Saturday, April 26, 2008

a belated tag...

having been tagged by c-tone for the meme making the rounds whereby one is to:

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating!
2. Find page 123.
3. Find the first five sentences.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people

but having previously responded to tam's non-tag thusly:

"well, i won't do the tag thing, but here is my entry, from a rather contemporary work; wonder if any of your correspondents recognize it?:

"Yeah, I know. Some of my book club friends would agree with my pick,
but there are plenty who consider him too mainstream, whatever the hell that is.
I guess they had to suffer The Road Not Taken one too many times in high


11:27 AM, April 24, 2008"

and in a later response:

"for those wondering about my entry, it is from "a bettered life" by marko kloos...i said "contemporary" because it was finished and published online just a few days ago.

it was closest to me because it was downloaded to my laptop which was ummm...on my lap of course, when i first read tam's self-tagged meme.

if you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and go to munchkin wrangler's blog where you can download it for free...unless you want to do the right thing and toss a buck or twenty into the tip jar...a very pleasant casual read; worth your time and worth paying for if you want to see more...jtc

6:18 PM, April 25, 2008"

so, i have fulfilled the first four parts of the meme, but i'm not much for tagging others, but thanks c-tone, i hope others will be inspired to download and read marko kloos' work.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

it's all greek to me...

today, april 23rd, marks the death of william shakespeare...he was actually a year younger than me when he died at age 52...

beyond his astounding contribution to literature and performance art, most of us incorporate truisms and metaphors into our daily discourse without even realizing the source...the work of the bard from four...hundred...years...ago...


Sunday, April 20, 2008

negligent discharge number one, 1978...

the story of the airline pilot who accidentally discharged his .40 cal. handgun right through his airliner's fuselage while on landing approach to charlotte, nc airport had me wondering what the hell set of circumstances could cause, or rather allow, such an "accident"...utter idiocy and/or failure to abide by one or more of the rules? that was my first thought, and though there are indications of a series of contributing factors, that still is my thinking on where ultimate responsibility lies...then i remembered that the airline pilot involved is not alone; i join him in culpability for potentially tragic lapses of concentration, focus, and control.

then, of course, anyone who enjoys or deals with firearms and has handled a large number of them (and conversely, anyone who is a novice handler and therefore subject to mistakes of inexperience) knows that mistakes can and do happen; in my experience it is virtually always a case of lapsed concentration, judgement, or control; and any one of those, at any time, can be catastrophic...that airline pilot and everyone on that plane, possibly even everyone on the ground in that vicinity, are extremely fortunate that there was no injury, loss of life, or loss of many lives.

and, well...i'm pretty fortunate, too...over a thirty year career of buying, selling, pawning, shooting, collecting, inspecting, cleaning, and repairing firearms, i by necessity was responsible for thousands of them, and the odds were that some mistakes would be made, and they were, three of which resulted in negligent discharges (believe me, you don't forget them) and i, like that pilot, am incredibly thankful that no one was hurt because of my stupid lapses...and for that i thank God; among the many blessing He has bestowed on me, that one ranks near the very top...i have promised to post the details of my three nd's in seperate posts, so, as promised and without further adieu, here is...

negligent discharge number one, 1978...

a future post i will call "in pawn" will describe how i ended up...well, in pawn in '78, with no experience at all in the activities of a pawnshop, as the 24 year old manager of one...the point here is, i'd been the "manager" there for a couple of weeks; in other words i had learned to handle the payments and pickups of people's stuff that they had borrowed money on...and i had learned a little about buying and selling gold and silver by weight, how to tell the real stuff, etc...and i had spent a fair amount of time checking out the wide-ranging firearms inventory; i enjoyed shooting and had always had a few guns, even sold some in my first teenage job at an old fashioned hardware store (anybody remember pre '68?)...

so i guess dick felt comfortable with me at the shop and him doing what he did and out of the shop half a dozen times during the day, checking on things, meeting people to look at goods, and always dropping off a few things for the store to sell that he had picked up on his rounds at other dealers and stores...this was a tightknit group that had known each other for years and they often consigned merchandise to each other valued well into the thousands on a handshake...and sometimes what dick dropped off was a gun or two. and that's what he did on this day...

he was in and out in a rush, and told me he dropped a few things on the desk in his office, so later i went in to check out what he had brought that i would later be entering into stock for sale...and the first thing i noticed was the signature short blue box of a snub-barrel smith and wesson revolver...lots of people think the assault weapons ban of the early 90's was the first of its kind, but 1978 was the middle of the carter years; there was much talk and everyone believed that snub barrel handguns would be banned from private sale...s&w was not producing any at the time, and the wholesalers were all out of stock, so if a dealer was going to have them in his showcase, he had to find them from other dealers and from the public..."short blue boxes"...they were a prize find because inside was going to be an s&w snubbie, and they would bring more then (a clean mo. 60 in box retailed for $500) than they do thirty years later.

so on dick's desk was this short blue box, and i gingerly opened it to find that beautiful brown waxed paper, the book and original tools...unwrapping it quickly to see what prize was inside, i found a shrouded-hammer model, i cannot remember if it was a mo. 38 or 49, it was one or the other; they are of course the same except that m38 is a lightweight, and they both have a spur hammer barely protruding above the shroud, and the gun had been left in hammer-back (cocked) mode...anyway i picked it up and noticing the hammer position...absent mindedly decocked the pulling the trigger.

why? to this day i don't know...when i handled the guns in the showcase, and of course when a customer brought any gun in or touched one of ours, the first thing i would do is drop the cylinder and check and/or clear the chamber...and clear it again on every subsequent touch. why did i not do it this time? i still don't know, i do remember that i was on the phone and a bit distracted, and probably when i couldn't release the cylinder i noticed the hammer-back position and dropped the hammer so i could then release the about backward. obviously the gun should not have been loaded in the box and certainly shouldn't have been cocked, but there is no excuse for what i did; had i followed my own rules (the same as the four rules, even though i hadn't officially heard of the 4r's before), what happened next could not have happened...all i remember is an explosion that deafened me and shocked my senses...and momentarily froze time and consciousness.

when i regained my wits and realized what had happened, and that the gun was fully loaded, fear gripped me like my chest was caught in a vise...the gun had been pointed at the office wall and on the other side of that wall was a used car lot that was always busy; dear God i might have killed someone...i walked to the wall and saw the small entry hole in the wood panelling...about an inch below a window. the exterior wall was concrete block, and that had stopped the .38 slug cold...i looked out the window and as usual there were several people...including a family with children...wandering around the car lot.

i started thanking God then, and i've never stopped yet in thirty years, that the aim wasn't a few inches higher...almost certainly i would have killed an innocent person, maybe even a child, ending or ruining a life, and altering many others including my own and my family's, forever.

it was a lesson in just how fragile our lives are, how one stupid, thoughtless action can turn the world upside's a lesson i never forgot and never will, and i have not repeated it in the thousands of times i have picked up a strange firearm for the first time.

but that is not to say that i didn't commit other stupid acts that are in retrospect, different but just as potentially horrific...even more so really...there would be two more negligent discharges to haunt me, the next one coming fourteen years later, in 1992...and that will be the subject of another post.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

the bad seed...

the story of michael "tiny" branham runs completely counter to some of my recent posts that while focusing on and rantingly critical of frivilous and botched warrants, were somewhat protective and apologetic regarding the individual cops...but not all of them; not the bad seeds...

because some individual cops are like tiny branham...

tiny...he was about 6'2" and 350lbs...was a cop for years in the little town a few miles north of sebring, florida where my pawn and gun shop was located.

at one time he wanted to buy my shop and i was thinking about selling it to move my family back to west palm he visited me several times, talking about the price, the terms, and other related details.

he was loud, jovial, and pretty likable...but i could not shake an unexplained bad vibe that i kept sensing down deep inside every time i spent time with him.

on one of tiny's visits, he picked up one of those new superpowered slingshots from my shelf, the kind with the wrist brace and surgical tubing for the bands...they called them wristrockets, and that they were; extremely powerful and accurate for a pretty good distance...he bought it and when i asked why, he narrowed his eyes and smirked "probable cause"...huh? and he explained...

he was heading a dope unit in his town and they surveilled known drug-selling areas...but even though they knew tha cars coming and going from some of the locations would contain freshly-bought dope, they needed a pretext to pull them over so as not to be accused of "profiling". so, tiny said, he planned to use the slingshot to fire a small ball bearing at the windshields of cars he wanted to stop, cracking it, and using the cracked windshield as the reported reason for the initial stop...knowing that would give his guys the chance to run the dog by the car to alert for the dope inside...ingenious, yes? but crooked as hell, and it was an indicator of how tiny thought and performed his job...the end justified the means, and to hell with everything else.

tiny was married to a prominent local private attorney; she held the purse strings, and she refused to let tiny buy my shop...and there is no doubt that that refusal, along with what apparently was a pattern of janette brabham trying to keep tiny's increasingly spendthrift habits and wants (lots of guns, a harley, etc.) under control, helped to breed and grow the resentment and aggressive, erratic behavior that would eventually lead to tiny's losing his job (medical reasons were given, but it was common knowledge that tiny's bosses were looking for a reason to get rid of him and his loose cannon tactics on the job).

and after that, as time went on and with no convenient outlet through which to vent, tiny's already unstable mind deteriorated further, he developed an outlaw attitude and appearance...his hair and beard grew long and wild, and his treatment of janette grew more and more hostile and abusive.

until one day in july of 2005, after janette had once again nixed the purchase of some overpriced toy that tiny demanded she give him the money for, he finally imploded, and sat in the dark in their home waiting for janette to return home from an outing with a friend...and when she came in the door, tiny and his glock .40 pistol were deliberate, measured shot after another until 13 rounds had been fired, those 13 rounds signigying 13 years of marriage, found their target...and janette lay dead on the floor.

tiny tried halfheartedly to claim self defense, that janette came home angry after having some drinks, and came at him with scissors...but with 13 rounds fired, and forensics showing that tiny was advancing closer to janette as he continued firing, there was little doubt who was the aggressor, and after two years of preparation and five days of trial, it took the jurors less than thirty minutes to reach their conclusion, and their verdict...

tiny was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole...and of course that is where he belongs, but janette knew something like this might happen, she had voiced her fears to friends and relatives, but continued to love tiny for the man he was when she fell for him long ago, that is where she made her fatal mistake, and that is the point of my story here...

because tiny's mental stability may have deteriorated over the years to the point where he committed such a crime against his own wife, but the seeds of rogue injustice and callous disregard for rights, law, and morality lay dormant in tiny for years prior to this final violent act, and it is a failure of the screening and training system of law enforcement that allowed him to be a cop in the first place, and that job fed and encouraged his personal belief that he was somehow superior to the people he was sworn to serve, and that the end justified his means.

the case of michael "tiny" branham must certainly be an extreme one...but to what degree does the type of mindset that progresses from idealism to righteousness to justification and finally to the violation of human rights and presumed innocence exist within the law enforcement community as a whole?

i have written before that in many cases people who become cops are victims of a type of profiling...they are screened and evaluated to meet certain criteria that may themselves be flawed, and they are then bred within a system that has become obsessed out of all proportion to what is reasonable and necessary with justifying and expanding their existence and their role in society.

as illustrated in the many cases of the serving of warrants related to nonviolent offenses that escalate into dangerous paramilitary tactics and often go tragically, criminally wrong, the environment in law enforcement today encourages methods and activity far beyond what is called for in most cases.
and while the great majority of those who chose to pursue a career of helping and protecting law-abiding citizens from those who are not so, the system is tilted and skewed toward the selection and breeding of individuals who are less likely to question authority, methods, and denying the rights of others.

and to at least some degree, the broken system itself is responsible for the violation of the rights of those dope buyers who had their windows cracked by tiny's slingshot to create a pretext for searching them, and ultimately, even the death of janette branham, because had he stayed in law enforcement the final violence that took janette's life could have easily done the same to ordinary citizens who were the target of tiny's attention and tactics...he was a ticking time bomb, and when he exploded, anyone and everyone in his path could just as easily have been killed; no doubt justified in tiny's sick mind.

the law enforcement system is broken. and change from the top down: politicians, adminstration, and even the mindset of law-and-order zealots, is necessary to keep more tiny branhams from developing into the type of individual who would set you up to make a bust, or knowingly violate your Constitutional rights to cover his mistakes, or even to murder you if things went awry.

Monday, April 14, 2008

we're watching you, too, wally...

wal-mart plans to video every gun sale they make...never mind that one of the hardest-fought provisions of the nics check is that every approved purchase will be purged from the system within hours...the check is to qualify a purchaser, not to maintain a running inventory of his collection.

and just because a federal background check and your Constitutional rights say you are free to purchase firearms doesn't mean the republik of wallyworld can't revoke 'em...they also plan to maintain a blacklist...

a sad fact is that wal-mart is the biggest firearms retailer in the USA...their marketing power not only played a significant part in the decimation of the number of independent ffl's, they also forced manufacturers to meet pricepoints by cheapening the quality of guns they produce.

but now that they have the market largely to themselves, they've decided it's in their best interest to vacate your personal rights...and i'm sure there's no quid pro quo to their little lovefest with proven gungrabbers bloomberg and menino...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

gee, i hate to seem ungrateful, bho bro, but...

when barack hussein obama said what he really meant when he let slip this little gem at one of his elite aristocratic patrons' little west coast moneyfest dinner parties, here's what he said he really really meant:

"Government that is fighting for working people day in and day out making sure that we are trying to allow them to live out the American dream."

first of all, you're not my government, you condescending empty shill of a hypocrite, you're a shiny tool for those who would be...and neither you nor they will ever have any say in "allowing" me to do a damn thing; my US Constitutional Rights provide for how i can live out my American dream, and also how to defeat and dispose of those who would try to hijack and control those rights, so, if you will "allow" me...kiss my everlovin' big fat porch sittin' gun totin' God fearin'ass...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

i have met the police and he is us...

with apologies to walt kelly and pogo, that's the main feeling i got...from high school kids talking about joining the le academy at the town's community college to scared rookies who still looked like highschoolers, to road veterans, detectives, and especially the sarges, lt's, and captains that ran things but had time to hang out and chat with me about guns, family, and everything else for fifteen years...

nice guys like me mostly...i sold them academy gear, offduty guns, jewelry for their wives, games for their kids, listened to marital problems, job problems, disillusionment problems...

the most surprising thing for me as a recent blog visitor/writer is the vitriole that bubbles up fast and hot in discussions related to things like search warrants, and the types of crime and methods of enforcement targeted by them, and suddenly people are talking about jackbooted thugs and rampant individual corruption and evil.

in a comment at tam's deriding no-knock warrants served and executed badly with similarly bad results, i voiced that the men who make up those squads are just guys like the ones i knew doing what they were told, for better but often for worse...but tam begged to differ...

my responses to her responses give my opinion well enough, and i stand by them...because i know those guys...they are me, and they are us...but unless systemic change and redirected focus begins to reign in the trend toward acquiring and being pressured to use equipment, training, and manpower on an everyday basis against everyday people that is best used rarely and with great restraint, the polarization will continue, and guys?...the police?...he is us...and we can't fight ourselves and survive.

addendum: an excellent story at the lawdog gives genesis to what policing should be, reinforcing that the cops are or are supposed to be, just an extension of ourselves.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

ignorance and bliss...

roberta x has a great post highlighting the incongruities inherent in a system of popularly elected representatives without regard to capacity for logical, consistent thought...whaddaya gonna do? after reading that, the following seems like a perfect illustration...

an anniversary just passed involving another grove in ill...morton grove. that's the city that banned handguns completely in 1991 in the hoplophobic (hate that word, it doesn't sound nearly dumb enough) belief that their innert existence was causing a high crime rate...

outraged by such ignorance, a north georgia town decided in 1992 to pass it's own law; that the head of every household should possess a gun and ammunition...later amended for the usual conscientious objectors, it was nevertheless not challenged, and in the 25 years until 2007 remained in effect.

in the interceding years, the violent crime rate in morton grove, ill. soared while in kennesaw, ga. it plunged...and while the passage of the gun requirement in kennesaw earned a lot of derisive coverage and the nickname "gun town usa", little mention has been made on the results and the unscientific but obvious implications.

so while in roberta's story ms. davis purports protection of others from the existence of guns, she sees no need to protect them from (her) religion...and her ignorance is her bliss and her mistake...her religion might well be based entirely on goodness and altruism, but it might not, and in any case she doesn't get to decide for me...

and that goes for mr. sherman too; his activism can and should be limited to defense from public implementation of any religion, because what you inferred is true roberta, that non-religion is a religion itself, and also must not be inserted into any public policy that can limit or diminish the individual freedom of ms. davis, mr. sherman or anyone else...jtc

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

negligent discharges...accidental sounds so much warmer/fuzzier

jolted by the story of the us airways pilot who allowed a round from his official-issue cockpit pistol to shoot through the fuselage while on landing approach at charlotte, nc, and wide discussion on the equipment and tsa policies regarding it, i found myself reflecting on the three times i allowed a negligent discharge in my thirty years as a firearms dealer; they're each like a vivid photo, or series of photos, in my brain, and though no one was hurt (still thanking God for that), they still scare the hell out of me, but to varying degrees...

the first was in 1978; my rookie year as a dealer, but not a handler, of guns...i should have known better...i did know better...but it happened and it was a learning experience extraordinaire...

the second was fifteen years later and was by far was the most terrifying; it still comes to me in dreams sometimes, and i wasn't even holding the gun at the time...

the third, another ten years later, was by far the most explosive but ironic and almost humorous in certain aspects.

some would say that three nd's in thirty years and tens of thousands of gun touches is a low percentage, and that is true, but too many, and when they happen they stay with you for better or worse.

xavier has said he has considered an nd/ad post series (to the extent that an unintentional discharge can be an accident and not negligent...a rarity if it is possible at all), allowing gunnies to share their misbangs, what they learned from them, and how they were affected by them.

i plan to post my three bittersweet little memories here a few days apart, and offer them to xav if he does his series...first installment tomorrow...jtc

drought and depression in tamaristville

tam's had some upheaval recently that has interfered in the transfer of action and ideas to the keyboard, and cashflow and consort concerns have her posting of a great depression...i don't see that myself; she is proliferate, interesting, and humorous every day, and that ain't's my two cents (actually worth about a nickel as the production cost of pennies these days exceeds it's at work).

tamara, it sounds like three seperate problems; two are related...that you're strapped; that is unfun, and that you're tired of writing about what you know and think instead of what you know and do...commentary and expoundment are wonderful and necessary but relating personal experience keeps readers and self energized and interested.

well, some want eggs and pj', i wish you'd follow up with a day or two a week at at a good, aggressive gun or gun/pawn store there; i've said before that a sharp promoter could help you package weekly clinics...a striking, tall blonde holding forth on old smiths, military rifles then and now with examples from bp to ar and tam strippin' it down (the gun, you leches), arming women in america, and the paper would probably give you a vanity column given the uniqueness of your experience...if a dealer combined that star power with ccw classes and factory reps, etc. that would have to be worth two bills and a good story per day for you (mw is configuring online book publishing; i suggested a chapter a month work-in-progress as a sidebar to his blog...that would be something i would read from you, too).

i want to read about that stuff, and it will create the structure of a job that you have to prepare for and execute applying time restraints and pressure that are so necessary to the written flow of your real love/job entertaining and educating us here...and of course that cash supplement has peaceofmind narco that trandscends idealism and confirms our basic value to ourselves.

the last lament seems to be one of a personal nature, and that is understandable since tamslick of tamaristville is real but still seperate from the real person who needs companionship and connection...that part is exempt from papparazzi and up to tam and karma, but to that end i'm kicking in a fifty to the tip jar specifically for you and a friend to get a nice dinner on me...

this ain't the great depression, girl, just a mild recession, and i'll look forward to whatever you write next...jtc

Sunday, April 6, 2008

knockin' the no-knock

tam snarked at me a bit here, but she had missed my point...

i didn't say the lady was selling dope...i said she fit the profile and didn't deserve to die for it...there was never further investigation because the whole thing was so stupid, botched, and corrupt, and porked, that it wouldn't matter if she had been selling or harboring dope, and in any case these actions and tactics could never be justified...there are several profiles that attract these nazi raids and we're all at risk...

now, in my best foxworthy (i hate his poser ass)..."if you're an old lady in a bad neighborhood where constant drug deals are made, you might fit a profile...if you're a decent lowtone guy like ryan frederick just livin' your lowtone life, you might fit a profile...or if you piss off an acquaintance who knows you own guns, and he decides to say you have an "arsenal" at you're home, then you more than might become an instant profile..."

again, the point is that the laws and methods used to enforce them...forfeiture, specific grants and subsidies for paramilitary squads and equipment, and the politics of "cracking down", virtually guarantee incidents like this, and anyone who might fit a profile is subject to having their home invaded based on just about any tenuous claim or thread of information, because it is necessary to justify the existence of the squads when there are very few justified uses for the squads.

but it is a mistake to damn the individuals who make up the police squads i said before, the problem is systemic, and though the system may be rigged to ensure that most cops, while probably good and well-intentioned, are chosen by evaluation to be non-analytical or contemplative, maybe have a few power issues...and most of all be willing to follow orders, and it is the orders and the genesis of them that are the problem.

the family of the lady was interviewed, and that is fine, but not the families of the cops, who are their husbands, sons, and brothers...if my three decades of contact with so many of these guys at every level from street cops and detectives to the brass, even state lea and fed atf guys is any guide, and my informal, unscientific lifetime study of human nature tells me it is, these were badly managed and misled guys who screwed up, panicked, and committed felonies to cover up what they should have never been doing in the first place.

the problem is systemic, all right, but not local...until there is enough understanding that the cancerous nature of laws and controlled behavior makes suspects of us all and is without any basis in the Constitution, we are doomed to more frequent and more broad-ranging intrusions, restrictions, and controls.

laws and policing focused on perpetrators of force or coercion on others, and not on the limiting of personal, private, behavior and responsibility, is the ideal and faraway the meantime, it's not fair to blame the messengers and characterize them as thugs any more than we should be called rightwing nracontrolled anarchist gun nuts because we appreciate the history, workmanship, function, control, and symbolism that our firearms represent.

my lower-case libertarian interpretation of the Constitution as a whole is that "an individual has the right and freedom to do and act as he sees fit so long as he harms or infringes the rights or freedoms of no other individual"...simplistic but all-emcompassing, though subject to interpretation as usual...that is why a Constitutionalist government and supreme court is so vital to us now, more than ever...and yes, Molon Labe, and all that that implies...jtc

Saturday, April 5, 2008


breda occasionally posts about her experiences at the reference desk at the library where she works...often involving the difficulties and frustrations involving dealing with the many homeless and vagrants who make the library their daytime home...this was my response to one of those recent posts...

breda, i saw a bunch of these guys in 30 years at the pawn counter...

they are typically alcoholics rather than druggies, at least semi-homeless, and to use your term, "crazy" to varying degrees.

they don't have regular jobs because that would jeopardize the ssi monthly "disability" check even though they can do a lot of they often do odd jobs for stores like sweeping or cleaning the parking lot.

my pawn shop was adjacent to a convenience store, and i often let allen, who lived in a tent camp in the woods nearby, sweep or pick up trash, cigarettes, etc. and weed the patch of landscaping outside my front door. he was actually pretty smart; he could work on bikes and lawnmowers, he could read pretty well and had beautiful handwriting...when he didn't have the shakes. sometimes when he was weeding, he would lay down rather than have to bend over and fall on his face from hangover vertigo...and when he had worked long enough to get a couple of 40oz beers and a pack of cigs, and maybe a honeybun, he knocked off for the day, collected his ten bucks from me, and made a beeline for the c-store; these supplies would get him through tonight in the tent, and he would do it all again tomorrow...then on the first of the month when he gets "paid" he might book a couple nights in the flop motel, take a real shower and drink real booze at the "yogi bar" till the money's gone and it's back to the camp.

allen wouldn't hurt anyone, he had empathy for others, would even try to intervene when he saw someone being mistreated, if he didn't fall before he got there. he had perpetually red watery eyes, wore clothes from the salvation army down the street, and had a perpetual aroma of booze seeping out of his pores...but he had travelled all over the country by bicycle and getting a ride when he could, he took off one year with the carnival when they hit the summer circuit...he's even on an old episide of "cops" in albuquerque, the victim of bike theft while he was in a bar of course...that was always good for free beers whenever "his" episode rerun came on the bar tv.

so that could have been allen at your library today, breda...or one of the many who are just like him; he probably didn't know he was freaking you out and thought he was being charming and his version of normal. and besides, the taxpayers provide this great, warm, interesting place to pass six or eight hours of the day...and there are people there who have to talk to him and help him and they can't tell even him to get out!

or...your guy could have been like the bipolar, off his meds, homicidal, full blown psycho like the one who knifed a guy to death in a public restroom because he came in to pee.

how dare government extort money from me to provide that impressive edifice stocked with thousands of portals to knowledge and other worlds, pay educated people who love books and knowledge and stand ready to help inquiring minds find information and enlightenment, and then turn it into a mission harboring many weak, decent, pathetic souls like allen and a few demented, mental grenades waiting for some innocuous event or perceived slight or little voice to tell him to pull the pin...and then expect my wife and/or child to come enjoy what taxpayers have provided, and then whine and feign not understanding the reason why they don't...all the while providing public notice that no one in the building has the capacity to neutralize threats to their lives or safety, that constitution thing notwithstanding? who the fuck is running this monkey house anyway?

so breda; you did the only thing you could do...your guy might have thought he was being interesting and civilized, had an interest in everything elvis, and just liked you...or he might have wanted to slit your throat to see you bleed out in the quiet, private 900's...but i'll tell you what i would insist that my wife or daughter do if they worked in the capacity and circumstances that you do...they would be packing that little model 60 and take their purse with them whenever they left the desk, and they would know what to do if the one in a million worst should happen...and the rules be damned. and with that security in mind and hand, you would never have to try to profile the poor sap at your desk or worry about a trip with him to the back 9; and then, if that guy turned out to be just an allen, he gets treated with dignity, you could offer a bit of empathy, and you just might gain insight into a world that most of us could never imagine, but is real and human and enlightening nonetheless. jtc

Friday, April 4, 2008

on this day in history...

mainstream media today is focused almost entirely on the death of mlk, and that is understandable, it is a major 40-year milestone and the event played an integral part in the country dealing with it's internal issues and shortcomings.

but in the even greater scale of things, yesterday was a 60-year milestone of the beginning of a commitment of effort and resources that likely changed the course of the world, or even saved it...and us...from that which might have made the life and deeds of dr. king and all of us either moot or nonexistent.

the marshall plan invested in and saved most of europe from the communism and tyranny that metasticized and ultimately consumed that portion of the world which joined the soviet union's cancerous spread either voluntarily or by coercion.

without that investment in the interests of freedom and capitalism and self-interest, would the empire have successfully absorbed all of the continent and beyond...even beyond the seas? there is no way to know, but what is sure is that the quality of life and prosperity of that downtrodden section of the world was seeded and made possible by the effort, and quite likely ensured our own destiny as an imperfect but free people.

can it be that the crushing sacrifice being made in the arab world now is analagous to europe of the late 1940's? can it be that the effort to save peoples and nations from absorption into an empire of hate and ambition that would make the evil ambitions and intents of lenin, et al seem innocuous by comparison, is truly an exercise in self preservation, and therefore very much in line with the views of isolationists and conservatives that would confine military intervention to cases of direct threat to our nation and our selves?

one thing is sure: deciding if, when, where, and how to commit our children and treasure in the defense of our safety, freedom, and very existence will be the defining mission of government in the next ten years, and if the experience to make the right decisions is not in place, all of the domestic concerns and calls for hope and change will be of no need or consequence. jtc