Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Re-certification Rant

After a solid week of educating myself firearms-wise at SHOT show, and trying to pass information along to everyone else as well, it is time for me to buckle down into Continuing Medical Education for my actual day job. You know - the one that actually pays the bills - the one that allows me to buy the firearms and ammo that I have so much fun with?

This is a re-certification year for me - the magical seventh year when politicians, and ivory tower academics have decided that my skills have irretrievably deteriorated, and my knowledge has crumbled to dust. I therefore must re-prove my worth as a physician, human being, and Medicaid payee, by re-taking my board exams. Bear in mind that I was a Late-bloomer to medical training, so I JUST DID THIS seven years ago.

I not only must take (and pass) actual exams, ( at considerable monetary cost, I might add), I also must complete a mind-numbing academic exercise called MOC, or Maintenance of Certification. The particular MOC exercise I am currently gagging my way through involves quality improvement. This exercise in "quality", serves the secondary purpose of decreasing the quantity of money in my wallet, and the quantity of my free time over the next few months.

Bear in mind, that I already must complete 50 hours of continuing education every two years in order to keep my state license from turning into a library card. But that apparently isn't enough to keep my middle-aged brain from lapsing into senility and prescribing leeches and mercury for an ear infection. ( Although there may well be an ICD-10 code for that)

Compounding my dread of the whole process is the prospect of having to do this entire  exercise AGAIN in seven more years when I am nearly 60. This is one of the reasons that I am doubling-up on my student loan and mortgage payments. I might not be financially ready for complete retirement by then, but maybe I could scrape by as a gun writer or something if my major debts are paid off. Who knows, by then, government mandates and increasing "strings" attached to reimbursements may have driven the remainder of us private practice docs out of business anyway. I could then work part-time at a corporate doc-in-the-box, giving away Z-packs and steroids like a good little drone, while nurse-practitioners run the medical world. ( My cynicism filter slipped there for a minute - sorry)

Meanwhile, I need to step away from the keyboard and log-into the AAP site so I can start pounding my head against the desk. If you don't hear from me for a few weeks, somebody come check on me.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Children and Tragedy

 A few weeks ago, I wrote a post reminding folks to lock up their firearms when they had housefuls of holiday guests.  

As part of that, I mentioned how resourceful children are, and I included a sentence about not leaving one's carry purse unattended for even a moment. Unfortunately, only about a week later, we all heard the terrible news of what happened to the poor mother in Idaho.

There has been a lot of Monday-Morning-Quarterbacking in the gun world about that awful, awful, tragedy. Rather than piling-on in that respect, I thought I would simply take a moment as a pediatrician to remind parents, grandparents, caregivers, and even the occasional party host, that small children are MUCH more agile, strong, and curiosity-driven than we give them credit for.

Put simply, this tragedy happened at the unfortunate intersection of toddler and "opportunity". 

Children are little scientists, and little tool-users, who are constantly experimenting with the world around them. You can look in their eyes and just see the wheels turning. Your toddler may not realize that he is testing the laws of gravity, but he IS doing an experiment to see if the mashed potatoes ALWAYS hit the floor when dropped from the high chair, or if they only fall SOME of the time. The fact that the potatoes sometimes land on the dog's head instead of the floor does not alter the fact that they ALWAYS fall. That may be a given to you, but to your child, that is new experimental information. Anyone who has watched a 15 month old push a chair across the kitchen floor knows that toddlers will use any object as a "tool" to get at what they want. Combine both of those traits - curiosity and tool-using - and you have a child who can defeat "child-proof" caps, unlock doors, and find "out-of-reach" hiding places. I even heard a story about a slightly older child who used the edge of a coffee table to rack the slide of a semi-automatic pistol! (Yes, really) These resourceful skills - although valuable and positive traits in adulthood - render your home (including car, grocery cart, etc.) not nearly as safe as you think they are for small children.

Parents tend to both over and under-estimate their child's abilities. Allow me explain that seemingly incongruous statement. Parents all tend to think that their child is the next Einstein - who doesn't? But along with that perception of intelligence, tends to come an over-estimation of their child's ability to "understand" and an over-estimation of impulse-control. You can talk to a 2 year-old until you are blue-in-the-face about why they shouldn't touch this thing or that thing, but you will still end up with broken figurines and decorative coffee-table items, because the impulse-control of toddlers and pre-schoolers is nearly zero. They aren't being consciously "disobedient" - they simply don't have that level of brain development yet. They have the physical ability to do a certain thing, without the brain development to stop and analyze if that thing is actually a good idea or not. ( Heck, I've known 30 year olds who can't do that!) I tell parents that "Toddlers have all of the motor skills, but none of the good sense."

At the same time, parents tend to under-estimate their child's physical abilities when it comes to hazards. They think that Johnny is a genius, but that he can't open the pool gate. They think that Susie will grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, but that she can't find a way to reach the top of the refrigerator where grandpa keeps his "bang-bang". They think that Bobby can't work the zipper on grandma's purse to get to her heart medication "candy", and they think that Janie isn't strong enough to pull the trigger on mommy's purse gun. The ER, and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and the county coroner all will tell you how tragically wrong those assumptions are.

In medicine, there this concept of "layers of patient safety". This is the reason the nurse or lab tech asks you to state your name and date of birth - in addition to scanning your wristband - before giving meds or drawing blood. It is also the reason that you may be asked to take a marker and label the side of your body that is having surgery. It adds another layer of safety to help mitigate the effects of human error. It is a bit like stacking slices of swiss cheese together - hopefully no hole goes all the way through. The idea is that even if one layer of safety fails, the error will be caught by the other layers before causing harm.

I like this idea when it comes to firearms safety and small children. A multi-layered approach helps "catch" kids who may have abilities beyond what we give them credit for. I talk about the Eddie Eagle Rules in the office, and that is a fine program for older children, but toddlers and pre-schoolers aren't going to "get" that. They have no forethought and no impulse control. You need another layer of safety - quick access safes, or a holster that never leaves your body, or some other option I may not have even thought of.

Also keep in mind that children are masters of observation. If your child can unlock your phone, they probably know what your safe combo is too - IF you aren't careful. Be aware of little eyes that may be watching you - especially when putting away a key or inputting a passcode.

Kathy Jackson of The Cornered Cat  has some excellent articles on children and gun safety in the home. This woman has been-there-and-done-that with rambunctious children, and she will both make you chuckle, and make you think.

Not all children are the same. They don't all develop at the same rate, and their personalities and family situations differ. Some kids will be the ones who put peas up their nose just to see if they fit. Others will be the ones who eat mommy's circular thirty-day pack of "candy", (and the fact that they don't actually taste like candy will be no impediment.) Some kids will do exactly what you tell them, and some kids will spend every waking moment trying to figure out how to do exactly what you just told them not to do. Because of these differences, there isn't any one-size-fits-all safety option for every family. Some kids may be fine with two layers of protection. Others may need four! You will have to figure out what works for you, but please do figure that out. The NSSF's Project Childsafe is a good starting place.

But if you take nothing else away from this post, I am asking you  - PLEASE don't rely on false assumptions about your child's strength, agility, or good sense as your only layer of firearms safety. PLEASE stack-up that swiss cheese - because as that poor family in Idaho found out - a firearm can be tragically unforgiving of innocent childhood exploration.

Friday, January 23, 2015

SHOT 2015 Floor Report Part 2

It has been a long and interesting few days, folks, so here is your SHOT Show 2015 Wrap up.

It is Friday of SHOT Show 2015, and my butt is definitely dragging. Last night I had a hot soaking bubble bath, and got eight full hours of sleep for the first time all week. I have no idea how these young kids stand and walk all day, then turn around and party all night. BUT - I am refreshed and ready for a final wrap up today!

The list of things that I found interesting continues. (That doesn't mean that things I haven't listed WEREN'T interesting, it just means that I probably missed seeing them, so don't send me hate mail if your favorite company isn't here, mkay?)

First up today was Devil Dog Arms' collection of rifles styled by Natalie Foster of Girls' Guide to Guns. There are two models (one is more 3-Gun specific) available in a range of cute colors. Devil Dog Arms makes the majority of parts in-house, so they have strict quality control over nearly everything, and you can be assured of a solid rifle for your money.

The next booth that turned my head was PJL Targets of Belgium. These targets reminded me of what I encountered in the shoot house at Gunsite Academy. Look at these targets, and tell me they aren't realistic. Could YOU tell if this guy was armed in subdued lighting? How about whether he was armed with a TOY gun or not? You have milliseconds to decide - GO!

Remember on Range Day how I shot the crossbows by TenPoint, but forgot to get photos? Well, I stopped at the booth today and made sure I got them THIS time. I am still intrigued by this. Although I'll have to check to be sure, the rep informed me that the state where our family camp is located has made crossbows legal for all archery seasons. I know - like I need one more new thing to learn - but still, LOL.

To carry on with the archery theme (or rifle too ... or photography for that matter) these blinds  by Nature Blinds  absolutely blew me away! It's like having your own private Hobbit Hole or Keebler Elf Tree. The pattern and texture are beyond belief! You'd need a buddy and a pick-up truck to get it in place, but there's interesting possibilities here. They also make some portable shield-like models.

Finally, here's one last photo to wrap things up. It might even go well with the Nature blind. Who doesn't NEED a minigun, ya know? LOL!!

That's pretty much it from SHOT Show 2015 - thanks for reading, and now I need a nap!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

SHOT 2015 -- Floor report part 1

There is a mind-boggling array of products to see at SHOT Show. There are literally MILES of aisles to walk, and thousands of vendors. Obviously, it is a challenge even to walk all the aisles, so, like I did at Range Day, I'll try to show you just some of the things that caught my fancy on my first two days of aisle-wandering.

One of the first organizations that I want to note is "Kids & Clays".
This is a charitable foundation which holds sporting clay and other events to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

There is a Ronald McDonald House at virtually every children's hospital in the country and they provide valuable services to families of hospitalized children. As a pediatrician, I recognize the importance of this service, and encourage you to go to the website and see if there is a match near you - or perhaps you'd like to set one up yourself - contact them!

I also had a great visit with Black Hills Ammunition  .
I'll be writing some more about their products in the future and look forward to working with them.

I stopped by the Maxpedition booth
- mostly because I am enjoying so much, the bag that I picked up at a gun show the other month. I wanted to see more of their line. 

Some of my pics were just too dark to show up ( you'd think the lighting at an event that is supposed to sell subdued color products would be a tad more illuminating). But this model caught my eye nonetheless. The mom and peds doc in me looked at the fold down flap and thought , "Hmmm, you could almost use that as a changing pad" LOL! I did actually suggest that to the rep - maybe even selling an extender to the pad to use it that way. Hey - product innovation comes from suggestions!

Another stop I made, was at 5.11 Tactical. They have some women-specific range clothes now, and I wanted to check it out. I liked the V-neck collared shirt - except I made the suggestion to add a velcro or snap tab to close it up more if desired, as "some" of us have a handy brass-catcher in the front that doesn't like V-necks. My boobage and hot brass are unfortunately well-acquainted, so I speak from experience.

The 5.11 rep also showed me a nice softshell jacket that has a reach-through pocket to enable you to get to a concealed weapon. It's called the Sierra Softshell. Some gals may also appreciate the Cirrus pant. With my build, this cut sits a little too low on the waist to adequately contain middle-age bulges, but for more slender younger gals, this might be just the ticket for a feminine fit.

As neat as all that stuff was, the highlight of my morning today was my stop at the Benelli booth. Not only because I could check out the new 828U over and under shotgun (a first for Benelli), but also because by pure serendipity, a fellow struck up a conversation, who happens to own and run Brown's Hunting Ranch in South Dakota. 

If I understood the gentleman correctly, the Benelli folks used his business for product testing this shotgun. I mentioned my interest in learning wingshooting, and he said that they could run a women's only hunt for a group, if I had a group that was interested. Holy, cow, am I interested! LOL. I can't say that this would happen tomorrow, but I am completely excited by the prospect! This business sure does seem to run on personal contacts and random encounters, doesn't it? Unbelievable.

Well, that's enough for now. I've got still more visits and more photos to take, which I'll be adding in future posts. I am having a blast!  Stay tuned.

Gun Girl Dinner 2015

I woke up with "raccoon eyes" this morning.  Which means I apparently didn't get all my make-up off last night. I don't wear make-up often, but when I do it means either I was singing in a quartet function, or I was at a dress-up event where I had to look like I tried a little harder. The 3rd Annual Women's Outdoor and Shooting Industry Dinner last night was such an event.

The theme this year was"Birds of a Feather", and some of the women went all out. I mean ALL OUT. There was some serious effort put into this, which put my little feather dangle earrings to shame LOL. But it was a good time, and a great opportunity for women in "the Industry" to have a private get together, chat, visit and network off the Show floor. I was honored to be invited to attend. There were many generous sponsors of this shindig, who want to help support women in the business, so we had food and fun "on" outfits like LaserMax, who provided clutch purses as door prizes. Mine is gorgeous gold :-)

  (Dinner Founder/Organizer Britney Starr with gals from Prima Outdoor)

I met up with some gals that I already knew through Babes With Bullets, and Brownell's Lady 3Gun, and met a few more new faces along the way. It was a fun time - but my feet gave me the dickens over the high heels after about an hour, and I couldn't feel my toes anymore.

As part of the event, there was a silent auction of various donated items to benefit the Task Force Dagger Foundation.

Remember how yours truly wrote about the Benelli ETHOS at last year's SHOT?

Well, an ETHOS was donated by Benelli for the silent auction, and as part of the package, there was a Galco Gunleather case for it, and a Froglube kit to take care of it.
I decided that it was going to be mine, LOL, and it WAS! 
I figured that I was going to buy an ETHOS eventually anyway, and this was a charity benefit, so why not let TFDF have my money instead? Everybody wins, and I am a happy-dancing girl!

While I was waiting in line to settle-up for my auction win, I happened to be standing right next to the CFO for Benelli USA, who assured me that she personally LOVED her ETHOS  (and her other Benelli guns too), and that it was a good fit for learning wingshooting. Good to know! The people you meet in line at a party.... :-)

I've got lots more pictures and products to post about, so there will be more later!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

SHOT Show Day at the Range 2015, Part 2

As I mentioned, there was too much for just one post about SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range, so here is your second installment.

I believe I closed the last post with the hysterical "Pre-Seasoned DuckShot", yes? Well not six feet from the DuckShot, there was .... ummm.... a "Gyro-Stabilized Weapons Platform" called the Talon. 

This was TOTALLY out of my league, but if you ever want "Precision Marksmanship for Helicopter, Watercraft, and Vehicle Operations", you heard about it here first! :-) There is truly something for everyone at SHOT.

Next up, was a trip to the Armscor/Rock Island Armory tent. When I arrived, I chatted with Heather while we waited for Michael Bane
to film a bit about the new .380 cal 1911 -style pistol, dubbed the "Baby Rock". 

I'm sure Mr. Bane has much more expertise in this than I, so I'll let you watch his piece, but I did get to shoot the gun right after him, so maybe something good rubbed off on me!

Almost back-to-back with the "Baby Rock", I then got to shoot the Springfield Armory Range Officer Compact in 9mm. 

I shot the full-size 9mm Range Officer last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The compact this year did not disappoint me either. The 1911 style is a tad unfamiliar to me, but no longer intimidating.  The accuracy made me very happy - even with the compact version. I LIKE putting a whole mag's worth of rounds thru the target flapper while people are watching! Maybe once I finish getting the hang of revolver, I'll move on to 1911's next :-)

Speaking of moving on to other disciplines, I felt a bit like the Monty Python sketch, "...And now for something completely different...", because I tried... drumroll please...

A Crossbow.
Yup. It had a trigger, a scope, and a projectile, but that's where the similarities ended. These were from Ten Point Crossbow Technologies, and I was so intrigued that I forgot to get pictures. So here's the cover of the catalog for now until I can get to the booth tomorrow.

Shooting a crossbow was definitely a whole other experience. Apparently, finger placement of the support hand is very important - lest you lose them. Yeah, that's kind of a good incentive to keep those digits down below the ledge LOL! The scope sighting was no different than a rifle, but the safety button was a tad different. The trigger pull was just weird - because there's no recoil and no real noise - you just keep watching your shot through the scope. I didn't "Robin Hood" anything, but I did hit the target in the general vicinity of "Center-ISH", so I was satisfied. Crossbows are still a hunting no-no in my state apparently, but hey, the family camp is across state lines, so you never know!

Finally, after nearly 4 hours and an overpriced food truck lunch, I was ready to get back on the bus. As I was walking in that direction, I saw movement in my peripheral vision, and saw that something was overtaking me. I turned to see this, humming past me.

Welcome to RC controlled targets. These two "bad guys" were by Target Tracker, driven by CEO Wayne McGregor. They had apparently been working hard on one the ranges, had stopped for a T-shirt change and were headed back to "work". Tough job to get shot at all day - but I guess somebody's gotta do it! 

So, that's my Range Day summary for 2015. There was way more to see, but there wouldn't be enough blog space to talk about it in a whole year, so I chose only the things that grabbed my particular interest. There were hundreds of writers there, so I'm sure you'll be able to find what piques "your" interest coming soon from your favorite outdoor writer or publication. I personally had a blast!

Range Day is only "Day Zero" for SHOT Show. There will be 4 more days of cool stuff to cover coming up, so don't go far!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

SHOT Show Day at the Range 2015, Part 1

SHOT Show Range Day 2015, Part 1

Industry Day at the Range this year held some interesting new experiences for me. Unlike last year, where there were new products that I had heard "buzz" about ahead of time; this year, I had no preconceptions, and just wandered about to see what I could see. I got a little better this year at just stepping up and asking "So, what are we shooting today?", and not hanging back and letting the tactical beards push in front of me with their buddy-cams. But still, part of my style/personality is to hang out and observe first before deciding if I want to jump in or no, so I still hafta be "me" :-)

My first stop was  the Glock booth, where "Gunny" was explaining the features on the new .40 cal long slide model, equipped with a red dot via the MOS - Modular Optic System. Since I was among the first in line for the day, I had the advantage of shooting a freshly painted steel, so I could actually see my hits.

The red dot was an interesting experience just so I could say I tried it, but it was not something that I "enjoyed" per se.  Although I got pretty good head shots once I warmed up on the body, I'm used to almost immediately reacquiring my front sight, and that didn't happen with the red dot. I had to "look" for it every time - it wasn't a "natural point of aim" thing for me. Maybe that's not surprising and is something that requires practice, but although I liked how the gun itself shot, I was not a fan of the red dot. The Glock booth staff was still getting organized and didn't have promotional materials available yet, so I don't have much more to tell you about that right now. I'm usually a wild fan of Glock, but this year seems kind of "meh". I suppose it's impossible to "wow" people every single year LOL.

My next stop was the Smith & Wesson booth. I asked to shoot both the M&P .40 Shield with integral Crimson Trace Laser, and the Carbon Fiber Finish M&P 9c, both of which are new this year. I have abundant experience with my M&P 9, as that is my primary match gun, so I do at least have a basis for comparison. I thought the .40 Shield was a little snappy, but acceptable. I just wasn't a fan of the laser - probably for the same reasons that I didn't like the red dot on the Glock - I didn't like taking my eyes off the front sight. I'm sure there are people who love lasers, but I'm thinking this is not my personal preference. To each her own.

On the other hand, I really liked the 9c Carbon Fiber. Not only did the new finish make the gun look pretty, it also made the whole frame somewhat "grippier" - which for me, on a smaller gun, is never a bad thing. If I could conceal a double stack pistol, I think I would take the 9c Carbon Fiber over, say, a Glock 26 for that reason. I still love my G42, but it's an apples and oranges kind of thing. If I wanted to go a tad larger, I think I would take this one over even the Shield 9. 

An aimless wander through the vendor tents led me to Action Target, whose reactive steel IDPA practice target caught my eye. I shoot 9mm in IDPA (though this year I'm going to give .38 special a whirl), and sometimes my older eyes have trouble seeing my hits on cardboard. This target would be quite spiffy for giving immediate feedback. I also liked that the swinging bits simply drop in without any tools. (No tools? - I know, I'm talking like a girl now - LOL)

While I was busy in the vendor tents, a fellow tried to entice me with his novel self-defense rounds, but ended up hooking me in with this.

Yes folks, these are "pre-seasoned" game rounds - I laughed out loud!
The fellow assured me that though they are meant as gag gifts, that they do actually work, and invited me to "taste" some sample pellets LOL! I have my doubts, but it was my best laugh of the day.

I've given you a "taste" (LOL) of some of what I saw at Range Day, but there is much more than can be fit in one post, so stay tuned for part 2 either tonight or tomorrow for more guns and more fun.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Facebook page

Just a reminder for folks who are interested, that there is an associated Facebook page at

There are, and will be, a lot of posts and photos from SHOT Show 2015 for you to see while I'm coming up with longer posts to put here on the blog.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Guilt and Productivity

I ran across this "inspirational quote" on a friend's facebook page today, and it inspired me to rant :-)

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
 – Life’s Little Instruction Book, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Quotes like this are only inspirational on the surface to me ... and then they make me feel guilty ... and then they make me mad at myself for feeling guilty.  So I asked myself why.

Look first at the author - a guy's name. Now look at the other names - all guys except Helen Keller and Mother Teresa. 

Mother Teresa was a celibate nun - she didn't have a husband and children and a house to run and dinner to get on the table, in addition to a full-time job - God and the poor got to have all of her time. The last time I got to have "all" of my own time, I was on the couch with a virus.

Helen Keller - well okay it's tough to say anything bad about Helen Keller without sounding like a jerk, but the reality is that once she did all that catching up after the scene at the pump, she had help every step of the way. I'd be happy if I had help just doing the vacuuming.

Thomas Jefferson was a rich guy with servants (okay slaves) to get his dinner and wash his underwear while he was designing Monticello and creating a country. I could probably write the Great American Novel if I had somebody to feed me. If somebody washed my underwear too, think of all the gun-cleaning and scope zeroing I could get done.

That leaves Pasteur, Michaelangelo, da Vinci, and Einstein. These are all guys with wives or housekeepers to run things and feed them while they were off making a name for themselves.

Wasn't Michaelangelo the guy who didn't bathe, and whose boots removed skin when he finally took them off? Well sorry, but I shower daily (at least). That takes 30 minutes out of my day, and how many years out of my life? I may not be as productive as Mikey, but at least my aroma doesn't peel paint.

And speaking of personal hygiene - let's talk about Einstein's hair. I take the time to groom myself and get regular haircuts and pedicures. If Albert's hair looked liked that in public, I don't want to know what his toenails looked like. Sure, he was a genius, but at what cost? 

Da Vinci was gay. Everybody knows that he was fabulous, so I can't take anything away from the guy. He gets all his own credit - except for having help running the house.

And Pasteur - microbiology and a vaccine for rabies.  Well, I can't cure rabies, but I worked in hospital micro labs for 15 years before heading to med school as a 38 year old divorced mother of three. Surely that's got to count for something.

So there you have it - my rebuttal to the productivity pissing match. I refuse to feel guilty about not "accomplishing" any more than I already am.  I get done what I can, I'm enjoying my life, and the dust bunnies in the corners can just go pound sand.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it :-)
See you at SHOT!