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Archive for April 2011

Heroes

Tired of reading the tripe that makes up most of the Internet?
Me, too.

Please go read Brigid’s Big Damn Heroes…and follow that with Peter’s My heroes.
Peter even adds a touch regarding the Royal Wedding, something about which I had no interest.
He got my attention.

Kinda makes everything else pale, doesn’t it?
gfa

Brigid was kind enough to point out I had confused Peter with Paul.  My apologies, gentlemen.

"Joe Cool", Armed

After finishing high school in 3 1/2 years (I missed a semester due to onset of my leg disability) I immediately foraged on to the nearby university.  I was one person in 40 thousand!
I lasted one year and one summer session.
This was largely because, for the first time in my life-even though I was still living at home-I had freedom and money.  I was working part-time and going to school full-time.  A dangerous combination for an immature college boy.

So, I spent much of my Freshman year, as they say,  finding myself.  You know, partying, drinking, dating (sometimes), avoiding going to class.  My personal mascot was from the Peanuts comic:  Joe Cool, hanging around the student union.  “What classes are you taking, Joe?” “Classes?!”

So, I lasted a year.  Then I was on academic probation.  It seemed attending college required classroom attendance.  Who knew?

I dropped out, and went to work full-time, mostly because my meany parents were requiring rent! (and thank God they did!)

This taught me that a high-school diploma’ed college dropout wasn’t going to get very far in this World.  So, I worked toward returning to school, and moving out.

Two years later, I returned to college (at the Junior College level) and had moved out (with artist Dave and his brother-one tale with whom I recounted earlier).

Junior College was a whole new breed of cat.
I had written a letter to the college Justice Studies department, asking specifics regarding coursework.
One (of the two) professors called me personally, and invited me in to discuss things.
There were two main Justice Studies professors.  One, a retired Tempe/Scottsdale (AZ.) police officer, political mover and shaker; the other a retired Oakland, CA. police officer, California Highway Patrolman, and Justice-of-the-Peace.
Both Mormon.
The retired AZ. cop was hysterical, irreverant and pretty knowlegable.  The CHP/JP guy was droll, dry, but also very knowledgable.  He also had a large mole on his forehead, on which one focused to keep from nodding off.
Both were fairly easy to steer off into cop war stories, if the lecture was too boring.
But, I learned alot.
I graduated with high distinction, mostly because I was motivated, and most of the boring non-major coursework I’d done at the previous school.  One was required to have 24 of 64 credit hours in the major to graduate.  I had 40, I think
Of course, I still had the problem of finding employment after graduation, in a highly competitive field, with a disability, during a recession (1975).
So, life went on, now degreed.
And, during most of the community college two-year experience I carried a firearm openly.  In the presence of many certified police officers.  And, there were no mass shootings, no bloodbaths, no cries of “OMG! He’s got a gun!”  (The droll guy even had a steel tank in his office, wherein we test-fired my gun and his for penetration comparison, into stacked telephone books!)

I’m certain college students are much safer, now, with guns being restricted, and all.

Memories of a security guard

Before I found my way to the investigation business, I spent many years as a security guard.  Many companies, many graveyard shifts, many holidays, many ‘so-and-so didn’t show-get out there!’ situations.
Good times. (sarcasm)
I took these jobs seriously.  I was there to protect the premises and property, and sometimes the people.  Many times, officially, I was unarmed (officially).  Basically a door-shaking firewatch guy.  But, I wasn’t a fool.
And, I met many interesting characters along the way.  Remember the John Candy movie, Armed and Dangerous?  I knew most of those guys, in real life.
There were the cop wanna-bes, the paranoids, the sex addicts, the gun nuts, the old men, the really old men, the students, the thieves, the ex-military, the drug users, the sleepers and the drunks.  All protecting you and your property.  Sometimes they were combinations of the listed types.
This doesn’t mean there weren’t concientious individuals who took the job seriously.  But, mostly the guards I met were in the list above. 
Some on the list were my bosses and my bosses’ bosses!
I remember working the steel mill, wherein a stray cat waltzed into their transformer, and turned the place dark.
I remember a patient at an Urgent Care facility, grabbing my gun stock (in the holster) just because he wanted to look at it.
I remember guarding Charles Revson’s aircraft (Revlon) on the tarmac at Sky Harbor.
I remember watching my bosses steal the place blind, because they were my bosses and there was no one to whom I should report.  (The owners were foreign, and there was no way to contact them, except through management).
I remember lying to an auto accident victim, after a collision right in front of the guard shack, when she asked if she looked okay, when there was a 3″ long, 1/4′ deep U-shaped gash in her forehead.
And I remember being a guard supervisor, at a posh country club.
I was at home, when I received a call one of my men had been beaned with a beer bottle, and fell into a sand-trap on the golf course.
He came into the clubhouse crying, and the club president asked him ‘what happened?’.  And he recounted the assault by member’s teen sons, and he relinquished his firearm to the club president, who then went looking for the miscreants on his own, with the guard’s revolver, without calling the police!
Good times!
Currently, I have some negative physical issues.  It’s amazing I never developed an ulcer!  Or had a stroke!
Ah, memories.

The Browning High-Power Pistol

The Browning High Power is one of my favorite guns.
Not just because it was largely designed by John Moses Browning (PBUH), but because it’s not just a firearm, it’s a mechanical work-of-art. 
I acquired my first 1911 in 1983, but had always lusted after a BHP, ever since I read about them in gun magazines, long before 1983. 
I remember going to a gun store in East Phoenix in 1974-75(?).  It was going out of business, and there were deals to be had!  Unfortunately, these deals required cash, which I did NOT have!
I remember stock 1911s going for $225.00, and BHPs for 275.00!
So, I went on with unrequited gun lust. *sigh*
Years later, in 1995, I saw one for private sale at a gun show.  With 6 spare factory 13 round  magazines.  And (of particular importance to me) an ambidextrous safety!  For once, I had money, and she went home with me, magazines and all, for $625.00!
Beautiful blue, almost perfect (a slight, 1/4″ u-shaped scratch on top of the slide, rear of the ejection port) and Pachmayr rubber stocks.  No offense to Mr. Pachmayr, but I prefer wood stocks, so I bought some factory ones and fitted then to take the ambi-safety.  Viola’!
And, to shoot her!  Mechanical precision of all elements working together, smoothly, putting the bullets where the sights aligned.  Exactly as it’s supposed to.  Something many other firearms I owned only did marginally, she did with aplomb!
Sadly, as with many others, she disappeared into the night, with the gun safe. 
My solace is none of them (or any or the credit cards or personal documents) have ever turned up.  I suspect the safe remains unopened, contents unmolested.
And the BHP has never been used by malicious hands.
That would be sacrelige.

Guffaw in AZ ‘fans’

I LOVE the idea that this blog actually has readers.  It never ceases to amaze me that anyone would look at the blog, then, come back to look at it, again.
I’m quite serious.
I like to check Blogger and Site Meter for statistics.  It’s fun to see there are readers from all over the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  China (!) WOW.  I hope no one gets into trouble viewing this blog.
And, all the U.S. military serving, domestically and abroad.  Thanks to all of you!
One of the most oft repeated locations is…Port St. Lucie, Florida!
I did a little research:  beaches, hotels, small friendly population.  I didn’t note any military facilities there.  Among the noted residents:  Megan Fox and Vanilla Ice!

(Oh, I hope it’s not Vanilla Ice!)

SO…You wanna travel OUTSIDE the U.S.?

There was a time I wanted to travel, internationally.  There were many places that sounded intriguing.
Now, not so much.  Guess I’m a bit of a xenophobe.

Through Monday proposed changes in passport regulation comments are accepted.  After that, it’s up to the bureaucrats to decide.
Below are the specifics of the proposed changes (emphasis mine):

The U.S. Department of State is proposing a new Biographical Questionnaire for some passport applicants: The proposed new Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and a variety of other information. According to the proposed form, “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”

The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form.

I find it, well, ironic, that just about anyone can enter this country by walking, or crawling under a fence, but for a U.S. Citizen to leave, lawfully, requires one’s entire personal history!

And,  just a reminder, one now needs a passport to travel to Canada or Mexico.
(the blue Form DS-5513 above links to the proposed form!)

h/t  Jennifer

Sybil Ludington

Today is the 234th Anniversary of the famous ride of Sybil Ludington, the 16 year-old daughter of Col. Henry Ludington (who served directly under General George Washington.)
She rode in a rainstorm, and on muddy roads, to alert the militia that the British were burning Danbury (Ct.) and they should muster against their advance at Ludington’s.  She rode over 40 miles (twice the distance of Paul Revere) in the middle of the night.  The 400 troops she alerted were unable to save Danbury, but did stop the British from further advancing, and they pushed them back to their boats. (1777)
Gramp (about whom I posted earlier) my maternal grandfather, married a Ludington, something of which he was most proud.

U.S. stamp issued 1975

Tiny Guns, the Talismans

My Dad carried a Colt Vest-Pocket .25 ACP pistol.  It was state-of-the art, for 1908.  Heavy, inaccurate, no real sights, in an ineffective caliber.  It had been his father’s back-up in the railroad police. 
He didn’t even carry it all the time, mostly traveling and fishing trips.  He thought of getting a Summer job one time, and went to a security guard company.  He was incensed when they wouldn’t hire him with his .25, as an armed guard!
In the interest of laziness, I, too succumbed to the appeal of the tiny gun.  I bought a Kel-Tec .32, with a hard-chromed slide.  Technology had developed in 83 years to a largely plastic frame, and about half the girth of the Vest Pocket.  And 6.6 oz. v. 13 oz.!  And a slightly larger caliber.  Drop in the pocket – done! 

A few years back, I attended a relative’s daughter’s wedding.  I brought along the trusty Kel-Tec.  It was good that I did, because two family factions, two brothers, in fact, almost came to blows!  I was asked to separate them, which I did. 
And, my first thought was “*^%$, what if someone gets more physically violent (and pulls a knife or something), and I had to pull a weapon?”
Then I remembered.  All my real weapons were home in the gun safe.  At best, I had a talisman.  And, if I had to shoot someone, they might stop behaving badly, in a few hours!  Not exactly the reason I carry in the first place.  And, not very efficient.
Now that my choices are more limited, it’s .38 or .45 for me.  If I had a small 9mm, I might be tempted.
But Jeff Cooper’s voice rings in my head:  “If you have a .25, don’t load it, if you load it, don’t carry it, if you carry it, don’t use it.  If you use it, you might hit someone and make them angry!”
Carry enough gun.

EVERY TIME: The Pinch Check/Open Crane Check

A few posts ago, I wrote of the ongoing problem of negligent discharges.  They never seem to go away.
One of the reasons for these breaches in safety is poor habit.  Laziness in gunhandling.
One of the things I teach my students (and, do religiously, myself) is checking the status of the firearm chamber.  I know it seems silly, or perhaps overly basic, but, it doesn’t hurt.
EVERY TIME I’m handed a firearm, I point it in a safe direction, and check the chamber to see if it’s loaded.
EVERY TIME.
EVERY TIME I pick up a handgun from a table, even if I just placed it there 5 seconds ago myself, I check it.
EVERY TIME.
EVERY TIME, I handle a revolver, I point it in a safe direction, finger always off the trigger-indexed along the side of the frame, and open the crane, and check and count to see how many live rounds are in the cylinder.  EVERY TIME.
EVERY TIME I handle a semi-automatic pistol, I point it in a safe direction, finger off the trigger-indexed along the side of the frame, then only, disengage the safety (as necessary) and open the slide to view the chamber’s contents. 
At no time is my off-hand in front of the muzzle.
And I check magazine load status as necessary, remembering removing the magazine doesn’t empty the chamber!
THE ONLY TIME I DON’T DO THIS is when the unhandled firearm remains on my person (e.g. in a holster or pocket) and I personally, previously checked it.
It takes just a second.  And knowledge is better than a stupid accident.

Ask a Fudd to join NRA, today!….or sometime this month!

Days of Our Trailers wrote yesterday that there’s only 4.3 million NRA members, out of an estimated 80 million gun owners.  By colloquial definition, this makes 75.7 million gun owners Fudds. (after Elmer of the same name, people who gain from the NRA’s political actions, without contributing).  That’s 5.3% carrying all the other folks.
And, while we might diminish the political clout of the anti-gun crowd, they will never go away.  They (what few there are) are true believers.
So, Kaveman’s argument is to make a non-paying, fence-sitter a member, because it’s easier than converting an anti true believer.

I agree.                                                                                                
Don’t keep enabling Fudds!

http://membership.nrahq.org/

h/t Kaveman

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

This election is not about who gets voted off the island.
It’s about who is at the tiller of this Republic’s Ship of State. - Guffaw

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The Four Rules

1. ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.

2. NEVER POINT YOUR MUZZLE AT SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET AND YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT.

4. KNOW YOUR TARGET AND WHAT'S BEYOND.

Certified EVIL!

FEAR

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Bene Gesserit, from Frank Herbert's Dune

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“F**k Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. The marketplace of ideas cannot be toned down for the insane.” - Penn Jillette

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