Sunday, March 29, 2009

Luger P08

I have a Luger P08 that I purchased a couple of years ago from someone who did not want it. He had received it from a long-time neighbor, who was moving and did not want to take it with him. My friend had accepted the firearm and had kept it in a plastic bag for several years. When I got it, it was rusted. In fact, at first I thought it was a non-functioning replica that had been left outside to rust. He convinced me that it was a real, functioning firearm. Well, maybe not so much “functioning,” but definitely a real piece of history.

I took it home and removed the wood grips. I soaked the mess in CLP for a looooong time and downloaded a Luger manual I found on the internet. I studied the diagrams to see how to turn this lump of metal into a working example of German engineering.

The first order of business was to ensure that the gun was unloaded. Since the grips had already been removed, I could see that the magazine was empty. For those not familiar with a Luger magazine, there is an opening on one side (to accommodate the sliding loading knob), through which I could see the spring and follower. I could tell that the magazine was empty. In addition, the extractor also functions as a loaded chamber indicator, protruding from the top when it rides over the rim of the cartridge. In this case, the extractor was flush with the top of the gun, so it appeared to indicate an empty chamber. Of course, not wanting to assume anything, I removed the magazine and disassembled the gun to get to the chamber and verify that it was empty.

Once I had the parts on the table, I inspected each piece for any visible cracks or other major defects. The gun has a 1939 date stamp on the receiver. I looked for the serial number and found that all the parts had matching serial numbers. Even the grips had the impression of the serial number on the inside. As I looked the gun over, I saw that this creature had lived a rough life, at least recently. Some of the bluing was gone, and several areas were rusted. There was pitting and rust throughout the gun, all on the surface of the bluing. It appeared to me that the gun had not been reblued. The bore was in OK shape, not horrible, but definitely not winning any awards. I put the puzzle back together again (no parts left over!) and checked the mechanical action to make sure everything was in its place.

I grabbed several boxes of 9mm WWB and went to the range. The sights on the pistol are, well …, tiny, but that didn’t seem to matter at all. The gun turned out to be incredibly accurate, and did all within its capabilities to make me look good. Of course, being designed in the ball ammo era, it did not do well with hollow point ammunition, so I stuck to FMJ ammo.

For a long time after that, the gun had been a regular companion at the range. During the last trip, the ejector broke, so it has resided in the safe since then.

I love the gun, but I have a problem. I don’t want the rust to get worse. I currently keep the gun wiped down with a protectant in hopes that it does not get worse. I have considered taking the gun to someone to have the rust removed, but I’m afraid it may cost me more than the gun is worth. Also, by doing any such work to the gun, I may diminish whatever value it has left anyway.


Decisions, decisions.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Debt Relief

How much debt are we in? Why does everybody keep saying trillion like it's real money?

It's not like we can visualize it or anything. Trillion.

I guess the best news is that our current administration believes that the best way to pay off that debt is to borrow more.

I must be dumber than I thought. Won't somebody have to pay that off? I need to pray for my girls!

I'm getting caffeine and some aspirin.

H/T to Armed and Christian

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Alter Ego

Really, I have to blog anonymously. Otherwise, people would know who I really am.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How to Hang Wallpaper

Step 1--Don't.

Step 2--Paint.

I am halfway through putting up wallpaper in our bathroom. It's a nice, textured, neutral-colored paper, picked out by my wife.

I had forgotten how much I DETEST putting up wallpaper.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Misunderstood Mission

Walk this one through with me for a second.

A Pastor in New Hampshire, Rev. David Pinckney of River of Grace Church, has given refuge in his home to one of society's outcasts. On the surface, that's admirable. My thoughts? No way in--well, you know where.

The person he has taken in is Raymond Guay. Let's look at Mr. Guay's history.

In 1973, Raymond Guay picked up a 12-year old boy, who was walking home from school. During the ride, for some reason, the boy saw fit to try to flee. Guay went after him and shot him in the face. The body of the boy was found wearing nothing but his underwear and socks. Guay was sentenced to 18-25 years in prison. While in prison, he was given an additional 10 years for assaulting an inmate.

As to be expected, no one wanted him when he was released. He eventually wound up living in Rev. Pinckney's home, at the Pastor's invitation.

Oh, more fact I forgot to mention. Rev. Pinckney has a family. To be exact, he is married and has five children. Four of those children (ages 13-18) still live in the home. The same home that now hosts Raymond Guay.

Look, let's get some (irrelevant) facts out of the way. Guay says he has changed his life because he became a Christian 15 years ago. He has served his time and paid his debt to society. That's admirable, but it doesn't change a thing.

Now, I do not believe the government ought to punish people for what society thinks they might do. Moreover, I do believe in the forgiveness of sins through confession and repentance. However, that does not mean he gets complete trust from me.

I have to question where this Pastor's heart truly is. Whatever the mission of your church, whatever the burden of your ministry, why sacrifice your family? I would NEVER host anyone in my home if I had any inkling that they could harm my children. Hey, I'm glad Guay has taken steps to turn his life around. If I were the Pastor, I would offer whatever help I could, but I would draw the line at taking him into my home. Even if I was 100% sure that he would not re-offend (and no one is that sure), I'm not going to ask my wife or children to carry the risk of future crime. I mean, how much is their peace of mind worth?

Even if the Pastor and his wife have decided to bear that risk, what nightmares go through the minds of children when they know they share a house with a child killer. What do they think when a floorboard creaks at night? It's bad enough when the danger is "out there," but when it is under your roof, at the invitation of your dad, how do you feel then?

My first mission, my first ministry, is to my family, not to a stranger. I will not jeopardize my family's safety in order to shelter someone, anyone. Especially someone with a history of violent crime. That, to me, is a betrayal of the trust my family has placed in me.

Yes, I believe in the forgiveness of sins. However, forgiven sin still has consequences. Part of that is having to earn my trust again. Even then, as much trust as you earn, there are some places you will never be allowed to go. That's just the way it is.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

John Maxwell Leadership Lesson

John Maxwell is one of my all-time favorite authors. In fact, I have one of his calendars on my desk at work.

Though I have never met him personally, I have had the privilege of hearing him speak in person. He is always engaging and has lot of leadership lessons that he passes on, many from personal experience.

Here's one that I imagine he would have preferred not to experience first hand.

This story also shows another great leadership lesson. Rather than hiding the details of his arrest, he posted them on his own blog for the world to see.

There's a lot of quibbling over the details of his arrest and the completeness of his story. Remember this post? We may never get all the details. I'm OK with that.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Often, while I am at work, I’ll listen to the local police or EMS scanner over the internet. It becomes sort of a daylong COPS show, only not as exciting. Even so, one of the cities in the vicinity has an active channel that’s always hopping with something, so that’s usually where I hang out.

Well, one day, as I’m working, I hear this exchange:

"238 to Radio"

"Radio to 238"

"Put me on a traffic stop at the 1800 block of Little Big City Highway, plate is Adam Bravo Charlie 123. Occupied one time, everything's signal 4."


I think, “Wait just a minute, … are you kidding me?! That's my wife! Scofflaw!

At this point (just my luck) the internet connection went dead. So, I waited...

About 15 minutes later, my wife called.

Wife: "Baby, I just got pulled over by the cops!"

Me: "I know!"

Wife: "How'd you ... never mind. When are you supposed to renew our vehicle registration?"

Me: "Ummm, I don't know, I think I already did it"

Wife: "No, it was due four months ago."

Me: "Ummm, see, wha-had-happened-was..."

Worst part was having to represent my wife in court, explaining to the judge that the error was inadvertent and she would not forget it again.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Line

What happens when we try so hard to be cool? What happens when we try so hard to reach the audience, that we forget or forsake the message we are to deliver in the first place? What if we were so worldly, wildly successful as a ministry, or minister, that the world would seek us for advice or mentoring, yet we could not deliver the very message that justifies our existence?

Yes, this video is a parody, of course. But, where is that line drawn in our ministries? What parts of the message are we willing to ignore just because it's hard or unpopular or will cause us to lose face with our audience? How far will we go to connect, and how far from the Bible we will move?

Again, where is that line?

When we do find the line, is it a thick black line, or is it more of a fuzzy gray line? In the end, do we measure success by how many heads we count, or is it how many hearts He changes?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Anonymous Blogging

I recently read an article where the author blasted bloggers who post their opinions behind the mask of anonymity. He called this an act of cowardice, and implied that such a practice made it more difficult to engage them in debate.

Is that true?

Actually, for me, this whole idea of anonymous blogging is a little wierd. I figure that if I have something to say, I should have the guts to back it up. Sometimes, though, hiding your identity is the only way to go. There may be legitimate reasons for not wanting others to know who you are.

As for me, this may come as a surprise to those who know me, but I can be opinionated at times.

I know ... I can see the shock in your eyes. I'll give you a minute to recover. What can I say, I am an attorney. I argue for a living, so it's not as if the debate frightens me. Having to publicly defend an unpopular opinion does not faze me either.

That being said, though, I'm caught in a bind. I hold an upper management position in my church. I am also responsible for being the legal advisor to the church. Therefore, as they say, my words can bind the church. Publicly, I have to watch the things I say, since they can be construed as official positions of the church.

To complicate matters, I have opinions that are not necessarily those of my church, or even those of my co-workers. Heck, even my friends often think I'm wierd. I am a pro-gun, politically conservative, fiscally conservative, registered Republican (currently unhappy with the party--but that's another post).

That puts me in the very small minority in my church. Very small. Tiny.

So, I imagine many of our members would have apoplectic fits if they thought for a minute that my hot air represented some official stance of the church.

Therefore, in order to keep my Senior Pastor, and any of the church leadership, from having to explain anything I say or write here, I have to "hide behind the mask."

Does that make me a coward? I don't think so. Just cautious.

Of course, you are free to disagree. Bring it on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Death Day

Some time ago, 27-year old Terry Joe Sedlacek wrote a simple note in his planner for Sunday, March 8, 2009. Two words: “death day.”

Early Sunday morning, he loaded his gun with 10 rounds, took two additional magazines with 10 rounds each, and drove his red Jeep to First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois, where police believe he waited in the parking lot.

During the 8:15 service, Pastor Fred Winters was standing on the platform to deliver his message on happiness in the workplace, titled “Come On, Get Happy.” Sedlacek walked into the church late and walked to the front. He approached the pastor at the pulpit and they had a brief conversation.

At the end of the conversation, Sedlacek raised his hand, pulled out a gun and shot at the pastor. The bullet hit the top of the pastor's Bible, creating a shower of confetti. The congregation looked on expectantly, believing this to be a skit. Sadly, it wasn’t.

Pastor Winters ran towards the edge of the stage, with Sedlacek chasing parallel to him. The Pastor jumped off the stage and started to run toward the side aisle. Sedlacek came alongside the Pastor and fired three more times, hitting the Pastor once in the chest, before his gun jammed. Sedlacek then pulled out a four-inch knife and turned away. Two church members tackled him and pinned him between the pews. During the struggle all three were injured. Meanwhile, Pastor Winters ran toward the side aisle, but collapsed on the floor halfway up the aisle. He was rushed to Anderson Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

It was all over in a matter of seconds.

My heart and prayer goes out to that church and that family. I can't imagine the grief they must be feeling.

Unfortunately, in this dangerous era, churches often represent a soft target-- easy picking for those who would seek to do violence. Churches are supposed to be open to the public. Moreover, we are to be open to those who are angry and hurt. There are those, however, who rather than seek solace or healing, come with the sole purpose of spreading their private hell.

That’s when we need to be prepared to fight back. And be prepared to fight back with sufficient force to end the threat. There are times when retreat is an acceptable and preferable option. However, if an armed attacker is engaged in an active attack against us or our loved ones, and cover is insufficient, we prepare to attack. We use whatever means is at our disposal to stop the attacker.

Unfortunately, in this case, many were understandably shocked, and stuck to their seats. Two brave men pushed aside their fears and attacked, with no regard to the fact that they might be injured in the process. And they were.

Everyone is shocked when there is a violent event in a church. After all, these things are not supposed to happen. However, there seems to be resistance toward churches taking effective measures to protect themselves from armed attack.

Now, I am not sure if this church had armed security. If they did, I’m not sure where they were. I do know this—the tragic event was over before anyone even thought of calling the police. And, I don’t know how long it takes police to respond in Illinois, but here in my city, the average police response is seven (7) minutes. Four hundred twenty seconds. Count them out. Go ahead—I’ll wait.

Although I have tremendous respect for our police officers, the bottom line is that they are not here to watch over us individually. They exist to protect the order of society, enforce its laws and apprehend those who have already broken the law. In many instances, by the time police are called, the threat is over.

Churches must be prepared for an active shooter scenario. We cannot rely solely on the assistance of the police, because there will likely be no time to call them. We need to ensure that security teams are properly trained and equipped to stop a violent attack.

Contact your insurance company (you do have one, right?) to see what leeway you have regarding armed security.

Make sure that you have a security team large enough to cover your entrances, as well as have a presence inside the church. Some of these should be easily identifiable; others should blend in with the crowd.
Be fully and completely aware of what the law is in your jurisdiction regarding use of deadly force, and the carrying of firearms. Make sure that your security team has members properly trained and certified to be armed security officers. Make this training mandatory, make it continuous, and make it challenging. Keep records.

Issue firearms to competent trained professionals under a defined policy. If team members supply their own, make sure they are properly maintained, duty-type firearms with effective, legal ammunition.

Security team members should be professional, alert, courteous, highly suspicious, and yet not draw attention. They will need to treat members and visitors alike in the same manner they would expect to be treated, yet they must also be ever vigilant.

Security team members should have assigned posts. No one should leave their post unless authorized. Any altercation can also be a ruse to draw security to/from an area. In case of an event, someone should be assigned to call for the police, so that everyone is not waiting for someone else to do it.

Team members should know that they are not the police. Their role is to prevent and intervene in situations that can pose a threat to the church, or those inside. Once the police get on scene, the police take over.

Protect your leaders. They set the direction of the church, and are the head that evil seeks to destroy. Have a defined intervention policy that dictates how far into the church someone can come once the service has started. Keep a trained eye on those who are greeting the pastors. Train to recognize signals of impending aggression, and be on the alert for possible hidden weapons.

I'm no security expert, and I hope these seem like common sense. Let's pray this never happens again. But let's train, not for "if", but for "when."

H/T to Murphy was a Grunt, Roanoke Cop

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Freedom of Religion

The memory of the memorable battles grows cold. The liberals who applaud their outcomes and live in their light forget the motivation that drove the champions of freedom. They approve religious intervention in the political process selectively: it’s great when it’s on their side. In a secular age, Freedom of Speech is more talismanic than Freedom of Religion. But the latter is the first freedom in our Bill of Rights.

Canyon Ferry Road v. Unsworth, concurring opinion, pg 2195.