Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Ohh Christmas Tree, Ohh Gun Themed Christmas Tree

Ohh Christmas Tree, Ohh Gun Themed Christmas Tree

After seeing well a little over a hundred gun locks collected over the years hanging from a shelf in the garage, Mrs Pandemic said “hey I can use those… for a Xmas tree” Perplexed, I asked if she was concerned whether someone would steal our tree. The answer was “no stupid, for tree decorations”, and thus began the quest for the remainder of the year to find firearm themed tree decorations. 

I will note that Mrs Pandemic did a beautiful job on the tree to the point that from a distance it looks like a regular decorated tree. 

Up close, holiday visitors will see about five pounds of black gun locks were hung with care on the silver and black themed tree along with stainless grenade and drink cooler bullets, peace and Christmas ornaments, and chicken wire ribbon. 

A couple of the coolest ornaments were the dozen 300 Win Mag nickel cases I seated black moly silver tip bullets, the Texas shooting star topping the tree which was a modified tree star with cardboard target circles cut out and stick on Birchwood orange targets attached. 

For those with sharp eyes, the apparent PWS Primary Weapons Systems theme may be obvious. The story behind that was purely accidental. During my last AR15 based PWS 9mm Carbine pistol build, a PWS keychain bottle opener was included in the box. 

After struggling to find little gun ornaments that “did not look like plastic garbage”, Mrs Pandemic scoped up the little cast metal bottle openers and asked can if I could get fifty more of these? 

 A call to PWS peaked their interest in what I would be doing with fifty of their bottle openers which lead to a discussion about the tree. This is a time being a writer has a few perks.

PWS not only offered up a volume discount for bottle openers, but threw in a few other overstock keychains from previous years, and also offered me an “overstock” deal on PWS AK74 CBQ brakes which were already on sale from $150, to $70. Ornaments complete.

For those familiar with the PWS CQB brake it is not only the best CQB entry brake on the market, fifteen of them hung via paracord make beautiful bomb-proof tree decorations and can be year around accessories as ornaments during Christmas, conversation pieces on desks, and of course excellent muzzle brakes for your next build. 
At least that was how PWS positioned it to me. 

A few of these may get stolen from the tree post holiday for non-ornament use thanks to some 1/2-28 to M24 and 5/8-24 to M24x1.5 muzzle adapters. Of course I placed two of my favorite PWS AR pistol builds next to the tree. If you need awesome ornaments, I would check out PWS and of course they make some mighty fine firearms as well.

We also found that you can get custom gift wrapping paper with your own image form Zazzle.com. It is not cheap nor fast, but it is premium quality.  They have a great selection of really good gun themed paper already, but we uploaded a few of our own including a PWS pistol and is looked awesome on the paper.

Continuing the theme, Mrs Pandemic found a Howitzer ammo crate which was decorated with led wire lights referencing all the fences we hunter cross during a hunt. Topping the crate are Champion Clays, a deer antler, and hunting themed nutcrackers. 

A glitter deer flanks the other side of the tree. It is great to see non-gun people see the tree and note how beautiful it is and then start to sputter a bit as they realized all that beauty is gun stuff. I did have to stop my wife from slipping her custom grade Benelli 828U under the tree, because we too believe this is a beautiful way to celebrate the holiday.

Merry Christmas everyone, God Bless, and have a wonderful 2018 and 2019!

Monday, December 3, 2018

BMW R80RT Badlands Cafe Racer Project Part 1

BMW R80RT Badlands Cafe Racer Project Part 1

This really is not a rags to racer story, but more of a jem to jewelry story that started over twenty years ago. This represents the Part 1 of the journey as I tear down and morph this BMW R80 into a cafe racer of my dreams.

During the time my wife and I were struggling through undergrad and graduate school, my wife said the only way I would get back into motorcycle riding was with my next wife and so the story went for about two and half decades. 

Mountain bikes and recently ebikes marginally satisfied my desire to get back on a motorcycle all while still remaining faithfully married - a load of fun, but not growling power of motorcycling. Eventually, she suggested restoring cars, but after noting we don’t have a spare three stall garage and my continual stream of whining, wailing, and annoyed her enough she relented to me restoring motorcycles. The caveat was ONLY if I could find my mythical later 80s or early 90s BMW R80.

Why a BMW R80? The BMW R80 (800cc) motorcycles were gentlemanly air cooled horizontally opposed dual cylinder bikes with enough power and torque to keep things very exciting. They were widely know to be just as comfortable puttering around town at 20 mph and 85 mph on highways all with enough stability and weight to feel planted on the open road. I wanted this era BMW Airhead because they are notoriously easy to work on for the garage wrencher, have shown to increase in value, can literally be infinitely rebuilt for 100s of thousands of mile, and deliver a heart throbbing sound of a tractor with two giant cylinders hanging out each side. Notably, pretty much any older BMW updated, restored, or even converted or chopped tend to bring premium values.

A broadcast went out across a three state area to every dealer, bike collector, and friend of a friend I could dig up a number for - “please mister… could you spare a BMW R80?” In a part of the country which only recently got its first BMW and Ducati dealerships in the last decade, finding a thirty plus year old BMW was not expected to be easy. Nearly a year went by and then I got a call from the used powersports dealer just a few miles from my house. “We have a 1983 BMW R80RT, but the owner will only leave it here for six hours and… it is also in your price range.” The R80RT was the “luxury Race and Touring model” with all the bells and whistles, race and touring fairing, loads of storage, factory steering damper, and even had a clock.

Two hours later I was the proud owner of not “just a 1983 BMW R80RT”, but a third owner, full maintenance history, already had the top end work done, carbs rebuilt, purrs like a kitten, oil tight, and you can put 100 miles on this on the way back from your motorcycle driving test no problem 1983 BMW R80RT. The previous owner talked to me for over a hour about all the maintenance schedules he followed in such passionate detail that a German engineer would get teary-eyed. The $1900 flew out of my pocket - it was a steal about $3000 under book value, but the owner just wanted the bike to go to a good home.

The goal though was not to restore a BMW R80RT to its former glossy red Race Touring glory, but instead to create one of those super custom, clean and tidy Cafe Racer BMW R80s you see in European Pinterest posts. Obviously, starting with a perfectly functioning R80 put me way ahead on the project and delivered loads of fun before the build even started.

The overall strategy for converting any groovy older bike to a sleek badass cafe racer is to strip off the bodywork, remove all the unneeded parts, swap out old giant subframe for a short cafe racer subframe and seat, add on clip-ons, billet rearset, update the electrics, and finish it all off with some pretty high-tier billet goodies. Add in inspection of all the seals, a new set of tires, swap out all the fluids and filters, some fresh powder-coat and paint, and some shock upgrades. It sounds like a lot of updates and upgrades that can add up to $3000 easily when you also add in some well needed electrical upgrades. Stock BMW’s are increasing in value and custom BMW’s are selling for $9K+. Well maintained BMW Airheads can deliver well beyond 300K miles to owner so the investment is smarter than dumping that money in many other brands and a valid reason BMW R-series bikes are coveted and usually pricey.

As with any used bike, regardless of condition, the first thing to be done was replacing filters and all fluids. In this case everything looked great, but the filters and fluids were swapped anyway. The nearly bald circa 1990s tires were swapped to go anywhere knobby Continental TKC 80s. I love the look and also love the concept that the TKC 80 tire has no limits and still handles great on the road. The tire has proven itself globally as a all terrain on and off road tire even at 80+ MPH highway speeds and was perfect for my Major Pandemic Badlands Cafe Racer concept.

Initial issues were really around understanding the R-series BMW itself and its idiosyncrasies including how all the crush washers seal and the capacities. For example I was attempting to chase down leaks at my shifter input and the rear hub which was covered in oil after replacing my rear tire and rear transmission, shaft and hub fluids. The culprit was a barely out of balance rear TKC 80 tire which at around 60 MPH would vibrate just enough to shake oil out of the hub’s vent hole and vibrate oil out of the shifter input seal. With the wheel balanced the problem resolved itself even after topping off the oil levels. Another leak was resolved with understanding the right torque to keep the seals intact and leak-free. The $40 Clymer Manual was expensive, but the most important tool you can purchase when working on any bike. For the most part, these older carbureted bikes are both simple and frustrating at times with most issues caused by either rushing or overthinking the issue.

My style of building guns has been to have all the parts and then start the build. I absolutely loathe having to do partial upgrades one little bit at a time, tearing things down again and again. Some folks love this, but that level of patience escapes me. My preference with any build has always has been to prevent tearing everything down multiple times - usually this prevents a lot of damage and replacement along the way of finishes and fasteners.

If you have a new current bike, it is easy to just say you want to upgrade the muffler, or swap out some lighting. On an old bike one part swap typically has a cascading impact to many other components. Electronics upgrades are a good example of this. Old bikes tend to drain batteries much quicker than newer LED lite bikes thanks to the old high current incandescent lights and thirty year old electronics, but adding LED lights usually means adding extra resisters or even requiring an entire electrical upgrade. While doing that same exercise stripping down a fairing equipped 1983 BMW R80RT, requires all the blinkers to have additional LED conversion blinker resistors, all new new signals with mounts, and potentially all new wiring.

As builder, if you are going this care then a complete Motogadget m-unit electrical system upgrade is smart to improve reliability & looks while increasing features to a very modern level in the process, but requires a full rewire of the bike.

To further clean up looks, most builders opt for a tiny Antigravity lithium battery pack. These tiny battery replacements are about 1/10th the weight of OEM batteries and less than ¼ the size all while being easy to tuck out of sight. Upgrading to lithium batteries also has a cascading requirement to upgrade the rectifier so the new Lithium battery does not get overcharged. These old bikes are money pits, so be prepared.

Revzilla was a heck of a resource for my safety gear which included a Speed and Strength Hi-Viz versions of the Power and the Glory armored mesh gloves and Midnight express Jacket with included CE armor. Frankly the quality on the Speed and Strength products was great for the money and I also added one of their helmets which I added tasteful accents of reflective tape for even more visibility. Having ridden back in my youth and a whole crap load of street riding on bikes that if drivers cannot see you, they will hit you. As bicycle rider I generally am wearing a safety orange shirt which I can tell you has saved my butt too many times to count. The hi-viz jacket and gloves you can see me from over a mile away which is exactly what I wanted.

To keep the distracted driven thing to a minimum and also provide for music and the ability to communicate with other riders I choose to add a Sena SMH-10 Bluetooth Headset. For just over $150 it is an excellent add on which I think adds a margin of safety from a communication perspective.

SEAT - After a month of agonizing over a myriad of upgrades, styles, and looks, the start of any cafe project is getting the seat and rear subframe right. This typically involved shorting the long seat subframe while delivering a retro look. A lot of builders break out the angle grinder and a welder to take an almost three foot stock subframe down to around 18-inches. The usual process after the chop and weld is then to top with a cafe racer seat and rear cowl. That simple process takes lot of experience to get right. With that noted, Pinterest delivered loads more bad frame chop jobs than good ones. Several used bikes I looked at were destructively butchered.

The safer...and easier route is to go with one of the many bolt on replacement subframes and yes, there are a dozen various aftermarket BMW R-series cafe racer subframes on the market. There are also a variety of cafe subframes for other non BMW vintage brands such as Yamaha and Honda. Unbolt the factory subframe and bolt on the new aftermarket cafe racer subframe and matching seat kit and the rear end is done in about the same time as replacing a slip on muffler. This sounds like it takes out some of the fun, but the reality is for around $500 the bolt up subframe/seat solution delivers an easy professional option that is done in about twenty minutes.

I decided on a Vonzeti cafe racer T92 subframe, T67 seat, and seat base to deliver the cafe racer look. Vonzeti products are very highly regarded, all handmade with options for various seat fabrics, cowl colors, and are also available in completely custom subframe designs. I choose the T92 subframe and T67 seat but upgraded to a synthetic microsuede with a custom square sewn seat pattern.  Vonzeti also sells a matching flat metal seat base which allows an otherwise rounded hollow seat cowl house ugly electronics out of eyesight under the seat. Vonzeti is based in England and will ship anywhere to most countries around the world. About two months after ordering, I had my custom made order in hand and it is gorgeous.

ELECTRONICS - Everything on this 35-year old bike worked, but beyond a replacement regulator, the electrics were all original stock and delivering heavy battery drain. The older the electrics are, typically the less efficient and reliable they become. The headlight and signals were really quite dim compared to modern lights and from a safety perspective were due for an upgrade. Though a relatively new battery was installed just a few years ago, about once a month the battery required a boost on a battery charger/minder. Many old R80 owners know the stock alternator is not super high output and unless longer rides are the norm, this kickstarter-less R80 will end up with a dead battery - so I ordered an Antigravity Micro-Start XP-1 to tuck into a pocket for a little insurance.

The OEM set of two horns sounded pitiful since one horn was nearly dead it made the sound of a loud dying cow. Kind of a Beep-ooooohhhhhh sound. I also noticed that every time I used the horn that the next ride my battery would be dead. I replaced the dual horn set up with a insanely loud Denali Soundbomb Mini Horn and OMG are these loud.

With the new breed of aftermarket electronics available for the vintage builder, it is hard not to consider a top-to-bottom electronics and a wiring upgrade to improve reliability and drop the current load off the battery. The $310 Motogadget M-Unit and $380 M-Unit Blue are the most well regarded vintage cycle digital electronics upgrades on the market. These premium tier German electronics are about half the size of a deck of cards, include modern digital self-resetting breakers for all of your electronics which eliminates often problematic fuse boxes - and can be completely programmed with a variety of features including special flasher modes, fault programing, built in alarm, loads of automated safety features, configurable outputs, and even a smartphone keyless start on the m-Unit Blue model. 
The Motogadget m-Units are actually cheap considering all the deliver including the most reliable vintage bike possible. Motogadget also has a full line of premium quality custom level mirrors, high output LED signals, tachometers and speedometers all of which I included in this build.  If you do go this route, I highly recommend buying the Motogadget wiring kit as well as it is a spectacular time saver and not a bad deal for all that color coded wiring.

For my build, I used the Motogadget m-Unit Blue, bar end LED signals, bar end mirrors, rubber grips, and a retro vintage style Motorscope Speedster speedometer to greatly clean up the electrics, reduced the overall power consumption, and delivered a super clean customer look. The bar and LED signals are particularly trick in that they are directionally designed to optimize super bright light output to everyone except the rider. The rider just sees a subdued flash.  Revival Cycles super bright $15 LED Supernova Turn Signal & Brake Lights rear brake and indicators we used at the rear. Paired with the Motogadget m-Unit these tiny ¾-inch combo LED indicators deliver brake, fade-in/fade-out, flash emergency braking, left and right signals all in a tiny super clean design that is annoyingly bright and sure to get and keep drivers attention - a super custom but huge safety upgrade.

The stock 7-inch BMW headlight is a huge but was built with 30+ year old technology and needed an LED upgrade. The ugly headlight bucket is attached via an even uglier mount hidden under the fairing. I removed the OEM headlight mount and used EMGO fork mounted aluminum headlight bucket mounts and swapped out the stock headlight and bucket with a HogWorkz 7” LEO Halomaker and new Bikemaster headlight bucket. This added a bit of modern look to this otherwise classic themed build and drops the overall current draw by about 40%.

The Midwest is either blisteringly hot or cold much of the rideable season so I did add Symtec Heat Demon Heated Grips. Sure the goal is to reduce current draw, but these on low setting are not a huge draw on the electrical system and are typically only used on longer rides when the charging system is humming along anyway. Probably the best money spent on this entire build.

The Motogadget Motoscope Tiny Speedometer packs an accurate digitally controlled and calibrated stepper motor speedo, integrated warning, turn and signal lights all in a tiny 2-inch wide speedo. Again the Motogadet Multi-Conductor Cable is recommended for simplified hookup. One missing component was a tachometer which was fulfilled with a Motogadget Motoscope Mini which was tucked under the handlebar controls. At only 2.32" L x 0.85" W x 0.51" H, the Motoscope Mini can disappear on the big all while offering full digital speedo, tach, clock, trip & total odometer, trip timing, and rev limit warning. I do tend to wind up this R80 into the lively redline and needed insight into where I am precisely in my rev range.

All those gauges into
one little 2-inch gauge
in Oshmo billet beauty Clamp
FOOT CONTROLS & BILLET - Oshmo is an outstanding beautiful custom builder of BMW related accessories for the vintage builder. Several of the very cool accessories are BMW R-series specific top clamp with integrated Motogadget Motoscope Speedster speedometer and the rear foot controls used to slide foot placement back about six inches. For Beemer bike guys, Oshmo’s billet bits are not just me-too mass produced imports, they are amazing premier quality CNC machined parts made here in the US. I opted for the mirror polished top triple clamp which increases fork stiffness and collapses all the speedo and warning lights into a super clean single piece of billet. Even when new the factory steering damper does little other than to help the bike track with crosswinds, so I locked it in high position and removed the adjustment knob to clean up the overall look of the top clamp. Later, a modern steering damper may be added to the chassis.

The Oshmo rear sets are a true work of art with curves that minimic the curves of the BMW and come complete with billet polished shifter input and connecting linkage. There are a variety of imported BMW R-series rear sets, but these are simply stunning.

To get the lowered look of a cafe racer without wrist breaking discomfort, I chose high-rise Tarozzi clip ons for “the look” while preserving the comfort of a low-rise straight handlebar. The Tarozzi multi-mount setup delivers class leading mounting flexibility with complete adjustability. The mounts were machine polished to match the Oshmo billet top triple clamp.

Racing style Monza gas caps have been a fixture of cafe racer builds mainly due to their long history as the style of gas caps used in aircraft and then racing. The style dates back the 1930s and is neither light nor the worlds best gas cap, but it is crazy cool looking and prevents a lot of refueling scratching to expensive paint jobs. The OEM BMW cap is also notoriously failure prone often locking itself in place. Having had a few issues already with my cap, a replacement was due.  There are the many BMW compatible versions, some cheap and some solid billet. This version is the $180 later version which installed historically backwards, just to be a smart ass. Triumph recently introduced a faux Monza cap on a new bike installed backward allegedly to improve safety in accidents and Monza induced scrotum ripping (Google it). The direction of the Monza cap is a conversation piece.

ENGINE, BRAKES & EXHAUST - The engine was in great shape with the exception of a tune up, but I upgraded to re-pop vintage peanut style valve covers from Bob’s BMW which I machine mirror polished along with new exhaust nuts. The factory exhaust was wrapped with black titanium 2-inch wrap, secured with stainless wrap ties, and tipped with chrome Dime City Cycles Norton Commando 19.5-inch exhaust. The $160 peashooter style muffler set is inexpensive, but deliver the delightful grumble from the BMW that we love paired with great looks.

The front brake rotors are still in good condition, but brake pads were upgraded to EBC High Performance Brake pads for the duel disks and the rear drum. This upgrade delivered a sizeable increase in stopping power with just a brake pad swap.  Apex cycle Shop makes a billet aluminum brake reservoir cover that updated the look of the integrated factory hand controls just a bit. The reality of the dual front disk and rear drum is that the rear does very little unless you are literally standing on the rear brake pedal. The rear brake is better with new drum shoes, but I wanted a lot better brake bit up front than what a dual piston caliber can offer. Currently I am working to retrofit a set of used R1100RT Brembo four piston calipers to further increase braking performance and will post how that works out.

SUSPENSION UPGRADES - The thirty-five year old front suspension was in delightfully great condition thanks to the previous owner’s meticulous maintenance, but I really wanted a vintage look bike with modern suspension. The seals were good, the shocks were smooth, and there were no leaks. The easy route was just a simple shock fluid swap which was done shortly after purchase, but if a builder wants a more modern and advanced race suspension feel, aftermarket suspension upgrades are available.

It used to be that you were stuck with whatever front fork setup the bike came with but now, we have other options to upgrade the existing valving to modern compression and damping levels. My plan is to use RaceTech Gold Valves which are one company that offers a stock suspension Gold Valve upgrade insert which adds adjustable compression and dampening to a stock BMW R80 front shocks. The RaceTech upgrade delivers nearly the same performance as a new advanced fork. Instead of a $3000 Suzuki GSXR front shock swap, as is often done, a builder can drop about $700 for a complete front fork upgrade with RaceTech including upgraded progressive springs, seals, valving, refinishing and anodizing the fork stanchions - in essence a new fork set. As the build progresses, the fork will go to Racetech.

At the rear, the process is more of an easy shock swap to an upgrade to a current suspension.  I am still deciding between the $500 YSS and $800 Ohlins rear shocks which deliver tunable preload adjustment. The Ohlins are kind of winning in my mind. With the RachTech and Ohlins suspension setup this has delivered a giant jump in both ride quality and cornering confidence for other builders.

PAINT & FINISHING TOUCHES - The next steps after all the components were fitted and needed mounting tabs were added, removing any extra OEM factory tabs were ground off to clean up the frame, the frame will get powder coated. Yes, it is a pain in the butt to strip the frame and replace all the bearings, reassemble and re-wire but there is nothing else that transforms a bike like a strip and powder coat. In the case of this old BMW’s which has a few areas which have been brush painted over the years, powder coat will be a substantial upgrade to the finish.

Stay Tuned for Part 2

Friday, August 3, 2018

My Daughter the Potential Mass Shooter

My Daughter the Potential Mass Shooter

I have looked in the face of killer and it happens to be my daughter. The truth is far stranger than what people can imagine and unfortunately the profile of a killer is more common than they would expect in schools around the country. Four years ago, my wife and I felt a calling from God to take in a sibling set of four foster children to make a difference in the world. Over those years we have lost friends, battled the broken government system, government employees with “agendas”, insurance, and woefully under qualified therapist just to get our very high needs children the help needed. We have tried and failed at everything from aromatherapy, graduated tiers of specialized attachment and trauma therapy, psychiatric care, and a myriad of in-home treatments and even staffed in-home support. The problem is not parenting tools, hugs, therapists, or lack of a better drug, it is a combination of the insurance and support system and a complete ignorance of a extremely common disorder called Reactive Attachment Disorder. Of note most violent offenders are noted as having. Want to know why my pretty smiling pre-teen daughter would likely stab you if you disagreed with her, read on?

RAD or Reactive Attachment Disorder is often inaccurately noted as a rare mental disorder which it is not. According to the Scientific World Journal - Reactive Attachment Disorder in the General Population: A Hidden ESSENCE Disorder, just over 1.4% of the population has RAD.

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2013/818157/. The interesting contrast to that number is that other studies have noted that over 35% of all Foster children have RAD. Those studies also note those recorded RAD cases are only the more severe cases and the less severe cases are usually misdiagnosed or ignored. Currently there are approximately 250,000 children in foster care, so there are almost 88,000 children with RAD just in foster care. When we look as the symptoms of RAD, those big numbers of children are terrifying when you consider the Florida school shooters psych profile would be considered tame compared to the reactions my daughter is exhibiting. Every mass killer has a severe RAD profile.

RAD is a disorder caused by a lack of attachment to any specific caregiver at an early age, and results in an inability for the child to form normal, loving relationships with others, in many cases they are never able to bond with anyone. Mild RAD makes it hard for kids to have relationships throughout their life. Severe RAD manifests itself as a total disconnect and lack of care for anyone at a psychotic level at any point in their life. A psychiatrist who had first hand experience with a child similar to our daughter noted that child had killed their foster mother in an attempt to “feel something” but they didn’t...at all in a cold remorseful-free way. Severe RAD is often noted as that emptiness in killers’ eyes.

Traumatic childhood events or poor quality parents which lead into foster care and the foster care process itself is believed to be the root cause of the significantly high rate of RAD in children. The more they are bounced around from home to home, the less the children can learn to trust and bond, and the more the severe RAD usually becomes. All four of our children bounced between an estimated twelve homes and were diagnosed with some level of RAD. According to experienced psychiatrist and therapist with foster and adopted child experience, it is rare that any foster or adopted child would not have RAD to some degree. Most children with RAD are socially regressed usually more than half their actual age and therefore generally are either the idiots getting in trouble or bullying or are the ones getting picked on - both behaviors further increase the severity of RAD. For example, though a smart kid academically, one of our other kids is so socially regressed that his nickname at school was SPED (Special Ed) which certainly does not help the kid catch up socially. His RAD manifests itself in severe Oppositional Defiance and that ability to control sleep to the point of not sleeping for over a week… no really we have had the observed sleep studies to prove it even one with a $1000 electronic movement recorder. He will finally collapse, however in the process a serious amount of havoc has been raught. The result is a child that truly requires 24x7 management which is relentlessly exhausting.

Due to our oldest daughter’s current placement we will omit her from the discussion, however she was noted clinically to have severe RAD. As a result of her extreme behavior, we had her removed her from the home very early in the placement.

Our older son’s RAD manifested in the form of oppositional defiance (defying anyone for any stupid reason), violence, and drug addiction and he ultimately left our family after we were unable to provide any level or control of his behavior. So that left two in our home.

As we rolled into the holidays, we uncovered a huge amount of mind breaking behavior which culminated in our daughter being institutionalized in psychiatric lockdown facility. Just a few weeks into treatment my institutionalized daughter noted to her therapist that she was going to kill one of the staff she hated, stand over them laughing and dance in the pool of their blood. As the pretty little grinning pre-teen cheerfully explained how she was going to kill a member of the psychiatric staff, she also noted that she really wanted to also kill or hurt a few kids at school, her brother and sometimes us her parents. She also noted the only reason she had not done it yet was that she did not have a knife or know how to use a gun. Thank the Lord we had enough skilled people to note that these are not normal children and we made the decision to never began weapon or martial arts training.

Over the last four years, our home has had installed a similar level of security as your average bank and she still found a way around cameras, knew when they were on or off, bypassed locked doors, and circumvented our oversight to do over $60,000 of damage to our home. She even stole two knives, several razor blades, and also fashioned a few shives. Wait… it gets worse.

The terrifying part is that we had no idea that she had been stealing knives, had homicidal ideations and had been having these thoughts her entire life… including over the last four years she had been living with us. This was not the first time we have heard about her wanting to hurt other kids, but as a parent you chalk it up to kids are being mean and your kid needs just coop with it. In the middle of 2017 we found a knife missing and and enemies list in her room complete with drawings of her stabbing other kids and the kids bleeding. Yes, the level of sickness does exist and the problem is no one cares and no amount of time in the corner, a good spanking, a loving hug, or a accomplishments sticker chart is going to overcome this. Pure and simple this level of deep mental illness requires facility level control which we seriously lack in the US. Additionally this level of severe mental health is the 1% of the 1% and no one ever expects to see it. These mental conditions are so severe that mentally even trained psychiatrists have a hard to judging the severity until things start actually happening as they did with our daughter. The picture forms terrifyingly quick as all the bits and pieces come together once an event or events occur.

Despite her own on-record statements and being a previous ward of the state requiring a higher level of care, the Medicare healthcare provider has decided numerous times to no longer cover her. Their notation is that she can be managed in a home environment. A homicidal little girl so dangerous that she requires three full time attendants, daily safety checks, physical restraint about once a month, and the care of a psychiatric lockdown facility… and the insurance says she can be released. The facility is so concerned with the general safety and welfare that they have noted that she will likely never be able to be introduced back into the general public. The care facility and us fight weekly with insurance to continue her care.

Ultimately this is the problem across the US that leads to mass shootings, not the guns, not the knives, but the very broken brain behind it all. Statistically there are hundreds of children and adults around the country which fit into this extreme situation of severe RAD where insurance has kicked them out of a care facility because of financial rational. Then we all sit around and wonder why these heinous violent acts occur. Do you think my daughter would care if you outlawed an AR15, a shotgun, knives, or even pressure cookers? Nope, in fact they found a belt buckle which my young daughter appeared to be in the process of sharpening the buckle prong to fashion a shiv. After the realization late last year, we now know why she always wanted to know which household chemicals would kill someone - the girl is a planner. Our daughter is so sophisticated that she know when all the building shift changes are and knows when she can do things to herself and others while there is no observation.

Though we are legally fighting the insurance decision weekly to keep her in the facility for her safety and the safety of others, the recent shootings are a perfect example of what can happen when deep psychiatric needs are ignored in favor of saving a buck. When my wife and I have compared the publicized psychiatric profile of the Florida murderer we see an even more severe patterns in our daughter. In fact our daughter is much more severe in all categories not just according to us, but according to teams of psychiatrist and therapist.

Homicidal ideation, check, animal cruelty, check, threats of harm, check, and self harm, check. Unfortunately my daughter also pees and defecates on everything including in dishwashers, furniture, flooring, beds, food, … and even things unbeknownst to use like our toothbrushes. It has been a trying four years. Ready for this? Our daughter also eats poop, hers, that of others found in toilets, and also pet poop, dead animals, kills and eats wounded birds, and even eats the blood off public feminine hygiene products in public bathrooms because “she wants to know what people taste like on the inside”. Just breath… I know it is a lot to take in.

The most terrifying part is she hid it all and masked it under a pretty little highly charming charismatic athletic little girl that most people knew and liked. She was not a hidious little child, but super cute with a giant smile and… well just terrifyingly disarming. If fact she is an amazingly skilled charmer at a very high level, so much so that we have had to have un-skilled aid workers and therapist removed because they get sucked into her little charm and where actually being influenced by her to do things. If we look at the raging comic book psychopath Harley Quinn and our daughter was her sister, Harley would be the good sister by a longshot.

We have also spiritually struggled heavily over the last four years to understand why we were tasked with such a insurmountable hardship, handed children who are truly broken, and have no emotional attachment to anyone including us. At least for the moment thought we have saved lives by keeping our daughter institutionalized. If the insurance had their way, she would be back in the classroom with everyday children … “ya know, as long as there is a camera”. As the therapy team attempts to strip back the layers, unfortunately it gets way worse before it gets better and we are nowhere near the depths of her darkness. It seems hopeless as we attempt to find her a higher level of care as there just are none.

It has been a brutal time in our lives wrought with a level of heartache that cannot be imagined and we see the pattern again and again with each mass shooting. People say it is the weapon’s fault, parents fault, bad parenting, that the kids needed discipline, a warm hug, a achievement sticker chart, or even a good hard spanking… I wish it was that simple. All I know is that statistically the RAD problem it is not getting better.

This article was supplied anonymously to protect the identities and confidentiality of the parties involved.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Extrema Ratio Nightmare Karambit Folder Review

Extrema Ratio Nightmare Karambit Folder Review

What is not to love about the Uber tech Extrema Ratio knives. The designs are both impressively simple and elegant complete with the top tier of cobalt steel that delivers an aggressive extremely long lasting edge. The designs are somewhat out of the ordinary, however once you put one in your hand, the odd design makes sense. The new Extrema Ratio Scout carries through an Italian design legacy which combines style and function in well executed simple elegance. The Extrema Ratio Nightmare Karambit folder is a perfect example of how Extrema can take an idea to a different level.

A traditional karambit folder from most manufacturers is a basic folder with a finger hole in the handle. Extrema Ratio incorporated all the latest bleeding edge karambit features such as blade auto-deployment and then pushed the design further by adding in a glass break/striking pommel, seat belt cutter and Extrema’s patented liner locking mechanism.  Add in the wicked sharpened front top tip and you have a nasty little Nightmare with a 2.89” blade that is still legal to carry in pretty much any city in the US. 

The concept of an auto-deploying knife is not specifically new, but it has been applied a bit differently for the karambit folders on the market.  Much of the karambit folder technique is around a hidden weapon which leans most use in a blade down edge-out reverse knife grip usually with the index finger in the hole in the handle. A guard/tab on the blade catches on the pocket as the knife is pulled from the pocket and the blade is pulled/snapped open. Most people carry a karambit to open as the hand move forward into action, but some owners with also rip the knife open to the rear with the pinky in the handle hole which delivers a standard forward knife grip. I personally like the rearward deployment the best as the opening is more reliable. 

As with any auto-deploying knife there is a little learning curve to figure out how to get the knife to reliably deploy each and every time which usually involves some type of twist and yank movement. Apparently I have an un-apparent habit of dragging my fourth finger on the blade which with a partial double edge knife creates a trail of blood quickly - indeed this Extrema Ratio knife will cut and is a Nightmare if not treated with respect.  Once you get into a rhythm, the blade snaps open at every yank from the pocket and is ready to play.  The pocket clip is reversible so users can decide how you want to position and deploy your own Nightmare. I did find that deployment from my Duluth Trading quick dry shorts was a bit slippery, but hey every knife is a little slick from these amazingly comfortable leisure/work shorts.

I do like the glass break feature and believe it is a top tier addition for those folks who like to break windows for fun or scratch car finishes and steering wheels every time they hop in the car, but I personally wish Extrema had left out this skull caving feature. For me, I just poke myself constantly and scratch everything just like I do with my Gen 1 Microtech Ultratech pointy glass breakers.  The seatbelt/safety cutter is actually pretty useful. Imagine a situation where you need to actually cut away some clothing to apply a bandage or tourniquet and all you had was that wicked cuts both ways Nightmare karambit blade. Your patient would not be happy with you, but with the safety cutter can safely zip through clothing, seatbelts, and zip ties without too much issue. I use the cutter for trimming zip ties. I still have not figured out how to replace the “replaceable” razor blade or determine where I can get replacements.

The Extrema Ratio Nightmare karambit also features Extrema’s Ratio’s manual locking mechanism. Like several of the small and mid-sized Extrema folders, the Nightmare features a liner lock. If more security is needed, the manual locking mechanism can be slipped over and effectively locks the liner lock similar to CRKT and a a few other manufacturers.

From a defensive perspective the Extrema Ratio Nightmare is everything the name implies. The knife delivers very aggressive defensive capabilities, great ergonomics, fast deployment and extremely durable rugged design.  What I love about this knife is how much capability it packs  into a very small size that legally can fit into almost any jurisdictional restrictions. 

Where most karambits features a traditional hook bill blade, the Extrema Ratio Nightmare features a curved tanto blade with a double edged tip. This design delivers something unique while also offering a lot of cutting edges. Part of that power and insane cutting ability it the Austrian N690 cobalt based stainless steel. The steel is similar in performance to the expensive VG-10 but is actually more expensive and is notably  wicked crazy sharp and it stays that way thanks to that N690 steel. 

The karambit has been “the” defensive knife for a while due to a lot of martial arts trainers over the years backing up the design concept. The karambit is a knife design that is here to stay, but Extrema Ratio has just perfected the design more than I have seen executed in other knife designs. With the exception of the personal preference on the pokey glass breaker, the Nightmare is a highly refined tactical knife that can deliver a lot in a defensive knife.

The Nightmare Karambit has a liner lock. It also has an additional manual lock that should be used for an extra layer of safety.
Total Length of Knife: mm 196 (7.72 inches)
Length of Closed Knife: mm 139.70 (5.50 inches)
Blade Length Total: mm 73.50 (2.89 inches)
Weight of Knife: g 166 (5.85 ounces)
Blade Thickness (Widest Part): mm 3.00 (.12 inches)
Blade Width (Widest Section): mm 29.72 (1.17 inches)
Closed Knife Thickness (Excluding Clip): mm 13.72 (.54 inches)
Blade Steel: Bohler N690 cobalt stainless steel*
Blade Hardness: Rockwell 58 HRC
Grinding: Flat grind
Serrations on Blade: Yes
Lock: Liner lock with additional manual lock
Handle Material: Anodized anticorodal aluminum alloy **
Belt Clip: Yes – reversible side to side
Window Breaker: Yes – on finger ring
MSRP - $270

Extrema Ratio Knives

Xtreme Knives  http://xtremeknives.com/