A Year In Review, Why I’ve Been Quiet…

So I slacked off on blogging this year.  One of the bigger reasons I made quite apparent. There were a couple of other things going on that I kept on the down-low and at this point I will go ahead and let the cats, yes plural, out of the bag.

First up my mom gave me a call last March letting me know she was going to be having surgery later that month.  Why was she going in for surgery?  Well luckily they found the cancer in her breast before it moved past stage two.  They took the surrounding lymph nodes to be safe and all of them came back clear.  She underwent radiation therapy and as of October she’s clear.  All that’s left at this point is six years of pills.

I’ve already had one close run in with cancer and frankly I wasn’t the happiest of campers when my mom told me.  But alas things are better now on that front, now onto the right flank.

About the same time my mom’s ordeal started the father-in-law went in to see a cardiologist.  Initially his heart was out of rhythm (he was in constant A-fib) and no one could figure out why. Not only that but his heart was operating well below normal capacities.

While undergoing one of the tests they shocked his heart and it went back into sinus rhythm.  The heart has continued to improve but they discovered the underlying cause; severe mitral valve prolapse. The good news is we now had the cause and we found out how to treat it.  The bad news is it means messing with his ticker.  Not to mention the loss of his 33-year-old mustache (plus normally he’s had a beard for the past who knows how long).

MadScientist

Last week we were all very happy when it appeared that this was going to be the procedure used(video of the surgery by the surgeon doing the procedure) to repair/replace the valve.  Now for no plan survives first contact with the enemy news.  Surgery started at 0730 this morning and at 0830 we got a call from the MIL.  She informed us that they couldn’t get a solid read on the valve through the TEE.  What this means is that they cannot do the minimal incision and instead will be cracking his chest open.  So thoughts and prayers right now would be appreciated on this front.

So between moving jobs, cancer, and a heart problem I’ve had other things on my mind this year.  The last thing I wanted to think about is how a bunch of busy body assholes dislike how I spend my free time and relieve stress.  How I’m such a horrible person because I want people to have the best tools to fight back.  How I’m a horrible person because going behind a firearm results in something quite a lot like this:

Yeah, I didn’t want to think about that horse crap because frankly there are more important things to worry about.  If something major had happened I probably would have joined the drum beats again but the nice thing is with this crowd is we’re big enough that someone else can and will pick up the slack when you can’t.

Once we can get the move taken care of and settle back in on the other side of the state things should return to normal.  In the mean time I’ll keep blogging here and there and I’m going to work my ass off on making 2014 a hell of a lot better than 2013.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Citizens take law into own hands

Not only did the Sheriff’s Office narrow its scope to “life-threatening” situations, but it even encouraged people who felt unsafe to relocate. “… the Sheriff’s Office regretfully advises that, if you know you are in a potentially volatile situation (for example, you are a protected person in a restraining order that you believe the respondent may violate), you may want to consider relocating to an area with adequate law enforcement services,” the original release stated.

Selig’s community watch group, looking to fill in the law enforcement cracks, now meets once a month to discuss crime and teach its approximately 100 members about personal safety. The group also has a trained “response team,” which consists of 12 people who will respond to the scene of a reported non-life-threatening situation if called.

I’ll summarize the full details real quick for everyone.  A county in Oregon lost a federal grant for timber that was a large source of revenue for them.  The county attempted to pass a tax levy to make up the difference, but it was voted down.  Because of this, they cut law enforcement back because that’s the obvious area to reduce funding. *SMH* One of the officers who was forced to retire early because of this mess decides to create a neighborhood watch group that is basically performing some of the duties of law enforcement mainly focused around property crime.  They’re not handing out tickets or arresting anyone, at least from what the article said.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.  There are obviously legal ramifications here.  There are liability issues and then the question of what they do when they are in a situation where they should arrest a person.  So far it seems like everything they’ve been involved in has been pretty harmless, but I’m sure that won’t last forever.  While I don’t agree with the scope of law enforcement at times, I also don’t want to trivialize their job and make it sound like anyone can do it.  Since it’s a prior officer that’s running this thing, I’m hoping that there is some good quality training going on and that the people doing this are prior MIL/LEO.

Some of the citizens are saying that the local government is cutting law enforcement to basically force their hand and get them to approve the levy.  I haven’t seen their budget, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this was the case.  Regardless of whether or not there is enough money, I’m impressed with the citizens’ willingness to step up and get the job done.  While law enforcement isn’t the first place I would think that we should have citizens stepping up to fill the gap, I am glad to see them doing what needs to be done, and I’m really hoping they do it right since this is the type of thing that can set a precedent going forward.

~John

The Mission of the Modern Militia

Having been a member of a militia (past tense), I was always struck with the question of, “What is our mission?” When I was a member of the Army National Guard, our mission was clear and spelled out. While we could have another discussion about the appropriateness of the current NG mission, it was at least clear. This was never the case as a member of the militia. There were ideas that were discussed, and we had the hope (some believe this to be a 4-letter word) that if there was an emergency we’d be called on, but there was never any formal aid arrangement, response plan, SOPs or defined mission.  This has made me think about what the mission should and shouldn’t be.  I’ll start with the latter…

There are those who believe the militia will be called on by the community in times of need whether this is flooding or all out TEOTWAWKI, but personally, I believe these individuals to be truly delusional in regards to how governments work.  If we’re talking WROL, all bets are off, but I still don’t think the militias will be the first people who the local communities will want to come to their “rescue”.  Those of us who’ve been involved in government know the red tape and complexities associated with it.  If there is ever a disaster, the last thing they will want is a bunch of unaffiliated people with guns running around claiming to have authority.  There are liability issues galore that would prevent the militias from helping in any formal capacity.  There may be unique communities out there where the local government may call on the militia, but at present, I’m not familiar with any of them, and I’m fairly confident they would be a rarity.

I don’t want to dwell too much on what I don’t think the militia is because all too often people tear down something without providing anything constructive in return so I’ll skip any other areas I feel are not fitting of the militia and go to what I believe the militias could be today.

Continuing Education:  Many of us are prior military/LEO in one form or another and would like to maintain some of the skills we learned while serving.  While I don’t see a need for troop leading procedures in my future, there are a lot of other skills I learned in the military that are very useful.  Although I’ve spend many hours doing land nav and map reading, it is a perishable skill and one that can serve you your entire life if you practice it.  Having the opportunity to teach, and relearn, this was of great benefit to myself and hopefully to those I taught.  Communication is another area that is of great benefit both in and out of the military environment.  I’ve recently obtained my HAM radio license and have been learning more about that craft.  There are other areas that can be taught in the militia that will help us maintain and learn skills that we might not have otherwise.

Networking:  Getting to know other people of a similar mindset is always beneficial and usually enjoyable.  These groups can serve as a way of getting to know people who think similarly and have common goals.  This networking also allows you to meet people with different skills sets as discussed above and to learn from those people and share the skill sets you have with them.  In some ways, it’s like Facebook, except you actually have a real relationship with these people.  I think a key part of this area is involvement with other groups.  There are dozens of groups out there that share common goals with the militias, and they, unlike the militia, will actually be called on in an emergency.  Some to look into are ARES (HAM radio), CERT, and Sheriff’s Search and Rescue.  Having members in all of these different areas is a great way to cross train and will also improve communication between these groups in an emergency.  If done properly, the militia could serve as an informal way to tie together a lot of these groups together in a way that will help them be more effective.  The more people who know one another, the better they tend to work together.

The interesting thing about the good things that a militia, or similar group, can do is that none of them necessitate uniforms, patches, websites or playing in the woods with guns.  Although not as glamorous as some of the other depictions of the modern militia, I think it’s a far more practical one.  Getting together with friends (and I would suggest family) and sharing experiences, knowledge, goals, and ideas is a great way to be better prepared for whatever might happen.  And if nothing at all happens, I think you’ll still be better off.

~John

Another Milestone

BB-1So the Earth has traveled around the sun yet another time in my life.  The total number of times I’ve passed through this band of the solar system sitting on this hunk of rock is 30.

The past decade was an eventful one in my life.

I graduated from college getting a degree in electrical engineering.  I got my first full-time job and recently moved on to bigger and better things.  I married the love of my life.  I stared death in the face and didn’t blink.  In that same instant I almost lost that same love.  I learned how corrupt the system really is.  I was declared most offensive and in the same breath became despised by the despicable.  I expanded in a craft achieving a status that not many my age do.  In so doing I helped a brother deal with grief that few really understand.  I met new people and made new friends, many of whom I’ve never actually met.  I learned how to make explosives and have become a henchman for the evil mastermind behind it all.  And probably a whole bunch more that I’m leaving out.

Many would look at turning 30 and see as finally crossing that line and moving towards being old.  You’re no longer in the prime target demographic for most marketing.  Other comments might be made by some young whipper snappers how you could be their dad.  I don’t care.  Wisdom comes with experience and it takes time to gain experience.

Ultimately though, for all intents and purposes, I should be dead.  Even more than that I should have never been born.  My parents both referred to me as their miracle from god.  There’s a reason they adopted my sister before I was born.  They got very lucky and eventually had me.  Some how I escaped being flattened into a pancake.  For that reason alone I should be damn happy to have found the age of 30.  Further there is a long list of men and women who never made it past 19 giving it their all for their country.  Yeah, I think I’m fine with turning 30, not everyone gets that blessing.

Looking back I only really have one regret and it isn’t because of the perspective on life it gave me.  Honestly I wouldn’t trade that perspective for anything.  The problem the consequences still haunt my dreams since it was ultimately my decisions that set off the chain of events.  I have no problem paying for my own mistakes, I don’t like seeing others hurt because of my screw ups.  Again, lesson learned and honestly without it much of my “wisdom” probably wouldn’t be with me yet.  There is however nothing that can be done to change it so I merely embrace it for what it is.

Today the wife and I are going to go out to eat followed by going to see the Nutcracker and basically recreate one of our early dates.  We have a town car and a hotel downtown so we can enjoy the drinks we couldn’t the last time we went.

I’m not sure what the next decade is going to bring exactly, but I have no doubt I will find a way to pack it full of experiences worthy of story telling and create nuggets of wisdom worth sharing.

So I leave you with some wisdom in song form from Hinder.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.