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Archive for the ‘Heros & Guns’ Category

US Declaration of Independence

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on July 2, 2010

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock


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On the Road Again with Author CJ West

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on June 1, 2010

Today I hit the road for Colorado. I am going to the International Hunter Education Association’s annual convention held in Estes Park. In addition to the wonderful learning and networking experience, I will be receiving an award for being the National Hunter Education Instructor of the Year, presented by Federal Ammuntion/ATK.

Meanwhile, the important part of my post today is to introduce you to a wonderful new friend of mine, Author CJ West. On June 10th, his newest book, The End of Marking Time, will be released with a great launch event, contests and more to which links I have listed below his report from the road. It’s a great book – I’ve read it and will be posting a review here and on Amazon.com. Graciously, West has agreed to drop by and visit with us today and give us an update on his Virtual Tour and recent road trips. Please welcome CJ West!
Report from the Road

This year I toured New England—actually I’m still touring—to bring the skills of Randy Black to my readers in real life. I called the tour Who wants to be a hero? The idea was to make tour events so exciting that people would flock to them and have a great time when they arrived. An interesting byproduct is that the events are a lot more fun for me, too.

The kickoff event was a high performance driving class. We spent an hour in the classroom with Anthony Ricci from Advanced Driving & Security in North Kingstown, RI. He showed us some video and taught us several things about situation awareness as it relates to cars and driving. The audience was riveted. Next we went to the track and readers rode along while the professionals drove the slalom, the break-and-turn, and the obstacle course. Then the pros moved over and let my readers drive the retired police cars. Everyone had a fantastic time.

Here is the highlight of the event. [Click on the YouTube link when this directs you to the site] In this video, Anthony drives me through the obstacle course backwards at 40 mph. When we are through the course, he executes a J-turn and spins us around (at 50 mph) so we are driving forward again.

In bookstores I have been teaching Texas Hold ‘em. Everyone I’ve spoken to has loved the concept, but in practice it has been hit or miss. When people are excited about the lesson at a venue, I have a packed table and we have a lot of fun. Sometimes I think people wonder what poker has to do with books. Maybe they have flashbacks from being taken at Three Card Monte. Like all signings, some are busier than others.

Recently I hosted a private tour of Westport Rivers Winery, the setting for Sin & Vengeance and Sin & Vengeance the movie. This is always a great time. It’s the fourth venue on my tour that serves alcohol (something new this year and highly recommended). The tour is also very informative, which really captures what the tour is about: a fun learning experience. We had a great group and many were surprised at the great wines produced right here in New England.

The final big event will be held on July 24th. I’ll be partnering with The Wankinquaoh Rod & Gun Club and the GOAL Foundation to host Women on Target, a program to teach women to shoot a handgun, rifle, shotgun and bow. The course is an entire day and features safety instruction, lunch, and half a day on the range. The women will leave the club more comfortable around firearms and the daylong format really gives me a chance to get to know them.

The best things about the tour so far are the comments I get after the big events. Several people have been really surprised by how much fun they had at a book signing. I’ve made some new friends and had a great time along the way. A tour like this takes time to organize, but the experience has been well worth the effort. Pictures and videos are available on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/cjwestfans.

On June 10th I’m hosting an event everyone can attend. Since The End of Marking Time is about a virtual jury, what could be more fitting than a virtual launch party? Drinking is allowed. The dress code is ultra flexible and it is going to be great fun. I hope you’ll join me on Facebook on June 10th.

To find the book, The End of Marking Time on Amazon, just click the title in this sentence and follow the link – it’s too easy not to try and a rewarding experience to read the book.

Posted in Heros & Guns, Writing | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Hit the Road, Jack…

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on May 30, 2010

Summer is almost upon us and it looks to be a busy one for me. No, contrary to my title line, I am not telling anybody to hit the road, just can’t get the song out of my head! I personally hit the road for Colorado on Wednesday, June 2nd. I plan to keep you updated on my various trips through this blog and entries on FaceBook.

Another friend of mine, Author CJ West, will be hitting the road too in June – starting with his virtual tour to launch the book, The End of Marking Time.

The End of Marking Time

On Wednesday, June 2nd, the same day I hit the road, CJ is stopping by here as a guest on my blog to give his Report from the Road. I’ll also be posting a review of this book here and on Amazon.com – I’m sure you will be wanting to read it! For a sneak preview of some of the events, you should visit his website at: http://www.22wb.com Be sure and click on the YouTube link to watch the high performance driving class with Anthony Ricci from Advanced Driving & Security. Now here is the question you have to ask yourself – Will I push the Red Button, or will I push the Green Button? I won’t tell until later in the week, but if you check out some of the pictures in CJ’s TEOMT photo contest, you may see a hint which way I am leaning.

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Meet Author CJ West

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on May 14, 2010

As a prelude to his ‘Who Wants to Be a Hero?’ book tour, I thought I would give you a brief look at author CJ West. First, you should go visit his web site at http://www.22wb.com At this site, not only do you get a glimpse of the books he has crafted for our reading pleasure, you also get a treat in the video he has posted on a driving event with a professional driver – BACKWARDS through an obstacle course! Be sure to check out his Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/22westbooks

Some of the upcoming tour includes lessons in Texas Hold ’em Poker, talks and signings, and my personal fave – a day on the range learning to shoot! This is one author that believes in giving his audience a live feel for some of the action his hero goes through in the book. Not only do you get a wonderful feel for these well developed characters, you get to experience the action up close and personal.

Posted in Heros & Guns, Shooting sports, Writing | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

One of My Favorite Heroes – Game Warden John Marlin

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on May 9, 2010

I always like to see the humor in any situation, but Ben Rehder absolutely knocks me out of my deer stand with his series of books staring John Marlin, Blanco County, Texas Game Warden. I like to research and write pieces about the guns that the characters use in various books but I had to go a little deeper with GW Marlin.

Let me give you a little history. In the 1960’s, GW’s were generally issued Smith & Wesson .38 special revolvers and the infamous Sam Browne gun belts. In the early 70’s, new wardens were issued the Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolvers. I can’t fault this gun and neither can GW John Marlin. He’s comfortable with it and has carried it for years. It is an impressive and popular revolver. When the 1990’s came along and many law enforcement agencies were transitioning away from the revolver and into the semi-automatics, the Texas Game Wardens were issued a Glock .40 caliber sidearm. Marlin [or Rehder], however, sticks with his S&W .357 Magnum. I teach both types of handgun training and each has their own good and bad qualities. Maybe later I will get further in depth with a comparison of the two. But this time around, Rehder intrigued me with something new in his book, Gun Shy.

While investigating a suspicious hunting accident resulting in the death of an unknown man, the clues and cues just aren’t quite fitting together.  When Marlin takes a break for lunch to secretly pick up an engagement ring he hopes to use soon, one of those spectacular ‘A-HA!’ moments occurs. Here is the section from the book, Gun Shy, which Ben Rehder sent to me, by the way.

Before returning to his office, he drove to his house and removed a single-shot .22 from the gun safe in his closet. Next, he used pliers to pull a bullet free from its casing, creating, in effect, a blank. Then he went to the kitchen and squirted half a cup of ketchup into a small bowl. He mixed water into it—a few drops at a time—until the viscosity was about right. It didn’t need to be precise; this was just a trial run. Henry would conduct more extensive testing later, if Marlin’s theory proved valid.

He grabbed a small funnel, the bowl, and the rifle and exited through the back door. His pit bull, Geist, was drowsing in the shade, and her tail thumped against the dry grass.

Marlin loaded the rifle, then, pointing it toward the sky; he held the funnel over the muzzle and poured a generous amount of the ketchup mixture straight down the barrel.

It would be a hell of a mess to clean up—he’d likely have to disassemble the entire rifle—and he hoped it would be worth it.

“Here goes nothing”, he said.

Geist raised her big head and watched expectantly.

Marlin began to lower the rifle barrel, but he kept it above horizontal, so the contents wouldn’t spill out. He aimed at the upper trunk of a massive live oak tree and pulled the trigger.

Immediately he knew that a small piece of the puzzle had fallen into place.’


Can you see where I am going with this? I just had to try this out! But I had an advantage, I hoped. I shoot and teach about Muzzle loading rifles. I didn’t have to make a mess in one of my .22’s [although later I did this as well to make sure the test worked as well as it did in Rehder’s book].

Here’s how I performed the test. I mix my own blood solution for blood trails I set up for Hunter Education field trials. I have my own methods/ ingredients for mixing fake blood that are quite realistic, but again, to validate Rehder’s methods [or Marlin’s?] I wanted to do it almost exactly like the book portrays. I take my .50 cal Muzzleloader to a safe shooting location where I have permission to discharge firearms. Instead of having to pull a .22 bullet out of a powder charged  and primed casing, I simply loaded up with powder [40 grains of FF], followed with a couple of pre-lubed patches, followed the patches with a ball of wadding and tamped it down well to get a good gas seal. I then squirted in a generous portion [about ¼ cup] of fake blood and lightly tamped in a couple more lubed patches so as to slide the fake blood all the way down to get a tightly sealed powder charge. Keeping my muzzle up, I walked to the firing line, aimed at my target, primed my gun with a percussion cap, and then fired. It worked! The one thing I did not count on was the tiny flecks of fake blood that vented through the nipple hole with the smoke and gasses. I shoot right handed guns with my left side, so face, shirt and arm were properly splattered as well. Cleaning a Muzzleloader is much simpler than a standard rifle, but cleaning a yellow shirt of the red dye was a bit more complicated. I’m happy to say the experiment worked and neither gun nor shirt suffered any permanent mishap.

What I want to know now is – Mr. Rehder – did you come up with this test on your own or did someone clue you in on this – maybe a crime scene technician? It’s brilliant!

I tried not to give away too much of the book, so now you will have to go and read ‘Gun Shy’, a fun mystery starring canny Game Warden John Marlin and featuring a story line that plays with a large gun organization fondly called the National Weapons Alliance, or NWA.

The quote is from the book, Gun Shy, provided to me at no charge by Ben Rehder; published by St. Martin’s Paperbacks. The opinions in this piece are entirely my own and the tests I perform with any firearms mentioned should not be tried at home without proper training or supervision.

Posted in Heros & Guns | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

What are you reading/writing?

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on March 23, 2010

Just popping in for a few minutes, taking a break away from the non-stop tax returns. The UPS guy laughs at me now when he drops off a package nearly every day. The Fed-X guy, of course, just drops the package on my door, rings the bell and RUNS! And of course, there is the mailman. Did I mention that last week I received two pieces of mail that were postmarked DECEMBER 2009! [Yes, 3 months late]. The mail person [not always the same one as we are an ‘extra’ add-on to a couple of routes], instead of using the large key/lock-boxes, prefers to bend and fold and stuff my mail into our tiny little box. I am appalled by our mail system – but that is not what I am supposed to be writing about!

What are you reading and/or writing about these days? Although I have been busy serving my tax clients, I still find time to read here and there. Sometimes, that is the only way to shut off my brain. Currently, I am in the process of reviewing several books, writing a newsletter, writing some pieces for my ‘Heroes & Guns’ series and setting up an interview with an author.

Here is a taste of what I am reviewing: by LJ Sellers, an author that addresses some hard issues and delivers some ‘keep-you-up-all-night’ thrillers:

And another pair of books that I keep returning to with their amazing history of Druids, finely written by Ellen Evert Hopman;

And for my taste of the entertaining mystery, I am writing a piece for my Heroes & Guns series from out of a great book by Ben Rehder. Hey Ben – you forgot to sign the book. What a wonderful wit this author has!

So if you happen to be looking for some good reading – just look for the above books. If you want to wait and see my reviews first, I hope to say I will have them all out – somewhere – in about a week. Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out the first few postings on my ‘Heros & Guns’ series by selecting that category over on the right side of my blog. Drop me a comment and tell me what you are reading/writing about. Next month, after April 15th, I hope to delve into some non-fiction, memoir and more Druid books and a bit more Native American research.

Posted in Heros & Guns, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ft. Hood Shootings

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on November 8, 2009

Earlier this week, a tragedy occurred on a military base that is only minutes away from my home. This picture is found at KTLA.com FtHoodFlagIn Ft. Hood, Texas, a gunman has injured over 30 people and taken the lives of at least a dozen people. Rather than comment much on the event myself at this time, I would like to share with you something written by one of those brave American soldiers that was on the scene at the time it happened. The soldier’s name will remain anonymous to protect the source, although you may see pictures of this and other brave souls on the media. Here, unedited and exactly as I received the story, is one point of view from the middle of the activity. Please take a moment to say a prayer for our troops and their families as you read this:

Since I don’t know when I’ll sleep (it’s 4 am now) I’ll write what happened (the abbreviated version…..the long one is already part of the investigation with more to come).  I’ll not write about any part of the investigation that I’ve learned about since (as a witness I know more than I should since inevitably my JAG brothers and sisters are deeply involved in the investigation).  Don’t assume that most of the current media accounts are very accurate.  They’re not.  They’ll improve with time.  Only those of us who were there really know what went down.  But as they collate our statements they’ll get it right. 
I did my SRP last week (Soldier Readiness Processing) but you’re supposed to come back a week later to have them look at the smallpox vaccination site (it’s this big itchy growth on your shoulder).  I am probably alive because I pulled a ———- and entered the wrong building first (the main SRP building).  The Medical SRP building is off to the side.  Realizing my mistake I left the main building and walked down the sidewalk to the medical SRP building.  As I’m walking up to it the gunshots start.  Slow and methodical.  But continuous.  Two ambulatory wounded came out.  Then two soldiers dragging a third who was covered in blood.  Hearing the shots but not seeing the shooter, along with a couple other soldiers I stood in the street and yelled at everyone who came running that it was clear but to “RUN!”.  I kept motioning people fast.  about 6-10 minutes later (the shooting continuous), two cops ran up.  one male, one female.  we pointed in the direction of the shots.  they headed that way (the medical SRP building was about 50 meters away).  then a lot more gunfire.  a couple minutes later a balding man in ACU’s came around the building carrying a pistol and holding it tactically.  He started shooting at us and we all dived back to the cars behind us.  I don’t think he hit the couple other guys who were there.  I did see the bullet holes later in the cars.  First I went behind a tire and then looked under the body of the car.  I’ve been trained how to respond to gunfire…but with my own weapon.  To have no weapon I don’t know how to explain what that felt like.  I hadn’t run away and stayed because I had thought about the consequences or anything like that.  I wasn’t thinking anything through.  Please understand, there was no intention.  I was just staying there because I didn’t think about running.  It never occurred to me that he might shoot me.  Until he started shooting in my direction and I realized I was unarmed.  Then the female cop comes around the corner.  He shoots her.  (according to the news accounts she got a round into him.  I believe it, I just didn’t see it. he didn’t go down.)  She goes down.  He starts reloading.  He’s fiddling with his mags.  Weirdly he hasn’t dropped the one that was in his weapon.  He’s holding the fresh one and the old one (you do that on the range when time is not of the essence but in combat you would just let the old mag go).  I see the male cop around the left corner of the building.  (I’m about 15-20 meters from the shooter.)  I yell at the cop, “He’s reloading, he’s reloading.  Shoot him! Shoot him!)  You have to understand, everything was quiet at this point.  The cop appears to hear me and comes around the corner and shoots the shooter.  He goes down.  The cop kicks his weapon further away.  I sprint up to the downed female cop.  Another captain (I think he was with me behind the cars) comes up as well.  She’s bleeding profusely out of her thigh.  We take our belts off and tourniquet her just like we’ve been trained (I hope we did it right…we didn’t have any CLS (combat lifesaver) bags with their awesome tourniquets on us, so we worked with what we had).  Meanwhile, in the most bizarre moment of the day, a photographer was standing over us taking pictures.  I suppose I’ll be seeing those tomorrow.  Then a soldier came up and identified himself as a medic.  I then realized her weapon was lying there unsecured (and on “fire”).  I stood over it and when I saw a cop yelled for him to come over and secure her weapon (I would have done so but I was worried someone would mistake me for a bad guy).  I then went over to the shooter.  He was unconscious.  A Lt Colonel was there and had secured his primary weapon for the time being.  He also had a revolver.  I couldn’t believe he was one of ours.  I didn’t want to believe it.  Then I saw his name and rank and realized this wasn’t just some specialist with mental issues.  At this point there was a guy there from CID and I asked him if he knew he was the shooter and had him secured.  He said he did.  I then went over the slaughter house.  the medical SRP building.  No human should ever have to see what that looked like.  and I won’t tell you.  Just believe me.  Please.  there was nothing to be done there.  Someone then said there was someone critically wounded around the corner.  I ran around (while seeing this floor to ceiling window that someone had jumped through movie style) and saw a large African-American soldier lying on his back with two or three soldiers attending.  I ran up and identified two entrance wounds on the right side of his stomach, one exit wound on the left side and one head wound.  He was not bleeding externally from the stomach wounds (though almost certainly internally) but was bleeding from the head wound.  A soldier was using a shirt to try and stop the head bleeding.  He was conscious so I began talking to him to keep him so.  He was 42, from North Carolina , he was named something Jr., his son was named something III and he had a daughter as well.  His children lived with him.  He was divorced.  I told him the blubber on his stomach saved his life.  He smiled.   a young soldier in civvies showed up and identified himself as a combat medic. We debated whether to put him on the back of a pickup truck.  A doctor (well, an audiologist) showed up and said you can’t move him, he has a head wound.  we finally sat tight.  I went back to the slaughterhouse.  they weren’t letting anyone in there.  not even medics.  finally, after about 45 minutes had elapsed some cops showed up in tactical vests.  someone said the TBI building was unsecured.  They headed into there.  All of a sudden a couple more shots were fired.  People shouted there was a second shooter.  a half hour later the SWAT showed up.  there was no second shooter.  that had been an impetuous cop apparently.  but that confused things for a while.  meanwhile I went back to the shooter.  the female cop had been taken away.  a medic was pumping plasma into the shooter.  I’m not proud of this but I went up to her and said “this is the shooter, is there anyone else who needs attention…do them first”.  she indicated everyone else living was attended to.  I still hadn’t seen any EMTs or ambulances.   I had so much blood on me that people kept asking me if I was ok.  but that was all other people’s blood.  eventually (an hour and a half to two hours after the shootings) they  started landing choppers.  they took out the big African American guy and the shooter.  I guess the ambulatory wounded were all at the SRP building.  Everyone else in my area was dead. 
I suppose the emergency responders were told there were multiple shooters.  I heard that was the delay with the choppers (they were all civilian helicopters).  they needed a secure LZ.  but other than the initial cops who did everything right, I didn’t see a lot of them for a while.  I did see many a soldier rush out to help their fellows/sisters.  there was one female soldier, I don’t know her name or rank but I would recognize her anywhere who was everywhere helping people.  a couple people, mainly civilians, were hysterical, but only a couple.  one civilian freaked out when I tried to comfort her when she saw my uniform.  I guess she had seen the shooter up close.  a lot of soldiers were rushing out to help even when we thought there was another gunman out there.  this Army is not broken no matter what the pundits say.  not the Army I saw.  and then they kept me for a long time to come.  oh, and perhaps the most surreal thing, at 1500 (the end of the workday on Thursdays) when the bugle sounded we all came to attention and saluted the flag.  in the middle of it all.  this is what I saw.  it can’t have been real.  but this is my small corner of what happened.





Posted in Daily Life, Heros & Guns | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Heroes & Guns: Jamaica Wild

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on March 27, 2009

I’m having fun in this on-going series as I have the opportunity to get out and try or revisit some guns, including the holsters, saddle slings & other equipment; I get to reread work from my favorite authors and I get to discuss what I am reading with others. Wasn’t it someone from TV’s old series, “A-Team”, that said, “I love it when a plan falls together”?

So for my latest installment, I am pulling from two separate books of Sandi Ault’s Wild series. You must go visit her website at www.sandiault.com and see the gorgeous pictures of her wolves and read about all her extensive research. Meanwhile, enjoy:

Jamaica’s Pistol

In Wild Indigo, Jamaica is called upon to use her handgun to protect herself from a desperate Pueblo man and to  rescue a little boy. In the ensuing struggle, the Pueblo man, Hunter, throws a rock and knocks the gun from Jamaica’s grasp. As she scrabbles to the corner to get the gun, he grasps her legs and a hand to hand battle is on. ‘He moved toward the edge [a cliff] as I kicked and wriggled. He swung backward, ready to hurl me over the side, and I threw my arms behind his head and grabbed on tightly. Hunter roared again, and then suddenly released me onto the floor of the ruin. I dashed to the fire pit and grabbed the gun. I turned it on him and he raised his palm as if to stop the bullet, the other hand clutching his chest. We stood gasping, both of us, staring at each other, gulping air, the rain and hail pounding us.’ [Wild Indigo by Sandi Ault, published January 2007 by Berkley Prime Crime]smwildindfcoveronly


Again, in Wild Sorrow, the gun comes out as Jamaica, her wolf Mountain and her horse Rooster are caught out in a blizzard and need to find shelter with a murder victim they had discovered in an abandoned Indian school building. Not knowing if the murderer is still around, ‘I led Rooster through a blinding whiteout to the door. Once I had tied the reins to the door handle, I opened my saddlebag and grabbed a flashlight and my LED headlamp. I drew my handgun out of my pocket, then slid through the narrow opening and looked around…’ [Wild Sorrow by Sandi Ault, published March 2009 by Berkley Prime Crime]wildsorrowcoverwebsize_jpg_w180h269


What is this gun that Jamaica has to pull several times from her under coat or belt holster? Her gun of choice on and off duty is a SigSauer P229. The day of the six shooter is becoming a fast retreating memory as American law enforcement agencies are readily accepting the semi-auto pistol. This particular gun combines high round capacity together with a serious big bore cartridge that is readily and commonly available, and it does it in a package that is both light to carry and reliable to shoot.


There are good and bad sides to the equation, “Is this gun for me?” or more importantly, “Is this a gun that Jamaica should carry?” I think, absolutely. Let’s take the bad first: The only true slight downsides I’ve found with this gun are when taking it out on the range for a couple hours of practice, the recoil when using the .40 SIG can be fatiguing and the P229 is a bit larger and heavier than what I would consider for recommending as a conceal carry gun for a person of smaller build. For Jamaica, a woman in great shape, this would not be a problem. On the heavily weighted GOOD side of the scale, it has a double action trigger pull with a decocking lever that is simple and easy to teach to those shooters who formerly carried revolvers. Once you have your own particular gun sighted in and your chosen stance, you cannot blame this gun for bad accuracy – that would be what I call, ‘user error’. The gun impressed me with its accuracy, even in a quick moving tactical course. The grip is well designed, comfortable and serves a double purpose of making the rearward recoil push more straight back than can be felt in some competing models. The P229 comes in models for 9mm Luger, .357 SIG and .40 S&W, all of which ammo is common to purchase and easy to reload. The patented automatic firing-pin lock gives an added safety advantage and there are no complicated firing sequences with the double action/single action semi-automatic. This is a seriously good self-defense and law enforcement pistol and a gun I would want to carry in any of the action packed scenarios experienced by BLM Agent Jamaica Wild.

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Heros & Guns – Jamaica’s Shotgun

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on March 16, 2009

With special thanks to author Sandi Ault and her book Wild Inferno. Visit her site at www.sandiault.com

In Wild Inferno, the Hotshot crews are getting a briefing before they go out to fight a wild fire that is blazing through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. While on patrol, Jamaica herself often carries a Remington 870 Super Magnum Pump-Action Shotgun. Here is a brief excerpt from Wild Inferno showing one of the uses of this gun:



The wildlife agent took over the briefing: “This she-bear may be reluctant to take her baby near the highway or down through the black where it’s already burned. And they’re starving. We’re going to try to get up there and bait some traps so we can capture them and transport them to someplace safe. But in the meantime” – he held up a double-barrel pump—“we need to talk about these shotguns—a couple of these have already been issued to the crews in that area”.

            Some of the firefighters laughed and joked about bear hunting season being open, but the wildlife agent held up his hand to stop them.

“These shotguns will only be used to fire a beanbag round. That’s a strong nylon pouch with about forty grams of lead shot inside. The beanbag is inserted into a standard twelve-gauge shotgun shell. When that shell is fired, the bag is expelled at around two hundred ninety feet per second. In flight, it spread out and distributes the impact over about six centimeters of the target. It is meant to deliver a blow that will minimize long-term trauma with no penetration, but will briefly render the animal prone and immobile. Now, this beanbag round has a maximum range of around sixty-five feet, but it’s inaccurate over about eighteen or nineteen feet. The idea here is to stun the bear and give you time to get away, not to harm the bear.

“This is just for your safety….” [Wild Inferno by Sandi Ault, Publ. by Berkley Prime Crime, Feb 2008]


As a defensive tool, the Remington 870 is a fantastic choice for Jamaica and, often, may be found in use by BLM agents, Forest Rangers, military and even your local police department. The beanbag round mentioned is a common device used for putting down wild life, or even persons, when you wish to stun or impair them, but not necessarily to do permanent, penetrating harm. The gun has versatility, reliability and a very dependable action that make this one of the most sold and highly praised shotguns in today’s market.


My personal experience with this gun can be summed up in one cliché, to borrow an advertising term> ‘it takes a lickin but keeps on tickin’. First of all, my shotgun of choice for hunting and for personal protection is a pump action. They are easy to learn and easy to use. The 870 uses a bottom-loading, side ejecting receiver which, after 1000’s of rounds, does not seem to jam easy unless there is ‘user error’. Yes, it is a very rugged gun that functions reliably under the very worst of conditions and is durable enough that after a hard life with you, it will still function well for the person you pass it on to – with an almost guaranteed bang for every trigger pull. It’s heavy enough to absorb the shock but not too heavy that it puts an undue strain on you. There are many variations of the Remington 870 with availability in 10, 12, 16, 20 gauge [also a 410 bore], barrel lengths from 18 to 30 inches and weight from 7 to 8 pounds. A handy tool or a sportsman’s friend, this pump action shotgun has a 4 to 8 round internal tube magazine that can chamber up to the 3 ½ inch shell. Because its components are produced on high-speed production machinery, the gun has far out paced the earlier guns that required precision machined parts and hand tooling that made earlier guns much more expensive and time costly to produce. Parts are readily available and interchangeable should something break. It’s affordable, simple to maintain, easy to learn use of and just plain fun to shoot. Jamaica has my stamp of approval on her personal choice of shotguns.

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Heros & Guns

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on February 22, 2009

Many of you that check in to my blog know that I am an avid outdoors person and teach many classes that involve hunting and gun safety. I am not a gun nut or an expert in any way, but I do get out there and work with a lot of people on safety. I can’t stress safety and training enough. Guns (and knives and bows as well) do not cause injuries – unsafe use of them is the problem.


In addition to teaching safety courses as a certified instructor, I also love to read. Now, if there were an expert title for book readers, I would rank in the top 2% of the world. In many fiction and non-fiction books, guns are mentioned. Our heros and heroines pull out their trusty XXX gun and blow away the bad guys, the attacking bear, the snake threatening our child; even at times, to blast the links to the chains holding our victim! I am going to critique, with absolutely NO expert qualifications, some of the guns used by the characters we find in our books. Many authors have probably had people ask them what type of gun their character uses and want to know more about that choice. How fun to take some of my favorite authors & characters and explore their choices! I give credit to the authors where credit is due and only am expressing my thoughts, good or bad, as to why or what in specific I like about this gun. I do not intend to insult any author or manufacturer, but I am sure I will generate some controversy and discussion. I am an open minded person and you are entitled to your own opinions, whether they differ from mine or not. My mind can also be changed if the facts are there to contradict me, but again, these are just my own personal feelings on the issue. I’ll start with a very easy one, as follows. Please enjoy this new series, ‘Heros & Guns’


Cussler’s Five-seveN

One of our favorite adventure/thriller authors, Clive Cussler, has a book released in 2008 titled, ‘Arctic Drift’, I noticed the main character has had a change of his hand gun of choice. Maybe he had made the switch in an earlier book, but I was surprised to see a main character pull out his trusty new Five-seveN, a hand gun manufactured by a company called FNH. Last year I worked with the NRA as a Pistol Instructor at an event called the Women’s Wilderness Escape. My task there was to help teach women a taste of the softer side of shooting. The event I worked with was hand guns–a revolver [S&W .22] and a semi-automatic called the Five-seveN. We’ll focus on the 5-7 (my abbreviation for it, not its true name).

FNH USA Five-seveN

FNH USA Five-seveN

This photo courtesy of the web site: www.fnhusa.com


The 5-7 has many good features, but I want to point out from the start that I think this is the wrong gun for our hero nor would I recommend it for personal protection or for our protectors on the streets to carry this type of gun. There are two basic types of ammunition available for these guns – a restricted military/police type ammo and the over the counter civilian version. The m/p version has a bunch of lethal stopping & penetration power. With Dirk’s resources, in his make believe world, of COURSE he has the lethal, vest and helmet penetrating version, or anything he wants manufactured in their handy dandy workshop! In the real world, the civilian version of ammunition is all he would be able to acquire. This version of ammunition, well, renders the gun slightly underpowered as far as stopping power goes; maybe just a bit more lethal than a .22. If you are reloading your ammunition, you will find the shell casings extremely difficult to work with. So, Dirk – put away your 5-7 in the gun safe and bring back something more efficient for this role, say a 9mm?


On the other hand, the 5-7 has some great selling qualities. The gun is easy to disassemble, clean & reassemble with only 3 basic parts. In the thousands of rounds we put through these guns, not a single misfire, jam or other incident occurred. The magazine release is on both sides of the grip as is the slide lock, making the gun easy to use with either hand. The magazine is relatively quick and easy to load, although the spring gets very tight when you are trying to squeeze the last round or two inside. You almost cannot load the magazine incorrectly as the ammo will spring back up and jump out if you are doing it the wrong way. The weight/balance ratio of the gun made for ease of holding for long periods of time and the gun’s grips are extremely well situated so that there is little chance of injury should you grip it incorrectly and the slide doesn’t jump back to attempt to slice your thumb web or knuckle. (Several guns in the past, with just the slightest inattention or lack of familiarity have caused battle scars on both hands). The recoil is very light. As for accuracy? Fresh out of the box, about a dozen guns had great aim with no need for any adjustment from the factory setting of the sights. Even the smallest, most timid woman out of 50 students had no problem mastering this gun with relatively good accuracy. It is a very fun gun to shoot and easy to learn to use.

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