Monthly Archives: October 2010

I Need To Mellow Out With Something Positive

A late happy birthday to one Mr. Gillespie.

Arturo Sandoval & Dizzy Gillespie being just plain awesome:

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Limitations

Idea stolen from Monsieur Giddings:

In an effort to be honest with myself, get people to think about being honest with themselves, and stop my rantings that are clouding up another guy’s comments section, allow me to discuss limitations.

I once wounded a crow at inside of fifteen yards and never recovered it. I hit the clays before I went bird hunting again. Learned that I wasn’t leading enough.

Missed a squirrel with a rifle once, the sights have never been able to adjust low enough and it shoot high at anything under seventy yards. I got a scope on the rifle and sighted it in again and again before I took it hunting again.

I met what I thought to be a burglar at my door once. My hands were steady, my front sight was in focus, and it turned out to be a bear. It took off before I had to do anything, but I have no doubt that my shot would have gone where I wanted. I still practice shooting while retreating just to be sure.

I don’t shoot running game because it could easily end badly. I am actively trying to find a cost effective way to simulate a moving threat to practice that.

I don’t use SAO pistols defensively because I have almost no experience with them. DAO and DA/SA, work for me. Every range trip, I send a flyer into the target with the Woodsman because I am not used to a single-stage SAO trigger, between shooting Mil-Surp rifles before I turned 21, and using a Beretta 96, I am so used to a two-stage single action, that I try to take up slack out of habit.

I once dosed a patient with 324mg of ASA per order of the EMT-I next to me. She had a GI bleed, and denied any allergies to aspirin or any bleeding issues before dosing. The nurse knew and didn’t tell us, but we should have asked her specifically before we left. I now ask nurses more questions when I pick up a patient, and am not afraid to ask any that I think the more experienced EMT may have missed. (Limitations aren’t just about guns)

I won’t run an ambulance any faster than 80mph on the highway because I am not used to stuff vehicles that top-heavy. Tell me to speed up all you want, I’m not driving any faster than I know I can handle. No mistakes led to this rule, I just know that 80 in a top-heavy rig is about the extent of my abilities right now.

I turned down full tuition to an EMT-I course because I still need to get better at vitals in a moving vehicle and patient assessments.

Gore, throw all of it you want at me. I have stayed in a situation so ungodly, that the Intermediate couldn’t call a medic fast enough and had to leave to dry-heave. I’ll be distubed later and have it stuck in my head for a while, but during the scene, I’m fine.

I am nitrox certified. I’m not using it when I dive because I have done nothing with it since I got the card. I’ll just dive with plain air.

I don’t use a shotgun for home defense. The time and money to become competent with it are not in the cards right now. I use the carbine I have had for years and can bounce soda cans around between 0-100 yards all day long. I am fine with penetration issues because I only have one neighbor not separated by a berm, and the strong-room line-of-fire faces away from him. Bears are a more likely threat here, also, so the rifle makes more sense.

I haven’t been able to run at all since my knee surgery. I need to work on that.

My draw from concealment is better than most around here, but I am still working on it.

I need to work on target transitions, threat identification, and speeding up my shooting.

I don’t rotate carry pieces, with one exception. I have one primary, and my backup. I don’t want to muck with bouncing details in my head from one platform to another in a fight. I do have a second pocket pistol that is DAO like my backup, but I only carry it when absolutely necessary and accept that it is purely a belly gun in my hands. I am trying to find a load for the secondary BUG that performs well enough for it to retire my normal backup. Then there will be no rotation.

I can carry a full-size pistol, fully concealed, in a suit, with no jacket.  The big sidearm helps me shoot better, so I would  be an idiot to leave it at home in favor of a weapon I can’t handle as well. It is on me 99% of the time I’m not working.  I don’t use a pocket gun as a primary unless I absolutely positively can not be made. This occurs, at most, once a month, and I’m not taking a few shots I would with my Beretta. I still practice with the pocket-rocket as much as it’s big brother.

In EMS, I am “Always a student” I will never be good enough at anything, but I am trying to improve as best I can afford at everything. A commentor at gunnuts trained for eight years for combat and still missed an aggressor at less that 20 meters with a rifle. He did the right thing and upped his training regimin as much as he could afford, and admitted his error publicly. Good man. We should all train as much as we can.

One problem. 24 hours in a day. One-hundred sixty-eight hours in a week. Forty hours at work drops you to 128 hours in your week. Spend another fourty hours sleeping, you now have 88 hours of spare time. Oh yeah, let’s assume a half-hour a day of commute to and from work, which leaves 85.5 hours of your own time per week. These 85 and a half hours need to be divided between shopping, raising a family, keeping a relationship with your spouse healthy, cooking, eating, maintaining your home, and study.

Study what? In EMS, study your job, most specifically skills that are less often used. A mistake in patient care can kill just as dead as a stray defensive round. Lawyer, cop, judge, assistant to any of the above? Study the law as no one knows it all at heart. Teacher? Study your lesson plans to improve them. So-on, etcetera.

Study your shooting, improve at it. Study tools and craftsmanship to better maintain your home and vehicles.

Now add in a low income and you are more limited in your studies. Pay for con-ed to maintain certification, or pay for a pistol class? Con-Ed. Plink around when you go to the range, or set up a few scenarios? Scenarios. Crap, out of ammo sooner than if you had money. Go home and watch the boob tube, or dry-fire, work on draw, so-on? Work on stuff.

The point here is two-fold and applies to any level of training, and any facet of your life:

  1. Know your limitations.
  2. Always be a student

Just got home from Mall-Ninja school? You still need to keep practicing, you are not perfect. Spent the last few years in combat training? You can still miss and need to keep working. Just finished an ACLS course? You still need to keep working on it. No money to spare? Suck it up and do the best you can without screwing with your other obligations.

“All the crying in the world about how tough it is to afford training won’t soften the blow either to yourself or to others involved if your untrained actions end up hurting or killing an innocent person — especially if that person is a member of your own family.” Yup, but that goes for the cocky from their spiffy training just as much as the not-so-well trained. Just be careful to not take that time and money from your other obligations, mis-dose a patient because you took a pistol class over a refresher course and the world sucks just as hard for all involved. Same goes for the well-trained, you take a shot, or exceed protocols because you think you are so well trained that you know what you are doing and you fuck up, your training didn’t mean shit.

To end: Carry your fucking gun as long as you know the basics of its operation, know your limitations, and are willing to improve. This is not a training issue, it is a humility issue. Cocky kills and all the training in the world won’t keep you alive if you get arrogant.

P.S. Pax: Please do not insinuate that I would dump rounds irresponsibly. I love your website, but don’t ever say that I am crying about something when I am just making a point. I enjoy learning and look forward to it, I have never whined about study being too inconvenient. Well, once, when my hand cramped up while coloring in an anatomy book.

P.P.S. The guys who carry a gun, spend money on optional stuff, and never go to the range: Go fuck yourselves with a rusty iron rod. If I can give up cigars to buy a case of ammo, so can you.

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On A Lighter Note

Mustard Plug – Thigh High Nylons:

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An Unlikely Quote Of The Week

This little gem was discovered over at Alphecca (his 8th blogoversary today) and I feel the need to share it, too:

“That’s when the old Theodore Roosevelt adage popped into my head — ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’ — and I finally got it. I can still be the compassionate, diplomatic, interfaith groovy gal I’ve always been; I’ll just be packing heat in case negotiations tank.” 

Exactly. Ambulance Driver packs heat, but devotes his life to easing suffering, and, at times, patching bullet wounds. Mr. Kloos* cares for the minds and bodies of two young children, toting a heater all the while. My mother was an EMT and a cop, she loved children and the elderly and spent her days looking after them. She would never hurt a fly on an average day, but God help anyone who would threaten another in her presence.

Using a gun on an attacker is a violent act, but it does not make you a violent person. Watch a mother bear with her cub (safely, that is) some day. She will plod along, little one in tow. As Jr. plays in a meadow, she will sun herself and look on contently. When the little one is hungry, she will cuddle up and feed him. If anything threatens the safety of her family, she will rip out its throat without warning or hesitation. A bear is not violent because it can and will kill anything that is a threat; a bear is just a fluffy creature that wants to raise a family and be left alone.

The capability of one moment of deadly violence is not what defines a person. If you live a peaceful life, your sidearm is nothing more than a contingency plan should peace fall to hell around you.

*Yes, the same Mr. Kloos who wrote this.

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A Drunkard, Er, Irishman And His Banjo

Gerry O’Connor – The Bag of Spuds/The Copperplate:

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The Four Rules Are Not Negotiable…

…Except when they are in a couple of very select circumstances.

There is much talk of late on the topic of Cooper’s Four Rules. Opinions range from the dogmatic, to the free-world-do-what-you-want-hippy-commune-shit, to the he who is without sin, to the call-it-like-it-is crowd.

Being the opinionated asshole that I am, let me throw in my two cents:

The rules are the fucking rules. Obey them or expect to be called out. If called out, admit and accept responsibility, or we have a personal problem.

1. All Guns Are Always Loaded: Yup. “What are you doing checking the chamber, I just cleared that pistol?” Good for you, I haven’t. The weapon is now in my possession and is my responsibility. Plenty of people have been shot with “unloaded” guns. Rule one is a fallacy, yet a necessity. It keeps the famous excuse of “it’s not loaded” from being in any way defensible. This is not a cat in a box with a radiactive vial, the gun is either loaded or it is not, but the point is to always act as though your weapon is loaded. Would you feel better if we tossed the word “assume” into the rule? Rule one is about removing any temptation to violate the others.

2. Never Let Your Muzzle Cover Anything You Are Not Willing To Destroy: Yup, with minor exceptions relating to rule 1. If the barrel is a mere pipe separate from the rest of the weapon, it is treated as a pipe. If I need to inspect a bore and can’t entirely remove the barrel, I triple check to be sure the weapon is unloaded, put my light in the chamber, and then inspect the bore. My light acts as a chamber plug/flag, I have verified empty, and once I see what I need of the chamber, I don’t hang out, I get my head out of the way. If I need to clean a weapon where I can’t remove the barrel/slide/swing out the cylinder/pop the bolt, I keep my eye on the chamber the whole time. The exceptions also only apply to you personally, it is never okay to muzzle someone else, ever.  These are the only exceptions to the rule; no muzzling me or anyone around me and then responding with “It’s not loaded”, “It is okay because…”, “You weren’t there”, or any combination of the above.

3. Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Your Sights Are On Target: Always, no exceptions. “What about a Mosin where you have to pull the trigger to get out the bolt?” “A GLOCK where you need to drop striker to strip?” Use a backstop that you wouldn’t mind dumping a bullet into, easy as that.

4. Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Beyond It: Absolutely, positively, always, no exceptions ever.

5. Never Try To Catch A Falling Gun: My Four Rules are like Adam’s Hitchhiker’s trilogy. No exceptions to this one, either. 

“Hey, what about the military, force-on-force, blah blah?” The four rules do not apply to military in (actively in) essential training, as far as I am concerned. Even then, the Four Rules are only temporarily on hold when a shitload of safety checks are performed. Outside of essential training, the four rules go right back into effect. This training is not, never has been, and never will be safe.

“Do you honestly consider dropping a hammer on an empty chamber at the ground to be firing a weapon?” Yes, I do, whether or not lead screams out the barrel with a boom matters not to me. If I replaced “the ground” with “a little girl’s chest” would you still think you weren’t firing a gun?

“What about blanks?” In close quarters scenes in movies, flashpaper non-guns are used because blanks have hurt and killed people. Just ask Brandon Lee if you don’t believe me. If you want to make a movie, use the same care as the military should, and don’t be surprised if someone gets hurt.

“If all guns are always loaded, we could never dry-fire.” Yes, we can dry-fire, at an appropriate backstop, and we should not be surprised if the gun actually goes bang. I use snap caps when I dry fire, it helps keep live ammo out, helps me practice reloads and failure drills, prevents firing pin damage, and the gun is loaded, just with a different kind of ammo. Dry fire on empty brass/chamber, assume that the damn gun is loaded and you don’t get nasty surprises.

Are you an idiot, bad person, incompetent who should be disarmed, asshole for violating a rule? No, unless you did it intentionally, then you are a first-class asshole.

Are you an asshole for doing anything except say “whoops” or, in the case of anyone you muzzled, “sorry” when it is brought to your attention that you buggered a rule? Yes, and I do not want you near me.

Let’s review the above point:

You post a video in which you muzzle someone and it is brought to your attention. You say, “Crap, I should not have done that.” Life goes on.

You muzzle me, and get called out, you say, “Sorry man.” All is forgiven, life goes on.

You muzzle me, and with knowledge of the Four Rules, say, “It’s unloaded.” I go home, and we no longer associate with each other. One person got away with, in the sense that we are still friends, “It’s not loaded” and that was only because he didn’t know better and immediately responded to my very angry lecture on the Four Rules with, “I’m sorry man.” I no longer go to the range with, or hand a weapon to  anyone before they know the Four Rules as a result of my friend’s unloaded comment.

I muzzle you, please call me out on it. I have muzzled people (plural) before in my younger years, and once somewhat recently*. I try my damndest not to, and if I fuck up, I need to hear it, even if it is from someone who just muzzled me.

People may not like the Four Rules, my interpretation of them, or both, but they don’t have to go shooting with me.

There, my chest, she feels lighter.

* I have become accustomed to carrying a slung long-arm muzzle down on my weak side. The day I pulled that boner, I had a 91/30 avec bayonet slung muzzle up on my strong side. I was picking something off the ground next to a friend and almost rammed my bayonet into his eye. He told me, and I said, “Shit-fuck-damn-it-to-bloody-hell, I’m sorry.”

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Tick Tock And Whatnot

I’m back. The last two days have been dominated by visiting in-laws, yard work, and driving people to hospital.

My tale of 10:10 festivities will continue tonight.

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