Sunday, April 29, 2007

Day of Blog Silence

One Day Blog Silence

Friends, I won't be posting at my blog tomorrow, April 30th.

I won't be reading any blogs tomorrow, either.

Tomorrow, I will be joining the One Day of Blog Silence campaign. A day of electronic silence that was originally to be observed for the victims of the recent spree at Virginia Tech.

My silence, tomorrow will be for all of the victims of senseless violence. Whether they were killed here in Virginia at Va. Tech, Baghdad, China, Israel, Palestine... or in Darfur.

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Or any of the other, myriad places that people are regularly slaughtered, that the world, apparently, doesn't give a damn about.

Think about it.

Tell others about it.

Make your leaders aware.

And for God's sake, don't just sit there.

Some Wars...

Some wars need to be fought.

Some wars are a moral imperative.

Some wars need to be fought, even if a quick, victorious conclusion isn't likely.

Some wars.

Some, but not all.

Here are a few examples of wars that should be fought:

The war on poverty: The war on poverty, also known as The Great Society, is largely deemed a failure in this country. I disagree. Lyndon Johnson's policies led to greater access to education and health care for poor people in this country, and while the eradication of poverty is something we have not yet accomplished in this, making the attempt to do so is not only noble, but appropriate for a country such as this to do.

Fighting to end poverty is a moral imperative. It must be done.

The War on Drugs: Many people, mostly old (and young) stoners say that the so-called War on Drugs is only about feeding the prison system and persecuting the poor, etc... I disagree. Drugs are a poison in our cities, and in our suburbs, and in the smallest of our towns (yes, there are drug problems in our small towns... even if you don't see them). Fighting the trafficking of drugs is important. If anything, I think that our national efforts to combat drug trafficking should be re-doubled.

Confession: I am biased. Losing a sister to an overdose will do that for you.

The War on Terror: This, too, is a fight that must be fought. This nation must do all that i can to combat terrorism. All terrorism... but we our fight against terrorism is something that should be conducted with good sense... and not in stupid, ineffectual spasms.

One of the first things that should be addressed is the fact that terrorism, like poverty, and drug trafficking/use/abuse, will always be with us.

I'll say it again for the idiots that think it will ever go away: Terrorism will always be with us.

It may not ALWAYS be Islamic terrorists, it may not always be Irish terrorists (forgot about them, did you?); it may not always be American terrorists, but there will always be terrorists.

Having acknowledged that there will always be terrorism, we need to take a good look at how to combat it. One thing that we should note right off the bat is that you CANNOT dismantle a group of organized terrorists with military power. Nope. Can't do it. This is no slap at our Special Forces, or our conventional armed forces, but it is true. Trying to destroy terrorism with an army is like trying to kill a housefly with a 30 pound sledge hammer.

Please don't misunderstand, here. When we identify a terrorist... anywhere in the world, we should be about the business of killing him/her and any of their associates. I said killing. Not Arresting.

Combating terrorism must be done with surgical tools... tools best wielded by Intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

Unfortunately, fighting terrorism has become a political bailiwick of gargantuan proportions, and as you know, politicians only care about the next election cycle. This means short-sighted goals that end up making for nice headlines and bumps in the polls when they go well, but they really don't mean much.

Fighting terrorism is important. It must be done. We must use our political tools as well as other assets to fight it. Here is a start: We need to quit with our knee-jerk support of countries or regimes that are oppressive. We need to get at terrorists, much like you need to get at a Dandelion problem in your yard... at it's roots. In order to truly fight terrorism, we have to go after the people that fund it's operations... and my friends, that means we have to quit humping the legs of the Saudis.

There. It's out.

If we really wanted to use military force for an anti-terrorist end, we should have jumped an airborne division into Riyadh. That's who is funding most Islamic terror, you know.

Fighting the wars that must be fought should be priorities for this nation. Sadly, they are not.

Fighting poverty is done with a shrug of the shoulders, some federal or state funding (usually to little, and not well-used), and a silent tsk-tsking about "those people". In modern America, people have the notion that most poor people are poor because they deserve to be poor and that they like it that way. For shame.

Fighting drug trafficking is rather half-assed... if we wanted to put the hurt on drugs, we should defoliate the Cocoa producing parts of Columbia and other countries that produce that shit.

Instead of doing these things... we get the war in Iraq, which has as much to do with terrorism as it has to do with ping-pong.

What a waste.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Oh, my aching back!

This is a photo of most of the stuff I carry on my belt and in my pockets while I am working.

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It gets heavy... but not as heavy as a patrol officers belt.

I wish I had more to say tonight... but I am tired.

The MIL visit is almost over, and things have gone well.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Historical Stupidity

A few weeks ago, the Gunfighter family took a vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was spring break in our local schools, and we wanted some concentrated family time, away from commuting household duties, and everything else.

Williamsburg is one of our favorite places, because Mrs Gunfighter and I are real history geeks. Wait, that isn't quite accurate. Mrs Gunfighter loves history and is a professional historian... I'm a history geek (the difference being that she is trained and has a Doctorate in the discipline... I'm just an oddball with books). Anyway, one of the things we love about Williamsburg is the plethora of good bookstores. Indeed, one of the first things we usually do after getting into town, is to go straight to the Books-A-Million that is near the college of William & Mary (where we REALLY want soccer girl to go).

Well, when we got to Williamsburg this time around, we did the exact same thing. Went to the bookstore. While we settled in and browsed in the various sections, a man came up to me to hand me a flyer, which I accepted. I noticed right away that this fellow was dressed in a black quasi-military outfit that was part Chairman Mao...

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and part Che Guevara

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Anyway, he said "have a look at this" and walked away. When I looked at it, this is what I saw:

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For those that didn't know, the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the settlement of Jamestown, which marked the beginning of the colonization of North America.

Now, I'm not ignorant of history. Far from it. Neither am I ignorant of the horrors of slavery and some of it's lingering effects. I'm not ignorant of slavery's brutal practices, and I don't think that raising the level of awareness of these things is bad.

Having said all of the above, I think that; A) Celebrating the establishment of the settlement that eventually led to the creation of the United States (and Canada) is a good thing; and B) Suggesting that the celebration makes a mockery of the brutality of slavery is wrong-headed.

I'm not one of those "slavery-happened-then-it-went-away-get-over-it" people, but I think a little perspective is in order. Most of the information that you can find regarding the history of Jamestown and about the establishment of a slavery culture in America has been very sensitive to the incredible importance of the contributions of slaves and free blacks to the creation and the early economic viability of the United States.

No one should think that racism isn't still a problem in this country. It is, and when it rears it's ugly head, it must be attacked.

The celebration of the founding of Jamestown isn't racist, and it shouldn't be attacked.

When I see that manifesto of the idiots in the The New Black Panther Party. I see a group of people that would have better spent their time actually learning their own history before displaying their ignorance.

There are many problems in this country, folks. The Jamestown celebration isn't one of them.

I hate historical stupidity.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why Captain Kirk?

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Some of you have asked me about this, and since I have spoken about it, breiefly, several times in this blog. I'll just give you the whole story right now.

Whe I was a kid, I watched all of the old Star Trek episodes whenever I could. Not only because of my interest in Science Fiction, but also because Captian Kirk, of the starship Enterprise, was one of my role models.

Go on and laugh, but please take a moment to read my reasons. Captain Kirk was one of my most important role models because of the following:

Because he was a leader.

Because he was confident.

Because he was a man of courage.

Because he commanded loyalty and respect from his people, and gave them the same.

Becaus he was bold enough to break the rules when he needed to.

Because you could always count on him.

Because he didn't abandon his people.

Because he was funny.

Because he was a bad mutha****** ("shut your mouth!" "but we're talkin' 'bout Kirk!"... please tell me you get the reference)

Because he wouldn't let himself be pushed around (not even by the Klingons).

Because Jim Kirk always got the hot chicks.

...and finally, because even the Tribbles liked the guy... and Tribbles were a great judge of character.

Look, my parents divorced when I was five. My dad was still in the military and was rarely around. I learned a lot of what a man was suppose to be from negative example. Every saturday afternoon (at 5 p.m.) Kirk was always there. He never let me down.

I like to think I possess a lot of the qualities that were embodied in the James T. Kirk character.

I could do one hell of a lot worse.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ten Weird Things

Recently, well, several weeks ago, Suzanne, from "Cuss and Other Rants" tagged me for the "ten weird things about me" meme...

I have been delinquent in completing it because not only have I been fairly busy, I also had a problem coming up with ten things about me that I think are weird.

Now this doesn't suggest that their isn't anything weird about me... just that I don't see them, I suppose. So, I decided to ask some fellow bloggers what they thought. The following are some of the results.

1. I'm a professional gunfighter (some of you actually thought that this, in itself, was weird)... and I make rosaries... for fun. (That came up six times!)

2. I sometimes iron my money.

3. I enjoy the company of Lesbians. I didn't think that's weird. I don't really like ALL lesbians... I just don't have anything against them as a class of people.

4. I'm a black man that regularly wears a kilt.

5. I think that no yard work is finished until everything has been completely watered. Including my that front walkways and sidewalk

6. That I do the cooking in our house.

7. That I would ask people that don't know me very well, about weird things about me.

8. That I can recite the "Green Lantern" oath from memory

9. "Shoot 'Em Up Friday" (it's not weird, it's cool... and educational!)

10. I iron my jeans.

11. That Captain James T. Kirk was, and remains an important role-model for me.

OK, that's eleven... but I had to work in Jim Kirk.

Have a nice day!


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"From Dust We Came..."

"...To Dust We Shall Return."

I had planned to post the "10 Weird Things About Me" meme today, but sadly, I have to report that a quiet, lurking, reader of my blog, passed away this past Sunday.

Paul was Mrs Gunfighter's supervisor.

They had worked together, to great effect, for several years. Together, with their unit, they produced several well-received educational videos on subjects such as "Terrorism: War Without Borders", the "History of Diplomacy", and "Today in Washington: The Media and Diplomacy", among others.

Paul was a quiet, private, man. He was a diligent Historian, and an effective manager. He devoted his entire professional life to the service of his country. He leaves behind his adult children, as well as many colleagues and people who respected him.

Mrs. Gunfighter turned him on to my blog several weeks ago, and by her reports, he enjoyed it.

Godspeed, Paul. We'll see you on the other side.



Monday, April 23, 2007

Inappropriate or Incompetent?

By now, most of you will have heard about the recent terminations of many (8) U.S. Attorney's by the Attorney General of The United States, Alberto Gonzales. No doubt you have heard about all of the controversy that has been generated.

As a result of the irregularities surrounding the dismissals, the Senate Judiciary Committee wanted the persons involved, including Karl Rove...

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Harriet Miers...

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and Attorney General Gonzales...

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to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The White House fought tooth and nail, citing executive privilege, to keep White House staff members from having to testify under oath. Hmm. Am I the only person that has a problem with this?

Let's look at it this way: How well do you think it would go over when I make an arrest and then tell the judge, "Your honor, I'm happy to testify in this case, but I won't do it under oath, and I won't do it with a court reporter present, and only if you agree not to tell the public"? How do you think it would go from there? Not well, I can assure you... but this is what the White House wants. The President doesn't want his staff compelled to tell the truth.

Something is wrong with that, my friends.

We shouldn't be surprised, though. The President is a bloody liar, himself, and has surropunded himself with like-minded people.

Eventually the testimony conditions (after some compromising) were agreed to by all parties, and AG Gonzales was compelled to testify, under oath, with a court reporter, and on television. Before his testimony, however, Mr. Gonzales had several weeks of rehearsal and preparation time for his hearing, even cancelling his scheduled vacation around Easter, in order to have more time to prepare.


On the day of his testimony AG Gonzales used the term "I don't recall" or words to that effect at least 45 times.

45 times.

This man is the Attorney General of the United States, as such he is the chief law enforcement officer in the United States. He is supposed to be the guy in charge of enforcing our laws. This is a man who was once the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court... he should know a bit about the law, and about testimony. Saying "I don't recall" so many times while on the witness stand must make anyone hearing this, question the man's integrity or fitness to testify.

According to documents that surfaced through this investigation, AG Gonzales has attended meetings (which he earlier claimed he didn't attend), and detailed briefings (which he claims not to remember) on terminating the employment of 8 U.S. Attorneys. He doesn't remember any of it? He doesn't remember signing documents? His staff is making these decisions for him and he isn't even consulted? Is the Attorney General suffering from Alzheimer's?

I'm sorry, Mr. Gonzales, or "Gonzo" as President Bush calls him, but this isn't good enough.

Either you fired those people for political reasons in some sort of partisan shaking of the law enforcement tree, in which case you should resign, or the Department of Justice is completely out of control because of your incompetence, in which case you should be fired. In either case, you should leave office.

Regular rank and file cops can lose their jobs even at the hint of impropriety. This is because you can't hold a position of public trust if you are a liar, a thief, or someone who when under oath, is prone to dissemble.

You, sir, are a sleazeball. I wouldn't trust you, or any of your lickspittle coterie of thugs, liars, wingnuts, and Regent University graduates, to guard the most rancid whorehouse in Olongapo.

You disgust me.... but this is what we get from people that think torture is alright, as long as you don't call it torture, and the Geneva convention on the treatment of Prisoners of War is irrelevant as long as you call them "detainees".

Sunday, April 22, 2007

An Evening With The Stars

On Friday night, the Gunfighter family had a night out on the town, and went to see the musical phenomenon that is sweeping the nation. We went to one of our local high schools and saw their production of Disney's "High School Musical"!

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What's that?

You say you've never heard of it?

If that's so, you probably don't have young children between the ages of 6 and 16.

Anyway, "High School Musical" is an original Disney Channel production... a made for television movie about a budding romance between a basketball star student, and a star science/math student.

When I used the word phenomenon earlier, I wasn't exaggerating. This little movie has achieved big things, including being released all over the world, selling more DVD's than almost any other movie in the world in 2006, and has prompted one sequel which is currently filming, with another in the works. The movie has already prompted the sale of millions of copies of the soundtrack CD.

Anyway, I bought the tickets as soon as I heard about the production, because soccer girl loves this movie, and because Mrs. Gunfighter and I know all of the words to all of the songs (particularly "Status Quo" and "Getcha Head In The Game". After I got the tickets, I swore Mrs Gunfighter to secrecy, and we waited until Friday morning to tell her that we were going.

When SG found out about it, she was practically vibrating with excitement!

I have to tell you, the kids at the school were fantastic! They did a great job with the songs, dancing, and acting. I was particularly pleased for two of the boys, Brandon and TJ, who are members of our congregation and really, really nice kids.

The icing on the cake was when soccer girl got to get autographs from the cast, who we all lined up in the hallway. She was really excited since she knew the two kids from our church.

We all had a good time, and drove home singing songs from the show... and then listening to the soundtrack as soccer girl was put to bed... still excited, but all worn out.

What fun!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up Friday


It's Friday... and you know what that means in Gunfighterland: It's time to do some shootin'!

Cue the music!!! (click the play button!)

Our demonstration pieces today will be:

A fairly standard concrete block...

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I used a 12 gauge shotgun...

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...and a submachine gun.

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Once again, the purpose of the demonstration is to show what will and won't protect an officer from gunfire.

The concrete block will stand up to a couple of well-placed shots, with the bullets of the subgun only penetrating through one side of the block, but as you can see here...

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...when the weapon is fired on full automatic, the block is completely destroyed after only three 3-round bursts.

The block easily deflected the buckshot, but the slug rounds easily penetrated both side of the block.

So. There you have it. Concrete will protect you from small arms fire, but only momentarily. If you are taking cover behind a concrete block wall, you'd best be planning your next move (or better yet, you'd better hurry up and kill your opponent), becuse your protection may not last as long as you think.

The satellite receiver and the PA amplifier are next, and as you can see below, they fared no better...

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...especially against slug rounds. Please note the through-and-through nature of this particular hole:

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Once again, please believe me when I tell you that I didn't have ANY fun while doing this.

Today's shoot 'em up Friday presentation was brought to you by the letter...

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Because I have No Shame

Because I have no shame, and because I love blog-stuff for my sidebar, I have so gently solicited and humbly received the following nominations:

My site was nominated for Hottest Daddy Blogger!

Not to seem too-self-indulgent, I don't really get the "hot" thing. Not that I am complaining, mind you... especially as I near age (and waist size) 44. That anyone would think of me as hot makes me smile. I love to be complimented. Don't be fooled for a moment by my "Aw shucks" demeanor.

My site was nominated for Best Blog About Stuff!

This makes sense (the award title, not my nomination) My blog, as you see in the header, is about the things I see, and what I think about them. Generally speaking, I just talk about the oddities that sometimes race through my mind. And food. And things that I shoot (trying hard, right now to think of something to shoot today for tomorrow's post)

I have also been double-nominated for another thinking blogger award...

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Brillig was nice enough to say:

Gunfighter of The View From Here is extremely eloquent. He has a lot to say about race, fatherhood, kindness, and society in general. And, well, he just makes sense. I know he's gotten this nom before, but he definitely deserves it again. He's a daily "MUST READ."

Kateastrophe said:

I am loving his eloquent writing, his well thought out points and that . . . well, he's a GUY in the blogging world. We need some more of those!

Well, thanks ladies. I hope I won't start boring you, when I get wound up, I can get a bit preachy.

AS for the rest of you... go vote.


If I win, I'll post a really great picture of me... like sweating in the gym or something.

Administrative Matters:

The flollowing bloggers are hereby submitted for their own thinking blogger awards:

Afrogeek mom & Dad
Blue Gal
Soccer Mom In Denial
Super Des

GF (Who isn't above a little K street-type lobbying... sans Abramoff sleaze)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Virginia Tech Shootings

The events that took place at Virginia Tech, on Monday, were horrible.

Sadly, every major network and local affiliate are plastering as many pieces of stock footage from the scene of the shootings, as well as scenes from Columbine and locations of other school shootings, in a ghoulish dance macabre, which is producing a great deal of horror, and providing absolutely no useful news.

Now the critics have come out. "We need more gun control" We need better campus policing" blah, blah, blah.

The police response was appropriate.

The security measures were as good as they can be.

You can't prevent this kind of horror. No way, no how. Not here in the U.S., with a small campus police force, not in Baghdad with 20,000 soldiers.

Unless anyone has any questions about the types of firearms used or about the appropriate security/police response, this is the first and last I will say on the subject.

If you are the praying sort, your time would be better spent praying for the dead, the wounded, their families and others affected by this tragedy.

Turn your televisions to a different channel.

God be with you,


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Answer to An Anonymous Question

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John McCain? I Don't Think So

Note To Readers:

I am currently cleaning out my "To Post" file. Some of these were written months ago, but I just hadn't gotten around to posting them.


The December 26th Washington Post ran a story, in which Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Az) supported sending additional troops to Iraq. Also in the article, Senator McCain said that the United States couldn't withdraw from Iraq, because "...they'd just follow us home"

I submit, friends, that Senator McCain has demonstrated, in just a few sentences, why he shouldn't be President of The United States. Simply put, he lacks discernment, and has dreadfully poor judgement.

First, Senator, let me say that our most senior military commanders, not to mention the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) for example, are against the concept commonly referred to these days as "the surge" of additional troops to Iraq. Most of them believe that an increase in the number of troops for 18 to 24 months won't produce the knock-out punch to end the insurgency. Sending more troops just to keep the lid on Bagdhad simply won't achieve success.

Additionally, let's be honest about this, the Army and Marines are stretched horribly thin right now, not only thin in numbers, but thin in terms of available weapons to fight a major war, should something flare up around the world. Remember, combat vehicles (tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, etc), helicopters (especially the high-tech gunships), and artillery pieces, have a designed lifespan of a given number of miles to be driven or flight hours to be flown, or rounds fired through them. Combat greatly reduces their lifespan, combat in an arid place reduces them even further. My point here, simply, is that our forces have less of what they need for war-fighting than they SHOULD have. Sending more ill-equipped troops WON'T help.

Look, if we are still trying to hold down just this one city, more than three years after it was conquered "liberated" it, suggests that the original battle-plan was flawed (which it was) and that the Presiden't version of success is impossible.

Let me make a few comments about your statement about being "followed home."

Weren't you paying attention in the midterm elections? The people didn't buy the "fight them there or we will have to fight them here" tactic. It doesn't make any sense. If you buy into it, Senator McCain, you must every bit as stupid as George W. Bush and the people that are telling him what to do advising him. Do you really want to be President so badly that you would attach yourself to this policy, when surely you MUST know how wrong it is?

You may have noticed, Senator, that we are wasting spending unholy amounts of money, and have created an entirely new internal security apparatus, because the President says we need to protect ourselves at home, since there are already terrorists among us. (Trust me when I tell you that a lot of the money is being wasted... some of you know where I work. I could tell you stories that would make run for your pitchforks and muskets!)

So, since we have already turned the FBI into a counterterrorist agency, and created the Department of Homeland Security, do we REALLY need to conduct a war in Iraq to protect us at the mall? Is that what this is all about? Kill Iraqi civillians to be safe at home? Do we really want to be THAT safe, at THAT price?

For shame, sir.

For shame.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Things That Mark You For Life

We all have them, don't we? We all have many individual events that make us the people we have eventually become. The memory of those things will sometimes make you smile. Some of those things will make you swell with pride. Some of those things really hurt.

In my junior year of high school, (I graduated in 1981) I took a class which was being offered for the first time, called famous black writers. I was sure I would enjoy it... until the first day of class.

I got to the classroom just before the late bell rang to discover that, for the first time in my school experience, I was a class that was populated by a majority of black students! I thought that was pretty cool, considering that the black population in my hometown was (and still is) probably less than ten percent. I say majority black, because there was one white kid in the class... his name was Matt DiFanzo (who dropped the class the same day).

I sat down in the front of the class (which was my first "mistake"), while the teacher took attendance, passed out our text and syllabus, etc...

Once the class got started, the teacher, A very young, earnest, first-year-out-of-college, white man named John Murphy, introduced himself and started talking about the class and what he hoped to accomplish with it. We got right into it on the first day, and asked for a volunteer to recite a poem by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, called "We Wear The Mask". I volunteered to recite (second mistake), and proceeded to do just that. Apparently I did a good job of it (my third mistake). I was pleased with myself, Mr Murphy was pleased... but my classmates, well, not so much.

Being able to recite poetry with proper inflection and good meter isn't something I was supposed to be able to do.

Why not?

Because I'm black, that's why.

Who knew? No one had sent me the memo.

My recitation of that poem led me to no end of grief for the rest of my time in high school.

As I was told later, reciting poetry is "acting white".

It isn't that it was the first time I was accused of this, but it only got worse.

The fact that the author of the poem was black counted for nothing.

I told myself, then, the same thing I tell myself now: "Don't worry about that stupid crap, Bill", and I don't... but, twenty six years later, it still pisses me off.

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes--
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries
To Thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Born Again Confederates???

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I saw this particular bumper sticker while I was driving home from our vacation last week.

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This little gem appears at the League of the south

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In the "good ol' days", she wouldn't even have been allowed to wear pants!

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If this flag DOESN'T offend you, you either need a history lesson or you are a potential traitor.

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I had a snarky comment all thought up about this... but I'll just say that this is just plain stupid.


This public service announcement was brought to you by: General William T. Sherman

Friday, April 13, 2007

Shoot "Em Up Friday"

This is the long-ago promised body armor shoot that I did before I took my vacation.

The exercise here was to take a level two vest, sometimes referred to as: "soft body armor" and shoot it with various kinds of ammunition in order to illustrate what a so-called "bulletproof" vest will or won't do for the wearer.

A level two vest is designed to stop 9mm, .38 caliber, and smaller calibers of ammunition. Today, I shot this vest with .357 jacketed hollow point, 12 gauge buckshot, 12 gauge rifled slug, and an entire magazine (50 rounds) of 5.7x28mm.

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The vest that you see above, was strapped over the wooden target that you see below. The wooden target is made from 1/2 inch plywood, and is shaped to approximate the head/shoulder/torso area of an average sized person.

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I put one of my old shirts over the vest... not because it has anything to do with our test... but, just because I thought it might be kinda cool!

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After being shot with the .357, and the 12 gauge buckshot and slug, this is what the shirt looked like.

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Not so hot, eh? Well, there IS good news (must. resist. GEICO. joke!). The good news is that none of the rounds penetrated the vest, meaning that the wearer, had it been a living breathing person, wouldn't have a bunch of holes in his/her heart/lungs.

Look below to see the bad news.

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The picture you see above, is the wooden target. Note the large-scale splintering, caused by the blunt force trauma of a 12 gauge rifled shotgun slug, fired from approximately ten yards away. Consider that your breast bone is in no way, sturdier than that plywood. In this test, the wearer of this armor would have easily survived being shot with the pistol bullet, and the buckshot pellets, but would likely have been severely wounded, if not killed by the impact of the slug.

In the next photo, I have taken a knife and pliers (I love my Leatherman tool!) and removed some of the shotgun pellets and bullets and shown them so you can see what happens to them.

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The large lump of lead in the slug. It has flattened significantly. To the right, are some of the buckshot pellets. The picture isn't very good, but you can see that the pellets have flattened to the point that they look like copper jacketed M&M's.

Note the red and white material stuck to the projectiles. They have hit the shirt and vest so hard that the material fused together.

The next photo is what the vest looks like without the shirt.

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Lastly, this is a photo of a different vest (the same type) after being shot with a magazine of 5.7x28mm rounds. Please note that although you can't tell from the picture, the bullets perforated both the front AND back panels. The vest wouldn't have done anything to save the wearer.

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Body armor is a great thing. It has amply demonstrated, over the years, that it will save the lives of law enforcement officers. We just have to remember that wearing it doesn't mean that we can stop being tactically prudent.



Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Don Imus Thing

*****This Post Is Rated R (for bad language)*****

"It's the money that - makes shit get ugly
It's the money that - makes these hoes love me
It's the money that - makes niggas wanna slug me"

From 50 Cent - "The Good Die Young"

"How you gonna take this? like a Man or a bitch?
you gon' get it on nigga or you gon' snitch?
I represent niggas in the hood gettin' rich
man, I stack chips and I unload clips..."

From 50 Cent - "That ain't gangsta"

"If a bitch don't like me
Somethin' wrong with the bitch (fuck that bitch)
Why... oh why... why... you wanna fuck with me now?"

From 50 Cent - "Material Girl 2000"

You see where I am going with this, right?

Wait. I'm not done.

"Uh-huh, white paper though nigga
Can't even fuck with those blunts
White paper baby, old school nigga gimme a joint"

From Jay Z - "Do You Wanna Ride"

"You know I - thug em, fuck em, love em, leave em
Cause I don't fuckin need em
Take em out the hood, keep em lookin good
But I don't fuckin feed em
First time they fuss I'm breezin
Talkin bout, "What's the reasons?"
I'm a pimp in every sense of the word, bitch
Better trust than believe em
In the cut where I keep em
til I need a nut, til I need to beat the guts
Then it's, beep beep and I'm pickin em up
Let em play with the dick in the truck"

From Jay Z - "Big Pimpin'"

...and Don Imus is the problem?

Look, I think Don Imus is a racist, homophobic, misogynist dirtbag... but where are our people when it comes to protesting about this garbage when it comes from 50 Cent, Jay Z, or any other so-called "artist"? Don Imus isn't the problem, friends. Oh sure, he is a symptom, but he isn't the problem.

I'll tell you what the problem is: Pick up a mirror and look into it. If you see the face off someone that looks the other way when this vile filth is spewed at our own, by one of our own, keep your mouth shut about Imus.

We can't have it both ways!

We can't demand dignity and respect from others when we don't show respect for ourselves.

I am NOT the Babysitter!

So... there I was: A newly minted father. Ready to be the participatory dad that I believe all men should be.

During Mrs G's pregnancy, I had done all the right things... gone to Lamaze; read the "what to expect..." books; made the baby's room ready (Well, I painted and lifted... Mrs G did the planning); and went to the appropriate appointments. I had all of the right gear, too!

I was ready.

Soccer Girl(SG) arrived a few weeks early, but no worries, she was (and still is) supremely healthy and hearty (and by God, my kid can eat!).

I took three weeks of leave from work so I could be with Mrs G and do as I said... be a full participant. We learned a lot, and did pretty much all of the right things. We even took turns sleeping with SG in the glider chair that my dad gave us, because SG wasn't even THINKING about sleeping in the crib, yet.

Well, those three weeks came and went and it was time for me to go back to work. Mrs G would be out for another three or four weeks, but this way, if I went back to work, I'd have more leave on the books so I could take off at need.

Since I was back at work, Mrs G, obviously had to pull more of the freight with the baby stuff, and I would return home to find her wiped out. Seeing this, I started taking SG to the local mall so her mommy could sleep, read, recharge or whatever for a few hours.

One evening, as I was walking through the mall with the stroller, SG started to cry... so I checked the diaper (it was clean/dry), I checked to see if there was anything poking her, and I figured she was just hungry. Well, no worries, I sat on a bench and prepared one of the several bottles that I had brought with me.

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(No, that isn't me)

The bench we were sitting on was right outside of the Payless shoe store, and while I fed SG, the lady working in Payless stood at the entrance of the store and looked at us and smiled. Being a proud father, I smiled back. She looked up one end of the hall and down the other like she was looking for something and then walked over to us and said: "Where is her mother?", to which I replied (proudly) "At home, having a nap" The woman, in her mid-thirties I'd guess, looked shocked and said: "She LET you take the baby out... ALONE?"

I guess you won't be surprised to hear that I took great umbrage (don't you love that word?) at her question and the tone in which it was delivered. I told her that I knew what I was doing and my wife needed the rest, or words to that effect. Then she pushed all of the rest of my buttons at once, by saying: "She is a lucky lady to have dad babysit for her!, I'd never let my huband do that"

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh! Danger Will Robinson! Danger! Danger!

I was pretty mad but refrained from telling her to go... er, jump in a lake. I told her that I wasn't babysitting, I was PARENTING, and if her husband didn't do any of the parenting of their babies, perhaps she should have found a better man. Oh, and what's with this crap about "letting" a father take care of his kids??? What? since when do I need permission?

It only got worse. As our evening strolls in the mall went on, I would often see other parents, all moms, walking with their babies. As much as I liked to talk to them about baby stuff, I eventually had to stop talking to them altogether, because if one more of those bitches women had said: "I wish MY husband would babysit!" I would have committed bloody murder!

I used to hear it so much, and sometimes still do, that I want to scream "I'm not a babysitter. I am this child's father! What is wrong with you people?" and then punch the offender in the face.

I'm still sensitive about it... when SG and I go to the mall or bookstore or someplace else, women get all googley-eyed because we are having fun together. I swear, I am sick of the "aw, that's so cute routine" routine.

I suppose some of you are probably laughing yourselves silly about this. I suppose there are some who would read this and wonder what business any man had being involved in their kid's life to that extent. Well, I am here to tell you that I don't think it's funny.

What kind of man can't take care of his children? I don't mean support his children... I mean take CARE of them. Feed them, clean them, and do all of the other million things that a baby needs. Men who can't, or worse, won't do those things, in my opinion, are beneath contempt. Indeed, I don't think they are real men at all.

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Ladies, if you are single and reading this... take a little advice from your ol' Uncle Gunfighter: If your potential husband seems even slightly unwilling to be a FULLY participatory father... dump him immediately. He isn't a real man. Additionally, don't be a barrier to your husband's full participation.

Men: Take the time to be full participants when your kids are infants. It will be an incredible experience that will make you closer to your kids later on, and to your wife.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Inappropriate Relationships

**NOTE** I wrote this in February... I am just getting around to posting it.

I'm not talking about you and the significant other that doesn't treat you right. I'm not talking about how some NRA members relate to their guns. I'm not even talking about what some people have with their own cousins.


I'm talking about some people and their relationship with their cars. Yes, their cars.

Before you start thinking that good ol' Gunfighter has been sniffing gunpowder or something, let me tell you what caused this particular train of thought to burst forth from the station that is my mind.

Today was my day to drop Olivia at school, which I did @ 9 A.M., I had to return home to switch cars, since it is against agency policy to transport anyone in my government owned vehicle, as I turned the corner onto my street, I noticed one of my seldom seen new neighbors was out in his driveway, lovingly washing his car.

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Now, at first you might think that this isn't that big of a deal... after all, people wash their cars all the time, right? Well, read on, gentle friends.

Some of you live in the same geographical area as me, so you might have noticed the frozen precipitation that we had last week. You know, the ice that had area schools closed most of last week? Well, the good thing is that the weather took an upswing yesterday, with warm breezes, temperatures in the 50's, and a bit of warm pre-spring rain. This nice weather, which continues today, is melting lots of the plowed up snow and ice, leaving the wet streets slick with the gummy remains of all of the sand that the various public works people have spread to keep us all from killing ourselves on the roads.

Well, since the roads are still wet and mucky, why would you be washing your car? Now, I don't mean rinsing the muck from your car, that’s one thing, but this guy is out there with a long-handled brush, hose, sponge, and large bucket of sudsy water, actually caressing the bloody car! To tell you the truth, it was kind of creepy. It isn't like the guy drives a Jag or anything... I don't get it.

Now, if this was just some sort of aberrant behavior, that would be one thing... but this is just an indicator of a phenomenon that I have observed for years. This is mostly a male thing, but, women can be just as nuts about it as men can.

I understand that people want to get the sand, grit, and snow-melting chemicals off of their cars, but please… these same people are the ones that, before they go to work in the morning, are wiping the dew off of their cars with a chamois cloth! What’s that all about? It’s just a bleeding car! Sure, keep it clean, but wipe off the water? That’s just stupid. When I have asked people why they do that, I have been greeted with the blank stare usually reserved for the village idiot, and gotten this reply: “So I won’t have water spots” (God save us!) I just wish that these same people were the sort to be as careful about keeping the neighborhood clean, or their yards as nice, as they keep their cars.

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I see this phenomenon as being a small part of one of the worst parts of American culture. You see, we tend to think that our stuff makes us special. Our stuff, our immortality symbols. We see them as things that make us better, more desirable, more valuable. People drive monstrous SUV’s that they never haul anything in, and never take off the road, despite the fact that SUV’s are considered trucks, and are therefore not required to have catalytic converters. This means that they pollute the air more than vehicles that do have converters. People drive these vehicles because they impart (in the minds of some) a certain level of status. Near where we live, there are subsidized income apartments (a great many occupied by members of the armed forces) where many of the residents drive these gargantuan, $40,000 cars. What does that say about us? We’d make a $600 a month car payment, rather than buy a house to live in?

I struggle with this regularly. I’m not suggesting that everyone drive the same kind of car as me… not at all. I just don’t get it why anyone would spend that kind of money on something so incredibly depreciable. That $40K car won’t take you anywhere that my $6K car won’t take you (and mine is paid for!)… so, what’s the point?

I know guys that I work with that drive Chevy Suburbans… who the hell needs one of those things? It costs them $70 dollars to fill the gas tank. That’s nuts! Some of them even spend money for this:

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Anyway… this is just sort of spilling out because it has been on my mind (aren’t you glad you can’t see inside of it?). You can go back to your regularly scheduled programs, now.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dumb Dad

Last Friday, we were at Chick-Fil-A (yeah, we like it there, OK?) in Williamsburg.

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While we were there, we saw, what had to be, the most clueless dad on the planet.

This guy was with his three children… the oldest of whom, a boy, was about 4 or 5. The next oldest was a very cute girl who was three at the most, and in a stroller, there was an infant of indeterminate sex.

This guy had gotten food, and then ice cream cones for his older kids, which was a spilling disaster. He went and got cups for the ice cream so it wouldn't all end up on the floor. He used his pen knife to cut the cups to the proper size. While he was getting the cups, the daughter squatted on her chair , and a minute or so later, a man from another table told the dad that his daughter's diaper was leaking... there was pee pooling on the chair and floor. The embarrassed dad took his daughter out to their car, to get her changed and cleaned up.

While the hapless dad, took his daughter out to their Jeep Liberty to change her, he had left the older kid to watch the infant (which I think he was too young to do, but maybe that's just me). Once he was finished, he returned and cleaned up the urine that had gotten all over the chair… and floor. While he was doing that, the daughter was playing with the guy's pen knife, which was still opened. I looked around and saw the most interesting (and wonderful) thing; all of the men in the dining area (all three of us) were zeroed in on this kid with the knife! As I was closest, I said: "Hey, sweetie… be REALLLLY careful with that" loud enough to get dad's attention. He looked up and immediately took the knife, and thanked me.

He did a few more dumb/inattentive things before they finally got out the door, including leaving the oldest kid with the youngest in the bloody parking lot, as he took the middle kid to the bathroom, again.

Once they were in their car and on the way, my fellow dads and I all looked at each other and shook our heads. I am certain that the very same word going through each of our heads: Rookie!

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Things You Learn

"…And if you aren't careful, you might learn something along the way"

Do any of you remember that last line from the introduction from the 1970's cartoon; "Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids"? Bill Cosby, the producer of this cartoon believed that kids could be entertained, and taught lessons at the same time. I happen to agree with this, and things happen in my life with enough regularity to constantly reminded of it.

For instance, the last day of our spring break getaway to Williamsburg, Virginia, we went back to the Colonial area for one last visit before making the two hour drive back home. The first place that we stopped was the home of Mr Benjamin Powell, who was a home builder in Williamsburg, circa 1763-1783. The original structure is still standing and has been restored to the original condition to the point that the original floorboards are still in place (and they don't squeak!).

Upon entering the house, a historical interpreter in period costume, told us about the house, and the things going on there, and about the business of Mr Powell. One of the first things that you notice about Mr Powell's house is that it is easily one of the largest houses in the town. You see, in those days, unless you were one of the gentry, you probably lived in a house that had two rooms, one of which was the kitchen. If you were of the middling sort, especially if you were a farmer, you may have had two rooms in addition to the kitchen. Mr Powell was neither gentry nor farmer, nor planter. He built houses. Seeing Powell's house was a present day reminder that even back then, people who were in the building trades ALWAYS did well (probably because he was using some of the paid for materials on his own house).

To the point... while Mrs Gunfighter and I were talking to the interpreter, Soccer Girl and some other kids were playing a period board game in the other room. She was having a great time, so Mrs G and I went to the kitchen to see what the cook was making. Among the many things he was cooking in the large, open, brick oven was a fragrant onion soup. He took note of my interest and gave me the recipe, which is original to about 1759.

I am making that recipe today.

As with any recipe, I have added some things that I think would either improve the recipe or at least ad some things that I believe that I would enjoy.

Shown below are most of the ingredients that I started with.

Ten medium onions
A bottle of cream sherry
A six-pack of Woodchuck Cider
Some chopped garlic and sun-dried tomatoes
Two egg yolks
A half teaspoon of flour
4 slices of bacon
A stick of butter
A quart of water
1/2 teaspoon of vinegar
Salt, pepper, etc… to taste.

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Find a CD. Something cheerful and peppy. Something that might even make you dance while you cook. Music chases the blues away, you know. It aids in having a positive cooking (and blogging) experience (did I mention that I am blogging about this in real time? I'm so pathetic).

What am I listening to? Some Workout Music from The 80's CD that we bought at Target.

Chop the onions fairly small, but no need to mince.

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Fry the bacon in the Dutch Oven

Melt the butter… the whole stick, in the dutch oven.

Add the onions… stir from time to time.
Open a bottle of the chilled cider, and pour yourself a glass.

Fry (as opposed to saute. This is a recipe from the colonial era, friends, we weren't sauteing in those days!) the onions for about 15-20 min, depending on the doneness of the onions.

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Add the garlic/sun-dried tomatoes

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Add the flour

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Add the water, and bring to a low boil, reduce to a cheerful simmer.

Have another cider (or sherry), if it strikes your fancy. Turn up the music and find your kids/spouse/partner and seriously rock out. If you have a girly-girl daughter, then dance with her, and make sure that you dip her. Dipping is important to at least one eight year old that I know.

Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes… the soup, not you!

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Divide the yolk from two eggs, and add them to a small mixing bowl.

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Add the vinegar to the yolks, whisk until smooth. Add to the simmering soup.

Simmer another 10 minutes.

Adjust seasoning.


Garnish with some crumbled cheese, if you like.. I used blue cheese, but your mileage may vary.

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If you have some crusty bread, you can spread some of the garlic/sun-dried tomato on the slices and lightly toast/broil.

As an accompaniment, I tossed some thin spaghetti with some pesto sauce from a jar.

All was served with some inexpensive, screw-top Chianti. (don't laugh. I'm a peasant. I like good food, but expensive wine is wasted on me. I have a cheap palette, which makes me a fairly cheap date… so I've got that going for me, which is nice).

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Tonight's dinner music is Andrea Boccelli's "Romanza" CD. It's too bad Mrs G is sick (she has a bad cold). If she weren't I might score after a meal like this. As it stands, I'll have to settle for watching the Auckland Blues (from New Zealand), play the Johannesburg Cheetahs (from South Africa) in a rugby match that I recorded yesterday.

Sooo good!