Sunday, May 12, 2002

The plaintive wail from my readers that I've included in the title of this post will be ignored. Guns guns guns, nuttin' but guns.

Well, not really. I'm actually going to ask for some opinions to something that puzzles me. You see, women seem to shoot better than men when it comes to handguns.

My experiences working for the police in my home town of Columbus, Ohio prompted me to start a free firearm training course for victims of violent crime. I eventually expanded it to include anyone who asked. The one thing that always puzzled me was the way women would consistently shoot better than men when starting out.

Maybe it had something to do with the way I had the course organized. The student would always start with a .22 autoloader, deliberately chosen to be big and heavy to damp muzzle flip while giving a nice big sight picture. This way the newbies would learn that the recoil everybody keeps talking about was nothing to fear, while the long barrel and large sights would mean that improvement came easy and was obvious.

Then we'd move on to a full sized duty arm. It would again be something rather large to damp down muzzle flip, but it would be firing a full sized cartridge (9mm, in this case). If the student was interested we could move on to a larger, more powerful gun like this .357 Magnum.

After the course most women would claim that they like the performance of the Magnum, but didn't like the large size or small capacity of the 6 shooter. Most men would try the .357 but be rather reluctant to share their views on the gun.

But the women would most definately improve quicker and shoot better than the men. I had the great good fortune to introduce a good friend of mine to the sport, Kathryn Woods, and she's an incredibly gifted shooter who always puts me to shame. She also doesn't mind the .357, but she prefers 9mm's.

So why is it this way? Why do we men take the women in our lives out to the range, pleased as punch that they're going to share a great interest in our lives only to have our masculine egos bruised beyond repair when they show us up as the girlie-men we really are?

Beats the heck out of me.
A column of Taliban fighters are marching down a road in Afghanistan when they hear a voice call to them from the other side of a sand dune. "One U.S. soldier is worth ten Taliban." The Afghan commander commands his ten best soldiers to charge over the dune. A gun battle breaks out, then silence.

The voice calls again. "One U.S. soldier is worth 100 Taliban." The Afghan commander detaches 100 of his men to attack. A fierce battle breaks out for ten minutes, then silence.

The voice calls out again. "One U.S. soldier is worth 500 Taliban." Furious, the Afghan commander detaches 500 of his remaining men to charge. Rockets, bombs and mortars shatter the silence. Machine guns chatter and tracers fly over and around the sand dune. Finally, after 15 minutes, there is silence. A single mortally wounded Taliban fighter crawls back to safety. Before he dies he croaks a warning.

"Don't send any more men. It's a trap!

"There's really 2 of them!"
I came across this picture on James F. Dunnigan's Strategy Page. It's a picture of five carriers with one escort apiece.

Yeah, so what? Well two of the carriers are from the U.S., but the other three are from three different European countries.

The carrier in the foreground is the USS Theodore Roosevelt (Teddy!), and the one that's the farthest from the camera is the USS John C. Stennis. Everything in between is one of our allies.

Notice how much smaller the other carriers are, with only the FNS Charles deGaulle being anywhere near the size of the two U.S. carriers. (It's obvious why the French view the CdG as the pride of their fleet, and have resisted suggestions to retire the big ol' money sink over the years.) In fact, the escort for the USS John C. Stennis is the Port Royal, and it approaches the mass of the ITS Garibaldi (which is mostly empty space to carry aircraft, to be fair).