Wednesday, January 4, 2017

CVO Gun Talk Episode 010

CVO Episode 010

Topics today are does the gun world want to actually train? Hear Mike's response to this! Be humble and train because the bad guys do train. Words to live by, relentless forward progress! Is is socially acceptable to run a 5k while smoking? And don't miss Mike's story on parachuting while in a gorilla mask and smoking!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 by the numbers

Image result for 2016
 6th year in a row for this post. Its fun to look back and see how the direction of my life has changed. Definitely less physical and more work this year. I need to work on that balance 2017. 

Running,biking,hiking, martial arts

Total miles-441 about half of last year which was half of the year before. I need to do some prioritization. But hey it isn't zero

Running/Hiking- 260.6 miles These are together as I started getting into rucking as a way to move and not irritate the Chuckster (my right achilles tendon)

Biking- 95.86 I like biking. I did some good gravel rides with CJ this year

Walking/Hiking- 54.42 more ruck miles that were categorized differently

Krav Maga and Brazilain Jiu Jitsu- 
I started CKM last December and average about 3 sessions a month. I have progressed to level 1 in that time. I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in August and also go about 2-3 times per month. I am still a very inexperienced white belt. I hope that this helps me stay in shape and just keeps me active and a smidge more dangerous. 


I did not keep as good of track of my races as I did in the past. Honestly I am not sure exactly how many I did but here is my best guess. Its in line with my previous running activity this year

1- GoRuck Light
1-Half Marathon ( Shuetzen Nein I ran half of it)
1-Trail 10K
3- Virtual 5K

EMS - I quit my job in March to work as a Paramedic full time. I doubled my call volume from last year. I ran just short of 400 calls for the year between the three agencies I work at. I also started teaching EMS classes at a local community college.

Shooting and Training
This year saw me expand my shooting and training activities. I started my own company and conducted quite a bit of training. I attended and conducted training

Shooting classes I took-2
Other classes I took-4
Instructor Credentials Obtained-2
Handgun training classes taught- 11
CCW classes taught- 10
Carbine Classes taught-3
Active Shooter Response classes taught-1
Medical Classes taught- 5
CPR classes taught- 10

Random Numbers

Years since Army Enlistment-34
Years since Army retirement-11
Years since Graduating Ranger School- 28
Years Since Graduating Q Course-26
Years since becoming MFFI356- 21
Number of jobs quit since retirement-3
Number of jobs I currently have-3 (4) if you count my training business
Number of LEO agencies I work for-1
Number of EMS agencies I work for-3

2016 was busy busy busy

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


I got my first patch sometime in the 1970's. I was a Cub Scout and it was my den number on my shoulder. During my years as a Cub Scout my drive to collect badges and patches was unquenchable. I spent entire weekends as an elementary school kid working on merit badges requirements. Eventually I received the Order of Light and acceptance as a Webelo the highest badge or patch you could obtain prior to Boy Scouts.

Fast forward 20 years. During my military career you could readily tell a man by the patches he wore on his uniform. You could identify what unit he was currently assigned to, if or with who he had been in combat with, Special skills, rank etc... Everything was right out in the open to see. The military definitely judges a book by their cover and opinions were often formed and assumptions made before even getting to know an individual based on these patches. Once again I was a high achiever and was awarded many patches,tabs and badges that others were not. I was a member of an elite unit and operated with them for the majority of my career. Then I retired.

That brings me to today. I have been thinking about the new year. I have been retired from the military going on 13 years however I still think about it almost everyday. Many people know me and make assumptions about me based on what they perceive my military experience was. However I have come to realize I am no longer that guy. Sure my experiences affect my personality and decision making but ask me to jump out of a plane or calculate a demo charge and I am in most respects no better than a beginner at this point. Certainly not a subject matter expert any longer. I am patchless.

I have continued to try and fill that void however. I ran ultramarathons for a few years until an injury sidelined me. I still dabble but have looked at other physical pursuits such as hiking. I have gained some weight, pizza and I have a long and sordid history. I still try to move consistently and regularly.

I have started martial arts in the past 2 years, due to my rotating work schedule and training calendar I cannot attend as often as I need to but I have been participating in Commando Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu just long enough to realize I don't know shit.Always a good workout though. And you get just a smidge more dangerous every time.

I have worked as in EMS for 10 years and as a Paramedic for going on 3. I continually try to become the SME in this area that I used to be in military subjects. I have realized a small measure of competence but the struggle is continual and unending.  I think the best we can do in life is continue to train, continue to improve our position. Try new things and not be afraid to put yourself out there. I will continue to persevere in these areas. 

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.