Category Archives: General Outdoors

Outdoor and nature news from all over.

Animal’s Daily Bronco Returns News

The new Bronco.

Ford has been dropping little bits of info about this for years, but as of Tuesday, the Bronco is officially back – but actual vehicles won’t be delivered until next year.  Ford is advertising it thus:

There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be discovered. To find it you have to break rules, push boundaries and climb over the barriers in your way. With its relentless toughness and durability, the all-new Bronco was built to carry outdoor enthusiasts to wherever the wilderness calls. Available in two- or four-door models.

I’ve had two Broncos.  The first was one of the originals, a 1974, painted a rather horrible nuclear-reactor green.  We called it the Green Machine, and it was a wonder.  I think that truck would go up and down trees.  It stuffed a 302ci V-8 into a fairly small frame, with 4:11 gears and manual everything.  The interior was all sheet metal and vinyl; at the end of elk season you could just take it into the car wash and hose it out.  It wasn’t without down sides, though.  In hot weather the floorboards got uncomfortably hot, and the low gearing and lack of overdrive limited it to about 50-55mph on the highway.

The second one was a 1992, one of the ones based on the F-150 chassis.  It had the all-black “Nite” trim package, so we called it the Dark Horse.

The Dark Horse in an early elk camp, some years ago

The Dark Horse wasn’t quite as tough off-road, although is was still pretty damn capable.  It used the same 302ci V-8 but the newer engine, with multi-port fuel injection, managed to provide plenty of power for the bigger truck.  It was better on the highway, being geared at about 3:55 (as I recall) but the automatic transmission had an overdrive gear, so it would comfortably tool along the interstate at 75mph with my tent trailer tacked on behind.

I used the Dark Horse a lot.  It saw hunting fields and off-road trails everywhere between Montana and the Mexican border, between the Mississippi and the Sierras.  It was a great truck, but eventually it just plain wore out, at which point I traded it in on the inestimable Rojito, which I still am using today.

Rojito in another elk camp.

The new Bronco looks the part, at least in the photos I’ve seen so far.  But I’m concerned all the same.  I prefer manual everything in a truck that I’ll be pounding on jeep trails.  The Dark Horse had power windows and door locks, both of which weren’t working very well by the end of its tenure.  The new Bronco appears to have all kinds of electronic gewgaws that, I am afraid, won’t last well under the kind of hard use that a hunting/fishing/outdoor rig frequently sees on the trail.

When the new Broncos arrive at the dealership we use, I’ll go look at them.  But I’m prepared to be disappointed.  We’ll see.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

I’ve been thinking more lately about the great old Winchester 100.  For some time now I’ve been toying with the idea of finding a decent pre-64 Model 100, just because I think it’s a great platform:  Short, relatively light, easy to handle and powerful in the .308 chambering.  But of late I’ve given some thought to making a Model 100 a little more useful at the upper end of the North American game size spectrum.

See, the semi-auto Model 100 had a counterpart, that being the lever-action Model 88.  The two guns were very similar, sharing most of their design; both had full-length stocks, both took the same kind of four-shot detachable box magazine, and both were chambered in .243 Winchester, .284 Winchester and .308 Winchester.

The Model 100 (top) and the Model 88 (bottom) both in carbine form.

But the Model 88 was also chambered in the .358 Winchester.

The .358 is probably one of the best woods rounds ever designed.  It’s pretty much just the .308 case necked up to take a heavier .358 bullet, making it a hard-hitting round inside of 200 yards or so – perfect for big, tough, toothy critters in the woods.  (Refer to my recent Glibertarians article on the thirty-fives for more on this round.)

And the Model 88 came in that round, while the Model 100 (save for one prototype) did not.  That set me to wondering how hard it would be to re-bore and re-chamber a Model 100 for the .358.  I’ve done a little elementary digging and found evidence of one gun that appears to be an undocumented Winchester prototype and at least one custom gun in that caliber.

So, it would appear to be possible.  Now, I just have to find the right (pre-64) rifle and someone who will do the work.  And, since it’s going to be a custom job, maybe a matte blue finish (or maybe Cerakote) and a nice oil finish on the stock is in order.  Top it with a peep sight and you’ve got one hell of a fine piece for tracking moose or bear through an Alaskan alder or willow thicket.

Rule Five 2019 Reflections Friday

It’s hard to believe that 2019 is only a few days from being over.  It seems like we just got here.

The year began on a sad note with the loss of my Mom, only a few months after Dad left us the previous spring.  But my siblings and I chose, instead of mourning, to reflect on and feel good about the long, long, happy lives our parents had together in their seventy-one years of marriage.

And as if to show that the wheel always keeps turning, in October we welcomed a new grandson to the family.  This makes five grandchildren Mrs. Animal and I have to spoil, with the oldest graduating high school in a year and a half.  Grandparenting is, as they say, the revenge we get for having been parents; but I think it’s a lot more than that.  Being Grandpa is one of the more satisfying things I’ve ever done, along with being a Dad; fortunately I learned about both things from the very best.

A few things about 2019 were frustrating.  We spent too much of the year in the leftist’s paradise of New Jersey, although I have to admit I’m kind of fond of Raritan, where are temporary lodgings are located; if only it wasn’t in New Jersey it would be a nice little town.  As a result of this, I wasn’t able to spend as much time at the gun club as I would have liked, and the trips I did get to make out there to the trap stands tell me that my shooting has slipped a little.  I should have more time in 2020 to get back in that groove.

Because of that, there are probably a few high-country trout that lived to swim another day rather than ending up in my stream-side frying pan.  Let’s hope that changes in 2020 as well.

Mrs. Animal have started taking advantage of our empty-nester status to check some boxes off on our travel bucket list.  March saw us in Tokyo for a week; it’s odd that while I’m an unrepentant country boy with very little love for cities, there are a few big cities I have always enjoyed.  Boston is one.  Tokyo is another.  Fortunately Mrs. Animal is competent in conversational Japanese, which makes things a great deal easier.

In July we took advantage of the east coast location and drove up north of Montreal to the little town of Ste. Agnes du Mont in Quebec, up in the Laurentides.  While the fishing was disappointing, the folks were very friendly, the food and beer was great, and the country was beautiful.  Mrs. Animal got to practice her high-school French.  It was fun.  We’d like to go back.

So, looking ahead to this year:  2020 promises to be interesting.

We have some more travel plans laid on; details will follow, so look forward to some insights and stories from some interesting places.  Hint:  Our travelogues will probably include discussions of food and beer.

Loyal sidekick Rat and I are planning a black-powder elk/deer hunt down in southern Colorado this year, somewhere down along the New Mexico border; after last year we decided that a change of scenery was in order, and the September black-powder season comes along with some pretty nice shirt-sleeve weather.

The current project I’m on is going to last a while.  I’m expecting it to last at least through December of 2021, but our current lease on the temporary New Jersey digs ends in May.  We’re hoping that at this time we’ll be able to pull out of there and return home more or less full-time, with me spending maybe a week a month on site.  But I’m a long-time consultant, and one of the reasons I’ve been successful is that I will always do what’s best for the project, rather than what suits my own druthers; so, we’ll see.

In summary:  2019 was pretty good.  2020 promises to be better still.  Mrs. Animal and I both sure hope that every one of you True Believers will have a great 2020; and I do appreciate, very much, all of you.  Thanks for reading (even if you just came for the pretty girls and stuck around to read my ramblings) and thanks for sticking around.  We’ll try to keep up to snuff in 2020 and points beyond.

Happy New Year!

Animal’s Daily Bigfoot News

This week over at Glibertarians, I can offer you another Profile in Toxic Masculinity – Ernest Hemingway.  Go check it out!

Once that’s done:  A bunch of kooks in the Pacific Northwest have launched something called Expedition Bigfoot.  (Sounds like a sleeping bag.)  Selected excerpts with my comments follow:

More than 10,000 eyewitness accounts have described Bigfoot encounters in the continental U.S. over the past 50 years. Bigfoot even has an FBI file that was released to the public on June 5; in 1977, the agency examined 15 unidentified fibers that were suspected of being Bigfoot hairs. But the hairs were eventually found to be “of deer family origin,” FBI Assistant Director Jay Cochran, Jr. wrote in a letter. 

Of course they were deer hair.  Because there are no Bigfoot.  (Bigfeet?)

...to date, there is no fossil evidence showing that large primates other than humans ever inhabited North America, said primate researcher and “Expedition Bigfoot” team member Mireya Mayor, director of the Exploration and Science Communications Initiative in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education at Florida International University.

And that should be pretty conclusive in itself; however, to be fair, animals that live in forests often don’t leave a lot of fossils, as forests aren’t really conducive to fossilization of remains.  But more on this later.

However, the idea that a new type of undiscovered primate could be hiding in dense woodlands in North America “is totally within the realm of possibility”

It’s not.

…as long as the animals have food, shelter and a habitat that isolates them from humans, Mayor told Live Science.

There is nowhere in the Pacific Northwest remote enough to shelter a population of thousands of human-sized primates.

In fact, chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall said in a 2002 interview that she wouldn’t dismiss the possibility that such creatures might be real.  “I’m a romantic, so I always wanted them to exist,” she told NPR host Ira Flatow.

That last line tells you all you need to know.  “I always wanted them to exist.”  I always wanted to play naked Twister with Scarlett Johannsen, but guess what, that’s not going to happen, and these people aren’t going to find any giant cryptid apes, no matter how hard anyone wants to do so.

Look, people are free to waste their own time and money however they like.  But as I’ve said before on this issue, too many folks don’t realize that they aren’t out there looking for a few of these critters. To maintain a sustainable population, there would have to be thousands.  It’s inconceivable that one hasn’t been found dead, or hit by a car, or shot by someone by now.

Unless, of course, you accept the logical conclusion:  They don’t exist.

Rule Five Climate Apocalypse Friday

I stumbled across this last week, read it a couple of times to digest it properly, and found it interesting.  In short, if puts the boots to many of the arguments of the climate-apocalypse doom-criers.  Excerpts, with my comments:

First, no credible scientific body has ever said climate change threatens the collapse of civilization much less the extinction of the human species. “‘Our children are going to die in the next 10 to 20 years.’ What’s the scientific basis for these claims?” BBC’s Andrew Neil asked a visibly uncomfortable (Extinction Rebellion) XR spokesperson last month.

“These claims have been disputed, admittedly,” she said. “There are some scientists who are agreeing and some who are saying it’s not true. But the overall issue is that these deaths are going to happen.”

“But most scientists don’t agree with this,” said Neil. “I looked through IPCC reports and see no reference to billions of people going to die, or children in 20 years. How would they die?”

Well, they won’t.  That’s the point.  The alarmists like Extinction Rebellion and their enablers (like the Swedish Pippi Longschpieling and the American dullard Alexandria Occasional Cortex)  are just plain wrong.  Sure, the climate is changing; it always has.  Through the vast majority of Earth’s 4.55-billion-year history it’s been warmer than it is now.  Solar activity and ocean currents are major factors, and yes, human activity has some effect – but not enough to justify destroying the global economy.

In fact, it is the global economy and modern technology that will shield billions from the effects of any warming:

Last January, after climate scientists criticized Rep. Ocasio-Cortez for saying the world would end in 12 years, her spokesperson said “We can quibble about the phraseology, whether it’s existential or cataclysmic.” He added, “We’re seeing lots of [climate change-related] problems that are already impacting lives.”

That last part may be true, but it’s also true that economic development has made us less vulnerable, which is why there was a 99.7% decline in the death toll from natural disasters since its peak in 1931. 

In 1931, 3.7 million people died from natural disasters. In 2018, just 11,000 did.  And that decline occurred over a period when the global population quadrupled.

What about sea level rise? IPCC estimates sea level could rise two feet (0.6 meters) by 2100. Does that sound apocalyptic or even “unmanageable”?

Consider that one-third of the Netherlands is below sea level, and some areas are seven meters below sea level. You might object that Netherlands is rich while Bangladesh is poor. But the Netherlands adapted to living below sea level 400 years ago. Technology has improved a bit since then.

In other words, as is true in so many ways, the modern world is a better place to live than at any other point in human history.  It’s also important to note which nation has done the most to assure that statistic noted above, where in 2018 only 11,000 people perished in natural disasters.  Which nation, for example, immediately sent a naval task group to succor the victims of the Indonesian tsunami?  The United States.  Examples abound.

And as for agriculture?  The Chicken Little folks are also forecasting mass starvation; again, it just isn’t true:

What about claims of crop failure, famine, and mass death? That’s science fiction, not science. Humans today produce enough food for 10 billion people, or 25% more than we need, and scientific bodies predict increases in that share, not declines. 

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecasts crop yields increasing 30% by 2050. And the poorest parts of the world, like sub-Saharan Africa, are expected to see increases of 80 to 90%.

Nobody is suggesting climate change won’t negatively impact crop yields. It could. But such declines should be put in perspective. Wheat yields increased 100 to 300% around the world since the 1960s, while a study of 30 models found that yields would decline by 6% for every one degree Celsius increase in temperature.

Rates of future yield growth depend far more on whether poor nations get access to tractors, irrigation, and fertilizer than on climate change, says FAO.

So what’s the answer for that?  Well, liberty, of course.  Modern, free states, with economies unfettered by central control, have done more to assure human rights, prosperity, technological advancement, and rising standard of living than any other system in human history.  Today’s problems are solved with tomorrow’s technologies, and tomorrow’s technologies are most effectively developed by free people with ideas and a free market.

The doom-criers will never get that.  Neither will most of the politicians.  And that, True Believers, should be cause for much more concern than a couple of degrees of warming.

Rule Five Persistence Hunting Friday

It’s something of a shibboleth among some casual students of early humanity that early people were persistence hunters; that is, they ran their prey to ground.  As evidence these folks point out some traits humans have that most mammals don’t, like developed gluteal muscles, long legs with thick Achilles tendons and, not least of all, using sweating instead of panting to cool off during exertion or in hot weather.

But now it turns out that might be utterly wrong.  Excerpt:

The theory that persistence hunting played a crucial part in the evolution of man was first suggested in 1984 by David Carrier, who at the time was a doctoral student at the University of Michigan. Carrier’s idea was based on the observation that man is one of the only mammals that cools itself by sweating. Most four-legged mammals pant to cast off heat, which doesn’t work nearly as well when running. Carrier concluded that if our early human ancestors could chase an animal long enough, the animal would overheat and collapse with heat exhaustion, and the humans could step up and dispatch it easily.

Carrier’s idea was picked up and advanced by the Harvard paleoanthropologist Daniel Lieberman. “As for anatomical, genetic, and paleontological evidence, there are so many derived features of humans that make us good at running and which have no other function, they clearly indicate humans were selected for long distance running,” Lieberman wrote in an email. He has noted that those features — arched feet, short toes, wide shoulders, long Achilles tendons — seem to have originated around 2 million years ago, around the time when the genus Homo evolved and our ancestors began making meat a regular part of their diet. Persistence hunting, he’s argued, might have been the evolutionary driver.

However:

Henry Bunn, a paleoanthropologist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has said more than once that a person would have to be “incredibly naïve” to believe the persistence hunting theory. Bunn recalls that he first heard discussion of the theory at a conference in South Africa, and he realized almost immediately that if you are going to chase an animal that is much faster than you, at some point it will run out of sight and you will have to track it. Tracking would require earth soft enough to capture footprints and terrain open enough to give prey little place to hide and disappear.

When he heard of the idea, Bunn had just been in the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, one of the areas where it is thought that Australopithecus, our first upright walking ancestor, evolved into the first of the human genus. He knew the terrain was probably not soft during the time period discussed by the persistence hunting theory. And it was mixed savanna woodland, not open plain. It’s highly unlikely that primitive humans would have been sophisticated enough to track under those conditions, Bunn and his co-author, Travis Pickering, also of the University of Wisconsin, argued in their first paper questioning the persistence hunting theory.

Plus, Bunn had spent time with the Hadza, a modern-day group of people in the Great Rift Valley who are thought to live much like their ancient ancestors did. The only time Bunn ever knew the Hadza to run was when they were fleeing pelting rain, angry bees, or marauding elephants — and maybe occasionally to scavenge.

Speaking as a modern hunter, I can confirm that most modern humans hunt from ambush, or at least, by stealth.  When I was a young man hunting whitetails in the forested hills of northeast Iowa, I generally hunted by ambush; I had a few tree stands scattered across the Old Man’s place, or sometimes I would still-hunt by moving very slowly and quietly through the timber.

Nowadays, in the more open, much wider country I hunt in the Rockies, I generally hunt by spot-and-stalk, although sometimes loyal sidekick Rat and I will take a position along a water source or a low saddle between two big drainages and watch for a while.

The main point is this:  Most predators don’t use any more calories than necessary when hunting, and in that, humans haven’t changed much since the Pleistocene.  Survival in nature is a simple matter of ensuring that, at minimum, calories in equals (or, preferably, exceeds) calories expended.  One of the better ways to do this is to make sure you expend the least amount of calories possible, which means ambush or stealth hunting.

There are a few exceptions (wolves come to mind) but not that many.  And if we can derive any conclusions about human behavior then from human behavior now, I’d suspect Henry Bunn is correct.  Read the entire article and see what you think.

Animal’s Daily Hunting Handgun News

Before we start, go forthwith to Glibertarians and read the latest in my Allamakee County Chronicles series.

Now, moving on:  Last night I stumbled on this article over at Guns.com – The Best Handguns for Hunting.  Now, I carry a sidearm routinely when out and about my business in forest and field; a sidearm, to my thinking, should be something that can be carried in a belt holster all day with minimum inconvenience.  If you need more punch, pack along a rifle.  A handgun should be just that, a handgun, not a pocket rifle.

Guns.com has some other ideas.  Well, I have some comments on that.  Here are the five, with my commentary:

First:  The Nosler M48 Independence.   Sorry, but this isn’t a handgun.  You can’t pack this around in a holster.  This is a cut-down rifle.  I honestly can’t see the point of this kind of thing; it seems like it would be as much trouble t pack around as a rifle, and with that being the case, why not just pack a rifle?

Second:  The Ruger Super Redhawk.  Now this is at least a handgun, well-suited for holster carry, at least in the trim shown.  Ruger does produce these in some rather sillier versions, with elongated barrels, muzzle brakes, bipods and so forth.  But in the short-barreled trim shown, it is at least portable, although in some of the calibers offered it might be a big handful.

Third:  The Remington 1911 R1 Hunter.  Now this is more my idea of a sidearm, and the R1 Hunter is available in the walloping 10mm round, which doesn’t seem too popular these days but which packs almost a .44 Magnum-level punch.  And the 1911 pattern – well, damn few weapons have a better history for durability and reliability.

Fourth:  The Magnum Research BFR.  Now this is a perfectly ridiculous object.  Chambered in rounds including the .45-70, .30-30 and .500 S&W, this thing weighs as much as a lightweight rifle and has to be an order or two of magnitude more difficult to shoot.  If I need that much power, I’ll grab my Marlin Guide Gun, also in .45-70, but much more manageable – and only a little bit less portable.

Fifth:  The Smith & Wesson 460.  Most of what I said about the BFR applies here as well, but the Smith lacks the versatility of chambering in big-punch rifle cartridges, making it even less versatile and no more portable.

Of the five, only two of them are really handguns, and one of those only marginally.

The 25-5, in the middle.

Long-term readers of these pages know my preferences in sidearms.  My favorite (left, middle) is my big Smith & Wesson 25-5, mid-Seventies vintage, .45 Colt.  This great piece (along with the .45 Colt Vaquero, also pictured) can be easily packed in a belt holster all day, and packs enough punch for most jobs you’d ask of a sidearm.  My favored load is a 255-grain hard cast Keith-type slug over 8 grains of Unique – do not try that load in an old Single Action Army, Colt New Service or anything but a modern revolver – and that will blow through a railroad tie or, from personal experience, lengthwise a big Iowa farm-country whitetail.

That’s enough handgun for just about anything.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

Over at Glibertarians you can now read the latest in my series, Profiles in Toxic Masculinity!  This installment presents a character from the Old West who was quite a bit different than the movie depiction.

Meanwhile, here are some tidbits from the day’s news:

Democrats don’t want to talk about the economy.  That’s no surprise, since the economy is humming, and their proposals would be pure disaster.

Left-wing violence won’t stop with Andy Ngo.  Of course not; it didn’t start with him.  It won’t stop until one of two things happens:  The thugs of the contradictorially-named Antifa are arrested, tried and jailed, or some counter-protestors start exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.  That latter would lead to some really, really nasty scenes.

But this is a little over the top:  Progressives Are Leading America To Her Demise.  Progressives aren’t leading anything; the Democrats have a small majority in one house of Congress, and that only because they were smart enough to run moderate candidates in swing districts.  They do, however, have control of education, entertainment, the legacy news media and much of the bureaucracy, and that’s concerning.

On a lighter note, this guy has earned a Deluxe Platinum Man-Card.  For life.  Interestingly, black bears are actually more likely to attack you with predatory intent that grizzlies.  A griz may attack you because you’re too close to its cubs, or to a carcass he’s claimed, or just because you pissed him off.   But a black bear may well want to eat you.

And from the world of science – actual science, not pseudo-science nitwittery – GMO crops are yielding huge benefits in Spain and Portugal.  That ought to make some heads explode.

And on that note, we return you to your Tuesday, already in progress.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

It seems some are blaming social media for a sudden increase in trashing of our public lands.  Excerpt:

Social media’s ability to attract swarms of visitors to picturesque meadows and alpine lakes has presented a new challenge to keeping natural spaces looking even quasi-pristine.

“I don’t think anybody anticipated social media — a year ago, or five or 10 years ago — to be what it is today,” said Dana Watts, executive director of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. “There’s no question it’s having an impact. It is something we’re very much paying attention to.

With more people venturing into the outdoors — many in pursuit of the perfect Instagram snap — Romano can reel off a list of etiquette violations he’s witnessed: Litter, off-leash, free-range dogs, keep-out signs ignored, switchbacks cut, social trails splitting meadows and noise.

“The first time I heard music on speakers in the backcountry, I thought, ‘This can’t possibly be.’ Now it’s very frequent, and people are blasting it,’ ” Romano said.

“I’ve heard people say people who do these things are just ‘hiking their own hike.’ That doesn’t mean you do what you damn well please. Trails are on public property and come with rules and regulations. Roads are public property, too, and we share them with a lot of people. I can’t just drive my own drive. … That mentality astounds me. Trails are being inundated with a lot of new, clueless people right now, and we need a massive public-education campaign.”

Here’s a thought:  Post the rules and regulations for the use of these public lands (I am pretty sure this has already been done).  When the park rangers and/or Forest Service officers find people violating these rules, 1) arrest them, 2) fine them, 3) implement sentencing that includes making them clean up their damn mess – or, more likely given the time involved, someone else’s mess.

When I was a little tad, the county I grew up in – Allamakee County, Iowa – along with neighboring Winneshiek and Clayton Counties –  were home to some amazing county parks.  Many of those, like North Bear County Park and Bloody Run County Park, had extensive camping areas along narrow, lightly graveled roads where one could drive back along the creeks for miles, camping along the streamside and in the meadows in some beautiful locations.  But this was in the late Sixties and Seventies, before the anti-littering campaigns started having an effect, and I can well remember my parent’s frustration at the number of people who would leave bags of trash and piles of empty beer cans just laying on the ground when they pulled out of their campsites.

The state and county authorities who managed these parks were likewise frustrated.  How did they respond?  By closing the parks to vehicle traffic.  Oh, they were still public parks.  There was a parking lot next to the road, and a big solid steel gate over the drive in, so only county officials could enter.  Fishermen, hikers and backpackers were free to walk in, but no wheeled vehicles were allowed.  That solved the problem, but at the cost of a great deal of access.  So that may well be what eventually happens in Washington, where this problem is occurring.

You don’t see this much in Colorado, even in roadside camping areas.  You likewise don’t see it much in Wyoming, where Mrs. Animal and I have done a great deal of camping and fishing.

So, what’s different in Washington state?  Any thoughts?

Animal’s Daily Armed Jews News

Israel gets it.

First of all, thanks as always to The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links – and check out some reminiscences about my grandfather over at Glibertarians.

So, it seems a Boston-area rabbi is picking up a tip or two from the IDF.  Excerpt:

BOSTON — A rabbi here has asked congregants to consider bringing guns to religious services as a form of protection in response to recent shootings at synagogues across the country.

Rabbi Dan Rodkin of Shaloh House in Brighton, a Boston neighborhood with a large number of Russian-speaking Jews, told the public radio station WBUR that the rise in hate crimes across the country and the loss of life at the Chabad at Poway and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh influenced his thinking.

Rodkin fears that increased safety measures implemented at Shaloh House — they include security cameras, reinforced glass windows and panic buttons — are no longer sufficient protection. The rabbi said the actions of an off-duty officer at the Poway Chabad center, where one woman was murdered, may have prevented further casualties.

“I know it sounds horrible, but I think it’s a very logical approach for the situation we’re in,” he said in an interview on the WBUR “Morning Edition” program. “I don’t want people to have guns. But I think to protect our families, it’s a necessity now.”

Several of his congregants, including former soldiers and retired police, are now carrying guns into daily services at Rodkin’s synagogue, which also operates a day school.

I think I understand why the rabbi is reluctant, even as he made the right decision.  If this were an ideal world populated by ideal people, nobody would need to carry guns for protection – at least, not from other people.

But it’s not an ideal world, and there are no ideal people, although my late father and mother came damn close.  There is only the world we live in, and in this world, for some insane reason it seems like it’s getting rather less safe to be a Jew.  I’m not sure why; the Jewish people I’ve known have all been fine, upstanding folks.

Rabbi Rodkin is concerned for the safety of people for whom he feels responsible.  I can understand that, having taken a platoon of 32 people into a combat zone.  My people were armed.  There’s no reason why Rabbi Rodkin’s people shouldn’t be armed either.

And if anyone demands justification for their decision to take up arms, here it is:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

‘Nuff said.