Saturday, September 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, Bobby

As a career Peace Officer (ret.) with a historical bent, I am interested in the background of a lot of cop stuff.

London Metropolitan Police was established on September 29, 1829, by Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel. His names provided early nicknames, "Peelers" or "Bobbies," for members of the force. It was the third official non-paramilitary city police force in the world. The predecessors were the City of Glasgow Police (1789) and the Paris Police (1667 –1789 under the monarchy, and reformed under Napolean I in 1800.)

Most police historical references of which I'm aware tend to stress the London “Met” as being “the origin of modern municipal police.” This takes a bit of creative interpretation, but it is accepted useage. There were earlier efforts to provide a police presense in London, but they were not organized on a citywide basis.

London Bobby on traffic duty, 1950s

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Different States, Different Attitudes

I received a nice personal e-mail from Seth from Massachusetts. He made a passing mention that he would have more pistols if he didn't live where he does, and he's looking forward to aligning his situation so he can relocate to a free(er) state. I could only commiserate with him, living in a commonwealth keeps re-electing Teddy Kennedy and his like-minded minions.

I was reminded of some remarks by the late, great Allen Wayne Damron. He was a tremendous all around entertainer and a fast, loyal friend: Singer, songwriter, storyteller, historian, teacher, hunting guide, Second Amendment activist, CHL Instructor.

Upon return from a tour, A. Wayne mused about on a certain difference in attitudes toward personal freedoms, as reflected by by highway signs at state borders. He cited several examples:

"Welcome to Texas, Drive Friendly, The Texas Way,"
"Oklahoma is OK!,"
“Welcome to Colorful Colorado,"
"New Mexico, Land of Enchantment."
“Welcome to Wild, Wonderful West Virginia."
And: "Entering Massachusetts. WARNING--State Law provides mandatory ten years imprisonment for unlicensed possession of a handgun."

Good luck to Seth and his right-thinking neighbors.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Great Motion Picture Chase Scenes

I menitoned early on that I really love movies. Wyatt, at his 19SEP installment of his Support Your Local Gunfighter blog listed his pick for the
Top Five Film Chases Of All Time.

I suggest you drop by and read what he has to say. There's no question, his were some really good choices, but I'd ether substitute in some others, or opine that the list should be increased to the TOP TEN. Now, in the Comments section, Wyatt granted that there were a couple he left out, which indicates he is indeed a wise man, and ready to discuss differing opinions.

There are at least two I'd add - -

Ronin (1998)
This film at times seems to be one long car chase across Europe, with occasional intermissions to get more cars and ammunition. So central to this movie is the automotive pursuit, that Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

included these factoids in their Trivia section for the film:

--80 automobiles were destroyed during filming.

--During one of the car chase sequences where Gregor (Stellan SkarsgÄrd) is dictating directions to Sam (Robert De Niro) from a computer terminal, Avid film editing software - the software used to edit the film - is visible on the screen.

--One of the stunt drivers was former Formula 1 driver Jean-Pierre Jarier.

--To make it look like Robert De Niro and Natascha McElhone were actually driving during the car chase, right hand drive cars were used, with the passenger side made up to mirror the real controls. The actors then mimicked the stunt drivers movements.

--Skipp Sudduth requested to do his own stunt driving during the car chases and John Frankenheimer agreed. Frankenheimer told Sudduth "I don't wanna see any brake lights."

Pretty good plot, beautiful photography, and a couple of GREAT lines of dialogue, which might make a decent blog topic, later on.

Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963, 1970 re-release)
This one is another in which practically the entire feature is an extended chase scene. As the participants are racing to attain a goal, and are NOT fighting one another, there is no gun play, and little violence at all. Still, a wonderful, FUN motion picture. There are some quite decent instances of special effects, given how old this really is.

Check out a bunch of details at IMDb.
Unfortunately, they don't tell us how many cars were wrecked in the filming. They nearly sacrificed a Beechcraft 18 twin-engined aircraft to the movie, though.

Again, my choices are just an additional opinion. I really wouldn't want to start an argument with Wyatt. Students of history will note, gunfighters avoided going head-to-head when possible. ;-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Excuses, excuses

Believe it or not, my creative muse has not deserted me. I actually have two or three decent topics bouncing around in my head. Problem is, it takes me a while to write up a topic, remedy the obvious glitches, proof read it critically, revise THAT, and then prepare the images, if any. While I'm becoming fairly comfortable with THAT procedure, it takes me a wile to arrange the format, and distribute the previously written text around 'em. Then there's the captions, if any.

So, I really hate to begin writing until I have a bit of time to do it properly. I've been doing some housekeeping, mainly on the blog. I feel remiss in not linking all those who gave me such a cordial reception when I was getting started, so I've been putting up a list of links to a lot of people whose efforts I respect and enjoy. I finally have a list, of sorts, along the right-hand side of this blog, and I'll undoubtedly be finding others i've neglected. My apologies in advance to those I may have missed.

Holly, my beloved bride, (BB - - Maybe that'll do for an abbreviation) is about to go visit family for a few days. At least we won't be competing for use of our single computer during that time. I probably won't get any writing done on Thursday, though. I have this part-time job that keeps me out all night, twice a week, and I live over an hour from the site, and I have twelve hours to do on TH night.

Also - - I have out of town company arriving Saturday afternoon, so I may or may not be able to shoot in a match that morning. You know, I have no idea how I had time to work a full time job, before I retired.

So - - I'm off to run errands for a while, and BB needs to do some computer stuff before she leaves town tomorrow. More later.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dangerous Strays – Unpleasant Duty

Just t'other day, Elder Son Matt blogged about a bothersome dog. He's a cop in a nearby small town –call it Smallburg-- that is fortunate to have an exceptionally good police department. I don't say this merely because I'm proud of my offspring, which I surely am, but because the outfit delivers the populace a lot higher quality service than you'd expect from such a small agency. The chief sets a high standard for his officers, sees that they have good equipment, and fosters A Good Attitude amongst the troops. They, in turn, preserve the public peace, protect the citizenry, and generally serve the community. They do the stuff that Peace Officers are expected to do, but the rather trite old phrase, “Protect and Serve” pretty well sums it up.

Protection is a lot of different things - - People can't do much high speed driving on residential streets without being taken to task. Frequent patrols discourage burglars. Prompt response to calls for service allows residents some peace of mind.

There are always budgetary considerations for any public entity. One of these is that Smallburg hasn't been able to pay enough to keep a full time Animal Control Officer on staff. It therefore follows that the local police must answer most animal complaints. I'll not rehash the story Matt has already told in “Dog Problems.” Click and read when convenient. As with so much of life in general, and peace officering in particular, “the devil's in the details.” SPD cops are not trigger happy. Once the circumstances dictate that a dangerous animal must be put down, there are considerations: Safe field of fire, least disturbance to the peace, and proper choice of tools. Matt's a conscientious peace officer, an experienced hunter, and a fine marksman. He takes all those factors into account, and will step up and Do What Must Be Done.

As I say, it's Matt's story, and I'll not retell it for him. I am impressed with the responses made in the comments. He invited it, so there's a goodly amount concerning the ballistic aspects of the situation. But there are also some thoughtful remarks on the morality of the matter which bear examination. I'm happy to see there's no, “Oh you brute! How COULD you kill one of God's creatures?” trend.

I'm happy to provide links to commentators I quote. Jenna writes a good one and I hope you read it.
Labrat says, “a feral dog or a dog that has gone over that way is every bit as dangerous as any medium-to-large predator with no terror of humans. From the dog's perspective, it's in hell. It has no security, no packmates, and it's either frightened or aggressing most of the time, and neither state is pleasant or peaceful. Put the poor thing out of everyone's misery.“ A profound observation.
KCSteve said, “It's the less pleasant part of The Contract.They gave themselves over to us on the promise that we'd take care of them.When it's this kind of care needed the best thing is to make it as quick and clean as possible.”

Over the years, I've needed to put down several animals, for a variety of reasons. The only ones that gave me any gratification were when some strays had packed up and were actually driving picnickers away from their food in a lake park. Another officer and I were detailed to solve the problem with our rifles. Even then, there was the later letdown, thinking that those destroyed animals had probably at some point provided companionship to someone. Then they were “taken out to the country” and dumped. Likely, someone had rationalized, “Oh, he'll hunt his own food, he'll be fine.” Or, “She'll find a new home where she'll be happy.” Wonder what other lies those people told their kids. Or themselves. I know most of these pet dumpers are just weak, but I think it a despicable practice.

Most of my experiences in this line have been to destroy some sick, starving stray. Occasionally it was the beloved pet of a friend who just couldn't bear to do what was needed. I've heard, “JP, you're a hunter, so you don't mind this sort of thing.” How to tell such a person that this is different from harvesting game that'll be eaten and cherished for the experience. Or carrying out predator control. A couple of times, the old, sick dog had licked my hand when I visited, or a big blind cat had curled up beside me on the couch . . . . Yeah, I rationalize it by the certain knowledge that I cared enough to not botch the job. “If 't must be done, 'twere well it be done quickly.” Quick and clean, and that's the sole comfort in doing such a favor.

One more personal note. I was six when we lived a little north of Ryan, Oklahoma. My Dad built and fenced a chicken coop near the house, and it seems we kept around 50 chickens. We ate some and gave some away, and, presumably sold or bartered most of the eggs. I'm not sure
Just before we had moved from town, my Collie dog Duke had been killed while chasing traffic. A friend of the family gave me a nondescript, full-grown dog, thinking he'd be happy on our 40 acres in the country. I dubbed the dog King, and he hadn't been in residence long when one afternoon, there was a huge clamor out back. I ran to the back door where my Mother was yelling at my dog. It, and a neighbor's dog, were in the chicken pen, killing chickens. I mean, wantonly slaughtering them, left, right, and center, just for the sport.

Mother said, “J, bring me the twenty-two.” I ran and got the rifle. Sure, I knew where it was, and that it was always loaded, and that I wasn't to bother it unless told. I took it to the back door and pleaded with her not to kill my dog. She shouldered the Stevens autoloader –it's in my safe now – and killed the neighbor's dog. One shot, clean and true. I don't remember a kick.

Mother lowered the rifle and yelled, “GIT!” King paused in his labors, looked up at her, and then turned and grabbed another chicken. She may have glanced down at me, I dunno. What I DO recall is two sounds: Another little brang and the sound of the empty case hitting the porch. Again, no thrashing, no kicking; what I'd later learn to call DOS, dead on the scene, or dead on the spot.

Of course, I went out and sat by my dog, and stroked its coat. I recall a little blood on the head but I didn't examine it closely. The other dog was exactly the same. In a short while, my Dad came home. He walked out and said some gruffly comforting things on the loss of my dog. Well, I'd been sitting there, trying to work up a mad at Mother for killing King. It didn't take, though. Somehow, even at that tender age, I understood that a chicken rancher could NOT harbor a hen killing dog.

Mother had grown up on my Papaw's farm, one of nine children. They were all expected to take a hand in the family enterprise, and have some proficiency with all the farm tools. She was the eldest girl, expected to set an example, and the tools included rifle and shotgun. She never had any interest in handguns, but she and Dad joked about their first dates being rabbit hunting excursions. She was a pragmatic farm girl who later went to nursing school, and she had no difficulty dealing with bloody matters.

It helped that I'd only had King for a short while. I'd not known him as a playful, big-footed puppy. Yes, when I thought of feeding him and such, I snuffled a bit that evening. When I later went to say good night, I thought I heard Mother coughing in their bedroom. When I looked in, she had tears in her eyes. One does what must be done, but there's a price.

A New, Old Colt, Part III -- a late answer

In the comments area of Part I, tom said...
Nice pistol Mr. JPG. Are all the parts on that pistol machined as they would have been back in the day or does it have MIM parts in it?Also, I know what you mean about the flat main spring housing. I replaced the plastic, flat mainspring housing on my Kimber Custom I carry for duty with a steel arched mainspring housing. It seems to point better with it. Not something you would want to do with a nostalgia pistol like your new Colt but its a good addition to a duty pistol.
tom - -

Sorry to take so long to answer, but it gives me topic for another entry.

Re: the parts.

I'm sorry, but I really can't detect MIM parts unless I can see the casting seam. I see none on this pistol, but that could simply be the shop paying close attention to finishing. I notice that, on the Colt site, they mention, "Forged knurled slide stop." They make no mention of other parts, so I'd wager at least SOME are MIM. If I can't tell, and if they're not high stress parts, then it makes little or no difference to me. See
Colt's site for their specs.

I hear you, concerning the plastic MSH. Several years ago, when Matt got his Kimber, the first thing he did was to raid my parts box and abscond with a steel, arched, checked MSH with lanyard loop. Not that he was ever gonna use a lanyard, but I'd shown him how to use the loop to open a be - - uh, soft drink bottle. (How long since you've seen a soda pop bottle without a twist off cap?) ;-)

Anyway, I did check the flat 1911 MSH with a magnet. It's steel.

In all fairness, though - - The plastic MSH on my Colt Officers ACP has been satisfactory. Remember, it is not a high stress part. The cross pin below takes the load of the mainspring. But, yes, I far prefer good ol' Connecticut Yankee steel.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

New/Old Colt Part II, IDPA Match

The local shooting club puts on an IDPA-based match pretty much every month. I say, “-based,” in that it is recognizable as such, and it has some of the less-logical restrictions of full bore IDPA, but the club guys are a bit more flexible.
I'm not a member, but they allow non-members to compete for an extra five bucks entry fee. Perfectly reasonable. They have a safe place to shoot, and a LOT of really good hardware that makes it a pleasure to shoot with them. Probably most importantly, the organizers have a sense of humor and make everyone feel welcome. Last time I had a fistful of dollars (tm) in my pocket, I looked into joining the club. Good idea, bad timing. Their initiation fees and monthly dues had both gone up since the last time I'd checked. Most importantly, though, was the fact that they seem to have a more-or-less constant, fairly lengthy waiting list for membership. Oh, well - - I can still go out and shoot with 'em occasionally. They also have frequent carbine matches, a good opportunity to exercise an AR15, Mini 14, or a pistol caliber carbine. With current prices on .223 ammo, it becomes a touch pricey, but every couple of months - - Why not?

So, I made sure I had plenty of .45 ACP loaded up, and my 1948-built Colt Government Model was clean, so I . . . BUT WAIT A SEC! What about my latest acquisition? I've written that it's the spit-and-image of the principal sidearm, carried by US forces into harm's way in the first quarter of the XX century. (Second eighth??) And, in the waste not, want not spirit of that bygone era, the 1911s weren't junked just because the 1911A1 was adopted. Some were updated, many were not. I've seen several photos of WW II personnel packing pistols with flat mainspring housings. I'd hazard to guess that thousands of1911s still do nightstand duty, to this very day. (And wouldn't some of us eagerly swap the present owners a new 9mm for them?)
So - - why not shoot the match with my new production, WW I style 1911 Colt? On SA morning, I loaded up my gear and set out. Yes, I took along my Number 1 Govt. Model, but forgot the Band-Aids. I mean, test firing a 1911 with short tang and big broad hammer is one thing, but doing rapid deployments through an entire match is, perhaps, another. During the testing, I'd done a couple of draw-and-fires without drawing blood, but I had no delusions.
I met my pal Cliff – another old fart – and we visited while I rigged out with an old Cobra Gunskin holster and an ancient Milt Sparks double mag pouch.

I won the pouch in one of the first IPSC matches I'd shot, back in 1979. I bought the holster to use in the 1981 IPSC Nationals, and both items had seen a lot of use over the years. I also wore a Safariland single mag spring clip.

In the retro spirit of the day, I wore my Gunsite T-shirt I'd gotten while Studying at the Feet of the Master: Arizona, 1980. It fit me better back then..

"Shooter, make ready"

Stage One -- Headshots

Cliff, on the steel plates

Shooting the Texas Star

Well, I didn't exactly cover myself with glory this month. I wasn't in last place, but I was closer to the bottom than to the top. I attribute this to a variety of reasons. The very small sights of the 1911 simply DO NOT pick up as quickly as do the broad, high profile sights fitted to my “regular match” Govt. Model. In fact, they're not near so rapid as even the regular, low profile sights on a 1911A1. And I found myself taking an extra instant to raise the point of aim on the targets. There's a lot of muscle memory built in after so many years of shooting with an arched mainspring housing.

Heading down the hallway.

Speaking of muscle memory: I'd given some thought to really doing it the old way. There's always a stage or two that begins with firing a series of quick shots at close range targets. I'd done some one hand shooting during the initial range testing and it worked well, but for mostly low impacts. I figured it'd be fun, and entertaining, to do the single-hand point-and-fire thing at the close up targets. Well, conditioning took over, and when the timer buzzed, I came to Weaver as rapidly as I could and was shooting before I recalled “the plan.” Oh, well, I did poorly enough anyway.

One excuse I cannot play, though. The pistol ran perfectly. I took along five good magazines, and hand loads made with Ranier plated bullets over W-231 powder. Every round had been gaged by dropping it into the chamber of an extra barrel. With only some sixty rounds fired during the initial range testing, functioning was flawless. This course of fire would have run about 75 rounds, if fired “clean.” Most stages allowed makeup shouts, so I probably fired around 85.

SOME unkind individuals might venture the opinion that I'm slowing down with age - - That the old hand-eye coordination isn't what it once was, that my visual acuity through my bifocals is not what it was at Orange Gunsite or traveling the IPSC circuit. A crippled hip and a bad back prevent truly rapid movement. Well, all I can say to that is - - -Maybe. Okay, certainly. There was a time, boys and girls . . . . Yeah, there WAS. So I rely on stealth and cunning instead of blazing speed. Maybe I can't “beat the drop” as in days of yore, but some of the ol' dogs still have some bite. That's why I keep shooting with the youngsters.

So the day was beautiful, the company was pleasant, the course of fire was challenging, and a good time was had by all. I didn't win the match, or even scare the leaders, but I was there, and I had fun, shooting the old pattern pistola. And you know, I don't even have a bloody spot on my right-hand thumb web. Well, I've lost some weight since i last did a lot of shooting with a short-tang gun with a broad hammer.

Impressions? About what I expected. The 1911 served me just as well as its ancestor would have served an AEF Doughboy in the Great War. I wouldn't hesitate to carry it into a cold, dark place, in preference to most handguns. Sure, if available, I'd prefer my later style commercial .45. The good sights and arched housing are indeed improvements on the old design. But the old design still works.

More on guns and gear in future installments.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A New, Old Colt, Part I

This posting is about halfway experimental. I need practice in inserting images into the blog, and I guess the only way I'll learn is to try it out.

Recycled paragraph: Last weekend, after much penny pinching and hand wringing, I finally bought a pistol I've wanted for some time. The unsuspecting LawDog was passing through, and I dragged him along to a Fort Worth Gun Show. With him cheering me onward, I spent a pretty fair chunk o'change on a brand new, old model Colt. It certainly deserves a well-documented range session with some decent photos and a good write up. I'll not get it all done in one posting, but here's a start.

A 1917 pistol, just 90 years late.

The pistola under discussion is one of the new production Colt Model 1911 -- NOT the 1911A1 -- World War I types. It is a near exact copy of the sidearms Colt's began producing early in 1912, and kept making as many as possible until late in 1918.

Part of the charm of this piece is the original-style packaging, complete with reproduction manual, a combination tool, and extra magazine. Actually, the throughness of the packaging is impressive, in and of itsownself - - Pistol in light grease, wrapped in brown waxed paper. This is put into the reproduction cardboard box, along with spare magazine. This, in turn is in a large, modern, blue box with the Colt emblem. And to protect THAT, the whole is shipped in a white cardboard box (sleeve.)

The piece looked subtly "wrong," and then I realized: All the old 1911s I'd ever held had been handled by dozens, if not hundreds of people before me. The WW-I large diamond stocks (NOT "grips," but that's another matter) are universally a little worn. On THIS pistol, the stocks are checked (no, not "checkered") and the little diamonds are still sharp on the top. It doesn't take much handling and use in a flap holster to smooth the top edges off these lil' points.

Illustrating the low-riding, narrow U-notch rear sight. It is great for deliberate shooting, but doesn't "pick up" as quickly as a higher, broader sight would do. Also note the VERY sharp little diamonds of the stock checking.

This shows the tiny little, tapered post front sight. Above comments apply.

Matt and the 1911

Elder Son was kind enough to accompany me to the range for photography and such. Naturally, he deserved to shoot it a bit. It's not as if he didn't cut his teeth on (unloaded) .45 pistols, but who turns down a chance to mess with a bit-'o-history, even if not an antique? And, like the Colt's Black Powder Historical Series, this is a true COLT. It is a real Model of 1911, not somebody else's copy. It was just just produced about 90 years behind the ones carried to France by our guys in 1917--18.

Distance, 15 yards. Matt was standing on his hind legs, and it was the FIRST time he'd put a round through this pistol. Somebody taught that lad something about "Front sight, p-r-e-s-s."

The trigger was surprisingly good, probably about five pounds, with just a hint of creep before a nice, crisp release.

We were running out of daylight, and someone had moved the 25-yard bench. I wanted to do at least a little accuracy testing. Notice the ole dude with his head rocked back to see the itty bitty sights. Also, you gotta hold your mouth JUST right.

Not my best-ever 25-yard target, but, given the drawbacks, not too bad at all.

Okay, I could go on and on, but that's about enough for today. Looks as if the image insertion will work out. More artwork and range testing later, in the next thrilling installment.

(Can you tell that I'm pretty taken with my new/old pistol?)

Hey - - I'm Learning. Out of order posting.

Well, blarst! I started writing up my post on my new 1911 pistol on Thursday but had to leave at 1700 to work a part time job overnight. I saved my efforts to that point as a draft, and thought all was well. When I went back to it today, Friday, after posting another, I was unaware that posts are entered into the queue, NOT by when completed or published, but by when they were first saved.

Therefore, if you were kind enough to look in and read my Some Historical Perspective post, you might be unaware that there is another, actually newer, post ahead of it. If you're interested in pistols, you might check the post dated TH 13SEP, 11:04 a.m. Lotsa images there.

I'll figger out this blogging stuff someday . . . .

LATE EDIT: Okay, it's fixed now. Many thanks to the commenters who gave me the sorely needed instruction. I guess I could now delete this post, but I'll leave it up as a tribute to those who helped me out. ;)

Some Historical Perspective

I'm very gratified by the number of readers and commenters for my first unsteady blogging efforts. I'd hoped to put up a shooting test of my new pistol but I'm having difficulty learning to post images. I'll manage it here in a little while.

Fathairybastard posted a comment in which he indicated he, too, hates to teach by making students memorize dates. I've been reading FHB's blog for some time, but only just now saw what he had listed under Occupation -- "Dispenser of wisdom, corrupter of youth." I like that.

It is quite distressing to many gentle souls that history is positively FILLED with violence. Well, at the risk of seeming flip, what the hell IS history but a chronicle of one people, one tribe or clan, one state, doing violence to another? Call it greed, a quest for living room, protection of a way of life or border integrity, defending The Faith -- whichever one is your favorite --or whatever else. If "Everyone could just get along," not offending the neighbors, then history would be a dull topic indeed. Humans are not by nature pacifistic. They are frequently predatory creatures. Even the most ostensibly peaceful agrarian society goes to war occasionally - - Or at least thinks of it.

And, think of man, the tool using animal. A show of hands, please. All who think the earliest human artifacts were agricultural implements. Anyone? Uh, noooo. Sticks with fire hardened tips, jagged oblate stones, flaked flint weapon tips, the bow, the atlatl, and all the other projectile tossers - - All designed to draw blood with less effort and greater efficiency. Any tool useful for hunting is also an anti-personnel implement.

The earliest metal smelting and smithing - - Shall we suggest the first usage was in making hoes and plows? Can you say that with a straight face? I can't. Copper to bronze to iron to steel. The first uses were not for farming. The first large metalworking efforts, organized smithies with forges and bellows and metal pouring were to allow some duke or clan chieftain to efficiently arm his retinue. Bronze will serve pretty well as a material for plowshares and hoes. And about the crudest possible iron will make an ax or cooking pot. But the best, strongest metals that could be produced? These were reserved for swords, knives, and other blades intended to pierce or sever flesh.

Yeah, first dibs to the warriors for their weapons. And when metal working expanded a bit, what then? How about bridle bits and stirrups and chariot and wagon fixtures, to transport the warriors on campaign - - Be it ten miles to the next clan's keep, or half across the known world.

Trace history right into the industrial age. Think of the first machinery with truly interchangeable parts. Military muskets, under Eli Whitney's 1798 contract. Previously, there were assembly lines, of a sort, yes. But these consisted mainly of hand fitters laboriously working to make vaguely similar parts fit together.

I guess I could go on for another several pages concerning the history of various types of arms. Heck, more than that, just on firearms. Guess I'll save some of that for times I'm hard put to come up with a topic.

I'll wander off on similar historical reveries from time to time . . . .

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Expert Witness? Well, yeah. In about four decades as a peace officer, I've unavoidably spent a certain amount of time on the witness stand. Everything from municipal court traffic cases to the occasional murder prosecution. I've also done a fair amount of teaching in law enforcement and jail schools.

First, let's consider "Expert." Break it down.
"Ex": A former condition of being; something that once was but is not now; A Has Been.

"Spurt," of course, is a drip under pressure.

Some years ago, I was picked to serve on the Investigators Instruction Staff of the former Texas Prosecutors Council. The Texas District & County Attorneys Association board wanted a staff of experienced investigators who could travel and teach two-day courses on "Making a Winning Court Case." One of the key elements was that we ALWAYS taught at venues at least a hundred miles from our home counties. The theory, of course, is that one definition of an expert is: a man with a briefcase more than fifty miles from home.

There's also a little custom amongst cops --and, I'd wager, medical persons, firefighters, and other career fields -- that, if you're far enough from home, tales of derring-do, and humorous situations as well, experienced by others may be adopted as one's own.

Okay - - This blog will be about things that interest me. If they happen to interest you, I'll be gratified, because it'll mean that I've furnished some measure of entertainment and/or some small amusement to my readers. I have some fairly varied interests - -

Cop stuff, of course. Cops-and-Robbers adventures are interesting, but high speed chases and shootouts and fist fights are but a small part of the Peace Officer's life. But, you know, some of that there law stuff is really interesting reading. And forensic science? There's some amazing things happening there - - and was, a long time before the Quincy, M.E. and CSI television series went on the air..

Hunting, shooting sports, guns and things like that. And, of course, reading about other people's experiences. Handloading. A little modest ballistic research and experimentation.

History. I finally managed to earn a baccalaureate in history from a decent university. I never cherished the idea of teaching history, but I knew that if I did, I wouldn't do it with a view to forcing students to memorize a bunch of boring dates and key words. If we can't learn something useful from history, why bother? More on that later on.

Books. I love books. 'Way back in grade school, I read dictionaries and the encyclopedia for fun. I learned lots of apparently unrelated but kinda interesting facts. I later began to form some half-baked ideas about how a lot of this stuff was kinda sorta related. I read up all the war and military and aviation books in the school library, and went to the public library on weekends. And then I discovered science fiction: Another entire chapter in my elementary and early high school career. Never outgrew it, of course, but it was all consuming there for a while.

Movies - - Not so much as books, but I spent a LOT of time in theatres over the years.

Government and the "social sciences" become interesting to me when tied in with the U.S. constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I wish I could say I'm really interested in computers and cyberstuff. In fact, i like them only as a means to an end. Something from which to learn, to aid in research, and to entertain me when I learn new things.

This little introduction is becoming pretty long. I think I'll shut it down for now, while I still have some stuff about which to write, tomorrow or the next day.

First Post.

Well, here goes. Elder Son and several friends and well-wishers have been saying I should get into the blog business. This is simply an initial effort, before My Beloved kicks me off the computer so she can do her own stuff.

I wish I could promise TRULY GREAT THINGS but that remains to be seen. More later.