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George Hong
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finally... independent rear suspension and updated front suspension
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They just hit 1.5m.  Pretty impressive.  Should I be surprised that they are making the console version a stretch goal?
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CrossFit
Meet Chrysta Beene, 84 lbs down and heading for 100.

"(I) have a beautiful 7-year-old girl. Nine months ago, sitting at dinner she asked me why my belly was so big. I was shocked, hurt, and didn't know what to say: the honesty of a child.

I began to realize I was not setting the kind of example I wanted her to see, and if I didn't change my life she would be faced with the same things I was faced with growing up. So I began my journey.

When I first started CrossFit, I wasn't sure I could do it. I wasn't sure I cared for the whole group thing. I am not a runner, and forget pull-ups, or double unders, or even a real push-up.

I discovered quickly that I am very strong and I love to lift a heavy bar, so I stuck with it. I pushed myself physically and mentally, and along with good clean eating, I have lost 84 pounds and 57.5". I'm still reaching for my goal of 100 pounds in one year (August 1st). I know with the help of my box family and my awesome coaches at Thunder Valley CrossFit in Johnson City (TN), I will reach that goal."
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excellent post, pass it on
 
The Psyche of the Pro-Gun American

This is a comment that I posted in response to a question by an Aussie about the mindset of pro-gun Americans. +Jacob Kloutier has encouraged me to post it, and I think it's worth putting up here to get your comments, with an eye to cleaning it up, tightening it up (I'm sure it could be shorter) and posting it more publicly in a few places.

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If you'd like to understand the psyche of the pro-gun American, I'll give it a shot. I'll address the more practical, day-to-day elements later, but first let me touch on the deep-rooted, emotional issues. This will be a little bit long, because it's not simple.

In the minds of most pro-gun Americans, whether or not they explicitly think about it (and most don't), there's a deep link between skill with and possession of arms with the most fundamental elements of liberty and individualism. Part of it is the ethos of the revolutionary war -- which not coincidentally actually began when British troops tried to seize colonists' arms. The philosophy of "Give me liberty or give me death" still resonates deeply with many Americans. We have given up much of the freedom we once had, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not, but there's a feeling that the ability to resist tyranny by force of arms is at the core of what it means to be a sovereign citizen (an oxymoron on its face, but it expresses the idea). "They can have my gun when they take it from my cold, dead hands" isn't about the gun at all, it's about what the gun represents. Once the guns have been taken, all the rest could be taken.

America is somewhat unique in that many of its citizens hold a deep distrust of government -- any government -- which is a legacy of our founding fathers. Government is seen as a necessary evil which must be watched closely and which may someday need to be forcibly put back in its place, and arms are a crucial element of the ability to defy government power. Only the most radical of fringe elements actually try it -- and die for it -- but the notion that a breakdown of democratic processes can only be remedied by tens of millions of Americans rising to retake control by force of arms is deeply rooted. Some argue that's tactically foolish, that no group of citizens armed with rifles can take on the might of the US military (they're wrong) and others argue that the idea is just quaint, that we've moved beyond it and that there will never be any need for an armed uprising to overthrow tyranny (which may be true), but the point is that the idea is deeply held.

This is one of two core reasons that the right to keep and bear arms was included the Bill of Rights. The other, that personal arms should form the core of the nation's military might, has largely been forgotten, even by pro-gun people.

That's the nationalistic element, but that's not everything. America was a frontier land and the heritage of the frontiersmen and the Old West (which was far less violent than our cities, then or now, regardless of popular depictions) also lends a lot of weight to gun ownership as an expression of individualism and personal responsibility. A common self defense-related saying among American gun owners is "When seconds count, the police are just minutes away". There's a clear element of practicality there, but there's also an underlying idea that it is both the right and the responsibility of a man or woman to defend themselves.

As an example, I'm a certified concealed weapons permit instructor, and although it's not strictly relevant to concealed carry, part of my class covers self-defense in the home. I teach that in the event of a home invasion the best thing to do is to gather your family in one, defensible, room and call the police. Let the police come and clear the house rather than venturing out into a potential conflict with the intruder. What's interesting about that is that I sometimes get substantial pushback. "It's my house and it's my responsibility, not the police's," is a not-uncommon response. And it's not a response that arises from bravado or any actual desire to confront or kill, an intruder, it's a feeling of ownership and duty to self. Everyone eventually acquiesces to the logic of staying safe and letting the police take the risks, but it rankles emotionally.

For many Americans in rural areas, firearms are also tied to ideas of self-reliance. Logically, we all know that if the agricultural production system were to break down there's no way we could survive by hunting wild game, but the idea is definitely sitting there in the back of our heads, that having guns and ammunition provides us with options we wouldn't otherwise have.

Finally, guns are also linked quite heavily in many families to family tradition and identity. My dad taught me to shoot, his dad taught him to shoot, and so on back many generations. I've taught my kids to shoot. My wife's family's annual summer reunion has for decades had as its centerpiece a large shooting event, shotguns at thrown clay pigeons and muzzleloading rifles at stationary clays. The top accolades go to the one who manages to split a muzzleoader ball on an axe-head positioned in front of two clays, breaking both with one shot.

So in many families shooting guns is something of a family tradition and something of a rite of passage. Guns are potentially-lethal machines and learning to operate them safely and correctly, and then gaining skill with them -- because accurate shooting is much harder than it looks -- demonstrates responsibility and trustworthiness.

That, I believe, is a reasonably accurate and complete picture of the psychological reasons why guns are important to so many Americans. There are also a lot of practical reasons, but as is normal with human beings, those are often just logical eyewash used to explain and justify deeper ideas and feelings which are not fundamentally rational. Not that they're illogical, but that logic isn't ultimately relevant to them.

As for the practicalities, there are many. Lots of people enjoy collecting for its own sake. Guns are beautifully-crafted machines, both intricate and fundamentally simple. My father-in-law has well over 100 rifles because one of his hobbies is buying old, often-damaged, rifle parts and building new guns. He cleans and polishes and tunes, re-blues the metal, and creates his own stocks by hand from gorgeous hardwood, staining and polishing for hours. The results are breathtaking -- and very functional. His rifles shoot very well. He gives some of them away (I have a few), but doesn't sell them, so they mostly just accumulate in his basement.

Many people obviously enjoy shooting. It's a challenging skill which has no upper limit on where you can take it, and there's a great deal of variety in the styles of shooting you can do, each of which requires its own unique skills. It's also a lot of fun and somehow very satisfying. I've taken hundreds of people shooting and never seen anyone who didn't enjoy it -- at least when they're using the right gun.

Hunting is a big draw as well. Personally, I find I enjoy it more with a bow or a camera than with a rifle, but it's also very challenging, a lot of fun, and a great family activity that involves camping, hiking and lots of opportunities to learn and teach about the animals.

Home and personal defense is obviously a major issue. A common misconception is that this somehow indicates that people must be particularly fearful to feel like they need a gun to protect themselves, but that's rarely true. In some cases it is. My niece was abducted at knifepoint a few weeks ago, and she wants to get a permit to carry a concealed gun because she is fearful. Logically she knows that what happened to her was a fluke, but being armed and skilled with her gun's use (including knowing how to defend against having her gun taken from her) will make it easier for her to confidently navigate her life.

Me, I'm a six-foot, 200-pound man, reasonably fit and strong and reasonably competent at unarmed self-defense. I'm also well able to recognize and avoid areas and situations which might be dangerous. I have no specific feeling of need to be armed, but I'm convinced that the presence of level-headed, responsible armed citizens makes society a safer place. Somewhat like having a policeman or a security guard on every corner, but less costly and obtrusive. So, I carry a gun as a sort of civic duty. I don't expect ever to draw it, indeed I sincerely hope I never do. But, should it ever be necessary to defend my life or the lives of those around me, I'm equipped and I keep myself in training. This isn't something I normally advertise, or even put a lot of thought into on a daily basis.

That same "civic duty" rationale is the reason I'm a concealed weapons permit instructor.

Anyway, this is way too long. One of these days I need to take the time to condense all of this into a pithier essay on the topic. But I hope it helps give you some insight into how pro-gun Americans think, and maybe even why we think the way we do.
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George Hong

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confused:  Do I CrossFit or do I pilot a BSG Viper?
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Pilot the viper, of course
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quite instructional
 
Chad Vaughn, 315 pound Clean and Jerk

http://youtu.be/4YJ_L7jqgoA
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Have him in circles
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