About a month or so ago, I was at the local pub and having a casual conversation with someone who had just recently moved to the Sunshine State from western New York. And I'll preface this with believe it or not, I wasn't the one to bring it up, but somehow the topic of gun ownership came up. As the topic turned to daily carrying a firearm, this individual made a comment that stuck out in my head. He said, "Oh I'd never need to carry a gun because I'd never go to a place where I would need one." At first glance, this might look like sound un-controversial reasoning. After all, one of the mantras of gun ownership is, AVOID STUPID PEOPLE DOING STUPID THINGS IN STUPID PLACES. Because no one says, "Well I've got a huge cash deposit to make, let me drive to the branch of my bank that's located in the part of town that has highest crime rates in the county." No one says, "Well it's my new girlfriend's birthday and I'm throwing her a surprise party, perhaps I should invite her repeat felon ex-husband with a restraining order against him." Instead, we just go on about our merry little lives assuming that as long as we color inside the lines, we're going to be safe just like we were yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that.
And these are not unreasonable assumptions to make, when you consider that violent crime is down to its lowest levels in decades -- last year there were 480,360 arrests for violent crimes -- meaning 1 out of every 664 Americans will be the victim of a robbery, rape or homicide. If you assume an average 75 year lifespan, that means 8 our of 9 Americans will live our entire lives without ever once being the victims of violent crime. For us, the concept of violence is something we only read about. But for those unfortunate few, the 1 out of 9, the experience is as unexpected as it is catastrophic.
That's not to suggest we go about our lives with our head buried in the sand, blissfully oblivious to the real world dangers that are out there, however unlikely as they may be. Pick your mass shooting, any mass shooting. Back in 2008, no one in Los Angeles attended a Christmas party expecting to be killed by a man dressed as Santa Claus. And if you think that's a one time thing, think again. And paying attention to recent news, who the hell goes to a Bible study group thinking you'll soon be in mortal danger? Or a Wisconsin Sikh temple? Or a college library? Or a college cafeteria? Or a shopping mall? ... The point I'm trying to drive home is, with the exception of police, no one every starts their day by wondering who is going to be pointing a gun at them in a few hours.
Eight years ago in Colorado, a 24 year-old gunman attempted Matthew Murray a mass shooting very similar to the tragedy that happened earlier this week in South Carolina. The only reason he didn't accomplish his goal? Former law officer and volunteer church security guard Jeanne Assam shot him in his tracks, forcing Murray to turn his gun on himself to avoid arrest. And before any conservatives get too uppity, the church kicked her out after finding out she bats left handed. And shamefully enough, three years ago in the very state of South Carolina itself, we'll never know whether or not Jesse Gates was intent upon murder when he grabbed a shotgun out his truck and entered the Boiling Springs' South Side Freewill Baptist Church, because he too was stopped in his tracks by an armed parishioner. And most of us have never heard of the The Saint James Church massacre which happened in Kenilworth, Cape Town on 25 July 1993, where by four gunmen from the the Azanian People's Liberation Army killed 11 members of the congregation and wounded another 58. Given the gunmen were armed with automatic rifles and hand grenades, the body count would have SIGNIFICANTLY higher had it not been for Charl van Wyk, who returned fire with a .38 revolver, wounding one of the attackers and causing them to flee the church.
Of course I could go on, but I think you catch my drift.
So if you haven't been able to find it, archived copy of the
Unabomber's Dylann Storm's manifesto where he goes on to claim his shooting spree was racially motivated and prompted by the Trayvon Martin shooting. And on a semi-related side note, I was curious to see which media outlet would jump the shark by publishing an article that contained both the phrases "dylann storm" and "stand your ground" and viola -- CBS News for the win. Added bonus? It includes the utterly 100% false statement, "In 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed the 17-year-old high school student in Sanford, Florida, later using the state's 'Stand Your Ground' law in his defense." In fact, here's their article reporting exactly that in April of 2013.
A law requiring background check failed to prevent the Charleston shooting. A law prohibiting drug abusers from possessing a firearm failed to prevent the Charleston shooting. A law establishing gun free zone failed to prevent the Charleston shooting. Several laws against murder and assault failed to prevent the Charleston shooting. And yet there are still people who believe more gun laws would prevent this from happening again? Absolutely shameful.
Steve McQueen died in 1980, and his 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera was his very last special-order car, with most of the details from when it was his intact. The coolest one is probably a switch installed by McQueen himself that could kill the car's rear lights in the event of a nighttime chase when invisibility might be desirable – whether he did this for practical reasons or because he knew it would be cool is unknown. Either way, McQueen's 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera is going up for auction in August.
Next, I was going to send you out in search of a place to enjoy some recreational glory holing, but I don't think that Street View goes where it needs to be. Instead I want you to show me where this photo was taken, so that I can avoid the girl whose creepily small teeth I somehow find quite unsettling.
Hey Ernie, I finally got another one (three now). That chick sporting the cowboy boots and patriotic shirt is in front of Perchis Peruvian Resaurant near the intersection of Crain Highway and Rt. 648. It's only a few miles from my house. I don't recall having tried the food there but I may go and just hang out in the parking lot. Don't forget when you make your drive north, unload and lock up your gun as you make your way through Maryland; they are not gun friendly and don't recognize FL's CCW. I have a summer home up there (my perm residence is SWFL) and I can carry legally through FL (of course), GA, SC, NC, and VA. Safe travels! I'm off to the parking lot! Mike
... and then ...
Disregard that last email about the restaurant (but not the gun precaution). I see where you're looking for the WaWa. That's actually a few miles away from the restaurant in Halethorpe on Alt. Rt. 1 (Washington Blvd) at Exit 10 from the inner loop of I-695 (Baltimore Beltway). The WaWa is only a few months old and doesn't show in the Google street view but you can see the Home Depot in the background of both street view and the picture in the photo spread. Here is the non-street view. Mike
I bought my first x86 based computer at the Sears located just outside Keesler AFB, way the fuck back in 1992. It was a packard-Bell 386SX running at a whopping 20Mhz and had 4Mb of memory; for some reason I want to say it had a 120Mb hard drive, but I'm not entirely sure I'm remembering that correctly. I slowly stepped up my game from that point on, installing a math co-processor and essentially making it a 386DX, then doubled the memory to 8Mb, then stepping up to a 486SX-33, to a DX-33, to a DX2-66 and so-on-and-so-forth. And video cards advanced right along with their CPU counterparts. I still remember my first video card with 512Mb of memory and then the blazingly fast wonder that was VESA local bus. So now that AMD is releasing their new R9 390X with 8GB of 512-bit GDDR5 memory, I just have to sit back and kind of marvel.