Firearm Idiots – Some people should not own a gun!

I  had to make another video on the topic of celebratory gunfire.  The other one didn’t get much attention maybe this one will be different.  Some people should not own firearms of any kind.  I rant for nearly 3 minutes and almost sure the very people who need to see the video won’t.  I hope someone doesn’t get killed by one of them this 4th of July. -13

Front Yard Food Garden Now “Legal” in Florida. Short Rant!

Photo by Pixabay on

I was not aware of this until I read the link below.  Food gardens are now legal in Florida.  Never knew there was an issue with them because there shouldn’t be.  During World War 2 gardening was encouraged.  I’d like to know what kind of idiot would vote to make front yard food gardens illegal.  Only an idiot would support something that stupid.  Can we bring back tar and feathering?

Good on the couple and for the Institute For Justice suing Miami Shores.  Shame on the super lazy and nearly good for nothing Florida Supreme Court for not hearing the case.  Seems like they don’t want to take on cases like this where they’ll have to rule on our constitutional rights.  Enough ranting the good news is plant your garden Florida. -13


Miami Shores Couple Celebrate Beating Ban By Planting Garden

Ambushed and shot -Payback time.

Photo by Tomas Ryant on

Ambushed and shot, bleeding from my face and eye I lay on the coffee table in the living room of the off-duty police officer who had carried me there.   Shortly I’m in an ambulance and taken to the emergency room.  I woke up the next day next to a police officer who had also been shot.  He was in serious condition.  There were two police officers guarding our semi-private two bed hospital room.  They weren’t sure if someone was trying to kill me on purpose and thought it would be better to keep us in the same room.

Nearly two years later I’m in the rescue squad explorers, have my advanced first aid and CPR training.  Soon I’d have my drivers license learner permit, for now my parents would drop me off at school.  On the way to school we were slowed down by a small traffic build up that was very usual.  We couldn’t see far enough ahead to determine what was going on.  The traffic was moving slowly but at a steady pace.

As we moved forward, me in the passenger seat I could see a motorcycle laying on the ground.  A small gathering of maybe 4 or 5 bystanders were just standing there looking on.  As we got closer I could see the full scene.  The bystanders were looking at a man with a compound femur fracture, a thick large pool of blood was forming under his leg onto the street.

I told my dad to stop the car I had to help no one was doing anything but looking.  He said I needed to get to school.  I told him to look how much blood there was and said he was bleeding profusely and would die if something wasn’t done about it.  There had to be at least a pint to pint and a half there.  I said to dad the school was only a mile or so away I’d walk the rest of the way until the ambulance arrived.

I jumped out of the car and went to the cyclist side, dad drove off to make sure help was coming.  He was semi conscious and not communicating.  No first aid supplies on hand I followed my training and applied direct pressure to the femoral artery at the recommended direct pressure point.  I was able to see an immediate reduction of blood oozing out of the fracture site.  Wow, I thought to myself it’s working!  Looking over the motorcyclist for more hemorrhaging or injuries it was the first time I noticed that this was a police motorcycle and officer.

My goodness I said to myself how long did it take me to see that.  I must have been a little excited.  Mostly inexperienced, by myself with no supplies, my adrenaline was up.  The first police officer(Officer P) on scene knew me from the rescue squad because he would hang out at the station with us sometimes.  I maintained direct pressure while he removed the downed officers gun-belt and secured the firearm.  Soon after the ambulance arrived.

I explained what I knew and had done since my arrival and offered to get out of the way.  The ambulance crew said I was doing fine and not to move away until instructed.  They did what they needed to package him up for transport.  As they did I got a chance to see the his face clearly and it was the officer who had carried me into his living room when I had been shot.

By now there were several police officers on-scene.  With blood on my pants leg, a spattered shirt, my hands red and sticky Officer P loaded me into the patrol car then took me to school.  I went to wash my hands and arms while the officer explained to the school staff why I was late.  I was given a note excusing my tardiness for the teacher and sent to classes.

A short time later Officer P shows up at my home with a few other officers.  My parents thought I was in trouble.  Called me to the door and said the police were looking for me. Officer P introduced himself and the other officers to my parents.  The other two officers worked the area our home was in, they wanted to meet me and my parents.  Officer P said they were there to thank me and asked if he could take me for a ride to the hospital.

We went to the hospital to visit the officer who had been in the accident.  It was rewarding to see the officer recovering.  He expressed his gratitude for my actions.  I’d remembered him but he didn’t recognize me.  My face was very bloody the only time he’d seen me.  I told him who I was and thanked him for what he had done for me.  He said that the hospital staff had said to him had it not been for the boy on the scene they had heard about he may not have made it.

The staff said the ambulance crew estimated there were closer to 3 to 4 pints on the ground.  He’d been given two pints shortly after arrival at the hospital, then more later.  It felt good to have been able to help someone but what made it better was who it was.  It was someone who had helped me in my time of need and I was able to return that act of kindness.  So fulfilling and rewarding.

Karma? I don’t know about that but it sure makes one question the construct and it’s existence.  I would never have imagined that something like that could happen.  I do remember one time my father getting pulled over not far from home.  The officer ticket book in hand said  “Mr. C, unit 13?” “You were driving a little fast, get out of here” and sent us on our way.  The officer and my paths never crossed again.  It almost always has been like that with anyone I’ve ever worked on during an emergency.  Show up, perform my duties, then on to the next run.  -13

The Flashlight and The Baton -A Short Story About Lying.

Photo by Wendelin Jacober on

The Flashlight

It’s the early 1980’s, I’m still building up my personal rescue equipment.  I could use the outdated fire department issued gear or purchase my own.  If I purchased my own I could keep it with me at all times, department property had to be left at the station.  With my POV(personal owed vehicle) equipped with a two-way radio, lights and siren, I could respond from anywhere if I had my own bunker gear.  If not I’d have to go to the station first costing valuable time.  In my small city I was one of two EMT’s in the city then.  The assistant chief(AC) and myself a lieutenant.  That’s all there was, two of us.

Due to those factors, the AC and myself responded in our POV’s directly to emergency medical or fire calls for help.  This later led us and the police to put radio scanners in our vehicles so we could communicate with each other in times of need.  We called it crosstalk.  The police were on low band, fire-rescue on high band.  So there was no way we could simply put a set of crystals in their radios and talk direct over the fire frequency.  If we communicated we would transmit over the frequency onboard and listen to each other on the scanner.  It worked very good when an officer needed backup and the nearest backup officer may be a sheriff or state trooper 15 or 20 minutes away.

That’s how we did things back then because it worked.  What doesn’t work is dishonesty.  In the emergency services field honesty and trust is a must.  When someone lies it can cause lots of issues to arise and have dramatic effects on a reputation.

I’m at the scene of a large fire, my POV is parked close by as usual.  We put out the fire, do our mop-up, roll up our tools, engines one and two are ready to go back to the station to load fresh clean hose back into the hose bed.  I’ve finished what I’m doing so I put my bunkers back into my POV.  Including the new Maglite flashlight I had purchased a few days before the fire.  Cool I thought it worked well at this fire and was a good choice for a flashlight.  I had purchased the rubber cover for the light.  It covered the entire body of the light with a small opening to operate the on/off switch.  I was more like a condom for a flashlight than anything.  But worth it.

In the past I had needed to hold a similar light and use both hands so I held it with my neck and shoulder.  It was winter and dam was that thing cold.  When I saw the flashlight cover option for the light I thought it would address that issue and give me a better grip.  I was right it worked well for that purpose.  My dad had suggested that if I was going to spend the money on a nice light that I should identify it as mine in some way to prevent theft, or at least separate it from other Maglite’s that others were using.

Wow was that a good idea, I did have it marked.  I took it to the engravers and had my social security number(SSN) put on the light.  Then put the flashlight condom over the body.  Two days later I responded to a call and my flashlight was missing.  That’s impossible I thought because I double checked to make sure it was in my POV when I put my bunkers in there.  Now it was missing.

Not long after that I had occasion to work with Officer H. on a call and to my surprise he had a flashlight that looked exactly like mine.  Condom cover and all.  Because I had to leave the scene before he did I didn’t say anything but had an odd feeling about it.  I asked for a meeting with the chief officers of the fire department.  We met and I explained the situation to them.  I informed them I was going to ask Officer H. about his light the next time I saw him at the station.  They had no issues with it.

Not sure how soon it was when I was able to spot Officer H. at the police department(PD).  They often went to the station to use the breathalyzer, rest room breaks, paperwork, typical stuff.  As soon as I saw his patrol car parked at the PD I went over there to ask him about the light.  As it happens the AC was working with me that night on ambulance duty.  I told him I was leaving the station and headed to the PD for a few minutes.  He said okay, then suddenly must have realized what I was up to and followed me over to the PD.

We were buzzed in and there was Officer H. filling out some paperwork on a DUI and a guy sitting there in handcuffs.  We exchanged pleasantries then I started to ask him about the flashlight.  I said that is was cool light could I check it out?  He handed to me.  Nice light I told him.  While I was looking at the light I asked him where he purchased the light so I could get one.  At the same time I had rolled back the condom cover and right there it was, my SSN.

I didn’t say anything for a moment just listened to how he purchased the light and where.  I then asked about the cover, was it extra or did it come like that.  He said it came like that with the cover on it.  I then showed him how I had rolled back the cover to reveal my SSN.  I asked him what the number was on the light, he said it was a serial number.  Wrong I told him.  No that’s not the serial number its this number and showed him another number on the light.  Much smaller and difficult to see.  The other number I told him was my SSN then produced my social security card to prove it.

At this point I still had the flashlight in my hand.  I rolled the cover back into place picked up my social security card, thanked him for finding my flashlight and walked out the door of the police department back to the fire station.  Thought that would be the end of that.  Was I wrong

Several weeks to a month later I get a call from the fire chief to come meet him at his office as soon as possible it was urgent.  I got there and began to hear a story that only Officer H. could come up with.  I was informed that due to the charges alleged by Officer H. I was suspended until the next city council meeting to settle the accusation.  The officer accused me of refusing to respond to a call for help.

The next day I’d made contact with an attorney that not only knew Officer H. but despised him he’d take my case pro bono so he could fuck with this guy big time.  That was the first and only attorney I had called.  I couldn’t believe it.  I’d informed my attorney of all of Officer H’s doing and we were going to burn him good right there at the city council meeting.  It was something like a trial but it was a small town council meeting it was fantastic.  I wish everyone could have been there to see and hear it.

We got the officer up to make the accusation then my attorney asked him some questions.  That was all we needed.  He had been asked about the details of his accusation and personal ones as well.  As he did not provide any evidence other than his lies. It was our turn.

My attorney produced photographs of him at a hotel with someone other than his wife.  Questions he had just lied about.  Now we had proof he was lying about that.  It was my turn to speak to the council.  I denied the accusation and then went one by one to each council member right to the mayor and rhetorically asked if they had ever heard a particular thing about themselves around the city and where these things that had been said came from?  Really strange rumors kind of stuff.

I had a story for each member of the council and then explained Officer H. was the one who had told me each one of those  stories/rumors.  Officer H. was not happy.  Then I told them about the flashlight incident.  The council quickly settled the issue, cut a check for my back pay and a little settlement money to keep me from suing the city.  Officer H. left the police department within weeks of that meeting.  I have a unique way of stumbling across liars then exposing them by accident.  Sometimes it caused me a little trouble but it always works out for me in the end.

The Baton

I’m in a sub sandwich shop munching out when I see Officer A’s patrol car pull up into the parking lot.  He pulled up fast like there was something going on.  I hadn’t heard any calls dispatch over the scanner nor had he called in arrival at a scene.  Where he parked his car had been blocked by part of a building so I couldn’t see what was going on but thought as soon as I finish my lunch I’d go out to see what was up.

Lucky me I stepped right in it.  When I walked over to where Officer A. was he was placing what was clearly an army solider in civilian clothes under arrest.  I announced my presence asked if he need assistance, the officer acknowledged me then asked me to watch his back.  The parking lot was clear except for us three.  There were no bystanders, everything seemed okay.  The solider was cooperating and following instructions as the officer placed handcuffs on the guy.

As the officer was putting the solider in the car the soldier’s foot slipped on the bottom of the door frame and he fell out of the car.  Officer A immediately pulled out his baton and started to beat the crap out of the guy.  I reminded the officer that I was there to provide assistance, he was handcuffed and that the guy had fell out of the car I saw his foot slip.  After beating the guy for approximately a minute he asked me to help place him into the patrol car.

That was that I thought. Officer A had a reputation for doing things like that.  Beating people who did not require it.  I’m not against striking someone if the situation calls for it because I would do it myself if necessary.   In this case all he would have had to do is get the guy off the ground and have him get into the car.  I was there armed with a pistol and Officer A knew it.  AC(Assistant Chief, Fire) and I had been on plenty of backup assistance calls from the PD because we were always armed.  It’s why they called us.  This guy was cooperative and did not fight the officer at any time during the incident.

Some time passes, months I think, I’ve forgotten the incident.  One day I get a call to meet AC he had to talk with me.  He comes and picks me up from home and drives me off.  He tells me about a conversation he had with Officer A.  How the officer had asked him what I had said about the sandwich shop incident.  AC told him I didn’t know anything because AC didn’t know I was there that day.  I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone since it seemed to be normal for Officer A.  What was there to say?  He did it again.

I told AC about the incident.  He told me how Officer A wanted to speak with me about it so we’d be on the same page because there was some trouble coming and wanted to coordinate our story.  Make sure we would tell the same story in court because they were going to call me as a witness.  AC nor I had any idea what was going on.

I did not like what I was hearing and I could tell AC was concerned for me in some way.  I knew I couldn’t go asking questions around town, if I did the PD would find out fast.  It was a small town.  At first I didn’t know what to do.  Then I remembered a friend I had made in military police on base, he was a Sargent.  He would come hang out at the station when he could and respond to runs with us.

I got into contact with him and asked him to meet me on base at my fathers place over there so no one in my little town would know we were meeting.  None of them had access to the base like we did.   They would have had to get visitors passes and really had no business over there anyway.

We met and I told him about the incident with Officer A.  There was a look on his face that can’t be described.  He called the M.P. station and asked if a certain person was there.  The captain he asked for was not there.  The Sargent instructed them to contact the officer and have him meet at the M.P. station it was urgent that the captain speak with me.  Sargent told me he wanted me to go to the M.P. station with him and speak with someone.  I agreed.

When we got there it was about a half hour before the captain arrived.  I recognized him immediately .  It was the solider Officer A had beaten.  He was a captain in the military police.  We spoke and I told him what I saw.  He said they were going after Officer A. for misconduct and for other times he’d abused soldiers.  Dam I was thinking I sure stick my foot in it every time I should stay at home.

We stayed around the M.P. station until I gave the C.I.D. a statement.  I was told to watch my back around Officer A he had some real issues and could be dangerous.  I reminded them I carry and had been shooting on the range with Officer A he’d be lucky if he hit me in a firefight.  Everybody laughed.  Then Sargent said you’re armed right now aren’t you.  Hell yes I said you think I check my gun at the door when I come over here?

I was reminded how illegal it was and told to keep it to myself.  Sometime after the on base meeting I ran into Officer A.  He was desperately trying to find me by then multiple people had told me he had been asking my whereabouts.  Officer A came to the fire station to speak with me.  I was invited over to the PD for a chat.  I informed Officer A that wouldn’t be a good idea.  I had been on base and given a statement to the C.I.D. over there and would not testify for him.

I told him what he did was wrong.  He left the station.  I’m not sure of the timeline but he was fired.  I think the city had too.  There had been too many cases of him beating up soldiers.  I don’t know if it’s still like this but the military would make tattoo shops, pawn shops or night clubs off-limits due to the way they would treat military personnel.  I could imagine the military making certain trailer parks or apartment buildings off limits which would have effected that town in a dramatic way.  About 90% the people living there were military.  The city would collapse without all that rent money.  When our ambulance wasn’t on duty, the military would respond off base to pick up personnel and transport them back to the base hospital.  The city was more like a housing area annex of the base.

I had a sense the military gave the city few options but to get rid of Officer A.  Like I said, I have a unique ability to stumble across the liars and expose them without trying.  It’s really strange.  It happens everywhere I go.  -13

Book Collector for the Home Library -My Experience

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on

Book Collector is a database software program for books.  It’s like a computerized card catalog.  I’ve been using it for almost a year now and have been very happy with the results.  I can list PDF’s on there like a book, enter books, recipes, videos, things I make myself, product manuals or information.  It has changed the way we deal with all of those items.

The other benefit is how it has actually taken a load off my shoulders trying to remember what I have, where it is.  Relief!  Now when I get a new book or product manual it gets entered into the database, placed into the appropriate place and I can forget about it.  If I need to know something all I have to do is type my curiosity into the search box and items will start filling the screen.

There is so much details on how it works it’s too much to write here or put into a video.  I did make a 33 minute video review and demonstrate how I use it with a few tips for a new user.  If someone has a large book collection or as in our case we have multiple individuals with large volumes of books, might find this a very useful program to use.  Currently there are over 700 items in that database so it’s easy to see how useful it will be for our homestead.

Future plans include a dedicated small computer that will fit on our kitchen counter.  We will then put Book Collector on there and an inventory program to keep track of all of our stuff.  For more on Book Collector check out the video below.  -13

Cupcakes lead to terroristic threat at the courthouse.

Photo by Tina Nord on

I’m sure I’ve written this story before on this blog but can’t find it so here it goes.  One of the most unexpected experiences I’ve ever had was a trip to the convenience store for some cupcakes.  The assistant fire chief also operated the city water plant.  He called me one day to meet him at the city’s water pumping station.

He was very concerned by the bullet impressions on the steel door to the pump house.  Someone was shooting a very high powered rifle at the door that would almost go through the thick steel.  He was worried that if one of them made it to the pump itself it could shut off the city water supply until a new pump could be installed or repaired on site.

Either way the city could be without water for some time if it happened.  He wanted me to help surveil the area and see if  we could catch who ever was doing it.  Our plan was to make our presence known whenever we were there.  The town usually only had one police officer on duty at a time and was too busy to spend much time there.

We’d spent a few weeks working alone or together.  Mostly sitting on top of a hill that overlooked the area it would be easy to see us and for us to see others moving in the area.  Week one, nothing, week two, nothing.  We got to thinking that either our presence was having an effect or the shooting was a one time thing and the person might not come back.

It was during a conversation about what to do next I expressed the need for some cupcakes.  Assistant chief(AC) said to jump in his truck and we’d head over to a convenience store for some snacks.  We were armed with pistols and shotguns.  I put my Remington 870 in his truck, got in and he headed off to the store.

silver display shelf on brown sectional table

Photo by Caio Resende on

There were two convenience stores in town.  The town borders a military base so all the business were on the east side of the main highway.  From the state line heading north there were many businesses that reached along what was called the strip which ended in an agricultural area.  At night someone unfamiliar with the area it might appear to be far away from anything.  The police and fire department were only a mile away.

Okay that’s the layout of the area we having a conversation of which store to go to.  I wanted hostess cupcakes from the store farther away.  There’s no traffic its 3 or 4 am so we’re moving quickly.  AC pulled into the highway median directly across from the closest store before the conversation was finished.

We sat there for a moment still in discussion when I noticed the door to the store was propped open.  Thats odd I thought, it was winter and cold outside, too cold to leave a door open like that in December.  I said something about it to AC when we both noticed there was a man standing in front of the clerk and she was holding her hands up in the air.

AC pulled his truck up a couple of feet and we could see the guy had a gun in hand and was robbing the store.  Oh shit I thought what the hell are we going to do now?  We quickly decided to leave the truck in the median and wait for him outside the store with our shotguns.  We called it in on the radio and ran across the street to the store.

There was one of those outdoor ice cooler stores sell ice out of, AC took a position behind there and I crouched outside the door behind a trash can.  There would be no way for him to see us until he came out of the store.  We could hear him yelling at the clerk to open the safe.  It was a deposit drop/timer safe and couldn’t be opened by the clerk.

I think he saw the truck in the median and began to exit the store.  We had no idea where he would go because there wasn’t a car in the lot of the store.  When he came out he turned left toward the ice cooler right where AC was standing.  AC moved back next to the cooler quickly because he didn’t expect him to move directly toward him.  Turns out the guy had parked his car at a used car lot about a 100 feet or so away.

I had missed it but he had also put his pistol in the sack with the money from the cash register.  Lucky for him.  As he moved toward AC I jumped up behind him and ordered him to stop or I’d shoot him with a shotgun.  I didn’t chamber a round to make my point or switch off the safety that had already been done I was ready to shoot him.

Thank goodness he didn’t decide to fight.  He saw AC come from concealment with a shotgun and got down on his knees.  AC moved to a better position closer to me.  Robber was told to move back away from the cooler and sack of money, lay on his stomach, keep his hands visible, not to move, talk or do anything or he’d be shot.

I moved over to where the guy was laying, made him cross his legs then held him at gun point.  AC went to pick up the sack when he discovered the pistol.  We didn’t have an ETA on the police so we decided we would search him for any other weapons.  AC was a big guy so he knelt down on the guys back, searched and found nothing.

Almost as soon as he finished the only officer on duty arrived on-scene, came out of the car with pistol in hand and asked excitedly “did you shoot him?”  I said no.  He says “why not?” now sounding disappointed.  I said “we didn’t have time to he just surrendered”  I could tell the officer was so let down we didn’t shoot him.

Soon the guy was in handcuffs and in the patrol car ready to head off to jail.  The officer half scaled us for not shooting him.  Said they wanted the town to have a reputation for shooting robbers to keep them out of our little town back across the state line.  I’ve never seen anyone so disappointed we didn’t shoot someone.  Maybe I should have the story’s not finished yet.

architecture brick building church

Photo by C. Spencer van Gulick on

Time goes by we get our subpoenas to appear as witnesses for the prosecution.  AC and I show up early at the courthouse go say hi to friends working there we haven’t seen for a while.  It’s an old courthouse where everyone has to go in the same door, the accused and witnesses.  Courthouse staff instructed us to wait in a particular area outside the courtroom.

Something had changed so they requests us to move just outside the courtroom entrance.  As we waited for them to call us the jailers brought the robber to the courtroom.  For some reason there was a delay and AC, I and the robber ended up standing face to face nearly close enough to touch each other.  He was escorted by two jailers.  They had complete control and were right on the guy.

I recognized him right away.  It must have took him a moment to remember us because at first he didn’t seem to recognize us.  Once he did he leaned toward me and told me he did recognize me and was going to kill me and AC if we testified.  I got a big smile on my face because just behind him one of the jailers had leaned in to hear what he was saying to me.  I looked at the jailer and asked him if he’d heard what robber said and he confirmed he had.

I said to robber you’re the dumbest idiot I’ve met yet.  You threaten to kill witnesses in front of a jailer.  I probably should remind you I had a shotgun pointed at your head.  Now with your threat, you gave me permission to shoot you in the future.  I have no other option past this point but to assume if you approach me anytime after this day you’ve come to kill me.  But you’ll have to take a number and get in line there are others who feel the same way.  And don’t forget I always carry a firearm I’ll be waiting.  The jailers laughed.


AC and I were told to move away from the door and wait.  The jailers rushed the robber into the courtroom.  They informed the judge of what happened.  The judge called AC and I into the courtroom and questioned us about the threat made in the hallway.  The proceeding for the robbery case was postponed because robber was placed under arrest and charged with two counts of terroristic threats taken back to jail and processed there.

The case must have never went to court.  We were never called as witnesses to either the robbery or threat charges but the guy went to prison.  Somehow it came down the line he’d be behind bars for 20 years.  So far he hasn’t showed up to kill me.

As for the city pump station.  Mr. R who was the original owner of the water company.  Laughed at us and told us to go get some scrap metal plate from his pile of junk and weld it to reinforce the door and that would be the end of that.  He was right.  We should have done that to begin with.  But if we’d done that we would have missed all the excitement at the robbery.  I love working in rural areas there always opportunity for things like that to happen.

One thing I would change about the incident is that AC and I were on opposing sides of the door creating a crossfire situation.  If that guy had decided to shoot at either one of us the other would have been in the line of fire.  We should have been together or positioned differently. I love remembering all these past incidents.  You live, you learn.  Don’t forget if you plan on killing me, take a number there’s a line. -13

Ambushed, trees don’t make good cover. How to lose an eye in one shot.

Back to the 1970’s again in a setting not very different from the blogs feature photo above.  It’s fall, we’re out for winter break from high school.  Two of my friends and I plan on following the railroad tracks past the trestle and see if we could find caves to explore or cliffs to rappel.  We would explore the area and return another day if we found cliffs or a cave.

I had my M3 bag a mentor a given me stocked with some first aid supplies, some c-rations and as I remember a Ruger Mark 1 in case of snakes or we wanted to target shoot.  The pistol may have been a different one with the same look, I’m sure it was a .22 though.

We met at my friends house since it was closer to the RR-tracks.  His house was only two blocks away from them.  The three of us made it to the tracks and were about a half mile from where we started.  Off of the tracks there were some old cars and junk.  We began to explore this area and the old stuff lying around.  During this time we could hear some shooting but it was off in the distance and gave us no concern.  Sounded like someone was target shooing off in the distance.

It was decided before we headed to the trestle we have some C-ration coffee.  Made the coffee, had drank it and were cleaning up when I hear more gunshots.  Only problem this time is I can hear a flicking sound in the leaves very close by.  I’ve heard that sound before and its usually birdshot flying through the bushes.  The next sound of flying birdshot is closer.  I yell out to stop shooting that we were in the direction they were shooting.

I heard laughing coming from the direction of the shots and this time they barely missed us.  I yelled at my friends to lay down flat try to get over to a ditch like area caused by erosion.  I pulled out my whistle and started blowing it to signal our location and yelled at them again.  This time birdshot hit the ground maybe 5 or 6 feet away, I could see it move the leaves on the ground.

I finally remembered my .22 and pulled it out.  By now I had the sense they were shooting at us on purpose.  I yelled at them again to stop shooting but this time I could see them.  There were three men or young guys in a thicket of bushes on the other side of the RR tracks shooting directly at us.  Only one of them had a gun.  That’s all I saw was one.

I tried the whistle and yelling again this time the birdshot landed directly in front of me.  I thought at this point they were trying to kill us.  I yelled out I had a gun and was going to shoot back if they fired again.  The position I was in was not good and mostly exposed. I crawled over to an area where there was a clump of trees and small mound.

I reached the mound and trees.  The whole time they were laughing at us.  I moved up to the trees and fired a shot at them and missed.  Again another shot in my direction.  For some reason they all stood up.  I somewhat panic shot one of them, I know I did because I heard him say it.  It wasn’t a shot at a particular person it was more a knee-jerk kind of thing.  Wasn’t expecting them to stand up like that and it startled me.

The next shot was directly at the guy with the gun.  I missed, next shot same thing, missed him.  As I was moving positions to the right of the tree clump I felt several tiny strikes on my face and shoulder.  Didn’t hurt, burn, sting, nothing.  But, I’d been shot.  I tried firing back but suddenly realized I couldn’t see out of my eye.  At first I thought I had some dirt or something from the ground in my eye.  Everything was black.  I could still see out of my left eye and changed shooting sides.

As I did this more shots were fired at me now.  My friends safely in the ditch thank goodness.  I tried firing from my left hand and eye, what an experience.  Pretty sure I missed them without trying.  I’m not very left handed.  By now the first magazine is empty I have one left.  I see blood on my coat sleeve but am more worried about what those guys are going to do next.

Suddenly a train starts to pass by.  I had heard the horn sounding but it seemed far away.  Now it was passing in between the shooters and our small group.  I watched them between the cars as they passed.  I think they tried to shoot at me but it would hit the train.

This was a perfect chance for us to get away from that location and move toward a city street to seek some help.  When I got to where my friends were they looked a little freaked out when they looked at me.  I checked to see if they been hit, they had not.  They said that I had blood covering the side of my face and my eye looked really bad.  I’d seen the blood on my jacket it didn’t look good.

Oddly at this point I wasn’t worried because I knew from first-aid class that minor face wounds bleed profusely and make it appear much worse that it actually was.  We quickly moved toward the road then reached a drain culvert.  We sat there while the train passed.

I leaned up against a tree.  Closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the woods, wind, birds, insects.  I noticed what sounded like a dripping water sound.  I thought that is was odd to be hearing out there.  But kept hearing it.  It got my curiosity up.  I looked around and saw nothing that would be dripping.

Closed my eyes, relaxed and started hearing it again.  But now the sound was in front of me.  I heard it again then looked a my coat.  Part of my coat had bunched up and created a small trough catching the blood causing it to pool up.  As I looked at that a drip of blood fell confirming what I had thought.  Finally the train was gone.

We were worried they would be waiting on the other side for us.  We moved up along the road into the neighborhood behind some houses and started knocking on doors for help. Because we weren’t finding anyone home we split up to be able to knock on more doors.  I was starting to feel the effects of the incident and was getting slow and weak.  One of my friends came back to stay with me as we worked our way toward one of our homes.

My other friend came running up to us with an adult with a pistol in his hand.  He took a quick look at me, threw me over his shoulder and ran to his house.  As he was going in the door police officers began to arrive.  The guy that carried me used his arm to clear a coffee table in his living room where he laid me down.  The stuff crashed to the floor.

Officers piled inside the house.  Turns out the guy who picked me up with the pistol was also a police officer.  They rendered aid, I answered their questions then the ambulance came.  They never did figure out who it was.  There was a small pile of shotgun shells in the area where they were shooting from.  No more that two years later I would get a chance to return the help the officer gave me when I need it.  That’s another story. -13


Rescue Memories- You recognize the dead?

My early rescue calls happened on weekends during school and anytime during summer break.  Drinking was big in the 1970s and it was easy for kids in my high school to get it.  Extrication calls were common.  It’s how I was able to get extrication experience at that young age.  Hearing of a student killed in an accident wasn’t frequent, but it also wasn’t a surprise to hear.

Three accidents I can remember with people I recognized from my high school when they couldn’t find identification on the bodies.  Interestingly two of them involve trees and cars the other a trench collapse.

Cant remember which one was first, doesn’t matter anyway I guess.  It’s a call for a accident with injuries.  On scene the car is on the drivers side, partly bent around a very large diameter tree.  The roof crushed into the passenger compartment.

We were able to access the three girls inside from the rear window, they were clearly crushed and entrapped.  We would not be able to extricate them in time to be resuscitated.  One of the girls I couldn’t recognize due to her facial injuries.  To my surprise the other two didn’t have any injuries to the face and recognized them from school.  I didn’t socialize with them but did know their names.  Back then kids didn’t have identification from school or any kind as I remember.  Maybe a library card.

I told the rescue squad guys that I knew who the two girls were.  They were surprised.  “You recognize the dead?”  They had me report to the state trooper working the accident and relay the information.  Another car crash, another tree, this time head on.  The driver was another student I didn’t spent time with but recognized.  He was hanging out the front window on his side, looked like he was asleep.

Trench collapse, when we arrive people are digging franticly.  The trench walls keep falling in more.  There was a backhoe on scene.  The trench ran parallel to the roadway.  Our lead rescue guy owned the same backhoe.  He cleared everybody out and started working parallel to the trench pulling back all the loose soil that kept falling into the trench.

He dug for several minutes until it was cleared back enough to keep the side from collapsing in.  Then the hand digging began.  Maybe a few more minutes went by before the people in the trench pulled him out.  It was another student from my school.  This time I didn’t have to tell anyone who it was the family was already there.

The first time trench experience watching someone emerge from the earth is indelible.  -13

Rescue Memories- Racist in the car?

One my most interesting and powerful experiences in the rescue field happened when I was in high school.  11th grade shop class, teacher rushes out of his office, singles out two others and myself.  I’m thinking the way he yelled at us there was going to be trouble.  “Get in my office!”

We go into the office, he’s yelling about something we didn’t do.  That never happened.  As he is doing this my friends and I move into the middle part of the office as the teacher pulls chalkboards on wheels in front of the windows at each end of the office.  From outside you can’t see in.

The yelling stops and his whole disposition changes.  He tells us to have a seat, get comfortable, offers us a cigarette and starts talking.  The guy got to know us and shared what was going on with him and his wife dying of cancer.  These became regular meetings.  We’re in trouble in the classroom, in the office have a seat and a smoke.  That guy was really going through hell it’s interesting he confided in us.

We were told not to mention the office except to say how bad the experience was.  He also asked us to befriend a student who had lost his mother in a car crash during the summer break.  We already had, I recognized him from the accident.  I was on the extrication truck that responded that day.  This student I’ll call, Accuser.  We welcomed Accuser to hang out with us.  We didn’t fit in with the jocks, the preppies, druggies, none of them.

Some time passes.  Accuser starts hanging out with the druggies, skipping shop class.  It was sad to see that happen.  For several weeks I had a crush on a girl that I could see if I went the long way to my next class after shop.  From shop class it was about a 20 second walk to the exit.

I head out the door going on my way and from around the corner comes six guys after me.  One guy yelled at me to stop.  I could tell it was going to be trouble but I wasn’t going to run.  I stood and faced them.  It was one of those situations where there’s a bully guy and the followers.  One of them was Accuser.  The leader an older student I’ll call Bully was telling me how he was going to beat me up.

From the same corner of the building the guys came from out comes my shop teacher with a large piece of wood in his hand.  He rushed up to confront the other students.  It was like Buford Pusser I thought he was going to kick their asses.  Shop teacher asked me how I wanted to handle the situation.  I told him they’re dumb as shit send them back to class.  He did with a stern warning he’d come looking for them if they gave me any more trouble.

My shop teacher had been smoking outside that day and lucky for me he had overheard the plot to kick my ass.  He caught it as it was happening.  His delay in confronting them immediately was so he could get what was actually a staff from his office then see if they were really up to no good.  Once he saw they were confronting me is when he rushed in to help.

I had never interacted with Bully. Never not sure what his issue was.  Never found out.  Less than two weeks later I get called to the school principals office.  When I get there I’m asked to sit in the end seat of a ten seat boardroom table.  I do, sitting on my right are Accuser and Bully.  This is going to be interesting and fascinating as it gets.

The principal sits at the other end of the table.  He tells me the students sitting on my right are accusing me of racism.  Of being a racist.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was amazing.  I looked away from the principal, then directly at Accuser and said “Do you want to stick by that story?”  He says “Yes you’re a racist.”

Okay I said then explained how we arrived on the scene of a car crash.  How that car was wrapped around a tree with a little boy trapped inside.  The side of the car had been pushed around him, the roof inches away from his head.  His mother dead in the front seat.

How there was just enough room for me to squirrel my way in.  The other rescue workers were going to extricate while I would do what I could inside.  I applied a dressing on his forehead and covered as much of him as I could for protection with a blanket then held his hand.

I then asked Accuser if he remembered hearing any of these words the day of his accident.  I’m with the rescue squad, you’ve been involved in an accident.  Stay calm we are going to get you out of here.  I’m going to stay with you until we get you out of this, you’re safe now we won’t let any thing happen to you, we’re going to get you to a hospital.

Accuser sitting there, tears streaming down his cheeks.  That was you he asked?  I told him that it was me who had said that to you and held your hand. Still in disbelief someone would think that of me I asked him if he really believed I was a racist.  He said no he had made it up under pressure from the Bully.  I looked at the Bully, he had a look of shock on his face, the principal had tears in his eyes.

There was questioning by the principal.  That’s what you do he ask me about the rescue squad?  I told him yes, I didn’t care about doing anything else.  I was asked to leave the room but stay in the office area.  Shop teacher shows up at the main desk and ask what I’m doing sitting outside the principals office.  I tell him, he barges into the principals office.  About ten or fifteen minutes later I’m back in the office answering questions about the incident when they were going to beat me up.

I answered the questions and was told to return to class.  That was on a Friday, when we returned to school shop teacher said those two were in a lot more trouble than the things I knew of.  They must have been suspended because they never returned there.  The rumor was they had been sent to a boys home type place.

I’m glad I thought to write this one down.  I would have never have brought up that I was the one in the car that day with Accuser if he hadn’t said what he did.  It’s not important to me in any way that a person know I had anything to do with a treatment or rescue.  I don’t need recognition or thanks.  That kind of attention makes me uncomfortable.  My satisfaction and fulfillment comes from having participated and helped another person when they really need it.

It’s interesting how things in life happen like this experience.  I wonder how things would have tuned out if I hadn’t been at the rescue squad that day.  Racist in the car?  Not here.  -13

Rescue Memories- Report to the principals office immediately

High school.  One more year and it will be over.  We’ve just changed classes and are settling into the classroom.  Our high school had a communication system so that each classroom could be contacted individually.  The tone alerts the teacher, she picks up the handset starts speaking with someone and starts looking at me.  She hangs up the handset and instructs me to report to one of the assistant principals office immediately.

They knew at the time I had Red Cross Advanced First Aid and CPR training and was part of the rescue squad explorers.  A couple times I’d helped the school nurse when no one else could handle the blood and open wound.  Once there was a girl who brought a kitchen knife from home and cut her wrist in the bathroom and a boy lost half a finger on the band-saw.  I was amazed by the clean cut it made.  Those were the only two time until then.

I get to the principals office expecting something bloody or an impaled object, something.  The principal is in an emotional state, it was easy to see he was gravely concerned.  He ask me if I knew a particular student or the students whereabouts.  I knew her and didn’t know where she was.  We left the school building and went to his car.

He had not said anything about what was going on.  At the car he said that he wanted me to go with him to the students home address and a few other places to look for her.  I was very surprised that he would have me in the car looking for her.  I asked what was going on.  He talked around the topic and never answered.  He kept focusing on where she might be.

We went to some horse stables, a park.  I began to suspect she had threatened suicide and he didn’t want to say it to me.  We went to her home, she wasn’t there.  I told him how I would deal with it whatever was going on because I was getting the sense she was in danger.  We had been gone for three hours.  I missed a class, lunch and the after lunch class.  He realized he had to call the police and did.

Still don’t know what happened to her.  Not rumors, nothing.  She never came back to school.  What an experience to have the principal call me out of class then use his car to look for a student.  At the time it seemed odd and thought it had something to do with suicide.  Now that I’m older I think its possible he could have been a mentor or possibly a lover.  That’s the 1970s for you.  -13



Rescue Memories- Body pops up, hearse arrives on scene.

My hometown rescue squad had a mutual aid call for personnel and equipment to assist in a mass drag operation to locate a motorcyclist who had gone over the rail of a bridge crossing a large lake.  I spent my time helping load equipment onto boats, stocking a converted panel van used for onsite communication and serving hot meals for search/drag missions, packing POV’s.  Everything was ready we’d leave before sunrise so the boats could be launched as soon as there was enough light.

We arrived at the boat launch, things got under way, I did what I was told to do next thing I know is we’re in the boat.  There was 20 boats or so.  I was with two of my favorite mentors.  I’m thinking this is going to be great.  I’m going to get to hang out with these guys and learn how to drag for bodies.  We had some snacks and cola drinks in a small cooler.  We were ready to drag for a while.

This my favorite part of the experience.  We get to where our boat is going to start dragging.  My mentors are going over the drag and how to use it.  Most of the boats were typically as I remember them, a wider Jon boat so two could sit in the middle and lower the drag over the edge, not sure how long.  There I am with the drag in hand watching the guy sitting next to me put his drag into the water.  He starts to lower it, I think to myself I got it, no problem.

I start to move the drag, if you’ve never seen a drag it looks like a fence stretcher without the fence hooks.  In place of the fence hooks are four welded rings to tie on heavy cord attached to three prong hooks.  The hooks hang down about 12″ or so.  It’s cumbersome and hard to keep the lines separate.  I finally get the drag into the water.  I keep it at the top for a moment to get a feel for how it would handle in the water.

From behind me the other mentor operating the boat says look up.  I did, I looked up over at the other boats.  Not there he said, down there in front of you in the water about four or five feet away.  There he was.  Face down, blue jeans, leather jacket, long blond hair.  The boat operator told us to get our drags in the boat.  My drag hadn’t been more that a foot or so deep it was in the boat like I’d done it before.  Couldn’t believe it.

Mentor sitting next to me was pulling his drag in.  I was told to get ready to grab the body.  It was really exciting.  We’re inching our way over to the guy we came looking for as he floats next to our boat.  Wow I think as grab the waistline of his jeans.  “Don’t let go!” they remind me.  We wait for a larger boat to come over and help remove, then transport the body to shore.  All the preparation and the anticipation boiled down to our boat being on site for couldn’t have been more than ten minutes and me playing with a drag like a kid with a bobber.

There were more drag missions after that but not like that one.  What an experience, it was amazing.  I had some fantastic first time experiences in the rescue field.  Thinking of this story reminds me of another call I responded to a few years later.

At the time there were only 2 regular rescue squad members that were SCUBA certified, I had received my certification in 1979.  After having spent some time with me on emergency runs the other divers invited me to start spending time with them on projects away from the rescue squad.  Projects recovering lost objects, minor underwater repairs, boat cleaning, working in open water.

They had me doing surface task.  Simple things like cleaning, setting up equipment, basic stuff.  They were testing me to see if I would get sick on the water and if I actually had some aptitude when the pressure is on.  As time passed I was allowed to train with them in the local indoor pool.  I couldn’t believe I got my parents permission.  The guys came over to my home to talk with them about it.  They needed help.

They had a few things in mind for me at the time.  Be ready to dive if one diver was in trouble I was to dive and assist the other diver with rescue, the ability to remove a body from a car and how to hook a car for recovery by tow truck.  Dam that’s a long winded way to get to the point.  I have to include those details so others can see how things happen.

By now I have a station wagon and drivers license.  The station wagon was a hand me down and is cool as far as I’m concerned.  I’m wondering what I was going to do, it was a weekend and none of the rescue squad crews that let me respond to calls were working.  I was cleaning the car when my mom called out to me to answer the phone.  It didn’t sound good from the tone of her voice.

It was a rescue dispatcher asking me to report to a location in the deep boonies near the river.  I was to bring all dive equipment there had been a witnessed drowning.  When I arrived there were a few rescue trucks and a Jon boat pulling in ahead of me.  The area was a small pond size like area that lead out to the river.  I met with one of the divers and was informed the boat would be launched by hand and we’d dive for the body.

We! He said.  My heart started pounding I was thinking that I don’t know anything.  I’m dumb as a rock look at me get what I asked for.  The other diver was not coming and they  were seemed to be sure the body would be close by.  My mentor wouldn’t dive alone so we put on the gear were taken to where the victim was last seen by boat.

I had an underwater light that used a lantern battery it worked good.  Had a nice focused beam of light.  We’re in the water, going over the plan, safety, all the important stuff.  We go below the surface into black water.  Visibility 12″-14″ at most.  Had to be very close to see anything clearly.  Since it was black water we stayed in physical contact.

On the bottom we’re feeling around when the scene from Jaws ran though my mind where Hooper happens across the body in the boat.  I thought “how am I going to react when the guy with the eye popped out is going to come out of nowhere.”  We were down, 30-35′ for 24 minutes when I get a tug on my arm.  The other diver pulls my hand over to grab an ankle.  We try to swim to the surface and have a difficult time the guy weighs maybe 250 pounds.  We attach a marking line, go the surface for rope.

Once the rope is tied on the body we surface.  I’m facing the direction where we parked.  Perfectly framed in my dive mask are two guys, arms crossed leaning on a hearse backed up close to where they were going to load the body.  There was something about that moment.  When I went underwater I was looking in that direction it was all rescue equipment.  On the surface a hearse and two guys waiting to load another body.

Once the body was in the hearse we rolled up our equipment and left for the station for clean up and a post-mortem of the call.  The hearse guys had me going.  They had that, how much longer is this going to take look.  Another fun memory from way back. -13

Rescue Memories- The door opens.

Digging deep for this one.  How I found my way into emergency services.  Not sure when the desire hit me.  The first time I saw someone cut in half was when I was five.  My father confirmed this and all the details of that memory.  Could it be that was the influence?  Or maybe it had to do with the dogs stitches coming out, seeing her intestines on the floor, my mother in a panic?

Also remember at a young age playing with military medical equipment, OD green I.V. poles, tent smelling folding stretchers, instruments, respiratory.  Nothing sharp, things like towel clamps and scalpel blades were removed.  There were boxes of it around.

Wow! This is a big surprise.  As that last paragraph was written a memory came back.  Some friends from the neighborhood would come over to my house.  We would each pretend to be victims of car and helicopter crashes.  Fallen down cliffs, gun shot wounds and other craziness.  While the other ones in the group would be the medics.  We would practice bandaging and trying to carry the others.  That’s nuts.

My dad was infantry and not medical in any way.  There were retired and active duty family friends in the medical fields.  Boy Scout leaders were all former military guys.  I must have expressed interest, one day medical “toys” started showing up in boxes with an education on each item.  This would have been before I would have been allowed to explore the neighborhood on my own.

Those memories are from earlier times in my life.  Moving into the more recent memory and series of events that lead me directly into the door of a rescue squad building and a dream come true.  I must have been 13-14 years old.  Able to walk the neighborhood by myself on foot or bicycle.  Some cousins lived about 7 blocks away.  Not far.

The street that leads to my cousins house crosses another at their home.  When I get there I have to stop and check for traffic first, the house directly across the street.  No traffic I start to cross the street and hear screaming coming from the direction I’m walking.  I get scared as I get closer to the house because the screams are coming from there.

Hesitating at first I ran up the side of the house and listened.  The windows were open.  My cousins mom was yelling at my cousins about how bad they were.  My cousins crying in pain begging for mercy.  It was horrible.  I didn’t know what to do so I ran back home.

There was no one home, no one to talk to.  Wasn’t much into t.v., only made an effort to watch This Old House.  Out of the ordinary, turned on the television.  Wish I could remember what year it was and what episode was watched but I don’t.  The good part was I had tuned in as the opening of the show was on so the scenes and siren sounds made me stop on the channel.

The show was Emergency!  The t.v. show about the early days of paramedics in the U.S.A.  People in the station, getting emergency calls.  While watching that show something happened to me.  Something changed.  A sense of knowing of where you belong.

It felt like my brain was spinning inside my skull like symbols on a slot machine.  After the show was over I couldn’t wait to tell my mom about it, then dad.  It was a few weeks before I was able to get my dad to watch the show with me.  There wasn’t much feedback  from him on the topic.  I seemed to be the only one enthusiast about it.  I kept watching and talking about the show all the time.

Out of nowhere my dad picks me up and we head over to fire station 4 to meet a family friend.  Captain gives me a station and engine tour.  Not much time passes before I’m allowed to spend short periods of time at the station and sometimes ride to calls with the fire chief if he was over for dinner.

Not long after that I’m on base in station 2 with Engineer.  Learning what a shift is really like.  Due to the unique situation I was able to spend hours at this station.  Experienced some of the most impressionable moments in my life there.  Cannot believe how lucky I was then.

The guys liked to let me answer the phone when the dispatcher was calling so they could mess with them.  “Station 2”.  Silly fun.  This continued until I was maybe 15.  I had learned to read the old ticker-tape alarm system still connected to the station.  Then word came down.  World is changing.  Transfer out or retire station 2 will be closing.

That’s what happened.  The old wooden T-building hospital had been removed.  Station 2 was close by in case it went up.  The new hospital was a single structure of modern materials closer to station 1.  Only thing missing was an aerial.  That came after the new hospital opened.

Spending time around station 2 put me in contact with others in the department.  Having expressed an interest in becoming a paramedic firefighter like the guys I’d seen on television I was introduced to Rescue.  Rescue was a cool dude.  He had an earring, talked cool and owned a restaurant.  Was the only person I connected with after everyone else had left.

He like me because of my interested in the paramedic and rescue part of the fire department.  Most of the people he worked with were not interested in it.  I could not get enough.  Things had changed so that I was not able to get to station 1 as much as I wanted when Rescue was working.

Rescue was getting near retirement and wanted to run his restaurant.  I went to the station when he was on shift whenever I could until he retired.  Learned as much as I could about rescue.  It was a fantastic experience.  It was time to go to high school.

In our high school we had an official smoking area.  Students and teachers could go there and smoke cigarettes.  I wonder what all the uptight people would think of that now days?  Anyway, back to the memories.  I did not smoke but would go out there with friends that did during breaks.

Following my friend into the smoking area she leans against a post.  She’s smoking.  We’re not speaking, both of us listening to the sound multiple voices make when talking at the same time.  That restaurant chatter sound.

Behind me I hear a girl talking about something like a scene out of the Emergency T.V. show.  Hearing bits and details I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the conversation.  The girl speaking was telling an exciting story about a car accident she had been too and what they had done.

I interrupted the conversation and told her I was eavesdropping and wondered if she would tell me more.  She did, introduced herself as president of the local rescue squad explorer scouts and invited me to a meeting.  Local explorer scouts president had opened the door and invited me in.  Turns out the rescue squad was as close as I could get to what I wanted at the time.

The rescue squad did everything but treat and transport patients.  Extrication, firefighting, searches, dragging for persons suspected of drowning. Any kind of rescue.  An amazing opportunity to experience first hand real emergencies.  That is how I came to respond to that first emergency call.  The door was opened and I kept showing up. -13