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[This is the first in what we hope will be a series of communications from a distant friend who occasionally sends in private emails. We have persuaded him to allow us to share them with you.]

Don’t spread it around, but, in 1979 I was a Civil Rights Observer with the Nashville police. I went out for eight-hour shifts and rode in the back of the squad car. The people the police pulled over were told that someone from Vanderbilt University was making sure that everybody’s rights were respected. I witnessed some over-the-line po-lice conduct, but I kept my cool and sense of humor and actually got, if not the officers’ respect, at least their bemused affection. And the bemused affection of the girls in Printer’s Alley, who thought I was the lamest plainclothesman in human history: “Aw, throw this one back, Carl, he still has wires on his teeth!” No lie. Perhaps the Harris Tweed jacket was the giveaway?

We’d go into the porn-theater projection booths so we could look down on the back rows for any raincoat action . . . Back to your moft exfellent blog. A friend of mine had a problem with a psycho junkie brother who was threatening to carve him up with a knife. But it was NYC, and because the brother had been in only for drug possession and no “crimes of violence,” the cops said, when he shows up with a knife, call us. My advice: a Smith & Wesson “hammerless” Airweight.

I also told him to practice with it a few times at a range. If psychoberger shows up, aim for the belt buckle and shoot twice quickly. Then re-assess. I related this advice to my son and some of his friends when he was on leave, and my son’s chum the cop said to me, “Why a revolver? Why not an automatic?” I replied, “Since Abraham begat Isaac, no panicked civilian awakening to a possible threat in the middle of the night has ever, ever, grabbed a revolver in the dark, and by grabbing it in the wrong place and squeezing, has ejected all the bullets save perhaps one.” My son’s friend turned a bit pink, and said, “Funny you should mention that, that’s what I did with my automatic in training this morning.” FWIW & YMMV.

A coupla other points . . .

I have more than once, which may be why I have so few friends, stated regarding Matthew Shepard (the gay guy who was left to die on a fence in where, Wyoming?) that were I the Platonic Philosopher King, I’d require that all gays and Lesbians register at their local police department, who would schedule their handgun training course and provide a choice of handguns (only one each, please, and no crowding!) which they could opt out of only by passing a doctoral-dissertation oral-defense-level all-day inquiry on the history of non-violence and conscientious objection.

From that day forward, anyone who feels like bashing a gay does it knowing that that particular gay has at public expense a concealed-carry weapon, and that there is a near-irrefutable presumption of self-defense justifying lethal force. How ya like them apples? Punch line: there is a GLBTG 2nd-Amendment group called The Pink Pistols. Ya really should do an article on them.

Next bite: I go for the gestalt rather than ideology.

I don’t want to get involved in a website that glorifies violence for its own sake, and I am sure you don’t want to run one. So, as long as the scheduling works out, how about a series called: “YOUR FIRST LINE OF HOME DEFENSE: 21st-Century Home Electronics.”

Scenario A: Someone breaks into a house with late-19th-c. wiring and lighting. Homeowner hears the noise. Grabs the bedside shotgun. Goes out onto the second-floor landing, but the hall light is a hanging fixture with a pull-chain.

Scenario B: Someone breaks into a house with late-20th-c. lighting control. Homeowner hears the noise. Punches illuminated bedside “PANIC” button. All interior lights come on 100%, outside lights flash on and off, and perhaps an alarm sounds.

Scenario C: Someone approaches a house. Proximity detectors turn on outside lights. Person approaches closer, all interior lights go on.


When I was living in Nashville, there was a case when the dog barked outside a home, the father eventually roused himself and grabbed a shotgun, and fatally shot his own son who had gotten up a minute earlier and gone out in his pajamas to see what it was.

Instead of buying AR-15s, people should first cover the basics of personal security, the prime directive of which is, DON’T EVER LET YOURSELF GET INTO A SITUATION WHERE THE ONLY POSSIBLE SALVATION IS FROM COLONEL COLT. Homes with “intelligent” lighting control are safer, at least from the standpoint of random burglaries.

If you are going to have to confront an intruder, it is far better to do it with every light in the house on, than in a situation where turning on the only light you can, silhouettes YOU as the target, and leaves the intruder in the dark. Duh.

Some time let me tell you about the lawyer who shot his own ankle while trying to draw a snubnose from an ankle holster, in a poolroom dispute over fifty cents.

More later,


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