Sunday, 4 May 2014

09:36 – Barbara finished over at her mom’s apartment yesterday. She gave her keys to Frances, who still has a few things to pick up today.

Barbara and I will watch the final two episodes of The Shield tonight. It’s an excellent series, albeit grim. In tone, it reminds me of Rescue Me, another excellent series. From what I know of inner-city policing, it seems realistic, with one exception. Over and over again, they have cops entering a dark threat environment with pistols drawn and flashlights on. But they all hold the two very close together, with crossed wrists, putting the pistol and flashlight only inches apart and directly in front of the cop’s head and chest. Does LA really teach its cops to do that? If so, that’s nuts. You should keep the flashlight as far from your head and body as possible, held out at arm’s length. If a bad guy shoots, he’s going to shoot at the light nearly every time. Just as the cop will return fire by aiming just below the muzzle flash of the bad guy’s gun.


38 thoughts on “Sunday, 4 May 2014”

  1. I think I saw most of the episodes of “The Shield” back in the day. Ditto “Rescue Me.”
    Another decent series was “The Wire,” which was sort of a Baltimore sequel to the great “Homicide: Life on the Street,” itself based on a book by a college sociology prof who rode in their cars for a while.

    I usually laugh with both amusement and dismay at the cop tactics portrayed on these tee-vee shows; they’re always bunched up, which is probably so they’ll all fit in range of the cameras or something. And that business with the flashlights; I noticed over the years that a lot of firearms-related marketing involves various types of lighting systems installed on guns, along with lasers and suchlike. I guess I’m a Luddite of sorts when it comes to this stuff; I don’t dig the idea of lighting my location up in a tactical situation and also don’t wanna rely on battery-operated stuff. I remember training with the cops and firing at targets lit by muzzle flashes.

    I would, however, consider using night-vision scopes, but they’re pretty expensive. Somehow we managed back in the day without all these gadgets and gimcracks. My preferred home area self-defense profile is what I mainly trained with: revolver and shotgun. Beyond that, a semi-auto rifle. I see, however, and am sort of lusting for a Kahr Arms CT-45, made in my old 1980s hometown, Woostuh, MA.

    http://www.kahr.com/Pistols/Kahr-CT45.asp

  2. About the best thing I could say about DAO pistols is that they’re marginally better than DA pistols. At least the trigger pull of the DAO pistol is the same each time, which is to say shitty. I remember the first time I fired a DA pistol, a P-38. It was an early-war model, so the fit and finish was excellent. But the trigger pull for the first shot was incredibly bad: extremely heavy and rough, with no idea when it would break. Follow-up shots, fired “SA”, were not bad at all, but I can’t imagine anyone being able to put the second shot on top of the first.

    I still think Browning nailed it with the M1911. There’s never been a better defensive pistol, before or since. I’d trust my Colt 1911 Combat Commander before I’d trust even an S&W, Colt, or Ruger revolver. The 1911 takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

    I’d also be concerned about the “polymer” frame on the pistol you mention. I once bought a Star PD in .45 ACP, thinking to carry it as a back-up piece. It probably would have been fine for that if I’d fired just enough rounds to break it in. But I made the mistake of practicing with it. It simply didn’t hold up. Give me a steel frame every time.

  3. Hmmmm…I will look into it further; I have other firearms priorities right now anyway, and the price was attractive. I’d certainly want the “Commander” barrel length in any case. Good point about the steel frame, too.

    http://www.colt.com/Catalog/SpecialEditions/21stCenturyCommander.aspx

    And I see Colt, like a bunch of others, is still pushing the aluminum alloy and polymer frames. When the time comes, I may look around the gun shows for a used Commander and then kick it up a notch.

  4. The method is authentic – the time and place depicted may not be the most appropriate. For all I know the idea is to keep the character’s face lit The Harries technique is one of the more popular techniques out there, probably the single most popular technique among law enforcement.
    The Harries technique involves holding the flashlight in your weak hand, crossing your weak hand under your gun hand, and then pressing the back of your weak hand against the back of your strong hand.

    The tradeoff is the choice to stay close to the modern technique of the pistol with both hands supporting the pistol.

    I like the 1911 – and carried a 9×23 for a long time. My current carry is S&W M&Pc with an RMR and a laser. I’m not shocked that a P-38 is not the Platonic ideal but I do suggest times have changed.

  5. The problem with the Harries method is that you’re bound to be holding the flashlight and firearm directly in front of your own face and upper torso as you aim at the target. In that case I’d rather have the laser in dark or low-light conditions.

    Indeed times have changed, and not always for the bettuh.

  6. MrAtoz, you be rackin’ up dem tenners right and left, son! Not to worry: the Murkan Gulag will still take you well into yer 90’s; ain’t dat raht neighborly and considerate of dem? If youse knuckle under and doff yer hat enuff, maybe they let youse get easy duty at the uranium mine.

  7. I’d trust my Colt 1911 Combat Commander before I’d trust even an S&W, Colt, or Ruger revolver.

    What? The S&W model 629 is the finest pistol made, bar none. Put .44 specials in there and any wimp, especially me nowadays, can shoot it. Only six shots but wow, what a delivery system for a 200 gr bullet! If we had open carry here in the Great State of Texas, this is the weapon to put on display.
    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_764951_-1_757770_757767_757751_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y

  8. Got the new valuations for both of our properties here in Fort bend County yesterday. They raised our home by 2%, not too bad. They raised our office property by 23%, another 20+% yearly raise, back to back.

    Upon examining their records, I just noticed that they included our large office building twice. Sigh. Now I wonder how long that they have been doing this and I have been paying property taxes on such. Grrr.

  9. @ J Kamp; Steyr makes good stuff; I’d go with the .40 if only for its more common availability.

    “Upon examining their records…”

    I assume you’ve also noticed the huge disparity in how they valuate your dwelling and your business properties, most likely on the theory that they can sweat much more out of the latter, and thus also why they keep jacking it up on you. They’re effing pirates and brigands, is what they are, plain and simple; this is like unto highway robbery.

    And don’t hold yer breath that if you did overpay those times based on *their* erroneous basic arithmetic, waiting to get compensated in some way for that, as in a rebate or simple cash payout. Obviously you ought to get the previous years’ records for this and confront them with it. OTOH, this could also trigger an audit, just to punish you for piping up.

  10. Yah, what OFD said. Haven’t you learned that mistakes in favor of The System have a statute of limitations of one hour and/or you have to follow a precise procedure at your expense for recourse, and even if someone finds that they owe you money you’ll get it back late if at all, and often with a service fee deducted. (I heard a friend-of-a-friend story about the city deducting their legal fees from a refund they had to give someone. I have no idea if it’s true, but the fact that it’s plausible is a big, honkin’ strike against the government.)

    Contrariwise, if The System determines that you underpaid, even through their mistake, you are immediately liable for the money, plus interest, plus penalties. You can fight it at your expense, but have about a 0% chance of winning. And there’s no statute of limitations.

    This continues because there is no penalty for bureaucrats or elected officials to act this way. A friend (Bill Quick) says it will continue until bureaucrats and politicians are fired and fined and lose their pensions. I don’t think that will ever happen — it depends on The System to consistently punish cogs in The System. I think this abuse will continue until bureaucrats and politicians are strung up from lampposts, or at least have their houses burned down around them.

  11. Seen them jokes before a few times; even a recovering English major can get them, mostly because they’re plays on language.

    Agreed with SteveF; the houses need to be burned down and property given over to subsistence farming, with their children as chattel labor. Plus the lamppost scenario on the same street, public, and broadcast on all media. Bodies left up as a warning for a while, depending on climate and weather; YMMV in the Deep South, southwest desert, Sugarland, or up here, where they can probably hang for months and months with no discernible effect.

  12. And don’t hold yer breath that if you did overpay those times based on *their* erroneous basic arithmetic, waiting to get compensated in some way for that, as in a rebate or simple cash payout. Obviously you ought to get the previous years’ records for this and confront them with it. OTOH, this could also trigger an audit, just to punish you for piping up.

    I have 30 days from the date of issuance to contest their valuations or accept them forever. Obviously last years valuations are set in stone and the taxes long paid. I have until May 31 to contest this years valuation and will do so. My property tax on this property is about 1.9%/year.
    http://fbcad.org/Appraisal/PublicAccess/PropertyDetail.aspx?SelectedItem=11&PropertyID=198539&PropertyOwnerID=11447506&NodeID=11

    I just figured out what the extra “4200 ft2 office space” that is valued at $201,820 is. It is a wooden fenced in area next to the warehouse with a gravel surface. No cover.
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=8653+FM+2759+Road,+Richmond,+TX+77469&aq=&sll=29.532905,-95.668677&sspn=0.007151,0.013078&vpsrc=0&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=8653+Farm-To-Market+2759,+Richmond,+Texas+77469&ll=29.532905,-95.6646&spn=0.007151,0.008991&t=m&z=17

    I am sure that is worth about $5,000 at the absolute most.

  13. It’s interesting that you mention the S&W 29. In fact, that particular revolver was what led me to mistrust revolvers. Not that there’s anything special wrong with the 29. As you say, it’s a superb example of its type. The problem, as I found by experience, is a design flaw with revolvers in general.

    It happened to me one day when I was firing premium factory loads, cocking the hammer for each shot. After a couple shots, the hammer refused to cock. The problem was that the recoil had unseated one bullet sufficiently to block rotation of the cylinder. With a 1911, a quick slap of the slide clears a jam and chambers a new round. Not so in this situation.

  14. The first house I bought, twenty years ago, was assessed at slightly over what I paid for it, but not enough to bother with. Then the city came through and assessed at about 190% of what I paid for it. I protested the assessment and they dropped it … by $500. The tax wasn’t dropped $500, the assessment was.

    So I got a real estate attorney and he took care of the protest and showed evidence and blah blah blah and got the assessment reduced to something almost reasonable, like 120% of market value.

    But by the time that decision came down, the new tax rate had been sent to my mortgage company — they were handling the escrow for taxes and property insurance along with the mortgage itself — and “couldn’t be changed”. I was told it would be adjusted the next year … but of course it wasn’t. The tax rate did eventually get reduced, and the new value sent to the mortgage company… just in time for another reassessment and for the whole process to start over. And I never did get a refund of the several extra thousand in taxes I had to pay.

    I would say that Schenectady, New York’s government is staffed entirely by thieving monkeys, but my impression is that most local (and state and federal) governments are pretty much the same.

    This mess did teach me not to have the taxes held in escrow by the mortgage company. It makes it too hard to withhold improper increases.

  15. “…block rotation of the cylinder.”

    Interesting; I just had this nearly identical situation with a Taurus 4″ .357 DA revolver and it was due to the rims on the particular .357 ammo that blocked the cylinder from revolving. Loaded it with different ammo and it was fine.

    And semi-auto pistols have been known to have mag and slide failures, too…

    Hmmmm…interesting advice from SteveF here; we currently have our local taxes sitting in escrow with the mortgage outfit each quarter, but I just read somewhere that assessments may be going up along with the taxes here. Will deal with it accordingly, thanks for the reminder.

    “… my impression is that most local (and state and federal) governments are pretty much the same.”

    Yes. Thieving monkeys, parasites, whores, brigands, perverts (the ones always surfing the net for porn all day), rascals, butt-pirates, and rapscallions. I’d just like to be a fly on the wall someday and watch these capers actually going down; is it just a single clerk sitting there and typing in the stuff and funneling SteveF’s and Lynn’s extra payments to his or her own account? Or do a gang of them get together at the local city or town office and conspire to rob us and then split the proceeds? Or is it just that they’re all pro-State ass-hats and assume the responsibility constantly of taking our money anytime they can for that particular State?

    Appeals and lawsuits don’t work because the game is rigged, obviously, against us, all the time. Thus the evident need in the near future for lamppost solutions and burning houses down.

  16. It happened to me one day when I was firing premium factory loads, cocking the hammer for each shot. After a couple shots, the hammer refused to cock. The problem was that the recoil had unseated one bullet sufficiently to block rotation of the cylinder. With a 1911, a quick slap of the slide clears a jam and chambers a new round. Not so in this situation.

    Me too, on my Dan Wesson .357, a unique revolver with interchangeable barrels. Also, a lead spitter feared by anyone standing next to me. The barrel tends to start coming loose after 50 or so rounds and it must be retightened or bad things start happening. I do not recommend this revolver.

    I am becoming a limp wristed shooter in my old age that causes my XDM .40 to jam frequently. So, I am not happy with semi-autos anymore. And, I also watched the shooter next to me blow off his .45 barrel and slide when he accidentally fed a .40 round into it, followed by a .45 round. Which caused the .40 round to detonate in his barrel. Very unique noise followed by a lot of cussing and swearing.

  17. OFD, Thanks for the input. I think I will take your advice and go with the 40.

  18. Bleah…my wife’s company just got the annual “PCI Self Assessment Questionnaire”, which we have to fill out since she accepts credit cards. As every year, someone has invested lots of time and effort to provide clear instructions. As every year, the underlying process is so overly complicated that they have failed.

    Do the credit card companies actually suppose that most small businesses do anything more play pinball? Find the combination of answers that results in a green “compliant” at the end of the process? In our case, we have everything (credit card terminals, online payment processing, etc.) from the very same provider who sends us the questionnaire. So why don’t they just fill it out for us?

    But no. This year, stating that we have a mobile terminal lands me with an additional questionnaire about how this terminal handles the data off of the magnetic strips of non-chip cards. How the devil am I supposed to know?

    Grrr…grumble…must.watch.blood.pressure… This is an entirely stupid process that mostly has to do with the fact that credit cards are hilariously insecure.

  19. “…on my Dan Wesson .357, a unique revolver with interchangeable barrels.”

    I had a Dan Wesson “pistol pac” with a .357 years ago; 6″, 4″ and 2.5″ barrels with it. I never had the barrels come loose but then again I didn’t regularly put a lot of rounds through it. Gone now, and I see their stuff is wicked expensive these days.

    I’ll probably stick with .357 revolvers but will be poking around gun shows this year for a steel-frame Commander or clone at a reasonable price.

  20. Yeah, I had the same Dan Wesson pistol pak briefly. I think I sold it within six months after I got it. I didn’t think much of it compared to the S&W, Colt, and Ruger revolvers I also had at the time.

    I’m just not comfortable with a 36, regardless of velocity, bullet style, etc. I’ve always been of the “flying ashtray” school: heavy, large-diameter bullets moving at moderate speed. Or, as John Wesley Hardin supposedly said when asked why he carried a Colt .45, “Because they don’t make a Colt .46”.

  21. As you know, the late Colonel Cooper was also a champion par excellence of the .45; my revolver influences came from growing up with them in the military and cops and reading lots of the late Elmer Keith and Bill Jordan. “Hell, I Was There,” and “No Second Place Winner.”

  22. I won’t dispute anyone’s choice of defensive pistol. I’m most comfortable with a 1911 in .45 ACP, but Barbara doesn’t much like it. She prefers my Ruger .357, which is fine with me.

  23. I was told it would be adjusted the next year … but of course it wasn’t.

    Then that is the fault of your mortgage company. The taxes should have been the amount assessed. If you had $3,000 in your escrow account to pay the taxes, but the taxes were only $2500, then your mortgage company should have adjusted your account. They are supposed to take what the costs for taxes and insurance, subtract any credit balance or add any debit balance, divide by 12 and that amount is added to your mortgage payment (principal and interest).

    You are by law, supposed to get an escrow accounting which shows all deposits from your monthly mortgage payments, any disbursements from the escrow account, and an accounting of how the amount needed to go into the escrow account has changed going forward for the next year.

    If your mortgage company overpaid the taxes then go back to the mortgage company and find out why and what they used to pay the taxes. Taxes should only be paid when the bill is sent to the mortgage company, not based on some past value.

    Yes. Thieving monkeys, parasites, whores, brigands, perverts (the ones always surfing the net for porn all day), rascals, butt-pirates, and rapscallions.

    I live in a small town, water bills and tax bills go to the same building, different PO box but probably picked up by the same person. I paid my 2012 taxes late last February, properly filled out check, correct PO box, etc. A month later I get a notice my taxes are late along with my water bill in the same mail delivery. My water bill had a large credit balance. Hmmm, odd. What they had done was take my tax payment and applied to my water bill.

    I demanded the city resolve the issue. The taxing department could not get money from the water board and the water board could not give money to the taxing department. I had to get a check from the water department, payable to me, then write another check to the tax department. Next month I get a statement assessing me penalties because I paid the taxes late.

    I went to the city council meeting with documentation and presented it to the council. Asked the mayor why I was being assessed a penalty because the city messed up. He said I sent the check to the wrong department. I showed him the check, properly filled in with the correct address, payable to the tax department with the water department endorsement on the back. I got my penalties reversed and a long letter of apology from the clueless dolt in the city offices that screwed it all up.

  24. I was told it would be adjusted the next year … but of course it wasn’t.

    Then that is the fault of your mortgage company. The taxes should have been the amount assessed.

    You’re assuming the city gave the mortgage company the corrected amount. This assumption would be in error.

    If I’d been paying the taxes directly to the city, I could have paid the correct amount and let them sue and attempt to prove in court that I owed more or that they could seize my house. As it was, the mortgage company wasn’t going to get involved in the dispute and was just going by what the city told them was due.

  25. Upon examining their records, I just noticed that they included our large office building twice. Sigh. Now I wonder how long that they have been doing this and I have been paying property taxes on such. Grrr.

    Went and visited the Fort Bend County Appraisal District today. Was treated extremely nicely. He looked at the satellite photo and then the appraisal list back and forth a couple of times and then went “oh no”. I did not even have to tell him what the problem was. End effect was that he lowered my commercial property from a value of $940K to $630K. I think that he overshot on purpose but I did not ask. I have learned to keep my mouth shut when someone is doing you a favor.

    Then he went back into 2013, 2012 and 2011 to lower their appraisals by $45K each. I did not know that they could go back like that. He said that I will get rebate checks from the taxing entities in two to three months. Sweet!

  26. You’re assuming the city gave the mortgage company the corrected amount. This assumption would be in error.

    Yes indeed. I stand corrected. I failed to factor in the incompetence of the government workers.

    He said that I will get rebate checks from the taxing entities in two to three months.

    Amazing. Probably postage due.

  27. Glad that worked out for ya, Lynn; even in some bureaucracies, there are the occasional angels and saints.

    You know, of course, Ray, that if you had not had that documentation at the city council you would have been SOOL. They were gonna take the other clowns’ word over yours, natch.

    In a related note; I was dropping Mrs. OFD off earlier at her mom’s place for their ten-day trip to northern New Mexico and MIL told me that the local PD was in the news again; a rookie cop pulled a guy over for allegedly running a red light, except it wasn’t red but yellow like the guy said and later the dash cam on the cruiser proved it beyond a doubt. But they decided to go ahead and charge the guy anyway and the chief pirate and his senior brigands backed up the rookie, naturally. The guy took it to the media and fought it in court and won, and the town had to shell out $25k to him, paid by the taxpayers, of course. This is the same department where two of its officers accosted Mrs. OFD one night last year and rousted her outta bed with their weapons drawn and flashlights in her face. Wife was staying there overnight while MIL was somewhere else, before her trip to the airport in the morning, and this is a regular thing with them. A neighbor had called and reported a B&E in progress, but the arriving cops bulled the door open and kept coming and kept up their SWAT charade even after it was clear, with wife in nightgown, half asleep, and terrified, that it wasn’t a B&E. Then they got on her case for hyper-ventilating. She has a serious med issue and it affects her heart, so this was not good at all. They got on the phone with me and I straightened them out and meanwhile I have their names for further action off-the-books, so to speak.

  28. He said that I will get rebate checks from the taxing entities in two to three months.

    Amazing. Probably postage due.

    I ain’t spending the rebates until I get them. Many things can go wrong between here and then. Plus, the old “the checks in the mail”.

    I am still amazed at how nice and helpful the appraiser dude was. He was obviously embarrassed at the screwups. BTW, the overage of $45K in 2011, 2012 and 2013 was an extra 1200 ft2 warehouse. The overage of $210K in 2014 was an extra 4200 ft2 warehouse. All clearly in the wrong. And then he lowered the first floor of my office building from $263K to $163K for 2014. Like I said, nice guy!

  29. A neighbor had called and reported a B&E in progress, but the arriving cops bulled the door open and kept coming and kept up their SWAT charade even after it was clear, with wife in nightgown, half asleep, and terrified, that it wasn’t a B&E.

    What was their first clue? Seems like the neighbor needs a chat also.

  30. We suspect the neighbor who called but am not sure yet; the cops blasted through the front door yelling and brandishing flashlights and weapons drawn. Wife came out half-asleep and was then jolted awake from it by the noise and lights and guns pointing her way, standing there in a nightgown. Once in and menacing, they didn’t back off right away, and wife got very upset, as might be imagined. Then she was chided for hyper-ventilating, probably lucky she didn’t have a heart attack on the spot; her heart gets to pounding like a triphammer sometimes due to stress, medical condition and the different meds they keep trying on her.

    After they left, she was out in the street yelling obscenities and death threats to whomever had called it in. They also called her mom, well into her eighties, while her mom was visiting the great-grandkids down in MA, and I was gonna drive on down to the scene but she told me not to. Big cluster***k on the part of the ass-hat cops who should have at least backed off once they’d realized it was not an actual B&E. But they made her go through the drill anyway, with calling her mom, calling me, and demanding ID. Sons of bitches. Their day is coming.

  31. Oh, and this was all about four or five hours before she had to get up at O-Dark-Thirty for a flight somewhere; it’s not like she’d never stayed there, or me for that matter, when her mom wasn’t home, and other relatives have also been in and out of there, so presumably all the neighbors knew full well that she was in there legitimately.

  32. fought it in court and won, and the town had to shell out $25k to him, paid by the taxpayers, of course

    That is the problem, in a nutshell. Do stupid things, pay for it personally. If you want to lower your risk, get professional liability insurance. There is zero reason why the taxpayers should pay for stuff like this – basically it means that you are paying yourself damages.

    @OFD: Hope you can nail the idiots who pulled a SWAT on your wife. Seems to me that they should have had the neighbor at the scene. That’s the person who made the accusation, they ought to also face some consequences for being a stupid git. Right to face your accuser and all that…

  33. That is the problem, in a nutshell. Do stupid things, pay for it personally. If you want to lower your risk, get professional liability insurance. There is zero reason why the taxpayers should pay for stuff like this – basically it means that you are paying yourself damages.

    The town had liability here because they hired and trained the moron. The USA has the concept of joint and several liability which means whoever has the deep pockets pays.
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/joint_and_several_liability

  34. And taxpayers are defined as de facto having the deepest pockets. Forever.

    The wannabe SWAT jackasses will be taken care of by and by.

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