Tuesday, April 15, 2008


You know, paying quite a pretty penny to be tased and subsequently sprayed with OC seems a lot less like a good idea in retrospect. (Not really.)

So, as I said earlier, I was away attending the Pacific Northwest Bail Enforcement Academy. It was certainly educational. I, fortunately, never got to mention to the head instructor my previous involvement in bail enforcement. Not that that really matters, as he asked for a link to this blog and I'll be sending it to him. Why do I say that? Turns out what I was being taught to do was one hundred eighty degrees WRONG. I had suspected as much the whole time I was doing it, but never voiced my concern. Turns out I should have run from those yahoos from the get-go. I'm lucky as hell I was never charged with anything or sued back then. It was a little humbling having that all spelled out for me so clearly.

Some of you may have noticed that I made some slight changes to my account. These were done to make my internet persona harder to find. Not that I expect this blog to ever be linked to any of my professional activities, but why take the chance?

On to the fun stuff.

So I learned all about the bail enforcement industry last weekend. More, in fact, in four days than I did in the five months I actually spent doing it. The funny part is, the guys I was supposedly learning from very likely didn't know any better either and now I know why. All very interesting, and mostly stuff I won't talk about except to fellow Alumni.

The Taser, however, is a story you guys probably want to hear. Now most of you know I've been shot, beaten, stabbed, blown-(partially)-up, sprayed with OC, etc and was never fully incapacitated. I may not have the nerve and physical condition of my youth, but I'm still a scrappy kind of guy. That said, I had mixed expectation of the taser. On the one hand, I've fought through everything that's ever been thrown at me before, on the other, I've seen videos of guys way tougher than me getting dropped.

So we do the class, get the knowledge and such out of the way. Pretty interesting, actually. Then it was time for 'participation.' I, alas, was not the first volunteer. We had a former Recon marine who went first (if you're wondering why I won't use names, it's for the same reason I changed my profile). I've never seen such a tough guy surrender so quickly, and he didn't even get the probes (darts), just contact with the leads on the face of the taser. Little intimidating, lemme tell you. So I volunteered to take the full shot, barbed probes and all. The instructor and I had discussed the back pain I'd been having and he said he'd do my leg if I thought that was a better idea. I agreed and the same marine and an agent out of Idaho took on arm apiece and the instructor deployed the probes on my leg. Now bear in mind I'm not a weight lifter, I jerked both my spotters so hard that they lost their footing, then I dropped hard. Not their fault, they at least prevented me from bashing my head.

Ladies and gentleman, while I still have reservations on the suitability of tasers for self-defense, if they're all you can have, trust me, they will take someone down. Hard. I tried to see if I could stay up, resist somehow. Nothing doing. I went down like a sack of jumpy potatoes.

Next was good old OC spray. Wasn't too big a thing. I went first, half expected to get as messed up as the first time I got sprayed. It had, afterall, been eight years since my last direct exposure. Despite getting a stream directly in my right eye, it was actually the least painful of all my exposures. Not to stay it didn't hurt, but other than the eye is was easily bearable, and I got the eye cleaned out pretty quick. All the former military in the class went through with a minimum of fuss and muss and I thought that was pretty cool, until our ex-cop went through. I don't know how many times that guy had been contaminated, but if I hadn't seen the spray douse him, I would have thought the instructor missed. No reaction at all. Needless to say, I was impressed.

I did, unfortunately, make a bit of an ass of myself a little during the tactics portion. The instructor was younger and less experienced than me, so I kept butting in. Fortunately, I realized what I was doing and how silly it was (seeing as all my experience was either military or doing it the wrong way) and shut up before I was told to. Still feel bad about it though. Oops.

My foibles not withstanding, everyone was great and, despite an abundance of alpha males, we all got along really well. I consider that pretty important since this industry almost requires you to have friends in it to get anywhere and I wouldn't hesitate to ask any of the instructors or visiting Alumni for any help I need. Awesome guys all around.

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