30 December, 2009

Public hospitals now unsecure




Image: Oleg Volk
In the past few days, patients have been attacked at two public hospitals, with doctors, patients and nurses having to scamper for their lives. Hospital security was no help.

In one incident at the Sangre Grande Hospital, a man was stabbed by a gang who entered the hospital unchallenged by security. Eleven security officers were on duty at the time.

In another incident, three young women (including two teens) stabbed a woman while she was awaiting medical care at the Port of Spain General Hospital. The three assailants were arrested and charged with attempted murder and placed on $5,000 bail each.

It seems we now have to defend ourselves and family members at the nations public health institutions, since the assigned security officers are unwilling, or unable. Expect a knee-jerk response from the health ministry (or the RHAs) disarming law-abiding visitors and patients, while leaving the armed criminals untouched.

28 December, 2009

SurvivalBlog reader recommends airgun practice





He got the idea from his brother who shoots airguns at home, indoors.

Firearms shooters are now waking up to truths airgunners were aware of decades ago. The cost factor aside, airguns are much quieter, and therefore can be shot indoors without disturbing the neighbours (unless you lived in a thin-walled apartment building). Also, it's just good fun, while building an important skill, that is easily transferable to firearms.

Try practicing with your favourite 9mm pistol at home, and see how quickly the Organised Crime Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (ONFCB) arrive at through your door. Our laws prohibit us from shooting a firearm "within forty metres of any public road" (16:01Firearms Act 11-1). Fortunately, no such prohibition extends to airguns.

Another plus is we aren’t forced to take our guns down to the T&T Forensics Science Centre and have its ballistic fingerprint taken, logged and placed in a database for other sovereign governments to access, over the internet, at will.

So, to all T&T firearms owners who are just waking up to the benefits of airguns, we say welcome aboard. It’s a fun journey.

25 December, 2009

Volcanic eruption



Pyroclastic flows at Mayon volcano.

The Mayon volcano near Legazpi City, about 500km south-east of Manila, Philippines, erupted at dawn on Thursday. Thousands of evacuees are expected to spend Christmas in different evacuation centres after the country's most active volcano began spewing ash last week.

Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is an active stratovolcano in the province of Albay, in the Bicol Region, on the island of Luzon, in the Philippines. Known as the "perfect cone" because of its almost perfect conical shape, Mayon is situated 15 kilometres northwest of Legazpi City.

Over 9,000 families (44,394 people) have been evacuated by the Philippine government from the base of the volcano. No one is allowed to enter the 10 km danger zone, which is cordoned off by the Philippine military.

This led me to think of the active volcanoes in the Caribbean archipelago. Below is a list compiled after a brief search. There may be more. I’ve not listed any on the South or Central American mainland.


Volcano name/height/coordinate/last eruption year

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Soufriere         1220m         4003ft         13.33°N 61.18°W            1979

St Lucia
Qualibou         777m/2549ft         13.83°N 61.05°W          1766

SKN
Mount Liamuiga         1156m/3793ft         17.37°N 62.80°W         160
Nevis Peak            985m/3232ft         17.15°N 62.58°W         Holocene

Montserrat
Soufriere Hills         915m/3001ft         16.72°N 62.18°W         2009

Guadeloupe
La Grande Soufrière  1467m/4813ft           16.05°N 61.67°W              1977

Grenada
Kick 'em Jenny         -168         -607         12.300°N 61.640°W         2001
Mount Saint Catherine         840m         /2,756ft         12.15°N 61.67°W         unknown

Dominica
Morne aux Diables          861m         /2825ft          15.612°N 61.43°W         Holocene
Morne Diablotins         1430/4692ft         15.502°N 61.397°W         Holocene
Morne Plat Pays         940m/3084ft         15.255°N 61.341°W         1270
Morne Trois Pitons     1387m/4550ft         15.37°N 61.33°W              920
Morne Watt           1224m/4016ft         15.307°N 61.305°W         1997

Martinique
Mount Pelée 1,397m  4,583ft   14°490N 61°100W   1929–1932

Regarded as the deadliest volcanic disaster of the 20th century, Pelée killed over 30,000 Martiniquans in 1902. The cloud of gas and solid matter extruded by the eruption incinerated the entire town of St. Pierre and all but two of its 28,000 inhabitants. The volcano spewed a smoke column continuously for 11 months after the event.

If (more likely when) any of these active volcanoes erupts, we will have to deal with an immediate influx of our Caribbean neighbours looking for real help. Do we have a plan?

21 December, 2009

The coming food scarcity



Would you want your mother, sister or daughter lining up for emergency food supplies?

It is estimated by some that food will become scarce in 2010-2011. US Dept of Agriculture trend forecasts support this view. If this is true, then the laws of supply and demand will kick in and food prices will rise dramatically.

Eric deCarbonnel, editor of MarketSceptics.com reports on soaring food prices in India, the world’s largest democracy, with 1 billion people.

“Slogan-shouting lawmakers demanding that the government control rising food prices have disrupted parliament on several occasions in recent days. 

Food prices have been soaring at an unprecedented pace. Government data shows they have risen to a nearly 20 percent high over last year - the fastest rate of increase in over a decade.
”

In his 17 Dec 2009 post, titled “2010 Food Crisis for Dummies” deCarbonnel predicts a 2010 food crisis that he says will lead to a “financial Armageddon”.
Using official records and statistics, and a mix of historic figures and forecasts, deCarbonnel makes some stunning observations and predictions.

During 2007-2009 Trinidad and Tobago experienced constant, monthly rising food prices. The government used a series of strategies to try to alleviate the effect on consumers. This included lifting Value Added Tax on several food items, including milk, curry, saltfish and a number of other imported food items.

Many times, these strategies failed as supermarket owners and other merchants refused to pass on these savings to consumers. Food inflation ran up to 40% YoY in some cases. I remember seeing rice at double the ‘normal’ price. Rice is a daily staple in our country.

With more expected food inflation in 2010 and beyond, it is wise to prepare now. Take advantage in the temporary lull in food price increases and stock up now. Rice, flour, powdered milk, tinned foods (especially the Cuisine brand, sold at HiLo supermarkets). Stockpiling these items will allow your family a little breathing space should something unexpected happen. Just use a permanent marker and mark the expiry date on top each tin. Rotate out several months before expiry.

Growing your own food is best, and for those without large tracts of land, then a kitchen garden is homegrown food security. The Agriculture Ministry has a program that gives you a start in this area.

Just remember, no matter how much food you grow or stockpile, it will be of no use should someone else come and take it from you by force. Develop a strategy to protect your loved ones and supplies. For those without guns, a plan that involves your neighbours is better than nothing. Being able to depend on immediate neighbours will go a long way in your survival.

Those in the protective services should especially be community oriented, as the moment a national emergency is even suspected, your superiors will have you confined to base/barracks. This leaves your family partially unprotected. If you develop goodwill within your respective communities, along with real, workable, tested emergency plans, then your family may survive, even in your absence.

It is well known that during the 1990 attempted coup, looters had their groceries and other goods taken from them by police, and soldiers. A lot of the goods found their way into the homes of these same soldiers and police. There is no reason to believe things will be different during another national emergency that involves looting, human beings being what we are.

I am not casting any judgement here, nor advocating breaking any laws. But if protective services personnel relieve looters of their loot, and intend to take it to their families, spare a thought for the senior citizen living alone on your street who cannot leave his/her home due to infirmity or fear. They may have no food at home. Spare a thought for the family with two working parents who weren’t able to stockpile any food.

For that matter, spare a thought for the airgunner in your neighbourhood who may be the only one to drive away home intruders from your family’s home while you are away. Since the majority of the law-abiding population is unarmed, the neighbourhood airgunners may be the last line of defence against rampaging gangs. A well-placed 16 grain pellet, traveling near the speed of sound, to a gangster’s head from 60+ meters away may very well convince the gang to move on to softer targets.

In summary, stockpile food and water, grow what you can, have a proven method to protect your loved ones and your stockpile, have enough for charity and barter, but don’t let down your guard.

Got preps?




20 December, 2009

British (in)justice




Munir (left) and Toker Hussain were jailed for 39 and 30 months. Intruders tied up Munir’s family and threatened to kill them. Photo: Handout/PA


Two brothers, who were described as pillars of their community were jailed for 30 and 39 months respectively for defending themselves and family against a gang who broke into their home, lay in wait, tied them up and threatened to kill them.

What’s even more unusual, is the bandit was given no jail time. Instead, the judge cited the usual nonsense about “…the public must not take law into their own hands…” and proceeded to jail two businessmen with no criminal records. The impact on the community will be negative and immediate, as 10 employees will lose their jobs, due to the jailing.

The brothers, Munir and Toker Hussain live in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. The bandit, Walid Salem is a criminal with more than 50 previous convictions. The other gang members escaped.

Since our final court of appeal is the British Privy Council, then Trinidadians and Tobagonians could look forward to such a perversion of justice should we do our duty in defending our loved ones during a violent home invasion.


In a similar situation, in Trinidad this time, a well-known and respected doctor shot and killed a bandit who invaded his Ft George home and tied him up. Ironically, the bandit was shot with his own gun. Dr Ralph Hoyte, 89, a founding member of the T&T Family Planning Association, was surprisingly calm during an interview with a reporter merely hours after the home invasion.


"If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed." (Exodus 22:2)

"The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and when the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction." - Henry St. George Tucker, in Blackstone's 1768 Commentaries on the Laws of England

18 December, 2009

Tamiflu concerns




Has TnT wasted $millions on an ineffective drug?

Tamiflu, once hailed as the best antiviral drug to combat the A/H1N1 virus is now being called ineffective. The drug is presently used by the ministry of health to both prevent swine flu and to treat those who fall ill.

The Atlantic magazine carries the story here, with a follow-up here.

Health Minister Jerry Narace has repeatedly extolled the virtues of Tamiflu, downplaying its well-documented—sometimes deadly—side effects.
There are 14 reported deaths in Japan linked to Tamiflu. Recently I was informed that the Health Ministry has established a new protocol and routinely vaccinates children with the drug. This, from a visit to a public health facility. I flat out refused the ‘offer’ for my child, and was told I would have to sign a document stating that I was offered but refused. This is more to exonerate officials in the event that something bad happens to the child.

It seems I was right to refuse. My child is in perfect health. Now I’m hearing of children who were vaccinated but experienced health complications after. One child reportedly lost the ability to walk. This has not been corroborated.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The BMJ is an international peer reviewed medical journal, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association.

14 December, 2009

Airgun browsing & pellet buying




Took the clan to the beach today. A leisurely drive to the Western Peninsula. Of course, we made a few stops, checking the latest versions of the Diana 350 Magnum and the Model 34. Generic, plain looking rifles minus the beautiful checkering as in past models.

Sports & Games staff seem to be confused as to the correct prices of pellets. This confusion lost them a sizeable sale today, as I had planned to stock up due to a reported 20% sale. When the staff member insisted there was no sale on pellets, I walked.

I still bought pellets, but from one of their competitors.

The beach was uncrowded; the water warm and soothing. The children had fun, with The Goddess enjoying every minute.

Today was a good day.

08 December, 2009

Emergency preparedness: Fairgrove, Cupertino



Cupertino Walk for Action Volunteers, inspected supplies in their emergency container, made sure residents in their area had received important emergency information, and that resident knew about the their emergency ARC location based at Hyde Middle School in Cupertino Sunday October 18, 2009. (Photo: Maria J. Avila/Mercury News)

Daily scouring the net can be a rewarding experience. One occasionally comes across some nuggets that makes you grab the family emergency plan off the fridge door, with a view to editing.

The city of Cupertino, in California recently activated and tested their emergency preparedness plans. Cupertino publishes its agenda, minutes and even videos of council meetings on its website.

The Silicon Valley Mercury News has a story on the exercise here. One particular neighbourhood was more prepared than others: the 15-block Fairgrove area. Fairgrove has 225 homeowners, while Cupertino has 52,000 residents.

It would be nice if the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management looked closely at Fairgrove’s preparation. The citizens were involved, and not treated as victims/consumers.

07 December, 2009

The 10-shot Hatsan AT44S-10



A beautiful rifle and a dream to shoot.  Because Pre-Charged Pneumatics are built on an entirely different platform to spring-loaded air rifles, there is no recoil. Since I’ve been shooting ‘springers’ for a number of years, a PCP takes getting used to. Bracing for the recoil, it’s almost anticlimactic when there is none.

I’ll do a proper review on the gun soon, but in the meanwhile I have a question:
Is the Hatsan At44S-10 the same gun as the Air Venturi Halestorm? The photos of the Halestorm on Tom Gaylord’s blog bears an uncanny resemblance to the AT44S-10. If anyone has the answer to that question, please email this blog, airgunstt AT gmail.com.

If any local readers are thinking of getting this gun, then move quickly, as it appears as though they may be sold out by year’s end or even before. 

30 November, 2009

Health Centres unprepared





A visit to a local health lasted just two minutes recently, as the power had gone for over an hour. The two doctors on duty left the building, leaving behind a number of pregnant women and nursing and administrative staff.

The interior of the building was bright and airy, with cross winds and plenty ventilation. They even had a second weight scale that required no power. So doctors could still have seen patients, albeit with limited tools.

But the two doctors on duty left within minutes of the power loss. Not to head to another health centre where their skills were badly needed, but on their own personal affairs.

Should this have been a large-scale disruption, with other complications (major earthquake, tsunami, civil war, terrorist attack, major jailbreak, Honduran/Venezuelan armed conflict, take your pick) thrown in to the mix, one can just imagine the ensuing chaos, confusion and anger.

Professor Courtnay Bartholomew in his weekly column ‘Science Report’ often points out the lack of patriotism and integrity some doctors display in their daily professional lives. He lays part of the blame for this at the feet of the School of Medicine, University of the West Indies, and the process involved in accepting medical students.


CONGRATS TO NEW AIRGUN OWNERS

Congrats to the two owners of new Hatsan AT44S-10s. They bought the guns last week, after reading about them right here on AirgunsTT. These two experienced shooters are both quite happy with their purchases.




26 November, 2009

CHOGM 2009 and Gun Control




The 60th Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting begins tomorrow and delegates have been streaming into the country over the past few days.

Two countries, Fiji and Malawi will not be represented. Fiji, because of their democracy problems, and Malawi, ostensibly because they cannot afford the travel. It has been reported that France and USA--two non-Commonwealth nations—will be gate-crashing the party to lobby on environmental (read climate change) issues. Perhaps a few Commonwealth nations may consider attending the next G8 and G20 to raise pressing issues of their own.

It is interesting to see how the various security details operate. Some are high profile but professional, others are low profile and professional, while others can be quite casual. The range of weapons and ammunition is astounding though, as can be expected when heads of state of over 50 countries congregate.

AirgunsTT welcomes all heads of state, their attendant security details and entourages to Trinidad and Tobago. We urge you to use this 50th meeting to re-think the old British policy of keeping our respective citizens unarmed. After all, if the USA had not rebelled against this dastardly policy in the 1770s we would never have witnessed what wealth, splendour and magnificence awaits a nation who decides to throw off its parasitic colonial masters and live according to its own rules. The mere presence of the USA today is a living testimony to what a nation can achieve on its own terms.

Jews For the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has compiled compelling statistics that link a disarmed population with potential genocide.

In the DVD “Innocents Betrayed”, JPFO states that …170,000,000 civilians that have been murdered by their own governments in the 20th century alone. 170,000,000 men, women, and children who were defenseless to protect themselves. 170,000,000 victims of gun control.”

Jews have learned from their--and others—history. Shouldn’t we all?


We’ll shoot airguns for now… Hone the skills. Stay legal.

"The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose." - James Earl Jones

25 November, 2009

Another air rifle at home




So The Goddess got a new air rifle. Her father also bought her an expensive new set of equipment for her work. Is he competing with me? If so, his pockets are deeper than mine, so he’s won.

Now there’s another airgun in the house. The more the merrier. Can’t wait for my children to come of age so they can have their own as well. New Zealand allows 16-year-olds to own airguns with a parent’s permission.

Incidentally, one of the best ways to ensure children don’t handle illegal guns is to allow them to grow up around guns. Just as in the case of maths, if their introduction to guns is fun rather than traumatic, then you’ll have a responsible shooting enthusiast, maybe for life. Ensure safety first, by teaching The 4 Universal Gun Safety Rules.

24 November, 2009

Australian boat captain arrested for guns, ammo




Australian boat captain Michael Norman leaving court yesterday.

Michael Norman, the captain of a boat, Save Our Seas, was arrested for failing to declare two rifles and 2,240 rounds of 7.62 ammunition. He declared two shotguns and 1,000 rounds of ammo on the Customs and Excise declaration form.

Norman had overstayed his time in Trinidad. When, arrested, he told authorities a South African security firm had ordered the two rifles.

Meanwhile, the scourge of illegal guns continues to terrorise citizens, as a 47-year-old father is shot to death by unknown killers in Arima. His 16-month-old baby was also shot in the face, but survived.

19 November, 2009

Ukraine: One Million Hit By "Plague Worse Than Swine Flu"


Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, left, wears a face mask as she visits a regional hospital in Lutsk, about 400 km (247 miles) west of Kiev, Ukraine.

Estimates of one million people infected by an unknown flu, described as a viral pneumonia and a “plague worse than swine flu” by doctors.


Universities, schools and kindergartens have been closed, public meetings have been banned and theatres shut. Last week several border crossings in the country were also closed.

A doctor in Western Ukraine who did not want to be named, said:” We have carried out post mortems on two victims and found their lungs are as black as charcoal.

“They look like they have been burned. It’s terrifying.”’

Something wicked this way comes. 


Prepared?

13 November, 2009

New shipment of air rifles


The 10-shot Hatsan AT44S-10, now in T&T.

A new shipment of eight different models of Hatsan air rifles are in town. Six are springers, and two are pre-charged pneumatics (PCPs). The PCPs are a single shot and a 10-shot, the AT44S-10. Better to buy the pump and a diving tank if you get a PCP.

The air rifles are available at Agostini’s in Port of Spain. They range in price from $1783 to $7360. No replacement parts or scopes are available yet though. Although the dealer said some parts are on order.

If you need a good reliable airgunsmith, then check Gregory Clement (details at top right hand corner). 

06 November, 2009

Two pressing issues for Trini airgunners




The 10-shot Marauder. Not for local airgunners.


We have countless airgunners In Trinidad and Tobago. Countless, because those charged with the duty of compiling relevant data do not release those figures. It’s a big national security secret.

Airgunners (and firearms owners) tend to be secretive, regarding their airgunning activities. Except with other airgunners. And for good reason. The average bandit doesn’t know much about rifles. So when he sees a long gun, more than likely he’ll start planning how to get it from the owner.

Most airgunners would not admit it, but they also want to own firearms. The TT Police Service operates as though their mandate is to remove legal guns from homes. Some individual members go further and rent their service-issued firearms, or illegal guns to violent criminals. Since the average non-shooting civilian tends to associate guns with violence, when they see a gun in another civilian’s hands, the immediately get nervous. Ask any shooter. That’s one reason why we usually keep our guns a secret. Never mind the fact that those same air rifles may have to protect the community, in an emergency.

So a neighbour sees your air rifle and calls 555 or 999 or the local police station. Despite knowing the airgunner  and her/his family for years as upstanding, law-abiding citizens. The police hear “man with a gun” and spring into action. When they arrive at your home, they’re sure you’re guilty of something. Maybe they can clear some of the backlog of unsolved robberies, rapes and murders with this one arrest (multiple arrests should your family be home, and friends visiting).

After the jack-booted ninjas (IATF) shoot your dogs, kick down your door, and terrorise, traumatize and threaten your wife and children, you are then allowed to produce your single shot, breakbarrel, .177, smoothbore air rifle. By this time, everyone at home is in handcuffs, with neighbours muttering, “they probably dealing drugs all these years and we didn’t know”. After all, if the ninjas kick down your door, then you MUST be guilty of something.

Depending on the mood of the on-scene corporal or serjeant, you may be allowed the privilege of producing your paperwork for the air rifle. Not satisfied, the police continue to search your entire home, including rifling through your wife’s underwear (a thing even you wouldn’t do), your children’s rooms and prized science project.

After turning your home upside down, and finding no evidence of criminal activity, they depart with a warning, and no apology. A version of the event is then documented in the station diary and other places.

A few months or years later, you apply for a FUL, and denied without explanation. You seek legal advice, and told to take your complaint to the Firearms Appeal Board. But wait, even though there is provision in law for this board, non has ever been constituted since Russell Huggins was Minister of National Security!

One citizen has taken the government to court of this matter.


CALIBRE AND RIFLED BARRELS

Our laws permit citizens only .177 caliber airguns, with smoothbore barrels. Almost no manufacturer produces smoothbore barreled air rifles anymore. Some are produced on special order of 100 rifles or more. So only dealers are allowed. A few dealers make enormous profits because of these old irrelevant laws.

There are a number of really good multi-shot air rifles on the international market today. The latest being the 10-shot Benjamin Marauder. It’s a duel-fuel (pump or CO2) beauty that retails in the US for US$500. Of course it doesn’t come in smoothbore. If a local dealer gets a special order through, then it will most likely retail here for four times the price, or more. The six-shot Evanix retails here for US$3,000, and sold in the US for US$600. The 12-shot FX Revolution is sold here for US$4,200. Both PCP, smoothbore, .177 calibre.

Only the rich can afford these prices.

In contrast, a .22 firearm (rifle) can be picked up off the shelf at Walmart for US$200-300.

The time has come for Trinidad & Tobago airgunners to be able to buy rifled bore airguns. We should also have the choice of .177, .20, .22, .25 or larger if we so desire. The present .177 severely restricts us as to what game we can take down. This also leaves us at a disadvantage to the hunters who use shotguns. An unintended consequence is, we have been forced to hone our shooting skills to near-sniper levels: one shot, one kill. This is no solace though, as one shot would almost never take down a deer. It would just wound the poor animal. We have been reduced to mere vermin shooters.

31 October, 2009

Another negligent discharge




Back in July, I observed that members of the protective services routinely muzzle sweep each other, along with civilians. One IATF officer shot himself in the toe while on patrol in a densely populated area of the capital city. I warned that these armed persons were a potential menace. Another member of the public was ‘accidentally’ shot while holding his five-year-old daughter on the roadside, while waiting to cross the street.

From the report, it seems like a police vehicle on patrol was involved. This occurred at a busy intersection, at Charlotte and Duke Streets, in Port of Spain. 

28 October, 2009

In Canada 0.15% of firearms applications refused!



Major General Cameron Ross (ret.)

Since we have a penchant for following developed countries wholesale: 


Canadians renew their firearms licences once every five years. And the application process is simple, and well thought out. No opportunities for corruption. The first quarter of 2009 saw only 0.15% of applications refused.

In other words, Canadians have a 99.85% firearms application approval rate.

Contrast that to our roughly 95% refusal rate for citizens. 



Did Canadian Maj. Gen Cameron Ross (ret.) suggest increasing the firearms approval rate, as one of the 300 recommendations to National Security minister Martin Joseph? If not, then why not? After all it works (and pays) in Canada!

26 October, 2009

15 guns stolen from security firm





“In all, 13 nine millimetre pistols, one .357 handgun and a shotgun were taken. They were all fully loaded, police said.”

One man was reportedly dressed in police uniform. It makes security sense now to never open your door to anyone in police uniform. Better to have them talk to you through a closed door, or have them display their identification first. You can ask them to slide it under your door, while you confirm with the local police station on the phone.

The MI5 security company is at 40 Alfredo Street, Woodbrook.


PLINKING
Spent yesterday evening plinking at some bottles and other assorted objects with one of my sons. Ah, the joys of fatherhood.

20 October, 2009

Prisoner killed in front court; police flee




A prisoner was shot to death while being escorted by two police officers from court, yesterday. Sounds more like Colombia than Trinidad and Tobago. The two killers were highly motivated and confident, as the heavy police presence at the court didn’t deter them.


Garcia had no chance to defend himself, and no one to defend him.
The police constables escorting him to the police station next door released their prisoner and ran after the first gunshot.

The policemen who responded to the shooting came long after the suspects were gone.”

“The killers used Uzi submachine guns. They fired on the police station before leaving. And despite a response that involved multiple search teams, tracker dogs, road blocks, and a helicopter hunt, the suspects vanished.”

And you thought the police were here “TO PROTECT and serve with pride”. If an accused person, in police custody, is not secure, then what about the rest of the population? It seems everyone’s fair game for the predators.

It would be interesting to see what this event does to public/police mistrust.

16 October, 2009

Beetham Gardens residents protest





“…residents setting alight anything they could drag on to the roadway.”
“…massive pile-up along the highway as two of the three lanes of the highway, near the beginning of the Beetham berm, were impassable.”

“…caused commuters in Port of Spain and at the City Gate hub to spend longer periods on maxi-taxi and taxi stands waiting for transport to take them to their eastern and southern homes.
At one stage, residents also threw rocks, pieces of bricks and debris at passing vehicles on both transit sides of their homes.”

Re-read that last line. 


Ostensibly, the cause of this disturbance was a controversial police shootout with four men, linked by police to a murder earlier on that evening. Police killed two men during the shooting.

The residents of Beetham Estate can block the three main arteries (Eastern Main Road, Priority Bus Route and Beetham Highway) out of/in to Port of Spain, our capital city. This is cause for concern, as tens of thousands are potentially affected by this action. If they can sustain this action over several days, then, in theory, much of the nation’s productivity will be brought to a halt.

The police response was swift and decisive this time. Maybe the cameras on the Beetham Highway helped provide timely intelligence. 

07 October, 2009

Foreigners granted more gun licenses than locals





- National Security Minister Martin Joseph in the Senate yesterday in response to a question filed by Opposition Senator Lyndira Oudit.

These figures are a disgusting indictment on government crime prevention policy. So far, we have had over 400 murders this year. With almost 42,000 firearms applications, just over 2,000 were granted. Which means 40,000 persons who undertook the onerous steps to apply, have been refused the opportunity to own a firearm.

Yet, each successive Police Commissioner has appealed for co-operation from the public in fighting ever-escalating crime levels. Co-operation is a two-way street. We, average law-abiding citizens, would like to answer the call for help from the Police Commissioner, but must we confront armed criminals empty-handed? We need “teeth”, not just lip service. Teeth, in the form of guns.

We missed out on 40,000 opportunities to confront the crime menace in our neighbourhoods, workplaces, places of worship and recreation. If criminals know that there are only 2,000 firearms holders (granted, between 2002-2008), then this emboldens them. If they were treated to the news that there are 42,000 new firearms owners, then it would certainly give them pause. Perhaps it may even encourage them to seek other vocations.

A nation of 1.3 million, yet only 2,000 Firearms User’s Licenses (FUL) granted in an eight-year period. Shame. Of the 215 people granted firearm users licences this year, 144, or 67% are foreigners! This is insane! Two thirds of FULs granted are to foreigners! What does that mean with regard to patriotism? I doubt that any developed country will grant foreigners 67% of gun ownership versus 33% local. No mainstream media has yet picked up on this.

On a related issue, the police must treat legit gun owners with respect, not envy. Don’t envy a man (or woman) just because they are allowed to carry a gun in their private lives and you aren’t. There are numerous stories circulating amongst gun owners of police officers hatching plots to have the gun owner stripped of his/her weapon. Stories circulate of really elaborate plots, some even involving station serjeants.



SOLDIER CHARGED WITH RAPE

Camp Ogden is the TT Defence Force Headquarters (Regiment) of the First Battalion. 

01 October, 2009

Hunting season opens today




Today, October 1 is the official opening of the hunting season. Season closes February 28, 2010.

Safe hunting, have fun and good luck to all hunters.



A few quick reminders:

Agouti, deer, lappe, tatou, wild hog, lizards (iguana, matte, caiman), cage birds and waterfowl cab be hunted. Waterfowl can only be hunted from Nov 1 – Feb 28.

Protected species: monkey, ocelot, anteater, scarlet ibis, pelican.

No hunting in game sanctuaries.

Hunting in forest reserves only 5:30am – 7:30pm.

No artificial lights while hunting in forest reserves.

Every member of a hunting party must possess a state game licence.

Read Chap 67:01, Conservation of Wildlife Act (1963).

18 September, 2009

Recent military promotions






Top: Col Kenrick Maharaj
Bottom: Capt Kirton Huggins

Two significant promotions in the military recently. Colonel Kenrick Maharaj has been appointed as Commanding Officer of the TT Regiment. He succeeds Colonel Roland Maundy, who has left to go to our Washington, DC High Commisssion as Military Attache.

Former Executive Officer of the Coast Guard, Commander Kirton Huggins has been promoted to Captain, and is now acting Commanding Officer of the TT Coast Guard. AirgunsTT has been informed that Captain Huggins is to move shortly to the Defence Transformation and Integration Secretariat, Ministry of National Security, which is headed by Commodore Garnet Best.

AirgunsTT congratulates both officers on their promotions and appointments, and wishes them every success in their new roles.

10 September, 2009

Food storage issues


While rotating food out of the preps, it’s easy to notice any changes to appearance, smell and general condition. Recently, I’ve realized that bouillon cubes (Maggi) and cookies do not store well. The cookies are comfort food for children. It gives them energy, and keeps their spirits up in times of high-stress living. The bouillon is great for enhancing the flavour of most dishes, but especially game and ground provision (root vegetables).

Even though we have enough salt to last about a year, and even some extra, for barter and charity, bouillon cubes pack superior flavour. The mission now is to find alternatives to cookies and bouillon cubes. Not sure if my storage methods are incorrect, so perhaps I’ll start with that.


WATER STORAGE

Next to air, water is the most important requirement for life.
Increased our family water storage by three days. This may not appear to be much, but even one extra day’s water, means the family’s survival chances have been increased. Assurance. It’s better than insurance.

02 September, 2009

Pellet prices up; Police arrested


Three of the arrested police officers. Photo: Newsday.

For months now, I’ve been suggesting that airgunners stockpile airgun pellets. Well, today I went to one of the cheaper suppliers and the one brand that’s stocked has a price increase of 30%! Needless to say I thanked the cashier and left it at the cash register.

Even though I have a few tins stockpiled in that brand, at the old price, I feel as though I should have bought more. Clearly, the prices of airgun supplies are not included in the government’s latest inflation figures.

What’s in your basket?

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BOY ARRESTED WITH AIRGUN

A 16-year-old boy was arrested in Chaguanas on Sunday night with an air-pistol. The minimum age for owning an airgun in Triniad and Tobago is 18. The report shows up the ignorance of the reporter and editor regarding airguns, and our national airgun laws.

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FOUR POLICEMEN ARRESTED

The four police officers who were caught on camera stuffing $96,000 in cash into their pockets were arrested and released on bail of $150,000 each. They are due back in court on Sept 8.

If police officers are unsure of the conduct that is expected of them while in the service, then here is the list of policing principles, offered by Sir Robert Peel. They are commonly called the Peelian Principles or The Peelian Police Principles.


Principles of Policing

1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.

2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.

3. Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.

4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.

5. Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.

6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.

7. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

8. Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.

9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

Source: New Westminster Police Service

01 September, 2009

1st Anniversary celebrations


Airguns Trinidad and Tobago celebrates one year today, September 1st 2009.

Over 4,900 visitors from 98 countries have dropped by; the last new visitor being from Mongolia. Thanks to all who have contributed through their ideas, comments and suggestions.

Celebrations will take place this evening. It will involve food, drink, and lots of lead pellets heading downrange at over 1,000 fps.

31 August, 2009

Happy 47th Independence Day


We celebrate our 47th year of political Independence from our former colonial master, Great Britain.

This is a time to reflect on our progress, development, achievements and successes. Conversely we must also be mindful of our mistakes, lost opportunities and the road ahead.

Consider events around the world, learn from the mistakes of other countries. Develop and implement policies and laws that is best for our citizens, not just what the UN says is best.

As we prepare to host another billion dollar international meeting, this time on an even grander scale than the 5th SOA, we should consider what’s best for our citizens. Be good hosts and make all our visitors feel welcome, safe and secure, but do not disrupt the lives of ordinary citizens. Learn from the mistakes of the 5 SOA. There were many.

The CHOGM 2009 can have positive repercussions for T&T, but only if managed properly, and I don’t just mean shuttling VIPs around with no adverse incidents or photo ops with Queen Elizabeth 2nd. That should not be the only measure of success. How well do the citizens buy-in to the event; how free are they to protest some aspect of the event they did not like? Can they take their drums and other musical instruments and use them to protest several miles away from the main events? What tangible benefits does it bring the country?

We still import a lot of our arms and ammunition from Great Britain for defence. What about security independence?
We sill import numerous food items from Great Britain, what about food independence and food security?

If we continue doing what we’re doing, in the same manner, then we’ll continue to get what we always got.

If our laws relating to crime, housing, squatting, the environment, local government, firearms, and the financial industry don’t work well enough, then let’s take the time to re-examine them closely and make corrections.

The time is ripe to introduce Castle Doctrine law. Our citizens are so fed up of violent home invasions that they’d support this bold legislation, without hesitation.

Recent events, such as the Balandra bridge collapse that affected nine communities, shows we need an effective civil defence programme. If one man with one piece of heavy equipment can physically isolate nine communities - with hundreds of households - from the rest of the country, then we are in real trouble should Colombia and Venezuela escalate their long-running spat into full war. Or even Venezuela and Honduras, as was recently threatened.

Congratulations to Dianne Avalone Baptiste, who received the Humming Bird Medal (Gold) for gallantry. Baptiste, a 41-year-old Williamsville resident, disarmed a bandit, broke a flower pot on his head and restrained him until the police arrived.

She is one citizen who has displayed the spirit of independence.

29 August, 2009

New supply of air rifles



A new shipment of air rifles has arrived at Buckshots Ltd., Tunapuna. The Turkish made Hatsan 125, which boasts 1250 fps in .177 is being sold at $3,200 each.



APPLE RELEASES SNOW LEOPARD OS X 10.6

Apple releases Snow Leopard, Mac OS X version 10.6 today. Mac OS X is arguably the best operating system in the world. It’s certainly much more secure than any version of Windows. Just ask Gordon, at Right Enterprises, in Maraval.

Once you go Mac, you never go back.



POLICE STEAL $96,000 CASH

More misbehaviour in public office. This time by an elite police unit called to arrest a man with a gun At a casino in Duncan Village, San Fernando. The four-member team was caught on the casino’s surveillance cameras stuffing their pockets “with wads of cash”.
They four are being questioned by the Anti Corruption Investigation Bureau.
 
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