Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Things get better.

My elder daughter has moved home, after evaluating her financial situation. She didn't flounder; just just saw that she wasn't actually saving any money to pay for college. At the rate she was going, she would be forced to borrow money next year. She cleaned out her room, found her roommates a new renter for the room who was acceptable, and took back her old room in my house. And it's splendid having her home. She pays us a bit of rent, too. And she cooks and messes up dishes which I wash, because that's' part of the deal we made. And we drink coffee, and have her extremely conservative boyfriend over for dinner, and have lively political discussions with respect and love.

Seriously-- I'm happy.

My younger daughter is engaged in competitive colorguard, and practices hard with the band, and is tanned and muscled, from long days for half the summer flipping wooden practice rifles, and spinning flags. She's in the choir, in a band of her making, and in the Art Club at high school, while taking every honors class that is offered to her. She's happy.


My wife and I took a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where we observed the total eclipse on 8/21/2017 in North Carolina, then drove to Kentucky to Mammoth Cave National Park and to Land Between The Lakes, before heading to Arkansas to go to Hot Springs National Park. We stayed in our "new" 15 year-old Coleman pop-up camper. We took pictures of elk and bear and flowers and hand-hewn cabins. It was fun. My wife and I were happy.
I came back and decompressed for a couple of days before starting my new job at work; I'm now the first detective that we've employed at our little PD.
Mama bear and two of three cubs that we saw with her. Zoom in to embiggen.

The night before coming back on, my boss texted me that we would start by hitting the range together; he'd bought a new gun. (Sig P220 Legionaire.) As I hadn't qualified with my personally-owned Glock 31 (Gen 3) as a main duty gun, I went ahead and brought it to qualify with, as well. There are few nicer things than shooting Other People's Ammo, on the clock, and for a good purpose. He shot more accurately, but my times were very fast.

Today, I was buried in new cases. Financial, Juveniles, sensitive nature cases. Animal cruelty. CPS cases. Follow-up on felony DWIs, and drug cases.

I'm happy.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

The LawDog Files.

Buy it now at Amazon here
LawDog is a friend of mine. He has led a career in rural Texas law enforcement (he still does), just as I have, and he tells a great yarn. Almost twenty years ago, he started posting humorous posts online about encounters on the job. They were always crowd-pleasers.  Since then, I've been part of a literal crowd of people, demanding that he put a book together.

He's finally done it.

The LawDog Files is an easy-reading collection of short stories which were written, edited, and compiled by LawDog. Most are very funny. But as we sometimes find, those who can write humor can write a helluva sad story well, as well.

LawDog is one of the best writers that I know, and for a measly $4.99, you can instantly download his book to your Kindle or Kindle Ap on your phone. It takes seconds, and gives you fun reading for little commitment.  (I feel very smug when I find myself having to wait in an area with no cell reception, and I've got an anthology sitting on my phone to read while I wait.)

Larry Correia, author of the very fun, New York Times Best-Seller List series Moster Hunter, Inc, not only implores you to buy the book, but he wrote the forward to the book.  Larry knows and loves a good story, and is telling you: this is a bunch of them.

Go buy one. You'll be glad that you did. I loved every story, and can't wait for him to get the next book put out.

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Monday, June 05, 2017

She's leaving home (bye, bye)


The day we brought her home from the hospital. 
Renaissance festival, October, 2000. 
Airborne, 2003
All American Girl, Summer, 2009
Horseshoe Bend, Glenn Canyon, AZ, March, 2010. 



Drum Major, 2015
Senior in High School, February, 2016


High school graduate, 2016.
 About three weeks ago, my 18 year old daughter borrowed my pickup. We loaded her bed and her dresser and a bunch of clothes and other odds and ends into it, and she drove it away, with her boyfriend in the front seat. She had spent her last night in her room, and was moving into an apartment with one of her best friends and a friend from work.

She's not ready. Financially, I don't really believe that she's making enough to cover school expenses (though she has a pretty decent scholarship), car, rent, utilities, food, and sundry. She is taking on a good $5000+ in new expenses per year, just for the ability to say that she's moved out, even though her commute to college has only shrunk from 12 to 3 miles, and about the same for work.

I know-- kids want to feel grown up.  And she has a full-time job, and she pulled off a 4.0 GPA in her honors program at university this semester. She's a sophomore. She just bought her own Honda CRV. She's a great kid, and left the house with no animosity for her parents.

So why was I sobbing in my living room for five minutes after she left? Is this what I've become?

Okay, maybe I was the one who wasn't ready.


________________
For what it's worth, the recently remastered release of the Beatles' _Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band_ album is absolutely worth a listen. Particularly have I been listening to "She's Leaving Home." (The hotlinked version isn't the remastered one; you'll have to get the album or find it on Spotify or Google Play Music.)


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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Pursuit of happiness.

My elder daughter, when in high school band, was very tight with her section members. She and several other horn players would literally have parties, exclusive to their section. As such, my wife and I got to know all of them. These were great boys and girls. I was professionally aware that NONE of these kids had ever gotten in any kind of trouble, and thus I approved highly of the friendship. One boy, whom we will here call Larry, graduated a year before my daughter, He went to college, and got a job. Lately he's been also helping out a lot with the youth group at the local church, as a youth leader. He had interviewed me about my work for a Criminal Justice class, and I just recently found out that he's majoring in that field. He's been dating a sweet young lady whom we will here refer to as Eva, who joins him in assisting with the church youth.

So, yesterday afternoon, while I was at work, I got a text from him:

"Hey Officer G, I have a favor to ask you. I want to ask Eva to marry me and I was wondering if I could get your assistance to help me." 

I asked what he had in mind, and ran it by the chief. I prefaced my ask with my personal perceptions of Larry to the chief. He consented. I told Larry that the gig was a Go.

After my shift, I picked him up at his house in my patrol car. I had him sit in the back seat of my patrol car. He was dressed nicely. We drove to a street corner near her house, and parked in a subtle location. He texted her mother to have her come over to his house. When she drove by, I fell in behind her, and pulled her over at a parking lot. I got out, unlatched Larry's back door, and stepped up to speak to Eva: "Miss, would you mind stepping out of the car?" She got out. I pointed at the rear of her car, and babbled for a few seconds while giving Larry the sign (I pointed at her). I told her that this was important, and then asked her to turn around. Larry was there behind her, on his knee, with a very large diamond ring held out. He had told me before that they had talked generally about marriage, but he had never gone through the formality of asking her before. She said "yes", and they wept as they hugged each other. I took a couple of pictures, and asked her to drive her fiancé home safely.

I went home, and informed my daughter of the role that I had just played in her good friend's engagement. I went back out to my patrol car, to make sure that the camera system saved the event in the highest resolution. Our new digital camera systems assign different storage resolutions for different types of patrol events, pulled from a pre-selected list of headings. There wasn't a listing for Marriage Proposal. I selected "Pursuit," which I knew saved at high-level. This pursuit had gone pretty well.

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Thursday, April 06, 2017

Shotguns: Let it. Go.

For my entire police career, I've been fielding Remington Model 870 shotguns. I know how to operate them, and have by choice gone hunting with them, to great success. I'm moderately okay with them on the trap and skeet ranges. I respect the 870, and have chosen it over other pump shotguns in the past.

Can we get over the pump shotgun, for police patrol work? Or at least create a double-action pump gun, in which the first shot is pumped, and the rest are semi-auto?

The last time that I pulled out a pump shotgun on a guy, I found myself broadcasting orders to the (himself shotgun-armed) actor over my patrol car's public address system, while pointing my temporarily-single-shot shotgun at the actor and speaking into the microphone in my hand.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: The day of the pump shotgun in patrol should be over.

There are ample quality semi-auto shotguns out there.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Range week.

My week was pretty good. Of the last 5 days, I got to shoot on four of them. Of those 4 days, I was paid to shoot other people's ammunition on 3 of them, and on the one day that I was unpaid, I shot with my father.

The new Glock 19 is reliable, and easy to shoot, but I'm having accuracy issues with it. Even with the new sights, I'm not getting groups under 4" at 25 yards, from a rest. I honestly am not sure if the problem is me, or the gun. That said, shooting from the holster while qualifying with it yesterday, I was fast, and centered on the silhouette target. I went to a plate rack, and was shooting it fast. It will be great for off-duty carry, but I'm saddened that I'm not shooting better with it, even with fancy new sights. (Trijicon HD XRs).

We had a challenge match at qualifications, in which each officer fired at a bullseye target with their pistol (four shots at 15 yards), shotgun with slugs (2 shots at 20 yards) and patrol rifle (4 shots at 25 yards), all in 10 seconds. Highest score wins. I'm embarrassed to say that I came in second, and that I wasn't sucking up when the chief came in first. I will say that my scores were abysmal not least because the wind was steady at 29 mph, gusting much higher, during the shoot. But it was for most of the other guys' shooting, too. It's shameful not to be making all 9's or better, with a carbine, at a mere 25 yards.

I also taught an hour block on Use Of Force and Officer-Involved Shooting Post-Incident Procedure, as regarding our new policies.

The next day, I took out the officer who wasn't able to come (because he had to work that night) to group qualifications, and we went shooting.

Yesterday, my chief and I went to qualify, and I got my little BUG G42 qualified along with my G19, duty G31, duty shotgun, and duty carbine. After he finished, he noted that he had a few mags still loaded up for his SIG P220, and suggested that we hit the plate rack, at the side range. We went there, and happily knocked down plates at speed.

I noticed an older man a few lanes over, shooting at a paper target with a Beretta PX4 Storm full-sized .45. At 10 yards, he was barely hitting the 3'X5' silhouette  target paper. It was hard to watch. He had a very low grip on his pistol, with the better part of an inch of air between the web of his strong hand and the upper part of the tang of the pistol. His support hand was in a teacup grip. As a result, the muzzle flip was utterly uncontrolled, and he tried to fight the recoil by pushing back into it, "helping" the round by another one foot per second down range. It also caused his shots to go low, on average.

My chief and I picked up and went toward our cars, discussing work scheduling as we went. We stopped for a minute to converse in the parking lot before leaving, and as we parted, the older gentleman came walking up, new pistol case and new box of .45 in hand, with his ear muffs over his forearm. "How's that Beretta Storm working out for you?" I asked.

He sucked his teeth, and said, "Well, I've been around firearms all my life, but never much handguns. My wife and I got our license to carry, but I'm having some issues with this gun."

I asked him if he would mind if I offered him a couple of pointers. He said that he welcomed them. I started to show him (with a half-empty water bottle) how he could help his grip, and then said, "Hang on." I grabbed some of my personally-purchased extra ammo for my G19 and my duty G31, and took him back to the plate racks. It took him two magazines, and then, everything clicked. I loaded a magazine for the Glock 31, and had him shoot a hostage plate target with it. It had a 5" red plate on either side of a reduced-sized black silhouette steel target, which swung back and forth to either side of the head of the silhouette when hit. With my 9mm, I could just get the heavy steel to swing around, if I shot it at the outside edge of the plate. He was hitting it on the near edge with the .357 Sig rounds, and was flipping right smartly to the other side. Bang-clink flip. Bang-clink flip back. Bang-clink flip... and so on for 16 rounds, missing ONCE.  I began to think that I'd been set up with a ringer. All of the bullet splashes on the recently-painted plate were slightly low of center, in a 2 or 3 inch group.

This was costing me a little bit of money, and I was low on ammo. I said, "Sir, you keep doing that, safely, and I think that you need to start shooting local pistol matches. Consider it." He told me that he and his wife were mostly interested in being able to defend themselves, and I pointed out that the stress of being timed and shooting against others while being watched was pretty good practice. I looked at my watch; my chief had left an hour before. Time to go.  We shook hands and left. I think his name was Larry. I'm not going to lie; bringing a guy from "barely on paper" to reliably hitting a 5" plate at 10 yards in two magazines was pretty damned fulfilling. Worth every cent of the box of ammo he shot.



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Thursday, February 02, 2017

Blue label gun.

I just got a brand-new Gen. 4 Glock 19. Given the reduced price that they put this on, I felt like I had no choice. I'm ordering Trijicon HD XR sights for it, and am shopping light-bearing AIWB holsters. Any suggestions for best ones?

It's probably time that I carry something more substantial than the mouse guns which I tend to carry off-duty.

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Knee.

There's swelling most of the time in the left knee. After a workout, it throbs for a couple of days. I went to the hotshot orthopedic surgeon who replaced the knees of a couple of my friends and close family. He ordered an MRI, and I went in yesterday to have him explain it to me: "Your knee is borked. You will need a total knee replacement."

I asked when, and he said that he'd like me to try to hold off a few years, because the service life on these things is only about 15-20 years for an average person getting them, of average weight, of average physical activity for a person receiving them... who are generally much older than me. I am well above average in most of those categories.

In the meantime, he wants me to use ibuprofen (which I'm responsive to) to keep the swelling down, and drop 50-100 lbs. (The last time that I was 100 lbs lighter, everyone asked if I had end-stage cancer or AIDS. I'm not going that light again for a LONG time.)  50 lbs would put me at about 242, which isn't a bad weight for me. Of course, running and walking to get my cardio are out, and he's not big on elipticals trainer machines, which I have been using. Maybe bicycling, and definitely swimming. There is a natatorium in the  town next to my town, and annual passes are $125.

I'm looking at bicycles in the 22.5" frame size.

So, I've got some stuff to do, and a body fitness level to trice up.

Of course, that very evening, a "CPR In Progress" call came in. I drove quickly to get to the scene, out in the county. The mobile homes at the site were scattered with no rhyme or reason, and most were not marked. I got out of my cruiser, and ran to a house, which the residents declared to be a different address. Seeing the engine and the ambulance pull up and block my cruiser, I ran south, down the hill toward the next house 100 yards away, and upon finding that address on the porch (please post your address in very large, reflective numbers), I sprinted another 50 or so yards to the next house, and found the appropriate mobile home behind it. I ran in and made patient contact, bringing in the ambulance and fire guys. Once we had the patient buttoned-up in ambulance to go to hospital, a couple of firefighters laughed and said, "Dang, Matt G, we haven't ever seen you run like that before!" I let them know that it does happen, from time to time, though it was amusing that it should happen the same day that a fancy orthopedic surgeon told me not to.

The next morning, the knee was throbbing, some. Eh.

So, less food. More pushups. More coffee (obviously, because that's usually the best answer when you don't know what else to do). Less (I won't say "none at all") beer.

To paraphrase an internet friend of mine who is rapidly recovering from a hernia surgery with post-op infection: Getting fit isn't complicated; it is merely hard.

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