Village Praxis Series: EDC (Everyday Carry) Gear Part I

I have a confession.  I am a geardo.  I love kit in all its varieties from camo to bags to clothing to slings and everything in between.  I just upgraded my Level III EDC mag to a new Maxpedition Versipak EDC in Khaki.  I rely on two sites primarily as a community of interest to feed this addiction and they are linked on this site:

EDC Forums and Military Morons

Doug Ritter’s site at Equipped to Survive is also outstanding but not quite as comprehensive or exhaustive in the breadth of reviews and TTP (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures).

You never leave your house anticipating a head-on collision or an untoward event of any kind but you will discover that if you prepare ahead both mentally and materially, your chances of coming out ahead will increase exponentially.  It takes approx three thousand repetitions of a process to make it a battle drill which you don’t “think” through such as drawing and firing a handgun.  BUT…it takes approx ten thousands repetition to unscrew a bad habit of doing business.  Gear helps but don’t fall into the trap of thinking the gear will suffice without associated training and familiarity with equipment.

In the shooting community, a man’s ability to field a very expensive rifle in the field is inversely proportional to his ability to employ it with skill.  My lightly modified Glocks consistently outperform two to five thousand dollar 1911 pistols because I have invested the time in training and at the range to ratchet up my skill level to a higher standard.

Check out this example of either the pursuit of excellence or the height of geekdom.  A tip of the hat to ACHE over at EDC Forums who put together this absolutely exhaustive overview of building his Level III EDC bag.


It is amazing the level of detail shown but it proves out one axiom I learned in the military:  meticulous preparation is a large part of good luck.  Over the next few months I would like to expand this series and approach the various “kits” one may need and some of the organizational schemes out there to make these functional and ultimately useful in a crisis if the need arises.keep in mind that it is simply the gear but your ability to employ it skillfully and effectively.   -BB

Village Praxis Series: A Pack for Going the Distance?

While browsing through my RSS reader this morning, I came across ITS Tactical’s review of the Mystery Ranch Skiritai pack. I have to say I am intrigued since it looks like it is attempting to fill that illusive gap between a hiking day or overnight pack and a full blown expedition pack.  At 2400 cu-in (about 39 liters) and with a frame, it is larger than my Black Diamond Hollowpoint daypack but cruises in below my 55L Scarab, which could easily carry my gear and food for a week or more.  I appreciate the trouble that designers go through when trying to fit in this range; one must offer more than a simple daypack, but not so much that the buyer would be better served by just upgrading to the next larger size. The Skiritai weighs in empty at almost 8 lbs (7 lbs 13 oz), which either reflects a durable beefy construction, or the addition of a lot of “extra” that may not be all that useful.  As someone who leans towards the ultralight side of things, that is a bit of a drawback.

Politics (and Society) Today Could Do With a Return to the Culture of Dueling

I have often thought that not only is dueling an unfairly maligned tradition but one whose application today could stiffen the spine of an estrogen-laden society and put more of a “point” to affairs of honor.  I can think of several instances in my own life where this would have resolved a difficulty.  Manners are the lubricant of civilization and alas, they are quickly perishing in America with the resultant coarseness, rudeness and cultural illiteracy that pervades the country today.  Part of this is a result of the loss of classical education, a complete lack of historical knowledge and the increasing prevalence of women of both sexes held high as the enviable male paradigm.  We are a nation with a surfeit of males but fewer men.  Men know what they are about and have an idea of their measure under arduous or dangerous circumstances.

Some have served in the military, some participate in adventure sports and some in dangerous professions (like firefighters not cops).  Being a cop is one of the safest occupations in America outside of the self-induced pathologies of over-eating, alcoholism and suicide.  Check the FBI statistics.

The concept of honor is a dying creed so I expect very few adherents will step forward to advocate for the renewal of dueling as a dispute resolution mechanism.  Honor would be a necessary preamble to even champion dueling.  Guns or swords?  Let’s make both available as a choice for consenting combatants.  I would again commend your attention to the excellent book – “The Compleat Gentleman” by Brad Miner.  While you are at it, take a look at the dozens of sword-fighting texts available from the Renaissance era in Europe during the high era of fighting salons.  The pity is there are hundreds more which have yet to be translated from the Latin, Italian, German or French into English. -BB

The duel was the last resort of a process of what we now call ‘conflict resolution’.

Charles Moore reviews ‘Pistols at Dawn’ by John Campbell.

This book gives an entertaining account of eight famous political feuds, starting with Fox and Pitt and ending with Blair and Brown. Other reviewers have compared one rivalry with another. I want to concentrate on the idea raised by the book’s title, that of the duel.

In only one of the eight stories (which also include Gladstone vs Disraeli and Heath vs Thatcher) were “pistols at dawn” literally employed. Exactly 200 years ago, in the middle of the Napoleonic wars, Britain launched a military and naval expedition to Walcheren in Holland. It failed. George Canning, the foreign secretary, sought covertly to blame his rival, Lord Castlereagh, and to have him removed from the War Office.

When Castlereagh discovered what was going on, he wrote to Canning: “You continued to sit in the same Cabinet with me, and to leave me not only in the persuasion that I possessed your confidence and support as a colleague, but you allowed me to… proceed in the Execution of a new Enterprise of the most arduous and important nature, with your apparent concurrence… You were fully aware that if my situation in the government had been disclosed to me, I could not have submitted to remain one moment in office, without the entire abandonment of my private honour and public duty. You knew I was deceived, and you continued to deceive me.” Castlereagh demanded “satisfaction”, by which he meant a duel. The two men met on Putney Heath. Both missed with their first shots, but Castlereagh insisted on a second round and wounded Canning in the thigh, without doing him serious injury.

There was a public scandal: duelling was against the law. Both men resigned, but both later returned to high office: Castlereagh’s career, which had been expiring, revived, while Canning ultimately, though briefly, became prime minister.

In the autumn of 2004, Tony Blair announced his intention to fight the next election as prime minister and, if victorious, to serve the whole of the subsequent term. Gordon Brown, who thought he had been told the opposite the day before, felt betrayed. The “understanding” that the two had sealed at the Granita restaurant in 1994 – that Brown would succeed Blair – had, he thought, been broken. “There is nothing that you could say to me now that I could ever believe,” the chancellor told the prime minister.

So for Mr Brown, as for Castlereagh, it was a matter of honour. But of course it did not occur to Mr Brown to challenge Mr Blair to a duel. Instead, the modern equivalents of the duellists’ “seconds” were the rival armies of spin doctors, and so the contest was carried on, at public expense, through the media.

The feud continued, despite a truce during the general election campaign, in which the two were filmed eating ice creams together. It resulted in a parliamentary coup against Mr Blair in the autumn of 2006 which, strictly speaking, failed, but which persuaded the prime minister (luckily, as it turned out, for him) to bring forward his date of departure.

John Campbell considers the Granita deal about the succession a “devil’s bargain”. He quotes the view of Thomas Grenville, in 1812: “When two men ride a horse, one must ride behind.” He is surely right, but the Brown/Blair story does illustrate the difficulties with which politics is saddled if there is no accepted code of honour.

The form of the duel – with its pointless deaths, inherent injustice and absurd pride – seems to us against reason and morality. But it did answer a problem that always confronts human society: how can one settle a dispute between essentially equal parties?

See the rest: