I live in the northwest quadrant of the state of Indiana. Traversing the entire area is a major interstate highway, Interstate 65. Essentially it runs on more or less a somewhat straight diagonal line southeast of the Chicago area down to Indianapolis. As such its four lanes have become a major commercial and personal transportation artery; both for those in each major city as well as those who live beside it.
Being old enough to know what life was like prior to its construction, I can also testify to the fact this thoroughfare has probably contributed more to the impoverishment of local communities and their school systems than any number of Walmarts or other big box discount retail establishments. A number of local community leaders would take exception to that statement and cite chapter and verse on the businesses created that cater to the conveniences offered by the proximity of this four lane road of commerce and the number of interstate trucking firms would seem to support these contentions, but I feel otherwise.
There are few high paying, good benefit 'positions' in the area and of those that are they are often filled with high end job consumers who use that same interstate to commute in and out of our area. This directly affects our local school system as well as things like civic affairs and even the attendance at our local churches.
Most of the 'educated' families live in the major urban centers that dot this arterial freeway because the wives and mothers refuse to live in the small towns out in the hinterlands. They turn their noses up at our schools, don't want to drive far to do their shopping and generally complain about the lack of sophisticated entertainment in the local area. (We are all rubes you know and low class uneducated stumble bums. Such women rub my ass raw.)
(If you denote a tone of sour grapes on my behalf, then you understand why I generally oppose economic development bond issues in small rural communities. These initiatives do bring growth, but its low economic, poorly educated growth and I'm often left wondering what good is this after you consider the damage done to the social welfare system, the upheaval in the schools and lack of tax revenue to the schools and the counties because of politicians who will give away the family jewels just to say they brought 'jobs' into the community?)
All these initiatives do is create bad kool-aid. Companies move into the area and offer jobs, but the jobs are mostly low-wage, minimum benefits jobs with little substantial training or expertise required. The kind of employment that attracts what can charitably be classified as low-paid, poorly educated, multi-ethic gypsies. They most often move on when they find something that pays marginally better. The result is schools are often in turmoil because of the children's unsettled family life. It's hard for these folks to justify the better homes for sale in our community and as a result real estate values suffer.
But for every curse there is a karma and we've been witnessing it during the past few weeks as the traffic on I-65 is simply excessive for the capacity of two lanes running north and two lanes running south even during 'normal' conditions. Add in extreme weather conditions on terrain that this winter more closely resembles something out of the Artic and that high speed thoroughfare connecting two of the Midwest's major urban centers becomes a linear parking lot; often populated with bent metal, multiple injuries and more than a few deaths.
It's all because of motoring nincompoops who don't have a clue what black ice can do. These morons will continue driving 5 mph OVER the posted speed limit of 70 mph without a clue that at any moment the rear end of their vehicle is going to try and pass the front end.....or my fear; take out the vehicle driving at the same speed or slightly faster beside them.
Last Saturday near Lafayette, Indiana at mile marker 175, a passenger car spun out, the car following slowed down as did the tractor-trailer behind the 2nd car. Unfortunately, six tractor-trailers behind the first mentioned tractor-trailer DID NOT. The result was a pile-up, a fire and devastation so vast the interstate was shut down for 13 hours! That's right 13 hours! I was told the State Police went to the truckers parked behind the carnage in the traffic lanes and told them to climb into their bunks and get some sleep because it was going to be awhile before they were moving again.
This morning as I went over to get my usual cup of coffee at Mickey D's the south bound lane was packed solid and nothing was moving for miles in either direction of the overpass I crossed over. Again, someone spun out and took someone with them. My wife said the local emergency guys (who often get little sleep during these conditions for days on end) posted on the book of face there was a fatality involved.
In weather conditions like we've been experiencing I've stopped driving the Interstate highway systems. There are just too many imbeciles with operator's permits. I've reverted to driving the back roads and state highway systems that we used when I was a kid. Yes, it is slow, but in these conditions slow and steady wins the race if not keeps the body and soul together.
As for I-65, after witnessing and hearing about all the accidents in recent days (many of which are extremely serious) I am convinced that the "I" in I-65 NOW stands for "IDIOT-65" and not Interstate...
All The Best,
Frank W. James
After I left the SIG thing I drove out to the Desert Sportsman's Rifle and Pistol Club for the 'Military' weapons demos. Most of the 'demos' were pretty standard stuff; belt-fed 50's behind an armored shield and mount, M-60's, MAG-58's and so on. HK did have their new HK121 belt-fed on display with 10 round belts, but that's not a test of a belt-fed, in my opinion.
There were several different silencer manufacturers on the line and LMT had their 40mm grenade launcher out there as well which I got to shoot. (Yes, it's a hoot! And unlike the old Vietnam era M79 it doesn't 'thump' you with its recoil. Neat.)
I have no photos to offer because cameras were verboten! Emphatically.
Colt had a system set up they called a "technology demonstrator" that operated like something out of a futuristic war movie or the most far out Tom Clancy movie anyone has ever thought of. It involved two rifles (one equipped with a 40mm grenade launcher); a small quad-propeller electric drone, an I-phone on the main rifle and a command and control center.
Essentially, about an half-pound of equipment was added to the rifle with the grenade launcher that enabled it to send a visual image with what the shooter was seeing through the Leupold scope, receive a visual image from what the drone was seeing overhead and all this visual information (and more) was displayed on the 3 computer/video screens in the command and control center.
But the vital information was the fact the computer in the system enabled the shooter to automatically make the necessary corrections about wind velocity, elevation, humidity, and other factors that influence the flight of the 40mm grenade after launch. The targeting was accomplished by the GPS co-ordinates supplied by the small quad-propeller drone that had been carried into action in a backpack by a soldier in the team. Additionally, the command and control center was able to identify the target and then give the command in "real time" to engage or disengage the illustrated target. After the "Send It" command was given the drone enables the C&C, as well as a platoon leader some distance away to watch the impact. If minute corrections are needed the operator makes them in the I-phone attached to his rifle!
I watched this system work on a visible target just in front of a target berm, but what was even more impressive was its performance on a target in 'defilade' behind the impact berm. With the drone overhead and because it is so small and so high it can be virtually invisible to the naked eye, it is able to send a picture and with GPS technology it is also able to send a co-ordinate locating the hidden threat for a first round hit by the shooter who can't see the target, except through this entire system. The platoon leader has a viewer that isn't any larger than an I-phone and he can watch the action and stay apprised of the situation even if he is some 'klicks' away.
This demonstration was a clear example why American troops are always 'upping' their game and American industry remains among the forefront. I asked how quickly the system could be deployed and in action by a small squad of soldiers out on foot patrol out in the boonies and the answer was "...in less than a minute!"
Pretty neat demo and I wish I could taken pictures but I was told more than once to put my camera away as I walked around with it hanging over my neck. Still, it was a neat demo and I thought I'd share what I witnessed...
All The Best,
Frank W. James
POSTSCRIPT: UNDER THE TITLE "WHAT SENSE DOES THAT MAKE?" I discovered today that the system I wasn't allowed to photograph yesterday is now on display today at the Colt booth. Its called "SWORD" which stands for "Sniper Weapon & Observer Reconnaissance Devices".
And it wasn't the Media Day at the Range event, but one that was invitation only from SIG SAUER.
I got to work a little with the new MP-X Sig submachine gun. I know a lot of folks who think that pistol caliber subguns are obsolete, but don't count me among their number when they are fed modern self-defense ammo. Sig is also in that market having purchased an ammunition plant in Kentucky.
I LIKE the new MP-X as I feel it has a number of innovative and interesting features. As for Sig having a separate event away from the massive Media Day thing and making it invitation only, I applaud it. I couldn't have had the range time with this firearm I got at the Sig event if it had been held at the Media Day giant......nor would I have been able to get these photos. I know I was there for a couple of hours, but it's too big and too massive to cover so I headed to the invitation only Sig event and I'm glad I did....
All The Best,
Frank W. James
I've hunted red fox, coyotes or more correctly coy-dogs since I was a teenager and to say I'm an 'old hand' at it around here in this part of Indiana would probably be one of the few actual facts about me.
One of the things I've learned about what is called a coyote in this neck of the woods is they are capable of doing 35 mph for about 2 miles, solid and continuously, and then they will slow to between 20 and 25 mph. It usually takes about 5 miles of this kind of running before they start to tire and when they get tired.......they get stupid!
I mean I've seen 'em do some really dumb things; like one time we chased a coyote into a guy's backyard dog house. The coyote must have thought he was hidden. Well, he was, but we saw him run into the dog house while house's normal occupant stood at the back door of his owner's house, barked at us and wondered what the hell was going on? When we all drove up the farmer came to the back door and asked what was wrong? We said he had a coyote in his doghouse and he denied it. We asked then if it wasn't there if it would be okay to look and kill whatever was IN THERE. He said sure and we lined up as one guy walked up with a stick and poked him out. It was kinda of a firing squad sort of thing that followed. He didn't make 10 yards before four 12 gauge shotguns loaded with #4 buckshot cut him down.
OK, so this morning the dog and I go over to the Mickey D's on the interstate to get my morning coffee. I don't stay. I just go in and get a 'senior' coffee, come back out and the dog and I usually take the long way home or go do errands.
Well, we're driving past the west place (which is just 3/8ths of a mile from the interstate) when I see a coyote coming north out of my south field. He crosses the state highway behind me, so at the corner of my farm I turn left and go north.
What I've learned to do is "Parallel" them and keep a visual on them. You don't need to do anything more because for the first few miles you want them to become aware of your vehicle. So, he goes to just over half way through that section and then he stops. I stop because by now I'm on the north road, a mile north of the state highway, and I watch him through the binoculars.
He looks at me and I look at him from over 3/8ths of a mile away. He's figured out I'm not a good thing. He starts to go east and when I turn around he doubles back and heads toward the northwest. This means I have to go to the next neighbor to turn around to head back north and west because of the snowy roads.
After I turn around, he turns to the northeast and at one point he stopped not more than a 100 yards from me as we stared at each other. Of course, the little dachshund standing on the console next to me is having a fit; what with whining, growling and generally having a hissy fit because he can clearly see the 'yote.
I get the folding stock M-1 Carbine from behind the seat, unfold the stock and start to take aim and this is where the coyote made the first, correct 'chess' move. He started going straight east which meant from my position he was going against the angle for me in the driver's seat and aiming out the driver's window.
I fired twice, but each time I was behind the power curve and behind the coyote. He scored the first points and crossed the road BEHIND me, which is never what you want when you're doing this sort of thing.
I back up like a damn fool. One of the few times I believe in speed when doing these things and I can see he is once again headed toward the center of the next square mile. I decide to circle that square mile clockwise which means I have to look out my right side window from the driver's seat which is not something I like to do because what with dirty windows, the door frame, the window post and the right side outside mirror together with the natural 'folds' of the terrain, fence rows and what have you it is pretty easy to lose the 'visual' and then you are literally lost and the coyote gets away.
However, if the coyote is the driver's right and he is headed to the driver's left, then the shot can be made after the coyote crosses the road just in front of the moving vehicle and it is an easy straight away shot. Yes, you are aiming at his butt, but there is NO right or left lead, and there is hardly ever any ducking or weaving on the coyote's part. His is a straight "Let's get out of Dodge" run.
An important point in all this is your vehicle speed. When I was young I drove like a bat out of hell and I always OVER-DROVE the target. That meant I beat the coyote to the targeted crossing and they usually crossed BEHIND me and by the time I got turned around they were gone......as in forever.
Today I motored around between 35 and 40 mph while stopping every so often to glass the center of the targeted square mile. NOTHING. I figured he had outsmarted me and he was gone, but I continued at my pace of 35 to 40 mph figuring that would be his speed if he was still moving and I was sure to intercept him if he was still on the move.
Sure enough, I spotted ahead of me and he had gained quite of bit ground on me crossing into the next square mile to the east, but the important point is he was AHEAD of me now and I had regained the 'visual', so the game was in my ballpark. I had the home field advantage (figuratively speaking of course). Now the thing was to 'worry' him simply with the presence of my vehicle and you do that by stopping when he stops and moving at the pace and in the same direction as he does when he moves. We did this dance for a few minutes and in the process we continuously got closer to each other.
Now, the next part is a little hard to describe because it has become almost intuitive. You want the coyote to believe he has the advantage and he can outrun you. So, you don't go too fast......just fast enough to keep up. Bearing in mind the goal is have him cross the road just in front of your vehicle and you have to be going slow enough to stop rather quickly on icy, hard packed snowy roads. Once you stop, the shot from that point is rather elementary. He's running straight away and its front sight, trigger press before he gets too far out for the gun in question which in this case was about 75 yards with the Universal receiver folding stock M-1 Carbine.
He kept getting closer and he kept picking up speed. I kept him just in front of the right front door post because now we are on two intersecting tangents. I suppose I was trying to maintain approximately a 60 degree to 70 degree angle to my forward direction in terms of my observation and postioning relative to his position.
Throughout this maneuver the little dachshund is going bananas. He sees the coyote and he's bouncing, literally, all over the seat and inside the cab, growling and whining.
It looked like my plan was going to work perfectly, but as the coyote approached the road we were also approaching a house and buildings at the corner of the square mile. At the last moment, the coyote turned right and ran through the homestead and a stand of evergreen trees headed straight for the intersecting cross-road.
I floored the truck, looked for cross traffic and turned right, expecting at any moment to see the coyote burst in front of me as he crossed this road. Just as I cleared the house on the corner he came out of the evergreen trees they had for a windbreak and reached the blacktop road in front of this house.
Then he did something I never expected. He turned right and ran straight down the middle of the road going away from me.
I turned to the little dog and said, "This is just TOO EASY." We picked our speed up to 52 mph and soon we were rewarded with a series of hard bumps as the coyote disappeared under the front of my Ford F-150.
I couldn't see him in the mirrors after we passed over him so we went to the next house and turned around and sure enough there laying on the side of the road was one deceased coyote. I let the little dachshund out and he tore into him as if he had killed him all by himself. In fact I had a hard time pulling the little dog off the dead coyote.
But the little guy is convinced HE KILLED the coyote and I've had a barrel of fun all this afternoon asking him if he is a coyote killer. He replies by barking and almost howling. It's hysterical I honestly think he believes he killed the coyote.
As for me, I was pleased I was able to get him by myself as in years past it usually has taken multiple vehicles and a number of shooters, but even idiots like me can learn a thing or two over the years and I feel vindicated with my methods and beliefs on how to work these things.
I would have put the little dog in the picture but I couldn't stop him from chewing on this beast, so all you get is a shot of my carbine....All The Best,Frank W. James
Well, we're still here and everyone (including the doxie dog) is suffering cabin fever. BUT, it looks like we're going to have to endure it for awhile longer because my wife is getting reports on the book of face that several local residents have received $500 traffic tickets for getting out and driving on those roads that have been opened.
I was planning on busting out this afternoon, but I don't need a $500 aggravation. Indiana presently has 29 counties under Emergency orders and they are threatening all but emergency personnel and farmers with livestock in distress with these tickets. I guess regular work is no excuse.
I got out and found the snow-thrower stored in the barn wouldn't start. I didn't think it would, but I had to try. It never fired once on the 110 volt starter, but the starter kept kicking out so I guess it's too damn cold for it to run. (Still it could be bad fuel because I can't remember when I ran the dman thing last.) Maybe later on one of the tenants will help me by putting it in a heated shop to where we can figure out what's wrong with it.
I got the impacted snow shoveled away from the two doors that were blown shut, so now we can get out all four doors to the house, but unless this place is on fire I'm not sure why anyone would want to go outside. I was out for about 45 minutes and the cold just flat penetrated my clothing to the point I had to warm my clothes up as much as myself when I came back in.
Side note: I found a lot of dead birds laying around on the ground outside the out buildings; sparrows and starlings. So obviously it was cold enough that even they couldn't cope with this cold.
That just shows how cold it really is outside.
All The Best,
Frank W. James
This is looking straight to the south past the reloading building we call the 'studio'. It's also where the 2 outside cats reside, who I have not seen in 2 days now because I can't get out. This building has heat, not much (I've got the thermostat set at 45 degrees), but what it does have they APPRECIATE very much.
This is looking straight to the North.
And of course, this is my shooting range. I don't think I'm going to be testing any guns today....or this week! Current temperature is a Minus 15 below Zero. The weatherbug app on my phone says with the 29 mph wind gusts that the wind chill feel like Minus 39 degrees!!!! I've always told my friends on both coasts that we are the North American equivalent of the Russian Steppes. In fact it's probably warmer in Siberia than it is here today.
But boy I feel bad for my cousins they have livestock to care for in this weather. Cattle outside and Hogs in confinement buildings where water lines freeze and other problems caused by these temps. Additionally few homes, even the new ones, are insulated for these sub-zero temps. We've got all our faucets dripping to keep the water lines from freezing inside the walls. That's the LAST thing we need right now......NO, the last thing we need is for the power to go out!
Hopefully by tomorrow the wind will die down and I try and start the snow thrower I've got stored out in the barn. Right now out of the 4 entry and exit doors to the house 2 of 'em have 3 feet of snow packed against them.
All The Best,
Frank W. James
Postscript: Just 15 minutes After I posted this, THE POWER DID GO OUT!!! Front room is already down to 48 degrees. I've drained all the faucets and saved about 2 gallons of water to flush toilets, but it's going to be grim if this goes on much longer.
Post-Postscript: The power is back ON but the west side of the house is now cold and the furnace can't catch up. Such fun....
In having coffee the other day with a retired cop of long service, he mentioned during the conversation he always hated the "Suicide Season", meaning of course the period between Thanksgiving and mid-January when most people decide to do away with themselves and then he went into a couple of the more graphic examples from his experience.
The irony is this is supposed to be a season of joy and warmth. Whether you are a believer in Jesus Christ, some other faith or an agnostic, the season is SUPPOSED to be a good one, but all I can say from person experience it's a tough one to negotiate.
Quite simply, when you are a bereaved parent it is a no win situation no matter how we shape or endure it.
Yes, I am one who believes that Jesus Christ was my savior. He was born of a virgin birth and he died on the cross for my sins and he arose into Heaven. I also believe the Holy Bible is the word of God. (And NO, you can't prove the concept of faith through science, so I don't go there. That's why it called 'FAITH'!) I also believe there are codes or hidden messages in the scriptures that will only be revealed to the believers when the 7th seal is broken on judgement day and until then it is beyond human comprehension to understand either all of 'The Word' or 'The Will of God' and to claim you can borders on sheer idiocy, if not a supreme example of human arrogance.
I try to be a student of the scriptures, but for the past few years I've been a terrible backslider. I say all this because of the current controversy over the characters at DUCK DYNASTY (a program I've never been able to endure for more than ten minutes btw) and how it has become a social crime to offend someone by stating your personal beliefs; whether they are politically incorrect, obnoxious, crude, extremely religious or just plain stupid.
The world through use of social media and the internet scrutinizes things to the N'th degree when in years past, little thought would have been given to such items. The very concept of speaking your mind is now completely unacceptable.
Everyone has an agenda and politically the new media has created more chasms than it has bridges.
As for the Duck Dynasty clan, I will start to believe they are the geniune article if they walk away from the 'suits' at the present network and move to another, but my cynicism is such that I believe this is all a ratings ploy by a group of money grubbing, greedy non-believers to sucker punch their viewers and get an even bigger audience next season.
As for the isssue of homosexuals; I think the Christian Fundamentalists (which I probably would fall into the fringe area) are missing or at best obscuring the main point of Christianity and that is simply LOVE for your fellow man. The caring, nurturing concern for others, unselfish kind of LOVE.
I also believe that a wide, wide, wide number of Christians have skipped over the passages in the Scriptures about GOSSIP and how God views it as bad as cold blooded murder. Many believe that sin is on a graduated scale somewhat like our ciminal laws or criminal justice system, but if you study these things outside of Blasphemy and Gossip, sin is pretty much sin, so the sin of homosexuality is no worse than pornography. That calls into the question the whole 'people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones' scenario.
I know in our family we've had cousins who came out of the closet and my response was (as we were raised to behave) they were still a large part of our family and we loved them because we knew who they were. They were each of us in some way and they were always accepted as family and NEVER ostracized, but then we've always had a tendency to stick together through thick and thin no matter how much we may have disagreed because WE WERE STILL FAMILY!
If I were perfect maybe I could have done something different, but I'm not and all I'm trying to accomplish for the next few days is get through this period of time where memories are wonderful and powerful, but the physical absence of someone I cherish and love so much is every bit as painful and empty...
All The Best,
Frank W. James
Personally, I think Senator Tom Coburn has the right idea and the NFL should have to pay taxes. I mean afterall they aren't really a church.....although I suppose a strong argument that in many areas their local franchise has better attendence than most of the local congregations.
However, I still don't believe that professional football is a legitimate religion; especially so after they refused to accept Daniel Defense's advertisement request for the Super Bowl.
Therefore, I think those of us on the 2nd Amendment side of things should argue and petition our Congressional representatives to get behind Coburn's idea and make 'em pay taxes just like the rest of us. I mean after all they're only making 7 Billion dollars a year, it's not like they can't afford it....
All The Best,
Frank W. James