Saturday, February 27, 2010

There's An App For That

Well, maybe.

Smartphones are the ideal platform for a concealed carry application. So far, I've found two written for Android, Right2Bear (formerly iBearArms) and CCW-USA. I would consider both of them to be a good start, but not quite ready for prime time.

Both are paid apps rather than free, and have no trial versions. I test-drove them both, but in each case uninstalled them for refund during the 24-hour grace period. The reason was simple: neither one was accurate enough for me.

Keeping track of reciprocity is the main reason I want a CCW app on my phone. Both apps failed badly in that regard for a Nebraska resident. CCW-USA's list of states that recognize a Nebraska permit was incomplete. Right2Bear listed the states that Nebraska recognizes where the states recognizing Nebraska should have been, and stated that Nebraska has no "formal" reciprocity agreements with anyone. That is incorrect, as a quick check of websites like and Pack-N-Go will verify.

Right2Bear seemed to have better information for other states. I liked CCW-USA's GPS-based notification option that warns you when you're entering a state where you aren't legal.

CCW-USA had an annoying slide-racking sound effect that I couldn't find a way to disable.

Neither app can handle multiple permits so far.

CCW-USA costs $1.99 and Right2Bear costs $2.99. You can only uninstall once for refund. After that, if you reinstall the application, you can't get your money back.

Bottom line: Both applications have their good and bad points, but neither is good enough for my purposes to pay for right now. I will be watching the Android Market for updates to both apps and the comments from people using them.

If anyone knows of any other concealed carry apps for Android, please let me know. Thanks.

Carry Gun Hygiene

I just spent my morning once again scrubbing the schmutz out of my bobtail Wilson. Before I started carrying all the time, I used to think shooting was the only way to crap up a gun. Boy, do I ever know better now.

Lint, skin oil, itty-bitty skin flakes (ick!), and sweat are way worse than carbon and copper. Wearing a gun all the time also leads to finding occasional traces of the R-word in the deepest nooks and crannies alongside the sights and inside the hex-holes in the grip screws. Utterly horrifying to a clean-gun-freak like me. Not even a day at gun school shooting hundreds of rounds makes that much of a mess.

I use a piece of paracord when field-stripping as no-idiot-mark insurance.

Every so often I grit my teeth, hold my nose, and let my gun actually get dirty as a test of reliability. I certainly don't have time to clean it every day other than maybe a quick spritz of Tetra Gun Spray and a wipe-down. If getting a little gunky causes malfunctions, I need to know -- and probably would opt to carry a more-tolerant gun for self defense. Fortunately, so far my Wilson has run like a champ even when less than pristine.

Every time I unload my carry gun, I rotate the chambered round into the magazine to avoid possible setback. When all nine rounds have been chambered once, I shoot out my carry loads. The two spares I carry just get checked for hairballs. Maybe once a year I'll burn through all of them, swap the mags, and start over.

Yeah, I know there are plenty of folks who clean their carry guns seldom or never, and those guns will probably go bang if needed, especially if they're Glocks or wheelguns. Me, I just have to treat the thing like my life might depend on it some day.

With all this near-OCD thorough gun maintenance going on, you'd think I wouldn't be afraid to detail-strip the thing to make sure I really get all the crud out. Well, here's the embarrassing admission of guilt. Yes, I am afraid to do a full detail strip. I can field-strip it with my eyes closed (if I don't mind pinching some part of my hand at least once thanks to that 22-pound recoil spring and flanged barrel), but replacing a plastic mainspring housing with stainless steel in one of my Kimbers is as far as I've ventured into the realm of Tasks That Require Pin Punches. I have all the stuff I need to do it, except the nerve.

Did I mention there's still an escaped HK P7M8 magazine spring lurking somewhere in my house?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

There's Training . . .

And then there's TRAINING.

While I can see both sides of the argument about whether training and qualification should be required for a concealed handgun permit, I absolutely believe anyone who carries a gun should get as much training as he or she can afford. I admit to being a training junkie, and try to get in at least three or four classes every year.

Practice also has training value, as do shooting sports such as IPSC and IDPA matches. But nothing shows you where you need to focus your self-improvement efforts like force-on-force. Everything changes when the targets are shooting back.

Even knowing in general terms what's coming doesn't change the adrenaline dump and its associated tunnel vision and loss of fine motor control. Airsoft pellets don't hurt as much as Sims, but they hurt enough that I don't want to get hit, and can sure tell when I am.

Accurate Airsoft replicas of most of the popular defensive handguns are available that fit everyday carry rigs. My KWA all-metal 1911 works especially well, since the thumb safety holds the slide in place while holstering. Airsoft recoil springs are far too weak to do that job on their own. I have two spare magazines, and can drop them without fear of breakage on thick grass, thick carpet, or dojo mats. Cement or gravel, not so much. Sure, the mags will hold more than eight rounds, but I only load eight for added realism.

Force-on-force is for more than just guns. I have drone versions of the blades I carry as well, and suiting up for a session involves wearing training versions of everything I normally wear, in the same places they'll be if I need the real thing.

I have to laugh when I hear range Rambos discussing which shooting stance is the "correct" one for a defensive gun use. When the fit hits the shan, your stance will be 100% whatever works. The more movement necessary, the less your shooting position will resemble anything you do standing at the line punching holes in paper. And movement will be necessary. Clint Smith wasn't kidding when he said, "If you’re not shootin', you should be loadin'. If you’re not loadin', you should be movin'. If you’re not movin', someone’s gonna cut your head off and put it on a stick."

So don't think standing at the line making one ragged hole in the middle of a sheet of paper at ten yards prepares you to fight for your life. That one ragged hole is to gunfighting the way school figures are to Olympic figure skating. A fundamental skill upon which to build the rest.

So punch that paper. Get some run-and-gun with practical shooting sports. But if at all possible, get some force-on-force training. It's a potentially life-saving eye-opener.

The Great Wall Of Snow

This winter has been a record-breaker. Last night's temperatures matched or broke record lows for the date. This season has set a new record for continuous days of snow cover on the ground.

And then there's this:

A ten foot (at least) tall snowdrift that's been marching closer and closer to my house and dog yard with every snowstorm.

Good thing the probability of more snowstorms is dropping off, and the temps are forecast to be above freezing (only ten or so degrees below normal, as opposed to thirty). Otherwise, the dogs may need tunnels to go outside.

Damn global warming.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Starbucks Appreciation Day

Okay, so I spent today sequestered on the couch with a comforter, a bottle of Nyquil, a box of Kleenex, and a DVD changer loaded with the entire fifth season of NCIS.

But I did stop at Starbucks yesterday for a hot chocolate. With my omnipresent concealed 1911 on my hip.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blogoversary #2

It's the Crossroad's second blogoversary, and I almost missed it.

A year ago, this blog had registered a little over 10,000 hits. Now there have been over 35,000, and there would probably be even more if I actually, like, wrote stuff on it once in a while.

There's a lot going on these days that sucks the life out of inspiration and spare time. The jerks who are trying to intimidate me into selling my property to them are ramping up the harrassment and my attorney's had to get involved.

Hopefully some things will fall into place soon and free up a little energy for fun stuff again.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

The Pussifiers Should Be So Proud

By now, everyone must have heard about the 15 year old girl who was brutally beaten and robbed while three uniformed security guards and other bystanders did nothing:
"Aiesha, 15, Asked for an Escort, Warned Guards and Cops About Attackers, Got Beating But No Help"
"According to King County Sheriff's Department spokesman John Urquhart, the security guards at the terminal did what the job required.

"'They are to observe and report,' Urquhart told Good Morning America. 'And that means be a good witness and call 911. And that's exactly what they did.'"
Now people all over the country are expressing outrage over how the incident was (not) handled.

GOOD. It's about damn time.

From what I've heard, Seattle is a liberal-pussifier-paradise and they're proud of it. Well, this is what you get when cowardice and apathy combine. Ooh, the three unarmed security guards (an oxymoron right there) were outnumbered. They were following orders. Had they grown a pair and intervened, they might have lost their jobs. Never mind the victim could have lost her life.

The mindset at work here is not isolated by any means:
"This is not an unusual case, according to security experts from around the county. Most private security guards under contract by cities, shopping malls and businesses work under strict rules to retreat, not to jump in, if something goes wrong."
So what good are they? None? Guess what, the criminals know that.

Aiesha knew she was at risk and asked police officers to escort her to the bus so she could get home safely. They refused.
"Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a Seattle police spokesman, told ABC News last week that the officers could only do so much before a crime was actually committed, and had told the victim and her friend to go home and get away from the assailants at least two times before the attack occurred.
Emphasis mine.

Pay attention here, folks. Running away doesn't work when your attackers are hunting you down. Not only are the police under no obligation to protect us from violent crime, they are under no obligation to take any action to prevent such crime from happening. Their assigned role, literally, is to put up the yellow tape and investigate the crime after it is completed.

Who has the greatest investment is actually preventing the completion of that crime?


Now this case is made even worse by the age of the victim. As a minor, she is prevented by law from owning and using the most effective tools of self-defense. She used pepper spray against her attackers earlier in the sequence of events, and it did nothing to improve the outcome. It may have even enraged them more. Also, keyring-size sprays often don't have much multiple use capacity. So much for the effectiveness of kitchen condiments as deterrants.

So if we have a mandated-helpless victim, whose job is it to actually stop the threat?

Apparently not the police, who refused her request for an escort. Apparently not the "security guards" who were trained to do nothing but be good witnesses. Apparently not the other bystanders who thought the "security guards" would stop the assault but did not step in when they didn't.

And doesn't anyone here see that the reason these teenaged thugs felt empowered to viciously beat and rob this girl in front of multiple witnesses, including uniformed security guards, is that they knew with a high degree of confidence that nobody would take any action against them???

Every public official who says you should not defend yourself but give the criminal what he wants is aiding and abetting violent crime.

Every business that bans effective self defense and hires unarmed guards that are ordered to retreat and call 911 is aiding and abetting violent crime.

They are enablers. They won't do anything effective, they don't want you to be able to do anything effective, and then they wonder why there's more violent crime.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

How I do love gifts of shiny things that come in small boxes.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Disgust And Outrage

That's what I felt when I saw this on the news this morning:
"The Florida woman killed by a man who had allegedly stalked her since her Hooters waitressing days had tried to get an order of protection against him, but a judge refused the request.

"Former Hooters waitress could not get an order of protection against him. Alissa Blanton, 23, of Cocoa, Fla., was shot and killed on Monday in the parking lot near her new job at an AT&T call center in Orange County, Fla. Police said her killer, 61-year-old Roger Troy, fatally shot himself immediately afterward.

"About a week before she died, Blanton asked a judge for an order of protection against Troy, whom she said had been stalking her for two years. Despite the evidence she presented -- her petition contained more than 70 pages of harassing e-mails Troy sent to her -- Brevard County Circuit Court Judge Dean Moxley said he didn't have enough information to rule on the petition."
Seventy pages of documentation wasn't enough to convince the judge that a protection order was justified? Then again, when I reported my concerns about the man who eventually raped me, I was told Mr. Pillar-Of-The-Community would never do such a thing, and I would get in trouble if I continued to slander him.

Not that a piece of paper would have changed Ms. Blanton's outcome or mine. Documentation and protection orders are due diligence, nothing more. A friend who was murdered by her husband had a protection order against him at the time.

When it comes to putting protection orders in their proper perspective, nobody says it better than LawDog.

It gets worse, though. What really got me going was the "advice" given by one Dr. Michael Welner, represented as one of America's top forensic psychiatrists:
"'Let me put it this way: in the movies, you see people run and hide. Well, if you feel you're in danger, then you've got to run. You can't stay where you are. I'm not suggesting people panic, but if they believe there's a danger and the local authorities are not resolving that danger, then you have to leave for your own safety,' Welner said."


Uprooting your life and moving somewhere else is no guarantee the stalker won't follow. Current technology and electronic public records make it very easy for stalkers to hunt down the objects of their obsession. Local governments put personally identifiable information out on the internet with no concern about or responsibility for how easily it can be misused. Just check your local county assessor's website to see how much information is freely available that a stalker could use to locate and break into your home. I've tried to keep certain people from getting my home address. It's impossible.

"Run and hide" punishes the victim while protecting the stalker.

But the worst thing about "run and hide" advice is that it reinforces the mindset that you are a helpless victim. That you can't possibly protect yourself. That you have no choice but to cower in fear while you wait for somebody else to save you.

Betting your life that others will save you is a potentially fatal error. Not even being right outside the police station is any guarantee they will stop the bad guy in time. You have to be your own first responder.

The tools and skills to defend yourself are readily available.* You need to have the will to put those tools and skills to use. If you're one of those pathetic creatures who says, "I could never hurt a bad guy," or even worse, "I'd rather be (raped, killed, fill in the blank) than hurt a bad guy," then get some help to see yourself as something besides a brainwashed, worthless piece of crap.

Get a gun in a useful defensive caliber. Learn how and when to use it properly. Learn other skills and tools for when the overlords force you to go disarmed. Practice, practice, practice. Live in Condition Yellow. It's not that hard. My horses have taught me more about relaxed awareness than all my training classes.

And decide where the line is in the sand that says "it's go time."

Go ahead and gather your documentation. Get a protection order. If it's denied, document that. A good paper trail will support your self-defense plea if you ever do have to stop the threat.

* I will admit that living in certain locations can put you at a real disadvantage. I was living in Chicago when I was raped. I will never again live in an area that utterly denies me the right to defend myself. But that's not running and hiding.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Emergency Powers

This incident in North Carolina has brought an ugly secret lurking in that state's statutes into the light of day:
5. Areas of Emergency and Riot
It is also a
misdemeanor under North Carolina law for a person to transport or possess, off his or her own premises, a dangerous weapon in an area during a declared state of emergency, or in the vicinity of a riot. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-288.7 A concealed handgun permit does not allow a permittee to carry a weapon in these areas. N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 14-415.11(c)
So I decided to check the Nebraska statutes regarding emergency declarations:
(6) In addition to any other powers conferred upon the Governor by law, he or she may:
(a) Suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or the orders, rules, or regulations of any state agency if strict compliance with the provisions of any statute, order, rule, or regulation would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the disaster, emergency, or civil defense emergency;
(b) Utilize all available resources of the state government and of each political subdivision of the state as are reasonably necessary to cope with the disaster, emergency, or civil defense emergency;
(c) Transfer the direction, personnel, or functions of state departments and agencies or units thereof for the purpose of performing or facilitating emergency management; (d) Subject to any applicable requirements for compensation under section 81-829.57, commandeer or utilize any private property if he or she finds this necessary to cope with the disaster, emergency, or civil defense emergency;
(e) Direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state if he or she deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other emergency management;
(f) Prescribe routes, modes of transportation, and destinations in connection with evacuation;
(g) Control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area, the movement of persons within the area, and the occupancy of premises in the area;
(h) Suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles; and
(i) Make provisions for the availability and use of temporary emergency housing.
Well, at least this statute makes the firearm restrictions optional instead of mandatory. Big whoop.

Omaha, with its Bloomie-Buddy mayors and may-issue gun registration, goes even farther in defining what types of weapons can be prohibited at the mayor's whim:
Article IV. State Of Emergency Curfew
Sec. 8-85. Restriction of activities.
Whenever a state of emergency has been declared as provided for herein, the mayor is hereby authorized to take one or more of the following specified measures throughout the city or any part thereof:
(a) Prohibit or limit the number of persons who may gather or congregate upon the public highways or public sidewalks, or in any outdoor place, except persons who are awaiting transportation, engaging in recreational activities at a usual and customary place, or peaceably entering or leaving buildings.
(b) Establish a curfew limiting the hours when persons may go upon or travel the public streets.
(c) Require the closing of cocktail lounges, taverns and bars and prohibit the sale or service of alcoholic beverages in any hotel, restaurant, club or other establishment, and require the closing of all other business establishments.
(d) Prohibit or restrict the sale of gasoline or other inflammable liquids.
(e) Prohibit the sale, carrying or possession on the public street or public sidewalks, or in any public park or square, of weapons including, but not limited to, firearms, bows and arrows, air rifles, slingshots, knives, razors or missiles of any kind.
(f) To do any and all things and take such measures as are necessary to preserve the health, safety, and property of the citizens of this community.
(Code 1980, § 8-85)
Cross references: Liquors, ch. 15; weapons, § 20-191 et seq.; parades, processions and assemblies, § 20-291 et seq.
Looks like the desire to render the populace helpless in the face of dire circumstances is pretty much universal. I suppose some would say the absence of the word "confiscate" should comfort us, but be reminded that the Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006 only addresses confiscation by an "officer or employee of the United States (including any member of the uniformed services), or person operating pursuant to or under color of Federal law, or receiving Federal funds, or under control of any Federal official, or providing services to such an officer, employee, or other person, while acting in support of relief from a major disaster or emergency," not state- or locally-declared emergencies.

Read your local laws, join your local grassroots firearm advocacy organizations, and make sure your local elected overlords officials can't leave you defenseless when you may need effective defense the most.

Sick Of Winter

Still more snow combined with 30 mph north winds is filling in my paths through the drifts yet again. And then there's the oh-so-cheery fog we've been having. It's like being inside a ping-pong ball.

With everything buried under two feet of frozen snow, the wild rabbits were resorting to eating bark, girdling the smaller trees. So I picked up a bale of prairie hay for them yesterday at the feed store.

I went back out later in the day to see if they found it. Sure didn't take them long.

Temps are back to 20 below average and 10 below minimum average. Gotta love that Global Warming.

Monday, February 1, 2010

What, No Vaseline?

I finally got my W-2 for the new job and fired up TurboTax to find out what my refund will be this year.

Did I say refund? Silly me!

You see, I got a new job that pays more money than the last one. How dare I earn more money when there are public parasites elected officials with pork projects they need me to fund, and welfare deadbeats entitlement slugs deserving citizens who need me to pay their mortgages.

To say the Infernal Eternal Internal Revenue Service and the Nebraska Department of Revenue posterior-fornicated me is an overwhelming understatement.

Hope that new rifle doesn't show up for a while.