Gun Control – A post that will likely piss off both sides…

I’ve remained silent on the issue of gun control for some time now.

This is not because I don’t care or don’t have an opinion (I have lots of them) it’s because I see too much emotion, hysteria, knee jerk reactions, use of tragedy to promote a political agenda and unreasonableness on both sides of the issue, and I prefer to wait until a calm, reasonable discussion can be had when topics are this important.

I have opinions that support both sides of the issue, so this post is likely to piss off everyone who has a strong opinion, but such is life.

Most important, I have professional training and experience that may help clear up some misinformation about the use of firearms.

I am a gun owner. My weapons are registered and I have a concealed carry permit.

I am well trained in not only their use, but in the ethical implications of their use because I am a former federal law enforcement officer.

No matter what a lay person sees on television, you do not “shoot someone in the leg to wound/stop them” or brandish a weapon in an attempt to “scare” them. Pulling a gun ALWAYS escalates a situation.

The ONLY reason to pull a weapon is to STOP the threat (here’s a hint, “shoot to stop” is the phrase that replaced “shoot to kill”) because you believe your life or the life of someone in your care is in imminent danger (and you better be able to articulate that in a court of law)

If someone who is amped up on enough adrenaline to need to pull a weapon in the first place tired to hit an arm or a leg, it’s not going to work; the only safe shot to take in order to hit anything is center of mass (go through some professional tactical training if you don’t believe me)

Even if someone could “shoot to wound” you know what happens? The arm or leg will be missed multiple times before it is hit (if it is ever hit) putting everyone else in the area in danger and creating more victims.

If you can not articulate in a court of law why your life or the life of someone else was in immediate danger and lethal force was the only (last) option, then you have no business pulling a gun out of it’s holster.

There is ONE reason to pull a weapon and that is to kill someone.

If someone is not mentally, physically and emotionally prepared to do that, a gun is not for them and will most likely hurt or kill them or someone else who is not the intended target.  They should not own, carry nor keep one in their home.

The first day of my law enforcement academy, our RTO asked us a question. “How many of you could take a human life?”

Half of the class either didn’t raise their hands at all or hesitated so long that it was a moot point. Only a handful of the other half, myself included put our hands up without hesitation.

“All of you that hesitated… You’re DEAD… Because the time it took you to decide that, gave someone else the time they needed to kill you.” He chastised.

Why did I not hesitate? Because I’ve seen what humans are capable of doing to one another. As a paramedic and one who had already worked in field law enforcement, I saw things I can’t tell regular people about at all. In addition to the horrendous things I’ve seen done to others, I’ve had people try to kill me.

Yes, given the right circumstances, I am capable of it.

With that said, I’m grateful that in my years working law enforcement, that I never had to un holster my weapon anywhere but on the range (I’ve had my holster unsnapped and had my hand on it however) Thankfully, I have been able to defend myself with a baton and/or my hands.

Despite what those who hate police like to think/espouse no one (barring mental illness/hatred bordering on mental illness) wants to take a human life in that manner. Those I have known who have had to make that choice are forever changed, forever haunted and damaged by the most terrible (and split second) decision one can be required to make.

The first thing that the self proclaimed constitutional scholars throw out there is the second amendment to the constitution.

Let’s take a look at it, shall we?

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

The words that so many zealots find inconvenient is the part about the “well regulated militia”. This does not appear to give everyone the right to an insane arsenal of assault weapons.

With that said, there are many texts that list the following pre constitution reasons for the right to bear arms (sorry, if it’s not getting graded or paid for, I’m not citing multiple sources on my lunch break… you all know how to use the internet)

• Enabling the people to organize a militia system
• participating in law enforcement;
• deterring tyrannical government;
• repelling invasion;
• suppressing insurrection, allegedly including slave revolts;
• facilitating a natural right of self-defense;

I didn’t see hunting on that list, but I would add it myself.

Sorry folks, but cruelly treated factory farmed meat is much less humane and healthy than hunting.

But in the name of brevity (and to illustrate my point), let’s just say that we have no right to bear arms except as part of a “well organized militia”.

Let’s say that “guns are banned”.

I ask those who want “all guns off the street” how exactly they plan on facilitating that plan of action?

The guns are already out there; the genie is out of the bottle people… and there is no way of getting it back in.



Should the military go door to door and search every home, every car, go through every back alley and dig holes in people’s back yards?

There’s another “pesky” little constitutional issue there; it’s called the 4th amendment which protects us from unreasonable search and seizure.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

As much as I hate to say it, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” it’s true.

Yes, horrific incidents occur when legally purchased guns are stolen/not secured, but in my opinion, the answer to that is education and to enforce the laws that we already have and to close loopholes.

All you’re going to have by pushing for a total gun ban is unarmed innocent people who are easy prey for the criminals, who do not acquire their weaponry through legal channels in the first place and have already shown blatant disregard for the law.

The whole idea of “arming teachers” is ludicrous at best; dangerous and negligent in common practice and criminal at worst.

The fact is, that not everyone is cut out to safely and responsibly carry/handle/use a firearm. Putting them in the hands of people who are not is no solution, it just exacerbates the problem.

I have mixed feelings on gun registration. On one hand, we have to register our cars; on the other, it’s an expensive program, another layer of government and will have no effect on criminals.

I wish I had an “easy” solution for all of this, but I don’t believe there is one.

So here are a few ideas I have floating around in my head.

* Education

* Training

* Teaching our children to value human life

* Better mental health care for EVERYONE

* Enforce the laws we already have on the books

* Hold people responsible for their weapons/choices

* Stop glorifying “thug life”

I’m sure I’ve pissed everyone on both sides off with this post.

GOOD! That means I’ve made you think.

We have a problem with gun violence in this country.  To believe or say otherwise is naive at bests.  I won’t bore you with statistics; they are readily available and all show one thing, the United States has a outrageously higher rate of gun violence than any other developed country.

The question at hand is “How do we deal with it?”

We need people to calm the heck down (the hysterical partisan BS I’ve seen from both sides doesn’t do anyone any good), think rationally and work cooperatively together for solutions.


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The Many Reasons Why I Will Not Vote For Tom McCarthy

I’ve been asked by many people to share my experiences with this individual and after seeing one too many of his lies in print, I have finally agreed to do so.

No, he is not responsible for the light rail coming to Hilltop nor any of the other many things he tries to take credit for.  What he is responsible for is undermining our neighborhood and the Hilltop Action Coalition.

On June 24th, 2013 after an application and interview process, I was offered a contract with the Hilltop Action Coalition to serve as their community coordinator. Tom McCarthy had just become a member of the board of directors.

Unbeknownst to me, he had also applied for my job and had not even made the cut to be interviewed and was very angry about about that.

He attacked me and my hiring at the first board meeting I attended and spent every meeting thereafter challenging my hiring and derailing any other work the board would try to accomplish.

I was hired for a one year contract and discovered after the fact that they only had funds to pay me for six months. While my job duties listed that I “might engage in fund-raising” as a secondary duty, I felt the need to do what I could in that regard. It was outside of the major grant cycles and far too late for me to procure funding for my position, but I wanted to help the organization.

Tom McCarthy was the treasurer at that time.

I asked him for the budget so I could write grants. He refused to give the numbers to me saying that I’d just “make the organization look bad if we applied for grants and didn’t get them” (anyone who has done any grant writing knows this is not the case as constant applying and rejection are part of the process)

He, without board approval instead told me to “go for the low hanging fruit by hitting up the neighborhood councils”. (once again, completely clueless as to how funding an organization works)

By refusing to work with me, by refusing to do his job and provide the documents so that I could try to help the organization, he clearly showed that he was willing to cause harm to an organization because he was angry that he didn’t get what he wanted.

His rudeness towards me, harassment of me and constant undermining of my work resulting in him being instructed by other board members to stay away from me and not contact me.

Additionally, he ensured that the HAC phone (cell phone in my possession) was shut off every month by not paying the bill.

I was to be paid once a month. (my offer to make things easier) The first month I was due to get paid, he left the state for ten days, taking the HAC checkbook with him. The then board president was kind enough to pay me out of he and his wife’s personal account so that I could pay my mortgage and other bills. (illegally taking his daughter out of state for ten days without telling her mother and not allowing any contact with her mother)

During his brief tenure at HAC, he also worked against the Hilltop’s best interests by attempting to sway individual HAC board members and others to support the project going to the East side. Yet, he is now taking credit for bringing it to the Hilltop.

Due to his actions against the organization, community and me he was told that if he did not resign from the board that he would be formally removed.

I find it amusing that he is campaigning as a “good Catholic”.

During and before my tenure at HAC he was carrying on a very public affair with another woman (also married to someone else) going so far as to post pictures of their romantic getaways and “life plans” all over Facebook.

When did adultery become a “Catholic Value” to be used for personal/campaign gain?

Court records also show that his wife was granted a restraining order against him due to his violence against her both in the home and harassing her at her workplace.

Speaking of court records, affidavits and personal accounts… They are out there to prove not only everything above, but many other things including:

Trespassing on school property to encourage high school students to leave campus during school hours to protest.

Assault and Battery

Fraud (collecting food stamp benefits here in Washington while working as a commercial fisherman in Alaska which he kept from his wife)

He was so abusive to a woman who rented a room in his home that I ended up giving her a key to my house so that she would have a safe place to come to when she needed it until she could finally move out.

There is more; everything I have posted here is easily verifiable via court records, affidavits and meeting minutes. I’ve made sure that this post contains nothing but verifiable truth because he threatens to sue anyone who doesn’t give him his way (including the city he claims to want to serve)

No, I would not vote for Tom McCarthy for anything.

He lacks honesty, integrity, work ethic and he has clearly demonstrated that he will lie, cheat and steal to get what he wants regardless of how it affects others.

This is not someone I (nor anyone) should want representing our city.

If you have or are considering supporting him, I would ask that you do your research for all of our sakes.

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Tacoma 4th of July Asshat Bingo

For those of us who have had to forgo our holiday plans to escape the madness due to unprecedented drought conditions, heat and fire danger to protect our homes, I’ve created a little game. (it’s keeping me from going out and killing my drunk asshat neighbors for shooting off illegal explosives and risking all of our homes and lives)

I present to you…

“Tacoma 4th of July Asshat Bingo”

Play along with us on Twitter and Facebook tonight on your mobile device while you’re out hosing things down in your yard.

4th of July Asshat Bingo Card 4

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4th of July Asshat Bingo Card 5

4th of July Asshat Bingo Card 1

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Mason Middle School Principal Refuses To Meet With Petitioners, Supports Shaming

There are things that the principal of Mason Middle School and the Tacoma School District don’t want you to know about this story which appeared in the News Tribune two weeks ago.

That the principal at Mason Middle School refused to meet with these girls, who went through all the proper channels respectfully and launched a very successful petition. to modify a dress code that prohibits any part of a girl’s shoulder from showing.

What that principal did do was meet with two students of her choosing who were not involved in this at all. One who called these wonderful young women “sluts” (probably got that idea from her parents)

A handful of wealthy North End Parents didn’t like the attention the school got because of this. They said it was “embarrassing” so these girls were harassed by other students in school, shut down and denied due process.

You know what they (the school) SHOULD be embarrassed by?

body shaming young girls, having your daughter call them sluts and being a principal who hand selects said slut shaming/name calling girl to “represent” students.

supporting the sexualization of young girls.

promoting the idea that the mere sight of part of a girls shoulder will distract a young boy and that the boys lack self control and that their education is more important than the girls.


and being on the wrong side of history.

SHAME on that “principal” who in my opinion, is not fit to run a school, and shame on those parents.

The girls learned several valuable lessons about acitivism and fighting social injustice.

Sadly, they also learned that money talks even when it’s on the wrong side of an issue.

The harshest lesson learned is that because they are female, they won’t be respected or treated fairly and that if they stand up for their rights, they will be called “slut” (and in this case the one doing the name calling was rewarded by the principal for that behavior)

I have heard however that they are going to be honored by a state legislator for taking this issue on.

I am sad that these young women were treated so unfairly, were disrespected and denied due process.

But I am glad that they are the next generation who will be taking on social injustice; they are the hope for our future.

I’m also glad I no longer have a middle school age child.

You can bet that if I did, she would NOT be going to Mason Middle School.


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Memorial Day – A Day To Remember – Let’s Make It A Day To Make Change

A day to remember those who are gone…

Those who lost their lives in service of our country…

Those defending our freedom and the constitution…

Those sent on dubious missions who served in good faith…

Those whose lives were stolen by a for profit, corporate war machine…

If only we would stop sending so many to their deaths…

If only war was not for profit…

If only it was a last resort…

If only life was honored as sacred…



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Tacoma Public Schools Sexist Dress Standards – 8th Grade Girls Can Not Show Any Part Of Their Shoulders. Seriously? Just Say NO to Body Shaming and Sexism!

Body shaming young girls with unfair, outdated and sexist dress codes is nothing new.

I won’t bore you recent research and articles about the negative impacts body shaming, objectifying, hypersexualizing and holding girls accountable for the behavior of boys has on students of both genders and the self esteem of girls in particular. (if you’re reading this blog, you all know how to google)

On Sunday, May 3rd a friend of mine purchased a lovely dress for her daughter’s 8th grade graduation and dance at Mason Middle School in Tacoma scheduled for June 11th.

There were no dress code guidelines given to parents or posted on the website at the time. The dress is similar in style to dresses worn without incident at the same event last year as well as other events.

Yesterday, on May 12th, less than a month before the dance, after most girls had purchased their dresses, many of whom saved up for them, the school district announced a ridiculous dress code.

This perfectly lovely dress is not allowed at the dance because….

The shoulders are not covered.


Yep, you read that correctly.

The mere sight of the shoulders of an 8th grade girl might ruin the event, drive boys insane and/or make school administrators/some parents who are apparently stuck in the dark ages have sinful thoughts.

For those who are curious about the aforementioned ridiculous dress code; here it is.

8th grade Dance.attire.guidelines

Not only is this dress code, sexist, objectifying and body shaming to young girls, it’s not even consistent from school to school.

Whoever came up with this idiotic dress code which as far as we can tell only affects girls at Mason Middle School needs to be made aware that this is 2015. They also need to learn about the negative impacts hypersexualization and body shaming have on young girls.

My friend’s daughter and her friends have created a petition on

They will also be reaching out to media and elected representatives.

This is a lesson for them.

A lesson in standing up and making their voices heard.

A lesson on being proactive and making change.

A lesson on becoming involved in issues that affect their school, community and contacting elected officials.

Let’s help this be a good lesson for them.

Please consider signing and sharing their petition, which you can find by clicking here

If an 8th grade girl is forced to cover her shoulders in summer, what’s next? Burkas?

Tacoma, we can do better for our girls (and boys).

*on an amusing note, the prom dress I wore in 1979 has the dreaded “spaghetti straps” so it would not be acceptable by today’s Mason Middle School Standards.

**Forget the 1970’s, bare shoulders were perfectly acceptable for school dances and proms in the 1950’s as evidenced by a google search of 1950’s prom dresses

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Lifelong Passions

Today was a “blast from the past” as an interview I did with Douglas Scott from was published.

While I’m no longer running medical aid calls, rappelling down cliffs for rescues or fighting fires, my day job affords me the opportunity to help others save lives.

I’m also still involved in sharing my love of the outdoors through books, magazines and other print and electronic media.

We never know where our passions may lead, but they are always our passions.


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Open Letter to the News Tribune who is trashing our city and Tacoma City Council who allows it

Dear Phil Schneider,

I do NOT want to hear any more of your bogus apologies.

EIGHT times I have used your useless opt out system and still have to deal with this crap, and I am not the only one (our numbers are growing as is our anger)

Last time, it took almost three weeks for you to come pick up your rotting trash out of the gutter in front of my house.

I WILL be notifying the State Attorney General and BBB of your continued VIOLATION of the agreement and I will be encouraging everyone else to as well.  We have an attorney looking into that agreement and your liability for continually violating it.  Your trash blights our communities, poisons the environment, is a burden on the elderly and disabled, is a slip and fall hazard, and targets homes for burglary.

We will also continue to boycott, picket and give negative reviews on Yelp, Google + and Facebook to any business that advertises in your trash..

We will call the police on any of your below minimum wage, non local (I’ve seen Oregon plates), desperate Craigslist contractors driving down the road throwing things out windows and/or anyone who trespasses on our property.

We will continue to fight the re-election of any member of the current city council until they take a stand against you.

This is not an exercise of your “1st Amendment rights”.  This is littering, trespass, poisoning the environment, endangering the elderly, disabled and those who travel for work, can’t get out to clean up your trash every day.

This is you, disrespecting and trashing your community.

I used to care that you stayed in business.

I no longer do. (and neither does a large percentage of this community)

We will not stop our fight against you, until you stop.

or cease to exist.

I really don’t care which at this point and neither does anyone else I know.

Hey…  Remember the Seattle PI?  The Seattle Times?

Neither does anyone else.

Have a nice day.  Sir.  (if you need a translation for that, ask any law enforcement officer or military personnel)

I would explain it to you myself, but you are not worth the profanity.

Even a pig is smart enough not to poop where it sleeps and eats; apparently you are not.

a walk taken 45 minutes ago20150108_105735

Well over a year later, the McClatchy Corporation who bought out the (formerly Tacoma) News Tribune and has ZERO interest in Tacoma or being a good corporate citizen is still trashing our city.

Despite multiple complaints to their offices, the BBB, the State Attorney General and our City Council, they have increased their trashing of our community to throwing 50,000 toxic plastic wrapped bags of trash onto our streets, sidewalks, yards, parking strips and gutters, washing into the Sound claiming bogus 1st amendment rights, often, dangerously out of moving vehicles.

This is all about money, revenue, advertising dollars. It is NOT about free speech and is an affront to the 1st amendment which they are citing.

Our current city council members: Marilyn Strickland, Anders Ibsen, Robert Thoms, Lauren Walker, Marty Campbell, Joe Lonergan, Victoria Woodards, David Boe and Ryan Mello refuse to take a stand.  As a matter of fact, at a recent citizens forum at a regularly scheduled city council meeting our mayor could not be bothered to stay because she had something “more important” to do than listen to citizens and left to introduce a book author.  Deputy Mayor Boe chastised the audience for applauding when citizens spoke out against this trashing of our city. (but it’s perfectly OK to applaud any action the council takes)

Plastic is a HUGE threat to our oceans and beloved Salish Sea and is of increasing concern.

One of our group members just had her EIGHTH Opt out violated again and found more plastic wrapped trash in front of her house.

The News Tribune does NOT respect the citizens of Tacoma.

The News Tribune does NOT respect the environment.

The News Tribune does NOT respect the legally binding opt out agreements that our city council critters tell us to abide by.


These bags continue to rot in our streets and gutters polluting the Puget Sound.

Our elected officials continue to ignore this and refuse to speak out against it.

What can we do?

FORCE the TNT to come pick up their trash immediately when they violate the opt out.  They will.  Use the customer service email address and also contact Phil Schroeder directly at

Let your council critter know that you do NOT support them or their reelection until they do the right thing and take a stand against this practice.

You can contact them here

Contact the State Attorney General and Better Business Bureau EVERY time they violate their bogus opt out agreements.

Here’s how to file a compliant with the State Attorney General

Here’s how to file a complaint with the BBB

Here’s where to give them the crappy YELP review that they deserve.

Don’t forget to EMAIL (don’t call) the TNT (email provides a “paper trail” to support how often they violate their own opt out program) to let them know you that you aren’t going to tolerate this and to insist that they come pick up their trash at your opted out home as well as from in front of vacant homes.

We need to continue to let City Manager T.C. Broadnax know that we are displeased with his performance.

Another option being researched is a “No Trespass” order.  These are used by retail outlets when they have known loiterers/shoplifters frequenting their establishment.  Once the order is received; the police can be called to make an arrest for trespassing.  They send/give the form to the offender (In this case we’d take it/send registered mail to the TNT offices) If this can be done for “any representative of the TNT or their affiliates” we should be able to charge them when they violate the order (which their craigs list contractors will continue to do)

Most important, continue to target the advertisers in this trash.

Be polite, ask them if they know that their advertising dollars are going towards this practice.  Many local businesses have been appalled and demanded a stop be put to it.

Others, like Safeway and Puget Sound Audiology and Hearing Aid don’t care and refuse to stop the practice.

Call, write, email, picket, give negative Facebook, Yelp and Google + reviews to those who knowingly and unapologetically trash our city.

This needs to STOP!

Join our Facebook group, Citizens for Tacoma Not Trash

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