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Other Night(s) as a P.I.

(Believe me, not nearly as exciting as it sounds!)

People not in ‘the business’ often get their ideas of private investigation from movies and television.

“I’m a P.I.”

“OH! Like MAGNUM!”

Oft times, it’s more like “Oh, like a bean counter-security guard!”

Case in point.  I’m working out of a P.I. agency cum polygraph business.  The owner is a retired Phoenix Police detective.  My boss is Bob Hall (later of gun store fame).  And Bob and I have done surveillance, security, security surveys, records checks, photography, interviews, taken statements, served legal papers, located missing persons, found hidden assets – all manner of private investigation related duties.

Then there was the tank farm.

Out on the South Central part of West Phoenix lies a tank farm.  (51st Ave/Van Buren) Wherein pipelines of gasoline and related products arrive to the Valley for distribution to local gas stations.

chevron_tank_farm_water_quality_201311_10_web-1

Once a rural edge of town, it’s now more centrally located.

Fortunately for us, whose office is just by the State Police offices at 23rd Av. and Grand. (in 1986).

It seems a rural gasoline hauler has been filling up at the tank farm, and their numbers don’t match with the fuel taken.  Hmmm.

SO, we as P.I.’s (keep thinking Magnum) get to monitor all fill-ups of these fuel trucks at the farm, compare the receipts with the pump readings, and note any discrepancies!  Whenever these guy arrive to fill up.  4 PM, Midnight, 4 AM.  Whenever.  They call when they are about 45 minutes out…

And I think they had eight trucks.

Which kept three or four private investigators busy…

Woo-Hoo!

Over a period of like two months.  Any day or night.

True, for the company, there was mileage + hourly for multiple investigators.

But, for the investigators, it was insanely boring, and tiresome.  And much comp time was taken for driving from home to the tank farm, watching and monitoring some yahoo fill his tanker truck for 20 minutes, and driving home.

Three hours? Starting @ 0200.

Well, we were young and foolish.  And hungry for money.

I’m not young, anymore.

Another Night As A Security Guard

I think I was first employed as a private security guard in 1972.  Last, in 1987.  For about six different companies over the years.  Interspersed with being a process server, private investigator, security consultant and numerous other jobs.

Consequently, sometimes my memories conjoin, and sometimes fade.  Sometimes, they make me cry (like restricting access to the urgent care facility to allow access for a seriously ill cancer patient – because the cancer made them stink!), and other times they make me chuckle.

Why haven’t I posted about this funny ever before?  I’d forgotten about it.  A recent course of Nyquil™ helped me to remember!  😛

Well, anyway…

I was a graveyard shift guard for an urgent care facility three days.  And substitute guard supervisor for two.  Often filling in for sick, ill, and lazy guards.  And those who just decided to quit at the last minute.

(If I couldn’t bribe someone else to fill in…)

One of the offices for the urgent care was adjacent to a popular stage theater/movie house.  And sometimes, the audience parking would bleed over into our lot.  Our job, as security, was to make certain they simply didn’t restrict patient parking.

Usually no issue or biggie.

But this was Phoenix’s Sombrero Playhouse!  Where much of central Phoenix ‘old’ money would go to watch plays, and sometimes first-run films.  Then they’d go up 7th Avenue to The Islands for a nice dinner out.

sombrero

Generally nice, older folks who didn’t want to be annoyed.  And had money to enforce that.

And, I was a conservative, somewhat sheltered young lad.  Just trying to do my job.

As a last minute aside, I was told there was a new movie at the Sombrero.  And some of the patrons ‘dressed in costume and makeup’ to see the film.  I was not to express alarm at their ‘getup’.

O-kaay.

I’d not heard of the film.  It was THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW!

So, a guy pulls in and asks me if it’s okay to park in the clinic lot.  I apologize and say no.  The first of many times that evening to people who looked (somewhat) like this:

rocky

I didn’t express alarm, but did have to stifle laughter!

And my boundaries were again widened.  Not because I wanted them to be, necessarily.

And Rocky Horror became an underground hit.  And took over ‘Midnight Movies’ at my nearby theater, The Valley Art.  The used to run indy films, then it became nothing but Rocky Horror every Friday and Saturday midnight!

Times were a changin’…

 

But Wait! There’s MORE!

(Oft heard tag line on late-night TV infomercials)

And, apparently, my Life!  🙂

Dave the Genius Mechanic was in town last night, and collected me for our all-less-often dinner out together at Red Devil.

We get together a few times a year to trade stories about the progression (regression) in our lives, friends, relatives, etc.  His work, not mine. (as I am on disability).  Sometimes we touch on taboo topics like politics, too.

With his busy interstate work/home schedule, and his many other interests (like boat building), his shooting has taken a back burner.  As far as I know, he’s not shot or purchased a firearm in some time.

Dave was kind enough to loan me a gun when I was ‘gun poor‘ in the distant past.  I’d sold all my handguns, and was in need of one for a security guard job.  I carried her for a number of years, and even shot her competitively.

Eventually, she was returned to him, no worse for wear.  (Well, hardly!)

SO, Dave’s in town, and going through his stuff, and finds this gun.  It occurs to him that he’s shot and carried her much less than yours truly.  And he really doesn’t have a use for her…

PLUS, he read my recent post regarding my roommate’s gift to me of one of her firearms.  And for him, that cinched it!

As he dropped me off after dinner, Dave announced “I have something for you.” (in that understated, low-key Midwest style of his).  And he reached into his trunk and hands me THIS!

ruger_security_six_357

not exactly as pictured

A revolver I carried and shot a lot, but never owned!  But, now I do.  (Dave mentioned something about Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday when he gave her to me.)

She needs improved stocks, and maybe a little gunsmithing.  But, she’s mine.

In 2009, I had over 50 firearms.  Then came the vault burglary.  Until Thanksgiving, I had two firearms.  Now I have FOUR.

Sure, I still rent a room, have a beater car, etc.  But my firearm inventory has doubled!

And, more importantly, I have friends!

Thank you, Dave!

(for the uninitiated, she’s a 1972 Ruger Security Six – old frame)

 

 

Attitude? Belief? Mindset?

One of my regular readers (and a dear friend) teaches at the college level.  Obviously, when school shootings, such as recently occurred in Oregon happen, it gets her attention.

She wrote on her blog regarding the grief and the aftermath.  And of her decision to NEVER carry a gun into her classroom, lest she be forced to assess her students as potential threats.  In her words, I’m not going to go there.

AND THAT IS HER CHOICE!  Period.

As a part-time, professional firearms instructor, I may disagree with that choice.  But it IS her choice.

I’ve been carrying, possessing, having-nearby, wearing both concealed and/or openly, a sidearm most of my adult life.  Doing so is part of who I am and what I do.  I did so openly even when attending community college, before it was ‘restricted’ by law.

And I have already made the decision to take action, should that become necessary.  Jeff Cooper called this having a mindset.

Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.  –  Major General James Mattis (USMC – Retired)

Mattis reportedly said this to his Marines as one of his rules to live by while they were stationed in Iraq.

And that’s different from participating or teaching in a college in the United States.

The question is how different?

Certainly, one should be in Condition Yellow in a public place.  Generally aware.

But how one responds to a threat is a personal choice!

I think a wiser choice would be to be armed.  However, some folks just aren’t built that way.  And unless they radically change their mindset, it’s best they choose NOT to be armed.

Hopefully, it will always be a choice…

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Yet another friend lives in a gated community, for folks 55 and over (a mobile home park).  They have drive-in gate ‘security’, but they are not trained, nor armed.  Usually their function is to direct you to a person’s residence.  And the walls around the park are four feet, or less.  The closest to ‘security’ are the speed bumps.

And he advised me the other day that he NEVER LOCKS HIS HOME!

Again, his choice.

I suspect he’s not particularly aware…

Some folks just aren’t built that way.

I pray all my friends are safe, and take reasonable measures to ensure that security – whatever their choices.

Sigh.

Tam Has The Last Word

(No snark, just fact!)

Once again…

…an otherwise undistinguished loser demonstrates the easiest way in America to get your own Wikipedia page and your name on the president’s lips.

And they’re all over it on the TV, and this dillweed’s actions are the topic of everyone’s conversations, and they’re interviewing every student who can claim they caught a glimpse of him and all I can keep yelling at the television screen is “Why didn’t you shoot him?

Seriously, this guy allegedly has time to huddle people together and hold dialogues on their religion? Sounds like there was ample time for any even moderately competent shooter to smoke check his ass. But no. We’re yet again going to be bombarded with discussions about taking guns away from the wrong people instead of arming the right ones. There weren’t four too many guns in that classroom, there was one too few.  (View From The Porch)

My understanding is even campus security only had some kind of Mace.  Because this was yet another ‘victim disarmament zone.’! 
How do we react under such attacks?  WE CALL FOR GUYS WITH GUNS TO END THE PROBLEM.
Just as with military installations, we need to allow citizens present to possess arms.  Then it would be less likely they would have to call government agents to end the problem.
And there would be fewer victims.

“I’m Shocked! SHOCKED!” (Part whatever…)

Say Uncle brings us this titillating bit of ‘news’…

You should instead hire men who have guns.

In height of hypocrisy, Bloomberg wants to retain his security detail and is offering them money to leave the NYPD and come stay with him. This is a man who doesn’t think you should own guns.

Once again, paging Captain Renault…

cap renault

“I’m shocked! Shocked!”

Message Received

So…

Ol’ Guffaw has his routines.  Routines are comforting, because they provide order and structure in an otherwise disorderly world.  I like my routines.

I’ve been ‘carrying a gun’ now, on-and-off since 1974.  Thirty nine years.  That’s a long time.  And since Arizona has had CCW laws in place, almost daily, unless I was severely restricted (like at my former workplace).  I carried.  Of course, I did carry to-and-from the workplace.  Don’t tell anyone.

It’s part of my routine.  Shower, dress; put wallet in one pocket, keys, cellular telephone, speed strip and folding knife in another, the snub in her holster in another. (Unless I’m carrying the 1911 IWB).  I’ve taken to carrying the snub more.  Laziness, I guess.  It’s my routine.

Unless I’m distracted.  My roomie had to work late, so, I was on my own for din-din, a rare occurrence.  Not my normal routine.  A distraction.  Went to Ted’s, a Buffalo NY origin hot dog place (charcoal-grilled, don’t ya know!).  Then to an event at a nearby public library (I know, I’m wild and crazy!)

Upon arriving at Ted’s, I did the usual self-frisk, checking to have keys before locking the car, wallet, knife, and sidearm.  (This is known in my circle as ‘spectacles, testicles, wallet, watch’, if you know the joke.)

And I had no firearm!  For some reason, I simply didn’t gear up before leaving home!  I had my wallet, keys, cell, speedloader and folder.  No gun.

I thought, “Oh, well, I have my knife” (like I’m a freakin’ ninja!) and had dinner @ Ted’s, then went to the library thing.  The usual door was locked, with a sign reading, “Must Enter By Front Door”.  So, I had to walk all the way around to the front, a semi-serious distance for a disabled guy like me.

And I asked at the information desk.  Seems they are now locking secondary entrances after 1830, due to increased crime in and around the facility!  WTF?  Fortunately, nothing happened.bugs-bunny-pointing-copy1  (There was a security guard who looked up from her smart phone long enough to see I was in the building, then went back to more important stuff.)

And tonight’s the night I was the opposite of vigilant!  What a maroon I am!

Message received. 

It’s gonna be ‘spectacles, testicles, wallet, watch’, with more emphasis on the watch, in the future!

(FTC – Ted’s gave me nothing – I paid for good food, myself.  WB didn’t either.  You’re maroons, too!)

“What a SAP she had!”

(I don’t know if it’s my age, or what, but I keep channeling Firesign Theatre references – my apologies)

A NC Gun Blog recently posted a post entitled The sap is a fun and interesting defensive tool.  This got me to thinking.  When I was in private security, I used to carry both a nightstick AND a sap.  And I had two saps, one of woven leather straps wound around a cylindrical spring (with a bulbous lead end); the other flat steel – beavertail shaped – with a lead-weighted tip, as well.  It was fortunate early on my partner Ron showed me all about knees and collarbones, otherwise I might have inadvertently killed someone!

In my early days of private security, sometimes, we were not allowed to carry firearms.  So we carried these assorted striking implements.  (This doesn’t mean that we also didn’t have firearms – shhhh!).  I remember Ron responding to drunken altercations in the exclusive country club where we worked.  He’d pop open his Samsonite briefcase and take a half-second to decide which sap was the best, then head out.  It was almost like Arnold Palmer deciding which iron to use.

As one of the other blogs said, I never considered carrying a sap as a primary tool before.  But where the prohibition is against firearms and/or knives, this might work (?)

Darwin Award Candidate?

Charles Darwin

Bells A Ringing reminisces about teen-aged pranksters, and possible consequences.

And reminded me of a similar incident.

When Bob P. and I were guard supervisors (he a Captain, I his Lieutenant – woo hoo! /sarcasm) we would patrol to each of the contract guard posts and check to determine if the guard assigned was awake, alert, doing his/her job, or even there.  Sometimes, they weren’t!

One late afternoon, we went to a cafeteria-style restaurant, largely for Bob to flirt with the cashier.  This was in our area, but not a guard post.  Just a place to stop and get a bite or a soda.  And Bob liked to talk to the girls.  I was happily married, so I didn’t care.

The cashier animatedly and laughingly told us that about five minutes earlier, a masked individual had approached her and stuck a revolver in her face, and demanded money!  She laughed, because after the initial shock, she recognized the voice as that of her boyfriend!  And it was Halloween.

Good thing we weren’t early.  Bob and I would have walked in and simply shot him.

Sounds like a Darwin Award candidate to me!

h/t kx59, Southernbell

Warm Bodies

Back in the early 80’s, I was working as a security guard supervisor for a small, mid-West security company.  They had a satellite office in Phoenix, and a few security guard contracts.
As a supervisor, my job was to maintain payroll, staffing and scheduling – which meant if someone failed to show up to a guard site, if I couldn’t blackmail cajole bribe sweetly convince an off-duty guard to fill the void, then it was up to me to do it.
Many double shifts were worked, and many guards convinced to take an extra shift, because they were offered 10 cents more an hour for that shift.  Sometimes a nickel more.  Seriously.
It was the height of the recession, and finding warm bodies was often difficult.  Most security work was not rocket surgery, however.
We used to joke about trolling The Deuce for warm bodies to put guard suits on to fill the vacancies.
If you ever saw the movie Armed and Dangerous, all those characters really exist.  They worked for me.
One of my warm bodies I had worked with a few years earlier at the Legend City amusement park.  His name was Nick Teslevich and he was an old Ukrainian guy.  He had a very heavy accent, and the joke was Nick spoke 12 languages, unfortunately, none of them was English.  He didn’t have a car, so, if you wanted him to fill a spot, you had to go get him and take him to the guard post.
Another was, for lack of better description, a biker chick.  Muscles, tattoos, the whole bit.
Because she wore clogs and carried a machete (!) she was only assigned to construction sites.  At night.  Low public visability.
I certainly didn’t want to mess with her.  (Sorry, Dave, I cannot remember her name!).
One of her charms was a small cadre of friends with whom she ran.  Many would sometimes accompany her to the office to pickup her paycheck.
One was a kinda scruffy dude, skinny, dirty, uninteresting.  The rumor was he was a poor little rich boy who had been cut off from the family fortune and was slumming with the biker chick and her machete.
Later he cleaned up his act, put some weight back on and got back in the family’s good graces. He was quite an accomplished musician, and had previously done much work in Hollywood.  He also sang as part of “The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen Chorus” on Frank Zappa‘s triple album Joe’s Garage (1979)
Eventually, he owned and managed the Wrigley Mansion (and the Wrigley Mansion Club) in Phoenix.
His name was ‘Geordie Hormel’, heir to the meat-packing family fortune. He passed away in 2006.
Not everyone was just a warm body.  I never hired him, though.

Geordie Hormel

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…