(a follow-up to the November 8 post I Sometimes HATE Novembers, as promised…)
So, here I was, in my insurance-paid-for-rented-condo, about a mile North of my home, while contractors rebuilt it, after the drunk driver had hit it two weeks prior. That’s what I get for buying a corner lot, off a street that zig-zags. Drunks never caught that nuance, head straight for the alley, see the power pole, and crash into my back yard.
It had happened before. Last time it was just the fence that was destroyed.
I, of course, still had to go to work, pay bills, and check the mail at the house, all while surveying the excruciatingly-slow process of rebuilding the rear of my home and replacing the fence.
Thankfully (?) I was beginning to have more health issues (joy, joy) which meant I was missing more work. Which gave me the excuse to stop by and check the mail and the progress of the reconstruction more often.
And, it had been a couple of days since I had last checked the mail, and it was my birthday(!), so I thought I’d check the mail again. Hell, there might be a birthday check from someone in the mail? :-)
I pull into the driveway. No contractors present. This always bothered me, as this process was taking forever. Of course, mine wasn’t their only project.
(This had been a little over two weeks!)
AND THE SIDE DOOR WAS STANDING OPEN ABOUT TWO INCHES!
This alarmed me, as no one was around. The door had been always locked and the extra key placed in one of those Realtor-access combination locks around the door knob. Which was now nowhere to be seen!
I exited the car and drew my 1911 pistol. (Yeah, I know. All my training (which I had trained others to do many times before) was to leave the area to a relatively safe location and call the police to respond. After all, there may have been multiple armed intruders inside burgling my home!)
BUT, this was MY HOME! And the training went out the window. Sigh.
I slowly entered the kitchen, listening intently for any activity inside, pistol at-the-ready. Then into the living room, bath and two bedrooms. This was relatively quick, as it was a 740 square-foot house.
It was obvious someone else had been inside. Someone NOT a contractor. A home computer, portable television, stereo, some faux Samurai swords and a number of other items were missing. Movers had taken many of the larger furniture items to put into storage prior to the reconstruction. But I was told they were unable to take the gun safe, as they were prohibited from storing firearms.
They had removed the Dillon XL 650 reloading press from it’s mount, preparatory to the rebuild. But had not put it into storage. (I guess it was gun-related). It was gone.
And the 800 pound, Fort Knox gun safe was missing. And this was on the floor…
Someone obviously had pried off the combination dial and locking lever to open the safe. And when that failed, THEY TOOK THE ENTIRE 800 POUND SAFE!
Credit cards, spare checks, school transcripts, cameras, my birth certificate and over fifty firearms! Gone.
First, I called the insurance company, to see if they had perhaps authorized storage of the safe and it’s contents, and had inadvertently broken the locking mechanism somehow in transit. Then, I called the mover and the police.
And was scolded by the 911 operator, as it was for emergencies only. How was fifty+ firearms possibly out on the street was not an emergency?
Ultimately, the contractor, the storage guy, my insurance man and the police arrived on the scene. I recounted my actions upon arriving multiple times for each of them. And I was livid. To keep me occupied (and busy and out of the way) the police advised me to make a list of what was in the safe, including all the firearms and serial numbers.
I knew most of their descriptions by heart, but the list (with Polaroids and serial numbers) was not around. It was probably in the materials previously packed and moved to storage.
Fortunately, I still had many of the receipts and gun boxes, which were labeled on the edge with the numbers.
And set about making the list on a legal pad.
All parties were questioned. The contractor’s employees all had cellular telephones they were required to keep with them at all times (for GPS tracking purposes). And all passed the location test.
As if someone couldn’t have left the phone at home off-hours to do a burglary? Or they told someone else? Come on! I never broadcast about the safe in my home, suddenly, after many strangers had seen it, it went missing.
After six months, the house was reconstructed, painted, re-floored (safe drag marks) cleaned (even clothes in the closet dry cleaned!) and restocked with the stored items. I had called in to stop all my credit cards the same day.
I received a check for the maximum available from my policy. (Note-to-self: Make certain all valuables are covered, and if there is a cap it covers all firearms. I was insured for a maximum of 5K on the firearms, eventually paid just over 7K total. Firearm valuation of the missing? Over 21K! in 2009 gun values)
Fortunately, I had taken my favorite 1911 and .38 snub with me to the condo!
And none of the identity items, credit cards or firearms have ever surfaced.
I’m thinking Mexico, and thank God that Fort Knox makes a quality piece of security equipment! I suspect it’s abandoned in the desert somewhere, still unopened. (Let this be a lesson – if you’ve not done so already, bolt your safe to the foundation and wall studs – even if it weighs 800 pounds!)
And among the missing are my electroless nickel Colt Gold Cup, 1969 Browning High Power, 4 AR-15s, my Ithaca Deerslayer Police Special 12 gauge, my pre-model 27 Smith & Wesson 5″, my Sig-Sauer P220 – marked made in W. Germany(!) and my 1942 Springfield Garand!!
I had to use the insurance money for other things, and never was able to replace any of the missing firearms.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
FTC – Fort Knox safes gave me nothing. I bought it at a gun show. Leave me alone!
I really didn’t want to, but am compelled.
First and foremost – My thoughts and prayers go out to the innocents who were killed; their friends and family who survive them.
Second – as my dear friend Tomi the Art Historian posted: Aux armes, citoyens!
Sadly, I fear the French will not follow her recommendation. The French (and most of Europe) have followed America’s politically-correct example, and in the name of humanitarianism have opened their borders to the armies of refugees pouring in from The Middle East.
Many of whom appear to be young men of military age, unaccompanied by wives and children.
The amazing thing is that while we are preparing to open our borders even further, we’ve only had mostly little onesie and twosie terrorist attacks. Nothing of the scale of yesterday’s attacks in France.
And I must ask: WHY?
Certainly, we have more FREEDOM than the French? Perhaps the attacks were more about geographic location and convenience than freedom?
OH! I know! The French have very restrictive gun control laws. The civilians largely do not have the means, or the rights, to respond to violence as we do here in much of The United States!
And terrorists are largely cowards, who talk big behind their ski-masks about dying to meet 72 virgins, but in real life don’t want a violent response.
They want victims, not combatants.
So, I fear France will remain largely naked against the terror threat. And the attacks will continue.
There is a lesson in this United States! Are you listening?
Don’t let the government further disarm you! Lest we become as Europe.
November 8, 2007
I had spent Saturday night with my (then) girlfriend J. (who is now my landlord – it’s complicated) and we were caravaning back to my place in central Phoenix on Sunday night, around 7 PM. At the time, we both had Sunday’s and Monday’s off.
And I was about ten minutes ahead of her, preparing to pull into my driveway, when I noticed something annoying.
The porch light I had left on was not burning.
Damn! I just bought another yellow, incandescent bug bulb. They burn out so fast.
So, I pull into the drive, key my way in the back door, and head back to my bedroom to unpack.
It’s not just the bulb that’s off. My interior wall behind my bed has fallen upon it! The wall to the rear of the house seems to have moved laterally about 12 inches – making my doorway to the back office, computer/reloading room narrower by about a foot! I look in there, and most everything is strewn about and on the floor.
Exiting and looking into the adjacent bedroom, my gun safe remains, but the wall behind it has also shifted East about a foot!
I call J., who is still in route and explain something is very wrong.
Then, there is a knock on the carport door and I answer it. It’s a neighbor, who explains about 4 AM that morning, a vehicle drove through my fence and drove into my house! As it was much noise, many neighbors came out to investigate and found the truck had continued to plow through my yard, pushing the rear wall of my home sideways about a foot. He backed out and drove away, with the police in pursuit who stopped him about a block away.
It was a drunk driver in a company vehicle. Who knew?
The neighbors figured out I was not home, and as gas seemed to be leaking called the gas company and turned off all my breakers, promising the police and gasco they would have me contact them upon my arrival. Of course, no one knew where I was. The gas company shut off the gas. The police had left a note on my door asking I call them.
Then all went back to bed. And the drunk went to jail.
All while I was ignorantly asleep at my girlfriend’s house 17 miles to the S.E.!
Sunday became a late night. Calling my insurance man, who said they would pay for a (cheap) hotel, gathering up some additional clothes, and awaiting the construction guys who would plywood all the broken windows, the rear of the house and doors to make the house more secure.
More neighbors became aware of my returning home and stopped by to see if I was alright. The Latinos across the street – who spoke no English, and I suspect were illegals – brought me over a kitten to cheer me up!
Restless sleep began something like 0130.
And I was unable to return home except to check the mail for about six months, while the insurance company rebuilt my little house, moved me to a condo and cleaned up the mess.
Sadly, I had to return the kitten.
But wait, there’s more…
(look for the sequel in about two weeks!) :-)
(I will continue to post daily, this is just building suspense…)
Tom Lindsay, of Fill Yer Hands, was kind enough to share with us his observations:
Tom McHale posted a nice article a couple of weeks ago, about 10 Things You Learn By Carrying a Gun Every Day.
This got me to thinking about the lessons I’ve learned, and I would like to share a few.
I’ve been carrying a gun almost everywhere for about the last 14 years or so, ever since we moved to Georgia. Before that I carried from time to time, mostly for travel, but not to work, and not during most social events. My reasons why I didn’t carry are probably the good subject of another post, for another day.
But now, carrying almost all the time, I’ve come to learn some things. I agree with Tom McHale’s first four points, and I have experimented with a few belts and holsters, to find the ones that work best for me.
Having said that, here are some observations and Lessons Learned:
Condition Yellow takes concentration, but that’s not a bad thing. Once you get used to it, it gets a little easier.
But it still takes concentration. A lapse in that – slipping into Condition White – may be the last thing I experience in this life.
It takes thought and concentration in other areas, too. Like planning ahead for bathroom breaks. You have to have a plan.
More people carry than you think. I routinely look for telltales when others are carrying, as much out of curiosity as to know who would be on my side if the balloon went up.
It’s no big deal to my wife and kids. Once they got used to me carrying, and asking for the seat facing the door, etc., it became almost second nature.
Sometimes my wardrobe is dictated by my choice to carry. But that isn’t as big a deal as I thought it would be. Of course, gone are sweat pants in public. At my age, that’s not such a bad idea, though. As it turns out, I have become a Hawaiian shirt aficionado in warmer months, and a fleece vest guy in the cooler months.
At least in Georgia, Gun Free Zones are pretty much worthless to me. I can discuss this in another post, but I generally ignore the signs, since, for the most part, they have no legal force in Georgia. But exceptions are exceptions (like the Post Office), and those I do honor. For the rest of you (and this means you, Taco Mac) I don’t pay any attention. Trust me, if I’m there when something goes down, you won’t care that I’m violating your sign.
Despite what movies and some online Gun Heroes want you to think, if the balloon goes up, I am there to protect me and my family. Unless there is a compelling reason, that means I’m not chasing any bad guys or saving anyone but us. Sorry.
More to come, I am sure . . .
I’ve been carrying a little longer than Mr. Lindsay, but generally do not disagree. Except, I’ve made the decision to A.C.E. ALWAYS CARRY EVERYWHERE. Of course, that means everywhere possible.
In Arizona, businesses may post signage to discourage customers and visitors from carrying into their establishments. Barring a physical confrontation, the most that could happen if observed violating the law would be being asked to leave (to remove the weapon from the establishment or just leave) lest they get charged with trespassing.
Seriously, what business owner in their right mind would approach a customer violating the law by being armed and ask them to leave? I suspect most would either ignore it (if the customer appeared docile) or just call the cops.
Me? I’ve never been observed or asked. That I’ve been aware of.
I always think of Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp, a chiropractor (eventually a Texas State Representative) who obeyed Texas law and left her gun locked in her car. Then accompanied her parents into Furr’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. Her parents and 22 others were subsequently murdered, in part because Dr. Hupp was unable to respond. Because she voluntarily obeyed the disarmament sign.
And when criminals take it upon themselves to attack the public, or schoolchildren (in gun-free zones), what is the prescribed course of action?
Call people with guns to respond to alleviate the situation.
So, why not just carry?
(Knowing that most food stamp benefit recipients are ordinary folk just trying to eke out an life, and that an individual example is not prima facie evidence, I present to you this story – with a kicker! – Guffaw)
BREAKING: Media Leaves Out Immigrant Status Of $3.6M Food Stamp Fraudster
A Ghanaian immigrant to the U.S. pled guilty to one of the largest food stamp frauds ever but the media covered up her immigrant status, describing her only as a “Worcester woman.”
Vida Ofori Causey cheated the SNAP program out of millions between 2000 to 2014, according to documents filed with the Justice Department. Here‘s how the Worcester local press described how she committed the fraud.
From April 2010 to October 2014, Ms. Causey conspired with others to commit SNAP fraud by purchasing SNAP benefits rather than exchanging them for food. Ms. Causey purchased the benefits at a discounted value of approximately 50 cents for every SNAP dollar. That resulted in Ms. Causey having the federal government electronically deposit into a bank account she controlled the full face value of the SNAP benefits.
The government said Ms. Causey and her co-conspirators accepted Electronic Benefit Cards from SNAP recipients wishing to exchange them for cash. They subsequently passed those EBT cards through a point-of-sale terminal for the full value of the SNAP benefits.
Though Causey’s massive fraud was noted none of the media reports mentioned her immigrant status.
She was more than forthcoming about it in an interview in 2007 that described her as a Ghananian native.
She attended Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana from 1991-1994, according to her LinkedIn page. She enrolled in Quinsigamond Community College between 2003-2005 in Worcester where she studied electronics.
In 2011 her community college bragged about her and called her a “success story.”
Yep, the media (sorry, Biff!) wanted to present us with the whole story – but didn’t.
h/t Charles C. Johnson, GotNews, The Feral Irishman