Mass Shooters— Don’t Say The Name; Don’t Show their Picture

We had another one. Amidst all the prayers, thoughts, arguing, bluster, might I suggest one thing?

Don’t mention the shooter’s name. Don’t show their picture. At all.

I’ve been watching a show, Active Shooter: America Under Fire and a couple who lost a son at the Aurora theater shooting have a movement where they believe it’s key to not give publicity to these people. I agree wholeheartedly. It is a very worthwhile series to watch.

While notoriety might not be the primary motive for some of the shooters, it’s part of it.

They need to be treated as nothings. Nobodies. We should focus on the victims. The loved ones of the victims. We need to help those wounded in body and mind.


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Black Tuesday: 29 October 1929

88 years ago today, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression was officially ushered in.

But 29 October is significant in other years.

In 1980, at Eglin Air Force Base, the last test flight of Operation Credible Sport was taking place—the planned second Iranian hostage rescue mission. What if that mission had succeeded?

In 1969, at UCLA, the first Internet message was sent to Stanford. It got the letters L and O sent before the system crashed, thus accurately forecasting the future of the Internet. But wh

In 1618, in England, Sir Walter Raliegh was to face the executioner’s axe. But what if—

Black Tuesday (Time Patrol) examines these possibilities and more.


The JFK Assassination–theories and a “Mortal Error”

The release of a lot of new documents is interesting, but it still doesn’t explain the ballistics of the actual event.

Putting aside conspiracy theories, I like to focus on what actually happened at the crime scene. My wife has read pretty much every book out there about it– seriously. I’ve read some. We’ve watched lots of documentaries about it. One, JFK: The Smoking Gun by Colin McLaren is particularly interesting because he explores a theory initially raised in a book titled Mortal Error.

I like McLaren’s work because he does it as a crime scene investigator, focusing on the facts. I think his theory of accidental of an AR-15 from the trail Secret Service car is pretty valid– it explains not only the crime scene, but also a motive for a large part of the cover-up.

I did a short presentation on various theories below.

What do you think?


The Arguments Against Gun Regulations Reviewed

After simply saying that the gunman in Las Vegas did it because he could, I’ve gotten some blowback on it. Various arguments have been used to point out that there is no need for gun control; at least not more than we have.

Everyone wants to know “WHY?” did this guy do it. It’s driving them crazy. Because if he’d been ISIS we could focus on ISIS instead of the guns. Mental illness has also come up, which will be addressed below.

I propose WHY doesn’t matter. He did it because he can. That needs to be the focus. Put more narrowly, he was able to shoot a lot of people because he had the capability to shoot a lot of people.

But the pushback? So here are some:

Now is not the time!!!! Seems like if he had been Muslim we would have heard about the need for an immigration ban immediately. If he’d crossed the border, we’d have heard WALL!!! Come on, this is so bogus. Now is absolutely the time. Charleston was the time. Orlando was the time. Sandy Hook was most definitely the time and nothing happened. And it’s already been several days and all we’re hearing is the smokescreen of banning bump stocks.

If we restrict guns, only criminals will have guns. Yes. And? Isn’t that why we have laws? Strangely, these gun advocates feel that in this specific area, the rule of law is void. Doesn’t work. Yet they also are big law and order fans. The two don’t reconcile.

Also, is there a criminal gun factory we’re not aware of? Are criminals getting their guns from some place other than legitimately sold guns that either directly or indirectly end up in their hands? The shooter in Vegas was not a criminal until he fired that first round.

I own lots of guns and have never had an accident or done a mass shooting. Okay. And?

Chicago!!!! Yes? And? It is a city inside a state inside the country, all with varying degrees of regulation. We need to deal with this as a country. Factually, Chicago doesn’t have the toughest gun laws in the country as many say. It has a B+ for its gun laws from a nopartisan think tank. Chicago also is close to Wisconsin and Indiana which have very weak laws. 60% of gang related firearm incidents in Chicago are with out of state weapons.

New York City has some strict laws and its gun homicide rate is 2.3 per 100,000 compared to 14.7 in Philadelphia and 25.1 in Chicago. Something is working in NYC. Perhaps the zero tolerance, mandatory one year sentencing for carrying an unregistered firearm?

I need a gun to stop the bad guys!!! The John Wayne syndrome. Yes, it does happen. But statistically, rather rarely given the overall numbers. The cold, hard numbers indicate that having a gun in your household make you a much more likely candidate to die from a gun than not having one. Suicide is more prevalent. Gun accidents (can’t have one with no gun) are more likely. Yes, everyone who quotes this points out that they never have accidents, would never kill themselves, etc. but someone does. It’s numbers that are real. Facts.

The reality is in an active shooter scenario, a citizen pulling a gun becomes indistinguishable from the shooter. When taught how to clear a hostage situation in Close Quarter Battle, we assume everyone is a bad guy until they prove otherwise. An effective hostage technique is to tape toy guns in hostage hands. We ziptie everyone and let follow on forces sort it out. If you’re blazing away when law enforcement comes on the scene . . .

We didn’t have this in the good old day!!! It’s all those meds people are taking!! No. We had this in the good old days. We just didn’t have the firepower available. Also, this administration has seen fit to roll back restrictions on gun purchases for people with mental issues, so that kind of says it doesn’t see mental issues as an issue for gun ownership except when someone wants to regulate the guns. Then the pivot to mental illness comes up.

It’s my Second Amendment Right!!! The Constitution and the Amendments were not written in stone. They were written at a very different time. We can parse the words, but yes, it’s fine to have a right to own a gun, just as it to do many things. However, given the body count, perhaps some more regulations? In any other field when there are deaths, we try to improve things; but this is one area that we have sought no improvement.

Hitler, Stalin, Mao etc all started by taking the guns!!!!  If someone is truly afraid that our government is going to do whatever it is you’re afraid they’re going to do and take your guns, and that of others, and impose some kind of draconian system outside of the Constitution do you really believe you will stop the US Military or law enforcement? It’s also very insulting to the US Military to think they’d come to oppress you. Remember, officers swear their allegiance to the Constitution, not whoever is in office. So if you believe in the Second Amendment, why don’t you believe in the oath of office that our military leadership swears to that same Constitution? The very first law made by the very first Congress addressed this issue. That’s how important it is.

Ironically, the one time a large number of officers violated their oath of office, we had a Civil War, which is an entirely different issue.

We’ve actually had people act out politically with guns. Recently a Republican Congressman was shot by a citizen who felt oppressed. Was that a good move under the Second Amendment?

Shouldn’t we ban trucks and knives and anything else used to kill people? A silly argument that sidesteps facing the issue with guns.

Since 1968, when these figures were first collected, there have been 1,516,863 gun-related deaths on US territory. Terrorists have used trucks, and knives, and planes, fertilizer to make bombs and some other things, but the numbers aren’t even within 1% of that total. We lost 2,977 dead on 9-11. We completely changed the way we deal with flying. That is not even 1/10 of 1 percent of the number of gun deaths. Yet our response has been nil to the gun issue.

Our response to an event like 9-11 is all out of proportion to the posted threat in comparison with guns. We’ve spent billions, employed hundreds of thousands of people in order to prevent another occurrence. After Oklahoma City we’ve hardened federal building against truck bombings.

Can we not admit that guns are rather convenient, readily available and accessible? And over 1.5 million Americans, more than have died in all our wars combined, have died from them in just the last half-century? If we could just make that fact a start point for rational, national discourse it would be a huge step in the right direction.

In Special Forces we do a target/threat assessment, using the CARVE formula: Criticality, Accessibility, Recuperability, Vulnerability, and Effect. Yet this is one area where the threat assessment is lacking.

What about all the responsible gun owners? Absolutely! That is why we need to have a national discourse on how to deal with this. With so many guns in this country it is a credit to those owners how few are used in criminal endeavors.

The reality is that the great middle, both gun owners, and non-gun owners, want rational discourse on this and rational regulations. More than we have, but not a complete ban. I think the vast majority of Americans are reasonable people. We need to stop being swayed by extremists on both ends on this topic and on every topic. We can find a middle ground because there is a middle ground among the American people. BTW– yes. I own guns, my prior occupation used guns as tools of the trade, and I believe that the vast majority of gun owners are responsible people who actually are in favor of reasonable rules.

We have to start with the fact: he did it because he could.

Las Vegas: He Did It Because He Could

People are scrambling to answer the question “Why?”

I think it’s pretty irrelevant. In fact, I hope no reason is uncovered. Then we have to face a harsh truth that can’t be passed off on a terrorist movement, an ideology, racism, religion, political, crazy, etc etc etc.

He shot people because he could. He had the guns. He had the ammunition. He had the modifications to the guns to fire a lot of rounds.

I’ve been wrong on one thing. People have been saying automatic weapons need to be banned and they mostly are. I’ve always dismissed firing on auto—my training and experience is that it was a waste of bullets. Placed, effective semi-auto is much more dangerous. It just never occurred to me that someone would be placing plunging fire from the 32nd floor of a building into a packed crowd of thousands. I’m a fiction writer. I wrote about crashing planes into buildings before 9-11. But this? Nope. Here’s the scary thing—now it’s out there. It will happened again. Concert. Sports event. It will.

He didn’t have weapons capable of automatic fire as of the latest report. Instead he had something called a “bump-stock”. I’d first seen this a few weeks ago. It works like this: the shooter keeps his finger on the trigger, but otherwise keeps that hand free of the grip. The non firing hand braces the gun in the firing position. The gun fires, recoils back on the stock, which resets the trigger as a new round is loaded. The bump stock pushes the gun back to the firing position. Since the trigger finger is held stationery it thus ‘automatically’ pulls the trigger. I thought: That’s kind of dumb. What would you ever want that for as it makes automatic fire even more inaccurate? Got my answer.

You don’t have to be accurate in this instance.

So, while not technically automatic, it’s automatic. When I heard the firing, it  sounded weird to me. I’ve heard a lot of firing of all kinds of weapons. I knew it wasn’t an AR on auto. Almost AK, but not right either. Also, the time between firing made me think it was multiple shooters. One shooter with multiple weapons works too.

I remember a few years ago a range instructor was killed in Nevada by a young girl. Her parents took her to the range so she could fire guns. Including an Uzi on full auto. The instructor wasn’t 100% focused, she pulled the trigger, the gun recoiled. He’s dead. That’s how it happens. A momentary lapse. Happens every day. Every day. Guns do not forgive. Guns also don’t fire by themselves.

But people can’t shot someone without a gun.

I’m seeing all the argument in social media about suppressors, automatic, “if he didn’t use a gun he’d use a truck” etc etc etc etc. I don’t care.

He used a gun. Multiple guns. He used a modification on the guns to fire a lot of bullets from weapons which have been designed for combat; not sport shooting or hunting. That’s not opinions or open to discussion. Those are facts. I know guns. I know the history of guns. I know weapons from all over the world. They were the tools of my previous occupation. I have a lot of respect for those who use guns in their occupations or for hunting. I worked with some of the best shooters in the world. Who did it every day.

When Sandy Hook happened I was devastated. I know what it feels like as a parent to lose a child. And to lose it that way would have been even worse. It is an exclusive club you do not want to be a part of. Despite that, I always believed, and still believe, the crime scene photos of Sandy Hook should have been splashed on the front page of every paper, presented on the cable news nonstop. Yes– horrible. But not many Americans have seen what 5.56 does to the human body. To a child’s body.

More parents have lost children this week, not just in Las Vegas but all over the country. They’ve lost spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, friends, lovers—people.

It comes down to a simple fact we have to digest and let it become part of our true reality.

He did it because he could.

The Job Most People Desire?

According to Yougov, it’s author. 60% of those surveyed picked Author as the #1 job they’d like. That’s much higher than movie star (31%). So Cool Gus says pssshww Brad Pitt. Opps, that’s actually Sassy Becca.

Unfortunately, a survey of 1,007 indie authors indicated the average earnings were $10,000, a number greatly skewed by a handful earning over 100k. 75% reported earnings of less than $500 a year. So if one can live off $500 a year . . .

When I started out writing I was living in a one-room, unheated apartment above a garage. I also was in the Army Reserves and since Special Forces was in high demand, I’d constantly get calls to go to interesting places (not) and meet interesting people (not). So that supplemented things.

Today my 72nd book (I think), Hallows Eve (Time Patrol) is published. My first came out in 1991 (it’s free—Eyes of the Hammer [Green Berets].

I’ve written thrillers, science fiction, suspense, historical fiction, survival manuals, a leadership book, writing books, and might be the only male author on the Romance Writers of America Honor Roll, with three romances, one of which made the top 100 of the decade 2000-2010.

Don’t do that if you want a successful career as a writer. But, I’ve had a career as a writer for over 25 years. So much for writing advice.

So, yay, pub day and I’m already into Area 51: Resurrection, the 10th book in my all-time bestselling series, picking up where I left off with Area 51: The Truth, because you know, there’s always more truth. And that’s the reason I’ve been able to make a living writing. Because I write.

Now that’s true writing advice.

Nothing but good times ahead!


Between Books– a Type A Writer’s Dilemma

More appropriately, it’s a dilemma for someone who tests out with a J as the last letter for the Meyers-Briggs. Judgmental, better known as someone who is more attuned to the result than the P, the process.

I normally spend minimal time between books. Uusually researching the next book before the prior book is finished, so I can dive right into the writing, once the current book is into the production cycle.

Hallows Eve has been done for a while and is ready for a 1 October pub date. Pre-orders on kindle and print book are live, and just waiting on final approval of the audio.

I’ve known for a while that I was going to revisit my Area 51 series. I picked a title, even have a tentative cover.

But I’m not writing it yet. For weeks now I’ve been re-reading the series, researching, but most importantly, I’ve been thinking. I know, surprising for those who know me.

It makes me irritable and not nice to be around. Even Cool Gus isn’t thrilled with me when I’m like this. I hit this sometimes when I’m in the midst of writing a book. When I know something isn’t right and I have to hit pause until I sort it out. And you can’t make it happen. It has to come. That doesn’t mean I’m not working. Plenty of other things to do to be an author, like run a business.

And I’m researching, making notes, re-reading books. I’m getting things out of my head (what’s in there is dark and dangerous and not real). Putting it down in some format makes it real. So it’s time for the Excel Spreadsheet and the Mindnode (above). I have to see what the pieces and parts are. I’m a big picture guy. Terrible with details. Just ask my wife. “Bob, go get X from the bedroom.” I come back without X. She’s learned to say: “Bob, go get X from the dresser in the main room, second drawer from top on the right, on the left side. Underneath the t-shirts. It’s red. It looks like a pair of shorts, because it is a pair of shorts. Got it?”

And I come back without the shorts. Seriously, she wants to hide something from me in the fridge, it’s easy. Just put it behind something. Just a little while ago she pulled out some apples and said “Here are the apples you bought. They’re going in this drawer to stay fresh, but I know you’ll never look in this drawer.”

I think I’ll go get an apple right now.

Anyway. Between books is tough. Not pushing ahead with the writing is hard. But I want to do it better. Put out a better book every time I write. So I’m focusing on some aspects here that I usually rush through. Just had a great breakthrough while lying down for my mind-floating. I set my timer on my iPhone for 20 minutes and lie down, usually with Cool Gus lying his head on my feet. And I just let my mind float.

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

And I remembered the very first Area 51 book. And had one of those Ah ha! moments. That book came out 20 years ago under a pen name. The flying saucer on the cover? Not in the book. But I’ve gotten plenty of letters from kids over the years telling me that’s why they got the book. So maybe the cover designer was smarter than me. Not that it’s that hard.

Nothing but good times ahead.

And I will be writing soon!




PBS’ Vietnam. A Must Watch.

Lynn Novick and Ken Burns have collaborated to produce a documentary that is a must see for every American.

It covers the war from all sides and does justice to both the military and political aspects. There are so many quotes from those interviewed that are striking, it’s clear why it took ten years to complete.

To watch it requires opening up my mind and my heart to the experiences. I’ve watched their Civil War series numerous times, but Vietnam raises the issue of “Too soon?”

No. It’s perfect timing. Our country was torn apart by that war and our country is torn apart now.

We’ve gone from looking down on combat veterans to the ubiquitous “thank you for your service” without understanding the journey and the hypocrisy between a draft army and an all volunteer army.

As a former North Vietnamese soldier says early on (I’ve only watched the first three episodes and it keeps me awake, thinking): “It has been 40 years. . . . In war, no one wins or loses. There is only destruction. Only those who have never fought like to argue about who won and who lost.”

Listening to President Johnson’s own words on tape is staggering. To understand the duplicity of a government that knew as early as 64-65 that the war wasn’t winnable, yet didn’t have the courage to make a decision in line with that knowledge is sobering and makes you think hard of what we’ve done since 9-11.

This is a series of personal stories and national stories. We need to hear them and take them to heart.

A Brief History of Computers and Cyber Warfare

This is from research I’ve done for Hallows Eve which is only two weeks out from publication. It’s certainly not a complete history, but it’s interesting. The part about Ronald Reagan and the movie War Games was something I didn’t know.


Click HERE to go to the slideshow