Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Authorities Will Protect You

ITEM: Like they protected four women in Southern California from a couple of career criminals and pervs that were not only paroled, but wearing ankle GPS monitors for previously violating their parole.

Police said two convicted sex offenders were wearing GPS-tracking ankle monitors when they allegedly raped and murdered four Southern California women.

The two convicts, who could face the death penalty if convicted, are to appear in court Tuesday to answer to four charges of rape and murder each. Data from their monitors and the mobile phone records of the victims helped police crack the case, the authorities said.

The SoCal cops are actually proud of their police work that was able to catch up with these two wired-for-sound creeps after four rape-murders.

“That was one of the investigative tools we used to put the case together,” Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada said Monday at a news conference.

What, are we supposed to give him an attaboy that there weren’t five?

via Murder, rape suspects wore GPS ankle bracelets during crime spree | Ars Technica.

ITEM: Well, at least the police protected everybody last year during the Marathon bombings, right? Er, not exactly. This report from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (where voted-out Democrats go to die) recounts several instances of contagious firing, a cop who nearly died because cops sending themselves to the shooting scene blocked the ambulance in, and 19 people who were wounded by gunfire — all wounded by police gunfire, including the cop who came danger close to exsanguinating. The ten shots fired by Speedbump (aka Tamerlan Tsarnayev)? They hit nothing. Finally to cap it all, with the suspect unarmed, wounded and cornered — a SWAT gunner got buck fever and fired at movement, triggering a new round of contagious fire.

When the suspect tried to lift the boat cover, apparently using a fishing gaff he found in the boat which, from outside the boat, resembled a rifle, a tactical team member who had been stationed on a rooftop overlooking the boat fired upon him. This resulted in the outbreak of a substantial volume of contagious fire from other police officers on the scene.

The incident commander screamed “Cease Fire!” for 10 seconds before the undisciplined cops tailed off.

In tapes of this incident, the voice of the incident commander shouting orders to cease fire is prominent, but the firing went on for over 10 seconds, and involved what appears to have been hundreds of rounds fired. There is at the time of this writing no indication that the suspect in the boat had a weapon or fired upon police.

Fortunately for all three (that would be Flashbang (Dzhokar Tsarnayev); the other cops conducting a “Polish ambush” around the suspect, as they had done around Speedbump (Tamerlan) at Watertown, too; and the general public who were hunkering down in the beaten zone), the cops’ marksmanship was as bad as their judgment.

ITEM: Hero cop, shot in face in 2007 and lionized as a hero at the 2009 State Of The Union address, turns out to be a dirtbag. True, most cops aren’t, and the police have to make their officers from the same poor clay of the rest of us sinners, but they’re out there.

ITEM: When seconds count, police are only minutes away. In this case, last week in Denver, 13 to 15 minutes:

The incident unfolded about 9:30 p.m. Monday when the victim called police to her home in the 2100 block of South St. Paul Street.

Kristine Kirk told the dispatcher her husband was “talking about the end of the world and he wanted her to shoot him,” according to the probable-cause statement.

Kristine Kirk told the dispatcher there was a gun in the home but that “it was in a safe,” the court document said. But then she said he had the gun in his hands.

Kristine Kirk then screamed over the phone until a single shot was fired, according to the statement. Jackson said Kristine Kirk was on the phone with a 911 operator for about 13 minutes.

The Denver Post, whence comes this report, notes drily that “police response times have increased” recently and the city auditor is looking into the police delays. Police Chief Robert White has stonewalled the press in the week since the incident, and the actual response time by the police remains unknown — except that it was definitely too slow for Kristine Kirk. The Post did go around the Chief and got a DPD timeline of the response.

ITEM: In England, the Metropolitian Police and two political parties (Liberal and Laboue) conspired to keep a politician, 400-lb Cyril Smith’s, pedophile predilection private. The gross (i.e., large and revolting) pederast diddled at least a gross (i.e., 144) of preteen boys. In defense of the police, in three of those 144 cases the coppers put a case forward, only to have it spiked on political grounds by the Crown Prosecution Service, and in many other cases rank-and-file coppers had their cases quashed by their more-political bosses. The Daily Mail’s Simon Danczuk began collecting stories:

Many — as I will describe in detail in the coming days of this series — were from police officers saying Smith’s crimes were widely known to them but their superiors refused to act.

I was told of officers who found child pornography in the boot of Smith’s car, only for a mysterious call from London to tell them not to charge him.

It’s now known that on three separate occasions files were passed by Lancashire Police to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Crown Prosecution Service containing details of Smith’s abuse. Yet on each occasion no prosecution was pursued. It is as though Cyril was untouchable
I was told how Smith’s case was used during police training on child abuse, with one instructor admitting there had been 144 complaints against him. Mysteriously, when this became known to her superiors, the instructor was silenced and moved to another job.

I was told how Smith was repeatedly detained for acts of gross indecency in toilets in St James’s Park, London, only for orders to discontinue inquiries in each case.

And I was told how, when other inquiries were completed and revealed compelling and disturbing evidence that Smith was a serial paedophile, they were ignored.

The whole story is rebarbative, but compelling reading. Read The Whole Thing™ before you think that police are universally servants of the good and the decent. Yes, the authorities will protect you — if you are a well-connected pederast, not his proletarian victim.

ITEM: In Sudan, UN “Peacekeepers” have been stepping back and letting government forces continue a long-running genocide.

“[The peacekeepers] made no visible effort to prevent the abduction of IDP [internally displaced persons] conference participants from the convoy,” an unreleased assessment by other U.N. personnel later concluded. “They just stood watching as the gunmen drove away the buses carrying the IDPs.”

The mass March 24 kidnapping — the details of which have never been publicly disclosed by the U.N. — marked a humiliating setback for troops from the African Union/United Nations hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), a beleaguered, U.N.-funded force that was established specifically to protect Darfur’s citizens from a renewal of the genocide that had raged in the region years earlier, leaving more than 200,000 dead. The peacekeepers, though, have been bullied by government security forces and rebels, stymied by American and Western neglect, and left without the weapons necessary to fight in a region where more peacekeepers have been killed than in any other U.N. mission in the world. The violence that once consumed Darfur, meanwhile, has returned with a vengeance, resulting in civilian casualties and the large-scale flight of terrified men, women, and children.

Drawing on a massive trove of highly confidential UNAMID documents — including thousands of pages of emails, police reports, internal investigations and diplomatic cables — Foreign Policy will over the next three days publish a series of articles that shed light on how Darfur’s combatants, particularly the Sudanese government, have effectively neutered the U.N. peacekeeping mission, undermining its capacity to fulfill its primary duty to protect nearly 2 million civilians displaced by Sudan’s genocide. During the past year alone, more than 500,000 terrified men, women, and children have poured into the region’s already overcrowded refugee camps.

That’s bad enough, we suppose, but anyone relying on the UN was always pretty much screwed. One is reminded of Stalin’s apocryphal dismissal of the Pope.

ITEM: The US Ambassador to the UN, the lightweight and inconsequential Samantha Power, who was selected for her academic works hostile to Israel and has been a slow learner on other international policy issues, hasn’t dealt with Syria, Ukraine or Sudan, but she has come out strongly against that international scourge, texting while driving.

Chicago Cooks Crime Books

While 20-year-old Tiara Groves was missing in Chicago, friends and family circulated these pictures. When her body was found, bound to a chair, gagged, and partly eaten by vermin, senior Chicago Police officers erased her case. The murderer walks free and unsought.

While 20-year-old Tiara Groves was missing in Chicago, friends and family circulated these pictures. When her body was found, bound to a chair, gagged, and partly eaten by vermin, senior Chicago Police officials erased her case. The murderer walks free and no one is looking for him today.

Chicago Magazine has a remarkable story on line, and it’s the first part of two. (We have to wait for next month’s magazine for the other shoe to drop). The shocking news is that, despite Chicago’s astronomical violent crime rates, the corrupt Chicago Police Department has been cooking the books — trying to massage the statistics by making countless crimes disappear. Among these were possibly hundreds of violent crimes including, last year at least ten murders. So even the three hundred thousand plus crimes that Chicago admits occurred in their city-wide Victim Disarmament Zone last year was a bogus, deflated, number.

What happens, you might ask, to the ten murders that get reclassified as “unknown death”  or otherwise erased from statistics? Like Tiara Groves’s? Well, the Police drop them. They go uninvestigated. The murderers walk free, and almost certainly take away the message that here, crime does pay, and commit more crimes. Probably including more murders.

Given the finding of homicide—and the corroborating evidence at the crime scene—the Chicago Police Department should have counted Groves’s death as a murder. And it did. Until December 18. On that day, the police report indicates, a lieutenant overseeing the Groves case reclassified the homicide investigation as a noncriminal death investigation. In his writeup, he cited the medical examiner’s “inability to determine a cause of death.”

Hey, remember the Chicago brooming of charges against RJ Vanecko, a mayoral nephew with a violent disposition and history, but hey, a Daley nephew? We wrote about it in February here and again the same month followed up with Vanecko’s history of illegal gun use and violence, in which a Daley son is also involved (and was also given the expected velvet-glove treatment). Turns out the same crooked cop involved in making sure Andrew Buckman who was left in a coma didn’t get justice, and David Koschman who Vanecko murdered with his fists didn’t get justice, manipulated Chicago Police Department records so that Tiara Groves won’t get justice. In her case he wasn’t protecting the Daley crime family, but their made-guy Garry McCarthy, the drunken New York cop prone to shooting out streetlights while in the glow of Demon Rum.

(Vanecko, by the way, was released from jail this month. And the attorney who managed his defense, a loyal Chicago Combine retainer, was rewarded with a judgeship effective 1 May). Back to the Chicago Mag report on the broomed stats, and the nexus between it and the Vanecko cover-up:

That lieutenant was Denis Walsh—the same cop who had played a crucial role in the alleged cover-up in the 2004 killing of David Koschman, the 21-year-old who died after being punched by a nephew of former mayor Richard M. Daley. Walsh allegedly took the Koschman file home. For years, police officials said that it was lost. After the Sun-Times reported it missing, the file mysteriously reappeared.

But back to Tiara Groves. With the stroke of a computer key, she was airbrushed out of Chicago’s homicide statistics.

The change stunned officers. Current and former veteran detectives who reviewed the Groves case at Chicago’s request were just as incredulous. Says a retired high-level detective, “How can you be tied to a chair and gagged, with no clothes on, and that’s a [noncriminal] death investigation?” (He, like most of the nearly 40 police sources interviewed for this story, declined to be identified by name, citing fears of disciplinary action or other retribution.)

Was it just a coincidence, some wondered, that the reclassification occurred less than two weeks before the end of the year, when the city of Chicago’s final homicide numbers for 2013 would be tallied? “They essentially wiped away one of the murders in the city, which is crazy,” says a police insider. “But that’s the kind of shit that’s going on.”

But Ms Groves, bound, gagged and slaughtered but only in Chicago not “murdered,” was not the Lone Ranger among disappeared murder victims.

For the case of Tiara Groves is not an isolated one. Chicago conducted a 12-month examination of the Chicago Police Department’s crime statistics going back several years, poring through public and internal police records and interviewing crime victims, criminologists, and police sources of various ranks. We identified 10 people, including Groves, who were beaten, burned, suffocated, or shot to death in 2013 and whose cases were reclassified as death investigations, downgraded to more minor crimes, or even closed as noncriminal incidents—all for illogical or, at best, unclear reasons.

This troubling practice goes far beyond murders, documents and interviews reveal. Chicago found dozens of other crimes, including serious felonies such as robberies, burglaries, and assaults, that were misclassified, downgraded to wrist-slap offenses, or made to vanish altogether. (We’ll examine those next month in part 2 of this special report.)

Many officers of different ranks and from different parts of the city recounted instances in which they were asked or pressured by their superiors to reclassify their incident reports or in which their reports were changed by some invisible hand. One detective refers to the “magic ink”: the power to make a case disappear. Says another: “The rank and file don’t agree with what’s going on. The powers that be are making the changes.”

chiraqYou almost don’t believe the  the Chicago Magazine report, but then you remember it is Chicongo, or as the cops are now calling it, Chiraq. (Which is unfair to the many nice people in Iraq).

So why would police reclassify crimes?

[S]ources describe a practice that has become widespread at the same time that top police brass have become fixated on demonstrating improvement in Chicago’s woeful crime statistics.

And has there ever been improvement. Aside from homicides, which soared in 2012, the drop in crime since Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy arrived in May 2011 is unprecedented—and, some of his detractors say, unbelievable. Crime hasn’t just fallen, it has freefallen: across the city and across all major categories.

But much of this “improvement” was bogus. Chicagoans are getting improved statistics, but not improved public safety, from a shrinking police department and a corrupt, politicized leadership.

If you want proof of the police department’s obsession with crime statistics, look no further than the last few days of 2012. On the night of December 27, a 40-year-old alleged gang member named Nathaniel Jackson was shot in the head and killed in Austin. The next morning, newscasters proclaimed that Chicago’s murder toll for the year had hit 500—a grim milestone last reached in 2008, during the Great Recession.

By lunchtime, the police department’s spinmeisters at 35th and Michigan had challenged the reports. The actual total, they said, was 499. A murder case earlier in the year had just been reclassified as a death investigation.

Critics howled. The bloggers behind Second City Cop declared: “It’s a miracle! The dead have risen!!!”

Second City Cop has indeed had some fun, in a black humor sense, with McCarthy’s manipulation of statistics (at least 18 murders were removed from the 2012 end-of-year statistics by a variety of paperwork dodges, in order to create an illusion of record-low homicides, that the city’s PR machine has run with). A few recent SCC comments:

(In a post discussing a weekend with some shootings and killings taking place in better neighborhoods than usual): At least McCarthy’s wish last week that “no one will rest until everyone in Chicago enjoys the same sense of safety” is coming true – every neighborhood is slowly become equally miserable.

(In an Easter post): You just know that McCarthy is hoping against hope that the dead will actually rise today and save him a few homicides. Jesus kind of invented CompStat you know, and Lazarus was Jesus’s first attempt at manipulating the numbers.

(And in a post before last weekend‘s first warm weekend of the year): We imagine one guy in particular isn’t going to be sleeping much this weekend: (and he listed expected balmy temperatures). We suppose that if we can keep it down to 30 shootings, McCompStat will claim a 17% reduction in shootings over the same time period from last week – and the media will print it.

In fact, SCC’s last prediction was low, as his commenters were quick to point out, in what became a ghoulish pool at that post.

  • Place you bets – over and under is 44 and 6 killed for the Holy week end.”
  • “I’ll take the under….only reason being it’s Easter (I know, since when does that stop them), and it was pretty warm last weekend and we had less than that. 6 dead isn’t unrealistic though.”
  • I bet. We have 40. Shot! Fri thru Monday!”
  • Have the over and under (Friday through Sunday night) as 36 shot, 5 killed…”
  • I predict 15 shootings before noon on Sat.”
  • One optimist said, “My money’s on a relatively quiet weekend.” To which some smart aleck responded, “In northern Wisconsin, not the cesspool known as Chicago.”
  • I’m betting 4 killed 25 shot this weekend.”
  • “9 people shot, 2 died from 10 pm Friday to 6 am Saturday morning.”
  • There are not that many welfare checks cut on the 18th so numbers will be low to mid highs. Next Friday though you better batten down the hatches.”

And the best comment of all? “If we change the heading from ‘homicide’ to Darwin… the numbers will fall.” We wanna have beers with that guy. But McCarthy, having missed the sarcasm, is looking for him to make him a supervisor.

Of course, McCarthy and Rahm’s explanation for the violence is that, because white guys in Wyoming can own guns, minority gangbangers in their declining city can’t help getting in gunfights. The media loves this explanation. They quote McCarthy:

“Until we do something about guns, don’t expect things to change overnight,” McCarthy said at a press conference that same day.

McCarthy noted that Chicago cops have seized 1,500 illegal guns so far this year, but the people caught with the weapons are all too often back on the street all too soon.

“It’s like running on a hamster wheel,” McCarthy said of the effort to grapple with the problem. “We’re drinking from a fire hose, seizing these guns, and people are back out on the street. They’re not learning that carrying a firearm is going to have a serious impact on their lives.”

Chiraq Tee ShirtWell, perhaps because in Chicongo/Chiraq, it doesn’t?

“If you don’t go to jail for gun possession, you continue to carry guns,” McCarthy said. “You continue to carry guns, and people get shot.”

What McCarthy doesn’t seem to get is that it depends on what sort of people have the guns, and what sort of people get shot. Every young criminal that gets a chalk outline represents dozens if not hundreds of future victims saved. The right answers are complex, but certainly McCarthy’s approach of penalizing legal gun owners isn’t going to work.

The strictest gun laws in America don’t make him happy:

McCarthy said “we can do things to improve what’s happening, but until such time as we get some help with the gun laws in the state of Illinois, we’re up against it. We’re drinking from a firehose.”…He has said “lax state and federal gun laws” hamper the department’s ability to reduce gun violence

OK, so if all American gun laws and crime management were like Chicago’s, then the crime rates would be at equilibrium across jurisdictions? That’s probably true, but not in the way he’s thinking.

Remember the pool in SCC’s comments that we mentioned above? Who won? According to the same story at that last link, all of them were too low, even the most hardened cynics. The total of shooting victims was 52: 8 killed and 44 wounded (disregard the post URL, which fell behind the updated body count). The dead included a Chicago cop shot by her corrections officer husband, and possibly him also (but he’s a suicide, which only counts as “gun violence” when Rahm says). However, the numbers are already being massaged in CompStat: all multiple shootings are reduced to a single “incident,” regardless of the number of shooters and victims. And anyone who dies after a few days at the hospital won’t be counted as a homicide, as well as any case they can argue another jurisdiction should be investigating. Reportedly, the numbers are down to 6 and 32 in CompStat, and McCarthy’s Chicago PD is on its way to another record year.

The same way they achieved the last record year. Meanwhile, the Stakhanovite workers’ brigade has overfulfilled the 5-Year Plan!

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Wenger’s Defensive Use of Firearms

wengers_defensive_use_of_firearmsGraphically, this website is all over 1998, which is the year it first stood up. But the information contained within Stephen P. Wenger’s “Defensive Use of Firearms” website spans many decades, from 1950s FBI instructional videos on “point shooting” to some of the latest debates in the defense training community. (Well, in truth, a lot of the “latest debates” are the same old debates with a new coat of paint).

Wenger was a professional pistol and self-defense instructor from 1991 until 2011 — 20 years, a career in anyone’s book. Retired now, he keeps up the website and has written a book to give his ideas on armed self-defense a second life with the reading public.

This website was created in response to the frustration that I had with much of what I had been reading in gun magazines and some of what I saw being taught as defensive firearms training.

It presents some general points as well as some of the controversial topics in the defensive use of firearms. The Naked Emperor page was originally devoted mostly to differences in interpretation that I may have with other instructors or writers. Over time, it has become more of a catch-all for all the short articles I am inspired to write from time to time.

The Street vs. Games page was a late addition that deals with a number of general issues that I have with a lot of what passes for self-defense training in many of the “shooting schools.”
I hope that this site facilitates your own evaluation of the issues. Unlike a book, a website is easy to modify and to update. This site should be viewed as a work in progress. Visitors are invited to check back periodically. The chart a few paragraphs down the page shows the dates of the latest updates to the various site pages. Any update will be listed as an update to this page as well as for any other page that has been updated.

Obviously my opinion will be discernible and I purport to furnish nothing more than my opinion on these pages. You can decide how well founded my beliefs and opinions are.

This website has grown as intended. During this time I have both developed and discontinued my own school and published a book – now in its second edition – on this subject.

via ~spwenger’s DEFENSIVE USE OF FIREARMS: The Site & Its Logo.

We like the website because of its committment to common sense and evidence rather than doctrine and conformity. And one part of that is the reason we like Wenger: he’s man enough to have changed his views many times.

We hope you find it as enjoyable and instructive as we did.

Two Divergent Views of 3D Printing

3d-printer-guide-0314-mdnBoth of these views have been hanging out there since January, but we’re just getting to them now.

First, the pro view. It’s “pro” in that it’s “in favor of,” but it’s also by an industry professional, Peter Zelinski, so it’s “pro” that way, too.

What will manufacturing look like once additive manufacturing is in more widespread use? DiSanto Technology, subject of this article, offers clues. 3D printing of metal components now accounts for a notable share of this firm’s production. If manufacturing in general is on its way to adopting additive processes to a similar extent, then the differences we see at DiSanto, along with other adopters of additive manufacturing for end-use parts, are suggestive of the shift we are likely to see in the very nature of part production.

How will manufacturing look different once additive production has matured? Here are some of the ways:

  1. Fewer employees.
  2. Office-like plants.
  3. Simple machining.
  4. Easy onshore/offshore.
  5. Super JIT.
  6. Super unattended.
  7. Tooling just for high volumes.

Note that these are just about how manufacturing will change, not how products will change; that’s a whole other rodeo. We remain excited about this technology, and can see literally thousands of applications, including applications to firearms engineering, manufacturing, and repair.

Zielinski posits a world where manufacturing has been changed radically by additive manufacturing technology. So does the con view, delivered by lapsed physician turned camera-chasing celebrity Rachel Armstrong, who emotes that “3D Printing will destroy the world!” in Architectural Review. The difference is that we want to live in his world, and Armstrong emphatically does not.

If 3-D printing does not fully take on this responsibility then the sustainability of our current highly ‘customised’ objects is likely to be under scrutiny, as the unit cost of printers falls and hobbyists make legions of white elephants out of toxic plastics and when our landfills are chock-a-block with yesterday’s badly made fashionable shapes.

Armstrong is, of course, at the other end of the spectrum from “industry pro,” and her Luddism seems to be a blend of Stuff White People Like and just plain snobbery. She complains about “pointless plastic products,” and “plastics, compounds that do not do well in ecosystems,” and “covert continents of particulate plastics,” indicating not much except that she does like alliteration very much, and dislikes plastics even more.

The ever-trendy, ever-buzzword-ready Armstrong makes an unsupported assertion that additive manufacturing will somehow contribute to that bugbear of the moment, “Climate Change.” And she argues that 3D printing is not a revolution unless it can “solve” that, which she defines as, “the fundamental issue of 21st-century materiality.” Materiality? Buzzword ahoy!

She hasn’t looked deeply into the processes or materials if she thinks it’s all plastic, and all nonrecyclable. But her real beef seems to be with allowing nonprofessionals the ability to design and make their own stuff, which offends her amour-propre as a spokesperson for the professionals (regardless of her training being in another profession entirely. If you’re on TV, your expertise is infinitely fungible).

In the end, it’s a birdbath-shallow analysis given the illusion of depth by carelessly-strewn neologisms. The fundamental point of Armstrong’s harangue, besides her usual main point which is promote the ego that is Rachel Armstrong, seems to be that people shouldn’t be allowed to 3D print without Rachel Armstrong’s approval. 

Scratch a soi-disant “thought leader,” find another boring fascist.

Who Peed in their Post Toasties?

What’s the right reaction to some punk piddling in a reservoir? Here’s the evidence of the evil deed:

reservoir-security-tape

Take a moment to consider your answer, and write it down to keep yourself honest. It should have two parts: what to do about the kid, and what to do about the reservoir. When you’ve considered your answer, have a look at how the granola-propelled Poindexters of Portland answered this question IRL (that’s “in real life,” for those of you who have a real life and have thereby fallen behind on internacronyms).

The city of Portland, OR will empty a 38-million gallon reservoir after a teenager allegedly urinated in it,according to the Associated Press. It’s the second time in three years that Portland is flushing its Mount Tabor reservoir after a urine-related incident.

The reservoir is open-air and sits exposed to all of nature, leading many parties to question how necessary a draining would be, or how polluted 38 million gallons of water can really be by a single man’s urine.

David Shaff, Portland’s water bureau administrator, reserves a special disgust specifically for human urine. In 2011, when Shaff drained the reservoir following a urination, he reasoned to the Portland Mercury, “Do you want to be drinking someone’s pee?… There’s probably no regulation that says I have to be doing it but, again, who wants to be drinking pee?” This time around, Shaff wrote in a statement, “Our customers have an expectation that their water is not deliberately contaminated.”

OK, nobody wants to know there’s any amount of piss in his tap water, but (1) urine is a solution of salts and chemicals, and is generally sterile; and (2) the amount in question is about 3 parts per billion, less than a third of the level that rises to concern EPA.

Oh, wait, that’s less than a third of the level of arsenic that would get EPA’s attention. They don’t have a threshold for micturate.

As wise men have noted, “the solution to pollution is dilution.” To be concerned about this amount, you’d have to be one of the nut jobs who believes fervently in homeopathy.

And who — oh, wait. Portland. Disregard.

So, they are certainly within their rights to be concerned about urine in the reservoir. We mean, apart from the pee from the fish, who can’t exactly evolve legs and use the porta-potty. So the fish pee in the water. The birds, bears, and Bigfoot all have been known to take “the pause that refreshes” alongside the sparkling reservoir.

Well, maybe not Bigfoot. Although it is Portland, so maybe. But that’s OK, it’s “all natural.”

Isn’t arsenic all natural?

Shut up, Portland explains. And what about the various things that, as we have all seen on the Discovery channel, crawl towards the water hole with their dying breath, only to be recommitted to the food chain at a lower level?

By now you should be able to predict the answer. Those are “all natural” too! Perfectly OK, unlike a quart of human whiz.

[T]he teenager in question, Dallas Swonger… also contested the cleanliness of the reservoir prior to his actions: “I’ve seen dead birds in there. During the summer time I’ve see hella dead animals in there,” Swonger told Vocativ. In 2011, Shaff told the Mercury that the reservoir is not shut down for nature’s transgressions. “If we did that, we’d be shutting it off all the time. We fish out animals or things that have blown in all the time,” Shaff said.

Got that? In Portland, they’ll make sure you never drink a homeopathic solution of human urine. But a homeopathic solution of diseased, deceased, decomposed seagull? That’s A-OK.

Going through life whining to be protected doesn’t work, even on things that really ought to frighten you. Lord love a duck. Which is probably pissing in the Mount Tabor reservoir even as you read this.

Saturday Matinee 2014 16: Escape from Afghanistan (1994)

Escape from AfghanistanFilm critics loved this movie, both in this 2002 English-dubbed “exploitation” reissue with US-looking forces on the cover, and in its original Russian iteration Peshawar Waltz in 1994. We didn’t.

Why the divergent views? It may be that the film was made to please critics, not audiences. It did win a number of awards at film festivals that we nobodies have never heard of. And the cinematography looks as if they were trying to deliberately quote a lot of ancient Soviet black-and-white masterpieces.

Well, you don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out that this director is no Eisenstein.

The story is based on real events doing the Russian war in Afghanistan. On 26 April 1985, a number of Russian and Afghan POWs who miraculously survived being taken prisoner by the Afghan mujahideen managed to initiate a prison revolt, arm themselves, and made a bid for freedom. The camp, a Pakistan Armed Forces garrison that dates to colonial days, was under control of the Pakistani external intelligence agency, the ISI, who handled interrogations, logistics, and external security; the prisoners saw only mujahideen during their quotidian lives. US intelligence officers were occasional visitors to the camp, and participants in interrogations. Officially, of course, Pakistan was not a party to the Soviet war, which has made credible information about the revolt hard to find in open source.

The real-world revolt was unsuccessful. While a myth exists in Russian circles that the prisoners killed vast numbers of Pakistanis, all or almost all the killings seem to have taken place in the original rising. All the prisoners at the camp, a couple dozen Soviets and fewer than 100 of their Afghan allies, were reportedly killed, ostensibly in the mutiny and the fighting to retake the buildings the prisoners held. With no prisoner surviving and the ISI understandably reticent, no one knows exactly what happened.

Prison revolts are not as rare as you might think. Many remember the Taliban and Al-Qaeda revolt against their American and Afghan captors in Qala-i Jangi prison in Afghanistan on 25 November 2001. There was even a concentration camp revolt at the notorious Sobibor camp, that was made into a movie with Rutger Hauer, a man whose appearance suggests he was born to be typecast as a Nazi camp guard, playing the head Jew.

Acting and Production

Barry Kushner in Escape from Afghanistan.

Barry Kushner in Escape from Afghanistan.

The acting is stiff, although some of that is probably the stilted language and inexplicable behavior of all that’s written into the script. No single actor stands out as particularly good or believable. If B players hire C players, these are the guys C players hire. The lead, Barry Kushner, has no other listing, literally, on IMDB.

It seems to have been shot on indoor sets replicating the caves of the Himalayan foothills — or, really, what some urbanite who’s never been close to this arid high-altitude area thinks the caves of the Himalayan foothills might look like — if he thinks they might look like Roman catacombs or the sewers of Warsaw as depicted in Andrzej Wajda’s Kanal. 

This is where we would write that the brilliant direction saved the day when the acting and sets were deficient — if it had done. It did not. In defense of director Timur Bekmambetov, he’s since made much more engaging and tightly-wrapped films, and seems to have cured himself of any art-house aspirations he might have had 20 years go. Consider the fact that he did make Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, evidence for that proposition. It might not have been any good, but it at least wasn’t arty.

Accuracy and Weapons

Wait, who armed these guys?

Wait, who armed these guys?

Guns are central to the story in many ways, but relatively few of them are appropriate for the place and period the film represents. There are a few Enfields (which were on the way out as Mujahideen weapons at the time), and a number of AKs (which were ascendant). A lot of the weapons are G3s, and one could argue that, as this was the Pakistani Army issue rifle at the time, it does belong here. But there are also a lot of M16s, a weapon that would only make it to Southwest Asia after 9/11. There’s even a brief image of M60 and M16, but it may have been intended as a Vietnam flashback — the movie’s so incoherently cut you can’t be sure.

Ah, an AK. That's more like it.

Ah, an AK. That’s more like it.

The production uses, inexplicably, a vintage American jeep, probably because they had one lying around. The story is narrated, loosely, through the conceit of an “observer” character, a reporter (he and his doctor sidekick are different nationalities in the Russian-language and English-language versions, but it doesn’t seem to matter).

There’s little or no CGI and so at least we’re spared dreadful CGI. But there are plenty of gigantic fireballs. Fireballs blow up things that might reasonably burn, but don’t fit the scene (a Saab Viggen?) and things that seem unlikely to blow up in a great gout of petroleum fire (an airport control tower).

The bottom line

Even Russian pyrotechnicians can't help but bring the FOOM. This is just what people expect explosions to look like any more.

Even Russian pyrotechnicians can’t help but bring the FOOM. This is just what people expect explosions to look like any more.

Escape from Afghanistan is unfortunately a shallow and confused re-imagination of what could have been a compelling story, a little-known but real Soviet Alamo. All the ingredients of a great story were present in the original Badaber revolt: high stakes, real drama. But on its way to the screen the greatness and the story were bleached out of this, and it comes across like Golan and Globus producing-while-drunk.

It is called Escape from Afghanistan but you need to have SF- or SEAL-level persistence not to be thinking about Escape from This Movie well before the halfway point.

We’re not giving up on Russian films yet, because we’ve seen quite a few good ones. An Afghan friend tells us a 2010 flick called Kandahar, about the hostage ordeal of a Russian airline crew, is worth watching, even though it makes his countrymen look pretty dreadful.

For more information

These sites relate to this particular film (many sites have two pages, one for the Russian and one for the 2002 dub job. Where there are two, the 2002 reissue is first and the 1994 original second).

  • Amazon.com DVD page:

http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Afghanistan-Barry-Kushner/dp/B0000648YS/

  • IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319375/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110817/

  • IMFDB page (none):
  • Rotten Tomatoes review page (there are no official reviews, but it has a rare 0% audience rating):

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/escape_from_afghanistan/

  • Wikipedia  page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_from_Afghanistan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshavar_Waltz

 

Gunowners Physical Security Plan, Part 2: Objectives and Principles

In Part 1 we discussed the general need for and benefits of a Physical Security Plan. any plan has to have an objective, and so that is our next task: to define the objective of the plan. Also, the plan must conform to principles of physical security.

Most of the literature available is dry, academic, and completely unmoored from practical reality. Other examples

Objective

The Objective of the Gunowner’s Physical Security Plan is to prevent loss, theft, damage to, or unauthorized use of the owner’s firearms, ammunition, and related items. Failing prevention, the plan seeks to enable recovery of the arms, or recovery of the value of the arms if that is not possible.

Principles

There are several sets of principles that apply. Principles of physical security, principles of defense, and, arching over them all, the great principles of warfare, for asset security is nothing more than a subset of the unending war between owners and looters.

Principles of Physical Security

These have been derived from relevant Army Regulations — AR 190-16 Physical Security, and AR 190-11 Weapons Security. We chose AR’s rather than one of the many dry physical security texts because (1) the AR’s, while dry enough, are a mainstream, anodyne point of departure for planning; (2) their system works: while the much smaller FBI, DEA and ATF lose dozens of guns in stateside offices, for the Army to permanently lose a firearm, except in combat, is quite rare these days; and (3) all the academic texts, meant for relatively lightweight classes like criminal justice majors take, are wildly overpriced for the dull writing and pedestrian thinking within.

  • Access – Keep the threat out.
  • Identification – Know who is permitted access, who is in and out.
  • Observation – keep vital things under personal or technical observation, or both.
  • Perimeter – keep the threat as far outside as possible.
  • Nesting – use multiple layers of containment to control the crown jewels so that the threat has to solve several sequential problems.
  • Mass – fasten targets together so that they can’t be removed by the practical.
  • Alarm – make it difficult to penetrate without sending an alarm.  Send an alarm to whoever is best able to react in a timely manner.
  • Documentation – design your defensive measures in such a way that an attack is not possible without leaving copious evidence of the attacker’s identity, even if all your defensive measures fail.
  • Redundancy – seek and engineer out all single points of failure. Design the system to be fail-safe.

Principles of Burglary

Burglars aren’t great philosophers — if they were smart, they wouldn’t be burglars, after all — but by their actions, we can infer what their principles would be, if they ever sobered up long enough to state them:

  • Get in quick – smash and grab. Only on TV do burglars pick locks. Real burglars kick in summer screens.
  • Don’t get noticed if you can avoid it. This is one reason that all but desperate and depraved burglars in the USA do not burgle occupied houses.
  • Get what’s portable and immediately salable. In economic terms, your burglar is more of a satisficer than an optimizer. Rather than clean you out, he will take what he can get in a hurry, unless he’s very confident he has lots of time.
  • Get out quick, with the loot. Just as the most critical phase of a military patrol is actions on the objective, the most critical phase of a burglary is the relatively small arc of time in which Freddie Fingers is actually in his target building. This is where he’s most exposed to being caught (burglars never have a cover for action, their freedom depends 100% on remaining undetected), and subjected to harsher penalties. (If he’s caught a block away with the burglary proceeds, many jurisdictions will tap him with misdemeanors only, or choose not to prosecute).
  • Don’t get caught. The burglar will rush to minimize his time on target if he fears police are enroute. He has given very little thought to possible penalties, but knows that getting caught is something he must avoid.

Most burglars are marginal humans: drug addicts and alcoholics who can’t hold a job in the productive economy, but don’t have the shallow charismatic sheen to sustain a run for office. But they respond to certain primal fears. It behooves you to amplify those fears in any way possible.

Principles of Defense

  • Deceive Make the attacker misunderstand and overlook your assets and your defenses. This is the weakest of all defense methods, because it can’t help you much in the event of a forceful, committed attack. This is, metaphorically, concealment that is not cover. An example is the “invisible” gun compartments we’ve linked to from time to time. Another is the false burglar-alarm sign or “beware of dog” signs when you have neither alarm nor dog (burglars, who compare notes during their incarcerations, are on to these). But if it forestalls the attack, all the effort put into it was well spent.
  • Deter Make the attacker think twice, and then not attack you, giving it up as a bad job (or attacking a softer target elsewhere). You do this by making him see you have a solid, layered, and deep security program. Showing your formidable physical barriers, and signalling the would-be burglar with indicators of probability of capture.
  • Deny – Keep the attacker out. You can accomplish this with physical barriers. Large sites can also use guard forces, but for most of us they are not practical. (And they, too, can be penetrated or suborned, if what they are guarding is that valuable). Layered defenses help here. First make them get into the building. Then through an internal deadbolt. Then into a safe. Each adds time, which the attacker has not got.
  • Detect – intrusion or breach, the earlier the better. This is where alarms come in, and the type of alarm that works best depends on where the target you’re defending is. In a large city, the kind that alarms at the alarm company might be best. In a small town, a really loud audible alarm will have your neighbors calling the police faster than an alarm company will. One manual technique you should use is to inspect alarms and all perimeter openings (doors, windows) after evry visit of a nontrusted person. Surprisingly common for, for example, a door to door salesman to unlock a back door if he can, for his associates to use later.
  • Delay – as mentioned above under “deny,” real denial to a determined antagonist is unlikely to be effective. So every bit of grit and friction you can inject into his well-lubricated burglary plan is helpful.
  • Disrupt – a key technique for convincing a burglar to discontinue an act in progress is to continually thwart, discourage, and surprise — in other words, “disrupt,” — his plans. We know of one guy who set up his gun room with an IR motion detector with a two-minute timer. If not disabled by entering a code within two minutes, it fills the room with pepper spray and sounds an alarm that is completely independent of the house alarm. That’s an inner layer of security for the persistent burg who’s made it through all the outer layers.
  • Destroy – if a burglar invades your dwelling while you and your family members are inside, the best thing to do, frankly, is kill him. You need to be intelligent about this — you can’t go running after him and shoot him in the back, because your only reasonable chance to stay out of jail yourself is to have a credible self-defense claim. In our opinion, the simple fact that he (or they) invaded your home or office is sufficient to assume violent intent on his (or their) part, but the jurisdiction you live in might have completely different ideas about what’s legal.

Principles of Warfare

Most of the world’s great armies have lists of Principles of War, which derive from such 19th Century theorists as Jomini and Clausewitz via such 20th-Century theorists as JFC Fuller. It’s true that Jomini never really enumerated a list of principles qua principles, and Clausewitz argued against distilling war down to a list of principles, but these authors’ writings inspired the list makers of all the world’s general staffs (here’s a table comparing modern ones).

The US lists the following:

  • Objective: every operation should have a clear, defined, recognizable and achievable objective. The objective of a physical security plan is to prevent unauthorized access to your firearms and ammunition.
  • Offensive: the most effective way to win is to seize and exploit the initiative. Yes, this is even true in such a defensive posture as security planning.
  • Mass: this is the concentration of your effects (fire and maneuver, among others) at the decisive point in space and time.
  • Economy of Force: Overwhelming power, if you have it, to main efforts. Minimum required power to all secondary efforts.
  • Maneuver: Positioning (and continuing to position) your forces to give you an advantage and your adversary a disadvantage.
  • Unity of Command (from 1921 until after World War II this was called Coordination, and still is by the Air Force): Just as the purpose and effort are unified, so too should be the decision-making.
  • Security: This encompasses all means to reduce hostile observation, surveillance, approach, or surprise. Security is a combat multiplier because it secures friendly freedom of action.
  • Surprise: Presenting the adverse party with a problem which is unexpected or for which he is unprepared.
  • Simplicity (this is unique to American lists)A clear and straightforward plan cuts through the “fog of war” and reduces friction. Complicated plans have exponentially more ways to go wrong.  This is particularly true of security plans of all kinds: the complex or too-difficult plan spawns shortcuts, which are toxic to security.

So these are a variety of big-picture concepts to think about as we harden Hog Manor against the toothless meth zombie hordes.

OT: Tax Day Junk

Today, the Eagle feeds. (In real life, the swan got away. Great photo though).

Today, the Eagle feeds. (In real life, the swan got away. Great photo though).

April 15th may not mean much to our international readers, but it’s the day we USian taxpaying throgs owe our third (or half, if you’ve selected your state unwisely or earned too much, or more, if you’ve done both) of our productivity to the most unproductive organization on earth, the various levels of US Government. You send it in along with your “tax return,” a document whose very name implies that it’s the .gov’s money all along, they were just letting you earn it for them. Right generous of them.

Because we experienced the unusual combination of a weak earning year and a good investment year, 2013 was a little peculiar: the amount we just sent in with a Federal extension was more than we actually made working. We’ve finally reached the point of the old Simplified Tax Form Joke: the simplified tax form has just two lines:

  1. How much did you make last year?, and,
  2. Send it in.

Here’s Remy Munasifi with a musical rendition of just how good this feels:

Hat tip Reason via Powerline. Thanks guys… we guess.

We’ve long noted that despite deep divisions in US politics, most everybody thinks the federal government wastes leviathan quantities of money. The left and right may not agree with what exact programs are the wasteful ones, but they agree there are a lot of wasteful ones. And the cocktail-party conversation evidence is that most honest people on either side of the aisle are appalled at how much waste and corruption there is, even in programs that they support philosophically.

If you’ve noted us getting ill-tempered around here lately, well, not everybody has Remy’s knack of making a musical joke of it.

Where the Tax Money Goes

Lois Lerner, a retired “civil servant” for the IRS and the wife of another former “civil servant” for the same agency, have amassed, through the usually corrupt inside-the-beltway self-seeking processes, vast sums of money, and live in a two and a half million dollar house. The average federal employee has a total compensation of well over $100k a year, more than twice what the actual workers who pay the taxes get, and has many other benefits unheard of in the Dreaded Private Sector. In 2009, almost 400k Federal employees were in the 100k salary-alone club (not counting rich benefits like overtime, location pay, and an unsustainably rich pension scheme). By 2012, the number was closer to 500k employees, more than one in five Federal payroll patriots. On average, Federal employees earn twice as much as private sector employees in comparable jobs.

  1. How much did you make last year?
  2. Send it in.

Something Better that Happened April 15th

On this day 50 years ago, Ford Motor Company designers and engineers brought forth in this land a conceptually-novel and category-defining product, the 1965 Mustang. Within a few years it would be copied by almost everybody in Detroit. Most of the copies (and a chunk of the nameplates that spawned them) have fallen by the wayside; a few (Camaro, Challenger) have been reborn; but the Mustang has remained in continuous production, and more or less true to its original vision, if you squint past the Carter ‘Malaise’ era Mustang II. Starting in the 1980s the Mustang came back with remarkable strength, sometimes despite Ford accountants’ efforts to strangle it. Everybody else will have a picture of the body style today, so in our contrary spirit, here’s the office:

1965_mustang_interior

It is clearly a product of its period, and people who try to use them as daily drivers quickly learn what fifty years of engineering progress has wrought, despite fifty years of government meddling. But it is a time capsule, and to drive one at seven tenths is still exhilarating. (At nine tenths, terrifying; at ten, traumatic).

This is not the greatest paradox of the original Mustang, but a paradox it is: in fact it was no feat of stylistic perfection or engineering genius. It was a somewhat busy reskin of the dreadful Falcon econobox, an attractive enough car, but one launched into a market experiencing a golden age of automotive styling. Its engineering was pedestrian, and sports-car snobs laughed at it (until Carroll Shelby’s racing team started beating them with Mustangs). But it was a new idea and one that took the world by storm. (In Germany, where the all-American trademark “Mustang” was owned by a lawnmower company that would not negotiate with Ford, they sold as the “T5,” but they still sold it, remarkable given the differences in roads, fuel costs and laws). It was swept along into legend by the youth and vigor of the Baby Boomers, the very same generation now grown grasping and bitter in their dotage. 

No, the greatest paradox is that the 1964 could have been the 1962 Mustang. It’s probably just as well it wasn’t, or it would be hopelessly mired in Camelot journoworship, but the reason for the delay was the presence of the bloodless numbers guy, Robert S. MacNamara, as head of Ford. MacNamara’s career is an interesting example of a guy going to the “right school” — in his case, Harvard Business — and then failing ever upward. His high points:

  • Before Ford, he was head of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, the statistical whiz kids charged with making it look like it was the 8th Air Force, and not the US, British and Russian ground armies, that actually beat Germany. They tortured the data mightily but it never really gives up that conclusion; German factories mostly ceased production when there was a Sherman, Churchill, or T-34 sitting atop their ruins.
  • At Ford, where he was hired by Ernie Breech to instill some numeric discipline (and make up for the late Henry Ford’s practice of firing all the accountants every time he found them), MacNamara redlighted the Mustang. He did, however, greenlight the Edsel, because the numbers looked good. He was proudest, though, of the Falcon, designed by the numbers to be a minimalist car. As a numbers guy, he never understood how any car buyer would be motivated to want more than basic transportation; as a retired Ford top executive, he was entitled to a new lease every year of any Ford product. The others so blessed chose luxurious Lincolns or exotic GTs; MacNamara always chose the most basic transportation, with the minimum options. He was consistent, we’ll give him that, and at least he wasn’t innumerate — quite the contrary.
  • After Ford, of course, he became Kennedy’s Secretary of Defense. Before we get to Vietnam, let’s look at where the numbers led Mac: to try to get the Navy and Air Force to share the same fighter planes. He didn’t think he needed to understand the different missons of at-sea Combat Air Patrol and deep interdiction; he was a Harvard man after all. The result was two separate disasters: the large one of the TFX, which the Navy finally escaped after the prototype killed their test pilots, and the Air Force finally whipped into a combat plane in 15 or 20 years of staggering expenditures (where it was saved by Moore’s Law and new electronically-enabled armaments like smart bombs). The small one was inflicting the gunless F4 on the Air Force, who ultimately learned to fight the airplane successfully.
  • Then there was Vietnam, in which Mac gave us MacNamara’s 100,000 (which was more like 200,000, low-fuctioning recruits and draftees, or, to be blunt, retards). Then proceeded to project onto the Nort Vietnamese his own obsession with numbers, and send them “messages” that were irrelevant to DRV war aims; then came up with the whole Igloo White, etc. MacNamara Line to prevent and interdict enemy border infiltration. Then in his memoirs he admits he knew the US was losing, but just kept shoveling troops in, because, what the hey, they were just numbers anyway. In retirement, LBJ, who kept all of Kennedy’s Cabinet except RFK who insisted on quitting, despite the fact that none of the Harvard men respected him at all, mused that he, “should have fired the sonofabitch.” You don’t say.
  • MacNamara still wasn’t done failing upward. After his fiasco-rich stint as Secretary of Defense, MacNamara headed the World Bank, and continued to torture numbers, in this instance to allow the Bank to continue to make loans to collapsing economies. Default followed default and the Bank nearly collapsed.

Despite all that, and despite being a numbers guy, he still didn’t wind up as rich as Lois Lerner. But then, she didn’t kill tens of thousands of American troops with bad decisions. So that’s a data point in her favor.

When the Mustang was introduced, MacNamara, then Secretary of Defense, sniffed that it wouldn’t outsell his baby — the Falcon. When it did, Mustang proponent Lee Iacocca sent a rather rude message to Mac. Can you blame him?

Tomorrow, back to guns… so many ideas, so little time, and we need to earn the money we paid the jeezly government.

Ave Atque Vale, A-10 Warthog (Video Rich)

Let us set up this video. It’s a one minute clip from an IMAX film, Fighter Pilot, and the whole movie actually tells more of the story of the F-15s than the A-10s they’re escorting, but the clip focuses on one A-10 gun run. This is a trip to the range for live fire, and the sequence of events is this:

  1. You see F-15s (these might be Strike Eagles) breaking left and right (a two-ship each way).
  2. A two-ship element of A-10s fires flares, fires a GAU-8 burst, and breaks left.
  3. Either another element, or the same one shown again? Both A-10 elements are shown first from behind and overhead, then from beside, obviously filmed from another aircraft.
  4. Then you see the ground point of view. You see F-15s approaching on the deck, and a tank (an old M60A1 deployed as a range target) on the left. If you look closely (and have the video  on full screen) you can see the Warthogs below and behind the fighters.
  5. Some A-10 pilots clearly have more luck, or skill, than others. You can wound personnel in the open with 30mm near-misses, but nothing but hits will kill a tank. You’ll see plenty of hits, though, and the target’s-eye view was worth the risk of an unattended (obviously) camera.

You can dismiss the dopey explanations that come on screen; the poster added them because, well, most YouTube commenters are living proof that half of humanity is below average.

You can’t have just one gun run, although that’s the most beautifully photographed one you’re going to get. Courtesy of the Air Force, here’s two more videos of A-10s in range fire action just last year at the Nevada Test and Training Range.

In the second video, the camera’s further from the action (as you can tell by the elapsed time between the gunsmoke at the Warthog’s nose and the sound of hog-snort). Note that most of the rounds in both videos are near-misses, but there are some spectacular hits. The targets here are old 8″ M107 SP Howitzers.

This airplane is to be scrapped — not because they have anything to replace it, they’re replacing it with empty hangars and unemployed pilots and mechanics. They’re scrapping it because the money is needed for corporate welfare for big contributors, and handouts for the idle.

But we’re not cynical.

To return to the technical stuff that brings us together, can you watch that and not wonder how in hell they reload and maintain that thing? After all, they built the entire plane around it (The A-10 and its unsuccessful A-9 competitor were the first planes built around a gun since the P-39 of the late 1930s, which was built around the M1 37mm cannon made by, of all firms, Oldsmobile).

Unlike World War II, where armorers came out on trucks and handed cans of belted .50 ammo over to bomber gunners or loaded them in the wings or nose of fighters, the GAU-8′s 30mm rounds take some machinery to load up. (Actually, the gun can be loaded by hand, but it’s an ordeal to do it). Normally, the rounds are contained in plastic cylindrical loaders, which the loading machine shucks them out of like husking corn, before stuffing them in the A-10. (In real combat, other ordies would be hanging bombs and/or missiles on the plane’s hard points, but in training they usually separate training for bombing and gunnery).

And if you haven’t had enough, here’s more behind the scenes A-10 reloading (about ten minutes of loading and interviews with ordnance airmen):

And finally, here’s a couple of GAU-8 ground test fires, probably at General Electric’s facilities in Vermont.

 

Sure, we could talk about the specs of the GAU-8, like its incredible muzzle velocity, uncanny reliability, or four-figure rate of fire, but you know, you can look all that stuff up. We thought we’d just start your day off right with a few videos of eager young aviators delivering the tank-busting Power of Holy Smite from on high, and eager young ground-crew airmen stuffing that power back in the magazine so the whole thing can be done again.

These may be the last months of the service life of these incredible airplanes, and the guns they’re built around. They’re soon to go the way of the Republic Aircraft Thunderbolt (which they’re actually named after, in an official name that’s scarcely used), Republic Thunderchief, and a hundred other combat types. This will be the last plane that carries the lineage of Alexander P. DeSeversky, a White Russian who became an American aviation pioneer, and Sherman Fairchild, who started building airplanes to support an aerial photography business. (Yes, the same Fairchild company that later invested in Armalite in AR-10 prototype days).

Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?

MonopolyJailThe answer to that shouldn’t be too hard. And it shouldn’t hinge on what jurisdiction we’re in. If we’re living in the physical world, and “I” am anybody at all, you’re asking for trouble to believe my words over the evidence of direct observation. But if we’re in Indiana, and I’m a cop, my false testimony literally has more weight than video evidence that contradicts it.

This is the consequence of the Indiana Supreme Court going Full Retard in the case of Robinson v. Indiana (or is it Indiana v. Robinson?). TechDirt has the, well, dirt (although if there’s any tech here, we don’t see it):

Seeing how often official reports by law enforcement are contradicted by video recordings, you’d think judges would have become a bit more skeptical about the supposed “superiority” of officers’ recall powers. But that’s apparently not the case, at least not in Indiana, where the state’s Supreme Court has ruled that officer memory trumps video recordings.

In the case being discussed, the officer following Robinson’s car observed it veering over the fog line twice, which gave him the reasonable suspicion he needed to pull her over. Once pulled over, Robinson blew a .09 BAC (.01 over the legal limit) and volunteered to the officer that she was also in possession of a small amount of marijuana. During her trial, she attempted to have the evidence suppressed on the basis that the officer did not have the reasonable suspicion needed to pull her over.

The Supreme Court reviewed the dashboard cam recording, concluding that while it may have not showed exactly what the officer claimed (or indeed, any solid evidence that Robinson’s driving was impaired), it was clearly inferior to the officer’s observational skills and experience.

Deputy Claeys, as he drove down County Road 4 on that October night, was observing Robinson’s vehicle through the lens of his experience and expertise. And when Deputy Claeys testified at the suppression hearing, the trial judge heard his testimony—along with the other witness testimony and evidence, including the video—through the lens of his experience and expertise. Ultimately, that experience and expertise led the trial judge to weigh Deputy Claeys’s testimony more heavily than the video evidence, and we decline Robinson’s invitation to substitute our own judgment for that of the trial court and rebalance the scales in her favor.
This conclusion was reached despite Claeys’ “superior” observational skills observing things that didn’t actually happen.

Deputy Claeys testified “both passenger side tires were over the fog line” and “completely off the roadway” “twice.”

As the single dissenting opinion notes, the previous court found Claeys’ recall of the events suspect.

via Indiana Supreme Court Declares An Officer’s Testimony Is More Reliable Than Video Evidence | Techdirt.

The TechDirt story links to a motoring-law blog story and presents the opinion (pdf here at the blog, or in Scribd at TechDirt). TechDirt is not playing “telephone” here as often seems to be the case in outraged articles: the Indiana courts have decided that “perjury doth prosper,” as long as it’s in a blue (well, these days, black, usually and in some cases appropriately) uniform.

The War on Drunks is a fine thing, but when we enable an officer’s hunch to override physical evidence, we’ve departed from the rule of law and stumbled down an alley than ends in the whole society getting rolled by a gang — a gang that were once police.

It happens. The founders of Mexico’s monstrous Los Zetas were once law enforcers, who found the pool more fun to swim in the deep end, on the other side of the of float rope. The two biggest gangs in Jamaica were both started by politicians and recruited from the police, which they have thoroughly infiltrated. The FBI in Boston found itself working for the local Irish associates of La Cosa Nostra. (And only two of those crooked FBI agents ever saw consequences, L. Paul Rico and Zip Connolly, who participated in mob murders). 

But hey, we tried the “government of laws” thing for a couple hundred years, and we still Didn’t Get To Utopia. Sad clown. So hey, let’s revert to the tried-and-true “government of largely hereditary social classes” that’s been the global norm at least since Hammurabi’s Code.

What could possibly go wrong?