Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member


CompanyFirstSergeant's Journal
CompanyFirstSergeant's Journal
May 12, 2016

I have plenty of bees.... I don't mow my lawn.....

They love my lawn. I am surrounded by bees, birds, all kinds of beautiful critters....

Unlike my neighbors, I do not mow my lawn until nature is in full bloom.

Which means, for upstate New York, around Memorial Day.

Yes, the place looks a little ragged - long grass, wild flowers, dandelions.

To make up for it, my house and the surroundings are immaculately well kept.

Don't mow your lawn until the leaves on the trees are out fully. You are helping the planet.

May 11, 2016

Civil trial over Colorado theater shooting security begins

Nine months after the Colorado theater shooter was sentenced to life in prison, some victims are returning to the same courtroom in hopes of holding the company that owns the suburban Denver movie theater accountable for not doing more to prevent his bloody rampage.

In a civil trial starting Monday in state court, 28 victims' families say Century Theaters should have had armed guards at the packed opening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" and alarms that would have sounded when James Holmes slipped into the darkened auditorium through an emergency exit and opened fire, killing 12. Jurors will be asked determine if, in an age of mass shootings, the theater should have foreseen the possibility of an attack.

The families will argue Cinemark knew the midnight blockbuster would attract at least 1,000 people and should have had guards patrolling the parking lot, where they might have seen Holmes suiting up in head-to-toe body armor in his car. The lawsuit says theater employees failed to check doors, lacked closed-circuit television cameras that would have allowed them to spot trouble and did not intervene as victims lay wounded and dying in the aisles.

Theaters across the country had extra security for the July 20, 2012, premiere, and the Century 16 theater in Aurora typically had guards Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, said New York attorney Marc Bern, who is representing 27 of the families. The premiere fell on a Thursday.

"We believe if these precautions had been in place, the shooting would have been deterred and prevented," he said.

Will we see the proliferation of armed security in businesses across the nation if the theater is held liable?

Would unarmed security have been effective, or would guards have been at too much risk by being unarmed?

Could armed security have prevented this tragedy?

Any other comments?


May 9, 2016

How would you react if.... you saw men with guns.....?

I'm formulating ideas for an article on Long Gun Open Carry, but I wanted to start a discussion on another topic.

Here's the scenario...

You are in a small city of about 10 to 20 thousand people.

The type of city with a small, funky downtown area of bars and pizza places, the 'real stores' being out on the 'strip' near the highway.

Colleges, college students, transients, artists and other assorted characters out whenever the weather is warm.

So you notice a group of mostly middle age men, walking around a certain block or two of the city.

They are not usually there, they do not enter stores, they do not seem to have a typical 'Main Street' purpose.

So you stop in to the deli you often go to, and overhear a conversation.

"Oh those guys, yeah, they are volunteering in front of the recruiting station since last week's attacks on the military base."

"Cops? No they are not cops. Ex-cops, maybe. Ex-military.... civilians.... just helping out..."

You go back out, and head for your car. Now you notice the hip-level bulges of concealed handguns (not rifles), that they occasionally speak on radios, and are, in fact, mostly in front of the recruiting station.

As you get in your car (or onto the bus) you see a soldier shaking hands with one of the men and wave at the others.

What, at that moment, and in the coming days, do you do?

(Please do not ask me to identify the location in the story.)

May 7, 2016

Amazing Website: Forgotten New York - Infrastructure of a Lost Metropolis

This is an amazing website, I have been visiting this site since just after it's debut. I have always enjoyed urban exploration, mostly in New York (my home town.)

Forgotten New York is a website created by Kevin Walsh in 1999, chronicling the unnoticed and unchronicled aspects of New York City such as painted building ads, decades-old castiron lampposts, 18th-century houses, abandoned subway stations, trolley track remnants, out-of-the-way neighborhoods, and flashes of nature hidden in the midst of the big city.

In 2003, HarperCollins approached Walsh with the idea of turning the website into a book; Forgotten New York was published in September 2006.

Walsh released Forgotten Queens, a collaboration with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, in December 2013 on Arcadia Books and is currently working on a Forgotten NY e-book and plans a Forgotten NY app. He is also currently working on other projects within the site as well, such as a Forgotten Boston website.

On March 2, 2015, The Guides Association of New York City awarded Forgotten New York its first Outstanding New York Website award.

There are many sections, including a series of links to urban exploration websites around the nation and the world. The main pages do not look like much, but if you open the articles, you can spend almost an endless amount of time reading the articles and admiring the detail work the author does.

Main site - http://forgotten-ny.com/

Subways (my favorite) - http://forgotten-ny.com/category/subways-trains/

Neighborhoods - http://forgotten-ny.com/category/neighborhoods/

May 6, 2016

An Abandoned Pennsylvania Town Has Been On Fire For 53 Years

The fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada reminded me of a part of American history that anyone with a concern for the environment should be aware of. When will we learn?

Centralia is a borough and a near-ghost town in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States. Its population has dwindled from over 1,000 residents in 1981 to 10 in 2010 as a result of the coal mine fire that has been burning beneath the borough since 1962.

All real estate in the borough were claimed under eminent domain and therein condemned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1992 and Centralia's ZIP code was discontinued by the Postal Service in 2002. State and local officials reached an agreement with the remaining residents on October 29, 2013, allowing them to live out their lives there, after which the rights of their houses will be taken through eminent domain.

Please note:

For anyone with a doubt that Centralia is still on fire to this day, last fall I took a photographer to take photos of environmental damage in Pennsylvania as part of the anti-pipeline campaign in New York. Yes, the ground is still on fire.

There are many more articles on this topic, it's something we should all know about.





May 6, 2016

Southern Tier Hot Spot For Meth Labs (New York)

For those of you who insist the world is a safe place, that self defense handguns are unnecessary, or that people who carry for self defense are being paranoid.

The following takes place in Broome County (neighboring my county) and Tioga County (one county west of that.)

Whose to say I will never encounter a crew cooking meth? I already stumbled upon an unoccupied meth lab a few years back.

In the last ten years, there have been more than 300 methamphetamine labs uncovered in New York State. Almost a quarter of those in Broome and Tioga Counties. The latest drug bust was Thursday, on Hooper Road in the Town of Union. Three men were arrested after manufacturing the illegal drug. Officials say the Southern Tier is a hot spot for meth labs. And the most active area in New York State. "It just so happens that the first cookers that came in over the last decade happened to be associated with the Southern Tier and settled here, and what we find is when one person learns it, they teach between 5 and 10 other people, so that's why the Southern Tier is a hot bed of activity for meth labs," said Lt. Patrick Garey with the New York State Police. Police are also concerned with the number of weapons showing up in drug busts. They found 7 guns in Thursday's meth bust alone.


And please do not tell me 'you will never outgun a meth crew' - I would rather have the ability to fight back as opposed to letting them victimize myself, my wife and our children.

It was my dogs who first alerted me to the presence of something unusual - the place stank like urine. Bottles and jugs everywhere, the grass (in the summer) was brown, apparently they dump stuff all the time.


A house or other structure containing a meth lab usually has one or more of the following characteristics:

UNUSUAL ODORS – Making meth produces powerful odors that may smell like ammonia or ether. These odors have been compared to the smell of cat urine or rotten eggs.

COVERED WINDOWS – Meth makers often blacken or cover windows to prevent outsiders from seeing in.

STRANGE VENTILATION – Meth makers often employ unusual ventilation practices to rid themselves of toxic fumes produced by the meth-making process. They may open windows on cold days or at other seemingly inappropriate times, and they may set up fans, furnace blowers, and other unusual ventilation systems.

ELABORATE SECURITY – Meth makers often set up elaborate security measures, including, for example, "Keep Out" signs, guard dogs, video cameras, or baby monitors placed outside to warn of persons approaching the premises.

DEAD VEGETATION – Meth makers sometimes dump toxic substances in their yards, leaving burn pits, "dead spots" in the grass or vegetation, or other evidence of chemical dumping.

EXCESSIVE OR UNUSUAL TRASH – Meth makers produce large quantities of unusual waste.

May 5, 2016

Heard on NPR this morning (Watch out - left turn ahead for the GOP)

Now before you go and flame this post as RW propaganda, first, remember that is was reported on NPR via WSKG in Binghamton.

This is a warning as to what cards the Republicans have up their sleeves.

Second, bear in mind that Trump has, almost by definition as a non-politician (up until now) no foreign policy backstory to defend. He can paint himself any foreign policy color he wishes - at possible great expense to a hawkish Democratic candidate.

Finally - there is an entire new generation of voters who do not know some of the old names in American political commentary. A 20-something voter is NOT going to dismiss a soundbite heard on the radio as coming from a right-wing-nut if he/she has no idea who the person is.

Scenario: I was driving my younger son (age 20) to work this morning. We were engaged in conversation until a voice I have not heard from in quite a while came on the radio.

It was not Trump's voice.

"Why does the United States have to be up in Russia's face? We don't live there. Going forward into the next presidency, we should encourage the nations that do 'live there' to take the lead in their own defense. We should mind our interests and our treaty obligations and provide support to free nations, not be the world's policeman."

Quoted from memory as best I can remember - it was about an hour ago that I heard this.

The commentator was Pat Buchanan.

My son has no idea who Pat Buchanan is. He asked me 'Dad, I guess that guy does not like war?'

May 4, 2016

Open Carry America (Part Three) License Recognition, Reciprocity and Non-Resident Licences

Open Carry America (Part Three) License Recognition, Reciprocity and Non-Resident Licences

By CompanyFirstSergeant

Let's say that you are a licensed handgun owner, interested in taking a trip to several other states.

You check with the states you intend to travel to, and they do not accept your home state's license. What you decide to do, is to obtain a license from another state, which happens to be accepted in the states you intend to visit.

Using this scenario, we will define the terms recognition, reciprocity and non-resident license.

Let's Use Utah as an Example...

After attending a class (which is given in multiple locations in nearly all states) and sending in the required documentation, a law abiding gun owner interested in interstate armed travel, may apply for a Utah Concealed Firearms Permit.

There are a number of other states that will issue non-resident licenses, some in person, and some by mail. Let's use only Utah as an example for now. Utah's permit is considered by many to be the most versatile, and less expensive than many others.


In the map below, we see seventeen states that will honor the Utah permit, and the same seventeen states (dark shading) issue licenses/permits that by mutual agreement, are recognized in Utah. This is known as reciprocity.

A licensed resident of Utah will be able to carry a firearm in these states and residents of these states will be able to carry in Utah.

What the map does not show us, however, is that some of the states, even in this category, will not recognize a Utah non-resident permit, only a resident permit. For example, Colorado only recognizes resident permits from certain states, not non-resident.

How do you, as a holder of a Utah non-resident permit know if any particular state will recognize your right to carry there?

You have to check with that state and find out.


As you also see on the map (in gray shading) there are also nineteen states that recognize the Utah permit to carry, without Utah necessarily recognizing theirs. This is known as recognition.

The main difference between reciprocity and recognition is that reciprocity is usually a formal agreement between states, recognition is a unilateral policy.

Formal reciprocity agreements are often on file, and available online, recognition is often simply a list of recognized states on a state's website. Some states, such as Georgia, simply announce that they honor a license from any other jurisdiction.

Non-Resident Licensing

Non-resident licenses from New Hampshire, Virginia, Utah and Florida are the typical states that many interstate travelers use to cover themselves in a trip that includes many other American states. Pennsylvania does issue a very versatile license, but one must travel to Pennsylvania to get one.

A non-resident license from the state you are in at the moment is by far the best document to have on one's person if traveling away from home with a handgun. It has the state's name and logo on it, and is one small, definitive item to show to a police officer if necessary.

Showing a police officer a reciprocity agreement with another state, or a screen shot from the officer's state bureau of whatever, can be a cumbersome task, especially if the interaction is away from where you keep your documentation, such as back at your hotel room or car.

Open Carry Option

There are quite a number of states in which no license at all is required to carry a handgun openly. If a traveler does not wish to obtain the proper licenses, this may be an option. Be sure to check very carefully which states offer this option, and remember that concealing the handgun in these states is an illegal act without a license. A good place to start is opencarry.org for more information.

Some states with open carry do not allow unlicensed open carry throughout, for example, Pennsylvania requires a license to carry (LTC) to open carry in the city of Philadelphia.

Constitutional Carry

A small but growing number of states afford this level of freedom, in which no license at all is required for open or conceal carry. Vermont is the original Constitutional Carry state.

Link to Part Two: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172191775

Link to Part One: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172191586

PLEASE NOTE: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, anything contained herein is subject to change, and no individual should attempt any travel with a firearm based on the above information. This information is the result of years of research by a non-lawyer.

May 4, 2016

Open Carry America (Part Two) Interstate Travel as an Armed Civilian

Open Carry America (Part Two) Interstate Travel as an Armed Civilian

by CompanyFirstSergeant

National Parks

Although the Unites States (Federal) Government is the most powerful organization in human history, the amount of acreage east of the Mississippi River that it actually owns and has jurisdiction over is relatively small.

Out west, most of the land is either national forest or national park land. National forest land has traditionally deferred to state/local law for the regulation of firearms, not so for national parks.

Oddly, as part of credit card reform legislation, in 2009 an amendment was tacked-on to a bill that deferred to state and local law as a guide to whether or not civilians can carry firearms in national parks.


Since 2009, national parks have become predominately pro-carry locales, the main exceptions being the interiors of federally owned buildings such as welcome centers and maintenance buildings. These are still off-limits to carry.

Crossing State Lines

Prior to the legislation described above, one of the most significant pro-carry milestones on the federal level was the legal protection given to the act of crossing a state line with a firearm.


The Firearm's Owners Protection Act of 1986 enabled a civilian, who is otherwise following the law, to cross state lines with a firearm secured in a non-accessible location in their vehicle (unless they have a carry license for both of the two adjoining states).

Under this law, the civilian is permitted to leave a state in which the firearm is legal, and enter a state in which the firearm is illegal, if the intent of their journey is to eventually arrive in a final jurisdiction in which possession of the firearm is again legal. Any stops and deviations from a direct route should be kept at an absolute minimum, and the final destination can not be within the 'illegal' state.

State Laws

The vast majority of laws that United States citizens obey on a daily basis are state and local laws, not federal, and except for post offices, secure areas of airports and federal offices, firearms laws are no different.

This nation is a patchwork of laws, and an armed civilian traveling from state to state will need to know a textbook size volume of information, but it is possible. Let's look at different categories of states:

1. Constitutional Carry: this is a small but growing list of states in which it is legal to carry a loaded handgun, by a legally eligible individual, for lawful purposes, in lawful locations, without a license for either open or concealed carry.

2. Open Carry Right/Concealed Carry Privilege: This, combined with the category below, still describes the majority of states in the nation. Open carry is available without a license, concealed carry requires a license. Some states may consider travel in a vehicle as concealed carry.

3. Licensed Open/Concealed Carry: A license is required for either open or concealed carry. Some states may be a combination of this and #2 above, depending where in the state you are located.

4. Concealed Carry Only:
There are a small number of states in which open carry is either unlawful, or so contrary to the local culture, that police involvement would be inevitable, regardless of legality.

5. Non-Carry: A small handful of jurisdictions still do not issue licensed for self defense at all, such as New York City, New Jersey, District of Columbia and many cities in California.

Up next: state to state license recognition, reciprocity and non-resident licensing.

Link to Part Three: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172191778

PLEASE NOTE: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, anything contained herein is subject to change, and no individual should attempt any travel with a firearm based on the above information. This information is the result of years of research by a non-legal-professional.

May 3, 2016

'Pivot to the General:' Heard on the News This Morning

I am writing this from memory, I listen to NPR in Albany (WAMC) on my way to work or to run errands on my days off.

Points made this morning:

- Hillary (that's how they refer to her) conceded the primary to Obama ('08) even though the popular vote seemed to be in her favor.

- Bernie (that's how they refer to him) stands a chance at damaging the party if he goes to the convention.

- Hillary is in GE mode. She is way ahead of the Republicans in campaign momentum, because...

- Trump is still in primary mode

- However, Trump is a 'formidable' GE candidate (their words)

- Trump gets a disproportionate amount of media coverage, even negative coverage is still coverage

- The media likes Clinton, but she is not a headline grabber like Trump, and it is more difficult to 'sell newspapers' with her

- The Republican establishment does not like Trump, and that is what makes him attractive to his voters

- Recent polls are showing a very tight race (Clinton/Trump), switching back and forth between which candidates are leading - and all the polls are in the single digits.

- Bernie would still do better than Clinton in the GE

Now mind you, this is from memory, the show is still on now.

EDIT: Even the most liberal reporter (on a very liberal station) does not believe Trump would build a wall or deport that many people.

May you live in interesting times.

Profile Information

Member since: Thu Mar 3, 2016, 06:20 PM
Number of posts: 1,558

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»CompanyFirstSergeant's Journal