Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

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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Sunday, January 15, 2017

A better day than you had, I'd reckon.

Thursday, my father texted me: "Want to go get lunch?"
Well, of course I did. We met at the Indian (dot not feather) place. They were closed. We went to a Thai place. There we drank Thai iced coffee, ate over-spiced curry, and chatted for hours, camping at our table.
We went next door to a coffee shop, and killed another hour and a half there, drinking strong black coffee.
When I finally left, I'd managed to steal 5 hours with my dad.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Since last we spoke.

--I made eggnog again. This time, I went with a recipe recommended by Zercool. It is buttery meringue fluff, with bourbon. Not bad.
--Donald Trump, the man whom I called "un-electable," has won the election for President. I don't care for him, but I hope that he is a successful President. Because how could I desire my President to fail? I cannot. I was wrong about his ability to get elected; let us hope that I'm wrong about his competency as POTUS.
--My dad and I went hunting with some friends, last month. My dad shot a nice buck (with his own handload, a 165g GameKing out of his .308 Savage Scout rifle), which has its antlers in a European mount on his living room wall. I'm pleased.
--I am walking some in the mornings, and am trying the gym again. --I'm training a guy at work. This kid is going to be a great cop. Hell, he already is. But don't tell him that; nothing good comes from a big head.
--The boss is leaving town for a week, and leaving me in charge of the shop, again. It's a small shop, but it's mine for the duration. I don't mind, on a temporary basis.
--My elder daughter is in her last week of her first semester at university. Her grades are good-- it looks like she may have a 4.0. There are, naturally, some minor stressors.
--My younger daughter is in her last week of her first semester at high school. Her grades have been good, but she has a couple of B's right now which I find unacceptable. I recall my elder daughter found freshman year to be very stressful, and sophomore year to be a breeze.
--I'm about to lay a new Invisible Fence around my dad's yard. Any advice? Seems like mostly I can just lay it in the furrow cut by me edger.
--I've got three Safariland holsters which I don't wear, because they are dropped too far, or the slot for the belt is the wrong size (too big, which is almost as useless as too small). Surely there are adapters to fix this. This is about $300 in leather/plastic.
-- My pickup is loaded right now with an estimated 1300 lbs (I'm guessing, but we'll find out) to take to the dump. Yesterday I took a trip which netted 560 lbs. Storage and back yard cleanout! As soon as I've drunk my coffee, I'm headed there.
--My results from my Wellness check came back, and my doc just wrote all over the 9 page report and sent it to me. That's seriously awesome, and I'm going to send him a thank you note for it.
Here I attach the highlights, for me to refer to in the future. It seems that my combined cholesterol is too high (HDL: 38 (needs to be above 40) LDL: 165 (needs to be below 100) Total: 225 (moderate risk)), and he included scripts for statins. Shame-- I like grapefruit. My triglycerides are down. My hemoglobin A1c is "great," which makes me happy, because adult-onset diabetes runs in my family. The kidneys, liver, thyroid, prostate-- all look good. Lipoprotein is low, which apparently means that my risk of heart attack is lowered. "LP PLA2 Activity" is elevated to "not good." There's a page on "Lipoprotein subfractions" which I don't pretend to understand, but apparently LDL Peak Size of 217.4 angstroms is a high risk category. I gather that the statin will address this.
Apparently I need to take supplementary Niacin, fish oil, and supplementary vitamin D3, along with my prescription statin (trying Lipitor). Fortunately, that whole plan is doable for about $10/month.
--According to Wikipedia, that supplemental D3 that I'm going to take is produced by the ultraviolet irradiation of 7-dehydrocholesterol extracted from lanolin found in sheep's wool. Interesting. I don't have an allergy to sheep's wool, but my wife does; I wonder if she would have a reaction to it, or if the 7-dehydrocholesterol is refined enough to where the allergens would not be present?
--I gave the Drug Talk to my elder daughter today: "You will be exposed to drugs. You will see them, and you will be surprised at who uses them. Those people are making a mistake. It is not immoral to take drugs; it is unethical to do so, because it is against the law, and because you will have to lie about it. It is desirable to be able to tell the honest truth, when asked if you have used drugs. It also exposes you to less risk. If you have experimented, don't do it again. If your friends have, hope that they don't again. A person is not ruined when they have tried drugs, but it makes their life a little harder. Don't make that error." She told me that she hasn't, and that her friends don't. I believe her (I hadn't asked.), but I told her that she'll eventually see it, and to be prepared. Many will say that this talk is too late. If it were the first time that we've discussed the issue, it would be. But this was more of a recap of what I've said all along.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Responding to a comment from an old post.

I just got a reader comment about a post that I had written over two years ago, in which I was asked,

"Why is your off duty course different from your duty course of fire?
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 12:25:00 AM
The answer I gave was: "A worthy question. Frankly, we want our officers armed while off-duty, but we don't want them inserting themselves into every hazard which they might come across. By policy, if they carry off-duty, they are are to carry concealed. For that, and for convenience's sake, off-duty guns are typically much lighter and more compact than duty guns. They are frankly harder to shoot well. An Airweight Chief 1 7/8" barrel five-shot revolver just isn't as easy to hit with, as a full-sized Glock with good sights is. Our duty qualification far exceeds the state-mandated qualification minimums, includes multiple timed reloads, and shooting on the move. (In fact, 24% of our shots are fired while moving, at 10 yards.) Our off-duty qualification, however, meets the state mandate." For the past couple of years, we've considered differentiating between "Off-duty" and "Backup Gun" qualifications, but have decided not to. However, if an officer wants to wear a gun that he's qualified with for off-duty, but wants to wear it in uniform (say, for an off-duty gig, or if it is approved for carry on duty), he must shoot the full duty qualification course with it, from his proposed duty rig. The question may be posed: "Why aren't you holding your off-duty shooting to the same standard as you hold your on-duty shooting?" The answer is that, usually, the off-duty officer is not going to have the same duty to intervene as he would when on-duty. The off-duty officer is carrying, first and foremost, to defend himself and his family in the face of retaliation. Some of us will carry bigger guns (which are easier to shoot) during the cooler months, and then switch to lighter, smaller guns during the summer months. The fact of the matter is, we need to adjust our response to an off-duty deadly force encounter to meet what we are equipped and prepared to work with.

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