Monday, April 30, 2007

A Lesson Not Learned

On April 12th, Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey was in a motorcade, kroozin' with his lavishly-paid posse, along the Garden State Parkway, on his way to a photo op involving the Don Imus Apology Tour and the Rutgers University Women's Baxabaw team. Apparently, he was running late, as his motorcade was travelling at 91 mph when a man in a pickup unknowingly caused a collision in which the Governor, having eschewed the use of a seat belt, was critically injured. He feels our pain.

Today, after having spent hundreds of thousands of New Jersey taxpayer dollars putting his mangy butt back together, he has been released from the hospital, according to this NY Times story. His minions have spent many thousands more revising the Governor's mansion and his vehicles to suit his wheelchair-bound carcass while he finishes healing and rehabbing.

During a ridiculously self-serving, carefully orchestrated ceremony at the entrance to the hospital, Corzine apologized for all the traffic laws broken by himself and his staff, and for the poor example exhibited. There's been no word regarding citations issued.

Afterwards, he and his posse formed another motorcade and drove back to the Governor's mansion at 70mph (on the 55-65mph Parkway). Looks like the Governor hasn't yet internalized lessons learned.

And, it looks like traffic laws are just for us schlubs.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,
Col. Hogan

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Of Roads and Highways

Construction is my life. I work in the quality assurance/quality control area. My current job is to test and evaluate soils and materials used in soil grading operations, foundation engineering and road and parking lot construction. At various times in the past, I've done field inspection and testing of these soils, as well as asphalt pavements and concrete structures in highway construction and flood control projects.

I've worked for CalTrans, the Orange County (Calif) Road Department, The US Army Corps of Engineers, and five different private construction quality control firms. I also worked for a couple of private land surveyors in my youth--when we used manual levels, transits and chains.

My background includes parts of Interstate 5 in the mountains north of Los Angeles, Interstate 405 in the Irvine Ranch area, a major subdivision survey in Riverside County that resulted in the bedroom community of Moreno Valley, a survey of the Orange County Line from the ocean at Seal Beach, through the mountains and finishing at the ocean just south of San Clemente. My work aided in the construction of numerous housing subdivisions, business parks and condo/apartment projects in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties. I did quality assurance and field inspection on two large flood control projects, one in Riverside County and the other in San Bernardino. I did the same thing on the Santa Ana River rebuild in Orange County and the Seven Oaks Dam, in the San Bernardino Mountains.

This might seem like a sort of resume, except that I'm a lot closer to retirement than I am to seeking another job. Unless someone makes me an offer I can't refuse, I'll probably retire from my current position.

I've contemplated retirement a lot lately, and have very mixed thoughts. On the one hand, I can do some other things for which I haven't really had enough time while working full time. On the other, how can I quit work that I very much enjoy doing?

I suppose there's a connection: I also love to drive. I can spend hours cruising the streets of the Valley, Los Angeles, and Orange County. I also like driving the freeways, though I do get impatient if traffic is too slow, too long. It takes me forty minutes to get to or from work normally, but it has taken me as much as three hours on a couple of occasions. I hate it when that happens.

Last fall, Debbie and I went to Las Vegas for the Liberty Magazine Editor's Conference. Eschewing the airlines (I won't allow low-level federal parasites inspecting my nether areas), and AmTrak (most of whose trip is actually on a bloody bus, even though there's a perfectly good rail track right to Las Vegas from Los Angeles. Aside: one can only marvel at the short-sightedness of AmTrak, not to have rail service between LA and Las Vegas.

I drove. I thoroughly enjoyed it. We left LA at midnight. There is absolutely nothing like driving through the Southern California desert in the wee hours on a cool autumn night. Almost no one on the highway but eighteen-wheelers. The drive was almost as much fun for me, as the time we spent in Las Vegas!

I also enjoy driving 'pon roads that I helped build. I did quality control testing on many of the arterial boulevards criss-crossing the hills of southern Orange County. There was very little there, back in the early 1970's when we built these roads. Orange groves. Thirty-odd years later, they are still in very good shape.

Why am I blathering on about my own checkered past? Well, because I want to, and it's my blog. I hope it'll prove interesting to some few of you. I'll soon return to being my nasty, hypercritical, cynical self.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Enough Guns -- Four Tales With "Happier" Endings

I remember these stories from when they were originally reported, having been prompted by the following.

It took place at a university in Virginia. A student with a grudge, an immigrant, pulled a gun and went on a shooting spree. It wasn’t Virginia Tech at all. It was the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, not far away. You can easily drive from the one school to the other, just take a trip down Route 460 through Tazewell.

It was January 16, 2002 when Peter Odighizuwa came to campus. He had been suspended due to failing grades. Odighizuwa was angry and waving a gun calling on students to “come get me”. The students, seeing the gun, ran. A shooting spree started almost immediately. In seconds Odighizuwa had killed the school dean, a professor and one student. Three other students were shot as well, one in the chest, one in the stomach and one in the throat.

Many students heard the shots. Two who did were Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges. Mikael was outside the school having just returned to campus from lunch when he heard the shots. Tracy was inside attending class. Both immediately ran to their cars. Each had a handgun locked in the vehicle.

Bridges pulled a .357 Magnum pistol and he later said he was prepared to shoot to kill if necessary. He and Gross both approached Odighizuwa at the same time from different directions. Both were pointing their weapons at him. Bridges yelled for Odighizuwa to drop his weapon. When the shooter realized they had the drop on him he threw his weapon down. A third student, unarmed, Ted Besen, approached the killer and was physically attacked.

But Odighizuwa was now disarmed. The three students were able to restrain him and held him for the police. Odighizuwa is now in prison for the murders he committed. His killing spree ended when he faced two students with weapons. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.

You wouldn’t know much about that though. Do you wonder why? The media, though it widely reported the attack left out the fact that Bridges and Gross were armed. Most simply reported that the gunman was jumped and subdued by other students. That two of those students were now armed didn’t get a mention.

James Eaves-Johnson wrote about this fact one week later in The Daily Iowan. He wrote: “A Lexus-Nexis search revealed 88 stories on the topic, of which only two mentioned that either Bridges or Gross was armed.” This 2002 article noted “This was a very public shooting with a lot of media coverage.” But the media left out information showing how two students with firearms ended the killing spree.

He also mentioned a second incident. And while I had read many articles on this shooting for an article I wrote about school bullying not a single one mentioned the role that a firearm played in stopping it. Until today I didn’t know the full story.

Luke Woodham was a troubled teen. He felt no one really liked him. In 1997 he murdered his mother and put on a trench coat. He filled the pockets with ammunition and took a handgun to the Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi. In rapid succession killed two students and wounded seven others.

He had the incident planned out. He would start shooting students and continue until he heard police sirens in the distance. That would allow him time to get in his car and leave campus. From there he intended to go to the nearby Pearl Junior High School and start shooting again. How it would end was not clear. Perhaps he would kill himself or perhaps the police would finally catch up with him and kill him. Either way a lot more people were going to get shot and die.

What Woodham hadn’t planned for was the actions of Assistant Principal Joel Myrick. Myrick heard the gun shots. He couldn’t have a handgun in the school. But he did keep one locked in his vehicle in the parking lot. He ran outside and retrieved the gun.

As Myrick headed back toward the school Woodham was in his vehicle headed for his next intended target. Myrick aimed his gun at the shooter. The teen crashed his car when he saw the gun. Myrick approached the car and held a gun to the killer who surrendered immediately. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.

So you didn’t know about that. Neither did I until today. Eaves-Johnson wrote that there were “687 articles on the school shooting in Pearl, Miss. Of those, only 19 mentioned that” Myrick had used a gun to stop Woodham “four-and-a-half minutes before police arrived.”

Many people probably forgot about the shooting in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. It was a school graduation dance that Andrew Wurst entered to take out his anger on the school. First he shot teacher John Gillette outside. He started shooting randomly inside the restaurant where the 240 students had gathered.

It was restaurant owner James Strand, armed with a shot gun, who captured the shooter and held him for police. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.

It was February 12th of this year that a young man entered the Trolley Square Shopping Mall, in Salt Lake City. The mall was a self-declared “gun free zone” forbidding patrons from carrying weapons. He wasn’t worried. In fact he appreciated knowing that his victims couldn’t defend themselves.

He opened fire even before he got inside killing his first victims immediately outside the front door. As he walked down the mall hallway he fired in all directions. Several more people were shot inside a card store immediately inside the mall. The shooter moved on to the Pottery Barns Kids store.

What he didn’t know is that one patron of the mall, Kenneth Hammond, had ignored the signs informing patrons they must be unarmed to enter. He was a police officer but he was not on duty and he was not a police officer for Salt Lake City. By all standards he was a civilian that day and probably should have left his firearm in his vehicle.

It’s a good thing he didn’t. He was sitting in the mall with his wife having dinner when he heard the shots. He told her to hide and to call 911 emergency services. He went to confront the gunman. The killer found himself under gun fire much sooner than he anticipated. From this point on all his effort was to protect himself from Hammond, he had no time to kill anyone else. Hammond was able to pin down the shooter until police finally arrived and one of them shot the man to death. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.

In each of these cases a killer is stopped the moment he faces armed resistance. It is clear that in three of these cases the shooter intended to continue his killing spree. In the fourth case, Andrew Wurst, it is not immediately apparent whether he intended to keep shooting or not since he was apprehended by the restaurant owner leaving the scene.

Three of these cases involved armed resistance by students, faculty or civilians. In one case the armed resistance was from an off-duty police officer in a city where he had no legal authority and where he was carrying his weapon in violation of the mall’s gun free policy.

What would have happened if these people waited for the police? In three cases the shooters were apprehended before the police arrived because of armed civilians. At Trolley Square the shooter was kept busy by Hammond until the police arrived. In all four cases the local police were the Johnny-come-latelys.

Consider the horrific events at Virginia Tech. Again an armed man enters a “gun free zone”. He kills two victims and walks away long before the police arrive. He spends two hours on campus, doing what is unknown. He then enters another building on campus and begins shooting. He never encounters a police officer during this. And all the students and faculty present had apparently complied with the “no gun” policy of the university. So no one stopped him. NO ONE STOPPED HIM! And when he finished his shooting spree 32 people were dead. It was the killer who ended the spree. He took his own life and when the police arrived all they dealt with were the dead.

I recall these stories in the news when they happened. I recall that when the national msm reported them, they omitted mention of the fact that guns were involved in the ending of the crisis. The reason I learned that , for example, Messrs Gross, Bridges, Myrick, and the others used privately-owned firearms to stop the thugs, was that I learned it later from either cable news or the internet. These sources make the local news stories available and don't depend on the editing skills of the New York Times and the AP, et al.

I'm not sure about the origins of the above report,and I don't personally recall the Pearl, Mississippi story but, in my recollection, the rest of the article is essentially correct. Also, there are several comments about it on RKBA sites.

A tip of the battered grey fedora to The Wine Commonsewer for the heads-up.

They've killed Freedom! Those Bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, April 16, 2007

Not Enough Guns--Yet Again

It's very sad that I have to write about this again, so soon. It's even more sad that this scummy bastard was able to kill and injure as many individuals as he did.

I never concern myself much about why these subhumans do the things they do. Suffice it to say that the sooner they're dead, the better. As author L Neil often says, "The best death penalty is the one carried out by the presumed victim, in self defense, before the killer can fulfill his nefarious plan." Or words to that effect. Unfortunately, that was not what happened at Virgina Tech on April 16, 2007.

I happen, as many of you know, to be of the opinion that many, perhaps most, mass shootings would be nipped in the bud--maybe prior to the first murder--were there someone nearby with a handgun and the ability to use it effectively.

Educational facilities have the misfortune to have been declared "gun free zones," by the government. Basically, this means that anyone bent 'pon murder will find it a safe area in which to carry out his killings. In the case of the Virginia Tech massacre, the evil and plumb loco Cho Seung-Hui was able to murder thirty-two individuals before committing suicide. Most likely, were it general knowledge that students and faculty could legally carry concealed weapons on campus, many of these guys wouldn't even try. Suicidals, like Cho, don't care. With animals like them, well, they simply have to be stopped. Unarmed students and faculty, cowering under their desks, won't stop him.

If I seem cold, it's because I'm angry. I'm angry that thirty-two individuals, most of them young students, some of them heroic, were killed by a crazed misfit who didn't even have the common decency to go off into a corner by himself and blow his brains out in private.

According to a link provided by Samizdata, a Virginia state house bill, HB1572, that would've allowed concealed carry of firearms on school campi by individuals with permits, was introduced a little over a year ago. The bill died it committee, as reported by the Roanoke Times here. Had this bill passed, we might've seen a very different outcome of the Virginia Tech tragedy.

On the other hand, presenting the pro-let-the-killer-do-whatever-he-wants position, Virginia Tech Associate Vice President Larry Hincker, defending the university's victim-disarmament policy of banning guns on campus last summer, said, "Guns don't belong in classrooms. They never will. Virginia Tech has a very sound policy preventing same." I wonder if he still holds that position.

The US federal government, so far unable to eliminate the Second Amendment and enforce an outright ban on privately-owned firearms, has worked with state and local governments to hamstring private individuals, making effective self defense very difficult (in some cities and states, impossible). Governments of many other countries seem to actually want to see their honest citizens victimized by criminals.

Ok, harsh words. These are harsh words directed against those who are seemingly ok with the occasional killing of several students in places where self defense is deliberately and explicitly not allowed.

I don't think my anger is unjustified.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus In The Dustbin

Don Imus used to be on radio in El Pueblo de Los Angeles, but was replaced three or four years ago, I guess because of ratings. I listened to him pretty often, because he had quite a few political and media personalities on his show that could be heard no where else--or maybe not very often. He has a (usually) good sense of humor and had a lot of really funny comedy bits on the show.

Over a week ago now, Imus told a joke that was not well-received by the left, by the so-called black leadership and by the Rutgers University women's baxabaw team. The Rutgers women, of course, have every reason to be angry and hurt--or, they might just consider the source: a fairly articulate but not overly intelligent talk show host of whom they've never previously heard. Then, they could chuckle derisively and move on.

One thing that disturbed me is the quote I heard from one of the athletes, whose name wasn't given (apparently athletes are considered interchangeable sub-beings in leftist msm circles): "His statement diminishes our achievement," or words to that effect. Either this young woman is mining for tv face time and a possible lawsuit and book deal, or she's taking Don Imus and his clumsy attempt at a joke way too seriously. Everybody gets insulted from time to time. These young ladies, like all athletes, have suffered far worse countless times in the arenae of their opponents.

There's no doubt that Imus' firing is justified. He's used racial and ethnic insults for a long time, against many ethnicities. The object of most of his insults were politicians and other individuals in the public eye, and were delivered along with some occasionally justified criticism of their behavior. This time, however, he insulted a group of young college athletes who are not in the public eye, except for their identity as a sports team. A winning sports team, who were runners-up in the national women's college basketball championship. Certainly this group doesn't deserve, individually, or as a group, to be called "nappy-headed hos." Imus' sponsors ran away from him, and his radio and tv networks saw the writing on the wall. All this as the result of the accusatory blatherings of (mostly) a couple of hypocritical charlatans, pseudo-preachers Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, whose own personal histories are more than a little checkered in the area of racial and ethnic bigotry.

I stop short of regarding this appellation racist, though, for a couple of reasons. First, not all of the Rutgers female baxabaw players are black. I distinctly spotted two white faces in their team photo. Second, I'm continually hearing these and other epithets, some worse, used by blacks--not only in face-to-face interaction, but in movie and tv dialog and most often, in music lyrics. Words and phrases used that routinely in public discourse an hardly be the stuff of racial insult. In an old pop tune, Stevie Wonder referred to his younger self as a "nappy-headed boy."

What I now worry about is that every actor, journalist, talk show host or other celebrity being discredited or otherwise condemned for a careless word or phrase. Or maybe, if this nascent crusade goes far enough (and it might) even result in condemnation of the average person who's heard to tell an off-color or ethnic joke in the wrong company. If you've ever attended a sexual harassment lecture, you realize what might happen and how easily it can happen.

As that sweet lush, Joan Rivers , often says, "Oh, grow up!"

Remember the First Amendment, and keep it wholly.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Yet Again, Another Case of Not Enough Guns

She got a little to close to this unstable individual, too soon. Only after they'd moved in together did she find out about his uncontrollable fits of anger. After his propensity to physical abuse showed itself, she moved out. The man, unable to let it go, began threatening to commit suicide. He threatened her and threatened to harm members of her family, and even her pets.

She got a restraining order and changed her phone number. Rebecca Griego was afraid for her life.

She worked at the University of Washington. Because U of Washington is an educational facility, it's illegal to carry firearms or other weapons on campus.

Yesterday, Jonathan Rowan murdered Rebecca Griego at her workplace, then committed suicide. Apparently Mr Rowan was unaware of the fact that weapons are banned on school campi.

According to an AP story here, her boss said, "She did everything that a person in her situation could have done, other than leaving town."

Well, she didn't do everything.

As early as grammar school, her parents could've enrolled her in martial arts classes. As soon as she could physically handle it, they might've begun teaching her how to handle a firearm safely and how to shoot. Failing that, she could've begun these things herself, as soon as she attained adulthood.

Had Rebecca been capable of defending herself either by means of martial arts or with a weapon, she might very well have been able to successfully defend herself against this subhuman thug.

Had lawmakers been more in touch with the facts of reality, they'd never have banned weapons of self defense on school grounds (or anywhere else). Anyone who wishes to commit suicide, and take a number of others with him, need have no concern. He knows he'll have the only gun. Mr Rowan was free to carry out his evil plan without fear of effective resistance.

Although Ms Griego informed Campus Security and her coworkers of the restraining order and circulated Mr Rowan's photo amongst these same individuals, there was nothing that a disarmed campus could do against a deranged individual bent 'pon murder and suicide. She received no warning.

Sad. Many individuals are scared to death of even the sight of a firearm, but not afraid to set up housekeeping with people they barely know.

An armed society is a polite society.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California