Two weeks ago, Sharon was browsing through TV Guide and noticed that the Independent Film Channel (IFC) was running the original 1967 series “The Prisoner,” the brainchild of the seriously brilliant Patrick McGoohan – actor, director, producer, writer, two-time Emmy winner and thinker.  Sharon and I first watched the saga of “Number Six” when it was new to the USA and aired as a summer replacement series. This was in 1969.  It was produced for British television in 1967.  There were seventeen episodes, each an hour in length when shown with commercial interruption, as the series was intended to be seen.  Over the intervening years, “The Prisoner” has shown up on Public Television and in the home video market.  It’s available on DVD and, one of these days, Sharon and I’ll stop promising ourselves to buy “The Prisoner” and actually buy it. 

Although totally different one from the other, one wouldn’t be stretching credulity to say that Patrick McGoohan’s “The Prisoner” is to television what Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is to literature.  McGoohan’s masterpiece is that good.   McGoohan – who created, produced, acted in and directed much of “The Prisoner”—threw in everything, clues galore to what was really going on.  Everything from the id, the ego and the superego to superspy action comedy to a psychologically quirky western is included as Number Six resigns from British Intelligence, is knock-out gassed, kidnapped and awakens in “The Village.”  The Village is run by “Number Two.”

At this juncture, if you are unfamiliar with this classic, you might be asking, “Who is Number One?”  Oddly enough, that’s what Number Six continually asks when the various Number Twos – they don’t last long, failing in trying to break Number Six – demand to know why he resigned. Number Six will not reveal any information, because he does not know on whose side the mysterious Number One’s malevolent minions happen to be.  Number Six defiantly proclaims, “I am not a number, I am a free man!” 

This is heady stuff for television.  As this is written on October 4th, IFC has only run the first six episodes, three each Friday night.  They will run the remaining episodes ganged together.  Or, you can go to AMC’s website and see the episodes.  AMC, on November 15, 2009, will be showing the new original mini-series version of “The Prisoner,” starring Jim Caviezel as “Six” and Ian McKellen as “Two.”  If the new mini-series will be even almost as good as the original, it will be a landmark television event.  If the in-your-face individuality or death philosophy of McGoohan’s original is made “politically correct,” it will be very sad. Hopefully, “Six” will truly be “Number Six,” the ultimate rugged individualist who will never break.

McGoohan’s Number Six is undiminished.  “The Prisoner” is just as resonant today as it was when Sharon and I were first impressed and inspired by it forty years ago.  If you believe in individual liberty and despise big, intrusive government, you owe it to yourself to see the original McGoohan series.  And, you owe it to McGoohan’s memory – he died after a short illness at age eighty, on January 13, 2009 – to give the new mini-series a chance.  Number Six was wonderfully quotable. Picture, if you will, the leading Congressional Democrats trying to push their socialist agenda and a defiant man seething with controlled rage shouting, “I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, de-briefed or numbered. My life is my own.”  As my old high school creative writing teacher Jim Norris used to say, “Good stuff!”   As they say in The Village, “Be seeing you!”




For I truly don’t remember how many years, I’ve been carrying a Seecamp .32. When we had the holster business, the first Pocket Natural front pocket holster we made was for a Seecamp .32 and I still use a holster that was handmade for me by two guys who worked for us. Now, I have other small handguns, of course, small handguns that I truly like. For example, the North American Arms Guardian .380 with Crimson Trace LaserGrips is a terrific handgun that I carry a lot. The NAA Pug .22 Magnum is a fine ultra-close range handgun.

My little Seecamp was with me the other day when my son-in-law and I went to The Firing Lane in Bogart, Georgia, to do some of the testing on a couple of firearms that’ll be showing up either in my GUN WORLD column, “Field Issue,” or my DILLON BLUE PRESS column, “Ahern Under The Gun.” Like a lot of people who write gun articles, I shy away from gun cleaning until absolutely necessary. My little Seecamp .32 hadn’t been cleaned in three years or so and the magazine had been loaded with the same Winchester Silvertips for two or three years. I put the magazine in the pistol – the gun was unloaded to take it into the range, of course — chambered a round and fired out the magazine without a hitch. I loaded the pistol after the range session and it’s in my pocket as I write this. That Seecamp .32 is a good gun.





A weapon of which I am extremely fond is my Detonics Black CombatMaster .45.  In the mid-1970s, a rep who worked predominantly for Safariland was pushing the original Detonics CombatMaster .45 at a police shotgun shooting demo and I got my first chance to try one.  I’d fired lots of handguns, but never worked much with a single action automatic.  I just hadn’t gotten hooked on 1911-style .45s – yet.   After trying the Detonics, I was impressed.  The gun wasn’t much larger at all than the Walther PPK/S I frequently carried, and I shot it well.  Sharon and I armed “John Rourke” with two CombatMasters in our series of books chronicling the adventures of THE SURVIVALIST.  Most of you know that I ran the Detonics operation when it was in Pendergrass, Georgia, where the gun I carry virtually every day was produced.  Some things – guns, knives and other inanimate objects – just seem to fit one’s hand and one’s lifestyle so well, they become indispensible.



“Reclaiming The Blade” Is A Terrific Film, If You Have An Interest In Swords And Swordsmanship – And, If You Don’t, You Should!

As a lot of you may know, when Sharon and I aren’t writing novels or working on firearms related articles and columns – I write them and Sharon does the photography – I write a column about swords in the bi-monthly KNIVES ILLUSTRATED, a sister publication of GUN WORLD, wherein I also write a column.  Sharon does the photography for the sword column, too, of course.  Both of us grew up watching Errol Flynn swashbucklers on WGN in Chicago.  I never knew that “The Adventures Of Robin Hood” was even in color until we got it on tape.  And, of course, Sharon and I – our parallel interests are/were uncanny – watched Richard Greene as “Robin Hood,” Roger Moore as “Ivanhoe,” Guy Williams as “Zorro,” etc., etc.  A sword belonged in a man’s hand – unless, of course, the gorgeous Maureen O’Hara was wielding one.  Actually, a lot of women were/are fine “swordspersons.”

The thrust (I love puns) of “Reclaiming The Blade,” which is very nicely done and narrated by John Rhys-Davies, focuses on a return to swordsmanship.  No one is saying get rid of your AR-15 or AK-47 and get a Katana or a Rapier instead; but, having a sword or two and knowing how to use a sword is something everyone should consider.  Now, granted, I’m a little professionally paranoid.  I sleep with a Detonics CombatMaster .45, a Crimson Trace LaserGripped S&W .38 Special 640, a Katana and a Wakazashi next to the bed.  The truth is, even the finest handguns – and the CombatMaster and the two-inch J-Frame are two of the finest – can malfunction and will run out of ammo.  But steel, unless your break it, will never fail.  And, if you break a sword, chances are what’s left will still be a pretty large knife. 

There’s a wonderful elegance to the sword.  The late Hank Reinhardt, who figures prominently in “Reclaiming The Blade,” once told Sharon and me that with a Katana, for example, one could work out one’s own Kata, or routine, and do a pretty good job of defending oneself, without formal training.  I’ve heard the Katana, by the way, described as the most deadly close-range weapon ever devised.  When used properly, it is.  

We have the two disc set, which features interview remarks from “Lord Of The Rings” actor Viggo Mortensen, legendary sword coach Bob Anderson and a great deal of additional footage, including “making of” and more interviews.  Also, there are significant segments from a number of armed and open hand martial arts training videos.  These are sensational.

“Reclaiming The Blade” ( is something that will entertain you and may very well inspire you to contact Museum Replicas ( or CAS-Hanwei ( or one of the other producers of battle quality swords. Swords grow daily and internationally in popularity. You may want to get into swordplay yourself.  Every man – or woman – should reclaim the blade.                







The late Ayn Rand’s magnificent novel and philosophical treatise, Atlas Shrugged, is also turning out to be prophecy, rather than speculation.  Move over Nostradamus!  If you’ve not read Atlas, you can get the main ideas by watching, listening to and reading the news – if you watch FOX or take the time to find other unbiased sources.  In Atlas, groups of grasping, idiot bureaucrats control the governments of the world, including the United States, and they punish those who excel by taxing and regulating them in every way possible.  Sounding familiar?  Life imitates art – at least since the November 2008 election.

Take the health care bill being pushed by Democrats in Congress.  It has now been proposed to pay for universal healthcare with higher taxes on the rich.  I am not rich, have never been rich and likely never will be rich.  All that said, nothing gives me license to steal from the rich.  Ayn Rand never liked the story of Robin Hood.  I think this was because she bought into the clichéd idea that Robin and his Merry Men robbed from the rich to give to the poor.  It didn’t happen that way.  Robin and the guys in tights stole the unjust taxes back from the evil minions of a wannabe usurper.  Hey, now there’s a coincidence in the making, maybe.  Robin never ripped off the rich; he ripped off the thieves who made themselves rich by stealing from everyone they could and he gave the money back to those from whom it had been stolen. 

In Atlas Shrugged, productivity is punished by the government.  Making  wealthy Americans – and Democrats have a strange idea of what constitutes wealth – pay more because they happen to make more money is theft wrapped in Socialism.  A principle tenet of Communism/Socialism is the redistribution of wealth.  I guess the leftists in the Democratic party are showing their true colors – shades of pink and red. What gives these leftist Democrats the right to punish someone for being productive, for being successful?  Nothing.  In Ayn Rand’s novel , a man named “John Galt” starts a movement to “stop the motor of the world.”   Slowly, steadily, he gets the more productive people to stop being productive and just kick back, so everything will start to slip away.   And, it does.  Without the entrepreneurs, those who dare financially, those who risk all for an idea rather than just being comfortable, those who run small businesses about to be taxed out of existence, the motor of the world truly would stop.  Without Capitalism, as the Russians and the Chinese found out, society crumbles.  Even though China still calls itself Communist, financially, it’s one of the most capitalistic countries on the planet.  If you doubt that, check out where your clothing, your cookware, your pocket knife, your electronics and much of everything else you have comes from.

But, the leftist Democrats in Congress who want to tax the wealthier among us in order to have universal healthcare which will be inferior to the current system and plunge the nation into irredeemable levels of debt don’t understand Capitalism, or choose to ignore it in their relentless passion for power and control.

FDR had “The New Deal.”  LBJ had “The Great Society.”  Under America’s current leadership, we’ve got “The Bum Steer.”  Let’s just pray that a real “John  Galt” is working to make things right again.  The leftists will stop the motor of the world sooner than later, but not as an object lesson.  We’ll just all run out of everything we need to make that motor run. 

Now, albeit that it may already be too late -- but we must try -- let’s start working to elect Conservative Republicans and non-leftist, Conservative Democrats in 2010.  Let’s give the man who wants to change America, apologizes for what he labels our arrogance and wants to redistribute wealth a Congress that will tell him exactly what he can do with his radical leftist vision for our nation.  Then, let’s get behind a candidate who can take on the leftist Democratic candidate in 2012 and deny him re-election. 

The time is now to save America.  Let’s prove why a government predicated on the principles of Capitalism and Democracy, and not Socialism and Communism, is the best form of government on the planet.  In 2008, a portion of the American electorate made an error of epic scale.  Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work to save our country.   Let’s rectify this horrific mistake and pray to God that we can make things right again and undo the damage already done and the damage still to come.