Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Just Don't Add Up

(Edited from a comment I made in a thread on Facebook.)

There's a lot of hysteria and paranoia about Obama and how he plans to destroy America, kill many Americans and make slaves of the rest. I'm at a loss to explain it, unless it's a holdover from the Cold War and mutually assured destruction.

Obama's aim to disarm citizens has been an ongoing topic among his Internet critics In a recent thread on Facebook, the discussion centered on Internet rumors that the Secret Service would be empowered to confiscate guns from American citizens. Someone mentioned Obama's past comment about creating a civilian security force, and wondered how that would figure into gun confiscation.

I noted that he said that (about a civilian security force) in 2008 as a candidate. Hasn't mentioned it again since.

One thing has mystified me about the dire speculation following the election, Benghazi, and Sandy Hook. What's missing in all the talk of armored vehicles, FEMA coffins and billions of rounds of ammo for DHS is ... who's gonna fire them? This is the one element that has been missing since the beginning of the speculation -- enough people (enough of the right kind of people -- trained and ruthless).

First, it was the US military ... but evidently, Obama found out he can't count on them, even with all the firings and removals of top brass, so the military sort of faded from the speculation talk. So then it was UN troops. The problem with that is that WE are the UN, for all intents and purposes. If our troops won't do his bidding as the American military, they're not going to do it as members of a UN coalition. Our friends in the UN (Europe, Canada, Oz, etc) will not do it. Basically, that leaves (1) Islam and (2) the third world. Are Muslims going to take orders from an American president, regardless of how friendly he is to Islam? And who really thinks third worlders like Somalis can enforce gun confiscation here?

Forget the UN.

So then it was Interpol. And Interpol's charter/constitution forbids such actions. My understanding from online info is that they aren't law enforcement agents, per se, anyway. They're a liaison between law enforcement authorities in different countries that need to work together on international criminal cases.

Then it was FEMA kids (all 231 of them). So now it's the Secret Service. Sounds like he's scraping the bottom of the barrel. It'll be interesting to see who will be put forth next as Obama's enforcers.

Wikipedia says there were 1,429,995 people on active duty in the armed forces as of Jan 31, 2013. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2,204,800 million civilians work for the Federal Government. Not all of those work in enforcement agencies; and not everyone employed by an enforcement agency is an enforcement agent. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, State and local law enforcement agencies employed about 1,133,000 persons on a full-time basis in 2008, including 765,000 sworn personnel.

So if you take the entire federal workforce many of whom are not enforcement personnel, and the entire US military and the entire state and local law enforcement employees, you have approximately five million (5,137,800) people.

The population of the United States is 313,914,040. That's 313 million as of July 2012. About 70 to 80 million of them are gun owners holding about 300 million firearms.

If the military, federal employees and state and local cops ALL turned into Obama enforcers (which of course isn't going to happen) and attempted gun confiscation precipitated civil war, you'd have 5 million of them opposed to 70 or 80 million civilian gun owners with 300 million guns and who knows how many bullets...

I dunno, folks. Seems to me it's not civilian gun owners who need to be skeered.

(Note, Internet statistics are woefully unreliable; as are my math skills. But even accounting for that, the situation just doesn't seem as dire as people's paranoia would indicate.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sweet Southern Boys On Hunting....

Chapter One
Verona, Georgia
September 1985

Wesley Bratcher carried his lunch tray in a hard grip. He walked the center aisle of the noisy cafeteria looking left and right for his sister, Tiffany. Her hair was bright copper, like his, and usually made her easy to spot in a crowd, but not today. Abandoning his search for her, he looked for an empty seat anywhere.

It was the third of September, the first day of school and Wesley's first day as a fourth-grader at Cloverdale Elementary School. Except for his sister, he didn't know a single person here.

He found an empty seat and set his tray down. Three boys about his age were sitting opposite him, talking and laughing. They had brought their lunches from home and their side of the table was a trash heap of paper bags, food wrap, bread crusts and throw-away plastic.

Wesley's progressive parents impressed upon him the importance of respecting the environment and he always noticed when that respect was violated. These three had evidently been raised with no environmental consciousness.

In appearance, they were as different as noon, sunset and midnight, but they all spoke with the Southern hick accent that irritated Wesley to no end. They compounded his irritation by making spontaneous use of baffling regional idioms that tried his patience every time he heard them.

They paid no attention to him when he first sat down. It was rude and it proved that southern hospitality, which he'd heard so much about, was nothing but a crock. After a while, they noticed him and started talking to him, and that annoyed him, too.

The one in the middle had done most of the talking. He was the first to speak to Wesley.

"Hi, you're new, aren't ya? What's your name?" Collar-length brown hair framed his face, which was almost pretty enough to be a girl's.


The assessment was sullen and gratuitous because, except for his face, there was nothing girlish about him.

"Wesley Bratcher. I'm from Chicago." His midwestern accent marked him as an outsider, and he felt a jolt of pride from it.

"My name's John Mark. What grade are you in?"


"We are, too."

The black-haired boy on John Mark's left looked at Wesley with benign curiosity.

"I'm Randy Stevenson," he said. "Do you play any sports? We play baseball and basketball and football."

Randy's eyes were dark and there was something odd about them Wesley couldn't pinpoint. His face wore a sort of neutral friendliness but the eyes gave Wesley the creeps.

"I skateboard."

"Hey! I do, too!" John Mark said. "Do you know where the skate park is here? It's Skatescape on Powell Avenue. I can tell you how to get there. But it's real small and pretty crappy compared to the ones in Atlanta or Jacksonville or Tampa. 'Course, you can street skate nearly anywhere. I do a lot of that. Do you do any tricks? Right now I'm learnin' all the stuff you can do with a trick called the ollie kickflip. Man, is it cool!"

During the chatter, the boy with blonde hair directly across from Wesley stopped sipping milk through a straw and set the carton down. He cut his blue-gray eyes sharply toward John Mark and showed his teeth in an impish grin. "Jabber, jabber."

John Mark aimed a thumb to the right and told Wesley, "This is Shelby. He don't have manners sometimes."

Shelby slid his eyes -- they were striking but not creepy, like Randy's -- to the newcomer. "Wock here's awesome. Been skatin' since he was six. He'll be state champion someday."

Introductions accomplished, the three boys took up their original conversation where it had left off and Wesley resumed eating in silence.

The Bratchers had moved to Georgia a month earlier. Wesley hated Verona from the moment they arrived. He'd learned nothing during his first morning at his new school to change that.

His table companions behaved like they had been friends a long time. Wesley had friends like that back home and he missed them terribly. He wondered if he would ever find friends among these Georgians--or whether he'd want to.

For about the millionth time since moving here, he was struck by the sheer foreignness of this place and these people. Assailed by a fresh wave of homesickness, he tuned out the talk across the table until something Shelby said caught his attention.

"....and Daddy wants to buy membership in a huntin' lodge in Early County. It's just across the river from the nuculer power plant in Alabama. He said everybody wants to hunt there 'cause you can't miss when you shoot--the deer glow in the dark!"

Shelby cackled and John Mark laughed like a chipmunk, the glint from his braces matching the twinkling in his eyes. But Randy didn't crack a smile. He tilted his head dubiously and said, "It's against the law to hunt deer at night."

Shelby gave him a pointed look. "It's a joke, Mister Spock."

"It's a dumb joke 'cause you can't hunt deer at night," Randy insisted.

Joke or not, Wesley was appalled. "You shoot deer? Like, with a gun?"

"Well, you can't bring 'em down with spitballs," Shelby said. "My daddy got me a Remington model seven Bambi-buster for my birthday. Had to get a used one, but it's a sweet rifle and I can't wait to try it. Deer season starts next month."

Wesley's incredulous gaze fastened on Shelby. "My parents say hunting is barbaric. How can you hunt deer? They don't hurt anything."

Shelby rolled his eyes and didn't answer but John Mark piped up, "Look, think of deer like they're big rats on stilts. They don't have no natural enemies. If people don't kill 'em, they'll multiply into a plague. They'll eat up all the crops and come up in your yard and eat it, and you'll run over 'em on the highway."

Still horrified by the idea of shooting animals, Wesley looked from one to the other of them and asked, "Do all of you guys hunt?"

"Yep." John Mark gave him an an emphatic nod. "But just varmints until this year."

Wesley frowned in incomprehension.

Randy explained. "Squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, little critters like that."

"Oh." Wesley looked down at his plate, his appetite gone. The talk of shooting animals had given him a touch of nausea.

Shelby stuffed his lunch clutter into a paper bag and stood up. "Well. Welcome to Cloverdale Element'ry, yank."
Images: Remington Arms Company; U.S. Government; Bacalao via Fotolia.com

Sexy Snippets from Southern Man ...

... for a certain critic, who evidently thinks pop-culture sex is a-okay unless is appears in a romance novel and depicts the intimacy of  a man a woman committed to each other through marriage for life....  Then, it tends to be trashy ....

What do you think?  Is this snippet trashy?

(Excerpt edited for length and clarity.)

Patty poured bubble bath into the oversized tub and turned the shiny chrome handles....She piled her hair on top of her head and fastened it with a barrette. Without haste, she undressed, stepped into the tub and carefully eased down into the hot water. She had been there several minutes, enjoying the music and waiting, when she heard her husband enter the bedroom.

“Tro,” she called.

“What?” He stood just inside the door and looked down at her. Only her head and shoulders showed above the froth.

“Get in.” She tilted her head to give him an inviting smile. 

“You shameless hussy.”

“It’ll make you feel good.”

He shook his head. “Real men don’t take bubble baths.”

But one side of his mouth quirked up as he unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it from his trousers. The half-smile changed to a mock leer and in moments he was naked, his clothes tossed carelessly onto the hamper. He stepped into the tub, grimaced at the temperature of the water and sat down gingerly, pulling air through his teeth.

“Turn around and I’ll rub your shoulders,” she said.

“I won’t argue with that. This water’s hot.”

“It only takes a minute to get used to it, wuss.” She squeezed water from a bath sponge across his neck and shoulders, kneaded them gently and listened to his not entirely put-on moans and groans....

Patty leaned back against the slanted wall of the tub, pulled him against her and crossed her arms around his neck. Troy grasped her feet and stroked her insteps with his thumbs. They lay there in silence, eyes closed, as the last of the day’s tension from fussing children, radical feminists and plummeting sales dissipated seemingly into the water.

After a while, he rolled over toward her, making their diminishing blanket of bubbles rock and slosh. She studied his face—the dark eyes, the exquisitely shaped lips, now slightly parted, the fine coating of sweat. Her steadfast love for him began to stir into ardor.

You beautiful, sloe-eyed man! It’s a miracle that you love me and belong to me!

He studied her face, too, and murmured, “You’re so sweet and you look so cute covered with bubbles and your hair done up like that. I wish I could stay with you all night—we could have so much fun together—but I have to go.”

She blinked. “Go? Why?”

“I promised my wife I’d be home by ten-thirty. If I’m not, she’ll pitch a hissy-fit.”

“The bitch,” Patty said caustically, her brows lowering. “You are completely henpecked.”

She filliped the water, sending a small splash toward him. He jerked his head to the side but not quickly enough. With drops rolling down his face, he flashed her a menacing grin.

“Oh, you bad girl, you have done it now,” he said, giving each word exaggerated enunciation. “You better watch it ’cause you never know when I’m gonna get you for that.”

She put the tip of her forefinger in her mouth for a moment and said, “You won’t, though.”

“Prob’ly not. But I ought to. Think how pissed you’d be if I’d done that to you.”

“Yes, but you know I would mind, and I know you don’t.”

As she looked at him, the desire building inside her fountained upward to show in her face and glow in her eyes. She didn’t try to conceal it, but took his face in her hands and pulled him closer to kiss him.

She kept it going a long time. He stirred but made no move away from her, no attempt to break the seal of their lips. At last, she did, and tilted her head back enough to see his face, to lose herself in the sweetness of his expression and in the beginning of passion and desire her kiss had put in his eyes.

He blinked and inhaled, as if breaking out of a mild trance, and slid forward to follow up with a kiss of his own. He murmured against her mouth, “Darlin’ darlin’ baby ... I’m gettin’ in the shower.”

Troy believed tubs were for relaxing in and showers were for getting clean. Patty watched him step out and walk through the doorway to his bathroom. Naked or clothed, he was magnificent, exquisitely proportioned, like Michelangelo’s David, like da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, except for the slight extra length to his legs, which enhanced rather than detracted from his perfection....

Patty finished bathing and flipped the drain lever. She wrapped herself in her terry robe... In her bathroom, she got ready for bed. Passing over her usual nightwear, tailored tricot pajamas, she shimmied into a short, slinky white negligee, because Troy was needful tonight and she was wantful. And because it was the last thing a bitchy, hissy-pitching wife would wear.

She put a dab of Parthenope into the hollow at the base of her throat, removed the barrette and let her brown locks fall uncombed to her shoulders.

In the cool, dim bedroom, she checked to see that Troy had shut the door to the hallway. The children knew not to come into their parents' bedroom when the door was closed unless it was an emergency, and to knock first in any case.

Troy emerged from his bathroom, dried off but slightly damp and naked but for the towel around his waist because naked was how he slept. He kept a pair of pajama bottoms under the mattress for quick access on the nights when storms or bad dreams brought the little ones scurrying to sleep with Mama and Daddy.

Patty stepped up to him and gave him a petulant look. “You said you’d be home by ten-thirty. Where were you? Who is she?”

He shook his head, grinning. “You’re not a very convincing harridan, sweetheart. You just don’t have it in you.”

Their little game had been fun, but his smile faded and the look on his face said he was ready to get back to reality. A sultry flame leaped to life in his eyes as they went down her body and moved back up to her face. With a forefinger, he pushed aside the thin strap of her negligee, trailed his lips along her shoulder and nuzzled her neck.

Patty shivered and broke out in goose pimples.

She gave the towel a tug and it fell to the floor.

Troy put his arms around her, pulled her to him and kissed her. He took a soft, uneven breath and murmured, “She’s you. You’re all the women I want—my sweet wife, my children’s mother, my helper, naughty girl, best friend .... and I love every one of y’all to death.”