A friendly reminder from your local ER nurse

  1. The gun is always loaded
  2. Only point the gun at something you are willing to destroy
  3. Know your target and what is behind it
  4. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire

By following these simple rules, you can avoid visiting me in the ER at four in the morning after shooting yourself in your off hand. Additional solid advice: Don’t clean your handgun at four in the morning after being awake all night studying for a final and drinking.

If you neglect this advice, be sure, the nurses and police officers are laughing at you out at the nurses station.

The inspiration for this post was fortunate enough to avoid tendon, bone, and nerve damage, and should regain full use of his hand.

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The Republicans suck, and no I won’t be voting for them

People keep telling me I should back “The lesser of two evils,” suck it up, and vote Republican. Ain’t gonna happen with the current slate of candidates. I am not a conservative. I am a minarchist/anarchist (depends on what day you ask me) libertarian. Both parties believe in expanding the control of the state over individual’s lives. Both parties support foreign wars. Both parties support locking people up in cages for victimless crimes. Both parties believe their mandate is to fix the USA. Trump even went so far as to say the USA “needs a strong leader.”

I don’t want a strong leader to help America. I have seen plenty of what government “help” brings, and I want no part of it. I just wish there was a “none of the above” option on the ballot. Give me that, and I’ll show up to vote. Hell, I’d vote in the Republican primary too, just so I could vote against Trump twice.

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Obama’s Address to the Nation

Obama spoke to the nation this evening about the grave terrorist threat that is confronting us. Just a few of the things he said that jumped out to me:

“Our nation has been at war with terrorists since al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11.” Think this was started by Bush – they are aware that terrorism is a tactic, right? The world has had problems with terrorism for as long as there has been civilization. There is not one concrete enemy, “The Terrorists.” The Charleston Church Shooting was terrorism. The Planned Parenthood shooting was terrorism. If you attack innocent people for a political end, and are a non-state actor, you are a terrorist. Strangely enough, since ISIS is a de facto state at this point, I’m not confident the most recent shooting actually does count as terrorism if they were operating as part of ISIS.

“As we’ve become better at preventing complex, multifaceted attacks like 9/11, terrorists turned to less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society.”  I don’t think we have become better at preventing complex, multifaceted attacks like 9/11. It is possible that the FBI, CIA, NSA, and TSA have been thwarting these complex attacks left and right. But since this is the most secretive administration in history, who knows? Maybe there just aren’t that many people willing to blow themselves up for a cause, and keep it together while immigrating to the USA and accumulating the means to do so. You need a very special kind of fanatic to manage that.

” First, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary. In Iraq and Syria, airstrikes are taking out ISIL leaders, heavy weapons, oil tankers, infrastructure. And since the attacks in Paris, our closest allies — including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom — have ramped up their contributions to our military campaign, which will help us accelerate our effort to destroy ISIL.” Yeah, how’s that working out for ya? In June 2014, ISIL was estimated as having 4,000 fighters. Now it’s estimated at 20-30,000. So if we accelerate our efforts, ISIL should have the Middle East pretty well under their control in a few years.

“Second, we will continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground so that we take away their safe havens. In both countries, we’re deploying Special Operations Forces who can accelerate that offensive. We’ve stepped up this effort since the attacks in Paris, and we’ll continue to invest more in approaches that are working on the ground.” It hasn’t worked so far, so let’s do the same thing we’ve been doing – only harder!

“Since the attacks in Paris, we’ve surged intelligence-sharing with our European allies.” You weren’t already sharing all the relevant intelligence you had?

“Fourth, with American leadership, the international community has begun to establish a process — and timeline — to pursue ceasefires and a political resolution to the Syrian war.” Oh, good! We have begun to establish a process to set a timeline with the community and leadership to establish ceasefires for a resolution to… which part of the Syrian war again? Are the ‘moderate’ Islamic extremists going to be in charge?

“To begin with, Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security.” *pulls off the Obama mask* My god, Obama has secretly been Dick Cheney this whole time! If it’s a matter of national security, who has time for “due process”, and “rights”? Look, this has nothing to do with guns. We shouldn’t have a secret government list saying who does and does not have certain rights and privileges. At all. Ever. If they are known terrorists, arrest them. Charge them. Provide them with fair legal representation. If convicted, incarcerate them for the rest of their miserable lives. If you can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty, then you are required by law to let them go. I’m sure they have a copy of the Bill of Rights in the White House somewhere.

Well, that’s everything that pissed me off. I actually agree with some of his comments. I know a decent number of Muslims personally. They are, one and all, horrified at the actions of ISIL. While none of them are refugees from the current conflict, several came here as refugees from past wars in the region. Then I’ve heard people at work and online say that “those people are all the same, and we need to kill them all before they kill us.” That is the mindset of mass murder, terrorism, and genocide, whether the thought comes from a member of ISIL or an American.

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Gun Control

I oppose all expansion of gun control laws. The reasons are numerous. In the end, it comes down to this: every individual has a right to life and liberty – all further rights derive from this principle. Since I have a right to life and liberty, I also have a right to defend those rights from those who seek to take them from me. The most effective tool for self defense is a firearm. For this reason, I choose to be armed.

Plenty of people choose not to exercise this right, and everyone needs to weigh for themselves their risk of harm from negligent or careless use of said firearm. But they do NOT have the right to make that decision for me, or for the rest of humanity. The minute someone says, “Some classes of people can have guns, but other’s can’t,” they have said some people are more deserving of protection than others. I categorically reject this. All people have the same rights. So when someone says the police can be armed, or politicians should be protected by a security force, but the common person cannot, it is a return to feudalism. I can only do as our lord rules, because if I so much as pick up a rock to resist an assault, my life is forfeit.

So no thanks, I’ll keep my guns. The scale of power is already weighted far too strongly toward the political class.

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Gear Review: Fenix E12 Flashlight

This flashlight lives in my pocket, both at work and everywhere else. It’s the best flashlight I’ve found for my needs. It has a low, medium, and high setting – on low (8 lumens) it is perfect for checking a patient’s pupils, or sneaking in to check on a patient without waking them up.

Then if I need to really illuminate a room, I crank on 130 lumens. Even in a lit room, it’s noticeably bright. Perfect for assessing wounds when the light is shining the wrong direction, or checking out that bump in the night. It is also part of my planned self-defense strategy at work, where I can’t carry. 130 lumens is plenty bright to make an attacker shut their eyes – so I can either get away or counterattack as necessary.

The flashlight is 3.5 inches long, and 0.5 inches diameter. It is perfectly round, I wish it had a bevel cut in it to keep it from rolling straight off a table when I set it down. Fits great in my pocket.

It operates on a tail switch. I’ve never had it unintentionally turn on in my pocket, and it works 100% of the time – unlike my E11, where if it had been on for a few minutes, it would refuse to turn back on. The tail switch cycles through brightness, from low to high. I wish it were high to low for self defense applications, but I haven’t found another light that is convenient to carry and is any better for general use.

Battery life: I stuck an Energizer Lithium AA battery in it back in May when I got it, and haven’t changed it – despite regular use. Lithium batteries are awesome.

I’d highly recommend this flashlight, and they haven’t even given me anything to say that!

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New Grads!

I’ve had the privilege of being one of the main preceptors on my floor for the past couple years. It’s been awesome – I love working with new nurses. It feels nice having the occasional night where I look around at huddle and realize I helped train a majority of the nurses. Some new nurses are pretty good to begin with – by the end third week, I’m mostly helping out on the rest of the floor, and the new grad is taking the full group. Others take more time, and we’re both staying busy until the end of their five week standard orientation.

I’ve only had to extend an orientation once – where I emailed the director and said I felt the nurse was not ready to be on their own, and should probably work on a lower acuity floor. We ended up extending this nurse’s orientation by two weeks, and I still felt nervous any time I saw the nurse was on the schedule.

Precepting has been one thing that has kept me on the same floor as long as I’ve been there (a whopping three-ish years – and I’m one of the more senior nurses now). Few things are more rewarding than taking a fresh out of school nurse and helping them become a kick-ass RN.

The big thing I hope they learn from me is to take care of your patient first, and always. If a patient needs pain meds, it doesn’t matter that it’s 2 AM. Call and wake the doc up. You feel like your patient is getting worse, but the doc doesn’t want to come in. Ok, call the charge, the house supervisor, rapid response, the attending – whoever you need to call to get your patient taken care of.

I do feel week 3 is the most nerve-wracking week as a preceptor. They know the basics, now it’s time to let them build some confidence and independence. So I stop following them around. They know what they’re doing… I hope! Still do some spot checks – Zosyn needs to be hung on primary tubing, and we talked about that – but I still swing by after they hang it, just to double check. If you let them make a mistake, they remember it much better.

Now I’m off to bed, a busy day awaits!

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I Pledge Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Pretty much anyone in America can recite these words. It is an expected start to the school day for many in public school. People get all worked up about the words “Under God,” but I see a much larger problem. The entire concept of a public loyalty oath to the State seems so profoundly contrary to the values of liberty and freedom that we should be denouncing the Pledge from beginning to end. Instead of focusing on getting “Under God” out of the pledge, let’s scrap the whole thing as a bizarre element of fascism in a purportedly freedom-loving country.

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