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Breaking: ICE has its own Fast & Furious Scandal

ICE patchIt starts the same way: with agency managers fantasizing about taking down a big criminal drug trafficking organization, and imagining the personal benefits that such a triumph would bring. And it ends the same way: with dead people, lawyered up managers, questions that don’t get answered, and — as ever in today’s Deep State — no one held accountable.

In fact — stop us if you’ve heard this before — the two individuals most responsible seem to have been promoted.

Now, disclaimer: this story is based in largest part on two media reports, although we also have some original reporting in here. (We’ll link the media reports: New York Daily News and UK Daily Mail).

Here’s what the Mail says happened:

According to the whistle-blower, agents in the ICE San Diego office recruited a Mexican informant, 39-year-old Isaias Borquez Lizarraga, to pretend to smuggle drugs into the U.S. so that the agency could track the sales back to cartels in Mexico.

The sting was illegal because ICE did not inform the Mexican government of the plan, a violation of the 1999 Brownsville-Merida agreement.

While the Mexican government was in the dark about the plan, Lizarraga’s cover was blown and in March 2014 he was found shot to death execution style along with two others in a Mexican border town dental lab.

Following Lizarraga’s murder, ICE agents found another informant to make a series of wire transfers totaling $100,000 to Mexican bank accounts controlled by a known Mexican drug dealer – funds that have not been recovered.

Derek Benner. ICE Official Photo.

Derek Benner. ICE Official Photo.

The two key figures are Derek Benner, who has been promoted to Deputy Executive Associate Director for his part in the million-dollar boondoggle, and Nick Annan, who has been promoted to Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta field office. Both hold Senior Executive Service rank. Both have been promoted rapidly, beyond their peers; ICE would tell you it’s because they stand out. Their peers say it’s because they suck up.

We report; you decide.

Nick S. Annan. Photo credit: U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement

Nick S. Annan. Photo credit: U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement

Of the pair, Annan is the more interesting character. He’s rocketed up the ICE hierarchy, in part because he’s a valuable diversity bean, shedding vibrancy wherever he goes, but also because he’s not shy about dropping hints that he’s the son of Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, whose term was marked by woe and corruption.

Nick may be telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth with respect to the investigation (but if so, he is only telling it to his criminal attorney at the moment), but he’s definitely not telling the truth about his ancestry. Kofi — “Dad” — claims only one son, Kojo, who was immersed in Oil-For-Food-Scheme corruption back in the 1990s and does not ever seem to have held an honest job. Kofi is also a Ghanaian; Kojo, whose mother was Kofi’s Nigerian first wife, is a bit of a stateless, rootless wanderer who turns up wherever the grifting is good, but he’s widely believed to be Ghanaian also.

We understand why ICE agents, or anybody, would want to blow past the limits of the 1999 Brownsville-Merida Pact (widely known in LE circles as the Brownsville-mierda pact, mierda being the Spanish for… well, you know). That’s a treaty, with the force of law, that the ATF, has violated (and violates) with its Southwestern Border gunwalking initiatives, and it requires the US’s criminal investigators never to operate in Mexico without sharing all details with Mexican Law Enforcement. But Mexican LE  is thoroughly penetrated and corrupted by the DTOs, which have more power in many ways than the national goverment does. Mexico is far from unique in having cops corrupted by drug money, but the sheer volume and brutality of incidents there stand out. For example, from Borderland Beat:

The General Inspectorate of the PGR asked federal judge Raul Angulo Garfias to order the arrest of 10 officers from the Ministerial Federal Police (PFM) which allegedly “planted” a weapon in the vehicle of social advocate attorney Paulo Díez Gargari. According to federal sources, the agency asked for arrests of the police for unlawful simulation of evidence to justify an arrest, and other charges against four of them. ….

If the case goes forth, it is doubtful the agents will spend time behind bars before a trial. ….

A guess from this BB contributor is no matter how far into the process this case continues, all charges will eventually be dismissed for “lack of evidence”.   But the government needed to address the issue because of the widespread publishing of the video.

Or this 2009 snippet of a story from Borderland Beat:

Fernando doesn’t know that two members of the Chihuahua State Police are here in this house, hiding. He doesn’t know that they are here to kill him.

In Mexico, you can’t be sure that smiling copper is really Officer Friendly. And that brings us full circle to an ICE connection. From the same article:

That evening, Lalo crosses the border into El Paso and tells his handlers at Immigration and Customs Enforcement what he has seen. They listen to a recording he made of the murder, and they transcribe it. They write memos detailing everything Lalo saw, and eventually, these memos will find their way to Washington.

But they do not arrest him for his part in the murder, or deactivate him as an informant, or prepare to arrest Santillan, their target. Instead, they continue with their investigation, and when all is said and done, there will be 11 more bodies buried in the backyard.

“This is a big deal, a very big deal because of the scope and duration of the activity. For six months, you had members of the U.S. government who knew that a person on their payroll was engaging in murder, and they did nothing to stop it,” says Bill Weaver, a University of Texas at El Paso law professor who has closely followed the case. “As much as they deny it, they had prior knowledge.”

Those involved in the Juarez death house case were all promoted. Except for Sandy Gonzalez, the El Paso SAC who blew the whistle — he was crucified.  So there’s a template to what ICE is doing with Benner and Annan.

Mess up and move up. It’s the government way.

Sometimes It’s Just Too Easy

Today, we’re gonna shoot fish in a barrel. Nathaniel F at TFB has got a challenge for us:

Saturday Whatsit – The Firearm Blog

Here at TFB, we were doing a little evaluating this weekend, and had a lot of interesting gun parts laying around the shop, so I thought “why not have a little fun?” So, below is an image of a rifle part, and I am tasking you, our readers, with guessing what it is and what weapon it comes from!

Ready? Set? Go!


via Saturday Whatsit – The Firearm Blog.

OK, so that’s the part. What do you think it is? After the jump, we’ll tell you some things it is not and why it isn’t.

Continue reading

Friday Tour d’Horizon 2015 Week 41

We’ll cover the usual subjects: Guns, Usage and Employment, Cops ‘n’ Crims, Unconventional (and current) Warfare, and Lord Love a Duck!


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

Czechoslovak Samopal Cz.26 Semi Auto

Here’s a video of a home-build semi carbine working:

We always liked these guns and wanted to do the same, except as an SBR (we have a thing for SBRs). The builder used a parts kit, a receiver from Tec Tactical, a Semi Kit from Greg Clark at, and a barrel from gunbroker. (Barrels are easy if you want regulation size, Tec Tactical has them too, but you’re restricted to a pistol or SBR build under US law).

Two of the most interesting features of these historic weapons are lost, which are, the bolt itself as dust cover (because the gun is no longer open bolt; see Ian’s video below), and the use of trigger pull as semi/full auto selector. Pull back X distance, you get a single shot. Pull back X+Y and you have full-auto fire, until you trigger-reset. Here’s another video of a full-auto build of the weapon, from Forgotten Weapons. Ian doesn’t like it as much as we do.

The Czech submachine guns turned up everywhere in the Cold War. The Cuban milicianos had them at the Bay of Pigs, Arab terrorists received vast numbers of them, Wars of National Liberation, as the Communists styled the actions of their African kleptocrats fighting our African kleptocrats, used quantities of them, and they turned up in Afghanistan, launching 9mm and 7.62mm bullets impartially at Afghan, Russian, Afghan, American and Afghan again, alike.

Secret FOOM Technology of the ’40s (OK, it’s not “guns” but “weapons.”)

motor oil bombVictor Rothschild (yes, of those Rothschilds) was a British patriot who served in World War II as a key member of MI-5s tiny counter-sabotage unit. He cooked up ways to prevent sabotage, and ways to commit it, like this exploding oil can. But he wasn’t just a theorist; he received the George Medal for defusing a Nazi bomb concealed in a shipment of onions from neutral Spain (Curiously, not the George Cross, which would more commonly be awarded to the son and heir of a baron). One thing he couldn’t do was draw these pictures, which he apparently commissioned from a man named Laurence Fish, son of an MI-5 colleague.

After the war, Fish, who has passed away, kept his file of letters commissioning the drawings, but the drawings were thought lost, until Victor’s daughter, Victoria Rothschild Gray, found them in a family home, and forwarded them to Fish’s widow, Jean. She is seeking a museum that will preserve and display the drawings, unharmed by the decades in an old cabinet. The BBC has the story.

Usage and Employment

The hardware takes you only half way.

Stand Your Ground? Go to Jail.

In Florida, the Stand Your Ground law is supposed to require police to conduct a self-defense analysis before making an arrest. It turns out, in the real world, they just arrest the winner of any gun fight and let the courts sort it out. One attorney’s take:

I think the trend is that if a person has a firearm, they’re more likely to be arrested, which is unfortunate because we have a constitutional right to bear arms, but that seems to be the trend. And these law enforcement agencies rely on the system to sort it all out later.

It’s not what the law says, but hey, it’s what the cops feel like doing (and in the cops’ defense, a cop that doesn’t cover his ass these days is asking for trouble). Lee Williams has the story — if you’re interested in the Law of Self Defense as applied in the real, physical world, Read The Whole Thing™. The shooting that occasioned the story did not make the news outside of Florida, because it didn’t fit The Narrative™: the (apparently unarmed) assailant was middle-aged and white and the armed self-defender a young black motorcyclist.

Hunting == Slavery

Another pasty-faced white guy steps up to defend black folks, who can’t speak for themselves when there’s a U Mass professor of pallor in da house. His point — in a HuffPo article with more grammar and spelling errors than our typical hasty blogpost — is that “White supremacy links slavery in the “Americas” with the ongoing police killings of unarmed black people and to the killing of animals on the continent of Africa.”

Yeah. There are reasons that Zoo Mass is every high school junior in the state’s “fallback school.” Professor Warren J. Blumenfeld, Voice of the Voiceless Negro, is one of them.

I bet you biologists didn’t know that Linnaeus was the “Father of Scientific Racism.” Bold words coming from some schmoe whose whole argument is racially based. We think he had his hood on too tight at his last cross-burning.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

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

Jesse James Photo Claimed Authentic

Robert Ford and Jesse JamesA Texas forensic photo technician claims to have matched a photo long believed by its owners to be a family photo of Jesse James and his criminal associate and later murderer, Robert Ford, to other photos of the men using face-recognition technology.

Dapper dressers for a couple of cutthroats, but then, taking a photo was a pretty formal event in the late 19th.

You can embiggen the photo by clicking it, or read the story at Fox News.

Oregon Shooter was Rejected by Firearms School

If you’re one of the benighted throngs who get your news from TV or a major metro daily you might not learn this, but a newspaper in India had the story, thanks to an English wire service. The Umpqua junior college shooter, who was trainee-discharged in about thirty days from the Army in 2008, tried to take advanced handgun classes at Seven 4 Para, a gun school in Torrance, California. Head instructor Eloy Way remembers.

We wanted him to take a beginner safety course and he was trying to tell me that he already had experience with firearms and I didn’t get a good feeling about him, so I turned him down. He was just kind of a weird guy and seemed kind of spoiled, immature. He was a little bit too anxious to get high-level training and there was no reason for it.

As instructors, if a guy makes you wiggy, do like Eloy did, and just say no. (Or do like the sim instructor that had an Arab who wanted to learn to maneuver, but not land or take off, and dime him out. It was the FBI that dropped the ball after that. If the Bureau hadn’t been stovepiped by 9/11 enabler Jamie Gorelick, they’d have learned about 9/11 in advance).

What’s Black and White and Orange All Over?

A newspaperman… in Federal prison. He’s not there yet, but Matthew Keys, a former writer-producer for Reuters and KTLA 40, was just convicted by a jury of violating the Computer Fraud and Access Act. Keys, embittered after being laid off at KTLA, used his computer credentials to change other users’ logins, and gave passwords to members of Anonymous, who demonstrated their script-kiddie level of skill and sophistication by defacing the LA Times website for a half hour or so. (KTLA and the LAT were both Tribune Company properties at the time). Then the real headache started for the Times and KTLA; they took the website down for a day, sacrificing the ad revenue, and brought in experts to clean up the backdoors the Anonymous script kiddies left behind, it cost them almost a million dollars, they claim.

That’s nothing to what the fit of pique cost Keys. The newly-certified felon could get 25 years, but guidelines suggest he’ll do three to five in one federal camp or another. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Hey, Marijuana Users are Not Violent, It Says Here

marijuana-leafThat seems to be a common consensus among Stoner-Americans. (That would be Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Stoner types, not you Gene Stoner fans). Well, here’s some contrary testimony:

Wolusky seemed calm and collected while on the stand in Strafford County Superior Court on Wednesday. Wolusky admitted he attempted to rob Wilkinson, helped dispose of his body and lied to police about what happened, but maintained that he was not a “murderer.”
“(I’m testifying) so that you all know the truth about what happened that night,” Wolusky told jurors. “I didn’t murder anybody. My life is in your hands.”
Wolusky described “hatching” the plan to rob Wilkinson on June 20, 2014 at Pinette’s home after driving around with Pinette and Tatum “smoking spice and marijuana.” Wolusky recalled calling Wilkinson to buy marijuana, but Wilkinson told him he didn’t have any. Wolusky said that interested him because he knew Wilkinson would have money on him.

So they robbed him, and he fought back, and so they stabbed the living daylights out of him. But Dindu Nuffin here “didn’t murder anybody.” He just planned the robbery, brought the knife, got soaked in the victim’s blood, helped get rid of the body, lied to the cops… he dindu nuffin.

The case is a depressingly common, routine, retail murder of the kind they doesn’t get reported outside the city or maybe county where it happens.

Wolusky stated he saw Pinette strike Wilkinson in the legs and neck multiple times and that Tatum, armed with a knife in each hand, stabbed Wilkinson at least four times. The attack lasted about two minutes, during which Wolusky recalled hearing Wilkinson “beg” for his life. Wolusky admitted he did not try to intervene or save Wilkinson.
“I didn’t want to get hurt and I was scared,” Wolusky said.
After the attack, Wolusky admitted he helped Tatum drag Wilkinson’s body to the trunk of Pinette’s car, which left his clothes soaked in blood.
“I started gagging when I realized I was covered in blood,” Wolusky said. “It didn’t make me feel good, especially knowing that it was Aaron’s blood.”

Yeah, imagine how it made Aaron feel, you crumb.

It’s a good reminder that dope dealers and their customers only think they’re friends. I don’t think any criminologist ever doped out (see what I did there?) what percentage of murders start out as dealers deciding to rip off buyers and buyers deciding to rip off dealers, but there’s a dissertation or three in it. It’s a really common murder backstory.

The other two knuckleheads already got 30 to life. This one is as good as convicted, despite the Hail Mary approach of taking the stand. Kids, this is why they call it dope.

Some Opinions on Crime and Guns

Here are some opinions on crime and guns. Skip this section if you don’t care about opinions.

Recently, Michael Bane, who is always good, has been red hot. Here he is rounding up pro-gun arguments and some devastating quotes from pros and antis. His advice to his readers, a multitude you should number yourself among, is:

  1. Be armed
  2. Be trained
  3. Be vigilant, and,
  4. Have faith.

He concludes that post with an on-target verse from Kipling, a century ago:

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

Kipling is, of course, out of favor in All The Right Circles: Old, Dead, Male and incorrigibly white.

The antithesis of Bane is the Atlantic’s confiscationist James Fallows, who is, oddly enough, quite as old, male and fishbelly white as ol’ Rudyard his ownself. Fallows, a multimillionaire trustafarian National Socialist with immeasurable contempt for those proletarii outside the sound of the passing Acela, has been petulantly demanding confiscation, because shootings are caused by the hundred million plus gun owners who don’t do them, or are caused by the sheer hardware build-up in one’s gun safe once it becomes an “arsenal” of 10 or perhaps fewer firearms, a theme he expressed and returns to again and again. Fallows is a dependable outlet for various Bloomberg-funded cashroots groups and social science entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile the descent of the FBI into Partisan Political Police continues apace. John R. Lott Jr. releases a new paper demonstrating the Bureau’s falsification of active shooter incident data. (Lott is careful to use words like “misleadingly” and “data errors,” but all the errors trend the same way — toward a more sensationalistic and pro-gun-control report. “Data errors” would tend to cancel out, not all trend the same way).

Katherine Schweit, an anti-gun activist selected to lead the FBI’s branch of the party’s new anti-gun drive, defended the “study’s” choices to rely exclusively only on reports by her fellow anti-gun activists in the partisan media, and select them to create a nonexistent rising trend.

Eugene Volokh has some less tendentiously-selected statistics at the Washington Post.

And finally, this Bill Whittle Afterburner is from January, but it’s still on target. It’s always going to be on target.

Lastly, some advice based on Vox Day’s book SJWs Always Lie: Taking down the Thought Police. In our opinion, gun control activists, including pols and mediots are a form of SJW (Social Justice Warrior), and they conform to the three Rules Day suggests: 1. SJWs Always Lie. 2. SJWs Always Double Down, and 3. SJWs Always Project. The book also includes ways to argue against and counter this type of point-and-fling-poo activism, which is at the base of even the haughty tribalism of James Fallows.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

GAO Targets Opacity in SOF Funding

The (snicker alert) Government Accountability Office (as if!) has a report out on SOF funding and deployments, noting that since 9/11 SOF headcount, funding, and optempo have all increased, and despite the higher headcount, SOF are still a tiny percentage of the service, and deployments are taking a toll. While deployments are down from their peak at the tail end of Bush-era commitments (which, given lead time, peaked in 2010-11), they’re only down from about 8,500 men in any given week to about 7,500, thanks to emerging crises in neglected theaters like Africa and Europe picking up slack as the Middle East (Centcom) mission has been drawn down as part of the bugout plan. So the pie chart is slightly misleading, because the left and right pies should be smaller than the center one to be proportional.


GAO suggests more transparency in funding (talk to Congress on that, and rotsa ruck; opacity provides opportunities for graft), and sloughing more SOF missions off on Big Green, Big Blue and Big Haze Gray. (Because giving them the Afghan and Iraq military FID missions worked so well, perhaps?)

Floggers, Fishbeds, and Albatri

MiGs_0Although, in the interest of accuracy, it’s actually Floggers, Mongols, and Albatri, if we want to stick to NATO code-names, because these are all trainer variants, but the MiG-23 UB didn’t get a distinct code name from the fighter version (unlike the MiG-21 UTI) and the L-39 Albatros never got a NATO code name at all. All these jets live in various hangars at Wilmington, Delaware, and Aviation Week’s Nigel Howarth gives us a look in. Nigel also reports that progress has been made on restoring previously reported Su-25s to airworthiness.

New Commandant Doesn’t Want to Talk About USMC Women-in-Infantry Decision

Thomas Gibbons-Neff stays on the story at the Washington Post, but reading between the lines, what incoming Commandant Gen. Robert Neller wants is for the whole issue to go away. Outgoing Commandant Dunsford’s recommendations are with SecNav Mabus (who has made his contempt clear: for Dunsford, for Marines in general, and for the women and men who participated in the only real experiment done by any of the services). And Neller has, essentially, ordered his Marines to STFU until Mabus issues the decision he has promised, and then, of course, they will be ordered to STFU and execute it faithfully.

And in Related Sex-Equality In Service Stories….

We still haven’t seen evidence that, as some are claiming, the women in Ranger school were extremely coddled (the course today is less grueling than it was historically, with caloric stress all but removed, but that’s for everybody). But there’s no doubt that FDNY has been forced to accept female firefighters so under-qualified that they’re literally useless, except as counting beans. (FDNY has also dropped, by direction of the Mayor, a test that kept out low-IQ firefighters). This is where beancounting equality takes you: do-nothing jobs for people everybody knows can’t produce, and “diversity training” that reinforces prejudice by requiring people to process one another as members of categories, rather than as individuals.

Whose Side Are Journalists On Again?

Journos are neutral and above having a side, they explained. They stand for nothing but the public’s right to know. So here are some professional journalists, swarming after a blood meal:


In alphabetical order: Alana Abramson, Katie Conway, Jessie Heasman, Mi Seon Lee, Evan McMurry, Pilar Melendez, Sara Sidner, Jason Silverstein — a bunch of names that “sound like America” but describe monstrous, godforsaken creatures who are completely lacking in empathy and human decency — hell, in anything but bloodlust and ambition.  Are these horrible people, or just vaguely humanoid life forms? Maybe the next journalist to wig out can shoot them. It’s not like they’d be missed from the human race. They’re not really exercising the duties and responsibilities of membership.

Lord Love a Duck! ALL NEW

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

Are You a Modern Man?

The New York Times, always anxious to help a brother out, and keenly conscious that it is the font and repository of all knowledge, deigned to inform us all How to be a Modern Man. The author, one Brian Lombardi, may be modern but the “man” bit is rather in question. However, we don’t have to fisk his mewling, whining, full-retard sluiceway of sniveling submission, because Larry Correia has done so, and he’s a writer an’ s’it. Just a taste:

  1. Before the modern man heads off to bed, he makes sure his spouse’s phone and his kids’ electronic devices are charging for the night.

No. That is their problem. If you fail to plug your crap in, and you run out of power tomorrow, then you’ll learn. If your father comes and bails you out every time you make a stupid little mistake, then you will never become accountable for your actions, and then you will grow up and make foolish choices, like becoming a New York Times reporter.

Not just any melon baller. This is a tactical melon baller.

Not just any melon baller. This is a tactical melon baller.

Hoot. As Correia warms up, he describes Lombardi variously as: Pajama Boy trying too hard to sound like a man; bossy asshole; pretentious dickweed; effeminate, limp wristed, debutante; the Word Police; pretentious dipshit; bragging about merely not doing a half ass job; smells of lilacs… and shame; pretentious cock nozzle (that makes 3 “pretentiouses,” no?); hipster; douche; completely full of shit; inconsistent twit; pansy; asshole; Pajama Boy trying too hard (again); pussy; Pajama Boy (3rd time); chickenshit; fuckwit; pathetic hipster; bullshit modern man; selfish, irresponsible child; useless sack of crap; big baby; doofus; loser; wimp.

And the thing is, although as you can see he loses patience and gets more irritated as he reads on, he had examples supporting all those harsh judgments. We laughed to tears, especially at this line:

I’m picturing an Army Special Forces A-Team, somewhere in Afghanistan right now, questioning their manhood because of their complete lack of melon ballers.

It didn’t happen, but maybe SF has changed since we retired. Heh. So we recommend you Read The Whole Thing™... and then, read the follow up in which Larry’s wife gives him, what else? A melon baller. A tactical melon baller.

…With Big Guns?

Another douchebag at another outlet makes another round of idiot assertions, essentially that physical fitness in men leads to sexual violence, a thesis advanced by a pear-shaped, doughy women’s studies progfessor from ZooMass Amherst named Jackson Katz. (Note that like his pal Blumenfeld, Katz is the One Who Speaks for people he has too much contempt for to let speak themselves, in this case, women). Once again we’re saved the fisking, by a workmanlike job delivered by strength coach and author Mark Rippetoe. He even works it around from “guns” — biceps — to guns.

As a strength coach, I believe everybody needs bigger muscles. Everybody.

You, your dad, your mom, and your sister need bigger stronger muscles, because you’re healthier and you live longer and more productively when your physical existence is optimized by more muscle mass. Nothing within the stark reality of sexual dimorphism requires women to be weak, even though many of you have convinced yourselves that it’s okay.

In my opinion, it’s everyone’s responsibility to be physically strong.

And why would you buy a K-frame .38 like Humphrey Bogart pointed at bad guys when you can own an N-frame .44 like Harry Callahan used?

You know what we’re going to tell you: Read The Whole Thing™.

We don’t know about you, but our guns are “compensation”: for our physical inability to reach out a few hundred meters and tap someone in the forehead at 3000 feet per second.

The South May Not Rise Again, But These Rebel Cannons Did

CSS Pee Dee (or Pedee) in a period illustration.

CSS Pee Dee (or Pedee) in a period illustration.

They rose clean out of the Pee Dee river, where archaeologists found them and plucked them out of the river 150 years after a Confederate crew threw them overboard rather than surrender them to Sherman’s Yankees. With the cannon safely consigned to the deep where 1860s technology had little hope of finding and raising them, they then scuttled their ship, also called the Pee Dee, or maybe the Pedee — named after the stream where it was born and died in 1865, in whatever rough and ready orthography its rough and ready rebel crew might use to write its name down.

The guns were a captured Union Dahlgren gun, a 9″ caliber (~2.3 cm) smoothbore, and two Confederate Brooke rifles, one of 7″ (~1.8) bore and one of 6.4″ (~1.7).

This 7-inch Brooke rifle was captured by the Union on another Confederate ship. (Source: Wikipedia).

This 7-inch Brooke rifle was captured by the Union on another Confederate ship. Note the prominent band around the breech.  (Source: Wikipedia).

Brooke guns, designed by a Confederate naval officer, were characterized by a rough-finished cast iron barrel (internally bored and rifled) and one or more bands of wrought iron reinforcing the breech. It was a Rebel lower-tech answer to the Union Parrott gun, which Southern foundries  couldn’t reproduce. It was an accurate, dependable arm, well-liked by the Confederacy’s artillerymen and naval gunners alike.  Some quantity of them survive, but most of the survivors have been stripped of their heritage.

The Dahlgren gun was the product of Union Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren. The 9-inch gun was a Union Navy workhorse, with over 1,100 accepted from many foundries, including southern foundries that made the guns for the Confederacy after secession. The Dahlgren is famous for never having blown up in field service, in part, perhaps, because Admiral Dahlgren blew some up deliberately experimentally in development.

All these guns would have been served by a crew of ten to twelve men each.

Aside from being coated in mud and muck, the recovered cannons were in surprisingly good condition and are more or less “ready to rock and roll,” said Jonathan Leader, South Carolina’s state archaeologist, who helped lead efforts to locate the remains of the sunken CSS Pedee [sic]. Receding waters left the third cannon (a 7-inch Brooke rifle) exposed, and the gun is a bit corroded as a result, he said.

CSS Pedee Cannons

The three cannons, recovered. They will be conserved by the same facility handling CSS Hunley. Foreground and rear under the excavator are the Brooke rifles. They can be identified by the bands around the breech. Right middle-depth shows the characteristic curved, almost organic profile of the Dahlgren gun.

The recovery of the cannons marks a milestone for Leader and his colleagues at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina. Between 2009 and 2012, the state archaeologist worked with several institutions, nonprofits and local volunteer organizations to find parts of the ship, including the cannons, and figure out how to get them out of the water. The task of plucking the guns from the river was facilitated by a grant from the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation in Florence.

Archaeologists also located the site of the Mars Bluff Navy Yard, where Confederate troops and local volunteers built the CSS Pedee and several smaller boats during the Civil War. But the discovery of the CSS Pedee’s cannons is particularly special, Leader told Live Science.

Typically, victors scour the battlefield after a fight, and anything useful is hauled off and used again in future battles, Leader said. After the Civil War, cannons and other weapons were gathered and moved to various federal depots. Piled together and taken from their original context, objects like cannons became anonymous, Leader said, losing what he called their “important connections to battlefields, military actions and communities.”

brookerifleBut that is not the case for the CSS Pedee’s cannons. Thanks to historical records and oral histories from locals, a lot is known about how and where these cannons were used and who operated them, Leader said. The last time the Confederate warship’s cannons were fired, they were pointed at Union Gen. William T. Sherman and his troops, who were advancing into North Carolina, he said.

Fearing the ship would fall into enemy hands, Confederate soldiers threw the cannons overboard before they “scuttled,” or deliberately sank the CSS Pedee. The dredged-up weapons serve as a direct link to that moment in history, Leader said, noting that reclaiming the cannons felt like a “handshake over the ages.”

via Blast from the past: 3 Civil War cannons pulled from river | Fox News.\

The cannon will take about two years to conserve. The point of the conversion is to stop any extant corrosion, and prevent corrosion from restarting once the cannon is exposed to the oxygen-rich air of the atmosphere.

Once conserved, the guns will be on display at a new VA hospital under construction in Florence, South Carolina.


  1. WMBF News
  2. Brooke Rifles at Civil War Artillery.
  3. Dahlgren at Civil War Artillery.

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Rough Sex

Joseph Danclair mugshotHey, it happens to us all the time. After a good romp, the chick won’t wake up. No, wait a minute, that doesn’t happen to us. It happens to Joseph Danclair.

Joseph Danclair, 36, told police the victim, Antoinette Marin, 43, never woke up after a night of drug use and rough sex.

“Mr. Danclair is innocent. Put that in the Daily News on the front page,” Danclair told the paper before being held without bail at his arraignment. He said he only wanted sex with the women.

It’s pretty weird but it’s a one-off, right? Maybe the guy’s on the level and he just has a somewhat kinetic love-making style. Are we going to throw away the key because he made one mistake?

Uh, two mistakes?

Danclair is also expected to be charged with murder in the death of a second woman, Chrissy Bevelaqua, 34, who was found naked in a Brooklyn hotel….

“Both of the victims have trauma to their neck area and both of the rooms were left in similar fashion,” Manhattan Chief of Detectives William Aubry said Friday, referring to the dead women.

via Brooklyn man charged with murder in death of woman at hotel – NY Daily News.

OK, we’ll admit that looks pretty bad for Mr Danclair. We blame the wide availability of handguns, and his criminality…

The suspect…  has 28 prior arrests, mostly for drug possession but also for robbery and kidnapping.

…OK, mostly his criminality. But still, 28 small crimes like robbery and kidnapping, and just two dead women, it’s not like this guy is incorrigible, is it?

Danclair is also expected to be charged with rape in connection with an Aug. 23 attack on a woman he picked up at a Starbucks in Union Square, sources said.

Danclair took the 34-year-old victim to an abandoned building on Blake Ave. in Brooklyn.

“She realizes, this is not good,” a source said.

But by then, it’s too late.

Once they reached the third floor, Danclair ordered the woman to take off her clothes, sources said. He then struck her with an object, had sex with her and made her snort what she believes to be heroin, sources said.

“He also made her crawl up and down the steps,” a source said.

At some point, Danclair fell asleep, and the victim grabbed his phone, fled the building and took a cab to the 73rd precinct stationhouse.

DNA evidence matched Danclair’s, sources said.

Investigators believe Danclair raped a 41-year-old woman in Manhattan in Sept. 2010, Aubry said.

OK, so two killings, and two rapes, and 28 priors.

Why wasn’t the key thrown away about 25 crimes ago?

Friday Tour d/Horizon, Week 40

We’ll cover the usual subjects: Guns, Usage and Employment, Cops ‘n’ Crims, Unconventional (and current) Warfare, and Lord Love a Duck!


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

AREA Defense has a real small AR

The MCR Sub-Carbine folds up small. The barrel removes. As it has a conventional buffer, the folding stock has to be extended to fire. The briefcase (an option, made by SKB) is a nice touch.


We’re OKAY With This

One of the manufacturers of GI magazines was OKAY industries, all the way back to M16A1 days (they were one of the first vendors of 30-round magazines to USG, in 1973, and had made 20-round mags before that). Their advertising appropriately shows a retro AR and a modern one.

While the parent firm is a generic manufacturing job shop, the OKAY brand was always used only on GI contracts. Now, civilians can get them directly instead of waiting for their vet buddies to dig through that trunk of smelly web gear.

Other GI manufacturers of M16 magazines that haven’t appeared in the civilian market included Sanchez Enterprises and our personal favorite, Adventure Line. There is just something deeply satisfying about launching projectiles enemy-ward from a magazine that was labeled Adventure Line.

OKAY mags are available at We saw the press release at

OK, So This is Knives …

We got the word on Skallywag Tactical’s September knife give-aways too late to share with you guys. It’s an incentive to Like their page, among other hoops they encourage you to jump through. So here’s the link to their Facebook page in case they spring another contest in October.

Don’t say we never gave you anything. Say Skallywag Tactical never gave you anything.

Usage and Employment

We’ve got nothin’, this week, without making this post later than it already is.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

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

If You’re Gonna Shoot the Bystander, Charge Him

Danny Sanchez was going to take advantage of a police standoff in his neighborhood by shooting some cell phone video. Mistake. A pair of jumpy Sacramento cops mistook the cell phone for a weapon and did a mag-dump apiece in his general direction, hitting his house, his dad’s car, and various points in the Great Outdoors with most of the rounds, although one did hit Sanchez — in the leg.

The cops followed up with an arrest of Sanchez and another bystander, attorneys refused to go forward with obviously fabricated charges.

The two cops who opened up on Sanchez and then tried to lie him into prison have been awarded extra paid vacation.

On the plus side, other cops who were able to arrest the guy they’d been called out to confront — a no-kidding criminal who had opened up on a neighbor’s dog with a contraband full-auto AK-47. He surrendered without violence and is held on $1M bail on firearms and animal cruelty charges.

Naturally, this is the sort of thing that happens in gun-banned California. If you’re going to break a gun ban, like criminal Ben Ledford did, you might as well go all the way with a full-auto violation.

There’ll Always Be an England

And it will always have restrictive gun laws. And criminals will always get guns… and bombs.

Liam Lyburd's glock

Buying a gun was just like buying a bar of chocolate. I didn’t see it as a big deal at the time.

Along with a Glock (apparently a G19… looks too big to be a 26), several 33 round mags, and 94 rounds, an amount that shocked the British cops and courts, Liam Lyburd had three home-made pipe bombs. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Minnesota Rules BB Gun = Gun

Minnesota joined a number of other anti-gun states in ruling that a bb gun is a gun, at least for the purposes of prosecuting a felon in possession. In states like Massachusetts and New Jersey, this is written into state laws, but in MN the decision was taken unilaterally by the courts, in the absence of legislative action to define “firearm” to the court’s liking. The court explicitly rejected the Federal definition of “firearm” as too narrow, because it only encompasses firearms.

Anti-gun Ramsey County, MN, Attorney John Choi supports the law, arguing that todays BB guns are as lethal as conventional firearms.

Do depression meds make one violent?

A massive Swedish study has tried to answer that question with respect to SSRI inhibitors, drugs like Prozac that are prescribed to many patients suffering from depression and other mental illnesses. And, somewhat disappointingly, the answer seems to be: we’re not really sure. Here’s Derek Lowe at Science Magazine, and James Coyne at Mind the Brain, and the original paper at PLOS Medicine. A very thorough study – even though it doesn’t answer most of our questions.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

Defense Gets Local Self-Defense Option

Under the Defense Authorization Bill passed Wednesday, the centralized Department of Defense can no longer prohibit local commanders from authorizing their troops to carry weapons in self-defense, inside the continental United States. This pertains to private as well as government-issued firearms; the carriage of both has been centrally prohibited for decades. This local option was bitterly opposed by Administration figures including Secretary of Defense Ash Carter; the Administration is generally more well-disposed to Islamic terrorists than to mere troops. It is unlikely many commanders will take advantage of this new freedom, given that they’re politically selected, and their political superiors oppose self-defense. Carter is on record that only trained and deputized law enforcement officers (and, of course, terrorists) should have access to firearms on base; military police and provost marshal officers tend to share his preferences.

Aggressive Medevac Saves Lives, Really

We expected this result, but the numbers are surprising: mandating medevac within the “Golden Hour” saves significant numbers of lives. Then SecDef Gates in 2009 overthrew the DOD’s requirement of 2 hours from call to arrival at a trauma facility, and reduced it to one hour. This required more medevac units downrange and more imaginative use of the ones that were there, as well as more arduous alert requirements for the medevac crews. But the payoff was substantial. A new study combining case management data from the DOD Trauma Registry, autopsy data from the Armed Forces ME, and data about medevac times (which had been classified), show the benefits of that incremental change from a two- to a one-hour policy.

There’s a lot of news stories about this, but do yourself a favor and go right to the JAMA press release as put up by Science, and the original paper. Some things that we’ll call out for you, that may have been missed by the news guys covering this:

  1. The medevac crews beat the time requirement on average. When the requirement was 2 hours, their median was 90 minutes; when it was one hour, their median was 43 minutes. That’s what dedication and professionalism looks like.
  2. The fatality rates are the lowest in history. This means, among other things, that guys are surviving wounds that would have been deadly even earlier in the GWOT.

As a survivor of Afghanistan (and a medevac) from long before the initial two-hour limit was in place, we applaud the new policy and are particularly pleased to see that objective data bear ou the results intuition and experience would suggest.

Jeh Johnson’s DHS Admitted 1,519 Known Terrorists

The bottom line is this: if someone who is a member of a terrorist group, or material supporter of such a group, makes a statement to immigration officials that he was coerced, Johnson ruled that we have to let the guy in.  Details at Powerline.

Very Last Frigate Gone

We covered the decommissioning of the penultimate Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, USS Kauffman, last month (which has us reading the bio of Admiral Draper Kauffman, the founder of UDT), and so we should mention that the very last one, USS Simpson, is now gone. Simpson is famous as the last USN surface combatant to have sunk a hostile vessel (the Iranian missile patrol boat Joshan, P.225, in 1988). The OHPs along with patrol boats and mine countermeasures ships are being replaced by two to three different styles of toothless, defenseless Littoral Combat Ships.

last frigate_x860

The frigates weren’t superships but they had a 76mm (3-inch) gun, a good antisub towed array, and Standard anti-aircraft and anti-missile missiles, none of which can be accommodated on the LCS at this time (if ever).

While the OHPs are gone, the US Navy does retain one frigate on the register. USS Constitution, which may be centuries old and presently drydocked, but has more offensive capability in its muzzle-loading broadside than an LCS.

Contrary view: George Will argues for the LCS, and naval modernization, plus the wave of the future from 1957, unmanned aircraft. Sir Duncan Sandys was not available for comment.

How To Beat ISIL: With a Chorus of Kumbaya?

There’s often a lot of good stuff at Foreign Policy, and then there’s stuff like this risible article by a couple of anti-military commentators (Nancy Lindborg and David Rothkopf), suggesting that the answer to ISIL is a “civilian solution”. Their four points are the same old tired peacenik tropes, starting with, (1) “address the underlying causes.” By that, they don’t mean Islamic extremism: the impetus behind ISIL is, they believe:

regimes that attempt to govern through exclusion, repression, and corrupt means… refugees running from conflict, repression, and poverty.

The answer? A bunch of shibboleths: “enabling women, local leaders, and youth.” Let a thousand community organizers bloom!

It wasn’t Lindorg or Rothkopf that suggested that Osama bin Laden’s popularity was due to his “building day-care centers,” but they are reasoning at the same level. It’s the sort of reasoning that’s so stupid you need a graduate degree to believe it.

So an SF Guy Was a Larry Correia Fan…

And while he was deployed, his wife got the idea to hit Larry at the Wordfire Press booth at the Salt Lake City Comic Con, and get a signed copy of everything. (We suspect hubby’s with 19th Group). Here’s how Larry tells it:

I had a Green Beret’s wife come by to pick up signed copies of everything. Her husband is a huge fan, and was currently deployed to an undisclosed location doing badass stuff to bad people. He recorded a video for her to play for me, and gave me a unit hat. That was neat, but even cooler, while I was signing her stack of books, somebody else standing in line had heard her story, and paid for all of her books while she wasn’t looking. Just to say thanks for her husband’s service, and then he walked away, anonymous. I didn’t even know until I got done signing, and Steve Diamond leaned over and said, yep, these are all already taken care of. She teared up. Because fans are awesome people like that.

Man, in our world SF doesn’t mean Science Fiction but… you gotta be humbled by public support like that.

We’re big fans of Correia’s Monster Hunter series here. Any series with a protagonist named for an obscure submachine gun and a defunct Communist gun plant has to be written for Our Kind.

Lord Love a Duck!

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

Wrist Tap for Knock-out Knockout

gloribel-serranoWe’ve made a When Guns are Outlawed feature out of Gloribel [aka Gloribels] Serrano, back when she was on the lam for knocking out a woman, apparently a romantic rival, with a tire iron at 0230 in May, 2015. While she was on the run, she taunted cops with posts of sultry selfies to her social media accounts. (Example right — strictly for the news value, naturally, and it’s purest coincidence that it embiggens with a click). Well, she appeared in court (oddly, not dressed at all like the picture) and received the typical New York tap-on-the-wrist for stoving someone’s head in with a tire iron. Her seven-year-assault-w-DW rap somehow came out of the court machinery as a one-year continuation for dismissal, if she can keep her tire iron out of other chicks’ brain housing groups that long.

Remember, guys, no matter how pretty she is, somebody, somewhere, is tired of dealing with her craziness.

A year from now Serrano will show up as having no record, and she’ll be 28 and one year closer to really wigging out as she approaches her sell-by date.

This Mother of The Year Was Married To Her Stepdad

We also featured this case back in August. It turns out that the mother who killed her three sons  — serially, not all at once! — so her daughter would get more attention from her husband, was married to her own stepdad. After raising her, he began sleeping with her at 17. Everybody thinks their own family is dysfunctional, but we bet yours is not that dysfunctional.

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Parole Boards

jerry active hoodieMeet this fine creepy cat, Jerry Active, who is a hood even when he’s not in a hoodie. He’s also the poster child for ending parole and reinstating the death penalty for child rape, but we’ll get to that.

[Jerry] Active, who was 24 at the time of the killing, had been released early from prison just hours before the attacks, according to state officials.

He was set free on probation after serving part of a seven-year sentence for pleading guilty to breaking into an Alaska home in 2009 and sexually assaulting a child and other residents.

“Mr. Active’s actions will remain a scar on the community,” Anchorage Superior Court Judge Philip Volland said, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

So what’d he do to celebrate when the Parole Board marked him “rehabilitated” and decanted him into the sea of the public? This is not a good sign:

“These murders were senseless, brutal, bloody and bloodthirsty.”

via Man who raped 2-year-old, killed couple gets 359 years – NY Daily News.

We’ll spare you the details, because the generalities are grim enough:

The monster was found guilty in April of beating to death 71-year-old Touch Chea and his 73-year-old wife Sorn Sreap after raping Sreap and her 2-year-old great-granddaughter, police said.

He also sexually assaulted a 90-year-old woman, who died in June.

The sickening attack had shaken investigators for its brutality. Seasoned detectives had called the crimes the “worst thing they had ever seen in their lives,” police department spokeswoman Anita Shell said at the time.

The Togiak, Alaska, man entered the doomed family’s home at random in May 2013.

Active has a ready explanation. He dindu nuffin’ and was … drumroll please! … a victim. A victim of what, you ask? (Second, more ominous drumroll please!) Raaaaacism. No, seriously:

A white jury that failed to correctly interpret the evidence was to blame for his convictions, Active said.

Well, a white jury, his DNA inside the elderly woman and the baby, his presence on the scene when others, and then the police, arrived, and eyewitness testimony. Apart from that, and his history of criminal depravity, Active seems innocent, you know?

His lawyer banged on the table:

Defense attorney Chong Yim asked Superior Court Judge Philip Volland if his client had received a fair trial. He questioned whether the parties empanelled a fair and impartial jury.

The defense had asked for a change of venue for the trial, and despite Active’s notoriety the court refused, Yim said.

Also, evidence was insufficient, Yim said. The attorney pointed out that Active, 27, is still a young man, and he told Volland he planned on filing an appeal.

From a news story at the time of the crime:

The toddler’s parents returned from a movie to this Anchorage home and found Active naked in a bedroom with the child and the great-grandparents dead, Anchorage police said.

To the [fill in the blank] attorney Chong Yim, who is every bit as evil as his pal Jerry Active, that’s not “evidence.”

Nice little threat from the lawyer, too: “My client is still a young man. He got out of jail to attack again last time… do you feel lucky, judgie-wudgie?”

Maybe the judge does. It is unlikely Active will be paroled this time. Judge Volland suspended 45 years of his sentence, but it’s a 404-year sentence, and the judge dealt with the turn-em-loose-Bruces of the parole board by, “limiting Active’s access to discretionary parole,” a seldom-used penalty enhancement in Alaskan law. So this time, ceteris paribus, Active should be getting out in 2374 or so. Sure, he can’t do 359 years, but he can do the best he can, eh?

…although [Judge Volland] doubted that Active would ever get that chance. The Alaska Court of Appeals generally opposes such rulings against young defendants, but the judge said the circumstances of the crimes warranted the restriction.

Ya think? People like the Pope say that the death penalty is wrong. Active’s life matters, and that, by extension, Touch Chea and Sorn Sreap’s don’t, nor does the damage a human pathogen like Active did to the two people he raped, and to Von and Minesoreta Seng, the parents of the raped child. He assaulted them violently (and whose testimony formed part of the evidence against Active that he and his oily mouthpiece are pretending doesn’t exist).

On the other hand, for most of the history of this country, until the advent of pro-criminal supreme courts in the 20th Century, no one would have doubted what to do with this stain in the gene pool. Indeed, for most of the history of the Republic, he’d have been hung for the prior rape.

Active’s criminal career is an illustration of the profound failure of parole and probation as tools for controlling crime. It is confusing as reported at the time of his 2013 arrest:

Active, who had pleaded guilty to breaking into a Dillingham, Alaska, home in 2009 and sexually assaulting a child and other residents, was released from prison on probation on Saturday morning [25 May 13] after serving part of a seven-year sentence, said Kaci Schroeder, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Corrections.

It was not immediately clear why Active was allowed to serve less than his full sentence. Schroeder said she did not have certain details about his case.

He was released from prison in Anchorage at 8:09 a.m. Saturday, about 12 hours before the crimes were reported, Schroeder said.

Active has a lengthy court record, with several misdemeanor arrests prior to the 2009 felony case. He was first released on the Dillingham case on October 2, 2011, but violated probation and was sent back to prison two days later, according to records Schroeder released.

Since then he has been in and out of prison after committing other probation violations, Schroeder said.

  1. Prior to 2007: numerous small-time crimes, usually involving Judgment Juice
  2. 3 Nov 2007: first felony: five felony charges stemming from a burglary (including second-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief and furnishing alcohol to a minor in a local-option community). He pleads to the alcohol charge, a Class C felony.
  3. 2009: crime & arrest. (first-degree burglary, second-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and fourth-degree assault, attempted sexual abuse of a minor and criminal trespass).
  4. 2010: conviction. He pleads on the attempted sexual abuse charge. Sentence: widely reported as 7 years, it’s more like 4 in prison + 4 probation, plus 15 years on the sex offender registry.
  5. 2 Oct 11: Release years early.  
  6. 4 Oct 11: New crime & arrest. Back to the jug. Briefly.
  7. 11 Nov 12: New crime & arrest. Violating probation by “assault, providing false information to an officer and resisting or interfering with an officer.” New sentence, four months, parole not revoked. 
  8. 5 Feb 13: Released early from the token sentence.
  9. 17 Feb 13: Violates parole/probation by drinking, and gets arrested again. Probation officer recommends a year. Judge says Court of Appeals loves them some crims, that wouldn’t stick, so new sentence, five months. That’ll show him.
  10. 25 May 13: 0800 released from prison years early despite his violent record and his repeated parole/probation failures.
  11. 25 May 13: Within 12 hours he was committing more violent crimes, including two murders by beating and two violent rapes, one of a child.
  12. 25 May 13: Minutes after fleeing the scene he is apprehended by police.
  13. 24 April 15: Guilty on all counts.
  14. 21 Aug 15: Sentenced to a “Parole this, you cretins” 404 years, of which the judge suspends 45.

You have to wonder (a) when #15 is going to be added to that list, and (b) why we don’t just whack child rapists.

Well, we have the answer to (b) at hand. It’s Coker v. Georgia and, precisely, Kennedy v. Louisiana, which concluded that the life of a rapist, and, precisely, a violent kiddie diddler, was more precious than that of his victim. Kennedy was the brainchild of child-rape supporter and Hero of NAMBLA Jeffrey L. Fisher, a Stanford law professor. If you want to know why Touch Chea and Sorn Sreap are dead, it’s because that’s the outcome Jeffrey Fisher wanted and pursued. His is the evil that turned a thousand Actives loose. If you ever run into him, say thank you.

VA Abandoned Vets to Support Golf and Wine-Tasting For Decades

VA-veterans-affairsTwo LA landowners, Arcadia de Baker and John Percival Jones gave a VA forerunner, the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 400 acres of property in Los Angeles in 1888. For 80 years their gift was honored, but starting during the Nixon Administration in 1970, the VA, as the successor to the NHDVS, cleared the property of vets and began using it for things that were more rewarding to VA managers and LA movers and shakers. Part of it became UCLA’s baseball stadium. Part became an exclusive golf course. Much was used by well-connected crony corporations for a wide variety of uses. Some was pimped out to local government and its support contractors for uses that the VA finds superior to taking care of vets, like parking old school buses.

The VA recently lost a suit, kicking and screaming, and will have to use its urban land treasure for the benefit of veterans. But it’s not done screwing rank and file vets on this.

Following a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of homeless veterans and the descendants of Arcadia de Baker, the wealthy widow of two powerful landowners, a plan to return the valuable parcel to the service of veterans is due next month. The Department of Veterans Affairs, working with a specially appointed committee, will honor the intentions of Baker and John Percival Jones, a silver baron, one-time U.S. senator from Nevada and founder of Santa Monica, when they left the land to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in 1888.

“The misuse of the West Los Angeles campus is particularly offensive because of that donation,” David Sapp, of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California, told

While the property did serve as a refuge for tens of thousands of veterans scarred in battles ranging from the Civil War to the Vietnam War, something changed in the 1970s. There was no shortage of wounded veterans, yet the VA emptied out the sprawling grounds known as the West Los Angeles Campus and began renting property out for all sorts of uses that had nothing to do with veteran care.

via No more golf, wine-tasting: Prime LA land deeded for soldiers’ care to return to intended use | Fox News.

So what’s wrong with this? It’s the way the VA’s going to comply. Rather than simply go to work to help the vets — an idea that’s simply anathema to VA managers — instead, they’ve set up a committee, indeed, a “specially appointed committee,” as it says up there, with every pressure group and social justice faction represented.

You a vet? They don’t care. Combat vet? Nope. Wounded vet? Get outa here. But if you’re some kind of pressure-group vet, some hyphen-American member of a recognizable and recognized minority (especially one that all these Social Justice Warriors on the committee approve of), then a windfall may be coming your way.

Oh, and don’t worry about anything happening to UCLA’s stadium. Veterans may have weaseled their way into the organization’s name, but they can’t get VA officials first-baseline tickets.

We could say that VA leaders are “despicable,” but the Bond Villians Union would probably send a member to slap a glove across our face and demand satisfaction for using their word on the even-more-evil VA managers.

FridayTour d’Horizon: 2015 Week 39

We’ll cover the usual subjects: Guns, Usage and Employment, Cops ‘n’ Crims, Unconventional (and current) Warfare, and Lord Love a Duck!


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

HK94/MP5 Loader

Loading SMG mags is a pain. A mag loader eases the pain. Q.E.D.

This one is made by B&T, available (now, anyway) for MP5s and clones from HK Parts. (They stress that this version only works with HK MP5s and clones, and warn that it must be lubed or will break).

Judge Rules for ATF, Against SIG

Latest round in the go-around on the SIG MPX is-it-a-break-or-a-silencer set-to is concluded, and a judge in New Hampshire awarded all the points to ATF, granting them summary judgment. Under Federal precedents giving great deference to regulatory agencies, the ATF had to demonstrate was that there was some rational basis, any rational basis, for its ruling, and the Judge, a relic of the Poppy Bush administration, ruled that the ATF had done so.

Usage and Employment

The hardware takes you only half way.

Don’t be That Kid

Battle Creek, Michigan. The Detroit Free Press picked this one up from the Battle Creek Enquirer:

Officers said the boy, who lives in the apartment building, entered an unlocked apartment and found the handgun and accidentally shot himself in the hand.

He was taken to Bronson Battle Creek for treatment and the injury is not life-threatening.

Officers are still investigating the circumstances that allowed the boy into the apartment of the gun owner, who does not have any children.

The kid was six. You can’t kidproof the world, so you better gunproof your kids. He’s going to live, and probably recover: he shot himself in the hand.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

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

KCMO PD Department of Precrime


The New York Times channeling Philip K. Dick by way of, who was it, Ridley Scott? examines a Kansas City (MO) program that sounds remarkably like the creepy algorithmic dispatch system in a dystopian movie:

Mr. Brown, whose criminal record includes drug and assault charges, is at the center of an experiment taking place in dozens of police departments across the country, one in which the authorities have turned to complex computer algorithms to try to pinpoint the people most likely to be involved in future violent crimes — as either predator or prey. The goal is to do all they can to prevent the crime from happening.


At a time when many police departments are under fire for aggressive tactics, particularly in minority neighborhoods, advocates say predictive policing can help improve police-community relations by focusing on the people most likely to become involved in violent crime.

Minority Report? Well, most of the guys in the report are minorities, does that count?

Weak as Water

You may have heard about the study that concluded that experts were barely better that firearms novices at shooting. The abstract is here; the fulltext is paywalled. But before you read too much into this story, here’s the study’s definition of “expert.”

Participants were separated by firearms experience into the following groups: expert (completed law enforcement firearms course, n = 83), intermediate (recreational experience, n = 71) and novice (minimal/no experience, n = 93).

Got it. “Expert” = didn’t flunk out of he Police Academy (does anyone ever flunk out of the Police Academy?) It doesn’t really matter that the article is paywalled, then, does it? Social science is to science as numerology is to number theory.

Bet You Didn’t Hear About This Church Shooting

A while back, you heard about a church shooting where an angry or crazy guy shot shot a pastor and some other people in a black church down South.

Last Sunday, James J. Minter, 26, stood up in the middle of a church service in a small black church in the historic Civil Rights city of Selma, Alabama and opened fire. DId you hear about this one? You probably didn’t, even though Minter shot the pastor, the Rev. Earl Carswell, 61; a young woman of 24; and the woman’s one-month-old baby.

Why didn’t most of the Acela Media think this shooting fit The Narrative™? A look at Minter’s mugshot at the one exception, the New York Daily News, may be a clue.

Yet the story is one that probably should be told. Minter came to the church knowing that was the one place he could find his estranged girlfriend, who was hiding herself — and her baby who was Minter’s son — from Minter’s anger at her rejection of him. Minter would have killed them, too, if it were not for fast action on the part of Rev. Caswell and other parishioners, who swarmed him like an angry rugby ruck and disarmed him. In the process, Caswell took a shot in the leg. He was treated at a local hospital.

The woman, shot in the jaw and shoulder, is also going to live, and the baby was shot in the hand; he will have lifelong consequences. They were rushed to a trauma center in Birmingham.

There’s a lesson for all of us in this. When violence comes, fight back. The best way is to be armed, but if you’re not armed, you can still win with speed, surprise and violence of action. One hopes the Governor of Alabama sees his way clear to recognize Rev. Caswell and his fellow heroes.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

Piper Cub vs. Bf109

It happened. The Messerschmitt driver was so bemused he flew away without wiping out the L4 Cub. Story is here (Archived GeoCities page). Here’s another L-4 story, complete with rare photos of the planes on LSTs turned Cub Carriers. We met this guy, Dutch Schultz, at Oshkosh in the late 1990s or so.

Remember Those Four US-Sponsored Rebels in Syria?

Anas ObeidTurns out, there were a few dozen more that met the President’s and General Lloyd Austin’s “muslim-brotherhood-but-not-ISIL” prerequisites, but they went over to al-Qaeda. Or to Jabhat al-Nusra, which is the al-Q franchise in the chaos that used to be Syria. After their training. This guy was their leader, Anas Obeid, who’s now flying the black flag of terrorism.

Hopefully Austin trained Obeid as well as he does everything else.

CENTCOM denied this, then admitted it in a 25 Sep Press Release. To get a glimpse of what’s happening in Syria, try Brookings and CTC analyst Charles Lister’s twitter feed. Lister is a supporter of deposing Assad, and was formerly as supporter of the Administration and its approach, until it became evident the approach was an utter failure (which to be fair, was evident to Lister before it was to most people). Lister is working from open sources, but he is better informed than US policymakers relying on the intelligence community.

In point of fact, with the Russians intervening on the side of Assad, the war’s probably decided.


Lord Love a Duck!

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

Well, We Had To Mention the Duckboat Crash Here

It probably should have been held for a When Guns Are Outlawed… feature, but really, the temptation was overwhelming to cover, under this rubric, the Seattle crash between a sightseeing “duck boat” (in fact, a World War II GMC DUKW amphibious 2½-ton truck) and a charter bus full of college students — international students, enjoying a college orientation. The crash wasn’t at all funny, though; it killed four exchange students (from Austria, China, Indonesia, and Japan) and injured 40 others: 2 in critical and 12 in serious condition in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

The driver exclaimed, “Oh, no!” before the DUKW — whose nickname. “duck,” came from its GM manufacture code, and which were produced in the tens of thousands for amphibious and riverine operations in World War III — veered left across the centerline and slammed into the left side of the oncoming bus on the Aurora bridge. Witnesses reported seeing red fluid dripping from the left front wheel of the mishap DUKW before the collision, suggesting the hydraulic systems may have been compromised.

Commercial duck-boat operators have been turning away from the WWII vehicles because of their high maintenance demands and the costs of succeeding modifications required (mostly by the Coast Guard and seaworthiness-related) after earlier accidents, but scores of them remain in operation