Friday, November 18, 2016

A Dear Friend

My friend passed away the other day. She had struggled with cancer for a long time. She once told me she knew death was inevitable but she never stopped fighting or had a bad attitude. Barb McGuire was one of the few good friends I have made since I left the military. Although she was less than 10 years older than me I always jokingly called her my "work mom."

I first met Barb when I interviewed her for a job as our Human Resources representative. At the time I was managing a security company branch of about 250 employees. We needed a good solid HR presence. Our last HR rep had walked out after a meltdown. Barb was the clear choice and we brought her on board. Barb knew nothing about the security industry but she knew human resources. She eventually learned the industry but she always provided wise counsel from the beginning. Eventually our relationship morphed from boss/employee to coworkers and then to friends. Barb was extremely loyal to me. I value loyalty. Barb always treated everyone with respect even when they did not reciprocate. I value respect. Barb always treated my children and my wife as if they were part of her family. She often said if she had a daughter she would want that daughter to be like mine.

Barb talked me down on days when I was frustrated and on my 50th birthday she had a surprise party in the office. During her last year she missed a lot of work going to chemotherapy. It was also during that year that I moved on from that employer. We did not lose touch and I checked in on her periodically. She never lost her spirit. I am going to miss Barb. The highest compliment one can get on passing is one I have heard constantly since hers. "She was a good person."

Blue skies always Barbie

Barb McGuire Obituary

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

CVO GunTalk Episode 007

New Episode is up!!! We have a disagreement on LEO carry and Ernie is pulled over by the Highway Patrol

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Law of Self Defense

About 6 months ago I read a book called The Law of Self Defense. The author Andrew Branca explains the necessary elements of a robust legal strategy should you intend to claim self defense in the context of the use of deadly force. I thought the book was excellent so when I saw that he was conducting a seminar based on Iowa law in my area I had to attend. I traded to get a day off and registered for the course. 

Andrew himself is an engaging instructor. His seminar was a deeper explanation of the 5 main elements of his book. The elements needed for a successful self defense claim. Innocence,imminence, reasonability, proportionality and avoidance. Mr. Branca drove each point home with specific example from Iowa law and example from other states to illustrate the point. 

His instruction both validated what I already knew and have been teaching in my CCW courses and gave me a deeper understanding of this area of law in my own state.

If you have a serious conversation with yourself and actually think about the aftermath, should you need to use deadly force this training is a must. Read the book, attend a seminar.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence) 2016

I don't usually write movie reviews, in fact I don't think I ever have but this was such a unique experience for me I thought it deserved one. I caught wind of this movie Shin Godzilla while goofing around on Facebook. Immediately I thought "this would be a great movie for me and the boys to go to." The boys being my 33 year old son and my 22 year old son. We don't get to hang out together much as we all work full time and generally on different days. It was perfect though since my oldest likes all things Japanese and my youngest likes Sci Fi and basically anything I like. I of course have a long history with Godzilla dating all the way back to the early 1970's watching the movies be rebroadcast on the "Friday Night Creature Feature" that was on our local PBS station. Godzilla is the monster of my youth.

A quick internet search showed the movie was being shown in a theater about 30 miles from our house. A quick calendar search showed that the only time I would be able to see it was that evening and then only if I cancelled a previous engagement. A flurry of text message between me and "the boys" ensued. I verified they were both off of work for the night. I cancelled my commitment and bought tickets on Fandango. We were set.

What was exciting and unique about this movie was that it had been originally released in Japan in July 2016 and was being released on a limited basis in the US. This was the 3rd reboot of the Godzilla franchise. The other unique thing was is it was entirely in the original Japanese with English subtitles. A smattering of English and German where also spoken during the movie. I was psyched.

We made to to the movie after a short stop for food. Procured our tickets and popcorn and moved to the theater. The theater itself was a smaller venue that I had never been to before. I liked it as it was cozy and the chairs were more comfortable and bigger than the theater I often visit by my house. Surprisingly the place was pretty full. The theater was in college town so the audience was an eclectic mix of college kids, Asian exchange students and locals. We were seated right next to three Japanese guys that undoubtedly were excited to see a new movie in their native tongue.

I wont go into the whole plot of the movie as it would ruin it for others and wikipedia covers it very well in the link above. What I want to talk about is the themes and stuff I enjoyed about the movie. In a nutshell this was an old school Godzilla movie with 2016 special effects. Firstly Godzilla was portrayed as an unbeatable and evil god. This is in line with his original portrayal in the 1954 original Godzilla. Later Godzilla movies showed him as a protector of Japan against other Giant Monsters and towards the end of the original incarnation he got very campy. I liked going back to the first version. The movie also used the beloved human in a "Godzilla" suit and model Tokyo that made the original Godzilla movies so entertaining. No CGI monster here. 

The original Godzilla movies showcased the Japanese angst over nuclear weapons and this version also showed a healthy distaste for and fear of nuclear use. The final solution in this movie was employed to keep the USA from dropping a thermonuclear bomb on Godzilla after all the conventional armament had failed.Speaking of the USA, this movie took repeated jabs at the relationship Japan has with this country. Characters complained of the demanding and arrogant US attitude while at the same time admitting they needed US assistance to deal with this giant monster. I think it was a pretty accurate portrayal of the current Japanese feelings toward the US. Those feelings being frustration at feeling like "little brother" while not wanting to totally discard the warm blanket of US protection. 

Me and "the boys" had a great time. I will probably by this movie if it comes out on video and watch it whenever I need my Godzilla fix.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

CVO Gun Talk Episode 006

Ernie and I switch roles a bit in this episode. I am the one who can't stick to the agenda. Some great discussion on open carry, holster selection and politics

Monday, September 19, 2016

CVO Gun Talk Episode 005

Today we talk about all of the classes that we offer, but beyond that we talk about why they are so important. It's not just "Land the Plane" class it goes way beyond that. Listen in to why, what, and where we make all of this happen. Along with some great discussion about why we do what we do because we're all human and we need to discover why we react the way we do.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Practicing What You Preach

I have a hard time following my own advice sometimes. It is a constant struggle for self improvement and to not be hypocritical. But over 2000 years ago Seneca knew what time it was.

This podcast by Tim Ferriss is a quick 15 minutes reminder to practice what we preach.

Tim Ferris: The Tao of Seneca-Practice What You Preach

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kiss Take Shot At Colin Kaepernick - Honor Veterans, Say Pledge, Play Na...

I have been a member of the KISS Army since 1977. Classy classy guys. YOU WANTED THE BEST YOU GOT THE BEST!!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Always Have a Spare Innertube

As anybody that follows this blog or my other blog (all 3 of you) knows I am a self defense instructor, second amendment advocate and concealed carry supporter. That being said my little secret is I can't/don't carry my firearm all the time or everywhere. Obviously there are locations where it is illegal to do so. There are also places where it may not be illegal but carrying a concealed firearm would have negative repercussions for me. At my place of employment for instance. However I have always carried whenever or wherever feasible.

Recently I was making plans for a business trip to a neighboring state. I was going to drive and to get there I would have to pass through the notorious anti gun state of Illinois and then two other states where my permit was honored. I dutifully printed out the laws as they pertained to concealed carry in all the states I would be driving through including Illinois. After reading the accumulated 50 pages of do's and don't, the whens and wheres and the yeses and no's I started seriously considering leaving my firearm at home.

The conflict was real. I have never thought of the firearm as a magic talisman or the end all be all of self defense. It is just part of my holistic approach to self defense which includes, pointy things, stabby things, medical skills and hands on/unarmed skills. There was a very real possibility my firearm would spend a lot of time locked in a small portable gun safe during the trip. Either because it was illegal to carry or I would need to have it elsewhere during training. Would I even need it or miss it? It was going to be a real pain in the ass.

A few days before my trip I went for a mountain bike ride with a friend. On these rides I generally carry a small hydration bladder with water. Since we mainly ride gravel I also generally take an extra innertube and some tools. On this ride though I decided against them. I have never needed them before and we were only going to ride a few hours.About halfway through our ride as we were talking about my dilemma as it related to my trip I started hearing a clicking sound. With in a hundred meters my rear tire made a large popping sound and went flat. Out of the blue I had gotten a flat. And of course I had no innertube. Luckily there was a straight route back to my vehicle on the shoulder of the highway. Lucky because it was straight but it was also almost 4 miles of the walk of shame as I pushed my deflated bike.

I had a lot of time to think during this little hike. I thought, how although the gun was not the end all be all, it had always been my feeling that carrying a firearm is a responsibility that should be exercised. I thought about how I couldn't let the bureaucrats win. I couldn't let them bury my right of self defense under reams of legal restrictions. But more than anything I thought about how you don't carry a gun for when you think you need it. You carry it for when you think you won't. Just like a spare innertube. By the time I got to my car I had made up my mind. I think you know what my decision was.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Go Ruck Light Des Moines 8.13.2016 Class 1264

I first heard of GoRuck about 2 years ago. GoRuck is a gear company founded by Special Forces Soldiers that primarily specializes in guess what? That's right rucksacks. To better promote their product through "good livin" GoRuck "cadre" facilitate a variety of rucking/selection style events around the country. The events are patterned on Special Forces selection and are of varying lengths and time durations. Check out the website at . Anyway ever since I heard about the events I wanted to try one. So finally I signed up for the shorter event the GORUCK Light. It is billed as a 4-5 hour event where you will ruck 7-10 miles. There is a minimum packing list and ruck weight requirement. There is also the requirement to bring a team US Flag with a pole that can support "the weight of freedom" and a team weight. About 2 days before the event our cadre, Cadre Cleve posted a overhead photo of our starting point along with the departure time. Thats it, reminds me of when I went to selection and they would write stuff on the white board with no explanation.

Google maps made it pretty easy for me to identify the start point as the beach at Greys Lake in Des Moines Iowa, and off I went. I arrived about 30 minutes early and saw a few folks that were obviously there for the same purpose. I got dressed, peed about 30 times because I was hydrated,nervous or old. I leave the reason up to you to decide. I grabbed my ruck and the flag that I had brought and went to the formation area. At 1400 15 of us lined up in two ranks and laid out the contents of our ruck for inspection. Cadre Cleve and Cadre Zak inspected us and told us to ditch any watches or phones. They would not be needed. Once we were packed back up two Team Leaders were designated and off we went. I was carrying the flag initially. I forgot to mention that our instructions were to get to a certain way point about 2 miles distant in under 40 minutes. Also in addition to our rucks we had a 120 lb sandbag, an 80 pound sandbag, two 60 pound sandbags and our 15 pound team weight that also needed to accompany us for the entire journey. We also had to stay within one arms length of the person in front of us.

I won't describe every step but suffice to say that many memories were brought back as we constantly rotated through carrying the heavy sandbags in addition to our rucks. I truly felt as if I was back in selection at least for those 5 hours. The crushing weight got heavier and heavier as we marched farther and farther. We eventually incurred the additional task of carrying one of our teammates and their ruck as a "casualty." I could see fatigue starting to make cowards of a few people as they were slower and slower to rotate in. Taking just that few extra seconds of a break. I also saw some studs who stepped up and shouldered more than their fair share. about a third of the way through we stopped for a PT session which culminated in about 100 yards of bear crawls and crab walks. This kicked my butt and it ended up for me being crab ass drags.There was also a brief talk about leadership during this "break."

A little further along the cadre stopped and had us link arms. We all walked about knee deep in a random pond. There they had us do more PT in the water or a "hydrological survey". I actually enjoyed this as the water did wonders to cool me off on a hot day. Little by little we wound our way back to the start point. About a mile out the cadre informed us we had 8 minutes to make the end point. So after pushing along for 4 hours we had to push harder to make the linkup time. At that point I was again carrying the flag and I was running with it like a guidon as my teammates followed close behind carrying the sandbags on their backs.

Once we finished we again lined up in ranks. The cadre handed us our GoRuck patches and we took a team picture. After I got my patch I coined Cadre Zak. All Go Ruck Cadre were in Special Operations as I was. Cadre Zak in his intro talk had said he had spent his career in 10th SFG(A). My old unit. He was shocked. Cadre Cleve looked at me and said "way to be the grey man." This was a compliment as it meant I had not been a spotlight Ranger nor had  I drawn attention to myself by being a slacker. No higher praise for a special operator. After wards Cadre Zak and I exchanged bonafides,war stories and "hey do you know this guy?" until I had to leave.

All in all this was a fun event. I will probably be doing another one in the future. I am looking for competitive events to replace my ultrarunning as it looks like my body won't allow me to do that any longer. But I still have the desire to compete if only against myself. As Cadre Cleve said "Just because it is light doesn't make it easy."

Monday, August 8, 2016

There is a Funeral Today

 There is a funeral today. A funeral that I should be at but can't. A funeral that shouldn't be taking place. My friend Grahm Geigle is being laid to rest. Grahm left us a week ago suddenly. I am not sure why what happened, happened but it was life cut short way too young. Grahm was a Father, Service Connected Disabled Veteran,Volunteer and he was my friend.

I first met Grahm through a veterans service organization called Team RWB. I was one of the founding members of the eastern Iowa chapter and Grahm contacted me after he inquired about joining. We conversed over email and phone and eventually he became a field team leader in his area and our Veterans Outreach Director. We would meet every few months and go for a run and talk about life. Usually we ran along the Mississippi River early in the morning before the sun came up. It showed Grahm's dedication that he would meet me at 0430 in the AM before he had to go work at the Rock Island Arsenal. After Grahm's military service he worked as a civilian on the Arsenal still helping military members.

And that is what embodies Grahm's life. I have not found one person he ever interacted with that has said anything but what a wonderful guy he was. And he was passionate about our nations veterans. Besides Team RWB, Grahm was also involved with Team RubiconWounded Warrior ProjectLive Uncommon and other charitable organizations. Grahm was a force of change in his community and in the veteran's community in eastern Iowa.

I am going to miss my friend. I feel that I should have been there for him and somehow we have failed him. I charge you to get involved in your community. Do it for Grahm, do not let his memory fade away.

Blues Skies my friend see you on the high ground.