Wednesday, May 04, 2016

CCW holder shot and killed.

In Arlington, Texas, a man with a CCW tried to make a "citizens' arrest" when a gunman who had just shot his wife in the leg was attempting to flee the scene. The gunman knocked the CCW holder's gun aside and shot him, killing him.

'He thought he could help': Concealed carry gun-wielder intervenes in domestic dispute and is shot dead.

This is sad, to be sure. The CCW holder had the best intentions here, but damn... this was a poor choice, probably brought on by poor or no training. So let us take a minute and look at two of the main issues here, the tactical and the legal.

Tactical fail: The bad guy in this case was already fleeing the scene. He was in his truck and getting ready to drive off when our CCW holder, who had just gone to his own car to get his gun, commanded him to stop and get back of his truck. The shooter got out, but smacked the CCW holder's gun away then shot him. Few things wrong here, beginning with the way that this started. The CCW holder here was in the store as the bad guy fled. Overlooking for a moment the fact that there was no real need to leave the store to go after him here. The store was cover. The CCW holder ran to his car to get his own gun. That car was cover. The CCW holder left THAT cover and ran right up to the shooter, danger-close and unprotected. Not tactically sound at all.

Then there was his trying to give commands to an armed man who he know has just shot someone else. To quote Tuco... "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk." This ain't the movies, and you don't have discussions with armed bad guys. You either shoot them before they can shoot you, or you do not engage at all. Period.

Finally...citizens' arrest? Really? How many CCW holders are trained to make an arrest at all, much less in a situation like this? (Answer = 0) Even assuming that the bad guy doesn't shoot you right off, now what? Got handcuffs? Know how to secure a "prisoner" until the police arrive? Can you safely disarm and search him? And the answer to all of these questions, of course, is "no". So why even try something like that? Because it looked cool in old movies? Those were movies. Don't "arrest" armed bad guys. Either shoot them or don't engage them.

And then there's the Legal fail: The CCW doesn't make you a cop or empower you to make arrests. It basically puts the weapon on your person so that you can, in accordance with the laws of self-defense, protect yourself or others from threats of immediate death or great bodily harm. It doesn't grant you police powers. Here, our shooter had been a threat to the woman that he'd shot at, but he was leaving when our late would-be hero decided to act. Is the shooter a bad person? Yes he is. Does he need to go to jail? Yes he does. But that's the job for the real police at this moment and the smart thing to do is to be a good witness--get his description, his license number and direction of travel. Round up other witnesses and get EMS coming for the victim. There's plenty of helpful things to do without playing John Wayne.

My thought here, without knowing our CCW holder's background, is that he likely didn't have the training that told him stuff along the lines of what I just wrote. Maybe no one ever told him that he could not and should not try to be Dirty Harry all by himself against an armed felon, something that even real, properly-trained cops know better than to do. All I do know about our CCW holder here is that he left a wife and three kids behind, and that's also something all of you need to think about before to go out and jump into a fight that's not even your fight. Protecting yourself or your family members from immediate harm IS your right and duty, but stepping into someone else's fight, or trying to stop a fleeing bad guy whose identity is surely know to the victim and/or which can be divined from his license plate, is just not smart or fair to your own family that may shortly have to get by without you forever.

Your thoughts?

Monday, May 02, 2016

An avalanche of CCW fail

In Pennsylvania last week, a man was shot to death in a church.

Apparently Robert Braxton III was sitting in seats reserved for other members, and when an usher tapped him on the shoulder to ask him to move, he got upset and yelled at the usher, telling him not to touch him. And this little blow-up sparked wanna-be TV action hero Mark Storms into action.

As the usher and the pastor spoke to Braxton and calmed him down, Storms, by all accounts, rushed up to them with a gun drawn, flashed a badge and ordered Braxton to leave the church.

The badge was one of those ones advertised on the internet that simply says "Concealed Weapons Permit Holder". They serve no purpose and are bought exclusively by idiots and morons.

Braxton apparently didn't care for being badged by a poser, because he reportedly told Storms what he could do with his "fake badge" and "fake gun". Then he punched Storms in the mouth.

Storms retaliated by shooting Braxton and killing him.

Gunman fatally shoots Pennsylvania churchgoer after fight over seat at Sunday service

Storms was rightfully arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter. At his arraignment, Storms claimed that he was using his handgun in "self defense", and, apparently without talking to or heeding the advice of a lawyer, he told the police that he was hoping to defuse the situation by showing a gun, which, according to court documents, he's done in the past.

Sigh... it's people like this who mess it up for the rest of us CCW holders and responsible gun owners. The anti-gun crowd always tries to say that we do stuff like this, and even though we all know better, here comes some tosser to do exactly this sort of stupid thing.

So let us count the screw-ups in this case. Feel free to add any that I miss:

1. Storms buys a poser badge that carries no authority but merely identifies him as a concealed weapons permit holder. Why he feels that he needs a shield like real police and other officials carry is not known to me, but it appears that he's got a history of going around flashing it at people, no doubt hoping that it'll be mistaken for a real badge. Impersonating a police officer is both illegal and dangerous, and no one not a sworn Law Enforcement Officer needs to be carrying a badge around, especially a toy badge like this one.

2. Storms decided to butt into a verbal dispute that he wasn't even a party to. No one asked him to help, it was being handled by the appropriate people, and it wasn't his business.

3. Storms pulled his gun (and flashed his toy badge) to intimidate Braxton and get him to do what Storms--who had no authority to act--was ordering him to do.

4. Storms, with his gun out, was close enough to Braxton that Braxton could easily punch him in the face. Had Braxton gone for a disarm instead, he could probably have pulled it off, because Storms was way too close to react to the attempt.

5. While it's plausible to argue that you shot in self-defense in response to an attempt to disarm you, shooting someone for busting you in the lip is pretty much cut-and-dried retaliation. Storms life doesn't appear to have been in danger there; only his ego did.

6. I can't think of anything Storms could do to make this worse, unless...oh, wait--he could give statements to the police about how he was trying seize control of parties having a verbal disagreement by threatening them with his gun. Yeah, that could make it worse, as could having a history of having done this sort of thing before and not learning from those incidents.

All I can say now is that I hope that Storms likes jail food and diverse roommates, because I think that he's going to be getting his fill of both for a long, long time to come.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Jazz Fest, 2016

OK, I'm still damp 24 hours later, but I survived a day of Jazz Fest.

I was invited to accompany my new crazy cat neighbor/aging hippie and full-time writer Beth--a truly wonderful person--and her friend Lolly. (And no, she had no adverbs with her. You know I had to ask anyone named Lolly.) Lolly was from New Jersey, and I scored extra bonus points when she told me this by asking "which exit?"

But we made the quick drive up to the Fairgrounds under clouds which promised a serious soaking...and they did deliver.

Part of the venue. Imagine a dozen or more concerts going on all at once in the same park.

Add food, t-shirts, booze and rain/mud and you've got Jazz Fest.

Seventy-five bucks a day for tickets. And hundreds of thousands of people pay it during the two week-ends that this event goes on.

The rain first drove us into the Gospel Tent, where we heard the Jones Sisters rocking it out.

After a while, the rain stopped, so we wandered a bit. Then Beth and Lolly popped into one hall to hear a band that Beth knew and I went off to get more food and beer. Then the clouds opened up again and I got so wet that I could have jumped in the river to dry off. But on the plus side, the beer line got real short so I loaded up my cargo pants pockets with cans of beer and I was happy for a while.
I listened to a brass band for a while, out in the rain, because...well hell, I was already at my saturation point. Why not?

Back in the hall, a jazz band played, and an impromptu Second Line dance broke out.

It's all fun and games until someone breaks a hip.

And yeah, we joined in.

More wanderings...more music. And I had my beer.

It was more than a little muddy, but that didn't really seem to stop these folks.

All ages got into it.

A bit more wandering put us in Prime view of some Mardi Gras indians.

Some of these costumes can weigh over a hundred pounds and cost thousands of dollars to make--and they're all hand-made.

We wandered more. Drank more, got rained on a bit was great.

Finally we wound up at the Acura stage to catch Susan Tedeschi and the Tedeschi Truck Band, who made a great finale for our day.

More mud.

The way to dress for Jazz Fest...See the Jazz Fest boots?

Although that was not a bad look either...little black dress, jazz boots, beer, and a hat that says "Keep calm and kill zombies".

Looking forward to next year already.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

To be fair, it was an ambiguous question.

So yesterday, I was at the office of a new prosthetic outfit to evaluate them as they evaluated me. The doctor is going down a checklist of activities and asking me if I do them or not.

Doctor: "Do you climb ladders?"
Me: "Yes."

Doctor: "Do you do home repairs?"
Me: "Yes."

Doctor: "Do you do lift heavy objects?"
Me: "Yes."

Doctor: "Do you do care for children?"
Me: "Not particularly."

She stopped and gave me one of those raised eyebrow looks, at which point I realized that I had totally misinterpreted the question. Oops.

Still a decent outfit though. Very knowledgeable about the type of legs I'm using and the associated issues. I think that they're going to get my business.

Adjusting...sort of.

One of the problems I've discovered that is unique to New Orleans is that many of the bars here do not close. They are open 24/7, and that means no "Last Call" at 2AM or whenever.

This is problematic for me in that, without "Last Call", I don't know when it's time to go home.

Keep in mind that these places are like Vegas casinos...window curtains shut, no clocks that you can see, and on-stage entertainment that doesn't stop--everything from singers to comedians to chicks doing erotic poetry reading. (Don't judge unless you were there.)

I'm in one of these places this past weekend...and I just stopped in for a drink or two at around 10PM. Conversations were had, beer was enjoyed, then there was a James Cagney movie on the corner TV that I had to watch, and there was food brought over from the place next door and more conversations and beer were enjoyed. Next thing I know, someone comes in the front door, and I see freaking DAYLIGHT out there. It was almost SIX AM!!! How did that happen?!

So I walked back home, telling myself that I might be getting a bit old for this kind of stuff. About half way there, some guy who is trying to parallel park a construction van in a spot that's probably too small yells over to a drunk guy on the sidewalk to watch him back in.

OK, So the drunk guy watches as he backs up...and backs up...and backs up. Then a loud crunch is heard as he smacks into the little Scion parked behind him. The drunk guy give him a big "thumbs up" and shouts "That's far enough!" Now the van guy is pissed off, but hey--who asked a random drunk guy to do a job that you should have done for yourself, fella? Next time you're trying to park, I'll just keep walking, ok?

And the worst part about getting home at 0630 is that I still have to be in church at 1100. Lack of judgment/common sense does not excuse one from responsibilities.

Definitely getting too old for this stuff. But damn, I'm having fun. And a lot of these bars and late-night art galleries let dogs in, so Murphy and Belle are making new friends, too.

Going to Jazz Fest tomorrow with some of my strange new aging hippie neighbors. I am DEFINITELY not in West Virginia any more. (Although, this aging hippie neighbor is also a Crazy Cat Lady who feeds a dozen or so neighborhood strays...some things are just inescapable, I guess.)

Monday, April 25, 2016

State Elections Have National Consequences

Back in 2013, A significant number of Conservative/Republican voters in Virginia either stayed home and did not vote in that state's gubernatorial elections, or else they showed up at the polls and pissed their votes away on Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate who was in large part financed by the Democrats and intended to be a siphon to take votes away from Republican candidate Kenneth Cuccinelli, a stanch conservative who was rock solid on gun rights. The result was that Terry McAuliffe, a long-time Democrat Party hack known as much for scandal and corruption allegations as he is for being a Clinton loyalist, won the day with a majority smaller than the number of votes given to the "Libertarian" spoiler candidate. The result: McAuliffe, the guy who owes his DNC Chairmanship his election to the highest office in Virginia to the Clintons, runs that critical red/blue swing state going into the 2016 elections. And he's just repaid those favors tenfold by making a move to boost Hillary's chances of securing Virginia's electoral votes in November.

Virginia governor enables 200,000 felons to vote in November

Yep. 206,000 convicted armed robbers, drug dealers, rapists, burglars, car-jackers and other "core Democrat voters" will now be able to vote in November. 206,000 votes would certainly be enough to toss the state to Hillary, but even if we assign these slugs citizens the same turn-out that normal law-abiding people have--roughly 50%--that's still a hundred thousand votes cast. Heck, if only 25% turn out, that's 50,000 votes, and most all of them will likely fall Hillary Clinton's way, because everyone knows that Democrats steal money from everyone who earns it and an armed robber is really just a Democrat in a hurry.

Elections. They matter. McAuliffe should have been stopped in 2013, and because he wasn't, it's now going to be that much harder for every taxpaying, law-abiding conservative voter in VA to be heard on the next election day now that 200,000 felons will be able to cancel out their votes.

Say what you will about the Democrats, but they are consistent. Every time that they find their policies to be out of favor with the majority of mainstream America, they don't change to reflect the will of the people. Rather, they just go out and find new blocs of voters (illegal newly-legalized immigrants, convicted felons, etc.,) who will tilt things back their way.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

You can't always get what you want.

Jackson Square, last night. After the gates were closed.

Sad, sad doggies.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ok, THIS TIME I got it.

The other day, I went out to Lowes, whose parking lot could easily be mistaken for an ICE holding facility based on the number of (presumed) illegal aliens hanging out there in the hope that some contractor will come by and hire them to do one of those jobs that an American would love to do.

While at Lowes, I bought a bunch of lattice to block off the raised area under my house that has proven to be a covered doggie expressway to freedom, at least as far as Belle is concerned.

I dug a trench the length of the house, screwed the lattice to the wall, then filled the trench in around the bottom and put gravel down atop that, thus making a nice, neat Belle-proof barrier that should easily keep her in the back yard.

Took me an hour or so after I got home, and looked damned goods, even if I do say so myself. And now I could but the dogs out and relax, safe in the knowledge that they'd stay in the freaking back yard.

It wasn't half an hour later that I heard something on the FRONT porch. It was Belle. She wanted to come in.

Looking at the gravel, it became clear that as soon as I left her to her own devices, she began methodically probing the new latticework, pushing on it and trying to dig under it every few feet along the length of it until she finally hit a weak spot where two of the sections came together. This she pushed in, and...

Dammit, dammit, dammit...

Now there's a new board screwed to the inside of the lattice where she did that, and it seems secure this time, but knowing Belle, she's got a phillips' head screwdriver stashed out there somepace and is just waiting for me to get complacent again.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Today's young Democrat voters...

Sadly, many are like this one, especially when it comes to support for gun control laws:

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Southern hospitality

Yesterday, I was honored with an invitation to go to Baton Rouge and meet Displaced Louisiana Guy and his wonderful family for dinner. It was a short drive of a little more than an hour from here, and it was a nice one, even with Murphy and Belle along for the ride.

As he describes it on his blog, we spent much time talking about things from "politics, to guns, to food, to dogs, to vet care". There were probably other topics too, but the discussion was eclipsed by this incredible stuff pork roast that he made, and with potatoes and a salad which also topped anything I could ever even hope to learn to make. And there was beer consumed as my two dogs played with his two. This was easily the nicest evening I've spent since coming down here, and it felt good to get out of the city and back out where real people live.

Next time out, I'm hoping to meet his father, Pawpaw, another interesting blogger who lives somewhat nearby as well.

I still miss my West Virginia-area friends something fierce, but meeting quality people like these folks down here makes that a bit easier.

Check out both of their blogs if you haven't done so already. You'll be glad that you did.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Just walking along...then this happened.

Some random fashion designer, model and photographer in tow, came up and asked if they could use Murphy and Belle in their photo shoot.

As you can guess, I said "uh...sure."

And they were so well-behaved.

Not sure what publication that they're going to be in, but they look great, don't they?

I was so proud of them that I didn't even notice that she wasn't wearing anything under that "dress" except a silver thong. (!!!)

And no, I did not manage to get her number. It didn't even dawn on me to ask until she was gone.

Yeah, I'm like that some days...especially on days that end in "y".