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Someone Knows Who Killed This Man

He was, at the time of his death, a young man with a turbulent life and a place in the gun culture. We started to write about it at the time, almost three years ago, and then set this report aside, to finish when the case broke.

The case never broke. It’s still an open case today. But no one’s ever been fingered, charged, indicted, arrested. The authorities have said little. They certainly know more than they’re saying. But it seems unlikely that they know much more than they’re saying.


We first saw a blog report — we didn’t write down which blog, unfortunately — that said:

Keith Ratliff, the manager of FPS Russia, the 3rd most popular youtube channel was found dead yesterday, tied up to a chair and shot in the back of the head.

In retrospect, that seems to be asserting information that was not accurate. Subsequent stories have indicated that Ratliff was not tied up, and the police seem to have said only that he was shot in the head — not from which direction. They have never, as far as we know, publicly identified the firearm used to kill Ratliff. They have only said that it was not at the scene of the crime — even though other firearms were.

At the time, we were aware of FPS Russia. Ratliff, the dead man, was not the main actor you see in the videos, Kyle Myers, but was a business partner. From the first time we heard the guy open his mouth it was pretty clear that he was an American southerner ineptly faking a Russian accent. We never much liked their videos, which struck us as juvenile clowning with guns, but they have been extremely popular.

The FPS stands for First Person Shooter, and Myers started off playing violent video games, particularly the Call of Duty franchise. From there he developed interest in actual firearms, which he’d often deploy in the videos with more brio than skill.

Ratliff did appear onscreen in some videos, but was generally a behind-the-scenes player in the FPSRussia business.

Ratliff was found shot dead in the company offices in Carnesville, Georgia. The case is under investigation by the local Sheriff and the GBI. As far as we know the ATF has not actively assisted in the investigation; they have also investigated FPSRussia, but that was in a stretching attempt to find a way to charge the popular video channel’s personnel with Destructive Device violations for using Tannerite in videos.

Who killed Keith? Speculation runs the gamut. There have been conspiracy theories suggesting that this is some program of black-bag violence against pro-gun voices. You hear questions like: “why was he murdered mob style?” People blame his women,soured business counterparties, some creep who just hates FPSRussia. (We don’t care for the videos, but there’s no capital offense in ’em. They’re certainly popular, with millions of subscribers).

Why was he murdered “mob style”? Well, let’s wait and see if he was. An alternative theory or two suggests itself. First, it could have been suicide. The police are investigating a homicide, but they’ve never ruled suicide out. No gun on the scene? Someone tampered with the site, perhaps. Or it could have been an accident. We realize that suggesting that guys who have built a business around clowning around with guns might have had an accident is going to be seen as “out there” by all those people who grew up watching TV and expect every mystery to be resolved in time for the commercial break, ideally by pinning the murders on a CIA conspiracy. Again, the absence of the gun and the absence of any evidence of intrusion suggests to us not that it was done by the Silent Ninja Platoon of General Gaylord’s Homosexual Brigade (“Death from Behind!”), but more probably that someone authorized and expected to be there removed the firearm — and, possibly, used it to kill poor Ratliff.

Did the CIA do it? It’s pretty doubtful that anyone at CIA knew who these characters are, or in the case of Ratliff, were. Same goes for any other Federal agency.

This is a radio news report on the ID of what was originally a John Doe body. The information here from Franklin County, GA, Sheriff Stevie Thomas, seems credible. And Thomas is being very cautious.

That caution has continued. Almost no information has been released in the case. FPSRussia is back in production, but its soaring trajectory seems to have been adjusted downwards by the murder and the interruption in service that followed.

Here’s a video documentary — a short one — using the whole bag of 60 Minutes ambush interview tricks; most of the footage they got was edited out, and the whole thing, as presented,  is as inconclusive as the actual investigation has been.

We did get an impression of who the video producers think might be responsible. We weren’t impressed with their investigational skills, or their journalistic ethics. They will go far in the network environment.

The most interesting performance on the video comes when one of the other behind the scenes personnel from FPS Russia unloads on her interviewer. Yes, the press can make a bad situation worse for crime victims, and seldom fails to do do. “You’re doing this for entertainment,” she says, and it’s the most true and clear statement on the video.

Whoever killed Keith Ratliff seems to have understood the basics of How to Get Away With Murder:

  1. Give time for the grievance that motivates you to be forgotten by others.
  2. Whack somebody who has a bunch of potential whackers, so the cops fix on them and not you.
  3. Do it someplace remote, and don’t touch anything.
  4. Remove the murder weapon from the scene and dispose of it permanently.
  5. Don’t tell anybody. Not that you’re going to do it, or that you did it. If you come to take Vienna, take Vienna. And then shut up about it. Don’t tell anybody. Ever.

Murderers get caught because they strike in hot blood, leave a mountain of evidence, and, most of all, run their mouths. One thing we know about this murderer is hat he was smart enough not to do that, and so he’s free.

For now. But sometimes at nights, he hears the beating of wings. The wings are the angels of justice, and as long as that Georgia sheriff does not quit, they are coming for the killer, some day.

IRS Conducting Secret Surveillance

Stingray I (numbered retrospectively) and Stingray II warrantless surveillance devices, forerunners of Hailstorm.

Stingray I (numbered retrospectively) and Stingray II warrantless surveillance devices, forerunners of Hailstorm.

Well, we totally trust these guys, right? Apart from the fact that they’ve consistently used their law enforcement powers to hassle non-criminals, like their girlfriends or exes. That’s the only thing. Well, and people their bosses disagree with about politics. That’s the only two things. Well, and…

So, sure, why shouldn’t the IRS have “Stingray,” “Hailstorm” and “Dirtbox” warrantless surveillance devices? It’s not like anything bad ever came of having secret police with unlimited surveillance powers.

The 2009 IRS/Harris Corp invoice is mostly redacted under section B(4) of the Freedom of Information Act, which is intended to protect trade secrets and privileged information. However, an invoice from 2012, which is also partially redacted, reports that the agency spent $65,652 on upgrading a Stingray II to a HailStorm, a more powerful version of the same device, as well as $6,000 on training from Harris Corporation.

Stingrays are the best-known example of a type of device called an IMSI-catcher, also known as “cell-site simulators”. About the size of a briefcase, they work by pretending to be cellphone towers in order to strip metadata and in some cases even content from phones which connect to them.

Despite their extensive capabilities, they require only a low-level court order called a PEN register, also known as a “trap and trace”, to grant permission for their use.

Of course, they’re the IRS, so they don’t need no stinkin’ court order.

Immense secrecy has so far surrounded these devices, but a picture is slowly emerging which shows widespread use. Various revelations by the American Civil Liberties Union and news outlets including the Guardian had shown that at least 12 federal agencies are already known to have these devices, including the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The IRS makes 13.

In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal uncovered an operation run by the US Marshals Service using a Boeing-made IMSI-catcher known as “dirtbox”. This is the first time that the IRS has been found to own the device.

via IRS possessed Stingray cellphone surveillance gear, documents reveal | US news | The Guardian.

It gets even better. They ask a guy who’s a totally unbiased expert — “a former deputy commissioner for services and enforcement at the agency” — if the IRS is actually using this thing, and he says, no, because it’s not showing up in the court cases he sees.

Harpoon amplifier used with Stingray; may have been incorporated into Hailstorm. Adds audio surveillance capability to Stingray II.

Harpoon amplifier used with Stingray; may have been incorporated into Hailstorm. Adds audio surveillance capability to Stingray II.

Of course, the other agencies that use it use “parallel construction,” which is to create a second, completely fraudulent set of documents of an investigation that never happened, to conceal the use of warrantless and lawless surveillance and preserve the investigative technique as if it were “intelligence sources and methods.” But it’s not IS&M. It’s a criminal investigation.

And lying about it — which is what every single special agent in every single agency who has ever use one of these machines and lied about it in “parallel construction” has done — is perjury, a serious crime.

But the IRS would never do that, just because all the big TLA’s in DC are doing it. Would they?

Well, as the Interim Number 2 said to  Number 6, “That would be telling.

Will they ever be prosecuted? Of course not. It’s Washington, Jake. Forget about it.  And it’s 2015. Whether you get punished for a crime depends not on what you did, but on who you are. 

They’ll all get bonuses. In fact, they already did.

President vetoes Defense Funding

VetoJosh Lederman of the Associated Press, an Administration supporter, writes:

In an unusual veto ceremony, Obama praised the bill for ensuring the military stays funded and making improvements on military retirement and cybersecurity.

“Making improvements” = cutting retirement for currently retired, currently serving, and future troops, so that the money can be spent on higher priorities, like the uncut retirements of Presidents, Congressmen, and their staffs.

As far as Cybersecurity, neither this Congress nor this President has a record to even bring the jeezly word up. We’ll get to that in a minute. Meanwhile, back to Lederman’s cheerleading:

Yet he pointedly accused Republicans of resorting to “gimmicks” and prohibiting other changes needed to address modern security threats.

And this is typical of several paragraphs where Lederman repeats Presidential talking points without saying what the actual sticking points of the veto are. One we have already discussed, but it’s a very small one — allowing CMP to remarket obsolete service pistols in a very, very narrow pilot program. But there are bigger issues. We’ll skip a bunch of paragraphs of Lederman’s hero-worship-slash-stenography and get to where he’s crammed some facts in the lower grafs of the story. First fact, paragraph 5:

To side-step the budget caps, known in Washington as sequestration, lawmakers added an extra $38.3 billion to a separate account for wartime operations that is immune to the spending limits.

julius-caesar-assassinationYou know the guys the President just extended in Afghanistan? Yeah, he objects to funding them. By this definition of “got your back,” Brutus got Caesar’s.

Obama also rejects the bill as written due to provisions making it harder for him to transfer suspected terror detainees out of the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a key campaign promise that Obama is hard-pressed to fulfill before his term ends.

That’s graf 6. And another way of looking at this is that it’s more important to keep a campaign promise to the terrorists in Gitmo than it is to keep these creeps out of circulation.

President Obama is not against the war on terrorists, exactly. He’s just on the other side.

We’re not among the feverish who think he’s a crypto-Moslem, but every once in a while we wonder what, if anything, a Wahhabi or Ikhwan Muslimeen Made Guy would do differently.

We got nothin’.

But we still don’t think he’s a Moslem. They believe in a god.

The White House has also expressed concerns over provisions preventing military base closures and funding equipment beyond what the military says it needs.

So these are their top defense priorities: welshing on retirement promises; defunding the troops at risk overseas; amnesty for the hellspawn of Islamic terror; closing more military bases; not buying gear that politicized generals have agreed not to ask for.

But Republicans lambasted Obama for prioritizing the domestic spending he seeks over the security of U.S. troops and the nation they protect.

Well, the Republicans may have a point about that, but they are not exactly solid on defense themselves: the retirement rollback, for example, started in the Republican House under the unhealthily orange non-veteran John Boehner, as did much of the lobbyist-bought pork.

The veto forces Congress to revise the bill or try to settle the larger budget dispute. Although Republicans have vowed to try to override Obama’s veto, the White House insisted it was confident it had the votes to ensure Obama’s veto stays in place.

In other news, the President praised the “Black Lives Matter” anti-police movement, and called for the release of even more violent criminals than a bill speeding through the Senate would do.

And elsewhere in the national security establishment, the Russians, who have been laughing at the USA a lot lately, are having a fresh chortle on a fresh release of CIA Director John Brennan’s emails, dumped on the net by Wikileaks and, allegedly, a teen hacker. Russia Today:

The first set of documents published on Wednesday contained reports on Afghanistan and torture, and ideas for US policy towards Iran.

The new release contains Brennan’s address book and a full version of ‘Executive summary of key findings and recommendations on Afghanistan and Pakistan’, some pages of which were published on Wednesday by Anonymous.

The November 2008 report compiled by a team of Senate analysts is accompanied by a memo from Louis Tucker, the minority staff director for Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Missouri).

“Everyone we spoke with on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan confessed that they know of no overall USG strategy for the region,” Tucker wrote. “Rather, we observed quality individuals serving judiciously in their own lanes ungoverned by a coordinated, comprehensive strategy.”

The US government would have to develop a “comprehensive regional strategy designed to meet a set of clearly defined goals,” Tucker’s memo concluded.

The 13-page executive summary details the Senate team’s findings on the topics of security, reconstruction, nation-building and narcotics cultivation in Afghanistan.

Disparate priorities of various US, UN, NATO and coalition structures in the region have sometimes resulted in “counter-productive actions and programs that have not always been tailored to local conditions,” US officials told the analysts.

Note that this report was from 2008. (Although These guys were sworn in in 2009. The powerless Senate minority that wrote the report became the powerless majority under the chinless, nutless Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And the new Administration, and the new leadership in Congress, allegedly Top Men® of both parties, did, what?


Nothing productive, anyway.

And in this year, the “Year of Cyber,” as all the Three-Letter-Agencies are calling it, the freaking CIA Director’s emails are splashed on the web by a 17-year-old kid and the even more immature minions of Julian Assange.

Castillo de San Marcos – Medical Instruments

We’re going to take a short break from looking at the fort’s construction and history at Castillo de San Marcos in Jacksonville St. Augustine, and look at another angle, if a slightly queasy-making one: what the modern surgeon was using in the 18th Century or so. When OTR visited, a volunteer reenactor had a display of surgical instruments. Later, we’ll return to the mechanics of fort and firearm, we promise, but for now we are going to divert ourselves with a look at the instruments that might have been applied to you if you had the poor fortune to catch a musket ball, met the pointy end of a bayonet or edge of a sword, or had your butterfingered buddy drop an iron cannonball on your foot during, say, the siege of 1702.

If you need to catch up, the first part of the story covers much of the history and the approaches to the Castillo de San Marcos (later known as Fort Francis Marion in American Army hands, before reverting to its original Spanish name).

In normal circumstances, pre-1821, the Spanish military wouldn’t have treated its sick and wounded in the castle. They’d have been removed to the military hospital in town (which has also been well restored, equipped and staffed with interpreters). It’s surprising to most people, but Spanish medicine and surgery was advanced — for its day.

Bear in mind that medical science was ignorant of the germ theory of disease, of the importance of sterile conditions, and had no anesthetics (except alcohol) and no antibiotics. They had nothing to do for gas gangrene, which was a death sentence unless it was in an amputatable extremity. And no weapons, neither preventive nor curative, were at hand against endemic malaria. Yet the claim has been made that while the language, tools and skillsets of the 18th and 21st century internal-medicine physician have very few points of congruence, the historical and modern surgeons would have more common ground for discussion.

Not being surgeons, we have our doubts about that.

This is not somebody’s table at the Acme County Gun and Knife Show. These are a military surgeon’s tools; do they pass the “Common ground” test?


Either the surgeons of 1720 were much concerned with one’s fundamental orifice, or the guy who collected all this gear has some kind of anal fixation. An enema set (appears to be British origin):


And the next to those: suppositories. Eh, we’ll take our chances with the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot. To borrow a line. We’ll get to the sutures in a bit, what are those “…etal Scrapers?” “Metal Scrapers?” Wait, that’s a “c”. They can’t be fractal scrapers, can they?


Uh, no. They can’t. Yeah, this guy has issues… or maybe 18th Century surgeons did.


Arrgggh. Can we move on to some other region of diseased anatomy, please?

Thank you. The stitch kit doesn’t seem too archaic, although sterile and disposable it isn’t.


Next we’ll move on to stuff for excavating the Brain Housing Group. The thing that looks like a heavy-duty Forstner bit on the upper left in the image below isn’t too far off — it’s a trepanning saw, for making holes in the cranium. That was usually done as a last ditch attempt to reduce brain swelling and save an otherwise doomed patient. If it didn’t work, well, the guy was standing in the door anyway. Maybe there will be a better view of this tool below.


Cautery Irons were used to burn blood vessels shut during surgery. They’d be heated red hot, then jammed into the wound.


Now this is a piece of lifesaving gear that is recognizable. It uses a thumbscrew to apply pressure and it seems probable that the 18th-Century surgeon used it, primarily, during deliberate amputations.


After the jump you can see more grim instruments from bygone days, when the promise that “to cut is to cure” was much less certain than today’s well-informed surgeons can offer. Click “more” if you dare.

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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.

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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?