Glocked and loaded

Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun

 

Paul M. Barrett

 

2012

 

This novel summarizes the entrance of the Glock into the realm of manufactured firearms in the late 20th century. It delves into the beginnings of Glock and the owner Gaston Glock, who in 1980 was a manager at a radiator factory in Austria, and relates how he gained a contract with the Austrian government to manufacture a pistol.

 

Much of the book enumerates the legal struggles inherent with the gun industry in the 1990s, as well as the accompanying press and publicity that Glock successfully used to its advantage.

 

Throughout this novel you’ll find the fascinating history of Karl Walter, who was one of the first employees of Glock, and who single-handedly marketed the Glock to law enforcement officials in the United States.

 

The gun industry has gone through many shifts since the 1980s, both in the law enforcement industry and in the public sector. This book provides yet another morsel of information regarding the rise of one America’s most popular pistols, and illustrates how the Glock’s popularity is deeply intertwined with America’s gun culture, laws, and politics.

 

I recommend this book for both gun enthusiasts and the average citizen, because it describes the influence of the media on commercial enterprise. However, it’s especially interesting to see the intersection of politics and guns, an issue that seems to always be at the forefront of our minds in the 21st century, when much of the current presidential administration seems to be vociferously engaged in a battle to strengthen gun control laws.

Best,

Ryan Hartwig

 

 

Questions to consider while reading this novel

 

 

Who was a radiator factory manager in 1980 in Austra whose side job was manufacturing curtain rods?

 

 

How old was _________ when he submitted his first patent for firearm design?

 

 

Who did _________ hire to market his gun in the United States?

 

 

What strategies did Glock use to influence the market in the United States?

 

 

Do the names of Glock models correspond to the magazine capacity of their clips?

 

 

Where did ______________ test his first prototypes of the Glock 17?

 

 

Which police department first transitioned to the Glock 17 semiautomatic pistol?

 

 

What was the criteria used by the Austrian government to choose a new pistol for its military?

 

 

Which police force in the U.S. received Glocks in 1989 and then had them replaced in 1994 for new ones at no additional charge?

 

 

What aspect of the Glock 17, never before seen in a pistol, sparked a wave of negative publicity in the late 80s?

 

 

What did early tests by the FBI tell about the Glock 17?

 

 

What are some obvious disadvantages of the Glock 17? Advantages?

 

 

Which Austrian was conscripted into the German military(Wehrmacht) as a teenager during WWII?

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0307719936

Excerpt: Cien Años de Soledad

Page 195, General Moncada

“Lo que me preocupa — agregó — es que de tanto odiar a los militares, de tanto combatirlos, de tanto pensar en ellos, has terminado por ser igual a ellos. Y no hay un ideal en la vida que merezca tanta abyección.”

 

English translation by Ryan 

“What worries me”, he added, “is that because of  your opposition to the military, your hate and your focus towards them has caused you to become like them. There’s not a belief system in the world that deserves such degradation.”

 

Applications

Politics, Racism, Prejudice

You speak Yiddish, you just don’t know it.

 

So after work I headed to the library to study, but decided to distract myself with a book before diving into my studies. Oy, was I distracted.

 

I ran into a book called Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of its Moods, by Michael Wex. I learned about the biblical origins of kvetching, the Talmud, and why I’m a shmuk for not having already added Yiddish to my list of languages. 

 

In Yiddish, kvetch means to complain, and the Israelites kvetched quite a bit. They kvetched about being led to the Red Sea, about being sent manna, and about their leaders.

 

Wex explains the importance of kvetching, which is a way to remember the uniqueness of the Jewish culture. “If we stop kvetching, how will we know that life isn’t supposed to be like this? If we don’t keep kvetching we’ll forget who we really are. Kvetching lets us remember that we’ve got nowhere to go because we’re so special. Kvetching lets us know that we’re in exile, that the Jew, and hence the ‘Jewish’, is out of place everywhere, all the time” (6).

 

The Talmud is composed of the Mishna, and the Gemara(or Talmud). The Mishna consists of “a direct investigation of the text of the bible and is divided into sixty-three different tractates…” (10) The Gemara is a discussion of the intricacies of halokhe, or Jewish law, without ever settling on the correct answer. Perhaps the study of the Talmud has enabled the Jewish culture to produce such excellent lawyers.

 

Shmuk is a word I often heard growing up amongst my teenage friends. It basically means “jerk” in Yiddish, but it’s a lot stronger in Yiddish than in English.

 

I’m just verklempft that you took the time to read this post.

Book Review: The Last Battle

The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis. The seventh book in The Chronicles of Narnia.

King Tirian faces an unexpected enemy during his peaceful reign of the Kingdom of Narnia, however he must be courageous in the last season of Narnian history.

A stable door, a clever ape, and two children bring about an unexpected closure to an epic battle, a glorious past, and an enchanted kingdom. 

 

“Further up and further in”

Book Review: The Fly on the Wall

The Fly on the Wall, written by Tony Hillerman.

The beginning of this mystery thriller was slow, but it soon became riveting and suspenseful, with chase scenes, murder plots, and good old fashioned politics.

John Cotton slowly unravels the truth behind a commercial conspiracy to steal millions of dollars, and soon becomes the target of an unknown entity whose politics and pilfering he must publicize.

 

“Cotton watched, fascinated. He felt no panic now. Instead, for the first time in his life, he knew the complete measure of fear.” (173)

” ‘…would you publish that story knowing what I’ve told you?’ ‘I don’t know ,’ Cotton said. ‘Not for sure. I’d have to think about it. But I guess I would. Who am I to be judge and jury? I don’t think I’d have the right not to print it.’ ” (325)

 

Book Review: The Magic of Getting What You Want

A family member recently provided me with some excerpts from a book titled “The Magic of Getting What You Want”, by David J. Schwartz

I would like to share some of the most salient points:

 

  • Parents should take responsibility for the actions of their children, instead of blaming outside influences.
  • Speak positively of those in your company, and build up those around you with praise.
  • The media celebrates negativity, and promotes more negative behavior.
  • “Bad news really does make more bad news” (104)
  • Terrorists take advantage of free publicity, thanks to press coverage of these tragic events.
  • Ask for help,  and find a mentor who is successful. Asking for help is the greatest praise you can give a mentor.
  • The best advice is advice you request, rather than advice you’re given.
  • Ask, don’t beg.

Book Review: The Robots of Dawn

The Robots of Dawn, by Isaac Asimov

This fascinating novel is simultaneously thought provoking and entertaining — a rarity among books, much less for a science fiction novel. Its philosophical depth is accompanied by a twisting plot which is woven around morals, politics, and culture.

Baley is a plainclothesman, a police officer who must travel to a foreign planet to uncover an impossible mystery, with his own planet’s future at stake.

With his ever-faithful robot companions at his side, and despite his error-riddled forays into an unknown culture, he achieves success. Amidst his victory, he unintentionally discovers a new breed of robot; a breed whose abilities remain hidden both to their creators and the universe.

Comment: I was debating whether to use the verb “entertain” in the first sentence, but I couldn’t come up with a verb to describe “thought provoking”. Out of my own innovation(or laziness), I came up with the verb “thovoking”, although it sounds more like a description of hiking through the arctic wilderness.

Book Review: First Things First by Stephen R. Covey

This book comes highly recommended, and discusses the importance of prioritizing our lives according to our values, and principles.

It seems that in today’s society, we tend to seek more and more efficient and effective ways of performing our everyday tasks. However, if our principles and values aren’t correctly aligned, then yes we may be moving fast, but in the entirely wrong direction.

I recently visited the Marriott hotel, where I picked up a rather unique notepad. Instead of a To-Do list, it was dubbed an “Accomplished List”.

Perhaps an even better list would be a To Be list. As a young Boy Scout, I learned a list of attributes that I should seek to develop, which are found in the Scout Law. A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

Although you can’t necessarily check these attributes off on a list, you can do your best to become someone better, day by day, by putting first things first.

Book Review: And Then The Roof Caved In

This book, written by David Faber, summarizes the collapse of the mortgage industry in 2007, and details the many factors that created this collapse.

He mentions the creation of an entity and an industry: Fannie Mae in 1938, and the subprime mortgage industry in 1993.

Of the many factors that colluded to cause this financial catastrophe were the following:

  • The inability of rating companies to gauge the risk of subprime mortgages.
  • Wall Street replacing Fannie and Freddie as regulators of the secondary mortgage industry.
  • Alan Greenspan lowering interest rates after 9/11/2011, thus reviving the dying subprime mortgage industry.
  • The creation of synthetic CDOs, mezzanine CDOs, and CDSs, with no contemplation of a decrease in home values.
  • Teaser rate underwriting, and no verification of income for homebuyers.

Definitions and Explanations:

All these are basically inventions designed to sell an untested, high risk product to clueless investors.

  • An MBS is a mortgage backed security, which is a compilation of mortgages sold to investors.
  • A CDO is a collateralized debt obligation, which is a compilation of MBSs.
  • A CDS is a credit default swap, which is insurance in the case of a defaulting CDO.
  • A synthetic CDO is a compilation of CDSs.
  • A mezzanine CDO is a way to turn high-risk mortgages into low-risk mortgages, based on subjective criteria.

My Take

David Faber provides a wonderful synopsis of this catastrophe, however, I disagree with him on the so-called “greedy” Wall Street. Wall Street is driven by profits, and so it was natural for them to take advantage of the situation.

Yes, I admit there may have been a certain level of greed involved, but another problem started in 1938, when the government created an entity to help the market. The government essentially created a new industry, and with their superb credit and government-backed reputation, Fannie and Freddie became leaders in this new industry.

Fannie and Freddie worked well until they were taken out of the picture in 2003, being replaced by Wall Street. When the government created a new market in 1938, they didn’t imagine Wall Street taking Fannie’s place in the distant future.

However, when Wall Street took Fannie’s place between 2003-2008, capitalism collided with a government-created market, and the result was chaos.

The government basically created demand for a product, financed it, and made a profit, but they were the only entity who could effectively manage the secondary mortgage industry. Without their reputation, financing, and non-profit driven ideals, they regulated the industry. Without them, the vacuum was filled by the free market.

Government agencies serve a purpose, but when they cease existing, the vacuum must be filled. When the entity filling that vacuum is un-government like, there is bound to be conflict.

As they say, you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. If the round holes are capitalism, and the government is square, then my concern is the following: how long until the government stops trying to fit its square pegs, and starts creating its own square holes?