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Dennis Farina RIP

dennis_farina_1lrgDennis Farina, veteran TV and movie actor, and former Chicago cop, passed away this morning in Scottsdale, AZ., from a blood clot in his lung.  He was 69.

I loved the personas this man brought to the screen.  One of my all-time-favorite TV shows is Michael Mann’s Crime Story, wherein Farina played incorruptible cop  Lt. Michael Torello in 1960s Chicago.  He carried a 1911 Colt with the grip safety held down by a stack of rubber bands!

He had homes in Arizona, and his home town, and I missed meeting him once, by that much.  One of my regular haunts used to be a gun store in central Phoenix.  I also worked there part time.  One day I sauntered in, and the crew advised me Dennis Farina and a pal had just been in the store!  I was 10 minutes late!

Fortunately, I’ve an autographed photo, somewhere.  Sadly, it’s not signed to me.

You’ll be missed, sir.  Time to break out the Crime Story DVDs – which I’ve largely memorized.

“Scratch A German – You Find Precision…

…Scratch A Russian – You Find A Tartar.”  Old German Proverb

“Scratch CIVILIZATION – You find tribalism and barbarism!” – Guffaw

‘Bash mobs’ sweep through Southern California

By Ari Bloomekatz
Organized “bash mob” crime rampages of roving groups attacking innocent people and businesses have been striking cities around the United States. Law enforcement agencies in Southern California have reported few similar problems — until now.

In the last several days, there have been several reports of such group crime waves in South L.A., Hollywood, San Bernardino and Victorville. Long Beach police are bracing for another one Friday.

These so-called bash mobs of “flash mob” crime waves are organized through social media and have been a problem in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington. In April, 28 Chicago youths were arrested on suspicion of attacking pedestrians along the city’s famed Magnificent Mile. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation in May enacting stiffer penalties for people who text or use social media to organize mob attacks.

Long Beach police warned in a statement that participants could face severe penalties.

“The mere participation in such an event can result in felony charges including conspiracy, and are punishable by imprisonment in the state prison,” according to the statement.  (taken in part from the Los Angeles Times, July 19, 2013)

What are we as society to do?  Families?  Individuals?  How do we prepare for the social chaos that seems to be increasing daily?

How many guns – magazines – rounds does one need to carry in this environment?  Can we depend on the government to protect us?  What about real militias, not just these wanna-be bands of tacticool, nylon-clad mall rent-a-cops?

I’ve no answers today, only questions.

h/t Dutchman6

Road Trip

women and guns

No, not my roommate

I like women.  I like guns.  I’m funny that way.

I especially like it when women and guns get together.  Not much is better for me than to see a woman take control of her own personal security by owning a firearm, training with it, and carrying it!

Ah, there’s the rub.  Literally.

Most of my female shooting students have had difficulty over the years with the whole male-dominated gun culture.  And as a result, they either don’t carry or cannot find a comfortable way to carry which meets their needs.

Fortunately, just like firearms themselves evolving, the carry equipment industry has evolved, too.

My roommate has a number of .45s, mostly 1911s and mostly compact (for carry).  But what to do?  Like most women, she is structured differently. 🙂  And, she rarely wears pant belts, and it’s usually too hot here for a shoulder rig.

Then she ran across The Well-Armed Woman based on advice from you blog readers.  And what a find!

Numerous products for female carry.  Below the chest area, waistband (with and without belt), belly bands, and many other choices.  As they are HQ in North Scottsdale, we had to take a road trip.  And she spent money.  Got three concealment holsters of different varieties, and another (sigh) handbag – this one by Gun Tote’n Mamas!

There may be a little banging of the feminist drum, in that these businesses are for women, by women.  But Imarvin don’t care if the holsters and handbags are designed by Martians, as long as they do the job!

This far, my roomie loves her new stuff.  I sense another road trip in our future.

Not long after Guffaw was born…

…in Phoenix Arizona  (okay, Avondale)…


(click to embiggen)

(Actually, I was born 3000 miles away, but this was happening in the Phoenix area shortly thereafter – Guffaw)

I found this photo in Shorpy’s, a terrific place for photos of history.  The clothes, the uniform, the staghorn stocks on the revolver.  The terrific street rod.  Frozen in time.  American Graffiti live!

The photo caption:

Phoenix in 1953. “Photographs show teenagers, mostly male, participating in the Maricopa County, Arizona, programs for teenage delinquent drivers. Includes boys working at Juvenile Farm; teens attending Attitude School; policeman with boys and their hot rods; teens driving on Phoenix streets.” Photo by Earl Theisen for the Look magazine assignment “How to Tame Teenage Drivers.”

Kenny’s Drugs, 1926 Westward Blvd, Avondale, AZ.  I’ve no idea what the street name is today.  Attitude School.  Probably now prohibited by the ACLU. Looks like the wool Arizona Highway Patrol uniform – predecessor to the DPS.  Not in Summer – otherwise too hot to lean on the car.

The only thing missing was the Lucky Strike pack rolled up in a sleeve!

The Sign of The Cross

crossNO, this isn’t a critique of old movies, or of the Catholic Church.

It’s a comment on unsafe pistol presentation.

First we had TV and the movies borrowing an Israeli technique of holding the pistol sideways (and adopted by gangstas and the great unwashed, nationwide), which is finally losing it’s appeal – now, everyone in Hollywood seems to be using the cavalry presentation, with and without holsters (!)

When done properly, it can be done in relative safety.  But it’s slow, and, at least on TV is rarely done correctly.


And, it doesn’t help when well-known holster manufacturers reinforce poor technique, in an effort to push more leather.


The point being, unless one draws correctly, one crosses oneself with the muzzle.  And class, we all know that violates which Rule?  (if not, see the right sidebar).

AND, with the advent of smaller and shorter pistols in better calibers, even using a standard strong-side presentation into Weaver or Isosceles could have the student preparing to shoot themselves in the weak hand, making it even weaker.

DON’T cross yourself!  Remember the Four Rules.

First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Above is the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.  It is alleged to protect ‘freedom of speech’ and other freedoms.

I recently posted about the 19 hotshot firefighters who lost their lives fighting a fire in Northern Arizona.  A tragic, horrible loss to the families, the community and the profession.

Their funerals were last week.

The Westboro Baptist Church reported they planned to protest the funeral processions.  They seem to show up at every public tragedy, pleading their case that God is killing us because as a Nation we don’t ban same-sex marriage.

One of my regular readers posted a comment hoping they get their asses kicked.

While I find their interpretation of the Bible to be vile and repugnant, there are larger questions.

How is a congregation of reportedly 50 people able to continually travel the Nation, spreading their intolerance  and hate?  Where is their funding coming from?

And there is another question.  Do the folks who wish these folks ill have the same feelings about the Occupy Wall Street protestors?  You know, the ones who caused thousands of dollars damage in dozens of cities and defecated on police patrol cars?  And were rapists and drug abusers?  How about the Tea Party?

Or the folks peacefully protesting the Zimmerman verdict?  (As for the violent ones, there are laws…)

The point of this post is not to single out the Westboro folks, or my one commenter.  It’s to make a point.

The First Amendment, like the other nine, was designed not just to reaffirm our rights as individual citizens with whom we agree.  It’s to reaffirm the rights of the vile, the putrid, the disgusting – people we wouldn’t let into our town if we had the choice.

The putrid have a right to their opinion, as long as they don’t violate any laws in so expressing it.  Wishing them violence is akin to Spike Lee wishing Charlton Heston was shot with a .44 Special revolver, like Son of Sam used.  Mr. Lee did just that.  He had an opinion.

Opinions are like @$$holes.  Everyone has one.  I would smile if the Westboro folks were convinced violently to leave the funeral processions.  Or if something nasty happened to Spike Lee.

But that wouldn’t be right, either the violence or my smile.

Variation On A Theme

My roommate sprung for lunch, yesterday.  We went to SMASHBURGER; first time visitors.  It was kinda like an upscale McDonalds.  Clean, organized, comfortable.  Greasy/Juicy burgers in a multitude of varieties, with a variety of sides, including some healthier choices.

They also had beer (!) and Haagen Dazs milkshakes!  No, those weren’t the healthier choices.

Arizona CCW Law says one may carry into a place that serves alcohol, if it’s predominantly a food emporium and one doesn’t drink whilst carrying.  Unless there is the dreaded ‘No Guns/Weapons Allowed’ sign posted. Open Carry has been legal in Arizona since she was a territory!  (Statehood – 1912, last of the 48!)

Smashburger had this sign, which I’d not seen before:


I did find this amusing, as this is a fairly liberal college town, and the sign didn’t conform to the CCW statute guidelines.  Of course, I would have prefered no sign at all, but hey, it’s their business.

We anticipate a return visit sometime, but not necessarily soon.  It’s no Thirsty Lion!

(FTC – neither Smashburger nor Thirsty Lion gave me anything.  Move along – nothing to see here.)

“Watch Your Kids Around Water!”

“Watch Your Kids Around Water!”

In the Valley of the Sun Metro Area (Phoenix and it’s environs) you see and hear this ALL THE TIME.  Why?  Because Phoenix has the most swimming pools per capita of any American city!  52.63%  of homes have an outdoor swimming pool in a recent study.

But, we still have children drowning!  Even with different cities mandating self-closing gates and unclimbable fencing.

The problem, not unlike the silly, unenforceable gun safety measures, is the adults.

This is what you hear, time-and-time again: ” I just turned around for a minute.  I fell asleep while watching the baby. Last I saw him, he was in his bed.”

And herein lies the paradox.  When I was growing up, we didn’t have our parents watching us every minute.  We were told, don’t play past this street, make certain you are home at a certain time, don’t play with (the local juvenile delinquent).  And we obeyed the rules (generally).

As for the younger children, we all watched out for them, even without being asked.  And, if there were no older children, the parents did the watching.  Constantly.

Of course, this is no guarantee of safety.  This is not a NERF World.  Stuff happens.

One doesn’t have to have a swimming pool.  One may drown in a mop bucket.  A child can drown in as little as 7mm of water!

Watch your kids around water.  Or reap the consequences.

…. drowning is the leading cause of death in Arizona
among children 1‐4 years of age. Arizona’s second leading cause in this age group is death from motor vehicle traffic.

Dirty Magazines

No, not those dirty magazines!

Pistol and rifle magazines.mags

A significant percentage of firearms functioning failures are do to magazine-related issues.  Specifically, either broken (bent) or dirty magazines!

You probably know how to disassemble (or at least field-strip) your firearm, but do you know how to clean your magazines?

Some cannot be disassembled, some can, but not with ease and others are relatively easy.

Learn and lubricate (as appropriate for your specific environment) and live well!

When’s the last time you inspected and cleaned YOURS?

C2 Tactical

No one I know...

No one I know…

I got to go to a new indoor shooting range yesterday!  Huzzah!

The range is called C2 Tactical (seriously?) and isn’t far from my house.  It’s affiliated with the Caswell Shooting Range in neighboring Mesa Arizona.

First impressions:  It was busy, but, after all it was a Saturday.  Lots of cool stuff in the store:  handguns, rifles, knives, suppressors (!)  They even rent ARs with a can attached, and a Thompson Submachine Gun!  No, I didn’t ask the prices.  Well staffed, mostly young, pretty people.  Armed.  The rangemasters (yes, that’s plural) in the handgun range (there’s also a rifle range) were attentive, friendly and polite.  There wasn’t much of a space on which to place multiple pistols, revolvers and ammunition, though.  The shooting bench was pretty spartan (see photo above).  On the good side, the electronic control to move the targets to-and-fro was pretty high-tech.  Punch in the distance, hit enter, and off she flies!  It’s programmable, somehow. (I’m guessing for advancing targets during training or competition).  They make a big deal on promoting ‘the most advanced ventilation system available’, as well as their air conditioning.  Unfortunately with the onset of the Arizona monsoon, the humidity’s up and the range still resembled a sauna, albeit a cooler one.  My roommate, who already has breathing issues, asked to leave early; the environment made it difficult for her to breathe.

We did enjoy the short time spent there, overall.  The store seems well-stocked, including women’s purses from Galco and Gun Totin’ Mamas.

We will return, during the week, soon (?), when it’s less crowded and hopefully less humid.

(FTC – C2 Tactical, Caswell, Thompson, Galco and Gun Totin’ Mamas give me nothing.  Go find your own range!)

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…