Category Archives: Uncategorized

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2017 Week 08

Tour d’Horizon is more honestly a tour of open tabs that have been annoying and irritating us.

Guns

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

Copper Alloy Hunting Bullets

Very interesting link sent in by a reader, showing these remarkable hunting bullets made by Lutz Möller. They are available in Europe, and these particular ones are for the Continental big-game caliber, 9.3 x 60 mm. The hybrid design produces fragmentation (of the point section only) and also penetration (of the main slug, the base of which is hollow to control for weight and stability). Note the five narrow driving bands, and how they alone are marked by the rifling lands. The Möller site is fascinating and full of things we did not know, like the European CIP playing games with throat sizes for the .50 BMG (12.7 x 99) cartridge. (Möller, cued by one of his customers, calls it “castration” of the round, as the oversize throat CIP specifies ruins accuracy). The bulk of the site is in the Awful German Language®, so know that tongue, or (shudder) pop the URL into translate.google.com.

DeLisle for Our Euro Friends

We’ve covered a couple of the DeLisle clones made in the USA, but they’re scant consolation to our European friends, who may have difficulty importing firearms from the New World (their authorities seem to see the United States as something like Isla Nublar, home of Jurassic Park).

The Firearm Blog has found a Scots manufacturer, Shandwick Engineering, that clones the silenced carbine in regular or folding-stock, and firing or display, and such a thing may be an easier import to the Continent — at least, until Brexit. More pics at the link.

In the States, unfortunately, Special Interest Arms is discontinuing their less accurate copies, citing a lack of available actions and parts

ARs, Ammo, and Accuracy

Herschel Smith takes a deep dive into accuracy and what it means for the practical AR or military rifle/carbine shooter. He concludes that M855A1 has been oversold, but that any decent AR with decent ammo with a bullet that is matched to its twist rate can probably outshoot most of the guys who shoot it.

Therefore, the best thing any of us can do: buy quality ammo, and practice more. Sounds reasonable to us, but you will want to Read The Whole Thing™ and watch the videos and follow the links he had provided in this most thorough post.

Gun Stocks update NEW-ish

Anyway you want it: we have the table, our analysis, and the popular chart.

Gun Stocks since the Election
Week Ending RGR SWHC AOBC VSTO
11/8/16 (pre-election) 64.40 28.45 38.94
11/18/16 53.20 24.13 40.02
11/25/16 52.50 23.82 41.05
12/2/16 50.25 21.10 39.66
12/9/16 51.90 21.07 38.62
12/16/16 53.45 21.59 36.81
12/23/16 54.05 22.11 38.03
12/30/16 52.70 21.08 36.90
1/6/17 54.15 21.00 38.08
1/13/17 51.35 20.60 28.70
1/20/17 50.65 20.13 27.78
1/27/17 51.90 20.58 28.33
2/3/17 50.05 20.12 26.18
2/10/17 50.15 21.08 21.58
2/17/17 49.70 19.22 20.89
2/24/17 (2/23) 50.15 19.40 20.19

Everybody’s down this week, in the absence of concrete news, some approaching or achieving 52-week lows. Ruger released its Q4 and year-end 2016 financials Wednesday. The numbers were good: sales were up over 20%, Earnings Per Share over 40%, and sell-through (from RGR’s distributors to retailers) up 12%, while NSSF adjusted NICS were up 10%. Taken together, this suggests that inventory may be starting to build up in the channel, but Ruger also noted that what was driving sales and revenues (both of which beat Wall Street estimates) was primarily new products sales. AOBC was up a little, and VSTO continued a slow decline. (needs new chart below)

Disclaimer: Your Humble Blogger holds RGR, bought at about 56.40 on 9 Nov 16. It bottomed in the 40s later that day. We do like the dividend, as mentioned before; we received 44¢ per share for Q4 2016, announced Wednesday.

Shorts

  • Sumdood 3D Printed a Suppressor, after getting an approved Form 1. He used a threaded insert to increase what would otherwise be the butterfly life of this thing.
  • Cheap .303 British, on sale for $81 a can from Midway. Stuff is nasty: dirty outside, corrosive primed, nonreloadable brass, Pakistan production. But it is cheap. Do not tumble these rounds as the filling is cordite and 40 or more years old. It’ll shoot fine with tarnish on it, it will not shoot fine with the cordite propellant replaced by little random sized flakes.
  • Gander Mountain to File Bankruptcy Case. TFB is reporting (as are financial sites) that the hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation chain is deep in the hole. If there’s any hope for the chain to pull it out, the filing will be Chapter 11; otherwise it will be a Chapter 7 liquidation.

Gun Poly-Ticks

Appeals Court Erases 2nd Amendment

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has, in a new ruling, made the 2nd Amendment null and void by ruling that, we are not making this up, it doesn’t apply to any weapon having a military use. (Yes, this is a complete reversal of the ruling in Miller, the 1939 Supreme Court case that was about half of all 2nd Amendment case law until recent decades, not to mention Heller and McDonald). Sebastian explains:

[T]he 4th Circuit sitting en banc, in a 10-4 ruling deciding the fate of Maryland “assault weapons ban” have held that weapons that are “most useful in military service” are simply categorically unprotected. Because almost all modern firearms have a military pedigree, this interpretation would allow nearly any firearm to be banned.

The ruling was 10-4. Just let that sink in. That’s not even close. We have had to convince four additional judges to prevail here.

Sebastian goes on to show how this decision was the consequence of, primarily, two two-term presidents packing the court with liberals. (Some judges don’t dance with the party that brung ’em; the worst judge on the 4th Circuit for 2A is a Reagan appointee, and the author of the stinging dissent was appointed by President Clinton. But by and large you can predict a judge’s vote if you know who appointed him).

Guy Goes to Prison for Sharing His CNC Machine

Once again, Sebastian has the basic facts of the case. By his conduct and attitude this guy, Daniel Crowninshield aka Doctor Death(!), made himself a target for the ATF. With more violations found when the warrant was served, he wound up with him pleading out; a cleaner suspect might have won on the manufacturing charge (he essentially talked customers through operation of his CNC. ATF says that’s manufacturing w/o a license) but a guy looking at an unlicensed MG rap had better not.

This ATF case was enough of an overreach that mild law professor Glenn Reynolds called for the agency to be disbanded: “Abolish the ATF.” The libertarian-leaning Reynolds is pro-gun, but not the sort of Establishment figure who declares war on Federal agencies.

And then, ATF Had this Slush Fund… as we reported yesterday.

Virtue Signaling Costs Money

And The National Shooting Sports Foundation has quantified it for the innumerate Governor of Connecticut (.pdf), Dannel (“Mom was too baked to spell ‘Daniel'”) Malloy. NSSF:

During a period of strong growth in other states, companies have left the state and shifted new production to other states after Gov. Malloy’s public attacks against the industry.

Over 3,000 jobs lost, in-state wages down by 36%, state taxes paid declined by 37%, contribution to state’s economy down by nearly $700 million.

Geez, NSSF. Didn’t Napoleon tell you never to interrupt an enemy while he was making a mistake?

 

Usage and Employment

 The hardware takes you only half way. Nothing this week. 

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment. Lots of Cop Was a Crim this week.

Assault Rifles? That’s Not How People Get Killed

In 2014, you are 67% less likely to be murdered by an assault weapon or rifle than you were in 1995

Revolving Door, Pardons and Commutations Dep’t

President Obama freed thousands of violent criminals and drug dealers, causing cynics to predict that they’d be doing new crimes in no time at all. So far, the crims are not letting cynics down. You heard about the guy that got whacked right after his release. Well, another coke dealer whose life sentence the last President had erased, was just recaptured after a violent vehicle chase — with a kilo of coke. The guy is 68 years old, and now he’s back inside for a while — at least, until the Democrats get back in.

Huh, This One Didn’t Fight Deportation

Why did criminal alien Abdulrahman Abduljalil stop fighting deportation? While he was likely to be released under the ancien régime, he was probably going to prison after the administration change: he is a kiddie diddler who raped two children in Weymouth, Massachusetts. (They were a boy of 9 and his younger sister, whose age wasn’t reported).

Abduljalil was deported by immigration officials on Jan. 24, a day before he was due in court for a pre-trial hearing.

The mother of the victims says she was shocked to hear he was sent home and is now looking for answers.

Under Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi version of sharia law,  there’s no crime in what he did, as long as the victims are of a lower social class, female, or non-moslems.

The Perils of Kathleen: Send in the Clones!

We should have known that the anti-gun felon AG’s absence from the news last week was only a tease. She’s baaaaack  — and there’s a clone growing in the test tubes of the AG’s office. .

  • Item 19 Feb: A New Rising Star in Kane’s Image is new deputy AG for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Michelle Henry. Like Kane, the new deputy was a prosecutor before taking on this political role (her boss, Josh Shapiro, is a career politician bereft of courtroom experience). Like Kane, her last be case was the Kane case — but Henry was the prosecutor.

We’re getting a strong signal that Oennsylvania law is not going to settle down and fly right under the nouveau régime any more than it did under the last.

There’s a New Sheriff in Town, and One Crooked Card Game Just Closed

Chelsea Clinton’s in-laws are both former Congressthings, but one in-law is an outlaw, too; her father in law Edward Maurice Mezvinsky wore Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate number 55040-066 on his orange jumpsuit for five years, for running a crooked hedge fund and cheating his investors. (Somehow, the investors never got made whole, but the Mezvinskys stayed rich).

Her husband, Mark Mezvinsky, is a chip off the old block, running a hedge fund that lost vast sums, but looked an awful lot like a marketing scheme for access to the Clinton (H.) Administration. For whatever reason, Mezvinsky’s top cover from the White House and the DOJ having ended on or about 20 January, his hedge fund Eaglevale Parters is now being liquidated, and what remains of would-be influence buyers’ money is being returned, according to Bloomberg.

The decision to liquidate Eaglevale was taken after the election.

Speaking of Fraud Dep’t

An Iranian scammer who bilked investors of $300 million, including investors in two paper mills here in New Hampshire, is about to be released from prison after serving a fraction of his Federal sentence — and Mehdi Ghabadazaydeh’s health, which always plagued him at convenient junctures during his trial and incarceration, seems to be looking up as he gets closer to freedom — and to the money, which was never recovered.

He’s clearly not a good citizen; if we’re not going to keep this rotter locked up, shouldn’t he get to enjoy his money amongst the mullahs and chadors of the Islamic Republic of Iran?

Don’t do the Crime if You Can’t Do the Time Dep’t

Call him a Waaahmbulance: also here in the ‘Shire, murderer Alberto Ramos sued NH for shipping him out to a Florida prison, on the interesting claim that he had ineffective assistance of counsel, since the then-mouthpiece didn’t tell the minor-tried-as-an-adult he might get a prison far away from his friends. (Like his special prison pal, the pedo priest). He lost [.pdf]. Sad!

Shorts (none)

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

The Nature of Islam is Political Islam

At his own blog, where he’s normally focused mostly on human biodiversity, polymath Razib Khan makes a good-faith effort to understand Islam — he himself is of Islamic extraction but apparently no personal religion — and points out several instances where other analysts either helped him along, or fell short.

Some of these fell short of good-faith; others fell short of effort. Razib’s attempts are a model we might all benefit by emulating.

This Doesn’t Mean He’s Going to Fix Windows Security

Bill Gates has decided that bioterrorism is bad, m’kay, and he’s going to stand up and warn us all about the dangers of viruses.

Trust us, Bill, any of the sad sacks who bought a computer with one of your operating systems any time in the last thirty years is all spun up on the dangers of viruses. First hand.

You know, when facing a thorny problem, the first thing everyone thinks is, “we need the input of a rich lawyer’s son who got fantastically richer by cheating an inventor out of his product for $50k.”

Veterans’ Issues

Is it time to o disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™? 

Hundreds of VA “Employees” are Paid by Taxpayers, but Work for Unions

The VA actually pays union representatives to negotiate against it. About 350 of them work full-time for the union representing bad employees and negotiating for even plusher pay and benefits, while being paid out of money that was appropriated for veterans, not pinky-ring union bosses. Thousands more work part time for the union, but still on the taxpayer dime.

Is it time to disband this thing yet? It only runs for the benefit of the insiders, not the ostensible beneficiaries.

Health & Fitness

Back on a Cardio Schedule

Finally. That’s in addition to to strength training with Jason Gould of Seacoast Strength. We’re ramping back up to our status-quo-ante objective of 1000 kcal/day per the machine readouts (which, we know, are somewhat bogus. But it’s a goal that will get our carcass onto the machinery).

About Strength Training & Seacoast Strength

Two words: highly recommended. Just this evening (Friday) we were walking the edge of the (unfilled) Endless Pool that’s part of a family member’s home addition, swinging around stairs and scaffolds over a bone-crushing drop with the agility and confidence we haven’t had since before another bone-crushing drop (that one, involving a parachute, a hook turn too low, and a paved taxiway) in January, 2004. Actually, the drop wasn’t bone-crushing at all, but the sudden stop at the end…

You may laugh, but the ability to stand on either foot, over a decade after being assured by orthopods, podiatrists, and physical therapists, that that was over, is an absolute freaking joy. 

Lord Love a Duck!

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

Chinese Catholics Fear Betrayal

 

Members of the underground Catholic church in officially-atheistic China hold Mass in secret, and fear betrayal to the authorities, with all the consequences that can bring. What has changed is who they see as a threat — “liberation theology” Pope Francis.

And to Close on an Upbeat… literally.

As recommended by another guy on Gab. Classic rocker Rick Derringer is a gun guy (with a name like that, naturally!) who always travels with a gun… some 50 times on a commercial jet. Well, Time 51 and the TSA caught him, and he has entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge and paid a $1k fine (and TSA gets to show off his pistol).

You may not remember Rick, but he’s probably best known for two guitar outings — the solo on the sappy 1960s pop hit, Hang on Sloopy, and his own Greatest Hit, performed here in 1973 with his buddy Edgar Winter’s band.

We saw Winter live (can’t remember with or without Derringer) in college in 1977 and it was a hell of a show.

How Do You Avoid Making Immoral Decisions?

This is an interesting question; now, the word “immoral” will probably offend everyone who grew up in the slipstream of the “do your own thing” sixties, but even if you have been conditioned to be uncomfortable with the word “moral,” you have a set of unspoken, moral beliefs: that it is preferable to tell the truth than to lie, to play fair than to cheat, to do the hard right rather than the easy wrong.

Turns out, scientists study this stuff, with clever experiments designed to see what conditions break people loose from their integrity and encourage cheating. Some people will never lie, cheat or steal, no matter what; others will always lie, cheat and steal, even when it’s obviously not in their best interests. But most of us are somewhere closer to the center of a bell curve of behaviors centered between those outlying points of Never and Always.

The Art of Manliness has a profound post on this research and what it means for the man (or, equally, woman, even though men are the target audience) who wants to do the right thing and be known for that.

Some things, some conditions, some choices, increase the likelihood of success in that endeavor. Consider the “honor group.”

Become a member of an honor group.…[T]he more you consider the person you see being dishonest to be a member of the same social group, the more they can influence your ideas of right and wrong. Somewhere in your subconscious you think, “They’re like me and they think doing that is okay, so maybe it’s okay for me to do that too.” We’re even more vulnerable to an example of bad behavior from an authority figure we respect, like a parent, coach, or pastor; these should-be mentors aren’t just like us, they’re people we aspire to become and look to as exemplars.

Courtney Massengales may be born, not made, but their very existence spawns imitators. But it also spawns… resistance!

The really interesting thing, however, is that it also works the opposite way; seeing someone act immorally who we consider outside our social group can inspire us to be better.

In one of the most interesting [studies], instead of the actor/confederate being someone who seemed like all the other student participants, he wore a sweatshirt from the college’s rival school. In this so-called “outsider-Madoff” condition, the participants claimed to solve 6 fewer matrices than in the straight Madoff group. When we see someone act badly whom we consider to be from a different and morally inferior social group than our own, we are reminded that we don’t want to be like them and increase our good behavior in order to distance ourselves from identifying with them.

It’s distancing, not scapegoating, but the same dynamics of human/group psychology are at play.

Honor groups are essentially premised on this principle; the group compares itself to other groups and considers itself to be better/stronger/more moral than any other. The group competes to maintain this reputation and members police each other to uphold standards that will buttress their claim to pride. This kind of “us vs. them” mentality isn’t very popular these days, but I believe it can counter-intuitively be quite healthy in bringing out the best in us.

Wow. But wait! Where have we seen this before? Why, certainly, in military training. Doesn’t every unit and branch of service try to inculcate both a feeling of separateness and righteousness in its members? You’re better than the other platoon, company, battalion, brigade, division, and everyone’s better than those bell-bottomed sailors. (Of course, the Navy has its own version.

In a way, it’s a bleak outlook for humanity, because the tincan sailors whomping on the guys from the next DD over will join together if faced with the submariner threat, and they’ll all fight the Marines or Army, but how is that any different from the Afghan tribesman’s, “me and my brother against my cousin; me, my brother and cousin against the next village; us and our village against…”?

Well, psychologically, it isn’t. But you can deplore it, or you can exploit it. You can even ignore it, but you can’t make it go away. It is. 

Of course, group morality only works if you have a group. In or out of the group, a personal code is a rock you can lean upon.

Know and be firm in your honor code. While we all may be influenced by our friends to varying degrees, the firmer and clearer we are as to our principles and standards, the less swayed we will be by the actions and examples of others. Is your personal honor code vague and squishy, or is it set in a firm foundation and as clear as the noon-day sun? Have you taken the time to reflect on your principles? Do you know how and why you arrived at embracing them or are they unexamined beliefs you have absorbed from your upbringing and culture?

Whether you are amongst members of your honor group or far afield with those who do not share your values, your personal honor code will act as a constant source of direction so that you act as the same man wherever you go and with whomever you meet.

They conclude with a reminder that this morality stuff is real and solid:

There is a popular viewpoint these days that ridicules the idea that one individual’s personal decisions and behavior could possibly have an effect on the behavior of others. But what the scientific research on the subject tells us is that it is in fact ridiculous not to realize that each person’s actions have an ever-so-subtle ripple effect that influences others and the culture at large.

…and if you put it to work for you, the benefits will redound to you, of course, but will spread far and wide. The concept of immoral thought, expediency and misconduct as contagious pathogens is something that has broad and deep application.

This thoughtful article is Part III of a series that has four parts so far.

When You Screw up in the Workshop

This is a plane story, just because our latest screwup was in fabricating a landing light, but it could definitely be a gunsmithing story, so we’re going to run with it.

The lights, a kit option, are not shown on this factory drawing. The landing light has two little stub ribs to hold it in place, and fits between the most outboard two nose ribs in the right wing. Image: Van’s Aircraft.

After several weeks stalled by finicky wiring issues, the Blogbrother and Your Humble Blogger finally had the wiring to our second and last wing completed. First, a little stage-setting. Both wings have tip strobe/position lights, with several wires that have to be connected just so using archaic Molex connectors. Each wing has one extra challenge: the stall warning system on the left side, and the landing light on the right. The stall warning side is done, so completing the tip light wiring and connectors, and completing and installing the landing light parts, were the last hold-ups.

The RV-12’s left wingtip (shown) has been put to bed. Before we can do the right one, we have to tackle the landing light.

Working with the smallest size Molex pins and connectors is finicky, mentally demanding work, and you have to be fresh to do it. At last the tip light wiring was done, and the landing light assembly was ready for its moment in the spotlight. The wiring and Molexes all went swimmingly — over several days, because the necessity of turning words on a page into wire positions in the connectors was brain-frying. Small Dog MkII could detect the stress, and he went off and hid in our messy office, and ate something that turned his muzzle black. (Inkjet printer cartridge is the odds-on favorite. He also ate the lower half of the book jacket of The Bay of Pigs and part of a package that OTR used to send us some info). It’s not like he goes unfed, the toothy little thing.

The landing light itself bolts, with bolts you absolutely, positively cannot reach once the wing is closed out, to two small ribs, and so adjusting the angle is important as you really only get one chance. Then the ribs are riveted in place. With much imprecation and a blasphemy or two we got the assembly into place and clecoed in.

Then the lens goes in, held by eight screws that go, four each, through the acrylic lens, into a pair of brackets that took too long to fabricate themselves. (Each bracket has a rivnut that is held on with two flush rivets. People think of flush rivets as something used on an aircraft’s exterior for aerodynamic reasons, but they’re often used internally when a fastener head must not interfere with part fit, especially on 110-knot airplanes where it isn’t the rivet heads standing between you and the speed of sound). It was clear that the lens could not be put in without a hand in the back holding it.

You know, right where the light assembly and sub ribs were.

So out came the ribs, the light assembly (now wired in place) was lain down, and a hand snaked through to put the lens and Cleco it in place… which meant going to get smaller Clecos, as the ones we used with the Nº 30 holes in the sheet metal were too small to go through the threaded part of the rivnut. (Fortunately, the right Clecos were available downstairs in the gun, etc, shop’s toolboxes, not requiring a wait until Fastenal opens in the morning).

If we had not already cut the hole in the leading edge of the wing, we’d have thrown the light somewhere out in the trackless snow, to puzzle us in spring, and resolved to fly in daylight only.

But we worked through it, got everything Clecoed into place, and when Blogbro arrived for the night’s work, we had cunningly arranged it so that all that needed to be done was screw in 8 screws in place of the small Clecos, start up the compressor, rivet 10 rivets to permanently install the landing light, and then, rivet the wingtip skins in place, leaving the wing complete except for a fiberglass wingtip strobe/position light fairing (glass work awaits warmer weather).

For one brief, shining moment, all was going swimmingly. Like the Red Baron, a photo jinxed us.

Ten minutes later, tightening the brass screws that hold the landing light lens in place, we heard a soft crack. Reacting to our emotions, probably, rather than the sound, Small Dog alerted.

Yep, the lens had cracked.

We now faced a decision, and that’s what makes this story of airplane building germane to anyone who smites guns, or, really, builds anything out of anything: what do you do when you screw up?

Fortunately, screwing up is not a novel experience (we are the Rong Brothers after all, because we’re two brothers building a plane, and we’re not the Wright Brothers). And we have a drill for when we bugger a part.

  1. First, Stop. This is something that has to be considered dispassionately. You’re never dispassionate right after you have blown something, as the color of your language attests.
  2. Second, consider your options. For most screwups of this nature that have damaged a part, the options are three:
    1. Use the part as is;
    2. Replace the part;
    3. Repair the part.
  3. Understand why you damaged the part so that if you are working with a repaired or replaced part, you don’t do the exact same thing.

This is a pretty generic, top-level troubleshooting menu that will work for anything. Sometimes only one of the three corrective strategies works. In this case, we could have used any of the three.

  1. A cracked lens is not a safety of flight item. We could have made a command decision to sign off on it and live with it. Since a crack in acrylic will propagate until it stops (usually at the opposite edge of the part) this did not seem like an optimal solution.
  2. Replacing the part would have the factory ship us a strip of properly curved acrylic from which we would cut, drill, countersink, and generally fabricate a replacement part. It’s probably the right answer for a part on a new airplane. “I’ll order the part in the morning,” Blogbro sighed (it was his turn). “But I’m not going to pay a fortune for next day air, like you do. It comes when it comes. We can work on the fuselage.” (That’s easy for him to say, it doesn’t cost him another stall in the garage to work on wings and fuse simultaneously).
  3. There is an approved repair for acrylic cracks in low-speed aircraft, and if you look closely at older small planes you will often see it. This consists of drilling a hole at the very end of the crack to stop further propagation of the crack, and reinstalling the part (this is called, logically enough, “stop-drilling”). Stop-drilling is used for cracks in acrylic, and non-structural fiberglass or aluminum parts like fairings, every day. But we already know that we will not do this. We are not trying to make the best RV-12 ever built, but we’ve seen a lot of builders’ handiwork and we are trying, and so far, succeeding, in building a very good one.

You will always have these choices. Repair, replace, let be.

Here’s a concrete example: in the past six months we’ve received not one, not two, but four firearms with inoperable or frozen safeties, three of them collector pieces. “Replace” is of little interest in rare collector firearms, and may not be possible in a product that was discontinued 50 or 70 or 90 years ago; although one could always fabricate a replacement part. (Someone, once, built it. Therefore, you can rebuild it. Whether that is cost-effective or wise is another question entirely). “Use as is” obviously was satisfactory for the last owners, because, let’s face it, most collector firearms never see a round and most dealers disclaim any idea of their safety or suitability for firing. But being unable to apply a safety bugs us, so we’re going to fix three of the four. (The fourth was bycatch in an auction lot, and is a junker not worth fixing. We will disclose the safety problem when we dump it, unlike the large auction house that sold it to us).

Yes, we’ll definitely choose repair as our fix for those safeties. As soon as we get the %#^#^!! landing light and wingtip done.

ATF Headquarters Ran Fraud to Fund Undercovers

Unable to spend appropriated funds on some agency priorities, agents ran an operation, under direct verbal control of headquarters, to sell off stolen property (cigarettes and tobacco). They didn’t do this as a smuggling sting as they have done before, but to raise money secretly for further clandestine, off-the-books and outside-the-law operations. The New York Times received the leak (probably as a result of the Mob War of Succession between the Ron Turk and Tom Brandon “families” in ATF HQ):

How that arrangement began is unclear. Ryan Kaye, an A.T.F. supervisor, testified that the [slush fund] was created “as a result of verbal directives from the A.T.F. program office and other headquarters officials.” Mr. Kaye’s full statement is sealed, but excerpts are cited in one publicly available document.

Verbal directives, i.e. “commit nothing to writing,” are not a standard or remotely legal way of doing any undercover operation. They are, in fact, a crime.

We smell the Chief Counsel’s Office, ATF’s equivalent of the Ninth Ring of Perdition. The only other ATF agent publicly identified as involved in the years-long fraud is one Thomas Lesnak, since retired, but dozens of ATF officials seem to have been involved — and, possibly, to have profited.

The operation came to light because the ATF and its informants cheated a group of tobacco farmers out of $24 million, for which the victims are now suing. At least $1M of the farmers’ money was skimmed by the ATF on behalf of each of two of the ATF’s paid informants, Jason Carpenter and Christopher Small. The whereabouts of the other $22 million are unknown at this time — spent on undercover operations, pocketed by agents or supervisors, or some combination of the above, most likely.

The Obama Justice Department fought a battle to keep the corruption trial out of the press, and until something happened in January, the New York Times went along.

It gets better… the government denies all wrongdoing, and have gotten a rubber-spined judge to seal nearly all documents in the case. But somehow the IRS has decided that they ought to make an example of the cheated farmers in this case: by demanding they pay taxes on the money the ATF stole from them. Read The Whole Thing™.

It seems like this is a case made for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor.

Updates on Two Stories: Rock Island Auction, and NH Constitutional Carry

The Rock Island Auction company and our fellow bidders were completely unimpressed with our 28 bids, and we got nothin’ to show for it.

Don’t feel too bad about us missing the bids, though. We just landed an uncommon .32 CZ-82 on GunBroker for less than we bid on either of two we got outbid on at Rock Island, and that’s before we’d have had to pay the buyer’s premium.

Anyway, while the auction might have been a skunker for us, it wasn’t for the bidders on around 6,000 lots containing around 10,000 firearms.. and it definitely wasn’t for the auction house. They cleared $8 million for themselves and their consignors… and that also tells us that, despite some rare Colts and Winchesters going for nosebleed prices, the average price of a firearm was under $1,000. This is not only a game for people who send their butlers to the auction in the family Learjet. You can still play even if all you got is an RV-12, and it’s in pieces. (Although, technically, it’s the Blogbrother’s RV).

One of the things that sold was this World War II German sniper rifle… for $13,800:

A trifle, that rifle! (We think that’s more than our Mausers. All of them. Combined). And another was this World War II Jeep… for $9k and change (hey, the sniper rifle was in better shape. This Jeep is actually pretty rough).

Breaking industry records and selling 10,000+ guns in four days is a fantastic way to start off a year of exceptional firearms auctions. Thankfully, you all thought so too. Accompanying this record number of firearms was a record number of sealed bids, a staggering amount of participation from our collector friends, and a result that is both humbling and impressive.

They’re actually a pleasure to deal with, so they probably mean that “humbling” bit.

Because of the support from you and thousands of like-minded firearms enthusiasts, 2017 begins on a previously unimaginable threshold. For that, we offer our sincere gratitude and will continue to strive to make buying or consigning with RIAC better than ever before.

They have some more details on the results of the auction on their website. If you’re one of the skunked, like us, you might want to look at the .pdf of the prices realized and see just how badly you were skunked. (We haven’t done the correlation yet, but at a glance it looks like we were laughably low. On everything).

Like the Jews used to say, “Next year in Jerusalem” (maybe the ones who are not in Jerusalem still do?), next auction we’ll be in there bidding, and we’ll be bidding harder for the things we really want, which were not present in great quantities in this auction (Czech and Czechoslovak rarities).

More auctions are ahead at RIA.

The first is our March 23rd Online Only Auction, the catalog for which is up now and may be browsed at your convenience.

We’ve often found good stuff in the Online Only Auctions, but our definition of Good Stuff may not be yours. We didn’t find anything of buying interest in this one, but a lot to look at.

The next is the year’s first Premiere Auction, to be held May 5 – 7.

The best stuff is at the Premiere Auctions (bigger stuff than some of the six-figure sales this last auction had). How good is that “best stuff”? Well, here’s a Luger. A US Army test Luger. In .45. One of two.

No, we won’t be bidding on that. But we’ll enjoy looking at the rest of the pictures when they post ’em.

Constitutional Carry NH

Let’s not forget the political news, also: as expected, Governor Chris Sununu signed SB12, Constitutional Carry, into law in New Hampshire. Half the states in New England now require no permit. Thirteen states are CC or limited CC already. And the trend is accelerating. Several more states may go CC this year; others will only be prevented by an anti-2nd-Amendment governor’s veto. Here’s what it looks like as a rough chart (apologies for the missing labels. The years run from 1990 to 2017):

This happened despite a purple state, a pro-gun community that was divided among several factions (the NRA even thanked the “local groups,” plural; at one time there were three squabbling gun rights groups) and an NRA paid lobbyist who was a Fudd and single-handedly killed the bill in a previous session. It took the election of a solidly pro-gun majority in both houses, and a pro-gun Governor. (The previous governor had vetoed the bill… twice). The large small-l libertarian minority in New Hampshire were crucial allies in this effort, as well; other Republican legislative priorities (like right-to-work) haven’t passed in this session, but there was real grassroots support for SB12, and the only opposition was paid lobbyists and out-of-state paid activists.

One of the three squabbling factions’ website is no longer active, so perhaps we fractious and flinty New England turkey herders can learn to speak with one voice, even if we can’t always get along. And maybe you can help add your state to the baker’s dozen on this list:

Year # of States State Comments
1990 1 VT Since 18th Cent.
1991 2 VT, MT MT exempts municipalities though.
1992 2 VT, MT
1993 2 VT, MT
1994 2 VT, MT
1995 2 VT, MT
1996 2 VT, MT
1997 2 VT, MT
1998 2 VT, MT
1999 2 VT, MT
2000 2 VT, MT
2001 2 VT, MT
2002 2 VT, MT
2003 3 VT, MT, AK True CC in AK
2004 3 VT, MT, AK
2005 3 VT, MT, AK
2006 3 VT, MT, AK
2007 3 VT, MT, AK
2008 3 VT, MT, AK
2009 3 VT, MT, AK
2010 4 VT, MT, AK, AZ True CC in AZ also
2011 5 VT, MT, AK, AZ, WY WY limits it to residents
2012 5 VT, MT, AK, AZ, WY
2013 6 VT, MT, AK, AZ, WY, AR True CC in AR
2014 6 VT, MT, AK, AZ, WY, AR
2015 9 VT, MT, AK, AZ, WY, AR, KS, MS, ME +3 year!
2016 11 VT, MT, AK, AZ, WY, AR, KS, MS, ME, WV, ID +2 year
2017 13 VT, MT, AK, AZ, WY, AR, KS, MS, ME, WV, ID, MO, NH +2 and the year is still young

Your humble blogger called Governor Sununu’s office and urged him to sign the bill, and will call again to thank him. You can thank him too when you come to the Granite State and carry your personal firearm.

Oh, and One Last Thing…

We only promised two updates, but here’s a third: as he said he would, Kim du Toit is blogging again (he’s got an enormous splash picture, so scroll down to find the content). And his GoFundMe is still live; he’s using the money to pay down medical bills from Connie’s long illness, and to pay down his own student loans. (Guy finally went and got a degree, God bless him).

Make Army Uniforms Great Again

Army Times did a survey on uniforms recently, and either did it in cooperation with, or at least discussed the results with, the Sergeant Major of the Army.  Traditionally, the SMA is a very influential voice on uniforms, although it’s always the Chief of Staff — top general — whose decision is final. Several messages came through loud and clear, and they’re quite interesting, especially to old fossils who mostly wore other uniforms than the ones the boys and girls are rocking in 2017. (We’ve got bottle green service station attendant fatigues and Okinawa-made tiger stripes hanging up in a closet, not to mention other uniform styles of the sixties through the nineties. Perhaps some day we’ll actually fit into those ancient uniforms, maybe for burial).

Our take on the survey results:

  • Wow, the troops really despise the black beret.
  • The blue Army Service Unifom which replaced the dressier Army Blue uniform and the standard green service uniform worn (in a couple of variations) since 1957 is not quite as loathed, but there is no love for it.
  • There’s heavy nostalgia for great-granddad’s service uniforms of World War II, especially the tan khakis and the officers’ “pinks and greens” (tan trou and shirt with an OD jacket).
  • There seems to be a big difference between what men and women want in terms of uniforms, and there’s a schism between what young women and career female sergeants major want.

The Black Beret

SMA  Dailey has made it pretty clear that the beret, which is now worn as little as possible (due, naturally, to everybody hating it) is not going away. Having to be the adult in the room, he asks the reasonable question: if we get rid of it, what next? The previous hats worn with the service uniform were both hated, too: the bus driver’s saucer hat, and the overseas cap, known to all in the service by a female-anatomically explicit pejorative. (Women had different hats, which they hated, too). But the troops are quite clear in wanting to return to the status quo ante of berets being worn only by SF, Rangers, and Airborne soldiers. (This survey result is the same whether you survey those guys that would keep the berets — although a significant minority of them would gladly toss them, too — and the guys that would lose them under a reversion to pre-Shinseki rules).

No one seems to discuss one reason that the specialist forces prize their berets: the berets bear considerable unit personalization. Paratroopers wear the flash of their brigade or even battalion; Rangers have a flash that is their own (and the Ranger training establishment a different one); every Special Forces Group has its own flash with its own significance. For example, after a period in which the red and gold of the Free Vietnam flag was banished, 5th Special Forces Group recently reclaimed those colors on its black flash. Initially, when the black beret was inflicted on the Army as a whole, and the Rangers given a tan beret as a consolation prize, there was some talk that regular Army units would be permitted to develop their own flashes to accommodate their own unit pride, but this was quickly crib-smothered on cost and uniformity grounds, and every soldier wears the same blue flash with white stars. (There is a small pin-on crest, the Distinctive Unit Insignia, that is worn with every beret, but it’s often of a large unit rather than a natural nexus of unit pride. For example, all SF soldiers in all groups wear the same SF crest over their unit’s distinctive flash).

If you’re going to make every soldier in the army wear the same hat, it should be a sharp-looking hat. This may mean different hats for men and women, which the men and women are cool with but the womyn and social justice warriors are not.

The field uniform hat, which basically is the old 1951 vintage field cap (and which the Rangers kept alive during the grim baseball-cap years), seems popular enough. It’s better than any of the WWII field hats, as long as there’s also a boonie hat for field use, too.

The Service Uniform and the WWII Tradition

The Army started down an unhappy path in 1957 when they began to phase out World War II era uniforms in favor of a new green uniform modeled in part on the open-collar version of the Wehrmacht uniform, and in part on the uniform issued to metropolitan bus drivers at the time. This Army Green uniform soldiered on for about 50 years (with some slight changes of hue and material) until its recent replacement, supplemented by a blue uniform for semiformal occasions, a variety of officers-only full formal rigs, and a service undress “class B” uniform that was a shortsleeved khaki nod to WWII until 1981 or so, and thereafter just the pants and shirt of the Class A greens.

Unkind commenters noted that the green uniform was picked in 1957 because it was better at hiding out of shape middle-aged generals’ and NCOs’ rotund physical condition, than the pinks and greens or Ike jackets of wartime. Kinder commenters noted that it was more like the suits won by businessmen; that was one of the official justifications for the change, at the time.

The green bus driver uniform was replaced by a similar sack suit, only in blue, so it’s more of a doorman suit, or perhaps a 1920s Officer-Paddy-McGillicuddy-of-the-NYPD suit. For daily service wear, it lost the soaring NCO stripes and other flourishes of the formal Army Blue uniform, which harkened back to the Civil War and Indian Wars.

Anybody who’s watched period documentaries or war movies set in the unpleasantness of 1941-45 has noted how much better looking those uniforms are that today’s formless, characterless bags. (Although it’s hard to untangle that from how much better looking the Hollywood stars playing soldiers are, than actual soldiers — except that we really were a stunningly handsome bunch in the 10th Special Forces Group, who could have been matinee idols if we hadn’t felt the call to service).

The old uniforms are approved both on tradition and on style grounds — on fit troops, they look great. We note the Marines cleverly played into this by still wearing their WWII vintage service uniform. And their troops are consistently the sharpest looking. Coincidence?

While some of the other changes are definitely not going to happen, we can definitely see SMA Dailey bringing in a recommendation for a return to WWII styles, perhaps pinks and greens (for all ranks this time) or Ike jackets (probably as an option). And for Pete’s sake, put patches and tabs back on the shoulders, and officers’ branch insignia in the collar area, of all uniforms. Rank in the center of the chest was created in order to have a place to pin rank on Gore-tex jackets without losing the waterproofing, but what started as an unwillingly-forced Least Bad Option has spread like ebola. You want your soldiers looking at each other’s face and head area for rank cues, not center of mass. And you want to know if the captain who corners you in the TOC is the battle captain (guy running things for the commander) or some inconsequential dweeb from MI or the Quartermaster Corps.

Women Trouble?

While male soldiers are all in favor of such changes, women are ambivalent. This is especially true of long-service NCOs, who are more likely than one-termers to be — how shall we put this delicately? — sexual minorities, and to enjoy dressing up just like men, in male or unisex clothing. (They’re the ones who go off duty in plaid flannel shirts and Herman Survivors. In August. At McDill). And during World War II, the relatively small percentage of women in the service generally hated their uniforms, which were designed in great haste, and which they considered crude and frumpy. The Marines and Navy have struggled to keep their women happy with their uniforms, and whoever’s going to tackle this problem for the Army had best get a lot of input, including from current soldiers and from people who lived through the controversies over in the sea services.

We don’t know what the perfect women’s uniform would look like, but it would have to:

  1. Please the women who wear it, unlike the frumpy WWII version;
  2. Clearly be the same service as the stuff the guys wear;
  3. Be of sufficiently practical style it can be worn every day by office workers and not put them at a disadvantage relative to women in other services and civilian co-workers.
  4. Be of sufficiently classic style so as not to look dated by 2022. Or 2077.
  5. Be clearly female in design; flatter the wide range of shapes that comprise our fit female soldiers. (Fat people looking fat in it is not a reason to reject a uniform. Sorry ’bout that, Chief. It’s a reason to reject the fat people. Trigglypuff, this means you).

How do you get to that end state? Why not hold a design competition, and invite the nation’s (or world’s) fashion designers to take a shot at it? Make a panel of judges, mostly women soldiers who will have to wear the things, mostly young women, but include some of the guys who will have to look at it for their whole career, a design professional or two, and a couple of reps from the veteran, purple heart and gold star family community. That’s the optimizing approach (and it gets the design community invested in their country. And you could get a highly rated reality show out of it).

If that’s too much work, start with the Marine women’s uniform, listen to Marine ladies’ objections and complaints, get a survey of the good-bad-and-ugly of WWII Army uniforms, and remodel them appropriately, in Army colors. That’s the satisficing approach (and you could execute it in six months. Find an ambitious woman officer who’s not afraid to look her best, and give her a free hand).

What to Do After The Change

So what do you do after you change uniforms, the gentlemen’s and the ladies’ alike, this time? The Army has, to the great mirth of our Marine peers, been through lots of hasty and ill-considered uniform changes. So don’t execute this one hastily or half-assed. And once it’s done, commit to it. Freeze it, in terms of design language, for fifty years. Sure, you’ll want to take advantage of material breakthroughs but don’t change the look for a half-century. By then, soldiers wearing these new uniforms will have added incredible new tales to Army lore, and brilliant new streamers to the Army colors.

By then, no one will want to change it. It will be the classic Army uniform.

In Russia, MIA Search & Recovery is a Private Enterprise

Much of the war on the Eastern Front was fought on the territory of Russia, and for the first year-plus the Soviets were on defense. Their dead lay where they fell.

After the war, the survivors were too poor, too busy, under too much stress. A monument to the Unknown Soldier was considered enough. The forests reclaimed the dead. (Some of the recovery volunteers charge that Soviet-era bureaucrats deliberately seeded trees where the dead were buried). And now, the ad hoc interments of these unshriven dead are being disturbed, so that they may be given a righteous and honorable burial.

This is very different from what the USG is doing with our attempts at personnel recovery: while the Russian government supports it, philosophically speaking, the recovery volunteers seem to be entirely self-funding. It is, perhaps, a labor of love; Christian or patriotic love. But the scale of the project is immense: over four million Soviet soldiers remain missing, on eternal watch, from this conflict; more than all of America’s dead from all of America’s wars.

Each of those four million dead was a son or a father who didn’t come home. The bones tell part of the tail — this one, a mature man, was shot between the eyes. By the Germans, or the NKVD? It scarcely matters to him. This other was a boy of perhaps sixteen years, whose Red Army helmet and Mosin-Nagant put a lie to his boyhood — but who never lived to know the joys and heartbreaks of adult life. The heroic and the timid, the volunteer and the draftee, the leader and the led, all made equal in the rich mud of what they would have called Leningrad Oblast.

It’s interesting to consider the way three nations pursue their World War II missing. The USA, whose form of government is constitutionally unchanged, relys on a Federal and military agency — albeit, one that is only intermittently funded. The Germans, the grandchildren of an authoritarian but largely decentralized dictatorship, have a non-profit foundation that raises charitable funds to find and recover their dead, using professional staff. And the Russians, grandchildren of the most centralized totalitarian dictatorship of its era, work in decentralized, voluntary groups, who make personal sacrifices to repay their nation’s debt to its dead.

All of the images we saw in the video were of today’s Russians recovering fallen Soviets. It would be interesting to know what they do when the man they find is not one of their own ancestors, but one of the hated invaders. Do they mark the spot for the Germans to recover? Recover him anyway? Reinter him separately from their own countrymen? Or leave him to rot, serving him right for invading their country?

Sweatin’ the Auction

We ran hot and cold on bidding on anything in the Rock Island Regional Auction this weekend, but finally submitted a bid.

Oh, who are we kidding? We submitted 28 bids this morning (we didn’t bid on any of the Thursday or Friday lots). Things we targeted included: Czech pistols for the book (there were no exotics, so we lowballed these), some CZ and Brno sporting rifles, and some older Colt AR-15s which we lowballed the living daylights out of.

If prices are softer than we think, we’re going to have to write one big-ass check.

Our bids are on Items 4402, 4409, 4719 4819, 4850, 4981, 4982, 4988, 5063, 6284, 6300, 6304, 6330, 6390, 6508, 6767, 6779, 6790, 6802, 6807, 6819, 6823, 6839, 6979, and 7006.

You can watch the auction action here, with the lots scrolling below as they sell, and the auctioneers — who are already getting a little giddy — appearing in a video window. We’ve got bids in on Items

It seems like prices are all over the place so far. Some real bargains have been hammered down, and some prices have gone to what seems to us inexplicable levels. By not bidding on the first two days of the auction, we lost out on a Czech vz. 52/57, an uncommon variant firing the 7.62 x 39 round, but like the French Knights, “I don’ think so, we already got one.”

Update

The consequences of lowballing, received from RIA:

None of your bids were successful on items auctioned todaybut we would like to sincerely thank you for participating and helping us have a successful auction!

There is still 1 more day of this auction left with over 1,000 lots. The last day of a 4 day sale gets the fewest bids as many do not make through the entire catalog. Search Catalog 

 

Our March Internet Only Auction is now posted too. Search Catalog 

Well, the unusual stuff we want badly enough to bid high on usually are in the Premier Auctions. If that sounds like sour grapes, well… we’ve crossed off the items that auctioned today. We still have about $13k in bids on the remaining 19 lots, some of the bids seriously lowball and others within the estimate range (we didn’t go over estimate on anything this auction. Nothing we wanted that badly).

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2017 Week 07

Tour d’Horizon is the usual end-of-week random pile of chaos we throw at you, to keep your “duck!” reflex up. Yeah, it’s about 12 hours late this week.

Duck!

Guns

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

Rock Island Auction

The Rock Island Auction is still going on. Tomorrow kicks off with Lot 4000. We’re bidding, but mostly lowballing.

MP5 AR 3D Printed Lower

We haven’t been keeping up with Guy In a Garage, and last month he showed considerable progress on his attempt to 3D Print a working lower for an HK MP5, but using AR15 fire control components. One of the problems he runs into is that the HK roller-locking guns have an ejector that’s part of the fire control group and that comes out with the trigger group. (The AR ejector is in the bolt face). In this video, he’s showing a solution in progress for that problem.

Gun Stocks update

As you see, we’re continuing with the chart. We’ve also added something new, though: a graph. (We actually did the graph for last week, originally, and then forgot to plug it in. Eh.)

Gun Stocks since the Election
Week Ending RGR SWHC AOBC VSTO
11/8/16 (pre-election) 64.40 28.45 38.94
11/18/16 53.20 24.13 40.02
11/25/16 52.50 23.82 41.05
12/2/16 50.25 21.10 39.66
12/9/16 51.90 21.07 38.62
12/16/16 53.45 21.59 36.81
12/23/16 54.05 22.11 38.03
12/30/16 52.70 21.08 36.90
1/6/17 54.15 21.00 38.08
1/13/17 51.35 20.60 28.70
1/20/17 50.65 20.13 27.78
1/27/17 51.90 20.58 28.33
2/3/17 50.05 20.12 26.18
2/10/17 50.15 21.08 21.58
2/17/17 49.70 19.22 20.89

Everybody’s down this week, in the absence of concrete news, some approaching or achieving 52-week lows. Ruger is going to release its Q4 and year-end 2016 financials on 22 Feb and have a conference call the next day. AOBC, which uses a different fiscal year, is going to release Q3 earnings on 2 March. But Vista, which continues to be so besieged by ambulance chasers’ class-action suits that actual corporate news is buried deep under layers of desperate greedniks’ press releases, did something very interesting, or, at least, its insiders did. Three corporate honchos bought stock this weekThey may think the stock is going to go up; it’s lost nearly half its market value since January 1st. Or, are they taking a desperate shot at propping up a stock? Job security is not a thing for CEOs, especially CEOs that have presided over a dramatic decrease in stock value.

Disclaimer: Your Humble Blogger holds RGR, bought at about 56.40 on 9 Nov 16. It bottomed in the 40s later that day. We still think it has longterm growth potential, and we like the dividend. (We’d better really like the dividend, eh. Well, it’s in the income part of our portfolio).

Gun Poly-Ticks

Delaware illustrates why National Reciprocity is Needed

The Delaware State Government got caught by attorney Adam Kraut trying to roll back reciprocity by stealth regulation. After being called out, they eased the regulations back, but this kind of local extremism and dishonesty calls for Federal preemption.

Adam, a Pennsylvania attorney who specializes in gun law, is running for NRA Board. He’d be a good choice, in our opinion.

Oregon Gun Boosters and Banners Squabble

In a one-sided report on quixotic “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” laws, anti-gun reporter Eric Tegethoff gives the most ink to gun-ban activist Penny Okamoto, who argues that guns should be banned because people commit suicide with them.

For your consideration: national socialists like Okamoto should be banned, because nations commit suicide with them.

That said, the county-level laws seem to have no practical force, except as a political expression of irritation with a distant, urban government.

Usage and Employment

 The hardware takes you only half way. Nothing this week. 

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment. Lots of Cop Was a Crim this week.

When the Cop was a Crim, I

Crime in Tennessee: Horse Massage

When the Cop was a Defendant, at Minimum

It looks bad for this Amtrak cop: the guy he shot was 70 feet away, running away at full tilt, and six witnesses including the cop’s partner (!) disagree with the cop’s statement that he saw the guy reach for a pocket and turn back towards him. The shooting victim had some dope on him. The officer is charged with murder and out on bail in Chicago, Cook County is unlikely to generate a cop-friendly jury.

When the Cop was a Crim — and a Victim

A retired Chicago cop was shot dead by her husband — another retired Chicago cop. They were 68 and 71, respectively. There had been previous DV incidents, but it’s pretty hard for cops to enforce DV laws on their own, and they tend to do so loosely. But this was a messy case with both Judgment Juice™ and mental illness as factors.

The Perils of Kathleen: Radio Silence!

Hallelujah! There was nothing about this wretched felon — the anti-gun former Attorney General of Pennsylvania — in the news this week.

We’ve been giving a lot of thought to the moral turpitude of gun control proponents.

Shorts

  • An new municipal police force on the island of St. Lucia stood up so fast that nobody got the cops guns. (Like most Caribbean islands, it’s a violent place). Soon, the mayor says.
  • In another town on the same island, a cop is charged with murder for an on-duty shooting. Details are scant
  • A Tulsa cop was charged with murder for shooting his daughter’s boyfriend. (What father hasn’t been tempted…?) He claimed self-defense. After a jury deadlocked 11-1 guilty, he was retried; the new jury deadlocked 10-2. Will prosecutors go for trial #3?
  • Canadian mass murderer Inderjit Singh Reyat, who murdered 331 people by bombing an Air India plane, has been set free after serving 20 years in prison — 22 days for each of the people he killed — and a year in a halfway house. (Numbers have been corrected -Ed.)

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

Barium Meals and the Guard Memo:

The AP’s Garance Burke (the Chelsea Clinton clone sporting the overjet malocclusion on the right) ran a story reporting that a memo written by former DHS Secretary Kelly said that the Administration was federalizing 100,000 National Guard soldiers to assist with the criminalien problem; there’s only one problem. It’s not true. Burke’s story has since been stealth-corrected to reflect official denials, but there are some interesting aspects to the story.

One is that the memo was a barium meal, devised to smoke out a leaker. Every aide who was given a copy of the memo was given a slightly different copy. Then, when Burke, stung by accusations of fake news, caused AP to publish the version they had, the identity of the leak channel was exposed, and CI practitioners can trace it down to the specific untrustworthy person.

This is an old CI technique and was used by the Bolivians in 1967 to identify a cabinet-level Cuban mole in their government. Every Cabinet member got a version of Che Guevara’s silly diary, but with four inconsequential pages missing — a different four in every one. When KGB-controlled active measures outlets worldwide published the diaries — in the US, it was the Communist Party magazine Ramparts — there was much speculation about the missing pages, but only the CIA and Bolivian CI (it was a joint op) knew what they meant. Unfortunately, the perfect op to that point was botched, and the guy escaped to Cuba before they could pick him up. (Castro had turned him by promising him he’d be the Vidkun Quisling of Cuba).

The walls are closing in on Burke’s source. Wonder what she gave the guy, to throw his career away? (Who are we kidding. He’s some member of the Acela monoculture. Nothing will happen to him, and he’ll wear having betrayed the President who appointed him as a badge of honor in that crowd).

The story briefly had legs with some opposition politicians, apparently alerted by the opposition media: Burke or her editors.

The other interesting aspects this: no version of the memo that has appeared to date has included the 100,000 number. Burke seems to have made that up, a nice round number for propaganda purposes. And nowhere does the document say it was written by Kelly: another Burke fabrication. That’s a byline to look out for, if you’re looking for fake news.

We Thought We Were Peeved at Blumenthal

Turns out we’re not half as peeved as 14 surviving Medal of Honor Recipients from the Vietnam War. Excerpt of their letter to the preening phony:

What is offensive to those who fought in a most brutal conflict, some of us who were captured and tortured by our enemy, is any comparison of those most brutal experiences to the ones of people like you who never even sniffed the air in Vietnam.

You should be proud that you shared a uniform with so many brave souls who endured the hardships of war, but instead you chose to attempt to deceitfully and craftily join their ranks with your intentionally vague statements and false claims. Quite simply, it is impossible to “misspeak” about having seen a war.

Valor is too uncommon a commodity, and too precious a virtue, to be stolen by those who have not paid the high price for freedom. We recognize that some concerns over any appointee, especially the Supreme Court, are honest and legitimate.

You, sir, are neither. If you ever had a sense of duty, if ever you respected the service and sacrifice of others, then please recognize your duty now:

Sen. Blumenthal, “take your seat”!

You know what kind of slap that is, Senator Blumenthal, you *****.

Could you imagine being slapped down by 14 MOH guys? A shudder runs through us at the very thought. It probably doesn’t bug Blumenthal, though: he has his own MOH in his own preening phony psyche.

Do Read The Whole Thing™.

Blind Ignorance in a Failed State

The New Yorker sends one William Finnegan to Venezuela, and he’s mystified that the socialist utopia is looking distinctly dystopian these days.

He doesn’t know whether to blame looters, or wreckers, apparently.

Dude,  Heinlein already fingered the culprit: “bad luck.”

Russian Defectors to Ukraine

Two Russians have defected to Ukraine, apparently a hop, skip and jump ahead of FSB incarceration or worse. However, while they promise spy revelations, they don’t seem to have been spies, but politicians and business people. Are they telling the truth? Who knows? Russian officialdom is very upset, but they would be whether these two were actual whistleblowers or escaping criminals — both are pretty much the same thing to Russian media and law these days. So your guess is as good as ours, and may depend on whether you see the Ukraine situation from a Russian or Ukrainian viewpoint. (But these folks may have their own third agenda, too).

Glad it’s not our job to figure that one out. Everyone who claims to have it figured out is probably in the tank for one side or the other.

European Migrant Crisis May Worsen

The German magazine Der Spiegel has an article on the possibility of Mrs Merkel,the current CDU/CSU chancellor of Germany, going down to election defeat, likely at the hands of the formerly enervated Socialists of the SPD, after an SPD change to a more dynamic leader. While this report must be taken with caution (the ostensibly nonpartisan Spiegel is strongly pro-SPD), it’s generally bad news. If CDU loses to the SPD, expect Germany’s wide-open door to migrants, criminals and terrorists to remain wide open, and maybe even open wider. This will worsen the crisis and accelerate the devolution of nations out of the Schengen open-borders agreement and the EU in general.

Merkel’s party has come late to immigration restriction, and has only come a few steps that way, but it has already lost many Germans for whom that is an important issue to the right-wing AfD “Alternative” party. They are unlikely to be enough to give AfD a victory, but are enough to kneecap CDU in the general election. (Under their parliamentary system, Germans vote for parties, not people, at least, officially).

Veterans’ Issues

Is it time to o disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™? 

VA Official Hates Him Some Trump

Timothy Lawson, one of the VA’s hundreds of six-figure PR flacks (and a rare one who is an actual veteran), has had no compunctions about lying about VA performance, but he hates hates hates President Trump. It’s OK; some of his co-workers felt the same way about the last guy and some felt that way about the one before that. But the thing is, Lawson can’t shut up about it.

Some have called for Lawson to be fired, but that’s silly on several levels. On one hand, lèse-majesté is not a crime in American law; indeed, it’s a 1st Amendment right. On the other hand, it’s his personal Twitter account, not his official output. (His official output probably barely moves the needle, in that he’s one of a battalion of PR flacks doing one man’s job, but how is that different from any of the other useless payroll patriots sucking on DC welfare?) And on the gripping hand, since when was anyone fired from VA for anything? You’ve got managers with a bigger body count than Hannibal Freaking Lecter, and they’re still on the job (with bonuses and quarter-million-dollar “moving expenses”!), and you’re going to fire this do-nothing nobody for dissing the President?

Firing all the excess PR weenies and contractors, now that would be good move. Singling Lawson out is stupid. (So stupid someone in DC might just do it).

Or just do the right thing, and disband the whole thing.

Health & Fitness (NEW Category!)

Slow Week, Few Accomplishments

It’s been a slow week with too little gym time (but, plenty of shoveling!) and we are going to make cardio a priority… starting tomorrow. No, seriously. Wait, why are you laughing?

Lord Love a Duck!

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

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Here’s a great finger-picked instrumental version of the George Harrison/Beatles 1968 classic, by Justin Johnson, using something rare for him: all six strings, in standards tuning. But then, the guitar is made from a can of Marvel Mystery Oil, so there is that.

The Ghost of Harrison must be beaming (in part because Justin’s pitch on bends is good, a Harrison pet peeve).

Johnson’s version lacks vocals, but sort of splits the difference between the rocking album track and George’s original acoustic demo, which includes the lost “I look from the wings at the play you are staging” verse. The thing we like best about Justin Johnson is that he teaches people to play like him. Look him up on the net if you want to learn something new and play better.

Quick, who’s guitar was weeping on the Beatles album cut? (It’s a tricky question).

Protest This!

Some civilized state has a great answer to Precious Snowflakes blocking roads. We call it the Squash ‘Em Like a Bug Law. Some wag generated this hoot of a graphic.

Thanks for visiting WeaponsMan.com this week, and we’ll see you in the week ahead.

Advice for Single Ladies?

Advice for single ladies is not normally within the left and right limits, or even the overall mission scope, of WeaponsMan.com, but this is the anything-goes 1800 time slot, and this column (by “AmmoGrrl” at PowerLineBlog.com) tickled our funny bone. She addresses this question to her readers:

[W]here do appropriate men hang out? You know, the kind who are never even momentarily ambivalent about which restroom to use.

First, she recounts several bad ways for her single friends “of a certain age” to meet a decent guy — including asking her for a match-up, with comically poor results — she lights on a good example.

One of her bad examples:

Men do go to strip clubs, but unless you are the one “dancing” around the maypole, you are not likely to attract anyone’s notice. Lot of competition there. Heck, Mr. AG gets distracted by a fully-clothed rabbit on our walks; trying to get his attention with several naked women one-third my age in the room would be beyond my meager ability to enchant.

Nonsense, we have all paid attention to women who were not dancing on the stage in what we prefer to call a “Gentlemen’s Club.” But perhaps she has never heard of that quaint Gentlemen’s Club custom, the “lap dance.”

Still, we admit that that doesn’t really lay her objection to rest, no pun intended.

The bulked-and-tatted Hells Angels who keep an eye on things for the clubs’ mafia owners also take a dim view of amateurs joining in, on other than designated amateur nights; volunteer lap dancers are systematically discouraged.

Accepting that a strip club is a bad place for an ordinary adult woman to meet ordinary adult men (despite its one big plus, it’s a pretty good gay filter), what works? After a few more false starts, AmmoGrrl has it all worked out:

Lastly, we come to one of the best places to meet men. A place where the male to female ratio is exceedingly favorable. A place where, for some reason, few women go on a regular basis. I’m talking, of course, about the gun range.

A marriage between two gun aficionados will not only provide a lifelong hobby to share, but could double your arsenal. Notice whether or not he has some cool guns. Notice whether or not he can reliably hit the target, a skill that translates to other skills, indicating dedication to patient practice and the wherewithal to afford a lot of ammo. Though much cheaper than golf, target shooting involves considerable expense. But it’s not the guns that will put the biggest crimp in your budget. It’s the ammo. Worth it, though!

Hey, we thought it was funny when we Read The Whole Thing™.

We have, though, observed a phenomenon at ranges in which guys at gun shops or ranges (including, unfortunately, some unprofessional instructors) act like dogs any time a woman comes in. Generally, their conviction that women find them irresistible is as sound as their advice on guns, which is to say, not very.

Some hornball with his tongue hanging out like Wile E. Coyote is a rebuke to real, actual, manhood. Not to mention that “desperation” is not on any list of “stuff chicks dig.”

If it makes us cringe — and we have very little squeam in us — God alone knows how it creeps out the ladies. This accounts, perhaps, for the popularity of women-only LTC classes at the two ranges we’re members of, with female instructors.