Thursday, October 15, 2009
Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden. Atlantic Monthly Press,1999.
123 U.S. Army Rangers, Delta Force and SEAL members commanded by Capt. Mike Steele, were dropped by helicopter deep into the capital city of Mogadishu to capture two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord. This lead to a large and drawn-out firefight between the Us forces and hundreds of Somali gunmen, leading to the destruction of two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters. The book focuses on the heroic efforts of various members of the US Forces to get to the downed black hawks. It focuses on Sgt. Eversmann, leading the Ranger unit Chalk Four to the first black hawk crash site and Warrant Officer Durant who was captured after being the only survivor of the second black hawk crash, as well as many of the others who were involved “Terrifyingly Real... Mark Bowden shoves you into the middle of the battle and has you fighting for your life.” said U.S. Army Major David Stockwell.
Mark Bowden does an amazing job of describing the action packed events of October the 3rd 1993. He uses 1st person testimonials from both US and Somali forces to piece together the battle. His writing style reminds me of those in books like We were soldiers, Full metal jacket and Saving Private Ryan although the reality of this book adds to the story that much more. Bowden also uses as many descriptive words that each page could possibly hold. After seeing the movie I didn't think the book could be nearly as good but in my opinion the book is much better because of the historical accuracy and descriptive language Bowden uses.
“Yurek shot one man in a doorway just 10 feet away. The man had stepped out and taken aim. He was a bushy-haired, dusty man with baggy brown pants. He didn't shoot instantly, and that's what killed him. Yurek's eyes met his for an instant as he pulled the trigger. The Somali pitched forward without getting off a shot.
It struck Yurek how similar killing a man was to shooting targets in training. In practice, targets would pop out unexpectedly. The rules were to shoot at blue triangles, but to hold fire if a green square appeared. Now, in actual battle, he had seen a target, identified it, and taken it out. He was grateful for all the tedious hours of training. “
This was the first book by Mark Bowden that I have read but it definitely will not be the last. His descriptive language and historical accuracy gives his books a quality that not many others can replicate. That is why I will seek out another Bowden book for my second quarter ORB.
These days it seems that people are forgetting what they really value. People are spending millions on houses they use for a few weeks a year. People are spending less and less time together almost to the point where they don’t even eat a dinner together each night. It seems people have mixed up their values. Instead of spending millions on houses they could spend $50.00 to go out and eat as a family. Nowadays people just need to stop and realize what is really important.
My airsoft gun is probably one of the coolest things I have ever gotten. At 380 fps with a .20 gram bb it can rip through a soda can at 20 yards. I’ve also used its 20 RPS firing rate as a bb hose to lay down suppressing fire for my teammates and myself. The gun isn’t the best money can buy be for me it’s great. It cost me upwards of $300.00 to maintain and upgrade over the last 6 months. It’s and Echo 1 M16A3 with a tightbore barrel and G&P metal hop up unit to keep it shooting straight out to 200+ feet.
In May of 2009 a close friend bought a new airsoft gun after not playing for a few years. This got me re interested in a sport that I thought was “dead” to my friends and I. After hours of research I finally found the gun that I wanted that was in a reasonable price range. The size was good, it had a great rate of fire and the FPS was upwards of 415 FPS, just right for a novice like me. I begged my parents to give me a way to earn the $200.00 it would cost to purchase the gun and after nearly a week I finally found one. I had to strip the paint off of my entire house and then repaint it. Well after 3 weeks of hard work it was done and the order was sent out to Airsplat.com for my newest prized possession. After the longest week of my life I heard the door bell ring and I ran to it to find the UPS guy standing in his brown shirt holding a massive package. I ran into my bedroom with the 4 foot long box and ripped it to shreds. Inside I found 2 Hi-cappa magazines, one 9.6 volt battery, 15,000 .20 gram bb’s and last but certainly not least my M16.
After nearly 4 hours of waiting in my room I finally hear the sound I’ve been waiting for, the chirp of my SMART Charger telling me my battery is ready to go. I pop that bad boy into my gun along with my fully loaded 350 round hicap and I’m out the door. First up I set up paper targets at 50’, 100’ and 150’. I was excited to find that at 150 feet my bb’s ripped through the paper like, well a bullet through glass. After spending nearly 2,000 bb’s I went inside to find out how fast it shot and how many rounds per second I could spray down range at an unsuspecting target. Using an audio program I determined that my beast of a gun shot at nearly 20 rounds per second. I did some calculations in my head to find I could empty my whole 350 round mag in 17.5 seconds! I knew that this was going to be the most fun summer I’ve ever had.
I value my airsoft gun because of all the hard work I put in to get it. It wasn’t handed to me and I certainly wouldn’t waste 3 weeks of my time for something I expected to break in a few weeks. Because of all of the hard work I had to do to get my gun I feel as though its actual price could be $500.00 or more.
Every Thanksgiving at 7:30 am my grandparents’ house becomes a beehive of activity wit nearly 200 people buzzing in and out, getting food or just watching the game on TV. My family has a tradition where everyone in our immediate family and the immediate family and so on and so forth gathers in my grandparents’ neighborhood in
Anyone can come to this crazy event but for a cost. The cost is not money or anything of real value but it just one dish of food. People bring venison, pork roasts, clams lobster, elf, bear, even squirrel one year. It doesn't matter to my family what you bring as long as it's edible and there is enough for everyone to sample. After the massive feast we all go across the street to “Hank's Field” to play some football. In years past we've done kids versus adults, one side of the family versus the other or just randomly picked teams but no matter it's still always fun and everyone get a laugh out of someone falling in mud.
As you can tell I value my airsoft gun and my thanksgiving memories in different and unique ways. I lost my Airsoft because it was expensive and it took many hours of hard, hot labor. On the other hand I love my Thanksgiving memories because they are my own and I get to spend time with many family members other people way not even know. To me I value thanksgiving a little more than my gun solely because of how different and exciting it is.
Friday, September 11, 2009
A Child Called "IT"
Setting: David's home and the local hospital
Becca stopped in her tracks when she hear the wicked scream of an angered woman. She had been out for her daily walk. When the cry came from the house across the street. She immediately ran to the house to hear a child crying. She ran in the front door and found little David Pelzer being beaten by his mother. Becca immediately intervened and pulled David away from his mother. He was bleed profusely and was unconscious. Becca called the police and then returned her attention to David who was now regaining consciousness. When the police and EMTs to the scene Becca explained her what she had seen then she hopped into the back of the ambulance to get a ride to the hospital to make sure David would be alright. At the hospital Becca found out David would be okay although he would need many stitches to fix the laceration on his head. Becca went into the room where David was and asked him what his name was.
David spat out,”David Pelzer, who are you?”
“I'm Rebecca Berlin, the one who stopped you mother from attacking you”, replied Rebecca.
“I was alright” David said.
“It wasn't even as bad as normal.”
“You mean your mother always beats you?”, asked Rebecca in shock.
“Yes, almost everyday.” said David who was now looking out window at some birds in a tree.
“That's awful. Why would she do such a thing?” asked Rebecca disgusted by David's mother.
“I don't know. She's always beaten me, ever since I was little.” said David in a saddening tone.
Becca continued to ask David about his mother and learned that the beating got even worse after his father had left them. Becca then told the doctors what David told her.
“That's just terrible” said one of the nurses while standing outside of David's room.
“I know and he told me it's been going on for almost as long as he can remember.”Said Becca.
Becca returned to David's room to talk to him some more. This time she told David about herself. How her grandmother was a survivor of the Holocaust. And how she went to Poland and Chelmno death camp to learn about her grandmother. David seemed very interested in Becca's stories because every time Becca would pause David's eyes would show disappointment like Becca was done talking to him.
It was now very late in the afternoon, nearly 7:00 PM. Becca told David she had to go home but she would check up on him in the morning.
“And you promise to come back at 9:00 tomorrow right?” asked David.
Becca could see his excitement in his eyes. She had to come back the next day to see him for a little bit. So Becca said good-bye and she got a ride home with Stan. On her way home she told Stan about David and was surprised to find herself nearly in tears by the end of the story. Stan calmed her and dropped her off outside of her house.
“Do you think I could come with you to the hospital tomorrow Becca?” asked Stan.
“I'd like to see how David is doing”
“Sure come by for 8:30 so we can see him” said Becca.
She turned from the car and walked into her house.
The next morning Becca and Stan went to the hospital to see David who was released to his father later that past night.
“I guess I'll never get to meet him” said Stan.
“At least he told em his father was a good man” said Becca.
Becca was sad not to have seen David again but inside she knew it was better for him to be with his father then to be cooped up in a hospital all day. Becca never did see David again but she knew that he was safe and happy with his father.