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V.21 No.42 | 10/18/2012


Gun Girl

My weekend as a gun-lovin', gun-wieldin' member of the Wild West.

I took my first gun class this weekend, and boy was it an eye-opening experience for someone who knew absolutely nothing about guns. The course was titled "Introduction to Handguns for Ladies Only," and was given at Calibers, an indoor shooting range and gun shop in Albuquerque.

The class instructor, Lindsey, explained to us that because men and women have very different reactions to guns (men are generally less leery and less emotional about shooting), Calibers chose (wisely in my opinion) to offer a separate women's class. Lindsey, who was incredibly knowledgeable as well as personable, is only 22 years old. She has been shooting guns since she was a child, and has been working at Calibers for 5 years—since she was a teenager!  She knew more about firearms than anyone I have ever met.

The first thing that struck me about the class was how little I really knew about the subject matter. I felt like I was taking a beginner's foreign language class with how hard it was to keep up with the strange words. Terms like "single-action", "striker-action," "de-cock," "mag clip," "mag release," "front sight" and "cartridge caliber" were completely beyond me. I soon realized I did not even have the most basic handgun knowledge, like the difference between a semi-automatic pistol and a revolver, or what an actual bullet looked like.

The first day of the 2-day course was in a classroom setting. We learned firearm safety (never point a gun at something you are not willing to destroy), basic handgun anatomy (semi-automatic vs. revolver, single action vs. double action), ammunition basics (bullet types and caliber measurements), handgun maintenance (you should clean your gun once a month whether you fire it or not!) and, of course, handy tips on selecting and purchasing a handgun (it is a gun shop, after all). We also learned about New Mexico gun laws. There don't seem to be many. There is no waiting period to buy a gun and no required registration. New Mexico is an Open Carry State, meaning it is legal to carry a loaded weapon as long as it is not concealed. "Seriously?" I thought to myself. You need a permit to carry a concealed gun, but not one that is openly visible? Does that seem strange to anyone else? New Mexico law also allows a person to have a concealed loaded firearm in his or her vehicle—including motorcycles and bicycles. Yup, this is the West, folks, where it is absolutely fine to tote around your loaded gun in a cute little bicycle basket. I did feel a little better learning that in New Mexico you must be 21 to buy a handgun, though only 18 to buy a rifle or shotgun and only EIGHT to shoot at Calibers Shooting Range. I was still learning how to shoot a water gun when I was 8!

Course participants were encouraged to bring their own hardware (the polite term for guns and ammo) to class. Since many people apparently inherit guns or get guns as gifts (who gets a gun as gift?), about half of our 12-person class brought their own. When it came time to learn how to load and unload ammo, the rest of us experimented with different types of handguns, all semi-automatics (which are nowadays much preferred over revolvers). Loading rounds in a semi-automatic handgun is much harder than loading a revolver though and I struggled to get even 5 rounds into a gun designed to hold much more. The next day we would be shooting on the range and everyone seemed to be pumped, except me, the petrified one. What if I accidentally shot someone? Maybe I should just watch and brush up on the lingo I just couldn't quite seem to master.

The next morning I awoke at the crack of dawn (extremely unlike me, especially on a weekend) and drove to Starbucks to get a latte (also extremely unlike me, since I don't drink coffee) in the hope that the caffeine would keep me alert enough to not shoot anyone (like classmates) or any thing (like my foot) that I wasn't supposed to. In preparation for shooting, our class practiced things like stance (the stance you see on old cop shows is, by the way, totally outdated, no one shoots standing sideways anymore),  grip (sorry lefties, almost all guns are built for the right-handed), sight alignment (which part of the gun to look at before you fire), trigger control (this one I understood—"index finger" is pretty easy to remember), breathing (don't forget to breathe) and follow-through (don't let the recoil hit you in the head or knock you off your feet.)

Off to the range we went. Those of us who did not bring our own ammo had to buy 50 rounds for our shoot. I had so much trouble getting the ammo into the gun that I was the last one to finish shooting our initial 25 rounds. This is a skill that will take some practice for me. I shot four different types of guns: a Barretta 9mm standard-issue Army Reserve model, a Glock .40, a Glock 9mm and an HK 9mm. We were supposed to shoot the man on the paper poster in the chest, which was marked with a rectangle. If you were really good, you could then graduate to shooting the man in the brain, which was marked by a much smaller rectangle. I never graduated to the brain rectangle. In fact, I seemed to be shooting poster man everywhere except his chest. Lindsey came over, gave me a few corrections, and viola! I lethally wounded poster man on the next shot. And the next and the next. Well, now things were looking up. This was probably as close to being a bad ass as I will ever get in my life.

Unbelievably, I gained some confidence and got so into the shooting toward the end of class that I bought another round 50 rounds and stayed on the range after everyone else had left. My second paper poster man was a huge improvement on my first, although I was still not able to shoot him in the brain. Oh well, there's always next time. Oh and there will be a next time because I found out that every Thursday at Calibers is "Ladies Day" so women shoot for half price! Just like happy hour at the local bowling alley. Woo hoo! How can you say no to that?

A majority of the women in my class indicated that they were going to follow this course up with the Concealed Carry Permit class, which, if you pass, gets you an official CCP in the state of New Mexico. I have no desire to do this, or to ever own a gun. But as my boss, John, said as I shared with him my skepticism about guns before the class, "If you are ever in a situation involving a gun, wouldn't it be better to know something about guns than not to know?"  Yes. I'm glad I took the class, and I'm glad I now know.

V.21 No.33 | 8/16/2012

Occupy the Alibi

La Lucha, Unida

Mexican peace movement crosses the border

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity traveled from the top to the bottom of Mexico in a "caravan of consolation" to demand an end to the drug war and the violence it entails. On Saturday, Aug. 18, it comes to Albuquerque.
V.21 No.32 |


The Daily Word in Paul Ryan, Woodward and "f-bomb"

The Daily Word

Old man accused of shootin' prairie dogs.

Folks trying to raise the minimum wage by $1 in Burque may have gathered enough signatures to demand the issue goes to voters.

Paseo/I-25 interchange off the ballot and back in councilors' laps.

"Baby Got Back" as sung by 295 movies.

Olives cure motion sickness—and other DIY remedies your mom advocates.

How to avoid Olive Garden's infinity breadsticks.

This Is Sand <----art video game

Colbert on Romney's daring veep pick: Paul Ryan's "white, Christian and male!"

Michelle Obama welcomes Ryan to the race.

First female presidential debate moderator in two decades.

Woodward (of Woodward and Bernstein, the Watergate journos) has a book coming out on President Obama.

A comedian's sister was killed in a car accident. Her insurance company, Progressive, defended the killer in court.

A year of open-source living.

Someone stole Will.I.Am's DeLorean.

17-foot python captured in Florida.

"F-bomb" added to the dictionary, along with "gastropub" and "sexting" and "mash-up."


The Daily Word in Olympic butts, Albuquerque bomb threats and bunker children

The Daily Word

Three American soldiers killed by an Afghan pretending to be a cop

The memorial for the Sikh temple victims is happening today.

July: Hottest. Month. Ever.

There was a bomb threat at Pro’s Ranch Market

A new early species of human was discovered

Deceased Beastie Boy Adam Yauch is supernaturally awesome.

Kissing. Butts.

You, too, can learn to speak four languages in a year.

“How does one crip walk?”

Play with Politico’s nifty swing state map

Seven missing athletes from Cameroon probably defected in London. It happens.

“If you could see the earth illuminated when you were in a place as dark as night, it would look to you more splendid than the moon.”

Sometimes you love God so much, you just wanna make your children live in an underground bunker for their entire lives.

Romani people in France continue to get merde-ed upon.

“Walking Dead” deleted zombie horde scene

Anonymous hacked Australia.

The Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell does a mariachi “Golden Brown.”

Have a gooey, flaming National S’more Day!

V.21 No.32 | 8/9/2012

Guest Editorial

Gun Rhetoric Fires Blanks

Once again, we’re in the middle of two sad American cycles: senseless, lethal violence and the slew of specious arguments that inevitably follow, flying hither and yon like, well, bullets that never quite hit the mark.
V.21 No.31 | 8/2/2012



Guns, drug cartels, federal agents and the apocalypse collide in a Deming firearms store

It was an overcast winter day when Mexican President Felipe Calderón stood at the main international crossing in Ciudad Juárez and unveiled a massive sign aimed at the U.S. side of the border. It made for a dramatic photo opportunity. A white sheet billowed behind billboard-sized letters fashioned from the twisted remains of guns that Calderón said were confiscated by law enforcement. They spelled out the words “No More Weapons.”

[ more >> ] [ permalink ]

Bear With Me

One Nation, Under Gun

We've become a nation of heavily armed fraidycats who want the right to hide our guns on our person.
V.21 No.29 |


The Daily Word in shortys getting down, troubled lawmen and gun fever

The Daily Word

R.I.P., Sherman Hemsley.

Gun sales surge after Aurora movie shooting.

Glock Inc. sued by L.A. policeman who was shot by his 3-year-old.

Is your pastor packing heat?

Researchers focus on women for new AIDS prevention methods in Africa.

Mass shutdown of L.A.'s medical marijuana dispensaries.

Public outrage in Anaheim after two deadly police shootings.

Live updates on Syria, where the city of Aleppo is on the verge of confrontation between rebels and government forces.

Notorious Maricopa County sheriff tries to refute himself in court.

"The Tonto Files."

Kim Jong-un's "mystery woman" turns out to be his new wife/comrade.

New Jersey super blew the lid on NYPD undercover operation.

Young boy commits "unusual and serious breach" of security.

80-year-old lobster rescued from the dinner table.

V.21 No.27 |


The Daily Word in NM Drug Court investigations, litigiousness, "acts of daily living," a naked crimewave, and Romney-Venn Diagrams

The Daily Word

If your computer is infected with this virus, you will be denied access to the internet beginning next week.

The NM state email investigation is getting more and more complicated.

Judge Pat Murdoch will likely face new charges having something to do with female participants in the piece of the Drug Court Program he presided over.

Drug Court in Northern New Mexico is under investigation for possible embezzlement among other things.

An Audit reveals that APD handed out a lot of unqualified bonuses from 2008 to 2011.

In case you didn't know, Quebecois need a french word for EVERYTHING.

The most litigious man in the world is suing Herman Cain and Kim Kardashian for attacking him while the two were making a sex tape in a Pizza Hut bathroom.

Nation's ongoing naked crimewave. More PCP crime.

Best Buy competes in stupid business-decision-making Olympics.

Politician in Jordan shows us how to debate on T.V. like really angry, shoe-throwing, pistol-packing men do.

Some cities are banning public "acts of daily living" i.e, "homelessness."

Former and original bass player from Cro-Mags totally flipped out on the current Cro-Mags line-up at CBGB Festival.

Mitt Romney's Venn Diagrams look like Venn Diagrams but don't work like Venn Diagrams, so... are they Venn Diagrams?

Hey, "a lot of women tend to forget this is a man's world."

Is Marxism relevant today?

Men in suits get away with things.

Watch this Greek newscaster get egged and Mike Milled on air.

The last minutes of Air France flight 447.

The Valley of Gwangi.

V.21 No.15 | 4/12/2012

video games

Webgame Wednesday: 2 AM Truck Stop

A seriously tweaked out drivin'-and-shootin' video game, 2 AM Truck Stop puts you behind the wheel of a careening big rig. The highway in front of you is littered with neon daemons. Shoot 'em off the road, pick up the magical chunks of "crystal" and keep on truckin'! What drug-addled driver wouldn't appreciate this trippy challenge?

V.21 No.5 |


The Daily Word in the Old Main, supergiant and Anonymous

The Daily Word

U.S. to ease its combat mission in Afghanistan.

Burqueños prison gang exhibits civic pride.

Foreigners stick their foreign fingers in our chile market.

Reies Lopez Tijerina, a Chicano activist, mounted an armed raid to make a citizen's arrest of New Mexico's district attorney in the '60s. He's speaking at the Statehouse today.

Tour the Old Main, home of the lethal 1980 prison riot.

To protect his riches, this wealthy man adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend as his daughter.

Anonymous hacks emails and accuses Ron Paul of being linked to a neo-Nazi group.

Washington the state passes a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.

Komen yanked its funding from Planned Parenthood, so supporters around the country donated enough in a single day to make up the difference.

Baratunde Thurston on how to be Black.

Remember when we sold guns to cartels so we could track them? And then it didn't work out so well?

This cheerleader can dead lift 250.

Meet supergiant—not the band, the amphipod.

Marchers in Egypt protest military mishandling of a soccer riot that killed 74.

The most common regrets of folks at the end of their lives.

Rest in peace:

Sonic Youth collaborator and artist Mike Kelley

"Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius

Poet Wislawa Szymborska

Boxing trainer Angelo Dundee

The man who played Mr. Pitt on "Seinfeld," Ian Abercrombie

V.20 No.51 |


The Daily Word: Christmas edition 2011

The Daily Word

Someone failed in their attempt to steal a MAC-10 pistol from Valley Pawn.

Headline: Man Eats Cocaine From Brother's Butt, Dies.

Is Ron Paul a conspiracy-mongering paranoid nutcase?

What people wanted for Christmas in 1975.

Guns for Christmas ads.

Biblical visions were "only" lucid dreams?

These two guys exchanged the same Christmas card for sixty years. Neither of them ever read it.

Hold on to your hats, it's The Queen's Christmas Message 2011.

Santa had a collision with an F-104 fighter jet last night.

On this day in 1924 Rod Serling was born.

Some people say Jesus was also born on this day in the year zed.

V.20 No.45 |


The Daily Word in Penn State riots, UC Berkeley beatdown and the 90-foot-wave surver

The Daily Word

Local credit unions see lots of new accounts after Bank Transfer Day.

The city of Farmington tries to assure Navajos that the city is a safe place for them to visit.

N.M. rattlers provide venom for cancer treatment.

Perry screws up. Big time.

A 70-year-old machine gun that still works.

Dude surfs a 90-foot wave.

Someone stole a ghost bike.

A trailer park in Tesuque Pueblo is demanding proof of citizenship from renters.

Unseen photos of Marilyn Monroe.

Caviar lipstick.

Police beat protesters with clubs at Occupy demonstration at UC Berkeley.

Penn State students riot over the firing of their football coach, who is accused of covering up his assistant coach's child molestation.

There are no more rhinos in West Africa.

Ex-banker takes over Greece.

California had a law against euthanizing "downer" animals. The Supreme Court overturned that law.

Why is gold our basis for money and not something else?

The Leila texts.

V.20 No.45 | 11/10/2011


Rowdy’s Dream Blog #224: I am the good guy in an old west shootout.

I am the good guy in an old west shootout. The outcome historically is known to be in my favor, but I am reliving it anyway. The bad guy, dressed in purple and black, is barricaded in a shack. My weapon is a breakdown, single shot pellet gun with detachable silencer and stock. The bad guy suddenly bursts out and rushes me. I manage to load my gun and shoot him in the eye (he is a cyclops).

V.20 No.31 |


The Daily Word in drunk mayors, bronies and the universe bubble

The Daily Word

Yesterday's tornado in Albuquerque was actually a landspout.

Virginia Tech says there's a gunman on campus. In 2007, a shooter killed 33 people at the school.

The mayor of Sunland Park near Las Cruces says he was drunk when he signed those nine contracts.

Construction near University and Coal is going to get worse.

The ACLU wants to make sure we're not being tracked by the police through our cell phones.

NRA files lawsuit to stop a rule that requires gun shops to report the purchase of more than one semi-automatic. The rule would be lifted in border states, such as New Mexico.

First chile harvest is in from Hatch.

The world's first text messages from 1890.

Fox News hosts don't criticize Sarah Palin because she's their coworker.

Adult men who like My Little Pony are called bronies.

The golden oldies of a gen-Xer.

Maybe our universe is in a bubble of space and time, and other universes are, too.

Writer finds out how easy it is to buy a gun from a stranger in Portland.

The ultimate food taboo.


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