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.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"There's a man at the door."

I was in the laundry room, turning dirty clothes into clean ones, when my daughter hollered to me that there was a man at the door.

I've actually been having some issues with a local who has lost his grasp on reality, and who believes that I'm the cause of his problems, so I made decent speed to the door. Not running, not amped, but ready. To my irritation, the door was standing ajar. I opened it, and found one of our newest officers at my department on the porch. I'm afraid that he may have misread my irritation with my daughter's accurate-yet-incomplete report as irritation at seeing him. He stepped back, and noted my hand in my pocket.

"Damn, Matt, you were about to put a cap in my ass!" He laughed.

I protested that I was happy to see him, and that no such thing was on my mind.

"Bull. You've got your hand on a gun, right now!"

I had actually been re-seating my little J-frame back into my leather pocket holster. I shrugged and pulled the whole rig out to seat it better, and re-pocketed it.

I closed the door and stepped outside, expecting there to be a potentially sensitive issue. There wasn't one. We chatted. Seems that a month or two back, I had done the recently-late officer from another agency a favor, when he had asked me over chat on our MDT to check on the registered address of a reported hit-and-run vehicle. I had found the suspect vehicle in its driveway, and documented the damage to it thoroughly photographically. I then had put all the picturess on a DVD,. and mailed it to him (my email couldn't handle it, and I was too lazy to set up a DropBox account.). Well, with his sudden passing, the case was languishing. I said that I would find the pictures and re-mail them to his P.D.

Strange the things that pop up.

Now I need to have a chat with the family about my expectations on answering the door and giving a more complete report than just "a man at the door."

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Daughter's surgery. Part 1.

My elder daughter had nothing on her eardrum. Look in her ear? See bones. So today, she went into a little surgical center place and had some skin grafted to the eardrum. Yeah, we're living in the future or something. The doc did it without even peeling back the ear. I asked him if he also built ships in a bottle. (He doesn't.)

So my 16 year-old honors student daughter came out of the surgical center, still groggy from the anesthetics, pain meds, and anti-anxiety meds that they had pushed, and said excitedly: "They gave me stickers! And now I'm free as a pretty pony!"

And then we put her in the car and took her home.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Blogorado the ?th I've lost track. (6th, I think.)

I didn't have much time this trip, so I raced northwest, visited, and then raced back. There just wasn't enough time. But I was honored to be able to ferry a friend who otherwise wouldn't have been able to make it.
I roomed again with my great friend Ambulance Driver. There are a few people in this world that become one of your best friends the first time you meet them. One for me was my old patrol partner, P. Another is Ambulance Driver.
I didn't get enough time to shoot. And that what I shot wasn't great. I kept getting distracted from what I was going to do. I didn't spend anywhere nearly enough time with my good friend Gay Cynic.

I didn't spend anywhere NEARLY enough time with my gracious hosts, Farm Mom, Farm Dad, and Farm Girl. I got in some good breakfast time with Tam and the Nerds.

I didn't hang out much with my Dad and his wife, because we see each other all the time. PhlegmFatale I got to chat with a fair bit. AEPilot bought me a lovely hat. And he provided a LOT of food. Thanks, man!

Old NFO took Spear and Gunsmith Jason to shoot on Sunday morning, but didn't invite me. He sends me good coffee, but he doesn't invite me for the early morning rifle frivolity. Hm. I made coffee at the range again. Because dammit, I like a little coffee at the range.

DanielS arrived with his lovely wife, who was a maven of the open range, cooking burgers.

And others. We had a good time. We'll do it again, I hope.

Then, there was ChristinaLMT and SciFi and SciFi Wife and... I'm missing people.

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End of watch.

In a medium-sized county, you don't know every cop, but you eventually hear about the recipients of the clown awards. We had a local guy pass, and I didn't know anything about him. Ergo, he wasn't a bad egg.

It was time to go pay my respects.

I took my wife, at least partly because she had never been to a cop's funeral, and might need to know what to expect. And for the company, because I'm selfish.

The place was packed with family and friends, and with police and fire personnel, along with dispatchers and EMTs and paramedics. A lot of us parked on the grass.

The ceremony went as they go. There were prayers and testimonials and a few funny stories. Having not known the man, I tried to pay attention. Finally, the deceased officer's chief directed those of us with radios (I was in uniform and thus was one of them.) to turn on our radios and monitor the officer's agency's dispatch frequency. As I did so, I realized what was coming, but my wife did not.

The chief called dispatch under his call number, and we waited. County dispatch beeped an alert tone, and called out the deceased officer's radio call number. No answer. Dispatch called it out again. No answer. Dispatch called it a third time.  Dispatch then announced the officer's end of watch date, and thanked him for his service.

The room, filled with a disproportionately high number of young-to-middle-aged men, pretty much as one ducked our heads into our hands to wipe our eyes.

That end of watch call* always gets me.


*Here's a version that I found on YouTube, which was vaguely like what I heard today.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Get off of my side.

Look, neighbor we've got some things in common, you and I. We both like to shoot. We appreciate nice guns. Heck, we even have a certain appreciation for not-so-nice guns. We both also hold our current administration with some contempt. So, common ground, I guess?

But you see, my contempt for our sitting President isn't based upon the color of his skin. It's not completely based upon his origin*.  It's not based upon his religion or lack of it**.

As a matter of fact, it is actually his pandering to race which is one of the reasons that I'm annoyed by our sitting President.

I don't like racism. I find myself irritated by racists. But I try, for the most part, to live and let live.

But you know what really pushes my button?

Imply that I'm a racist.

And here's the thing: when you and I, recent acquaintances, are having conversation between almost-strangers, and you casually drop the N-word and other racial remarks about our sitting President-- you're making some assumptions about me. You're assuming that I'm complicit with your speech, and your way of thinking. You're assuming that I'm not offended, and will continue this conversation. By implication, you are saying that you believe that I'm like you. A racist.

I'm not. And while I may appreciate the courtesies that you may have shown me and mine, I'll be taking my leave. Because today I can't stand talking to you, and your racist friends.

*Hawaii? No. Kenya? I'm not a birther. Politically, he's from Chicago. There's a lot of righteous disdain to be held for Chicago's political system.

** Although his attendance to Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church, and support (until called on the issue) of a man who is patently racist, bothers me.

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Mornings with the girls

School has been bearing down on us. 

The night before last, my elder daughter returned home from band practice. Her band advanced to the Area Marching Contest last weekend (with a sweepstakes 1,1,1 from the judges, which I gather is A Good Thing), and this weekend will probably advance to State.   She got home after 8:00 pm, after going in early. My wife and I have been noticing that chores haven't been getting done enough around the house, and that her usually exemplary grades have been slipping. Well, she's taking dual-credit (college and A.P. high school) in two classes, and marching band, wind ensemble, choir, literary criticism, ready writing, and her other classes. Something's gotta give.

We, uh, may have gone off on her a bit hard. There were tears and teeth grinding. She got her chores done and then stayed up studying for a history exam.

The next morning, I made breakfast. (Bacon, eggs, toast, milk, coffee. You know-- breakfast.)  I fed her and sent her off to school with a sandwich. She gave blood just before lunch, and apparently the phlebotomists were shocked that she actually had consumed a real breakfast.  

She stayed late for concert instrument practice, then for Literary Criticism, and got home at about 6:30pm. 

This morning, I got her up at 5:40, with a full breakfast and packed another lunch (ham and cheese sandwich, dressed up with thin-sliced pickle and dijon, romaine, sharp cheddar, on multi-grain) and took her in. 

At 06:24, we drove into the high school parking lot. The lights were blazing on the stadium. The football team had been practicing on field for about an hour. My daughter said that she was "late." I said she was crazy-- she had until 6:30?!?  She pointed to the kids exiting the band hall with their instruments in a steady stream, and said, "The call time is 6:25!" (My phone still read 6:24AM.) She raced in. 

I'm amazed at how involved these girls are. 

I got home and woke my younger daughter. I gave her a full breakfast, and took her in for "Zero Period" for math tutoring at 07:30. At least she has her band practice for the week completed. 

I didn't spend as much time at school as this in high school and junior high. But my mama made me a fantastic* brown bag lunch every day to take with me. I appreciated it a little back then; now I am simply amazed. 

*Seriously: Big Orowheat pumpernickel slices around mayo, mustard, good lunch meat or left-over pot roast or meat loaf, lettuce, thick-sliced cheese, tomatoes, onions, sometimes some peppers. A baggie of chips. A piece of fruit. Maybe a cookie or two. Often a dill pickle. Dang, those were great lunches!  

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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Ambi safeties.

I don't understand the constant claim that the ability to equally use a firearm with either hand is undesirable.

I've been carrying Glocks and double-action revolvers for the most part for the last 8 years. Sure, I love my beloved 1911s. But you know what's hard? Picking up a stock 1911 with your left hand, knocking off the safety (one-handed), and firing it.

I practice shooting partly because I need to know that in a gunfight, I can do what needs doing. While the chances of getting into a gunfight are small, the chances of me getting shot in a gunfight that I'm participating in are actually pretty high. (Well, higher than I'm comfortable with.) Given that my strong arm would likely be presented to an adversary in a gunfight or even a blade attack, the chances of my strong right arm or hand being injured aren't inconsiderable. Why not have a good plan to end this thing?

I qualify twice a year, and shoot quite a bit more than that. I don't shoot enough left-handed. Whenever I do, I'm reminded of how much I suck at it. I don't see any point in making an already difficult task near impossible. I like small auxiliary ambi safeties.

Admittedly, some ambidextrous safeties aren't made properly or installed properly. I am assuming that you have a quality part and installation. Swenson has made some fine ones for years.

So here I am, at odds with friend Jim Wilson. At least Jim and I agree on the uselessness of full-length guide rods.

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