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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?

Something Good, if Limited, from ATF (for a change)

The ATF has proposed removing some items from The US Military Imports List, thereby deregulating the import of these items. It’s uncommon enough that even a citizen-oriented, constitutionally-chartered agency releases a grip on anything at all; to see it from the high-handed and expansionist ATF is extremely rare.

But here it is, right in the Federal Register. Note that two Lists control the import and export of arms, ammunition, and Significant Military Equipment: The The United States Munitions List, which is controlled by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls of the lotus-eaters in the State Department, and the United States Munitions Import List (Title 27 Part 447), which is controlled by the ATF. The two lists are not the same and are not especially in agreement with one another; this has to do with the ATF import list.

The Department is removing from the USMIL Category I—Firearms, paragraph (e), ‘‘Riflescopes manufactured to military specifications and specifically designed or modified components therefor.’’ The defense articles currently covered by Category I, paragraph (e) are readily available through diverse domestic commercial sources and they do not present a significant concern for trafficking or diversion into illicit channels. The defense articles currently covered by Category I, paragraph (e) do not warrant import control under the AECA. The Department reserves this paragraph.

In Category III—Ammunition, the Department is removing and then reserving paragraphs (c), ‘‘Ammunition belting and linking machines,’’ and (d), ‘‘Ammunition manufacturing machines and ammunition loading machines (except handloading ones).’’ These defense articles are costly, difficult to maintain, too heavy for easy transport, and readily available from domestic vendors in the United States. These defense articles do not pose a trafficking and diversion threat warranting import control under the AECA.

In addition, in Category IV—Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs and Mines, the Department is removing and reserving paragraph (f), ‘‘Ablative materials fabricated or semi-fabricated from advanced composites (e.g., silica, graphite, carbon, carbon/carbon, and boron filaments) for the articles in this category that are derived directly from or specifically developed or modified for defense articles.’’ Such materials are a low threat to domestic security and are readily available in the domestic market.

Those first three items: Military-quality riflescopes, belt-linking and ammo-loading machines, and ablative composites are, as ATF asserts, widely available in the USA. The ATF may also have been feeling political heat from the aerospace and medical industries due to advanced composites imports being at the mercy of ATF’s notoriously slow bureaucrats.

Next up on the list, the ATF is backing down from micromanaging the import of dual-use and former naval vessels:

In Category VI—Vessels of War and Special Naval Equipment, the Department is clarifying paragraph (a) to read: ‘‘Vessels of War, if they are armed and equipped with offensive or defensive weapons systems, including but not limited to amphibious warfare vessels, landing craft, mine warfare vessels, patrol vessels, auxiliary vessels, service craft, experimental types of naval ships, and any vessels specifically designed or modified for military purposes or other surface vessels equipped with offensive or defensive military systems.’’ The new text focuses precisely on defense articles that might threaten domestic security or enable terrorist activities. Further in Category VI—Vessels of War and Special Naval Equipment, the Department is revising paragraph (b) to read: ‘‘Turrets and gun mounts, special weapons systems, protective systems, and other components, parts, attachments, and accessories specifically designed or modified for such articles on combatant vessels.’’ The new language focuses on defense articles that might threaten domestic security or enable terrorist activities. Also in Category VI, the Department is removing and reserving paragraphs (c) and (d). Mine sweeping equipment, harbor entrance detection devices, and related components and controls have numerous domestic suppliers and are low threats to domestic security. Additionally, the Department is revising the note in Category VI to clarify that the examples of vessels of war provided in Category VI must be armed and equipped with offensive or defensive weapon systems to be considered a defense article on the USMIL.

Note that the paragraphs are not being entirely deleted — they’re being “removed, and reserved.” Those include two in Category II (“Ammunition”) and one in Category IV (“Launch Vehicles, Missiles, etc.”) This suggests that the ATF may intend to add new materials to the USMIL, and this action is merely clearing some space on the list.

But what the ATF is actually doing with reference to tanks and armored vehicles is not at all clear from the NPRM. Here’s what they say:

he Department is updating Category VII—Tanks and Military Vehicles by removing and reserving paragraph (g), ‘‘Engines specifically designed or modified for the vehicles in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (f) of this category.’’ The defense articles listed in Category VII, paragraph (g) are substantially the same as those commercially available in the domestic market and not likely to be diverted for criminal use. The Department is revising paragraph (h) and including two explanatory notes. The Department is also adding a new paragraph (i), with a corresponding new note to Category VII to clarify that this category includes within its scope other ground vehicles that meet four technical parameters in the Wassenaar Arrangement’s Munitions List Category 6.

 

DOD Took Wrong Lessons from Navy Yard

This is the guy whose reaction to the murder of disarmed victims has been to try to disarm them further for the next killer: USD(I) Michael Vickers.

This is the guy whose reaction to the murder of disarmed victims has been to try to disarm them further for the next killer: USD(I) Michael Vickers.

In a report on the Navy Yard mass shooting written by the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, a political appointee, the Department of Defense never addressed the defenselessness of the victims. Instead, they doubled down on the failed policy of victim disarmament.

We saw the result of this bad DOD policy recently at Fort Hood, although the Army and military-in-general brass are stupid enough that this guy’s (image right) pigheadedness didn’t singlehandedly kill the three Hood victims.

Privately-owned Weapons on DoD Installations

Although DoD policy regarding privately owned weapons is adequate, enforcement and verification is difficult. It is impractical to search every vehicle entering an installation for illegal weapons. Additionally, without conducting exhaustive searches of facilities and residences, it is impossible to verify illegal weapons have not been smuggled onto DoD installations. Commanders must balance security with access and privacy concerns.

Title 18 U.S.C., Section 930, prohibits any individual from knowingly possessing or presenting a firearm or dangerous weapon in a Federal facility. The December 3, 2010, Secretary of Defense message on privately owned firearms (POF) directed all DoD components to require mandatory registration of POF for all personnel who store POF on an installation (whether or not they live on the installation). U.S. Navy policy for POF aligns with this DoD policy, requiring any weapon brought onto a Navy installation to be registered with base security forces.

In other words, Department of Defense facilities already have the kind of laws which obtain in Chicago, the murder capital of North America. Is it just us, or does the DSD(I) seem to regret the impracticality of “exhaustive searches of facilities and residences”?

Hey, those “exhaustive searches” sure prevented attacks on our guys in Iraq and Afghanistan, and made ‘em love us, or what?

So, it sounds like he’s going to recommend a double-down on the policy that failed and just killed a whole bunch of people. Let’s see:

Recommendations:

  • Installation commanders develop strategies to check vehicles and personnel entering DoD installations and facilities for POF.
  • Conduct a follow-on review to examine installation security and law enforcement resource requirements to implement an adequate personnel, property, and vehicle inspection program.
  • Ensure notices of provisions are posted conspicuously at each DoD installation in public entrance in accordance with subsections (a) and (b) of Title 18, United States Code, Section 930 (Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal facilities). DoD Vulnerability Assessment Capabilities to Identify and Mitigate Physical Security Gaps Vulnerability assessments are critical to commanders’ ability to identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risk.

Yep, a total double-down. That’s what DOD did, and the result is already three more corpses, every one killed as much by the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and the Army’s General Ostriches, as by the whackjob shooter his own self.

So who is (or was, at the time of the report?) the USD(I). There’s a surprise in that, because the guy is Michael Vickers, who, before he became a political tool, was an actual SF operator. After that, he was involved at several levels in clandestine aid to the 7 mujahideen groups, at least three of whom actually fought the Russians in Afghanistan (the others saved the ammo to fight each other, which they did in 1992 as soon as they overwhelmed the Russian puppet government of Comrade Najib and hung him from a tree). Contrary to media myth, Osama bin Laden was not among the mujahideen aided, but Gulbuddin Hekmatayar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, who have led resistance to the USA, were. (Hekmatayar avoided fighting the Russians, and Haqqani was one of the muj who fought them fiercely).

We don’t blame Vickers for the mess that Afghanistan has become. (Indeed, the blame accrues mostly to the Afghans, who happily fight each other, when we or Ivan are not around, and sometimes even when we are). But he’s wrong about DOD gun policy. He was wrong in December 2013 when he wrote this, and he’s wrong in April 2014, where the DOD is doubly doubling down again.

Part of this comes from the senior levels of officer corps, to which one can only rise with a degree of contempt for enlisted men and women. An example of this is former Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, who said:

“I’m not one, as someone who has been on many, many bases and posts, that would argue for arming anybody who is on base. I think that actually invites much more difficult challenges.”
“Certainly we have to do everything we can to protect everybody that’s on base,” Mullen said. “But I’d be much more in the camp of … focusing on the individuals rather than routinely allowing arms on any military base in the country.”

Did you see that? He’s against arming anybody who’s on base. He’s for victim disarmament. He’s a supporter of Lopez (I), Savage, Lopez (E), Alexis, and Hasan, the five fiends. If you want to feel a chill, consider this: he’s also a supporter of the coming sixth.

Savage Bucks Industry Trend — with Big Layoffs

Screenshot 2014-04-10 22.36.11Savage Arms employed about 600 people when it was bought by defense giant ATK in 2013. Now about 440 people go to work at the company’s Westfield, Massachusetts facility, after the latest batch of 37 were shown the door this week. The company’s workforce is already 27% smaller (26 point repeating 6, to be pedantic about it) than it was at the time of the acquisition. It’s either struggling to sell its products in the hottest market ever, or was the first victim of the market’s regression to the mean, or ATK is eliminating positions made redundant by the acquisition — which seems unlikely, with the layoff count so high in less than a year, but it’s possible.

Savage makes well-regarded, attractively-priced and accurate bolt-action rifles, a line of rimfires, and the excellent  Savage Range Systems “snail traps” that are ubiquitous on indoor ranges these days. The company recorded $200 million in revenue in 2013.

A local news report notes that, “The door is open to more layoffs.” Commenters expressed fear that the company would move, like most other local employers have done. (Westfield is west of Springfield, in the Connecticut River valley, which was once known as Gun Valley from the profusion of gun makers there, but is now full of idled and ruined plants and welfare pathologies). One expressed the dread that Savage would be gone within three years.

Since it was Massachusetts, of course, another commenter expressed delight at the possibility:

Good, they are nothing but a manufacturers of death tools. Would be glad to see them shut down. This nation doesn’t need any more guns what so ever. And the employees should be ashamed of themselves for helping make such a filthy tool that has caused nothing but deaths.

When yet another commenter criticized him, the pseudonymous gun-hater delivered a double dose of enlightenment:

Cars are not manufactured to kill like guns are STUPID!!!!! It goes to show your level of IQ. Cars on the other hand are manufactured to provide transportation while working as hard as possible to keep its occupants safe during a accident. And that’s the HUGE difference between car makers and gun makers IDIOT!!!! But I’m sure your dumb dumb type will never realize those differences, so please don’t complain when gun violence keeps going up!! And for any chemical manufacturer that is making chemicals to kill, the same thing stupid, shut them down!!! And the rest of your argument attempt with doctors, seriously?!? Are you really that stupid, Oh wait, of course you are!!!

 And then got angrier… and more illiterate:

A gun related death occur every few second you dope! Do please cut the drug use as it rendering you useless and stupid!! My goodness, don’t you have any dignity? I guess when people are as dolt as you they do not!!
And by the way, democant’s and republicant’s are on the same team of use the people they are stupid mentality!!!

But he wasn’t done:

Its been the mentality of your type to start the wars and fuel communism you smelly uneducated IMBECILE!! Go take a history class and learn the belief system of those individuals. an, are you really that dumb about the human past and present or are you just playing dumb online? And stupid says what!!!

I don’t follow nor believe in fairy tales so I don’t have a messiah you silly dope!

I wouldn’t mind seeing a vid of you getting your ass taken out!! Go choke on horse meat F A G!!

The only cattle is your type!

LMAO!!! No, that’s quite all right, my brain doesn’t eat manure like the rest of you!!

While we’ve met enough people from Massachusetts to think that Gun Rage Guy quoted above is far from alone, there were also commenters that had more to contribute. For example, this post ought to be considered before we start lining up to lynch ATK:

Savage has been increasing their worker count at that plant for almost a decade to meet increased demand. Recent spikes in firearms sales, caused by fear of government action, have now started to subside. You can’t blame Savage for laying people off when demand turns off from all-time historic peak levels. This is not a sign of an evil company or that they will be leaving town. It is simply a rationalizing of the workforce from historically high numbers

We see demand subsiding, but to a level that will probably sustain itself higher than the then-record levels of 2011 or 2012. So a wise company would be planning new product introductions to tempt all those new shooters who have just been created.

Five Years (+), Five Shootings, Five Findings

Let’s review the last five major shootings at military bases and see what lessons we can learn from them. Let’s start a little over five years ago, in an incident Eric Holder and two nutless Secretaries of Defense have described as “workplace violence.” As if anyone was still mystified about why Nidal Hasan went postal one day….

1. Fort Hood, Texas, November 2009

A radicalized, fundamentalist Moslem carried out the highest sacrament of his faith: mass murder. He was known to all as a supporter of jihad, but no one did anything before his crimes, because an Islamic bean is a pearl beyond price, at least to the beancounters in Army personnel.

As he murdered one unarmed victim after another, at least three brave attempts to charge him barehanded brought a soldier a hero’s death, and a fourth resulted in the soldier receiving crippling wounds. He was finally stopped when armed police officers responded to a 911 call, and shot and critically wounded him. Until he was incapacitated by gunfire, he never stopped killing.

The media, being the media, praised the lady cop that the assailant wounded and disabled, and more or less ignored the male cop who actually stopped him. Amazon narrative, you know.

The Army resisted external investigation, and senior Army officers announced that his faith-driven disloyalty was not on the table in the investigation:  while a few dozen dead and wounded soldiers was kind-of, sort-of a tragedy, it would really be bad if it undermined our blind adherence to the shibboleths of “diversity,” Army Chief of Staff General George M. Casey explained. 

Nothing was done to allow the soldiers to protect themselves. Casey and his successors, and the Secretaries of Defense they reported to, have chosen to punish the victims instead. They excluded the survivors from VA combat-vet benefits, and forbade them from receiving the Purple Heart Medal, which has been awarded to victims of terrorism routinely since 1986 — except for these ones. 

In addition to alarming his chain of command in the Army steadily since 2005, Hasan had come to FBI’s attention, and that of the Defense Criminal Investigations Service, and they did nothing much at the time. The mad moslem murderer’s communications were intercepted and briefly reviewed in 2008, but the FBI moved on to higher priority intercept targets, like you. Hasan’s Army commanders, the FBI, and the DCIS all dropped their investigations because he was a radical moslem.

Lessons learned:

  • A violent shooter can cause considerable trouble before police can arrive and stop him.
  • The incident ended, as usual, abruptly. This occurred when deadly force was applied effectively against the shooter, by the second police officer to arrive.
  • Until then, no one was present but victims, who died because they had no effective means of self-defense.
  • Even soldiers, if unarmed, have trouble dealing with a violent and armed terrorist.
  • If you’re wounded, the Army will have your back unless it threatens diversity mythmaking. In that case, KMAGYOYO.
  • When we sacrificed privacy to get security through FBI/NSA domestic spying, the privacy went but the security is still an unfulfilled promise.

Gun Free Victim Disarmament Zone body count:  13. Wound count: 32.

2. Marine Corps Base Quantico, March 2013

A male Marine who moved from off-post into barracks had a torrid affair with a female Marine. She broke it off and immediately took another male Marine to her bunk. The first guy shot and killed his ex and her new beau in the barracks, then turned the pistol on himself. (As is customary in these triangle cases, he killed himself when his mission was complete). USMC investigators said nothing about the barracks environment of the unit, apparently the 1710th Relentlessly Shagging Battalion, but faulted commanders for not grilling the shooter abour weapons ownership, and disarming him when he moved on post.

Lessons learned:

  • A violent shooter can complete his criminal mission before police can arrive and stop him.
  • The incident ended, as usual, abruptly. This occurred when the shooter completed his intended murders, and killed himself.
  • The cost-benefit profile of a workplace dalliance needs to include edge cases like this.
  • He never was confronted by armed authorities. The victims’ lives were taken when there was no one there but themselves. Only the victims could have saved themselves — and only if they were armed themselves.

Gun Free Victim Disarmament Zone body count:  2. Wound count: 0.

3. Washington Navy Yard, September 2013

A man who was mentally ill and an intermittent user of the preescription serotonin inhibitor Trazodone went on a shooting rampage in Building 157 197 of the Navy Yard. He shot 12 civilian Navy employees dead with a shotgun, critically wounded two more, and wounded a police officer. (Seven to ten other injuries were from causes other than the assailant’s gunfire, like leaping out windows to get away from him). He was ultimately killed by the police after several gunfights, but he killed no one more once the police engaged him.

Lessons learned:

  • A violent shooter can cause considerable trouble before police can arrive and stop him. Hey, didn’t we learn that already? Apparently not.
  • The incident ended, as usual, abruptly. This occurred when force was applied against the shooter.
  • Even soldiers, if unarmed, have trouble dealing with a violent and armed terrorist.
  • If you’re wounded, the Army will have your back unless it threatens diversity mythmaking. In that case, KMAGYOYO.
  • When we sacrificed privacy to get security through FBI/NSA domestic spying, the privacy went but the security never came.

Gun Free Victim Disarmament Zone body count:  12. Wound count: 3.

4. Norfolk Navy Yard, VA, March 2014

A career violent criminal who’d ostensibly gone straight as a truck driver, bluffed his way through at least two Navy checkpoints onto a pier where USS Mahan was berthed. The criminal may not have been armed, but the petty officer of the guard was. She was easily disarmed by the criminal, who was in the process of shooting her when a shipmate, MA2 Michael Mayo, intervened. Mayo was shot dead. Another Mahan watchstander shot the intruder dead, and that was the end of whatever it was he had planned.

While most of the Navy base is subject to the usual DOD Victim Disarmment Zone rules, ships have armed guards.

Lessons learned:

  • Having armed defenders at the point of initial attack made all the difference.
  • The incident ended, as usual, when force was applied against the shooter.
  • This incident might have ended with no loss of life (or loss of only the criminal’s life, and who cares about that?), were it not for the failure of the PO of the guard.
  • Relying on weak people for life-and-death positions has consequences. Most women are weak compared to most men — as this one was compared to her assailant.

Armed Victim Zone body count: 1. Wound count: 0.

5. Fort Hood, Texas, April 2014

An insane nut job, pumped full of God knows what drugs by the military medical community (some stories suggest that he was on at least three psychoactive medications, although early media reports on these shootings are usually crap) and unhappy with his unit’s application of the Army’s rigid personnel-management policies, began shooting people. Then he drove around shooting more people. This decison of his was fortuitous; most people can’t hit much from a moving car, and this jerk was no exception.

The Fort Hood victims were even more disarmed by a redoubled effort at victim disarmament by the post command and Provost Marshal’s office in response to the 2009 shooting. There appears to have been the same laggard, or at least too-late-to-save-lives, police response this time.

When the assailant was confronted by an armed MP, he killed himself.

While the press has suggested that he was suffering from combat trauma (they love that Ticking Time Bomb Vet Narrative™), this assclown never heard a shot fired during a brief Iraq tour. We’ve known a few guys who were so eager to get into fights that dull tours traumatized ‘em, but we don’t think this guy was like that.

Lessons learned:

  • An armed assailant in a pool of forcibly disarmed victims has been given an edge by the authorities.
  • In this case, the assailant exploited his edge poorly, unlike Hasan.
  • The incident ended, and we’re not tired of saying this yet, as soon as force was applied against the shooter.
  • This was a predictable consequence of the poor response of the Fort Hood command to the last (2009) shooting incident. Instead of empowering victims, they chose to empower the criminals, relying on wishful, magical thinking instead of the power of logic. If they double down again on their anti-gun policies, the consequences are again predictable.

Gun Free Victim Disarmament Zone body count:  3 Wound count: 16.

Here it is in handy, tabular format. Click to embiggenate.

military_mass_shooting_events

 

They Sued the ATF — and Won.

The face of evil: Cullen Mutrie in a 2007 mugshot. Image: Greenland PD via Portsmouth Herald.

So, here were four police officers from a regional drug task force shot and wounded by a no-account drug dealer who also murdered the local police chief and his girlfriend. (Since this whole thing went down within a few miles of Hog Manor, we wrote about it quite extensively. Our original report; our references to the criminal, whose brain-dead visage graces the page to the left).

The cops have a lawsuit, charging that the criminal’s mother provided him the guns. (He was armed with a .357 and a Ruger 9mm. He used the Ruger to shoot the cops. The .357 was purchased by the ill-fated girlfriend at a gun show; the seller was an FFL and she passed the NICS check). Their only problem was: the ATF would not give them the trace information on the gun with which they were all shot. So they sued, as this story from April 2 shows:

Citing the federal Freedom of Information Act, four Drug Task Force officers shot while serving warrants at the Greenland home of Cullen Mutrie have filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for unredacted records pertaining to the April 12, 2012, shootings.

Through Portsmouth attorney Christopher Grant, the officers allege the ATF has failed to produce the records in a timely manner and “thus has improperly withheld the records.” In the lawsuit, Grant tells the court the officers requested the ATF records more than a year ago and were informed three months ago that the documents would be forthcoming.

The lawsuit states the ATF information is needed for a Rockingham Superior Court lawsuit the officers filed against Mutrie’s mother, Beverly. That lawsuit alleges Beverly Mutrie is responsible for their injuries because she knowingly, “wantonly and recklessly” allowed criminal activity to occur at the Greenland home, where she allowed her son to live cost-free.

Whether it was the ATF having second thoughts, their usually-truculent FOIA personnel waking up to the fact that the ATF is nominally on the same side as real police, or the bureaucracy finally catching up with a year-old request, the cops now have the records they wanted, as a story from the same paper on April 9 reveals.

Four Drug Task Force officers shot while serving warrants at the Greenland home of Cullen Mutrie have received records from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms they sought through a federal lawsuit.

Through Portsmouth attorney Christopher Grant, the officers sued for the federal records in an effort to prove their allegation that Mutrie — who was barred by a domestic-violence conviction from having guns — got the weapon he used to shoot the officers from his mother. Associate Attorney General Jane Young told the Herald in 2012 that the Ruger .357 revolver Mutrie used to shoot the officers was purchased at a Manchester gun show by his alleged drug-dealing accomplice, Brittany Tibbetts, three months before the shootings. The unknown source of that revolver is the crux of the civil suit filed against Beverly Mutrie by the officers.

Grant on Tuesday declined to comment about the case and the significance the newly obtained federal records may have on it going forward

Their lawsuit against ATF now closes as moot — we’ll never know if that waste of time and money was necessary to get the ATF folks to do their jobs, or not.

What we don’t know about the underlying case, still, is whether these trace records say what the lawyer wanted to hear, namely, that the Ruger crime gun was acquired by the murderer’s mother and illegally passed to him.

If it was, she too is a felon, but the lack of ATF interest in the case hints that she might not have been the buyer, or at least, may not be so documented. Conversely, the fact that the attorney has not started crowing about what he found in the records doesn’t say much. If the records do support his allegation, his next step would probably be to try to secure a settlement in a private conference with Beverley Mutrie’s representatives. Only if that is unsuccessful will the dispute be aired — and the tracing results filed as an exhibit — in open court, or, as this attorney has been “trying” this case all along, in the press.

The Great Black & White Hype

newspaper-fishwrapThe Great Black & White Hype? It’s in the newspaper, it turns out . Criminology professor James Fox, coming from a liberal second-string university in Boston, no less, is taking the press to task for its “active shooter” hype. He also gets in some licks on Eric Holder, a sport which appeals increasingly to players from all shades of the political spectrum.

In his speech last October, Attorney General Eric Holder was anything but circumspect in describing the emerging trend almost in epidemic proportions. Reflecting on a recent FBI-sponsored report on active shooters, Holder noted that over a span of just four years, America had “witnessed an increase of nearly 150% in the number of people shot and killed in connection with active shooter incidents.”

Unfortunately, there is much confusion about what an active shooter is exactly. A CNN report from last January, under the headline “Mass shootings on the rise,” lamented that active shooter events had “become so common, that other examples roll off the tongue: Newtown, Navy Yard, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech.” However, the four examples noted in the story are the far extreme, not the norm.

It’s a technical term from the cop’s world, which has been picked up, half-understood, and deployed by newsmen, whose objective and training is in advocacy, not understanding.

As defined by the federal government, an active shooter “is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically through the use of firearms.” Even though they may wish to kill large numbers of victims, these assailants typically fall short of their objective.

Probing the active shooter data highlighted by Holder reveals a pattern far different from the impression left by the deadliest shooting sprees often used as illustrations. Among the 110 active shooter cases identified since 2000, nearly three-quarters resulted in fewer than four fatalities, which is the usual threshold for mass murder. Moreover, nearly one-quarter of the active shooter cases were resolved without any victims losing their lives. While all of these episodes were undoubtedly frightening to those impacted directly or indirectly, the majority should not be equated with the few catastrophic slayings that have grabbed the headlines and alarmed the nation.

As the data suggest, “active shooter” has become code for “man with a gun” or even “man who is suspected of having a gun.” Is it an active shooter event, really, if nobody (except, perhaps, the suspect) is shot dead?

Besides the confusion surrounding terminology, evidence suggesting an increase in active shooters is suspect, at best. The data used by the FBI and others focusing on active shooter incidents derive in large part from newspaper sources. That the term “active shooter” is of recent vintage tends to bias any attempt to examine trends based on searching news coverage.

That’s an important point, and Fox is honest to point it out. If you start looking for trends in word use (exactly the sort of thing that appeals to highly verbal but utterly innumerate news reporters) you will see alarming trends for many neologisms.

In sharp contrast to the “active shooter panic” is that mass shootings, instances in which four or more are killed by gunfire, are not on the rise. Over the past three-plus decades, according to official homicide data reported annually by law enforcement agencies nationwide, there have been on average about 20 mass shootings a year, with neither an upward or downward trajectory. The only increase has been in publicity and dread.

You don’t say. That sentence that concludes the graf above is powerful — and true. Quite a good essay; do Read The Whole Thing™.

We didn’t expect much from the essay, but that’s because we mistook Fox for a different author; his co-authored book is actually one that broke new ground on classifying various multiple murders, and his comments stem from a complete and thorough understanding of these crimes. Reviewing our copy, we can see that he and his co-author are quite careful to note the difficulty of making general assumptions from such rare and highly variable data points as mass and spree killings.

The Justice, it Burns!

flamethrowerIf you can call what passes for justice in North Korea — the whim of the latest inbred midget king of the inbred midget Kim Dynasty — “Justice,” that is. South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo:

The North Korean regime has shut down the Workers Party department once headed by purged eminence grise Jang Song-taek and executed or interned 11 high-ranking officials, sources said Sunday.

One of them was burned alive.

Boy, that really sounds like a society and government that’s confident of its strength. And ruled with great wisdom and mercy, too! What’s next?

A source said the regime is preparing a third purge of officials who supported Jang. The first purge involved his family, relatives and high-ranking party officials, while the second purge underway. The third will target his supporters in provincial chapters of the Workers Party.

The source said Jang’s elder sister Kye-sun and her husband and ambassador to Cuba Jon Yong-jin, as well as their son-in-law Kim Yong-ho, who was head of a trading company, were executed. But ambassador to Malaysia Jang Yong-chol, Jang’s nephew, escaped with his life.

Well, sure. After you execute a thought criminal, you always should execute the whole family if you can. They’re probably blowing it by letting this nephew go, don’t you think? And then go round up the friends and acquaintances. Let’s play “Six Degrees of Executions!”

Jang’s closest confidants Ri Yong-ha and Jang Su-gil as well as nine other high-ranking party officials were purged, while around 100 lower-ranking party officials loyal to Jang were sacked.

O Sang-hon, a deputy minister at the Ministry of Public Security, was “executed by flamethrower,” the source said.

The reason for the horrific method that he had turned the ministry into Jang’s personal protection squad, the source added. O managed a bureau in the ministry as his personal security service and raised its status to the same rank as officials guarding leader Kim Jong-un.

And now we get to the weapons angle, and the illustration leading the post is explained. We’re betting that they don’t have a constitutional restriction (nor a common-law one) on “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Of course, this is Norkistan we’re talking about, so nothing cruel is really unusual.