Bucket List – Achievement

I was able to cross off a bucket list item late last night, as the Aurora Borealis made an trek south into my latitudes. It was somewhat disappointing as there was so much fog and overcast that all it did was turn the overcast a bright greenish blue. I think I am technically able to cross this off the list but, I think that I need to keep looking for it.

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Inner Geek

It is time to bring forth your inner geek. Feel the power of the force.

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Eleanor

For those that recall “Gone in 60 Seconds” Nicholas Cage had is Eleanor, a 1967 custom Mustang.  Everyone has their “Eleanor” in whatever hobby the happen to be passionate about.

When we take a look at firearms, there is a variety of weapons that are out there have played a significant role in our history that people are passionate about.  The modern firearms are outstanding tools but they don’t yet have the mystique and mythical stories associated with them that others do.

My uncle and I were speaking about shooting a few months back, and he was proudly telling me that “Everyone of my guns has a story behind it”.  That is pretty cool, mine collection is developing their own stories but it is a work in progress.

If you look back into history, at all of the firearms out there what is your Eleanor.  The one difficult piece that would make your collection whole.

For me I think there might be two:

1.  Thompson Sub Machine Gun.  (Tommy Gun)

800px-Campbell_Thompson

 

The stereotypical firearm that you think of when you think of the “roaring 20’s” and the era of Prohibition.  A firearm that was well used and respected in WWII.  Yeah, I think this is my Eleanor.

A nice article on this piece can be found and TFB The Most Effective Portable Fire Arm In Existence 1925 – The Firearm Blog.

 

2.  The Colt Single Action Army

Introduced in 1873, no Colt revolver has earned greater fame than the Single Action Army®, The Peacemaker®. In design and performance, in line and form, no more sculptural and practical Colt has ever been created

3coltA Single Action Army.  The Peacemaker.  This is Eleanor’s little sister, for me.

What is your Eleanor?

 

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Cool Idea

Where do you hide all your stuff in the house?  Here are a few different ideas for you.

 

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Mobile Killers

Another recent analysis from Active Response.  This time an interesting change in tactics and approach of your active shooter.

Did you know that there was a gunman loose in Paris?

Mobile Killers | Active Response Training.

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Sandy Hook Analysis

It has been almost a year since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Recently the police report on the incident was released.  Over at Active Response training, Greg has broken out some of the highlights of the report and added his professional commentary.  Interesting reading, some interesting things to learn here.

Analysis of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting | Active Response Training.

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Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to our Corps.  238 years of history, tradition, and winning.

 

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When Old Is Again New

It has been 34 years since the fall of the US Embassy in Tehran.  While that is an event that many of us have placed in the dustbins of history, we received a reminder of the event as “tens of thousands” of protesters sought out the site of the former embassy and staged a reminder march.

Protesters waved anti-US banners, chanting “death to America” and “death to Israel”, while burning US and Israeli flags. Effigies of the US president, Barack Obama, his secretary of state John Kerry and the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, could be seen held aloft by protesters.

via Flopping Aces.

I don’t know that we have ever seen Obama burned in effigy before.  I guess that all of the submissive posturing he has done hasn’t been all that effective.

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30th Anniversary of Beirut Bombing

30 years ago today, we woke up to the fact that over 200 of my fellow Marines were killed by a truck bomb.  A truck bomb…now we have the “fancy” term Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED).  In accordance with their rules of engagement, the Marines on the gate had their weapons but they were not loaded.  The concept of dragon’s teeth, and serpentine roadblocks had not been developed (we learned from that lesson).  The Marine compound was at the Beirut airport, and was the same facility and location used by the French peacekeepers before we took over the role.

That morning, I awoke to the news along with every other Marine world wide, AND WE WERE PISSED.  Thirty years later, and I still am.

We look at the middle east and cities like Tehran, Beirut, Baghdad, Tel-Aviv, Riyadh, Amman, Damascus, and so forth and we see an active modern city.  Then we try to apply our “Western” culture and values to what we see, and this is where we fail.  We camouflage and obscure the truth as we apply labels like extremist, or terrorist to individuals or even groups but that is really not accurate.  Since at least the 8th Century, Islamic forces have been in conflict with Christian cultures.  Honestly, you could probably trace this back even further but, in many ways we are in conflict culturally not religiously.  There nature of our conflict, is the willingness and ability of our enemies to violently attack anything.  In recent history the attacks have moved to more symbolic cultural targets.  The “things” that they feel are so wrong with our culture of freedom and forgiveness.  Couple that willingness to do harm, with the tribal organization of the region, the global nature of communications and commerce, and we are left with the situation that we have today of continued violence and conflict not only with the culture of “the west” but also between the tribes themselves.

There is no easy solution.  There is no clean solution.  Our conflict is not one based (primarily) on religion but, is one of culture.  Yes, our conflict may have started as a result of religious differences.  Yes, there are still underpinnings of those differences particularly in the religious symbolism and locations of Jerusalem.  By and large though we are in conflict culturally, and that conflict continues to expand and be asymmetrical (another complex word for a simple concept) and unconventional.

30 years ago I was a young 22 year old Marine who woke up to a very different world than the one from the day before.  So was Cpl. Kirkpatrick, go read his story today 30th Anniversary of Beirut Bombing: Survivor Shares his Story | Marines Blog.

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For Your Consideration

Here is an interesting piece that is a nice reminder of exactly where we sit in our evolution as a nation, and as a culture.  Please give it your thoughtful attention.  I an posting the entire post below for those that are unable to click through.

WHAT U.S. CITIZENSHIP MEANS TO ME

My daughter interviewed me for a college writing assignment. My answers will probably open a can of worms on campus – S.L.

I love Old Glory, the Flag of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

I am an immigrant. I came to this country in 1981 with a suitcase in my hand, and I earned my citizenship the old-fashioned way: military service. Just like the days of the old Roman Empire.

I love this country. There is almost unlimited opportunity here. All you need is an idea and be willing to work real hard and you can be a millionaire. As I write I sit in my favorite room of my house – the Jungle Room – surrounded by the souvenirs and momentos of soldiering on five continents. I have seen people in places where no matter how hard they tried, no matter how hard they worked, they would never lift themselves from poverty and misery. The opportunities simply do not exist over there that we take for granted here in America.

The Jungle Room

I do alright for a retired NCO, we live pretty well and I’m not finished yet. I pointed out to my daughter that everything she sees in this place is because of the opportunities available in America, opportunities that simply do not exist in other countries. I love this country.

Not many people immigrate to the United States from Australia – the two countries are very similar and life there is good like it is here, but it is not the same. I believe a person should love their country, but this is not to be confused with the government running that country. I love Australia, but I saw a few things over there that didn’t sit right with me.

In Australia I saw a man – a university professor – sentenced to three days in prison for the crime of refusing to vote. To me, this is a violation of freedom of speech. Pentridge Prison was one of the most notorious prisons in Australia – since closed – three days in that place was no joke.

I saw a man have his passport pulled and not be allowed to travel outside of Australia, because he was the leader of the Hare Krishnas. He wanted to travel to India to visit the Ashram. The authorities justification for restricting this man’s movements was that they believed the Hare Krishna movement w as a threat to Australian society. So much for freedom of religion.

In 1997, the Australian government implemented draconian anti-gun laws. They rounded up millions of rifles, pistols and shotguns, cut them all in half and burned them. Overnight the Australian government disarmed their law-abiding citizenry; nowadays only criminals can possess firearms in Australia. Australians are forbidden the basic human right of arming themselves in self-defense.

In America we have a contract with the government – the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights lists what citizens can do – our freedoms – and what the government cannot do to us. No other country has this. In every other country in the world, the government tells the people what they can and cannot do. We are the exception to this rule; this is what makes us exceptional. This is American Exceptionalism.

The Bill of Rights has ten amendments; the most important is the 2d Amendment, because it guarantees the other nine. Other than Israel, we are the only remaining country of all the developed, industrialized countries in the world where citizens are allowed to possess and carry weapons for self-defense, a basic human right.

What are my hopes for the next generation? I hope that they have a better life than I have had, and I’ve had it pretty good. I remind my kids of what the great President Reagan said, that freedom must be fought for and defended by every generation. I hope that the freedoms I have enjoyed and fought to defend are there for them. It seems we are losing freedom every day, inch by inch by an ever encroaching Federal government.

Do I feel that I am viewed as a stereotype? Yes, most certainly. We Green Berets joke about it amongst ourselves – they call us Snake Eaters and we embrace this because we do in fact eat snakes. We call ourselves knuckledragging Neanderthals because that is how we feel people perceive us; unsophisticated, brutish.

People see the Gadsden rattlesnake flag on the back of my car and they think I’m a racist political extremist of the TEA Party. This amuses me because I am in a bi-racial marriage, and how can I be an extremist when over 65% of the United States polls for TEA Party policies and sentiments? People would be surprised to know that most Green Berets are bilingual (I speak four languages), that we are of above average intelligence, with unique skills and extraordinary credentials.

Last weekend I went to Washington DC to participate in the Million Vet March on the Monuments. I went in uniform – multi-cam trousers, desert boots, an MIA/POW t-shirt and a Special Forces baseball cap – I couldn’t find my beret. One of the cool things about being retired is you get to design your own uniform. I retired from the US Army five years ago and have never participated in any veteran activity before.

I am not a hero, but I served in the company of heroes.

It was an honor to serve in the greatest Army ever to march across a battlefield. I went down to the monuments to honor and respect the real heroes, the ones who didn’t make it back.

This is my way of saying thank you to America.

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Think about that for a bit, and then answer the question “What does US citizenship mean to you”?
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