Uncoachable kids become unemployable adults. Let your kids get used to someone being tough on them. It’s life, get over it.
All the details are here.
I’m looking forward to meeting up with some acquaintances (Hi Sean!), meeting some people I only know from the Interwebz (Hi Borepatch and Miguel!), meeting brand new people, and of course, demonstrating exactly how bad of a shot I am.
I am seriously debating whether or not to wear one of my kilts to the shoot. That will most likely depend on weather. And my personal courage.
First, let’s address a big issue. Suicide. It’s a horrible thing when someone loses all hope and decides that ending their life is the only way out. If you’re currently feeling that way, STOP READING THIS! Call the National Suicide Helpline at:
Now for the rest of the post:
I heard about this group on the Assorted Calibers Podcast (BTW, one of the podcasts that I give money for content – and you should too). Hold My Guns is working to help reduce suicide by giving gun owners a safe place to store their firearms if they’re going through a rough patch. Why is this important? Because those of us who are in the RKBA fight know that two-thirds of so-called “gun deaths” are suicides. The dirty, little secret? Gunnies are often afraid to get mental health because they’re worried that they will have their weapons taken away. AND IT’S A VALID CONCERN BASED ON WHAT SEVERAL PROFESSIONAL ORAGANIZATIONS AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE STATED/DONE BEFORE.
We need to help each other. Hold My Guns is an excellent step in that direction. Throw them some shekels (if you have any to spare.
From the website, to give you some context:
The suicide of a family friend was the catalyst for founding Hold My Guns (HMG). She was 18. After her death, heartbroken friends and family asked me, a youth rifle league volunteer instructor and certified Range Safety Officer (RSO), what can be done to help support gun owners and their family members during acute bouts of depression. Many asked why those who are suffering from an acute bout of mental illness (which can happen to anyone!) don’t simply give a firearm to a friend for safe-keeping — yet this is not always practical or legal. Solving the need for professional, legal, off-site firearms storage became my mission.
Over half of the suicides in the United States utilize a firearm. Taking a break from firearms during a mental health crisis seems wise, and is often advised by well-meaning individuals, yet it’s not as simple as it sounds and may even be illegal in some cases. In the state of Pennsylvania, for example, a gun owner cannot simply give a handgun to a friend for safe keeping. The friend must first have a license to carry. Even if the friend has a license to carry, they may not have adequate storage that secures the firearm from unauthorized use or damage. Further more, even if the friend has a license to carry and storage capabilities, they may not be someone who will respect the privacy of their friend. While some folks may have friends and family who meet these requirements, not everyone does.
It was important to me that the solution was not only a practical option, but also one that protected the individuals Second Amendment rights. Too often, gun owners are concerned about losing firearms rights and they avoid getting care out of fear of being asked about firearms by providers who do not understand the first thing about firearms or gun culture. Yet, unchecked concerns can escalate into interventions that endanger firearms rights such as involuntary commitment, “Red Flags”, and PFAs. It may feel like being in between a rock and a hard place: both in need of care but afraid to lose rights and firearms. In that vein, the solution needed to be voluntary, and one that empowered individuals to proactively seek the help they needed before private situations escalated into public ones. This proactive, supportive approach provides an option for distance from lethal means, while creating a pathway for trusted care, and helps to avoid interventions that can result in the confiscation of rights and property.
Skull Island, South Pacific, 24 July 2010, 2100 Hours Local: Countdown: 1 Year, 3 months, 7 days
Owen Thomas, better known to his teammates as Slim, stepped into the command center. The twenty or so techs didn’t break their vigils over the various displays and communication equipment as the field team member entered. Slim grinned to himself as he imagined his father’s reaction to such a reception. The Colonel would have had a bloody fit if the lowly techs didn’t properly acknowledge his superiority as an officer. Slim wondered again if his father’s attitude was the reason the General Staff failed to promote him. It was certainly the reason Slim left home at the tender age of sixteen. Slim sat down at his computer station. The Champions of Truth had kept out of sight since the destruction of Mexico City. Not like that wasn’t too hard these days. The constellation of satellites the modern world depended on to run its technology was mostly destroyed. What few were left were almost all under government control. Gone were the days of easy surveillance through electronic means. It was even harder here on Skull Island. All of the communications and Internet systems were satellite-based. Currently, Skull Island and Zombie Strike were dependent on a lash-up system of high-end transceivers mounted on high-altitude balloons, retired cargo ships, and a few towers on atolls to communicate to the rest of the world. Trust the largest and oldest insurance firm to have a contingency plan for nearly everything.
Slim didn’t normally mind the command center, but Zombie Strike was a bit understaffed at the moment. Kenn Blanchard and Mateo Cortez, Zombie Strike’s leaders, were in Washington DC. Something about the American parliament conducting hearings about the events in Mexico City. Nigel Brown, Mackenzie and Winston’s liaison with Zombie Strke, was also there, as was Jess Montgomery, Mateo’s foster daughter. Collin DuBois, the team’s de-facto colour sergeant, seemed a bit under the weather the past few weeks, so Slim offered to pitch in and take a few of Collin’s watches. Slim sipped at his coffee. It would be another hour before the next data dump. All he could do was wait patiently. It looked like another slow night. That was until the building rumbled and the command center was plunged into darkness. Slim let out a stream of curses as the emergency lights cut in.
“What the bloody hell just happened?” Slim asked to the mass of frantic techs, “That didn’t feel like an earthquake.”
“Explosions in the main armory, the electrical plant, and the telecom exchange,” one of the techs reported, “Engineering is on damage control, but right now we’re cut-off and running on batteries.” Slim grimaced at the report. One explosion could have been an accident. Three was sabotage.
“Jane, my compliments to Mr. DuBois, and would you run up and inform him that I need him here, please?” Slim asked another tech. As she darted out of the room, Slim grabbed the attention of another tech.
“I want everyone on this island accounted for,” Slim ordered, “I don’t care if they’re in the loo with the runs. I want them found and in the main dining room.”
“Mr. Thomas, one of the planes is taking off,” reported the first tech.
“Who’s flying that plane?” Slim quickly asked.
“The airfield reports it was Collin DuBois,” the tech answered. Slim stood there dumbstruck as the rest of Zombie Strike began rushing into the command center.
Washington DC, 26 July 2010, 1600 Hours Local: Countdown: 1 Year, 3 months, 5 days
Mateo Cortez smiled as he watched his daughters play and tried very hard not to punch the man standing next to him. It wasn’t this guy’s fault. It just didn’t occur to Mateo when he asked his ex-wife to come up for a family vacation that she’d bring her new boyfriend. Of course, if Mateo hadn’t been busy jumping all over the world fighting zombies, then he might have known his wife was seeing someone. Ana made this point quite clearly. Ted wasn’t a bad guy. He was just boring. Ted reminded Mateo of every cookie-cutter professional he had met before joining Zombie Strike. There was nothing distinguishing about the man. It didn’t help that Mateo’s daughter liked Ted. At least she didn’t call him daddy. Mateo wasn’t sure how he could have handled that. At the moment, Mercedes was playing tag with Mateo’s foster daughter Jess and Jess’s new spirit wolf puppy Billy. Since Kenn and Nigel were testifying in front of some Congressional subcommittee, Mateo decided to bring the girls to the Mall and wait for his friends to finish. Ted sort of invited himself along for what he called “guy-bonding.” Mateo was pretty sure Maria sent him along so that she could do some shopping on her own. Ted was chattering about the Buccaneers and the Rays. Mateo was ignoring him.
Jess was the one who spotted Kenn and Nigel first. The two men were walking around the Reflecting Pond and heading toward the group. Mateo waved and held up a pair of cigars, much to the dismay of Ted. Ted didn’t smoke, and thought it was a bad idea for Mateo to smoke in front of the girls. Mateo politely told Ted what he could do with his advice. Suddenly, Nigel shoved Kenn to the ground – a split second before his chest exploded in a spray of red mist. The rifle’s report echoed through the Mall. Mateo shot a glance back to his daughters. Jess held a screaming Mercedes on the ground and was covering the five-year-old with her own body. Billy stood over the girls. The wolf pup eyes were locked back at the Lincoln memorial. Mateo could almost see the shimmer of power coming off Billy as the pup protected the girls. Mateo ran through the panicked mass of people to check on Kenn and Nigel. Kenn was knelt over Nigel’s still form, praying for their friend’s soul. Mateo grabbed Kenn and tried to drag the man behind some concealment. Cover was sparse in this part of the Mall. Mateo desperately wanted a gun at the moment. All he had on him was a pocket knife. Kenn shrugged out of Mateo’s grip and knelt back down next to Nigel’s body as police charged towards them.
“Kenn, get behind something solid,” Mateo said, “Someone just tried to take you out.” Kenn looked up at Mateo with sad and knowing eyes. They spooked Mateo.
“Sniper,” Kenn said, “He took his shot and missed. He’ll be evading right now. We’re sort of safe for the moment.” Mateo nodded as the two men were surrounded by police. In the confusion, Mateo completely forgot about Ted.
Washington DC, 26 July 2010, 2100 Hours Local: Countdown: 1 Year, 3 months, 5 days
The man Mateo knew as Ted walked onto the Metro Red line. He sat down and pulled out an book reader. He was patient. He had to be. Less than ten minutes later, Collin DuBois casually sat down next to Ted. Collin was dressed in a conservative business suit. At rush hour, he blended into the crowd.
“Good afternoon Mr. DuBois,” Ted said, never looking up from his reader.
“I don’t know how Nigel saw me,” Collin said in a passable American accent.
“Calm down Mr. DuBois,” Ted said, “I did the groundwork. I’ve already told my people that it wasn’t your fault the deal fell through.” Ted tilted the reader so Collin could see the picture of his sister.
“We are all professionals,” Ted told Collin, “We understand these things happen. We still want you to complete the transaction. We still want to deliver your package to you. Unfortunately, we won’t be consulting you this time. Please don’t let a poison pill disrupt this transaction again.”
“I understand,” Collin answered. At the next stop, Collin leapt up and darted out of the train. Ted settled into his seat and waited. Collin DuBois watched as the train roared into the darkened tunnel. The man never suspected Collin was recording their conversation. Collin found a WiFi spot and emailed Mateo the recording and some covert photos of the man. It was the only thing Collin could do to balance his betrayal. As he walked through the Metro station, Collin started to plan his next try at assassinating his friend Kenn Blanchard.
[Zombie Strike Part 6 Chapter 45]
You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.
One of the cats developed a bladder infection.
Vet Tech: Which cat?
The Wife: EBC
Vet Tech: Oh. Joy.
I guess he lives up to his name of Evil Black Cat. Apparently, he behaved himself better this time. According to the vet tech.
Another from what is becoming my favorite new band:
Forreston FL, 8 July 2010, 1000 Hours Local: Countdown: 1 Year, 4 months, 23 days
Jessica Montgomery knelt down. It wasn’t easy in the long dark gray dress. It had been a long time since she’d walked these grounds. Longer than it should have been. Guilt added its unique flavor to her sadness.
“Sorry I haven’t come to visit,” Jess said. She didn’t know what to expect. Talking to the dead always seemed so comforting. The granite headstone was silent. Maybe it was something that came with practice.
“So, I guess I came here to talk with someone,” Jess said, “Things are so screwed up. I mean, I haven’t stopped thinking about you, but the pain wasn’t as bad. I found someone, and I thought my life was going to be so good.” The tears trickled from the corners of her eyes. “Then. we went to Mexico, and we were winning, and then Billy died.” The words spilled out of her mouth. She had to get them out before all of her pent-up sorrow finally released. Jess collapsed next to her mother’s tombstone. Deep sobs wracked her body to the point of pain. Jess kept reliving the horrific memories of seeing Billy over her impaled on Giant’s whip. His confidant smile. His last words to her as Quentin hauled her out of the room. The shaking and deafening roar as the bomb exploded. All Jess could do was feel the pain and cry.
Jess’s sobs stop instantly as she felt the danger. The dress tore as Jess leapt to her feet. A thick fog surrounded her and blotted out the sun. She felt more than saw the figure as it emerged from the fog. The large coyote sat down in front of her mother’s grave. It was easily the size of a horse. She could feel the power roll off of the coyote like a warm breeze.
“You!” screamed Jess, “Where was your precious pack when I needed them? When Billy needed them? Why did you let him die?” The animal stood silent. Its even stare incensed Jess. She took two steps and threw a perfect punch. She felt the shock as her blow slammed into the animal’s muzzle.
“That was not my choice to make,” Coyote answered. The words echoed through her mind like thunder.
“Whose was it?” Jess demanded.
“Mine,” came the answer. The single word drove Jess to the ground. Coyote spoke like thunder. This was an earthquake. Jess slowly turned around. The wolf stood twenty feet tall and larger than the trailer Jess lived in for a time. The air became electrified with the raw power of Wolf stepping into the world.
“It has fallen to mine to protect the Key,” Wolf said, lowering the power of his voice, “My pack and my warriors are bound to protect the Key. Including sacrificing their lives for the Key.”
“So why was it Coyote’s pack in Mexico City?” Jessica shot back with an accusing tone.
“I had a warrior, and it was not time to reveal the full extent of my obligation,” Wolf answered, “And my brother always likes to have me in his debt.”
“So why are you here now?” Jess asked, “We destroyed the Key.” Wolf moved a tree-sized front leg to reveal a bright-eyed wolf pup. The pup locked eyes with Jess. A part of her mind opened up and she could feel the pup’s mind.
“It is time to foster some of my pack in this world,” Wolf answered. The pup bounded to Jess. As the enthusiastic animal knocked her to the ground, Jess realized the pup was already the size of a large German Shepard. Warmth and love poured through the new bond between the two. Wolf, Coyote, and the fog vanished in an instant. As Jess looked around for the two spirits, Slim rushed to her side.
“Are you alright?” Slim asked, scanning the graveyard with his submachine gun. Then he noticed the pup. “Where did that come from?”
“Wolf,” Jess answered softly. Something in her tone kept Slim from barraging her with questions.
“Okay,” Slim temporized, “So what’s the bugger’s name?” Jess looked down at the pup at her side. Her grief wasn’t gone, but the pure love and joy from the pup made it bearable.
Barcelona, Spain, 9 July 2010, 2030 hours local, Countdown: 1 year, 4 months, 22 days
The groaning drew Alan away from the window. He put the enchanting flamenco dancers out of his mind as he stepped into the darkened apartment. Alan looked down at the shattered figure in the center of the room. As much as Alan had tasted his god’s power, it still amazed him that this man was still alive, much less starting to awaken.
“Go, tell Mr. Castle that Mikhail is awake,” Alan said to one of his assistants. The girl nodded and sprinted out of the room. Alan watched as Mikhail’s body continued to knit itself back together. Those new Truth-Warriors brought Mikhail to Barcelona in pieces. Alan took one look at the fragments of what had been the Truth’s greatest warrior and was sure Mikhail was gone. He didn’t understand why Castle looked so confident as he ordered Alan and his assistants to lay out the body. That was, until Mikhail’s body started coming back together. Mikhail’s eyes snapped open as Castle walked into the room. Mikhail tried to rise, but his weakened body collapsed under his effort. Castle locked eyes with Mikhail and shook his head. Mikhail let out a long breath and settled back. Alan walked up to Castle.
“If he keeps at this pace, he should be back up in less than a month,” Alan said. Castle didn’t say anything for a moment. He just stared at Mikhail.
“Good, he will be needed,” Castle answered. Absent-mindedly, Castle drew a sphere of pure obsidian out of his pocket. Alan’s eyes were drawn to the baseball sized gleaming black glass.
“In the meantime, I have another assignment for you,” Castle said, turning to Alan. He held out the dark sphere to the Truth’s top sorcerer. “I need you to open the Key.”
London, Great Britain, 10 July 2010, 2100 hours local, Countdown: 1 year, 4 months, 21 days
Collin DuBois was ushered into Simon West’s library. The lord who owned the house before Simon had been a voracious reader. His extensive and valuable collection of books came with the house. Collin would have been more impressed if he thought Simon had actually read any of them. Simon sat in an overstuffed leather chair that looked like it had come out of an old bankers’ office. The handsome crime boss leisurely held a snifter of brandy and smiled as Collin stepped into the room. It took all of Collin’s self-control not to reach out and snap the man’s neck. Simon seemed to relish in Collin’s internal torment. The two men stared at each other in silence. Finally, Collin broke the silence.
“Why did you ask me to come here West?” Collin demanded.
“Your employers wanted to speak with you,” Simon answered cryptically. He laughed at Collin’s confusion.
“What are you talking about?” Collin asked.
“Oh wake up, boyo. Why would I care about what your group of zombie killers were up to?” Simon asked. Simon let out an evil laugh as he saw understanding dawn on Collin’s face. Before Collin could respond, Simon held up an envelope.
“Here are your instructions,” Simon said, handing the envelope to Collin. Inside the envelope was a cell phone. Collin pressed the redial button.
“Sergeant DuBois, who I am is not important,” the American said. The voice was cool, controlled, and professional. “On the phone are three photos. These should be considered proof of life.” Collin opened the messages. His sister was strapped to a bed. The morning’s Guardian was placed on her chest.
“Your sister will not be harmed as long as you do what we want,” the voice continued, “Further, Mr. West has agreed to release her of any and all debts. In return, we want you to kill Kenn Blanchard.”
[Zombie Strike Part 6 Chapter 44]
Give every human being every right that you claim for yourself.