Sweat the little stuff

I’ll start with a little background on what prompted this post. Yesterday was an especially frustrating day at work. It wasn’t so much that there was any terrible thing that happened, but it was more of the same little frustrating things. Yesterday hit some of my team members especially hard which in turn hit me hard since I’m the project manager. In reality, it’s not really any different, good or bad, than it was a few months ago, but these types of things are cumulative and at times exponential. I’ll come back to this later.

This got me thinking about how relatively little things in the past have added up to bigger things. If we look back to the events of April 19th, 1775, it could have just as easily been just another day in colonial America, but it wasn’t. Individually, the events of Lexington Green, the North Bridge, and Miriam’s Corner don’t add up to a revolution, but tensions had been building for the better part of a decade leading up to this. For years, the colonials had been dealing with and pushing back on the Intolerable Acts, and once the Regulars started the powder raids, it really kicked things up a notch. The key point here is that the events of April 19th add up to more than the sum of their parts because of all the relatively little things that preceded them.

This brings us to a question that is often asked but never answered. Where does that put us today? The truth is that we really don’t know. The colonials couldn’t have told you April 18th that tomorrow they would become Americans, and I can’t tell you today when things will change for us, but I believe that tensions are high and the powder keg is not far from being lit. Our version of the events of April 19th could be just around the corner, or it could be years away, but a relatively small chain of events could happen at any time. It could have been Ruby Ridge, Waco, or the Bundy Ranch, and it could just as easily be in my home state with the seemingly imminent passing of I-594.

My hope is that your take-away from this is that maybe we should sweat the small stuff a little more. I don’t mean you should stress about every little thing that happens, but you should be aware that those little things can add up to more than the sum of their parts. In your work life, remember that all the little things can add up be they good or bad. Saying hello to everyone and little complements can really make it a much more positive place just like the opposite is true. In the rest of your life, be just as aware of the small things because you never know what the next Miriam’s Corner is going to be. Stay vigilant and maybe sweat the little stuff a little bit more.


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.


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.


300 Blackout, First Impressions

Since this is my first post, I suppose an introduction is in order.  Being raised in northern Nevada, I’ve always enjoyed shooting sports, but I never got into hunting as a child since you have a better chance of hitting the lotto in Nevada than you do drawing a deer tag.  I married my lovely wife in 2005, and after graduating from college, we moved to eastern Washington.  Since moving here, I’ve become involved in Project Appleseed and am almost a red hat instructor.  Now onto something more interesting…

Before I have any rants or political posts, I want to start with something fun so I’m going to do my best to give you an unbiased (as unbiased as possible) experience with the 300 Blackout.  This caliber has been around for a little while now and is continuing to gain popularity. I just finished my build a month ago and had the opportunity to get some trigger time with it at the last Appleseed event I was at.  A few things stand out so far.

Ammo availability sucks.  Ok, I know it’s hard finding any ammo right now, but 300 BLK is ridiculous.  Short of spending $1.50/round on GunBroker, it just isn’t going to happen.  You can reload, but good luck finding any lightweight ballistic tip.  The same thing goes with powder, not much out there for it.  Because of this, I’ve been using some Speer 130gn hollow points.  This may have biased my experience with the next point.

300 BLK can be very particular about magazines.  It’s pretty well-known that 300 BLK and Magpul don’t get along, but even with USGI mags, it’s tricky getting the bullet depth right so that it feeds through the magazines properly.  I expect that once I can get some of the more popular bullets, I’ll have a little more success with feeding.  I’ll keep everyone updated as I experiment with different bullets.  Some longer 150gn are next on the list.

Now for the good.  It feels fantastic!  It’s like the difference between a 9mm and .45.  The feel is more of a thump than a crack.  It also seems quieter than the .223 round.  When I went down range to look at my targets, the difference in diameter between the .223 and the 300 BLK is impressive.  It also seems like it’s a bit cleaner than .223, but this isn’t scientific, just my impression.  Long story short, even with the ammo availability and magazine feeding issues, I love it so far.  I know some of the issues will be worked out over time as I develop good load for my setup.  I have a bunch more thoughts on it, but we can dig deeper in another post.