Like a fool, there I am in my favorite local gun store, the famous Navy Arms Company, soon after getting the AR-15, the PPK, the 191 l...thinking, "Geez... I really should get a classic gun.. something with history." Right. Not appreciating the profound idiocy of my "insight" at the time, I later realized that this thought was a terminal symptom of the gun collecting disease.

This thought was also particularly intrusive because I had recently pledged to myself that I wouldn't buy another gun. I love guns. I can afford guns. But I have enough guns. I don't shoot them much anyway. And what would a few more firearms add to an already fine collection, representing most of the important historical periods and designs?

Then I saw it. There it was. Just hanging on the wall. My first thought was, "There's such a nice ring to owning exactly 21 guns." Salute. My second thought was, "This is New Jersey -- what the hell is that doing here?"

Then my able sales buddy "splained to me: semi-auto only; no evil flash suppressor; no cool collapsible stock; brand new manufacture, even -- freshness dating!

Thus, knowing virtually nothing more about the Thompson than the "reputation" any schoolboy knows, clueless, I bought it. This was only just recently, summer of '98, a neophyte -- a know-nothing -- compared to you big players out there. I was positive that Blish Lox came with bagels and cream cheese.

Then I found "The Book" (Endless, humble gratitude to Mr. Tracie Hill for his brilliant work in American small arms documentation, and for his patient "orientation" of me on the phone one night. Boy, did he straighten me out).

Then I found this newsletter, the other books, the shows, the shoots, and all you wild and crazy dudes. I'm now considering a therapy recovery program called ONANONANON, for people who can't shut up. I love the Thompson. I'm hooked. I still know nothing compared to what I estimate to be 15-30 serious US collectors in the big top.

And that's where this newsletter "connected" it all for me, and why its perpetuation and greater involvement from the "old boys" for the benefit of us "new kids" comes in.

I sense that the Thompson is at a defining moment in its history... its compelling nostalgia here at the millennium.. its relation to modem crime.. .its influence on warcraft... its legislative impact.. its design articulation.

I believe the Thompson Collectors News fulfills a critical, historically significant role for our hobby at this time. It serves, as do such "grapevines" for stereo or golf enthusiasts as both a timeline of cultural "shift" as the Thompson ages most gracefully, and also as an irreplaceable repository or experiences (small and large) of other collectors (small and large).

But most significantly, the newsletter made me feel "OK". As a young psychoanalyst in training, we thought the famous book "I'm OK-- You're OK" really meant "I'm Screwed Up -- You're Screwed Up", from the Latin. But I feel OK now, even not owning an important serial number, an elusive "missing link", or matched drums (Tommy Envy?). I'm proud to own even my humble WH specimen, s/n 30618, thank you very much, "manufactured" on or purchase date! (Birth Trauma?!) Plus, recall that I live in the Republic of New Jersey (Hostile feelings of impotence? ... Phallic preoccupation with Assault Weapons Bans?!).

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