Monday, December 31, 2012

Yep, I’m That Guy…

    I am not your average “Gun Rights” kind of guy, first of all hunting is not my cup of tea.  Not because I have anything against hunting, I just don’t have the patience for it.  I have considered taking up rabbit and squirrel hunting, I’m starting to get over-run by both and I like them fried (depending on the economy it may be an option to supplement the family budget).   No, I’m not a “Gun Rights” kind of guy, I view weapon ownership as a duty. 

    Much like military service not everyone is capable of meeting the requirements, but that being said many are capable of fulfilling this duty (or in today-speak doing their “Fair Share”). I own 5 firearms each was purchased for a specific purpose and hunting was never a consideration.

    My first consideration was the availability of ammunition, its diversity, the expense and carry/storage ability.  I settled on two types .22 cal long rifle and 12 gauge shotgun shell.  Both are available in any store that sells ammunition (around here I could pick up a box of either at the local quick stop gas station).  I have even found boxes of both in abandoned barns, seen them pushed to the back of tool box drawers, even trunks or glove compartments of junked cars in salvage yards.

     The first rifle is a scoped bolt action Remington 514 .22 cal that’s dialed in for 90-110 yards.  Using a hyper velocity round I can slap a basketball around 8 out of 10 shots.  It requires focus and a stable firing position but it’s a good distance deterrent. (Note: It could have an effective range of 140+ yards but I haven’t kept a close enough pattern for my liking beyond 110 yds. HV rounds can have stability issues due to supersonic transition).

    Second is a tube fed 10 shot semi-automatic Marlin 60 also scoped, dialed in for 40-60 yards with a golf ball sized pattern using HV rounds or a Softball sized pattern using hollow point rounds.  It gives a bit more mobility and rounds down range at a faster pace with a fair amount of distance separating you from an aggressor.

    The last .22 cal rifle is a Mossberg T715 (The same one from the story Bits of Plastic) semi-automatic 10-25 round detachable clip fed. Very lite and maneuverable.  I bought it simply for the intimidation factor, like I said in “Bits of Plastic” some people are brainwashed into thinking a scary looking gun is more dangerous…  I’ll work with that and use it to my advantage.  All in all it turned out to be an accurate little rifle set up with a red dot scope it holds a golf ball size pattern using hollow point rounds at 40 yards and closer.  The T715 allows exceptional mobility and a greater number of rounds between reloads plus reloading is quick, makes for a nice close vicinity weapon.

     Along with the .22 cal. rifles I have a Smith & Wesson 22A-1 semi-automatic sidearm for close quarter confrontation, 10 round clip fed.  Center Mass, Nuff Said…

    That’s 4 weapons with interchangeable ammunition but each with a specific purpose.  Some folks are going too balk at the .22 caliber round saying it lacks stopping power.  I tend to disagree at least when talking two to three hallow points on target but I accept that a larger chunk of lead may be nice at times.  That’s why I also have a Remington 870 Wing Master 12 gauge shot gun, 30” barrel, full choke and accepts 3” magnum shells.  Using a 1oz. deer slug, .000 or .00 buckshot it can cause significant damage at 40 yards and it’s absolutely destructive at 20 yards or closer.

    After reading the above your probably thinking “What a gun nut” but actually I only take the firearms out every three to four months, running a few rounds down each to make sure everything is operating properly, remind myself to use good shooting discipline, proper stance and breathing (I learned to shoot in the military and qualified Small Arms Expert Marksman).  After I’m satisfied with my performance, I breakdown each weapon, clean, oil, reassemble and put them away for another three to four months (its kind of a chore).

    So why have the guns?  It starts with a quote (misattributed to) WWII Japanese Admiral Yamamoto; “You can not invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass” I AM THAT RIFLE!  Then looking at tyrants through the modern era the first step in their quest for ultimate domination of the masses was to disarm them.  I AM THE ARMED MASSES!   So when foes or tyrants have cause to hesitate for the resistance they will face… Yep, I’M THAT GUY!

I wouldn’t turn my back on an AR15…
It’s Just Not in My Budget.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

High Score Gamer

    In the aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on queue the anti-gun talking heads trip all over themselves calling for stricter gun laws and as usual they failed to think the tragedy through clearly.  In their minds they’ve identified the cause of the problem, at least what they wanted the cause to be.   The gun was just the tool of choice, it could have just as well been an ax, a hammer, a baseball bat, an automobile or even a couple of gallons of household cleaner (with a potential for an even more devastating attack).

      As a mechanic I look at catastrophic system failures through a different perspective, the failure is often the end result of a list of cascading occurrences and missed opportunities.  I’m not privy to first hand information so all I can do is ask questions that came to mind from the information I’ve gleaned from the news reports.  Maybe someone will come forward with the answers.

    Why was a gun available to a person with a documented mental illness?  It’s been reported that his mother used it as a way to connect with him.  Did she get the opinion of a mental health care professional on the suitability of this form of interaction?

    Would the form of mental illness this young man suffered from make him prone to violence or acting out?  Did he have access to violent movies or video games that would feed these tendencies? 

    Was this young man on pharmaceutical maintenance and was it verified he was taking it as prescribed?

Moving on 
     Was a single locked door the entire security plan for the school, had they even discussed contingency plans?  Do they have severe weather drills, fire drills, have they even considered an intruder drill?  Was Columbine so long ago they don’t remember?

    Did they ever consider an armed security guard or did they find a “Gun Free Zone” sign was the best protection available?  If “GFZ” signs are the answer why have TSA in airports.

    Did they consider the presents of an armed security guard to be offensive or detrimental?  How do they feel about the police officer on patrol in their neighborhood?

    Is the rampant and speculative news coverage of the attack informing or is just emotional fodder to forward an agenda?  Are the best decisions on a course of action really made on an emotional level?

    With the news originations continually comparing this and that shooting, repeating the same tragedy for hours on end, giving this and that witness’s verbal replay, bringing in experts to analyze every step, does it feel like its being treated like a sporting event?

Just waiting on the next High Score Gamer…

    Report the facts and step back!  Give the families, the community space and time to come to grips with the sadness they face.

    Like I said, I don’t have any answers, only questions.  I wonder if the “Officials” who have already come out with their solutions to prevent this tragedy from happening again have the answers to my questions.  Have they even pondered these thoughts?  Is this just another photo op for their cause… The One That “Went Their Way”…

Here are a few stories that don’t fit the Administration “Gun Control Agenda” so they haven’t and won’t get much coverage in the mainstream media.

   What can one armed “GOOD GUY” or in this case “GOOD GIRL” do… Stop another theater shooting! Follow this link to read the story of Sgt. Lisa Castellano, she put down a gunman that entered a theater in San Antonio TX.

Or the story of Nick Meli a citizen that confronted a gunman bent on murder in an Oregon shopping mall.

Maybe the story of Jeanne Assam who stopped Matthew Murrays’ rampage at the New Life Church in Colorado.

And closer to the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the story of Vice Principal Joel Myrick of Pearl MS.  He stopped Luke Woodham’s murder spree by confronting him with the .45 Colt he kept secure in his vehicle “Just in case”.

     Each time these rampaging killers were met with equal force the killing stopped.  Could the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School have been avoided? I say yes but only if administrators would have taken a realistic look at the world around them (vs. the make believe world they pretend we live in).  See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil, Ignore Evil… Does NOT Make Evil Go Away!  If anything it invites evil to come through the door.  Given the choice between a Gun Free Zone sign, a gun ban that only lets criminals carry guns or having an armed security guard on the grounds…  I think I’d like to have the armed security guard around or at least the potential of a good citizen that’s armed if things go south.

      I admit this is a somewhat cold and deliberate look at the tragedy, I do feel sadness for the little ones that were taken.  I’m also touched by the heroics of the adults that did what they could to protect them.  I even have a bit of sympathy for the family of the assailant.  But most of all, I’m crushed by the thought knowing this WILL happen again if the fairytale solutions being offered up are enacted.  Criminals will always have guns, you can only regulate whether law-abiding citizens can fight back or not.      


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Little Ginger Bear…

    I have followed Glenn Beck for some time, watched him on TV, read his books, listen to him on the radio (when I can, night-shifter I sleep through the day).  I admit he has been influential on some of the stories I’ve written, as any intelligent, thoughtful person would influence me.  I had recently posted a bit of a review on his last book Agenda 21 but I didn’t expect him to pull this story out of me…  A story that if given the choice, I would change.
It started with a tweet Mr. Beck sent out.

       When do you know it's time to let your dog go? He is a family member. He is so
       tired. He has stood guard over us for 12 amazing years.

This question pierced my heart, having gone through this myself so I sent this reply.

       @glennbeck So Hard To Do, I Went Through It With A German Sheppard That
       Saved My Life. I Couldn’t Do It, She Did It On Her Own. I Miss Ginger Bear

Here is the story of Little Ginger Bear…

    Ginger was a full blooded German Sheppard, creamy white with a black saddle and markings I picked up as a pup when I was stationed at Dyess AFB, Abilene TX.  From the very start she surprised us with her intelligence and gentleness.  She took to the basic commands, come, sit, stay, ect… with very little training (if any).  Ginger would fetch anything you’d toss with a simple “Get it”, dropping the ball, stick or whatever at you feet.   We were a Foster Care family for the Abilene area so we had different children staying with us some short-term some long, some of the children had never been around a dog before so they would pull her ears, her tail, even jump on her… she never snapped at them, she just took it in stride as if thinking “I understand”.
     A few years later after I retired from the Air Force we moved onto a little plot of ground in Southern Indiana surrounded by farm fields, woods, hills and a pond.  A quiet place for her (and me) to wind-down and relax a bit, age was starting to slow both of us down.  After a couple of more years I started to have medical problems, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent).  My blood sugar would skyrocket to 500 making me tired and sluggish or it could drop to 60 making me shaky and confused (normal is 95 to 110).  Ginger started to pick up on when my sugar levels were dropping (I’ve been told it’s a sense of smell thing) anyway she would nudge at me as my sugar level would go low, a heads-up to get some sugar in me.    

    One day after a long night’s work I took my insulin, had my dinner and went to bed, I must have gotten the insulin dosage wrong.  While I was asleep my sugar level dropped to a dangerously low level, had I been by myself that most likely would have been my last day.  I wasn’t alone; there at the foot of my bed lay Ginger, a protector watching over me as I sleep.  She knew something was wrong, she pawed at me till I woke up but I couldn’t move, my body was a trembling mass. I opened my eyes but I couldn’t see all I could register were bright flashes followed by total darkness.  I couldn’t respond to her pawing and nudges that’s when I felt her clamp down on my shirt and start pulling at me.

    Ginger pulled me and I slid from my bed to the floor still unable to control my arms and legs, still unable to see.  I began to think to myself “I’m in real trouble” but Ginger didn’t give up she kept tugging and pulling, with what control I could muster, I followed her.  She guided me as I slid across the floor through the bedroom door to the steps that went down to our kitchen.  She slowly took me down each step till I was on the kitchen floor.  On the kitchen table I kept a bowl of skittles for when I felt my sugar going low, she pulled me towards the table.  I reached for the bowl grabbing a handful of the candy and shoved it into my mouth.  It took another ten minutes or so for the trembling to subside and my vision to return but while I sat there Ginger laid quietly with her head on my leg my hand on her back, I felt safe.

    When I could finally stand and see clearly I used the my glucose meter to get a reading on my sugar level, it was at 38, still very dangerous, it makes me wonder how low I had gone.  A couple more handfuls of skittles and I was back to normal and headed back to bed with Ginger laying there watching over me as I slept.

    More years passed and time had begun to take its toll on my Little Ginger Bear, some days it was hard for her to stand up, she no longer ran in the yard, most of the times she just laid down and watched the world go by or she slept.   Then she began walking a path around our house when I’d take her out, almost as if she were lost and when I called her she would give me a confused look, I could see in her eyes she did not recognize me…  I don’t know if dogs have a version of Alzheimer’s but its what I felt she was going through.  Within a month I knew her time was coming very soon, she started having seizers and often I had to carry outside so she could do her business.  She couldn’t climb the stairs to the bed room anymore so I slept on the couch to be with her.  Over the next few weeks I sat on the floor with her head on my leg my hand on her back as I had done so many times before, as I had done the day she saved my life.  She would look up at me sometimes with that lost confused look, other times a, I’m just so tired look.  I knew it was time but I’d ask, let her take that last breath with her head on my lap, I couldn’t bring myself to… to do what I needed to do, what I have done with other animals that were suffering.  Yes, I have put down dogs before and yes it hurt me to do it but it was my responsibility to ease their suffering. 

    I had come home from work several hours late one day I didn’t find Ginger in the house as I walked around, my wife told me she let her out earlier.  I searched the yard, the barns and scanned the fields but I couldn’t find her.  The winter air was bitter cold and a panic came over me.  I took the 4-wheeler out to the edges of the fields and along the creek beds, still no sign of her.  I walked the deer trails through the woods but nothing.  After a few days of looking I had to accept she was gone.  She had done what nature had programmed her to do.  As I think of her last moments I picture maybe she laid quietly in a soft bed of leaves in the woods, birds chirping the sun giving its warm glow upon her as she closed her eyes drifting off into a peaceful slumber.   At least that’s what I tell myself, the truth is I failed her.  I had been selfish by not facing the truth and cruel by delaying the inevitable.  It was my responsibility to end her suffering, to end her confusion and fear.  Instead I allowed her to wonder off alone into the bitter cold... 

I had failed her.

Monday, December 10, 2012

7… 11... 21… (Maybe not such a lucky number)

     Hi All, I hope you’ve have had a good week.  Myself, well for the most part it’s been good other than a little self-inflicted turmoil.  I had picked up Glenn Beck’s AGENDA 21.   First off, the book is an easy read, one, maybe two days; I had knocked out ¾ of it before I had to set it down.  I didn’t pick it back up for several more days, not because I didn’t find it interesting or… (enjoyable?).  Just the opposite, I wanted to know how it ended but I found the storyline extremely disturbing.  I had to prepare myself, almost strengthen myself for what may lay ahead in the pages.

     The story takes place in possibly the near future, maybe 10… 20 years down the road.  A fictional vision of one path that the American culture appears to be following (along with many other industrialized nations).  In this future society humans are compartmentalized and dehumanized to the point of being little more isolated flesh and blood gears, pulleys and cogs in the social machine with no other purpose than to feed the system.  In the tradition of Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, the social equalities that are promised, degenerate into a two class system, the elite “Authority” class that directs… and all others.  As to be expected the “Authorities” by their self given privilege consider and use all others as beast of burden.  For their labors the subjugated citizens are provided minimized shelter, food, water and care (all at the discretion of the “Authorities”).  Any citizen that becomes a burden to the system through age, health or defect is removed (left to your imagination) but what else is to be expected when you must produce more than you consume…  In an interesting twist unlike the works of Orwell, service to nature and the planet is the driving force behind this obscene fictional society.  This obligation to serve the planet is paramount, to the point of being detrimental to the average citizen.   

    The final pages (Afterword) does a nice job of tying this fictional vision to the realities of today, giving direct cause, effect, unintentional and intentional outcomes of international agendas.  I found my place within the story; I know where I fit in.  As I said, I found this story disturbing.  Not because of what I see as my place within it (30 years ago unknowingly, I made that decision) but disturbing because I see how those around me fit into this vision…  This book is not a pure work of fiction; several of the observations illustrated are rooted in programs that have already been enacted or being considered in your local community.  I recommend you set aside the time to sit down with this book and find your place in it.  Read this book then look at your community, do initiatives, programs and phrases like Sustainable Development, Smart Growth, Best Practices ect… take on new meaning?

After reading you will (if not already)
QUESTION what you hear and see…


Monday, December 3, 2012

Whose “morals” would that be?

     Most of the comments I got on the last post were very favorable (Thank You… It put a smile on my face).  I say most because I did get one that was somewhat questioning… I stated military members are “…obligated to not follow an order that isn’t legal or moral”.  I take it that she took exception to the word “moral”, a normal liberal pushbutton word, not that she is a liberal (I don’t know) so I’ll take the comment as a legitimate question. 

(Twitter) @**wnk… wrote; Whose “morals” would that be?

     So often words like morality, faith, religion, values, ect… are all lumped together and arguments for and against are painted with wide ambiguous strokes (mostly to blur the lines between right and wrong) but each are very different. The closest word I can equate to “moral” is “truth” something is true or its not, likewise something is moral or its not (or immoral).  As complex as the arguments are for what is moral vs. immoral there is a very simple test.

Any action taken for no other reason than to cause another intentional grief, pain or harm isn’t moral.  Theft, rape, torture, murder…

Any action taken for personal pleasure or gain that could cause another grief, pain or harm isn’t moral.  Cheating on ones spouse, lying to bypass a co-worker for a promotion, accident caused by drunk driving.  Does abortion fit into this?   There is harm being brought upon the infant, so it fits…

    You are entitled to your own beliefs, your own opinions, even entitled to choose the path you follow in life but much like the truth you are not entitled to your own definition of morality.  Your actions are moral or they aren’t, its black and white, no gray area.  Many want to bring in social values or cultural norms… Just because a society acts in a certain way or a culture condones a behavior doesn’t make an activity moral.

!!Warning!! This link is graphic but many consider these actions acceptable. 

They feel entitled to their own morality… You decide if it’s moral, or not.

    Did you go to the link?  If you did, did you fill that little knot in your stomach or a shiver in your spine, maybe your jaw mussels clinched.  The feeling may have been powerful or maybe subtle but it was there.  All of these are normal reactions of the human psyche to something that is wrong, something that is immoral.  Every psychologically normal human has this natural sense.  At this point it becomes a choice, do you follow your natural instinct or do you ignore it???  To answer your question; There is NO “Whose morals”…  It just is.