27 August 2010

No Winners ...

Published story here. Of course this is just one side of the story and the facts may be materially different. Still given the facts as presented, it's an important lesson on when to brandish/shoot and when to escape.

Short version: Fine Upstanding Young Man "A" (FUYMA) purchases some beer at a convenience store. BadGuy "B" (BGB) accosts FUYMA striking said FUYMA in the head with a wrench and stealing the beer.

Fight over, BGB heads out with the booty. FUYMA retrieves a gun from is car and attempts to reclaim his purchase. FUYMA chases BGB behind store where BGB again attacks with the wrench. FUYMA shoots BGB in the chest.

End result: BGB is dead (please, limit your cheering to a golf clap... this story does not have a happy ending). FUYMA is up on 2nd degree murder charges. Note this is not a commentary on Arizona's constitutional carry law. Had he been carrying, constitutionally or via CCW and had he defended himself from BGB's during the initial attack with the wrench, the result could be very different. In this case he likely would be seen defending himself from an attack with a deadly weapon.

Unfortunately FUYMA wasn't carrying and instead had to retrieve the gun from his car and then restarted the fight. That makes him the bad guy. At best he has a long and expensive legal fight ahead and he escapes the legal process with his freedom. At worst he's looking at a long prison sentence and loss of civil rights. Not to mention the ruinous legal bills.

All training classes attended to date have stressed one lesson in particular. Even in the "cleanest" of shooting circumstances, you expose yourself to a horrendous legal fight and the bills that come with it. The conclusion of the lesson is "If you feel the need to pull your gun and potentially take the life of another, make sure that it's worth the cost of the fight." Generally, that means anytime either my life or my loved ones lives are threatened, it's game on. But my car, a parking spot? Not if I have a chance to escape. Clearly a twelve pack is not worth the trouble FUYMA has bought into. Not saying I agree with it, but that is the legal system we have today. Good luck man...

Now contrast that Gary & Linda Haas' encounter with prison escapees Tracy Province, John McCluskey and accomplice Casslyn Welch. A few days after escaping from prison, they tired of sleeping in the car and decided to seek out a camping trailer. They approached Gary & Linda at a rest stop and according to one report, Disarmed them. They ordered the Hass' into the trailer, then shot and killed them from outside.

I've tried to imagine how this encounter took place (IOW, this is my wild imagination and these speculations should not be confused with fact). Suspect it started with "the interview" as Joe Huffman calls it: small talk, where do you come from, nice trailer, great to be out, etc. During which time chief bad guy( CBG) closely observes Mr. Haas. The Haas' in condition white or maybe yellow doesn't recognize the interview for what it is and plays his role of the good neighbor. Then CBG pulls his gun continuing the conversation "please place your hands on the table, and oh I noticed a bulge there at 4 O'Clock. My partner will please check that out. They probably didn't have a clue their lives were in danger until the gun barrel was in their faces.

Now disarmed, the Haas' options are limited. Complying only bought them a few minutes. In this case when faced with a professional bad guy who limited the time from "cheerful friend" to "Grim reaper" to less than human reaction time. They didn't have much of a chance.

Seems to me best case scenario is to fail the interview. Next best is the scene from "Inglorious Bastards" "I've had a pistol pointed at your testicles since you sat down." Of course that scene didn't turn out so well either.

This may well be the Kobayashi Maru (no-win) scenario for carriers. Still I prefer my chances armed and observant...


PS.. Disclaimer... I am not an attorney so this isn't legal advice. Rather this is a layman applying lessons learned with 20/20 hindsight. I wish FUYMA the best and shed no tears for BGB.

PPS.. The prison system has a lot of questions to answer WRT the escape and why they were in that prison. These are some really bad characters who should be a maximum strength pen, but instead are housed in a medium security private dormitory with dubious "security". And now two innocents are dead, could have been five!

19 August 2010

Monster Hunter Vendetta

Pre-order your signed copy now!

Larry has details here.

We loved the first book and can't wait for the sequel. The only real question is who is going to read it first, me or the SCSon.

16 August 2010

Dang I wish I lived in CD3!

There was a TEA party down on the border yesterday... No I wasn't there but the reports look very promising.

One of the local TV News outlets carried this report from a Tucson affiliate. It includes a couple seconds of Pamela Gorman running in the hotly contested AZ CD3 (click here an look in at about 0:57 on the tape). Full disclosure: Pamela spent a couple hours with conservative AZ bloggers last month and I came away very impressed.

Watching the report struck me odd "Why is she wearing a backpack while speechifying?" (Note the wide black shoulder straps contrasting her white blouse). Then it hit me... "Nope,,, that's a shoulder holster and spotted the butt end of a magazine under her left arm.

Pamela was on the Terry Gilberg show later Sunday evening (link pending) and commented that she is a gun owner and strongly supports the 2A. She was truly concerned for her safety so close to the border. (I would be too!). Apparently she carries a .45 caliber Glock. I can hardly think of a better way to show support for the Second Amendment than by openly carrying!

Good on ya Pamela. I only wish I lived in CD3 so I could cast a vote FOR someone rather than against the other guy (which unfortunately is what I did with my CD5 vote :-(

PS.. Her YouTube isn't bad either!

15 August 2010

Top Shot - Finale

Great Episode!

Warning... spoilers below so if you haven't seen the episode... abort this session now!
Three great challenges to eliminate three of the final four competitors. My money was on JJ and Iain in the final with Peter falling first, then Chris. The final would be decided by the final competition. Who's strength would it play to?

First one was a series of metal plates that when hit flip over to the competitors side. Shot with the Baretta 92F. Forty shots and sixty seconds. Only thing that matters is who hits the most plates last. So winning requires skill and timing. When the music stopped, Peter didn't have a chair. Called it right.

Second challenge was a really good call. "Horse" where each competitor called challenge. What better way to make the competitors "play your game". Unfortunately JJ missed his own call and the others as well. That put him out. Heck, with enough variables you could probably make a series out of this one contest itself. Missed that call which means I missed the final matchup as well.

The final contest was IMHO a great call as it was a nice collection of everything that lead up to this point. Knives, long bows, pistols and rifles. Great call... gotta perform well all around to win. In the end both were firing at the same 300 yard rifle target with the M-14. First one to hit wins. Iain had the slight advantage as he started loading the magazine first and part of the strategy was how many rounds to you load. He loaded enough and made the first hit.

They also brought back the individual competitors back to watch the finale. Nice touch, and somewhat reversed... the past nine episodes sitting on the bench meant safety and standing meant risk of going home. But now it's reversed. The losers are sitting and the finalists are standing. I applaud the turnabout.

The one Uggh moment in the episode came after Iain's winning shot. Time to celebrate the winner and console the loser... when Adam stuck his face in the shot like a fan jumping into the background of a live news shot even before the competitors could shake hands. Only thing missing was a big foam #1 hand and the mouthing "Hi Mom!". And he looked as silly. Watching the rerun it appears the producers tried to edit that out as much as possible (Adam's extremities are visible at the edge of the screen as Iain shook hands with Chris.) Dude it was their moment, not yours. Everyone else seemed to get that.

The high degree of sportsmanship at the end was a credit to the competitors. Once the emoSurvivorcrap was over, every uttered wish was for success, not failure. That well reflects the attitude of shooting sports in general. Competitors are always willing to help others with whatever is needed... Talk through strategy, lend ammo, magazines, even loaning a gun to shoot.

The next season should be interesting to see what they come up with next. Also I hope for more Tara's next year. I know there are skilled women shooters out there, Guns are a great equalizer, lets see the head to head competition. (I also wonder how many skilled shooters both M & F were disqualified because they weren't sufficiently "photogenic".)

PS. Nice getup there Peter!

11 August 2010

I voted today*

Arizona's primary election is August 24th and I'm proud to say I voted today for John McCain . . . . . . . . . . . To RETIRE!

John, "my Friend", It's time to fade away. Those words you use evoke a dry heave every time they escape your lips. The word "friend" has special meaning to me. I don't have many friends, but those I call "friend" are people for which I'll go to the ends of the earth to aid in their darkest hour. And they will do the same for me. It apparently means something completely different to you. Your only interest in me is the vote I get to cast. You want it but you wouldn't even begrudge so much as a wave as you are driven down the street. And your past performance has proven you will vote against my interest at every turn. No dice. We are not friends and I will not vote for you. ever!

It's time for you to go. You are right. Character matters... and I find yours seriously lacking. 28 years at the public trough actively thwarting the will of your constituents is too long. Just go away. Alfa Mike Foxtrot.

* I'm on the permanent early voting list 'cuz I hate standing in lines, particularly when our polling places are staffed with escapees from the old folks home. What should be a simple process (look up voter's name in the rolls and have them sign their name) becomes a kindergarten alphabet exercise. Oh, they love to talk about old Indiana in the 1930's but resolving whether "G" falls before or after "M" in the alphabet is real work. Instead my ballot shows up in the mailbox about a month in advance of election day. I fill it out at my leisure here at SandCastle HQ, sign the envelope and drop it back into the mail. easy peasy. The ballot waits on me, not the other way 'round.

They even include an "I voted early" sticker to wear.

09 August 2010

Top Shot - Penultimate Episode

Yea, I'm still watching... chalk this up to lack of options rather than the quality of the show.

I liked the format of this episode. This is the format the show should have used about since day one! Ditch the emo "Survivor" crap, lets see the skills with different weapons and scenarios. Lets see a plate rack, a Texas star... with a rifle at 200 yards! Or an recurve bow at 50. Make it a real competition!

But it's still thin on the content. Here's a hint... if you have to stick a commercial for your own show "we'll be right back after these messages" in amongst the commercials, you are running too many commercials! I translate that to "Record this show so you can blast through these 8 minutes of commercials this break and see the 35 minutes of content without wasting 25 minutes you'll never get back."

Glad to see Adam depart... Look up the "Peter Principal" and you'll see Adam staring back. OTOH, Sorry to see Kelly leave. He earned every step in the process.. IMHO going first cost him the event. Everyone ('cept Adam AKA "loser" ) hit every target on the first shot. That's an undercall on the course. The targets were too big or the distances too short. It's akin to a math test that starts out 2+2=?, 2+3=? 2+4=? etc. Only the most moronic would fail. Anyway you slice it, the course was too easy to separate the competitors. Kelly lost 'cuz he went first and wasted time loading unneeded rounds into the first couple magazines.


01 August 2010


This has been a vacation week for the SandCastle Crew. Perhaps the premier airshow in the country is the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual convention at Oshkosh, WI. I've attended a few times in the past and the SCSon has always wanted to go. However once a year the DayJob(tm) runs an "all hands on deck" event and it's been scheduled for exactly the same week as Oshkosh for several years running. However this year the event was pushed back a month so I pledged the SCSon this was the year!

Plan A was to fly up in SandCastle-1. The trip would take at least one long day if not a long and a short day, plus burn a couple kilobucks in gas. But the bill wasn't a show stopper. The last airliner trip was such an ordeal we had decided if SC-1 can't go, neither are we. However we found a lesser known airline (Allegiant) that doesn't fly out of the main cities, instead they fly between outlying airports. They would fly us to Rockford IL about 130 miles south of our destination. Ok, that's driving distance and we can do this. Oh, and the airfare was a bit over a third of the fuel bill and I as PIC wouldn't have to sweat the weather.

Here are a couple pics from the event:
Traditionally the airshow proper starts with the American flag displayed by a parachuter. (volunteers are staged on the runway to ensure the flag is caught before any part touches the ground)

Col. Graham has written several books on the SR-71. The first book "SR-71 Revealed" Answers those questions everyone has asked ("How high and how fast") for years. First time I read the book, Chapter 6 answered these questions and even explained the limiting factors. Encountering Col.. Graham at Oshkosh a couple years back I asked about these facts. He explained those details had been declassified in 1995 which allowed the first book to be published in 1996. For more on Col. Graham's books click here

This year's theme was 75 years of the DC-3. Some pondered "As they drew the first lines defining the aircraft, do you think they knew what they had?" Personally I say "Heck No". Aerospace then is what Semiconductors are today. Today's bleeding edge is tomorrow's falling edge. The first pic is Clay Lacy's DC-2. While it looks substantially identical to the DC-3, it's actually considerably smaller. However it was nice they'd actually allow one to sit in the pilot's seat while most others charging for the visit blocked cockpit access.

More pics to come... stay tuned!