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Fireworks and false alarms

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Hard to believe the 4th of July has come and gone. I took a nice little trip to Ohio to visit the grandparents and ended up driving 16 hours straight back to the East Coast by myself. I was certainly cracked out on caffeine and loud music by the time I rolled in around 2AM. Certainly not a traveling strategy I would recommend. But, it's always nice to have a little time off work, which, by the massive amount of "out of office" replies I've received lately, I'm guessing many of you continue to enjoy. That's summer for you. I hope you got to enjoy 4th celebrations. I didn't get to see any fireworks this year, which I was sadly disappointed about. And, based on this news report out of Denver, others missed out on the show too. This guy had obviously spent a lot of money to buy his own holiday entertainment (or perhaps supplement his income since his entire garage was chock-a-block full of illegal fireworks). His burglar alarm went off, police showed up, discovered his stash and arrested him and ruined more than his weekend. Of course, no one was trying to steal his stash, just another case of a false alarm leading police to other violations. I sure bet he wished Denver had a stricter verification policy. Funny they don't include any statistics about how many unrelated arrests are made on the coattails of false alarm responses. I think someone oughta keep track.

Are the spiders getting to you?

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

That was the single worst photo of a spider I could find. They're apparently "camel spiders" (not sure if this information is urban legend or not) and they terrorize soldiers in Iraq. Apparently they like to hide out in sleeping rolls. Gives me the crawlies. Anyway, such spider interest is triggered by the following press release that came in today. For some reason, this product seems oddly very attractive. Perhaps you want to buy a "tin." QED, UK distributors of security equipment and accessories have developed a new spider deterrent in the form of an aerosol spray. The product, called Spiderex has been launched under their new Midas brand.  It is a specially formulated clear spray which when applied to any area will deter spiders for up to 8 months.  This is a revolutionary new product that has been developed specifically for the security industry. It's "revolutionary," mind you. Spiders like creating their webs in warm places, which, unfortunately for security installers, includes around CCTV camera housings and PIR detectors. This, in effect, causes false alarms with PIR detectors or build up of material in front of a CCTV camera. In any case, maintenance is required to resolve these issues. Too much time has been spent by installers getting rid of spiders and the issues they cause for security systems. QED’s Marketing Manager Matt Byrom commented: “Spiderex is a simple product yet having a can will provide a massive impact on the time spent on maintenance and profits of a security installer.”  He continued “In fact, even if Spiderex was to stop one service call it would have paid for itself many times over.” A "massive" impact. QED believes this will solve one of the biggest causes of false alarms in CCTV systems and also stop the build-up of spider related material such as webs in CCVTV cameras and housings. Spiderex is on Special Offer now at £5 OFF per tin + FREE Delivery and available from www.spiderex.co.uk. Please, please, please leave some comments (click on the word "comment" below - it's easy) on whether spiders are actually a big problem for you on the installation end. I'm desperate for some good spider stories. Seriously. I hate spiders. And my wife always makes me kill them. You should have seen the size of the dock spider I killed in the living room of our lake house last week. I hit it with my shoe, but kind of whacked it instead of leaving the shoe on the carpet and the spider bounced about three feet into the air and scared the crap out of me. But then it was pretty dead.

Hiring illegal aliens=bad idea

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Monday, July 7, 2008
Okay, I'm back to blogging. I've spent the last week lounging by the side of a lake in Maine where there is no cell coverage nor Internet access and it was luxuriously relaxing. Also, we ran through five liters of Jameson, so other portions of the vacation are hazy. While I sort through 500+ emails, here's an update on Mace's car washes that just won't go away: Horsham-based car wash company Car Care Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mace Security International, pleaded guilty June 24 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Oh, just one count. That's not that bad, really. From 2000 to 2006, Car Care managers at car washes in Norristown, Flourtown, Bryn Mawr and Cherry Hill, N.J., hired illegal workers by giving them false names and a way to cash their checks at local banks without identification, a press release said. "We're not talking about a few illegal workers who slipped through the cracks," U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan said in the press release. "To the contrary, dozens of illegal workers made up the majority of Car Care's workforce at these locations. This is harboring illegal aliens in its simplest form." According to the indictment, on a given day, illegal immigrants made up approximately 90 percent of the workforce at the locations. Hmmm, actually, that seems really bad. Seriously? Ninety percent? Each manager who pleaded guilty faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years' supervised release. Yikes. That's really bad. That career in car-washing is headed right down the tubes. Luckily for the security side of things, Mace ain't the military: Aside from one of the regional managers, no higher management was charged, Car Care defense attorney Eric Sitarchuk said. Not a whole lot of site visits going on, I guess. I know it doesn't have anything to do with security, but I'm fascinated by these car washes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey actively working to defraud the U.S. government. 1. Couldn't you just find some high school kids to work cheap? 2. Couldn't you just pay them in cash, so you didn't have to go through the whole fake-name check-cashing scheme? 3. Aren't car washes pretty cash-positive as a rule? Did you really need to hire 90 percent illegal aliens to turn a profit?

This all just seems so stupid. If Mace can't sell these car washes off soon enough, can they just make like a baseball team and designate the car washes for assignment? Put them on the disabled list? Offer them an outright release?

Everything you always wanted to know about ESX

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Monday, June 30, 2008
A couple days late, here are some highlights from the new home-grown industry show called ESX, the Electronic Security Exposition, which took place in Nashville, June 24-28. Congratulations to the CSAA, NBFAA, EH (the group that organized the event) and the TBFAA on this inaugural event. First up on June 24 was the skeet shoot, sponsored by the Tennessee Burglar & Fire Alarm Association at the Nashville Gun Club Now, I’d never held a gun, let alone shot one, but guess what I found out? Shooting semi-automatic weapons at little pieces of clay is fun. It helped that I had lots of spirited encouragement from the our two guides--Foxy and Paulette—and from those in my group—Bob and David Michel from Valley Alarm in California and Gene from, can't find his card, but it's a security company in South Carolina. (Gene not only hit a bunch of skeets, he took out a live bird during the excursion.) Thanks also to Dom D’Ascoli of Smoky Mountain Security in NC for lending me one of those fancy shooting vests with the padded shoulder, it was only after I donned that vest that I actually hit one of those little orange saucers. And my shoulder's probably a little less bruised as a result of the padding. After the skeet shoot, we had about 10 minutes to get cleaned up and walk down to the Country Music Hall of Fame for the NBFAA scholarship awards, and the Sara Jackson and Morris Weinstock awards. Fortunately for us, the winner of the Sara Jackson award, Frank Burke, was with the skeet shooting crowd, so the event didn't start until he arrived. Here’s Leischen's write up on that very nice event. ESX organizers made some great choices of venue throughout this event, including the reception that followed the awards. it took place in the rotunda. Great party locale and I'm glad they opted for the reception where you can talk to many, rather than a sit-down dinner. Ready for Day 2? Not yet, most found their way to nearby Broadway for some BBQ, beer and blue grass for at least a couple more hours. Day 2 was full of educational sessions, which according to everyone I spoke to were well programmed and well attended. Here's Sam's story about sessions he attended and mine on a home automation session I attended. This day was also jam packed with NBFAA and CSAA meetings. I went to the crack of dawn government relations meeting to hear what was going on in Washington. The evening found everyone back on Broadway. My group wound up at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, where Cher was sitting up front in a booth near the band. What'd she look like in person? She was very thin and had very smooth skin. We're well into Day 3 by the time the editors arrive back at the Rennaissance Hotel and a few short hours later we were heading to the show floor wondering what it would look like. It was not jam-packed by any stretch, but there was a respectable crowd and exhibitors I talked to reported "quality conversations." There were more well-attended educational sessions and Sam's Rising Stars luncheon was a great success. (Always nice to see diversity in the crowd. Here's to you over-40s!) Evening # 3 is the Big Bash. Again, ESX does it right: a little food, a little drink, a little Marty Stuart. Then it's time to load up on BBQ to prepare for the Club Crawl. Organized again by the TBFAA, we went toured some clubs that we were now pretty well acquainted with and ended up at the Cadillac Ranch where a veritable who's who of the security industry rode a mechanical bull. I don't ride bulls, but a publisher I know rode said bull for well over a minute. Just wish I had a picture to prove it. Day 4 and the show floor was very quiet. Exhibitors would have liked more traffic, but isn't the show floor always quiet on the last day of any show? At lunchtime, Sam packs 'em in again for his "Next Generation" luncheon. A lot of people left Friday afternoon, but not Leischen and I. We went to the Grand Ole Opry and then, just for good measure decided to head back to Broadway for more blue grass, beer and BBQ. This is Robert's Western World where we hung out. Check Sam's ESX blog entries for an insider’s opinion of the music. I had never listened to this much country music before and came away wondering why country musicians are always singing about trains. We heard this one at least twice a night, but there are many, many songs about trains. One young musician I spoke to at Robert’s on Broadway said he’d never thought about it before, but he estimated that a good 10 percent of the songs he sang were about trains and another five percent mentioned trains. Asked if he’d consider singing about other modes of transportation, he said no. “I’m not going to sing about no hybrids.” So the editors of Security Systems News are in denial about this show being moved to Baltimore. Nothing against Baltimore, but it's going to have a lot to live up to next year.

ESX on target

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Monday, June 30, 2008
So, I'm back from the ESX show in Nashville, and I must say, I had a blast. To start off the show they let me play with guns (for security guys, they really have no sense), but I felt surprisingly confident firing live ammunition at small flying discs during the TBFAA's skeet shooting event. A shout out to Andrew Stadler of Security Partners for his fine videography skills. video During the first two days of the show I attended several great educational sessions, my favorite being the Gen-Y session. Maybe I was just particularly engaged because I'm just on the cusp of being a Gen-Y-er myself (missed it by a year), but I thought it was interesting to hear how the security industry, specifically central stations, are dealing with us youngin's. Sophie Gravel, the director at Monitoring Station for Reliance Protectron did a great job presenting this topic. She was informative and engaging, and not presumptuous or assuming. The message I took away was about the importance of keeping Gen-Y engaged, continuing to offer education options, allowing flexible work schedules, that kind of thing. Very reasonable, I thought, and something all companies should be offering their employees, but that must be my youth coming through. One question I thought was interesting was: "What if you just don't like these kids?" Hmm...that could pose a problem. The premise of the question was why should management have to coddle and pay more attention to these newbies who will likely only stay for a year or two than the 15-year veterans who do their jobs without question? Gravel's answer: Because we have no choice. This is the next generation of workers. "This generation is just starting to impact the workforce in profound ways, changes need to happen in our culture and management style," she said. "This generation doesn’t expect, accept or understand the same rules as their predecessors ...They're looking for relationships with coworkers, looking for a fun environment. They like structure but don’t like to be in a box." I also got to sit down with Pam Petrow, the new COO of Vector Security. I really enjoyed our conversation and I think it was one of the most enjoyable and engaging interviews I've had in a long time. Plus, I really appreciate talking to high up women execs. They inspire me and Pam is at the top of my list. There was lots other industry things happening at ESX (obviously I was bad about blogging at the actual event), but on another fun note, I had a chance to go to the Grand Ole Opry and see Trace Adkins (he's a big country star, for those of you who don't know). He's also one of the biggest guys I've seen in a long time. I had a great time in Nashville and am a little disappointed the show is going to Baltimore next year. I bet they won't let you shoot guns in Baltimore and if you do hear gun fire, chances are you need to take cover.

Like 'a bad Hollywood movie'

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Monday, June 30, 2008
Thanks for the all the inquiries, but, yes, I did make it back home from Nashville alive. You're all so sweet to worry after my safety. Anyhoo, the old email box is filled to brimming, but I couldn't let this story out of Canada slip by me without comment: A former Garda executive says the company threatened to kill him if he leaked financial information. And now Garda is suing him back for defamation. Garda World Security Corp. says it will initiate a defamation lawsuit against a "disgruntled" former executive who has alleged the company threatened to kill him and his family if he spoke out about its financial problems. Richard Irvin, whose family sold its California-based ATI Systems cash logistics business to Garda last year for $395 million, alleges in a legal action filed in Los Angeles that CEO Stephan Cretier told executives last November he would use Garda's security operatives to investigate any leak of financial information, and would kill any executive and the family of any executive found responsible for a leak. You know, I've spoken with Cretier, and he seemed like a pretty mild-mannered dude. I'm kind of doubting he told people he would kill them if they leaked financial data. Maybe it was a translation thing - you know how the French and the English gets mish-mashed together up there in Canada. Does this look like a guy who makes death threats? Garda gets bonus points in the argument for this rebuttal: Irvin's charges are "totally false, outrageous and without merit," and the company "refuses to take seriously such ridiculous allegations that resemble the plot of a bad Hollywood movie," Garda World said in a statement yesterday. "The calumnious allegations are a blatant attempt to destroy Garda's good name and reputation in a pernicious and defamatory attempt to extort additional severance compensation from the company." First, you get the "bad Hollywood movie" jab, which I've always found pretty impenetrable. Did you do something really shady? Well, then just deny it and say, "that sounds like a bad movie." Because stuff that happens in movies can never happen in real life. That's like a law or something. Then, the Garda spokespeople start dropping the $5 words. Calumnious? Kapow! Pernicious? Shazam! I'm thinking this Irvin guy should just fold up his little tent right now and go home.

ESX day 3 (with more blurry photos)

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Friday, June 27, 2008
Whoo-ee. Things are getting started a little later all over the conference today after the damage done on the Club Crawl sponsored by the Tennessee BFAA last night. People were having all kinds of fun listening to music, enjoying frosty beverages, and, of course, riding a mechanical bull. Don't believe me? Here's a bad photo of Security Partners' Kerry Egan trying not to get thrown: But people deserved a night out on the town after yet another day of success here at ESX's first go round. I won't say the exhibit hall, which opened yesterday, was packed. It wasn't. But the conversations people were having were very meaningful, and I think that manufacturers who understood the opportunity best will find the show was well worth their while. I was speaking with Keith Jentoft at RSI Alarm, who's done some very innovative things with supplied marketing materials for dealers, and up walks Wells Sampson from American Alarm. Wells has an opportunity at a car dealership, but he's getting 20 false alarms a night because he's trying to use video motion detection. Can Keith help? Well, sure, since his video is triggered by a motion sensor, not pixel change, etc. Then Keith's showing Wells the marketing materials and talking about how he's getting great leads for dealers that he's sometimes having a hard time converting because he doesn't have enough dealers yet. Hmm, says Wells, got any leads up in Massachusetts? See what I'm saying? Deals are getting done. Whereas at ISC West or ASIS, it's just product pitch after product pitch. I know ESX doesn't aspire to being a "smaller" show, but the really motivated industry members are here, and I've got to think people who are looking to professionalize their staff and become more involved in the industry associations make for prime customers for manufacturers. There may be fewer of them, but the quality is first rate when it comes to integrators and installers I'm looking to talk to for the paper, that's for sure. Also, the first of the two luncheon events I'm hosting went really well. I have a photo of the event, but Blogger's being finicky and not letting me upload it. Maybe I'll add it later. But the gist of the first luncheon was that the industry needs new leaders in the pipeline, and those people under 40 who've already made it to leadership positions have some insight on how we attract good new people. Here are some boiled down recommendations that came out of the event, which featured Mike Meredith of Security Equipment, Brett Bean (not related to Bob Bean) of F.E. Moran, Tony Byerly of Stanley, and the aforementioned Kerry Egan: 1. We need some kind of formalized mentoring program, whether through the associations or at individual companies, so that new people to the industry can quickly get up to speed and feel like a part of something. Byerly and Bean, specifically, said a mentor was vital in keeping them motivated in the industry. 2. Don't be afraid to hire outside the industry. Egan noted when she was looking for an IT professional, she was worried that she'd need someone with security experience, but she hired a talented person without any security background and is happy with the hire. She said many in the industry are reluctant to do that. 3. Train your people once you hire them, and keep training them. The more people feel like their being invested in, the more likely they are to stick around. 4. Try to provide flexibility for younger workers to take care of their kids and lives while still being productive. There's been a lot of talk here at the show about moving to 12-hour shifts, say, and eliminating a day of work, or just providing results-based incentive plans that don't care whether you spend 40 hours a week in the office or not. There was more, but those were the big points. Cris Carter, the keynoter, was great, by the way, as was his brother John, who came up for the Q&A session. They made a major commitment to being more involved in the industry as a whole and you can be sure you'll see their faces more at industry events in the future. Carter made a point of saying he's more proud of Carter Brothers than he is of his football accomplishments, which I think says a lot. Also, props to Mike Keegan of Watchguard Security for showing up to the address in a Cris Carter Vikings jersey and getting it signed. Brilliant. As for the music last night, it was first-rate. No beating around the bush. First, Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives put on a great show in the ESX-sponsored event here at the hotel. For whatever reason, Blogger is liking the cheap cell phone images I've sent to myself, so I can post this blurry photo, too: Unfortunately, Marty opened with his electric pop-country stuff, which was excellent, but not as much my bag. I was eyeing his mandolin behind him, hoping he'd bust it out before I had to leave to see Earl Scruggs, but no such luck. Jim Taylor of Integrator Support told me later that he brought it out for three songs to finish his set and was excellent. Beyond excellent was Earl Scruggs. Wow. What an American icon. Here's a bad photo of his band, which was seven strong and included two of his sons: They played a bunch of my favorites, including "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," probably Earl's most famous song, and even the theme song from the Beverly Hillbillies, which Early wrote and played. They had great set management, putting in slow tunes that allowed the 84-year-old Scruggs to sit down and rest, then bringing him back standing for full-bore treatments of ancient standards like "Soldier's Joy." Scruggs had a good line for that one. His son introduced the tune by saying it goes back to the Civil War era and Earl cracked, "yeah, I wrote it." The show was in Ryman Auditorium, which was the original home of the Grand Ole Opry and, we learned, the site where Earl met his wife. Actually, he noted, it was in the parking lot they met, but he wasn't going to quibble with a good story. The place was amazing, with chuch-pew seating, a large balcony, and some of the best sound I've heard. There were lots of kids and families there, and the opening band, the Infamous Stringdusters, who were outstanding in their own right, noted that their folks were in attendance - they didn't want to miss Earl Scruggs either. So, of course, I'm looking forward to a final day here - I'm hosting another luncheon and then hopping on a plane home - but I'm disappointed in at least one piece of news coming out of the show: Next year, it's in Baltimore. I say we get a petition going to keep it in Nashville.

ESX day 2 (with blurry photos)

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Thursday, June 26, 2008
As everyone in Nashville surely knows, if the room is packed, you've done alright for yourself. By that reasoning, ESX is thus far a wild success. On the first full day of educational programming, every room I was in was standing-room-only, with at least 75 people crowding into the smaller rooms to see speakers, and the larger rooms (generally used by the central station operator crowd) holding more than 125. And people weren't even complaining about having to stand. Wild success, right? The programming was above average, too, just about all of it focused on the business aspect of the industry, with a little technology thrown in for good measure. With everyone picking up CEUs, there was generally a line at the end of each session of people waiting to get their certificates signed. As you'll see in some of the stories we post later today, RMR creation was a big theme of the seminars, with at least three dedicated to that subject alone. Even the session on accounting for alarm companies, led by Michael Marks, head of Sedona Office, spent a lot of time on how to create metrics that let you accurately judge your RMR creation multiple. I've gotta say, if I was opening a business in the security industry, I'd be doing high-end residential and light commercial alarm work, without a doubt. The number of services you can offer for incrementally more money per month is exploding right now, with people getting $30 a sensor per month for GPS, or $10 a month to send out weather alerts, for goodness' sake. That seems like a lot better way to make a buck than trying to navigate the government bid process for a highly technical job that doesn't pay you for two years or something. I doubt it surprises anyone that I'd go for the easier buck... I also enjoyed Eric Pritchard's "art of the deal" presentation. Most of it was pretty common sense (don't try to lie, cheat, or steal in the process of selling/buying accounts, basically), but there was also a good deal of information on which type of corporation to be (S or LLC, definitely not C) and why it's better to buy accounts than to buy whole companies. That's a point I think I've reported incorrectly in the past, implying that stock was bought when really it was just an account transaction. Now I understand why some companies emphasize that they've just purchased the assets of another company. There is a difference. The toughest thing about programming an event like this is the wide range of knowledge base you've got to try to satisfy. In one session, you've have a guy like Pat Egan, who's bought all kinds of account bases and has a fairly large operation (and is a Weinstock award winner, to boot) alongside any number of people who simply manage a small central station (or maybe even just lead a shift at one). How do you make a presentation relevant to both? Though there is a kind of "track" system to the seminars, I think it could be more clearly defined and I think there could be larger differences between a kind of introductory seminar on exploring your first account purchase, say, and a presentation that gets into the finer points of how to rook the IRS on your 10th purchase. That said, I'd have to say the programming is the best I've seen at an industry event. Today, I'm looking forward to seeing keynoter Cris Carter, the most famous person in the security industry, and hitting the Marty Stuart-headlined Big Bash tonight. Oh, and hosting my first luncheon forum. People are ribbing me about the under 40 aspect of the deal, but that's because they're over 40 - I can't trust them anyway. But I promised you blurry pictures. If you don't like at least a little country in your music, don't bother going out in Nashville, because that's pretty much all you're going to hear. Maybe you'll catch a straight blues act, but let's just say all three of the bands we heard last night busted out Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." These guys know their audience. I was hoping that Layla's Bluegrass Inn would actually have a bluegrass band, but not so much. Instead we got these guys: They were alright (SIA's Richard Chase and Honeywell's Gordon Hope held down the back of the room for a while), but I can assure you that bluegrass bands do not have low-slung electric basses. The frontman looked like he hadn't eaten in about 2 days, so I gave them a big tip. We stayed for a couple of beers and then headed into Robert's, next door, where there was a closer approximation of a bluegrass band (they played a version of "Ida Red" that wasn't half bad), and the version of "Folsom" included two verses of "Pinball Wizard." Pretty sharp. The place has been chosen as one of the best bars in America by Esquire, though, and it wasn't that great. Just another PBR-serving dive with dollar bills on the walls. Whoopty-doo. Finally, we hit Tootsie's, which might be the most famous honky-tonk on the strip and was definitely packed shoulder to shoulder in a way that neither of the other bars were. For the second night in a row, Cher was there, too. She sat in a corner (which happened to be in the window - she wasn't shy about letting people know she was in the house), and didn't fraternize with the hoi polloi. My goodness does she look strange in person. Her face is all smooth like the Newcomers from Alien Nation. I can't say I was blown away by the Tootsie's experience, but it was alright. Cool photos on the walls of all kinds of country legends (and not) and a decent layout that went straight back and up a floor so you could catch a band at either end of the bar, and the one at the back was elevated in a weird way so that the singers were up high but the band was kind of down in a pit, so that for a while I actually thought it was karaoke (the singers weren't that bad, but they weren't that good, either). Anyway, the band at the front was pretty good - lots of George Jones and Merle Haggard (who a lot of people went and saw last night - the CAA's Jerry Lenander said it was great). They could really play their instruments, the frontman had a legitimately professional voice, and they looked like this: That blurriness has to do with the quality of the image sensor in my camera phone and not my level of intoxication, I can assure you. I mean, hey, I'm posting before 8 a.m., so I must have been fairly responsible, right? Tomorrow, look for notes on the exposition floor here and the Earl Scruggs show. I'm pretty geeked about the latter.

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ESX day 1 (with gory photo)

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The first annual Electronic Security Expo got off to a rousing start yesterday, as the NBFAA and CSAA have collaborated on a first-rate event in a first-rate (if underappreciated) city. First, the gory stuff. I, and my fellow editors Martha and Leischen, participated in the Tennessee BFAA-sponsored skeet shooting event yesterday, and it was (get ready for it) a blast! Having never shot a shotgun before, I have to say my performance of nailing 28 out of 50 clay pigeons is quite impressive, but I was also impressed with the way Kerry Egan, of Security Partners, handled a gun - her Pennsylvania roots clearly came to the front as she blasted orange discs out of the sky - and the way Dave Koenig, of Capital Fire, was the only other of our group of five to stick out the shooting to the bitter end. Our guide Eddie was right: Never leave shells in the box. Unfortunately, all that shooting left a mark (avert your eyes if pale white skin is abhorrent to you): You should see the damage done to Leischen's shoulder, though. I'm guessing she won't post photos, but will at least post video of her shooting on her blog. The shooting done, everyone headed over to the Country Music Hall of Fame for a reception that would honor the Sara Jackson and Morris Weinstock award winners. It was somewhat ironic that Frank Burke, of USA Alarm Systems, was cajoling us into attending on the bus ride back from the skeet shooting, telling us what high and illustrious awards they were, only to find him stepping up to receive the Jackson award with tear-filled eyes. He was also talking about how great it was to work with his sons, and then there they were to surprise him upon receiving the glass trophy. Great moment for him. Note also that Burke won the CAA's George Weinstock award in 2006. He's piling up the hardware. Also a nice moment for Scott Colby, president of the Louisiana BFAA, who took home the Weinstock award. Unfortunately, his wife is ill and wasn't able to be with him, but you could tell he was extremely moved by the award. The one thing I can unequivocally say for this industry is that it's a tight-knit one. In some ways, it can seem like a throwback to the 1950s, with so much grey-haired, white-male involvement, but you can't deny that people make you feel welcome here and know how to put on a great party. In the Hall of Fame, with the busts of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and Dolly Parton surrounding us, there was a palpable feeling of good will and friendship that went beyond a business association. I think that's the kind of emotion that doesn't come through during an ISC West or ASIS show and what makes this new ESX event so important.

Sleepover security nightmare

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Monday, June 23, 2008
Sometimes it's fun to laugh at other people's security ignorance, especially when no one gets hurt, but in this case we can only chuckle a little because it sounds like this dad just got lucky. This article (which was sent to me by a reader, and yes, I do have readers) is about a father who was awoken at 3 a.m. one morning by two police officers standing in his bedroom. Turns out this dad wasn't so vigilant about security and not only was the front door left ajar, but so was the garage door AND he had left the keys in the ignition of his truck. The police officers were apparently conducting a "public service campaign to remind residents to secure their homes to prevent thefts" and this was likely one of the grossest lack of security these officers had seen (hence it making the local paper). Oh, the article also notes the TV was left on, but that was probably because this dad was hosting a sleepover and there were four kids under the age of seven sleeping in the living room, so not only was he endangering his own kids, he was also risking someone else's offspring. The father said he feels violated by the police officer's intrusion, but he's probably just pissed that he got publicly outed as an incompetent parent. Further indication of this guy's character is in the paragraph noting that the kids were too scared to wake him up. Chances are that would be true of a lot of kids (a steadfast childhood rule is that you don't wake dad), but they were likely scared to death when two adults appeared in their living room after they had spent all night watching Freddie Krueger go on a murdering spree or whatever horror movies kids are watching these days. I bet those kids are catching some flak at school, too, since they'll never host a sleepover again, as no sensible parent would ever let their kid stay the night there. Poor kids, they can't help it if their dad is completely and utterly security-challenged.

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