“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

May you and your loved ones have a blessed, wonderful day.

And thanks to everyone for your comments yesterday - I am feeling much better after a good night's rest and smiling children this morning & all your kindness is much appreciated.

For those of you away from home, be it for work, travel or other reasons may you make it home safe and sound to those you love.

Now I'm going to do a bit of work in the Captain's Cabin before spending the rest of the day with family.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Due to a combination of poor sleep lately, and a lack of pain meds due to a slow refill, I'm at a level of *bleh* which is hardly appropriate to the season or day. I have several posts percolating, a list of things I want to get done etc. - yet I'd be 100% happy to spend the day doing nothing useful and having zero human interaction.

Please send my poor wife your sympathy & hopefully I can kick this in the next few hours.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Random bits

- Spent time helping a friend move today - always a good workout. During which he asked to borrow my pocket knife to cut some tape... and proceeded to cut his finger open as well.

"Dang, I forgot how sharp you keep those. Oops."

Apparently I need a disclaimer with things.

- The first trailer for The Hobbit is out now. While I already see some deviations from the story, I also see stuff I absolutely love. For example - ever since I first read the book when I was 8 or 9, I've imagined how the dwarf's songs sounded during the dinner party... Peter Jackson's version is completely different than I ever imagined, and absolutely 100% perfect. All in all, I have very high hopes for this one.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Way-back-when I came to my senses and married the wonderful woman who shares my life and bore my children - today is the anniversary of that date. Thanks for the adventure hon!

The nice thing as well is that I'm on day two of the first actual vacation I've taken in ages, and that we all get to spend the time together as a family, safe, sound and happy.

I'm quite blessed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

'tis the season for carols

The Dictator Skit

Nice to see that Kim Jong Il has become an ex-parrot.

Here's hoping that somehow North Korea manages to transition to a more-free society with him gone. Unfortunately, I'm not putting money on it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Your daily Browncoat

A fanfilm exploring the meeting of Mal and Zoe.

Holiday moments

Every year around this time I receive a very clear reminder that I'll never be a professional gift-wrapper...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Interesting conjecture

on a Firefly resurrection.

While he makes good points, I'll believe it when it happens - although we have Accomplished the Impossible before.

Western Stories

No good tales of my own to post lately - work has been mostly just training and administrative fun.

However, I got sent this one by Farmdad - this is the kind of story bomb techs love.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Today's tale

Original source unknown, but it made me laugh:

Why we shoot deer in the wild (A letter from someone who wants to remain
anonymous, who farms, writes well and actually tried this.)

I had this idea that I could rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up
on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in
this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at
my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there
(a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while
I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away), it should not be difficult
to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down)
then hog tie it and transport it home.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope. The
cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not
having any of it. After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up-- 3 of them. I
picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and
threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the
rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold..

The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was
mildly concerned about the whole rope situation. I took a step towards it,
it took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope ..., and then
received an education. The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer
may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are
spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.

That deer EXPLODED. The second thing I learned is that pound for pound,
deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight
range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity. A deer-- no
Chance. That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no
controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my
feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that
having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had originally
imagined.. The only upside is that they do not have as much stamina as many
other animals.

A brief 10 minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk
off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes
to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the
big gash in my head. At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed
venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope.

I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it
would likely die slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no
love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and
I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual. Despite the gash in my
head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's
momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me
across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that
there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility
for the situation we were in. I didn't want the deer to have to suffer a
slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the
feeder - a little trap I had set before hand...kind of like a squeeze chute.
I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my rope

Did you know that deer bite?

They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer
bite somebody, so I was very surprised when ...... I reached up there to
grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist. Now, when a deer bites
you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and slide
off to then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head--almost like a pit
bull. They bite HARD and it hurts.

The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and
draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was

It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it
was likely only several seconds. I, being smarter than a deer (though you
may be questioning that claim by now), tricked it. While I kept it busy
tearing the tendons out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and
pulled that rope loose.

That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day.

Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on
their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their
hooves are surprisingly sharp... I learned a long time ago that, when an
animal -like a horse --strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get
away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an
aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back
down a bit so you can escape.

This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery
not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I
screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run. The reason I had always
been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that
there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head. Deer
may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong
and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it hit me right in
the back of the head and knocked me down.

Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not
leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed. What they
do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying
there crying like a little girl and covering your head.

I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away. So
I know why when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a
scope......to sort of even the odds!!

All these events are true so help me God... An Educated Farmer

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Fresh eggnog muffins, made with the help of a wee girl.
Yes, they're as good as they look.

Friday, November 25, 2011

J.D. gets it right

From JayG we have this news from Jack Daniels:

Jack Daniel's Funds Travel Expenses for Soldiers
NASHVILLE, Tenn.-- Tennessee whiskey maker Jack Daniel's is donating more than $100,000 to pay for plane tickets and travel funds for soldiers at Fort Campbell, Ky., to spend the December holiday season with their families all over the country.
The distiller is also asking the public to make additional contributions that could help hundreds of cash-strapped soldiers who otherwise would be stuck at the post on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line. Donations can be made to the Operation Ride Home campaign online at www.jdoperationridehome.com.

Now, as a disclaimer - I was never a bourbon drinker - but if I would have been this would be worth buying at least a case in support of. This is a great thing they are doing & I would encourage everyone who can to either donate to the cause, or to buy a bottle or seven when the urge strikes. I can remember plenty of times when I would see young military members stuck around the barracks for the holidays, just because they couldn't afford the travel home. A chance for these men and women to spend time with the families at home is a gift beyond words.

Well done Jack Daniels, well done.

Power Imbalance

Interesting article here on the start of a downsizing initiative in the U.S. Navy.

Similar efforts are already underway in the other services. The drawdown of wars, and an even more relevant huge decrease in budgets means that the armed forces are going to be finding reasons to get people to leave. Whether it's overmanned specialties, weight standards, financial troubles or whatever, we are going to be back in the days of people fighting to stay in as opposed to being begged to re-enlist.

What I found interesting though was the portion discussing the current number of Flag officers - 350 Admirals - in a Navy with under 300 ships. Talk about a top-heavy organization.

Now, being experienced in such things, I also know that the Navy is not just ships. You have Flag officers for just about every field - the Fleet, Air Wings, Special Warfare, Intelligence, Supply etc. - so this isn't a case of "an Admiral for every ship."

However, it is a symptom of a bigger problem. The examples I will use are Special Warfare (SEAL teams and their support) and EOD, as I spent the most time around those.

For many years both organizations were headed by Captains at the highest levels. In fact, it was generally considered a career-killing move for an officer to stay in those specialties - they would never get promoted to higher ranks, make it into the "elite circles" of upper officers and all that. On the one hand, this hurt the specialized units in that they didn't have people in "the club" when it came time for budget & turf fights, or when it was time to push for something. On the other hand, it meant that the leadership was in the career path because they loved it, not because they were bucking for rank. But, as time went by, it became more important to ensure you had people in the right places, and more important to "reward" the right ones with promotions and advancement. I'm sure each speciality outside of the "regular" fleet went through similar growth issues.

But keep in mind that it's not just the Flag officers. Each Admiral has a certain number of Captains, who have a certain number of Commanders etc. - so the level of "chiefs over indians" trickles down.

Along with this the military has contributed to the problem with an "up or out" policy. The days of someone finding a level of competency and riding out their time are long gone - now if you don't get promoted, you are shown the door. Which means if we're going to require people to get advanced to stay, we need a position to advance them to.

And thus we end up with a top-heavy imbalance throughout the organization. Senior enlisted doing the jobs that junior enlisted used to, and upper level NCOs no longer supervising or managing (or even leading) their people but being just another worker in the machine. Junior officers no longer learning leadership but instead spending their time worrying about not screwing up their promotion. Mid-grade officers engaged in the backstab & self-promotion game to ensure they aren't forced out. And the upper level of your organization worried more about who to let in the club, and which lobbying or contracting job to line up for retirement than in leading your service.

The sad part is, after watching it happen before in the 90s, and talking with guys who dealt with it in the 70s, that I know how this will go. The services are not going to eliminate the Flag positions, or the senior officer ranks - the cuts are going to come from the mid-grade enlisted and officers; and more tragically from family programs, health care, base services & living and such. This isn't counting the catastrophic cuts we are facing in equipment, maintenance and training which are going to hit the services as a whole.

The end result in ten years I fear to see.

Shopping success

Like most of the other bloggers within my circle, I dread and loathe the thought of dealing with crowds, stupidity, and the general madness of this shopping season, much less this day in particular. Yes, I'm talking to you, folks who think that pepper spraying a group of people to get a deal on a TV is appropriate... W.T.F.?????

So, this year I have made it my goal to complete all my shopping from the wonderful comfort of my own desk chair - no crowds, no lines and no rush. I can say that between early shopping for my wife, and careful looking for the kids I am now pretty much done. A couple more small things to get, but no rush on them. I also managed to fit in donations to a couple of my favorite veteran's charities - we are blessed more than we often think about, and I felt it was appropriate to give something back.

I hope your day-of-commercial-worship goes at least as smoothly.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

May you and your families have a wonderful day, and take a moment to reflect upon all the blessings in your life.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

More nominees

for a place in that "special hell":

Those people who insist on driving down the middle of the gorram lane in a parking lot, and look affronted when asked to share said space with other vehicles transiting said location.

I find them slightly annoying to say the least.

Another funny

For everyone who's played a computer or live RPG...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Today's Funny

Day two of "Death on a Stick" - so no original content here.

But, McSweeney's had another winner today:

The Six Million Dollar Man Writes a Letter
to the United States Department of
Veterans Affairs.

Anyone who's dealt with the VA will understand...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Class and respect

In general I don't follow, post or care about the activities of the various celebrities. I subscribe to the "Dancing Monkey" belief put forth by Jennifer in terms of their relative importance to the real world and current events.

However I came across a picture today while reading a follow up story which I felt deserved comment and acknowledgement:

This is Justin Timberlake, attending the Marine Corps Ball last week with Corporal Kelsey De Santis. People have already published the story of the invitation extended to Mr. Timberlake and his acceptance of the chance. That in itself is worthy of commendation, particularly in today's entertainment world. But that in itself is not what I felt worthy of note.

Look at this picture. Mr. Timberlake is standing respectfully, with his hand over his heart during the National Anthem - not joking around, laughing or otherwise being disrespectful. He isn't hogging the spotlight, he isn't turning this into a public spectacle - he is giving his hosts and his partner every bit of courtesy and honor due for the moment. Additionally he took the time to write his own reflection of the events afterwards, which was equally well done.

I couldn't name a single one of Mr. Timberlake's songs if you paid me to, I don't know what he does or doesn't do to stay in the spotlight and I don't care. With his actions in accepting the invitation, and his dignified performance during the event, he has shown me that he is a man of class and character. Would that we had more like him.

Well done sir, well done.

Well done sir, well done.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A good summary

Roberta writes up perfectly the thoughts of so many of us these days. Give it a read.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Techs out for a walk

Article and pictures here about military EOD technicians - the roots of our nationwide community - doing a fundraising walk to build an addition to the EOD memorial at Eglin AFB in Florida.

The sad fact is that the memorial has reached capacity for the names to honor fallen technicians, brave men and women who have given their lives rendering safe devices world wide. It's nice to see the community coming together to do something to help remember those who came before.

If you are so inclined here is the link to the EOD Memorial Foundation, which accepts donations from those who wish to help.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance and Honor

Over the past week I have been very fortunate to have spent time in conversation and email with a number of dedicated men and women. Veterans of the four American services, as well as a few foreign counterparts.
Every one of us has taken a part of our lives to serve something larger than themselves, and shares a bond that cannot be explained. For the rest of our lives we will remember those moments and the things we learned about ourselves.

I am blessed to have made these connections and to have these comrades.

Thank you for your service.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Temporarily grounded

I know there's been a dearth of posts lately... the young monkey was sick first, then the biscuit & now I'm fighting it. Along with that I have a full work schedule & all the other stuff of life going on.

So, I'm slightly (heavily) medicated & doing my best to tread water.

Updates as soon as I can get her spaceborne again folks.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I was saddened to read of the untimely death of fellow blogger William the Coroner.

I enjoyed reading his posts, and our interaction online when it occurred. He was an intelligent man who spent a great deal of his effort and time in educating others. To say he will be missed by the world is an understatement.

Rest in peace sir, and may your family be at peace as well.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quote of the Week

On the role of government.

Somewhat germane to the current discussions...


My lovely wife is off with The Biscuit at a doctor's appointment.

I don't have to be to work for a few more hours, so I'm sitting here folding laundry and enjoying music.

I just looked out the window, and for a 30-second period the front yard was filled with a beautiful golden light from the sun at just the right angle through the fall trees.

Just a nice moment that I'm glad I caught.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Perception is reality

Yes, there is an unfortunate growing gulf between police and citizens in a lot of this country.

But before we point fingers, let's think how much of that lays at the foot of the citizenry.

Every time you tell your kids "If you don't eat your dinner the police will take you to jail," or point to me walking through the store and say "If you don't listen he'll come get you," you have another child growing up thinking we're the enemy and not someone there to help them.

Every time you see us walking in your store or office and point to someone saying "Take him!" or "He did it!" you reinforce the notion of "us vs. them."

Every time you're at a stoplight with a deathgrip on your steering wheel, afraid to look at the marked car next to you; or you walk down the street and pretend the cop walking the beat doesn't exist you do your own little part to widen that gulf.

We're people. We have a tough job - and sometimes it involves doing things people don't like. But we are doing it as your representatives, enforcing the laws that you as a society have asked for. Yes, there are bad apples - just as there are amongst the other parts of the world. Trust me, we like them much less than you do. But just keep in mind that the vast majority of us are simply doing our best to do what's right, even knowing the looks and comments we get.

So, instead of griping about a separate police state, how about taking a few minutes to say hi and get to know one of us? You might be surprised.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


After thirty years otherwise, our new chief has now instituted a mandatory ballistic vest policy, and discontinued the need for wearing the dress hat for everything you do.

Been some interesting changes with more to come.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

People still baffle me

I love our local community cleanup days - a chance for folks to stack unwanted trash by the curb so that it can be picked up by the County & recycled/disposed of as appropriate. Great way to do some spring/fall cleaning, and saves on multiple trips and extra fees for everyone. You can always tell which neighborhoods have it going on as the piles grow over a couple of weeks then disappear in one efficient day. And it can be interesting to see the things people throw out.

But a live hand grenade.... really folks?

Yes, I spent several hours of my daughter's birthday today dealing with this very thing. Fortunately no injuries, and more importantly it didn't interrupt any of her festivities.

For the gaming crowd

Nice article here on some deployed soldiers using role playing games to make life more fun.

Birthday Biscuit

Today my not-so-little-anymore girl turns four years old.

Our second unexpected blessing, she has grown into a wonderful young lady. Full of her own personality, brilliant, stubborn, opinionated, fun loving - hard to find words to adequately describe all the things she is even at this age.

Happy birthday princess. Daddy is proud of you!

Some things never change

Had part of my week occupied with a VIP visit to town, and our bits of support to that. As is often the case with such things we were working with Federal and military agencies during this as well.

So, a couple of us on the civilian bomb side are standing around talking with the lead Special Agent while waiting on things. We see a car pull up and two young men get out - both of whom display a certain lack of "fashion sense" shall we say. One of them has on a powder-blue shirt which not even a grandmother would give as a gift; the other apparently interpreted "business casual" as "stuff I might wear to a club with bad lighting in Tijuana." He quickly makes a comment of "Gee, I hope that's not my military EOD guys."

To which I reply "They're probably Air Force." I can't help it - there's still a bit of inter-service rivalry in me, even after all this time.

He laughs back and says "Hey, not cool - I was Air Force EOD." Which leads to a nice conversation about our backgrounds, duty stations and all the other stuff. Of course, on finding out my prior he has to retort with "Well, I knew they weren't Navy guys since their hair wasn't spiked up and they weren't wearing Oakleys in the rain."

I acknowledged his point as I looked at my own sunglasses in the mirror, and we enjoyed several moments throughout the day in similar nature... My coworkers also enjoyed it having seen a few pictures of me in the past days of such fun.

Nice to see my service still represents style and talent in the community.

Conceptual Failure

We'll start with the class reading, this article about Jack Daniel's distillery in Tennessee.

And now, I get to rant at Mr. Rogers, whose understanding of our system and the way reality works is apparently lacking. Which I also find surprising given the general attitude of self-reliance and freedom typical of that region...

Mr. Rogers sir, you are entitled to exactly two things from the local distillery: Jack Shit. They are not socially obligated to put more money into supporting the community just because the fact that your town's name is on the label anymore than a movie studio is obligated to support Los Angeles because Hollywood is tied to film making.

This whole "entitlement" thing is part of why we have so many gorram issues these days in the first place - and it crosses all the boundaries. I'm "entitled" to money, support, treatment, or whatever else because I'm this ethnicity, or belief, or my ancestors were insulted, or I served in the military or I was a civilian or I want an education or whateverfreakingelse.

And, call it what you will, "entitled" translates to one thing these days - I want you to pay for my desires. Label it what you want, say you're balancing out a fair share, say it's owed to you - it still means you want someone else to pay for your things.

I checked. You're entitled to two things on this planet by your respective creator: being born and dying. Everything else is a bonus.

By our Constitution you're entitled to three: Life (the Government's not supposed to just up & kill you), Liberty (they let you do what you want within reason), and the famed Pursuit of Happiness (you have the opportunity to better yourself through your own efforts - not through someone giving it to you). Again, anything after that is on you, your family or your respective chosen communities.

Now, given what agreements and directions have been made through the state & local legislatures, the Jack Daniel's Distillery certainly has obligations under taxes, local fees etc. - which as the article says already are over half the price of the product. Think about that - 60% of what the consumer is paying (and the company is paying out first) goes to taxes on this product. That's the same as saying every bit of work you do from January until the end of July you don't get paid for, instead it's going to the various governments and you'll get your first actual "paycheck" come August every year. And somehow increasing this number is right?

Mr. Rogers, I strongly suggest given your free time in retirement, and your desire to help your community, that you wander on down to your local library (Lynchburg has one, I've driven by it TYVM) and read a few books on economics, supply and demand and all those other things. You might try Mr. Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" as a start...

If, after all this, you still think that increasing the funds payed into the public treasury is the way to go, then by all means pursue the legislative means to do so. The beauty of our system is that the means are there.

But also don't be surprised when the company up & moves. And for reference on the whole "they'll never leave this town" thing, ask your neighbors in Pennsylvania how the steel industry is doing these days...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happy 236th

On this date the Continental Congress authorized the formation of a Navy for these United States. Since then we have led the way in war and peace around the world. Happy birthday shipmates!

Just one moment from this week...

Was on my way home from a long day - ready to spend time with the family and give my poor wife some help and all that... when a call comes out for a group of juveniles setting off explosives as they walk down the street on the other side of the county...

So, off I go to help deal with things. On the way I hear the first of the patrol units mark on scene in the area. Then, the idiot involved says on the air "Well, I don't see anything right now. I talked to this one group of kids but they said they didn't see anything either so I let them go."

In between the sounds of me beating my head against the steering wheel I very unsubtly tell him to go find and stop those kids again, and I'll be there shortly - and that he shouldn't do anything else until some adult supervision shows up.

A short time later I pull up with one of the fire marshals and we start looking around. Sure enough I have multiple scenes with minor property damage, along with three different groups of witnesses who are more than willing to give me good statements and descriptions. At the same time my idiot-of-the-shift lets us know he's found the kids a couple of blocks away. I tell him to start getting information while we coordinate our evidence collection & I'd be there shortly. You know - all the stuff basic police work is supposed to teach you.

After all the initial stuff is sorted out I head over to deal with my this point pects, where I get my next moment of annoyance. Apparently our idea of "detain and get information" involves letting the kids wander around playing basketball, going in and out of the house, and having a half-assed collection of names and "maybe" addresses for everyone. I've now reached my saturation point and not-so-subtly let the Sergeant know that this officer needs to be off my scene before I lose it.

Then it's off to jail for prints & photos & charges with my lucky contestants who are identified as the main players (I'd love to charge everyone, but it doesn't work that way...) - and being juveniles we add several more steps to the processing and paperwork fun. We hit our next roadblock when we find out that we can't get a hold of a guardian or family member for one of the kids. Intake won't take them in (bombs aren't "violent enough" in their book), child protective services won't take him since he's got felony charges, and I can't just drop him by the side of the road. I'm playing phone tag with different services, I've got road officers chasing down possible family, and I'm hungry, tired and pretty much fed up by this point. We finally find his guardian and explain the situation and that they need to get down here for the kid; leaving me to wrap up another two hours of paperwork and packaging before I can head home at last.

Just an example of my week...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Peace Officer's Guide to Civic Dissent

- or -

"How to act like a gorram grown up while holding your demonstration"

references: Jesus, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, and others

This post had been percolating for a few days, and following a talk with the wife this morning felt like writing it now. Having watched some of the news from the latest group of "We're against everything" in New York I figured I would share my thoughts. Yes, I know my normal reading demographic isn't in this group, but maybe it will somehow reach them through the magic of Google...

So - in no particular order:

- Yes, you absolutely have a right to protest - hell, I encourage it. Many grand things have been accomplished due to public demonstration from the early days of this country. However, please remember that your right to protest does not give you the right to infringe upon others. If you remember that then you've solved 90% of your issues.

- The officers on scene are doing their job, it's nothing personal. They may agree with your position, oppose it, or simply not care. But they have a job to do, rules to work within, and a desire to go home at the end of their shift. Additionally, please remember that these jobs and rules are dictated by the community and taxpayers as a whole - the police are keeping the peace as the society requests.

- Localities will generally be very willing to let you know what rules you are expected to follow in terms of roadways, sidewalks, public access areas etc. - you may be asked to get a parade permit in order to hold a street march, or be allowed to be in some areas with no paperwork or planning required. But respecting these boundaries will limit the need for anything else.

- Private property is just that - private, with their own rules. Some businesses don't care if you protest, some may want you gone. Some places may let you camp on their property, or use it for stands etc. - others want nothing to do with you. Either way it's THEIR property. Should you be asked to leave and refuse you are then subject to arrest for trespass and possible other offenses. If this happens it has NOTHING to do with the police stifling your freedom of speech - they are enforcing existing laws which have to do with where you are and what you are doing, and nothing at all to do with what you are saying.

- As a second note from the above - the First Amendment says the GOVERNMENT can't restrict your speech within normal boundaries - it has no influence on private groups or companies. That means TV, print, online or whatever resource has zero obligation to spread your message or publish your manifesto or otherwise cater to you.

- In the vast majority of situations police are not going to just start arresting people, using OC spray, TASERs or any other force, or otherwise start stepping up their response without warning. Departments are very aware of their legal responsibilities and obligations, and will make clear what will happen and what the consequences are. Should this occur - heed the warnings. If you stick around past that point don't be surprised.

- You may have decided that "passive resistance" is appropriate for your cause - that being arrested and charged is part of the whole plan. If this is the plan you might consider letting the officers know such - that you are not planning to physically resist or be violent, but that you will have to be arrested as opposed to ceasing whichever act. I won't promise you won't still be subject to some force, but this may well minimize the concerns and risk for all involved.

- Officers aren't using force in general because they think you are a bad person. They're faced with a large crowd, a potential for violence, and a need to do things as safely as possible for everyone involved. If you've chosen to put yourself in that position then you must accept those consequences. Whining about it afterwards doesn't do anything but make your cause look immature.

- One of the biggest things you can do is keep the asshats out of your event. Come out, hold your demonstration and all that. But when the element shows up that wants to destroy buildings and vehicles, hurt people and generally riot through the streets all it does is bring the whole image down for you. While you may not always be able to control the participants, making the beasts know they aren't welcome in your action will go a long way towards credibility with the public.

- For heaven's sake, pick up after yourself. Again - leaving a site trashed after your event doesn't make the public opinion think highly of you.

I'm sure my readers, law enforcement and others, can add plenty more. We need adult discourse in this country, but let's do it as actual adults.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Planning fail, family win

So yes, I had a whole list of things I was working on today, getting caught up from the week & ready for next week when I will be tied up in training.

Made it almost halfway through when we had someone decide to leave a bit of a suspicious item near a government office here, which turned into a five hour bit of fun what with the call, paperwork, staff reports, etc. Plus I still have to get things ready for a Saturday dog & pony show.

So much for those "to-do" lists... some days you're just happy to tread water, much less swim any.

On the other hand - walked in the door to a loving wife and smiling, laughing children who were thrilled to see me. Followed by kids who behaved and listened and had fun on a dinner out, no arguments during cleanup, bath and bedtime. And now I get to relax in our own home, with a loving family, security, a full stomach and all those other things.

Kind of reminds you of the important bits of perspective.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sleepy time

For spending all day doing nothing but teaching and cleaning up, I feel remarkably beat down... bad part is tomorrow is more of the same.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Your learning for the day

I was going to cut & paste parts, but the whole thing needs a read. Head over to Peter's spot for a good overview of the financial mess facing us as a society:

The state of the U.S. and world economy

Your test is what happens in the next five year based on the choices we make.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kilted Pic

As promised, here's the kilted shot for the month - Jacob and I both in our kilts, and Princess Kyleigh had to jump in with her skirt. Let the laughter at my pale legs commence!

and seriously folks - we can't even come up off five dollars or so for the donations? Please, let's step up at least a little bit here... just a bit over a week left.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Copying the cool kids

As everyone else is posting pictures of their daily carry knives, I figured I'd join in.

Top one is an Emerson Roadhouse. I've carried one Emerson or another for twenty years now - never had one fail, and it seems to me that his designs keep improving with time. I've used them for daily carry, duty as a cop, and for diving, combat, working on live ordnance, and all sorts of other stuff. In fact, my three "spare" knives happen to be Emersons as well. Quite simply, you get what you pay for.

Bottom is a Hide Away Knives neck knife. This one is purely intended as an "oh-crap" sort of tool, but works perfectly for it. There are other carry options available as well, but I like the neck carry for extremely low profile and access with either hand.

Monday, September 19, 2011

'Tis the Nineteenth day of the Ninth month -

And all before the mast know what that means... it's "Talk Like a Pirate Day" yet again!

'twere a fine day aboard me vessel here. I spent the morning watch huddled aft with a master of the use of powder and shot, lining up new techniques and tools to use when storming the fortress of some hapless town for plunder and booty. Then, after the cook rang 8 bells I journeyed briefly ashore to sample the wares lain out by a visiting merchantman. Whilst doing so I had the privilege of encountering some lads from down under who sailed under a winged dagger; it took all of a minute for us to find some shipmates in common and then spend another watch sharing stories and recollections of grand adventures at sea and ashore. Ah, it was a fine thing to be in the company of such men again, and my first mate enjoyed the laughter as well as he heard the comments and imprecations shared liberally between the crews.

Tomorrow 'tis back to sea and various bits of privateering and brigandry as the case may be. For tonight, I leave you with a lively tune:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kilted to Kick Cancer

Started by Ambulance Driver and Happy Medic, this is a September drive for those of us so inclined to wear our kilts publicly, and to talk about male-specific cancers when asked why.

I'm getting into the game a bit later than planned, and I'm certainly not competing for prizes - but I will ask those of you out there so inclined to drop by and leave a donation for research. Additionally, if you follow the links you'll find that several other organizations are helping out & even throwing in free stuff. Everyone wins, and hopefully some great research gets accomplished.

Additionally, if you're a man, I'll urge you to get checked at your regular physicals. If you're a woman, remind your male friends. A lot of these things are much easier to treat the earlier they're caught...

EDIT - my donation link is the top one, please take a moment to follow it to Livestrong and leave an amount you feel appropriate. Thanks again.

Prostate Cancer Facts:

  • About 240,890 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2011.
  • About 33,720 men will die of prostate cancer in 2011.
  • About 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
  • More than 2 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.
  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.
  • About 1 man in 36 will die of prostate cancer.

Testicular Cancer Facts:

  • It most often affects men between ages 20 and 39.
  • It affects 8,000 men a year, and kills 390 of them.
  • It is the most common form of cancer in men ages 15-34.
  • 95% of cases can be cured if detected early.

Finally, my own kilted pic will make an appearance soon, in full spirit of the fun.

Thanks all.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Comparison time

Is it any less wrong or creepy for a politician to say "If you love me you'll get this bill passed," than it is for a teenage boy to say "If you love me you'll put out." ???

Cue the opening notes of "Cult of Personality" yet again...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Word of the day

Cat-ervision - the direct supervision performed by a person's feline when they are attempting to accomplish some task. The degree and proximity of cat-ervision required is directly proportional to the delicacy of the task, or the possibility of small pieces which might be entertaining to said cat.

I'm sure I can also draw a corollary to my long-stated theory that if you laid a newspaper out to read it in the Serengeti a lion would shortly come along to lay across the pages...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I feel dirty....

The universal truths of search warrants -

- Why do they always seem to be in a house occupied by a hoarder or a slob? If you've lived someplace six years, you might consider cleaning & unpacking at some point...

- On ever search warrant you will find porn and sex toys. Every single time. And it's never stuff you want to see, more the kind you go "Let me poke out my eye now and pour lemon juice in the gaping wound."

And we're back...

As the saying goes, rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated...

Since our last episode we have had fun with hurricanes, a multi-day power outage followed by over almost two weeks of no Internet, a couple of 80 hour work weeks and all the other related fun. So - I've spent the time taking care of my family as opposed to getting on here, but now I think it's stable enough for a return.

Hopefully a few of you still out there, and we will now resume our normal programming.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Doing some long-overdue purging of some work/military/camping stuff from a few bins today. Which I liken to watching sausage being made, without the pretty parts...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Feel the Earth Move

So um yeah, that was my first earthquake - interesting.

I happened to be in the D.C. area at the time - I thought at first it was one of the Metro trains going by, but then realized that no it was the whole place, right about the time several of the other cops there all had the same moment of "Ummm that's an earthquake."

Fortunately all the family & friends safe and sound. Not sure how you left coast people deal with them all the time.

Oh - and we're expecting a hurricane this weekend. Any other natural disasters I need to pack a bag for?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

NPR's top 100 SF/Fantasy

Here's my list:

  1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
  3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
  4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
  5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
  6. 1984, by George Orwell
  7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
  9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
  11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
  12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
  13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
  15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
  16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
  17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
  18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
  19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
  21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
  22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
  24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
  25. The Stand, by Stephen King
  26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
  27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
  28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
  29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
  30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
  31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
  32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
  33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
  34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
  35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
  36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
  37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
  38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
  39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
  40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
  41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
  42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
  44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
  45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
  46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
  48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
  49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
  50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
  51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
  52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
  53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
  54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
  55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
  56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
  57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
  58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
  59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
  60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
  61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
  63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
  64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
  65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
  66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
  67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
  68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
  69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
  70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
  71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
  72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
  73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
  74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
  75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
  76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
  77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
  78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
  79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
  80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
  81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
  82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
  83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
  84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
  85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
  86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
  87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
  88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
  89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
  90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
  91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
  92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
  93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
  94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
  95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
  96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
  98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
  99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
  100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Spambots are getting goods

I had the most stunningly accurate ad pop up in my box:

"We guarantee you'll sweep with a married woman in your town this week!"

Ummm - looking at my lovely wife across from me, I'd say that's a safe guess.

Another Link



Never again.

Thought of the day...

Limit all US politicians to two terms..
One in office
One in prison......
Illinois already does this and it appears it's starting to work for them.

Source unknown, but not mine.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Unsaid

One of the elephants in the room amongst police (and also certain military units) is that of suicide.

Rates tend to be higher than the "statistical" average, for a number of reasons. The stresses of the job, the stigma of "asking for help", the tendency of people to internalize everything they encounter etc. All of it adds up and takes a toll. Having seen a few too many of these amongst friends and coworkers I can speak to the effects.

A new book aims to address some of the issues, on a personal level. An article discussing it is HERE. Information on the book and the seminars for individuals and agencies is HERE.

I most strongly recommend anyone who is even remotely involved in public service take a few minutes to read, think and pass on.

Thank you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Moment of Silence

DOD Identifies Service Members Killed In CH-47 Crash in Afghanistan
Aug 11, 2011 11:25 AM EDT

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of 30 servicemembers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

The following sailors assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:

Lt. Cmdr. (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, La.

Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, Calif.

Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Ark.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Conn.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minn.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Mass.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Mo.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, W.Va.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, La.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Mich.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, Calif.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, N.C.

Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah

Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Neb.

Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pa.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Fla.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah.

The following sailors assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, Calif.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, ofSaint Paul, Minn.

The soldiers killed were:

Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colo. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Aurora, Colo.

Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.

Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Grand Island, Neb.

Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Wash. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.

Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.

The airmen killed were:

Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Fla.

Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, Calif.

Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pa.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Yet another case of links instead of content

From Phlegme - a video of some Sikhs in London reacting appropriately as a community to the disorder.

God's been blogging - the comments are great.

Going back to an actual, real day off here.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

More fun

Been a hell of a week, work wise - busy juggling competing demands and not much time to think.

Plus separate work drama, none involving me.

Then, news this morning about a large loss of life amongst the Teams and some other U.S. SOF personnel from a helo shoot-down. Still trying to track down some names & such, but info is scarce.

Blogging to resume later - my mind isn't in it right now.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Controlling the inner monologue

So - plenty of local cop drama this week, which has kept us stressed. But I am personally safe & alive, just busy.

Along with all this, we have a recruit academy going through their first week on the range. Today had the incredibly rare occurrence of a moment which left me at a complete loss for words.

For those who don't know - when teaching adults a new skill it helps to put it in the perspective of a skill they already have. Helps the mind process the concepts better & gives you a common point of reference. For a lot of combat shooting you can do this by relating it to athletics and martial arts - balance, poise, relaxed focus etc. are all common elements.

Well, a young lady I was helping today on the line was having problems with keeping a consistent grip on her handgun. Thinking to use an analogy like softball, golf, or whatever I asked what sports she had played in school.

"None sir." (they're still in that super-enthusiastic military bearing mode - you get used to it)

"Well, what about other athletics? What kind of stuff do you do for fun?" Still determined to find something here to relate my point on gripping the weapon firmly & consistently, ever the dedicated instructor...

"Well... I do belly dancing sir." Perfectly straight faced, and I know she's waiting for me to give her some grief or something.

"Ummmm yeah I got nothing on that one. I'll be right back."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Apparently my Android doesn't like Blogger

Edited to correct whatever that was...

Jiffy Lube can officially go pound sand and find someone else to get money from. $80 for an oil change because of "increased oil prices" is gorram obscene and they will not get anymore business from me, no matter how convenient they are.

I'll make the effort to work around the corner garage's schedule and keep them open.

Jiffy Lube, may you be sodomized by a rabid yak.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Language alert

For anyone wondering how much powder those dry-chemical fire extinguishers hold, the answer is "a metric shit-ton".

And the only response upon opening the back of your work truck and finding one has gone off is "Holy F*ck".

Which was then followed by four hours of cleaning and sweating in 105 degree heat.

So, that's how my day started...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Think I'm human again

Closed out last week with two twenty-hour plus days in a row, to include a late callout & two hour nap before a long road-trip. Then came home to be at a funeral the next morning.

Fortunately I've caught up on sleep now, got to spend some time with my wonderful family, and catch up on things around the house. Work this week is actually catching up to where I need & my "to-do" list is shrinking instead of growing.

Hoping the trend continues & I'll have something worthwhile to share.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

more perspective

So, I was grumpy on getting home tonight - my day's plans got rearranged, to include gaming night missed yet again, working a 17 hour day etc... kind of felt like venting.

Then it occurred to me yet again what a pretty gorram incredible wife I have. In just this week she's dealt with:

- Me skipping out on the family pool trip as I can't do the sun & don't feel like lounging around watching others from the shade.

- Me running off to a memorial service for one person leaving her with the kids, dinner etc.

- Me working a long range day, coming home hot, sweaty & tired, and her making dinner without complaint.

- Another coworker dying & all the drama that involves as both a normal human and a police wife.

- My day getting changed from somewhat normal to said 17-hours; leaving her with kids, house, meals etc. without relief or company.

- Me gone again all day & night Friday on a work trip, again leaving her solo.

All this without complaint and making it all look effortless - just support for our chosen lives & the things that occur.

I'm pretty blessed & lucky she decided to keep me around.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rough week

We had one of our recruits commit suicide at the end of last week.

Today a guy I was in the academy with was killed in a motorcycle accident.

Kind of a rough week for us right now.

Monday, July 11, 2011


I suppose the advantage to almost being shot by an incompetent coworker on Monday is that the rest of the week can't help but be an improvement...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Links & commentary instead of my own work

Following up on my commentary yesterday on the end of NASA's manned spaceflight - I fully agree on the potential and work going on in the private sector (for which Roberta has an excellent post here) - I am lamenting the fact that as a nation we no longer see this as a priority worthy of our collective effort. I just hope that those with the drive and finances to push forward don't get hampered too much by Fed interference.

Meanwhile, Tam has a good discussion re: the Anthony trial and the judicial system in general. One of the hardest things to teach new cops, and one of the traps too many old ones fall into, is that one arrest isn't worth violating our basic principals, no matter how "dirty" the bad guy is. I was fortunate in my early years to have good training and examples of this, and have always attempted to follow such - even when I knew the car had dope, the guy was dirty or whatever, it wasn't worth my integrity and our rights to cross the line for one bad guy. Just wish the big system as a whole would remember this more.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Peter Jackson may redeem himself

Don't get me wrong - visually the Lord of the Rings movies were fantastic. But I remain unhappy to this day with the "artistic license" he took with the story and certain characters.

However, this photo of three of the dwarves from the upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit shows potential... hopefully he listened to those fans who asked for a bit of a closer following of Professor Tolkein's work.

Is this the end of the dream?

Like so many of us, one of my dreams as a child was to be an astronaut - to explore the wonders of space, watch as humans explored new worlds and to see mankind expand beyond this one lone planet. While my path ended up in a different direction I still have followed the wonders of our space program throughout the years and believe that so much potential lies in the stars.

Today is the last launch of our space shuttle program, with no plans for manned spaceflight to continue in the foreseeable future by NASA. A sad day for us all.

Let us hope someone else picks up the torch and helps us find those strange new worlds.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


For the curious, when conducting force-on-force training with airsoft weapons - at point blank range to the skull they will leave a heck of a welt and a nice bruise...

Which then led to my son curious as to why daddy got shot at work :D

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Today's funny

I claim no knowledge of any of these artists within my music library at any point, nor of any behaviors discussed therein...

McSweeney's has the link.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton


Happy birthday America. We aren't perfect, and have a lot of troubles as I speak, but we are still the best beacon of freedom and hope which has existed in any nation throughout history.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Roadcheck fun

Did a little overtime in the flavor of a traffic roadcheck last night, as opposed to my usual roving patrols. The only headaches came from a few of the officers, who apparently viewed it as more of a social occasion than a work event - earning a couple of comments from the rest of us which were far from subtle.

Personally came out with double-digit tickets, which isn't bad. Contestants ranged from a "not quite drunk enough to go to jail" who got to park his car & get a cab just for safety, to the motorcycle rider on a new bike who hadn't bothered with a license or insurance yet, to the suspended driver with multiple prior offenses. The nice part is that 95% of them were still courteous and nice people, even if I had to write them tickets, tow the ride, or whatever - definitely improves the evening for all involved.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Strange times

Today we had a sober 50 year old man with no criminal record and a valid license lead officers on a high-speed pursuit at lunchtime for 23 miles "just because."

A brief moment of gloating

- $10000 lawyer & a few thousand more for your "expert" on hire...

- Three hour trial on your appeal...

- Still guilty at the end of things despite lying on the stand along with all the other stuff...

How'd that work out for you?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Six years ago I was halfway through a midnight shift when I got the call from my wife that "I think my water just broke." I rushed home, loaded her in the car & we headed in a tizzy to the hospital - to end up waiting for twelve hours til this little guy decided to show up.

Fast-forward up to today.

Smart, funny, curious, sensitive, adventurous, and so many other things - everything I could have hoped for and more. Apparently our "make it up as you go along" parenting style hasn't been a failure.

Happy birthday Jacob - I am so grateful that I get to share in the journey of your life.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Today's quiz

I got an 84.85% - actually pretty pleased with that given the averages.

Try your knowledge of civics here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


My lovely wife and I don't watch television much - a couple of shows now & then, but certainly nothing regular. One of the benefits of this is that we avoid modern commercials as much as possible, thus saving our gag reflex...

However, every now & again we will turn on one of the music video channels as we relax in the evening, watching the ones that catch our eyes and usually ignoring the interludes.

The infomercials get us every time though - I swear, it's like they want us to mock them. Does anyone else have that experience?


While I honestly try not to blow my own horn that much, I do consider myself rather skilled and knowledgeable in my job. Between years of experience, some bits of aptitude here & there, and I don't know what else, I happen to be good at what I do. Usually I really don't think about it in terms of my profession, as I tend to think most people are about the same level - unfortunately, that's not always the case. This week was a bit of a reminder into some of that...

Started out when I was invited out with some of our supervisors to observe a State Police exercise using some specialized explosive skills in a tactical arena. Before the trip I had been of the mental impression that their skill level was about the same as mine in this field - nothing I'd call "expert" but certainly competent enough to do the job. Instead, I found out that they were far behind not only in capability but in technical knowledge; the "why" you do certain things in certain ways, how the explosives are working. Basically the ability to not only use the tools, but to adapt them when needed & to know what the right tool is for the job. On the good side, they were receptive to some of my advice, and we've made some tentative plans to train together in the future where we can hopefully help each other with some of that.

Then today I got a nice call out to one of our Fire/Police shared facilities - seems like someone found an apparent device and obviously was a bit concerned. After some effort on our part and dealing with making the possible item safe we then found out that a third-party contractor had left it behind during a training exercise a month ago - no accountability, no effort made to clean up after themselves, didn't bother to tell anyone else etc.

So let's see - we tied up Police & Fire resources for several hours, all of which could have been used helping with other calls, or would have liked to have enjoyed their days off. We shut down a facility for the same period, preventing people from getting their work done. We put people at risk investigating this and having to treat it like a live device. All because you don't have the competence or professionalism to properly mark or take care of your toys.

The good note out of all of this is that my command staff is very happy with the unit right now and the things I've been able to do with it. Now my next goal is reminding everyone (to include myself) not to rest on our laurels, but instead to see what areas we can improve in so we don't become the ones folks talk about down the road.