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April 03, 2008

Miss Marple in America

Miss Marple in America

by Nancy               Go to fullsize image

My mother called, breathless.  "Did you hear what happened in Brookville?"

Brookville is the small, small, very small town where I grew up, on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest in the northern tier of Pennsylvania.  (Translation:  all the wilderness north of Interstate 80.)  It's also near the town of Punxsutawney, home of the groundhog, but Brookvillians are groundhog snobs, so don't bring up the rodent, or you'll get the cold shoulder. Nestled in a valley created by the confluence of two trout streams, the community is surrounded by farms. Main Street boasts a Dollar General and a Goodwill store, plus some antiques shops, the funeral home, the county courthouse and the Presbyterian Church where I got married.  You get the picture. There is no Wal-Mart, but the town has two grocery stores, so it might be the edge of civilization, but it's not, like, the wilds of Alaska where you beat a seal to death before you eat it raw. Instead, on a Friday night, you might go to the fish fry at Immaculate Conception before heading over to the high school to watch the football game or the basketball game or the high school musical, depending on the season.

Nothing much has happened in Brookville since the flood of 1972 (after Hurricane Agnes) but my mother goes to have coffee at the local McDonalds with her friends every Tuesday and Friday anyway to get the scoop from "the girls."

Mind you, any similarities between Brookville and Miss Marple's home of St. Mary Meade are purely coincidental.

On the phone with me--we talk every other evening at 5pm--Miss Marp---er, my mother said, "Remember the red brick house across the street?"

Although she now lives in a patio home in a "planned community" on the same ground as a nursing home, I knew she meant the house across the street from the home where I grew up, the house my late father designed, the house she lived in and kept immaculate inside and out for fifty years.  It's on a knoll out in the country, with long views, rather solitary. But another family moved to town about twenty or thirty years ago and bought the piece of property across the road from my parents' home.  As they built their house, my father kept watch.  Many a time, he shook his head over the fact that the chimney was too short.

"That house is going to end badly," he said.

Okay, I'm not sure he actually spoke those words (do we need to remind you every week that we're fiction writers??) but he could have, except I think he meant the roof was going to catch fire someday.

The husband and wife moved into their new house with two kids, who were mostly grown up, I think, and they lived their for twenty years or more.  The son developed what my mother's friends politely call, "a drinking problem," and he never really left home. To my mother, he seemed quiet enough and could make polite conversation when she encountered him while walking in the nearby woods for exercise, alone.

Well, last week, "the girls" heard that the son had some kind of argument with his parents.  He took out his mother's gun and shot them both dead. Then he took her car, left them, and moved into a motel for a week or so before finally deciding he'd better go to Canada.  (Do you think Canadians are really Americans on the lam?  That might explain a few things.  Have I told you about my brother's Canadian pals who rode their snowmobiles around on an iced-over lake until--nevermind, that's another blog.)  Anyway, upon further investigation, my mother learned that he was stopped at the border at Niagara Falls, where the Canadians asked what he was doing driving his mother's car, and without a single blow from a rubber hose, he confessed he'd killed both his parents and--by the way--handed over the gun.  He was arrested, and the Canadians called the Brookville police to suggest they might want to have a look at the red brick house.

In the produce department at the grocery store, my mother further learned that all the windows of the red brick house with the short chimney have been open for days, which is enough forensic detail for me, because I can't even watch CSI on television, let alone listen to gory details while selecting a melon.

Mother reports that the general opinion around town is, "Well, they weren't really from Brookville."

As if being born and raised in a town--not living there for twenty years--is protection from evil.

(My first thought when I heard all this, by the way, was what the hell a woman with a troubled adult son is doing keeping a handgun in the house, because you hardly ever hear of somebody successfully using a gun to protect themselves, but rather their own gun is used against them, but you've heard me rant about handgun control in the past, and I know you southerners are especially fond of your weaponry, but I Still Do Not Get It, and neither does my mother, although she kept a baseball bat beneath her bed for years and maybe still does.  I'll ask this evening.)

The same day my mother reported her investigation to me, I received an email from a distraught friend who reported a home invasion in which her friend--finally in remission after a long siege of chemotherapy--has been senselessly murdered by a stranger who broke into her house.

"Senseless murder" is a stupid phrase, isn't it?

I'm not sure what my point is with this story, except that I thought my mother would be safe in her small town, protected by her friends and neighbors who are too refined to get all liquored up and raunchy about a groundhog, but that isn't the case anymore, is it? I hate that I'm living so far from her right now. Should my husband and I leave our lives here and move back home?  At the very least, I want to hire a thug (and I know a few from my high school) to hang around on her porch at the assisted living community maybe with her baseball bat so he'd look threatening, but probably some drunk looking for money to buy a pint would come along and take it away and beat him with it.

Is alcohol the root of the evil I'm talking about here?  If you think so, can you explain this?  A group of 3rd graders who plotted the murder of their teacher? Where do children get such ideas, I ask you?

I think drugs and alcohol are everywhere. Are they going to bring down our whole country? That's what I think sometimes. Or maybe violent television and movies are to blame?  Should I join forces with Tipper Gore and try to limit access to icky music before it destroys America? On the other hand, ours is a country where people can make a whole, happy festival around a groundhog predicting the arrival of spring.  Weird, huh?

In any case, my mother is hot on the trail of more information about this case, so I'm staying tuned.


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The story of the third graders leaves me speechless...and anyone who knows me knows that's hard to do. If any of us wrote that in a book, it'd be taken out as too far fetched to believe.

Crime in America - there are so many root causes I think it's hard to point to just one. Drugs? Alcohol? Easy to see. Greed? You bet.

I was watching a show the other night about how electronics are affecting our youth. How some are becoming addicted to text messaging, instant messaging, video games, TV. We are losing our human touch - the ability to talk to one another.

Tonight on Leno, he was talking about an advance in cellular phones where the user can talk into the phone and it sends it as a text message. He take was...what, you don't have to talk to the person but you can dictate?

Keep your mom detective on the case, Nancy!

I too feel that I'm losing my ability to draw conclusions from all this. I know that the reason we kill so many people daily is that we pull triggers. Otherwise, we'd just punch each other and break our hands and noses. Yet gun control is receeding as a realistic issue. Before I get maudlin, I'll say that I rejoice that while the newspapers are now unbearably confusing and depressing, there are some blogs out there (ie here) that lighten my days. And being in Ft Lauderdale, I can realistically hope to run into one of the chroniclers..

I blame it on Ronald Reagan.

Okay, this raises a question: Has anyone been able to defend themselves during a home invasion with a handgun?

The murder rate here in Vermont -aside from a couple of UVM girls who were raped and killed - is almost completely due to alcohol. But some of those stories - I'm sorry, it's true! - are hysterical.

Like two drunk friends sitting around saying, "I could kill you if I wanted" and the other saying, "Yeah? I'd like to see that" and friend A going into the house, coming back with a gun and showing him.

Or how about the two office workers getting into a fight after one criticized his paper clip Christmas tree. That ended in death, too.

I think that's what they mean by senseless murder.

Thank you, Josh. I'm with you.

And Sarah, you've definitely defined "senseless murder." Maybe we need to hear more examples today?

"We are losing our human touch - the ability to talk to one another."
Oh how I agree with Cyndi on the personal communication issue. These days we're reduced to the voice on the other end of a cell phone or the numbers at the bottom of our checks and on our Visas. Common courtesy is rare as well. Working retail these days is like being seated below the salt in Victorian times. You're not worth the simple "good morning" and "thank you". It's "do you have this...oh hi Mary Pat can you hold on a sec, I'm at the bookstore...I think it's a book by someone named Allen, Blue. It was on a table last week...ok Mary Pat I'm back" etc as we try to help them locate the book. And then watch them shrug if we can't find it, or walk away with it if we do, still chatting away all the way through the checkout and into the parking lot. This might seem trivial, but when kids learn that this is acceptable, it becomes their way as well. Texting is just as bad, especially in the high schools here...kids do it during class, and have been caught doing it during exams. The teachers cannot take their phones away...the parents call, claiming harrassment and the school gives the phone back to the student, who then proceeds to...you got it...text in class.
This may sound off the subject, but technology is as much a culprit for 'senseless murders' and (I love this one)'victimless crimes' as drugs and booze. If you don't respect another person, how hard is it to rob, assault, or murder them? They're just numbers on a Visa, right?

Fasten your seat belts, folks, because virtually all gun control laws are about to become unconstitutional. The Supreme Court just heard oral argument on a case challenging the District of Columbia's gun control law based on an individual rights theory. Believe it or not, up till now there has been no individual right to bear arms in this country. The interpretation of the Second Amendment ("A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the peple to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed") has always held that the "militia clause" limited the right. The Court is about to reverse decades of precedent and find a personal right to bear arms in the Second Amendment -- just as sacred a personal liberty as the right to free speech or the right to remain silent. There's nothing to be done about it, either. Don't bother writing your congressman. The time for action was two or three confirmation hearings ago.

Given that we're now in a phase where strict sentencing laws are getting thrown out all over the country (sentencing law is very faddish), look for a big uptick in the crime rate that will probably last a generation.

A paper clip Christmas tree? Who was the one who was killed...the tree clipper or the tree clipper critic?

I read about a murder where a man was in disguise when he killed his wife. The murderer left a to-do list in his home with the items completed checked off: mustache, beard, buy gun, toss gun in canal. The one thing this apparently organized person forgot to put on his list was to destroy the list. The article went on to say that the man bought all those things from local merchants who knew him. What a dummy. The murder might have been senseless, but so was the murderer.

Oh, I forgot to say the murderer was a well-known TV & radio personality in New Orleans! Dumb, dumb, dumb!

At least the murderer was dumb, which saves a lot of police and detective work.

Keith Olbermann does a regular bit about dumb criminals on Countdown - it makes me feel a little better about our spiraling crime rates.

That story about the third graders is sickening. I fear it's an exponential expansion on the bullying problem that plagues all schools. Apparently there is no minimum age on the mob mentality.

At least there are consequences - but keeping a third grader home from school is not much of a punishment in and of itself - I hope both the parents and the school are coming up with more negative re-enforcement.

Becky said, "I read about a murder where a man was in disguise when he killed his wife. The murderer left a to-do list in his home with the items completed checked off: mustache, beard, buy gun, toss gun in canal. The one thing this apparently organized person forgot to put on his list was to destroy the list."

Well, Dear Hubby has always said, "Crooks am dumb."

You know, after gun violence landed in my small town in February (The Kirkwood, MO City Hall Massacre as it was called on TV), I started thinking maybe we need to approach gun control not as a second amendment issue--because that hasn't seemed to work too well--but as a public health issue. Like second-hand smoke. I don't want to be a victim of second-hand gunfire.

I grew up in a small town, "Miss Marpleville." During my childhood, a little girl disappeared without a trace. The girl was one day younger than my sister. My mother knew the family, although we didn't play together--they lived about 1/2 mile away--on the other side of town. My mom and the mother were nurses.
The girl started off for kindergarten one day (was seen by a neighbor along the way--this was back in the day when kids who lived four blocks from school actually walked!), then just disappeared. The walk wasn't in the woods, but through a neighborhood. The "conventional wisdom" is that she took a ride from an out-of-town stranger (who happened to be cruising through this small town neighborhood unnoticed--right!) who offered her candy to get in his car.
Every so often, 45 years later, the local newspaper still prints a "whatever happened to" story. Her parents, who were investigated thoroughly, were never suspects. They had other kids too, with no hint of foul play ever. The parents are long dead by now.
Anyway, I never walked through that neighborhood (I took guitar lessons from a teacher who lived a couple houses down) without feeling a bit of the creeps. I was much too tough to ask my parents to drive me, but they often did anyway--not particularly typical behavior for them.
My point is that a bad person in a small town has just as many resources to conceal or commit a crime than anybody else. In fact, complacency, "fitting in" and thorough knowledge of the turf are assets.

Judy, that's a great idea. Michele, who do we send it to??

Here's what you do. Elect Democrats for the next thirty or forty years till the Supreme Court gets re-jiggered -- we have some very young justices, so that's how long it's gonna take -- *then* write your Congressman. Once the Court finds there's an individual right to bear arms, any laws infringing that right are likely to get struck down. It won't matter whether you call it a gun control law, a public health law, or a pink alligator law. It's still an unconstitutional law.

Storyteller Dan Keding has a wonderful story "Two Warriors" which ends "You cannot hate a man once you know his stories." He will be one of the tellers in Cape Girardeau 4/4-6. http://www.capestorytelling.com/

Geez, now we'll be able to purchase guns with MP3 downloads, cell phone attachments,digital camera capabilities, and in all sorts of fashion colors...think of the marketing blitz!
Maybe we could make a request that they all get fitted with GPS systems (you know, in case of emergency). I think the 'secondhand gunfire' issue is a good one as well.

I'm sorry, I shouldn't laugh about this. A MAN DIED for heaven's sake. But what I love about this story is the third paragraph - that he wanted to shoot him in a spot "that wouldn't hurt him too much." Except there were lots of spots. Like seven. And I'm sure it didn't hurt too much after the guy died....

Anyway, for more on the paperclip Christmas tree murder....Welcome to Vermont!


We have tremendous stressors today that we didn't have 40 years ago. Now there are twice as many people, but more than 10 times as many cars, and way more outside influences that are all clamoring for our attention. Just think of your mother's wardrobe back then--she probably had no more than a few outfits, and neither did you. We had three pairs of shoes: one for school, one to play in, and one for church. My own kids had so much more, and it was stressful just trying to manage all the stuff in our lives. We also have so many supposedly "work-saving" appliances that we end up being slaves to. Like the dishwasher. It's an endless chore to load the dishes, and then to unload them. It all adds up.

Recently, I was utterly shocked to hear someone making a cell phone call whilst sitting on the toilet in a very large public restroom, with toilets flushing all around. Even though it's not safe, the driver of every third car going by is holding a cell phone to his or her ear, leaving only one hand to drive. That sure adds to MY stress. What the heck is so hard about plugging in a headset, or using a Bluetooth one? (And I'm convinced that the latest trend towards tinted side windows in cars is a direct result of laws about handheld cell phone usage while driving).

Add to all this the intense pressure on families to have "stuff", the pressure on kids to attain certain grades and to participate in endless outside activities (and their parents to juggle getting them to these events and working hard to provide the stuff), and the preponderance of electronic entertainment devices in the home (part of the mountain of stuff) that preclude human interaction that develops common courtesies, and it's no wonder there is so much casual violence. It makes me violent just to think about it.

And Michele, I meant to address your comments on the Supreme Court. If the ruling is unconstitutional, that implies that the USSC is not following the law, but rather mandating from the bench, which is what the Republicans tried to say had been done for so many years.

That's all I need to say on that, I think. Except to say that it's a sad day when partisan politics affect our actual interpretation of the Constitution.

Above, I meant "accidental" deaths where you see the word "random." Sorry, typo.

My Dad stopped a home invasion with his gun.
The old couple across the street had been beaten and tied up a few months before, so Dad was ready.
Two guys wanted to come in and use his phone, he said no and locked the inside door. They broke the lock on the storm door and were beating on the front door (solid oak, they wouldn't have gotten in, but Dad didn't want them damaging it!) When Dad opened the door and the guys were looking down the barrel of his .45, they ran like hell. He called the cops and they picked them up a few blocks away. Yes the same 2 that had beat up the old couple and they were convicted.

Karen -- sorry, maybe I didn't explain the Second Amendment issue so well. It's the Supreme Court's job to decide if the gun control laws made by Congress are constitutional or not. That doesn't mean the Court is disobeying the law. Congress has to listen to *them*. And the Supreme Court is allowed to change its mind and reverse its decisions from the past.

Here's a link to an article in the Times that explains what the Court is set to do on gun control better than I did:


The meaning of the Consitution has always been subject to disagreement, and political views play a huge role. What does "due process of law" mean, or "unreasonable search and seizure"? The most important words in the constitution mean one thing to a liberal and another thing to a conservative. That's why the political balance on the Court matters so much. It controls the outcome of a lot of cases. This isn't a new thing. It's always been true.

Rita -- wow, amazing story about your dad!

The whole issue of violence is so complicated! We must remember, among other things, that most women are killed by intimates -- existing or ex-spouses, boyfriends, etc., while men are more often killed by strangers. What a mess. And yes, Michele, I saw the stories about that DC case; yet one more reason to remember, with sadness, my gravest fear when Bush was elected the first time (never mind the second . . .).


Thanks, Toni, for saying what I was thinking, but much more clearly.

I grew up around guns. My dad,grandfathers, uncles, and cousins hunted. So even handguns were no big deal. They just were something to shoot cans with. As kids we knew not to go into Mom & Dad's closet because that was where his guns were. And if we were allowed to go in there, they just sat in their cases. There were no trigger locks or gun safes. We knew that if we even touched them, Dad would know & we would get a spanking. Yes, spanked to where we couldn't sit down. It has been the same at my house. Dear Hubby has shotguns, one hand gun, rifles, etc. They were kept in the bedroom closet. All ammunition was kept in a separate container, but accessable if needed. (Dear Hubby is a tad paranoid, lol) Our daughter knew about it, but also knew that we would punish severly if she bothered them or even told anyone that they were there.

There are so many reasons that this stuff happens. Granted taking away the guns will curb gun deaths, but if someone is determined to kill somebody...they will use anything to do it. Drugs, alcohol, poverty, there are a lot of reasons for crime. Parents not taking an active role in their child's life or education...parents who hover too much and their kids don't know how to deal with the real world.

I don't know. I just know that Dear Hubby & I are lucky. Sometimes no matter how hard you try or how right you are, the kid can still go bad.

I've shared this story on another blog, so I'm sorry if I bore someone.

Many years ago, I lived in Gainesville, Fl. In the course of about a week,there were several murders of young women who were the same age and general physical appearance of me. I was freaked. I went to buy a handgun, but at the store the clerk (a woman) suggested that I get pepper spray.I knew NOTHING about guns. The idea, she told me, is to GET AWAY from the bad guys.

I bought the spray. THE NEXT DAY, walking from my car in the parking garage, to the hospital were I worked the night shift, a man drove up, screeched to a halt, and flung the door open and ran up to me. The engine was still running on the car.

I held up the spray and yelled for him to BACK OFF. I yelled & he came closer. Finally, he stopped, just as I was beginning to spray. He backed up and screamed, "Where is the ER? They just took my wife there?"

I had him back up 10 more feet, and told him.

I truly believe that if I had been holding a gun, I would have shot, and possible killed, that scared young man.

My philosophy about handguns is based on that moment. I will never own one. I think I would be dangerous with one.

I do, however, have a fenced yard, two loud dogs, and a security system.

Mary P, have you ever read Mary-Ann Tirone Smith's memoir, Girls of a Tender Age? You would especially appreciate that book!

Toni, you know I respect your southern roots, girl. But just because DUI death are higher doesn't mean I give up on gun control. Or giving to the cancer society. But wow, how about some rules and regs, at the every least? Here in PA, a kid must get a learner's permit to drive and must spend 50 hours behind the wheel with a liscensed adult driver before being allowed to take the test for a liscense.

And, Pam? My dad's friend who collected 56 various guns in his home? He was robbed and all the guns stolen. I can imagine where those guns are now.

Naomi Campbell arrested at Heathrow for spitting on a security person.

Can't we all get along?

Leonard Pitts wrote this column in February--I think it's full of lots of good points (which is why it'll never fly).


Fiona, that's my feeling about guns, as well, and I know how to use them. But one moment of miscalculation or misunderstanding (or extreme anger) can result in an irreversible mistake. I tend to think that someone's life is too high a cost for that sort of error.

Which is why I'm also opposed to the death penalty, but that's another topic altogether.

LOL, Nancy, we're actually in agreement about the lessons. (That's what I was trying to say with the graph above the links.)

A lot of the cops I talk to (in other areas of the nation, not just the south) don't expect any sort of gun control law to stop the bad guys from having guns. Sure, we would reduce the number of gun-related suicides, and homicides within known assailants (where the victim knows or is related to the shooter), but those are two different problems which have to be tackled with different approaches.

I know there's the impression that everyone in the south has a gun (well, we do, but you know, people north of the mason dixon lines have plenty, too... look at Chicago, NY, Philly, Pittsburgh, Detroit, etc.), but unless there was a way to get every existing gun off the street out of the criminals' hands, simple gun control laws won't work. Would I like to live in a country where nobody had access to handguns? Well, sure. It's a very peace-inspiring idea.

Fiona, I agree, most people shouldn't have them, because they react badly under stress. Just look at the fact that no two people can ever 100% agree as eye-witnesses to anything that was a traumatic event. Judgment gets impaired, and impaired judgment with a gun is a terrible mix. Just know that if you use the pepper spray or OC spray, it takes about 30 to 45 seconds for it to really work on the person you're spraying, so don't spray and wait to see what happens -- assume they are going to keep coming at you for a few more seconds and act accordingly.

And Nancy, you're right. My dad & Dear Hubby should have them locked up, buried & hidden from sight. That is why we just didn't (and don't) talk about having guns in the house because someone could break in to take them. And just because they are unloaded..for pete's sake, they can just buy more.

But Toni's right. Unless all guns are collected & destroyed, they will always be around. There should be waiting periods for EVERYONE to check for mental problems & police records, mandatory classes at a police academy (not just hunter safety), and use some common sense. Mandatory jail time for any crime using a gun (you would think that is what happenes but its not0. I don't shoot a gun, the ones we have are for hunting, but it would end up like Prohibition and we know how that worked.

Fiona -- amazing story, too!

Prosecutors in my office sometimes got to do firearms and other training to promote good relationships with the law enforcement agencies. One time, our whole unit did "raid exercises" at the DEA firing range. The DEA guys sent us into a dark stash house armed with paint guns, and told us there would be not only drugs in there but also violators who might be armed. As you can imagine, the inexperienced prosecutors fired on everything that moved, and everything that didn't too. Learning when *not* to shoot is a lot harder than you'd expect.

Well, good grief!

Good job of explaining senseless murders. Can anyone tell me an example of a sensible murder?

In Santa Barbara, across the street from my kids' grandparents, a guy tried to shoot his wife, but missed and shot the family dog instead. They were both distraught and mad as hell over that. Talk about a tragedy!

Nancy, I have to tell you that I've just started working my way through the Blackbird Sisters mysteries based solely on the entertainment value of your blog posts. Have enjoyed the first four books, and you'll probably end up on my When's the Next One Out? list before long. ;)

Thanks, Dani. I'm still paying off my daughters' tuition, you know, so any contributions are much appreciated!

Guns are scary, and you all may have hit on one way to make them a bit less so -- we have to test to prove our ability to handle cars, why not the same with guns? It won't assure that everyone does what they should, but at least they will have to prove that they know what to do.
Statistics comparing gun deaths and auto deaths?? One would have to compensate for the relative numbers of operators of each. . .
I had a student leave school early, go home, and shoot himself with his parents' gun -- who knows, if there hadn't been a gun there, perhaps he would have been saved. I doubt I could save myself with one, and I couldn't live with the risk of having it around.
Off-topic -- I heard the NPR "Wait, wait don't tell me" guy discussing the new Seuss movie, and the fact that in the new subplot (not by Seuss) so much is made of the son of the mayor of Whoville, while his 97 (?) daughters are just so much wallpaper in the background. He talked about bringing the matter up with his daughters: why can't the girls save the world and get the praise and adulation? They agreed with enthusiasm (except for facing Valdemort -- his girls don't want to do that) and he ended with an admonition to listen to the voices of those daughters, all calling out, "We're here, we're here."
I thought it was very insightful -- and maybe does relate to this discussion.

Oh boy, I could make a week long blog series about the history of the Second Amendment, as I’ve been researching this topic for almost the past year for a presentation I’m giving in August. The bottom line is the Second Amendment is an individual right and not a states right to a militia. Granted, you might think I’m biased because I’m the Gun Tart, but I can back up this claim with numerous quotes, letters written by our Founding Fathers and so forth.

Michele, I respectfully disagree with a couple of your statements, “…all gun laws will become unconstitutional…up and until now there has been no individual right to bear arms in this country.”

Gun control laws, while proven ineffective, can still be placed and kept in effect within reason. A total gun ban is beyond reason. The D.C. gun laws are unconstitutional as they prohibit any resident from owning a handgun, unless they registered the handgun before the 1976 ban, which, believe it or not, requires you to have a permit to carry the gun from one room in your house to another; and all rifles and shotguns must be inoperable, disassembled or contain a trigger lock while the ammunition is kept in another room entirely. Basically, they are prohibiting and denying their residents the right to defend themselves and their families if such an instance should present itself.

The individual right to keep and bear arms for personal defense and the defense of the state has been clearly established by 40 states in the state constitutions; and a number of those states outlined the fact their legislation may regulate and define laws regarding firearms.

January 9, 2008-The California Court of Appeals overturned the decision to enact the most restrictive handgun ban, so far, in San Francisco

Nancy, you are correct, you don’t hear much about people successfully protecting themselves, because it’s not a sensational news story or headline. The stories are out there, but usually a little blurb, if that, in the paper. The blaring headline, “Woman scares off intruders by showing gun,” just isn’t going win over, “Five family members killed in home invasion.”

I’m all for testing, education and training people to handle firearms safely if they choose to own one, and as many of you know this is primarily my job.

Right on Nancie!! Training, training and more training. Even then, accidents happen.
St. Louis county PD armory chief was sure he had cleared the chamber and dry fired. Whoops!
Bullet went high thru the wall into the conference room next door, where IAD just happened to be holding a hearing! Thank God nobody was hurt (tho alot of them had to change their pants!)

Nancie! How great to hear, er, read from you again. It's been too long.

Rita, agreed, you can never stop training with guns and they must be treated as they are ALWAYS loaded. No exceptions! And I would’ve piddled all over myself-no question.

Sarah, I have the wonkiest schedule, which means I usually miss out on the blog discussion during the day, and I have a number of projects I’m trying to complete. I really miss the back and forth commenting during the day.

Wow, more serious topics and scary events today. Just finished a book called The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect us from Violence by Gavin De Becker - it was published in 1997 and available in mass market now. Simplified description: it discusses (among other things) how we have been trained to live in a constant state of fear to such a degree that we don't notice the things we really do need to be aware of. If I had read this years ago, it would have helped me to avoid some bad situations and decisions.

The New Orleans radio/tv personality is
accused of the murder. The case hasn't gone to trail yet. He has already won a request for change of venue. He also claims extreme mental duress, because he was living in a FEMA trailer, after losing his home dye to hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans radio/tv personality is
accused of the murder. The case hasn't gone to trail yet. He has already won a request for change of venue. He also claims extreme mental duress, because he was living in a FEMA trailer, after losing his home due to hurricane Katrina.

Hi, how I can send PM?

Air travel has become a major part of our society, with industries and individuals depending on air transport for their livelihood. But have you ever wondered what happens to the artifacts of our airborne culture when they're no longer needed? [url=http://weburbanist.com/2008/10/14/abandoned-airfields-airports-aircraft-airplanes/]More..[/url]

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