Some friends of ours have one of these black powder beasts (a modern replica), and although I haven’t fired it, I have eyed it and handled it with one overbearing question:

Why would anyone, ever, think this is a good damn idea?

Seriously, a 5″ barrel in 16 ga isn’t going to get great velocity. Sure, with grapeshot, you could fuck someone’s day up at close range, but the 9 rounds of .42 Ball probably did a hell of a better job than that one shotgun load. History apparently validates my suspicions – The Confederates tried to use this ugly brute of a gun, and hated it.

If anyone thinks I’m being gung-ho for either side of the war, lemme tell ya a little bit of info I’m gathered that makes many people hate me (because I figured you need more reasons):

Growing up in Cali for the first 19 years of my life, all I learned of the Civil War was that the North hated slavery, and the South loved it. So they went to war, and the good guys won. Yay, no more slavery! Wheeeee!

…and then I moved to the South and got their side of the story.

And then I started reading up on it.

In reality, the Civil War wasn’t based solely on slavery. It was a linchpin issue, yes, and no, I am not for slavery (some people have accused me of this – good lord, nothing could be farther from the truth).

But for the majority of the southern rebs, it wasn’t about slavery at all. It was about the fact that the Union Army was coming through and blasting the shit out of their property. Jack Smith of Georgia, with a small farm and no slaves, didn’t have any stake in the slavery issue. What he did have a problem with was the Union Army stomping in, a bunch of Northern strangers, burning his crops down, eating his food, and pillaging what little he had. That’s it. That’s the entirety of the issue, for poor Jack Smith and his family, and when the Confederacy told him he needed to defend his lands, he didn’t pick up a rifle because he wanted to rape and enslave black people. He did it because he didn’t want to lose his damn farm.

This doesn’t absolve the major movers and shakers of the Confederacy of using the populace to better their personal gains. (Fuck Jefferson Davis, seriously. Dying in bed of an illness was too good for the fucker.) The Civil war was ugly on both sides, and although much of the nation doesn’t feel it anymore, Southern states still feel the scars of the war from time to time. Mostly faded, but the scars are there. The lesson learned: don’t try to fucking secede. Go against the Federal Govt, and you will get your ass beat. Kids in Southern states learn this all the time when they research their family history. Many of them still wear the Confederate Flag as an ornament, not as a show of racism, but in honor of their dead kin from that war. Not because they wanted to have the right to buy slaves – but because that war was a lesson in the lack of State’s Rights. They lost family in that war. Family who only wanted to keep their little farms and had no head for politics.

I’m not espousing any bullshit about how The South Will Rise Again. I’m not saying that some people who wear the the confederate flag aren’t doing it because they ARE racists. Racism is still alive and well, down here in the south, and some of the fading scars of that war are the scars felt by the black community – many of them are still pissed about it, and I can’t blame them one iota. But I am saying that until you get both sides of the story, you don’t understand what that war was about. The main thing I picked up, in my reading is: human beings do awful shit to each other. Politicians drive the lower classes to kill each other. Upper classes make money off their blood. I’m glad that my family had no part in that war (to my knowledge), because that makes it easy for me to claim innocence. (Although my lineage makes Pearl Harbor a bit less of an easy topic.)

*WHEW* That got preachy and longer than I expected. HEY! LET’S LAUGH ABOUT GUN JOKES!