Showing posts with label NYPD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NYPD. Show all posts

Monday, August 14, 2017

Who Did You Have in Mind When You Wrote That Character For Your Book ?

As an author, it’s a question I get asked a lot regarding the characters in my books and I am always hesitant to answer, even though I think it is a really good question. 

The primary reason is that as readers we all create mental images in our head of the characters in books and sometimes they don’t translate well to real life. It’s something I wrestled with when the movie version of Frank Herbert's seminal work, DUNE, came out. None, and I mean NONE, of the characters fit the image that was in my head, as I read the books.

Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I mean the casting of Jürgen Prochnow as Duke Leto Atreides was genius, and I could even get behind Francesa Annis as Lady Jessica,  but Kyle MacLachlen as Paul Atreides…………. Seriously?

Paul was 15 in the book!! Whoever came up with that casting decision should be shot! Twice!!

And don’t even get me started on Baron Harkonnen and Feyd-Rabban!! But, I digress.

There is even a school of thought among some authors that says don’t write a description of your characters, but rather let the reader fill in their own vision.  That would work fine until Hollywood get's over their love affair with remakes and make my books into a movie or TV series (Hint, Hint Hollywood). Then people would be freaking out that the characters looked nothing like they imagined. So I opted to describe the main players and in doing so I came up with some current actors who I thought fit the roles.

So if you are not interested in knowing who I had in mind, X this page out now………..






Seriously, leave now,………






Okay, that was your last chance.




For those of you who remained, here is my vision on who I believe best fits the description of the characters.

James Maguire:
The closest person to fit the bill of Maguire is Henry Cavill.  I’ve seen him in a bunch of roles, from The Count of Monte Cristo to Superman, and I think he could truly pull it off.   He also has that devilish smile which seems to resonate with just about any woman.

Cavill has the look and physicality of Maguire, which is important given Maguire’s military service as a Navy SEAL, and, while he is a bit younger, I think he can pull off the age group as well.



Melody Anderson:

What’s not to love about Tricia Helfer for this role? Honestly, she brings everything to the table. I first saw her in the role of Six on Battlestar Galactica. She has the acting chops and is stunningly beautiful.  It was also import to find someone who could play that strong, athletic woman, and at 5’10” she easily fits Melody’s height. 

The fact that she can also portray someone as tough as nails is important as well, given the fact that this might be important going forward in the role. Was that a hint? Plus she gets extra credit for liking cats.




Keith Banning:

Probably the EASIEST one for me to envision playing this role was Matthew McConaughey. There are just some roles written for a person and I have to admit that Keith Banning is his (so feel free to give me a call, Matt). 

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed McConaughey in a number of roles, but his portrayal as Detective Rust Cohle, in the original True Detective series, reinforced my choice. He has that rare acting ability to go back and forth fluidly within a character, something that is extremely important for the character of Banning.

Plus there is an inherent darkness in the role that I think makes him a natural.




Alex Taylor:

Probably the HARDEST one for me and yet, when it was all said and done, the most natural choice. Katee Sackhoff, another Battlestar Galactica alumni, was born for this role. Her portrayal as Lt. Kara Thrace was like a casting call audition for Alex Taylor, the highly troubled, yet incredibly talented professional.  To the rest of the world it seems as if Alex doesn’t wrestle with her demons, as much as she opens a bottle of whiskey and parties with them, but behind closed doors it is a battle-royale. It’s a role that I think Katee pulled off so well in BG. Alex might not be the most professional cop around, but she does know how to get the job done.  Plus, Katee does that chip-on-her-shoulder attitude better than anyone I know and she also has the cop experience from doing Longmire.

Ironically, both Sackhoff and Helfer are friends off screen, which I think would provide an interesting element, especially when it comes to a little competition.

Genevieve Gordon:

Writing Gen, I envisioned someone who was an anti-Melody, both in looks and attitude. Ashley Greene, of Twilight fame, was the perfect fit. There was something smart-ass about her that seemed right at home with the character of Gen. The auburn hair and smaller stature also provided the perfect contrast between the two women. 

She’s the perfect actress to play the other-half to the successful financial duo. I also think that she would be quite capable of delivering Gen’s barbs with the right level of humor and sarcasm.



So there you have it. The folks I think would do the best at bringing the characters in the books to life on the big screen or even a television show.


Feel free to let me know what you think of my choices or who you’d like to know the actor I envisioned for any other characters in the series.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Attention Hollywood: Enough with the Remakes

I like being entertained, it's probably one of the reasons I enjoy being an author. There is something very rewarding about being able to craft new worlds in your books for a reader to immerse themselves in.

For the time it takes to watch a movie, catch a television show or read a book, you are able to suspend belief and transport yourself far away from the trials and tribulations of the real world. That being said, you really do need to have a new world to go, but for some odd reason, Hollywood has apparently run out of new ideas. 

Now, I will be the first to admit that I loved Ronald Moore's re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series. Having grown up watching the original TV show I was not at all upset when they brought it back with a more mature theme. They kept true to the original premise, but managed to add a darkness and complexity that I don't think would have worked nearly as well back in the 70's. 

But, it seems that this is one of the true exceptions these days.

Hollywood seems hell bent and determined to remake everything and I just don't understand why. There is an abundance of new material out there to draw ideas from. Take my books as a prime example. Yes, I know it's a shameless plug, but that doesn't make it untrue.

One book reviewer opined that James Maguire was the new Jack Reacher. I'll confess that I think Maguire is a helluva lot more bad-ass, but I'm biased. And, as good as Maguire is, he also has a very complimentary cast of fellow characters, including a number of strong female ones, that provide something for everyone.

My motivation in writing riveting story-lines stems from the fact that I grew up as a voracious reader. I whiled away the hours journeying to far away places, traveling side by side with some amazing heroes and heroines. It didn't matter if it was Paul Artreides (Dune), Jack Ryan (Patriot Games) or Han Solo (Star Wars). The one thing these characters had was the ability to suspend my belief, but in a very plausible way. It is one of the things I strive for in my books. 

I write characters that the reader gets invested in, whether they are the protagonist or the antagonist. The biggest reward for me is when a reader says: "You know, I hated so-and-so, but I read that chapter and couldn't help but feel bad for them." There is no greater reward, and no greater curse, then when you finish a book and the next thing you are getting are emails from your readers asking when they next book is coming out. 

Today, Hollywood has simply gotten lazy. Rather than take the time to invest in new stories, they seem determined to prove that they can capture lightening once again. Often with dismal results. 

Case in Point: CHiPs (The Movie)

To put it mildly this was a debacle. First, it was a slap in the face to the original series. Say what you will, but CHiPs was a positive television show that cast law enforcement in a good light. The movie, not so much. The $25 million dollar production managed to bring in an amazing  $25.5 million dollar box office haul. That's right, for their effort they eeked out half a million in profit and garnered a dismal 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes

Sadly, this level of movie buffoonery seems to be all the rage these days.

Whether they are remaking Carrie, Planet of the Apes, Starsky & Hutch, The Magnificent Seven, Rollerball, The Bad News Bears, Arthur, Baywatch, The Goodbye Girl, Total Recall, Conan, Ghostbusters (shudder), or even the 27th incarnation of SPIDERMAN, the bottom line is more often than not they fall flat on their face.  I mean really, what's next in the queue? Dirty Harriett?

To a certain extent I can understand the appeal. You have a vehicle that had a following and you figure you can re-capture that for a new generation. Unfortunately, very few take the approach of Ron Moore and up their cinematic game. I think it is also one of the reasons why Netflix and Amazon Studios are enjoying such success.

There comes a point when you have hit rock-bottom and begin to re-evaluate things. Unfortunately, Hollywood seems intent to keep digging or, at the very least, beating the proverbial dead horse.

So if you folks in Tinseltown have reached the end of your rope, and want to secure a lucrative book franchise, have your people contact my people and we'll do lunch. 




Monday, May 29, 2017

Perfect Pawn - Free (Memorial Day Week)

Just in time to kick off your Summer Reading, I am re-releasing an updated version of my debut novel, Perfect Pawn.

From May 30th through June 3rd, 2017, you can add the e-Book version to your summer 2017 reading list for free.

Perfect Pawn tells the story of James Maguire a former Navy SEAL and a retired NYPD Detective who is faced with investigating the disappearance of an ex-girlfriend who went missing from a one-car accident.

The one thing you find as an author is that with each passing year and each new novel, you become a better writer. With this in mind, we went back and did a re-edit / update. While the story line is not affected, there are some additional 'conversations' between characters that enhance the book, as well as removing some of the inter-chapter 'head' hopping that took place. All in all I think this new edition will greatly appeal to the reader.

For this edition I also updated the cover artwork to make it readily identifiable.

If hope that you enjoy the book and I would be grateful if you would be so kind as to leave feedback when you are done.

You can check out all my books by clicking here: Other Books by Andrew G. Nelson

Thank you so much and happy reading !!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Uncommon Valor II - Challenge Coins of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit

Back in the summer of 2015, just as I was getting ready to publish: Uncommon Valor - Insignia of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit, the collecting world erupted with a new area: Challenge Coins. At the time I questioned whether I should be the book on hold and include this field, but the more I researched, the more I realized that I would need a lot more time.

I had already invested five years into the cloth insignia history, so I decided to publish that book and then devote the necessary time to properly investigating the coin phenomena. To give you an idea of just how quickly coin fever has gripped the hobby, consider that my first book documented nearly a century of ESU insignia history and comprised roughly 130 pages. This follow-up is nearly the same page count, but only goes back to the late 1990's, when the first ESU coin came out.

Like the first book, this has been a labor of love. At times it felt like I was investigating some deep, dark mystery and at other times banging my head against the desk seemed like a completely acceptable option. In the end it didn't take five years, but it did take almost two.

As much as I love writing these books on ESU, I realize that I much rather write fiction. It is much simpler to create stories in your head, as opposed to conducting research. In the field of non-fiction you only get one chance at being right.

Fortunately, the hard work has paid off and now I add another new book to the catalog. If you are interested in the NYPD ESU or challenge coins, I believe you will thoroughly enjoy this book. It contains over 100 photographs and offers collectors a glimpse at some of the rarest challenge coins produced by the various Trucks and Specialty Units, many of which have never been seen before.

I want to extend my sincere thanks to those members of ESU who afforded me the opportunity to ask innumerable questions and who provided photos of their coins. You are truly the Finest of the Finest.

It is amazing to me, as I submit the file for printing, that this will be my ninth book. It seems like only yesterday that I was holding Perfect Pawn in my hands for the first time. Now it is time to put my non-fiction endeavors to bed for awhile, as I take back up the further adventures of James and Alex.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fifteen Years Later – Remembering the Attacks of September 11th

I got up, just like I do every September 11th, and looked outside.

I like rainy days, over cast days, hot days, cloudy days, hazy days, every day other than the one I that is forever seared into my brain.

I got up this morning early, before the sun had come up, and stepped outside. Fifteen years ago I did the same thing, heading out of the house before the sun had come up to do my tour of duty as a city-election supervisor for the NYPD. That morning the air was cool and crisp, a nice respite from the dog days of summer we had just gone through.

As the sun came up over Brooklyn, the darkness was chased away by shades of gold, and red and orange. The rising sun turned the once black sky into a majestic blue, unmarred by any clouds. It was a rich shade of blue that I will never forget, a color that looked as if it had been pulled directly from God’s pallet.

Had I seen it before? Probably, but before September 11th it meant nothing. Now, I will take the image to my grave.

So it was with trepidation that I stepped outside, feeling the coolness of the air. As I grudgingly watched, sipping my coffee, the sky once again began its transformation, chasing away the blackness. As the sun took hold, the dew on the blades of grass were transformed in to a field of sparking diamonds. Off in the distance the fog rolled across the tops of the corn fields. It was a scene that, on 364 other days, would be breathtaking in its scope and beauty. But this was day 365.

As I watched the sun rise, the sky once again has turned blue and, try as I might, I can’t find a single cloud in the sky.

As I write this, I watch the clock, ticking off in my head mentally where I was on that fateful morning. My travels will take my partner and I through the streets of Brooklyn to the hell that was Manhattan on the morning of September 11th. Our conversation will go from typical morning banter, laughs as we search for the elusive ‘Vote Here – Aqui’ signs, which signaled our latest election poll target, to hearing the first calls over our portable radio, and, after realizing we had been attacked, heading in to Ground Zero, unaware of what we would face when we arrived and saying goodbye to one another, just in case.

In just under a half hour from now the 1st plane will have struck the North Tower….. and so the memories will all come flooding back.

My partner and I were lucky that day. We were spared the fate that so many others faced, due in no small part to an elusive pack of cigarettes.

Today I mourn for my friends, co-workers, and all those lost, not just at the World Trade Center, but at the Pentagon and in the skies above Pennsylvania as well. I remember the bravery that came through in the days and months after the attack; my heart beaming with pride just because I was lucky enough that God choose me to be a member of the greatest police department in the world, the NYPD.  And I will forever carry in my heart and mind the Department motto: Fidelis Ad Mortem (Faithful Unto Death)

But I also mourn for those who died on the other September 11th Attack.  And just as I will not forget the names of Moira Smith, John Coughlin, Joe Vigiano, Rodney Gillis and all the other members of the NYPD who died that day, I will also not forget the names: Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty. Nor will I forget those who, laying aside everything else, rushed in to save them, accepting that it might be their last day as well.



Those of us who survive such things are torch bearers for the real heroes, the men and women who selflessly gave their lives for their fellow man. We must never forget them and we must never let their deaths be in vein.

So, today I will mourn, as I do every September 11th. I will thank God for saving me and my partner that day, thank him for having given me the opportunity to be a part of something so much greater than myself and to be able to share my story, so that the true heroes are never forgotten. On November 8th, 2016, I will honor those lost in Benghazi, making sure that they are Never Forgotten.

Someone recently asked me if I thought we had learned anything from the attack. Sadly, the answer to that question is a resounding no. Just like the warnings, the lessons are all there, we have just ignorantly closed the book. Blithely choosing to bury our heads in the sands of political correctness; believing that the old Beatles song ‘Love Is All You Need’ is the answer to all our ills. It isn’t. You don’t have to agree with me, but my opinions are based on cold hard fact, not fiction or personal desires.

God bless you all and may God bless America.


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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Who is Hillary Clinton and what has she done?

Apathy, Thy Name is Hillary
Many years ago, eight to be exact, I wrote about then Senator Barack Obama and asked the same question under my former Andrew, the Angry American persona.  

Mind you, this was during my pre-author days, and long before I found an effective editor, so don't judge me.

The truth is that we have a big problem in this country. We are electing people without any form of due diligence. We get too caught up in the empty promises, the campaign theatrics, and the party nonsense. Then, before you know it, it is the day after and we are left wondering what the hell did we just do? Unfortunately, at that point, it is too late.

Now a lot of folks seem to be repeating the same mistakes we did back in 2007/08, which is to not properly vet the candidates. I keep hearing about Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments, but to be honest, no one can actually name one. Heck, that’s not surprising considering the candidate herself can’t name one. To be fair she points to obscure things, but nothing tangible. However, you can read her book: Hard Choices, which promises to address these questions. It doesn't. 

Thanks, I think I’ll take a pass. You see, back in the 90's, when I was assigned to the NYPD's elite Intelligence Division, I worked on Bill Clinton's security detail when he visited New York City. I saw this 'loving' couple up close and personal. All I can say is do not believe everything you see and less than what you hear. 

If you enjoy political intrigue, I suggest reading my books. At least in my books no one makes excuses for their actions.

But let us consider who we are dealing with here:

  • She attended Wellesley College, majoring in Political Science, and Yale, where she graduated with a law degree.
  • During her college years she was very active in politics, Republican politics to be precise. She was even the president of the Wellesley Young Republicans. She left the party over the Vietnam War and Civil Rights issues.
  • She was an attorney for the prestigious Rose Law Firm in Arkansas where she would make full partner. She was twice named in the 100 Most Influential Lawyers by National Law Review.
  • She was Arkansas’ First Lady for twelve years (1979-1981, 1983-1992)
  • She served on the Board of Directors for WALMART, as well as several other firms.
  • She was the First Lady of the United States (1993-2001)
  • She served as Senator from New York (2001-2009)
  • She ran for President in 2008
  • She was Secretary of State (2009 – 2013)
And now she is the Democratic nominee for President.

She has been in the public eye for the better part of 3 ½ decades. So how in the hell can you not point to ONE tangible accomplishment? 

On the flipside, I can sure as hell point to an awful lot of controversies: Whitewater, Paula Jones, Cattle Futures, Filegate, Travelgate, Norman Hsu, Monica Lewinsky, FBI Background Records, Benghazi, E-Mail / Server, Clinton Foundation……

I’m sorry, someone with this much baggage shouldn’t be pointing fingers at anyone else.

That being said, you have to ask yourself if the world is a better place for her involvement and the answer is simply no. I cannot see anything in the record that points to her as being singularly qualified to be President. In fact, don't take my word for it, but consider what President Obama said about her in 2008: "Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything and change nothing." 

While First Lady, and despite having control over both houses, she was unable to get enough votes for the Clinton Health Plan and the proposal was ended in 1994.

In 1997 she did manage to get passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, but whether it was her, or the bill’s big name backers (Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch), is questionable.

As Senator, she managed to sponsor only three,….. yes 3, bills that became law:

S. 1241:  A bill establishing the Kate Mullany National Historic Site in the State of New York.
S. 3613:  A bill naming a post office the "Major George Quamo Post Office Building."
S. 3145:  A bill designating a highway in New York as the Timothy J. Russert highway.

WTF?

To be fair, she sponsored 355 bills, but of these, only twenty passed the Senate. I’m sorry, but you took over the seat of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, probably one of the most prolific politicians of the 20th century, and this is the best you can do?

I will leave it to those of you, who are so inclined, to pour over the bills; perhaps you can glean something to polish her record a bit.

To be equally fair, then Senator Barack Obama only sponsored 127 bills, 2 of which passed the Senate. You be the judge of the effectiveness of these two constitutional juggernauts. Just remember Clinton’s comments in the 2008 campaign when she accused him of voting ‘present’ 130 times as an Illinois State senator. 

Neither seems very keen on the idea of doing the people's work.

When I look at her record as Secretary of State, I am even more disheartened.

During President Bush’s time in office, the left routinely referred to it as Cowboy Politics. They lamented our status in the world. Hell, even entertainers ‘apologized’ for him.  President Obama was supposed to ‘fix’ it all, and his appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State was meant to facilitate the repair work. Remember the infamous Russian ‘reset’?

Yeah, how’s that working out?

The truth is that, if you spent even a minimal amount of time watching or reading the news, you would have witnessed the decline in stability throughout the world under Hillary Clinton’s watch. From Russia to Libya, it seemed as if the United States government was asleep at the wheel.

And if one person points to the Iran deal as being an accomplishment, I will personally come to your house and slap you senseless or at least make you read Bishop's Gate !!

I actually heard someone point to the killing of Osama bin Laden as a positive. Then again, I also heard the credit given to President Obama.

Really?

Ultimately the credit is awarded to the person that answers the fateful question: ‘Mother, May I?’, but let’s be brutally honest for one moment. It was the operators on the ground who located bin Laden and it was the Navy SEAL’s who dispatched him to the afterlife. Giving the thumbs up, to go after the most wanted man in America, the mastermind behind 9/11, is kind of a no-brainer.

While we are on that subject, how did that work out for Shakil Afridi? Dr. Afridi worked for the CIA, running a cover program that ultimately led to the positive ID of Osama bin Laden. So what happened to him? He’s pretty much fucked as he was left out to dry. Pakistani authorities caught him trying to escape over the border and he was sentenced to thirty-three years in prison. Despite some political lip service from Clinton’s State Department, nothing has been done to help Dr. Afridi, but why should he be any different? In fact, it has been speculated that Afridi was made the sacrificial lamb by the CIA and Hillary's State Department.

No matter where you look, this administration has screwed the pooch. From Iran, to Egypt, to Iraq, to Afghanistan, to Russia, to Libya, to Syria, to Israel. To be honest, I’m surprised we haven’t managed to piss off the Canadians yet. The bottom line is that you can certainly argue that, when she left, the world was actually less stable than when she took the job.

What clinches it for me is that little diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.

Yes, yes, I see you in the back with your hand up and that wild look in your eye. I know what you are going to say: ‘The subject of Benghazi has been settled, it was all just a vast right-wing witch hunt meant to destroy her reputation….’

Sit down and shut up, you’re making a fool out of yourself. Just because the media fed you some talking points and Congressman John Lewis, along with the rest of the Democratic cheering section, pointed an angry finger at Republicans, doesn’t mean the issue was actually addressed. In fact, I actually had one person make the argument that Republicans were ‘never concerned about diplomatic attacks until Benghazi.’

Really?

The truth is that any attack is horrific, but it wasn’t the attack that got to people. It was the cover-up!

I spent twenty-two years in law enforcement. It’s a dangerous job and we all know it. Losing an officer in the line of duty is tragic, but imagine being a cop, under fire, and calling for help and somewhere the dispatch supervisor turns off the radio. Help isn’t coming.

Don't believe me? Well then, ask: Kris Paronto

That was the reality of Benghazi and no one has ever been held accountable. I’ve written about this before and why Benghazi matters in terms of this Presidential election. Once you get past the political speak, you begin to see a pattern of deception. Sadly, the folks who were there are being both marginalized and vilified.

Maybe some of the millennials can point to her increase in Facebook and Twitter engagements as a positive sign, but that’s not exactly a glowing endorsement for someone to be President of the United States. As for me, I’m tired of the Clinton’s and their political games.

I’m going to vote for Donald J. Trump.

Yes, I do have issues with him, but when I look at his business record: I will gladly gamble on the four bankruptcies, actually four Chapter 11’s over twenty-five years, which are not always the result of bad business decisions, as most actual  business owners will tell you, and his many successes’. Do I think he is the A+ candidate that we all want? No. But, truth be told, we have not had an A+ candidate in a VERY long time. What I want is someone who is business savvy and who will at least attempt to stop the ship and put it back on its proper course.

The alternative is Hillary Clinton, a woman whom I firmly believe is a pathological liar and someone who will continue the destructive pattern we are currently on. The threats we face, in terms of foreign and domestic terrorism, grow larger every day. Yet we cannot even begin to address these issues because we are focusing on the every growing Clinton scandals. Even now we are unraveling the details of a pay-for-play scam that would send any 'law-abiding' citizen to federal prison for a very extended sentence. 

You do not have to agree with me on Trump, but I beg you to consider the ramifications and the long term effects on this country. We are twenty trillion dollars in debt and I guarantee you that we won't last much longer.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Irony, Stat's, & Gun Control - Why the Anti-Gun Folks Just Don't Get It.

The appreciation of sarcasm is being lost at an alarming rate these days. There used to be a time when people understood you were being sarcastic, now you have to actually explain things to them or use one of those stupid symbols……  Being a NY’er, I despise this. If you've read any of my books, you'll know that my characters of quite fond of it as well.

The same hold true for irony. Some folks just don't seem to appreciate just how ironic they really are.

If you have turned on a TV, read a paper, logged onto Facebook or Twitter lately, you would see irony, in all its glory and pageantry, on full display, but at the same time being missed out on by so many who just don’t get it.

Examples are things like:

  • Black lives matter……. Because, you know, all the other lives don’t.
  • Be a champion of the climate change agenda, but fly across the ocean in your private G4, to accept an award, then immediately fly back to party in Caan.
  • Christianity, which follows the tenets of Jesus who says to love one another, is bad. While Islam, which advocates killing in the name of Allah, is good….. You know; the whole religion of peace thing.
  • No one under an FBI investigation should ever be able to purchase a gun, but you can still run for President if you’re under an FBI investigation.

I don’t know who originally coined the phrase ‘Word’s Matter’, but they do. Just like our President admonished us in a campaign speech back in 2008: “Don't tell me words don't matter. ‘I have a dream.’  Just words?

IRONICALLY, he was accused of plagiarizing that, from a speech Deval Patrick made in 2006, by none other than Hillary Clinton. Oh well, like they say, politics make for strange bedfellows.

The problem I have with all of this is that we have stopped reading words, in the form of actual research, and have begun to accept talking points and snippets as actual truth. They are not.

Take statistics for example. Everyone loves to flaunt them, because they allow you to use evidence to support your argument, but are they really that good?

How about this little gem, stripped from the pages of that vaunted newspaper, the New York Times (Hint: insert Sarcasm symbol here), which authoritatively asserted the following: ‘In the United States, the death rate from gun homicides is about thirty-one per million people or the equivalent of twenty-seven people shot and killed every day.’

Just to drive home the point, they included a graph with more statistics, showing just how blood thirsty we Americans are. Seriously, it was like we are up here (hold your left hand up high) and they are ALL down here (hold your right hand down really low). Wow, that’s ominous……. 

It’s not accurate mind you, but very ominous, which is exactly the point.

You see the pundits and politicians don’t want you to know the truth, they just want you to accept their facts.

For the better part of my law enforcement career I was an investigator. Show me a stat and the first thing I want to know is: what was your methodology? What’s that? you ask.

Well, methodology is the systematic, theoretical analysis of the methods applied to a field of study. Or, as my astute boss once told me: garbage in, garbage out.

Too often we take the stats being offered as honest representations of the facts. They aren’t. In fact they are skewed to make you support what is being offered to you. So take the New York Times article, what should we take away from it? Well, number one would be that the United States is pretty damn violent and, number two that only rich, Western countries, with a GDP per capita over $25,000.00, matter.

Why is this significant? Because they want you to believe that we really are that damn violent.

The New York Times is anti-gun. Asking them for the unvarnished truth on guns is like asking the Devil to cite the benefits of Christianity. But let’s not bash on the Times alone. How about this from CBS News:

Murder is the second leading cause of death among Americans aged 15 to 24, the study found. The research also showed that murder was the third leading cause of death among those aged 25-34. Compared to those in the same age groups in other wealthy countries, Americans aged 15-24 are 49 times more likely to be the victim of a gun-related murder. For those aged 25-34, that number is 32 times more likely, the research revealed.

So, are we really that violent? Well, let’s look at some real numbers.

For the moment, let’s ignore the age groups. I’ll get back to them later. For now, let’s accept that there are roughly 320 + million people in the United States. We are number three in the world, but we only make up about 4 ½ percent of the population. In fact, China and India both beat us soundly by about one billion people EACH. That’s a pretty sobering stat, isn’t it?

Of those 320+ million, there are roughly 270 million guns owned by citizens. I’m not going to give you the stat, because I’m really not that good with math, so I will just say that we, collectively, have a LOT of guns. In fact, according to the Geneva based Small Arms Survey, the leading source of international public information about firearms, the U.S. has the best-armed civilian population in the world, with an estimated average of 90 firearms for every 100 residents.  If you like Wikipedia, that number jumps to 112.6. Why the disparagement in numbers? Statistics!

So, given either of those statistics, you would think the United States would lead the world in gun violence….. Right? The truthful answer is, No.

You see, many people like to pick and choose their stats. A methodology I prefer to think of as never having to say you’re wrong.

Most research focuses around what is best described as high income countries. Why? I don’t know. Last I looked bullets didn’t seem to discriminate along sex, race or religion, so why financial? I’m sure that there are some socio economic indicators that they will spout-off to validate their claims, but that’s kind of silly.  It’s also called cherry picking your data, which they seem to love to do. Guess diversity only matters some of the time……… How ironic.

So, with that many guns one would certainly be within their mathematical rights to extrapolate that the United States would obviously be the world’s murder capitol….. Right? And the answer is: No.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime the country that leads the world in intentional homicide is: Honduras, that socialist enclave in Central America, which has a rate of 84.6 per 100,000 inhabitants, despite restrictive civilian ownership of guns. Its fellow socialist and gun restricting neighbor, El Salvador is number two on the list.

Hmmm, corrupt, socialist government’s which don’t like guns, what a novel idea.

Well, surely the United State is high up on the list…… right? And the answer is still: No.

Scrolling through the list one finds that you have to go all the way down to number 108 (out of 218) to find the U.S. According to the U.N., statistically, you are more likely to die visiting a tropical resort in the Bahamas than you are in the United States.

So what is the problem?

Well, the problem is that no one wants to address the actual problem.

Awhile back there was a meme that pointed out that both Honduras and Switzerland had the same population, yet Honduras, with their gun laws, led the world in murder, but Switzerland, without the same strict gun laws, had one of the lowest murder rates. Everyone jumped on that saying that it was a flawed argument. 

Remember before that I said some would point to socio economic indicators to validate their claims? Well, the truth is that they want to cherry pick every form of data so that it validates their claims. They will tell you that you can’t factor in certain things because they are not relevant to the equation. Such was the case with Honduras. The experts claimed that you couldn’t equate the two because of the cultural, political and socio economic factors that play into gun violence, or a lack thereof.

Here is the problem I have with this argument:

  • In 2016, Omar Mateen murdered 49 people in Orlando. The left immediately blamed guns.
  • In 2015, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik murdered 14 people in San Bernardino. The left immediately blamed guns.
  • In 2015, Robert Lewis Dear murdered 3 people in Colorado. The left immediately blamed guns.
  • In 2015, Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer murdered 9 people in Oregon. The left immediately blamed guns.
  • In 2015, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez murdered 5 people in Tennessee. The left immediately blamed guns.
  • In 2015, Dylann Storm Roof murdered 9 people in South Carolina. The left immediately blamed guns.
  • In 2014, Elliot Rodger murdered 6 people in California. The left immediately blames guns.
  • In 2014, Nidal Hassan murdered 3 people in Texas. The left immediately blamed guns.
  • In 2013, Aaron Alexis murdered 12 people in Washington, D.C. The left immediately blamed guns.
  • In 2012, Adam Lanza murdered 27 people in Connecticut. The left immediately blamed guns.
  • In 2012, James Holmes murdered 12 people in Colorado. The left immediately blamed guns.

The left will tell you that we should not consider certain factors, yet every time they focus solely on one factor: Guns. Let me tell you what they don’t want you to consider: the individual.

You see, they have no answer for the individual. They can’t explain to you why one person breaks the law and another person doesn’t. They come up with every excuse in the world as to why inner-city places like: St. Louis, Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York City, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Newark, New Orleans, Oakland, and Washington D.C. have such high crime rates, yet cities in the gun-crazy state of Texas, like Plano, El Paso, Arlington, and Austin don’t.  

Ironically, the left will tell you that you cannot factor some countries, because they have certain socio economic factors at play, yet they will tell you that you must include all U.S. cities, that have those very same socio economic factors, when you are talking about gun violence in the United States. Well, that’s so dumb it makes me squint. What would happen if you did a side by side comparison, you know like Honduras and Switzerland?

Well, Detroit and El Paso have almost the same identical population, yet Detroit has a murder rate of 43.5 while El Paso has a murder rate of 3.1. Heck, Fort Worth, which has a substantially larger population than Baltimore, is only 6.1 compared to the latter’s 33.8.

Shootingtracker, the site everyone goes to in order to document all the horrible mass shootings, listed an amazing 332 mass shootings for 2015, but when you research it a bit further you notice something unusual. Some of the urban cities, like I listed above, also have a larger percentage of the shootings. Call me crazy, but I don’t think it is legal gun owners shooting things up in Detroit, NYC or Baltimore.

Could it be the individual? Could it be that 15-24 and 25-34 demographic? Perhaps they might even be criminals? Or worse yet, actual radical Islamic terrorists? (Gasp)

So what do these vaunted cities have in common that makes them so vastly different?

  • St. Louis - 1949
  • Detroit – 1962
  • Philadelphia – 1952
  • Chicago – 1931
  • New York City – 1971
  • Baltimore – 1967
  • Cincinnati – 1979
  • Newark – 1953
  • New Orleans – 1870 (Seriously? WTF?)
  • Oakland – 1977
  • Washington D.C. – NEVER

The numbers next to each city is the last year that they had a Republican mayor. Think we might have hit on something here?

To be fair, I did not count the Rudolph Giuliani era in NYC as it was more of an aberration. The old saying in NYC was that Christ himself couldn’t get elected mayor of NYC if he was a Republican. Truthfully, the last true Republican in NYC was Fiorello Laguardia in 1933. Giuliani won simply because the city hit rock bottom and had finally stopped digging. Michael Bloomberg was never a Republican, as evidenced by his own anti-gun / liberal policies, and John Lindsey was what would best be considered a RINO.

In my adopted home state of Illinois, every Monday brings another report of the weekend murders in Chicago. Over the Father’s Day weekend there were thirteen people killed and at least forty-two others wounded.  One weekend!  So far this year there have been 280 people killed and another 1,520 wounded. Do you even wonder why they call it Chiraq? In Chicago a person is shot, on average, every two hours and murdered every thirteen. You have a better chance of dying on the streets of Chicago then you do in Baghdad!

There comes a time when you have to stop blaming things and start blaming people.

The lefts clarion call for more gun control is a façade.  A dog whistle designed to focus your attention away from the real problem which is a complete breakdown in society. The cities with the highest violence are the same cities with the biggest ‘socio econimic’ problems and they are the same cities were Democrats keep getting re-elected.

The truth is that the politicians and pundits don’t have an answer for the individual, so they default back to gun control. They wring their hands, blame legal gun owners, pass even more restrictive gun laws (which only legal gun owners will obey) and then feign shock when things don’t change.

Here’s a newsflash, criminals really don’t care how many gun laws you pass……. They’re criminals!! Which is precisely the reason why those silly little ‘no gun’ placards have zero impact.

This is like a social experiment go awry, political correctness run amok.  We now live in an age where personal responsibility is in the middle of its death throes. Forty percent of all births are now to unmarried woman. Education levels are plummeting, incarceration rates are rising, and more people can’t find full-time work. Criminals are viewed as victims, while the police are viewed as criminals. We redefine terrorism as a hate crime, to make it seem more palatable, so we can turn away attention from the abject failures of the government. We are developing a mindset that we need the government to care for us from cradle-to-grave. Welfare is viewed as a right, while Social Security is viewed as an entitlement program.

But no, really, guns are the real problem.

We need to wake up and realize that we have been betrayed.

I remember back during the riots in Baltimore where a mother, Toya Graham, was caught on film slapping her son, after she saw him with a mask on and a brick in his hand, and pulling him out of a protest. I use the word protest loosely, because that’s the word the media used to explain the utter lawlessness that ran rampant through the city. I remember hearing a number of people calling for her to be investigated for what she did. Imagine that, a mother trying to get her child to act properly was going to be investigated. The media even asked her if she was concerned that she had embarrassed her son. Ms. Graham’s response: “Not at all, he was embarrassing himself by wearing that mask, that hoodie and doing what he was doing."

It’s amazing to me that, as we watched the city burn, the media’s concern was of a mother embarrassing her child by trying to get him away from the problem. Where are the rest of the Toya Graham’s of the world? Why have we abandoned the concept of personal responsibility? When did it become okay to blame the gun, but not the shooter?

As I said earlier, it is estimated that there are anywhere between 90 and 112 firearms per 100 people in the United States. The truth is that if gun owners were really as bad as we are made out to be, you’d know about.  

A recent report said that, over the past decade (2005-15), there were just over three hundred thousand gun related deaths in the United States. I think most people would agree this is incredibly high number, at least until you consider that it comes out to about thirty thousand a year. Of that number, less than 1/3 are attributable to homicides. Suicides and accidents comprise the other 2/3’s.

So what about the big bad Assault Rifles? Surely they must be responsible. I mean we are constantly being told that they are evil weapons of war that the politicians and media tout at every opportunity.  Well, beside the fact that they aren’t even actual Assault Rifles, the truth is they aren’t even used all that often. Of the roughly 8-9k gun related homicides each year, only around 300 were used. That’s all rifles, not just the evil AR-15 or AK-47. In fact, you have a better chance of being killed by knives, blunt objects or physical assault, than you are by a rifle.

But, but…. I just heard that the American Medical Association called gun violence a public health crisis and has asked the CDC to research it.”

Well If I was the AMA I would as well, that’s because they probably don’t want you looking at them.
Why you ask? Because what you probably don’t know is that each year there are an estimated quarter of a million deaths from medical malpractice. Some reporting agencies put the number as high as nearly half a million. Let that sink in for a moment the next time you go see the doctor. You are far more likely to die this year, as a result of medical malpractice, then you are in over a decade of all firearms deaths.

The truth is you are far more likely to die from: Medical Errors, Hospital Infection, Alcohol, Tobacco, Motor Vehicle Crashes, Suicide, Drunk Driving, Poisoning (unintentional), Accidents (unintentional), than you are by a firearm. Consider only rifles used in homicides and you can add walking, drowning, fire, malnutrition, and falling out of bed to the list of things that are more dangerous.  This doesn't even include the usual medical issues of: Cancer, Obesity, Stroke, Diabetes, Pneumonia, etc.

Perhaps we should ban all assault fast food....

So why all the screaming and gnashing of teeth then? Because they don’t like them.

That’s it, in a nutshell.

For a moment, I want you to take a long hard look at the media. I want you to make a mental note of each time you hear a report about guns. Are they reporting the news, or are they telling you a story? Once you realize just how widespread this anti-gun bias is, you’ll be shocked.

Just recently, the darling child of the media, Katie Couric, was investigated over a gun documentary she did. Rather than just present the show, in its entirety, Ms. Couric’s crew selectively edited it. When Couric asked the group a question, regarding the ability of convicted felons and those on the terror watch list to legally obtain a gun, there was dramatic eight-second silence, as the camera panned the faces of the gun owners,  implying that the group had no answer. The truth was that they had immediately responded to the question. Simply put, the documentary was craftily edited to make the pro-gun group look bad and to present you with their anti-gun agenda.

Immediately after the Orlando terror attack, the media was dispatched in droves to seek out the horrific weapon of war and show how easy it is to buy one. In their zeal, some took it a bit far. Several reporters gleefully recalled how they could purchase one. Of course no one had a criminal record, so it was tantamount to someone over the age of 21 proclaiming they had just purchased alcohol. I’m not sure what is so amazing about purchasing something legally. A CNN reporter confronted Florida Governor Rick Scott with this question:  “Yes, ISIS, terrorism could be to blame for this, but can you accept any responsibility for the gun laws here in Florida?”

Seriously? ‘Could be?’ What does it take for them to call this horrific act terrorism?

Once again we see that it is not about terrorism, not about the individual, but all about those bad scary guns.

A New York Daily News reporter went so far as to describe his shooting of an AR 15 as: “It felt to me like a bazooka and sounded like a cannon. But mostly, I was just terrified.”

Awesome,…… Just for the record, my kids enthusiastically shot them (along with that evil AK-47) as they were growing up, but not this middle-aged man who gleefully added: “The recoil bruised my shoulder, which can happen if you don't know what you're doing. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary form of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.”

PT FUCKING SD? Seriously?  

The writer then had to do a follow-up article, apologizing for his rather huge PTSD leap, which he then promptly used as a platform to attack those who called him out on his nonsense.  I’m sorry, but he knew what he was doing in his original article and the second was no better, but that’s the real problem. You see they just don’t like guns. They have this exaggerated fear of something and that is enough for them to decide that you can’t have it. If you disagree with them they berate you, or, as in the case of the reporter, if you call them out on their nonsense, they cry foul and run to the nearest safe-space. Sorry, you don’t get to have it both ways.

I spent over two decades in law enforcement, twenty with the NYPD, and I have owned firearms for over three decades. I have trained on and fired just about every handgun / rifle caliber from .22 to .308. I am also an NRA certified instructor. So who out there on the left is going to tell me that I don’t possess the pre-requisite capabilities and training to own these firearms? You would think that someone with my background would be opposed to these horrific weapons being in the hands of mere citizens, but you would be wrong. Gun ownership is a serious thing, but I firmly believe in the 2nd Amendment and the people’s right to keep and bear arms.

I often hear people saying “you don’t need guns like that.” I’m sorry, but where did you become the arbiter of such matters? Did they offer that as a minor study in your Social Justice Warrior degree program? Again, why are we taking advice from people who have no clue about what they are talking about? Whether you like it or not the 2nd Amendment really is about those guns.

Unlike you, I know the dangers we truly face in this world. Protection is just an illusion and one I witnessed first-hand on the mean streets of New York City. There were times when we would have four cops on patrol, two cars, for an area that had over a hundred thousand residents. Most crimes are reported, very few are actually stopped. Despite what a lot of people want you to believe: Safety is Not a Right. I’m not sure where this erroneous thought process ever arose, but even the courts have ruled that the police do not have an obligation to protect you. The 2nd Amendment however is an actual RIGHT, and it is precisely this right which allows you, the individual, to protect yourself from someone who means to do you harm.

I saw one Rolling Stone (you know, the same Rolling Stone that elevated Boston Marathon Bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, to rock star status on its cover) reporter opining that: “Just think of what would have happened in the Orlando night-club Saturday night if there had been many others armed. How would it not have devolved into mass confusion and fear followed by a large-scale shootout…”

That’s liberal, gun hating, logic on full display. No, it was so much better for the unarmed victims to all huddle together, in a state of panic, while the only person with a gun, a terrorist, casually slaughtered them. How foolish of me.

It’s almost as ironic as Presidential pal, and domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, a co-founder of the Weather Underground Organization, calling for more gun control. Hey, Bill, give us a call when you look to sponsor bomb control.


If you don’t like guns, then don’t own one, but don’t tell me that I can’t, because then we are going to have a problem. Like the old saying goes: “You can give peace a chance, I’ll cover you in case that doesn’t work out.”

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Importance of Reading my Novels in Order

The other day I was having a chat with one of my readers and it occurred to me that she had not read my books in order.  

Does that mean that you have to read them in order? No, but you should, if you want to get the most out of them.

When I started out, I had a vision for the direction that I was going to take the books.  Unfortunately, and you can blame my wife for this, that vision took a sort of detour when I wrote SmallTown Secrets. That book was only intended to be a short story, sort of like what I did with Cold Case, but my wife fell in love with the main character and it took on a life of its own.

So instead of having just the James Maguire series, we now have the Alex Taylor series. Each series is their own, but their stories also converge into the world of the other. 

The reason I suggest that you read them in order is that, while each book has its own storyline, they also contain sub-stories and characters who, while they might not be significant now, will play a larger role down the line.

That’s the fun of story-telling, you’re telling a story.  Even though it is fictional life, we know that life doesn’t end at the last chapter, it just moves on to the next book.

So pick up Perfect Pawn and start where it all began. You'll get the most of them that way and isn't that what reading is all about? 

I hope that you enjoy the journey! If you do, please don't keep it to yourself. Kindly tell a friend and leave a review. I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to authors when they get feedback from their readers. After all, we write for you.

If you’d like to stay up to date on the newest releases, then please like my Facebook page and feel free to follow me on Twitter.



Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Christmas Gift To You !! - Perfect Pawn

To celebrate Christmas this year, I have decided to play the part of Santa Claus and giveaway a free e-book copy of my debut novel, Perfect Pawn.

To get your copy, simply go to my Amazon author page on Christmas Day and choose the graphic for Perfect Pawn. The book will be free all day December 25th.

Thank you to my amazing fans for your continued support over the years. May you have a very blessed Christmas and may 2016 be a healthy and prosperous one for you all.

God Bless,
Andrew G. Nelson




Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cop Authors – Why should you read them?


First, I have to admit that I am somewhat biased, being both a retired NYPD sergeant as well as an author.  That being said, I think there is a very good reason why you should take a look at authors who have worn the badge.

Not to take anything away from folks like James Patterson, J.A.Konrath and Robert Parker, but one of the issues I have is that they only tell a tale that they have learned.  Prior to their success as authors, none had any actual experience in the genres they successful wrote.  Patterson was an advertising executive, Konrath is a college teacher and Parker was a professor.  

Granted, the tale is the important part and each of these three men do an outstanding job, but for me, and I am sure a lot of other cops, the details are the one thing that cannot be learned.  No, a detective is not going to tell a sergeant or lieutenant what to do, no matter how wildly popular your protagonist is. There is a thing called rank and, to reference the old acronym RHIP, it does have its privilege.  I know that because I had the honor of being both a detective and a sergeant during my career.

Cops experience things in a much different way than the rest of the world and as a result it affects the way they write. Someone who has never done that type of work is going to have a much more difficult time of painting that mental image for you as opposed to someone who has dealt with it a number of times. Cops talk a certain way, have certain mannerisms, and these are the things that separate the layman from the professional.

Now, there is certainly a strong argument that can be made that, while not every author could be a cop, not every cop should be an author. Just because you have a story to tell, doesn’t mean that you have the ability to tell it, but that can be said about a lot of authors. For every Joe Wambaugh (LAPD), Dan Mahoney (NYPD) or Bill Cauntiz (NYPD) there are a lot more who should have stuck to policing.  That being said, readers who enjoy getting an inside look into the ‘real’ world of policing are doing themselves a disservice by only reading books by establishment authors.

I encourage you to widen your horizons and take a closer look at some other police writers, such as my fellow indie authors: Wayne Zurl (Suffolk County, N.Y. PD), George P. Norris (NYPD), Kimberly McGath (Florida LEO).

Just leave a little room at the literary table for yours truly

If you’d like to stay up to date on the newest releases, then please like my Facebook page and feel free to follow me on Twitter.

Monday, December 21, 2015

A closer look at the 'Common Sense' gun laws

I’m not an asshole, at least I don’t try to be, but sometimes my posts can come off a bit snarky at times. I blame it on the NY’er in me and my sometimes failing attempt at humor, at least that’s what my loving wife calls it.

The reality is that I try to be as open as possible when it comes to other’s positions, but lately it seems as if all that happens in ‘discussions’ is an inevitable breakdown in communication which usually leads to such name calling as: Liberal Lunatic, Teabagger, etc..  Once that occurs, civil discussion goes right out the window.

Now as we get ready to close the book on 2015, and move into the last year of the President's term, It is anticipated that he will make a move to bi-pass Congress and begin enacting some form of gun control through Executive Action, which is a topic for another day.

So I decided that I would try and take a revised look at this whole ‘common sense’ gun law thing and explain the reasons why I believe this is not realistic.

So what exactly are the new ‘common sense’ gun laws that folks on the left are proposing?

  1.        Re-authorize the Assault Weapons Ban
  2.       Stricter background checks
  3.        Close the gun show loophole
  4.        Denying guns to folks on the terror ‘no fly’ list.
  5.       Ban large capacity magazines
  6.       Ban fully automatic weapons


I’m even willing to go out on a limb and throw in the old stand-by:

  1. No one is trying to confiscate your guns


For the record, I spent twenty-two years in law enforcement. I tend to be one of the folks that believe in the law and, more importantly, that our laws should be enforced. So you would think that I would be in favor of these ‘common sense’ gun laws, but I’m not and here is the reason why.

The Assault Weapons ban of 1994 restricted the manufacture, transfer, and possession of semi-automatic assault weapons except for: a) those already in lawful possession at the time of the law's enactment; b) 660 rifles and shotguns listed by type and name; c) permanently inoperable, manually operated, or antique firearms; rifles unable to accept a detachable magazine of more than five rounds; d) shotguns unable to hold more than five rounds in a fixed or detachable magazine; e) and those made for, transferred to, or owned by the U.S. government or a U.S. law enforcement agency.

The ban had outlined specific cosmetic features that would classify a firearm as an assault weapon. For example, rifles and shot guns could not have folding stocks, pistol grips, bayonet mounts (my particular favorite, it was just a small little hunk of metal for crying-out-loud), flash suppressors or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor (why, what was so inherently wrong with trying to cut down on muzzle flash?). The bill also went so far as banning an attachable grenade launcher. (Really? Another obscure little hunk of metal bites the dust).

The problem is that the ban defined the term ‘semi-automatic assault weapon,’ which is commonly shortened to assault weapon. Semi-automatic firearms shoot one round with each trigger pull. It was sort of a political shell game, because the term assault weapon was also commonly used to refer to some military weapons. The similar, but more technical accurate assault rifle, referred to military rifles capable of selective fire (Fully automatic, semi-automatic, and burst fire). What they didn’t tell you was that these weapons are considered Title II weapons and were already regulated by the National FirearmsAct of 1934 and Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. Neither the original ban, nor its expiration, changed the legal status of automatic firearms.

The reality is that the Assault Weapons Ban should be referred to as the Spooky Weapons Ban, because it is consistently portrayed in the media that way. Essentially, if it looks evil then it is evil. Unfortunately, it is tantamount to slapping a Lamborghini emblem onto a Prius and claiming it is a sports car.

Now, I can understand this confusion with the public. The fact is that our president doesn’t even understand it. After the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama referred to the weapon used as being fully automatic and he also seems to think that there is no apparent difference between assault weapons and machine guns. Likewise so does Hillary Clinton, who in 2008 called for sensible regulations to “keep machine guns away from folks who shouldn't have them” and has continued to champion for more restrictions. I guess our much vaunted former Secretary of State hasn’t heard of the National Firearms Act of 1934.

Interesting enough, after the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Gail Collins, of the New York Times, said that "the San Bernardino murderers were wielding assault rifles, with which they were able to fire an estimated 65-75 bullets in rapid succession." Collins also said that these assault weapons are "the armament of choice for mass shootings." The truth is they aren’t, as you will see in a moment. Collins was factually incorrect on both issues. So if the politicians and the press get it wrong, you can understand why the average citizen is confused.

How exactly did the much touted original ban workout? Well, not so well. Several academic studies, including the NRC, determined that the ban showed no clear impact on gun violence. The fact is that the pre-ban use of these types of weapons was rare to begin with. Their position was that, should the ban be reinstated, that  “its effects on gun violence would likely be small, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement, because rifles in general, including rifles referred to as ‘assault rifles’ or ‘assault weapons’, are rarely used in gun crimes.” A position which I can personally attest too, based on my career in law enforcement.

So, if a new ban won’t work, perhaps stricter background checks would. Ok, I’m going to take a step out onto the ledge here and say “psst….. I agree”. Okay, get up off the floor, it isn’t that shocking. In fact, I think a lot of folks would say that they feel as if there should be more stringent checks. The problem here is who is going to do it and what will it encompass? Right now, each state has their own criteria. I agree that should be amended, but you have to be intellectually honest and admit that the federal government doesn’t exactly shine here. Consider for just a moment that some of the 9/11 hijackers overstayed their visas. The Boston Marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was known to the FBI and was even being investigated for a triple homicide. One of the San Bernardino shooters, Tashfeen Malik, who came here on a K-1 visa and was fully vetted, but the address she gave in Pakistan was non-existent. Neither her, nor her husband, had any criminal record nor were either of them on any terrorist watch list. Now granted, while these are notorious examples, they still serve as a reminder that simply saying that people are ‘checked’ doesn’t really mean a lot. Let’s not forget that the agency you would think would be able to be the keeper of records, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, doesn’t exactly have a stellar record of being able to track guns used in their own sting operation.

But let’s just say that we somehow came up with an all-powerful, all-knowing, federal agency that could handle it. What should be on it? Or maybe we could come up with a list of those who shouldn’t be on it. Persons arrested for violent felonies? Yeah, that’s a good start, but wait, should it be arrested for or convicted of? What about the man (or woman, in this PC world we live in) who beats up/ threatens their spouse. That’s kinda clear cut, except when the spouse is lying. Believe me, it happens a lot. So should that person lose their firearm? Some on the left believe this doesn’t happen, but it does. Who decides when they get it back? Maybe if they are acquitted, that sounds good. But wait, what happens if the spouse decides to retract her allegation? If she / he says they lied, then the person should get their firearms back, right? What if she / he is lying about lying? This also happens, a LOT.
What about mental health? Oh wait, they are already excluded. Yeah, you say, but that’s not working. Okay, I see your point. Let’s create a database so we can flag them. Hold on, can’t do that, federal privacy laws. Wait, you mean that the same federal government that calls for more in-depth background checks won’t allow mental health to be included? Yep.

Let’s take those wild and wacky Texans for example. You know that radical right state that seems to love everything bigger and better. Over one million folks a year buy a gun in Texas and get the required background check. The checks look at a person’s criminal history, but not always their mental health record. You see, in Texas, court ordered commitments or guardianships must be reported, but, according to both Texas and federal law, information about a person’s emergency mental health detentions / warrants, protective custody orders, or drug / alcohol rehab services cannot be made public for a background check.

Well that sucks.

But realistically, how much impact would that make?

Well, if you were the victims of Jared Loughner, James Holmes, Adam Lanza, Aaron Alexis, Nidal Hassan, Dylann Roof, or Robert Dear, a lot. You see, none of them should have had weapons, which is of little consolation to the 72 dead and 113 injured.  

So what new common sense law would have prevented it? Sadly, none.

You see, medical records are kept private to encourage folks to get help, which is a great idea, except when they don’t. Unfortunately, the mental health community believes that any new laws could do more harm than good and they tend to vociferously object to the inclusion of those records. In a way it makes sense. Most people will suffer from a mental ‘issue’ in their lifetime, whether it is the death of a loved one, marital problems, or financial issues. The majority of people sort it out and move on, a small minority don’t. The mental health community will tell you that we should be very wary of stigmatizing the many, in an attempt to stop the few.

Kind of odd that you always hear the NRA being blasted for saying something similar, yet no one objects when it comes from the mental health community. I guess they have a better lobbing group.

Well, it doesn’t seem that we are any closer to coming up with a better system, so let’s move on to what many believe to be the real problem: The Gun Show Loophole.

I so want to make this a drinking game, but I’m afraid that I’d be too boxed, in too short a period of time, to actually be able to breathe on my own. Here is the truth: there is no gun show loophole. Despite what politicians and the media claim, existing gun laws apply just as much to gun shows as they do to any other place where guns are sold. Since 1938, persons selling firearms have been required to obtain a federal firearms license. It doesn’t matter whether a dealer sells from a storefront, a room in his house or a table at a gun show, the rules are the same. The dealer must get authorization from the FBI for the sale. The truth is that firearms are the most regulated consumer product in the United States, the only product for which FBI permission is required for every single sale.

So what’s the issue? Well, it stems from private sales. In some states, individuals do not have to run a check. You might think that is odd, but let’s just say my wife falls in love with my old .38 S&W revolver. I am pretty sure of her criminal history, as well as her mental health background, and she has the proper license to possess it, so do I really need to do a background check before I give it to her?  

Now many believe that this loophole is a really big thing and they cite some impressive numbers like “25-50 percent of the vendors at most gun shows are unlicensed dealers.”

Holy crap, call out the National Guard!!

Whoa, hold on, wait a moment, I’ve been to a lot of gun shows. This is one of those trick questions, or rather a trick statement (pay attention, you’ll see this again).

You see the number might be correct, but it’s the terminology that is the problem. They use the generic term ‘vendor’ to promote their claim. Unfortunately, for those of you, like me, who have gone to gun shows, it is more often than not that you have to wade through table after table of ‘vendors’ selling:  Candles, Cookies, Jerky, Books, Knives, Lights, Coins, Stamps, Surplus Military Gear, and an assortment of other crap that makes you wonder why they just don’t call it a flea market. In fact, an NIJ study once concluded that gun shows were such a ‘minor source of criminal gun acquisition’ that they were not even worth reporting as a separate figure.

Damn, this isn’t working out well. Let’s move onto something we can all agree on, denying folks on the terror ‘no fly’ list.

Last night the president asked congress to pass legislation that would strip anyone who was on the terrorism ‘no fly’ list of the ability to purchase a firearm in the United States. Senator Dianne Feinstein has also proposed a bill that would prohibit anyone, whose name appears on the list, from buying a firearm. A lot of folks are claiming that makes sense, after all, no one wants a terrorist to be able to buy a gun.  I mean how controversial could this be? If they have been placed on the ‘no fly’ list, surely they pose a significant threat and should be banned from owning a weapon. Right?  
I see you nodding your head in agreement. You have much to learn my little padawan.

First, we need to establish some basic information about the ‘no fly’ list, which is a component of the FBI’s terror watch list. The list, which came about after the 9/11 attacks, was founded on good intentions, but we know all about the road that is paved with those. The truth is that the ‘no-fly’ list is an unmitigated disaster. While there are many on the list that are connected to terrorism, nearly half of the names belong to people who don’t.

Wait, how is this possible you’re asking?

Well, like I said before, it started out with the best of intentions, but government seems to always find a way to screw things up, even when they aren’t trying. In the case of the ‘no fly’ list, some would believe they are trying.  

Take for example Stephen Hayes, a senior writer at The Weekly Standard. Mr. Hayes was added to the list simply because he booked a one-way trip to Istanbul for a cruise, and then returned to the U.S., a few weeks later, via Athens. Hardly grounds for someone to lose their right to own a firearm, but Mr. Hayes is a contributor on Fox so maybe…. No, perish the thought. How about priests, nuns, students and peace activists? Heck, in 2003 the New York Times railed against the Bush administration regarding the list, stating that some had been on the list simply for their liberal views. When President Bush left office the list contained nearly 50,000 names. Under the Obama administration this mangled, bureaucratic mess contains over 700,000. Not hearing much out of the NYT now however.

The truth is that all it takes is for the government to declare it has reasonable suspicion that someone could be a terrorist. In fact, it doesn’t even take the government. An anonymous source can make the claim.

The problem is that the list contains names, not identities, and has led to any number of misidentifications and confusion. As a result, innocent people, with no connection to anything remotely terror related, have found themselves smack dab in the middle of a nightmare. To make matters worse, there is no easy way to have one’s name removed from what amounts to a secret blacklist. I am certain that there are a number of folks who don’t even know they are on the list. Hell, former Senator, Ted Kennedy, and Congressman John Lewis were on the list. I won’t even begin to go into the details of the 18 month old child who was removed from a flight because she was on the list.

Under the Feinstein bill, those on the list would have their 2nd Amendment rights denied. Now there are some that say that our 2nd Amendment right is not absolute, and they are correct. Under the current law felons, fugitives, drug addicts and domestic abusers are prohibited from purchasing firearms. The sticking point is that those folks listed above are entitled to due process, before that right is taken away, a luxury not afford to those on the ‘no fly’ list. All that would be necessary is to have your name pop up on a list, because someone in the government said, without any probable cause, that it should be there.

Oh, and remember what I said before about the ‘no fly’ list being a component of the FBI’s terror watch list? Well then this should make your head spin. It’s been revealed that, in the course of an Inspector General investigation, the names of seventy plus members of the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Safety Administration, appear on the terror watch list. Do they have actual ties to terror or are they simply there by accident? I don’t know, but apparently neither does the TSA. If you couple this information along with the fact that OIG agents were able to get weapons past screening points in 95% of their exercises and it doesn’t exactly instill confidence in me to fly anytime soon.

I don’t know about you, but I thought this was going to be easier. I think I need a drink.
Let’s move on to banning large capacity magazines. Surely that’s something that shouldn’t be too controversial, right? Obviously, you’ve never loaded a magazine before. This matter sort of falls under the whole ‘spooky’ thing. Think about this for a moment. I am inclined to go on a shooting rampage, but the law says I can’t have a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds (7 rounds in New York). Damn, well there goes that rampage, said no one ever. Did you miss the part where I said 'I was inclined to go on a shooting rampage'? Do you really think that if I were limited to a 10 round magazine that I would somehow be less of a threat?

This is kind of a two-fer, and includes banning fully automatic weapons. First let us consider the weapon. The overwhelming majority, and I mean like 99.+% majority, involve semi-automatic weapons, not full auto. Why you ask? Well, because the overwhelming majority of folks that have the money to purchase full auto are really not the type that go out and commit crimes. So, let’s deal with the semi-automatic. It doesn’t matter whether you have ten rounds in the magazine, or thirty, or one hundred, you still have to pull the trigger to fire each round.  I once heard a reporter say that a particular ‘assault weapon’ could fire a staggering 800 rounds per minute. Sounds completely diabolical, where do I get one?

Again, this is the trick statement. While a particular weapon might be able to fire 800 rounds per minute, does the gun we are talking about have this ability? In the case of that reporter, the answer was no, it did not. Well, why not? Because the gun being talked about was the spooky semi-automatic gun. The 800 number is the cyclic rate, which is the technical rate of fire. Under mechanical conditions, at full auto, it can, but in semi-auto it’s not even remotely close. You would have to fire more than 13 rounds per second, without stopping, to achieve this number. I don’t know about you, but I have done more than my fair share of shooting and my trigger finger gets sore long before I ever hit this mythical number, and nowhere near in a one minute interval. You would also need twenty-six, 30 round, magazines to achieve this. Soldiers in Afghanistan don’t even carry that much ammo.

While we are on the topic of full-auto weapons I should let you know that, while they are capable of firing that way, the VAST majority of people who shoot, or have shot them, will tell you that almost no one does. Why? Well, if you are paying for your own ammo, the bill racks up pretty quickly. Add that to the fact that full-auto ain’t worth shit if you are trying to hit an actual target, hence the motto ‘spray and pray’. So realistically, just because it can, doesn’t mean you will. In my experience, the 3 round burst is the better choice.

So why shouldn’t we ban large capacity magazines? I guess the real question is why should we?
To be fair, this is a personal thing. I don’t like to reload; frankly it’s a pain in the ass, or at least a pointer finger. In the grand scheme of things, if I am so inclined to commit a heinous act, it won’t matter to me. I can reload from three 10 round magazines almost as quickly as I can fire from one 30 round. The average shooter will probably be a bit slower, but at that point it’s almost academic.
So where does that leave us? Well, no closer to a resolution, but I at least hope you have seen things in a different light.

Oh wait, I almost forgot my add-on, the old no one is trying to confiscate your guns story.

You know, there was a time when that wasn’t true. In fact it was actually only a couple of days ago. The New York Times said as much in their editorial. They are not the first and they certainly won’t be the last. To be clear, the word is not used, that would be bad optics. Gun confiscations rarely go over well, just ask those who witnessed it in my previous post. So they use passive words like surrendering for the good of all, or they issue notices that your weapons are now illegal and you need to turn them in. It’s the ‘rose by any other name’ syndrome.

But is the idea of gun confiscation really the manifestation of some right-wing nut job seeing government conspiracies behind every corner? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

I am reminded of the old adage: Once is a mistake. Twice is a pattern. Three times is a habit.

In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Confiscation Act, authorizing federal troops to begin confiscating weapons in preparation for military re-conquest of the South.

In 1890, at the height of the American Indian relocation effort, U.S. Troops, confiscated the weapons from the Sioux at Wounded Knee. After they were disarmed, the troops shot and killed nearly 300 of them.

In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt used the attack at Pearl Harbor to justify the mass confiscation of guns, and other property, from people deemed ‘enemy aliens’ all over the United States.  After the confiscation, the disarmed individuals were rounded up and placed in concentration camps.

Most recently, in 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans launched a wholesale, door-to-door, gun confiscation under the declaration of martial law. Members of the New Orleans Police Department, as well as the National Guard, went door to door securing these weapons. Over 1,000 firearms were seized, and untold numbers of people, houses, and vehicles were aggressively searched in the process.  Residents, who had already suffered the hardships of the hurricane, were left vulnerable and defenseless by the government that had thus far shown they were unable to protect them.

Following the disaster, the government promised that gun confiscation would never happen again.  But the reality is that such guarantees aren’t worth the paper they are printed on during a crisis situation.  As the above shows, the guaranteed rights in the constitution have certainly not been upheld in the past, so why should one more promise prevent future gun confiscation?

Gun confiscation is an ugly term and is proving to be damning to those seeking higher office. Many gun owners are concerned, and rightfully so. There are many who feel strongly about removing firearms and make no bones about it, you only have to turn on the TV and see a whole host of pundits and politicians championing this. But even if they stop talking about confiscation, does that mean the threat is really gone? No.

Here is what I know.

Microstamping legislation was passed in California AB 1471 and signed into law on October 14, 2007. D.C. is the only other place to adopt similar legislation and is set to enforce it next year. Similar legislation is also under consideration in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

Microstamping is a ballistics identification technology whereby microscopic markings are engraved onto the tip of the firing pin and onto the breech face of a firearm with a laser. When the gun is fired, these etchings are transferred to the primer by the firing pin and to the cartridge case head by the breech face, using the pressure created when a round is fired. At face value, most people would say that’s a great idea. Sadly, they would also be wrong. There are a number of variables which make this issue problematic from a law enforcement standpoint: a) Discarded brass, such as that from a firing range, could be misused, providing false evidence and increasing the workload for investigators. b) Firing a large number of rounds will eventually wear down the microstamp. c) Microstamping is relatively new, with a single source provider, and has not been subjected to sufficient testing.

The reality is that this was an end run. Rather than ban guns outright, the state of California created a de facto ban, where they simply eliminated new gun sales.  Gun manufacturers Smith & Wesson and Ruger have already stopped selling to California.

San Bernardino shows that, despite it being a direct terrorist threat, the narrative was immediately turned toward gun control. The fact that California has some of the nations’ most stringent ‘common sense’ gun laws on the books meant nothing to the two criminals who were so inclined to break the law. Gun laws also don’t mean anything to those suffering from mental illness.

For decades we have had what amounts to a revolving door justice system that has taught felons, old and young, that laws will not be enforced. It’s the same reason why a few weeks back, in New York City, Junior Regis, a member of the Brooklyn’s Most Wanted gang, with a lengthy rap sheet including robbery, was nabbed for the 2nd time in just ten days for gun possession. After the 2nd arrest, prosecutors recommended that Regis be held without bail or be given a $500,000.00 bail. Much to their surprise, the judge released Regis on $1,000.00 which he promptly posted.

To many this might be a bit of a shock, but to those of us in law enforcement, who have seen this same scenario play out time and again; it is nothing more than business as usual. Despite the incredible amount of gun laws, already on the books, the criminal justice system seemingly refuses to incarcerate offenders for them. Yet, we, the law abiding gun owners, are constantly being told, by this administration, that what we simply need to fix our gun problem is more gun laws.


In the immortal words of Rahm Emanuel: "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

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