From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Reflections on a Tragedy

In the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech there has been a lot of media posturing from both sides of the firearms for personal protection issue.

Now that a bit of time has passed I want to make a few observations.

An individual determined to cause as much havoc as possible in the shortest amount of time possible will not be deterred by any law, rule or regulation. There is no law that can be past that will prevent this from happening again. To many people died Monday because A) They had not been conditioned to respond to an event like this B) They were not allowed to possess the necessary tools to protect themselves and C) They were raised to believe that it is the Governments job to protect them.

There are a number of school shootings BECAUSE the shooter knows that there is likely no one there to shoot back thus ending the carnage before the maximum planned effect can be realized.

How many existing laws or rules were broken?

It was against school policy for students and faculty to possess firearms on campus. Mondays maniacal marauder violated that on two counts.

At various times prior to and during the rampage the firearms were likely carried in a concealed manner. It has not been reported that the shooter possessed a Concealed Carry Permit thus violating Virginia law on multiple counts of carrying a concealed firearm without a permit.

It is illegal, immoral and unethical to take a human life without legal justification, as in the case of self defense. That law was broken thirty how many times?

One more or a hundred more can not and will not prevent it from happening again.

The Police, may God have a special place in heaven for them for the work that they do, cannot be everywhere all of the time. These situations will continue to happen no matter how many gunlaws are passed. It is the responsibility, nay I say duty of every American Citizen to repel such actions when immediately confronted with them and if that means using a firearm then so be it.

Are Adult Students mature and competent or not?

It seems odd that students of higher learning are thought to be mature enough to grasp the concepts of Chemistry, Biology, and Juris Prudence, but are too immature to accept the responsibility for their own safety.

As a student I would be outraged at an institution that tells me on one hand; You are bright, young and intellegent, we want a person like you to pay us thousands of dollars to further educate you. Then on the other hand; We don't think you children are old enough, intelligent and mature enough to be trusted with the tools to look after your own well being.

There is not one law that can ever be enacted that will ever prevent what happened at Virginia Tech on Monday.

In a recent article on the Lincolnite Blog Mr. Wilson posed the question what would Lincoln do if it happened here at the Lincoln campus of the University of Nebraska.

A tragedy like this can occur at any time or place. We can wish things like this would never happen, there are steps that can be taken to minimize it when it happens but it can never be prevented from happening.

It should come as no surprise that I believe that allowing legally licensed citizens (students and facualty included) to carry on campus is one of the steps necessary to minimize an occurrence like this when it happens again.

It will suprise some to note that I do not think the firearm is the best or only step that needs to be taken.

A few years ago I mentioned in this Blog something Jeff Snyder, a prominent New York City Attorney told me;

Question: Do you know how people in America train to react to violent situations?

Answer: Then sit in front of their televisions and watch it happen over and over again.

Question: Do you know what happens when American citizens are thrust into violent situations?

Answer: They stand there and watch it happen to them.

We react the way we have trained ourselves to react, and for most of us that is to do NOTHING except stand there dumbstruck and watch it play out around or to us.

From the coverage of the VT events that I have seen I would have to say that Jeff is right.

Not all but some of the students I saw interviewed said that they just stood there unable to believe what was happening.

They were essentially frozen in place with a deer trapped in the headlights look while they were shot, shot at or witnessed someone else be shot. They reacted the way there were trained to react.

They stood there and watched it happen.

I always caution people I counsel on personal protection that your mind is your best weapon. Be cognizant of what is going on around you.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness can and does prevent a majority of events from occurring. You do not have to believe that it is happening, all you have to believe is that something bad is happening and that you will be safer someplace else and as fast as you can go there.

What If # 1

If you leave a building at night headed to your car in a dark parking lot and things don't look or feel right TURN AROUND AND GO BACK IN THE BUILDING even if you may be armed. No one has anything to prove by proceeding into a potential danger zone, even if you are armed.

What If # 2

If you hear what you think are gun shots do not stand there trying to figure out what is going on or why. Immediately with due haste proceed in the opposite direction even if you are armed.

What If # 3

If you are walking along the street and note some unsavory characters a block or so down on your side of the street change direction or cross the damn street even if you may be armed.

Responsibly Armed Citizens

Responsible Concealed Carry permit holders do not, or should not proceed in the direction of a known threat because they are carrying a firearm.

These responsible individuals know that the firearm is the absolute last resort when all other options of avoidance have failed and the threat of death or grave bodily harm is so imminent that the use of the firearm is the only option left.

I have always maintained and still do that SITUATIONAL AWARENESS is the best tool we have to protect ourselves from violence. If you can see or sense it coming far enough in advance it can be avoided.

People get your eyes of off the damn sidewalk and constantly scan the area around you. Be aware of your surroundings. Go wide around corners especially at night. Stay away from poorly lit areas at any time of the day. Do not make yourself look like a potential victim.

Criminals are more prone to prey on those that appear to be an easy mark. The ones that walk with their heads down or so engrossed in a cell phone conversation that the predator doesn't have to chase his victim, all he/she has to do is wait like a spider for someone to unknowingly walk right into their web.

It happens everyday, everywhere. Wake up people and start paying attention to what is going on around you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Chief's Corner...... aka Tom Casady Chief of Police Lincoln, Nebraska

Welcome to the Blogosphere Chief Casady

Anyone that been a reader of this Blog for any length of time or perused the archives knows that I have written some very critical commentaries concerning Lincoln Police Chief Tom Casady.

It is also well known (or should be) that I have written an equal number of articles praising Tom for what he has accomplished in his tenure as Chief of the Lincoln Police Department.

It might also surprise some that he has read most or all of them

Yes I use the screen name "Gunscribe" on this Blog and on some other message forums, but I am far from anonymous. The people I write about, especially those in Public Service, for the most part, know who I am and I meet and greet with them at local functions from time to time.

Jeff at Alphecca once told me, "Tim be more of a Media Whore .. like me"

Besides that if anyone was paying attention I (by name) and this Blog were featured on virtually all of the media outlets locally, some regionally and a few nationally last year.

In essence I do use a screen name but I have never hidden behind it.

Something else that I haven't written much about is the communication that I have with Chief Casady. The Chief and I have known each other personally for a few years and exchange phone calls and/or E-mails on an irregular basis. Occassionally he gets my answering machine and I always get the vivacious Virginia Fisher (whom I have met by the way) before getting put through to the Chief. Personally I think I get the better end of the deal.

On an even more irregular basis Tom and I actually get to sit down and shoot the bulls.....eye. It was on one of these occasions (sometime last fall I think) we were discussing this Blog "From the Heartland" when the Chief opined that he was entertaining the idea of authoring a blog as well.

At the time I thought it was, and still do, a great idea. I forthrightly encouraged him to go ahead with it. I know the Chiefs a big computer guy and was very capable of doing it himself but I even offered to help him set it up when he was ready.

I guess he didn't need any help as Chief Tom Casady now has a Blog and he is rapidly gaining a number of regular readers. Many of them are Bloggers as well and are adding him to their Blogrolls. (Of course a story in the local fishwrapper helped speed things along)

The Chief's Corner

The Chief has always had an open door policy and a blog opens that door even wider as witnessed by the number of comments he is already receiving on the articles he has penned. I do know that this is not a whim or spur of the moment political thing as referenced in some of the comments on his Blog. Chief Casady was interested in the concept for at least the last six months that I am aware of and I know a lot of thought on his part has gone into this project since then.

Whether you love him or hate him Chief Casady's Blog is going to be a good read.

You may not agree with him but he is a very articulate individual and more than capable of debating his positions rationally. I do not agree with him on every issue, and a few spirited conversations have ensued. Disagree with him I may but I respect the Chief and his ability to debate the stands he takes on certain issues.

Congratulations Chief

I would be humbled to know if my encouragement early on had some small part in your decision to finally go ahead with this project. It is the best way I know for you to speak directly to the people you serve, without having it laundered through the local media, most of whom will put their own spin on it anyway. It also gives those same people, through the comments section an avenue to respond back to you without having to call or negotiate the metal detectors (in place for a valid reason) to visit your office in person.

Chief Casady's blog is the newest addition to my Blogroll as well.

Again Congratulations Tom, you have been one of my readers for awhile and now I can officially welcome you to this Blog and to the Blogosphere.

Keep us informed Tom and much success with this endeavor.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gun Dealer experience and an I screwed up Confession

Notice of personal opinion
This post is a narrative of the experiences that I have had with one particular Firearms dealer in the past couple of months and my own personal perceptions about those experiences. References made to or about any specific individual in this entry are my own thoughts and opinons.

Changing Dealers

Several months ago I was distressed to learn that the Federal Firearms Licensed dealer I had lined up to handle transfers for my out of state firearms purchases had given up his license to pursue another more profitable venture. He referred me to a dealer in another town he said he was using now.

I contacted said dealer about a new firearm reciever purchase I had in mind and asked if he would handle the transfer. He indicated his fee would be 25.00 bucks and then told me what his price was for the same item.

I bought three Firearms from him

Being as it would only a few bucks more if I bought it from him I agreed to and did so. I try to support the local dealers by buying directly from them when they can get what I want and their prices are in line with the going rate nationally.

From the very begining I felt his tone had a rather gruff edge to it, but I thought his price was fair. Fair enough in fact that I made a subsequent purchase of another firearm, a Military Surplus Mauser.

That was followed up by a third purchase. This was also a brand new firearm reciever and identical in make and model to the first.

In about a two month time period I paid him over four hundred dollars for three firearms.

Note that all three purchases required the completion of form 4473 at a FFL location. All of the required paerwork for all three sales was legally accomplished.

During one of these transactions nearly four hundred rounds of Military Surplus ammunition was bought from Gun Dealer by one of my offspring. (Offspring was present at all transactions)

Bad day at the Range

When we were finally able to get to the range we discovered that none of the ammunition bought from Gun Dealer would discharge. There was a dent in the primer but no "Ka-pow". We had some other Mil- Spec ammo that Offspring had aquired from another source on hand and since all of it went bang we concluded that it was not the firearm. (The Mauser purchased from Gun Dealer by the way)

Yes the Wife knew I was buying another Gun

I discussed the ammo problem with Gun Dealer and he offered to replace the entire lot at no cost. During the same conversation I asked him if he would mail a copy of his FFL to an out of state FFL that had an almost thiry year old firearm I wanted for my collection. (Not something Gun Dealer had in inventory)

Last Monday (April 9th) I arranged a time with Gun Dealer to pick up the firearm. Offspring and I travelled 80 miles round trip to pick up my "new to me firearm" and exchange the "not go bang bullets". This was fourth transaction with Gun Dealer.

Here fill this out, here's your gun and ammo now get the hell out cause I gotta go

In a whirlwind of a 15-20 minute session we examined the firearm, I filled out the 4473 while Offspring produced the offending ammo and Gun Dealer located "should go bang this time bullets" all the while rushing us as Gun Dealer had a meeting to attend.

Concluding the mild pandemonium it wasn't until we got back to Offsprings home, shortly after 8PM, did I realize that I had forgot to pay Gun Dealer the 25.00 dollar transfer fee. By the time I got to my home Gun Dealer had left a scathing message on my answering machine.

Since it was nearly eleven in the evening when I got home I was hesitant to call him back as I know he has a day job.

By the time I got up the next day there were five more very short tempered messages on my office machine wanting to know when he was going to get his money. By way of the messages I thought they were going to forclose on his home or his kids were going to starve to death in the next twelve hours if he didn't get the 25.00 dollars I owed him.

I called the Dealer on his cell phone as soon as I had gotten out of bed and heard the messages. (I was going to call him anyway) After apologizing profusely I offered to drive back out to his shop that very evening (Tuesday the 10th) and pay him.

He allowed how that wouldn't work for him and that if I wanted I could put a check in an envelope and mail it. I told him I was not comfortable with that and I would really prefer to hand it to him as I wanted to personally apologize and when would be a good time to meet. I really felt bad at the time and still do.

Gun Dealer hemmed and hawed and no specific time was set. Niether of us called the other during the rest of the week. I was out of town Saturday and arrived home that evening to find out that Gun Dealer had been in town and stopped by the house. I was out of town again on Sunday.

Today (Monday the 16th) the wife and I travelled to the Gun Dealers location and I handed him the 25.00 for the original transfer and an additional 10.00 dollars for my lapse of memory last Monday.

Gun Dealer in an obvious state of anger refused to accept my offer of atonement and would hardly speak to me . Several times as I again apologized he threw up his hands in disgust before going back in side slamming the door in my face.

I screwed up and I admit it right here and now for you all to read

I realize that I screwed up in not remembering to hand over the cash the first time, (last Monday) but with all that was going on at the time (filling out the paperwork, examining a newly aquired firearm, exchanging bad ammo for hopefully good ammo and being rushed to leave) it honestly slipped my mind.

I felt bad about it, apologized profusely and offered more than was owed as compensation for the trouble I had caused Gun Dealer only to have it (the extra 10.00 bucks) thrown back at me and a door slammed in my face.

What suprises me is that after nearly 500 dollars worth of business and a plan to aquire at least two more firearms from out of state for my collection Gun Dealer goes so extremely ballistic (my opinion) over a lousy 25.00 screw up that he had a partial hand in.

You'd think he was going to have to file for bankruptcy or something if he didn't have it RIGHT NOW.

But then remember I offered to drive the 80 miles round trip that same day (Tuesday) but he would have none of that. I guess he needed something to bitch about to keep him warm for a few days.

I believe I have done what it should take to make it right and Gun Dealer refuses to accept that.

Personally I believe he enjoys being gruff, angry and short-tempered. Thinking back on all of our interactions I can't think of one where he did not display at least a hint of one of those tendencies. It is my humble opinion that these are not qualities a Federally Licensed Firearms dealer should posess.

"Oh Gawd its you again. Here's your gun, where's my money and now get the hell out" is not an endearing trait that would keep me coming back. Life is too short and I absolutely refuse to pay someone to treat me like shit or act like he is not appreciative of my patronage.

This Gun Dealer ain't the only FFL I have listed in my rolodex.

Terry Edwards,

Since you chose not to discuss this matter further I am conveying my thoughts to you in this open forum. There is a comment section at the end of this post and you are free to respond in any manner you choose.

Personally I don't think much of your short tempered demeanor, nor do I think much of the way you handled this situation. It was mostly my fault and I readily admit that here in public. You had a hand in it as well. I do accept all of the responsibility for it though. It was an honest mistake on my part.

I have sincerely apologized for my actions repeatedly and offered in a telephone conversation Tuesday to drive out to your shop that very day. I was in my opinion and to put it mildly short-temperedly rebuffed.

Since you were unable or unwilling to set a time and place for us to meet I took it upon myself to travel the distance and renumerate you for more than I owed you. You had not asked for any extra and I offered it as an atonement for my short comings in our last transaction.

Your short tempered bordering on violent refusal to accept the added amount and the slamming of the door in my face speaks volumes about your character.

I have tried to set things right with you and I have no idea why you are unwilling to accept my apology and understand that this was an unfortunate and unplanned error on my part.

I have humbled myself before you and asked for your forgiveness, only you can say why this has not been sufficient.

All I can say now is that the ball is in your court now Terry.

Sincerely Yours,

A Humbled and Repentant Gunscribe

The first time I did business with him I told him I ran this website and that if he wanted I would mention him and provide his contact information in hopes that it might generate some business for him.

As I previously stated he has a full time job, the Gun business is apparently a side that he runs from a building next to his house. (All legal and proper by the way). In fact you can find him set up at most of the local Gunshows.

At the time he gave me permission to run his information on this site so I am including it here for anyone that may wish to do business with him.

This has been my experience with this Gun Dealer, your mileage may vary. I certainly hope it does.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Don Imus in the unemployment line

In a way I have to say that I am ambivalent about the whole Don Imus thing.

Yes he has done a lot for charity, yes what he said was reprehensible and yes he has apologized for it.

I have never been a Don Imus fan. I have on occasion watched a few minutes of his show on MSNBC once in a while when I happen to be up that early and the other news stations are regurgitating stuff I have already heard ad nausium. Given that, my opinion is that Don Imus has been or acts like he has been a burnt out shell of his former self for a very long time. I have long compared The Imus in The Morning on MSNBC to the movie "Weekend at Bernie's".

What I thought I was watching was a hunched up old curmudgeon propped up behind a microphone and prodded to speak every so often so that the rest of the crew would have jobs.

I guess I really don't care whether he kept his job or not since I never really have paid any attention to him anyway.

But then what do I know, I am still waiting for an apology for the Tawana Brawley affair and the comments Sharpton made about the Duke LaCrosse players a year ago.

I'm not holding my breath for the day Rosie gets the axe either, but that is a whole other story.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A 3 Piece Suit for a Dress Race no Suprise

Svaboda bests Beutler by a Bit in Primary

When I first learned the results of the primary I could swear that I heard Ken Svaboda had garnered more votes than Chris Beutler. As an anonymous commenter and further checking on my part pointed out Beutler actually got more votes than Svaboda. Thanks for setting that straight who ever anonymous is.

Well the local primary voting is behind us now. There was no great surprise in the Mayors race Democrat Chris Beutler and Republican Ken Svoboda advance to the final round.

I still stand by comments on this race that I have made in the past;

All we are doing is trading a dress for a 3 piece suit, with either candidate we will end up with Coleen Seng Lite.

Camp leads Abbot

John Camp another Councilman that I support garnered nearly 50% of the vote in his district to face Allen Abbott in a run off.

Spatz gets McRoys Attention

I was pleased to see that John Spatz best incumbent Annette McRoy. Since they were the only two running in District four both would automatically advance to the general election anyway.

Annette whom I have felt has not been an effective representative for her district was cited in the Lincoln Journal Star;

Incumbent Annette McRoy also plans to refocus her efforts on the campaign trail, after slipping into second position with just 54 votes separating her from District 4 leader John Spatz. The two are vying for representation of northwest Lincoln.

Annette it is a little too late to refocus, you should have done that over the last four years. You can't change your record now. You can try to explain away some of the things you have done but you can't change it.

It remains to be seen whether John Spatz will be any different, but having spent time with both candidates I believe he will be more effective than what we have now.

District Four needs a change in leadership.