Sunday, September 30, 2012

No Easy Day - by Mark Owen

A few weeks ago, I happened to be listening to talk radio, and heard of the book, No Easy Day, by Mark Owen.  The talking heads on the radio spoke about the controversy it stirred up at the Pentagon.  Any book audacious enough to provide a firsthand account of Operation Neptune Spear, the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, was sure to piss off some people in the government. 

When it was announced, President Obama gave a pretty decent speech about the heroic efforts of Seal Team 6 (which he did not identify at the time), as they raided bin Laden's compound and blew him away, delivering some good ole American justice to the bastard who orchestrated the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01 and perpetuated a decade-long war by sending young impressionable men and boys to die while he hid himself like the coward he was.  Of course, there was a lot of speculation as to how the mission actually went down, and despite the official report from the White House regarding the incident, I was left wanting more information.  Of course, details of the mission were classified, and I can respect that.  We are, after all, still caught up in this war, and should respect the men and women who continue to put their lives on the line in defiance of terrorism.  One thing I took from the White House's official report was that bin Laden seemed to go down fighting, which is what I would have expected from the leader of a terrorist organization.  Other details were left out, however, and CNN, MSNBC, FOX, etc took a lot of poetic license and speculated about the details of the mission ad nauseam.  I quickly tired of these so-called "accounts" of what really happened.

So, while still listening to the radio, I got on my phone, and hit up Amazon for my copy of the book, No Easy Day and waited patiently for it to arrive.  At the time, it seemed as though the Pentagon was going to file a lawsuit against Owen (btw, Mark Owen is the author's pen name. The military leaked his real name, but out of respect for Owen, I will not put his real name here).  The Pentagon claimed that he violated Opsec measures of having the book reviewed prior to publishing.  They claimed they did not want any classified information leaked out.  However, the author, and co-author of the book also claimed that they made sure the book was fully vetted to ensure not only accuracy of the events that really occurred, but to ensure that no classified information was leaked out.  Truth be told, more classified information was released by the White House Staff and Pentagon officials than was ever told in the book.  Owen states in his own words, "All of the material contained within this book is derived from unclassified publications and sources..."

In reading the book, I discovered more of a personal acczount of Owen's life as a Navy SEAL to be as compelling, if not more so, than the mission itself.  Owen describes the process of becoming a member of SEAL Team 6 and the life that these heroes lead in a fast paced way that doesn't let up one bit.  The pages practically turned themselves as I yearned to learn more.

The second half of the book is dedicated to the planning, training, and completion of the mission, as well as some of the things that happened afterwards.  Many of the details provide a fascinating story about, not only Owen, but the rest of the men who were part of the mission.  I could not help but be in awe over the consummate professionalism of these men as they spent their lives training, fighting, and building their experience to the point where they were selected to be part of the most important mission in recent memory.  My respect for the men and women of these elite groups grew tremendously. 

Now, of course, there have been some haters that have tried to refute the account of the story that Owen tells, but I have zero respect for armchair quarterbacks who speculate about details that somebody who was there had only seconds to digest while engaging in a mission who's success hinged on quick decisions made under less than ideal circumstances.  While reading some of the articles written by these keyboard commandos, I was struck at just how much information they got wrong.  Some douchebag tried using a trigonometry argument to refute Owen's claim that the blackhawk that crash landed in the compound didn't crash the way author wrote because the rotors are too long and would have struck the dirt.  He argued that a 15 foot wall would have landed the blackhawk at such an angle that would have destroyed the craft, and killed everyone inside.  Well, he's right about one thing: a fifteen foot wall would have been too high - except that Owen wrote that it was a 12 foot wall, which negates the trig argument completely.  It's crap like this that simple people buy into that gives good people bad reputations.  Arguments built on lies and inconsistencies don't hold water, and I saw right through that argument from the get-go. 

Of course, the government isn't happy about the book.  Owen's recollection of events differs somewhat than what the White House declared.  Bin Laden died as a coward.  That's all I'll say about it.  The SEALS put a bullet in his head and delivered the coup de grace as they followed bin Laden into his bedroom.  He was unarmed and unwilling to fight.  Bastard!  Justice was served, however, and I'm glad the SEALS killed him there instead of taking him alive.  Imagine the dog and pony show it would have been to prosecute and sentence bin Laden!  The Pentagon wants to talk about their dirty lies being revealed and the security issues it presents to America.  Well, imagine if they'd allowed that scum bag to live!

The fact that Obama hasn't taken this by the horns is a clear indication that he wants to stay as far away from it as possible.  Of course, politicians love to take all the credit for work that other men do, and giving the go-ahead for the mission was one good thing Obama did, but even I could have told them to get after it.  C'mon!  If the Obama administration starts bitching about this book, it will only drive more copies to be sold and more and more people will know the truth about what really happened. 

Despite the controversy, I think this story needs to be told.  The American people need a refreshing firsthand account of history in the making, and this happened in our time.  9/11 happened in my time, and seeing the deathblow delivered to the man who arranged the whole thing provides a bit of closure for me.  As for the book itself, buy it - read it!

-James

Friday, September 28, 2012

Magpul MBUS GEN 2

I was bored with the BUIS (back-up iron sights) that came standard on my Ruger SR556.  Though they are some of the best in the industry, the user interface isn't as fast or stream-lined as I wanted.  I've been eyeballing these Magpul MBUS (Magpul Back-up Sights) sights for a long time, and decided to finally give in to my curiosity.  Aside from a couple of lemons, I've really only heard good things about these sights.  I like the way they look on modern firearms, and believe they compliment many weapon systems nicely.  For under $100, for the pair, you too can have a set of quality irons from a company known for excellent and high quality weapon accessories.  Magpul made a home run with these sights.  This entry will be picture heavy because there's just too much to talk about with a few pictures.  Here we go.


These sights are super easy to install.  The only tool needed is a flat blade screwdriver.  Leatherman Juice to the rescue!


Starting with the front, all you do to install these guys is pull the charging handle of your AR15 back and lock the bolt to the rear.  Leave the charging handle in the rear-most position.  Then you remove the cross bolt from the sight and slide the sight onto the picatinny rail.  The sight cannot be canted one way or the other because of this ingenious method of mounting it.  It is self centering as well.  Then just run the bolt through the hole and tighten it against the nut on the other side.  The above picture shows the sight stowed up front.  Note that I have not mounted the sight to the gas block.  The heat would melt it.


Deployed, the sight pops up lightening fast.  All you do is press down on the ambidextrous thumb tab on either side or you can karate chop the top pad.  The sight pops up in the blink of an eye.  These are fast.  Going back down is a snap too.  All you do is fold it.  No messing with lock bars or any of that crap.  The detents that hold the sight up and down are nice and stiff.


The front sight post is precise, and the inward curved ears help create the sight picture.  Note the spring down there in the hinge.  Easy access for cleaning.  If the material left over from molding bothers you, a few seconds with sand paper or a razor blade will smooth out the edges.


The rear sight is more of the same, but instead of the post, you get a ring.  Windage adjustments are made with the knob on the sight's right side.  I mounted mine back so it gives maximum sight radius without interfering with the charging handle.  As an aside, elevation adjustments are made with the front sight, either with the included tool, a bullet, or any other sight tool, like the one I have from Tapco.


Here's a close up of the rear aperture.  When totally battened down, the small aperture goes into the large aperture, giving you the long range setting.  You quickly flick the small aperture forward and out of the way to switch to the large aperture.  This way, the sights can be folded with either the small or large aperture at the ready, whichever you prefer or need.  As a note, if you leave the small aperture folded out, it will stick up a little when the sight is folded down. 


When installed, the sights are unobtrusive and give the weapon a clean and streamlined appearance.  They sit lower than the Troy BUIS that came with the weapon and they weigh less too.  The Magpul MBUS almost disappear when not needed.


When needed, the sights can be deployed faster than you can say "Holy shit," which very well could be what you'd say if your red dot took a crap when you needed it most.  In fact, when I showed my wife, she thought they were inter-connected at first because I timed it perfectly when I flicked them up at the same time.  Try doing that with other sights!


Since I installed the new sights, I verified they have been mechanically zeroed, and then set my red dot sight with them.  I think the windage was a little off anyway.  When deployed the Magpul MBUS sights cowitness in the lower 1/3 of the scope.

I will most likely paint the front post a bright color to contrast against the typical black and white targets I always seem to shoot at.  The contrast helps with my astigmatism, especially when shooting at longer ranges.  The local outdoor range only goes out to 25 yards, but that will be good enough for a home defense zero.  When I can find some time to get out to the desert, I can set them for my usual 50 yard zero.

Buy some of these!

-James

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Leatherman Juice S2

I'll start this entry off by saying I love my wife.  She is very thoughtful.  Last night, about midnight, I was laying in bed, and she laid a plastic package on my chest and said, "Happy birthday."  I picked up the package and, to my joy, I was staring at a brand new Leatherman tool.  I'm building up quite the collection.  This one is the Juice S2 model in a really cool shade of orange.

Now, my computer screen shows this just a bit larger than actual size, but your computer screen may vary.  Suffice it to say this thing is pretty small, yet not so small as to be a fragile little thing.  At 3.25" long (closed) and only 4 3/8 ounces on my scale (4.4 advertised), it is easy to slip into a jeans pocket and forget about until it is needed.  Leatherman advertises this tool as a pocket tool, so I guess they got it right.  The tool body is thoughtfully shaped to slip into the pocket easily and is radiused on all edges so it will not snag on anything.  Even the fasteners on the corners are rounded so as not to get caught up on anything.  When folded, this tool is nice and slippery.  However, once opened, the handle presents solid flat surfaces to grip.  I can get a positive grip on this thing.

Keeping with the looks and aesthetics of the tool, you can see in this picture that Leatherman Tool is cast into the pliers head, which is a high cost addition, but it adds a lot of class.  There's no mistaking what this tool is.  When you place this tool on the ground, the pretty orange handle itself does not touch the ground - the fasteners do.  Of course, you're going to scratch your Leatherman.  But having the fasteners take the brunt of the action will help the handles stay prettier longer.  Remember, the first scratch is the one that hurts.  Every thing thereafter builds character.  The handle scales are anodized aluminum and the rest of the body is highly polished stainless steel.  Leatherman calls this crazy orange color "Flame Orange."  They also offer "Storm Gray" for those of you who prefer something more subdued in your EDC.  For those who don't know, EDC is short for "Every Day Carry."

Alright, so what does your hard-earned money get you with this tool?  Oh, before I forget: Amazon shows this tool at $43.53 if you are on Amazon Prime.  My wife had this shipped to our house for free with no tax, so it truly was a pretty good deal.  Okay, back to tool selection. I'll rattle these off in the order that Leatherman shows them on their website.  In the pliers head, you get needle nose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutters, and hard wire cutters.  That's typical for just about any Leatherman Tool and is really the heart of it.  I find myself using the needle nose pliers, regular pliers, and wire cutters more than anything.  Next, in the handle, you get a 420HC knife, scissors, extra small flat screwdriver (known as a tweaker in the generator industry), small flat screwdriver, medium/larger flat screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, bottle opener, and a can opener.  Phew!  That's a mouthful!  I rarely use the knife provided on tools like this because I usually have a more suitable option on hand.  However, the thing I'm most often asked for is scissors.  I'm glad they included them on this tool.  They are good scissors too.  They are only surpassed by the excellent scissors on the Leatherman Wingman.  Of course, I always like having more than one size option for flat screwdrivers.  The smallest of them is especially useful for turning pots (potentiometers) on automatic transfer switch controls and generators.  And who can argue with a Phillips screwdriver?  This Thanksgiving, I'll probably be a hero in the house because it seems everyone buys Sparkling Cider, but forgets the bottle opener.  The other tools I use a lot less, but being as they are included as part of other tools, they are invisible until you need them.  I like that.  For those that find them useful, the Juice S2 features a lanyard ring.  I'm glad Leatherman does not list that as a tool.

Of course, the Juice S2 comes with Leatherman's 25 year warranty.  Should it need work, just send it back and they will fix it for you.  And you'll have to have them fix it because of the only gripe I have, which is the fasteners.  There's no way to adjust the tension of the tools yourself, nor can you remove them for detailed cleaning or repair.  But this tool won't be terribly hard used.  Occasionally, it will probably see some abuse because 9 out of 10 times, the only reason you're using this tool is because the appropriate tool is nowhere to be found.  That's where Leatherman tools thrive.  In the EDC role, this tool will shine.  It will provide me with plenty of tools to help me go throughout the day.  It will provide me with another utility knife to back up my other knife, and it will look good doing it.  It really does help round out my EDC package with it's good looks, versatility, and cleverness. 

There are more variations of the Juice, which you can see at Leatherman.com.  There are two new models that are thicker, and have 18 functions.  I don't find myself needing all the extra tools on those models, given the intended use.  If I want to saw off a tree limb, I'll break out my Super Tool 300 or the Wave.  If I ever find myself in situations like that, I normally have much larger, and more appropriate, options available.  For its intended use, the S2 is ideal.  I'll take the penalty of not having six other tools to save weight and thickness.  I have never used a cork screw on any multi-function pocket tool, so I did not want the C2.  It sacrifices a tool I use almost daily - the scissors.  I can't do that - not for EDC.

I will be beating the piss out of this thing for a long time.  In a few months, I will post an update to show just how well, or not, the tool is holding up.  Stay tuned.

-James

Sunday, September 16, 2012

CRKT M16-01 KZ

For you guys interested in something good looking, lightweight, durable, capable, and inexpensive, I have a knife for you to take a look at.  This is the CRKT M16-01 KZ.  CRKT calls this their Kit Carson M16 and the blade bears the designer's name proudly next to the model designation.  The M16 is a spear point folder designed with every day carry (EDC) in mind.  Columbia River created this blade with affordability and value in mind.  I think they have done a good job with this one.  It's a knife that I'm not afraid to thrash on.  I won't feel guilty if I chip the blade or scrape up the glass filled nylon handle.  It's not a blade I'd feel bad about handing to my buddy to use really quick.  I'm here to tell you, if my buddy needed to borrow my Spyderco Endura4 really quick, I'd just opt to do the task for him rather than risk him messing up my VG10 blade that I keep pretty sharp.  The M16 on the other hand, yeah go ahead and use it.

Before I jump into some of the specifications, I want to convey that I used this knife quite a bit lately.  I had a coupon from Knifecenter.com that I wanted to use, and set out to find a knife under $35 that I could buy without raising my wife's suspicions when she went to look at the bank account. Such small purchases are normal for me, and usually fly well under the radar with her.

As you may know from my more recent entries, I recently moved across 3 state lines, and have made my home in the West somewhere in the desert.  In August, I flew back home to Seattle to load the moving truck and move my family.  I couldn't take my knife on the plane, but I had it waiting for me when I returned.  For the next few weeks, this blade saw use in the EDC role, as well as a last minute camping trip, where it was the only knife I brought.  Okay, so it wasn't really "camping" per se; it was boating, and we just happened to stay at the KOA for a couple of nights.  Be that as it may, this knife saw some good action there as it got passed around from me to my wife to my father in law, and back again as we all used it to do small to medium sized tasks that you would put this knife up to.  In the utility role, it shined.  Of course, there were a few small gripes about it, which I'll get to as this entry evolves.

On September 1, we took delivery of the rental we intend to call home for the next few years until we are ready to buy again. Again, this knife came along for the ride because I knew we would be getting into boxes, cutting through sticky packing tape, and doing all kinds of stuff I just couldn't bring my Spyderco to do for fear I'd scratch the pretty blade.  For the next week or so, this knife got passed around the house, ending up getting lost a couple of times, dropped plenty, and used heavily.  I put this M16 through more action in a couple of weeks than most people do in a year.  We didn't do any hard use tasks with it, like baton through logs or whatnot - just extensive utility work.  Anyone who uses knives knows that cutting thick cardboard, blasting through twine, getting into those annoying plastic packages that require a jackhammer, etc is very tough on blades and will dull a cheap one really fast. 

Since I'm on the topic of blades, let's take a look at this one.  You can see from the picture that this still wears some of that sticky tape residue that sticks to everything.  You can also see some light scuffs on the finish, which is EDP, which my research turns up as Electrophoretically Deposited Paint.  The process of applying this finish means that you have uniform thickness on the paint, as well as corrosion resistance and durability.  Okay, fine.  It looks good, no?  The scuffs on the finish are very shallow, and would probably buff out if I cared to do so, but on a blade this inexpensive, who cares?  Besides, wear gives it character.  The blade material itself is 8CR15MOV, which is that Chinese steel that wears well, takes a fine edge, and resists corrosion acceptably.  Unlike 8CR13MOV, this material has 15% chromium, which ought to help with corrosion resistance.  This is stainless steel.  The cool looking spear point is what brought me to this blade.  I love that look.  It is simple, elegant, and purposeful.  The blade has a couple interesting machined surfaces to break up the profile.  The unsharpened swedge along the spine of the blade makes piercing cuts easy and safe.  The tip itself is pretty precise and I should add fragile.  I haven't busted mine, but if you drop it on the concrete, you will.  There is some meaningful gimping on the back of the blade near the pivot.

Moving rearward, lets discuss the pivot.  The pivot is ideal for this weight of knife, which comes in on my scale as 2 3/8 ounces.  There is a nylon and brass washer inside to make fast flipping easy - well sort of.  Perhaps mine needs to be broken in a little more because it doesn't flip fast at all.  It's rather sluggish and sometimes it won't fully open and engage the lock.  Now, if you give it a flick of your wrist, it'll come out lightening fast.  There is a flipper on the back of the blade, which acts as a finger stop when the blade it opened.  It's textured with something that resembles gimping, but I'm not so sure.  There are also two thumb studs, one on each side of the blade.  They are obnoxious to use and I think if you don't know what you are doing, they could actually be dangerous.  They do, however, serve a useful purpose.  Instead of employing a stop pin, the thumb studs sort of do it.  There is a little axial movement of the blade, as well as some radial play, but it doesn't amount to much.  For this kind of knife, I think it's probably normal.  It does not affect lock up in any way.

This knife employs a liner lock, which is constructed of 2CR13 stainless steel and you have nearly 100% liner engagement on the blade.  I'd say the liner takes up 80% of the blade itself.  The liner itself has not been machined in any way to reduce weight.  But I think what CRKT was going for here is ultimate strength in a small package.  I think they've achieved that.  Given that the overall weight is 2 3/8 ounces, I'm not so sure that drilling holes in the liner would accomplish much.  There is gimping on the bottom of the liner lock portion to provide traction for your index finger if you hold it in such a way that allows your finger to contact it. 

 This brings me to the only major gripe I have about the knife.  See that red stud in this picture?  That's a safety.  More specifically, it is a safety mechanism that CRKT calls AutoLAWKS.  Not only does it serve to make the blade stay open until it is disengaged by pulling it rearward, but CRKT claims that it virtually makes your M16 a fixed blade when the safety is engaged!  WHAT?!  That's a dangerous claim.  First, you make a safety mechanism that takes a bit of practice to make the knife fold back with only one hand, something my wife still can't do after many uses, but now CRKT alludes to the notion that you can abuse this knife more than a pivoting folder should by claiming it is a "virtual fixed blade."  Okay, that rant aside, I was trying to fold this with one hand while typing this entry.  Aside from the fact it takes about 6 fingers to do it, I'm now rocking an Angry Birds band-aid on my thumb because once the blade finally released, it came right down on my knuckle.  And this blade is still extremely sharp!  So for safety in mind, I'm recommending you use two hands to fold this knife.  But that sucks!  My wife tells me she hates that it is such a pain in the ass to close with that infernal safety mechanism.  She doesn't normally have an opinion about safeties on things like guns, so when she complains about a safety, I know it sucks.

 Okay, lastly, I'll talk about clip design and the handle scales.  The handle is constructed from glass filled nylon, which is durable.  The scales are milled with holes in them to reduce weight and give the handle dimension.  There are two little T6 torx screws on the rear on either side that hold the handle together.  The rear spacer is also glass.  If you're to look at the back, it actually looks really cool with the glass scales, stainless steel liner, and the glass spacer.  The blade in the middle tops off the look, and I think it's modern and classy. The whole knife is a good looking design.  The scales don't provide much in the way of traction, which is why the gimping is strategically placed where it is.  The smooth handles do make it seemless to ride with you in your pocket while not grabbing cloth or getting snagged on keys or money.  Because of it's overall size, it's very easy to rock this knife along with your tactical folder without really noticing. 

The clip is very simple and elegant.  My only gripe about it is that the end sticks out noticeably, and I've scraped it against a wall.  I wish CRKT flattened the end just a bit to make it not feel as sharp in pocket.  That being said, it will ride fairly deep in pocket, with only about 1/4" or less sticking out of the top.  For you lefties, there is no relief for you.  The clip is where it is, and you cannot switch sides, nor can you change the position for tip-up carry.  As I've said before, tip or tip down doesn't matter to me.  When I can do it, I'll carry tip up, but if I have carry tip down, I'm not offended.  Since I'm right handed, the clip position doesn't bother me, unless of course, I'm trying to carry it on my left side.  But even then, it's not much of a hassle.  Being on my support side, it's 99% not critical to deploy this knife lightening fast.  It's more important that I have it to back up my tactical folder in the first place. 

Lastly, I've saved all the critical dimensions for the end, so you don't have to hunt for them.  These are right from the CRKT website.

Overall length: 7.125"
Closed length: 4"
Blade length: 3"
Weight: 2.3 ounces

-James

Friday, September 14, 2012

Getting Me To Donate To Your Charity

Nothing annoys me more than when I've just sat down to a dinner that either my wife or I have just prepared, when suddenly the doorbell rings, causing my dog to go bat shit crazy, and getting between me and whatever juicy morsel that was just about the enter my mouth and excite my senses as I satisfy my need to eat.

Now, if it's a friend or family member, or perhaps the next door neighbor calling unannounced, it's not a bad thing.  Usually, I'm good with some unexpected company from friends and family.  But when I go to the door, and see some stranger standing there with a pamphlet in their hands, I get pretty annoyed.  So by  the time I actually open the door, I'm not in a good mood anymore.

Case in point, my wife had called me earlier this week to tell me that some dude had knocked on the door.  Of course, she knows better than to answer the door to strange men, so she just waited until the guy left.  Fortunately, the dog was there to discourage any sort of forced entry.  And while the guy standing at the door was probably some innocent dude just trying to make a living or get money for a charitable cause he believes in, we have determined that unless we seek you out, we are not interested.

Much of this stems from the fact that we lived in a pretty bad part of town for the last few years, and more often than not, a solicitor was just a person trying to case the joint and see if you had anything worth stealing.  A few others were door to door salesmen, trying to sell windows, magazine subscriptions, products you don't need or want, or religious people trying to convince me that somehow my religion was the wrong choice.

Back to my story, the same guy came knocking on our door again this evening.  I was right in the middle of pretending I was a typewriter as I worked on a hot, juicy, and perfectly crunchy piece of corn-on-the-cob.  Before I knew it, the doorbell went off, and the dog, again, was howling loud enough to wake the dead.  Of course, I didn't tell the dog to knock it off because what's the point of having a guard dog that doesn't guard? (Come to think of it, perhaps the stranger knocking wasn't such a bad idea after all.)  My wife peaked around the corner and saw it was the same guy as last time.  Alright, I told her I was going to answer the door and deal with it.  Though I've lost a bunch of weight, I'm still a big, tall dude and can fill a doorway rather imposingly.  I went to the door and cracked it open just enough for the dude to see I'm no small fry and looked him over as if I was about to kill him.

At first, he kind of tried to make an obviously uncomfortable encounter (for him) easier by saying "It's getting dark, I'm dark - don't shoot me."  I just stared coldly at him.  Then he started in on the sob story about how he is a former gang member trying to make a future for his daughter, yadda yadda yadda.  I've heard this all before.  When he put out his hand to shake mine, he said, "Who do I have the pleasure of talking to?"  My right hand was placed out of sight obviously and intentionally, and even though I didn't have a gun in it, he didn't know that.  I told him I was not interested in what he was selling.  He then went on in a vain attempt to guilt me into paying attention.  Fed up with these tried and worn out attempts at getting me to release my hard-earned money, I told him to kick rocks and then I closed the door.

You see, I've heard this song and dance hundreds of times, and it always starts the same way.  I may have been born at night, but I wasn't born last night.  I've also known some unfortunate victims of burglary because they were duped into allowing strangers to either enter their homes or give a good enough view into the household that the so-called solicitor could see it would be worth a trip back when the good homeowners were not home.  Dad taught me to never let people into the home, nor do you allow them to even see inside.  As a former police officer, he's seen his fair share of unfortunate occurrences of home invasion and burglary as a result of such things.

Now, you probably think I'm one cold hearted son-of-a-bitch because I don't donate to charity from people going door-to-door collecting funds.  Well, you couldn't be more wrong.  I donate to charities of MY choosing in my own time.  If a charity peaks my interest, and the organizations politics don't contradict my own, then I am more than willing to open my wallet and give.  Some of the more annoying donation attempts are the ones at stores like Target or Smiths, where they ask, "Would you like to donate a dollar to such and such?"  No, in fact, until I know what they really support, then the answer is a big hell no!  Now, what I might do is ask them to give me information on the charity itself, go home and research it.  Satisfied that the organization doesn't support gun control, the Obama Administration, Planned Parenthod, etc, then not only will I donate a simple dollar, but give quite a bit more than that.  That's how I roll.  I'm generous with my donations, but you'd damn well better agree with my politics.  I'm not going to give money to organizations that work to destroy my rights and privileges.  That's not cold hearted.  That's just common sense.

Now, there are obvious ways to get me to donate to you.  And there are ways not to.  Follow along as I rant about how to get my money out of me.

1. Appeal to my interests, tastes, or causes.  The NRA gets money from me every month because I agree with their agenda.  So does the 9-11 memorial fund.  The BSA always gets some cash out of me when I see them at Wal Mart or the like because I fully support the BSA and what they stand for.  The Girl Scouts always sell me cookies, and quite a lot.

2. Don't knock on my door.  Look, if I want to donate to your cause, I'm going to seek you out.  Or I'm going to find out about you through other affiliations that I have.  When I get a piece of mail from an organization saying "here's some other organizations you might like," I give them a chance.  I've also donated to relief efforts through church or work, food drives, etc because these are organizations that I am aligned with, and aside from the satisfaction I get from helping my fellow man, I'm not working to destroy what I stand for while doing it.

3. If you do knock on my door, don't excite my paranoia by making statements about how you're a black man, who used to be a gang member, and don't ask me not to shoot you.  That doesn't work.  In other words, don't make it about race.  I'm not a racist, but I believe in racial profiling, and if you go there, then it's your damn fault.

4. Don't attempt to guilt me into anything.  I'm not responsible for whatever situation you, or your organization is trying to stop or affect.  I've never clubbed a baby seal, nor have I beaten my spouse, so trying to make it about me is ineffective.  I understand that you are trying to raise awareness, but I have this thing called the internet, and there are commercials on the radio, t.v., facebook, etc.  If anything, I'm already inundated with awareness, and the last thing I need for you to do is tell me how fish are suffering because BP is dumping millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico; I watch CNN too.

5. If you try to tell me that my neighbors just donated to you, and that's your premise for why I should, then you'll find out how an oak door feels when it hits you in the nose.  I'm not my neighbors.  My neighbor across the street drinks on his front porch and smokes cigarettes while pushing his girl on a bike with training wheels. Clearly, I'm not him.  That's not to say I'm better than he is, but I'm simply pointing out differences. The last time I checked, I was my own person who was in control of my own destiny.

6. Don't argue with me. If I say I'm not interested, then I'm not interested. Don't try to argue my money out of me. That doesn't work.  In fact, you might excite me enough to remove you from my property by force.

7.  Never, EVER tell me that my religion is wrong.  I actually had some evangelical Christian tell that my religion is wrong, after I told him I was satisfied with the one I have. Of course, I had made the mistake of telling him what religion I followed when he asked which one it was.  Live and learn I guess.  Nowadays, I just tell them to kindly leave and then close the door.

8. By now, you can probably tell I'm a little more right wing than left wing. But if you come to my door trying to convince me to follow any politician, you're going to wind up sitting on your ass when my door hits you in the face. I know my politics. I don't need some twenty-something from the SEIU telling me what I need to believe with scripted talking points.

Okay, that's it for my rant.

-James