Monday, October 09, 2006

Gun Blogger Rendezvous Report -- Pt. I

Thursday morning KeeWee and I boarded the Whidbey-SEATAC shuttle van for our 2 hour ride down to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. We checked our bags and had a couple of hours to kill before our flight to Reno, so we headed over to the Food Court for a burger and a soda pop.

The Alaska Airlines flight to Reno was un-eventful, (I LIKE it when flights are un-eventful) and there was little to see as it was pretty well clouded over below us. I did get a peek at Crater Lake from the air, I think, but couldn't be sure. We gorged ourselves on a one half ounce bag of unidentifiable snack crunchies each (why do they even bother, it's not even one mouthful!) and a soda pop and a cup of coffee. A little under two hours in the air and we were in Reno. We grabbed the half-hourly Circus Circus shuttle to the hotel. As we were waiting for the shuttle we saw three limosines pick up people and cart them off. It looks like some folks in Reno have got a buck or so!

We Checked in at the hotel, then headed up to our room to drop off the bags and go find the Tahoe Hospitality room to see who had arrived so far.

View from our room

Our room had windows on two sides, and both directions offered great scenery. the room was comfortable, and even had Starbucks coffee. (I guess when they figured out we were from Seattle and were shooters, perhaps they decided they better drag out the good stuff?)

View from the other side of our room

One of the Circus Circus Hotel signs.

We grabbed the elevator down to the Tahoe room where the Hospitality room was set up, and a few folks had already arrived.

Note the times!

Rivrdog and US Citizen checking quality control on the micro-brews RD picked up at the brewery on the way to Reno.

To get between the two towers of the Circus Circus, there's two elevated shuttle trams and a sky bridge walkway. This is one of the colorful tracks for the tram.

KeeWee and I, Rivrdog and Gudwife had been given tickets for a semi-posh fund raiser dinner and wine tasting over at the El Dorado, so we wandered over there for dinner. It was a bit yuppie for me, but I finally found some real non- "foo foo" food made out of real pieces of cows and pigs that tided me over, while everyone else was cooing over the properties of some stuff that I probably would have used as crab pot bait. The dessert table was a winner, though, as those folks seem to understand chocolate, at least!

After dinner we went back to the Tahoe room for the balance of the evening. We sat around the Tahoe room until we all started fading in and out and getting fuzzy, so we drifted off to get a good night's sleep.

The next morning a group of us headed out to find a good breakfast, and we found a winner in the Victorian Buffet in the adjoining Silver Legacy Casino. JimmyB was in breakfast heaven, with unlimited bacon! .....mmmmmm -- bacon!

This was my FIRST plate full.

Yup, I went back for more! OK, more than once! (KeeWee is looking over my shoulder as I write this, attempting to keep me honest!) Biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, bread pudding, bacon (JimmyB left me a little...) waffle with maple syrup and whipped cream, cantalope, and a croissant. A good start, I'd say!

After breakfast several of the ladies headed out on their own to explore, while JimmyB, Rivrdog, and I wandered off to look for a liquor store and any gun shops we could find along the way. We found one big liquor store. (I also picked up a jug of Bailey's for KeeWee, but I like the stuff too).

Rivrdog checking out the liquor store a few blocks away, stocking up for Friday night's hospitality.

Not far from the liquor store was a fair sized sporting goods store with a large sign proclaiming GUNS for sale, along with other sporting toys. We went in with great expectations, but were disappointed to be told that they did not carry any evil guns, or ammunition, or even anything loosely related to guns. The gal in the store clearly did not like guns. Kinda made me wish I'd of had a big ol' revolver holstered on my hip (open carry legal in Nevada) just to watch her develop a really good reason for a quick trip to the ladie's room, so to speak!

(End of report -- Part I)

KeeWee also has her first post up on our Rendezvous adventures HERE.


At Tuesday, October 10, 2006 7:28:00 AM, Anonymous mark williams said...

Sorry we couldn't get to Reno for the fun, but just in case you missed it, here's an interesting story from Sunday in Seattle...
Man killed at Westlake had set fire at mom's home in '01

By Sara Jean Green
Seattle Times staff reporter

A 25-year-old man who was fatally shot while attacking a stranger Saturday at Westlake Plaza had previously served time in prison for setting fire to a day-care center his mother operated out of her Phinney Ridge home.

Daniel Culotti was shot shortly after 11 a.m. by a 52-year-old man he was assaulting in an unprovoked attack, according to Seattle police. The victim of the assault was carrying a handgun and had a concealed-weapons permit, police said.

In July 2001, Culotti had attacked his mother, Melinda Culotti, inside the family's former residence on Palatine Avenue North near Woodland Park Zoo. He later returned and doused the floors inside the house with gasoline, setting the house on fire.

Culotti's mother, several child-care providers and seven children escaped unharmed.

Culotti later pleaded guilty to first-degree arson and was sentenced to just under two years in prison.

Though it is unclear when Culotti was released from custody, he was arrested three times this year for violating the conditions of his release into the community, jail records show.

Melinda Culotti said she only learned of her son's death Monday and declined to comment when reached at her home in upstate New York.

Seattle police continue to investigate Saturday's shooting, and their findings will be turned over the prosecutor's office to decide whether charges are warranted. While police would not speculate on whether the shooting of Culotti was self-defense — saying the term is a legal finding that will be determined by prosecutors — the account offered by a police spokeswoman supports that possibility.

According to Seattle police, a woman called 911 at 11:08 a.m. Saturday to report that a man was acting erratically, yelling at passers-by and randomly assaulting strangers near Boren Avenue and Pine Street. Officers sent to the scene couldn't find the caller, the man or any victims, police spokeswoman Debra Brown said.

Twenty-three minutes later, police dispatchers radioed that shots had been fired at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street, she said. Moments earlier, witnesses told police, a man in his 20s apparently attacked the 52-year-old man, punching and kicking him until he fell to the sidewalk. The older man pulled out a .357-caliber Ruger revolver and fired one round, striking the man in the abdomen.

The older man "was not winning the fight" — the other man "just starts attacking him, he's on the ground and a shot is fired," Brown said, describing witnesses' accounts.

"It happened pretty fast. Probably by the time anybody thought to intervene, it was already over."

The 52-year-old had a concealed-weapons license and was in legal possession of the handgun, Brown said. Police have not released the man's name because he was not booked into jail.

"He was very cooperative," she said, noting the man waited for officers to arrive and turned over his weapon; he was interviewed by police and later released.

According to a police report on the incident, officers took into evidence the handgun, one spent shell casing and five live rounds of ammunition.

The names of the 52-year-old man and three witnesses were redacted from the report.

Culotti, who was not carrying identification, later died at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center. He was identified through fingerprint records.

His death has been ruled a homicide, according to James Apa, a spokesman for Public Health — Seattle & King County.

Though it will be up to King County prosecutors to decide, one local author who has written about Washington state's gun laws said the shooting appears to be a "textbook case of self-defense."

"This 52-year-old fellow was minding his own business, going through Westlake [Plaza] and this other guy jumps him, whacks him pretty good, gets him down on the ground and starts kicking him," said Dave Workman, author and senior editor for Gun Week, a national publication that reports on gun laws, regulatory changes and news from the firearms industry.

"Under those circumstances, the man on the ground was in fear of being severely beaten or beaten to death and so was justified in defending himself, including using lethal force."

According to state law, anyone who can legally possess a firearm also can apply for a concealed-weapons license. The law, however, typically restricts citizens from carrying guns onto school property and into jails and courthouses, bars or other places where alcohol is served, restricted areas in airports, and mental-health facilities.

State law not only allows people to defend themselves and their property from intruders in their homes but also from anyone who poses a threat of imminent bodily harm to themselves or others in any place they're legally allowed to be — whether it is a shopping mall, a grocery store or a city street.

Workman said that in determining whether a case fits the legal definition of self-defense, one must consider "the reasonable man doctrine" — that is, what any reasonable person would do under similar circumstances with the same amount of information.

In the past year or so, King County prosecutors have declined to file homicide charges in three cases in which self-defense was claimed, spokesman Dan Donohoe said.

He explained that from a legal standpoint, prosecutors must disprove a claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt for a jury to convict someone in such a case.

Seattle Times news researcher David Turim contributed to this report.


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