Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Taser Used by Police the RIGHT Way, Everyone Lived

Macon County Sheriff's Deputies saved a life and avoided killing or seriously injuring the intoxicated, knife wielding aggressor.

“I saw Johnny Hopkins Jr. with a knife in his left hand held to the throat of … [the homeowner],” wrote Farmer in the police report.

The report states he immediately drew his service weapon and Willis pulled and activated her taser. A female who was also in the room was able to get to the door and open it for the officers.

“In this type of situation, lethal force was justified,” Farmer said regarding the preparation of using his handgun. “We had tasers available, however, and we were able to react quickly, so that was not necessary.”

Hopkins did not respond to repeated demands to drop his weapon.

“I drew on him instantly through the window and shined my flashlight at him. When I warned him, he did back up, but he did not drop the knife,” Hopkins said.

Because of scattered items in the room, deputies only entered partway so as to keep a clear line of site of the victim and Hopkins.

When he and Willis were able to enter the home, he said Willis waited for his go-ahead before deploying her taser.

“Willis was to my right, and she said, ‘Just say when,’” Farmer said.

He gave the go-ahead and Willis deployed her taser striking Hopkins just left of the stomach and in his right shoulder.

“It was enough of a stun to make him drop the knife, but he still continued to resist,” Farmer said. It was at this point he and Willis “assisted” him to the ground.

Note: The Taser stun forced the subject to drop the knife, but did not incapacitate him. The deputies then "assisted" the subject to the ground without further Taser use. Despite being heavily intoxicated -- a factor Taser insists is to blame for Taser related deaths along with drug use and mental problems -- the subject is alive and not seriously harmed. In the other cases presented in this and other forums multiple Taser hits were used by police and subjects died.

Can we add 2 + 2 yet?

Teamwork, training, and the proper use of the tools at their disposal allowed these two deputies to difuse a lethal situation with no harm to anyone.

“[The homeowner] told us he believed [Hopkins] was going to kill him if we had not shown up,” Farmer said.

Farmer credits teamwork as the reason that no one was hurt in this situation. He said that officers are trained to the point of working step-in-step with one another.

“As far as teamwork, we don’t even need to talk to know what the other one is going to do. That’s how tightly we work together,” he said, crediting Willis for her quick response on the scene. “I trust these guys with my back in any given situation.”

He said he was glad the situation ended as well as it did, because the scene he walked in on could have ended very badly.

“We call that a success if we can walk away without anyone getting hurt and every officer able to go home to their family,” he said.

Job Well Done!

[UPDATE] Another case in Wisconsin: Police used the Taser ONCE, knife wielding, intoxicated subject is not incapcitated, officers then "assist" the subject to the ground. One Taser hit, no one died.

And another subject with a knife gets tasered in Omaha... What is it with all these idiots holding knives to other people's throats? It's almost enough for another edition of You Could Get Tasered!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

If You Do This, You'll Get Tased (2)...

If you:
-drive around in Texas without a rear license plate,
-make the nice officer ask three times for your license and proof of insurance,
-get out of the car and start arguing with the officer instead of producing said license and proof of insurance...

You Could Get Tasered!

I'm surprised this guy's mouth didn't earn him a second hit... I grew up in and around Texas. There are signs all over the place admonishing people to Not Mess With Texas. Do not, under any circumstances, mess with Texas peace officers.
If You Do This, You'll Get Tasered...

Death After Taser Use, This Time in Texas

Another man is hit by multiple Taser shocks, the fourth and last being a "contact stun" (cite: MSNBC). The man was "running naked" through a North Houston area apartment complex and broke into a woman's front door. The Harris County Sheriff was called and deputies responded.

(ABC-13 Houston)"I saw a naked man just running," she said. "I was like, 'What?' And when I saw him, maybe I was seeing things."

But no. There was a nude man running around at 4am Wednesday, banging on car windows and apartment doors at the Trails at Dominion Grove apartment complex on Dominion near Kuykendahl.

"I was just like, this is crazy, and now when I come back, all the police are around and he was killed," she said.

The man died shortly after deputies used a Taser on him four times.

The man's antics caught the attention of residents who called 911. The final straw was when he barged into a woman's apartment.

"She repeatedly asked him to leave," said Sgt. Greg Pinkins with the Harris County Sheriff's Department. "He eventually left."

But next was a run-in with a sheriff's deputy. Investigators say the man climbed into the front passenger seat of a patrol car and wouldn't get out and the deputy hit him with a Taser. It had little effect. He tried again. But the man wasn't subdued until a second deputy arrived, and the man was hit with a Taser twice more.

"He resisted, resisted instructions, and resisted them and they had to resort to deploying a Taser," said Sgt. Pinkins.

This is the third death in the last few days in cases where police have deployed the Taser. One consistent thread in the deaths are the repeated hits when the subject is not subdued on the initial, or even second, Taser hit.

Police do seem to be relying on the Taser and it's reputedly abilities more than they should. From our earlier post, a former police officer stated:

An officer wouldn’t use a baton unless they were being assaulted--that is extreme physical force. But the Taser is being used in passive resistance: when an officer confronts a suspect, gives an order and the suspect isn’t compliant. In that situation many officers have used it as a non-compliant rule, like getting mouthy. If a cop used a baton that would be police brutality but for some reason the public thinks that the Taser is different, not a dangerous device. And there is the visual aspect: when you see someone beaten with a baton that is extreme but when you see someone Tasered and he doesn't fall, it doesn't look bad. Even so, it is a violent act; it just doesn’t look that way. (op. cit.)

The Taser deserves a place in the peace officer tool box. However, as described by the former officer above, it and the reputation Taser has crafted about their product is being relied on too heavily by police. When will the public and the departments that serve the public wake up and study the effects multiple hits from a Taser have on the body, particularly the bodies of those who are the most likely targets, the mentally and physically ill? We watch with little amazement, and often with amusement, as officers "hit" subjects multiple times with incapacitating electric shocks. As Officer Dial states above, we would react with horror and anger if we witnessed an equal deployment of the police baton. The latter may result in broken bones, the former a stopped heart. Which is the more cruel and dangerous?

Police Officer Suffers Medical Problems After "Vol...
Another California Man Dead After Police Use Taser...
Taser Death Update: Family States Man Was Restrain...
Do We Need to Take the TASER Away from Law Enforce...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

If You Do This, You'll Get Tased...

Following the example of Jeff Foxworthy's comedy routine You could be a redneck, Pax will be starting a series of jokes to be published as the mood dictates of You Could Get Tasered...

Today's runaway winner is the following:

If the police respond to your house on a disturbance call and you run out of the door naked and covered in blood, and then start kicking the nice officers...

...You Could Get Tasered! (see the video at the bottom of the item)shocked


Police Officer Suffers Medical Problems After "Voluntary" Taser Hit

A Mesa, Arizona police officer "volunteered" to take a Taser hit during a demonstration -- and now says he has severe back problems and debilitating headaches and dizzy spells.

After one 3 second Taser hit. And he says he isn't the only officer to develop career ending problems from the Taser hits.
Nick Dial was a police officer who volunteered to be Tasered. Since then his health has suffered to such an extent that he can no longer work. And he's not alone; other police officers have suffered serious health problems, from vertebrae misalignments to heart arrhythmia and stroke. "In its video, Taser International claims that nobody has suffered a serious injury or Taser death as a result of the Taser, but that just isn't true," says Dial.
Dial say he would not volunteer for the Taser hit if he knew then what he knows now.
Had I known better, I would never have volunteered to take the hit. As well, in the police department, there is a jock mentality--you have to step up and prove you are a man otherwise you're gonna get hazed for the next few weeks. Most of us say screw that, I'm gonna take the hit.

This is how they did it. Two officers took an arm each and rather than have the fish hooks go through my clothing, they cut the barbs off the end of the wire and connected the positive and negative to the back of my bare back and taped the wires on. One wire was taped below my right shoulder blade and the other wire was on my left back area so there was a perfect line going across my spine. I was hit with the Taser for three seconds, one surge. It was painful and my back arced. When it was over I was in a ton of pain--my entire back was throbbing and it was difficult to breathe.
Dial says that he can't work at all, he is "unreliable, I am tired all the time and sometimes I can't even make it to the grocery store. I can't even hold my daughter for long before my back starts throbbing." All because of that one Taser demonstration, according to Dial.

And he isn't alone among police officers.
Nick Dial's health problems led him to do a lot of research and he phoned some officers around the country who suffered after being Tasered. Dial says a police department in Chicago filed a suit against the weapons company but the city was forced to drop it because "it cost them too much money--Taser came at them with such force." In another incident Dial says a Chief of Police in southern Arizona was hooked up to an EKG and was Tasered during a demo to prove to his men that it was safe. "After he took the hit he had a stroke. He filed a lawsuit against Taser but lost the case."

"One young guy in Illinois was Tasered and he fractured 3 vertebrae in his neck," says Dial. "He had multiple surgeries and attempted to go back to work but the first time he had an encounter with physical force it opened his wound and ended his career as a cop. He can't do a whole lot. Like me, you kind of go through an identity crisis. You become a cop because you do it for the better good and you love your job. But now we don’t know what to do—we feel like our jobs have been stripped from us and it causes a state of depression--I want nothing more than to go back to work.
Doctors say that "he body runs on electricity and it is very possible that the Taser caused my adrenal glands to short circuit or damage my nervous system." This is much the same observation we had yesterday.

Dial says that Taser use is becoming an easy out for officers that otherwise would use no force at all.
An officer wouldn’t use a baton unless they were being assaulted--that is extreme physical force. But the Taser is being used in passive resistance: when an officer confronts a suspect, gives an order and the suspect isn’t compliant. In that situation many officers have used it as a non-compliant rule, like getting mouthy. If a cop used a baton that would be police brutality but for some reason the public thinks that the Taser is different, not a dangerous device. And there is the visual aspect: when you see someone beaten with a baton that is extreme but when you see someone Tasered and he doesn't fall, it doesn't look bad. Even so, it is a violent act; it just doesn’t look that way.
When even the officers tasked to use the tool are complaining it is past time to re-evaluate the tool's use in the field. Dial notes that every study of Taser's products have been funded by Taser... We need in depth, independently funded studies of the Taser. Until then peace officers need to examine the employement of this weapon in crisis situations.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another California Man Dead After Police Use Taser

Maybe California officers need additional training in Taser use? This "combative" 39-year old with a criminal record and a history of mental problems was "hit" three times by a Taser. From the San Jose Mercury News:
When deputies arrived, they were confronted by a combative, 39-year-old Nathan Vaughn. A deputy fired a Taser gun once at Vaughn, who they say continued to resist. The sheriff's department says the deputy fired the stun gun twice more at Vaughn.

Authorities say after Vaughn was subdued, he showed signs of medical distress after being put in handcuffs. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Ok, I've held off stating the obvious. Tasers use Electro-Muscular Disruption technology that is designed to incapacitate neuromuscular function by delivering an electrical shock. Here's the obvious part: The heart is a muscle that operates on electrical impulse. Doesn't ANYONE see the obvious? It isn't a good idea to deliver clusters of Taser hits that disrupt the heart's natural operation; and it is even a worse idea to deliver Taser hits to persons on meds or that have other medical conditions.

If the subject does not go down after one Taser hit, or at the most two, then perhaps it is time for the officers involved to apply elbow grease to the situation and not risk stopping the subject's cardio system.

The question that the officer must ask is: When does the Taser progress from a non-lethal device into a lethal weapon?

The Taser is a tool that deserves a place in the peace officer's arsenal. However, there are limits to this tool's use as with every other tool. If officers can't or won't recognize the tool's limits they should not have them.

Please don't accuse me of being anti-police. I did my time as a peace officer (Mobile, Alabama Constable 2001-2005).

Taser Death Update: Family States Man Was Restrain...
Another Death After Taser Use
Do We Need to Take the TASER Away from Law Enforce...
Still Please Don't Tase Me, Bro! [UPDATED] Is Tase...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Taser Death Update: Family States Man Was Restrained When Tased

(See Another Death After Taser Use)

[UPDATE from the San Jose (CA) Mercury News]
The family of the man who died after being "tased" multiple times by a Campbell Police officer in San Jose, California states that the man was not resisting and was handcuffed "under" multiple officers from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and other departments.

The family of a man who died Friday after repeated Taser jolts dispute police accounts and say he already was pinned under several deputies, handcuffed and not fighting back when another officer used his stun gun.

Rather than the "strenuous, intense physical altercation" that police described, the family of 26-year-old Edwin Rodriguez said he was confused but not combative with officers that night. They also said Rodriguez suffered from schizophrenia, a chronic mental illness that can cause hallucinations.

"He wasn't violent at any point," said Emilia Centeno, 35, a cousin whose brother and mother witnessed the incident. They have cell-phone photos showing several officers on top of Rodriguez that they say they took before the officer used the Taser.

"That is what we don't understand. Why would you use it on him more than one time when there were so many officers already on top of him and he couldn't move and wasn't fighting back?"

The Campbell Police Department tells a different story.
But Capt. David Dehaan of the Campbell Police Department, which employs Gary Berg, the officer who fired the Taser, insists Rodriguez was still struggling and was not handcuffed when Berg used the stun gun.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident. Edwin Rodriguez suffered from mental illness and had himself called for help twice that day when he thought his meds were not working. Officers responding to the second visit suggested Rodriguez see a doctor. Rodriguez and family members took their advice and proceeded to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

But when they got there, he did not want to leave the car. When Centeno's brother, Dennis Centeno Jr., tried to coax him out, Rodriguez became testy. Someone at the hospital suggested that the family summon police for help, Centeno said.

Deputy sheriffs arrived shortly after 11:20 p.m. Rodriguez was hugging his mother at the time, relatives said, while Dennis Centeno Jr. warned them that he did not speak English and, pointing to his head, "is not all there."

Relatives said Rodriguez began walking away from officers, who demanded in English that he get on the ground while his cousin attempted to translate. Moments later, relatives said, five or more officers pinned Rodriguez to the ground — face down. Some knelt on his back, they said, and others punched and kicked him.

Dehaan said officer Berg noticed the struggle and offered to assist with his Taser. The deputies, who do not carry the stun guns, accepted the offer, Dehaan said. Berg pressed the device against Rodriguez's lower back and discharged it "multiple times," Dehaan said. At one point, the deputies had hold of one of Rodriguez's arms, but otherwise his hands were free and uncuffed, and he was pushing up off the ground, Dehaan said.

The family saw it differently. They say Rodriguez was "handcuffed, pinned and not resisting when the officer used the stun gun at least four times."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Death After Taser Use

This time in San Jose, California...
A 26-year-old San Jose man died early Friday after he was zapped with a Taser by a Campbell police officer who was helping quell a disturbance at Valley Medical Center.

The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office identified him as Edwin Rodriguez. The cause of death is pending.
The fight escalated to what police describe as a "strenuous, intense physical altercation'' with Rodriguez, who was 6 feet tall and weighed about 260 pounds.

In an effort to subdue the man, Berg discharged his Taser electric stun gun, directly on Rodriguez's lower back. Dehaan said Berg discharged his Taser "several'' times, but he did not know the exact number.

After being subdued, Rodriguez was put in handcuffs, but deputies soon realized he was unresponsive. They started CPR on the man, who was taken into the hospital's emergency room. He died at 12:11 a.m. Friday.

Do We Need to Take the TASER Away from Law Enforce...
Still Please Don't Tase Me, Bro! [UPDATED] Is Tase...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sammy Baugh -- March 17, 1914 – December 17, 2008

Slingin' Sammy Baugh passed away yesterday at the age of 94. Born Samuel Adrian Baugh in Temple, Texas, Baugh was the greatest single football player to have graced the gridiron.

HTTR, Sammy!

Quite a few bloggers memorialized #33 yesterday. Here are a few...

Rich Tandler
The Curly R
TOBOTWR here and here
Redskin Insider
Redskins Gab and here

The Other McCain, that Tide heretic, also noted Baugh's passing.

Do We Need to Take the TASER Away from Law Enforcement?


Amnesty International has released a report which links 334 deaths to the use of Taser guns between 2001 and August 2008. Contrary to claims by the manufacturer that the stun guns deliver non-lethal shocks, the Amnesty International indicates that the government should limit use of the weapons to life-threatening situations or stop using them altogether because of their potentially lethal effects and ease of abuse.

Taser International claims that their stun guns are safe and non-lethal. However, Amnesty International challenges these claims, releasing a detailed report about the safety of Taser guns, titled “USA: Less than lethal?”

That's a lot more than TASER claims, which is Zero...

According to Bloomberg News, Taser International is currently a party in at least 40 Taser gun wrongful death lawsuits or personal injury cases, and they have previously been dismissed from over 70 other cases.

The first Taser lawsuit that resulted in a verdict against the manufacturer of the weapon was returned in June 2008 by a California jury, who awarded $6.2 million to the family of a man who died after receiving multiple shocks from a Taser gun.

Perhaps it is time to look for an alternate "less than lethal" tool.

Still Please Don't Tase Me, Bro! [UPDATED] Is Tase...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Still Please Don't Tase Me, Bro! [UPDATED] Is Taser LYING?

(Hat Tip GannettBlog)

The Columbia Journalism Review released an item on Friday alleging that Taser International made false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Taser stated that Gannett Co, Inc -- publishers of numerous daily papers and the USA Today -- agreed to vet stories about Taser products before publishing in the settlement of a 2006 law suit filed by Taser against Gannett. Gannett and the two papers that ran the item about potential Taser deaths yesterday.

The CJR item states:
  • There was no such agreement according to Gannett.
  • In two SEC filings, Taser claimed that the newspapers “would review articles regarding the Taser device with us prior to publication”—an extraordinary breach of journalistic standards.
  • Taser’s general counsel initially stated the claim to Wall Street analysts in an earnings conference call, adding that it was “in order to ensure accuracy.”
  • Gannett denies ever making such an agreement.
  • The initial suit was dismissed and a summary judgement was issued forbidding taser from suing again.

Current San Francisco Chronicle editor Ward Bushee, the Republic’s editor at the time of the settlement, and Randy Lovely, the Republic’s current editor, said they were unaware of Taser’s statements until asked about them recently by CIR, and denied that any such agreement ever existed.

“Taser’s assertion in the SEC filing is completely false,” Lovely said. “The Arizona Republic would never allow a source to review a story prior to publication. To do so would completely violate our journalist principles and standards of independence. The Republic has aggressively reported on Taser during the past few years, and we stand behind the full scope and accuracy of our stories.”

If Taser is lying to the SEC about the circumsatnces of the law suit, are they lying to us about the lethality of their products?


A lot of LEO (Law Enforcement Officer for the uninitiated) types still defend the Taser as a non-lethal defense device for law enforcement. In comes the latest study...

A new study has found that the type of Taser stun gun used most by police officers can fire more electricity than the company says is possible, which the study's authors say raises the risk of cardiac arrest as much as 50 percent in some people.

The study, led by a Montreal biomedical engineer and a U.S. defense contractor at the request of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., also concluded that even stun guns firing at expected electrical levels carry some risk of inducing a heart attack, depending on the circumstances.

Taser predictably calls the study bogus.
Taser International Inc., based in Scottsdale, called the study flawed. "Regardless of whether or not the anomaly (high-firing guns) is accurate, it has no bearing on safety," Taser Vice President Steve Tuttle said.
The study had the highest to date number of devices and found that. "9 percent of the guns tested abnormally high was significant enough to recommend a freeze in using X26 stun guns made before 2005."

Further, more questions were raised by the study about Taser use on those with heart conditions.

Pierre Savard, a biomedical engineer in Montreal who co-authored the report with two Chicago doctors, said they may have understated the risk Tasers pose because there is little available research on the effects of the weapon on humans, especially those who have heart disease. Although Savard said he recognizes the value of less-lethal weapons, he added that he is convinced Tasers can kill in some circumstances.

"Scientists who had evaluated the Taser to start with said, 'Well, there's zero probability of death.' I'm sure that's not the case," Savard said in an interview with The Arizona Republic.

"I'm 100 percent certain that cardiac diseases increase the risk of death after receiving Taser shock. I think there's enough scientific evidence for that."

The impact of use of Tasers on those under the influence of narcotics is also unknown according to the article.

You Still Better Not Tase Me, Bro!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai in America?

Just a few hours ago special ops commandos of the Indian military stormed a "Jewish center" in an attempt to end the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Islamist thugs have been on a two day rampage in that Indian city targeting hotels, restaurants, train stations, and other populated places killing with abandon and taking western and Israeli hostages. Prominent in their arsenal of terror were AK 47 rifles and hand grenades.

What if what is happening in Mumbai happened in America? In many "blue states" the results would be the same as in Mumbai. In India criminals have easy access to weapons while "as the Indian Law stands today a citizen of this country cannot even own a stick without inviting a penalty of 7 years in prison." In liberal bastions like Chicago, New York, and the District of Columbia law abiding citizens are similarly disarmed. So while emergency services run around "first responding" disarmed citizens become unnecessary casualties.

What if the Islamofascist scum tried this in a community where just a quarter of the average citizens were armed? That is, after all, the only defense. The authorities simply can't respond in time. We saw on 9-11 that our emergency services are brave and fearless when under attack. Police, Fire, and EMTs along with private security rushed into falling towers to rescue those in danger in the face of certain death. Their bretheren converged on New York in the days after to help retrieve the citizens and emergency personnel from under the rubble of those towers. Since then we have seen our military vanquish the enemy in place in Iraq, and given the same chance in Afghanistan they will do so again as the Marines proved earlier this month.

However, in the face of immediate attack from suicidal and homicidal Islamofascists armed with AK 47s and explosives, seconds matter. Help from police and military is minutes -- perhaps hours -- away. While we mourn the dead and help the survivors of the Mumbai attacks we must also think of our personal responsibility in preparing to meet such attacks on our hoGun Free Zoneme front. The enemy is evil and will attack us when and where they can. Shame on us if we are not prepared. All able bodied citizens should make use of whatever laws allow them to be armed and trained to meet these thugs no matter where they appear. All law abiding citiznes need to demand the unfettered ability to exercise our Second Amendment rights from our elected representatives. Eliminate so-called "Gun Free Zones."

The truth is that each American is the first responder to any emergency. Emergency services respond to OUR first response. How will you respond to an Islamist thug aiming a weapon at your family? We all hope we never find out, but hope did not keep the Islamists from toppling the Twin Towers or smashing into the Pentagon. Hope did not stay the trigger of Muhammed and Malvo. Hope did not disarm the thugs in Mumbai.

As a friend of mine says quite often, "I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop."

CrimeFile's Paul Huebl reports that India's police and militia are horribly under armed:
The local city cops are generally laid back. Up to five officers will share a single six-shot American made Ruger revolver with little in the way of reserve ammunition. They are like cops here, committed to keep their cities and visitors safe.

Some police and the military are armed with the venerable FNFAL battle rifle that fires the substantial 3.08 round. We will have to wait and see the present crisis unfold and learn what beef the cowardly terrorists have with American and British tourists. I’m sure the brave Indian police and military members will round up the suspects and things will return to normal.
Jimmie at The Sundries Shack:
And, please. Don’t give me any nonsense about lax gun laws or any other anti-gun folderol. Criminals will always be able to get all the guns they want because they don’t care about the law. Even if you banned guns entirely, criminals would still get guns because they’re criminals. Breaking the law is built into their job description. Don’t believe me? Look at Washington, DC and Chicago which combine the strictest anti-gun laws in the country with a sickeningly high rate of gun violence.
Via Jimme, Dr. Melissa Clouthier:
On where...

1. Terrorists like drama and dense populations. So, that would favor a city. Some cities are more suitable–Chicago, DC and New York come to mind. Los Angeles and Houston are spread out. So is Miami. Tight quarters are target rich.

2. So let’s a assume a city. Terrorists like unarmed inhabitants. Well, criminals everywhere are armed, of course. But New York, DC and Chicago all have unfriendly gun laws. Perfect! I was thinking about this sort of thing happening in Houston. It wouldn’t last long. I don’t know the number of people with CHLs (concealed carry handgun licenses), but the number is high. That tends to make the populace less willing to comply.

3. Terrorists like symbolism. The Twin Towers were symbolic of our economic and infrastructure strength.
She sums up...
An armed populace trained to fight back would go a long way to increasing security. The old fashioned notion of militias sprang to my mind just now. Maybe that’s the answer: civilians who band together and train for these situations.
Sounds suspiciously like those evil militias... Horror! One additional point on her post:
The terrorist operations are more like guerrilla combat. High school kids weaned on video games and armed to the teeth might have a better chance against such a well-trained enemy. I mention this because American police forces simply aren’t prepared to deal with street warfare, unless there have been massive training exercises I’m not aware of.
There has been a fundamental change in strategy and tactics for LE confronting "active shooters/killers" since Columbine and VaTech. Current thought is evolving and the doctrine of each LEO actively engaging the shooter(s) as soon as each arrives on the scene is gaining prominence.

See: Armed Resistance Stops School Shooters -- Surprise...

Stacy McCain writes:
There is no fool-proof means of preventing such attacks, in India or anywhere else. The only effective long-term strategy is to identify terrorist groups and their members, place them under surveillance, and try to disrupt their plans by arresting them for weapons charges, immigration violations and the like.
Au Contraire, my Bob Barr supporting friend. The best effective long term (and short term) strategy involves an educated and armed law abiding populace willing and able to stop the thugs when they attack -- and, of course, equipped with cell phones to call in the police to clean up and take the after action reports...

Look, according to reports the Indian populace is unarmed and the Indian police are very ill-equipped (fix cops sharing a single Ruger revolver? Military armed with a century old battle rifle?). Modern society must accept that there is an individual and collective responsibility to defend one's life and the well being of the community. That responsibility starts with each able bodied citizen and is necessary for each person to enjoy individual Liberty and for the society to achieve anything close to security.

Yeah, the attacks in Mumbai portend vile things for our nation. That's because we have allowed ourselves to be disarmed and lulled to sleep by the government Nanny State that, like India, has no hope of protecting us. America must wake up to the reasons we have Liberty -- including the Liberty contained in the Second Amendment.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Year Later: Sean Taylor - April 1, 1983 to November 27, 2007

The tribute the Redskins gave to their departed team mate last year by winning their last four games over four tough teams, including the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants, spoke to the respect and love they held for Taylor. We fans became attached to Sean in a manner reserved for only the best of players, those who display greatness on the field and off. Sean over came many obstacles in attaining this position of respect -- many obstacles of his own making. Yet, his perseverance and his joy while playing the game won out hearts as Redskin fans as he had captured the hearts of Miami Hurricane fans before.

Sean's talent had him destined to be a great safety, perhaps the best of all time. He flew around the field with a reckless abandon that only manifests in those who truly love the game. His leadership was just emerging but held great promise. His personal life had become one to be admired after a time of trial. The best gauge of a person is the respect afforded by peers, and he had that without reservation.

As for us fans, we still miss you, Sean. The Taylor family is still in our prayers and thoughts.

A year ago I wrote:

We'll never know the heights that you could have reached as a young man, a father, a husband, or as a Redskin. The promise you displayed in all these areas pointed to so much more than what we had yet seen. We watched you grow as a Redskin and begin to assume a mantle of leadership after a period of youthful indiscretions. We rejoiced in the way your young daughter changed the direction of your life. We will miss you. Rest in peace, Sean.

It has been a year and the place he left remains unfilled in our hearts.

The Official Sean Taylor Tribute page is here (or click on the graphic).

In the Skins Blogosphere:
Matt Terl and Here
Hogs Haven
Cindy Boren and Here
Eric Espada Photo Montage
Curly R

Friday, November 21, 2008

Armed Resistance Stops School Shooters -- Surprise!

Via Of Arms and the Law
From (Channel 9 - Kentucky) comes an item on the evolution of law enforcement tactics in response to profiles of typical mass murderers. It turns out that the "gun nuts" were right about how to deal with them.

Experts even have a couple new names for them. The item states they are called "active shooters" or "active killers" and authorities have mere minutes to stop them as their scenarios play out quickly. Up to the Columbine tragedy law enforcement doctrine stipulated that waiting for the SWAT team to assemble and assess the tactical situation was correct.

Too long.
The two student gunmen killed 15 people and themselves before the SWAT team was in position. Commanders realized that it simply takes too long to assemble a tactical team in time to stop an active killer.
So experts then thought that the first four or so officers on the scene were the answer.
The new tactics developed in response to Columbine involved creating an ad-hoc tactical team using the first four or five patrol officers on the scene.

They would enter the shooting scene in a diamond formation with guns pointing in all directions.This technique was employed by police departments around the country.

Then came the Virginia Tech shootings.

Seung Hui Cho shot 47 people, 30 fatally, in the university's Norris Hall in just 11 minutes.

That means every minute he killed more than three people and shot a total of four.

Once again, the gunman continued shooting until a four-officer team made entry and then he killed himself.

Based on the Virginia Tech data, experts determined the first officer on scene should make entry immediately with an aggressive attack on the shooter.

Every minute the officer waits for back-up, another three or more people could die.

In other words, while it was once considered suicide for a lone officer to take on an active killer, it is now considered statistical homicide for him not to do so.
And about those "no gun" signs malls and businesses like to put up and all those places politicians have deemed law abiding folks unfit to carry concealed weapons?
The other statistic that emerged from a study of active killers is that they almost exclusively seek out "gun free" zones for their attacks.

In most states, concealed handguns are prohibited at schools and on college campuses even for those with permits.

Many malls and workplaces also place signs at their entrances prohibiting firearms on the premises.

Now tacticians believe the signs themselves may be an invitation to the active killers.

The psychological profile of a mass murderer indicates he is looking to inflict the most casualties as quickly as possible.

Also, the data show most active killers have no intention of surviving the event.

They may select schools and shopping malls because of the large number of defenseless victims and the virtual guarantee no [one] on the scene one is armed.

As soon as they're confronted by any armed resistance, the shooters typically turn the gun on themselves.

How many times have we put on bumper stickers or used tag lines with these slogans:
"I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop."
"Outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns."
"When Seconds Matter, Help from 911 is Minutes Away."

Those kids at Columbine and Virginia Tech did not all have to die. Armed teachers and/or guards at Columbine and armed professors, students, and guards at Virginia Tech who believe in the Second Amendment and self reliance could have stopped each incident in its tracks. "As soon as they're confronted by any armed resistance, the shooters typically turn the gun on themselves."

And on and on... We told them. Why does it take so long for the "experts" to listen?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Problem at the Half Way Point

I know, it's been nine games -- one more than half way -- but this is the bye week for our beloved Maroon and Black Burgundy and Gold and a more natural point to look at where this team is. And, instead of a unit by unit examination of the team's learning curve, which I'll leave to others more capable and inclined, I think I'll point out thing that really bothers me about this team.

For Bye Week appraisals of the Skins, I suggest:

On to the problem I see...

With the bye week comes word that the Skins have signed the just released DeAngelo Hall and released our own Leigh Torrence. For more on the questions about Torrence being waived to make room for Hall I'll point readers to Rich Tandler:
This move is somewhat surprising. One would think that if a cornerback was going to get cut it would the rookie Justin Tryon. The fourth-round selection has played sparingly while Torrence has served ably as a nickel back while Shawn Springs has been hobbled by various injuries this year and after Carlos Rogers suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2007.

The fact that Tryon made the 53-man roster in September raised some eyebrows and the fact that he was kept over a fairly well-established nickel back will raise some more. Apparently the thinking was that Tryon had more upside potential than did Torrence and that justified keeping him as the fifth CB.
I have a problem with the Hall signing that is not related to Hall or the CB he replaced and was released, or indeed the fact we signed him.

My problem is that the Front Office has been seemingly oblivious to the one problem that will keep the Skins from being a Super Bowl contender...

The Tackle spots on offense.

Watching the Skins progress during the season has seen this position as one that has deteriorated instead of improving. All other units have worked out the kinks and are progressing: Pass protection for Campbell has dropped dramatically and was exposed for the liability it is against the Steelers. Put simply, there is no excuse for this display of non-competitiveness.

Heyer, who coming into the season was seen as a successor to one of the OTs -- and initially took the RT gig away from Jansen -- has been merely adequate in pass protection at RT and far below average in run blocking. In his one game subbing for Samuels at LT in a return to action after his own injury Heyer stunk. Jansen has cemented his reacquisition of the RT spot with his old steller run blocking, but he is still lacking when it comes to protecting Campbell. Samuels has had his moments when healthy, but was completely exposed last week in his return from injury. An injured Samuels is light years better than a healthy Heyer.

If the FO can find the Jameses, Taylors, and Halls from the reject pile, they could find a tackle or two that would at least be competent enough to keep Campbell off the IR. If the level of play we have seen continues, that is where he is headed, and the Skins won't even compete for a playoff berth.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Skins Escape Brownout, win 14-11

Portis ran over, around, and through the Browns' defense and the Redskins' defense frustrated Derek Anderson and the Browns to take another "closer than it shoulda been" win on Sunday. Clinton made one mistake, a fumble after a 24 yard run away from the Redskins goal line... And that one mistake almost cost the game. Portis' 175 yards rushing exceeded the passing game production of 164 yards and was the reason the Redskins put up 14 points on the board.

The defense was smothering. The Browns could get nothing going until the fourth quarter and then failed to convert a first and goal from the one on one drive, and on the next drive took all four downs from the one to get their only TD.

As it has been for the Skins for the past five or so years, the defense is carrying the team along with Portis' ground game. Zorn has in this and last week's loss to the Rams lost his aggressiveness in play calling that defeated the Cowboys and Eagles.

This team has got to get the offense figured out if it plans to get to the playoffs, much less do anything if they get there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Skins Trapped by Rams, Fall 16-17

The Rams were winless in four tries, had fired their coach, benched and then unbenched their starting QB, and had shown no defense at all to this point.


And the Skins fell right in. They lost three fumbles, their first turnovers of the year, including one for a TD off a Kendall reception of a tipped pass... Knock the ball DOWN next time, Pete.


Portis, who had two TDs for six on the season, stated that the Skins took the Rams lightly. "I think the headlines got good," Portis said. "Guys started high-fiving and yelling, 'We here!' "

Trap -- Sprung.

Learn the lesson, guys.

Cross Posted at Pax Parabellum.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Feel the Bolts Pain

The Turner effect is crashing upon the beaches of San Diego... And it's a story Redskin fans find far too familiar.

From SportingNews:

Within minutes of the latest loss, 17-10 to the Miami Dolphins and their college offense, the Internet and airwaves were as hot as a Santa Ana wind blowing out of the desert. Fans are venting on talk radio, in letters to newspapers and postings on the Web.

The favorite target is Norv Turner. He's the second-year coach who looked distraught after the Chargers were outplayed by a team that won only one game last year and uses an offensive scheme borrowed from college playbooks.

Redskin fans remember that look...

And now Charger fans can realize their own appreciation of it.

Oh, yeah... Been there, done that. Maybe AJ Smith can get some good tips from Daniel Snyder on Vanilla Ice Cream.

Fans are tossing around words such as "overrated" and "underachievers."

You have all that expensive talent and struggle to win games... And actually LOSE to last year's worst team. Oh, yeah... Been there, done that.

"You can't say anything. We had all those questions a year ago. We've got to do our job. As I said after the game Sunday, I said it again Monday: We've got to coach better and we've got to play better. We've got to go out and put a complete game together. We've played sections of games where we've played good on offense and struggled on defense or struggled on defense and struggled on offense."

Bolts fans, welcome to Norvisms. Enjoy the ride...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Redskins Pluck Eagles

Two road games against two division rivals...

Two wins.

Portis over powered what had been a top ten rushing defense for 145 yards and a TD to whollop the Eagles -- in their house -- 23-17. It was not that close...

Hail To The Redskins!

After the game Philly's QB Donovan McNabb was complaining that the "best" team didn't win.
I was embarrassed these last two weeks. I mean to two teams we shouldn't have lost to. When you make mistakes and you don't capitalize on opportunities things like this happen. There is no way that you can look at this game and say that, and not taking anything anyway from them, but there is no way that this team is better than us. The same went for last week and then you find yourself here wondering why.
You wonder why? You think you have the better team? The Skins beat Dallas in Dallas. You lost to Dallas in Dallas. The Skins just stomped you in YOUR house. The Skins have won four straight, You have lost two straight.

McNabb has a funny idea of what constitutes a better team...

Cross Posted at Pax Parabellum

Monday, September 29, 2008

Donation Time Again: Two Recommendations

It's that time of the year when that one person at the office starts dunning everyone in sight for donations to the United Way.


I hate that. That one person (and every corporation, business, government office, outhouse, whatever has one) all of a sudden is your best friend. They're always on the phone asking if you got the donation form, sending emails and text messages about how the money will be used to benefit those that need it, you just gotta fill out that form cause every bit helps... AAAAAHHHG!

Once they sense that you aren't interested in donating to the United Way, that person (who often has been unfairly tasked with compelling a positive response by upper management) morphs into a charter member of the Children of the Corn complete with piercing stares and freakish monotone statements. I've often wondered if I need to check my vehicle for sabotage after yet another refusal to participate...

Anyway, I do contribute to worthy causes. I do NOT contribute to the United Way. That is my choice.

The two charities I support are The Big Oak Ranch and Tupelo Children's Mansion. Both help kids in need and I know that every bit of help they get is spent on their kids.

Please click on the two links above and see how these fine people are helping children in dire need become valued adults by providing them with a loving and supportive home environment.

John Croyle and his wife, Tee, have seen their dream of building the best children's home in America grow into three separate facilities in Northeast Alabama: Big Oak Boys' Ranch in Gadsden, Big Oak Girls' Ranch in Springville, and Westbrook Christian School, Inc. in Rainbow City.

The Big Oak ministry grew out of John's desire to give hurting children a chance. John successfully played football at the University of Alabama under the legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Faced with one of the most important decisions of his life -- whether to play professional football or to start a children's home -- John followed the Lord's leadership and established Big Oak Boys' Ranch in 1974. Big Oak Ranch, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Alabama as a 501(c)(3) Corporation in that same year.

John's vision to start the Girls' Ranch evolved from a court case involving "Shelley," a 12-year old girl who had been physically and sexually abused by her father. John pleaded with the judge to let Shelley live at the Boys' Ranch, but the judge refused and placed Shelley back with her parents. Shelley was beaten to death by her parents three months later. The Girls' Ranch was built in 1988 after John felt the Lord's calling to start a girls' home in Shelley's memory.

Our mission is to offer hope through the love of Jesus Christ to orphaned or disadvantaged children by providing their physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and educational needs . . . contributing to their health, security and happiness, and equipping them to lead productive lives.

Founded 55 years ago, the Mansion is recognized as one of the oldest and most trusted organizations of its kind. Our beautiful campus spans 40 acres with 27 buildings including: residence halls and staff housing, a Christian school, gymnasium, an on-campus church, and a thrift store.

Our caregivers, including social workers and counselors, have the experience, training and educational background to properly care for our children. Our other dedicated staff spans departments of administration, sponsor relations, food service, maintenance, and other support services.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hangin' Out the Ole Out of Bidness Sign

We done gone Fishin'

Well, just this blog, anyway. I developed quite a readership here for all the topic U-turns and absences. As of this week I'm averaging 100+ unique visitors with a bunch more page loads.

So why quit? Cause I can't blog about everything I want to blog about on just one blog. Also, some of the things I had worked on during my summer sabbatical did not come to pass...

I'm not really quitting -- Just trying something new.

My viewpoint content is moving to a new blog we are calling Pax Parabellum. Most of the old stuff is already there and new viewpoint/politics items will be posted there. [UPDATE] As soon as the net updates itself the blog's new addy will be

My Sports (mostly Redskins) ramblings will go to Zorn Again! Redskins fans get the joke...

My Chess content will move to the rebirth of Steve's Correspondence Chess Adventure. All one of my friends from waaaay back when will remember the blog template. I've added another (my second) event win at ICCF after several failed attempts and I intend to blog about that over there. I STILL love the Caro Kann! Also, we added a new blogger at ChessUSA and I'll be participating in examining the shenanigans of our various "chess politicians" over there from time to time.

A great big THANKS goes out to all of you that have made this blog an enjoyable experience. It was my first effort and I learned a lot of things about blogging, but more importantly about life and people from all sorts of persuasions.

Isn't that what life is about -- learning?

Finally, go visit the blog that the oldest (in terms of tenure, he could be a 13 year old teenybopper for all I know rofl) reader here authors. IrishSpy has a lot of great content and a truly unique outlook on things.

Thanks again and do join me at Pax and the other blogs that hit yer fancy!


Friday, September 12, 2008

Remembering from
I had intended to post something about the events of seven years ago yesterday. I experienced technical problems.

I couldn't find the words.

I have before, but for whatever reason, not yesterday. My thoughts wandered from
"Next time you run into an anti-war protester, just repeat these words:
'They dug them up with their hands, and raced the sun.'"

- Rich Galen,, 4/7/03
the impromptu, yet masterful, speech of President Bush amid the rubble of the Twin Towers, to the heroism on that day and in the years following, particularly those of the Special Ops team that rescued PFC Lynch and her fallen comrades of whom Major General Victor Renuart said, "While the rescue was ongoing, other team members were led to a burial site containing bodies they thought might be American. They did not have shovels in order to dig those graves up, so they dug them up with their hands. They wanted to do that very rapidly so that they could race the sun and be off the site before the sun came up -- a great testament to the will and desire of coalition forces to bring their own home."

In his remarks at the dedication of the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon yesterday, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said:
We have been "acquainted with the night." We have taken its measure. In the darkest of times, we have stood together. In defiance, our nation has pressed on toward morning. With resolve renewed, and with the certain strength of the American people, our nation will force the dawn.

Friends of freedom and Liberty take comfort and find hope in those words; tyrants and terrorists should heed them and tremble.

Friday, July 4, 2008

[CHESS] USCF Leadership Answers to Growth Questions

Last week we brought to you some questions that had been asked (initially posed at the USCF Forums on Tuesday June 24th) of USCF leadership regarding membership growth, promotion of local clubs and other areas of chess interest.
In that membership growth is dependent upon member activity at the grass roots level;
1) What is the USCF doing to promote growth of existing clubs and the creation of new clubs in areas that lack them?

2) What is the USCF doing to promote USCF membership among internet players?

3) What is the USCF doing to promote USCF membership among non OTB groups such as correspondence chess, 960, etc?
I stated that I wished to know the thoughts of several specific individuals in USCF leadership and why thier voices mattered on this issue.
Specifically, I would like to hear from Bill Hall, Bill Goichberg, Randy Bauer, and Susan Polgar about these things, with specifics. Bill Hall is the ED and is involved in the day to day operations, Bill Goichberg is the President and has proposed radical changes to the dues structure and magazine, Randy Bauer has been very outspoken about these proposed changes, and Susan Polgar has been very vocal about alleged incompetence and about rejected promotional offers in addition to opposition to the proposed changes.

On Thursday June 26th USCF President Bill Goichberg responded to the questions and statements in the various posts and emails.

Regarding the opinion held by some members -- including this writer -- that his proposed changes to the dues structure and Chess Life would be the "neutering of Chess Life" Goichberg wrote:
I don't accept that adoption of the new plan would reduce the role of Chess Life, as the online version would also be Chess Life. It's possible that despite bulletin and email reminders to those not receiving the paper magazine, a smaller percentage of our overall membership will read the paper or online Chess Life, but this may be balanced by increased membership (or at least stable membership where there would have otherwise been a decline).
On the three specific questions Goichberg responded:
1) What is the USCF doing to promote growth of existing clubs and the creation of new clubs in areas that lack them?

Clubs have been especially hard hit by the internet, as both appeal to a large extent to players seeking convenient, inexpensive play. The trend for clubs has been down for some time and we would be doing well if we could simply halt this downward slide, but no one has found an effective way to do this. What USCF has done to help clubs in recent years includes:

A) Short TLAs cost less per line than long TLAs, and clubs tend to hold relatively small events with shorter TLAs. Overall, TLAs approximately cover their costs, but the ones submitted by clubs are subsidized somewhat.

B) A free TLA of up to 8 lines, the "Chess Club Special," is offered each month for events playing only on one or more weekday evenings.

C) This year, USCF partnered with R. V. Nuccio to offer USCF affiliates affordable liability and short term event insurance.

D) During the past 4 or 5 years, due to the great work of Mike Nolan, the speed and accuracy of USCF ratings has improved dramatically, helping clubs as well as other affiliates. We have gone from many tournaments taking a month or more to rate, no easy member access to rating reports, and manual corrections often taking over a year, to today's conditions in which events are rated in a few hours, members can view crosstables online with start and finish ratings for events going back to 1991, corrections are automated and quick, and official ratings are updated twice as often. I am aware of no major chess federation in the world that offers rating service as good as USCF.

E) A USCF Forum to discuss Chess Club issues was set up several years ago.

F) Tournament Memberships were reinstated by the EB in 2005 for the first time since about 1990. These reduce the minimum EF+dues cost for new players and are especially of interest to clubs and low fee tournaments, at which the dues would otherwise often cost more than the entry fee.

2) What is the USCF doing to promote USCF membership among internet players?

A) USCF's most effective promotional tool has long been its regular rating system. We need to promote regular rated online play, and the 2008 delegates agenda includes a proposal by the Executive Board to establish safeguards with the idea of promoting regular rated online play.

B) Beginning in 2006, the USCF website dramatically improved its coverage of chess games and news. The site still has some problems that are being worked on, but is much more likely to attract non-member viewers than our old site, which is the first step toward promoting USCF membership among internet players.

C) World Chess Live is providing outstanding sponsorship for our Grand Prix and new Junior Grand Prix, holding quick chess Grand Prix events that require USCF membership, as well as offering a free 6 month membership to USCF members.

D) I know you don't like the proposed $29 adult membership without hard copy Chess Life, but at this price we expect to sign up members who want to read the online Chess Life but would not pay $41. Since 1995, USCF dues have become quite cost sensitive.

3) What is the USCF doing to promote USCF membership among non OTB groups such as correspondence chess, 960, etc?

A) The current EB has agreed with and followed up on suggestions by you and others that USCF should provide international representation for our correspondence players.

B) I would also like to see Alex Dunne's column return to Chess Life, but the board has considered mandating of specific columns to be unwise micromanagement.

C) I doubt that there are a significant number of Chess 960 players in the US. However, we might consider experimenting with tournaments using this variant, which could lead to starting a rating system for it.

Of the things cited by Goichberg, the insurance he noted in 1C is considered most noteworthy. One delegate wrote me, "The insurance is probably the single biggest accomplishment. (...) I know two other organizers who also took advantage of this policy in MA. Personally, I think that USCF should have the email addresses of all affiliates and blast emails to them when something like this becomes available and/or snail mail would even be a nice touch." The delegate added: "Other than that, I find that USCF is as disconnected from its membership and affiliates as is humanly possible. (...) We'll just continue to grow the state affiliate and regional affiliates to take up the slack.

The reality is that the future for USCF is one of two things - either more scholastics members and focus or acknowledgment of a declining adult pool of players. Decreasing dues is just playing with the symptom and ignoring the causes.

Players want an organization which promotes chess. USCF promotes special interests. I don't see anything on the USCF website with a step by step guideline of how to create a chess club, who to contact for assistance, mentors for help, standardized flyers, affiliate web pages, regional events, how to create pools of club leaders to create larger events and jointly publicize clubs. Nothing about arranging club leagues."

After receiving nothing but silence from the other "leaders" named above, I posted the relevant portions of the discussion to Susan Polgar's forum on Thursday July 3rd. Susan Polgar responded both on that forum and on her US Chess Discussion blog.
The answers for all three questions are either nothing or next to nothing. These are some of the things Paul and I pushed the board to do since last August. These are the areas which we have supported for a long time (via sponsorship, promotion, and publicity). Without chess promotion and drastic improvement in the way how we conduct business, the USCF will continue to struggle very badly to survive year after year. Changing the dues structure will make little if any impact at all. This is also not the priority now. We also outlined the way how it can be done.
First, "nothing or next to nothing" differs quite a bit from Goichberg's fairly detailed answers above, answers Polgar had received via email on June 26th and that had been posted on the USCF Forum on the 28th. With these in hand, why was there no counter points offered if the true answer is "nothing or next to nothing?" Second, the where are the board motions from Polgar and Truong detailing "things Paul and I pushed the board to do since last August?" To have something accomplished it must be submitted for approval and implementation. The way the board works is that those on the board wishing to implement an initiative submit a board motion. I can find no motions in the BINFOs which are the repository of motions and discussion among the board members.

Polgar then lodges complaints about various persons in leadership and contracted staff. This writer finds difficult the task of separating legitimate complaints from politically motivated attacks in much of Polgar's statements since she and Truong took their seats on the board. The assertions comprising this latest statement falls into that category.

The questions were posed to ascertain just what leadership recognized that the USCF is currently doing to promote membership growth among adult chess players in the USA. Bill Goichberg responded with analysis of the USCF's efforts and defended his plan regarding membership growth and financial realities. Susan Polgar answered with very little substance that this writer could find and with what I can only consider a political screed against those she countenances as opponents. No one else in leadership responded at all.

USCF delegates and attendees to the workshops at the US Open in Dallas this year need to keep in mind the above when considering the Goichberg plan and other leadership questions that will arise. While I disagree with the plan as proposed, it must be stated that only Bill Goichberg has addressed the financial crisis and membership questions with a concrete strategy. The only things heard from the rest of leadership are political bluster or silence.

Cross Posted at ChessUSA

Thursday, June 26, 2008

[Chess] USCF: Growing Membership in Local Clubs

In a fit of pique over certain political issues, the latest being the proposed changes to Chess Life distribution and the dues structure, I decided to not renew my USCF membership pending the outcome of the proposals. My wife then over rode that decision by renewing for me...

So, here I am a member of the USCF for at least another year.

I found myself caring, once again, about the direction and continued survival of the Federation. Still being peeved by the proposed neutering of Chess Life, a recent trend that has seen the elimination of Alex Dunne's The Check is in the Mail column last year and the elimination of content pages earlier this year, a question occurred to me: As USCF leadership is reducing the role of one of our few marketing tools, just what plan is in place to promote local clubs which recruit the membership dues that we are so sorely lacking?

So, I asked:
The recent controversy about eliminating Chess Life from some adult memberships to cut costs prompted some questions that I didn't ask as I thought my membership was going to expire.

In that membership growth is dependent upon member activity at the grass roots level;
1) What is the USCF doing to promote growth of existing clubs and the creation of new clubs in areas that lack them?

2) What is the USCF doing to promote USCF membership among internet players?

3) What is the USCF doing to promote USCF membership among non OTB groups such as correspondence chess, 960, etc?

That was on Tuesday. A couple days later... No response.

Perhaps the governance/management types in the USCF did not know to whom I addressed the question, so I clarified it:
[W]e agree about general things the USCF should be doing, but the questions remain about exactly what the USCF is doing. Perhaps the USCF has a detailed strategy. If it does it is unknown to me and others, it seems. It seems that some of us ... believe that the local club culture is essential to a healthy USCF. I really would appreciate an answer from USCF governance/management about the strategy currently in place regarding the questions in this thread's initial post.

If they continue to remain silent then I guess we have our answer.

Specifically, I would like to hear from Bill Hall, Bill Goichberg, Randy Bauer, and Susan Polgar about these things, with specifics. Bill Hall is the ED and is involved in the day to day operations, Bill Goichberg is the President and has proposed radical changes to the dues structure and magazine, Randy Bauer has been very outspoken about these proposed changes, and Susan Polgar has been very vocal about alleged incompetence and about rejected promotional offers in addition to opposition to the proposed changes.

If the above leadership members missed the questions, here they are again:
In that membership growth is dependent upon member activity at the grass roots level;
1) What is the USCF doing to promote growth of existing clubs and the creation of new clubs in areas that lack them?

2) What is the USCF doing to promote USCF membership among internet players?

3) What is the USCF doing to promote USCF membership among non OTB groups such as correspondence chess, 960, etc?

So, how about it USCF leadership? What is the strategy here?

Crossposted at ChessUSA.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Blog Holiday

I'm taking a blog holiday of sorts between Father's Day and Independence Day. Blogging will be light... I had meant to post this earlier -- but I forgot. Sorry.

Friday, May 23, 2008

On the "Love" of Guns, and the Role of Private Security

I have received quite a few responses to the recent post Range Day Report in the various forms of email, comments and other -- most laudatory, some derogative. One email I received sought to take me to task for the "love" I displayed for my Smith and Wesson 686. Here is what I posted about that weapon:
The SW686 I had shot and trained with many times before. I stopped counting the rounds through it at 15,000. Purchased in February 1994, this revolver is hands down my favorite weapon in the world. I carried it on and off duty for over a decade and it bears the scars of holster and duty wear as badges of honor. This is the weapon I trusted with my life during trips into mortal danger along the Mexican border and El Paso's barrios. Since my wife and I were married, this is the weapon that resides on my wife's night stand when I am not carrying on duty. A joke my friends are tired of hearing is that soon after we were married, my wife stated that if I started calling it by a pet name she was calling the guys in the white jackets... The SW686 remains unnamed as I don't relish a trip to the looney bin.

The cumulative effect of thousands of rounds has rendered the trigger stroke, already smooth from the factory, a silky smooth experience. I installed pachmayr synthetic grips soon after purchase both for increased control and to mitigate the hardship of carry on the original rosewood grips. Other than that, the SW686 is stock from the factory.

If I am forced to pick one handgun to carry on duty, the SW686 is it. That being the case, I qualified with it first.

The quote in bold is the part that seems to have elicited the most strident objections. The email I mentioned rambled monotonously about my "love affair" with an inanimate object.


That charge is the result of a juvenile mind unable to raise itself from the gutter of prurient thought.

True, I fawn over this weapon. I trust it. Why? Because of the over 15,000 times I have fired it, it has never failed. I know that if I am in a position that requires use of a weapon to protect the lives of the people I love, that weapon will perform the task for which it was created. At various times over the years my life and those of my family depended on having a weapon that would function as it is intended.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote to George Washington, "One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them." That sums up exactly my "love" for that weapon, and the attraction I have regarding my collection of various weapons. I think I'll go with a couple Founding Fathers and presidents over the addled sophomoric objections of a misinformed bloviator.

Another would-be commenter sought to demean the part I wrote about carrying the SW686 "along the Mexican border and El Paso's barrios." He tried to use the term "security guard" as a pejorative. That I have worked private security is obvious, as I stated in the article that I was taking the Handgun Permit Carry course and the Armed Security course. In fact, I stated that taking the security course was the reason I qualified with two weapons -- so that I could carry either on duty.

What the commenter did not know, and what I do not believe I have written on this blog before, is that I have also served my time as a sworn peace officer. So yes, much of my time carrying the SW686 was as a private security officer in addition to the time I carried it as a peace officer.

However, the slighting comments the commenter made about private security are ill-informed and yet pervasive in our society. Many private security firms are guilty of only performing to the parameters of the contract under which they operate. Many public encounters are with the "warm bodies" that are hired to fulfill these "lowest bid" contracts. Unfortunately, these instances are the ones most often brought to mind when the subject of private security is raised.

The truth behind the subject is different. When one hears of government officials speak of "first responders" the professionals brought to mind are police, fire fighters and emergency medical services. The fact is that the first people on the scene are most often regular citizens and private security. During the September 11, 2001 attacks the first professionals to organize a response to the life taking situation were security guards. The most famous of these was Rick Rescorla who, as head of Morgan Stanley's security, saved thousands of lives during the disaster and died looking for stragglers when WTC 2 collapsed with him in it. Rescorla is also famous for being a member of General Hal Moore's unit that was portrayed in We Were Soldiers Once...and Young: Ia Drang--The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam. The story of his sacrifice was documented in Heart of A Soldier A Story of Live, Heroism, and September 11th by James B. Stewart.

Rescorla's story is not the only one of private security officers saving lives in the WTC attacks. Another is of Esmerlin Salcedo:
World Trade Center security guard Esmerlin Salcedo was in no peril on the day of the attack since he was attending a computer class at a safe distance away. But when he heard the first strike, he raced from his class to his desk at the command center on the B-1 level. He walked fellow worker Roselyn Braud to an open exit and told her to run for her life. The last time he was seen he was helping another guard to safety. The 36-year-old father of four earned $10.51 an hour. He has an $80,000 life insurance policy but, according to the New York Times, his survivors may not be eligible for survivor's benefits because he wasn't officially “on duty.”
Salcedo was not "on duty" but his sense of duty led him to give his lives for others.

Just a Rent-a-Cop.

The stories are there, but only if you dig deep for them. In another post I hope to write about the environment wherein security guards and officers must work, an environment created by lack of pay, lack of training, and lack of support and recognition -- most of which are caused by low bid finances and "warm body" mindsets in the private security sector and the public in general.

So, when that commenter sought to insult me for having been a security guard he failed. I simply considered the source.

Yeah, I love my gun -- for what it does to protect my family. And I am proud to have served as a peace officer and as a private security officer. The next time you see a security officer at a bank or store, think about just who it is the bad guys are going to target first, and who protects you from those bad guys if you have not availed yourself of your state's carry laws. Remember, the security officer is there on location and in high profile uniform, there when the "fit hits the shan." The guys at Emergency 911 are minutes away -- and when the bad guys hit seconds matter.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Range Day Report

Last week I promised a report on the Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit course I took and my experience at the range for qualification. I'm going to start with the last day first: Range Day.

I was not only qualifying for the Carry Permit, I was also qualifying for an Armed Security license. Unlike the Carry Permit that allows the bearer to carry whatever handgun one wishes, the security license is weapon specific: if you want to carry it you have to qualify with it. That being the case I ponied up the extra $20 range fee and qualified with a Smith and Wesson 686 revolver (.38 Spl and .357 Magnum) and a p944dc Ruger pistol (.40 SW).

The SW686 I had shot and trained with many times before. I stopped counting the rounds through it at 15,000. Purchased in February 1994, this revolver is hands down my favorite weapon in the world. I carried it on and off duty for over a decade and it bears the scars of holster and duty wear as badges of honor. This is the weapon I trusted with my life during trips into mortal danger along the Mexican border and El Paso's barrios. Since my wife and I were married, this is the weapon that resides on my wife's night stand when I am not carrying on duty. A joke my friends are tired of hearing is that soon after we were married, my wife stated that if I started calling it by a pet name she was calling the guys in the white jackets... The SW686 remains unnamed as I don't relish a trip to the looney bin.

The cumulative effect of thousands of rounds has rendered the trigger stroke, already smooth from the factory, a silky smooth experience. I installed pachmayr synthetic grips soon after purchase both for increased control and to mitigate the hardship of carry on the original rosewood grips. Other than that, the SW686 is stock from the factory.

If I am forced to pick one handgun to carry on duty, the SW686 is it. That being the case, I qualified with it first.

One thing a person going though J. Buford Tune's APPS instruction must have is endurance. The man can talk. And he loves to talk.

And talk some more.

And when you think he is done talking, just prepare to listen some more.

The class arrived at the meeting point in Smyrna, TN at 0800. The APPS instructors met us there and led us onto the National Guard weapons range at about 0830. From the time we assembled until about 1200 we listened to Buford lecture and instruct us on the workings of our handguns, the foibles inherent in each type of handgun (he dislikes striker fired weapons -- Glocks and their imitators -- intensely), proper footwork, proper stance/posture for close in handgun fighting, and why J. Buford Tune considers the Beretta 92f to be the finest fighting handgun ever made, if one wishes to carry a semi-auto pistol. It is his considered opinion from decades of experience that everyone should carry revolvers instead of "jam-o-matics" and that striker fired pistols are the bane of all good shooting principles.
I am in no way promoting this as the ultimate answer to how to fight with a handgun. Techniques differ from person to person and instructor to instructor. However, what was taught at this class works and enriched my personal knowledge base greatly. I don't know what else one can ask from a class or instructor.

For instance, Tune explains, "here is how to break down a pistol." He then disassembles a pistol, taking off the slide and removing the barrel and various components. After re-assembling the pistol, he then demonstrates "breaking down" a revolver by opening the cylinder. "See the difference?"

Point made, and to me, he was preaching to the choir.

After the class room time and a thirty minute lunch it was time for proper stance and draw stroke instruction. Here are the basics of a proper J. Buford Tune stance and drawstroke:
1) The initial position is facing the target/threat square on -- or "full frontal" if you want to call it that.
2) When the threat is recognized as requiring defense, pivot on the weak side foot and bring the strong side foot back (both feet should turn so that they point in the same direction), bring the weak hand in a fist to the upper pectoral area (as if blocking a punch), place the strong hang on the holstered weapon, and shout, "NO!" (See Lessons Learned below)
3) Draw the weapon and bring it up to the weak hand and hold the weapon against the upper pectoral in a two hand grip, weak hand fingers over strong hand fingers and weak hand thumb over strong hand thumb.

The weapon is ready to fire should the threat require. The technique utilizes the "point shooting" method for close in combat. During the second round of live fire one of the instructors working with our sub group demonstrated how close most street combat with guns occur by placing the palm of his hand about three inches from my nose.

That's close. Aiming is out of the question, and retention is vital. The technique APPS teaches emphasizes retention.

The retention techniques I had always used had the weapon held close against the upper waist, lower side area with only the strong hand, the weak hand being raised and used for blocking techniques.

The immediate thought I had was about how close to my face this weapon was going to fire...

We then continued with instruction on aimed fire from this stance should the threat not be contact close.
4) Using the weak arm/hand like "a robotic arm" to pivot with the elbow in contact and deriving support from the body, raise the weapon to eye level without moving the head.

Again, my thoughts went to how close the weapon would be firing to my face, especially with the pistol's slide coming back with each round, and right in front of my eyes! This and other factors were to play a part in my first few rounds on the firing line.

A point Tune made during this phase of instruction stuck in the back of my mind and would help me control my groupings during the aimed portion of firing: He likened the stance to that of the standing rifle marksmanship position, with the off hand elbow being supported by the body and the off hand supporting the forestock of the rifle. Decades ago I was on the rifle team at Eastern New Mexico University's ROTC program and had learned that stance during hours of dry fire at the behest of SGM Nick Gonzales. I had integrated that into my handgun technique in a stance very similar to the Modified Weaver over the years.

At about 1400 we made our way to the firing line. Here we received our final instructions:
1) On the line, the range master (Tune) would give a command; example, "On Command -- Fire One!" The instructors would then repeat the command, "On Command -- Fire One!" The shooters would then respond, "Fire One!" Then, the Range Master would give the command, "Fire!" At that time the shooters would draw and fire the requisite number of rounds.
2) We were told that the weapon must remain on target and ready to fire after having fire the requisite number of rounds until commanded to holster.
3) We were told that it was our responsibility to keep our weapons loaded at all times (Important!). During the time between having completed fire and when commanded to holster was when we were supposed to reload. The range master made sure to allow adequate reload time.

The first course of fire was from FIVE feet. When we moved to the five foot line I had visions of rounds bouncing back from the target. I checked and found, to my relief, that the backstop was loose soil. That left the target frames which were metal, but I was sure I would not hit those.

Then I remembered I was not alone on the line.

I started eyeballing the guys next to me trying to gage if THEY would hit the frames and create a ricochet...

Soon came the command to load and re-holster. I did so and started contemplating my paper target with malevolent thoughts.

"On COMMAND!" We fired about half the course in various rounds of between one and five shots. Again, I was using the SW686 (a revolver), but the guy to the left of me was using a Kimber of some sort (an expensive pistol). In addition to "fighting" the newly learned stance and dealing with the 686 going off just below my chin -- brass from the Kimber was hitting in the back of the head and neck!

There simply is no feeling like that of a just fired cartridge making its way down your collar and back.


Next time I'm wearing a t-shirt under my regular shirt and I'm probably wearing my Stetson.

In the pic you can see two "flyers" next to the white outline circle, in the black and garnering full points, but still outside of the groupings. I'm pretty sure those were from that one shell going down my shirt...

Several times the instructor on our end approached me between rounds of fire to admonish me for allowing the weapon to move away from my chest. The technique requires a tight grip on the weapon close against the off hand pectoral for retention. I found it also helps accuracy in the point-shoot method. The instructor also inquired as to the ammo I was using -- I had purchased it (.38 +p FMJ Remington, as I recall) from APPS at the range. The 686 is a loud weapon. He thought I was using .357 Magnums.

We then moved back to ten feet where we used the aimed fire stance for the second half of fire. After fighting this new stance mentally, with the 686 mere inches in front of my eyes, I started acclimating to the new firing position. Again, the instructor was there to correct me -- move the weapon to eye level and do not "hunch" over the weapon or move the head at all. It was at this point that all the dry fire sessions at the ENMU-ROTC range came back. I settled in and started punching out the center of the target.

Next came the second round of qualifying for those shooting two weapons.
During this round I used the Ruger p944dc pistol I had purchased back in 2001 -- but had never fired. I've fired other pistols, and other Ruger pistols, but never this one. However, I was by now used to the new techniques being taught by APPS and was able to keep each round in the center of the target.

This time I was at the end of a much smaller firing line. The guy to my immediate left was a retired New York City police officer who is starting a new security agency here in Nashville. At the beginning of the course of fire I was in a quandary about how to reload my holstered pistol. He reminded me about the "tactical reload" -- something I had read and heard about but had never tried and that did not occur to me. I'm a revolver guy, remember...

After the course of fire was over, an instructor said my marksmanship was fine, but that I should now concentrate on the upper chest area and the lower abdomen area. The reasons were to avoid body armor and to deliver immediate incapacitating shots; the goal being to STOP the threat as quickly and as effectively as possible. The upper area targets the thorax, upper spinal column and a vital part of the lower brain. The lower area avoids the bottom of most armor, targets the lower spinal column and the pelvis. Rare is the individual that can operate with a shattered pelvis...

Lessons Learned

1) You can learn as much (More?) by listening to instruction about firing a weapon as you can by actually firing the weapon. I learned new methods of reloading a revolver without taking eyes off the target, that spare rounds for a revolver should be kept in the strong hand side -- a pistol on the weak hand side, advice about the kaBoom factor, the Tactical Reload as mentioned above...

2) Quality training time is never wasted time. Training stays with you always. Those hours of dry fire sessions with SGM Gonzales in Portales, NM are still paying off over two decades later. Much of what I learned from him was in what Tune was teaching here. When you find an instructor like this, do your best to be a sponge and soak up everything you can. I know I'm going back as finances allow for more at APPS.

3) Your weapon is your friend. Respect it, but don't fear it, and it will assist you in defending against the threats that abound in life. I had a distinct fear of firing so close to my eyes and face, but that fear was unfounded and I overcame it. Now I have much better skills in the use of my self defense tools and a better chance to survive deadly encounters.

4) The grips on the SW686 are too large for my hands. Tune examined how I was holding the revolver and recommended smaller, non-synthetic grips.
If you are in the Nashville area and you are looking for quality firearms and security training, I HIGHLY recommend APPS. They can be contacted at:

Postal address:
Academy of Personal Protection and Security
336 Hill Ave.
Nashville, TN 37210

5) Sometimes one should just keep their mouth shut. At the end of the day, after several days of ten hour instruction and eight hour work nights, I was exhausted (that five hour energy stuff wears out after five hours, duh). Several of my fellow students congratulated me on my scores... My mind was in the mode of placing the credit to the instruction I had received from SGM Gonzales all those years ago as well as the instructors that day on the range. What came out was, "Yeah, I was on the rifle team once..." I wish I had just said thanks and had shut the hell up.

6) Simple is often better. Why yell, "NO! at the threat instead of "Stop!" or some other command? Tune stated that policed research had indicated that the simple command of "NO!" would cause almost EVERYONE to at least pause where other commands would not faze them. Why? It is thought that since "No" is one of the first words we learn, and is one of the few words to cause a conditioned response from our parents and others almost from birth, that most people are readily conditioned as a Pavlovian response to stop and examine what they are doing, or should not be doing. This response crosses just about every culture and language: No sounds the same in almost every language. The bottom line is that you want the threat to stop or at least give you time to ready your defense. Shouting "NO!" does that like no other command.

The most important lesson I garnered from the day on the range is about training: Train correctly, do it the same way every time, and do it often. I had a GREAT time and I'll be taking the Intermediate course at APPS as soon as possible.