A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, November 27, 2009

First, I would like to thank my readers who have emailed me well wishes while I was at a rather abrupt hiatus in my blog. I also want to apologize to the folks who continued to check in each day or two to see if there was anything new posted on my blog. I genuinely appreciate your readership.

I would say that I was spirited away by extraterrestrials, or traveled to distant and dangerous lands with a super secret squid platoon, or perhaps, that I had been in the witness protection program. The truth is much more pedestrian. I woke up one morning with a double dose of writer's block and a side order of other responsibilities. Sometimes, for whatever reason, we begin to feel like a repetitive, dissonant chord in a run away symphony of disagreeable music. When that happens, we can lose focus and turn to things that we feel are more productive.

As many of my readers know, I have rediscovered a long lost love for photography. It's not easy reacquiring old skills. I have been reading, studying, capturing light and sculpting with light. I am beginning to get a few images I am happy with.

There have been some readers who have exhorted me to get back to guns and shooting as a topic. It's true that this blog has been generally seen as a gun blog. Guns, shooting, and defensive survival skills are a part of my life. However, I feel that what I needed and wanted to say a few years ago has been said ad nauseum. There are a lot of great gun blogs on the internet. Folks that are better equipped than myself, both with a keyboard and a trigger, write blogs.

I've reached that place in defensive training and gun ownership that makes me comfortable, and barring some unpredictable event that produces a paradigm shift in my way of thinking, I am not likely to change. To me, it's basic. Train hard. Shoot a caliber sufficient to incapacitate while maintaining the accuracy necessary to stop a threat as quickly and efficiently as possible. Train hard. Train to shoot on the move, to recognize emerging threats so you have the response time needed, and take every advantage you can to preserve your life and the lives of those you love. I have found what I believe to be my solution to the problem of self defense. My solution might not be the best choice for everyone, but I believe it is the best for me. I've written about it, and until there is a change, I think I've said it as best I can.

I've never been one to discuss politics much, nor religion. I am not going to become an evangelical drone in opposition to the current political administration, no matter how distasteful I may find it to be. I have my beliefs, and they will not change. I figure the thing to do at the present time is as much damage control and containment as possible and vote the sons of bitches out of office in the next go-around. My blog is not likely to become a political blog.

I have rediscovered this love of photography though, and I have been teaching my daughter how to use her own digital SLR. At the end of the summer, I surprised her with her own Nikon DSLR, and she has been learning to see as a photographer. We have also planted the seeds of our own photography business, with her working as my assistant as I photograph actors and writers in the area. I continue to work as a nurse, but I am starting to consider an actual side-line business of photography. I have thought about studio space, the financial aspects of it all, and I may be drafting up a business plan soon. These are the things that have taken away the time I once devoted to writing.

Learning new things takes time and dedication. While my blog has been a journal of sorts, I recognize that the bulk of my readers do not come here for my thoughts on capturing light and composing form. So, while I am still regaining my footing in that area, I have kept my thoughts to myself for a while. For those truly interested, I apologize. I do want to say that I am OK, in good health, and that I have not been devoured by jackals or pancaked by a beer truck while riding my bicycle.

To catch up with the burning question I left hanging in my last post of more than five sentences........... The gun range at the Police Academy........ There was a demonstration of the Heckler & Koch MP5, and a SWAT officer's personal AR. I was amused at all the gadgetry on the AR. Perhaps in SWAT, lights and infared cameras have a practical application on an automatic carbine, but I almost started to think SWAT was an acronym for Special Weapons and Toys. During the SWAT demo in a previous class, I was not impressed with the tactics demonstrated. Of course, it might not take much in the way of tactics to take down the standard delusional Bubba that is well armed but off his medications. That's their job, and I figure they do it well enough. Who am I to criticize how they do it as long as they do not infringe on the rights of the law abiding?

The range class was four hours on a Saturday morning, and I got to fire a total of thirty rounds. Budget cuts, I guess....... Although I had 500 rounds of 45ACP and a range bag full of 1911's in my trunk, we were not allowed to bring our own weapons into the class. I had the choice of a .38 special S&W revolver with a four inch barrel, or a 9mm Glock. I chose the revolver, shot it double action. I smoked the rest of the class and performed as well as the best instructor did with his Glock. One of the instructors tried to match me with the revolver and failed. The instruction was competent, although an unfounded gender bias was verbalized several times. At 15 and 25 yards, I kept all my groups tight and I hit multiple targets as they were called out to me. Thirty rounds was used up quickly though.

After the class was over, I helped put away the target frames, and I noticed a couple of falling plate racks in the storage shed. I mentioned to the instructors that I had ample ammunition in a 45 caliber and several nice pistols to share if the instructors wanted to roll out the plates and continue to shoot a bit. Although the rest of the class had left, the instructors declined my offer. I won't speculate why.

But at any rate, I will be back to writing, but the subject matter will likely stray from guns rather frequently. This may have been viewed as a gun blog by many, but in truth, it is just a blog of my thoughts. It's getting late, and I am on call with a full schedule of cases in the AM. Thank you for your readership.

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Anonymous Scott said...

Don't change a thing about this blog.

I enjoy firearms a great deal, but I have no dedicated firearms blogs in my RSS feed. Just yours. And I keep it in there because of its eclectic nature.

Bikes. Guns. Photography (also an interest of mine, although more a fleeting hobby in my case). All of this and the rest interest me. Shooters don't spend their lives at the range, after all.

Yours is by far one of the best blogs on the internet. Don't change a thing.

12:06 AM  
Blogger elmo_iscariot said...

Keep doin' what you're doin'. If a blog isn't about what moves _you_, what the hell good is it?

1:25 AM  
Anonymous chip in sc said...


It's not guns or volume that causes people to read your blog.

It's the person writing.

Happy Holidays,


2:21 AM  
OpenID trebor1415 said...


It's your blog, write about what YOU want to write about.

Personally, I'd love to read more photography info as it's an interest of mine and I find your writing style very readable and informative.

You may lose a few readers who want a "gun blog", you may gain a few readers who like a "photo blog." Noe of that matters. Write what you want to write. The readers will come because of your passion.

3:12 AM  
Anonymous WR Olsen said...

Write about the subjects that interest you. I might not be a photographer, but I'm interested in the learning curve you are following and wish you well with the new business.

Keep to you business plan, remember your readers are interested in your life experience and write about what you enjoy

5:11 AM  
Blogger Aanoosh said...

It's your blog. Do what it takes to bring you happiness and satisfaction.

Regardless, it's nice to have you back.

Stay safe.


5:46 AM  
Blogger jon spencer said...

One does not have to check every day, that is what the rss feed is for. I do like when a number pops up next to your bookmark.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Good to have you back.

For gun blogging, the one area where you have basically been the only voice speaking is your pawn shopping posts. I don't see other gun bloggers doing those, and I hope you'll continue them so that readers will have the benefit of your advice.

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Nathan Schmitt said...

Though I started following your blog because of the firearms and self-defense topics, I have found that you are a good enough writer for me to read whatever you end up writing. Just keep writing!

And I think it is natural for one's interest to evolve and to move on to other things from time-to-time... I rediscovered firearms (mostly handguns) in my 30's and most recently added classic double shotguns to my topics of interest (a black hole of cash). Write what moves you...



7:55 AM  
Blogger Ed Skinner said...

I have six blogs at the moment, each one focused on a different interest. As my interests wax and wane over time, so does my writing in these. For the readers of one particular blog who don't share my other interests, or who aren't aware the others exist, they come and go with my interest as well.

Ultimately, whether a blog is character-focused as yours, or topic-focused as mine, the blog is there to satisfy the writer's need.

I write because I feel the need to do so. It helps me gain perspective on the flow of life.

Flow is good. It's basic.


9:33 AM  
Blogger Ross said...

Glad to see you're all right.

I do have to admit that the photography posts make me yawn, simply because I'm happy with my (admittedly plebian) level of photographic skill. However, I do enjoy seeing the portraits that you take - you make them interesting. There's always something to see.

I do, however, hope that you keep doing Ugly Gun Sunday. I even sent you a possible entry that got posted on a forum I'm on (the Luger with the UGLIEST grips I've ever seen).

9:43 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

"I have been reading, studying, capturing light and sculpting with light." - Just don't turn into Thomas Kinkade!

I miss the medical stories most of all. The mixture of guns and medicine was what drew me to your blog and I'll keep reading as long as you keep writing.

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thoughts, well written, Xavier. I continue to look forward to reading what you wish to share. Thanks,


9:50 AM  
Blogger Samuel said...

I understand where you are coming from. My passion is philosophy (Buddhist Okie blog) but I got double the hits in half the time on my Zombie blog with gun stuff on it.

Guns are a tired topic that gets beat to death. It's fairly simple me-thinks. People like to harp about hardware - but in the end, it's the Indian not the arrow.

I enjoy your blog. I'll keep reading. Have you ever thought about photographing wildlife?

And it scares me to think that SWAT teams are on the mall ninja bandwagon. The money they wasted on high tech gadgets is better spent on training!

10:09 AM  
Blogger Retired Rick said...

Profound as usual. I enjoy reading you blog. If a perosn speaks of only one topic this can be boreing. I found your blog because of the need to learn more about Concealed Carry and Hand Guns. I stay with it because of your observations. Yes I am interested in Photography, ridden Mountian Bikes, served in the Navy, and Ride Motorcycles. I have opinions but not to big on always expressing them.

Keep Blogging and those who are interested will still be there. I enjoy you honesty.

Thank you

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dig your blog, guns, photography, family... all of it. Many thanks!

10:16 AM  
Anonymous mostly cajun said...

It's your blog. Like others have commented, you write well and give good information on a multitude of subjects. that's why I visit here every day.

As for being one of many gun-bloggers, well, you color it slightly differently and that's what we need, different perspectives.

And I also liked your pawn shop postings.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Scottybill said...

Glad to see you around. Your writing is so strong, I'll keep checking in to learn about cameras, as I've been learning about guns. Thanks.

1:25 PM  
Blogger James said...

As I said before when this topic came up, it is your blog, write what you want and I'll read what appeals to me.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous TJP said...

S'okay, X. I go here and then to Studio d'Xavier. Two halves of a whole.

I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying the photography enough to consider it as a business. You have the talent and the skill for it.

When your first photo book is in print, let us know so we can order a copy. :o)

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Seth from Massachusetts said...

I came to your blog because of my intense interest in guns, but I have greatly enjoyed your medical articles as well as your writing about your dogs and how they must see us through their eyes and noses.

Once upon a time, over 30 years ago, I was intensely interested in photography, had a Nikkormat FTN and a Nikon F as well as my own darkroom. Eventually drifted out of it, matter of both time and cost, but continue to appreciate skilled photographers. I have been very interested in reading your thoughts about photography.

Might also mention I'm always curious about your pawn shop prowling. Here in the Northeast (I'm a matter of yards outside of Boston) guns are sold in dedicated gunshops. Pawnshops are few and far between and are primarily jewelry stores which dabble in pawn on the side, no guns (probably because they're all in downtown Boston!).

7:20 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Xav, Thanks for the update, I was really starting to worry about you and for you. And I'm ok with whatever you put up, or not... it is your blog and you do what you want with it. people will read it or they won't, it really doesn't matter much one way or another.

7:37 PM  
Blogger gwynn said...

please...no apologies or explanation needed. Just make sure that as you learn more about photography that you pass the knowledge on to the rest of us that can't get enough shooting or photog info.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Xavier
Good to see your post.
Me thinks I'll agree, we read about what you write because we like the way you write.
One line in this post brought a big grin, "I won't speculate why"
hehe And thats just one example of why I read.
I've immensely enjoyed your variety of posts, nursing, guns,family, military, photography, dogs.
Just write. Your true fans will always enjoy...and return.

8:41 PM  
Blogger stbaguley said...

Glad you checked in. I check your blog as a "voice of reason" almost daily. I enjoy your focus and point of view. Regardless of the subject, the discussion is thoughtful, informative and thought provoking. Thanks!

11:04 PM  
Anonymous tjm said...

hey x,

i think you should do what you do. it is not the guns that keep us coming back. thank you for the time you give to us through your blog.


1:11 AM  
Anonymous Cliff Smith said...

It's your blog. Write about what you want to write about, when you want to write. I will just have to wait.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've really enjoyed your writing and learned a lot about personal defense here. But also enjoyed the other essays as well. Good luck with the photography.

Mike S.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your blog daily. I like the photos taken at the political rallies, your work experiences and hobbies. Life priorities and interests change, don't get burned out and quit.

Mike G
New Mexico

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Good to hear from you, Xavier. Keep up the good work.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Akodo said...


I am interested in your blog because of your view on firearms, the 2nd amendment, etc.

However, it would be out of line for me to complain about you shifting focus. Politely suggest that a topic/incident brushed against in a previous post be fleshed out? Yea, that kind of thing is okay, but to demand you stick with writing about guns is just out of line.

Write what you want to write. If the gunnies go somewhere else and only stop by your blog monthly rather than daily, then so be it.

Good luck.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Old NFO said...

DO what ever feels good. I enjoy all of the posts, and it is interesting to 'watch' the transformation you are undergoing.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Ruminator said...

Dude, you write about whatever you want whenever you want and a few of us will be hanging out here to read it. Post pictures too -- I like them.

8:34 PM  
Blogger viettom said...

Your blog has always been interesting, well designed, brilliantly provided with great links, images, videos and thoughtful posts.

I personally have preferred the gun content, but own a bike and several cameras, so we share the same basic interests.

Your desire to be informed, skilled, and to share your knowledge is a blessing for you and your readers.

Best wishes in all you do.

Tom Coats
San Antonio, TX

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had removed your blog from my RSS feeds some time ago due to the lack of gun content for which I initially subscribed. The pawn shop circuit was a favorite.

Not a big deal though. I'm just not a bike or photo bug myself. I do still check in manually when I think about it.

A man needs his passions. Good luck with yours, sir. To my untrained eye you do appear to have a talent for it.

9:32 AM  
Blogger J M said...

Photography. Shoot and print. Compose, shoot, and print. Compose, pose, shoot, and print. A lot. Creative review and technical analysis are essential... You seem to have the demeanor for it.

The dark-haired young woman has a pretty and interesting face -- much portrait potential there.

I enjoyed photography but didn't love it. On to other things...

Like IPSC. Enough practice that I made trips to the prize tables at state tournaments. I enjoyed it but didn't love it. On to other things...

Life's like that.

Good luck with yours.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous aczarnowski said...

Write whatever the muse strikes you with Xavier. I just hope she keeps visiting you.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Bay said...

Can we get a weekly post called "Ugly Camera Saturday" or some such?

8:40 PM  
Blogger DouginSalcha said...


BTW, I'm glad you're back. Hope your 'hiatus' left you refreshed and ready to write because I missed you (and I don't think I was the only one).

Don't care whether it's guns, bikes, dogs, or photography, your articles make me want to go out and "so some of whatever you're writing about". I am not a nurse but my sisters are and somehow, I feel closer to them when I read about your experiences in your ER...


A Retired Master Sergeant in Alaska

11:12 PM  
Blogger Jarubla said...

Keep it up Xavier! Write about what you think about, what you are passionate about, what you are doing.

I follow your blog because I like who you are. Never met ya, and probably never will (due to logistics), but you speak to me. You are what America is really all about.

Keep it up and best of luck with the new side business. I will take what I can get of your writing when you can get around to updating the blog.


8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, this is TR.

Very cool photos! I think the guy in the beard is doing a tough-guy pose. The photo makes him look like he's going to walk up and grab you!
very cool!

6:27 PM  

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