Looking for Perspective

This is a discussion on Looking for Perspective within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Bumper/Moderator feel free to move this thread to Off Topic, but I thought it was more pertinent here. I know we have a lot of ...

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Thread: Looking for Perspective

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    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Looking for Perspective

    Bumper/Moderator feel free to move this thread to Off Topic, but I thought it was more pertinent here. I know we have a lot of military and former military here who might know something I don't, plus a whole lot of people who are just more wise to the ways of the world than I am.

    There are certain times in life the perspective of a complete stranger is valuable, especially one that will be honest with you and harshly tell you if you're full of crap. Or if you're biting off more than you can chew. It's odd I can discuss this anonymously over the internet but if I seriously mentioned it to anyone I knew, they'd freak out and beat me for it. I can't rationally discuss this with anyone who actually knows me. My family would panic, my friends would insult me for it, and my co workers don't need to know.

    Basically, I've come out of college having worked my way through it and spent another year in continuing education courses getting certified to educate while working. Basically it was either stop working completely for a semester and then take 6 more hours to become certified, or work and go to school at the same time for a year.

    Not to be a sob story, but I have two siblings going to school right now and my parents were quite clear I needed to get out of their financial picture entirely. Don't get me wrong, it was nothing against me, but the fact is as a parent I too would rather throw a 22 year old to the wolves than I would a 17 year old. Well even that makes it sound more harsh than it really was. I chose to strike out on my own but I did it for the sake of my parents and siblings. They'd have thought no less of me if I hadn't.

    I chose to work and study, as my car cratered on me just weeks before college graduation and I spent my life savings replacing it. I didn't really have a choice. Anyway this lasted for about 18-19 months. As of August 2005, I was freed of it. I completed the program and I have the state certification and I got paid to earn it.

    Anyway I finally got myself in a position where I'm my own entity for better or worse, standing on my own two feet and all that. And I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I don't relish being overworked and busy all the time, but now that I don't have the dual responsibilities any more for the first time in my life, I feel like I'm wasting time. You know, like I should be doing something more. Yeah sure I finally have a real job (I'm sorry but I don't consider my previous employment at the lumberyard as serious of an obligation).

    So I figure, heck, why not go to grad school? And damn if I can't foot the bill. And I'm not so sure I want to fly back into formal school at this point anyway. I think education comes in myriad forms. I have this philosophy inspired by the end of Hamlet: the only people who come out alive are a scholar and a soldier. I think the idea person is a little bit of both. So I have started looking at the options. And today, one of them flew up and hit me in the face.

    I've always had the utmost respect for anybody who is former or current military because that's not something I'd want to do. It's nothing against the military, I don't hate the government, I don't have any ridiculous hippy ideas, I just don't want to do it. I'm able to accept that the people in the military selflessly do their job so that people like me can do another job. And I figure if I can teach future soldiers how to add two numbers together and let them know that there is life after high school and they should consider their military options, I'm doing my little part. I go to recruiters and pick up materials to hand out late in the school year. I figure that's just being a good civilian citizen.

    And honestly, if I was military, I'd be a grunt. I don't have any special skills the military would find useful. No one on a battlefield needs a long column of numbers added together NOW. I could do that for 2 years if I really had to, but I'd count down the days until I could get out.

    I say that to let you know how weird I feel for considering this, but I am honestly considering if I should contact a National Guard recruiter.

    I know, I know, there's probably a million guys like me who think "Hey it's not the real army..."

    Well I don't think that per se. I realize that being in National Guard means that when something like Katrina happens, you don't get to go hang out with your buddies and talk about what you've seen in the news. You get to roll out there, get shot at, have people scream at you, and spend 2 weeks, miss work, and get your pay docked. You have a very dangerous, very serious, and very real obligation.

    I also realize that I am very fortunate to have found an enterprise where I can work and make a living that I actually enjoy. I don't wish to abandon it. I'm surrounded every day by people who were needlessly miserable for decades until they finally stumbled into their niche. I don't want a second career, I just want some way to use my free time to make some more money or improve my education or both. I've spent my whole life doing lots of crap I didn't like to do so I could do the stuff I do enjoy doing. Well that's life in general. If you want to do anything good you have to do a lot of stuff you aren't going to enjoy.

    I'd considered conventional part time employment, but honestly unless it was all weekends and summers, it wouldn't work, and for various logistic reasons it just would never work out. I even considered a turnkey business, but they're all very risky investments requiring lots of startup funds.

    I'll also just be honest and say it would seriously mess me up right now if I had to ship off to God knows where for 8 months at a time. A couple of years or maybe just one year from now I could probably deal with it, but not right now. The Reserve is not an option for that reason because with the current shortage that's precisely what would happen. I know that's an awful selfish attitude to have, but like I said, I'm not interested in making this the permanent focus of my life. That's just not me. I realize that could happen with the NG too, but it's just not as likely. I'd really have to sit down and think real hard about this if I go any further. I realize there are no guarantees expressed or implied that I wouldn't be told "Time to go to Bosnia for 6 months."

    The Guard on the other hand often at least stays in the US and even the worst SHTF disaster doesn't happen all the time and even then it is very likely it won't go longer than a month or two. I can accept that in its entirety. And just recently they have publically said they're goint to make sure most of the Guard doesn't go overseas so that we're not defenseless here at home.

    The other thing is, if you sign on for enough years (six I think), they will pay for your graduate school. I didn't know this until today. I thought the Montgomery Bill was only for kids who didn't have any degrees yet. There's other benefits too, like did you know 6 years of Guard service lets you get VA loans? I've honestly wondered how someone on my income is ever supposed to afford property. Life insurance, you can go on bases, all sorts of benefits. Not a lot in the way of actual pay, but I'm a teacher. I don't get paid very much anyway.

    The other thing is, yes it's more dangerous than pulling down the graveyard shift as a butter boy at the all night pancake house, but at least if your "real" job and your "part time" job ever conflict, it would look really really bad for your "real" job to try to fire you because you had to go help hurricane victims for 7 weeks.

    Plus honestly, it doesn't seem all that bad in comparison to some of the other things I could do. I wouldn't mind going to Lousiana and trying to help those people, I just wouldn't want to do it every single day of my life from now until I'm too old to do it any more. I'm not going to drive out there tomorrow and do that out of the goodness of my heart, but if that was my job I'd do it. I actually kind of miss doing more physical work sometimes as silly as that sounds. I don't like the toil but I do like moving around and feeling the sense of accomplishment that I'm doing something.

    And I can't deny it, I'm obsessed with the idea I need basic SHTF training and experience. I spend my time littering this and other forums with my thoughts on personal defense and urban survival. So I think on some level I'd actually enjoy learning what the NG could teach me even if I hated actually doing it. I mean heck, people actually pay lots of good money to go to Gunsite and be put through Basic Carbine for a week. I'd finally learn how to work an M16, well a little bit at least.

    Come on, I used to pick up human poop off of a floor for $5.25 an hour and I survived that. Don't ask, but let's just say if I hadn't supplied my own gloves and sticks I'd not have had any cleaning equipment. Nothing can be much more degrading than that.

    I'm afraid to contact a recruiter even though I know that's the logical next step. For one thing I'm not what they're looking for. Oh I figure I'm in decent enough shape (I've seen full time military in worse shape than I'm in) and they'd give me lots of good excercise anyway to fix that problem. But dang man, I'm old. They're looking for fresh faced 17 year old kids with no other obligations not some 24 year old upstart with a degree and a serious full time job trying to use Uncle Sam to get ahead. Even worse, I know these recruiters and how they think. I'd never have a moment's peace even if I decided "You know what, this ain't gonna work for me."

    And that may happen anyway. I might find out they want me to go to boot camp for 16 weeks and then go to some training school for 24 more and I can't do that. I also realize the school district I work for has no provisions made for employees to be teachers and anything else at the same time. If I get stuck somewhere and don't have leave to cover it, I'd get docked plain and simple. I don't think they'd fire me because the local community would be outraged, plus my boss is a good guy. I know he wouldn't do that. But that's still an issue.

    So what do you guys know about the National Guard? Should I seriously consider this, or can you already tell this isn't for me at all?

    The whole thing may simply go nowhere even if I do take the next step and I realize that. I might find another opportunity. Or I might find out that I am not eligible for some reason or I can't fit the training into my schedule or something. But right now, should I risk being harassed by recruiters for the next decade and just go for it, or is this a flat out really bad idea? I hope I've made it clear that I'm not looking for another career, I'm just considering being a civilian in the Guard.

    And I suppose, as always, the choice is mine. That's what being an American is all about I guess.
    Last edited by Euclidean; September 20th, 2005 at 11:50 PM.

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    Consider your options carefully. Find as much info as ya camn about what your NG job may be, what your current employers have done with others in the NG (if any) and decide what you really want to do. NG does wind up oversees deployed BTW. I understand yor dilemma . I have been working odd jobs for a while and would have hired for security in New Orleans , except I have 2 kids to care for. Your choice need to be well thought out ,whatever ya do. Good luck.

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    Thumbs up Great Thread Euclidean

    A Look Inside The Euc.

    Have you thought about this worthwhile & rewarding endeavor as a possible career alternative?
    Not as a volunteer but, as paid staff.
    Just something for you to consider as they are always "Right There" when the SHTF. I think you would fit right in.
    It's well worth a shot to see what jobs are available for a person with your obvious intelligence & talent, in combination w/ your great human compassion. As a plus you would not have any recruiters hounding you if you decided that it was not for you.
    It sure could not hurt to contact them.
    If they're NOT looking for people exactly like you...then they ought to be!
    Just my opinion.

    Click Here To Check It Out.

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    Senior Member Array tanksoldier's Avatar
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    Let me say this up front: If you join any of the military services right now you WILL deploy to the sandbox for a year or more sooner or later... probably sooner. The Guard does NOT stay in the US... right now the old Bosnia/ Serbia peacekeeping mission is almost totally a Guard project, and there are huge numbers of Guard units in Iraq and Kuwait right now... an old California Guard unit of mine just processed thru here a few weeks ago headed for Kuwait... bumped into a few old friends in the messhall on post. Also, if you join any military at some point you will be hungry, cold, wet and tired... and probably scared out of your mind. At some point you will also be hot, sweaty, thirsty, tired, and bored out of your mind.

    If you go Reserve or Guard you'll have to select from jobs that are in your local area... but most units have most job types available. Infantry units still have medics, mechanics, cooks, admin and commo. You won't just be a "grunt" unless that's what you want... the military will teach you the job you select... prior skills are irrelevant (almost). You'll attend the same basic raining and job schools as active duty Soldiers. Since you have a degree, however, I'd suggest getting a commission as an officer.

    One way out of your mess, if you plan on going to Grad school full-time is ROTC. Most people think of ROTC as being for undergrads, but the requirement is that you be a full-time student... grad school counts. You can either go for a scholarship, or the SMP program. The scholarship will go a long ways toward paying your tuition, but doesn't cover books. In SMP (simultanious membership program) you attend monthly drill with a Reserve or Guard unit and act as a junior officer. It pays you as an E-5 (same as a buck sergeant), or about $200 per weekend. You also get a monthly stipend from ROTC, about another $200 IIRC. While you're in ROTC you won't deploy outside the US even if your SMP unit does, though you might get sent on disaster relief missions and the like.

    Another option is Officer Candidate School, since you have an undergrad degree. The Active Army has something called the OCS enlistment option, where you are interviewed and accepted for OCS before you enlist... if you aren't accepted you don't enlist. Don't belive the recruiter when he tells you it isn't available or that you should enlist and then try for OCS later... he just doesn't want to do the paperwork, trust me. There's also a flight school enlistment option that will make you a warrant officer and pilot. For these two options you will attend basic training, then go to OCS or WOCS instead of an enlisted specialty school. If you graduate from that for OCS grads you'll go to the Officer's basic course in your branch (Infantry, Armor, Engineer, Artillery, Air Defense, Intelligence, etc), WOCS grads will go to flight school at Ft Rucker, AL.

    The Reserve and Guard also have OCS programs, and I'm pretty sure they have OCS enlistment programs like the Active Army. They also have the flight school program.

    Despite what you may have been led to believe you school district DOES have to have a policy for emplyees who are reservists/ guardmembers. They have to by law. At the very least they have to let you take unpaid leave when on military duty. If you're gone less than 4 years they have to give you your job back with full seniority, including any raises or promotions you would have received in that time. This is true even if you leave to enter the Active Army... don't quit, tell them you're taking a leave of absence. If you officially quit, no job when you get back. Ask around, I'm sure there are some teachers there who paid for school thru the military & are still serving.

    One option that is often overlooked is the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve. They have good programs as well, and do vital work.

    Good luck, and if you have any questions email or PM me.
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight." GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

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    So I have started looking at the options. And today, one of them flew up and hit me in the face.
    <SNIP> I go to recruiters and pick up materials to hand out late in the school year. I figure that's just being a good civilian citizen.
    That is an option, and just talking doesn't commit you to anything.

    And honestly, if I was military, I'd be a grunt. I don't have any special skills the military would find useful. No one on a battlefield needs a long column of numbers added together NOW.
    Not everyone is a grunt, you could end up as a "cannon cocker" which may require more math, or any one of a couple hundred other jobs, according to TV ads!

    I know, I know, there's probably a million guys like me who think "Hey it's not the real army..."
    Not these days............

    I'll also just be honest and say it would seriously mess me up right now if I had to ship off to God knows where for 8 months at a time. A couple of years or maybe just one year from now I could probably deal with it, but not right now. The Reserve is not an option for that reason because with the current shortage that's precisely what would happen.

    The Guard on the other hand often at least stays in the US
    I fear you'd better read the papers on this one. I think there are more National Guard units overseas now than any time since WWII.

    The other thing is, if you sign on for enough years (six I think), they will pay for your graduate school. I didn't know this until today. I thought the Montgomery Bill was only for kids who didn't have any degrees yet. There's other benefits too, like did you know 6 years of Guard service lets you get VA loans? I've honestly wondered how someone on my income is ever supposed to afford property. Life insurance, you can go on bases, all sorts of benefits. Not a lot in the way of actual pay, but I'm a teacher. I don't get paid very much anyway.
    Yup there are some good "bennies". I went in after being "asked" to leave high school, and when I left I had a BS from the University of Maryland, and a MS from USC, all at very reduced rates!!

    It is an option, but it could be a very deadly one! Good luck with what ever you decide.
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

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    Euc - a fascinating insight into your thoughts and reasoning etc. I feel privelaged to have been allowed to share in that.

    Tank has added way more useful stuff than I ever could but - certainly it is plain you need input to help along your decision-making process. Hopefully things will become clearer over time.

    Maybe one of the few advantages to being an ol' phart - are - I am no longer having to wrestle with such dilemmas!
    Chris - P95
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    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    Euc, I have read your post several times now.(I wish somebody would tell me how to post a quote. Sorry,but can't sem to figure it out.) With due respect,I feel that you want somebody to help pay for you continueing education. You,IMO,should not join the military,even the reserves or NG. Not once in your rather long post did you mention,duty to country,or an honor to serve,or to help your fellow Americans,etc. You are worried about how long you will have to be gone. Where you will have to go.What kind of training you will get(have to endure). If your just "looking to be a civilian in the Guard",you (IMO) need to just stay a civilian. After all, you said,"--I just don't want to do it." If you join you will be put on active duty for more than the"8 months" that you talked about above. You will go to the sandbox. You will have to live like the other soldiers live. You will be shot at. If you sir,want to do this for your PRIDE,and YOUR COUNTRY,then go for it. If you simply want someone to pay for your college education maybe a bank would be more apropriate. To be an educator ain't so bad. Your helping society. You should be very proud.---------

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    JT
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    Quote Originally Posted by RSSZ
    With due respect,I feel that you want somebody to help pay for you continueing education....

    If you simply want someone to pay for your college education maybe a bank would be more apropriate.
    No mater what his motives are for joining, he is not getting “somebody to pay for his education”. The education benefit is part of his total compensation package from the Military, it is not a hand out from the tax payers. He will earn those education dollars just like he will earn his guard pay. It’s the same thing as your health care benefits at work. They are not a hand out, they are part of the compensation that you earn.
    Last edited by JT; September 21st, 2005 at 02:12 PM.
    Blessed be the Lord my rock who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1

    Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    RSSZ - for you - ''quotes 101''

    If you use the full (advanced) reply window then above message box to the right is a small icon like a sheet of paper. Click on that and in the mini window insert the quote material and Ok it. It goes into your main message reply.

    To quote just a line or two - swipe your mouse cursor over said text with left click held until it is all highlighted then right click on it and ''copy'' (or ctrl+C). That gets it on clipboard. Then in the quote mini window place cursor and right click "paste" (or CTRL+V).

    The other way is to use the 'quote' in quick reply or just make sure your quote text is surrounded by quote tags. Normally you'd use "[]" square braces but I'll illustrate here with curlies - {quote} your quote text{/quote}.

    So if I quote from your post above - {quote}I wish somebody would tell me how to post a quote{/quote} but add the square braces we should get ....
    I wish somebody would tell me how to post a quote


    Does that help!?

    BTW - another dig dude - try splitting your message into paragraphs - it's SO much easier to read
    Chris - P95
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    To quote just a line or two - swipe your mouse cursor over said text with left click held until it is all highlighted then right click on it and ''copy'' (or ctrl+C). That gets it on clipboard. Then in the quote mini window place cursor and right click "paste" (or CTRL+V).
    P95,

    Thanks for the quote tips. I've always wondered how to do a partial quote, but was too embarrassed to ask.


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

    Rudyard Kipling


    Terry

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    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    JT, I was not trying to say that anybody was looking for a handout,welfare,etc. Sorry if anybody took it that way. I simply believe that Euc is looking at the military for the wrong,primary, reason. I'm sure that he is just as much a man as the rest of us. The military is for some people and for others it is not. For him,I believe,it is not.----P95 Thank you sir,will give it a try. Will print out your posted info and save.------

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    JT
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    Quote Originally Posted by RSSZ
    JT, I was not trying to say that anybody was looking for a handout,welfare,etc. Sorry if anybody took it that way. I simply believe that Euc is looking at the military for the wrong,primary, reason. I'm sure that he is just as much a man as the rest of us. The military is for some people and for others it is not. For him,I believe,it is not.----P95 Thank you sir,will give it a try. Will print out your posted info and save.------
    Ok. I just wanted to clarify, because some people seem to have the view that college money from the military is some sort of hand out. It is very much compensation earned. I'm guessing that you agree from this post.
    Blessed be the Lord my rock who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1

    Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    JT, 10-4,I agree. I used some of the old G.I Bill to go to school,just before and just after I retired. However,I joined while in H.S. to fight for my country. I did,and I'm proud of it. I wouldn't change that for the world. If I got some(almost) free schoolin' for being in the service that,to me,was incidental. I did not join thinking,"what can I get them to pay for".-----------

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    JT
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    Thank-you for your service to our country RSSZ.

    (salute)
    Blessed be the Lord my rock who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1

    Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euclidean
    ...I've always had the utmost respect for anybody who is former or current military because that's not something I'd want to do. It's nothing against the military, I don't hate the government, I don't have any ridiculous hippy ideas, I just don't want to do it...And honestly, if I was military, I'd be a grunt. I don't have any special skills the military would find useful. No one on a battlefield needs a long column of numbers added together NOW. I could do that for 2 years if I really had to, but I'd count down the days until I could get out...I say that to let you know how weird I feel for considering this, but I am honestly considering if I should contact a National Guard recruiter...I don't want a second career, I just want some way to use my free time to make some more money or improve my education or both...I'll also just be honest and say it would seriously mess me up right now if I had to ship off to God knows where for 8 months at a time...
    Euc,

    There are lots of ways to fill the empty spaces in your life. There are lots of ways the military could use your mathematical skills. There are lots of potential skills you have that you are not even aware of.

    You are at an amazing time in your life. What do you want to be when you grow up?

    Please do not join the military, in any form, unless you are ready and willing to be ordered to serve your country and put your life on the line on foreign soil. Many an enlisted soldier has looked at his or her posted orders with astonishment and dawning realization that the reality of reserve or guard service was very different from what the recruiter said. You cannot join the military assuming that you will not be deployed or placed on extended active duty. If you are prepared to serve your country, then I expect there are many ways the military could put you to good use. They will test you and find out what skills you have. You might be surprised how mathematicians and analysts can be employed in the military.

    Want to expand your horizons? Fill some of that empty space in your life by volunteering. Learn to be an EMT or firefighter or reserve police officer. Joing a CERT team. Lend your analytical skills to a non-profit. Join the Red Cross. They all need your time and talents, and they can all teach you something important and useful.

    Want to further your education? Grad school is one way. Community College is another way to broaden your horizons and learn new, practical skills at relatively low cost.

    Basic SHTF skills come in many forms.

    Pay particular attention to what tanksoldier said.
    - Tom
    You have the power to donate life.

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