Thursday, June 30, 2005


I love New Orleans. Primarily as a tourist, I enjoy walking through the French Quarter enjoying the sights and sounds and smells. My wife's favorite jewelry store is there, and when we are in the Quarter, we normally wander past the window and pick up some little trinket to commemorate our stay there.

The food is magnificent, the music is toe-tapping, and the streets are made for walking. The French Market is a delight and the window shopping is second to none.


New Orleans is due for a fall. It might happen this year, it might happen next year, but it is gonna happen, because the city is sinking. Currently below sea level, the downtown area is hemmed in by levees that hold the Mississippi River and Lake Ponchartrain at bay. Upriver about a hundred miles sits the Morganza Control Structure that keeps the Mississippi River out of the Atchafalaya river channel. The Mississippi has been trying to change course since before I was born.

Here's the scenario: A big hurricane hits the coast of Louisiana somewhere near the mouth of the Mississippi and comes up the river, bringing a storm surge and torrential rains. Or, it comes in near Lake Borgne, sending a storm surge into Ponchartrain. Either way, New Orleans is screwed.

If the storm continues north, it may well take out the Morganza structure, and Morgan City is in for a shock as well.

Louisiana is losing marshland at an astounding rate, and I don't know if we can ever recover it. We can't without massive grants of money, and it doesn't look like that is going to happen anytime soon. Even with massive grants of money, there is no guarantee that the marshland will be restored, nor that a big hurricane will not put asunder what man had rendered.

Granted, it is a doomsday scenario, but a steadily sinking city in the midst of declining brackish marshes is surely a disaster waiting to happen. Granted that money is a limited resource, should we be spending it on marshland restoration?

Just asking the question.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ward Churchill - Moonbat

Purely for the entertainment value, we clicked over to Jackson's Junction, where we find this bit of drek. It seems Ward Churchill has been let out again.
Nowadays, he is asking if you would support soldiers who frag their officers. Here is the quote:
Churchill: "For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who's already been inducted in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal. But let me ask you this: Would you render the same level of support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?"
Here again Churchill shows that he doesn't have the tiniest clue what he is talking about. Any place you have line officers, you have line NCOs. Let me tell you a story just to illustrate my point.

Back during the first Gulf War, I found myself in charge of a bunch of soldiers that I didn't know, and I asked that they meet me at a given place at a given time. When I got there, I found that the soldiers had already arrived. I found the ranking NCO, walked up to him and told him to put the soldiers in formation.

I had no doubt in my mind that he would follow the order. He was a professional NCO. I could see that from his demeanor, the fit of his clothing and the shine of his boots. His conduct in the following months only increased my respect for him. During field operations he knew the orders as thoroughly as I did. He acted as my strong right hand. He was often two or three mental jumps ahead of me, anticipating problems before they arose and taking action to mimimize the impact of those problems. There is no doubt that he could have led the unit as competently as I. My only doubt was this; was he leading me as well as the men? I am convinced he is a better soldier than I was. I am honored and gratified that he followed me.

If I had been disabled, wounded or killed, I have no doubt that he would have consolidated the command, issued new orders to his junior NCOs and carried on. Had I been fragged, there is no doubt in my military mind that he would have gone totally apeshit on the unit and prosecuted the offender. The other soldiers in the unit would have suffered, because he would have digged deep in his bag of NCO tricks and impressed on them that fratricide is bad, bad, bad.

Fragging a line officer is repulsive. Fragging anyone is criminal. Ward Churchill shows that he doesn't know doodly-squat about line units by asking such a question. The loss of an officer does nothing to neutralize the combat capacity of that unit.

Back in the day

Back in the day when I lived on my place in the country, I set up my own, personal shooting range. I had a 25 yard range in my backyard, and targets set up all the way out to about 200 yards, out by the pond. The nature of my land was that hills bordered it along the south boundary and any bullet I fired to the south, or southwest would bury itself in the ground. It is a great place for a shooter, and I miss it sometimes.

Anyway, we had a couple of cats. A house cat and a barn cat, and that was enough for me. They kept the mice and other rodents under control and didn't get in my way.

One day the boys and I were out back shooting a .22, single shot, with iron sights. I think I paid $15.00 for it at a pawn shop. We were shooting at dimes from 25 yards, and each of the boys wanted a pierced dime to wear on a chain around his neck. That was fine with me, but they had to do it themselves.

There was this other cat, a large stray tabby, that would come around sometime. This afternoon I watched that tabby creep under the barn fence. About that time my wife came out the back door to call us to supper. The tabby went into the barn and started a fight with the barn cat, which was considerably smaller than the tabby.

I heard my wife say, "I wish someone would shoot that cat." I picked up the rifle and slipped one through his ribs. He ran off toward the front of the house and piled up in the ditch out front.

I turned toward my dearly beloved wife, to see a look of utter horror over her face. She asked, "Why did you do that?"

I was instantly confused. "Darlin, I just heard you say that someone should shoot that cat." I turned to look at my sons, their heads bobbing in unison. "Yeah, Momma, that's what you said."

She turned in a huff. "Well, you never paid any attention to what I said before. Go bury that cat before you come to supper."

She didn't talk much that night, and it was a couple of days before we had a civil conversation.

The power of the spoken word is sometimes more than we are ready for.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Fence Project

The fence project continues, and I'm hoping my body can hold up till it is finished. During the early '80's, I wrested a family ranch from a ten acre briar patch. I cleared land, swung an axe, stretched fence and built a barn. For twenty years, I ran a couple of times a week, to stay ready for the Army's PT test I had to take twice a year. The last couple of years I knew I was slowing down, but was able to keep up with the young warriors I supervised. When I retired in 1999, I quit running. My police duties kept me moving, though, and my current posting has me climbing stairs regularly, so I thought that for a 50-something year old man, I was in pretty fair shape.

I was in error. When I began this fence project at the start of the month, I knew that I was going to be a little sore, but just damn. Every muscle in my body is aching. I have dug post holes, mixed concrete, lifted pipe and lumber, and operated shovels, hoes, and power tools. In short, I have done things I haven't done in twenty years.

The project continues, and progress, while slow, is measureable. The posts are in the ground, concreted, and the hardware has been installed on the metal posts. The first gate has been hung and the other one will be built and hanged tomorrow. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, it will be finished. I hope that I am healthy enough to enjoy it.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Mistreated at GITMO

From Front Page Magazine, we get this article about the conditions at Guantanamo Bay.

It looks to me like the prisoners there are well fed and medically maintained. The medical staff says that:
the doctor in charge confirmed that the caloric count for the detainees was so high that while “most detainees arrived undernourished,” medics now watch for issues stemming from high cholesterol and being overweight
I bet the cholesterol doesn't come from eating pork.

Last night before bedtime, I was wondering why the Congressional nay-sayers don't just hop an Air Force jet and go down to Cuba and see for themselves. Better to get the story straight from the source rather than second-hand. I'm sure the Pentagon would put together a junket for anyone wanting to make the trip.


Over at YRHT, I find a link to this story, which talks about an affair between a pastor and a woman in his congregation. This sort of thing has been going on forever, and if you are a married man and believe that the pastor of your church won't boink your wife, then you better think again. All pastors won't, but some of them will, and if your wife is looking to play around, then she'll find a way.

The money quote is here:
After the affair between the two began, the lawsuit claims, (Pastor) Fehlauer advised Steve Benson to get over his marriage and move on.
Damned good advice. The good pastor knew that the marriage was over and gave the husband the best advice he could give him at the time.

Now, before anyone thinks that I am glossing over the good Pastor's involvement, I'm not. He held a position of special trust, and he shit all over it. Whatever the problems the pastor was having, he wasn't the one that ruined the marriage. The woman in this sordid tale bears the fault for that. Nothing is more corrosive to a marriage than extramarital sex. Extramarital sex ruins trust, and trust is the basis of a marriage. When that is gone, nothing else is left.

Sure, a marriage can survive an affair, but it takes hard work and lots of time to rebuild the trust that was lost in an instant. The wife knew the marriage was over the instant she draped her panties over the pastors bedstead. She wasn't honest enough to tell her husband beforehand that the marriage was over, and that is what destroys the trust.

Update: Junior corrected my spelling again. Good catch, Junior.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Flag burning

I notice in the news that the House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling for an amendment making flag burning a crime. It goes to the Senate, where, if it passes, it will be put before the legislatures, requiring three-fourths of them to assent before the Amendment becomes law.

I oppose such an amendment. I believe that the flag of the United States is strong enough to cover those who would burn it disrespectfully. I think such a display is distasteful, immature, and a poor metaphor for dissent. Still, it shouldn't be criminal.

I have burned flags, in accordance with Title 4 of the US Code. I have taught the ceremony of retiring a tattered, torn, frayed, or soiled flag. Always with respect, always with honor, the burning of a flag can be a magnificently spiritual ceremony, marked with honor and dignity. Those who understand the ceremony react as if at a funeral for a wonderfully loved friend. Those who have never attended the ceremony come away with knowledge and understanding of something that transcends them.

Those who choose to burn the flag without respect deserve our rancor and our revulsion, yet the act itself should not be criminal. The legislatures of the various states, and the Congress of this United States would better use their time by amending the Constitution to overturn the Kelo decision.

The Hell, you say?

Surfing over at SondraK's, I get this snippet from the Weekend Australian. It seems someone wants to get a little payback.
A HOSTAGE held alongside Australian Douglas Wood in Iraq has hired bounty hunters to track down his former captors, promising to eliminate them one by one. Swede Ulf Hjertstrom, who was held for several weeks with Mr Wood in Baghdad, was released by his kidnappers on May 30. Mr Hjertstrom has since claimed he shared information with US and Iraqi troops about Mr Wood which led to the release of the 63-year-old Australian engineers two weeks ago, after 47 days in captivity. Now, he wants to find those responsible.
Seems to me like a little payback might be in order. Mr Hjertstrom has already invested $50,000 in his project. I wish there was a link for donations. I might throw a buck or two in the hat.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Kelo lets bulldozers roar

That didn't take long. I talked about the Kelo decision in the earlier post, and it seems as if the developers in South Texas were waiting for the Supreme Court to rule before they went forward with their plans. The Houston Chronicle gives us this:
FREEPORT - With Thursday's Supreme Court decision, Freeport officials instructed attorneys to begin preparing legal documents to seize three pieces of waterfront property along the Old Brazos River from two seafood companies for construction of an $8 million private boat marina.
In this case, the land belongs to a seafood processer, so Granny won't be losing her house, but the government in this action is preferring a marina over an established business.

However, the seafood company is hopeful that state law will help them keep their land.
Western Seafood spokesman Wright Gore III said the wholesale shrimp company was disappointed with the Supreme Court decision, but believes the ruling does not apply to the city's eminent domain proceedings.
Yeah. Right.

This is probably the worst decision to come out the Supreme Court in my lifetime. This opens the way for bald-faced land grabs. If the government wants it, they can have it.

Excuse me while I go reload some ammo.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Supremes get it wrong again.

The littlest one is sitting on the living room floor playing with puzzles, so I have time to do a little surfing and learn that the Supremes have come down on the side of private development rather than private property rights.

That's an oversimplification, but Captains Quarters is all over it. Basically, the Supremes said that
In a 5-4 decision, the court upheld the ability of New London, Conn., to seize people's homes to make way for an office, residential and retail complex supporting a new $300 million research facility of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. The city had argued that the project served a public use within the meaning of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution because it would increase tax revenues, create jobs and improve the local economy.
Be that as it may, the way I read that is that if my home is in the way of some developer, the government can use eminent domain to seize my home and sell it to the developer, as long as my property will generate more taxes in the developer's hands than mine.

That isn't the way I read the eminent domain clause of the US Constitution.

In my simple mind, the state has the right to take my property for public use, as long as they pay market value for it. Fair enough. If the government needs a road, a bridge, or something that will benefit the public at large, I can live with eminent domain. If the government needs a business tax base, they shouldn't have the right to take my house so a business can move in. That's just wrong and I don't see how anyone can rationally say otherwise.

From my reading, I see that the majority (5-4) had to say that they deferred to legislative action in this case, but that eminent domain should not be used to transfer private property from one owner to another. Yet, it seems that this decision allows the city of New London, CT to do exactly that.

Geez! What do those folks think about when they do these things?

Watching grandkids

I finished digging the post holes for the fence project this morning, then got saddled in to watching grandkids till their dad gets off this afternoon. No problems there, as it is hot as hades outside, temps under my back porch, in the shade are in the mid-90's. I'd just as soon sit in here and watch the kids as do anything.

I put a new rear sight on my 1911 last week. My particular version is a Kimber Custom. I like the pistol and I am impressed with the reliability of it. It feeds and shoots anything I stuff in the magazine, but it shoots them all about six inches low at 25 yards. As I am qualified with the pistol for duty use, I think it is important that it shoots where it looks. So, I wandered over to Brownell's with my credit card in hand, and bought a Novak adjustable sight.

When the sight came in, I mounted it myself. It is billed as a No Gunsmithing sight, but like most everything in the world, I needed to fit it to the slide. That took just a few minutes with a file, making the dovetail on the sight match the one on the slide. I haven't fired it yet, but it looks like the sight sits up just a bit higher than the factory one, so the point of impact should be a little higher than originally. Plus, it is adjustable, so I can correct it as needed.

I'll get out to the range next week, and set the sight for my duty ammo.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Durbin, Gitmo, Standard Correctional Practice.

In light of the Senator Durbin flap, where he recently likened our prisoner practices to the Nazi regime, then apologized for his remarks, I have watched with interest as the Left side has palpitations over what they percieve as humiliating practices discussed in the FBI report. My buddies over at YRHT take exception to the practice as followed by the jailers at Gitmo. The linked post, with a paragraph from the report is here:
FBI REPORT (7/29/04): On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food, or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold...On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

The article over at the Daily Howler tries to make this look like torture, and more importantly, tries to make something hideous out of this paragraph. Well, folks, it's time to get a clue. I've worked in and around jails and prisons my whole adult life, and what is described in that paragraph sounds like Standard Correctional Practice as used in jails and prisons all across the United States.

Let me do a little fisking of that one paragraph and you'll see what I mean.
I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food, or water.

This looks to me like a standard preventive practice as used in many jails and prisons. Inmates who want to harm themselves or others are normally segregated into private cells. Those cells are devoid of furniture, because furniture can be used as weapons or tools of suicide. Correctional officers are charged with the care, custody, and control of prisoners, and that care extends to not letting them harm themselves if possible. While the ACA doesn't publish its standards for jails or prisons, I managed to find a small lesson plan from the Texas prison system here. Lets look at one paragraph out of that document. It describes steps to take when an inmate is threatening to harm himself or others:
All suicidal inmates should be housed in suicide-resistant, protrusion-free cells located in high traffic/visibility areas

Belts, ties, shoelaces, suspenders should be removed but the inmate should be allowed to keep other clothing unless their behavior indicates otherwise. If clothing is removed, a paper gown should be issued

In most cases, constant watch status should not require clothing removal or restraint application

The national correctional standard of audio monitoring and/or closed circuit TV should not be utilized as replacement for staff observation

The removal of clothing and applying restraints should only be used as a last resort for use in periods where the inmate is physically engaging in self-destructive behavior

Please note that the cell is required to be suicide resistant and protrusion free. That belts, suspenders, and shoelaces are removed, but that clothing should be allowed UNLESS behavior indicates otherwise. When you've seen a guy hang himself with a pair of bluejeans, you learn to take their pants. Also note that applying restraints is a last resort, but is not forbidden. When you have watched a naked guy try to commit suicide by slamming his head against a wall, you learn to apply restraints. Paper garments, you ask? Well, paper garments can be woven into ropes for hanging and wadded into balls for trying to commit suicide by choking. I've seen it. Sometimes all you can do for the prisoner is leave him naked.

Correctional officers are responsible for returning a family member, a loved one, back into freedom, relatively free from injury. If your family member went into the jail and came out dead, you would sue someone.

As a long time cop and correction hand, I am here to tell you that the treatment described in the report is standard practice. It ain't common, but it isn't unheard of, either.

Lets go back to the FBI report, shall we?
Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more.
Inmates in this situation often urinate or defecate on themselves. In my experience, there is always a facility for them to use, but often, the shock value of voiding on the floor is preferred to doing it in the toilet. Every jail I have worked in was cleaned thoroughly at least once a day. Often more than that. However, when you clean a cell, and five minutes later the inmate craps on the floor, it is easy to take an hour or more before you clean it again.

Back to the report.
On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold...
Yeah, this is standard practice too. Jails and prisons are kept cold because bacteria, viruses, and germs don't thrive in cold conditions. If you want to keep your jail healthy, turn down the air conditioning and issue blankets. Most jails I worked in kept the A/C at about 62 degrees all the time. It keeps the mold from taking over the place. Now, if you are a jail inmate, and you are suicidal, I am going to put you in one of those minimalist cells until I can get you to a psychiatrist. For about 72 hours, you are going to be in a steel or concrete room, and the A/C is going to be set at about 62 degrees. If you are an active suicide, you will be naked. Standard correctional practice.

Back to the report:
On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees.
Not all jails are climate controlled. Many state prisons are not. The Correctional Community is trying to fix that, but the fact remains that there are still jails in the US without A/C. Again, imagine living at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, near Angola, LA in the summer without air conditioning. It sucks, but then again, it is supposed to.

Back to the report:
The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night.
I've seen this, too. Guys do weird things when locked up. They try to hurt themselves any way they can.

So, just looking at one paragraph of the FBI report, I can say with some authority that most correctional professionals have seen the same things and worse at jails and prisons all over the United States. It sounds tough, and it is. Working in a jail or prison is the most intense education any person will ever recieve in human psychology.

Yeah, sometimes jailers snap, go over the edge, and mistreat prisoners. The vast majority don't. The ones that do are fired, and sometimes prosecuted. Professional correctional staff take very seriously the triple duties of Care, Custody and Control. Those three are the trilogy of correctional work.

But, to my good friends on the left, I would love it if you would educate yourself on the necessities of correctional work before you accuse the jailers at Gitmo of crimes against humanity. Better yet, hie yourself down to the local jail and fill out an application. Good jailers are hard to find. Working in a jail or prison is honorable service and the staff there always needs good replacements.

Or, just know that men and women across the United States are doing a dangerous, thankless job that keeps you safe. Our brethren at Guantanamo are doing a job that keeps the entire United States safe. If you don't want to get involved, the least you can do is educate yourself on Standard Correctional Practice.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Equipment, soldiers, and the gummint

The left side of the house is up in arms because some military supervisors are telling folks to get their own gear if they want the latest and bestest military accoutrements. Go read about it at 2millionthweblog. Hat tip to Your Right Hand Thief, for the link.

Anyone who knows anything about the military knows that the junior members spend their hard earned money on equipment. Soldiers have been carrying their own stuff into battle since probably Alexander's time. Places like the US Cavalry Store and Ranger Joe's make a living selling the latest and greatest military equipment.

Military supply chains being what they are, a soldier in the field gets all the gear he needs to survive, and it is my experience that the time span from new gear coming out to being fielded is a heck of a lot quicker than it was just a few years ago.

In my day, soldiers carried their own equipment from the same motivation of the soldiers today. Some gear is cooler than the issue stuff. You want a cool Camelbak Hydration System? The army issues canteens.

It used to be boots. If you wanted to jump out of airplanes, you could risk breaking an ankle with the issue boots, or you could buy a pair of Corcorans from the Cav Store.

You want to carry a knife? The bayonet issued with the M16 was a piece of shit. Better to go get a Randall #1. The Marines got a good knife in their basic issue, a K-Bar, but no self respecting soldier would be found dead with a Marine issue K-Bar, and the retro leather scabbard just wasn't cool at all.

I won't even talk about the issue poncho, or the ubiquitous shelter-half.

This is supposed to be a big issue on the Dems talking points, but young GI's are going to carry their own gear. The government will issue what they need, but some of it just isn't cool enough. You can't stop those guys from buying stuff.

Hell, even Patton carried unissued pistols. He was forever being photographed with a S&W .357 magnum.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Blog hiatus

What a weekend. I started running on Saturday morning, and just finished up ten minutes ago. No, not that Monday is on a weekend, but I've been busy with kids and life and the lady and my marriage. It's been a wild ride, but hopefully life will get back to basics tomorrow. (I just remembered. I have a contractor coming to give an estimate on a countertop.)

But anyway, everyone is happy and healthy and well, and life is good. I bought a truck today on the way back from Baton Rouge. I'm not normally impulsive, and I had discussed buying a truck with milady. She agreed that my current pickup is ten years old and is coming to that portion of its lifetime where..... It'll start to be an old truck. It still runs good, and we are going to give it to her son, who needs a vehicle to take him through the next year or so.

Anyway, we were coming back through New Roads, LA today and stopped at the Ford dealership. I saw a 2001 Ford on the used lot and we looked at it, test drove it, and signed the papers. I normally buy trucks that are four or five years old. I take advantage of letting someone else drive my new truck and buy it after the worst of the depreciation has eaten at its value. Looking at this truck showed me that the vehicle had been well maintained, and I used a couple of tricks that my ASE certified son taught me. It's great having a mechanic in the family.

This is the first extended cab pickup I have ever owned, and I think I am going to like it.

The only problem is that I promised myself I was going to look for a smaller pickup and the one I drove home today is a larger pickup. V8 engine, extended cab, long bed. It is a hell of a lot of truck, although the ride home (almost 100 miles) tells me that I am getting better than average gas mileage for a full-size truck. The tank was bone-dry when I bought it, and I made the dealership fill it up as part of the deal. The salesman got a credit card and we went to a gas station, where we put $40.00 worth of gas in the tank. That comes to 20 gallons. When I got home, I saw that the gauge showed three-quarters full, so I figure I used about 5 gallons to go almost 100 miles. That would be about 20 mpg. I don't believe that figure, but I figured I would get closer to twelve miles to the gallon.

Before anyone rags me for buying a gas hog, I need a pickup truck, I have to have a pickup truck. But when I have a choice, when I am driving by myself, I am liable to be on my 40 mpg motorcycle. The scooter gets ridden well over half of the miles I drive every year. So, I figure I am averaging over 30 mpg for all miles driven.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester

A female Soldier, Leigh Ann Hester, of the Kentucky National Guard's 617th MP Company, has been awarded the first Silver Star won by a woman since WWII.

She earned it. The extended entry over at Sondra K's gives the full details.

I was priveliged to lead a bunch of MPs during Desert Storm, and to integrate them into a larger formation. We maintained our unit integrity as part of bigger effort, and we seamlessly integrated into the bigger picture. That is what being in the Guard or Reserves is all about today.

I have never known more intelligent people than those I lead during that unpleasantness. I never worked with smarter folks than I worked with during that time. The tactical competence and professional integrity of the Military Police were unequaled. Trained as police, they were also required to be trained as infantry, because policing a battlefield will put you in harms way. As this story exhibits so dramatically, the Military Police are totally integrated by race, by sex, by cultural background. The one binder, the one common attribute is professional excellence. Women fight in todays Army. They're not yet integrated into Armor or Infantry units, but they fight as part of the Military Police. They are a credit to their unit and to their Army.

Leigh Ann Hester, you done good.

UPDATE: The power of the blogosphere, fact-checking, has struck Pawpaw. I misspelled Sergeant Hester's name, and my editor, Junior, called me on it. He's right, and I've made corrections. Thanks, Junior. Apologies to Sergeant Hester.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Days Work

No, not the chewing tobacco, although that might be another post.

I just finished the days work. I started this morning mowing the yard, so I could find my tools. Got that done about noon and went to town to pick up supplies and get a Fathers Day present for my Dad. Got home and it was raining, one of those noisy summer Louisiana thunderstorms that dump about an inch of rain then move on.

After the shower, the air outside was like walking into a wet blanket. A warm wet blanket. But, I had stuff to do, so I gathered the implements and worked on the fence for awhile. I widened eight holes, mixed the concrete and set the posts, plumbing them as I went. Then, I washed the tools to get the concrete off of them, stacked everything, and came inside.

I stink. Every stitch of clothing is saturated with sweat, and my baseball cap is drenched. It weighs about a pound. I have it hanging on milady's bakers rack to dry for the morning.

There was a gal once, in the way back timeframes of my life, who was excited by the smell of a man who had put in a hard days work. The sweatier the better. She lived in the next apartment over and I was working as a day laborer, doing whatever. One day I came in from work as she was walking past, and she followed me in the house. I took off my cap, placed it on top the refrigerator, then opened the door and asked her if she wanted a beer. She tackled me right there and we commenced to ripping buttons. Cute little brunette, as I remember, with teacup breasts. She was a liberal arts major.

Turns out, she loved the smell of a sweaty man. She didn't want to date, didn't want a relationship. All she wanted to do was come over a couple of afternoons a week after work and TRY ME ON. Suited the hell outta me, but she wouldn't let me take a shower until after she was finished. She was dating some bozo piano major, and I would see him from time to time entering or leaving her apartment. I don't know if he was doing as well with her as I was, but I damn sure didn't spend as much money on flowers as he did.

Wonder whatever happened to her? Ahh, the hell with it. I need a shower.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


I was ragging on the Oyster over at YRHT, and he came up with the idea of restitution to lynching victims. The direct quote looks like this:
For those who believe the Senate's apology is an empty, insufficient gesture-- Yes! I agree with you! Let's do more! How about some meaningful restitution to the affected families and their direct descendants? Perhaps $1 or $2 million each-- or were you envisaging a larger number?

Now, there is an interesting idea. I can see that happening, and if we take the numbers from Mary Landrieu's site, we learn that:
From 1890 to 1960, 4,742 Americans were documented as having been lynched, with actual numbers believed to be much higher.

So, using those numbers for planning, if we multiply 4,742 documented victims times a million dollars each, we get a net restitution amount of 4.742 billion dollars. Not much, considering the size of the US budget, but large enough to be considered more than just symbolic.

[sarcasm on]So, lets just have the Treasury cut a check in the amount of One Million US Dollars to the estate of (insert victims name here)(they are documented, aren't they). Then the fun begins. Let the family decide how to split the money. Taking my own family as an example of a not untypical Southern family, my grandfather, born in 1910, had five brothers. He himself had four sons, who had a total of fourteen grandchildren. If my grandfathers dad had been a lynching victim, then that million dollars might be split, oh, among fifty people. Your numbers may vary. If my grandfather had been lynched, then that million dollars would be split among his three surviving sons and the descendants of his one deceased son. Some families would find it much more complicated.[/sarcasm off]

[heavy sarcasm on]Oh, yeah, that is a great idea. The lawyers would go ape-shit crazy. The US government would get a healthy chunk of it if it were classed as income. Those recipients would be (no doubt) certifiably members of a victim class, because we had paid the blood money. However, if that happened we would owe them nothing else. Nothing. Ever again. [/heavy sarcasm off]

Ideas like this from the Donks. Amazing. Simply amazing.


I was going to photo-blog my fence project, but there is a God. He saved me from photo-blogging, and He saved you from looking at it.

My camera went tits-up. It shot snake-eyes. It crapped out. It is deceased.

While at Wally-World tonite I looked at digital cameras, but I have my heart set on one of these. I have a Canon Rebel 35mm film camera and love the versatility and durability of the SLR format, along with the ability to change lenses. At school, the yearbook staff has one, and the faculty advisor says that it takes great pictures and so far it has been student proof.

So, I'll save my pennies and buy one in a few months. In the meantime, there is always film and digital processing at the pharmacy down the road.

Fathers Day

I'm with Kim about the Hallmark Holidays. I think most of them are pure bullshit. It caused me grief during my first marriage. The standard conversation went like this:

She: "What are we going to do for Mother's day?"

Me: "I don't care. Either go to your Mother's, or mine. Whatever."

She: "Will we be doing anything special?"

Me: "You aren't my mother."

Needless to say, before I get again accused of being a heartless bastard, I know who my Mother is. I love the lady, would sell heaven or earth for her, and as long as she is alive will never want for anything if I can do anything about it. I know what she has sacrificed for me and will spend my life repaying the debt.

I love my current wife, and think that the stars move around her, personally. I think everything she does is magical. One of the reasons is this conversation we had early in our courship.

She: "What would you like to do for Mother's Day?"

Me: "Look, sweetheart, I love you. If your kids have something special planned, then I am all for it. My kids will spend it with their Mother. You ain't my Momma."

She: "Damn right."

The obverse is also true. I ain't her Father. I don't expect anything from her for Fathers day.

My kids know their Father. With three boys and one daughter, all members of the Nation of Riflemen, they have a pretty good idea of gifts, large and small, for any occasion. If it is something gunny, from a knife to a new caliber, then they are on solid ground. The gift can be small, like a new die, animal call, or sharpening stone. If I happen to have one, then a duplicate is wonderful. Tools are always wonderful, because, frankly, I am a guy and I don't own all the tools yet.

But, I expect my wife to Stand By, and let my kids do their thing on Father's day. A hug from those nearby, or a call from those away, is really all I expect. They can never repay me for the sacrifices I made, and I don't expect them to try. I tried to repay my Momma by being the best Father I could be. I expect them to repay me by being the best parents they can be. Family comes first. Take care of your kids and teach them what I taught you. Keep the craft of parenting alive.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Senator Landrieu apologizes for Lynching

I see this post over at YRHT, and wonder what motivated the Senate resolution. It seems that Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has cosponsored a resolution that apologizes for lynching.

What? Senator Landrieu was involved in a lynching? When the hell did that happen?

Then I go over to the Senator's site and look at the webpage about the resolution. You can read the whole thing on your own, but the lead paragraph gives us the main point.
From 1890 to 1960, 4,742 Americans were documented as having been lynched, with actual numbers believed to be much higher. During that time, nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced to the United States Congress. The United States House of Representatives even passed three anti-lynching bills, but all failed on the floor of the Senate despite the lobbying of seven U.S. Presidents. Because of the Senate’s refusal to pass the legislation, the federal government was left powerless to intervene and protect Americans from these heinous acts of mob violence.

Wait a minute. The Senate's refusal to act left the federal government powerless to proceed? Were there no murder statutes on the books? Was it not illegal to kill someone without due process of law? Is not murder a state responsibility? Could not the federal government intervene if the state refused to prosecute? Something don't sound right, here.

It seems that Senator Landrieu wants to apologize for not taking action, long before she was born.... no, wait, that isn't right. Senator Landrieu wants to apologize for the Senate not taking action before she was born... No, that's not right either.

Well, okay. She couldn't have done anything about it anyway, but feels a need to apologize. Seems pointless to me.

What is the point, anyway? I'm still trying to figure a point on this resolution.

Before anyone takes exception and accuses me of something I'm not guilty of, let me state for the record that I think lynching is the ultimate degradation, should not be tolerated among civilized persons, and people who participate in lynching should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Lynching is wrong. Lynching is bad. People who participate are criminals.

I am a child of the '60's. I watched the great Civil Rights movement and the changes that were wrought in our society. I participated in the segregation of our schools. I studied and worked beside people of all races. I held the thin blue line with brothers and sisters of all colors. I have supervised, and been supervised by African-Americans. I judge a person by their character, and I judge co-workers by their technical ability and tactical proficiency. Yet that means nothing. I am still a white man, and should feel guilty for something that happened a long time before I was born. Well, I don't. I wasn't there. I didn't participate. It was wrong, but I had no part of it.

Evidently this means something to the victim class, although for the life of me I can't figure it out. It changes nothing. Those lynched are still lynched. Those who participated are still criminals.

I pray for a United States where we are over it. Where people can look forward to living the rest of their lives in the pursuit of happiness.

I do wish Senator Landrieu would spend her time doing something productive, rather than doing things with mainly symbolic value.

UPDATE: Captain Ed is all over this one, with some interesting tie-ins to the filibuster question. Go read it at the link.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Not Guilty

Not guilty, huh? The hell you say.

The verdict is in. Go see it here. My buddy Junior predicted the verdict in a private email a week ago.

Just goes to show you, I guess. OJ Simpson didn't murder his wife, and Michael Jackson ain't a child molester.

Yeah, right.

Diggin' Postholes

I spent the morning digging postholes and when the sun starts to go down, I'll dig a few more. A posthole digger is a demanding mistress, and if you don't treat her right, she will rap your knuckles without even thinking about it.

Every redneck boy over the age of 12 knows how to hold a posthole digger so your knuckles don't get between the handles. You hold both handles in your hand like one piece of wood, and you throw that tool down the hole, using the weight of the implement to do the digging. Lift it out of the hole, rotate it ninety degrees, and throw it again. In good dirt, the soil will compact into the tool and when you take it out, there will be a core of soil between the blades. Use the handles to compress that plug of dirt and it will drop on the ground beside the hole. Grasp the tool again and throw it down the hole. Continue until the hole is as deep as you want it. One simple trick is to mark the handles of the posthole digger before you start digging. I use a felt-tipped pen and mark the depth of the hole I want, so I don't have to measure each hole with a ruler.

Digging postholes in the summer Louisiana sun will take the weight off quickly. I feel it already in my shoulders. It feels good, the honest fatigue of work well done.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Summer projects

Life got in the way of blogging this weekend, so I decided to sit down and do a post about the summer projects that will hamper my time while I am off. I live on a small private lake and I took possession of my grandfathers boat during the spring. That project is completed, with a new transom, additional gussets, welding of cracks and re-setting rivets. The Old Man's boat is good for another twenty years, and may well be passed on to another generation before that time is over.

Tomorrow morning I start digging post holes for a privacy fence. Milady wants to put in a swimming pool next spring, and a fence to keep out the neighborhood urchins is a requirement that will not wait. I have the fence laid out and stakes placed where the posts will go. I've been actively planning this project for three weeks and it is time to get started. Tomorrow I go buy a posthole digger.

Louisiana is hot in the summertime. I don't plan to work during the heat of the day. I am, after all, a middle-aged man, and courting a heart attack doesn't seem like the way to spend a summer. Back in the day I could work in the heat all day long. During one period I would work in the office all day, then come home to my place in the country and scatter postholes around the countryside till dark. SO, during the hot hours I will work on other projects like an extension on the kitchen island that Milady wants constructed. If the price is right, I might contract that out to professionals. I think a piece of dark granite would look good. Or, the newer manufactured stone is just as pretty, just as durable, and the price might be better than granite or marble.

Anyway, my summer is shaping up nicely.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


That word Africa conjured up magical images for me as a boy, and conjures up magical images today. I am a hunter, you see, and for millions of kids like me who grew up on Hemingway and Corbett and O'Conner, the lust for Africa has been strong for many, many years.

Now, it would appear that Africa (or more particularly, Sub-Saharan Africa) is back in the news. It seems that we are assaulted daily by horror stories from Darfur, or from Zimbabwe, about famine or genocide, or AIDS. We, as Americans, want to do something, anything, send aid, intervene. We want to end the suffering, as taught by our Lord. We want to do the Right Thing.

However, Africa ain't like Europe or the US. Or like Asia for that matter. Africa is different, and the old Africa hands remind us of that. I can remember reading Capstick, when he said that Africa wins regardless of what anyone does, and that life is very cheap in Africa. For most of Africa, a person walking around is just so much protien and when a person dies, Africa is very, very good at processing protein.

Still, the horror stories remain and our civilized hearts are tugged and we want to help those least able to help themselves. So I turn to those best educated in Africa, those hearty souls who emigrated from there and made a life in a new country. If you've never read Kim duToit, his writings reveal a deep love of the African continent, yet his advice is simple. Let Africa Sink.

This paragraph is most eloquent:
The viciousness, the cruelty, the corruption, the duplicity, the savagery, and the incompetence is endemic to the entire continent, and is so much of an anathema to any right-thinking person that the civilized imagination simply stalls when faced with its ubiquity, and with the enormity of trying to fix it. The Western media shouldn’t even bother reporting on it. All that does is arouse our feelings of horror, and the instinctive need to do something, anything--but everything has been tried before, and failed. Everything, of course, except self-reliance.

Go read the whole thing. You'll read an essay by a man who knows, who has been there. You'll know why I say that I am no expert on Africa and we should follow the advice of those that are.

There is nothing we can do to help Africa. As hard-hearted as that sounds, the people of Sub-Saharan Africa must first help themselves.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Writing the Statutory Rape post reminded me of a cop tale. Way back in the '80's I was policing in Natchitoches Parish and heard this story directly from the mouth of an assistant District Attorney as I leaned in his doorway. I'm going to use the town name of Natchez, to protect the ignorant. There is a Natchez, LA and a Natchez, MS, and this story never happened in either of them. The actual town had a post office, a gas station, a bar, and a motel. It didn't have much else. Back to the story. Leaning in the DA's doorway, I heard this story from a country-boy DA:

"Last night I got called down to the jail. It seems this sailor was getting off one boat in Virginia and had orders to another boat in San Diego. His home is in Texas, so he got on a bus to see America. Turns out, a bus ride across America was more than he bargained for, and when the bus got to Natchez, he saw the bar and decided to get off the damned bus.

"So we have this sailor, just off the bus in Natchez and in the bar, where he proceeds to get sloppy drunk. The locals start sobering him up and he happens to talk to this little gal that was there in the bar. Well, she never met a real sailor-man before, and before you know it, the both of them had checked into the motel, where the sailor and little gal got under the sheets and were doing the wild thang. Someone at the bar called the gals daddy and told him what was going on.

"Next thing we know, Daddy is at the motel threatening to kill the sailor, and the police get called and Daddy produces a birth certificate that proves, without a doubt that the little gal is only fourteen. The police arrest the sailor and haul him off to jail.

"Sometime during all this, I get a phone call at home, so I go down to the jail to look at the evidence. Sure enough, Daddy is down at the jail giving his statement, and the sailor is getting booked, and I take a look at all the evidence, and call a halt to the whole proceedings.

"Now, Dad wants this sailor prosecuted for screwing his daughter, but I'm asking Daddy what his fourteen year old daughter was doing in a bar, and did he want to go to jail for child neglect? Then I ask the police why they didn't arrest the bar owner for letting the child in the bar, then arrest the motel owner for renting the room to an underage child, and then I asked everyone in hearing how the hell the sailor was supposed to know that a gal he picked up in a bar in Louisiana was just fourteen years old? Yeah, sailor-man screwed the little gal, no doubt about it, but dammit, people, how was he supposed to know?

"So anyway, I get the sailor out of jail and put him in my truck and drive him to the bus station. I tell him if he ever comes through Natchez again, to give me a call and I'll go to the bar with him and point out the jail-bait."

I walked down the hall wondering if that DA had ever known Janet, from the story before.

Statutory Rape

Acidman tells this story about his brush with child-molesting. I had nearly the same experience, although I never lived with the gal. When I graduated from high school, I was just seventeen years old.

Middle of my freshman year of college, I finally turned eighteen and a couple of buddies decided it was time for my first legal beer. We went to celebrate at a German restaurant just down the road from the Air Force Base. The waitress was a darlin to behold. About five-foot six, with long shapely legs and a tiny waist, her dark brown hair flowed over her shoulders and framed a perfect heart-shaped face. Her biggest attractions were a pair of 36D breasts that were just barely contained by the V-necked top she wore at work.

When I ordered a pitcher of beer, she asked for my ID, and I proudly showed her that I was, in fact, legal to buy beer. She laughed and said that the first one was on the house, and happy birthday. My buddies and I had a good time and we flirted with that waitress. Let's call her Janet.... for this story.

We learned that Janet's dad owned the place and that she helped out after classes. Her Mom cooked in the back and they hired a couple of local girls to wait tables. Janet worked the bar, Mom cooked, Dad kept the cash register, it was quite a family business. Before I left that night, I had her phone number. The guys and I agreed that she had to be at least eighteen years old to serve liquor, so I called and asked her out.

We went to the local drive-in, and before the night was over, Janet and I had left for a local lovers lane where she showed me all the good things that come from being eighteen, having a car and a quiet place to park. Over the next several weeks, we explored the erotic arts at every opportunity, in sundry locations across the parish.

One fateful night, she told me that she was having a birthday party and I should come to her house at 7:00. I showed up with a present under my arm and was shocked when I counted the candles on the cake and there were just sixteen. That's right. Sixteen. I almost had a stroke, expecting the police to show up at any moment and drag me off for having carnal pleasures with a fifteen-year-old.

I knew two things: 1) that the relationship couldn't continue and 2) if I pissed her off, she might call the police.

So, I hatched a mighty scheme. One of my buddies was asking about her, and sniffing around. I told him I was about to move on, go back to college, and he could ask her out if he wanted to. He did. She did. They did, and she broke up with me the next week. My friend was a year older than I and had a much nicer car. I waited a couple of weeks, till their relationship was hot and heavy, and gave him THE NEWS. He cussed me like a shipwrecked sailor, but couldn't break up with her until he went into the Army a couple of months later.

No one went to jail, but it could have gone either way.

Tuition, fees

I was looking at the webpage of a local school board and found that the budget for keeping all the schools open is over $128,000,000 per year. The school board serves over 24,000 students, which comes to a per student cost of $5300.00 per year.

Then I went to a local college homepage and took a look at the cost of sending a student to college for one semester. It breaks down like this:

Tuition $1538.60
Student Association 133.50
Health Services 25.00
Student Insurance 9.50
Parking fee 45.00
Meals 300.00
Total one semester $2051.60
Total two semesters $4103.20

So, I wonder, why is the local school board so much more ineffecient than the local college? It costs $5300 to send a kid to public school, but only $4100.00 to send a kid to college? What a deal. Even if we have to buy books for the college student, we still come out ahead at the college.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Amnesty International

Captain Ed blogs about a New York Times editorial that highlights an Amnesty International report. The report wants the US military to shut down Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and the prison at Bagram. This paragraph from the NYT editorial is most telling:
Over more than two centuries of peace and war, the United States has developed a highly effective legal system that, while far from perfect, is rightly admired around the world. The shadowy parallel system that the Bush administration created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has by now proved its inferiority in almost every respect. It does not seem to have been effective in finding and prosecuting the most dangerous terrorists, and it has been a disaster in undermining America's reputation for fairness, just treatment of the guilty and humane treatment of the innocent.
I agree that the United States should treat unlawful combatants in accordance with accepted international accords.

The only major international treaty that deals with unlawful combatants is the Geneva Convention, which has been used in most major wars as a guide to the treatment of prisoners. It is clear on the issue. Unlawful combatants can be hanged. Even our militia of our own Revolution understood that, so they were careful to incorporate items of clothing that would identify them as military, lest they be summarily hanged after being captured. The historical record is clear, and we should continue to treat unlawful combatants in accordance with those examples.

The elements of the crime would be twofold. 1) no identifiable uniform, and 2) bearing arms against the United States military. Any military tribunal could establish the offense and any major command (division or higher) could try the offender. Persons found Not Guilty would, of course, be released. After a finding of Guilty, a suitable gallows should be constructed and the offenders hanged. Done expeditiously, the time from capture to execution should be no more than 60 days.

That would be in accordance with accepted international treaty and should immediately be adopted.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Saturday Night Special

My padna is blogging about a POS revolver that he recently obtained. He is offended, and rightfully so, about the elitist attitudes of some of his commenters.

And that, dear friends, is precisely the argument of the elites on the other side of the 2nd Amendment question. I am old enough to remember when the anti-gunners decried the easy availablity of inexpensive revolvers. The Rohm was one of them, the FIE Titan Tiger was another.

I remember the first revolver I bought when I became a cop. I paid $300.00 for it. I still have it and it is still worth $300.00.

However, the poor little ole black lady who lives two houses down from the crack dealer can't afford a $300.00 pistol. She has to make do with what she has, and she certainly has the right to defend herself, her property and her family. So, if she wants a gun, she buys an inexpensive one.

The only problem, is that nowadays, the anti-gunners have made it almost impossible to produce or import an inexpensive revolver. Those same anti-gunners often present themselves as the champions of the downtrodden, the poverty stricken, the ecomomically disadvantaged. Hell, in our nations capitol, a person can't legally own a pistol unless they are willing to jump through some pretty impressive hoops. The poor grandma living in the projects simply can't do it, so she is unarmed, easy prey for anyone who wants to victimize her.

That pisses me off. We need inexpensive firearms if the 2nd Amendment means anything. Those politicos who want to ban them are firmly against the poor people defending themselves.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

RF Tags

I like this guy. He is a tanker (like me) in the army (like I was) and he thinks like a tanker. Tankers are generally strange birds, because we don't think like other soldiers. We ride into battle and we don't dig holes. Eight digit grid coordinates (10 meters square)are universally taught in service schools, because if you are calling in artillery you need to know exactly where you are. Tankers use 6 digit grid coordinates (100 meters square) because your tank commands everything within that small area. I once had a battalion commander who came up with a grid reference system that referenced an area 500 meters square, because he thought that a platoon ought to be able to dominate that much terrain. He was right.

Anyway, this company commander in Iraq has come up with the idea of using RF tags (radio frequency tags) on illegal immigrants. His idea is that if you are caught, they implant an RF tag. If you come back into the country, the tag explodes. Problem solved. I love this paragraph:
Illegal immigrants bad. We have to lock down our borders to tightly controlled access points. Minefields, Machine guns, Old-Soviet Era border patrols, rednecks with rifles, whatever it takes. By any means necessary. Freedoms guaranteed within the US constitution end at the border, don’t ya know. Just show up at the airport in Damascus with a name like Silverberg and see if you are not subjected to unreasonable search and seizure. Or try to keep and bear arms in England. Rights are not granted by governments, they are kept from the authority of government. But they are only protected by that government. (It’s the same catch-22 as a soldier watching a US flag getting burned.) If you leave the protection of the gummint, then your rights are subject to review. If you are caught here illegally, the punishment is RF Tagging, a jail term (in a labor co-op), and return to your motherland, or any other foreign country of our choosing (better not get picked up on Rwanda day.) Second offense: remember the RF tag? It esplodes when you cross the border the second time. First timers also lose any chance of earning citizenship; after all, the first thing they did here was break the law.

I don't think this idea has any chance of adoption, but it is certainly creative. I like it.

Savage 11

Here in redneck North Louisiana, firearms are a large part of any household. When milady and I were moving last winter, she commented on my altogether pitiful collection of rifles and said that I should start looking at the gun racks and start picking up a few pieces on sale so that when the grandsons get a little older I can take them hunting with me.

Yesterday, walking through Wal-Mart, I found a Savage Model 11 rifle in .243 Winchester.

This cartridge is powerful enough for the smallish deer we have here in North Louisiana, and the recoil is very manageable. The rifle has a synthetic stock, it is pillar bedded, it sports the amazing new Accutrigger and because it is a package rifle, it comes with a Simmons 8-Point scope already mounted. The best part is that because it is last year's stock and was on clearance, I managed to score it for $140 under retail. I have it on layaway and will write it up when I get it in my greedy little hands. You'll be able to find the write-up on The Frugal Outdoorsman.


Over at Fester's place, he looks at some KIA/WIA numbers and draws some conclusions that might (or might not) be correct. I'm not an expert on that type analysis, and I recall what Mark Twain said about statistics.

This paragraph is interesting:
Why do I argue that a smaller force (even if compared only against the international troops) that is taking near unity fatalities is winning? Simply because it has always been far cheaper, easier and quicker for an insurgent force to regenerate than for a counterinsurgent force to regenerate. Additionally, it is highly probable that the vast majority of insurgent fatalities and incapacitations are coming from direct combat with American combat units. In this arena, the insurgents are trading roughly 5 total insurgents killed or incapacitated for every 4 US soldiers killed/incapacitated.

From my reading about the current warfighting dynamic, it seems that the terrorists are fighting mainly from ambuscade. The terrorists have learned that they can't fight head-to-head with coalition forces because they sustain unacceptable losses in a setpiece battlefield. The US is damned good at that type of fighting. They sustain losses when the coalition performs law-enforcement type sweeps, due to personnel captured. The only option left to them is the ambush and that is the way they seem to have been fighting lately.

I have some small expertise in the classic infantry ambush and the mechanized armor ambush, and I am here to tell you that in every ambush scenario I have been privy to, it is highly planned, thoroughly equipped and completely rehearsed. In the ambush, the freedom of action (initiative) and the time of the attack (surprise) are totally in the hands of the person springing the ambush. If I am the person springing the ambush, then I have the responsibility for the safety of the whole operation. If I think that my losses will be unacceptable, then I don't spring the ambush. I lay in my hole and let the opposing forces go on past my position. I live to fight another day.

If I decide that conditions are favorable and I spring the ambush, then I am willing to take casualties, but the nature of having initiative and surprise is such that my casualties should be about 10% of the opposing forces. To summarize, I am willing to lose one soldier for every ten of theirs I kill.

If the shoe is on the other foot and my force is being ambushed, then there are certain things that I can do, mainly in the form of immediate action drills that have proven to minimize casualties and sway the initiative to my forces. I hope that if I am ambushed I can inflict casualties on the opposing force, but I realize that I am probably going to have to accept casualties to gain the initiative. I also realize that if I do nothing, I am going to accept casualties. So doing nothing is not an option.

So, to summarize, in a properly planned, supplied and rehearsed ambush, I am probably going to escape with no casualties, and might sustain one casualty for every ten I inflict on my adversary. If the terrorists are trading four casualties for every five US casualties, then they are doing something terribly wrong, and I am very glad that they don't know warfighting. No force can sustain casualties like that for long.

Hat tip to YRHT for the link.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Wednesday boredom

Wednesday morning. Sitting here in my office having just finished walking my beat. Bored out of my frigging mind.

People ask what I do around here, and the simple truth is that I don't do much. Cops aren't paid for what we do, we are paid for what we are willing to do. However, even when the school is full of kids, and I am walking my beat, there is simply not a whole lot to do when things are quiet in the school. I carry two radios. One connects me with my boss and the whole police universe. The other connects me with the school. When someone with authority needs me, the radio lets me know. And I respond. I respond regardless of the problem.

Someone has a student throwing a fit? I respond and handle it. Someone has an accident in the parking lot? I respond and I handle it. Someone notices a person that shouldn't be on campus? I respond and handle it. And I can handle it in a number of ways, most of them gentle and quiet, but it is my job to handle it. God forbid, someone brings in a gun and starts shooting up the place? I respond and handle it.

While walking my beat, I notice things. Things like a broken light. Maintenance needs to handle that because we will need that light later. Things like a parent wandering the hall lost in a maze of classrooms. I help them find what they need. Things like a student skipping class, I run her back to class and let the teacher know where I found her. I handle lots of little things that no one knows about. It is all about protecting and serving.

Police work is about helping people. People who come into contact with a situation they can't handle. Those are the folks that call the police. We never know when that situation will occur. We never know what we'll find when we get to the situation. We never know if this is the one that will make our wives into widows, but we respond and handle it.

Time to go walk around for a little while.