A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Saving a Life

She was six, maybe seven years old. Rumor in the suite was that she had been battered by her parents. There was nobody that cared for her enough to sign a consent. Not even an attorney. She had been stored somewhere in the hospital, on life support, as nurses and doctors valiantly tried to lower her intracranial pressure.

We gingerly transferred her to the cold back surgical table, and Patty removed the ambu-bag from her ET tube to transfer her to the array of anesthesia equipment that would keep her safe. Patty had her lavender hoodie on already, the chill in the room would soon be removed by the intense surgical lights. We transferred monitors and Patty pumped her pink pedi bag a couple of times, this time not having to instruct the unresponsive child to watch the balloon go up and down.

I gazed at the child's swollen little eyes, purple and black from assault, the corneas blood crimson, the pupils unresponsive underneath the swollen slits. I felt a lump in my throat, a growing anger that parents could treat an innocent in this way. Patty placed gauze and tape over the blackened eyes, intended to protect the organs, but also concealing the shame of their horrific appearance. After adjusting a few dials, Patty settled back into the latest pulp novel.

We removed the polymerized spica cast. We would have to prep and incise her abdomen. Underneath the pretty pink shell, she was again purple from the assault, her little pelvis broken. My scrubs were visibly shaken. "Why are we even doing this?" asked Kevin aloud.

"Shhhhhh!" I replied. If she could hear us, I did not want her to hear the doubt, the ambivalence, the fear, and the growing anger among us. She deserved love, and hope, not rage. I prepped her as the scrubs filed outside to scrub in.

"Doctor Fakhouri, this is Chasity _________ for a Cisterna magnum shunt," I announced as the masked surgeon bent forward to dry his dripping hands and arms with the towel offered by the scrub. He said nothing in response. He just donned his gown like so many times before, stuffing his hands into the sterile gloves offered him, and performing a pirouette to wrap the ties around himself. I did not particularly care for Fakhouri. I took pleasure in pronouncing his name "Fukyuri."

The tone did not register at first. "V-Tach" announced Patty, moving instantly to the pink balloon. Shit. I stripped off the drapes and threw them across the table. No pulse. The child's battered chest and abdomen were still wet with betadine as I began bare handed compressions. I overheard Fukyuri tell a scrub to get the anesthesiologist and he stripped off his sterile paper gown and tossed it in the kick bucket on the way out. Kevin tossed me adult defibrillator pads as he hooked them up to the Codemaster.

"No, Pedi," I snapped as I threw them to the floor. I grabbed a piece of torn drape to wipe the wet betadine from the child's chest while I continued compressions. Patty was pushing drugs furiously. Kevin quickly passed the pedi-pads and I slapped them into place. I looked at Patty.

Patty looked at me. "100 joules." Crrrrrrrrick. BeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEE. "Clear?"

"Clear!" Bam! The child's body lept and shuddered with the force of the shock coursing though it. We looked at the screen, hopeful..........

Asystole. No, this is the new world. The politically correct world. Pulseless electrical activity. Dr. McIntosh charged into the suite, and was buffeted with a verbal barrage compressing the last two minutes of activity into a few seconds as I continued compressions. Crrrrrriiiiiiick BeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEE. "Clear?" he asked.

"Clear!" Hands up, thighs away from the table. Bam! The child lept and settled again, lifeless. I found my place on her little chest. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, BeeeeEEEEEEEEE.

"Clear?" Hands up, step back.

"Clear!" BAM! Shudder, settle. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, ..............

Later, we reverently washed the battered little girl, transferring her gently back to her gurney.

Tears were in Patty's eyes as we piloted the child past Recovery and to the morgue. "It's better this way, I suppose," Patty said.

"No. It's not." I replied firmly.

It's not.


The Tale of Sir Robin

Monday, September 29, 2008


After what seemed like an interminable period of time on call, my stint finally ended this morning, and I was again able to bike to work. It's getting steadily cooler, and I want to enjoy the brisker temperatures before they drop beyond tolerance.

Many people don't understand what it means to be on call, and they are fortunate for that. Being on call means that you have a twenty minute window to get back to the hospital for emergency cases. Over time, I have learned not to wager whether or not I would be called back. I simply sit at home in my scrubs and either write or read. There is always a fair to good chance that I will be called back. I drive to work on those days. When a person's life hangs in the balance, you simply want to get there as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Over the past four days I had to refill the tank on the XUV (Xavier Utility Vehicle). I was rather surprised to find that gasoline is still around $3.65. Better than I expected. Never the less, filling that tank was a reminder that I'm steadily increasing my ammunition budget by biking.

I'm seeing more and more people on bikes it seems, but my morning commute is still a solitary one with a world that belongs to me.



"Most people have opinions about just everything there is, but the value of those opinions is directly proportional to whatever experience and knowledge they have of the subject in question. If we are talking about brain surgery you don’t want to do anything based on my opinions, because clearly I’m not a surgeon."---
Jeff Cooper


Sunday, September 28, 2008


One of the featured instruments, called Motele's Violin, belonged to a 12 year old Jewish boy. He liked to close his eyes and play, day dreaming that he was before a packed concert hall in Europe or even, perhaps, America. He was forced to play it for Nazi officers from Hitler's SS in Belarus in 1944.
"The German officers heard him play in the streets one day and later brought him to perform every night in their compound in town," said Sefi Hanegbi, whose father played alongside Motele in a partisan camp in a forest during World War Two.

After each performance, Motele hid his violin in the building and walked out with an empty case. He would return with the violin case full of explosives, stuffing them into cracks in the walls, and eventually setting them off, Hanegbi said.
Peter has written of a unique concert that has waited too long to be played.

Peter, I would have riden shotgun with you.

Violins of Hope


A Shot in the Arm

Another negligent discharge is presented at Pistol Training.com.


Ugly Gun Sunday

Click to enlarge
What do you get when you cross a M1911A1, gggrrrrrrr snap snarl, with a Desert Eagle?

Dammit! I didn't want to know!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Appeal to Reason(s)

Dear Xavier:

I saw on your blog that you were getting frustrated with Blogger. I just wanted to send you a note expressing my appreciation for you sharing your knowledge on your blog. I have been reading your blog for years. It is the first one I check on my daily round of the Internet. I have learned a lot from reading your thoughts.

After shooting competitively for many years and teaching friends and family informally, I decided to become an NRA-Certified Instructor in April of this year so I could teach even more people responsible gun ownership. I'm now certified in Pistol and Personal Protection in the Home. Before the year is out, I will be certified in Personal Protection outside the Home as well. Next year I will add Shotgun for good measure. This past weekend I taught my first CWP course.

I thought it might cheer up your day to know that four more responsible citizens will soon join the ranks of CWP-holders, partly because you inspired someone you have never met through your blog. Many more are soon to follow. Please keep sharing your thoughts.

Also, if you ever visit Columbia, SC, please let me know. I'd be honored to show you around.


a reader from SC

A day or two ago I received an email from a reader that I have asked to publish here. Permission was granted.

While the issues I am still having with blogger are unresolved, and the internal strife at The High Road is on my mind, there are more important issues at hand. At this time in the history of the United States, gun owners face a turning point concerning who we place in office as president. This presidential election has the power to irreversibly impact the rights of gun owners, both with the power of Presidential veto and through placing a blatant anti-gunner in office as the President of the Senate. At present there is a 2 or 3 vote pro-gun majority in the US Senate. We do not need a confirmed vote against us as a tie breaker.

The next US President will likely appoint at least one, perhaps three Supreme Court Justices who will consider the meaning of the second amendment in upcoming legal battles. The narrow SCOTUS majority for gun owners shown in Heller v DC could be overturned by a single appointment. At least three appointments are likely. Justice John Paul Stevens is 88 years old. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75. Justice Antonin Scalia is 72. Gun owners in the United States could be irrevocably affected for the next fifty years, perhaps forever. Gun rights could be erased as a generation of gun owners die off stripped of their firearms, leaving an apathetic progeny that has never experienced the right to keep and bear arms.

This is a crucial time. There is much at stake, and it goes beyond blogs and forums for gun owners. This is not a time to be bickering or fighting among ourselves. This is a time to solidify our vote and make damned sure that the right to keep and bear arms is preserved. The only way to do that is by force multiplication. We must build our numbers. Each gun owner has one vote. We must educate each other on the impact of our votes, and we must convert more people to law abiding voting gun ownership.

This email gives me hope. You will notice in the small group of students a bald man not unlike myself. A black man. A woman. A young man. A wide strata of people who only wish to defend themselves from harm. Gun ownership and the desire to be safe extends across all lines. It is a universal human desire and an absolute human right. We must not let the right to keep and bear arms disappear because we were too stupid to see beyond other issues. Without the right to keep and bear arms, the government is no longer restrained by the people. The government no longer is controlled by the vote. It becomes a monster and it will eventually enslave the very citizens it should serve.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Several of my readers have emailed me to ask advice on what to do, how to handle the recent internal turmoil at The High Road. I encourage everyone to retain their membership, whether you post or not. Whether or not you want to continue to read or participate there is an individual decision that only you can make.

If you desire to retain your membership, please abide by the forum rules and guidelines. Personal attacks and name calling has never been tolerated at The High Road, and it will not be tolerated now. If you go about the forum posting attacks against another member, no matter what the reason, you have violated the rules, and deserve to be banned. Bans at The High Road are permanent. You will not be reinstated. Your warning was given when you read the forum guidelines and agreed with them on registration. Today is no different than when you signed up.

As far as "choosing sides" you do not have to. Everyone involved wants The High Road to continue to survive, grow and flourish. The High Road is a community. I suppose one man can claim ownership of the domain, but the true worth of any online forum is owned by it's members. It has always been that way, and always will be. If the membership fails, the forum fails. If the membership thrives, the forum thrives.

Over the past couple of days I have given a lot of thought to these issues. I do not know everything that was said nor everything that was done. Others have published accounts of the series of events that led to the present acrimony. I do not dispute those people, nor do I condemn them. Whether the publication of these issues was wise is not for me to determine. I do not know "the truth." I can only act on that which I know.

I do know the ideals and principles The High Road was founded on. I still believe in them. While I hold an opinion, I will not "choose sides" between two men in this debacle. That is childish. The "side" I choose is that of The High Road itself. I sincerely hope that all others concerned will also choose The High Road as the side they are on. Among the staff, I ceased commenting on the current flap on September 12. At that point, I resolved to simply moderate and enjoy the forum as long as the forum continues to hold true to the ideals it was founded on. These issues will resolve. Until then, I hope to be a part of keeping The High Road the valuable resource and civil forum it has been from it's inception.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Camelot, or Not

Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Of Camelot.
Ask ev'ry person if he's heard the story,
And tell it strong and clear if he has not,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory
Called Camelot.
Camelot! Camelot!
Now say it out with pride and joy!
Camelot! Camelot!

But then again........

In times of turmoil and strife, the legends of old can offer diversion, comfort, reflection and direction.

The Round Table is no more.

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Model 21 at CDNN

CDDN has the recent Model 21 listed. Rumor has it the price is $499. Couple of issues: it has the integral lock, and there is no upper sideplate screw. The round butt grip looks kind of funky too. The hammer is lacking the firing pin, and is comprised of MIM along with the trigger.

But if you have a hankering for a 44 special wheelgun and those issues don't bother you, here's a chance to buy a new one for a very good price.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Dark Day

A message from Oleg Volk concerning The High Road:
In December 2002, I founded The High Road forum dedicated to the advancement of responsible gun ownership. Recently, it was discovered that in 2006, the volunteer forum systems administrator, Derek Zeanah of Statesboro, Georgia, changed domain registration to himself. After he was confronted, Derek locked out all other staff from accessing the Web server administration and would not share even backup copies of its content. After failed attempts to peacefully resolve the dispute, it has become necessary for me to initiate a lawsuit against Derek Zeanah for the return of thehighroad.org domain name and the forum database.

I am seeking and would greatly appreciate donations to help with the cost of litigation. You can use Paypal (olegvolk@gmail.com) or send a check to:
Oleg Volk 3112 Chambley Ct Hermitage, TN 37076

All donations shall be returned if the lawsuit is ultimately avoided. You can also aid me by re-posting this appeal on your blog, forum or web site. My legal position is already endorsed by almost all of The High Road staff as well as Rich Lucibella, the founder of The Firing Line forum.

UPDATE: Derek's reaction was to disable The High Road forum all together. He also removed most of the staff who opposed him.

The High Road went down as I was responding to several member's posts ranging from what would be the best choice for a first 1911 to whether a Browning 22 Auto rifle was really worth the money. The High Road has long been recognized as one of the most civil gun forums on the internet, with a dedicated crew of moderators who kept things in line without favoritism or nepotism.

Update: September 25, 2008, 4:53PM

Today, I arrived home to find that Oleg is again aboard with moderator privileges. Some readers will no doubt note that this post has been abridged as well as ammended. I think my compadre Don Gwinn has said it best. It is my hope that the forum will survive with Oleg at the helm.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Colt Compact

One of my favorite 1911 style pistols is a Colt M1991A1 Compact that I modified for carry. As an unmodified pistol it had an uncanny accuracy despite it's short sight radius. Click to enlargeAll the work I performed on it was done to enhance the shootability, reliability and durability of an already accurate firearm.

The Colt Compact is the bare bones parkerized version of the Colt Officer's ACP. As with most of the 1911s that I have modified for my own use, I installed an Ed Brown grip safety and an Ed Brown tactical thumb safety. I kept the Colt hammer, sear and disconnect. The trigger, though, was swapped out for a Dlask magnesium and titanium unit. I fitted a Ted Yost retro rear sight into the slide and had a dentist friend fill the original front sight recess with a bit of gold. The Colt slide stop and the barrel that held the pistol's accuracy were retained.

But wait...... There is one modification I forgot to mention, the one most people are interested in. The Colt Compact and Officer's ACP both suffer from a reputation of a recoil plug that depends on a small lug that fits in the dustcover for retention. Click to enlargeThe barrel bushing is a thin unit, and through the rigors of prolong use, the lug on the recoil plug has been known to shear off. When that occurs, the plug and recoil spring are launched down range, and the gun becomes an amusing club. I wasn't going to have that on a carry gun.

To rectify the problem, I ordered a reverse recoil plug from Clark Custom for $20. This plug has a lug that fits in the original recess, but more importantly, it has a flange that goes around it's rear that prevents it from ever breaking. The Clark reverse plug is a solidly over-engineered chunk of steel, and only a glimpse makes even the most skeptical shooter realize it isn't going anywhere. It uses the original recoil springs and guide, and requires minimal fitting to the pistol.

With the big chunk of Clark steel up front, the thin Colt Compact bushing was looking pretty anemic. I started to shop around, and finally decided on an EGW Melt bushing to replace it. Click to enlargeFor $22.50, the EGW Melt bushing is another hefty piece of steel. It is designed to extend to the edges of the slide to prevent a seamless blend on the muzzle of the pistol if it is radically dehorned, or "melted." along with the EGW bushing, I ordered the bushing wrench necessary to turn it. The bushing required fitting to both the slide and the barrel, but the specs were so close that I was able to achieve a close tolerance fit with emery cloth and a bit of oil and elbow grease. The bushing extends out past the barrel's crown a bit, effectively protecting it. Between the Clark reverse plug and the EGW bushing, the pistol has all the reliability of a ball peen hammer,

I gave the pistol a subtle dehorning, and I took my new carry pistol to a pro for refinishing. I wanted a tough finish, but also one that was dark and nondescript. I chose a teflon coating with a black slide over an olive drab receiver. Finally, Pearce rubber double diamond grips and a Wilson Combat magazine with a low profile base pad rounded out the package for a durable, reliable and accurate carry gun.

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The NRA Political Victory Fund is in full swing trying to educate gun owners about the stakes in the upcoming presidential election. If you are a gun owner, it is time to start educating yourself, your friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Never has there been a greater threat to the cherished rights of gun owners than the Obama/Biden ticket. Whether you are a lifetime NRA member, or whether you think the NRA has forsaken us all in the past, it's time for all gun owners to come together, and work together to protect the second amendment.

Send your friends to Gunbanobama. Go there yourself. Knowledge is the first step to applying the power of the ballot effectively.

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Way of Life

Order your Bitter Gun Owner shirt today!

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I'm a Spam Blog? Enough Already!

For three days now I have struggled to publish blog posts at Xavier Thoughts, because Blogger's robots have determined that my personally published blog may be an evil spam blog. Maybe it's because I posted some disagreeable things about Obama. Maybe it's because I write about guns. Maybe it's because some prick decided to "flag" me because he or she did not agree with my content. Blogger claims it is because of the number of links I have, and my posting frequency.

Three days ago, I sent a request for human verification. Today, I am still straddled with Blogger's silly warped multi-font random array of letters that I must type in a blank to publish a post. It has been three days. Here is what Blogger has to say on the matter:
"Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.

We received your unlock request on September 20, 2008. On behalf of the robots, we apologize for locking your non-spam blog. Please be patient while we take a look at your blog and verify that it is not spam.
Find out more about how Blogger is fighting spam blogs."
Three days..... I am still waiting. So, I ask my readers that I have responded to in the comments and in email to comment here. If this blog disappears into ethernet, it wasn't because I wanted it to. If there is something on my blog you value, I urge you to copy it to your hard drive.

Oh, and for the human who sooner or later will review this blog, it is not spam. It is an informative work by a real human being with a following of regular readers. You may not agree with the views expressed here, but this blog has not violated your policies. If it has, drop me a line and the violation will be removed. Know what? I'll answer you too, because I AM NOT A 'BOT!

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Monday, September 22, 2008


It's been lights out at Front Sight Press for several days. Syd's writing is an addiction of mine, and I was starting to have tremors and twitches. Finally, he went to Home Depot and purchased a generator. Of course, when he got back home the power company had his lights back on.

Sitting in the dark was the source of new inspiration for Syd though. He has kicked off with The Hierachy of Survival. Adversity is often the ignition of inspiration. Embrace it.


The Astra 400

I remember seeing the advertisements for the Astra 400 in Shot Gun News. That was a while back. Surplus M1911A1s were still on the market, and it seems like Nixon was yet to resign. Nobody back then would buy a twenty dollar pistol chambered in a funky 9mm Largo when a combat proven 45 could be had for just a bit more. The Spanish Modelo 1921 had a hard time finding a market back then. I remember examining a strange tubular type pistol at gunshows, and putting it back on the table every time. The strange surplus gun remained a gun show staple for at least half a decade.

Over the years, the prices rose from twenty bucks to over two hundred, and that was when the pistol was readily available from any dealer. A twenty dollar pistol. Yeah..... I should have bought.

While I was perusing Gun Broker I found this example....
"This weapon I think was used during the Spanish Civil War. Note the Hammer and Sickle on one side of the grips and "Viva La Repulica" on the other side of grips. Weapon still has original box, 2 boxes of ammunition and original shipping box (Shipped from Klein's Sporting Goods in Chicago)."
I don't know if the carvings are authentic or not, but the pistol is certainly interesting. It does seem strange that the cardboard box would survive with a well weathered sidearm of a South American revolutionary. Chances are the pistol was placed in the box for importation.

I doubt that I would have shot this pistol much, if at all, since the 9mm Largo ammunition is not readily available. I suppose some folks would ask what the purpose is in having a pistol you would not shoot. Well, to me it's kind of like having money you don't spend. The possibility of shooting the pistol is always there. The pistol is more interesting to hold and wonder about than currency. And for any price under $100, I would not be having any regrets.

Since I have never owned one, I still don't know much about the Astra 400, except I wish I had purchased one back then. Today these pistols usually change hands for $250 or so, a little more for well preserved examples with the box. Handguns are not getting any cheaper. If I see one today that interests me, I purchase it.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lost Fathers and Found Rifles

Decades ago, as a young man, I was forced to make a tough decision. To save our family home, I sold my deceased father's deer rifle. To this day, I remember that it was a pre-64 Model 70 Featherweight Winchester .243 with a Leupold scope. The stock had been oiled and finished by my father's own hand. His hands had cradled it while taking aim at many deer. It was his favorite, and one of the few material things left to me over the course of my fatherless childhood.

I got a fair price. A gunsmith friend of my father's advertised the rifle in Shotgun News and it sold to someone in Colorado. He tried to convince me not to sell, but with an overdue mortgage on my young shoulders and a mother in long term care, I felt I had no choice. I wanted to save our family home so she would have the hope of coming home. Because I traded my inheritance for my mother's hope, I never regretted selling the rifle.

Today, now that I am older, I know I had other options. I don't blame myself though, I chose the best path I knew of at the time. Still, sometimes I wish I could hold that rifle again. That's why this story posted at The Drawn Cutlass struck such a chord with me. Material things should not hold such value, but when they are the link to episodes of our lives that make us who we are, they do.


Post It Notes


Purina Dog Food

"As soon as our food leaves our factory, it is no longer our responsibility."
Yep, it looks like that's what they said.


Target Fixation

Target fixation....... In defensive shooting it obscures other targets and threats in a dynamic environment. In cycling, it obscures other dangers in a dynamic environment as well. Not good in defensive shooting, and not good in cycling. More here.

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Ugly Gun Sunday

When I saw the first sand colored HK pistol, I had one thought..... Damn that plastic looks cheap. Of course many if not all of those Desert HK pistols never went to the sandbox. The recent trend to camouflage a firearm that will ride in a holster is nothing short of tacticool fashion however.

The digital overlay that even includes the designer's brand on top of a gun is just a little too much for me. Chances are it is carried by the guy who goes to the range in full camo with a boonie hat. Not that there is anything wrong with boonie hats, but if you hung out at the comic book section in the supermarket before the range opened, your camo wasn't necessary. If you want your pistol to look like a snake eater's gear, there is one answer....... Spray paint it. Then use it. A lot.

On another note, can anyone tell me why we have the latest trend towards pixelated camouflage? I'm thinking that spy satellites have digital cameras, or something like that. Wearing it duck hunting doesn't make sense.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Savage 87A

Every once in a while, even a savvy pawnshopper gets beat, or at least falls to the siren song of a firearm that is going to be a bum deal. Such was the case when I drove fifty miles to visit a dusty Mom & Pop pawn shop I heard was closing down. Click to enlarge Pop had a couple of overpriced Smith & Wesson revolvers for sale. No doubt he was planning on keeping them, but he wanted Ma to think he was trying his best, so he had them underneath the glass. Along the long gun rack were a few shotguns and a tube magazine fed 22 rifle. I asked to have a look at the rifle.

It was a Savage 87A, and the cooling vents surrounding the bolt intrigued me. "Damned fine rifle, that is...." ventured Pop. I turned the heavy rimfire rifle over in my hands, noting the knurled bolt screw at the rear, the bolt knob with concentric circles cut into it, the dovetailed front sight with a brass bead. The serrated trigger was light. The walnut stock was in decent shape, well oiled and polished, although the usual nicks from a life afield were present. The barrel still had the brownish tinge of bluing long gone, with a few blood spots near the muzzle. Testimony of a rifle used to put wounded game down once they were located. I asked Pop how much he wanted. Click to enlarge"Sixty-seven dollars, plus tax," he grinned.

Now I don't know about most folks, but it's difficult for me to walk away from a sub-hundred dollar gun. This rifle had the option of shooting .22 longs, .22 shorts, and the option of locking the bolt to use it as a bolt action type rifle. I paid the money and thanked the man. That night the Savage received the first cleaning it had experienced in years.

The next day I took my old rifle to the range. It was decently accurate, but failed to feed often enough to frustrate me. When the 75 year old Savage did cycle, it was a strange experience compared to newer 22 rifles. The old girl chambered the next round in a slow motion ker-chunk that you could chronograph with a stopwatch. One of the old gray range hands informed me "That's an old one. It's supposed to cycle like that boy." I diagnosed the feeding problem as the shell lifter, and ordered another one from Numrich.

I fitted and installed the new part, and the feed problem improved but never totally disappeared. I still keep the rifle. I'm reluctant to trade off an unreliable rifle without informing the recipient. I also enjoy shooting it occasionally. For $75, I figure that's enough reason to keep it around.

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Biking With Bones

Click to enlarge

What dogs chose to take biking........
"You didn't expect me to leave it at home didja?"

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Friday, September 19, 2008

The Marlin Papoose

A 22 caliber rifle is often on the short list of firearms to "bug out" with for most gunnies. Lightweight, cheap to shoot, and inexpensive to obtain, the rimfire rifle is one of the most versatile tools for survival. Survival rifles are often designed to break down into a compact package, and therein lies the rub. Maintaining accuracy and reliability while making the firearm breakdown into a compact package can be difficult.

One 22 rifle that has been around for quite some time is the Marlin 70P, also known as the Papoose. When this rifle was first introduced, it came with a birch wood stock, a black receiver and a blued barrel. The entire package can be carried in the cordura travel case supplied with the package. Today, the same rifle is offered in stainless steel with a polycarbonate stock as the Marlin 70PSS.

The barrel has a knurled fitting that quickly screws it onto the receiver. Screw on the barrel, pop in a full seven round magazine, and chamber a round. You are ready to shoot. The rifle owes it's reliability to the same semi-automatic action that is found in the Marlin 795. As long as the shooter holds the bolt back a bit while screwing on the barrel, to make certain it is properly seated, the rifle will shoot all day without failure. Disassembled and zipped into it's carrying case, the entire package measures 23 X 8 inches. There is ample room in the case for ammunition and extra magazines if desired. The barrel fits in a pocket along the spine of the case, while the stock is secured with velcro straps.

While the receiver has an integral scope rail, I prefer to stick with the barrel mounted iron sights. They consist of a simple spring leaf/ramp rear sight and a Patridge front sight. I dabbed some day-glo orange paint on my front sight to improve visibility.

I found this little rifle in a pawn shop for under $100. I purchased it immediately. When I head to the range I usually take another rifle, but this one is tested, proven reliable and decently accurate. It stands ready, packed up at home with a couple of boxes of ammunition in case it is needed.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Clark Limited Gun

Want a Colt 1911 that will shoot like a house on fire? Not particularly worried about the latest trends as long as the gun will put ten holes within two and a half inches of each other at fifty yards, guaranteed? Find beauty in the way a gun shoots, not how it looks? If that's you, here's your gun.

This IPSC/USPSA Limited gun 'smithed by Clark Custom has features not available in their standard package. The 20 LPI checkering on the front strap and triggerguard immediately stands out, as does the Slide Guide.

The Slide Guide is unique to Clark guns. It involves involves welding a quarter inch extension to the front of the dust cover and placing a slight bevel on the underside of the slide's recoil tunnel. The extension is tapped for two set screws. By adjusting the screws, all horizontal and vertical movement of the slide is eliminated when the pistol is in battery. When the slide cycles, the slide to frame fit loosens up as the set screws exert less pressure on the underside of the recoil tunnel. The set screws allow tuning of the slide to frame fit at lock-up, and eliminate the need for a break-in period.

The base pistol for this particular handgun was a Colt XSE "enhanced" Government Model. Clark apparently no longer sells their Limited guns on a Colt base, although they will still convert a customer's Colt with the standard USPSA/IPSC Limited package for $1065. The checkering and ambi safety are extra. So is the match barrel in this gun. At the starting bid of $1,595, it's a fair deal.

Now I'll be honest....... I do favor 1911s with "classic" profiles. I don't really care for the looks of the King's beavertail grip safety that Jim Clark uses. The extended slide stop turns me off. The oversized magazine release button leaves me cold. I would probably opt for a traditional fitting of the slide and frame rather than the Slide Guide. But then, I do not compete in USPSA/IPSC. If you do, and you want a gun that is pure function in your hands, then his one would be tough to beat.


Different Worlds

It's getting cooler, and the commute by bike both to and from work is becoming more and more pleasant. I especially enjoy my pre-dawn ride. The streets are empty, and the pavement seems to belong to me alone. Even the roving tomcats have bedded down in anticipation of the sunrise. Ambulances idle blissfully among hazes of diesel fumes while their inhabitants try not to appear to be snoozing inside.

Occasionally I will hear the solitary wail of a freight train's horn and hear the clattering of it's steel wheels on the rails as I approach the trestle. It's like a foreshadowing of what awaits me in the hustle and bustle of the hospital, only minutes ahead in my day. But as I weave through the streets past the storefronts, the granite pillars of state buildings and last night's litter from the dance halls, the streets are mine for a few moments more.

I lock the bike up, grab my bag and secure my lights. I cross the street and try to remember what was at the beginning of my schedule when I left yesterday. The automatic doors retract their condensate laden glass panels to allow me into the air conditioned environment of the hospital, and my world begins to heat up.


Deep Concealment Discharge

From The High Road:
"I'm not eager to post this, but an airline pilot friend of mine told me that my AD changed his mind about how he carries on duty, and maybe my story will change someone elses' mind as well.

Friday, Sep. 5 is a day I will long remember. I'm 47 y/o, married, father of three (10,18,20 y/o olds) and I've been shooting since I was ten. I've never had an AD or ND; I've never been injured by a firearm. I'm the type that triple checks for safety; the type that reads the manuals of a firearm to know how it operates.

This spring, I bought a CZ 82 which is a Makarov design, 9mm Makarov caliber pistol. I've shot the CZ 75's on several occasions and I like the simplicity of the CZ design along with the all steel frame. I'm not a big fan of autoloaders, as they have a propensity for AD/ND that revolvers don't have. But, I figured the little gun would be a good BUG and good for the wife or girls to shoot and/or carry. At the time, I only had one handgun and that was my full size, Colt .357.

One big problem with the CZ 82 is finding a holster. I had looked at a lot of holsters and was intrigued with the Smart Carry holster for deep concealment. Reno had a big gun show at the end of August, and I had hoped to find the folks from Smart Carry there so I could look at their holsters 'up close'. Instead, I found someone selling a nylon version of this holster. He claimed that this holster was thinner and the nylon was tougher than the Smart Carry material, so the holster would last longer. At $30 the price was right, and the CZ snuggled into the pocket like it was made for it.

So, I tried out the holster first with the gun empty. I normally carry the CZ 'cocked and locked', and I wanted to make sure the manual safety wouldn't come off. The problem I had was that the gun wanted to slide into a 45 degree angle with that double stack grip canted over on the right side, which was uncomfortable. Anyway, the gun seemed to carry safely with the manual safety staying on, but the problem was comfort. I wasn't carrying with the gun trapped under my belt, it was below the belt and not comfortable.

I pulled up the Smart Carry site and the video they have of putting on a Smart Carry rig and tried that technique, which seemed to work. You have the gun carried on the centerline of your body, with the grip under (or just below) your belt and the barrel pointed straight down. On the morning of the accident, this is how I was carrying the weapon.

Friday morning and I've put the holster on, slipped the gun into the pouch and I'm planning to go to town on errands. The dogs are bugging me to go for a walk along the river, and I figure it won't take that much time. We live on a hill above a small river, so I take the dogs and head out down the dirt road to the river. At the river, I check the guns' safety, and it's still on (remember, this is a new position for me to carry it in).

I walked for three or four hundred yards along the river, as usual. Coming back there is a point at which I have to stop and pull the stickers out of my little Schnauzers fur. I squatted down to pull the stickers, and the weapon discharged one round into my groin.

When the weapon discharged, I remember standing up and yanking the weapon out of my pants, wondering just what the #$%^ had happened. It's an odd feeling being shot. The body is screaming that it's in trouble while the mind is racing to catch up on what just happened.

I realized I was bleeding pretty good, but not enough to have hit an artery. I safed the weapon, stuck it behind my back and put pressure on the wound. I then discovered a big mistake I had made---no cell phone! I had to walk back, about 1/4 mile to the house to roust my daughters and call 911.

I'll make a long story short in that I was Careflighted to a trauma center where a very good surgeon took three hours to repair the damage. The round was a 95 gr. Hornady XTP that patially fragmented. I had three holes in my penis and a smashed left testicle. I know this is a bit graphic, but especially the guys need to realize what can happen when you carry a gun 'ready to go' inside your pants.

I was discharged the next Monday, and a full recovery is expected. Folks, everybody needs to be really careful not only how they carry, but in what they carry. I can only figure that having the slide under the belt allowed the safety to come off leaving the gun cocked. The holster material was very thin, which apparently allowed the heavy denim of my jeans to bunch into the trigger guard and set the gun off.

One of the rules of choosing a holster is to get one that covers the trigger guard---but you also need one that is made of a material stiff enough to prevent anything from pushing on that trigger!

You also really need to think about a worst case scenario if you're carrying a semi-auto IWB that is ready to fire. Is that really a good idea? Or would a revolver be a better choice. I know that some jurisdictions have rules on firearm carry that make it almost impossible to carry except in deep concealment. But do yourself a favor and carry as safely as possible."
I want to be clear on a couple of items. First, this unfortunate injury did not happen to me. No further telephone calls or condolences to my spouse are necessary.

Second, I use the SmartCarry holster frequently with a cocked and locked 1911. I believe it is a safe and superior product. I have never had a 1911 become cocked and unlocked in it, much less discharge. Most holsters, if one looks at them critically, place some part of somebody's anatomy at risk some of the time. The difference between the holster used here and a SmartCarry holster is significant in the thickness of the material surrounding the firearm. That bit of thickness protecting the trigger makes all the difference.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For the Children

September 14, 2008. It was 9:00 PM at the A1 Discount Beverage Store in Lake Worth, Florida. A seven month old infant sat on his father's lap behind the counter. His mother stood nearby. It was tough visiting the infant's grandfather, he always seemed to be working. The baby's grandfather, Noel Nagi, was working the cash register of his liquor store this evening. It was the night shift.

A blond man entered the store and walked to the drink cooler, and selected a bottle of Gatorade. He ambled up to the counter and asked "How much for a pack of cigarettes?" Rather than reaching for his wallet, he pulled out a handgun and demanded money.

As Noel was handing the gunman about $150, he uttered "Just don't do anything crazy. There's a baby."

"I don't give a fuck," snarled the gunman and he turned to point the firearm at the infant. At that moment, a customer entered the store, and the gunman was distracted. The infant's father, Yamen Abdelfattah, passed the baby to it's mother who quickly locked herself and the baby in the office of the store. The blond gunman returned his attention to Noel Nagi.

After having been robbed at his check cashing business, Abdelfattah had obtained a concealed carry permit and had purchased his own firearm for self protection. He had practiced with his handgun diligently at the range. After ushering his wife and child into the office, Abdelfattah drew his weapon and fired as he rounded the corner. He shot the would be robber, Robert C. Martin. The infant's father shot the vicious criminal who had threatened his family to the ground, killing him. The attack on his family was over. Afterwards, Abdelfattah said someone asked why he fired so many shots. "How many shots does it take to kill someone? I don't know," he replied. "It's family first."

"I feel sorry for the guy and his family," Noel Nagi said. "But we didn't go after him, he came after us."

Martin is suspected of at least one other armed robbery. "We're not expecting charges at this time, but it will be turned over to the State Attorney's Office," a Sheriff's spokeswoman said.


The Police Positive Pocket Pistol

I enjoy guns with a history. One day, while in a hole in the wall pawn shop near Arcadia Louisiana, I spied what I thought was an early Detective Special. It looked rather lonely in it's fake stag Franzanite grips, so I asked to see it. What was handed to me was even more interesting.

I was handed a First Generation Colt Police Positive. As serial number 1529XX, it came out of the Colt factory late in 1923. Click to enlargeAll the numbers matched, and it locked up with the famed Colt tightness. It was chambered in .38 S&W. What was interesting was the barrel. It had been cut down to two inches and had the original sight silver soldered back on. As I held the gun, I felt the history flow out of it. I felt more history in this gun than any sock drawer special collector gun I have held. The gun was altered and as such, it had no real collector's value. I'm more interested in the history of concealed carry than the history of firearms manufacture though. The pawnbroker and I dickered a bit and finally agreed on a price.

To me, this gun had value.

Because of the quality of the work, and the use of the original sight, I made the leap of faith that the attenuation of the barrel occurred early in this Colt's life. At one time somebody needed effective concealed protection, or perhaps an officer of the law made detective and transitioned to plain clothes. Either way, the gun needed wasn't available from the factory or in the township, or perhaps money was scarce. The owner of this revolver decided to take matters into his own hands and delivered the gun to a skilled gunsmith. The revolver was delivered back to the owner as an effective carry weapon. I am drawing this conclusion based on the availability of weapons and the economic reality of the time, but I believe the barrel was cut down either before or during the Great Depression. Because of the remaining blue finish, I believe this gun was stored for several decades before it came into my possession. An interesting aside is that it fits perfectly into my J frame pocket holsters.

I was at first confused that on a weapon such as this, the hammer had not been bobbed. I later learned from one of my patients that in the 1920's there were many people who had learned to shoot with the Colt SAA. Cocking a hammer on a draw was commonplace. On this gun, the carrier's thumb would likely have rested on the hammer while the gun was still pocketed, effectively shrouding it on the draw stroke, and cocking the weapon while it was drawn. The unbobbed hammer supported my conclusion of when the barrel was cut down.

I've shot the revolver a few times, but the cost of .38 S&W is rather prohibitive. I'd rather buy .45 ACP. Still, the old cut down Police Positive is one of my favorite beater guns from days gone by, a real concealed carry belly gun that must have an interesting story behind it.

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Fact Check

I was reading a letter from John Harmer to the editor of the Baker City Herald. Regrettably, I was not able to respond, as there was no allowance for comments. Here is an excerpt:
"Fact: It is demonstrably untrue to assert that Barack Obama wants to confiscate firearms, a blatant lie.

Fact: Obama, who received the endorsement of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, a non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting hunting and common-sense gun policy, is on record as affirming gun ownership rights."
How about another fact....... The American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA) is a shill organization involved in advocacy for gun control. The AHSA is a front geared towards dividing second amendment advocates by pointing to AHSA members' bias against private ownership of many popular modern firearms. AHSA leaders have donated money to gun control groups and have ties to individuals and organizations who advocate gun control. Possibly the most damning evidence of the ASHA's collusion with gun control advocates is the statements of Paul Helmke, the President of the Brady Campaign, who says of the AHSA, "I see our issues as complementary to theirs". The AHSA exists only to supply apparent pro-gun credibility to anti-gun policies and legislation........ and anti-gun politicians.

Thanks for the facts. Try again John.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Clinging to Religion and Guns

Guns and God. This is what it may very well come down to in November 2008. Senators Obama and Biden are struggling to act as though their past record as anti-gun politicians is irrelevant. On the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, Obama felt compelled to say "If you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it." When he saw skeptics in the crowd, he began pandering and vacillating. "Even if I want to take them away, I don’t have the votes in Congress. This can’t be the reason not to vote for me. Can everyone hear me in the back? I see a couple of sportsmen back there. I’m not going to take away your guns."

Old news, perhaps, but an examination shows Barak Obama's voting record and his proposals on gun control to be only exceeded by that of his partner, Joe Biden. If Obama had the same influence and length of time in office as Biden, his history on gun control might be even more appalling.

On Jan 15, 2008, at the Democratic debate in Las Vegas, when queried about licensing and registering gun owners as President, Obama stated: "I don't think that we can get that done. But what we can do is to provide just some common sense enforcement. The efforts by law enforcement to obtain the information required to trace back guns that have been used in crimes to unscrupulous gun dealers. As president, I intend to make it happen."

Regarding a document endorsing a state ban on the sale and possession of handguns in Illinois, Barak Obama claimed "No, my writing wasn't on that particular questionnaire. As I said, I have never favored an all out ban on handguns."

Actually, Obama's views were clear on a 1996 document, which was filed when Obama was running for the Illinois state Senate. A Chicago nonprofit group, Independent Voters of Illinois, asked these simple, direct questions, Obama's answers are in bold:

35. Do you support state legislation to:
a. ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns? Yes.
b. ban assault weapons? Yes.
c. mandatory waiting periods and background checks? Yes.

Obama's presidential campaign claims a staffer filled out these questionnaires, not Senator Obama. "There are several answers that didn't reflect his views then or now. He may have jotted some notes on the front page of the questionnaire, but some answers didn't reflect his views," they say. Yet now he makes it clear that he knows he does not have the votes in Congress to do just that. Men who have no intentions of disarming the populace have no need to examine whether they have the political power to do so.

In a 2004 survey conducted by the Chicago Tribune of Democratic primary candidates for the U.S. Senate, Barak Obama said he opposed allowing ordinary citizens to carry concealed weapons and that a federal law banning concealed carry legislation except for law enforcement is needed. Obama elaborated, "National legislation will prevent other states' flawed concealed weapons laws from threatening the safety of Illinois residents." But there is more.......

From the Chicago Defender, Dec. 13, 1999:
"Sweeping federal gun control legislation proposed by Sen. Barack Obama (D-13th) would increase the penalties on gun runners who are flooding Chicago's streets with illegal weapons.

At an anti-gun rally held at the Park Manor Christian Church, 600 E. 73rd St., headed by the Rev. James Demus, Obama also said he's backing a resolution being introduced into the City Council by Alds. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), Ted Thomas (15th), Leslie Hairston (5th) to call for a "shot-free" millennium celebration.

Obama outlined his anti-gun plan that includes increased penalties for the interstate transportation of firearms. The maximum penalty now for bringing a gun across the border is 10 years in prison. Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home.

He's proposing restricting gun purchases to one weapon a month and banning the sale of firearms at gun shows except for "antique" weapons. Obama is also proposing increasing the licensing fee to obtain a federal firearms license.

He's also seeking a ban on police agencies from reselling their used weapons even if those funds are used to buy more state-of-the-art weapons for their agencies. Obama wants only those over 21 who've passed a basic course to be able to buy or own a firearm.

He's proposing that all federally licensed gun dealers sell firearms in a storefront and not from their homes while banning their business from being within five miles of a school or a park. He's also banning the sale of 'junk" handguns like the popular Saturday Night Specials.

Obama is requiring that all people working at a gun dealer undergo a criminal background check. He's also asking that gun manufacturers be required to develop safety measures that permit only the original owner of the firearm to operate the weapon purchased.

Additionally, he wants an increase of the funds for schools to teach anger management skills for youth between the ages of 5-13. Obama is also seeking to increase the federal taxes by 500 percent on the sale of firearm, ammunition [sic] -- weapons he says are most commonly used in firearm deaths."
When questioned by the Chicago Tribune in 2007 regarding Heller v District of Columbia, Obama stated the "DC handgun law is constitutional."

A quick synopsis from CNN regarding Obama's record on gun control:
"Voted against a 2005 law prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers stemming from acts committed by others using their products.
Supports instant criminal background checks on people purchasing guns and believes law should apply to gun sales at gun shows. Calls for permanently reinstating assault weapons ban. Voted for 2005 amendment placing restrictions on rifle ammunition that is "designed or marketed" to be armor-piercing. Supports making guns childproof and voted for 2005 child safety lock amendment. Would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which allows the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to share data on history of sales and transfers of firearms used in crimes only with federal agencies for national security purposes, or prosecutors needing it for an ongoing criminal investigation or prosecution. Regarding the Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller, Obama did not sign a friend-of-the-court brief that urged the Supreme Court to overturn the District of Columbia gun ban. At a debate, when asked about case, Obama said he believes "that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms. But just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can't constrain the exercise of that right." Voted for 2006 amendment prohibiting confiscation of firearms from private citizens, particularly during times of crisis or emergency."
The Washington Times noted:
"In 2000, for example, the NRA mounted a massive direct-mail and TV/radio campaign against Mr. Gore's candidacy and his gun control voting record. Voter exit polls in that election showed that about 48 percent of all voters owned guns that year, up from 37 percent in 1996."
How many Americans own guns in 2008? How many American carry concealed for self defense in 2008? As the 2008 election heats up, it is incumbent on gun owners to avail themselves and others with the facts concerning the greatest threat to gun ownership ever to close in on the White House. Senator Obama said "This can’t be the reason not to vote for me. Can everyone hear me in the back?"

Yeah, we can hear you in the back Senator. These are damned good reasons not to vote for you. Gun owners have the power to keep Barak Obama and Joe Biden out of the oval office and the power to protect our freedoms. It's time for us to again rise up and be heard.

"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." — Winston Churchill

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R.I.P. Jerry

Damn. I just learned Jerry Reed died on September 1 from complications of emphysema. He was 71. Thanks for the music Snowman.


Monday, September 15, 2008

The "Stainless" M1911A1

Sometimes you wonder if an auction is a joke, if the seller is smoking crack, or if they are just incredibly dimwitted. Here is the latest example on Gun Broker. The seller is apparently undeterred by a Colt factory letter, which lists the finish as "Blue." To him, the pistol is so top secret that even Hartford does not remember it's existence.
"We are offering an auction with no Reserve and winning bidder will receive a Very Rare and according to Colt Doesn't Exist 1939 Stainless Colt 1911 in .45 ACP. This gun is stainless I have taken the grips off and take a file and notched the steel it is nothing but stainless. The attached letter from Colt Authenticates the serial no. and the date. They had no other information concerning this gun. There have been rumors about experimental Colt's made 17 years before the first production run made for the military under secret contracts. There are rumored to be up to ten of these guns but this is the only one I have ever seen up close and personal. This gun is available for expert scrutiny and verification only at the location of this gun and in person. This may be the only one of these still in existance and as such is invaluable. It came to me out of an estate of an ex-Marine Customs Officer who bought it out of an arsenal according to his records. There is nothing else except the gun and the Colt Letter. I hope the pictures do it justice and if you need more let me have your e-mail address and I will take the ones you want and send them to you. Actual piece is pictured. This is just one of our great collections of guns which will be updated from time to time with new offerings, so check us often. ****Please Read This Before Placing Your Bid**** There are no refunds or exchanges for any reason whatsoever!! "
From where I'm sitting I can tell it's a hard chromed M1911A1. To make matters more humorous, Millett sights from the 1980s adorn the top of the gun, and the gun has been magna-ported. To this seller, it's just more evidence of some super duper rarity, or perhaps the time travel of small objects. He's got a file after all.......When he filed a notch in the frame under a grip, the resulting file mark was not blue! Duh...... These are the kind of delusional nuts that think Elvis shot down JFK Jr's airplane, and they vote and drive.

The starting bid? $200,000.00; Buy it Now for $350,000.00

Riiiiiiiiight! I have a feeling the $200,025 bid is just a buddy's shill to prevent the joke from being taken down. Two people can't be that stupid.


Moonlight Commute

A full moon illuminated the cloud filled sky this morning as I rode the commuter bike to work. Dead leaves came back to life and skittered across my path in an invigorating cool dry wind from the North. As I locked the bike in the moonlight, I felt fortunate to be riding in such conditions. I had hardly worked up a sweat in the brisk air.


The Refusal to Leave

For decades, indeed over a century, the greater population of New Orleans was recalcitrant about evacuating in the face of a hurricane. They had weathered many storms, and they were fond of saying "they always turn" as if by divine providence The Big Easy would always be spared. Then, in August 2005, hurricane Katrina loomed off shore. Many failed to evacuate despite authorities announcing this was "the big one." Over eighteen hundred people lost their lives. New Orleans was pumped dry, but is still being rebuilt three years later.

As hurricane Gustav approached South Louisiana, the exodus was massive, the largest in history. No doubt having Katrina and the toxic soup bowl she left behind fresh on their minds, New Orleans was deserted and left to weather the storm alone. She was spared. The storm "turned." The evacuees returned.

Then Ike appeared. It turned also, directly towards Galveston. Reportedly over 140,000 Texans refused to evacuate. Heads of families chose to put their loved ones at risk when authorities announced that staying would amount to "certain death." In 1900, an unnamed hurricane slammed into Galveston. Between 6000 and 12,000 people perished. The death toll from Ike is still unknown.

Why is it that people refuse to evacuate from an approaching hurricane? After Katrina, there was talk of the difficulty of evacuation for so many people who were dependent on public transportation. Evacuation of the sick and infirm can place them as much at risk as staying. For the healthy father with a minivan and a family, remaining in such a perilous place is beyond ludicrous. They place their loved ones at risk of annihilation to save a few possessions from the weather and looters.

Have they become accustomed to not believing the announcements over the airwaves days prior to landfall? Do the announcements need to be revised? Has faith in official announcements dwindled because of doom and gloom forecasts every time a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico? Does crying wolf over and over reduce the authorities to the status of Chicken Little? Or are these people simply stubbornly refusing to evacuate because they know they can refuse? Is it a childish aversion to authority telling them what they should do? Are they acting on emotions rather than logic? I do not know. I do think that the authorities need to take a hard sociological look at this phenomenon and make adjustments in how they recommend and order evacuations. If they do not, the death toll will only rise.

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