Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Almost everyone in my area would be aware of a shooting that took place two days ago at our local Walmart. For those not in my area, and who didn't watch the news, I can provide you with the story fairly well, especially since I was there.
I was down at the gas station, about 100 yards across the parking lot. Little did I know what was about to unfold. A woman and her husband of 20 years had been fighting at home earlier that morning. She left for work (Walmart) and he followed her. After unsuccessfully trying to run her over with his truck as she walked into the building, he stopped his truck, got out, went towards her, fired his shotgun four times at her, then ran back to his truck and took off. Hard to miss that sound, even from 100 yards. Knowing that he had left, and it had already been at least a minute, I grabbed my get-home bag, which included a first-aid kit, and ran to the woman to try to help. I was the first person to get there that wasn't just standing back and whispering. For anyone who has never personally seen someone lying on the ground bleeding because of gunshot wounds, I do not wish that on you. It's one thing to see it on television, another entirely to be right next to the woman on the ground. It's not an image soon forgotten.
It turns out that there was nothing I was able to do for her but keep the sun out of her eyes. The story does get better, then to the lessons of it. Her husband was caught half an hour later and charged with attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, and felony reckless endangerment. The woman was about as lucky as she could be in such a situation for two reasons:
1. he used birdshot - low penetration, and wasn't very close by the pattern of the wounds
2. he was a bad shot - all he hit was her legs and an arm.
The woman was taken to the hospital and expected to fully recover.
Now the lessons, or perhaps more thoughts, we'll see.
First, don't assume that it can't happen where you are. All of us in the area were just as shocked as the woman who got shot. It even got the attention of one of my co-workers who formerly was entirely against the idea of having a firearm in the kiosk under the counter, and she now wants one there, because in her words, "I never expected anything like this would happen here."
Second, I need to get a good spare mag holder or fix mine up to keep the magazine in it when running. It fell out while I was running to her, which could have been deadly if I was the target.
Third, medical training and a GOOD first aid kit. I didn't have anything to help her besides gauze, which my limited supply and her extensive holes didn't do much good for. Worse than that, I got there and didn't even know what to do to help properly, and I was the only one who even cared enough to try to help for the first 5 minutes until her boss got out there and tried to make me leave. Didn't happen. Police got there soon after, at which point I did leave. They knew much more what they were doing, because they had training. What would I have done if it was my wife or a friend who had gotten shot, and I was there feeling that helpless. I don't want that. I will be seeking out some certification in Emergency Medical training now. Anyone know where to get started on that?
Finally, the question I think anyone who carries a gun would ask - what would I have done if I hadn't been 100 yards away, but 10 yards. This one calls for a lot of self-examination. State the obvious - I had my weapon on me, ready to roll in its holster, just like always. If I was closer, would I have been paying enough attention to my surroundings (aka situational awareness) to know what was happening and to react? How would I have reacted? Would I have seen the shotgun and an angry black man and immediately said he was a threat? Would I have frozen? Would I have been so shaky as to be a threat to others when I drew my weapon? Would I have run at the sight of the shotgun, knowing all I had was a pistol? I like to think not, considering the actions I did take, but again, I was fairly certain the scene was safe when I started running towards it. Then again, I wasn't there right when it happens, so who knows?
As much as I, and many sheepdogs like me, tend to run scenarios through our head to try to train ourselves into a mental and physical response, you still don't know how you will react. When you are that close to a situation, it makes you question a lot of yourself. Now, I know that I still will continue to carry and train with my weapon, and to prepare mentally, there's just a set of feelings that I can't quite put to words. I've been trying to figure out how to put this for two days, and still don't know how. So, I guess I'll stop here. Perhaps someone can help me who has been there. That's all for now.
Be safe out there.
Recently some of my wife's family spent a week with us, including three of her younger cousins. The older of them, who is just starting college here locally, 800 miles from home, I taught a few summers ago how to shoot. Well, her 17-year-old sister wanted to learn, too. Never one to turn down an opportunity to shoot, or teach a new shooter, especially female, I jumped on it. Sorry I don't have any pictures, just a video I'm not posting because I haven't transferred it to the computer yet, and to tell the truth, the best part wasn't captured anyway.
To start with, safety. Four rules. Then a going-over of the parts of the .22 rifle I was going to be using to teach her, an old Savage Model 66. My grandpa gave it to me last month after owning it for 66 years. No telling how many thousands of rounds we have put through it over the years. After the initial nervousness, she started enjoying it, just like everyone does. she shot almost a straight line up and down at 12 yards, so I told her to control her breathing, and she got some grouping. Having fun, and ready to try the pistol.
So, we close to about 5 yards, go over pistol parts and proper grip/stance, and boy did she learn fast. She was immediately shooting better groups on the target than any new people I've taken shooting for the first or second time. She though it was bad that she was that close to the target and still rounds were several inches apart in the circle. Then I explained how GOOD she was actually doing, and the fun became exhilaration. The look on her face as she continued shooting was one that I don't think a picture could have done justice if I had tried. She was taught, and empowered, and it was written all over her face. Her grouping even got better as she went. Natural shooter indeed. To make it even better, she then asked her dad for a gun for Christmas. She was turned down, but will soon be 18 and able to take her new love as her own personal responsibility.
The other good part was getting to expose her 11-year-old sister to shooting. It was getting dark by the time that she got to the point of wanting to try, as she had been watching us the whole time. So I went over safety and function again with her, sat her on the porch, and loaded a single round since that's all she wanted to try (yeah, right, they never stop after the first one). True to my expectations, she fired it and asked to fire again. I loaded three more (again, almost dark) and let her fire them. A happy girl, and I think a new convert once I get ahold of her again.
Two minors taught proper gun safety and handling, shooting over 100 rounds total, no injuries, or even near injuries. All rules were followed, and two young ladies found a new love. A night, and ammo well spent.
Brady bunch, chew on that. That, my dear readers, is why us gunnies win.
Monday, August 22, 2011
I understand that the title of "Rewarding Failure" can be applied in many instances in our society today. I am going to apply it to something that I was just told by my wife's 11-year-old cousin this past week.
She was in a small class, and they were split into pairs. They were given a set of ten math problems, adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying fractions. Her pair got the most right in the class, and therefore won Cokes. The catch? She and her partner only got four out of the ten right.
In another circumstance, they were individually working on problems. They were given four problems and promised a piece of candy for each problem they got right. She got the most right in the class, and therefore got her "prize" doubled. She got two out of four correct.
They are rewarding students for failing grades - forty and fifty percent. Is it any wonder our education system is in shambles? Then again, they aren't just applying this principle in our schools either, they are applying it everywhere.
- Fail in business? Get a bailout.
- Fail to plan for retirement? Get a dwindling Social Security check.
- Fail to plan for a family? Get Medicaid and public housing.
- Fail at living morally? Get free room and board with exercise rooms, library, and degree program. Or, just an "attaboy" slap on the wrist with public assistance to help you "recover".
- Fail at work ethic? Just pop out another baby and we'll increase your welfare payment.
- Add your fail here?(or in the comments, rather)
What they are doing is creating a system in which failure to learn from mistakes is being normalized and okay'd. Failure in itself is good, if the only reward for it is knowledge of how to succeed the next time. When we reward failure for being failure, with things other than just knowledge, we have crossed a dangerous line. Where is the impetus for improvement? Why would anyone want to improve themselves if they are being rewarded for being not just average, but below average?
Now, consider what happens to those who learn from failures and pull themselves up to success. In school they are derided to get back in line for the failure handouts. At work they are called ***-kissers. By the government, they are forced to abide by stifling regulations and pay inordinate amounts of taxes.
Now what happens when the successes decide to withdraw consent from the system? The failures no longer have a sugar daddy, because daddy's money ran out. What happens when you tell the bear you just tossed the fish to that that was your last fish, even if he's still hungry? Better yet, what happens when you have twenty bears around you, but only five fish? Doesn't sound pretty, does it? Yet think about our entitlement system, the reward-for-failure system. How many more dependents can it hold until the government runs out of fish, airlifts itself out of the way, and tells the bears its all our fault?
Get ready. You saw the hits our market has taken the past two weeks. Yeah, the hits that weren't supposed to happen if the debt ceiling got raised. When are we going to wake up? The house of cards is about to fall, just needs someone to bump the table. How many warnings will we get?
Don't wait. Get prepared spiritually first, then physically. And you might want to get on that really soon.