Jennifer Steel, Agent of the F.S.I.A. (Chapter 5)

Rivulets of sweat ran down Rob’s face as he sucked back his third bottle of water. The plastic crinkled as he pressed it to his forehead. He shifted further in the shade, trying to get away from the baking of the sun. He squinted against the glare on the asphalt, hoping to see the familiar deep tan of Jennifer’s truck. Still nothing. He glanced at his watch. Twelve forty. Twenty minutes late. He growled to himself. He pulled his cell from his pocket, and a horn beeped at him. It was Jennifer.

He waded through the heat miasma to her vehicle, climbed in, buckled his seatbelt and turned to her. She leaned forward so he could lightly pinch her cheeks. It was the start of a traditional greeting he’d come up with. “Awww, look at these cheeks! They’re so cute!” he said in a high-pitched voice.

As always, a huge grin spread across her cheeks. He was so adorable when he did this. “So, where’re we going?”

“Head to B&A boulevard, Utsukushī-kun,” he said. “I’ll let you know where to turn and what not. I’m not spoiling the surprise.”

She sighed. “Alright.”

They drove for a half an hour with Jennifer turning as he indicated until they arrived at a long brick two-story building with a green roof. Rob climbed out and strode around to her side of the truck and opened the door for her. After she climbed out of the truck and he closed the door, he led her to the long building, lightly draping his arm across her shoulders. She pushed closer to him.

Rob opened the door of the building for her and gave the usual exaggerated bow. Jennifer grinned at him and entered. He flowed behind her. A short, portly man dressed in a white buttoned shirt and blue jeans greeted them.

“Howdy folks. How may I help you?”

“Hey, Bill,” Rob said, “Is Bart available?”

“Yep. I’ll get him.” The balding older gentleman walked behind the counter and headed into the office. Jennifer began to look around the room they were in. Guns of all kinds were displayed on the walls and in the case under the counter. Rob pointed out and named some of the unfamiliar ones to her. On six different occasions, she named them before he could. He grinned with pleasure each time she did. “Looks like you’ve been paying attention to my lessons.”

She giggled. Moments later, a tall, blonde haired, young-looking man with blue eyes stepped out of the back. He was dressed in a black vest, white button shirt and black jeans. As the door opened, Jennifer heard the tell-tale sounds of gunfire. The guy waved at Rob.

“Hey, Rob. You here for the package?”

“Yep. This is Utsukushī, the pretty filly I’ve been tellin’ ya about. Utsukushī, this is Bart.”

“Glad ta meetcha, little lady.” Bart said jovially, shaking her outstretched hand.

“Likewise, Mr. Bart.”

Bart chuckled. “Just Bart, ma’am.” He turned back to Rob. “What’s a Utsukushī?”

“Utsukushī is the Japanese word for lovely. It’s a nickname I gave her.”

“You still givin’ folks random nicknames?” He shook his head.

“That’s right, Keebler.”

Jennifer smiled. “Why ‘Keebler’?”

Bart rolled his eyes. “You tell her, Rob.”

Rob laughed. “Two reasons. One, that’s his favorite brand of cookie. The other is because he’s an original hippie.”

“What’s that?” she asked.

“He was a hippie in the 60’s. Tree hugging, peace slogan shouting, the works.”

“But, you own a gun shop.”

Rob sang, “Isn’t it ironic?”

“Don’t sing!” his friends chorused, then laughed.

The older man lifted a small teak chest onto the counter. He turned it so it faced the two of them and tilted the lid back. Inside, resting on red velvet was a gun. It was matte black and looked deadly even just sitting there. “The Heckler & Koch Universale Selbstladepistole kompakte taktische Kaliber .45, or the HK USP .45 caliber Compact Tactical. It has an ambidextrous magazine release lever that is shielded by the trigger guard from inadvertent actuation.”

“Say what now?” Jennifer said. Bart threw his head back and guffawed. She glanced at Rob who shrugged. A few minutes later, Bart’s laughter tapered off. “What’s so funny?”

“I’m sorry, little lady. The way you said that just hit my funny bone.”

She put her hands on her hips and tilted her head slightly to the right. “How so?”

He shrugged. “Just one of those things. Pick up the .45.”

She gingerly lifted it from the case. “Wow. It’s pretty heavy.” She sighted down the barrel, inadvertently pointing it at Rob.

“Whoa!” He pushed it to point at the floor. “Always be mindful of where you aim. Treat the weapon as if it is always loaded.”

“Yeah, even if you think it’s not.” Bart tucked his thumbs in the loops of his jeans. “My pappy always said, ‘Old man Splitfoot has a tendency to load guns when you’re not watchin’.’ He said the guy liked to cause mischief that way.”

Jennifer’s brow furrowed. “Old man Splitfoot?”

“The Devil, little lady. Pappy said that to remind me that weapons are dangerous, and it’s easy to forget a round in the chamber. If you treat it as if it is always loaded, you’ll not have any accidents.”

“Got it.”

Bart placed two boxes of ammo on the counter and stepped back through the double doors he’d exited. Rob turned to Jennifer an gave her such an intent look, she felt a shiver race up and down her spine.

“Do you know how to load this?” he asked.

“I’ve never even held one before,” she admitted.

“Right. Pay close attention.”

She nodded and he began to explain the loading of the HK while explaining the steps to her. He guided her through the steps twice before having her try them. He allowed her to fail twice and then placed his hands over hers and showed her the proper movements. It felt weird having his hot body so close to hers, but she tried her best to ignore the unusual sensations. After guiding her movements in loading and unloading the .45, he stepped back and watched as she successfully loaded the gun. He praised her and led her to the back.

“This is the firing range. We’re gonna teach you how to shoot.”

After an hour of work, Jennifer had gotten to the point where she put all 15 shots in a tight ½ inch spread.

“That’s pretty damned good shooting.” He scratched the back of his head. “I know I’m good, but not that good. You sure you never held a gun?”

“I never said I never held a gun.” She smiled up at him. “I just never held this model before.”

He tilted his head as he nodded. “Good point.”

They left the range and stopped in the front of the store. On the counter where the teak chest had sat was a cleaning kit. Rob showed her how to break the gun down and carefully clean and reassemble it. He then slid it into a holster and clipped it to the small of her back. She involuntarily gasped when his fingers brushed her thong, but fortunately, he didn’t seem to have heard. He tugged her t-shirt back into place and handed her a laminated card.

“It’s a carry concealed permit. Keep it and the weapon on you.”

“Why?” she asked.

“I have a feeling you’ll need it.”

I Just Don’t Get It

When I meet people, and start to develop a liking for them, I tell them straight off, “I’m an asshole. Sooner, or later, everyone says so.” They inevitably say, “No you’re not. You’re just to hard on yourself. I’d never call you an asshole.” So far, I’ve been right. Every. Single. Time. And then, they act surprised, and hurt when they call me an asshole.

My inner reaction is, “Motherfucker, I told you!”

They all promise to never call me an asshole, and they all break said promise. No, I don’t hold them to it. But, I am honest about what I am. I have met about 10,000 people in my life. I’ve liked maybe a thousand, and warned about 200.

I know the flaw is with me. Being an asshole, I mean. I am abrasive, frequently condescending, and sarcasm is my first language. I am intolerant of willful stupidity, and will quickly lose my veneer of civility, and start mocking mercilessly when confronted with it. I am also intolerant of religion while being well versed in it, and its history. It is barbaric, and I think it is cruelty to teach it to children. Especially little girls. Why?

Because quite simply, it teaches them they are property, objects of little worth, and are meant to be subservient to males. I don’t like that. I fight against it as much as I can, where I can.

Why do I bring this up? Well, it’s because of a rather contentious conversation I had with someone very important to me who said that I seem so angry any more, like I have a chip on my shoulder. To her, I say, “No, Angel. This has always been me. You just haven’t seen it too often because I try to stay away from stuff like it, and my veneer of civility is quite a bit thicker. When i swim for too long in the muck of willful stupidity, it washes away a bit.”

I try to be nice, but it doesn’t always work, or last. I’m not really a nice guy. I am, however, an asshole. Am I proud of it? Well… that depends on my mood, and who I’m talking to.

I Couldn’t Remain Silent On This Any Longer

For a while now, I’ve been travelling the internet, trying to correct, and educate folks about different points of science. I try to correct, and teach the truth about vaccines, and transgenic foods (more commonly known as GMOs), and other, similar things. Obviously, I am pro-science. Frequently, I am lead to websites, and blogs, filled with misinformation, debunked hypotheses, and outright lies. Finally, I read something which made me want to blog about some of this stuff. First, read thisperson’s post, and then slide back over to this window, and read the following:

Wow. Those points were wrong on so many levels. Let’s break them down one by one, eh?

1) If you choose not to vaccinate (which covers those who aren’t able to be), you do not love your children. Full stop. Why? You’d take a chance, if they get measles, such as, of the following: Pneumonia, ear infections, diarrhea, encephalitis, and other things (see here: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/complications.html). If they get mumps, the complications are inflammation of the sexual reproductive organs of males & females, as well as of the brain and spinal cord (see here: http://www.cdc.gov/mumps/about/complications.html). If you get rubella while pregnant, you risk deafness, cataracts, heart defects, mental retardation, and liver and spleen damage to your newborn. That’s just three.

2) No comment.

3) Vaccines are actually very safe, despite implications to the contrary in many anti-vaccine publications (which sometimes contain the number of reports received by VAERS, and allow the reader to infer that all of them represent genuine vaccine side-effects). Most vaccine adverse events are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. These can often be controlled by taking acetaminophen before or after vaccination. More serious adverse events occur rarely (on the order of one per thousands to one per millions of doses), and some are so rare that risk cannot be accurately assessed. As for vaccines causing death, again so few deaths can plausibly be attributed to vaccines that it is hard to assess the risk statistically. Of all deaths reported to VAERS between 1990 and 1992, only one is believed to be even possibly associated with a vaccine. Each death reported to VAERS is thoroughly examined to make sure that it is not related to a new vaccine-related problem, but little or no evidence suggests that vaccines have contributed to any of the reported deaths. The Institute of Medicine in its 1994 report states that the risk of death from vaccines is “extraordinarily low.”

4) No vaccine is 100% and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is a liar. There is this little thing called “herd immunity.” This maybe a bit hard to understand, and I’m sure no one has taken the time to explain it in simple terms (I’m not saying you are stupid by any means). Next time you’re out and about, take a moment to consider a brick wall. Start with the bottom row. Imagine that each individual brick is a person. We’ll say they are all vaccinated. Next, look at the next row. Notice how they are slightly offset from the ones below them? We’ll also consider them the next group of people who are also vaccinated. Continue this all the way to the top. Now, take a moment to consider the mortar in between each brick. That is the overlap in immunity, or the herd immunity, if you will. Finally, let’s say something happens, and you remove a brick from that wall. Notice how it doesn’t fall down, and the others are still covered? That is herd immunity at work. If you keep removing bricks, the wall will eventually fall. The first brick may have been someone who was immunocompromised, one of the elderly, or a seventh month old infant. The ones you kept removing? those are the ones whose mom, or dad, decided not to vaccinate. Getting vaccinated is a social contract, and responsibility.

5) Sounds like you’ve never been to a third world nation. Yes, clean water *is* important, however, so are vaccines. As I pointed out above, those vaccine preventable diseases do a lot of damage. They kill millions of children every year.

6) It is not elitist, and no one is saying that you’re too stupid to get it. Saying “If you understood the science you would do it,” is saying that you don’t have the knowledge. Has nothing to do with intelligence. Stephen hawking is widely celebrated as one of the most brilliant people alive, but I wouldn’t go to him for medical information. You say your research is as good as a real doctor’s is rather silly. Would you like a couple of examples?

Identify the cytokine that is responsible for the early development of B cells in bone marrow. In its absence, B cells do not develop.
A) IL-1 B) IL-2 C) IL-4 D) IL-7 E) IL-10

Which of these antibody chains is the *first* to respond to an antigen?
A) IgA B) IgG C) IgM D) IgE E)IgD

See what I mean?

7) Goes back to number six. Doctors get a few months *each year* of schooling on vaccines. Not hours. Have you talked with actual medical doctors, or is your information on coming from guys like Mike Adams, Joe Mercola, or the Geiers?

8) It *is* factual. No one is talking about the children that died in rural areas when they say “walk through the graveyards.” They’re talking about city graveyards. Those children had access to clean water. Heck, another good argument: look at Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The former POTUS had access to clean water, and proper sanitation, and he *still* ended up with polio. because there wasn’t a vaccine when he was a child.

9) Another link to that same book? Heck, since you believe whatever is written in a book, buy this one: amzn.com/B00LDYV9YS, and travel The Realm. Yes, children can die from a vaccine. However, that child has a better chance of being struck by lightning three times. Odd of a single strike? 1 in 600,000.

10) First, your information is incorrect. Wakefield’s study was a fraudulent 1998 research paper in support of the now-discredited claim that there is a link between the administration of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and the appearance of autism and bowel disease. (see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Wakefield). Second, there is NO cure for Autism Spectrum Disorder. So, the bimbo otherwise known as Jenny McCarthy either lied about her child having ASD, or she’s lying about it being cured. Take your pick.

11) The medical establishment NEVER supported tobacco, and as far as cocaine, when it was first discovered, *yes* it was used as a pain reliever. However, it was quickly discovered to be highly addictive, and damaging, by the SAME community, and THEY pulled it. Try again.

12) Your numbers are wrong. It is 2 in 1,000 that will do deaf, or have brain damage, or any of the other complications. It is also 2 in 10,000 (in first world nations) that will die. The risks are measurably higher than those who buy into the anti-vax propaganda/hysteria would like to believe.

13) This is a damned shame that the states are run by fools. But, if politicians knew what they were doing, the U.S wouldn’t be 418 trillion in debt.

14) Vaccines do NOT cause autism. That Tompkins thing was taken out of context, and misquoted. This is what he really said: tinyurl.com/l4dj665. Also, ASD is genetic, so, it is *impossible* to get it from vaccines. Try keeping up on the research, eh?

15) Those things you list as “we’re not fine”? Weirdly enough, for someone who claims to want to share accurate information, none of those can *possibly* be linked to vaccines. Being fat is due to eating more than you burn off; cancer rates (which are *dropping*) are due to advancing age (average American life expectancy is now 87); learning disorders have a number of causes. As for no other country vaccinating as heavily as the U.S, you might want to check up on that again: *Every* first world nation has a near identical schedule as the United States.

 

And lastly, why am I not surprised that you would have stuff for sale? Oh yeah: It’s the pattern. Folks, if she allows this to be on her site, let me warn you: If someone has a website, or blog, that goes against science, and they have something for sale, you should NOT listen to them. Because, if you don’t, they can’t make any money.

 

Yes, this was a copy and paste from her comments section. I didn’t think she’d allow it to stay. The anti-science crowd is fond of deleting disputatious comments.