Saturday, September 30, 2006

Correcting Errors or Resisting Continued Abuse?

I've been incredibly stressed this week as I've exchanged emails with my father. Given how fruitless it has been in the past, why did I bother? Why did I feel compelled to respond? I've been asking this question a lot.

Part of me wants to believe that it is because I wanted to make a stand for religious tolerance and reason. But on further reflection, I don't think that was really it. If the email had come from anyone else, then I would have just said, "What a moron," and deleted it.

I'm something of a know-it-all and have a bad habit of correcting people. I think part of it is because I was raised in a know-it-all religion that believes that it is right and everyone else is wrong and that anyone who disagrees is wicked and under the influence of Satan. Over the last 42 years I've slowly realized that this tends to piss people off and cause them avoid me so I've tried to learn to just bite my tongue. But for some reason I feel compelled to respond to my father's stupidities.

With my father I think that several things are going on. The first is that his beliefs dramatically influenced me and I think our beliefs were pretty well aligned into my early adulthood. As I've realized the errors in my beliefs and corrected them, I think it has naturally led me to want to correct the source of those errors too. He is in some ways a part of me and now it's a part of me I don't like and don't respect and want to change.

I think another thing is that I blame him for using flawed thinking to teach me incorrect things. When he tries to do the same thing now I feel a strong need to fight back. Maybe it's not so much a desire to correct him, but to assert my new found beliefs and reject the flawed thinking that my father uses to reach incorrect beliefs. I think that I feel violated by the strong influence he had as an involved parent and that he misused and abused that influence to teach me flawed beliefs based on extremely flawed evidence and reasoning. As an adult, I think I feel a need to fight back against what I willingly accepted as a child.

Perhaps part of it is a desire for payback and a need for revenge. I resent the fallacies I was taught and perhaps I feel a need to show up and embarrass the source of many of those fallacies.

And lastly, perhaps I'd like for him to admit, for once, that he was wrong in what he taught me and continues to try to force on my and the rest of the world around him. It took him years to tentatively and weakly admit to some members of my family, but not me, that he was physically and emotionally abusive throughout our childhood. But, I think I'm feeling that I was also abused when I realize the very thorough and extensive brainwashing that I suffered growing up in my household. In much the same way that he couldn't admit to himself or my family the severe physical and emotional abuse he inflicted, I don't think he can admit that he also was guilty of filling our heads with false teaching based on just about every logical fallacy known to man. So, for me, the last remaining type of abuse I experienced growing up continues into adulthood and I feel a need to fight back in much the same way that if he took a swing at me today I would fight back. In much the same way he justified or failed to recognize the physical and emotional abuse, he continues to resist the notion he might have been guilty of spiritual and intellectual abuse.

It's a difficult dynamic and it leaves me feeling a need to cut off contact from him in the same way I would cut off any other abusive relationship. In the most recent exchanges he has failed to respond directly to the points I raised, side tracked the dialogue to my issues with the church, and dismissed my points as being "lame". He further accuses me of not listening to anything he says, of failing to engage, to refusing to consider the evidence, and to never, not even once, directly responding to a direct question from him. All the while the attached email chain shows exactly the opposite: him refusing to answer direct questions, him attacking me, and him failing to respond to the questions I originally sent to him in response to his anti-Muslim email. In the end, he reposed his question, I answered it with the exact same answer I gave in my original response, and resposed the original two questions I asked and the reason those questions were relevant and important. I also forwarded an email I sent him from a couple of years ago that showed me directly answering questions he asked me. Just, you know, as evidence that he's full of shit and a liar and wrong about me.

Why bother? Right now, I don't care if I ever talk to or see my father again and I'm reliving the memories of the hatred I had for him as a teenager.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Why Am I Up at 1:00 am?

I just wasted more than an hour replying to a couple of emails from my dad and ultimately threw them away. It started out last weekend when he sent out another one of his brilliant political commentaries based on an anti-Islamic web site called You'd think that a Mormon would be sensitive to such things, but apparently he fails to see the irony of it all. After a couple of short emails back and forth it finally culminated in a long accusatory email in which he basically accused me of being closed minded and completely unwilling to consider any evidence for the church. He simply refuses to understand that I read it, considered it, considered the alternative explanations and found the evidence against the church to be compelling and the evidence for it to be entirely lacking.

I'm not sure, but I think that I've been very open minded. I tried to believe for 40 years. I immersed myself in the Mormon church and tried to be as knowledgeable as I could be. And then I discovered that it was all lies. Literally. I've documented it in other places, but it really infuriated me to discover how dishonest the church was. I was completely disillusioned by the realization that the church did exactly what it accused its detractors of; it lied and misrepresented its history and doctrines on a grand scale and then had the gall to attack and defame those that dared expose the truth.

My father simply refuses to consider the facts. He accuses me of being close minded, but consider the following typical response (his response in [] and underlined).
For example, DNA evidence clearly shows that the scientists got it right [not it doesn't - you only read the wild assertions of those who are not rigorous in their rantings. ] and Joseph Smith got it wrong: the Indians are from Mongolia, not Israel. [You are ignorant of many facts. Would you like me to give you specifics about the Hebrew origins of some of the Indians and recent findings of Hebrew writings of the Ten Commandments in Indian burial mounds? ]
Yes, Simon Southerton's book is nothing but wild assertions and sloppy rantings. From the language, I'm guessing he reached that conclusion by reading the FARMS articles, not from reading Southerton's book. Unlike him, however, I read the FARMS articles. I actually read them first. Then I read Southerton's book. And I've read his responses to the FARMS articles. The only lack of rigor or ranting was in the FARMS articles and the church's subsequent excommunication of Southerton. So, even though I've sent him a copy of the book and I'm pretty sure he hasn't read it, I'm the one who's only considered one side and apparently a very flawed one. OK.

He offered to send me evidence of the 10 Commandments written in Hebrew found in Indian burial grounds. Maybe I should take him up on that since I'm pretty sure I know what he's referring to and it has been conclusively proven to be a fraud.

You see, unlike him, I have actually read both sides of each issue.

So I found myself at 1:00 am over on Jeff Lindsay's web site trying to make sure I hadn't overlooked something. I read a brilliant article on why circumstantial evidence and the Book of Mormon witnesses can't be ignored any longer and we should just all stop fighting the obvious and accept Joseph Smith and the divinity of the Book of Mormon. My goodness. I've had two migraines today and that didn't help any.

It also had the most compelling evidence found to date (his and other apologists words, not mine): the letters NHM found in the middle of the Arabian desert that MIGHT be the land of Nahom. Of course, the earliest find dates to 900 A.D. They recently found an altar dating to the Book of Mormon period, but it refers to a "Nihmite." Based on this he conjectures that it would be reasonable that the would have also been a land of Nihm named after this person. Not Nahom, mind you, but I don't think they wrote out their vowels so you can pretty much fill in whatever ones you want. Convenient. The obvious question is, what does it prove? It shows that there might have been a land in Arabia with a name that is similar to a Book of Mormon name which, frankly, isn't that shocking and really doesn't prove anything except point out an interesting parallel or coincidence.

You see the work "consistent" a lot on his web site. This is the sort of "evidence" that my dad and other Mormons swoon over. The Book of Mormon mentions big cities and America has ruins of big cities. The Indians have a legend of a great white god that is consistent with the story of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon has chiasmus and so does hebrew writing. It's all very interesting and my father fails to understand that that is all it is. It's not evidence. Given three continents and several thousand years to play with, I'm sure you can find all kinds of interesting parallels and correlations. It's still not proof. The goal is to make Mormonism plausible. Again, that isn't proof.

Here's what I consider proof. Contradictions and counterexamples. Logic stipulates that a contradiction is evidence of something being false. A counterexample is a concrete example that counters or contradicts a statement and proves it to be false. It's often much easier to prove something false than it is to prove something true because all it takes is a contradiction or a counterexample. The Book of Mormon and the history of the church is full of those.

In the end, this is why I wound up reading so much about the church. The church and it's apologists do an outstanding job of muddying the water and trying to make the church look at least plausible to the uninformed. Then they apply very effective brainwashing techniques that prevent many members from being able to even consider the possibility that they are being misled. I knew people like my father would attack and I had to feel like I had the bases covered and could respond. I had to make sure I didn't have any doubts. And I guess it worked, because I don't. But, I still keep my mind open. One apologist claimed that the anti-Mormons wouldn't believe in the Book of Mormon even if the gold plates were presented to them. They are wrong. I'm willing to consider any evidence and I'm willing to keep an open mind. If my father or the church could answer my questions and provide convincing evidence then I'd be willing to be persuaded. But they don't. Instead they dabble in interesting coincidences and ignore the really thorny contradictions and other errors.

You know what. The other reason I'm still up even though I've had a long day is that it really just pisses me off that my father accused me of being close-minded and blindly rejecting any evidence for the church without even considering it. It really hurts me because it is so far from the truth. This whole journey out of Mormonism has been extremely painful and I resent the claim that it is somehow my fault that I was defrauded and refuse to continue to submit to the lies and deception. It's the spiritual equivalent of blaming the rape victim. I blog because I'm alone in this and the isolation is intentional. Leaving the church has meant severing attachments that were once an important part of my life including but not limited to friend and social activities. I'm now looked down on by my father and others that once respected me. People like my father have to explain my disbelief and the only explanations that they seem to have are pride, close-mindedness, and wickedness. The possibility that it is due to facts, reason, and conscience don't seem to occur to them because those things would obviously bring me back into the bosom of the church.

I'm going to bed. Hopefully I can sleep because I have to get up early and my head hurts. Sorry it's been so long between posts.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Happy Birthday to me!

Birthdays just aren't exciting any more. I guess you could consider the decades as significant milestones, but I don't really buy that. Thirty wasn't really so black. In fact, I still felt pretty twenty something well into my mid-thirties. Around the middle of that decade I'd definitely moved on and felt solidly like an adult, as opposed to a young adult.

Forty wasn't really that big of a deal either with the exception that with adulthood came more stress and a more sedentary lifestyle and evidence that my adult lifestyle was creating problems. It was around 39 that my weight and blood pressure peaked and sounded an alarm that my lifestyle wasn't sustainable. Come to think about it, that was also when I finally resolved my doubts about the church and moved on from the teachings of my childhood. I stopped racing motorcycles, took up running, lost 35 pounds, and quit going to church. I take it back. Forty was a pretty significant milestone in my life although I didn't think about it at that time.

Who knows what major changes may come, but the next big age milestone I foresee is retirement. I suspect that with the emerging demographic trends that is likely to push out to 70 by the time I get there.

In the meanwhile my doctor gave me a pretty stern lecture about taking care of myself when I went in for a physical. After running some tests I found out that my blood sugar is fine, my cholesterol is excellent, my blood pressure is now under control and good, and a heart CT showed that I have zero hardening in my coronary arteries. Like it or not, I'll probably be around for a while.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Life in My New Job

My unscheduled vacation was rudely interrupted by a new job last week. I have to say that I was enjoying my lack of responsibilities. I wasn't completely idle, but I did enjoy sleeping in, exercising, catching up with my Tivo backlog, and spending time with my family. Now I have to work all of that stuff in around a regular job again.

So far work has consisted of reading hundreds of pages of documentation. If that sounds boring, it's because it is. But it's what I do for a living. I read specifications and then try to figure out whether or not the chip designers correctly implemented them. In other words, I try to get the chips to do things that they aren't supposed to do. I break them. I haven't broken anything yet, but I'm getting the feeling that I'll be able to pretty quickly as soon as I get oriented and up to speed.

I'm also making good progress on my marathon training. I ran a little over 15 miles on Sunday. Unfortunately, I slept in again so I once again ran it in 90+ degree heat. I felt pretty good, but for the first time ever my German Shepherd Dog declared, "No mas!" and laid down while we were taking a walk break. His paws looked okay so I was worried that he was suffering from heat exhaustion even though I was giving him regular breaks in the lake. After a little break he got back up but he was still a little unsteady so we mostly walked the last couple of miles. We took yesterday off as a rest day but he was still a little stiff this morning so we kept the pace slow and only ran a few miles.

If you've never run a marathon, the most important part of the training is the long run. Once a week you do an extended run at an easy pace that is farther than the runs you normally do. Before you consider running a marathon you should first be able to run 10 miles on your long run. For the marathon you extend your long run by a mile every week until you work up to long runs of about 20 miles. If you can complete a 20 mile long run during training then you should be able to complete the marathon. Once you get up to 14 or 15 miles on your long run then you give your a body a break every other week and cut the distance of the long run in half. That's the basic idea although races, injuries, and other things have a way of rearranging the best of plans.

Last year, every time I increased the distance of my long run it represented a personal milestone because it meant that I was running further than I'd ever run before. My body had never had to deal with moving continuously for several hours and by the end of the run I was usually physically drained. By the time I'd driven home I could barely move and I'd hobble upstairs where I'd ease into a tub of cold water and then dump 5 gallons of ice around my aching legs. After that I'd usually fall into bed and sleep for several hours.

So far, this year has been very different. I feel remarkably good! I haven't felt the need for any ice baths. I haven't been very stiff immediately after the runs. I've had little soreness during the week. And most importantly I haven't had any injuries. Part of this could be that the heat has kept me running slowly and walking quite a bit. But I think the biggest part is that I've done it before and my body isn't as shocked by the experience as it was last year. Even though I hadn't done any really long runs since February's marathon, it's all coming back pretty easily this year.

My first race is a 10k (6.2 miles) on October 1 and then I'll have another race about every 3 weeks until the Austin Marathon in February. It probably sounds strange, but I'm really looking forward to the experience again this year. Improving my times will be nice, but the biggest reward is setting a challenging goal and completing it.

You Know What Really Bugs Me?

Well, lots of things. I'm an irritable, cranky person so it often doesn't take much. But I was just getting ready to eat an apple and had to remove the mandatory sticker. Why can't they use a sticker that comes off without leaving residue on my fruit? Over the last few years I've noticed a growing trend that the stickers either can't be removed without removing a piece of the produce along with it or else they come off and leave adhesive on my fruit. How healthy is that?! I'm dieting, dammit, which means that I'm even crankier than usual and I'm eating tons of apples because they don't have many calories and are a whole lot healthier than the peanut M&Ms that I really want and I have to deal with stickers and sticker adhesive on top of it all! It's just the straw....

Diet and exercise suck...

But, I promise I'll post before and after photos after I lose the 30 pounds I'm trying to drop by February, 2007. You know, the 30 pounds I've been planning on losing since I lost the last 30 pounds.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Audioslave's New Album

I really like Napster. I got an email this morning announcing the new Audioslave album that I've been eagerly awaiting and I immediately started downloading it and playing it on my laptop. So far, so good. This is one of my favorite bands to run to. The only thing more eagerly awaited is the next Linkin' Park album or another Fort Minor album. Having Napster and a 30Gb MP3 player has allowed me to explore a lot more music than I've ever listened to in the rest of my life and I really enjoy expanding my horizons.

Signs of My Future Apostasy

Looking back, I suppose it was almost inevitable that I'd reject Mormonism and move on. People that knew me growing up would probably not be surprised. Perhaps my steadfast belief was really a sign of my deep seated discomfort. Here's my confession of apostate practices.
  • I always hated to go to primary. For a while I used to hide in the bathroom after opening exercises so I didn't have to go to class; I knew the female teachers and primary presidency couldn't get me. I'd sit on the toilet tank so no one could see my feet in the stall. That all ended when they got tired of looking for me and came in anyway.
  • I was apparently extremely disruptive in primary. I remember standing on my head in my chair during class until my best friend kicked the metal folding chair over. At that point it folded up on my head and gave me a bloody nose. My mother was so proud and my teacher asked for a new class.
  • I didn't want to be an Eagle scout. I loved camping and scout camp and being outdoors, but the merit badges didn't interest me and I didn't believe all the crap I heard about how important an Eagle is. Even then I knew that future employers would be more impressed with straight A's than with an Eagle.
  • I didn't want to go to early morning seminary. My mom pleaded with me and promised me that if I tried it and didn't like it then I could stop. I tried it and I kept going because that was where I got to see all of my friends. I didn't really have any friends outside of the church even though I lived in Des Moines, Iowa and there weren't many Mormons around and only a couple in my school. But I really didn't like Seminary although I learned a lot about the church there.
  • I used to skip Sunday School to go get food.
  • I didn't read the whole Book of Mormon until I was 17 even though I started trying when I was about 11. From that time my sister and I were having a contest to see who could finish first. The fact that it took 6 years for me to win should tell you a lot about both of us. Or perhaps it tells you a lot about the Book of Mormon when it takes two prolific readers that long to slog through it.
  • I thought about sex a lot. I really, really wanted to get laid. I liked to look at girls, fantasized about them, and was perpetually preoccupied with them even though I knew that to do anything would be almost bad as murdering someone. I didn't have very many girlfriends and didn't do anything serious with any of them, and was a 22 year old virgin when I got married. But it was the thought that counted.
  • I hardly went to church at all during my first year at BYU and I didn't feel bad about it at all. In fact, I felt much more spiritual and at peace back in my dorm room than I ever did at church. This was despite that church in the BYU university wards was generally more interesting than any of the other wards I ever went to.
  • I insisted on thinking for myself. I went along with the church because it made sense to me. I didn't believe in blind obedience.
  • I turned down a couple of church callings. One was because I was swamped at school. The other was because it was a stupid calling that was made up so that I would have a calling.
  • I never thought that the decision not to translate the lost 116 pages of Book of Mormon manuscript made sense. It's not like they had photoshop back then or liquid paper or any good way of modifying it that wouldn't be obvious. So, the explanation that he would retranslate it and that it wouldn't match because the original was modified by evil people is just stupid. And I always thought so but kept it to myself.
  • I wondered why Nephi had to murder Laban. It's not that Laban was a good guy; he wasn't. But, he was falling over, passed out drunk. Couldn't Nephi have tied him up? Wouldn't beheading him have covered his clothes with blood? How did Nephi learn to impersonate his voice so well? The story had so many holes and was so repugnant that I chose instead to shelve it and not worry about it.
  • I always wondered why the church never taught any lessons or talked about polygamy in church. When people find out you are a Mormon it almost immediately leads to the topic of polygamy. After more than 100 years, polygamy is still a defining belief of Mormons and yet within the church it isn't officially discussed other than to say that they no longer practice it. I always thought the silence indicated a discomfort with the topic and perhaps fear. If it was divinely inspired then I didn't understand why they weren't proud of it and why they didn't discuss it. Instead, complete silence. I later found out why; the facts ARE embarrassing.
  • I never felt comfortable with the 1978 decision to give blacks the priesthood. There was no revelation, just a policy change. If it was wrong before, what cosmic event happened in 1978 to make it okay. Again, no discussion about it other than that it was time for a change. I felt that the policy was either wrong before 1978 or else the church caved in to cultural pressures. Either way was bad.
  • I never thought it made sense that God had sex with Mary like church prophets claimed. The church denies this now, but it was unequivocally stated by at least one prophet. Wouldn't that be adultery or fornication? If not, then was God secretly married to Mary? If so, then how could Joseph marry her and have other kids like the church teaches? Or does it mean that God can do anything he wants? It just never made sense to me.
  • I hated the entire temple endowment ceremony. It's not just that it was mind numbingly boring; it was creepy. If it wasn't for the fact that I'd resigned from school to go on a mission I would have stood up and left the room after the initial ominous threat at the beginning of the ceremony: "...for God will not be mocked!" The sense of dread increased as I ritually acted out various ways that I promised to be killed rather than reveal secret handshakes and passwords that the Book of Mormon teaches are a sign of secret combinations that were revealed to Cain by Satan in order to hide murderous works. Weren't they available in anti-Mormon books and films like the Godmakers? Why would I be killed for something that was freely available at your friendly local evangelical Christian church? I was both relieved and confused when those things were removed from the temple ceremony in 1990. That told me that those things were not revealed since they were removed. Unfortunately, it left me in limbo, not knowing how much of the rest of it was also just temporary and not revealed. Maybe garments were just a mistake too. After all, the garments had been shortened, made two piece, and constructed from modern fabrics. Maybe they'd come in black mesh bikinis and tank tops eventually.
  • I raced motorcycles on Sunday. This was a clear violation of the sabbath day. Heck, I also watched football on Sunday and sometimes used Sunday as a travel day on vacation.
  • I almost never fasted. It made me hungry. I don't like being hungry.
  • I fasted and prayed about problems, but wondered if I was just figuring out things for myself or if I was actually getting any divine inspiration. I don't think the answers I got through that process were any better than anything I could have come up with on my own. In fact, I believed that the answers I got were my own. If they were wrong I didn't hold God accountable. I always believed that evidence and reason were a more sure way to find truth that the Spirit, which always seem pretty tentative and uncertain since it was so difficult to distinguish from your own feelings.
So there you go. The signs were all there. Everything else I did was just appearances of being faithful Mormon. It was just a facade hiding the apostate lurking underneath, ready to break out.

BTW, if you miss the game today, I'll wonder about you. If you live in the U.S. and have to ask, "What game?" then something is really wrong with you. Hook 'em Horns!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Twisted Thinking

I was looking for Mormon symbols that could be twisted into an interesting exmo tatoo or patch or logo or something and stumbled across Jeff Lindsay's apologetic web site. I amused myself by reading through his FAQ and was especially entertained by his defense of Joseph Smith's polygamy despite his own dislike for polygamy. Many of his answers were pretty reasonable (mostly because he didn't tackle any substantial questions) but on polygamy he was clearly grasping at straws. He refers to Todd Compton's "claims" that Joseph practiced polyandry despite the fact that those unions are well documented and not contested by even faithful historians such as Bushman.

His defense, like many apologists, seems to be that many of the marriages (or "sealings" as he refers to them) were not marriages in the sense that they involved sex. He repeats the completely non-doctrinal theory that perhaps many of these marriages were dynastic in nature. I understand why this explanation seems appealing since any explanation that involves sex would make Joseph Smith a very unsavory character since it would mean that he was nailing his maids, his wife's best friends, his closest friends' and associates' wives and daughters, his foster daughters, etc.

The problem is that there is no official statement by any church authority or church canon to support. It's only basis is the desire to remove sex as a motivation for the institution of plural marriage and to put a more noble and spiritual in place of the more common and carnal explanation. But, read D&C 132 which is the official revelation on plural marriage. It's all about sex. Read the Book of Mormon where polygamy is prohibited unless God needs to raise up seed. It all involves sex. The whole scriptural justification is sex and having children. Frankly, given the ample scriptural and doctrinal foundation that the plural marriages were based on sex along with the legal affidavits from some of the wives that the marriages were sexual in nature, the burden rests on the apologists to provide comparable evidence from primary sources that ANY of the marriages were NOT consumated. To my knowledge there is no evidence that Joseph Smith didn't have sex. If the marriages were dynastic, non-sexual unions, then there would have been no need for secrecy, no need to for public denials, and no need to go down the road to Carthage.

It just doesn't add up and it is troubling that Mormons that know the facts still choose to defend what should be indefensible.

But in the end, if you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he spoke for God, then anything that God revealed to him was, by definition, right and correct.

But that thinking brought honorable men to surrender their wives and daughters to a sexual predator.

It compelled otherwise good men to murder and rob innocent men, women, and children.

It led to blatant disobedience of the laws of the land and the continued illegal practice of polygamy for 14 years after the practice officially ceased.

It leads to an organization that continues to lie and deceive in order to preserve its existence.

It leads to good people devoting their lives to a collection of pretty lies that provide a facade of happiness.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Good Redneck Fun

Saturday afternoon I hopped over to the shooting range with the wife and two boys and shot every gun we have in the house. We started out on the skeet range with the 12 and 20 gauge shotguns and killed a box of clay pigeons. This was the wife's first time ever shooting a shotgun, but she did well for a first timer and even hit a couple. It's been over 3 years since we've shot clays, but all of us boys did a pretty good job and by the end were shooting doubles (two at once).

Then we went over to the rifle range and shot the 30-06 and the 22 rifles. The -06 is my dad's army surplus 1903 Springfield rifle, just like you see in WWI movies and it is a tack driver. With iron sights (no scope) it was easily hitting bullseyes at 50 yards and did many one-hole groups (multiple bullets with all of the holes overlapping). The 22 was less stellar at that range, but it is cheap to shoot (about $0.01 per shot versus $1.25 per shot for the 30-06). The wife didn't shoot the big gun, but us boys shot a box of ammo through the big gun and have the bruises to show for it. It kicks good and the muzzle blast makes everyone in the vicinity jump.

We finally headed over and shot a bunch of ammo through the 45s, 357, and 380 pistols. With the exception of my little KelTec 380, the pistol shooting went well and everyone did a competent job. The 380 is just a piece of crap, cheap pocket gun. It's light and can be carried in a pocket but I'm not sure it could reliably hit anything more than 3 yards away. Its sights are terrible, its accuracy is worse, and it must have the worst trigger every put on a pistol. I regret wasting the small amount of money I spent on it.

Anyway, I'm out of ammo now so I have to surf the web so I can restock for the next outing.

BTW, rules of gun safety:

1) All guns are loaded.
2) Never let the gun point at something unless you are willing to destroy it.
3) Finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target and you are ready to shoot.
4) Be sure of your target and what's behind it.