Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

As LGBT Community Races To Buy Guns Amelia Expert Offers All Free Safety Classes

Active shooter response safety procedure banner with stick figures: run, hide or fight

In response to the horrific massacre of 49 people at a gay night club in Orlando earlier this month many LGBT people are turning to guns with gun ownership and membership in gun clubs exploding in the U.S. among the LGBT community since the shootings by an Islamic terrorist.

According to the USA Today newspaper an LGBT organization called Pink Pistols has 35 active chapters across the U.S. nationally and its Facebook membership has increased from 1,500 before the shooting to about 6,500 as of last Monday afternoon.

The organization helps its members “select a firearm, acquire a permit, and receive proper training in its safe and legal use for self-defense,” according to its website.

And now an organization on Amelia Island is offering to assist those in the local LGBT community and any others who want to arm themselves to do so safely, and is offering to train them in the safe use of fire arms free of charge.

“As a firearm instructor I would like to show my support for not only the LGBT community but all local citizens by providing free Concealed Carry Permit training to any resident,” says Bernard Martinage, owner of Amelia Island’s Safe N Secure, an area security and fire arms training firm. “I will do so until the end of July, so I can help as many people as possible,” said Martinage.

“It is obvious that many times people have to be their own first responders,” he said. “Law enforcement tries to get there as fast as possible but they can’t be there all the time and it’s good when people have the tools and abilities to stay alive until law enforcement shows up.

“In light of the horrific events that took place in Orlando I anticipate that the gay community is behind itself and in search for an answer or a need to do something, even if just to cope with the events. If people can organize themselves in small groups—two to 10 people—I will either bring the training to these groups at their home or private place of their choice or host them in my classroom on the south end of the island.”

Martinage said that the training will consist of two to four hours of firearms education, that will include a small shooting portion with safe non-lethal training guns. Safe N Secure is one of only 14 certified private agencies across Florida and Georgia certified to use Simunition guns.

Martinage will provide individuals with realistic and basic knowledge, skills in the use of firearms and shooting, and the certificate they require in order to obtain a Florida Concealed Carry permit.

Martinage said that there will be no charge or cost whatsoever.

“If just one person in that horrific event had carried a gun on their person, they could have drastically reduced the fatalities, and at the least been able to protect themselves,” said Martinage. “Even if people may not want to carry a gun, this would be a way for many to feel that they are doing something or creating the opportunity for themselves to do so eventually.”.

To take advantage of the program contact Martinage at or at his web site


Liberal Gun Nut: I’ve never agreed with much of anything that local sad sack Ron Sapp has ever written in the free space provided for his codswallop by the local News-Leader but this past Wednesday (6-22-2016) he took a step so far beyond reality that even the paper’s myopic publisher, Foy Maloy, must be wondering what the squinty-eyed former high school indoctrination instructor must be smoking. In his inimitable Stalinist style in a lengthy News-Leader editorial page word jumble headlined “What can I say about Orlando?” the narrow-minded left-wing ideologue ranted on and on about the Orlando Islamic terrorism massacre being about guns and hate without once mentioning Islamic terrorism and that a Muslim terrorist actually committed this hideous act in the name of Islam. I had to read this claptrap twice to be sure, but not once did this befuddled, muddled Sapp mention terrorism or Islam. Good grief Mr. Maloy what has this newspaper become? Apparently Sapp believes that crazed killers can’t read since they are constantly shooting up “gun-free zones.” Since law-abiding citizens abide by these “zones” the terrorists are able to kill unabated and it will stay that way if loons like Sapp have their way. However, if you’re a conservative proponent of the Second Amendment this loon will attempt to portray you as if you were caught red-handed on the beach clubbing newly hatched sea turtles to death. The nonsense this guy frantically pens for the local paper would end up on the editing floor of The Amelia Island New-Wrecker for being too far-fetched and is another reason the online Fernandina Observer and NCFL Independent newspapers are so successful. I’m thankful none of my kids or grandkids were ever subjected to this guy’s classroom propaganda and that I don’t live within a mile of him.


Heeeeere’s Johnny! At a June 21 Fernandina City Commission meeting Mayor Johnny Miller said he’s seen birds and butterflies on a swampy, stagnant, polluted and littered area (corner of Lime and 14th Street) which a developer wants to clean up and build a much-needed 260-unit apartment complex for moderate income residents. Local resident Spurgeon Richardson patiently presented the developer’s case with a presentation detailing the numerous steps that his client has gone through to obtain permission to build on the site, including obtaining both the Special Magistrate’s ruling and a permit from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD). Despite the fact that Mayor Miller claims to be on the side of the folks that need this kind of development the most — policemen, firemen, teachers, hospitality workers, etc. — he obviously prefers the butterflies and birds that are attracted to the mosquito-infested stagnant, greenish, littered parcel of land surrounded by heavy traffic and light industry. The developer’s goal is to clean up the infested area and build an attractive complex of housing with rents starting at $1,000 per month while Johnny’s is to sit downwind from the stench in the hot humidity and observe nature deteriorate as if he were contemplating Walden Pond. Fortunately for Fernandina Beach residents rationale minds prevailed despite the mayor’s protestations and the item passed with a 4-1 vote. Maybe Johnny misplaced his Greenpeace talking points or forgot that people with his far-left state of mind can only win arguments when no one is allowed to argue back. Besides the four or five left-wing Whack-A-Moles that pop up at every commission meeting to cheer their mayoral hero on, does anyone else take this guy seriously? It’s like he’s comic relief on a hot summer evening following a tedious commission meeting. But eventually he stops being funny and becomes a detrimental nuisance. We don’t need a court jester, we need a mayor.


Too Much Miller Time? Fernandina Beach Mayor-Commissioner Johnny Miller (aka Mayor Miller Lite) is so far the only candidate to officially file to run for the Fernandina Beach City Commission seat he currently holds. Whoever is elected this November will hold that office for four years due to a change following the passage of a charter amendment last year that changed the term of office from three to four years and unless someone else steps up soon we’ll be faced with four years of total incoherent nonsense. Since I’ve been blocked from the mayor’s personal Facebook page others told me that our mayor said there that the reason he was running again was “Orlando.” Really? Combine that with his other non-local issues that the holier-than-thou gas bag mayor stands on his soap box advocating including banning nonexistent puppy mills; stopping fracking that also doesn’t exist; halting nonexistent seismic air gun testing off shore; attempting to prohibit our local grocery store chains from distributing those gruesome plastic bags; eliminating foam food ware; saving mosquito-infested mud puddles from development, etc. and our community will remain a laughing stock. Whenever ArguingwithLiberalssomeone disagrees with Mayor Miller Lite on his sacred non-issues, he reacts with stupefied indignation and erupts into a state of outrage with no facts to refute any of the hysteria-inducing comments while he rushes to the opposite end of the Palace Saloon bar he tends to take care of a nonexistent customer that he says needs his attention. Despite the fact that four more years of Miller Time would provide me with ample hilarious blog material I’ve had it with the mayor’s finger-wagging indignation, his vegetarian conscience sermonizing that parsnips have emotions, lectures on how Al Gore should be canonized and that Santa’s home is melting. Amelia Island could be the imminent target of a massive hurricane and Mayor Miller would use the impending disaster to deliver a tirade on global warming and I’m betting that soon we’ll hear from the muddled mayor on how global warming was behind the Orlando massacre. When one of Johnny’s absurd non-local causes is discovered to be a hoax or debunked he reacts like the old Saturday Night character Emily Litella with a quick “Never Mind!” and moves on to his next outrageous platform. Come on folks do we really want four more years of this slap stick act in the commission chambers? Candidates can save the $360 filing fee if they get enough names on a petition by July 5 or pay the $360 and file their qualifying paperwork between August 1-5. Contact City Clerk Carolyn Best’s office at 904/310-3115. Surely there are more Susan Stegers, Arlene Filkoffs and Ed Boners out there who represented the community with dignity and common sense and not like Johnny Miller with Chicken Little attention deficit disorder. But please hurry!


School Board Candidate Adkins Desperately & Lamely Lashes Out: I received a flyer in the mail recently titled “Who is Kathy Burns?” Apparently its purpose wasn’t to enlighten me but rather to lamely attempt to persuade me that Ms. Burns is something other than the most qualified candidate for Nassau County School Superintendent.

It failed miserably.

If this pathetic effort was sponsored by Ms. Burns’ opponent Janet Adkins she should be ashamed of herself as its contents are then reflective of the kind of person Ms. Adkins is. If it was put out by a political action Committee (PAC) then they should look for another line of work as not even the most ardent Adkins supporter would consider this nonsense credible.

This classless piece of twaddle failed in its boarding house reach as it attempted to criticize Ms. Burns exceptional education background.

It also didn’t come from anyone in Nassau County, but, like the majority of Janet Adkins’ political contributions, from outside of the county. This one originated from something called The Liberty Leadership Fund in Tallahassee, the city where Kathy Burns’ opponent Janet Adkins has spent most of her political career.

The more a frantic Ms. Adkins attempts to frail away in her vain attempts to attack Ms. Burns, the more her futile efforts backfire on the hapless professional politico who has absolutely no educational credentials and is totally unqualified to serve as Nassau County School Superintendent, never having worked in any capacity in any school anywhere. She won’t even meet with the organizations that represent teachers to discuss her platform.

And then there’s the sad, mysterious and awkward Libertarian candidate. In addition to being as completely unqualified for the position as Ms. Adkins, the third candidate in the race, Libertarian Cheryl James, is one of two things: 1- Totally delusional, as she has no chance of winning anything except most pathetic candidate award or 2- a shill for Ms. Adkins to keep Democratic and other party members from voting in the GOP closed primary due to Florida law. If Ms. James is using this race to generate name recognition for her real estate business, she may want to consult a public relations counsel as her bizarre efforts are surely having the opposite effect. She’s raised no money since her initial $900 used for filing. Something smells here.

So far Ms. Adkins has a lot of explaining to do. She has failed to explain the large sums of money her campaign has received from out of county, ranging as far away as Pennsylvania and California; address the teacher’s union; appear at an advertised public forum; and clarify her relationship with Ms. James. Apparently all she is capable of is aimlessly and pathetically lashing out at a dignified Ms. Burns. I’m almost beginning to feel sorry for this obviously desperate and feeble candidate.

However, I couldn’t sum it up better than Ms. Peggy Bulger in her following comment to reporter/analyst Suanne Thamm’s June 21 Fernandina Observer “Continuing to follow the money…” online commentary detailing the fund raising in this race:

“The money trail is disturbing, but not surprising. Janet Adkins is a career politician who has run up against term limits for her House seat . . . . so she apparently thinks that this political skill set will be an asset for the position of Superintendent of Nassau County Schools. NOT. The most disturbing contributions to her campaign are from the charter schools corporations based in south Florida. Just wondering what kind of pay-back they expect if she is elected!

Nassau County has one of the best school systems in the state, due to the talent and hard work of the past administration. Our retiring Superintendent endorsed Kathy Burns as someone with is infinitely qualified and has a proven successful track record in our county schools . . . our students deserve to continue with a professional educator in the Superintendent’s seat.”


Speaking Of Elections: It may not be Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton that are the key figures in the upcoming presidential election, but their vice presidential selections instead due to the ages of the two candidates. If Trump wins he’ll be 70 years and six months old on Inauguration Day, older than any other president. And Clinton would take office at the age of 69 and two months, older than any other president other than Ronald Reagan. Only a couple of vice presidents who have succeed to the Presidency following the death of a President have been what the history books would call “exceptional” and those two in my opinion are Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman. The others were mediocre or worse including John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, Calvin Coolidge, and Lyndon Johnson. The office takes a toll on office holders whether they do anything of value or not as illustrated by the graying Barack Obama, who has done absolutely squat in almost eight years, except denigrate the country he was supposed to lead.

  • Comment (10)
  • Thank you for the support of Dr Kathy Burns. She has a passion for education and is , by far, the most qualified.

  • Zell Miller, politician and from a lifelong family of educators, realized the importance of trying to take politics out of education. It’s been 24 years (1992), a quarter of a century, when the last school superintendents were elected in Georgia. “Give ’em Hell” Zell, was affectionately known as “the education governor.” Nassau Co. is a “Top 10″ Florida school system. Basically, we only have two choices while systems across the border north will have dozens of highly qualified applicants and from all over the country. That is not a bad thing. This is not a criticism of the two lead candidates here but that of a system/state where only residents, qualified or not, are allowed to turn politicians first, educators second. I ask…”Should a major cooperation/business (Remember…our school system is a multi-million dollar business) be restricted to hire it’s CEO only if he/she were a county resident?”
    Think about that…

  • I read your blog Dave and enjoyed it as usual. But I do want you to know parsnips do have emotions.

  • Good issue, Dave. I do take exception to the kudos for Steger, Filcoff and Boner. All three supported the anti progress impact fees which resulted in about $4 million in refunds and legal expenses. After the refunds Boner actually presided over reinstating the fees that the courts twice found to be unlawful. So I don’t see the “dignity” and “common sense” there. “Arrogant” is what comes to mind.

  • Now, tell me again, what is it you like about Amelia Island. Sounds like Stalag 17!

  • Dave…. this is good stuff. I am shocked to see that I agree with you on som much…. craaazee !!
    How about a piece on the Port Authority race? TWO seats are up for grabs, and both Sturgess and Dubberly support HOME RULE for our towns all across the county!
    The awfully divisive activity we received at the hands of the Port Authority commissioners, and their lawyer over the past 2 years can be a thing of the past, and not re-hashed again, when these 2 outstanding non-professional-politicians are elected.
    Callahan and HIlliard voters need to be aware of the risk they could face if Home Rule is not implemented by the Port Authority.

  • Why don’t you run against Johnny Miller? As Teddy Roosevelt would say: get in the arena yourself. Running for office is not for the faint-hearted. I once ran for elected office and lost but I’m glad I tried. Stop begging others to run, Dave, and do it yourself.

  • Dave , I’m glad that you’re weighing in again on the Superintendent of Schools race. In my opinion, this is the most important local seat up for grabs. Dr. Kathy Burns is working hard walking neighborhoods, holding meet and greets in dozens of homes across the county, answering the tough questions, and not resorting to negative campaign tactics. Her opponent is fixated on using the same old playbook that has worked for her in the past. This time she has a formidable opponent and the electorate is not buying the false narrative her and her husband spin against Dr. Burns. I encourage every voter to do their research and it will be obvious that the most qualified candidate is Dr. Kathy Burns.


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