Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nuns With Guns

Just thought I'd share a favorite pic. :) It's floating around the internet on too many different sites to list. Google Nuns with Guns, and you'll turn up literally hundreds of variations...


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sitting and Thinking

One of the nice things about hunting, is that it gives you time to think about things. I mean, what else are you going to do, strapped to a tree, 20 feet up off the ground. You sit there hoping that a deer is going to come ambling up that path any second now, so trying not to move, and almost holding your breath lest an unanticipated nose whistle, or the smell of the coffee you drank this morning on your breath spooks the deer off.

So thinking is about all that's left. One of the things I frequently consider while hunting, is how in the devil can a bird that small, produce a noise that ear-shatteringly loud?

Now I'm doing my part, sitting still and quiet, so the bird doesn't seem to know I'm there, when it lands on a branch of the tree next to me, just below my feet. I'd kind of forgotten about it too, as it just sat there quietly, waiting for whatever the signal was.

Boy I flat out knew when it got that signal though. It let out this ear piercing, trilling shriek that told every living thing in the woods that it was damn well time to wake up and get moving.

I damn near jumped out of my stand trying to dive for cover from whatever evil was about to latch on to me. This movement startled the little bird, and it flew off, squawking it's displeasure.

Now that my heart rate has settled down, I think I'm going to ease on out of this tree. I've been hearing a buck, a couple hundred yards East of me, that I just can't seem to lure over here. I'm going to see if I can't sneak down through the woods, and come up behind him. This never works for me, but sneaking through the woods hunting for something is always fun :)

Who'd have thought I'd be able to blog from twenty feet up a tree, in the middle of the woods?


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Change of Seasons

The seasons are finally starting to change. We've been broiling hot here this summer and into fall, with my first deer scouting trip in September, being conducted in triple digit temperatures. Things are finally cooling off, though now they tend to get confusing. Last week, morning temps were in the 30s, with highs in the 60s, this morning, it was 70 degrees as I left for work, and 80 degrees on the way home. Add in the rain we've been getting(thankfully), with humidity in the 90+ percentages, and it makes for some miserable times. Everything is sticky with condensation, and the only thing air conditioners do, is attempt to remove some of the moisture from the air, which tends to freeze up AC units. Profitable time to be in the HVAC business.

The only changes at work are for the worse, which confirms predictions by the long-timers, who say that things are still going to get even worse before they get better. Caseloads are still going up, with no end in sight, and we're being asked to do even more with less. Just today I spoke with another Agent who I thought was a fixture at the office, but he has an interview on Friday with an agency a little ways up the road.

To that end, I've been doing a little negotiating myself, trying to develop a job in the private sector, and may have a contract coming up for some good, enjoyable work. Keep your fingers crossed for me :)

One of the things that has been bedeviling me lately has been a case a little north of us, up in North Carolina. I'm sure you've all seen it on the National news. Young Zahra Baker, 10 years old and already a cancer survivor. Lost part of her leg and a good bit of her hearing to the cancer. Then her father up and moves her from their native Australia to rural NC to marry some woman he met on the internet. She's currently missing, and presumed dead.

I am not ashamed to admit, that I was moved to tears when I first saw this story several weeks ago. This beautiful child who had already been through so much, and yet still was full of smiles in any picture you see of her. The indefatigability of youth I guess.

Then the ugly rumors started the next day. All of the neighbors came out to the news to say how they'd seen the Step-mother beat her any time they stopped by. How she went to school with black eyes from one of those beatings. How they new she was going to come to a bad end because the Stepmother was jealous of the attention her father gave her.

At that time, she was just missing, and I turned to my wife and said, "If they find that little girl, I'm calling the Sheriff up there and telling him she can live with us." No argument from the Wife on that one.

Then the angry started. All these "neighbors" who just knew something was wrong, and had seen the child beaten by the stepmother, and just knew she was going to come to a bad end. Every blessed one of them needs to be brought up on charges for failing to report abuse, and complicity in whatever they finally determine happened to that poor child. A few rides on a cattle prod wouldn't be amiss either for these lazy slime balls.

But as the seasons change, people forget, and the news moves on. Two weeks later, and you have to search for updates on the story, what they're doing, what they've found, what they're looking for, etc.. I hate that she's being forgotten already, mostly in favor of what some politician said about another, in the run up to November 2nd.

I don't know why I felt such an immediate connection with this little girl, but I hope it doesn't go away. I pray for her every day, and I think that it's particularly apropos, that on Sundays, I pray for Zahra Clare Baker, in the Monastery of St. Clare. I pray that she receives mercy, and I pray that those who have harmed her are brought to justice.

I pray that as the seasons change, I continue to remember that one little girl who overcame so much, suffered the ultimate indignity. I pray that maybe today, putting one slime ball away, might spare one little girl from a similar fate. That calling DSS about drug abuse in a home with children, might get the children out safely, before things get bad. That threatening one knucklehead with prison, who's not quite beyond redemption, might get their feet on the path they need to tread.

I try to hold my head up, and believe that what we're doing matters, but then one of these cases comes along, where we weren't able to protect the little child, and my head hangs with sorrow. This was not my case, not my jurisdiction, not even in my state, but the failure on our part wounds me all the same. It also stiffens my resolve. I will redouble my efforts here, to see that no such thing happens on my watch.

The seasons change, my badge is a little heavier, a little more worn, a few more nicks and scratches, but as yet, there is no tarnish.

Take care all,


Saturday, October 9, 2010


One of the things brought on by budget cuts and shortfalls in our state, is reduced manpower throughout it's agencies. That means an increased workload for the remaining personnel, including duties that were routinely performed by a specialized position in the past. In this particular instance, I'm referring to the no longer existing position of Victims Service Coordinator. We used to have a guy who did nothing but deal with all of the victims of the crimes our offenders perpetrated. He took advantage of the Early Retirement offers brought on by the budget cuts, and now, field agents deal with all the victim stuff as well. I'm here to tell you, it's a load of crap and a waste of time.

Now, before you get your dander up, hear me out first. I have no problem in dealing with real, legitimate victims. I will spend time on the phone with them, I will go out to their homes, and do everything I can to assure them that I will keep an eye on the criminal that hurt them, and if they step out of line, I will come down on them like a ton of bricks.

However, real "Victims", seem to be few and far between in this particular line of work. Most of the people I have to deal with claiming to be 'victims', have been Dramatized, not traumatized. I've got one woman who calls at least once a week, where I'm lucky to get off the phone in less than thirty minutes, and all she wants to talk about is how hard her life has been. Nothing to do with the actual crime the offender is on probation for, she's just using it as an outlet for talking about herself. Blow her off you say? Well, when that happens, meaning I don't return a call in response to a voice mail fast enough, she immediately calls my supervisor. If my supervisor isn't in, or doesn't return the call fast enough, she goes right on up the chain bitching and whining until she gets a hold of someone, who promptly rolls that ball of crap back down hill with explicit orders for me to get on the phone and stay there until this woman is satisfied.

We've become so scared of offending someone who might potentially be, maybe, kinda sorta, a victim of something, that I believe we've lessened what it means to be a victim, for any real victims out there.

What brings this all to mind, is that with our VSC gone, one of our responsibilities now, is sending out Victim Letters. This means, when an offender is in violation status, and is going to be taken in front of a Circuit Judge to face having his/her probation revoked, and being sent to prison, we have to send out letters to the 'victims', notifying them of the time, date, and place of the hearing, so that they can be present if they so desire, or submit a statement for us to present to the judge on their behalf. In general, this isn't a problem, however, one a ran across yesterday just really got my goat.

The dirtbag in question is on for multiple charges, the one causing me problems is this: Pointing and/or Presenting a Firearm at a Person. It's a legitimate charge. You point a loaded gun at someone, and that's a viable threat to that person. However, in this particular case, of the fourteen Victim Letters I was required to send out, only one person actually had the gun pointed at them, and was threatened. The other thirteen, were covered by the muzzle as the dirtbag waved his gat around, gesticulating and ordering the one person who was actually threatened around. However, every single one of the remaining thirteen felt dramatized to such an extent, that they filled out paperwork to be kept abreast of anything that might ever happen with this idiot's case.

Ever been at the range, and had some idiot cover you with the muzzle of a loaded firearm? You might be a victim! Even if you were 8 lanes over, with multiple people and rows of shelving between you and the idiot, you go right ahead and claim 'victim' status, because sure as crap, no one is going to gainsay you, on the off chance that you might sue somebody for Mental Anguish or some crap.

These idiots call themselves 'victims', like it's some sort of badge of honor. Like it somehow puts them on the same level as a real victim, of a real crime. They just want a few minutes in the spotlight, and someone they can complain to who can't hang up on them without getting their own tail in the wringer. They cheapen the title of victim, and take time away from people who could be dealing with victims of real crimes that physically, emotionally, and/or psychologically scar them.

No idea where I'm going with this, other than that whiny people with no real problems just torque me off!

Take care all,