today…

Thursday morning I was thinking about what I was going to write for you guys this week. Should I do that story I had been planning about suburban horticulture and how you can utilize your back yard as a grocery store? Should I go off on a crazy tangent about how cooking with cast iron is the only way to go, and how no non-stick pan ever created can give you the elegance of 50 year old cast? What about a write up about the AR-15, and its potential to be one rifle with infinite uses? How about the correct way to site in a rifle, or sharpen a knife, or how to get in shape for archery season? All ideas seemed valid, They could be informative, funny and most of all, they could give you and I an escape from the world outside our window’s. But then I woke up Friday morning and turned on the news… Any hopes of escaping the outside world have disappeared. This issue has been growing for along time now, and we have all seen the writing on the wall. People have decided which side of the fence they wish to stand on. That is our right, and I am not going to speak to that point… Per se. But I am going to talk about the facts though, in all there gory details. We need to be informed, and we have to be smart with our actions. Let’s see how this one works out, If I offend you with what I have written, I am truly sorry, and if you want to leave a comment, I will do my best to address whatever the problem may be. But lets get down to the nitty gritty.

Racism is wrong. Mass shootings are wrong. Living in fear is wrong. We are currently living in a situation where all three of these wrongs are totally acceptable, every one believes that they are more important then the man sitting next to them. We have lost the ability to stand as one united front. But why? Well lets just take those three wrongs and see what happens when we give them a closer look.

Racism is wrong.  We all know this, and for the most part, we all live by this. We as human beings, and citizens of the United States of America, are all granted protection EQUALLY from discrimination, no matter what our race, color or creed. Know how I know? Its in the Constitution, The 14th amendment to be exact. You know, That same historical doctrine that is constantly trying to be dismantled. Its truly a shame too, because that “piece of paper” is the basis for our freedom, It single-handedly draws a line in the sand, that separates us from the rest of world. Our side is freedom, tolerance, and hope… Then there is the other side. People have no problem trying to take out the 2nd amendment, but there is no way that they would even consider doing it to the 14th. I guess “shall not be infringed upon” only counts if its something that you personally believe in huh? Not this guy, Our Forefathers wrote them all down for a reason, because they work, and because they are ALL needed to insure Our freedom. “But Police officers all over the country are discriminating against African American’s daily. There were 2 officer involved shootings just this week”. Yes there were two shootings this week, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, and both of those losses are tragic to say the least, and without having personally witnessed either I will keep my opinion’s to myself. Were the law enforcement officials acting exactly correct in both situations? Like i said before, I don’t like to give opinions without more information then what I have. Could the officers have made a mistake? Sure, in the heat of the moment, with an ultra-high stress situation taking place, it is possible. But like I said, I wasn’t there and I don’t know all the details. Did you know that a white unarmed male was shot by police in Fresno, his name was Dylan Noble, and he was 19 years old? I didn’t either, because the news didn’t cover that one, its the same situation, I was not there and in so I don’t know what could have been done or if the situation transpired correctly or not. What I do know are some facts. In the last week,  Americans lost there lives to gunfire, and that is truly heart breaking. I, as a responsible firearms owner, hate to see guns used in that manner. It sounds weird to some, but I have reached a true balance with my firearms. They have as little meaning, and as much meaning as I am willing to put into them. They are only a tool, a tool that allows me to provide food for my family, to protect them, if God forbid, something happens, and to provide me with recreation and fellowship with those in my life that share the same feeling. Many people own pens, and with those pens they have written hateful, horrible things. But others also own pens, and have done beautiful things. A Bad craftsmen always blames the tool right? So here are the facts about officer involved shootings brought to you by Heather Mac Donald, from her book  “Are Cops Racist”.

  1. Cops killed nearly twice as many whites as blacks in 2015. Wait a minute here, we don’t see this on the news at all. 50% of all cop shooting victims are white. 26% are African American. Those are actual stats for the year 2015.
  2. More whites and Hispanics die from police homicides than blacks. Whites and Hispanics account for around 12% of the homicides due to officer shootings. African American’s account for 4%. Percentages are just numbers, every life matters and is important. White, black, brown ,color doesn’t matter,but the lives do.
  3.  Unarmed black men are more likely to die by the gun of a cop than an unarmed white man. But if you look at what else the report shows you might be surprised at what constitutes  “unarmed”.  If an assailant tries to wrestle the gun away from a police officer, or has taken the officers night stick and is using it against him, he is technically “unarmed” If they didn’t enter the conflict with a weapon, they are classified as unarmed. Stray bullets also count against this total, in situations where an officer was justified to take a shot, and a bullet either passed through or struck a bystander, it also counts towards the unarmed statistic.
  4. Black and Hispanic police officers are more likely to fire a gun at blacks than white officers. This statistic was actually discovered by a criminologist at the University of Pennsylvania by the name of Gary Ridgeway. He concluded that in Philadelphia, according to the Department of justice in 2015, a black officer was 3.3 times more likely to fire his service weapon then any other officer at the scene.
  5. Blacks are more likely to kill cops than be killed by cops. According to the FBI, 40% of cop killers are African American. In fact a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by an African american, then he is to kill one who is unarmed.

What else has happened, that hasn’t gotten much media publicity, is what has been termed “the Furgusen effect”. The Furgusen effect states that law enforcement official have become reluctant to police certain areas for fear that they will be labeled racist.There fear for there own lives, as well as the lives of there own family’s,  has made it so that they cannot do the job that they were sworn to do. TO SERVE AND PROTECT. In 50 of the largest cities in the US, the murder rate has spiked 17%, and you can’t tell me that  has nothing to do with the absence of a police officer presence.

What is really important to remember is that racism isn’t just an action that take place where a Caucasian treats someone of another race poorly, racism is the action of treating someone of a different race differently because they are different then you. If you don’t believe it go to another country, or even a different area in the United States. In Mexico were “gringos”, in Hawaii were “haoles”, in the south, (and strangely enough in Canada) we are called “Yanks” or “Yankees”. Technically that is being racist. Even if you treat someone nicer then you need to just because they are different then you, that is racism too.  It’s pretty sad, but it is the truth. And we have to remember that police officers are just like us, some of us are nice polite individuals that have nothing more then the best of intentions at heart. Others do not. But, law enforcement officials deal with a different assortment of people then most of us do. Can you imagine going to your job everyday, knowing that 95% of the people you are dealing with are going to lie to you? As soon as you get pulled over you immediately start calculating your story. “well I was late for this or that”, or “I got new tires and they must cause my  speedometer to be off”, no one just says, “yep I know that it is a 35 mph zone, but I just felt the need to do 47 mph, my bad”. To me ,that would be pretty hard to deal with on a day to day basis.  That doesn’t even take into account the risks that they face everyday just doing there job. If you work at a machine shop, you have the potential to have mill or lathe slip, and potentially you could be injured, but you can use the safety clamps and tilt the scale in your favor . I work at a beer distributor, yes I could have a keg fall and potentially crush me, but there is a safety cage that covers our forklifts, so in the rare occasion that a keg falls the potential of bodily harm is very unlikely. If you are a police officer, your job is filled with potential for bodily harm or death. A routine traffic stop can become anything but routine quickly, all it takes is someone not paying attention, or taking there eyes off the road for a second and you could be struck by there vehicle, or worse, someone could have something inside the vehicle that they feel the need to protect (I.E. drugs, weapons, they fact they have been drinking etc.) and they decide to use there weapon, (be it hand held or the vehicle itself) to take the police officer out of the situation, in order to save themselves. That is a true worry, and completely terrifying to me. The stress level would have to be incredible.

Mass shootings are wrong. I shouldn’t even have to type that. The idea of going on a “shooting spree” is so foreign to me that it is really hard for me to wrap my head around it. So far this year, according to the mass shooting tracker, there have been 229 multiple shootings, accounting for 841 injuries and 337 deaths. What in the Hell is this world coming to? When did it become common practice for someone to feel like they had been slighted by the system, or to get there feelings hurt, and instantly go directly to the idea of inflicting death and destruction upon others? Call it what you want, but I call it terrorism, and in all reality, how far away is the idea of racism and the idea of terrorism? They seem like one in the same to me. Both are loosely based, one way or another, on the idea of invoking fear or “terror” by means of threatening, or actually using violence, as a way of achieving  religious, political, or ideological goals. What a sad existence it is where people have to live in fear that someone is going to be so fragile and so broken that the only way that they feel they will be heard is to start popping off rounds at a peaceful protest, or a school, or into a random hotel or mall. If that is the way that our civilization is going, I don’t want to be a part of it any more. If you feel that you have been mistreated, do something about it. I am sure that you are not the only one. Stand up, and use your words not your bullets. Build a better world for those that feel the same way you do. Get help, unite, and stand strong together.

Living in fear is wrong. I really believe that this one goes without saying. People should be able to walk down the street, or spend time with there family’s without having to have an escape plan for all of there activities. I make a personal choice everyday to be more observant of my surroundings then I probably need to be. My feeling is that I like to know whats going on around me at all times. In the words of Jeff cooper, I go about my day in condition “yellow”, which pretty much means that my eyes are always surveying, and my ears are always alert. Since I make the choice to carry, I also have to be more aware of my surroundings . But I don’t do all this because I live in fear, I do it because I strive to be prepared. We as Americans, should be able to live our lives without fear, our Constitution grants us liberties that no other country has. Our ground work was laid so that we could venture out into this beautiful country, free of the burden that other country’s have to endure. Living in fear, is really not living at all. We, even in times of hardship, must stand tall as a nation. We must walk proudly, banded together, knowing that we can conquer all things, But only if we do it together. Each one of us important, each one of us is special, and each one of us is an integral component in this super machine that we call freedom. I want to make this world a better place for my family, my Son,and for you. Will you stand with me?

-Grant Willoughby 7/10/2016-

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