Tuesday, July 31, 2007


* To the lady in the supermarket parking lot this afternoon: If you can haul your big ass into and out of the cab of that F-350 truck, you don't need that friggin' handicapped sticker.

* To The Attorney General of The United States: You are a liar, sir. Resign. Have you no shame? Do you not have a shred of decency or integrity?

* To Bob Novak: What ever happened to the days when reporters REPORTED the news, instead of making it (or making it up)?

* To The County Board of Supervisors for Prince William County Virginia: What made you think that the recent ordinances you passed concerning illegal aliens, WOULDN'T be seen as racist? Are you people high? You disgust me.

* To the old church lady: The times are changing. Get used to it. This isn't 1950, and you don't live in pin-prick, Michigan anymore... you old bitch!

* To The Virginia State police: The idea of a highway patrol is to ensure safe roads, and to keep traffic flowing freely. If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

* To Deputy Chief Asshole: You had better hope that I ever catch you alone. I will beat you until you need hospitalization, you uncouth, drunken, unprofessional, womanizing piece of shit... and don't think for a second that I couldn't do it.

* To Barry Bonds: You don't impress me.

* To Michael Vick: I hope you do hard time.

* To The employees at the Stone brewery: Stone Imperial Stout is the best thing to ever happen to beer.

* To my kilt maker: Get off of your asses, and get the right leather for my new kilt!

* To my readers that went to BlogHer: I am glad that you all had fun. Now, spill the beans... c'mon, it's me, Gunfighter, you know you can trust ME with your secrets.... don't you?

You may now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Hour?

OK, Northern Virginia/DC area bloggers.... Are we on for Happy Hour Friday night?

There are three people who have expressed interest, but I would like to have a better read on this. If this weekend is no good, should we plan for a few weeks down the line?

From what I can tell of most of you folks, Old Town Alexandria is our likely spot, and I have a couple of tentative places to gather.

What say you?

Email me with your thoughts.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Roadside Assistance 2.0

So... there I was, leaving the Chinese restaurant, next to Trader Joe's. I was in civilian clothes, and I wasn't driving a police car (I had taken Mrs GF and Soccergirl to the airport that morning), when I hear this pleasant female voice with a pronounced Scottish burr saying to me,: "Excuse me,..." I turned to see a thirty-ish woman and an older gent, looking at me with worried eyes. "... Do you you have a set of jumper leads (cables) for me wee car?" Their battery was dead.

Turns out, this young woman, who has lived in the U.S. for ten years, had just recently had her second baby, and her father-in-law was visiting to help out.

We had a pleasant conversation about kilts and rugby while we got the car started, and when we were finished, away they went.

I felt good about being able to help them... things like that always reaffirms my belief about what I am here for. My purpose.

I'm a helper.

I really think it is my "calling", for want of a better term. I'm the guy that people always ask for directions; will help you jump start your car; will help you dig a very long and thick root out of your garden; will change your tire, or anything like that.

I have examined that trait in myself for years, and wondered if I am a helper, or a softy that is easily taken advantage of. I am rather certain that it is the former, not the latter.

I could be worse things, I guess.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

My name is Gunfighter, How may I help you?

They Are Home!

My girls are home, from Milwaukee.

I am glad.

Oh, and guess who got a portable light box?

Thanks to all that gave advice... I was going to make one, and went to Wal-Mart to get the stuff last night, when I happened upon this thing.

I am almost certain that it will be adequate. I'll give it a wee test and if it doesn't do it for me, I'll take it back and make one!

Film at eleven.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dream Bathroom

If I ever have the occasion to design a home for myself, I have several stipulations:

** All of the bathrooms must be constructed of stainless steel.

** The floors and shower stalls will all slope to drains that have garbage disposal type units.

** There will be spigots on the walls that I can attach hoses to.

** Said hoses will greatly aid in cleaning.

** The bathrooms will be large enough so that I don't have to contort all of my 285 pounds to clean the toilet or shower stall.

** There will be at least two of these large bathrooms, so that I don't have to share mine with 697 bottles of hair care products.

** The toilets will be made for people who aren't 4 feet tall.

Can you tell what kind of morning I had?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up Friday!

Last month, The Gunfighter family received an invitation to dinner from blog-buddy Janet K. I mentioned, here, what a fine time we had. Not only was the company great, and the food fantastic (yes, tacos can be fantastic... you just don't know), but friend Janet and her housemate, Brenda, gave me a gift as soon as we arrived!

Truthfully, I wasn't expecting a gift... Surely, I thought, the gift of food and good company was enough of a token of friendship. After all, I hadn't done anything to be deserving of anything more. None of my immediate thoughts lasted for more than a heartbeat, because the gift turned out to be the first reader-donated item for Shoot 'Em Up Friday!

As you can see here, the gift turned out to be a DVD player. Janet proceeded to read off a short, but heinous, list of crimes perpetrated by the DVD player. Not only was this particular household item guilty of not working, it was also guilty of not spitting out a DVD belonging to Brenda... it was still lodged inside. The Dog! These nice ladies asked me to put this appliance out of their misery, and I am only too happy to comply.

Why? Because I'm a giver!, yeah.

So, in keeping with out tradition of taking advantage of the opportunity of teaching pints while playing, I present to you, our results:

Today, we are going to shoot this DVD player with an assortment of weapons, using various types of ammunition.

The first weapon we used was the FN-P90, which fires the 5.7x28mm bullet.

Here is what kind of hole the 5.7x28mm (hollow point) makes in a DVD casing. The hole shown here won't mean much to you without a comparison, so stay tuned. There is more... oh yes, more indeed!

The next thing we did was to shoot the DVD player (hereafter known as the "evildoer"), with an M-4 rifle, which fires a 5.56 bullet, which is only slightly larger than the first bullet that I mentioned, but has a much greater muzzle velocity, and thereby delivers significantly increased kinetic energy, which some people commonly call "knock-down power"

Anyway, here is 5.56mm bullet hole, next to the previously mentioned 5.7x28mm. Despite the similarity in bullet hole size, the 5.56 did considerably more damage to the unit than the slightly smaller, but much lighter 5.7x28mm bullet did.

Next we used the venerable Sig P-229 semiautomatic pistol, using .357 hollow points. Here you can see a major difference in the size of the bullet hole.

I will pause here for questions.

Yes? "Professor Gunfighter, haven't you already shot-up a DVD player?" As a matter of fact, I have, however, we didn't make a comparison of relative bullet size, which is the point of today's demonstration.

Any other questions? You, young lady... "Professor G, what do the letters BTHP and JHP that are printed under some of the bullet holes mean?" Excellent question! JHP stands for Jacketed Hollow Point. Which means a copper-jacketed bullet with a hollow point. Most bullets made be reputable manufacturers today are covered in a copper sheathing. The purpose of the jacket is to increase bullet strength and to prevent fouling the barrel with lead stripped from the bullet. BTHP means "boat-tailed hollow point", which is a match-grade bullet design that uses the concept of a teardrop like shape to give it a lower drag coefficient and make it produce less turbulence in its wake. Only the base of the bullet has a boat tail-like shape. The idea of the concept means that the bullet will be more accurate.

If there are no other questions, we will continue.

After punching a few holes in our evildoer, I decided that I hadn't spent all of this time setting up this shoot, dragging out the weapons and ammunition just to put three holes in it. That wouldn't be a prudent use of labor, so I decided that I would take advantage of one last teaching opportunity: To show you fine folks what an evildoer looks like after you really shoot the crap out of one of these things!

Simply put, I emptied all of the weapons that I had loaded for our demonstration into the evildoer just to see what would happen.


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Nice, eh?

But we aren't done

This is what the backside of the unit looked like. Please note that almost all of the bullets went all the way through it.

This is a photo of the electronic whoziewhatsis that came out of the unit.

***Consumer's take note: DVD players don't have a lot inside of them... sort of makes you wonder why they make these things so damned large.***

I'm afraid that our time together is at an end, my friends... but, not to worry, I'm sure that somewhere out there in the blogosphere, someone will have a question that can only be answered by sending me something to shoot up. Until then, keep your powder dry, always count your rounds, wear your body armor, and ALWAYS shoot first, shoot fast, and put your adversary down!

Oh, and Brenda? Look what I got out, just for you, dear!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Few Thoughts

* Lots and lots of my readers are off to the BlogHer Conference, starting tomorrow. I am sure they will have a great time.

* Is it just me, or is the overuse of the term "Homeland" starting to irritate others as well? The way the term is used in context puts me in mind of the use of the term "Fatherland"... Nothing good can come of this.

* Americans do horrible things to themselves, just so they can be skinny. NEWSFLASH: Skinny isn't attractive... those models you seek to emulate look like crap.

* Exactly what ARE the cockles of your heart? The term isn't mentioned in any anatomy book that I have ever seen.

* Why do people find Cameron Diaz attractive? I think she rather looks like a frog.

* Shot placement is everything... so instead of buying the latest, greatest new "gee whiz" new gun, buy something that you are sure that you can use correctly and hit your target every time... a more expensive gun won't help with that at all.

* How many of you have gone from using your blog to post the things that are on your mind, to writing for you audience?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

GF Is A Bachelor For The Rest Of The Week

So... Mrs GF and Soccergirl have gone to Milwaukee, to vist the parents/maternal grandparents...

I dropped them at National Airport this morning, in plenty of time for their 0645 flight. I dropped them off so early, that I drove back to Alexandria, had a 30 minute power-walk, and was finished stretching by their designated take-off time.

I had to work late tonight, so I didn't get home until after 8:30... and then depression set it.

Well, not really. As much as I miss them, it isn't like I don't have enough to do... I started a new rosary last night, and I think it will be seriously boss. On top of that, I have no end of ironing to do. Now the really exciting part is when I get to do a major cleaning in the upstairs bathrooms. I am saving that for saturday, as I don't want to have any idle time.

I am such a get-out-there-and-drink-with-the-boys guy, it isn't funny.

Is it sunday yet?

The End of Blackness, A Review Revisited

In her comments on yesterday's post, my dear Comrade-In-The-Struggle, SMID, asks some hard questions. Thanks for asking them, my friend. Here are my thoughts:

The effects of persistent racism cannot be ignored. They are real. They are present in most facets of life in America if you aren't white. They aren't going away soon. Having said that, there are effects of persistent racism that can be ameliorated by taking the bull by the horns and wrestling him to the ground.

The first thing to do, in minority communities, is to turn away from the cult of low expectations. One thing that I consistently hear from people, particularly black Americans is "it doesn't matter what you do, the white man (also known as "the man", or "whitey" isn't going to let you get ahead, so why try?" I get angry when I hear it, and routinely respond: "Yeah, well one thing is for sure, whitey doesn't have to worry about keeping YOU down... you are already doing it to yourself, and your family, for him". Look, as I said at the start of this post, I realize that racism is real, and it is tangible... but so what? When we tell our children that speaking clear, standard English is "talking white", we doom another generation to low income, underemployment, and subsistence wages. When we tell a child that reading, studying, and getting good grades is "acting white", we doom another generation to being laborers (not that there is anything WRONG with labor, mind you), or worse, criminals/convicts.

Low expectations are a societal killer.

The next thing to do is to embrace all of the bountiful educational possibilities in our communities. Even the crappiest of public schools beats learning to read surreptitiously, because it is illegal... Yes, schools in predominantly minority areas continue to lag, but I refuse to lay all of the blame at the feet of "whitey". Educational achievement is driven by parental participation and interest. If a kid's parent gives them the old line about "Whitey" the kid allows himself not to be bothered... after all, he hasn't got a chance anyway.

Further... the biggest reason that some schools get the best resources is because of low voter turnout... politicians don't really have to pay attention to people that don't vote, because those people won't turn them out of office. So VOTE. In. Every. Election.

The next thing to do is read. Yes, simply that. Read. Read everything. Read all of the time. Whatever you might not be getting in your crappy school, you can get in books. Go to your library. It's free. Whitey can't keep you from getting a library card.

***Special shout out to Mrs Jefferson, the librarian in the kids section of the Vauxhall Public Library, on Hilton Avenue!***

The next thing to do is to keep sports and entertainment in their proper places in your priorities. The NBA and the NFL are fine goals, but then again, so is becoming an astronaut... and your chances for the latter are just as good or bad as the former. We have to stop idolizing athletes and entertainers for the evil deeds that SOME of them commit.

Sure, be proud of the accomplished athlete, but understand that athletic prowess isn't a stand-in for having to obey the law. Criminal behavior is nothing to emulate.... even when that criminal is the President of The United States, the Vice President, or some lying sonofabitch from Texas who happens to be the Attorney General... but I digress.

The next thing is to show a little respect for your own body. KEEP YOUR DICK IN YOUR PANTS!/KEEP YOUR PANTIES ON! Having sex won't make you an adult. You can wait... so can she. Statistics abound on the poor high school graduation rates in minority communities for unwed mothers, and their subsequent effects. It's enough to make you cry... and whitey, again, can't be held responsible for it.

The most important thing to do in minority communities is to foster the belief in the two-parent household. No... a two-parent household doesn't guarantee success, but it sure as hell increases the odds for success. Whitey isn't controlling that, either.

No... "the man" is problematic, but we can't, or shouldn't do his work for him.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago at brother DJ Black Adam's blog, no rescue is coming, we are going to have to get off of the island on our own.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Book Review: The End of Blackness

In this book, the author, Debra Dickerson tells some home truths... truths that may be hard to hear for some people... some of the tough things that we, as black Americans, should have been saying for many many years.

Ms Dickerson deserves full marks for having the courage to skewer many of the sacred cows that we have been praying to for so many years. Further, she doesn't shrink from taking stab at today's almost-useless civil rights leaders.

It is time, and past time for us to be proud of who we are for what we are and what we have done in this country. Not because white people will acknowledge it... some will, some won't, but so what? The acknowledgement of others shouldn't be the goal of ethnic pride. That said, it should also be said that ethnic pride shouldn't be a bar to the pride that comes from being an American.

It is time, and past time for us to stop seeing ourselves only in comparison to how we are treated by white people... or any other people, including other black people. Black Americans have done remarkable things. We are inseparably woven into the fabric of American history and society.

It is time, and past time for us to stop pretending that we exist outside of American society. We don't. This is our country! We are full citizens, but must begin to act like it. We should walk tall, be proud, look others in the eye with dignity and self-respect.

As Americans, we should be sure of ourselves and of our pivotal role in the building, and the success of this great country. We don't need to wait for the approval of other people to feel good about ourselves. This is childish behavior.

This book could have been written better, Ms. Dickerson's writing is disjointed in some places, but that doesn't detract from the message.

While I don't share every conclusion that the author comes to, she deserves full marks for having the courage to say things that needed to be said in an open forum.

Dickerson is right... the mind truly is the last plantation. The gate is open, and all we need do is walk through it, opt in, and be a participant in creating our own destinies.


Monday, July 23, 2007

8 More Random Things

I have been tagged, by Paige, To do the "Eight Random Things" meme. You may remember that I have done this before... but what the hell.... I can think up eight more things about myself, can't I?

So here goes:

1. I tore a hole in my uniform trousers this morning. No, I didn't do it intentionally.

2. I haven't eaten anything in about 15 hours... as soon as I finish this, I will rectify that situation... probably with food that I shouldn't eat.

3. On Saturday, we had dinner at the new Chinese restaurant near our house. It was really good!

4. I have every intention of going to see the Transformer movie while Mrs. GF and Soccergirl are in Wisconsin later in the week.

5. I'm going to teach Sunday school starting in September (quit that laughing, there!)

6. Despite being around firing ranges since I was 17 years old (I'm 43 now) I have exceptionally good hearing.

7. I resemble a milk chocolate colored Jabba The Hut.

8. I'm roasting a chicken for dinner tonight.

I'm not tagging any of you, as I already did that a week or so ago.

Aren't you glad you did this, Paige? No, the OTHER Paige... and how cool is it that I have two readers named Paige? I always thought that was a great name

New-This Weekend

This was my entertainment for Saturday night... it kept my hands busy while I was watching New Zealand beat Australia for the Tri-Nations (NZ, Australia, and South Africa) Championship and the Bledisloe Cup!

What did you do?


Saturday, July 21, 2007


First things first, I have to give mad props to Anali and SMID for getting the reference to the Prince Spaghetti Day commercial from the late 60's/early 70's! I suppose I shouldn't be shocked, as both of these lovely ladies live in the Boston area, but you get full credit. I'm just glad someone remembered.

I don't know if they showed those commercials nationwide (I suspect it might have only been in the Northeast), but that commercial is a major childhood memory for me. You can see the whole commercial here

Item: I am so glad so many of you enjoyed Shoot 'Em Up Friday, and the destruction of the Crocs. I do have a few things to say about the results... first, I accept your offer Paige. I will email you with mailing instructions. Secondly, In the spirit of full-disclosure, I have to confess that a week before I shot up those Crocs, we bought replacements for them. Yeah, yeah, don't look at me like that... children, gardeners, and people with orthopedic problems get a pass!

Item: Next week, I'll be shooting up something that was donated by another regular reader... and taco maker. Stay tuned.

Item: Folks, after next week, I'll run out of donated items to blast... if you don't want SEUF to go on hiatus again... you gotta help me out and pony up.

Item: In the near future, I will be doing a series of photo essays called "Remembering Things Past" The focus will be on taking current photos of things from my past, and matching them with some personal history... an electronic trip down (my) memory lane, so to speak. I think you'll enjoy it (or at least won't be bored by it).

Item: DC/Northern Virginia readers... the time has come for so many of us who gather here and call each other friend, to meet! Friday, August third, there will be a happy-hour get together for my readers and any other folk you want to bring with you. Yes, come and meet your creepy Internet pals (in a public place. Safety first, eh?). Have a glass and a few laughs, and actually get the chance to talk to each other face to face for a change. Email me if you are interested.

Item: Recently, I was recognized by the aforementioned SMID for a Schmoozer award, as well as a Rockin' Girl Blogger award. Thank you, SMID! What a pal! Before you cry "foul" at the Rockin' Girl blogger award, many of you know from reading SMID's blog, that she is soemthing of a rule-breaker. She decided that I rock... and that my gender shouldn't be a bar to recognition... once again, SMID, thank you... You rock too, hard! So much for the other glass ceiling. Egalitarians rejoice!

Item: Soccergirl came home tonight after spending the past week with her Grandfather (my dad) and her older sister Fastpitch. My daughters got to spend an entire week together, with no parents around, and bond as sisters. Spending the day together with them, today, was a great treat for all of us.

Now, tell the truth... aren't they gorgeous?

Peace be with you,


Friday, July 20, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up Friday!

Dear Gentle woodland folk of the blogosphere,

Today is Friday, and you know that Friday is special. Friday here, at The View From Here, is not dissimilar from Wednesday in the North End of Boston (oh, somebody hit me with the reference... I will love you for it!). It is a day of regularly scheduled activity, that some of you have been waiting for.

That's right, kids. It's Shoot 'Em Up Friday!

Today is the day that I would normally shoot something to bits, and then teach you a little about guns/ammunition.

But not today...



I'm not even going to pretend that what I am showing you today has any sort of practicality. There is no lesson on ballistics. There are no teaching points about tactics or the proper use of available cover.

This post about my love hatred of Crocs.

I hate Crocs.

I hate imitation Crocs.

I think they are ghastly.

As I said in my previous anti-Crocs post, a few weeks ago, Crocs are evil and they must be destroyed... well, dear friends, today is the day to do just that.


What you see here are a pair of imitation Crocs... Imitation Crocs that used used to belong to a certain soccer-playing child that has since grown out of them.

As much as these shoes deserve their trip to the garbage can, they aren't quite ready yet... so, I have glued them to a neatly painted, and not-so-neatly lettered cardboard target backing. Just think of it as a very large greeting card from me, to all of you!

As you are all aware, I am rather fond of shotguns. When it comes to blowing holes in people or things, shotguns can hardly be beaten at gunfight ranges. However, despite my love of shotguns, I thought that I would change things up a bit, and just use my pistol.

So, after hanging up our lovely greeting card, I set myself (and my pistol) to the task of making holes in the aforementioned horribly ugly shoes.

I decided that four magazines worth of .357 rounds ought to do quite nicely, so I loaded my pistol and began putting (additional) holes in the shoes... and feeling rather good about it. **REMINDER** a magazine for the type of pistol that I was using holds twelve rounds.

When I had finished shooting, the shoes looked like what you see here at the left.

I was somewhat disappointed that they didn't look terribly worse for the wear, so rather than loading another four magazines, I did what any prudent gunfighter would do when his/her pistol is getting the job done. At this point someone will almost certainly ask: "Gee, Gunfighter, what WOULD a prudent gunfighter do when his pistol doesn't seem to be doing the expected job?" The answer is: "Go get a shotgun!" Which is precisely what I did!

I loaded comrade Remington with 5 rounds of buckshot, and went to work.

Here are your results...

This is a little more like it!

I think that these Crocs won't be bothering anyone else.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

As I said, gentle readers, I wanted to give you a lovely greeting card, to not only thank you for reading my blog, but also for taking the time to indulge me in my Croc-Bashing.

Have a good weekend!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, July 19, 2007


A panda walks into a café, sits down and orders a sandwich. When he finished eating, he drew a handgun and proceeded to shoot the place up.

When the panda finished shooting, he headed for the exit, and as he did, the confused, lone-surviving waiter amidst the carnage, asked “Why?”. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“Well, I'm a panda,” he says at the door. “Look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. “Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

Although I have heard this joke an untold number of times... it still makes me howl with laughter.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

And now For Something Totally Different

Yesterday, I had an unusual experience.

Something that has never happend to me in my ten years of experience as a tactical firearms instructor. I was working with some agents from a different agency, helping them and their instructors through pistol and shotgun qualification, when I noticed something. Something important.

Most of the agents, and their lead instructor were women.

It's not unusual* to be shooting with female officers and agents... I work with quite a few women, but generally speaking, women do not make up the bulk of the agents I work with.

Of the seven shooters I had yesterday, five were women.

On top of that, they were all very young... the youngest was only 21! They made me feel very old... especially as I was giving instructions... they were all calling me "sir". I'm not sure if the sir business was a matter of respect for my skills and position or just because I'm an old dude (probably the latter).

Most of them were at least decent shooters, which was a plus.

ADDENDUM: I am self-aware enough to realize that I am probably most-bothered by the fact that they were women... not girls, not teenagers... Adult women, calling me sir.

Friggin' middle age!

*Hat tip to Tom Jones

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rosaries, Light The Corners of My Mind....!

...misty water colored ros'riiiies, of the way we...


Recently Terri asked if I had finished the rosary that I had briefly spoken about a few weeks ago.

I have. As a matter of fact, all of these are new since last we talked about this subject.

Here you are.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Please note that all of these rosaries are of the Episcopalian/Anglican sort. If any of you are adherents to the Roman church, I'd be happy to make a set for you, for a nominal, very reasonable fee.


Concealed Carry

Without making a political statement, here, allow me to say that if you are so inclined, whatever your reasons for carrying a concealed firearm, if you are going to do it, please do it right!

This past Saturday, soccergirl went to a birthday party (complete with Moonbounce!) for one of her classmates. This gave Mrs Gunfighter and I the chance to spend a few hours together without the constant background chatter of "mommy!, mommy!, mommy!, mommy!, daddy!, mommy!, mommy!...." well, you get the idea.

After dropping sg at the party, we went to Target, went to Panera's for lunch, and then went to Border's to browse for awhile. While we were at Panera's I noticed a guy whose attire screamed "COP". I could see where his badge was, and I could even see his poorly concealed pistol that he had holstered on his ankle. As much as I wanted to, I didn't say anything to him... I didn't want to blow his whole image while he was having lunch with his family.

Later, while we were in Border's, I saw another guy whose attire practically screamed police. This guy was so bad he was wearing his gun in such a way that anyone making the most feeble attempt could have taken his gun.

OK, so I'm trained to see these things... that doesn't mean that the bad guys don't see them.

Do me yourself a favor... if you are going to carry a gun, do it right. Your family will thank you for it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Adventures in Washington (IV)


Yours truly has a lot going on today, so I am presenting a post that I wrote some time ago (January) and never got around to posting.



For those of you who don't live here in the Washington, DC area, I have to tell you that we have been enjoying the mildest "winter" that we have had in my nearly 21 years of living in this area. The weather has been so warm that I had to mow my lawn again last week... and my grass is still growing!

Well all our great weather came to a head last saturday, when the temperatures reached into the low 70's. We knew it was going to be warm that day, so we decided that we were going to leave the suburbs for the day to go visit the National Cathedral, which is in northwest DC. We had considered making a second attempt at the Zoo, but figured it would have been too crowded (we learned later that we were sooo right).

We headed up I-95 towards DC, but before we got into the city, just as we neared the Pentagon you can see the Cathedral on the hill in the distance.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

If you drive into the city regularly, it is something you see nearly every day... but since it is, you can take the view for granted... you shouldn't, it is a beautiful church.

We drove into Washington across Memorial bridge, and took the leisurely drive through scenic Rock Creek Park until it was time for us to go across town to Connecticut avenue. We made it to the Cathedral in relatively short order and found an awesome place to park about a half a block away from the Cathedral entrance(if you have ever been here, you know how cool it is to find good parking!).

Let me tell you, friends, if you have never been to a Cathedral, and you have the opportunity to visit this one, trust me when I tell you that you will be impressed! Not only will you be impressed by the beautiful architecture, but also by the fact that although the Cathedral is called the National Cathedral, it was built and is maintained entirely through donations.

The Cathedral is the principle church of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and is the regular home church to many of the area's Epicopalians.

We had a fine day of exploring the nave, and the various chapels within the cathedral, concluding with a lengthy browse through the museum's shop.

The Cathedral is a great place, and I enourage you to go visit.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Shoot 'em Up Friday, The Return!

It's been a long time, hasn't it?

Well, your patience is greatly appreciated and your wait is at an end. Read on, O devoted reader!

What you see here is a standard Ice Cream maker, neatly boxed in it's original packaging. I received this particular appliance from my dear friend Janet O, who had no further use for it!

Janet, knowing my penchant for shooting things to pieces (all in the name of professional education, don't you know) decided that she wanted me to have it, and while she was here in the DC area, recently, she was good enough to bring it with her!

Janet, thank you so much for the donation! This selfless act of generosity will save the lives of countless Americans in the war on terror... or something.

So, here we go:

Today I'll be using my favorite weapon, the Remington Model 870, 12 gauge shotgun.

As you will see below, using a shotgun can be very efficient when you want to punch serious holes in someone. Just as a reminder, the 12 gauge buckshot round has nine, .32 caliber, copper jacketed, lead pellets inside of each round... at 25 yards, buckshot can be effective against a man sized target, but is at it's devastating best when used close up. Imagine shooting someone nine times... at once! Today, we will be shooting at a distance of seven yards.

This is our ice cream maker, fully assembled. Nice, yes? Well, it won't be for very much longer.

I wonder what sorts of ice cream I could have come up with? Probably nothing particularly good, as I have never really been into making desserts (well, with the exception of Applesauce, but you already know that).


This is our ice cream maker after one shot.

As you can see, the major parts are still relatively whole. The fluid that you see on the floor is the refrigerant, which was contained in the upper bowl. It began to ooze immediately... it got much, much worse!

This is our ice cream maker after four rounds. The motor is completely wrecked, as is it's casing. The coolant (as well as lots and lots of other small pieces), is/are all over the place! (and was a REAL joy to clean up.... oh, the things I do for my students!)

Yes, my friends, this ice cream maker is well and truly destroyed for all time, but I suspect you don't need me to tell you that.

Are there any questions? Yes, you in the back!, "Professor Gunfighter?, what did we learn today, that will make us better at our jobs?"

I'm glad you asked! Today's demonstration is another example of the effectiveness of a particular sort of ammunition. The term "buckshot", as you will recall, is probably the most appropriately named item in the entire lexicon of firearms! Buckshot was designed, quite simply, to kill a male deer, or "buck". It was evident from the outset that if nine (or more) pellets would bring down a large game animal, it would certainly bring down a full-sized man.

Consider, if you will, the ice cream maker, it is was made out of aluminum, steel, plastic, and other ceramic and metal parts.... do you think that any part of your body would be harder to penetrate (with the POSSIBLE exception of some parts of your skull) than these things?

There is no substitute for the shotgun in the tactical employment of firearms. While rifles are fine and very effective, nothing beats a blast of buckshot at close range. The physical and psychological trauma of being wounded massively by a shotgun round makes the tactical shotgun a one-shot fight-stopper*

Buckshot... There. Is. No. Substitute!

* Please note that there is NEVER any guarantee that a motivated or intoxicated suspect will stop after being shot one, but a 12 gauge shotgun blast to the chest is more likely to have that effect than any other weapon in most police arsenals.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Conversations With Soccergirl (V)

The following took place two days ago, while I was reading SMID's blog. Soccergirl looked over my shoulder at SMID's Iraq war cost-counter, and said the following:

SG: Daddy? Why do those numbers keep going up?

GF: Because the cost of the war in Iraq keeps going up.

SG: Why does the cost keep going up?

GF: Because the longer the war lasts, the more it will cost.

SG: (Silent for a moment)

SG: That's a lot of money, daddy.

GF: Yes, it is babe.

SG: Hmm. Maybe it would be a good idea not to have wars.

GF: Yes, I think you're right babe.

SG: Goodnight daddy.

GF: Goodnight, sweetpea.

Wisdom. In it's simplest form.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Roadside Assistance

It was 0910, yesterday morning. I was on my way to a meeting in Washington, DC, and I only had 20 minutes to get there.

I left my office, and proceeded to the express lanes of I-395 and made great use of the Interceptor engine in my Crown Victoria.

By 0915 I was cresting the ridge, in Arlington, Virginia that gives you the first view of Washington, DC (and that annoying new Air Force memorial), I usually love that first view of the city, but today?... not so much. I don't love it so much today, because I am cutting it a bit close to get there on time. It isn't as if I had anything to add at the meeting, I hate meetings with a passion, but I hate being late for things.

As I was about to cross the 14th street bridge, into DC, I noticed a red Honda sports car pulling onto the median (This was right between the pentagon and the Crystal City Marriott Residence Inn).

"Shit!", I said aloud, as I turned on my emergency lights, crossed two lanes of traffic and pulled over to render assistance. I really wasn't in the mood to to play roadside assistance guy, but, I'm a helper... that's just how I roll.

By the time I pulled over and backed up, the driver, a young woman of about thirty, exited the car and began running to me. I hopped out and asked what the problem was: She said to me (with a Zsa Zsa Gabor accent) "My car, my car! Oh the noise it makes! Here are my keys police-man. Listen to the noise!" I gave her the keys back and she told me the she had had the same problem once before.

Not knowing much about cars, I told her she needed to call a tow truck, but if she couldn't, I could call one for her. She used my phone to call for a tow truck (and to call her office to say she wouldn't be in today, and to call her mother to tell her what had happened). In between phone calls she asked me how old I am and told me that I am the first black police officer she had ever met (turns out she is Romanian).


I figured that this would be a good time for me to mosey away from her while she finished securing the pick-up of her car, so I took out my old digital camera, which I keep for times like this, when I think: "Hey! This would good for my blog!", and snapped a few pictures. By the way, the building that you can see in the distance, beyond her car, is the Navy Annex... on 9/11, the Pentagon plane flew very close to the rooftop of that building. At that time, one of Soccergirl's Godparents was working there, she said that it was VERY, VERY loud.

OK, Zsa Zsa finally gets the tow truck arranged, so I gave her some safety advice and excused myself as quickly as I could and left her to wait... but not before she tried to give me her business card.

I missed the meeting.

Here are a couple of different views from where I was standing while assisting this young woman:

This is the Pentagon, where I used to work (I am so glad that I no longer work for the Department of Defense)... for all of you conspiracy crackpots out there, the Israeli missile crashed into the building from your left, a wall you can't see from my vantage point in this photo.

Have any of you ever taken the Pentagon tour? If you ever get the chance, you should do it... even if it is just because the tour guide does the whole thing while walking backwards.

In this photo, you have a government office building ( I think it belongs to DOJ) on your left, in the center you see Macy's, which is one of the anchor stores of Pentagon City mall, beyond the mall you see innocuous high rises.

...and no, I didn't take her card.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Book Review: Bootmaker to the Nation

Four years ago, I read this book on the strong advice of a friend of mine. That friend was a great gentleman and devotee` of early American history named John Grubb. Before his untimely death nearly two years ago, John was a bookseller at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor's center, and could always be relied upon to point me toward the next great book on the period. I am glad I took his advice on this one.

The author of this book, Dr. John Slade, has hit a historical home run with this well-told tale of the birth of our republic.

Told from the viewpoints of Benjamin York, a pressed British seaman that deserts in 1775 Boston, and Genevieve, the Massachusetts farm girl he marries, this story takes us from the beginning of our war of independence at Lexington & Concord, to it's end at the Siege of Yorktown.

Not only does Slade tell the story well, he does something that will truly shock some people: He teaches you every bit as much as he entertains! This is no dry historical tome that will send you off to sleep after the first few pages. No, indeed. When you put this book down, you will have a real feeling and understanding about the American Revolution that so few people ever get.

When you read this book, Breed's Hill and Bunker Hill will become real places and real battles, not just a dry collection of ates and factoids from high school. Not only will you see the battles as real, but the people as well. From the hunger of the foot soldier, to the real moral and tactical dilemmas facing the various commanders.

Slade makes people like George Washington, and Nathaniel Greene real flesh-and-blood men, not the cardboard heroes we often read about. The fact that he makes them human makes them all the more heroic.

Another point in Slade's favor is that he doesn't fail to discuss the southern theater of operations. Many Americans don't realize that the bloodiest fighting of the war took place in the Carolina's, and that the most militarily significant battle of the southern campaign was that of Guilford Courthouse, in North Carolina.

Slade has done nothing short of brilliant work here.

Read this book. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, July 9, 2007

When It Becomes Real

You know, my job, as important as I believe it to be, is mainly about preparation. What I do is to mentally prepare, as best I can, a normal every-day person, to shoot someone. It is also my job to prepare that same person to be technically proficient enough to shoot someone without getting shot.

Usually, the only validation I get is when I see a change in marksmanship skills, or see an attitudinal change in a student who has decided that we aren't playing games and he/she may have to use deadly force against a real person.

Most of the time, due to the nature of the agency that I work for, my work is mostly theoretical.

Not anymore.

A few weeks ago, one of the men that I have been training for the past ten years, was involved in a shooting.

I found out about the shooting as I was going into the gym in our training facility... it was kind of off-hand, and it went like this:

John: Hey, GF, tough stuff for Jimmy last night, eh?

GF: What do you mean?

John: You didn't hear about the shooting?

GF: No!, what happened?

John: You didn't get a call?

GF (irritated): No. Tell me what happened?

John: Jimmy was in a shooting last night.

GF: Is he OK?

John (proudly): Yeah, he's OK, but that motherf***er that he shot isn't!

GF: Kill 'im?

John: Nah, scumbag will survive... but even if he keeps his arm, it won't be good for much any more. The bullet shattered the guy's elbow, I hear.

GF: Well, f*** him, anyway!

(exchange of high fives)

I was relieved to hear that Jimmy was not hurt, but I was concerned, because Jimmy, despite my best work, isn't what I would normally refer to as a meat-eater. Jimmy is one of the most easy-going guys you ever met. Always ready with a laugh, a joke, or a wisecrack but the truth is that Jimmy isn't terribly bright.

As the past few weeks unfolded, and I was able to interview Jimmy (we do this for training purposes) about what happened. After talking through the whole situation, I quickly determined that Jimmy was lucky to be alive. The bad guy, if properly motivated could have killed Jimmy, but apparently he either didn't want to, or he himself wasn't mentally prepared, either.

I was pleased to hear Jimmy say one thing, though, he told me that if it hadn't been for the training that I had given him over the years, he didn't think that he would have been able to shoot the guy at all. He told me: "GF, you were right, dude! You just never know when the fight will happen. Thanks for everything."

How is that for professional validation?

NOTE: Please don't think me either saintly or evil, but I told Jimmy "Next time don't wait so long!... and why the hell did you only shoot him once?"

The Return of Shoot 'Em Up Friday!

Your wait has ended!

Shoot 'Em Up Friday will return at the end of this week! I have received the third item, donated by readers to end it's days via a shotgun blast (or several) at the hands of yours truly.

This is going to be fun!


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Oh, and another thing...

... the make-up of the crowd watching the parade was interesting, fully reflective of the demographics of my county.

As of the recent census, this county is now what is referred to as "majority minority" (have you ever heard that one?), with approximately fifty three percent of the population of the county being Black, Latino or Asian.

Lots of the people who attended the parade and waved flags most vehemently were people who are either new citizens, people waiting to become citizens, or first-generation Americans.

Oh... I forgot to tell you that I had an impromptu appearance in the parade, myself, when a really beautiful '57 Chevy Nomad conked out at the end of the parade route... and wouldn't restart. A few of the burlier men in attendance pushed it, and the trailer it was pulling, off of the parade route, to the applause of others.

I hope your are having as nice a saturday as me... I'm about to fire up the grill... y'all might have food pictures on monday.


Friday, July 6, 2007

On Becoming a Local (II)

On Wednesday, we went to the local 4th of July parade. We arrived right at the start time, which was 10 a.m., and got a decent place to watch from, right at the end of the parade route.

Our local parade wasn't any different than 4th of July parades anywhere else in the country, we had all of the same sort of stuff: The Kiwanis Club, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, The Military Order of The Cootie (no kidding), Boy Scouts, High School bands, churches, The Moose Lodge, local politicians, and even the Governor of Virginia...but it was a bit different for me this year.

One of the first things that Mrs GF said to me when we got to the parade was: "How long do you think it will be before you see someone you know? " I told her it probably wouldn't be long... and I was right, because directly across the street from us, was a lady whose son goes to school with soccergirl, and whose son I know because his soccer team practices on the same field as ours. Oh, that was the first, but it wasn't the last... We saw HB, a retiring member of the County Board of Supervisors (we worked on her last two campaigns), we saw CB, former Mayor of the adjoining municipality, who is running for State Delegate (We worked on his Mayoral campaign), we saw HS, who manages the local Supermarket, and we saw a few other people that we know from this or that thing around the local area. It was a bit much.

As I said before, this parade was different for me. Different because I didn't feel like I was just a spectator, I felt like a participant, because I know kids from this or that high school, or because I know people that belong to a few of the churches that were represented, or because I am familiar with this or that club, or have campaigned for quite a few local politicians (some successful, some not).

As someone who has lived a fairly nomadic adult life until I married Mrs GF, feeling a sense of community like this is completely outside the realm of my existance... but I have to tell you that I am enjoying it.

I guess most would call it community.

I call it home.

Busy, but will post by 6 PM

See you then!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

In The Eyes of A Child

This was my entry for the July Blog Exchange... I know some folks get bothered by the exchange and therefore don't bother to read some of the posts, so I'll let you read it here. This month's: "In the Eyes of My Child" (or, "In The Eyes of A Child)


It is late at night, and I can hear men shouting... I wish they would stop but it seems to go on and on. The men are yelling at my father, they want to come and use our house. My father said no, because he is responsible for the protection of all of the children. The men got angry, but they went away, and quiet returned. My father is a strong man and he keeps us safe. All of the grownups seem nervous.

I don't understand.

During the day, our house is very hot, so we spend our time outside. Papa says to stay close to the house, and we younger children are always under the eyes of my father, or, when he is meeting with the green men, by one of our uncles, or the men papa hires to guard our house. I don't like the green men, because they wear strange clothes, and speak in a strange way.

I don't understand.

At night, the shouting returns... this goes on almost every night, and every day for a week, men shouting and threatening my father in the dark of the night, and the green men asking my father questions in the hot light of day.

I don't understand.

One day, the green men took my father away... there was much shouting in the village, because the people don't want my father to leave... my father is the local Mayor. Why did they taking him?

I don't understand.

When the men come that night, they forced my uncle to let them into our house, and the other houses in the village. The next day the men in our houses fought the green men. There were explosions, men screaming, and lots of noise and dust. I hid under a table. When it was over, I went and looked for my mother... she was dead. We screamed and cried... later the green men brought my father home.

I'm afraid... and I don't understand.

That night, the men came back to our house... but they didn't shout. They killed my father's men and one of my father's brothers. Then, they killed my father... all while I watched.

After the funerals, I asked my uncles why my parents were dead. My eldest Uncle, our new Mayor (in my village we call him "Sheik" instead of Mayor) answered me by shrugging his shoulders and saying: "This is war, my sweet" I asked him who we were fighting, and he thought about it for a moment, then looked at me and said: "Everyone".

I am only eight... and I am not sure of what "war" really means, but I know enough. War is loud, war is terrifying, war means fear, war means death.

I'm an orphan because of "war"... So are all of the other children in our house.

I don't understand war, but I know that I don't like it.


Yes, the end is modified... I mistakenly sent the first draft, but was too late to re-submit.

This Blog Has Been Rated...

Online Dating


Apparently, my blog is rated R because of the words: Hurt, Pain, Knife, Ass, and Asshole.

I always thought I kept the place fairly neutral... ah, well.

I've Been Tagged...

...again. This time, by more than one of you.

The Rules:

Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.

* Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
* Players should tag eight other people and notify them that they have been tagged

Clear? Let's roll.

1. I am back on the treadmill this week, literally.

Cortisone. Is. Good. (yes, I know I am not healed... I'm taking it easy).

2. At the moment, one of my colleagues is listening to the local "Easy Listening" Station in the office, he was a little bothered when I started singing along to Bette Middler's "The Rose"

3. We are going on vacation in 43 days!

4. Planning is under way for a DC/Northern Virginia blog Happy Hour

5. Local 4th of July parades can be VERY interesting.

6. The Governor of Virginia isn't very tall.

7. I am making a chicken and fish stir-fry for dinner tonight.

8. I am going to start a new rosary tonight. I'll have pictures for you soon.

I tag the following (And I don't care if you have already done this... do it again!)

Jodifur, my newest local blog pal.
Cathouse Teri
Jenn In Holland
Desert Songbird
Rebecca S. James

Have Fun!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Mrs GF!

Thirteen years ago, today, I had the great good fortune to enter into the marriage state with a particularly wonderful woman.

Since that day, Mrs. GF and I have made a home together; traveled together; laughed together; cried together; made a baby together; served our community and our church together; volunteered at our daughter's school and Brownie troop together; cheered for a certain soccer team together; campaigned for local, state, and national office-seekers together; danced together; and celebrated together.

We've been busy!

Most importantly, we have been busy together.

Happy Anniversary, baby.

You ain't seen nothin' yet!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Independence Day

In 1776, some angry people decided that they shouldn't be governed by a body that wouldn't represent them... despite the fact that they were tax-paying citizens. They were so angry about it, they decided to take up arms against the Parliamentary army to expel them, therefore maintaining their own liberties as good and loyal subjects of King George the third..

Even after blood had been drawn on several occasions, there was still hope among the leaders of the young rebellion that they might petition the King for redress of grievance, but it was too late. The King's heart had been hardened by what he saw as a direct challenge to his rightful authority, and apparent Colonial duplicity concerning overtures for peace.

What followed became known in Britain as the American War for independence, and in North America, as the American Revolution.

The American Revolution, as we call it here, wasn't just a rebellion against the authority of the King of England, it was also a civil war. A war in which only about a third of the free colonists took the side of the Continental army and militias. Another third were loyal to the King, and worked/fought for the British. The final third wished that all of these damned soldiers would go away, and not wreck their crops... as wars are always bad for farmers.

British forces remained overwhelmingly stronger than the American forces throughout the war, but The American Commander, a dashing Virginian named George Washington, knew what all poorly supplied, militarily weaker commanders had the good sense to know... all he had to do to beat the British, was to not let his armies be destroyed in set-piece combat.

At the end of a little over five years of fighting, the British, no longer willing to waste men, materiel, and money, fighting an enemy that they couldn't bring to conclusive battle, had the good sense to end hostilities and live as best they could with what would follow in the peace.

The United States were born.

In 1787, four years after the American revolution had officially ended, by wayof the Treaty of Paris, the framers of our new Constitution had finally finished their convention. A Mrs Powell, of Philadelphia, asked Benjamin Franklin...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

...what sort of government had this convention given the people of this country. Dr Franklin is said to have replied: "A Republic, madam, if you can keep it"

I pray that we can. You see, a Republic can only last as long as the governed are payed attention to by those who govern.

American independence, alive and well, speaking truth to power... especially when those in power don't want to hear it.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Crime and (no) Punishment

I suppose there are those that will defend that Croc-wearing idiot in the White House, for commuting the sentence of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, but I'm not one of them.

The current occupant of the White House has decided that the fines and probation imposed on Libby are enough of a punishment. It must be nice to have friends with that kind of juice.

Lewis Libby is a liar.

Lewis Libby is a criminal.

Lewis Libby is a convicted felon.

Why should I, or any other American feel any sympathy for Lewis Libby? Why shouldn't he have to serve his sentence? You can bet your ass that if I had obstructed justice and lied to the FBI in a criminal investigation, that I would have gone to prison... probably with a longer sentence.

I guess the message that the American people should take away from all of this is that crime is OK... unless you are poor, in which case you deserve to be in prison.

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised... this is a President that thinks that THIS guy...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

...is a man of integrity, and should remain in Office as Attorney General, despite his incompetence and glaring ethical lapses.

Thanks, Mr. Bush, for reconfirming what I have always known about you.

You sir, are scum.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Good-Bye & Thank You!

I'm a creature of habit. I truly am. I watch certain TV shows, read books by certain authors, buy my clothing from the same places... in the same colors. I get my hair cut every other Monday... by the same barber.

Yesterday was Monday. Haircut day. My day to get a haircut and enjoy the buzz of the clippers against my scalp soooo much, that I normally fall asleep in the chair. You might think that falling asleep would be a risky thing to do while you were getting a haircut... but it isn't a problem for Aleda. Aleda does a good job... always. she has never given me a bad haircut. She has been cutting my hair for about two years, since the previous owner of the shop (Soccergirl's Godmother) sold the shop and opened a restaurant.

Aleda is a nice young woman from Bolivia, with whom I have never had a deep conversation, because my Spanish isn't good for much more than asking questions, and her English was even worse. Our lack of communication was never an issue though, because, well, we didn't really chat much beyond questions about our children.

When I got to the barbershop yesterday, I was greeted by an unusual sight. There were two male barber's cutting hair... and neither of them were the two male barber's that I know. As a matter of fact, one of those guys was using MY barber's chair! This was a bad sign. The two female barbers saw me come in and looked at me with some alarm, because they knew that under normal circumstances, Aleda always cuts my hair.

As soon as I walked in the door, both Doonia and the other young woman, whose name escapes me, started to speak to me in Spanish. Telling me, in Spanish, which took a little deciphering, that Aleda doesn't work there anymore.


The young lady whose name I don't know cut my hair (you can bet your ass I didn't doze off) but just before she started to cut, she went into the drawer of her counter and retrieved a package and said that Aleda had left for me. Turns out it was my knife! The knife that I had been trying to find for the last two weeks.

This knife...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Which wasn't cheap, believe me!

It must have fallen out of my pocket while I was getting my haircut a couple of weeks ago. It was very nice of her to make sure that I got it back.

I don't know the reason for the abrupt departure, I hope it wasn't because of... immigration issues, but I wish her well.

Adios y muchas gracias, Aleda!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Blog Against Theocracy

Not terribly long ago, a blogging pal of mine wrote a piece about the myths of the separation of church and state. In her blog, she made a perfectly cogent argument against what many people see as a Constitutional declaration that makes the aforementioned separation a legal and binding thing.

Early in her post she goes right to the heart of the matter, quoting directly from the first amendment of the Constitution, to wit:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Hm. It seems as though she is right, doesn't it? Well, guess what sports fans... she IS right. There is no constitutional tool separating the "state" and "the church". Problem solved, right? No need to argue about it, or even discuss it... right?

Well, you may believe that, but I beg to differ.

Just because there is no Constitutional separation, doesn't mean that church and state aren't best kept apart.

You see, separating church and state is an incredibly American ideal. This is a concept that could only come from a great and strong nation like ours. It is radical. It is far-reaching, it promotes freedom and liberty and open worship.

The Separation of Church and State is Patriotic!

Oh, go ahead, guffaw if you like, but in your hearts, you know I'm right. Many of you who will read this today, are adherents to the many denominations of Christianity. I know of at least two who are Episcopalians, one Methodist, one southern baptist, at least one "non-denominational" christian, and a sprinkling of Lutherans (myself included). I know that at least two of my regular readers are Jewish, and at least two who are Unitarian Universalists, and there are at least a few Mormons. I guess that some that may find this post are practitioners of other religions that I haven't named here, or are atheists.

Well, good. The separation of church and state is good for all of us.

Simply put, my friends, the Constitution of the United States says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." this is a great and good thing, since I can't think of anything more un-American than telling my Jewish or Catholic brothers and sisters (for instance), that they can't openly and freely practice devotion to their faith, or that my atheist brothers and sisters cannot refrain from religious practice.

Is a united Church/State what we want here? Before you say yes... or Amen!, let's ask an important question:

The question is: Which Church? It seems like a simple question, but it isn't. Many of the framers of the Constitution were Deists. How many of you know what Deists were/are? Should we have the Church of England as our established church? Oh, wait, we aren't English. How about the Roman Catholic Church? Hm. Difficult for many Americans to swallow, I would imagine. Unitarian Universalist? Perhaps a good fit, what with their welcoming stance, and all. Maybe the southern baptists?... they are a rather conservative bunch, although I think that most Americans would chafe at all of the prohibitive rules of that particular denomination. Hm, how about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?

You see, in countries where there is an official state church, the leader of that particular nation is almost always the head of the church, too. Is that what we want in a pluralistic democracy? Doesn't that sort of thing go directly against the grain of the values of those that embrace the concept of the Republic?

I submit that most of the religious conservatives in this country no more want Bill Clinton leading their state church than I want George W. Bush leading mine.

Let's look at this another way: In a theocracy (there are functioning theocracies in the world) the breaking of a religious rule constitutes the commission of a crime. In a theocracy, people who quest for power begin to consider that their words become the words of God. In a theocracy, ultimate power is wielded by the leader of the state, because he is also the leader of the church, and has God's authority.

Is that what we want?

The other side of "state" churches is the example set by the United Kingdom. The Queen of England is the leader of the Church of England... does this mean that all British subjects have to attend church or adhere to it's rules? of course not... as a matter of fact, the churches in Britain are dying out because they are so seldom attended by the majority of the population.

Only in the United States is the concept of the independent church so robust. Here in the United States, there are more active members of churches, per capita, than any other industrialized nation. The United States needs to have the church(es) separate from the state, because it is Democratic, because it is pluralistic, and because it is inherently American.

The Blog Against Theocracy is a blogswarm event involving bloggers from all over the world. Participants come from across the broad religious spectrum of this and other countries, or outside of the religious spectrum entirely. If you think American theocracy is something you wouldn't be interested in, please get involed.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

July Blog Exchange

Please welcome Heather, my Blog Exchange partner for July. I will be posting on her blog today. Out them this month is: "In My/A Child's Eyes". Please visit Heather's blog often, and enjoy her writing.


In my children’s eyes I see the past. I see my grandparents. I see my parents. I see myself as a child.

Through their eyes, the world is small. Menards is the entire city of Rochester. Going to visit Grammy and Poppa takes minutes even when they live several hundred miles away. Teachers sleep at school.

Through their eyes, parents know everyone and everything…until they grow into teenagers.

Through their eyes the greatest disappointment is not getting to read with Daddy.

Through their eyes, a smile is all that’s needed to make things better.

Through their eyes, all creatures are interesting; all the world is to be explored. There is no danger, only adventure.

Through their eyes, there will always be a tomorrow. All loved ones will always be around. (And I wish I could believe that too.)

Through their eyes everyone is a potential friend. No one would ever hurt them. Everyone is worthy of their hugs.

Through their eyes, everyone can make mistakes and still be loved. Even parents.


Heather is Mom to 2 children, M who is almost 5, and K who is almost 3.
Heather’s mind contains random thoughts and she feels compelled to share
them with strangers via her blog. M's blue eyes reflect her father, while
K's brown eyes reflect the stuff his Mommy is made of. Thanks to Gunfighter
for sharing his space with me today.

Happy Canada Day!

Today being the national holiday of our great northern neighbors, please play the music and read on!

My Dear Canadian Friends,

I wish you the happiest celebration of your national holiday!

While many of my countrymen may not know much about all that your country is and stands for, please understand that that there are those of us in America, that love and respect you, as good, friendly neighbors should.

So, enjoy your day! Celebrate with all your might, and know that some of us celebrate with you.

The Canadian National Anthem:

O Canada!

O Canada!

Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

En Francais!

O Canada!

Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux.

Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix.

Ton histoire est une épopée,
Des plus brillants exploits.

Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket