“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Gunshots in the forest.


Last night around 4:30 in the morning,  there was a flurry of gun shots off in the mountains. Not really near here, though it's hard to judge. It couldn't have been too far away, either, because I heard them quite clearly, and the very thick forest attenuates sound at this time of year.  This is the second time I've been woken up this way since the last week of July.

This was more than one weapon, and it sounded like pistols though under the circumstances that's just a guess. I had to go shut the dogs up, because they were going berserk. The quickest way to make them settle down is to talk quietly to them, pet them, and throw a couple of handfuls of  dog biscuits on the porch. Once they've let me know there's an issue, I want them to be quiet.

Didn't hear anything, so I went inside and turned on the scanners. Listened intently for half an hour, but apparently nobody called anything in.  I never went back to bed, and spent the rest of the night in "silent running", sitting there with the scanners on in the background, just listening.  I had turned in late so I am dragging right now. Nap time coming up.

There must have been a problem on one of the old forest service roads, between people who meet out there in the dark hours of the night.  I leave it to you who would be doing that and why. It's possible somebody parked on one of the old trails that the forest service has closed. It's easy to drive over the ancient berms that once blocked them. Maybe there were campers and they cut loose at a noise in the night. Not everyone follows the axiom that you don't fire unless you can distinctly see your target. My own suspicion is that this was our gang bangers from Hall county. They frequently do business in the national forest.  There has been automatic weapons fire out there in the dead of night in the past, and that wasn't casual campers.  Part of the problem with blending into the forest so well so people won't know you are there, is that sometimes people you don't want around come close, not knowing you are there.

In all probability there was some kind of hunt going on, and this was just a foi de joie.   It's common for hound dog men to build a fire, and sit around it drinking through the night while they listen to the dogs bay. This isn't supposed to happen in the national forest but it does. The old time people here don't care a damn for federal boundary lines. It's my own inherently suspicious nature that makes me assume some sinister purpose behind the racket.


23 comments:

  1. I'm sure they were looters coming to get everyone..... ;-)

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    1. Now why didn't I think of that? Society is pretty near collapse at any given moment in Appalachia, so they were probably just getting a head start on the rest of the county.

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  2. I guess that it doesn't matter where you live - bad people are near. In your position, I would be suspicious, too. I sometimes have to remind myself that it is easy to become accustomed to the sounds of mayhem when they are so common, as they are here. It helps being able to listen to the scanner to let me know if it is just normal drunken idiocy or if it is something to watch out for.

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    1. Vicki, as long as I've lived up here, which is more than 28 years now, I've been hearing gunshots out in the forest at night, not often but just on a random basis. It used to be people illegally hunting deer with lights, or out of season. But now the Department of Natural Resources has so many agents and so much technology that has basically died out. However, we do have really bad news people who poach black bear. They kill them and take body parts which are sent to China to be used in Chinese traditional medicines. These guys will kill you if you get in their way because they are hard corp criminals and the penalties for poaching bear are very draconian.
      In the last ten years or so, the drug problem has gotten pretty severe, with the different gangs in Atlanta and Gainesville using the national forest to cook meth, or to make drug deals. I drove up on a drug deal some years back, when I had my Wrangler and used to go out and just drive up old trails to see what was there. I left in a hurry and the experience essentially put an end to random traveling for me on trails I didn't know. A mid level cartel drug "Jeffe" was arrested, almost by accident, in our town a year ago with some of his minions. They use our roads to transport drugs North from Mexico. We have had a number of "Inexplicable" murders up here, mostly good people who didn't have any known enemies, and though they remain unsolved the general consensus is that those people showed up at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

      I keep the scanner on in the background when I'm awake because of my inordinate fear of forest fires, but I also like to know what's going on in the county. I have two. One is permanently locked on the county Sheriff's department freq. The other is a very good unit that scans Department of Natural Resources, State Trooper, Emergency Services, the fire department, the town police, and adjacent county outfits similar in nature.
      With those, I can pretty well keep abreast of what is going on.

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  3. What are the scanners you're using? I'm terrible if something wakes me in the night. It takes me ages to settle again.

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    1. Kev,
      Scanners are radios which run through a list of frequencies you program into them. When they detect a transmission, they lock on to that freq for a specified period of time. Since most rural emergency service type radio nets are unencrypted, you can listen to the same information the police, fire department, or whoever is receiving or transmitting in real time. The downside is that criminals know this and also monitor the law enforcement nets. In cities or big towns, the radio links are either outright encrypted, or they are "trunked" which requires more sophisticated and expensive radio scanners to monitor.

      I usually don't go back to bed if something wakes me up at night, it's pretty pointless. But then, I am retired and so I can sleep during the day when I want to.

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  4. I'd rather be suspicious than surprised.
    Strelsi

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    1. True, and I acknowledge a certain predisposition to expect the worst in any unusual situation. That way, if it turns out to be some lesser event I haven't lost anything but I am prepared if I'm right.

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  5. So why do you automatically assume it was criminal/violence in nature and not some random teenagers or 20 somethings out drinking and shooting at trees? I hear gunshots at night around here all the time and usually if I stay real quiet and listen I can eventually catch the laughter and music floating by on the wind after the gunshots cease.

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    1. Because I don't want to assume it's some merry band of teenagers getting drunk and firing off weapons over the ridge line, only to wake up with Juan Valdez and his crew of red bandanna wearing dope crazed bastards on my porch. Like the guys who ran me off the road in my jeep and got me the lecture about pulling a gun on people on the public highway from the sheriff's department. Klar, Kamerad?

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    2. Now Harry they don't need to be criminals or looters for you to worry about. All they have to have is a female avatar and you will hand em whatever they want by your own admission. No firearms needed :)


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  6. I had a similar thing occur here last night. I could hear what sounded like gun shots, so I promptly got up and locked the doors. Don't know whether it was gun shots or not, I am hoping not. Recently there was some sort of explosion that shook our windows, but never heard anything about what that could have been. Probably youngens up to mischief somewhere I suspect :)

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    1. There's never any telling when things happen at night. Usually you never do find out exactly what happened. You sleep with the doors unlocked Tania? I used to do that too but times here have changed.

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    2. tania,
      don't leave the doors unlocked or windows wide open. if you have dogs [who can be silently poisoned by the evil minded] you might be able to unlock the door on the side of the house where you are working or sitting on the porch.
      when i am out in the yard i keep the garage door opener with me because it has been known for evil doers to see your back turned and they sneak into your house because a door is wide open.
      i know people who have been robbed this way. thank God it was only robbery.
      deb h.

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  7. Well if someone turns up missing you'll know what happened.

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  8. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    Yeah' your right. better to be safe than sorry. Keeping your doors locked at night and scanning the airwaves,etc.
    I know the illegal alien/dirt bag situation was bad in your area. I did not know how bad. Hell' that's worse than my area. I hear gunshots maybe once or twice a year. It was every week, or every few weeks but with the property values going up and many of the dirtbags are moving out with rent going up and all that.

    Most of the border mayhem run's near highway 281 and highway 77. Not in my area so we are spared the worst of the border mayhem. Now however we do get some interesting things washing up on the beaches (bales of drugs) every now and then over on the national seashore and other spots.
    I need to look into getting a scanner. That would be a good idea.

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    1. Check to see if your local freqs are encrypted, first. Our Sheriff's department tried that a couple of years ago, but the radio wave situation here is already so bad because of the mountains and terrain masking, that they had trouble when they were encrypted in breaking sync. So they gave it up.

      Our problems are do to the agricultural companies like ConAgra and Fieldale bringing in Mexicans by the hundreds in the late eighties to break strikes. Now we have a county with well over a hundred thousand of them just forty miles away as the crow flies.

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  9. We were just talking about this the other day, the drug guys are the ones you will need to watch out for if all fails. They are brutal and don't care who they hurt. We are used to hearing guns here too but it is usually someone in the valley and they have what seems to be fully automatic weapons and tannerite! I can' say I would not like to try it though. Our explosions might be the quarry but sometimes they happen late so maybe a distant math lab.

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    1. Kathy, it's always possible someone has a legit and legal automatic weapon, you can get one if you can pass the background check, and afford the weapon, and pay the tax stamp. But here, where there is not a lot of money and there are a lot of gangs and illegal drug people, automatic weapons fire probably means bad people. I also think that when something is going on at three or four in the morning, it's probably not a good sign. I am not curious enough to go looking for the source, though!

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  10. How scary! If I were a dog, I'd be worked up as well.

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    1. Mine are good watch dogs. They wake me up a lot for things like wild life that aren't a concern, but I know they are out there and I rely on them (and a few technological aids) to give me warning if anyone is coming up here.

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