just can't remember seeing or hearing of a American Ranger company. But then I am getting old and forgetfull.
     
  10. RoyG

    RoyG Member

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  11. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    He's the same age as me, 54. He once told me he was there until the end.
     
  12. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

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    Uh, I'm 51. If I had quit school and enlisted at 17...I could have made it to Vietnam. Maybe. I turned 18 in 1972. The year we pulled out 70,000 combat troops before pulling them all in 1973. Your friend would have been 22 in 1973. Six tours is six years. So he'd been posted to Vietnam since the age of 16.

    Which end? Saigon fell in 1975. American combat troops left in 1973.

    As has already been mentioned there is a difference between being Ranger qualified-a graduate of Ranger School who can wear the Ranger tab- and being a Ranger. A Ranger is assigned to the Ranger regiment. The 75th, I believe.

    Crew served fully automatic weapons are more dangerous than crew served semi-automatic weapons would be:) From my own military (non-combat) experience, I really doubt that full automatic capability makes that much difference to the individual rifleman in an infantry unit.

    Doctrine changes over time. In basic in 1974, however, I was taught to only use fully automatic in three round bursts in low light situations to increase the probability of a hit. Experimentation on the range at night proved that anything that I could hit at night with a three round burst...I could hit with a single round. And that anything that I could miss with a three round burst...I could miss with a single round.

    Much of your friend's firearms beliefs, in my view, follow the gun control propaganda rather than the knowledge gained from expertise.

    Have you been to the range with him? If not, invite him. If you've got a 1911; take it. Watch to see if he's familiar with its manual of arms. After the session, start cleaning the weapons. Ask him to clean the 1911. If he can disassemble it; it doesn't prove anything one way or another. However, if he can't disassemble it... Another thing that I've seen the "military weaponry experts" fail at is not knowing how to adjust the sights on a M16.

    I was just a Army Reserve truck driver. I did not so much as touch a M16 for over twenty years. Even after that length of time; I still remembered how to set the sights. I've met super troopers who tried to tell me that their M16's had different sights than mine. Nope.

    Also, I'd wonder about the expertise of anyone who chose a derringer as a primary carry weapon. It seems to me that anyone experienced with firearms in combat would be more likely to never carry than to believe that carrying intermittently was a viable option.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2005
  13. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    Hmmm. Thanks to all the vets for pointing out the curious timeframe. Next time I get to chatting with this guy about his experiences, I'll see if I can't get some more definitive answers.

    I doubt he's lying about being in Viet Nam--too easy for other vets to trip him up--but he may be "gilding the lilly" a bit.

    He makes a better friend than foe, so I don't want to push him on anything.

    Pilgrim: "I'm beginning to think your ex-Ranger friend isn't the weapons expert he purports to be. He seems to be hung up on the 'killer buzz saw' effect of a Black Talon bullet. If he brings this up, ask him how many revolutions he thinks that bullet makes as it 'buzzes' it way through the human torseau. Hint: Know the rifling twist of most handguns in use today."

    His experience with ammunition is from decades ago. He doesn't shoot rifles, and has an interest in handguns, but not to the extent that most THR members do.

    At some point I'll get him out to the range, and I'll see how well he knows the 1911.

    All in all, this is a weird place I'm working at when it comes to guns. The owner doesn't even know how many guns he owns, but his interest is confined to cowboy-action shooting. He doesn't pay attention to gun politics.

    Then there's the assistant photographer who likes to hunt with both gun and bow, but whose hunting ethics make me cringe: taking shots from too far a distance, taking shots when he doesn't have a clear shot at the deer (hitting trees instead of his target), and then wounding a deer and not being able to find it. When he told me about guessing where to aim his bow at a deer directly underneath his tree stand and out of his line of sight, I wanted to smack him.

    Meanwhile, I'm the one who is rapidly becoming known as the studio's "gun nut." At least I know my facts, and follow the rules, though.
     
  14. magsnubby

    magsnubby Member

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    Ask him for his DD-214. All the info should be on there. The numbers don't add up.
     
  15. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    I wonder when this gentleman served in Vietnam.

    I was there in 1968, with the very first generation of M16s. You might ask the guy if he knows (or remembers) that the reason the M16 was changed from full-auto to 3-round burst fire was that it was basically uncontrollable in full-auto mode. If you didn't hit what you were aiming at with the first round, the following rounds mostly went cloud hunting.

    Which tells me that for most gang bangers, a full auto weapon would be less dangerous than a semi-auto because they'd light off the full magazine in a half a nanosecond and not be able to hit anything except by accident. What's the cyclic rate for an M16? Isn't it something like 800 rounds per minute? That's 13.3 rounds per second. At that rate, it takes about 1-1/2 seconds to dump a 20-round magazine.

    He may have spent 6 years in the Army during the Vietnam era, but it is extremely unlikely that he spent 6 years in theater. Even my most gung-ho Marine captain buddy only did two years in country.

    54 years old, eh? Probably born sometime in 1951, then. Add 18 years to get him out of high school (you did say he was originally drafted, and they didn't draft until you were 18 and had completed high school -- and college, if you were accepted) brings us to 1969 as the earliest he could have been inducted. Hell, I had already been home for a year before he even reported for basic training. Add another 8 weeks for Basic and 8 weeks for AIT and the earliest he could have gotten to Vietnam would be early 1970.

    There just wasn't enough war left to spend 6 years there even if might have otherwise been possible.
     
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    I don't have any use for veterans who "gild the lilly" a bit. They are living a lie. They are stealing the honor that rightfully belongs to those who went in harms way for their country.

    If you want to learn about the extent these frauds go to glorify their past, you should read "Stolen Valor" by B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley.
     
  17. tg_26101

    tg_26101 Member

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    My brother spent two tours in Vietnam (68-69, home 30 days, and back in 70). He requested a third tour and was denied; anyone requesting a third tour was suspect of losing it. If still alive, he would be 56 next week. Your friend was born in 51. He was 24 when the war ended. The only way he could have been there six years was continuously from the age of 18. Not likely.

    I had a friend who was in supply in Saigon. He said for every man in the field there were 7 support personnel. He wondered what happened to all the support folks; he had never met another clerk following the war. Seems everyone else was Rambo.

    Don't want to dis your friend, but the story don't add up. Also, don't get me wrong: I have the utmost respect for all Vietnam era personnel; no one knew where they would end up when they went in. All vets who serve honorably deserve to be held in high esteem, wartime service or not. They've all sacrificed the most precious thing they have, time from their lives and loved ones.
     
  18. DorGunR

    DorGunR Member

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    I too can't buy the 6 years in Nam. I was there for two tours but I extended each one for 6 months so the two one year tours became two 18 month tours for a total of three years. I retired in 1972 but I didn't know anyone that was there for 6 years. Someone pass me the salt please.
     
  19. Brasso

    Brasso Member

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    I'm in law enforcement and work with a guy who was in special forces. I don't know if he was in combat or not. The point is that he is a cop and was in special forces, and is a diehard democrat. That's what boggles my mind. He actually likes Billary. He's a nice guy, but I just can't wrap my mind around his political beliefs enough to feel comfortable around him. When 2+2 equals something besides 4 I get uneasy.
     
  20. Don Gwinn

    Don Gwinn Moderator Emeritus

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    The abilities it took him to serve in Special Forces are nothing but skills and talents. You wouldn't be surprised to find that a skilled basketball player or cigar roller was a Democrat.


    I'll say this, though: It's entirely possible that Monkeyleg's friend is lying. It could also be that Monkeyleg misunderstood him (maybe he said he served six years and served in Vietnam, and in the listener's ear those statements blended together.)

    Either way, I doubt Monkeyleg has much interest in outing him or confronting him. Asking for his DD214? What's in that kind of insult for Monkeyleg?

    I have found it interesting if dismaying, though, how many of the fakers who claim to be SEALs or Rangers or Green Berets actually had very honorable military careers. They might have been truck drivers or crane operators, but they still served honorably and did jobs that needed to be done. . . . but for some people, that isn't enough, and that's when they decide they need to embellish it a little. It's sad when you think about it.
     
  21. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    Thanks for that post, Don. My co-worker and I were both born in 1950.

    When I "gradiated" high school in June of 1969, I was immediately available for military service.

    I was in no rush to go. Sometimes I'm ashamed of that, and other times I feel like I made the right decision, and other times I don't know what to think.

    The #1 reason I didn't want to go to Viet Nam, or even screwed up a scholarship to MI Tech engineering school, is that I didn't want to risk losing the love of my life. "Little head" leading the "big head?" Maybe, but we just celebrated 28 years of marriage, and 37 years of being together.

    Anyway, I like this guy, and he's unusually calm during debates, especially for a Democrat. Maybe he did a year, then went back to the states, then did a year...I don't know.

    What I do know is that I have a liberal Democrat within inches of supporting everything that we on THR are fighting for. If I can bring him 100% into the camp, then his wife and family will eventually follow.
     
  22. carebear

    carebear Member

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    Monkeyleg,

    You might point out that full auto's were (partly) regulated because of their use by criminals, yet most criminals didn't buy them (due to their proportional great cost) even though they were legal, they stole them from government armories.

    The parallel to any other criminal misuse (and legislation) should be obvious.

    And as far as the "kids" issue goes, I'm not sure how the misuse by kids of a full auto is truly different than any other firearm. A trigger pull is a trigger pull, it isn't like the kids are going to be able to not-control the weapon any more or less than a semi- or single shot.

    Just let him sit and stew and when he brings up the topic again, reiterate the fallacies of his argument gently. It's a bit much to expect someone to do a 180 on any belief, no matter how knee-jerk, all at once.

    Let him hang onto his last holdout position and chip away at it slow. You might lend him Unintended Consequences to give him a bit of history in a readable version.
     
  23. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    Before challenging his service, make sure you heard right. The six years may have been the total enlistment, instead of time in Vietnam.

    Also, I don't think Black Talons were around during his term, so he may have believed the news hype at the time they were introduced.

    Regards.
     
  24. simon

    simon Member

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  25. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    You guys work for the media?
     
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