Wednesday, December 30, 2009
But still, some idiot tries to blow up a plane and our President is satisfied with a 15 minute briefing (which took place 2 hours after the incident was OVER) before heading to the gym?
Perhaps this is leadership: The daughter of one of the President's friends has "relatively minor injury" and he goes zooming lights and sirens back to the house to, perhaps, direct where to kiss the booboo, no doubt getting breathless updates along the way.
His aides are saying that the limp-wristed response to terrorism (which they don't like calling as such) is so we don't glorify the attacks and encourage other terrorists. Well, in case our President hasn't realized it, parts of the world hate America. They always will. They don't just hate former President Bush, they hate the entire United States of America, including President Obama and all that follow in that office after him. No amount of ground kissing, bowing down, or apologizing is going to change that. Therefore, heading to the gym in light of an attempted attack is the response they want.
The response they need, however is much stronger than that. One that our current governmental leadership is incapable of providing. By current leadership, I'm referring to Congress as well. And, I don't mean they don't want to provide a stronger response, I mean they can't. They possess neither the intestinal fortitude nor the spinal integrity to do so. They have money to spend, debt to drive up, political correctness to protect, and legacies to invent--on all the wrong priorities. They do so by using big force to handle small problems and using empty rhetoric to "strongly condemn" the big problems.
I, for one, can't wait for November elections. While I have to wait to vote for a new President, there are others that will need my vote before then. I want to ensure all these self-serving "leaders" have plenty of time to work on their selfish priorities.
If you have more important things to do than protect and lead, I'll hold the door open for you.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas to all!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Recently, I was making small talk with a group of church members when someone brought up the general topic of politics. I guess this person assumed, because I am Hispanic, that I held certain political beliefs. She commented that I must be pleased with the direction our country is going. With our new president, she reasoned, this should mean easier immigration, and more governmental assistance for the "less fortunate."
I simply and politely responded, "Every candidate has to earn my vote, and neither party has consistently done so. I am not pleased with either party nor the direction they are taking us."
My tone was friendly, and demeanor relaxed, but somehow, that was a conversation-killer. That wasn't really my intent, but her comments just hit a nerve.
Please don't think for a minute that just because of my race you can make certain assumptions of who I am. Don't believe that my nationality or skin color automatically means that I must believe or react (or vote) in a predictable way. That's called prejudice and assumes that I'm small-minded enough to follow any crowd that looks like me. That's not very intelligent, if you think about it.
So, I guess my message to her, and to politicians in general is: Don't assume anything when it comes to me (or anybody else for that matter). You don't know me that well.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Fifth Amendment, in part
We spend so much time training and preparing in case we ever have to defend ourselves. We research the right firearm, ammunition, and even take classes to hone our skills. We dry fire, practice the steps to firearm presentation, and improve our trigger control.
All that is excellent and necessary.
And yet, we devote little time to understanding the fundamental rights that will come to play once we encounter an investigation--whether potential self defense, or a simple speeding ticket.
People tend to forget the importance of the presumption of innocence. Sure, we've had the concept hammered into our heads. "You are innocent until proven guilty."
But, what does that truly mean?
At the very least, it means that you have no obligation to open your mouth and assist those who seek to investigate you. Taking it a step further, it means that you should not offer information at all. During questioning, the concept is often turned on its head: "If you have nothing to hide, just answer a few questions." Actually, the better concept is: "Since I have nothing to hide, I have nothing to say."
Even if you do have something to hide, the time will come later on where you can consult with an attorney and have a fighting change to defend yourself. In the meantime, keep silent.
Obstinate, stubborn, pig-headed? No, just fully aware of your rights. No need to argue with them, no need to match wits or prove intellectual superiority (you'll lose--they argue for a living). Just simply require that they prove their entire case without your assistance. After all, if they have a solid case, they don't need your help. If they don't have a solid case, they'd better get one before they deprive you of life, property, or freedom. It's not just making sure they do their job, it's making sure they respect the Constitution.
Gate-crashers to take Fifth if subpoenaed
I am aware of statements made by certain members on the Committee on Homeland Security in which premature conclusions concerning my criminal liability have been made. ... The current circumstances warrant invocation of my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination."
Good for you.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Coincidence? No, just receiving and following good advice. Work on your image, no matter how damaged, after your hide is saved from possible criminal charges.
Even then, you still keep in mind, "Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law."
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
As have a few other people, I have been following the story of Tiger Woods and his low-speed, single vehicle accident. I would guess, however, that my reasons for following this story are different than most other people’s reasons. You see, while some people are trying to get as much information as they can regarding the incident, I’m hoping very little new information is found. I guess that’s the attorney in me.
I wrote about this some time ago when Michael Phelps was pictured supposedly partaking of herbal pharmaceuticals. I wrote it then and I'll write it again, remember how Hollywood treats this moment. What is the first thing officers tell those who are arrested? “You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can be used against you in a court of law, etc …” It would serve you well to remember that. Note also, that you do not have to be under arrest for your statements to get you in trouble. Even off the cuff comments can incriminate you. Never speak with the police without the advice and presence of an attorney. Nothing good for you will ever come of it. Remember that the police do not have the authority to offer you any kind of deal in exchange for what you say. They are, however, able to “put in a good word” for you, whatever that means. Usually, not much.
The 5th Amendment gives you the right to refuse to add fuel to the fire that will be used to grill you. Understand that the police are focused on investigating the incident and arriving at a justifiable conclusion. You cannot view anything you say as simply an attempt to carry on a friendly, cooperative conversation. Whether it is an interview, an interrogation, or a just-talk-to-us-you-have-nothing-to-hide-because-you-did-nothing-wrong moment, your answers will be used to develop/justify their conclusions, regardless of your intent. I’m not saying the police will be dishonest or underhanded, but just note that their motivation will be different than yours.
Those who know me or who I am blessed to count as regular readers will know that I have tremendous respect for police officers. My advice is not meant as a slight to officers at all. In fact, it’s really just an invitation to slow down. What’s the hurry? Why do you need to speak with the police right this minute? What harm is there in invoking your right to remain silent and waiting until you have an attorney present to walk you through the process? In law school, we used the phrase, “You can’t unring the bell.” Once the statement is made, you cannot take it back. Better to be advised by someone who knows the ropes before you “ring the bell.”
Anyway, back to Mr. Woods. Based on the information received so far, the only cooperating witnesses to the incident appeared on the scene once the initial accident was over. The witness with the most accurate account of what happened—Mr. Woods—is not speaking. He’s cancelled meeting with investigators, and also cancelled public appearances. By all accounts, Mr. Woods has received and heeded the best advice possible—remain silent.
This is not obstruction of justice. There is a very real possibility that anything Mr. Woods says will be used to prosecute him. Therefore, he has a right, as we all do, to put the state to its burden. If the state has a charge to prove, let them do so without the help of the accused. This is not a subversion of justice, nor is it a perk due him because of his money or status. It’s a Constitutional right. One we all possess.
Sure, answering our questions will make us feel better. It will sell more newspapers and advertising time. It will fulfill our “need to know.” It is good public relations. News media will rake him over the coals for not taking control of this situation. They will criticize him for it. They’re upset because they are deprived of the opportunity to tell all. They are not happy because they are forced to print rumor and speculation (though they will gladly do so anyway).
Pay them no mind. For him to speak now could provide evidence against Mr. Woods himself. Out of his own mouth.
Right now, it looks like the battle between public relations and the attorney is being won by the attorney. That’s the way it should be. He could possibly be facing charges for this incident. There may be civil issues to sort out as well. That is better done behind closed doors until the time is right. His future is worth more than my curiosity.
See here, as well, for my personal experience as well as some advice from my law school professor. Warning: he talks fast.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
As we all know or should know, piracy has been a maritime profession for centuries. For a long time, there have been those who would prefer to take what belongs to someone else, rather than honestly get their own. Although the Somali pirates have monopolized the news lately, they are not the first to clock in for this profession, nor will they be the last.
Whenever pirates have gone “to work,” they have done so using whatever violence they have at their disposal. Modern pirates are no different. Balancing risk, opportunity, and reward, they select those targets that will provide manageable resistance, if any. Those who are capable of defending themselves are left alone. That’s why pirates hijack cargo ships and not Navy destroyers.
There is an obvious (at least to me) point to be made here. This recent idea that we need to play nice with the ruthless is absolutely mind-boggling. I cannot think of any time in recorded history where evil has willingly laid down in submission simply because they were asked to. Evil only understands the language of force. Warm fuzzies, pristine doves, and world peace bumper stickers mean nothing to them. They know only force, and force must be met with decisive force.
This idea seems to be lost on the Maritime Safety Committee. They have struggled with these pirates for years, and can offer nothing but unarmed resistance. The pirates have predictably ignored such a limp-wristed approach and continue to terrorize, steal, and kill. To that, the U.N.’s Commission would offer protest and sincere cries of, “Please stop and play nice!” Good luck with that. It hasn’t worked so far, but maybe you’re not placing your hands on your hips with enough emphasis or your finger isn’t wagging fast enough.
Let’s look at the tale of two trips. The first time the Maersk Alabama encounters the pirates, it becomes international news for all the wrong reasons. The pirates had the upper hand and all the attention for about 4 days, until our US Navy gave them the opportunity to die for their cause on Easter Sunday.
The second time, the pirates were just as brash and violent. This time, the Maersk was protected by armed guards. The pirates never even came close. They used firearms and a “long range acoustical weapon,” although at least one report says the acoustical weapon did not work.
There does not seem to be any doubt as to whether the firearms worked. The cargo and crew of the Maersk Alabama are safe and continuing on their way. As for the pirates? They're still missing. But that was (or should have been) part of their risk/benefit calculation.
I guess it’s too simple to make sense. Arm your ships and stop the pirates. Hopefully, for their sake, the pirates stop before they die. But that is their decision to make.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. (Edmund Burke)
Keep your cries of peace and keep frantically waving your signs about. But until the evil of this world falls at your feet, fight back when attacked. That’s your God-given right.
You keep your wishful thinking. But as for me, I still believe, “You don’t mess with the U.S.”
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
As you may remember, I like to listen to the police scanner. It's just one of the habits that confirm my weirdness. Here's what I heard today.
Dispatch to officer: “Be advised, subject has a history of committing suicide.”
I wonder how that works… Reincarnation?
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
If you decide to buy live crickets to feed your daughters’ lizard, the pet store may package them in a plastic bag. If they do, please note that the crickets can chew through the plastic bag. Furthermore, please note that you may not notice the escape until it is too late, and even then, your wife will likely notice before you do.
Please don’t ask how I know that, just be a good citizen and take my word for it.
Ummm ... anyone know the phone number of a good florist?
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Several years ago, while in law school, I clerked for a law firm whose practice was limited to certain First Amendment issues. Part of my duties involved initial in-depth screening of potential clients. Several months into my tenure there, I called up a gentleman who was seeking our assistance. I started to question him about his situation when he interrupted me, albeit politely.
“Do you know what the First Amendment says?”
“I’ll tell you in a second. Let me get my book.”
“I’ll tell you in a second. Let me get my book.”
“Well son, if you don’t know what the First Amendment says, how effective can you be in defending it?”
I promised him I would memorize it, call him back the next day, and recite it to him. I did.
I promised him I would memorize it, call him back the next day, and recite it to him. I did.
I don’t remember whether we were able to help him, or even what happened to him, but that conversation has been with me since then. I have never forgotten the text of the First Amendment.
While I’m not saying that we should memorize the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or the Bill of Rights, we ought to be intimately knowledgeable about what those documents say. Often, we know more about celebrity children than we do about the documents protecting the future for ours.
Because of that, we end up trusting the interpretation of others, without regard to their agenda as they put their spin on our rights. This spin might be relatively harmless when spouted by the local hot air supply at the barbershop, but it takes a more sinister meaning when it’s twisted by those entrusted to protect and enforce those very rights.
We must remain ever vigilant, and not trust our government to be able to effectively police itself. All they need to do is convince us that their way of interpreting our rights is correct. That's real easy if we don't know what those rights are in the first place.
Please visit Jennifer. She does a good job of pointing out what I mean.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Just trying to give people an outlet to be heard. Public service, I say.
Of course, I don’t always understand what they say, so sometimes I need to ask them to repeat themselves.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Apparently, they were also friends with the local police, because they got a lot of visits from them, too. I guess the police buy a lot of string beans. It was a weird friendship, though, because the police only visited at night, they always brought a lot of police friends and made a lot of noise. One more thing, sometimes when the police visited, it was like the party ended too early. They would take the homeowner with them to continue the party elsewhere. I guess he really liked wherever they took him because it was months before he comes back.
Wonder what the new neighbors will be like…
Friday, October 23, 2009
Heck, sometimes, I'll brag after I work out. It goes on Twitter AND Facebook.
The easiest thing for me to do at the end of a long day is to grab a Dr. Pepper, a cup of ice cream, and plop down in front of the TV watching a good game or one of my favorite nerd shows. That would be great!
But, I can't.
Instead, I try to eat healthy, and either lift weights, tackle the treadmill, or succumb to the torture of the elliptical, depending on the day. Although I enjoy that, I confess it's not as much fun as the ice cream and TV. Don't get me wrong, I still eat the occasional ice cream (Praise God for Cold Stone Creamery!) and doughnut (I prefer Dunkin' to Krispy Kreme, sorry), and I can't really swear off the Dr. Pepper. I just make sure I do everything in moderation and I continue to work out.
It's harder this way, but in the end, I'm a healthier person because of it. I've lost a lot of weight. I've gained a few pounds back, and I've lost some of them again. I'm sure there will be a lot of ups and downs. I still feel a great deal of pride that I am not as big as I was when I started. People no longer refer to me as the "heavyset" guy. Now, they tell me I'm disappearing. That motivates me. And now, I'm motivating others. That, to me, is something to take pride in.
So, you'll have to pardon me if I toot my own horn. I don't do it with a sense of superiority, nor do I do it to embarass anyone. I simply feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment, knowing how incredibly hard I've had to work to lose the weight, and how hard it is to maintain the weight loss.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1
Sunday, October 18, 2009
My wife, who was upstairs, was startled, and yelled out, "What happened?"
My 8-year old yelled back, "Dad's watching the game. I think the Deadskins did something."
Holy Bible, Philippians 4:11-13
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
H1N1 Up Close and Personal
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I read the story about the lady who gave an offering to a church with a stolen check. That got me thinking (this usually leads me to trouble). She used money that wasn’t hers and gave it as an offering. Now, there are several crimes wrapped up in this whole scenario. She’s going to need an attorney, no doubt.
But, walk this out with me for a little bit. Forget the idea of the crime committed. That’s wrong all the time, and most people I know will never do that. But, aside from the crime, are we guilty of something similar? Have we done something that perhaps is not wrong in the human legal sense, but perhaps morally, just a bit off kilter?
What happens if we take money intended for bills and use it to “sow a seed,” ultimately stiffing our creditors? Of course, some of them may not be completely moral, but we may not be in a position to judge them, just as they are not in a position to judge us. (Remember the whole “without sin cast the first stone” thing.) Beyond that, even if they are not 100% biblical in their practices, we still made a deal that left us indebted to them. Now, we have to pay. Stiffing them to play the “Church Lottery” is not moral either.
Or, what if we take out more debt on our credit card, though we can barely pay what we already have, in order to give an offering? Are we placing our family in jeopardy just to respond to an emotional ploy? Do we neglect to provide for our loved ones because we hope that we can manipulate Jesus into forking over heaven’s money?
Now, I'm not referring to tithing. That has biblical support. I'm referring to people giving beyond their means, solely in an effort to manipulate God.
Seeing this news story got me thinking of prosperity preachers, though they are not involved in this news story. I’m tired of prosperity preachers. They peddle a gospel that relies on followers going into hock so they can give offerings to the church. The message becomes one of promising earthly goods to those who give the most. Never mind the deeper message of repentance and redemption. Why preach about changing our insides when our outsides are screaming for bigger cars and houses.
All you need to do is give to me and God will give to you. Borrow from your credit card and trust God to pay it off. Use your mortgage money and trust God to pay your mortgage for you. Really?! Can you provide a Scripture verse to back that up? That’s an honest question. I’m not a Bible scholar, so I’m sure I have missed it if there is a verse.
But I don’t know. The whole prosperity thing seems a bit shifty to me. Stiffing others and neglecting our responsibilities so that we can throw it in the prosperity wishing well just doesn’t sit well with me.
We may not be a criminal or end up in jail, but in the end, are we morally any better than those who give an offering with a stolen check?
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
There have been some victories, though. Social services has not been called. Everyone says their hair looks great. The house is clean. Well most of it, anyway. We still have time, though.
I really miss my wife. I can't wait for her to return.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Nicely put, Pastor Revely. May God bless you.
Piece be with you.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
General Colin L. Powell
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Declaration of Independence
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Since I was a bit short on time, Murphy’s law dictated that the range be full. I had to wait about 20 minutes, but I finally got a lane. I loaded up, aimed at the target, worked the safety, and pulled the trigger.
I have fired rifles in .22 and .223 calibers and handguns in .22, .380, .38, 9mm, .40, and .45 calibers. Up to now, that was my experience with recoil. Ummm … shotgun recoil is not the same. It’s a little more, how do I put this, attention-getting. That’s a note for me to remember for the next time. Other than that, the shotgun functioned flawlessly. It cycled smoothly, ejected normally, and had a sufficient primer strike to get the fun started.
After I ran out of time and shells, I called it a day.
A functioning shotgun for $150 because the previous owner failed to loosen a threaded rod ½ turn. I'm happy.
Monday, September 7, 2009
We walked around for a bit, looking at what was on display. We noticed a Mossberg 500A on a table that looked like it had lived a long life. With a 12 gauge on my wife’s wish list, it got my attention. Because of its well used condition, it looked like I might get a good deal. It was a 12 gauge, with a synthetic, pistol grip stock and synthetic forearm, as well as a metal heat shield. I asked the vendor about the gun. He said that the shotgun did not feed cartridges from the magazine. He thought the cartridge stop needed to be replaced, but that he just did not have the time to do so. This seemed a bit fishy to me, since replacing the cartridge stop is not rocket science.
I worked the action several times, looked the gun over, and decided I might be interested. We talked and agreed on $150. I knew it had some issues, so I was aware I was taking a gamble.
I took the gun home, and started taking it apart. I wanted to strip the gun down as much as possible to take inventory of its condition. The barrel and magazine easily came off. The bore was in great condition. The trigger housing assembly was another matter. For some reason, it was stuck. Moreover, the trigger itself was stuck all the way back, and would not reset. I moved the safety back and forth, but it was gritty, and hard to move. Hmmm…so that explains the whole “did not have time” issue. Well, I did know I was taking a gamble.
I turned my attention to the rear end of the gun. The pistol grip stock was easy to remove, although it appeared to me that the threaded rod might have been a bit too short. I began unscrewing the threaded rod from the receiver. As I unscrewed it, the trigger assembly fell loose.
Not much interested in the threaded rod anymore, I picked up the trigger assembly and tested it, carefully guarding the hammer. Everything seemed to work well. I looked inside the receiver. I’m not sure when the gun had last been cleaned, but judging from the way it looked in there, it had been a long time. I put everything back together, and loaded the magazine with four snap caps. I worked the trigger and pump action, reloaded, repeated, etc… Now all that was missing was the lather, rinse, repeat. But, by this time, it was time to go to bed so I wouldn’t sleep through the church service the next day.
After church, I cleaned all the parts and lubricated them. I put them all back in (and had none left over!). I function-tested the shotgun to make sure I had put all the parts in the right place. Everything worked. The safety was now smooth and had a positive click when going from SAFE to FIRE. The action worked smoothly, loading and ejecting the snap caps without a hiccup.
Looks like whoever installed the stock over-tightened the threaded rod, jamming the trigger assembly and safety in the receiver, and preventing the parts from doing what they were supposed to.
Now, the only step remaining is to take this gun to the range and let it do what it was meant to do.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
But I forced myself to push off.
It was hard work, but I finally got off the couch and dragged myself to the elliptical.
Now, I just have to work out.
Monday, August 31, 2009
This is a gut-wrenching story. The kind I hate to read. But it must be read.
Woman's frantic 911 call helps convict her killer
JayG, of MARooned, said it best: "...because given the choice between a Motorola and a Glock, I'll take the one that dispenses 230 grain justice over the one that plays "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" when it gets an incoming call every time."
Just because it's graphic and stark does not make it false. Violence is violence. Passively putting my defense in someone else's hands will not change that.
Hat tip to JayG, by way of The Breda Fallacy.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
There’s a store right around the corner where I spend a lot of time (and money). One employee there stands out--but, unfortunately, not for the right reasons. She left a job as an executive secretary to move here, and now works as a cashier. Ever since we have known her, she’s always complained about her job. She's a polite, refined complainer, but a complainer nonetheless.
She complains about her pay. She complains about stupid management decisions. She complains about how she's treated. She complains about the dead-end job. She complains about, well, you get the idea.
Interesting thing, though, I do some consulting work on the side, dealing with law firm management issues. A firm for which I’m doing work really needs an executive secretary. Like, yesterday.
And yet, there’s no way I will ever recommend her for the job. Why? Well, at our house, we call it “the ‘tood” -- attitude.
A 'tood really goes a long way to define how you view life. An excellent attitude will help you put things in context, no matter the circumstances. If you have a terrible attitude, no matter what the situation, you will have a terrible attitude. No one has a perfect life. If you look for a reason to complain, you will find it. Conversely, if you seek out reasons to be thankful and content, you'll find plenty of those, too.
A complainer is like poison. They do their best work when shared. They blossom when it comes time to spread their discontent. You put a complainer in an office, and you will begin the slide to disfunction.
It's a shame, too. Without the bad attitude, she could have already left that job and be working in the position she has sought for so long. As it stands, I have no desire to help her spread her discontent. I'm sure I'm not the only one of her customers who feels that way.
Now, I'm not talking about claiming some stick-your-head-in-the-sand, whistling-in-the-dark, kind of contentment. Ultimately, stuff happens. Jobs, homes, cars, friends and family are sometimes lost, either recalled by the banker or by their maker. You can't ignore any of those, or the emotions they bring. Those are definitely real. You will not always be "happy," but you can choose to live a life of contentment.
Contentment means understanding that circumstances do not define who we are. A bad day or situation is something to overcome, not something to be endured. The attitude we possess and display will go a long way toward helping us place our lives in proper balance.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Phil 4:11
Watch your 'tood.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
John Stuart Mill
Friday, August 21, 2009
It's been all over the news. The government creates a stimulus plan, the basic premise of which is that they will take my tax dollars to encourage others to go further into debt.
Cash for Clunkers they call it. I’m sure it will be a shining example of how the government can take care of us.
How is it going?
He said checking on the status of his applications was agonizingly slow, and the administration’s Web site was so bogged down with traffic that it had taken him 14 hours to upload one application. He withdrew from the program on Saturday.
How's the paperwork?
For example, one of the main reasons Cash for Clunkers deals were rejected early on was because dealers failed to write "Junk Automobile, Cars.gov" in black magic marker on the title of the older cars that buyers were trading in.
They wouldn't be that picky, right?
But Schienberg said dealers have had their rebate applications rejected for often trivial reasons, like misspelled words in paperwork. Often, dealers aren’t even told what the mistake was when an application is rejected, he said. “They’re spending hours and hours and days trying to get their transactions filed and approved by the federal government,” Schienberg said. “Administratively it’s become so burdensome.”
Well, they tried their hand at mortgages as well. How'd that go?
Dozens of e-mails from msnbc.com readers report months of futile effort to modify their loans. The list of problems includes misdirected calls, lost paperwork and conflicting advice from multiple representatives for the same lender.
So you have government stepping into industries where it has no expertise or business. Government then patches together some regulations, forces them on industries, and then sits back to take the glory. Unfortunately, beyond mortgages and cars, they also run the IRS (due process, anyone?), the Post Office (rate hikes every three minutes, while cutting services), and Social Security (security? What security?),
I can't wait until they take over health care. Won't that be fun!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It's almost as if they believe no one in their right (or left?) mind would dare possibily disagree with the government. Anyone who does is clearly a radical and incapable of independent thought.
It can't be that there are clear problems with the proposed solution. No. It's got to be that the opposers are dumb, dangerous, and easily influenced.
So, in the face of stiff opposition, they continue to force this issue. After all, millions of people can't be right. Only the elite in Washington know what's best for me.
Whatever happened to the "marketplace of ideas?"
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
We had a well known gospel singer having a concert at our church that evening, so people were making their way in. They were coming to church barefoot, with their jeans rolled up to their ankles--not that it was helping. Heck, even the singer was delayed.
We had placed parking cones to help direct traffic, and those cones floated down the street. We're still finding them.
It rained again yesterday (though not as hard as Wednesday), and I just looked out my window. It's raining again.
I don't need an umbrella. I need an ark.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Abbot Eliot Kittredge
Friday, August 7, 2009
2 Tim 4:7-8 (ESV)
Grandma, I love you.
You have finished the race. Go to your rest now.
Thank you for the love and wisdom you gave my mother, and for the legacy you have left to my daughters.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
In this current culture of fear, we see the continued erosion of this very basic and necessary fact. It is much easier for our leaders to call press conferences announcing bans, than it is for them to acknowledge that we have a personal will and make choices without regard to laws. If we are law-abiding by nature, we will obey laws, not just because they are written, but because we are law-abiding. Those who respect no laws, will follow no laws, no matter how great the intention, no matter how harsh the punishment. Not because the law is not strong enough, but because they are criminals. It is their nature. The law, to them, does not matter.
But, to accept that simple truth means accepting that laws cannot protect man from all evil. Laws cannot create a safe society. Utopia cannot be legislated into existence. A necessary byproduct of any freedom is the understanding that some will abuse it. The cure is not to eliminate the freedom, but to punish the abuser.
We fear global warming, so we restrict personal choices. We fear obesity, so we ban or tax certain foods. We fear failure, so we put our future into hock so we can protect inefficient and wasteful companies. We fear danger, so we legislate or sue companies into creating useless warnings and gadgets to make up for common sense. It has become so impersonal. No longer is the individual responsible for anything. We now want to trust Big Government to legislate, federal-rule and executive-order us into a safe, rainbow-framed paradise where no one fears and no one is ever hurt.
Once again, we hear another story of someone coming unglued and murdering people using a firearm. Predictably, the choruses warm up and blame the violence on guns (not the shooter, mind you, but the guns). Then, we hear renewed calls for an increase in “responsible” gun laws. There are no calls for increased personal responsibility from the criminals. No. See, that does not bring votes. That is not easy to quantify. A dead criminal, though now subject to the ultimate justice, is too gory for us to accept. It’s easier to create useless legislation. The only solution, it seems, is to summarily lump all gun owners with the criminals.
That’s not fair. I didn’t do anything wrong.
I was not at Virginia Tech when someone gave in to his demons and killed 32 people. I did not assist a killer when he entered an Amish schoolhouse and took the lives of five girls. I have never been to Westroads Mall, and thus was not there when another mad criminal killed 9 people. I was not at the L.A. Fitness Center when a shooter became the personification of evil.
In each instance, I was minding my own business, obeying the laws that govern me. I had no involvement in any of those horrific crimes. So don’t punish me for their evil. Don’t hide behind a flimsy curtain of safety to claim that I have to deal with more firearms restrictions in the childish hope that those who think and do evil will somehow behave. My freedom pays the price for your impossible dream. I find it offensive that elected leaders believe they have the right to hang over my shoulder, and chip away at my freedoms, simply because they believe some stranger somewhere will create hurt in the future.
Evil will be evil. Criminals will be criminals. If they ignore the laws against murder, they’ll ignore the laws against firearms. Only I, and those who respect laws, will follow them. This, I think, is ironic. Between the criminal and I, only I will be affected by any new restrictions.
And I’m the one who did nothing wrong.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
This is an entry left in the Orlando Sentinel’s obituary guestbook for Andri Benjamin. He died on Saturday, July 25, 2009, at the age of 18.
If the above entry is accurate, his is a cautionary tale.
During the early morning hours of July 25th, Miguel Jimenez, age 56, was returning to his apartment. Benjamin ran up to Jimenez, put a gun in his face and tried to rob him. Jimenez, who was armed with a revolver, defended himself by firing at Benjamin several times, killing him. Jimenez noticed a second man, who was with Benjamin, also approaching him and held him at gunpoint until police arrived. Link. Link.
When Benjamin made the decision to put another's life in danger, he, willingly or not, accepted responsibility for the results. While his friends may have described him as a caring young man, whatever decisions Benjamin had made up to that incident, whatever impressions he had made on others, all came down to this. Whether he was a saint before that crime, or a “misunderstood” young man, all that suddenly became irrelevant.
Now comes the time for the hand-wringing, the excuses, the outrage, the self-serving claims of surprise. Once again, all irrelevant. When Benjamin pointed the gun at Jimenez, he could not expect Jimenez to interview him about his past accomplishments. He could not expect Jimenez to take pity on him. He placed Jimenez in fear for his life and Jimenez reacted in a manner consistent with his right to defend himself.
Isn’t that just life, though? Sometimes it just comes down to one choice. Run a stop sign. Drink and drive. Cheat on a spouse. Commit a crime. A lifetime of good decisions can be marred or ended by one single bad one.
Of course, I know nothing of Benjamin's past history. I am consciously avoiding that topic. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt, without discussion. Why? Because, in the end, for the interaction between Jimenez and Benjamin, that history will not matter. Had there been a trial, such history may have been relevant. But Benjamin chose a path that led to a more immediate decision. That was his choice. And his choice was honored.
Even if you have previously been a saint, you cannot expect to get away with purposely attacking someone else for your own pleasure. We all have the right to defend ourselves when attacked. We demand, from those who interact with us, basic respect for human life.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Radio to any unit that can take a “suspicious situation” message on 123 Main Street, apartment A.
214 to Radio, I can take that.
214, neighbors are complaining of a horrible smell coming out of an adjacent apartment and have not seen the residents in some time.
237 to Radio, I’ll take a Signal 2 (backup) to 214
Radio to 237, 10-4; 214, did you copy?
This is 214, copy.
[Miscellaneous radio traffic ensues]
214 to Radio
Go ahead, 214?
Yeah, we made contact with everyone in the apartment. All are well and accounted for. It looks like the trash had not been emptied in some time, since that’s where that smell was coming from. We took the trash out to the dumpster and the smell has cleared out. Clear it to me as “assistance provided.”
See, the story would not end there at my house. If I had waited that long to take out the trash, there may not have been anyone dead when the police got there, but I very well might be after they left.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
As the nurse took my basic measurements, she asked me to step on the scale. After the appropriate weights were shifted around and the beam rested at the midpoint of the scale, she read out my weight. 252 pounds. To the nurse, it was only a number, which she read matter-of-factly. But for me, that number represented a failure of self control.
I was shocked. It was the most I had ever weighed, and registered at least 20 pounds more since the last time I had stepped on a scale. I had never been this out of shape. More importantly, I had no idea that I was this big. In 10 years, I had gained 50lbs
Well, since I was not pleased with that, I resolved to handle this unpleasant business myself. After years of waiting for something to motivate me, I decided to motivate myself. I struck a deal with my wife. If I was able to get back to my wedding day weight—200 lbs, she would buy me the rifle I wanted—an AR15.
Over the last 16 months, I have lost 41lbs. Not a very fast weight loss (I've been stuck at that number for 5 months), but I have sustained it and have developed good habits in the meantime. I have had to adjust my motivation—medical bills and the recent election have placed the AR well out of my reach for the moment. Moreover, the rumors are true—the last 10 pounds are just about impossible to lose.
But, I am eleven pounds away from my goal. I feel tremendously better. I have more energy, and find myself playing with my girls more often. That, in itself, is a huge benefit.
Really, the only reason I write this is to motivate me once again to continue pressing toward my goal. It’s hard work, but then again, so is anything worth having.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
More and more I wonder what is happening to the concept of personal responsibility. The idea that I am responsible for my choices is becoming more and more quaint. It’s easier to blame circumstances, history, or even neighbors.
About two months ago, I was taking out the trash when I noticed a police car in my neighbor’s driveway and the family gathered near the door. Not wanting to be nosy, I took care of my business and started to head back inside. In spite of my best efforts, I managed to hear them loudly explaining their disagreement to the officer. I couldn’t make out exactly why they were angry, but judging by the profanity and volume, there was a lot of emotion involved.
The next day, I learned from the wife that her husband had been abusive for some time and she had finally kicked him out. She was surprised we had not heard their arguments, which apparently were common, long, and loud. She added that she was disappointed that one could no longer count on neighbors looking out for each other. She wished that someone would have called the police on them sooner. Thankfully, I didn’t really grasp what she was saying at first. By the time my mind got in gear, I was already inside and the conversation was long over.
After I had a chance to think it over, I felt sorry for her and her daughter. Here she was, in the middle of a dangerous situation, yet she stayed because no one had rescued her. She could not come to terms with the idea that, while she could not control her husband, she alone was responsible for her actions. We couldn't kick him out. She had to make the decision. Although she had finally kicked him out, it was a last resort for her. It was a decision she was "forced" to make because society had let her down. It was my fault for not calling police (never mind that I never heard anything). It was the other neighbors’ fault for not getting involved. The blame for staying fell on the shoulders of everyone but her. It’s a terrible role model for her daughter. Her inaction has taught her daughter that a man can mistreat a woman. Her dependence on others has set the standard for her daughter.
A fighting spirit, dignity, and need for respect, are God-given. But, if not nurtured, encouraged, and developed, those standards become nothing more than a romanticized ideal. No one will ever look out for me as much as I will. If I do not require respect, I will get none. If I do not fight the important battles, no one will. If I do not make the difficult decisions, I will have no right to complain about the results. In the end, my life will be a sum of my decisions, not a sum of what happened to me. Don't get me wrong, I will seek God's direction, but ultimately, the decision to move belongs to me, not to anyone else.
That's what I teach my children. We trust God, but do our part. We will not live life blaming someone or something else. We will not waste time feeling sorry for ourselves. We will understand that tough situations in life are simply opportunities to prove leadership and wisdom. We do not run from life's challenges but accept them as part of the color in life's tapestry.
Yesterday, as I was walking in the house, I see a familiar car pass me by. Perplexed, I watch the car pull in the neighbor’s driveway. It’s the husband. I watch as she welcomes him in. Looks like he’s moved back.
I'll be in my yard, binoculars in one hand, phone in the other, keeping an eye on the neighbor. After all, I guess it’s my job to protect her from herself.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Shortly after 1p on Friday afternoon, a homeless man was near the intersection of Americana Boulevard and River Street in Boise, Idaho. He had a duffel bag with him. John Dickey grabbed the duffel bag and ran away. The homeless man yelled out, “Stop hey, stop, that’s my stuff!”
At that time, Paul Brookhouse was driving by and saw the crime take place. He pulled over and intervened. As reported by KTVB, Brookhouse produced a firearm, identified himself as a police officer and detained the criminal. Unfortunately, Brookhouse, who has a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon, is not a police officer.
As is often the case with real life, the story gets even more complicated. Prior to the police arriving, another citizen with a concealed weapon permit drove by. This gentleman, seeing what he perceived as a crime in progress, drew his firearm and ordered Brookhouse to drop his weapon. I’m not sure what Dickey was thinking as he lay on the ground, but at this point, he was probably afraid to breathe.
As is often the case with real life, the story gets even more complicated. Prior to the police arriving, another citizen with a concealed weapon permit drove by. This gentleman, seeing what he perceived as a crime in progress, drew his firearm and ordered Brookhouse to drop his weapon. I’m not sure what Dickey was thinking as he lay on the ground, but at this point, he was probably afraid to breathe.
Finally, the police arrived and defused the situation. Thankfully there does not appear to be a report of someone else stopping by and trying to arrest the police.
Sadly, it appears that everyone involved (except, presumably, the homeless man and the police) may face charges. Dickey is facing charges for the crime, Brookhouse may face charges for impersonating an officer, and the third man may face assault charges for pointing a firearm at Brookhouse.
If I would have come up against a similar situation, would I have drawn my firearm? Unless someone’s life was in danger, this would be a minor property crime, not something for which the threat of deadly force would be permissible. Would I intervene in a more serious crime, especially if I don’t have all the necessary information? I think it is a question of degree—how much do I know and how serious is the crime. In this instance, the outcome could have become very tragic simply because the final intervener did not have all the facts. At least, each person showed restraint, and in the end, no one was hurt.
This case involved a minor property crime—one that appears to have already been concluded without any noticeable physical harm to the crime victim. Although it’s hard to second guess someone’s reaction in the heat of an incident, that’s exactly what the law will do. In my home state, you cannot use deadly force to prevent a property crime--life is more important than property. Of course, I don’t know Idaho law, but even if it allows taking a life to defend a duffle bag, it’s hard to justify that action. One lesson to take from this is that if you decide to carry a concealed weapon, the burden is on you to know the law. And, in the end, the burden will be on you to justify your actions.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
The Bible and Self Defense (Pt. 1)
The Bible and Self Defense (Pt. 2)
Friday, July 17, 2009
Today, my wife and a group from church were leaving to go out of town. I needed to pick up some things and drop them off at church for her. I threw on a striped polo shirt, drove to Wally World and got what I needed. I waited in line, took care of my business and headed over to church. There, I dropped off the stuff for my wife, helped some guys load up some equipment into a church van, and headed home.
On the way home, I stopped by the store. I walked in, and ran into a former law school classmate I had not seen in about 7 years. We talked for about 20 minutes, catching up on the last few years. The store was packed, and no matter where we stood, it seemed like we were surrounded with people and we were always in the way.
Finally done, I jumped in the Jeep and headed back home. As I walked in the door, I happened to catch my reflection in the mirror.
I was wearing my polo shirt inside out.
I really should not be allowed in public without adult supervision.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Bowers v. DeVito, 686 F.2d 616 (7th Cir.1982)
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
At my house, we went over the safety rules, and I had him load and unload the firearms using snap caps. We arrived at the range and made our way to the only open lane, the last of the eight lanes. The range has a motorized target carrier, which has the target clamps about a foot or so above the bull’s eye of their normal target. We set up, reviewed the safety rules again, and I let him have at it.
Meanwhile, a small, yet loud crowd was forming over at the first lane. Every few seconds, there was a very loud bang, followed by cheers and high-fives. I glanced over and saw a young man, shooting a .50 caliber revolver at a target on the 7 yard line. Eventually, the crowd at the range thinned out leaving our super cowboy and his friends in the first lane, another gentleman somewhere in the middle, and then the two of us at our end. By this time, my wife’s nephew was shooting my Ruger 10-22.
Right after the revolver spoke again, I felt a painful pinch near my thumb. I tried to pull up my sleeve, thinking my watch had caught on a hair. I looked down at my hand and noticed that I was bleeding and had a piece of copper jacket embedded in my hand. I pulled it out and saw that the piece was relatively large, and had left a nice cut.
I grabbed a small towel from my range bag, wrapped it around my hand, and went to see the range officer. (Note to self: pack bandages in the range bag.) I found out I wasn’t the only lucky one. The shooter in the middle had also been hit by splashback. While we doctored ourselves, the range master walked into the range to investigate.
What happened? Apparently our local super cowboy had fired his hand cannon and hit the target clamp, which, if you remember, was at 7 yards out and is about a foot or so away from the bull’s eye. The bullet hit the steel clamp, broke apart and splashed to the right, hitting the other gentleman and me.
Look, I know that shooting a .22LR caliber rifle is not as cool as a .50 caliber revolver. In fact, you mentioned, quite loudly, that my rifle sounded like an airsoft gun. Your friends thought that comparison was funny. I guess that just makes you a better man.
Or so you think.
It makes no different how big your gun is, if you can’t control it, it’s worthless. A .50 caliber miss at seven yards is less effective than a .22 caliber hit at 15 yards. It’s also more dangerous, since you obviously have no control over where you are sending it.
Chances are pretty good that I’ll never see you again. Moreover, you don’t seem like the person who would be interested in any kind of education, but, just in case you happen to drop by, here are some tips for you:
1. Don’t go to the range if your only goal is to impress. The range is the wrong place to engage in showmanship. In any event, there will almost always be someone at the range who shoots better than you do and you'll end up looking stupid.
2. Unless they’re coming to shoot or learn, leave your “crew,” or whatever you call them, at home. Your activities at the range require your full attention. You cannot take time to play to the crowd.
3. Learn how to handle the “baby step” basics before you start your shooting exhibition. To do otherwise will endanger all of us. Learn how to properly grip a gun. Learn how to properly line up your sights. Learn proper trigger control. Do all of this before you use a gun too big for you. And yes, believe it or not, that revolver was too big for you.
4. Understand that a big gun you can’t handle only makes you look like an idiot. Every shot my nephew made with my little “airsoft” 10-22 found its way to the target, as did his .40 caliber and 9mm shots as well. Many of yours did not. In fact, one of your shots injured two people. All you succeeded in doing was making a lot of people very angry at you.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.
Charles A. Beard
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
On top of that, I have been thinking about entering a shooting competition, whether USPSA or IDPA, just to develop my skills and challenge myself. To that end, I have begun reviewing their rules, and trying to develop/practice skills in the necessary areas (all while obeying range rules and not giving the range officer a coronary).
This last time at the range, I wanted to practice reloading from slide lock, so I loaded three magazines with different quantities of bullets, and got to work. Because of the random number of bullets, I never knew when the gun would go empty. So, on top of normal safety rules, I had to concentrate on recognizing slide lock, manipulating the magazines, and quickly returning the gun to service; all while trying to hit the bull’s-eye. I had not done anything like that before, so my target looked horrible.
It was definitely an eye-opener for me. Most of the time at the range, I can line up in front of the target, get in the proper stance, focus on the front sight, and fire when ready. I like the way my groups look when I am able to do that.
Throw in a distraction, though, and my groups go to heck. What did this teach me? I’m not as good as I think I am. I need a whole lot more practice.
But beyond all that, I wondered how I would respond during a critical incident. A critical incident may have multiple distractions, and is, by its nature, unpredictable. As best as I can tell, these incidents don’t check your calendar for the most convenient time. You can’t pre-plan every detail. Instead, faced with a threat, you are forced to drag your mind out of whatever it was doing, and immediately bring all your senses to bear on the threat at hand. All this divided attention means it is highly likely that nothing will go textbook.
How many stories do we read about shoot-outs at incredibly close range, and yet no one gets hit. We hear stories of many rounds being fired, yet only a few finding the desired target. In the thick of the incident, it’s almost as if the body reverts to the lowest level of training. Something that would seem elementary during the calm of the range suddenly becomes infuriatingly challenging.
This is why training is important. The very basic skills need to be ingrained into our subconscious so that we do not have to concentrate on them when the time comes. That will not eliminate all possible mistakes, but it will go a long way to minimizing them.
The upside to this, of course, is that I must now return to the range so that I can practice some more. Then, I really do need to join a competition, even if only to proudly claim last place.
Now, if only I can find some ammo.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
God Himself had chosen Gideon. "Oh mighty man of valor," He called him. And yet, while God of the universe saw value in Gideon, Gideon himself did not. All God wanted was for Gideon to obey the command. Go.
But, all Gideon did was catalog his excuses. And complain. He listed, one by one, the reasons he ought to be a failure.
God did not change His mind. God did not revoke the call. He still wanted Gideon to go.
What about you? Where do you need to go? What do you need to do? What is God telling you to do that you can't because you are too weak, poor, dumb, odd, bad, or whatever? Perhaps there is something hidden in your life that He has not seen. Perhaps there is some failure he has not taken into account?
Well is there? Either He is God, or He is not. Either He knows all, or He does not. If you believe that He is God and knows all, then you have to believe He has considered all you bring to the table. After having taken you and your history in, He still says, "Go."
Still not sure? What did He tell Gideon?
"Go in this strength of yours..."
Interesting! He didn't say, "Go in God's strength." No. He said, "Go in your strength." Why would God say that? Aren't we supposed to rely on His strength?
Well, yes. But He is telling us, "Go with what you have." Don't wait to get stronger. Don't wait for the perfect moment. Don't wait until you "feel" God's strength. No. He's calling you. Just go with what you have now.
"Do I not send you?" Hey, if God is sending you, He'll back you up. Go in this strength of yours.
Today, no matter what you face, go in this strength of yours. When He calls, He will handle the rest.