Handbag Carry: Just Stop Doing It. Now.

As fans of the female shape (on females, of course; don’t look for us to go the way of Bruce Jenner anytime before the Sun goes nova) we’re sympathetic with women’s complaints about fit and comfort problems with conventional designed-for-dudes holsters.

But we’re not so sympathetic that we’re about to sanction handbag carry. It’s a great way for a carrier to get separated from her firearm, which is bad enough. But even worse, this can happen:

Elizabeth Green’s 3-year-old son, Marques, died at a hospital June 11 shortly after the shooting woman in Hamilton, about 30 miles north of Cincinnati. The mother told an emergency dispatcher amid screams that he apparently took her handgun out of her purse.

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said a grand jury heard evidence in the case before deciding not to charge Green.

“The sheer enormity and permanency of this loss to the mother far exceeds the power of the state to punish the mother for her inattention under circumstances that should have been obvious to her,” Gmoser said in a statement.

At least Mr Gmoser managed to bring the investigation and grand jury to a close pretty quickly — it’s not unusual to see a case like this drag on for years, hanging like the Sword of Damocles over a person who’s already shocked, bereaved, and feeling incredible guilt.

On a word-nerd aside, it’s nice to see someone using the word enormity in its traditional sense; not just “really big” but “really horrible.” But it’s beyond awful that something like this ever had to happen.

In most cases where a kid whacks himself, or a playmate, with mommy or daddy’s gun, the state piling on doesn’t really serve an articulable public purpose, unless you’re the sort of state’s attorney who believes that your self-aggrandizement is the highest of public purposes.

The investigation was necessary to determine the circumstances surrounding the boy’s death and any criminal conduct that may have been involved, Gmoser’s statement said. He said the investigation confirmed the boy died accidentally from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest and the mother failed to secure the firearm from her purse, where it was kept for her self-protection and found by the child.

via No charges for mother whose 3-year-old killed self – CBS News.

We’re not lawyers, but we’d guess that there’s a lot of jurisdictional variance here, and a lot of shaded area between the white of simple negligence and the black of criminal culpability. Reasonable people can disagree about whether to prosecute the gun owners in cases like this.

It’s unlikely anyone will disagree that this was a terrible tragedy, of the sort that should be avoided.

Yes, it’s hard to make a service pistol, a female form, and womens’ fashions fit together. And handbag carry is a temptation that just sits there smiling at you. When it reaches out to you, remember that the same convenience seduced Elizabeth Green. It’s impossible to imagine what effect this one single error — that she may not have known was an error, even though she’d had training — and the resulting tragedy has had on her now, and will have on her for life.

Don’t make it possible for a story like this to be about you. 

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Lose Super Bowls

quevedo mugshotYes, this creep really killed a guy over the 49ers losing the Super Bowl.

Defense attorney Antonio Alvarez was, in the way of the old attorneys’ joke, reduced to pounding on the table. Still, he came up with one of the more promising defense gambits since the “twinkie defense” and the evergreen, “perhaps he killed his parents, but have some sympathy for an orphan!”

Alvarez’s approach: “If my client’s victim hadn’t been a Jehovah’s Witness and refused a transfusion, he’d have survived my client shooting him.”

Yeah, the jury didn’t buy it. Props to Alvarez for doing the utmost with the crappy hand his client dealt him. His client, by the way, is the tatted-up scrote, one David Quevedo, seen to the left. And… as you might guess from his prison-defaced mug, this was not his first rodeo. So for David Quevedo, a convicted felon, guns were already outlawed. The Fresno (CA) Bee:

The shooting attracted instant notoriety when authorities said Quevedo, a San Francisco 49ers fan, went on a rampage after his team lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl. It gained more notoriety during the trial, when Quevedo’s lawyer claimed Silva could have lived, but his Jehovah’s Witness religious beliefs stopped him from getting a blood transfusion.

Omar Silva died during surgery after he refused a blood transfusion, defense attorney Antonio Alvarez told the jury.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe it is against God’s will to have a blood transfusion.

In the trial, both sides agreed that Quevedo shot Silva, the father of four children.

Prosecutor Gabriel Brickey, however, told the jury that pathologist Dr. Michael Chambliss’ expert opinion was that even if Silva had received the transfusion, he would have died anyway because one bullet hit his inferior vena cava, a major vein. In asking for a first-degree murder conviction, Brickey said Silva was an innocent victim of gang violence and that Quevedo deliberately shot Silva after getting into a fight with Silva’s brother. After the shooting, Silva’s daughter picked Quevedo out of a police photo lineup, Brickey said.

In defending Quevedo, Alvarez said his medical expert, Dr. David Posey, believed Silva had a 90% chance of survival if he had had the blood transfusion. But Alvarez’s argument fizzled when Posey said on cross examination that a substantial factor in Silva’s death was the gunshot wounds.

No $#!+, Sherlock Holmes. Did the defender really think no one was going to ask, “Uh, why did poor Mr Silva need a transfusion? Was it because the client who hired you shot the living Jesus out of him, perhaps?”

Court records say Quevedo has been to prison before — in 2007 for felony battery of a custodial officer and in 2011 for taking someone’s property. He was on supervised release when he was arrested after the Silva shooting.

via Fresno man who killed in post-Super Bowl rampage gets life in prison | Fresno Bee Fresno Bee.

Note that for him to commit felony battery of a custodial officer in ’07, he had to be locked up in the first place. What that was for is untold in the story.

As a convicted felon, Quevedo was already a prohibited person. As a parolee, he was already a prohibited person. As a gang member, he was already a prohibited person. Good thing the law forbade him to have a gun!

Maybe they ought to have a law that forbids him to kill people with it… oh, snap! That’s the one he was convicted on.

He really doesn’t seem to have much to do with the law, does he?

Quevedo was a “made guy” in the pathetic street crime gang, the Bond Street Bulldogs. That’s why he has the “B” tattooed on his face — it’s not because he was a fan of the Red Sox as well as the 49ers.

The paper gives a pull quote that suggests just how many of the gunslingers in the California city where this crime eventuated Just Might Be Prohibited™:

There are about 20,000 gang members in Fresno. They account for about 75% of the shootings in Fresno.

(Fresno, naturally) Police Chief Jerry Dyer

If Quevedo is typical, they’re better shots than the average cop, too:

About 9:30 p.m., Omar Silva was with his wife and children when Quevedo knocked on the front door and asked to see Arnold Silva. Silva’s daughter answered the door and said her uncle was not home. Omar Silva, who had just gotten out of the shower, then approached the front door, wearing only a towel around his waist. Quevedo fired eight rounds toward Silva, Brickey said. Three shots hit Silva in the chest and one hit him in the back, the prosecutor said.

Four out of eight… that’s Distinguished Marksman, by cop standards. The shot that killed Silva hit the inferior vena cava, the major vein bringing deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart; an IVC penetration is normally a mortal wound; the patient can’t be stabilized, exsanguinates, and crashes within seconds to minutes (depending on the size of the wound).

The depressing fact pattern is that, when guns are outlawed, as many guns are in the state where this crime took place, guys like Quevedo never fail to get guns. And when they kill, injure and rob with them — because that’s what they do — the same geniuses who wrote the laws that like totally like completely prevented this unpossible crime will find some new legal restriction to lay on the people who are not committing any of these crimes, the state’s legal gun owners.

Exit question: is the California Department of Corrections going to put him in lockdown on Super Bowl Sunday? Just a precaution, you know.

Received from USASOC

New_USASOC__DUIThe moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on:

Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland will relinquish command of U.S. Army Special Operations Command to Lt. Gen. Kenneth E. Tovo during a traditional Army ceremony at Fort Bragg on July 1, 2015.

Cleveland has commanded USASOC since July 2012. Tovo has been serving as the Military Deputy Commander, U.S. Southern Command, Miami, Fla.

The traditional Army ceremony will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Meadows Field, at the USASOC headquarters.

USASOC is the Army component of the joint U.S. Special Operations Command and is among the most diverse organizations in the U.S. military, bringing a broad range of competencies and disciplines to support geographic combatant commanders and ambassadors worldwide.

LTG Cleveland presided over a reorientation of several Army special operations forces on long-neglected core competencies, notably UW/GW for Special Forces, which was his primary SOF background.

Kyle Defoor Learns About Big Army Maintenance

…O,r lack of the same. A class for a large Army unit came completely unglued as weapon after weapon failed. Charging handles broke. Dust covers went flying off. Locking lugs sheared. A furious Defoor, noting that the guns were Colts, posted a nastygram on his Facebook page with a photo of some of the parts:

failed parts from defoor post

These were supposedly new guns, but look at the condition of these parts. They’re not milspec parts after two days of shooting. The dust cover pins don’t appear to be grooved for the c-clip, which explains the absence of c-clips and the parts being off the firearm.

As it happens, Defoor learned more about the unit’s situation, and soon changed the title of his post to: Military and unit level maintenance issues with Colts produce serious issues in less than two days of shooting.

Soon, he posted a followup, explaining what he meant.

Update- After three broken locking lugs….(not kidding)

I made a mistake and posted too soon. My apologies.

Found that new bolts and c handles from new “headquarter” guns were interchanged with deployed guns or sent forward as spares and replaced with either used or non Colt parts. There is no rhyme or reason to the how or why and no one who can say who did what exactly. It’s a zoo and has turned training into a damn armory class.

My spot checking wasn’t good enough due to the large number of guns online, it provided a false feedback because I saw Colt bolt markings on the few I looked at. I should’ve checked them all along with c handles before the lugs broke. Big lesson learned but I could’ve never came up with this scenario if I tried.

Obviously we are steering them in the right direction but money seems to be the big issue here.

I changed the title of this post to reflect our findings and again shouldn’t have posted so quickly and apologize.

In other words, the bolts that failed were non-Colt bolts of unknown provenance that were swapped into some old guns after the bolts from the old guns were cannibalized to support a unit in the field.

It’s generally not good practice to replace new for worn bolts (or simply swap worn bolts from gun to gun) in AR rifles, unless you also replace the barrel extension. This is for the same reason it’s not good to replace a worn camshaft in an internal-combustion engine without also replacing the valve lifters or cam followers — otherwise the worn lifters will quickly reshape the cam.

The AR design can actually tolerate a lot of that, but not an indefinite amount.

The problem of no-name parts is a different, and larger one. Defoor continued:

They can’t within any reasonable degree tell the use of the parts that failed due to poor records and high turnover with personnel. Also there are no big mil tests for bolts or charging handles beyond “looks good” as I found out today. Very surprising.

Not that surprising. Military parts records are hamstrung by the one-size-misfits-all computer systems used for military inventories. (They still use thick printouts, impact-printed on green-and-white-striped paper — remember that?) It’s hardly a shock that a system designed to keep track of the wool socks in the warehouse in Shemya, and getting pallets of dry cargo from the Liberty Ship to the Red Ball Express, chokes on trying to trace the provenance of parts. (The Army’s aviation supply system can sort of do this, for obvious reasons; but they’re still decades behind the industry).

Some long-ETS’d or retired supply sergeant probably dealt with a bunch of yelling about deadlined rifles, especially in a headquarters company that hardly ever shoots, by shipping good parts to fix bad rifles downrange, and then, rather than wait for the bad parts to come back from the deployment, turn them in, and wait months for reissue, or simply turn the unserviceable weapons in for higher-echelon maintenance, simply went online and bought some generic AR parts and swapped them in. That’s our take on this; somebody bent the rules in classic SF “if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin'” style and the unit got bitten in the gluteus maximus because he didn’t know what he didn’t know.

See, parts is parts, right? No, wrong. Even though the military does a crap job of keeping track of the parts once they’re accepted, they actually test each lot of spare parts (on a sample basis, of course) fairly thoroughly. Many commercial parts are never tested at all, not even one in ten thousand parts, not even for critical parts like bolts. So the first “test” a charging handle, or dust-cover pin, or, God forbid, a bolt gets is when Joe unlimbers his service rifle at the range with live ammo.

There are some nondestructive ways to test some of these parts. For example, a properly forged charging handle is likely to weigh more than an el cheapo. Ditto for a bolt. The roll pin (a key point of failure) can be visually inspected. But these inspections are not in the manual, and in any event, the average Joe (the -10 level of maintenance, “operator” in a non-tactical sense) has no training on inspecting individual parts. Neither does his unit armorer (-20 level maintenance, “organizational”).

Some of the comments on Defoor’s Facebook page are very helpful. For instance:

Matt Murray
As a former member of TACOM SARET, I’ll weigh here. I’m not sure what unit this was, or what MACOM they fall under, but preset and rest missions by TACOM and direct support units have been lacking in both funding and personnel since the slowing of the ARFORGEN cycle in 2011. Soldiers at the 10 level are not trained or qualified to make repairs or diagnostics on the myriad of issues that come to light in TIs per 23&P TMs. When units can no longer get the level of quality reset maintenance after deployments, or preset maintenance before deployments, issues like this unfortunately manifest on the range rather than the 30 level shop. Furthermore, unit armorers are not trained to identify issues as expertly as a 91F or TACOM equipment specialist, and lead times at DS assets are horrendous at present due to budget cuts. So when training cycles begin, armorers and Supply NCOs are stuck issuing weapons that haven’t been properly inspected at the 30 level for years in some cases. In any case, this ain’t Joe’s fault.

Stripped of the Army acronymese, Murray is saying the units are not getting the opportunity to have their weapons inspected pre- and post-deployment by expert direct-support or depot armorers and gunsmiths. So problems turn up in the range, when they would have been caught by a proper TI (technical inspection) at the -30 (direct support maintenance) level.

Which is frustrating to a unit that’s used some of its discretionary funds to bring in Kyle Defoor to train hundreds or at least dozens of soldiers (how does that even work?), and frustrating, obviously, to Defoor and his assistants.

How do you avoid this kind of problem with your firearm? Learn to inspect guns and parts, but also, be extremely judicious in your choice of parts.

Sunday Soaking

Rainsplash Drop from Vanderbilt.edu.

Rainsplash Drop from Vanderbilt.edu. Seems appropriate. 

The rain started at about eleven last night as we checked the perimeter and closed a forgotten garage door (to the stall full of airplane parts). Since then, it’s fallen steadily for most of that time, although there have been a couple of embedded downpours. It’s in the fifties (F, of course)  although the forecast hints that we might see 61ºF around noon for a bit.

Yesterday the plan was to spend it at EAA 106’s annual Experimental Fly-In. It used to be the Canard and RV fly in, but now they’ve changed the name, because people thought they were only welcome to fly in and show off canard and RV’s. There were some of each of those present, still (lots of RVs, actually), but there were also others: a Corvair-powered Zenith 601, a Lancair 4P, a GlaStar. A lot of the attendees were building and/or flying something.

We had to leave early, but did get a fascinating rundown on the Lancair 4P, an example of the way that the experimental world builds niche aircraft that the FAA would not allow a manufacturer to sell. The Lancair’s niche is speed. It goes 270 knots in 75% cruise in the lower flight levels; door to door, this ship (based in Lawrence) can beat the misery of an airline cattle call to Florida by hours, by starting from closer to home, landing closer to home, routing around the damage to the body politic that is the TSA’s corps of perverted payroll patriots, and never losing your bag. For the airline to beat you, door-to-door, you’d have to be taking a transcontinental flight where the airline’s faster speed aloft can overcome its slow and inconvenient ground phases (and where the range forces the Lancair to come down to Earth for fuel). Still, it is a time machine, personal teleportation. The price of mastery of that domain? The challenge of operating what an Italian might call a macchina nervosa. The Lancair is slick and sensitive in pitch. Its controls are badly harmonized; twitchy in pitch, it’s trucklike in roll. Its low-speed handling is weak and treacherous; speed is life, and you need to keep the angle of attack indicator in the yellow, or preferably green. Red is literally death. It is safe to fly if you are aware of were the monsters lurk and if you don’t go there. Modern electronics, which include features that are also more advanced that the FAA lets manufactures install in type-certified aircraft, make it possible to fly such a machine as quasi-practical personal transportation. But it’s not a machine you fly for fun; you fly it to go places where fun is waiting for you.

The Blognephew, a unique spirit whose pursuits of enlightenment are often foot wide and ocean deep, has previously been entirely indifferent to aviation. He sat for much of the show, a study in grumpy vexation, absorbed in a Rick Riordan book. Until, that is, he learned he might get a flight in a Real Airplane. In the end, he did. Whether this means he will find something in the physical world as attractive to him as young-adult fantasy novels and the various entertainment offerings of various glowing rectangles remains to be seen, but the horse has been led to the water. (Thanks, Bob Di Meo, you’re a star, and so is your RV-8).

So, today, and this week, while rain slows progress of some home repairs and upgrades, we’ll be messing about with machinery (3D printing, if we’re successful) and catching up on the two posts still owed from yesterday — a movie review (in keeping with the aviation spirit, 2012’s Red Tails) and a TW3.

We also may be undertaking a road trip to the Mothership in Fayetteville this week. That’s still up in the air. It should not impinge overly on blog action.

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 26

That was the week that was TW3Another week is at an end, actually a little past its end as we’re posting this about 24 hours late and backdating it.

Hey, we can do that. We have the magical powers of the admin login.

It’s been an interesting week around here, as usual, and we hope to keep it interesting as we go forward.

We’re still not certain on a road trip this week. If so, we’ll see our Fayetteville crowd, eh?

The Boring Statistics

This week was an average week. We posted 27 posts with some 302 comments by press time for this post, and a total of about 15,000 words. Our greatest milestone this week has to be statistically based: we passed one million unique users on the blog. We expect to pass 2,000,000 before year’s end, which is just amazing and humbling. We had expected to be at two million hits by this point, but our hits are over 4.6 million for 2015 — so far. Thank you all for reading!

Comment of the Week

We’re going to recommend the comment thread to one of our training posts (of which we have promised more). In Mind Over Matter, we suggested that if you had to choose one or the other, mindset, Napoleon’s “the moral,” is so vital that we’d choose training over hardware. This was a controversial idea! And both sides were aired in the comments.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

Going Forward

Tomorrow morning, a top tactical trainer tries training a conventional Army unit, and guns are going tango uniform left and right. The reason just might surprise you. (It sure surprised him).

Saturday Matinee 2015 26: Red Tails (2012)

Red Tails opens with a morality play of sorts, set in the sky over Europe in 1943. A few German fighters draw off the P-51 escorts from a bomber raid, and the main German force, led by a lean, hungry fellow in a plane with a yellow nose, falls on the olive-drab B-17s. “Show no mercy!” the German leader intones melodramatically, and the Bf109s don’t, shredding the column. “Where are our escorts?” the helpless bomber crews cry as they die in droves.

red_tails_action

Obviously, they need something better.

That something better comes along as the Red Tails, the 332nd Fighter Group, a segregated unit with black pilots and ground personnel. They prove their worth with obsolete P-40s, then get the real star of the movie, the P-51D Mustang.

red_tails_p-51s

Ultimately they overcome Nazis and racism, but mostly racism, to be the Best Fighter Unit Ever. Music up, roll titles.

This is not the first movie telling the story — or part of the story — of the Tuskegee Airmen, or, at least, the 332nd Fighter Group (there were also Tuskegee B-25 medium bomber units, but they didn’t go overseas). The first movie was in 1945 and was narrated by some B-movie actor named Ronald. The best is probably the 1995 The Tuskegee Airmen, but it can’t hold a candle to the budget, dramatic fighting scenes and enormously improved CGI of Red Tails. It just tells the story better and less crudely.

Acting and Production

The actors are generally very good — a lot better than the script, anyway. They do their best to sell characters who are, unfortunately, just black versions of the Standard Hollywood Combat Squad. The Doomed Religious Guy, the Guy Who Falls In Love With a War Bride, the Guy Who’s Too Insubordinate For His Own Good, The Guy Whose Fear Drives Him To Drink — all, Now Available in Black! It’s not the actors’ fault. They have a piss-poor, not to mention stone-cold-dead, script to bring to life, and they’re just good actors, not Dr. von Frankenstein.

All he was missing was the Rebel flag.

All he was missing was the Rebel flag.

Bryan Cranston’s substantial talents are wasted in a cartoon-villain role as the White Man who’s Keepin’ The Brotherman Down. In general, white Americans are the real enemy and the Germans are just business.

The script probably has its moments, although we can’t remember any. What we remember are over-the-top action scenes and moribund dialogue.

One rather interesting choice the producers made was to have the Germans speak German — without subtitles. This risk works; there’s no problem for a non-German-speaker understanding the gist of their communication, and it adds to the sense that you are on one side, not the other, in this war.

The action sequences are visually and audibly exciting, as long as they keep the music down. But even those scenes break the suspension of disbelief when, in an early combat with Me109s, the green 332nd pilots tearing into a phalanx of the Luftwaffe’s elite, somehow drugged into suicidal zombie mooks by an overdose of Scriptium. It’s hard to be excited by something that has telegraphed that there will be no subtlety or surprise. The producer, Steven Spielberg of all people, apparently has lost faith in his audiences and believes they must be conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs. We hope that he is wrong.

We often mention the score when it displays conspicuous merit, or adds something to the film. In this case, let’s not.

Finally, at about two hours, the movie is somewhere between a half hour and two hours too long.

Accuracy and Weapons

In the 1950s and 1960s, little effort was taken to depict the weapons and war machines accurately or even realistically, in detail. Instead producers concentrated on characters and script. Today, the production values are reversed, with detail minutiae often nailed down painstakingly while the characters are shallow and wooden, and the dialog a pastiche of some other movies’ tropes and clichés.

Because the good guys are the good guys, they’re nearly immune to enemy fire. As mentioned above, on their first encounter with seasoned German fighter pilots, they shoot down a half-dozen without serious loss to themselves, despite flying an obsolete and outclassed airplane at the time (P-40E or F).

The actions of the characters are often ridiculous. At one point, after noting that they’re just about out of fuel and would be violating orders to do it, several of the men follow a damaged (burning, actually) German back to his base, because, otherwise, who would know where that base was? Apparently, whatever they taught a fighter pilot in 1944 it did not include anything about the existence of air or air-order-of-battle intelligence.

Moreover, the story’s point that the way to defeat the Germans was to stick close to the bombers, regardless, flies in the face of all that was known in 1944 about fighter escort tactics.

The CGI is in places brilliant, and in a few places crude.

It’s 2014, and bad guys still wear the equivalent of black hats. So that you know that the one German bad guy is really a bad guy, almost as bad as the white American officers, he has a specially painted plane. In fact, his Me109G bears the black-green/dark-green camouflage of the Bf109E of the Battle of Britain period, with a yellow nose lifted from the “Abbeville boys” or Eastern Front practice.

red_tails_yellow_nose_109

That’s not all. There’s also a broad yellow stripe on the tail because the producers assume you’re a purblind idiot who didn’t see the enormous yellow schnoz on this thing.

red_tails_me109

The CGI made us wonder if the movie industry is picking up some technology from the more-advanced game industry. Unfortunately, they’re still getting their scripts from the less-advanced comic-book industry.

The bottom line

Red Tails is not really bad. As we said, the actors put their heart into it, and the CGI, sets, props, and costumes were done with care. The photography is sometimes beautiful. But the story is weak as water, and given that they started with a great story of World War II that is proven to put heinies in theater seats, what they did here is just disappointing. So we recommend the ’95 one with Laurence Fishburne, despite the ’12 one’s good performance by Cuba Gooding Jr.

For more information

These sites relate to this particular film.

  • Amazon.com DVD page:

http://www.amazon.com/Red-Tails-Cuba-Gooding-Jr/dp/B005LAIGN2/

  • IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485985/

  • IMFDB page (there are some great screen shots and comments here. The flare gun used to launch the fighters is a German one — we missed that):

http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Red_Tails

  • Rotten Tomatoes review page:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/red-tails/

  • Wikipedia  page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Tails

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have 1970s Meat

propaganda-poster-communist-chinaIn China, where guns really are outlawed, and where fraud is the national pastime1, the New York Times’s Dan Levine and Crystal Tse note a national fraud scandal that has legs… and wings, and ribs, and briskets. Really old ones. Levine & Tse (alternative Google search if you’re paywalled out):

From rat meat masquerading as lamb to tainted milk to exploding watermelons, Chinese consumers have become inured to stomach-churning food scandals. But on Tuesday, countless people were forced to ponder the benefits of vegetarianism after news reports emerged that unscrupulous meat traders had been peddling tons of beef, pork and chicken wings that in some cases had been frozen for 40 years.

The Chinese news media announced that the authorities had seized nearly half a billion dollars’ worth of smuggled frozen meat this month across China, some of it dating to the 1970s. The caches of beef, pork and chicken wings, worth up to 3 billion renminbi, or $483 million, were discovered in a nationwide crackdown that spanned 14 provinces and regions, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

Well, at least it wasn’t dog. In this case2.

The article delivers punch after punch, interspersed with punchline after punchline, some of them very sly (emphasis ours):

[T]he news of 40-year-old frozen meat being sold to consumers has left even the most seasoned experts in shock.

As annoying as the Times is 99% of the time, this is the 1% that shows they have talented people who could do actual journalism, if only it was a newsroom value. Do go Read The Whole Thing™.

It’s a pity the Chinese didn’t get along better with the Japanese, because they could stand to learn a lot about just-in-time logistics and lean inventory. If your meat supply is backed up a couple of generations (of people, not chickens!), you’re doing it wrong.

Notes

  1. There’s an old SF saying which has to be an old Chinese proverb: “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’. If you get caught, you’re tryin’ too hard.” Of course, in China, if you get caught in a big fraud case, you have a date with a 7.62 x 39 to the back of the neck, not a stint in Club Fed made easy by your millions. Advantage, China.
  2. When someone offers you a “chow puppy,” note that that is a very different thing than a Chow puppy!

We had a post for this time…

Hey, it worked for the Carthaginians.

Hey, it worked for the Carthaginians.

…based on our reaction to the sanguinary sacraments of Mohammedanism that were acted out joyfully in France, Kuwait, Somalia and Tunisia yesterday.

We have decided to hold it for twenty-four hours’ cooling-off.

For those of you seeking amusement, look up the statements of a State Department spokesman, who continues in that positions Harf-wit tradition by being utterly befuddled as to what might have motivated all that mischief, occurring as it did on the holy day of the week, in the holy month of the year, as perceived by a certain religious tradition that is quite foreign to American and Western traditions and values.

May it go the way of its closest cousin, the adoration of Baal as practiced by people of the empire of Carthage, whose erasure from the timeline of history was one of the great gifts bestowed on modernity by the ancients.

If they keep trying they’re going to make us angry. They’re not going to like it.

The Best is the Enemy of the Good, and the Bren X

The Bren X or Bren 10 was a Jeff Cooper brainstorm at the peak of the old Colonel’s celebrity (and his powers). It was based on what Cooper considered the best designed and executed service pistol of the era, but updated for a new round he considered perfect (instead of the stock 9mm, which he disdained). The gun was made with care in a US factory, of the materials Cooper insisted on (Steel and Stainless Steel, none of those lightweight alloys).

It received fawning reviews in every corner of the gun press, except where the reviews crossed the line from “fawning” into “slobbering.” And commercially? It failed. Royally. Resoundingly. Resonatingly. It failed like the Edsel, New Coke, and John Carter. Actually, it failed worse than those: Ford, Coca-Cola, and Disney are still with us, but the Bren Ten killed Dornaus & Dixon, the company that cut the metal to make real Cooper’s conceptual design.

But unlike the Edsel, New Coke and John Carter, the Bren Ten didn’t suck. Now that it’s no longer the cutting-edgiest thing out there, but a period piece, here’s Larry A. Vickers giving the rundown on the gun’s development, versions, and strengths — and weaknesses.

And yeah, there are still Bren 10s around (or Bren Xs to spell it as D&D did) with no magazine! (Mec-Gar or a forerunner made the mags… but somebody botched the Italian export paperwork and for all we know they’re still in a bonded warehouse somewhere in Lombardy).

But the gun didn’t die because it was bad. If anything, too many sincere guys worked too hard to make it the Absolute Best at Everything that they forgot that logistics count even for the individual gun buyer. He has to find ammo, holsters, and yeah, spare magazines. Or his firearm is not a defensive tool but an awkward and oily paperweight.

A lot of things have changed since 1983. (For one thing, more effective defensive ammo has rendered the “puny” 9mm respectable again). As Larry points out, modern polymer, striker-fired guns have diminished the wonder of an SA/DA gun that can be carried cocked-and-locked (Condition One for you old Cooperites). We still like our CZ — the model for the Bren Ten — but we’re no longer riding the crest of the Cool Guy wave. (We’re old, and stout… hey… like Larry). It’s a fact that the hot gun of today becomes the museum piece of tomorrow and the forgotten weapon of the year after that.

But if you’re going to call yourself educated, you owe it to yourself to learn about all those has-been hot guns, as well as today’s hot numbers. Maybe the Bren Ten is only playing on the gun equivalent of oldies stations, but it still has a catchy hook.