On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, I attended my first rally at the state capitol building in Michigan. I’ve been to rallies before but never here. This rally was for the support of the 2nd Amendment and against any infringements being proposed.

Initially there was a march for several blocks before the rally started. By my estimation there were several hundred people in the march and even more when we arrived at the Capitol and began listening to the speakers. After all was said and done there was an estimate of 1100 in attendance. Not bad for a briskly cold day on the first day of Spring.

There have been a couple of rallies in the past two months. I had every intention of making the last one on February 8th. I took the day off and everything. Only one problem, six (6) inches of snow started falling at about 7am that morning, right around the time I need to get going. I wanted to go and even got on the road and headed that way. All was good for about 5 miles then, I started seeing nothing but white-out conditions with the snow blowing across the expressway. Just a few days before this there was a big multi-car pile up about 20 miles from my home due to a white-out. I stopped, called my wife  and told her I wasn’t going to risk it and went to Gander Mountain to look around a bit.

Well back to the rally. It started out with a short speech by one of the organizers. This rally was more than just us getting together and voicing our feelings on the particular subject. All along it was planned that we would not only meet but would go and speak to our respective legislators in the State House of Representatives and State Senate. We were essentially dismissed and suggested that we go to the offices of our state representatives and speak with them about our feelings on subjects related to the 2nd amendment.

I was planning to go to my vehicle that was parked in a local garage and didn’t expect many to go to the offices to speak with their representatives. Going to the garage happened to be passing the same way that the offices were located. I was shocked. Not only did a few people from the rally go to the offices, a LOT of people went. I found myself, jumping in line and going in as well. We packed the joint. There were so many of us that it took seemingly forever to get on the respective elevators to go to the floor that one might need. It was so ironic all these men and women,  many carrying openly either a pistol on their hip or a long gun of some sort across their back. Personally I had both.

My representative wasn’t in, although I wasn’t surprised because he is slanted for gun control. I did meet a guy that lives near me. We picked up on a bit of conversation and not surprisingly had many things in common regarding this issue.

Afterwards we all returned to the rally and listened to a plethora of speakers. The thing I found ironic was being in one place with so many people open carrying, pistols and rifles. This was my first experience with that. I didn’t feel nervous. On the other hand most everyone was overwhelmingly kind and respectful. Reminds me of the saying about, “An armed society is a polite society.” A running joke among the rally participants was that it was amazing with all those scary “Black Rifles”that we didn’t all kill each other.

During one of the breaks, a guy asked me and a few other guys if we wouldn’t mind taking a couple pictures in front of a few statues on the property of the capitol. The guy that took the pics and asked us to pose for them is a new friend of mine, Max Dollarhite. Here is a pic of him. If you haven’t guess it yet…I’m the black fella.

I had a nice time meeting all of the folks there and I look forward to participating in the next one.





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This is somewhat of an answer with no  end. There are many in our society that feel compelled to take the latest trajedy, whatever one it may be, and put their political playbook in play so to speak. Where does this leave us as American citizens, fighting battle after battle with no end in sight.

I haven’t always owned firearms in my life, but I never had any particular problems with them. Frankly it is never a conversation that came up in my family or with my friends families very much. I’ve always considered myself a student of history and all this talk about the 2nd Amendment had me doing a lot of research on our constitution and the beginning years of our country.

As a black man, I am quite aware that when the Constitution was created, it didn’t include my ancestors or people that look like me. Call me an idealist though; I still feel that the document was written for me. As I’ve been reminded so many times, the rights that were conveyed in the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights, weren’t created by men. The only thing that occurred by these rights being included in the document was affirming what we all have a number of rights including  a right to defend ourselves from those that would want to hurt us…and that includes our government(s).

In the past two months I’ve written to my state and federal law makers more times than I have in my entire life. Although there are so many parts of this that I have no control over, I believe it is important to do my part.


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Back in the spring of 2011 I purchased a flashlight through Amazon.com. It was a 4 sevens Preon II LED flashlight, for anyone that may be interested. It has several modes, (Low, Medium, High, Strobe, SOS, Beacon (hi), Beacon (lo)), and at its highest output puts out 160 Lumens out the front. It was fairly expensive in the $40.00 range if my memory serves me. I really liked it untiiiiiiiil it stopped working.
Insert your choice expletive here, ——-> ___________.

I even checked the 4 sevens website because one reason that I bought it was because they tout a 10 year warranty. My heart was broken when I read on their website that they don’t accept returns for lights not purchased at their website. Argh!!! I put it away in my drawer and chalked it up as one of life’s lessons that was unfortunately too expensive.

Around November of 2011 the thought hit me that what I wrote above about the warranty made no sense at all. What kind of company only honors the warranty of their product if you buy it from them exclusively. As long as it was purchased from a reputable and authorized dealer it shouldn’t be any problem, right. I read through the warranty info on their website and realized that I read the whole thing wrong. It is true that they would only accept returns on items purchased on their site but I had to remember that I wasn’t trying to do a return. I was trying to get warranty service not a return.

I sent them an email and told them my situation and thought I would see what would happen. I figured what the heck if it didn’t work out I would be back where I started.

We exchanged a few emails and eventually was told to mail my light to them so that they could service it. It was right around the Christmas holiday when I sent it. I was glad that they sent an email telling me that they had received the light and it was in their repair system and that they would let me know what the next step would be. After Christmas they sent me another email saying that the light wasn’t being repaired but was being replaced with a refurbished model. A couple days later it was on its way back to me.

As I had hoped, once I got it back it worked just as it was supposed to and I was so glad that I finally read the right info about the warranty. It only took me about 6 or 7 months but it worked in the end.

During the first week of 2012 I get the light in the mail. It works great and I can’t be happier with their warranty service. They fully stood by their product and only wanted some proof of when I purchased it to do the work. All is well in the torch world.

Alright here we go…impromptu equipment check. Do you have on your person a flashlight. After what you read, I do. I never know when I may need some illumination. Do you?

Always Remember…You don’t have permission to Quit.

Jeffrey W. Washington

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Guess what I’ve learned about my Yamaha guitar. It’s not just a regular acoustic after all. It’s a classical or flamenco guitar. I learned this in the guitar DVD course that my wife gave us. It showed a picture of a guitar just like the one I had and said it was a 1/2 sized guitar. Hmmmm, that’s strange. This little snippet of information made me decide to look up the guitar number on the internet and see what I could find. Wouldn’t you know, it’s not just an acoustic. And those strings were supposed to be on the guitar and the reason it doesn’t have a pick guard is because it is supposed to be played with my fingers. As you can tell by now, I’m learning all sorts of interesting things about guitars. I even learned that because I had the wrong strings on the classical Yamaha, it could rip out the bridge at the bottom where the strings attach to the guitar. Oh crap.

I immediately loosened up the strings and began the quest to get some new nylons and install them right away.

Around the time all this is happening, it’s right after Thanksgiving 2011 and I found a deal at Guitar Center for a Fender Squire Guitar with all the accessories. You know one of those all in one deals that suck you into the black hole of a purchase. I’m sure it is not the best guitar by far, but that isn’t what I’m looking for anyway. I decided to purchase myself a Christmas gift. Now the hard part was looking at the box for a month until I could open it. I always try to remind myself that delayed gratification can be a good thing. We don’t always have to have everything just as soon as we see it. It also left me with the option of returning it if I realized I wasn’t as committed as I thought.

Next step…I’ve gotta figure out this lessons thing.

Always Remember…You don’t have permission to Quit

Jeffrey W. Washington

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Remember me talking about my find at my local Goodwill. The $30.00 guitar? Well about a year ago I had one of the strings break on it. Since I bought the guitar, I always wondered why did it have the nylon strings and not steel. Actually I thought someone made a mistake and put on the wrong strings or put on strings for a kid or something. A couple of the strings were the regular steel looking type and the rest were nylon. Well as I said, I took off the strings and put on a fresh pair of steel strings, I’m golden right? Wrong. I’ll get to that in a bit.

As I said in the last post, I put the guitar away and hadn’t even looked at it since some time in 2010. My wife bought my daughter Ashley and I a beginner guitar lesson DVD/CD combo. Oh I forgot to tell you about Ashley and how she got into guitar so to speak as well.

A couple years ago, we went with a bunch of family to Cedar Point Amusement park. We had a great time riding all the rides and I even got on the Raptor for the first time, (That was Fun). After I got off the Raptor with my other daughter Alyssia, we located Ashley along with my Aunt and a few of our young cousins. They were at the games area. As we walk up, they are all screaming and excited. Apparently Ashley had just one a choice prize at one of those ring toss games and the game host was making his announcement. “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE ANOTHER CHOICE WINNERRRRRRR”. She had a choice between a couple of different stuffed animals and a guitar. She chose the guitar. For it to be a prize at an amusement park, it actually was pretty nice. It is a Fender Stratocaster type electric. I took it to the car and locked it up and she had fun the rest of the evening showing all the family her nice prize. Later on that year we got her a few accessories for it, amp, case, etc.

Now back to the present. Here we both are, guitars in hand, lessons needed, pronto. Otherwise the bending of out of tune strings just may kill us all.
I’ll continue with my next post on how things are going.

Always Remember…You don’t have permission to Quit

Jeffrey Washington

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