Recently, the freeholder http://thefreehold.blogspot.com/ ran a post on his visit to the Lexington Gun Show http://thefreehold.blogspot.com/2009/01/lexington-nc-gun-and-knife-show.html .


Today, it was my turn.


It is one thing to read or see pictures of what is going on at gun shows across the country currently, it is quite another to experience it first hand. Fortunately, I did not particularly need anything on this outing, quite the contrary, I went with the sole intention of getting rid of a problematic AR-7 I had purchased at this same venue a few years ago and decided I didn't need anymore. I figured given the frenzy going on currently, I might be able to unload it if I walked around long enough. Ahem. Folks, if you have anything- I mean anything- that you want to get out of the closet, right now is the time. I had hardly gotten out of the vehicle when I was approached by several interested parties, and fortunately the first person to make me an offer was someone I could sell it to- a local person with neither a criminal nor an ATF look to him. I gave him a good deal on the AR-7, as I prefer selling to decent people rather than making money on a suspicious one.

This done, I went through the gate to the ticket line. As Freeholder put it, OH-MY-GAWD. I frequent this particular gun show for two reasons: it is easy driving distance, and it is usually lightly attended, making for easy shopping. Not today. This was the first time I had ever had to hunt for a parking place at a gun show, and walking into the ticket area- where usually you can expect a half dozen, perhaps a few more, people in line- the dual lines stretched for the better part of a hundred feet. As I walked around to the end of the line, I commented loudly, "Well, it's good to see the panic is over..." which drew a hearty round of laughter from the folks waiting patiently in line. The line moved fairly quickly and without problems, most folks talking quietly and being unfailingly polite. I was also surprised to notice hardly anyone was smoking- don't know why, but very few people were. I also noticed the attendees seemed to be a bit more diverse than usual for this show- I'd bet more than a few of the folks I saw were at the first gun show they had ever attended. I said a kind word to the nice lady who took my money for the ticket, she looked up gratefully and said "It's been this way since we opened." She definitely earned her pay today.


Once inside, it was so crowded as to make shopping very difficult. Even so, again everyone there was as nice as could be. I never saw or heard anything other than perfect manners from every person I bumped into. From the reports I've heard on the trash and damage left behind at the anointed one's coronation, I can only draw the conclusion that gun owners have better manners than the liberals who are going to save the planet. Prices were a bit higher on anything on Obamas' hit list, but most places were not excessive, although I did see a Yugo SKS with a $495 price tag on it, and any type of AR rifle was several hundred bucks higher than when I was there just prior to the election. Standard capacity (don't ever call them 'high capacity, it's falling for the propaganda lies.) AR mags were plentiful, and for the most part reasonably priced, although some looked mighty worn. It looks like the suppliers are catching up with the sudden demand. Ammo was likewise back in stock, and I saw much more being carried out than normal. It seems that nobody much is trusting the anointed ones promise to leave our rights alone, and stocking up is the order of the day.

Not being one who enjoys fighting crowds, I made it a short visit today. It is encouraging to know that I am not alone in my beliefs, I only wish these same people had been this vocal before the election. Hopefully, the sleeping giant has awakened, and will begin taking part in the political process before it is too late. The mid-term elections will be here before you know it, and then we'll have our chance to correct this horrible mistake. Until then, let 'em know you are watching, and keep the damage under control.

Reading a post recently at http://mausersandmuffins.blogspot.com/ and ran across Brigid's comment that she absolutely hated to be stuck in an airport with nothing to read. I rather imagine there are a great number of us that feel the same way, for me it's going to the Doctor, Dentist, or other place that involves long waits and sick people. And who wants to read last year's Time magazine? So one day while trying to decide which old gun magazines to keep, and which to toss, I had a revolutionary idea...

Let's take 'em to the Doctor's office!


I started with some old copies of Shotgun News, Guns and Ammo, and some of the free magazines from the local gun shop. Cut out or obliterated the subscription information of course, and now every time I go to a place with a 'waiting room' I bring along some copies to leave behind.

My reward came to me recently, when I was down with a nasty sinus infection, and felt so bad I forgot to bring any reading material to my visit. To my joy, as I sat down, I saw two copies of recent gun mags, subscription information 'redacted' as they say, on the table. JOY! Someone had decided to help me out on the project!

Of course, as soon as the staff goons see this stuff, it will be trashed, but meanwhile it is spreading the word. If enough of us did this, it might even sink in to the general population that gun owners are everywhere, and decent folks as well.


One last thing I do when I think of it: I'll write or label the front page with some of my favorite urls, like http://www.thehighroad.us/ or http://www.a-human-right.com/ . Remember we don't do any good preaching to the choir- we need to reach the people who don't think about things without it being brought to their attention.


Think of it as spreading the good news.




Yesterday I introduced you to the big radio, the GE Super Radio. Today, it’s the other end of the spectrum in just about every way- this time we meet the tiny, complex, and feature laden Kaito KA1121. Fair warning: if you aren’t the person relatives call when they can’t figure out how to program the VCR, then this radio probably isn’t for you. It is most definitely a geek’s radio, but if you are the type of person who finds joy in reading technical manuals and figuring out how things work, the little Kaito will repay you with a wealth of features, most of which are quite useful, and a few of which are just weird. Yeah, I love this little radio, but CT girl will give them away to my geek relatives rather than go to the trouble of learning how to get one working. My personal take on how this radio got designed goes something like this: all the engineers were sitting around one day, and somebody asked how many circuits they could get into a DVD cover. Never ask an engineer a question like that, unless you really want to know the answer. In point of fact, the 1121 face is somewhat smaller than a DVD box, and the unit is about twice as thick. In that tiny housing they found room for a host of features, such as AM, FM, SW1 and SW2, full NOAA weather band coverage, a decent MP3 recorder/player, memories for 400 channels, 3 alarms that will not only turn on the radio, but automatically record shows off the air, and set the volume control for each in turn. The MP3 player even has the capability to display lyrics in time with the song being played, if you are patient enough to type them in and download them to the unit. (That’s one of the features I classify as ‘strange.’) The MP3 is detachable of course, and a supplied USB patch cord lets you upload your recordings to your PC, or download to the unit. This is also how you program functions and upgrade software in the radio. Unfortunately programming the presets and channels is a bit primitive, you use a text editor like notepad to edit a supplied sample text, download it to the MP3, and then import it to the radio itself. You need to be a bit anal on your typing, too- a misspelled frequency or syntax error will cause an error, and it will not load into the radio. Once you get it right, though, it’s a handy way of setting up a huge number of radio stations. (If you listen to much SW, this is a wonderful thing- most SW stations operate on multiple frequencies, and change to take advantage of atmospheric conditions. One I listen to frequently operates on no less than 4 transmitters, and nearly a dozen frequencies.) As I mentioned yesterday, all the bells and whistles mean nothing if they don’t work. I have heard of a few people who have had issues with quality control, but all three of my Kaito radios work perfectly. The biggest issue will be the owners manual: the translation from the Chinese must have been done by someone learning English as they worked, and it shows. Even so, with a little effort you can figure out what to do. Better yet, check out the yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KA1121_DE1121/ and look in the files- one of the members did a wonderful job of rewriting the manual for ordinary folks. (if you want to check specs on the radio, or read the original manual, it’s here: http://www.kaitousa.com/KA1121.htm ) About the only consistent complaint I’ve heard on the radio (besides learning all the features) is battery life. It comes supplied with rechargeable batteries, but they don’t seem to last long. One tech checked it out, and the problem seems to be the charging: the way you charge the batteries is to select which to charge, either the MP3 or the radio, and the unit times the charge needed. Apparently a full charge only brings the batteries up to about 70% of capacity. If you want a full charge, you’ll need to take them out and use a smart charger. Another bug is the power supply is a bit noisy on AM- not noticeable on strong stations, but very weak stations it can show up on recordings. I have considered building a battery pack to power the radio while recording such things, but instead just use a signal booster to bring the signal above the noise level of the power supply. On FM or SW no problems. The big reason to want this radio is the MP3 recording. Bad news, it’s only good for 256 meg, although I’ve heard a replacement 512 meg unit is in the works. Before you start rolling your eyes and quoting how many gigs your Ipod holds, consider this- even at 256 meg, it’s good for 15 hours of voice-quality radio (think talk shows.) The unit can be set for three levels of audio quality, from voice to CD quality, with shorter recording times for the better sounding recordings. I am currently using two of these units to record various radio programs unattended, and it works great. Upload to windows, play back in media player, and skip the stuff I don’t like. Some programming I wish to keep is easily filed, the rest deleted. Although I am not fond of using an MP3 player (of any brand) while working, I have been known to use the detachable unit to listen to programs while hunting or simply waiting for a doctors’ appointment, for example. It works great. (One thing I would change if I could- the MP3 player uses an odd battery- a short, square NiMh F6. You can use the MP3 in the radio without any battery, but if the F6 dies, you are SOL on using the player alone until you order one from Kaito or a radio supply house. Forget about picking one up at Wally World.) Obviously, I like the radio, or I wouldn’t have bought more than one. But it’s not for everybody, or even most people. But if you want all these features, and enjoy a complex, quality radio in a small package, it’s a worth the money. Speaking of which, you can find them everywhere for $149, but being the tightwad that I am, I kept searching until I found a closeout deal for $79 each and ordered a pair. I have not seen them that cheap since, but some searching and patience could save you some serious money if you like bargains. There is a lot more I could say, but rather than try to cover everything here I will instead reply to any comments posted to answer any questions.

See! I warned you!





Luckily, I'm prepared for just such problems.
Are you?

This Just In...

Via http://patriotpost.us/
(If you don't subscribe to The Patriot Post, you should- some of the best conservative commentary out there.)

"If Nancy Pelosi wants fewer births, I have the way to do this, and it won't require any contraception. You simply put pictures of Nancy Pelosi in every cheap motel room in America. That will keep birth rates down, because that picture will keep a lot of things down." --radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh

Also this:

"Let's start a new group: PETT: People for the Ethical Treatment of Taxpayers." --political analyst Rich Galen







Every home should have a few good radios, and unless you are blessed to live in an area that never experiences floods, storms, hurricanes, power outages, or other emergencies, you really should have a few radios specifically for emergencies. You certainly don’t need as many as I seem to have collected over the years, from a vintage monster desktop bought at a thrift store for $15 and brought back to life by Freeholder’s dad, to the latest and greatest wonder from import land. But you should have a couple of radios that will keep you informed on what is going on when the power goes out and weather or other circumstances keep you housebound.

First of all, what not to buy: cheap is good when you are buying beans or gas, but not when you need a quality bit of kit to keep you safe. That said, you don’t have to break the bank and get the most expensive either, especially where radios are concerned. Since TV is the ‘big dog’ in the entertainment world today, radio has to compete by offering a lot for the money, and that gives you some real bargains. Yet a lot of people still think a radio is just a radio, and the $10 special at Big Lots is good enough. It might be, but I’d rather spend a bit more and know I can depend on my radio to get the job done when I need it. One example, the lovely CT Girl received her choice of gifts recently at her place of employment during an appreciation day. She opted for a portable size ‘emergency radio’ that included AM/FM and NOAA weather radio, built in flashlight and even an emergency button that flashed the LED light and made siren sounds thru the radio. Power was supplied by AA batteries or a hand crank generator. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It would have been, if all those features worked as advertised. In reality, the first thing she tried to do was crank the generator handle to charge the batteries. The crank handle broke off in her hand. Not a good start. It got worse: radio reception on AM, while decent, was very noisy- so noisy that except for strong local stations it was unlistenable. FM had a lot of drift, and the NOAA required much effort to tune in the local station- the tower of which is visible from our front yard. Rather than toss the radio, I spent an hour and some epoxy repairing the crank, which works well now. It sits in the corner, a reminder that all those features don’t mean squat if they don’t work.

What is a good radio, then? Not a subject to be covered in a short blog post, for certain. Entire books are written on the subject, and thousands of web pages. But I would like to introduce you to a couple of my favorites, and tell you why I think they are worth having around.

First of all, the venerable and popular GE Super Radio, pictured above.

Sadly, the liberal dolt that has been running General Electric into the ground has been forced into selling off a lot of things to keep from bankrupting the company, and the Super Radio has been one of the casualties. Search for a super radio on Amazon, and you’ll find it now labeled as the RCA Super Radio. Fear not, however- there are millions of the GE versions still out there, and who knows, RCA might even improve upon the design and make it better. Time will tell.
Why a Super Radio? Well, a radio is a personal choice, and it may or may not fit what you like in a radio, but for millions of us country folks who don’t live in a city full of radio stations, it is the best bang for the buck. Prices vary from $79 retail, down to $39 on sale for a new radio, or if you feel lucky even less for used models. For that little coin you get excellent reception on both AM and FM bands, as well as good, clear sound quality on both voice frequencies and music. But the best feature of the radio is one you seldom see mentioned: battery life. In a world of gadgets powered by boatloads of AA or AAA batteries that last a few days, the Super Radio uses 6- count ‘em, SIX- big, heavy “D” size batteries. My former employer, owner of the AM Station I worked at in the 80’s, would use nothing but the Super Radio for remotes and DX listening, and often remarked to me that the “D” batteries gave much more battery life per dollar spent than the smaller and less powerful cells. (Battery engineering has greatly improved AA batteries since that time, but still, bigger is better.) The Super Radio is also equipped with a heavy power cord- no wall warts here, just a standard size power cord self contained in the case- but the batteries last so long, it is tempting to just use the batteries and replace them when they grow weak. That can take a seriously long time, too: I have personally used mine at my work place daily on battery only for over six months, and replaced the batteries when the volume grew a bit weak.

Probably the best feature of the Super Radio is the simplicity- only basic controls, big “on/off” button, manual tuning via a large knob on the side, volume, bass, treble and a couple of switches for AM/FM and the like. The manual is well written and easy to read. If you really need to pick up extremely weak stations, screw terminals on the back allow you to connect both an FM antenna and even an AM antenna- very unusual these days. The reception is good enough that boosting the AM is rarely needed, but if you need to, something like the C. Crane Twin Coil Ferrite AM Antenna http://www.ccrane.com/antennas/am-antennas/twin-coil-ferrite-am-antenna.aspx is highly recommended.

Of course, nothing is perfect. Drawbacks on the Super Radio include size- it’s huge, and heavy- weighing over 6 lbs before you install the batteries. It does not have a built in weather radio, nor does it pick up short wave. But for a simple, reliable, long lasting radio with good reception and sound quality, you’d be hard pressed to find a better value for the money spent. And when the power goes out, you’ll be very happy you didn’t get the cheapest one in the box store.

Tomorrow: The Kaito 1121

If you are having trouble waking up in the morning, try this one on your MP3 alarm clock....



One of the first classical CD's I ever bought was a Telarc Classics CD that included this version on it. My neighbors hated that CD.....

Imagine that- a murderer ignoring the rules! Who would have expected such a thing? Sadly, another young woman with a promising future has been added to the death toll of good intentions. If you have not read the news accounts yet, do so first, I’ll wait:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090122/ap_on_re_us/virginia_tech_slaying

I’d like to point out a few things that are very common in news stories these days. First, they reference the horrible mass killing that occurred in 2007. The mass killing was referenced again and again in the closing paragraphs.

Question: what do the two murderers have in common, other than the location?
Answer: Absolutely nothing. Well, if you really wanted to find a common thread, you could point out both murderers were of the same ethnic group. But no mention is made of banning scary looking Asian men from campus, so I’m assuming that isn’t why the story mentions the other murders. Nope, we all know why this story made news. It’s another chance to bring up the scary gun killings, and remind everyone that we can’t be safe unless we stay scared and let more of our freedoms be taken so the police can protect us.

As is almost always the case, the police- or campus security in this case- did not arrive in time to prevent the crime, they arrived in time to collect the evidence. Luckily this time they were able to affect an arrest in short order. That is good, and not at all a criticism of law enforcement. They can’t be everywhere, and criminals do not commit crimes when they know they will be stopped or caught. They simply wait until the cops aren’t around, and then have at it.

But, Joy of Joys, at least Virginia Tech got to try out the feel-good don’t you feel safer wunder-tech notification system. Don’t you know the kids in the dorm felt safer knowing that in case of another murderous rampage, they’d be sure and get text messages via cell phone? Boy, I know that makes me feel really safe. I have to wonder how many calls 9-1-1 got after the notification, and how much those calls delayed any response.

Several groups tried to get Virginia Tech to change its anti self defense policies prior to the Cho shootings, and the pencil pushers in charge predictably went into panic mode. One famous memo brought to light after that senseless tragedy read thus:

Last year, Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear that a gun rights bill was defeated. The bill would have allowed legal citizens with legal concealed weapons licenses to be able to defend themselves on campus if a shooter was going to go on a rampage.
"I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."
(source: http://www.donsausa.com/2007/04/why-virginia-techs-gun-policy-failed.html)

Yeah, our old friend “feelings” again. Feelings of safety got a bunch of nice kids killed back then, feelings of fear got more stupid laws passed, and once again the propaganda news media drags those same feelings into a news story repeatedly, when the story has not a single thread in common with the earlier tragedy.

One last thought for you: How would this story have been reported, if concealed carry had been legalized after the Cho shootings, and this horrible death had been prevented by a nearby student or teacher legally carrying a concealed weapon? (99% of all situations like this end instantly with the mere display of a firearm, without violence) You know the answer. It would not have been reported at all, just like the 2 million- yes, MILLION other instances of legal self defense reported each year. And millions more that are not reported.

It is high time we stopped allowing laws to be written based on feelings. It is way past time we stopped labeling entire college campuses as ‘disarmed victim zones.’ It is time for people to stop expecting someone else to take care of protecting them, and take that responsibility on themselves.

Perhaps then young women can 'feel' safer eating in a cafeteria, and fellow students can do more than just stand back and watch helplessly as a human being is beheaded in front of them.

(Edited to reflect updated news story)

First of all, an apology. I am truly sorry voters in the 2008 election did not have better choices to choose from, you would think out of the hundreds of prospective candidates we could have fielded better choices than McCain vs. Obama. We didn’t. That has been the problem our highest office has dealt with since the 1980’s. The last truly great president we had came to power after the Jimmy Carter disaster of 1976-1980. Ronald Regan will, when history is written, be remembered as probably the greatest president of that century, certainly of the last half of it.

Since then we have had the choice of the lesser of two evils, albeit usually a clear choice. This time, it was democrat or democrat light, or more properly openly socialist vs. democrat. Neither was a choice most people would vote for, it was simply which one I dislike least. At least, for the rational, logical voter. Sadly, this election was carried not by those who think, but those who feel. Ask any Obama supporter why they voted the way they did, and that word will crop up in the first sentence, I promise.

What ever the reason, we have a new president, and it is clear things are going to ‘change.’ Trouble is, up until now he’s been dodging exactly what those changes will be. Here are some of my predictions on what you can expect in the next four years:

Severely curtailed civil rights. It’s a given he is coming after firearms owners first, and they know it. Firearms sales, ammunition and soon-to-be-illegal parts like standard capacity magazines, etc. are breaking records everywhere. One manufacturer of the popular AR-15 utility rifle is backordered to the tune of 60,000 units. That’s just one maker.
Don’t think that is the only civil right that will be affected under this administration. Free speech is next, and soon. The ‘fairness doctrine’ is on the way, and it will affect everything you see and hear. If it criticizes the ones in charge, it will not be tolerated. Funny how those who preach tolerance practice it the least.

Less freedom. As in ‘1984’ or ‘Revelation’ or any other nightmare you’d care to name. Do some searches on ‘Mileage taxes on cars’ ‘RFID to track commuters’ or the like. Do you really want the Federal Government to have the power to monitor, by GPS satellites, every move you make? Think long and hard about that one.

More Taxes. Taxing the rich has long been a tagline of the democratic party, but only those of us who bother to read past the tagline know who the rich are: it’s us, the middle class, and lower middle class, who end up paying those ‘rich’ taxes. The math is simple: there just aren’t enough millionaires to pay the trillions of tax dollars the congress wastes every year. Not that they would if they could: rich people got that way by earning the money, for the most part. (we’ll ignore the Paris Hilton’s and Ted Kennedy’s for the moment, they are the exception, not the rule.) Rich people, in other words, create wealth by building and selling products, services, and wares. When you tax those people, you tax the people they sell those products and services to. Why people can’t grasp this simple concept is beyond me.

Finally, and worst of all, more government in your daily life. Look for socialized medicine, which is a greater nightmare than you can believe right now. Think Post office efficiency with Internal Revenue customer service. The EPA will use global warming as an excuse to shut down badly needed businesses that harm no one. (I know this one personally, we’ll talk about that later.)

If you think I’m wrong here, do me a favor. Write up your own list, of things you think will be better, or worse, and put it in an envelope, or online if you are brave. Let’s compare notes in 2012, and see how things stack up. I would love to be wrong, I really would. But the past performance of our new president does not speak well of the future or our freedoms. And Freedom is what this country is supposed to be all about.



I do not feel worthy of commenting on the greatest patriot of Southern States. Thus I refer you to gentlemen greater than I for a quiet moment of reflection on this 201st remembrance of his birth.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/greenberg011905.asp

http://miley.wlu.edu/LeePapers/index.html

http://www.civilwarhome.com/leebio.htm

and don't miss Paul Greenberg's annual column on the subject:

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/greenberg011909.php3

God Bless the South, and Robert E. Lee.

As long as we are talking about life lessons, I am reminded of this story my father first told me in the 1970’s.

I was in my early teens, and unlike today, you could drive a tractor trailer with only a ‘chauffeur license.’ I had one of those courtesy of driving a school bus, (yes, I was one of the last generation of 16 year old school bus drivers. Life was simpler then.) Anyway, my very first trip out in our used, well-worn F model Mack was to a nearby factory to move a punch press. For those of you born after NAFTA, a punch press was the backbone of much of the manufacturing industries then, it basically consisted of a huge heavy flywheel attached to a crankshaft and rod, the end of the rod was fitted to a set of metal devices that allowed it to ‘punch out’ a formed part from a roll of sheet metal. This isn’t really important to know, except for this part: punch presses are very big, very heavy, and very, very difficult to move, as most of the weight is off center and very high. Moving one usually requires special equipment like tank rollers, small cranes, heavy fork lifts, etc.

We didn’t have any of the specialized stuff. We had some rope, some bits of pipe, chains and dogs (devices to tighten up the chains) and a grab-bag of the usual hand tools. We also had the loan of a fork lift with driver from the factory, and some tank rollers. That was all. As we started the process of moving the huge press one of the first things I noticed was that any time the fork lift tried to lift the press, the rear end of the fork lift would rise up off the ground. Not surprising, as the press probably weighed in excess of 10,000 lbs, and the fork lift was rated for 4,000 lbs. About this time I ventured the opinion that life would be a lot easier if we’d just call the nearest crane service and ask them to come over and lift that puppy up and plunk her down on the trailer, and save us a lot of work. There in came this story, as told by my dear old dad, after we had the press loaded.

Years ago, dad told me, this very same factory decided to replace one of the larger presses in the press room with an even larger, higher capacity model. The existing one was huge, so much so that it was housed in a pit some 4 or 5 feet deep inside the building, so that it would fit under the roof with some room to spare. The newer, bigger model would fit in the same pit, barely, but there would not be room enough for the rigging required to drop it into the pit. The company engineers were called, and asked for opinions on how to best get the massive machine into the hole. Two crane operators were also there, one local with rather small lifting capacity, and one from a nearby city with a huge crane. The consensus was they had two choices: the local company could use two cranes, one on each end, and cut a hole in one side of the building to allow the cranes to sling the machine into place and lower it into place. The engineers weren’t really crazy about this method, as it would shut down the plant for at least a day and the cost of cutting a hole in the building, etc. would be high.

The larger company’s crane could lift the press by itself, but to sling it into position would require a large hole cut in the roof, where by the crane could winch the press inside, lift it, and drop it neatly into place. Only the press room would be shut down during this procedure, but the roof would be very expensive to repair, never mind a hefty bill for the crane itself.

About this time one of the employees of the tool and die department spoke up, and told the engineers he could rig the press in place in one day, without disrupting plant activity, no holes in the roof or wall, and for a fraction of the price quoted by the professionals. Of course the engineers wanted to know how he wanted to do this, but he refused to give any secrets until they agreed to pay him up front, with the understanding if they didn’t like the plan they could ask him to stop and refund the money.

The next day the huge press arrived, on a flat bed trailer much like ours, and the truck was backed neatly up to the loading dock nearest the tool room. Walking was a bit tricky, as the concrete leading from the dock to the pit had been sprayed with water that had turned to ice over night in the cold February weather. There was enough room between the ice paths for a fork lift, and that path had been lightly sanded to give good traction. As soon as the truck was docked, our resourceful rigger was underneath the trailer with a bottle jack, raising the trailer just a few inches to match it perfectly with the dock plate, which was also slick with ice. A good tug with the fork lift, and ever so slowly the massive machine inched slowly over the concrete and toward the pit- which was filed to ground level with blocks and blocks of solid ice, purchased from the local ice company. When close enough, the fork lift switched ends, and pushed the press over the ice and into position. Once in position, several space heaters were fired up and heat directed at the ice to speed up melting. There was some concern about the ice melting evenly, and keeping the machine on an even kneel, but the concerns were unwarranted. The ice melted slowly and evenly, and the water was pumped out as it settled into place. Within a few days the machine was dry, hooked up, and ready for operation.

The moral of the story, dad said, was that you could get more done by using your brain and common sense than by having a bunch of expensive equipment around. He was right, as usual. By the way, the press we were moving that day went on the truck in less time that it would have taken the crane to have shown up, and without any problems.

It has become an all to common headline, so much so that often it is glanced over and forgotten...

Husband Charged in Woman's Death

There are valuable lessons to be learned here, for those willing to pay attention. First, a few money quotes from the story, and follow up stories:

Authorities found Hiatt unresponsive Sunday night with a gunshot wound to her left temple, bound by the legs with a leather jacket in a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado that belonged to her parents, Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson said. They were responding to a 911 call that reported a breaking and entering at Hiatt Asphalt Paving Company, after a neighbor reported seeing someone using a backhoe at the business location at 280 Dusty Lane.

Read a bit further, and you'll find that the murderer was using the backhoe to dig a grave for the still living- barely- victim of the shooting. The rest of the story is all too predictable:

The 19-year-old Hiatt had two small children, Atkinson said. She had been living with her parents.

Hiatt’s estranged husband, 26-year-old Christopher Scott Hiatt, was considered “a person of interest” in the case because of prior domestic disputes, Atkinson said, but authorities were unable to locate him Sunday night.

And finally, the most important, and most predictable:

This is not Hiatt’s first stint in jail. He has several convictions, and accompany jail time, including guilty convictions on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, felony breaking and entering, resisting an officer, carrying a concealed weapon and felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

You may rest assured the usual crowd of anti-freedom zealots will use this tragedy to promote more restrictive gun control laws, ask for more money, and generally do nothing to really help.

I am not going to comment further on that aspect of the story.

Rather, I wish to speak to any young woman (or man) who even thinks they may be in an abusive situation. Pay attention to what this woman did wrong, and make yourself understand that it can happen to you, and if you ignore the warning signs, most likely is will happen to you.

This excuse for a human was a convicted felon. Warning sign number one. Yes, people are wrongly convicted of felonies every day. Yes, people can change, and turn away from evil. But the word several preceding felonies should offer a clue that this wasn't the case. The victim in this case was living back at home with her parents, probably for a good reason. The victim in this case had very recently had cause to charge the murderer with domestic assault, and then failed to show up for the court hearing, FORCING the court to dismiss all charges. That is mistake number two. Of course, a court order rarely changes criminal behavior, criminals by definition do not obey the law, they only obey force, and then only when it is visited upon them in a unavoidable manner.

In point of fact, the murderer in this case took resisting the law to the ultimate extreme: rather than surrender, he took his chances in exchanging gunfire with officers who knew how to shoot, with predictable results. Ironically, he was transported to the same hospital as his victim, via helicopter no less, and given the best medical treatment possible. When stabilized, only then was he charged and taken before a court officer, and transported to a cell to await a fair trial by peers.

Ladies, learn these lessons well: If he yells at you, sooner or later he will strike you. If he strikes you, the next time he will strike you harder. If he threatens to kill you one day, and tells you he loves you the next, you remember that he doesn't really love you, but he absolutely will kill you, perhaps not today, or tomorrow, but soon. Sooner than you think.

After learning these lessons, prepare for protecting yourself, if not for you, for your children. (anybody want to give odds on this SOB getting court ordered visitation with the kids while doing time, and being out while young enough to do it all over again?)

Number One: If you are not in this situation, do anything possible to stay that way. There are worse things in life than being alone. Being with the wrong person is one of those things.

Number Two: If you think it's bad now, don't make it worse. He (or she) won't 'get better' if you marry them. They won't 'stop hurting you' if you try and appease them. And for God's sake, having a baby won't make them act like a parent, any more than jumping in the ocean will make you a swimmer.

Number Three: If you have let things get to the point where violence has occurred, don't back up when the police arrive. Take out that protection order, show up for the court date, and DO NOT be talked into dropping charges. Some abusive spouses will back down when confronted with a court order. Some will not. So you will need to be prepared for number four....

Number Four: Be prepared to stop the force, with force. This young woman was not of legal age to purchase a firearm, but I am sure her parents were. Firearms are not always the best option in this type of case anyway, very few women have the discipline to use lethal force against the father of their children, no matter what the justification. Fortunately there are an infinite number of other things that can be done to protect yourself against a homicidal ex-spouse without lethal force, but they require more forethought. The first is developing a proper attitude to survival. This simply means thinking of avoiding the danger, rather than allowing the attacker to make the rules and pick the situation. This can be as simple as refusing to be near the person, by avoiding former places you used to go to together. Not opening the door when they show up uninvited. Making sure you have friends around when problems are likely. It's not hard to figure out, you just have to decide that you are going to really do it. And that, sadly, seems to be where things get difficult for people like this young woman. Predators always look for the weak, the low self esteem, those that can be dominated easily. That's what makes this such a difficult situation for those in danger. If this is you, wake up. You have only two options, to paraphrase Jose Wales: Get mean- mad dog, crazy mean- or die.

Because if you lose your head, you neither live, nor win.

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