Sunday, June 29, 2014

I Never Once Shot A Dog... my 32 years plus some as a law enforcement officer / federal agent. I know very few who did during the span of my career.

While in the Border Patrol for four (4) years, I was in and out of peoples front and back yards, on their farms and ranches in their garages, barns, sheds, cattle pens, chicken coops and every imaginable place you might encounter a dog (or an illegal alien) and I had run-ins with plenty of them. The worst I ever had to do was whack one with a mag light because it was lunging at me about to bite me and I hit it square across the top of its snout. I have had them bark and growl at me, bear their teeth while literally within inches of me, snap their jaws, come at me fast and slow, jump over a fence and come at me snarling (probably the second largest Dobermans I have ever seen) and it got very close like feels its breath close and I handled everyone of them without shooting because shooting was not necessary - even when I was just about crapping my pants scared - it never came to that. (As a side note, had it happened today though, being older and wiser and less ballsy, I would probably have shot that Doberman.)

Heck, I don't even think I ever had to shoot one with pepper spray (at last not while in the Border Patrol). I spent the next three years or so in the Customs Patrol, mostly at JFK Airport, but even had a few run-ins with dogs then when on special assignments or while working cases away from the airport. Then I spent the next 25 plus years as a Criminal Investigator/Special Agent mostly with Customs and then some with DHS after 911. I had plenty of additional encounters with dogs during that 25 year span. They came when we were on investigations out on surveillance, or on raids executing search and arrest warrants, primarily in narcotics smuggling and distribution investigations and money laundering cases. Again, I had dogs act aggressively toward me and toward the other LEOS who were with me at least scores if not hundreds of times over the years. Not only did I never find it necessary to shoot one of those dogs but neither did anyone else with me on any of those operations.

Today, it is a different world. You hear or read about one shooting of a dog after another or so it seems. It appears that all too often that a good number of those shooting are questionable as I suppose they should be to some extent though probably not with as much biased attention as animal rights groups or the media gives to them. Take for example the latest dog shooting out in Salt Lake City. The police were entering onto peoples private property(ies) reportedly without warrants and apparently without permission of the owners(s) or resident(s). They may well have been justified to do so because there may have been exigent circumstances; they were reportedly looking for a missing child. The thing is before you enter someone's backyard, unless in hot pursuit of a criminal or attempting to prevent imminent harm to someone, you would under such circumstances knock on the door to ask permission. You would also ask if anyone was back there or if there were any hazards (such as dogs) in the yard. It took me all of my first dog encounter to learn that, let alone the adult tiger with which I came face to face in a shed, on a ranch in the Imperial Valley, CA, when I was a Border Patrol Agent and the circus was in town (but that is another story and I swear it is true).

I also learned that if no one was home and I needed to enter the yard to search it, or even if I was in hot pursuit of a suspect, one of the best things to do besides to take a look before leaping was to make a lot of noise. It could save you, from at best, a hasty retreat with a Doberman Pincer on your trail or worse yet from being bitten by a German Shepard (two very popular dogs when and where I was in the BP and two I faced from time to time).

Now don't get me wrong. Some other guys shot dogs back then and I would have too had it been called for in any given encounter with one or more of them; I almost did it at least a couple of times. With other LEOs with whom I worked, it happened but was rare thing - especially in town. One of the main reasons was because if in town there was usually too much of a chance that you might hit something else than the dog - like someone in the path of the bullet if you missed the dog and mind you, I was and am an excellent shot but still had that concern. Another reason was because there usually are other ways to avoid being attacked and bitten by a dog than to shoot it - some still utilizing potential deadly force and others not, some even not using force against the dog at all. Retreat (fairly to very effective), mace (not very effective), OC spray (very effective), use of an impact weapon (often effective), use of a blocking device (fairly effective to excellent depending on what you use to block), and giving verbal commands such as a sort of growling "NO" or "SIT" often are enough. Those techniques, among others, worked well, so often that in at least the high scores to maybe even hundreds of encounters with dogs I have not shot one yet and not even one of them ever bit me while I was working.

So why is it today that LEOs shooting dogs seems to be common place. I don't know but I imagine it has a lot to do with how they have been trained (or to do with lack of proper training). Also, the attitude of too many police today that the only important part of their job is that they get home safe at night (which they should all strive to do but it is not the only important duty they with which they are obligated) may have a lot to do with it. The police unions evidently pound that into their heads and, I think, are thus fostering the us against them attitude that too many LEOs probably have had since the beginning of law enforcement work. They are making it easier for them to think their lives are almost always threatened by just about anything not in LE - the them or in other words the dog in this case. It may also have to do with unnecessary risks officers take. Did this officer take an unnecessary risk by not shaking a fence, not calling out to see if a dog would respond, not checking with the owners and so on? If so, that could have been because of piss poor training or because the particular officer involved is a risk taker or an idiot.

Then again, it could also have had to do with the dedication and zeal an officer has to doing his duty. After all, in the case at hand, they were looking for a missing child or so it was reported . I am sure that in a missing child case each officer does his best to find that child. I would bet they all thought they were doing their best to find the kid and maybe, just maybe, an officer might overlook a potential threat to get that job done - that is to find the child before harm comes to the young one. 

Of course, the seeming frequency of dog shootings by LEOs could have nothing to do with it actually being more frequent an occurrence today than it used to be many years ago. It could be due to the frequency at which the media reports it in today's world where they might have just ignored it years ago because it was not as sensational back then as it is now with the larger amount of animal rights types in our current world.

Then there is also the possibility of sloppy LE work that could lead to something like this. I am not saying that happened here but it could have and it sometimes does result in catastrophic and sad results. Subsequent to the dog being killed, the missing child was found sleeping in his/her own home. So one has to wonder was sloppy LE work part of the cause. Did someone report the child missing and then LE Officers missed him in his own home during the search of it, did they not even bother to search it, or was it something else altogether like them doing a thorough search and the child snuck back into the home after the search? There are a lot of questions to be asked and some will be answered without any further checking needed but others may require a bit more inquiry. In this case it should center on the shooting of the dog and on the rest of the situation as related to that shooting. The truth is though that dog shootings seem to have become the 'in thing' in way too many LE encounters with them and they are going to be scrutinized more and more by the public and eventually by politicians and then the police if they continue to increase in frequency or if just one results in harm to an innocent person.

Of course, if the officer was justified and could not have prevented or avoided an imminent threat from the dog in another more practical manner, then all is right as rain - as they say. In that case, I say good that he blasted the dog and was not injured himself. Yes if that is the case I would support the officer and I would also empathize with and sympathize for the owner the dog and fully understand his loss and anger over it. But as I said, I would support the officer 100 percent. By the way, I also really feel bad for the dog regardless of how or why this happened - the dog was in fact innocently and by its nature protecting its territory if it threatened the officer as reported. 

In this particular case, I will not cast stones but nor can I lend my support to the officer involved except to give him the benefit of the doubt that he used good judgment and shooting the dog was necessary - that is at least for now. Regardless of how anyone thinks about this shooting of man's best friend, we should question it because to not question a shooting resulting in a fatality, even of a dog, we would be negligent. It is the same thing that his superior officers should be doing. They should be asking tough questions, sort of like the ones I just proposed and implied. If the shooting was not justified several things could come about that could have devastating outcomes later on. Imagine if you will that the officer is allowed to continue to work in an armed capacity but was unjustified in this shooting - will he do it again? Or think about whether or not, by reckless judgment, he put himself in a situation that easily could have been avoided and thus not resulted in an encounter with the dog in the first place yet, it would have gotten the job done as well or better had it done it otherwise. We don't need some type of a yahoo cowboy shooting up Dodge City without justifiable cause nor do we need an officer who unnecessarily puts himself into harm's way and then has to shoot his way out of it to save his own butt. So ask the questions and if the guy did it right - then so be it. On the other hand, if he did it wrong, take care of it.

So at the very least, there should be a complete and professional investigation of what happened - without assumptions made ahead of time. I would like to see the officer coming out smelling like a rose, heck a bunch of roses, and I hope he or she does so. Yet, I realize that since such a shooting may have deeper implications, tough questions need to be asked by an impartial investigator. If there were violations of when to use deadly force against an animal or violations of protocol on entering some one's private property or safety concerns, then measures have to be taken to prevent such from happening again. As I said though, I would hope that all was justified. I wish it had never happened in the first place and for now feel bad for the officer, the dog owner and the dog but I also am quite happy that the child has been reported to be safe and sound.

All the best,
Glenn B


Recharging Silica Desiccant In The Summertime...

...when the weather is high but maybe just a tad too hot to turn on the oven, in your kitchen, for three or so hours - even on low heat - may seem like something that has to wait until September or October. Yet, there is another way to get those suckers completely dried out and ready to suck up all the moisture in your gun safe or tool chest. If you have a gas fired BBQ grill, one big enough to have three or four burners, you can set one burner (one all the way to one side of the grill, not a burner in the center) to it's lowest, or next to lowest setting, to achieve the desired temperature and place the packs of desiccant on the grill all the way on the far side from the lit burner. You will have to monitor the grill for this and luckily mine has a thermometer set in the face of the grill cover so I know the temperature is good when I do it.

A temperature of about 175 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit should do the trick over the course of about two to three hours. Too much higher than that and you may burn some types of the containers holding the desiccant or the dryness indicators (mine are in cardboard or aluminum containers both with dryness indicators inside them) and too little may not sufficiently dry out the desiccant to have made it worth the effort of the gas. Of course, make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions as to whether or not you can recharge your silica desiccant and if so then as to how to accomplish it.

Mine will be going onto the grill, this afternoon, once it cools enough after grilling the marinated pork chops (bacon's cousin) that are on today's dinner menu. While the info on the desiccant packs say the stuff is harmless, I take few chances with it and put them atop a piece of aluminum foil to assure none of that stuff gets in my oven. I usually let the oven cool completely before removing and using them, or if taking them out when still hot or warm, I wear an oven mitt to avoid getting burned.

All the best,
Glenn B

Kids Are Not Obese Because Of What The Leftists Tell You

I wasn't obese as a kid - I was skinny. Back then, I ate whatever I wanted if and when I could get it which was fairly frequently and what I wanted was Yodels, Ring Dings, Twinkies, Oreos, McDonalds and White Castle burgers, greasy spoon specials, over stuffed with meat and cheese hero sandwiches, chocolate milk (made with whole milk), real butter on my bread or bagels and plenty of it, real butter and maple syrup on my pancakes and lots of them smothered in it, bacon, bacon, bacon, ;pizza, candy, cake, cookies and whatever. It had nothing to do with the price, we were piss poor and I mean that most earnestly; yet I ate more than enough junk food. Me being skinny lasted until I got married. 

The thing was, when I was a kid and a single adult, I was out and about playing, walking climbing, running, fishing, hunting, flying kites, chasing girls, hopping freight trains (don't do that today kids it is illegal and dangerous) and whatever instead of sitting home on a computer, watching TV for way too long, or afraid a stranger would get me.

Why not worry about that when I was a younger guy? Because if 
stranger (or someone I knew) did something like that to me and the police then caught him, they would beat his arse and he would either go to jail where other inmates would beat and rape him or he would be put to death as in executed for his crime. Otherwise he would have been committed to the loony bin forever - thus little chance of a stranger abducting me back then so no need to worry too much about it. Nowadays that has all changed and parents keep their kids under house arrest. They are not only afraid of abductions but even of the monkey bars and swings at local parks or of normal kids sports like dodge ball. For holy hell's sake - what have we become, we are afraid of our own shadows!

Now, I am older and fatter. I still eat the same stuff so why is it that I am fatter than I should be? Well, I have been brainwashed somewhat by married life and our terrified society 's fears. I sit around on the Internet too much, watch too much TV and am afraid that if I go out a stranger will try something nasty and I may have to blow his shit away in justified self defense (did it once don't want to have to do it again because I don't need the headaches, possible legal fees or nightmares). Too bad we don't treat criminals, especially violent ones who have harmed innocents, with the respect they deserve - execution upon conviction - and that would mean execution without delay.

As for me, I guess I should just load for bear (just to be on the safe side) and start taking walks around town again.

A hat tip to Patrick J for having that pic up on Facebook.

All the best,