Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Words

Occasionally, I come across a comment from a reader who states that I have used a word or a phrase that they have only heard used by their families.

I treasure these comments.

My grandmother -- Nana -- taught English for about a squillion years. She taught her daughter, who went on to get a degree in English.

My father, the proud son of Highlanders, loved language. Any tutors hired by my parents had to be well-spoken.

Most of which seems to have passed down to me.

Writing is exactly like painting. Where a painter uses paint to create the image of something on canvas, a writer uses words to create the image of something on the readers imagination.

How boring a world it would be if painters were limited to the three primary colours!

In the same vein, I refuse to paint word pictures using vocabulary limited to only Lowest Common Denominator language.

So, as I have gone through life, I have collected words from books, from conversations, from correspondence, and from anywhere else that words may be found.

Just as there are some scenes which require a dab of burnt umber -- and brown simply will not do -- there are some paragraphs which require 'bushwa' or 'ye gods and little fishies' -- any other word or phrase simply will not do.

It is pleasing to me that I have Gentle Readers who seem to enjoy the language as much as I do, and I thank you for it.

LawDog

The map is not the terrain.

Modern CQC thought has been greatly aided by the advent of Force-on-Force training, usually referred to as "FOF" training.

FOF training is the use of Simunition FX markers, or more recently AirSoft guns, in a dynamic scenario.

In simpler, non-tactical language, you get a bunch of folks together, give everyone a non-lethal marking gun and act out combat sequences.

This has been an invaluable boost to training, but I'm starting to see a disturbing trend amongst law enforcement training officers to declare that FOF training is indistinguishable from real live combat.

Allow me to repeat that last: I have been told by trainers that a gun-fight with AirSoft guns is identical to combat with live ammunition.

I'm here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, FOF training is no more a firefight than studying a map of Cairo means that you've actually walked through Cairo.

Let me see if I can explain this a little more clearly:

In Force-on-Force training, you know -- on a gut level -- that your opponent isn't going to kill you. You know -- even if sub-consciously -- that there is no real threat.

In a firefight, your gut and your reptile hind-brain know -- KNOW -- that the other guy wants to lay you in a dirt bed.

In Force-on-Force training, you know that a hit is going to sting. When you know that the consequence of your action is a sting and nothing more, you don't mind pushing the envelope.

In combat, you know that a hit is liable to kill you. Pushing the envelope against Death is bloody hard to do.

In Force-on-Force training, you don't want to kill your opponent. You want to learn from him. You want him to learn from you. Should you accidentally severely injure your opponent, you will apologize and feel bad.

In a firefight, you want that other guy dead, even if you have to beat him to death with his own spleen. You want to paint 'Don't **** With Me' in ten-foot-high letters, using his blood for paint, and his scalp for the brush. If you should severely injure or kill him -- GOOD.

In Force-on-Force training, after the training day is done, you won't mind going out to a bar and swapping tall tales with your trainer and the other students.

After a gunfight, once it's done, if you see your opponent again, one of you will probably try to kill the other one again.

In Force-on-Force training, you respect or honour your instructor and your fellow students. You probably like some -- or all -- of them to varying degrees. You probably think of them as comrades, fellow warriors, equals. You wish to test yourself, and test your mettle, against them, to prove to yourself that you have "what it takes".

In combat -- not so much.

Don't get me wrong, Force-on-Force training is invaluable.

However, Force-0n-Force training is merely a map, where combat is the terrain.

I've never loaded my underwear at the beginning of an FOF scenario, or at any time during an FOF scenario.

I've never gotten auditory exclusion, time dilation, or tunnel vision during a FOF scenario.


I've never achieved, for lack of a better term, a 'combat state of mind': where the adrenaline makes your blood sing, your body feels too small, your conscious mind detaches itself to allow the body to act as it needs, and something deep in your gut -- something primeval; made of fangs and talons and raw bloody berserker rage -- screams defiance and fury at your opponent through a throat too constricted for speech ... I've never achieved that during a FOF scenario.

On the other paw, I've never decided I was thirsty during a life-or-death situation, never been distracted by a wedgie, never wanted to get this scenario over with because I really, really needed to go to the litter-box, and I've never tried to impress a trainer, a fellow student, or that cute little blonde bit of crumpet in the lycra training suit while someone was trying to shoot me, stab me or strangle me.

I will say it again, because someone will get their snot-locker out of joint:

1)I approve of Force-on-Force training.

2)I think Force-on-Force training should be done more often.


What gives me a bad case of the red-arse is having some instructor tell me that, quote: "Force-on-force training is identical to combat. Every time."

Codswallop. Bushwa. Horse. Puckey.

The way people react in FOF is the way they're going to react in FOF. The way people react in combat is the way they'll react in combat. FOF reactions will usually --
usually, I say -- influence combat reactions, but until students fear for their lives during FOF training ... don't ever get FOF and combat mixed up.

LawDog

Laws! Laws! For God's sake, we need more laws!

What is it with policritters that they can't just leave well enough alone?

It's been my experience that 90% of perceived problems will work themselves out just fine if they're left alone.

Take smoking. It's my feeling that if the General Public decides that second-hand smoke is enough of an irritant that it amounts to a problem, then the General Public will deal with second-hand smoke -- people will shun smokers, private property owners will decide whether or not they want smokers on their private property, that sort of thing.

You don't want to inhale smoke at a bar -- don't go to that bar and don't give the bar owner your hard-earned cash. Enough people go somewhere else, and the owner will either accommodate the wishes of his clientele or he'll go broke.

If he's still making a profit, then obviously not enough people think it's a problem.

No muss, no fuss, no mess.

I don't see a need for legislation -- but nobody asked me.

A Texas State Senator -- Democrat -- from Houston has decided to foot a bill in the Texas Legislature to ban all indoor smoking throughout the State that isn't in a private home or automobile -- and all smoking at the outdoor seating of entertainment events.

Why is it the business of the State of Texas whether people are smoking in my bar or not? Can someone tell me this?

And what if I want to spend my money and start a cigar bar, hmm? It's my money, it's my sodding bar and if people don't want to be exposed to stinky cigar fumes --
then go somewhere bloody else!

If you don't want to smell second-hand smoke at lunch -- don't go to restaurants that allow smoking.

If you don't want to smell second-hand smoke at work -- take it up with the private owner of the company. Or quit.

Why do we need legislation?

"But LawDog," I hear you say, "It's for our own good! Second-hand smoke is bad for us!"

Well, me boyo, lots of other things are "bad for us". Double cheeseburgers. Indoor gun ranges. Reloading spent ammo. Charcoal grilled food. Beef.

If the government is going to regulate how much second-hand smoke you're exposed to, what's next, hmm?

I'm an adult, damn it. Kindly allow me the common courtesy of making my own decisions, thankyewverrymuchly. In simpler language, the government needs to bugger off and minds it's own beeswax.

And -- truth be told -- if the Government of the State of Texas is so bored that it needs to poke it's nose into the private affairs of citizens and private businesses, then it seems to me that the Government of the State of Texas either has too much money on its paws, too much time to spare, or too many people on the payroll.

Time to do some trimming.

I suggest that smokers remember this -- and remember the Democratic Party that is backing the sponsor of this -- come next election.

LawDog

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bad parent! Bad, bad parent!

It started -- as the really obnoxious events do -- innocently enough: I had just gone off-duty and have decided that I simply must have something from the grocery store on the route home. Still in uniform, I grab the item(s) required and am patiently standing in queue at the register.

In the next line over, Young Miss is crying her eyes out for God-only-knows what reason. Mother (I assume) of Little Miss sees me standing next door, so to speak, gives Little Miss's arm a good shake, points at me and hisses, "If you don't stop crying this instant that officer is going to arrest you and throw you in jail!"

*twitch, twitch*

You don't want to know how much I really hate that kind of bushwa.

It's not my job to terrify your children -- either for real or by proxy.

I've got no problem with being the boogeyman for a twenty-five-year-old gangsta, but I've got a real problem with being the cause of a six-year-old's nightmares.

It is not inconceivable to think that child may need the services of a Peace Officer sometime in the next couple of decades -- equating him with the Closet Monster is not doing anyone any favours.

Sooner or later the sprogs are going to figure out that you are lying when you say the cops are going to arrest the them for crying, or not eating their green beans, or making themselves throw up, or not coming in when you call, or whatever -- and then where will you be?

LawDog

Saturday, January 27, 2007

CSI: Bugscuffle County

It was late 1996 and my fair city was plagued by some sticky-fingered critters who had adopted the bus stop as their hunting ground.

Since we were basically a wide spot in the road, our bus stop was Earl's Tire Shop and Diner. Trouble was that Earl was only open Monday through Friday and closed up shop each day at 4:35PM sharp.

Since some interstate bus lines run after 4:30 some days -- and even run on the weekends -- Earl had been thoughtful enough to construct a shaded bench out of scrap lumber so that folks had a place to sit while they waited on their next bus.

Some feet away from the shelter, Earl had built a rack so that luggage could be stored off of the ground.

Unfortunately, since both the shelter and the rack were constructed out of scrap lumber, they weren't exactly transparent. If you were sitting in the shelter, there was no way to watch the luggage rack without getting up.

Some enterprising critters had noticed this, and had developed the annoying habit of walking off with a bag about once a week.

After the fourth theft, the Sheriff had gone to Earl and suggested that he do something about the line-of-sight issues betwixt the shelter and the rack.

Earl's response had been to hang a couple of signs stating:
"NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST OR STOLEN PROPERTY" and that was that, as far as Earl was concerned.

*sigh*

Anyhoo, about a month later (and five more stolen bags), I get a call about an abandoned car on the edge of town.

I scoot out thataway, and I find a 1981 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am, primer in colour, no hood, high-centred on a curb, engine still hiccuping along, both doors gaping wide open.

I know --
know -- who belongs to that car, but I call in the tags to Dispatch anyway, get out and stroll up to the car.

Two things of interest immediately catch my eye: the first of which is that the area of bare metal where the back seat would normally be was absolutely chock-full of various articles and styles of clothing (mostly womens), several empty bags of the carry-on variety, no less than seven full sets of shaving gear -- still in the shaving cases -- and one open white Samsonite hard-sided suitcase on top of the whole pile.

The second thing to catch my eye was the incredible amount of blood in the front half of the car. I'm serious, it looked like someone had just got done filming a slasher flick in there.

I go back to the cruiser, tell Dispatch to send the Sheriff my way and Dispatch informs me that the Trans Am comes back to Big Mama's nephews Dobie and Nug.

I knew that.

I go back to the car, use the screwdriver sticking out of the ignition to kill the car and I notice a ... distinctive ... print on the steering wheel. In blood. Once I notice this print, I immediately spot more. On the dashboard, the back window, the drivers headrest, the rear-view mirror -- pretty much all over the inside of that car. All in blood.

Thing is, these prints look a lot like a dog's foot-print, only they're a bit more rounded and there aren't any claw tips visible. And they're about two inches across.

A bit puzzled, I -- desperately trying not to muss up any of the copious quantities of blood -- weasel the white suitcase off of the top of the pile in the back seat for further examination.

I was sitting on the curb, staring at the inside of the suitcase which was absolutely coated in fine, light-coloured hair -- more like fur, truth be told -- and rubbing a finger absent-mindedly across the multitude of 3/8's inch holes which had been drilled in the sides of the suitcase, when the Sheriff pulled up.

"What do we have?" snarled the Sheriff.

"Well," sez I, "I think Dobie and Nug are the critters that have been stealing the luggage from Earl's."

"Should have figured as much ... damn, that's a lot of blood."

"Yeah. Might want to run the ambulance over to Big Mama's place. They'll go to her if they're hurt," I rub a tuft of fur between my forefinger and thumb, "I'm thinking it's safe to say that they're hurt."

The Sheriff looked over his sunglasses at me.

I look back at him, "I'm not sure, but I think the suitcase they just stole had one very pissed-off bobcat inside it. I figure whoever was in the passenger seat opened the suitcase, and the bobcat kicked arse until Dobie and Nug got the doors opened and bailed out. "

"Goodness," remarked the Sheriff, "Talk about your bad luck. Oh, well. I'm going to head over to Big Mama's house and make sure she doesn't yard-dart another paramedic. Full report of what's here on my desk ASAP."

Whistling a jaunty tune, he got back into his cruiser and scooted over to Big Mama's house, where -- true to form -- Dobie and Nug had to be dragged out from under the porch, said dragging out resulting in Big Mama losing her temper and going to jail along-side her nephews.

The only fingerprints I ever found on that suitcase belonged to Nug, and trust me -- I looked everywhere and tried everything I could think of.

We recovered most of the stolen luggage, but none of the owners wanted to travel back to Bugscuffle County to testify, so the DA dropped the charges against Dobie and Nug.

Thing is, to the best of my knowledge they never, ever tried to steal luggage again -- so I guess that Justice was actually served anyway.

LawDog

Meditations on ID theft

One of the fastest growing crimes in this part of the world is Identity Theft.

Simply put, Identity Theft is when a critter takes the personal information of a victim, and then uses the information for
personal gain, while letting the victim deal with the results.

An example would be the critter who obtains a credit card in the name of a victim, and then maxes the card purchasing goods and services. When the card hits its limit, the critter simply disposes of it, leaving the innocent victim to face the credit card company and the defrauded entities.

This crime is practically the Holy Trinity for critters -- it's: 1) High profit; 2) Low exertion; and 3) Bloody difficult to catch and
prosecute.

So ... what can you do to avoid the hell that is Identity Theft?

A critter can't steal your identity if they don't have the opportunity to do so.

I will tell you there are times when you have no control over how vulnerable your identity is to theft. There can be -- and have been -- critters employed at places, offices, and agencies that handle identity as a matter of routine.

It is difficult -- if not impossible -- for you to prevent the bank from hiring someone who may be sneaking account details out the door.

The good news is that critters who use their place of employment as a means of stealing identity are somewhat easier to catch and prosecute.

Do note that I said "somewhat". ID theft in any form is a pain-in-the-arse for investigators.

Most ID theft occurs when the victim could have prevented the critter from gaining the necessary information. These particular events are much harder to catch and prosecute and are what I would like to opine upon this day.

In the Century of the Fruitbat this modern
age, anyone who doesn't have a shredder is asking for trouble.

Buy a shredder. Once you have a shredder, anything that: 1) Is paper; 2) Has your name or any other personal information on board; 3) And is being thrown away ...


... Goes through the shredder first. Including -- especially -- junk mail.

If a critter can't read your personal data, he can't steal your personal data.

Get yourself a locking mail box. The old Mayberry sheet-metal mailbox:
Is no longer acceptable.

In 1996, I was on patrol in a village north of town at the same time as the local USPS mail-person was making the morning rounds. When I saw a man walk to a mail-box, open it up and remove the contents, I figured it was Morning In Small Town America.

When I saw the same man walk up to a mail-box three houses down, open it up and reach for the contents, I decided I ought to have a talk with him.

Unfortunately, the critter saw the brake-lights light up on my cruiser and took off like a striped-arsed ape. I never did catch the critter, but I'm certain that I stopped an ID theft at the very least.

If a critter can just reach into your mailbox and grab your personal data, you can bet one of them will do just that.

My personal preference is a P.O. box, either at the Post Office or at one of the private mail centres. Having my mail delivered to a location away from my home gives me an added layer of security. However, I realize that some people need their mail delivered at (or near) their home.

If this is the case, consider a locking mailbox or a locking insert for your current mailbox.

Do you write cheques? If so, take this opportunity -- now -- to examine one of your personal cheques. How much information do you have in that upper left-hand corner, and is it all really necessary?

I was in Target the other day, in line behind a woman paying for her purchases with a cheque that had her Social Security Number, her drivers license number, her home and cell-phone numbers and her date of birth -- all in the upper left-hand corner of that cheque.

When I asked her why, in God's name, she had all that on a cheque, she answered that all that ID made it easier for stores to ID her and accept the cheque.

"All that ID" is what some enterprising critter is going to steal, I guaran-damn-tee you. Just one of who-the-hell-knows how many of those cheques she's written drifts through the wrong paws and she's going to be hip-deep in her own special hell.

Put the bare minimum of information on your cheques, okay folks?

Speaking of Drivers Licenses and Social Security Numbers -- if you live in one of those misbegotten States which uses your SSN as your drivers license number -- change it.

Monday morning, drive down to which-ever authority maintains driver licenses in your State and have them issue you a DL number that doesn't have a damned thing to do with your Social Security Number.

Last, but not least, don't give out personal information by phone or Internet if you didn't initiate the contact.

If someone calls -- or e-mails -- you and asks for any information, feel free to ignore them.

Nobody -- NOBODY-- who is legitimate is going to contact you and ask for information they already have.

Those e-mails you get from somebody claiming to be PayPal, informing you that there's been a problem and they need you to give them account details to "verify" or "fix" something?

Bushwa. That e-mail came from a critter who wants to take you for all that he can.

Someone claiming to be from your credit-card company or bank calls you and asks for your card or account number to verify your identity?

Bushwa. That's a critter who's trying to steal you blind.

I say again my last: if they called you -- don't give them any information.

The risk of you becoming a victim of Identity Theft can be minimized if you take some common-sense precautions, including the ones I have already mentioned. Please click on the links scattered throughout this post for further information and tips.

LawDog

What the hell?

I was trying to log-in this morning and was having a bloody difficult time doing so.

Seems that when I tried to switch to the 'New' Blogger last week, and I thought that it wasn't possible -- well, Blogger actually put me on the back burner for a bit.

Sometime last night, or early today, I was switched to the 'New' Blogger.

Surprise!

Ooo-kay. Time for Ye Olde Luggage Test.

LawDog

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Inmates and religion

One of the things that tends to irritate me about long-time critters is how fast they develop religion once they're behind bars.

And -- in most cases -- an inmate will get a case of Jesus in a cold-blooded, cynical attempt to game the judicial system.

This works, because the majority of county jails in Texas don't have a full-time minister for the inmates. In most counties in this State, the spiritual needs (*snort*) of the inmates are tended to by whichever local minister has extra time after attending to his non-confined flock.

Generally, we wind up with a young sky-pilot just out of the Jesus Academy who hasn't quite yet -- despite his teacher's best efforts -- realized exactly how deep the depravity and hypocrisy runs in your average long-term critter.

I've seen it time and time again: the critter who sings the loudest, prays the gustiest, cheerleads the preacher, completes every question on the Bible study handout, stands in line to quiz the preacher after service and writes soul-searching letters to the preacher regular as clockwork every Tuesday and Friday; ten minutes after that critter hits freedom he'll be sitting in a topless bar with a nekkid dancer on his lap, a glass of booze in one hand, a paw-full of her anatomy in the other, and cutting deals for all he's worth.

I got into law enforcement in 1993. From then until now I have never -- I say again my last:
never -- seen religion stick to a long-term critter once he's out of stir.

Since a preacher is a Man Of God, and this is Texas, most non-critter-type folks pretty much figure that a preacher is on the side of angels (pun intended) and give said preacher wide latitude in his doings. Especially when he's doing God-type things. Make no mistake: the critters know and count on this.

The inmates in our current jail are only allowed to receive books that are mailed from a genuine book publisher in unbroken packaging, so Reno has a pretty good idea of the answer he's going to get when a preacher walks into the jail with an extra Bible under one arm. When Reno asks the preacher about the extra Bible, the answer is that the Bible is a gift to an inmate from the distraught mother of the critter.

Being the cynical heathen that he is, Reno gently asks for the Bible, gives it a quick once over and finds that Dear Old Mum had stuffed the spine with Acapulco's infamous botanical export before entrusting it to the sky-pilot.

Bear in mind that Reno wasn't the first, or even the tenth officer to contact the preacher, but because (as I said) this is Texas -- nobody's going to mess with the preacher. Not to mention the Word of God. Given a properly naive preacher, in most jails this is an absolutely iron-clad method of smuggling in contraband.

You can get stuff out of jail this way, too.

One year our town was having it's usual Fourth of July BBQ and General Good Old Time On The Courthouse Lawn. Got some horseshoe pits, one of those inflatable bouncy things for the sprogs, and about a thousand or so men, women and bairns eating, mixing, courting, running, flirting, gossiping, snogging and just generally enjoying themselves.

I forget why I was heading back into the office, but as I'm going in the front door, I see the preacher arm-in-arm with one of our inmates coming out that very same door.

"Afternoon, pastor," sez I, eyeing my inmate, "What's on your mind?"

"A fine day, brother LawDog! One of God's lost lambs has RETURNED unto Him!"


"Goodness. And so unexpected. If you don't mind my saying, though, he looks awfully chipper and, well ... mobile ... for someone on his way through the Pearly Gates."

"He has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his PERSONAL Saviour and has had his sins WASHED from his very soul!"

"That's nice. I'm happy for him. Apropos of nothing, why is he in the lobby instead of a cell?"

"He has welcomed GOD into his soul! He is PURPOSE-driven and CHRIST-filled! Surely a new Christian may walk for an hour under GOD'S own sky? I will bring him back."

"Oh, hell no. God may have forgiven him, but the State of Texas says he owes thirty years. Get back in that jail."

The inmate turned a noble face to the preacher and pronounced soulfully, "That's okay, preacher. I knowed the 'Dog wouldn't understand. I forgive him, and I feel sure that God will forgive him, too."

"I can't believe you said that with a straight face," sez I, "Get your butt back in there."

When I told the evening deputy about this incident, he opined that since it was the preacher, he probably would have let the preacher walk the inmate around the courthouse square a couple of times before saying anything.

Ye gods.

LawDog

Monday, January 22, 2007

Jim Beam's got your back. Waa-aaay back.

This event happened about four years ago. I ran across my write-up of it in the archives of one of the on-line forums I haunt.

I anonymized it a bit and tightened up the writing some.

My fair city wound up with a Gentleman who made it known to one and all that he was a retired Navy Squeal -- sorry, SEAL -- and in-between the hair-raising tales of his exploits, he became acquainted with a family that lived north of town.

This family consisted of Pa, Ma and Junior. Well, Junior came to college age -- and as Young Adults will -- decided he really needed to leave the nest and spread his wings in the Great Wide World.

Well, Ma and Pa (Ma mostly, truth be told) weren't real sure about letting the last of their brood -- the baby of the family -- out on his ownsome. Somehow -- details are a bit sketchy -- Squeal found out about the reservations Ma had concerning her Baby Boy, and he offered a compromise: Squeal declared that he needed a room-mate to help with bills, and -- being an elder Wise In The Ways Of The World -- he'd quietly make sure Junior stayed out of Major Trouble.

Junior was advised of this -- probably minus the part about baby-sitting, if I were to guess -- Junior was agreeable and moves in.

Happens every day.

Pretty soon friends of Junior start asking him if there might be a little something he might want to tell them. Junior is confused. Friends state that no matter what, they're there for him. Junior has no idea what they're talking about. Friends advise Junior that He Doesn't Need To Be Ashamed, It Doesn't Change Anything. Junior finally declares that if someone doesn't start speaking in Plain English, he's going to start a wall-to-wall counseling session.

Friends tell Junior that Squeal has told them that Squeal and Junior are lovers. Junior packs up and moves back to Ma and Pa's house that afternoon.

Squeal, finding an empty apartment, starts calling around and ends up calling Ma and Pa's house, enquiring (with great befuddlement) as to the reason for Junior vacating the apartment.

Junior mentions multiple friends relaying the supposed romantic union betwixt him and the Squeal, to which Squeal expresses great amazement as to the lengths people would go to concoct lies.

Junior says that Squeal needs to stay the hell away from him.

At this point, Squeal begins a pattern of stalking: driving by Ma and Pa's farmhouse out in the boonies, parking on the shoulder of the road at the far end of the drive-way, calling the phone at odd hours, calling and hanging up; that kind of thing. All of which culminates in an extended session with Budweiser and Mr. Beam, the result of which is the Squeal up on the front porch of Ma and Pa's farmhouse -- at zero-dark-hundred -- screaming that Ma and Pa have poisoned his lover's mind against him.

Junior yells down from the upstairs window that Squeal needs to disappear, adding (for the extra punch) that Juniors new girlfriend should be out to the house soon, and that he doesn't want the Squeal to annoy her.

Ouch.

Squeal is winding up for a full-on berserker rage, when Pa (USMC, Vietnam) produces a 12-gauge and firmly suggests that the Squeal depart the premises/go have sex with himself.


Squeal draws himself up to his full, impressive height, stares down the muzzle of the 12 gauge, and pronounces:

"You just made the last mistake of your life. Nobody points a gun at me."


Now, not only am I one wierd puppy, but I seem to hang around with some equally disturbed people, because those have to be the single funniest set of last words any of us have ever heard of.

Pa, of course, immediately slaps the trigger on his Remington 1100 three times, pretty much launching Squeal right into that Great Recruiting Depot in the Sky, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Responding deputies handed Pa a receipt for the shotgun, told him the Grand Jury would probably be in touch and carted off the mortal remains of Squeal.

Two weeks later, the Grand Jury No-Billed Pa.

What do we learn from this little episode?

When someone is pointing a twelve-gauge shotgun at your brisket, it might not be amiss to treat their every word like a Commandment straight from the lips of God.

At least until you can get behind cover.


LawDog

Oh, you didn't!

When people come to jail, any cash they have on them is deposited in an Inmate Account. Upon release, a check is written to the person for the balance remaining.

Or used to be.

Yes, Gentle Readers, a critter has forged Sheriff's Office Inmate Checks.

Now, let me ask you something: if you were employed in a business or institution that cashes checks, and one day someone brings in a check with the words,

BUGSCUFFLE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
***PRISONER ACCOUNT***

across the front of the check in big, blue you-can't-miss-this letters, said person wanting you to cash this check for a couple of hundred dollars...

...would that kind of thing sort of get your attention, and maybe stick in your mind?

Well, what if the same person came in three days in a row and cashed four different
***PRISONER ACCOUNT*** checks -- each one for several hundred dollars?

*sigh*

You know, on CSI they would have fumed for fingerprints, checked for trace epithelial skin cells and gotten DNA, matched the ink to the printer cartridge and the writing on the check to a specific make, model and individual printer.

Handwriting experts would have been consulted on the signature on each check, pen experts would have chimed in on the what type of pen was used, and somebody would have wound up looking at the check with an incredibly bright flashlight in a dark room (why they would do this, I don't know but they do it every episode).

'Round here, the detective on the case ran the Drivers License number written on each check by the cashier. Then he took the name that came back and ran it through local/TCIC/NCIC and discovered that the person attached to that name had an extensive criminal history for ...

... wait for it ...

...Forgery!

So, he took a mugshot of the person who belonged to the Drivers License, put it in a photo line-up with five other folks and took it to the teller -- who had no difficulty
at all pointing to the person who had been cashing the ***PRISONER ACCOUNT*** checks.

Ten minutes of office work, and half-an-hour of driving to-and-fro.

*sigh*

CSI probably had more fun, though.

LawDog

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I have been meme'd!

Courtesy of Pawpaw, I discover that I have been hit with an Internet meme before I could duck.

This one goes:

"share five off the wall, strange, unusual or just little-known facts about yourself. Then you "tag" five other bloggers who are supposed to do the same thing."

Goodness. "Off the wall" or "original" facts about me.

Only five?

1) I'm not superstitious, but magazines that hold a maximum of 13 rounds make me uncomfortable. When I carried a Browning Hi-Power, I went waaay out of the way to get my paws on British 14-round magazines and South African 17 rounders. To the best of my knowledge, no 13-round magazines were ever put into that pistol during the time I had it.

2) I have acrophobia -- sort of. I can't stand being a certain height above the ground if I'm on a structure. If I'm in an aeroplane or a helicopter, it doesn't bother me to hang out the door at any height, and I've done a 300-foot rappel with nothing but a smile. Bridges, overpasses, roofs of tall buildings, though -- hell, no.

3) According to the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator battery of tests, I am an INFP. It is apparently fairly unusual to find my kind of personality in Law Enforcement, enough so that the lady head-shrinker who administered the tests had never seen one before.

Heh. I'm unique. Just like everyone else.

4) I've never seen "The Wizard of Oz" or "Gone With The Wind".

5) I once had an electric catfish for a pet. Kept him in a bucket on the front porch under the Mongoose-a-minium for several years and even taught him to take worms from my fingers without shocking the ever-loving [deleted] out of me.

I'm going to tag:

Kateykakes
Matt G
Tolewyn (Update your blog, boy!)
AD
Naviguesser

Y'all have fun now, you hear?

LawDog

Well, that's irritating.

Since Blogger is noodging me firmly about switching over to the new software, I attempted to do so just now.

I can't. Apparently my blog is too big.

Folks, I'm new to this, but I'm relatively sure that my blog is one of the smaller blogs out there. One tends to think that maybe Blogger isn't as ready as they might have you believe.

And -- just as a comment -- if one were to ascertain that a blog was actually capable of switching over before you began posting 'SWITCH NOW!' messages on the control panel, it might make you look like less of a tit in the long run.

I'm just saying, is all.

LawDog

Ahead, cheese factor 10!

Mama Nature is alternately pounding the area with freezing rain and snow -- since I have the weekend off, you can bet your last bikkie that I'm not going anywhere.

So, we have popped the cheese pop-corn, set out the cheese dip and made plenty of cheese-and-cracker stacks -- all in preparation for ...

Hell Comes To Frogtown!

Oh, my ever-loving-gods, I forgot how bad this movie was. Bad. Bad-bad-bad.

And, as is common with other Truly Abysmally Bad Movies, it has a certain boggy charm to it. However, boggy charm or not, this is still one stinker of a movie.

Fortunately, I have "Big Trouble In Little China", "Tremors", "Equilibrium" and "They Live" prepared and thus have managed to remove the worst memories of Froggytown from the old short-term memory.

LawDog

Thursday, January 18, 2007

New blogspot?

Blogspot is hinting heavily that I need to switch from the "old" Blogger to the "new" Blogger.

Anyone else switched from "old" to "new"? Is it worth it?

LawDog

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Meditations on winter

Winter weather modifies many things, not the least of which involves personal protection.

There is the obvious -- the clothing that is required to handle cold will require a difference in the way we access our tools -- but there is also the not-so-obvious.

The body handles cold -- cold weather -- by drawing the outer parts of itself closer in. We huddle inside our coats and jackets, shoulders hunched and hands crammed deep inside pockets.

The thing is, if we aren't careful, our sphere of awareness will mimic our physical actions. As we draw our arms in to our chests, tuck our hands into pockets or fingers under arms to conserve warmth; or to keep limbs out of the wind, some people will also retract the range at which they start to notice things.

I see that I have already lost some of my Gentle Readers. Let me clarify:

Everyone notes and classifies things within a certain radius of their body space. Most do it subconsciously, while some of us do it consciously. To use my self as an example, if I am walking down Main Street at the height of summer -- unless someone calls attention to himself -- people are just people until they get within about twenty feet of me.

Once a person is within my twenty-foot radius, I consciously note clothing, body language, general emotional state, breaks in pattern and any intuitive signals from my hindbrain.

During the winter, walking down the same Main Street, in snow, with a cold wind blowing, dodging patches of ice, this twenty-foot radius is almost halved unless I consciously work at it.

So, the same person I would have noted and classified at twenty feet during September, has a good chance of getting to within ten feet of me in January.

Halving the space in which you have to make a decision and react is never a Good Thing.

On top of that, weather conditions themselves become a hindrance. Frozen water -- sleet, snow, ice -- is slick. Actions and reactions which are second nature on dry ground, will dump you upon your fourth point of contact when -- unconsciously -- performed on ice.

I studied Kodokan judo for some years. People who know of this invariably congratulate me on my choice, either due to the "superiority" of grappling styles in referee'd, ruled fighting games, or the full-speed sparring, or the encyclopaedic knowledge of chokeholds.

Those may be good reasons, but the best thing that judo taught me was how to fall. And it made breakfalls a reflexive action.

Do you know how to fall?

If you're around ice, it might be a worthwhile skill to pursue.

Slick ice may also interfere with, reduce, or outright eliminate our options. Faced with a developing situation, oft times the best option is to avoid -- to run away before the situation escalates to the point of requiring a deadly force decision.

It can be difficult to run on ice. A vehicle -- usually a fine way to escape a situation -- may be totally immobilized on ice. Could you be spinning your wheels, or sliding slowly sideways, while the critter you are trying to avoid walks up to the side of your vehicle?

These are things to think about, to consider, and to plan for.

My Gentle Readers have no doubt practised some fighting (shooting, knifing, whatever) from various prone positions. Has the act of drawing from prone also been practised? Has this practise been done in full winter gear? Gloves, scarf, winter coat, sweater?

Not only that, but warm weather practise is practise for warm weather situations.

Have you practised in the snow? In the cold? If not, how do you teach your body and your subconscious what to expect?

Winter also has an effect upon your tools. There is the famous example of lubricants that thicken and disturb function in low temperatures. A Bad Thing, but one most prepared people know of.

Fewer know that low temperatures can have an adverse effect upon battery life -- and given the number of tools that require batteries for some part of their function, this can be a Life Altering Development.

When I worked midnights, I habitually walked the business district of my town at midnight, checking that each door was locked and secure.

One Panhandle winter night -- temperatures below freezing -- I walked along checking doors with my pistol holster protruding through a slot in my jacket waistband to allow for a quick draw if necessary.

As noted, the temperature was below freezing, and my exposed metal pistol -- riding outside my jacket away from body heat -- cooled.

My walk done, I went back to Dispatch, poured a cup of coffee and warmed up. In a small, closed room, with four adults exhaling moisture into the air, wet carpet, coffee-pot steaming -- in other words a mildly humid atmosphere.

This moisture condensed -- obeying the laws of physics -- onto cold items in the room.

The break was interrupted by a 10-50 MVA (motor vehicle accident) and I spent the next half-hour directing traffic as the VFD and EMS pried someone out of a car. Out in the cold. Where the moisture that had condensed on -- and in -- my pistol froze.

I doubt that the tiny amount of ice present would have had any effect on the functioning of my pistol. However, it was not something that my fair-weather summer training had prepared me for, and that disconcerted me quite a bit.

Something to keep in mind, folks.

LawDog

Czech check

I went down to the last Market Hall gun show, along with Reno and his family.

As an aside, how do you city denizens handle all those people breathing your air?

Anyhoo, where was I? Oh.

While I was down there, I got to coon-fingering a CZ-P01.

That is one sweet, no-nonsense little pistol.

I was originally looking for a CZ75-PCR, but there were none to be had in the entire gun-show, so I started taking a long look at the P01, which seems -- I think -- to be a PCR with an extended dust cover, slotted for a tac-rail.

I really don't have much of an opinion concerning tac-rails on pistols, so the presence of one on a P01 is pretty much a moot point.

The P01 fits my hand like a glove, the controls are all easily reached by my thumb and the pistol points naturally. The fact that it comes in 9X19mm is a plus for me, as the 9mm is pretty much my favorite defensive pistol calibre.

The only down side I see so far is the fact that I haven't gotten to shoot one yet.

I may have to take a weekend and brave the Metroplex in search of a rental gun range with CZ's on the rent list.

LawDog

Be alert for a southbound stampede of brass monkeys.

You know, there's nothing quite like watching an 18-wheeler roll sideways down an overpass embankment to jazz up your morning.

Kind of makes coffee look like mama's milk.

Despite a) Being in North Texas, and b)Global Warming, things have been bloody cold and slick around here for the past weekend or so. Had a good, stiff cold evening before the freezing rain hit -- which kind of guaranteed the maximum Slippery Quotient Possible.

There should be huge signs about twenty miles out in all directions that say:

We're Doing Our Best, But Who The Hell Expects Ice In Texas, For God's Sake?
--signed, Texas Dept. of Transportation, Highway Division.

Wrecks everywhere. One of our rookie deputies wrinkled his Durango a bit. That'll be good for about six months of hell.

The truck driver who tumbled his rig down the slope swears up-and-down that he's driven the last twelve winters in Colorado with no problems. Heh. That's Texas for you.

It's warming up a bit, but we're looking at a bit of a chance for some snow long about Thursday or Friday. Joy.

Your Humble Correspondent spent last weekend firmly ensconced in his nice warm house, with a series of hot toddies close by, some good old paperbacks and a shelf full of DVD's. I've got no problem doing it next weekend, too.

LawDog

Saturday, January 13, 2007

You may fire when ready, Gridley

By way of Tolewyn, we have discovered the sordid tale of Patrick Rogalin and Public Storage, Inc.

Patrick is a soldier in the U.S. Army Reserve over in Missouri. Well, these days being these days, Specialist Patrick Rogalin got called up for active duty in Iraq. As part of his preparations for his trip, Specialist Rogalin put all of his belongings into a storage unit belonging to Public Storage, Inc.

Spc. Rogalin apparently arranged for an automatic withdrawal from his bank account to cover the monthly rent.

Sometime during his dusty Middle-Eastern trip, something went wrong. Apparently someone accessed his bank account and wrote several hundred dollars worth of checks that cleaned out the account. Anyhoo, Public Storage wasn't getting paid.

Spc. Rogalin states that as soon as he found out he was having bank problems, he made other arrangements, and it seems that Public Storage was more than happy to keep accepting his money -- even better, Public Storage never notified Spc. Rogalin that there was any sort of problem.

Tour of duty over, Spc. Rogalin gets back Stateside in October, heads over to pick up his property as part of the whole "getting-back-to-normal" bit -- and lo and behold! His property ain't there no more.

Turns out, Public Storage auctioned off the soldiers property. In June.

Seems that Public Storage sold all of Spc. Rogalin's stuff, kept the money made from the sale, then continued to accept the payments that Spc. Rogalin was sending them for storing stuff ... that they had already sold.

When Spc. Rogalin -- understandably enough -- asked for compensation for the estimated $8,000 worth of personal property auctioned off by Public Storage, Public Storage offered him $2000.

Mr. Patrick Rogalin is being a gentleman about the whole thing. He doesn't blame Public Storage, and he has been refusing offers of financial aid.

A scholar and a gentleman of the Olde School.

I'm not.

The treatment of Specialist Patrick Rogalin by Public Storage, Inc is shoddy, inexcusable and I'm pretty sure it's a violation of Federal Law, specifically the 2003 Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Public Storage, Inc. Customer Service department: 1-800-567-0759, Monday through Friday 6:00am to 5:30pm PST, Saturdays 6:00am to 5pm PST.

Public Storage, Inc snail mail:
Public Storage Inc.
701 Western Avenue
Glendale, CA 91201-2349

Be firm, but courteous. Outraged, but polite.

Check in on Specialist Rogalin's MySpace page -- the link is under his name in the first sentence of this article -- for updates.

LawDog

Oh. My. Gawd!

By way of Matt G, I find a ... variation ... of my blog.

I have just snorted half-a-cup of tea through my sinuses.

LawDog

Friday, January 12, 2007

Well, now, that's the best news I've heard in a while

Texas Representative Ron Paul, Libertarian-in-Republican-clothing, has filed to form an exploratory committee for the purposes of maybe running for President in 2008.

That's outstanding news.

He's got my vote.

LawDog

Thursday, January 11, 2007

It's like a slow-motion train wreck

Well, despite the assertations of the Democratic Party that their wins in the mid-term elections actually means that most of America believes in liberal immigration issues, the anti-illegal-immigrant backlash continues.

The latest governmental entity to decide to do what their elected officials in Washington, DC refuse to is the city government of Farmer's Branch, Texas.

Last month, the city council of this small suburb of Dallas joined 60 other municipalities around the nation and passed a city ordinance -- unanimously -- requiring that landlords must establish that potential renters are either American citizens or have proper residency status before renting property to them. Renting property to illegal immigrants would net the landlord a $500 fine per day of occupancy.

They also passed an ordinance declaring English to be the official language of the city and allowing the city Police Department to participate in the enforcing of Federal immigration laws.

All measures were due to take effect Friday, 12JAN2007 -- tomorrow.

While I did note that with this measure Farmer's Branch joins about 60 other municipalities around the United States with this ordinance, it should also be noted that Farmer's Branch is the first town in the State of Texas to pass such laws.

As one might expect, the screaming has been fierce.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and the ACLU managed to get a Texas District Judge to issue a 14-day restraining order against enforcing this ordinance -- on the grounds that part of the process of drafting the ordinance violated the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Both MALDEF and the ACLU -- along with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) -- are also filing further lawsuits in both State and Federal Courts on multiple grounds.

The city has placed the measure on the ballot, and on 12MAY2007, the citizens of Farmer's Branch will be able to vote 'Yea' or 'Nay' to this anti-illegal-immigration measure.

Right now my crystal ball predicts two surefire things:

1) No matter which way the Good Citizens of Farmer's branch vote on May 12, it will be a long time before the legal challenges in State and Federal Court are done; and

2) Anti-illegal-immigrant measures are going to get worse until the U.S. Congress pulls it's collective thumb out of it's fundament and does something meaningful about the illegal immigrant problem in this country.

Keep an eye on this one, folks: it could wind up as history in the making.

LawDog

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I have been gifted!

By way of Ms. Janean, I find that I have been given an award, a ROFL Award for the month of December 2006, to be precise.

This is, indeed, an honour.

There is a graphic attached to the award, and we shall see if it can be hung on my blog. It should appear on the left side of the screen.

Thank you, Ms. Janean. Thank you very much.

LawDog

It's easy to spend when it's not your money.

Well, here comes the new, revitalised Democratic Party -- same as the old Democratic Party.

One notes that they still think that any problem can be solved by wrapping Massive Amounts of Someone Else's Money around a Brand New Law and throwing the result at the problem.

Case in point: The Democrats -- and not a few Republicans who have seen which side of the bread holds the butter -- have rammed a bill through the House which mandates the full inspection of all sea and air cargo entering the United States.

Hey, it
sounds good, and that's what counts, right? As long as it looks and sounds good, why bother doing any research?

Here is the Official Port of Houston Authority website. Just out of curiosity, let us look for some statistics.

Here are some statistics of interest.

Bear in mind, these are for one port only.

In 2005, the Port of Houston handled
1,582,081 cargo containers. That's for one year. One year having about 365 days in it ... off come the boots, shift this little piggy ... about 4,335 containers per day, or 180 containers per hour.

If my math isn't totally off, that comes to 3 containers a minute, all day, all night, 365 days a year.

Now, I don't have any idea how long it takes to "fully inspect" a 20-foot cargo container, but I'm willing to bet it takes longer than a minute. I'd guess probably somewhere between 30 minutes and a couple of hours.

I wonder how many new Federal employees -- paid for with money gouged out of the American taxpayer -- will be required to "fully inspect" cargo containers coming off the ships at the rate of one every 20 seconds?

And that's one port on the Gulf of Mexico. I'm willing to bet that the East and West Coast ports can match that easily.

I guess it's easy to solve problems when you think you have the right to coerce -- I'm sorry,
tax -- all the cash you need out of the citizenry.

LawDog

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

You've got what?

Well, Mom calls Dispatch and tells them that Nana is scheduled for surgery to drain the infection on Friday, Dispatch calls my supervisor, my supervisor -- not knowing me just too well quite yet -- solemnly and with great gravity takes me to a quiet place to give me the news that Nana was going into surgery.

Schmuck started out by telling me that the Department Chaplain was available if I felt the need -- before telling me that Nana was simply heading for the OR. Scared the [deleted] out of me. I thought Nana had augered in on the table.

Anyhoo, Nana got down to the OR, the surgeon and his minion talked with her for a while, then everyone decided not to do surgery.

?!?

I hadn't realized that it was an option.

They bunged Nana back upstairs, told the nurses that they changed their minds about surgery, and the nurses had a melt-down. Seems that Nana hadn't had anything to eat or drink for the previous 12 hours, nor had she been given her meds.

The melt-down -- in and of itself -- was nothing but a testament to the dedication of the nursing staff.

How-some-ever, the nurse who called me to give me the news was still over-wrought from the melt-down, and simply left the following message on my voice-mail: "Your grandmother isn't going to have surgery."

Since the message was delivered in a voice still quivering from the melt-down, I immediately thought Nana was too far gone for surgery to help and I hauled butt for the hospital, mentally assembling A List Of Those Who Were Going To Be Very Sorry.

Imagine my state of mind when I button-hooked the door into her room and discovered an empty bed?

Promptly assuming the worst (what happens when we ASS-u-ME, students?), I trudged to the nurses station and shakily enquired as to the location of my grandmother.

Sayeth the nurse, "She isn't in her room?"

I blink. Nurse trundles into Nana's room, and yelps, "Oh, goddammit, Mildred's gone again!"

Short search later, and Nana is discovered in the cafeteria -- five floors down -- noshing happily on roasted chicken with cajun rice and telling stories to a pack of enthralled cafeteria personnel.

*sigh*

The doctor says that Nana has two different bugs in the surgery site. However, he's of the opinion that Nana is healthy enough to shake the infection with IV vancomycin, so that's what we're doing.

You know ... sometimes I wonder what a normal life would be like.

LawDog

Aftermath comments

The article "Mediations on aftermath" was a quick stream-of-consciousness article that I penned just before going to bed. I really didn't expect the widespread positive reaction that I got.

Interesting.

Let's try to hit some of the comments to that article:

mr fixit said...

Thanks for the advice. One question; Being a LEO, how do you act toward a citizen when you are called to the scene of a shooting and he/she doesn't want to talk to you? I don't mean you personally, what is the average LEO gonna think?

The reaction of your average not-me-LEO is going to be based on a large number of factors, not the least of which being the geographical area of the United States that you're in, the population density (Large city? Small town? Rural?), local attitudes towards self-defense and the experience of the officer in question -- among other things.

I can tell you how I respond, but there really isn't any way for me to predict the reactions of another officer.

Hammer said...

I've seen the yahoos on tx.guns TFL THR and the mighty chronicles of Ayoob pontificate about this subject. Your advice seems to be the most realistic and sensible I've read so far and thats no B.S.

Thank you.

Gay_Cynic said...

Thanks also...you know, now and again I wonder if you've learned to channel Cooper in your more serious moments.

I'll never be anywhere near the wordsmith or warrior that Colonel Jeff Cooper was, but thanks.

WR Olsen said...

Great advice. May I have your persission to send your words to some instructors I know?

You're welcome. As long as I am credited with my words, feel free to send them where you will.

It's when I catch folks cut-and-pasting my work and claiming it as their own that I start getting peevish.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Dog that was a masterpiece. I wonder if a jury knows or is ever told of the mind bending efects of adrinaline? Anyway what would be the "prefered" method of someone answering the door? I mean you are responding to a shots fired call so should someone leave the door open or what?

In my experience, juries are seldom -- if ever -- told about the psychological and physiological effects involved in high-stress situations. When it is brought up, it's usually by the defence attorney.

In this area -- again, I can't speak for others -- the best way to answer your door after thumping a critter off this mortal coil is to be on the phone with the dispatcher when the cops show up. When you see the red-and-blues, tell her that and she should confirm that her officers are on scene. As soon -- I say again my last -- As Soon as you get that confirmation, tell her that you're setting the phone down. Some folks will tell you to give her a description of yourself, and if you have the presence of mind to do that -- all well and good.

Set the phone (still connected) and your weapon down, take several steps away from the phone/weapons, and wait for the officers to enter. I suggest waiting in a lighted area in a non-threatening stance, but it probably won't be physically possible for you not to be bladed or on your toes. Please don't make any fast moves.

Calico Jack said...

If you'd like to go into a little detail about the things that are likely to happen to the law abiding home owner after a shoot, it would be appreciated. Specifically, what if my attorney isn't answering his phone at 3:00 AM? Am I going to spend the rest of the night in jail? If I am in jail, who should my family be talking to in order to find out where I am, especially if the police are trying to keep me hidden for a while.

I'm sorry to keep saying this, but there are really way too many variables for me to be guessing about the reactions of officers in other jurisdictions. I can tell you that the areas I've worked, unless there's something really hinky about the whole shoot, you're not going to be spending the night in jail. Again, do not take my rural point-of-view to be Gospel in, say, New York, Washington DC, Chicago or any other wretched hives of scum and villainy.

I can tell you that if you are arrested, you must be given the chance to make two completed phone calls within four hours of being booked. Always keep several phone numbers memorized. You would not believe how many folks get booked into my jail who get in front of the phone and realize that all their contact numbers are stored in their cell phone memory -- which is sealed inside of a property bag, which will not be opened until release.

Anonymous said... A piece of advice from my attorney: have a good friend and/or neighbor, one who is level-headed and patient, to manage you while the adrenaline rush dies down and he (the attorney) drives to your house.

A good idea, and I have, on an occasion or two, had a minister meet me at the house. A minister has testimonial exemptions and privileges that Average Joe does not.

Be aware, however, I have also arrived at incident locations and ordered anyone who wasn't a witness or a victim to unarse my crime scene and go home. Once the police show up, your friend or neighbor can be ordered away -- and probably will be.

the Northwestern Diamondback of THR said...

Officer 'Dawg, this is highly valuable advice. May we PDF it for release to the general self-defense community, or for coursework use?

Of course. As always, please credit me -- or this blog, if you do.

martywd said...

Hopefully, HB 284 will be passed this year in the TX Legislature?

Too right, there. I would ask that any of my Gentle Readers who live in Texas kindly contact your legis-critters and noodge them into sending this one to the Governor.

DW said...

By the BY might I link to your site at Dragon Watch?

I'd be honoured. It may be sometime before I get a reciprocal link posted, though. I've got to bribe someone to talk to the Magic Elves on this thing.

If you posted a comment, but I didn't answer it here, please don't take offence. I read and treasure every comment.

LawDog

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Meditations on aftermath

If you spend any time at all on the various gun forums of the World Wide Web sooner or later the conversation will come around to "What to do after a shoot".

The advice given by anonymous figures riding the electron waves of the Internet can be ... amusing. At best. At worst, some of the advice given will guarantee that the shooter will be hip-deep in legal trouble for the next lifetime.

I will tell you right up front that any comments made by your Humble Scribe are worth exactly what you paid for them.

First off -- and I cannot stress this enough -- anyone who carries, or owns, a gun or a knife needs to know a lawyer.

First thing tomorrow -- or as early as possible -- find yourself a lawyer who is familiar with self-defense cases and the weapons laws of your state.

Now, folks. Not at 0-dark-thirty with a critter bleeding out on your carpet and red-and-blue lightbars screaming down the road.

Ask the regulars at your gun range/club who they'd recommend. Use your NRA, GOA, JPFO, KABA, LEAA, or SAF membership services and find out if they can point you at an attorney in your area.

Once you have the name of an attorney, go talk to him (or her). It usually doesn't cost much -- or anything -- to introduce yourself, sit in his office and talk about What May Come.

If you like him (or her), get a couple of his cards and put one in your wallet and another under the bedroom phone where you can find them after the bodies quit bouncing.

If you should find it necessary to help a critter into his next incarnation, hopefully you or a family member will have called 911 prior to the Grand Finale -- so to speak -- and the whole fandango will be recorded. However, if (for whatever reason) it was not possible to call 911 prior to the critter starting his trip to room temperature -- please call 911 as soon as possible.

You will note that I don't have any advice to give as to what you should tell 911 when you call them. Seems like everyone on the Internet has (legal) advice as to what you should tell the 911 operator, how you should say it, how many words to use and how many seconds to spend saying it.

In my experience, when your ears are ringing, the smell of powder and blood and various human secretions are clogging your nose, adrenaline is rampaging up-and-down your spine and a man -- critter or not -- that you just killed spent his last moments in this life in your presence begging God for another chance, or calling for his mother, or crying in denial and disbelief as he died ...

... you are not going to be thinking of what your anonymous Internet buddy told you to say. You're not even going to remember grabbing the phone, and if you are conscious of your conversation with the 911 people you have my admiration.

So. You have called 911. The very next thing you should do is pull out that lawyer's card and call him (or her).

I don't care how justifiable the killing was. I don't care if you're in Deepinahearta, Texas and the deceased is laying in the middle of your living room floor with an axe in one hand and a detailed murder list in the other.

Call your lawyer.

Like it or not, guns -- and self-defense itself -- are political. And District Attorneys are political animals. Trust me, you don't want to be caught without a lawyer if Mike Nifong's evil twin Skippy decides to make his political bones with your case.

You have called 911 and you have called your lawyer. Now -- probably sooner rather than later -- the scene is going to be crawling with cops.

Whatever you do, please, please, please do not greet the police while holding a pistol in your hand. Or a knife, bludgeon, broken bottle, chainsaw or whatever else you used to shove your critter in front of his Eternal Maker.

You, standing over a dead man, with a weapon in your paw when the cops show up is a recipe for an unpleasantness. Trust me on this one.

Again, there are thousands of folks on the Internet, each one with advice on what to do with your pistol, knife, or whathaveyou.

And -- again -- if you have the presence of mind to do something complicated with your gun, I salute you. But I doubt it.

Just remember not to have the weapon in your hand, on your body or with-in arms reach when you get face-to-face with the police. The officers are going to take custody of whatever you used to chlorinate the gene pool, and when they do -- tell them where it is, but, please God, don't go grab it yourself to give to them.

Last, but certainly not least, if there is any subject in which every-single-body on the Internet has advice for, it's what to tell the cops about your shooting.

Folks, what you should or should not tell the cops is based completely upon the unique circumstances of your personal incident.

I can tell you that it's never a Bad Thing to not make a statement to the police before your lawyer is present, but let's talk Real Life here:

You have just ended the life of some mother's child. You may have stared into the eyes of this person as the life drained out of them. You may have listened to the death rattle as they took their last breath. You may have heard this person's last words, or you may have simply watched them kick until they were still.

Whichever, you have just breached the most sacred of Man's taboos. You have done something that cannot be taken back, and you have done the single most powerful, awful thing one human being may do to another.

In addition, you're going to be so jazzed on adrenaline that your teeth will hurt. Endorphins will mask any pain -- and failing to find pain, they will be tweaking your inhibitions in 23 different directions. Your mind will have played tricks on you -- sounds will have gone squirrelly; time will have done wierd things.

And worst of all, you probably won't remember entire sequences of what just happened. Self-doubt is going to jump on your back like an 800-pound gorilla with cold feet and clammy hands.

And you will want someone -- anyone -- to understand that you were forced to do this terrible act. You will want someone -- anyone -- to know, to understand, that you had no choice in breaking the ancient taboo against killing.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the average self-defense shooting, it's not getting the shooter to talk to us that's hard -- it's getting him to shut up that's difficult.

I can tell you to assert your right to have an attorney present during any interview with the police, but in the last 13 years of police work, I've never seen a justified Average Joe self-defense shooter who was capable of doing so.

Again, you may be different. I salute you if you are, but -- again -- I wouldn't bet anything important that you won't be like everyone else I've seen in that position.

So -- my advice to you is to sit down with your attorney before the Fit Hits The Shan and discuss what your attorney wants you to do in that situation. Find out what your attorney wants you to tell the police, and try to stick with that.

Don't be surprised if you find yourself unable to stop talking, though. Prepare for it, and you will probably be able to limit any damage done.

LawDog