Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Good piece of meat wasted

After the first few paragraphs of Thom Gunn’s Feb. 25 “Sound Off” column I realized he was indulging in satire. I’m amazed it took me 30 seconds to figure it out; usually I’m not so obtuse. Once I realized where he was headed I read the rest of his “National Enquirer expose” in the proper light. Heck, I even found some of it entertaining!

As an ex fellow hunter, I feel sorry for his prey that after 50 years of experience he felt the need to consult with a hand picked expert to find out why shotguns kill. You’d think that after so much time he’d have figured it out himself, if only by osmosis. But, I digress...

With that being said, why would Mr. Gunn waste a perfectly good piece of meat when all the info he needs regarding penetration of shot is available on the Web? Could it be that factual information didn’t work as the basis for the rest of his conspiracy theory?

According to the laws of physics (vs. the “roast penetration theory”), penetration of shotgun shot is based on the speed of an individual round ball and how much it weighs (ballistics tables, retained energy, Journee’s Formula, stuff like that...). Nothing more, nothing less. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 28 ga. upland bird gun or a 10 ga. magnum goose gun. It doesn’t matter whether it has lots of powder or less powder. More shot or less shot. In the end, the only reliable information the gauge of the gun gives you is the caliber of the ammunition it is designed to shoot.

Why, might you ask, would I bore you with gun facts?

It’s simple. In all the hoopla over the vice president’s hunting accident, nowhere is it to be found what size shot the victim was hit with. That would be a far more reliable indicator of distance (to validate his theory) than all the info combined in Mr. Gunn’s tall tale.

As an over-simplification consider this: Cops and deer hunters use double ought “OO” buckshot (about .33 inches in diameter) for great penetration to a vital organ to bring down the big (bad) boys. Bird hunters (of itty bitty little birds like quail) use small shot (No. 8 for example - .09 inches in diameter) for much less penetration in an itty bitty animal (supposedly so’s you can eat what’s left).

Why is the foregoing important? Well, it’s not to me, but I am sure it is to Mr. Gunn. I happen to believe the V.P., the witnesses, the victim, the sheriff’s deputy, the Secret Service, the medic, ad nauseum. It is evident by Mr. Gunn’s letter that he thinks they are all lying and are part of a conspiracy theory.

Now, if I could only find the DVD of that Mel Gibson-Julia Roberts movie. If I can’t I think I’ll study the Cadillac convertible floating in salt water tables or the Rose Law Firm billing records....

Scott Smith


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