Before I make my comments, please read this article by A. J. Delgado, It’s Time for Conservatives to Stop Defending Police.

Now that you have read it I will make my comments.

First I will acknowledge that there are bad police officers. I will also say there are bad teachers,  and bad judges. Now when a teacher does something bad do we jump and down and scream for changes in the teaching system? No, we deal with the problem teacher and then only if needed make changes to the system by implementing new policies or laws. From my viewpoint it seems things for police are at the other end, blame the whole system and scream for wholesale changes without focusing on the officer’s actions itself.

Next I want to look at some of the statements made in Ms. Delgado’s article:

“But it’s time for conservatives’ unconditional love affair with the police to end.”

Well us conservatives might defend the police more than others I wouldn’t call it unconditional. I see conservatives, myself included point out issues with how some police activities are carried out such as “no-knock” warrants.

A next example from this article:

On Thursday in Staten Island, an asthmatic 43-year-old father of six, Eric Garner, died after a group of policemen descended on him, placing him in a chokehold while attempting to arrest him for allegedly selling cigarettes. A bystander managed to capture video in which Garner clearly cries out, “I can’t breathe!” Even after releasing the chokehold (chokeholds, incidentally, are prohibited by NYPD protocol), the same officer then proceeds to shove and hold Garner’s face against the ground, applying his body weight and pressure on Garner, ignoring Garner’s pleas that he cannot breathe. Worse yet, new video shows at least eight officers standing around Garner’s lifeless, unconscious body.

This is a tragic situation, and I will add that since chokeholds are against policy the officer should be punished in an appropriate manner for violating such policy. That said when looking at the video we the viewers have no idea what lead to the what we are viewing. To sum up, we don’t know what the officers knew at the scene to make a valid judgment. We do know that Garner was resisting arrest. Yes, he was being placed under arrest and he was not following officers instructions. Failing to follow an officers lawful orders means they will escalate up the force ladder to make you comply. What Delgado also fails to mention is that in addition to the 8 police officers standing by while he was on the ground there were EMT’s and paramedics  also standing by. Why doesn’t she question why the EMT’s did nothing (two EMT’s and two paramedics have been suspended without pay). Mainly because it wouldn’t support her point of view is my guess.

“Who can defend this?”

This is in relation to the above incident and I will say I can. Unless you think a person who is being arrested (Garner had more than 30 arrests, he knows the routine) can avoid being arrested by saying “Don’t touch me” then you should expect the police to use some level of force. It will start with verbal and escalate from there. Why weren’t other force options used? That is a good question. I don’t know if it was lack of equipment or a training issue as I don’t work for the NYPD nor familiar with their budget, equipment purchases, and training of officers. I did see where training was being reviewed so I’m going to lean towards it is a training issue.

I won’t quote the entire passage I’ll talk about next, but Delgado goes into the incident about an officer shooting a dog that approached him in an aggressive manner. Delgado says the officers were violating the home-owners Fourth Amendment rights, which is debatable. The officers were investigating a missing child. In a missing child investigation time is of the essence. If a kidnapping evidence needs to be gather an a search started ASAP. So the officers were doing their duty would be my argument. Delgado did toss out this little gym:

“rather than retreat or fire at the dog’s leg”

First, an officer has no duty to retreat. Second, as a firearm owner and firearms instructor shooting at the legs of a dog running towards you would be the last thing I would ever think of saying. I’ll give Ms. Delgado a month of lessons in shooting and I would to see how successful she is in shooting the legs of a running dog.

Delgado then adds this as another example of what is wrong with the police:

Last month in Georgia, a SWAT team’s flash grenade landed in a baby boy’s crib. Worth noting: It was even the wrong house.

Yes, the wrong house, but the evidence the police had indicated that the person they were looking for was at that address. The person they were looking for has a record for drugs and during the last arrest was found to have an AK-47. The question then would be does a prior drug arrest with weapons enough evidence to allow a “no-knock” warrant. Regarding the flash grenade landing in the crib, that is a terrible accident, but what should be done different? Should the officer look before tossing the grenade? That defeats the purpose of using such a tactic. Was a flash grenade really needed? I can’t answer that, might be a place for policies on use of such a device.

 

Delgado’s next passage touches on things that happened in her neighborhood:

“In the past six months, in my own humble neighborhood, I have witnessed officers try to enter a home without a warrant, hoping the residents were none the wiser about their rights; forcibly evict an elderly man from his apartment without an eviction order; threaten to arrest a driver who turned onto a street where the officer had neglected to place the “Street Closed” sign; and throw two teenage kids facedown on the ground for riding their bikes on the street at night.”

The thing here is all of this is offered without context. Why were the officers trying to enter without a warrant how were they attempting to do so? Did the officers ask to come in and were refused? Were they trying to force their way in? Police are going around and evicting elderly  people for no reason? I doubt that is happening, there is more to that story if the writer looked into the issue. I’ll say the same about the two teenagers being face down on the street, and I would think it is more than riding their bike son the street at night. As for the officer threatening to arrest someone where they didn’t place a street closed sign up, again, more information needed. Did the person turn on the street and was told this right away? Was the person arguing with the officer and then told this? This paragraph is one of my pet peeves with people complaining about the police, they take one small timeframe to make their point and tend to leave out everything else that lead up to that point.

Delgado then hits on the buzzword of the moment, the “hyper-militarization” of the police.  To educate people all allow Massad Ayoob to offer his opinion:

“News flash: Police in America have had a paramilitary structure since before our oldest living citizen was born. Look at the rank structure: Captains, lieutenants, sergeants and in some departments, corporals on one end and majors and a colonel or two on the other. Substitute “private” for “patrolman,” understand “trooper” can describe state police and some soldiers alike, and realize in some state police agencies, local headquarters are still called “barracks.”

When AR-15’s are issued to local patrol officers, cries arise of “militarization.” Excuse me, but the lever action repeater was the “assault rifle” of the 19th Century, and history shows cops got repeating rifles before the US Army did — and armed citizens had them before that. The modern uniforms? Please … when I was a kid in mid-20th century, “policemen” and “firemen” and “postmen” all worked in distinctive uniforms. Today, letter carriers get to wear shorts in warm weather, firefighters have more job-related work clothes, and cops — who have to do rough and dirty work — no longer wear leather-soled dress shoes or dress like postmen, only with badges and gun belts. Is there, like, a problem there? Yes, the military had semi-auto pistols before they were issued to cops, but the same was true of armed citizens. The point?”

Read the whole article by Mr. Ayoob. I’ll also suggest another book to the readers, Rory Miller’s Force Decisions: A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding How Police Determine Appropriate Use of Force. If you want to know when and why police use various levels of force then read this book.

I could probably go on and on, but the point being is yes there are bad officers and there is almost always more to the story when you hear someone complain about the police. In the end just remember the police are just a tool used to enforce the laws. If we as citizens don’t like something then we should petition our elected officials to change things.

 

The NRA has come out with a statement of the groups pushing for open carry in Texas, which I think is right on the mark. These groups claim they are helping our Second Amendment rights but they aren’t. Some people may remember the John Birch Society (they still exist) and how early on the conservative wing of the Republican party welcomed them. But soon the looniness of the Bircher’s came out and the conservative movement rightly denounced them and drove them out. The fact that lately they have been letting them back into the party is another issue.

Supporters of the Second Amendment should denounce those supporters of open carry that want walk into a business, in mass, to show their support for open carry. In talking with many members of this group they seem not to be able to see any other way to spread their message. To those we need to expose them for the nuts they are and let people know they don’t represent the majority of firearm owners.

I say this as a firearm owner, a person that carries a firearm (concealed) for self-defense, and has taught firearm classes to others so they could get a carry permit.

Recently the restaurant chain Chilpotes stated they weren’t going to allow open carry of firearms in their stores, much like Starbucks has already done. As a Second Amendment supporter many might think I would be angry for these companies implementing “gun free zones” (or like I like to call them “target rich environments”) in their stores, but I don’t. I see the business decision they are making and don’t have any issues with them. My issue is with some of the open carry supporters out there.

Many people that support open carry use their brains. They know there is a time and place where open carry isn’t an issue and other times where it wouldn’t be the best thing to do, and they choose wisely. Others keep their brain disengaged from the entire process and think they can carry everywhere they want and by doing so they are “educating” others about open carry.

No they aren’t, they are jackasses they are doing just as much to destroy our Second Amendment rights as some of the anti-gun groups out there. Think about it, Starbucks and Chilpotes never had an issue with people open carrying a firearm (where legal) in their stores. The laws said they could so no biggie to the stores. Until that is some in the open carry movement decided it would be a great idea to go to a Starbucks in mass. Now the average person is just in there to get their caffeine and sugar dose when they see a group of people coming in caring firearms. Not just handguns mind you, some are carrying rifles too. How do you think this customer feels? Damn right if you said scared and worried. Starbucks and now Chilpotes doesn’t want to lose these customers as there are more of them around then the open carry crowd so bye-bye firearms in their stores.

So to those in the open carry movement that pull acts like this, thinking you are educating others and helping out, you are not doing either, you are making things worse. I sometimes wonder if these are perhaps people in the anti-Second Amendment camp seeing a great way to get rid of firearms.

MiiR recently started shipping their new beer growler that they had for pre-sale since last year. Just got mine and here are my initial thoughts:

First, it is a nice looking growler an looks like it should hold up to abuse. What I noticed right away was there were instructions on how to open the growler, and doing the steps in reverse how to close the growler. I’ve used many a growler over the years with different types of closures but this is the first one I’ve seen that had instructions. Trust me, you’ll need then. Be sure to practice many a times before having it filled as you will most likely have to close it for whoever filled it up. Part of the issue in closing is you have to force the cap across the clamp to get it back into a closing position, A little design changes could probably have addressed the issue, see if MiiR addresses the issue. I saw one comment of their website from another user that complained about the same thing.

Second issue, it leaks. Not a good thing for a growler you paid $59 for. I filled mine up with warm water, placed the cap back into position and proceeded to shake things up. Doing this I noticed water dripping down around the cap. I figured it could just have been water from me filling it so wiped it down and shook it again. Water again drips out when held upside down. I repeated this several more times with the same results every time. I grabbed my glass growler with a ceramic clamp top and tested it out, no leaks. My glass one cost $12, granted more fragile then the MiiR one but leakage is not a good thing for beer storage.

Right now I coming to tell people to pass on this growler. The lid closing issue isn’t a deal breaker but the leaking is one, pass on this growler until MiiR addresses the issues

A little recipe for making a batch of hot buttered rum, perfect for the holiday season. You can omit the brown sugar and still have a tasty drink. Nice drink for sitting at home and relaxing.

1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature (I like using Kerrygold butter)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon clove
1 cup light brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup honey

Mix dry ingredients together, then mix in butter till it is creamed. Add the honey and stir in till well mixed.

Add a heaping tablespoon to a mug, 2-3 ounces (adjust to your taste) of your favorite rum. I would suggest Captain Morgan’s Private Stock. Add boiling water, stir and enjoy

Dear Microsoft,

In the past I have placed your Microsoft Points on my son’s account for him to make purchases, mainly music. With the retirement of the Microsoft Points the points on his account were converted to “local currency”.  At first I thought no big deal, points/local currency, all the same in the long run as local currency was used to purchase the points. How naive I was to think that.

When my son last tried to purchase music through your store his purchase was declined. Why? No balance. No balance? His points were converted to local currency which can be used to purchase apps and games, but not music. Why not music? Is Microsoft a hatter of music thinking it leads to the degradation of society? No, something else according to the support agent I spent time chatting with today. The reason is the various Microsoft services are not synchronized between each other.  What a wonderful idea! Move people off one system was working between the between apps, games, and music to another one that doesn’t work.

But no worry, Microsoft has a solution. Again according to the support agent the solution is to purchase an Xbox One when it comes out, this will allow the purchase of music once again. What a deal, upgrade for several hundred dollars so I can use $50 in credits for music purchases.

Did anyone at Microsoft take a moment to say “How will these changes impact our existing customers?” Or was it decided to ignore existing customers, if they want what they already paid for they can fork over even more money.

Pretty pathetic on your part Microsoft.

 

Twice recently I had to use the “I forgot my password” feature on websites. Normally I keep my login information in Password Safe but forgot to add these two sites. The two sites I am talking about are The Great Courses (aka The Teaching Company) and University Alliance. Why do I mention these sites? Because of bad password security.

When I used the forgot password option on both of these sites I received an email, in clear text (no encryption) with my password. Sensitive information should NEVER be sent via clear text email, and passwords should be stored as a hash+salt. I sent emails to both sites, but not expecting them to do much. Any component programmer or IT security person should have know this was bad and never allowed it to take place.

Bad companies, BAD!

One of the things you learn from Tony Blauer is to “Be Your Own Bodyguard“. I won’t go into the entire concept of the program but I do want to harp on the importance of being responsible for your own protection. Take this story out of Oregon:

An Oregon woman was told by a 911 dispatcher that authorities wouldn’t be able be able to help her as her ex-boyfriend broke into her place because of budget cuts.

Oregon Public Radio reports that an unidentified woman called 911 during a weekend in August 2012 while Michael Bellah was breaking into her place. Her call was forwarded to Oregon State Police because of lay-offs at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office only allows the department to be open Monday through Friday.

Now imagine if you were the caller, someone is breaking into your house and the 911 dispatcher pretty much tells you that you are own your own. I am not saying that you shouldn’t call 911, do so if it is safe for you to do that but remember that until help arrives you are responsible for your safety and that of your loved ones..

What does this mean? Make sure you follow good practices for securing your home. For some good tips check out Alex Haddox’s book “Practical Home Security: A Guide to Safer Urban Living“. Make sure people in the household know what to do in an emergency. This goes beyond someone breaking into your house but should also cover fires and medical emergencies. Have a plan! I won’t tell you tell have a firearm in your home, that is your choice. But if you do make sure you train with it, everyone in the house knows proper firearm safety, and you keep it secured until you need to use it.

Remember, when push comes to shove Be Your Own Bodyguard

 

I wrote about my attempts to settle my dispute with High Mountain Hunting Supplies in Moses Lake, WA. Here is what I’ve done.

  1. Sales clerk insists the Glock Generation 4’s only come with two magazines
  2. Sent letters to the managers of each store stating my case and included a copy of the letter from Glock saying the Generation 4 handguns come with 3 magazines. No replies
  3. Filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, no reply
  4. In hopes of making some noise, did a review on Yelp

Personally I am taking silence as agreement with me. It would be simple enough for them to contact me and clear up the issue but nothing there to date.

 

Below is a copy of a letter I am sending to High Mountain Hunting Supply located in Wenatchee and Moses Lake, WA. My advice to people is to not do business with this unethical company.

To the Management

On March 1 I purchased a used Glock 26 from your Moses Lake store. During the purchase process the store personal were unable to locate the case and additional magazines that come with the handgun. I was told they “swore” it was around here and they would contact me once it was located. I made a comment about wanting to be sure to get the two extra magazines that the firearm comes with from Glock. I was told that Glock only ships the Generation 4 handguns with two magazines now, not three.

This raised my suspicion as only a few months earlier I purchased a Generation 4 Glock 21 and it came with 3 magazines. Thinking that maybe Glock changed their policy I asked around on some internet forums popular with Glock fans and was told by all that all Glock’s ship with 3 magazines and that Glock had recently sent out memos to all dealers informing them of this and not to short customers on the magazines. Knowing the internet is not always right I followed up with an email to Glock and was informed that all Glock’s come with 3 magazines.

This makes me question the integrity of your company. Could you really not find the case and extra magazines and sold them on the side? If you would short customers on a new purchase why not on a used purchase. As it has been a couple of days with the Moses Lake store having no luck in finding the case and additional magazines I’m writing it off as a lesson learned on my part, the lesson being the lack of integrity with your company. This lesson has taught me not to do further business with your company and to inform all that I can as to the manner in which your company conducts business. If you think I am in error I would welcome speaking with you. My contact information is at the top of this letter.

Letter from Glock

Letter from Glock