Saturday, February 27, 2010

Just because I like y'all...

I'm reading Tom Diaz's 1999 bed-wetter, Making A Killing, a shocking expose of the gun industry, so you don't have to. Tom describes the firearms industry as a shadowy and impenetrable world that "makes the tobacco industry look like a model of transparency."

Since I have worked in and around that industry for some sixteen years, anybody got any questions they want answered? I'll even answer Tom's.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Since I have worked in and around that industry for some sixteen years, anybody got any questions they want answered?"

I think we all want to know . . . what gun for bear?

Shootin' Buddy

Earl said...

Why,,,,,,,,,, that question always works for me.

I am reading Walter Mosley's The Long Fall - reads really well, old style detective story.

Tam said...

Not a shotgun loaded with buckshot, that's for sure.

Borepatch said...

The question I'd like answered is why lefties think we're stupid enough to buy their palaver.

Yeah, I know it's rhetorical.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Ummm do all these disparate gun companies get together in a big meeting to discuss the best ways to get their products to kill as many Americans as possible, or is done by phone tree?

Oooo, since the evil gun industry wields so much power they must be bigger than Big Oil, The Big Three Car Companies, Big Tobacco, and Big Pharma put together... But exactly how big are they? Nobody ever posts that bar graph...

Tam said...

Actually, Diaz strikes me as neither particularly dumb nor disingenuous in this book; it's just that he's filtering everything he sees through a very different worldview, and one that is so antithetical to mine, I don't see how there can be any reconciliation of the two. I mean, what is the median between three and purple?

OA said...

"I mean, what is the median between three and purple?"

Probably a home invasion.

Stingray said...

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen Col. Cooper?

John said...

"I mean, what is the median between three and purple?"
A fish.

mikeb302000 said...

I have a question. What does "in and around the industry" really mean?

Is that like, on the board of Smith and Wesson or chief council for Remington?

Tam said...

That means working for three Type 01's and one Type 07 between '93 and '07.

Among my friends and acquaintances I can think of literally dozens of people connected in every way with the business, from manufacturer's reps to engineers to magazine publishers to writers and photogs to trainers to competitors to whatever.

I know you guys have this weird view of the gun industry as being some huge thing like "Big Oil", but it's a tiny industry; only a small handful of companies have more than 100 employees. Everybody is no more than a couple degrees of separation from everybody else.

Among the frequent commenters at this blog, you will find many of these people.

B_L said...

Shadowy and impenetrable? This guy must have been a total prick when he made his phone calls, the average arms company is about as shadowy and impenetrable as your local cheesemerchant. Just about everyone knows who is making what for whom, and the people who work there tend to be friendly and helpful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5qPdCAdDsI

On a Wing and a Whim said...

So, it's about as shadowy and impenetrable as aviation? That, small and personable on the manufacturer's end, pretty well networked on the dealers, lots of passion and networking on the owners... and huge brier thickets and tangles of regulations and enforcement?

Anonymous said...

See the March 1st New Yorker magazine: "Strangers on the Mountain", by one Ben McGrath.

There is a void, a gulf, a vacuum for which i have no name -- between 'them', their ignorance and us.

'odiess', indeed.

JohnM

Ed Foster said...

Actually, I would have suggested he try alcohol. We all drink together, mostly in a colorful little pub in West Springfield (next to a gunshop no less), and the pissy old yenta who is calling you a back-stabbing SOB today is buying you a snort tomorrow, and loaning you parts the day after.

I've worked at Colt's, Stag Arms, and Smith & Wesson, am back at Continental, Stag's parent company, and am starting an 06 (ammunition company) with a guy who supplies every company in the business with grinding wheels etc.

We make most of the parts for most of the AR's in America, buy barrels from every barrel maker east of the Mississippi, and I've done design work for MGI, I.W.I., and a certain German company I can't mention without gaining Tam's undying comtempt.

How many guys do I know who have bounced around the industry as much as I have?

Maybe half. Call it a third to a half. I can network from RCBS to Lyman, Mossberg to S&W, Colt's to Bushmaster to FN. And they all gossip constantly. Yentas, every one of them. Me too.

Geez Mr. Diaz, all you had to do was pony up for a couple of double Jameson's straight up, and a Ten Penny Ale chaser or two.

Plenty of funny stories, but no secretive societies or private handshakes.

There is quite of paranoia, because there are self-rightious sociopaths out there who would twist anything we say to find some way to put us out of a job forever, who think us quite mad simply because we don't agree with their world view.

But mostly family men, a collection of folks with, I suspect, a calmer and more fulfilling lifestyle than the average urban oriented liberal writer.

For reference, plese google up The Jewish World Review, toggle Julia Goren, and go to her article archives. Second reference, this is the only lady online who can give Tammy a run for her money on smarts/humor/strange insights.

Take a look at 03/08/02, The Anti-Gun Male.

"LET'S be honest. He's scared of the thing. That's understandable--so am I. But as a girl I have the luxury of being able to admit it. I don't have to masquerade squeamishness as grand principle-in the interest of mankind, no less".

"A man does. He has to say things like "One Taniqua Hall is one too many," as a New York radio talk show host did in referring to the 9-year old New York girl who was accidentally shot last year by her 12-year old cousin playing with his uncle's gun. But the truth is he desperately needs Taniqua Hall, just like he needs as many Columbines and Santees as can be mustered, until they spell an end to the Second Amendment. And not for the benefit of the masses, but for the benefit of his self-esteem".

"He often accuses men with guns of "compensating for something." The truth is quite the reverse. After all, how is he supposed to feel knowing there are men out there who aren't intimidated by the big bad inanimate villain? How is he to feel in the face of adolescent boys who have used the family gun effectively in defending the family from an armed intruder? So if he can't touch a gun, he doesn't want other men to be able to either. And to achieve his ends, he'll use the only weapon he knows how to manipulate: the law".

"Of course, sexual and psychological insecurities don't account for ALL men against guns. Certainly there must be some whose motives are pure, who perhaps do care so much as to tirelessly look for policy solutions to teenage void and aggressiveness, and to parent and teacher negligence. But for a potentially large underlying contributor, psycho-sexual inadequacy has gone unexplored and unacknowledged. It's one thing to not be comfortable with a firearm and therefore opt to not keep or bear one. But it's another to impose the same handicap onto others".

Read the rest of it. It might remind you of someone you see in the mirror sometimes.

atlharp said...

"We make most of the parts for most of the AR's in America..."

OK Tam,

Now you know where to send the complaint letters. LOL!

theirritablearchitect said...

Already got the highlights when the Krauter read it several years ago at bedtime.

She cackled on many occasions.

ToddG said...

I've held policy-advising positions at two major manufacturers (Beretta and SIG) and consulted with others. I've been directly involved in the gun industry since '98.

There are many shadowy secrets in the gun industry. However, rather than being nefarious, they are all simply embarrassing.

This is one of the most highly regulated, intensely scrutinized industries in the US. The mere idea that the leaders of major companies get together and agree on anything is preposterous. Having watched, for example, Ugo Beretta, Gaston Glock, and the principle owner of SIG-Sauer interact, I can assure you these people are not part of a vast secret conspiracy.

Stephen said...

I want to know if anybody can help me identify the pistol my great-great aunt is wearing in the pic. I have no idea. Ideas?

Tam said...

That's a Colt Bisley.

Stephen said...

Colt Bisley. Ok I'm off to do some reading. My great-great grandmother in the pic died in 1943 at the age of 72. That's been my only reference timewise. Maybe the gun history will fill in a few holes. Thanks!

Noah D said...

That means working for three Type 01's and one Type 07 between '93 and '07.

What do 01 and 07 mean, there?

a certain German company I can't mention without gaining Tam's undying comtempt.

Tam, you've gotta let go of that grudge against Krupp.

Ed Foster said...

Hat jemand einen schwarzen Koffer abgegeben? Es sind 10,000 neue Banknoten und eine Pistole darin.

TheRock said...

The Type XX that Tam refers to are FFL types - 01 is a standard gun dealer and an 07 is a standard firearm manufacturer.

I myself am a Type 06, ammo manufacturer.

DJ said...

I hit the Amazon page for the book, and was beset with a serious case of the giggles.

The hardcover version of this book is listed at sixty-eight cents from some sellers, and used copies go for a penny. Gotta love it. In case it changes, here's a snip:

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/7166/bookik.jpg