Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

3 Sawn-off shotguns + 1 Rifle = 117 firearms seized

Our first indication that a Victoria, TX FFL was in deep trouble was a rather badly-written TV story. (We’ve just pulled a few short grafs out, Read The Whole Thing™ if you doubt our criticism. On the other hand, unlike us, he was writing to a deadline, so there is that):

On March 13th, ATF agents raided [Garrett] Riedesel’s Double D Gun Shop, and took almost 117 firearms.

Raided gun shop

According to documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Riedesel possessed items that were not registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which is a federal offense.

Riedesel was only licensed to deal firearms that did not require those specific registrations.

via Gun Shop Owner Facing Federal Charges – Crossroads Today.

The writer noted that Riedesel is being held without bail in an undisclosed location. (Apparently that’s not just for terrorists now. Maybe it’s not for terrorists at all, these days, kind of like the intelligence agencies).

A more detailed article is available from a local paper. The specific charges against him are that he possessed four short-barreled weapons without NFA Registration. Under the National Firearms Act of 1934, a shotgun must have an 18″ and a rifle a 16″ barrel, and both weapons must have an overall length of 26″, or be registered in the NFA Registration and Transfer Record database. (We are in the midst of registering a rifle because the barrel is 1.3″ short. Arrgh). The four firearms at issue are:

  1. A 12 Gauge Remington 870 Express, SN X170853M, with a 7.25″ barrel and overall length of 14.875″;
  2. A 20 Gauge Savage Arms/Stevens 940D, no serial number, with a 9″ barrel and an 11.375″ OAL;
  3. A 20 Gauge Winchester 1200, SN L535649, with a 13″ barrel and a 23″ OAL;
  4. a 30-30 Marlin-Glenfield Model 30, SN 6888731, with a 13.25″ barrel and 21.875″ OAL.

Riedesel is threatened with ten years’ imprisonment on each count.

It’s unlikely that he had registrations for these NFA firearms, or he wouldn’t still be under lock & key. (Unless he did the unwise thing of having the NFA weapons and the registrations in the same place, where ATF raiders can seize and destroy the original registrations. It has happened before).

The odd thing is that if you really want weapons like these, it’s not hard or especially burdensome to own them within the system. It just takes a lot of time when the ATF’s preferred politicians are in power; then (like now) they can slow-walk the registrations, not like that’s hard to persuade government workers to do.

There are even lever actions that are made new in the “Mare’s Leg” format as pistolsand they transfer like any Title 1 firearm.

takedown2

That’s so neat-looking we want it, and we’ll resist the temptation to clamp the ol’ deer gun on the bandsaw table and have at it — an easy temptation to resist when you realize it’s worth a decade in the slammer. That’s one of the curious things about the law: the gadget shown above is a pistol, but only because it was built ab initio as a pistol: convert one from a rifle, wind up with the exact same gun at the end, and you’re a felon.

Ah, the Majesty of the Law™.

Special Agents Robert Noble, FNU Taylor, and SAIC Rick Miller of the Corpus Christi, TX field office, were among the agents involved in this case. Noble wrote the complaint, which notes that Taylor queried the NFRTR but avoids any assertion about the accuracy of the NFRTR (it’s been estimated as low as 50% in the past, and ATF has been exposed for encouraging agents to testify falsely that it is 100% accurate). All of these agents are likely to advance; ATF managers value arrests of gun dealers much more highly than arrests of violent criminals.

In addition, the ATF seized 113 other firearms, alleging that they were not entered in Riedesel’s Acquisition and Disposition Record (i.e., “bound book”). At present Riedesel has yet to be charged with violations relating to these additional guns.

The exact nature of the 113 seized guns are unknown, but they did include at least two firearms Riedesel was merely shipping for warranty service for a customer, some consignment weapons, and some lay-away weapons that have been partly paid for. ATF agents have said they will post instructions for individuals whose property may have been swept up in the raid, but usual ATF practice is to destroy all the guns seized.

seized semi MG42

One of the collateral damage victims was Kyndell Brandt, who had left a .50 Beowulf rifle and a semi-auto MG42 (illustrated; Brandt photo) at the shop to be returned for warranty service.

According to an ATF FAQ for gunsmiths, the firearm must be entered in the dealer’s bound book any time he has possession overnight (and there’s similar wording on another ATF FAQ for gunsmiths), but according to the FAQ for dealers in general, the dealer has seven days (similar wording on another ATF FAQ, also). There are US Attorneys and ATF managers who see this inconsistency not as a bug, but as a feature.

10 Things about Murderers we Learned from “The First 48.”

The First 48Unlike most TV cop shows, this one showcases real murders, and therefore, real murderers. Here are 10 things about murderers that you’ll never pick up if you watch scripted TV shows, but any homicide cop could have told you:

  1. Murderers are career criminals, usually. Criminals are generally pretty stupid people. For every Professor Moriarty in fiction, there’s ten thousand full-retard street criminals in the Lifer Wing of the jug.
  2. Most victims don’t die for anything big. They are killed in petty disputes, or in the pursuit of de minimis thefts.
  3. There’s usually a lot of emotion involved in a murder. The exceptions are the robberies.
  4. A robbery turned murder is not, despite the show and even the cops using the term, a “robbery gone wrong.” It’s a robbery gone one of the two ways the robbers expected it to go; if some armed robbers never kill any of their victims, that’s strictly accidental. (This, then, suggests we ought to hit armed robbers a little harder in the sentence department; execution would work).
  5. Victims’ lives often parallel their murderers’, closely. For example, those shot by dope peddlers are usually fellow dope peddlers. Others are victims of their own bad taste in romantic partners. A few had the bad fortune to own something shiny that caught the eye of Self Esteem Generation, who killed them to perpetrate thefts.
  6. The younger the criminal, the more self-centered and depraved he or she tends to be.
  7. The entitlement culture is often comorbid in these young robbers. Sometimes a victim is a “striver,” trying to get ahead by honest means; the murderer never is.
  8. Murder is a crime of bad neighborhoods, and the neighborhood is bad for the same reason the murders happen there: there’s a lot of untended human pathogens there.
  9. None of the murderers have ever been productive human beings, and no good can come of releasing them some day. It would be more humane to put them down like rabid dogs, not least for their future victims.
  10. There is an uncomfortable racial element to murder statistics that is highly visible in these case studies, but it’s hard to tease out any real racial effect from the pernicious effects of American urban and welfare policy.

There are also things we’ve never seen. We’ve never seen a murder done with a legally-bought firearm on the show. We’ve never seen a murder where the firearm precipitated the crime. (It may have contributed to hotheaded urban “disrespect” killings). We’ve never seen a suspect who turned out to be someone from the gun culture — considering how standard that plot point is in TV, it seems to be a screenwriter fantasy of a piece with the same guys’ dread of “Eurotrash neo-nazis,” a group which has the virtue, from Hollywood’s viewpoint, of being too small and nonexistent to pursue a defamation action.

Because The First 48 deals with facts as they are, it’s nothing short of amazing that it’s allowed on the tube.

Cops Besieged by Rats

Last time we checked in with the Portsmouth, NH, PD, they were recovering from a fire in their indoor pistol range. Now they have a new problem: a plague of rats. Like this guy, now a good rat for the first time in his rodent life:

Portsmouth Rat

That may have been the rat “as big as a possum!” sighted under a copier late last year; the copy room is safe from him, at least, for now, but the cops and the department’s civilian workers can hear the things in the walls and ceilings.

Several exterminators have tried to accomplish the Rattus equivalent of pulling the sword out of the stone since the cops got serious about evicting their rent-free tenants a year and a half ago, and so far, the rats seem to be hanging on.

Maybe they shouldn’t have extinguished that range fire after all!

Yee and Lapdog Journalism

We’ve already mentioned the bizarre symbiosis between Leland Y. Yee, the accused gunrunner and the extremely anti-gun #2 potentate in the California State Senate, on the one hand; and the lapdog, lickspittle pack of Bay Area journalists, on the other. The soi-disant journalists were so joined with him ideologically that they never, ever, investigated him until after they had the occasion to film him be-boppin’ along in the perp promenade.

It was more than just shared fealty to The Party, although that was a large part of it. As long as he would say what they wanted him to say, they took no interest whatsoever in what he chose to do. 

But that’s not really fair to them, to say they weren’t interested in Yee and his doings. They were interested: in fact, at least a dozen times, journalistic groups like the Society of Professional Journalists, honored the creep.

yee-spj

This was one of at least two SPJ awards, and of at least ten more by other journalist groups, all of whom supported Yee as a matter of policy and Party discipline. But this one was only a week or so before he was busted.

The SF Chronicle’s Peter Hartlaub, who never questioned anything about Yee (after all, Yee was a fellow traveler and member of The Party, so he was above investigation) prior to Yee’s perp walk, found that press release, and lots of others that now seem pretty amusing, on the anti-gun gun-runner’s website.

Hartlaub, of course, warns fellow Party members that they ought to prime their websites for self-destruct, for the next time something like this happens.

At least some San Francisco papers are now finding Yee worth a journalistic investigation. Downstate, where the ink-stained wretches of the LA Times keep rockin’, they’re defending Yee still. Why? Cause the mean ol’ gun lobby be pickin’ on him. (Reading that pathetic article, by some pathetic underling of too little merit to get a byline, or some passive-aggressive boss too timid to claim one, one expects the mot du jour “bullying” to crop up at any moment, but it fails to show). We understand why they put Andrew Arulanandam’s quote (that Yee was a “scumbag,” certainly an expression of opinion) in scare quotes, but by applying the scare quotes to the term, “hyprocrite,” with reference to the anti-gun gun-smuggler, the Times shows that this article is just The Party talking. Keep rockin’, indeed.

Because for Hartlaub, the Chronicle, the Times, and the Society of Public Relations Professional Journalists, what’s important is not delivering the facts to the public, but controlling which facts get presented to the public.

NSA Knows You Own Guns

Spy-vs-Spy-fullNSA knows you own guns. That’s the only possible inference from recent traffic-analysis research conducted with Stanford University volunteers by Stanford grad student Jonathan Meyer, his co-author Patrick Mutchler, and a team of researchers. They used an Android app installed by study volunteers to collect the same metadata that NSA collects and retains on every American’s every phone call. They wondered what they might find, and suspected that the assurances of such characters as NSA’s dishonest Director Clapper, who perjured himself before Congress denying the existence of this program; President Obama, who dismissed ; Senator Feinstein, who dismissed privacy concerns; and many others, might be bogus.

As they explain, it their app should let them answer some simple questions.

This is, at base, a factual dispute. Is it easy to draw sensitive inferences from phone metadata? How often do people conduct sensitive matters by phone, in a manner reflected by metadata?

At the start of the study they said, by way of recruiting participants:

The NSA has confirmed that it collects American phone records. Defenders of the program insist it has little privacy impact and is “not surveillance.”

Like many computer scientists, we strongly disagree. Phone metadata is inherently revealing. We want to rigorously prove it—for the public, for Congress, and for the courts.

That’s where you come in. We’re crowdsourcing the data for our study. We’ll measure how much of your Facebook information can be inferred from your phone records.

Despite the small size (n=649) and brief duration (~4 months, with many particpants only playing for a short period), the researchers have been able to infer accurately quite detailed information about the participants, including not only gun ownership but in at least one signal case, AR ownership. (They also identified participants suffering with sensitive medical conditions, and seeking abortions. You don’t need to be a bearing-arms kind of guy or gal to be up in arms about this).

Meyer and Mutchler write:

We're listening. If you object, you must be hiding something.

We’re listening. If you object, you must be hiding something.

The degree of sensitivity among contacts took us aback. Participants had calls with Alcoholics Anonymous, gun stores, NARAL Pro-Choice, labor unions, divorce lawyers, sexually transmitted disease clinics, a Canadian import pharmacy, strip clubs, and much more. This was not a hypothetical parade of horribles. These were simple inferences, about real phone users, that could trivially be made on a large scale.

This is the excerpt that is getting the most play worldwide:

During our analysis, we encountered a number of patterns that were highly indicative of sensitive activities or traits. The following examples are drawn directly from our dataset, using number identification through public resources. Though most MetaPhone participants consented to having their identity disclosed, we use pseudonyms in this report to protect participant privacy.

We’ll just interject that that’s more concern for privacy than we’ve seen from anyone in DC, and these guys’ test subjects volunteered. Stanford FTW. Now back to the widely-played excerpt:

Participant A communicated with multiple local neurology groups, a specialty pharmacy, a rare condition management service, and a hotline for a pharmaceutical used solely to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis.
Participant B spoke at length with cardiologists at a major medical center, talked briefly with a medical laboratory, received calls from a pharmacy, and placed short calls to a home reporting hotline for a medical device used to monitor cardiac arrhythmia.
Participant C made a number of calls to a firearm store that specializes in the AR semiautomatic rifle platform. They also spoke at length with customer service for a firearm manufacturer that produces an AR line.
In a span of three weeks, Participant D contacted a home improvement store, locksmiths, a hydroponics dealer, and a head shop.
Participant E had a long, early morning call with her sister. Two days later, she placed a series of calls to the local Planned Parenthood location. She placed brief additional calls two weeks later, and made a final call a month after.
We were able to corroborate Participant B’s medical condition and Participant C’s firearm ownership using public information sources. Owing to the sensitivity of these matters, we elected to not contact Participants A, D, or E for confirmation.

Now, the small size of the Stanford sample and short duration of the study are not its only weaknesses. The sample was not scientifically selected, it was a volunteer sample, which means it probably has many skews. (For example, it almost certainly skews low on firearms ownership, even relative to Californians in general… only 7% of volunteers have been betrayed as gun owners by the data, so far).

In addition, the study is not truly equivalent to NSA’s surveillance for several other reasons. Let’s run through them:

  • First, they were only able to identify a percentage of the telephone numbers (sample members called ~33,000 numbers, 6,107 of which or 18% resolved to an identity. NSA begins with possession of the identities of all the numbers. But the Stanford team didn’t try very hard to identify the numbers. (On a previous run against a random sample of 5,000 numbers, they ID’d 27.1% with no effort, 73% with trivial effort, and 91% with very little effort, and the help of a cheap consumer-oriented data aggregator).
  • Second, they had no working aids such as number lists to work with at the start. They generated everything from scratch. The NSA has been building its domestic-spying databases for a dozen years, if not longer.
  • Third, they only attempted what Meyer and Mutchler called “trivial” or “naive” analysis. If it wasn’t on Google, Yelp or Facebook, they gave up looking. For example, they didn’t bother with participants’ blogs or looking for other social media memberships.
  • Fourth, they report no effort at traffic analysis beyond identifying who called trivially identifiable numbers. A whole toolkit is lying untouched on their workbench. You may rest assured that the government snoops’ tools are not so neglected.

Taken together, all of these these constraints on the sample and the study, and these weaknesses of the Stanford team’s analytic approach and working aids vis-a-vis those on hand at NSA, suggest that this is a very low bound to the sort of data NSA holds. NSA hasn’t been tracking 650 geeks for 6 to 12 weeks: they’ve been tracking everybody for years, probably since 2003. And apparently, they hold the data forever, and dig into it at their own option. Senator Dianne Feinstein, an Intelligence Committee member and generally an NSA apologist, responded during an interview:

Question: But they’re sort of logging this data so they can hold it if they need it later, as opposed to knowing that they need it and getting it.
Feinstein: Well, you can’t know that you need it at the time. You have to go to it and see if there is the link that you’re looking for.

Have you spoken to an FFL, a gunsmith, a gun writer, another gun owner, in the last ten years? If so, you’re already in de facto registry. Creeped out yet? Here’s what happened (earlier in their research, with less data in hand) when they applied some more sophisticated analysis to the reassuring claim that NSA only follows three hops from a suspect number.

And hey, can NSA tell if you’re dating, and whom? Yep.

But that’s OK, because this data’s completely safeguarded, except for the times that Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden walked off with it. Other than that, yeah, and these must be the only breaches because they’re the only breachers that went public with the data, right?

So this telephonic model of your life can tell the spooks about your guns. And, by the way, NSA shares this stuff with ATF on request (no warrant needed then, either), through the liaison officers at the fusion centers. The end result of this warrantless surveillance dragnet is less privacy for all, and more power for lawless secret police. 

And remember, with all this domestic (and God alone knows what foreign) surveillance, the secret police found out about the plans of the Boston Marathon bombers when the bombs went bang. Because they’re not looking for them. They’re looking for you. 

And they know you’ve got a gun. Or guns.

Conwalking: the Other Gun Crime Scandal

We’ve had our April Fool’s fun. This post is deadly serious. -Eds.

Some people wonder why others choose to arm themselves in defense of self, home, and family.

It’s a reasonable question, and our (we hope, reasonable) answer is that the roots of self-defense are in personal agency and responsibility. And recent revelations about the way fugitives are pursued, or more honestly, often not pursued, indicate that there’s an epidemic of not arresting violent felons going on.

We call it Conwalking. 

Here it is by the numbers:

conwalking_by_the_numbers

Sources of these numbers:

We didn’t document the gun-capacity numbers; we just know those.

These revelations make those who arm themselves for self-defense look a lot more rational than the low rates of crime in most jurisdictions would suggest. After all, an extremely rare event like the bestial crimes USA Today describes as being committed by these “walked” cons will probably never happen to you. It’s what Nicholas Taleb famously calls a “Black Swan” event; even events that are extremely improbable are not impossible, and when the “impossible” happens, you can be ready.

Or you can be meat.

In the jurisdictions USA Today’s looked at, about 1 in 6 murderers appears to have been conwalked from somewhere. That’s a number well outside the probabilities of random chance. These cons are serious, career criminals, and they will keep committing crimes of increasing depravity and violence until they’re incapacitated by old age, incarceration, or a cop’s or chosen “victim’s” bullet.

The cops and prosecutors who perpetrate this epidemic of Conwalking, come in several kinds. Some of them have a cozy symbiosis with these walked cons, some of them are responding to political or cultural pressure, but many of them are simply overwhelmed with too many crooks and too few resources,

The resource issue will not go away. Prosecutors will not suddenly get bottomless budgets to fund extraditions and investigators and assistants to go bag and tag these guys. Even cities that don’t admit they don’t want the bulk of their fugitives back, unlike Philadelphia where they’re upfront about it, really don’t want their fugitives back. (Baltimore, for instance, puts in NCIS that they’re willing to extradite. Then, when somebody bags the guy, they usually say “never mind.”)

The cops can’t be there to protect you. They can only be there to avenge you. And they lose their ability to do that, in many jurisdictions, if your perpetrator moves across a state line or two. The cons know this: they’re one Greyhound away from impunity.

So who can protect you? Who can protect the members of your family who do not have fangs and claws of their own? In a world of Conwalking, every free citizen must answer these questions. And not to answer them is to answer them.

ATF, Ballistics, and a plaque to be proud of

Typical NIBIN workstation

Typical NIBIN workstation, the IBIS scope.

Here’s something that the ATF has done that we all can applaud and support: it honored Allegheny County, PA (think Pittsburgh) for making a 2,500 “hits” in the NIBIN ballistics database.

According to the Federal Law Enforcement Officers’ Association (FLEOA) website FedAgent.com, Pittsburgh SAIC Sam Rabadi of ATF presented a plaque to the county for the county Medical Examiner’s Office’s Firearms and Toolmarks Section near-record “hit count.” A “hit” is a match between an investigational projectile, casing or toolmark, and one in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). This lets investigators match recovered guns to unsolved (or solved) crimes, to determine which of multiple shooters fired wounding or fatal gunshots, to support prosecutions and even to clear innocent suspects.

NIBIN is less used in ATF’s pursuit of paperwork violations and technical crimes, but is crucial to Federal and local cops in solving violent crimes. Rabadi noted, “NIBIN is instrumental in linking shooting incidents from recovered ballistics evidence in efforts to identify and remove violent trigger pullers from our neighborhoods.”

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald notes that only New York and Chicago have recorded more hits in NIBIN than Allegheny County. Maybe it’s because they’re gun-free zones?

Let’s Get Down to Cases, or One Case

arika-hainsworth

Arika Hainsworth’s murderer was brought to justice thanks to ballistics evidence. Her sons have that, at least.

While the ATF release, the FLEOA release, and the county release all celebrated the achievement, none of them records the actual benefit of a specific case. Here’s one to consider.  The 2011 Arika Hainsworth case was a tragic event: a police-gang shootout, with multiple shooters on both sides spraying 40 or more shots, left a 21-year-old mother of two young boys dead of a single gunshot wound. The police insisted the shooter must have been a gang member, because the police aimed their shots. “Community Organizers” insisted the shooter must have been a cop, because racism.

As Dr Karl Williams, the county ME, put it, “The obvious question with multiple guns being fired is what was the origin of that bullet? What gun did it come from?”

Because of the relative position of the criminals (second floor, shooting down and through windows) and the angle of the bullet that killed Ms Hainsworth, the slug was probably from one of the gangbangers. Spectrum analysis matched glass powder on the slug’s nose with the crime scene windows. Then, the bullet’s distinctive marks were compared to the guns recovered from the gangbangers, and the guns used by the police.

Hit. That hit identified the murder weapon exactly, and put one Amir Ferguson behind bars, convicted by a jury of his peers of Arika Hainsworth’s murder. Now this was a local hit and could have been done without NIBIN, but imagine if the Pittsburgh PD hadn’t caught Ferguson and recovered his gun on this scene, but six months from then he got bagged on a traffic stop in Johnstown. He’d go into the system there for gun possession — until his gun was compared to ballistic evidence in open and closed criminal cases, using NIBIN.

In the current budgetary environment, the ATF and Congress have been cutting back on NIBIN, in part because the proprietary workstations installed in the 1,000-odd NIBIN client agencies cost the agency a lot of money to maintain. Yet this is the sort of basic blocking-and-tackling of police work where ATF resources can, as SAIC Rabadi notes, lay the long arms of the law on those bad-guy trigger pullers and lock them up, with cases built on solid physical evidence. Senior ATF leaders prefer to conduct high-profile, press-oriented stings and short-term undercover operations (although they do a crappy job of backing up their UCs when they come in from the cold). But here’s an ATF operation that ought to be a no-brainer for the agency’s leaders and the agency’s sometimes opponents in the gun culture and industry to join hands and support.

ATF’s PR flacks, who spend most of their time writing reports for the handful of reporters willing to be spoon-fed that way (Richard Serrano, LA Times, come on down!) really missed a chance to use this presentation to highlight some of the actual violent crimes solved by NIBIN hits.

AmmoGrrl’s “Thoughts from the ammo line”

Ammo StockpilePowerLine is a mostly political, legal and cultural blog started by three middle-aged lawyers. They manage to keep an interesting balance of stuff, but when they talk about guns, it’s almost always in the legal-case or political context. We were amused to see what we hope is a new feature in the blog, occasional reports from Susan “AmmoGrrl” Vass, who’s an actual comedienne, which is rare, and a funny one, which is vanishingly rare. And a regular shooter, so how rare is that combination?

In any event, she reports on the diversity of her new village in AZ, compared to her old pied-a-terre in Minnesota, which was as white as you might expect (“diverse” people have more sense than to endure -20ºF winters?), including the diversity of the folks in the ammo line. First, though, why’s everybody so happy?

My dusty little village in Arizona is the most diverse place I have ever lived. There’s obviously so much intermarriage that people no longer fit neatly into Census Bureau boxes. But, you’ve got your Native-Americans; you’ve got your African-Americans; you’ve got your Latinos, many of them legal; and you’ve got your Geezer-Americans, retirees of every hue and creed, dumping their Social Security checks into the slot machines and supporting the Native-Americans in a beautiful Circle of Life.

Everybody gets along. Everybody eats at the same three local diners. Everybody is polite. Everybody is smiley and friendly, even teenagers! Why?

Because everybody is armed to the teeth – cowboys, geezers, Iraqi vets, tattooed Latinos, nuns.

You see ranchers ambling through Walmart with .45 caliber 1911s on their hips in glorious Open Carry and nobody even bats an eyelash. In Minnesota, someone would dive under the Size 4XL Clearance Rack and call SWAT. In Arizona, you say “Good morning,” and the cowboy tips his Stetson and says, “Ma’am.”

See what she did there with the 4XL Clearance Rack? Lady does know the Upper Midwest.

A cousin visiting from Los Angeles who travels almost exclusively in metrosexual circles, looked in wide-eyed wonder at the much-maligned denizens of Walmart and exclaimed: “Oh my God! ACTUAL MEN!!”

This one is an absolutely mandatory Read the Whole Thing™er, if only for her closing paragraph where she describes her fellow ammo-liners, and explains what’s the deal on the white guy who isn’t there to buy ammo.  (Yes, that’s a tease. Go read the jeezly thing. WeaponsMan’s still going to be here, at least through the end of the day).

(Aside rant: Where in the name of Niffelheim is all the .22? Even the online sources don’t have bricks of .22LR? Even the crap Mexican Aquila has dried up?)

Not that Susan Vass can tell us. But we sure hope she’ll be sharing more “Thoughts from the Ammo Line” in the future.