The Death of American Journalism

Gun Violence

Recently I perused the “Gun Violence Archive.”  It’s a website that catalogs the toll from “gun violence” without distinction: if a thug trying to stab a woman is shot by the police, well, that’s “gun violence.”  Personally I think of it as smart policing.  But while the website is long on statistics, it sure is short on follow up.

The one good thing about the site is that it links to the news story that reports the incident of “gun violence.”  If you had any doubt that the media is unfairly characterizing everything as “gun violence” and believes that only the NRA is responsible for it, all you need do is look at the reporting of these incidents to find the truth.

Incomplete Reporting

First we have an report about a man arrested in a fatal north Minneapolis shooting.  See the additional reports here.

Here is what’s interesting: there is no information about shooter other than who he is.  What he did, what weapon he used, whether he had a record, or anything else is not reported.  Just “man arrested after shooting.”  So, would a little detective work tell us more about this?  Probably, but that assumes that the media is interested enough in the crime to report on it through the charging and trial stages. Clearly the television media are not. A more complete report of the incident is found here.  In that report we learn that the violence involved a woman, and that two handguns were used. Curiously, no one thought to inquire about whether Brown was a prohibited possessor.  Amazing, no? Given the individuals involved and the tenor of the reporting, it is clear no one wanted to know the answer.

Another story on the site talks about a domestic violence episode that killed a young woman.  Here is the story.  And it sticks in my craw as an example of negligent prosecution.

Deferred Prosecution?  Really?

One of the things that gun control advocates talk about is how important background checks are, but they omit the fact that even the best legal system can be gamed.  That appears to be what the shooter here did. According to the story, “In 2001, Thompson was charged with unlawful carrying of a handgun in Dallas County; that charge was dismissed in 2003 after he completed deferred-adjudication probation.” In other words, there was no conviction because the prosecutor allowed a guy charged with unlawful carrying of a handgun to get a deferred prosecution agreement.  In those cases the charge is dismissed if the person completes the probation.  But, here’s the rub: clearly the guy had an arrest record, just not a conviction, and should never have been in possession of a firearm.  In short, no gun crime of any kind should ever get deferred prosecution because it is unlikely in the extreme to be a situation where things will work out down the road.

Then we have the story of a young man who had just been released from prison for involvement in gang activity.  He had spent two years there, and told his mother that people were gunning for him when he got out. Sure enough, he was shot to death:

Again, the article here talks about the gang violence, but never points out that gang members don’t buy their firearms at the local Bass Pro.  They steal them, or pay someone else to steal them.  And as story after story on this site demonstrates, follow up on these cases is almost non-existent.  Many of the stories end with “anyone with information should call….” Right!  Like that’s going to happen in a gang-related homicide.

The Sob Story

But the media is not scared to tell us a sob story when it advances the gun control narrative.  Read this one:


There is no question that this incident of domestic violence should never have happened, but while the article does not explicitly say he used a handgun, that is a fair understanding based on the police saying they found the gun in his hand.  Curiously, no one in the media ever mentions that a 19 year old cannot lawfully buy a pistol, and cannot lawfully carry a pistol.  The one good thing about the story is that the scumbag saved the taxpayers the money of a trial and shot himself to death.

Other than posting the original story, the archive offers only the raw statistical information.  So, I wondered if there were stories from several months ago with more involved reporting.  Picking several different stories at random from the week of April 14, I tried to google for additional information about the murders, and the suspects where they were identified.  Little to no additional information was available, indicating that when a person is murdered in many of the larger cities in this country, and the murderer is not immediately caught, there is almost no chance that a suspect will be identified and caught.  Numerous “gang-related” shootings (many where the newspaper states “witnesses say…”) had no useful leads for police.  In many of these gang-related shootings is seems that police simply collect the remains, process the evidence, and chalk up the death to gang activity.

Given that there are so many of these murders committed in the US every day (we’re over 4,800 for the year) I cannot imagine why anyone who was legally able to carry a firearm for protection would not do so.  But, of course, that aspect of the reporting would never be published because it goes against the main media narrative that you, and I, and the NRA are responsible for all these deaths.  It seems pretty obvious from some of these crimes that if guns were not available people would still be dead, they’d just be dead from a different cause.

I think we can officially say that American Journalism is dead.

Supreme Court Watch

The “Muslim Ban”

It’s funny, in a “knowledgeable observer” sort of way, to see the headlines today on the New York Times. News writers aghast that the Supreme Court would do the unthinkable and uphold the “Muslim Ban.”  Of course, the ban isn’t really a muslim ban.  It’s an exercise of the President’s lawful authority under the Constitution as Commander in Chief and his legislatively-enacted ability to restrict entry to the country.  But, of course, to the leftist-gun-grabbing-sky-is-falling news writers, it’s the apocalypse.

From the first opinion written by the first judge presented with the ban (liberal judges, in liberal states, like California and Hawaii) it was clear the injunctions would never hold up and that the judges were legislating from the bench in their quest to undermine the President.  Make no mistake, there was never any legitimate legal reason that the President could not do what he did.  The judges knew that, but they wrote their opinions for the newspapers, not for the Supreme Court.

Then the Ninth Circuit weighed in.  The Ninth, where serial sexual harassers go to exercise judicial power, is the most reversed circuit in the country.  The bench is overpopulated with die hard liberals from the Berkeley campus. Again, their opinions, championed by newspapers everywhere as evidence that Mr. Trump had lost his mind, were written for public consumption, not to withstand review by the Supreme Court. In the initial opinions they did not even cite to the relevant statutes that permitted the President to do what he did. Instead, they filled it with a lot of liberal angst about how awful we were treating a class of invaders who want nothing more than to kill us where we live, sleep, and worship.  But little by little the walls erected by these inferior courts (inferior in the truest sense here) have been disassembled by the Supreme Court which allowed large parts of the travel restrictions to go into force when they overturned the temporary injunctions.  Now the wall will crumble completely.  Look for the opinion to be written by Gorsuch or Thomas, and look for it to excoriate the lower courts for their arrogation of judicial power – power that truly does not exist under case law.

Death for DACA

The next major test will be the DACA injunctions put in place by the same malignantly liberal judiciary.  I can’t wait to see how that gets argued at the Supreme Court.  “Let me see if I understand this right:  you believe that what Mr. Obama did, which he admitted he had no power to do, and which he did unlawfully, cannot be lawfully undone by the President?  You would have us continue the unlawful program because it comports with your views?” Oh, yes, the tickets for that oral argument will sell out in a day, I can assure you.  I wonder if you can get them on StubHub?

Gun Bans Will Fail

And the next major challenges will be to the bans enacted in Vermont, Illinois, Florida and elsewhere over the Parkland Shooting.  Another example of “feelgood lawmaking” gone bad, the bans will fail because they go against the settled law announced by the Supreme Court.  Whether this will happen at the district court level or the appeals court level remains to be seen, but look for the Supreme Court to need to review that issue too.  Here’s what will happen.

In Illinois the corrupt federal system will ensure that the challenge to the Illinois statute goes to a hand-picked liberal federal district court judge who will take a minimum of six months to issue an opinion.  They know they’re wrong, and they will be hoping for a sea change at the Supreme Court before the issue gets there.

The Seventh Circuit will then take up the challenge after the liberals uphold the statute.  Although it could go favorably to the Second Amendment there, I predict that the statute will be upheld in spite of Heller and its progeny.  That will set up an appeal to the Supreme Court where that ban, along with all the bans related to specific types of “assault weapons” (that are not actually assault weapons) will fail.  Again, the left will push to repeal the Second Amendment, and the sane people of the United States will properly say “Uh, no thanks!”

What Needs to Happen

But, here’s what I would really like to see out of the Supreme Court.  I would like to see the Supreme Court personally rebuke the judges who issued the bad opinions in the earlier cases.  I want to see them called out and put on notice that if they continue to play politics with the law the Supreme Court will recommend their removal from office.  If you want the courts to work right, the Supreme Court needs to be able to police the lower courts and impose sanctions with teeth.  I would suggest restricting the offending judges to criminal matters and restricting their ability to act on requests for injunctive relief for a period of four years while the judges read case law and learn what the law is, instead of what they would like it to be.  It will never happen, I realize, but that’s what I’d like to see.  And, if you’re going to dream, dream big.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Politics

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics….  Mark Twain

A Kansas labor lawyer, Brent Welder, running for Congress sent me the following email:

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 10.23.49 AM

No one holds politicians to account for their lies, but I am going to do so here.  Mr. Welder starts with the proposition that 67% of Americans support a complete ban on “assault weapons.”  Perhaps Mr. Welder would like to look in the United States Code that, as a labor lawyer he should be familiar with.  An “assault weapon” is capable of fully-automatic fire.  No assault weapons are sold to the general public.  The only way to secure an automatic firearm is to pay for the tax stamp and go through the paperwork for the ATF.  The idea that “assault weapons” even exist, or that the AR-15 is one, are in fact creatures of marketing and advertising gurus working for the Evil Empire (aka, the Democratic Party).

Have you ever noticed that when people cite “the latest polling” they never cite the actual poll, or list the actual polling questions.  That’s because when you ask the question this way:

Do you support a total ban on fully automatic firearms firing multiple big bullets out of a big scary black-looking rifle designed only to kill lots of people?

You get a different answer than if you ask the question this way:

Do you support a total ban on modern sporting firearms?

But, you see, they do not ask the question in a reasonable manner, because when they do the answer is almost always reasonable.  As every lawyer knows, sometimes, the answer is not important, it’s the question!

Here’s the other part of that problem:  Did you ever notice they don’t disclose the demographics of who they polled.  A “nationwide poll” could simply be a poll of people in Hollywood and people in New York City.  That’s “nationwide” from a polling perspective, and it skews remarkably the results in favor of gun control because urban dwellers have different view than us rural folk.

And they also do not disclose how many Democrats, Republicans, and Independents they surveyed because, again, that would give away the game.  When you survey 67% Democrats, you get a 67% Democratic response.  Duh!

Then there is this giant canard about “97% support background checks for all gun buyers.”  Maybe Mr. Welder should read the Brady Bill which required this very thing.  If you go into a gun store to buy a gun, you get a background check.  The idea that there are gaps in the system is again, a creature of marketing.  But, here we can expose the real hidden agenda behind the “Universal Background Check” pushers:  Gun Registration.

Let’s suppose that if I sell you my Glock 21, I have to get a background check on you.  If I bought that from another person, and there is no record of the transaction, how is anyone going to know I sold it to you?  Unless…

Yes, that’s right, unless you and I have to both go to a gun store, pay a transaction free, and fill out federal paperwork, or what is de facto registration of all firearms.  You see, it is not the background check they care about, it’s knowing who has guns, and who doesn’t.  That makes them easier to confiscate when that is really the end game of the gun control crowd.

Also, it would be a really good thing if people like Mr. Welder, the politician du jour who wants to grab your guns, actually knew a thing or two about guns in the first place.  You can find out all about Brent Welder’s hardscrabble upbringing in Iowa on his website.  You can learn that he ate hot dogs for every meal because it was all they could afford (I’m crying my eyes out, seriously). But, one wonders why, being from Iowa, he didn’t simply go hunt deer.  Perhaps because, like many left-wing Iowans, he grew up in a gun-free family, doesn’t know the first thing about guns, hasn’t shot a gun, and doesn’t even know which end the cartridge goes into, let alone where the bullet comes out.  You discern this from his rags to riches story and the fact that he has supported every far-left-wing nutjob that has ever campaigned for public office.  At least there are no phony pictures of him bird hunting.

Could Brent Welder field strip an AR-15?  Could he perform immediate action?  Could he do a tap & rack on a Glock 19?  Doubtless reading this Mr. Brent would come to the conclusion that I’m speaking a foreign language.  So….if he doesn’t understand guns, why is he trying to regulate them?  I mean, my house uses electric heat, but that doesn’t qualify me as an expert on utility rates or nuclear power plants.  But, sure enough, this is exactly the kind of “experience” Democrats are pushing.  Not real-world, practical experience, but the experience of running campaigns, organizing labor unions that steal worker’s money to fund big-wig pensions, and supporting candidates that would make Karl Marx grin with glee.

Still, I admire the way the left goes at this issue.  They lie, cheat and steal with absolute glee, and it is “ungentlemanly” to call them out on it.  So our Republicans just harrumph a little and ignore them.

The hell with that.

Let’s take them on.

If just a dozen well-informed gun-rights-supporting people would attend a rally for these misfits, and take them to task, and tell them up front how wrong they are (or, how about this:  invite them to go shooting) we could make some progress here.

Getting solicitations like this from Kansas makes me very glad to live in Florida where, we may not be perfect all the time, but we sure get a lot more right on guns than we get wrong.

The Russian Judges

I used to believe that journalists were like baseball umpires.  They called them like they saw them, playing it straight down the middle.  They gave both sides of a story even if they slanted it one way or another.  I have now come to the conclusion that they are more like the Russian judge in figure skating: they know the rules, but they only apply them to the other guys.  Their side (liberals) don’t do anything wrong.

Now, there are a few exceptions.  Most of the folks at Fox are pretty good (Shepard Smith excluded).  Sara Carter and several other independent journalists are likewise pretty good.  But by and large the media covering DC are so entrenched on the Democrat gravy train that they cannot report the truth because they don’t believe it.

You may think that’s unfair.  You may be thinking, well, surely when its news and not politics they play down the middle!  Really?  Consider these examples:

  • It has been several months since the Las Vegas shooting and we still know nothing about what really happened.  The FBI and the Las Vegas MPD have simply clammed up, not saying a word about who, what, or why.  If this had been an assignation with a stripper involving a Republican, they’d have reporters on it 24/7.  But, other than the deaths that the left can use to push an anti-gun agenda, no one reporting the news cares that the FBI has buried this like the bastard son of a 12th century king.
  • Wall to wall coverage of the Parkland shooting, with tearful students and their supposed “grass roots” organization, yet no coverage of the students that didn’t take that position.
  • No outrage or coverage of the multiple Broward Sheriff Department failures.
  • No outrage or coverage of the failure to institutionalize Cruz.
  • No outrage and only minimal coverage of the FBI’s multiple sequential failure to prevent a known potential serial killer from going off.
  • Media were all over the Maryland high school shooting until it was learned that a good guy with a gun, an armed school resource officer, stopped the killing.  With a gun.  He used a gun.  Therefore the media cannot report it, or make a big deal over it.
  • Countless deaths in Chicago from gang-on-gang violence with firearms, but no mention that it has the most draconian gun laws in the country but that these laws fail to stop the killing.

In effect, the media covers and highlights only what it wants to cover, and only what furthers the agenda of the Democratic party.  They fail to cover the hundreds of thousands of crimes by illegal aliens (preferring to euphemize them as “undocumented immigrants” — as if their only crime was not have documents).  But let ICE pull one off the street and send them packing, and you’ll hear about it for weeks: ICE Destroys Family Unit!  No, ICE did not destroy that family unit, the knucklehead who came here and broke the law did; but they’ll never tell that side of the story.

It is well past the time when we, as gun owners, should start asking questions of our local reporters and national media: when will you cover the real stories.

For me, that time needs to come sooner rather than later.

Sig Sauer P320 Range Report

I am pleased to report that the United States Army made a good decision to go with the Sig Sauer P320 for its Modular Handgun System.  This is my range report on my P320RX with the Romeo1 sight.

Up until last Friday I had not had the opportunity to take the Sig Sauer P320 to the range and check it out.  It felt like a very nice handgun.  It felt really good in my hand.  It had that solid feel that a well-made gun has.  But, from the outset, I was afraid there would be issues.  For example, the cap that covers the Romeo sight on the pistol simply would not stay put.  That was irritating; I finally just took it off.

The next problem I noticed, in dry-fire (snap cap) practice, was that it was hard to get a natural point of aim that allowed me to use the red dot to fire.  I almost immediately had a form of buyer’s remorse that I had spent close to $1000 on a pistol I might not actually like or be able to use.

But, of course, the worst problem I had was that the P320RX with the Romeo sight was sort of a bastard firearm.  None of the big guys made a holster to fit it.  Aliengear did not.  Nate-Squared Tactical did not.  Even some of the lesser names did not offer a holster that accommodated a red dot sight.  And even some of those that claim to make Kydex holsters to fit guns with lights and lasers (a natural fit I would assume) did not make one for the P320RX.  There is a dent in my office wall from where my head kept crashing into it!

But one of my chief assets is tenacity, and I am nothing if not dogged in search of a solution.  I finally found, on Amazon, a holster by Concealment Express.  I found it by accident.  I looked at a question that dealt specifically with my weapon, and the answer was “no, it doesn’t fit.”  But right after it Concealment Express had posted an answer that said “try this one,” with the link to the correct holster.

Like a chicken on a June Bug I jumped on that link and ordered the ridiculously low-priced holster for $34.95 (free two day Prime shipping).  It came on Friday and my comments about how the holster performed are found here.

So, the P320.

First, if you were doing target shooting that nonsense I wrote about a natural point of aim might be relevant for the first ten or so shots.  After that you adapt to the Romeo sight pretty easily.  But, what I found in practice at the 5 yard, 7 yard practice lines, was that I rarely ever got the weapon up to eye level before I fired, using essentially a kind of point-shooting that I have always used.  I found that my combat accuracy with the Sig was at about 80%, and will likely improve with practice.  I found this Sig to be the most natural firearm I have ever used.  The recoil was manageable, follow-up shots were easy, and at 5 to 7 yards, combat accuracy for me was excellent.

In the first 100 or so rounds I had probably half a dozen stovepipes with the P320, but this is an ammo thing.  I bought some cheap ammo from Academy.  It was the culprit, not the P320.  Once I went to Winchester and Remington 9 mm ammo, everything was terrific.

As I mentioned in another post, I am very much happier with the Sig (which does not have an ambi safety) than I am with the S&W M&P Model 2.0.  The S&W I wind up losing up to second because I forget to drop the safety.  So I spent the remainder of the range time that day working on that because in a stress situation, you do what you have done in practice, and I want to make damn sure if there’s a safety that I am taking it off.

This first video here is from my two target drill, with two shots to both targets.  I consistently shot this two target drill in about 3.5 seconds.


This next one is from a side view in a similar drill.

As you can see the P320 performed very well.  And in shooting from 15 yards for accuracy, the red dot was zeroed perfectly, right from the factory.


All in all, the P320 gets a thumbs up from me in terms of operation.

Cleaning was interesting too.  I’ve cleaned lots of Glocks and other pistols, but this is the first one I got to take the guts out of to clean.  I rather liked that.  I know for certain now that all of my pistol’s inner workings are clean and free of fouling.  There are several very long-winded videos on You Tube on how to disassemble and clean this pistol, but I simply followed the very informative instructions in the manual, and it worked very well.

I give the P320 a full 15 round magazine of approval!

Shot Timers Aid Training

If you’re like me, you probably have thought, what does anyone need a shot timer for?  I realized that they were used in shooting matches, etc., but I don’t think I ever appreciated what a useful adjunct they are to training.  Like the Go Pro camera, mentioned here,  the Shot Timer is an excellent addition to your range day, if for no other reason than to see what your response times, draw times, and second target response times are in a crisis situation.  This is a shot timer:IMG_6276

A shot timer, for those of you who do not know, works by measuring the overpressure wave from a gun’s discharge.  They can be used in two ways.  In IDPA and other competitive shooting events, after a shooter announces ready, the buzzer on the unit is triggered and the response time and split times between targets is measured as part of the score-keeping that goes on.IMG_6281

When used for training, you can set a random delay up to 4 seconds where the shot timer, after being pushed, will wait a random interval before giving you the beep.  You then fire whatever drill you want, and the result is whatever the result is.

This Friday I set up my range at the gun club with two targets at 7 yards.range1  I wanted to see whether “boarding house rules” was an effective strategy for me to use.  For those of you who do not know, boarding house rules say everyone gets a first helping before anyone gets seconds.  So, one shot to both, and then follow up shots.  After playing around a little, I determined that these rules are probably not going to work for me.  At 62 I am much slower on execution than I was at 19, and as a result, I am not going to shoot each target once, then shoot each target a second time.  Not and live to tell the tale.

So after experimenting, I applied the drill I recorded in an earlier post, and repost here:

Drill First Second Third Fourth
1 1.93 .28 1.2 .26
2 1.62 .24 .79 .23
3 1.41 .76 .59 .45
4 1.47 .20 .93 .44

Average First Shot:  1.60

Here is what some of that data look like:IMG_6280

It took me an average of 1.6 seconds to draw my weapon and get off the second shot, and an additional .3 seconds to get off the second shot.  The third shot came in around .85 seconds, and the fourth about .37 seconds.

I would stand closer to one target than the other, and, applying what I learned in the Army that the guy closest to you can kill you quickest, I shot the closest, and then the next closest with two rounds each.  I then set the range up with targets at 5 and 7 yards, offset somewhat.

I did the same thing, with roughly repeatable results.  The information derived from the shot timer has been very helpful.

And, while we’re on it, a word about targets.  This is one of the targets I use.IMG_6269 You can see the other in this video:


As you will notice, the targets are not flapping in the wind.  They stay put.  I bought these in bulk from Omaha Targets.  They are all-weather, durable targets, and they are a dream to staple to the range beams for practice.  It is rare when a product exceeds my expectations.  Usually, I am disappointed.  I can’t tell you how many targets have torn while being stapled to the target posts.  Not these!  These stay put, don’t tear, and are easy to both put up and take down.  The selection on line is truly amazing, with lots of different photo targets similar to those shown above.  Pretty much any kind of target you can think of, they have.  They truly get the job done.  I will be buying more of these from this company!



Concealment Express Holsters

I learned a valuable lesson this weekend.  Comfortable is not the thing to look for in a holster.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with a comfortable holster as such, but a comfortable holster that is hard to draw from is…well…a death sentence.  Let me explain.

I bought a holster from a company I used previously for my Smith & Wesson M&P Model 2.0 Compact, and it fit well.  It also covered that rather scratchy part of the danged grip that feels like you’re sitting next to a porcupine.  It was, in a word, comfortable.  But it had not come in the first time I went to the range, so I used an Aliengear holster that worked for the Glock 19.  It wasn’t perfect, but it worked and I could draw from it.  I just had that “porcupine” problem that the new holster solved.

So, being the smart guy I am, I got my comfortable holster and have been wearing it for the last two months.  All’s good, right?

Up until Friday, I would have agreed.  But Friday I went to the range, and try as I might, I could not wear my pants with the belt cinched in a way that didn’t show my butt, and still draw from that holster.  In essence, there is a twist associated with the draw stroke that, in an emergency (or a perceived emergency, is going to cost you an average of 1.7 extra seconds.  How do I know this?  I used a shot timer.

My P320 RX however, was much harder to fit into a holster, and I had waited going to the range until I had a holster that fit it. img_1366 That came from Concealment Express (via Amazon) on Friday morning, and I put it to use Friday afternoon.  It is Kydex on both sides, and as a result, feels a little bit like someone shoved rock between your waistline and your belt.IMG_6273  It was not particularly comfortable at 3 o’clock on my hip, but completely workable, if not greatly comfortable, at the 5 o’clock position.

Using the first holster and the M&P it took me an average of 3.5 seconds to get off my first shot.  In other words, I was worm-food in a gun fight.  With the Sig and the Concealment Express holster, my first shot came in between 1.4 and 1.8 seconds every time.

Here are the strings:


Drill First Second Third Fourth
1 4.19 .23 1.16 .24
2 3.11 .25 .84 .22
3 2.96 .76 .88 .23
4 2.76 .29 .81 .22

Average First Shot:  3.25


Drill First Second Third Fourth
1 1.93 .28 1.2 .26
2 1.62 .24 .79 .23
3 1.41 .76 .59 .45
4 1.47 .20 .93 .44

Average First Shot:  1.60

Difference:  1.65 seconds


That’s a heap of difference in a situation where lead flies and lives are what’s at risk.

Having worn the holster now for several days, I am much more comfortable with it at the 4:30 to 5:00 position than where I normally wear my concealed carry pistol, and that will take some getting used to.  But the holster itself has excellent retention (you can insert the pistol, hold it upside down, shake it, and the pistol doesn’t fall out).  The belt clip is very secure, and more importantly, the pistol does not rattle on your body, being held up close to your body by the Kydex (though, perhaps not as close as if the back were leather).  Though it doesn’t have any leather in it, it is I think maybe the best Kydex-alone holster I’ve used. I have tried the Sig and Safariland holsters (don’t care for their retention devices). Most of those would be best in OWB.  The great thing about this one is it can be IWB or OWB as you choose, and more importantly, it can be right hand or left hand, as you choose.  For $34.95 you are unlikely to find a better, more serviceable holster.


Semper Paratus

My guess is that if  you heard someone hum the first few lines of The Navy Anthem “Anchors Aweigh” you’d recognize it immediately.  The same for the Marine’s Hymn and the Air Force song about the Wild Blue Yonder.  Likely you’d get the Army song too.  But there is likely one you would not get, and that is particularly sad, because its words speak volumes about what they do.  You can listen to it here.

The song is entitled Semper Paratus, Latin, which means “always prepared.”  In my view it is the perfect motto for the concealed carrier.  At every moment of every day, we should be semper paratus.

I don’t know what your experience as a concealed carrier has been (I hope you’ll share it in comments), but I have noticed I am seeing a lot more things than I used to.  I find myself looking at men’s waistbands for telltale bulges, and at how close to a person’s midsection their hands tend to stay.  I’ve found myself looking at anyone who adjusts their shirt or clothing, because as a new carrier, I found myself doing that constantly (a habit I had to force myself to break).  I no longer park close to vans, and even if it is the only slot left in the parking lot, I won’t park between two vans or trucks.  It simply limits visibility way too much.  At night, I park under the street light in the parking lot, even if means I am parking further from the door.  Even if the door is closer, if there is limited light, or I cannot clearly see people around the door, I won’t park close.  I also look around 360 degrees.  When you are engaged in mechanical tasks (like opening or locking your car door) your mind is engaged in something, and you’re vulnerable.

I carry a flashlight at dusk or thereafter, everywhere.  So that when I return to my car from the store or mall, I can check around the car.  At night, I walk with my wife to the car door and I put her in.  I do not let her get in by herself.  No, it’s not chivalry so much as making sure she can’t be harmed by someone looking to steal the car, or her purse, etc.  Light not only causes vampires to withdraw, it usually sends criminals scurrying back like the cockroaches they are.

In order to do these things, and make them work for you, these things have to become a habit.  If they do not become a habit, if you do not pick up that flashlight and put it in your pocket before you leave the house, then you are left with good luck determining your fate.  Luck is a finicky mistress, and she’s just as likely to shiv you as kiss you.

Because I do forget sometimes, I have flashlights in the car.  I rarely use them now, but they are there specifically for the times I do forget.  And I try to remember to change the batteries every six months.  I actually put it on my calendar for work.  Reminders are very good things!

I have also been bad about forgetting my cell phone, an absolute no-no for concealed carriers.  You want to be the one who calls 911 (because you become the victim); you do not want a bystander to describe a crazy man with a gun.  And, even when they recognize you’re the victim, people say and do really stupid things.  I do not believe in trusting my fate to others. So I now store my phone with my car keys so that I can’t get one without getting the others.

Habits are important things. Not only can they help insure your safety, when all else fails, they can insure you survive.

Recently I read an article where someone recommended doing a “press check” before holstering the weapon and going about your business.  I wondered “what the hell is a press check?”  Turns out that it is the act of pushing your pistol out of battery to see if you have a round chambered (apparently necessary in Glocks because they do not have a chamber-loaded indicator).  Most people advise against this tactic because taking your gun out of battery is never a good idea, and it may not go back fully into battery without some force.  I have never done a press check.  The reason I have never done it is because I know, at all times, whether a round is chambered.  Additionally, I treat every gun as if it were always chambered with a live round, even if I have just finished cleaning it and it has no magazine, and even if it can’t fire without a magazine, because that’s how I trained.  So the idea that I would need to “check and see” that the gun is loaded is just crazy.  The gun on my hip is loaded, even if it isn’t loaded, because all guns are loaded.  If you carry a weapon and do not know whether there is a round in the chamber, you should not be carrying a weapon.  You should be in a nice quiet environment with helpful nurses and that lovely juice that makes you sing happy songs.

Pasteur is rumored to have said that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  I think a better way to say that is the bad luck is what happens when lack of preparation meets calamity.  In almost every instance where someone gets hurt, “bad luck” can be traced back to a failure to prepare or plan.  Exhibit A: Nicholas Cruz, anyone?

Situational awareness is important, but good habits and good preparation on a daily basis are also very important.

Do you have a habit of cleaning and oiling your weapons every week to two weeks even if you haven’t fired them?  Do  you inspect your holster every week for signs of wear, weak connections, or weak clips?  Do you periodically switch magazines so that you’re carrying a magazine with a strong spring rather than one that’s been weakened by remaining loaded since Queen Elizabeth was coronated? Do you fire your personal protection loads at least once a year and replace them?  These are things you should put on your calendar.

Early on in combat medic training in the Army we were told to always inventory our medical bags every day to make sure that (a) everything we needed was there; and (b)  that some other schmuck hadn’t taken something out, when we were not looking, that we might need later.

About 12 weeks into my first deployment we got a call for a company first sergeant who was having trouble breathing.  We went to the unit, walked in, and found that he was no longer having trouble breathing: he had quit.  We started CPR, and my partner realized, much to his annoyance, that he had forgotten to get his ambu bag (the device we use to breathe for people).  He had to do mouth-to-mouth on the guy until I could get mine assembled and over to him.  To this day the guy can’t eat creamed corn!  It was only like 30 seconds, but he said it was the worst 30 seconds of his life.  It taught me a valuable lesson.  After that, I never borrowed his ambu bag again, and I returned the one I had borrowed the day before but did so after he went to brush his teeth.  I do not believe he ever was any the wiser.  But I was.  I learned a valuable lesson.

If you want to be successful as a concealed carrier, identify the habits that you need to be successful.  Incorporate those habits into your daily life.  And train as often as you can.  Life is short.  Don’t make it shorter by being a putz.

Let George Do It

Old Time Radio

Back in the 1940s there was a very popular radio show where people with difficult problems or issues would call on the series hero, “George Valentine” as a private investigator and he would “do it” meaning he would solve their problem.  The show starred Bob Bailey and can still sometimes be heard on Sirius XMs Radio Classics channel.

Murder Rate Correlation

I spent a large part of yesterday trying to correlate murder rates in large cities to some some definitive predictor of what was most likely the cause in fact of higher murder rates.

The first thing I looked at was gun control.

Two of the cities were very high, with Baltimore, Maryland, having a murder rate of 57.8 per 100,000 population, a stratospheric number.  Chicago also had a very high murder rate, and it has gotten worse since the statistics from 2015 were the last set used.  Both of these cities have draconian gun control laws, and it has done absolutely nothing to stop the spread of crime and the huge number of murders they experience.

“Ah ha!” I said, “I’ve found the key.”

And this of course explains why you don’t use data sets of two.  Because St. Louis, Missouri, where there is constitutional carry (but not in 2015) has a murder rate of  59.8, and concealed carry has been the law there for roughly seven years.  So, gun control, or at least, gun control alone, does not predict murder rates.

What about race? Does race predict high murder rates?  The answer is no, there is an exceptionally weak correlation.  The one factor that really stood out was political control.  In all the cities the mayor was a Democrat.  Except, again, that did not track with murder rates.  St. Louis has a democrat mayor, but so does Albuquerque, NM, with a murder rate of 2.2

As I sat there thinking about it, I recognized that at least part of the problem might be what I call the “illusion of safety” that comes from living in a city with a police organization and active presence.

Urban v. Non-Urban

Murder rates in Texas, as a general rule are lower, even for big cities, than are the murder rates in more eastern states and cities.  It occurred to me that one reason for this could well be the perception among Texans that they are responsible for their own personal defense, and the fact that this ethic is hard-wired into Texans.

In short, murder rates in urban areas always outstrip murder rates in suburban areas, in part for reasons of mobility (suburban travel requires a car; travel inside a city can be by foot).  Additionally, population density provides both more targets of opportunity and more targets of happenstance (kids hit by stray bullets).  Residents of cities tend to have more human contact and more divergent human contact than those in outlying areas.  It creates the “perfect storm” where conditions allow mayhem to grow out of misunderstandings.

Safety in Numbers?

There is a perception deep-wired into all of us that there is safety in numbers, that when we are with, say, ten people, our odds are better than when we’re alone.  Yet the kinds of indiscriminate fire that accompany gang violence actually makes it less safe if the one that is being shot at is close to you or your group.  As important, when there is a greater population, even where there is a greater number of police, they have a much higher volume of calls.  Add to that the issue that half of those calls amount to asking people to simply be reasonable with one another, and again, there is an explanation for why it takes the police an hour, sometimes, to respond to a call.

That doesn’t mean there are not problems with enforcement priorities too.  For example, in my town of Miramar Beach, Florida, over Spring Break the Walton County Sheriff’s office devotes a large number of officers to stopping under-age drinking.  There is no doubt this makes driving safer.  However, when you have three cop cars converging on a small 4 bedroom house to arrest under-age drinkers that are drinking, in private, behind a gate, by a pool, that suggests that your priorities may be a bit out of order.  I fully understand that you break the law whether anyone sees you or not, but the bottom line is, kids in that house had come home to drink in private and would not have been on the road.

Nevertheless, the idea that you’re safer in a crowded city than on your own in the country is a fiction.  It’s a fiction because in the country, you are 911.  You have to be prepared to defend yourself, because the sheriff is likely at least half an hour away.  In the city, with neighbors all around, you may feel safer, but you are not going to be safer.

My thesis is that those in the confines of a city trust their police to protect them, and don’t learn that this trust is misplaced (in the sense that there are not enough police, not from the standpoint that the police won’t do all they can), until the wolf is at the door.  Then, with nothing to stand in the way of the criminal, they either get robbed, raped or murdered.  It is sad, and it is preventable.

Live in the Moment

Let George Do It may be a great slogan for a radio show, but it is a very poor way to live your life or provide for your own personal security.  We have an intrusion alarm, two dogs, and multiple firearms at our house.  In our home, no one is going to sneak up on us.  And we are more than willing to let the police handle any intrusion.  Our plan is to converge on the bedroom with the fast-action gun safe, lock the door, warn the intruder, and wait for the police.  But if one comes through the bedroom door, that intruder will be met with all the force legal under the circumstances. Similarly, when we are out, we take note of our surroundings, and if something doesn’t look right, we retreat to somewhere that’s safe.  We never pull up right behind someone else at a stop light, and we never ever drive with windows down. The one thing that carjacking victims, robbery victims, and other violent crime victims all say is “it happened so fast!”  In truth, it happened in real time, but it seemed fast because their minds were engaged mentally on something else until they were jarred into a fight for survival.

Don’t be that guy (or gal).

Sig Sauer P320

It was back in December when I bought my last firearm.  At the time I got a S&W M&P 2.0 in 9mm, the compact variety, and really liked it.  I enjoyed shooting it at the range, but in training I learned that the safety was a clear impediment in terms of rapid action in an emergency.  During training at least twice I found that the safety hung me up, and kept me from getting off a shot on time.  At one point my time was 3 seconds to draw.  Yikes!  That’s head to the morgue time.

So, although I have a Glock 19 (and a 17, and a 34, and a 22, 26, 27, and 21) as well as a Sig P229, ultimately I determined I wanted to go in a different direction.  I am, at some point, going to sell my .40 calibers and standardize on the .45 and 9 mm platforms.

Sig Sauer recently won the Modular Handgun System contract (some suggest they stole it away from Glock) with the design of the P320.  While the M17 handgun is certainly different in some respects than the P320, it nonetheless has enough of the same material that you could argue you were carrying the same pistol that Special Forces carried.  While I do not brag about what I carry or suppose that my choice is any better or worse than any others, the chief reason I chose the P320 was that if the Army has them, they are going to be around for a long time, and so will the parts.

Now, at the same time it is worth noting that shortly after it was released in the civilian market, someone decided to drop test it.

Okay, who does this?  Who says, “Geez, I just spent $800 on this gun, let me drop it and see what happens?”

If dropped in the right way, the P320 would fire if there was a round in the chamber.  I am exceptionally careful about firearms and firearms safety, but even I drop things from time to time.  The last thing I wanted was a gun that was going to go bang without me pulling the trigger.

However, reputable gun stores had already had their stocks retrofitted by the end of the year last year, and in March, when I went to get my P320, the model I received was already retrofitted.

Because the P320 comes in a variety of configurations, including the updated X-Five version (a race gun coveted by many IDPA contenders), I had to decide whether, and to what extent I wanted a stock unmodified gun, or one of the more custom jobs.  After talking with my wife about it, I decided on the P320RX which comes in the compact version with a Romeo1 sight built in.  My wife, in her uncharacteristically snarky manner, suggested that to hit the “broad side of a barn” I had better get the reflex sight.  I would note, she can shoot the antennas of a gnat’s ass as 100 yards, so I decided to listen to her.img_1362

As it happened, I bought the gun the very day that the worthless, no good, rotten, lying Republican in Name Only Rick Scott signed the “Screw the 18 Year Old Voter Act” into law, banning sales to those between 18 and 21.  Federal law already prevented 18 year olds from owning pistols, but this now prevents them from buying them in Florida.

But not from possessing them.

Which means, of course, that anyone who wants one will simply drive across the state line to Alabama or Georgia and buy their AR-15 there.  Yes, we should probably not bother telling the pearl-clutching, weak-kneed “We’ve got to DO SOMETHING” crowd that federal gun laws allow sales to these prohibited buyers in contiguous states.

Anyway, apparently the FDLE had to shut down and reprogram their computers and it took two hours for background checks to go through.  That was very frustrating.  But eventually I was able to take my new P320 home, install the battery, and play with the weapon in dry-fire mode.

One thing I really liked was the degree of variability in the light intensity on the Romeo sight, and the auto-shutoff that turns the sight off when not in use.  That will surely save some CR1632 batteries down the road.

The first major problem I discovered, much like when I purchased the Smith, was that there were not a lot of holsters designed for the 320RX.  I finally found one on Amazon from Concealment Express that should be arriving shortly.  I am looking forward to reporting on how it works.

Range report will appear here soon!