Saturday, January 29, 2011

TSA now intruding in employment?

You’ve heard of no fly and no buy lists – get ready for no work lists. Millions of workers now must apply to the DHS and prove they are not terrorists in order to be granted permission by the government to work. 

The new DHS programs, called TWIC and SWACwill expand the TSA no fly list to be applied to a "no work" list. This means that once you are on the "no fly " list, a list you get on without being told why, and without recourse to be removed, you can not get a job in any worksite that the government deems "vital."

What happened to due process? Jury trial? Seriously, is this for real. or is infowars a conspiracy theory kook site? Anyone?

UPDATE: They may be pulling the trigger prematurely. Here is the list of crimes you can be denied for. Looks like a standard background check to me.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Your tax refund is not free money

I know people who are bragging that they are getting back large refunds. I know one person who brags that he is getting back $8,000. During the discussion, another claimed that her and her husband are getting $14,000. I was incredulous. That money is not free- it means that you had too much money taken out of your checks throughout the year. If you file your taxes, and you are getting back 14 grand, that means that you could have $1,100 a month more in your pocket every month.

What gets me is that these people probably have a couple of maxed out credit cards, and could be using that money each month to pay off the 20% interest rate cards.

This year, I will owe $350 or so. That is as close as I can figure them when I set my W4 exemptions each month.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Am I trustworthy, or not?

All paramedics go through it. You medics know what I mean. I once went through a period in my career in which I was called a nickname: "Doctor Death." In a 24 week span, I worked 29 codes. In only one of those codes did I get pulses back, and that patient died two days after I took them to the hospital. The oldest of those dead patients was 102 years old, and the youngest was 6 months old. Also in that 24 week period, I had trauma alert patients, STEMI patients, and all sorts of odd events. One of the Doctors at the hospital asked me in jest if I ever got tired of my patients dying all the time, and I responded with a joke about how my laryngoscope was a deadly weapon.

You need a sense of humor in this profession, or you will soon burn out and leave, as so many who wear their hearts on their sleeves do. You wear that sense of humor, as odd as it becomes, like a suit of armor. That is the protection that you need if you are to survive the sights of hundreds of dead bodies. Trust me, that number is well into the hundreds. There was an incident several years ago where I triaged bodies, and personally decided that 31 people were dead in less time than it took me to write this post.

In essence, triage is a lot like playing god. You decide who will live, and who will die. The decisions that you make on every call will affect people for the rest of their lives. I have welcomed newborn babies into the world, and I have held the hands of people as they left this world. Every one of these decisions were made with relatively little oversight, and a whole lot of latitude as to how I come to that decision. It is a position of trust that I do not take lightly.

With all of that trust, the background check that I had to endure was not nearly as thorough as the one that was done when I got a concealed weapons permit. Ask yourself why people who feel that I am trustworthy enough to give potentially lethal medications and make life or death decisions as a paramedic feel that I am not trustworthy enough to carry my defensive weapon to class when I am attending college.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Using Capnography in ACLS

You have a patient in SVT. (for more on SVT, see this post) How do you decide whether to cardiovert or use drugs? The ACLS classes recommend that you look for signs of poor perfusion, such as altered mental status or a systolic blood pressure below 90mmHg. The problem with waiting for these signs is that they are relatively late signs of cardiogenic shock.

A person with altered mental status or an SBP below 90mmHg is already decompensating, and is into the third (or possibly fourth) stage of shock. The blood pressure and mental status changes indicate that the brain and other vital organs are not being oxygenated, and as we all know, this leads to acidosis and cell death.

If only there were a way that we could determine that our patient's SVT is reducing cardiac output due to Starling's Law. Wish no more, here is your answer:

As cardiac output decreases, so does venous return to the lungs and heart. This lower blood flow results in less CO2 making it to the lungs to be exhaled. If your SVT patient is placed on capnography, and the CO2 is less than 37mmHg, you need to start thinking that your patient is having a bit of trouble perfusing, most likely to reduced cardiac output. This is the beginning of our patient's journey to decompensation city. It is time to begin leaning towards cardioverting our patient before we reach the point where our patient has deteriorated so severely that he has begun to lose brain cells.

Don't fall behind the curve. Be proactive, and you will do yourself and your patients a true service by catching problems earlier rather than later.

Pay, benefits, and career choices

I just began doing my taxes, and that is always a depressing time of year. I made 18% less in 2010 than I did in 2008, and 7% less than 2009. In all, it was the lowest pay since 2004. They take money out of my check for our retirement plan, and our plan is funded 31% by us, and 24% by earnings on investments, leaving 45% for our employer to fund.

Now the State is talking about reducing our retirement benefits. They want to exclude overtime and incentive pay from the calculations. They also want to reduce retirement benefits from 3.23% per year to only 1.6% per year. This means that I will see a net reduction of 62% of my retirement. On top of that, they will penalize you 5% per year for each year you retire before the age of 55. Instead of getting 71% of my pay upon retirement at age 50, I will get 20% of my pay. In other words, I will have paid in more than I will get back in benefits. 

So I have a choice to make:

1: I can retire this year before the changes take effect, and change careers. I would get 39% of my pay to go now with 15 years of service. I would maybe go get my master's degree and be a Physician's Assistant. I have some cash saved, and I could pull it off. Maybe I can even work part time while I am in school. I would even make more as a PA than as a FireMedic, and work fewer hours. The downside is that I will not be working for the two years it would take to complete the degree, and I am a little on the old side to be changing careers.

2: I can stay here for the next 8-13 years, but accept declining pay and hours, and reduction in my retirement pay. Under this new plan, I would have to work here for 13 more years to get the same retirement I can get by leaving now.

Seems like a no brainer. If this bill passes, I will have to take my education and skill set elsewhere. Maybe it is time to start getting my paperwork together so I can apply. I am not angry. Just remember that you get what you pay for. If a less educated, less experienced workforce is all that the taxpayer is willing to pay for, that is their choice to make. I just know that I also have other options, and I can choose to take my skillset where I can maximize my own earnings.

Monday, January 24, 2011


The city of Kingsland, Georgia has a total area of 44 square miles spanning both sides of I-95, making it the seventh largest city in Georgia by landmass. I-95 runs through the city for 4.5 miles, near mile marker 9. The vast majority of that 4.5 mile span is sparsely populated. For its geographical size, the city is actually quite small. Kingsland only has a population of about 13,600. A large area of the interstate has been incorporated, even though there are not many homes or businesses in the area. Coincidentally, the city encompasses two exits and the 4.5 miles of highway between them.

The police department of Kingsland employs 46 sworn officers, meaning that there are 3.4 officers per 1,000 residents. This is significantly higher than the National average of 2.5 officers per thousand. Twenty five of those officers are assigned to the patrol division, with about 5 officers per shift. Those 25 officers write 13,000 citations per year. The city actually budgets for this. The police may not have a per se quota, but writing into the budget that you need 13,000 citations is a bit of a target number, wouldn't you say? Now let me add that I did not receive a traffic ticket in this area, but I did see something that caused this post:

On that five mile stretch of highway, I saw three Kingsland Police officers with three separate cars pulled over for traffic infractions at 4:30 pm on a Sunday. That is more traffic stops than I saw for the rest of I-95 in Georgia COMBINED. Now I know that this is not proof that the city is padding the coffers with some traffic money, but it seems odd to me that a city with 5 patrol officers per shift, that more than half of the shift is dedicated to writing traffic tickets on a 4 mile stretch of highway. I mean, aren't those 5 officers needed to patrol the 44 square miles of city that they are responsible for? Or is this just a means of revenue enhancement for the city?

According to the City budget, each officer is projected to write 500 citations per year for FY 2010/11, up from 286 in 2008/09 (page 105). This is an average including ALL officers, even the ones with desk jobs. If you recalculate that number using only the 20 patrol officers who are not supervisors (who generally don't write tickets), that average shoots up to 650 per officer. Fines are the second largest source of revenue for the city, comprising 20.7% of the city's general fund revenue (page 69).

Aren't we tired yet of hearing how traffic enforcement is for safety, that there are no quotas, and that the traffic fines we pay are not legalized robbery?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Still in the Capitol

I went to the National archives yesterday. There is something about standing in the presence of our founding documents that is awe inspiring. These papers are the documents that are the basis of our Nation. I wonder how many of our Congressmen have looked upon and read the constitution and bill of rights. How many of them look at those documents as simply an obstacle to be overcome in carrying out their agenda?

Discussion with an Anti

The following is an electronic discussion I had with an anti gunner. The topic is the shooting in Tucson and how gun control will help or not help. This is the mentality we are dealing with: (He is in blue, and I am in red)

Anti: Tighter regulation would help keep guns in the right hands and out of the wrong ones. It's not perfect solution but might be a move in the right direction. Holding a person accountable for their actions is reactionary, we need to be pro-active in order to better prevent these tragedies. There is obviously no perfect solution, and no matter what laws are in place bad people will always exist. I myself own a handgun for protection. I would never suggest that we make it so that good people cannot protect themselves, I'm sugge...sting that the government control what kind of guns and bullets are obtainable: like semi- automatic and automatic weapons and armor piercing bullets. Again, I never said that more regulation or better control would be a perfect solution, but putting this guy in the electric chair, although needs to happen, will not help prevent the next ass from shooting up innocent people. Tighter control can only a positive move for us as a society. The death penalty is to little to late for the innocent people affected by tragedies like this.
(note that he says waiting for people to actually break the law before punishing them is reactionary. They should be punished before they get the opportunity to harm others-DM)

Divemedic: One of the basic human rights is the right to exist and to defend that existence. A gun is the best way for a person who is weak to defend themselves against a stronger person. Guns enable a 100 pound woman to defend herself from a 200 pound rapist. If you could somehow wave a magic wand and remove every gun from the face of the Earth, do you think it would stop people from harming and killing others? In that vein, a gun is a human right, as it flows naturally from the right to defend one's own life and there ARE many people trying to take away our guns. Diane Feinstein, a Democrat congresswoman said "If I could get 51 votes in the Senate, Mr and Mrs America, turn them all in, I would do it today."

Anti: Sorry dude, but a gun is not a human right. Survival is, but owning a gun is not. It is an American privilege that we all should be proud to have and I would never want that taken away from good people. But lets say this 100... pound woman wants to buy a handgun for protection, the right regulations wont prevent that. I'm not so much worried about her as I am the adolescent with the emotional problems who finds daddies semi-automatic AR-15 and goes to the mall to seek his revenge on the society that has somehow done him wrong. Now, obviously if the kid really wants to hurt people he will find a way, but controlling what kind of guns are bought and sold at your local gun store will make it a little more difficult for him/her. Evil will most likely find a way, but we can at least try to make it hard for them. Diane has an extreme and unrealistic liberal idea that I personally do not agree with but I think there is a compromise somewhere in the middle of the extreme right and extreme left.

Divemedic: A gun IS a human right, as how do you expect that person to survive if you tell her she cannot defend her life? The Constitution was based upon John Locke's theory of Natural Rights. To deny them is to deny the basic premise that our very nation are founded upon. It isn't just me who says that, the Supreme Court has ruled that possession of guns is a fundamental Constitutional right (see Heller v DC, Supreme Court 2008)

The problem here is that it was already illegal for the AZ shooter to own a weapon (he was a drug addict) which means he broke two laws in obtaining the firearm. Murder is illegal, as is brandishing a firearm, and a dozen other laws that he broke. Do you think adding another law would have made a difference? How long has cocaine or pot been illegal? Does anyone have trouble getting those?

Anti: you ideal is a double edged sword brother, because then even drug addicts and rapists would have the "human right" to own guns.  If the right regulations and laws makes it a little more difficult for me to get a gun but a lot harder for a convicted criminal to get one, I'm all about it.  I personally would love to see psychological testing and more rigorous background checks. I think the law should be tougher on people who have guns illegally, and I think there needs to be more control on the types of guns sold in the US. I... think we should start asking why we think people SHOULD have the privilege of a gun, not why they SHOULDN'T have one. Guns should be viewed and treated like privileges instead of rights. It just feels like its way to easy for the wrong people to get guns. But I don't have all the answers. I think that conservatives and liberals can find a middle ground on the issue.

Divemedic: We could not be farther apart on this. The Second Amendment and Fourth Amendment both make your suggestions unconstitutional. We are at the middle ground now. Until 1934, it was legal to own whatever you want, including artillery and machine guns. Compromise ended that. Until 1968, it was legal to order guns by mail with no restrictions, including felons. Compromise ended that. No more compromise. Gun control is a failure. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On the road

Posting has been light as of late, as I have been on the road. I am currently in our nation's capitol. I spent the day yesterday wandering around, and I am left with a few impressions. First, let me start by saying that there are not many tourists here this time of year, and the result is that there is almost no one enjoying the monuments and other national treasures. This makes seeing things pretty easy. To show you how empty it was, here is a picture I took yesterday:

One of the monuments we went to see was the Washington monument. I use this as an example of one of the things that I noticed. There is a bookstore at the entrance, and it is small (about 300 square feet). It is filled with books that tourists would buy about the capitol, includeing about a dozen books about and written by our current President. That isn't the story here. There are two employees in the bookstore. On the back wall of the outside of the store, there is a box office where another employee hands out free tickets to enter the monument itself. I am not sure what purpose these tickets serve, as they are free for the asking.

You walk about 200 yards to the base of the monument, and there are 3 police officers standing there with a man who takes your ticket so you can enter, four at a time. Not the monument, but a small building connected to the monument. This building is made of poured concrete and has thick armored doors and bulletproof glass. Inside of this building, you are xrayed, stripped, and searched by 3 unarmed security personnel, overseen by two more cops.

Moving on, you enter the base of the monument, where there are 3 employees to operate the elevator. This elevator has three stops, the base, the top floor, and the floor just beneath the top. These three employees are there to push the buttons for you. You board at the base, get out at the top, walk a flight of stairs to the floor below, and reenter the elevator.

Fifteen employees, not counting the maintenance and groundskeeping people. All of this for a small bookstore, and a monument with a total of three rooms, one of them being the lobby. In all, there were less than fifty people at the monument when I was there. Ridiculous waste of taxpayer money. It seems to me that this is a massive jobs project.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


This post is in response to the laws as they pertain to repossession in Florida. Many of these laws are based upon the UCC, but since I am not aware of the laws of every state, your mileage may vary. This is my (non lawyer) opinion of what the law says. As usual, my advice is worth what you paid for it.

In Florida, statute 493.6118 prohibits a repossession agent from carrying a weapon:

9. Carrying any weapon or firearm when he or she is on private property and performing duties under his or her license whether or not he or she is licensed pursuant to s. 790.06.
 This makes carrying a weapon during a repossession a crime. If a recovery agent is on private property, they have NO RIGHT to use force to protect themselves, as they are not in a place where they are legally allowed to be. This means that force may be used by the owner of the property to defend themselves against the unlawful use of armed force against the owner of the property. Furthermore, any force that the recovery agent used is unlawful, since they cannot legally be armed on your property.

 Why do I dislike repo agents? Well, four years ago, my sister bought a used car. She paid $4,000 in CASH for the car. The car dealer told her that he had not yet gotten the car's title from the state, and he would send it to her as soon as he got it. Four days later, her car was stolen. She called the cops, and the cops told her that it had been repossessed. The dealer refused to return calls, and had the police escort us from his car lot. 

We got a copy of the title application from the state, and the paperwork had been altered after the sale to show that my sister still owed $50 on the car, and that there was a lien on it in that amount. We called the cops. They refused to help, and told us it was a civil matter. So did the state attorney. We sued in small claims, as a lawyer would have cost more than the car. When we got to court, the dealer said that he had already resold the car, so the judge said that he was not going to cheat the new owner of the car out of his money, and dismissed the case.
The law doesn't work. The cops don't work. Our legal system is not about right and wrong, it is about who can game the system. It is broken. Get what you can, while you can. That is what our legal system has taught me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This is why I don't like the Fudds

In response to my post about SB234, I received the following Email: (all spelling errors are his)

I wonder with the recent shooting in Tuscon will these bill to be meet so hard times in becoming law? I love guns and shooting for pleasure and would like to take up hunting for boar and turkey for hobby in the near future but, I dont have a need to sling on my 6 shooter and walk down the street. The time of tumble weeds and horse drawn carriages are gone, the need for a weapon is now purely hooby intent.
Here was the reply I sent to him:

The shooting in AZ appears as if it will have very little effect, as most Americans realize that the shooter was a mentally unbalanced drug abuser, and was already prohibited from owning a firearm. This shooting is a statistical aberration, and is not an indictment of all gun owners. It is unlikely to have a great effect on this legislation. The shooter in the recent AZ case is the exact reason why I (and many others) carry a weapon, because no matter how many restrictions you put on gun ownership, criminals will ignore those laws and get guns anyway. In the case of SB234, the question is not whether or not citizens should own or carry firearms, as that has already been settled in Florida, but whether or not a citizen who is already permitted to carry a weapon concealed may also carry that same weapon unconcealed.
I disagree with your assertion that the ownership of firearms is restricted to being a hobby. There are those who could just as likely claim that in this time of easy food availabilty there is no need to go into the woods and blow away defenseless animals. Firearms are a tool, no more, no less. The fact is that private citizens use firearms to defend themselves millions of times a year, many times without firing a shot. I am not alone in this opinion, as even the Supreme Court of the United States is in agreement (see District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S.; 128 S. Ct. 2783; 171 L.Ed.2d 637 (2008)) "The Court concluded that the prefatory clause [of the second amendment] described the purpose of codifying the [second] Amendment, which was "to prevent elimination of the militia" by taking away citizens' arms. Self-defense, however, remained the "central component" of the [second] Amendment."
The canard of the "wild west" is a fallacy that was brought about by fantasy fiction. The "wild west" was much tamer that today, and shootings were almost unheard of. Cities and towns in the west frequently went years without a single shooting. Even the infamous "OK Corral" shootout scandalized and shocked America when it was reported.
Using vitriolic rhetoric is not a way to make a logical argument. Using terms like "sling on my six shooter" and "tumble weeds and horse drawn carriages" does not advance the debate, nor does it bolster your argument. If you would like to talk about this based on facts, and not emotion, I would be happy to debate facts with you.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The facts of death

 Regardless of what the media will have you believe, guns are not a statistically significant cause of death in the United States. From the 2007 CDC National Vital Statistics report: (2007 is the latest year available to me)
The top ten causes of death account for 79% of all deaths in the US: 

1. Diseases of heart (heart disease)
2. Malignant neoplasms (cancer)
3. Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)
4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
5. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
6. Alzheimer’s disease
7. Diabetes mellitus (diabetes)
8. Influenza and pneumonia
9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney disease)
10. Septicemia
11. Intentional self-harm (suicide)
12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
13. Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease (hypertension)
14. Parkinson’s disease
15. Assault (homicide) (less than .8% of all deaths)

The fact is, life expectancy in the US has been increasing. There are plenty of intrusive laws that would save more lives than gun control. Outlaw fatty foods, salt, tobacco, artificial foodstuffs, sugar, sweets of any kind, cars, alcohol, pointy objects, tall buildings, and then talk about guns. Perhaps we could outlaw obesity.

In 2007, 31,224 persons died from firearm injuries in the United States, accounting for 17.1 percent of all injury deaths that year. 55.6% of these deaths were suicides. Gun control would not prevent suicide, unless you also outlaw sleeping pills, tall buildings, and any other means by which a person could take his or her own life. 

Homicides are statistically insignificant at less than 1% of all deaths, especially if you are not part of the at risk demographic of being an African-American (5.7 African Americans were murdered for every Caucasian.) drug dealing male (3.8 males were murdered for every female) gang member between the ages of 15 and 25, who has never been married. That demographic accounts for nearly one quarter of all firearm homicides in the United States. Perhaps we could outlaw drug dealers, gangs, males, or African Americans. (<---That is SARCASM for those of you unfamiliar with the term.)

Even at that, firearms only accounted for 40.5% of all homicides. Overall, the rate of death by assault is only 6.1 per 100,000 for all demographics, and less than 5 per 1,000,000 for Non-Hispanic Caucasians. This small number is likely greatly decreased if you are not a drug dealer or a gang member.

A total of 38,371 persons died of drug-induced causes. This category includes not only deaths from dependent and nondependent use of legal or illegal drugs, but also poisoning from medically prescribed and other drugs. Perhaps we could outlaw drugs, or at least control access to them. Oh wait, we already do that.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gun store and SB234

I went to the shooting range yesterday. While I was there, I had a discussion with the clerk about SB234. For those of you who are unaware, SB234 changes Florida's laws concerning firearms and weapons in the following way: (full text of the bill here)

1. People with a license to carry a concealed weapon will be exempt from Florida's prohibition against the open carrying of weapons. In essence, a Concealed Weapons permit will become a Weapons Permit.
2. Colleges and Universities are no longer off limits to Permit Holders  (Removed by an amendment to the bill)
3. 790.28, the statute allowing the purchase of Rifles and Shotguns in contiguous states requires that such purchases comply with Federal law and the laws of both the state of Florida and the state where the sale takes place. SB 234 would remove the requirement for such a sale to comply with Florida law, as long as the purchaser is subject to a NICS check.

When I mentioned this to the staff at Reig's Guns, the clerk responded by saying that this was a scary proposition, that College students would have the legal ability to bring guns to school. I pointed out that I am a college student, and asked why I should have the ability to defend myself with a firearm everywhere I go, except college. Does crossing an imaginary line to enter College campus make me immune from attack, or is it that I somehow become less trustworthy?

I patronize Reig's, because they are more firearm friendly than the Oak Ridge Gun Range, which prohibits customers with loaded weapons, even customers who are carrying concealed with a permit. I used to spend a large amount of money in the Oak Ridge store, until they discovered that I was carrying a weapon and berated me for it. Reig's Gun Shop has a sign that says, "No loaded weapons allowed inside, except for concealed weapons. Remember that concealed means concealed."

Seriously, you work at a gun store. How can you be so obtuse when it comes to guns and gun rights? Are there any gun stores that respect your rights? How can a gun store support gun owners, and talk about how gun owners are a trusty bunch, and then turn around and hypocritically ban them in their store?

Friday, January 7, 2011

This will be fun

I am in school, and I have been tasked with writing a paper about public policy. Here is the assignment:

The first step in the policymaking process is the identification of a problem. While many problems exist in society today, only those for which people desire government action can lead to public policies. Furthermore, Professor Aaron Wildavsky has observed, “A problem is a problem only if something can be done about it”. With this in mind, interest groups work to bring about government action on their pet issues and often have specific proposals for legislation (the “something” to be done about the perceived problem). However, for particularly controversial issues, how the “problem” is defined by various interest groups can vary significantly. Anderson points out that when there is disagreement over the definition of a problem or the remedies for it, the likelihood of action is reduced.
Choose one of the controversial issues below and examine how different interest groups define the problem. How do the groups define the problem? Are the definitions different? What remedies does each group propose? Do the groups disagree over the correct remedy for the problem, and if so, how? Has the disagreement of the groups prevented the government from instituting policies in the subject area? If you were a policymaker, what kind of policy would you try to enact after hearing each side, and why?

Here is the issue I have chosen:

Gun Control
The website for the National Rifle Association, the largest gun owners’ interest group in the US.
The website for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, one of the leading gun-control groups.

This ought to be good.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I am from the language police

One of my pet peeves is the poor language skills displayed by people on a daily basis. Confusing words like "your" and "you're." The proper use of apostrophes also seems to elude many. Contrary to what some people seem to think, an apostrophe does not mean, "Look out! There is an 's' coming!"

This is not limited to the general public. People who make their living through the English language lack knowledge of the toolbox of their profession. A good example of this is this story, in which it is reported:

Most of the fish were mullet, ladyfish and catfish, and not the valuable sporting fish called snook that died in mass during a cold spell last year.

 The phrase is not "in mass," which would imply that they died during worship services in a Catholic Church, but rather "en masse," meaning that they died in a group. Also, there should be a comma following the word "ladyfish."

 Also, I would point out to all that:

"Your" is possessive, as in "Is this your blog?" , while "you're" is the contraction of "you are"
Possessive pronouns like "its" "Yours" "his" and "hers" do not get an apostrophe.
"Breath" is the word that rhymes with "death" and is a noun, as in: "He has bad breath."
"Breathe" is the word that rhymes with "seethe" and is a verb, as in: "He is choking and cannot breathe."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

When seconds count

 the police are twenty minutes away. That's right, this store was being robbed and the thieves were in the store for over twenty minutes, going through drawers and looking for money. The robbers herded the clerk and the customers into the back of the store and made them lie on the floor.Tera Mitchell, the clerk at the store was convinced that the armed criminals were going to shoot her while she was lying helpless on the floor.

Fortunately for Ms. Mitchell, the criminals didn't kill anyone. This time. Do you really want to trust your life to the armed felon who is robbing you at gunpoint while you lie helpless on the floor? The anti gun crowd will tell you, "Just give him what he wants," and have you depend on the mental stability and good will of an armed felon.

If I am armed with a weapon, I have a choice. I can choose whether or not I will hand over my wallet. I can choose whether or not to be herded into the back room. I can choose whether or not to watch as the gunman kills others in the restaurant. Or forces the women to strip naked, and cuts the throat of the cook.

People ask me whether or not I would kill someone over the $50 or so that is in my wallet. My answer to them is that the robber is willing to, or he wouldn't be robbing me at gunpoint. I am not going to shoot to take his life, I am choosing to shoot in order to save my own.

Others tell me that carrying a gun won't help, that I will probably get killed anyway. Perhaps, but if nothing else, I have at least marked my killer in a way that will help him get caught. He will be the guy that you find somewhere between the scene of my murder and the closest emergency room with at least one 200 grain, .45 caliber hollowpoint lodged in his chest cavity.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Safety Theater

I was looking at my hit counter and noticed a hit from another blog, a Disney related one. I decided to mosey on over there and take a look. Here was the opening paragraph from the most recent post:

The bag checks at the entrance to each of Disney World's theme parks makes me feel good.  I enjoy knowing that my (and your) safety is top concern.  For this reason I do not scoff or eye roll upon entering the bag check.  I am ready as soon as I walk up to the gates.  I thank the security guards and make my way to the magic. 
The post went on to describe how to be courteous to your fellow visitors and get through the bag check by being polite to the security people as the search through your belongings, and ended with this paragraph:

Raise your right hand.  I'll wait. Good, now repeat after me :)

I promise to get it together before I get to the bag check.

I will have my bag ready for inspection.

I won't be impatient. Instead I'll wait my turn and appreciate my safety is taken seriously.
I will repack at the repacking table, even if I have a mega super Swiss Army style bag.
Going through the bag check keeps Disney World safe. Be kind to the security guards. Thank them. Think of how many bags they go threw each day be patient and let them do their job! They are actually very sweet!

I left a comment that said:

The bag checks do not make Disney safe, they simply are there to make people FEEL safe. There is a lot of crime at Disney. They are just very good at controlling the dissemination of information. For example: There was an armed robbery at EPCOT center where the robber caught employees entering a backstage area with a large amount of cash. He got away with over $20,000.

There were several rapes in the Magic Kingdom employee parking lot in 2003. More than one Disney employee has been arrested for pedophilia related charges.

Disney is not alone. The other parks have similar issues. Theme parks are a target rich environment for criminals. The large amounts of cash carried by tourists, combined with the lack of situational awareness that being on vacation spawns, and this is a field day for criminals looking to prey on easy targets.

For that reason, I use my concealed weapons permit to legally carry a pistol every single time I am on Disney property. Before you freak out, remember this: A person who has been fingerprinted and passed an FBI background check to legally secure a weapons permit is not the guy that you have to worry about shooting up the place.

 My comment was deleted. So much for reasoned discourse, eh?

This happened to me

I know the cartoon is funny, but something similar happened to me about five years ago. We were dispatched to a reported drug overdose at one of our local Hispanic night clubs. (For those who are unaware, more than 45% of the local population speaks Spanish as a primary language. There is no shortage of Spanish dance clubs around Central Florida.) A young lady had called 911 to report that she and her friend were in the restroom of the club, and her friend had overdosed on an unknown drug. When we arrived on scene in the rig with all of the emergency lights flashing, I got out and went to enter the club.

The bouncer at the door told me that I had to pay the cover charge in order to enter. Thinking that he was kidding, I laughed. He blocked the door. Pointing to my uniform, I told him that I was there on official business and brushed past him. No sooner did I enter the restroom, when I was jumped by four bouncers who carried me out through the club, with the patrons of the club shouting at me, "Get out Gringo," and yelling Spanish obscenities. The bouncers threw me out the door, and told me that whites were not allowed inside.

I called for Police backup, and got no fewer than 15 Deputies. We wound up treating our patient, and the Manager (and his bouncers) got a lecture from the cops. No arrests were made.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I am looking for a school where I can get some firearms training. I live in Central Florida, and I was hoping to find something local. This is what I found. They look like a bunch of posers to me. What do you think?