Friday, January 14, 2011


Most everyone knows I am in the Sporting Goods Industry.  Which means for the past 15 years I've represented a wide range of products.  From the earthy, green outdoorsy stuff like kayaks and canoes and all things that give you the impression I eat Luna bars and do yoga to fishing tackle and WHOA! firearms.  That's right, I've hunted, I've harvested and I've cooked and fed my children resulting meals.  However my last name is Rath, not Palin so you can relax.  I do however have a bumper sticker that reads "God Bless Our Troops, Especially the Snipers" so take it for what you want.

I realize not everyone is ok with this, but this is my life I hope you will respect that and not innundate me with opinions of why I do not (and you do) have issue with hunting and responsible firearm ownership.  Please, I promise you I have heard it all and I do not intend to change my opinion on the subject.  Nuff said.  I do however respect yours and that's why I love all things blogging and sharing, so feel free to share here anyway, I'll just choose to disagree.

Now, point of my posting.  Yesterday on twitter came this

Alabamas13: Person shot at Shelby County pawn shop: Shelby County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a shooting at a Highway 280...

There are three pawn/easy money shops on Hwy 280, a very busy stretch of businesses linking Shelby County to Birmingham, most of which I consider very traditional and places I shop & eat - Target, Publix, several banks, great restaurants, Pier One, etc., you get it.  The surrounding subdivisions are some of the nicest in metro Birmingham, we are talking $300,000-$1,000,000+ homes people!  But two of these shops are in driving proximity of the daycare my children attend (as well as several other daycares and schools) and yep, this was one of them. 

Back in October 2009 (sorry folks already familiar with my fb posts, I thought it was last summer, I guess time really does fly) this also happened at this shop - scroll to the last report  on the page.

During that event, the kids were napping, thankfully not outside for play time.  I learned from the staff that the Sherriff's department did respond immediately and locked down the center as well as had troopers outside until the area was confirmed secure.  And although I honestly had absolutely no concerns as I love my daycare, it's a family business, family atmosphere and been around a long, long, long time to see lots of things happen over the years and that this could happen ANYWHERE, but I could not stop thinking that week about the what if's (no explanation needed).

Yesterday when I saw the tweet though, my heart dropped and all I could think of were the what if's. And I knew, the tweet could mean anything, could be another robbery, could be accidental, could be anything.  Of course, by the time the tweet came through, the news was already covering it and that meant law enforcement was already on the scene - nothing I could do immediately that would result in any change of the circumstances, but I did email the owner to make him aware of the situation. 

When I picked up last night, there was nothing to see, no tape across the door, in fact I think they were open.  But this time what went racing through my head was, I need to do something to avoid a what if from becoming, if only we had...

I watched the 10:00 news with baited breath and sure enough just a quick report, no details other than it was an accidental shooting. My mind however screamed only the shooting from that phrase.  Because in my belief as a gun owner, you DO NOT have accidents.  You have irresponsibility, but not accidents.

As an update my husband, who also works with me, was down at the Shelby County Sherriff's Dept today on something unrelated and gleaned some information for me on the incident.

The employees at (said pawn shop) were moving some display cases in the store and it seems one of them, I have heard from other sources it was the owner's son, removed his sidearm holster and pistol and set it down. Another employee picked it up to move it and discharged the weapon, accidently, killing one person - I believe it was the owner's son that was killed.

As a person in the firearms/hunting industry I have major problems with this.  Anyone that is trained and is a responsible firearm owner, especially one with a permit to carry a sidearm on person, will tell you that you do NOT leave anything in the chamber, EVER. Second, when removing the firearm from his person, the very first thing should have been to check the action prior to leaving it out of his immediate possession to be sure it was clear. I could go on but I won't.

I am saddened that a tragedy has happened to the people involved, do not misunderstand my intentions. My underlying issue here is a business which handles sales of firearms has had two separate instances of concern. One was not under their control per se (the robbery), the other was due to irresponsibility (my opinion). 

I do not take lightly irresponsible behavior, especially when it comes to businesses that should be handling things on heightened safety.  I can only hope the ATF will take a close look at the procedures and safety precautions and overall business practices at this place with due scrutiny. I've lived on 280 for nearly 14 years and have seen many transitions, just lately I've become more aware of the environment. I LOVE 280, I don't care about the traffic, it's what I identify as my home in this city even though we live in the boonies of Chelsea/Columbiana. And I am going to figure out a way to voice my concerns about this business, to our elected officials and through whatever avenues I can to make sure I feel comfortable that if only we had, never happens. 

If you wish to join me, or have any information that could help, comment or catch me at daycare. 

And please keep in mind, I am only concerned with this particular business and it's practices.  I am confident after the 50 years that my company has been around, that the businesses which we service and the majority of the industry members do follow the proper regulations and safety requirements and I support the industry and everything that is responsible gun ownership.  I will always believe in 2nd Ammendment (my license plate is 2AMNDMT). 

It's the human factor that concerns me.

Edited to add:  Perhaps I am ultra senstive to this situation today given the recent events in Tuscon.  That could entirely be it.  Or maybe I'm crying out for people to start being responsible.  Either way, today I couldn't be quiet.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dry As a Bone!

These are the first words out of Duke's mouth each morning since he started staying dry at night about 2 months ago.  I am blessed.  I am also trying to allay the concerns of a 4 year old brother who is not and will not be for a while I suspect and who notices this. 

However, things have turned a bit.  Not necessarily in my favor.  Jack is still having some daytime "leaks" as I call them and that's not so cool.  Not terribly concerned but enough to bring it up in the next visit if we are still dealing with it.

Anyway, since Duke is not used to doing anything before Jack, he now notices these things happening on the days we stay home.  The result, he now thinks he needs to change his underwear each time he goes tee tee even though he's "dry as a bone!" as he calls it and thus my laundry pile grows with each trip to the bathroom.

Why couldn't it work just work the other way?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Highlands Kids Here We Come!

Saturday while Cory was spending the late afternoon in one of the deer blinds waiting to see what might visit his newly planted apple orchard and I was cooking up one of our last family meals before the holidays ended and our daily work/daycare schedule started up again, the boys were getting their "sillies" out.  We managed nearly an entire day home without turning the TV on so far and I was stretching it out to see how long they'd go before I needed the break of 30 minutes of Curious George or The Gruffalo.

What happened next was something that made my heart leap for joy.  At least leap for hope of joy.

As a family we've been members at Church of the Highlands for going on 9 or 10 years now I think.  Those of you close to us know it was the vehicle that probably the biggest influence in changing our lives.  (And that's BIG).  From Dinks to 40 with preschoolers faster than Earnhart and Gordon race around the oval at Talladega.  And although I grew up Catholic, for me it was this place and the people we have connected through it that brought me to a relationship with God.  It's not just the awesome messages given by Pastor Chris, but the place it has taken in our everyday lives.  (Of course any of my co-workers will tell you I still have a ways to go, but improvement is better than nothing!)

While we attend Sunday services, the kids get to participate in their own activities in the Nursery-Duke's in The Fire Station and it's the PreSchool "Clubhouse" for Jack.  I used to be on the Dream Team and work video back in the early days of the church but since the move to the Grants Mill campus and having the kids, it's not been feasible for me to get back yet to helping on Sundays.  I've often wondered what really goes on for the kids, other than just playing and puzzles and the L'il K and Veggie Tales videos.

Well, apparently they sing too - at least in the Clubhouse, where there is a stage and chalkboard, and the kids sit in the "audience".  I should have picked up on it, but it took some music to make it click for me.

As I'm cooking away in the kitchen, suddenly I hear Jack telling Duke to "get in the audience" as he climbs up on the fireplace his "stage".  Then out of the mouths of babes I hear, well, you can hear it yourself...

For those of you that are wondering, it's Hillsong Kid's "One Way (Jesus)" and I knew I recognized it when Jack first started singing it but as soon as I figured it out, I was grabbing for my iTouch and iTunes and downloading it for the car. 

And the feeling I had as I listened to them ask me to play it for the 10th time was...finally, I'm doing something RIGHT!   They are ready for Worship time at Highlands!

note to viewers: The "dots" in Duke's pants are two flashlights they got for Christmas.  I apologize for the graininess from the poor lighting.  But Duke's moves near the middle are entirely worth watching the full 1:36, that kid has some flexible joints!!