Saturday, March 30, 2024

Cleaning and Maintaining Your EDC

Even the most dependable gear wears down over time. Luckily, there's something you can do about it. By following a regular maintenance routine, you’ll keep your EDC in working order and get the most out of your gear. To put it simply: take care of your EDC, and it’ll take care of you. In this guide, we’ve made maintenance easy. Read on to learn how to keep your gear in tip-top shape for the rest of this new year, and to ensure they're in it for the long run. Keys 1. Remove keychain items that aren’t keys, including car remotes or decorative items that shouldn’t get wet Plastic keychains may be able to withstand a run through the dishwasher, but if there’s any question that it may melt, wash it by hand. If you have plush key chain items, follow instructions for washing stuffed animals. You can shake them in a bag with baking soda and then shake off and spot clean. Or you can hand wash and hang to dry. 2. Fill a bowl with a solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Swish and swirl your keys around inside the solution. 3. Use a brush to scrub any dirt or debris that’s lodged in the grooves and crevices of your keys. You can use a special detail cleaning brush, but an old toothbrush works just as well. 4. Swish around again in a bowl of clean water to remove the loosened grime. Replace the water from before so you’re rinsing with a clean, soap-free bath. 5. Dry your keys thoroughly with a towel. To make sure no moisture is left behind (you don’t want to risk rust), wipe down your keys with cotton ball moistened with isopropyl alcohol. Pen Maintenance Make Your Metal Like New Again: Carrying some brass or copper gear that's loaded with patina? If the aged gear look isn't for you, bring those tools back to a brilliant shine with some Maas metal polish. A clean cloth, a dab of polish, and little bit of elbow grease can have your metal gear looking as good as new. BUY: Maas Metal Polish on Amazon Time for a Refill: Lots of EDC pens accept the ever-popular Parker-style refill, though sometimes the stock ink cartridge writes less-than-great. Blobby, skipping lines, and scratchy writing ruin the experience of putting a pen to paper. If your writing mostly takes place indoors, consider picking up some Parker Gel refills. They're smooth, leave a crisp line on the page, and come in several vibrant colors. Need something more suited to hard use? Grab a pack of Fisher Space Pen refills. They'll get you writing in the rain, underwater, and even in outer space (should you find yourself up there). BUY: Parker Gel Ink Refills on Amazon Flashlight Maintenance Don't Get Caught in the Dark: Just because the sun is out later and later doesn’t mean you should neglect your flashlight. If you pull yours out from the drawer after all this time and it doesn’t turn on, check the battery. Regular alkaline batteries can leak and corrode in your light over time. Consider making the switch from alkaline to rechargeable lithium ion batteries. They’re safer to store in your lights should they go unused for longer periods of time and can be recharged when they’re dead. They’re reliable and last longer than their one-and-done counterparts. After a small initial investment in the batteries and charger, you’ll find it’s hard to go back to the standard. To keep your light in working order, also check the o-rings for dry rot and hit the threads with some silicone grease for smooth operation and some added protection. BUY: Eneloop AA/AAA Rechargeable Batteries on Amazon / Sanyo High-Discharge 18650 Batteries on Illumn Watch Maintenance Wrist Check: Watches have a tendency to get pretty dirty. They’re on your wrist constantly being exposed to almost everything that you touch. Give your watch a good, thorough cleaning, and maybe even replace the strap if it’s beginning to wear out. This spring bar tool from Bergeron makes it especially easy to remove the spring bar (the piece that holds on a strap or bracelet) for greater access to the case. Clean it up, change the battery, and pop on a new strap all with a little bit of help from this must-have tool for watch maintenance. Take things a step further by making sure to keep track of when your last professional service was. It's always a good idea to know when the rubber gaskets, o-rings, and movement have been tuned up to ensure that your watch will keep ticking. BUY: Spring-bar Tool on Amazon Wallet Maintenance Remember to Moisturize: You should take extra care when working with natural materials, and leather is no exception. Not unlike wood, this organic material is prone to drying out, cracking, and wearing. Obenauf’s leather care oil is one of the most popular options for keeping leather goods smooth, moisturized, and protected. Use a clean cloth to apply a bit of oil to your wallet, knife sheath, boots, or any other leather you carry to protect it from the wear and tear of daily use. This odorless oil leaves leather looking like new and ready for carry. BUY: Leather Care Oil on Amazon Bag and Jacket Maintenance Stay Dry: Spring weather is usually unpredictable and more often than not, wet. Carrying a small packable rain jacket is a great way to stay dry. Over time, these jackets tend to lose their ability to shed water like when they were new. Hit your garment with a DWR (durable water repellent) restoring spray like these from Nixwax to keep the elements out. Cover your bases whether you're touching up your hard or softshell apparel and equipment like tents and sleeping bags. BUY: Nikwax Hardshell Duo-Pack on Amazon / Nikwax Softshell Duo-Pack on Amazon Knife Maintenance Sharpening the Easy Way: Perhaps you’ve opened up one too many bags of ice melt, dulling your blade while exposing it to corrosive salts. Your blade could definitely use a touch up. The Spyderco Sharpmaker system brings a knife edge back from dangerously dull to razor sharp with just a few steps. The kit includes two sets of sharpening stones and an ergonomically designed base to get your blades sharp in a few minutes. Each set also includes a set of detailed illustrated instructions and a DVD if you still don’t feel confident with the process. BUY: Spyderco Sharpmaker on Amazon Spruce Up Those Wooden Handles: Wood-handled knives look great, but that natural beauty can fade without proper care. Wood is prone to drying out, cracking, and wearing faster than the metal and plastic alternatives. Hit the handles with a light coat of mineral oil from time to time so they stay moisturized and crack-free. Just a few minutes of care can greatly extend the life of your favorite knife. BUY: Mineral Oil on Amazon A Well-Oiled Machine: Folding knives are no doubt the most convenient type of knife to carry. Whether you carry a flipper or a lockback, all knives can benefit from a bit of CLP solution on the pivot. A good cleaning followed by a few drops of oil will keep your knife opening and closing smoothly and safely. If your blade is made of carbon steel, you can also add a light coating of oil to prevent the blade from rusting when not in use. BUY: CLP solution on Amazon Cleaning codura case Use two teaspoons of Dawn hand dish soap (NOT antibacterial) and mix with one quart of water in a spray bottle. Directly spray the soapy water mixture on the bag’s inserts and hard bottom and wipe clean with a dry cloth. The shell of the pistol bag can be washed by hand or by a washing machine. To ensure your bag lasts as long as possible, we recommend hand washing only. However, if you do machine wash your pistol bag, double-check to ensure it is empty. Remove the inserts and the hard bottom before washing the bag. Wash with dye-free/scent-free detergent in cold water on a gentle cycle. Oil or grease should first be treated with a dry cleaning solvent followed by a spray cleaner or detergent and water. Avoid chlorine or bleach-based cleansers. Harsh chemical cleaners and detergents are more likely to damage product fabric. Leather To clean a leather wallet, you can follow these steps: • Remove any loose dirt or dust from the wallet with a soft cloth or a straw. • Apply a small amount of leather conditioner or a mixture of white vinegar and neat’s-foot oil to a soft cloth and gently rub it into the leather, inside and outside. • Allow the conditioner or the oil to soak in for a few minutes, then wipe off any excess with a clean cloth. • Pat down the wallet with a fresh towel. Keeping your EDC clean, dry, and serviceable will give you peace of mind when called upon to use anything you carry. You’ll feel better knowing your EDC items are ready for service.

Tactical Thinking. Making it a Mindset

The other day I took my wife out to a restaurant for her birthday. As we were shown to the booth, I noticed my wife making a point of sitting with her back to the restaurant entrance. After being married to me as long as she has been, she now understands that I want to be facing the entrance of almost every room I spend a lot of time in. Because of my tactical mindset, she has a tactical mindset. I used to have to fight my family for the “gunfighter seat.” They eventually understood that it might be a good idea for the person that is armed to face the entrance. What is a tactical mindset? You do not have to have a job where you carry a gun to have a tactical mindset. But you do need to have some tactical training so that you can implement it in your life. Tactics in law enforcement are spotty, sometimes barely existent. Military is usually better but depending on your MOS (military occupational specialty), can also be spotty. I was affiliated with military police, and special operations, so I was privileged to receive a lot of tactical training. As a civilian there are schools and courses you can take that will give you something tactical to draw from. I would recommend Gunsite’s Tactical Concealed Carry Pistol course. There are others but that one is pretty good. Having a tactical mindset is putting training to use each and every day and thinking about all possible outcomes. There are more than a few different ways to make entry into a corner-fed room. However, that same room is always going to have that one deep corner. If the room is a right corner-fed room, meaning the door is along the right wall, the left corner would be the deep corner. Checking that deep corner immediately upon crossing the threshold, that’s having a tactical mindset. I check the deep corner of every room I go into. Cutting the pie is another simple tactical concept. Most of that room, depending on how the room is fed, can be seen from the doorway. I don’t cut the pie at a restaurant. Tactics are a perishable skill. You should practice as much as possible. Play the “what if game.” This simply means to be constantly thinking “what if.” For example, what if we pulled up at the gas station and there was an armed robbery in progress? Could you tell? What would be the signs? Continue driving and call the police would be the correct response. That is an extreme example, but asking yourself all of those questions will help prepare for when you do come across a robbery. These are decisions that you have already made. You are exercising your mind just like you are hopefully exercising the rest of your body. When evaluating your decisions, in life or even the “what if game,” there are two important questions that must be asked — “What do I gain?” and “What do I lose?” By simply asking those two questions, it is easy to see what decision is tactically sound. Start looking at every decision this way for about a week and see what happens. You will realize that where you park in the grocery store parking lot, where you stand when picking up your lunch, where you sit in a restaurant, even where you sit at the kitchen table at home all have tactical advantages and disadvantages. Trying to pause to see tactical advantages and disadvantages and checking deep corners may seem like a lot to do, especially not in a dangerous situation. There are law enforcement, and military who are going to talk about being tired, busy, having kids and all the other excuses. Those are all valid. It is a big change, and it does take a little work. But after about a week of simply thinking tactically and forming good tactical habits, it will become second nature to you. You will even start to incorporate more of your training into everyday life. You are going to start walking down hallways different, getting into your personal car different and wondering why you never did before. For those of you reading this and thinking it is entirely too much, I have one question for you. You do these things at work, for the people you have sworn to serve and protect, what makes those people so much more important than the loved ones you are with when you are off duty? I care very deeply for the people I have taken an oath to serve and protect, but I also care very deeply for those I call my family. So ask yourself a “what if.” What if you tried this and it actually worked? It could potentially save your life or the life of another. What if you tried it and it simply didn’t work for you? It is a simple decision; you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. If you’ve been trained in combat. If you’ve been trained to shoot. If you’ve been trained in defense of any kind, you are the last line of defense for the people you’re with. The military or law enforcement are not the last line, but you are. Wouldn’t you feel awful guilty if something happened and you had the training and tools to combat the threat but didn’t because you’re tired? Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Promote Safety and Smart Shooting

I was at the range the other day. I seem to start a lot of articles this way, don’t I? The range I frequent is an outdoor range. It has several “bays” at different distances. Each bay has room for about 4 to 6 people so there is a lot of room. I was at a 25 yard bay next to a wide 50 yard bay that is also suited to shotguns. As the group of shooters drove up to the bay next to mine I watched as several young women in their 20’s got out with 2 20 something guys. I thought “Here it goes again!” I’ve watched this many times before. A couple of “gun guys” invite several ladies to go shooting. They make themselves out to be Jerry Miculek when in reality they own some guns but shoot a few times a year. They may have some experience, but it’s limited. So they all get out and start in. To their credit I hear a basic safety briefing happen. For some of these girls it was too little. They start shooting some rifles. That goes well. Then they bring out the shotguns. I am down range in my bay with a large mound of dirt and some distance between us when I hear the first blast. I get rained on with bird shot. This tells me that their aim is not too good. Then I see it out of the corner of my eye. They hand a petite girl a long 12 gage. I watch as she hesitates with the weight of the gun. Then she shoots it and loses control of the weapon while falling down. Everyone laughs and I walk over. I try not to sound too much like their fathers, but I lay into the guys for being so stupid and dangerous. They show great respect and apologize profusely, giving great credit to their mother’s teaching. This was not the worst I’ve seen. I almost got shot with a .45 1911 Colt one time when another girl given a powerful handgun by some idiot guy, shot the gun and lost control of it. Without taking her finger off the trigger the gun floated all over the range until it was pointed my way and went off. I was not a happy man and even threatened to call the police on a stupid boyfriend who thought it would be fun to watch his pretty girlfriend shoot a gigantic gun. Had she not been crying and he been so apologetic I would have zip-tied them and left them for the police to pick up. I’ve seen it happen with big guns and with little guns. I really don’t blame the inexperienced one. In September 2014 a 9 year old from New Jersey shot her instructor with a fully automatic Uzi. There are many that say this story and video are propaganda. If it is a real incident then I have lots of questions about this “instructor”. This is a well-known incident and of course anti-gun proponents jump on this. If you own a gun. If you want to teach someone to shoot, please get a competent instructor. Don’t try and create a You tube video that you and other fellow idiots think is funny. It’s not funny to have someone do a dangerous thing when you are right there to teach them correctly. It’s not funny to give someone a bad experience with guns. I don’t know what brings people to do this. They give all of us such a bad name. I’m just not sure what would bring someone to post a video of these atrocities. As near as I can tell it has to do with their own inexperience, immaturity, and lack of discipline and sense. Please, I beg of you, stop this nonsense! I contrast that with my nephew. He takes anyone to the range, provides their ammunition, gun, safety gear, and will give them a basic safety and shooting class. He has even given free CCW classes many times. He encourages shooting and learning the right way. He is a law enforcement instructor and has been a deputy for many years. He is dedicated to helping people to have a safe, good, positive experience with firearms. A few years ago I was asked by a co worker to help him with his wife. The co worker wanted to get a gun and she was against it. She was a little fearful even though he had been in the military for several years and had a good knowledge of weapons. I had them both meet me at the range the next week. It was a good day weather-wise and a good day to shoot. The range was empty so there were no distractions. After I met them at the range my friend introduced me to his wife. We sat at the picnic table there and had a chat. I asked her about her experience with firearms if she had any. She said she had grown up around guns with her Dad and brothers hunting a lot. When she showed an interest as a teen-ager her brothers took her out and had her shoot some fairly heavy caliber guns and a 12 guage. It scared her and hurt her shoulder and she wanted nothing more to do with a gun. Her brothers teased her and made fun of her and that was it. Brothers can be jerks sometimes can’t they? We talked a little more and I told her about my experience teaching firearms in the military and told an amusing story of kicking an Air Force Major off of my range one time. I told her what I wanted to do to show her safety and how to have fun with a gun. We talked about safety and the rules in some detail and the reasons behind the rules. I told her exactly what I wanted her to shoot, what it would feel like and promised her she would want to keep shooting after our lesson. After talking about how guns generally work, and how to shoot with sights, we began. We started with a Ruger 10-22. I assured her I would be right next to her and she would not mind the noise, or recoil of a .22 long rifle round. She shot, quite successfully and I then asked if she wanted to try something else. She then shot a .22 handgun. After that she shot a .25, a .380, a 9mm, a .357 and a .45 ACP. Then she shot a 9mm rifle, a AR in .223, and a .308. Each time I told her clearly she did not have to shoot if she didn’t want to. I told her exactly what the increased noise and recoil would be. She even shot a .410 shotgun and the 12 gauge she was so afraid of. When we took a break we talked about her experiences with each caliber. She liked the .22 rifle and pistol. She liked the 9mm pistol and rifle. She liked the AR. She still didn’t care for shotguns. She then shot with her favorite calibers and thoroughly enjoyed it. She was not under any pressure and did very well in the area of accuracy. When we were done we sat and talked again. She had a different view of guns and did not have any of her fears and bias’s anymore. She wasn’t afraid of the shotguns, but just didn’t prefer them. In the end, after a few weeks my friend told me that not only did they buy a gun, but she wanted one too! I reminded them of storage safety because they have children. They had aleady purchased a safe and were taking a class together. She had asked if I would teach her teen-aged daughter the same way I taught her. So instead of another “casualty” of the range, we have a family that wants to be safe, and to learn the right way to use their firearms. I want more Americans armed, safe, and trained, not less. We as gun people, or even if we are not into guns, should promote healthy, safe gun learning if we are to beat the anti-gun people and keep our right to keep and bear arms. Let’s be smart about this and each do our part to keep America safer and more secure. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

Monday, September 11, 2023

Our Flag, Patriotism, and Remembering

The other day I was at work a little late. That meant I left work later than usual. I work on a federal installation that is run mostly by the military. That means that every morning and every night the flag is raised and lowered. If you have ever spent much time on any military base you will know that for a few minutes each day, tribute is given to our nation and to its flag. Traffic stops, and the vehicle occupants sit quietly to pay respect. Where ever people are walking, they stop, face toward the main flag pole and salute or stand reverently with their hand over their heart. I experienced this for the millionth time that evening. While I was sitting in my car, I thought that nowhere else that I know of does everything stop to recognize and revere “Old Glory” and this great country. It made me proud to be an American! How many Americans really understand the meaning of this symbol of our liberties and freedom? How many Americans know how to treat this symbol? We are going to give you a brief lesson on how to treat the flag. Flag Etiquette and standards of respect The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. They are: • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal. • The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering speakers, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top. • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard • The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations. • The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind. • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything. When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously. The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary. When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner. Displaying the Flag Outdoors: When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff. When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea. When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building. When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right. ..The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger. ..No other flag ever should be placed above it. ..The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered. When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation. Raising and Lowering the Flag: The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night. The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest. Displaying the Flag Indoors: When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left. The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display. When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag. When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left. The Salute: To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge. The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem: The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting. When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music. The Flag in Mourning: To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset. The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order. When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave. These are most of what you need to know. I also think that most people should know how to fold a flag properly but this won’t be covered here. Several years ago my wife taught me a great lesson. She was concerned about a faded, ragged flag being flown over a Wendy's restaurant. After several calls to the management and trying to convey her feelings over an appropriate symbol being flown, she got her desired results. They replaced the flag. Now, this is really not a rant against Wendy's restaurants, they are fine businesses. But this is typical of Americans not thinking, or maybe not caring, about our wonderful flag. We must be vigilant, but we must be diplomatic. Not everyone will harbor the same passion over this great symbol. The best thing is to be firm, but to try to teach patriotism. Remember, we are a melting pot. Not everyone who is a citizen has grown up being taught patriotism. Twenty-two years ago today I was working on an Air Force base. I, like many of you, watched in horror as war was brought to our glorious Republic. I’ll never forget how fast our aircraft got out of the sky. We were in the highest alert mode I’d ever been in other than an exercise. I also remember the patriotism as most Americans came together and grieved together. It is scandalous to me that even our political leaders felt we needed to go to war to take care of this problem, yet many of them changed their views and some even lied about what they had supported. Even worse to me, a veteran, is the fact that some politicians think that Washington DC had so much to do with the taking out of the mastermind of 9/11. I question anything that does not give credit where it is due. The US military has done many thankless acts in its long history but regardless of what has happened in Washington or in wars, they still give reverence to our symbol. Old glory. The grand old girl. Stars and stripes. I would hope that after twenty-two years we can still remember. This is a personal experience from my journal coming out of a particularly long few days of combat: “As the C-130 took off I was able to glance out the starboard door and I saw the buildings go by. I had a “Frances Scott Key” experience. As we roared down the runway toward safety, we were taking on fire. I saw that the field flag was still waving in the wind. That image of a strong USA and what that symbol means to so many is embedded in my soul. My Grandfather fought under that flag in WWI. My father fought under that flag in WW2. So that image out the door of that C130 is what I see when I think of or see Old Glory.” Please. Always remember! Remember 9-11! Remember Benghazi 2012! Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

Defending Free Speech

I have not been the kind of person who varnishes anything. Sometimes I am brutely honest. I don’t set out to insult or offend anyone; I just don’t believe in beating around the bush. The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that: “Congress shall make no law...abridging freedom of speech.” Freedom of speech includes the right: • Not to speak (specifically, the right not to salute the flag). West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943). • Of students to wear black armbands to school to protest a war (“Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”). Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969). • To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages. Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971). • To contribute money (under certain circumstances) to political campaigns. Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976). • To advertise commercial products and professional services (with some restrictions). Virginia Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Consumer Council, 425 U.S. 748 (1976); Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977). • To engage in symbolic speech, (e.g., burning the flag in protest). Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989); United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990). Freedom of speech does not include the right: • To incite imminent lawless action. Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969). • To make or distribute obscene materials. Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957). • To burn draft cards as an anti-war protest. United States v. O’Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968). • To permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration. Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988). • Of students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event. Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986). • Of students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event. Morse v. Frederick, __ U.S. __ (2007). Disclaimer: These resources are created by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for use in educational activities only. They may not reflect the current state of the law, and are not intended to provide legal advice, guidance on litigation, or commentary on legislation. These days there is something they try to call “hate speech”. The UN says this after their definition. “However, to date there is no universal definition of hate speech under international human rights law. The concept is still under discussion, especially in relation to freedom of opinion and expression, non-discrimination and equality.” UN Even the UN can’t figure out what hate speech is. In the United States much of what falls under the category of "hate speech" is constitutionally protected. The United States does not have hate speech laws, since the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that laws criminalizing hate speech violate the guarantee to freedom of speech contained in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Yes, that pesky document that under pins all our laws. So, when you hear the term “hate speech”, know that most of that is just rhetoric. Also, when you hear that Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft have joined other countries in their woke “hate speech” code of conduct that it is completely un-American. These companies exist because of this country. Their success is because they had the freedom that this country affords them. But ignoring the constitution is their choice. It’s really amazing that left-leaning idiots that run these businesses don’t want free speech. I guess that’s why Elon Musk bought Twitter. Maybe it will change. Those other left leaning companies prefer their own brand of censorship. I’m not sure who the arrogant Einstein is who thinks they know hate speech and they can best identify it. It’s like fact checking. Who is fact checking the fact checkers? I don’t like porn. I think it’s corrosive to society. But those that want to produce it and view it are welcome to rot their brains. Obviously, kids and others should be protected from it, and I think they are generally. This kind of freedom is protected by our constitution. So are those who wish to share their religious ideas with others. All this is free speech. There are those who don’t want this. There are those who don’t want negative ideas out there. There are those who don’t want any ideas or speech that goes against what they deem as good and correct. Many of these types are also into “wokeism”. They are also bent on being politically correct and not offending anyone. I do not want to offend anyone. I do not set out to do this. But I also know that what I say and how I say it sometimes may offend others. There are those who are soft and meek. This is not a bad thing, but it’s hard to exist in this world by being afraid and offended by everything, especially words. I do not advocate violent or vulgar speech. But I do talk plainly. It’s also important to know that there is evil in this world and that often it’s hard to fight against evil without violence. I know that the only real way to save this world is with love, understanding, and peace. The problem is that evil is not interested in love and peace. Evil often resorts to violence. More time than not, violence needs to be dealt with, with violence. It’s impossible to defend from violence without more violence. I know that is not Christ-like and it is no remedy. If good doesn’t commit violence to defend, then evil will take good out and there will be nothing left but evil. When I was thrust into a combat situation, we were defending ourselves. We never had the opportunity to go on the offensive. But later after we had left, the Army came in with the offensive to take out the enemy. What that violence did was stop the violence of the enemy. When I was a child, I learned a rhyme. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Words can be powerful, but they can hurt us as much as we allow them to. Free speech is extremely important. Being resilient against words intended to hurt is a sign of maturity and mental strength. We may not like the words that are used, but we should defend the right of those that use speech whether we agree with their expression or not. Hate speech is like assault weapon. It is a made-up phrase that is not defined. It means different things to different people. Free speech is defined. It is defined by the Constitution, and laws. We should do all we can to protect it and to strengthen it. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Storing Gasoline or Diesel Fuel: Nothing Goes Without The Hose!

Gasoline storage With Hurricanes pounding the East coast I thought I’d check on my generator. It was fine and I cranked it up and ran it for a while. I then thought about my supply of fuel. I’m sure many people don’t store much fuel. They may have a 5 gallon can or maybe even two for weed-eaters and lawnmowers. I have done a lot of research into gasoline storage because I feel I need 100 gallons or so for my generator and other equipment to be worth anything to me. If my generator will only run for 1 or 2 tanks, I’m not sure it was worth the investment. Not only that, gasoline is a very valuable commodity and can be used for a multitude of applications. May I say at the beginning of this blog, ensure that you learn and practice safe handling of all fuel products. Also, learn the laws of storing fuel where you live. Know the hazards of handling fuel and the personal protection equipment you should use. Learn about grounding and static electricity. Learn all these things BEFORE you start to store fuel. Fuel is dangerous and can cause health problems with prolonged exposure. All companies will provide a material safety data sheet (MSDS) on their products. You can access these via the internet. I would suggest you do this so that you have the information you need to responsibly handle and store fuel. As they say in real estate, the 3 most important things are location, location, location. The same goes for safely storing fuel. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation wherever you decide to store fuel. Also, ensure there is no flame near this storage. A pilot light for a water heater located in a garage would make that location dangerous. Near barbeque grills or patio-type fire places would obviously be off limits. In a shed not attached to your home would be good as long as there is ventilation. Fuel fumes are notorious for hanging around enclosed areas. Plastic or poly-anything containers are permeable and eventually you may lose fuel. Not necessarily to leaks, but just by the fuel evaporating. Metal containers are better, but they have their drawbacks. They can rust and depending on their quality, leak. Also, metal conducts electricity as poly ethylene does not. But, plastic does tend to get promote static electricity. You can ground a poly drum by putting a ground wire inside the drum through the top. Simply put a hole in the top, caulk around the wire, and connect it to a ground rod pounded into the ground. Ensure the ground wire goes all the way to the bottom of the drum. This will dissipate any static that may build up. Simply ground yourself (touch the rod) whenever you work with that drum. Some will advise against plastic drum storage but my experience is that you can use them safely and that the loss is minimal. There are 3 precautions that will delay deterioration of gasoline: 1. Fill containers about 95% full. 2. Cap containers tightly. 3. Store containers out of direct sunlight where the temperature stays below 80 degrees F most of the time. The first 2 actions reduce evaporation of gas during storage and reduce exposure to air and water. The 5% air space allows room for gas to expand if temperatures rise. I have stored gasoline successfully for up to 4 years stabilized. I stabilize all my fuel because I never know when I will use it. I’ve never used anything but Sta-Bil only because that’s all I’ve found available where I live. So I have no experience with anything else but I’d like to try Pri-G because of the claims of the product. I have also worked in the fuel industry for many years and know fuel characteristics. Fuel is subject to the supplier standards, carrier tanks, and retail tanks. Any one of these can add contaminants in your fuel. Filtering is imperative. If you use a drum pump you can install an in-line fuel filter to filter out contaminants. And finally, I put a small micron screen in the fill spout of whatever I am filling up. I will also check for water with water-finding paste on occasion. I keep my drums covered and tightly sealed to combat moisture. Water is heavier than fuel so it will fall to the lowest point of the container the fuel is in. It can be drained or pumped out. Storing fuel can make a large difference in a survival situation. There is one more aspect I’d like to address concerning fuel storage. That is security. If your tank, drums, or containers are stored away from your home as they should be, are they secured? They should be secured from thieves and for safety. That could be a lock on the building they are stored in, or a lock on the pump attached. Most drums or containers for fuel are not lockable so you may have to devise your own type of locking system. Maybe camouflage would be a better security device. Hiding where your fuel storage is may even be better than locking it up. A combination of both would secure your fuel storage quite nicely. Remember the importance of rotating your fuel stock and making sure it is as fresh as possible. Keep records of when it was put in storage and when it was treated to help you to rotate it. Motorized tools, generators, and vehicles run off of fuel. It’s necessary for these items to be of use to you in a survival situation to have fuel. Storing fuel is important but must be done safely and wisely and efficiently. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn