Tim Fixes America: GUNS

Minute Man

I believe in the Second Amendment, and it is long past time we set up that “well-regulated militia.” Here is  my proposal:

If you want a gun, you become a citizen soldier. You undergo a full background check to enlist and a gun training course before getting your weapon. You are required to report on one day every three months for target practice and gun safety refreshers. Your weapon is kept, by law, under lock and key in a proper container, and all ammo is allotted and accounted for. Any misuse of your weapon, or lack of care in securing it, will be grounds for suspension from duty and confiscation of all weapons.

Possession of an unlicensed firearm is a crime with a mandatory one year sentence in prison, with escalating higher sentences for military grade weaponry. Convicted criminals in general receive an additional ten years in prison, on top of their sentence,  if firearms are involved in their crimes.

For your service, you are authorized one sidearm and/or one single action rifle, which you will buy with your own funds. Further weapon authorizations may be allowed for sporting or collecting purposes, though responsibility for gun and ammo security and accountability will be the same as for your primary weapons, and further training may be required. You are required to keep an established minimum amount of ammunition in your possession for preparedness purposes, with a maximum amount of ammunition allowed. You are responsible for providing your own ammunition, both for training and purposes of readiness.

In the event your service is needed for public safety, law enforcement backup, or domestic military purposes, you can be called up at any time by your militia superiors. Employers are required to honor your militia commitment just as they would were you serving in the National Guard. During training, and when called up, you will be paid a stipend based on the current minimum wage, with additional bonuses for hazardous duty.

The militia, being constitutionally mandated, will be a federal organization.

Advertisements

Misadventures In Holiday Book Shopping (UPDATED)

bookstore

Being a fan of the local indie bookstore as an institution, I went out to do a bit of holiday shopping on Saturday. I had two books I wanted to buy. My chosen bookstore, a very good shop which has a big inventory and many author events (keys to the fact that it thrived even when the market consisted mainly of the big book chains), had one of the two (a perennial seller) in stock. The other I told them I’d like to special order.

The on-hand volume was twice the price I’d have spent online, but I had credit from previous dealings, so I bought it anyway.

The clerk looked up the other. “We can’t get that,” he said. He couldn’t explain why a book in print, published by Dell, should be beyond the powers of their distribution system. They’re not a new store, and I assume they do special orders all the time.

So, as a customer, I entered their shop with two specific books in mind, aware of the books’ availability and pricing online, but wanting to support the indie. One book cost me double the money I needed to spend. The other book was simply impossible to obtain.

That impossible book just landed on my doorstep, from Amazon. They not only had the book, they had it for cheap, shipping cost me nothing, and they got it to me inside of 48 hours. They got the sale because the local store either lacked a certain competence or wasn’t willing to find the means to get me the book I wanted.

Local shops can thrive, and this one does. If their owners are smart, and make themselves into community institutions that offer great customer service and special benefits and events, they can resist Amazon’s eminence in a way they were never able to resist the intrusion of huge chain stores like Borders and Barnes & Noble. But they need to actually be able to get the books desired by their customers to those customers, efficiently, or they’ll lose valuable business. And that’s never good.

I’ll go back to the shop because I’m fond of it. But someone else may have walked out thinking, “Well, from now on, I’ll just go online…”  They’d have lost not only this sale but all the others that customer might possibly have made.

UPDATE: When I wrote the above, I forgot to mention that two weeks earlier I had gone to this shop’s website and used their automated search system to request ordering information on a title. Nearly a month later, I have yet to hear anything at all back regarding that search.

Where, Oh Where, Is Doc Wilde?

Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom

Time for what will hopefully be the last update before we start getting Doc Wilde books into precious readers’ hands…

Artist extraordinaire Gary Chaloner is polishing up the last bits of art for the long-awaited rerelease of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, and it has been worth the wait. The cover above is nicely representative of his work, and if you glance to the image of the previous iteration in the sidebar on the right, you’ll notice he’s made it even better (though it still needs a bit of fine-tuning).

I’m doing a few final alterations to the text and end matter (the acknowledgements and author’s notes, that sort of thing), then that goes to Gary and he will polish the whole thing into a shiny, shiny book.

I hope to at least have ebooks into folks’ gadgets (and hopefully for sale) by Christmas. No guarantees, but I hope that. The proofing process for the paperback will likely take more time, as will Kickstarter special bits like posters. But we’re on the job, and as we finalize this book, we’re already getting a start on putting together a great edition of book 2, Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull.

This has been a major learning process for us, but that was to be expected. I’m disappointed we’ve had the delays and obstacles, but I’m more sanguine about it all now that we’re about to actually have the first book rereleased into the wild where it belongs. In the future, I’ll scale my expectations back somewhat when announcing release schedules, because “they” are right: it always takes longer and costs more.

But the final result is going to be something to be proud of.

I want to once again thank all of our friends who’ve supported us in this project. Your patience has been humbling. Your help has been crucial in allowing us to take the time to do things properly, in order to release the books to a high standard of quality. You’re all a part of the Wilde family and I hope you’ll join us on many more adventures for years to come.

The Wildes