“You Are Not A Leader” – RCMP Cpl to Commissioner…

Here’s a good one.  Someone willing to speak truth to power (and frankly, the world needs a bit of that right now)…

CBC News – ‘You are not a leader’: RCMP boss’s testimony about Moncton shootings inflames corporal

Reminds me of some recent writings by retired OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis and from his “Lighthouse Leadership Services” consultant business, articles that have been fairly recently and frequently published in BlueLine Magazine, a policing monthly publication here in Canada.  Stuff about the difference between Leaders and Managers, about Leaders and “Bosses”.  About how being a leader is about ensuring those under you and that you’re responsible for are taken care of, how you listen to their frontline knowledge, how you value their input; on the contrary of being a boss or a manager, who only worries about the next promotion, about the “organization foremost over the individual people”, about doing the politically correct and easy thing, rather than the “right” thing necessarily.

I remember one article that Chris Lewis wrote that summed it all up so succinctly for me, as it relates to policing – not verbatim, but to the effect of…

“A manager or boss is the one who, when something goes wrong, asks their staff how they’re going to fix it, doles out discipline whether people were ‘wrong’ or not, and orders a timeline for getting things done, and takes the credit afterwards.  Whereas a leader is the one who, when something goes wrong, takes the blame for what went wrong, works with their staff as a team to resolve it, helps and assists their team to get it done, and doles out credit afterwards for positive actions, yet while also not ‘passing a fault’ and ensuring improvements are made.”

With everything coming out of the RCMP from the past decade-plus or so, and their continual head-in-the-sand mentality, I can’t understand why they just don’t want to move forward and improve.  Their members are…in need of it / begging for it / deserve it.

Sounds like the RCMP management team are still in need of reading Commissioner Lewis’ writings.

Cheers all.

Dashcam Video Released From Philando Castile Traffic Stop…

So, the police dashcam video footage has been just released earlier today from the Philando Castile shooting in July 2016.  This video hasn’t been released until today, due to it being held back as evidence in the officer’s trial.

This is the shooting that further enraged things in the U.S. going on with the Black Lives Matter movement, due to it being another unfortunate case of a black male shot and killed by police, but was exacerbated by the fact that Castile had a permit for the legal gun in his possession, and also due to the fact that his girlfriend who was in the vehicle at the time (along with her four-year-old daughter too) actually live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.

The police officer in question, Jeronimo Yanez, was charged with manslaughter after the shooting occurred in the state of Minnesota last summer.  He was just acquitted of all charges just late last week.  Yet, the police department he worked for in the city of St. Anthony has now also decided to terminate him regardless of his acquittal.

Jeronimo Yanez, as the police officer, is a Latino male police officer.  Philando Castile, as the shot and killed driver, was a 32-year-old black male, who worked as an elementary-school cafeteria worker, and had a proper permit to own the firearm that was found in the vehicle with him.

Yanez’s defense pointed to the fact that Castile was high on marijuana at the time of the shooting, as to a reason why he was not listening to the officer’s commands, and that Yanez stated that Castile was going for the gun.

So, all that said, here’s the link for the video.  Mature subject matter, obviously.  Please use your discretion…

Video: Dashcam Video, full screen

CBC News: Dashcam video shows officer firing 7 shots into Philando Castile car

I gotta say…

Fuck me.  I don’t know what to say.

There’s been a lot of videos of officer-involved-shootings in the U.S. lately, and be it from the Michael Brown shooting to the Tamir Rice shooting to the Jamar Clark shooting, I’ve personally believed that the racial profiling, on the part of protesters, has slanted their view more than that of the officers involved; I myself have seen all those videos / publically-released reports now, and felt that, whether I personally agreed with them or not, or whether I would have done the same or not, that the officer’s actions could be justified.  (And grain of salt here – that’s as an outside person, seeing only what anyone else in the public can see, and trying to look at it from an informed position, but understanding that I may not have all the info, and it’s just an opinion.)

But this video…


The sheer terror.  The anger mixed with terror that the officer displayed afterwards.  I don’t know if that’s solely and only a stress reaction to the incident at hand, but it doesn’t look like racism to me.  To say this was “another” racist shooting is out of hand frankly (and yes, the cop was Latino, but it doesn’t matter that way either, in my opinion).  It’s reactionary vile of the “hands-up-don’t-shoot” variety spouted off by those that want to add fuel to the fire to anything race related in the U.S.  Take this exact same shooting, and put a white driver and a black officer with the EXACT same scenario and action run through to the exact same conclusion (just changing up the colours and roles therefore), and you won’t see people saying it’s racist.

But it does look terrifying to me.  Did the officer actually react according to his training, due to the threat to life that he perceived, and therefore did he act properly per his training?  Or did the officer overreact?  I dunno.  The biggest thing with that is whether or not the threat to life was a “reasonable belief” / reasonable threat.

Did the driver actually reach for the gun?  Even with the girlfriend sitting in the front seat, she may not have actually seen what the officer saw, nor knew what the subject was thinking / doing.  No matter what the court and jury decided (and, they decided outright that they believed the officer’s defense 10-2 at the beginnings of deliberations, and then unanimously acquitted him in the end), only Officer Yanez himself and Castilo himself truly know what happened, and what each other’s intents were.

All I know is, this video, and the anguish for all involved, is the only one in a good long time that had me have such a gut-wrenching reaction.

I honestly felt violently ill after watching this one.

I’ve had a time once that I’ve screamed at someone like that, asking them why they’ve put me (and us both) in the situation they did.  And that wasn’t even a “gun’s-out” situation.

And, it almost sounds indefensible.  Almost of the “why’d-you-make-me-do-that” rationale that spousal abusers and their ilk will use afterwards to justify their actions.

But, it can be real.

No matter what I’ve done / will do in my policing career, no matter what I’ve done / will do in my soldiering career, either at home in Canada or overseas, I do fully understand that policing in the U.S. is a completely different beast from what I do.  I’ve said to many friends and family – stereotyping as it may be – that I really don’t think I could be a street cop in U.S. cities such as Miami or New York or Los Angeles.  And that from a guy that’s stood downrange from baddies in strange overseas spots, and had a good couple of gun’s-out situations in my short-so-far policing career…I just know that what U.S. cops deal with is, well, different.  Not better or worse, but different.

This one video was just absolutely gut-wrenching to watch.

There can be both victims and perpetrators on all sides.

Humidors, Cigar Storage, Aging, Etc…

So, with my earlier post about spring cleaning, you may have noticed that I have a new category added in to the breakdowns on “Lights, Sirens and Cigars”, a category for Humidors, Cigar Storage, Aging, Etc…

As I’m compiling some of these more historical posts from the last two years (some of these photo outlays are gonna be fuckin’ AWESOME – so gawddamn many gigs of photos to download from my iPhone, DSLR, and Canadian Forces Combat Camera’s archives too), and trying to get everything caught up on here, I’ve noticed that I’ve got a bunch of subjects that would do well to be put in a separate category from what I’ve had before.  As well, there’s quite a few posts / threads that I put on the Friends of Habanos forum over a number of years now about such subject matter, such as when I made a custom humidor cabinet, or some trial-and-error things about “coolerdors”, or switching out the green foam in powered hydration units, etc.

And likewise, a while back I created a Miscellaneous Gear, Toys, Swag and Accessories… category, but haven’t put much in there yet (mostly just “also ran”-linked with other categories when I’ve put up posts, and mostly stuff from back in 2015).  With some of these updates, I’ll have more being put in there also for specific items.

A lot of this stuff should help out with some out there that are looking for answers / help.  Hell, there’s a shit ton of resources out there in Internet-land for cigar newbies and old pros alike, and lot of resources to guide them through things.  But that said, I still get asked questions and for help from time to time, so I thought that adding these things on here could help out a bit more, especially with trying to add more photos and more real-world-trial-and-error experience into the mix.

So, a head’s up on all that!

Cheers all.

Policing: To Serve OR Protect???

Occasionally, I enjoy turning off the mmm-da-mmm-da music, and listening to CBC Radio, both for the news as well as some of its shows and programming.  Today, the program “Ideas” presented a very thought provoking broadcast entitled “Policing: To Serve Or Protect”.  As per the program, this was recorded back in May at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and is Part 1 of the program, with Part 2 of 2 to be aired soon.

You can find the podcast from the show here:  Policing: To Serve Or Protect?

I think this was a great programme for everything it discussed.  The issues discussed included traditional roles, Sir Robert Peel’s principles of policing, native issues, racism, police trust issues, community backlash, social ills, costs, body cams, police culture, Canada versus U.S. aspects, etc.

However, there were plenty of issues not discussed, and various other points and counter-points that were left off the table.  As well, the unfortunately typical usage of American terms relating to a Canadian show or subject was present too (for example, “misdemeanours and/or felonies” [U.S.] rather than “summary conviction and/or indictable offences” [Canadian]).

But the title of this programme alone spoke volumes. Not “Policing: To Serve And Protect”, as we’ve all known that classic saying, but “…To Serve Or Protect”.  That simple word change is indicative of the changing world of policing and of the changing  aspect of the world views of police.  And unfortunately, too much of the outside views on police are based on the dire straights within the U.S.; however as a few of the panelists agreed, its definitely not an apples-to-apples comparison across the border lines.

Give the program a listen.  Time well spent, in my opinion.

Cheers all.

Trump Hits Reset on Obama’s Cuba Policy…

Is anyone surprised at this really?  As much as it does suck for fellow cigar fans and Cuba buffs out of the U.S., I think that most of us felt this was inevitable…

Trump hits reset on Obama’s Cuba policy, challenges Castro

Most notable bits, in my opinion:

  • “Announcing the rollback of President Barack Obama’s diplomatic opening during a speech in Miami, Trump said Cuba had secured far too many concessions from the U.S. in the “misguided” deal but “now those days are over.””  [Really?!?!  The U.S. gave up too many concessions?  From a brutal policy that they enacted almost 60 years ago?!?!  LOL.]
  • “More details about the changes are expected to be released Friday, when the new policy is set to take effect. But none of the changes will become effective until the Treasury Department issues new regulations, which could take months. That means that any U.S. traveler currently booked on a flight to Cuba in the next few weeks, or even months, could go ahead and make the trip.”  [Dear gawd, I hope that travelers don’t get screwed over this.  As we’ve all seen with the Trump White House’s implementation of the Muslim travel ban, one minute things are one way and the next minute it’s different.  I hope that travelers that are currently booked for something, already “approved”, don’t end up showing up to an airport and getting stuck in limbo.]
  • “But individual “people-to-people” trips by Americans to Cuba, allowed by Obama for the first time in decades, will again be prohibited. And the U.S. government will police other such trips to ensure there’s a tour group representative along making sure travelers are pursuing a “full-time schedule of educational exchange activities.””  [Wait, what?!?!  So, you’re cancelling out some aspects of the détente, because you don’t like the undemocratic military-state, but you’re adding layers of bureaucratic policing?  Pot, meet kettle.]

It’s just unfortunately another shitty situation for the Cuban people.  The Castro regime(s) definitely aren’t a piece-of-cake for the citizens there, and changes need to be made.  But on the surface, this appears like it may hurt those local-people more, than any government entity.  (Not that the détente has overly assisted those same people either, but something’s better than nothing.)

And frankly, as a longtime Canadian traveler to Cuba…

I must be honest and say that a part of me is happy for this too, for purely selfish reasons, I may add.

Many of my fellow American cigar compatriots know how to get to Cuba, one way or another, before/during/after this détente bullshit.  Whether the U.S. government “allows” them to travel is of moot difference really.  However, since the Obama-Raul détente, the sheer number of American travelers (not necessarily those brethren cigar aficionados either) have overwhelmed damn near everyone.  Cuba is building additional hotel rooms in shudderingly terrifying numbers (especially if one is aware of construction “norms” in Cuba).  Availability still continues to drop disproportionately, and prices have been skyrocketing.

Fuck, I remember when we did one of the first bigger Canuck group-trips to Havana for the Friends Of Partagas festival in November 2012.  Airfare from Toronto, transfers, taxes all-in, and double-occupancy room bookings at the Hotel Nacional in Havana was just under $1200 CAD then.  We’re just looking in the past month for a few different options for this November’s Encuentros again (probably doing the same casas again as last year’s big FOH / AmiCigar group trip, which were AWESOME).  Anywho, looking at doing the same thing as we did in Nov. 2012, Toronto airfare, Nacional hotel, all-in, and the current pricing is just over $5600 CAD per person now!

So, frankly, once the “standard American tourist” is banned from the island, I can’t say I’ll honestly be upset from my own personal perspective.  That said, I definitely doubt that hotel prices will ever drop to what they were for us before (but shit, if they drop into the $2k range, it’d almost be a steal again.)

But I still hope for the best for some Cuban friends – some have put some hard work into the current small-business atmosphere.  I hope these changes don’t see worsening conditions for them.  It scares me what some foreign government’s can do to another’s country, just with the swipe of a pen.  Without an appreciation for the people on the ground, who are these people to make those choices?

Cheers all.


Another Range Weekend Come And Gone…

So, as I mentioned in an earlier post about a Ghostbusters / “Ecto 1” sighting, I had another weekend on the range for requalifications.  Good ol’ CFB “Boredom”.  Some nice new mess facilities there, but still otherwise the same.  I don’t miss that base, nor the rooms either…

We had some bright and sunny, albeit a fair bit of windy conditions for the first day.  But a good day of shooting – and even with a flyby of a foursome of Harvard trainers, there at Borden for a small airshow / demonstration event…

We even had some newer faces try to get used to full-auto bursts.  Always fun to watch…

​Rainier conditions for our pistol shoots the next day…

But it was all made better to come home to the Mrs. having got a couple of GIANT t-bone steaks marinated and ready for high-temp grilling perfection.  Mmmmmmmmm, meat (yes, I know, with a side of salad, lol!)

Cheers all. ​​

Really???  REALLY?!?!?!?!

So, following up on a recent post I did on spending and retention within the military, I just saw this article pop up in the news earlier today, and heard the various commentary on the radio this afternoon.

More spending, more troops, and more investments in our Canadian Armed Forces.

An increase (generally a good thing) of $13.9 billion.

“Defence policy promises boost to defence budget and plans for armed drones…

The Liberal government’s new defence policy lays out a plan to increase the defence budget by 70 per cent over the next decade to $32.7 billion. It is a mixture of new and previously committed cash.”


However, its all only fully kicking in after the next election and/or some time within a 10-year window.

Really???  REALLY?!?!?!?!  REALLY?!?!?!

A promise of an investment down the road is not an investment right now (when that’s what is needed).  It’s promises of future increases (maybe – the track record isn’t good), and not necessarily and not mostly increases right now (which is what we need).  This announcement is kicking the ball down the field for an easy play, rather than making tough choices and deciding on a workable play RIGHT NOW.  And it’s still nowhere near raising our defence spending from a paltry 0.9% of GDP to the 2% that our NATO allies have requested and which we should be committing to, especially in this day and age.

It’s more of the same from government announcements – Liberal or Conservative, it doesn’t really seem to matter.  Much ado about nothing.

Thanks, but don’t do us any favours.

Any Ghostbusters Fans Out There???

On the way up for some range training, happened to come across this unique customized vehicle in traffic…

And before anyone asks / comments (especially those friends of mine who aren’t in policing, but like to rub in any faults they observe, lol), I did have a passenger with me who helped me take those photos.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Cheers all.