Author Archives: Hognose

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

Springfield Rifles: What’s the Difference?

The US model 1903 Springfield rifle was made in five major versions. New entrents to collecting American martial arms sometimes struggle to tell these very similar rifles apart, but actually it’s pretty easy. Here’s a Springfield cheat sheet to take with you to the fun show:

From GlobalSecurity.org. Note that the stock on the A3 is more commonly like the one shown on the A1.

From GlobalSecurity.org. Note that the stock on the A3 is more commonly like the one shown on the A1.

 

  • The US Rifle Model 1903 was originally made for the M1 Cal. .30-03 cartridge, and service rifles were rechambered to the improved .30-06. There were metallurgical problems with early serial number receivers and bolts, and firearms under number 800,000 from Springfield Armory and 286,596 from Rock Island Arsenal should not be fired, because those are the numbers beyond which improved heat treating methods are known to have resolved this problem. (The bolts aren’t numbered, but any bolt that has a handle “swept back” rather than bent at 90º to the bolt axis is good to go).
    This is the business end of an early (pre-1905) rod bayonet Springfield.

    This is the business end of an early (pre-1905) rod bayonet Springfield.

    A few very early models had rod bayonets, and these were mostly converted to Model 1905 16″ knife bayonets after 1905 (at the insistence, we’ve noted, of Theodore Roosevelt) so they’re extremely rare. The rear sight was a ladder sight that went through several iterations, mounted forward of the front receiver ring. It could be used as an open tangent sight or raised and elevated for volley fire to ranges of almost 3,000 yards. A variant of the 03 called the US Rifle M1903 Mark I was adapted for use with the Pedersen device. Most of these were made in 1918-1919 and they wound up issued as ordinary 1903s. They are not especially rare, but make good conversation pieces. Another rare variant (illustrated) used the Warner & Swasey telescope commonly fitted to the Benet-Mercié “automatic rifle” — it had a terrible time holding zero, but that’s what American snipers had Over There.

The rifle lasted decades more, but the sight didn't.

The rifle lasted decades more, but the sight didn’t.

  • US Rifle Model 1903A1 is identical to the 1903, except for the stock, which has a pistol grip.
  • US Rifle Model 1903A2 is another extreme rarity: a Springfield altered to be a subcaliber device for conducting direct-fire training on various artillery weapons on small arms ranges. The stock, handguards, sights were removed and the gun could be fitted into a 37 mm sleeve for use in a 37mm gun, or the 37mm adapter could in turn be fitted in a larger-caliber adapter for 75mm, 105mm or 8 inch (203mm) artillery. They were generally made from 1903s and will have the “A2″ notation hand stamped after the 1903 on the receiver ring. A brass bushing on the muzzle, just under an inch (0.994″) in diameter, adapted the bare barreled action to the adapter. A few have the A2 electro-penciled in place, it would take a Springfield expert to tell you if that’s authentic (the example Brophy shows is stamped). Most of the A2s were converted back into ordinary rifles, surplused, or scrapped at the end of the war as the Army had abandoned subcaliber artillery training.

M1903A2_Ord18292

  • US Rifle Model 1903A3 is a wartime, cost-reduced version of the 1903A1. Remington had been tooling up to make the 1903, not for the US, but in .303 for the British. WIth American reentry into the war, Remington converted back to making a simplified 1903. The A3 reverts to the straight (no pistol grip) stock, uses a stamped trigger guard, and has a ramp-mounted peep sight like the one on the M1 Carbine. This sight is simpler than the Rube Goldberg arrangement on the 1903, and actually has greater accuracy potential thanks to around 7″ greater sight radius. It is the version most commonly found on the market, and was carried by soldiers in the first months of the Pacific War, and by Marines for longer. Until a working grenade launcher was developed for the M1 and issued in late 1943, an Army rifle squad armed with M1s still had one or two grenadiers armed with M1903A3s and grenade launchers. By D-Day, most combat units had the M1 launchers. Remington (and Smith-Corona) produced 1903A3s from 1941 to February, 1944.

M1903A3 sight

  • US Rifle Model 1903A4 is a 1903A3 fitted with a Weaver 330C or Lyman Alaskan 2 ½ Power optical sight. The Weaver sight is 11 inches long and adds a half-pound to the weight of the rifle, bringing it to a still very manageable 9.7 pounds. The Lyman is a tenth of an inch shorter and a 0.2 pounds heavier (the Lyman was very rare in service compared to the Weaver). Both have an eye relief of about 3 to 5 inches. Very late in the war, the M1C came into service, but the 1903A4 was the Army’s primary sniper rifle throughout the war. Note that several vendors have made replicas of the M1903A4, some of which (like Gibbs Rifle Company’s) are clearly marked. All 1903A4s were made by Remington.

There you have it — the main variants of the Springfield Rifle in a short and digestible format.

Frame-up Fails: Walker Walks

Walker from his arrest mugshot.

Walker from his arrest mugshot. For him, the nightmare is over.

In Maryland, New Jersey detective Joseph Walker was attacked by a fat, angry thug named Joseph Harvey Jr. Harvey and his friend Adam Pidel charged Walker, despite being warned that Walker was a police officer and would shoot them. They continued, and Walker shot Harvey. Pidel then stopped, but Harvey resumed his charged (and Walker resumed shooting him, scoring two more hits). In all, Walker fired three shots and scored three boiler room hits. Harvey has gone to the place where he can no longer menace any motorists.

And the might of the State of Maryland landed hard on Walker. Police and politicians are hostile to out-of-state cops carrying in the gun-free zone (and murder hot spot) of Baltimore and elsewhere in Maryland. They can’t stop it, because a national law pre-empts them, but they can pull out all the stops to make an example of anyone who takes advantage of the Federal law to cull the native criminal class — as Walker did. And so an ambitious prosecutor mustered an at-all-costs attempt to imprison Walker on first degree murder charges, or anything else that might do the job. That attempt failed before noon today as the jury acquitted Walker on all charges.

Bringin' the hate: Anne Leitess, would-be frame artist.

Bringin’ the hate: Anne Leitess, would-be frame artist.

District Attorney Anne Colt Leitess, who led the attempt to frame Walker, was bitter and angry after the jury rejected her office’s entire case, including multiple fallback arguments and lesser-included offenses her underlings dangled before them to bait a conviction on something, anything. But the jury didn’t bite, and Joe Walker is headed home to his family, while Leitess’s client, Harvey, is still dead. You could argue that that’s the best outcome for society — in both cases.

Race was a factor in Harvey and Pidel’s attack on the Walker family (the two Maryland brutes are white, the Jersey cop and his family black) and seems to have been a factor in Leitess’s relentless pursuit of Walker: even after the trial, she condemned him: “I am concerned that Mr. Walker, as a law enforcement officer, is a very aggressive person,” she told the press in an angry interview, nostrils flaring and lips curling in a contemptuous sneer. She further accused him of “aggressive, threatening behavior” and “hiding behind his badge.” Unlike Harvey and Pidel, Leitess didn’t refer to the Walkers as “niggers,” at least, not in front of the cameras.

Note the message on Harvey's t-shirt. Nuff said.

Note the message on Harvey’s t-shirt. Nuff said.

For example, according to testimony as reported in the media, two bellowed statements from Harvey were, “What’s your fucking problem, nigger?” and, “I’ll fucking kill you, nigger!” The jury may have taken Harvey’s expressed intent into account when asked to judge Walker’s defense of self and family.

Leitess has declined to prosecute Pidel. 

 

A police defense nonprofit complained about Leitess’s and her underlings’ misconduct during the case. Of course, complaining is what nonprofits do, especially when they want to raise money. It’s unlikely that there will be any finding that Leitess’s conduct strayed outside the very broad bonds of what is normal prosecutorial discretion. It’s just tough luck for Joe Walker that he was the ham sandwich du jour.  The Capital Gazette:

[National Police Defense Foundation executive director Joseph] Occhipinti said that in order to get an indictment, [Assistant State's Attorney Michael] Dunty misrepresented what happened on the night of the shooting.

A prosecutor held responsible for misrepresentation? Occhipinti can ask, but it ain’t gonna happen.

The Baltimore-Washington media were about as angry as Harvey had been, with TV reporters (such as the one that autoplays after an obnoxious ad for the third-rate insurer Hartford, on the Baltimore Sun site) expressing shock and anger that Walker could “just shoot a guy.”(If it wasn’t for The Hartford, we’d include the video, because the guy’s mystified outrage needs to be heard to be believed).  Of course, TV reporters could scarcely be blamed for being ignorant about the case and about self-defense in general: they’re typical of the low-information news consumers who get their news in predigested, inaccurate chunks from their own stations. And the reporters didn’t use the n-word; you gotta give them that.

A CBS Local story is typical, retelling the story in tones that make Walker look like a guilty man who beat a solid rap:

It was June 8, 2013, when Walker, his wife and kids in their minivan were cut off by a car driven by Anne Arundel County native Joe Harvey and one of his friends. A racial slur-filled road rage episode followed for more than a mile. When it was over, Harvey lay dead on the side of the highway, shot three times.

After getting the date right, that’s pretty much the limit of accuracy in this post. Actually, Harvey flipped out because he thought Walker’s minivan cut him off — testimony in the court case agreed on that. The racial slurs all came from Harvey and Pidel (one of them also seems likely to have thrown a bottle at the van). And Harvey and Pidel attacked the Walkers after Walker stopped. “A road rage episode followed.” Subject, verb, but they don’t teach that in J-School these days.

Walker’s conduct is certainly subject to criticism, if for no other reason than that it put him at the mercy of an Ahab of a prosecutor and a Maryland jury — that’s not a position any rational man would reason himself into. In a road rage case, it’s better to let some guy blow off steam in his car and remove yourself from the scene than it is to confront him. And if you’re legally carrying a gun (with or without a badge), you should feel the weight of that firearm as a pull towards the side of restraint and moderation. Had things gone that way, Joe Walker would not have had the scare of his life and a months-long ordeal in the courts. Of course, improving the gene pool by whacking Harvey would have been left to someone else, but this is the classic case where it does not pay you to be the volunteer.

For the best coverage of the case (if spotty because of the lack of public streaming or transcripts) we recommend, as always in self-defense cases, Andrew Branca of the Law of Self-Defense book and blog. He covered this case at Legal Insurrection, where’s he’s part of a crack legal blog team.

UPDATE

This post has been corrected, to eliminate a bonehead error in the first line that made Walker a “Maryland” cop. He is a Jersey cop who came close to being a Maryland <i>con</I> but is now home with his family. Thanks to Joshua in the comments for the correction! -Eds.

Answer Untruthfully!

With increasing frequency, news sites are hiding their news stories behind an intrusive question. Most of them ask about consumer preferences or personal matters (such as political preferences). This is one of the mildest, which asks about whether you will be making a business decision about purchasing certain technology:

nsa_wants_to_know_you_better

 

Let’s leave apart, a minute, the fact that this is coming from the post-American, Constitution-hostile throne room of a corporation that holds itself above the law and even above the society. Let’s just talk about what it is and what it means to you. 

You may notice these questions tracking advertising you have previously clicked on across many sites, or you may see them coming from out of left field. If you have a normal level of healthy paranoia, the kind that recognizes that even paranoids have real enemies, you will soon be asking yourself some questions.

Some of the questions are a bit… intrusive, when you considered that your answers will be shared with everybody at Google, everyone who gives money to Google, and every agency in a government from which Google makes a life of seeking favors:

a_real_google-nsa_question

Again, this stuff goes into your personal file, and is used to target both advertisers and warrantless, persistent, pervasive government surveillance.

How to answer them? Who is behind them? Where does your answer go, and why? Who has access to your answers? Is it really a good thing to “answer truthfully,” as the shadowy organization behind the questions wants?

Answering truthfully is the worst mistake you can make.

The questions originate either from Google, or from the Mountain View company’s de facto managing partner, the National Security Agency. Google’s interest is to sell your profile to advertisers for more money. They say they safeguard your personal privacy in this, which they only do to the extent it’s needed for them not to lose control of the profile to their customersYour own interests are no factor in the equation. You are never respected, never represented, never consulted.

But that’s only half of it. Your answer is appended to your permanent profile across all the shadow realms of Google, and is available to all with access to Google, including, directly or directly, all United States government agencies, and an increasing number of foreign ones. In the USA, Google is credibly reported to provide direct access to its servers only to NSA. But that claim offers no reassurance, both because NSA does not respect your privacy (or even the laws it ostensibly works under), and because NSA provides unlimited and unsupervised access to other government agencies through so-called task forces and fusion centers, which permit any Federal, state or local agent pull your profile for any or no reason. (The agents are instructed to lie about their information sources on any resulting court documents, which is called by the euphemism “parallel construction”).

What’s more, the NSA connection to Google is not read-only. They can also alter data in your profile. How cool is that? (From their, and Google’s point of view, if not from yours).

Google’s real motto: “Don’t do evil… or we’ll make some money off of it.”

Once the source of the questions and destination of the answers is understood, only a madman would “Answer Truthfully!” even one of these questions.

So you have three options at this point:

  1. Do not answer the questions. In time, the data for the number of people who made it to the Google/NSA Privacy Invasion Questionnaire and backed out may encourage Google and advertisers to throw in the towel on this particular intrusion. In time, it may encourage newspaper managers to see that it is not in their best interest to drive away readers. However, that hinges on newspaper managers being alert enough to recognize their own interests, a proposition for which evidence is weak.
  2. Do answer the questions, but untruthfully. There are several approaches to this. Anything that can provide a hint of the right answer (such as, always choosing the most wrong answer) is probably a mistake. Google (and NSA, and Google’s other spy agency partners) will analyze your answers with very sophisticated algorithms. Choosing your answer consistently based on the position of the response (always first one, always last one, always middle, alternating first and last, etc.) is a superior choice because (1) it betrays nothing about you but your dislike for Google’s, NSA’s, and the newspaper’s invasion of your privacy and (2) it allows you to get through the pop-up Privacy Invasion Questionnaire without reading the responses. This information will be used against you. You gain nothing by providing it. You are under no obligation to tell these moral lepers the truth. 
  3. If you can figure out the advertisers who sponsor these questions, drop their marketing honchos a note telling them you’ve seen the company’s ad for Sex Tours of Thailand or whatever they sell popping up on every single one of your Google results, and you’ve never been in the market for a Patpong boom-boom vacation; the purpose of this is to set the two anti-privacy forces (marketing dweebs and Google) at one another’s throats.

Note that #3 is not exclusive of doing #1 or #2. The first two are mutually exclusive.

If enough people do this, we can pollute Google’s data, and that of the world’s spy agencies.

Exit thought: everyone has heard Google’s sanctimonious, prolefeed-for-the-public motto, and has come to mentally add the in-group-morality extension Google insiders have long operated by: “Don’t be evil… unless there’s a ha’penny in it.” Remember that Google has given complete access to US intelligence agencies, without any apparent thought or consideration. Now, you may be the person who thinks you are completely boring to NSA, but can you guarantee that no government agency, from the politicized IRS to the Amtrak SWAT team, will ever take an interest in you?

Why make these enemies of liberty more knowledgeable about you and yours? It’s not in your best interest. Answer untruthfully.

Drunk pulls (toy) gun on police, lives to have legal problems

Daniel E Sears mugshotThere are things everyone ought to know not to do. Like, pull a gun on the cops. Doing that is generally an indicator you’re committing Suicide By Cop, or otherwise are tired of living. No help if it’s a toy gun: by the time the PC Plod figures it out, numerous new orifices in your epidermis will be letting air in, and blood out.

But this guy — the picture looks like a selfie, but it’s actually his mugshot — managed to run into a couple of York, Maine cops who were flying high on the spirit of Christian forbearance.

He, on the other hand, seems to have been flying high on other spirits entirely. Now, a splitting hangover is far from his only problem.

After York police on Saturday asked a Canadian man staying at a local hotel for his identification, he returned with a gun by his side, according to police.

Police didn’t immediately know it was a toy gun, according to Sgt. Steve Spofford.

Daniel E. Sears, 42, 2931 Park Lane SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is charged on a felony count of criminal threatening with a weapon, according to the police report.

Wait, what? Canadian? Aren’t they the ones who shake their head sadly at Yanks With Guns? Well, it takes all kinds to make a country.

The incident happened at the Atlantic House Inn in York Beach around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the report.

Police went to the hotel because some women who were also staying there complained Sears was harassing them, according to police.

“The officers responded to disorderly conduct at the Atlantic House,” Spofford said.

This is one of the first hints that Sears had been hitting the Judgment Juice™. One thing that magical chemical elixir does, when it’s not turning run-of-the-mill Canadians into Mr Hyde, is make that same Mr Hyde cocksure that all the women within his bursting radius love him. Why, he can tell by the way they try to ignore him!

At first Sears appeared cooperative, he said. When the officers asked him for identification, he said he would get it.

“He returned with a gun, held at his side,” Spofford said.

via Intoxicated man with toy gun arrested in York, police say | SeacoastOnline.com.

This is the part where the cops had every right in the world to blast Sears to Kingdom Come, but instead they backed off, de-escalated, called for backup (you know, that one of the Rule for Gunfights that says, “bring friends with guns”?), and then asked him to come out, please, without the gun.

He did, and was taken into custody without further ado. The cops found two kids in the room, apparently Sears’s kids; family members are coming to take charge of them. Sears is in York County Jail for the time being.

We’d offer a thumbs down for Sears’s conduct, but we think he’s probably getting that from enough points of the compass already. We would like to note the professional, responsible (and, it turned out, correct) approach the York PD took to what turned out to be not all that routine a call. Sometimes the hardest correct call is not to shoot.

The Fix is In on “Dishonest John” Walsh

vote for felonsAccording to the Billings, Montana, Gazettepolitical appointees at the Department of Defense have taken control of the investigation in the War College paper of appointed Senator John Walsh. The bulk of the thesis, including all of its conclusions, previously appeared in other publications under other bylines; not to put too fine a point on it, “Dishonest John” Walsh’s submission, for which he was granted a Master of Science in Strategic Studies degree, was fundamentally not his work. But Dishonest John is an important political ally for the Administration and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. So Hagel has stepped in and seized control of the investigation, apparently intending to prevent any consequences for Dishonest John. From here on out, the “investigation” will be stage-managed by DOD political appointees.

A U.S. Army War College official says the Department of Defense has taken the unusual step of overseeing a plagiarism investigation against Sen. John Walsh of Montana. The Carlisle, Pennsylvania, college began the investigation after a New York Times story showed Walsh used others’ work without attribution in a 2007 research paper required for a master’s degree.

Knowing that this has been taken away from biased, shifty military officers and given to selfless public servants whose mortgage payments and kids’ tuitions depend on staying in the good graces of the politician under investigation and his cronies certainly ought to boost your confidence in the integrity of the investigation. The War College has, in recent years, revoked six degrees for plagiarism. The DOD never stepped in to protect a plagiarist before. Gee, what’s different about Dishonest John? Hat tip, the Chronicle of Higher Education (of all things).

Land of the Lost… Guns: Afghanistan

So, we saw this at Miguel’s, which led us to Fox News, which led us to the Washington Times, which still didn’t give up the primary source document. We wanted the primary source document because the numbers in the Times’s story didn’t add up.

The essential claims in these media versions of the story are:

  1. The Afghans have lost or sold off tens of thousands of the guns we gave them; and,
  2. The databases are poisoned with many duplicates; and,
  3. Most or many of the US-provided weapons were never entered in the database; therefore:
  4. Accountability for weapons in the Afghan National Security Forces (ANA/ANP) is nonexistent.

Here are the numbers as we pulled them from the report, and as the media spun ‘em:

The narrative is that the Afghan National Army has lost tens if not hundreds of thousands of small arms, and that as a result We Are Doomed. It took some doing (anyone who thinks Obamacare’s website was uniquely mishandled has spent no time among the web gardens of the .gov or .mil) but we did unearth the document.

Two Databases Stood Back-to-Back, Refusing to Say a Word…

The problem is at once more complex, more nuanced, and more interesting than that. And for gloom and doom fans, we’re probably still doomed. The bottom line is that the US’s incredibly complex and inefficient inventory systems, which famously do not talk to one another, also don’t mesh with the inventory system we provided to Afghanistan. Three completely different (and fundamentally incompatible) IT systems track US-provided small arms in OEF. Those systems include:

  • SCIP, the Security Cooperation Information Portal, used in the USA by logisticians supplying materiel to American allies worldwide.
  • OVERLORD, the Operational Verification of Reliable Logistics Oversight Database, developed in-country by the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A), the latest of several names for the US training HQ in-country.
  • CoreIMS, the Core Inventory Management System, a US-spec COTS inventory database that has been foisted off on our valiant Afghan allies.

Here’s a graphic from that famous primary source document that the Times and Fox wouldn’t show you, preferring to predigest your informational meal. (Here’s a link to the document: SIGAR 14-84.pdf. We’ve saved a copy in case the link goes  tango uniform). This shows what the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction thinks the process is:

dod_weapons_inventory_process

 

So what we have turns out to be, not vast numbers of guns vanishing as they take each step along the pipeline, but three different and incompatible databases having data that are at odds with one another.

Which database is right? Who knows? Could be any of them. Or none of them! In fact, all three databases could have wide discrepancies, and yet none of them have totals close to what actually exists in inventory.

But it turns out, if you actually read the SIGAR report instead of act like a Media Luminary and Skim Until Shocked, the auditors did that, and as it turns out, some of the numbers are before they deep-dove the data, and some of the numbers don’t represent what they appear to represent. Yes, Afghan inventories are a mess, but they’re not the mess the news stories describe. A spot check of weapons in storage at the ANA Kandahar depot, for example, found the weapons in the crates the database said they’d be in, and traced every weapon back in inventories that matched the weapons on site. A similar exercise at the ANP 22 Bunkers Depot appeared to have similar results, but the inspectors didn’t have time to complete the inspection.  True, other depots and units had more fragmentary records, and the ANA Central Supply Depot’s records were far off from what was inventoried on site. But by Afghan standards, it wasn’t all that bad.

Remember that the idea of weapons inventories was something that Afghans have never done, except when compelled by Soviet or NATO allies. That they don’t do it as well as the US DOD, while using a stack of incompatible and user-hostile systems imposed from outside, shouldn’t shock anybody.

If you’re an old Afghan hand, one fundamental error in this whole process will have jumped out at you from the very beginning: trying to impose a sophisticated Western computer system (actually, multiple systems; a fourth incompatible database called ULTRA, Universal Listing of Transactions for Record Accounting, is under construction for the ANP) on a nation of Iron Age illiterates. Illiteracy was 94% to 97% when we first went into Afghanistan (the Taliban had closed all schools except madrassas). Illiterates make weak computer operators, something that American loggies never considered for a minute before deciding to spin up the Afghans in Microsoft World. Results predictable:

According to CSTC-A officials, efforts to develop the capabilities of ANSF personnel to manage the central depots have been hindered by the lack of basic education or skills among ANSF personnel and frequent turnover of Afghan staff.

Gee, there’s a shocker. We impose US-style personnel turbulence and military bureaucracy on an ally where most of the population is illiterate and borderline innumerate, and as Wilkins Micawber might say, “results, misery.”

The Duplicate Serials Problem: Not Such a Big Deal

Then, there’s the duplicate serial numbers problem , which comes to rise for two reasons:

  1. The procurers, developers and operators of the system did not understand that different weapon makes and models may indeed use the same serial numbers, and different manufacturers may use the same serial numbers for their versions of the same firearm, and so they erred in trying to use serial number by itself as a unique key;
  2. Lack of communication between databases

Even the authors of the report don’t seem to find that their discovery of some duplicate numbers is meaningless. Here’s their table from the report:

sigar_serial_number_dupes

¡Ay, Chihuahua! (Old Afghan phrase). Yes, it’s not just an Afghan thing to have two weapons with the same serial number. Heck, the USA did it:

M1 Rifle Serial 1,608,803: these two receivers were sold by CMP at auction recently.

M1 Rifle Serial 1,628,802: these twin receivers were sold by CMP at auction recently.

Someone who knows weapons can clear these three discrepancies in about two tenths of a second. Like this:

  • DX2383 needs to be reconciled by eyes-on physical inventory, because it’s possible that this represents two different guns, but because an AMD-65 is a variant of AK-47, it’s equally possible that this is one gun described two ways. Several manufacturers made AK variants using serial numbers of this pattern, so only physical inventory can establish whether we’re talking about one gun or two here.
  • 178203 is obviously two different weapons, and a properly constructed database would not confuse an M203 with an M249 of the same serial number.
  • A598 is the very same problem, Russian-designed-weapons style.

As anyone who’s ever accounted for any significant quantity of firearms can tell you, serial numbers are only likely to be unique on a single type (i.e. make/model/caliber) of weapon made for a single customer by a single manufacturer. Now, we’re not sure what other US arms have duped serial numbers like the M1 example above. (We know M16A1 rifles and XM177 “submachine guns” had absolutely unique numbers because manufacturers had independent sN blocks).

But this duplication is spun by SIGAR, in their ignorance of firearms, as a major problem, and it is spun in turn by the media as a Chicken Little sky-is-falling moment. It’s only a problem because the database designers and auditors are ignorant of the limits of serial numbering.

We certainly admit that the SIGAR report does identify some real challenges facing Afghan services on weapons-inventory issues, and it points up the poor visibility into those issues that US service elements, including CSTC-A, have into Afghan inventories. As far as the weaknesses of Afghan inventory controls are concerned, this is news to us in which way? We were pleasantly surprised to see that some Afghan National Police elements are tracking their assigned weapons using Microsoft Excel. This means they have some literate cops, who can even use computers — that’s miles ahead of 2002, let us tell you. But the SIGAR is shocked by this, and by the fact they’re not using some high-dollar, centralized, fiddly data management system instead of Excel.

Crawl, walk, run, people. Trying to drop Afghans into RDBMS management when they not only haven’t got the hang of Excel, but are largely utterly unlettered, is asking for trouble.

One is reminded of Lawrence’s maxim not to do things for the locals, but to let them do it themselves, however imperfectly.

Breaking: Scruff Face Wins

When he was clean-shaven, and had a career (>30 years ago)

When he was clean-shaven, and had a career (30 years ago).

We didn’t see this coming…

Although verdicts in such cases are customarily unanimous, both sides agreed to a split verdict. The verdict of 8 to 2 was reached after more than a week of deliberations. Jurors awarded Mr. Ventura $500,000 for defamation and $1.3 million for what was termed the author’s unjust enrichment.

via Jesse Ventura Wins Defamation Case – NYTimes.com.

We hope he enjoys the money.

Does he think his reputation was worth it? Because that’s taken a bigger Streisand Effect hit from the suit than it did from the story in American Sniper – and both of those clobberin’s are bigger than the belt he took (or didn’t) to the jaw.

The Klan? That’s still a thing?

burning AND crossFlorida has different demographics depending on where in the state you are. The East Coast is pushy, abrasive New Yorker boomers. The West Coast, the same. The Southern tip is occupied by whatever Latin American caudillos survived their ouster, and their former retainers. The Panhandle is Where Alabama Meets the Sea®. And the dank, gator-rich and citrus-producing center of the peninsula? It’s Alabama, too, but circa 1960.

So you get headlines like, “KKK membership sinks 2 Florida cops.”

The 49-year-old [Deputy Chief] Borst, a department veteran of more than 20 years, was also fire chief for the Lake County city of 5,000, about 40 miles northwest of Orlando. He resigned both posts Thursday after being confronted with the FBI report.

Officer George Hunnewell, who was demoted last year over performance and attitude complaints, was fired Friday by Chief Terry Isaacs.

via KKK membership sinks 2 Florida cops.

klan rally wrongNo word on whether either one was a “white Hispanic,” but given the Klan’s less-than-inclusive membership traditions, we kind of think not. Just goes to show that Trayvon wasn’t the only Floridian to get into trouble in a hoodie.

It’s a free country, and you can join the Klan if you want. (And we can laugh at you, if you do). But people are going to look askance at a policeman whose other uniform is a pointy-headed burkha with a faint whiff of burning cross to it.

The Shriners may dress funny for parades, but they never terrorized anybody, and they actually have built a lot of hospitals. “Burn center” has a completely different meaning to the brain-deads in KKK Nation.

In 2014 this should not take a lot of figuring out, but then again, on a figuring-out scale of 1 to 10, where would a guy who signs up for the Ku Klux Klan score?

Judges behaving badly

Law-ScaleAndHammerTwo crooked Philadelphia judges were acquitted of all charges, and four even more crooked judges were acquitted of some charges, on Wednesday.

A federal jury in Philadelphia this morning cleared six former judges in the Philadelphia Traffic Court of most charges in the long-running ticket fixing case (see previous story).
The verdicts were mostly “not guilty,” although four of the judges were convicted of lesser charges in what amounted to a wholesale rejection of the prosecution’s case.
Former judges Michael Sullivan, Mark Bruno, Michael Lowry, Robert Mulgrew, Thomasine Tynes, and Willie Singletary were cleared of conspiracy and ticket-fixing.
However, four of the judges — Lowry, Mulgrew, Tynes, and Singletary — were convicted of lying to authorities about the administration of so-called “consideration” for certain connected VIPs in traffic cases (see related story).

Now, how can we call them crooked judges, if two of them walked and four more beat most of the rap? Well, because the defense used a pretty good defense for a Philadelphia or other urban jury: the old,” sure they’re crooks, but that’s just how things are done here, not crime-crime.”

But the jury apparently found that the alleged ticket-fixing was not a federal crime.   That was part of the argument made by defense attorneys, who conceded that mistakes were made by the judges and there may have been ethical lapses, but there was no federal crime.

via Six Phila. Traffic Court Judges Acquitted of Most Serious Charges « CBS Philly.

Crooked, crooked, crooked judges. Give government power, and people in government will be corrupt with it. Every. Single. Time.

But hey, that’s just “How we do it here in Philadelphia.”

Think You’ve Seen it All? Here’s Kurdish Pop.

Ladies and gentlemen, the hottest thing smoking in Kurdistan, at least, music wise. We give you, Helly Luv. (We have a sneaking suspicion it’s not her real name).

After the classically Middle East ululation at the beginning, she gets down to singing a pretty conventional pop song, Risk it All, in English. The background singing and dancing, etc., is that sort of cosmic East-meets-West that you see in the Kurdish areas. She herself is a beautiful ambassador for the de facto Kurdish nation that puts every head of state in the region into the nonlinear processing zone.

She was born in Iraq. Her mother was a Kurdish Peshmerga fighter, but the family left during the Iran-Iraq war. She grew up in Finland and in the USA.

Best of all: Islamists of all varieties (including her own Kurds) absolutely loathe her. Since her music video was released in February, a variety of people that you probably wouldn’t like very much have sworn to behead, or stone, or do something else unpleasant to this harmless young woman. If you don’t like her music, change the channel, why don’t you?

Reuters reports:

Kurdish pop singer Helly Luv says she will not be put off by death threats from Iraqi Islamist militants since release of her first music video but, drawing on its title, insists she will “Risk It All” to help a push for an independent Kurdistan.

Iraqi-born Luv, 25, has seen her video rack up more than 2.5 million views on YouTube since its release in February; but she has faced criticism for what some see as provocative imagery in the clip accompanying the modern mix of dance, hip-hop and traditional Middle Eastern music.

Luv said the video, which includes exploding petrol bombs, backing dancers with AK-47 rifles, and the singer dancing in a mid-thigh silver dress atop a citadel, represents the Kurdish spirit and struggle for an independent state.

“There were death threats from many Islamic groups… it was a really hard time for me,” Luv said in an interview in Arbil, the autonomous Kurdistan region’s capital. “(But) my whole message is that, Kurdish people, we need to risk everything for our dreams and fight for our country.”

She isn’t just talking about patriotism… she recently visited Peshmerga troops near the front close to ISIL-held Mosul. She could be safe in the USA. Instead, she’s placed herself mere miles from people who absolutely would kill her in painful and slow ways, and feel righteous about doing it.

Most of the online trolls seem to have decided she is a Freemason, or a tool of the Illuminati (would that make her an Illuminatus? Not up on moon-worshipper mysticism). And the things they post are… well, every one of her videos’ comments becomes a battlezone for dim, angry Turks, Iranians, mullahs, and God knows who else — into which she sometimes steps and gives as good as she gets, insult-wise.

Here she is a few months ago, doing the same song (appears to be lipsynched actually) “live” in Irbil for Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which is a holy day for Zoroastrians, Parsees, Sufis, Ismailis, and the Baha’i… it’s been celebrated for 3,000 years or so. But her performance begins with powerful nationalistic imagery: newsreel footage of Saddam’s massacre of the Kurds in Halabja in 1988.

As you can see from the video, Nowruz has become a national holiday in Kurdistan. (Kurds spell it Newroz… a spelling that’s banned in Turkey, as was the holiday itself for decades).

There’s quite a bit more video and audio online from this pop star from the world’s hardest-luck country. For a secular track (with suggestive lyrics in English) that’s appropriate to the People of the Gun, we recommend “Shooter.” Put up on YouTube last month, and it hasn’t made the Salafists’ heads explode yet.

Maybe her music isn’t your three cups of tea. We can understand… most of what we listen to is from the 1960s or the 1770s, we confess. It’s beat and we don’t want to restore it, or it’s baroque and we don’t want to fix it. But we were entertained by our sojourn with Helly Luv and her dance music, and we wish her, and the Kurdish people, all the best.