A friend in prosecutorial law enforcement recently shared "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History" (2004) by Professor Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Anything politically incorrect usually catches my attention. This did.

After reading it, I've decided to either offer my friend a reasonable sum for ownership of the book or, should the friend not be in a selling mood, simply say I have misplaced it.

No, that probably won't work with a friend in prosecutorial law enforcement, who has more influence than I'll ever have. Thus, I shall return the book posthaste.

Meanwhile, let me share a few of Professor Woods' words of wisdom. (And, no, unlike "Dr." Jill Biden, Woods neither expects to be called "doctor" nor does he use capitalizations for public servants. After all, by George, our great country left "kingly royalty" more than 200 years ago. Those are not "Members" of Congress, contrary to 99 percent of all news releases submitted from congressional offices. They are, quite simply, members of Congress.

Some, Swalwell scalawags, in fact, ought to be removed members of Congress.

Now, to Woods' words of wisdom. The professor correctly points out that the Constitution's First Amendment was a "restriction on the powers of the federal government, not a grant of power. The amendment is clear: Congress shall make no law."

Regarding the Second Amendment, Woods again accurately notes: "If the framers of the Second Amendment had intended it to apply to the right of a state to maintain a militia, they would have used the word 'state' instead of 'people.'"

He continues: "The Bill of Rights is very precise in using the word 'people' when referring to individuals and 'state' when referring to the states."

Woods also quotes George Mason, the father of the Bill of Rights, who further clarified: "What is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."

The Bill of Rights, Woods writes, "are a few important aspects of the U.S. Constitution of which all Americans should be aware. If the Constitution were to be preserved, Thomas Jefferson said, 'The people would have to keep vigilant watch over the federal government and be alert to its encroachments upon the rights of the states and of the people. In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down by the chains of the Constitution.'"

Indubitably.

* * *

• After reading Woods' book (yes, I'll give it back to its rightful – and likely armed – owner), I read an online article by John Zent of "The American Rifleman."

This week, Zent wrote "The Great Ammo Shortage of 2020: When Will It End?" It's available at https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2020/12/17/the-great-ammo-shortage-of-2020-when-will-it-end.

His observations are similar to mine in recent days, weeks and months.

"Ammunition purchasers across America – or make that would-be purchasers in record numbers – are finding shelves bare, and unfortunately that’s hardly breaking news. If this was simply a Christmas-season run, we could insert a Grinch joke here and assume things would return to normal after the holidays. But in fact, this shortage, as many readers can attest, traces back at least to spring when COVID mania shocked the country and has since intensified under an unprecedented chain of cultural phenomena. Many gun owners feel that the only way to ensure they have ammo when they need it is to buy in bigger-than-normal quantities, and the result is hoarding."

Indeed.

Finding popular shotgun shells and rifle and pistol cartridges today is tougher than finding Lysol and toilet paper at the end of March. This week alone, I visited guns-and-ammo stores at Hirn's Corner outside Bainbridge, Crossroads in Rainsboro (which has a sign on its door to remove your mask before entering, I liked that), Town and Country and Rural King in Hillsboro, plus a few others via phone calls. No luck at any of these stores.

In fact, Jason Hornady, vice president of Hornady Manufacturing, flatly stated that when it comes to hoarding-induced shortages, “Ammunition is the new toilet paper," according to Zent.

If you want a lesson in humility or just want to make someone laugh, try asking for a box of 9 mill, .357 magnums, .38 specials, .22 long rifles (which we used to consider throwaways just for target practice) or practically any other of the more popular ammunition. You won't find it.

At one local store, I watched a would-be gun buyer who was all set to buy a rifle until he asked for a box of shells for it. Guess what? No ammo.

Zent writes: "As detailed in a recent Keefe Report, nearly any caliber that’ll go bang in whatever quantity is up for grabs is snapped up almost immediately. Consumer frustration is rampant, and there’s a real concern about personal- and home-defense shooters not being able to get ammo they need to be prepared. Anyone who’s been a gun owner and at least a semi-active shooter going back a decade can remember earlier shortages, and while those were truly galling and nationwide, this one’s different. It’s even more widespread and more pervasive in terms of unattainable calibers – nearly all of them, from what we’re hearing. Like that other lingering current event on everyone’s mind, we’re left wondering: When it will end?"

That's a very good question. Forget silver, gold and bitcoin. The new barter system commodity might be similar to an old one. Ammunition. Without that, for self-defense and hunting, guns are reduced to clubs or ball bats.

While I was at Rural King this week, a gentleman called another area supplier, asking for 9 millimeter ammo. The store had a few boxes left. The price was $46 for 50 shells. That's a 400-percent markup from just a few years ago. By supply and demand measures, most would readily pay.

On the bright side – if there is a bright side – it is much quieter here in our 55-acre woods. My friends and neighbors have ceased recreational shooting. I suspect we all know why.

Funny, though, I always considered those guns going off the sound of freedom. Their silence is deafening.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.