October 6, 2022
On September 30th and October 1st and 2nd, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) and Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) held Range Officer classes, Pistol Marksmanship 101 classes and Rifle Marksmanship 101 classes at the ISRA Range near Bonfield, Illinois. It could not have been more beautiful weather. The mornings were cool and crisp; the afternoons were all those wonderful sunny warm Fall days. I want to thank the CMP, AMU, ISRA staff and ISRA volunteers who made this all happen. We had 35 signed up for Pistol 101, 23 signed up for Rifle 101, and 24 for the advanced Range Officer Classes. Teaching marksmanship is the original duty of the ISRA, and last weekend certainly measured up to the highest standard.
About six weeks ago, the ISRA started a Women’s Precision Pistol Team. All were new to precision pistol shooting. Six of the nine women were able to take the class. Five of the women ended up in the top half of the class and Mandi Ehlers won the match. Mandi won points toward the coveted Distinguished Pistol Marksman Badge.
I was not directly involved in the Rifle Marksman 101 class, but those participants also did well. One new shooter also achieved points toward his Distinguished Rifle Marksmanship Badge.
On the lawsuit front it is quiet right now. This is common near election time which is only a few weeks away. The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected two bump stock cases. I would remind everyone that the reasons the Supreme Court rejects cases are several. Sometimes they are rejected by our friends in the court because they may be poorly written, poorly argued, or incomplete in some way. The last thing we need is a bad decision on a flawed case.
The 119th Anniversary Coin Raffle is winding down. Your entry must be postmarked by October 17th. This is our primary fundraiser of the year. We could use your help.
I occasionally get calls from people who want to bequeath money, property, or other items to the ISRA. We really appreciate that. I hope you will all consider doing that. Your attorney should be able to help you with that.
The Annual ISRA Sighting-In Day (SID) is coming up on the 15th of October. We started SID to help hunters with safety and sight-in their shotguns and rifles. With the number of new gun owners, we have expanded SID to include those with new firearms. This is not an in-depth safety and marksmanship course, but it will help you until you get into one. The cost is $10 per firearm. Please be sure the firearm is cased and unloaded. Bring at least 25 rounds of ammunition for each firearm you bring. We will be covering handguns, rifles, rifled slug guns, shotguns, muzzle loaders, and bows. This is open to the public. Chili will be available for lunch.
In this week’s Tidbits there are a couple of vignettes about American Marksmanship. There are many more. These are military marksmen. Military marksmanship feats are easier to document than those the civilians are engaged in. Nevertheless, there are many civilian marksmen these days with the advent of concealed carry. An acquaintance of mine, Bill Jorden, wrote a book entitled “No Second Place Winner”. The title of his book was never truer than it is today. Bill was a U.S. Border Patrolman and a fabulous shot. Good marksmanship is your life saver. Please take your marksmanship training to heart and work at it. The ISRA will help you.
October 7, 1777 – The Battle of Bemis Heights (sometimes called the Second Battle of Saratoga). Most of us have heard of the “Shot Heard Around the World” which occurred during the battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1774. Often forgotten is a second shot and a third shot that occurred on October 7, 1777, that ensured the first shot mattered. The second and third shots occurred in the Battle of Bemis Heights. Regular American troops were equipped with smooth bore muskets as were most of the British. The British troops were equipped with the famous Brown Bess which fired a 75-caliber ball. The United States troops used the 69-caliber Charleville musket. Battles were shot as close 25 yards, usually followed be a bayonet charge. Muskets were notoriously inaccurate. A good marksman could hit a 6 X 6-foot target at 100 yards. About 5% of the Americans were equipped with rifles which were many times more accurate than muskets. Rifling, as we know it today, was a German invention. An Austrian gunsmith had invented straight groove rifling around 1498. In 1520, Augustus Kotter of Nuremberg, Germany, added the spiral rifling making bullets much more accurate.
Many Germans and German gunsmiths came to the United States and settled here, particularly in Pennsylvania. George Washington knew and understood the value of good marksmen who could strike at longer ranges. In 1777, he asked General Daniel Morgan to form an elite rifle corp. General Morgan knew Pennsylvania was full of excellent riflemen. It was said that boys in Pennsylvania learned to shoot before they could walk. That seems perfectly logical to me. Morgan recruited a group of 500 riflemen. The qualification was that the soldier had to hit a 7-inch target at 250 yards. Remember, these were flintlock muzzle loading rifles. One of those chosen was Timothy Murphy of Sunbury, Pennsylvania.
The Battle of Bemis Heights was the first time American forces and British forces were about equal. British General Simon Fraser was the field commander. Fraser was an excellent General. General Morgan ordered his best shot to take out General Fraser. Sergeant Murphy climbed up a tree to get a clear shot. Murphy was equipped with a double barreled over and under rifle. Murphy shot General Fraser at 330 yards. At that moment, British General Burgoyne’s Aide-de-Camp Sir Francis Clark raced onto the battlefield with an important message. Timothy Murphy killed him instantly with his second shot. British troops panicked and their lines collapsed. Commanding British General Burgoyne personally took command, but it was to no avail. The British were routed. Murphy earned the nickname “Sure Shot Tim”. Timothy Murphy did a lot more in the Revolutionary War. He is worth an article himself. He was assigned to track down a Tory leader, Christopher Service, who was organizing Indian attacks in the Mohawk Valley in New York and killing civilians. Unsurprisingly, the Tory leader expired shortly thereafter. The victory at Bemis Heights helped convince the French that the Americans just might win the war. With Benjamin Franklin putting on the finishing touches, the French started helping the United States. In the end, the French gave the United States the equivalent of 13 billion dollars (in today’s money). Timothy Murphy and his marksmanship saved the day and the Revolution.
October 8, 1918 – United States Army Corporal Alvin C. York engages 90 German troops during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive near the end of WWI. Alvin York was an extraordinary marksman. His unit consisted of 17 men, but a German attack had killed nine men. Corporal York was the only officer left. He flanked the German position which had several machine gun nests. Although the rest of his unit was pinned down, they were able to fire at some of the German position. York did most of the firing. He alone accounted for between 25 and 30 Germans and took out 35 machine gun nests. The entire German unit surrendered to York. With only eight men, York started moving toward allied lines with the captured Germans. Along the way, they encountered another group of German soldiers and they also surrendered to York. In all, York and seven men delivered 132 Germans to the allied lines.
York was promoted to Sergeant. He received the Medal of Honor, as well as the Croix de Guerre, Medaille Militaire, the Legion of Honor from France. Eventually, Alvin York was awarded 50 medals from various countries. The public knew very little of York’s accomplishments until an article in the Saturday Evening Post made him famous. To his credit, York refused offers to endorse products. He could have been a millionaire overnight. The only thing he did accept was 400 acres of land purchased by the local Rotary Club. Alvin York helped found the American Legion. York joined the Tennessee National Guard and rose to the rank of Colonel. Even though he was a colonel, the press referred to him as Sergeant York. He passed away September 2, 1964.
October 8, 1871 – The Chicago Fire. The Chicago Fire burned for three days, devouring the wooden structures that dominated the city at the time. At first, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was blamed for kicking over a kerosene lantern. There were all kinds of stories about how the fire started. The fact was that there was a meteor shower that started hundreds of fires in Northern Illinois and Wisconsin on October 8th, 1871. Urbana, Illinois, also had a fire. The most likely cause of these fires was a meteor shower. October 1871 had been warm and dry. Late September and October this year have also been dry. People with in one hundred miles of Chicago could see the glow in the sky. Local residents of Chatsworth watched the glow. Some commented that “Chicago must be Burning.” Railroads were well developed in Illinois by then. In small towns like Chatsworth, women started baking bread which was loaded onto trains and sent to Chicago to feed the people. The point is this was a catastrophe and people in the towns surrounding Chicago and the railroads helped save the citizens of Chicago.
Many continued to blame Mrs. O’Leary even though she was exonerated of any wrongdoing. It affected her and she became a recluse living her life as an outcast until her death in the 1890’s.
October 9, 1992 – In Peekskill, New York, 18-year-old Michelle Knapp was watching television when she heard a big boom in her driveway. When she went to investigate, she found a gaping hole in the rear of her car. Underneath the car she found a 28-pound meteorite. Somehow, I pictured myself trying to explain to my dad what happened to the car, “Honest dad, it wasn’t my fault, it was struck by a meteorite”. Insurance probably paid for the car; the bonus was they sold the meteorite for $10,000 to a museum.
October 9, 2022 – A rare double full moon will occur. What that actually means is the moon will be equally bright on both October 9 and 10. The October full moon is also known as the Hunter’s Moon. The deer will be going crazy so please drive carefully.
October 10, 1845 – The United States Naval Academy opens in Annapolis, Maryland.
October 12, 1492 – Christopher Columbus lands in the Bahamas. Columbus believed the earth was round when most still thought the earth was flat. Columbus was credited for many years as discovering the New World. Of course, the Vikings were in North America in the 9th or 10th century. People were also in South America. Some had sailed from the Pacific Islands across the Atlantic from the east and some had sailed across the Pacific from the west. Then, of course, some people came across the land bridge in what is now the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska.
Christopher Columbus did discover the New World but so did a lot of others, some of which we will never know. Now, some smart thinking government types has us celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day on October 8th. I do not celebrate that day since there were no indigenous people here, just some who were here before others. Facts are such a nuance when trying to write a false narrative.
Thanks for being a member! If you are not a member, please join.
Saturday, October 8, 2022
Sunday, October 9, 2022
Tuesday, October 11 & 18, 2022
Tuesday Night Irregular Rifles
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Saturday, October 15, 2022
ISRA Hard Dogs Check-in & Meeting
Sunday, October 16, 2022
ISRA Academy RSO Class
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Friday, October 21, 2022
AR15 Home Defense Fundamentals
Saturday, October 22, 2022
ISRA Academy Basic Pistol Class
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Date: October 8, 2022
Belleville Gun & Knife Show – Belleville, IL
Dates: October 8 & 9, 2022
Kane County Sportsman’s Show – St. Charles, IL
Kane County Fairgrounds
Date: October 9, 2022
McHenry County Gun Show – Woodstock, IL
McHenry County Fairgrounds
Date: October 15, 2022
Peoria Gun & Knife Show – Peoria, IL
Dates: October 22 & 23, 2022
Crown Point Gun Show – Crown Point, IN
Lake County Fairgrounds
Dates: October 22 & 23, 2022
Bloomington Gun & Knife Show – Bloomington, IL
Dates: October 29 & 30, 2022
Kankakee Gun & Sportsman’s Show – Kankakee, IL
Kankakee County Fairgrounds
Dates: October 29 & 30, 2022
Sauk Trail Gun Show – Princeton, IL
Bureau County Fairgrounds
Dates: October 29 & 30, 2022
“Ninety-eight percent of the people in this country are decent, hardworking, honest Americans. It’s the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them.”
“The people who work against your gun rights are basically saying to you, “The right of the criminal to rip you off, rape and kill you shall not be infringed.” And they wonder why we’re a bit testy”
“I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.”
“You may find me one day dead in a ditch somewhere. But by God, you’ll find me in a pile of brass.”
“Using inner city kids as your proof that guns and kids don’t mix, is like using an alcoholic to prove all people will abuse alcohol.”
“How dare politicians continue to pass insane laws forcing good, law-abiding people to be defenseless and helpless.”
The said Constitution [shall] never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe or to prevent the people of the United States from keeping their own arms.”
“One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.”
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
“Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the Constitution are courting disaster by encouraging others to use the same means to eliminate portions of the constitution THEY don’t like.”
“Every 13 seconds in America someone uses a gun to stop a crime.”
“The AK-47 is not a device of aggression … I devised this machine-gun for the security of my country,”