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Friday Tour d’Horizon 2015 Week 31

As long-time readers know, Tour d’Horizon is French for Clearing the Tabs. KWe’ll cover the usual subjects: Guns, Usage and Employment, Cops ‘n’ Crims, Unconventional (and current) Warfare, and Lord Love a Duck!


We really wanted to write more about these gun stories. So many guns, so few fingers….

A New Press Release Aggregator:

We prefer link aggregators like The Gun Feed to press release aggregators like Ammoland, but the new, just launched this month, is a good press release aggregator.

Colt Complications

Remember the Colt bankruptcy? It’s bogged down in acrimony between the bondholders and the hedge-fund owner-managers, who are trying to hang on to the company despite having managed it into the ground.

In this Hartford Courant article — which quotes from Bloomberg’s Paul Barrett without naming him, something we hope we haven’t done in our coverage of this mess — we get the latest news: the UAW (which is not just the union representing Colt workers, but also a minority owner) has asked the State of Connecticut to bail out the company. Problem is, Connecticut has done that three or four times before — and lost their money every time.

Sheriff Jim Wilson likes Custom Guns

Here’s the key reason why, in his own words:

A truly custom handgun—any handgun, not just the 1911—is built from only the best parts and those parts are hand-fitted. Quality parts and hand fitting costs money. What you get for your money is an accurate, reliable pistol that will last virtually forever

In our view, factory guns are pretty good, better than most shooters can maximize (we too), but customization can make the gun fit you better — physically, psychologically and operationally. For instance, we like tritium sights in a pistol, Vickers extended releases in Glocks, etc. But we kind of like the 1911 the way it was first issued to the horse cavalry.

Too Pretty for Words

We really want to do a story on Austrian gunsmith Peter Hofer’s incredible sporting guns, but, well, just go there and look at the pictures. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it: base prices begin around $115k, and record price recently is $2.2 million. 

A Couple of Ultralights

Oleg Volk is always interesting, but he’s been on fire lately. Here he’s promoting MAG Tactical’s ultralight (4.5 lb. with a micro optic) AIR15. Gun manufacturer link here. If that’s not light enough for you, how about a kid-friendly 3-pound Volquartsen custom 10-22 clone with Blackhawk! Axiom stock and carbon fiber barrel?

Naturally, since it’s Oleg, expect perfectly-composed photography and eye-pleasing models (including a reappearance of Maria Butina, whose appearance some of you hard-asses were critical of in the Russian reform story) handling firearms safely.

How Long Does a Service Rifle Last?

We all know the answer: pretty much indefinitely, with care (we shoot lots of century-old guns here).  But Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons explains why they last so long, even if neglected, in a short White Paper for ARES (.pdf).

No, TrackingPoint Rifles Haven’t Been Hacked

Despite what you may read on the net. If someone turns the Wi-Fi on and leaves it wide open, then people can get in and might be able to compromise the system (internally, it’s a Linux box), and then he might be able to screw with the system. He can’t load or fire the rifle, though.

CandRsenal Gunsight Views

We think we’ve mentioned these before — CandRsenal is a great site — but this story at warhistoryonline led us to their gunsight views of historic firearms. Very cool stuff.


There’ll Always be an England

Just when we start thinking there are people in England who know something about guns, there’s a post like this with the misleading title, Brit GUN NUT builds WORKING SNIPER RIFLE at home out of scrap metal!

Actually, a guy found a neglected but bog-standard Lee-Enfield action and had a gunsmith assemble a barrel to it, and then added the furniture and some other parts. Being Britain, they got the barrel mounting of a firearm that was the British service rifle for much of the 20th Century wrong.

Usage and Employment

Firearms as Fashion

Susannah Breslin at Forbes (wasn’t she their reformed-hooker-in-residence) visits a high-end “Guntry Club” and has a look at Gun Culture 2.0. (From her photos, it’s a cool range. We’d consider it if our FL <i>pied-a-terre</i> wasShe also has a story of an experience with Gun culture 1.0 that ought to make your skin crawl. Dudes, a lady that walks into your store is a customer. But what are we saying? Scads of gun shops treat their male customers crappy too, just not by creepily hitting on them.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

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

Did You Hear The One About the ATF SES….

No, not the dude that had a glory hole in his New Orleans hotel room. (What, ATF hired Ivancev…?) Seriously, this is a new guy, Scott Sweetow, and he got frogmarched out of HQ last month for involvement in a “data breach,” further unspecified. No matter what he did, nothing’s going to happen to him: it’s ATF.

About the Cleveland Cop charged with murder

We haven’t had time to look at the tape, or read any of the documents, so we’ll reserve judgment. We generally take a dim view of cops shooting at cars, even though 99.9999% of them get away with it.

How Not To Complain about your Neighbor’s Drone

That would be, blow it to Kingdom Come. The drone critic was arrested. Suboptimal decision making.

Nonetheless, flying your drone over your neighbors may be legal, but not everything that’s legal is smart. 

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

Movie this Winter: 13 Hours

There’s a movie coming out called 13 Hours that’s about the heroism and sacrifice of a small personnel security detail of 6 men in Benghazi, Libya the night jihadis attacked two United States facilities in the seaport city, one diplomatic and one of an intelligence nature. The short clip we’ve seen (there should be a trailer online now, too) suggests a rocking action film.

Unfortunately, the movie is made by the hack Michael Bay. (“Hack?” Have you seen his Pearl Harbor? Hack). We fear wholesale departures from the survivors’ book the movie’s supposed to be based upon, and either silence or reversal of the political aspects of the film.

Russian Spooks Killed the Guy Russian Spooks Killed

Alexander Litvinenko, dying in hospital. They could do nothing for the victim of ionizing radiation from a "dirty" assassination weapon.

Alexander Litvinenko, dying in hospital. They could do nothing for the victim of ionizing radiation from a “dirty” assassination weapon.

Unless you were under a rock, you know that Russian FSB agents murdered dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London, using an assassination weapon that fired a lethal dose of Polonium-190. Litvinenko suffered in hospital, but there was nothing they could do but provide palliative care.

The Russian agents have now been publicly named. The two nuclear button men were Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, who have been decorated for their role in the murder by Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

The Treaty Making Trouble

It’s not just the State Department trying to stealth-repeal the 1st Amendment with ITAR regulation, cyberdefense has been compromised by an international treaty called the Wassenaar Agreement.

Funny how these treaties always mean unilateral disarmament to those who take them seriouly, and absolute bugger-all to those who do not.

Sudden Jihad Syndrome Isn’t a Novelty

Turns out it’s not such a new thing, but an old one. How old? Well, here’s an incident with a couple of Pathans in Australia — 100 years ago. The Australians didn’t take it lying down, unless by “lying down” you mean “firing from the prone position.”


Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to. (nothing tonight, sorry).

“You Have to Go Out…”

Sure, you have to go out. The flip side of that old Coast Guard saying is: “…you don’t necessarily have to come back.” Rescue Swimmer Darren Harrity went out and came back and did it over and over again to rescue four fishermen whose boat was hard aground in pounding waves. This picture shows it the next day, wrecked along the shore, but the night of the rescue — it’s always at night, isn’t it? — the men were in a lifeboat 250 yards offshore, through pounding waves and treacherous rocks, from dry land.

wrecked fishing boat

The USCG shot video of the rescue.

The Coast Goard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter took off from Coast Guard Station North Bend, about 60 miles north of Cape Blanco on the Pacific. It arrived at the scene fine, and began what seemed at first like a standard rescue, lowering Petty Officer 2nd Class Darren Harrity carefully into the water.

But then something went wrong and they couldn’t get the hoist back up. “A mechanical failure,” Chief Petty Officer David Mosley, a Coast Guard spokesman in Seattle told The Post.

“I think the pilot said, ‘Harrity, you’re going to be doing a lot of swimming tonight,” Harrity told KPTV.

And he did.

He swam 250 yards over to the lifeboat, said Mosley, in five-foot waves, water already slick with fuel, the air thick with fuel.

He got the first man to leave the life raft, grabbed him with one arm, and with the other and the aid of his fins, swam 250 yards back to shore.

Commercial fishing is one of the most hazardous jobs in the USA, maybe the world. It would be more hazardous yet if it wasn’t for Harrity and men like him.

And while it’s nice to have all the high-speed, low-drag gear, it’s still only stuff. And stuff breaks. When stuff breaks, unbreakable people take up the slack.

Then he swam back to the lifeboat, another 250 yards, grabbed the second fisherman and hauled him back to shore.

Then it was back to the lifeboat, another 250 yards, and back to shore with the third man. Then he returned to the lifeboat, yet another 250 yards to get the fourth fisherman, and safely returned him to shore.

Only then did he stop swimming.

“It was just me and my muscles and that’s it,” Harrity told the TV station.

via A ‘monumental’ rescue: Coast Guardsman swims a mile in choppy seas to save four fishermen, one at a time – The Washington Post.

As the Post notes, Harrity was this close to not becoming a rescue swimmer, a lifelong dream. He had a dangerous blackout in training and his heart stopped, but he lived (obviously), and he was, in the end, medically cleared. (The phenomenon of shallow water blackout is incompletely understood, and victims are often prime athletes like Harrity).

This is what the Jamie K looked like before running aground.

Jamie K from Jake LEachs Facebook

It’s also notable that the crew did all the right things that helped them get rescued (well, apart from running aground. There is that). They made an early decision to abandon ship and got out a distress call with an accurate location. They got in the lifeboat together, and they apparently had survival gear (drysuits, etc). Speaking as a guy who has been rescued by the Coast Guard (although we were in swimming distance from shore on a warm day, and they even helped us save the boat, so it was nothing like the harrowing experience these fishermen just went through), it’s a lot easier to get rescued when you don’t fight the Coast Guard and give them every opportunity to do their thing — which they tend to be pretty good at.

Skipper Jake Leach and the three hands aboard her might be missing their boat today — but their families aren’t missing them.  Swimming a mile is not big deal — the way we do it, in laps in a nice heated pool. Swimming a mile in the cold, choppy Pacific, while dragging one guy or another for approximately half that distance, that is a big deal. Well played, swimmer.

We bet the crew chief has even figured out why his winch went down when he needed it. And he’s not going to have that happen again (in the meantime, he should be buying Harrity’s beers for the next approximately forever).

Why Not Give ’em Nukes? We Gave ’em Tanks!

Badr Org M1 tankLadies and gentlemen, the Iranian (IRGC)-controlled, Iranian-led, Shi’a sectarian militia, the Badr organization:

Yes, that is an M1 Abrams tank they’ve got there. As you can see it’s flying the green flag of the Badr. Note the other flag has a picture of some bearded, probably illiterate imam on it. Images like this of human visages and the Shia practice of venerating great imams of old are viewed as haram (forbidden) or even shirk (polytheism or paganism, anathema to Moslems).

Fortunately, there are some modern 21st-Century values that both sides agree amount to the best of Islam, like slavery, beheading, wife-beating, honor killing, clitoridectomy, bacon, buggery and pedophilia.

We just slipped “bacon” in there to see if you were paying attention. All the other things really are sacraments of the bizarre and uncivilized cult that is Islam.

The next picture shows some Badr Org commanders posing with this M1, or with another. (Probably the same one, as it shows the same flags).

Badr Org M1 tank 2Yeah, that’s an AT-4 in the hands of the goon on the right.

The Badr boys, this month, are not the first militia claiming to have received M1s. That would be the charmingly named Hezbollah Brigades. They displayed M1s last month, although they may have been Iraqi government M1s merely cooperating with Hezbollah. The Hezbollah Brigades use a yellow flag as a distinctive marking.

M1 Hezbollah Brigades

The Hezbollah Brigades seem to comprise in part the survivors of former Iranian-sponsored terrorists who fought against US forces in Iraq, mostly with EFP-based IEDs.

Former mech heads, what’s the over/under on any of these tanks being serviceable on 1 January 2016? ’17? We’re guessing the number’s already in free fall.

Who are the Badrs? The Hezbollah Brigades? Both of these groups are subordinate, sort of, to the Popular Mobilization Committee in the shi’ite sectarian government of (rump) Iraq. The PMC falls under the command of Transportation Minister (?)  and is headed by one Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, a former Badr Org guy whose real name is Jamal Jaafar Mohammed and who is also a direct subordinate of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force, the external terrorist wing of the IRGC.

A simplified who's who of Shia ostensible friendlies.

A simplified who’s who of Shia ostensible friendlies.

The Iraq Army having melted away in the bug-out of all bug-outs, these Iranian-controlled militias are about all that’s really fighting for the Shia rump government against both ISIL and the Kurdish Regional Government.

And the US really has no call to get too upset about our Iraqi allies arming their Iranian-controlled allies with the tanks we gave them. After all, we just guaranteed the Iranians themselves nukes in 8 years, and even promised to defend them against the Israelis, hatred of whom is the common tie that binds the State Department and the IRGC.


  1. Roggio, Bill, and Weiss, Caleb. Badr Organization fighters pose with US M1 Abrams tank. Threat Matrix, a Blog of the Long War Journal. 12 July 2015. Retrieved from:
  2. Roggio, Bill, and Weiss, Caleb. Hezbollah Brigades flaunts US equipment in Anbar operation. Threat Matrix, a Blog of the Long War Journal. 25 June 2015. Retrieved from:

Friday Tour d’Horizon Week 30

Due to time pressure, we’re going to limit this to simple links-and-lines tonight. Sorry ’bout that, Chief.


Sporting Shotguns and Rifles? Or works of art? Check out the creations of Austrian gunsmith Phillip Ollendorff. We want one but are afraid to ask what they cost.

Like a single-point sling? Like AKs? These Texans have the glue for you:

(Their AK underfolder cheek rest is an idea whose time has come, and they can sell you Paki tape if you’re going for the in-country Hadji look).

Q: Who has the most gun permits in the violent Chicongo? The answer may surprise you (if you haven’t been in an urban gun shop in 10 years). A: People in the wealthy white  neighborhoods — and the poorest minority ones.

The Sun-Times seems to have collected this data in hopes of finding Raaaaacism (it has to have 5 a’s to be authentic raaaaacism), but to their credit, seem to have reported what they found, anyway.

War, and Rumors of War

If war there be, let it start over… lobsters? Between Canada and … Maine?

This story tells how the Kurds are winning. (But are the Kurds really winning, or is this wishful thinking?

The US will not defend recruiting stations… among other things, Pentagon mouthpiece Capt. Jeff Davis says teaching these NCOs and POs to use firearms would cost too much money. Naturally! Letting ’em die in place is cheaper.


We should probably write more about this, but the three women, all West Pointers, are still hanging in there in Mountain Phase, under the glare of media scrutiny and the close eye of commissars (aka “observer-advisors”).

Here are two stories that are so similar they seem mutually plagiarized in places, or maybe they both plagiarized a third source. Maybe the Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe, and McClatchy’s Chuck Williams are just retyping press releases.

This interesting quote, from Williams’ story, gives you some idea of the swollen heads for which Academy graduates are deservedly noted:

“West Point teaches leaders to be tenacious in overcoming obstacles,” said [Sue] Fulton, who chairs the West Point Board of Visitors that reports to the President of the United States. “At some point – probably more than once – you have to do a gut check and call on inner reserves to do something that you never thought you could do. Am I surprised that the three remaining women in Ranger School are West Point graduates? Not at all.”

It’s lucky we have these West Point graduates, for no one else knows how to be tenacious and call on inner reserves.

Fulton is one of the VIPs kibitzing and tinkering at Ranger School during this cycle.


President tells Star-struck Brits he Regrets Failing, but only on Gun Control

Hey, give the guy the credit he deserves. He finally did lower Fed flags to half-staff over the Chattanooga shooting — after he realized that his guy Abdulazeez got croaked, along with five mere servicemen.

Meanwhile, the brain trust at the FBI is completely stumped by Abdulazeez’s motivations. He was probably a Rush Limbaugh listener or something!

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Bungees

de abreuOutlawing guns, as Britain did for handguns and many long guns after a series of spree killings in the 1990s, has the salutary side effect of eliminating all accidental deaths.

Except for the ones with illegal guns. There is that. And except for the ones with some other instrumentality of death, like the botched bungee jump that ended the life of Kleyo de Abreu (right) at a too-young 23 years. The Daily Mirror (UK):

A British woman from London has reportedly died while bungee-jumping off a bridge in Spain.

The 23-year-old holidaymaker is understood to have smashed into a support column after leaping from the bridge near the city of Granada.

The tragedy happened just before 3pm today near the mountain village of Lanjaron in an area known as the Alpujarras, which clings to the southern flanks of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

“She was staying with her aunt for a few days and that relative was present when the tragedy occurred.”

Paramedics who rushed to the scene after being called by a passer-by could do nothing to save her life.

This next image is the Tablate Bridge in Lanjaron, Granada, where the mishap occurred. Its 80m clear span makes it a bungee jumpers’ mecca.


De Abreu jumped from the upper span (a steel arch bridge) and struck the older stone arch bridge in the lower right of this picture.

A source said: “The British woman was still tied to the rope when specialist rescuers reached her.

“That would appear to point to a miscalculation involving the rope or that something’s happened to the rope as she jumped.”’

De Abreu's blood remains at the scene of her death by deceleration trauma.

De Abreu’s blood remains at the scene of her death by deceleration trauma.

via British woman, 23, killed in bungee jumping tragedy in Spain – Mirror Online.

Aha, the old 120-foot-rope-from-a-90-foot-bridge trick! (Or maybe it was the old 90-foot-rope-from-a-120-foot-bridge, but we-forgot-nylon-rope stretches to 1 1/3 times its static length!)

But hey, she didn’t get killed by a firearm. There is that.

The Mirror has a follow-up story at this link.

Another victory for gun control and Darwin. But mostly, Darwin.

“One Bad Choice”

MTV has a new series of that name. It purports to show how young people can throw their lives disastrously off track with just the eponymous screw up. We watched exactly one episode, and we got a completely different message from the fact patterns that were largely hinted at in the show, as it was making excuses for its young protagonist. The protagonist, one Kumari Fulbright, never seemed to take responsibility for what was not one bad choice, but a never-ending stream of them, culminating in some galactically bad choices.

Fulbright was a light-skinned, mixed-race gal whose confidence and poise kept her working as a model while she put herself through school. She won some beauty contests and posed for a Chicks with Guns calendar. (She also had a 4.0 average at Michigan in undergrad, and assistant-clerked for a Federal judge between law-school years). With a lot of attention to her hair she could be convincingly blonde with a little PhotoShop, or as closing time approached. In the light of her disposition, there’s a certain irony to this picture from her portfolio:

Kumari Fulbright before

Nice HK51K.

Fulbright’s version of her story: she finished college and moved to Arizona to attend law school. She chose the University of Arizona to be with her boyfriend Rob Ergonis, to whom she was attracted because of his “bad boy” vibe and history, including prison time. Rob was kind to her and proposed to her, but she wasn’t feeling the sizzle any more, so she dumped him. She quickly started going with a more upscale guy from the law school, Josh Conway. But the upscale guy turned out to owe money to “some bad people,” so, she says, he stole from her. He denied it, but she was certain; she was so angry over this that she called Rob and asked him to scare Josh.

Rob and a friend came into the apartment with a key they got from Kumari, and proceeded to beat the snot out of Josh. Then, they left Kumari with Rob’s gun watching Josh. Josh got loose, overpowered Kumari and escaped, and her next photo appearance was the one on the right:


Yep, booking photo. Juxtaposed with another shot from her portfolio. In the booking photo, she’s crying because it’s so very unfair. That’s a very common emotion among the criminal class; it doesn’t mean that anyone has actually been unfair to them.

It means they got caught.

In the show, she comes across as bitter that she went to jail, and that Josh, who supposedly stole her stuff (but keep reading for a reveal on that!), did not.

Up to now, this has been Kumari’s, and MTV’s, story. A few details left out of or glossed over in this version were that Josh was beaten within an inch of his life, Rob got a sentence of 22 years in the prison, not Kumari’s two-year tap on the wrist, and that Kumari basically directed the kidnapping and torture of the poor bastard. Oh yeah, she bit him — in three places. She lured him to the apartment to set him up. She held a knife to his head. And, in complete Bat Guano Crazy Boiling Bunnies Mode, she told him she was going to kill him, something he had no trouble believing, considering that he was at that moment bound, gagged, and being beaten and tortured.

Oh, and a rather important detail they misled viewers on: Kumari said the whole thing took place because Josh stole and pawned her jewelry, but Josh and the pawnbroker testified that he and Kumari sold it together. That’s a kind of key detail.

And God alone knows what she’d have done, or had the men do, to Josh if he hadn’t kept his wits about him and escaped. You’ll learn more than you want to know about this horrible woman with a simple Google, say, “Kumari kidnapping.”

Now, do you see that as One Bad Choice? It was more like One Bad Choice After Another, and we have to confess that in all the excitement, we kinda lost count.

With Kumari’s demonstrated judgment, it’s probably a good thing that Arizona booted her from the law school — the last thing we need is one more lawyer with ethics like the rest of them. (But hey, Josh should have passed the bar by now. I wonder what shape his client escrow find is in?) Lady Narcissus here has done everything except take responsibility, and yet, she got off the most mildly of the three involved in the kidnapping scheme, considering that she planned, instigated and initiated the entire scheme.

If she made bad choices — and like we said, she made so many we lost count — the original one was probably seeking “dangerous” boyfriends in the first place. We get why she does that. If there is one fundamental fact in human mating, it’s that Chicks Dig Jerks, or as they put it, “bad boys.” There’s a reason why serial killers on Death Row get whole mailbags of propositions and proposals, and no woman has ever written a fan letter to a guy who was a crime victim. And it’s not that women set out to be bad — they don’t, and even when they are bad, they don’t see it that way. Kumari, for instance, hasn’t taken responsibility for her crimes, beyond the rote phrases that any con memorizes to stroke the parole board.

There are people who screw up their lives with one bad choice, but it’s usually the latest in a long stream of them. Kumari Fulbright is that kind of girl.

Given that her last two boyfriends before going up the river wound up beaten to a pulp and sentenced to 22 years respectively, she’ll have to do one hell of a makeover to attract the next chump, but she will. Because as surely as Chicks Dig Jerks, Chumps Dig Chicks.

That’s a hell of a biology to build a species on, if you ask us.


For More Information

Google Search on Kumari kidnapping.

Above the Law Kumari Fulbright archive. (So much snark, it’s almost not legal!)

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Firewood

1024px-Crotalus_horridus_(5)How did firewood kill Russell E. Davis, 39, of Freedom, Pennsylvania?

Actually, it wasn’t the wood. It was the Crotalus horridus hiding inside. Bitten by the timber rattlesnake in remote Medix Run, PA, Davis was 125 miles from his best-chance-to-live hospital, in Pittsburgh. He never got there.

He was putting wood on a campfire shortly before midnight Saturday at his family’s camp in Medix Run, about 125 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, when he was bitten by a rattlesnake, according to Armstrong County Coroner Brian K. Myers.

“He went running into the camp and told his girlfriend to take him to a hospital,” Mr. Myers recounted, based on his interview with the woman.

While en route, Mr. Davis began to have severe breathing problems, Mr. Myers said. The woman stopped at a local tavern for help. An ambulance was summoned and CPR was begun, Mr. Myers said.

In all, about 30 minutes had elapsed by the time an ambulance arrived, the coroner said. Mr. Davis then was transported to Penn Highlands Health Care in St. Marys, Elk County, where he already was in “acute respiratory distress,” Mr. Myers said.

The coroner was told by Penn Highlands personnel that an anti-venom treatment was given before Mr. Davis was put in a medical helicopter so he could be transported to a Pittsburgh hospital for additional treatment.

But, before he could reach Pittsburgh, he went into full cardiac arrest and the helicopter landed at ACMH Hospital in Kittanning, Armstrong County. He was pronounced dead at 5:23 a.m. before any treatment could be given, Mr. Myers said.


Hmmm. “dead… before any treatment could be given.” Isn’t that DOA?

Pennsylvania now resets its “Years since last fatal snake bite” sign to zero. Along with common timber rattlers, the Western Pennsylvania mountains are home to the rare massasauga rattlesnake and the northern copperhead (also common).

While snakebites aren’t very rare, they’re very seldom fatal, with about five Americans a year succumbing to the thousands of bites that are reported and treated. It’s possible poor Davis got a really heavy load of venom, or was particularly allergic to the venom.

Rattlesnake venom (which varies among species) contains potent hemotoxins, both procoagulants (things like prothrombin that deplete the victim’s fibrins, preventing a normal clot cascade) and hemorrhagins (which burst blood-vessel walls, after the procoagulants have ensured the damage can’t be repaired). Some rattler venoms also inhibit acetylcholine or block sodium channels, producing a second (and very rapid) neurotoxic effect.

This sounds like it was the hemotoxicity that got him (due to the fact that there’s 5-6 hours between the bite and being pronounced. If it was neurotoxic crotamines, he probably would have been, if not DRT, dead long before the first hospital).

It also sounds like they didn’t have him as stabilized as they thought they did, before they tried to move him to the bigger hospital. That’s not meant as a criticism. Things like this are a crapshoot. Maybe staying put could have saved him. Maybe getting to Big Hospital sooner could have. Maybe his number simply was up, and no medical intervention was going to avail him. The treating doc made his best estimate of the situation and did what he thought was best for the patient.

You can’t save every puppy in the pound, you know?

46 Years Ago Today

The US was still confident enough to do this:


The trustafarian Baby Boomer bums of ’68 were still in the universities, in jail, or on the run after blowing their townhouses up. Meanwhile, the grown-ups still were running things, and were able to pull this one off.

We thought of this because we’re reading a book that was a birthday gift from the Blogbrother, Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module by Thomas J. Kelly, who we’d bet has never worn his hair in an unwashed grey ponytail.

Kelly was the chief engineer of the Lander project, something he calls “an aerospace engineer’s dream job.” Bankrupted by the guns & butter 60s, which LBJ funded by kicking the can of payment down the road with inflation, and the bread and circuses 70s, which Nixon, Ford and Carter funded the exact same way, the US withdrew from space and from greatness.

And the ponytails and Birkenstocks and lawyer-leeches took great joy in that.

Apollo was possible in part because of the dreaded Military-Industrial Complex. Most of the engineering of the space capsules took place in the tight-knit Southern California aero engineering community. The Command Module was made by North American, and after the Apollo 1 fire, there were actually consequences: several managers were fired, including legendary test pilot turned manager Tex Johnston. North American Aviation is a casualty of mergers and downsizings, as is Grumman (maker of the LEM, whose name lives on in Northrop Grumman), as are Douglas, Republic, McDonnell, Fairchild and today, Sikorsky, bought today by Lockheed Martin for $9B, probably sentencing the remaining industry in Bridgeport, CT to an overdue death.

Lockheed Martin, formed from the merger of SoCal and Baltimore companies, now is located in the National Capital Area, as are all of them. Dependent on government handouts, skilled in little but manipulating the procurement system, they couldn’t build an LEM with the blueprints.

Iran Deal Reactions

BLOWING UP PARADISEWe’ve already posted our reaction to the Iran rollover, which in a sentence is, the same deal that John Kerry tried to give his North Vietnamese pals when he was working for them.

Here are some others’ reaction.

Lewis Amselem (the Diplomad) knows a thing or two about diplomacy, and appears to have taken the last of it (in the sense of “advocating for national interests”) with him when he retired from State, but left them with all of the other sense of it  (“pussyfooting around”). He calls the deal, “The Great Con“:

The Deal is a fiasco for the West.

Having negotiated a lot of stuff during my time at State, I note, simply put, nothing this complex and convoluted is enforceable in the real world. Which means, therefore, that it is not meant to be enforced.

Iran gets the bomb no matter what; a little later perhaps if it fully complies with the Deal, but Iran gets the bomb–not to mention ICBM capabilities, and gets years of NPT violations swept under the rug, gets a pardon for its sponsorship of terror, doesn’t have to give up its stated objective of destroying Israel, and . . . any wonder the Iranians celebrate?

He did mention that Iran also gets to keep his hostages, which Secretary Kerry now says he totally did bring up, but the Iranians said, “No,” and that was that. Like everything right, you should go there and Read The Whole Thing™.

Paul Mirengoff is a retired white-shoe-firm lawyer, but he’s not like all the others. He writes at Powerline (viciously edited for brevity, so Read The Whole Thing™):

It’s no scoop to say that both Israel and Saudi Arabia are alarmed by President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. But it’s worth articulating the difference in the primary concern of the two. In doing so, we can better appreciate just how bad the deal is.

Israel is unhappy with the deal because it all but ensures that Iran will obtain nuclear weapons….

The Saudis are, of course, concerned about Iran becoming a nuclear power….

But the Saudis have a more pressing concern about the deal (one shared by Israelis, but not their primary concern). The deal hugely enriches the Iranian regime. Some of the money, as even Obama seems to acknowledge, will be devoted to the mullahs’ quest for regional dominance through military activity in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and possibly elsewhere.

Possibly? The Islamic Republic of Iran has been the world’s largest exporter of terrorism since its creation in terrorism in 1979 — midwifed, we should note, by a weak, vacillating and cowardly American President. Of course the Saudis and Israelis are concerned, and of course they have different concerns. The only ones who are not concerned are the President and his tools in the Administration and toadies in the press.

Yale Professor (and former diplomat) Charles Hill, in an interview with Peter Robinson:

It is strategically dangerous. Iran has been an enemy of this international system since it became the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979. It has been a relentless, deceptive, deceitful anti-world order regime. Its record is consistent. It’s never wavered from it.

Its enemy is America — you, know “Death to America”– and what just happened is the United States has just handed over its leading role in the Middle East to Iran and provided a kind of dowry to go along with it…

Yeah, the three words of Farsi every Iranian knows: “Marg bar Amrika!” Now apparently the motto of the State Department.

You’ve Heard the Expert Opinions, Now Hear Ours!

Bear in mind that your host is a (retired) Lowly Implement of Foreign Policy, and his degrees are in useful stuff, not some content-free “International Relations” sheepskin from some college that has evolved to capture the max amount of Federally guaranteed student loans, and uses the money to farm gentle all-natural free-range Eloi for the .fed bureaucracy.

The deal is a disaster for the US, the world, and ultimately for the Iranian people, millions of whom will die in the inevitable wars. It is particularly disastrous from those within the beaten zone of Iranian terror, a zone that will burgeon under the rich fertilization of this agreement.

This is why we don’t buy the conspiracy theory that the President is a Mohammedan bent on aggrandizing Islamic terror. Because if he were, that would make it the one thing at which he’d be uncharacteristically competent.



The Chattanooga Shooting and its Shooter

Abdulazeez mugshot from a previous crime. If you look at that beard and wonder about his ties to Duck Dynasty, You Just Might Be a New York Media Nabob

Abdulazeez mugshot from a previous crime. If you look at that beard and wonder about his ties to Duck Dynasty, You Just Might Be a New York Media Nabob

We were tied up today from about 1100 to 2130, so apart from some light comment handling, weren’t able to handle new stories. One of the ones we heard on the radio while at the wheel was of shootings at two locations in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Soon it was apparent that at least one gunman who was now dead had attacked two military sites, a recruiting/enlistment center and a reserve unit HQ, and at least four servicemen were dead.

It sounded like a “lone wolf” islamist attack, aka Sudden Jihad Syndrome. However, officials were quick to say there was no terrorist or jihad angle. This surprised us, but not the radio voices who began confidently talking about right-wing extremism, Dylann Roof and the Ku Klux Klan. It was soon apparent, to them anyway, that the Confederate flag was the cause of the crime, or maybe the Widespread Availability of Guns (which has been the case in Tennessee for 200+ years, without a previous recruiting-office massacre), or maybe just the NRA. The station we were tuned in to may have been running MSNBC or NBC News in the booth or studio — those networks were quick to jump the gun and run inflammatory crawls and Rebel flag footage.

MSNBC was the first to finger the media's suspects: Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee.

MSNBC was the first to finger the media’s suspects: Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee.

Now, that possibility was not completely implausible. Reactionary, racist nutbags are as likely to fire up some random site as jumped-up jihadis, so the “news” that it was a racist attack wasn’t what struck us as implausible, even though the Rebs haven’t been attacking Union troops much since Reconstruction. (Indeed a strong plurality of combat troops even today are “Rebs”).

Weird, yes, but loonies have a logic all their own that we non-loonies can’t really follow. (If you can, You Just Might Be a Loony). No, what struck us as implausible was that anyone in law enforcement was saying anything so concrete, so early. If you’ve paid attention to even two or three investigations, you know that they simply do not put out information at the speed of cable news, which doesn’t stop cable news from filling all that dead air with uninformed speculation.

Had we really been paying attention, we’d have noticed that the “officials” making these claims were anonymous sources, not further identified: something that’s often a ghillie suit masking pure speculation or fabrication by the reporter.

While on my way to another meeting, I received a text from a law enforcement friend. The shooter was a 24-year-old Kuwaiti national, and ICE was unable to determine his immigration status yet.  So much for Rebel flags. The radio goons bloviated on, but it was clear that they had no direct information about the shooter or the shooting. Now, hours later, some facts about the shooter, Mohammed Youssuf Abdulazeez, have emerged:

  • He may have been a naturalized or derived citizen (derived = was minor when parent(s) naturalized).
  • He was not Kuwaiti but either half or fully ethnic Palestinian. Many Palestinians were welcome in Kuwait as guest workers. During the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the Palestinians sided with the Iraqi invaders for a share of the looting, and wound up expelled when Iraq lost the Gulf War.
  • His father works for USG in some capacity.
  • His family was not hurting. Here’s their home:abdulazeez_family_home
  • He appears to have lived there with his parents.
  • Despite a college degree, he shows no signs of having been employed.
  • He recently became more devout in Islam both before and after DUI charges this year.
  • He blogged what seems to have been a murder/suicide note calling on others to act for Islam (more below).
  • His pending DUI charges were misdemeanor charges and would not have triggered a NICS denial, so he may have bought his firearm(s) legitimately.
  • All information is preliminary, and therefore, dodgy. Too little is known to be sure.

Now, the media are chasing various rabbits such as Abdulazeez’s connections to the Tea Party, the source of his guns or guns, and how this can be used to advance The Party in the coming election year. What they’re not doing is looking at the mosque where he was radicalized within the last couple of years.

The Daily Beast comes closest, with some carefully curated clips from a blog that Abdulazeez seems to have established a few days ago as a murder/suicide note. The blog noted his love for Allah and that the Koran was the “study guide” for a test “designed to separate the inhabitants of Paradise from the inhabitants of Hellfire.”

We ask Allah to make us follow their path. To give us a complete understanding of the message of Islam, and the strength the live by this knowledge, and to know what role we need to play to establish Islam in the world.

Well, we now know what he meant when he posted that three days ago, and what role he thought he needed to play “to establish Islam in the world” — murderer.

Meanwhile, the FBI is, officially, saying nothing is known of Abdulazeez’s motive, if any.

While it would be premature to speculate on the motives of the shooter at this time, we will conduct a thorough investigation of this tragedy and provide updates as they are available.

Yeah, whatever. The Partisan Political Police are still looking for that tie to the Tea Party or the NRA. But this is really a typical FBI response to an early-stage investigation that the media has already “solved” based on The Narrative™ that they already had staged. We’d bet the FBI’s public-affairs officer has “it would be premature to speculate” formatted as a one-key macro.

Meanwhile, John Hawkins picked up this image from Twitter, which shines  light on one of the real problems that produced this one-sided body count (and similar results at other recruiting offices and at Fort Hood in other Sudden Jihad Syndrome attacks):

shot up gun free zone sign

It looks like a 30-round magazine fired on semi. Note the sign on the right-hand door. Yes, we keep our borders open for Abdulazeezes in great quantities, and send the servicemen (and -women) that symbolize and personify American will to fight against theocratic terror to work in workplaces that demand they lay their necks on the block and not defend themselves.

The place where Abdulazeez was killed, where he killed four Marines, gave a sailor critical wounds, and wounded a police officer before getting his martyrdom on, was his second Gun Free Zone shooting stop of the day. The police, alerted by the first shooting, were in pursuit of him as he fired the fatal rounds. If ever there was a clearer proof of the adage that the police cannot protect you, only, at best, avenge you, we don’t know what it is.