I press Play and step back. I throw a leg over to my bike, it’s 11:59, time for an hour-long slog on the turbo…
BASED ON AN ACTUAL EVENT
I start pedaling. I am looking forward to getting a good sweat on but sure wish I’d be doing that on the road in the 75 degree spring heat…
ONLY THE DEAD HAVE SEEN THE END OF WAR.
[Thinking to myself] “Nice warmup… Easy gear, take it slow for the first five”…
[The camera sweeps over a gaunt man, wrapping a dead body then fades to another covered dead man, this one tied upright to a makeshift wheelbarrow]
SOMALIA – EAST AFRICA
Years of warfare among rival clans causes famine on a biblical scale. [FADE] 300,000 civilians die of starvation.
Mohamed Farah Aidid, the most powerful of the warlords, rules the capital Mogadishu. [FADE] He seizes international [aid] food shipments at the ports. Hunger is his weapon [Ed. So is the AK-47, the villagers have rocks].
I’m well passed warmup pace already and steadily into zone two. It’s been about a minute and a half. I think, “So much for an easy warmup”.
The world responds. Behind a force of 20,000 US Marines, food is delivered and order is restored. [FADE]
Aidid waits until the Marines withdraw, and then declares war on the remain UN peacekeepers.
Beads of sweat are starting to form on my forehead already. I’m averaging about 30 mph and feeling quite good even though the sun is shining and the temps are relatively mild at around freezing. My mind drifts back to summertime. I’m 25 miles into a 35.5 mile ride. I can feel every bump, the texture of the road under my tires. I’m sweating, and I don’t think it’s possible to stretch a bigger smile across my face. I look down to see the blur of rock chips embedded in asphalt whip by. Man, do I miss that… I’m snapped back –
In June, Aidid’s militia ambush and slaughter 24 Pakistani soldiers, and begin targeting American personnel. [FADE]
In late August, America’s elite soldiers, Delta Force, Army Rangers and the 160th SOAR are sent to Mogadishu to remove Aidid and restore order.
The mission was to take three weeks, but six weeks later Washington was growing impatient.
BLACK HAWK DOWN
By now I’m up to speed and not even five minutes in. I’m feeling quite snappy, I’ve already gotten a good day’s work in and I still have a few hours to go after I’m done with my ride…
30 Minutes in and I’ve had a heck of a ride already. Starting to tire a little bit so I shift down a couple of gears and take it easy for a few minutes.
31 Minutes in… [Thinking to myself] “Man, I’ve ridden my ass off. Legs are feeling a little bit cooked. Feet are starting to tighten up a little bit.
32 Minutes in… [Thinking to myself again] “OK, 45 minutes is enough. No mas. 13 minutes to go”.
42 Minutes in… […] “Three minutes to go”.
43 Minutes in… My accountant calls, needs invoices to pay bills ASAP.
44 Minutes in… […] “Maybe I should just finish off the hour… What do I think? Oh, hell no, I’m done“.
45 Minutes in… [Talking to myself now] “F*** You, you’re finishing it. 15 Minutes to go, Our Lady of Endorphins, DON’T FAIL ME NOW“!
1:01 pm I’m drenched, pooped and feel much, much, better. Every once in a while I wind up having to push myself through a workout I was very much looking forward to. Today was one of those days. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been working out, doesn’t matter how fast I can go, nor how slim and trim I am – I have to push through the fuck – as if I was just starting out as a noob.
Oh, and she didn’t fail me. Aaaahhhhhhhhhh. Much better now.
I heard a neat interview with a couple of New York State Senators yesterday evening. New York, being the ultra-blue kiss asses they are, decided to work late on Tuesday night on the silliest gun laws adopted by a State yet – and even, according to the Democrat Senator, may have gone too far! There is a possibility that in their haste, they accidentally forgot to exempt police from the new law (according to the Republican they did forget, according to the Democrat “there is a possibility”). New York, amongst other things, limited handgun magazine capacity to seven rounds down from their existing State Law of ten.
They did, however, grandfather in old magazines. Now I’m not joking here and pay attention, so you New Yorker’s can keep your gun that was legal two days ago, you’re not allowed to keep more than seven rounds in the ten-round magazine, even to protect your home. And if you weren’t flummoxed enough, you also now have to re-register your pistol every five years. Honest to God, it’s a now a crime to keep more than seven rounds in a magazine in your own home if you have a grandfathered gun (this is according to the Democrat, this isn’t a loose interpretation of the law, it’s the real deal folks).
Number One: There’s a 65% chance you found the statement about not exempting police offensive for entirely the wrong reason. Police should be subjected to the same laws we are, with only a possible exemption for SWAT teams (I cover this in my solution later). Also, it should be the law of the land that, unless repelling a foreign invasion or practicing to defend against such, the law of the land applies to military personnel (on or off duty) as well – and I don’t even like that, because if we mistakenly elect a nut to run our government, there will be no stopping him from breaking that law.
Number Two: Pompous, and/or painfully ignorant politicians may actually believe that their legislation will have an effect on what criminals do. What ends up happening is that they make you and I less able to defend ourselves with handgun magazine limits – see number one. It is stupid to limit police to seven rounds because we don’t want our cops outgunned by criminals in a shootout… And therein lies the rub folks… They already know that crooks won’t follow their law by their admitting they should have exempted the police in the first place – they already know that we normal folk will be at a disadvantage in our own homes, but don’t care… In other words, the intention of their law may indeed save a life or two, but it has just as good a chance of costing more innocent lives than it saves.
Number Three: Painfully ignorant politicians believe that it is their job to control those of us to whom they serve, to judge for us where the line should be between the right to bear arms and having military grade weapons, and write laws reflecting their best judgment – this was made clear during that interview I heard yesterday afternoon, again by the Democrat (not surprisingly). This is absolutely wrong. He’s got the relationship bass-ackwards. On a Federal level though let’s look at the same notion: Where in the Constitution does it say that? Hang on, I’ll pull mine out – I just happen to keep two copies in my office… The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed – the Second Amendment is the second shortest Amendment in the Constitution (27 words). The shortest is the Ninth: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people (21 words). There’s one more short one, number Ten: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people (28 words). These Amendments are short for a reason, so there is no confusion (as some would like to feign on a regular and consistent basis).
Number Four (and this is the important one): If I hear one more time, some dopey politician state that you don’t need a 30 round clip to hunt deer, I swear to God, my head might implode (Mr. Hon. Politician, I chose the word implode carefully so you don’t fake getting the wrong idea). The right to keep and bear arms is only framed as a hunting issue as a deception. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is necessary to the security of a FREE State and shall not be infringed… It is written this way because gun owners are final defense of the State from the Federal Government and from foreign invaders. Now our politicians would love nothing more than to lull us all to sleep with their tales of compassion but far too often in history, those tales of compassion are traded for tyranny. The Constitution is designed to make certain that tyranny doesn’t happen here. In that light, this is why the federal government should never have a registry or database of gun owners. Those should remain with the fifty States – period. Same with background checks, by the way, because if the Feds have a list of those who require background checks, they have a list of gun owners. Now, some trade that anonymity for the right to carry a concealed pistol (in my State they have to submit to a FBI background check and also submit fingerprints to a FBI database as a part of that right) – this was a fault of the Administration when the concealed carry laws were signed, though to some it is worth it. So, demand from your politician, as I will, that any legislation requiring “Universal Background Checks” limit the storing of that information to the States only – THIS is why the NRA is against universal background checks by the way – because they give the federal government too much information, and THIS is why keeping even assault rifles should remain legal – so the employer isn’t outgunned by the servant, not the other way around. Just so we can keep this clear, the politicians are the servants in that equation.
The types of weapons allowed and how they are registered are State’s issues, not the Federal Government. This way, if you want to live under the cockamamie legislation that New York crapped out the other day you can – but you also have 49 other choices if you don’t. Also, this is much of why Texas is so perpetually pissed off.
Finally, the question comes down to this, “OK Smartass, how would you do it different”?
Each state determines their own model but something that would work effectively looks like this: Each State has a few levels of permits (just like we have two now – standard and CPL [Concealed Pistol License]), and a different level of background checks for each. The first tier would be home defense . You could limit that to revolvers and magazine limits if you must (no limits under ten to fifteen rounds per magazine, though for manufacturers purposes some kind of uniformity should be demanded by the people of the States). The second tier would be concealed carry licenses. Because the vast majority (and by vast, I mean vast) of CPL holders are outstanding gun owners, magazine size limits drop. The background checks could be done as they currently are, though I would rethink the FBI database or put some strict rules on the existing system. A third tier would be the multi-burst and semi-automatic “assault” rifles. And a final tier would be for full autos… All lists would be purposely be kept from the federal government. The last two license groups could be answerable to a peer review group and regular maintenance of their skills and mental status by attending local peer group meetings (99.7% of which would be guaranteed to be held at a firing range)… Hell, that’s how they work science with scientists. This is not without its problems, a small percentage of nuts would slip through the cracks – but at least it would keep many of the politicians at bay. If one starts sounding a little nutty, the peer group calls for a State review. Finally, there would have to be defined rules as to the storage of tier three and four licenses because we don’t want those weapons falling into the hands of criminals (and this is the part that would have stopped the Connecticut shooting) – I would opt for heavy-duty, lockable safes that only the licensee has the opportunity to unlock – fingerprint analysis safes. These could be checked by setting up an appointment with a local police officer to come out and verify that only the licensee’s fingerprints will unlock the safe – the appointments would only take five minutes, the entire family puts their hands to the fingerprint pads – if anyone of the family’s fingerprints, other than tier three and four licensees, open that safe, the owner is brought up for review and forfeits his weapons and license (at a later date so the officer may leave the home without an altercation). Also, for those final tiers, a separate handgun safe would be allowed for home protection handguns in which family non-licensed family members could access tier 1 weapons for their self-defense. Now, it gets even better, because current fingerprint safes can take several sets… The dealer sets a family safe’s reader to the number of licensees (all of whom would have to be present with license in hand when the safe is delivered or picked up from the gun shop). If the licensee dies, as long as there’s no claim to non-tier three or four weapons in the safe, the safe and the weapons inside get melted down. If there are transferable weapons in the safe, the safe is taken to the gun shop where the safe can be properly accessed (that would be a little tricky obviously) and the transferable weapons are given to the surviving family head.
This way, everybody gets what they want – and the technology is already available for all of this. The police don’t have to worry about silly magazine limits or weapons bans and from the politicians to the NRA to President Obama himself also – as long as we’re all talking about an honest discussion.
Now, lest we all get fired up because I missed something here, I’m just spit-balling. I’m a pretty simple guy and I don’t even mess with any of the guns that would be banned (that’s right, I have no dog in this hunt). The point is, there are common sense solutions beyond bans and silly political circus tricks.