Friday, November 05, 2021

Mouseville, USA

I haven't been to Orlando since SHOT Show 2003. 

The annual National Shooting Sports Foundation trade show was a very different experience back then. For starters, Wikipedia gives the attendance as about 27.5k, which is less than half of the attendance at my next SHOT visit in 2017.

January of '03 was about a year and a half before the end of the ban on weapons that looked "assault-y", and not everybody and their brother made an AR-15 clone at the time. If you wanted to see AR carbines and other firearms of that sort, you had to go over to the "Law Enforcement/Tactical" section which was separated off from the decent, respectable Bambi blasters and fowling pieces. Black anodizing and brown walnut did not rub shoulders in the same booths in those days.

Also, other than a couple boutique builders, the only 1911-pattern pistols in view were in the Colt, Springfield Armory, and Kimber booths. Imagine the very idea of, say, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, or Dan Wesson making Government Model clones!

This was so long ago that security at Disney's Animal Kingdom consisted of a brief glance into my purse, I presume to make sure I didn't have any large and cartoony bundles of red TNT sticks topped with a sputtering fuse in there. The contents of my pockets, on the other hand, were of little to no interest, nor was my waistline checked for magnetic anomalies.

The past was indeed another country.

Anyway, what brought this to mind was the latest foray at the Intellectual Inting blog, in which Chris Arnade perambulates about Orlando, a city that does not immediately come to mind as very perambulateable. 

His foray starts off in front of a building that looked vaguely familiar to me...
Since I was in Orlando to report on a convention, my twenty-mile walk began in Convention-center-land, in the SE corner of Orlando, adjacent to a tourist-land comprised of Disney and other amusement parks that have globbed onto the scene.
I'm think I've grabbed a smoke break under the very awning he photographed in that picture, lo those eighteen years ago. Then again, convention centers all kinda do look the same.