Don't you wish you could have been there? I don't mean to gloat, but…
… neener, neener, neener.
Don't you wish you could have been there? I don't mean to gloat, but…
… neener, neener, neener.
Took colleague DeAnna and her 16-year-old daughter Dakota to the range today to try out the Hi Point 9mm carbine I'm reviewing. Both are avid bowhunters, but have never handled a firearm. DeAnna owns a Ruger LCP, which she has only fired twice because she found the recoil unpleasant. After a little instruction, she was fine:
I started both mother and daughter off on KatyBeth's Smith & Wesson M&P 15, and then moved to the Hi Point carbine. After that, they shot the Walther P22, the Kahr CW9, and my officer-length 1911. Shot half a box of ammo through DeAnna's LCP, too.
A couple of my basic shooting premises were confirmed:
So much for "Girls can't handle a man's gun." Ladies, if Cletus at the gun counter steers you toward anything with a short barrel, rudimentary sights and pink grips, leave the store and go buy a gun from someone who isn't an idiot. Guys, if you're thinking of buying the female in your life a weapon, stay away from the microcompact semi-autos and snubby revolvers.
As a matter of fact, don't buy them a gun at all.
Instead, take them to the range, get them some competent instruction, and let them shoot a bunch of guns. Then, surprise them with a gift of the pistol they liked best.
You're much more likely that way to create an avid shooter who wants to go to the range with you, instead of one who hates shooting and resents it when you go.
On Kevin, MD today, Julia Frank, MD demonstrates that being delusional is apparently no barrier to practicing psychiatry. She writes about the Washington Navy Yard shooting, and even manages to do some shilling for ObamaCare in the process:
Perhaps because he did not have an assault rifle, the death toll was much less than it might have been. But my religious tradition teaches us that whoever saves single life, it is as if he had saved a whole world. The twelve victims and the gunman himself were each a world lost, lost in a sea of inadequate gun regulations, NRA obstructionism, and a society that puts the right to have a weapon before almost any other right of citizenship.
Read the comments, where other physicians rightly call her out on her shoddy logic, and point out that the problem is the
total lack of inadequacy of our mental healthcare system, and not easy access to guns.
Doctors, defending gun rights and pointing the blame where it belongs, right there on Kevin, MD.
Never thought I'd see the day.
… with my new iVue video camera glasses before I give them a serious workout next month at Blogorado.
That's my Rock Island 1911 an indoor range at 21 feet. As you can see, I'm pushing them a wee bit left today. Looks like the camera's focal point is a bit higher than where I'm actually looking, too.
Via Bayou Renaissance Man, we find that Broward County Sheriff's Office is making plans for rioting following the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial:
On Monday, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office released a video calling on the public not to riot in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, expected this week or next in Florida. The Sheriff’s Office released a statement explaining that it was “working closely with the Sanford Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies” to coordinate “a response plan in anticipation of the verdict.”
Allow me to make a prediction:
If George Zimmerman is acquitted, some of the supporters of Trayvon Martin will riot.
If George Zimmerman is convicted, supporters of George Zimmerman… will not riot.
Make of that what you will, but I'll bet good money it's true.
Edit 7-14-2013: I was right.
Some of you may have heard of Travis Corcoran, the blogger who, under his internet handle TJIC, had his Second Amendment rights revoked for daring to exercise his First Amendment rights.
After more than two years of legal battling, Travis had his Massachussetts FID reissued, and has re-applied for his Massachussetts LTC. No word on whether the po-po ever returned the firearms they confiscated in 2011. On July 4, the Arlington, MA Police Department surrounded his apartment, demanding to search and inspect the premises, sans warrant, or for that matter, any accusation of a crime:
Well, TJIC got his Massachusetts FID* reissued, and has reapplied for an MA LTC**.
Now the local po-po*** is surrounding his crib, wanting to inspect the premises. Without a warrant. In the suburbs of Boston. On Independence Day.
Is irony dead in this country?
I don't much like Travis Corcoran. In fact, I think he's an asshole. The man compared me to a Nazi death camp guard and the Saudi secret police, right here on my own blog.
But being an asshole isn't a crime, and nowhere in our Constitution does it say that exercising our Second Amendment rights requires us to give up the protections of the First and Fourth Amendments. Not only did they enter his dwelling without a warrant and without cause, they also confiscated his legally owned firearms… again.
If we let this action stand uncondemned, we might as well give up our rights altogether, because due process of law means nothing any more.
I stand with TJIC.
And then reload and be ready to shoot again.
For those of you who think violence is never the answer, and possessions aren’t worth your life, go check out this video Tim posted on Gun Nuts.
Here’s the problem with capitulation and non-escalation: the criminal is the one who gets to decide how far it goes. The criminal is the one who gets to decide whether to be satisfied with your wallet and your flat-screen television, or your life.
Sorry, but if he’s already committed to the threat of violence to unlawfully relieve me of my property, especially in my own home, I’m not placing any faith in his goodwill or sense of restraint.
I’m going to shoot until slide lock, and then I’m going to reload and be ready to shoot some more.
If the law allowed me to hang his corpse outside as a warning to other would-be criminals, I’d do that, too.
Vendor: “The Blastomatic 3000 is the ultimate solution to your tactical needs. It is ideally suited to take down a knife-wielding mugger at bad breath distance or a Hadji at 1000 yards. It slices, it dices, and it’s made from 100% distilled hippie tears.
Ambulance Driver: “What’s the chance of me getting one for T&A for a month or so?”
TOTWTYTR (apologetically): “He means ‘T&E’. You’ll have to forgive him, we don’t take him out in public very often.”
AD: “Why do people act so offended when I mention tonsils and adenoids?”
Conservative estimates of roughly 70,000 attendees, and 620 vendors. Attendee count may be as high as 100,000.
Our President would have us believe that 90% of Americans support expanding background checks, yet only five people could be found to stage an anti-gun protest. Seriously, they were well outnumbered by the press filming and interviewing them, and the small gaggle of NRA members engaging them in polite debate. Some of our gunblogger friends, namely Breda and Alan, left them slack-jawed and stammering, unable to respond to a logical counter-argument to their talking points.
Meanwhile, at the show:
While most vendors are still struggling to meet demand, prices seem to have dropped from "OMFG, are you friggin' serious?" to a mere "Say, that's a little steep."
Also, Black Rain Ordnance makes some schweeet lookin' AR15s:
I've got news for you, Mr. Performace Center Director. Apex Tactical makes better trigger parts for your guns than you can.
The hula girl wielding an AR15 was a nice touch.
From what I saw, it was nice and tight, trigger was crisp and adjustible. Other features included forward slide serrations, Picatinny rail, ambidextrous safety, extended slide release, fully adjustible sights, checkered mainspring housing and front strap, bobbed hammer, beveled magwell, and extended beavertail, all for a MSRP of $875.95. For $25 more, you can get the Enhanced version with ported slide and barrel.
Didn't look like the feed ramp was polished, and the thing has a damned full-length guide rod that makes baby JMB cry, but the interior of the gun seemed devoid of obvious tool marks, as least as far as I could tell without field stripping it.
It likes like a nice gun for the price, but the proof is in the shooting. Anyone with direct experience with them, chime in with your comments, please.
They also had a nice double stack compact 1911 with 12+1 capacity, the Fatboy:
Headed out to the Gunnie Prom right now, where hopefully I will find food, booze and good conversation in abundance. More to come tomorrow!
Just checked in to the
World Congress of Bitter Clingers NRA Annual Meeting in Houston, picked up my press credentials, and will be headed to the show floor in a few moments.
Picked up TOTWTYTR at the airport yesterday and took him to the trap range for a brief wingshooting tutorial. A few things became immediately apparent:
Last night, a crowd of us hit Ragin Cajun for crawfish and seafood. Kelly's Theorem of Cajun Restaurants states, "Ye shall know them by their gumbo."
If the gumbo is so thin you can see through it, or loaded with enough cayenne to make it unpalatable, the rest of the meal is going to suck. I'm happy to report that Ragin Cajun does it right. Not only was the gumbo good, the oysters were huge and salty, and the crawfish were good, if a bit on the small side. Lies were told, stories were swapped, and a good time was had by all.
I haven't laughed so hard in a looooong time.
I'll post more later today, but in the meantime, look for my pics and updates on Twitter (@AmboDriver), or just search for my posts under the hashtag #nraconvention.
Pravda MSNBC: Senators: Deal Reached On Background Checks.
Two key senators have reached a deal to expand background checks to firearms sales at gun shows and on the Internet, sources close to the negotiations said early Wednesday.
Um, guys? You already can't buy guns on the Internet without a background check. Go to one of the Internet sellers, Gunbroker, what have you, and purchase a gun. Said gun has to be shipped to a local FFL, who then does the standard background check, has you fill out a ATF Form 4473, the whole nine yards.
No background check, no gun.
The article is short on details (and facts, and accuracy, but hey, it's MSNBC), but it would seem that what senators Manchin and Toomey (R), State of Cowardice, propose is an expansion of background checks that really doesn't expand background checks.
I suppose that's better than the other kind of anti-gun legislation, the kind that stop gun crime without really stopping gun crime.
Here’s a couple of 10-year-old girls with one of those scary AR15 rifles that are too complex for women to operate:
For a weapon too complex for women to operate, they were certainly having fun perforating Coke* cans with it, and doing so safely.
I’d have given them a double-barreled shotgun to learn with, but it kicks too much for the one with cerebral palsy, and the one with ADHD just thought the AR15 was way cooler.
*Actually, it was a 12-pack of Dr. Thunder, but in the South everything’s a Coke.
The child had grown a bit disenchanted with shooting the past couple years. Between her attempts to compensate for her weak eye and the lucky fin, it was difficult to hit the target without a lot of help.
And she’s smart enough to know when Daddy is doing most of the work, and proud enough to be insulted by it.
Solution: shooting sticks, reactive targets, and a holographic sight.
She had a lot of difficulty finding the proper eye relief with her scope, and as a result the poor child’s sight picture was pitch black most of the time.
So I replaced the scope with a cheap holographic sight, and bought her a shooting stick that will allow her to shoot essentially one-handed.
Her form still needs a lot of work, and the phrase “consistent cheek weld” is still a distant fantasy, and she takes a while to line up her shot…
… but when the child pulls the trigger, she hits the target. Kid has a sniper’s sensibility: one shot, one kill. Old NFO would be proud.
As you can see, it was a good day.
*Why yes, that is a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy holding an AR15. Because that’s just how we roll down here in Bitter Clingerville.
At the Nebraska EMS Association spring conference this weekend, while chatting with a few new friends over beers, one medic lamented that his spouse had imposed a “buy one, sell one” restriction for new guns in their household. If he bought a new gun, first he had to sell one of his safe queens that he never shot.
Said spouse rolled her eyes good-naturedly and said, “Well, he has way more guns than he needs. Half of them he never shoots anyway!”
Silly spouse. What that have to do with the price of .22LR in Cabela’s?
First of all, I reject in principle the right of anyone who does not share my bed and bank account to tell me that I do not “need” a lawful product purchased with my own money.
Second, “need” is based upon the faulty premise that one can actually have “enough” guns, when math clearly says otherwise:
“If we let X equal the number of guns one owns and Y equal the ideal number of guns, then for any given value of X, Y shall always equal (X+1).”
I call this AD’s Theorem of Justification, commonly known to you non-mathematical types as, “Honey, but I really do need this one!”
I expect to be hearing from the Nobel Prize people shortly.
My last patient was carrying a gun. Scary-looking biker type, complete with beard, bandanna and leathers.
I saw him hand the state trooper his Louisiana Concealed Handgun Permit along with his driver’s license, just like he’s supposed to.
The trooper’s reaction?
He asked my patient if he was currently carrying, which my patient answered in the affirmative. “Fair enough,” the trooper shrugged. “You don’t go for yours, I won’t go for mine.”
When I started to remove his leather vest and riding jacket, the guy told me, “I’ve got a pistol in my left inner vest pocket.”
Other than to think, “Won’t do you much good there if you need to get it out quick,” I was okay with it.
“Is it holstered or just in the pocket?” I wanted to know. “Anything in the pocket with it that might snag the trigger?”
“Nope,” he grunted, grimacing as I splinted his arm. “It’s in a pocket holster.”
“Fair enough,” I allowed, stashing his leathers on the pass-through shelf behind my captain’s chair. “I’ll have to turn it over to hospital security when we get to the ED. You’ll get it back when you’re discharged.”
The guy said little else, spending the rest of the trip wrapped in the sweet, sweet embrace of Fentanyl.
When we got to the ED, I told the charge nurse, “Might want to radio security. We’ve got a weapon to secure.”
Charge nurse shrugged, held out one hand for the man’s leathers, and keyed the radio mike with the other.
As we wheeled our patient to his room, the charge nurse nonchalantly thumbed the cylinder latch and unloaded the weapon. Gun and five rounds went in a Zip Loc specimen bag on the desk next to the computer where the nurse was charting.
Another nurse walked by and peered at it. “Smith & Wesson 642,” he grunted in approval. “Got one just like it in stainless in my truck console outside.”
Security guard ambled up, took possession of the weapon, briefly jotted down an inventory receipt and had the nurse witness it, and moseyed back to his office to finish watching his television program.
No cops were called. No pants were shat. No one treated the weapon as if it were radioactive. A couple of patients’ family members were standing nearby, and witnessed the whole exchange. I can’t be sure, but one of them might have yawned.
It was a non-event.
And why should it be anything but? What’s the big deal about a guy exercising his Constitutional rights? Similar episodes play themselves out all across the country every day, probably hundreds of times a day.
Nobody looked askance at the guy. Nobody looked at him as being particularly threatening just because he happened to have a gun.
He was just a guy.
A guy with a gun.
To the hoplophobes, the gun makes him dangerous.
Well, I should certainly hope so, to the right people. If a guy is trying to do him harm, rob him of his possessions and make him pray for the criminal’s restraint in stopping at possessions rather than his life as well, well I hope he’d be friggin’ lethal to that guy.
I hope he’s badassed enough to stick five of those +P hollow-points in Bad Guy’s left ventricle with a smile on his face and a song in his heart.
But to the rest of us? He’s just a guy. Nothing especially threatening about him at all, unless you’re a bad guy, or so unreasoningly paralyzed by fear of an inanimate object that you can’t tell him and the bad guys apart.
For the rest of us that master our fears, they’re not so hard to tell apart at all.
… I give you this snippet from a comment thread on Kevin, MD.
Molly RN: The weapon of the day when the 2'nd ammendment was written was the single shot musket. I believe in the right to bear a single shot musket and that is the only weapon allowed under the 2'nd ammendment, if you want to be a strict constructionist like the Scalia. Actually if the Founding Fathers weren't talking about a militia having the right to bear arms, then why in hell do they put well trained militia so prominent in the sentence?
Ambulance Driver: The communication tools of the day when the First Amendment was written were oral speeches, quill pens, and the printing press. Yet here you are exercising your right of free speech on the Internet.
Your argument is invalid.
Molly RN: What a sad person you are to prefer guns to children's lives.
Ambulance Driver: And what a sad and contemptible person you are, that you cannot see the logical fallacy in your own argument, and instead resort to making baseless assumptions and ad hominem attacks.
You behave like a child.
Molly RN: Your argument is invalid.
Ambulance Driver: You state that the founding fathers did not envision anything beyond muskets when they wrote the Second Amendment, and when I point out that they couldn't have possibly envisioned the medium you're using to express your First Amendment rights, either, your reply is that I value assault rifles more than the lives of children.
I hope that the post title at least captured the attention of my anti-gun readers, and keeps you reading.
Those of you who read this blog know my political views. I'm a socially liberal, fiscally conservative libertarian, although the pelt of my Wookie suit is not quite so full and glossy as some.
I am a Christian who supports the rights of gays to marry. I am a southern white male redneck who believes minorities and women deserve equal treatment, but I also believe that quota systems like Affirmative Action are covert racism, fostering the notion that minorities cannot succeed on their own merits.
I believe in legal immigration, and I devoutly believe in the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
I also believe we should secure our borders, and that there should be an easier avenue toward legal immigration. That does not include blanket amnesty for current illegal aliens.
I believe abortion is a sin, yet I refuse to impose my moral beliefs upon others in the form of laws. I believe religion should stay the hell out of our government, and government should stay the hell out of our religion.
I believe in God, but I distrust preachers. And I believe that most of our Founding Fathers felt the same way.
I believe that any civilized society should take care of its citizens who cannot care for themselves, but I believe government has proven itself incapable of doing so without creating an even larger class of people who won't do for themselves. I believe our government, outside of some very narrow strictures, screws it up more often than it gets it right, and that our system of government is headed for collapse if it continues trying to be all things to all people.
I believe that we owe it to ourselves, and the generations to come, to ensure that does not happen, and that the means to do so is to vote out the politicians who refuse to acknowledge – by word AND deed – that the government cannot keep providing these things for us.
I believe in freedom, and I am a law-abiding man. Yet I also believe that we have too many laws as it is, and that more of them are infringing on our freedoms every day. And there is a limit to how much I will obey. There is a line beyond which I will not be pushed, even by my government.
I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.
I believe that Bull Durham was a heckuva movie, obviously.
I also own a whole bunch of guns, including a few of those so-called "assault weapons" many of you want to ban following the horrible events last Friday.
I know that many of you, hoplophiles and hoplophobes alike, come here for the EMS stories and the medical commentary and the humor. And I know that most of the hoplophobes just ignore the firearms posts when they pop up in their RSS feed.
I hope you keep reading now, because it is indeed time for that meaningful conversation on reasonable gun restrictions.
The problem is, for the conversation to be "meaningful" and the restrictions actually "reasonable," both sides have to be speaking the same language. It is difficult to debate facts when one side operates from a position of monumental ignorance. Knowledge replaces unreasoning fear and emotion with rational thought, and that is what I propose to do here.
I say this because I have spent the last week debating gun control on Facebook with intelligent, college-educated and well-meaning people… who are utterly ignorant of the subject.
I engaged a commenter on a friend's facebook thread who basically called me a liar when I stated that many people hunt with AR15 platform rifles. I was about to offer proof of that, when further in his comment I discovered that he also believes that fully automatic weapons are still available to civilians, that you can buy them without ID or background check, and that they are commonly used in crime, and that you can go to gun stores and gun shows in America and buy a rocket propelled grenade. He then went on to state that three of his friends had converted their AR15's to full-auto fire within the past 10 years, and that he had fired these weapons.
So the anti-gun guy from Arlington, VA aids and abets a Federal felony, and consorts with felons. Good to know.
I was unfriended and banned from further debate after that. He continues to rail on about "Why do you neeeeed to own an AR15?" while owning a whole fleet of expensive, vintage ambulances with no airbags or seatbelts, powered by big gas-guzzling V8 motors with no catalytic converter that he doesn't neeeeeeed, either.
Debate with such people is not possible. I am sorry, but you do not get to characterize your points as rational and the restrictions you propose as reasonable if you debate from a position of such monumental ignorance.
So here is what I propose to do: If you don't know jack shit about guns, or you are afraid of them, or if you think tightening gun restrictions is the answer to prevent further events like the massacre at Sandy Hook School, tell us your concerns right here. Tell us why you hold those beliefs. Tell us why you think it is a good idea.
And I swear to you, we will debate you calmly, rationally, and without belittling you. We will treat you with respect and courtesy. We will afford you the courtesy that is NOT extended to Second Amendment advocates who try to debate on anti-gun forums, because invariably the owners of those forums delete or modify pro-gun comments, or shut down comments entirely when their emotional points are countered with facts. Or unfriend you, like my former friend Steve.
I will not do that here.
I am not the first Second Amendment blogger to make such an offer, but I am one of the few that has a substantial non-gun readership. I'll give you a forum here, to debate the issue, and be educated. We may not change your minds on the issue, but at the end of the day, we hope to educate you enough that you are debating a rationally considered moral principle and not one of unreasoning fear based on ignorance.
If you still believe we shouldn't have guns, then at least we can agree to disagree.
We'll do the debate in the comments. If they get to be too long, I'll put up subsequent posts on the subject.
Before we begin, let's set the ground rules:
Those are the rules. Let the meaningful conversation begin!
“Hi, I’m Edwin, and I own firearms!”
Right now, in the shadow of the horrors of the Sandy Hook shooting, it feels as if every gun-owner is on edge. Some are apologizing, distancing themselves from gun advocacy groups. Some are saying all the right words, “well, my target gun is locked in a safe.” Like telling your Baptist Preacher grandpa, “my whisky is in a cabinet and is only for medicinal purposes, of course.” Some are saying, “well, I like guns, but nobody needs automatic guns that can be sprayed across a room.”
The thing is, we didn’t want to talk about this. We wanted to let people grieve, to try and find solutions to unpredictable events. The gun control crowd politicized this first. They launched into the predictable tirades against the very people who, after all, didn’t commit the crime. So we’ve responded.
Read the whole thing.
Gun control is the complementary and alternative medicine of public health policy. It is homeopathy and acupuncture and chelation, and what little positive benefit we see from it is more wishful thinking of the placebo effect than actual results. It never fails to astound me how so many educated, intelligent people who purport to believe in evidence-based medicine can still swallow this snake oil from the hucksters and carnival barkers who peddle it.
It's a hot-button topic, provoking visceral reactions from people on both sides of the issue.
People seem unable to discuss the issue dispassionately, so much so that some blogger friends of mine have dashed off blog posts vehemently disagreeing with a position I didn't take.
I invite your comments – either pro or con – but keep them civil. Shouting at each other doesn't promote understanding, it just makes your opponent more entrenched in their position.
Well, to be precise, it wouldn't be granting anything.
Continuing the general regulatory trend started by Governor Mark Warner (D), and continued by Governor Bob McDonnell (R),is continuing to strike more state regulations banning gun carry. This time it's Old Domination ambulance crews who will regain their right to bear arms.
Allow me to make a prediction on what will happen if Virginia ambulance crews start to carry weapons:
No blood in the streets, no Wild West-style shootouts (largely a Hollywood fiction in which most anti-gun types fervently believe), no EMT's bustin' caps in unruly patients, no unruly patients disarming those ignorant, untrained EMT's and shooting them with their own weapons, no EMT's barging into unsafe scenes bolstered with a misplaced sense of invulnerability because they're packing heat.
Each one of those arguments is a favorite of people who fear guns, know little about guns, and project their own fear and ignorance on everyone else who would potentially carry a gun. And they keep not happening.
I remember at an EMS convention a few years back, I was invited to participate in a live podcast from the exhibit hall floor. The event was co-located with a major law enforcement expo, and as a result, there were plenty of tables and booths crowded with pistols, sniper rifles, M4 carbines and other tactical gear, sandwiched between the EMS booths.
I arrived late, just in time to begin recording, and as I got miked up, one of the podcast hosts teased me that the reason I arrived late is that I was distracted by all the tables of shiny weapons on the way in. Another guest, a good friend and respected EMS educator and innovator, remarked that he was happy to be from one of the few states left that banned concealed carry of firearms.
I smiled and said, "Not for long," as his state had shall-issue concealed carry legislation pending (which eventually passed). He replied, "Well, at least no one is carrying guns here."
I leaned in and whispered, "How do you know that? There are no signs posted as required by law at every entrance and exit, at least not in the parking garage entrance. There might be someone carrying a weapon sitting right next to you. Considering the state we're in, I wouldn't doubt that 20% of the people here are packing."
Apparently, he didn't consider me a threat, because we continued the podcast and even went out to sign karaoke together later that night. And as his state's concealed carry legislation neared passing, we kept up a friendly dialogue about the process.
People will be resorting to vigilante justice.
Just watch, some CCW holder is going to get shot by police, or vice versa, in some tragic mixup.
They're gonna let people carry weapons in restaurants that serve alcohol. I can just see the drunken shootouts now.
Lord, people are applying by the thousands. I never knew my state had so many bloodthirsty rednecks.
So far, no reports of those bloodthirsty rednecks engaging in crime.
Of course, that's the point. Everywhere gun rights restrictions are eased, people afraid of guns keep making dire predictions, and those predictions keep not happening.
Any drunken fraternity shootings? Any professors shot by students dissatisfied with their grades?
I predict that allowing concealed carry by EMT's in Virginia will have exactly the same effect that allowing college students to carry had in Colorado: none.
None, except that ambulances and college campuses are no longer guaranteed victim disarmament zones. That's sort of the point.
I don't carry a weapon on duty at The Borg. Number one, it's against company policy, and when I cash The Borg's paycheck, I agree to abide by their rules. I leave my activism at the door to the ambulance station. Number two, I really never felt the need to carry at work. Now, if The Borg and the state of Louisiana suddenly decided to take a page from Virginia's book, would I carry?
I'd have the same mindset that I have every day I carry a weapon in civilian clothes, the same mindset shared by 99.9% of all people who choose to carry a firearm: "Please God, don't let me have to shoot anyone today."
And we'd take those steps necessary to make that possibility unlikely; we'd be wary of our surroundings, and we'd avoid places and situations that put us in danger if at all possible. But it's the unpredictable dangers that make carrying a weapon necessary. No one purchasing a fire extinguisher plans to have their house catch fire, after all.
I wouldn't carry openly at work. I don't believe much in the deterrent factor anyway, nor do I believe it makes me a likelier target for attackers. But I do believe it would erase a line in the minds of some of my patients who view police as the adversary and medics to be, if not friendlies, at least non-combatants. Playing the "You can trust me, I'm not the po po," angle is useful to me in my line of work. I'd like to keep the ability to do that.
When I carried openly before I got my concealed hangun license, activism was as much a goal as self defense. I wanted people to see a guy carrying a gun openly who wasn't being a complete asshole itching for a confrontation with the cops; just a benign neighborly type, non-threatening, Ned Flanders with a 1911.
Carrying openly at work, it simply isn't possible to project that image.
If the idea of your EMT's carrying weapons fills you with trepidation, I know exactly where you're coming from. In fact, I used to have the same concerns. Here's what I said back then:
I’m not saying EMTs shouldn’t defend themselves. I’m not even opposed to the abstract idea of CCW while on the job. It’s just that most EMTs I know who insist on carrying weapons are just the sort of EMTs who shouldn’t…well…be EMTs. Much less armed EMTs.
They cannot communicate effectively. They lack empathy and compassion. They’re hotheaded. Every patient encounter is an adversarial relationship. They conduct patient interviews like police interrogations. When the feces strike the thermal agitator, they’re the type who thinks shouting orders and throwing their weight around constitutes effective leadership and good crisis management. They’re just not…reasonable people. A reasonable person with a concealed weapon is one of the safest people you will ever meet…and one of the most dangerous, depending on how you approach him. An unreasonable person with a firearm is just plain dangerous, regardless of whether you’re law abiding or not.
Here’s a hint: if you have shown off your carry weapon to your co-workers, you’re just the sort of goober I’m talking about. And here’s the sad thing – most law enforcement agencies wouldn’t have you either, Sergeant Tackleberry.
My opinion was based on classic selection bias; all the people I knew who carried on-duty were idiots, therefore I assumed that every EMT who carried on-duty was an idiot. I later learned that was not the case.
Not every EMT in Virginia is going to rush out to the gun store, Visa card in hand, and breathlessly ask, "Say buddy, what's the best heater for taking down a 300-pound meth-head in excited delirium when 5 of Haldol IM, 10 of intranasal Versed, three shocks with a Tazer and several whacks with a D oxygen cylinder have failed to slow him down? Gimme two of those, and a 30-round mag… just in case."
Much more likely to happen is that a bunch of EMT's who already have concealed carry permits – all over 21, having passed a criminal background check and completed a training course, I might add – will start carrying at work… and very few others will.
And those permit holders are already among the most law-abiding citizens in society.
If you're a Virginia resident and you support the right to keep and bear arms, voice your support for the measure here.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. ~ C.S. Lewis
And that's all I have to say about that.
I took KatyBeth and her little brother to a movie matinee on Wednesday. As she often does, she asked me, "Why are you carrying your gun to the movies, Daddy? Nobody's going to hurt us in there."
12 families lost loved ones. 59 more lie in wait.
Out of respect for the dead, I will say no more. Unlike some, who would dance in the blood of the victims, politicizing the issue to further their own agendas, I will not.
Most of you know where I stand anyway.
We have no way of knowing whether an armed citizen would have limited or escalated the carnage. We simply do not. All I know is that events like this are why *I* carry a weapon, and always will. Follow your own conscience in that regard.
For the next few days, please, let's refrain from speculating and using this tragedy to support our particular political beliefs. Let's just say a prayer for the victims, and another for their families.
We have plenty of time to be assholes to each other in the coming weeks.
Before I got my concealed weapons permit, I open carried for two years. Every day I left the house, I had a pistol strapped to my hip in plain sight.
I carried in Wal Mart.
I carried in restaurants.
I carried at the hardware store.
I carried at many a gun store.
I carried pretty much everywhere I was legally allowed to carry, and I pretty much avoided the places that banned firearms on their premises. They exercised a legal right to ban firearms in their place of business, I exercised mine to take my business elsewhere.
And in all that time, I got asked three times about my weapon. A cop asked me in the checkout line at Wal Mart about whether I knew my 1911 was cocked and locked, and if I felt safe carrying it that way. I smiled and said yes. He shrugged and went on about his business. Another cop looked at my Glock, asked if I liked it, and then gave me some good advice on aftermarket night sights for it.
A clerk at Wal Mart asked me if I was an off-duty cop, and I said, "No, I'm a paramedic."
"They let paramedics carry guns?" she asked incredulously.
"They even let Wal Mart clerks carry guns," I smiled gently. "It's your right as a law-abiding citizen."
Hopefully she left that encounter knowing more about her 2nd Amendment rights. Maybe she didn't learn a darned thing. But at the very least, she saw a man openly carrying a weapon, and didn't see him as a threat. And when I told her I wasn't a cop, she still didn't see me as a threat.
I'll score that a win.
Apparently, there's a big kerfluffle on the 'net over open carry versus concealed carry. It's not a new debate. It's kinda like shingles – embarassing and unsightly the first time they break out, and subject to break out again painfully and without warning, as long as you draw breath. Sometimes, it's some yahoo carrying a shotgun into a public library to make a point, and sometimes it's a professional shooter and firearms guru – *cough* Rob Pincus *cough* – fanning the flames.
To illustrate that point, I'll tell the following story:
Three years ago, coming back from the shooting range at Blogorado, I hit a deer. Seeing my disabled vehicle and an opportunity for blogfodder, my gunblogger compatriots stopped to
help me clean and butcher the deer provide vehicular assistance stand around offering pointers, make fun of my skinning technique, and post pictures of my asscrack on the Internet.
By the time the local deputy arrived, there were a dozen heavily armed people standing on the side of the road in the dead of night, laughing uproariously, including one of them (me) who was, I am embarassed to say, simulating a sexual act with part of the carcass.
The deputy, who looked all of fourteen years old, took all this in, shook his head, and started his questioning with the Deer Fornicator. To his credit, he didn't breathalyze any of us, he didn't call for backup, he didn't prone me out on the pavement, he didn't even secure a single weapon from any of us. He just completed his accident report, chuckled at the crazy gunbloggers, and went on about his patrol.
Because we weren't being dicks about it, that's why.
Today, Caleb is shooting the 2012 Bianchi Cup… wearing a kilt.
He’s donating $1 for every X he shoots, and Todd G. Of Pistol Training.com is matching his donation to LiveStrong.
Pro shooter Julie Golob is kicking in $5 for every X that Caleb shoots.
By the end of the day, the shooting community will have added several hundred more dollars to the 2011 Kilted To Kick Cancer totals.
I’m proud of the way the gun blogging community has stepped up to support this cause.
Now, EMS bloggers, are you gonna let them outdo you again in 2012?
…let's talk about how I transport people who have threatened – or allegedly threatened – to do harm to themselves to the Emergency Department for psychiatric evaluation.
In my Lines In The Sand post that torqued TJIC enough that he equated me with a Nazi death camp guard, I stated that words have consequences, and that the consequences of threatening to kill yourself may include the cops or EMT's holding you for a psychiatric evaluation against your will. Still, let's talk about how it happens.
When commenter Aaron suggested that I need to find a new line of work that doesn't require me to violate people's civil liberties, I replied that being a paramedic isn't just a line of work for me, it's who I am.
How is this argument not exactly the same one that a member of the religious police in Saudi Arabia would make?
"Worshipping Allah through my work is the most important thing in my life. Don't want me to beat you with a stick? Fine. Just don't speak your theological doubts out loud."
Why, exactly, is your self actualization more important than my liberty?
I see that you still haven't developed any sense of proportion to go along with your lack of manners, TJIC.
Because beating someone with a stick for apostasy is exactly like taking a psych patient to the Emergency Department for evaluation.
Because saying "1 down, 534 to go," is exactly like actually firing a shot at the President, right?
Still, let's talk about how it happens.
I have to have a credible threat, first of all. The patient has to admit to threatening self harm, or a credible witness has to attest to it. That means someone willing to sign an affidavit or otherwise give a sworn statement to police, or identify themselves by name on a 911 tape, etc.
Louisiana law carries substantial criminal penalties for swearing falsely in this regard; up to one year of imprisonment, which may include hard labor, and up to $1,000 in fines. I have seen people charged with this, when their part in the drama play included making false statements to the police.
But if the patient himself says, "Yeah, I said I was going to cut my wrists, but I didn't mean it," we have no way of knowing which part of that statement is false. You don't get to take it back.
Words have consequences. And no, those words have to constitute a credible threat, not something like the example you cited, "If I have to eat one more bite of this leftover soup I'd be better off dead."
There's your absolute lack of proportion again.
Likewise, if I have a specific threat but reported by an anonymous source - "Hey, 911? I just heard somebody shouting at 123 Anywhere Street that they were gonna off themselves by taking all their pills at once." – and I find a patient with slurred speech and lethargy denying they made such a claim, but with an empty vodka bottle and an empty bottle of prescription painkillers nearby that should still have 28 pills in the bottle…
… then yeah, I am going to cart that patient's lethargic ass off to the hospital, no matter what they say. And I'm going to sleep like a baby afterwards. If that makes me a moral coward and a tool of government oppression in your eyes, so be it. Your approval isn't necessary to my sense of self-actualization, either.
The law is messy, and it doesn't always work like it should. There are aspects of it that I am personally uncomfortable with, like transporting cutters to the hospital, for example.
I fully realize that, for some people, cutting themselves is a coping mechanism for stress. It helps them maintain clarity and focus. They are no more suicidal than the rest of us.
To my mind, it's a damned poor coping mechanism and there are plenty of healthier ways than self-mutilation, if for no other reason than to avoid getting taken to the hospital for a psych evaluation because someone who doesn't understand your coping mechanism thinks you're insane.
Still, I don't get to make that decision. A doctor does.
And in this situation, I am acting as a physician extender. In Louisiana, involuntary psychiatric holds can last up to 15 days. The physician usually orders it via a mechanism known as a Physician's Emergency Certificate. When *I* take you to the ED for that evaluation, it's done under that physician's auspices. You must be evaluated by a physician, psychologist, or mental health nurse practitioner within 12 hours to determine if a PEC is warranted. If one isn't warranted, or they don't evaluate you within 12 hours, you get to go free, with nothing more than an ED visit to show for it.
If the cops take you, it's generally under the auspices of the elected parish coroner. The effect is the same: to get you to the hospital for the PEC evaluation.
There are checks and balances, too. If the PEC orders you involuntarily committed – again, for up to 15 days – you are required to be evaluated by the elected parish coroner or designated deputy within 72 hours of admission. If their evaluation does not agree with the physician's, you go free. If the original involuntary commitment came from the coroner, you have 72 hours to be evaluated by a psychiatrist. If his evaluation does not agree with the coroner's, you go free.
So, effectively speaking, the most a sane person is going to be held against their will is 72 hours.
If an additional stay is required beyond those 15 days, you must be evaluated within 72 hours of the end of that 15 day period by the coroner and the psychiatrist, who both must be in agreement to extend the hold for another 15 days.
Beyond 30 days, the bar is set far higher, which brings us to my next subject:
Line 11f of ATF Form 4473 asks:
Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes a determination by a court. board. commission, or other lawful authority that you are a danger to yourself or to others or are incompetent to manage your own affairs, OR have you ever been committed to a mental institution?
Note the phrases I placed in bold print.
This is NOT the same thing as a temporary psychiatric hold, or even a temporary involuntary commitment.
Note the term "adjudicated mentally defective."
Adjudicated, as in court proceedings. Judges, lawyers, juries and all that. In most cases, it requires more than a hearing before an administrative law judge. That means you get a civil hearing complete with jury, a chance to respond to the petitioner, your own choice of lawyer or a guardian ad litem appointed by the court, and time to prepare a case.
A 72-hour Physician's Emergency Certificate doesn't even come close to meeting that legal standard. In my state, court proceedings are usually required to hold a person beyond 30 days.
The instructions for Form 4473 define "Committed to a Mental Institution" as:
A formal commitment of a person to mental institution by a court. board, commission. or other lawful authority. The term includes a commitment to a mental institution involuntarily. The term includes commitment for mental defectiveness or mental illness. It also includes commitments for other reasons, such as for drug use. The term does not include a person in mental institution for observation or a voluntary admission to a mental institution.
Louisiana RS 28:53 states:
A.(1) A mentally ill person or a person suffering from substance abuse may be admitted and detained at a treatment facility for observation, diagnosis, and treatment for a period not to exceed fifteen days under an emergency certificate.
(2) A person suffering from substance abuse may be detained at a treatment facility for one additional period, not to exceed fifteen days, provided that a second emergency certificate is executed. A second certificate may be executed only if and when a physician at the treatment facility and any other physician have examined the detained person within seventy-two hours prior to the termination of the initial fifteen day period and certified in writing on the second certificate that the person remains dangerous to himself or others or gravely disabled, and that his condition is likely to improve during the extended period. The director shall inform the patient of the execution of the second certificate, the length of the extended period, and the specific reasons therefor, and shall also give notice of the same to the patient's nearest relative or other designated responsible party initially notified pursuant to Subsection F.
After that, further detainment at the treatment facility requires that you be adjudicated mentally defective. The Form 4473 instructions go on to state:
A person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution is not prohibited if: (I) the person was adjudicated or committed by a department or agency of the Federal Government. such as the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs ("VA") (as opposed to a State court, State board, or other lawful State authority); and (2) either: (a) the person's adjudication or commitment for mental incompetency was set-aside or expunged by the adjudicating/committing agency; (h) the person has been fully released or discharged from all mandatory treatment, supervision, or monitoring by the agency; or (e) the person was found by the agency to no longer suffer from the mental health condition that served as the basis of the initial adjudication. Persons who fit this exception should answer "no" to Item 11.f.
So much for the belief that Leviathan can deny you your 2nd Amendment rights if I haul you off for a psych evaluation. I know that those of you who live behind enemy lines in May-Issue Land are subject to the whims and capriciousness of local police chiefs, but out here in Free America, it's pretty cut-and-dried.
If it was only a 72-hour hold, you have nothing to worry about.
If it was only a transport to the ED, and a 72-hour hold was deemed unnecessary, you have nothing to worry about.
If you were committed for even 30 days, and fully discharged with no court-mandated requirement for outpatient care, you have nothing to worry about.
If the court determined that you were crazier than a shithouse rat, and that even though you committed no crime for which you could claim not guilty by reasons of mental defect, that the safety of yourself and society was deemed preserved by locking you up for six months or six years, after which you were deemed competent to manage your own affairs and were set free… you have nothing to worry about.
This is the United States of friggin' America. Even as bad as things are now, we don't just lock people up in the gulag because they're a little odd. If that were the case, TJIC would be writing his little anarchist missives in crayon, snail-mailing them to me and begging me to post them in my comments section.
So don't let the fear of Big Brother confiscating all your guns deter you from seeking mental health counseling, calling a Suicide Hotline, or deter you from calling 911 because you legitimately fear a loved one may harm himself, yet you don't want to see his civil rights trampled on.
The bar is set a lot higher than that.