Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Swine Flu and You...

...and just what you can do to prevent becoming infected by it should be issues of primary concern to you right now. Why primary concern, well if for no other reason than because the Department of Homeland Security is fumbling the ball once again or so it seems in the face of a possible pending disastor. The swine flu was once believed to have combined with bird flu in pigs and then subsequently was believed to have been transferred to humans causing the 1918 flu pandemic; and is still believed to be capable of causing the next pandemic we will face. You may recall just a couple or few years back there were great concerns among public health officials, politicians, and scientists worldwide (as presented by the media) that we would soon be facing a new flu pandemic. Hopefully this current outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, the southern border states of the USA and in New York City will not evolve into an epidemic or worse into a pandemic but hope means little in the case of such diseases, and this strain has already shown itself capable of being spread from person to person and thus all of the concern. So what is left to do beyond hope that will help you fend off such an illness?

There is probably not much that the government can do to protect us should an epidemic occur, but there are steps to be taken by government to try to prevent the spread of the disease and apparently they are serious about at least trying something: If what they are doing will be enough only time will tell, but surely this already could have been handled better since they have been yammering about the possibility for at least the last few years now (but oh yes that was the Bush regime and why would the current kingdom take advice from them).

The government could possibly have done something to very good effect had good border security already been in place once the first cases of this were noted in Mexico and they could have completely closed the borders. The truth of the matter is though that we have piss poor border security and tens of thousands of illegal aliens flow across our borders daily like water through a breached levy. The flu is already here so trying to stop and contain it at the border will not work. Of course the government could prevent anyone else who is outside of our borders and who already has the flu from entering and thereby spreading it further through that route. To do so the president would need to (and in my opinion should) in essence declare martial law along our borders and deploy the military with orders of shoot to stop anyone trying to enter illegally. Legal border crossings also would have to be halted completely until the flu had run its course. Others things that the government could do to prevent the spread here in the USA would follow those that Mexico has already implemented (see:,2933,517737,00.html.) These would be to shut down schools and other places where people meet and spread diseases regularly such as child care centers. People would be requested or required to work from home instead of at the office whenever possible. Meeting places such as houses of worship could be closed (see also: People with the disease would likely be quarantined (either voluntarily or forcefully). Do you think this sounds far fetched? if so go to and read what they say. Here is a link where the G discusses it in an FAQ format:

Granted, at, they were talking about avian flu; but if you lock at the current response of the government you will realize they are now just as concerned over the current outbreak of Swine Flu. Why is that, well if for no other reason that pigs are so closely related to humans and the disease is easily passed between the two. Yet this disease is even more worrisome because it is being so easily transmitted between humans. Even though the site was apparently mostly about avian flu, one quick glance will show you their top news on that site currently is all about this outbreak of swine flu. The government is worried; and if these indecisive fumbling politicians are that worried maybe we should be worried too. The difference between the government and us though is that we can actually take some steps to try to reduce the risk of us getting this disease and we can do it now. The government can try to reduce the risks but the thing is they have already waited too long, the borders should have been restricted years ago, and should have been closed as soon as news of deaths in Mexico were confirmed, and if not then well certainly once the strain here in the USA was confirmed as being the same as that in Mexico where over 1,000 people have been infected in virtually no time (see: Take this outbreak seriously, even if the government does not tell you to do so, and be prepared just in case it does begin to spread like wildfire.

So exactly what can we do? Well we can and should start to implement strict health precautions. Start washing your hands many times a day. Carry alcohol gel cleanser with you at all times. if you must shake another person's hand or if you come in body to body contact (such as if a doctor treating a patient or police officer searching a suspect) well then wash up immediately afterward. Go out and buy whatever type of respirator (protective respiratory mask like you use for sanding or spraying paint but made to control disease) that the CDC recommends to help contain this disease (one to prevent yourself from getting it and another to prevent yourself from giving it to another if you have it). Stock up on canned goods, dry goods, frozen foods, bottled water, water filters, medical supplies. Buy a portable radio and flashlights and make sure you have plenty of batteries. Buy candles and matches. If you are armed check your ammo supplies. Get a 90 day supply of whatever prescription meds you need and get it now if at all possible; don't wait for this as you certainly will want to avoid pharmacies during a major outbreak of flu if there is an actual epidemic or pandemic. Teach your families about how to avoid contact with others in order to avoid the flu. Avoid large meetings of people, avoid physical contact such as hand shaking and contact sports, avoid gyms, avoid houses of worship (you can pray at home with your family just as effectively as you can at church). You do not need to be hermits, at least not until an outbreak actually occurs, but safe health habits are a thing to consider as are what to do should this outbreak turn into an epidemic or pandemic.

Not convinced yet, think that I am just another fanatic, nut or doomsayer, well then read the info at this link: Pay careful attention to all of the info at that link and especially to the small chart at the end of that page. Compare the two columns, one showing the effects of a pandemic of a mild strain of flu and one show the effects of a 1918 type flu. The first two rows seem to give virtually the same numbers. Then you get to numbers of people who will likely need to be hospitalized - it is an staggering jump. Then you move on to those needing care in ICU, the increase in numbers is awesome. Finally you arrive at the number of deaths caused by a mild type of flu as opposed to a severe type of flu like that of the 1918 pandemic. If you read that and do not immediately start to take some type of precautions you are less than intelligent. Remember, I am not trying to get you to panic, but I am trying to get you to educate yourself about the possible outcomes of what we are now faced with and to get you to d something to protect yourself and your loved ones. It may be all for naught, the outbreak may subside quickly. Then again it may spread just as quickly. Which would you rather be a victim or a survivor. I know the answer, and since it appears there is something I can do to try to prevent catching this illness, well then, I am going to do it. I suggest you do the same and that you take this outbreak seriously and be prepared just in case it does begin to spread like wildfire.

Of course, not to far down the road, someone on the news will be asking a politician or a public health official if this is possibly related to terrorism. It will be a good question and is one that the government should be looking into already behind the scenes. If terrorism is suspected and confirmed then the only way to contain the outbreak and recurrence or further waves of the outbreak will be to stop the terrorists who are spreading it. Why? Because even if the disease stops naturally, they will have more of it to spread around again and again. Hopefully this is not the cause, hopefully even the terrorists are not that fucking stupid, but heck I just keep thinking of that move 12 Monkeys and the thought of this possibly having been spread intentionally chills me to the bone. Enough of that though, it is just conjecture about possibilities for now.

For more information on the current outbreak of swine flu, and the pandemic of 1918, and what you can do to try to protect yourselves, go to these reference links:

Stay healthy; and remember this is not a case of anyone saying the sky is falling, but it sure is one heck of a tornado warning so follow the advice of the Boy Scout motto: 'Be prepared'!

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The ICE is melting...

...apparently from the top down, or so it seems. I just heard, on the news, that there have been calls for the resignation of Janet Napolitano as the head of DHS (parent department of ICE, the agency for which I work). cannot say that I am surprised after the things she has been saying and doing recently - things like what she said about 'right wing extremists' totally leaving out those on the left and seeming to implicate military veterans, gun owners, religious people, and those opposed to illegal immigration as prime candidates to become extremists, with her saying the 9/11 terrorists came into the USA from Canada, her stance on Work Site Enforcement investigations, her giving illegal aliens work permits, and the list goes on and on.

I get the feeling that many Americans are beginning to think it is amateur hour in our federal government lately, especially in the cases of political appointees selected by the president. As for me, well I'll keep my opinion on this one to myself, sort of job security by doing so.

Range Day

I spent last Friday at quarterly qualifications for my agency here in Tucson. To say that things are done differently than they are when I qualify at my home office in NY would be an understatement. I am not going to go into the specifics of how we differ at how the range is handled but I will say I was somewhat surprised at the amount of difference in techniques used by the instructors since we are a single agency with set rules and methods on how to run qualifications. Mind you now, I am not saying anything was done wrong - just different. We shot at a local sheriff's department range and I'll say man that was different too. Pretty spartan as far as police ranges go that I have visited before, but certainly up to the task.

As for me, I had a ball. I don't get to shoot on days as nice as was last Friday here in Tucson. Temps were in the 70s and there was a mild breeze at our backs. We had an outdoor class, then got right into qualifications. We shot in two shifts of about 10 people each shift, that keeping in line with the ratio of instructors to shooters. I was pretty happy with my shooting - well not so happy with my shooting the new Sig, but I guess I should not be too disappointed with a 246 out of 250. With the Glock 26 I shot somewhat better scoring 249 out of 250. The perfect score was just a bit too elusive for me that day. Only one other agent shot better than me getting a 250 on one of his quals, but let's just say he did not do so well on his other qual. I guess that had something to do with his shooting the wrong target that time around. He did a requal after that, but had a dismal but passing score on that.

I was very disappointed with my shotgun score first time around. I only got 4 out of 5; and my grouping of the 4 that were in was lousy. That can be attributed to a problem I was having racking the slide forward after each shot. It took a considerable second effort to get it to go forward. One of the instructors tried it and he too had the same problem and he is bigger and more muscular than me by far. That made me feel a little better because I am now certain it was the shotgun and not me. With me here on temporary duty I imagine it will not get sent in to our armorers until I return to my regular duty station. So I suppose that means a pool shotgun for me when out on operations. I may strip it down this weekend and try to figure out what is wrong with it, but I want to do so at a range and not i my hotel room since figuring out the problem will probably require trying to cycle live rounds though it. I kind of like my hotel walls intact and I'll bet the hotel management and other guests like em that way to.

If anyone else is having a similar problem with a Remington 870 while cycling 2 3/4" slugs through it, please let me know if you have found a solution.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Still Alive and Kicking in Arizona

Yes folks I am still above ground and breathing; I just have not had time to blog, and very little access to a computer when I do have the time. I'll try something for this weekend.

All the best,

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Vote On The 2nd Amendment - Do it Now

I removed the link to the so called poll on the 2nd Amendment. Why? Well because every time I visited the link, and no matter how many more thousands or tens of thousands of votes were tallied, the end result was always 97% in favor, 2% opposed and 1% undecided with regard to the right to keep and bear arms being an individual right. Obviously the poll was a sham. Sorry to have bothered you with it.


Yeeeeeee-haaaah - I spent about 3 1/2 hours today in an A-Star Helicopter with a Customs & Border Protection pilot out of Tucson. never having been in a helicopter before I will readily admit to a bit of apprehension before we took off, but once the skids left the ground it was all exhilaration. We flew south west of Tucson and assisted a few Border Patrol Agents who were on the ground looking for a group of illegals. Never found them but we did spot a horse skeleton, two coyotes, about 30-40 jackrabbits, probably the same number of cattle, a few flocks of doves, several vultures, a few hawks, and so forth. I had a blast and am keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to do it a few more times before I leave the area.

Here is a link to a video of an A-Star, not of the one I was in mind you, just something I found on You Tube

All the best,
Glenn B

Tucson Is GOOD For Me

So far, while out here in the beautiful southwest, I have lost 6 pounds. Well actually about 5 3/4 pounds but who is splitting hairs (by the en of this week it should hit at least minus 6 pounds - therefore about 2 pounds a week so far). The only thing I have done differently so far is to have cut out virtually all of my snacking on junk food. The only snacks i have had have been nuts and fresh fruit. I have stayed totally away from things like: potato chips, corn chips, tortilla chips, pretzels, cakes, cookies, candies, dried/sweetened fruit snacks, granola bars, soda (had one or two with sugar, otherwise they have been artificially sweetened). If I keep the weight loss up at this rate, and really stay here until the third week of June, well I figure I will lose at least another 20 pounds. That would be great but I also plan to start exercising regularly with the coming weekend. I figure at least 45 minutes to one hour of running/walking on the tread mill 3 days per week, and at least one hike in the mountains per week. That should trim me down even faster although I am not really concerned about losing weight swiftly. I would rather take it off slowly, and really get used to the new diet, the new exercise routine, and the new me so as to be better able to keep it going long term. This time around do not not to gain the weight back like I did several years ago when dropped about 40 pounds. I kept it off for 1 1/2 years that time, I intend to keep it off for my forever this time.

If I do keep the diet going, and do start exercising then, before I leave Tucson to return home, I suppose I will be below the 200 pound mark for the first time in years. I am hoping to get to 190 by then and think it possible with the diet and regular exercise. I will be satisfied with 200 though or anything below that. Then when I get home the real test will start, to see if i can continue the diet when back in the old grind with the old routines and habits (hopefully not the snacking and couch potato habits). Wish me luck.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's The Weekend

Well here we are at the start of another glorious weekend. Why glorious, if for no other reason than I don't have to work and hopefully neither do you. Sometime around 10, I am hoping to get away to Tombstone and Douglas, AZ for some area familiarization. Yesterday at work we visited the ports at Nogales. I hope I do not offend anyone when I say my personal opinion of Nogales, AZ is less than stellar. What a mess and a fairly smelly one too and the temps were only in the low 80s. With luck I won't have to head down that way all to much during the rest of my stay in Tucson.

Today the weather is cloudy and cool. Not bad but it does look like rain. I am none to sure my coworker who is to make the trip with me will still be all that hot on going to Tombstone but if not I suppose we can find another attraction to visit. There sure are a lot of things to do around here. Some I was already familiar with from previous visits here, others I have discovered for myself, and yet others I was made aware of by folks at the forums at The Gun Counter. Some spots I definitely will try to visit during my stay here are: more hiking trails (already did the Pima Canyon trail twice, and Madera Canyon once), Old Tucson, The Titan Missile Museum (off of Interstate 19 on the way to Nogales), The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Mt. Lemon, the Kitt's Peak Observatory, a couple of casinos (can you say mama needs a new pair of shoes, come on snake eyes) and on and on.

I have more pics to post from a trip to Pima Canyon, but need to wait till I get to a decent computer outside of the hotel to edit them before posting.

All the best,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Busy At Work...

... is my excuse for not blogging a heck of a lot lately. This week has been a bit hectic. So far I worked 13 hours on Monday, 12 hours yesterday and a regular 8 hour day today. I don't figure I'll be getting a lot of time to blog while out here, especially in light of the fact we will probably be a lot busier than we have been so far. A good thing is that this weekend should be free so I am hoping to get in another hike at Madera Canyon, and maybe a trip to the border with a visit to Tombstone on the return trip. That should give me something to blog about if I have enough time on Saturday and Sunday. Sorry there has not been more, but thems the breaks.

All the best,
Glenn B