As a Christmas gift for blowing my mind on book sales, if you will send an e-mail to:
-- take the vertical lines out of the address, please (Death To Spambots!) -- with the name of the person to whom you wish to dedicate the book, any message you'd like, and a mailing address, I'll send you a signed bookplate to put in the book.
I'll do this for emails I get through December 31.
Audiobook versions of both are in the works, further details as things progress.
I know this is a lousy time to ask for money, but one of our extended family is in need. FarmFam’s daughter-in-law, Andi, 33 and the mother of two small boys, suffered a stroke in mid August. Unfortunately, it wasn't diagnosed correctly for two weeks, delaying treatment.
She's facing a year to 18 months of physical therapy to get back to full function.
Therapy costs are running $200-500 per session, and she needs therapy once a week. Andi has not been able to afford health insurance, because she her husband own a small business that makes too much money for them to get assistance with health insurance, but not enough for them to be able to afford health insurance, and raising two boys.
Any help will be much appreciated, as Andi has begun physical therapy, and without health insurance she has to pay the full cost of every session.
In order to help her out, we are doing another gun raffle to try to help her with her therapy. One change from what we did for Tam is to run this through a Go Fund Me, https://www.gofundme.com/andrea-keenan-medical-fund, so that the money is immediately available to her for her therapy. One IRS change is that Go Fund Me $$ are now counted as income for the family, so we are shooting for a goal of $25,000 to offset the tax burden they will be hit with.
Here are the ‘rules’ $10 per chance, $50/6 chances, $100/12 chances, etc. Make your donation to the Go Fund Me above, and copy your donation receipt to email@example.com. This will count as your entry into the raffle. If you have already donated, we will accept prior donations to the Go Fund Me.
The raffle will run from now through the end of November, with the drawing to be held 1 December via a random drawing program. First number gets their choice, second gets their choice, etc.
The raffle packages are:
Taurus .44 Magnum pistol
Ruger MK-II bull barrel .22
Custom sub-MOA AR-15
Remington 870 pump in 20ga
Chinese copy of a 12ga coach gun
Springfield Range Officer .45 with 7 magazines and custom holster
Springfield Range Officer 9mm with 7 magazines and custom holster
LawDog’s personal Rock Island 1911 9mm, reworked by Joe Speer with 6 magazines
A ladies package consisting of a ring (late-Victorian-style design with either high-quality glass or mid-grade garnet stones. The mount is jeweler's metal, size 6 3/4 or 7). A unicorn necklace, late 1980s-early 1990s James Avery sterling silver charm on a silver chain. A coin necklace, an 1904 Indian Head penny, silver dipped in a gold-plated mount with a gold-plated silver chain. And a handmade necklace and earrings from Phlegmmy.
Signed copies of LawDog’s, Peter Grant’s, Dorothy Grant’s, and JL Curtis’ books
TBD (other possible packages are being discussed)
All guns will be shipped FFL to FFL for winners. Pictures of the various packages will follow in the next couple of days.
Thank you in advance, I know she will appreciate the help, and this will take a little pressure off the family!
I first wrote the "Gun Rights Cake" analogy on this page in 2010. I re-posted it here three years later.
Later on, a Facebook group called "The Hypocrisy and Stupidity of Gun Control Advocates" put in cartoon form:
Note the proper attribution at the bottom of that cartoon.
With the events of Las Vegas, I'm seeing my own work coming across my Facebook feed and my e-mail -- only my name appears to have become "Bentley", or "Robert", or "Rupert".
Goodness, my parents would be startled.
One gentleman -- when gently corrected -- stated that I actually stole that analogy from "someone" on AK47.net.
Bedamned, I most assuredly did not steal that analogy from anyone else. I bloody well wrote the sodding thing.
And by-the-by: whomever added the extra language about the "Dick Act of 1902" in one of the versions that's going around -- if I'd've wanted that in my analogy, I would have added it. Keep your meat-hooks off of my work, if you please.
Gentle Readers, if someone sends you my analogy, uncredited -- or claimed by someone other than LawDog -- please gently correct that person. Likewise, if one of the cartoons comes by you with the attribution clipped off of the bottom.
2 pounds of pork
1 big white onion
1 tablespoon of Squeeze Garlic
2 tubs of Knorr Swiss Chicken In A Tub
6 cups water
1 pound red taters
1 to 2 cups (ish) of roasted, peeled, and chopped Hatch chilies*
1 tablespoon Chipotle Topper
Salt and pepper to taste.
(If cilantro doesn't taste like soap to you, chop some of that.)
Get out your big stew pot, cut your pork into one-inch cubes, and toss it into the pot on Medium-High with some oil. Chop your onion, bung it in there, too, and brown the pork.
Once the pork is brown, run the heat down to Medium, drain the oil, and toss in the garlic. Give it some stirs until you start to smell that lovely nutty aroma, add the water, and bump the heat back up to Medium-High.
While you're waiting for the boil, chunk your taters into 3/4(-ish) inch bits. When you get a rolling boil, throw in the taters and both the tubs of chicken. Chop the heat down, and let it all simmer for about an hour, or until the spuds are cooked.
Once that's done, throw in the Hatch chilies*, and the Chipotle Topper. Simmer for about another 15 minutes.
(Now is the time to stir in the cilantro, if you like, but not for me. Stuff tastes like diswashing detergent.)
Serve over rice, with a salad.
*Please be advised: Hatch chilies come in two heat levels. Mild, and Spiky. If you send someone to the market for some freshly roasted Hatch chilies, and they're not aware of this little fact, they may come back with some Spiky ones. Damned fine flavour, but if your guests are expecting the Mild chilies -- because Mild ones are all they've ever gotten from your kitchen -- and get a mouthful of Spiky chilies, there may be startled exclamations. Forewarned is forearmed.
By nature, by profession, and by training I bloody well hate crowds.
A man I admired once informed me that the IQ of a crowd could be ascertained by taking the lowest IQ of any single person in the crowd, and dividing that by the number of people in the crowd.
For myself, I always think of a crowd as one large, dumb, and happy organism ... right up until something decides to take a thunder run at the crowd, and it becomes a large, dumb, and dangerous organism.
Unfortunately, it is a Fact of Life that, upon occasion, crowds must be endured.
And while there are several types of dangerous crowds, and several ways in which a crowd presents a danger, the focus of today's musing is confined to that crowd phenomenon called the "crush" or the "stampede".
A "crush" is when a crowd takes it into its' multiple little mind that Something Bad Has Happened, and decides to unarse the A.O.
There are two things that should be noted here. 1) 90+% of all deaths resulting from a panicked crowd are from traumatic asphyxia or compression asphyxia; and 2) The majority of the victims of compression asphyxia will have died standing up.
The obvious question is: "LawDog, what is 'compression asphyxia'?"
Glad you asked.
When you get a large mass of dumb and panicked suddenly moving in one direction, Dumb and Panicked tends to bring a lot of force to the dance. How much force? At several scenes where fatal "crush" events have taken place, After Action Reviews of the incidents have revealed steel railings bent and deformed by nothing more than the press of multiple bodies. In at least one (the 1979 The Who concert stampede. I think) recreations of the accident show a horizontal application of force equaling about one thousand (1000) pounds.
One half of a ton of force, plus or minus, applied sideways.
It takes far less than that to compress the rib-cage of a normal human being to the point that they can no longer inhale. Without the ability to draw air into your lungs, unconsciousness sets in at ten to forty seconds, brain damage starts at about four minutes, and death follows fairly quickly after that.
"Traumatic asphyxia" or "compression asphyxia" is what happens when a squishy person gets between an immovable object -- such as a wall -- and the irresistible force of a mass of a panicked crowd.
So. How to avoid this?
First off, stay away from crowds. If you can't avoid that, stay away from crowds in confined spaces -- and by "confined space" I mean any place with more walls around the area than open air.
However, if you find yourself having to be in a confined space with a crowd, I'd like you to keep at least two things in mind:
1) Crowds are made up of people. And people are creatures of habit. One of those irritating little habits is that people want to go out of an area the same way that they came in. And that goes double when they're panicked.
When things go agley, and The Crowd decides that it's Time To Be Somewhere Else, The Crowd will escape the area the same way it came in. Only a lot faster, and damn the torpedoes.
That means that if 99% of The Crowd came into the dance venue by way of those two double doors right there, unless there's A Damned Fine Reason preventing such, when the crush happens, The Crowd is going to go right out those two double doors right there. At full, berserk speed. And they will do their damnedest to fit the entire Fire Marshal's Maximum Occupancy Number into that one doorway, all at the same time.
So, the best way to avoid this crunchy, sticky mess is to exercise some of that Situational Awareness when you first enter the venue, and spot at least two exits that aren't the main entrances.
Given our druthers, we'd like these exits to be unobtrusive, and on walls as far away from the walls that the main entrances are on as possible, but we'll take what we can get.
But what do I mean by "unobtrusive"? Find exits that Joe and Jane Average don't think of as exits. When you're standing in front of the counter at Mickey Ds, how many of you count the kitchen back-door as one of your exits?
When you're at the club, watching your very favourite band at a live show, and Murphy decides that it's just not your day, is there an exit for the entertainers behind the stage? Maybe another one for the booze delivery behind the bar? Might behoove us to find out either before going, or pretty ricky-tick after showing up, yes?
Things go pear-shaped, The Crowd heads back out through that single entrance door on the south wall, you need to be the guy skiting out the roadie smoke-pit door behind the stage on the north wall. Lot fewer folks trying to get up under your hat with you that way.
However it ends up, find another exit that every Tom, Dick, and Harriet won't be trying to get out of at the same time as you.
2) Think of a crowd as an ocean. Like an ocean, it has surges and currents, and when the stampede happens, think of it as a really strong current.
Now, you can't swim against a really strong current. You can try, but it's a pretty good way to wind up exhausted, and then dead.
When that mass of people -- the current -- starts rushing towards the exit, don't fight against it. There will be surges and pauses -- maybe so small as to only be noticed if you're looking for them, but those surges and pauses will be there. When the surge is on, go with the current, diagonally, towards the edge where the current -- the press of people -- isn't as strong, and (hopefully) away from anything you can get jammed up against. When the current pauses, slip between people, always heading for where the density of bodies is less.
As the current of people moves, it'll break around small immovable structures like pillars, staircases, vehicles. Stay away from the upstream side, where people are running and crushing into the structure. Instead, find the downstream side -- the lee side -- of the structure, if you need to pause.
However, I caution you against using the lee side of a structure for very long. Remember that whatever condition that started the panic in the first place may still be about, and may be looking to introduce itself to you. Pause in the lee. Re-orient yourself; Re-assess the situation; Re-acquire your goal/target; and drive on.
Lastly, always have two rendezvous points. The first one is where you exited your transportation, before entering the scene. The parking lot where you left your vehicle. The front of the structure where the taxi dropped you off. That's your default RP you should use for a normal evening.
However, in the slight chance that you didn't have a normal evening -- things went Biblically pear-shaped, a mass response by public servants was warranted, "Aloha Snackbar" was yelled, CNN is dotting their cupcakes in somber-yet-happy anticipation, dog and cats living together, whatever -- have someplace within walking distance where your entire party knows to go for a headcount.
This is more important than you'd think. In the aftermath of stampedes, riots, what have you, there are more people wandering around, looking for their buddies and generally getting in the way, than there should be.
When five of you went out for a night on the town, something went squishy, and all five of you are all right, but all five of you spend the entire bloody evening wandering around looking for each other, it creates a lot more stress and gnashing of teeth than is altogether good for every one's blood pressure.
For pity's sake, have a rendezvous point.
That should do for the quick-and-dirty on crush crowds. I'm for bed.
If tongue-scorching heat is your thing, this recipe probably isn't for you; but if you'd like a mild little chili that's done in less than an hour, you might give this one a try.
2 pounds chili-ground lean beef, or venison. (Hamburger meat will do, lean.)
1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 medium-to-large yellow onion
6 cloves of garlic
1 Chipotle cube
3 teaspoons(ish) chili powder (if you're not mad at Penzeys, sub in 1 teaspoon(ish) of their Chili 9000 for one of the regular chili powder)
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
1 can Rotel Fire-Roasted tomatoes & chilies
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I prefer fire-roasted, but up to you)
1 small can Hatch diced mild green chilies
Glug or so of a decent red table wine
Dice your onion, toss it into a frying pan, bung in your meat, and brown the whole mess. Drain off any grease, and dump into your chili pot.
Mince your garlic cloves, and drop them in. (I use squeeze garlic, but I'm lazy.) Put the chipotle cube into a bowl, and mush it into powder, add your chili powder and the smoked salt, muddle the mix a bit with a spoon, and toss it into the pot.
Stir in the Rotel, all of the other tomato, and the chilies. Simmer for about twenty minutes, glug in the wine, stir, simmer another ten minutes (plus or minus), then serve with shredded Mexican cheese mix and crackers.
Voila! Quick and dirty chili.
(Again, if you're looking for a spicy chili, this isn't for you. However, if you're not sure of the heat tolerance of your dinner guests, and don't have all day to simmer a proper chili, this might do you.)
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
~ Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in "The Friends of Voltaire".
As a man of fifty-plus years on this little green dirtball -- and a significant portion of that life outside of the United States -- I'm accustomed to thinking that if I haven't seen it all, I've seen enough to be able to handle the rest.
That was until recently, when the sheer number of folks calling for outright bans on the right to free speech -- and especially folks who should bloody well know better -- hit epidemic proportions.
Gentle Readers, free speech is messy. It is ugly, precisely because free speech that everyone agrees with does not require protections. Why would you protect speech that upsets no-one? Why would you need to?
Even worse is the call for the government to declare that certain speech is "hate speech" -- because getting the government involved always works out so well -- and to give the government (and the flawed, flawed humans who make up that government) the power to declare bans on certain speech.
To put it in simple language even a college student can understand: Do you really want President Mike Pence deciding what is protected speech, and what speech should be banned? Because that is what you're going to get in the future.
How about President Greg Abbott after Mission Creep gets into the mix?
How would you feel about President Ted Cruz deciding what speech you should go to jail for?
That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what you're setting yourself up for when you start yick-yacking about the government banning speech.
"But, LawDog," I hear you snivelling, "Some speech is an incitement to violence, and should be against the law."
You know what? Let's look at that.
I have heard folks chanting, "What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!" rather recently. About me, and those like me.
Is that not an incitement to violence? Ask Dallas PD, and their dead brothers. Should it not be "against the law"?
No. It is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
I can show any number of YouTube videos of imams calling for jihad, for the slaughter of Westerners, for the genocide of an entire people.
Is this not an incitement to violence? Ask the dead in San Bernadino, at Ft Hood, at Orlando, at the Boston Marathon. Should it not be "against the law"?
No. It is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
"But, LawDog, Nazi-related speech is banned in Germany!"
I don't give two hoots in hell about how they do things in Germany. You like their restriction on free speech -- move. Delta is ready when you are. Scram.
So. To break it down Barney-style: your calls to ban speech -- even Nazi speech -- is un-American. And once you've begged government to pass that first law banning speech, it's a simple amendment to expand those bans. Think about the absolute worst politician you can think of in the White House. Worse than Trump -- because they're out there, and they've got as good a chance at the Oval Office as Donald J. Trump had -- think about that politician being able to amend a law banning speech.
The wearing of the burqa is a free speech issue. Think there isn't a politician out there somewhere that would love to ban the wearing of the burqa? Just one little quiet midnight amendment to an already existing law you're trying to give to government.
Pro-choice? How's that work out when free speech regarding the issue is banned? Anyone reading this think there isn't a politician who wouldn't dot their cupcakes at the ability to ban speech about abortion? You really want to let their nose under the tent?
Think about whatever hot-button issue you have that gets people into a tizzy, and realise that somewhere there is a politician who thinks your hot-button issue is an affront to their Dear and Fuzzy God; or your hot-button issue is a Danger to the Morals Of The Children -- and then think about that politician with their paw on a Ban-Button you already handed to the government.
If you get your little ban passed -- for all the right reasons -- and a future President and/or Congress expands those bans -- for all the right reasons (and they will) -- and you come crying to me and those like me to fix the issue you demanded ...
I'm warning you now: your proposed ban on Nazi speech will be expanded in the future to ban speech you don't think should be banned.
And when that happens -- you called down the lightning, you deal with it; you take your casualties, and your lumps.
I think most of my Gentle Readers will be happy to discover that there are some Africa stories in there that have never graced the pages of this blog.
Then I think I'll go catatonic for a bit, because pounding that one out so quickly was one ... interesting ... experience.
It'll have to be a short spell of not thinking, because I've got a short story due for a zombie anthology, another short story for a mil-sci anthology; and I'm going to dabble my fingers in the world of self-publishing with a Rural Fantasy book that's been kicking it's way around my brain for a while.
For now, though, I'm going to turn off my brain and sleep for a bit.