Author Archives: Hognose

About Hognose

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

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have BB Guns and Rubber Mallets

This douchenozzle is one Derrick Hurni, from the San Antonio area (Bexar County, Texas). And he has some… unusual ways… of interfacing with his girlfriend.

Indeed, you might say it’s an unhealthy relationship. For her, and now that he’s in jail where he belongs, for him, too. Local TV:

An arrest report said that the victim, a 35-year-old woman, arrived home Thursday evening when her boyfriend, Derrick Hurni, 38, started beating her with a rubber mallet.

Hurni then shot his girlfriend with a BB gun more than 70 times, the report said.

The suspect left and went to a friend’s house, where he was later arrested, the report said.

The victim went to a neighbor’s home for help. She was taken to South Texas Regional Medical Center, where she was treated for wounds to her legs, arms and upper torso, the report said. She also suffered cuts to her head that required stitches. She was released from the hospital.

Hurni was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

via Man shot girlfriend 70 times with BB gun, BCSO says.

The “deadly weapon” may be a bit of a stretch for the BB gun — if you can take 70 shots with it and live, how deadly is the thing, really? — but this guy really seems like he’s, how should be put it, not right in the brain housing group.

We suppose it’s fortunate he didn’t have an actual firearm, and we wouldn’t be surprised to learn he’s a prohibited person. This goes beyond a simple Anger Management Fail into dude-belongs-in-neoprene-wrap territory.

Any guy has known some woman who was completely and utterly infuriating. But if you let it get to you to the point where you physically harm her, you aren’t much of a man. 

Unfortunately, the nature of criminal law in our self-destructive society being what it is, this goon is going to be let out of prison, sooner rather than later.

What’s the over-under on the probability he’ll commit a violent crime again? Whatever it is, we’ll take the over.

Israeli Defense Forces CT Operation

For the Israel Defense Forces, CT never stops. Here’s a story straight from the IDF, about the Lotar CT unit.

Naturally, it’s a filtered recounting, but it’s interesting to see what friendly foreign forces are up to. (And, against the global jihad, everybody fighting it is a friendly foreign force).

At 16:00, eight terrorists infiltrated the village of Naham and went on two killing sprees. A team of soldiers from the Duvdevan unit were the first to respond. After exchanging fire twice, the terrorists fled to a nearby building and took 15 civilians hostage. The soldiers killed two terrorists before they entered the building. In exchange for the hostages, the terrorists demanded the exchange of 426 prisoners before 00:30.

Duvdevan maintained their observation posts around the building and snipers fanned out to cover it from all angles. Nearby, two Lotar assault teams prepared to breach the building.

Snipers are often thought of as primarily shooters. But that’s not how military and CT planners think of them. We know they’re precise sources of combat intelligence, sensors that collect unfiltered ground truth. Their observation and intelligence collection abilities are why we raise, train and employ them — their ability to deliver precision fire is a welcome bonus. This operation illustrates that pretty clearly.

In a hostage crisis, information is the most vital resource there is. You need to know the layout of the building, how many terrorists are inside, where they’re located, and what weapons they’re using. The town hall sent the building blueprints, and IDF intelligence teams were searching through pictures and videos to find where the doors, windows, and other entrances are located.

Intel began to arrive. Snipers saw a terrorist playing with wires on the third floor. The hallway was open to the outside, like a balcony. The building had both a ground floor entrance and an entrance to the second floor.

By 23:00, the two Lotar assault teams had divided the responsibilities.

Do Read The Whole Thing™. to see what happened next.  We will spill one spoiler, though: this realistic-sounding operation was a training exercise for the Lotar and Duvdevan units. Given its complexity, it sounds like a certification or a course culmination exercise, much like we’d do to certify a bunch of new guys.

It was actually the Israelis who first taught us not to take terrorist prisoners, “because the [censored]s just inspire more hostage taking.” Instead, you ID ’em and give ’em two in the hat. The canoe across the River Styx, as it were. Dunno if that’s still Israeli (or American) practice. It should be. All these assclowns play tough guy when interrogated, anyway; you learn more off a dead guy’s PC than you’re going to learn off the live guy, so why bother?

In any event, the article is a rare glimpse into IDF CT training. Enjoy.

(Editor’s note: We know what you’re thinking. Where’s the Civil War Sharpshooters article? Hung up in the writing. It’ll be published when it’s good. Sorry ’bout that. -Ed.)

Kyle Defoor’s Range Gun “Inventory”

For the last week-plus, top instructor Kyle Defoor has been posting his “inventory” on his Instagram account, one a day. Our Traveling Reporter, a Defoor trainee and admirer, if not outright fan, has been linking them to us, one a day, and we’ve been waiting to assemble them and give you a single overview. Here it is; this is what’s in a single top instructor’s battery these days.

His training battery comprises eight guns, some used frequently and some for special purposes. There are four ARs (all BCM, which he endorses), two Glocks, one bolt rifle (Remington 700), and one DA/SA pistol (SIG 229 Elite). For each one, he painstakingly records the details down to the scope mount and slings and holsters, and he answers some reader questions, so for any gun that interests you, go to the linked Instagram page.

The AR Rifles

They’re all from BCM, with whom Defoor is in a committed relationship, as they say. BCM also provides the iron sights for those rifles that have ’em, and Viking Tactics (VTAC) the slings. There are a selection of calibers and lengths for specific purposes.

The most-used AR is this 11.5″ 5.56 mm Short Barrel Rifle (SBR), which is used 18-20 weeks a year for both military and civilian contracts.

The accessories include interchangeable red-dot and scope optics in Bobro mounts (Aimpoint Micro T1 and US Optics SR4-C respectively), the Streamlight Protac Rail 1 with an Arisaka Defense light mount, and a Gemtech flashhider for use with the G5T. The US Optics scope is their short-range 1-4 variable, which is presently off the market as the company overhauls its short-range line; its nearest military issue equivalent is the Elcan Spectre DR, which is not continuously variable. The SR4-C is an ingenious design, with a mil reticle (several options) on the first focal plane, which keeps the mils accurate with magnification, and a 4-moa red dot on the second focal plane. (There is an excellent five-part review of this scope at the Austin Police Marksmanship Team blog. Begin with Part 2 if you’re in a hurry; Part 1 is the justification for using a scope on a patrol carbine. Then click the left arrow to read subsequent parts).

Used 18-20 weeks a year for military contractcs and for some civilian carbine classes. My scope and Aimpoint share the same mounting slot on my top rail for ease of switching depending on what the customer wants.

Note that this is the baseline AR of a pro, and it’s run on an XM177-length barrel, probably suppressed more often than not. That’s a reflection of what’s happening in special operations units, not just in the US military, but worldwide.

Here’s a longer-barreled 5.56 AR used about 6 weeks a year for military and civilian scoped rifle classes. The barrel is 16″ stainless steel with 1/8 twist rifling and a mid-length gas system. The scope is a US Optics variable 1.8-10 power in a Bobro mount.

The Gemtech suppressor he uses with this rifle is the G5T; the rest of the accessories are the same as his other ARs.

Here’s a baseline .300 Blackout gun.  It’s got a 9″ button-rifled barrel. This one is used a few times a year for “specialized military contracts,” and is set up with a Gemtech flash hider for The One silencer.

What seems to be “the usual” KD4 accessories: BCM flip-up sights; VTAC Sling;  Aimpoint Micro T1 on a Bobro Mount; Streamlight Protac Rail 1 with an Arisaka Defense light mount. One thing this carbine has got that the others haven’t is a cleaning rod secured to the rail with zip ties.

And finally, this one’s just for hunting. It’s a 16″ .300 Blackout rifle with a 1/8 button-rifled stainless barrel, and has similar accessories to the other ARs.

The scope is the US Optics variable 1-4 power Dual Focal Plane on (what else?) Bobro. Kyle says he uses it to take deer, coyote and wild boar.

The Precision Rifle

This rifle is a modified Remington 700 with a 7.62mm NATO 20″ 1/10 heavy barrel, threaded for use with the Gemtech Sandstorm suppressor.

The mods/accessories include: a KRG stock and bolt lift; VTAC Sling; US Optics 1.8-10 variable power scope, with the Horus H25 reticle, mounted in Badger rings; and the ubiquitous bipod from Harris Engineering. Defoor uses it for military contracts 4 weeks a year.

I can’t express how happy I am with the KRG stock. It makes a stock 700 about .5 MOA tighter throughout the spectrum of the caliber compared to an OEM buttstock and is LIGHT! The weight thing matters when I’m humping long distances for FTX’s and evals. Additionally, KRG has accessories that are smart, lightweight, easy to install, don’t cost an arm and a leg and work WELL! This is expected from KRG since their owner is a mil snipe with experience like myself. I have no affiliation with KRG but if you’re in the market for anything bolt gun you should give them a look before they take off and get super busy,

Listen up to that recommendation, precision shooters: Defoor has a pretty good track record at flagging the Next Cool Thing before it gets cool.

The Pistols

The fundamental pistol of Defoor’s battery is the G4 Glock 19.

His regular carry gun is used for almost all classes, and apart from his own sights and his (Raven Eidolon) or Safariland holster, the only thing not stock Glock is the barrel, a KKM.

I’ve been using match barrels in Glock pistols for over 10 years now. I started using KKM’s somewhere around 2010 or 11 — long before it become the popular barrel of choice it is now. I also used Wilson combat match barrels for Glocks back when you had to fit them. I prefer hand fitting a barrel because I can make it even more accurate.

But he recommends you be in no rush to replace the barrel:

I tell everyone my opinion is to shoot the Glock pistol stock and wait to get a match barrel when you notice groups starting to open up a bit. In my experience this happen somewhere between 80 and 100,000 rounds.

In case you were wondering why Tier 1 units that shoot obsessively day in and day out went to the Glock, a lot of the answer is packed into that paragraph above. He also points out that the match barrel is match, not magic:

A match barrel will not help you magically shoot better all of the sudden. All it does is hone good fundamentals a little more. The average difference that I have measured over tens of thousands of shooters between a stock barrel and a match barrel at 25 yards on an NRA B-8 bull is somewhere between 3-4 points or around an inch tighter- both of these metrics are with a 10 round group from the standing unsupported position.

For about four weeks a year, for certain military contracts, he uses this older G2 G19, set up with a very unusual sight: an Aimpoint Micro on a Raven Concealment Balor mount. This one has had fewer rounds through it and still has a Glock barrel.

Sometimes he’ll just mount this slide on a G19 frame that allows a weaponlight or weapon laser. Same holsters; but he has some interesting observations on the Aimpoint vs. the more common pistol red dot, the Trijicon RMR.

If you want to go the route of a red dot on a pistol using an Aimpoint Micro will give you faster results in performance than an RMR. This is due to the Aimpoint being a tube and an RMR being a flat plane red dot. I’ve had great success and starting people off with a set up like this and then transitioning them to an RMR later.

I’ve assembled dozens of guns like this one for people who are older and whose eyesight just does not allow them to shoot irons affectively anymore — it’s amazing to see the reaction of people when they can shoot and perform the way they did 40 or 50 years ago. The Micro is definitely harder to conceal and will require some adjustments of clothing and belt type, along with a quality holster like mine. Safari land 6000 series holsters can be easily modified with a Dremel to hold this set up and still maintain retention. There are multiple reasons for MIL/LE to use this setup, although I recommend to all of our clients to issue two slides; one setup like this and one with traditional sights.

Sounds like we need one of these, or a trip back to the eye surgeon. (May not be an option. Our guy, the brilliant Dr Jack Daubert of West Palm Beach, has unfortunately had to retire).

Finally, there’s the SIG 229 Elite, which is used with organizations that use SIGs, or other DA/SA guns rather than striker-fired, and that don’t have a loaner gun for Defoor to use himself while conducting training.

Nothing magical here, just a pistol. About the only unusual thing here is that he got Raven to make him a one-off holster for the gun.

I also will sometimes use this when I’m training units that shoot a Berretta 92 when they can’t supply me with one (I don’t own a 92).

And that wraps up one instructor’s training and defensive battery. Instead of having many guns (either in quantity or in battery) he has stuck to basic platforms, and plowed his efforts into training instead. There’s a lesson in that if we want to pick up on it.

Update

This post has been corrected. Kyle’s main go-to Glock 19 is a G4, not a G3 as we erroneously reported. We regret the error. -Ed.

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2017 Week 02

As we all know from Junior High French, Tour d’Horizon means Hognose has too many stories in his open tabs at the end of the week. What do you expect? It’s Friday the 13th!

Guns

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

Yeah, This is a Curio and Relic this Year

It’s a 1967 Colt AR-15 Sporter SP1, serial number SP09088, which by the number was made in 1967, and is therefore C&R eligible this year.

Rock Island Auctions, which includes this rifle in its 10,000 gun mega-auction in February, explains:

Did you know that per the ATF, “Firearms automatically attain Curio & Relic status when they are 50 years old”? Did you also know that the earliest AR rifles were made in the mid-1960s? Meaning that, if you have your C&R license, you could have guns like this Colt AR-15 shipped right to you. The one shown here will turn 50 later this year.

One more thing for Gun Ban Barbie and her gang to flip their lids over (to use some slang of similar vintage).

Gun Porn: M1A1 Thompson

There’s a decent if brief article at Recoil by the aptly named Jamie Slaughter, covering the wartime M1A1 Thompson, and in true Recoil tradition it’s got some lovely photographs.

The lines of the TSMG were so lovely that even the bowdlerized wartime model still looks gorgeous, like a movie star at the gym. It was also remarkably ergonomic for its day.

It reminds us, we’ve been meaning to write up our Kahr M1A1 SBR: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Remington RP9

Well, this is Remington’s big gun for 2017: a 9mm service pistol. (Its grip is sized so that .40 and .45 versions are possible; only the .45 has been announced). The .45 will have a 15-round magazine; with the 9 you have 18 rounds in the mag.

We dunno about you, but if we can’t kill it with 18 rounds (let alone 36), we’ve got no plans to start a fight with it. Is anybody going to load this up with 18 and the extra round in the chamber?

Yeah. Probably. We know our people.

 

It has a light rail, trigger safety, ambi slide stop and reversible mag release, and a loaded chamber indicator (the extractor, right side only). One clever feature is a sort of flat on the forward surface of the rear sight, to allow the slide to be racked one-handed if necessary.

The RP9 and RP45 is made in Remington’s new Huntsville, Alabama plant (for which Huntsville can thank Andrew Cuomo). And it’s very aggressively priced, at $489 List, which makes it competitive with anything out there, even Glock LEO pricing.

It is a Glock-alike in many ways, a striker-fired pistol with a polymer frame, but the slide runs less on the frame and more on a steel chassis inside, which is the serialized part.

That makes it a bit like the SIG 320, except there’s no interchangeable frames (there are interchangeable grip swells, which are becoming standard these days). The pistol is very simple, with a low parts count and extensive use of rapid and cheap manufacturing technology (which is how they get to $489).

There is no need to pull the trigger for disassembly, which means cops will have to try harder to shoot themselves with this firearm. (That same 5% who never get the word will still manage it).

Gun Stocks update

Pre-Election closings: RGR 64.40, SWHC 28.45, VSTO 38.94.  [8 Nov 16]
-8 week’s closings: RGR 53.20, SWHC 24.13, VSTO 40.02. [18 Nov 16]
-7 week’s closings: RGR 52.50, SWHC 23.82, VSTO 41.05. [25 Nov 16] [short trading day and week]
-6 week’s closings: RGR 50.25, SWHC 21.10, VSTO 39.66. [2 Dec 16]
-5 week’s closings: RGR 51.90, SWHC 21.07, VSTO 38.62. [9 Dec 16]
-4 week’s closings: RGR 53.45, SWHC 21.59, VSTO 36.81. [16 Dec 16]
-3 week’s closings: RGR 54.05, SWHC 22.11, VSTO 38.02. [23 Dec 16]
-2 week’s closings: RGR 52.70, SWHC 21.08, VSTO 36.90. [30 Dec 16] (this was the final close for SWHC, which renamed itself AOBC).
Last week’s closings: RGR 54.15, AOBC (ex-SWHC) 21.00, VSTO 38.08. [6 Jan 17]

This week’s closings: RGR 51.35, AOBC 20.60, VSTO 28.70. [13 Jan 17]

Red means “lower than the previous week.” Everybody’s lower, but Vista Outdoor really got shelled. Why? Vista crashed on opening Thursday, down over 25% after being pretty stable. What happened is that “a softening retail environment and increased promotional activity” in one of Vista’s several business units requires them to take a charge to the intangible value item called “Goodwill” on the balance sheet. (It’s explained in more detail here, but “softening retail market” means “sales are down,” and “increased promotional activity” means “each sale is costing us more”). The interesting thing is that this charge is not in the Firearms and Ammunition part of the business, but in the segment that produces shooting and archery accessories. But it’s such a big charge that it’s going to turn a nice quarterly profit into a disastrous ($300 million plus) loss. Vista doesn’t think they’ll have a similar problem with gun and ammo sales, but they haven’t done that arithmetic yet, so the Street has run screaming to other opportunities.

Disclaimer: Your Humble Blogger holds RGR, bought at about 56.40 on 9 Nov 16. It bottomed in the 40s later that day. We still think it has longterm growth potential, and we like the dividend, but we’ve lost (on paper) thousands of dollars.

Gun Poly-Ticks

Pro-Gun Bills in Congress

A number of bills are moving in Congress. The ones that have some odds of passage are progun. The two we’re watching most closely are national reciprocity, and limited NFA reform. This is the best chance we’ve had in many years to get these legislative priorities. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has vowed to kill them in the Senate, but he may not have the votes.

Close the ATF? Let’s Think First

Another legislative bombshell would eliminate the ATF. Frankly, the Bureau has it coming after the ATF’s Thomas F. Brandon campaigned for gun control and Hillary! last fall, not to mention its history of scandal, but we might want to think this over a little more.

If you close the ATF, what happens to the problem children? You have to do something with the SES managers and SACs that produced the Gunwalker program, including but not limited to the Fast & Furious scheme to arm the Sinaloa cartel as (1) a counterweight to Los Zetas, and (2) to promote domestic gun control. Under the proposed bill, they all chop over to the FBI. Does anybody think he FBI wants Thomas Brandon? Dave Voth?

It also seems like it’s punitive to the line special agents. Many in the gun culture think ATF does nothing but infiltrate the Hells’ Angels and try to entrap suburban dads into NFA violations. We get the ATF press releases every Friday, and not only are they fighting against the real scourge of gun shop burglaries, they’re also putting away a lot of gang members and career criminals who, frankly, need to be put away. Most of your regular ATF agents are plain old 1811 Criminal Investigators, who want to investigate crimes, not manufacture them.

The FBI also has been playing partisan political police, lately, and displeasing members of both parties. Aggrandizing the FBI doesn’t seem wise.

Frankly, a better move for Congress would be to retain the ATF, but compel greater transparency, and strip it of some of the regulatory authority that it has abused. In effect, put the ATF under a consent decree.

The Dog That Has Not Barked: ITAR

Nothing has been said yet about yanking the State Department’s ITAR chain. It’s a chain that needs to be yanked, for sure, but again the underlying problem is one of Congress delegating legislative authority to power-crazed, unaccountable bureaucrats.

Usage and Employment

 The hardware takes you only half way. We got nothin’ this week, just because we’re running late. 

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.

Chicago Record Adjustments?

We saw a site today — didn’t grab the link — that said the final box score for 2016 was 816, per the medical examiner. That probably counts the justifiables, though, which would almost square it with HeyJackass.com’s 796. Also, either Jackass or Second City Cop noted a program at University of Chicago for the admissions office to pay students up to $500 to come up with good lies about how safe the city is, because it’s starting to cost them top candidates.

Criminals and Child Welfare Authorities

We recently told the story of Sara Packer, who with her boyfriend was charged with murdering and dismembering her adopted daughter, Grace. Packer mère was a former adoption official. There were many horrifying details. But more horrifying details have emerged, including the fact that Sara Packer’s former husband went to prison for, inter alia, raping an underage Grace, and that 30 kids passed through their home as fosters. And that all this happened while they “led a transient life.”

Yeah, those are the people in charge of judging your parenting, America.

Sumdood did Whaaaat?

Lord love a duck. This creep, one Joey Kennedy, set a cop on fire, which is just par for the Black Criminals’ Lives Matter course, but he really overstepped it… he set the K9 on fire, too.

http://bluelivesmatter.blue/tampa-police-officer-t…

The cop and the K9 are going to be OK. The perp may also recover, unfortunately. (The cop, understandably, lit him up — no pun intended). He has a trifecta record: violent, property, and sex crimes (including child rape). Why was he even out?

And is there any member of the extended (very extended?) Kennedy clan that doesn’t wind up in a cell sooner or later?

The Perils of Kathleen: When the Chick is Gone and All You Got Left is the Bills…

We’re giving Korrupt Kathleen a week off. It’s too depressing to look her up. Well, we will note that her last legal bill cost the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania a tidy $1.435 million. The outgoing placeholder acting-jack AG got the lawyers to knock off almost $400k from their initial bill, which was almost $2 million. For a diversion attempt, as she faced a photo finish with a grand jury (which she lost).  And the saga continues.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields. 

Tomorrow

Your choice. Do you guys want to see a brief explanation of what “Civil War Sharpshooters” were, or a breakdown of the “Intelligence Disciplines” (all the “INTs”), building on Friday’s 17 Intel Agencies post? Pick one, in the comments. Or we’ll pick it for you.

Veterans’ Issues

Is it time to o disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™?

Exchanges to Sell Online to Vets

 

Right now, to use the military exchanges, you need to be eligible. The services have defined that as active, reserve, or retired. (And there are some provisos and oddities). But until 2017 veterans who are not retired, your typical one-tour-and-home honorably-discharged vets, haven’t had exchange access.

The good: the online exchange services will be open to all of you one-tour wonders like they are to us knuckle-dragging lifers.

The bad: not until Veterans Day (11 November 17!), because it’s going to take them that long to make eligibility work. And vets who got out pre-1981 might have to jump through some hoops to get their service recognized, as that’s the event horizon of the computerized records.

The ugly: we can’t imagine why anybody with acccess to the really real economy would want to shop at the exchanges. But they think they have incredible bargains. (Actually, the exchanges are exempt from state taxes, so if you live in a high-tax jurisdiction like 9.5% Missouri or send-us-your-firstborn-male-child New Jersey you might actually save.

Story here. Exchange website here.

NBC New York: Shootings Caused by Veterans!

You can read this indignant article at Mediaite, but the guy is railing about one of those lists that media drones have the unpaid intern put together, listing every crime committed by a tickin-time-bomb veteran. As if being a veteran is why they did it, and not, say, being nuts, or being mohammedan (but we repeat ourselves).

The implication that military service somehow causes mass shootings is even worse considering most of the veterans listed had known motivations entirely devoid of their military background.Micah Johnson was a black militant who believed in race war, Wade Michael Page was a white supremacist who wanted the same. Nidal Hassan… hmm, the timeline forgot to list his motive. Guess it was workplace violence.

Yeah, we’re all ticking time bombs.

Funny how the white racist and the black racist wind up in exactly the same place, shooting folks to cause a race war. That was what Charles Manson was trying to do, too, although his gang was more stabbing than shooting. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

Vets Helping Vets

A few of you know Tilt Meyer. Some others might at least know his articles and books. John Stryker Meyer ran recon and was a Covey Rider in SOG. Then he wrote about the experience. But he remains pretty active today helping vets, and a San Diego paper did a pretty decent article about him. We really ought to give it more of a write-up here, but at least this is something, and you can always go to the link.

Lord Love a Duck! ALL NEW

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.

This is Your Doctor on Overconfidence

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which also wants to ban guns, got peanut allergies completely wrong. Best thing to do is give at-risk kids some nut products in infancy, when their immune system is developing. The absence of the stimulus leads later to allergy, and then it’s too late.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/well/family/par…

Do these barbers have any more advice for us?

What Shall We Review in 2017?

Hmmm… It’s time to think about the coming year’s movie reviews. Yep, we plan to keep doing them.

Well, we’re going to watch movies anyway, and going to write anyway, so why not write about the movies we watch?

We’ve broken down the list into three parts, 2016 movies we still haven’t seen, 2016 movies we’ve seen but haven’t reviewed, and expected movies for 2017 that may be of interest to us and to the readers.

Some of you are better connected to the entertainment industry, and might have better visibility on other films, including great foreign films, that we might have missed, so we’re depending on you to vetor  us to those targets.

Still not seen from 2016

  • Patriots Day
  • Silence
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Miss Sloane

What are we missing, from that list? Most of these we haven’t seen because, frankly, we don’t expect much of them.

Seen and review not published yet

  • Star Wars: Rogue One
  • The Last King (just saw it, so possibly this weekend)
  • John Wick (yeah, it’s older, but we did watch it in ’16, finally)

Coming in 2017

(early ones are definite releases, the further down the list the less certain at this point)

  • Railroad Tigers – 6 Jan, Chinese (Jackie Chan)
  • John Wick Chapter 2 — 10 Feb  His dog lives this time.
  • The Great Wall — 17 February
  • Kong: Skull Island 10 Mar 2017 set in 70s, lots of Hueys.
  • World War Z 2 – -9 July
  • War for the Planet of the Apes — opening 14 July — war between humans and enhanced primates.
  • Ghost Army — date not set — on WWII deception, Bradley Cooper stars and co-produces.
  • Dunkirk — opening 21 July, it looks like a war pic in the tradition of Battle of Britain or The Longest Day.
  • The Dark Tower – 28 July Elba and McConaghey
  • It — 8 September. 1991 King horror series gets the Girlbusters treatment
  • Blade Runner 2049 — 6th October — it has big shoes to fill
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle — 6 October —
  • Thor: Ragnarok — 3 November — Borderline likely to see this. The Blogbrother loves him some comic book movies, but they basically leave Your Humble Blogger cold.
  • Star Wars Episode VIII — 15 December — well, that gives is a drop-dead deadline to get the Rogue One review done, doesn’t it?
  • Pegasus Bridge — no date — We have long said this WWII D-Day operation deserves a feature film.
  • Ghost Army — no date — on WWII deception, Bradley Cooper stars and co-produces. Success, or a botch like The Monument Men? 
  • The Ottoman Lieutenant  — no details available.
  • Darkest Hour — no date, no details except Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill
  • Redeployment — no date — word is that this is a 2005-style “troops as monsters/victims” screed, just in time for the return of a Republican administration.
  • The Fate of the Furious — Fast and the Furious with even more crime and impossible driving, which will cause even more criminals to splat in stolen cars.

Fortunately, there’s a century of old classics to fall back on.

Please use the comments to suggest any good review targets.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Commuter Rail

How many more, Mister Speaker? How many more must suffer before this bloody scourge is brought to an end?

Item: Philadelphia, 4 January.

The crash involving the Route 10 trolleys happened about 1 p.m. near 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue, SEPTA said.

Both trolleys were traveling west toward 63rd Street and Malvern Avenue and one rear-ended the other.

The transit agency said 46 people – the two trolley operators and 44 passengers – were hurt in the crash. None of the injuries were believed to be life-threatening. They were taken to Hahnemann University Hospital for treatment.

What will happen? One thing’s for sure, no consequences will befall the good union member who motored his or her trolley into the one parked ahead. Consequences are for the commoners — like the poor throgs in the trains.

Item: New York, 4 January

A Long Island Rail Road commuter train crashed at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, New York, this morning, injuring 103 passengers, officials said.

The worst injury is believed to be a broken leg, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference this morning.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said none of the injuries were life threatening.

According to a representative for the New York Fire Department, “One of the rails actually pierced the bottom of the train … We are fortunate we didn’t have more serious injuries.”

Cuomo said the train hit the track’s bumping block. “When it hit the block, the block knocked it off the tracks,” he said. “It was a train that didn’t stop when it was supposed to [and] hit the block at a fairly low rate of speed.”

“As a result of the impact, the lead wheel assembly derailed, as did one additional axle,” the MTA said in a statement.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Passenger Aaron Neufeld told ABC News, “It didn’t seem like we were going unusually fast … I don’t think it was anything out of the norm.” He described the impact as a “substantial jolt.” He said he was thrown against the seat in front of him.

A different passenger told New York ABC station WABC that after she heard a big thump, the scene was total pandemonium, with passengers falling on top of others, screaming and crying.

Hey, but they’re only injured, right?

Item: National Death Toll, as of 4 January

The deadly September incident was one of five fatal commuter train crashes to occur in the tri-state, and Pennsylvania, since 2013.

Country-wide, more than 70 people have been killed in commuter train crashes since 2000, including about 20 in the northeast.

And this doesn’t even count all the poor wretches whose drunken driving on the train tracks, or narcotic slumber upon same, was tragically and permanently interrupted by a speeding commuter rail juggernaut.

We need some common sense train restrictions. First, who needs a deadly assault train with over 100 passengers to be injured? Andrew Cuomo ought to restrict the trains to only seven passengers. If it saves only one life, it’s worth it!

What 17 Intelligence Agencies?

If you’ve heard all the drama about “17 Intelligence Agencies” recently, you might have wondered 1. who the hell all those agencies are, and, 2. why do we need so many?

Unfortunately, we can’t answer the second question. But we’ll take a shot at the first.

The current, highly dysfunctional and ineffective structure of the intelligence community was a result of a re-organization after the 9/11 Commission found that interagency rivalry and stove-piping prevented unity of command and efficiency in the IC. So they created several new agencies, including “One Ring to Rule Them All,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which duplicated the primary function of the Director of Central Intelligence. They also created the duplicative Department of Homeland Security.

So, Congress’s response to too much bureaucracy in intelligence was to create two more enormous, empire-building, and completely non-operational bureaucracies. That bid against each other, raising the prices of credentialed and cleared personnel in the National Capital Area, and have 17 independent, redundant and leaky massive overhead bureaucracies. None of the overhead — the great bulk of the personnel and costs of these agencies — does a thing to secure an adversary’s secret or protect a friendly one. Feeling safer, yet?

So, the ODNI (website here) is one of the agencies. Here’s how ODNI presents what it sees as the subordinate 16 (not all the agencies are subordinated willingly):

That’s a really illogical way to do it, and we have no idea why they listed them like that. Wait… duh. They’re in alphabetical order. OK, let’s break it down functionally and historically for you. With ODNI accounted for, we have 1 down and 16 to go.

First, we have Cabinet Departments that want to horn in on intelligence. DOE was formerly involved in nuclear intelligence, because it’s involved in nuclear everything. State contains the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which has always been an attempt to duplicate CIA capability in Foggy Bottom, and has a long history free of significant attainments. Treasury wants to play the-spy-as-auditor. And DHS has already been mentioned. Treasury and DHS do have some agencies with intelligence capabilities, mostly domestic. This accounts for 4 more of the agencies: 5 down and 11 to go.

There are the service intelligence bureaucracies, five of them (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard), plus the long-standing DIA which is mostly another duplicative analysis shop, but does run some military HUMINT and CI projects. This happens because the main HUMINT agency has dropped the ball on HUMINT and is unresponsive to military tasking. 10 down and 6 to go.

Then, we have the flatfeet. These agencies are primarily crim catchers, but DEA gets intel (mostly by liaison) about transnational drug traffic that often has other intelligence implications, and FBI has internal security and national security responsibilities — they’re supposed to be our prime spy catchers. These 2 chiefly-crimefighting crowds bring us to 12 down and 4 to go.

The four that remain are what you probably think of when you think of US intelligence. They are divided along functional lines of intelligence disciplines (the “INTs”).

  1. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) runs HUMINT (as well as an organization that institutionally hates to leave the flagpole can), runs any collection it can, and runs a comprehensive all-source analysis shop. It has some paramilitary “regime change” capability, first developed early in the Cold War but now waxes and wanes because many politicians have turned against it.
  2. The National Security Agency (NSA) runs most electronic and technical intelligence collection and analysis, using swarms of military personnel as its foot soldiers (think Bradley Manning). Its Central Security Service branch is also responsible for securing American codes and ciphers. Like CIA, it was established by the National Security Act of 1947.
  3. The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), in conjunction with the Air Force Space Command and other intelligence agencies, manages intelligence collection via overhead platforms. Until the last couple of decades, its very existence and everything it did was classified.
  4. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) is a textbook example of bureaucracy creep. Like the NRO, the NGA’s intelligence work is kept mostly secret for good reasons. It also has overt and public responsibilities; it used to be the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), before that it was the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA), and before that it was the very prosaic Army Map Service. Along with its secret responsibilities (many of the agency’s personnel and contractors got a well-deserved attaboy for the OBL raid), the NGA also makes our maps and charts, both paper and digital. (Having used stuff from all round the world, our digital stuff can be incredibly awesome, but the Russians make the best paper maps by far).

That brings us to 16 agencies plus ODNI. Now, frequently you will see some Beltway drone or chinless broadsheet bloviator talking about what “17 intelligence agencies” (or “16” if the berk leaves off the DNI) did or didn’t do, and that should act as a handy tag, like the ones that Tracking Point puts on a target, but a kind of photographic negative version — a marker that that guy is so stupid he’s not worth shooting and/or so dishonest that he’s not worth listening to. When you hear “17 intelligence agencies” all you need to understand is “ODNI Opinion” which generally means something coming from the top down. From the political appointees and the career officers who suck up to them.

“The last piece of the puzzle before we can execute this mission will be the ODNI analysis,” said no one operational, not in any of the “17 agencies” nor military services. We can guarantee you that. ODNI is entirely a Beltway political knob-polisher and brings nothing to the the intelligence community but more headcount (and a concomitant lowering of the entry bar and product quality). They do, however, have a lot of really flashy document formats, logos, and slide deck templates.

This may be because they have learned what leaks best to their journalism pals.

Most of actual production of useful and actionable intelligence is done by individuals and very small teams, usually working for a single agency, often taking the sort of risks that ensure that they, ultimately, won’t be promoted, and the teeming HQ credit-thieves will.

Our bloated, blind, and Beltway-bound intelligence community is mostly in the wrong place. Intelligence is, mostly, foreign information, but we insist on gathering it and analyzing it from DC desks.

Fun facts:

  • the majority of our intelligence analysts have never been to the countries or regions on which they’re supposedly experts.
  • Perhaps 5 or 10% are functional in the languages of their target area. Professional fluency is vanishingly rare, and usually rests on immigrants and first-generation Americans.
  • Many analysts have never been outside the First World.
  • Another large percentage of them, who have been to the area, were on an escorted 7-capitals-in-11-days tour.
  • You can rise to the Senior Executive Service level in any of the agencies without ever having to move from your Maryland or NoVA suburb.

And yeah, we’re worse off in intelligence than we were on 11 September, 2001, despite producing vastly more output (and leaking it, to the press and adverse intelligence agencies, but we repeat ourselves). Because we didn’t solve the bureaucracy problem, we exacerbated it. And we blew billions — and continue to blow billions — on the project.

Which is increasingly a government jobs program — the WPA for liberal arts graduates. Except, we’re still using some of the useful bridges and town halls the WPA built.

(Note: with this post, we’ve added a new category, which we seldom do. A lot of previous writing on Intelligence and Espionage has been characterized as Unconventional Warfare, but they’re not the same thing. For practical reasons, we’re probably not going to go back in five years’ of archives reassigning the new I&E label, but we’ll use it going forward. -Ed.)

What’s an Original 1911 Worth?

Well, this one didn’t draw a bid… even for a penny.

And a penny bid would have taken it… it was a no reserve auction.

Obviously, you didn’t see it, and we didn’t see it. And no, they didn’t relist it that way.

We’re guessing that this was an error by the seller, a pretty high-volume FFL.

(The link to the auction is still live at press time. At some point it will go stale).

Had someone bid the cent, he’d either have gotten a gun valued between $1k-2k for $35.01 plus his transfer fee (there was a $35 shipping charge, which is fairly standard), or the seller would have had to plead error, welsh on the sale, and risk getting toxic feedback.

The pistol was a relatively uncommon M1911 (not A1) pistol. The 1911A1 was introduced in 1927, and all the vast quantities of pistols that were made from then to 1945 were A1s. But the original 1911 was the World War I pistol, and some original 1911s — rebuilt several times –served right up to the last days of the .45.

We’re kind of glad this sale didn’t happen… we all like to get a bargain, but who likes to see a seller get ripped off, even due to his own error? We all benefit from a healthy gun-industry economy, including manufacturers, importers, and retailers.

Of course, if someone had snagged the 1911 for very short money, the seller would have had one positive result from it: he’d never, ever make that mistake again.

Powder Pioneer: Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier

Antoine Lavoisier was a reformed lawyer, whose curiosity made him, in some ways, the modern founder of the science of chemistry; and whose patriotism and scientific acumen led him to the leadership of King Louis’ XVI’s powder works in the very peak days of the Bourbon monarchy in France.

In other words, his timing could have been better.

The son of well-to-do, educated parents, he took the law degree as his father wished, but appointment to the privatized firm that collected Louis’s taxes gave him an income of his own and the freedom to pursue chemistry. He is revered today as one of the founding fathers of the science; his book, Traité élémentaire de chimie, was published in 1789 and was the first textbook of the science of chemistry — arguably the first textbook of science, period.

In 1775, the King appointed him as one of France’s Gunpowder Commissioners. Chem Heritage:

In 1775 Lavoisier was appointed a commissioner of the Royal Gunpowder and Saltpeter Administration and took up residence in the Paris Arsenal. There he equipped a fine laboratory, which attracted young chemists from all over Europe to learn about the “Chemical Revolution” then in progress. He meanwhile succeeded in producing more and better gunpowder by increasing the supply and ensuring the purity of the constituents—saltpeter (potassium nitrate), sulfur, and charcoal—as well as by improving the methods of granulating the powder.

Thus, chemistry was bound up with armaments even in its creation. As Michael Freemantle puts it in Gas, Gas, Quick, Boys!:

Gunpowder provides another example of the application of chemistry to warfare. The powder consists of a mixture of charcoal, the chemical element sulfur and one chemical compound – potassium nitrate. Its use in warfare dates back to the introduction of the gun as a weapon in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In fact, gunpowder chemistry also played a role in the birth of modern chemistry as we now know it.

His contributions to chemistry include such fundamentals as the naming of oxygen and hydrogen, and the understanding of how they could be combined to synthesize water, or water split to produce them. And someone had to be the first one to understand and report that the mass of reaction ingredients must equal the mass of reaction products — that someone was Lavoisier.

M Lavoisier and his wife, by French master Henry-Louis David. The scientific apparatus in the portrait is described here.

Putting a state arsenal on a scientific basis using these principles gave France a technological advantage in its longstanding conflicts with its neighbors, especially its cross-Channel nemesis. As mentioned above, improving the purity of the ingredients in the mixture, and adjusting the granulation of the powder, went a long way to improve the power, consistency, and reliability of gunpowder in the later 18th Century. This superior powder, made in the royal arsenals, using Lavoisier’s scientifically improved methods, was shipped in quantity from France to their allies in the endless wars with England, the American revolutionaries.

Unfortunately for Lavoisier, revolution didn’t stay on the far side of the Atlantic. Being in the good graces of the King had just hit its sell-by date, and hit it hard.

The American Chemical Society, as part of an in-depth exploration of the man and his impact, closed with this description of the end of Lavoisier:

Ironically, Lavoisier, the ardent and zealous chemical revolutionary, was caught in the web of intrigue of a political revolution. The TraitÉ was published in 1789, the same year as the storming of the Bastille. A year later, Lavoisier complained that “the state of public affairs in France…has temporarily retarded the progress of science and distracted scientists from the work that is most precious to them.”

Lavoisier, however, could not escape the wrath of Jean-Paul Marat, the adamant revolutionary who began publicly denouncing him in January 1791. During the Reign of Terror, arrest orders were issued for all of the Ferme Générale, including Lavoisier. On the morning of May 8, 1794, he was tried and convicted by the Revolutionary Tribunal as a principal in the “conspiracy against the people of France.” He was sent to the guillotine that afternoon. The next day, his friend, the French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange, remarked that “it took them only an instant to cut off that head, and a hundred years may not produce another like it.”

Lavoisier experimenting, draw by his wife (who drew herself into the pictue!)

His wife, who had been a key collaborator,  and many of his friends and fellow scientists would make it through the Terror; the unpleasant Marat, the Heydrich of his time, would not. But that’s another story!

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Chevy Pickups

Of course, the average Chevy pickup driver never kills anybody. But the Rat Fink that takes one street racing just might.

That’s what Alexis Sosa did, last year, along with another guy who was driving a Dodge Charger. Blowing through a red light in the heat of the race, they hit the car driven by a Baptist preacher and his wife, who were killed instantly. And then they ran.

Sosa turned himself in later. The other suspect has not been identified and has not come forward.

A Houston man was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday for his part in a street-racing crash that killed a Baptist minister and his wife last year.Alexis De La Rosa Sosa, 22, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony racing and two counts of failure to stop and render aid in exchange for the sentence.

After he was sentenced, and one of the couple’s adult sons gave a victim impact statement, Sosa turned to the gallery and spoke to dozens of friends and family in court for the sentencing.

“I would like to ask that you forgive me. Since that day God has transformed me,” Sosa told them through a translator. “I ask that you forgive me.”

The couple, who had been married more than 30 years, were killed in northwest Harris County after returning home from visiting a niece and her newborn baby at a local hospital.

The couple’s 2004 BMW was struck by Sosa’s 2006 Chevrolet pickup as he ran a red light while street racing with another vehicle on April 12.

Jesse Estrada, 60, was co-pastor at Iglesia Nuevo Amanecer Bautista and owner of J J & Sons Remodeling. Maria Sabillon, 68, was a retired home caregiver for special needs children.

During the sentencing in state District Judge Catherine Evans’ court, one of the couple’s sons said he forgave Sosa.

“I don’t hate you, I actually pray for you and your family,” Allan Sabillon said from the witness stand. “Because that’s what my parents, and God, would want.”

Allan is a veteran of the Submarine Service. It’s in the nature of things that the victims of crime, and their families, contribute so much more to our nation than the perpetrators, and their families, do.

After the brief hearing, Sabillon and two brothers publicly urged the other driver in the race to turn himself in.

That driver, who was in a dark-colored Dodge Charger, has never been identified.

via Houston man gets 12 years in street-racing crash that killed Baptist minister, wife – Houston Chronicle.

Hey, in 12 years maybe he can learn English. He could be one of the 10% of ex-cons that does get the word. It happens.