hava fundraiser and eagles nest outfitter

So I am a naturally inquisitive type (at least, on occasion), and I admit to being somewhat intrigued by the surprise being expressed by the folks at Honored American Veterans Afield over how much money we have managed to raise in such a small amount of time. So I went digging.

The short story is that in 2011 (the last year the National Center for Charitable Statistics has posted), HAVA brought in $175,272 of various donations; if one looks at Form 990 (*.pdf warning), one discovers that a small fraction of that went to "printing, publications, postage, and shipping" (undoubtedly for raising awareness of the organization) but the overwhelming amount – nearly $130,000 – went to "PROVIDED 245 DISABLED VETS WITH SHOOTING COMPETITIONS" (with some of that going to website maintenance as well; hard to say how much). The remainder got saved away as a net asset at the end of the year.

Now, does anyone care to take a guess at what is missing from that short financial report? Not a single one of HAVA’s "Officers, Directors, Trustees, and Key Employees" took any money, whatsoever, for their work – up to 20 hours a week – for that organization. Not a dime. In other words, their only real "overhead", as such, is the website, whatever publicity publications they decide to put it, and… well, that is about it.

Which means more of the money you donate to HAVA goes straight to their program of "aid[ing] disabled soldiers as they transition to their lives back in the United States."

But, now, think about the impact we have already had on the organization. With $755 raised in just three days, we have already donated half of one percent of HAVA’s total 2011 revenue. In three days. With nearly six weeks remaining in the fundraiser. I hesitate to count my chickens before they hatch, but I dare say we might manage to make a significant bump in HAVA’s yearly revenue, which will only allow them to help more veterans.

If we can match last year’s $2300 raised for Soldiers’ Angels – and I sincerely hope we do – that’s nearly a percent-and-a-half bump for HAVA, which may not sound like a lot to you sitting at home, but I assure you they are treating it like it is. What say we give them the opportunity to see what they can do with a larger stack of cash?

enohavaAnd speaking of donations, this is predominantly a firearm-related weblog, but we occasionally venture off onto other topics, so on a whim, I pinged the folks at Eagles Nest Outfitters to see if they might be interested in supporting the fundraiser. For those unfamiliar with the name, this Asheville, NC-based company makes some of the best hammocks (another *.pdf warning) you are likely to find, and have branched out into such things as slackwires and totes. Now, personally, I do not really understand hammock camping (in fact, my idea of overnight camping involves four walls, a floor, a roof, and wheels), but I do understand these hammocks are stupidly light and amazingly capable, and thus great for hiking… or slinging off your back deck.

The bad news is that I did not score a hammock for the giveaway – they are not cheap, and something tells me my site is not quite their target demographic – but I was able to snag four of their can koozies and a whole pile of ENO stickers. One koozie has been added to each of the "Apocalypse" prize packages – because, really, when it comes to the end of the world, the last thing you want is a warm beer – and the other two will be added as I get the packages balanced out; I am just going to toss a sticker in every package I send out, so that is easy.

Today I would like to thank Yankee Born, Tam, Old NFO, and Midwest Chick for linking to the fundraiser and spreading the good word. If I managed to miss you – and I am starting to lose track of who I linked to and who I have not – feel free to let me know.

(Obligatory Piss Off to the FTC: I purchased an ENO hammock with my very own money, and, as such, can say whatever I bloody well please about them. They are supporting this fundraiser because they are awesome folks, which is more than can be said about you.)

sign them up for a marathon

I was not a huge fan of the book, so maybe it is just as well the movie’s only point of similarity appears to be its title:

Of course, the movie goes with freakishly hyper-fast zombies, whereas the books featured the standard shamblers… I cannot say as though I have ever been a huge proponent of the former position. I mean, unless we are going to the 28 Days Later theory, "zombies" are functionally dead, with the majority of their bodily functions shut off. As such, wounds will heal slower, if at all, infections will win, swelling and necrosis will set in, and things will just start breaking down. If it is winter, you will probably end up with zombsicles, and if it is the summer, especially around the equator, you are going to have steaming puddles of goo and one hell of a smell.

But zombies as a persistent threat? Unless we are talking about certain parts of the world, or we buy into the Newsflesh theory that all humans are already infected and just waiting for exposure to the live virus and/or death for the bug to take over, I am just not seeing it. Oh, sure, a zombie break-out would pretty much be an apocalyptic event, if only because people are stupid, but the movie seems to focus more on that collapse, and less on the aftermath, which is what the book really pursued. Of course, that aftermath did not exactly make for riveting reading, which means the producers probably made the right call.

*shrug* Honestly, I am more looking forward to this one:

(Videos should work now. Apparently when scheduling posts for the future (which I was doing for the Christmas holiday period, since we were and are out of town), WordPress just arbitrarily deletes / breaks the YouTube embed code for videos. Wierd.)

mainstreaming survivalism

Despite still being painted as a “fringe” aspect of our society comprised of nothing more than loony-bin candidates who somehow escaped psychological “assistance”, the whole concept of “survivalism” and “prepping” has understandably caught on amongst the American people, with even the CDC jumping onboard the zombie bandwagon in order to encourage people to keep basic supplies in their homes. Because, really, if you are ready for the zombie apocalypse, a hurricane is just a storm.

However, being that this is a firearm-related weblog, and being that most of my readers are at least obliquely involved in the firearm-shooting sports, you all probably notice what is missing from most survival / prepper / bug-out bag lists and suggestions, with the CDC’s list being no different (though arguably the worst offender, given the motivation for that list); yup, you guessed it – firearms. In a “your life depends on it” scenario, firearms can not only be used for self-defense and hunting purposes, but also signaling, starting fires (if you happen to have a knife/pliers handy), and other potentially very important tasks.

In the end, guns are tools, and if a tool has the possibility of increasing my family’s life expectancy, you can bet your ass I am going to employ it.

So given the history of survival-related lists from major sources in the past, you can imagine my pleasant surprise at Uncrate’s Bug-Out Bag , complete with a Mossberg 500, birdshot and buckshot, a H&K P2000 handgun, and the appropriate 9mm ammunition. I might disagree with their choice of firearms (personally, I would have either gone with a 9mm carbine and 9mm pistol sharing magazines, a .22 rifle and a 9mm pistol, or a .357/.38 lever-action rifle and revolver chambered for the same), and I completely disagree with their choice of holsters*, but the fact that those tools were included at all does wonders for the normalization of the lawful use of firearms in our society.

Obviously, I do not think everyone should have to have a firearm in their bug-out bag or preparedness gear – if someone is not going to train or practice with the firearm, it is going to be less than useless for them when the time comes that they actually have to use it. Guns are not talismans, they are tools, and like any other tool, you have to know how to use it. However, I agree that any such kit would be incomplete without some nature of firearm, and I applaud Uncrate for getting people to think about that.

(* – I actually wrote them an email about that holster… While firearms are a matter of personal taste and situational requirements, in that what may work in one environment may not work in another environment, “universal” nylon fabric holsters are almost universally bad. The last thing you want is your sidearm flopping around, or, worse, flopping out of its holster, and if you are going to carry around $400+ in silver coins, you can bloody well afford a fitted, functional holster. By the same token, you can afford a sling for the shotgun – or whatever your long gun is – but I forgot to mention that in the email.)

how not to advertise

The zombie apocalypse is afoot. The dead are rising up and nomming on the living. Nowhere is safe. Society has collapsed. Cats are sleeping with dogs. Etc. etc.

Given that set of circumstances, would you be wandering through the wilderness with your primary weapon being some spiffed-up and Dremel-attacked 1911, and your secondary firearm being a Condition 4 AR-15 wrapped up in a duffel bag?

Yeah. Me neither. And that is just the tip of the "Suspension of Disbelief Fail" iceberg cruising through this commercial:

Look, I like zombie movies. I like zombie kitsch. I think using the zombie meme to get people prepared for disasters is a marvelous idea (because if you are prepared for the zombie apocalypse, some snowstorm is nothing).

But this? This is just dumb. And I mean specifically this – I could expect, and even tolerate, this kind of marketing from some upstart ammunition company looking to boost their sales by catering to a somewhat fringe, loopy niche market. But Hornady? A company that prides itself on "reach out and touch something" ammunition? That is kind of disappointing. *shrug* It will unquestionably sell, so I guess they did something right…