Don’t Bring A Knife To A Gunfight

competitive marksmanshipI recently spoke with a man from England. An avid arms collector, hunter, marksman, he had served for over 15 years in what is their country’s National Guard. It is called something else in the United Kingdom, but is would be akin to America’s National Guard. He maintained the family’s heirlooms of firearms, adding to the impressive collection, competing with rifle as his personal passion. It was his life, as competition once was mine. Each having our own stories, it all fell apart for both of us. For me, I suffered multiple work injuries causing  me to retire from competition and, ultimately from my job on a  medical disability retirement. For him, the law of the land impinged upon his private affairs.

 

I always knew England maintained strict firearm bands, but to hear the personal story of this man made me cringe. I think every news headline affects us mildly until we get personal affirmation of a circumstance. To hear from this man about the government of England holding the right to knock on your door and demand to inspect your firearms and paperwork and registration and then confiscate at will sounded horrifying. It actually sounded like a gestapo move of the Nazi’s knocking on doors demanding to search for and seize Jews. I was told, that in England, the authorities informed the gun toting populace that homes would be searched and firearms seized for the safety of the people, option being to voluntarily turn over all guns to said authorities for a bit of cash in hand. And so this man I spoke to owns not a single firearm not round of ammo any more.

 

This all happened before the turn of the 21st Century and it is still as blood curdling today as if it happened last weekend. I went through my Customs Firearms Instructor Certification School in Ft. Benning, GA in 2001. Part of our curriculum included Edged Weapons Training- knives. The example at hand was Brittain and how only the bad guys had guns! Law abiding citizens and even the Bobbies did not legally carry firearms. So, expert training of knives needed delivery so that the officers could try and defend themselves with a knife. Or, if the bad guy had not yet acquired a gun but brandished an edged weapon, the officer knew how to maneuver the bad guy with that weapon. As firearms instructors in the U.S. we underwent this same training which is good to know, important to master. But, please, never bring a knife to a gunfight.

 

Every right carries an inherent responsibility. America maintains the right to carry and bears arms. This great and fortunate right can best be maintained through knowing and upholding the law: buy and own and carry firearms legally. If we don’t use our rights we stand to lose them. Go buy a gun!!

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While Traveling One Day

Competitive MarksmanshipI go to the airport to check in and meet up with friends somewhere else. How exciting, a vacation. How perplexing, the airport emptiness inspires inquiry. I walk right up to the check in counter and check my bags. I breeze through TSA who now sports Border Patrol Officers questioning travelers like they are Customs Inspectors. This must be degrading to the BP guys. Anyway, about three seconds later, I consult my airline counter and, yes, my plane schedule remains the same. Well, now, what to do? Starbucks, of course. I ask the gal there what gives with the ghost town of an airport. Apparently, this day of the week always operates this way. Note to Self as to best day to navigate this airport. As usual, I find an errant newspaper and hope to tackle the crossword puzzle. Not there. However, a WSJ beckons as something to read. I have to read. Or write. For the first time I can remember, I read a paper, this paper, and understood the articles. Papers, to me, pose some mysterious and intimidating code I can never break. I do not understand the lingo or the colloquialisms or the trendy phrases. But this, I did. Amongst the fall of nations and the fall of economies, there posted an article on politics about a Dr. Wehby from Oregon who is running for an official seat with the Senate. A professional, polishes, accomplished, experienced, bright, educated FEMALE the opposing side reviles her. Sounds just like the job I left. To make matters worse, this capable woman is winning. Sounds even more familiar. The more I won in local, state and national police pistol competitions, the more my home port of Los Angeles tried to punish me. Only the boys should be good with guns. Well, why in the world did both male and female get hired for the job and both male and female wear the same uniform and sport the same sidearm. And, why did both male and female qualify at the same range at the same time to the same course of fire? Because, job duty and job performance wise, we are equally capable?? I never gave up, I stood up for what I believed: do what you are best at and take your skills to their fullest levels of excellence. I set records and I set national level records. I have a history I can be proud of. I hope the same for this woman, this professional, polished, accomplished, experienced, bright, educated FEMALE.

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It’s the Law

Four letter word ending in “s”, clue states: holster fillers. NO brainer. Before I look at the puzzle to see how many letters or how many letters are already filled in, I guess guns, pistols, revolvers. THIS I can do. The word “guns” works. Next, I read the clue “spring”. This is not so easily discerned. Do we mean a season? a water way bubbling up from the bowels of the earth? the coil of metal, say in the guns, pistols, revolvers? do we mean to jump? I looked at the puzzle and my eyeballs swim a little at the letters and blanks before me. Eventually, I surmise LEAP answers the clue. I go on to complete the entire crossword puzzle effortlessly, never doing this before. If I get even one word, I feel so smart. But, today, I completed the entire puzzle. It doesn’t matter how simple or complex the crossword, I finished it! This brings to mind my most recent completion of another puzzle. I called Animal Control, I called the City Parks and Recreation Department. I needed to follow through on the laws, rules, regulations regarding our local dog park labelings. Large Dog and Small Dog labeled each gated area. But, like my clue for “spring”, what exactly defined the stated word? I had to investigate. I admit, I did not like the ruling. But, the law is the law and I will follow it. I learned that, although no weight per dog is mentioned in so identifying one’s Fido, although no inches in height at the shoulder is specified in so identifying Fluffy, the dog’s breed identifies which park the dog can play in off leash. Labrador Retrievers, as all dog owners know, falls into the Large Dog breed category. My terrier/ dashchund mix aligns with the Small Dog breed category. I am not allowed to bring my Big Friendly into the Small Dog park side even though he is a registered working dog, even though he plays independently, even though, even though. Rules are rules. I am, however, allowed to take both dogs into the Large Dog side, but the 100 pound Rottweiler puppies and 100 pound Shepard puppies maul her as if she posed tasty prey. So, where does this leave me, a tax paying citizen? I could fight City Hall. I could make a mission out of this. I could change the law. The beauty of this country is that we CAN. I could fight to get a third park opened for the Mid Sized Breeds. However, not today. I did my due diligence. I think I’ll just go to the range and fire a few hundred rounds and then take my Large and my Small dog on a long walk on their leashes. It’s the law.

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Bitch in Heat

competitive marksmanshipI go to the local dog park to provide variety for my beasts regarding outdoor time and exercise. At the dog park, they can RUN. However, I owning one big dog and one litte dog, I face the decision of using the “Big Dog” side or the “Little Dog” side. My 13 lb female, having grown up with the 75 lb male means, she is used to big dogs. Yet, on the Big Dog side, these large breeds treat her like prey. The owners pitifully lack leadership over their 100 lb puppies (rottweilers, shepherds) and I am not in the mood to get chomped. My little dog hides behind me to get away from the really big, really excited pups. Excitement turning into anxiety turning into aggression, I decided recently to try the small dog side of the fenced spaces. it’s like a pistol match: shooters exhibit unsportsmanlike behaviors which are best to walk away from. You consult with the refs and leave the rest to the officials. My time on the small dog side has, now, been a mixed bag of people freaking out over my big dog, to realizing he poses no threat. Big Friendly is a work dog; he cruises the park to sniff out and pee on choice blades of grass and to RUN. He plays independently and does not interact much with the other dogs. These other small dog owners state their concerns as the mere presence Big Friendly will incite their dogs to engage in aggressive behavior. Sounds like a dog who shouldn’t even be at the park until these owners have put them through Basic Training. So, I assure them if there appears to be any untoward behavior on the part of my big dog, I will leave. I do not want to create any angst. I am the one in a predicament with a big dog and a little dog. The other day though, when one particularly irate man actually pointed to the sign for the Small Dog side and said I had a big dog (like I didn’t know this), I left, only after introducing myself. Good manners always throws idiots off their warpath. It’s an Officer Presence tactic. I did stop and read the city code sign posted between the two dog size signs. Interestingly enough, nowhere did the codes and regulations specify size of dog. Dogs need to be vaccinated, bitches cannot be in heat, no dog fighting allowed, any aggressive dog behavior requires the owner to leave immediately, if one dog hurts another dog or person than the owner is responsible. for vet or doctor bills. I went home and called animal control. We cannot uphold the law, cite the law, use it to our advantage if we do not know the law as thoroughly as possible. It looked like the “Big Dog” and “Small Dog” signs were suggestions, not requirements, not law. I was right. But, I was also right to not push my point until my research of this issue was complete. If the signs indicated the dogs’ sizes and ONLY, then I would have to reroute my dog park time. After animal control, I called City Hall to double check my information. They are in the process of researching my concern and will get back to me. When, I go back to the dog park, I will have City Hall backing me up. I find it vital to uphold “good neighbor relations” yet not be the doormat. I did leave, door matting myself a bit. In the end though, it won’t send me away, it sent me to do my due diligence. Always, always, know the laws rules and regulations. Then apply them to your benefit.

 

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Strength

competitive marksmanshipAs I contemplate replenishing my cadre of firearms, I practiced at the range several times lately as per my own suggestion! Saying one handgun is better than another creates a premature referral. I always prompt those who ask me what to buy to take any number of makes and models for a “test drive”. A firearm, like a vehicle, stands as a very important purchase and what works for one person, may not be so pleasurable for the next. So, off to the range I traveled, with shooting buddies and various weapons in stow. I might buy one of these guns, but I needed to check out which felt the best for me and and my style and my comfortability. What I found was a shocking difference between my extant firearms and the stock guns on the market. I miss my tricked out competition guns. But, I told myself, I am amongst the general population, now, buying that which any citizen buys. Besides, the armorer who used to make my pistols competition ready has since retired. With that, the “test drives” at the range felt heavy and explosive and powerful beyond how I remembered my old guns firing. Must be stock vs. tricked out. Then it occurred to me, I don’t fire one to two thousand rounds  week anymore. I don’t tear it up at the gym everyday to maintain strength and stamina for competition readiness anymore. It’s not

the gun, it’s the shooter. Well, now, aren’t we humbled? So, with my new gun ( I did make a purchase), a new year upon us and a new resolve, whether for competition or for home and personal protection, I’m back at the gym. When the bad guys show up, we need to be ready to defend ourselves, our home, our properties. We need to maintain the strength, stamina and coordination necessary to respond accordingly. Basic push ups and focusing on firmly gripping the weights as we exercise makes for the easiest way to increase grip strength. Walk the dogs, fast. This will improve stamina. It is so simple it is easy to skip, but it is so simple it is too easy NOT to do these strength builders. Pretty soon, the strengthened character follows. Never quit on yourself. The bad guy is not going to.

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I’ve Been Robbed…

competitive shootingI came home recently to discover I had been robbed. A forced entry, my house sustained full raping and pillaging. Shocked, blissfully, I felt truly grateful to have not been home. Had I been home, I would have had to live with a murder on my conscience. Albeit justified, murder is murder, not an easy experience to live down. And Mama don’t miss. With that I felt grateful my personal safety was spared, I could always buy a new television, new personal effects. This protective shock lasted only a couple of weeks. When it wore off, the horror of the event set in. Borrowing some items that the thieves stole, I run room sweeps every time I come home, ready for their return. I go pee with a gun in hand. What they didn’t take speaks as loudly as what they did take. The bad guys took all my competition gear and all my most important Customs memorabilia making this case Highly Unusual. They didn’t, however, take the long guns. A message perhaps? But what would they be telling me? I am an old woman, retired a long time, now. I go to the range to make sure I still remember the business end of a gun. I go to the range to coach and instruct others. Who would do this? I will probably never know. Unless they come back when I am here and then we identify their dead bodies.

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