Sunday, February 8, 2009


It seems to me that I need to revisit this topic (covered previously in this post) since I've gotten several questions about it since I posted it.

Many of the suggestions I made in that post were accepted with minimal explanation, but I keep getting questions about the part where I talked about screaming.

I figured I covered it pretty well there at the time, but since I'm still getting questions, I'll address it again.

Some of the folks who have now met me can attest to the fact that I am not going to win a real wrestling match. I can take all the classes I like, any martial art you care to name, and the pure-dee fact of it is, if an attacker is big enough, they can sit on me and pretty much neutralize any real physical threat to themselves.

Not that I'm not going to make them pay in pain for every inch on the way there, but cripes folks, I'm little.

Being a practical kind of girl, I sat down years ago and thought about it. What would I do, if I were attacked?

Then I formulated a basic set of contingency plans (which seems to me to be the thing to do, think about it before you have to put those plans into action, so that you don't waste time) and went to the Farmparents and discussed them.

Farmdad had some good input, as did Farmmom, and I incorporated those things I thought would work for me into my battle plan, so to speak.

Slow-speed runs on certain self-defense moves with Farmdad were an occaisonal evening activity for several years.

But the one thing that I always run across that people question is the effacacy of the scream.

"Save your breath for fighting," some folks say... or "No one pays attention to a scream."

Ok, then, if no one pays attention, why don't you try going into downtown (city or small town, it doesn't matter) and screaming your head off.

Me, I tend to be a worst-case scenario kind of girl when it comes to self-defense. I figure if I plan for the guy who's too quick, too tough, too hopped up on something or other to really care what I do to him physically short of breaking the brain-nerve circuit, then I'll be pleasantly surprised if it winds up being the wussy little dude that cries as soon as you yank on his wedding tackle.

Part of that worst-case plan is this: he's going to get ahold of me in such a way that there really isn't much I can do to hurt him. It's possible, cops do it all the time, to much bigger people than me.

So, the plan says scream. I have practiced my scream, and the effects seem to be two-fold. One, everyone within hearing range comes to see what the hell is going on. Two, everyone in close range complains that it hurts their ears.

Hell, it hurts my ears. But, that's a good thing.

It's a distraction. And, long shot but still worth trying for in the worst case scenario, it may distract the attacker enough that I can manage to squirm free, and/or hurt him in some significant way.

It seems to me that any chance of getting away or getting some of my own is worth while in a situation where a person is attacking me. If it comes down to the point that I feel the need to defend myself, Big Hairy Bad Guy sure as hell ain't trying to take me home to meet his mother for tea.

If I can make enough of a nuisance of myself, or draw enough attention, there's a chance that he'll give up.

If nothing else, it's likely he'll try to shut me up to stop me from drawing said attention, which means taking one of the hands that's restraining me away and putting it over my mouth. That results in a better chance of me getting away or causing damage.

I can take being beaten. I might even be able to take being raped. What I can't stomach is the thought of doing nothing to stop someone intent on doing me harm.

I've made my scream a part of my arsenal of self defense. I've figured out what it takes for me to make it truly ear-grating. I've spent time on this because I think that it is a valid tool....

Because sometimes, the best you can hope for is a good samaritan a couple of blocks over.

Our Fine, Upstanding Sheriff

I seem to remember, a couple of years ago, a race for the office of County Sheriff. The incumbent was a good man, who'd done a good job with limited resources, and done his best to increase those resources.

He felt a responsibility, and a duty, to the people of the county, not only to uphold the law but to help avoid incidents wherein he might be required to throw someone in the local hoosegow. Mediating domestic disputes, giving youngsters a stern talking to (and let me tell you when that man got stern, youngsters listened..) and otherwise greasing the wheels of our little society were more common activities for him than slapping cuffs on people after the fact.

In my eyes, that made him a good cop.

His opponent was one of his deputies, who wanted the stature more than the job. He made promises during his campaign that he either had no intention of keeping, or was too stupid to realize he couldn't possibly keep.

Stamping out underage drinking. Wiping away drugs in the county. Peace and harmony for all, with lowered crime rates and leisurely walks on the beach. Never mind that we don't have any beaches...

Unfortunately, a majority of the folks in the county were too blinded by the shiny promises to look beyond them to his record as a deputy.

Questionable arrests, complaints, and a general air of power trip with or without the badge actually being on.

( "You know I could find a reason to write you a ticket, right?" he said to me one sunny summer morning before he began campaigning for the office. "You could," said I, "but would it hold up in court?")

So, he was duly elected, and proceeded to abuse his power.

Lets take a look at a list of what in my mind, seem to be his highlights.....

1. Locking a group of inebriated teenagers in a barn, because he couldn't stack them deep enough in his vehicle to get them all in. And yes, I do mean stack. Were they drunk? Yep. Were the charges justified? Entirely.

But what does it tell you when every one that contested the charge got it dropped because of the methods he used?

Aside from locking them in the barn and purportedly stacking them three deep in his vehicle (it is undisputed that he had too many of them in the vehicle to allow for safe transportation... the exact number varies depending on the person you talk to, and since I haven't talked to any of the teens involved about it, I'm just going to label the three deep thing as hearsay) he questioned them without their parents present, and used threats, again without parents or guardians present, in an attempt to learn who bought the alcohol for them.

2. The "Drug Dog"... that took off after a thrown tennis ball while working a traffic stop. Across a busy highway. Because the handler didn't have his leash.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised to hear that this dog "hit" on a ham sandwich in someone's cooler. The handler is an idiot, the dog is poorly trained, and the whole concept of having those two paired up and "working" seems to me to be a big red flashing neon arrow pointing towards a large suit for the county.

3. A while back, a man was killed. Our Illustrious Sheriff was telling anyone who asked (rather than declining to comment on an ongoing investigation, which would seem to me to be the prudent course) that it was suicide.

The information that I have is all hearsay, but it's from sources that I trust to actually know what the heck is going on, and not feed the rumor mill for the sake of feeding the rumor mill.

So tell me, those of you who have reason to know... how much talent does it take for a man to shoot himself three times with a shot gun, pick up all of the shells and get rid of them, and go lay down and die.

Oh, did I forget to mention, the three shots were to his head? At extremely close range, according to my information.

4. And one of the best ones, is his policy on concealed weapons permits. He is allowed to set the regulations and level of training required to get a permit in the county.

Since one of his deputies went through and became a certified firearms instructor, it is rumored that he has been requiring anyone who applies to get their training from said deputy. Since my permit was issued by the previous Sheriff, and re-issued at the beginning of the current regime's term, before the rumored requirement came into effect, I haven't had to deal with that particular little faux pas.


Since our courthouse went high-tech (shutting off the front doors of the courthouse and installing a metal detector on the south door) they haven't managed to hire a security guard. So, random members of the Sheriff's Department will man it at odd times, and the rest of the time it's turned off and unmanned.

One memorable day a couple of people were headed into the Court House on business, and The Man himself was manning the detector....

"What all will this thing pick up?" asks one.

"Everything!" Our Sheriff proclaimed proudly, chest puffed and extremely proud of himself.

As the first person walked through the detector without emptying his farmer's pockets (nuts bolts pliers and various other metal objects that can generally be found in any farmer or rancher's pockets at any given moment) our Sheriff deflated.

He hung his head a bit, and muttered, as his face began the slow red creep of embarrassment....

"It's not turned on."

It's just my opinion, of course, but it seems to me that the perfect job for a man of few words (and unfortunately it seems to me at times, a man of even fewer brain cells...) is standing guard over a metal detector that isn't even turned on.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking Pinky?"

"I think so Brain, but how will we ever get the people to re-elect me??"

Filthy Varmints

Allow me a moment to fill in my readers who are not "country" folks, here.

Canis Latrans, the common coyote. Best known around the country for their nocturnal singing, which many call the "pack song", when healthy and well fed, they are actually a pretty impressive sight.

If you would like to see a healthy, and well fed coyote, go to the zoo, it's about the only place you'll find one.

In the wild, they are often infected with mange, and half-starved. Also, highly susceptible to rabies.

It was only a few years ago that the state of Colorado offered a bounty on coyote ears, as the population overran the resources of the area.

Now here's the kicker. If a single coyote out hunting happens upon a cow that's down calving, possibly having trouble, it will call in the pack.

Unlike most predators, who instinctively kill their dinner before they start eating, if a coyote can get one leg to stop kicking, they'll start eating that leg. They'll attack the nerve bundle at the base of a cow's tail, and paralyze her, and eat her alive from the ass up.

Last night, we had to put a heifer down because between the time we found her and realized she was having problems calving, got a trailer, and got back out there, coyotes had stripped the calf's head down to skull, and tore hell out of her back end.

Once a coyote pack gets one cow that way, they've figured out an easy meal. They'll go after any calving cow they can find. The only solution is to kill the entire pack before they can kill your entire herd.

We're working on it. The Game Warden is working on it... He went right out with a rifle when we called to inform him of the incident, and that we'd be killing the bastards responsible. He said he'd leave the carcasses lay where he shot them, so this afternoon we'll go out and see how many of them he managed to get.

Tonight, Bro is going out, with his buddy, his spot light, one of Farmdad's rifles and grandpa's coyote call...

He's a better coyote hunter than I am, or I'd be right out there with him. I'm giving up the satisfaction of seeing the sumbitches die in the interests of having more of them die in a more efficient manner.