Author Archives: Hognose

About Hognose

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

It’s Not Just Army Morale Circling the Drain

Looking for DHS, ICE, etc., morale?

Looking for DHS, ICE, etc., morale? Good place to start.

In some parts of the government, like the FCC and the IRS, morale is soaring. They’ve never had more power to drive us before them and hear the lamentations of their women. And then, there’s the parts that defend America from enemies foreign and domestic. We’ve already covered how the Army’s morale is under the outhouse, and from time to time we’ve mentioned organizations like ICE, CBP, and in fact all of DHS, where workers are squeezed between an important mission and abominable leaders who are deeply committed to giving the mission lip service — and lip service only.

That’s how you get things like the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), conducted by the Office of Personnel Management, which puts DHS in the very caboose of the civilian employee morale train, a place that DHS has practically had a lock on since its establishment just over a decade back. As Kelley Beaucar Vlahos reported at Fox:

Based on overall positive responses by its employees, DHS got a 44 percent score, the lowest since it was established following the 9/11 attacks. Putting that into context, the cabinet agency with the highest ranking in 2014 was NASA, and it got 74 percent.

That DHS has gotten consistently bad scores from its own employees based on morale, leadership, compensation and more, was of particularly interest in Thursday’s “Worst Places to Work in the Federal Government” hearing by the Government Operations Subcommittee headed by Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

“The Department of Homeland Security rests as the worst place to work among cabinet agencies, and saw its scores drop by nearly three points from 2013,” he pointed out in his opening statement. It scored lowest on leadership, fairness, empowerment and skills to match the mission, he pointed out.

“Are agency leaders doing enough?” he said. The results, he answered himself, “suggest that not enough has been done.”

Of course, DHS is just the bottom of the heap, it’s not all alone down there. The DVA and the Department of the Army are also in the low numbers, along with the Nuclear Defense Facilities Safety Board, all agencies that have been punitively deprioritized since 2009.

While DHS itself scored a lowest-of-large-agencies 44 percent, some of its sub-agencies scored even lower:

Among the 314 agency subcomponents ranked in the survey, two DHS departments come in dead last: ICE (35 percent) and the Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology (35 percent). The Transportation Security Administration did a little better with 39 percent.

Jeh Johnson has the Solution

The Homeland Security head, widely seen as a man who has ridden affirmative-action preferment far beyond his optimum level of incompetence, didn’t testify at the Congressional hearing — he was there, but he had a flunky, Catherine Emerson, DHS’s Chief Human Capital Officer, read a prepared statement and stumble over questions for him.

Prior to the hearing, Johnson explained that the problem wasn’t his men having low morale, it was things like the survey and the hearing telling the agents that their morale was for $#!+. If he could just get the Congress to stop hearings, and the press to stop reporting unhappy agents, why, all would be rosy in his world. Per Federal News Radio (which, yes, is really a think in the Beltway, where nobody works but everybody reports to a government job, usually one interfering with the guys and gals in the field who do government’s actual work):

DHS’ morale problems also have been duly noted by the department’s leader, but he suggested that he was sick of hearing about them from outside sources.

“One of the ways that you improve morale is to stop continually telling my workforce that you have lousy morale,” Secretary Jeh Johnson said he told committee members in a meeting before the hearing began.

That, and his unicorn.

(Actually, one of the ways that you improve morale is to stop continually saddling his workforce with crappy leadership).

It’s unlikely a leader like Johnson, himself the product of a tee-ball entitlement culture, could improve a poisoned command climate whatever he did, but what he’s actually doing is a top-down headquarters initiative that has, not a low probability but a  zero probability of improving the embattled department:

DHS has embarked on a … campaign, which it calls the “Building-The-Department-You-Deserve” initiative, Emerson said. It has revived an awards program for employees that was dormant for six years. It is also making the hiring process more transparent, because employees have requested it. That includes posting notices in more prominent locations and training hiring managers, she said. In addition, the agency is focused on improving its Senior Executive Service corps, with which Johnson has met twice.

There’s a lot of verbiage about process there, and not one word about measurable, quantifiable results. But that’s how the beltway game is played.

And the morale problem is not in the overpaid, underworked SES corps, the only part of the agency that Jeh Heh Heh seems to have any affinity for. The best thing DHS could do with its SES corps is to send them all back to FLETC and, in the unlikely event that any of them pass, put them on the street as GS-9 1811 investigators to learn the job and people skills that a champagne diet seems to have flushed from their braincases.

One last note: The Veterans subgroup of the FEMS survey population were considerably more cynical about the probability of the survey achieving anything. Wonder if vets are overrepresented in DHS, too?

vets_survey_results2_

Or maybe they just got infected with cynicism and low morale serving under BG Peggy Combs in the Army?

 

Defensive Gun Use? Doesn’t Sound Like It

Let us explain why we, and you, carry and should carry a gun (or guns): to defend lives (and perhaps property) from unlawful deadly force. Period. Full stop.

And why should people not carry guns? To play at cops, to bend people to your will, or to try to enforce societal standards on others. Not our department, fellow citizens. In this case, Sumdood 1 got in a beef with Sumdood 2 and “held him at gunpoint.” When the police showed up, they didn’t exactly deputize the self-anointed junior G-man: nope, they arrested him.

According to police, the incident began when [Christopher] Nazario and Anthony Santiago were passing over the Sagamore Bridge and continued in the northbound lanes of the Everett Turnpike. Nazario followed when Santiago exited onto Ledge Street, then passed him illegally, police said.

Nazario hit his brakes, then swerved to the left and collided with Santiago’s vehicle after he had turned in order to avoid a collision, police said.

The impact sent Santiago’s vehicle into a bus stop terminal, where Nazario drew a gun and ordered Santiago to get out and down on the ground, police said. Police arrived to the scene and interviewed both drivers, who sustained minor injuries but did not require medical attention. Officers recovered a loaded 9 mm handgun from Nazario and took him into custody without incident, police said.

via Man arrested after drawing gun following car crash | New Hampshire.

Pro tip: Dirty Harry and Death Wish (plus, to one extent or another, sequels) are not concealed-carry training videos. Even real detectives can wind up on the wrong side of the courtroom if they’re dumb enough to act like TV detectives always do. For regular muggles missing that patent of nobility, The Badge, such actions lead inexorably whence they’ve already taken Christopher Nazario: to jail.

If you have a tendency to wig out in a car (ask your friends, because the actual wig-out-prone cases are always the last to understand), you might want to change to an old man’s car with indifferent performance, but comfortable seats. Not to mention a really good radio, tuned to a “soothing music” station or just playing classical CDs. Listening to Prokofiev or Mendelssohn is less likely to bring out your inner Avenging Vigilante persona than, say, listening to Def Leppard. (And N.W.A. is right out).

Just because you have the right to be armed doesn’t mean “freedom to brandish and threaten.” Exercising your rights does not excuse you from exercising your judgment and using your forebrain, not your amygdala, to drive your interpersonal relationships.

Now, this initial news report could be all wet. That’s for the court to decide, in due course. But it’s not hard to retrace Mr Nazario’s steps and come up with several points where he had better options than the ones he opted for.

He’s lucky he didn’t actually pop the guy — he’d be the next poster child for irresponsible carry, and a nine days’ wonder of the national media.

A Brief Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Waffenkultur

Cover of the current issue.

Cover of the current issue.

Most of you can probably figure out what Waffenkultur means, knowing that the German language has an affinity for compound words, and that Waffen is the word for Weapons. And yes, while there are some false cognates between Deutsch and Englisch, as it happens, kultur is a true cognate, nearly the same in both languages. So the name of the publication is Weapons Culture.

Its subtitle is, “The Open-Source Magazine for Weapons Users.” It’s been published since 2011 and all issues can be found on the website.

It’s published online for the whole German-speaking (well, -reading) world, which may not include all of you. You can download the issues as .pdfs, or read them online; so for our fellow Americans who are convinced that the secret to communicating with any foreigner is louder, slower English, you can run them through Google Translate.

Cover of the first issue, 30 Sep 2011.

Cover of the first issue, 30 Sep 2011.

Run through Hoggle Translate, the contents of the latest issue (link’s to the .pdf):

  • More than just a “plop”: Suppressors on the hunt
  • Black Label M4: Long Term Test Intermediate Report
  • Made in Bavaria: TPG-3 A5 by Unique Alpine
  • Old Acquaintance: Aimpoint Micro T-2
  • IWA 2015: What we noticed (IWA is a large annual trade show in Nuremburg. 2015’s set a new attendance record)
  • EnforceTac 2015: Riding the Security Updraft (a report on a sub-expo devoted to law enforcement and security “stuff”).
  • Quality Close Up: The Gamsbokk Tacstar Professional (review of high-end field pants)
  • Interceptor: Foul Weather Jacket MIG 2.0 by Carinthia
  • Let’s blow some shit up: Tannerite exploding targets  (This was in English in the contents!)
  • Book Recommendations

Update

Here’s the link to the main site. Apologies for not including it A brief word about the contents: high-end modern guns and gear for the modern Teuton. (Not historic stuff).  Frederick the Great would probably approve.

SWATting Comes to Rural NH

Rye, New Hampshire, is a well-to-do town on the New Hampshire Seacoast. It has about 5,000 people, about seven miles of prime Atlantic coastline, and a really nice golf course that has one hole played in full view of that ocean. It’s not Pebble Beach, perhaps, but it’s not bad; to give you a sense of the neighborhood, abutters include former Governor and Presidential Chief of Staff John Sununu and his family, and megaselling novelist Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code, etc.) and his family. (Brown is, on fact, a former member of the club, although now he’s a member of a different club in a nearby town instead, the details and circumstances of the change being Mr Brown’s business alone, not ours). We don’t golf, having quite enough costly, time-consuming obsessions already. But we do have family members in this club, and have dined there. It’s a nice place with a first-class staff and some very nice (and as you might imagine, successful) members.

So it’s not the sort of place one expects to have a SWATing. But we were in the Rye Town Hall on routine business when our sister-in-law texted “hostage situation at the Abenaqui!” (She may have used more exclamation points than that). This led to the clerks frantically looking up local news sites, and a bit of text goonery that was probably won by the Blogbrother’s dry: “Thats why I don’t golf. Too dangerous!” But it’s hard to overstate how shocking a “hostage” call feels here.

A meeting of roughly 80 members of the New England Club Managers was interrupted because of the incident, as someone called 911 stating he had two people hostage and had a knife and an explosive device in the club, according to Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh.

“Officers from the Seacoast area responded and searched the perimeter and notified management and evacuated the building,” Walsh said. “We verified that everyone was OK and no such incident happened.”

This Rich Beauchense photo from Seacoast Online shows just how chaotic a multi-agency response can be. Disregarding the various uniforms, the police cars alone are from Portsmouth, Hampton, Portsmouth, Rye, and State Police. There were more than that. But it was not as chaotic as it looks because all these agencies train, drill and respond together.

This Rich Beauchense photo from Seacoast Online shows just how chaotic a multi-agency response can be. Disregarding the various uniforms, the police cars in this shot alone are from Portsmouth, Hampton, Portsmouth, Rye, and State Police. (Newcastle, Greenland, and Fish and Game were among the other responders). But it was not as chaotic as it looks because all these agencies train, drill and respond together. The huddled citizens are members of a country club managers’ group that was meeting at the club when the call came in.

 According to emergency police communications, a caller or callers reported that a man had people “tied up” inside a country club building, that he “does have a weapon” and he made threats about there being a bomb on scene.

via Police swarm to false report of threat at golf club – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH.

Within minutes, the cops knew that the call was probably a hoax, but they had to systematically clear the building at this point. NH State Police provided a bomb dog and handler, and some of the more athletic cops searched roofs, attics and basements of the club facility.

The police response was professional (note this guy's indexing and muzzle control -- a lot of the younger cops around here are vets, and others pursue training at the SIG Academy), but a lot of cops were tied up for a long time, and the meeting was disrupted. Beauchesne photo.

The police response was professional (note this guy’s indexing and muzzle control — a lot of the younger cops around here are vets, and others pursue training at the SIG Academy). But a lot of cops were tied up for a long time, and the meeting was disrupted. Beauchesne photo.

Now comes the painstaking part: trying to find the little waste of skin who phoned the hoax in. Unfortunately, highly publicized celebrity SWATtings have provided TTPs that some miscreant can follow, if he’s so inclined. And it’s remotely possible that this was some maleficent actor, making the call to time or measure the police response, in support of some future mischief.

But Occam’s Razor suggests that in most of these cases the doer is some narcissistic puk kid. Or someone with an irrational grievance against the target of the SWATting. In this case, the fact that the caller knew there was a meeting of club officials at the Abenaqui at this date and time, when the club has yet to officially open for the season,  strongly suggests the latter — and gives the cops a manageable shortlist of suspects.

See, this is the kind of thing that sinks Army morale

Yesterday, we discussed a couple dozen things that bad leadership does to produce morale lower than a boil on a bushmaster’s belly. The kind of morale that the Army has right now.

But that was before we saw the latest in imbecilic social-engineering from these losers who couldn’t lead feces down a drainpipe to a septic tank. We are not making this up:

Mandatory high-heel march:

Location unknown.

Location unknown. In some places the organizers provided the shoes; in others, the cadets were made to buy them.

Mandatory high heels march at Temple U.

Mandatory high heels march at Temple U.

Peggy Combs -- hates the men under her command.

BG Peggy Combs — hates the men under her command.

And no, despite the date, it was not April Fools. Well, not officially; it was April, and the fool in question is one BG Peggy Combs (.pdf bio), a “woman in sensible shoes” who sees the essential function of her command, the Army ROTC Cadet Command, as humiliating and shaming the men unfortunate enough to be in her passive-aggressive power.

And yes, it was “a date with Amanda, Amanda Tory” event for the unfortunate cadets. You could opt not to go, but if you didn’t, Combs hissed, you didn’t “support the command’s SHARP/EO program,” and you might as well just change your name tape to Rapey McRaperson. While some schools simply provided detail support to (i.e. warm bodies to set up/break down) these events, and others (including West Point, where the Corps of Cadets thank their lucky stars they are not in Combs’s purview) were truly voluntary, other cadet battalions made the event “voluntold” or “volunandatory,” with the example below, using threats against a cadet’s potential commission, from ASU-Tempe:

Yes it is mandatory - and punitive

All we can say to that cadet is, it’s only the stupidest thing you’ve ever done so far because you’re still a cadet. Wait till you see how dysfunctional your basic branch training and actual troop units are. Remember, that’s where Peggy Combs kept getting promotion after promotion.

This one was in the real Army, at Grafenwoehr.

This one was in the real Army, at Grafenwoehr.

Mandatory at Temple, mandatory at ASU where the Cadet BN Cadre sent the following text:

This text reminded ASU cadets that the march was mandatory.

This text reminded ASU cadets that the march was mandatory.

(We're assuming he's a "guy" because of the 'stache, but we may just be displaying cisgendered heteronormative privilege or something).

The ASU ROTC logo.

Hmmm… so where’s the heels on this guy? It seems like the least that they could have done, is to humiliate their mascot the way they humiliate the cadets.

(Note: we’re assuming he’s a “guy” because of the ‘stache, but we may just be displaying cisgendered heteronormative privilege or some other microagression. He might not be a guy. He might be GLBTQWERTY or some other flavor of Unique and Special Snowflake™. He might be a gal, and the ‘stache is explained because he’s a Latina. In Arizona, that’s not as improbable as it sounds, right?)

More images of idiocy follow.

Temple U marchers

Temple U ROTC cadre at least set the example by humiliating themselves, along with their troops.

“No, we don’t use the military for social engineering,” say various Beltway potentates and Acela Corridor made-guys. “It’s all your imagination.”

Location unknown

Not sure where this bit of mandatory fun is (ASU again?), but these guys’ faces show that it is indeed mandatory fun.

This is just pathetic. This whole thing is the Olympics of assclownery.

On the bright side, as the old joke goes, we joined an Army where cross-dressing was prohibited; survived an era where if you did it, you were expected to keep it to yourself; and were able to retire, fortunately, before it was mandatory.

Who’s Buried in Lt. Colley’s Grave?

This is a question that requires us to ask another question. It first came up on the website of the little town of Gray, Maine, a suburb of Portland: who is buried in the Civil War grave of Lt. Charles Colley, late of the 10th Maine volunteers? A town clerk, Debi Curry, who was an amateur genealogist, was trying to confirm a longstanding town legend.

So was one of Colley’s surviving (if distant) relatives, Mark Faunce of Limington, Maine. Faunce is Colley’s second cousin four times removed, according to a report in the Portland Press Herald.

According to the tale, Colley, a 29-year-old junior officer, died of complications from a knee wound received at the little-known battle of Cedar Mountain on 9 September 1862. He was evacuated to a large union hospital at Alexandria, Virginia, where he died on 20 September. A knee wound today is, at most, an orthopedic surgeon’s technical challenge, but in 1862 it was often a death sentence — sterile operating rooms, antibiotics, and general understanding of the germ theory of infection were all far in the future.

His grieving family arranged to bring his body home to Gray, only to find, when they opened the casket, that the body they received was not their Charles. Who was he? A perfect stranger — dressed in a uniform of Rebel grey! With no identification, nor any hope of finding the unknown Johnny Reb’s family, the unfortunate and lost man was interred in Gray’s cemetery, with a stone identifying him as “Stranger, a soldier of the late war; died 1862.” The stone was, it says, erected by the Ladies of Gray. (Maine women are tough, but that probably doesn’t mean they wielded the shovels or chipped the stone; rather, that they collected money to pay for the marker).

Stranger Grave

Stranger’s Maine headstone, about 100 feet from Colley’s. Portland Press-Herald photo.

The Gray, Maine version of the tale has Colley’s correct body showing up in Gray some weeks later, and being interred under the headstone his family had procured for the purpose. To this day, the headstones of Colley and Stranger stand near each other in the cemetery; in season, Colley’s is decorated with the national flag, and since the 1950s when a man from Georgia made the request, Stranger’s has been decorated with the national and battle flags of the Confederacy. It is a small gesture to a fallen foe, buried far from his family and his native soil.

Enter Debi and Faunce and their research. Thinking it would be interesting to find the documents of Colley’s service, they discovered something completely unexpected.

Charles H. Colley enlisted in Company B, Maine 10th Infantry Regiment on Oct 4, 1861 and was promoted to Full 2nd Lieutenant on 18 Sep 1862, just two days before he “mustered out” on September 20, 1862 at Alexandria, VA. War department records indicate that he was buried in Section A, Site 325 of Alexandria National Cemetery on the very day of his death.

And there is the question, because according to the Cemetery, that is still Colley’s last, undisturbed resting place. As far as they’re concerned, he’s in their graveyard, and they still have the stone — made postwar, of course, at the time war graves would have been marked with a wooden marker — to prove it. Debi Curry got on the phone:

Two phone calls to Alexandria National Cemetery and a return email confirm that Lieut. Colley rests at Alexandria to this day. He was not disinterred to be returned to Gray as the story tells.

Colley's Maine headstone. Portsmouth Press-Herald photo.

Colley’s Maine headstone. Portland Press-Herald photo.

Well, the same Maine officer can’t lie in two graves. He’s in one, or the other (or, possibly, neither; one gets the feeling that 1860s grave registration practices were slapdash and lackadaisical).

Does this mean that the marker placed in Gray Village Cemetery with the name Lieutenant Charles H. Colley could, in fact, be yet another unknown soldier? Or, is it simply a cenotaph? Or, perhaps there is more to this story, after all?

Oh, there’s certainly more to this story! The question is, can we find it? (A cenotaph, by the way, is a memorial marker to one or more deceased, erected in the absence of their remains; the term, like the practice, was popular in the 19th and early 20th Centuries as communities dealt with the losses of numbers of men in industrialized war on land and sea that left loved ones with no grave over which to weep).

SWD Weirdness: “Cobray Terminator”

SWD — which stood for SW Daniel, Inc. — is a company with an interesting history, from acquiring trademarks and materials in the Sionics / Military Armament Company liquidation, through an iteration called RPB which ended with the three partners in the Federal jug on various drug charges, to reorganization in Atlanta and a series of nasty cases with the ATF at that agency’s Waco-era peak of power. But mostly, they’re known for continuing the production of the MAC-10 and MAC-11 (and M-11/9) submachine guns and pistols.

But this is one of their most unusual, rarest (the seller says one of 1500) , and impractical arms the company, which never really made practical arms, ever sold. It is a single-shot open-bolt shotgun, and its history is political, more than technical.

The scary, submachine-gun looks were no accident.  The gun was designed to comfort the afflicted gun owners, and afflict the comfortable Acela Corridor liberals and their ATF minions.

Before we get technical, then, the political background. ATF and anti-gun activists like Erik Larson of the Atlantic1 considered the firm Public Enemy Number One for its MAC-based product line, and ATF declared its open-bolt semi-automatics to be machine guns; the company reacted by giving the agency a stick in the eye: open-bolt single-shot versions of the MAC that existed for no other reason than to see if the agency, blinded by rage and partisanship, would declare firearms that could only fire a single shot and could not be practically or economically converted into repeaters were, also, machine guns. (ATF did, and through judicious judge-shopping, made it stick in court. Inspector Javert, who at least had the black-letter law on his side, had nothing on the 1980s-90s ATF).

We’re not certain whether this single-shot shotty with the scariest of names (“Cobray Terminator” — “Cobra” being a kitbash of “Cobra” and “Stingray,” and “Terminator,” being, well, this was during Peak Ahhhnold) was another poke in ATF’s eye. Here’s the auction description of it:

SWD Cobray Terminator Slam-Fire Open-Bolt Shotgun in 12ga

This open bolt (slam fire) single-shot shotgun was one of the rarities of the 90’s, pre assault weapons ban. Open bolt firearms in general were banned by the ATF for further production due to the fact they could be turned into full auto with ease. This being single shot would not of course, but it still uses the same operation.

This particular shotgun is in excellent condition, both cosmetically and mechanically, with all mechanisms working flawlessly. The reciprocating barrel looks clean, inside and out. The firing mechanism is smooth, and the telescoping stock works great. There is some discoloration in and near the receiver, but it does not appear to be corrosion – just old grease or something. This would make an excellent collectors piece of the pre-ban era and something fun for the range. Only 1500 of these were ever produced, so snag yours now before it’s gone!

Technically, this is not an especially practical firearm. It is too light to be comfortable firing very much; too heavy, ill-balanced, and with too long a lock time to be of much use hunting or popping claybirds. It is barely more than an improvised zip gun, although the welded construction, the simple sliding stock, and the overall simplicity of manufacture make it an interesting subject of study.

Mostly, it, like the ravings of Erik Larson, is mostly a period piece that evokes a certain era, one when the anti-gun and anti-freedom forces were winning.

There are more photos at the auction, online: SWD Cobray Terminator Slam Open Bolt 12ga Shotgun : Single Shot Shotguns at GunBroker.com.

UPDATE

We didn’t know when posting it that Ian had quite recently taken a shot at it over at Forgotten Weapons. His video goes into depth on the weird and wonderful variation of open-bolt here (the firing pin is fixed, and the barrel is what the trigger releases). The video is highly recommended, even if the gun isn’t.

Notes

  1. Larson pumped the Atlantic article up into a book arguing the straight gun-control line of the day, Lethal Passage. In the book, he admits his bias but suggests any other bias isn’t reasonable; he’s a prototype of later anti-gun polemicists, like Bloomberg’s hireling, Paul M. Barrett. More recently, Larson writes popular history that’s so narrative-focused and free with sourcing that it approaches historical fiction — as does Lethal Passage, in places. (Larson seemed especially angry about the fact that a gunshop he profiles took pride in being a comfortable place for black gun buyers to shop).

Form 4: REJECTED.

Got that letter from the examiner. (Actually, our FFL got it some days before we did). BORK. So what’s the problem?

This is a file (factory) photo of the gun in question.

This is a file (factory) photo of the gun in question. Ours is used and was a good buy… although we’re coming up on a year without putting our mitts on it, yet.

Turns out a paperwork glitch on our end. The CLEO signature was fine, but no one put the CLEO title in the title block.

So back it goes to ATF.

The purchase (an M1 Thompson SBR by Kahr) was done in July, 2014, but we didn’t get our form to the ATF until November (that’s not ATF’s fault, but ours). So it took, from the time they’ve had the form, a hair over five months for this technical rejection. We’ll put the Chief’s title on it (they did send details on what was wrong with the Form 4 and how to fix it) and send it back, and then it goes back to the same examiner rather than wait another five months in the queue. Which is nice.

We may have the Thompson at the range one year after buying it.

Well, largely our fault for missing such an obvious detail.

How long is it taking for ATF to process these forms?

We’re going to give you an answer you’ll hate: it depends. There may be some elements of go-slow in the Administration’s approach to ATF doing its duties — certainly many of the senior personnel in ATF are anti-gun and politically partisan — but it really seems to be explained well enough by ATF’s finite number of examiners getting slammed by an explosion in quantity of NFA submissions. Here are the last two years, thanks to NFA Tracker.com (it does embiggen):

NFA Stamp Wait TimesOne of the interesting results here is the general downward trend in wait time, both for trust submissions and for paper submissions. A few outlying trust e-File submissions have gotten same-day service, and Form 4 trust submission review times have suddenly trended up in 2015. (ATF does report they’ve had some problems with badly formed trusts that were set up without a specialized attorney).

The trendlines get even more interesting if you go back to the full dataset on NFA Tracker, which takes us back to 2006, before the advent of the World’s Greatest Gun Salesman.

longterm_wait_times

Again, it embiggens if you click it. As you can see here, prior to 2009 transfers seemed to be a 30-60-90-day thing, although the data is pretty thin at that point. In January 2011, approval times started to increase rapidly until by the fall of that year, and for the next 12 months, approval times clustered close together, centered on a median of about 180 days or six months.

Then, after the 2012 elections, the delays skyrocketed again. peaking at nearly a year in the summer of 2013, and then descending.

It’s also significant, we think, that all kinds of forms and filing methods seem to have been treated similarly until around September 2013, when some (principally, e-Filed forms) began to show much more rapid adjudication than paper forms of similar type.

This data pattern looks to us more like an agency struggling to serve more customers than it has ever had to handle before, than the fruits of any kind of conspiracy.

We could simplify life for the NFA Branch and its examiners by changing the law so that SBRs, SBSes, and suppressors are handled as Title I firearms. Handling these within the strictures of the NFA does not prevent or solve crimes, after all; these weapons are little used in criminal activity, and the ones that are so used, are almost always stolen. Therefore removing these low-crimefighting-value firearms registrations from the pool would reduce the workload on the examiners and let them focus on efforts more useful to actual crimefighting.

First Aid: How to Tell When Jack’s Dead

There are different indicia for death, which lead to the discontinuation of life-saving efforts, depending on the situation. An individual who is in hospice care with a DNR (Do Not Rescuscitate order) in place can expect different treatment to a motor vehicle accident victim in the hands of professional EMT-Ps.

For people who are not medical professionals, the best advice we’ve ever seen comes from Louis Jordan (with an assist from composers Dick Miles & Walter Bishop Jr.) in 1947, when Jordan was at the peak of his popularity. While a lot of Jordan songs are really proto-rock-n-roll tunes, this one has a jazzy, big-band sensibility. (He called his unique style “jump blues”). It made #1 on the R&B charts and a respectable #21 on the pop charts. (Fun facts: Jordan had more #1s in all than almost any other performer — Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder edged him out. At one time or another Jordan posted a #1 on R&B, pop, and country charts — a rare feat).

It was recorded in October, 1946 and charted in ’47. Jordan passed away in 1975, nearly forgotten at the time, and his many recordings in the 50s and 60s stopped charting, but in the 40s he was a huge performer. It’s hard to tell sometimes when a Jordan song title used a common expression, or whether the song was why the expression entered the common argot. In any event, he’s a fun and talented performer, memorialized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a seminal influence. And his advice is as good in 2015 as it was in 1947:

If a girl is smilin’ at you
Even though there’s nothing said,
And you stand there like a statue —
Jack, you’ dead!

So hey, walk away from the glowing rectangle and go have some analog moments. Weaponsman.com will still be here when you come back.

 

Flogging Will Continue Until Army Morale Improves

Army LogoWhen the budget gets tight, the Army always finds money for its leaders’ real priorities. If you’re of a certain vintage, you might remember the scores of millions that were blown on the COO or “Consideration Of Others” program, developed by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s “favorite general,” Claudia Kennedy, and force-fed to the unwilling troops. The idea was to make the Army less warlike and more welcoming to women and girly-men; it was forged where the rabidly ambitious Kennedy spent her whole career, amid the delicate Unique And Special Snowflakes™ of Military Intelligence.

But that was then, and this is now. The current boondoggle is an Optimism Program (we are not making that up), which is intended to make the troops sappily happy despite being led by self-serving suits and too many generals who have made the Blue Falcon the lodestar of their ambition.

So over the past six years, the time that Obama has been in office, the taxpayer has forked out $287 million in an “optimism” program for the army.  This is the same army that ignored dangerous warning signs that Nidal Hasan was a terrorist-in-waiting, the same army that then declared the Fort Hood terror attack “workplace violence,” and the same army that also refused–for six years–to pay benefits to those injured or to the families of those lost?

Soldiers waste time in Army Master Resilience Training in Korea in 2013. US Army photo by Mark Abueg.

Soldiers waste 10 training days each in Army Master Resilience Training in Korea in 2013. US Army photo by Mark Abueg.

There have been numerous reports of top army commanders being “culled” from the military for everything from being “too cautious and conventionally minded” to “being too hawkish about Iran.

The army has sadly become famous for its attacks on Christianity and its Christian soldiers.  For example, the army labeled Christian Ministries “domestic hate groups,” Bibles were banned from Walter Reed Army Medical Center (a decision that was later rescinded), chaplains have been ordered not to quote the Bible or pray in Jesus’ name, and when that resulted in public outrage, the Army simply announced plans to disband its Chaplain corps.

And then there’s the Bergdahl travesty and the fact that our veterans are dying due to VA corruption, incompetence, and deception and are repeatedly put on hold when they call the VA suicide prevention hotline.  Veterans’ deaths were lied about and covered up by the VA, and whistle-blowers are still being unlawfully targeted for retribution.

It’s been a year since the VA scandal, but nothing has changed:

Lives were lost and forever changed to make strides in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and our military sees their commander in chief not only preside over the loss of those hard-won gains but brag about it and announce plans to “shrink” the army to “pre-World War II levels.”

via Army morale | Optimism program.

Army Morale USA Today

The Army study escaped from its close confinement and was also seen by USA Today, who noted inter alia these results:

The effort produced startlingly negative results. In addition to low optimism and job satisfaction, more than half reported poor nutrition and sleep, and only 14% said they are eating right and getting enough rest.

More than half of some 770,000 soldiers are pessimistic about their future in the military

403,564 soldiers, or 52%, scored badly in the area of optimism, agreeing with statements such as “I rarely count on good things happening to me.”

Forty-eight percent or about 370,000 soldiers showed a lack of commitment to their job or would have chosen another if they had it to do over again. Only 28% felt good about what they do.

About 300,000 soldiers or nearly 40% didn’t trust their immediate supervisor or fellow soldiers in their unit or didn’t feel respected or valued. Thirty-two percent felt good about about bosses and peers.

In one positive trend, more than 400,000 soldiers or 53% said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with their marriage, personal relationship or family. About 240,000 expressed dissatisfaction.

For physical fitness, nearly 40% were in good shape, 28% were borderline, and 33% did poorly.

So, it’s official: Army morale sucks.

Psychobabble "Resilience Training", shown here from this link, punishes enlisted soldiers and NCOs annually. Officers are exempt from this punitive $1/3B waste of time. so far.

Psychobabble “Resilience Training”, shown here from this link, punishes enlisted soldiers and NCOs annually. Officers are exempt from this punitive $1/3B waste of time. so far.

Gee, why might Army morale suck? Let us, as the other Browning says, count the ways.

  1. Social engineering;
  2. SHARP training that lectures and belittles male troops;
  3. Suicide prevention training that makes you want to kill yourself, just to make the Death by Powerpoint stop;
  4. Reflective belts. Every retard who ever signed a reflective-belt memo should be turned over to ISIL with a dotted “cut here” line tattooed around his neck;
  5. Millions for boondoggles like this (So far, they’ve blown a third of a billion on this alone), versus pennies for readiness and training;
  6. When some Joe screws up, anything from DUI to serious crimes like rape, the zero-defects careerist leader’s natural reaction: mass punishment for everyone who didn’t F up in the form of scolding “awareness” classes, videos, and of course, inevitably: PowerPoints;
  7. Piss-poor leadership from NCA on down;
  8. Mandatory fun days, usually some form of fun beloved by a commander that he thinks the troops ought to find just as much fun, too;
  9. Unilateral disarmament;
  10. Unilateral withdrawals bugouts;
  11. Valuing terror states over our troops;
  12. Lionizing Blue Falcon Supreme Bowe Bergdahl as a hero;
  13. More concern for Nidal Hasan than for the victims of his Sudden Jihad Syndrome outbreak, who only got the Purple Heart because Congress force-fed it to an anti-soldier Secretary of Defense;
  14. Freeing the Gitmo terrs, who return to terrorism in most cases;
  15. Abandoning the Iraqi and Afghan leaders who threw in with us to their fates;
  16. Abandoning Israel to suck up to the mullahs who get their mobs chanting “Marg Bar Amrika!” every Friday;
  17. Letting one of those same mullahs chant a mohammedan victory prayer over our dead men, in one instance, none of whom was a mohammedan;
  18. Cutting .mil benefits, especially health care;
  19. Cutting .mil pay;
  20. Threatening pensions;
  21. A Veterans Health Administration that wouldn’t even measure up as a Veteranarians activity;
  22. The fact that they’ve been making soldiers waste time taking these stupid “resiliency assessments” for six years now and are only now getting around to reading the data.
  23. The fact that the Army wastes resources on a Resiliency Center run by a waste of skin named Sharyn Saunders, who first lied to USA Today about the data and then changed the thresholds to produce better-looking Potemkin data.

So of course the sphinctroids that produced this state of affairs can’t figure out why morale is in the tank (and that’s tank, septic, not tank, main battle). And of course they can’t think of a way to resolve the problem, other than more of the same.

In other words, the beatings will continue until morale improves.