POSTSCRIPT / January 3, 2012 / Tuesday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Rush that gift. After Sunday, it’s a bribe!

SUNDAY DEADLINE: The extra-long Yule season in this dominantly Christian country starts Dec. 16 with the first of the novena of dawn masses and ends with the Feast of the Three Kings, a movable holy day set on the first Sunday of January.

Since the first Sunday of 2012 coincides with New Year’s Day, the Church has moved the Three Kings feast to Jan. 8, this Sunday.

A negative, admittedly flippant, implication is that grafters and corruptors have been given another week to play Santa.

If a contractor, for instance, wants to give a valuable gift to a government official in exchange for favorable action within the latter’s discretion, he has until Sunday to deliver it wrapped in Christmas cheer.

Arguably, between Dec. 16 and this Sunday, his gift can qualify as a present given in the spirit of the season. After Sunday, it is already a bribe! (Joke only.)

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GRAFT RULES: The rules on gift-giving among government officials are quite loose despite many laws defining what they are not allowed to accept in connection with the performance of their duties.

The way a NEDA consultant famously talked about projects being processed by the National Economic and Development Authority, it seems that honesty in the bureaucracy is relative, that a certain “moderate” level of corruption is tolerable.

And it appears that the grand formula for getting away with graft lies in the way the illegal wealth is hidden. Also, it pays to steal big, so you have millions to spare for buying acquittal and respectability.

In view of the concealment, the Aquino administration is devoting considerable time pinning down suspected big-time crooks in the previous regime. One wishes, however, that President Noynoy Aquino would also go after the fast operators in his own stable.

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NOY’S FAVE GUN?: Our item (Postscript, Jan. 1, 2012) on weapons for self-defense and home protection elicited a flurry of questions and comments.

One reader inquired what the favored hand gun of President Aquino, an avid shooter, is. (Answer: I don’t know, although an officer at Camp Crame guessed it could be a Glock.)

Several readers asked what is the best home defense and concealed carry weapon if one can afford only one firearm.

Our resource person, reader Nomer Obnamia of Ohio, said that based on reliability, performance, accuracy, and durability, he recommends the Glock 17.

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SAFE, EASY: Obnamia said: “The newest Glock is the Generation 4, but the models before it are still perfect. The Glock 17 is the handgun you can abuse, I mean it needs less maintenance but will always fire. You can treat it like your lawn mower, abuse it and it still performs.

“The G17 is moderately priced. The trigger is designed with safety which is why Glock does not have other external safeties. It will not fire when dropped. Glock up until today will not add an external safety because the design is perfect. This is the perfect handgun for the Philippine National Police for the reasons mentioned.

“This gun is easy to master and fits mass training as with police departments, compared to .45 ACPs. The Glock is not sexy like other designs. It’s a tool, designed for a specific purpose, that will work all the time. It has big magazine capacity. (For fun, I purchased a Glock mag with capacity of 32.)”

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BULLETS: “For auto loaders, the magazine is very important. It will save your life. Unload the bullets and examine the mag and spring, and load again. If during range time one magazine gives you constant malfunctions like stovepipes, there could be several reasons for it.

“The rule of thumb is to get rid of it and replace it with a new one. If you have several good magazines, rotate them for your concealed carry, not using the same mag at all times.

“A common problem of gun owners in the Philippines is the price of cartridges. Even here (US), there comes a time when a shooter’s expenses on cartridges will eventually exceed the basic price of the gun.

“It does not take five minutes to expend a box of 50. Those who are truly shooting aficionados; IDPA, IPSC, they reload and save lots of money to be able to shoot thousands of them.”

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LAST RESORT: “My son and I go to the range together when he has time from college. My wife comes occasionally to shoot her snubby SW .38 special.

“Again, the shorter the barrel, the more felt recoil. Accuracy is compromised. But the premise of short barrels is point shooting in self-defense five feet or less away from assailants. It’s not a long-distance weapon contrary to what we see in movies.

“I’ve changed my mind about getting a concealed carry permit after I asked myself Why? I could not come with a better answer, including the legal responsibilities of carrying a weapon.

“After hearing the lawyer’s lecture on the responsibilities and ramifications of it, my wife and I decided to just keep ours in the house and wait for the burglar to visit.

“However, the best result of such encounters is without firing a single shot and being able to stop the intruder by the fear of deadly force, and for the police to arrive to arrest him.

“Pulling the trigger is only the last resort when other means would not work. But of course there are situations when instant decisions have to be made, and the only alternative is to pull the trigger to preserve your own life.”

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of January 3, 2012)

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