Thursday, July 18, 2013

An Open Letter to Those Opposing "Stand Your Ground"

To the folks talking about trying to get rid of the "Stand Your Ground Laws", I think we should clarify exactly what you are doing.  This is a longer post but read it.

You see, Pennsylvania has a similar law that activists helped to pass just a few years ago, and it was truly a great thing for us.  Before this law, if you were attacked, you had to prove, in court, that there was no way for you to retreat before defending yourself.  Now some may agree with this, thinking it is prudent, why wouldn't you try to retreat?  Let me paint the picture:

You are eating lunch with your family at one of the many restaurants in our area that has outdoor seating.  A man a few tables over becomes belligerent and the focus of his anger seems to be your family.  He starts yelling, you ignore him, he continues yelling and you and your spouse and your child continue their lunch as the staff tries to handle the situation.  Suddenly he is standing up and now walking towards you and continuing to yell profanities. How did this situation escalate so quickly?  Why is he so angry?  You and your wife stand to protect your child and he shoves your spouse and then grabs the steak knife off of your table.  He is mere feet from your spouse that he shoved to the ground and to your child that is currently strapped into the high chair.  You, a gun owner with a License to Carry a Firearm (Concealed carry permit or whatever it is called in your State), draws your concealed weapon and shoots the man that is feet away from you.

Good shoot?  Self defense? That depends on the prosecutor because now you must face him or her in court and prove that you had no other option.  So you were in fear for your life and that of your family? You had no other option?  What about the gate that was behind you and your family leading into the outdoor eating area? What about the doors leading back into the restaurant?  What about the set of stairs leading to the storeroom?  You could have retreated to all of these places and yet you chose to MURDER this person instead of retreating.  Of course, in all of the chaos that happened in a matter of minutes you did not take note of every place available to retreat.  And what about your child in the high chair?  Could you have safely unbuckled him or her before this man with the knife attacked?  What about your spouse that was just shoved to the ground?  Up until a few seconds ago staff seemed to be dealing with the situation but now your family is in danger.

Now, a judge or jury may or may not sympathize with the prosecutor and you may even beat those charges, but at what cost financially, emotionally, personally?  How many of us have $10,000+ to hire attorneys good enough to defend us in court from this charge?  How many of us have bosses understanding enough to not fire us if we miss time off of work because we are being held without bail, even if only for a few days?  How many of us have occupations where we have a license that can be revoked or suspended by a governing board, even if only until the trial is over?  Before these laws were passed many people that were found innocent in legitimate self defense shootings never ended up in jail but they end up having severe financial trouble.  Even if the court finds you innocent, the family of the person that you killed can sue you in civil court and a lot of them win.  That was, until, this law went into effect.

You see, my family and friends that advocate for the undoing of these laws, you misunderstand exactly what you are asking to happen.  In reality, what it means for these laws to be undone is that I can no longer defend myself, defend Ashley, or defend Harrison without the threat of spending the rest of my life in prison.  What you are asking me to do is for me to make a choice: do I lose my family to some psychopath trying to do them harm or do I risk losing my family to some Prosecutor looking to make a name?  What would you do?  Defend your family or allow someone to seriously harm them because the law does not protect you?

Many of you took the death of Trayvon Martin personal, saying that it had a direct effect on you.  Well my family and friends, your advocating that I not be able to defend myself and my family really is personal and actually does have a very real and direct effect on Ashley, Harrison, and myself.

Many of you love my family dearly; think about that the next time you want to ask your Legislators to strip away my rights.  Think about whom your actions really effect.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Have we lost our manners?

Image Source: Google
As I sit here and write this, my one year old is sitting next to me eating his lunch.  We already work on manners and appropriate behavior with him, although his age does not cause me to expect him to be a gentleman at this point.  However, we do work on the manners that he does grasp, such as using the American Sign Language Sign for "eat" when he is hungry, as opposed to just screaming until someone gets him what he wants.  Does it always work?  No, but when he does start yelling, and I know he probably wants food, I will show him food and he will either do the sign or he will mimic me doing it and then I will give him his food in response to that.  It is certainly a start in the manners category.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Addressing bullying

Tim, a friend that I have come to know via online means through various gun organizations, and the owner of the blog Mental Brushfire, wrote today about bullying.  The post, "When good men do nothing" tells a story that rings true for many adolescents in this country that are bullied and have found no answers in their school and public officials that are supposed to provide a safe place for children to learn.  The post ends with this (emphasis added)
Would someone please stand up and do something before another life ends too early and another family suffers such a loss?

Will you?
 Tim's story started me thinking.  My son, Harrison, is turning 1 in a few weeks and has a long way to go before he heads off to school on his own, without the watchful eye and protection of my wife and myself, but yet this story seemed to touch me deep in my gut.  Perhaps it is because I am a parent that any story about the tragic loss of life of a child tends to stick with me.  What will I do?  How do I address this very real issue that Harrison may have to deal with?  How do I make sure that he does not become a bully himself?

I remember school, and while I had a good group of friends, I was not the most popular kid to ever grace the halls.  In general, I have good memories, and while there were a few people that made disparaging comments about my struggle with being overweight, I would not call myself bullied, and certainly not physically bullied.

So what about Harrison?

I do not pretend to have all of the answers, and parenting is not the type of thing that you can do by mapping out your child's life and your response and then following said map; it changes and you have to adapt, but I also will not pretend that I have not thought about how I will deal with issues that could arise in his lifetime. That is part of my job as a father.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

You Fight Like a Girl!

Some universities are telling women that they should urinate or vomit on themselves, instead of defending themselves, when they are faced with a rapist
Courtesy of University of Colorado

And some politicians think that women should not have guns because they may shoot their attempted rapist

And then there are the parents that are raising this 13 year old girl in the video.  I bet this girl, if ever faced with the threat of being violated by a rapist, will know exactly what to do...she will FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!  Her name is Katelyn Francis and she is a phenomenal 3 gun competition shooter; her parents should be proud.

Happy Shooting

Monday, February 4, 2013

Playing Cowboys

I secretly, okay maybe not-so-secretly, can not wait until Harrison is old enough to play "make believe".  When Harrison was born I told Ashley that having a boy was great because now I actually have an excuse for all of the "childish" things that I want to do, but the truth is, they are childhood adventures and I am thrilled to be able to share them with Harrison.  Every little boy should spend their life as a cowboy, a pirate, a pilot, a soldier, and an explorer escaping the hot lava (DON'T TOUCH THE CARP...HOT LAVA!!!) and every parent should relish being invited into and included in this life of their child.  At this age Harrison and I only play rocket ship, which means I get a mean arm workout as I whip him through the space above my head.  He laughs and smiles and he does not know it but he is spending his first year as an astronaut, orbiting planet daddy.

I am sure we will have at least one daughter and when we do I will oblige her to have afternoon tea, after all, a cowboy never turns down a pretty lady.

How about you parents out there; what are some of your favorite games of make believe or pretend that you and your children love to play?


Friday, February 1, 2013

Triaminic and Theraflu Recall

Novartis, the makers of Triaminic and Theraflu have issued a voluntary recall of these two products because some of the child safety caps are not functioning properly and there has been an incident where a child has accidentally ingested the medication.  Novartis is asking that people return the product for a full refund.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The difference between an AR-15 and a Military Assault Rifle

The Gun Control crowd has done a great job at confusing the public as to what an assault rifle is and what a modern sporting rifle, such as an AR-15 actually is.  I hear a lot of people saying that they want a ban on military style rifles and weapons.  What I believe they mean when they say military style weapons are those weapons that fire multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger BUT they believe that an AR-15, an AK-47 and similar rifles are these rifles as well, and the truth is, they are not.

The video below, found at Arms Vault, was done by the Military Arms Channel and does a great job at explaining the differences between an assault rifle used in the military and an AR-15 and rifles like it as well as showing that a magazine ban on 30 round magazines for 10 round magazines makes a 1/2 second difference in shooting time.  The video is short.  If you are confused by all of the talk going on about banning certain guns, or if you think you know what you are advocating, take the 6 minutes and watch the video.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Obama White House Plans Broad Gun Control

I will not take your guns away

Gregory Gwyn-Williams Jr. wrote an article reminding us of the promise President Obama made on the campaign trail in 2008

"When you all go home and you're talking to your buddies and you say, ah 'He wants to take my gun away.' You've heard it here, I'm on television so everybody knows it. I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in people's lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won't take your handgun away."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Comment to "One Million Moms for Gun Control"

Update to Original: It appears that One Million Moms for Gun Control has deleted my comment on their Facebook page and has blocked me from commenting as well.  I was hoping for some open dialogue.[2:49 pm]

One Million Moms for Gun Control has a page on Facebook and I decided to leave them a comment as nicely as I could in an effort to spread awareness.  It always breaks my heart to see a group of parents advocating something like this so I left my response to them as a father.  If the dialogue continues I will share it here.
Dear God, One Million Moms that refuse to protect their own children and do not want others to be able to do the same.

Please, as a father, hear me out. I have a kid and a wife. Not one of you, nor anyone else in this world is here, in my home, or out with us when we go to the grocery store or family outing to the park or movie theater that can protect my child and wife. I, and I alone have that responsibility. None of you million moms can do it for me, the police can not do it for me (in fact the Supreme Court has ruled on 2 separate occasions that it is not the duty of the police to do so), and none of you are me. I carry a firearm daily and firearms are in my home. None of my firearms has ever killed anyone, nor have I, but what they do is allow me to effectively protect my family in a way that no one else can on a daily basis.

Please, leave me, and other gun owners like me, in peace. I do not come up to you in public and tell you not to give your kid McDonald's food because it can contribute to the 80% childhood obesity rate or that an obese child is highly likely to be an obese adult and that obesity leads to heart disease which is one of the number one killers in the country. So please do not tell me how I should raise my family or how I should best protect them.

As a father, I love my child more than I ever thought I could love anyone and because of that I take my responsibilities of parenthood very seriously, so you have to understand why people calling for bans on firearms makes me upset. What you are effectively doing is asking the government to strip me of my right and my ability to protect the people that I love most. What you are advocating is the endangerment of my child, and I do not take kindly to that.

I do not ask that any of you own or carry a firearm, or associate with anyone that does, but I am asking that you not advocate that others not be able to do the same.

Thanks for hearing me out. I hope it will cause some of you to re-think exactly what you are asking.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Nursing Homes" and the nurses, get a bad rap.

I remember my first day of nursing school clinical like it was yesterday.  We, nervous in our white scrubs with our stethoscopes slung around our necks and our 50 pounds of books pulled behind us in rolling bags, met at "the old folks home", as my grandmother calls it.  We received a tour of where we would be doing clinical and our instructor told us on that first night to observe, get acquainted with things, and help out the Certified Nursing Assistants and Nurses in any we could.  This meant helping to feed, helping to bathe etc.

I hated it.  

No one looked happy, not even merely content, and this was disheartening.  Could I work some place like that?  This is where these people live and will continue to live for the foreseeable future and yet they all seemed like they checked out years ago.  There were no activities, they were not engaged, and many of them were too ill to do anything more than sit...and wait.  The level of care they received was adequate; the staff did the best they could; commenting that they were often short staffed each and every shift.

No, I knew then that I could not work in one of these places because I did not want to live in one of these places.  Every clinical day I dreaded returning to that site.  I had a negative experience, and all nursing homes had a bad rap from that day onward.

Today I work in one of those places.  It is not the place where I did my clinical rotation (I will never work there), but it is a "nursing home".  The correct term for where I work, and the term that I prefer, is Skilled Nursing Facility.  I thought I was crazy to apply there with the memories flashing back in my mind of the dreadful experience I had during nursing school.  Today I am glad I made the decision to work in my facility, which brings me to the point, I originally gave "nursing homes" a bad rap and if I did that as a nursing student what do others think?  Well, I recently discovered just that.

A popular internet forum for Emergency Medical Professionals as well other medical professionals had a meme posted that was supposed to be in good spirits that said "Skilled Nursing Facilities:Heaven's Waiting Room".  Then the pile on began which essentially went the ways of "people go to nursing homes and are dead in no time" and "nursing homes nurses are so stupid/incompetent".

Ah, that bad rap I was talking about.  Let me clear up a few things.

I work in a skilled nursing facility that provides care for a wide range of patients.  Some of them are recovering from open heart surgery, orthopedic surgery, amputation, some are very ill and can not go home, some are on ventilators, some are there for rehabilitation and therapy, and finally, we have a population of the elderly that have made our facility their permanent home and have lived there for a decade or more (you have to love those 90+ year old folks).  I did a Critical Care Rotation in the hospital, yeah we have a wing that looks like that.  I did a rotation in Acute Care in the hospital, yeah we have a wing that looks like that as well.  The fact is I work with some of the most knowledgeable medical professionals that I know that make decision that have and do save lives.  We have a Doctor and/or a Nurse Practitioner in our facility at least 5 days a week.  We have respiratory therapists in the facility around the clock.  We have amazing nurses from varied backgrounds (chemistry, psychology, acute care, critical care, wound care) and certifications,  that work hard to treat and rehabilitate and we have nursing assistants that bust their butt to help keep our residents safe, clean, hydrated,happy and healthy.  We have activities that keep our residents engaged, and most of all we have people that care a whole hell of a lot about the people living in the facility.

You see, our facility is not Heaven's waiting room, our facility heals and rebuilds lives.  Yes, we have some that are dying, and they come to us looking for comfort and care and we provide that for them.  We work hard to make sure they are pain free and comfortable during their last days and I always try to make time to sit with them for a few minutes, hold their hand and speak kind words of comfort, but that is far from our facility being a place where people are waiting to die.

Are there bad skilled nursing facilities in this world?  Yes, as well as bad hospitals, rehabs, clinics, and Emergency Medical Providers.  Are there "stupid" nurses in the world?  I would not call them stupid but yes there are nurses that seem to make inappropriate clinical decisions, just as there are doctors, therapists, and even paramedics and EMT's that have the same problem.  To say that skilled nursing facilities and the nurses in them are dumb that can not provide quality care to your family member is not only a gross misrepresentation of facilities and the profession, but it perpetuates the idea that you go to "the home" because no one else wants you and you are going to die soon; it feeds the bad rap.

It is time we re-consider that image, re-shape that image.  No one wants to send mom or dad to a place where the reputation is that they are just siting around waiting to meet their Maker.  No one wants to think that some day they will be in the same situation.  No, instead we want to know that we will not be shoved into a corner somewhere and left alone but that their are very skilled and very caring men and women that will care for you and continue to ensure that your life is enjoyable.

I would re-do that earlier meme to read "Skilled Nursing Facilities: The Nurse said that Heaven can keep on Waiting".


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