Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Addition To The Blog Roll...

...this one under other bloggers of note, or whatever I call it over on the right side of the page. It is Kansas City Old Time Music. Reminds me of the days I used to attend blue grass festivals and fiddle contests when going to Dead shows. I had to stop going to concerts because of all the second hand smoke in the air; once I got my career job as a fed, I did not want to light up like a Christmas tree if they gave me a pee test. Sure do miss the shows though. Maybe I could see one nowadays, as I understand and as I saw at the Willie Nelson show in Manhattan last year there is no smoking of any kind allowed.

Well, the link to the new blog is in the list to the right and here it is again if you want to click it without having to search for it. Has some good links to music videos there, love those old timers on the fiddles:

All the best,
Glenn B

The Big Snow of December 2010?

I know it snowed a lot in my hometown last winter when I was away in Phoenix. I had thought for sure my wife then appreciated all the shoveling I had done over the years since she finally got her fill of it last year. Apparently it did not sink in on her, she told me tonight the thought of buying me a snowblower for my birthday or Christmas never crossed her mind. How I wish it had done so though. I was out twice, once about 3 hours ago or so and again just minutes ago to shovel. I figure it to have been at least 6 inches the first time around and at least as much to an inch or two more this last time around. The thing is, it does not look as if this last time around will have been the last time I shovel before it is all over. It is still coming down from what I can tell although truth be told, it is hard to tell. The wind is blowing hard, I figure gusts up to about 40 or so - just a guess mind you, but hard enough to send it all sideways and to make it pile up in some sizable drifts here and there and to make it difficult to tell if it is just blowing around what has already fallen or if new stuff is still coming down.

I wasn't going to do the whole sidewalk and side patio again, I was just going out to shovel a path in the backyard and a swath large enough for our two Chihuahuas to do their makings for the night. Once outside though, even our mid sized mutt, Mimi, would not go except in the area I had shoveled. Usually she loves to run in the snow but it is just that nasty out right now. She did her thing on command and ran right back to the door to get inside. The little ones went too - and I am happy that means no new spots on the basement carpet!

Well, once I got done making space for the dogs, I decided why not go at it all once again. The side of my house where we have a small patio was really piled high, I'd say about 8 to 10 inches. Got that done then went out front and did the sidewalk and front walk and part of the driveway, just enough to walk past the cars to the sidewalk to clear it. Was not as bad out front, you could actually see I had shoveled there earlier, could not tell that on the side of the house or in the back where I also made a swath for the dogs earlier. Just out and out nasty. Nice night for a snowball fight I guess, but there were no takers around to join in, so I am back inside where it is warm. My jacket, sweater, hat, mittens are all in the dryer. My jacket sleeves and the body of the jacket were actually kind of stiff by the time I got back inside. It had been wet from earlier. I guess it is pretty cold out there, enough to start freezing my jacket as soon as I stopped moving/shoveling. I did not feel it being I had been moving and shoveling. Oh well, time for a wee dram of Irish.

I dread seeing what it looks like tomorrow morning. Worst of all I dread what more I may have to shovel. I think the AM will call for the youngun getting out there with me. He worked all day today so I gave him a break tonight, but no free passes tomorrow.

All the best,
Glenn B

Global Warming Figured Out

Eureka, I hit it. I figured out Global Warming. It is going to get warmer globally because of all the heaters we have turned on because it is so friggin cold outside. Al Gore was right after all; what a genius is that man, so much of one I could almost idolize him!

Ballseye's Gun Shots 102 - An Armed Encounter, Joe Was Lucky

Do you own a gun? Are you prepared to protect your own life and those of your loved ones from harm? Are you willing to put yourself in harms way for them and to protect your property? Plenty of folks are willing to do those things, plenty of them are gun owners. As I mentioned in another post, being armed is no magic umbrella that protects you from harm. Yet, some folks probably think that pointing a firearm at someone is just that - a magic and bulletproof umbrella that protects them from all things evil such as a bad guy's bullets. An apparent example of such, or at least an example of a homeowner going about defending his home in the what I think was a very risky way can be seen in the embedded video. What you are about to see is a video of a homeowner, who has left the security of his home, to go outside to check on two intruders who have entered his garage. There is no doubt (at least in my mind) the bad guys were intent on doing bad things such as burglary or armed robbery or worse so the homeowner was more than justified to use deadly force. He almost used it bu in the end all he did was displayed a firearm and I think he is lucky he lived.

There are some things that are debatable as to whether or not the homeowner (or resident) should have done them. I will not argue those points but will point them out. First of all, he left the security of the house to go out to confront the intruders. There were two of them and one of him. Should he have done that or just called 911 - debatable since he puts himself in much more danger by confronting them. Secondly he bursts into the garage with gun pointed out in front of him at the bad guys, well at one of them because he loses sight of the other really quickly. Now wait a minute, did I miss it or did you. Actually, when he bursts into the garage he does not keep the gun exactly pointed at the bad guys. Look at it again if you need to. What he does is he uses his right hand to move the tarp covering the garage entrance out of his way. Yep, you guessed it, the right hand is also holding his gun. Should he have done that? Maybe you think it debatable but not me, I know he should not have done it, he should have used his left hand to pull back the tarp if pulling back the tarp should have been done at all. That last part is very debatable. Then, he finally does get the pistol on the right target, on the guy who remains in the garage and who also is armed with a pistol. Should our hero have stood his ground and held aim on the bad guy the way he did? Debatable - maybe. What is not debatable is that he holds that pistol out in front of him as if it were some sort of magic wand that was protecting him from harm. I don't care what he was thinking or what he was not thinking because it was ingrained in his subconscious, it was, at least in my opinion, wrong - wrong - wrong! Look at the video and if you want to even think about debating what I just wrote saying he used the pistol like a shield, then ask yourself why else is he not taking cover other than for the fact he believes (consciously or unconsciously) the pistol to be a magic shield.

There are right ways and wrong ways to handle any given situation and sometimes there are just ways. Sometimes you get lucky and have a split second to think about doing it the right way as opposed to the wrong way. Other times you are not so lucky and shit happens fast and you just have to do it. Yet other times, you have a lot of time. For Joe (our stalwart homeowner) he had time, more than was needed to think about what he was doing. I am pretty sure he thought he was doing the right thing to defend his loved ones and his home. I think defense of loved ones and home is a good thing, personal opinion. I think the way you go about though can be right or wrong. One of the ways to know if you are did it right or wrong is too think about it after you have done it. Luckily for Joe, the gun the bad guy had was apparently unloaded, at least that was its condition when police later found it. Think though - would this situation have turned out the same for Joe had the bad guy been holding a loaded weapon? Do you think Joe would have come out of it unharmed or even alive had the criminal's gun been loaded? My bet is that Joe was never trained and or not practiced enough in what to do should a situation as this arise. Even without that training though, I bet even Joe might have some second thoughts about how he handled this situation now that he gets to see it again and again on video.

First of all, Joe and anyone who uses a gun for defense, has to realize - a firearm is not a magic shield. It will not protect you from bullets or knives if they are coming at you. Sure you can shoot a bad guy with it but if you stand there in a sort of Mexican standoff - each pointing a gun at one another - chances are the first guy who pulls the trigger will be the winner - at least if his gun is loaded. Now Joe may not have been thinking, hey all I have to do is hold my gun out and tell the bad guy to lay his down or tell him to get out of my garage or tell him whatever. Yet it seems that is exactly how Joe was acting - as if his gun was a shield and as long as he held it pointed at the bad guy no harm would come to him. Joe seemed prepared to defend his loved ones and his home and himself but he seemed unprepared to do one thing - to actually squeeze the trigger and send a bullet down the barrel, out of the muzzle, through the air, and into center mass of the guy who was confronting him. Instead he waved and pointed the pistol at the bad guy and then crouched a bit and backed up some and looked very tacticool but still he did not do what he should have done as I see it. I think it undebatable - I think Joe should have shot the other guy, the bad guy, who was pointing a gun at him! Yeah I know, it turned out okay, but remember the bad guys gun wasn't loaded. Did Joe know that? Doubtful at best unless this is a hoax video that was all staged. Apparently though the police believe it was real armed encounter. Joe should have, in my opinion, fired and fired again if the threat was still there and fired until the threat was there no longer - and he should have been moving to cover and taking cover while shooting.

Of course, I am thinking that and saying that, in relation to the situation that Joe found himself once he entered the garage and had the other guy point a pistol at him. I don't think Joe should have found himself in that spot in the first place. I think he would have been much better off staying inside the house and calling 911 and waiting for the police. He could have kept his gun at the ready to protect his family or loved ones and himself. He would have been on better ground so to speak and probably remained out of harms way. Then again, it was Joe's garage the bad guys were in. (What would Frank Zappa have thought about it being Joe's Garage!) For all I know, Joe had his fortune hidden in there, or had things that support his livelihood in there such as his guitars for his work in a band, or tools for work in a garage, or maybe he had weapons in there he did not want stolen. Whatever, he decided to go outside to confront the bad guys, that was his decision. Still though, Joe could have done it better once he had made that decision. He could have gotten down behind cover outside the garage and ordered the bad guys to put down their weapons. He did not even have to see any weapons first, just tell them to lay then down - bluff. Then he could have ordered them out of the garage - hands in the air and then told them to get down on there knees facing the garage or to lie down facing away from himself. He had options that would not have placed him in as much potential danger as he did to himself when he burst into the garage like Paul Kersey or Dirty Harry or James Bond or Superman.

Now, once he was inside the garage and he realized shit one guy took off but the other guy is pointing a gun at me - he had several other options. One was to open fire immediately. Sure you can say something like 'don't move or I'll shoot' and the bad guy, the one with a loaded gun anyway, can shoot you as you are saying it. Remember he already has the gun pointed at you or in this case at Joe. Maybe Joe decided not to shoot because the gas line was right behind the bad guy, or maybe the door to inside the house was there and he figured it could hit one of his loved ones if he missed, maybe he thought talk was best, or maybe - deep down inside - he just did not want to shoot because it is not an easy thing to be brought up right and then shoot someone. The thing is he had other options than to stand there like the gun would protect him just by virtue of him pointing it at the bad guy. That is movie bullshit plain and simple. It did not save him in this situation, what saved him was the bad guy was out of bullets before it even started. Chances are though, if a bad guy is pointing a gun at you, he has bullets loaded in the gun and he is willing to use it to hurt or kill you. You take an extremely high risk to your life and limbs to think otherwise.

So what were the other options Joe could have taken once he saw the pistol in the bad guy's hand pointing at him - options other than just pointing his gun back at the bad guy. As I said, he could have shot the bad guy and i think he should have done so. He could also have sought cover. Cover was only a couple to a few steps away at most and making yourself a moving target while moving to it would make you a harder to hit target. If you do not see the cover he could have used effectively - you are blind. Joe was kind of blind too. Not that he wasn't seeing but he had tunnel vision - can you see that. He was zeroed in on the bad guy and his pistol, those two things were probably the only things he saw at the moment. He was probably only thinking about them too. Cover was likely far from his mind. What to actually do to get himself out of harms way or to make him the winner in that situation may have crossed his mind but he did not choose to do them. Remember the only apparent reason he was not shot was because it seems the bad guy's gun was unloaded.

The bad guy had a bead on Joe just as Joe had one on him. The bad guy was as close to Joe as Joe was to the bad guy. Joe was not behind cover and the bad guy had an open shot at Joe from close combat distance just as Joe had at the bad guy. Tell me - what was Joe thinking? What methods in which he had been trained was he using to defend himself and his property at that moment. I think it was HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Encore, The Movie Channel and the big screen movie theater method that he was using. The truth is, if you were properly trained and then practiced at it and truly prepared yourself for such a scenario, you would usually react as you have been trained to react. Then you switch it just a bit and you no longer simply react but you act (as opposed to react) as you have been trained as as you choose to improvise. In other words you take over, you take command of the situation, you make the bad guy react to your actions not the other way around. Joe did some of that, he confronted the bad guys, he seemingly ordered the bad guy to do something (looked to me as if he was talking), he crouched, he moved but he did not do all he should have done. He should have shot (had he a relatively safe shot) and should have been moving to cover as he was doing so. That is once he had already found himself in that situation with the bad guy just feet away pointing a gun at him. It is absolutely undebatable in my mind. You can tell me otherwise, you can tell me your training was different (I would like to meet the guy who would tell you otherwise just to know whose training system to avoid), and you can tell me over and over again how it all worked out well for Joe so it must have been right. All I would say to that is it was Joe's lucky day because the bad guy was an asshole who was carrying a gun that wasn't loaded.

Watch the video, tell me what you think. While I just said some things were undeabatable, I know there really is always room for discussion on such maters. It's just that right now, in my thinking, Joe is lucky to be alive because I see most of what he did as just plain out foolish. Now note, I am not saying that to berate or belittle Joe. I think he is a brave guy to be willing to defend his own. I laud him for that. I just think he went about it in a way that he could have done much better at it had he been trained by a competent instructor in a good method of home defense, that is had he then practiced at his training and had he not let emotions take over his thought processes. Not letting emotions take over your thought processes is of extreme importance in such situations and if you have been trained and are well practiced then, I believe, you are more likely to remain more logical as opposed to more emotional when it counts. Like I said, watch the video. Then tell me just how lucky you think Joe was that the other guy's gun was not loaded.

By the way, did you get a load of the bad guy's pants, the one with the gun. I am amazed he could effect a get-away with droopy drawers like those.

All the best,
Glenn B

Code for Strike Over, Code For Strike Out, Code for Strike, Strike, New York, NY

This post is a test of a theory I have about a previous post I made using similar terms to those in the header. I may or may not explain later depending on how idiotic or not the results would make me appear.